Saturday, 31 October 2009

Learning new tricks

I have been looking at the free online courses offered by Maggie and Lynda and Carol for people who bought the books Stitches, Straps and Layers and Stitching the Textured Surface. I don't have anything much to show from the exercises, but these baby wipes were used to colour some pages and I have now put them to another use to make a new mobile phone cover for me. I am continually amazed at the altenate uses textile artists find for products. I ran these through the embellisher with some other silk fibres laid out on top, all covered by a chiffon scarf, then some free machine embroidery added. I lined it with some hand dyed silk. I am not sure how practical the case will be after being shoved in and out of the pocket of my jeans, but I can always make another one.
I would love to keep playing, but my life seems to be governed by appointments at present - the doctor, the dentist, the chiropractor, the podiatrist, even the hairdresser. Then I had to wait for the plumbers to arrive..............aaargh!!! Only a week till we go away again, some clothes still need to be altered, etc etc so I think playtime will happen when we return.
Of course one small dog needs a lot of attention as well - my workroom floor is the tidiest it has ever been when I am working in there. Anything left on the floor is trundled off to places unknown, or shredded into many pieces, or just thoroughly chewed! All the waste paper baskets in the house live up high, as does the potato basket. For some reason, he loves pinching a potato and just sits there mouthing it. Bill's boots are still the most favourite though - I am quite happy about that, Bill now puts them away instead of leaving them where they were taken off!
These next photos are loaded in the wrong order but no matter. I take Jock walking (on a lead) through the Botanic Gardens most days and these are some of the things we have seen. Jock was fascinated by the moorhens scrabbling around. They flick their tails as they walk, showing a very irridscent blue patch under their tail - which of course has not shown up here.
This is a bunch of flowers on the Illawarra Flame tree (brachichyton acerifolius). This tree is making a brilliant show of flowers while still covered in green leaves. Usually they have dropped all their leaves before the flowers come, but I like this as the contrast shows much better. These trees are native to the East coast of Australia as far south as Sydney and I love them.

If you click on the picture it should enlarge to give you a clearer view.

These grass trees (Xanthorrhoea johnsonii) make a spectacular show at the boundary of the Gardens. We used to call them black boys, but that is not allowed any more. The honey eaters and parrots love the nectar in the tall spikes. The trees are extremely slow growing and are protected in the wild. Some of these specimens would be around 200 years old.
Till next time, Cheers.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Walking again

Jock and I have been walking in the Botanic Gardens and the Bauhinia Scandens is in full flower in the heritage Garden. Brides love walking down this pathway to a shelter behind where I stood to take the wedding photo for their wedding ceremonies. It is a lovely setting for weddings, except when stupid vandals come in and pull off all the heads of flowering plants! I suppose the damage is not costly but it is so disappointing and unnecessary. Somebody (probably schoolkids) caused quite a bit of chaos last Saturday night, moving identification signs and destroying flowers. The gardeners came in early on Sunday morning and by the time I was walking in the afternoon they had evrything looking quite good again - minus the sunflowers!

Jock is growing so fast, he loves going for a walk and he leads remarkable well. He is a bundle of energy and goes quite manic when the grandchildren arrive - then he falls in a heap wherever he is at the time.
I am starting to get together samples for the three online courses I am enrolled in but I have nothing interesting to show at present. They all look like fun, I will get hopelessly behind again when we go away in a couple of weeks, but the books will all still be here.
Time for bed, hopefully more tomorrow.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Do you remember this?

Sometimes I can move images and sometimes I can't and tonight I can't. This should be further down after the new foliage, as this is the bud forming. I love the spiky bits which turn into leaves later on!
Do you remember this image I posted about a month ago? Turns out to be a distorted flower form of the Banksia Robur, but still fascinating.

Here is what it looks like today. The change happened in the last week as I had been taking photos every few days to see what would happen, then we went away and bingo!

This is the new foliage just starting, with its lovely orange red colour. If you click to enlarge the image you may be able to see the bud just starting to form in the centre.

Jock decided to investigate the shopping bags when I was unpacking after grocery shopping. he couldn'tfind anything interesting inside so decided they made a good cushion instead! His head still hasn't grown to fit his ears, but one day they won't look so huge!

The lady who minded him for us while we were away sent him home with this rabbit which must be sewn together very very well. he attacks it, chews it, carts it around and flings it into the air with no apparent harm to the toy. He keeps us amused - and frustrated - trying to get a photo of him, he does not stay still for nearly long enough.

I have nearly caught up on all the paperwork for the office so tomorrow I am going to start on one of the three workshops I have downloaded today - I bought both Maggie Grey's latest book Stitches, Straps and Layers and Stitching the Textured Surface by Lynda Monk and Carole McFee. Free workshops are being offered in conjunction and they look fabulous. Click here to follow the link. As well Lynda and Carole through their Fibre-in-Form site are offering (for a small fee) a workshop Simply Salt using salt and paints and other effects on Lutradur. Look forward to seeing some samples later (I hope).

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Back on air

I have been off the air since just after I posted about the wedding as once again we were hit by a devastating virus - despite all the firewalls Bill has installed! This 'root kick' somehow got in then killed off the virus protection and froze the screen - just wonderful when Bill has so much work to catch up on! Thankfully he was able to use his laptop to search Google and download (at a cost) programmes to repair everything - he was more than somewhat frustrated at wasting most of the weekend doing repairs!

I have managed to load some of these photos in the wrong order but that doesn't matter. While we were driving to Canberra I was playing with my camera trying different settings and took this photo through the windscreen - of a very green approach to Canberra - and one about to get much wetter! I have never seen Canberra green before, everything has always been a brown/yellow droughtstricken scene. I know we did not appreciate the weather for our sightseeing, but the green countryside is wonderful.
The photo below is taken from the top of Mt. Ainslie and should show the wonderful sweeping view from the War Memorial (at the foot of the mountain), down the avenue, across Lake Burley Griffin to both old Parliament House, then new Parliament House and on to the hills beyond. If you click to enlarge the image you may see to the hills, but the rain was approaching fast! I have seen it in sunlight and the sight was truly magnificent!

We went sightseeing from Batemans Bay down to Narooma on the day before the wedding stopping a lovely little village called Mogo. Foolishly I did not take any photos, but I found a gorgeous bead and button shop where I purchased this handful of buttons for $3 - I would like to have weeded out some of the larger ordinary round buttons and just taken the tiny little flower buttons - they all kept sticking to my fingers and hand as I was rummaging!

While in Narooma I was lucky enough to meet up with a Playways pal Shirley Wager - we both joined Playways back in early 2002, but this is the first time we have met in person - great fun.
Then in Canberra I met up once more with Doreen Grey whom many of you will know through her blog. Doreen is such a generous lady and brought along these goodies for me to take home. The picture is now hanging on the wall of my workroom where I can look at it every day. I love all the papers she has given me as well, now I have to think how I am going to use them - soon.

I think Doreen will agree that both of us have had better photos taken, but we were having lunch and at least we have a record of it. I forgot about photos when I met Shirley!

Time to take Jock for a walk, he is growing by the minute I think. We had been saying how very good he has been when he blotted his copybook absolutely last night. Bill had been trying to dig a trench for some pipng for a gas hot water system due to be installed this week. The ground was very hard and dry so he filled the trench with water to soak in overnight. You guessed it, Jock found the trench and had a ball in the mud - he then came in the back door at a million miles an hour and raced into every room in the house tracking mud all the way!!! He did not appreciate being dumped into the tub for a bath at 6.30 pm - and I did not appreciate having to clean up the mess - but I wish I had seen him in the trench - deeper than he is tall - with my camera in my hand!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Back from the wedding

We are back from the frozen south, the wedding was wonderful - much better than the weather! Even the locals were complaining about how cold and wet the spring had been. We had showers for the day before the wedding and early in the morning, then they disappeared and the ceremony was able to be held outdoors with the water as a backdrop.

Nat looked so elegant and her son Bailey was so proud to walk her down the aisle, clutching the ring box in his other hand.

Nat and Stuart both looking so happy.

I have managed to cut out two of the groomsmen, but it was hard to get everybody in from where I was sitting. Nat's daughter Isabelle is standing in front of Stuart. Even though this was a second marriage, Nat wanted to have all the trimmings so she had all these bridesmaids, including her sister-in-law who is expecting a baby in another two weeks, she held up very well.
Everybody stayed at the resort where the wedding was held, a fantastic idea as you did not have to worry about getting home afterwards, especially us - the resort put the parents of the bride and groom in cottages right beside the marquee where the reception was held!

Apart from the wedding I lived in jeans, boots and multiple layers over the top trying to deep warm! godd practice for our trip to Tasmania in just over three weeks - the weather is even wetter and colder down there. We certainly had both sides of the story yesterday. The temperature in Canberra when we flew out at mid-day was 8 degrees, with a strong southerly wind blowing (straight from Antarctica according to Bill) and we arrived to 31 degree temperature in Mackay with a strong Northerly (very hot and dry) wind blowing!!!
More tomorrow night, I haven' had time to edit my other photos yet.
Many thanks to all those who commented on my last post before we went away. I seem to have lost most of them in all the emails which were on my computer when we returned - but I have read and enjoyed them all, sorry I can't reply individually as I would like to.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

I've been busy

I haven't had time to post lately, or even read many blogs - the photos above show I have been busy though. there is a Botanic Gardens of Australia and New Zealand conference being hosted by our Botanic Gardens, starting tomorrow and I have been making some extra souvenirs to add to the collection. I am very disappointed it clashes with Stuart and Natalie's wedding, meaning we can't attend. We have been heavily involved in the preparations which has consumed many hours also.
The delegates coming here are going to cook - they are mostly from down south and New Zealand, not from the very summery tropics. Of course, we are flying down to the cold weather tomorrow - there was snow not too far from Canberra today!! We have many layers and will probably wear them all at some stage. We shall still manage to have fun.

Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth - or that is what he would like you to think! In actual fact, till I picked up the camera he was attacking the broom - and the reason I had the broom is in the picture below. Jock was locked in the bathroom while we were both out for a while. I thought I had given him enough toys to play with and had removed most of the other things, but he got to the toilet roll on a holder on the floor. That was much better than any other toy we could provide!
He is still adorable and is on the whole behaving very well. He has gone to be minded with another doggy person for the next five days so we are hoping he will enyoy that too.
Photos when I return. Cheers.