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.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Travel Journals

It seems like ages since I posted last, but I have been busy, and really can't recall where last week went!!  I decided to recycle some brown paper shopping bags again, making folio styled journals which I thought might be useful for those who like to document their travels.  The first one I have to share has been painted with magenta acrylic, and after scrunching, it was rubbed over with a silver inkpad to give some highlights. 

Each of these journals contains three signatures [a bookmaking term for folded sheets of paper], and these signatures have another piece of fancy scrapbooking paper on the outside to enhance the journal.  I managed to find this very pretty paper at a store in Dalby last week.

As I've intended these for documenting travels, etc., I've included some fancy swing tags for luggage, as well as concertina pockets which could hold all sorts of visitor information brochures, or whatever reminds one of a particular location.  Just having a little personal travel dream here!!

I've used some hot pink rattail cord to help hold it all together.  I didn't have a suitable button in a big-ish size, so I made one myself using polymer clay, textured it with a rubber mat, then painted with silver/magenta highlights.  I think it looks quite swish.  And, yes, I intended it to be 'not neatly round'.

The other journal I've made is a little bit darker and more sober in appearance.  This one has been painted with brown acrylic and rubbed over with Treasure Gold.  I did have a fairly nice button, and some round leather cording, which seems to look the part.

Unfortunately, I'd gone ahead with this one before we I knew we were going to a bigger town, so the outside of the signatures is a slightly stronger A4 paper.  I've printed out an old map I found on the internet to use for making the pockets and adorning the luggage tags.  This still looks okay, just not as 'girlie' as the top one.

Thank you all so much for leaving such lovely comments on my felting piece.  You have all given me the courage to revisit the felting machine, thanks heaps as always.