Monday, August 29, 2011

Colour Theory

I'm back with another journal cover to share.  I seem to be fixated on these, and the eucalypt at the moment, but for me they are something I see every day, and I never get tired of the inspiration they provide.  Our Sumptuous Surfaces online class is dealing with colour theory at the moment, and despite never having done much of this, I find it fascinating, and can now understand why I know some colours just look good together............LOL........  

I used this part of the class to quickly stitch up a gum leaf sprig using a few different layers, not much stitching, but different 'fabrics' for my leaves, and some dimensional stitching for the flowers.  The gum leaves are Hanah overdyed bias silk ribbon, fused together with Mistyfuse, cut into shapes, and then fused to the background.  This product allows pieces to be adhered to a background, yet everything stays soft enough to stitch through easily.  I've used bronze sequin waste to give the impression of 'chewed' leaves.  

The actual cover itself has been made using Abaca Tissue.  It is often sold under the name of Tissuetex, dyed ready for your use.  I purchased some from  Abaca tissue is extremely strong, despite feeling a lot like paper.  It can be painted, stitched, crumpled, you name it.  I didn't purchase this colour especially for the project, but had it on hand.  I crumpled it several times before fusing it to some beige wool felt [again with Mistyfuse].  I did make crinkles in it before I actually used the iron to set the fusible webbing.  Prior to stitching on the postcard sized embroidery, I fused the wool felt/abaca fabric onto pelmet vilene.  It makes for a much firmer fabric all round [do you get the idea that I like fusible products.........LOL].  The postcard was attached using satin stitch in a green multi metallic thread.  The lining fabric was one of my red/grey hand dyes, not the best match, but not the worst either [you can just see a little of it set into the side of the postcard].

After all the stitching was completed, I gently rubbed some Rose Gold 'Treasure Gold' into the surface of the Abaca, which gives it a rosy glow.  It looks and feels a little like leather.  

This was just a very quick way to produce another cover, using colour combinations I like.  I need to make another small project now with much more 'stitching' on it, and haven't quite decided on a theme or if it will be used as a postcard, or as a decorative addition to something else.  We have one more class lesson on Wednesday, and that will be it.  

Thank you all for taking such a keen interest in what this is all about.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nature's Beading [??]

Firstly, I must thank you all so much for your enthusiastic comments regarding the chicken costume.  Your encouragement is very welcome indeed.  I must report that the day went well, with a pirate, a red riding hood, and even bananas in pyjamas, so it seems everyone got into the spirit of the day.  

I haven't much to write about these two photographs, but wanted to share them with everyone.  I noticed this morning that there had been a heavy dew, and thought one or two shots might capture the mood.  It seems to me that some fairies may have been out adding beads during the night.  I'll leave you to imagine what you will.  As I was about to prepare for this blog post I saw the sweetest little 'Inchie' with the title Imagine [check it out - it seems others love to imagine].  The sun shining into these photographs was a delight.  Enjoy.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Chicken Story

I really want to share my little bit of weekend excitement with everyone.  On Friday night, our grand daughter phoned to ask if I could make her a costume for school.  Apparently it's book character day tomorrow, and she was hoping to have something special to wear.  Her chosen character was Chicken Little.  I immediately began to panic.  How on earth could we come up with a chicken costume, over the weekend, and not get away to buy anything!!  Okay..........., out came the step ladder, and hey presto, the stash cupboard came to the rescue.  Lots of fabric, bits and pieces landed on the bed, ready for 'something'.  

They arrived for lunch on Saturday, and after that we began with some A4 paper and a pair of scissors.  We tackled the feet first.  I knew the red/black quilted nylon I bought years ago would come in handy one day!!  I attached some elastic underneath these shapes, so she could slip her shoes through in order to stop 'the feet' flapping around.  A little band with velcro holds them in place around her ankles.  Thankfully, red childrens' tights were available in our small town.

We then moved on to the head - comb and beak.  Again, a little bit of trial and error with A4 paper, and thankfully, a knitted beanie still sitting in the cupboard, plus the quilted nylon would see the comb done.  I stitched a length of velcro [hook side] to the bottom of the 'comb'.  I did the same with the little arms on the beak.  Both bits grab onto the beanie and will stay in place for the day.

I didn't have a lot of time to make a really neat job of a 'body tunic', so the yellow fabric I had was fashioned into a poncho.  I cut a hole and slit, in order for her to pop it over her head, and again, attached a neckband with velcro closing.  A little line of machine stitching created a sleeve and part- body.  We thought it would work for the day.

Finally, the feathers had to go on.  Again, cheap yellow acrylic yarn from the stash helped create some feathered wings.  We did actually trim the feathers a little after this photograph was taken.  She told me she had to have a tail too, but as it was 'the last part', my brain was getting quite tired.  The yellow tail is a little sad, so I'm thinking Chicken Little probably could be having a bad hair day tomorrow.  

I still have enough to make Chicken Little again and again, and I really have to get a grip on this stash, it's just ridiculous.  After we'd finished the costume, it was time to sit quietly and have a glass or two of medicine [cleverly disguised as Sauvignon Blanc..........LOL].  It was a fun afternoon, and I thoroughly enjoyed creating something from nothing with a little girl so full of enthusiasm.   


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sumptuous Surfaces Monotone Assignment

For the last three weeks I have been thoroughly immersed in an online class being conducted by Sharon Boggon

In the first half of the course, we have been working a project in monotone, and as I have stated previously, I'd chosen greys.  It was a difficult colour choice for me, but in the end I settled on using our Australian gumnuts as my theme.  

Of course, I won't go into all the details of our class brief, but much of the work is done using quite heavily textured stitching.  I really enjoyed this part of the exercise, and must admit to perhaps packing far too many knots into my chosen areas.  I also think I should have used a little more variety in threads, and types of stitches - a lesson for the future no doubt.

This close-up may give you an idea of some of the pulled thread areas that have been worked, some of which have been made up as I went along.  It has been wonderful to see the way others have approached this assignment, and I am honoured to be part of such a creative group of stitchers.

I had always intended to use this as the front adornment for a journal cover.  I have so many little ring binders, and I don't know how they have found their way into my house.  They just seem to look so much more exciting 'wearing' a stitched cover.  I did not buy the fabrics for this, but have used pieces from my cupboard.  The inside has been lined with a quite busy, marbled print, but I have used a much more sedate piece for the outside.  

Before I finish this post I have to give a big thank you to a friend and fellow blogger, Shirley  During this assignment, Shirley has been so very helpful, sending me little 'grey' treasures, as well as offering me advice on a few aspects that were worrying me.  Shirley has a great gift for seeing the right line and light, but without doubt, her greatest gift is the willingness to share and encourage.  Thank you again Shirley, your kindness is very much appreciated.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Looking for Beauty

During my married life I've been called upon to do some pretty unlady-like tasks, and have done the best I could at the time.  Saturday night was one such time.  My hubby asked me [very nicely] if I would consider being his off-sider on a feral pig hunt.  Well, what could I say.  Much of the time I am able to do my own thing, so I didn't like to say no.  I'll spare you all the nasty hunting details, but suffice to say it wasn't for the weak of stomach!!  We spent almost five hours driving around a large property, only going back over our tracks twice - around almost 2,000 acres of wheat and half as much grazing oats.  We even took a picnic.  Now, don't go getting too excited - there was nothing glamorous about this picnic, no Michael Bublé playing in the background, no chilled champagne, no cucumber sandwiches, or cherry pie.   But, I refuse to allow myself to only see the negative part of this.  We arrived at our destination some time before sunset, and there was the prospect of seeing wildlife other than aforementioned feral pigs!!  I was told about a large dam, with resident swans.  I am sure the producers of our 'reality' show, The Farmer Wants a Wife would have made this scene look so much more romantic, but I still found it pleasant enough to share.

My husband does a lot of work on this property, mostly mustering cattle.  He has told me often about 'the swans that live on the big dam'.  Well, I finally saw them, and they have a family.  This is not the best photograph, zoomed in to the hilt, but I'm sure you will see what I'm talking about.  The water birds were there in their droves, so lovely to see, after all the dry years.

We managed to get to another small dam just before sunset, so I couldn't resist a few more shots.  There is always something magical about the coming up and going down of the sun!  During the night we saw lots of other birds - bustards [plain turkeys], tawny frogmouths, but sadly, it's not brolga country.

I know much of what I see is rather dull compared to the beauty others have, but it's amazing how much you appreciate the little things.  Just recently we've had the privilege of the company of this Ibis.  He seems to have taken a liking to the area just outside our immediate houseyard, wandering around each day without a care in the world.  I have named him Ivan [I don't really know if it's a male or a female to be honest], and perhaps in time he'll bring a mate to meet us, Irene maybe??  We've also noticed a lot of activity high up in one of the trees, as Maggie and Magnum [our magpie couple] start to make preparations for another family this season.  Each afternoon about 5.00pm [like clockwork] they swoop down waiting for the handful of dog biscuits I throw on the ground for them.

I hope you enjoy seeing some of the things I've seen in the last few days, despite their simplicity.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Parcels in the Mail

I am really excited about the packages I received in yesterday's mail.  I know I have a good selection of greys for my Sumptuous Surfaces embroidery, but that didn't stop me buying some extra 'just in case'.  I also wanted some wools to knit a few things for babies - they really never go out of fashion do they???  I was told about a 'silken' ribbon, made using milk proteins, so some of that found it's way into my parcel as well.  Apparently it is washable and very soft to work with.  I must get some other 'brighter' colours in the near future.   You can see a little about it here: 

I purchased all of these lovely products from a little store in Kyneton, Victoria.  I really only became aware of the store after a recommendation from a friend.  The proprietor and staff are lovely, patient with dithering customers, and I'm sure I will be a return customer.  Thank you to Sharon, and Karyn, for all the help with my requests -  Although there is not a purchasing website as such, I can assure you the store is an Aladdin's Cave.

The fun didn't actually stop with the first parcel.  I was pleasantly surprised to receive a card, and hand written note from my sweet English friend Anney, with plenty of news from her part of the world - thank you Anney for making time in your busy life to 'write'.  Another little gift was a good length of tiny, tiny satin ribbon from Karyn as she knows I am always looking for this product.  And, last, but certainly not least, was another little selection of grey beads and threads from my friend, fellow blogger, and fellow Sumptuous Surfaces classmate Shirley  It is really heart warming to know friendship knows no boundaries.  Thank you to those lovely ladies who have cared to include me in their lives.

Thank you too to those who have shown a keen interest in my 'grey' project.  I have taken far too long to decide on a subject matter, but can now report that I've put some stitches on my piece of fabric.  Here is a small sample of an area of pulled thread work, which I hope will give the impression of falling gum leaves.  This little section has been worked using DMC Linen thread, which I can assure you is a trial.  It fluffs up, catches, breaks, and is certainly not a thread I would use for anything major.  I believe it is now discontinued, and perhaps the aforementioned problems may be the cause.  I now need to focus on the next area to be stitched, and hope I choose thread and stitch wisely, or there may be some 'unstitching' to be done........... 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sumptuous Surfaces

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to score a place in an online classes being conducted by Sharon Boggon.  You can see Sharon's work on her blog:-

The class is called Sumptuous Surfaces, which has conjured up some exciting images in my head I have to admit.  Our first exercise is working in monotone.  Of course, without giving too much away, I felt I'd like to share a little with readers.  I will be working in grey tones.  As you can see from the first photograph, it appears I have a fair selection of grey threads.  I also seem to have found quite sufficient in the beading line as well.  Perhaps in time my grey sumptuous surface will see the light of day!!

I always like to work towards using these exercises to actually make something.  I still have several small ring binders that need covers.  I seem to have inherited them, and find them useful for keeping track of project ideas.  I found these three grey toned fabrics in my stash, and when the postcard size embroidery is finished, I will decide which fabric suits it the best.  I'm actually tipping the blotchy to plain grey will be my choice, with the bubbly one for the lining.

I will hopefully have something presentable to share in a few weeks.  Thank you all again for the interest shown in all that I do.  Your support is always welcome.