Sunday, 31 January 2010

Day Zero

So, Thing-A-Day starts tomorrow, and I think I have pretty much everything ready.  I am going to cheat a bit and start on tomorrow's project tonight. It's a thankyou gift to a new blogging friend who very sweetly helped me with a challenge yesterday. I also found time today to write to a pen-pal and make a quilted postcard as well as getting a load of chores done so that I don't have to spend as much time on housework over the next week. My evenings will be completely taken up by making stuff and I won't have time to clean or vacuum.

I should give a garden update. Today I pulled out the beans which were almost dead and the lettuce which had gone to seed. I still have some tomatoes doing well, four different varieties, and the basil and very stunted silverbeet. Plus two sunflowers, one of which is flowering gloriously. I also have a gardening helper who is going to get me a trailer load of manure and mulch to help the fruit trees along. The soil in Perth is so poor and turns to sand, so we have to keep on enriching it.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Made it!

I decided to challenge myself and see if I could make the tray based on the pictures in my book. I wish I had made it a little bit bigger. It matches quite nicely with the basket I made the other day.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Here's something I want to make:

I would like to make a couple of these lovely fabric trays to store all the bits and pieces of projects I'm working on. The only problem is, the instructions are in Japanese, which I have no clue about. I am going to try and work it out from the pictures, but if anyone would care to help me with the translation, I promise to make a tray and send it to them, as part of my Thing-A-Day for February. Please leave a comment if you can help, and I'll email you a copy of the instructions.

It's a beautiful book which I bought recently from This & That From Japan on Etsy.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Basket case

I finished making a basket this morning, following the tutorial on Pink Penguin's blog. I'm planning on filling it with all the little bits and pieces that I will make during February for Thing-a-day 2010. I have lots of things on my list so I might need to make another one, and if I do, I'll make it a bit bigger.

I used some linen that I bought the other day for the bottom of the basket although the colourful patches kind of overshadow it. The linen is beautiful and makes a nice contrast to my other fabrics. I am learning to appreciate neutrals mixed with bright colours thanks to all the inspiring Japanese zakka items I've been looking at lately.

Off to forage for lunch and then make a start on my next fabric project, which I can't tell about just yet, because the person I'm making it for knows about this blog :-)

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


I received a very cool card from Andy today, made up of two half postcards of Bosham Church cleverly stuck together to make a whole. It's like an international jigsaw puzzle - and I am itching to continue the tradition he has started, so watch this space! If you click on the pic to see the big version, Andy's card is in the middle just below the untidy tangled section of blue threads. And at the bottom left corner, below Eddie Izzard, is a sweet sunflower quiltie that I received from one of my lovely Swap-bot friends. Thanks Dana, and thanks Andy!

Monday, 18 January 2010

Something new

I received an invitation to participate in the Vancouver 2010 ATCs project, and I'm hoping that all my blogging friends who make ATCs will join me! I already have several ideas turning over in my head and I am eager to get started, after initially thinking that it might be beyond my reach. Let's do it!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

String blocks finished

Apologies for the size of the pictures but I don't want to totally give the game away to the others participating in the string quilt block swaps here and here, should they happen to be reading this blog. Anyone else can click on the images to biggify. Each pic contains four separate blocks, one for each partner, which I made look like a quilt using a mosaic maker. Even though they are quite different, because they were made with the preferences of each partner in mind, the symmetry of the block placement gives them a nice unity. They were such fun to make, especially since I hadn't really looked through my stash for a while. It was good getting reacquainted with some fabric I'd forgotten about! Now I want to make a quilt. I think when I receive my partners' blocks I will make a couple of cushion covers, since there will be four of them in each swap.

While sewing I've been listening to a CD that I bought the other day. It's a brilliant mix and really takes me back to the old days (now I am realising just how long ago).....Here's a youtube excerpt with several of my favourite tunes mashed up together.

A little bit of kitchen wall

Inspired by Mafiosagrrl's recent blog post, I give you....a little bit of my kitchen's looking a little bit bare in places so maybe I should attack it with a Sharpie!

Saturday, 16 January 2010

New fabrics and threads

Some nice packages arrived this week: some fabric and books from Japan, and a couple of sets of embroidery thread from Sublime Stitching. I can't wait to try my new metallic and glow in the dark threads. I'm not doing a lot of embroidery or close up work though, until I get my new glasses. Thankfully the tests I had yesterday revealed no retina problems, although the pressure is on the high side. I have to repeat the tests in six months and go back immediately in the meantime if the flickering comes back.

This weekend I'll be making a few more string blocks for a swap, and generally taking it easy as the temperatures forecast are in the high 30s/low 40s C range. A good time to drink iced coffee.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Couldn't keep away!

So much for having a little break. Not being on the computer is like having both your legs cut off and your arms pinned around your head. At least it is for me.

I just remembered that I forgot to put up pics of the pincushions I made a couple of weeks ago. I did put them on flickr but here they are if you missed them:

They are based on the lovely pincushions on the Purl Bee blog here. I was experimenting at the time with foundation piecing so I made them on a base fabric of homespun which helped them keep their shape. The foundation pieced blocks I made are for a swap so I'll try and remember to post a pic when it's finished. I'm looking forward to that swap and want to make a cushion when I receive my blocks.

Oh yeah, and I think I also forgot to post a pic of the little woven guy I made! He is called Edgar the Oddball and he is my friend.

Oh, and another little embroidery that I did recently, inspired by my first day back at work after the New Year break:

Last but definitely not least, congratulations to my friend mafiosagrrl on her cool blog award. Go check out her awesome blog! I've been reading it for a while now and I love hearing (and seeing) what she's up to, she's so creative, funny and clever :-)

Tuesday, 12 January 2010


I'm taking a little break from the computer for a while until I get my eyes sorted out. On Friday I will be having some dye squirted into my peepers so the eye guy can take a look at my retinas to see what the problem might be. And I'm getting new glasses soon since my short sightedness has grown worse. I have a fearsome headache right now because I've been on the computer all day at work, thinking and writing a policy at the same time. My brain hurts.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


Just a few pics today, since I've spent most of this evening chatting on skype and then struggling to transfer a pattern on to a waffle weave tea towel (very frustrating) for a round robin I'm in. This lettuce is delicious, and I hope the tomotoes are going to be okay. I have three different types, although not many of each type, as most of the flowers fell off before the fruit set :-(

Monday, 4 January 2010

Back to reality

First day back at work after the 3-day new year break and it was hard....but has inspired me to draw a new design for my next stitch book page. It's already almost 8pm and that's all I've really done, apart from going for a walk at 5am and getting doused by the sprinklers, going to work, going to the vet to get the special cat food, an emergency visit from the plumber to fix the toilet, and a visit from the handyman who will be building a new letterbox for the strata because our old one is about to collapse. Feeling slightly frazzled but I'm sure the week will get better. It would be nice to be Eddie or Rufus for a day.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Good morning

Perth is in for a very hot day today so I got up and out for my walk just after 5. The moon was still out and there was a nice coolish Easterly.

It was already about 25C when I got home. Gave the ungrateful buggers in the vegie patch a bit of extra water and some Seasol, pleaded with them to get their act together and then came inside for the day and closed all the curtains.

Yesterday's stitch book page was a bit of an effort to complete. I daubed a bit of paint onto some cream coloured homespun but I forgot to take a picture of the piece before I started embroidering. Then I used these threads:

and just did running stitches plus a few little french knots. I'm not wild about how it came out but the texture of the stitching is quite interesting. I purposely did all the stitches randomly but I will try doing them evenly another time. I should really start trying out a new stitch or two: after all, that is really what the book is supposed to be about! Not crazy about the House of Embroidery pearl cotton - I have quite a few skeins of it and will probably use it in a weaving project that I'm thinking about doing. It hasn't got enough sheen for me to be able to enjoy it in embroidery, but the colours are nice, especially the variegated ones which will probably look really good in a little woven pouch.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

First stitch book page finished

I think I'll consider this first page for my stitch book finished, but I would love to do some further exploration of the same theme, colours and shapes for another piece I have in my head, entitled "Branching Out". (Exactly how I'm going to fit this in when I'm doing a new page for my book each day is something I will have to figure out.) But I enjoyed painting and working with the Colour Catcher and I think the piece would have been quite different if I'd used a woven fabric. I will have to give it a try on homespun and see how it turns out. The embroidery was done freehand and there are some awkward looking areas. If I want my spirals to be more perfect I think I will have to draw lines to guide my stitches first.

The difficulties I had in this one were the usual ones when working with metallic thread: mainly how to start and end a line. In this case I just tucked the ends on the back into the couching thread and made several knots as I went. This is maybe okay for my book if it's not handled too much, probably okay for mounting in a frame, but not exactly durable for everyday use. Colour catcher is fine to stitch on without using a hoop - always my preference.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Stitch Book

I made a start on my textile project this afternoon by doing some simple straight stitches and couching. Whilst I sat stitching I thought a little bit more about the little book I am going to make.

I think it will be more of a book of experiments than anything else. It might contain a lot of unfinished pieces but ones which will let me see the kind of stitching that I want to take further into a bigger projects. Then I won't have the pressure of trying to produce something "artistic" each time, but rather have the freedom to see what I like, what I don't like, what works well, what doesn't, and hopefully get some feedback from people here and on flickr.

So anyway, this was done on a ground of Colour Catcher (according to the website this is a "a dense 3D-polymer matrix" - it doesn't seem to be woven or knitted so it's pretty easy to stitch on although it tends to leave a little hole when pierced with a needle). I painted the sheet with a mix of Setacolor and Jacquard fabric paints. I particularly like the shimmery purple one.

I only used 3 threads: yellow and orange DMC cotton floss, and green DMC Light Effects floss. The Light Effects floss is great for couching, less wonderful for stitching, but I love the look of it either way.

Blue sky and blue water

Blue skies, and blue water. I should really get back into my habit of a daily walk - it seems a crime not to, when I can exercise in such a beautiful area, with the river, the bird sanctuary, city views and sometimes horses on the track across the water. I've let life get in the way a bit, because there's always something else to do.

I did a little colouring today with fabric paints onto a Colour Catcher. For those who don't know, Colour Catchers are small sheets that you put in the wash which are supposed to absorb the dyes that come out of your clothes and keep them looking brighter. Therefore they are ideal for fabric painting since they take colour really well.

Today I'm going to start a new textile project which will allow me to explore both fabric and embroidery more deeply. At the moment it's just a fuzzy idea in my head, which will develop as I go along, but the basic idea is to take a small piece of fabric about four inches square and embroider on it. I want to learn some new stitches, and I thought about doing a stitch a day, but that might be a bit much, so I'm going to just do each stitch until I feel comfortable with it, and then move on to the next one. I would also like to try different fabric paints, dyes and other fabric treatments, but again, I will leave it to whatever floats my boat on the day. At the end of the project I will choose some of the pieces and make them up into a little book.

I've looked at a few different fabric books on the internet, and I've been wanting to start making one of my own for a while now. And there's nothing like the start of a new year to get motivated! Happy new year, everyone!

P.S. I am loving the new Blogger interface - so much easier for adding pictures!

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