Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Muse and Steampunk

I am still working on my Muse. I have finished the painting and the first coat of sealer. I decided to use a satin sealer and I am happy with the result. she looks a lot lighter in this photo than she actually is.

She is starting to speak to me at last and let me know who she is. I am a little fascinated with Steampunk so I think she will be steampunkish before we are done.
I have read some of MelJean Brook's Iron Seas series and if you would like a free sample of that go to Wild and Steamy.

Beond Victoriana is a blog of many things Steampunk influenced not by European but by other areas of the globe.
Wikipedia, of ocurse, has a page on steampunk and lots of links.

I won't be taking my Muse as far as this.
She is more influenced by the Macy Christmas windows.

So now I just have to find a whole lot of old clock bits to use. I knew I should have kept that old alarm clock.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Beautiful Blogs

I have an ever growing list of blogs I love. I have added Su Blackwell's to my list of blogs I follow. I love book arts and while my blood does run a bit cold at the thought of cutting into a book I have to admire her work and wish I had one of her books in my display cupboard. Oh well maybe one day.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Susie McMahon Workshops 3

Can you guess what these are?

If you guessed hand carved feet for my Zozie doll you were right.

Despite making two different sets of feet for her I couldn't get her to stand up. My wonderful husband carved these from a piece of Wild plum from his wood stash. He's a great husband.

My Muse, who still hasn't told me her name, is progressing well I have glued a layer of muslin over her body and arms and painted her. She is progressing well.

Yes she is hanging upside down from a piece of string on the back-verandah.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Susie McMahon Workshops 2

Today was the last day of a wonderful 3 days with Susie McMahon

Day 1 we sculpted a head for a Muse. Here's the one I did.

On the second day we made a Zozie doll. Mine is a bird girl.

Today was the third day and we finished putting the Muse body together and I painted the head of my Muse.

I'll show you a photo of the finished product very soon.
Susie is a wonderful teacher and we had a wonderful 3 days with her. She is my favorite cloth doll teacher. She teaches overseas on occasion as well and if you go to her blog you can contact her and find out where she is teaching next year.
She is coming to South Australia again mid next year if you are interested.
i am putting the recipes of the slice and the quiche I made for the workshops on my other blog - Peta Eats

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Susie McMahon Workshops

There is great excitement amongst the South Australian Cloth Doll Ladies. Susie McMahon is coming for a visit and to teach classes. Her last visit was 2008.
This is the doll I sculpted in the class.

My plan is too dress her as a Victorian era child. I got too the underwear and blouse stage and ran out of oomph. I have the material and the patterns for the rest of her clothing and I will finish her just don't ask me when.

This time we are making The Muse and Zozie. I don't have to buy anything but a half a meter of stretch fabric. I probably don't even need to buy that but I can't be bothered hunting through the Stash for it so I am off to the fancy fabric shop to hunt up a flash stretch fabric. Ideally I'd like something in black and gold but I'll have to wait and see what is available.

Monday, November 21, 2011

From the Stash

AS you know, if you are following what I am up too, I am trying to use mostly things from my stash. I have lots of choices and that is part of the problem. I do have an ongoing project and I am doing the boring bit.
Once I have a project to the stage that I can see how it will end up I lose interest. It's a big problem for me and even though I am aware of this I still struggle with it. That's one of the reasons I am veering towards small projects. I have lots of big unfinished projects too.
Last month in my bid to create order from chaos Greg helped me clear everything out of the studio and I mostly put it back. I avoided the yearly craft show because I am an impulse shopper and I have enough impulsively bought items as it is without adding to them.
I don't have a current knitting project, well one I can lay my hands on that it is. I started a baby jacket for my cousins baby girl and I will finish it one day. When I find it. Said baby turned 21 recently, need I say anymore. I also have a cable jumper for myself started but there are more cables on the back than the front so I have to fix it and that is more work than I want at the moment.
I found, in the great tidy up, the alpaca wool I bought last November and the hand spun/dyed I bought in Tasmania in 2009. I also located the wool winder thingeys I bought in Ballarat in April. So at least I used the wool winders and I have the wool dehanked.

There are lots of patterns on Ravelry I love. A beret called Phannie which this wool would be perfect for. Plus another for a bandana cowl on the blog Purl Bee, this blog has an array of crochet and knitting projects. There's a crocheted hat with ear flaps that would work with this wool too.
Summer is on us so I am not sure where this desire to knit has come from but oh well.

On another topic if you are an embroidery fan Sharon of Pin Tangle is starting Take a Stitch Tuesday again. Go for a look if you are interested. I start well then run out of oomph but I am going to give it another go.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

When is enough enough?

I think I have finally reached the stage of "Enough is Enough". I had organised my PDO for this Friday so I could go to the Craft Fair. NOT GOING!!!! I've got enough.
Enough what? Well may you ask. Yes you may.
I have enough emphemera, textile ephemera. I have fabric of all types falling out of boxes and cupboards. I have a million books (slight exageration but not by much). Stamps, paint, stencils, inks... You name it and I probably have some of it or I can tell you where to get it. Need a couple of old shoe lasts... I have some of those. Perhaps an Edwardian bed jacket, got it. Lots and lots of buttons, Pick me Pick me. Threads, wools silks and polyester whatevers. Miles of ribbons and mountains of lace. Yep I am your girl.

What don't I have? I don't have enough time. I am severely lacking in enthusiasm. Part of this is brought on by working my butt off at work. I am filling in for one of the kitchen officers who is on leave. I love cooking but it just isn't fun anymore I am over this job. I want to go back to my own job now. When I get home I fall into a chair with a glass of wine and wish for Lotto to ring me.
Oh well only 7 more working days and the holidayer will be back and I can go back to my own job.
The trouble is I think I've had enough of that too. Might be time to look for something new. I have been working in this industry for nearly 15 years and I think my candle is burning out. I think it is a big hint when you look at a client and you just want to slap them and tell them to grow up.
I know what I am not going to do and surely that is a start. I am not going to open my own business I just can't afford it without taking out a mortgage and in the current financial crisis I am not willing to risk my house on it.
The trouble is I am really good at getting people to do stuff they have to do and don't particularly want to do and I am good at organising so if you know of any one who wants a bossy organiser let me know.
Luckily my boss does want me to do that and pays me really well to do it even when my attitude sucks. So until Lotto rings or the dream job turns up I'll just stay where I am.
Big sigh... Surely it is my turn to win Lotto. Hurry up and ring me Lotto man.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Spring Cleaning

It is Spring here in the Beautiful Adelaide Hills. Time to tidy up the studio.
I didn't have to clean the floor. It's been covered with stuff for so long that it didn't have the chance to get dirty. No 2 son has come home to live with us for a while so I had to move all, OK most, of my stuff out of his room back into the studio.
I have seen a lot of signs saying "I can't be tidy and creative". I can't. I do notice that my creativity reduces when the studio is a mess, so I like to have a tidy studio.

So here is my tidy studio, Greg helped me.

Don't ask me about the dining room though.
Greg helped by pulling out all the stuff that was on the floor and putting it on the trestle in the dining room.

I lost my enthusiasm and creativity earlier in the year, I am sure it is in here somewhere.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Spring is sprung

It's a beautiful Spring day here in the Adelaide Hills. The weather is a balmy whatever it is. Greg and I started the day late. We had breakfast and then slothed around until our local nursery opened. We still had the voucher he got for Christmas so off we went to spend it. Greg recently finished this arbor, which Granddaughter No 2 tells me we have to plant lots of flowers to grow over the top so fairies will come and live in it.
When we bought our house in 2000 the previous owner told me not to walk on the ground inside the sleepers he had in the backyard because there was an old well underneath. He said he had walked through the top of it and gone into the hole up to his knee. He then told me that he looked inside and it was an old well. So he chucked a bit of tin over the hole and put the sleepers down so we'd know where it was. I didn't realise until recently that he must have been on drugs.

For the 11 years we've lived in this house there has been a great deal of vague talk of opening the top of the well and using the water on our garden. While the vague talking has been going on the top has been sinking and then sinking some more until I threatened my darling husband with bodily damage if one of our darling grandchildren fell through the top of said 'Well' because he couldn't be bothered to fix it.
So Greg opened it up, and it was a two foot deep hole in the top of an old septic pit. It was full of dirt, really good dirt. So rather than just fill it in Greg built an arbor over the top.
Today we (and that is the royal we because he did most all of it while I was making a loaf of bread) planted two jasmines and a climbing iceberg rose at three of the corners.
I wanted two yellow climbers similar if not the same as the nursery around the corner had growing over a huge stand, so off we went today only to find that not only don't they sell roses anymore but the heathens had taken out the most beautiful yellow climbing rose that I had ever seen. It used to cover about 6 meters of wall with a mass of huge beautiful golden yellow 'Celebration' by David Austen.
As I have my heart set on that particular rose I am going to have to go hunting for it. An adventure for me. I shall, no doubt, bore people silly with my obsession until I find one.

The berries that we planted last year are doing great

Here's our veggie garden. We also bought some veggie seedlings that Greg planted. Here is where Greg told me to go away and stop taking his photo. I told him to shut up and freaking smile for once when he's getting his photo taken or I'll bury him in that garden bed. Which I have been told is a really bad spot to bury a body cause it's the first place the police will look.


pinched a nerve in his neck last week and couldn't move his whole left side, talk or hear for about 20 minutes. We thought he had had a stroke. Really scarey, I am so relieved he is alright.
He is supposed to be taking it easy until he goes back to the doctor. He doesn't do well with taking it easy. I am tempted to duct tape him to the wall but this wouldn't do much good and he'd be really cranky when he got loose so I'll save that for another time.
Being a typical male he argued with the doctor over taking medication for a week in case it was a little blood clot. I had to remind him that until he has his own medical degree he will shut up and do as he is told.
Still we had a lovely day today and these are to be treasured. I hope your Spring or Autumn depending on where you are is just a beautiful.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Daylight Saving

Daylight saving is on us. Yes it is Spring here in the Great South Land or Land of the Long Weekend as it is affectionately called. We have one this weekend, I can't remember if it is Labour Day or Queens Birthday or whatever any way it is a 3 day weekend. I thought I would take the oppportunity to show a photo of what I was working on this time last year

Both pieces are finished but the landscape still isn't framed.
Well I am off to bed I am loosing an hour tonight and I hate that. I do like getting up in the dark though and having a bit of extra time in the daylight at night. Even if it is only to sit on the verandah or in the sunroom and have a little glass of wine with the husband.


Friday, September 30, 2011

Stitched Up

My stiff neck has been giving my grief, I am not sure if this is my subconscious trying to give me a message or just the result of sleeping in an awkward position a few weeks ago or a bit of both.
I have been trying to stitch and I've finally found the right position courtesy of this great folding table I bought at OfficeWorks. It was only $20 on special. It is just the right size to hold my hoop and a variety of bits and pieces including the remote. It is light enough to move around and sturdy enough not to wobble. I am stitching again despite my lack of enthusiasm to do anything. I shall endeavour to do more stitching and less obsessing. I make no promises.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Devil is in the Detail and DNA gets you everytime.

I have some big decisions to make in the next couple of weeks and I am humming and hahing and generally boring everyone stupid trying to make a decision on my future in my job.
I work for the government. For quite a while you would hear lots of jokes about disgruntled workers after there was a series of workers resigning via a gun. There is even a saying 'going postal' in American English slang, means becoming extremely and uncontrollably angry, often to the point of shooting people dead, usually in a workplace environment. I really understand how they would want to do that.
Who hasn't imagined that. It would be satisfying, in an only imagined and never followed through on way, to just take a gun and pop one into the head of your manager. Not that I want to do that because I don't have a gun and I changed workplaces and I didn't want to shoot anybody anyway. All though I did seriously consider for about 5 seconds running someone over but what can I say. It was my new car and I didn't want to get blood on it although there were quite a few other people in my workplace who would have helped me dispose of the body cause all you really need is a roll of chicken wire and some heavy weights so no embarrasing bits float off when you throw it in the river. Not that I've given it a lot of thought. They would have helped me clean my car but I watch NCIS and Abbey can always find a skerrick of blood and bang my ass is grass.
Those little details get you everytime. I quite like little details in my art life, I am going to get back to them soon. Life gets in the way though.
I am seriously thinking about demoting myself. I have been on a contract for the last year and the time is coming when I will have to bite the bullet and decide
if I stay at a lower level in a place where I am really comfortable or go back to the place I left last year.
I have been neglecting my creative side and I don't like that either. A Quandry indeed, my gut is saying one thing and my head is saying another. In the past my gut is usually right because sometimes my head is an idiot. I just need to get on with it. My neck is playing up too. Stiff necked isn't that another way of saying to stubborn for my own good. Maybe my body is trying to tell me something.
I need a little project that I will finish easily and quickly. Finish being the optimal word.

Sunday, September 25, 2011



“An educational and psychological term referring to a pattern found among intellectually gifted individuals. [Multipotentialites] generally have diverse interests across numerous domains and may be capable of success in many endeavors or professions, they are confronted with unique decisions as a result of these choices.”

I can almost hear you thinking 'What the f... has that got to do with chickens?'

At last an affirming term for me and my life. I just found this website PuttyLike. I haven't read much of it but it seems to be calling to me. I've been sitting on my butt waiting for some divine guidance and where else would I find it than on the web. Oh and here is an awesome photo of a couple of chickens. Why a chicken...? Well since you ask that seems to be the method for my whole life. I scratch around looking for something and then when I find it I am off scratching around for something else.
But that is OK because I have a Multipotentiality personality. I am a Multipotentialite.
Try and say that 5 times fast.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Bibliomaniac's Prayer

Eugene Field. 1850–1895

The Bibliomaniac's Prayer

KEEP me, I pray, in wisdom's way
That I may truths eternal seek;
I need protecting care to-day,—
My purse is light, my flesh is weak.
So banish from my erring heart
All baleful appetites and hints
Of Satan's fascinating art,
Of first editions, and of prints.
Direct me in some godly walk
Which leads away from bookish strife,
That I with pious deed and talk
May extra-illustrate my life.

But if, O Lord, it pleaseth Thee
To keep me in temptation's way,
I humbly ask that I may be
Most notably beset to-day;
Let my temptation be a book,
Which I shall purchase, hold, and keep,
Whereon when other men shall look,
They 'll wail to know I got it cheap.
Oh, let it such a volume be
As in rare copperplates abounds,
Large paper, clean, and fair to see,
Uncut, unique, unknown to Lowndes.

Friday, September 23, 2011


I cut back on the amunt of magazines I buy years ago. The reason, apart from a distinct lack of interest in what celebs are doing, is I hate to throw out any sort of printed materials. To the extent that when the Husband threw out some of my favorite books things got decidely tense. Divorce was threatened and he's still not game to throw out anything on paper twenty seven years later. I did sort of forgive him, well stop reminding him of his sin. I don't even think of it that often.

Bibliomania is the collecting, some might say hoarding of books to the point where relationships or health are damaged. Obviously I don't have that because we are still married despite the sin of throwing out a bag of my books I had carefully put behind my arm chair out of the way. No hoarding or obsessing would be not forgiving him eventually when I found out he'd thrown them in the rubbish while I was at work and the garbage truck had been before I got home and noticed the loss the minute I walked in the door. Not that I hold it against him.

When is it hoarding? Who decides what is hoarding? I'd hazard the guess it would be when your kids sign you up for one of those reality tv shows and some out of work TV wanna be is luring you away with a free trip to the biggest book store on Earth and horrible home invaders are packing up your stuff and having a garage sale while you aren't there. Not that I've thought that some day the family might do that to me.

I don't collect just any book that would be hoarding. I have standards. They have to be something I am interested in.
Mostly, of course sometimes the book is about something I might be interested in in the future. But if it looks interesting and it is a good price it would be silly to not buy it just in case right? That's definitely not hoarding.
So I'd rather sit inside and read than go outside, I shan't get skin cancer and you can buy Vitamin D in a bottle. Sometimes I read on the back verandah.
If I can still get in the front door then I am not a hoarder. I do feel slightly sick when I throw out the free local paper but I close my eyes and just throw it in the recycling. That's how not obsessed I am.
There aren't books in every room in my house. There are none in the bathroom, the toilet is a really uncomfortable place to read. I know, I know some people take a book into the smallest room. Please stop the excuses, if it takes you that long to go get a laxative. If that is the only place you can get some privacy you need to learn to tune the rest of the world out. It doesn't take long to learn to zone them out. My kids soon learnt to give me a nudge if they needed something important like first aid. Because they damn well better have been bleeding before they interrupted me. No, not really. Well alright sort of.

Bibliophilism is the love of books. Healthy love not sick porn love, no sticky pages in my books unless I get some of my breakfast jam on there and don't notice. A bibliophile is a person who loves books or collecting books. A bookworm cares about the contents, they love reading. We need a new word for that. One that expresses the true pleasure and normalacy of having a couple of thousand few books that you don't share with anyone because they just don't look after them. And sometimes forget to give them back or carelessly loan them to me which makes them mine, mine all mine.

(Deep breath, get a grip) It might be called bibliophilia by some but that sounds slightly rude to me and "Bibliophilism" sounds much more highbrow. The opposite of bibliophobia is abibliophobia. This is the fear of running out of reading materia. I don't have that problem I would just read something again or go online and buy something. Not have something to read that freaking terrifies doesn't worry me much at all.

So I get a little cranky if I don't get to have a little read while I am having my breakfast. Doesn't everybody have a book in their handbag, a couple of audio books on the ipod and a spare book in the car in case you break down somewhere. That's not obsessive that's just being prepared. You can only read a street directory for so long before it gets a little tedious.

Yes, OK I might be screamingly a little abibliophobic. But I am definitely not an obsessive book hoarder.
Perhaps there is a book on recovering from these conditions I could read. (I type and then laugh to myself cause that's a little joke sort of. Leave me a comment if you agree or know of that book).

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I have no idea what I am doing - So I'll eat ice cream

As my previous blog post said I am at a cross roads. I should be doing something positive but I am not, I am spending my days reading and procrastinating waiting for some sort of divine guidance as to the direction I should take. There is a saying along the lines of if you keep looking over your shoulder at where you have been you can't move forward.
Wise words.
So I shall start looking forward. No more looking back even if I do end up going back. I don't really want to go back but then I am not sure if staying where I am is a good thing either.
Darn it... I really have no idea what I am doing so I am going to go and have some ice cream. Really yummy Cafe Grande - coffee with scorched almonds and grande marnier syrup. I haven't given a recipe for a long time so here's a really good icecream recipe Not for cafe grande but nearly as good no added sugar unless you chuck some in the apples if you do those instead of mulberries. If you want cafe grande icecream it is in the freezer at the supermarket.

Ice Cream

2 eggs
500 ml milk
375ml double/heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or according to taste)
¼ cup real maple syrup put half into the custard and then taste and add more to your taste
2 cups mulberries or berries of choice or (1 ½ cups of cooked diced apples and ½ cup chopped toasted pecans or walnuts and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon)

Pour the milk into a saucepan place on heat and bring the pan slowly up to boiling point

In a bowl, beat together the eggs and maple syrup until thick. Pour ¼ cup of the hot milk into the mixture of egg and syrup whilst stirring. Then slowly pour in the rest of the milk stirring all the time.

Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat gently over low, stirring until the custard thickens. DO NOT LET IT BOIL. Use a double boiler if you are not confident. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Leave to cool.

Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks (This is important). Fold the custard into the cream.
Put the mixture into a bowl in the freezer and let it half freeze. Beat it with electric mixer or put it into an ice cream maker. Refreeze.
Fold 2 cups of fresh or frozen mulberries (or the apple/pecan/cinnamon) through the ice cream before it goes hard. Place in small molds or a loaf tin lined with plastic wrap. Freeze until solid and then turn out and slice if a log.
Because this is low sugar this is a hard ice cream take it out of the freezer 10 minutes before eating to let it soften.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Fork in my road

I have reached a fork in my personal road. I applied for the position I have been doing on a temporary contract for nearly a year and didn't get it. After a few lot of days of general foul moodiness I now know I have to get a grip and get over it. so I am at a fork in my road. I could turn around and go back to my old position I left last year.
I should say I left it because I was miserable there and it hasn't improved in fact the situation there is worse so I know I won't do that.
I could take a job at a lower level where I am. I would have a job in a place I really like with a good bunch of people.
But my pay packet will drop about $20 thousand dollars a year and that is a lot.
Or I can apply for a job on my current level in a place that is, apparently, about to implode. This couldn't be any worse than my old work place that has imploded. OK it could be worse because I could spend the time there kicking myself for leaving the place I like.

I have a bucket list that doesn't have much on it.
At the moment it simply has a trip to Europe on there. I am saving up for that cause I want to go on a Stitching and Stately Homes tour and they don't come cheap.
The other thing I would like to for my life to be easy. I am still working on that one.

On my daughters facebook page she had a link to The Bloggess who has a very funny blog and she had a link to Girl to Mom who has a F*ck It List, a list of things she never wants to do. I can really get behind that idea. I can put some thought into things I never want to do.

No 1. I really don't want to run my old manager over with my car. I just imagined doing it. I have a really good imagination and that was enough for me.

No 2. No bungey jumping or parachuting for me.

No 3. No bleaching or waxing of parts of me that never see the sun.

No 4 I will never watch Brokeback Mountain, The Hours or 6 Freaking years in Tibet ever again unless they remake them with aliens. I think all those movies would be better with aliens in them.

and then i pinched some from the other lists
No. 5 I don’t want to clean my house to spotlessness… it never lasts.

No. 6 I don’t want to be a stick figure… I love my curves (so does my husband)

No 7. I don’t care if my hair is done everyday… it’ll be messed up a few minutes after I leave the house anyway.

No 8. I don’t care if my husband and I are rich… our lives are rich with each other and our kids and grandkids.

No 9. I don’t care if I never own a pet… No matter how great they are, I have plenty to do and don’t want the animal to inadvertently starve.

No 10. I don’t care if I never have a threesome or attend a key party… one man is enough for me.

So now I know some of the things I don't want to do that's a start.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I am still here

Despite my best intentions I have become a woeful blogger. I seem to have little time for it. Work and family are interfering with my preferred activities of cooking and textile arts. I have finished my grandson's christening gown. He looked beautiful. No 2 granddaughter always says "hello beautiful boy" she says we have to say that so he knows we love him.
His gown is skill twill, handsomocked the peterpan collar and cuffs are trimmed with entredaux and the hem is trimmed with cotton lace. I am having a bit of trouble getting a good photo of it but I will try.
I am also working on a secret project I will tell you about it when I can.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I am still alive, I haven't posted for so long and I am sure we all feel like this year is streaking by. I see from the blogs I follow that I am not alone in my infrequent posting. I find that with working full time, family and life in general that I am having less and less time to do what I want to do.
I look on my blogs as a diary of sorts of my craft and cooking life so if I don't post often then it is because I have not been devoting as much time as I would like to these things.
I have finished something today though. This project has been on my mind for a while. I saw a pattern a few years ago for a travel jacket or vest. It is a garment with lots of pockets for people to wear while travelling. I was re-inspired earlier in the year when I saw the apron/overdress that India Flint wears. She told us she simply takes it off when she goes through the x-ray machine at the airport. An inspired idea.
I don't travel as often as India but I loved the idea of a garment with lots of secure pockets to hold things like my phone, ipod, money etc etc while I am out and about.

The pattern I saw was $30 and I thought I really didn't need to spend that amount of money. In hind sight it would probably have been quicker but nowhere near as much fun. The photos don't really show much however here's what I did. I took a denim skirt and a pair of cargo pants that I found in the local Op Shop. They both had a lot of Zipper pockets. So after some cutting and cropping and resewing I now have a long vest with 12 pockets most of which have zippers. I think I will dye it before I wear it as I am not a fan of the colour. Probably black. Then again I might just leave it the way it is.

So I am still around just a bit busy. I am enjoying reading your blogs when I get the chance.

Monday, April 25, 2011

FibreArts Ballarat 2011

Where have I been? Well since you asked, I have been on my annual jaunt to Ballarat. The weather was beautiful, the company excellent and the class I did superb.
I have had a serious case of the "Blahs" for quite a while. I really wanted to make something but couldn't even find the initiative to finish one of my many WIP’s (works in progress).
The doll I made with Jill Maas changed that and I have recovered my drive.
I spent the 6 days in Ballarat creating up a storm. As always there was a class I would love to do in the future but for the first time I didn’t look at the other classes and think “Damn I wish I had done that one”.
Joss Farmer Jones is a truly excellent, incredibly patient teacher and an wonderful book maker. I can honestly say with my hand on my heart this was one of the best classes I have ever done. Fun, relaxing and filled with (for me) new techniques and lots of information.

We made lots of different coloured papers in a variety of techniques I have always wanted to have a go at. Itajime, marbling and dipping.
The blue book is a technique where you dip tissue paper in inks that you have splashed about on a piece of glass. After they have dried they are ironed onto a piece of freezer paper and then 3 coats of blonde shellac is brushed on allowed to dry between each coat. The freezer paper is left in situ.
I used it as part of the cover for my leather bound binding. The leather and paper were glued and stitched in place.

The orange marbled paper covered book is a simple spiral bound item, it is actually all our class notes that we made into a book on our last day. An excellent idea that I will use in the future.

The other 3 are concertina books, I haven’t written anything in them yet.

The teachers and classes for 2012 are up on Gleny's site FiberArts Ballarat
I am doing a Mixed Media class with Jenny Crossley let me know if you are going to come and I'll catch up with you there.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Jill Maas

I spent the weekend making a doll 'Snowdrop and Frosty' by Jill Maas. I haven't made a doll for ages. I ran out of oomph for doing much in the way of textiles. I wasn't even that keen to do the doll workshop but I had made the committment to do it and didn't want to let my friend Christine down by dropping out at the last minute. Off I went on Saturday thinking 'Why did I commit to doing this'.

I made my favorite Spice Cake to take along. I hadn't made that for quite a while and it is an easy cake that everyone who eats it always raves over so it was a good choice to take along. I knew I would know just about everyone there and was looking forward to spending time with them, still I had a large case of the blah's.

Getting out and making something was just the thing to cheer me up. Starting and finishing Snowdrop and Frosty in 2 days gave me just the sense of accomplishment I needed to kick start me back into my textile adventures.

I hadn't made a doll with or by Jill Maas before her patterns are very popular. I know why now. The patterns are easy to make and the results are beautiful. Jill was a great teacher, she made sure everyone got the help they needed.
I also bought the pattern for High Octave Hester
and The Little Singers
Photos courtesy of Jill Maas's website.

I had the best weekend. It was just what I needed. I found my initiative. I'd left it somewhere and couldn't find it. Now I have and I am madly keen to go off to Ballarat on Thursday. Something else I was wondering why I had committed to.
I found talking to my textile friends that a lack of enthusiasm for our favorite past time is a common complaint. I put my own lack of enthusiasm down to a busy life, work and family don't leave a lot of time to do anything else. I have to make the best of my available time. One way to do that and get maximum satisfaction from that is to make small things. they get finished.
I am doing a book making class at Ballarat so I am confident I will not be bringing home a pile of raw materials that will still be waiting to be used this time next year like the fabrics I dyed last year that are still sitting in my studio waiting to be turned into the jacket I have planned.
I wonder if our modern lifestyle is one of the reasons so many of us are suffering from the blah's. I want to do so much, yet lack the time and then when I have the time I lack the enthusiasm and the initiative to even start let alone finish. I read and wrote about Getting things done excellent advice from Mary Gordon and Micheal Nobbs. I need to go back and read it again and get organized. I'll talk to you again after I get back from Ballarat.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

India Flint and The Leafy Sea Dragon Festival

Today I set off cross country to lovely Yankalilla. The day was overcast and miserable and then it rained. I didn't mind though. Yankalilla is one of my favourite places and somewhere I'd love to live.
Yankalilla is just inland from Normanville, half way between Yankalilla and Normanville would be an ideal place for a home. I could walk on the beach every day.
Anyway the reason I went was for a workshop with the wonderful India Flint

The Leafy Sea Dragon Festival is on from the 15th to the 24th of April and includes the Art show, an artists trail, Mix it up Media Exhibition and lots more. Go to the link and you can see the rest of the events in the festival.
One of the exhibitions is called Colours of Home. For this a grant was won from Festivals Australia. This funded the Wonderful India Flint to spend a week at Yankalilla. Today we worked on flags for the exhibition,

India demonstrated her use of eucalypts in dying.

We bundled up silk and different types of leaves

tied them up with string

and boiled them.

Here are some of them hanging to dry.

We are all going back this week to work on some more fabrics for a group piece for the exhibition.
For full details on the how's you’ll need to buy India’s books and for lots of eye candy there’s her blog.

Monday, March 14, 2011


I am off to Fibres Ballarat in a couple of weeks and I have a couple of things to do. One is make a 15 x 15 cm piece for the fund raiser and the other is to make a cocktail outfit from an Op shop buy.

I bought this dress at the Salvos a couple of years ago and it has been hanging in the wardrobe in the spare room ever since.

Here's a photo with the tag still attached to prove I did buy it at an Op Shop. I am pretty sure this was one of those bride maids dresses some poor soul had to buy and I can just hear the bride saying "if you shorten it you can wear it again". Please like that ever happens.

This dress was definitely made for someone shorter than me. I have to fiddle with it quite a bit and it is a couple of inches to small in the bust so that needs to be fixed but it fits me in the waist. I did wonder for a few minutes if it had been made for a cross dresser as I am not to big in the bust department. I do like the colour and as the theme is gold it fits the bill there.
All I have to do is make it longer in the shoulders, chop about 50 cms off the length and add some material in the under arm so it fits there. I might make some sort of shrug with the leftovers as Ballarat in April can be really cold. Nothing to it. More photos to come.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New Grandson Aaron Gregory

Aaron Gregory Stuart arrived on 4th March. Although he's 5 weeks early he still weighed in at 5 pounds 1 ounce. He is a beautiful baby, a little jaundiced and still sleeping most of the day and night. He's out of the humicrib and doing really well.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Breaking out of a creative rut.

I think this post says it all about my current state of mind and what I need to do.
Ali Edwards shares her thoughts as a guest blogger on Kelly Raes blog. Some body give me a big ladder so I can climb out of my rut.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lil Blue Boo

I can't believe it has been nearly a month since I was last here. Between work, life, kids etc time has just flown. I haven't done much of anything since the Summer School. I have cruised the net quite a bit though. One interesting blog with lots of tutorials and info and eye candy is Lil Blue Boo
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Silk Paper

Today I did quite a bit of tidying up in the various areas of the house I have scattered with my art supplies. It is our 31st Wedding Anniversary, so we went out for lunch, we had thought of going to lunch and then too the movies. We couldn't find a movie on at our local theatres we wanted to see so we didn't bother. We had a very nice lunch out and then came home.

I spent some time playing with my gummed silk supplies this afternoon. As you can see I made 2 types of silk paper. The one on the left is the fluffy gummed silk and I simply teased it out into a thin layer on Bake paper, misted it with water and then covered it with another piece of bake paper and ironed it dry with a dry (No Steam) iron. For the right hand sample I ironed some of the silk rods flat with a steam iron and then seperated the layers and wove them together, misted them and then ironed them dry between layers of bake paper. You really do need the bake paper as other wise it sticks to the iron while it is wet. It doesn't stick when it is dry. Over ironing can cause some interesting scorching. I have read about this type of silk paper quite often but didn't have a go until my class with the lovely Isobel Hall. She demonstrated the cocoon strippings type and I just used the same technique for the woven silk rods one.
Apparently you can also put silk dys or heat activated paints in the misting bottle and spray it with that for a bit of colour. I haven't tried that yet but I might have a go.
The silk strippings and the silk rods came from Beautiful Silk.

I am planning to do some samples with machine embroidery on both. I can't do anything I have to wash so I am going to use the thermo gaze I already have as a stabiliser. I want to try out my flower stitcher as I bought it at the Quilt and Craft show and it hasn't seen the light of day.
I have used the thermogaze before and it does iron away. There is a powdery stuff you have to get rid of but at least you don't have to wash it. There are other melt aways on the market but I haven't used any of them so please tell me your favorite if you have any other suggestions. The silk strippings and rods, Thermo gaze and the flower stitcher and a book on how to use it are all available from The Thread Studio.
I don't get a kick back from any one for my advertising.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fibres Ballarat

I have decided that I am not being unfaithful to my love of textiles by sneaking off to do a book making class. I was feeling a bit like an unfaithful lover. I have decided that my desire to explore a new path is not denying my long love affair with fibres. I am going to be ruthless and sell off some of my fabrics and quilting stuff. I also have a huge pile of doll stuff that I will probably not use. I am not giving up on making dolls or my other textile pursuits I am just taking them down another path. I am a collector and I hate to part with anything because you and I both know that 2 weeks give or take after I dispose of anything I will find the perfect spot for it. But I am drowning under a mountain of stuff and the time has come to simplify and declutter. The big question is can I do it. I believe I can. I read (somewhere someone and apologies I can't remember the source)of a person who culled their house by looking at things and using some simply rules to cull it. Rule one was is this a precious heirloom/memory object that I can never replace.
Rule two was would I replace this if the house burnt down.
An interesting approach. If an object is replacable then I can replace it with something else. I have a large collection on quilting fabrics. They can go. I am probably never going to use most of them, I will sell off what I can and then consider the rest. I also have a big collection of books I will probaly never use. I think it is time to look at Amazon, Ebay and Etsy I am not sure of the rules for Etsy so some research is required to destash.
I don't know if I can actually part with piles of my stuff, but I am going to try. wish me luck.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Making stuff

As you know I am off to Fibre Ballarat in April. This is my favorite time of year. I have an ongoing obsession with fabrics and books. So now I have a dilemma. I really loved the book making class I did with Isobel Hall. But I also love fabrics.
So my dilemma is should I change to the book making class at Ballarat or stay in the screen printing class. I have lots of stuff, probably enough to do both. Oh what shall I do.
If the silk class was cancelled I would happily jump at the book class. Damn it. Every year I do one class and there is always another I wish I had done. I have to decide and soon.... I need a list of Pros and cons. But I can't decide which is a pro and which is a con.
I am sure I have enough of everything except time to do both classes.
The books are smaller.
I have heaps of fabric I haven't used. So do I really need more.
I love books and my friend Wendy will teach me how to use a silk screen.
Oh crap... what should I do. I really loved making those books... I could use some of the silk I have already in the books couldn't I.
I haven't used the fabric I made last year. Nor have I made any more, so I think that might be a sign I am not as in love with the techniques I learnt as I thought I was. If I had more time I would spend it making books.
I'll see if there is any room in the bookmaking class. If there is I'll change.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Isobel Hall

I have recently done an Embroidered Book workshop with Isobel Hall. It was a real pleasure. I learnt so much. I haven't quite finished my book but I will have it done soon. This photo is of the inside of the book. Black card was used for the signatures. I used my own hand dyed perle 8 thread over tapes I painted with the paint I used on the cover. All the stitching details are in Isobels Book "Embroiderered books".

I bought a lovely array of handmade papers and ended up using the brown paper all the lovely papers were wrapped in. This is the front cover which still needs to be stuck down properly. The first step was to paint it with two coats of blue folk art paint. This was allowed to dry and then the painted paper was crumpled and then ironed flat.
Next was a coat of Art Van Gogh Byzantium heat activated purple paint. This was allowed to dry and then gold encuastic wax was smeared over the raised bits with a hot iron. Then I gave it a coat of satin varnish, stitched it and then another coat of varnish. A piece of silk cocoon stripping paper was torn into bits and cobweb stitched onto the base. The back is the same.

I also played with Lutrador crash this was painted, coloured with chalks and then sealed. I will go into more detail on the hows in future posts. In this photo there are also some printing done on teabag paper and the piece of silk paper. I still have lots of bits and pieces for future art works.
Isobel was lovely, her husband Eric was there doing the drying and teaching too. If you get the chance to take a mixed media class with them don't hesitate it was wonderful.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sketchbook Challenge

I am very interested in Journalling and scrapbooking - A journal to me is more of a diary where as a scrapbook has bits and pieces stuck in and other stuff. So a sketchbook will be a combination of the two.
I have started sort of a cross between the two. Here's my first page. I found the quote on someone else's blog and can't remember who they were so sorry about that. This is the first page. I am not going to knock myself out to finish a page a day. I shall do as I please.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The demise of the Patchwork/Craft Shop

I am quite sad to say our local patchwork shop is closing its doors. I didn't get the chance to chat to the owner as the place was packed for the first day of her sale. I haven't been in for quite a while as I don't do much patchwork these days. I did spend up big though. I was after some quilters muslin as it is my preferred fabric for doll bodies. I was too late. Others had bought whole rolls and there was none left. At 30% off who could blame them. While I waited in line for the checkout I had time to ponder on the demise of the local craft and patchwork shops. Is it that we are spending more at the big craft shows and chain stores? Or is it that the owner has been in business for 17 years and she is tired. We all move on in life and hopefully that is what is happening. I know she will still be at the craft shows and on line so not completely gone. I am well stocked with fabrics so I shall not be running out and now I work in Adelaide I can pop into some of the shops down there without too much trouble.
We need to buy from these people to see them stay in business and I only go to the chainstore when I am desperate for something. I shall have to make do with what I will last me a long time. Perhaps I need a plan... on and a big dose of motivation.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Well here we are in 2011. I always ask where did the time go? But really time passes because we are busy living. I have a busy January. I am doing 4 days of workshops with Isobel Hall at the Embroiderers Guild of SA's Summer School. I am also doing a workshop with India Flint making flags for the Yankalilla Fibre Festival at Easter. I am not sure if that is the name of the thing. If you are in Yankalilla at Easter we will be at the show ground in the hall next to the art show in the big hall. You'll see all the flags outside. I also want to go to Sydney to see the First Emperor Exhibition at the Sydney Art Gallery but Greg is makin "It will cost how much noises" so I am doing some overtime to get the money. I am determined to make a GiGi doll for the raffle at the Exhibition or I might keep it. So much to do so little time.