Sunday, 9 June 2013

The Journey

It is over a year since my last post and as you can see by the title it has been quite a journey over those months.  No I haven't journeyed to exotic lands or enjoyed the experience of new cultures.  Close friends and family will understand  and many of them have been on the journey with me.

In July last year I was devastatingly and unexpectedly diagnosed with breast cancer and within a week I had undergone a right mastectomy and then followed months of chemotherapy.  However nearly one year down the track I have regained my health, my "mojo" for creating and a deeper understanding and empathy for people who chronically and continuously suffer physically during their lives.

I was lucky.  I read an interesting article written by a "survivor" saying that many people ask "why me?" when diagnosed with cancer.  Her question was "why not me?"  Cancer is no respecter of age, sex, religion or race.  It can happen to anyone and it does - healthy, sick, old, young, fit, inactive.  It is hard to understand the reason why some people are afflicted and others aren't but I am one of the lucky ones and feel very grateful for that.

I am also so very grateful for the wonderful support I received both in a physical sense from my WH (wonderful husband) and some very special friends but also through messages of hope and love from all over.  To everyone I say thank you from the bottom of my heart.

But here I am - due for my annual checkup in a few weeks and passionately creating most days.

I did lose my "creating" way for a while but am back to the design board and getting more into machine embroidered creations.  Below are some photos of recent creations.

In October last year we had the joy of attending our son's wedding in Fiji.  A wonderful week with beautiful family.  I had the pleasure of making a ring cushion for the couple and also, being a tropical wedding, a pair of barefoot thongs of frangipanis ( the theme flower for the wedding).  More recently I took some of our memorable photos and made a wallhanging for the lovely couple. 

Please look at my product gallery pages to see some other creations.
If you would like to buy any items currently in stock please email me on for prices.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

As Time Goes By

A large bag (18" x 18" or 46 x 46cm approx) using scraps of black, white and touch of red.  Then handles were part of a large amount of craft materials left by my mother-in-law.

"Blues Bag" - one of my original designs about 15" x 15" (approx 38 x 38cm) excluding handle.

I finished this especially for my lovely aunty's visit.  A Kiwi pattern depicting ferns and made of batiks.

A special order from a friend for her daughter - butterflies and an orangey colour were her requests and this was the result.  She loved it and assured me her daughter would too.  I do hope so.

I have been reliably informed by my lovely Aunty Shirley that it is a while since I blogged.  She is so right.  It is ages and what excuses do I offer.  None really - I could say I didn't know what to write about but thoughts have gone through my mind at different times.  I just haven't knuckled down to put them down.

Well here I am now.  Queensland State Elections are finally over, thank goodness.  Can't say I am entirely happy about the result but we will see what happens over the next three years.

I mentioned Aunty Shirley above and I must say how lovely it was to have her stay with us for a few days.  Our highlight was a visit to the Brisbane Craft & Sewing show on Saturday.  WH (wonderful husband) dropped us off and he wandered around the shops in Brisbane city before patiently waiting at a coffee shop for us to finish our browsing and buying.  Aunty is in to crafts and it was great to be able to share tips and ideas with her.  A few days isn't long enough though. 

Talking about aunties.  Your mother can be your best friend and confidant, greatest supporter and encourager (and mine is - always very proud of her children's achievements, loving and generous) but aunties are so special, especially if they are your mother's sisters.  My Mum's three sisters are gorgeous - loving, hilarious sometimes, interested and interesting and, above all, my family.  I just love them to pieces and love being with them.  They, and Mum, are all very close and enjoy getting together when they can.

We really should appreciate our family more, talk to them about their lives, really listen to how they are, how they reached where they are now.  My aunties have all families of their own - cousins I don't see very often but love to when I can - and it is the aunties (and uncles) who are the glue that joins the different parts of our family together.  Some of my aunties and uncles have passed on but I know they remain in the hearts of their brothers and sisters and children.  That is life I suppose.  It is sad but our lives are shaped by them and we must appreciate the heritage of love that they leave.

On a different note, I am currently on jury duty.  I have actually been called to attend court three times in two weeks and made it to the actual courtroom once but my number wasn't picked to sit on a jury.  My first time on jury duty so an experience to add to my book of life.  One of the most serious civil duties a person could possibly be called to do and although a bit scarey knowing that you have to make a decision about someone's future, an interesting duty.

An added note but very important.  As Time Goes By doesn't only refer to the fact that I haven't blogged for a while but also that on Friday, my eldest grandson and his partner, presented me with my first great grandchild, a little girl, Nirvana.  As much as she will be loved, it sure make me feel old but in other ways I don't.  As my sister said to me once, how did we get to be this old?  We just have to look at it, not in terms of numbers or years, but in terms of experience and experiences.  We have loved, and lost, and loved again in so many different ways.  Love, I think, is the most enduring human quality we can have and I hope that wee Nirvana is deeply loved and loves deeply as she too grows.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Another Beautiful Day

A cute cushion for kids with machine embroidered dragons - not scary ones though.

This cushion and those below incorporate small crosstitch panels.

I feel quite invigorated and very good.  Just been for a walk and tea at a local coffee shop with my American friend.  This is all very tame for her - she has walked the Kokoda Trail, trekked in Nepal, hiked through
Spain, run marathons in Ireland - but it was nice to have a companion and be able to walk along a trail that isn't the road.  WH (wonderful husband and I) also went walking on Saturday but meeting traffic on our road and the side road we took and battling the flies wasn't ideal.  It was nice to get out walking together though on a fine day.

We have had a lovely weekend weather wise, after several weeks of rain, and managed to get the whole property mown, trees cut and gardens tidied plus I have been painting a hutch dresser.  It is in two parts so easier to manage.  I have had the dresser for some years and was stained a light colour.  But to match a table I bought and painted some months ago I sanded it back and am painting it white with blue inside the glassed door cupboards.  As most of my family and friends know, I am an avid fan of blue and white in decorating.  The blue is gloss paint left over from our ensuite and the outside is white prep paint left over from house renovations last year.  When I have finished I will distress it a bit then seal it for easier cleaning.  I am really liking the look of the blue inside the cupboards and looking forward to finishing it.

Last Wednesday I started a 10 week cookery class at Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food along with my stepdaughter, Renee, and her stepdaughter.  Great fun and even though it was quite basic - last week's first class was all about eggs - I did learn things I didn't know.  This week we are making Pumpkin and Rosemary soup - a majority vote (the other choice was Leek and Potato which would have been good too).

To cap a virtuous period I have also bought some Christmas presents for this year.  How about that?  I don't think I have ever started Christmas buying so early in the year although I know a lot of people buy up big at the Boxing Day sales. 

On the craft side I have vowed that this year I will use up as much of my stash and scraps as possible and only buy fabric when absolutely necessary to finish off a project or for use in a special project for myself, family, friends or customers.  I have been very good so far and have a few projects on the go from my basket of scraps.

Above are pics of some cushions incorporating small crosstitch panels I made when in Europe in 2009.  I always like to have some hand sewing to do when travelling.  I had put them away in a safe place on our return and promptly forgot about them but recently, after WH had installed some shelves in some old cupboards for me and I was sorting through my hoard, I found them and decided to use them then and there before they disappeared again. 

I am having loads of fun using machine embroidery in projects also and the dragon cushion is a result. 

A beautiful day today and although the temperature is supposed to hit 35deg C at present it is pleasant under cover.  I can look out our office window and see dozens of little yellow butterflies flitting around amongst the trees, all lush and overgrown after the weeks of rain.  Still lots of work ahead cutting them back and tidying the property.

I am so appreciative of being able to look out on these beautiful surroundings and think how lucky I am.  I hope that you all have a wonderful week and don't forget to count your blessings too.  Sometimes it is hard, I know, but even small blessings bring us moments of happiness.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Hey ho it's off to school we go

Bag I made for my sister for Christmas

Memory Quilt I made for my brother to celebrate his 50th birthday.
Back to school in Queensland for thousands of children including several of our grandchildren.  Hunter, aged 4, is starting prep so his very very first day in uniform and starting the discipline of formal schooling; Izak has already had a year in prep and is now a big Grade 1er;  Jaiden is starting a new high school which is renowned for its sporting prowess.  Should be good for him as he lives to play sport.  To all other grandies off to school, I hope they have an awesome year full of of fun and lots of learning.

I love to learn new things and as an ex-IT Trainer I understand the importance of continuing to upgrade your skills and knowledge continually.  My vow this year is to learn something new every day whether it be a fact, a skill or a technique.  I know that we do unconsciously probably learn something new each day but I want to do this consciously and know that at the end of the day I have added to my repertoire of knowledge.

Last week was wonderful.  I was able to spend every day at home except the one day I was rostered onto my volunteer shift at the local hospital.  So I finished a lot of projects, started some new, rationalised my craft magazine collection and started painting my pine hutch dresser to match the table I did a few months ago.  Time to reorganise the furniture.  I haven't done this for a while but have always enjoyed changing the furniture around providing - they say that change is as good as a holiday and changing the furniture provides this without doing anything else too drastic in life.

After decluttering and deep cleaning our pantry a while ago I thought it time to also go through all the loose recipes - cut or ripped from magazines, backs of packets, etc - try them out and retype them on the computer to put into a lovely covered folder.  So making a cover for a folder is on my agenda.  Could be an idea for Christmas or birthday presents too - folders for recipients' favourite recipes but also including some of mine.

So here's to a wonderful serene but knowledge building week for you and me.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Happy New Year

I made most of our 17 grandchildren a personalised machine embroidered cushion for Christmas and it seems as though they all love them.  I still have four more to make for those who weren't here.  

Our newest 'grandie', Charlie born on 4 December.
Big brother, Henry, now 2.

4 year old Blaide

Izak is 5 and loves quad bikes

Hunter is 4 and loves anything with wheels

14 year old Kody is horse mad

6 year old Rilee does motocross riding and plays football

Blake is 11

18 year old Kayla loves dolphins

2 year old Jett was unhappy that I took his book off him
to take a photo with a silly cushion

"Captain" Jack is 4

Little 2 year old "Princess" Mia

Below are close up pics of some of the cushions. 

2012 and I wish everyone a peaceful, harmonious, serene and contented New Year.  I hope that all your dreams, goals and plans come to fruition and that you are surrounded by love and joy.

I haven't 'blogged' for a while but one of my resolutions this year is to update weekly and keep you informed of progress on my 'creations'.

Last year was eventful in both Australia and New Zealand so here is hoping that this year is a little quieter, although Christchurch is still being shaken around and a tragic ballooning accident last week has unsettled New Zealand but I know that myself and many others around the world send their heartfelt loving thoughts to that small country at the edge of the world. 

We have just returned from a holiday in NZ and I was so happy and grateful to have been able to visit my brothers, sister and have my parents as travelling companions from Auckland down to Westport in the South Island.  It is many years since I have seen very much of the North Island and I was happy to be reminded of the many small, beautiful towns and villages on our route southwards - Auckland to Whakatane, Whakatane through to Rotorua, Lake Taupo and Napier, Napier to Wellington.  We had a quick stop at Dannevirke, a Scandinavian settlement, and photographed WH (wonderful husband) standing underneath the giant Viking sign at the town's entrance - he being Danish born.

Beautiful crossing of the Cook Strait on the interisland ferry - very calm although overcast and a little windy on deck when trying to take photographs.  So many of those I zoomed in on are very blurry but the Marlborough Sounds is one of my very favourite places in NZ.

My plans for this year include setting up a stall at the local Fernvale Markets, more workshops for my original designs and hopefully finishing the studio and opening it to the public.  I am also thinking of a couple of high teas/garden parties when the weather is a little cooler.

Above all I want to continue to feel happy and very grateful for all the wonderful things I have in my life - my wonderful husband, children, grandchildren, lovely home and prosperity.

Sunday, 6 November 2011


Spring again and what a lovely time of year.  Perfect temperatures - not too hot - jacaranda in flower and everything is wonderful.

I haven't blogged for a while.  Seem to have had writers' block and lack of inspiration.  But here I am again, busy, busy with making Christmas gifts, new designs and hospital volunteer stuff. 

Recently, after finishing renovations on a property, we finally visited a couple of dear, old (not so much in ages but in friendship length) friends in their new home in a little seaside village on the Fraser coast.  A beautiful home, lovely little spot but, oh boy, the midges had a field day with us.   Worth it though to see these two lovelies again, celebrate one of their birthdays and to see some of their friends again too.

We have booked our tickets to New Zealand to spend Christmas with some of my family.  I haven't had Christmas there for many years.  This time we will fly into Auckland and meet my parents, who are flying up from the West Coast of the South Island, spend a couple of days catching up with one of my brother's and his family and hopefully an aunty and uncle before heading down to Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty.  A few days catching up with another brother and his family over Christmas before Rotorua, Taupo, Napier and on to Wellington.  Possibly a day or so there too and then across on the interisland ferry to Picton and down to home town Westport.  It will be lovely taking the parents on our journey and also for WH (wonderful husband) and myself to see a different part of the country.  He has never seen most of the areas we will travel through and I haven't for a very long time.

A couple of weeks ago I attended, with a non-crafty friend, the Brisbane Craft and Quilt Fair.  Spent a little money but not too much.  Soaked up the craft atmosphere and drooled over the beautiful work that was on show, especially in the quilt area.  Even my friend enjoyed seeing the beautiful quilts on display.

We enjoyed afternoon tea at Southbank, much refreshed and replenished after being all but washed away during the January floods.  It really is a lovely asset to the city and much used by young and old, singles, couples and families.  I always love wandering through the park and sitting and meditating by the river.

In the very busy lives that many people lead these days it is hard to justify just sitting and contemplating.  A lot of us seem to always have this urge to be busy, busy all the time.  Is this because we feel we should do or we have to or because it is expected of us?  I know that there are things that must be done both at work and at home but it is a shame that the beauty around us isn't often appreciated.  Calmness, serenity, peace and contentment are elusive for many but if we can spend just a few minutes each day appreciating those things we are lucky to have - even the smallest blessings - how much happier we would all be.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011


A scrumptious table centre - yummy cupcakes on hexagon backgrounds.  Except for the machine embroidered cupcakes this is totally handsewn.

Please look at some other creations on the pages at the right.

I have been thinking about the journeys we take.  Not just in travel terms although that is part of it, but in how we live our life.

When we travel how often do we see our destination as the end?  We want to get there as quickly as possible.  But how much more interesting it is if we get off the beaten track, meander around, investigate hidden mysteries, learn new ways and means of getting there, inhale different smells, tastes, cultures, environments and people.

Life is the biggest journey we take.  Of course we don't just want to go from start to finish in a straight line.  There are challenges to overcome, heartbreaks to bear, obstacles to wade through.  Rather like a travel journey we must negotiate hills and valleys, sidetracks, narrow lanes, broad highways, bridges, fast flowing rivers or meandering streams. 

We are always evolving - our personalities, our habits, our thoughts, dreams and ambitions.  This is our journey.

Some people have told me they have no dreams.  I can't imagine having no dreams.  My current life is one of creation, of dreams and imagination.  I love to create and imagine.  The universe is so huge and in our imaginations, our dreams and our creations we can see, be and do anything we want.  This does not mean that we are dissatisfied with what we have and where we are now but are willing to encompass everything that life has to offer.  With an "attitude of gratitude" for what we do have we attract the great things into our lives.

No two people are exactly the same.  Everyone has different characteristics, personalities and thoughts and although we may sometimes not understand other people's foibles (they probably don't understand ours either) we must accept and tolerate everyone for these differences that make them unique and special.  Nothing is every black and white although some people may think that way.  If you are not hurting anyone physically, mentally or emotionally (including yourself) then follow your dreams, take the journeys, think in colours and not just black and white.