Friday, 27 March 2009

Of rust and our Gardens

I posted photos some time ago ofthe rust experients using steel wool and vinegar. this is one of the pieces I dyed - part of an old sheet. I have made it up into a glasses case - and that will be the end of my rust experiments!!! I had planned to do quite a bit more stitching, but my machine and rusted fabric do not go together one bit. The couching was not too bad, but when I went to add the stitching around it, the thread broke and broke.......and kept right on breaking. I was determined not to let it beat me so I perservered, changed threads, changed the needle, cleaned the machine, sprayed with silicone, and eventually I must have held my tongue the right way and got it done. The girls at the Botanic Gardens all liked it so I hope it sells quickly and I don't have to think about my frustrations whenever I go there.
Here are some more contrasting photos to show you the development of our Gardens - the photo above was taken in July 2003, and the one below was taken this morning. I had a printed copy of the early one with me to try to get the same aspect. This is a lovely part of the Gardens - the lawn you can see in the background is one of the most popular locations for weddings.

This photo below I have in the wrong order and I can't change it, but never mind. This is what happens when we have rain - the gutters are designed to make a waterfall into the water feature below. It looks very spectacular!

This photo is of the same area in 2003, looking extremely bare.

Here it is today. The tree with the dead looking branches is not dead, nor is it deciduous - it regularly gets chewed to bits with caterpillars, which then pupate and change into moths, with no apparent ill effect on the tree, except that it looks pretty sad for a month or so.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

An ATC and more Gardens photos

This lovely ATC came from Heather in the UK. We recently agreed to do a swap. I think I got by far the better end of the bargain. Heather also sent this beautiful handmade card enclosing the ATC. Do go to visit her blog, you will be inspired.

The next two photos show the growth in a section of the Botanic Gardens in the last three years. This bed was planted in April 2006 as part of the Stage 2 development. The next photo was taken last week, from the other direction, but you can see the wall and the path. I would only get a picture of a tree very close up if I tried to stand where I stood to take the original.

Bill is updating the handbook we use as guides in the Gardens and we often have arguments when he sends me round to get an updated photo - I come back and say this is the closest I can get, he says it is no good, then realizes when he is next there that we can't replicate many of the original photos at all - very exciting to see how well everything is growing though.

The lovely big strappy leaved plants in the foreground are Crinum lilies, I shall have to find some photos of the flowers to show you. They are used all round Mackay as decorative plants in the median strips - very showy white flowers. There are a couple of different varieties, though they all look the same to me, but some are native to the drier inland areas, while these ones are local to this area.
Not much creative work seems to be getting done around here at present, I spent most of last week closing off accounts and balance sheets to hand over the treasurer's job to a new committee with the University Library Society. Bill and I have RETIRED from the committee after 19 years!!!!! What a relief, and there was no trouble getting replacements, yippee.
This is only a very short post, but it is so long since I have posted and I really miss it. Trouble is that I need to have time to do other things - even boring stuff like defrosting freezers - and I find I can lose an hour or two so very quickly when I am having fun reading others' blogs!

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Botanic Gardens serenity and cyclones

I took this photo a couple of days ago as we were walking in the gardens late in the afternoon. I love the peacefulness in this area. the post in the foreground is a surveyors' calibration post, one of seven in a line about a kilometre long. they were there long before the Gardens so the gardeners always have to keep a clear line of sight for the surveyors to come in a couple of times a year to calibrate their instruments. Bill is making use of the posts as well so he can use a GPS system to map out the garden beds and the irrigation lines and plants in them. This is all quite exciting, most botanic gardens in Australia only have paper records, and they can be surprisingly inaccurate at times. Of course, when the Gardens are so new it is much easier to make use of new technology.
This is a photo taken about two and a half years ago, when the vine arbor was first being planted. I need to keep taking these photos to map the growth which can be quite spectacular. The photo below was taken last week, though from a closer perspective. I need to print out an old photo, then try to stand in the same place to take the comparison photo - can't be done most of the time, the Gardens are developing into a series of 'rooms' , often hidden away.

I hope I will be able to take a photo this looking just the same at the end of this week, but we are bracing for a category four cyclone heading down the coast - we haven't had a cyclone of any sort cross the coast here for thirty years. This one, Hamish, is thankfully off the coast and should skirt us by, but you can never tell what they will do, and we are forecast to have winds gusting to 190 km/hour by tomorrow morning, with very heavy rain. We are already getting very heavy showers, I hope it eases off before Monday morning when we will have a very high king tide. We are in the area for gale force winds according to the weather bureau, but should miss the worst of the very destructive winds - I hope they are right. Bill has decided we need all the shutters over the windows and doors upstairs. He made these after the last cyclone in 1979, but we have never needed them since. they are all up now, so we are as ready as we can be. I went to the supermarket this morning just to get a few extra things - mainly batteries. The store was jammed with people panic buying, and the queues for the checkout were sooooooo long. Was quite entertaining though to look at what other people were buying while I was waiting. Out population has exploded in the last ten years and most of these people have never experienced a cyclone warning before.
Hopefully I shall be back to tell you what it was all like in a day or so.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Brown paper and other things

The latest exercises I have been doing for Ratty Tatty Papers have used brown paper. I love using this, I usually have a sheet on hand for using up the last of whatever paint I am using at the time. Sometimes I crumple it first, sometimes not. This one was crumpled first and has a lot of gold Jo Sonja paint, also some Lumiere blue halo gold - another favourite of mine. I added a wash of turquoise dye, but sasn't happy so washed again with walnut ink.
I fused some painted vliesofix to the paper. I am not so happy with this, the roll of vliesofix is new and I find I can't separate the backing paper from the webbing before I iron it on which is what I usually do. I've had the painted paper for a couple of weeks and I can't remember what I used, but I think it was a mixture of acrylics and dynaflow.

I am happy with the fabric prepared for stitching. Cut up threads and punched paper flowers scattered around and fused under a red chiffon scarf.

This is what I ended up with. I need these for extra souvenirs, while strictly speaking they are not botanical, at least they have some flower shapes on them! Customers like them anyway as they all get sold.
I subscribe to Workshop on the Web and I couldn't believe my eyes when I opened it up today - the first article was all about rusting!! There have been so many discussions on rusting on the various online courses I am part of. I shall have to find an old sheet I can cut up and keep experimenting with!
For a change of topic I thought I would show you what I see from my kitchen window. I never tire of our back garden, it is always beautifully cool in summer, and the tree loses its leaves in winter (or what we call winter!) so there is more sunlight then. We love watching the birds when we are having our morning or afternoon cuppa, of cours most of the parrots flew away just as I was about to take the photo.
Today is the first day of Autumn - well, officially anyway - and we are experiencing an absolutely gorgeous sunny and not too hot day here. Jack and I are about to go for a walk in the Gardens. The sun is out so hopefully I may be able to get a photo or two to add to my next post.