Monday, December 24, 2012

Gifts at Christmas Time

This will be a very quick post today.  I really want to wish everyone a very happy Christmas with plenty of laughter, good health, and happiness, and especially time to spend with those you love.  This can often be a very sad time for people, remembering those they've lost, but for many it is a time to re-unite with their families, and spend time together.  I am grateful for the support and friendship I have received from so many wonderful readers.  These friendships would never have been possible but for this wonderful world of technology.  I am including one photograph, a small gift I've just completed.  This little pink cardigan has been made for a baby I will never see.  I am sending this to a friend in the US, a gift for her niece whose baby girl is due in January.  Why...........well, I don't know, simply because small things count, and the friendship and support I receive from my friend means a lot to me.  I receive that same support and friendship from so many.  What a pity more people in the world could not take a lesson from we ordinary people, plodding away, making friendships and sharing our passion.

There isn't much else to say today, except to again give my good wishes to all my friends, near and far.  Take care, have fun, stay warm/cool/safe, wherever you are and whatever you are doing.  The comments I receive mean so much to me, and this has helped me continue blogging for so long.  


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Our 'Dancing Queen'

Not a long post this time, days are running away on me.  I just wanted to share two very nice photographs I took of our grand daughter at her dance recital a few weeks ago.  She has always been a most photogenic child, and now it seems as though she is growing up too quickly.  She has been a very busy girl this term with swimming, as well as dancing, AND trying to cope with family life still disrupted as a result of the house fire.  Hopefully, all will be done by mid January, and things can return to normal.

The night was pleasant, not a long programme, but the small crowd enjoyed every dance.  One last photograph and I'll be off to try to catch up on some Christmas cleaning.  Sadly, I was unable to successfully clone out the arm in the following photograph.

Thank you to all who continue to support my blog.  I so enjoy your comments.  After a bit of conversation with my friend, Dian, I've realized the textured seed pods in my last post belong to the Plane Tree. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

More about texture

As fibre artists, I think we all get the thing with texture.  It's what makes us feel a buzz when we see a piece of embroidery, knitting, mixed media work, etc.  I've been playing with both my cameras lately [who's a smarty pants then...........LOL], and thought I'd share a few photos where the main focus is texture.  I know the guy in the photograph above isn't something delicate and genteel, but boy, just look at that skin, such a lot of texture there.  I took lots and lots of this fellow, sunning himself on a post.  He didn't seem to mind how close I got to him.  This one has been taken on my new DSLR Nikon, not on macro, but a reasonably close shot with a medium sized lens.  Somehow, I don't think he quite trusted me.........LOL..........

Much of the time, my world is full of drab colours.  I'm sorry I can't provide something a little livelier.  But, hey, not everyone sees beauty in the same thing.  This dry and decaying rose hip came up pretty well with the macro feature on my small Nikon, with just a hint of sharpening in PhotoShop.  French knots and long bullions would probably be the way to stitch something like this.

Right down on the ground, almost obscured by the lawn, I found these white puff ball fungi things.  On closer inspection, they had quite rough skin.  The little Nikon really is good with these macro shots, and I've taken the shutter speed back to 100, not the default 200.  Again, a tad on the boring side colourwise.

I decided to have a play with the fungi photograph.  Don't ask me what I did, but between PhotoShop and GIMP, I created this image, just for fun.  It's been filled with a light gradient, cropped, had the perspective altered, cropped again.........., well I won't continue, because to be honest I forget what I actually did and in what order.

On our recent trip to Toowoomba, I picked up these really interesting seed pods under some trees - much to the disgust of my husband.  If he hadn't been there, I'd have picked up a few more!!!!  They look like miniature meteorites to me.  I will try to find out the name of the tree.  I just love these, but again, they are quite dull.  This photo was just snapped on the verandah rail outside with the new camera, nothing special, just point and shoot.

I really like the seed pods in the above photograph, and decided to play with an image.  This altered image, again using a mixture of filters in PhotoShop and GIMP reminds me of something from a futuristic movie.   When I look at it, I have the feeling one of those pods is heading straight for my face!!! 

And, lastly, I took part of a macro shot,  added lots of filters, lightly coloured it with a gradient at 30% opacity, trying desperately to make the dull paper wasp nest into something resembling middle earth perhaps?????  No, I haven't been drinking, just trying to turn something dull into something interesting............LOL...

Just recently I received a newsletter from Sue Bleiweiss.  In the newsletter there was a link to a post where Sue is sharing her method for making the most gorgeous textured shoes.  These are simply gorgeous, not bright, but very dramatic, and I hope you make the time to visit the link here, and see how Sue created these.  

As always, I have to say a big thank you to everyone who so kindly commented on our old dog.  I am so touched by the friendship and support.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Farewell Old Friend

Thank you so much to the lovely people who always find time to comment on my posts.  I am sorry they have been so few and far between of late.  This won't be a long one I'm afraid.  Perhaps I'll have something a little more chipper in a few days.  It has been a sad time in our household in the last week.  The time came for us to send one of our good working dogs to the big cattle muster in the sky.  He was one of ten in the litter - February, 2000 - and from the moment I saw him, he was 'my pick'.  Although he was a 'working dog', he was always treated with great affection, and termed 'Mum's loving pup' because he was my pick of the litter.  The boss has said he never regretted keeping him, as he was very good at his job, ie working the lead.

Farewell old mate, we miss you Hank.  Dogtown is not quite the same without you.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


It's hard to believe that a fortnight has gone by since I posted last!!  Thank you so much to all who gave me such enthusiastic responses to my knitting.  I have been grappling with a decision lately.  My husband has told me he would like me to have a new camera, a 'better' camera than the little pocket one I currently use.  I would like one, but wonder about the practicality of the purchase.  He says I should purchase one of the DSLR models and just spoil myself, as I will celebrate my 60th birthday in the next few weeks.   A few months ago I took the photographs I'm sharing in this post.  These were taken on a warm sunny afternoon, with my little NIKON Coolpix.  The first three photographs you will see are just as the camera took them, but I've reduced the quality of them in Photoshop.

I really need to be able to take good close-up's, and I'd like the ability to take good, clear zoomed in shots.  This little camera certainly takes good macro shots, but it falls down in the zoom feature - they tend to be a tad grainy.  It is also quite slow to react, which often means a bird or animal has moved during the process............

These next three photos have been slightly enhanced in Photoshop, just a little sharpening, that is all.  You can see the pollen just that little clearer by doing this.

I hope readers will enjoy these.  The hardy old 'pigface' always puts on a good show, and it's such a pretty site in bloom.

I am still thinking.................  I doubt the kids will miss that money in their inheritance.............LOL....

Take care all, and I hope the weather where you are isn't as nasty as it is here at the moment - a hot northerly wind blowing, smoke haze yet again, and the mercury climbing every hour.  It's shaping up to be another hot afternoon!!!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Knitting with BLING

I'm back again with some more knitting, my kind of knitting, ie with BLING!!!  I really wanted to share this with readers, as it's so absolutely divine.  I can't explain how ethereal this is, not because of me, but because of the gorgeous yarn and the wonderful pattern, and of course the glistening beads!

The yarn used was one I purchased via a fellow Ravelry member who was de-stashing, but you can see it here.  In real life it reminds me of wisteria, a plant I've never been able to have.  My husband is so very anti anything that climbs, and would never build me a suitable trellis, so I've had to admire it from afar.  Here is a close up which I hope gives you an idea of the wonderful wistfulness of this shawl.  It's truly as light as a feather.

The pattern can be found here and if you've always wanted to make something glamorous, I can fully recommend any of the patterns provided by this lovely designer.  Bev is a friendly and helpful lady, and if you find yourself in a bit of bother understanding anything in the pattern/s [I added the plural because I'm sure you will be tempted more than once], a simple email will suffice.   And another shot for good measure!!  Can you see the lovely twirling cascading drape of the ends of the shawl??

Again, I wet blocked this but had to move to the living room floor, as it was simply too large for the bed.  I think I measured in the vicinity of 2.6 metres around the inner part of the crescent, and 54 cms deep in the centre.  It does spring back a little once the pins are lifted.

I know this is not a photograph showing the knitting, but I wanted to share it as well.  I took this close up in my friend's garden last year, and did a bit of filtering in Photoshop.  The colours in wisteria are simply glorious, and yet again I seem to have gravitated towards purple.  I do not know why, it's not a colour I would tell you I like if asked, go figure........  Anyway, last, but not least, altered wisteria.

Ahhh.....blooming marvellous  

I hope I have inspired some of you to try this simple yet beautiful form of lace knitting - nothing difficult, a lot of WOW factor for something quite simple. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Worth the wait?????

Hi again to everyone, and apologies for being so slack.  I don't have work to share just at the moment, and time is short.  Thank you to all who have expressed concern for my absence.  I am trying.  I wanted to quickly share this gorgeous flower with everyone.  Quite some years ago, probably around four, I was given a small piece from a succulent by a long time friend, Joan.  Her husband couldn't stop bagging the plant, but she insisted it 'had a very pretty flower'.  Well, after four years watching this scraggy piece of 'cactus', my reward was this bloom.  And, yes, Joan was quite right.  The bloom was gorgeous, and huge.  There was only one on the entire plant, but so worth the wait.

I took a photograph from the back too.  I'm not sure why, but I just thought it might look nice.  When you look into the photograph, you can see lots of smoke haze in the background, the result of so many every present fires in and around our area at the moment.  Sadly, there are many more areas which are being threatened.  I believe a number of them have been started by lightning strikes.

Both of the above photographs are shared as taken, but the one below has been cropped and slightly enhanced in PhotoShop.  I really can't stop looking at it, and have decided to get a print made to send to Joan for Christmas.  I don't see her very much, as we don't go visiting, and neither does she.  Anyway, for all of you, please enjoy, and thanks again for your friendship.

One gorgeous bloom

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Family News

I am sorry I have not been blogging for some time.  Thank you so much to those who have kept in touch.  Things in my life have changed somewhat, and at this point I find it very difficult to continue blogging.  There seems to be a never ending list of jobs to be done, and I haven't found how to stretch my time out to meet those needs.

I must share some family news.  Our family increased by one little female a few weeks ago.  We have a new grand daughter, and hopefully her life will be full of love, health and happiness.

Thank you once again to all the wonderful ladies who I now call friends, ladies from near and far.  My life is the richer for knowing so many wonderful people.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Classic Navy

I can't help it...........I'm still knitting, and thought I'd share one of the recently completed shawls I've been doing.  This lovely lace shawl is made using a pattern I purchased via Ravelry.  Hope you can see it here.  I love all the designs by this lady, Bev or Boo Knits.

I hope this photograph will show the lace design detail.   The pattern offers several size choices, by simply adding more 'solid' or more 'lace', such a great idea.  I've just finished working on another one in a different colour, and with beads.

I purchased this wool last year from this store:- when there was a little sale happening.  It is Heirloom Baby Pure Wool in 4 ply, and lovely to knit.  I used 6 x 25 gram balls, plus a bit on the 7th.  The picot cast off takes a surprising amount of yarn!!!

Despite being a knitter for many years, I've come to realize there is so very much I do not know.  This pattern introduced me to a few different things, and of course, the chat on Ravelry, with links to tutorials, etc., is so enlightening.  I have to admit to not paying much attention to blocking in the past, but I now have a new found respect for same!!  This is how the shawl looked just after it had been soaked in warm water, wrapped in a towel, stood on, then stretched and pinned within an inch of it's life!!!  I'm sorry, but there is no other way I can describe 'blocking'..................LOL

And just another photograph - a close-up.  Of course, I didn't get very adventurous with colour.  I can't resist good old classic navy.

If you are looking for something like this, I can really recommend any of the patterns in the Boo Knits range.  They are all delicate, yet the instructions are extremely easy to understand - both written and charted.

Now I'm off to 'block' the second version of this pattern.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Niebling Knitting

I have been knitting.  I know, I've told you, but now I'm going to share this lace table mat with you.  I finally found out that this design has a name, although it wasn't stated in the ANNA magazine that features the pattern.  My very learned sources on Ravelry gave me the good oil, and this design is called Quadratische Decke, by none other than the famous Herbert Niebling.  I've even found that he had a wife whose name was Linda.  And, after a bit more Ravelry chit chat, it seems Linda was also a designer of knitting and crochet.  

For those of you who are interested, this table mat was done using #60 Coats Mercer cotton in Ecru, and was knitted using 1.5mm needles.  It began life with only eight stitches, but by the time I got to the leaf/petal part on the outer border, each row had in excess of 1100 stitches, with the patterning rows taking almost four hours to complete.  Even knitting the intermediate or plain knit rows took ages!!

This close up shot will show you the leaf/petal design in the corners.  It feels so lovely to pick up, so light and airy.  I only used about 50 grams of thread.

I'll finish with another photograph of the whole mat, showing the tape measure so you can see it's size.  For some reason this shot has a slightly more yellow tinge to it, perhaps a reflection from the tape, who knows.  I am up for some more Niebling knitting, but will do a few ladies' shawls to give my eyes a rest from the fine thread.  


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Meet The Monster

Hello again, and my apologies for being absent.  I have been really busy with other things, and seem to have totally lost my mojo this month.  I am back to watering the garden for my neighbour, and will be doing that for about three months.  I have been knitting, and will have some to share soon, but at the moment, I'm contemplating how I'm going to come to grips with the above piece of machinery!!  This is my husband's idea of the ride-on mower I hinted about.  I would have been satisfied with something much smaller, but this is what I have to learn to use.  I have to tell you I am not comfortable with machinery most of the time, and all these levers, etc, are making me a little apprehensive.  I am watering the lawn, it is growing slowly and greening up, so I won't be able to put off the 'lesson' for too much longer................LOL.........wish me luck.

And, just so it's a little more comfy, I made a custom fit seat cover for it on the weekend.  I used a remnant of camel coloured polar fleece that has been in my cupboard for a number of years.  It's lovely and soft to sit on, and should soak up some of the perspiration that will be inevitable at mowing time.

Thank you to all who have been keeping in touch with me.  I am still around, but have not had anything to blog about, apart from partly finished knitting.  I'm typing this and watching two pale headed rosellas at the drinking station.  They are staring down some other smaller birds, and will not yield.  It appears they think the water is for their use only.  One has just backed itself down into the water, whilst holding onto the side of the old dish - it's an old deep fryer from way back...........  It is so funny watching the birds having their bath in it, especially the magpies!!!

I should be back in a few days to share a piece of fine lace knitting. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Early morning visitors

I want to share some photographs with readers.  We have been having quite a deal of 'noise' each morning, mainly from the cockatoos that have found the crop of chick peas close to our house.  The photograph above shows a small flock that had just swooped in ready for breakfast!!

I did manage a zoom in shot, but not sure how clear it will come up.  We will soon have galahs as well, and I suppose the corellas will find the crop too.  They all seem to love something different to chomp on.  I suppose it will be a free for all when the peas begin to set and mature.......

Our dogs have also been barking quite a bit lately, which often means an echidna has found it's way around their little 'town'.  We actually found two this morning, burrowing into the soil, trying to find a spot for their daily rest.  This one is now hardly visible, having burrowed deeper into the soft soil.

Both were within reach of one of the dogs, but all he could do was bark and look bewildered.  This one was very close to that dog's chain anchor, and in slightly harder soil.  After I took this photograph, we managed to get a shovel under it, and take it away a small distance where the soil is softer.  It can sleep there for today, and perhaps the two of them will waddle off later tonight.


I will just let readers know I shall be absent from blogging for a little while.  One of our sons had a house fire on the weekend, and will be in need of some assistance in the coming weeks.  Everyone is fine, and not all of their stuff is gone.  They were very lucky.  Unfortunately, accommodation is virtually non-existant where they live, so that is creating some drama.  I am sure they will step up and manage the best way they can.  Our children have never really 'needed' us for much, and are confident, competent adults.  Having said that, I feel there will be times in the next few weeks when we will need to be around to prop them up.  

I had just made a start on a new knitted lace tablemat, a Herbert Niebling design, taken from yet another of my ANNA magazines.  This one is being worked in #60 ecru thread, using 1.5mm needles.    I did have a hiccup caused by 'not following the map'...........  Note to self - read and take in what all the symbols mean, and save yourself some 'unknitting'.  Yes, I know I should use some thread lifelines, but perhaps I am just too damned stubborn.  There was no design name given, as has been the case in other issues.   As I've been working away, and if I can't find a pattern name for this, I think I shall call it 'Phoenix', as I've decided it will be a gift for my DIL when she gets her life back in order.  Some of the patterning resembles [to me] flames rising, giving me a distinctly 'phoenix' feeling.  I would be grateful if anyone knows this design's name, as I do not have any HN books, just a collection of some of his patterns in ANNA.   The photograph below will show my progress prior to the 'unknitting'.  I'll probably be at a standstill in a day or so.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Trying to Relax

It seems so long since I've posted.  I managed to get the BAS bookwork done, and as I'm still feeling in a rather creative abyss, I decided to take advice from friends and go back to something I know [well something I partly know].  As you can see, I've been knitting!!  This lovely little table mat has made me feel very happy.  I have been trying to get back to lace knitting for some time, and also extending myself by using graphed instructions.  I've not done this to any great degree, so this is another effort.  The table mat measures twelve inches in diameter, and used just one 20g ball of #20 cotton.  The little 'prop' is a fancy pill holder.  It has a china painted tile in the lid.  It was a gift from myself...........LOL........[read - I saw it, I liked it, and I bought it].

This close up shows a little more of the design.   I found the pattern in one of the many ANNA magazines that I have. There are so many gorgeous lace projects in these magazines, I simply don't know which one to do next.  I will just add here that I started this on Thursday afternoon, and finished it early this morning, despite being away Friday AM, and busy with other things for much of the weekend. 

I did a little swap/barter with one of my patchwork group friends.  She had lots of ecru crochet cottons in varying thicknesses, and couldn't see herself using them.  As I prefer to work with this colour, I offered to relieve her of them.  She in turn decided she would make use of some of the knitting yarns I had in my 'hamper', as she knits a lot for charity stalls.  Perfect solution all round.  I took a quick photograph of the cotton, and hope the flash didn't make it too hard to see.  I have found a lovely Herbert Niebling table centre [quite large] in one of the ANNA magazines, and now that I have the cotton, and feel I've conquered my fear of knitting's hoping.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Something to keep warm................

..............because it is going to be a little on the bleak and rainy side again in a day or so.  We have had lots of drizzle this winter, making for cold and dreary days.  I have always loved making soup, and often make quite a large saucepan full, enough to use for a few days.  I never use a recipe - just add meat bones of some sort, purchased stock and water, flavouring, and the all important grains/pulses/vegetables.  And, I've never made my soup into purée, never saw the sense in it to be honest.  We love thick and textured soup, and it's often a meal in a bowl for us, along with some crusty bread.  I can remember when I was a child my mother used to make dumplings in her soup, which added some thickness and even more fat and carbs - oh dear.  We much prefer dumplings in a steak and kidney stew, but because of the dreaded waistline, that has been off the menu for a number of years now.  

We managed to replenish our wood supply on the weekend, and I found these two interesting pieces, which I thought some readers might like to see.  They are nothing startling, but both have interesting colour and texture on them.

I will probably be a little scarce on Blogger for a week or so, as it's now time to do the quarterly BAS, and prepare the paperwork for the yearly visit to the accountant..........ho, hum.........

I was playing with Photoshop a few days ago, and would like to share this altered image.  As you may have guessed, I love most things to do with music, although I don't play or have any musical talents whatsoever.  I was hoping to print this image onto fabric, but I think it may be a tad too dull for my purpose.  I have used some grunge 'textures', a Photoshop 'brush', and some text.  Some of the texture was erased, giving the stamens more prominence.  


Thursday, July 5, 2012

But wait.........there's more!

Are you sick of journals yet???  Well, I'm not.  I could make them in many ways, especially the ones where I actually sew in the pages.  This is a tale of two sketch journals, one large and one small.   I began this project as a result of signing up for an online class with Roben-Marie Smith [].  I have to admit to being very nonplussed about the whole concept in the beginning, and felt like binning it.  After lots of layers, days waiting for paint to dry properly, and then trying to make something from my efforts, well here it is.

In many ways I had to just wing it with the whole procedure, as we have limited download on our internet plan.  I found the video tutorials were simply too large, and therefore I didn't really watch the whole lesson's video content.  Those I did watch were very helpful, and Roben-Marie is a very friendly and helpful tutor.  This is the back of the first [large] sketch padfolio.

I didn't follow the construction to the letter of course, and added three 5-leaf folded signatures to the inside [pages measuring 7" x 11"].  I used sketch paper, which I decided to leave white.  The workshop instructions did say to add colour to the papers, but I have to admit it wasn't my thing.  I hope you can see the pages and hand stitching in this photograph.  The cover began as a piece of white cotton canvas.  

There was an additional strip remaining after the first cut, which I felt could be used to make a mini sketch padfolio - front view in this photograph.

The back view shows part of the flower that was drawn on in the final layer of layers..........LOL.  This flower was coloured using water soluble oil pastels, which I had not used prior to this project.  In fact, many of the techniques were new to me, so I feel I've learnt quite a bit with this class.

This small padfolio contains four 5-leaf signatures, making a total of 40 postcard sized pages.  This paper is very thick, beautiful to the touch, and has been made in Italy from recycled products.  The inside has been coloured with inks, and sprays in various colours.  

I have warmed to this along the way, but have to admit to calling it the 'graffiti thing' for quite some time.  I simply must get over having to have things all lined up and being there for a reason!!!  The covers are very sturdy, and have great tactile appeal.  I can't express how much fun it is learning new skills.  I adore the sewing in process in book making, although I fear my efforts are still a little on the amateur side.

Thank you as always for your comments.  They mean so much to me.