Sunday, March 29, 2009

Weekend at Wanaka

I spent a weekend at the Otago Embroiderers Guild Wanaka School. It is a great weekend of embroidery classes - lots to see! I did a class on Personal Sketchbooks with Jan Wilson. My theme for the sketchbook was bird nests. We tried different techniques and mediums to create pages on our subject.

I love bird nests and want to create one in 3D and this was not the place to do any sketching or get ideas - unfortunately. There didn't seem much direction that I could take a bird nest in or so it seemed to me but I did have a lot of fun creating lots of ideas and trying a lot of different techniques.

These four sketches show just one idea.

Firstly just charcoal pencil on newsprint.

Then I did collage on black paper with a photocopy of lace!

Another pencil sketch but this time I put in some colour.

And lastly a stencil print - kinda looks like a stylised rose (well I thought so).

We were shown a neat idea to bind all our pages together which I want to do at a later stage. It would be a great way to create a sketch book of different types of paper to print/draw on and save pictures/scraps. It would make a great present for an artist. When I get around to doing the book I will do a step by step process of how it is done.

I definitely want to try this idea again - I just have to find an object that inspires me !!
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Monday, March 16, 2009

We've Been Adopted

Look what turned up one night ! One minute seen racing across the driveway and later that night it had discovered the cat door and was inside eating cat biscuits. Who could say no to this sweet little face? It is amazing that there are people around that would take a little kitten like this for a drive in the country side and throw it out of the car - well partly true and because of a limp I am presuming the thrown out of the car bit.

Well he has settled in, the other three cats are coping a bit better and not hissing so much. They don't come to sleep in bed as much as they used to because young Harry is already in bed purring loudly !! Yes, we have called him Harry, I am not sure if it is (Horrible) Harry or (Dirty) Harry. He seemed not to know about dirt boxes but he knew all about newspaper on the floor and was also attracted to Ken's shoes. Needless to say the shoes are since tidied away. Harry is also a bit of a slippery customer, he doesn't want to be picked up and so isn't easy to grap and chuck outside at those important moments but sit down for any length of time and he is all over you wanting to have a cuddle, that and he loves having a snuggle with you in bed too. Thank goodness there have been no incidents on the bed.

Anyhow we are smitten with the kitten.
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Friday, January 23, 2009

Dyeing again

I had a wonderful few minutes doing some more dyeing. Once I actually start to slosh dye on fabric time goes in a flash. I didn't have much fabric to play with - only 5 metres plus some bits and pieces and gosh cloths. Brown was my choice of colour for this session. I find I like to use a few browns in things. And I had some nice browns from lovely golden, rich toffee and deep dark cocoa. Swishing in a bit of black gave me some nice green highlights and somewhere a hint of blue and lavender slid in. My personal best piece was a test strip of some sheeting that I was testing. I wasn't sure just how well it would dye up and so I tore a strip off the end (extra wide 2.5metres) and had it snaking around in a tub. Every time I dyed another piece of fabric I would slop a bit of colourover the test strip and at the end laid all the gosh cloths on top of it higgledy piggledy and poured over one last dark brown dye mix. Everything in that tub turned out well but the star was my test strip - isn't that the way it goes ! Actually everything turned out well so I am happy. And as DH has turned up with another 20 odd metres of fabric for me I can hear the call of the (wild) dyes.

And then of course I had to iron some of them - even in this stinking hot summer scorching heat. I just love to iron the dyed fabrics and admire the way that the colours have spread and mixed on the fabric. So far I have resisted taking photos though I am not sure why but somehow photos don't really capture the essence of the fabric.

Oh well, off to dream of what I am going to dye next..........

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Petal and Big Ears

Well my camera seems to be talking to Picasa again so I thought I would show you these photos. They are sort of a Christmas present from the dairy farm neighbour. They are two very late calves that were going to be knocked on the head. Well they knew Ken was a soft spot and gave the two calves to us. We started bottle feeding them both and they have started on Moozlee as well. So we now have Petal (black) and Big Ears (brown) joining us on the farm. Petal hasn't been too well but with some antibiotics and she seems to picking up. Big Ears took to feeding out of a bucket very quickly which saves a lot of hassle. They are both a couple of cuties.

The sheep have been shorn today but I won't show pictures of naked sheep. And as always happens when the sheep get shorn, it rains!! Well, we are in a drought so the rain is welcome but I just wish that there was a bit more that the sprinkle that we have had.

Lots of pictures to come of some of the current projects that I am working on.
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An idea

In my travels surfing the net I see lots of ideas and occasionally write myself notes. I annoy myself by sometimes forgetting where I saw an idea and am unable to find it again. But one that I did pick up was from someone that makes a lot of doll quilts. I thought that this was a good way to use up orphan blocks or to try out an idea and only making a small number of blocks. It makes a quick project (yeah, right) and with thought it could be given as a gift. I do have a lot of orphan blocks and stuff to send away to a UFO orphanage (I have only been planning to do that for a couple of years now) but I have some that I would be keen to make small "doll" quilts with. Sized right they could be table toppers or runners.

My camera and Picasa are not talking at the moment so here is a gratuitous photo of a quilt that I made a couple of years ago with my dyed fabrics. I love the luminosity of colour and the woven effect of such a simple block. And you can see that I even used up the left over blocks in a small quilt. The small quilt was done with a decorative stitch and the buttons came about when I made a bit of a mess of the stitching but if I didn't tell you, you wouldn't know.

I have just ordered a bolt of fabric for dyeing. The company that I have always ordered my fabric from has been taken over by another company and the service isn't quite so good anymore and I am thinking of perhaps finding another source of my fabric. They don't import this particular fabric any more themselves but rather buy it from another importer who deals in bigger quantities than them. Anyhow I am planning a few sessions with some dyes. I am wanting to use up all my dyes, they are starting to get a bit old and really need to be replaced for next season. I love dyeing fabric, I love playing with colour and it makes me feel like a kid again with the paint pots and splashing it every where although I am a bit more organised with the dyes and fabric. Actually I need to do some printing on fabric as well - again a whole lot of fun and I have some wonderful wooden blocks that I carved myself, very basic, and very primative but oh so effective on a wonderful dyed background. Mustn't waste time and hop to it!
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Colour on the Farm

These are some old photos from around the farm. I was challenging myself to find colour and was surprised at finding this turquoise.

When I walk around with the camera I tend to see things in a new way and with all the buildings and sundry farm "stuff" that lies around there is always lots to see
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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Trying to be positive

I was trying to create a positive start to the New Year. I really need to make an effort with looking after my health. I have a lot I can improve on and do better but I am at least wanting to try. Of course it is depressing to find that my co-worker is resigning soon and I will have to train someone else to work with and I really don't want to have to step out of my comfort zone again. Just enough for me to want to seek solace in comfort, i.e. food!

Okay so let's get over this pity party and be positive. I need to put plans in place to cope with the changes that I am going to face over the next few months. That sounds like I need to make a list for myself - deep breath - ahhhhhhhhhhhhh

I am trying to fit in half an hour of what passes for dancing most days. I enjoy my dancing and this is my effort to exercise. I am wondering about doing it at work during my lunch hour but not sure about that as there isn't much privacy and I don't want it to be a spectator sport.

I need to be more definite in my goals each week/weekend and actually work on them rather than sloping off and doing something else - another list looms.

At the moment my priority is to face the week ahead - I am working a full week so will need to be organised so that I can cope.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

A List

We had to go and buy some curtain hanger thingies and of course I got lost in the store on the way out and ended up amongst the fabric. I did succumb to some cat fabrics and another novelty type for a project that I wanted to try. It was while I was waiting at the counter to be served that my non quilter friend spotted all the Christmas fabrics at 75% discount. Well what was I to do?? About $60 later I left but the rest of the damage was went we went back to the store later to get a refund on the curtain thingies that we didn't need. There was a lovely cream on cream print amongst the Christmas fabrics and at 75% off I ended up buying the 9 1/2 metres that was left on the bolt.

Anyhow the list of fabrics that did the damage was:

Two cat fabrics - 1/2 metre each
Palm trees & stars - 2 metres (I at least have a special project for this fabric)
Cream christmas fabric 9 1/2 metres
Poinsetta & black - 4 metres (good for table cloths)
Xmas patch - 2 metres
Festive patch - 1 metre
Bows & ornaments - 1 metre
Green print 1 metre
Red print 1 metre

so much for trying to cut down on fabric and using more of what I have good in the stash.