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.