Saturday, 19 December 2009

Peacock bag - finished at last

I finally finished the bag I've been embroidering for the past couple of weeks. I wanted to use metallic threads to give a shimmery effect to the peacocks, but when I started I had no idea how difficult they would be to work with.

I had a false start when the knots at the back started to unravel after I had cut them off too short to re-tie (five hours' work down the drain and I had to start over). I sought the advice of my swap-bot girls and one of their tips was to use a bit of Fray Stoppa. It worked a lot better for keeping the knots intact, but made them super stiff. This, along with the general unco-operativeness of the thread ends, which refused to stay put when I tried to weave them into the backs of my stitches, forced me to spend quite a while neatening the back of the embroidery with plain thread:

Sunday, 13 December 2009

What are they?

Today I got out my fabric paints, a few left over bits of fabric, felt and embroidery floss ends and messed around with the button kit I bought a few weeks ago. I didn't want to make buttons so I pulled out the shanks and will shortly be supergluing magnets to the backs. I figured they can be either fridge magnets or worn as a brooch with another magnet on the other side of the clothing.

I kinda like the painted ones which were just improvised on the spot with the bits of metallic embroidery floss that I've been using these past few days.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Garden growth

Here's a view of the garden as it looks now from the same spot as this post. I've just realised what a bad position I chose for my comparison photos (I take the same shot every Sunday evening) because the tomatoes get lost in the greenery of the tree in the background. However, during the week I did discover a nifty website called ("View high resolution PhotoMaps from multiple angles and observe changes to the environment over time. We have captured these PhotoMaps to feed your curiosity and encourage you to add to the site") on which I will be able to chart the progress of my garden without having to take my own photos.

Amazingly, these tomoatoes were all planted on the same day. It just goes to show how random gardening is for me. The larger ones will soon need to be staked to wire which I'll run between the two pickets. Perhaps a job for next weekend. The two little plants towards the centre of the bed are basil, and they have just grown their second pair of leaves.

A couple of the beans have really taken off. They are almost at the top of their trellis - where will they go now?

The strawberries are slowly growing under their net. I caught a white moth in there the other day, but I can't find any sign of grubs so fingers crossed it was just flying through.

Two of the eight to ten cos lettuce seeds I originally planted have come up and only one is looking any good. I put a few more seeds in last week but nothing has come up just yet.

In the meantime the rocket is doing well and a few have gone to seed which is good. Rocket seems to be the only thing that is foolproof for me, and even then I have to plant lots as it tends to bolt very quickly. Same with coriander and spinach - for me it's just not worth putting them in, although I love them dearly.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Stamp carving

I've been messing around with stamp carving on and off for a while now, but I've never made a stamp I'm really pleased with. Recently I joined an interesting postal letterboxing swap for which I need to carve two stamps and make a couple of little booklets to imprint other people's stamps. The four that I came up with this morning left a lot to be desired: the eye was probably the only useable one, and I think this will become my "signature stamp". The one in the top right hand corner is a megaphone but looks very much like an axe head.

I really liked the idea of the "snail mail" stamp, but the first one I made looked more like a squirrel peeking out after I accidentally cut off some material next to the snail's shell. So I decided to have another go at making a snail on a mailbox, and this one came out a little better.

This evening I made one of the booklets. The cover is made of paint chips - I was going to make the whole booklet out of paint chips, but when I tried stamping onto one of them, it was not only very easy to smudge, but the ink took way too long to dry. I guess they are not absorbent enough. So I just have ordinary paper inside the booklet. Ho-hum, I would have liked something a bit different, but it was not to be.

That's pretty much all I've done today, apart from get a haircut and do some washing. I did sleep in this morning though - my next door neighbours were having a noisy party and I think the last (very drunk) guests left about 3am!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Groovy gifts

One of my sewing friends often gives me bags of offcut fabric (yay), and occasionally she includes little surprises, such as this wonderful relic of the past:

It's a booklet included with the November 22, 1972 issue of the Australian Women's Weekly. Inside are patterns for many groovy handmade items, such as crocheted slippers, a tea cosy, bookmarks, and my favourite, novel coat-hangers.

Interestingly, this publication uses American spellings rather than British. I wonder when it changed?

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Teeny Weeny Ziney

I intended to update my blog during the week but ended up spending most evenings selecting, drawing and embroidering little things for my latest project. It's for the Stocking Filler Matchbox swap on Swap-bot. If you are one of my three partners in this swap, don't read on, otherwise it will spoil the surprise!

It has been a good week.
-- I got four new shirts (the first time in years that I have bought brand-new clothes instead of op shop clothes. In preferred colour order, they are turquoise, cerise, black/white striped and purple/white striped respectively.)
-- I had some really nice feedback on some swaps that I recently sent out.
-- we had lots of rain.
-- the garden is growing. :-)
-- and today I received a flickr mail tag inviting me to participate in an artists' exchange which should be so exciting! The lady I am to send to is someone I have swapped with before and she is a very talented artist, so the pressure is on to come up with something lovely for her.

Anyhow, back to the project at hand. Since the zine I'm making is so tiny (to fit inside a decorated matchbox), and I wanted to include different sized embroidered images, I am going to make it concertina style. It will be very simple but I hope effective and different. There are a few words to go along with the pictures:

I haven't chosen which pictures will go along with the words yet, and I still need to embroider one or two more.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Lovely day

Today is a perfect day, not too warm, with a nice light breeze and fluffy white clouds. I gave all the plants some Seasol to celebrate. The only things really going crazy in the garden are the strawberries (little fruits already) and the gazanias (probably my favourite flower).

There are also a couple of baby blood oranges which I hope I will eventually be eating. The tree itself is still tiny.

I managed to get a nice shot of the kangaroo paws at work yesterday.

I spent most of yesterday evening upgrading my computer to Windows 7 in between bits of embroidery and reading. It went without a hitch and only took a few hours. So far so good: all my files are still there and everything works. I need to complete my entry in a journal round robin and do some more work on a swap this weekend so might be a bit busy to get on the computer very much to check it out.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Embroidery and flowers

I've been working on this for a while now and it's not getting any easier. The thread is made of rayon and it's really slippery and tricky to stitch with. But so beautiful and shiny!

Today I wanted to take a photo for rr of the kangaroo paws at work, but it was raining. But then I remembered taking photos and posting them on my blog quite a while ago. Here are some I took of my kalanchoe and pentunias last weekend:

And one of downtown Bayswater:

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Garden, Rufus and tooth update

See? Not much different from the last garden pic I posted.

Pet-wise, all has returned to normal in the Sunnysidey household - Rufus just had his final check-up from the vet who gave him the all clear to remove the collar. Now he had better stop waking me up every day for a 4am feed. To be on the safe side I am going to give away all my indoor plants, just in case the claw problems have been caused by Rufus nibbling or scratching on any of them, as he is wont to do.

Today I saw the oral surgeon who will be doing my implant. The good news is that he can do the extraction and install the post at the same time. Even better news is that I don't have to have another impression taken for my temporary denture, since my dentist kept the last one that she took for my other implant. That is a load off my mind -- believe it or not, the impression casting was the thing I was dreading the most out of the whole procedure.

I have finally found a hay fever tablet that works and doesn't make me too drowsy, and now that I have a little more time to spare (through not having to pamper Rufus) I feel like getting back to my daily walking habit.

Oh, and my Windows 7 DVD is expected to be delivered to me at work tomorrow.

Life is good.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Little patchwork bags

I've been spending a large part of my crafting time the past week or so making these little patchwork drawstring bags, mostly to give away, but I might keep one for myself. They're really easy to make - by far the most effort is in cutting the squares.

I also made a few little felt Christmas decorations. Not for me, of course! I am quite bah humbug about stuff like that. But I thought one of my swap partners might like them.

It's been a bit of a funny week, with antibiotics, pain killers and allergy medication making me feel a bit vacant. The news that I have to have another implant dampened my spirits a bit, after all the pain, hassle and expense of the root canal a few months ago. Oh well, at least this one should be easier and faster than the last one.

News just in as I write this, is that one of the photos I took while I was in Queensland is being featured in an online tourist brochure. Check out the widget below. (I think some of the others I took are a lot better -- this one, of the view of Coolangatta Beach from my hotel balcony, is kind of mediocre).

My photo is here.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Being patient.....

...isn't my strong point. But the garden (apart from the beans) isn't coming along as quickly as I had hoped it would. I'm not sure if it's just me being impatient, or spring isn't quite with us yet so the plants are sleeping in until it gets here.

Maybe I need to plant some impatiens in my garden :-)

This is what it looks like three weeks from planting. The beans are the only seedlings visible from this distance.

If you get up a bit closer you can see the tomatoes coming up:

And here is my best beanstalk. I pulled out the one whose leaves had gone missing and put in a new seed to replace him yesterday.

The strawberries in the two tubs are coming along well - no flowers yet though - as is the rocket under the kaffir lime tree.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Fat quarters and shiny floss

I stopped by Spotlight yesterday and found a few things that I never knew I needed until I got there. I also got some more felt, because you can never have too much (or is it enough?) felt.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Beanz Meanz Photoz

Curiously, the beans have arranged themselves in a row of shortest to tallest in height. The middle one - the stunted second subject of yesterday's blog - was the first to emerge and has slowed his growth to fit into the line. Hopefully he won't become a has-bean.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Amazing nature

The two leaves on this beanstalk weren't there this morning! This is not the one I photographed yesterday but another one which has overtaken the first one in size and vigour.

Yesterday's one is a little stunted, and I'm wondering if an insect might have nibbled on its leaves.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

New shoots and a new computer

I got a new laptop today! But I still have to wait awhile for Windows 7.:-(

A couple of seeds have come up, and we had a little bit of thunder and a light shower of rain this afternoon so I'm expecting even more to pop up tomorrow.

Here is Baby Beanstalk:

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Sowing and sewing

I finally got the rest of my seeds from Digger's Club and put them in this evening. So now the plot looks like this:

So I have four different types of tomatoes (Black Russian, Yellow Pear, Costoluto Genovese and Sweetie), rainbow chard (a.k.a. silverbeet), climbing beans, cos lettuce and basil. There is room for a bit more, the gap in the middle is for asparagus as soon as I can lay my hands on some crowns. The weather has not really warmed up much, aside from that freakish day last Saturday. I'm sitting here in trackies and a long sleeved fleece top which is usually unheard of for late October.

Here is another little pouch that I whipped up last night:

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Reversible patchwork bags

I found a really nice tutorial for a reversible patchwork bag this week on Pink Penguin's blog, and couldn't wait to make one as my Friday night project. Here are some pics of the first one:

It turned out so well that I thought I'd whip up another one using some batiks that I've had for a while. I think it looks lovely in batiks, and would work well with stripes and polka dots too. I feel like making another one!

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