Playing with paint

Playing with paint
abstract art

22 December 2014

Gift from a friend

Before I came to the coast, had a morning with my good friend Dianne, when we exchanged xmas gifts.  she is such a beautiful and clever friend, and I am the lucky recipient of another of her wonderful creations. I am now the proud owner of a colourful table centre, made from beautiful batik fabrics from Wacky Jacky.

To compliment the table centre Di also made a set of 6 coasters from her wonderful stash of kaffe fassett fabrics. ( think thats how it is spelt) Di said she chose the colourful fabrics to brighten my flat when the weather is cold and grey, if and when I go to the UK later next year.

My son and his wife are moving back to her UK homeland in march next year and want me to go and live with them there. They dont want to leave me here on my own where i live. It is all in the lap of the gods at present for me, because first I have to get the go ahead from my cardiologist, and second have to be accepted and given a visa.

But what better way to enjoy the last years of my life taking a chance and seeing something of the world.  Scary stuff!!!!! DIL has promised me a trip to Paris so what better incentive could there be.

Food is a big thing at chez Barclay in the run up to xmas with the fridge bursting at the seams.  I have been treated to some nice meals by N and A.  We have not even got to xmas day and already I have gained a kilo. 
Forgot to take pics of the peking duck, but the lamb koftas and greek salad last night was delicious. No I did not eat that big meal mine was a much smaller one.

After that meal I was very good and had fresh pawpaw or papaya as it is known elsewhere for breakfast. Straight out of the garden...yum....didnt take any of the weight off though.

The pups of course are as lovely as ever, and have just come home from a run in the park.  This is how they spend their days when not out playing.  Lying round sleeping in the airconditioning

20 December 2014

Christmas Greetings and a Reunion

On wednesday my big son came and collected me and bought me down to the Gold Coast so I can spend Christmas with him and his wife and of course the pups.

It is good to be down here with them. Already i am being spoiled with lovely meals. Ali always leaves a lovely floral piece by my bed when i come and this year was no different. This one is very festive.

Recently I have been back in touch with my young sister Jackie who I have not seen for a long time. She now lives on the gold coast after moving from western australia. She came to see us today, and we had a lovely visit sitting on the back deck of my sons home catching up in our news.

This is a pic of us together.

Jay, as we call her, has written some childrens books about the pottaroos a small wallaby that is an endangered species here.  she wrote them many years ago, but because of a family illness publishing them had to wait.
Now she has published the first two stories and they are delightful books.  she has a wonderful empathy with children and these are perfect stories that young children can absorb. At the same time it creates an awareness of the plight of the pottaroos . I will add a link to learn more about the potoroos

Well my friends, I will leave you while I loll around the pool deck.   I hope that each and every one of you enjoys a happy and joyous Christmas

26 November 2014

Half Dolls and a Link

Some years ago, one of my sisters was making porcelain half dolls and I started off making them into tassels.

Then I decided to work out a skirt in the manner of a pin cushion.  I had great plans to market the design, but nothing came of it.  I recently came across a lovely lady called Maureen Greeson, who collects  half dolls, and have given her the pattern where I am sure it will be more useful than sitting in the box on my shelf.  

You can find her blog at
where she has a link to the pattern.

Maureen has a wonderful collection of beautiful vintage half dolls, and also a tutorial for a skirt she has made as a base for a lovely flounced overskirt.

Pay a visit to Maureens blog because she also does crazy quilting and  has lots of eye candy 

24 November 2014

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy Jig

Well it is so good to be home again for a little while, and have my little abode to myself again.  Himself is well, and able to take care of himself so my job is done. 

I managed to have a finish of a page, and have two works in progress which I will post about later.  Now this can wait until it is stitched to its backing page.
 I have just realised I have a line on the bottom right that I need to get rid of....oops.

My plants have survived my absence after all, except for the sage plant which turned up its toes in the extreme heat we have been having. The first time I came home everything looked very bad. I took my son's advice and gave everything a feed with "seasol" and it is a miracle.  The mint is flourishing again, and my precious miniature fuschia has all new leaves.  I did lose some of the new coriander, but with the ones that have survived I will get new seedlings.
You can see the difference in the plants from before and after the seasol treatment, and how good they were to come back to.

I dont think I am going to revive the sage or the strawberries.
While I was at the farm, my lovely cactus was in flower.  There are two different colours and they are stunning. Unfortunately they only last   a short while.
The jacaranda trees on the property are all in flower and make a stunning display.

Next to the steps I discovered the tiny snapdragon plant, with one normal sized flower. It was only about 3 inches high.  There was a time a few years ago when I did have snapdragons in that spot so it must have been a lonely little seed that germinated after all that time. When we were children we called them "puppy dog flowers".

we have been experiencing very high temperatures for the last couple of weeks, but today seems a bit milder.  I do feel so sorry though for all those people experiencing the extreme cold weather in the northern hemisphere.

Until next time, happy stitching

17 October 2014

Lost Month

Does anyone ever feel as though they have lost their nice quiet life. Well that is just how I am beginning to feel.  Dont get me wrong I have undertaken caring for himself willingly, but I had completely forgotten how much more work a man in the house makes.

However, Himself is recovering very well from his hip replacement, but not without a tiny bit of bullying on my part. He is actually beginning to walk unaided, although still needs to be careful and resort to the walking stick.   He is also off the painkillers after only 3 weeks and doing his exercises as  instructed, so that is a good sign.

In between I had a birthday happen, and received some lovely flowers from family and friends. I also have Iris blooming in my pots and my Mint is flourishing.

 Friend Julie and her husband came for lunch, from Nanango, and we had a lovely day.

Himself is itching to get home, so we are off to the farm tomorrow for two weeks, and then back here for the surgeon checkup, then back to the farm again until I am able to set up some home help there for him so I can come home and be back to my normal life.

Bye for now, I am really looking forward to December when I will be enjoying a relaxing Christmas with son and DIL and the pups. 

Bye for now, till next time.

17 September 2014

Busy Busy Days

I think all my blog friends must be despairing of me ever coming back, but like a bad penny I always turn up eventually.

These past few weeks have gone in a whirl and there are more busy times to come....will get to that.

Through it all I have managed to have a finish of one of the later pages....and may have to extend my expected finish date the rate I am going.

This page is about playing with textures.  I attended a workshop at the quilt group last year where we learned a couple of techniques.  This one was free motion stitching layers and then burning the top layer.  Well I used that as a background for a collage, something I am coming to love, but still learning.

The leaf on the right is  a piece of crazy patch from many moons ago, and carried the leaf shapes across to the second piece of burned fabric.I stitched the seams in gold thread. The check leaf on the left is the same pattern as the  taffeta fabric I had my first long dress made from when I was 17.

At present I am home, but for the past two weeks have been helping Himself prepare for a hip replacement operation.  He came over to see the surgeon, and was fortunate enough to get a date this month so there have been a flurry of visits to various people, and lots of paperwork. 

We spent a week at serenity getting things organised there.  The op is next week, and he is here with me now.  I have had to wrap him in cotton wool because the surgeon said if there is even a suggestion of broken skin he wont operate because of the chance of infection.

He will stay with me again after the op, and then I will go back to Serenity with him until he is able to look after himself again. 

This afternoon I have escaped to the back room where the computer is determined to have some time to myself.

While I was at serenity I had a couple of days sewing with my friend and old neighbour, Julie.  She has been working on a schwalm cushion cover I started her on about 5 years ago, so it was good to see how much she is achieving with a bit more encouragement.

Julie is a great friend, with a lovely nature and is very supportive of me.
Here is a photo of her piece.  She had never even heard of pulled thread work or schwalm before she started this so even though it has been a long time project she has done well. She was always an enthusiastic learner and took to everything I taught her with enthusiasm.

The weather was lovely while at the farm, and the flowers are all coming out in bud.
 From top left my yellow orchid, pic of the bush, azaleas, marmalade bush, rainforest tree with seeds, monsteria , iris in bud, old faithful purple crucifix, and a white iris.  The garden there is so neglected it is lovely to see some of my plants surviving

It is almost wine o'clock now, a time I look forward to at the moment
happy stitching my friends till next time.......

12 August 2014

Super Moon and More pages ready

Sunday night I woke in the middle of the night...the result of dreaming a snake was chasing me at the farm.....and when I looked out and saw how bright the moon was, I realised it was the time of the Super Moon.  This is when the moon is closest to earth over our area.   Although I did discover that the event was in fact last night me to get is wrong.

Wee hours of Sunday night
Monday night  

Both nights  could not resist going outside in my pj's to  take photos. The first one is very clear, and don't remember what setting that was on so second one was not as good.  The moon looked much closer in reality and it was amazing to see it so close.

I managed to finish off this page.  The theme has a story that I wanted to include in the book as this technique played a big part in my embroidery journey.  When I first learned embroidery in 1994 I became obsessed with crazy patchwork and created a number of bears, cushions etc.   The circular piece I used for the the head of the butterfly was one of a pair that was to be made into earrings....never happened.  The body was to be added to a shirt....never happened either..... so I resurrected them for a page in the book.

The seams are stitched in gold thread. Because of the busyness of the wings I did not want to overpower the body so the three images across the bottom of the collage are closeups of the 3 embellishments I did on the head and body.  The wings fabric was left over from making a clutch bag for a bride, and the fabric was left over from her wedding dress which she gave me to keep.

Over the weekend I managed another finish. It shows a method of couching.   The design was something I created when I took part in  Sharon Boggon's journal course , where we learned about colour and design.
I have called it Cactus Garden.  The I used bright pink 'rats tail' which I couched with herringbone stitch.  The beads were from my stash. I might add that the postcard is really straight on the piece, but dont seem to get straight photos.

The above page also has a story, and was created for a challenge also at the beginning of my embroidery journey.

 The theme was "joy" and applique was the technique to be used.  Well! the only applique I knew was commercial applique on shirts, I had never heard of Visofix, my library of embroidery techniques was non existent and I had no one I could ask.  So the above is the result.

The stitching is deplorable, but it was what it was at the time so is really significant in showing how far I have come from those early days.  I am enjoying getting all these old memories together.

I actually do still have the first bear I embroidered and display it proudly on a shelf.  But that can be a blog for another day.  The stitching is so ugly, but I love that little bear.

Till next time .....

03 August 2014

Back From the Bush

My blog posts seem to be getting further and further apart these days.  However I am now back from another sojourn, with some pics to share.

There were some new arrivals this visit, deer in the farm paddock next door.  It was so exciting to see something different having never seen deer in real life.
It took a a while to get photos, and these are as close as I got.
Main picture deer near carports inside our property.. top left cattle.. bottom left deer in paddock centre: deer in orchard bottom right: deer moving along fence
The cattle like to get in the act and watch what is going on.

I did enjoy my stay, but it entailed quite a bit of housework.  Himself is having trouble with his hip and is in a lot of pain so has not been able to cope with the cleaning, particularly anything that is  low down.  By the time I left it was good to see my lovely house all spic and span again.

I didn't feel the cold up there because we had a fire every night.  Not much flowering in the garden, although I did get some pics of what is there.
The bromelaids are almost finished but what was there was striking. There are also weeds which are on the bottom right and left. The yellow daisies are almost finished  but managed to capture one lonely flower that was left. I do love the red and pink crucifix orchids.  The white daisy has wonderful blue spots in the centre.
I have managed to finish off my botanica. It now has a backing and hanging sleeve and is ready for the quilt show in September. I have made a collage with some close-ups
Of course a post about serenity is not done unless there is something about the wallabies.  There are new babies, one just out of the pouch and others on the way.  There is also a new baby rabbit, which sadly was taken by a hawk the day after I took the photo...that is nature for you.
The baby rabbit is in the photo with the mummy in the centre bottom pic.  The main pic has "shorty" who we think is the dad of quite a few of the babies relaxing while mum supervises the newest joey out of the pouch.

I did manage to have a couple of sewing days with my friend, but will keep the results for my next post.

bye for now, happy stitching.

14 July 2014

Old sample stitches and pot garden

Hello again my friends, another long absence, but I have been busy. It is also winter here so I have virtually been hibernating.

I have been working on the pages of my fabric book and wanted to share these below  with you. Originally the book was to be all about Tast Stitches I have now decided to include pages of my early attempts at embroidery.
The  photo below is my very first example when I went to learn basic stitching from Debbie Mercer in 1994. These particular stitches were in preparation for two projects with her...a silk ribbon bouquet and a crazy patchwork cushion.
In 1998 I undertook a creative embroidery course by correspondence and this was my very first sampler on running stitch
I have many special memories of the people who helped me along the way and who encouraged me so much.  Now I look back on some of my early work and shudder, but I was fortunate to mix with people who never discouraged me and only gave me the will to continue.

This week I am off back to the farm for a couple of weeks, where it wont be so cold and there is a fireplace. I will still be "on the air" with my tablet and fancy wifi.

 Before I go I would also like to share some photos of my pot garden.   At last my strawberries are fruiting with a lot more to grow and ripen and I have tomatoes coming along. My herbs are also flourishing.
As you can see the gum tree in the park is still shedding leaves everywhere.
bye for now

23 June 2014

I Am on a Roll with the pages.

I am beginning to think that some time this year I might....notice I said able to get close to a finish.   The book is going to be not so much a stitch dictionary, but a record of what I have been doing with my spare time over a period of 20 years.    That is of course apart from painting, and working on larger projects.

These are what I used to call my "scratchings" but they are making me feel they are more than that.  Anyway here are a couple more.
Please not that I am having trouble with my camera, and just cant get the perspective right and have had to resort to altering it as best I could on the computer.  So if things dont look straight it is totally an illusion.

 All three of these are a few years old and from when I was first learning to embroider.   The one above was when I was practising some different stitches i was teaching myself from books
Above is one of two samplers I worked with silk ribbon, and trying out the different flowers.  i was very much a novice then.
Here is another oldie.   I was doing a lot of crazy patchwork at the time, and some of these were just things I was working out to use. Don't you like my spider web.  I was taught this by Debbie Mercer who was my very first embroidery teacher when I started in 1994.  She was so talented and a wonderfully encouraging lady.

I am beginning to believe that all these scrappy pieces I have had put away are going to be made into something that someone in the family will value and want to keep.

The pile of pages to be completed is getting smaller and smaller.

18 June 2014

I Have a Finish

Well at least I almost have a finish!

 All I have to do now to my little art quilt project is to sew the backing on and make a hanging sleeve.  But the front is done.   I haven't decided what to call it yet.  The theme for the challenge was the word "Botanical". So if anyone can help me with a clever name for this I would appreciate it. I am terrible at coming up with names.

For the cap on the yellow mushroom I soaked some linen in a pan with some rusty nails and other rusty bits and pieces I found in an old tool box and then I boiled it up in a mix of tumeric powder in balsamic vinegar and that was the result.  The blue cap is needlelace. I might add that the vinegar stripped the rust from the nails.

 I loved the sheen of the velvet I used on the large mushroom and just happened to have some taffeta that I had pleated up ready for some smocking.  It had been in the box so long that when I removed the threads the pleats stayed there and was perfect for under the mushroom.

The "trees" in the background are cut from some fabric I painted and stamped. I have mounted the whole thing on some thick felt, and other fabrics are some I have had for a long time just waiting for the "right thing" to come along.

closed herringbone

This was a sampler I prepared for a stitching workshop
 I have been back to working on the pages for my fabric book.  It is growing.  The pages are 11.5cm x 11.5cm.  I am looking for a site where I can do some collages with the photos so I can post them in groups.

The pages are a mix of stitch samplers I have done for Tast (which stands for Take  a Stitch Tuesday with Sharon Boggon here)  and samplers I have done with other workshops, or when I have been sharing my own knowledge with friends .  This fabric book is the second I am working on, and includes samplers from my embroidery days from the beginning to the present day.

Dont know the name of this flower but it is giving a nice show in the garden here

This unusual little shrub is quite pretty

My fuschia is very happy in its pot, and never seems to stop flowering.
 I love geraniums and have several colours in pots on my back patio.
The weekend is almost upon us once more. The year is flying.  Have a nice day.

Sorry about the small text I have tried to make it larger but it doesn't seem to be working.  So hope it is on your computers.