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SAL

Another 3 weeks have flown past!

This Stitch-A-long is for personal stitching. We post our progress every three weeks, which keeps me up to the mark.

And I have done three more squares in my sample wheel. This is where I am up to now….almost finished the second ring.

I am following the instructions on Cathy Reavy’s YouTube channel. Let’s name the stitches.

1. Detached chain stitch. The stitching is attached at the sides, rather than going through the backing material.

2. Turkish rug stitch

3. Laid stitch, with French knots to make the cup of the acorn.

I really enjoyed doing 2 and 3, so I want to give you a close up of them.

Sweet little acorns, laid stitch and French knots. The stem is coral stitch, which was a stitch way back in the first ring.
Turkish rug stitch to build up this very cute little Christmas tree, with light spilling from the top!

Do follow the links to see the wonderful work that the other stitchers are doing. There is a wide — and inspiring — range of works. AvisClaireGunCaroleConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyMeganDeborahReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneAJLauraCathieLindaHelen

How does my garden grow?

My front garden is changing from a veggie patch to an indigenous garden. Last year I realised that a veggie garden was just too time consuming for me to keep up.

I have been reading about the plants that were here before colonization, and how the First Peoples cultivated the land to harvest grains and roots. It makes sense to me that the native plants are the ones that are suited to my garden, and therefore should flourish. That’s the plan, and so far they seem to be. The ones I showed you a few months ago bulked up nicely over the Summer and Autumn.

You can see some of them from back then in the feature photo, where they are being overwhelmed by the parsley plants.

The other hoped for benefit is that they will attract and nurture native insects.

So, some photos

These are my favourites at the moment. The one at the back — is a native pelargonium. I think it dies back to in Winter, but at the moment the red leaves glow with the Sun shining through them. In front is a Wahlenbergia. Its delicate blue flower is peeking through the pelargonium.

To those walking past with their dogs and takeaway coffees I am sure the garden looks a little unkempt, an out of the ordinary garden. However I am fine with that. I see that the plants are settling in, bulking up and will strut their stuff when the time comes. That’s when I will become a neighbourhood trend setter!

And I am still in love with my new fence 💕

May was a crazy month

What a crazy month it was…..

I was most impacted by my Fella being ill and then needing to be in hospital for 6 nights. He is on the mend, but recovery is slow.

He had deranged* blood tests as a result of a reaction to heart medication he had been on for a couple of years.

(* Deranged is the medical term! I love it.)

So you can see where a lot of my time has been spent — on caring and hospital visits. Extras like gardening and blogging have been way down the list of things to do. 😪 And even when I had time I found I didn’t have the mental and emotional energy. These times can be quite anxious.

Underlying these demands was knowing that my exhibition date (early August) was coming closer. I tried to find pockets of time to work on my collages. Then I was asked if I was still interested in exhibiting at my local library.

One collage in my current series of mangroves
Another in the mangroves series

Just to recap….at the end of 2019 I was asked by the Incinerator Art Gallery, a gallery run by our local council, if I was interested in putting my work in the Ascot Vale Library. Of course! Then 20bloody20 came along and the library was closed for many months. Add to the mix the liaison person left. I put the exhibition on the backburner.

It came off the backburner this month with a meeting with the new liaison person. She was wonderfully enthusiastic and wanted works to hang from mid-July to November. Fantastic, but now I really need to get going with my creations!

I have been given a little breathing space with another lockdown in Victoria. Today we found out that the lockdown has been extended from the original seven days for another seven. Not that I want this virus to be threatening us in this way, but it has given me time.

Another eventful happening was that the Fella and I got our first dose of the vaccine. I got a sticker and a lolly pop 🤗

Now it is just a matter of actually using the time…..

SAL

Yay! I thought I wouldn’t be able to post this today. When I went to use my laptop to write I only got a blank page. No idea on why, but I can’t edit or write. So I have moved to the app on my phone, and am letting my thumbs do the talking. (How modern, but quite frustrating.)

Last SAL I had nothing to show, so I was determined this time to have at least a couple of squares completed on the stitch wheel. I put the knitting down and picked up the needle. Here are the results:

3 squares done on the outer right edge

Normally I would link to Cathy Reav’s YouTube channel to show how to make the stitches, but I am afraid easily adding links is beyond my thumbs at the moment! So I will just name the stitches and let you do the searching.

  1. Battlement coughing
  2. Burden stitch
  3. Woven pivots– these make wonderful flowers, and while they are fiddly, they are quite easy.

It’s been a busy, exhausting couple of weeks and I hope to fill you in some time soon. In the mean time jump over to look at the other stitchers who post updates on their personal stitching. There are glorious things to see. (And if anyone has suggestions on how to fix my inability to write posts I would love to hear from you.)

AvisClaireGunCaroleConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyMeganDeborahReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneAJLauraCathieLindaHelen

SAL

Oh dear…I missed yesterday’s Sunday deadline for posting this Stitch-A-Long.

This was where I was last time:

and this is where I am now:

Yep, nothing done 😩. Oh dear….

Instead I have been knitting in the evenings, and I am enjoying the jumper I am creating. Fingers crossed that next time I will have stitching and knitting to show you.

In the mean time, enjoy the lovely stitching that my other bloggers have done. We are all working on our personal pieces.

AvisClaireGunCaroleConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyMeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen

The Undead Mr Tenpenny

That’s the title of a very entertaining book by my bloggy friend, Tammie Painter. It is Book One in her Cassie Black trilogy. Part of the blurb on the back of the book says:

“Cassie Black works as a funeral home. She’s used to all manner of dead bodies. What she is not used to is them waking up. Which they seem to be doing on a disturbingly regular basis lately.

“Just when Cassie believes she has the problem under control, the recently-deceased Busby Tenpenny insists he’s been murdered and claims Cassie might be responsible thanks to a wicked brand of magic she has been exposed to.”

From there the story rollicks along with Cassie trying desperately to solve the murder, learn how to control her own untapped, unwanted magic and stop her boss’s funeral parlour from being shut down. Oh, and deal with a powerful, evil magician.

I was quite charmed by this book. While Cassie manages to annoy just about everyone in her new magical community, she is a quirky character, with a very distinctive voice. Tammie’s writing is light and witty, and there were parts that made me laugh out loud ~ not something I often do when I read.

Stylish book cover

Fortunately for me Tammie’s books are not limited to ebooks. I like to have the solid book in my hand as I read. I like the look of them, the feel, the heft, and especially that you can easily flick back and forth. So, I used the ISBN and asked my local bookshop to order it in for me. As easy as that…although an ebook would have been quicker.

I am looking forward to reading the second in the trilogy, “The Uncanny Raven Winston” which has just been released. I’ll order it through Benn’s Books too.

If you are interested (and I hope you are, because supporting independent talent is always important) you can purchase ebooks here, or use this ISBN to order your real copy 978 138 697 7674. Remember, that’s a great way to support independent book shops too. Check out Tammie’s website to look at her blog and find out some of her other books and short stories. (I enjoyed “Domna” as well.)

SAL

Another three weeks have flown past! Let me show you what I have been sewing on my wheel sampler.

This is where I am now:-

I am working through the stitch samples from Cathy Reavys’ videos. This ring is about stitches that can be used as filing stitches. I am delighted with how the little boxes are looking, as well as learning many different stitches.

Let me tell you what the stitches are, with the link to Cathy’s videos for each one.

  1. Long and short stitch
  2. Padded satin stitch
  3. Spiders web stitch
  4. Woven roses
  5. Velvet stitch
  6. Seeding
  7. Satin stitch
  8. Jacobean couching

I think my favourite might be the spiders web stitch. Which one is yours?

This stitch-a-long is so that we can show the personal stitching we have achieved over the three weeks. There are lots of great things happening in this group. Follow the links to find wonderful embroideries and cross stitch work.

AvisClaireGunCaroleConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyMeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen

How does my garden grow?

When I take photos of my garden I am quite conscious of that there are things I do not want to show in the photo. They are the embarrassing piles of junk that lurk, the odds and ends that I never seem to get around to moving somewhere else.

And the falling down fence.

Every time I walked down the sideway I mentally closed my eyes and thought “Some day”. Consequently it got weedy and became another junk pile. Something else to get done.

That’s the Fella up the ladder, taming the vine

Even though it was an eyesore that I hated, I knew that it was only one of many things on the “To Do” list, the “Some Day” list.

Then we were approached by George, our next-door neighbour about getting a new fence. YES!!! He did all the organising ~ all we had to do was get our side cleared. That was a great opportunity to get to the weeds down the back, cut back plants and move some of the accumulated junk. (Goodness know how the football you can see in one of the photos got stuck between the fence and the shed!)

Today was New Fence Day.

By 7:00 a squad of eight men were in action, and by about 7:45 the old fence was down! I was blown away by their efficiency. They knew exactly what they were doing, and who was to do each part of the job. They had everything they needed, including concrete drills to remove the old concrete to put in the posts. By the time the new uprights were concreted in the squad was ready for smoko. Then off they went again, nailing the palings, to be finished by 11:15! Anyone need a good fencing company? Just ask me!

Now I have a new, upright fence ~ and a big smile on my face (and something crossed off my Someday list!). In my next “How does my garden grow?” post I can proudly show off more of my garden. No more cropping photos.

An extra bonus is as I put things back to rights I am cleaning up and sorting some of those piles of junk. Next thing on the list is to get the outside of the house painted.

SAL

Here we are again, marvelling that another three weeks have flown past, and that it’s time for the next Stitch-a-long.

I am working my way through the rings of Cathy Reavy’s Stitch Wheel Sampler. The third ring is finished, and as you can see I have begun the next ring. More of that next time. If you would like to begin, or find out more, go to Cathy’s Youtube channel.

As you can tell the stitches in this third ring are ways to create leaves. Some, like the closed fly stitch, were fun to do, and I will try to add them into my toolbox of stitches. However, I do find that some create the same effect, with only slight differences. Each stitch has a link to Cathy’s Youtube channel if you are interested in using them in your own work.

  1. Lazy daisy stitch

2. Closed fly stitch

3. Cretan Stitch

4. Raised Fishbone

5. Raised close herringbone

6. Open fly stitch

7. Wheatear stitch

8. Vandyke stitch

To be honest, I may have mixed numbers 7 and 8, as they both seem rather similar.

This Stitch-a-long is a group of very talented people. Click on the links below to see what magic they create with a needle, some threads and a backing material.

AvisClaireGunCaroleConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyMeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen

Out

This time a year ago like everyone else I was preparing for the pandemic. A State of Emergency had been declared in Victoria; museums, art galleries and libraries were closing; festivals, the Grand Prix, footy matches were abandoned; toilet paper was being hoarded and all of us became experts on how viruses spread.

We knew a lockdown was coming, but we had no idea of what that meant or what was to be at the end of it. Were we heading into a dystopian future? I bought dress material and potting mix, planned to learn Auslan, decided to clean out my cupboards and wash the windows. I still have the material, only recently used the potting mix, never began learning Auslan, and the windows and cupboards remain as they were. Fortunately we didn’t head into the dystopian future.

Then in July Melbourne and I went into an even longer lockdown. My list reduced down to making sure I laughed everyday and to find comfort in creating. And there was a comfort in knowing that all I had to do was stay at home and be safe. The roof over my head was secure, as was my income. Like everyone I learnt that there was enough toilet paper to go round and that food would be on the shelves.

Although most of our restrictions were lifted during October it is only now that I am feeling like going out and about. It’s a strange thing, because it is not fear of the virus that had kept me from wandering further than my neighbourhood. (My reduced fear is not reckless, our community transmission numbers are very low.) Instead I think I have become something of a hermit. Home feels safe, secure. I don’t have to go far to find what I need.

My health issues have made me reluctant to go far afield and I worry about the Fella. But really, I am just not ready.

Well, I wasn’t until Friday of last week.

I went, with my sister, to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) to see the Triennial Exhibition. What winkled me out of my hermit cave was combination of spending time with my lovely sister and seeing the exhibition.

And what a lovely day it was.

I caught the tram into town. I haven’t done that for over a year! I wandered across the Yarra to the NGV. I haven’t done that for over a year! We were amazed by the exhibition. I haven’t done that……(!) To top it off Judy and I had a delicious lunch in the restaurant and chatted. We have talked a lot over the year, and she has been one of the people who has kept me afloat.

The Triennial exhibition is a wonder, a collection of contemporary art and design spread through out the gallery. I am sorry I can’t show you the really amazing ones which involved light shows and changing digital images. If you follow this link you will see some of the exhibits. Maybe you will just be happy with some of my photos. If you live in Melbourne, and are ready to venture out, you have until mid-April to see it.

Yep, that chandelier is made from glasses lenses.

So yes, it is time to leave the hermit cave and remember what life used to be like.