Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Resolutions

I have decided that I need to set myself some goals. I am easily distracted and I do work best to a deadline.
So I need to list out the things I am going to do, must do, want to do.

Things I am going to do

- Fibre Forum in Ballarat where I am going to do a Shibori class. I have everything I need for this except for 3 meters of light weight silk I can get that there from Marion of Beautiful Silk.

- Tasmania Holiday. All booked and just have to pay the deposits. We are definitely doing this.

Things I should/must Do
- Spend less on supplies and use more of what I already have.

Things I want to do
- Finish the doll I sculpted with Susie McMahon, all she needs is the rest of her clothing and shoes.
- I want to finish more than I start. This year I tried to finish one WIP for each new thing I started. That went pretty well most of the year. To Keep track of this I am going to put a column on my blog with things finished and WIP's finished.

Hope you all have a great New Year. E-Talk to you Next Year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hot day

I envy you in the Northern Hemisphere with your snow etc. Today it was over 40 C here. I took No 2 son home and had plans to do a little felting experiment to see just how much shrinkage I would get from the kilo of wool tops I have when combined with a piece of silk I want to use. But that was not too be. We have a large walk in cupboard. Before the renovations it was the kitchen pantry. At Christmas I moved a bottle of home made wine and laid it flat in the wine rack. Not a good move. Today it blew. Yes strawberry wine everywhere. So instead of felting I spent this afternoon washing all the winter sheets and blankets and my uniforms that were on the opposite shelves. I took this as a sign from above that it might be time to have a bit of a clean up. So with some help from the Studio assistant(Greg) we threw out a heap of old bottles that we used to use for sauce. Last year we started to make sauce and then I couldn't be bothered with the straining, bottling etc so I reduced it down to chutney. Much easier. So the three dozen or so bottles went into the recycling bin. Also threw out a large basket of the kids odd socks and a really old polyester quilt that hasn't been used in don't know how long. So the line is full of sheets, towels, blankets and my winter uniforms. Greg is washing the shelves as there is not room in there for two. Perhaps tomorrow I shall felt.

Fabulous Embroidery and Felting

I am waiting for No 2 son to get out of bed so I can take him home. I decided that as I wanted to check out the itinerary from the hotel chain we are staying at in Tasmania I would cruise around the web. I found these blogs through looking at photos on Flickr. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Make sure you go and look at their Flickr links through their blogs.
Clasheen and Karen Ruane
Betz White
Enjoy. I am off to the City in the 39 C heat. I have to check the bushfire alerts first to make sure we can get through.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Well the weather here is warming up to more Summer like days. 32 C here today getting up to around 40 C later in the week.
The felting experiment went well. I am playing around with felt flowers and planning a hat. I had to tidy up the studio first and that is a constant work in progress. I got distracted by the TV and had a couple of hours sitting down resting my bad ankle. I went shopping with No 1 daughter yesterday and walked way too much so my ankle is bruised. I forgot to ask my doctor about it last time I went but I will next time. We have a set top box now so we get the extra free to air channels and Channel 7 has a whole afternoon of cooking shows, I love them. I also did something I have been meaning to do for ages and put a photo behind my blog title. This is a section of a photo of an embroidery I did a couple of years ago. It is from a workshop with Alice Gove. We painted cross stitch fabric and stitched on it and on hessian. I used a variety of threads and techniques new and old to make this and I have been going to use my favorite bit of it for my banner and finally it is done.
I am going to stitch the blue felt flower I made together tonight while I watch Stargate Universe. I might even make another felt flower. I am enjoying my holiday and hope you are enjoying yours too.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Get Felted

I have had a "Me" day. Slept in until 10 am which is not a common thing for me these days. Had a lazy breakfast on the lounge in the sunroom with toast, coffee and a book. I had vague thoughts of doing something constructive which turned into me getting out the bag of old wool jumpers and throwing them into the washing machine and felting them. One which is labelled hand wash pure wool that I paid a lot of money for and the moths have had a little chew on didn't shrink at all and I am wondering about it. The others shrank nicely. I am going to do something with them. While I was looking around the studio for something or other just what I can't remember I found the silk and wool lily felting kit I bought at the last Craft and Quilt show from Wendy Bailye so I made them. You can't see it but I used green wool for the stems. There is a photo of Wendy's on her page. I think tomorrow I will make a hat . I have been going to make myself a felted hat for a while and have the books to prove it. So tomorrow is the day, maybe.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Well here it is another Christmas come and gone. The granddaughters were so overtired and over stimulated by the time they got to us I thought there was going to be a huge temper tantrum but my daughter (Mother of the beautiful ones)calmed down and there were no tears. I think my daughter was the most over tired of the whole lot. She works nights and has the girls through the day so she needs a good sleep in. We have enough leftovers for another two Christmas dinners. Troy is staying until Wednesday so he'll help clean up the leftovers and Daughter ,SIL and kids are coming back for tea tomorrow night so they'll help finish the leftovers too.
My wonderful husband bought me something I've wanted for a while my own electric drill with lots of attachments. He also bought me the MasterChef cookbook. Daughter and SIL and girls bought me a lovely laptop bag and No 2 Son bought me a resin casting kit and some armature wire. No 1 son and DIL gave us some framed wedding photos and big bottles of our favorite chocolates. I gave Greg a wood carving thingy that attaches to one of his electrical tools. I am not sure what it is and going to the hardware shop and asking for a plastic thingy to go on some electrical thing was really frustrating for everyone involved. In the end I made Greg come with me much easier. I also bought him a new bag for the big holiday. It is also the perfect size for carry on luggage so I can borrow it if need be. It has wheels but it also has a little strap attachment that means I can hook it over the handle of my big wheeled bag. I resistd buying one the same purple as my large bag and bought him a plain green one.
Troy is watching TV, Greg is in bed and I am here every one else has gone home. We have had a lovely day. I hope all of you have too. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

As you can see I have added a background to my blog I got it for free on the Background Fairy site which I found through the Graphics Fairy Blog. Well worth a look

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Free Downloads

Here's a web site with free downloads enjoy tentwo studios.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mixed Media and Fiber Arts Ring

Yesterday I was feeling like sitting at the computer and I did say yesterday that I would give you some of the recipes that my family love for dessert. I still will but today I am feeling a bit more active. I have been tidying my studio and other places of the house where textile things have started to spread. I have textile related objects in every room of the house and sometimes this gets a bit much for Greg so I have to tidy. I was looking for a felting kit I bought at the last Craft show and I know it is in my studio somewhere. Then I was distracted though by the computer and while cruising around looking at some of my groups I stumbled on this group Fiber Arts/Mixed Media Group - Be Creative. I have applied to join and can't wait to get at the photos and tutorials. So tomorrow the recipes will continue.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Roast Ham or Bacon.

Well here it is the Week before Christmas. I am cooking another fruit cake because the first one is all gone. Every year our SIL gets a big ham from his boss and it takes up residence in our refrigerator. Greg then cuts it up and it gets distributed to SIL's family and ours. I was planning to buy a piece of pork for Christmas Day dinner when all the family will be here but I am going to Roast a piece of the ham instead. I often do a whole piece of bacon and I am going to do the ham in a similar way.
1 piece of ham or bacon about two kilos. This is enough for eight generous serves.
Remove the rind but leave the fat you can score the fat into diamonds or squares. The butcher will usually do this for you.
Put it into a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. While it is cooking
For the bacon slice up cabbage, apples, and onions. Put into the bottom of a well buttered baking dish top with whole peeled cloves of garlic and a few more knobs of butter, sprinkle with a little pepper.
For the ham if you want to substitute baby leeks or halved bigger ones for the cabbage and chunks of fresh pineapple for the apple.
Put the ham or bacon on the top.
For the bacon Pour over 1 cup of apple juice.
For the ham mix juice and rind of 1 orange with 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 1/4 cup of maple syrup and 1/4 teaspoon of mixed spice and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves and pour over 1/2.
cover with foil and cook for 1 hour. Uncover. Lift out the meat and put a piece of Bake or Silicone paper or a piece of greaseproof and a piece of foil loosley over the vegetables if they are overcooking and then put the meat bake on top.
For the ham pour over the rest of the orange juice mixture.
Cook for about another 45 -60 minutes. Let it rest covered for about 15 minutes.

We have the bacon with mashed potatoes and the ham with roasted vegetables.
Greg is a vegetarian so for him I cook a Nut Loaf

Almond Nut Loaf

1 large onion diced finely
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup dried apricots chopped small
1 cup fresh parsley finely chopped
1 teaspoon mixed herbs

1/2 cup ground almonds
1 cup almond slivers
4 cups of three or four day old wholegrain breadcrumbs.
3 eggs beaten

Sweat (Fry gently without coloring with a lid on until cooked) the onions, carrot and celery in the butter. Add the herbs and apricots and leave covered to cool for at least 30 minutes or longer.
Beat the eggs and add the rest of the ingredients and the cooked vegetables.
Line a loaf tin with bake paper or grease it well with butter and lay a piece of bake paper along the bottom (Makes it easier to get out of the tin)
Fill the loaf tin with the mixture and press down well. Bake in 180 degree oven for 1 hour and then let it stand for ten minutes.

I also roast a chicken and a small rolled shoulder of lamb.
No Matter how hot it is we always have a real Christmas Dinner even if I have to run the air conditioning all day. so plenty of gravy, lots of roast potatoes, pumpkin, sweet potato and carrots and Peas or beans.
Then we have dessert.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mice Pies - Mince Pies

Yes definitely Mice. In my last post I didn't edit it very well it really should be MINCE. It is so busy here. I am on holidays from Sunday and will have a few days at home and then into the Christmas mayhem with a vengeance I am sure.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Marvelous Mice Pies

I am in a Christmas Mood. The fruit cake is made. I should tell you that 15 minutes of heating the fruit might not be enough. For some reason mine took a bit longer than that today. I simmer the fruit mixture until the liquid has just about disappeared.
My favorite mince pies are mince pies with a twist. Here is the recipe.
Marvelous Mince Pies.
3 cups plain flour
1/2 cup cornflour
2 teaspoon baking powder
300 grams butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon lemon juice (Optional)
Rub the butter into the combined flours. Add sugar and baking powder. Mix in beaten eggs and lemon juice. You might have to add a bit of water to get it together. chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Roll out and line greased and floured patty cake tins.
1 cup sultanas
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup chopped dried apple
1/2 cup currants
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup orange juice.
Grated rind of 1 orange
Mix all these filling ingredients and refrigerate overnight. Stir regularly.
the next day stir in
300 mls sour cream full fat not the skim kind. If you must use the skim then add an extra egg.
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar.
Mix well and spoon into the pastry cases and bake for 30-40 minutes.
This makes a lot about 5 dozen.
Alternatively just mix 2 1/2 cups of fruit mince with the 300 mls sour cream, a splash of brandy, 2 eggs and 1 cup brown sugar.
Enjoy with a nice glass of port.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Jaffa Fruit Cake

This is the recipe for our favorite fruit cake. I am making it tomorrow. The work Christmas Party is this week and I am working so I will not be going. Because 6 of us are missing out on the party I am taking in dessert for all of us. Mince Pies, fruit cake, brandy custard and shortbread. Fruit for the mince pies is made and I will make the shortbread and the fruit cake tomorrow and the custard on the day.

Peta’s Easy Amazing Incredible Jaffa Fruit Cake
This is my own recipe. Please read all the instructions before starting too cook this cake. This is a moist dense fruity cake that is incredibly more-ish. It is great with custard. It is really better if made with the fruit I have indicated rather than pre-packaged mixed fruit

2 Oranges or 1 orange and 1 lemon
100 mls brandy or cointreau
Grated rind from the citrus fruit.
100 grams dried apricots - chopped
100 grams dried apple - chopped
100 grams dried peaches - chopped
200 grams sultanas
100 grams currants
200 grams dates chopped
100 grams raisins chopped
100 grams dried figs or glace fruit (cherries if you like them)chopped
Or substitute 1 kg mixed fruit
1 cup walnuts or pecans chopped
½ cup brown sugar (Optional – but better with than without)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon ground cloves
100 grams dark cooking chocolate broken into chunks.
3 cups (450 g) plain flour
2 eggs beaten

Grease and line a lamington tin 12” x 9” or a 12” square tin with baking paper.
Puree the oranges in a food process until finely chopped.
Strain off and save the liquid in a measuring jug.
Add the brandy to the juice and then make up to 600 mls with water or more juice.
Place the pulp and juice into a large pot. Add dried fruit, grated rind, spices and nuts. Gently bring to a simmer and stir regularly for 15 mins. Remove from heat. Add the nuts, chocolate and sugar and stir into hot fruit until melted. Cover and cool. When cool or nearly cool add the flour and eggs and stir well. Place into tin and bake in a 160 °C oven for 1 to 1 ½ hours. Until cooked You may need to place a piece of foil loosely over the tin after 45 – 60 minutes to prevent top drying out.
You can decorate the top with glace fruits and almonds if you want to. If the top gets to dry warm ¼ cup of apricot jam and add 2 tablespoons of brandy. Mix well and then brush this across the top of the hot cake. Cover and cool

Friday, December 11, 2009


Matthew and Kristen came for lunch today. Lovely to see the newly weds. We are slowly clearing out things we have not used for ages. The coffee maker went to Bronwyn last week. It was something I had wanted for ages and Bronwyn bought it for me for Mothers Day a few years ago. Greg hates it when I use it because it makes the whole house smell like coffee. He does not like coffee. Today we gave Matt and Kristen the big esky we haven't used that for years and also a rug that used to collect threads in my studio and I decided that it was easier to have the wooden floor and the high chair. Jessica is too big for it now and it was taking up space. We had thought that it could go to Matthew's church but they decided to keep it. They have friends over a lot so it will be useful to them.
I have been cooking. My favorite coffee shop at Murray Bridge makes a lovely almond coconut and lemon cake that they will not share the recipe for so I decide to experiment and try and make it. The result was not like theirs but still very edible. I also made another two dozen Mince pies for the Embroiderers Guild Christmas Party tomorrow. I made up a big batch of fruit mince a couple of weeks ago and it has been in the refrigerator since. I don't make it until December as I use butter rather than suet. It is lovely. I made 6 dozen pies for the Doll Club Christmas party last weekend. Most went and the rest I shared with Matt and Kristen and took some to work. They were a hit. I haven't made my fruit cake yet. the one I took to the Doll Club Christmas was a light one not the Jaffa one I usually make. I have to make it soon.

Something for Christmas

I belong to Cloth Doll Artistry, a cloth doll net work. they have a Christmas Challenge on so I thought I'd finish a merry little fellow for the challenge. He's been hanging around for quite a while now waiting for his big day. His name is Snooze and he is a Suzette Rugolo pattern. I smocked the ornament for him to hold and he is going to sit under the tree Looking up to see if anymore balls are going to fall into his lap.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Blogs and wireless

I have added another two blogs to my list of those I follow. Am I mad probably, most people would say mostly but not always.

Shibori Girl
and Adventures in Thread are two new blogs I am going to follow.
I have also gone to a wireless modem partly for the great adventure in Tasmania next year and partly cause they gave me a deal.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lady Dances with Dragonflies.

Well my 100 post passed without me even noticing. I had been keeping track and then didn't keep track anyway whatever.
I have finished the challenge doll for my "No Limits" group or as my friend says "No Instructions". We each took in a fabric which was cut into I think 14 or so and then we all got a piece of each fabric back. I have had the fabrics for quite some time and I have done several plans of what I could do. They all got tossed out the window and I decided to do a doll. I have had Ray Slater's book "Cloth Dolls for Textile Artists" for quite a while and I did make one of the wire dolls for the pincushion challenge at the beginning of the year. I don't like the face on pincushion girl and I have made a new one.
Well actually I made a head for the challenge doll and it was too big for the body so I made another head. Serendipitously the big head is the right size for the pincushion doll. Anyway back to Ray Slater's book. I used the stump doll pattern straight from the book. It is supposed to be enlarged to 115% but I didn't worry about that. I didn't use her head pattern as I wanted to have another go at the head technique from Barbara Willis's book "Cloth Doll Artistry".
I really like this way of doing a head. You start with an oval of stretch fabric, stuff it, stitch it while manipulating the stuffing with your needle to make the features and then stitch it some more then color it. You'll have to ge the book for more details than that. It looks quite hard but trust me it isn't. I made my first one in a class with Barbara which may have given me an edge but I think I could have done it from the book.
The other photo is of some of the fabrics we had to use. I forgot to take a photo before I started. I also set myself the challenge that I would not buy anything for the doll.
The body and arms of the doll is a flour bag that I had in my stash. A friend gave it too me.
The head is white two way stretch lycra also from the body fabric drawer in my studio. After the sculpting I painted it with flesh coloured So-Soft fabric paint from the fabric paint bin in my studio.
One of the challenge fabric you can see in the photo above is a piece of cross stitch fabric. I painted it gold with Lumiere paint. I used that for her crown.
Her hair is the multicolored blue/pink/purple fabric. I unravelled it and then stitched it all over. Linda Misa did that with wool in the last Dolls, Bears and Collectables.
Her sleeves and the gold areas on the bottom of her skirt are gold lame that was in the fabrics I received.
The patterned fabric at the bottom of her dress is the whole piece that I got. I painted it and the crinkle muslins and the feathery piece with blue fabric paint. The feathery piece was orange and white. It is on the back of her dress. I vliesofixed it to a piece of the green with white leaves. The brown piece of fabric I used on the back of the dolls head and you can't see it at all.
I used a little strip of the red dragon fabric to make the red dragon fly. I had great plans to use the blue lineny fabric for part of the skirt but changed my mind. The color wasn't right and I couldn't be bothered painting it. So I used some of the threads I had pulled off the fringe to make the blue dragon fly. I cut a thin strip of fabric off the white and made the white dragon fly. I couldn't get a good photo of them. They are just over 4 cm's long and my camera doesn't want to cooperate. The wings are made of the left over white ruffled fabric I used for the cuffs and collar on the doll. It was another of the challenge fabrics. So I have used all the fabrics. The rules of the challenge were that they had to be used not how much. The Studio Assistant(Husband Greg) cut me a piece of wood to use in the base. I added this on later because I couldn't get her to stand up. I should have put a sand bag in the bottom. I am taking her to Adelaide on Thursday our No LImits group is doing the display in the Studio at the Embroiderers Guild This month and she'll probably be back on show there for the fringe festival. Now I jsut have to finish my bit on the group project and I am up to date. I also have to make a small hand made gift for Doll Club on Sunday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Good thoughts

I was reading the bloggers who responded to India's post (see previous post)this is my favorite.
This is part of what he writes about himself.
‘Strong Old Age”, in preparation for that time. It is never to early to start. I have worked out a five point plan: 1 Good work (meaning the work has to have a creative component) 2 Good Diet (as much fresh food as possible, less packaged food stuff) 3 Good exercise (walking is still a great exercise, walk till you sweat) 4 Good friends (self explanatory) 5 Good thoughts (Keep your mind in a happy place) Enjoy my blog And many SummerSmiles Petrus

There are also lovely photos and interesting things to read I shall add it to the blogs I follow because it made me smile.

Allotment Garden Blogging Bee

I love to read other people's blogs. India Flint's is one I follow (link on the right side of my blog page. she recently wrote a blog post called Allotment Garden Blogging Bee. In that blog post she challenged all her followers to write about write a post on your blog about an allotment garden real or imagined what would you plant in yours? What will you wear whilst tending it? When you pause for elevenses, what will you have?
Well I wondered what exactly is an allotment? I took some inspiration from in her own words on India's original post.
In the UK, allotments are small parcels of land rented to individuals usually for the purpose of growing food crops. There is no set standard size but the most common plot is 10 rods, an ancient measurement equivalent to 302 square yards or 253 square metres. go here to se more.

There is a photo above of our real veggie/fruit garden. We have planted other fruit trees, citrus etc and lilacs elsewhere in the garden. There are lots of roses, lavender and other flowering plants and herbs in the front garden.
But if I could wish myself somewhere else where would I go? Somewhere cooler would be my first point of reference. Where it rains more. I love rainy days even if they are cold rainy days even better if the rain is really snow. If my children would agree to come with me it would be Tasmania here we come.
What would I grow? Lots of herbs I love herbs, lots of fragrant plants, Honeysuckle, roses, lavender, lilacs and bulbs lots of bulbs. Fruit and nut trees. Every type of berry bush and plant that I could find. I would mix them together into a fairy garden of the edible and the beautiful.
Trees anything and everything deciduous and/or flowering. I love to see trees change with the seasons. The sculptural leafless beauty of a winter tree, the shimmer of new growth in spring. The full canopies of summer to lay under and watch the sun through. The palette of autumn color that turns the hills into a patchwork of beautiful richness as the leaves change and then blanket the ground with a layer of leaves that look like a crazy cloth.
I would like my garden most of all to be a feast for the senses. Sight, taste, smell, touch.
I would wear my most comfortable clothes. Old jeans and a cotton shirt for summer. Winter wear for the winter cause it would be cold.
Elevenses would have to be taken under the fruit trees on a seat made of recycled wooden branches that looks like the fairies and elves left it there just for me.
One day perhaps but for now my children and grandchildren are close and as always they come first. But if ever they want to join me in Tasmania they only have to say so.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A blog a day

I like to look at other peoples blogs Runo's is one I am going to follow. Lots of free dolls, animals and all sorts of interesting things. I am madly trying to finish the newsletter for my cloth doll group. I was going to make something easy for the SA Embroiderers Guild Challenge that I am involved with. Yeah right. Photos next time.
We are also planning a trip to Tasmania. Planning has just begun.

Friday, November 13, 2009


It is hot, not as hot as yesterday. Murray Bridge was 41 degrees yesterday. Today Nairne is 38 degrees Celsius. I am going to work tonight so I have to gather some stuff to take with me. I might finish off the Cloth Doll Newsletter before I go. I am sitting in the cool after nearly going nuts trying to work out how to hook up wireless internet and found out I had a faulty USB thingy so I have sworn and muttered under my breath and ended up talking to a nice young man in Australia who I could understand and I now have a direct line to the Aussie web help place. Yay for me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Of Fairies and Frogs

Well no 97. I made the fairy riding a frog for the Presidents challenge at our display for the Adelaide Craft and Quilt Fair,which was on here last week. I used Susie Mcmahon's frog pattern enlarged by soemthing or other can't remember how much exactly and my own little fairy pattern. Which I haven't made for a couple of years and had to scratch my head on how to do her but got there in the end.
Once again I spent big. I looked at quite a few things last year and didn't buy them but I bought them this time. I got a jewelery hammer and some toys for jewelery making. I bought 2 fabric pleaters from Punch with Judy. I have been eying them off for the last few years and after trying to get up the iniative to pleat the silk for the skirt for the doll I sculpted with Susie Last year i finally caved and bought two of them in different sizes. I bought Prudence Mapstones new book and two of Alison Holts machine embroidery books as well. I bought some more velvet flowers and leaves and a bit of lovely reproduction lace.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

No. 96

Well 96 blog posts.
I finished the frog and fairy for our Cloth Doll Club display at the Adelaide Craft and Quilt Fair which starts tomorrow. I also finished the piece of stitching I am adding to our group project for the Embroiderers Guild group I belong too. I did the piece of open work in the top corner. I haven't done much of this sort of thing. I wanted it to look like a carved screen. I think once I have stitched it on it will look more the thing. Twelve of us have stitched on this piece of work and it will be going into the Embroiderers Guild Collection when it is done. We each added whatever we felt like. It started with the copperry head dress and progressed from there. I hand dyed the thread I used on the open work a couple of years ago and as luck would have it the thread was perfect for the piece. Lucky me. Now just to stitch it on and fiddle a bit. If you come to the Craft and Quilt Show come say hello.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blog 95

Wow I am nearly up to 100 posts. I am impressed with myself. I have the flu again or still I am not sure which. Anyway I am on anti-biotics and off work. I spent most of today on the lounge. Bronwyn did some shopping for me and dropped in with hot chips for lunch and the GKids which was a nice surprise but I was exhausted by the time they went.
I have done some work on the Embroiderers Guild piece and would have given you a photo but the batteries were flat so I am charging them now. Next time.
I also typed out the recipe for the Sour Cream Banana Cake I used for Matt's wedding for Leanne (SIL)so I thought you can never have enough easy recipes that taste fantastic so here it is for you guys too. For the wedding I got straight sided patty papers from a kitchen supplies shop they were made out of brown paper and I didn't grease those. I then covered each cake with white or dark chocolate ganache and before the chocolate set stuck shards of white or dark chocolate around the sides. My Mum made 74 mini icing roses and we put them on the top. When the cakes were served at the wedding they had Orange and Passionfruit sauce and fresh cream with them. All the guests were really impressed and I told the caterers they could eat the extras and they told me that they were YUM.

Sour Cream Banana Cake

100mls sunflower or macadamia oil
¾ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
½ cups (225 g) self raising flour
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
1 cup mashed banana (about 2-3) – bananas should be over ripe.
½ teaspoon mixed spice
2/3 cup sour cream

Tin – 21 cm baba tin or 25cm ring tin or makes 10 -12 muffin size.
Decide on tin size and brush with melted butter and flour.
Combine all ingredients in bowl of mixer or food processor and beat on low speed until combined and then on medium speed until mixture is smooth and changes in colour. Spoon in to chosen tin.
Bake in 180° C oven for
Muffins 15 – 20 minutes - Tin 40 – 45 min or until skewer inserted comes out clean.
Cool in tin for 5 minutes and then turn out onto cooling rack.
When cool top with ganache.

200 grams dark chocolate buttons
100 ml cream (Not lite)
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon caster sugar

Place cream, butter, sugar in a pot and stir over low heat until butter melts then raise heat and bring to a boil stirring constantly.

Place chocolate in a stainless steel bowl. When the cream boils pour over the chocolate. Let it sit for a couple of minutes and then stir until smooth. If the chocolate has not fully melted place bowl over a pot of simmering water and heat gently until it melts.
After the chocolate cream mix is smooth beat for a couple of minutes. Then spread over the top of the cake and let it run down the sides.

While not vital if the ganache is refrigerated overnight then placed over a pot of simmering water and gently heated until smooth it will be much shinier than if used on the day it is made. This also means you can make sure it is thick enough to set.
If white chocolate is used then increase the amount of chocolate by 50 grams.

Orange and Passionfruit sauce.
Juice two oranges and 1 passionfruit. Place in saucepan. Dissolve 2 teaspoons cornflour in 1/2 cup water. Mix with juice and bring to boil stirring constantly. You might need a bit more cornflour or to add a bit more juice or water to get it to your favoured consistency.

We had 6 liters of sauce at the wedding which was a lot of oranges and passionfruit. I couldn't have done it without my cousin Lauren and Mum and Dad all helping.
Hope you enjoy this let me know if you do.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My friend Lorell of Not all faeries are beautiful asked for a pumpkin pie recipe for Halloween. Our house doesn't do Halloween but Lorell loves it nearly as much as Christmas which is saying something because she LOVES Christmas. So here is my favourite. Pumpkin Pie which is nothing like my mother in law or my mother used to make.
Make a shortcrust pastry enough to line a 9 -10" pie plate. 120g butter, ( I always use butter because I strongly believe that margarine is a vile poison hoax forced onto the world by ... I'll leave that rant for another time but anyway butter tastes better.) 250 g plain flour 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder, 2 tablespoons caster sugar, 2 tablespoons cornflour, 1 egg. Rub the butter into the flour. I use a food processor. Throw in everything else egg last. you might have to put in a bit of water to get it together. Depends on how old the flour is and how much you swear at it. Pulse it together or mix it.
Knead it very lightly just to get it together. Put pastry in the fridge to rest wrapped in freezer bag (The pastry not the fridge.)
While it is resting get a pumpkin, butternut, jap or kent. I like Jap. You will need about 3 cups of cooked pumpkin.
Cut it up, peel it. take out the seeds. STEAM IT until just cooked. It is better if it is steamed but if you boil it you still want it just cooked.
Put the cooked pumpkin in a bowl with 50 grams of butter, a 1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice or nutmeg or both. Grated rind of a lemon. Mix it together. Let it cool a bit.
Get the pastry out of the fridge roll it out to fit a greased or bakepaper lined 9 - 10 " pie plate. Jab it all over with a fork put in a piece of bake paper and a couple of cups of rice. Cook it in a 180 degree oven for ten minutes. Take the pastry out and take out the paper and the rice. (You can still cook the rice like normal. It doesn't affect it too use it for this.)
Beat up two eggs then mix it into the pumpkin really well. Pour pumpkin into the pastry (at this stage if you have enough pastry or made more than you needed you could put a top on it but I don't put a pastry top on it. )
Put it into the oven and cook it until the pumpkin is just firm.( If it starts to colour to much you might have to put a bit of foil over it. ) About twenty minutes depending on your oven.
Now for my favourite bit. Take about a cup of full fat sour cream (The light stuff doesn't work) mix in a tablespoon of brown sugar and a tablespoon of brandy or rum spread this over the pumpkin and put it back into the oven for ten minutes or until set.
This is yum sometimes I sprinkle flaked almonds over the top of the sour cream too.
I cook the pastry shell a bit longer now cause my oven is crap.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Vanity Cards and Weltschmerz

What are these I hear you ask?
Vanity cards are the words that appear at the end of some shows such as "Greg and Dharma, Big bang theory and Two and a half men" Three of my favorite sitcoms.
I ended up on a website that takes you to all the vanity cards of Dharma and Greg. I have just spent some time reading them and my favourite of the five I read is this one below which will explain the meaning of "Weltschmerz".


Well, once again I'd like to thank you for not only watching, but videotaping "Dharma & Greg." I know you're busy, so this shows a wonderful commitment on your part and I want you to acknowledge that commitment with a big ol' Chuck Lorre vanity card hug. Okay, with that done let's get on with why you're here, to learn more of my personal beliefs. I believe that this episode, which on the surface deals with a funny Valentine's adventure, in fact grapples with the weighty issue of Weltschmerz. Weltschmerz is a German word which loosely means "world suffering deriving from the inevitability of reality to never match up with our expectations." Boy, only the Germans could come up with a word like that. Anyway, in this episode Greg is in Weltschmerz hell as he discovers that life is never quite like the brochure. Dharma, on the other hand, recognizes that life is a flowing river and happiness exists only when one embraces its ever-changing nature. From this dilemma we draw the comedic essence of our story. Finally, I believe that when I retire and teach sitcom writing at a community college, I'll use this theme for one of my classes to impress the kids.

Another Day

I have spent Thursday and Friday this week sick in bed. I had the same symptoms I did a couple of months ago. Aching all over, sore throat and then a rapid onset high fever. Last time it went on for nearly a week and I was diagnosed with Influenza A and Chicken pox. Back in the early 1990's I had Ross River Fever and the symptoms of that are similar to this. I hope it isn't that again.
This time I just slept through it but I have had to use two more days of my rapidly shrinking sick leave. In the past I have saved my sick leave for important things like Embroiderers Guild Meetings Etc but in the last 18 months I have had to waste them on being sick.
Anyway I am out of bed and back to work tonight. I have been using my new walking machine though not as much as I would like to. I am not very fit.
I have managed to finish half of the new doll I am working on and I am about to start the other half. I am using someone else's pattern enlarged. I am going to stick the enlarged photocopied pieces onto a sheet of cardboard to make the templates. Colours are sorted and enthusiasm found. I will do this.
I am taking the other piece I am working on to work with me tonight with a bit of luck I will get a little time to work on it. I have had it out on the table beside my chair looking at me. I know what to do now. I knew how I wanted it to look but wasn't sure how to start. I have it now.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Things to do

I am nearly finished a full 8 day week at work. My first since the wedding. Everyday is a busy one but I have also managed to tidy up my Library and most of my studio. I was hoping to have next weekend off to go to a landscape workshop with the Embroiderers Guild but no such luck so I am going to do an Alison Cole workshop instead as I now have that day off instead. I have had a triptych I made a couple of years ago hanging on the wall in the hall way looking unfinished and I thought months ago that I should put some insects on it to finish it off a bit and some leaves etc, so I have emailed Alison Cole to bring me one of her Golden insects kits to add to it.
I also have too finish my bit of the group project for my No limits group at SAEG.
I have been yearning for a comfy rocker recliner but couldn't talk Greg into it. A wonderful friend sadly lost his Dad recently and dropped in yesterday to see if we would like 2 rocker recliners that the family didn't want. I am in heaven they are so comfy. I sat in mine last night and vegged in front of the TV. I am also resigning from the gym and buying myself a walking machine. Someone from work has one they don't use and I am buying it. Didn't even try to talk Greg into that one just told him I am doing it.
I have my doll for our next exhibition all planned out. I just need to do some creative stuff with a photocopier and I am ready to start. I am hoping for 2 days off and I am going to just do the doll. It has to fit into the theme "A Doll riding something". I have made the doll and just need to finish off the thing being ridden.
Hi Susie I think my doll will appeal to you.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Create or Perish

I know it should be publish or perish and I do have a secret dream to be published at some stage. I am not sure in what area as I have tried my hand at writing fiction and I do not think that I am particularly talented there. I will create, though the limit of my creation lately has been the center pieces for the wedding which did turn out lovely. I also created the newsletter for my doll group which was well received. I also cleared up some work stuff which created a bit of peace of mind. I am now ready to create something for the upcoming Craft and Quilt Show. I have decided to do my blog entries more regularly too.

More Wedding photos

Here are a couple of more wedding photos. I have just about recovered. Apart from baby sitting for a few days. I was exhausted after that. Our granddaughters look like little angels and are really hyperactive whirlwinds who don't stop for two seconds. We love them dearly but boy was I tired after the babysitting.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Wedding

Well The Wedding is come and gone. It went beautifully. We did the table decorations and the dessert. Wow we are exhausted. Three weeks before the wedding and I had chicken pox which threw the timetable into chaos. But we got there. Greg made bases for candle holders and I made patchwork panels for under the candle holders. I was lucky enough to find a whole bolt of the same colour that the bridesmaids wore in chiffon. that was the bottom layer, then the patchwork and then the candle holders. I got coloured stones from the pet shop (aquarium stones) and purple candles from the candle shop in Hahndorf. The desserts were individual banana cakes coated in chocolate ganache and chocolate shards. I am sick of the sight of ganache. But it looked beautiful. My mum did the flowers for the wedding cake and I made the fruit cake that is under the icing.
The last of the relatives went home today. It was lovely to see them and we had a wonderful time. I haven't seen my brothers since no 3 brothers wedding about 5 years ago. I need a rest. I am going to have a day off soon. Just not yet. I am inspired to make a doll.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Such and Such

I am not sure where the year is going. I had such good intentions to blog often and yet it is months since I did. I am not well again, this time with the dreaded Influenza A and as I am feeling a bit better today (First day since Wednesday) I thought about doing some stitching but couldn't be bothered so I thought I would post here. I am off to Fiber Forum at Ballarat at Easter again. Another felting class. I have about an Hours work to do on my jacket from last year. I had intended to finish it and wear to a good friends birthday party today but then got sick and so didn't finish the jacket or go to the party. I shall finish it for the Embroiderers guild exhibition in March instead.
I am still here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I am here

I can't believe it is a month since I last posted. So much for posting everyday. I have been away to Fiber Forum in Ballarat. I had a lovely week of felting, eating, socialising and spending lots of money and time on textile treasures. I made a nuno felted wrap that I will post a photo of soon. The class was with Catherine O'Leary. A great teacher. I have also been busy with work, family etc. The Hahndorf Doll and Teddy show was on the week before I went to Ballarat so I have done lots in the last month.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Quiet Day

I had great plans for today. Instead by the time I got home yesterday i thought I had swallowed glass. My throat was sore, I had a headache etc. Luckily I was able to get into my Doctor. He was running late so I saw another Doctor. She prescribed antibiotics cause my throat is infected. I hate antibiotics. So does the Dr I saw but sometimes you must take them. We had a conversation on menopause etc. I mentioned how the estrogen didn't agree with me and she had a look at my last hormone scan and said I already had too much despite having a hysterectomy last year and now having no ovaries. Any way I am going to change to seeing her and we'll see if she can stop or at least control my hot flushes etc. She was also scathing of the blood glucose test I had recently that another DR said was fine. So we'll see if there is a difference.
I am feeling pretty crappy so I haven't accomplished much at all. I am going to attempt to get some work done on the swap doll. maybe.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Time is flying

As you know I am doing a two week intensive training course for work. It is interesting and I am getting a lot out of it. The course focuses on leadership and of course they have gathered 23 people with leadership skills and given them no one to lead. This is always interesting. We did some personality tests today and I haven't changed a bit. I am a 'Promoter Executor' which means I take charge of situations. I am good at Tactical prioritizing. I have a talent for negotiating. I want a measure of my success. I keep my options open. I enjoy acting as a consultant and winning people over. I take care of my family and friends. I thrive on a challenge and I am disappointed when others don't appreciate me. I am resourceful and can improvise making me a good problem solver. I am motivated by a crisis and I think on my feet. I do not always see the big picture for the details and I get bored easily and I may begin many projects and not finish them. If I get bored I become disruptive. Well that didn't tell me anything I didn't know.
I have homework every day and I still struggle with that. We have to hand it in the next day so I can't put it off. Must get to it. I am not getting any craft time in but I did get some nice fabrics to take to Fiber Forum. I also got a really nice length of cheap silk.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I have been a bit quiet. I always have good intentions too post more often. Sorry about that. I am preparing for Fiber Forum. Work keeps getting in the way of what I really want to do however without work I could not do much of what I want to do. I work to live so sometimes that means I have to put the work first.
I got my promotion a few weeks ago and that means that I have to study. I am doing a two week course and unfortunately the home work is keeping me from my textile work.
The venue is the Adelaide Sailing Club right on the beach at West Beach. It is a beautiful venue and I had a walk at lunch time out onto the breakwater. There is heaps of seaweed which is creating interesting patterns.
I spent a little time on the weekend putting the studio to rights. That is definitely a work in progress. I bought some more of those big plastic tubs and gathered the odd balls of wool that had been stashed in various places and filled two 90 liter tubs. I have to use them. I have a plan. I found a bag of circles I crocheted ages ago and I am going to take a ball from the stash and just crochet bits onto the circles. Eventually I will have used all the wool and I will probably be able to join them all together and make a cover for a jumbo jet or something similar. I also found some pure wool jumpers I am going to felt. Maybe I should felt them and then cut them into bits and add to the jumbo jet cover.
I should be doing my home work for the course but I'd rather talk to you.
I have been taking a natural product for my hot flushes and it worked really well until this week. I could boil the kettle on my head at the moment and make a cuppa.
Speaking of which that is what I need to inspire me to complete the dreaded homework, a cuppa and a chocolate frog.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I have been busy. My oldest son and his fiancee had their engagement party on the weekend and we had family visiting and preparations etc. It is all done and went really well.
I have ordered my supplies for Fiber Forum. Had a lovely chat with Marion of Beautiful Silks and ordered more than I probably need but oh well maybe my textile friends would like some of the goodies. India Flint had a workshop on the weekend that I would have liked to attend but had the party so I will wait eagerly for the next one. I have started to collect some pure wool jumpers for felting and something. I finished the purple jumper I was working on. It is a bit loose around the neck so I will need a ribbon or something for the neck. I also ordered a lot of books from Amazon. Retail therapy to recover from the party, the visitors and to celebrate my promotion.
I also bought another big tub for my wool. I am going to move it into the spare room to create a bit more room in the studio. So much to do.
I have had a week off work and do not seem to have accomplished much at all. Back to work tomorrow damn.

Friday, February 27, 2009

My Day Yesterday

Well,there is a lovely cool breeze here today. It was quite hot over night but that has eased. I am half-heartedly trying to get organized. I keep getting distracted by other things. I did get the news (finally) that I was successful in my application at work for a higher position. Needless to say some of the unsuccessful have a severe case of sour grapes.
I have a lot of things half made and planned and I will get to them eventually.
I must order the fabric for FF and make a few phone calls. I have also bought a big plastic tub for the odd balls of wool that I have. Lots to do and not too much inclination to do it. I think I'll go and read a book. That always makes me feel better.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Benson Bears

I have a soft spot for bears. I've made a few and I do enjoy them. Susie McMahon has a talented sister who makes bears. Her name is Linda Benson and her blog is Bears in the Bush.


I was feeling like I had not accomplished much today but then again...
Started off by getting up late. Today is my first day off work for over a week so getting up at the late hour of 8 o'clock is a luxury. Had breakfast with Greg another rarity, then we decided to take the camera and drive through the hills for some photos for inspiration for our art class. So 130 photos later we got home. Above are just a few I took.
A friend gave us a big bucket of dark red plums so Greg bottled most of them last night. Four of the 30 bottles didn't seal properly so I made them into jam. While digging through the bottles in the bottom of the pantry I discovered 4 jars of Sun Dried Tomato and Balsamic Vinegar Chutney I made a couple of years ago and two old jars of quince paste which are probably older. I used to make jam and chutney and sell through the local Fruit and Veg Shop before they closed down (Thanks to the Chain stores). So the jam started off as plum and then I found a bag of dried blackberries and raspberries I bought a few weeks ago. So I threw in a couple of handfuls of those and a half a bag of frozen berries and then just before the sugar I threw in the quince paste. Well quinces are full of pectin and this jam set like a dream. It tastes amazing and it is the most glorious dark purple colour. As it is just for Greg and me and the kids when they find it and take it home, I cut back on the sugar.
I also did some housework but not much cause I'd hate Greg to think I am going to make a habit of that. As we all know the only place housework comes before sewing is in the dictionary.
I dropped some patterns off to a doll friend in Hahndorf and then went grocery shopping and came home and cooked tea.
I am a bit stunned. I have been taking the Acai berry supplement since Saturday and although I have a sore throat and a runny nose I have heaps of energy. I have also lost nearly two kilos. The Acai Berry stuff is supposed to taste like berries and chocolate and it does if you took all the sugar out of berries and chocolate. All in All not too bad though.

Friday, February 20, 2009


I've been stitching. I am finished my piece for Fiber Forum. Everyone takes a 15cm x 15 cm piece that is sold to provide a scholarship for the next year. I had started this little landscape ages ago. Yes that is a shisha mirror for the moon.I had great fun doing it. The sky is thread darning. You lay down a lot of long stitches and then weave over them to create the fabric. I made the piece of blue felt and then rub a shiva stick over a piece of net. There is more thread darning/needlelace for the tree trunks. The foliage is a bit of hand dyed silk throwsters waste. I stitched it with a blue thread cause I forgot to write the colour on it and it seemed like a good colour to use. The purple/green is a piece out of my scrap stash and I am not sure if I bought it already dyed or dyed it myself. I think I bought it already done and it might have even come from Spotlight. Anyway it is done and I think it might even get displayed somewhere else before FF.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I've been painting. I meet up with friends once a month. Just 5 of us. Last night we painted a face using the techniques described in Bonnie Lyn McCaffrey's book "Portrait Quilts Painted Faces you can do".
I have also been making dolls. As you know dolls are my thing. I used a free pattern from the Yahoo group Vintage Cloth Dolls for this little girl. She is a copy of a Presbyterian Cloth Doll. Churches in the USA in the late 1800's early 1900's made these cloth dolls and painted the faces with oil paints as fund raisers. Also they would have been great for little girls to take to church. No breakages or noisy dropping of dolls with these cloth babies.
Mildred Turner in her book 'Mimi's Heirloom Sewing - Book 2' has a chapter on church dolls. The original church dolls were made from a handkerchief. Men's handkerchiefs were much larger apparently so they were folded and knotted to make a soft little doll that children could play with quietly in Church. They soon evolved into an opportunity for Mum and Grandma to show off their needlework prowess.
The Presbyterian and Colombian Dolls were fund raisers for churches.
According to Linda Edward:
(Cloth Dolls From Ancient to Modern A Collectors by Linda Edward)
The First Presbyterian Church of Bucyrus, Ohio, started making rag dolls in 1885 as a fund raiser. These Dolls measure about 17 inches and have hand painted faces. Their bodies are made of unbleached muslin which is stuffed with cotton and they are jointed at the hips and shoulders. The mitten shaped hands have fingers indicated by stitching. Their feet are stub shaped. The dolls and their original clothing, consisting of an ankle length dress and prairie bonnet, are all hand sewn.
I am not hand sewing I am using my machine. I am also making bloomers.
I should be doing it now but I am doing this instead.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dress Form

I have been decorating Dress Forms for the Hahndorf doll show. My cloth doll club is having a display in the Judging room. This is a wonderful opportunity to promote our club. Everybody who goes to the show goes and looks at the competition dolls. The Adelaide Hills Doll Guild who run this show have all the members decorating dress forms with hoop skirts. They are lovely pale colors. I am not a conformist so I did mine in gold and black. I bought the dress form already made from the White House Gallery at Victor Harbour. I painted it with Lumiere Bright Gold and then made the hoops from precovered black boning which I wrapped in black crystal organza and then stitched on some gold braid from the stash.
I have now done another in pastel colors. I learnt this glueing technique from my talented friend Wendy Ness. She teaches a workshop on this so I can't go into detail. But it is lots of bits of lace glued on then painted and then I gave it a coat of Jo Sonja gold iridescent paint. I have found a free pattern for a cloth one so I might just make it too. I have the bug now. I think this one will be a cream one. But then again maybe some color. Hmmm.....

Textile Art Ephemera (Otherwise known as Stuff)

Susannah Oroyan has the Rule of Stuff

You can never have too much stuff
The stuff you have is never as good as the other guys stuff
The stuff you have is probably too good to use on the doll anyway,
better save it
Any stuff you need is always too expensive
Your stuff is never where you thought it was
Stuff multiplies expotentiallly on its own
Stuff cannot resist gravity. it prefers being in npiles on the floor
Stuff mutates, the stuff you thought you had is not the stuff you do have
The natural state of stuff is chaos, don't even try to organize it in plastic boxes
Stuff stored in closets will always fall on your head
If you see good stuff,better buy it because you will never find it again....... .always buy twice as much stuff as you might need
Really good stuff is irresistible to cats
Copyright 1997 Susannah Oroyan

How true. I have an extensive collection of Stuff. I inherited the compulsion to collect. My parents have it and my maternal grandmother certainly had it. I think we all have a bit of a Bowerbird (Australian bird that collects stuff to decorate it's nest) habit in us.
I read in a book on lace making that ladies in England when the threat of the second world war was looming made sure that they had enough of their lace supplies on hand to last for several years.
I have enough Textile Art Ephemera on hand to last for a really big war.
I think, though, that one of my guilds or groups is bound to ask for donations for the people in Victoria who have lost everything so I think I shall go through some of my stuff and cull it. It is all really good stuff and someone over there will appreciate it. I don't need 2 or 3 pair of just about every size of knitting needle there is. I have a lot of quilt and other fabric I will probably never use. I did cull through it for the Port Lincoln fire victims and I think I will do it again.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fires and the weather

I have not done much for the last few days. The fires in Victoria have obsessed us all. I don't usually watch the TV through the day but I can't seem to resist. Part of that is sympathy and part is relief that we did not have the same thing here. I look at the areas burned and it is so similar to where I live.
My heart goes out to those suffering in Victoria.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hot Stuff

It is still hot here. We are being promised a cool change but apart from a bit of coolness in the breeze it is still fairly warm. We are going out for dinner tonight. It is my birthday on Monday and the kids may not all be able to make it up to Nairne on Monday through the day. I am working at night usually I take my birthday off but it is my first night of a short contract for the job I have applied for so I think it would not look good to not turn up. So tonight we are going to Adelaide to Hawkers Corner. My wonderful friend Teena gave me a gift certificate for my birthday.
Matt (No 1 Son) rang a little while a go to see if I have India Flints dying book and I said No but what a great present for my birthday. To which he replied that he was looking at it for himself. So I will borrow it.
Must go and get ready for my night out.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I committed myself to a swap. It is on a yahoo group I belong too. I said I would make a wire wrapped doll. There had been much talk about Ray Slaters Book "Cloth Dolls for Textile Artists" I bought the book. I looove books like I love chocolate. Don't make me pick between the two. I just couldn't. I had a day last week when not only didn't I have any chocolate I got up late and missed my half hour read and coffee which is how I start my day. I was out of sorts all day. I like my routine. I get up and put the kettle on, while it boils I wash my face and then fill up the plunger make my cuppa and get my book and sit out in the family room and drink it while I read and watch the sun come up. It is a great way to start the day.
Anyway back to the pincushion and the wire wrapped doll. they do combine.
I committed myself to the swap. I haven't made a wire wrapped doll before. I needed a pincushion. why do I over commit. I decided I needed to practice on the wire wrapped doll. I made her She turned out pretty good. I sewed up 6 hands and they all were less that great. All this in 45 degrees C and above. So on the night before I needed the pincushion I thought Eureka and rolled up a bit of felt I made last year and put her together. Yes I know her hands aren't perfect and her head looks funny because originally her head was going to be the pincushion and I stuffed it with wool. I won't do that again. But she is finished and that is the main thing. Her plaits are wool roving. She is wrapped in hand dyed pink cotton and then over wrapped with strips of panne velvet. Her skirt is a gathered tube of panne and her wrap is velvet too. He hat is a big yoyo that I stitched on. She was one of 25 pincushion considering we had about 25 members at the meeting, cause it was another hot hot day I thought the response was great.
Next months challenge is a dress form (Mannequin) should be interesting.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hot it is hot

We have been spoilt here in Southern Oz. Last Summer we only had the odd hot day. Wow is this summer different. Hot it is Hot. I am melting. Aren't sauna's supposed to be slimming. I should be shedding kilo's. I keep replacing the sweat with chocolate. I keep my chocolate in the fridge, who cares if it is a bit discoloured. It is still CHOCOLATE and that is all that matters.
I must say my fabric dyed beautifully. I put it into black garbage bags and left it out in the 45 degrees celsius heat for two days and wow. Greg turned the bags over occasionally for me and they were practically boiling.
The experiment didn't go so great but it is not bad and I will certainly use it eventually for an art quilt I have been planning in my head.
I dyed a piece of cotton sateen for a new dressing gown and some lace from my stash. It turned out beautifully.
I have a huge piece of lace that feels like plastic so I cut a piece off the corner and washed it in hot water and then dyed it. It was fairly pale but the dye held really well so I am not going to throw it out after all. I am inspired to make some clothing and I can use it in that.
I will take some photos and put on here. My friends shirt is really nice. I hope she likes it.
I am melting her in the heat. I had years where I would not sweat and would get overheated and then feel really ill. Since the Op I sweat like a normal person which is a good thing. Just have to be careful to keep up my sodium and the liquids.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Australia Day

Today is Australia Day. The indigenous Aussies call it Invasion Day and who can blame them. I can trace my ancestors back to the First Fleet. In fact my great however many grandmother was the first free baby born in the Colony. Her parents were the Captain of the Marines sent out to keep the convicts in line and his wife. I am sure he was chosen for this because he was a proper sod. Family history which may or may not be true states that he was granted a land holding on what is now George Street in Sydney and sold it for beer money as he was an alcoholic. I don't know if that is true but it makes a good story.
Today is also my wedding anniversary, 29 years and they said it would never last. We gave some thought to our married life today when we went out for lunch.
Three children, 2 grandchildren. 20 moves over Three states and still counting as we are getting itchy feet here. Admittedly there have been some close calls but all in all it has been mostly great.
We spent the rest of the day doing what we like best. Greg painted the side of the house in the morning and I dyed some fabric and a shirt for a friend. We went to our favorite Italian restaurant in Hahndorf for lunch. I had a very nice glass of wine which I can't remember the name of but it was very yummy and I could have drunk it like lemonade. But Greg didn't take his license so I had to drive home. Just as well. We had dessert at the Chocolate Cafe in Hahndorf we have been meaning to go there for ages as Greg did most of the renovations that turned it from a dump to a house. Greg was happy to see that the new owners have not pulled out all the work he did. In fact he told them he had done the work and they asked him to do some more.
I spent the afternoon cleaning up in my studio and Greg watched the tennis on TV. It has been really hot here today. Perfect for dying. I follow India Flints blog so on of the pieces of fabric I soaked in my soda ash/urea/salt solution and then threw it out on the dead grass which used to be our back lawn and then threw grass, leaves, bark and pulled up weeds including dirt all over it and rolled it up and put into a black garbage bag and it is stewing away out in the sun. I have turned all the packages over a few times today and they are nearly to hot to pick up. Should be nicely stewed by the time I get to them tomorrow night. It is going to be about 40 degrees Celsius here tomorrow so it should be perfect.
I have counted my blessings and I am much happier with my world I am a lucky person.
I have nearly finished cleaning up my mess in my studio and then I will make the wire wrapped doll.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A List

As I mentioned last blog I like lists.
I decided that after making a list of the things I don't want to do anymore I will make a list of the things I do want to do. This is a positive thing and I have been a bit blue and feeling sorry for myself lately.
I will blog more. I like to blog. I will get involved with the things I like to do and stay off committees. I have refused two invitations to go on committees. A good start.
I will make a wired doll for the DDU yahoo group challenge.
I will make a stump doll.
I will make a Baby Becky from Rivkah's yahoo group pattern.
I will finish Caitlins quilt.
I will not feel pressured to do anything.
I will practice saying No and stick to it.
I told one of the group committees that I am on that I would not be continuing in my role with them and got a Oh well whatever we'll get someone else to do it. This was a good thing as I probably would have faltered if they had gone into the wow is me what will we do.
So yes I will blog. I am going to Fibre Forum soon and must get organised for that.
Happy days are coming my way.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Priorities and commitments

I have made a list. I like lists they make you think. I have been feeling a bit snowed under. So I made a list of the things I would like to do and the things I have to do.
I am a Wife, Mother and Grandmother, that is my greatest frustration and my greatest joy. I work full time and I have to do that. I am President of the Cloth Doll Club of SA and Vice-President of the SA Folk and Decorative Painters so I have to do things for them because I made the commitment that I would. I am a member of the SA Quilt Guild, the Adelaide Hills Doll Guild and the SA Embroiderers Guild.
I reminded myself while making my list that I do not have to be an office bearer. So I am making a commitment to myself today that I will not go on any committees for at least a year. As the AGM's come up I will resign and I will cut back on what I am doing now. I will do the things I like. I will have to study for work and as I still have to work for about another 20 years I need to do this. I will stop being the fix it person and if anybody doesn't like it tough. I am sorry if that sounds harsh but I feel that for my own mental health I should do this.
When I started blogging I decided that it would be a type of public diary so this is the entry for me.
You might wonder what triggered this. I spent two days making a needlelace flower and leaves with a SA teacher. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have wanted to do something like this for ages but never had the time. I had a relaxing two days and the flower is nearly done.

Update- Priorities and Commitments Part 2 is here
I need to make more time for me.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Chutney and Stuff

It has been much cooler here today it even rained this morning. I went to Mt Barker and bought the makings for tomato sauce. Tomatoes, onions, apples, vinegar and sugar. When I got home Greg helped me cut up 10 kilo's of tomatoes, 2 kilo's of onions, 1 kilo of apples. It was cooking and I decided to forget about the sauce cause I couldn't be bothered with the pulping and straining out the bits etc and made Chutney out of it all instead. I threw in some old sun dried tomatoes, a kilo of currants and topped it all off with balsamic vinegar, mustard seeds, garlic, garam masala and a two liter bottle of plum sauce I made about 4 years ago and found in the back of the hall cupboard when I was digging out jars for the chutney. The 20 liter pot was full to the brim. Greg is washing it up at the moment and thinking unkind thoughts cause I forgot to soak the pot when I emptied it. But we have 37 jars of chutney.
The hall cupboard used to be our kitchen pantry before we extended the house.
I was cooking tea while bottling the chutney.
I haven't done any dolling today. I did dig out a piece of silk to use for Phoebe's skirt and I may get to it later.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


We have dispatched the last of the goldfish to the great ocean in the sky. Aquarium fish every where are bubbling in relief. I was going to say sigh but I don't think fish sigh. We are going to turn the tank into a terrarium. We stopped at the plant nursery near us for some advice and the ditsy shop assistant knew less than us so I have researched and we are ready for a new adventure in killing plants rather than fish.
I am making some summer tops for Caitlin and Jessica and had a bit of a boo boo so I decided to leave it for a little while.
It is a beautiful day here so I did the horrible housework stuff and traipsed off to the laundromat and washed the winter bedding before it goes in the cupboard for the summer. It is all drying on the line at the moment.
We really need some rain although the weather man says this is the wettest December for years it is still brown and dead around us. We are watering the veggies and the fruit trees but everything else is on it's own.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Misty and Miss S

Here is a photo of Misty and Miss Stubborn. I really want to give her a name but she is not cooperating. I have tried several names on her and none of them seem to fit. I will get her clothes completed and then we shall see again.
The other photo is of the view from my family room. We netted the garden in last year and were shocked at how much of our mulberries and apricots the birds were getting. I don't mind sharing but those gluttons were taking 99% of the crop and the rabbits were decimating everything else. Although the weather man tells me we have had more rain than is normal the garden is not doing well. Greg is watering it but still not going great.
Just over the hill behind us well 40 kilometers is Adelaide.

A word for the year

A Yahoo group I am on has invited every one to set themselves a word for the year. I have given this a lot of thought and settled on my word for this year will be FINISH.
Last year I set myself the goal of finishing a Work in Progress before starting a new project and then finishing that project before starting another new one. So I am going to do that this year too. I have finished Misty except her shoes and I have the other doll sitting here beside me with her hair glueing on She needs a name but hasn't chosen to share it with me yet. I think I will call her Miss Stubborn. I made her a half slip last night and decided on her hair style. I am just letting the glue set a bit and then I will fiddle with that. I found my Venus Dodge Dolls Dressmaker Book in with my cook books and I am not sure how it got there but anyway. So I am decided on her clothes and hat. I have finished the smocking on her dress and have some micro ric rac to sew on and then her jacket and shoes. I am a member of the Yahoo group Vintage Cloth Dolls and one of the members has just posted a boot pattern and I might see if that will fit my young lady.
We are having dinner tonight with our son's prospective in laws. First meet for them and us. They have a lovely daughter so I am hoping it goes well. We are very different people so it shall be interesting.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Stuff on the web

Have a look at these
Susan Fosnot Dolls


Hair and Clothes and Banana Spring Rolls

I got sent this link through one of my groups and thought this would be useful to you.

Clothing for 18"Dolls

I have finished the smocking for my doll and tonight I am going to make her hair. Then I will get too work on finishing her clothing. She needs some hair. I had a very quiet New Years Eve. It was insanely busy at work and I had tea, read for a while thought about a New Years drink and went too bed instead and crashed.
A few months ago we went to a restaurant and one of the desserts was Banana and Macadamia Spring rolls. Absolutely delicious. I have finally perfected them.
Banana and Macadamia Spring Rolls.

Makes 3

1 large Banana – Mashed
1 tablespoon chopped toasted macadamias
¼ teaspoon mixed spice or cinnamon
3 spring roll wrappers

Combine the banana, nuts and spice. Mix well. Lay out the spring roll wrappers. Brush with water or beaten egg but water will do.
Divide the banana equally between the spring roll wrappers. Put the banana on one end. Fold the sides over the mixture. Brush again with water or egg and then roll up.
Deep fry until golden on all sides. You can sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or icing sugar while hot. Serve with ice cream and caramel sauce.