Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Mincemeat and Wharf logs

This is a picture of the latest piece I have embellished for week 2 of Dale's class. I call it mincemeat because of all the little pieces which have been cut up and placed over the base before being covered with chiffon and embellished. Actually Kristin Dibbs called it mincemeat when she taught me the technique many aeons ago in a free machine embroidery class. I wonder where she is now, haven't heard of her for many a long year. We are supposed to do a lot of hand stitching on it, but I can't hold the needle so I am going to make it into another little trinket box.

This next photo is back in our Botanic Gardens, part of the lovely collection of bromeliads in the fernery. The local bromeliad society comes along and looks after them for us, moving the pots around to keep the amount of light right.

The logs at the back of the bromeliads and in this photo and the photo below were originall part of the breast wharf at Mackay Harbour. The wharf was pulled down just as our Gardens were being constructed and our architect was able to have them all brought out here. They are being used in quite a few places around the Gardens in a variety of ways and really make a statement. A pair of kookaburras nests in the hole in the right hand post above. They have raised one clutch of babies successfully, after losing the first two to predators. Hopefully they will be nesting again in a few weeks. The visiting schoolkids always like seeing them catch food to feed the chicks, and although kookaburras are usually pretty aggressive when they have young, this pair seems to be the exception.

I love this vine arbour made from the wharf logs to support some tropical vines which will be rampant (we hope) in another few years. The logs seem a bit of an overkill just now, but some of the vines grow really huge in the tropics. We have a jade vine and a wonga vine growing. I can't find the photos I have taken of the Jade vine just now - my index system is shot to pieces! It is really beautiful when it is in flower, but I think is far too big for a family backyard. I'll post a phot tomorrow if I can find it - I know it is on the computer somewhere!
Time for bed. Doctors' appointments tomorrow, followed by a committee meeting, so not too much spare time for catching up on the embellishing course, but maybe just a little bit.......

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Wild women and embellishing

I am back again. I think we have finally ironed out all the technical problems with installing a new computer - about time too! Dougal made the three computers talk to each other, but in the process killed off the photo uploading directory. He fixed that when he was up here a couple of weeks ago, then Bill thought he would upload a later version of our Nikon software - big mistake. I couldn't edit anything or save it at all. All the writeups gave this version a big wrap, but when Bill took it off and went back to our old one, bingo, we are back in business!! sometimes I hate techology.......................

This lovely wild woman is my swap from Dale's Wild Women swap - see www.thethreadstudio.com Elizabeth Price of NSW made it, I don't know anything else about her, but I am thrilled to have her winter wild woman. I have now bought Sarah Lawrence's book to give me inspiration to make some more.

I have also enrolled in Dale's online embellisher course and these are a few examples of what I have done so far. The first picture shows some wool tops embellished onto some nuno felt which I made years ago and didn't like at all. I hated the technique because I could hardly move for days afterwards - did no good at all for my arthritis, but also because the colours of the wool tops we were working with were positively anaemic and I don't like pastels much at all. I dyed some of the bits with the Landscape dyes I bought at the Wrapt in Rocky forum, now I love the colour so I am going to dye the rest and use it for backgrounds. I doodled some circles on the back, but wasn't sure I liked those so covered them all up on one end - fascinating possibilities for extending this with all sorts of other bits.

The next photo shows some of the lovely sari silk strips embellished onto black felt. This is so much fun.
Next I embellished some crystal organza and other sheer organz onto satin backing and scrim, then cut out the flowers and embellished them onto the strips, linking them with a silk thread. I can't hold a needle properly to do embroidery stitches, so I beaded the centres.

Now I just need to make a start on Week 2 a day before week 3 is due to arrive...........oh well......
I have spent most of the last few days at the University with the annual book sale. We had a reasonable response today, but I suspect the Olympics kept a few people at home who would normally have been out buying - can't say I blame them, this post is being written very slowly as I have one eye on the TV. I have remembered to set the DVD player to record tonight's closing ceremony - it will be too late for me to sit up and watch. I was very cross that I completely forgot about recording the opening ceremony. I sat and watched the first half hour, then had to succumb to sleep. Haven't had time to watch too much, but there have been quite a few exciting sessions, just as well they only come about every four years!
Now I had better go and put the washing away before I go to bed. Back to the Uni tomorrow for the second day of the book sale, and hopefully not too many books left to pack away after. We usually announce patrons can fill a carton of books for $2 for the last hour or so, amazing how many books can be packed into a carton sometimes!!! Better than being put in the recycle bin though. Forgot to say that we were give a pile of old magazines to sell - Womens Weekly, Womans Day, New Idea and Womens World dating back to the early 1960s. Amazing! Amazing too to think of what we were wearing and doing back then! I think I will have to buy a couple of the ones which are left to bring home with me just foor old times sake.
Cheers for now, I really do hope to be back again very soon.

Friday, 15 August 2008

House hunting and embellishing

I don't have any photos to show tonight- technology not working properly again! the photo editing software doesn't like the new computer setup at present - and I don't like it!!! Some time soon it will all be sorted and we will be back to normal.

We have had absolute bedlam here for the last week. Bill and I looked at a house last Saturday which Dougal and Nikki liked. They talked to the bank on Monday morning, rang at mid-day to say they were on their way up! I ran around in a panic to buy enough food for six extra people, packed away my sewing room, made beds,etc etc. They all arrived in time for a late dinner Monday night, we all went to look at the house on Tuesday morning - after I had been to the podiatrist - they signed a contract on Tuesday afternoon, Bill and I went to a Botanic Gardens committee meeting on Tuesday night, we babysat the small children while Dougal and Nikki sorted out some paperwork in town on Wednesday morning, then they all went home on Wednesday afternoon and I washed and washed and washed !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then I fell in a big exhausted heap!

All very exciting but I don't care for big rushes like that these days. In my younger days, that seemed to be the story of our life most of the time. Bill often rang me late in the afternoon to say he was bringing 4 or 5 businessmen home for dinner that night, and everything seemed to work out most of the time. I always had the makings of dinner and dessert in the freezer, somehow can't think quickly enough for all of that now.

The first part of Dale's embellisher course was ready to download on Tuesday while all the family was here, and I have still only just touched the surface. At least I have all my stuff spread around the table in the sewing room and I shall really get stuck into it tomorrow. I am determined notto get too far behind this time.

The swimming will be finished by then and I won't be watching the TV quite so much. We are celebrating here in Mackay - we have two Olympic champions so far - Nick Ffrench in the men's relay took silver, and Linda Mackenzie brought the women home in the 200 metre relay to win gold and smash the world record. Fantastic. We also have a Mackay girl Teneal Attard in the women's hockey, and the goalie Steve Lambert in the men's team, as well as Benita Johnson running the marathon. Pretty good effort to produce all those Olympians from here I reckon.

We have been gadding about this week - went to a production of Thoroughly Modern Millie at the local conservatorium last night. The students put on a very good show - much better talent this year than last year. Tomorrow night we are off to see the Queensland Opera perform Mozart's Magic Flute, should be a lovely evening also.

That's enoough rambling for now. Pictures and another post soon.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Fairy shoes and coming home

I have taken about 12 photos of these little fairy shoes, and this is the best I can come up with, my camera does not like glitzy things! I have had fun over the last couple of days making these little shoes, instructions courtesy of an Annette Emms workshop in the March 2005 edition of Workshop on the Web. I had forgotten all about it till I saw some fairy shoes at a local craft shop. They are quite quick and easy to make, and I have two seven year old grand daughters who will love them! I wasn't happy with the xpandaprint and Jacquard paint decorations, shall have to buy a much finer paintbrush next time. I think I will make several mor pairs of these, I will have worked out the best way to make them by that time.

The other wonderful piece of news I want to report is that our oldest son Dougal and his wife Nikki and four children are moving to Mackay at Christmas. Dougal will open a new office in Mackay for his company, new challenges for him and great for us to have them all here close by. The next big challenge will be to find a house large enough for them which is affordable - we are a mining community these days, with affluent miners pushing the prices of housing ever higher. Fortunately Gladstone (where they now live) is also an affluent mining and industrial city so the prices of housing are still fairly high there, so they should get a good price for their current house. There is a huge skills shortage in Mackay because so many people say they simply cannot afford to move here - very sad. We are all hoping Dougal and Nikki can buy a house in the same general area where we live, the schools near here are excellent - and so close that I can imagine the kids calling in here on their way home in the afternoons. That would be so much fun.

I keep hoping I will have some pages to show you from the online journal course which I have downloaded. Six weeks have passed since it began, I have read all the material, but have reluctantly put the whole lot away for a few weeks till I have time to go through it all. Dale's embellisher course starts in another week, we have a huge booksale to organise at the University and there are some very big events about to happen at the Botanic Gardens. Late September to start the journal is looking realistic!

I need to go and send out some notices before I take my knitting with me to watch the last episode in this series of Foyle's War. I really enjoy the realism in that show, without the huge amounts of blood and gore in most shows. This one is all very quiet and subtle.