Sunday, November 7, 2010

Still More Tote Bags

In between other things I don't seem to be able to get away from making tote bags from unused pieces of embroidery, this time some butterflies, a kookaburra and an unused piece from a Batlimore quilt.   All those years I've needed to have a piece of embroidery in my hands when going to various groups has ended up with a stack of interesting smaller embroideries which have never been framed for hanging on the wall - no room left for them anyway. But I find they make most interesting tote bags.  Just simple lined bags, no pockets inside.

I hope the recipients of the bags like them as much as I do.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

More Tote Bags

I decided I would try and make some tote bags in preparation for Christmas, i.e. do without wrapping paper and just pop each present into a tote bag for the ladies of the family.  The idea is to try and only use scraps left over from other projects.

For the first two I used patterns and instructions from magazines.

Includes Thai silk scraps
Has a button trim
 Then I branched out with ideas of my own.  There is a limit to the number of framed pieces of cross stitch you can fit on the walls so I thought why not include the unframed pieces into tote bags.  And at one stage a few years ago  I was very keen on Baltimore quilts but  after a few blocks I decided that those interminable stems and leaves done with needle turning was not my idea of fun so a couple of them are also becoming tote bags.
Cross stitch parrot
Baltimore Quilt block
 I've already given away the Baltimore tote and I'm hoping I can get enough totes made so that I can keep the parrot tote for myself as I rather fancy that one ! I love the colours in it.

And my favourite book for the month - Gregory Day's "The Grand Hotel".  It's the third in a series set in the imaginary coastal town of  Mangowak (think Airey's Inlet), a quirky, amusing tale of small-town Australian life.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Linen Tote Bag

I only finished this linen tote bag this week and promptly gave it to my daughter as a birthday present. It had been my "go visiting" piece of embroidery for a while - nice and small for carrying to a friend's house for an afternoon or evening of embroidery.  So now it's on to other projects.  Must think about more tote bags.  They're fun to do and make a pretty but useful present.

It's been raining steadily overnight and again this morning - would be a perfect day for sitting and sewing but it will have to wait for a while - perhaps this afternoon.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Australian Election

Federal Election Day tomorrow.  I really despair for the human race.  These last few weeks leading up to the election has shown the character of  Australia and the Australian people at their worst.  Ugly, bigoted, lying. I fail to understand how a temporary prime minister can stand there and deliberately lie about the opposition and say it again and again and again when it is blatantly untrue.  And then it gets repeated again and again among my contemporaries regardless of any proof to the contrary.. It makes me weep.  They just treat us as though we don't have a brain in our body.

What we need is some ethnic cleansing in the Parliament.,  Get rid of the lot of them.  No-one who has stood for Parliament before would be allowed to stand again. I would love that.

I just hope that tomorrow's results give us a government that we can trust to spend our money wisely.  I hate to see a government throwing money around with no thought to the consequences.

Regardless of anything else, never trust a woman who dyes her hair.  She's trying to be something she isn't !!!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Online Scrabble

Are there degrees of addiction ?  I wouldn't like to say that I am addicted to online Scrabble but I must say that I do enjoy it and often neglect things I should be doing to sit and juggle letters into improbable words.  The magic words are  "Your Turn".  I couldn't possibly ignore such an instruction.  My Scrabble partner could be waiting anxiously somewhere in the world for me to respond.

The Online Scrabble which I play (via Facebook) is labelled "Worldwide excluding U.S. and Canada"  Interesting.   I wonder why.  A bit racist, isn't it ?   Could we call that a sanction ?  Actually I'm quite happy with UK, NZ and Aussie players but would like it if Canada was included in our group.  The different time zones makes the game active at different times of the day.  Breakfast and supper are my main times for a bit of interaction.

In a different but similar game you can choose to use either their English or American dictionary.  I don't know what dictionary Scrabble uses but sometime words which I consider normal are not included.   Two that come to mind are Aran - a style of knitting - and tute -  as short for tutorial.

Just heard the little beep which indicates that "Your Turn" is again showing, so bye-bye !

Monday, June 21, 2010

Newspaper Cartoons

I don't know whether or not I'm a lazy person who doesn't add to her blog or whether life just gets too busy and complicated at times.

One thing that  captures my attention every day are the newspaper cartoons.  Those cartoonists are just so clever the way they get to the heart of the matter.  Fortunately the Herald Sun puts Mark Knight's cartoon online each day at      (part of the way down the page).

And about 9.50 am each Sunday morning ABC1's Insiders program has a delightful segment where a guest cartoonist discusses the best of the cartoons for the week from the major newspapers.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Once upon a time I ticked a box that gave me a weekly newsletter from a Canadian food site, .
This week they wrote about the lost art of dinner and the necessity of once a week  having the family sit down to a nice home cooked meal at the dining room table which has been attractively set with candles, napkins, the full works. That's a lovely idea, encouraging people to make dinner a time of meeting and communication, seen so little these days but always one of my favorite times in days gone by.
But the newsletter  made me want to stand up and throw my arms wide and sing "What about me" like the chap in the insurance ad as he surveys others rolling their cars and having accidents
Don't forget we live-alone oldies. We need a different kind of mealtime.

My dinnertime is spent surrounded by all the things I might need for my entertainment for the next hour or two - TV program and remote controls, cryptic  crossword with one word still missing, my current book to read, and the current embroidery to continue, extremely good lighting and a radio - anything that keeps the mind occupied. Dinnertime is not a time to emphasize aloneness. And forget the candles - I need decent lighting and if I used a candle I'd probably end up burning the place down.

To cap off the above food for the mind is some food for the tummy. Tonight, at the start of the cold weather, a hearty Australian beef stew loaded with vegetables and served with mashed potato, followed by a meringue with black coffee. It was quite yummy.
Conversation is a wonderful accompaniment to a meal but when that is not possible one needs a different kind of company.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Whinge, Whinge, Whinge

This is turning out to be a lovely place to have a whinge.  I'll be able to look back later on and perhaps laugh at the silly things that concerned me.

The last couple of weeks haven't been my best.  First I put my mobile phone through the washing machine.  New phone needed. On the bright side I was able to shift to a different carrier and get out of Telstra's clutches.  Then the refrigerator turned up it's toes and died.  So I am back to fridge-less basics until the new one arrives.  Naturally it had to happen at the beginning of a long weekend.

And all around the world.  The troubles caused by the volcanic eruption in Iceland.  As the time went on it made you think about free trade and how dependent we have become on goods from other countries,  and of all the skills lost from Australia.  If that volcano in Indonesia were to blow and send out clouds of ash could we  get cut off from the rest of the world ?  We don't know what's ahead.  Has the Government ever considered how we would cope if we were suddenly isolated.  I'd like a bit more modification to this free trade idea.

Governments from both sides of the fence usually have some redeeming features but with the Rudd Government I can find no redeeming features at all.

Insulating Ceilings - absolute disaster
More Child Care places -  Do they know what the word promise means ?
Global Warming -  They don't have a clue.  Let's just shuffle some money around. Now they announce they're doing nothing till 2012 !
Health and Hospitals - Bully boy's at it again
School Buildings - I wonder how many schools are actually satisfied with what was forced on them or had other preferences.
Quality Control - Let's toss the money into the air and see where it falls.  It doesn't matter if the Government is being rorted right and left, just see what a big, generous man I am
The list just goes on and on.

Something good has to happen.  Perhaps the podiatrist this week will make me feel like I'm walking on air !  Hope so !

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Potholes and Shopping

This year I changed some of my shopping habits.  I'm tired of the bigger shopping centres and having to drive round in circles looking for somewhere to park the car. Quite by accident I found a couple of small shopping strips with oodles of parking, but not just that, though the shop fronts are not pretty to look at the goods on sale are first rate.  Quite worth having to drive an extra couple of kilometres.

One group of shops has a butcher, newsagent and a cafe that makes an excellent latte, and a couple of blocks away there is a fantastic greengrocer.  It has a deceptive small shop front  but once inside it opens up into a large food hall which runs along behind the other shops. Besides the fruit and vegies it has a large assortment of local products - sourdough bread, biscuits, jams, eggs, yoghurt, olive oil.  I do enjoy buying food that has been grown or produced in our local area.

The only fly in the ointment was this pothole, right outside the greengrocer's shop.  Surely an accident waiting to happen.  It's been there at least three months.  I'm happy to record that at long last this week it has been repaired.  They did nothing about it until I started to complain. Turned out it was not a Council problem but a private owner's problem. I've never heard so many reasons for not filling in a pothole. Quite pathetic.  They say look after the little things and the big things will look after themselves.  I'm not sure about that.  I helped fix a small problem but I don't think that's going to have any effect on the bigger problem of what a mess the Government is making of things.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Jane Austen's Bonnet

And so that was Easter ..... I had a feeling it was going to be a rather bleak time this year so I armed myself with a new embroidery. Starting something new is always exciting, in fact I wouldn't mind being a professional starter. Wouldn't it be wonderful ? Something new to start each week then just hand it over to someone else to finish instead of having a cupboard full of UFOs (unfinished objects).

This time I have chosen a quilt called Jane Austen's bonnet. It contains twenty embroideries related to Jane Austen and the Regency period. Plenty of Regency ladies and bonnets, fans, reticules, shawls, posies. I've always been a Jane Austen fan. I have called this project my Easter anti-depressant pill, but it's going to last for much longer than the Easter period. One down, nineteen to go.

Anyway it's back to normal tonight - Book Club. This month the book is Gilgamesh by Joan London, an Australian novel. Not too bad. Looking forward to the discussion (once we've got the important gossip out of the way)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Misery, Fruit Bats and Computers

Some weeks turn out to be just plain miserable and this seems to be one of them. Nothing works out the way it should. Take the bats, for example. Our town now has a colony of fruit bats, driven south by the floods up north. Everyone can see them at dusk flying overhead but to me they are quite invisible. Surely my eyes aren't so bad that I can't see a bat. Or perhaps I don't have the right kind of trees in my area. They say blind as a bat. Perhaps one's skill at viewing bats could be used as a test for the aging of eyes. Then there's the computer software. I used to pride myself with my skills with the computer. But pride cometh before the fall and lately I've had great difficulty sorting out disappearing files, and files which stick on the screen and refuse to let me move on to greener pastures. Even the Help files seem to be less helpful. Still, when things get too frustrating at the moment I in descend into Alexander McCall Smith's "Friends, Lovers, Chocolate", such a lovely, gentle, meandering, novel. If ever they make a movie of the life of McCall Smith I can really imagine Stephen Fry in the lead role.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Postmistress

Newly published, I've read about 100 pages of this book and I begrudge the time that I spend away from it. I am thoroughly enjoying it. Beginning in 1940 it portrays the effect that the war is having on both sides of the Atlantic. An American woman in London is helping to broadcast a daily report on the bombing of London whereas the various inhabitants of a small town on Cape Cod hear the broadcasts. Emphasis is on the women characters and from the back cover I know that among the threads of the story is the effect of holding back a letter which has been entrusted for delivery.

I always wonder when books are not set in the lifetime of the author how accurately the past has been portrayed. All the small details which form the backdrop of the story. For example, in this book I was brought to a halt by a reference to a zipper in a man's pants. An Englishman in  1940  London? I am fairly sure that in Australia it was a post-war phenomenon - the influx of American servicemen into Australia mid-way through the war brought trouser zippers to the attention of Australians. Google searches tell me that they were in use in England as well as America. But were they in everyday use or just in the upper end of the market at that stage ?

A fascinating book and one I am sure which will be added to many Book Group lists.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Choice of Title

In days of old ladies would keep a journal; a place to write down their thoughts. There's no reason why I shouldn't keep a journal but I thought I would try a blog instead. Just a place to occasionally write down my thoughts.

So my thoughts today have been on choosing appropriate names. I'm rather a private person and didn't fancy flashing my own name around so what should I choose as a nom-de-plume ? I enjoy my own company and spend much of my time on my own but most words such as solitary and all its variations sounded too harsh. So I turned to my schoolgirl French and came up with diamant, a diamond, a solitaire, a solitary.

Of course there's Twitter for communication if you have something momentous to report. Facebook is useful for sharing day to day trifles with a group of friends and in some ways is taking the place of e-mails. Family and friends have their own special areas of interest. And now a blog.

What are some of the things I think about ? Reading is high on the list, Australian news and politics, TV shows, why my house is never tidy, embroidery, why the pothole in the shopping centre carpark hasn't been fixed, etc.

And so I launch this into the ether. Perhaps I will find some other blogs of people with similar interests. I might even find out why so many of the retirees of my acquaintance won't join Facebook !