Archive for December, 2012


The first order of the day was to open presents (in her lovely new Christmas dress). Gorgeous Girl is turning into a keen bird watcher thanks to Gorgeous Man’s influence and she was thrilled with this gift.

They will get lots of use when we travel to Brazil next month.

She was very impressed with this flying toy from Grandma.

There was a train – this will get packed into small boxes and taken back to Papua New Guinea with us, but in the meantime it is providing hours of fun to a little girl on holidays.

After opening the presents at home we headed up to Gorgeous Man’s sister’s place for brunch. Just a light breakfast of pancakes, hash browns and fruit: cherries, mangoes, water melon and peaches (all in season and lovely and fresh).

Then it was off to lunch with more extended family. After lunch we drove to the ferry.

We caught the ferry across to Coochiemudlo Island.

Our Gorgeous Girl loves water so she was thrilled to be able to swim.

Her cousins received inflatable boats for Christmas and these were a big hit.

It was a really lovely relaxing day.

I’ll leave you with my favourite picture of Gorgeous Girl for the day.

I hope you had a happy and joyous holiday season.

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An Aussie Christmas Part One

This year is Gorgeous Girl’s first Australian Christmas, and the first one that Gorgeous Man and I have celebrated in Australia in 6 years. We’ve had a lovely time catching up with family and friends and celebrating an Aussie Christmas.

My lovely sister-in-law Rochelle makes gingerbread houses with her children each year. This year she set aside some gingerbread and lollies (candy) so that Gorgeous Girl could make one too.

She had a blast. The finished masterpiece…

During our visit to Australia we are house-sitting for friends. We decided to visit a local Anglican church for their Christmas Eve service. The sign said it was a kids’ service and it started earlier than the Uniting Church down the road… As we were waiting outside the church Gorgeous Girl was approached and asked if she would like to be an angel in their nativity play. They didn’t need to ask her twice. “Yes, Please!”

She made an adorable angel, and in true Gorgeous Girl form, had no problems going up the front of a church filled with strangers.

After the church service we came home and Gorgeous Girl was allowed to choose and open one present before bed.

(We brought the stockings with us from home, we try to maintain some traditions amidst all the travelling.

She chose a squishy package. I had to laugh, as she was feeling it she said “It’s squishy, it must be wool! I don’t know anything else that is squisy.”

It was a lovely twirly dress which had to be tried on and tried out straight away.

Also on Christmas Eve I had another appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon. I’m doing well with the foot, but it looks like I’ll need another two injections into the damaged tendons. Still, I’ve been responding well to treatment and so we are hopeful that a full recovery is on the cards.

Christmas Day was great, but I’ll save that for another post.

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Flying, sewing and shopping

We left PNG on Tuesday.

Gorgeous Girl was very keen to get on the plane. Here she is waiting anxiously for our ride to the airport.

She loves pulling her own suitcase through the airport.

We had an uneventful flight to Australia. Because Gorgeous Girl wanted to sit next to Gorgeous Man, this meant that I was able to finish the final few chapters of a book for uni and do a bit of hand stitching on some of my pieces for my hand-pieced hexagon quilt. The flight from PNG to Brisbane is not long, only 2 hours and 50 minutes.

I brought my hand-pieced quilt with me. I’m hoping to get a fair bit done while I’m here.

Yesterday we stopped at a small country op-shop (thrift store). Op-shopping is something that I miss living in PNG. I scored big time. A t-shirt for Gorgeous Girl (I think it’s very average, but she loves it), a beautiful denim skirt for her and a pair of long pants so she can go bush walking with Gorgeous Man. I also found 7 back issues of Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine which I didn’t have and this.

A very large 100% high quality cotton pillowcase. It will become either  a dress for Gorgeous Girl or a super cool handbag for me. I also found

a lovely vintage sheet.  This will go to my SIL who makes amazing things out of vintage fabric.

The grand total for this shopping spree? $6.25 It was half price store wide. There will probably be more op-shopping while we are here 🙂

Christmas shopping is 99% complete, the stocking are hung (I brought them with me in the suitcase) and we’ve started wrapping presents. It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas.

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A quilt top

This has been my leaders and enders project for a while. But today I decided to get it to top stage  today.

It used most of my dark 2.5 inch squares I had pre-cut. I needed to cut light strips and some light 2.5 inch squares. The pattern is from Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine Vol 16, issue 10. It’s called A Galaxy of Stars and is by Tazzie.  I omitted the sashing and didn’t set it on point…

Kate sent me some Hawaiian shirt scraps and they make a large portion of the 2.5 inch squares. Most of the other fabric was left over from previous projects. This was a great scrap-buster. Now I just have a bagful of bright  2.5 inch squares left to use.

It’s a mat to go under my new sewing machine and extension table. I’ll also be using it to practice free-motion quilting on the new machine. But that will have to wait until we come back from Australia and Brazil.

While trimming the flying geese I (belatedly) decided to sew up the off-cuts and have a play with them.

2 inches by 1.5 inches. I’m thinking of a mini quilt using these. I’ll need to make a fair few more though.

Tomorrow we are flying back to Australia for a few weeks. This will be Gorgeous Girl’s first Christmas Day with her cousins and I’m looking forward to it tremendously.

We are all packed and ready to go. I’m going to try and finish another clutch bag and prepare some more hand-piecing hexagon pieces this evening.

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This has been a good weekend for finishing stuff.  The first is a basic hat for charity. It was my take-along project.

The bit of fluffy blue at the bottom makes it nice and festive.

While we were digging through the stash to find yarn for Kerin’s mug hug, Gorgeous Girl asked for a crocheted hat and found the yarn that she would like me to use:

and the top view.

This was super fast, just a few hours. I started it Saturday evening and finished before lunch on Sunday. I’m not sure I’m joining my rounds correctly, but it worked out in the end. I’d love to be able to take some crochet classes at some point. The yarn is a vintage cotton from a South African producer that I inherited last year.

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I made a mug hug. Gorgeous Girl picked the orange for the nose and the blue for the scarf.

There is something kind of ironic about crocheting a snowman mug hug  while enduring the tropical heat and sipping cold water. This isn’t my usual style, but my very good friend Kerin showed me the pattern on facebook and I offered to make it for her. I really hope it will fit her mug. I’ve told her that if it doesn’t she needs to get a new mug.   🙂

This will get dropped in the post when we arrive in Australia for Christmas. This year will be our first time in seven years to celebrating Christmas (on Christmas Day) with family in Australia. Last year we arrived after Christmas and Gorgeous Girl got presents 5 different times as we visited family and friends around the country, but it’s not the same as doing the whole celebration and lunch and swim at the beach. I’m really looking forward to it.

I’ve started thinking about projects I want to take with me. I’m taking a pair of socks to knit and a crochet hat – Gorgeous Girl asked for a floppy hat and picked out the yarn yesterday – who am I to say no? Then I’ll throw in a charity cardigan that just needs sleeves and a few balls of yarn for some charity hats. They’ll most likely get sent off to Jan of OzComfortQuilts before we return to PNG – less weight in the luggage. Then I’m taking the big hexagon quilt to work on as well. I’m enjoying hand-piecing so much that I have got a few more lined up that I want to do, so I need to get this one knocked over.

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Gorgeous Girl has been sewing by sitting on my lap and pushing the stop start button on my new sewing machine. but she has been nagging, whining, pleading, begging, asking to sew more independently on her own. So yesterday I set her up with my old sewing machine. By placing it on a kid’s table she was able to operate it all by herself.

We went through how hard to press the foot pedal to make it go and keeping her fingers away from the needle. She learned about putting the right-sides of the fabric together (there is one piece of fabric sewed wrong side up).

My contribution was limited to trimming the ends of the fabric once it had been joined, pinning the longer pieces (she was very good about stopping and taking out the pins before they got to the needle) and squaring up the quilt. We stopped once she felt it was getting a bit too big for her to manage under the machine.

The edges are a bit wavy, but I’m pretty proud of her first attempt. I’m going to let her try and machine quilt it later this week, if we are still in PNG (our travel plans to Australia for Christmas are complicated right now). I just need to get it basted. Love that I had some of my scraps pre-cut so that she could use them when the urge took her. 🙂

I’ve also managed to sneak in a bit of sewing. Some orphan blocks turned into coasters. This is the last of the sewn Christmas presents I had set myself. 🙂

These orphan blocks are at least 4 years old and I recognise some of the fabrics from the first quilt I made which I started in 2003. Guess it shows that I never throw anything out. I think they’ve turned out well. They are a little over 3 inches. So not great for huge cups, but should serve a purpose.

I also made another clutch.

These go together so quickly. I may be a bit addicted to making these. Let’s just pretend that the closure is in the middle of the clutch. Obviously I have a measuring problem. The outer fabric was a gift from a former student when I ran a language school in South Africa. She was a fashion designer who passed on some of her offcuts to me. I’ve held on to it for a while waiting for the perfect project.

Because it’s been so hot, (hotter than it has been if that is possible) and I’ve been Christmas sewing,  there hasn’t been much knitting going on. The advantage of this is that I am starting to see a dent in the fabric stash. I’m thinking of taking progress photos of the yarn and fabric stash reductions monthly next year.

In foot news. I managed two short easy walks earlier this week, with no major repercussions, though I did too much today and feel a bit sore now. But it looks like I’m hopefully, on the way back to normal.

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On Tuesday morning I woke up with a small red rash on my chin and the left corner of my mouth that was very itchy. By Tuesday evening when I looked in the mirror to do my make-up for Gorgeous Man’s staff function I noticed that it had spread somewhat and the area under my left eye had also started to swell.

Wednesday morning saw the left side of my face and all of my chin covered in a scaly rash and my left eye was now swollen half shut. Gorgeous Man drove me to the clinic. Visiting the doctor is a little different from home. I announced myself to the receptionist, after she entered my details into the computer I was called up to the counter to pay in advance for my consultation with the doctor. I’m pretty sure this clinic bills on a sliding scale as I noticed “expat” next to my billing details. Still, it’s not expensive. After that I waited to see the doctor. She examined me and sent me off for a blood test and an injection.

To get this done I needed to take the request for a blood test to reception, pay for the test and then go around to the blood taking room and get the blood drawn. He was really good and found the vein first time, with no pain and no bruising afterwards. Next I had to take my script to the pharmacy and I was given two bags of medicine. One contained the tablets to take home and the other was the injection which I needed to take to the treatment room.

The nurses in the treatment room struggled to find my veins, the third time resulting in a massive bruise I still have five days later. After three attempts she went and got the doctor who found the vein and administered the injection.

By Thursday morning I looked like this.

Photo does not show the true extent of the redness and swelling. She did say that it would take a few days for the swelling to come down, but by Friday morning my eye was mostly closed shut and the rash had spread down my neck and was starting on my hands and arms. So back to the clinic. Where I was given another injection and, after consultations with two other doctors in the practice, different (stronger) medication to take home. I was sent home with strict instructions to phone the doctor on Saturday to let her know how I was going.

She must have been more worried than she let on as she actually phoned me on Friday evening. Fortunately, I was able to report that the swelling around the eye was receding and the redness and itching was fading. Today I’m pretty much back to normal, some slight redness and itchiness, but definitely improving and feeling much, much better

Diagnosis was severe allergic reaction/contact dermatitis. We don’t know what from. I’m relieved as one of the doctors was talking about the possibility of a staph infection and that is the last thing you want here in Papua New Guinea.

In addition we’ve had such slow (non-functional) internet this week and a 7 hour power cut on Sunday. Fun and games all round.

Last night after the power came back on I whipped up this clutch from Bend the Rules Sewing. This was really, really fast.

The black fabric was purchased new in South Africa a few years ago and has been sitting in the stash waiting for the right project. Let’s all just pretend that the button closure is in the centre of the bag…The lining fabric.

was a gift from a student when I was running an English Language School in South Africa. She was from Taiwan and was a fashion designer. These were some of her off-cuts. I love making use of stuff like this. It was a great pleasure to tag her on facebook this morning and show her how I’d finally used her fabric.

I love the lining fabric so much that I’ve cut enough to make another bag for me with the red as the outside of the bag. I think it will make a good passport/boarding pass holder for when we travel at the end of the year.

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I’m pretty sure that the intended recipient of this bag doesn’t read my blog, so it should be safe to show this here.


This used up every last bit of the owl fabric – I managed to cut one strip and some 3.5 inch squares for the scrap bins from the odd shaped leftovers. The spotty red lining was an off-cut off something – it had been trimmed with scissors, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was used for or when I acquired it…

I’m pleased with how this one turned out. Though I still have issues with the lining not sitting as well as it should. This is the last of these bags I’ll make for a while. Once we live in a less dusty house some may appear to help keep stuff in my sewing area corralled.

Next up on the sewing list is the artsy clutch and some orphan blocks which are going to be turned into coasters.

How is your Christmas sewing going?

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A Banquet

It’s hard to believe that the end of the academic year is here already. Last week we attended the graduating class’s banquet. It was held at a big Chinese restaurant in town.


There were over 400 people in attendance. This was the first time Gorgeous Man and I have eaten out at night since we arrived in PNG. Living so far out of town makes travelling at night a bit of a security concern, so we only do it on very special occasions.

A highlight of the evening was the dancing done by some of the different cultural groups at the university. The girls from Tonga did a lovely dance, but before I could get a picture the stage was flooded with people adding money to their outfits and joining in.

The Fijian girls also danced. They started their dance sitting down.



Once they moved to the standing part of their dance, people from the audience also came onto stage and added money to their outfits. This is a traditional custom across the Pacific.

I’ve been sewing and knitting, but nothing is finished right now. Hopefully one more fabric bucket will get done today and then I can start on the artsy clutch from Bend the Rules Sewing. Gorgeous Girl has told me she wants to make pompom bookmarks today, so I’ll need to go and raid the yarn scraps for that. Bookmarks are always welcome in our house and a few will probably be added to Christmas gifts as well, depending on how quickly she loses interest 🙂

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