Monday, May 31, 2010


Today the postie delivered surprises from distant places.
This ATC (from the UK) is called Rockpool and was sent to me by Lorna - artymess, as part of the Stitchin Fingers ATC group swap for May.  The theme was under sea creatures.  Take a look at the atc blog to see the fantastic tiny works of art that are swapped throughout the year.

The next parcel was a card with gorgeous threads, sent to me by a dear friend in Queensland.  I can see these will be used on future ATCs and postcards.  Thanks so much Laurel for thinking of me and for your generosity.

Once I had finished drooling over  the first two parcels I opened one from the USA.  
This was a prize I won through a random draw on the 3 Creative Studios forum.  Each month a new technique is suggested and members show the results of their efforts.  Then one name is drawn for the prize.  This past month I was the lucky winner of threads, hand dyed fabrics, buttons, yarns, a gorgeous handmade book and card.  So many possibilities.

This last little group of goodies were included in the parcel from Lorna.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Gales & Galleries on the Mornington Peninsula

This morning I was fortunate enough to be dropped at the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery while hubby hit some golf  balls nearby.  The gallery is set in beautiful parkland: this is my first visit although it is ten minutes from where we live and I drive right past at least once a week.  There is a lake in the grounds, as you can see in the pic at the left and when we drove in there were children feeding ducks and geese.  I will have to go back again to take some photos.
The gallery had too exhibitions on today.  One is the National Photographic Portrait Prize 2010 exhibition.  Some of it was really moving.  The  other was the Recycled Library: Altered Books.   It was very interesting but I must admit I feel quite ambivalent about cutting up books in the name of art.  Some of the pieces were quite amazing though.

After the gallery we went for a drive further down the peninsula to Arthur's Seat.  This is a well known tourist area and in the past there was a chair lift operating from the top to the tea rooms halfway down.  It is not operating at present and the tea rooms are closed.  Up at the top there is a lovely cafe/restaurant called Arthurs (original name) and as it was so cold and windy we decided to pop in for a coffee and scones with jam & cream.  So much for the diet today.  I managed to take a few photos and although it was gloomy I think they look fine.  This first shot is looking back towards our house.  The second one is of the general area.  Yes it was a gloomy day.

Arthurs Seat VIC - Google Maps

have a look at the links if you are interested in my outing today.

MPRG Exhibitions

Now to the stitching:  

I have started filling in the gaps in my "SPEAK" project.  

One section is french knots done in 
2 strands of variegated silk thread,
in a gorgeous coral colour.

Another is thread painted with a hand dyed cotton that reminds
me of autumn leaves.  

This is a project that I will work on when I have nothing else I want to do. 

Saturday, May 29, 2010


It is saturday evening already and May is almost done.  It is cold here: about 14 degrees I think and we had lots of rain last night.  It was a good day for gardening and I planted a grevillea Robin Gordon in the front garden, also 2 Correa Dusky Bells and 1 Correa Alba.  These plants grow particularly well here and attract the native birds.  I  can see this garden from my bedroom window so I am taking extra care with it.
Last night I constructed my May needlebook using the fabric I coloured with water colour pencils.  I was really happy with this piece.  The design was easy to draw and colour and the stitching just did itself: well I did it but there were no set rules so it was very relaxing to do.   

 I had a lovely piece of aqua wool to do the inside and it matches perfectly.  I just have to decide on how it should be fastened.  Should I just use a pretty ribbon or would a magnetic catch make more sense?  Any ideas are welcome.

After that was done to my satisfaction, and inspected by my dear husband I decided to make a start on another challenge.

On the Three Creative Studios Forum we are given a "cue" every week to inspire us to do something creative.  Sometimes it is a photo or a drawing or just some musings.  This week's word "SPEAK" really had me stumped.  I was watching TV and thought I would just take a piece of calico and put it in a hoop and with a needle and some silk thread and see if it would SPEAK to me.  The pic above is the result.  Over the next few weeks I will work on this piece and share the journey of discovering what it will reveal to me.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


In my prevoius post I showed the beautiful silk needlecase sent to me by my swap partner on the Country Bumpkin Forum, now I will show the one I sent to her.
These swaps are great because they encourage you to do something extra because it is for someone else.  You have the added joy of receiving something from another stitcher who you have not met.
The next swap is one I am doing through the Embroiderer's Guild, UK.  I will write more about it soon.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Gunnamatta & a Gift

This week I received this gorgeous black silk needlebook as part of a swap on the Country Bumpkin Forum.  It features beautiful wisteria climbing over a gate.  The inside includes a green felt leaf for needles and pockets to hold other stitching necessities.

This is the first swap the new country bumpkin forum has conducted and has been a great success.

Today I took a drive to Gunamatta Beach, an ocean surf beach not too far from home.  It was cold but there were plenty of people enjoying the water.

Monday, May 24, 2010

water colours & stitches

I have been trying out colouring fabric with water colour pencils.  This is part of a challenge on the 3 creative studios forum.  I have used calico for this challenge as I have heaps of it and it doesn't matter if I mess up.

First I drew a design, just working free hand with the pencils.

After colouring it in I sprayed it liberally with water and silver sheen, dried it over the heating vent and then ironed it.
The design remained intact although it was somewhat softened by the water. 

As usual I am making this up as I go along: I thought some quilting would be good.  Using pellon as batting backed the piece with another piece of calico.  So far I have just hand stitched around the flowers and leaves with coordinating  single threads.  So far it is working out really well.

This will be another needlebook for my monthly challenge.

galahs & grevilleas

I have had a busy few days with the family but still found time to stitch.

The embroidery of the grevillea is done but I am not sure what I will make from it.

It turned out better than I had hoped: the grevillea is particularly hard to capture in thread.  There are many varieties, some with small toothbrush like flowers and others with spidery blooms.  Colours vary from reds, yellows, pinks to creamy shades.  The foliage is just as varied: some with fernlike leaves and others with prickly needles. The nectar attracts the native birds as well as the bees to the garden.

During the weekend two of my grandsons stayed over on Saturday night  and then on Sunday morning the older one, Michael, went to the golf driving range with Mike (my husband) and Matthew and I looked for birds in the garden so he could fill in his bird observation log book.  We were lucky enough to see lots of lorikeets of course and magpies.  We were writing up the log when a couple of galahs landed on the verandah rail.  They are much more timid than the lorikeets but we managed to take some pics. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

my girls

I thought I would show you some pics of the broaches I made last year.  They were inspired by a project in STITCH magazine and I made them for a friend.  Not really my thing but they were fun to do. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

flora & fauna in our garden

Well, my grevillea is progressing well.  I am finding this project, which I have set for myself, to be really challenging.  The grevillea is a very hard flower to express in stitch.  I have done one in silk ribbon too but I have no idea where it is now.

This time I am using a variety of threads and stem stitch, split back stitch, satin stitch, couching and french knots and am reasonably happy with it so far but I can feel a little paint or even hapazome coming on.  It needs something to bulk it out a bit.  

Incidentally the two flowers I posted on the previous blog are grevillea coconut ice and grevillea ned kelly (I think, the birds have made off with the label).

Talking of the birds, here are some of the lorikeets that often visit the garden.  We feed them occasionally as they are so beautiful.  They feed on the native flowers as well so there is plenty to attract them to our garden.

We also have possums visiting us in the evenings: they are nocturnal creatures and if we don't bring the bird seed in they eat it all.  I had to distract this one with an apple last night in order to be able to bring the seed in

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Today I went to the city of Melbourne for a bit of a look around.  It is a fascinating combination of old and new architecture as well as all different kinds of people.   For those who do not know much about our city it is very multi cultural with lots of cafes and places to sit and watch the people go by.  The tree is in Hardware Lane where I stopped for a bowl of minestrone soup and turkish bread.  The pic with the arched walkway is taken in Flinders lane behind StPaul's Anglican Cathedral. I worked  in the Cathedral bookshop when I was about 18 - the area I worked in is now a florist as you can see in the pic.

The photo below is of Howey Place, just one of the many lanes and alleyways in our city.  The other one shows some of the more modern parts of the southbank development with some interesting sculptures.  We have lots of works of art around the city which I really like.  I don't always like the works but I like the fact that our city fathers (and mothers) think it is important to have beautiful things as well as the practical services.

It really was a glorious day and this seagull was obviously making the most of the sunshine.  This is alongside the Yarra River.  I hope you enjoy  these pictures of our beautiful city as much as I enjoyed being there.

Monday, May 17, 2010


When I went through my ufos looking for something simple to work on while visiting friends, I came across the beginnings of a grevillia on silk.  It really had me stumped for a while but now I see it with new eyes and fresh enthusiasm.  It is far from finished but I will post a pic of it so far and also some pics of grevilleas from my garden.  They really are a most fascinating flower. 

Friday, May 14, 2010


I managed to turn my printed leaf into a book cover.

The lining fabric was some cotton print I had in my stash and matched the leaf perfectly.  

Autumn in Melbourne

Autumn is well and truly here now with cold mornings and some sunny days.  It truly is a gorgeous time in Melbourne where we have definite seasons and plenty of deciduous trees in addition to our "evergreen" eucalypts and other native flora.

I took a bit of a drive around our area and took some photos: first to the nearby beach and then in my immediate  neighbourhood.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

 I took this lovely pic the other day when my husband and I went for our morning walk.  The sky was so pretty.

Then later in the day I received a parcel in the post from a friend.  In the parcel there was a piece of muslin, some foil, metallic sheet, felt and wire form to play with.  So many possibilities.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


This is the first needlebook I made this year in my attempt to make 12 needlebooks in 12 months.
It was an experimental piece of fabric suggested by a challenge on the 3 creative studios forum.  Painting and  stitching on batting resulted in this very interesting piece of fabric and so I decided to make a needlebook from it.
The inside features a pocket for a clover thread cutter.  The design is my own.

For some other needlebooks see