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’.
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.
Close up showing the different thicknesses-lots of fun grouting!
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
Next 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.
To complete I added ‘speakers’ using buttons and a buttonhole stitch covered washer.
The backing was formatted in text box on a word doc and printed onto canvas.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Back to the sewing machine then to make a FME gold thread skirt, this time I did use the flower stitcher to embellish.
I also made gold tassels which were added to the bottom after washing out the solvy.
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.
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).
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.
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 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.
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.
Despite the warnings the day before we managed to arrive in beautiful Vernazza in 1.5 hours.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As 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.
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.
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.
Kipper and I had a lovely walk on the beach this morning; no wind and the sun shining.
The tide was way out so a good chance to walk around the rock pools:
The king tides recently have caused a bit of dune slip and damage:
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.