Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Some swaps

These are some things I made to swap with Susan when she was feeling blue. She asked for a garden theme, so I tried some different techniques. I am not too sure about the postcard, it is very different from anything I usually do, but I suppose that is what all this is about, not sticking to the sam old technique all the time. She has received them now, and I hope they cheered her up, she has had more bad luck, a severe bout of food poisoning - ugh!
The bookmark has some interesting flowers stuck onto it, which I bought in a discount store here. I wasn't sure how they would go so only bought one sheet. Of course I loved them when I used them, but the usual story, I went back to buy some more today and they had all gone. That will teach me to have more faith next time and just buy several sheets.

I am keeping all my fingers crossed that this post makes it into print - Bill cleared out all the history (I think that is what he said) on the internet before I started and that seems to let me in - for the time being. Bill is trying to sort out an order for a new computer for him, then his will move to my station, but can't order the configuration he wants - more frustration. Sometimes I think I would rather go back to a much simpler age, but then I would miss all the wonderful friends I am making through blogging. Shame we can't have it both ways.
I had better go and do some major tidying up in my sewing room. I have managed to 'lose' a piece I was working on this afternoon. I know it is in there somewhere, but I have half my stash out on the table and bed and all over the place - I am sure you can all relate to that. Tidying up often means I find something I had forgotten all about, what a thrill.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Cape Hillsborough and kangaroos

Isn't this little joey cute? She was rescued and taken to a wildlife carer after her mother was killed on the road. She is about four months old and is still given a bottle six times a day, but has now started eating a little bit of apple and some grass as well. The carer will release her back into the wild when she is independent - quite a while to go yet.

This picture was taken by a friend of mine who kept trying to get further away from the kangaroo to get a better focus. Each step backwards that Veronique took, the roo just took another step forward! A group of them live at Cape Hillsborough - the third photo - and they are a big tourist attraction.

This beautiful beach is half an hour's drive to the north of the city and is a wonderful place to relax. This was the favourite beach for our boys to visit when they were little, we still go there whenever we have visitors. Somehow we never seem to have time to be a tourist when we are just on our own.
I have resorted to Bill's laptop to post this, once more I can't get in through my computer, the gremlins are really in there this time!! Bill is talking about a new computer for him and I will get his old one -yet another steep learning curve coming up. I am trying to learn how to use a mobile phone, having finally succumbed to buying one. Seems to me that all the manuals assume you already know half the procedures before you start, and they write the rest in so much jargon I haven't a clue what they are talking about. Of course the phone has dozens of applications I will never use. Why does any modern appliance have to be so complicated? I am sure nobody uses everything which is on their phone/TV/DVD/computer/whatever.
That is quite enough on this small keyboard.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

More comparisons in the Gardens

Hooray, I am back again - for the time being anyway. I have still been having endless problems with posting from my computer, all very frustrating and boring.

These are two more photos to show you how much our Gardens have progressed in two years. The first photo was taken in February 2006, just after this section had been constructed. The whole area is representing the formation of coal through the ages and the plants that developed in the corresponding eras - or that is the vision of our landscape architect anyway. I am not sure how many visitors see the connection, but they love the plants!

The second photo I took yesterday. The enclosure has some of our Wollemi pines in it, but they are not really happy in our climate. These wonderful pines were rediscovered in just one location west of Sydney about seven or eight years ago, maybe even ten - time flies - and they have been propogated using tissue culture before being released to the public. Some were sent to botanic gardens in Ireland, and also to other places in Europe. Those are doing much better than nearly all the specimens in Australia, the conditions obviously really suit them better over there. Botanic Gardens are for experimenting, so I guess we will all keep trying to grow things in different locations under different conditions.
I have managed to do some creating over the last week or so, but all for swaps so I can't show anything yet. I think I need to keep getting involved in swaps to keep me on my toes and doing something different. I love looking at all the wonderful things all you other bloggers are making to send around the world.
Time for smoko, so I am off to get the coffee.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Changes in the Gardens

This is what this waterway looked like when our Botanic Gardens opened just five years ago. Behind the waterfall there is actually a stormwater drain which had to stay - it drains the stormwater for a large part of the adjacent suburb - so the landscape architect made it an integral part of the design.

This next photo was taken one year later. The twiggy shrub in the right foreground has been completely defoliated by caterpillars. This seems to happen about three times a year, with no detrimental effect. The leaves grow back and the shrub keeps growing!

We are just about to celebrate our fifth birthday and this is what the waterway looks like now! It is very hard to see to the top because of the lush growth, most of which has been pruned heavily at least twice and still looks like this. We do live in the tropics after all.
We are very proud of our Gardens, they are so peaceful to go walking in, and most visitors are very impressed - of course we get the odd one saying why haven't we done more planting in the newest sections. They seem to forget that infrastructure has to come first, no use planting if the irrigation system is not in place. More later.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Bookmarks again plus more

I have nearly been going demented for the last couple of weeks trying to post and not being able to post anything. I kept blaming blogger, even went to the extreme of starting a second blog, which only worked for one day before acquiring the same problem as this blog! At that stage, I tried blogging on my husband's machine - worked with no trouble - tried the laptop as well - still worked. By that stage, Bill was convinced there was a major problem with my machine, so many updates and fixes later, here I am back in business!!

I published these photos of bookmarks I have made in the last couple of weeks, but was in such a hurry I didn't say how I had done any of them. The first one in this series is a remnant from another project with disperse dyed panne velvet, covered with painted vliesofix, various threads, covered with a fine chiffon scarf and then stitched over. The next two are painted paper napkins, which have been stamped and sponged and stitched as well. I still have quite a bit of the fabric left for other projects at some later stage.
I have always kept all my offcuts or painted pieces which I didn't like and I am finally learning to keep painting, sponging, spraying till I like the end result.!! The two label on the right are part of the same piece of fabric which I painted about five years ago, much too bright colours. I painted a very light gold wash over the lot, then sprayed with gold moonshadow mists, thrilled with the end result. The misddle one has some tyvek samples stitched on, while I added flowers under chiffon and then stitching on the right one. The left one was a sample from my module 1 in Playways many moons ago.

There was another one I showed in my other blog, but I can't seem to click and drag it to here, so I am not bothering. It was a piece of pink felt which I simply decorated with bits and pieces.

We are having really beautiful weather here after a few drizzly days - we needed the rain so were very glad to get it. Seems hard to believe after the hughe deluge we had earlier in the year, but the countryside is looking very parched again. At least we have had a little bit, not like the poor souls in south-east Queensland who have still missed out completely. They are still on very severe water restrictions, and farmers are saying it is not worthwhile planting crops.

I have several more lovely photos from the Botanic Gardens to show, but will leave that for another day.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Window views

This was the view from our room at Jupiters Casino in Townsville where we stayed last week for the conference we were attending. It was really lovely watching the sun come up in the early mornings.

I didn't manage to do any beading while I was away - not nearly enough light in our room, well, that's my excuse anyway. Never having done much beading, any excuse was better than none to postpone starting!! I had lots of fun though,and among other highlights, a fantastic visit to the aquarium.

This was one of the tanks with live coral in it, as well as lots of little fish. The scientists have managed to replicate the sea conditions so well that the coral spawns each year at the same time the coral out on the Barrier Reef is spawning. Another tank had some sea horses which had only hatched a week earlier, they were about 2cm long and about as thick as a piece of sewing cotton, just fascinating!

This is what I see from my kitchen window as I am doing the washing up. The nodding violets (streptocarpus) are really a much deeper blue, but I can't seem to get the colour right no matter how much I fiddle - that is another 'how to' for this year, learn the ins and outs of my camera and how to edit photos properly!

The next photo is of some cattleya orchids hanging from a tree in our back garden, also visible from my kitchen window. The wind blows them round and round, they look so pretty. I am really not an orchid person, but these just hang there and get no attention whatsoever, not even any fertiliser. That is the sort of orchid I really like!!!

I have just signed up for an on-line course: Sharon Boggon's Studio Journals - a Designer's Workhorse, through I really need to get some prodding to get me designing, but I think I am slightly crazy. The 6 week course starts just as I am going away to a live-in one week forum in Rockhampton to do a course with Jacinta Leishman. That is another first for me too, I am really excited about that. I am sure that somehow I will be able to catch up with the journal, I think I need the pressure of deadlines to keep me on target.

Time for bed, this has taken longer than I thought to post tonight.