Monday, April 30, 2012

Blossoms on the Bloodwood

I know I have been a bit slack here lately, but I have been stitching, and we've also been away.  I will share the shopping trip in another post at a later date.   I wanted to make a little landscape so I could use one of the stitches from the latest TAST challenge.  This little scene has been named Blossoms on the Bloodwood, a phrase 'stolen' from the lyrics in a song I like very much [oh, and, we also have Bloodwood trees growing not very far from our house].  You can see the lyrics here.  I haven't always been a big fan of this Australian country music artist, but this is a little different for him.  I won't mention his name here, simply because my blog will come up every time someone Googles his name.  I used water colour pencils for the drawing, and enhanced it further with free machine embroidery, and lastly some hand stitching. 

I hope this close-up will show the little grassed area.  There are several layers to this - machine embroidery in a dark/light green rayon, running stitch in several different thread colours and weights, the wheatear stitch [in variegated silk] which is the stitch our group was given last Tuesday, as well as some Ghiordes' knot work in the foreground [thank you very much Shirley for your advice regarding this area].

I particularly enjoyed doing the long dry grass, and making the tree come to life using green polyester organza, distressed with my little soldering gun.  I can see things that should have been changed, but on the whole it's okay.  I managed to find the frame and several mountboards in the cupboard, so this is a 'finish', thankfully.  

This photograph will show some of the hand embroidery threads I've used.  One is from the Cottage Garden Thread range,  one from Needle Necessities, and the other is a Caron Waterlilies.  My goodness, things have come along in leaps and bounds in embroidery.  Years ago we would never have dared to mix so many varied threads and colours.   It is so nice to have this sense of freedom.  I think I have another mountboard and frame, so may indulge in more of this work soon.  I just loved every minute doing this!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Things are fairly normal for us here today, despite it being a designated public holiday.  That does not mean we do not recognize and applaud what today means for Australia, and Australians.  I will not make this a long post, but hope today will be pleasant for all who choose to attend commemorative ceremonies.  Without the sacrifices made in the fields of battle, our nation would not be what it is today.  Sadly, wars have been part of life for centuries, and it seems change will not happen any time soon.  For those who have paid the ultimate price, may we always remember them.  For those who are still engaged, let us all hope they will be returned to their families safely.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Outdoor Shopping

My head is still spinning from my little excursion yesterday.  I'm afraid to say I did not get much sewing/creating done, and will be given the boot soon if I don't shape up and actually do something at patchwork one day!!!  However, the presence of our friends from Seriously Crazy, aka the RED BUS, was enough to give us all a big smile.  We are always pleased when they can make the time to stop and allow us the day to wander through their shop on wheels, gasping, picking up, putting down, buying, going back to stitch some more, then outside again to buy some more.................  It is a pleasant way to spend the day, under the bottle tree, checking out the latest and greatest fabric designs available.  Marg & Colin Kendall have been travelling with their bus for a number of years now, and even travel to Victoria.  For those of you who may like contact them, you can do so via phone 0428 787 623 [mobile] or email ''  

Marg kindly allowed me to photograph some of the quilts she and Colin have made.  They have patterns, kits, fabrics for a huge variety of projects from wallhangings to embroidered sewing goodies.  There are buttons, braids, bag handles, beads, and much, much more.  I couldn't help but be taken by the quilt with the shoes!!!  I'd seriously love to own some of them, if I thought I could walk in them.

And, just to prove the bus is actually red, here is a shot of it from the other side............LOL...........  I honestly don't know how they fit everything in there, and am amazed at how they continue to pack and unpack.  I take my hat off to them.  

Of course, I cannot leave this post without sharing the purchases I made.   They have an extensive range of Cottage Garden Threads, from country Victoria, and I just happened to 'need' a few more - one in particular 'Billabong' took my eye.   I found some bead colours that perhaps {??} I didn't have at home, and I really love that metallic Papillon thread, so buy a different reel every time they are around.

I most certainly left home yesterday telling myself I DID NOT need fabric, be sensible Linda, don't buy fabric.  Sadly, the spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak, and some fat quarters jumped into my hand before I could find the courage to say no............LOL.......  I also bought something I had not seen in person before, ie cotton felt.  It is a product made and dyed by Pam Spurway of Cottage Garden Threads fame, and extremely soft.  Marg often has the odd fat quarter of wool felt, and I couldn't resist some brightly coloured trims [flowers and ric rac], in colours a little out of my comfort zone.  

So, there you have it, the full confession of a thread/fabric/bead junkie.  I did buy other boring stuff like cloth gloves and shrinking polyester fabric, but you all know what that looks like!!  Thank you all for constantly taking an interest in my life in general, as well as the creations I present.  There are so many interesting products available these days, all offering something different.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cleaning & Stitching

Tomorrow I have a date with my sewing group.  Our prolific stitcher/member, Neitta is sharing some of her knowledge with us tomorrow, and we were advised to bring along an iron, and small ironing board if possible - to save a line-up at our group ironing station.  Feeling a little embarrassed with the state of my iron, I decided this morning was a good time to offer up some TLC to the 'family'.  I couldn't resist sharing this photograph with everyone.  My husband stated some time ago, after seeing two irons sitting on the board, that perhaps they may surprise us with a new family member one day.  Well, it actually has happened..........LOL........  We now have Russell [as in Hobbs], his partner [whose name shall remain a secret], and now we have Junior, after I found a bargain buy at the local hardware not long ago - three small appliances for $20.  I know, they probably won't last, but I thought the small iron would be handy for occasions like tomorrow, and to avoid the ever present gunk that can find it's way onto your good iron [where is that red face thingy???].  Anyway, here they are, all lined up and cleaned, well as good as I can get them!!  I also could not help but notice on the bottom of the most expensive of the three [Russell] the words - 'return to supplier for repairs'................hmmmmm, I don't think I've ever been given a hearing when asking to have small appliances repaired.

I also wanted to share this little bit of stitching nostalgia.  Our last two weeks' stitches for TAST2012 were satin stitch and stem stitch, and again, I'm way behind the eight ball.  However, I remembered this table mat I did over 35 years ago, so thought it would suffice as something to share for these stitches.  My husband liked this design, so I stitched it for him.  He has used it a lot on his bedside table, as well as the little table he has for his TV remotes.  It still washes and irons up as good as new.  I know it's only a very naive little piece of stitchery, but he liked it - he really isn't a 'flowery' person.........LOL......

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mr. S. Ray at home!!

As promised, I have been busying myself with some much more colourful fabrics and threads, the result of which I can now share with everyone.  Above is another sketchbook cover [A4], the theme of course being some sort of underwater fantasy world.  I didn't really want to get into a lot of hand embroidery, so have tried to use 'stuff' for all the pretty things my mind saw on the ocean floor.  I had some really large triangular shaped shell buttons which gave me the idea for the stingray, aka Mr. S. Ray.  His 'head' is another little barrel bead, and his tail has been made with DMC memory thread twisted and couched down. 

The full version can be seen here.  The background fabrics are dyed silks in aquas and purples, as well as a softly printed cream to beige cotton for the seabed.  

I tried to be really good and sketch something to work from.  I took the advice given, and purchased a nice sketchbook, and a set of lovely pastel pencils, which I really love using.  They blend so beautifully together.  I was originally wanting to add the jellyfish, but in the end, the stingray/button idea seemed a little less intimidating time-wise.

For the seagrasses I used some crinkly silk throwsters' waste, laid out over the surface, covered with cream bridal tulle, and highlighted with free machine stitching.  I added some random green beading to give a little more depth.  I was given a licence to stitch beads how and where I wanted by a very good blogging friend who specializes in underwater scenes.  Thank you so much to her for the encouragement.  You can view her magnificent pieces here.

I really had to weigh up the time factor for this project, and decided that I was not going to add too much hand embroidery.  Some of my 'coral' has grown from pieces of dyed/painted mulberry bark.  I also added some very uneven and long running stitches in a multi-dyed thick purple thread, the source and brand escapes me I'm afraid!!

The base of this coral needed something to 'anchor' it to the seabed, so I finally found a use for this tyvek/silk/kunin felt bead I'd made some time ago, as well as some pieces of beautifully coloured paua shell, both echoing the purple theme.  

My other textured seagrass was fashioned from some blue/lemon fuzzy yarn - you will notice it to the right in the photograph at the top. Of course, the base of it had to have something interesting, so again along came some handmade tyvek/kunin felt beads which I cut up and hopefully they resemble sea sponges.  There are some painted paper beads, some rolled and twisted gold flexible netting, and a pearl button in a bead cap, all very busy, but nobody told me I had to stop, so I just kept going..............LOL.........

And, finally, to neaten the whole project off, I wanted just the right lining.  I had purchased some lovely hand dyed fabrics last year from Vicki Welsh and they were just perfect in my opinion.  The lining was fused to pelmet vilene, and then I fused the embroidered outer to the other side.  That gave me a very crisp and firm edge for the machine satin stitching, which has been done in an aqua rayon thread.

The added extras have only been done on the front of the cover, as I felt it unnecessary to add things to the back.  I think this has been a reasonable amount of work, more in terms of time looking for embellishments, but that was part of the fun.

Thank you all so much for your encouraging remarks on the gingko leaves project.  I always appreciate the time people make to add their comments. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Blowin' in the wind

No, not quite Bob Dylan, but as this project progressed, I found myself singing the song.  The leaves floating on the blotchy background reminded me of just that.  Of course, this is another sketchbook cover, made from Unryushi paper/Lutradur, rusted and coloured with teabags.  I have had this on the go for quite some time, trying to make it work.  The gingko leaves have been applied using gold Shiva stick through a stencil, added randomly.  I was never really sure how I would use this, but thankfully, in the end it was just the right size for this particular book [A4 landscape orientation].

I have used gold Angelina fibres for 'bling', covered the surface with black tulle, and then free machined around the gingko leaves with black machine stitching, cutting away the tulle from the leaves.  I then worked simple running stitch in gold/tan/black perlĂ© threads, followed by a small amount of black metallic foiling.  I was rushing when I took the photographs, and forgot to take one of the lining.  It is a simple tan/black fleck printed cotton.  

Although I like this, I think I'm a tad over the dark and gloomy colours, and have just started working on another journal cover, this time using blues/aquas/ this space!!

I hope everyone is rested, and making time for stitching. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter - 2012

I know Easter is all but over for this year, and I am sorry I did not get here to send good wishes to all who read my blog.  Time was not on my side just prior to the Easter break.  I do however, hope that everyone had a pleasant time, doing things that made them happy.  The weather here was simply beautiful, crisp nights and warm days.  I took the photograph above on Saturday evening, just as the moon was coming up.  I am not sure it's the best photo, but my goodness, when it's full moon out here, you can see outside without a flashlight.  My hubby and I both rose before daylight on Easter Sunday morning.  He went looking for those ever elusive wild pigs, and I walked.  I was walking for almost half an hour before there was light in the eastern sky from the sun.  At no time did I need to light my way!!  It was a magical time to be up and around, a time to reflect on all that is good in life, and a time to be thankful for the peaceful surroundings in which I live.   

As this year's Easter draws to a close, please can I say again how wonderful it is to have met so many caring, sharing and kind people, drawn together by our love of creating something from very little.  Thank you all so very much.

I also realized this morning that my blog is now two years old, as of Saturday.  Time flies when you are having fun.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pushing some boundaries

Okay, I don't draw............ something which irks me no end, I can assure everyone of that.  However, lately I've been trying to extend myself, and think about sketching even if I just copy a line drawing.  The little sketch above is something I'm going to try to 'stitch' soon, although perhaps not quite as it appears.  The angel fish was drawn from a small coloured picture in my World Book encyclopedia, but the kelp is 'mine'.  

I then moved on to another image that I saved from Google.  This little fossil was again 'copied' [not traced].  It is fine doing this for simple things, but I still have a long way to go before I'll be depending on my sketching completely!!  Please forgive the paper, as I usually just grab anything the printer has 'mauled'...............  I don't think my sketching is worthy of a proper book at this stage.

I'm hoping to turn this little flower into an embroidery, possibly something bright, as I've been working with quite dark/gloomy colours lately.  I've just drawn this one, no copying, although I suppose at some point in time, given all the things we see on our internet surfing, something stays in our minds.

And lastly, I really like waterlilies, with this being my side-on interpretation.  I do have some nice B&W line drawings saved from Google, so I'll have another play with a more open view.  I purchased some drawing pencils lately, and have found it fun using the different depths.

On a personal level, I have to tell everyone I think I've finally regained my fitness level, after a few years in the wilderness.  I can now consistently walk my 6 kms each morning in 64 minutes, and I'm not puffed when I get home.  I've been gradually building back up to this level, but at different stages didn't think I'd make it.  About 15 years ago my GP told me anything over 5.5km/hour is excellent, especially for my age - and that was then - so I'm sure he would be delighted with this at my age NOW. 

Thank you again most sincerely to those who continually support my stitching/mixed media efforts.  Your comments help more than you know.  

It is a simply glorious day again today - a tad on the warm side out in the sun, but this morning early it was magnificent.  I love this time of the year.