Friday, October 6, 2017

Crafty Update - Hooked loveliness and a whinge or two

While I haven't been a prolific hooker and stitcher as before, I have been making.  I still find it hard to sit down and create.  I've pinned lots of inspiration but just can't get myself into the making part.  I have made stuff, but only because I needed the money, doing it for the sheer pleasure has long since left me. I think my life is out of balance, health-wise, financially, relationships, and my home.  Maybe blogging will bring me some satisfaction.  I started a writing course a few weeks ago, everyone else is finishing week 2 I'm struggling to get motivated half way through week one.  Perhaps I should just stop fighting this lethargy, and rest and allow everything to just flow along as it is for a short while. But enough of my whinging you came here to look at pretties. 

Not 2017 but just before christmas 2016.  She was such a pretty girl

These little guys went buzzing off down to On the Verandah..  

Add caption

Mutant bunnies made from leftover body parts

I thought I would try something different for the trees latest bikini.
Freeform crochet inspired by Prudence Mapstone.  I did actually love doing this and I
 am amazed by the tourists taking photos of it. I actually saw a queue at weekend.. 
Just a few flowers before bedtime.  I needed to use up some yarn and there was also
nothing on tele that night. During the day I also embroidered a rose button.  

The next night, the garden grew.  All made in the advert breaks

The third night the garden was finished.  Though 18 leaves had been made
 at the hospital during the day while I was waiting for a biopsy

Over the years of making ami's I have ended up with a few failed ones and have collected quite a few body parts.  I also had bits of yarn that needed using up.  I made these snuggly lovies earlier this year..  I played around with some of the octopus legs I had left over.  Mmmmmmm, that gave me an idea. 

See the octopussy, isn't she cute.

I keep telling myself if this is what I can do when I am not in the mood or feeling inspired then just think what I could do if I was. I've only posted a few of the things here that I have made.  In the past I was too obsessed, this is probably my limit now and I should accept that.  Nearly everything has sold or been given as gifts.  I have a few ideas floating around and rather than trying to do 6 of them all at once I should concentrate on one at a time. I need to discipline myself.  

Till next time.... 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


I love to write, well I did.  Now it seems such a chore.  There is no point making promises to be here more often, I know I wouldn't keep them. I found two draft posts from earlier in the year.  I don't even remember writing them. I am such a baaaaaad blogger.

It was so windy, Ryan had to hold
on to his little mum to keep her from blowing away.
So what is going in in my life... Not much, same old, same old but we did have a couple of moments of joy, and of tears.   My youngest son got married.  I am now officially a 'mother-in-law'.  I plan on being a very good one.  It was a very windy day.  The wedding chapel was on the beach, a beautiful spot, but very windy.  There were lots of happy tears and laughter.

Many years ago, probably 32.  My late beautiful mother-in-law,
my wonderful late husband, and me. A family wedding in Chorley. 
The sad tears came a few weeks ago as we farewelled my wonderful mother-in-law.  She had been an inspiration for me for over 40 years, never judging, always there if needed. For a long time she had welcomed death, but he chose not to visit her.  Her body and mind failing her eventually she slipped away.  She had a life well lived and was loved by everyone that knew her.  She had a way of saying 'oh Jan', sometimes it was in exasperation, sometimes pity, sometimes joyous.  She didn't have to say anything else. I knew what she was saying and I knew she was there for me. I miss our long chats, she always forgot the time difference and most calls were either very late at night or very early morning - but they were always welcome.  She will be my guide as I enter my new role in life.

Not a lot going on in my world now.  Still hooking away, a bit of embroidery and a lot of volunteering.
Study has stopped for a while. I need to work out whether I am going to do more. Not sure if I'm going to go for a BA, majoring either in English or History.  Is it worth it at this late stage in my life. I do have inspiration from some of the lovely older ladies who graduated recently in the Diploma of Family History.  One amazing woman graduated at age 85.  Now she really is an inspiration.

More later.....


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The cute stays...

I can't fight it, the cute has to stay.  Maybe I'll do cute and weird together.

I love these guys

Yungaburra Wacky Birds

Pink Flying Pig
I've been cruising through my photographs. The cuteness just jumps out, I cannot escape it.
Unfortunately I am not in the mood. I had thought perhaps seeing all my creations would fire up the old creative juices.  There was a little stirring, not enough to make me jump up for my hook though.
Rereading though years of old posts, I can see this is a regular occurrence. I can also see that this is the longest slump I have been in.

Family history and writing have taken over. I
am immersing myself in the past.  I have a few weeks before the last unit of the Diploma in Family History that I am doing starts and I had hoped to have quite a few ami's made.  But time-travelling takes up all my time.

The uni is talking about extending the Diploma and adding an Advanced Diploma.  That's all I need.  I have got addicted to learning.  I recently did a course in Understanding Dementia and now have an opportunity to further it.  The uni is offering three different levels in Dementia Care studies.  I suppose if I was still in the workforce and expecting to work till I was mid 60's it might be a worthwhile pursuit.  The level I want to do is a two year + course.  That would take me to just over 60.  It does interest me. I found what happens to the brain when Alzheimer's takes hold fascinates me.  My mother was diagnosed a few years ago and is now in a care facility in the UK.  Slowly, slowly we are losing her.  The upheaval of being taken out of her own home against her will and being put into a substandard care home greatly affected her.  By the time my brother was notified of this, the damage had been done and her overall health was compromised.
Eventually my brother was able to get her into a home nearer to him.  I researched homes in his area and gave him the list of the top ones for him to check out. We found a lovely one, very caring and with special Dementia Carers. We have SKYPE calls and she is a lot happier and her health is improving.  She still knows who I am but is forgetting certain words, this is distressing to her.  She thinks she is in a posh hotel and is on holiday.  But she is still very independent and finds it hard to have her meals prepared for her and her cleaning done.
The home is expensive, but we would rather this than a cheaper alternative with bad care.  It is 'end of life' care and she deserves to be cared for in a respectful and dignified way.
I'm working in the information centre this morning.  As always, I'll take my little bag of crochet... little tiny flowers.  I never get chance to do any, even if I was inspired to do so. School goes back next week I think, so there might be less tourists around.  There hasn't been many tourists around but what there has been have been very demanding.  Not in a bad way, the majority of them are lovely, but some are unused to the distances they have to travel and the weather and how it affects our roads. With all these wild storms  along the east coast the roads can be very dangerous. There has been a lot of flooding and people tend to take chances when crossing flooded roads.  Believe me, I know how scary it can be.  On that note, I better get a wiggle on.  I have to open up the centre, put on my happy face and be sweetness and light.


Flora, the first ami doll I designed

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Lunch Date

Yesterday, I took my youngest grandgirl out for lunch.  We opted for the Whistle Stop Cafe in the village.  My favourite eatery for great coffee and cake.  We found a nice table under the trees in the shade with a cool breeze gently blowing through.  A friend recommended the home made pies - that's if they had any left.  We were lucky, YAY.  Yes, they were the best homemade pies I have eaten for a long time (except mine of course).  No photo's, I left the ipad at home.  But here are some I made earlier.
The Whistle Stop Cafe

Peterson Creek

Rather than going back home and slobbing out in a heap we went for a walk. Through the trees, over the suspension bridge and along the creek. We found a nice spot to sit in the shade and just watch the water go by. No platypus at play, but they were there, hiding away from us.
It was getting quite hot, so we went back home and
Peterson Creek
slobbed around, watched a movie and ate
It's a long time since I have actually sat and watched a movie without doing something else at the same time. I enjoyed it - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.  I had always thought it was a kids movie, but when I saw Tim Burton's name on it I knew it had to be a bit 'dark'. The highlight of the movie was seeing Blackpool - where I grew up.  I developed my fear of clowns at the Tower Circus, and spent a lot of my older teenage years on that pier. I also remembered a quick snog on those benches with a distant ex-boyfriend.
I don't have very many memories of my grandmother and I like to think days like these will stay with my granddaughter.  I might not have captured our day together in a photo but it will always stay in my heart.

Christmas 2014

Thursday, January 12, 2017

I'm over cute

The little grubs on my header just had to go  I'm so over cute. Cute sells though. Perhaps I should look at all my ami's and uncute them.   Once I get back in my crochet mood though.  Not sure what sort of mood I am in.
I can't even be bothered to tell you about my boring Christmas and uneventful new year. Or the deluge that poured in over the cooker, from a hole in the roof.
December 2016
Tinaroo dam dropped to around 31% and people from all over came to look.  We took the usual 'once in every ten to 12 years' photo on the bridge, except this year Ryan held his dad's photo.  It has poured down for a week, the ground so hard and dry that the rain just ran over it, causing flash floods in many areas. Our village alone has had nearly 500mm in a week.
 There's a small respite from the rain today and I can hear so many mowers being rushed around newly sprouted grass.  Not this little duck, the mower can stay securely locked in the shed.  Spoke too soon... Matt has decided to mow before the next shower comes down. Judging by how dark it is going he should have enough time to get the front done.
No energy today for anything. I should be working but decided I didn't feel like it.  I'm only a volunteer and feeling taken for granted, and I don't like how things have changed within the system.
Lunch time.  The fridge is bare except for a couple of peaches and pears. I'll shop tomorrow after I take Stacey home.


Thursday, December 29, 2016

As 2016 draws to a close...

This year has sped so fast.  While I have crafted, it has been done half halfheartedly.  Family History has taken over my life and I seem to be constantly time travelling.  
I am still volunteering though the joy has gone out of adult literacy tutoring.  New teachers, new stricter system - cramming too many students into a classroom too small - get the numbers up, get them out of here and get new ones in, there is no time or space for one on one tutoring. I'm trying to get more hours at the info centre, which will mean less travel as the centre is only a short walk away from home. I love meeting people from all over the world, and chatting with people from my own country who are visiting Australia. 
My life is full of itty bitty things, I have spent all of this year trying to catch up or get into some sort of routine.  My health has been up and down, nothing major... a few falls, three biopsys (all fine), blood sugars all over the place, and the usual aches and pains.  
I have been embroidering.  I had the huge idea of embroidering an annotated map of the York area where my ancestors lived. It was part of a uni assignment.  I quickly found out it was way too ambitious in the time scale I had.  Using Publisher I created a map from images on the net and my own family photos.  I scanned a photo of my grandmother as a young woman. Then I cut out a piece of calico A4 size and I ironed on a piece of stiffening onto the back, then with fingers crossed I printed the photo onto this. It worked.  Then I embroidered details onto the photo, flowers in the background, the outline of her dress, and highlights in her hair.  I used my own hair to embroider her hair, very fiddly and time consuming but it gave me the effect I wanted, my grey bits were perfect for the highlights.  I have still a lot to find out about my grandmother so the outline shows that I only know the outline of her story, I still have the details to fill in.  The half finished background shows I know a little about where she came from and the hair links her to me.  The map shows how close the families lived and how small her world was, it also shows that I was born close by and yet never knew any of the family history when I was growing up. 
I crocheted a little White Rose of York and added it to the map.  I learnt something as well. Having the one petal at the top signifies that it is North Riding, if the two petals are at the top this signifys West and East Riding. 
I also have a photo of my grandmother aged around 10, she is wearing a string of pearls and a white lacy dress. I will use a pearl bracelet that I never wear so will use them in the embroidery.   
One of my ideas was to embroider a tryptich, using photos of my grandmother, my father and myself
I had red hair, dad was dark haired, almost black, and I am not sure what colour my grandmother's hair was.  We all have that bee-stung bottom lip. 
This year I have found out a lot about my Yorkshire side, some things not very nice and some that have a little bit of mystery surrounding them.  We always thought the temper came from the red hair but now it might be from my grandmothers side... great great great granny Kirby running through the streets of York, in a passion, with a rolling pin to bash up her daughter in law, and was also fined for fighting with a neighbour in the street. 


Monday, March 7, 2016

...and the rain came down

It's either feast or famine with the rain.  Not enough or too much.  I know we desperately need it, but couldn't it have just eased off a little bit when I went back to the car.  My umbrella fell apart, so I struggled down the back laneway, with shopping in one hand and trying to hold over my head what was left of my brolly.

I'll console myself with these.

I seem to be hitting more and more dead ends and brickwalls in my search for my ancestors.  I need to get in touch with my cousin again, I sent a message through ancestry and I hope she sees it.  This weeks module has had a quick going over.  Writing a research plan, I'm  going back to basics, pretending I know nothing.  Not sure how long I have to do it, I think by Friday.  In the words of Jonesy, 'Don't panic, don't panic'. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Lazy Sunday

A years worth of posts to catch up with, all that craft.  I'm sure I started to write a blog post a few months ago.  Obviously not.  So I'll add a liitle bit from the past year when I write my new posts.  
I have started a Diploma course in Family History.  Its something I've wanted to do for a while, and a spur of the moment decision saw me enrolled and wondering what on earth I had got myself into.  I received a High Distinction in the Writing Unit which is part of the Diploma.  It made me think outside of my comfort zone and gave me confidence to tackle other things.  

This latest button caused me so much aggro last night. I cut it too small for the 38mm button and then when i put it on a 29mm one, I catapulted it into oblivion.  Well, my rubbish bin in the craft room as I have just found out this arvy, after an intensive search. The lower one I did on Friday.  That one is too big for the 38mm button, hopefully it will fit a 50mm one, when I can get to Spotlight. 

My little Lulu.  I hadn't realised it was the Chinese Year of the Monkey when I started designing her.  I love how she turned out.  I made a couple of boy ones before Christmas, but wasn't happy how they were developing.  She is such a cutie.  I've nearly finished a sibling for her, at this stage it can go either way whether it will be a brother or a sister. 

Another picture of my rose buttons.  They are so pretty, thanks to the wonderful threads I use. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

March 2016...Really, where did the time go

I love these buttons, I used hand dyed Cottage Garden Threads
in varigated pinks, greens and blues. They are quick to make and satisfy
that creative urge when you want to make something but
don't want to start anything big. 
A small selection of the last years work.  Mostly orders, I wish I could get
orders like these every month.  I love the little fat fairy, roughly based
on moi!  The monster was made from bits of leftover legs, rabbit ears and owl eyes . A friend
of the family fell in love with the cat and I had to make another just for him.
I forgot to add the grass and flowers at the base
of the tree, but its a cheery button despite that. It looks like a firework tree.
Again I used varigated thread by Cottage Garden Thjreads.
I'm obsessed with making embroidered
buttons. The roses were stitched in a close blanket
stitch using one thread of a varigated thread, with fly
stitch leaves.   French and Colonial
knots were used in the background.
. The larger button is 38mm.

More trees.  The varigated threads on the tree trunks and branches
lent themselves very well to the varigation of the bark.  One strand of  thread and
stem stitch, french knots and granitos stitches were used.
The trees tie in with my passion of researching my family history. 

This is my little sugar plum pudding fairy that I quickly hooked up for christmas.
I didn't put up the big christmas tree this year so she had nowhere
to hang out. I couldn't bear to let her go, so she is now a
permanent feature in my craft room.

I can't believe how fast time has gone.  I started a Diploma course in Family History late last year and my craftwork has suffered. Yet looking at these photos, I have been quite busy.  This is only a small selection.  The monkeys I created last month are still to be downloaded off the ipad onto the desktop. 
Volunteering takes up three days a week, my uni course takes 3 hrs a day.  I squeeze crafttime in whenever I can. My Etsy shop has still not opened. I'm undecided what to do.  I sell a few things through a friends shop and by word of mouth, but it isn't going to make me rich anytime soon. 
Christmas was canceled as I was sick with a chest infection, it refused to shift. Nobody wanted to catch anything so they all stayed away. I was quite happy with that and stayed in bed, read books and slept. Had all my health checks - heart, thyroid, diabetes etc.  Everything is fine.  I can come off one of my heart meds. YAY. 

We have finally got rain, after it has been threatening for days.  Glad we got the lawns mowed this week. I pruned the Ivory Curl as well. It finally flowered after 9 years.  I've tried all the online safe remedies to get rid of the weeds, but they aren't working.  So, sorry, they are gonna have to be poisoned. I'll risk it this one time. I haven't got the time, energy or finances to keep trying to get rid of them the hard way. The passionfruit vine, that Lila bought me to put on the fence that I didnt want, is full of flowers and climbing rampantly along the unwanted fence. 

After two months on a meat free diet, we have decided to eat meat once or twice a week.  I HATE Tofu and Tofu hates me.  I can't digest it, it gives me very bad stomach cramps and I spend hours vomiting as my body tries to get rid of the damm stuff .  Found a book at the op shop on Tuesday - 'The Accidental Vegetarian'.  The recipes are wonderful and not one bit of tofu in them. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

April Showers

After a very dry 'Wet Season' we are now getting rain in Autumn, its certainly cooled it down a tad, the unseasonal heat was draining me. Not that we get very cold here in the Tropics but the rain is very welcome. Christmas came and went, a very quiet low key affair. It was great to have all my boys in the one house without world war three breaking out. We celebrated Christmas with an exceptionally wonderful Coyle family traditional bacon butty breakfast. Mum and my brother joined in via Skype from the UK. We were so stuffed with breakfast that after everyone had gone on to other parties Matt and I decided we couldn't be bothered with christmas dinner later in the arvy so we just made a salad and had a bit of ham with it, suited us fine and we lazed around for the rest of the day.
Easter was upon us before we knew it, I got to meet Lavinias family and we had a big barbi out the back under the trees, kids running all over the place, wine, chocolate and beer flowing.
Stacey plaited Liams beard. Life has quietened down again and back to a steady pace. I've had all my heart, thyroid and diabetes checks, had a small gyni op and am now awaiting to see whether my thyroid has to be removed. Everything else ok. My hooks having been flying and ami's, flower garlands and other shawls have all been created.
The Bikini Tree got a new suit, tourists from all over the world have posed with it. I'm hoping to do a new one for winter, i thought about a flower and leaf one. The whole town is so pretty with the garden club adding hanging flower baskets and beautifying the town. I get a bit p'd off with living in a tourist village, but then when I am working in the info centre and visitors tell me how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place, I feel blessed. Hope it won't be too long before I have something else to say. Jan