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. 



  1. Finding out about those who came before us is so much fun and sometimes an eye-opener. My grandmother died long before I was born, but through DNA testing, we are discovering so many things about the family, and some questions have been answered. There are a lot of red-haired people in my family also.

  2. Thank you for sharing this story about your life. I really enjoyed it. Praying for good health and happiness. I've been away from blogger for awhile. I have a lot of catching up to do.