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I’m still here!

I know it is ages since I posted last.

And for some reason my WordPress emails were not coming through. So it was time consuming to find out what you had been writing about ~ time and energy I often don’t have. I hope I have fixed that now, so that your lovely posts will once again flood my inbox, reminding me that there is another world out there.

So I feel like I have been in radio silence.

Life this year has revolved around the Fella’s health. He hasn’t been well at home and had a couple of hospital visits. You can imagine the stress and worry. He has been in hospital and rehab for all of November, and I am not sure when he will be strong enough to come home.

So my life at the moment is about supporting him in rehab, which is a daily visit, usually in the morning. And then getting some time to catch up with other things, including catching up with myself.

I have learnt that caring is a demanding job, and you need so many resources, internal and external, to help do that job. So I am looking after myself, and I am doing okay. (I know you will understand when I don’t respond to comments you might leave.)

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Goodbye Archie

While I have been thinking about posting some new work, I want this first post back to pay tribute to the most wonderful singer/songwriter, Archie Roach*

His powerful songs were written from his heart, about his experiences of being a member of the Stolen Generation, living on the streets, finding his family and his soul mate Ruby Hunter. His words bridged the gap between Indigenous and white worlds, helping people like me to understand the impacts of institutional and societal racism.

I went to a concert last year, and was moved by his generosity, humility and storytelling, as well as his wonderful songs. I thank him for those songs that have been a part of my life for so long.

I recommend you read this obituary.

Or listen to Archie’s conversation with Sarah Kanowski

However, if you only have time to do one thing, please listen to his song “Took the children away”.

You can feel the heartbreak in his voice, being taken from his parents at a young age. He was one of the Stolen Generation, a disgusting government policy where Aboriginal and Torrens Strait Islander children were forcibly removed from their families. This extract from Common Ground explains it more:

Under this policy, the forcible removal of First Nations children was made legal. Assimilation was based on a belief of white superiority and black inferiority, and presumed that “full-blood” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples would naturally die out. It proposed that children with Aboriginal and white parentage, who were termed “half-caste” (now considered an extremely derogatory term), should be assimilated into white society. It was believed these children would be more easily assimilated due to their lighter skin.

Children were separated from their families and forced to adopt a white culture. They were forbidden to speak their traditional languages or refer to themselves by the names that they were given by their parents. Most children were placed in institutions where neglect and abuse was common. Some children were adopted by white families throughout the country, and many of these children were used for domestic work.

News of his death came at the same time as the Garma Festival in the Northern Territory, where our new Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, announced a referendum to decide for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. It flows from the beautiful Uluru Statement from the Heart, and goes some way towards acknowledging the racism on which Australia was built.

*The Indigenous tradition is to not use the image, voice and name of a person who has died. However his family has given permission for his name, image and voice to be used, so that his legacy can continue to inspire.


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present.

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Calling all my quilting friends!

My lacy work is evolving in to a small quilt thing…..and I need some advice from all you clever and beautiful quilters (and other non-quilters too, of course).

This is where I am

I have sewn the vertical seams, and will sew the horizontal today. From there on I am unsure. I know I don’t want it to be too bulky nor have a visible binding. I also have to think about hanging it some how.

I have this material for the backing. It is quite soft and light.

So…

Should I use some batting between the layers? I have this that could work.

How would you recommend I attach the layers? Is it as simple as making like a pillow case/cushion cover and turning it inside out?

Do you think it needs binding/edging?

How do I go about quilting the layers? I am happy to handstitch and was thinking about carefully working my way along the seams.

And lastly (unless there are questions I haven’t even thought about!) how do I attach a hanging device, pockets etc? I want that to be as unobtrusive as possible too.

Thank you thank you thank you for any advice you can give me. 😘

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SAL

Happy dance time! The Stitch Wheel Sampler that I have been working on is finished.

A shout out to Cathy Reavy, as her planning and YouTube videos of the different stitches were clear and interesting.

I added my own flourish at the end ~ a ring of coral knot stitch around the outside.

So, to give the details of the final stitches.

  1. Closed feather stitch
  2. Knotted blanket stitch/button hole stitch ~ this was my least favourite, and least successful stitch, of the whole wheel.
  3. Herringbone stitch
  4. Double herringbone stitch
  5. Quaker stitch
  6. Mountmellick stitch
  7. Portugese knotted stem stitch

What to do with it? I am leaning towards making it into a cushion, but I am yet to investigate round inserts. At the moment my mojo is elsewhere, so it may languish for a while.

As for what to do next….I am not sure. I like doing my more freeform stitching, but with the stitch wheel I enjoyed not having to think too much. Once I had watched the video my only decision was what colour to sew.

This Stitch-A-Long for embroiders to carry out their own passion projects. Each of us is doing something quite different and all are wonderful to see each three weeks. Follow the links below to find out what we are up to.

AvisClaireGunConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyMeganDeborahReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneAJCathieLindaHelen


A quick update on the Grand Final of the Aussie rules footy I mentioned in my last post. The Melbourne Football Team won convincingly, although the first half was a tight tussle. I have many happy relatives, and one resigned (“Maybe it will be the Doggies’ turn next year”) partner!


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and emerging.

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All the works that are hanging at the Ascot Vale Library

Some of you lovely, supportive people have asked me to show all the works hanging at the Ascot Vale Library. So here they are:

Hope you like them.


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present.
I also acknowledge that the rock pools and dunes were inspired by places on lands belonging to the Boon Wurrung people.

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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

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Resuming transmission, I hope

I have been a very poor correspondent over the last few months. If it wasn’t for the SAL deadlines, I wouldn’t have been posting at all. And a couple of those posts were rather skimpy. However, I have a good excuse…..

Early in December my neck and hips started to feel very stiff and sore, and then it got worse over the month. Not really painful, but doing simple things, like turning over in bed, bending over, sitting down, were really difficult. It was worse in the morning.

Eventually, after expecting it to go away, and throwing Christmas and New Year into the time mix, I had blood tests which showed high levels of inflammation. My GP was really supportive, and started me on medication that helped, almost overnight.

This week I saw a rheumatologist, who diagnosed polymyalgia rheumatica. It is an inflammatory condition which, fortunately, is treatable. It may take time but the medication should get the immune system and inflammation under control. So, good news!

The best way to describe it to you is to say that many, many, moons ago I went rock climbing with my brother. Oh boy, were my thigh muscles stiff over the next few days! I remember how difficult it was to climb the stairs at work, and at one stage had to go up backwards. My legs just didn’t want to work. Through December my muscles seemed to be saying, “Nup, we’re not moving.” They were stiff and sore. Trying to make them move was a little painful, but overall the pain level was quite low.

I mention this because I know there are many people, including some of you, who suffer high levels of pain over months and years. What I have experienced has not been at that level, but it has given me more insight into how difficult life can be for many. I applaud you for your courage and resilience.

Getting the diagnosis confirmed how important it is to have someone say “This is what you have, this is how we can deal with it”. Before the diagnosis there were a number of possibilities which I brooded on, playing out scenarios in my mind, having imaginary conversations, scrolling through websites and Youtube videos. None of that was helpful. I knew it wasn’t a good idea, but I was impatient to know. My mind tried to come up with its own solutions, but all it was doing was being a hamster on a wheel. However, now I know which way I am facing I know which direction to go in.

It is a relief to get out of my own head!

There seem to be many chronic conditions that are difficult to pin down. And that’s assuming you have a supportive medical professionals who believe you. And access to specialists and the various tests needed. So again, I really feel for people who have had to fight to get the correct diagnosis, people who have not only had to deal with what their own bodies are throwing at them but battling to be heard by others.

I am grateful for so many reasons.

Now, to end on a different note. Even when I was chatting to you on a more regular basis, I hadn’t mentioned much about my art. I am going to leave you with a gallery of my collages, with the promise that soon I will tell you more about them. However, if you can’t wait for that post sometime in the future, you can sign up for my newsletter. This weekend I am going to write about how my collages are rather like jigsaw puzzles. [You can sign up here.]

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ScrapHappy February

Some people are such generous souls, and my friend Kate is one of these. She has created a quilt, a table runner and a cushion as prizes for a raffle. The money raised goes to Days for Girls, an organisation that gives menstrual health solutions to girls around the world so that they are able to attend school. The information to buy the tickets is on her blog. Head over there to find out how to win a beautiful quilt for a worthy cause.

talltalesfromchiconia

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

And here it is, the third and final piece of the prize trio I’ve made from the Days for Girls scraps. You’ve seen the completed cushion cover (third prize), and more recently the completed Days Gone By hexie quilt (first prize), but I’ve finally got the table runner finished as well, the second prize. This piece uses up the very last flower, the absolutely last hexagon made for the fundraiser. Metres and yards of perfectly usable and useful fabric saved from landfill.

The backing for this table runner is made from offcuts of the backing I made for the quilt, itself made from leftovers in my…

View original post 546 more words

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SAL

For this Stitch-A-Long I am starting something new, something quite different to my other creations.

It is a stitching sampler that I saw on Margaret’s (quite inspirational) blog. However, the original idea and subsequent instructions come from Cathy Reavy. Her Youtube channel has all the instructions for this Stitch Wheel.

The sampler is in the form of a wheel divided into sections. Each ring has a theme of stitch types, and each section in that ring showcases a different stitch. The middle of the circle and the next ring are all about different knots. While I am not up to filling those in yet, I have watched Cathy’s videos and am looking forward to getting going.

A couple of things have slowed down progress. Firstly I had to hunt to find a 10″ frame. The January sales saw a run on crafty things, including these hoops. Then I followed Cathy’s instructions to bind the sections of the hoop. I am not usually good with preparation like this, preferring to jump right in.

The second road bump was that I originally chose a backing material with a weave that was too open. I finished all the lines and decided I didn’t like it, and that I didn’t like the thread I had used. The photo shows that first material with the erasable lines marked in.

So, second go. I am much happier with the material and the thread. The stitch is a split back stitch. Once the lines are finished I will go over the rings with a whip stitch….so still a bit of stitching to go before I get to the French knots in the centre.

From the comments in my last SAL post it seems like some of you might be interested in taking up embroidery. If you are, then I would recommend Cathy’s sampler wheel. Her videos are very good, and she clearly demonstrates each stitch. She even gives left-handed stitching a go!

I am part of a group of stitchers who show their personal work in this three weekly stitch-a-long. There is an amazing array of wonderful work, so do have a look by following the links. I am sure there will be something there to inspire you.

AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyMeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen

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SAL

My mind and energies have been elsewhere these last few weeks, so there hasn’t been any sewing. Instead I am taking an easy option.

Last time I showed you the embroideries I had been sewing as Christmas presents. From the comments you seemed to like like them. As many of you enjoy embroidering I thought you might like to know the stitches I used. The inspiration came from the work of Melissa Wastney.

The stitches are very simple and ones that you will know.

I started with the centre. It was made with large chain stitches, lying next to each other.

The petals are created in stem stitch. The uneven lengths give the flowers charm. I think the flowers work best in bold, jewel-like colours.

The leaves and stems are in feather stitch. To make the ‘leaves’ work, you have to start away from the flower and then work your way towards them. The threads were either in variegated green, two strands, or an olive green, one strand.

Lastly, the little French knots at the end of the leaves. While these are not botanically correct(!), I feel that they finish off the stem. Without them it sort of looks empty.

Maybe next time I will have some new stitching to show you. In the meantime do look at the work of the other stitchers. They all do such wonderful work, and such a variety of things.

AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen