Studio update

I managed to finish my ATC  and Fabric swaps on time and all have now been posted . I won’t blog about the fabric yet as it will take at least a week to arrive at destinations in USA and England. The ATCs should have arrived as they were local.

The theme for the EGV December ATC swap was green. I started with vliesofixed strips and scraps of sari silk, dyed silk rods and other fabric onto a cotton sheeting that had paint overspray from an Angie Hughes project. This was overlaid with green organza and then fine black netting. I have used FME and Flower stitcher over the layers and then burnt back sections using the heat gun. The whole piece was vliesofixed onto pelmet vilene before being cut to size and then zigzag edged. They are named ‘Eucalyptus Forest’.

ATC 1

ATC 3

ATC 4

ATC 2

Now I need to do some cleaning up in the shed so that I can start on the wedding dresses.

I have also finished off the tiling above the sink in the studio. I sourced tiles from Restorers Barn, Mill Markets, Bunnings and some beautiful handmade tiles from Gillian’s gorgeous shop, Leaf & Stone, at Wintergarden. I am really happy with how they turned out given it is my first wall tiling attempt and I chose a variety of sizes, shapes and thicknesses of the tiles. Kind of reminds of Mexican adobe style.

I also used some vanilla coloured grout out of the garage so a good, cheap, recycling effort all round.

Tiling

Tiling 2

Close up showing the different thicknesses-lots of fun grouting!

Tiling c-up

January 5, 2015 at 3:23 pm 2 comments

ATC and tiling

My November ATCs for the EGV swap have been received so here is the process I followed. The theme was music so I did an image search for soundwaves and came up with several stimulus photos. I had fabric from a resist dyeing challenge which had great patterning.

The fabric was ironed onto pelmet vilene and then FME with three different metallic threads to form the soundwaves

ATC 3Next step was hand stitch, using a lovely hand dyed perle and space dyed silk perle. The stitch is Sharon Boggon’s TAST Beaded barbed stitch.

ATC threads

ATC 4

ATC 5

To complete I added ‘speakers’ using buttons and a buttonhole stitch covered washer.

ATC 1

The backing was formatted in text box on a word doc and printed onto canvas.

ATC 2

December 25, 2014 at 1:56 pm 2 comments

Johnston Collection Christmas

The Johnston Collection Christmas exhibition ‘Twas the Night before Xmas’ is up and running so it is now okay I think to put up photos of the items I made to contribute to the front hallway. Our brief was to think about Mr Johnston’s travels and the focus was India so the colours chosen were the rich vibrant colours typical of textiles in that region.

As my contribution to the 12 days of Christmas I decided to FME in gold thread. As the size was limited I opted for one piper and the musical notes are in multiples of 11.

Drying the FME on a meat tray after washing out the solvy

Drying the FME on a meat tray after washing out the solvy

Backed and framed

Backed and framed

The main piece I contributed was the Christmas tree. I had hoped to light the tree using a battery operated tea light but it was deemed to be too tricky. The first step was to dye the silk fibres and shiboried silk. While I was dyeing I also dyed some silk thread and silk rods.

Dyeing

Shibori dyeing silk

Next step was making sheets of silk paper from the dyed fibres which were sewn onto a wire frame I constructed using the dyed silk threads.

Top of the tree showing wire to hold the dome

Top of the tree showing wire to hold the dome

The shibori silk was steamed to heat set the paints. I had intended to use my Flower stitcher foot to embellish the edge of the silk, but even with paper underneath it was not successful. So I used paper and FME’d in gold thread along the edge of the silk.

Attaching the shibori silk

Attaching the shibori silk

It was then attached by hand stitching to the frame and silk paper with variegated red silk thread.

The next stage was constructing the dome using silk strips, gold mesh and beading.

Constructing the dome

Constructing the dome

Back to the sewing machine then to make a FME gold thread skirt, this time I did use the flower stitcher to embellish.

Flower stitcher on solvy

Flower stitcher on solvy

I also made gold tassels which were added to the bottom after washing out the solvy.

The completed tree

The completed tree

Close up

Close up

Next item was a casket to join others made by various Geelong Artisan groups at the base of the tree. The casket was to feature the colour green. The gold motifs were made first using gel stamped onto vilene, embossing powder added and then heat gunned. Other materials used were silk fabrics, the dyed silk rods, braid, beads, FME gold thread, handstitching threads and cricula silk cocoons.

FME on the casket

FME on the casket

Front of casket

Front of casket

Attaching the lining

Attaching the lining

For some reason I didn’t take a photo of the casket when it was finished.

Claudia also contributed, making some embellished decorations for a small elephant which is to be in a gift box.

She drew up her design, painted the calico elephant and then used lots of embroidery and beads to embellish (unfortunately I also did not get a finished photo).

elephant rug design

elephant rug design

Elephant headpiece design

Elephant headpiece design

We are hoping to visit the display after Christmas, it is reported to be an amazing exhibition of the talented the artisans of Geelong, the Bellarine and Surfcoast.

 

 

 

 

December 19, 2014 at 10:00 am 1 comment

Cinque Terre

First day of Christmas holidays for me, so time to update the blog with our European adventures diary.

We arrived in Monterosso al Mare after a great train ride from Milan along with hordes of tourists including a few ‘herds of cattle’ following their flag. I had sent an sms to our next Airbnb with our time of arrival but unfortunately he was a no show to direct us to our accommodation- not answering phone calls or texts. After an hour’s wait we popped into the tourist shop to use the free internet and sent a message via Airbnb. He finally arrived on a pushbike and led us uphill about 1 km. The apartment was a complete rip off. I had paid extra to get a kitchen so that we could save some money on eating in but the kitchen was unusable due to antiquated sink/pipes (rusty water) and dirty dishes all over the sink and in the dishwasher. The bathroom hadn’t been cleaned and the tiny fridge was mouldy. I gave this place a scathing review on Airbnb and also sent a private message to Airbnb about how bad it was but they are still renting it out, very disappointing. Claudia wanted to leave and find somewhere else to stay but I decided we would use the room just to sleep and do our laundry and spend as much time as possible elsewhere.

Monterosso beach-for a fee!

Monterosso beach-for a fee!

 

Monterosso is very much a beach resort (think Barwon Heads about 20 years ago before it got Melbourne-ised), lots of tourists and the old part where we were staying was very atmospheric. The old and new towns are joined by a road tunnel and the main beach (where you have to pay to access) is in the newer part with the train station and some great beachside restaurants. After a stroll around and some shopping for fruit and yoghurt for breakfast, we went down to the newer area for dinner-great service and food. After dinner as we were walking back to our apartment we ran into some friends from OG! After a chat about the difficulty of the trek to the next village we decided to go to bed early and be up early to start the 1.5 hour trail for Vernazza the next morning.

views at dinner

views at dinner

 

Leaving Monterosso

Leaving Monterosso

We headed off at 8am and the first part of the trail was steeply uphill, many stops to check out the view and take a rest. The trail was amazing-varying between stone and gravel, narrow and wide but always with spectacular views and meandering among terraced gardens.

 

Coastline views

Coastline views

Bridge on trail to Vernazza

Bridge on trail to Vernazza

Despite the warnings the day before we managed to arrive in beautiful Vernazza in 1.5 hours.

Approcahing Vernazza

Approcahing Vernazza

This town has a lovely harbour with great little cafes and a church. The streets of Vernazza lead upwards from the harbour, a very pretty little town.

Arriving in Vernazza square

Arriving in Vernazza square

After a rest, snack and explore we decided to continue on to the next town before the weather heated up too much, another 1.5 hour trek through the hills to Corniglia.

Leaving Vernazza

Leaving Vernazza

This was another great trek and we rewarded ourselves with gelati and an ice slushie when we arrived. Corniglia is a very small town set on the hillside (no beach or harbour) with little laneways running everywhere and very picturesque.

Corneglia

Corneglia

Claudia loved these little front wheel trucks

Claudia loved these little front wheel trucks

We took the path to the train station; many, many flights of stone stairs down (we were glad we weren’t going up) as the rest of the trails to the remaining towns were closed.

Steps to Corniglia station

Steps to Corniglia station

A quick train trip and we were in Manarola, another very picturesque town with paths meandering around the boat harbour and great viewing of the coastline. We inquired about the ferry to the next town, bought tickets and decided to cool and rest our weary feet while we waited.

IMG_2359

The last town was Riomaggiore where we bought some lunch and wandered around the town, visiting our third church of the day.

We then took the train back to Vernazza where Claudia wanted to do some canoeing around the harbour.

canoeingAs it was getting latish we decided on a harbourfront cafe for a pizza dinner, chatting with the English couple at the next table. Then it was train back to Monterosso. The all inclusive train and park ticket is good value.

Next morning we were up early once again to breakfast down the main street at a lovely patisserie before our train to Florence.

 

 

December 17, 2014 at 6:07 pm Leave a comment

Milan

On leaving Venice we found ourselves in a beautifully appointed train for our 2.5 hour trip to Milan. We had purchased snacks and fruit for the trip and Claudia had her deck of cards from the flight over. Our card game of ‘Spit’ greatly amused the Italian grandfather sitting next to Claudia and we had a great ‘conversation’ using a mixture of our ‘piccolo’ Italian, a little English and lots of arm waving and sign language. He was off to Milan for a baptism and he was able to name lots of the past European tennis stars when Claudia told him she played tennis.

Arriving in Milan we had a long trek to the subway where we had to fend off very pushy gypsies trying to take over the ticket machines. I refused to pay them for their ‘services’ and we walked off to catch the train to our accommodation. Once again it was an airbnb in a residential area. This time however the area was quite different, lots of rubbish on the street and very busy main roads with lots of street traffic, quite a culture shock after the quietness of the canals of Venice. Our room, however was in an absolutely beautiful home once again, in a secure enclave. As we walked down the lane violin music drifted out a window.

Roberta’s home was also full of beautiful period furniture, art and detailing and a green oasis in the city. Our room was large with big windows opening onto the garden and a very welcoming host. As it was a Sunday we also met many of her family who were over for lunch. We, however headed back out to the subway (we bought a day ticket which would cover us until 2 pm the next day) to explore the city of Milan. We wandered around the square, deciding to come back the next day for a tour of the Duomo after Claudia’s shorts were rated too short!

We went for a walk along the shopping strip, tasted our first ‘piccolo cono, due gelato’, had a delicious lunch and then headed in to see a great exhibition of Leonado Da Vinci’s experimental inventions, precursors for many later engineering feats.

Back to the Duomo early the next morning, after a very refreshing sleep and breakfast (very handy subway goes right to the square) we were able to wander through the beautiful and huge church while it was quiet (before the herds of cattle and sheep arrived!), say the first of many prayers in many churches and climbed to the roof for the most amazing views of the structure itself and the city.IMG_2092

IMG_2126

 

IMG_2144

IMG_2121

Milan was getting ready for Fashion Week-we just missed it, like we just missed George Clooney’s wedding in Venice. We wandered around the streets window shopping until we found a lovely cafe for coffee and lunch and then headed back to our accommodation to collect our luggage, then back to the station for our train to Cinque Terre. Milan is another city I will have to return to, to explore further.

November 3, 2014 at 1:28 pm 1 comment

A Travelling we did go

My youngest daughter and I have been back from our backpacking adventure to Europe for two weeks, so it is about time I posted. While we were away I kept a travel diary on Facebook, which I had previously used to keep up with what others were up to but generally not posted on. It was a great way for friends and family to keep up with our trip, especially with the time differences and erratic internet access. although we did skype as often as possible.

Our trip was 12 months in the planning. The rest of the family (2 adult sons and husband) chose not to accompany us, so being my first time in Europe and travelling with my 14 year old daughter, my priority was to ensure our safety, as much as possible. I decided to book all our accommodation prior to leaving and we mostly used Airbnb, carefully selected for easy accessibility. It was the best decision I could have made, we met some wonderful people and my daughter and I had the wonderful advantage of local knowledge and accommodation in residential areas. The other great thing about our trip was staying with family in Heidelberg, Germany (now one of my favourite cities) and London (what a great action city).

Our departure was delayed on the day of our flight to London by an accident at school in which my daughter received concussion! So we flew out 2 days later, missed our tour of Buckingham palace and had to wait 5 hours for a rescheduled flight straight to Venice to pick up on our itinerary. We also lost the 2 days I had planned in London to rest after the long haul flight. We hit the canals of Venice and didn’t stop for the next 5 weeks!

From the Marco Polo airport we were able to purchase our 2 day travel passes and jump straight on a bus for the island. We each had a 7 kg backpack and no check in luggage which made all our travelling so much easier. Then it was an amazing twilight water bus ride to our vaporetto stop, 2 minute walk and we were at our amazing accommodation. Our bedroom was huge, full of beautiful antique furniture and paintings and two tiny balconies looking onto the canal. This bnb also had the best breakfasts, they were delicious and we felt very spoilt. Nearby at the local square (2 mins) were restaurants and shops so after a quick clean up and change we went out for a wander and dinner. The next days were spent visiting the islands of Murano and Burano, wandering around the Venice streets, crossing bridges and marvelling at the architecture. This is definitely somewhere I will be returning and next time it will be for at least a week.

We took thousands of photos on our mini iPad, definitely the best tool to travel with for photos and internet as it fitted into my little day travel bag and wasn’t too obtrusive. It allowed us to to edit our photos as we travelled and it was all backed up to icloud each time we had an internet connection. Claudia did a lot of the photography, much better than me, and we concentrated on getting the textures and unusual angles of our trip.

Venice

Claudia on one of our balconies

Claudia on one of our balconies

 

November 3, 2014 at 1:23 pm 1 comment

Beach walk

Kipper and I had a lovely walk on the beach this morning; no wind and the sun shining.

beach Aug 14

Beach August 14

The tide was way out so a good chance to walk around the rock pools:

rockpools Aug 14

The king tides recently have caused a bit of dune slip and damage:

dune slip

timber split

The sand had been completely washed away under these stairs. These photos were taken on my old phone and go a bit grainy if I zoom in!

We are so lucky to have such a beautiful place to recharge the batteries, I am grateful every time I go for this walk.

 

August 15, 2014 at 1:07 pm 2 comments

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