Monday, December 28, 2009

A bit of sewing

Not so long ago, before everything turned upside down, I cut out some new trousers that I intended to take on the cruise, which of course is now cancelled.

Today I tackled the construction. There was a slight hiccup when the machine I was using refused to feed through the fabric. I was about to use the other one, but I was short of matching thread and unwilling to make a special trip to Spotlight. Each machine has a different bobbin. I let the machine have a rest while I googled recipes for turkey leftovers - guess what we're having for dinner tonight?

After a good clean around the bobbin area the machine decided to play nicely again, so the pants are nearly finished. Just some topstitching, elastic insertion and hemming to go. I think I might be able to finish them on Wednesday.

Tomorrow I am having a PICC line inserted in my arm which will be used to deliver the chemotherapy for the next 6 months. We are due at the hospital at 8.30 and I suspect it will be 4pm or so before we leave. The chemo treatment itself takes 3 hours, and then I am attached to a portable pump to deliver more over the next 46 hours. The pump will be disconnected on Thursday, but we have to see the oncologist, so that will probably take most of that day.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Friday Flowers

Part of my Christmas present from my sister Dorothy - she also gave me some earrings and a goat. The latter is in our names to a poor family somewhere.

We had a good time. No family dramas, everyone seemed pleased with their pressies and most of the food was eaten. The frozen Christmas pudding I made was a big hit - think it will be the start of a tradition, because most of the family don't like the hot version, but they all hoed into this.

I went to bed very early. This morning Helen and I each played with our new iTouch.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ready, Set, Go!

I have prepared the frozen plum pudding. The bubbly is in the fridge. All the presents are wrapped and under/around the tree. The turkey is cooked, and ready to to go in the fridge to be sliced tomorrow. I am knackered.

Happy Christmas/Holidays to everyone.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Another day, another hospital, another blood test

We had an appointment at Royal Perth this morning regarding the clinical trial. There is one chance in two of being selected to have the radiation therapy as well as chemo, and I wasn't. So my treatment will be chemo alone. However I still have to have most of the clinical tests including yet another CT scan which will probably happen after New Year. It's a lousy time of the year to try to get things done.

The oncologist has decided that I need to have daily injections to prevent the formation of blood clots (I have a blood factor which predisposes for them, and there are some small ones present in my lungs). The commencement date of the chemo was moved up - I start on Tuesday now and will be pump free for New Years Eve. Not sure I will feel like celebrating, but it will certainly be a new start.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hurry up and wait

We spent nearly 8 hours at the hospital today, but it was eventually productive.

We arrived at 8am, parked the car in the multistorey carpark, and went for a blood test which was done promptly. We then walked to the radiology clinic (outside the hospital) for a 8.45 appointment. We were early for this so were prepared to wait, but at 8.30 I was ushered into a cubicle, told to put on a gown and left there, sitting on a very hard wooden bench with no reading material. By 9.15 I was a mess. No-one had come near me, I had heard the CT machine operated twice on people who had turned up after me and we had been advised that processing the films and preparing the report would take at least two hours when I had a 10.45 appointment with the oncologist. I was really stressed out.

Finally, they were ready for me and the scan started at 9.40. More problems. I needed to have a dye infusion and they couldn't pump it in - first one arm, then the other and a third attempt on the original arm. Success at the price of an aching arm because I had to hold it up straight while all this was going on. The scan itself took almost no time.

More waiting faced us, but we decided to walk down to Subiaco Square and have a coffee rather than sit in the waiting room. We collected the films at 10.30 and went to the oncologist's rooms. More waiting. At least this time Kevin had something interesting to read - he had spent over an hour waiting for me with only New Idea and Woman's Day available as reading material (he reckons he can now answer any quiz question on Brangelina) - but the oncologist has aviation magazines.

By the time we left his rooms at 11.45 we had received some more bad news (there are some small tumours on my lungs) but had treatment organised for the whole shebang. I am to start chemotherapy on New Year's Eve for the first of 12 fortnightly cycles. We were advised to make an appointment at the chemotherapy suite for an information session. We asked for one today, not wanting to drive all the way back, but could not get one before 2pm. So, yet more waiting. We had lunch at the hospital restaurant - quite nice sushi - then sat outside under shade for an hour and a bit.

When we fronted up we had to wait a bit longer - and fill in another set of forms! The oncologist rang on my mobile - he had got a waiver for me to take part in a clinical trial of a new treatment. This involves radiation as well as chemo. We have another appointment for tomorrow at RPH.

The information session took over an hour. The really good thing was that they swapped our parking ticket for a fully paid one, so no parking fees today. They would have mounted up, too, at $2 hour.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Starting the fight

I had the colonoscopy today. Yesterday's prep was a bit fraught - I threw up the the first lot of prep medication, so contacted the specialist. I had to go to hospital to have the rest of the prep stuff under supervision with anti-nausea meds and a drip. 32 hours of clear liquids only, followed by a 6 hour complete fast before the procedure. I'm home now and have had FOOD!

The procedure showed the bowel cancer is quite small and could be surgically removed, but this would mean I couldn't start chemo for 6 weeks. The surgeon recommends attacking the liver cancer with chemo first, because this may also result in reducing the bowel tumour. Of course I agreed - he has already said the liver cancer is inoperable because it is too diffuse.

We are seeing the oncologist on Monday. I will keep you posted on what happens next.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Unwelcome News

I have been feeling unwell ever since the bout of gastro I had a month ago and my GP ordered more tests and then a CT scan which I had on Monday.

She called me in early Tuesday morning for bad news - the scan shows advanced bowel and liver cancer. I saw a specialist Tuesday afternoon and I am having a colonoscopy tomorrow to see if surgery is an option for the bowel cancer - probably not. I am seeing an oncologist on Monday to determine treatment options. Definitely chemotherapy to start ASAP.

We have had to cancel our January cruise which is a disappointment, but fast treatment is a priority. I am so grateful for the Australian health system and private health insurance - so far we have not had to pay for anything.

I will start fiddling with fibre again as soon as possible. Forgive me if the entries are a bit patchy in the next few months.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Designing Women Christmas Party

The company was great, the food was fabulous and the venue fascinating.

Juliet, Debbie G, Jaslyn and Dorothy watching Jan as she showed some of her fire damaged treasures.

Judith, Zena, Delys, Alcira, Pauline, Loraine and Margaret P.

Iris, Barbara, Margaret F, Liz and Debbie R. Somehow I missed out on snapping Helen and Linda - pity.

Jan was a wonderful hostess.

She made us so welcome despite the recent trauma of her heritage home nearly burning to the ground. Here is an external shot of the damage.

Thanks so much, Jan. A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all the group.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Contemporary Quilt Group

Today was the last meeting for the year and we were asked to bring our altered pieces again. I was delighted to see that Stella has done a further alteration of her piece.

This is what I did to her piece in the original swap. This is what she has now done: added the Mad Hatter Teaparty silhouettes and some buttons like a watch and a teacup and turned the whole thing into a bag. Well done, Stella!

The ATCs made a fabulous display. I couldn't fit them all into one pic - so you get two.

Fourteen people took part and almost everyone had made 18 or 20. I like my share very much - and my total collection is getting close to 200!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Feeling virtuous

because I have finished writing our Christmas cards AND put them into the post (except for those which need to go to Canada or the States). I have also beaten most of the people who send them to us - we have only had 4 so far. So glad one of the Christmas jobs is completed. And I still have a few cards and some stamps for anyone I overlooked.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Altered Art Journal

Finished! And I think it looks OK.

Even found some matching beads and embellished the knot at the end of the cords.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Altering Art

A couple of months ago we had a challenge at Contemporary Quilt Group where we took a piece of someone else's and altered it in some way. I received back a beaded and heat distressed piece mounted on black which was lovely, but I couldn't visualise a way to use/display it.

Today the light bulb went off. It will be the cover for a journal. So I tore up some handmade paper for the signatures, unpicked the fabric from its black base, fused a batik print on the back as a lining and machine buttonholed the edges and made some machine cords for ties.

No photos - because it doesn't look like much as yet. Maybe tomorrow. I need to finish it before Friday and the next meeting.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Last month at Contemporary Quilt group we swapped small bags of mixed media materials to be used in constructing the ATCs we are going to exchange at the December meeting. The bag I received was hardly an example of mixed media - it was a half dozen fabric scraps and a length of yarn.

I was tempted to toss the bag in the bin and use other stuff, but I decided I needed to do the right thing and use the bits I was given.

So today I cut the fabric scraps into irregular strips, along with a couple of my own fabrics and constructed a crazy quilt type base.

I then used some of the decorative stitches on my sewing machine to embellish the seams with a decorative thread. It was starting to look reasonable.

After I had stamped the base piece all over with a text stamp and added some foiling it began to look more like a mixed media piece and I cut it into ATC sized pieces.

I have now neatened the edges of all of them and I think I am finished - except for the necessary labelling. I used every bit of the fabric I was given and I would have used the yarn to edge them, but there isn't enough of it.

It was good to spend a day fiddling with fibre.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Stop the world, I want to get off!!

Another funeral today, the second in three days. Nice to see some cousins on my father's side of the family, though I hate the circumstances. Sweet story: Enid (today's funeral) died on the same day, exactly 3 years after the love of her life (Uncle Ray). She wrote poems about their life together and the eulogy stressed how much they had loved each other, even living in a nursing home.

Not so nice. Our son besieged by a collection agency claiming unpaid rent and damages from a rental he left (amicably, he thought) over a year ago. Our daughter in the throes of dealing with an eBay scam - fortunately she is listening to us and won't finish the deal before she sees the money.

No fibre fiddling for far too long.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

They come in threes

Unhappy events, that is - or at least that was what Nanna used to say.

Yesterday, while we were having our Christmas lunch, the husband of one of the group rang to say his father had just died (it wasn't unexpected - just sad it happened right then).

Today I checked the Death notices - which I don't usually do - and discovered one for my aunt Enid. She was the wife of my Uncle Ray, Dad's last surviving brother, who died a few years ago. Ray was the last of my father's 10 siblings. Now, with Enid's death, there is no-one left of that generation, so we (my cousins and my sister and I) are the oldest generation. Scary.

The funeral is tomorrow morning. Three deaths and two funerals in a week. Not my favourite social occasions.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Festivities

The round has started. Today it was lunch here with my sewing group. A few people missing because of conflicting engagements, but a most enjoyable occasion. Easy on the hostess too - everyone brought a dish to share and it was all delicious.

I have two events next week, so will need to do some more cooking for them. Christmas itself looms ever closer. Lunch here. I have bought a turkey - that is the extent of my preparation. It will all pan out in the end - it always does.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

And now it is December

What happened to the year? (What happened to the last 5? 10? 20? 40? 50 years?)

Helen loves her quilt. I am so relieved - after all, it is 10 years since we collaborated on buying the fabric, and tastes change.

Kevin's 70th birthday party on Sunday was most successful. Thanks to Helen, her man James and our friend Margaret who looked after heating and serving the food. I felt rotten, but perked up with a few bubblies. Went to bed shortly after most people left though.

Monday was cleanup and washing. That disposes of November.

Today wasn't wonderful. It was the funeral of my mother's last surviving sister. Gwen was 90 and it was a celebration of her life. There were several children there, and I thought about how customs have changed. When our mother died at the age of 31, my sister and brother and I were not permitted to go to the funeral. We were never given the opportunity to say goodbye, and it still hurts, nearly 60 years later. After Mum died Aunty Gwen looked after Ian for 6 months - he was four years old - while Dorothy and I stayed with our grandparents. I was sorry that that act of compassion was not mentioned today to add to the the other examples of her caring spirit.

Then I was told that my uncle has bone cancer and I learned that a dear friend lost her husband a couple of weeks ago and I didn't know. Surely, if misfortune comes in threes, that must be it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Almost recovered and quilt finished

I went to the doctor on Monday and had blood tests and had to give a poo sample. Went back on Thursday (I was still suffering from diarrhoea). Verdict: I had somehow acquired a dose of campylobacter, so antibiotics were in order. I was prescribed a superdooper one which had to be OKed by the Health Department and it has worked! Still have the occasional cramp and I am very tired still, but I am not running to the loo any more. Yay!

Also on Monday I picked up THE QUILT from the longarm quilter. I trimmed the edges and had the binding sewn on by Wednesday afternoon. Here are some pics - I had to use the clothesline because it is so big.

This quilt has been promised for at least 10 years, so it had to have a label, but I didn't want it to be too conspicuous. I digitised it, used some of the backing fabric and stitched in an almost matching colour.

Tomorrow is Helen's birthday - we plan to deliver it in the early evening.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I hate being sick

Wasn't well enough to go to the family gathering. Lost my lunch. Had an afternoon nap. Have eaten again and it's holding.

I'm off to bed. Going to try to get into the GP in the morning.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Getting better

I think. Not so much nausea, still have diarrhea. Stayed up all day today, but am heading to bed soon. Actually ate a bit too.

I tried to make macarons today - not a wonderful result because my oven is not very reliable. They are still edible and should be passable sandwiched with some buttercream. I will do that tomorrow morning and take along to a family gathering at Crawley. Not sure if I will make more for the big party next weekend.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Flowers

The jacarandas are in full bloom.

So are the Illawarra flame trees.

Next will be the WA Christmas tree (Nuytsia Floribunda)

Blue, red, yellow

Thursday, November 19, 2009

From my sickbed

I have been unwell (nasty tummy bug) for the last 2 days so haven't felt like blogging. Still don't if it comes to the point.

However I wanted to write about the fabulous guest speakers that were at the WAFTA meeting on Tuesday night.

Susan Hayes is a final year PhD student who specialises in facial imaging for forensics. However, in an earlier life she made heads from chicken wire and op-shop fabrics. They are just fabulous.

Judith Forrest has been collecting West African dress fabrics for over 30 years. She gave a fascinating talk on their background and the makers and sellers of the cloth. I recalled the exhibition I visited at the MCA in January of the work of Yinka Shonibare.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More stuff done

As promised here is a pic of the textured bag with a length of the original fabric next to it. This is a silk velvet devore that I bought at Liz Davenport's fabric sale last year. I still have 2 metres - must find something to make with it that I can use the bag with.

After Husqvarna Club this morning I came home and sewed together and ironed the binding for the quilt. Here it is, all neatly wound up, ready to be attached next Monday.

I was worried I didn't have enough - needlessly. There is heaps.

Tonight I am going to WAFTA for the last formal meeting of the year. The next meeting is a Xmas party, but I won't be going since it is the same day as Kevin's party.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A productive day

I cooked the chicken wings - I had to sample one and they are yummy. They are now in the freezer.

I cut lots of bias strips for the quilt binding and pinned them together. I plan to sew them tomorrow - I think that I have probably only got enough to go maybe half way round. I need nearly 10 metres and even after they are joined I still have to press the finished strip in half lengthwise. It's a big job.

I made a bag from the textured fabric I did a while ago.

No photo of the bag because I forgot and then it was too dark. The flash on my camera washes out lots of colour.

I went shopping and bought some more chicken wings which are now marinating in the fridge.

I deadheaded all the roses and filled up the green bin for collection tomorrow morning. I plan to fertilise them tomorrow evening so it will be watered in on Wednesday morning when the reticulation goes on.

I am now going to have a glass of wine and start a new book - the latest in the "in Death" series by JD Robb.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Milestone, printing downloads and frogstitching

I didn't even notice that yesterday's post was my 600th. I may get to 1000 yet!

I spent some time today printing off Workshop on the Web articles that I have downloaded into a WoW file. I delete each one I print, so I don't do it twice. I have been a bit slack in printing off so there is quite a backlog. I know, I know - you can always refer to a downloaded version, but I far prefer a printed one to pore over in the sewing room or at the family room table in the evening. I have been a subscriber since it started and I am now on my 4th large binder. It is a fabulous reference that I don't use as often as I should.

There is also a downloaded lesson from Maggie Grey's new book that I haven't even looked at, plus one from Stitching the Textured Surface (can't remember the authors' names). I think these additional lessons for purchasers of the books are a super idea. Well done, Maggie. The printer ran out of ink, so I haven't printed them yet. Kevin has refilled the cartridges so that might be a job for tomorrow.

Frogstitching? Rippit, rippit. I think I need a new unpicker - the point seems a bit blunt. But I unpicked 30 embroidered butterflies from a bag that I have never liked, as well as salvaging the silk lining to use on a new one - which was the point of the whole exercise. Maybe some pictures tomorrow.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What Grabs You

What do I enjoy most in my textile adventures?

We had a brainstorming session at the Designing Women meeting today. I agreed with all the suggestions (though not always with the spelling!) It was difficult to pinpoint the techniques I most enjoy. Though I contributed "texture" and "image transfer", I don't think that I could restrict myself to those alone.

Here are our suggestions. And isn't it interesting that colour is not mentioned?

What grabs YOU in relation to textile techniques?

Friday, November 13, 2009

More ATCs in the pipeline

At Contemporary Quilt Group today we had a big Show and Tell of ATCs in anticipation of a swap in December.

I went through my ATC stash last night (when I counted them I have 156, and this doesn't include the ones I have made that I have never swapped because I like them too much!) and took along about 50. I selected some as Horrible Examples - illegible names, wrong size, no name, dark backing so information can't easily be seen - but the much greater portion were examples of clever ways to put information on the back, interesting ways to finish the edges and stunning techniques.

Stephanie and Hilary showed the group various approaches to base fabrics. We were asked to bring a bag of various bits and pieces to swap so we could use the bits we got, plus other stuff from our stashes to produce ATCs for the swap in December. The photo is of the selection I took along.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Yesterday I wrote about macaroons - today they are on the front cover of the Fresh liftout in the daily paper. The article says they are difficult to make - not the impression I got from Googling. Also, apparently the name is macarons - macaroons contain coconut.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What I did today

Delivered the quilt. I can pick it up on Monday 23rd. Gives me a few days to do the binding before THE birthday - I have already started cutting strips. I am going to use the scraps from the top to make a pieced binding - I only need 9 metres! A good idea since I cut a couple of strips too narrow for the quilt, but they will be fine for the binding. And, thank goodness, the pieced backing was quite acceptable.

Decided to work on one of the outstanding UFOs: the sea urchin from the Innovative Stitches workshop last month. Not too much to do, but got lazy and decided to freemotion without a presser foot. BIG mistake - needle in left thumb, lots of blood and a very bent needle.

Went to my friendship sewing group. We have been meeting since 1988 and decided today that it was too late in the year to celebrate our 21st anniversary. Shame, but we can look forward to our 25th.

Two of the group have just returned from sojourns in France (not together, in different areas) and, while raving about food in general, concurred that macaroons were one of the most enjoyed sweets. Came home and googled. I will try a batch tomorrow - I have all the ingredients, and they seem like they will be a good sweet nibble for the party. If the experiments are edible I can use them at the two meetings this week where I am supposed to supply sustenance.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


The quilt is all ready to deliver to the professional long-arm quilter tomorrow morning.

Yesterday morning I sat down with a copy of Quilters' Quarterly (the WAQA newsletter) and the phone, and started to ring people who had advertised. On the second call I found Sharon who has promised to finish the quilt by the end of the month. It helps that I don't want anything more than an allover pattern (maybe something like this)

I finished piecing the top Monday. Lots of frogstitching I am afraid. Today I did a computer workshop, then went to Textile Traders to buy the wadding. Unfortunately the "buy two, get one free" promotion had finished, but the Senior's discount applied, so I got a little bit off.

This afternoon I pieced the backing. I had some leftover 4-patch blocks so I have used them, plus 2 Klimt looking fabrics, neither of which were sufficient without the blocks. I hope it won't be a problem - I have always liked interesting backs that reference the front piecing. No pics - I don't have anywhere I can hang or lay out a quilt of this size

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fiddling with food

Not much fibre today, even of the dietary kind. I spent most of the morning making finger food for Kevin's 70th birthday party at the end of the month.

Today's achievement - all mini-quiches: 36 crab, coconut and lime, 21 sundried tomato and feta, 12 cheese and prosciutto. We HAD to eat 3 of the crab ones - they browned too much on the bottom and would not reheat successfully. It's true!

Helen delivered three bags as her contribution - two lots of Thai chicken pies and some pork spare ribs. I plan to make some marinated chicken wings and possibly more sausage rolls (I have already made 8 dozen, but they are only bite size). Along with some commercial party pies and cocktail frankfurts I think we have the savoury aspect covered. The freezer is filling up.

Since it is an afternoon event (afternoon tea?) I probably need to consider some sweet bits and possibly some sandwiches. We went shopping at a big barn liquor outlet last week and the drinks are under control.

I need to revise my lists.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A marathon effort

I finished sewing all the squares into the large blocks of 16. Lots of pressing and the odd bit of frogstitching.

I laid it all out on our bed and decided it wasn't big enough - needed another 4 blocks to make it long enough. So I cut and stitched strips and cut out squares. They're not pressed yet, but they are ready to go. I have put the whole lot away because the intended recipient is coming to visit tomorrow.

I plan to make crab and coconut tarts and mini quiches tomorrow. More stuff to be frozen for the birthday party. And I just realised I need more distilled water for the iron.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Flower

A native iris - what a pity the bloom dies after a day. This one, however, will last for ever.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Finished off the top (handsewing - buttons). Made a base for my sea urchin piece and collected up the bits to finish the top.

Sewed the blocks that will be a quarter of the quilt. I have decided to make all the units the same (20" square) so I can play with them before the final assembly, so I now have 4 finished blocks. Pieced another pile of squares and they are now laid out for final adjustments. Sorted another 64 squares into piles ready for chain piecing - I am on a roll here.

Still haven't done the party organisation I need to do, but my cleanup yesterday inspired Kevin to tidy away piles of video tapes. One immaculate room - won't count how many more to go.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Avoidance tactics

I feel I am approaching a deadline - Kevin and Helen both have VERY significant birthdays at the end of the month and I need to organise food etc for Kevin's party, plus a long promised gift for Helen.

So what did I do today? As always when a deadline looms I went into avoidance mode.

Ring caterers? Cook stuff to freeze? Ring hire places? Sew some more quilt blocks? Ring a long arm quilter to finish the quilt? NO to all of these.

I started by tidying the sideboard in the eating area. This led to filing of magazines and moving some of them to the storeroom. A full on cleaning and organising of the store room followed. It looks really good now.

Back to the sideboard. Half the pile of books were moved to a bookcase in another room. More tidying there and a carton of books for a secondhand bookshop eventuated, tucked in the corner for now.

More books moved from temporary locations to hidden locations - this house needs to be tidy! Piles of paper moved to the bin or the filing cabinet. Printouts from Workshop on the Web placed in their folder. Other printouts filed in their appropriate folders.

Then I went into the sewing room. Darned Kevin's pants which have been sitting there for at least a month. Made two new buttons and some rouleaux for a top.

Accomplished lots today. And the best bit is that I would have faced all this cleaning and tidying up as a deadline later in the month.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Another Project

I really can't help myself!

I went to Textile Traders today to buy some sewing thread for the quilt and I spotted this beaded dangle braid.

Just the thing to embellish the textured fabric I did a couple of weeks ago.

I feel a bag coming on. But I did buy the thread for the quilt.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Quilt Underway

Today I finished cutting the squares - more than I actually need but I hope it will give me a little leeway to fiddle. The design uses a a four patch block which is then mirrored and rotated to make diamonds.

I have stitched 16 of the 4 patch blocks and laid them out on the spare bed. The colour is not true because I had to use the flash and I can see where I will need to move blocks around, but I'm pretty pleased with it over all. This represents one quarter of the planned quilt and I think I will quilt it in quarters and then join it together.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

We went to swapmeet today and I bought some new herb plants. My Italian (flat leaf) parsley has been wonderfully lush, but it is now bolting to seed.

I bought one to replace it, plus a small curly leaf parsley. I also bought some sage - I don't use it as often as I could because I never have any growing, and it is not readily available in local outlets. I hope this survives. NO, I hope that it flourishes. Then I can make sage and onion stuffing for the Christmas turkey.

No need for rosemary. I have two very vigorous plants outside the study door which need another chop back.

Thyme is also planted in a pot and seems to be doing well.

My favourite herbs, apart from parsley, are basil and coriander. I bought some basil seedlings yesterday and hope they will grow quickly. I have never had much luck with coriander. As soon as it is big enough to pick it goes to seed. Not a problem though, since it is readily available in local outlets. A packet of each goes into the shopping bag whenever I buy the weekly vegetables.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


No door knocks so far, which is just as well since I haven't bought in any supplies. Fortunately there are only a couple of children living in our cul de sac and both of them have parents who probably won't ever permit this kind of door knocking.

I HATE Halloween - it has never been an Australian tradition, and it seems like an excuse for older teens to indulge in gratuitous violence. There is a trial in progress at the moment - an 18 year old killed with a jarrah picket swung by a then 17 year old on Halloween last year. Ugly revelations of continued confrontations between groups, but they all dressed up that night before indulging in their booze fuelled activities.

As a result of my marathon cutting yesterday and more sewing and cutting today I have produced 110 5 inch squares. Not yet ironed and not enough for a queen size quilt. I think my calculations yesterday were a bit optimistic.

And I have now made a post for every day in October this year.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Fiddling - AND Flowers

I have spent most of the day ironing fabric and cutting bias strips. These will magically become squares composed of two triangles - all due to a ruler I have had for years and never used. But I did test it today and it works!

The fabric is something else I have had for years. Part is a collection of Klimt inspired designs in rich reds and browns - 13 different ones. It is accompanied by some reasonably subtle maize and soft yellow prints. There are 27 fabrics in all and I had either a half yard or half metre of each, so ironing took quite a while.

I have cut 54 strips and I should be able to get 6 or 7 squares out of each pair, which means I will probably have almost enough for the queensize quilt I am planning. This is one I promised to make for daughter Helen years ago. It's best not to hurry these things!

We have four bauhinia trees along our boundary fence. Kevin doesn't like them because they drop leaves in winter and pointy pods in summer, but they are absolutely beautiful in spring.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Clearing the decks

Well, at least part of the walk-in wardrobe. I have been intending to do this for months. After three hours, this was the result - 6 rubbish bags full of good stuff for the Salvos Op Shop.

And I'm NOT finished! The chest of drawers is untouched as is Kevin's section of the wardrobe. I also have a bag full of clothes that I couldn't bear to dispose of because I loved the fabric so much - these may be cut up eventually. There is a small bag of stuff for rags, while 3 pairs of shoes went into the bin since they were too worn to give away.

So this was today's fiddling. The worst of it is that you can't see where I have culled.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fractured English

This sign is taped next to each of the checkouts in the local (Spearwood) IGA. It is a most peculiar example of poor expression.

What security purpose do lettuce leaves serve? Slapping politicians on the wrist?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


we didn't go walking. We had to deliver Kevin's new (old) Mazda 929 to a garage for wheel alignment and suspension whatsits early in the morning, though they didn't actually do anything till the late afternoon.

I went to Bestway for yet another of Pam's inspirational 4D workshops. I can now digitise grub roses and circles with various fills - more purple circles?

I sat outside and read after we picked up the car. Temperature possibly 22 degrees Celsius - very nice. But as the sun sank, the mozzies invaded. I think they may be a problem this year since we have had so much rain - it even sprinkled a little today.

Dinner was Cardamon and Black Pepper Chicken - so easy and so yummy. Thanks, Helen, for reminding me of this recipe when I rang - she was making it too.

I did absolutely no fiddling with fibre.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Our walk this morning was at North Lake. We haven't been there for months and felt that it is becoming somewhat degraded. Despite the good rains the lake is a long way from being full, and you can already see the weeds poking through the shallow water.

We didn't take any photos, but here is one that Kevin took yesterday by accident. I love the colours and texture. I think it could be translated into a great background fabric. Can you guess what it is?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What I did today

Went for a walk at Bibra Lake early in the morning. The bird watch boardwalk and jetty are being reconstructed.

At breakfast, ate too much of the bread I left to cook overnight in the bread machine. I have new yeast and it was very airy and hard to cut. Yummy though.

Helped Linda look after the Designing Women stall at the Textile Art Expo. Not many people around, so I went to watch a bookbinding demonstration. Really good. Made two more purple circles using my couronne stick.

Visited an exhibition - LOUD - at the Atwell gallery which Iris recommended. It was. Bright colours and heavy textures.

Bought fruit and vegetables at the markets down the hill.

Sat outside in the warmth of the late afternoon and drank wine while a curry simmered inside.

Started a new book.

Didn't do much really.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Day of Textiles

Elizabeth Morley ran her Sea Urchins workshop for the Innovative Stitches group today. It was intensive work, but most enjoyable. We needed to prepare six base segments ahead of time, so that today we bound and embellished them. We were then to stitch them together. For once I wasn't left behind in a workshop - in fact I was the only one to manage to assemble it. Here are some of the pieces.

This evening I went to the Art to Wear fashion parade which was part of the Melville Textile Art Expo. It was an impressive show, though I didn't manage many good photos. The models were school girls, seen here wearing pieces by Jennie Abbott.

While there I was chuffed to be told that I had won a prize in the Mad as a Hatter competition for the Tea Party hat and that one of the bowls I had in the Designing Women display had sold. Happy dance here!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A display and Friday Flowers

Yesterday evening my sister Dorothy and I set up the Designing Women display at the Melville Textile Art Expo. We were pretty pleased with our efforts. Here is a section of the display.

I went back this morning to add printed labels for all the pieces, then listened to a talk on zines from one of the exhibitors. Interesting, but I think I will stick with a blog.

As I was getting into the car to come home, I noticed this flower head on a zamia palm ( a common WA native plant). Almost like a pine cone or a pineapple. So this is this Friday's flower.