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?
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!
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).
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 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.