Sunday, 27 September 2009

Our new arrival

This is Jock, aged 10 weeks, whom we collected late on Friday afternoon - he is gorgeous. I know I said we would not get a pup till after Christmas, but Blueys are hard to come by, and Bill could not resist. We always seem to get our dogs from wild and rough country and this time was no exception.

This photo was taken through the windscreen before the road became too rough to be able to do that.
Here is what the front of the property looked like. I think it is really a hobby farm of around 200 acres, running a few dairy cattle. The family had hoped to be breeding cattle pups, but unfortunately they won't be doing that again till they get a new dog - Jock's dad was killed by snakebite the day before.

Hannah came to visit yesterday afternoon and played with Jock for about three hours! Every time he thought he was too tired and went to sleep she rattled another toy and woke him up again. Then we went to dinner with the other grandkids who played with him for about an hour before he really did collapse in a heap. He has been incredibly good about sleeping at night with no wimpering at all - must come to an end soon I fear.

Of course he has lots of toys to play with, I have spent the past two days shopping for all the things I had forgotten we need for puppies! Bill is now putting shade cloth along the bottom of the front fence as we have discovered Jock can squeeze through if he tries! The timing of all of this is awful, we go to Canberra in ten days time, then home for three weeks before we are off to Tasmania, then home for four weeks before we are off to Buderim for Christmas! Thank goodness we have found someone to look after Jock for each of those visits, and Bill is as happy as a pig in mud. I will have shredded arms and legs for the wedding, but that really will not matter much!
Of course with all this going on, I have done nothing creative to post about. I hope I can get on with some more stuff in the next few days, having a new pup is just like having a new baby in the house and definitely just as time consuming!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009


Drum rolling and loud cheering - at last I have finished! The book has taken so much longer than I planned - but then I didn't plan on having so many mistakes to correct.
This is a photo taken after the glue had dried and the book was unclamped - it would not open very far.....grrrrrr. I rang a friend to give me some advice - her suggestion was to cut out the caught bits, then paint the back of the end paper and treat it as an extra leaf - then add an extra piece glued across the centre.

This is how it has ended up - I used 70 gsm lutradur as it is so thin and was going to stamp with black paint, but felt the images were too blurry so used rubons instead - thank goodness for scrapbooking shops.

I have attached the envelope and invitation to us. Nat made all the invitations herself. There is a brad at the top holding 3 pages together and they just swivel out. Bill was horrified it was in a black envelope, but I rather like the effect. Amazingly, you can now buy wedding stamps at no extra cost.

Here is the finished book. I laid out the yarns and tacked them is place with some handstitching, then went over everything with machining to hold it firmly.

I attached the beads and metal hearts to the spine - you can probably see more detail by clicking on any of the images.

Then I made a box to enclose everything. I pasted silver tissue paper over the inside of the box.

For the outside of the box I pasted white tissue paper, which I painted over with black acrylic paint. When it was dry I used a stencil brush and lightly brushed all over with silver rub and buff, then rubbed it down hard with a soft rag. I know this is usually only used to highlight the raised areas but I wanted to put a layer of silver over the black. The ornament to finish it off is a tile made from model magic, painted with black acrylic paint, then highlighted with white. I glued this onto a sparkly fabric square and glued the lot onto the top of the box. I know I hate Spotlight, but there I found a fabulous adhesive - CraftSmart UltraGlue - a superthick highbuilding PVA. The instructions say it can hold materials on a vertical surface and I believe them. For my overseas readers I am sorry I can't tell you much more, but they do have a website

So, here is the book in the finished box! Next time I know what not to do, but I could probably find different things to make mistakes about. I think Nat and Stuart will like the book and I won't tell anybody about the repaired bits!
Now I am off to bed. Hopefully I shall have time to catch up on reading some blogs in the next few days, I feel deprived.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Good things coming back

Just a very quick post this morning to say thank you so much to all those who have asked about the book. No pictures to show, BUT I am happy to say I am able to save it - whew! I was given some advice by a local artist yesterday who makes books - she was soooooooooo helpful. I just wish I had asked her before I had restitched all the signatures, but never mind, hindsight is a wonderful thing. I have one signature too many for the size of the spine, I had followed the instructions in the book (I thought), but Irene has the same book and says he has not allowed quite enough space.........aaargh!
I shan't tell Stuart and Nat any of this, or the fact that I can see all the bits which are wrong, I have at least learnt that from the past - what seem like glaring mistakes to me other people don't notice as they didn't see the work in progress.

I went for a relaxing walk in the Botanic Gardens yesterday and saw this tree in full flower - absolutely beautiful, with a lovely perfume as well. It is commonly called Fairy Paintbrushes, one of the mimosaceae family, native to this area of Queensland. The tree is about four or five years old, but I have never seen it in flower before, possibly this is its first flowering.

These crinum lilies grow wild in lots of parts of Australia and make a spectacular showing when they are flowering. Unfortunately there is a caterpillar which loves them too and will eat right down into the crown of the lily, killing the plant. Thank goodness the Gardens seem to have eradicated it from there for the time being.
I have gone on for too long, I need to start the day's work.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Good things and bad things

I have a wonderful view of this shrub from my kitchen window - it is a graptophyllum, but I am not sure which one as I bought it from a nursery and have managed to lose the tag. Two of our neighbours have cut down mango trees letting much more light into our garden and this is the result. You can see just a bit of the cloud of yellow from the bella paronis (prawn plant) which is taking over the garden bed as well. I have a feeling the name of that plant has been changed, but that is what I have always known it by, it lowers all through the winter months, giving a lovely splash of colour.

This centradenia is flowering beautifully this year. Hawkmoth caterpillars love it and usually manage to defoliate almost the whole plant before we get any flowers, but I haven't seen any around for months - can't say I am sorry, I like my flowers!

Then the bad things - I have had a (hopefully) mini disaster with the book. When I glued the signatures and end papers to the cover, I didn't get the alignment right - although I had pored over the instructions, I still made a mistake. After everything had dried and I tried to open the book, horror of horrors, it wouldn't open properly. Sooooooo, after I almost dissolved into tears and went away for a long while to think (including half the night) I carefully cut down beside the spine, removed the signatures from the cover, painted a new end paper, stitched the signatures in again, then with Bill's help, we have glued just the spine section at this stage and have it firmly clamped to hold it in place. Tomorrow, I hope to be able to glue the rest of the end paper to the cover and with luck it will pivot in the right place. Whew! I don't think I will tackle another book till I have an expert sitting beside me to guide my every step!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Some beads for the book

I have been experimenting with a few different types of beads for the book. The group on the top left are made with friendly plastic - heated with a heat gun and wrapped round a satay stick, then rubbed on a stamp pad and embossed with opalettes. The top middle group are from painted tyvek heated with a heat gun. The group on the right are made from white satin with vleisofix fused to it. I cut up strips, wrapped them round a satay stick and ran the stick up and down a hot iron to fuse it together. I felt these were too plain so tried adding a bit of black paint, but was not happy with that so then painted on a bit of glycerine and embossed with some black and silver - much happier with that. The bottom left beads are from paper casts which I had not used on the cover - wrapped round a satay stick and glued together. I also had some silver sating with a layer of black gossamer fuse on it so cut some of that up and ran it up and down the iron (with a teflon cover over it) to fuse the beads together. Tomorrow I hope to put all these together on some cords to go in the spine of the book.

When I was walking in the Gardens I saw these syzygiums coming out in all their new foliage after a severe pruning. the colours are lovely.

These photos are loaded back to front - above is a closeup of the kurrajong flowers on the tree below. They make a glorious sight on a tree which is pretty ratty looking with no foliage.

This fascinating growth is on a banksia - I am not sure if this is how the flower on this variety starts, but I shall keep watching over the next couple of weeks. I love the shape and texture of whatever it is.

We managed to have 1 mm of rain overnight, the first drop of any sort since the 24th June when bill recorded 4 mm. We had a wonderful wet season - 1295 mm to June, then we have gone completely dry! No prospect of any rain in the near future either, now the weather forecasters say we are going into an el nino so can expect very little rain for the next few months. I am glad I am not a farmer.