Saturday, 30 August 2014

The new addition to our family

These are the things hanging on our clothes line these days.

Pink quilt for a little girl

 We are kept very busy with cleaning up, washing, baths, walks, play time and early wake up calls.
Do I hear you say that she is too old to have a baby? Yes, you are correct. But not too old for this bundle of fur..
Penny with the toy that arrived with her

Her name is Penny. She came into our lives in January and she is now a boisterous 9 month old Labrador who dominates everything we do.

She is inquisitive, loves to garden and dig. Our garden thongs have been chewed every time we go out and forgot to put them out of reach. Funnily, she only chews the left ones, so consequently, we have many right thongs. Pity we cannot buy singles from the shop. She loves to "help" in the vegetable garden--- we have made many trips to Bunnings to buy material for a simple fence to go around the garden beds to keep her out. Her favourite vegetable was the sugar snap peas (I think we managed to get about 6 for our dinner one night ie the ones she missed),and raspberries are delicious too (we only have young canes and hence just a few fruit, but we have not tried a single one as she beat us to them too).

Penny discovering the garden

She has given us many sleepless nights from worry. When she was with us for 2 days, she developed an itch on her belly. What started as a minor itch became a major drama, with hair loss on her belly and she (and us) were distraught by this. We treated her for every itchy condition one could think of, and she was put on a special diet food. After what seemed like ages, her rash cleared and she is now back on normal dog food. We breathed a sigh of relief, but not for long.
She has had a soreness in her left hip for months. We initially thought it was from jumping over the temporary mesh around the veggie garden. But it has persisted. She has had X-rays and anti -inflammatories and this limp persists if she gets too active. So we have had to stop all ball games, play with her doggy friends had to stop and walks are 2 short walks a day. We cannot stop her running around the yard when she gets into the chasing mood and that gets her hip sore again. It is such a pity to limit her play which she loves, but we have to for her hip.

Penny asleep with her 2 favourite teddies

On the other hand, she has given us great joy. She is the first one to get a greeting when anyone comes home. She is our shadow when we are home and loves to be as close to you as she possibly can. Her foot rests on my feet when I am in the kitchen -- I guess to remind me that she is there for titbits. Despite being 9 months old, she still likes to climb up and sleep in someone's  lap! I cannot have her on my lap anymore, but there are other laps that she can still climb onto for a sleep.

A sleepy Penny

Before she came home, we said that she would have to sleep in the garage at night. Of course she started in the laundry as a puppy. When the time came to move to the garage, we put her out with great apprehension. Needless to say, she lasted ( or should I say WE lasted) 20 minutes out there. She has her bed in the lounge and rules the roost.

Penny on her bed

We got Penny from the same breeder as our Tess. Looking at the lineage, Tess is Penny's great aunt! Nothing like keeping it all in the family.

We have a beautiful sunny day today and we are enjoying it-- especially after the very wet few weeks we have had. The wettest August for 150years.  Needless to say, a wet winter has caused many people to have colds and the flu.Penny had a bath too today as we thought we should take advantage of the sunshine-- a nice clean dog, for a few hours at least.

Thank you for visiting and meeting our Penny.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

My own Etsy Shop and a gift for a Blogger Baby

I love designing new pieces for brooches and buttons and find painting them is very relaxing and helps me switch off especially after a difficult day. Needless to say, I have collected thousands of pieces-- all waiting to be painted and needing a home.

I remember when I first started painting the brooches many years ago, I had a painting friend who could not paint small pieces and she just loved my brooches ( or so I thought!). Every time I painted a new design, I gave her one. After about the 10th design, she looked at me and said, "I think I have run out of space on my chest and I cannot possibly wear another one!" Oops!

Someone suggested I contact some patchwork shops and see if they would have some. For years, I have supplied a few shops in Australia and that kept me painting and having an outlet for the painted pieces.  Over the years most of these shops have changed hands and often the new owners are keen to have something different.  I am grateful to 2 shops that have stocked my things for many years. Thank you to Marilyn from the Patchwork Teahouse, and Lynette Anderson from The Little Quilt Store for having my painted work in their shops.

I have been painting buttons as well as brooches all these years, but find that I tend to paint more buttons these days, (they are smaller-- you must have gathered by now that I like small things).

2 fellow bloggers have suggested an Etsy shop. One suggested it last year, and I could not get my head around it. Then recently, another fellow blogger, Margaret from Spain, (solstitches) suggested the same thing. I went to the library that day and what would I see there?-- A book called "The Complete Idiot's Guide to selling your crafts on Etsy". I came home with it and have now managed to open my own Etsy shop. Hooray. Next job was to put a button on the side bar to say that I have one. My son came home today and helped me with that.  Well it is now there officially.

I have not put the patterns on the site as yet and of course there are heaps of other Brooch and button designs too-- but I thought I would just start with these and see if it works in the first place. Please do visit the site and I am open to suggestions.

Another exciting thing that has happened is that a fellow blogger has had her first child in June, a baby girl. I made this for her and hope that she will stay nice and warm after her bath in it. A big Welcome to our first Blogger Baby!
An elephant in a shower of pink flowers
Thank you for taking the time to visit the blog.  Enjoy the rest of this glorious weekend.


Friday, 6 June 2014

A little stitchery

When Margaret sent me the bag, she also sent a card with it. Inside the card was this stamp.

Stamp in the card
That inspired me to do this.
Little stitchery with birdhouse
 Then along came this little birdie.
Bird in tree
Then it was joined by this little bird. They both want the bird house!

2 birds in the tree
 Now I will have to work out what I will do with the stitchery. A small needle book perhaps?
We have a long weekend , and the weather has turned out just glorious today. We had very heavy rain earlier in the week and looked like it was going to be a wet weekend too. However, a pleasant surprise this morning-- blue skies.
Enjoy your weekend too.


Monday, 2 June 2014

From the Postman

I went for a walk along the esplanade with a friend this morning-- another glorious morning with blue skies. I came home and what would be by the front door? a parcel. I opened it with great excitement! ( just shows how excited I was, I did not even take a photo of the unopened present). This is the most gorgeous bag from Margaret (, sent all the way from Spain, as a birthday present for me.

Bag from Margaret

I am delighted with the gift. I cannot get over the perfect sewing and finish. I am a very proud owner of this bag.
I have been lucky enough to get birthday gifts from my family which will keep coming over the year. I have a weekend away to the Southern Highlands later this month. There are patchwork shops and Victoria House along the way south, which hopefully will get a look in. My daughter and son in law have given me a ticket to Totem, Cirque du Soleil, and they have tickets too, so we will attend the performance together, which is even nicer. That is in November. My son has given me a subscription to Simply Vintage magazine-- and I am looking forward to the first one, which hopefully, will be here soon. We have gone out to my favourite restaurant for dinner, and I still have 1 more lunch next week with my Tuesday walking companion ( as we go out to lunch for each others birthdays). So I do feel spoilt.
I have had this on the wall for a few months, and realised that I have not put it on the blog. After all it is a craft finish and I should have shown it. I started it when I returned from our UK holiday in late October, and could not believe it when I finished it before Christmas. It is the fastest cross stitch I have ever done.
Danish flower thread Cross stitch

This is where I am up to so far re my Blue Hexagon quilt. I have umpteen small blue flowers to make, so it will be ages  before there will be progress.
Blue Hexagon quilt in progress
I am off to the shops now. Guess which bag I will be taking to the shops today!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Holiday in England-- Part 2

I have taken the day off work today as I am unwell, with a URTI, and the most annoying cough that just keeps on being there. I have been pottering around, as I don't have much energy to do much. Finally, I have the chance to do a blog post.

Our holiday to England was in October 2013. Here is part 2. Part 1 ended in the Lakes District.
We headed south to the Cotswolds. Along the way, we stopped at a village called Great Budworth in Cheshire. We stopped there as my mother and father in law went there in 1980 and there is a photo of my mother in law next to these stocks. Little did she realise, that 33 years later, her son and her grandson (whom she had never met and would have been her pride and joy) would stand at the very same spot.
Stocks at Greater Budworth
We did a walk in the Cotswolds from Upper Slaughter to Lower Slaughter. I admired the well maintained stone walls through out the area.
Stone wall in the Cotswolds
These cyclamens were growing under a tree in one of the National Trust homes we visited.

Wild cyclamens
We headed further south through Painswick to Somerset. I just loved these cute sights as you walk down the street.
Door knocker
A tiny window set in an old stone wall

We stayed a lovely little B+B and this was the door to our rooms.
The red door
I must say, I was fascinated by robins. The robins of our nursery rhymes always held my attention -- and to see them flitting around and hearing their call. I finally managed to capture this one.
A Robin
My favourite sheep
The autumn colours were just happening, and this was in a National Trust garden.
Autumn colours
We stayed at another B+B at a small place called North Brentor, in Dartmoor. This is the view from the B+B. Way in the distance in the picture, is a thatched cottage. The moors are just behind and can also be seen from the front door.

View from B+B
The weather here was foul-- it rained and rained and was windy. When we thought it was clearing, we went for a drive and drove over the moors. That was a silly mistake, as the fog just rolled in and we could not see a thing. We did drive over the moors again on our way back to London-- and it was a clear day and the view was spectacular. The foggy day reminded me of the Hounds of the Baskervilles--when we got back to Sydney, I found the book on the bookshelf and read it again. Interestingly, it was also set in October .
The Moors
We did a day trip to Port Isaac. I had not realised that this is the village where they film Doc Martin. It was picturesque.

Port Isaac
View near Port Isaac
Who can resist taking a photo of weeds?
We had a lovely holiday in the UK and I hope that we will be able to do another in the not too distant future. I will live in hope of that happening!
Now back to craft. I have not had much progress on my craft front-- but there has been some progress.
1-- I was doing an applique scene to be framed, and was contacted by the editor of Homespun to see if I was working on anything of interest. I showed her the photo of what I was working on-- and now it will be published in the January  Australian Homespun magazine. Currently, I am writing up the pattern-- a tedious process. Unfortunately, I cannot show you the photo just yet.
2--My daughter has moved out and we have re arranged her bedroom. I am making a quilt for the queen sized  bed. This will take ages-- as there is a lot of EPP hexie flowers, and I have heaps more blue flowers to go. I have now completed the larger hexagon flowers and am now making the small hexagon flowers-- I think I need another 36  of them! So it will be awhile before the quilt will be on the bed. I have collected a lot of blues over the years-- and am determined to use as much up as possible. Will do a border with the remainder blue fabrics.
Hexagon medley in Blues
3--I have been painting some buttons for the framed work-- painting them in different colours to see which colours work best.
I have also designed a new bird cut out-- and tried it in this colour combination.
Handpainted Bird brooch
Thank you to everyone who visits my blog. I would love it if you do leave a comment. It also gives me a chance to visit your blog and read about your crafting life. I have made some lovely friends by doing this and we email each other regularly as well.
Take care.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Our Holiday in England-- Part 1

We tend to put a lot of thought and planning into our holidays, so it was most unusual for us to decide in September, that we were going on an overseas holiday in October.

London was our destination and we stayed in a lovely B+B is East Putney, which was very conveniently located for travel to and from the city.  I just loved the sights of London and here are a few of them.

Liberty Shop in London
Cooking paella at the Chelsea Markets
Yummy chocolate coated strawberries

Hanging baskets with lovely flowers all over the city
Guard outside Buckingham Palace
An interesting shopfront
China town
The fresh flowers at Harrods

 We did a daytrip to Hampton Court. I was delighted to find a small patchwork shop at the village of Hampton Court. It was the only patchwork shop I found on the whole trip.

 Hampton Court
We left London by train and went to Yorkshire, where we hired a car. We stayed in a B+B just outside of York.  The village was called Linton on Ouse.

The Shambles in York. Loved the narrow cobblestoned passage with interesting shops.
Halloween was around the corner
Bettys Tearooms in York. I went to the original Betty's Tearooms in Harrogate 30 years ago.

 We did day trips into the countryside and we visited one of the national Trust places called Fountains Abbey. It is the ruins of an old abbey-- beautifully kept grounds and very interesting ruins.
Fountains Abbey
 The first sighting of a pheasant for me-- seen in the grounds of Fountains Abbey
Green fields and old stone walls

We drove over the Yorkshire Dales admiring the lovely scenery (which was impossible to photograph). I admired the craftsmanship involved in building the stonewalls  which still stand today.
The next destination was The Lakes District. We stayed in the best B+B in a small village called Troutbeck ( near Windermere. Would you believe there is another place also called Troutbeck near Penrith).  I hope to return there one day. There are lots of walks and very interesting places to explore--- we need a lot more time there to do them.
View from  a walk out of Troutbeck. Lake Windermere is in the distance.
The colourful fruit platter at breakfast
Birdfeeder outside the breakfast room of our B+B in Troutbeck
Old stone bridge
We caught a ferry at Bowness and crossed Lake Windermere to Far Sawrey.  I went to Beatrix Potter's House, Hill Top Farm, 30 years ago, and I enjoyed it just as much this time round. The house and gardens and surrounding countryside was delightful.


Hill Top Farm-- Beatrix Potter's house

Robin in Beatrix Potter's garden
A Bunny in Beatrix Potter's garden

We went on a walk and found this waterfall.
We went on to Derwent water and did a walk along the lake's foreshore. 

Geese on Derwent water

Wordsworth's garden in Grasmere-- Dove Cottage

National Trust building-- Wray Castle

Wild Forget-me-nots

Pretty hydrangea

View from the B+B in Troutbeck.
The views of the countryside in Yorkshire and the Lakes District, with the stone walls and woolly sheep with black faces, reminded me of my "Day in the country" cot quilt. I guess I got the inspiration for my quilt on my trip there 30 years ago. I had wanted to capture that scene all these years-- only took me 28 years to do it! I feel inspired to make another quilt with the country scenery-- hopefully in 2014.

A Day in the Country-- Cot Quilt
Woolly sheep with black faces
Country scene wall hanging
I will return in 2014 with the second part of our holiday.
Wishing each and everyone  a Very Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year. May we all continue to find enjoyment and relaxation in our craft.