Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Sneak Peek and a Give-Away

Just for a some fun I thought I'd insert a little sneak peek at what will be happening for the July needlebook.  Again, not much colour.  Well, it is Winter here, and things are pretty drab I must say.  I promise August will be more colourful.................  Okay, for what's it's worth, this is a sample of what is going on.

And, in celebration of the half way mark for my year of the needlebook, I am looking at a give-away.  If you would like to comment on which needlebook you feel is your 'favourite', and your name is drawn out, I will be happy to send it to you.  I am so overwhelmed by the support I've received from friends and fellow bloggers, I feel inspired to share.

I will celebrate three months as a Blogger on July 7, so if you care to have your say prior to that date, we'll make drawing day then.  You can find each of the six needlebooks pictured with relevant explanations a little further down.   Thank you one and all for your support. 

A few days to spare

I'm back again with the needlebook saga I'm afraid to tell you.  I'm feeling a bit disappointed with this one as I have not given it the time it deserved.  However, I am really pleased that it is done and I have some of June to spare.  Originally I intended for this to be Jacobean embroidery, but due to several circumstances, I've had to re-phrase and re-think my approach.  I feel I can really only call this 'Just Embroidery', sorry ladies.  I very much wanted to use the William Morris print for the lining, and as you will see, it has very few colours in it.   I found lots of lovely designs, but I really couldn't use them, as in my mind, they just didn't do anything for the overall look of the needlebook.  I was also handicapped by not having a great assortment of shades in my desired colours.  To settle on something, I drew this simple flower/stem/leaf design, and embroidered it using basic stitches, ie stem stitch, padded satin stitch, portuguese stem stitch, fly stitch, seeding.  

I have become used to making these needlebooks by simply placing the outer and lining together, and then binding.  I did use several layers of Shapewell, but the whole feel was still a tad soft for my liking, so I inserted two pieces of template plastic between the pieces, prior to attaching the binding.  Template plastic or overhead projector film always leaves the book feeling much more stable.

One more photo to show how pretty this needlebook is inside and we're done.  I love this print, actually purchasing this piece of fabric to use as a lining for pink wool day!!!!  I'm quite happy with the navy wool felt, it is a bit darker 'in real life'.  And so ends June's needlebook adventure..........

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Looking Forward/Learning

I recently signed up to an online course in the hope of learning some skills with photo and image alteration.  This is conducted via   The course tutor will be Sharon Boggan, and some information is available on her website:   She has not long posted some information about one of the exercises, so I am hoping I will be up to the task, not to mention my internet connection, which seems to be sadly lacking of late.

A few weeks ago my miniature roses were flowering quite well, so I decided I might try altering some of the photos I took at the time.  I am not sure of the pink rose's name, but I believe the orangey one is Chameleon.  It begins as an orange bloom, then 'fades' to a reddy pink, and then a 'pinky' pink, and so on.  There are several different colours on the bush at any given time.  It is less of a 'cluster' type than the pink, and the individual blooms are larger.   These are only minor alterations of course, but I'm looking forward to learning much more about something that totally fascinates me.  I can see distorted Tissuetex as the background for the rose cluster.........

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sharne's Giveaway

Although I'm extremely late with this, I shall mention it.  You can read about this fantastic giveaway here:

Thanks to Jensters for alerting me to this wonderful blog.  I had not seen it before, and the book that Sharne has made, and offering as a giveaway looks inspiring.  Good luck to all the entrants.  I hope I am not too late.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My 'Other Life'

Yesterday I was called upon to help with some stock work.  It's not the most pleasant task and sometimes can be downright dangerous [more so for those who are not familiar with it].  We were treating cattle for lice and putting them onto some better fodder.  We have dogs to help us with stock work, and much of the time cannot do without them.  Some of these photos show a bit of what goes on in my 'other life'.   The images show how the dogs help the stock 'understand' what they are supposed to do.  They are not the clearest photos, as I've taken them as stills from video footage.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Now for some Bling!!!

Well, those of you who know me, know I LOVE bling, and I love sunsets and sunrises.  I have been trying to do some textile work, depicting the sun as I see it.  This is one of the most recent sunsets I've photographed [I have lots of them].  I have zoomed into this frame quite a lot, which really alters how the camera sees the colours.  I am also including the piece of fabric that I used as a starting point for my work - a journal cover.  I dyed this fabric quite some time ago, and never liked it.  Prior to stitching, I sprayed some of the colour out with bleach, dried it, then painted over it with some metallic gold Lumiere fabric paint, as well as a brush here and there of Jo Sonja's Opal Dust and Textile medium.

I then needed to have something textured for the sun, so painted a piece of Tyvek with Metallic Bronze Lumiere/Metallic Gold, which when dry, was overlaid with orange organza and stitched lightly, prior to crinkling with a heat gun.  That was magic!!  I had the texture and the colour I was hoping for.  Before laying this on my prepared fabric, I laid on a sheet of Irisé film to give me the colour change and reflection I wanted.   Next came some long wispy pieces of orange mohair/angora wool which were already lovely and curly, and looked just like I imaged solar flares to be.  In order to get this all stitched down I covered it with a yellow chiffon scarf, cutting away the excess after stitching around the 'solar flares'.  I also cut away wisps of the Irisé film to expose the fabric with the dark blotches.  This photograph should show the lines of wavy stitching.

I'm quite pleased with the overall journal cover.  The sun has gone back slightly into the background, but then we only see it as a blur anyway.  I've beaded in some places and really had to stop myself.  I could have beaded for hours, but commonsense had to kick in at some stage, enough already!!  I also painted glue in lots of places and sprinkled fine holographic gold glitter over the whole piece.   I hope these photos will show the texture and the colour changes, as well as the 'bling' I got from the glitter.

I must say I have to admit to an embarrassment of riches with the lining fabric.  I received this piece in a prize package from 3CS a few months ago, and knew it was perfect for the job at hand.  Vicki Welsh dyes some amazing pieces, and I would love to say I could do the same, but alas, I've not come that far yet with my fabric dyeing [you only have to look at the piece at the beginning of the post to see that!!].  Some of Vicki's pieces are available here:

So, an end to the story of the Bling Journal Cover.......... now to think up some equally more bright ideas.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Country Cultural Experience

Yesterday I was very fortunate to attend the opening of a new exhibition at our local art gallery.  This exhibition is showing the work of two ladies from our district, their last being four years ago.  It was a lovely day in an extraordinary setting, and I was amazed at how their work had changed, especially with regard to the colours they are using now.  They both work in mixed media, and are having fun with their artistic journey.  A little can be seen about our gallery on this website:

I've taken a photo of one of the huge 'metal' bottletrees that are part of the structure of the building.   You should find lots of information about this gallery if you care to visit the above site.   This was the 'cultural' part of my day', and the following photos will show the more 'country' side to it.

This is one of our usual 'pedestrians'.  As you can see, in absolutely no hurry to get out of my way, and very eager to pose for a photograph.  Thankfully, in daylight one can often 'avoid' these fellows, but night driving here is an experience.  I apologize for the hazy shot, but someone, who shall remain nameless, forgot to wipe the dust off the windscreen!!!

Our local town has a golf club of course, which local town hasn't.  Now, St Andrew's or Augusta it's not.  I often see these 'residents' as I drive into town.  The centre of town is only a short walk from where this photograph was taken, about two to three minutes of brisk walking.  These guys are not at all worried about the golfers who are about to hit the first ball of the day.   I don't need to remind you that rain in our area is not an everyday occurrence!!!!

I do hope my country cultural experience will bring a smile to a few faces.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Playing with Shiva Sticks

Another small project finished this morning as I work through the 3CS TOM [technique of the month].  This little postcard started as a small off-cut of avocado silk dupion.  I had a package of stick on leaves in various shapes [purchased from one of those dollar stores].  I used three 'grapey' leaves as a 'mask', then used a stiff bristle stencil brush to apply some gold shiva to the background.  Once the oil was cured, I pulled the leaves away.  There is a small amount of machine stitching around the perimeter to highlight the leaf shapes.  

I hope this close up shows the beaded bunch of grapes.  This beading was done on two layers of purple felt prior to attaching to the background, then a few more beads added at the sides of the 'bunch'.  Fortunately, I had some DMC memory 'thread' which made an excellent little dimensional tendril to finish off.  The back fabric is a soft green cotton that I dyed myself.  This was a quick and fun project.  I am thoroughly enjoying my time on the 3CS forum, the ladies are always coming up with something interesting for us to try.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

One UFO finished

Today I finally finished this wallhanging, which was started over 12 months ago.  It was a kit I'd purchased from Dianne Johnstone.  I did, however, change some of the fabric;  I appliqued using the hand blanket stitch method [instead of the needleturn method];  and made it into a wallhanging rather than it's intended cushion [now I have a nice lot of the multi-dyed fabric left, as it was supposed to be a frill].  It's very 'pink', but I'm warming more to it now it's done.

I also changed the centre a tad.  The original design featured a simple black circle, but I felt like experimenting with Ghiordes Knot and some beading in order to give the flower a little more dimension.  I love the fluffy effect and so pleased I tried it.  This is a great little knot for adding a little texture.

In an attempt to get the whole process over and done, I grabbed whatever I could from the cupboard for the backing.  This is some 'created' fabric.  It started out life as a normal piece of calico, but was sprayed with water and Parisienne Essence [from a fairly dodgey spray bottle too I might add].   The wadding was new to me though.  I recently purchased some bamboo wadding, and it really is lovely to stitch through.