About Me

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My name is Kaye and I am 57 years old. I love to cross stitch and quilt, especially with my kittens, Furio and Milo "helping" me. I also love to read, I have a passion for history and I have been cooking since I was about 12 - move over Junior Masterchef! So, this blog, which started out as a cross stitch blog sometimes morphs into a reading journal or a history lesson (sorry, I used to be a secondary teacher before I became a publisher) or a post about my cooking mojo. Whatever it is, this blog is alway about me, my family and my life here in Eaglemont, Victoria. I have been happily married for over 30 years to the most wonderful man and we are blessed with three beautiful grown up children.

My fellow stitching kittens

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

The Alphabet Club - Saturday detention for "N" ....

is for 


and the 


Okay, so let me explain...

Ned Kelly is one of Australia's folk heroes, and in keeping with Australia's convict beginnings, he was actually a criminal and outlaw.

He has been ...
 memorialised by painters, writers, musicians and filmmakers alike. More books, songs and websites have been written about Ned Kelly and the Kelly Gang than any other group of Australian historical figures.

You can read his life story here.

 He died at the gallows in Melbourne Gaol, on 11 November 1880, his famous last words were "Such is Life"

Death mask:
Ned Kelly was hanged at Melbourne Gaol on the morning of 11 November 1880. Immediately after his body was taken down from the gallows, his hair and beard were shaved off and a mould taken of his head by Maximilien Kreitmayer. The mask is a unique three-dimensional representation of one of Australia's better-known historical figures, created shortly after his death.
Death masks were common in Australia from the early 1800s. They were mostly of criminals, including convict absconders and bushrangers, and were used both for exhibition purposes and for phrenological analysis. The collection of 85 life and death masks displayed in JW Beattie's Port Arthur Museum included masks of executed criminals dating from 1826 to 1904. The Old Melbourne Gaol's collection of death masks numbers 36 and includes Frederick Bayley Deeming (suspected of being 'Jack the Ripper'), Frances Knorre ('the baby farmer') and James Williams who was hanged in 1904.
The mould of Ned Kelly's skull taken by Maximilien Kreitmayer was used to produce a desk mask that was on display in Kreitmayer's Bourke Street waxworks the day after Kelly's execution. Phrenologist AS Hamilton used the mask as source material for a detailed phrenological analysis of Kelly that was published in the (Melbourne) Herald of 18 November 1880. Hamilton had previously been declined permission to directly study Kelly's skull before he was executed. In part, he concluded '... there are few heads amongst the worst that would risk so much for the love of power as is evinced in the head of Kelly from his enormous self esteem'.

Ned Kelly and the Kelly Gang – films

The actual armour as worn by Ned Kelly (Image is of a motion picture still, probably The story of the Kelly Gang), 1906.
Unknown, The actual armour as worn by Ned Kelly(Image is of a motion picture still, probably The Story of the Kelly Gang), 1906, negative. Image courtesy of the National Library of Australia: nla.pic-an24932346.
The Australian film industry produced what was probably the world's first full-length feature film in 1906. The film was the Tait Brothers' production The Story of the Kelly Gang . It was a success in both Australian and British theatres, and it was also the beginning of a genre of bushranger stories.
In November 2006 the National Film and Sound Archive released a new digital restoration of The Story of the Kelly Gang. This restoration incorporated 11 minutes of material discovered in the United Kingdom. Prior to this discovery, only a few minutes of footage was available. The Story of the Kelly Gang can be seen when visiting the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.
While the Australian public took a liking to bushranger stories, the New South Wales police department did not. The production of films about bushrangers was banned in 1912. The Kelly story, however, outlasted the ban and has been re-filmed a number of times since.
Other well known films about Ned Kelly include: Ned Kelly (1970) starring English rock singer Mick Jagger as Ned; the Trial of Ned Kelly (1977) starring John Waters and Gerard Kennedy; the 1980 mini-series The Last Outlaw starring John Jarratt, Steve Bisley and Sigrid Thornton; and the 2003 Gregor Jordan directedNed Kelly which starred Heath Ledger.

Ned Kelly and the Kelly Gang – books and art

Sidney Nolan (1917-1922), Kelly and horse, 1946.
Sidney Nolan (1917-1992),Kelly and horse, 1946, enamel on composition board. Image courtesy of the Nolan Gallery.
The Australian author Peter Carey won the 2001 Booker Prize for his fictional novel True History of the Kelly Gang . Carey's inspiration, in part, came from the Sidney Nolan series of Kelly paintings, some of which can be seen at the Nolan Collection Gallery. The novel's first person narrative style was crafted from Ned's own 'Jerilderie Letter' – an account of the dramatic events leading to him being outlawed in the 1870s.
Carey's book is not the first to be written about Ned and the Kelly Gang. There are many other books including Ned Kelly: A Short Life (1995), Ned Kelly: The Authentic Illustrated History (1984 and reprinted in 2001), I am Ned Kelly (1980) and the Inner History of the Kelly Gang (1929), a very brave move on behalf of the author, J J Kenneally, considering that some of the people being discussed were still alive.
Sidney Nolan's Ned Kelly series are probably the most well known of the art works about Ned Kelly. Many other artists, including Norman Lindsay, have also produced a variety of art works of this Australian bushranger.

 is one of the names for the Australian Outback.  
The saying goes that you Never Never want to go there (because it is so remote) but once you have been you Never Never want to leave!

I first heard this term when I read the Australian Classic, 
We of the Never Never by Mrs Aenas Gunn 
(as a child it always fascinated me that she used her husband's name as her writing name).

It is an autobiographical novel of her experiences as the first white woman in the Mataranka area on Elsey Station in the Northern Territory in 1902.

Of course, it is horribly NOT PC these days but when I was a child, it opened my eyes to the wonders of outback Australia - so different to my suburban life.

There was a film made of the novel in 1982.

At Mataranka, they recreated Elsey Station for the film.


You can read more about Mataranka by clicking here.

Okay, that is it for me for N - finally this post is done (I have been writing it for days now but other posts kept getting in the way - lol!).


P. S. Ooops, I forgot to tell you, if you want to see what the other detainees got up to, please click here.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016


on two levels.

Firstly, because I just received the MOST AMAZING GIFTS FROM MY SSF, KIM from Wisdom with Needle and Thread  and secondly, because this is my second GG post for September.

So, as you have probably seen on various blogs around blogland, dear Kim has been gifting 60 different bloggers with the most wonderful RAKs in celebration of her 60th birthday.

... and today, it was my turn to be the lucky recipient!

All I can say is WOW! WOW! WOW!

Dear Kim, you are the most extraordinarily generous person and the most amazingly talented artist.  Everyone, please have a look at the wonderful gifts she sent me.

A gorgeous Tudor doll, a beautiful Anne Boleyn thimble, a Tudor kit and postcard and some extra gold and silver beads plus four Tudor panels for making a quilt (below).

Here is Anne with her dear husband, Henry...

 A close up of Anne... 

... and here is the beautiful Tudor Lady....

 and a close up of the Tudor panels ....

Thank you again, dear Kim, you are certainly my SSF!  

hugs and all my love, 

Oh no, here it is the 20th September already....

.... and I am just posting my Stitching Pie for August!  

Okay, what is my Stitching Pie, I hear you ask?  

Well, I am "stealing" yet another great idea from my dear Stitchy and Bloggy friend, Jo, from Serendipitous Stitching. Each month she includes a pie graph of which projects she has been stitching on - showing how much time, proportionally, has been spent on each one in that month.  You can see her August Pie, here.

I really like this idea, so I am copying it, thank you Jo, I hope that you don't mind, so here is my Stitching Pie for August.....

Here is the breakdown of minutes over the month:

Two of the above projects are knitting projects - the Pom pom twisted scarf and the London Blanket for DD.  There are a number of finished pieces as well, five in fact - In a Garden, Little Red Riding Hood, Train Baby Sampler, Believe in Christmas and Winter Wonderland.

For interest's sake, I added up all of my craft minutes for the month of August - and as you can see I really need to up my crafting game - too much red (which is all the other things in life that I do - sleeping, working, cooking, reading, shopping, exercising, socialising, etc.)

Anyway, I hope that you find this data interesting - I certainly do!

Thanks again, Jo, for the great idea.


Sunday, 18 September 2016

Gifted Gorgeousness_September Update.....

Okay, a few things to catch up on for GG this month... but first, in case you do not know what I am talking about ...

Gifted Gorgeousness (or GG) is a SAL run by the wonderful SAL Mama, Jo from Serendipitous Stitching.  Basically, on the 15th of each month, we post anything which is stitchy gift-related.

First up is a gift of some lovely Henry Viii and his six wives chocolates that my dear friend Anna (no blog) brought back for me from a recent trip to London.  I have been resisting eating them as they look so cute with my Henry Viii thimble (which I bought at Hampton Court Palace in 2006) and my Henry Viii and his six wives teapot.

Thank you, dear Anna, for thinking of me. Such a thoughtful gift.

Also, I have been working hard on my DD's London blanket.  She has been travelling all over Europe and even into Morocco, where she spent a night in the Sahara and kissed a camel - I wonder if in Moroccan fairytales it is camels that turn into princes if you kiss them rather than frogs (which are probably pretty rare in the Sahara - lol!)????

She arrives in London next week, so I had better get a wriggle on - I still have five colours to go after the lilac - and I want her to have it before the English winter.

Then, my dear friend Linda, came home from her trip to France and brought me back this gorgeous Medieval book mark kit.  I can't wait to stitch it up!

                                  Doesn't she know me so very well?

Also, this month, I had the Prairie Schooler train birth sample framed and gave it to the new mum and baby.

I am so very pleased with how this turned out and Hannah, the new mum, loved it.

We had lunch at The Kiln, a very nice cafe on the site of the old Northcote Pottery (I still have some of their terracotta pots in my garden).

Okay, I think that is it for now.  I do have one more GG piece finished, which I stitched for a dear friend's 60th but it is off being framed, so I think that I will hold it over until next month.

Take care everyone, happy stitching, 

lots of hugs, 

P.S.  Ooops, forgot to tell you, please click here, if you wish to see what the other GG participants got up to this month.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Happy Big 5-0, dear Jo ...

... and welcome to Jo's Big Birthday Blog Hop....

I have been given the year, 1992.  Here is what Jo has to say about that year's events for her.

1992 - Jo was 26.  Following the demise of Ripley the Hamster in the winter, Jo was delighted to hear the patter of tiny feet this year.  Or tiny paws!  She adopted a rescue cat.  Jo wanted a black cat she could name Vasquez (Aliens theme to the pets) but the cat she adopted was so shy the name just didn't suit her.  When Jo tempted her out from under the cupboards she discovered the black cat was actually white at the roots of her fur, so the name Spooky was chosen.

Jo's instructions go on to say:

On the 17th September you post that information on your blog and add an anecdote either:

1. What happened to you in that year
2. What happened to you at that age
3. What happened when you had that life event

Then add a photo of something you've stitched which you think will appeal to me.

I have chosen #2, what happened to me that year.  

Well, I, too, heard the pitter patter of tiny feet but these were not feline but human, at the end of this year, my third child was born - DS2.

He was born on Boxing Day, 1992 and I can still remember being at my sister's for Christmas Day, feeling very uncomfortable as I ate Christmas prawns and literally crossing my legs, declaring that this baby was NOT going to be born on Christmas Day.

Well, I managed to hang on - just! - my waters broke the next morning and my second son was born late that night.  His birth was a difficult one, an emergency caesarian, the months following his birth were also very difficult as he was a very clingy and quite demanding baby. Plus two weeks after his birth, DD came down with chicken pox and two weeks after that DS1 and then DS2 (the baby) had a mild bout (the daughter of my friend who looked after DS1 and DD on the day of the birth came down with chicken pox that very day!).  And, oh, we were also doing major renovations to our house!   But once his babyhood was over, he turned into the most delightful toddler and child and has become the most easygoing of young men - kind, caring, thoughtful and loving.

Once DS2 was born it became clear, that three children was the right number of children for our family.  So, that meant that I could finish the family birth sampler ... Wind in the Willows.

(Sorry about the glare on the photos - I have taken lots of the different sections so that you can see them more clearly - it is a very big piece).

I would have to say that this is my biggest stitching accomplishment and is certainly the one of which I am most proud - which is why I chose to showcase it for Jo.

Dear Jo, I just want to wish you the very happiest of birthdays today. May it be a very special day for you and I hope that your menfolk spoil you rotten all day long.

I also want to tell you how much I value your friendship - we have been wonderful online friends since 2012, I believe, and I find your stitching advice and finishes totally inspirational.  I love your various blog hops and I enjoy our email discussions on a variety of topics very much.  Long may our friendship last!

All my love, and.....


Advice, please....

Advice please....

Hello my dear bloggy friends ...

Just wanting some advice, please.  I thought that for a change I would try to Finish my latest Christmas Ornie, Xmas Tea, straight away - I know, I know, be still my beating heart!  I am actually going to be organised! lol!

Anyway, reaching into my newly organised tub of Christmas fabric, literally the first fabric that caught my eye was this one:

But then I rummaged around a little bit more and found this one:

I think that I am leaning more towards the second one but I would love a second opinion - so please let me know what you think.


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Stitching for Syria....

You may remember from this post here, that some time ago I stitched a block for "Stitching for Syria" for Concern, an aid organisation, who have asked stitchers around the world to stitch this little design to be made into a wall hanging to show the women of Syria that stitchers around the world are thinking of them and are aware of their plight.  It is also to give them inspiration for their own craft.  I found out about this via the lovely Jo, who also stitched a block.

Stitched on 28 ct Mocah Linen
Floss: Cottage Garden Threads 1004 Blue Ixia

Well, the other day, I received this great update email.

Welcome to Concern Worldwide from three year old Deli. Photo: Gareth Bentley/2014/Zambia
Dear Kaye, 
Earlier this year, hundreds of you took part in our cross-stitch challenge in aid of Syrian refugees. Now the individual creations have been turned into three beautiful wall hangings.
Stitch for Syria saw crafters from around the world re-create a cross-stitch pattern inspired by the refugee women at a Concern supported training centre in Lebanon. The women at the centre use embroidery to deal with the trauma caused by years of violent conflict, as well as earn a vital income.
Now Jane Caldwell, a grandmother and retired lecturer from Northern Ireland has stitched the patterns together to make three wall hangings! The hangings feature over 900 individual squares from over 20 countries. Jane spent four hours a day for two months joining the patterns together, using over one million stitches! 
Jane said: "I'm really pleased with how it has turned out. It's been amazing to see how creative people have been and how varied each design is...I hope the completed wall hangings will remind the Syrian women that we support them in the difficulties they face." 
The hangings will soon be sent to Lebanon where they will decorate the centre where the women meet. Stay tuned for our next email showing the hangings on their journey to Lebanon. 

How wonderful it is to have been part (albeit just a small part) of this great initiative. Thanks, dear Jo, for giving me the inspiration to take part.

hugs to you all, 

P.S. Sorry that the last two pictures are so large, but if I try to change the size they go out of proportion!

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