Friday, February 27, 2009


This summer has been full of wonderful occasions and gatherings, one of which was the Metcalfe Birthday Barbecue. We were really honoured to be invited to join in on this occasion!

Now the Metcalfes are an old Norfolk family. Great-grandfather came here as a doctor and married an island lady. Only one of their descendants actually lives here now, but the clan still calls Norfolk home. They all gathered her last month to celebrate two special birthdays, and they truly came from far and wide, some of the young ones even coming all the way from England to explore their roots.

On the chosen day, there was a big informal barbecue down at the Lime Kiln. This is where, in the Convict settlement days, lime mortar was produced for the gaols and the officer's quarters.

In the wall behind Waveney, believe it or not, there are stocks (flowers) that are said to have been growing there since the comvict days, seeding themselves each year. Similarly, on the other side of Emily Bay, you can see straggly petunia plants that have been coming up year after year longer than anyone can remember!

Anyway, back to the Birthday bash. First we had some amazing marinated and barbecued prawns with simple fresh bread and butter. Nothing ever tasted so good!
We followed with steak and sausages and the a truly beautiful fresh green salad, with lots of just crisp fresh green beans through it. We were able to take along a big watermelon that Matt had given us.

And finally the cake, celebrating the combined 125 years of Andrew and Wally's birthdays.

Wally and cousin Andrew cut the cake.

The sun was finally sinking into the sea as we all prepared to pack up and go home - feeling totally relaxed and contented!
Waveney, Reg and Bern enjoy the cake

Bernie and Bunty

Friday, February 20, 2009


I have been reminded that I have let far too long a time pass between postings! I will blame the excessive heat and humidity, which causes lethargy in the body and a mushiness in the brain!! Fortunately we have not had too much mist and fog this time, because that really causes problems with the planes as well as the vegetable gardens. The intermittent rains have kept the island beautifully green, and it is reassuring to have the rainwater tanks kept topped up.
Anyway, the most important event of recent days has been the return of Kim and William from New Zealand.
I was a little worried that after eight weeks, William would not remember us, and he was somewhat overwhelmed at first. But the cheeky grin soon returned.

He was especially pleased to see Roany the dog!

As for me, I have not found the energy to do or think about a great deal. I have continued with some wet-felting, and will show pictures in a later post. The problem is that while the air is so full of moisture, the wet-felting just stays wet day after day!!
I have almost completed my first page for our 2009 Round Robin. This page is for Sue in Victoria. Sue's chosen adjective is 'Arboreal', which inspired
me to have some fun with lace collage.
The lace was hand-dyed, and layered over a blue background. Then I embellished it and embroidered it to portray a lively treetop scene, with all sorts of little creatures. I just wish I could have found a bear, or a possum or even a small monkey to add to the Arboreal community!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

or "Four Bags Full"

Now when I came home yesterday afternoon, and walked up the path, I was a little puzzled by the enormous bags on the verandah. When I came closer, I realised there were four bags of wool - two large hessian sacks and two large stripey bags, packed tight with raw wool in all sorts of shades from white to cream to grey to black, all mixed in together. The picture shows just one of the bags!

I soon guessed that Annette had been here. She had mentioned a couple of times that she was downsizing, and had a bit of wool to give me to do some felting. In fact she had even emailed me a recipe for FELTED SOAP!! I was expecting perhaps a small shopping bag or two - certainly not this much. Bernie was horrified, but son John said that if we could not find another use for the wool, it would make good mulch for the garden, and that seemed to satisfy Bernie, who has had nearly 40 years to get used to my excesses!

Well, you know me - I was up quite late running the stuff through my fingers, and teasing some of it out. I half-filled two shopping bags, but barely made a dent in the top of the first sack.

First thing this morning I consulted my friend Google, and decided to make some felted eggs. I had four stone eggs in my collection that would make a good base.

An hour or so later, this was what I had produced.

I really like the effect of the blue webbing, but I am not sure how well it is clinging to the other felt. I may need to needlefelt it into place. When these eggs are dry, I will cut a slit at the base and remove the stone eggs, and stuff it with more wool, and then close the opening, probably with some discreet stitching and some more needlefelting. They will make great ornaments or useful pincushions.

Meanwhile, I have really got stuck into the knitting business, and produced four lengths of stripey knitting using my tapestry wool collection.

These have been thrown into the washing machine, along with the earlier green piece that did not felt well the first time. Some of my friends in the Craft group suggested my knitting may have been too tight, and that I should use larger needles, and the later pieces certainly felted up much more quickly when I did this.

What plans do I have for these funny little pieces of felt? Well, I have visions of some funny little elves and Santas, which will make a great giveaway next Christmas. In the meantime, I will leave them to "mellow."
By the way, I have barely made any impression on my Tapestry wool stash, but I have used a lot of the nicer colours. And I think I have got knitting out of my system for a little while.
I think that felting will be "all the go" here for a while. I am not sure about the felted soap - but you never know!!!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Well, the girls have gone, and most of our holiday events and activities are finished, and life has resumed its normal routine. I have mixed feelings about this, because we had a really lovely holiday season, and Norfolk Island is the very best place to enjoy it.

The girls with Anna and Amy and Tony G. at the airport

I still have lots of photos of things that went on which I would like to use in future postings, but in the meantime, I shall share just a little of what I have been doing here on the home front.

Our fabric book Round Robin has got off to an early start, because this year we have 10 participants. There are some newbies, from both New Zealand and Australia, and I am really looking forward to seeing new techniques and approaches.

We have each chosen an adjective, which the other participants interpret for their contributing page. My choice was "Fertile", which I thought could be interpreted in a variety of ways, applying to landscapes, plants, animals and even minds and imaginations.

It was my intention to do a page for myself before sending my 'pack' off, but I really did not know how I would approach it. Then one day, out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of a small jar of chunky red beads. I immediately thought of pomegranates. A quick session with my friend Google, and I soon discovered that not only are Pomegranates a symbol of fertility, but they originated in the Fertile Crescent. Add to that the fact that I am extremely nostalgic about this fruit, having enjoyed them in England as a small child - and I knew my page would be featuring pomegranates!!

To start with I painted a group of pomegranates onto a paper fabric. When it all comes down to it, that is the quickest way to portray something, and I don't know why I feel a little guilty about reviving this old skill of mine. It is not as if I am abandoning stitching altogether.

After a couple of attempts at collaging a background, I finally made one from silk fusion. I appliqued the fruit to the background with small backstitches.

Now it was time for the seeds/beads, which are abundant in pomegranates. The original red beads which had inspired me looked rather flat, so I made up a "bead soup". I am really pleased with the effect!

A few other beads and embroidery stitches completed the picture, and now it is ready to be forwarded on to Diana in Wellington so she can add her page.

What else have I been doing? Well, I have this supply of tapestry wool, and it comes in handy when someone in our Craft Group runs out of a particular colour in a kit. But there is so much of it, and I was wondering about turning it into felt.

Funnily enough, when I first thought of the idea, my friend Maggie, who now lives in Nelson NZ rang me for Christmas, and told me she had been knitting little jewellery bags and then felting them.

I sometimes get old woollen jumpers from the Op shop, and turn them into felt. I wash and agitate the blazes out of them in hot and cold water and detergent, and as long as it is pure wool, it will eventually felt up to a greater or lesser degree. Unfortunately pure wool jumpers are becoming harder to find. The "Machine Washable" ones will not felt, and many have a small percentage of nylon or acrylic, which also prevents the felting process.

I had a number of skeins of soft green tapestry grounding wool. I had visions of using the resultant felt for little birds, which I would embellish with pink and cream roses. After a week of knitting, with fairly fine needles, I had only a small piece. I am out of practice, having done my last piece of knitting 35 years ago!! Yesterday I cast off, because I wanted to be sure it would work. Besides, knitting in all one colour is a little boring.

I am afraid that half an hour of rubbing and rolling, and even boiling in sudsy water, the piece has shrunk very little. I will just keep throwing it into the washing machine with other things. It is definitely pure wool, and it must felt up eventually!!
My craft group members suggested that the other piece may have resisted felting because the tension was too tight. So I have started on another piece, with larger needles, and a variety of colourful tapestry wools, changing colours every second row. This really makes my heart sing! It is much more fun, and grows at a much quicker rate!

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