It's time to keep a look out

Yes, everyone has their eyes set on the ocean.  It is time for the great migration of the whales.

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We are having another major rain event but it seems to be sweeping around our little island.  Out on the coast facing the Pacific Ocean things are a bit wilder.  I hope it stops in time for the welcoming of the whales by the Quandamooka people over on Stradbroke Island.  The next big island to the north is Moreton Island and the resort there has a great video of the whales on their facebook page.


So Similar

After reading Queenie's post about her friend Asa Wettre I dug out my book "Old Swedish Quilts" that I bought back in the 1990's.

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I have read this book a number of times.  I like how she tells the story of the maker of the quilt and the inclusion of doll quilts and their stories also. (There are some nice images of her work and home on the blog Fine Little day)

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But, the images and story about Patchwork Rugs really interested me.  In the intervening time between when I had read this book and now I had become  interested in the history of "penny quilts".  I had tracked back some to the Amish in Nates France and had seen reference to an exhibition of examples of this type of work in that city.  (Pammy told me she had bought one when she was in France.)

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Then I saw in Wettre's book an example of the same kind of patchwork rugs in Sweden.

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I also found reference to "Klackmattor" or Penny Rugs from the USA.

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Or these old ones seen on Textil Hemslojd.

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As many of these early pieces seem to have been made by children I am wondering how I might adapt this for my children's embroidery classes?   It is interesting to see how these old rugs that seem to have been made from used textiles have changed over the years,




I have found myself a bit stressed this week.  Best medicine is stitching, so I stitched all the rest of day 6 at a great pace.  The time past so fast and it was finished!  Onto day 7 which is another intensely stitched piece.  (Remember it is good for stress.)

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My Sister and I

My sister and I have always been very unalike.  She had blond wavy hair and blue eyes and I was dark.  We have completely different figure types and are just so dissimilar in our likes and dislikes.  But as we have got older we have turned into twins.  How did that happen?  We haven't lived anywhere near each other since we were teenagers, yet we have to same laugh and our mannerisms mirror each other.

We spent a part of the day with our cameras out in the bush and on the beach.   I love these waves she captured on her way here.  The swells are still very big after the storms.

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It was a beautiful day, warm and still.  The sun was shining but was not too hot. 

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As I took a photo of a tree I saw the shadow of an eagle through the branches.

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There were a few actually and they all took up positions on the top of boat masts that were anchored new the shore.  They see everything these birds.  He must have heard the shutter on my camera because when I enlarged the picture there he was looking at me.

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The other sea birds kept their distance and a weather eye on them.

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The water was so clear that you had trouble noticing the shallow water at all.

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The forest looked as wild as ever as we wandered down the path.

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And we came across some unusual fungi that looked very strange.

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When we came out of the forest there were the remains of the old cart from the days when there were some draught horses on the island.

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We walked out onto the beach on the other side of the island where children were playing in the shallows.

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It was then time to head for the coffee shop and a sit down after all that exercise.  I am enjoying my sisters company.

Kogin Embroidery Class


I am teaching a Basic Kogin Embroidery Class at the Queensland Embroiderers'  Guild on Saturday 18th June.  I still have a few places left if you would like to join me.  You do not have to source your materials as there is a kit available for purchase.  We start the class with a small project, a needle case, so that you can learn the basics and then progress onto the table mat.  This is a great class and you should get both projects finished that day.

Come and join us.

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Now that I am back in my own home, from which I do not intend to move till they carry me out, I am getting the kitchen organised again.  It is tiny in comparison to my old kitchen and there isn't a lot of storage space.  This means I have to be super organised.  My Kitchen Aid mixer is still with my daughter but I intend to rescue it and bring it home, in the mean time I have a small hand held beater that is getting a work out.

old kitchen

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I do not like the glass cook top because it is constant work to keep clean so will eventually replace it with a gas version,  but the oven is wonderful.  The best oven I have ever had.  My biggest struggle I have with the kitchen is keeping my husband out of the space.  He leaves his stuff all over the place.  He likes to cook his own breakfast and as he likes his toast burnt, the smoke alarm is always going off!

New kitchen

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With all the upheaval over the past few years I lost my love of cooking but now it has returned, when there isn't a lot of people to cook for.  I have a couple of neighbours who are on their own so they are being given meals because I cook too much.   They are very happy about that.  I am trying to make smaller quantities though, but with cakes there isn't a lot of smaller cake tins.  A cake that takes 1 cup of flour is best when there are only 2 of you or you live on your own.  Then I remembered the ice-cream tray my mother used back in the 1960's and I think she probably got it in the 1950's.  I finally found one in an Opp shop.  Just right.

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This little Sultana butter cake does us for about 3 days morning tea.

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  • 60 g butter
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • vanilla
  • 1 cup Self Raising Flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sultanas


  • Cream butter and sugar (with beater)
  • add egg and vanilla and mix well
  • Using a metal spoon add 1l2 the flour and milk
  • fold in
  • Add the remaining flour and milk
  • fold in the sultanas.
  • Cook in a moderate over (180 c) for 30 mins.


Instead of sultanas you could use the juice of an orange or a lemon or lime plus some of the rind.  Make a like flavoured icing to top.  Or you could use 2 table spoons of cocoa and make a chocolate butter icing. Or you could experiment with what you add.

There is a problem with tin trays rusting, everything rusts on an island.  When I was teaching catering we always put our dried tins in the oven after we had turned it off and it was still warm.  No rust.  (That other tin I used for an apple cake.  I will share that recipe later.)

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I wasn't able to get onto Typepad last night and it was out again this morning so I'm a bit late today.  I haven't done much stitching on day 6 but I have started.


The big sewing thing is getting the kits ready for the Children's Class.  I have overlocked 36 pieces of linen and cut fabric for the cushion backs.  I still have to sew all of these.

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I have been busy preparing for the visit of my sister and brother-in-law from interstate today.  My sister and I keep in touch by telephone but we don't see each other very often.  When I was working full time I often visited Sydney so we could have time together.  I am so looking forward to seeing her.

Part way there

Well I have managed to get the samples for the Children's Class finished.  These cushions are embroidered in "Broad Chain Stitch" also known as "Reverse Chain Stitch" 

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This is a great stitch for teaching children.  Far easier than the traditional chain stitch and you can vary the degree of difficulty by changing the thread used.  The star cushion is the easiest, it uses 6 strands of DMC stranded cotton.  Next is the skull which uses a perle 3 thread and the most difficult is the butterfly where I used a perle 5.    When there are a lot of curves, like the butterfly , you have to use small stitches to get around those curves.    I hope the kids like this one.

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During organising..

I have unpacked all the boxes in the house, the ones at my daughter's house are still to arrive.  There was quite a lot from the linen cupboard that ended up in the rag bag.  The size of my beds have changed from Queen Size to King Size Singles.  I think that I will be able to alter those Queen Sized sheets to fit.  They are still very usable but it will take a bit of work.  (My grandmother's training shines through.)

In amongst the linen I found a screwed up ball of fabric and when I undid it there was a selection of embroideries.    I know I wouldn't have treated these pieces like this, so I will have blame who every packed the things.  I have soaked them all and most have been rescued.  In among these pieces I found a mat I embroidered when I was 15 years of age.  I remember I had just learnt to do drawn thread work hems.  I used this piece as practice for my major piece I did in High School.  I also had a thing for Spanish Blackwork but couldn't get the back to look like the front so discarded it and here it resurfaces all this time later.

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I also found a mat my grandmother had me embroider when I was 10 or 11 y.o.a.   It was pre-printed, from her stash and after I finished she crocheted around the edge for me.   Very old fashioned design and I'm not sure how long she had had it before she passed it on and my stitching isn't very good.

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Then I found a runner I had embroidered when I was 20 y.o.a.  I know how old I was because I was working in the Department Store and they were closing down the embroidery section.  I remember buying a huge amount of DMC kits that had been reduced ( to like 20cents each) but I never got to finish many of them.  I kept them for years and they ended up on the Guild's sale table.  At this time I also discovered DMC Perle threads and have loved working with them ever since.

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All the pieces were designed to be fringed but again I had to do drawn thread work hems.  There wasn't enough fabric at the ends to do this so it was fringed. ( I see the printed line for the fringing is still visable.)

I also found a piece of Margab Linen in not too condition, the rest of the set is still soaking but I don't think I will be able to restore them.

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And another lovely piece that came from my grandmother.  I don't think she stitched it, I wonder where it came from originally?

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Be careful what you wish for!

I wanted the weather to cool down and it has, with a vengance.  It is now cold and wet and that weather man has been on the TV saying we are headed towards an extreme event this weekend.  I might have to forget the Guild's Exhibition because if this system comes through they will stop the ferries and barges.

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My husband has come through his operation and seems to be doing well.  Depending on how long they keep him in hospital he might get stuck on the mainland.  He will have to stay with our daughter if that happens.  I have to make a trip to get supplies in.  We have a community shopping service which will deliver  to the house.  It runs on a 2 weekly cycle.  Miss the day and it's a month without supplies.

Whilst I have been waiting for the hospital to ring I have cut out the 36 pieces of fabric for the front of the cushions for the Children's Classes.  It has taken so long.  I have to pull a thread to get the cut straight and then pull threads to cut the pieces.  If you don't the stitching is just too difficult for the children, the fabric has to be on the straight of grain.

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This has to be all over-locked and then I have to cut and make the cushion backs.  Good thing to do if the weather turns bad, after the shopping and running up to town to see my husband.  Have a good weekend.