Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Blogging Hiatus

My blog will be going off the air for a while as I attempt to cut back on my online activity. I've been really busy journalling, drawing and doodling though, so check out my flickr for latest pics - try as I might, I can't give that up!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Poetry in Stitching

I'm so overwhelmed I can hardly contain myself.

Look what Jackson sent me!!!!!!

Isn't it amazing!!!! I wish I were a better photographer. I am looking forward to seeing her photos of this fabulous piece. Everything about it just blows me away, from the way she has perfectly captured the atmosphere of the scene, to the incredible detail of the hair on both The Dude and Maude, to the subtle shading in the metallic dress and on the horns, to the beaded highlights. I am absolutely in awe of you, Jackson! I can't believe you could bring yourself to give this away, either! :-)

Among the other gifts she sent was another brilliant embroidery plus fabric and rick-rack to make a pillow, which I couldn't resist whipping up straight away:

Fight Club is near the top of my list of favourite movies.

This swap made me very happy indeed! Jackson, I can't thank you enough! You are a legend :-)

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Teaser for Jackson! :-)

Hee hee! I've been working on a private embroidery swap with the awesome Mafiosagrrl, and since she tried to torture me with a teaser pic of her embroidery, I think it's only fair that I return the favour :-)

It looks pretty obvious to me :-)

Monday, 10 May 2010

A short update

I haven't been posting lately - trying to give my eyes a rest from the computer screen while the quacks try and figure out why I've had a headache for over a month. It's not enough to stop me from crafting though :-) - I'll be back with photos as soon as I can, I promise!

Friday, 30 April 2010

A fun little skull

I whipped up this little thing this evening. I'm not sure what it is - I guess it could have a magnet or a brooch back attached to it, or a little hook to hang it up or something. It's done in white DMC glow-in-the-dark thread (I love that thread!).

Monday, 26 April 2010

Embroidered book finished!

I finally finished my embroidered book! It seems like embroidery is all I've been doing this long weekend. I took photos, but they didn't come out that well. Here are some scans, which still look a bit different from the real thing.

This is the cover, opened out. I used metallic thread (couched), which is really sparkly in real life, for the front and plain perle cotton for the list on the back page (again more shiny in real life). I was going to embroider another fish on the back but then I thought it would be fun to make the list, since all the creatures I did include have such cool names.

The second and third pages are the humpback angler fish and the umbrella mouth gulper, which both have bioluminescent extremities (done in glow in the dark thread, which unfortunately looks quite unspectacular in daylight).

The middle page is the vampire squid from hell, which again is done with the bioluminescent spots in white DMC glow in the dark floss (much nicer to work with than the other GITD thread). Also, the back tentacles are done in pale pink backstitch and french knots, which you can't quite tell in the scan.

Pages 6 and 7 are the dumbo octopus and chimaera. This is the first time I've used split stitch as a filling stitch and it was surprisingly quick and easy. I felt like they needed something to unify them on the page, so I did some waves in blue variegeted floss. The colours look slightly washed out in the scan.

I put the book together, mini-zine style, after first completing the embroidery on the sheet of linen. I had to trim the edges of the middle pages a bit to get the page widths even. Then I went along each edge with a small machine zig zag stitch. The finished book is about the size of a postcard.

And that's it. I have to admit I'm not 100 percent happy with it - it seems quite insubstantial for something I spent so long to make. I didn't enjoy working with the black linen so much - I had to give it a good going-over with sticky tape to get rid of all the cat hair! I prefer a finer grained fabric, and brighter colours, but I did choose this subject partly because the colours would be more muted (my swap partner prefers a much less vivid palette than I do). But I did enjoy doing the embroidery and it was a fun experiment. I already have something in mind for my next one.......

Thursday, 22 April 2010

My Creative Space

This week I've been doing a bit of stamp carving. I feel like I'm slowly improving - the key word here is slow, which is how you have to do it - v e r y    s  l  o   w   l   y. I'm not quite happy with the carving block I'm using so I ordered some Staedtler Mastercarve (from Dick Blick in the USA because you can't get it here. Grrr.)

So here's a little Ninja guy, and a skull based on images in the Mexican codices.

For more Creative Spaces, go here.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Next page in the embroidered book

This creature is also real. The Dumbo Octopus is another cephalopod, related to the nautilus and squid, which lives deep in the oceans. I'm not sure if this little guy is finished - his suckers look like they are floating, but it's late so I'll have a look at him again tomorrow.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

For the embroidered book.....

It's a Vampire Squid from Hell! Honestly, it's a real deep sea creature, and it has bioluminescent spots that it flashes on and off to confuse predators when they attack. I used glow-in-the-dark white thread for the spots and eye, and I wish I could get a pic of it in the dark to show how good it looks when the lights are out!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Sad panda

Still haven't quite got the hang of stamp carving yet.....I do really enjoy it, but unlike most other crafts in which mistakes are easily repairable or can be covered up, with stamp carving, one slip of the cutter and it's ruined!

Monday, 12 April 2010

Fabric book

I made a little fabric book yesterday, for an Art*o*mat swap I'm in. It is made of scraps from recent projects, ironed onto interfacing and then machine stippled. I cut the finished sheet down to 8"x6", then added some random bits of selvedges plus a button and loop. I used the mini-zine method to make it into a little eight-page booklet which fits snugly into its little box. Finished size is about 3"x2".

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Embroidered buttons

Last month I participated in the Feeling Stitchy embroidered button swap. My partner has now received her package, so I can finally show a photo of what I sent. My partner lives in the USA, so for something a little different, I went with an Aussie animal theme and also included some Cadbury chocolate, silk and cotton floss piled into a little pouch.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


I finally finished the embroidery project I've been working on for the past several days! To look at it you would not believe how many hours it took me!

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Day 2/4

I finished making a patchwork bag (using Pink Penguin's great tute) and need to find some cord for the drawstring. Here's a pic of the front and back, and another pic of the pincushion. It's annoying how it is usually too dark to take a decent photo by the time I've finished making my thing of the day. Hmm, guess I should start earlier :-)

Friday, 2 April 2010

Day 1/4

I spent quite a while tidying up my craft room today and consequently didn't have time to complete the patchwork bag I'm making, although I did cut all the pieces out ready for piecing tomorrow. In the meantime, I used some of the off-cuts to make another little pincushion.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Easter craft blitz

I'm going to do the thing-a-day blitz over Easter, which has started early for me, since the chocolate consumption commenced this morning. Got a big long list of swaps and stuff to make, starting with this chamomeleon which I hope to finish off tonight ......
 And I finally made a little bracelet - this is maybe my fifth attempt? I don't think jewellery is really my forte.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

A little sewing

Finished off a couple of small scrappy things today: a pouch and a pincushion. I'm on a pink and green kick at the moment, so I really enjoyed the matchbox swap.

Here's the matchbox I made:

Wednesday, 24 March 2010


I've had a busy few days, with my brother visiting from interstate. It was so lovely to see him! On Monday I took the day off work so that we could go up to visit our mum. Whilst the three of us were out driving, there was a sudden wild storm and my car got pelted with hail. Thankfully we and the car suffered no damage, but it was a bit frightening and all the traffic came to a standstill. My electricity was off for almost 24 hours.

So I haven't had a chance to do much embroidery except for a bit this evening. Last Saturday morning I made another of Pink Penguin's fabric baskets. I love pink and lime green together.

I bought a new TV on Monday, and I can't believe that we now have no less than eleven free to air stations now that digital TV is here. I really only got the TV so that I could watch DVDs on a big screen instead of my laptop, but maybe I'll check out a few of the shows. I haven't owned a TV for a few years so who knows?

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Embroidered book swap

A few weeks ago, I set up a swap with three other people for an embroidered book, and this week I got started on mine. I've been debating whether to blog about it in case my partner sees, but I have now given her a heads-up not to read my blog until after she receives it.

I recently treated myself to the David Attenborough series Planet Earth on DVD. What an amazing set this is - well worth watching if you haven't seen it before. It contains the most fabulous film of many different habitats and the creatures that inhabit them. I was absolutely spellbound at the episode where they went deep under the sea and filmed some of the strangest creatures I've ever seen. I thought to myself what great embroidery subjects they would make, and that I could make use of my glow-in-the-dark threads for their bioluminescent parts.  They have brilliant names, too - the vampire squid from hell; hatchet fish; umbrella mouth gulper eel. I'm not making them up, honestly!

Since my partner in the swap listed ocean things as one of her themes, I decided to embroider some of these deep sea creatures onto black linen. Then I will fold the linen like a mini-zine to make a little book. I'm very much winging it, and keeping my fingers crossed that it will work out, although I've allowed plenty of time until the swap is due to be sent.

So here are some pictures thus far.

Page 2 shows an anglerfish, one of the angriest looking creatures around, with scary fanged jaws and a bioluminescent photophore (that's that thing sticking out of its head) which it waves around as a lure to attract its prey. I've wrapped the end of the photophore in glow-in-the-dark thread. I'm not quite happy with the teeth and will probably fix them up later. The body is made of Colour Catcher appliqued to the linen.

Next up is the umbrella mouth gulper eel whose jaws are twice the size of the rest of its body. I originally did just the outline but the result was kind of underwhelming.
So I filled it in with variegated pink/red thread. This eel has a bioluminescent lure on the end of its tail to attract prey, which I will do when I can get hold of some reddish-pink GITD thread.
That's all the embroidery I've done so far. The next one will be my star attraction, the vampire squid from hell, which will be the centrespread of the book. I've drawn him in chalk pencil and will start embroidering later, using pale pink and white GITD, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


I've been raving about A Rainbow of Stitches ever since I got it. Here's another little project I stitched up last week using shell patterns from the book.  Two table napkins for mummysidey's birthday, which we celebrated a day early yesterday with a trip to see Alice in Wonderland (which was fantastic).

I kind of like the back, too.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Seven things

My blogging buddy, the awesome MafiosaGrrl, tagged me a few days ago to think of seven random things about myself, and pick seven other people to play.

So here we go.

1. My ideal day of leisure consists of the following: sleeping in, coffee, soft poached eggs (yolks only), asparagus and mushrooms on toast, pottering around, having a long bubble bath, coffee, browsing the interwebs, doing a bit of embroidery, coffee, reading, doing a puzzle or crossword or playing online scrabble, sewing, coffee, daydreaming, watching a DVD, enjoying some music, coffee, smoked salmon, trying to wake up Eddie and Rufus for a game of ping pong, going for a walk by the river, gazing at my garden filled with flowering bulbs, hot chocolate, more reading or crafting or web browsing, journaling, or writing a letter, not thinking of work, drifting off to sleep with music in the background, dreaming pleasantly. My ideal day of leisure is devoid of real-life social interaction, strenuous physical activity, and any kind of housework.

2. The thought of pregnancy, childbirth, babies, and small children fills me with fear and revulsion. I’m relieved to have made it to the safety zone of my mid forties without having had first hand experience in any of them. On the other hand, if human women could give birth to kittens, I might have been the mother of many.

3. I am sort of a failed greenie. I love the idea of an organic garden, but it’s not quite working for me. My bokashi bucket makes me sick to my stomach every time I open it up, and the liquid that drains out of it is evil. Last week I accidentally spilled a tiny drop of it onto my hand, and even after immediately soaking in a bath and using copious amounts of soap I could not get rid of the putrid smell on my skin. I’m going to take the bucket back to the eco-shop and see if I can trade it in for a compost bin. It’s definitely going the way of my worm farm (a.k.a. cockroach farm) which I ended up giving away to a friend. Also, I traded in my pathetic water-saving shower head for a proper one after a few days of trying to do my ablutions under a tiny trickle. But I am conscientious about recycling and I always carry morsbags for my groceries instead of using plastic bags. I can’t eliminate plastic bags entirely, otherwise how would I get rid of the used cat litter?

4.  I have the following shoes: sandshoes painted by mummysidey, sandshoes painted by me, new trainers, old trainers (promoted to gardening shoes when new trainers bought), Mary Janes for work, Doc Marten MJs, one pair of extremely uncomfortable court shoes for emergency social events and job interviews (not worn for three years), and my old suede desert boots. I have wide, flat feet and must wear orthotics, so nearly all my shoes are comfy, functional or fun.

5. I think the fashion and beauty industries are having a great big laugh.

6. I’m old school. I love my CDs. I love the smell of books. I love browsing in real bookshops, especially the ones where you can have a cup of coffee and linger in the easy chairs.

7. I should eat more of a variety of foods. I choose healthy foods and cook pretty much everything from scratch. But I tend to eat the same things day in, day out, especially breakfast (porridge with fruit in winter, wholewheat cereal with milk in summer, occasionally eggs and mushrooms on toast at the weekend) and lunch (tuna and avocado on wholemeal toast). I tend not to add sugar or salt to my food. For someone who is so sensitive to smells, I am quite a low taster, and being very much a creature of habit, I know the tastes I like and stick to them. I love a good curry but tend to make them all the same. My basic home made sauce is variations on a theme of coconut, ginger, coriander, chilli, black pepper, lime or lemon juice, which goes equally well with vegetables, fish, chicken or beef.

I think that's it!

I would love the following people to play along:

Angie in Yanchep
Rebekah from dontcallmebecky
chick chick

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Mixtec spinner

I finished off my little embroidery of the Mixtec spinner this evening.
I like the effect of embroidering onto print fabric and want to do some more. I'm also really interested in learning more about the manuscripts where these types of images come from. The book that I borrowed from the library has some good references which I am following up. I've also ordered the book that MafiosaGrrl recommended to me yesterday because it looks as if it will be full of fabulous images just like this one.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Arts & Crafts of Mexico experimental WIP

I got this great book out of the library the other day, Arts & Crafts of Mexico by Chloe Sayer. As well as fabulous photos of Mexican textiles, pottery, jewellery and other beautiful objects, it contains a few line drawings that I thought would translate well into embroidery. I've been wanting to experiment with embroidering onto printed fabrics for a while, so I started doing this Mixtec spinner this evening. The image is scanned and the colours have come out a bit weird, but it's turning out quite interesting.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Secret project and happy mail

I've been working for the past few days on a little project for a certain family member whose birthday is coming up in the middle of March. Everyone except for that family member is allowed to click here to see it!

I got a lovely parcel in the mail today from Rebekah. A while ago I entered a giveaway on her blog and was lucky enough to receive the gorgeous tote bag in the picture plus some Sublime Stitching patterns, a sweet set of kawaii stationery and the prettiest pen I've ever seen! Thank you, Rebekah, for such generous gifts!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

A tiny embroidery

I'm loving the flower heads and seed pods in my new book, and today I embroidered one of the flowers and made it into a little card.

After work, I took my sewing machine to be serviced, but alas, the man at the shop told me that servicing my machine would probably not fix the problems that it has been having, which he thinks are electrical/computer related. I will have to dig out my warranty and check whether it is still valid and then sort out repairs with the manufacturer.

ETA: I dug out the paperwork and luckily I purchased an extended warranty which is good for another six months. It looks as if I need to take the machine back to the shop where I bought it, so I'll have to take a drive out to Midland tomorrow.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Day Twenty-Nine

I got bored of housework and distracted when I started tidying up... so the house is still a bit (a lot) untidy, but I made a couple more things. Much more fun than vacuuming!
The embroidery is from a beautiful and very inspiring new book that I got this week, A Rainbow of Stitches. The colour palette of the seed pods that I did this afternoon is a little restrained for me, and I am looking forward to stitching some of the others up using a bit more brightness.

I also made a little pincushion with my poor sick sewing machine. It's making such a racket.
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