31 March 2007

I'm ready

It's been a long six months but finally the day has arrived and I am ready. Tonight we go, along with thousands more of our tribe, to see our beloved Sydney Swans play in the first round of the 2007 AFL season. I am ready, having washed my scarf and renewed my membership so as to secure my reserved seat. I am so excited!

27 March 2007

Shadow and sun

I am enjoying the unexpected pleasures that I find in my garden. Stephanie, you'll have to identify this one for me please. I was expecting small dendrobium-type blooms, but look at these stunning flowers! I took this last Saturday in the heat and I just love the patterns made by the sun and the shadows. Sadly, I won't see my garden again until the weekend now that daylight saving has ended. Who knows what I may find then?

25 March 2007

ATCs on their way

My final two sets of ATCs are on their way for fund raising for the Cancer Council. The first set is made from the woven piece of fabric I showed earlier this week. I really enjoyed this process and will use it again, I'm sure.
The green set is made from felt, with oil pastel markings, metallic paint and embossing powder. I enjoyed stitching these with bronze metallic thread.
My first set was made way back in January. A photo can be seen here.

24 March 2007

Early autumn

Sometimes the sheer lushness of plants overwhelms me. In one corner of my garden, plants that have already shown their best complement those in flower and those yet to bloom. On the left is a bougainvillea, which needs to be cut back regularly to stay at its best. Behind that (over the fence and in a neighbour's garden) a grevillea shows a flower or two. I am not fond of grevilleas and would not have one in my garden (I am allergic to their foliage and flowers) but from a distance it adds to the textural interest of the outlook and it does attract the rosellas.

In the centre, my crepe myrtle is in full flower with its ruffled petals of lavender. Aren't they gorgeous against the blue? Finally, on the right, we see my tree dahlias shooting up to the sky. They won't bloom for another few months yet, but they are rampant.

I love the blowsy look of the garden at this time of year - it is officially autumn, but still quite hot (31 degrees at present). We had some rain last week and everything has thirstily taken it up and flourished. Soon the heat and humidity will pass, and the true autumn times will be upon us.

22 March 2007

Surprise 3

As you've probably noticed, this has been a week of surprises, but the most wonderful surprise was the one that seven of my friends organised last weekend. After arriving at a friend's place to meet before walking up the street to dinner at a local restaurant, I discovered that we weren't going anywhere. They had all cooked wonderful foods to surprise me with a belated birthday celebration.

To say I was shocked was an understatement. There were balloons, there were gifts, there was plenty of wine and masses of delicious home-cooked food. There was also a lot of affection and goodwill. Thank you to my sneaky friends - you know who you are. It was a wonderful night.

This special surprise deserved a special response, so I made fabric thank you notes like this. With strips of sequins stitched onto taffeta and a handwritten note on the back, each card featured a sparkling kiss, from Erica with love.

20 March 2007

More fabric weaving

I made another piece of fabric using woven fabric strips yesterday. The scale is much smaller than my earlier pieces - the strips range from a quarter to half an inch or so. They are free-form cut to provide a slight curve. I love the movement that these strips make across the surface. I have cut this up to make another set of ATCs, to be sent to Cecile for raising funds for the Cancer Council of NSW.
These colours appeal to me so much that they may appear in a small quilt. I feel a journal quilt coming on...

19 March 2007

Little surprise 2

Finding a forgotten piece of work, especially one that I love so much, is another of life's surprises. I can't imagine how I left this in the cupboard for so long! It is a multi-layered piece - starting with a plain piece of homespun, then a layer of painted and crumpled brown paper. The paper is a trick I learned in a workshop with Susan Mathews a few years ago. Simply paint some brown wrapping paper with ordinary acrylic paints - any colours you like. When the paint is dry, crumple the paper. The more you crumple, the softer the texture becomes. It is divine.

On top of the paper, I placed two pieces of painted tyvek (the orange circles) and three sprinkles of Angelina fibres. Then I covered it all with a gorgeous piece of cheap pink/gold organza and stitched. Finally, I zapped the organza over the tyvek with a heat gun to make the organza melt and the tyvek shrink a little. Result - texture galore and glorious colours. This deserves to be in a frame so I can enjoy it every day.

18 March 2007

Life's surprises

I try to potter around my garden for a little while every weekend, but sometimes other things get in my way. Recently I hadn't inspected my plants for two weeks. Imagine my surprise when I saw that my Stanhopea was in flower. Very late, I must say; it usually blooms in January. It loves to be crowded in the basket and each year it has more flowers. Isn't it just gorgeous?

15 March 2007

More technology

I'm back at last. All I can say after this internet deprivation is: bless you, Matt at Iprimus. You are a legend for solving my problem so quickly.

Standby for more photographs soon.

Aah, technology

It all started innocently enough. I decided to upgrade my computer's operating system to Windows XP. Of course, after I'd done this, most of my other hardware had to be reinstalled, so that's taken a while. Printer, scanner, modem, camera, USB port. All okay. But do you think I can get my internet connection to work? Give me strength...I hope I can get back to normal transmission by the weekend.

10 March 2007

My Dad

Here's a little brag about my Dad. For many years, he was a volunteer with the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard in Sydney until the end of 2004. During that time, he accumulated 5,000 volunteer hours providing a listening watch and communications role over the marine radio network in support of the boating community of Sydney. He also contributed countless hours assisting with seamanship and training courses, acting as a guest speaker on boating safety and taking part in on-water boat duties for the volunteer marine rescue group. For the past several years, Dad has worked as a volunteer guide at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, playing his part to guide visitors around the museum's exhibits. He works there each week and also writes for the volunteer's newsletter.

Last week, he was presented with the Sydney Harbour Week Award for outstanding community service by NSW Maritime. The fourth annual Sydney Harbour Week Awards winners received hand-chiselled trophies – replicas of the distinctive red and white Hornby Lighthouse, located at South Head, Sydney Harbour. Today I took this photo of Dad with his trophy.

Here's a closer look at the trophy - it is handmade from timber and handpainted. Quite a work of art.
Congratulations to my Dad, Ray, with love from his very proud daughter.

08 March 2007

Eureka moments

After I'd written last night's post about the challenge, I shut down the computer and went to bed. Before I fell asleep, three totally different ideas popped into my head about how to use these materials in a design. I love the way the subconscious works! (and yes, Sooziii, one of the ideas did involve weaving). This COULD be interesting.

07 March 2007

What on earth

am I supposed to do with this?

Four strips of shiny paper and two coils of stretchy wire - this is the challenge I seem to have agreed to with two friends. Well, okay, I think the words 'a challenge' actually came out of my mouth. What was I thinking? Ideas anyone?

05 March 2007

It started with fabric beads

On the weekend, Fiona and I wanted to make fabric beads. I wanted mine to embellish textile pieces, while she wanted hers to use in jewellery. Mine were very sad little beads - pathetic really (I need to work some more on that technique) - so I won't show you any photos of them. Somehow, as things always seem to do when you are playing, one thing led to another and soon we were making wrapped textile bangles like this:

I had a hank of beautiful hand-dyed wool that I wrapped around some thick wire that Fiona discovered in her workroom. Then black craft wire threaded with glass chunks was wrapped around the wool. Voila! A chunky textile bangle. Interesting, isn't it?

04 March 2007

What a busy week

I think this week was zapped by a time machine - it certainly doesn't seem that seven days have flown past. I have just returned from a weekend away at a friend's place. Fiona lives about three hours from here and we had the best time playing with 'stuff' - rubbing plates, oil crayons, wire, fantastic yarn and pieces of silk paper. I made an interesting bracelet - will show you once I snap a photo - but now I'm off to do the washing!