Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy Mail day again.......

Friday was another happy day for me with the incoming mail.  I had been expecting some new yarn, which was on order for a short while.  This is baby camel hair, handspun, from Canada.   I purchased this from Kiri at  It feels so soft and I'm dying to start another scarf for one of the girls.  I hope you can see the colour clearly enough, it's 'camel'...................

Yet another treat for me was the arrival of some very good quality wool felt.  I have had a thing for gathering together wool felt of late, the needlecases and all that..............  The colours in this bundle are just beautiful, as is the quality.  I purchased these from a store in Victoria, the service is excellent and I shall be looking forward to when I 'need' something more from Sandra at  I've photographed these with a piece of William Morris print, as I'm hoping to use the dark navy and this print for the inside of one of my needlecases.

And now, ta da, last, but by no means least, I have to say how lovely this little ATC is.  This was made by a lady I've met on various sites.  She says she is very new to ATC making, but this one is so pretty.  I hope the little card I sent as a swap reaches her safely.  Thankfully, when you click on this photo to have a closer look, it is not so squished looking!!!  You can view some of her creations on her blog:

Friday, May 28, 2010

Another TOM tried.......

............and rethinking the square red button!!!

Well, it's done, and I'm so totally happy with this piece of experimentation.  When the girls over on 3CS asked us to try water colour crayons, etc., I decided that I'd finally found a way to use a beautiful piece of wool felt that a friend had sent me about two years ago.  It's one of the lovely dyed pieces you can buy from Colourstreams here in Australia [].

When I started working on this, all I could think of was a rainbow.  So, I began colouring each section as if it was a 'square' rainbow.  I wanted the corners to having flowing lines, because the dyeing on the felt was 'flowing'.  It seemed to need 'something' so I found out some crystal shred/angelina fibre look-alike, which I spread sparsely over the surface of the painted area, then covered it with fine black tulle.  After ironing, it just took on a life of it's own.  It's hard to see how beautifully sparkly/blingey it is with the camera.  The black stitching seemed the way to go, as black always brings out colour.

When I thought about the 'inside', I thought I'd need to anchor the felt with a big button, and therefore the stitching might show through to the outside, hence the need for the square red button [to hide said stitches].  However,  I decided it was more prudent to fuse the black lining to the stitched outer, and just machine stitch the felt to the lining prior to fusing.  Then I only needed to cover that stitching with a button, so no need to stitch through to the outside.  I managed to buy a square red button, but it has become part of the stash now, and waiting for the next time................


An SOS.......the dog and the duck....

Had an urgent request to babysit yesterday, which meant quite an early rise, as I had a distance to travel to play 'grandma'.  

I thought I'd share the glorious sunrise from yesterday.

Our little lady just loves animals, and has quite an odd couple when it comes to pets.  Her dog and duck are good mates believe it or not.  I tried and tried to get a photograph of them 'together', but it wasn't happening yesterday.  I think the duck has the upper hand!!!!

As you can see the duck is in 'duck heaven' happily spending it's days in a large dam quite close to the house.  I will keep calling it an 'it'.  It goes by the name of Molly, but has grown to be quite large, and I have a sneaking suspicion that it might be a male.  I haven't been around ducks for a long time, so please anyone, help me out here!!!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Water Colour Pencils

I'm currently doing some fabric colouring as part of the 3CS Technique of the Month programme.  We've been asked to use water colour crayons/shiva sticks.  I don't have the water colour crayons, but have tried out my water colour pencils again.  

This is a square of firm woven cotton that I've drawn up into sections.  It's my 'rainbow square'.  I'm not entirely sure how the final product will look, as I'll be stitching and embellishing as I go along.

I'm hoping to make this into a small parcel needlecase, similar to one done by a friend and fellow blogger.  You can view her version on her blog:

This photo shows the colour after I've painted/dried the fabric.  I've used textile medium/water in a 1:2 ratio, and ironed the fabric after drying.  Now, here's hoping it looks the part...............

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Out & About

This morning on rising, we were greeted with one of the thickest fogs I've seen for a long time.  It took hours to disperse, after which I thought I'd look for something interesting to 'snap'.  Many of the webs were high in the trees, but I managed a shot of this one.  The second photo shows the droplets of moisture clinging to the web.

I could hear 'the boss' working at the shed, so thought I might see some interesting 'shapes' to photograph in readiness for some Photoshoping in the future.  There are many interesting bits and pieces in and around the workplace.  I was fortunate to find him welding, and this shot didn't look too bad.

I hope readers will enjoy these few old things that took my eye.  I'd love to do some fabric 'rusting', but haven't quite worked out what to do yet, nor done any real research on the subject.

Now, hopefully this post will look the way I hope it does, and thanks to a fellow blogger for her patience and explanations on 'how-to get it right' [we hope].  At the moment we are enjoying a glorious autumn day, although we really would like some rain.

Friday, May 21, 2010

UFO Fever

Just lately I've dragged out a few projects in the hope of resurrecting my enthusiasm for them. I did want to do them in the first place I suppose, so why are they not finished???

I've noticed several other ladies who seem to be in the same frame of mind.

I will just share these two pieces with readers. The applique was supposed to be a cushion, but I am leaning now towards making it into a wall hanging, as I feel it might suit my sister's decor in one room. It is one of the few 'kit' things I've ever purchased, and a design by one of our well known applique and fabric dyeing specialists here in Queensland [].

The other piece I started as an experiment in texture more than anything. I began with a simple rectangle of delustred satin, following with chain stitches [varied stitches and threads], in wavy lines. Again, I originally planned a three-fold envelope type purse, but taking it out now and looking with 'new' eyes, I'm wondering if I shouldn't make a little 'dorothy' type bag with it. I have lots of lovely gold cording for the 'drawstring', and only need to place a few more beads in the selected areas. I would welcome any thoughts on this matter, as the jury is not out on this one yet!!!!

Blogging glitches

Hi everyone, I'm not sure what is happening with Blogger, but please forgive me if you have commented and it seems to have 'disappeared'. I have had several comments just 'go' on me in the last few days.

Thank you to those who visit and care to leave a message. It is much appreciated.

A very bleak morning here for me, and two spits of rain, but I am not holding out hope for much. I suppose it will be just enough to bring a new south-westerly wind.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Meet the Locals!!!!

I've been going through my photographs in an attempt to cull some that are not so 'important'. I thought some of the readers might like to see a few of the creatures that I see here in my part of the world.

We are often visited by Echidnas, such curious little creatures. I just love them. I had to spend some considerable time on the ground in amongst the prickly bushes to get this shot. He/she was making a decided effort to 'hide'.

For several years now we've been fortunate to have a pair of Tawny Frogmouths nest in the large trees close to our house. Sometimes they don't have any success, but last Spring they hatched out two little ones. The day I took this photo was an extremely hot November day, and sadly one of the youngsters didn't make it. They spend most of their days trying to look like the branches in the trees, and I can see by the look in those eyes that they were not at all pleased that I'd come along to disturb their nap time.

One of the greatest delights for me is the chance encounter with our beloved Australian bird, the Brolga. I haven't seen them often, and almost always when I don't have my camera with me. Luckily these three stayed long enough for me to get a reasonable close up, and even decided to try to intimidate me with a 'dance'.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I have recently been part of a group needlecase swap, and this week was happy to receive a lovely white/blue/navy one done for me by a stitching friend Katherine []. I am thrilled with the needlecase Katherine made. She is a very busy lady indeed, so I do appreciate her time.

Another swap that has given me pleasure is this little ATC done by a fellow SF friend Jennie []. This colourful ATC arrived earlier in the week, and I hope Jennie will soon receive the one I posted in return. I am only new to ATC swapping, but enjoying the process of making just a small sample of certain techniques.


The weather in Queensland is glorious at this time of the year, albeit a tad on the dry side for us. We have been given some hope for rain in the next day or so, here's hoping.

This week I managed to get a reasonable photograph of one of the three Kookaburras that seem to have taken to living around the houses and sheds. We don't see them a lot, as they tend to keep to the more heavily timbered areas of the property. I am always pleased to see a new bird 'move in'.

I was also fortunate to get this great shot of a bee having fun on one of the tea trees growing in the garden.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The May Needlecase

Continuing on with my intention to work a needlecase each month, I feel quite chuffed that it's not yet the middle of May and I've got something to offer.

This was always going to be machine embroidery, but I hadn't decided whether I'd do digitized embroidery by way of my Bernina embroidery unit, or go again with some freehand machine work and mixed media/textiles. In the interests of time, and a small challenge by a very nice lady on a forum I visit, I decided to dust off the embroidery unit and swallow hard.

I just don't like this type of embroidery, or should I say I don't like DOING this type of embroidery, but I did want to try this card, as it was purchased on a throw out sale about two years ago, and not once had it been out of the packet.

The colours chosen for the embroidery were my own, differing from those given in the enclosed chart, as I wanted to use the lining fabric [and needed to have the colours matching obviously]. I just love the fabric, probably because there is a tiny hint of gold in it.

I'm happy with this effort. There is a monogrammed initial on the back, but it's just that, an initial, so no need to bother taking up space with yet another photograph. I seem to be going for red a bit, having two, and we haven't hit the half way point yet............... I am equally chuffed because I used what I had in my stash, which I hope to continue to do as I go along. Onward to June!!!

Coloured Blackwork

Last year I decided I'd try my hand at designing my own piece of blackwork. I wanted to break with the traditional black on white colourscheme, because of the subject matter of the design. I have loved the Japanese Noshi design for a long time now, having done this in needleturn applique from a pattern I purchased from the store Abundia in Brisbane. I wanted this needleworked noshi to be a sister decorator item for the appliqued noshi.

Most of the threads used were in my stash, and are a variety of brands and fibres, ie some stranded silk, stranded cottons and a tiny bit of goldwork wire for couching.

I thoroughly enjoyed this process, and despite not yet having this piece framed suitably, I like it. It's not the brightest piece of embroidery I've done, but for it's intended purpose I feel confident that when it's framed, it will suit the decor.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Well, April is over for us here in Australia, but I might just sneak this in with Blogger, so here is April in all it's glory, done.

This is what I have come to know as Altered Photo Artistry. I took this photo in my garden, then altered it slightly with PhotoShop. It was then printed onto Inkjet Printable Silk fabric. After stabilizing with fusible vilene, pellon and shapewell, I machine stippled in what I hope are the right places.

The dark avocado green dupion seemed to be a nice frame for the photo, and again, this is a technique that I have learnt a lot from doing.

Onwards now to May and possibly machine embroidery of the digitized kind........


By the time March had started I was becoming a little more aware of the enormity of this challenge. I really felt I would like to do some canvas stitching, as it had been quite a long time since I'd done any type of this at all.

I chose what is known as Milanese Stitch, again from my Mary Thomas' Dictionary of Stitches book. It's a simple offset arrowhead stitch that looks a little like tweed if it's done in two colours. I chose these colours simply because I had quite a bit of the DMC #5 Perlรฉ required, and as this was turning out to be a long term project, I hoped to use some of what I already had.

I am endeavouring to keep making the needlebooks/cases in slightly different designs, so as not to get bogged down with just the book format. This one is a three-fold design, with a silky cream cord stitched to the outer edge, and again used for the closing ties.

Again, I'm really thrilled with this, but it took much more time than I first thought, and I will think long and hard before embarking on canvaswork again this year.........


As February loomed, and I was still full of enthusiasm, but not so for counted work, I decided to take the easy option and go for a freestyle stitch, this time choosing Fly Stitch. Some years ago I was required to stitch something using only this stitch, and decided to replicate it for this purpose.

I've used only fly stitch and several different types of threads. Again, I felt a Japanese styled print was suitable as a lining, and again, I'm really happy with my results. I love the rich red colour and the use of just a bit of metallic thread in the stitching helps lift the design.


Now, how difficult could it be to find a stitch or technique beginning with the letter J?? I can tell you, it's not that easy. I searched the Mary Thomas' Dictionary of Stitches and came up with some possiblities, but had to keep in mind that I have June and July yet............

I decided to go with a counted thread stitch called Japanese Darning. It's a relatively simple stitch, but I preferred not to have it going straight up/down/across, so tacked my template out onto the beige evenweave on a 45° angle, and now I'm so pleased I did. After the stitching was complete, I searched my stash for something suitable as a lining fabric, and found this simple Japanese inspired print. I am extremely happy with this small needlebook.

The Twenty/Ten Needlebook Challenge

At the beginning of 2010, a few friends and I were discussing how we might keep ourselves 'stitchingly' motivated for the year, feeling a little flat after Christmas. A few of us decided we might like to try making needlebooks for each month of the year, hence the start of the 12 needlebooks in 12 months. I have managed to keep up to date so far, taking my 'cue' by using a stitch or technique starting with the same letter as each month. I shall endeavour to chronicle each in turn. I do hope you find this needlebook adventure a bit of fun.