Saturday, June 23, 2018

Smith Family Get Together, 7th July 2018 at Brighton

John Smith's great grandson Graeme and his sister Betty and other cousins have arranged a gathering 170 years after John, Frances, Amelia and Lucy's arival in Australia on the Andromache, July 1848. So it will be Saturday the 7th of July this year.

It will be in Brighton at a local watering hole or suchlike (to be nearer to Betty's house and to be advised). They would dearly love to meet as many of John's descendants as can come along. Last time we got together I was able to take Dad and Ruby along and we had a lovely time sharing both the history of the family and just getting to know each other.

Hopefully we can find and invite some of the other descendants of Amelia and John Armstrong too?

John Smith, born 18th of December in Appleton, Berkshire England, and died 6th of January in Ballarat.

He married Ann Lambourn in Berkshire and they had two daughters, one of whom was Amelia Smith, my great-great grandmother.

Anne died in England and John's second wife Frances, along with Amelia and Lucy, came to Australia and had eight more children.

Amelia in turn married John Armstrong and amongst their children was my great-grandfather George Armstrong (who married Bessie McKenzie).

My Gramps, Keith Armstrong (or George Keith as was on his birth certificate) is Dad's (Bob's) father.

John was said to be one of the three who first discovered gold in Ballarat, though they hid their findings to go and retrieve their wives and children from Geelong. When they returned to their selection with the families, gold had been officially declared found.

Frances's obituary claimed these wives and children were the first on the goldfields, contrary to other claims.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Rug Group Day At Loch

You can see Chris's grandchildren rugs on the wall behind me.
Today Anne, Katherine and I (Robyne) took a trip to Loch for our get together in Chris's lovely home near the gorgeous hills of Western Gippsland. It's always a nice drive and this autumn weather was just perfect.
Chris worked on her big (huge) rug, clocking up hundreds of hours so far. It's going to be amazing when she at last detaches it from it's frame. Note to self: Be there when she does, with a loud hooter or some drums! And cake!
Katherine began her Magpie Rug with a lesson from Chris, and me butting in the whole time with helpful advice. I blame the cups of coffee I'd fortified myself with after the drive. And it's great to be back at Group Days such a long time away with family committments. Combo. Katherine has her newly constructed PVC pipe frame off and running too and seems to have her hooking sorted! Being a knitter, she has tension wel ingrained.
Anne Will Finish Her Hooked Carpet-Wool Rug At Some Point! Just as I Will Finish My Footy Rug! We at least work on them at our monthly gathering.
Unfortunately one of Joy's family had the bad manners to be born on this date, probably years ago, so she was forced to celebrate with them and was missing from action. A poor excuse!
I brought my new Penny Rug (just cut out) along for advice from the Gals. Who were very helpful. I couldn't see for looking anymore, to make decisions.
It's a design I have for sale on Etsy. However, my original version (as seen in the Etsy pic) was made with some inferior felt and it literally fell apart with use! I have dyed a few pieces of woollen blanket for the backgrounds and we lay it out in varous combinations. I can take bits on the train to stitch and use up some stash at the same time (bit hard with hooky's). We agreed with which colours to use, so that made me feel better. Feel free to share your thoughts! They both look good, but I'm thinking the plum-brown with the green peeking out from under will suit our bedroom. Both look good I think. We think.
It's lovely to share our food and company. We welcome any newcomers or old usuals. If you are interested, please put a comment on the blog or email
More photo's to come too. Of all of us. xxx

Monday, April 16, 2018

New Deluxe Hanky Box

Here is the newest Hanky Box. I love hankies and have way too many for the last box, so I've made a bigger version. I have used an old Book of Cats I bought years back (Op Shop) for just this purpose, i.e. crocheting together.

The beads are made by rolling up paper, around a tooth-pick, then gluing the ends.

It's hard to photograph, because of the plastic covering.

This was a card I gave my Dad, after his big operation 5+ years ago. Thanking him for staying with us. He gave us 4 1/2 years after it. Thanks Dad xxxxxxx
The blue patterned base is  from a heavy cardboard box I kept my water-colour pencils in for years and didn't have the heart to throw out. Using such a strong base makes the box very stable.

Follow the label Tutorials, at the bottom, for some help as to how they are made.

Monday, March 19, 2018

My First Springerle

I am ridiculously in love with all Springerle moulds, but this one is particularly amazing! You can see my wonky cutting!

My definitions are not too too bad on these. It is a multi-image mould, but I pressed them as if they were individuals, concentrating n one image at a time.
Notice poor old bottom left. It's a bit bloated!

The fish moulds are not very deeply cut and some definition is obscure, however overall they turned out better than I had expected. The little heart biscuit is far prettier when done that unbaked.

OK, the Swiss Cow...! They all rose too high and then collapsed in the centre whilst drying. Plus, cooked unevenly and have darker patches at the centre (which are not seen so much in the photo). Perhaps I didn't let them dry long enough before baking?
Note to self: Don't let the pastry be too thick! Cut them all the same thickness! Use baking paper!

I used the 6 cups of sugar/6 eggs/Baking Powder recipe (found in the Facebooks "The Springerle Cooking Appreciation Group"'s files, but I can't remember which, sorry) and added the rind of 2 lemons. They smell delicious! I have eaten a total flop of a Swiss Cow, who wouldn't come free of the tray (because I hadn't floured them) and it was very tasty. Might share one right now with our coffee, but the rest are for Easter.

These are unbaked...


Happy Birthday Grandma!

It's my own Grandma's birthday today. Phyllis Lucy West, nee Dickinson, Born 1909. 
The best sewer, crocheter, fixer... I remember watching her fixing some dropped knitting stitches, with fascination (and managed to remember because it was interesting). 
She was always trying a new technique, finding hit or miss excellent/terrible stuff at the op shop. Talking back to the grumpy old men at Job Warehouse. Helping Mum or us. Being mean to my Dad, who still cried at her funeral. 
She was generous, bigoted, easy going. She let me live with her when I studied patternmaking, a 15-16 year old hippie full of fancy, smoking pipes and bringing home all sorts of friends. We had a great year of sewing and whilst we drove each other crazy, we were cut from the same cloth and had a ball.
She was generous, bigoted, easy going. Could cover a chair or lay a brick path.
She let me live with her when I studied patternmaking, a 15-16 year old hippie full of fancy, smoking pipes and bringing home all sorts of friends. We had a great year of sewing and whilst drove each other crazy, we were cut from the same cloth and had a fantastic time. 
I still miss you! You would love so many things we've been up to. Like my parents, she was always ready to be so pruod of us all. xxxxxxxx Happy would be 109th birthday!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Latest Knitting

This is the cutest pattern! Easy to follow too. Check them all out over at my Ravelry page.

It's a bit cute that Jon wanted a bunny too. 

For baby Jackson, so he'll match his lamb.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Sunday at Buda in Castlemaine

Anne and I spent a warm day at Buda yesterday, talking to people and demonstrating our rug making.
I managed to get some bad photo's of the rugs inside the old homestead. The tour of the house was taken by an Enthusiast of the history and she described a family of largely unmarried girls who were encouraged and educated in anything they fancied and led a very adventurous life. It's worth a read here, and definitely worth the tour, although I'd like to go back and look at my leisure (knowing the story). The whole place, inside and out, has been donated to the Castlemaine Art Gallery, which also hold a fabulous collection and is worth a visit.
These Hooked Rugs are made on the old latch-hook canvas (which is so much harder to use than hessian or linen). A lady did a demonstration in the garden but we had to admit it was hard not to butt in! It was suggested you Must Put Latex or Thinned Glue on the Back to keep it together! Exclamation Mark! We politely didn't say anything and at least there was a bit of interest.
She did use a latch-hook with the latch sticky-taped shut, which isn't a bad idea and they are easily found in op shops. 

But I wanted to say how much Cheaper and Easier it is to work on hessian. And they don't fall apart. And come inside and look at ours!
Here I am working on the footy rug.
Anne with her newest proddy, started for the show (I think).
This one was behind a cabinet and in shadow. I really like it!