Saturday, 24 January 2009

A box and some birds

Here are two photos of the little box I made for the shrink plastic book. In the end I am quite happy with the way it turned out, but the colour scheme changed completely on the way through! My grandson Alexander was in the room with me while I was painting it and he couldn't believe it - Granny where did all the pink go? I just kept adding more layers when I wasn't happy till I thought I had better stop. I like the tissue paper over scrim though.

Dougal and Nikki are having a lot of fun watching the bird life in their garden at Walkerston. This little bar breasted honeyeater (about 130-140 mm long) was happily feeding the Horsefield's Bronze Cuckoo pictured above. The cuckoo grows to 160 mm when fully grown so is heaps bigger than its surrogate mother. These photos were taken out the window of their computer room - all happening in a scraggy hedge in their front garden. Obviously the birds like it.

This is a very lucky Figbird chick. The branch holding the nest blew down in a storm with the nest still securely attached. Nikki rang the Wildlife Carers who said to put the nest in an icecream container and replace it in the tree. Dougal did this, but it blew down again, each time landing right side up so the chick was still in the nest. They just attached it to the fence in the middle of the hedge (about a metre and a half below the level in the tree) and the mother has continued to feed the chick. That is one lucky baby I think.
I have not done nearly as much creative stuff as I thought I would be for the last couple of days - babysitting instead. Nikki was rushed to hospital with suspected appendicitis, but after waiting nearly all day for a CT scan and not having anything to eat in case she needed surgery, was told at 6 pm she could have dinner, she has an acute attack of diverticulitis and just needed lots of antibiotics - much better than surgery. She was allowed home today, but the family will all come here for some meals as she has to take things very easy for a few days. Thank goodness they are here in Mackay now so we can do something to help. The two little ones had a lovely time with watercolours and paintbrushes for a couple of hours today, of course I forgot to take a photo!
The next lesson for Fibre-in-form has been downloaded, I haven't even read it properly yet, ther looks to be heaps of ideas, and lots of work in the pages. I am trying to do some more with paper napkins, and I want to make some more silk paper, even though I still have some unused which I made last year - you can always find a use though and it is such fun to do. No doubt the next lesson for Catalogue Killers will appear before long also........I shall never catch up.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

A few more samples

The Ratty Tatty Papers class has begun, with some wonderful work being posted by the other participants. This was my first effort - the photo above is of the grid I made on one part of the napkin, then the photo below is of the finished piece. I have found some more interesting napkins which I shall start working on soon.
I am having to take turns inthe three courses I am doing, so here are some samples ffro the Fibre-in-Form class. They look a bit strange at present with no colour added to them - that will come in the next lesson, I have just realised that will be this Friday. OMG I am not ready!

This is woven strips of tyvek, embroidered then heated and afterwards stitched to the backing.

Moulding past was applied over the top of rows of automatic machine stitches - interesting results.

This is more tyvek over the top of couched yarns, all giving interesting textures. Next week should be even more fun.
I am going to make a box for my little book to go inside next. But I have had a most unproductive couple of days - a round of doctor's visits and medical procedures and general boredom. I also need to see a dentist, have had to postpone the next Leucentis injection for my eye, need to wait two months after the last one before having dental treatment, then another month after the dental treatment before I can have another injection - it all goes on forever, but at least I am still here to tell the tale, mostly hale and hearty, even if I am feeling very poor after making the doctors rich.
The weather has been quite pleasant here the last week or so, little showers, a pleasant breeze and not unbearable humidity. Unfortunately the long range weather forecasters are now saying that we are unlikely to have a la Nina event this year so probably not a proper wet season................again! I can't remember the last time we had a 'normal' wet season, though I am not quite sure what 'normal' is meant to be now.
Time for bed. Back soon.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Books and trees and other things

These two pictures are the front and back covers of a little book I have made out of shrink plastic, coloured with a coloured pencil before heating, then decorated with frozen opals embossing powder. I was very pleased with myself for making thi,s, I have had the plastic for a number of years and have never managed anything very successfully before.

These Buckinghamia Celissima trees growing on our footpath are flowering profusely at present. The parrots don't like them very much but the little tiny honeyeaters love them. Also very large hornets, which I am not so keen on - they look magnificent, but also look very threatening if you get too close to them. The other name for Buckinghamia is Ivory Curl, you can see why if you click on the bottom picture to enlarge it. In the wild in North Queensland these trees grow to about 80 or 90 feet tall, but they have been hybradised to minimise their hight for footpath plantings in cities.
You can also see the lovely new fence which Bill erected just before Christmas. He finally decided that we needed a lower maintenance than the timber picket fence which we had between the brick pillars - I think he is beginning to admit that perhaps we are getting on just a little bit.........but not too much, he still has to do everything himself, not get tradesmen in!

I have had a lovely day today and I am feeling very full - we have had a dinner of mudcrab and wine - it is my 70th birthday today! For those of you overseas, mudcrab is a real Queensland delicacy in Australia, only found in northern waters as far as I know, in fact I am not sure if they have them in Western Australia or not. My grandson Christopher shares my birthday, but I was very mean and said we were not going to visit them for dinner tonight, we would keep our crab for ourselves. We have had dinner with them twice already this week so they were not very worried! Hamish has made a full recovery from his tonsils operation and is sparking on all cylinders now.
I now own some brusho powders, which I have wanted for simply ages - they were part of the box of goodies I bought from Dale for my birthday present. I also got Maggie Grey's book From Image to Textile, which is well up to her usual very high standard. I shall have lots of challenges to go for in the next few months. Dale's Ratty Tatty Papers class started today. I have downloaded the paperwork and bill has bound it for me, and I have found a few more napkins, but that is as far as I have gone today. I am going out to lunch tomorrow with friends for my birthday so perhaps later I may be able to start working on that.................then I need to do some more on the Fibreinform course, and of course more on Maggie's, then I need to make some more souvenirs..................not much time for any housework in there is there?

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Cannonball tree

This fascinating tree is growing in Queen's Park, one of the oldest parks in Mackay. Botanically, it is Conroupita guianensis, originating in Guiana. Its common name is cannonball tree, because following the flowers, there come round cannonball shaped fruit. The flowers are all up the trunk, on short stems. I have tried to show how tall the tree is, but it is reaching up through the canopy of the trees around it and must be about 50 to 60 feet high, pprobably about that age as well. I hope the closeup of the flower will enlarge for you, the centre part opens in two parts, the bees love them. I liked the pattern on the ground from the falling flowers as well.
I have square eyes from trying to edit and sort directories of the photos stored on my computer. Bill is revising a couple of chapters of the Volunteer walking guides manual for the Botanic Gardens and keeps getting very cross with me as he can't find where I have stored the photos he needs. Well I have been having trouble finding them also, so today was the day I started to sort...........................I have a feeling this is going to be a long job. I have often taken the photos, but haven't had time to edit them when I have come home, then have forgotten about it later. At least I know they are on the computer somewhere..............well, I think they are anyway!! It is very easy to become quite slack about catalogueing everything properly AT THE TIME.
I think I have done enough for today, and I have downloaded all the new chapters for the online courses, so it is time to go and play for a while.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Altered book finished

I have finished my altered book - just in time for all the other classes to start. The vilene tiles and
gesso on this page were fun to do. I plan to do some more of them I was pleased with the way this cover turned out, especially the colours, which I haven't got right with the photography. It is a lovely deep blue, the gesso first sprayed with Adirondack colourwash, then a layer of gel to seal. I sprayed about three colourmists together on top - one a moonshadow, but the other two some lovely ones I have found at our local scrapbooking shop. It is noce to be able to look at what I am buying sometimes, rather than working it out on the internet. However, I am very glad for all the online shops - wonderful for those of us living outside capital cities.
I have been back to more mundane things for a day or so - replenishing the souvenirs I sell at the Botanic Gardens. There was a flurry of sales just before Christmas, and I need to restock. This is a very quiet time for visitors to the Gardens - too hot - so I am not under any real pressure. I have been painting papers with the new disperse dye inks I have just bought from Dale. I haven't done more than that yet, am looking forward to having lots of newly coloured backgrounds on my panne velvet.
Now I am waiting for my brusho powders to arrive, along with a few more goodies. I have a birthday next week - a big one - so I have lashed out with a big fat order from Dale. I have coveted those brusho powders for a very long time, kept telling myself I didn't really need them, but sometimes you just need to lash out - don't you?
For those of you who haven't yet been to visit the wonderful Cyber Fyber exhibition, do take the time to look, and leave a comment or two on the postcards and ATCs. Susan has done an absolutely fantastic job putting this exhibition together.
The Fibre-in-Form classes start tomorrow, also I think Maggie said the next lesson for her online classes will be ready to download as well, that will keep me busy for a day or so.....but I am looking forward to it. Then next Wednesday Ratty Tatty Papers starts. I will have to stay on my toes for that one, I have persuaded my sister to take the class as well!
Time to take Jack for a walk. There is a 20 knot breeze blowing today, so we aren't feeling so hot. We are still getting lovely showers every day, the garden is growing while we look.

Monday, 5 January 2009

More altered book pages

This was a stamp of Utee, melted and coloured.

Tyvek and paper casting

Silk paper motif

More paper casting
These first pictures are of what I have put on some of the pages of my altered book. I seem to have run out of inspiration - and time, so I am probably going to leave the other pages undecorated for the time being. I am waiting forthe gesso to dry on the cover, then I will make a closure and be ready for the next challenge coming my way. Not sure when Maggie is posting her next lesson, but I have signed up for the Fibre-in-Form workshop which starts on Friday. I seem to recall that my New Year's resolution for 2008 was to have a 'learn to' year. I think that has rolled over to 2009, it fell by the wayside about three months into 2008!
When I read all the things other bloggers have achieved in the past year, I feel very lazy, but I have managed to learn a lot of new techniques and had a lot of fun, and that is probably a very good aim to have in life.

This is a photo taken from a viewing platform in our Botanic Gardens. It was taken a while ago, so the foliage has grow even more now, I never seem to be there at the right time of day with the sun shining, to get a similar photo again for comparison!
Jack (our blue heeler) and I went walking there for the first time in about three weeks today. the breeze is blowing so the weather is bearable at present. I can't cope with walking when the temperature is 32 degrees celcius and the humidity is about 80%. Jack absolutely hates the heat, even today he had had enough after about half an hour and wanted to turn for home!
This is just the start of our wet season, which looks like being a proper one for a change. We have had some beautiful rain over the last couple of weeks. The forecast is for some cyclones this season, which certainly bring the rain in the tropics, but i must confess to being a nimby where they are concerned. I know we need them, but I would just like the rain they bring, the destructive winds can go elsewhere thankyou.
My three year old grandson Hamish had his tonsils and adenoids removed this morning. How times havechanged. His mother took him to the hospital at 7am, he wentto theatre at 9am, and he went home just after 1 pm, having been a model patient! The poor little mite had a very sore throat to start with as he had a bout of tonsillitis, so I suppose the sore throat when he woke was not much worse. He was allowed to eat custart, then vegemite sandwiches before he went home. I remember our boys having to stay in hospital for a couple of nights when their tonsils were removed. This seems much better, mother and child are much more relaxed at home.
Time for bed, more soon.