Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Quick Project

I've taken on a few online commitments this year, as well as signing up for Dale's product of the month projects.  The first [January] package arrived last week, and contained goodies to make a piece of silk paper 'in a jiffy'.  The 'kit' included carded natural silk, some green spritz, and some silverleaf flakes.  I was quite pleased with my first effort, although parts were a little thin, oh well....  I also tried to trap some silver Angelina fibres in with the silk paper, and I did not like to spray the whole area completely with the green - it looked far too strong for my liking!!  After it was done, I realized I had enough to make a cover for an A5 index book. 

Now, I'm also participating in the TAST2012 challenge with Sharon Boggon - week 4 being Cretan stitch.  I decided I would work a small sample of each stitch as it came along, including it somehow in my binder.  I will share the first page with readers next week, when I work out just how I wish to present the samples.  Suffice to say, this little book cover was a quick project, incorporating the silk paper and some cretan stitch for added interest.  I made some little crystal organza flowers for trim, as well as adding some silver lined clear beads in places.  I have a friend who just loves anything green, and I hope to give it to her as a gift when I see her again.  

This little piece was pleasant to do, and I am pleased I could use the two 'challenges' to work a useful little gift for someone.  

The silk paper was fused to some dark green silk dupion prior to the embroidery, and then fused to black wool felt prior to stitching the flowers on.  I lastly added some black wool felt end keepers to hold the book inside the folder.  If I was to make this again, I would add pelmet vilene between the layers.  I prefer a more rigid feel, and this is quite soft.  Never mind, it was fun to experiment with something new.  Hope readers enjoy the results of my play!! 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Celebration

Happy Australia Day to all of us who live in this fine land.  Today we celebrate the landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove, 1788 - the beginning of British settlement.   From such humble beginnings, we are a proud nation today, a very multi-cultured one in fact.  I wish for peace, health and happiness for all my fellow Australians, and I am sure we as a nation, wish the same for all of the world's peoples.   Have a great day one and all.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Another project finished!

Finally....................   I've been trying to get this knee rug done for ages it seems.  I did have a break from it in December, as our air conditioning wasn't working, so having it on my lap wasn't the most comfortable thing to be doing.  This is another project I'm working on, using the yarns sent to me by my sister and niece.  It measures approximately 1.00m x 1.50m, all acrylic yarns, in the simple chevron double crochet design.  I still have more of most of these colours.

And, just for fun, and in case you think I'm almost to the end of the pile of yarn, this is a portable mesh clothes hamper I purchased to keep the yarns together.  More knee rugs, and pram covers to come..............LOL..

I really have to get onto my feather stitch sampler for Week 3 of the TAST2012 challenge.  It had to take a back seat this week, as the crochet was bothering me, plus I am back to watering, and watering, and rain to speak of here - maybe this week.  Take care all and hope your week will be productive and fun.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

An Inspirational Day

It seems ages since I've posted, but I have been busy again with sprinklers and such - no rain to speak of here.  Yesterday was our group sewing day, the first for 2012.   We met at a different venue, at the invitation of the local art gallery staff.  The current exhibition is of particular interest to all, and especially those who dabble in textiles/paint/stitching.  You can see web reference to it here.  I won't go into the politics of the subject matter, but suffice to say, it has struck a chord with many of us who live not far from this small town that is no more.

The artist, Nicki Laws, has a passion for the plight of this now deserted township, and set about sharing her feelings using textiles, and various other mediums.  She was present yesterday, talking about her art work, her feelings, and giving us all an insight into some of the methods she used to present her pieces to the public.  Whilst researching the town's history, she was given lots of memorabilia, and has used it in her work.  She made all these little buildings, and carefully placed them on the 'town plan'.  I thought they were so gorgeous.

She was kind enough to allow photographs, and also brought along samples of her naturally dyed fabrics, giving them to us as gifts.  We were all intrigued by the variety of techniques she has used - a truly inspirational and generous lady.

I loved the little saying at the bottom of one of the pictures, and I think this may become my life motto. 

For those who are into embellishing machines, I thought this giant wallhanging might be of interest.  Nicki told us this took two months of constant 'clunking', and then there are so many other hand embellishments!!  To see it in the flesh is mind boggling, so much to see and think about.

I feel privileged to have seen this exhibition, and heard from the artist herself.  The story the exhibition is telling is very real, and very close to home for many of us here in this district.  Thank you Nicki for your passion, and your inspiration.   

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Schoolhouse Quilts

It seems that the old favourite, the schoolhouse block, is enjoying a great return to the spotlight of late.  I have noticed it being done in miniature on a number of blogs, in particular some lovely ones being done by Frances.  I have to admit it has never been my favourite block.  However, a few years ago my patchwork group had a schoolhouse block trade.  Not wanting to appear a piker, I joined in the fun.  There were several groups of eight.  The brief was simple - each group had a certain background fabric, and the block was to be foundation pieced using a red/blue/green colour scheme [the pattern was supplied, along with the required colour placement].  We all purchased our fabric at a local store, made eight 12 inch blocks, kept one of our own, and received a block from each of the other seven participants.   I have tried to share a photograph of my finished quilt.  It is quite long, and difficult to capture properly.

I did want to make a quilt of some substance, and I really don't like different blocks abutting one another, so I chose to work other blocks with a different design.  The one I chose was taken from a Judy Martin pattern book, and called Teacher's Pet [quite appropriate I thought].  It was given in a 14 inch pattern, so I added borders to the schoolhouse blocks to bring them up to that size.  This photograph shows the block I made, ie my choice of fabrics.  Unfortunately, at the time of the initial fabric purchase, I did not have a plan for my quilt, so the fabrics I used in the alternate blocks are a little different.

I wanted to add sashing between the blocks, so as to give myself some added width and length.  I also needed another colour for the star blocks, so chose to use a golden yellow.  This block was also foundation pieced, which made rather a neat job of all adjoining points.

The quilt is what I call 'king single' size.  I quilted it myself on my domestic sewing machine, much of it straight line, with a little close stippling on one of the borders.  I used a patterned wideback fabric for the backing. 

I quite enjoyed the challenge of using a block that wasn't up my alley, as well as doing the maths in order to incorporate the two blocks, with sashing and borders, into a useful quilt.  Now I'm looking forward to the day when I actually have a king single bed on which to use the quilt, instead of it being packed away in the linen cupboard. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

And the winner is.....................

ANNEY..............congratulations and thank you for always being so supportive of me and my stitching.

Thank you also to all the lovely people who cared to leave such enthusiastic comments.  I appreciate it so much.

It's still very hot here and not much stitching being done.  Too much watering to do outside, and then rest in the cool when I come in for a while.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Gifts for me

I have been trying to add a post to share the lovely gifts I've received in the last month or so.  It's another busy day here again, so will have to do this quickly, while there is a cool breeze coming into the office.  We are to have another scorcher today.....  The lovely things in the photograph above were Christmas presents given to me by my grand daughter, gifts she chose herself, and wrapped herself.  She put a lot of thought into the gifts she gave everyone.  She knows I like bling, and we often have a day painting which always ends up with something sporting glitter.  The large frog is a fridge magnet, the small one a bookmark, and the little lizard is sitting on the lid of a little jewellery box which looks surprisingly like a piece of timber.

This gift was sent by a friend in the US.  She made the lovely silk coathanger.  The notepad has some lovely bling on the magnetic closure, and if you look closely at the card, you will see the trim is a Cooktown Orchid which is our State Floral Emblem.  How nice of her to notice that, and find an appropriate card.

My next gift is from Anney in the UK - a small embroidered ATC, and pretty button greeting card.  The ATC was wrapped in tissue paper printed with dragonflies.  I love dragonflies!!  Thank you Anney, this is just beautiful.

This came in the mail one day, a complete surprise from Isabell in the UK.  She remembered I had spoken of the English Woman's Weekly, so arranged for the centenary issue to get to me.  It was accompanied by this lovely embroidered card, with a very blingey dragonfly.  

And, again from Isabell, I received an assortment of goodies for Christmas.  Another gorgeous hand embroidered card [Isabell's specialty], some silk and felt, one of her embroidered buttons, a cute little container made by her son, all beautifully wrapped in a festive fat quarter, and tied with the appropriate coloured ribbon.  Thank you so much Isabell, I always treasure the gifts I have received from you.  I hope I will do the fabrics justice in time.

Last of all I have the gifts I shouted myself, although I did let my husband know that they were 'his gifts to me'..........LOL......  I am looking forward to trying some of the techniques in Lynda Monk's newest book, and make some use of this little Versa Tool.  It is actually a soldering iron too.  So far, all it's been used for is burning holes in nylon webbing dog collars, and soldering some things for my husband [he's really chuffed that 'he bought' such a useful gift!!].

Thank you again for your enthusiastic comments on the baby wipe 'treasures'.  I will give it a few more days and post a winner mid-week perhaps. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Celebrating with a give-away

Blogger's dashboard is telling me this will be my 198th post [the sidebar seems to differ ???]. celebrate, I am having a give away.  I will announce a winner at post 200.  Wow, I didn't think I'd ever get this far.  I could not have imagined how much support and friendship I would have, so thank you to all those lovely people who read what I go on about.

The photograph above shows the little things I've been playing with lately.  I have made a glasses case, and a comb case [with wide tooth comb] - there are two things I just can't stand, not being able to read the menu, and having untidy hair...........LOL..  I've taken two photographs, one inside with the flash, and one outside with natural light.  It's hard to show the correct colour.  Suffice to say, they are browny/reddy/goldy/bronzey with some stitching, and glitter for good measure.  I've made them slightly different in size, and one has brown felt lining, the other black.  I thought that might make them easier to sort out in one's handbag.  They are quite blingey [I suppose you guessed that already].  Now, I must own up.  They began their life as two dried up baby wipes.

If you would like them as a gift, please leave a comment.  You know the usual drill.   I hope someone will like them.  

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 has arrived!!!

Hello to 2012.................  I hope everyone is rested after the 'silly' season, and ready for a new and exciting year ahead.  I have nothing of consequence to share at the moment, but picked these few roses from my garden this morning.  Although it is a designated public holiday, normal work has resumed here.  I had a small internet problem, and have been absent for a few days, but trust things are back on track for me now. 

I received some nice gifts for Christmas [and my birthday], so will share them in a few days.  We are enjoying slightly cooler weather, much better than our friends in the south.  In fact, in the early hours of the morning, it is downright chilly.  We were up at 5.00am this morning, and I had to reach for a long sleeved shirt.  Of course, that can change in no time at all.

We don't usually do anything much for New Year's Eve here, but on Friday received an invitation to a get together in the neighbourhood.  The invitation was quite simple - we're having a gathering, come over if you can, and if you can make it, bring your drinks, your chairs, and some finger food to share.  We don't see people socially all that often, so decided to go.  As is always the case here, food to share seems to mean something for yourself and 15 others [well, not really...........LOL], but, there is always a mountain of beautiful food!!  We had a pleasant evening, and even stuck it out until midnight.  It was only a small party, as some people are still away.  The food was all very nice, taken around at varying times during the night.  I decided to make a large multi-layered dessert, so will share the dregs with you, just for fun.  Hubby loved it so much, he decided he'd have a piece for breakfast the next morning!!!!!!!  It is a biscuit/coconut base, simple cheesecake filling, an orange juice/passionfruit layer, topped with the beloved whipped cream.  I sort of made it up as I went along, and it really is very, very nice.   Sorry that it's not in pristine condition.............. 

Thanks to all my friends for your good wishes, emails and comments.  I hope we all have lots of time for stitching and experimentation throughout 2012.