Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The miracle of water.

I wasn't going to post about the hydrangeas this year but I just have to.

Here is the pot at the front door yesterday.

Here it is today, after I gave it some water yesterday. The flowers have miraculously recovered.
There are some hot days forecast in the near future so I will enjoy them in this lovely weather today.

So my Christmas tradition survives, posting yet another picture of the flowers at this time of year.

Happy Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Christmas is coming

Instead of my usual picture of the hydrangeas flowering (they are looking very nice at the moment), I thought I would put in this picture of a Christmas Beetle. I have no idea of its actual scientific name and can't be bothered looking it up. We know it as the Christmas Beetle. That will do.

I heard a talk on the radio a couple of days ago that they are being decimated by the Indian Minah. Apparently they are eating the grubs of the beetles.
(Actually, I couldn't help myself and found this link (one of many) which says that maybe they aren't disappearing.)

I don't know if it is true but I did see this one a couple of days ago. Gorgeous. But not very afraid of people, as you can see.

I am having that thing that occurs at this time of the year - often known as exhaustion - and am between ideas. I have an idea for the yearly challenge for the AuNZ tapestry weaving group. I may have the energy to warp the loom soon. I hope so.

And there is another Challenge about Self Portrait. I am thinking about this. It won't be an actual portrait (at this stage) but I am thinking on how I might approach the topic. One idea is to do a fingerprint, as can be seen, sort of, in the above picture. Not sure what will come of this theme, if anything. Just contemplating at this stage.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Celebrate ... Something

My last chance to do an 18 day in the 18 year!

I have recently been visiting a friend who lives in New York City (lucky me).
I went to several museums and have taken lots of pictures.

As I have some Challenges for some of the groups I belong to, I tended to focus on things that might help me with that. But there were lots of things to be thinking about.
Here are a few images that might be used - or not. They are just for inspiration, trying to get me going again with my work.

I have had a bit of a hiatus, not just because I was away. So I am hoping to get something happening soon.

One of the challenges is called Celebrate, and it is to be a maximum of 20cm square. I think I might celebrate being able to play! A woven tapestry.

I was inspired by some of the geometric pieces that were in various galleries I was able to visit.

If memory serves me correctly, these were at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (there are only so many museums and galleries you can visit all at once and actually remember what you saw, or where!).

I love the geometric shapes. But I am considering it for a tapestry and I know that circles are difficult, so may not focus on them, but I will try to incorporate some geometry. I wouldn't want to strain myself with a difficult technique when I am not feeling all that creative at the moment.

 I am also thinking of celebrating a colour - and blue is appealing to me at the moment.

I visited Annie and Co Needlework and Knitting shop, in New York City (I got to travel upstate and now realise why people specify New York City, differentiating it from New York State). I couldn't resist buying some of the wonderful yarns, with no particular design in mind. So I have come home with a variety of blues, which is why I might go with playing with colour and design - and probably texture too.
If I lived in New York I would visit as often as I could. They are extremely helpful, wind your skeins into balls, download Revelry patterns for you, and have classes. They also provide a space for people to just drop in and do some work, with assistance as needed. What a friendly place!

Thursday, December 6, 2018


Just noticed the date: 6/12/18. Couldn't pass up that opportunity!

I have been away, visiting friends overseas. It was really weird to have to think about what day it was, that I left here on October 31st, at about 10am and arrived, after a 16 hour flight, on October 31st at 7am. Before I left home! (Sort of.)
I have travelled overseas before, I think being more immediately in touch with home, and friends in other parts of North America, made me more immediately aware of time and weather differences this time.

Anyway, time zones and differing seasons aside, I had a lovely time.

I visited quite a few art museums and galleries. But there are only so many you can do, day after day. I started to forget what I had seen as I moved onto the next exhibition.

Some standouts for me were:
The Art Gallery at Vancouver. I saw the fabulous works of Guo Pei: Couture Beyond.

I did see some of the same pieces at the NGV last year but still loved the Vancouver exhibition.

We did go and see some rather spectacular places. The weather was kind to us and we had a great chance to see some of the spectacular totem poles.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

The vessel in situ

I didn't realise that I had not posted a picture of the final vessel. I ended up calling it Learning Curve, because it was so not perfect! And there is much improvement to make.
Seeing it is a members' exhibition and it is not juried, I thought I would put it in anyway. It looks ok from a distance.
I am telling people I have put it in to encourage all members to exhibit, not to be put off by the high standard of all the other pieces!
Here it is, with some other pieces that gave us a lovely little coloured corner.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Change of seasons confirmed.

The Grand Final was last weekend.
This weekend there was cricket being played.

We went for a walk, not strenuous due to the warmer weather, and found some gorgeous oak trees in bud.
I am trying to work out how to work some of the images into a series of work - it is called Macro/Micro.
I have earlier pictures of acorns sprouting (micro?) and am thinking of using some images of full-grown oak trees. So I was taking pictures as we strolled around.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Exhibition at the Embroiderers Guild, Victoria.

I have been busy the last couple of weeks, getting ready for the members' exhibition at the Embroiderers Guild, Victoria, then working on hanging the entries.
It has all been worth it, the opening last night was great. 

I had three pieces in the exhibition and one in the Challenge - that kept me busy. 
One of our recent Play Days had been about making felt bowls, using a template that one of the members had drawn up. I used that as my shape. I used a pair of earrings I have as the design inspiration. I drew the design onto soluble fabric, sewed it and then rinsed the soluble fabric away. The template worked wonderfully, allowing me to sew the various sides together. 

 Here it is, pinned out so that it would maintain its shape as it dried.

The shadows were a surprise - a welcome surprise. 
The vessel got made. I wasn't entirely happy with its construction, so it is Not For Sale. 

I put in the folding book I made a little while ago. 

I made a wall hanging based on Art Deco shapes. 

Oops, it seems to be upside down, not that it matters. It doesn't have the border on it in this picture and I don't seem to have any from the exhibition. We have a drawer at the guild with fabrics that people are giving away. The striped fabric at the top and the zigzag at the bottom were from that drawer. 

I was going to demonstrate machine embroidery today but it turned out we had two people booked, so I came home and sewed anyway. 
I wanted to make a piece for our Machine Embroidery group, which meets tomorrow. The theme is the Firebird Suite (I hope). 
I found an image at 123RF, which allows you to pay for downloads and then you can use them. 

My piece was put together, design-wise, rather hastily last night as I thought I would be doing it at the guild. I didn't change anything and just made it today. It is another A5 piece. I will have to work out a way to display them one day, I suppose. 
It hasn't turned out how I envisaged it would but that is part of the learning.

I may be all sewn out now. I will have to see how I go after the next few days. The exhibition is on until the 20th and I will be involved on various days, so I envisage some more thinking and planning of projects. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Making slow progress

I have been working on putting the edging on my vessel. It is very slow work!
I found some satin fabric that I got somewhere - probably from the sharing bin at the Embroiderers Guild, Victoria. I am not sure what I thought I would do with it but it has turned out to be the colour I wanted for the edges. I have sewn the right side in, so that the less shiny back is visible.

I now have a new appreciation for anyone who handles silk satin! It is slipper and frays. But it is working so far.

I will have to work out how to sew in the ends of my various shapes so that they attach to the central part of the vessel but I am leaving that till last, possibly the last minute.

Here is the progress so far.
I took apart an old, unsuccessful, machine embroidery and sewed that onto the front and back of the vessel.
You can see the idea so far, with the separate pieces to be attached.

This piece is sewn so that it is now 3D, to be attached to the sides once the other pieces are done.

Today is 18/9/18. Hope they are done in time for the exhibition!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Two nines equal eighteen

Just had to post today - 9/9/18.

I am currently experimenting with making a vessel, based on an art deco vase. I have made a cardboard template.

Then I cut out some bought felt, have sewn some furnishing fabric on the back, to be the interior, and have sewn bits of fabric samples that someone gave me onto the front.

I have had the samples for ages and have decided to use them or get rid of them.

So far, I have made some of the front and back pieces. As the samples are so small, I have no spare fabrics to use on the sides, so will have to come up with some other fabrics that will match to some degree. That problem is for another day.

I have been sewing the tiny pieces on. I pinned them in place and then had to manoeuvre around the pinheads. I discovered that it is essential to have the pins pointed back into the felt so that they do not catch on the sewing machine table and prevent movement of the piece. Fortunately, the felt is think enough to allow this.

Because I decided to post today, and found the image of the template, I have realised that I need to adjust how I am laying out the pieces.

I haven't worked out how to get a flat base so that it will stand up. Neither have I worked out how to attach the side pieces. All very experimental and challenging. Hope I can work it all out.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Date again - 2/9/18

I feel as if I should post today, the date being 2/9/18.

I have been trying to come up with something for my Art Deco Now! theme. It is still not inspiring me hugely. But I have come up with a challenge for myself.

Having done a Kay Khan class a couple of years ago, having someone in our machine embroidery group (Chris Beehag) who does beautiful vessels, in a similar way, and having looked up lots of images, I have decided to see if I can make my own vessel.

So far, all I have is the inspirational image, found on Pinterest. There are so many images on Pinterest that it becomes a little overwhelming.

link here

I have used this image and a combination of others to come up with my template.
It is in pieces as I think I will do it a piece at a time and see how it goes.

I will have to work out how to actually make it stand as the template currently has no stable base - but that is for later.

The idea is to have separate bits for it so that it might be useful as a storage thing - textiles needing to be useful, or so people seem to think, given the question they often ask: What is if for?
That might be totally out of my ability range, hence the decision to start with the central piece only and see if I can make that much.

I have some old samples from furnishing books that someone was throwing out. I think they will be the surface of the central piece. I haven't actually got around to doing any of that detail yet, I am still at the stage of realising I need a front, back and sides design.
Waste not, want not - as they say.

I am finding this a bit daunting as most of the images I am using as inspiration are black and white, which do absolutely nothing to inspire me!! But the left-over bits of fabric are colourful, giving me some inspiration.

Thursday, August 30, 2018


I went outside for a few minutes this evening and was just at the right moment to see some amazing clouds.
I came in for my camera and they had changed - they were almost gone by the time I had taken the photos. They moved very quickly.

It was dusk, so they are not all in focus. Decided not to care, they were so wonderful.

Thursday, August 23, 2018


There is a 'display' (as opposed to an exhibition) coming up for a group that I am in, Birds.
I thought I should try to participate.

So, not wanting to be wasteful, I have used bits and pieces from a previous work and come up with a small (18cm x 13cm) piece.

I found some images on 123RF and have used them as my silhouettes. I am not particularly happy that the birds seem to be of different breeds but I am not too bothered by it.  It is a rather small piece, and birds of different breeds are allowed to be flying home at sunset!

Saturday, August 18, 2018


I have been asked to demonstrate some folded books done in fabric at our Play Day at the Embroiderers Guild. So I have been playing around with ideas for a while. 

I have been trying to work out how to make the book strong enough to stand, to be able to fold and to show both sides - which means making both sides interesting. 

Well, it is done. 

I had a lot of little scraps that determined the colours because I wanted to use them up. (This War on Waste is rather demanding.) And who knew that you could make such a mess working on something that is only A4 size.

As the piece was only on interfacing, and as the machine zigzag cut that in places, I have put the piece onto some heavy felt-stuff (not actual felt, some synthetic thing). 

I then sewed the raw edge fabric pieces. The back looked very ordinary. 

I put some fabric on the back and then wondered what to do. 

Aha, I thought. I never use the built in stitches. I will see what they look like. I had fun playing with those.
So I made the back relatively heavily sewn. 

Now I have the finished piece. I have no idea what to do with it. Even the best way to display it can be a puzzle.

Oh, today is 18/8/18 too.