Monday, December 24, 2012

Yule Greetings from Oz



'Twas the night before Christmas; there wasn't a sound.

Not a possum was stirring; no-one was around.

We'd left on the table some tucker and beer,

Hoping that Santa Claus soon would be here;

We children were snuggled up safe in our beds,

While dreams of pavlova danced 'round in our heads;

And Mum in her nightie, and Dad in his shorts,

Had just settled down to watch TV sports.

When outside the house a mad ruckus arose;

Loud squeaking and banging woke us from our doze.

We ran to the screen door, peeked cautiously out,

Snuck onto the deck, then let out a shout.

Guess what had woken us up from our snooze,

But a rusty old Ute pulled by eight mighty 'roos.

The cheerful man driving was giggling with glee,

And we both knew at once who this plump bloke must be.

Now, I'm telling the truth it's all dinki-di,

Those eight kangaroos fairly soared through the sky.

Santa leaned out the window to pull at the reins,

And encouraged the 'roos, by calling their names.

'Now, Kylie! Now, Kirsty! Now, Shazza and Shane!

On Kipper! On, Skipper! On, Bazza and Wayne!

Park up on that water tank. Grab a quick drink,

I'll scoot down the gum tree. Be back in a wink!'

So up to the tank those eight kangaroos flew,

With the Ute full of toys, and Santa Claus too.

He slid down the gum tree and jumped to the ground,

Then in through the window he sprang with a bound.

He had bright sunburned cheeks and a milky white beard.

A jolly old joker was how he appeared.

He wore red stubby shorts and old thongs on his feet,

And a hat of deep crimson as shade from the heat.

His eyes - bright as opals - Oh! How they twinkled!

And, like a goanna, his skin was quite wrinkled!

His shirt was stretched over a round bulging belly

Which shook when he moved, like a plate full of jelly.

A fat stack of prezzies he flung from his back,

And he looked like a swaggie unfastening his pack.

He spoke not a word, but bent down on one knee,

To position our goodies beneath the yule tree.

Surfboard and footy-ball shapes for us two.

And for Dad, tongs to use on the new barbeque.

A mysterious package he left for our Mum,

Then he turned and he winked and he held up his thumb;

He strolled out on deck and his 'roos came on cue;

Flung his sack in the back and prepared to shoot through.

He bellowed out loud as they swooped past the gates-

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all, and goodonya, MATES!'


Have a safe & wonderful Christmas everyone.
I'm looking forward to the new year & already have a few resolutions in mind.

Monday, December 17, 2012

November 'Book'

  

Only 1 book to report this month, not because I haven't been reading, but because I read this one then started on a rather LARGE book, which halfway through December I'm still reading. At nearly 1000 pages it counts as 3 books but you'll have to wait until December books to see what it is that I'm LOVING!

Now back to November, I treated myself to another Marion Keyes, I try to ration myself because I just love her books so much I don't want to devour them all in a row, lol. This one was no disappointment, it was great. I just sort of fall into a relationship with Marion Keye's characters, they're just so believable & interesting. 

This story revolves around the launch of a new woman's magazine & the different people who have been employed to make that happen. There's Lisa who thought she was being transferred to a New York magazine & is more than a little shocked to find herself in Dublin, Ashling who feels a little out of her depth as Lisa's assistant & her best friend Clodagh who seems to have the perfect life with her husband & children, but does she? Of course there has to be a man & is this case it's Jack Devine the magazine's managing director. Marian's books make you laugh, & make you think, & just give you a really good story. The only bad thing is that they end!

My life has been a never ending rollercoaster this year so I find books the perfect escape. I always read when I go to bed & it usually helps distract me from whatever drama I've been dealing with that day. It doesn't always work but quite often does. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

October Books

3 books, 2 winners this month.

Ok Eat, Pray, Love, another book I'd heard of, but knew nothing about. I really quite enjoyed the first section, Italy, but I'm afraid India & Indonesia, Bali to be exact, weren't enjoyable. 

Basically this book is one woman's journey to find herself & tell us how wonderful she is along the way. I didn't think she was wonderful, I thought she was ignorant & shallow, but that's just my opinion & it's worth the paper it is written on, lol. I think it's simply one of those books you'll just love or hate.

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth, another true story but this time about a woman in the east end of post war London delivering babies & home nursing in sometimes the most appalling conditions but with such a dedication you just thank god there are people like her in the world. Jennifer turns up to work at what she believes is a small hospital, but what turns out to be a small convent, with a team of midwives who also happen to be nuns. I watched & loved the tv series so was rapt to find there was a book & just had to have it. It's brilliant, funny, sad, moving, entertaining & inspirational. Now this is a book I can't imagine anyone not enjoying.

The Hot Flash Club by Nancy Thayer, this was a fun book. Four woman with very different lifestyles meet by chance & become firm friends. It soon becomes apparent that they can all help each other with specific problems & set out to do so. I've now found there are more books in the series so I look forward to tracking them down as I'd like to continue following their stories.

Yay I've caught up my book blog posts. I've just been so busy lately I haven't had much time to blog. I finished painting & wallpapering the main bedroom for ds to move into & I'm currently turning the 'study' into a playroom for the Playstation. I hope to get it finished quickly as there's a couple of pieces of furniture I really want to get painted this month so I can get into Xmas mode for December.

September Books

Three great books this month.
The Monster in the Box, another Inspector Wexford by Ruth Rendell. As always a great whodunnit, that kept me guessing. It always helps that I've watched so many Wexford movies that I can picture everything I'm reading. This is a strange story that really started when Wexford was a young officer, 2 unsolved murders, & even though Wexford believes he knows who the killer is there is nothing to tie him to the crimes. Decades later the same man Wexford suspected is back in Kingsmarkam & back on Wexford's radar.

Brother of the More Famous Jack by Barbara Trapido. I'll be honest, it was the cover that attracted me to this book, I guess that's true of a lot of books. An unusual book & I enjoyed it & went back & bought some more books by the same author. The story begins with 18yo Katherine & her friendship with one of her professor's & his family. The book spans a decade & the changes in her life. I found it in the $5 bookshop, more & more of these shops are popping up, & they've opened one in my little local shopping centre. Woohoo. They have a facebook page so you can see if there's a store near you.

https://www.facebook.com/allbooks4lesscomau?ref=stream

An old favourite, The Mirror Crack'd by Agatha Christie, one of my all time favourite stories & I absolutely love the movie version with Angela Lansbury, Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis & Kim Novak. The bitching between Liz & Kim is brilliant. Back to the book, it's a clever plot & I wonder if you'll guess whodunnit & why? In this one Miss Marple is home in St Mary Mead & her good friend Dolly Bantry features too. Her police detective nephew Dermot has been sent to investigate the murder of Heather Badcock & takes full advantage of his aunt 's gift for sleuthing. Even though it is a murder mystery as always there are some light-hearted moments to enjoy.

August Books


Again 3 very different books. (Yes there's only 2 in the pic. I've already disposed of 50 Shades, I was never going to read that again).

I was given 50 Shades of Grey for my birthday, or as I refer to it 50 Shades of Shite, & I would have to say, it is without a doubt, the WORST book I've ever read. I knew nothing about it when it was given to me, except that it was very popular. Yes well all I can say is 'The Emperor's New Clothes' syndrome is alive & well & it's a damn shame when trash sells so well, & makes some talentless hack rich. Shall I tell you how I really feel? Lol. 

Seriously this book is badly written, annoying tripe. It is repetitive & boring. As far as being titilating it had the opposite effect on me, I felt like I needed to shampoo my brain after subjecting it to this garbage. Yes I did finish it, I don't think you can sit & criticize a book if you haven't even read it & it may well have improved as it went along, it didn't. My heart didn't beat faster as I read, my stomach turned over a few times with nausea. If you want a book that will make your heart beat faster & put you in a romantic mood read Pride & Prejudice. I like my men to be men with a personality, give me Mr Darcy any day of the week & keep this troll with a never ending supply of condoms in his pocket!!!!! As for the bathtub scenario, was the bath just a few inches deep or did she have a snorkel??? Did anyone else wonder about this??? 

Now I'm sure there are people who agree with me & people who don't, cool. If you don't agree please feel free to blog your opinion of the book, on YOUR blog. I know a lot of people love it & that's cool, my only real concern is that young girls, or boys for that matter, are reading this & thinking that it's the norm & ok to be treated like this. Now that's a worry!

So after finishing that crap I needed to read a GOOD book so I chose Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy. I didn't think I'd read it before but soon realised I had, but settled to enjoy it again. What a beautiful, well written story about people I cared about. What a joy to read. It tells the story of Elizabeth, a little English girl who is evacuated to a big Irish family for the war, & the friendship that develops between her & Aisling the daughter her age in the family & follows their lives as they grow up. Over 600 pages it could have gone on longer, I wish it had.

The Wish List is an unusual book. A 'normal' family is suddenly thrown into a difficult situation when it comes to light the father is a drug addict, & has run up huge debts. While he is in rehab, his wife & 2 young sons, must sell up & move, & get their lives back on track. Things take a strange twist when one son takes it into his head that their elderly, grumpy neighbour is in fact Santa. This book is funny & sad & definitely a good read.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Entry & a Quick Catch-Up

I've entered 'My Crazy Heart' wallhanging in a contest. If you like it the best, please vote for it. :-)

Life has been hectic here lately. I've redecorated the main bedroom & ds has moved in there. I've now emptied the study to paint & it will become the 'playroom.' A home for the Playstation etc. I'm slowly reorganising the whole house & I plan to get rid of as much excess stuff as possible. That includes a major clear out of all my excess quilt & craft stuff. After over 30 years of crafting, & over 20 years of quilting, my tastes have changed also my eyesight simply cannot handle some of my earlier crafts. It's going to take months, but I'm hoping that at the end of it life will be much simpler. 
Hopefully I'll have time to update my reading list soon & I really hope I can get Live Writer working again so I can post more easily & with the font I like!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Some Kind of Wonderful quilt top is done!


The deadline to have this quilt done & dusted is Oct. 31. I knew early on I would not have my quilt finished, so my aim was to have my top finished. I thought I would still be madly sewing on Wednesday but I actually finished my top Friday night. I’d lost the patch that goes over the sewing block so I had started making it again, I hand pieced all the little in between block sections so that was going to add some time. Anyway, decided to have another search, & found it, yay, so I was able to get it all together. I was actually surprised at how big the top is, I just love it! Note the sun was out when I went out to photograph my top but by the time I prised ds off his laptop to help hold it up the sun had gone.
I also stumbled towards the end as I wanted to replace the butterfly block but couldn’t decide what to put. I then remembered a freebie block offered by Bustle & Sew last year so I dug it out, resized it, & voila! I do love the seaside, it somehow makes me calm, lol, I should live there in that case!!!!!
I have really enjoyed working with everyone on this quilt through the year. I don’t sew with anybody so this was my quilt group. I’ve loved looking at everyone’s work & seeing how everyone interpreted the blocks & the great range of colours chosen. I’ve certainly been inspired by the work of others & I would never had got this far without the group. I really hope Chookie decides to launch another quilt for us all to work on.

I can’t wait to choose some backing, I’ll be checking my stash today, so I can get it layered & start quilting. I also plan to add buttons & beads to some of the blocks, buttons for the centre of flowers & beads for the seagulls eye & the heads of the pins in the pin cushion. There is also a string of bunting to go on my caravan. Maybe this time next year it will all be finished. :-)

I've learnt a lot working on this quilt this year. After over 20 years of quilting I've discovered that working on one project pretty much exclusively actually suits me better than having a ton of things all on the go. I have way too many ufo's at the moment that I will spend time going through, to decide what I really want to finish, & what I can just let go. I want to finish the things I still love & then just work on 1 or 2 things at a time. 
table
fabric shelves
I also plan to have a major downsizing of all my craft stuff. I have a large studio that is packed to the rafters with every sort of craft thing known to man, & rather than feeling inspired when I walk in, I feel overwhelmed & guilty. I started crafting when I was about 8 & at 52 there aren't many crafts I haven't tried, so I have the stuff to do everything! I'm also one of those people that has to every book there is on every craft I love, which adds up to hundreds & hundreds of books. So the clear out must begin. If you have been through this & have any tips to share, please do!!! I'm not a big fan of eBay & although I will give some of the stuff away, I really need to try & recoup some of the huge amounts of money I've outlayed on all this stuff.

If you'd like to check out the other quilts here is the link to our shared blog:

                            http://stitch-a-long.blogspot.com.au/

Sunday, October 14, 2012

SKoW Update


I have been making slow but steady progress on my 'Some Kind of Wonderful' quilt.



 I have finished Rows 1 to 3 & part of row 4.

Nearly all the other blocks are finished or close to it. I’ve written ‘Rise & Shine’ on my sun block. Mum used to wake me with that phrase every morning, drove me bats, but now it makes me smile. She’ll laugh when I tell her. :-) I can’t help thinking the sun looks liked a fried egg, hopefully when all the rays are embroidered it will be ok.
I’m not doing the butterfly block, it doesn’t grab me but I haven’t decided what to do in it’s place.


I’ve also made my top & bottom strips, the strips to go between rows 4 & 5, & the strips for the right hand side are nearly done.

So I’m working away, my aim is to have my top done by the deadline, in 17 days! & maybe even layered ready for me to quilt. 

I've finally installed Fireworks so I can process pic again & can blog!I I will catch up the books I've read soon.

For some reason Windows Live Writer won't recognize this blog so I have to compose my posts in Blogger which can be very frustrating!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

July Books

Three books in July, all very different. 

I savour the Marion Keyes books & only read one every so often. I really enjoyed this one, it revolves around a group of friends & the twists & turns in their lives. All the characters were strong & interesting. I love that Marion's characters are 'real' everyday people that you can relate to. You see how they react to what life throws at them & identify with how they think. I just love her stuff!!!

The Grafton Girls is set in Liverpool during WW2. Four girls thrown together by the war, we watch their different experiences during the war. A good read, certainly enough going on to keep me turning the pages until the wee small hours. :-)

I cannot resist a Ruth Rendell & this one did not disappoint. As always a mysterious murder with lots of twist & turns along the way. I never do guess the solution early on but just enjoy the ride. I also really enjoy Wexford's family life.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Still Here

Just so you know I haven't dropped off the face of the earth, my laptop died about a month ago & although I now have my dd's to use, I can't get live writer to recognize this blog, & I don't have any programs in place to deal with photos, so I'm unable to blog properly. I'm relying on ds to help me get set up, but he's in a typical 16yo teenage mood & not being overly helpful.

Life is a challenge at the moment,, dh & I separated last month, just short of our 33rd wedding anniversary. It had to happen, I just couldn't take anymore of his passive aggressive personality. Months & months of couples counselling to address the problem made no difference.

Hopefully I'll get myself sorted & be able to blog properly soon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Birthday Pressies & Rowan’s flag quilt finished!!!

flowers from emma

Emma gave me these beautiful flowers.

vw

From Paul, you’re never too old for Lego, I hope!!!

book
Some entertainment from Paul & Rowan. Paul says this book is BIG at the moment, I don’t know anything about it.

I’m pleased to have the Coronation St 70’s collection, I have the 60’s & 80’s, now I can fill the gap.

from emma

Goodies from Emma to spoil myself.

metal hanger

This cute little hanger from Emma is actually made from vintage tin moulding.

owl

& a cute little owl for my owl collection.

for RowanFinally finished!!!! I was actually making this for Rowan’s 15th birthday. I’m afraid as always my hand quilting was my downfall. That & the fact that he didn’t like one of the flags I’d included, so it got put aside. A few weeks ago I decided to finish it for his 16th birthday. I changed the block he didn’t like & with a combination of hand & machine quilting I finished it, yesterday, the 17th, only 2 days overdue.

The background is actually a small red spot, it looks pink in the pic. I’m trying to master big stitch quilting & I have to say I enjoy it so much more than traditional quilting. I used white candlewicking cotton & Milford Mercer crochet cotton size 40. The only difficulty I found was threading the fecking needle!!!! Next time I’m at Spotlight I will look for a needle with a bigger eye!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My Birthday

Today is my birthday, 52, funny how old that seemed when I was younger. but now I’m here I feel exactly the same as I did when I was a teenager. For all of you my age or older, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

It was a quiet day, dh & ds#2 were out all afternoon & evening at a bbq so I was glad when dd Emma arrived. I didn’t think she would be down today as she’s coming down tomorrow for ds Rowan’s birthday.

I will post pics of my pressies in a day or 2, & a pic of the quilt I’ve made Rowan for his birthday.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

June Books

Just 2 books this month but both were very good.

JuneJune2

I’m not sure I would have enjoyed The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency so much if I hadn’t watched & loved the series. It was very easy reading as I was able to picture all that was happening. I really like it when a series or movie follows the storyline of a book closely. I’ll never understand why someone would decide to turn a book into a film/series & then totally change everything about it. What’s the point? Just start fresh with a new idea instead of just taking the name & the very bare bones of the story. So a big thumbs up for this book, I’ll be buying more in the series.

I thought I had read Anne of Green Gables before but I soon realised I hadn’t. I really enjoyed it, it’s a bit ‘sweet’ compared to my usual reads, & I followed it up with a nice Ruth Rendell’s Wexford, but I did enjoy it & I’d love to watch the series again.

I have been doing quite a lot of sewing lately, I’m still trying to catch up on the ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’ quilt & have achieved quite a bit. I’m also hoping to get a quilt finished for Rowan this week. I was actually making it for his 15th birthday, but just didn’t get there & it was put aside. I got it out a couple of weeks ago & there was one bit he didn’t like, so I changed that & got stuck in. It’s his 16th birthday next Sunday so I have a deadline!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I had an idea…..

dresser

Last year I bought an old dresser at my fave vintage shop & had planned to paint it & put it on the back verandah but then I thought it would be nice in my sewing room. I also decided to repurpose a chest of drawers that was in my sewing room & the dresser would fit there. But then of course they both needed painting first & while I was at it I might as well paint the other 2 chests of drawers in there………

chest of drawerschest of drawers sm

So fast forward a couple of weeks & all the sanding & painting is done, rather a slow progress at this time of year with cold wet days ganging up on us, but we got there. So then I started thinking about the fact that the sewing room is not really working for me & I’ve done the usual thing of dragging projects off to other rooms in the house to work on them. Of course the result is lots of messy rooms & I can’t find anything when I need it. So when I couldn’t sleep what else to do than start moving furniture in my head.

fabric shelves

Next day the fun??? begins as I have to unpack all my shelving, which was across the back wall, so it can be moved. By turning the shelves into the room this freed up some badly needed wall space. I decided to put the dresser there. bench

The extra space also meant I was able to bring in a counter I’ve had for donkeys years & set it up for cutting & ironing.

table

I was able to move a lot of the stuff out of the middle of the room & bring in our old dining room table which gives me lots of work space.

The pieces of timber leaning up in the background are going to be shelves in my bedroom. Another project on the go. I realise looking at this I may have to paint the table white.

shelves new

As luck would have it I got an email from IKEA with some shelves on sale that would work brilliantly above the counter. We headed off to IKEA but then found they were stained & I’d have to strip off the varnish to paint them, ugh. Then I found some great unpainted brackets which would do the trick. So I bought some timber, painted it & the shelves look great.

leadlight windowpatchwork curtain

Meanwhile we finally put up an old leadlight window I bought a few months back. I decided to hang it at a height I could enjoy but it  left a gap at the top so I made these patchwork curtains  to fill the gap. It was great having the counter & the table to work at where I was able to spread the squares out & arrange them.

2nd curtain2nd curtain closesewing table2

I was so pleased with the patchwork curtains I made another one for the window/door on the adjacent wall. Then as I had some squares left over I made them into a bag.

patchwork1patchwork2pink poodles

Then I made another bag, as you do. I picked up this cool fabric at a vintage shop.

trolley

I found this fantastic trolley at a vintage shop, it’s ideal for storing all my fave fabrics.

zaphod

Zaphod thinks it’s a great spot for a nap. He hangs out like this & grabs my legs while I’m at the bench.

curtain

I bought this fabric ages ago to make curtains for the shelves & hadn’t got around to it. It was so quick & easy to make, I made them for all the shelves.

curtains

pinboard

I made the noticeboard smaller & recovered it to fit on the end of the shelves. I need to make a curtain to go under the pegboard to neaten this area.

thimblesthreads

I bought these printers trays over 20 years ago, they are fabulous to display my thimble collection & house my threads.

So it’s all working really well & I just love being in my ‘new’ sewing room.  We bought a digital radio last month so I’m enjoying the SBS Eurovision channel. 24 hours of Eurovision, no ads, no talking, just music.