Sunday, January 30, 2011


A few days ago I was out doing errands when I came upon an antique and bric a brac centre.  It was out in the middle of nowwhere, well that's how it seemed although it is not more than 15 minutes from my home.
Anyway it was such a treasure trove: lots of beautiful and expensive antiques but also some more affordable items.  I discovered a bag of vintage linen, all of which was torn, stained or just falling apart.  I considered the cost for a nano second and then realised how many possibilities were tucked away in that bag.  I have bleached and washed some of the pieces and the photo above shows that I have plenty of ironing to do.  I cannot help but wonder who originally made or owned these beautiful pieces.   Some are obviously hand made with great care.  I hope I do them justice in giving them a new life.

Friday, January 28, 2011


 I took this photo on one of our visits to the beach:  I never tire of exploring the rock pools.

I tried a couple of techniques 
with adobe photo shop to 
see what I could do.
I like the look of this first one.

This one reminds me of aboriginal art works and I might print it on some fabric to see how it turns out.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


 Today is Australia Day - a public holiday for most although many are cleaning up after floods or others are still waiting for the waters to reach their towns and properties.  It certainly has been a challenging start to the year for so many here and overseas. For us it is also a special day as it is our youngest daughter's birthday.  My baby is 35 today!!!!  Happy Birthday Bec.
I mentioned in my previous post that the grandchildren had made Christmas crackers for our family lunch last Saturday.  I thought I would show a pic of one of the crackers.  We used some heavy card paper to make a cylinder, into which we popped a little novelty or charm and a "cracker" to make the bang and then it was wrapped in a piece of hand dyed fabric which was later used as a serviette with the meal. Organza ribbon was used to tie the lot together.  Now that we have done it once I am sure the next ones will be much more elaborate.


Sunday, January 23, 2011


 This week I have had my father-in-law (Maurice) staying with us and our four grandchildren have spent a few days and nights sleeping over.

We had a lovely picnic near the beach on Thursday night: 

Maurice lives alone and of course doesn't go on picnics so I think he enjoyed it even more than the rest of us.  There is nothing quite like chicken & salad and soft drink out in the open air.  You can see by the smiling faces that everyone had a good time.  After eating the children decided they should paddle in the shallows as they didn't have swimwear with them. 

Of course the water was so inviting that it wasn't long before the boys were soaking wet and splashing around.  

The next morning it was very quiet - even after I tried to wake them for breakfast. Of course once they are awake the peace is well and truly over.

On Saturday we had a late Christmas lunch.  The children helped with the menu and the food preparation and cooking.  Fish and seafood and salads made a delicious meal - Ally & Ben made a seafood salad with smoked salmon & prawns, Matthew prepared fruit and salads and set the table, Michael showed Ben how to cook calamari and Mike and Michael prepared the baramundi while Ben & I picked the fresh herbs.  It was a lovely family lunch and we all ate too much.

There hasn't been much time for stitching but the children made bonbons (crackers) for the table using some of my hand dyed fabrics for the wrapping and putting little novelties in each one.  We had the proper cracker insert so they were a great success.  The fabric wrappers were then used as serviettes for the meal. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Watching Cricket & Stitching

During last week I dyed quite a lot of lace and some doileys.

I often buy linen and doyleys from op shops and if they are stained or torn they are ideal for a change of colour.

I am continuing to work my way through my stash and pieces that I have stitched but not used.
This is one of the first pieces of silk ribbon embroidery that I attempted. 

It turned out to be ideal for the front of a needlebook.   (yes I know I have plenty of them).
This was fun to do.  I used up lots of peices of felt and the inside is a piece of cotton I have had for about 10 years.  I really like the colours and shall probably keep this one for myself.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Received in the mail.

During 2010 I received some lovely cards  in the mail from other needlewomen/fibre artists.  
The first of these is from Vicki Welsh at Three Creative Studios.  I love the shapes and colours in this.

This postcard was also from Vicki.  The colours don't show up so well in this pic.

The third pic shows a card sent to me by Suzie Quaife,
I decided to frame it so I can enjoy it each day and gain inspiration from it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

sunset on an unbelievable day

We have spent a hot and humid, rainy day here in Melbourne: our discomfort is miniscule compared to that being experienced by the people of Queensland.

It seems almost trivial to be doing needlework during these tough days.

Anyway I will show you what I did last evening.  I framed a pair of fairy slippers I made some time ago.  I added some lace and backed it with some needlefelting and feathers.


I have been revisiting my scraps and left overs lately and I have to admit to having difficulty throwing anything out.   Instead i have been stitching tiny scraps to small scaps to larger leftovers to see how they work together.  Once they are of a useful size I can fold them and put them away for later.

I am quite happy with the results so far. 

  In the meantime I have bought three more pots of fabric dye and of course they needed to be used immediately.

I will post some pics of what I dyed once the camera, fabric & computer are all in the same place.

 Isn't this a perfect kitchen: not so good for cooking but great for playing with colour.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

flood relief appeals

Many people are trying to think of ways to help the victims of the terrible floods engulfing Queensland and New South Wales.  

Visit the two blogs below if you want to help.

Jenny of ELEFANTZ: FLOOD RELIEF - auctioning two of my handmade original Shabby Roses quilts!

Among The Gum Trees: We need your help!!!


Monday, January 10, 2011


 The adventure continues: albeit with some drama along the way.  
The next step required slashing the fabric between the lines of stitching.

I bought a special implement made for this task although 
in the past I have just used very sharp scissors.  The idea is

to slash the first 4 layers and leave the base fabric intact.  The special cutter does make this easier but you have to concentrate.  I was going along really well and then disaster struck.  Instead of cutting as described above I cut through the five layers.  I was quite a long way through the process and feeling pretty good about it.

Do the words "pride" and "fall" come to mind?  Well they do for me.

Anyway I have continued on and washed the slashed fabric in the machine with my towels and then dried it 
in the tumble drier.
This separates the layers and fluffs them up a bit.  I will brush them up a bit with a clothes brush to make them more fluffy and then decide what to do about the corner that no longer exists.  I made the gaps between rows quite wide on this piece.  The closer the rows the "neater" the result but I wanted to expose the layers quite a lot.

I do hope all this makes sense to those who are interested in trying this technique. 

My one piece of advice is concentrate.

Oh I just noticed my computer cable under the fabric.  I do not cut on that table or in fact near any cables.  That would be tempting fate.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


At last I have found some time to stitch.  I have been wanting to do some chenille work for some time and today I managed to make a start.  This particular technique is great for using fabrics that you don't like so much.  You know, things you bought in a sale, thought you would use.  These fabrics pictured are some that I am really tired of.

I chose 4 diferent pieces of fabric (I will use one twice).

The green one is for the top and the red is next.  I used a second piece of the red as the last layer in the sandwich:  each piece except the last is facing up.  

I pinned the five layers together ready to stitch.

I attached the walking foot 
to my machine - this has been set aside because I have been putting a zip in a bag and had to use the zipper foot.

After stitching around the edges the pins came out and I marked diagonal lines on the top of the fabric, ready to stitch.

Now I have to make lunch so will show more of this later.

I also have some bits and bobs in dye at present.  Plenty to enjoy.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Last evening we had another 
picnic by the sea: the grandchildren are staying with us for a couple of days so we thought they would enjoy it as much as we do.  After the fish'n'chips were finished the sea gulls were lined up on the power lines and my grand daughter took a photo of them.

 We walked down to the water's edge and the children & grandad tried skimming rocks on the water.  The water is really quite cold here at this time of year, but shoes were quickly discarded.

I just liked the look of their shoes on the beach.

The end of the beach is quite rocky and uneven in places but the children insisted on scrambling around the rockpools.

I am always fascinated by the colours of the rocks.

Before we knew it we had to make our way back to the car and home again.

I am so lucky to live in such a good place and so close to the bay.

Monday, January 3, 2011


 Today I made a note book cover: the fabric is calico (recycled curtain lining) on which i made a coloured spiral with water colour pencils.  
Using different coloured threads I followed the lines of the spiral so give them more definition.  This was something I did a while ago when three creative studios had a monthly technique to try.

I backed it with pink sheeting (yes recycled) and then stitched it with my overlocker to make the cover.
This will go in my box of gifts to give during the year. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011


I have been thinking of the contradictory actions of our leaders and of my own response to the environment.

First, let me say, I love fireworks: I have fond memories of bonfires and cracker nights when I was a child.  Of course now it is illegal to set off fireworks unless you have a license.  No more backyard bungers.  

On the other hand I have been pondering the cost of the massive displays that are part of New Year celebrations all over the world.  Many countries are suffering the effects of the global financial crisis and yet they can "burn" millions of dollars in a matter of minutes.  

As well as this I wonder about the effect on our environment of all this explosive showing off.  

Am I just a party pooper - perhaps.  I am happy to hear what others have to say.

I have added a pic of some parcels we took to my youngest daughter and her family yesterday.  This year I have used recycled paper (butchers paper) to wrap all of the presents and used pretty ribbons (from my stash) to dress them up.
I know the ribbon will be re-used and it is not too painful to see the cheap paper go in the recycling bin.

Well, that is enough of sounding self righteous.  We are going next door this evening to baby sit the three little girls.
One nearly 5 and the twins are about 3 months.  Their parents are going to have a rare meal alone.  

I hope our friends suffering from various natural disasters are all safe and off too a good new year of creativity.  I cannot imagine what it is like to have your home threatened by wind and cold and water.  Take care everyone.