Friday, 31 December 2010

All the trimmings

There were loads of off-cuts and trimmed edges from cutting out our Civil War quilt - the subject of another post me thinks - so while I was working through more exercises on Playways  they got a new life, covered in zigzag stitch and made into cords.
The cords became a basket which has since been covered in a gel medium and is drying into a stronger, stiffer shape.
Lastly, another exercise from the Playways -  which will eventually become a beaded bowl. Did I mention how much fun this is? Looking forward to a quiet night in - with the WMBM and a glass or two of wine ... and asleep by 9 pm. Heaven! Wishing you all a bit of "eat, pray and love" in 2011.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Rugly Fabric Repurposed

After giving away most of my commercial fabric stash I still had some pieces left that were ... rugly. Really Ugly. Not even fit for dyeing or stamping ... so they are now a whole bunch of 2" strips that are plaitted together and in the process of being stitched into a new rug for the studio floor.
The challenge has been to keep the tension consistent while the plaitting is in progress - thanks to the overhead cupboard that problem is solved - even if it looks a little strange!
A 90/14 needle and a wide zig-jag is catching the edges as the rug grows, while the needle pressure has been reduced to about half for a bit of easier manipulation / turning.
A bit of a way to go .....

Monday, 27 December 2010

Time to build an Ark

Villis Bridge
We went down to the end of our road today to find the source of a mighty roar - it permeated everything - and we found, or didn't find, our bridge. The water hurtles down from Mount Castle, usually the day after rain, but the saturated earth combined with our 150mm+ in the last 36 hours and we turned into Lake Tarome.

Christmas baubles

Christmas baubles #1
These delightful baubles were made by Mum - loads of them for the tree - and we got to pick a couple to take home from Christmas Day. I just love the bead work - and the endless possibilities. Thanks Mum xxx

They are constructed by joining two yo-yos that are stitched together and stuffed - then beaded and button-ed. They looked terrific on the tree.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Beautiful buttons from Isle of Man

Sue's hand thrown buttons
My sister makes buttons. Beautiful buttons. These were made on the Isle of Man and are exquisitely different from the ones she made me in Vietnam. Sometimes two holes, sometimes five ... they are real treasures. Thank you.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Happy Birthday Dad & Ho Ho Ho to the rest of us

Birthday Boy and DD
Happy Birthday Dad - and thanks for being the best dad in the whole wide world - wise and gorgeous in the same package! I feel so very lucky ... much love and Merry Christmas or happy holidays and safe sewing to the rest of us.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Journal for Shirley

Front journal cover

We recently travelled to Cooran to celebrate my aunt Shirl's 80th birthday. She is such a hoot. I took an A5 artist's book and black pigment pen to the party - everyone was able to write something to Shirl. Last night I added the photos to match the well wishes and this morning created the journal cover. There's a coffee table book on its way from Snapfish - an awesome photo publishing site with the benefit of collecting your items from the nearest Kmart.

The piece of batik fabric, which represents the colours of the rain forest  and the Clarence River in northern New South Wales, was marked with chalk lines to get a "guestimate" of the grid. The individual squares were filled with free motion design - using the Bernina Stitch Regulator. Off cuts of fabric were bound to the raw edges, top and bottom and a decorative stitch applied to secure the flaps.

Picture to inscription ...

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Visitors ... Australian Style

Am I bigger than a mandarin?
The grey skies cleared for most of the day on Friday. Today, however is Saturday and we're back to  .... grey. We had some grey visitors - which for Australians can still be hard to follow. These are either Eastern or Western Grey Kangaroos - which can be brown -  and are distinguishable by the narrowness of the face and the amount of  black on the tail, feet and paws. Unfortunately it is rather wet and while I think these are Western Greys ... they are in all likelihood Eastern greys which  in geographically-correct terms should really be called southern-not-tropical greys. I can see why the experts stuck with Eastern and Western. 
Anyway ... these two are young fellows and part of a group of up to nine that frequent our place.  Big Willy (the subject of much earlier posts) has moved on ... literally. This group regularly visits the neighbour's paddock and spend a bit of time surveying our fenceline.  Apart from the odd English-born Australian male shaking his fist in the air shouting "bugger off" ... they enjoy a rather quiet and peace-filled existence out here.

Enjoying the top gardens ...

Coming up the driveway ...

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Lemon trees and Willys

What's behind the spotted leaf?

 Just across from the sun room is an old bush lemon tree. It was here when we bought the place, one of about 5 trees that were here in the BC years (Before Chris).   Last weekend I went in search of leaves for printing and some lacy work with Solvy. Can you see what is behind the spotted leaf?
The Willy family
 It's the Willy family - at about head height, three eggs and defending the lemon tree territory most admirably.
Both of them have been layering spider web and soft grass, expertly moulded and then whacker-packed into position. The rim of the nest has been formed by both parents stretching their necks and beaks out and over the rising edge as if in search of the base, then sweeping their elongated necks around and across the outside layer, making it perfectly rounded and smooth. He seemed to be charged with selecting the grassy bits, and could be seen clacking them through his beak, end to end, we think to soften them for the rounded nest shape. She was in charge of compaction - sitting deep into the nest and vibrating madly like some wind-up toy. The egg laying seemed to be the easy bit.
The lacy stuff can wait a few more weeks .....

Rain, rain here to stay ...

The view to Brisbane ...
We have not experienced a fall day of blue sky in months. As we near the second week of summer it seems incredible that we have not had a day reach 30 degrees C. Today is as bright as we've had for weeks ... the glare of the sun breaking through the permanent mist. Mount Fraser is completely whited-out, as is the Teviot Range and Mount French. Everything is shrouded in mist with no end in sight.
I love the rain and the way it cleanses the soul, the squelch of saturated earth and the choir of amphibian tenors serenading potential lovers in the gullies.The WMBM has cabin fever and has started construction on the Ark. 
Lost: Mount Fraser

It will be weeks before we can get into the paddock - the water table has risen so far the worms are drowning. Good for the water table. The worms might have a different perspective.

Mud Dye from Mali

Mud printed scarf from Mali

I purchased this wonderful scarf during the week from a fair trade shop in Ipswich - Inkuku which is located in the bottom of the Old Flour Mill Bakery at 227 Brisbane Street. Different mud is used to create the colours - and I loved the design work. More scarves and larger pieces of fabric are available, as are the delightful Christmas ornaments - some from Haiti and made from recycled and re-purposed drums.

Journal to Quilt - embellishing continues

Close up paddock and urban settlement
 Progress has been slow and this is more a reflection on me than the degree of difficulty with couching! Making time is so important - to be doing something creative everyday is such a priority - to form good habits and invest in the "doing" is essential. I am devoting half a day on the weekend to progressing this piece - and am hoping the near future will see me freed up to do more. Perhaps over the Christmas - New Year's break ....
Urban settlement is represented with different beads, a colourful paddock with simple straight stitch in variegated silk thread interspersed with french knots, fence lines also in silk thread.

Divided paddock, homestead, trees and creek
 The creek or waterway is couched Oliver Twist thread, folder over a few times then secured with nymo thread. The multiple thread has allowed bits to meander ... go on a different path elsewhere on the quilt. Seed beads are scattered representing the flow of trees and other vegetation ... and more ruched ribbon for denser trees / scrub / bush.