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Card Games and Picnics

Just a quick one today Stitchymites… I’m off on a mini break! When I asked Damo what he wanted for Christmas, he said “an experience”. We haven’t been AWAY on a holiday together since before Covid, so I took the opportunity to give him a few nights on a lovely houseboat in Berowra Waters, which is around the corner and up the Hawkesbury River from where we live. We will have to drive for about an hour and a half in a big curve around from our place to get to the wharf, even though if we went from here in a straight line it would be more like half an hour! :) It will be worth it though for a few nights floating about and reading our books. There is an amazing restaurant at Berowra Waters too, which is only accessible by boat. I will tell you all about it, with plenty of photos, next week. It was a slightly extravagant present but he also won Employee of the Year at SarahFielke inc. and the boss said he earned it ;)

This past week has been the beginning of our proper holidays. All the family things and the work things are out of the way apart from the finishing up of the Stop, Thief! BOM things, and the final editing of the new books, which won’t ever end until the FINISHED button is pressed!! And once thats done I need to start prepping everything for the Big Woods videos, so that Im ready when Tula comes to stay in March. The last week has been very relaxing with some work in between, we have been swimming and reading and having breakfast in nice cafes, picnic dinners and playing a lot of Canasta. 

Every year for a very long time, my family has played the Summer Cup (except during Covid, when it was the Corona Cup). Essentially its just an excuse to score when we play board games or card games or cricket on the beach. At the end of the summer we add all the points up and someone is the winner. Theres usually no prize, just bragging rights. We’ve always been a games family, some of my earliest memories are of playing Uno or Switch in a big group, or backgammon with my dad. Thankfully Damo loves games too (so many people don’t!), so we have played games with the boys and all their friends as they’ve grown up and now when they come home with the girls for visits, we often spend nights playing games and drinking wine and laughing ourselves silly. This year for the first time, the Summer Cup is just Damo and I. The boys are both moved out of home, and although they came to visit for Christmas and we did play a lot of games, we didn’t do the Cup as it was only a few days together. I’m a little sad about it, but its also nice to think that we will still play the Summer Cup together and that there will be years when we all play together, and years when the two of us take on the epic battle :) And that maybe as they make their own families, the tradition will continue. 

Unfortunately this year Canasta is our preferred game, and Damo has been consistently kicking my butt big time. I need to up my Canasta tactics. The cards are coming with us on the houseboat.

I’m also taking some sewing (surprise, surprise!), but I”m not taking work as this is a proper holiday, and there has been a lot of work stitching in the past few weeks. I was going to have Stop, Thief! completely finished and started quilting by now, but getting Covid early December completely derailed everything for a few weeks, and by the time I was better I was into the Christmas panic so now its all playing catch up, so plans for stitching nothing but fun projects that are just for me in January are out the window. 

Packed into the busy bag for the houseboat are the following:

* The Details, by Ia Genberg. It’s only short and I’m halfway in, so I’m also taking

* Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin

* The first block of A Day in Happyland, which is a BOM by Anne Downs. I very very rarely make other peoples quilt patterns, but every now and then something jumps up and bites me. I thought one day this might be a lovely quilt to have in the cupboard for a little grandperson, should one come along. I have always loved the combination of embroidery and applique- quite a few of my early commercial quilt patterns combined the two, or had embroidery on traditional quilt blocks, but as my quilts got more “modern” (blerch, I hate being pigeon holed) the embroidery faded out. Should I revisit that?? I’m in design for the 2025 BOM as soon as I get Stop, Thief! back under control…. let me know what you think.

Anyway, Anni’s quilt calls for wool applique but I’m using cotton, it makes some of the pieces very small but I enjoy that. And I’m going my own way with the colours. They’re mostly all Tilda’s with some linen and a random pink star on calico that was in my stash and just happened to be the perfect amount. I’m not using stranded cotton for the embroidery either, I’m using Aurifil 12 weight…. what a rebel. I only started playing with this just before Christmas so its just the very beginning.

* My temperature cross stitch project. I’ve never been tempted to do a temperature quilt or blanket or anything before, I don’t know why I decided now was the time. I bought both these patterns thinking I would decide before I started, and instead started both. I don’t know if I will keep it up, but for now it’s a fun little bit of stitching at the end of each day. I tend to sew them while I’m watching the news. They’re called Temperature Garden and Temperature Mushroom, and they’re available  as PDF downloads from Angela Lynne Studios on Etsy. I’m not following the colour charts she provides btw, I chose my own rainbow!

That seems like enough to be getting on with, doesn’t it? But I’ll throw in the Stop, Thief! EPP blocks too, just to make sure. I probably won’t do anything, hahahaha

This got long faster than I thought, but before I finish up here and go and pack some swimmers into a houseboat bag, I was going to give you this wonderful recipe I made for one of our picnic dinners this week. Summer tomatoes are one of life’s great joys, but if its diner where you are you could always make it to give you a little summer throwback while you’re sitting by the fire.