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.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Pinon Gallery ... an adventure in clay

The Gallery
 While in Colorado in September Judith took us to visit various artists including Nicole Copel and her clay ... unbelieveable. The exposure to different artists and types of artistry is wonderful. Nicole's passion for clay and the studio just oozes. The Pinon Hill Pottery is a must visit in La Veta.
Anyway - this is a little tribute to all the wonderful potters and potters -in-the-making, especially on the Isle of Man ... where it must be oh -so freezing cold and difficult to throw a good pot.

Nicole cooling the kiln

To die for tiles ...

gorgeous pots

in the studio proper

Cudgerie Homestead Bed and Breakfast ... quilter's retreat

Hidden pool ...

It's been a long week away from the computer and with no time for stitching ...almost. We spent the weekend at Cooran where my cousin hosted my aunt's 80th birthday celebrations -a family reunion with a birthday cake to boot.  It was every person for themselves for accommodation - and by chance we found Cudgerie B&B just near Cooroy and Pomona.  This place had it all - great hosts in Veronica and Steve (he also has the fruit shop in town), generous spirit (one daughter marvelled at the large box of Lindt balls sitting beside the hot beverage station) beautiful rooms with own toilet and shower, airconditioning if you need it, big verandas and multiple breakout areas. There's also a beautiful pool ... and I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. I was thinking weekend away ... quilting, sewing, relaxing, vegging out ...
Cudgerie has five double rooms and a single room - all very close to Noosa and yet far enough away to be another world. The breakfasts are worth the trip - Veronica kind of redefined "continental" ... we were glad we hadn't gone for the full cooked breakfast as we'd have never been able to eat it all. Fresh fruits, yoghurts, bircher muesli, freshly baked muffins and gentle conversation. It was all  good ...
This place would be perfect for another getaway - and even more so as a quiet retreat - it can be self-catering ... or not. Everything seemed to be negotiable and no trouble. So if anyone is interested in Cudgerie ... Veronica or Steve would be happy to accommodate. Veronica and Steve can be contacted through their website link or on  (07) 5442 6681

One of the double rooms ...

Main kitchen

Main lounge #1

Main lounge ... a different angle

Another breakout area with extra kitchen facilities

A verandah

and another ...

Back verandah leading to the gardens and pool

Sunday, 21 November 2010

The Little People

In between couching river systems, embroidering fences and button houses I visited the little people in the vegie garden. WMBM has pulled the garlic which is now drying on the fence.

Journal to Quilt at the Guide Hut

Ruched ribbon + featherstitch
Yesterday was a real treat spent with friends at the Boonah Guide Hut. Discharge, printing, burning and stitching was the order of the day for most - while Kate and I progressed different projects from a safe place at the back of the hut and right near the tea and coffee station. Perfecto! The lake has been made and bonded to the front of the quilt with vliesafix (or "phisohex" as I heard it called - very cute and now stuck in my head). The vegetation / bushland surrounding most of the lake has been created by ruching ribbon - from a hank of Oliver Twist. I love Oliver Twist because of the multiple textures and colours through the gorgeous threads. Sumptuous. 
The great lake taking shape

There's a little bit of rubefaction happening here - not too much of course - I'm looking for balance (aren't we all) and love the way the pinks and reds in the ribbon combine. They are similar in shades to all the new growth on the grevilleas at present. Love the texture of the whole thing.
The feather stitch is in two different shades of gold thread interspersed with blue cotton sewing thread.
Paddocks I
More foliage and fence lines, a building and some infill. Stitches include long and short satin stitches in different silk threads, running stitch, french knots and more ruched ribbon. Thanks Robyn, Meredith, Kate et al for a wonderful day at the Guide Hut.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Journal to quilt - progress

Sewn together at last
At last the pieces are together - which means it's back to the drawing board of sorts. This piece becomes the "blank canvas" for the next layers of the quilt and the andrenalin is flowing. In truth it's flowing because one of those long slithery brown things and I just had a conversation over in the entertainment area. Basically we agreed to go our separate ways, fast. Once my knees stop wobbling I'll go back using the "lightning never strikes twice" theory.  A bit of personal growth - I didn't scream or carry on this time. Just scooped the little dog up under my arm and headed back to the house. And another thing ... only someone who's NEVER come face to face with one of them could suggest that if ever bitten to stay calm ..... yeah right. There's not enough valium in the world at that moment . For now it's back to the studio

Friday, 12 November 2010

Journal to quilt - the indigo version

Indigo version
The decision to go "blue" was easy. After mucking around with different colourways and "literal" fabric,s the pile of Indigo from a day with Ankie was screaming to be used. I'm most grateful. The original journal drawing now looks like this and I'll start working on the individual "paddocks" and other pieces this weekend. My only complaint about being in a frenzy of creativity is that life speeds up and it feels like I'm hurtling through the living and working dimension. What has been good is to run out of time to keep going last Sunday  - and enjoy a margerita with Lorraine - because standing back and taking a breath is somethingI forget to do. The door to the studio is closed and I won't open it until tonight ..... progress will be posted over the next few days.Feedback always greatly appreciated - any comments on the balance / flow (or lack of it)? Feel free to contribute, and thanks.

The original drawing

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Live continued ... pattern, templates and fabric sorted

In words its a beautiful piece of damask that I acquired at the 2QAQ swap and sell day - about A3 size - and I've drawn up from the journal at about 2:1 ration.
Didn't show up well enough with the vanishing pen, of course, so the computer has turned the fabric red temporarily for a better blog experience!
pattern pieces
The key template pieces have been cut - looking at shapes that will give the piece some unity, balance and a sense of space. Yes, I have been reading the SAQA University pages - most helpful and I'm trying to work under the umbrella of that awareness and looking at other people's work to understand what makes "it" work.

Fabric options are endless - so I'll have a play and see what "works".

the possibilities  ...