Saturday, April 23, 2011

Hello Possums!

In a previous post I'd talked about visiting Edenvale and trying to see a family of possums who lived there, to no avail, but last Sunday I was once again at Edenvale having a look at an arts and crafts festival and decided to enquire if the possums were still around.
The young girl from the cafe went outside to have a look and spotted a tail.  She went back into the cafe and came back out with half an apple - next minute who did we see peeping out of the trees but one of the possums.
He was gorgeous, so cute and appealing, despite the fact that most people consider them vermin.
He loved the apple and wasn't afraid of me snapping pictures of him.  I stood on a chair to get a closer look, much to the amusement of the patrons sitting around enjoying coffee and cake.
I soon had a little crowd of people around me wondering what on earth was so interesting to have a middle aged, seemingly insane woman, pointing her camera up a tree and squealing with delight.
Now just look at that face .... so cute, pity his claws weren't so appealing.  They were like something out of a werewolf movie.
No sign of the rest of his family who were in hiding, but he was enough.  I must've taken nearly a hundred photos of him including one which shows he's got a bad tooth.  Wonder if he'd fancy a dentist.
He then raced back up the tree and as I was trying to photograph him from underneath he decided to bombard me with pooh.  At first I didn't know what was going on, I just got hit with rapid gunfire of hard bullets bouncing off my feet, until everyone started laughing and I realised what was going on.
Then he peeped back out at me with a cheeky look on his face, and I couldn't be cross with him.
Someone else came along with half an orange then, so he was back down in a flash for another nibble whilst I went home for a bath and a change of clothes.  It was all worth it though, I still think they're loveable, until he gets into my roof, and then I'll be cursing him and calling him vermin.
It's only taken me 44 years living in this country to actually see a live possum.  Mission accomplished!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


My sister's mother-in-law recently passed away at the age of 93.  She was a wonderful lady and is surely missed.  MIL (as I'll refer to her - mother-in-law) was first generation Australian of Italian heritage, and her famiily made a tremendous mark on the history of this state.  She came from a large family, and family was the most important thing to her.  
Recently her daughter has come across embroideries that MIL hand stitched as a young woman, and I've been lucky enough to enjoy them and photograph them to share with you all. 
These embroideries are all approximaely 75 years old and are in brilliant condition and the stitching is exquisite.  MIL worked for a tailoress when she was young, and she would sit with her sister and they would spend  hours together stitching and chatting.
Even the back of the work was as neat as the front.  This one above is cross stitch worked on a damask tablecloth ... no fabric threads to count over.  Perhaps the design had been printed on the fabric, we don't know.
This table cloth is again worked in cross stitch and four sided stitch for the hemming.  It is soooooo neat!!!  Looking closely you can see that the stitches are all worked over the same fabric threads, yet the linen is very fine and it would've been hard on her eye sight.
Its nice to imagine the stories shared whilst stitching with her sister.  Many people dismiss embroideries such as this, but only those who have spent many hours doing it can appreciate the love and devotion that goes into such work, and the stories behind them.  Sometimes they are done whilst watching babies sleep, or waiting for a husband to return from work, or as gifts for people they love, or as items for a home when newly married - they are all intricately woven into our lives, and are as special as a photograph or a diary.
Again you can see how neat the back of the work is.  The one below is my favourite.  It's a tablecloth with rounded cutwork corners and crocheted edges, and is as crisp and fresh as the day it was made.
Having just worked my own cutwork design I can appreciate the work put into this, and marvel at the consistency of her stitching - the tension is all the same, the stitching is precise and neat.  It's just beautiful.
The colours are so fresh and still very white.  I believe it was only used on special occasions, and can understand why.  Can you imagine someone dropping beetroot on it !!!????
Some close up views for you.
Even the crocheted edges were done by MIL.  She was very much a woman who did things by hand, as that was the way in those days.  She made her children's clothes, was a wonderful cook who could provide a banquet at a moment's notice - enough to feed half a nation at each sitting.
And like many Italians of that era she and her family would gather to make tomato puree, this was something that would be a family affair and take all day to do, amidst laughter, eating and chatter.  Do you think we've lost something nowadays?  I do.  What wonderful times they were, and even though she will always be missed, how lucky are we to have such wonderful heirlooms to treasure, all made by her own hands and with an abundance of love woven into all of them.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

In Remembrance of Archie

In Rememberance of wee Archie ... who brought so many smiles to so many of us ...
may he Rest in Peace.
Thoughts go out to his family
With love x

Saturday, April 9, 2011


It's funny how things turn out sometimes.  During the stitching process I really didn't like my embroidery on this cutwork sample.  I thought it was untidy and too lumpy and I got a bit fed up of it.
But once I cut out the negative spaces and washed and pressed it, I was pleasantly surprised and actually like it a lot now.  I have a feeling it'll be something I do again in the future.  The longest part was getting a design that would suit.  I searched for ages on the net and finally found two designs I liked and then fiddled around to make them work together, then added some scallops so that I could finish off the sample neatly and hey presto!   
The only thing I'd change in future is where I placed the cross bars ... some are too close to tight corners and don't work very well, making it difficult to cut away the fabric, and I'd adjust the pattern so that the two designs don't overlap in places .... this is where the stitching got a bit lumpy.
I used a white linen and DMC Perle 12 thread for this sample.  I started with cotton a'broder but it soon wore the thread and made it fluffy, so I unpicked and started again with the perle.  This worked well except I kept catching the thread underneath and it twisted a lot.  Trial and error, I suppose.
I'm glad its finished and now I can start on my experimental samples - haven't a clue what I'm going to do yet - need a couple of hours to sit quietly and have a think.  Better put the kettle on then and find those chocolate biscuits ......

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Drawn, pulled and woven thread work

I thought I was making good progress lately - all I seem to do is sit and stitch at the moment, but I found out yesterday that the cut off date for this year is first week of May.  I have to finish Module 11 and complete all of 12 by then ... somehow I don't think I stand a chance of finishing this year.
I've finished the traditional pulled thread sample, drawn thread sample (above) and needleweaving sample (below) and I'm half way through the cutwork sample.  Then have the experimental samples and my set of accessories to do.  There just isn't enough hours in a day at the moment!!!!!
I went to the city last week to find a special birthday present for hubby and decided to pop into a technical book store (as you do) found Janet Edmond's book "From Print to Stitch" and Cas Holmes's "The Found Object" and JUST HAD TO HAVE THEM .....
 then a few days later happened upon a secondhand bookstore (honestly, it was by chance!!) and what did I find in there .... Gold!!! Yes, another Jan Messant book.  They are SO hard to find ... this one was in perfect condition, so I put it under my arm, then found "Inspired to Stitch" and put that under my arm ...
and then another find .... "Needlemade Laces".  By this stage I had to get to the cash counter before my hubby dragged me out of the shop.
Now I just need the time to sit and read them.  I have the new glasses ... just need the spare time. 

I found the hand sewing quite a strain on my eyes, after not doing fine work for a long time, so went to the optician for a checkup.  Two new pairs of glasses later ... I now have 5 pairs of glasses.  One for long distance, one for the computer, one pair of bifocals, one pair for sewing, and a pair of multifocals which my 2 year old grandson mangled and can only be worn if I develop a head like an alien.
I'm hoping out of all these pairs of specs I should be able to finish my needlework and be able to read my new books without getting mega headaches and boz-eyes ... just got to find where I put the damn things now.