Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday treats

I am not sure if life is just going faster or I am getting slower but there just don't seem to be enough hours in the day.

On Sunday evening I did some work on my knot garden - one segment of lawn in very fine chain stitch is complete and I am happy with it.   I did decide that one group of beds should be beaded and quite some time was spent sorting the right beads for the job and then more than an hour of stitching was done before I realised I was beading a grassed area instead of a garden bed.  mmm.  Not happy.  Anyway the beads were removed and I have decided not to put any beads on this one - back to french knots.  What a waste of time and effort.

In my "spare time" I am getting on with painting the interior of the house - it is far too cold for painting outdoors.

The smell of paint is a bit much so I popped out for some therapeutic op shopping.  I really only intended to take some photos for the op shopping blog.
Of course once I was there I needed to buy a few things and in fact was very pleased with what I found.  The pic in the top left corner of the collage is a wooden box which contains bobbins, parts and an instruction book for a singer sewing machine.  One the right are two tea towels featuring Northern Ireland.  They are unused and good quality linen so I will use them in my kitchen. Bottom left is a kit to make hand made paper.  It has never been used and although I have made paper using a makeshift kind of screen, I am sure this will be easier.  The last items are some sketch pads and sketch books.  Just what I need. All of these cost me a total of $22.50 which seems good value considering the paper making kit has an original price of $20.00

This Salvos store has so many great items from furniture to clothes, toys, books and of course craft items.  The staff are so friendly and helpful so it is always a pleasure to shop there. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

still working through the stash

 I am making progress with sorting through my stash.  More files have been covered and I am surprised at how much better they look up there on the shelf.  Next to be covered are the boxes that hold my overlocker threads and works in progress.
 Some weeks ago I called in at a garage sale on  my way home from the post office and picked up two cartons of assorted fabric pieces for $2 each box.  Most of the fabric was cut into squares for quilts but there were other odd pieces as well.  I thought they would be just perfect to make some dish cloths and tray mats.  Using fabric up for practical purposes is proving extremely satisfying.

Meantime I am participating in a challenge which I will find links to when I have time.

It is a 40 day creativity challenge and I am calling this piece "Not Thinking".

As I make progress I will show you what is evolving with this one.

Friday, July 27, 2012

birds, leaves and stiches

Well, it is Friday already: a rainy cold day here.

I sometimes think if we didn't have these days the housework would never be done.

Mind you I could be easily talked into stitching or photo editing or doing nothing too.

 I am making progress on my knot garden, the corner "beds" are done and the lavender is settling into the central plot.

The hedges are the hardest to do and so I do a little each day and hopefully they will be done by the time all the beds are completed.

 This kookaburra was one of two that visited our neighbourhood yesterday.  It is unusual to hear them during daylight hours: they make the most noise at dusk and dawn.  It is such a happy sound.  You can see from the colouring that they are almost invisible when high up in the trees.

Monday, July 23, 2012

stash and treasure

Today I made a start on sorting out my stash!  If I cannot think of a use for a piece of fabric then it will go to the op shop.

My work area is large but it has to accommodate everything I need when looking after the twins (including 2 cots & High chairs), my office equipment and files and last but not least my sewing/creating equipment and materials.

It is a constant challenge to make the area workable.  My computers and sewing machines are on desks and tables which are surrounded by a large playpen!!! 

Everything else is always on the move as the twins grow taller and have learnt to climb.

The bookshelves hold file folders, plastic drawers full of reels of machine threads, books, beads and pictures for the little ones.  High up on the shelves are things that have been put our of reach.

With this in mind I decided to cover some of my file folders.  I am just using up unwanted fabric and gluing it onto the folders. You can see I have done 4 so far and they look so much more interesting than they did before.

After this I decided to line the heart shaped box I showed on a previous post.  This has worked out quite well.  The fabric is some kind of furnishing fabric which feels a little like velvet - it varies in colour from navy blue through to burgundy so it looks nice and plush.  My daughter gave me her stash of fabric when she stopped sewing so it is good that I have found a use for it.

Tomorrow I will finish the edges of this box off and then it will be done. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

still gardening

At this time of year we have lots of gorgeous things in bloom. 

 Although it is quite cold and damp the plants and especially the weeds just keep on growing.

 When it is too cold to be in the garden I can go on with the stitching.  

My little knot garden is coming along nicely.

It is quite slow going but because it is repetitive it is very relaxing.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

op shopping for kits

 This week I have managed to find some gorgeous cross stitch kits at the Salvos store in Mornington.  They had lots and lots but I chose these ones because they were high quality and fabulous designs.
The first one, Oriental Portrait includes 16 count aida and is 16.5cm x 16.5cm.

 The second one is a Semco design: fruit and vine sampler, 27cm x 32cm to be worked on the 14 count aida which is included along with the threads.


The last one is called Peacock Tapestry.  I opened the packaging of this one to make sure everything was there: it had been opened previously.

The kit contains 25 count evenweave, sorted threads, needles, instructions.  It does seem to be missing beads though.  I will see what is required to complete the design and find some suitable replacements. 

If anyone is interested in these kits please contact me to discuss prices, delivery etc.

The op shops  often have kits that people have given up on or not even started and they are often good value.  


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Indoor gardening for stitchers

 Last Friday I went to the fibre arts group at Peninsula Arts Society in Frankston.

I have been a member of this group for a couple of months now and although I have missed a few sessions I am beginning to feel quite at home.  The ladies who attend are artists (painters) first and do some textile work as well.  As a group we are a diverse lot with different interests and levels of experience or interest in textiles.  It is essentially a social group and at first I was a little unsure about spending time chatting when I am always so busy.  It is a symptom of our lives these days that just chatting is no longer valued, however I am finding I am settling in to the ways of the group now.

The ladies all take an interest in each others' projects and the last session included one member showing us how she produces the most amazing woven tapestry, from design through to the weaving process.  Another was making a japanese style bag (using her sewing machine) and yet another was embroidering a linen table cloth featuring just one stitch.  I discussed and demonstrated silk ribbon embroidery for another member while someone else was cutting a pattern for a silk scarf.  Another lady was making a memory quilt featuring photographs of her grandson printed onto fabric: this will be his 21st Birthday present.

Over the past few weeks I have been working on my gum blossom project but now that it is finished I have made a start on another knot garden.

First the design is drawn onto the fabric and then marked out with stitching.  Then the fun begins.  Deciding on stitches and colours.  I love doing these gardens.  They are so peaceful and meditative.  Like real gardening.

I have decided on a colour scheme of green, pink and  lilac.
Mind you I have been known to change my mind.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

cakes by Dian, stand from Salvos

I don't do a lot of baking but today is so cold I thought it would be nice to have something sweet in the pantry so I made some muffins.

 These are just plain ones and I am not sure what possessed me when I added pink colouring to the icing.

The cake stand is really pretty: I bought it at the Salvos when I was in Bendigo last time.

The pantry is replenished with a dozen carrot cake muffins and the mix for a boiled fruit cake is on the cook top.

Sometimes I even surprise myself.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Simple Gift Box

 At this time of year I start preparing a few gifts for the festive season.  If I don't start now nothing is finished on time.

This week I have been making a gift box using items I have bought in the op shops during the year. 

 The white Lumiere paint is the only item that I have bought at normal retail for this  project.  The other paints were part of a lot of paints and glues purchased some time ago.

I have painted the heart shaped box and trimmed it with some wallpaper border around the outside.  On the top is part of a lace doiley I bought when I was in Tweed Heads last year and met up with Elizabeth for some bargain hunting.  The motif is cut out roughly and painted before gluing to the top.

The result is a pretty box which has cost me less than $3.00 so far.

I am thinking of lining the inside with silk but then again I might just paint it.  

The pics are all out of order - blame blogger.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

bags of bargains

The past week has seen me in more op shops than usual.

Of course I did my usual Tuesday shop and then I popped into the Salvos  in Mornington on Wednesday because I had some things to donate.  While I was there I picked up this little bag for just $8.00.
 It is a very smart bag with a very fashionable label but best of all it is a bag I am happy with.
 On Thursday I met up with Gina E who also loves to op shop.  The glass pictured on a previous blog was bought on that outing.  We met at the RSPCA op shop in Burwood which was a place we were both familiar with.

There are two op shops side by side and I great coffee shop next door so it was a perfect place to meet.  It was the first time we had met (in person) but we were like old friends: we share a love of crafting and op shopping so have lots in common.

While there I bought lots of things;  a pack of kids activity items (for school hols),  an apron (so I could cut a pattern from it), tea towels, an Irish linen handkerchief and lots of other bits and bobs.

As if that wasn't enough for the week, we went to Bendigo on Friday and I shopped some more.  I picked up this frame for some needlework, a pack of transparencies (for stiffening the insides of boxes and book covers) and some unusual beads.  

On the way around I added to my ever increasing stash of hankies and scarves.

This week I am busy with my grandson Ben and the twins which will keep me busy.  No shopping for a while.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Free machine embroidery wall hanging

I can hardly believe it myself: this wall hanging is hanging on the wall at last.

This has taken me so long to do and has been set aside more than once: now I am content with it.

The little stitcheries represent my life and the place I live; the post office, library, milk bar, the fish'n'chip shop, supermarket, the beach and picnic grounds, the CFA and the Orthodox Church, my grand-doggies, trees, birds, houses .  Most of all it represents the neighbourhood that sustains me.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

new designs and new camera

 I have had to buy a new camera:  my previous camera has served me well for many years.  I just love taking pics of my garden, the trees, the sky, the places I go, the people I spend time with so my camera gets a workout every day.  

The pretty glass is a recent purchase - the Pimms tastes good in lovely glass.  I will write more about the shopping later.

The new camera is strange and I am not comfortable with it yet.  I am sure it will become a friend in time.

Now that the gum blossom is finished I need to think of something else to do so out come the sketch book and pencils.

I have lots of sketches done already but I am not sure what I want to be doing just now.

Winter is upon us so it gives us a chance to see the elegant shapes of lots of trees: of course our eucalypts hold their leaves throughout the year and drop them constantly so they are never entirely bare.


Friday, July 6, 2012

water colour

Fantastic information on colour here

I found this while cruising around the web.

Another visit to Bendigo - another picture.

The swan was very tame and waited for the pic to be taken.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Northern NSW

Last weekend we made a quick trip up north to visit my father-in-law in Tweed Heads.

While we were there we decided to take a run out to Ballina: a lovely town a bit more than an hour from where we were staying.  Hubby and I have never been there although father-in-law lived there for a while.

There is some wonderful sculpture alongside the river: a rather majestic pelican on the edge of the pier and fish along the pathway.  The fish are made of recycled stainless steel and are quite beautiful. 

If you want to see more of Ballina look here.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

winter sunshine

Every cloud has a silver lining - so they say.

Well, we have lots of cloud at present and plenty of rain as well.

Obviously, for those of us who like to create,  the cloudy days  provide us with lots of time for making  our mark.

After a long chat with Linda on the phone I settled down to work on my gum blossom.  So far it is not finished but the background is done.  Gold foil over a canvas is covered with hessian to support the leaves and flowers.  Once I am happy with the position of the elements I will secure them to the hessian and it will be done.

I am so pleased that I went with the gorgeous sunny yellow for the flowers - it really speaks of summers past and future.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday treasures

 There is nothing like a couple of hours op shopping to brighten up a bad day.

I had to buy these little shoes.  (Yes Judy I did)

Metallic wrapping paper and tags are always useful items to have in the stash and I was thrilled to pick these up at a great price.

This fabric is not something I needed or even something I can imagine using.  It is simply something I just had to have.

I am not an extravagant person and most things I buy need to have a purpose but this fabric is just gorgeous. Heavy satin silk with gold beading - I wonder how I can use it.  Let me know if you can suggest something.

Finally I picked up some lovely scarves to brighten up the wardrobe.

This lovely blue and purple wrap features paisley and sequins - very 70s.

The dusty pink is very fine silk with a pretty fringe.

The animal print is very trendy at present so I will make good use of that.