Friday, July 30, 2010

My Reward

I am proud of the fact that this year I have reduced my stash by resisting spending on supplies and making gifts for family from my exisitng collection of goodies.   My thrift has allowed me to take advantage of a great deal on a new machine.  I have been talking about buying an embellishing machine for several years now.  At last I have one!!!!   so thrilled!!!!!

The machine is a pfaff as you can see:  I have never had a pfaff before but I had the opportunity to try one out at a craft fair recently.  In fact I spent a good hour getting to know the machine.

I haven't had much time to use the machine yet but I am sure there are many happy hours ahead.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Beautiful books

Yesterday I stopped at a charity shop I had not been to before: I will be back.  They have a huge range of books on all sorts of topics at bargain prices.  I find that the books on needlework are always in good condition: I think needlewomen treasure their books and look after them well.

The books I purchased are ones I have not seen before, although they are not particularly new.
The first one is Needlemade Laces by Pat Earnshaw,  an absolute delight. Apart from instructions there are just so many beautiful laces pictured.
The second one is Creative Canvaqs Embroidery, by Effie Mitrofanis.  I have never been interested in needlepoint but Effie brings her usual exuberant style to it and now I think I am going to have to investigate further.  Book number three is The Essential Quilter by Barbara Chainey. Again, not something I do, but the instructions look so basic I think I could give it a try.

I would be interested to know what books are absolutely necessary - if you had to dispose of all  of your books, keeping just 5, what would you choose?

Monday, July 19, 2010


The last week has flown by and although I have managed to do a little stitching I have had even less time to write.  Now I am sitting here wondering where to start.
I will begin with a couple of explanations about the fabric dying.  The first time I ever used procion dyes was when I visited Linda in Queensland.  Linda showed me how to prepare the fabrics and mix the dyes.  It was a day of lots of fun and laughter along with learning a new skill.  We were lucky to have the whole day together and I learnt a lot.  Visit Linda at her blog 

The idea for using the ziplock bags came from Three Creative Studios, technique of the month for last month.    Sue Bleiweiss suggested the ziplock bags in her tutorial.

Yesterday my daughter came to visit and we celebrated her 40th birthday with food and wine and I gave her the mask I made.  I am pleased to say she was thrilled with it!  

I  gave my middle daughter the wheat bag I made and that was also well received.  I had made a little sachet of lavender as well as it is her favourite fragrance.

This is the first time I have given my daughters  things I have made especially for them: it seemed to go down well so I will continue to do this in the future.

Oh talking of gifts, I received a parcel in the post from Judy.  It is a kit with the pattern and makings of pin cushions - one of my obsessions!   Have a look at Judy's fantastic crazy patchwork!   I will take a pic of the kit tomorrow.    Thanks so much Judy.

Oh gosh I nearly forgot the lovely gift I received from my friend Ann, from the uk,  who is visiting her family who live near here.  We had a day out last week and I hope to see her again on Wednesday before her trip back home on Sunday.

Well I think that is all for now.  Happy stitching everyone.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Colouring my world

I woke up yesterday feeling like I simply could not keep up with all I need to do on a daily basis.  I planned to have a day out with a friend who is visiting from the UK and felt a bit overwhelmed.  Well in order to make things even worse I decided I simply had to dye some fabric - right away.  So first thing in the morning I soaked some fabric in soda ash and water.

I left it to soak for the day while I was out and when I arrived home I squeezed the excess liquid out of each piece and put them  into  plastic zip lock bags. I had some procion dye (powder) that Linda had given me so I mixed some up in a plastic jug with hot water.  I don't measue anything much and don't record what I have done.  This is not a problem as I don't want to repeat anything anyway.  Well, that's my excuse!!  As I mixed each colour I poured some onto the fabric in the bags.  Again, this was done in a fairly hapharzard way.  
Once I was happy with the colours I had produced I sealed up the bags, giving them a bit of a massage to distribute the colour.  This was done fairly gently as I didn't want to create an even distribution of colour.

These stayed in the basin overnight to ensure a reasonable depth of colour.
 This morning I took each piece of fabric out of the bags and rinsed under cold water until the water was clear.  This is the most time consuming part of the whole process as each piece needs to be thoroughly rinsed seperately .

Once that was done the pieces that were of similar colours i.e. reds, browns, oranges went into the washing machine and then into the dryer and finally ironed.

I was very pleased with the results - the fabric I used was some old calico curtain lining and some old sheet.  They are perfect for this sort of dying and take up the colour really well.  I also dyed some lace with the fabric.

So as you see, the colours are terrific and will be handy for crazy patchwork and the ironing and the rest of the housework is still waiting for me.!!!!  Best of all I have really enjoyed doing this.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A parcel in the post and other things.

Today I received this lovely parcel of goodies from Elizabeth as part of the swap on the Country Bumpkin Forum.  There is gorgeous fabric, beads, ribbons and buttons to play with.

Visit Elizabeth's blog here:

This project will have to wait for a while as I have so many things on the go at present.

I have added some feathers to the mask.  The photo is not too good but I
am fairly pleased with progress so far.

Tomorrow I will do the backing and see how it looks.

This wheat bag is a gift for my middle daughter.

I have been quite productive the last few days which of course means that the housework is not being done!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

making a mask

I have been making a mask as a gift.  It is something I am making up as I go along and so far it is going quite well.

I started off cutting out the shape on a piece of medium weight vilene - I then added a piece of pellon another piece of vilene and then some lightweight black fabric.

I stitched it together with 6 strands of black dmc cotton using a blanket stitch.
The next step was to add to the basic mask to personalise it.  Bugle beads and tiny sequins secured with a bead form an arch over one eye.  Kind of like eyelashes.

I cut up some black lace which had beads and silver sequens  on flowers and leaves.  Each flower is attached individually.  I removed the silver sequins and added blue ones with black beads.  I am not sure about the colour.  I would have used black but my husband thought it needed colour.

To give it a bit more movement I added some black tulle to one side and behind the eyes.

This last pic is not very clear - I will take a better one tomorrow.

Friday, July 9, 2010

tiny slippers & bags

I have been sorting through my box of completed items today.  Thinking ahead to Christmas.  I already have some pretty little fairy slippers and tiny bags which I have made over the past few months.  I use colour streams felt for these and decorate them according to my mood.  They are extremely relaxing little projects and result in lovely gifts.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mitred Corners

Confession time - I have never achieved the perfect, or even nearly ok, mitred corners on my work.  Does anyone know of an online tutorial that might set me on the right path. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

grandchildren & others

Today my daughter & I went to the Melbourne Zoo with my four grandchildren.  The highlight was the baby elephant Mali shown here with her mother Dokkoon.

She is so sweet and attracts huge crowds at the zoo and as today was the beginning of the second week of the school holidays and the first really fine day, there were thousands of people at the zoo.  We have a great elephant display where visitors can watch the elephants being walked around their compound & can watch them at play  in their own swimming pool.

This male elephant decided to hide behind this tree trunk.  Very funny really. 

We also saw the giraffes, babboons, and a pygmy hippopotamus. 

  Yesterday we had a family lunch with our 4 grandchildren & 5 great nieces and nephews, and their parents.  It was a lovely day with lots of food and chat.  Two of the boys had birthdays during the past week so we had cakes and candles as well.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

New Needlebook

I started off making my June needlebook with lots of confidence but as the month progressed the less I liked it.  Not the fabric or the stitching - I just didn't think it was suitable as a needlebook so today I decided to make a "new" June needlebook even though it is now July!!!!

I just picked up some scraps and made a square piece of crazy patchwork on the machine.  I sandwiched a piece of thick vilene in between the patches and the lining:  from there I  folded the square into a parcel, added some wool to the inside and added buttons and cord to the outside and there you have it.  June done & dusted.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

City & Guilds and other thoughts.

As the new month starts I seem to have created a whole lot of mess in my studio/sewing room.  Too much thinking and not enough action lately.

Anyway one thought that comes and goes with some regularity is the idea of doing a City & Guilds course by distance learning.  If anyone can offer any advice on the matter I would really appreciate it.  Perhaps I could make up my mind one way or another and then that would be one less thing to keep thinking about!

In the meantime I will address a couple of things in previous blogs.  Thanks for the kind messages regarding my dear grand children.  The three in the previous blog are the children of my youngest daughter.  My eldest daughter also has a son but we do not see him as often.  They will all sleep over here on Sunday night as it is still school holidays.  Anyway, as far as the cooking is concerned: the children decide for themselves what they want to cook - usually something they have done at home or at their other grandmother's house.  We then write a list of the supplies needed and go shopping. 
After that they do the preparation and the cooking.  They set the table and serve up the food.  I guess it is only fair that I clean up afterwards!!! 

Jensters,  you asked me about my ATC for Stitchin Fingers.  I did finish mine and posted it on Monday.  It took me quite a while to decide what to do but once I decided I found I had something already stitched and I only had to add some water colour to it.  It was much more challenging than I had expected.  I hope it fits the requirements.  I think this month's theme of "wings" will be much easier.