Friday, February 28, 2014

Autumn has arrived.

G'day. We have officially said goodby to another Summer and welcomed in Autumn. Not that the weather itself knows that of course. It's sitting on about 32 degrees at the moment where I live  and that sun really has some punch to it. We will continue to get some warm to hot days right through to April possibly. Those terrible weeks when nearly every day the temperature was in the 40's and bush fires were raging , have now taken a hike and as far as I am concerned that is fabulous news. Hard to believe we are starting off a new month and a new season.  Time really does fly. This is my birthday month and there is nothing I can do to stop it rolling around.

I made this wall hanging some years ago, but was never happy with it. So, early last year I pulled all the borders off and straightened it up as best I could. I made the mistake originally of sewing a decorative stitch by machine all around the cream Homespun once the hand embroidery was complete. I wish I hadn't done that. It never sat right from then on. Even though I cut off the top and bottom row of stitches, I chose to leave the decorative stitches down the long sides. They are not easy to see in the photo, they are in yellow thread. It would have been a nightmare to try to unpick the stitches, so they stayed. On with the new border and some freehand machine quilting, then the binding and I have finally finished it. I did say that I took the old border off early last year. It is now early this year and I have just finished it !!! This project has sat in my sewing room all this time ( along with a lot of other projects I might add). Oh hum...

I am still not happy with it. It won't hang right and it's all to do with that pesky decorative stitch. But, I am not going to worry about it. It is hanging on the door of my sewing room and that's where it can stay. 
Take care.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Some sewing completed. Woo hoo

G'day. I started making this bag late yesterday  afternoon. Was still sewing at 9.00pm last night. Still had the handles and the tab to do and then put the lining in, but couldn't stay up any longer. After doing some housework etc this morning, I got back in the sewing room and finished it. It's the first item I have made for some time. Not that I need another bag, as I really don't, but a girl can never have too many bags. Isn't that what they ( whoever they are) say ? I only received the pattern in the mail last Friday, so to have it done so fast is a real achievement for me. I have patterns sitting here that I bought years ago and have not even touched!!  This bag was just a trial run, using fabric that I had here. It turned out rather well, though I think the handles are a tad long. 

The second little bag was started before Christmas last year. I was going to give it to a good friend as a thank you for all the support she has given me over the last 12 months. But, I never got it completed. I had the embroidery panel done and the basics of the bag sewn together, but that was a a far as I got. It has been sitting on my sewing table looking very lost and unloved. The main fabric is a really lovely floral flannel. It is a great bag. I had made one of these bags for myself some years ago,  though it had a garden scene embroidered on the front. I happened to take it into work one day and one of the nurses saw it and asked could I make her one. I ended up making and selling 23 of them to nurses and staff. One is in Germany, one in Thailand and one in Sweden. One nurse asked for three of them. I was well and truly sick of them by the last one and haven't made another one since, until this one. My friend is a sewer, so the three ladies sitting at the table seemed appropriate. I have embellished it with a few beads. 

So I am well and truly pleased with myself today. Not one, but two things finished. I just have to keep the momentum going.
Take care.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A flourishing garden.

G'day. Today I had my first mammogram since being told I had breast cancer 12 months ago. It was a very quick trip into the hospital. Caught the 7.00am train for a 10.00am appointment, then caught the 11.30 am back home again. Got home at 2.00pm. Probably not such a quick trip after all !!!! It all went smoothly, at least the train trip did. Not sure about anything else. The woman who did the test was very noncommittal. They don't give much away. So I just wait and see now. But, I would be very surprised if there is any bad news. After all the cancer stuff I have had pumped into me and will continue to have for another few months, no self respecting cancer would dare grow.

I am now sitting with my feet up writing this. I am tired. My gallbladder op was only a week ago and I am still very sore. 

To walk up to our back door, you have to walk by this garden area. A little over 12 months ago, this was a useless area of very patchy grass. I knew when we moved here that I would make a garden out of it. I have always been a fan of the cottage garden look and this seemed as good a spot as any to get one growing. I dug this whole area out myself. Took me a while, but I persevered. Hubby offered to help, but I wanted to do it, so he let me go. Of course, he just retreated to a back area of the garage when he heard the grunting, swearing and cursing about how hard the soil was etc, etc and why can't we live somewhere where the soil is sweet and beautiful and easy to dig. Why do we have to stay in an area where the soil is mainly clay and as hard as old boots to dig ? So on and so forth. Well as you can see, I obviously got it done and planted. Hard to believe that this has grown from nothing to a near jungle in just over a year. A year out of my life has been taken up with cancer. A year in the life of this garden has turned into a beautiful thing. I look at it everyday and appreciate the journey this garden and I have taken together over the last 12 months. We have both flourished in many ways. An odd word to use when one has cancer, but yes, I have flourished in many ways like my garden. It will continue to grow, as will I.

Take care.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy Valentines Day.

G'day. It's the 14th of February. Valentines Day. When I walked out into the kitchen this morning, this was what was waiting for me on the bench. Thoughtfull hubby hadn't forgotten this special day. He was also thoughtful enough to get me a beautiful card with the Eiffel Tower on it, as he knows my love of France. I have been fortunate to visit that beautiful country twice now and am planning another trip either next year or the year after. 

Second photo is of the two old wheelbarrows that I had here. One had a few plants in it, the other was standing against the back fence. Hubby asked could he use them for herbs. He has always liked fresh herbs in salads and in a lot of the others foods we eat. He was left in charge of this project, as I was in hospital. I had my gallbladder out on Monday just gone and for the first time I didn't come out of the anaesthetic very good. Couldn't stop with the vomiting. This was no fun because it was causing me great pain every time it happened. Plus the cannula came out of the vein and when they tried to inject the pain killer in it stung like mad. I have had this happen a number of times now, so am well aware of the problem. They tried to get another cannula in, but my veins are tiny and they collapse when they see a sharp pointy needle coming towards them. So, it was tablets under the tongue. I have had quite a few operations in the past now and have never felt like this. I had to laugh because the nurse told me to keep coughing as this helps keep the lungs clear, trouble is it also causes intense pain at the major incision site. Anyway, I am now home safe and sound and taking it very easy? Hubby is looking after me very well indeed. He is a great cook as well, which is a huge bonus. I won't go hungry!!! 

Third photo is of my nearly completed outdoor table and chairs.  I ran out of primer. Some months ago now, I decided I wanted to get rid of our old table and chairs and have something more shabby chic. Something that was more "me". Sold original setting on eBay, bought the six mismatched chairs in dribs and drabs. Even had my daughter score one chair for me. Painted two chairs white, then blue over the top and distressed them. Other chairs were painted white and rubbed back in parts. Table was given to me free. Now bear in mind this all took a fair amount of elbow grease on my part. Table and four chairs had full lacquer on them, this had to be sanded off. I even went out and bought my own little sander, but all the fiddly bits had to be done by hand,. A mammoth job I might add. Anyway, table will have two coats of primer ( I have since bought more) followed by two coats of white paint. Top of table will be painted Duck Egg Blue, then distressed so white shows through in areas. As you can see, there is still a way to go. Once I am up and fully functional again, I will get it done. I am proud to say that this has been my project, hubby has not helped in any way, other than to suggest what sander to buy. 

Take care.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

What cancer cannot do.

G'day. It's Friday morning and I am sitting in a very comfortable chair on the oncology ward at Royal Melbourne Hospital. I am awaiting my next dose of my cancer treatment to be delivered from the pharmacy. What has taken my eye this morning is the plaque sitting on the ledge just across from me. I haven't taken a very good photo of it on this iPad. So I will tell you what it say's. 

What cancer cannot do.

Cancer is so limited
It cannot cripple love
It cannot shatter hope
It cannot dissolve faith
It cannot destroy peace
It cannot kill friendship
It cannot suppress memories
It cannot silence courage
It cannot invade the soul
It cannot steal eternal life
It cannot conquer the spirit.

This ward is surprisingly a very happy place. Over the last 12 months hubby and I have gotton to know a lot of the regulars. Everyone is here for a reason and that reason probably involves  cancer in some way, shape or form. But, we laugh, we joke, we make merry as much as we can. Some come here every week, some twice a week. I come once every three weeks. I have it easy compared to some. A young teenage girl is sitting two chairs down from me. Her mother bakes and brings in muffins to share with everyone here. They are yummy, by the way. We are all bonded by cancer. Those words on that plaque are so, so true.

Take care.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Not happy Jan !!!

G'day. When we had the front fence put up some time ago, we decided to plant standard roses. 8 in total. There is one on the other side of the drive that you can't see in this photo. These roses have been there for about 14 or 15 months now and have been just beautiful. They took a little while to establish as we have very heavy clay soil. But, the last few months they have looked a treat. That is until last week. One of the standards has died. I went out to give them a deep water last week as we were expecting hot temperatures in the mid 40's and nearly fell off my perch when I saw that one was looking very sick indeed. The leaves were wilted and dry and I knew I was in for a battle to save it.
I knew it wasn't through lack of water, so I decided to cut off all the dead leaves, hoping that this might help. Usually I would leave any leaves that have been burnt from the sun, even though they look unsightly. It is not much use cutting away burnt leaves only for the sun to scorch any new shoots. But drastic measures were called for. I even put some rose food around the base and watered it in well, but to no avail. The plant was dying and I was powerless to stop it. I have always grown roses and have never had one die on me. When we had the farm, we planted over 300 roses and I never lost one, even though we suffered through one of the worst droughts here in Australia, I looked after my roses.

I was baffled, what could have gone wrong with just one rose? I kept an eye everyday on the other standards to see if they were going to suffer the same fate. But they are just fine. Hubby saw the cut back rose and asked me why I had done that and I said it is dying. He got this strange look on his face and I knew I was not going to be happy with what he was going to say. It appears one day when my back was turned, he decided to spray a few weeds and there happened to one growing in the bricks that run along the fence. I am the weed sprayer here and even on the farm, it was my job. I never trusted anyone else to do it. If I killed a plant through carelessness, then it was on my head, no one else's. 

I saw hubby that morning out the back here with the small spray bottle and I said to him to leave it, as there was a slight breeze getting up, but did he listen? No, he didn't. He wanted to kill the weeds growing up among the pavers. Little did I know he went out the front as well and saw that weed in the bricks and attacked it. It was right in front of the rose. I think some overspray must have gotten on the rose  It's the most likely explanation. 

So, no, I am not a happy camper. I told hubby that if I ever see him with that spray bottle again I will not be held responsible for my actions. The last photo shows the gorgeous bougainvillea that grows on the side of the front verandah. It's a magnificent bush. Shame I didn't hold the camera straight when I took the picture though....

Take care.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Just the boy and I

G'day. Hubby has gone away on a "blokey" weekend. Something to do with motorbikes, hanging with your mates, drinking and in general just having a good time. So it's just the little brown dog and I at home.  We are having a good time too I might add. Watched a few videos yesterday, read a chapter or two of a good book etc, etc. The little brown dog keeps looking for his dad. Every time  he hears a car go past, he looks out the window, wagging his tail. I on the other hand, know exactly when hubby will be home so I don't rush to the window, wagging my tail or wagging anything for that matter. As much as hubby will be having a great time, so am I. I am enjoying this peace and quiet. 

Little brown dog jumped up on the bed with me this morning, something he is not normally allowed to do. It was early, somewhere around 5.00am. I was awake and reading. Yes, I know, it's not the time one should be reading, but once I wake up, that's the end of it for me. I don't usually go back to sleep and I am reading a good book. In case you haven't read  The Book Thief, give it a go. I love it. 

It's going to be stinking hot here today as it was yesterday. Somewhere in the low 40's I believe.  So a day inside with the air con on will be in order. I am using my iPad to do this post, working with the Blogger app, that a friend suggested I download,  so am not sure how it will turn out. I can't reposition the photo, which is a bit annoying and I don't think there is a preview button. So I am taking pot luck that all will be ok. My apologies if not. 

Oh well, it is now 6.25am, Sunday morning and I think I will get up and go and turn some sprinklers on and water my poor thirsty garden before the sun decides to grace us with it's hot presence. 

Take care. Liz...