"It takes ages to finish a quilt you're not working on!"

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Some more Op Shop and eBay purchases..

Today was one of my rare 'free' days, so I decided to do something useful instead of taking off in the car and checking out more op shops. S was working, otherwise we may have done just that, as it is much more fun when there are two of you! However, I was very productive; I vaccumed, washed floors, defrosted the fridge, and fixed this computer...well, I hope I have. Before I started on the housework, I set it up for a thorough ScanDisk, which took about 6 hours, and followed that up with a defrag. The message at the conclusion said there were errors found on the hard drive, which are now fixed. So I scanned these few items tonight, with only one freeze.
At the risk of sounding rather strange, I am going to describe what has been happening to my computer over this past week, and I am keen to hear if anybody can offer an explanation. When I am sitting here typing or reading emails etc., everything is fine for most of the time. But if I move away from the desk, either to put something in the scanner (which I can't reach from where I sit), or go out of the room for even just a minute, the computer freezes. Not just temporarily - I have to turn it off at the button and restart, usually resulting in that awful safe mode screen. It is just like a child - throwing a tantrum when you leave them alone. It is actually quite spooky...am I producing some kind of energy field that interacts with the computer, so it goes off when I move away? Weird...

For all you Peacock Lovers - isn't this stunning!! No, not embroidered - it is a piece of quilting fabric I think, that I saw on eBay and had to have! Don't know what I will do with it yet, but I am sure some of my more creative friends here will give me plenty of ideas! It isn't a fat quarter, by the way. It is 1 metre long, and about 12" wide.
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This is the other teacosy ex eBay.
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One of two tea cosies I have recently won on eBay. This one has a smaller version of this design on the other side of the cosy.
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Another huckabuck hand towel. I scanned this on the angle, so I could show all the stitching on the edge. Isn't that pretty?
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This is the cover of my Op Shop bible, for any of you who are in Melbourne, and want to keep an eye out for it!
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Monday, August 29, 2005

Sorry this is sideways - I still haven't figured out how to rotate pictures while I am scanning, or when I get them on here! This is a huckabuck hand towel which I just had to have! I have another one, and some more bits, but this is when the scanner spat the dummy and refused to co-operate!
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An exquisite piece of whitework, featuring drawn thread work, embroidery and I think tatting on the edge - looks too tiny to be crochet work....but I am not an expert on this. This pic doesn't do the doiley justice. My first scan was completely washed out, so I put the purple tissue paper underneath the next time, but apart from the fact that you can see the stitching a bit better, it still doesn't show the overall beauty of the piece. The lady in the shop glanced disparagingly at it and said "oh, twenty cents for that".
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If anyone can guess what this little bag may have been used for, please leave a comment! The lady in the shop said she thought it might have been to put shoes in, but it is too small - unless she meant very small ones for a child or baby. It has a drawstring at the top. I think it is so sweet.
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This is a simple little piece of gingham that was possibly either a napkin or a placemat. It has a couple of small holes in it, but I had to have it because of the lovely chicken scratch work on it!
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Another doiley with a basket of flowers. This is not a good pic at all - I fiddled around for ages with the colours but couldn't get it right. They are actually pale pastel, nothing like this at all, but at least you can see the design.
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Doiley (or centrepiece) with basket of flowers at each end. I should have put a darker piece of paper under this, as being so white, it doesn't scan well.
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Sunday, August 28, 2005

My latest piece of completed stitching.

This is what I have stitched on the first Round Robin that I have received from the group I am in this year. I have been working on a few things this past month or so, and this one is the first to be finished. As I finish the others, I will post them here.
The rest of the photos tonight are of some of the items I bought on my op-shop jaunt last week. Each pic will have its own description, so I am not going to repeat everything here. Unfortunately, I couldn't scan all the things I bought, as my scanner and PC seem to be fighting tonight. Every time I completed one scan, the computer would freeze and I would have to reboot it. I got sick of doing that after an hour, so I hope these little machines will kiss and make up over night, so I can scan the rest of my bits and pieces later, without these annoying interruptions!

This is my contribution to the first RR I have received from the group I am in this year.
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Saturday, August 27, 2005

Long awaited photos of where I live!

Here they are, after much cursing and swearing last night, when Picasa 'died' on me. I had intended to put these on Patra's Other Place, but as usual I was too quick off the mark, and by the time I realised I hadn't selected the right blog, I had already posted two photos here! So I thought stuff it - they can stay here.

Final photo for tonight. Ken and I are steam train buffs, and together with some friends, we organised this train to come to our suburb a few years ago, as part of the local town festival. This wooden trestle bridge is the only one of its kind still in use in suburban Melbourne. Costs a fortune for the railways to maintain, but they aren't allowed to pull it down because of its historic significance.
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This was taken from the front door, at the top of the steps, looking down into the front yard. Notice the possum nestbox on the tree in the top left corner of the picture. Ken had to climb to the top of our extension ladder to install this! The stag horn fern on the gum tree in the centre of the photo started out as a few fronds taken from my stepmum's place about 15 years ago. All we do is put banana skins in it now and then. Must be the right spot and the right diet - it is HUGE!
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Our place from the street. Again, can't see much for the trees, but we like it that way!
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This is part of our street. It is about 2 kls long, and has several hills along its length. We are down 'in the dip', just after the roundabout on the left hand side. You wouldn't think there were any houses here at all, would you?
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Friday, August 26, 2005

The joys of Op-shopping!

Over at The Blank Page, S mentioned a new book on the market, called 'The Treasure Hunter's Guide' - a guide to opportunity/thrift shops, second hand stores and trash & treasure markets around Melbourne. I was going to wait until I saw her copy before I bought one, but I found a copy in our local newsagent earlier this week and snapped it up. I only had one job this morning, from 9 to 10 am, then I was free until 2 pm, so I figured I would have time to go and check some of the shops listed in this little book.

Well!! Did I have fun! I didn't bother going to the places I already know about close to home; instead I went a bit further afield, and in doing so, found a mistake in the book. One of the addresses given was a private house, so I kept on driving, and around the corner I found the shop listed. It was an obvious error - the street changes name around a bend in the road, instead of being a definite corner, so if the author was unfamiliar with the suburb, I guess she just assumed it was the same road. I also found two more op-shops that aren't in the book, so I will be contacting the authors to let them know, as they have indicated in this book that if they get enough responses, they will publish another edition.

So was it worth all that driving around? Most definitely! Here is what I bought at several shops:
Two Chicken Scratch cloths
Two embroidered table cloths
Four aprons (three embroidered, one plain with unworked design)
Three plain huckabuck towels
Two embroidered huckabuck towels
Three large embroidered doilies (one exquisite whitework)
One pillowsham
A small embroidered calico bag (not sure of its purpose, but it is old)
and three books.
All this for less than $20! Now to get that digital camera working...

Another week has flown by..

As I read all my favourite blogs, I like to comment on them where it is appropriate, but I think I am spending too much time on doing that, and not enough time posting to my own blog! I got a little shock when I saw my last post was a week ago. Perhaps I felt there was nothing very interesting to write about, and yet I have had a busy and productive week.

My work always provides variety - I visit 8 or 9 different clients each week, depending on whether they need me weekly or fortnightly. And each person has different needs - mostly housework such as vaccuming, mopping, cleaning bathrooms, washing, ironing and shopping. So where is the variety, you may ask? That comes with the individuals. Even though the physical work is important, and the primary reason for being in their home, the moral support we give our clients is equally important. Our supervisor often says "You are not just cleaners or housekeepers. You are Carers". So once the necessary stuff is done, I spend some time chatting over a cup of tea or coffee. I have got to know all my clients pretty well, and I am aware of their unique problems, physical and otherwise. Some of them are chronically depressed, so I spend time listening to them, and when they are ready, I talk a little about me - usually about my linen collection and my stitching. This brightens most of them up, as they find it fascinating that I buy things over the Internet. "But isn't that dangerous?" they want to know, so I explain to them how eBay works. They love to see my auction wins as they arrive in the mail, and they also like to see what project I am currently stitching myself.

Today was a bit different. My last client for the day is often depressed, for a number of reasons which I don't need to detail here. Today was a lovely sunny day, and when I arrived at her home, she was sitting outside in her garden. After our initial "hello and how are you?" exchange, I asked what needed to be done inside, and she screwed up her face and sighed. I knew what to expect, so I said "How about I just whizz through with the vac, and then we go and have a cup of coffee down the road?" So that is what we did, and because it was my last job for the day, I actually spent well over my allotted time with her, just because we were enjoying each other's company so much! I knew from her bookshelves we had interests in common, but today we talked in depth about the subjects of some of those books, and I came away feeling that, despite our age difference (30 odd years) I had found another soul mate. More importantly, I think I had cheered her up quite a lot.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

You're right - this is not a birthday card! When I had finished posting the cards, I was browsing through the pics of my embroideries, and decided to throw this one in for good measure. It is a tapestry, and took me about two years to complete. There are thousands of cat pictures around in all kinds of stitching, but this one is still one of my favorites, as they look so lifelike.
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This card looked much nicer when I sent it; when I scanned this, it was just sitting in a card that I thought I may have used, but as you can see, it was the wrong size, so I ended up putting the stitching into a white oval card and it looked much better.
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The girl I stitched this for, had already said that she loved rabbits, so the obvious design for her birthday card was a bunny!
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This was an easy little freebie in a cross stitch magazine. I didn't have much time to do this exchange, so I took the easy way out!
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Isn't this a sweet design? I have had a couple of friends ask if I would do it for them.
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This is my Round Robin, presently in the USA being added to. Hopefully it should get back to me by Xmas, or not too long afterwards.
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Coming back down to Earth...

Gosh, is it really a week since I posted anything new? I got caught up in replying to all the comments I have received about the Antiques Roadshow! Well, I am settling down again after all that excitement, and have started stitching again - a bit every day if I can, instead of leaving it for weeks on end, then grizzling because nothing gets completed! I have noticed that many of the Stitchers' blogs have a list of their projects for the current year in their sidebar. This is such a neat idea, and when I get enough time to sit down here and concentrate on the template (it still intimidates me!) I would like to have a go at putting my list of projects - finished and WIPs.
In the meantime, I am posting some pics of items that I have recently completed. One is a new Round Robin, with an MSN Group I belong to, and the cards are birthday exchange cards with other members of the same group. For some reason, I selected GIF instead of JPEG when scanning the Round Robin, so if it looks weird on your screen, don't call your ISP - it is all my fault :-(
One of my Blogger friends has asked her visitors to put photos of their towns/countries on their blog so she can do some armchair travelling. I thought that was a great idea, so I will be putting some pics on Patra's Other Place in the next few days. And I haven't forgotten that I promised to scan more of my vintage family autograph album, and more of my swapcards...just gimme time, puleeeeesse!!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The queues snaked all over the hall, dodging cameramen, tables set up for the experts, and other queues, which got hopelessly intermingled! But everybody cheerfully put up with it all. Aussies can be very patient - I think it is the British streak in our common background!
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Here I am talking to Tim Wonnacott, one of the English experts
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Friday, August 12, 2005

Waiting to talk to Michael Aspel. The hall looks empty, but this place is HUGE! This is only one corner of it.
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I didn't have anything else to hand Michael Aspel to autograph, so the lady who was with him gave me one of these postcards. The badges were given to everyone who attended the Roadshow.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

My Day at the Roadshow!

I am SO glad I was able to go to this event, and rather annoyed at myself for not asking for extra tickets, as so many others did - each person was allowed to ask for up to four tickets, but I only requested one. I was offered another ticket by a friend at 9 pm on Tuesday night, so I phoned five people who I knew would love to go, but they all had other commitments for today. And they all would have enjoyed themselves as much as me, I am sure. The weather forecast for Melbourne was very cold and rainy, with possible hail and thunderstorms. When I left home at 10.30 am it was blue skies and sunshine. When I left to come home at 5 pm, the same! As I was inside the nice warm Exhibition Building all day, I had no idea what was happening outside; apparently it was snowing in some parts of Melbourne!!
Ticket holders were warned there would be long queues, and there certainly were - just like you see on the English Roadshow! But the atmosphere there was so exciting and so much was happening that you just forgot about your cold and aching feet! Everybody in the queues were excited and wanting to talk to the next person about what they had to show, and of course the cameramen were setting up their gear in various spots, causing more excitement if it was near where you were standing! Most of the items that I could see being filmed were ceramics, furniture, or paintings - much like it is in England, so I knew it was most unlikely that I would be chosen. But some of the filming was near my queue, so I suspect I might be in the background in some of their shots!
I had two bites of the cherry on my linen. I was sent first to the queue for "Miscellaneous" items, as they didn't have a specific expert on linen. My 'expert' was the Englishman Tim Wonnacott - tall and dark with a moustache. He didn't really seem to know much about textiles, but he was very friendly and polite about my pieces, saying what I already know, and that is, it is difficult to put a value on them. So I trotted off to join the queue for "Australiana", and saw an Australian gentleman, who was surprisingly enthusiastic about my pieces. He had a close look at the stitching, commenting on the quality of it, and that the linen had been well preserved. He was of the opinion that individual pieces would not be worth a lot of money except to another collector like myself, but he felt that as a collection, it would be of great interest to the Australian Museum. That made my day!
Well, that is more than enough to write about my experiences today, but I am still on a 'high', so please forgive me, if you have actually read this far! I have had lots of lovely comments on my photos today - thanks to all of you. I will respond to them soon - possibly tomorrow when I have come down to earth :-) Footnote: There will be some photos on ebay Australia's collectables discussion board in the next day or so, but my own photos won't be ready to put on here until I finish the film in the camera. Don't hold your breath!

Monday, August 08, 2005

My stash as described in the post below (or above - however it comes up on your screen!)
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Part of my linen collection - aprons on the left, pillowshams, cushion covers, large runners, and tablecloths take up the rest of the space. Doilies and small things are elsewhere.
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Me in Japanese wedding Kimono which looks way too long, but is actually meant to be draped around the feet as I have tried to show.
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Okay, I figured it out!

Silly me, it was so darned easy! I went back into Picasa for another look and clicked on Settings. There was my solution - "select which blog I want to post to"! So I have written that down in my computer instructions book (which is about an inch thick of hand written and typed out instructions in my very own layman's language!). Thank goodness for that. Right! NOW I will post some of my other photos. Not all - there is too many for one night But at least I have scanned them all, so they are just waiting on the hard drive. For now I will put the pic of me in the Japanese wedding kimono. NOT a flattering photo; wouldn't you think one's husband could do better than this? Oh well, he can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, can he...I look like I am kneeling down, but I'm not - I am just a shorty (5'1"), and anything down past my knees dramatically shortens my appearance even more.
The other photos are of my collection of aprons and tablecloths, which are hung in the wardrobe of our spare bedroom. The aprons are on the left of the pic, and take up about one quarter of the space. The other pic is of my stash in my craft room/study/den, whatever you call it in your country! The upper shelf you can see has all my UFOs, SINS and WIPs in the plastic bags, with my floss and other bits in the tins on the right. Underneath those, the suitcase is full of materials of all kinds such as Aida and other evenweaves, laces, calico, etc.

Photos on wrong Blog!!

I knew it. I knew I would eventually get into strife by getting too big for my boots and having two blogs. For some reason, I can only get Picasa/Hello to post photos to Patra's Other Place; I know it is just a matter of me twiddling some setting or other, but I have just wasted nearly an hour, trying to post my pics here, but to no avail. So, I have put photos on Patra's Other Place of the items I am taking to the Antiques Roadshow. I have a heap of other photos to post, but as they are all to do with my linen collection, I am not going to put them on P.O.P. as well. They can wait until I figure out (or am told how to - HELP somebody!) how to select which blog to post photos to!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

A good weekend is one when much is accomplished!

Now that I have two blogs going, I have to make Important Decisions about which one to start a new post on! I decided to stay with Patra's original Place with this post, as I have been waffling about the Antiques Roadshow here, so I may as well continue on. Today I spent getting everything ready for Wednesday. I ironed the three tablecloths, two aprons and the few other items I am taking, and hung them up ready to be rolled up (NOT folded!) on cardboard rolls on Wednesday morning. This will be a last minute job to avoid them being too creased for showing. Ken produced a tiny folding stool that he takes to sit on when he goes fishing. Everyone has to queue for hours at the Roadshow, and my arthritic feet would not take kindly to that! so I will take the stool to prop on when the queue is at a standstill. I am also taking a Thermos of tea and some sandwiches and fruit - it is going to be a long day! Oh, and the camera of course; I have just found out that it is okay to take photos. All my gear is to be stashed in a neat little foldable shopping jeep thing, so I can just push it from place to place, instead of carting stuff around in a bag of some kind. The Collectables discussion board on eBay had a very informative thread and some great photos on it tonight, from the eBayers who were at the Roadshow in Sydney today. They were very lucky with the weather - fine and sunny apparently. But I am going to add an umbrella to my stash on Wednesday - this is Melbourne, and anything can happen! The eBayers all enjoyed themselves immensely, which bodes well for those of us down south. If anybody reading this wants to have a look at the photos, all you have to do is go into ebay.com.au, click on Community, click on Discussion Boards, and select Antiques & Collectibles. When you get on there, look through the list of posts until you find a title with Antiques Raodshow (sp as shown!) and click on that.
Well, I'm off to Patra's Other Place to put my other piece of good news!!!!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

I took some photos today!

...but not with the digital camera, so they won't be appearing on here until early next week. I have photographed the items I am taking to the Antiques Roadshow*, some of my recent eBay wins, a shot of the wardrobe where I keep my tablecloths and aprons, and a shot of the cupboard where I keep my stash of UFOs and SINS. Mostly SINS, now - I will never stitch all that stuff, no matter how many times I am reincarnated and go looking for it :-( You will see what I mean when you see the photo. I also took some photos of Topsy, as she was hanging around while I was sorting out my linen to photograph. There is one photo left on the film, and I will ask Ken to take a special pic. of me. My Japanese penpal gave me a traditional Japanese wedding kimono for my 50th birthday - apparently they are very popular in the USA as wall hangings. Well, mine has been hanging on the wall in the spare room that houses my linen collection, because I just don't know where else to put it! Yesterday, I made my monthly visit to my Japanese friend (the lady I stitched the card for), and I took the kimono to show her. She was absolutely delighted, and asked me to put it on, which I did, and she arranged it around me in the proper manner. Then she said I should have a photo taken of me in it, so I will do that this weekend. *More about the Antiques Roadshow. I had a phone call tonight from a lady who I have got to know over the Net via eBay. She lives in a country town about 100 miles from Melbourne, and she has also been selected to appear on the Roadshow. She was telling me that apparently there were about 200,000 - yes, two hundred thousand! applications from around Australia to get on the Show. So I feel even more privileged to have the chance to go on it. Lee and I are both taking our cameras; she will put some of her photos on eBay, and I will put some of mine on here, all going well, that is. It would be just my luck if I dropped the camera in my excitement - LOL!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A Day full of Goodies!

Today was a beaut day in many ways. I collected an ebay win from the seller in person, as she works not far from where I live. It was her first eBay transaction, and she had auctioned a heap of cloths, doilies and an apron, most of which had been stitched by her great-grandmother. I beat off a concerted effort by another bidder, and it was well worth the money - all the linen was of an exceptionally high standard of embroidery. So I have some lovely items to photograph or scan for my next lot of pictures here! I had arranged to have lunch with S from The Blank Page, but got side tracked on the way there, at a couple of op-shops, at which I added some more items to my stash in the car. When I arrived at S's house, we decided to go out somewhere nice for lunch, so headed off to one of the more affluent of Melbourne's inner suburbs, where we spent a delightful two hours in bookshops and opshops, stopping briefly for coffee and a snack. Another $50+ on books and I had well and truly blown the budget by then, but what the heck, I don't do that very often. By the way, some of my Blogging friends expressed interest in seeing photos of Aussie wildlife; I put some pix on Patra's Other Place last night - go see!

Monday, August 01, 2005

I will never be rich!

The Embroiderers Guild of Victoria hold a "Paddy's Market" day once a year, where the Guild members can clean out their stashes and sell what they no longer want. I had heaps of books and magazines, a few unworked tablecloths and doilies, and some bags of crochet cotton, which had been given to me last year by someone who was herself having a cleanout. Most of the other members have similar stuff to sell, so we all set ourselves up at tables around the hall, and then check each other's stash. Great fun! Most of us seem to find things on other tables that we want, so it reduces our profit margins somewhat! I resisted the temptation to buy other people's UFOs or SINS, nor did I buy any books, which was a big victory for me, as they are usually my downfall. In fact my only purchase was $1 for a nice piece of blue gingham with the intention of attempting Chicken Scratch. I didn't sell any of the books or mags, nor any of the cross stitch kits I had out, but most of the crochet cotton went, and all of the UFOs, so I came home with about $50. However, when I checked my eBay account tonight, I discovered I had won an auction, which is costing me $51, so hence the title of this post - I'll never be rich...