Tuesday, 31 August 2010

A felted cover, a TOM and a POM and some flowers

Well, I finally found time to make the felt up into a cover for my oringinal notebook I started about 8 years ago!  I like the way the silk velvet felts into the surface.  If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you will see the R is made from a mould which was this month's product of the month from Dale.  I had to show it before August is finished!  I remembered afterwards I had bought several of these moulds in Hobart last year and I have hardly used them yet - tut, tut!  I used my melting pot and some gold Utee to make this stamp.
The last technique of the month was sunprinting - only mine was done under a lamp as the sun was definitely not shining for several days when I was trying to do it.  For small pieces the lamp works very well.  This has become the inside cover for my felted piece.  I sunprinted it twice, adding some paperclips the second time just to add some interest.
This is another little trinket box I have finished, the colour is much more shimmery than shows in the photo.  I started it so long ago that I can't remember what my base fabric was.  I know I had painted vleisofix over the top of it, then some red foiling, lastly covered by a shimmering green gold organza.
this schotia tree is in our front garden and is full of screeching parrots most of the day, as well as honeyeaters of all sorts and sizes.  The tiny little ones have the most beautiful calls.  At night the fruit bats and the possums have fights to see who gets eating rights - the fruit bats (flying foxes) mostly win, which surprised me.  The tree has very attractive foliage so makes a lovely shade tree all year round.
Now I had better go away and finish a little heart which I want to send away to a friend tomorrow for her birthday.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

LandCare Day

Today LandCare day was celebrated at the Botanic Gardens - this year the theme was 'Kids make a difference in your back yard'.  A council officer had organised a competition amongst the local school children to make a picture using just recycled materials which would have a message about saving ourGreat Barrier Reef.  This entry only won second prize, but I liked it much better than than the first prize entry.  There were some very clever entries, but no room to show them all here.
This was a fun activity for the kids of all different ages.  There were lots of laminated photos of reef fish and crabs, all different sizes, each with a magnet glued to the backof the page near the mouth. Thekids had fishing lines with magnets on the end and of course they had to 'fish' with these.  The base cloth was marked out in colour zones, just like the reef waters maps are.  Once a fish was caught, they identified (or an adult did) the fish name (typed on the back).  then the fish had to be measured.

Hamish is a picture of concentration measuring his fish.  Next a chart was consulted, his fish was too small so had to be thrown back.  Some of the fish were protected species so had to be thrown back anyway.  A great way to teach the children the rules, and talk about preservation ofspecies.
Bunnings, our giant hardware store, brought along a gazebo and children's activities about composting and planting.  The kids had a ball decorating buckets and gathering worm laden soil to take home.  The woman in red is the Bunnings employee, she was certainly there for a marathon, she didn't move from the activity from before 9am till nearly 2 pm - and she obviously has a much better bladder than I have!
These kids are searching through water which they earlier helped to collect from the lagoon.  Then they filtered it to see what small creatures were in it, before taking some of them inside to a digital microscope connected to a computer and a large projector screen to look at what they had found.  Unfortunately I missed taking photos of that step, but they were all entranced and for the older ones you could talk about the health of the water system as well.
Unfortunately the weather was not very kind to us, yesterday was a beautiful sunny day, but the clouds came over today, then the wind got up and we all started to shiver.  One of the groups had a solar pizza oven, which they say works well mostly, but of course not today!

This beautiful orchid is on display at the front counter of the Visitors Information Centre - I don't know its name, but it is advertising the Orchid House, which is located in anothe of Mackay's Parks.
All in all, this has been a very successful day, but my feet are still hurting and I am tired so I am off to watch a film on Gracie Fields - lovely light relief.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Book Week parade and some flowers

Here is our grandson Alexander taking part in the children's book week parade held each year in Walkerston.  The theme this year was 'Story Bridge'.  Alexanded kept telling his mother all week that he did not ndded a costume, his class was not dressing up - guess what, when he got up today he said yes he did need a costume.  I can'r remember what he wanted, but definitely impossible at 7am on the day, to be ready before school started at 9am.  He is an alien, which I think looks pretty good.
The Library goes to an enormous amount of trouble and the primary schools in the area all take part.  The main street is closed for a couple of hours and they march down the centre of the road - Alexander's class took this very literately and tried to keep on the centre line!  Some of the costumes are just wonderful and so innovative.  This seems to be taking the place of the fancy dress balls we had as children.  I never hear of those happening now, not sophisticated enough for today's children I suppose.

I loved Bill and Ben the Flowerpot men, not sure what the other characters are.
Here is another selection.  I think there would have been a couple of hundred children and teachers all dressed up.
I am never going to have time to work out how to make montages of the photos, so here is one of the grevilleas flowering in the Gardens, I have no idea which one, except that it is native to this area.
Here is a closeup.  This is one of my favourites with the wonderful golden tips at the edge of the flowers.  You should click to enlarge to get the best effect.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

August book page for Maureen and a correction

At last I can show you the page I made for Maureen.  I was really beginning to think I would need to start again it took so long to go from here to Victoria!  I started off with som sun printing using a paper mask, then painted the masked areas - Maureen's theme is 'Oriental'.  I am happy with the finished result.
I have taken another photo of the vine on the Vine Arbor and have to confess that I made a blooper.  The label I read on the left of the screen as you look at it, belonged to another mucuna which is not flowering at present.  This mucuna, called Flame of the Forest, is actually planted on the right and has taken over!  It is native to Cape York and New Guinea.

This is Ficus Racemosa and is native to this area.  I love the way the fruit form on the trunk almost.  This will eventually grow into a huge tree, but hopefully not in my time as I like the gardens underneath it.  When the shade gets too dense, nothing but a few fishtail ferns are likely to grow under the tree.
These lorikeets were having a lovely time - I haven't really captured the colour - the sun was in the wrong place and I had Jock on a lead in one hand and the camera in the other.  The birds did not seem at all worried by Jock.

Neither was this cheery Willie Wagtail, a member of the Flycatcher family.  They are always so happy and cheerful and fly right up in front of us, flitting back and forth.
I have had enough of the computer for a while, my eyes are almost square.  We are planning to fly to New Zealand in November and I have been looking (and booking) online for flights, car hire and accommodation.  The internet is wonderful for doing all that, but takes hours and hours to do the research.  We will have a family reunion to begin with.  My brother's widow and her four children, their partners and their children all live in Auckland and we haven't caught up for over twenty years.  We have never seen any of the great nieces and nephews of course.  My sister is coming too, so there will be non stop talking for several days, as well as lots of photos.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Spectacular flowers and other things

Look at this spectacular creeper which is flowering in our botanic gardens - it is called Mucuna gigantea.  Do click on the photo to enlarge, the flower is the most intense deep red colour against the deep green foliage.  It is native to the castal region around here, but I confess I have never seen it in the wild.

I have quite a few photos of the bottlebrushes in the Gardens which are all flowering beautifully, but I want to try to put some of them together and I need to learn how to do that, so hopefully in another few days I can show you.

We have had our two young
 grandsons staying here over the weekend.  this was the first time Hamish (on the right) had ever stayed away from home without either of his parents, so he was quite excited.  We all had lots of fun, I wore them out at the local playground.  That was great, they went to bed early and off to sleep, but they were on the go at 5.20am this morning, I was not nearly so impressed about that!!  Alexander is a very keen gardener so we spent quite a lot of time weeding and then planting out some seedlings.

I am beginning to despair of ever getting back into my workroom to do anything creative - I had to dismantle the bed which was being used as a giant storage shelf to get to the spare mattress to take downstairs for Hamish to sleep on.  that made me have quite a bit of a tidy up (and I found a few lost items too).  I thought I would at least show a photo of the felt I made last week, the colours aren't quite right, but near enough.  I really do find the bubblewrap method quite kind to the joints.

Bill makes very rude remarks about my sun (or light) shade - he keeps asking when I will deal the next hand! I find overhead lighting very hard to cope with because of the macular degeneration so I have taken to wearing an eyeshade at night.  I had one for downstairs, but got sick and tired of forgetting to bring it up to the computer with me, then having to run downstairs again to fetch it - probably good exercise, but annoying! I used this piece of silk paper and fused it to a couple of layers of pelmet vilene, then with a black underside, it does the trick nicely.  Now I just need to know how I can make the computer screen a little less white............oh well, I suppose I can't have everything.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

August book page

This is the lovely fabric page I have received for the August swap from Wilma in The Netherlands.  I still can't get the blues right, but I really love it so I had to show you all.
I was thrown when I went to upload it, blogger has changed the format for uploading photos again!  I had got used to the last version and I really liked it, this one just confuses me, guess I am getting to be an old stick in the mud, just liking familia things.
I still don't have anything else much to show you, but I have some more felt drying, using bubblewrap is certainly an easy way to go.  I was going to make a wrap for an exercise book which I used as a sample journal when I first started making souvenirs.  However, I think I have felted too enthusiastically and may have shrunk it too much to fit the book now - well that just means I will need to rethink tomorrow what I can make with it.
I took Jock for a long walk in the Botanic Gardens today, stupidly forgetting to take my camera.  The bottlebrushes are all flowering madly so I hope they still look good on Friday.  No time for  a walk tomorrow as we will have an early dinner before going to the Queensland Opera's performance of 'The Merry Widow'
I must finish off now. This election is really getting me down, I am fed up with the massive daily promises we are getting here (we are a marginal seat) and I turn off when most of the politicking goes on, but I love The Gruen Transfer which takes the mickey out of the lot of them!  The show has just started, so good night.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Blue salvia and Jock

This giant blue salvia has been looking magnificent for the past couple of weeks, but try as I might I can't get the really deep blue of the flowers, even in the closeup below.

I have been feeling really guilty that I haven't posted for so long.  I seem to have had a  huge dose of the go slows - I recovered very quickly physically from the hernia repair, but perhaps the anaesthetic affected me more than I thought, I have felt extrememly lazy and I am only now getting back into the swing of things.

Jock is in deep trouble.  This mess was half a sock and a neat ball of wool a couple of days ago!  Jock must have been feeling bored, he found my knitting bag and carted it outside, then worried it till he got it open and unravelled the ball of yarn, then tangelled it up beautifully! He also unravelled the sock I was knitting, thank goodness I hadn't quite got to turning the heel.  He knew he had done wrong as soon as he saw us come round the corner.  He had an absolute fascination with anything blue.  Bill was working outside today and had put a spray can of exdpanda foam on the ground.  Next thing he heard Jock chomping away, when he looked, Jock had pinched the blue lid from the can - just as well it was only the lid and he didn't chew on the nozzle of the expanda foam - now that would have been interesting.  We can't keep any blue heads on the irrigation system in the garden beds either.
No pictures to show of any creative work I have done, I do have a few things in the pipeline, but nothing at a stage to photograph.