Monday, June 25, 2012

Joseph's Coat

I know I have been very quiet on Blogger lately, but I have been busy getting some stitching and painting done.  We've also had an issue with our computer, ie a virus/security risk, which was giving me some grief.  Anyway, I hope it's sorted now.  The newest sketch book cover has been made by needle felting onto purple [yes, Dianne, purple..........LOL] wool felt.  I purchased a lovely multi-dyed batik fat quarter from the Red Bus, and tried to use rovings echoing the colours in the lining.  The front has been embellished a little more heavily, with small simple cotton felt flowers as trim.

The embroidery and beading has been continued on the back, but spaced out a little.  I don't think I cut it as a needle felter just yet, so hope the added stitching will hide that fact!!  I am never quite sure how much to lay down, or how many times I need to needle over it.  I guess I'll work it out in the long run.  I just know that I enjoy the process.

The inside view will show the fabric a little better, as well as the selection of threads and beads I've used.  I also purchased the multi-dyed Caron thread at the same time as the fat quarter, but to be perfectly honest, I didn't know they had similar colouring.  All threads and beads were on hand.

I've put together this collage of close-ups and thankfully, the colours appear quite true.  Stitches used are couching, running, buttonhole wheels, barred chain stitch [one I hadn't really done until the TAST challenge], random cross stitch, and all the threads are perlĂ© in various thickness.

This project was a joy to work on at this time of the year.  Stitching and working with wool felt has such a comforting feeling to it, and I thoroughly enjoyed just playing with the fibres.   I couldn't help but name it Joseph's Coat as it has so many gorgeous colours. I hope this will appeal to some.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lovely Soft Colours

I do not have many flowers in my garden at the moment, although some of the roses are still putting on a good show [they are protected from the nasty weather].  But, I do have one lovely Zygocactus in bloom, only a few, as it's just a tiny plant, but I can't help but love it's unusual colouring.  For some reason this one has only started blooming now, which is a little unusual for here.  They are normally full of colour in May, so this one seems to me to be a bit late, although I have read they bloom nicely when the temperature drops.  

This one is a strong lemony yellow/flushed pink as a bud - hopefully, you can see that in this photograph.  Upon opening, the yellow colour fades to lemon, and the pink/fuchsia blush is evident inside.

I also love the beautiful translucent quality of the petals.   I was 'given' one small leaflet, about two years ago, and last year had only one flower.  Thankfully, I managed to keep it away from the pups when they were on their worst behaviour!!

Hope you enjoy this gorgeous bloom as much as I do.  Cold nights and mornings here at the moment, but then, not as cold as others are experiencing. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Something Fishy

I have been spending time cleaning up 'My Pictures', and came across some that I thought might be of interest to readers.  About two years ago we were invited to a property close by to learn about a fishway that had been installed on a small private weir on our river.  The fish in the photograph above is a small Murray Cod, which is one of our most sought after native freshwater fish.  The river is also home to the Golden Perch or 'Yellowbelly', and both are extremely good eating fish.  However, due to the nature of our river systems, and the weirs installed, there are many times when the river is reduced to nothing more than waterholes in many stretches.  It is difficult for the 'trapped' fish to survive in these instances.  The Department of Fisheries have been installing these fishways in our river systems in the hope of maintaining the breeding of these native species.  You can read a little more about the fishway designs here.  This website explains the process much better than I would be capable of doing.

This photograph shows some of the people standing down in the dry river bed, with the weir above.  I have not checked with our neighbours since the floods to see how the installation fared with the bulk of water that would have engulfed it.  This private weir, with a 'very' small wall was built prior to WWII, and has obviously withstood many floods.

I've taken this photograph to show the ramp/ladder type construction that was built to help fish move upstream and into the bigger waterholes, hopefully maintaining the species for all those amateur anglers who love nothing better than to take home a good sized fish for dinner!!  If you enlarge the photograph, you can see the 'ladder' on the far edge.

Unfortunately, the fish also have to compete for habitat with a number of introduced and troublesome species, not the least of which is the 'carp'.  It is a jolly nuisance when you are fishing, taking the bait, and in the end you have nothing.  You don't eat carp, they are just too bony, absolutely horrible to try and make a meal out of.................. 

I hope this little post is of interest to some people.  This river system is one of the largest in the world, and is the subject of much debate at the moment, due to environmental issues.  You can see a few statistics here.  

Thank you as always for your comments and support.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

What can it be????????

Yes........I know you know I've been shopping!!!  I received a few of my purchases, and was thrilled with the presentation of one of the orders.  I couldn't help share it with everyone.  That lovely soft mint green raffia will come in handy.......  I am still waiting on a few things, ie oil pastels and paper.  That is okay.

This photograph shows some of the most recent purchases, not all from the same store, but all geared towards my mixed media journey.  If you click on the photograph, you will get a better view of the individual items.   To be honest, I could do with more of these inks/mists/paints.

I couldn't help but buy these cute little paper clips from  I just love them, and I do apologize to those of you who already know about them.  I had never seen them - really should get out more!!    Of course, they will not be used for paper clips, and at just over $5 per packet, who could be bothered trying to curl wire for things!!  You can buy them in square shapes too.

This is the cotton canvas and cotton duck I purchased from Spotlight.  The white cotton canvas is really nice and strong, and I feel the work I am doing doesn't warrant the cost of purchasing 'artist canvas'.    It's been painted with Gesso this morning [well, a piece of it], and will be ready for some collage work in a day or so.

I have had these goodies for a few weeks, but will share them here with this post.  Although there is not a designated online shopping website, you can find details here.  I wasn't sure what I wanted to purchase when I phoned Peter at the store.  He and staff members were most obliging, giving me some details/information, and time to go away and think about what I would buy.  I then phoned back for more discussions and ordering.  The parcel was here in no time at all, and included was a dear little compact mirror, just the right thing for one's purse - I am always freshening up my lipstick when I'm out [perhaps I secretly eat the stuff!!].  They have a large product range, and are very helpful.  Of course, some of us know 'the other half' of the equation - our fellow blogger Frances.  

I am working on some collage and mixed media at the moment, but in the last two days have had some internet drama with certain sites.  I think my security firewall took exception to something, and I had been unable to access certain 'usual haunts'.  I'm hoping this has been resolved, with help from online company IT professionals.

I hope some of my purchases are of interest.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New Work at last

I know I've been slow lately, but I finally have something new to offer.  This rather shocking pink book cover just evolved.  I had this lovely fine silk, hot pink/shot soft orange, can't remember how I 'acquired' it.  One day quite some time ago, I laid it over a piece of wire grid and rubbed it with gold Shiva stick.  I think the oil from the stick bled into the silk, so I felt despondent and just put it aside.  I'd only coloured a small area, so I cut that section out, really didn't know what to do with it, so I simply gathered it into a ruched circle, and picked at the edge until it looked wispy - it seemed to resemble a flower, but looked lonely sitting on the silk, so I decided to texture the background a little with some pink and metallic gold stitching.  I know I can't leave well enough alone, and perhaps I should have stopped long before this, but it is what it is.  And, yes, the shocking pink button with the gold centre was in my button drawer...LOL.

I hope this close up will show the flower, the beading, the stitching and foiling, etc.   Again, beads, braid and threads were part of my 'collection'.  

Book cover open to see textured stitching and foiling

 As I've made more and more of these removable covers, I've strived to perfect my lining techniques.  I have put together this collage, and hope I can explain the process.  This only works well [in my opinion] if you have fabric that has a similar right and wrong side.  I've used plain polycotton.  The open cover measures 34cms wide by 23cms high.  I cut the lining lengthwise with enough allowance to make several folds, marked the centre [photo top left], measured out 17cms from either side of centre [top right], pressed the folds in - remembering that I needed a sleeve to insert the cover into.  I then measured out another 10cms [bottom left], and pressed another fold, and then finally another fold [bottom centre].  The bottom right photo shows the 'sleeve' as it appeared prior to fusing and stitching to the outer cover.  I didn't neaten that final/inside edge, as I thought a line of stitching might spoil the end product, and to be honest, was probably totally unnecessary.  When all the pressing and folding was complete, I applied a piece of Heat 'n Bond, and then fused this lining to the outer embroidered piece, neatening off all round with a row of very wide machine satin stitching.  If you click on the collage you should be able to see more detail. 

I hope by sharing some of my methods, I may be of some help to those who like to find better ways to achieve a neat finish.  I had to hold the cover up in my hand to complete the fusing, as I didn't like to scrunch the flower in the process.

Thank you again to all who have showed concern for my well being.  I am almost up to scratch again, although today it is rather cold and windy here.  I am sure it is much worse in the south!! 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Checking In

I am afraid I do not have any stitching to share just at the moment, but I did want to talk about some positive experiences I've had in the last few days, especially to do with 'retail therapy'.  I have been on a mission to increase my supply of paints/inks/mediums/papers, and spent some time doing a bit of research on the net.  Today I received the first of several packages, but will wait until they all arrive before sharing.  I phoned this store on Wednesday after lunch - - to be told that they were extremely busy and would phone me back.  In a short while I did receive a call back, and was given so much help.  I can't speak highly enough of the staff, and the service, well, that speaks for itself - Wednesday afternoon to Friday morning from Sydney - I'm very pleased indeed!!!  I will definitely be a repeat customer.

I did need some good strong cotton canvas, so thought about Spotlight, and again another very positive experience there.  They were busy in the furnishing department - apparently there was a sale on.  I did not know that - again, a phone call back was received.  I managed to purchase some good heavy canvas and some softer cotton duck with a 30% discount!!!   On my search for paper, I went to this website that I'd bookmarked some time ago, but had not really bothered much with -  I downloaded the sale catalogue and phoned the next morning, and again have nothing but praise for the staff member who took the call.  I am eagerly awaiting this package, although I understand with the volume of business due to the sale, I may have to wait, that is fine with me.

And, of course, I can't forget the 'faceless' shopping, ie internet ordering/payment.  It's cool to sit here and do your shopping.  I have had contact with the people from this website - helping with just a few queries, and then the order could be completed.  I happened across this site in the hunt for inks and mists, etc - - and to my delight found a 20% discount to all new customers.  Finally, this morning, I went to this site - - again, one I'd bookmarked quite a while ago.  They have some great supplies and reasonably priced too.  

I know much has been said about retailing going through a slump.  There are stores that are quiet I suppose, but it's nice to know that some are busy, and perhaps they are busy because their service is A1.  I have not dealt with anyone who has been unpleasant, or who hasn't been willing to go the extra mile to offer suggestions.  I probably won't be so happy when I add up the cost of the products, but I felt the time had come for me to stock up on some of these bits and pieces.  I also feel inclined to share these positive experiences and useful websites.  I hope some of them will be of use to readers.

It's overcast here at the moment, and quite bleak.  We have been told to expect rain tomorrow, and to be honest, a little more would be nice.  I am in a little creative slump at the moment, probably due to the 'thumb issue'....................