Friday, February 27, 2009

My Day Yesterday

Well,there is a lovely cool breeze here today. It was quite hot over night but that has eased. I am half-heartedly trying to get organized. I keep getting distracted by other things. I did get the news (finally) that I was successful in my application at work for a higher position. Needless to say some of the unsuccessful have a severe case of sour grapes.
I have a lot of things half made and planned and I will get to them eventually.
I must order the fabric for FF and make a few phone calls. I have also bought a big plastic tub for the odd balls of wool that I have. Lots to do and not too much inclination to do it. I think I'll go and read a book. That always makes me feel better.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Benson Bears

I have a soft spot for bears. I've made a few and I do enjoy them. Susie McMahon has a talented sister who makes bears. Her name is Linda Benson and her blog is Bears in the Bush.


I was feeling like I had not accomplished much today but then again...
Started off by getting up late. Today is my first day off work for over a week so getting up at the late hour of 8 o'clock is a luxury. Had breakfast with Greg another rarity, then we decided to take the camera and drive through the hills for some photos for inspiration for our art class. So 130 photos later we got home. Above are just a few I took.
A friend gave us a big bucket of dark red plums so Greg bottled most of them last night. Four of the 30 bottles didn't seal properly so I made them into jam. While digging through the bottles in the bottom of the pantry I discovered 4 jars of Sun Dried Tomato and Balsamic Vinegar Chutney I made a couple of years ago and two old jars of quince paste which are probably older. I used to make jam and chutney and sell through the local Fruit and Veg Shop before they closed down (Thanks to the Chain stores). So the jam started off as plum and then I found a bag of dried blackberries and raspberries I bought a few weeks ago. So I threw in a couple of handfuls of those and a half a bag of frozen berries and then just before the sugar I threw in the quince paste. Well quinces are full of pectin and this jam set like a dream. It tastes amazing and it is the most glorious dark purple colour. As it is just for Greg and me and the kids when they find it and take it home, I cut back on the sugar.
I also did some housework but not much cause I'd hate Greg to think I am going to make a habit of that. As we all know the only place housework comes before sewing is in the dictionary.
I dropped some patterns off to a doll friend in Hahndorf and then went grocery shopping and came home and cooked tea.
I am a bit stunned. I have been taking the Acai berry supplement since Saturday and although I have a sore throat and a runny nose I have heaps of energy. I have also lost nearly two kilos. The Acai Berry stuff is supposed to taste like berries and chocolate and it does if you took all the sugar out of berries and chocolate. All in All not too bad though.

Friday, February 20, 2009


I've been stitching. I am finished my piece for Fiber Forum. Everyone takes a 15cm x 15 cm piece that is sold to provide a scholarship for the next year. I had started this little landscape ages ago. Yes that is a shisha mirror for the moon.I had great fun doing it. The sky is thread darning. You lay down a lot of long stitches and then weave over them to create the fabric. I made the piece of blue felt and then rub a shiva stick over a piece of net. There is more thread darning/needlelace for the tree trunks. The foliage is a bit of hand dyed silk throwsters waste. I stitched it with a blue thread cause I forgot to write the colour on it and it seemed like a good colour to use. The purple/green is a piece out of my scrap stash and I am not sure if I bought it already dyed or dyed it myself. I think I bought it already done and it might have even come from Spotlight. Anyway it is done and I think it might even get displayed somewhere else before FF.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I've been painting. I meet up with friends once a month. Just 5 of us. Last night we painted a face using the techniques described in Bonnie Lyn McCaffrey's book "Portrait Quilts Painted Faces you can do".
I have also been making dolls. As you know dolls are my thing. I used a free pattern from the Yahoo group Vintage Cloth Dolls for this little girl. She is a copy of a Presbyterian Cloth Doll. Churches in the USA in the late 1800's early 1900's made these cloth dolls and painted the faces with oil paints as fund raisers. Also they would have been great for little girls to take to church. No breakages or noisy dropping of dolls with these cloth babies.
Mildred Turner in her book 'Mimi's Heirloom Sewing - Book 2' has a chapter on church dolls. The original church dolls were made from a handkerchief. Men's handkerchiefs were much larger apparently so they were folded and knotted to make a soft little doll that children could play with quietly in Church. They soon evolved into an opportunity for Mum and Grandma to show off their needlework prowess.
The Presbyterian and Colombian Dolls were fund raisers for churches.
According to Linda Edward:
(Cloth Dolls From Ancient to Modern A Collectors by Linda Edward)
The First Presbyterian Church of Bucyrus, Ohio, started making rag dolls in 1885 as a fund raiser. These Dolls measure about 17 inches and have hand painted faces. Their bodies are made of unbleached muslin which is stuffed with cotton and they are jointed at the hips and shoulders. The mitten shaped hands have fingers indicated by stitching. Their feet are stub shaped. The dolls and their original clothing, consisting of an ankle length dress and prairie bonnet, are all hand sewn.
I am not hand sewing I am using my machine. I am also making bloomers.
I should be doing it now but I am doing this instead.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dress Form

I have been decorating Dress Forms for the Hahndorf doll show. My cloth doll club is having a display in the Judging room. This is a wonderful opportunity to promote our club. Everybody who goes to the show goes and looks at the competition dolls. The Adelaide Hills Doll Guild who run this show have all the members decorating dress forms with hoop skirts. They are lovely pale colors. I am not a conformist so I did mine in gold and black. I bought the dress form already made from the White House Gallery at Victor Harbour. I painted it with Lumiere Bright Gold and then made the hoops from precovered black boning which I wrapped in black crystal organza and then stitched on some gold braid from the stash.
I have now done another in pastel colors. I learnt this glueing technique from my talented friend Wendy Ness. She teaches a workshop on this so I can't go into detail. But it is lots of bits of lace glued on then painted and then I gave it a coat of Jo Sonja gold iridescent paint. I have found a free pattern for a cloth one so I might just make it too. I have the bug now. I think this one will be a cream one. But then again maybe some color. Hmmm.....

Textile Art Ephemera (Otherwise known as Stuff)

Susannah Oroyan has the Rule of Stuff

You can never have too much stuff
The stuff you have is never as good as the other guys stuff
The stuff you have is probably too good to use on the doll anyway,
better save it
Any stuff you need is always too expensive
Your stuff is never where you thought it was
Stuff multiplies expotentiallly on its own
Stuff cannot resist gravity. it prefers being in npiles on the floor
Stuff mutates, the stuff you thought you had is not the stuff you do have
The natural state of stuff is chaos, don't even try to organize it in plastic boxes
Stuff stored in closets will always fall on your head
If you see good stuff,better buy it because you will never find it again....... .always buy twice as much stuff as you might need
Really good stuff is irresistible to cats
Copyright 1997 Susannah Oroyan

How true. I have an extensive collection of Stuff. I inherited the compulsion to collect. My parents have it and my maternal grandmother certainly had it. I think we all have a bit of a Bowerbird (Australian bird that collects stuff to decorate it's nest) habit in us.
I read in a book on lace making that ladies in England when the threat of the second world war was looming made sure that they had enough of their lace supplies on hand to last for several years.
I have enough Textile Art Ephemera on hand to last for a really big war.
I think, though, that one of my guilds or groups is bound to ask for donations for the people in Victoria who have lost everything so I think I shall go through some of my stuff and cull it. It is all really good stuff and someone over there will appreciate it. I don't need 2 or 3 pair of just about every size of knitting needle there is. I have a lot of quilt and other fabric I will probably never use. I did cull through it for the Port Lincoln fire victims and I think I will do it again.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fires and the weather

I have not done much for the last few days. The fires in Victoria have obsessed us all. I don't usually watch the TV through the day but I can't seem to resist. Part of that is sympathy and part is relief that we did not have the same thing here. I look at the areas burned and it is so similar to where I live.
My heart goes out to those suffering in Victoria.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hot Stuff

It is still hot here. We are being promised a cool change but apart from a bit of coolness in the breeze it is still fairly warm. We are going out for dinner tonight. It is my birthday on Monday and the kids may not all be able to make it up to Nairne on Monday through the day. I am working at night usually I take my birthday off but it is my first night of a short contract for the job I have applied for so I think it would not look good to not turn up. So tonight we are going to Adelaide to Hawkers Corner. My wonderful friend Teena gave me a gift certificate for my birthday.
Matt (No 1 Son) rang a little while a go to see if I have India Flints dying book and I said No but what a great present for my birthday. To which he replied that he was looking at it for himself. So I will borrow it.
Must go and get ready for my night out.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I committed myself to a swap. It is on a yahoo group I belong too. I said I would make a wire wrapped doll. There had been much talk about Ray Slaters Book "Cloth Dolls for Textile Artists" I bought the book. I looove books like I love chocolate. Don't make me pick between the two. I just couldn't. I had a day last week when not only didn't I have any chocolate I got up late and missed my half hour read and coffee which is how I start my day. I was out of sorts all day. I like my routine. I get up and put the kettle on, while it boils I wash my face and then fill up the plunger make my cuppa and get my book and sit out in the family room and drink it while I read and watch the sun come up. It is a great way to start the day.
Anyway back to the pincushion and the wire wrapped doll. they do combine.
I committed myself to the swap. I haven't made a wire wrapped doll before. I needed a pincushion. why do I over commit. I decided I needed to practice on the wire wrapped doll. I made her She turned out pretty good. I sewed up 6 hands and they all were less that great. All this in 45 degrees C and above. So on the night before I needed the pincushion I thought Eureka and rolled up a bit of felt I made last year and put her together. Yes I know her hands aren't perfect and her head looks funny because originally her head was going to be the pincushion and I stuffed it with wool. I won't do that again. But she is finished and that is the main thing. Her plaits are wool roving. She is wrapped in hand dyed pink cotton and then over wrapped with strips of panne velvet. Her skirt is a gathered tube of panne and her wrap is velvet too. He hat is a big yoyo that I stitched on. She was one of 25 pincushion considering we had about 25 members at the meeting, cause it was another hot hot day I thought the response was great.
Next months challenge is a dress form (Mannequin) should be interesting.