Friday, 31 October 2008

I have an award!

Sue has given me this award - I am thrilled as it is my very first award. Now comes the real challenge for someone like me who is new to this game and has not been doing my homework to learn all about the techniques. I have to link back to Sue - the easy part, and do go to look at her fascinating blog.

Next I have to link to 4 dedicated followers of my blog and one new one from another part of the world. here goes:





and Heather

They all have such interesting blogs, I love the way we can link all round the world in just a few seconds.

This is what I have been working on today, when I haven't been working out what to do here, or what to do when I have made stupid mistakes. I sewed the lining on before I sewed on a piece of velcro to fasten it and then of course I had to make a different type of closure. then I couldn't find the button which I wanted.............and on it went. By the time I had finished I was happy, but it wasn't the quick and simple activity I had been planning. The idea is slightly adapted from a Fibre and Stitch free project.

Now I have to go and clean up my studio so I can actually find some space to do some more, I don't think there is one square inch of bed, tables and shelf which can be seen at present, it is all covered by stuff!!!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Back in the garden

My columnea is in flower at present and providing a wonderful splash of colour at the front door. I know I have shown a picture of a pot of nodding violets before, but this one is even better, and it has looked like this for well over two months. I have been using a different fertiliser and think I may have cracked the jackpot. Whatever, I am happy for it to keep right on going.

My garden now has a couple of extra things in it. Yeaah, my copy of Maggi's book has arrived, so I have become a magazine destroyer also. I know I am starting much later than the rest of you, but as Bill said to me, we live in the tropics so degradation should happen much faster. I have only had time to dip into reading the book since it arrived yesterday, but I really hope to start experimenting tomorrow. It looks very exciting. I saw I need quink ink in the requirements, and was heaving big sighs as my usual suppliers of that ink here in Mackay no longer carry it, said there was no call for it - well, they didn't know what we do with it, did they. I let my fingers do the walking and finally found another newsagent with two bottles in stock, one black and one blue - now they have none!

This is the very interesting ATC which Jenny sent to me for the embellisher swap - I don't think Jenny has a blog. As Jenny said, although we all did the same course, our finished products look totally different. Years ago, (more than I care to remember), I went to a workshop with Gabriella Verstraaten where we were making an evening bag. One of the participants lived out of town and had no access to shops, so the convenor bought double the quantity of everything she was using, and they shared equally. At the end of the day, the two bags were totally different colours, and we all found it incredibly hard to believe they were made from the same materials. This was long before digital cameras so I can't show any photos of them.
I'm off to finish a couple of things, may have more to show tomorrow. Cheers...........................
this is now tomorrow! I pressed the wrong button and lost the lot then couldn't get from edit back to compose.....grrrrrrrrr! I need to take a couple more hours to learn this technology, but then I am not creating in my studio, which is much more interesting.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

this and that

This lovely ATC came from Maggi a couple of days ago, part of the swap organised with our embellishment group. I love all the hand stitching she has added to the embellishing.

This is another little trinket box, but I am really showing you that I am using some of the gorgeous yarns I bought from Dale a few weeks ago, also I have made use of a piece of silk I painted when I did module 1 of Playways course run through The Thread Studio - that was about six years ago! Turned up in my stash when I was looking for something else, and was just what I wanted. I never throw anything away, but I sometimes wonder......................

This photo below is of my two gorgeous grandsons, Alexander and Hamish and Gordon Goodfriend, who is on exchange from a school in Scotland (sorry, I don't know which one). Each child in Alexander's prep class takes Gordon home for a week (dressed in the school uniform and with his own backpack!!). They take photos of Gordon doing different things, and a story is written up about the week's activities (obviously by Mum), including photos. It is all added to the book and at the end of the year Gordon and the book will return to Scotland, and the Australian exchange will come back to Walkerston. I think it is a brilliant way to show small children how other people live their lives. The teacher must have gone to quite a lot of effort to set it all up. There are wonderful photos in the book of Gordon on a cattle property, in the middle of canefields, and on the tractors, as well as at the beach, also the Eisteddfod, and a drag racing night.

To me, this photo really shows a typical Queensland backyard, with two kids running around barefoot, the mango tree in the background and all!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

ATCs sent off

Dale's latest embellishment group has organised an ATC swap and these are the ATCs I have sent off. I think some in the group had never heard of ATCs before so it is a brand new experience for them. I am looking forward to seeing the six I will receive in return

All of these are primarily done with the embellisher, though with these three on the bottom I used my hand felting needle to attach the yarn around the tiles. I was not particularly happy with the background - I didn't read Dale's instructions properly and used vleisofix (bondaweb) rather than gossamerfuse (mistyfuse). apparently with gossamerfuse the foil coverage is a bit more speckly and not so overpowering. I shall remember next time!

................much later....I had to run away at this point as Bill needed my computer for use with a visiting surveyor - well I say mine because I usually use it, but let's face it, the computer is part of his office network so of course he has first say in it.
I went to the eye specialist today and came home with good and bad news. He says my sight in my left eye is now two lines better than when they last tested it three months ago - very good - but........the latest research says that if the injections are stopped the sight will gradually deteriorate again so I guess for the foreseeable future I will be having monthly injections into my eye. Not my favourite thing to look forward to, but streets ahead of going blind. thank goodness the Government sees fit to subsidise the cost of the drug - goes from over $1000 per injection to $5. That is quite a difference.
We have had nearly a week of very strong winds now, the potplants are drying out while I look at them. Showers promise every day, but we have only had a vew millimetres and the wind negates any benefit from that. Bill has been getting very cross, he has been trying to map our Botanic Gardens with some surveying GPS equipment and the wind is so strong it is hard to hold the staff vertical to get a reading. He has managedto get a few points though and is now learning to put the data into the computer. I simply admire from a distance and admit I can't do any of it. I think I will stick to painting and sewing - much easier.
Time for bed, when I shall have a good look at my latest copy of Quilting Arts which arrived in the mail today, more inspiration for whenever I find the time. Cheers.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

What the postman brought

This lovely ATC was made by Sylvia who does not have a blog as far as I know. She has been doing the online embellishing course and we arranged to swap with each other. Sonce then, there has been a much larger swap arranged so I will have more pictures to show soon.

The day before Dale left for London I emailed for an order. I needed another reel of red Madeira FS Jewel, one of my favourite embroidery threads. I couldn't possibly ask for just one small reel of thread to be sent from Perth to Mackay could I? Sooooooooo...

These tine sequins don't show up very well here, but they are gorgeous, and

this big bundle of yarns has some really yummy colours and textures in it.

I can't wait to use these gorgeous mohair yarns on the embellisher, they will work beautifully.

And then I needed some different coloured yarns, so this bundle came as well.

And last but not least these two bottles of shimmering mists. I will have lots to inspire me over the next few weeks!
I had a visit to the optometrist yesterday, with good and bad news. My vision has improved a line in my left eye since I was last tested 6 months ago, and the leakage seems to have stopped, which means the injections have worked in that eye, yippee. Unfortunately he thinks I now have the start of a hemorrage (can't spell it) in my right eye so shall probably need injections in that eye next.......aaargh! I go back to the eye specialist next Tuesday for a scan of my eyes, no doubt will then need more testing before possibly another three injections - a never ending merry-go-round. I guess I am lucky they can do something for macular degeneration these days so I shouldn't complain. Can't bear the thought of going blind.
On a much more cheerful note, we are loving having the grand kids nearby. Nikki was going out to so some shopping yesterday, when Hamish (not quite three) said Granny and Grandpa. No, said Nikki, we are going shopping. NO, said Hamish, Granny and Grandpa - so, of course we had a visit!! He was happy to go shopping after that.
Time for bed, more soon.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Embellishing matters

I have done some more embellishing at last. This photo is strips of the silk I dyed some time ago, embellished onto scrim. That was the easy part. Next it had to be backed with vleisofix and made into a mosaic. Now I know why I have never wanted to be a quilter!!! I have never matched up pieces like that and tried to get the colour gradients before, and I don't think I will again for a long time!!

Having said all that, I am quite happy with the sample thus far - I made cords of thinner strips of silk to machine over the squares, and will probably use the piece on the front of a book cover later on. I love the textures created in the silk by the embellisher.

This next piece was some deconstructed knitting on top of foiled felt. I put black chiffon over the top to try to knock back the foil, it was too much for me. I embellished some lace over and then a flower I made with wool tops - interesting experiments, but not sure that is one I would repeat again either ( the deconstructed knitting I mean). I know lots of the other participants weren't happy about knitting, I like knitting, but the finished result is perhaps too bulky for me. That is part of the fun though, isn't it, just trying out different techniques to see what you like.

This sample was worked on kunin felt then heated from the back, and I added the little flower beads for fun. I think that will probably make it to the front cover of a book some time too. I have really enjoyed this course, though I have not finished nearly as much of it as I would like. I have all the books to browse through and try out techniques for years to come so it has been very worthwhile.
The family has settled in at Walkerston, and just love living in a village atmosphere - most things they need: school, supermarket, doctor, library, butcher etc are within a couple of blocks from home. Dougal will be working from his home office for the first few months - his work is mostly done over the internet or phone or with site visits to the mines, so a shopfront is quite unnecessary. We get to see the grand kids at least once a week, how great is that.
I had better stop and type up the minutes from the last committee meeting of the Gardens Friends, I am getting slack, they should have been done nearly a week ago - I was having too much fun with the embellisher!

Monday, 6 October 2008

ATC swap and gardening matters

This is an ATC I am swapping with one of the other ladies doing Dale's Embellishing course, she doesn't have a blog as far as I know. this is about the only creative piece I have done for several weeks, but hopefully everything will be back to normal and I can get started on trying to finish the embellishing course in the next three weeks before Dale closes the site down! there is always hope.
I have posted these photos of the Dracaena fragrans (Happy Plant) in my back yard. It got too big for the back verandah so I moved the pot outside and it has continued to grow and grow and grow..................then a couple of weeks ago these lovely flower buds appeared on it.

I was very surprised the next day when I came out to find lovely white flowers popping out all over the stems - and discovered why it is called fragrans, they have a very strong but delightful perfume, especially early in the evening. According to one of the books I consulted the flowers will be followed by attractive small fruits, but I am not sure that is going to happen on my plants, I think everything is dropping off. This is the first time I have ever had flowers on the plant, it has been in the garden for quite a few years now.

I am still recovering my energy after the onslaught last week. Stuart arrived from Canberra on the Saturday to stay here with his daughter Hannah, aged 7. He looked at the photos of the house our other son Dougal and his family were to move in to and suggested he should install ceiling fans in the rooms before they moved in ( he is an electrician). What a drama that turned out to be - turned out he couldn't get into the ceiling so had to borrow an extension ladder from a mate, then lift every roof panel in succession to do all the wiring - six fans and 14 downlights later........with his father up and down the ladder installing bits inside the house and Hannah and I running around with the vacuum cleaner, the house looked really good about 1 minute before the family arrived!!!!! They of course had only seen photos up till that point so there was a deal of exploring with all the kids claiming their space!
The neighbours certainly knew everyone was here the next day as 5 grandkids in the backyard which is normally dead quiet, was surely a bit different! There was much tooing and froing over the next couple of days, but school started today, so a routine is being established. We are just loving the idea of having all the grandkids in town so that we can continually catch up on their doings.
I particularly like the idea I can see them all without having to pull my sewing room apart to accommodate them!! I always manage to mislay something whenever I put it back together again. I had made the base fabric for another pair of fairy shoes and I know I put it somewhere safe, but do you think I can find it - no way. Mind you, I have found a few other pieces I had 'lost' along the way, so that is a bonus. I am waiting to see now how good Hamish (not quite three) will be about not touching all my ornaments around the house. I have moved them on previous occasions when the family has only been staying for a few days, but I don't want to have to lift everything up high if I can avoid it..................we will see. Dougal was very good at not touching anything when he was little but Stuart was quite another story - every chair in the house which could be moved was locked away in a room till he went to bed! That way we all stayed sane.
Time for bed. Cheers.