Archive for February, 2009

Quilts galore

I was going to call this post ‘just a quickie’ as it’s late and I’m tired after a couple of big days in Melbourne, but thought better of it.

Thursday we took the school on an excursion (two hours driving each way) to the Ceres Environmental Education Centre in Brunswick. This is an area in the inner suburbs which is teaching sustainability by example. There is a fantastic cafe with yummy food, mostly grown on site and many environmentally friendly systems operating, showcasing recycling, solar power, water conservation etc. We all had a wonderful, if tiring day.

Friday I had to pop up to Melbourne once again to uni, so I took the opportunity to drop into the Australasian Quilt Convention at the Royal Exhibition Buildings. Unfortunately this building is too cavernous to air condition so it was nice to stop every now and then in front of  a fan as it was a very warm day. Dale’s Embellisher Challenge was on display with some really lovely and interesting pieces. I booked in for an Embellisher workshop to have a try at the Babylock. We made the scarf below which was great fun.


There were also some lovely textured quilts in amongst the more traditional styles. I took a few close up photos of the texture and stitching and also enjoyed seeing Dijanne Cevaal’s beautiful art ‘in the flesh’.










And finally some purchases: some rubbing plates for shiva sticks, beautiful hand dyed silk thread and silk carrier rods from Dale (Dale had some great pieces and little books made from the carrier rods that she showed in her little talk/demo); some cotton lace which will be used to add texture; inkjet printable fabric; some lovely NZ batiks (from Tulis textiles); and I also bought a bias strip maker, a beading foot for my sewing machine, a pendant threadcutter to use on the plane and a little bunny Japanese button for Claudia.


Time for bed


February 28, 2009 at 10:57 pm 3 comments

Angels and stuff

A progress report on what’s been happening. I have been working/out/socialising so much there hasn’t been much time to ‘art’.

I have signed on for a six week challenge at the local gym. We have bootcamp sessions Monday and Friday at 6am, keep a food diary, are expected to do weights sessions another three times a week and some form of exercise on the other two days!!! To fit this in around work, four children, uni and arting is quite a feat (but I’m working on it). I have managed to do some of this but I’m not at peak capacity yet. It’s a matter of utilising every spare 40 minutes and squeezing it all together. Thus I’ve done a weight session on the way home from work, after dropping children off, prior to picking up etc. Also needing to fit housework and cooking in there somewhere. Luckily the eldest daughter is very good at grabbing a load of washing and hanging it out (thanks Carlz).

Last weekend eldest daughter and I  toodled off to Melbourne with SIL and niece to see the stage show ‘Wicked’, a sensationally beautiful show and a fantasical story. We went to a great Japanese restaurant in Fed Square for tea and then to the Regent Theatre. We all enjoyed it immensely, though I was glad I hadn’t taken Claudia; it was a bit too scary and ‘old’ for an eight year old.

Now to arty progress. This is a mock up of the body for the ‘sea angels’ (corn flake packets come in very handy for this sort of thing) standing on my wooden cheese board, which is the size I planned for the wooden base. 


I have cut the triangular pieces from pelmet vilene and have been looking for a source of ‘builder’s scrim’ sometimes called cotton tape by the plastering fraternity. Most plasterers today use fibreglass (ezy tape) which is self adhesive. I assume the cotton tape is used mainly for renovating older homes. I have decided not to use quink ink as it is a little dark, so I’m using a technique from Angie Hughes’ new book, Stitch, Cloth, Paper, Paint, which I borrowed from the library. The clearly displayed process uses tissue paper and scrim PVA’d to the vilene followed by machine stitching, gesso, paint and hand stitching.


Now a couple of photos of some op shop finds. Nikki is about to release a new laptop bag/satchel pattern (for which I have been waiting). Nikki’s bag patterns are sensational, both in style and the detailed notes which amount to a workshop on how to make each bag. At the op shop I picked up two bags, one brand new, for $2.00 each. I will cut them up for the buckles, rings, bag feet, and zippers with gorgeous zipper pulls. The webbing strap with fittings will make a perfect strap for my laptop bag. I also picked up the two macro suede pieces for footstools or cushions and the ribbed fabric for placemats (matches some I already have) for $1 each. The larger book is for Maggie’s workshops and the smaller is an interesting historical look at textiles (c1968): weaving, tapestry, spinning, batik, printing, lace making, embroidery etc. I have been following Helen Cowan’s blog on the history of English embroidery so this will be a good adjunct.


booksetcI’m off to prepare for a day in Melbourne. I have to go to uni first and then to the Australasian Quilt Convention. I’m looking forward to a few workshops to try out a variety of sewing and embellisher machines.


February 26, 2009 at 8:56 pm 1 comment

Bushfire Relief

The response to the victims of the Victorian bushfires has been phenomenal from all sectors of the community, both here in Australia and in many countries overseas.

I’ve just been browsing this site which may be of interest to many Victorian crafters/artists who feel they would like to do something practical to help out besides the amazing amount of money that is being donated.handmade-help

February 15, 2009 at 1:45 pm Leave a comment

50th Post

My very first post on this blog was on 21st January 2008. My target was to blog once a week. As it is now 15th February I didn’t quite make that target for the first year, however I have found it a great experience and have met some truly wonderful and inspirational bloggers on-line.

This year will be a very busy one with the research project and thesis looming that will require first priority. However it is necessary to achieve this and move onto the next stage of my career as a teacher, now my children are becoming independent and the eldest is moving onto university (and perhaps out of home).

Another milestone this week was the inaugural meeting of the new Geelong Creative Fibre Arts Group for which I have set up a blog for informing our members of our activities and highlighting our achievements. I would like to thank and acknowledge Margaret’s Serentex blog for the inspiration and example for this new blog.

This group has stemmed from a core group of creative textile artists of the Geelong Embroiderer’s Guild who saw a need for a sharing and supportive group in Geelong. At our first meeting Claudia and I did a demonstration of wet and dry silk paper making and we introduced our first project: to make and swap ATC’s with the group. Many members brought some lovely pieces to show and after meeting all the ladies, I’m sure it will be a fantastic, inspiring and sharing group


February 15, 2009 at 12:52 pm 1 comment

State of Emergency

We have been watching the TV and listening in to ABC radio absolutely stunned by the ferocity and volume of the bushfires currently ravaging Victoria. We are extremely lucky not to have been directly affected thus far. These have surpassed the Ash Wednesday fires with the death toll at 66.  As the Prime Minister said, it’s lovely to live in/near the bush except……A state of emergency has been declared and the armed forces mobilised to help out. I intend going to give blood tomorrow, just a small way to help out the burns victims in hospital.

Despite the heat I have managed some stitching. Below the title is double interlaced running stitch (Sharon’s sampler band 5). The block underneath is my exploration of chicken scratch for the Stitch Explorer Challenge. They are all perle cottons 5 or 8. Check out some of the participants’ blogs on the Stitch Explorer site,  the range of stitching is fantastic.


Off to bed early as I start bootcamp again in the morning. Up at 5.30am!


February 8, 2009 at 9:24 pm 1 comment

Hotch Potch

Hold on to your hats as this is a catch up post on a variety of different projects.

Firstly was a last minute stitch up of a carry on bag for our Australia Day weekend to Sydney (north of actually). We had been invited to a friend’s 50th birthday celebration near Gosford, so a friend and I got onto the web whilst also plotting our moves on the phone, to book our flights and plan our trip. There are some ultra cheap flights to be had when travelling ‘light’ (carry on luggage only). Flights booked, train timetables checked, I moved onto measuring bags currently held in various cupboards and rooms in our home. Only one bag was the correct size. Emails to Nikki followed, who suggested adjusting her beach bag pattern to the required size. (Didn’t have it, no time to post down!). Onto the net and found this free tutorial. I adjusted the sizes to suit, used a few of Nikki’s tips in the bag patterns which I did have, searched out the curtain/upholstery fabric sampler books in the garage and came up with a very stylish carry on bag. (I think so anyway).



carry-on-bag-1carry-on-bag-2carry-on-bag-3I have also had a little Op shopping, primarily to get supplies for arting. I found a fantastic stainless steel ladle for heating UTEE for Maggie’s on line classes for Textile Translations, A great clear plastic ice cube tray for paints and dyes, a Portman’s skirt for wearing to 50th birthday (teamed perfectly with Brown Sugar top reduced to 19.99 from $80). Also a great Craft and Decorating magazine, some calico (75 cm ready washed for use) and 1.5 m of the lovely stone coloured wool/spandex fabric (will end up a skirt or jacket). All for $7.00!!!


I have also been stitching, on and off, on my sampler 2009, which incorporates stitches from following Sharon B’s sampler documentation, as well as the Stitch Explorer challenge. There are some great examples of the first challenge stitch, chicken scratch, linked from Sharon’s blog. One great link I came across was Emily’s blog freebies link. Check out Emily’s blog, it is a great source of lots of interesting patterns. I’m thinking of  making her mini biscornu to practice the chicken scratch.

I have spent today working on the proposal for the ‘Sea Angels’ for the Johnston Collection, which have been emailed off for approval. The proposal includes many of the techniques that I have discovered while browsing many textile artists sites (thankyou all). I am spending tomorrow trying out Maggie’s techniques from her on-line classes to also incorporate. Will hopefully have some photos to post shortly.

This is a photo of the three generations at my nephew’s wedding.



February 1, 2009 at 9:21 pm 3 comments


February 2009

Notebook Project