Saturday, December 24, 2011
A very quick post this afternoon. I know everyone is busy with their plans, etc., but I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy Christmas, filled with laughter, and love. Take care on your travels. Thank you all sincerely for being part of my world, making time to read my posts and commenting. I love hearing from you.
Friday, December 23, 2011
Unfortunately, the destruction didn't stop at the begonia. Just when you let your guard down, they decide to up and at something else. For three years I've been watching my ponytail plant grow and thrive. They made a real meal out of it one day, but I kept watering it, hoping it would recover. I've taken this photograph, so you can see the bite marks on the tuber, the sad looking top, and can understand how annoyed I was to see it. It's difficult to find somewhere to put the plants where the pups can't get at them, so I somehow have to sit them out. In the last week or so I've noticed these little nodes, so I know the plant is still alive. I have a feeling these little growths are all new ponytail plants, not a new top on the old plant. Has anyone got an opinion on that theory?? I'll keep watching them for a while, and then decide if I'm to leave it like that, or try to 'strike' each little node into a new plant...........
To finish off this post I thought it might be amusing to share this photograph of Dude. I captured him sound asleep on the back landing, and to look at him, you wouldn't think he'd be capable of doing anything naughty. Think again!!!
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
I am not at all sure what is expected for the TAST2012 project. I have seen a number of sampler books being made, and I like the idea of keeping said samplers in one place. I have been planning a folder for my samples, but being the person I am, ie interested in various techniques and mediums, I was always going to incorporate hand and machine work, as well as mixed media. The outer shell is complete, as shown in the above photograph. Unfortunately, the glittery effect isn't being picked up by the camera. It is a little more on the green side, and quite sparkly, due to the use of Angelina fibres.
My folder began it's life as a brown paper shopping bag, very much like the one in this photograph, just a slightly deeper shape. In my Maggie Grey book, Raising the Surface, there is an interesting technique using brown paper.
After cutting the bag apart, I painted it with several different colours. I also painted some Vliesofix using the same paints. The painted paper was scrunched up several times, fused to a piece of calico, then fused to some pelmet vilene, and then black wool felt. The painted Vliesofix was fused to the painted side of the paper, but it all look a little bit blah. I decided to add some Angelina fibres in purple and gold, then place a black chiffon scarf over the whole surface. That seemed to lift it, yet tone it down. This photograph does show the green tones a little better. The piece was now beginning to feel quite firm.
After a few days looking at my rectangle of painted paper, I remembered I had some lovely fine green silk in the cupboard. This piece was just made for my painted paper. I would love to tell you I painted the paper to match the silk, but I didn't!!! I just happened to have the silk! I found some rayon and metallic threads that had possibilities. I didn't really think I needed to add too much to the surface, so a few wandering lines did the job. I ended up using only the two 'green' threads in the centre of the group.
I am hoping to make my stitch samplers into 'pages' which can be inserted into the folder via eyelet holes, with the aid of spring release rings. The folder 'spine' was made using just the silk fabric, as I felt the painted paper surface a little stiff, and prone to cracking with constant wear. I stitched a long strip of fabric along the centre of the 'spine', and then stitched across it to accommodate the rings.
I have to say that I am quite happy with this project. The size is slightly larger than an A4 page. It is sturdy, yet has a soft feel to it. In time I may need to add a button/gold elastic closure, but will wait to see how it all folds when the pages are in place. I have not made a 'logo/title' page, as I've yet to decide how I'll stitch my samples onto the appropriate size for this folder.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Our township of Miles is in mourning this week, following a fire which destroyed one of the iconic buildings in the main street. Thankfully, the fire brigade managed to contain the blaze, and save the adjoining buildings. I am not totally sure how long the building had been in the street, but it had been vacant for quite a while. The photograph above was taken yesterday when I went to town.
When we first moved to the district in the very late 70's, I was amused at the little tower atop the building. At that time it was a Holden dealership/workshop. The very latest venture saw it as home to a furniture and electrical retail outlet. During it's day as a car dealership, the Holden flag was always flying. This small photograph shows the building in it's final livery. It also recently provided a small space for an ATM outlet.
Who knows what the building owners will do with the space now. We have been told the town is expanding due to the Coal Seam Gas and open-cut coal in and around the district, but the businesses don't seem to reflect that expansion. Time will tell I suppose.
It must be a sad day for some of the older residents of the town and district.
Friday, December 9, 2011
We don't see our family a lot, everyone seems to be always busy or going their own way, so visits and social get togethers are not very frequent. Last weekend was the exception. We were very happy indeed to attend our grand daughter's dance concert on Saturday night. It was delightful. She danced well, as part of the group, and seemed to enjoy the night. I hope she will continue next year. The few photos I did manage to take are not good, as I was sitting quite a distance back in the audience. The dance tutor organizes costumes, so that part wasn't a drama for her mother.
After a late night Saturday night, it was a 4.00am wake-up call for us to travel in the opposite direction in order to help with some yard building for #1 son. Dad did the welding, while the sons worked on the calculations.................... Thankfully, the morning wasn't too hot, and we managed to get a few panels started. It will take quite a while yet, lots of panels to go!! Shortly after this was taken, we called it quits for the day, had some lunch and a chat, then headed back home for a well earned snooze in the afternoon.
On Monday I went to visit one of my close friends here, as she had organized for me and another friend to have lunch. I had a birthday this week, and as has been our tradition for over 12 years, we 'did' lunch. I hadn't been to her home for quite a while. The day was lovely, and very relaxing. It also gave me an opportunity to see Little Bill who is now not so little........LOL... The three pups have certainly grown and changed a lot from their puppy stage. Bill is on the left, Meg top right, Dude bottom right [and still the biggest].
Unfortunately, the dog saga does not end with the three pups. A few weeks ago we were offered a pup which we took, as he is a grandson to one of our best dogs [now departed]. In the hope he will be a chip off the old block, he has been named Chip. At the moment, I think he's just a splinter!!! He bears an uncanny resemblance to the old dog, in looks and in nature. Perhaps we can soon stop collecting dogs!! Last count was TEN. Two are quite old and can't work much anymore, and two really don't work 'to standard', so may have to be re-homed in due course.
It has been much cooler this week, following another two inches of rain. After a very dry November, we are having quite a green December to date. More is predicted for the weekend.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
I've finally managed to be in a position to take photographs of some more pieces I've done in crochet during the last few years. These pieces all live with my daughter in law. We were visiting [make that working] on the weekend, so I quickly snapped them to share here. They were in use, so have not been pressed properly, ie just a tad bit on the crumpled side in places, sorry. All have been worked in #40 cotton, in ecru, with two featuring the long time favourite design 'pineapple'. Two were designs in Crochet Monthly, and the small mat came from an old Paragon book I've had for years.
I am sorry this is not going to be a long post. The last few days have been quite busy here with us, and I really don't have too much time to devote to the computer today. I hope these pieces will be enjoyed by my blog readers.
As always, I thank you for your interest. Your support is sincerely appreciated.
Friday, December 2, 2011
I'm delighted to be joining a large number of ladies [several of them my very close blogging/SF friends] to work through the TAST2012 challenge next year. The logo above was created/stitched by one of the SF members, Annet, who kindly allowed other participants to use it.
You can see more about the challenge, and find links to many blogs which perhaps may be of interest to you. This is the link:http://www.pintangle.com/community-challenges/2011/12/1/take-a-stitch-tuesday-2012-challenge-information-page.html The challenge is run by Sharon Boggon, of http://www.pintangle.com/ and http://stitchinfingers.ning.com/ fame.
I am not sure I will be able to work through each stitch, but I'll have a red hot go at it. Over the last few years I have watched many ladies share their TAST work via various sites, and feel such a challenge will be of benefit to me at this time in my stitching life.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
I took these pictures a few weeks ago, and have been meaning to put them here for people to see. The harvest in the district is now well and truly over, with summer crops already planted and looking lovely after the rain last week. This was the harvester/header that did the work on the property here. The photograph was taken as I stood on my northern lawn. The wheat paddock [the one in my header photo] is not much more than 80 metres from our house. These big machines are very sophisticated these days, with GPS systems, comb sensors in order to avoid hitting higher ground, bin-full beepers, and more beepers than one can throw a stick at!! They have sealed, air conditioned cabs for the driver's comfort. Can you imagine how horrible and dusty the work would be without that.
This photograph is showing the wheat being transferred from the header to the 'chaser' bin. A little later in the day, the tractor and bin were being driven along beside the header with the wheat going straight into it. This needs a lot of concentration and communication between header/tractor driver. If there is a big crop, there is also a need for trucks to be employed in order to move the grain to on-farm storage or take it directly to the wheat depot.
I took this photograph in town during harvest. These are the 'big rigs' that are used to transport grain. I know it's not a property shot, but I couldn't resist taking it. Unfortunately, I missed the front wheels, but on doing a count, that vehicle has 54 tyres. I actually thought it was amusing seeing him pulled up in front of the tyre shop - bet that shop owner was rubbing his hands together when he saw the big guy pull up!! Is it any wonder transport costs are soaring. I hope these few images show a little more of my world.
Thank you all again for your wonderful comments on my recent playing. I do appreciate the feedback.
Monday, November 28, 2011
I have been totally engrossed in texture lately. Yes, I'm still playing with my texture workshop from Fibre in Form - it's more fun than I can explain!! This is my latest textured piece, made into a triangular vase/vessel. I found a bottle to fit inside which gives it weight. Unfortunately, the artificial bloom is all I have at the moment to add to the setting. This piece is supposed to look like it belonged in another century, so I hope that is the case upon viewing............LOL..........
This group of photos might show some of the steps that have gone into making the vessel. I began with an A4 sized piece of the green cotton duck. After that, well, there was Gesso, texture paste [pushed through my own hand cut stencil], mulberry bark, writing ink, bleach, gold acrylic paint, stitching, scrunched up painted metal foil, glitter, and some very sore fingers after the final stitching up stage!! I can't recall how many times I went back to this, but it was a LOT. I have made a pact with myself to at least have some sort of plan next time, before I start plastering stuff all over a piece of fabric and hope I can make something out of it, ie it would have been much easier to stitch together without the mulberry bark so close to the perimeters of each piece. I've used stitched felt and pelmet vilene for the lining, and some wireform inside each piece to make sure it is really firm.
And now for the 'bit of blue'. This is a small art canvas, textured and painted, overpainted and embellished. I've called it Shining Seas. Some of the under colour is showing through, with an iridescent turquoise on the top. The heavy texture to one side is formed with scrunched cheesecloth. It was just a bit of fun, and gave me an excuse to add some bling!!
I hope this will be of interest. I still have more textured work planned, so watch this space..............
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I'm still in a mind to reduce the various materials I have 'acquired' over the years, and have managed to make a few small things to keep in the cupboard as gifts for whenever. The little cardigan above was done with the remaining few balls of white baby wool I bought from Pick-Up Stitches earlier in the year.
This close-up should show the little cables that are worked into the pattern. I had never done this before, and really like the look, and will be trying more patterns like this in the future. I feel the little rectangular MOP buttons look quite alright for this. The pattern was one I found and purchased via Ravelry. The designer has a website too:- http://www.creativecrochet.co.uk/
Of course, I am still working on the 10+ kilos of yarn sent to me by my sister. Another knee rug is in progress, but some of the yarns are quite thick. I decided to make a few coathangers with some of these bulkier yarns. I am always in need of these myself, so they've gone into use already. They are nothing special, but feel really quite soft. One is done in crochet, the other knitted.
And, continuing along the ever present baby theme I seem to have going at the moment, this fabric has become a double sided summer wrap. Easy, peasy, two lengths right sides out, bind with the last little bit of fabric. I've been carting this length around with me for years and years. When I had babies, I always carried these with me. You never know when you need to put your baby down 'somewhere', and that 'somewhere' might be a surface that is a little bit suss in my opinion. Not that I'm any sort of clean freak I have to say, but at least the wrap gives you some peace of mind. I have to add that my babies hardly ever had illness of any kind.
I am still quite busy with the watering duties, but as I type, I can hear a slight drizzle, and can smell that wonderful smell of rain on dry earth!! We have been told to expect some rain this week, so bring it on I say.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
I have been so very busy lately, mainly because the heat has set in here, and I am looking after my neighbour's garden as well as my own. I can tell you it's a big job, and I don't remember when the pump was silent!! We are fortunate to have the water to use on lawns and plants, so for that I am most grateful. I hope it lasts, as we've had several days already with the mercury just reaching the 40°C mark. Apart from that, I've had a few outings with my patchwork friends - the craft market, and our final meeting day for the year. We had a wonderful day yesterday, lots of members present, lovely luncheon, good cheer, and wonderful sharing of each others' projects. The collage above was one I thought might be of interest to those who follow my blog. This William Morris applique quilt was done by our most prolific patchworker, Neitta. Not only does she put us all to shame with the quantity, the quality of her work is amazing. Neitta had this quilt professionally quilted by Robyn McHardie [https://secure.widebacks.com.au/]. The intricate quilting has to be seen to be appreciated properly. It certainly enhances the wonderful applique that Neitta has done. The quilt is very large. It was difficult to include it all in one photograph. Neitta had lots of other quilt tops to show us, so she has been a very busy girl this year. Sadly, a number of her beautiful quilts [family gifts] were ruined by floodwater, and she has set about replacing them.
Neitta had also been extremely busy getting things prepared for our craft market. It was a nice day, with steady sales. I bought these four rooster potholders [made by Neitta of course!!], for my DIL, as she just loves anything 'chooky'. They aren't large, but just a good size for each hand [in my opinion].
Another article that took my eye was this quite large scrapbook/journal with rather an organic feel. It had been done by one of our newer members, at a weekend workshop in Brisbane. The pages are very thick and have a rather rustic feel. I plan to use this for pasting pictures/drawings of ideas, etc., yet another art/ideas journal. It appears to have been made using leaves, open seed pods, and lengths of organic matter. The 'lizard' shape is recessed, and to be honest, I didn't even realize there was a 'shape' there until I took the photograph.
I am currently trying to do a bit of crochet in between my watering duties, but nothing finished of course. I hope the work of my friends will be of interest. I am always in awe of the talent we have in our small group, despite our isolation, and difficulties securing goods for most projects.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
A few years ago I found an interesting braid, and how-to instructions in the Australian magazine Stitches. I needed to make a simple outfit for something, so a short, fitted, navy frock was the answer, trimmed with this handmade 'braid'. I also thought a small cocktail style hat covered, and trimmed with the braid might work for the function. I am not sure if you can actually see it in the photograph, but the pink fabric has silver flecks in it. The navy is just a blotchy, unevenly dyed fabric. I used to do a little bit of hat making when I was sewing wedding outfits [well, technically not hat making, more covering/decorating buckram shapes]. I have included a shot in the collage showing the inside lining in the hat. The braid on the hat has been made using smaller cord, with some fine millinery wire inserted inside with the piping cord, so I could bend the trim and have it sit up where I wanted it to.
Sadly, I don't have the instructions anymore, but I thought I might try to replicate what I had done. It's a simple matter of making two lengths of piping, in different colours. Then one is placed on top of the other, and the two are stitched together along the extended edge. You then trim away three of the edge fabrics, leaving just the one. Trim it back, and then turn under and wrap it tightly across the back of the double cording. It is blind stitched so it is not seen from the front. The double corded length is then overstitched with a length of metallic cord. To achieve the twisted effect, you need two identical lengths - stitched together at one end, and then twisting each length. It is quite firm, and rather fiddly if using small cord. Placing some invisible stitches along the twisted length will ensure stability. I didn't really plan to make anything, but after I'd finished the twisting, I decided to cover the ends with jewellery bell caps, and attach a toggle clasp. It's seems to have made quite a nice little Christmas bracelet.
I hope this little trim is of interest to some readers. Sometimes it's difficult to buy a trim that suits your fabric, and making something simple might be the answer.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
I know it's not autumn here in Australia, but the colours of a tradtional autumn are some of my favourites. Not very long ago I purchased and downloaded online lessons to do with creating texture on textiles. You can see the lessons here I have not actually worked through any of the lessons in their entirety just yet, but this little art journal cover is a start. The above photograph has been taken outside in the shade, but is not actually showing the colours as they are [more 'red' than pink].
I've called this Autumn Fantasy simply because I don't 'draw', and much of the time squiqqly lines and leaf/petal shapes are my limit, so all I can do is fantasize that I may one day magically be able to 'draw'. Perhaps this photograph will show the little lumps and bumps that are on the surface of the fabric. There are so many layers on this, gesso, texture paste, paint in various colours, little snippets of linen, machine stitching, glitter, and yarn [it was originally a piece of loosely woven calico].
The back view is showing the leaves/petals being blown along by autumn winds, scattered on the ground, piling up along paths, etc. Stitching this very stiff, rubbery 'fabric' was rather a nightmare, made worse by the choice of metallic thread. You don't want to know how many four letter words were used during the process!!
Some of the colour inspiration came from this piece of fabric that I received as a little gift from a friend some time ago. I'd often admired it in some pieces she'd made, and she was kind enough to send some to me. And, no, I have not used it as an inside lining for this - that is just black wool felt.
I am looking forward to working through my PDF lessons in due course, as soon as I purchase a few more provisions. I have uploaded the last photograph which was taken out in full sun [please excuse shadow in bottom right corner!!]. It does show the colours a little differently, much brighter, and closer to how it is in real life. Digital cameras don't photograph metallic all that well. In case you are interested in the size, this little art journal is A5 with lots of good quality water colour paper. I hope to make the effort to record some of my thought processes from hereon in.
Thank you all so much for actively taking an interest in my attempts to amuse myself..........LOL......
Monday, October 31, 2011
Lately I've been fiddling with some of the off-cuts in my 'trash' box, and have made a few little ATC's just for fun. To cut a long story short, I've grouped them in the above collage [only one photograph to load]. I haven't decided what will happen to them at the moment. If anyone would like one, or care to swap, please let me know. I think my favourite is the green one in the top right hand corner.
We have still been experiencing storm activity in our area, and have had the land phone out for quite some time. Our mobile phone doesn't work very well from the house, so things have been rather quiet.
Thank you all for the lovely comments on my bags. I most certainly appreciate them.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Although I don't make lots and lots, I still really like handmade bags in all shapes and sizes. Recently I stumbled across an interesting sewing blog/website, with downloadable patterns for sale. Of course, most of them appealed to me, so I jumped in for the kill............ You can see the bags here - http://www.keykaloupatterns.com/ The bag pictured above is the first one I've made using Michelle's lovely pattern. I have another which I will try soon. Whilst I did not follow the pattern to the letter [a slight change in the base boxing], I found everything in the requirements and directions to be faultless. Please make time to visit Michelle's blog too, and see some lovely sewing.
I've put a small collage together showing a few elements of this bag. There are some small pockets inside [always handy], and I really like the added stitched detail on the bottom. The inside lining has a firm pelmet vilene rectangle stitched into it, giving a more rigid base. I hope you can see the fabric pattern. I purchased this fabric quite some time ago, to make a bag, and still have quite a bit left. I managed to find something in my stash for a lining, and what I consider to be a suitable button trim [a natural timber button from Tasmania]. I am using this as a swap gift for my group's break-up in a few weeks.
Whilst on the subject of bags, I thought this one might be of interest to readers too. I made this about three years ago. I originally purchased the handles, and then decided I needed a bag to go with them...... I have included this link - http://www.mareepigdon.com/sewing-patterns.html as both were purchased from this lady. I fear the pattern has probably been discontinued. It is quite large, has a number of inside pockets, plus a piece of MDF in the base, as well as little feet. I find this an excellent bag for taking projects to my sewing days. It was 'built' around the handles actually [colourwise], with fabrics I had on hand at the time - leftovers.
I hope this little bit of sewing is of interest. I will try to make up the other bag pattern I purchased from Michelle - http://www.keykaloupatterns.com/product/inset-zip-clutch-pouch-pdf-sewing-pattern and hopefully this will go together as well as the first one.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
In a few weeks my patchwork group is having our annual Christmas luncheon to end the year, and begin the recess until the New Year. We are making and taking our food again this year. I have been thinking about taking something a little different, and decided to try my hand at this Ginger Wine & Lime Sorbet yesterday [just a trial in readiness for the real thing]. The recipe I used is in one of my oldish Womens' Weekly cookbooks, but I found a similar one here: http://aww.ninemsn.com.au/food/cookingtips/780815/ginger-wine-and-lime-sorbet I have made this before. The recipe in this link has the ingredients in slightly different proportions, and to be honest, after tasting 'mine', I think the other would be nicer as it only uses ½cup of the ginger wine, whereas the recipe I used has 1½cups which I feel is just far too overpowering flavourwise. I would also advise adding ¼ teaspoon of Cream of Tartar to the sugar/water syrup.
I've put together a small collage of some of the steps used in the preparation of this very light and tangy dessert. I have not been given the seal of approval from my husband to continue to serve this at home, and to be honest, it is not the most sensible thing to be taking out of one's freezer and expecting it to last a 60km journey in November!! I also think I should have allowed the wine/water/juice mixture to freeze much more, as my mixture became extremely runny. One thing I must mention. I made a continued effort to fork the mixture through many times during the freezing process, as the 'liquid' seemed to continually seep to the bottom. It is fine once the whole mixture freezes, but does sort of melt/liquify on you whilst enjoying your fruit/sorbet cocktail, damn!!
And, just one more photo showing the lovely fruit salad and sorbet - a dessert probably more suited to brunch on Melbourne Cup day morning.............LOL.......... The fruit salad is nothing more than diced pawpaw, banana, strawberries and whole blue berries, moistened slightly with a squeeze of orange juice. Voila!!
Monday, October 17, 2011
Yesterday we decided to drive into our little local township to watch the campdrafting Campdrafting is a uniquely Australian horse sport, and if you do follow the link, I hope you enjoy reading more about it. This event is held every October here, and is always a must attend competition for campdrafters from near and far. Of course, it is run to benefit local interests, with proceeds going to help the schools, hospitals and such in our district. And, most importantly, all helpers do so on a voluntary basis, from the women who feed the multitudes, to the property owners who provide the cattle that are used in the draft - no small undertaking in anyone's world. I have put together a small collage of photos I took during yesterday's action.
There has always been something amusing to see, and this time was no exception. For the most part, people seem to bring along their newest pup to show off, but this little one was a first for me!! Raising an orphaned macropod is not an easy task. This little one looked so cute, I couldn't help but share it.
I also managed to catch an 'impromtu committee meeting', or so it seemed to me at the time. These men have been involved with the draft since they were youngsters, as their fathers were before them.
Of course, this sport is not for those with a limited budget. The outfits we saw were like homes away from home, for man and beast. Talk about traveling in style!!! I hope these shots will give you some idea of the modern transport facilities that people use. Many of them have several horses [it is acceptable for them to nominate, and compete on a number of horses in their relevant sections]. It's quite a family affair as well - sometimes entire families competing.
I did try to upload a small video clip I took, but my Internet is not good enough for me to do so. Therefore, I will just finish this post with the opening still shot from my video. This young man has been competing and winning for a long time. I think he grew up in the saddle. His hands are always in the right place, he hardly moves in the saddle, everything just gels. More often than not his 'round' is like poetry in motion.