Sunday, 31 August 2008

Lucky me..........

I’m delighted to report that two good things happened yesterday after I had found the feather pile, that made my day a whole lot better. Both were blog related.

Firstly my blog has received this award from Averyclaire

I have not had a blog award before so this was a very pleasant surprise and much appreciated.

The rules of this award are as follows:-
1. The winner can put the logo on the blog
2. Put a link on the blog to the person who awarded it.
3. Nominate at least seven other blogs
4. Put links to those you nominate and
5. Advise those you have nominated.
However, I need to make some decisions about to whom I shall pass this award, and cannot do it without a little thought, because there are many to choose from and it will be difficult to pick a few. Check here in a day or two – it could be you!

The second thing was that I was successful in a giveaway draw on Jackie’s blog
Dog Daisy Chains, and will shortly be receiving this lovely celtic brooch in the mail from the UK.

Do check her blog for gorgeous embroidered, felted, dyed and stitched items, and her Etsy shop for other goodies which might tempt you. I really do not win things in raffles or competitions, so this is one for the book! Thank you Jackie.

Tomorrow I shall tell you a tale of great stupidity!

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Feathers and Felines....

This is why I prefer dogs to cats......I found this pathetic pile of feathers near my chook shed this morning. It could have been a fox, but far more likely it was one of my neighbours three cats that have a history of stalking birds on my property.

Once this sad and sorry pile of gorgeous red and blue feathers was one of these....

A Scarlet Rosella, and as they mate for life, I guess there is one grieving bird around somewhere.

Friday, 29 August 2008

ATC and Op Shop Treasures

Firstly this is a lovely little ATC recieved in the mail this morning from Sylvia as part of a swap arranged through EmbellishStitchEnrich Ning which was set up after the first embellisher course by Dale Rollinson finished. Isn't it cute?

I had a day in Melbourne yesterday, and met up with my Daughter who played hookey from work for the afternoon. Amongst other things, we visited a favourite Op Shop and these are what I gleaned.

Five quite old, but unused, embroidered hankies which look fine after a night soaking in some bleach.
The Wildflower books were published in 1946 and 1950 and are full of beautiful black and white botanical drawings by the author who was in charge of the Botanical Museum at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew. They will be a useful resource for stitching. The Anchor Crewel Stitches and Pattern book (1989) may be a gift for a friend who is just starting out in all fields of embroidery, but I may just keep it too as it contains both patterns for each design and photos of the finished piece.
These prove that one should never pass by an Opportunity Shop without checking it out!

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Birthday Bookmark

A very good friend is soon to have a 60th birthday which will be celebrated on Sunday at a well known local restaurant where I have not yet been. The invitation asked for no gifts, but that does not seem right for someone as generous and helpful as she is. My friend is partly responsible for me choosing this area in which to live as I first thought seriously about the possibility after talking to her when visiting the tree farm where she grows advanced trees. They are mostly deciduous ones which do so well in the cool climate, and amongst the many are Scarlet Oaks (Quercus coccinea) which are quite spectacular in Autumn when they turn a brilliant red. I made her a little thing - a book mark, using one of the dry leaves from my Scarlet Oak as a pattern - I hope she likes it.

It is made from silk fibres embellished onto woollen felt - two pieces worked separately then needled together with the embellisher machine and embroidered by hand.

The finished article.......


Another little journal quilt, this time for the Aust/NZ Art Quilt group. The theme for June was Fire so this is mine - better late than never as they say......It measures 11 x 8.5 inches, and is machine applique with metallic foils and machine quilted.
Having to deal with a bushfire is my greatest fear about living where I do. My property is very clost to the Wombat State Forest which has not burnt for about ten years. After the wet winter we have experienced, there will be phenomenal growth in the surrounding bush when Spring comes with warmer weather, and risks will increase as a result. The gloomy locals say that it is only a matter of time until we have another major fire. I really hope they are wrong.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Early this morning........

And one of the beautiful Maggie - just because....Posted by Picasa

Thursday, 21 August 2008

August TIF - Balanced

Sharon's question for August was in response to her admiration for people who are able to maintain balance in their lives. We were asked to define our own meaning of balance, say if we maintain a balanced life and show how we balance aspects in our day to day existence.

I thought about this for a few weeks trying to work out what I would do, and being fairly literal was stuck with images of scales, tight rope walkers, people on stilts etc etc. Then I decided that my own life has, at times been a bit rocky, and even though I am retired there are now so many things I want to do that must be balanced against those I need to do, and other responsibilities, that there can still be a degree of stress in making choices. A perfectly balanced life could be a bit boring, and taking risks is often a challenge that can bring rewards. This little quilt is the usual journal size - 11 x 8 1/2 inches.

It is a depiction of me on top of the rocks that are the foundation of my life. The words on the rocks are those of significant people, my interests, activities and responsibilities. They were made into a word cloud at Wordle, printed onto fabric in this month's TIF colours, and then tea dyed. It is machine appliqued and machine quilted. The tiny figure is appliqued as well, but coloured with fibre tipped ink pens.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008


A day at the Embroiderer's Guild today where I am now on the Committee, and have an official role.......that of organising excursions and speakers for the group - so I have justification at last for spending more time on the computer ''researching" interesting places to visit, exhibitions to see, and clever people to invite to speak to us. What fun - but I guess it will also mean negotiating with bus companies, sorting out train timetables, and lots of communication with people I do not yet know, as well as making sure people are not left behind when the bus leaves. This once happened to a friend and I when on a trip from Melbourne to Ballarat with a quilt group, and no one noticed we were not on the bus when it moved on to the next point of call. They did come back for us, but we were not impressed at the time - I did not think I was so easy to overlook! Our first trip will be in September when a bus load is going to the Fibre Forum in Geelong, the Wool Museum and a couple of other places.

I have been working on my piece for August's TIF, and have chosen to interpret the question asked about maintaining balance one's my life. I'm quite pleased with the result so far, and will post a photo when it is complete. I used Wordle at this wonderful site to generate a word cloud that I have incorporated in the piece. Have a look, I think it has lots of potential.

Another site to check is the My Place Exhibition website, it is still under construction, but there are 60 contemporary quilts from Australia and New Zealand, and eventually there will be South African quilts as well, making a travelling exhibition of 90 quilts that will open in South Africa in September. These gorgeous gems are only 50 cms square.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Murder in the hen house.

Those that know me understand that I am very fond of my chickens which often feature in my day to day ramblings about life in the country. I have five, all individually named, with specific places in the pecking order of the hen run, and with characteristics and colours that make each easy to identify. They are all laying at the moment but have gone for months during the heat of the summer when nary an egg is produced, so the cost per dozen is far more than one would pay at a supermarket and does not bear close calculation. Cheap eggs are not why I keep them, the benefits are many - the girls are usually amusing to watch, eat all my vegetable scraps and weeds, and produce copious quantities of fertiliser for the garden as well as producing delicious large eggs which come in an array of lovely creams and brown, have gorgeous yellow yolks, and are currently being produced in numbers that allow the dogs and I to eat our fill, and give the surplus to friends. Today I collected four of them, and these are the last few day's bounty - I love the speckled brown ones.

Chickens are not nice - they fight, squabble, peck at my hands and feet, try to escape at every instance, and .....KILL. Yesterday I watched as Delores (the gorgeous baby chicken who arrived for Christmas) caught a mouse that had been disturbed when I lifted the nest box cover to collect the eggs. She snatched it immediately, and then ran out of the house and into the pen with it in her beak, the mouse squeaking loudly in protest. Then silence for a moment followed by much squawking from the other birds who were in hot pursuit. The mouse, now dead, was pulled apart in the squabble and then there were several chooks running round with bits of mouse in their beaks trying to avoid those who had nothing. A few quick gobbles and the whole episode was over in about two minutes. Nasty things chickens!

Monday, 18 August 2008

Home a week now, and this is all I have to show for it! A single ATC to be swapped with an online friend in the UK who did the Embellisher course with me - I don't think she reads my blog so it is probably OK to post a photo and not spoil her surprise.
It is made from silk tops, throwsters waste and snips of silk caught between two layers of scrim and embellished from front and back, then stitched with wonderful variegated alpaca yarn. It was good to be back at the machines, and I really need to knuckle down and do a bit more stitching instead of reading in front of the fire because it has been so cold, or gardening in the brief moments when it is not raining. So tempting though to be outside as the garden is beginning to show some signs of the coming Spring with a few Narcissus starting to flower in sheltered spots, and weeds growing steadily.

These are two additions to my stitching Library, both of which are full of inspirational ideas and techniques, and are part of the reason I have done so little stitching.

This one is Trish Burr's fourth book, published by Milner Press in Australia. It features a selection of floral bouquets for embroidery and detailed illustrations of stitching techniques that mix traditional crewel work and surface stitchery. For me the line drawings could be used in several ways, or even be enlarged and interpreted in felt making.

Ineke Berlyn describes her book as being for all quiltmakers, patchworkers and textile artists and there are chapters about sources for inspiration, sketchbooks, colour and fabrics, dyeing, layers and design, texture and stitchery and projects of various sorts with each section. I do love British needlework books, and this one is published by Batsford Press in the UK.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Home again.

After more than a week away in South Australia, I'm glad to be home again. I had a great time with family and friends, got to know my brother's grand-children a bit more, did a little shopping at a couple of quilt shops, and went to the wonderful Country Bumpkin needlework shop which is also the home of Inspirations magazine. I enjoyed several meals or coffees in interesting restaurants, a visit to the Willunga Farmer's Market where I bought delicious dried peaches and locally grown almonds, a trip to Hahndorf, and briefly helped in my nephew's vineyard by driving a Gator - one of these six wheeled all terrain vehicles while he and his Dad stapled wires to posts for newly planted vines.

It rained constantly, but no-one complained because water, or the lack of it is a hot topic of conversation in South Australia, and particularly in Goolwa where I was staying. The Murray River enters the sea at Goolwa, and in the past it had a busy wharf where paddle steamers that brought wool and other goods from inland unloaded, and in more recent times it has been a centre for fishing and all things boating, including the famous biennial Wooden Boat Festival . The river flow is now much reduced, its level is at least a metre lower than normal, and the Murray mouth has shrunk to a narrow gap in sand dunes and a trickle of water. This is due to water being pumped out for irrigation purposes, both legal and illegal, up stream in S.A., NSW and Victoria, so the river and lower lakes of the Coorong are being permanently damaged. There are problems of silt and increasing salinity which are affecting wildlife and fish, and it is thought that it may be too late to save Lake Alexandrina from becoming a smelly acidic swamp. On Sunday last, there was a public protest held on the Hindmarsh Island bridge attended by at least 3000 people asking that the Government takes action to buy back or compulsorily acquire the water rights from properties along the Murray, and to release water from reservoirs in a last ditch attempt to prevent permanent environmental damage - but it seems unlikely that this will happen and a spectacular area will be gone for good.

These photos are of my brother's jetty and the river's edge as it now is - the last time I was in Goolwa there was water below it and one could easily moor a boat. Now, sadly, it is just a smelly muddy swamp.

Sunday, 3 August 2008


Several days since a post, and little to show for it as my time has been spent outside instead of in the sewing room, and getting organised to go away. In fact today I took my two beloved dogs to the kennel, and my house is very empty without them. The look Maggie the collie gave me as I left her in the tender care of the kennel girl was so sad and disapproving. I'm sure it must have brought back memories of when she was abandonned by her previous owner, and unpleasant times in the pound until I adopted her. She will be well cared for, and will give me a wonderful greeting when I return, but I miss them both and wish they could come too.

I'm travelling by car with friends to Adelaide early in the morning, and will be away about a week. I shall be staying in Goolwa with my Brother and so will be able to see the poor state of the river Murray for myself - he has been saying that it would be more useful to plant tomatoes at the end of his jetty as he can no longer moor his boat because there is so little water due to over irrigating further up stream. I hope to catch up with family and a few friends, meet some new great nephews for the first time, and help in the garden of the new home my Brother is building in the hills. Perhaps there will be time for a little shopping around the place, and I'm instructed by my daughter to scour the local op shops for treasures!