Another Tea Cosy!

Ok so I’ve been bitten by the tea cosy bug!

But I have to say they are useful.  There is so much yummy material to choose from too. Do I go pretty or maybe funky or do I try this with that… sigh so many choices.

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Ok so this time I thought I would do some patchwork teacups. I have a terrific book that has patterns for lots of different 4 inch squares and found a pattern I liked. It took me a while to choose which pieces of material to use with each other. I put bits together and ummed and erred, then walked out of the room and came back again later to see what I thought. Anyway finally made a decision and made the teacup squares first.

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The teacup has a napkin under it so I dug out some broglais englais. It was white, which I thought was a little too stark. I cut out two pieces and then dyed them. One in tea and one in coffee. I liked both of the effects so used both, one on each side.

 

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I used vlisofix to attach it to the piece of material in the block. I then used satin stitch around the edge of the napkin to finish it off. I also embroidered a handle onto the edge of the cup. 

I used some 5 1/2 inch squares that I already had cut out from a previous project. Love using up left overs 🙂  I sewed two squares together for each side of the teacup block.

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Once the teacup block was finished, I lined it up to the side blocks and added a piece to the bottom of the teacup block to make it fit the size of the side blocks.

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I made sure I had sewn enough material together to be large enough for the template, I then pinned this to the wadding. Again I used the wool wadding. It’s nice to sew and has proven to be great for keeping the teapot hot.

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I quilted in the ditch of the teapot block then did a basic 1 inch wide stitch from top to bottom. I used grey as it was pretty neutral with the materials I used. I thought about using green but decided to go with the grey.

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When I was happy that I had enough quilting I then cut out the shape. I folded the template in half both ways so that I ended up with a cross in the middle. This helped me to make sure the teacup block was more or less in the middle of the template.

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I usually pin the template to the material and then cut it out with scissors, but this time I just winged it by pressing down with my hand and cutting with my cutter. Very slowly and carefully I might add and luckily it went okay.

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Once I had both sides cut out I sewed them together and then I had to decide on the inside lining. Seems easy but it took me a day or two to decide!

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I decided to embelish the teacosy with some suffolk puffs, also known as yoyos. I had these made already (excellent, another repurpose). Chose 4, 2 for each side. Then went through all my buttons to put on top.

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Once these were done I then attached the lining. Not forgetting to pin the heart for the top of the teacosy.

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So true confession time. The teacosy is a little short for my pot, but I will see if it still works… or I might send it to Fran. I measured it and I think it will fit hers.

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Also the lining was a little tricky and it took me a couple of goes to make it sit properly.

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Anyway here is my finished teacosy. Hope you enjoyed my journey 🙂

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My Tea Cosy

 

 

 

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I have a little teapot that I use on a Sunday. I sit and read the paper on Sundays, so I have time for more than one cup of tea. I have been thinking it would be nice to have a tea cosy to cover it, keeping it hotter for longer.

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From left to right: wool wadding, lining material, main material

I had a look online for a tea cosy pattern, just to see what ideas were out there. I settled on one of the patterns and set about making the paper pattern via the instructions. I followed the instructions: measured my pot and divided measurements by 2 then added 1 and 1/2 inches, as instructed. I drew it up and felt it looked too big, so I got my husband to check my math, not my strong point but is his. I had followed the instructions correctly but… it was just was too big. I think it would have fitted my head in the end!

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Height

 

 So I decided to do my own pattern. I remeasured the width of my wee little pot, and the height. Then I added 1 and 1/2 inches for room to move and a 1/4 inch seam allowance. I marked the width of the pot on the edge of a piece of paper. I cut the paper to this width. Then I folded it in half and where the fold line was I marked the height of the pot. I then folded it in half again and drew an arc from the height mark to the edge of the width mark. When I was happy with the shape I used my paper scissors to cut it out. When I opened it up I put it behind my teapot just to see if it looked like the right shape and size.

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Widest part

Then I cut out my main material x 2 and the lining material x 2, using my paper template. I cut the wadding larger than the shape to allow for when I quilted the main material. I decided to have a heart shape at the top of the tea cosy so I drew a heart shape, hoping it was big enough when finished. I cut two heart shapes from the lining material and some wool wadding to give it some substance. You could also stuff it if you wanted it more 3D ish.

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This ended up about 2 inchs long when sewn

 

I sewed my heart first. With right sides together and the wadding on the bottom I slowly sewed around the edge of the heart. I left an inch on the side to turn it through but it was too small so had to unpick it to about an inch and a half size. Big enough to get your thumb in anyway. I trimmed the edge to within an 1/8th of an inch from the sewing line, except where the hole to turn was. Then I turned it through to the right sides. I pinned the hole edge and ironed it then sewed around the edge of the whole heart. This gives it a nice finish and closes the hole at the same time.

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Then I sewed the linings together, leaving the straight edge open. I used a 1/4 inch seam. Once that was sewn I again trimmed the edge and carefully clipped the curves. Oh and yes I forgot to leave a 3 inch gap in the top curve of the lining, so I unpicked the required length. This is for turning when you join it to the main piece of fabric.

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Make the batting/wadding larger

Okay so now I had the main material left to do. I placed one of the pieces ontop of one of the pieces of wadding, pinned them together and then quilted it. I decided on a very simple straight stitch with white cotton, about an inch apart. I was going to cross hatch but liked the effect of just one line so left it at that. Then I trimmed the wadding to the same size as the material.

 

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The main material cosy pinned inside the lining

Once both main pieces of material were quilted I pinned them together, making sure to line up the edges and sewn lines too. I also put the heart shape at the top of the curve, inside the two pieces of material, with just enough of the bottom of the heart poking out so the sewing would catch it in there. I used a 1/4 inch seam allowance around the curve, leaving the long straight side open. Again I trimmed the edges, but not the heart tip, and carefully clipped the curves.

 

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This is after the main material is turned through the hole in the lining. Then the hole in the lining is sewn up.

Okay so now I put the main material cosy inside the lining of the cosy. Do check that you have turned your main material to the right side, unlike my first attempt! I had to unpick it and I hate unpicking ahhh. Anyway so main material is right side out and tucks into the lining which is the wrong side out. The right sides of the main and the lining will be facing each other. The heart will be showing through the 3 inch hole in the lining. Pinned them together and sewed around the edge. I used a 1/4 inch seam.

 

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Sewing around the edge of the main material where it joins the lining.

 

I turned the tea cosy through the hole in the lining. Pinned the hole shut and ironed, then I sewed the hole shut. It is on the inside so I just sewed as close to the edge as I could. Once that was done I pushed the lining back up into the main material of the tea cosy. I gave it an iron. The lining ends up showing on the bottom of the tea cosy, a bit like piping, so I sewed around the edge of the tea cosy where the materials joined. It finishes it of nicely.

Ok so then it was the moment of truth, would it fit! Yes! It was a perfect fit, yay. The heart at the top probably could have been a little smaller but I am happy with the result. Now my tea will stay nice and hot.

 

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Not too bad for an afternoon

 

I can’t wait for next Sunday to use it 🙂  

 

 

 

Valentines Day

My husband and I usually do something to celebrate this romantic day. Nothing too sensational, just something we will both enjoy. This year my husband brought home a beautiful bunch of roses. I love flowers and these were sensational. He had been out of town for work. Before he left I hinted that flowers might be lovely. Not my usual style, he has always managed to surprise me with something nice, but I just felt like some flowers and they are not available where we live.
I guess I was feeling a bit sad and thought the flowers would be a nice way to brighten up my day. A year ago we got a phone call from my son to say my husband’s dad, Brian, had passed away. We were devastated. He was such a part of our lives. We miss him, plain and simple.
We like to think that he wanted to see his beloved Phyllis in time for Valentines Day.
We can’t believe how fast the year has gone.
So life goes on and we carry those lost in our hearts and they bubble to the surface in our thoughts.
At 8.30pm my phone laughed at me (that’s my text notification) and I went to see if Bruce was texting me goodnight, but there was nothing on my phone. No text, no download, no facebook message…
So it seems that Brian has us in his thoughts too.

Chicken Fever

So it seems a few of us have a bit of a chicken fetish.

The rooster who caught my eye all those years ago

The rooster who caught my eye all those years ago

 

A wooden tray with a chooky decoration

A wooden tray with a chooky decoration

I started collecting chooks about 12yrs ago. I was selling stuff at a swapmeet and a lady had the most magnificent ceramic rooster on her table. I eyed it off all morning and thought to myself that if it was still there by packup time I would have to have it. There were a few nerve racking moments when it looked like he was going home to someone else, but by the end of the swapmeet he was still sitting there, proudly and silently crowing to all and sundry.

 

Another gift

This one rocks back and forth, very cute

A cute couple

A cute couple

When I asked the lady about him, she said that she had made him at a ceramics class. I was very impressed with her work. She said that her next project was going to be the matching chicken, so I gave her my phone number to call me as I would be interested in buying it to match. Alas she never called, maybe she lost my phone number, and I hadn’t thought to get hers. So all alone he crows.

A birthday present

A birthday present

 

A "board" chook and rooster

A “board” chook and rooster

Over the years I have added a few more and have been given some gorgeous ones from friends. I thought I would share my collection with you.

A spanish cockerel with his friend the spanish oil jug

A spanish cockerel with his friend the spanish oil jug

Hope you enjoy the photos.

A glass cutie from my son

A glass cutie from my son

Another one bites the dust, well turns 50 anyway…

  I have another school friend who turns 50 in December so I have been making her a wall hanging also. This one is made up of tiny little squares, and when sewn together, make an interesting pattern. It reminds me of the Amish style of quilting. This one was also in a kit that I purchased a while ago now. After washing the fabrics I started to cut the pieces as instructed. The pattern requires several different colours cut into strips and sewn together, then recut.

I used pins to wedge the layers

I used pins to wedge the layers

The kit came with an instruction book but it also contains a couple of different projects in it, so I might have to look at tackling them in the future.
I had forgotten how fiddly those little pieces were and how careful you have to be when joining them together. A few millimetres over the project can really add up. Fortunately most of it lined up, a couple didn’t quite match but overall it isn’t too bad.
I had started learning patchwork over 16 years ago with a wonderful patchwork club in Dongara. The club had experienced ladies and some complete novices like me. Over the years we were able to attend some terrific workshops, with visiting guests from all over Australia. We learnt different techniques for sewing, and even learnt how to dye our own materials. I used that knowledge to make a baby quilt for my niece. It’s great fun and was so easy because you did it in the microwave. It is an Australian business too.

I use tape to get a straight line

I use tape to get a straight line

About 11 years ago we lost my mother-in-law to cancer and then barely a year later I lost my own mum. That sure took the wind out of my sails. We had moved to Perth and I guess without the wonderfully inspiring patchwork ladies to get me going again I just stopped sewing. I just didn’t feel inspired anymore. Then about 5 years ago my darling father-in-law, who passed away this February, dobbed me in to sew a QUEEN sized quilt for a family friend! He thought I needed something to do…

You can just see the stitches on the quilt

You can just see the stitches on the quilt

The family friend had a picture of what she wanted, oh dear not even a pattern. Oh well I got out some graph paper and started to draw what the photo looked like. After we were happy with the look we went off to buy some material. I loved this part of the process! We spent the morning deciding on patterns and colours. The graph paper pattern helped me to work out how much to buy, well fingers crossed lol.
So after a couple of months I had finished the quilting and handed it over to a lady who uses a large machine to quilt your work. We decided on a pattern and then I waited for it to be finished. Once that was done all I had to do was bind it. I was very nervous when it was time to hand over the quilt. It is hard to make a quilt for someone who has a pattern in mind. You just don’t know if they will like it until they see it. It turned out to be quite an emotional hand over. There were tears all round and she loved it! Phew!

A closer look at those stitches. If you squint they look terrific lol

A closer look at those stitches. If you squint they look terrific lol

Well back to this project. I decided to hand quilt this wall hanging. I had some lovely multicoloured thread in my stash and thought it would look great. Which it does but the thread is a nightmare to work with! It is constantly breaking and always right in the middle of a run, grrrr. I like to use wool wadding in my projects, it sits nicely and is easy to sew. When I started to put the sashing on I realized that the measurements they had given were a bit out. I had to use the longer pieces for the shorter sides. Fortunately the backing material is the same as the sashing, so I used that to get the longer lengths. It meant I have to use something else on the back but that was not so bad, at least I have the right sashings. I learnt a valuable lesson. From now on if I am using a kit I won’t be cutting the sashings until it is time to use them. That way I will know that they are the correct length.

After much swearing, tutting and sighing I have finally finished the wall hanging. I will be seeing my friend next week so the big handover will happen then.

The finished product

The finished product

Fran’s wall hanging

I made a wall hanging for my friend who, like me, was reaching a respectable age of 50. I remembered a kit I had bought many years ago called “Psycho Chickens” and decided that it was perfect. If you follow my friends blog you will know the trials and tribulations she has gone through with her chooks :).

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The pattern for the two types of chickens

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Sorry it’s sideways?? Thanks Donna Warren for your excellent design

     

I was feeling a bit excited to be using more than the straight stitch on my shiny new sewing machine, as the wall hanging required some applique.

After washing and cutting the necessary bits into the necessary sizes I began my new project.

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Material’s washed

50th birthday projects 002  Putting the background together was the easy bit. Yikes it turned out to be quite large in the end. 

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I love this chook wire material

Next was to sort out which bits to put with the chook material. The feet and wings were pretty obvious, but the giblets and coxcombs were not so easy. The down side to a kit is you don’t necessarily like all the choices, but I think, in the end, it turned out ok.

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One of the chook combos. this is when it had been vlisofixed on but not embellished

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Version number 2 of the chooks

Then came the fun part! What stitch to use on the chooks. I spent a bit of time using a rectangular piece of material that had the wadding and backing on too. I use it to do samples of the stitches, taking note of which one and if I adjusted the size etc. Once I had picked the stitches I wanted to use, it was then time to get going.

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These are the 4 chooks ready to be appliqued

I had a great time doing the applique stitches on my machine. It purred along nicely and I learnt alot about some of the functions on it. I love the button that does a few stitches at the start and end of your work, also the scissor button that pulls the threads to the back and cuts them. I was not sure what to do in the borders but decided on a stitch that looked like chickens walking. Well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! I decided to cross hatch the outer boarders, and that is when I discovered how rusty my sewing skills had become… after unpicking one of the borders, I hate unpicking :(, I was happy with the results and put the binding on.

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Another chooky version

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Last of the chooky versions

Finially it was ready to wrap. Only one day before I flew out, phwew! I’m glad to say that Fran seemed to like it and it looks wonderful on her loungeroom wall. I’m a little biased but hey it’s my blog lol

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The wall hanging in situ 🙂

Happy birthday Fran, it was a labour of love x

What happens before you turn 50? Bucket List:

  • 1. Fly to Tassie
    2. Drive to Sidmouth
    3. Get attacked by GIANT dogs
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    4. Survive dog slobber
    5. Drink

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6. Drive to Hobart
7. Drink

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8. Drive up Mt Wellington

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9. Throw snowball at Fran

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10. Freeze arse off on top of Mt Wellington

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11. Shit pants driving down Mt Wellington

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12. Clean pants

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13. Drink

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14. Try to interpret Fran’s driving instructions (saying “go up there” means left, while pointing straight ahead??)
15. Drink

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16. Drink some more

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17. Walk to bottle shop in the rain….
18. Eat terrific chilli meal (Thanks Steve)
19. Drink

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20. Fart (damn beans)
21. Drink
22. Cook my own breakfast
23. Feed copious cats
24. Admire the estate
25. Drink

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26. Wait for amazing stir fry, waiting, waiting, waiting
27. Feel smug that Fran is already 50 🙂

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Fran trying to figure out what the hell it is 🙂
28. Drink

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My New Sewing Machine

Okay here is my new baby!

 

Janome Horizon 8900 QCP

Janome Horizon 8900 QCP

 

After a lot of research on the internet I had narrowed down my choice of machine to 2 different Janome machines. I also liked a Bernina, but apart from winning lotto or saving up some more cash for another year, it was out of my price range. I had looked at the prices of these two machines on an Australian website, so I had an idea of what price they would be.  I had also prepared my husband by showing him a machine that cost $6000 first, so imagine his relief when I then said one for half that price would probably do  🙂 .

The brains of the machine

The brains of the machine

I had a big think about which features were important to me. As my current machine was about 30 years old, It was a fairly basic model and has done a lot more than it was intended for. One of the features that I liked was the needle stopping in the down position. I loved the idea of this and I could see it would save me time. I also wanted the inside area, between the needle and the right side of the machine to be wider, as this would make it much easier to sew a larger quilt. The differential feed, (walking foot), was high on my list as it makes quilting easier and neater. I had bought a walking foot for my current machine and liked how it worked. The knee lift was an interesting idea and since mucking about with it I can see it will be a great asset when I have my hands full of quilt and need to turn it. Another feature that came with the machine is a button, which when pressed, cuts and pulls the thread through to the bottom side of the fabric. Now that is what I call a time saver. The hours I have spent pulling the threads through to the other side, well no longer will I need to, my handy dandy machine will do it for me, all at the press of a button!

See the scissors button? Now my favourite button

See the scissors button? Now my favourite button. Oops it’s at the top, cut half off 🙂

I headed off to the first shop on my list. As soon as I saw my machine I fell in love! Then I saw the in store special price and that was it, I was a gonner. The very pleasant lady explained the features of the machine, gave me some scrap pieces of material and left me to play. I must have been there an hour, asking her questions from time to time. Because it is electronic I was a little worried about pressing buttons and ending up doing something to the expensive machine. But once she explained a few things it was really easy. I was impressed with the way it just purrrrrrrred along, not quite as much clunking as my old machine. The foot pedal is huge, which makes it easy to use. Lots of impressive stitches are available at a press of the button, and you can programme your favourite stitches into the memory making it easier to select. Lots more features on this little beauty but at the risk of boring you to death I will forgo a longer list. Maybe after I have sewn something with it I will tell about some more but for now just admire the pictures

 

 

Extra large foot pedal and knee lift

Extra large foot pedal and knee lift

Lots of stitch options

Lots of stitch options

Storage areas

Storage areas

 

 

Shivering to death in Albany

We lived in our 30 ft caravan for 4 years. Dad made a solid door for the annex for security and put a small shed in the middle of the annex. In this we had a porta pottie, a godsend in winter I can tell you, and a dryer. This was after two years mind. Until then I would have to sit in the laundry and do my homework while making sure no one A: took out our clothes and put theirs in using our money or B: took our clothes! It was worse during the holidays too. People do the most amazing things while on holiday. I learnt to pick the lock on the dryer box. Sometimes it would be pouring with rain, so instead of having to trudge back to the van for more coins, I learnt to pick the lock with a hairpin. It was a wonderful day when the dryer was purchased and put into the shed. I had the middle room in the caravan. My brother’s room was at the end. Instead of walking to the end of the annex and accessing his room through the door there he would just walk through mine. At first it didn’t matter, but as I grew older and more sensitive about my body, you know what I mean girls, I hated it! The arguments we would have over him just strolling through my room. When we did move into a house it was so nice to have a room that wasn’t a pass through for my brother.

We lived a free and easy life in the caravan park. Apart from the usual list of chores after school and having to be home by a certain time, we had plenty of time explore. The bush on the way to the beach was full of wonderful hidey holes and was criss crossed with lots of little tracks. We had a ball in that bush. I remember we found a nest of new born baby kittens. Their eyes were closed but they still hissed at us when we patted them. Not sure where mum cat was, but in hindsight it was probably just as well. I vividly remember being attacked by an over zealous seagull. I was walking along the beach and could see a large dead fish on the beach in the distance, with a swarm of noisy birds overhead. One of the seagulls decided that I must have been a threat and decided to swoop me, even when I took cover in the bushes. I had to crawl a long way to get away from that crazy bird.

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Albany is a beautiful spot on the south coast of Western Australia. It juts out into three bodies of water of water on one side, King George Sound, Princess Royal Harbour and Oyster Harbour, and the Great Australian Bight on the other. The main street in Albany is called York Street and it faces the Princess Royal Harbour. The wind blows up that street and can chill you to the bone. It is called the Albany Doctor by  locals. I was always cold in Albany. I had come from living up north in 40 degrees plus temperature and I think my blood must have been very thin. While everyone walked about in shorts and t shirts I had jeans and a jumper on.

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My first job in Albany was an after school job down at Emu Point. I worked in the Emu Point Tearooms and Shop. One part was a shop that sold icecreams, drinks and take away food and the other section was a proper sit down restaurant area. The lady who owned it, Mrs Mays, was jewish and made sure we didn’t over use anything. She would make beef and vege soup on a Monday, it would turn into pumpkin soup about Wednesday and then became Pea and Ham by Saturday. My big tip was, buy soup on a Monday lol. On a trip to Albany with my husband we went to have a look at the tearooms. It is now two businesses. One is still a shop and the other is now a Japanese restaurant. Mrs Mays would be rolling in her grave! It is a beautiful spot to sit for a bite to eat, with views over the water.

I learnt to swim in Albany at Emu Point. The “pool” is a wooden structure like a jetty in a square u shape. The mouth of the u faced the beach. The water was always cold and sometimes choppy. Did I mention it was cold??? It is still there but the children of Albany can now learn to swim in the nice warm indoor pool they built close to town.

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Because I moved around each year I never had a friendship group. The great thing about Albany is I stayed there for all of my high school years. I formed friends with a great bunch of people. We were a group of independent thinkers, and I liked that about them. We were not the “in” crowd at all, but I think that was okay as we didn’t follow along like lame sheep. Didn’t get the cool guys either but hey their all fat and bald now so who cares :). I am still in touch with three of my school friends to this day.

One boy I made friends with was Brian. He was English and had moved to Albany with his mum, step dad and brother. His step dad didn’t like him very much and would abuse him verbally and sometimes physically. Brian was a sweet boy and very clever, he got A’s for everything. By the time he was in year 11 he was living on the streets. I tried to help him but at such a young age I couldn’t do much, and eventually we lost touch. I didn’t go to our school reunion but a girlfriend did. When she told me that Brian had died at nineteen I was devastated. It still upsets me to this day to think of the loss of that sweet hearted boy.

When you look back on your life you start to see the links that have led you to where you end up. I think Brian was a link in my chain of life. I work with special needs children and love it. I like to think that I give them a voice to show people what they can do and not what they can’t. I think about the home lives some children have and if they need someone to talk to I try to be there for them. I want them to come to school and know it is a safe place to go. In some way I hope that it will stop one of them ending up like Brian.

My Button Collection

I made this many moons ago and use it to hold buttons that I am yet to sort.

I made this many moons ago and use it to hold buttons that I am yet to sort.

I have a large collection of buttons which I have been collecting since my early 20’s. I sort them by colour, mostly. Sometimes they are by sort, such as the baby buttons. Some are buttons that my Mum had used for clothes she made me. I inherited these when she passed away. It helped to boost my collection. She had hers in a large round tin, probably held biscuits originally. I can remember running my fingers through them when I was little.

Their little faces are buttons, of course.

Their little faces are buttons, of course.

I use to buy buttons from our local op shop, they also had a huge tin full of buttons. They were very cheap to buy that way. Then a new lady came to the store and decided to parcel them up into groups and sell them at a rather large sum of money each bag. What to do…. well then I bought clothes from the op shop with buttons on that I liked. They were much cheaper than the small bags of buttons too. I would cut off the buttons and put the item back into the recycle box. This way I got some buttons, and they got to sell the item again. Buttons 003In my twentys I worked for a large department store as a floor manager. One of the areas I had under my management was the Haberdashery department. I just loved that area. It was like having my drug of addiction handed to me on a plate! I had materials, patterns, buttons, more buttons and ribbons etc. My sewing box expanded to my sewing cupboard, then it just spilled out to a whole room! Anything that went on special was just too good to pass up. Most women sneak clothing and shoes into the cupboard, hiding them from their husbands, but for me it was crafty stuff. Buttons 004I was going through some boxes the other day, sorting out my new sewing room in my recently moved to house, when I came across one of those acquisitions. It was a book on how to crochet doilies! I couldn’t believe it. I had just been admiring a blog of Linne’s which had some beautiful doilies on. My good friend, Fran, who also has an excellent blog, had expressed a desire to make these. So into the post it will go, to Fran, and she can ponder on whether she has time or not. Notice I said good, Fran, not old lol :). Anyway, Linne wanted a photo of my buttons, so I will attempt to post them with this post. Wish me luck 🙂

Here are the buttons on my windowsill in my sewing room.

Here are the buttons on my windowsill in my sewing room.

 

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