Monday, December 31, 2007

Old habits are hard to break

It's New years Eve and as the title says--Old habits are hard to break.
One of my mothers old sayings were"if you have an untidy home on New Years Eve your home will be untidy all year long"
Now isn't that a doozy--but it is embedded in my mind- always has been and it always will be---so today the ritual began again.
The cleaning has been done -the beds have been changed--the washing is done and when it is dry it will be ironed all before the new year rings in.
How tidy is this lounge room(I hope I don't have visitors). I remember one year I was running late and it was 11.30pm and I still had my sewing room floor to vac. --I was going flat out and hadn't realised that the vac. cord had wrapped itself around the sewing machine foot control and when I pulled on the cleaner the next thing I knew was that the sewing machine had done a head dive onto the floor...eeeek.
I timidly picked it up -to frightened to see if it was broken --cussed a few choice words--plugged it back in and thankfully there was no damage----and no it wasn't my Bernina it was a Janome which I had before the Bernina.
So now I start the ritual early in the day just so I can relax around midnight.
I have cleaned the sewing room but I am not going to show you because even though it has been cleaned it still looks messy and I can live with it but I don't think I need to scare you at this point in time.
I think I will have to resolve to try to keep it in a better shape but please don't think bad of me if
or should I say when I fail.
Lastly let me wish all my blogging friends a wonderful-creative New Year and I will see you in 2008

Happy New Year

Friday, December 28, 2007

Calendar Girls January postcard

This is my interpretation of the January page in the Calendar Girls challenge.
I have used the vase in my first postcard because whenever I looked at the page all I saw was the vase.
For the background I have used some of Lynda's hand dyed scrim needlefelted onto a piece of dark green commercial wool felt.
I also used a piece of her blue scrim for the vase.
The flowers were free machine stitched onto the background with gold thread and I then added different shades of brown beads onto the centres.
I was looking for a way to add the words "gift" and "friends" onto the card because these words appear in the verse on the page as well.
I remembered having a stamp that had the word friend on it and while searching for it I discovered the stamp that I have used which was perfect.
I can't ever remember using this stamp before--but then I could say that about a lot of other stamps that I have as well.

Here is a close-up picture of the beaded centres of the flowers.

These are the fabrics and flowers that I used in the postcard---aren't those scrims a beautiful colour.

And a close-up of the stamped words

This postcard is for Dianne--I hope you like it Dianne.
If you would like to see the original picture that we have based our postcards on -click on the Calendar Girls logo on the left and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas report and ATC's

It seems we have survived another Christmas eat-a-thon and it always amazes me why we all have to eat so much Christmas dinner-- anyone would think that food was going to go out of fashion but none the less we still get stuck into it.
We had a wonderful day with the family and Ebony was up at 5am trying to sneak past our bedroom door to see what presents were under the tree but she got caught by Poppy who was lying awake listening to me snore(can't help bad luck can you).
Anyway I got up with her at about 6am and it was all go from then on.
We sat down to our roast dinner and Christmas pudding around 1pm and by 2.30 I had fallen asleep but not Ebony she was still playing with her Nintendo DS.
All in all it was a wonderful day and it was nice to have the family together again for Christmas which is the first time in 6 years.
I thought I would also show you 2 ATC's that I received last week from my friend Robin in Queensland(Aus).
Robin doesn't have a blog but she does the most amazing work and I always love to receive things from her.
Robin informed me that she used a technique from Lynda's blog for the background fabric I think it's the one with the gold foil.
Thank you Robin I love them both.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Greetings

The Reason for the Season

I would like to wish all my blogging friends and their families a happy and Holy Christmas and a creative 2008.

I would also like to thank the many visitors who have taken the time to look at and sometimes leave comments on my blog- because the time that you have spent passing by has made the last year a memorable one for me.

I have made many valuable and lasting friendships over the last 12 months and I thank you all for your support and encouragement.

I shall be taking a few days break to be with family at this special time so I'll see you after Christmas.

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 22, 2007

200th Post and the last TAST stitches.

Well we are finally at the end of the TAST Challenge and I must say I am sad that it is over- but I am also looking forward to the Take it Further challenge that Sharon is holding next year.
This week we were given the last 2 stitches because next week Tuesday is on Christmas day.
And how appropriate it is to have my 200th post with the last 2 TAST stitches- seeing as I only started a blog because of the TAST challenge.
I have met some wonderful people in this time and formed great friendships with many of them and this would not have been possible but for this challenge and Sharon encouraging me to start a blog.
Enough said about that -here are the last 2 stitches--week 51 is Chained Bar stitch (the bottom photo) and week 52 is Spanish Feather stitch.

Spanish Feather stitch is a twisted chain stitch worked in the style of Feather stitch criss- crossing from side to side.
I loved doing this stitch but in the beginning I found it hard to keep it straight- and I had to unpick it a couple of times and I ended up drawing two lines so that I could stay within the boundaries.
I can see me using this stitch again.

Chained Bar is worked over a foundation of straight stitches and the chain is then criss-crossed over them.
I found this a bit awkward to work over the threads so I tried stitching over a narrow ribbon because I saw that someone else had done it (but I can't remember who) and I found this much easier to work over.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ins and Outs

Recently Anna set a challenge that if she sent us a piece of her rusted fabric could we make a piece of art from it.
We there goes that magic word again "challenge" and I jumped in without hesitation.
I made a small art quilt which I forgot to measure but I think it was about 8" square.
I had a small photo on fabric that I purchased several years ago from a craft show- not sure who it was made by though.
I stitched this in the centre and then added some antique laces and ribbons and a piece of hand made lace across the top of the photo.
Anna also sent us some metallic beads that she had made and these are in the lace on the left hand side.
I was pleased with how it all came together and Anna has now received it.

I received the beautiful ATC from Annica which has a needlefelted background with running stitches and some wonderful hand stitched flowers.
Absolutely beautiful Annica thank you very much.

Lastly I went to my daughters place after Church this morning and this Fungi was growing under a tree --I don't know what type it is but the design and texture is beautiful ---
Hmmm I see a design pattern coming up----------

Thursday, December 13, 2007

TAST Week 50 Berry Stitch

Berry stitch is the stitch for week 50 of TAST with only 2 more weeks to go.
I have really enjoyed doing the TAST challenge and have learned a lot of new stitches in the process.
I am also glad that I continued on week after week because I now have 2 wonderful A4 folders with all the instructions and samples for every stitch so far.
I want to thank Sharon for all the effort she has put into this challenge to make it the success that it has been and also congratulate the survivors who have seen it out until the (almost) end.
Well done everyone.
So onto this weeks stitch--Berry Stitch.
This stitch has great possibilities especially in Crazy Patchwork where butterflies and flowers can be worked without too much effort.
In my sample I have used hand dyed silk ribbon--the flower is worked in 4mm wide ribbon and the butterfly in 7mm silk ribbon
I also managed to get in last weeks Pistil stitch in the butterflies feelers-a french knot in the centre of the flower and some running stitch for the butterflies trail.

Sharon is having another one next year called the "Take it Further Challenge" and if you would like to participate then click on the link to her name above and it will take you to the direct page.

Trust me you won't regret it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More Mail

I received this beautiful Christmas card from Anna yesterday and it was a real surprise.
I love the way she has constructed the tree and if you click to enlarge it you will see how it was made.
I love it Anna.

More lovely things in the mail--well most of them anyway.

The first photo is of two Christmas tree ornaments that I received from a friend at the Embroiderers Guild.

Aren't they beautiful-they are made of silk and have gold stitching on them.

Next is an ACT from Bina who comes from Israel--this is a needlefelted Atc and she also included some of her hand woven wools.
Very nice Bina.

Lastly another Christmas swap this time with with Annica and this has a needlefelted background and a paper Christmas tree I am amazed at the great ideas that Annica comes up with.

This is beautiful Annica,

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Catching up--TAST-Weeks 48 and 49

I'm playing catch up again and I have just made it before the big 50 is announced- week 50 that is.
The top one is week 48 Knotted cable Chain stitch which looks very nice in this variegated thread as each one has come out a different colour.
Not a hard stitch to do either.
The background fabric is a lovely lemon shade but here it just looks a dirty colour.

Week 49 is pistil stitch and I quite enjoy doing this stitch maybe it's the French knot bit on the end.
I started out thinking I would do some flowers and after a few of them they began to look like snowflakes so then I found some fancy thread I think it's called Glisten Gloss but I'm not sure ,but they definitely looked like snowflakes-if you click on the picture to enlarge it you can see the sparkle.
The fabric is a fine even weave linen and the other white thread is perle 5.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Watch this Space

You may have noticed a new button with beautiful purple flowers down the left hand side of the page --yes-- well there is a new group called "Calender Girls 2008" and I am lucky enough to be part of it.
Don't expect nude photos because you won't get any but do expect fabulous textiles when we get into full swing in January.
Like I said "Watch this space"

Saturday, December 8, 2007

A Bit of this and a Bit of that

I have been busy making covers for diaries for Christmas presents--these are slim pocket size diaries and I have used silk fabric for the plain coloured ones and the black one is a printed velvet fabric.
I have stitched on the 2 plain ones with gold thread
I make a sleeve cover that can be slipped off and used again if needed.

And here is the Christmas postcard that I received from Kate--she thought I could use some snow to cool me down.
Thanks Kate

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It's that time of the year again

Tonight we put up our Christmas tree and all the decorations.
Now you have to understand the tradition that goes on here--you see we have had this tree for 46 years -we got it when we first were married and it has been there every year but one -when we thought we would have a real tree-but that only happened once because it gave both my husband and son hay fever.
My family call the tree "Annorexia" because it looks half starved before you decorate it-at the time when we brought it they were all like this.
If you click on the picture you will be able to see the skinny branches but once we laden it down with all the tinsel and baubles it looks much better.
Here is a photo of Ebony putting the final touches onto it.

So here we go with what has to go onto this tree- as well as the lights and tinsel---there is a box of baubles

Then there are the golden musical instruments we brought in Singapore about 13 years ago--can't leave them off can we.

Oh and there are these plastic bells--there were 12 of them 46 years ago but alas only 4 have survived all the house moving(6 times) that has gone on since they first adorned this magnificent tree.

But wait there's more---some hand made felt decorations that I made 30 years ago--they have to go on the tree because Ebony loves them..

Next we have Santas---These don't go on the tree but they sit under the tree and are scattered around the room-------there are 4 more small ones that do hang on the tree and if you look hard enough you will see one near the bottom of Ebony's shirt--oh and please excuse her dirty school shirt-guess who has to wash it.

Now we have Angels --only one can sit on the top of the tree and it has to be the one in the top left hand corner because it's the only one that will fit properly-how many Angels does one tree need--all of them of course because they get scattered around on and under the tree.

And what about this snowman --he is made from wadding and he has a tin underneath to support him-my sister made him for me over twenty years ago --how sick is that--we don't even have snow here at Christmas.

You really have to be crazy to go through this ritual every year but my family expect to see "Annorexia" in all her finery when they come for dinner on Christmas Day.
Does anyone else out in blogland hoard there Christmas stuff like me?
I doubt it.

Postcards and a pressie

Yesterday I received this postcard from Val in a Christmas swap that we had-It is wonderful as it has a wintery theme like a white christmas.
We don't have white Christmas's here in OZ we have stinking hot weather and we sit inside with the air conditioner roaring trying to cool us down.
Thank you Val it is a beautiful card.
Today I received this beautiful postcard from Dianne- the photo doesn't do it justice but you can trust me it is wonderful.

And also in the packet was this wool felted mobile phone pouch--how did she know what size to make as it fits my phone perfectly.
Thank you Dianne you are a star.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Last week I received this monster from Dot and because Blogger was being a pain in the bum I did not put it on my blog until now.
Dot has been making Monsters lately and I think they are going to take over the world just the same as the Dotee doll did.
He sits next to my sewing machine and I just have to luagh when I see him as he looks like he is saying "Hi Doreen what are you waiting for -get on with it".
Anyway thanks Dot he has fitted in with the rest of my *family* of internet dolls really well.
And it is nice to see that Mr Blogger has fixed the picture problem that we all seem to have been experiencing.
3 cheers for Mr. Blogger--hip hip hooray--hip hip hooray--hip hip hooray.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Church Banners

Back in April I posted this photo of my friend Dimity and I in front of the Church banner that we had made.
The central blue panel is a permanent feature but the two end panels are changed at the beginning of each Liturgical season.
Last Sunday was the first Sunday in Advent so the purple panels were hung for the first time since we completed the whole Banner.
I am now able to post photos of all 4 colours at last--I have been waiting for the last one to be hung so that I could take a photo.
If you wish to know the symbol of the magpie and spiral leaves click on the link to April

I must say my favouroute is the purple one but then I am partial to purple.

Sorry about the flash off the cross but it was late evening when I took the photo.
For some reason in the last two postings when I click on the photos a box pops up asking me do I want to open the file or save it etc.etc.I don't know why this is happening and I'm not sure if it happens when you click on the photos either.
If anyone has an answer to my problem I would sure love to know what to do.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Bad Bad Blogger

I have been trying to upload photos for about an hour and I am about to pull my hair out---if Mr blogger were here I would pull his hair out so come back tomorrow and see if it works or if I am bald.

Friday, November 30, 2007

What we did yesterday

Well it all started the night before really---I chopped up the fruit --put it in a big bowl--added some brandy--added a bit more for good luck --covered it up and let it soak over night.

Thursday afternoon my apprentice chef turned up to help--in hindsight not a good idea.
But anyway the apprentice broke the eggs into the mixture while the cook did the mixing.
Excuse the fat arms but it was hot and excuse the unsightly cords in the background also.

The apprentice just had to get her hands into the mixture--don't know what the health dept. would say about this but her hands were very clean.
Note the texta on the arms--not a good look.

The cook was putting the mixture into the pudding cloths but the apprentice had lost interest by this time --she had more important things to do.

All done and 6 hours later they were cooked.

I look forward to making my Christmas puddings every year--the good old fashioned way in a calico cloth-boiled in a big pot and the hung up to dry for a few weeks.
Does anyone else out there still go through this ritual?
I love it- love it -love it.
And I love eating it with Brandy cream-- Yummy

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Swaps and Gifts

Yesterday I received in the mail these fantastic gifts from Susan Lenz--if you have never visited her blog-do yourself a favour and drop by for a peek you won't regret it.
Susan does the most awesome textile art.
The top item is a postcard--Susan is new to making postcards and I am so glad I have one of her first.
On the right hand side are two bookmarks that are made from handmade paper with fibres and stitching--they remind me of gum leaves.
The circle is one of Susan's Christmas tree decorations and the texture is wonderful.
Thank you Susan.

Next is an ATC from Anne L in France--Anne doesn't have a blog.
This is the second ATC swap I have done with Anne and she does the most amazing cross stitch ATC's
This one is a little girl with a bucket and spade down at the beach and that flower looks to me very much like an Australian Wattle.
Very apt for us here heading into our Summer.
Thank you Anne your stitching is so beautiful.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Next Years Challenge with Sharon Boggan

Sharon has just announced what next years challenge will be and it sounds exciting.
We are almost at the end of this years TAST challenge and I must say I have enjoyed it so much and it has made me realise that I don't do enough hand embroidery.
The new challenge will be called the "Take It Further Challenge"
So if you are interested in doing a challenge next year look into this one and you can find all the details here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Nuno Felting Workshop

Over the last Weekend I did another workshop with Fiona Wright who is a fabulous Australian Feltmaker.
Here are some of my samples----The first one has a cotton base with the wool fibres laid on to it and a crappy scarfe over the top --I was really please with this sample.
It measures 23cm square.

This is the crappy scarfe ...................
This piece is 19cm square and has a cotton base with various shades of mauve wool layered over it and another scarfe this time silk georgette laid on top--the piece started out 40cm square in the beginning.

This is what the scarfe looked like in the beginning.

This is my Autumn piece and it measures 28cm x 21 cm.
I used a piece of rusted fabric as the base then layered autumn tones of wool on top then placed a piece of hand dyed silk organza over it.
I really like this piece and will embellish it with stitches.

And this is the reverse side which would be just as nice as the front as a stand alone piece.
It will be interesting to see what it looks like after I have stitched the other side.

More to follow.