The one eyed monster who reads books.

That is me.  My eye is all bandaged and I am finding it difficult to see with the other but I know I will adjust.  I had trouble with the operation and that will take a few days to get over.  Although I can't see to sew I can read.  I am going to have to read this book again in more detail.  I knew that I could have trouble so I sat up late and was reading right up till they were ready to wheel me in.  I just had to finish the book.  Having to wait to get to the end would have killed me. 

Now this is not a novel. 

The Ancient Paths by Graham Robb is a very well researched and cross referenced piece of work.  Considering that it's content questions what we have been told since the middle ages about Roman expertise in building roads and the role of the Gauls and Celts it needs to be.

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I am sure that  the academics will be testing all the math and evidence.   Yet I do believe there are some truths written here.  The Roman's were ever good at praising themselves and old Julius was a murderous bastard.  (I saw a quote once from the Roman Senate that labelled him as committing "crimes against humanity",  but they still accepted all the loot he brought back.)

I remember standing in the lower reaches of the Cathedral of Bayeau in France and realising that I was looking at a Gaulish not Christian monument.  It came as quite a shock back then.  If what he proposes in this book checks out we are going to have to rewrite quite a lot of history.  In the meantime this is going to get the academics in a tizz.

There is another good review here from the Guardian and here from the Telegraph

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WIPW

The stitching of the "field of stars" is now finished, all eight stars.  (I still have to remove the tacking.)

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No 7 is nothing like the pattern.  I made a mistake and kept changing it.

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No 8 is perfect, not one error.  (I finally got it right after all those attempts.)

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Now I have to assemble them.  I am now starting a trial of what I think I want.   It is rather like a round pin wheel on a string.  The join is going to be the challenge.  This is the backing fabric which was a gift from my friend Angela.  I have been waiting for something special to use it on.

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Today is the day

I am off to hospital today for the next operation.  The first has been pretty successful although I managed to get a sinus infection which is receiving lots of antibiotics to get rid of it.  I am such a worry wort.  I know everything will be fine but I still wonder what if...?  So we had my husbands birthday lunch last Sunday even though his birth day isn't until tomorrow.  Just the family, and we all got together at Indigiscapes.  It isn't the flashest place but it is beautiful and very kid friendly.

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Monique brought at friend 'Will' , who is the class teddy.  There are 2 teddies, Bourke and Wills, as in the explorers.  These 2 go home with students on weekends and then the student writes stories about their adventures.  After lunch we all headed out to do the Wildflower and Tallowwood Walks, Will went with us.

He saw that the creek was very cloudy after all the rain we have had but that this made a wonderful mirror of the sky.

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It took a bit to explain why you could look down and see up.

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He also saw some bright orange fungi growing on a tree branch.

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And where those bush babies had written all over the scribbly bark.  (Some other people had left their initials.)

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Then he saw the 400 year old Tallow wood tree.

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Monique read to us how all the other trees had been cut down by the timber gatherers but that this tree had been hit by lightening 300 years ago and had grown very twisted.  This had saved it's life and today it is home to koala bears and all other kinds of animals.

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We stopped at the pond to look at the wild ducks and birds and he saw these dark shapes under the water, they were tortoises.

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Then he got a bit tired after all that walking so got to have a ride on Uncle Guy's shoulders, with Monique..

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Then he went with Monique and Jasmine to draw some pictures of their adventures on the walk.

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He had such a good time and my husband loved his birthday lunch.

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Adventures with my sewing machine

My inability to see clearly does have it's funny side you know. 

The quilt top I am working on along with the cushions requires me to use my sewing machine. 

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This is great.  I can see the stitch guides clearly and it is only straight sewing I'm doing.  Putting in the zippers was a bit more challenging and as I  shorten my zippers by sewing across the teeth, this  was nearly my undoing.  You have to watch that the needle doesn't hit the nylon teeth or it can break. 

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  I can't see the needle too well at the moment, so I sewed slowly.  Then I hit the teeth and the needle got stuck there.  I managed to get the foot off the shank and release the needle without breaking it, twice.  Third time I wasn't so lucky.  It broke the top of the needle around the eye region. Then that small part of the needle fell into the bobbin area and didn't come out.  I turned the machine upside down.  It got my dyson onto it.  I shook it. Nothing came out. 

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Back when I was newly married I had a new you beaut Singer sewing machine that had cams that you inserted to do fancy stitches.  It was an expensive machine and my pride and joy, and nearly the death of me.  The foot pedal blew up and somehow I managed not to get electrocuted.  The whole pedal melted into a molten mess, and I blew the fuse box as well.  What had happened was when they machined the housing for the engine they didn't clean out all the metal shavings.  One was left in there and that one fell into the motor and it blew up.

The image of this close call has stayed with me all these years and now I had a part of the needle in the machine and I couldn't find it.  The bobbin case is isolated from the motor but if I didn't find the needle shard who knows what damage it could do?  As a last resort I went to my elderly neighbour and asked if I could borrow his magnifying glass, he uses it to read because his eyes are worse than mine.  He wasn't about to let 'his eyes' as he calls it be taken away by a woman, so he came over to help me look.  What a picture we must have made?

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The upshot was that we found that tiny piece of metal and extracted it with the point of a long pin.  While I had the machine in pieces I cleaned and oiled it, well.  Living on the waterfront means that metal can rust easily hence all the oil to protect it.

I don't know.  Nothing is easy, is it?


Interesting day trip

I had an interesting trip this week up to Toowoomba.  The weather was terrible and the trip up took me almost 4 hours and then another 3 to get back home again.  I was really tired after all that driving.  I went to a trunk show talk by Michelle Hill who is hanging up her hat and not doing any of this kind of thing again.  So it was a must do.

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I bought a copy of her new book 'Stitching with Beatrix Potter' not that there is anything that I will stitch, rather, just to have a copy for reference.

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After my stay in Cumbria a few years ago when I visited Hill Top Farm, (again, and again, and again), I was just enchanted by the Stitching done by Potter.  I wasn't allowed to take photos and there were no post cards for sale of her work.   But she was a great embroiderer as well as being great at lots of other things.

Michelle is best known for her William Morris inspired fabrics and quilts which you can see here.  But I was able to look up close and her stitching is so fine and that quilting is to die for.

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And when you get up close you can see all kinds of embroidered embellishments.

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When I got home I found a gift from my husband on my desk.

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Isn't that sweet.


WIPW

I have returned to work on the Xmas ornaments that I started earlier in the year,  (January actually) , with some interesting results.

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  The patterns I have stitched are not quite the same as the patterns I printed out.  Reason, I'm having trouble seeing the thread of the fabric and hence my count has become a bit creative. 

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  They still look like snowflakes just not quite the ones I started out to stitch.  These 4 designs I will stitch in re perle 8 cotton on the same linen as the white ones.

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Oh well 2 down and only 2 to go and then I will have to assemble them.  I have some ideas of what I want to do but this doesn't always work out as I expect.

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I'm a sucker for a sale

When I came to find fabric for the back of the quilt I have been working on I found I had really gone through my stash of fabrics.  I had to piece lots of bits to get enough fabric for the backing.  Then I got an email saying that East Coast Fabrics were having a sale.  Now that was timely!

Monday is my babysitting day, so once I had dropped the girls off at school I drove directly there.  My goal was to get backing fabric for the next few quilts I need to make. ( Well, I know that all my grand nieces and nephews are lining up for a quilt now that the youngest is getting a new one.)  I was one of the first into the shop.  I got a trolley and loaded up.  I was only going to buy the $4 per metre fabric but I actually bought some at $8 per metre as well.  I was one of the first in the check out line which by this time was getting rather long.

The cheap stuff, 2.5 metres for a single bed backing, cost me $10 per quilt.  (Considering that price would have been at least $50 from a quilt shop I think I did well.)  

I will have to add a little to sides of this one but it will make a great backing.  I don't think I would use it on the front of a quilt though.

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And I also bought these at the same price.

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I'm still a couple short but I thought I had better finish these first. 

I have bought a couple of overnight bags for my grand daughters for Xmas and I want to put all the bits in there, like pajamas, brush  comb, tooth paste etc.  And I found the perfect fabric for the wet pack.  I intend to line the bag with a waterproof fabric and use a different coloured zip for each girl.  They both love pink, good thing the tooth brushes were a variety of colours.

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This nautical themed fabric just jumped out at me and I had to have it.

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And I'm not sure why I bought this one.

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And finally, I'm sure I will be able to incorporate this fabric into the piece I am planning for the next children's embroidery class in which the embroidery design is all about hands.

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Now I have to find somewhere to put all this loot.

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I pressed the little send button

I have been debating with myself about taking a trip to South America later on this year.  I have had a few health problems, which seem to be under control but I worry about leaving my husband.  He has had the serious health problems.  But I might not get this chance again, so I have sent off my reservation request to travel to Guatemala latter in the year.  This is a trip with my friend Pam and you can read all about it on her blog here.

The colours that shine from Pam's photo's just call to me.  I want to see the embroidery.


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(image from I am Pam Holland)

The weaving,  which I have admired for ages..

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(image from I am Pam Holland)

I used to be an intrepid traveler but over the past few years haven't been anywhere very much.  A broken arm and foot being the main reason.  So I have committed to hitting the road again.  My great aunt rode a camel around the pyramids  to celebrate her 80th birthday and although I'm not nearly that age I did so admire her spirit.  Maybe this will be the first of many trips.

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Cushions

So, what have cushions to do with Marvel Movies?

Well here they are decorating "Hulk's" bed.  Giant sized cushions I have to say.

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This bed will be in the new movie Thor:Ragnarol 2017 .  The bed is made of plaster, wood, styrofoam, paint, metal (frame) Cushions (various sizes) throws, doona, rug, bedspread, hammock (bedding).

The top throw is hand painted onto a hession like fabric and uses a 'tribal' design.  I have seen similar designs from Africa and New Guinea.

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It is used again in one of the bolster cushions.

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The geometric design on the central cushion is based on an African design.

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The other design used incorporates a lot of platted cord.  It has been made in blocks and then pieced together.  The medallions that decorated each corner, where the blocks are joined, are hand embroidered and then sewn in place.  The different coloured square of fabric in every alternate block are also hand sewn in place.

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There are some very nice design ideas in those cushions.  I know a number of teenaged boys who would love something like this on their bed.  I just wish I could have got closer to really see the detail.   I think that each of the panels of this cushion were all sewn by hand  and then machined together but I can't be sure.    So many questions.  Are they commissioned pieces after being designed by the set designer?  Were they sourced from Africa, India etc.?  What inspired the selection of tribal theme?

When you see this at the movies it will probably just flash past on the screen and you won't even notice it.