Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Postcard received and update of Lace technique

Today I received a lovely surprise in the mail. A few weeks ago I left a comment on Karen's blog and won a prize. With everything else happening around here I completely forgot about it, then today this attractive postcard turned up. Thank you Karen. I have played with the colours for ages, but I cannot get them right. Thebackground is a much deeper purple than this and the pink circles are not nearly as pink.

Yesterday I was posting in too much of a hurry and my eyesight must be even worse than I thought, the second photo I showed was not the lace fabric at all - it was my take on the product of the month which Dale sent me - silk rods and fibres etc and some lovely spray colour. I have added some leaves to it as well. I have posted the photo again so you don't have to scroll back and forth and I have posted the photos in the wrong order - I was going to put the painted lace up first, never mind.

For the product of the month, Dale sends out a parcel of goodies each month to try out, so we don't have to buy large amounts of something just to try - lots of fun.
The colours of both pieces ended up being quite similar, though they started off vey different - that is part of the fun.

I hope everyone has a very happy Easter. Cheers

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Technique of the month and other things

The latest technique of the month was painted lace. I fused the lace to a piece of calico, then sprayed with some brusho colours in spray bottles.

It looked really bright after the first pass, so next I added some gold foil, before painting over with watered down Lumierre metallic colours. I sprayed some glitz spritz over everything, then added some green pearl-ex pigments to the watered down paint and brushed lightly over. You can't see the gleam in this photo, but I like the finished colour. It will probably end up as a case for glasses.

I took these photos at the Botanic Gardens, the firs is the flower head of the Comersonia Bartramia, a common tree all along the coast, especiall along creek beds. they make a lovely show in the summer.

What I really find interesting though are the seed pods, they look so spiky, but are really quite soft, even when they turn brown.

I have been trying to practise my photography with not a lot of success at doing my homework. The University of the Third Age in Mackay is running classes to show us how to make the most of our digital cameras. We have to take certain sorts of photos and then Alistair puts them up on his computer in the class for us all to learn from each other's mistakes - or their successes. I have certainly learned a lot about the different functions of my camera already, I just have to keep practising so I remember it all! I need to look carefully to see what camera I am taking home too - the lady sitting next to me has exactly the same camera as I do, very handy for comparing notes and looking up our manuals. BUT - on Saturday I wanted to use my camera and found I had all the wrong photos on it, when Irealised we had taken each other's cameras home!!! I had a quick trip to her house to exchange cameras and commiserate with her over the tree still leaning on their house waiting for the tree removalists to deal with it. She is hoping it will be gone sometime this week - not classified as urgent as their roof is not leaking.

I heard a funny story about a landholder's experience up on a remote property in the ranges behind Mackay. The noise of the wind had spooked his dog who took off in the middle of the night, then rushed back and jumped into bed with the landholder - but - the dog was covered in leeches! The landholder must have had a good sense of humour, he said he and the dog bled together for the rest of the night! He also had a massive tree on his roof, as well as about another twenty fallen over between his house and the road. The SES didn't get access to his place for about 4 days, he was without power for 8 days, no water for 3 and no phone for 7, but he was still joking as he told his story and said he wasn't too badly off. I think we got off very lightly.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

What is happening now

Nothng very creative is being done around here - we are all trying to pull ourselves together after the cyclone. Once more Mackay has been incredibly lucky and has missed the worst of the weather. The last time Mackay took a direct hit from a cyclone was in 1918, and that just about wiped out the township. We certainly don't want another one like that. Dougal and Nikki had their power restored late on Monday night, but there are many areas still without power and not likely to be reconnected for 3 - 5 days yet. Ergon is having a severe test with so many very large trees down across lines, just getting access is very difficult.

There were pictures in the paper today of very expensive houses built high on cliffs above the beach so they could get a magnificent view, but I am not sure they will be so happy with the rooves ripped off in the gales. I have always said I would rather drive to the beach and live in the security of being slightly inland!
The stores selling generators have made a killing. Dougal said he saw 5 pallets of them sold at Bunnings on Saturday morning while he was looking for some timber - and I know lots more were brought to Mackay over the weekend.
Nobody has been killed, but there are stories emerging of some serious injuries, and more property damage than was apparent at first. Many people are only now able to tell their stories as they had no phone service for several days either. We always had a landline service (and we have deliberately kept a Telstra phone to use when there is no power), but our internet came and went a bit.

Here are a few cheerful photos, taken when we were walking in the Gardens on Sunday. I love these crested pigeons, this family is nearly always to be found in this area of the Gardens. If you click it should enlarge.
These two fungi are commonly called stinkhorn fungi, but I know they have more detailed names than that. The top one starts with a beautiful lace net around it, but it was getting a bit old.

The blowflies love them. This one is yellow, but we get very bright red ones as well, and they love the mulch in the garden bed just outside the men's toilets - we have had to put temporary signs saying the smell is from the fungi, smells just like a very horrible toilet - not a good advertisement for visitors!
We are gradually getting back to normal(?) The family kept coming in here while they had no power - don't blame them for that - they could eat and shower in comfort. There were lots of "power parties" in the area - friends from blacked out areas visiting those with power, bringing their defrosting food with them.
Hopefully I shall have somethingdifferent to write about next time. Cheers

Sunday, 21 March 2010

We are safe,but not the trees

Well, the cyclone has passed and we are quite okay, but the poor Botanic Gardens has lost about a third of its collection. There are large expanses of open area for the wind to gather speed and there are so many trees snapped or pulled straight out of the ground. Everything was very very wet before the winds started they didn't stand a chance.

This last one shows Bill and Jock looking at one of the larger trees which fell. I gather the main damage sustained around Mackay has been tree damage, there are hundreds and hundreds of them down in the area. Thank goodness ours came down a month ago and not in this wind!
We were lucky enough to go through the night without losing power. I think there are still about 50,000 homes without power throughout the region - our son Dougal's is one. They have no phones either and mobile coverage is not very good. Dougal took our generator home with him so they can keep their freezer going and preserve their food. I gather the power may be out for a couple of days yet as huge trees have come down over power lines and have to be removed before the power can be reconnected.
Bill and I have stayed at home all day apart from going for a walk around the Botanic Gardens. There was not much damage in our immediate area so we have only been learning aboutthe extent of it very gradually. I don't think anyone was hurt which is a miracle.
Time for bed, we didn't have much sleep last night, far too noisy with the wind howling and the rain driving against the windows.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Fungi and Ului

Only one photo tonight, not very good quality, but I was hanging over the fence with my arms outstretched to get this fabulous orange fungus. It is growing on the roots of a mango tree which was cut down a couple of years ago.
I haven't any stitching to show, though I have been doing some for a swap, so I can't show that for a couple of weeks yet. I am about to put my sewing machines on the floor under the table, just in case the roof springs a leak.
We have battened down the hatches, put up the cyclone shutters and cleared up as much rubbish from round the garden as possible in readiness for cyclone Ului, which is unfortunately deepening rapidly as it approaches the coast - now a severe storm with winds gusting to 170 km per hour at the centre. On its present track it will cross the coast about 50 km north of us and we will be in the dangerous southern quadrant. We have a very strong house - as we have just proved - so we should be okay. Probably we will lose power as the power grid for Mackay comes from the north, but everything will sort itself out in time.
I will have photos to show and will tell you more tomorrow night - or when there is power again.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

A brave little girl

This is the Wild Woman I made as part of the birthday present for my grand daughter Belle in Canberra. I have to share the story of her bravery with you. Her mother Nat is a diabetic and on Saturday afternoon had a hyperglycemic fit. Belle and Bailey were outside, but heard her hit the floor so came rushing inside to see what had happened. Belle, turning 9 on Sunday, rang 000, then handed the phone to her brother Bailey (aged 7) to relay the instructions to her from the paramedic to stabilise Nat till the ambulance arrived. Once the ambulance arrived, she rang her aunt, then our son Stuart who was in Adelaide, and sorted out the family. Before she and Bailey left to go with Nat in the ambulance to the hospital, Belle collected her mobile phoe as well as her mother's locked the house, left a couple of lights on and set the alarms!

Nat is home again safely now, but she had a three centimetre gash on her forehead and a very nasty bruise on the back of her head. The ambulance people were so impressed with Belle and Bailey that they are going to present them with bravery awards at school on Wednesday. I think they thoroughly deserve them. Nat has trained them both to respond to emergencies, but till the time comes you can never be quite sure how children will react.

This photo will look better if you click to enlarge it - my lovely blue ginger, dichorisander, which flowers prolifically at this time of the year, and is almost totally neglected by me.
We are still getting very strong winds and gusting showers, with cyclone Ului hovering out in the Coral Sea. The Americans predict it will cross the coast just south of Mackay on Saturday night, the Australians have it still hovering in the Coral sea, so who knows what will happen. We don't have to worry about a tree falling over anyway!!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

New work and yet more rain

A few more souvenirs from baby wipes and nappy liners used as paint rags - always different effects.

The case is from a piece of silk paper from my stash and the bookmarks are from the painted batting Technique of the Month. I had fun using the flower stitcher.

I have ordered the book from Dale so shall have lots more ideas for ways to use it soon. I have had one for several years, but keep forgetting to fish it out of the drawer.

Here is a photo of our poor sodden back yard with the wonderful vista of everybody's sheds! We keep getting rain, at least the ground will be well settled by the time anyone comes to do any more work. There is a cyclone ( a very nasty one) in the Coral Sea and a very large high further south so we are in the pinch between the two systems. The winds are really getting up - have been classified gale force all day and the showers are coming more frequently now.

These bromeliads have been bashed, stood on, had stuff dropped all over them and have been exposed to blistering sunlught, but look - they are popping up flower heads everywhere - what survivors!
We have the family coming for dinner so I better go and do something about the food.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Another prize and creative cue

Just a very quick post tonight as I need to make a wild woman brooch to send off to my step granddaughter in Canberra tomorrow for her birthday. I was amazed and delighted find another postcard in my letterbox today, this time from Sue Bleiweiss - I thought I was only to receive one postcard for my prize. The colours in this card are more vibrant than I can show, same technique as the first one, foil and gossamer fuse.

The subject forthis week's Creative Cue is 'clip'. I couldn't resist posting a picture of a horse drawn milk cart. When I went to work and live in 'modern' Melbourne in the early sixties I was amazed to be woken early in the morning by the milkman's clip clop - and there he was with a beautiful horse drawn cart - only slightly more modern than this picture. And this was all in Toorak, a very snooty, upmarket suburb - I didn't live there for very long!
I was even more amazed to find there was a horse drawn rag and bone cart trundling around Williamstown (where I worked) once a week.
We keep having rain and now strong winds as well, but we have a back fence again! We have rescued a lot of plants from the ravaged bacl garden bed, they are sitting in pots waiting for me to relocate them sometime. All the quotes should have gone to the assessor, so I hope we don't have to wait too long for further action. I hope we don't go to the end of the queue because of the horrendous floods in SW Queensland - all the assessors have vanished out there just now. I feel very sorry for the poor souls out there who have had such a bad time, but I still want the insurance company to work on our claim too!
I am still waiting to get my photo editing software working again - hopefull my son can sort it on Saturday. Then I shall be able to post photos again...............Yeahhhhh!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Technique of the Month

Here is what landed in my letterbox early this week - a lovely postcard from Vicki of Three Creative Studios. I won second prize for registering to take part in Technique of the Month (see my side bar). It has been made using last month's technique of foil and black gossamer web.

I am still not able to edit photos to show here (or anywhere else for that matter), but at least I can scan flat textiles. I am nearly dying of frustration, I have so many photos I want to put into my new digiframe which sits on the wall in the kitchen so we can look at the albums every day! The grandkids are fascinated as I have a mix of anything and everything including photos of my grandparents and parents and various othe ancestors as well as heaps of photos of places we visited last year. I scoffed at digiframes to begin with, but they are a wonderful way of showing off huge albums of photos all the time.

This month's TOM uses metallic paint rolled lightly onto crumpled fabric to highlight it and give it a completely new appearance. I sprayed with water first and then crumpled the fabric before rolling on the first metallic colour, then opening and recrumpling in a different shape. I used about 5 different paints for this one, it looks better in real life than here.

This one looks more interesting I think, but the technique is fun and I shall try it again.
We have started collecting what we can out of our flattened back garden bed,it is amazing how much has managed to survive so far. Obviously they won't like being cooked in the sun, so I am potting and moving till we work out where they will end up.
I am having fun thinking what trees we will plant and what creeper to go on the trellis when it is rebuilt. I definitely want plants to attract the birds and butterflies so I am making mental lists of possibilities.
Our builder has not been able to come back to discuss the final quote as he has been marooned on a country station in the hinterland from here. Ther have been big rains and flooding, though not severe flooding around this area, just a few creeks too high to cross. South west Queensland is having massive flooding, records being broken all over the place. Hopefully a lot of the water will make its way right down to the Murray river, though that will take about three months.
Time to take Jock for a walk, he did not like the wet weather much, he really likes getting out and seeing other places. We now have a new lead called a gentle lead which has a loop over the snout and a collar fitting snugly high up behind the ears. I could not believe how much better behaved he is with this - no pulling at all, so we both enjoy the walk much better. I will show pictures when the photo editor is working again

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

All gone

Here are some more photos of the tree removal. thank goodness it was finally completely removed last Thursday afternoon - we had 120mm rain that night and then rain every day since! To say that we are sick of rain is an understatement, roll on winter.

This photos below shows you how high up they went in the cherry picker and you can see the log on the roof. Thank goodness Bill designed the steel framework so the house wouldnt blow down in a cyclone - we didn't know then what it would have to withstand.

Getting the stump out proved a real challenge. Unfortunately I had to go out for the afternoon so I didn't see the really deep crater they made.

I seem to have left out the picture of the backhoe pulling out the bits after the chainsaw has done its work. Now the backyard looks like a wasteland. The insurance will cover most of the costs but there will be months and months of physical work for us to do as well. I imagine it will be spring before I can start replanting my garden beds - with sunloving plants.

The Botanic Gardens will happily take all the ferns and elkhorns which have come off the tree, that will be lovely as we will still be able to see and appreciate them.
I had other photos to show you, but in the middle of all this the editing software has decided not to work. Bill has had several attempts at fixing it, with no success at all so far. Of course lots of new jobs have appeared on his computer screen to keep him fully occupied with (paid) work so the editing software will have to wait for a spare minute.
We are off to the second lesson for dog training for Jock tonight. He seems to be getting the message and is behaving very well when I have a treat in my hand. He does not drop nearly quickly enough if he can't smell the treat though!