Reading seems to have been top priority lately

I have read so many books recently I need to add them to my 2017 Reading Challenge.

There have been more Elmore Leonard books and Stella Rimington plus a few other authors.

Road Dogs, Up In Honey’s Room, Riding the Rap all by Elmore Leonard.  These are all very quick reads with fast moving plot and plenty of action.

Close Call, The Geneva Trap, Rip Tide all by Stella Rimington.  I love her books and am now searching for a copy of her biography which is apparently out of print.  I have tried at my local library and secondhand bookstore but without any luck.  I will try the secondhand bookshops next time I visit Canberra.  I might have more luck there.

Cockroaches by Jo Nesbo.  I have read many Jo Nesbo books.  This is the second book he wrote in the series but the translation wasn’t published until late in the series as the American publishers thought it wasn’t up to much.  I enjoyed it.

cockroachesThe unidentified Redhead by Alice Clayton.  This was absolute rubbish.  I persisted and read to the end but I returned books 2 & 3 to the library.  Just not my cup of tea.

unidentified-redheadThe Dark Flood by Margaret Drabble.  This book was great.  About growing old and the prospect of death.  How different characters deal with the possibilities of their future.  Quite funny in parts.  Certainly worth a read.  I mentioned it here.

The dark flood risesI am currently reading the book I got for my library blind date and will post about it later.

I know now why I haven’t done this before.

A few weeks ago our local Spotlight store had a sale on sewing patterns and I bought three.  One of the patterns was a Vogue pattern at a ridiculously low price, one that I couldn’t go past, and as this was the only child’s pattern that appealed to me so I bought it.

Vogue patternYou can see in the background the reverse side of the fabric I selected to make the dress for my youngest granddaughter.

smocking dotsI didn’t realise that I would have to transfer all the dots to the fabric in order to do the smocking.  I don’t own a smocking machine and I am not likely to now.

smocking machineThis is what a smocking machine looks like.  Obviously it would only take a few minutes to pleat the fabric whereas it took me several hours by hand.

I thought I had carbon paper for transferring the dots but I only had white and that wouldn’t show up on the fabric so I had to go and buy some new dressmakers’ carbon.

dressmakers carbon paperYou can see from the photo how old my carbon paper was compared to the new one.

I set about transferring all the dots, what a job that was.

smocking dotsI then had to sew all the gathering threads,

gathering threadsgathered for smockingand pull up the gathers to fit the paper pattern of the yoke.

yoke pattern for gathersNow I have all that bit done I can start on the actual smocking.  It would need to be a terrific result after all this work.  I hope I don’t make any mistakes.

embroidery The only smocking I have done before was way back in 1967 when I smocked the yokes on my younger sister’s and my bridesmaids’ dresses for my elder sister’s wedding.  It was nowhere near as complicated as what I am doing at the moment.

smocked yokeMy how fashions change.

Local bird life while gardening

jackassThis one is fairly obvious in the tree, a kookaburra.  I was removing some old sleepers and there were lots of bugs underneath.  A group of six kookaburras was hanging about looking for a feed. (There is no specific collective noun for kookaburras but I like the idea of a cackle of kookaburras.)  When I took this photo of the kookaburra I spotted something else in the tree.  Can you see it in this next photo?

hidden birdscreen-shot-2017-02-20-at-8-29-40-amThis bird is so well camouflaged.  It looks just like a piece of bark in the tree.  It was not at all interested in moving so I was able to get a few photos.  You can click on the photos to see them more clearly.  The bird is a tawny frogmouth.

I managed to get one photo with its eyes open but unfortunately I was pointing towards the light so it isn’t a good photo.

tawny frogmouthWe checked out our bird book.

bird bookinfo on frogmouthfrogmouth imageI was amazed by how still the bird was. This is the first time I have seen a frogmouth.

We also had a group of magpies checking out the grubs but magpies are very common so I didn’t bother with a picture.