What I am reading in bed – September

33 artists book

And the recipients should have received their ATCs for August. The theme was ‘chair’. I took my inspiration from a sketch of a peacock chair. The background is colour washed inktense sticks and the chair was FME using two colours of metallic thread, charcoal and a silver on top. I love the illuminations black jewel metallics which I bought from the Thread studio, they have great depth of colour.

Peacock chair 2

September 11, 2015 at 9:22 am 2 comments

Catch up fabric swaps and ATC’s

This will be a double month catch up.

Generally I need to wait a few weeks to ensure the overseas fabric swaps (through Ning group Stitchin Fingers) have reached their destination before publishing details – I’d hate to be a spoiler of the great surprises we get when we open our envelopes. However, quite often I forget to take photos before popping them in the envelopes!

May prompt was ‘sewing altered’, a very broad range of techniques were possible. I decided to have a go at insertion lace using machine stitching and dissolvable. Strips of sari silk were pieced together before rinsing out the dissolvable and then machine stitching dyed cocoon strips resulting in a very landscape like piece of fabric. This result also inspired me to decide on making an entry for Bery Patchwork’s “Kimberley Dreaming’ exhibition.

FME silk stripsJune’s ATC theme was brown paper and foil so that also became my June fabric swap as well as it was a free choice.

“The brown paper bag is the only thing civilized man has produced that does not seem out of place in nature.” Tom Robbins

The ATC was created using the info in the tutorial from Sue Bleiwiess on making a brown paper journal.


The brown paper was painted, crumpled a few times, rubbed with stamp pads, foiled and vliesofixed to tea dyed calico. The surface was FME’d using metallic threads.

The handles from the brown paper bags were also thrown into the tea dye bucket and then manipulated into celtic knots before being hand-stitched in place. Finally spangles were hand stitched in place.

I made enough of the brown paper ‘leather’ to also send off to my fabric ‘swapees’.

Brown celtic

July ATC theme was the Australian Bush.

Although we are not living in the Aussie bush, our property is in a rural area which includes much native vegetation, as well as close proximity to a nature reserve (over the paddocks).

Within our boundaries I try to retain some ‘wild’ areas as habitat and protection for the many native creatures that share our home- skinks, blue tongue lizards and echidnas as well as myriad visiting birds and insects.

For this ATC I chose to depict our resident echidna, whom we unfortunately don’t spot all that often. The techniques include drawing/washing colour with inktense crayons, FME and hand embroidery.

Painting the echidnas

Painting the echidnas

Echidna 1Now working on finishing my July/August fabric swaps: printing and another free choice plus August ATC swap: ‘chair’. All of these are at advanced stages and should be ready to send off by the end of next week.


August 21, 2015 at 11:30 pm 1 comment

Leaf-May ATCs

I’m assuming these ATCs have been received so I will show a little of the process I used to make them. I decided to go with a macro version of a leaf for this ATC so I started by doing an image search on the web for inspiration. I also had a couple of photos taken in our garden for inspiration as well, then sketched up a design.

To make the base I layered coloured strips of fabric and vliesofixed to a base calico fabric.

ATC sheet 1

This was covered with chiffon and I added some extra colour with watercolour sticks and auditioned some threads for free machining.

adding colour

Auditioning threads

and then FME’d using some cording to make the veining stand out.


and a close up with some beads hand stitched for dewdrops.


Atc 4

A couple of the beautiful ATCs received for this month’s theme:

leafAnd my walk this week on the beach- still winter chilly but some welcome sun and blue skies.

Winter beach

I almost have my May/June fabric swaps, June ATCs and a wall quilt for SWTAFE finished. All were held up by three days in bed with a winter virus but I’m hoping to get them all posted before we head off north for a welcome holiday in warmer climes this week.

June 28, 2015 at 1:58 pm 1 comment

Vintage Irish linen

I have just purchased this vintage Irish linen dress for $6, size 8 is too small for me but I’m thinking of deconstructing and eco dyeing it a la India Flint style.

However I would hate to do this if it has a provenance that is more important when left in the original condition.  The dress has a Moygashel label and is well tailored with sleeve and pleat godets.

If you know anything about this garment let me know before I re-purpose it.



front of dress

front of dress

Close up of buttons

Close up of buttons

Sleeve godets and fastenings

Sleeve godets and fastenings

It also has a metal side zipper. I would love to know the age of the dress. I visited a few online sites but am still not sure.


June 7, 2015 at 12:09 am 1 comment

April ATCs-Graffiti

The theme for our April ATC swap was graffiti. I received some fantastic ATCs for this theme:



For my ATC I used a free online graphics program to create the font and then printed onto canvas. This is the blurb that was attached to the back explaining the process:


…is a social comment in a public arena.

This ATC was created using a free Graffiti making program and reads ‘Tread Lightly’. It was printed onto canvas fabric and then fused to pelmet Vilene. The hand embroidery stitches across the centre are Knotted pearl stitch (http://www.needlenthread.com/2012/08/knotted-pearl-stitch-video.html) and a simple running stitch and French knots to add texture. The edging is a machine made cord attached to the edge. Like most graffiti it is bold and brash.

Graffiti ATC 1

Close up

Close up

And another

And another

May 22, 2015 at 11:03 pm 1 comment

Fabric swap

I can now post my latest fabric alteration results as I have heard they have been arriving at their destinations overseas. For March the designated technique was discharge.

I already had some discharge paste so I tried that first but found the results very disappointing. I then purchased some decolourant plus and found the effects just as poor, if not worse!

Back to bleach. I bought a new bottle of strong gel bleach, I don’t usually have it in the house being a natural cleaner type of person (i.e. vinegar is the strongest I go).

Excellent results straight off and very quick to activate on the navy broadcloth.

I rinsed in vinegar and water to de-activate the bleach and then washed in a little synthrapol.

Bleach discharge

Bleach discharge

April was a ‘choose your own adventure’ and I had an indigo kit I had purchased so decided to try that out. Unfortunately I think the dye powder or chemicals were too old (I did buy on sale) so there was no reaction when mixed. I will try again with fresh materials at a later date. As I had already tied, banded, clamped etc the fabrics, I made up a dye bath of Procion dark navy and used that for the dyeing instead. It is great fun unwrapping the parcels to see what effects you have. Strangely the colour on the silks was more purplish.

Swap fabrics

Swap fabrics

Silk clamped with washer and metal door handle

Silk clamped with washer and metal door handle

Silk rubber banded with plastic capping

Silk rubber banded with plastic capping

On the weekend was Mother’s day so here is the delicious ‘smoothie bowl’ my darling daughter made to follow the cooked eggs, bacon, spinach, tomato and mushrooms on sourdough.

smoothie bowlAnd the winter weather has hit, and it is still autumn. This was the effect of hailstorms overnight Tuesday:

The outdoor table

The outdoor table

The garden

The garden



May 14, 2015 at 12:27 pm 3 comments

Pink High Tea for Cancer

Yesterday our footy/netball club held a pink high tea fundraiser for cancer. Despite the dreadful, wet and cold weather we had a sell out crowd and hopefully raised lots of money through auctions, raffles and donations.

To celebrate the event one of our netball players arranged for sponsorship through her husbands plumbing company. This paid for the A grade girls to wear pink netball dresses for their game and a beautiful glass trophy for the winner (which luckily was us!).

The rooms and courts were decorated in pink bras and I was commissioned to construct a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ trophy using a decorated pink bra. My husband did a great job of putting together an old trophy and attaching a pink netball onto which was latched the bra.

I visited a couple of op shops and managed to find a lovely, new, pink, lace bra for $2 as well as lots of glitzy fabrics and ribbons.

Op Shop haul

Op Shop haul

This was a fun sewing project as it needed to be as garish and ‘out there’ as posssible. No good taste involved whatsoever! I started by making lots of suffolk puffs to edge the bra and then added bows, beads, sequins, buttons and some simple embroidery. It was very well received, the male president in pink shirt and beanie was quite happy to be photographed with it.

The 'cup Cup'

The ‘cup Cup’

Close up

Close up



May 10, 2015 at 11:58 am 1 comment

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