Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Trying my hand at drawing

I've been a bit slack with my drawing and journal side of the studies, so thought I'd spent a quiet Sunday catching up.  I'm trying to do an art journal of our holiday to the UK in 2008, so I set up the laptop with our holiday snaps on and started copying some of the things that appealed to me, like all the lovely flowers that were out at the time.
I like drawing, but find it difficult.  I know you have to practice, but I just don't get the time to do enough of it to be able to just pick up a pencil and draw freely any time.  I always get screwed up with angst thinking I'm going to balls it up, so I sketch in pencil first, then go over it with a fine black marker, and rub out the pencil (cheats way, I know!)
I also have a thing for statues .... I love drawing them as I like the shading you have to do to bring them to life.  Trouble is mine come to life as something completely different .... this is supposed to be Lord Lister (at Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow).  Not surprisingly he doesn't look like him at all .... more like Moses with a sleepy eye .... lol !!  Oh well, we all have to start somewhere.
I did manage a day this week back into the wall hanging, and created the celtic brooch section for the top right corner.  I started with pelmet vilene for stability, layered with purple velvet, then two layers of gold spun craft fabric on top, and finally a piece of rusted purple silk as the final layer.  I'm pleased with it, but still unsure how it will all look in the end.  I need to soften it into the wool plaid ... any ideas anyone !!??

The rest of the week has been a bit frantic for household and garden chores ... lawns need mowing, new bed arrived, needed to be assembled, old one disassembled, pond pump died, fish frantic, me even more so, dad to the rescue, hubby home from work when everything sorted, hah!  Today is babysitting my grand-daughter so no C&G today ... maybe over Easter will be more productive.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Progression and discharge

Today was a productive day, but a bit slow.  Everything took a long time to do.  I coloured my paper cast of the Saxon cross with Treasure Gold Classic, then rubbed a purple Shiva stick over the raised motifs.  Now I've got to allow 48 hours for the shiva stick to dry.
So whilst that's drying I got on with the background fabric.  I chose a wool plaid for the ground fabric but still wanted to decorate it with pattern, so I took the plunge and used discharge paste for the first time.  I wasn't that silly though and tried it on a scrap piece first, hence the length of time it took me to do everything today.  Lots of time waiting for things to dry, then ironing, then rinsing in water, drying again, pressing again.  I was happy with the result on the test piece so went ahead and did the wall hanging piece, and I'm feeling alright about it.  In fact, I'm starting to get my confidence up now that I've finally got off my butt and started it, for some reason I've been a bit intimidated about this design.
After discharging the wool plaid I still had some discharge paste in the bowl so rather than try and scoop it back into the jar I used it up by playing about on another piece of fabric I had.  This time I used a floral stencil, then using shiva sticks I added coloured stripes randomly across the piece.  I like it, but want to jazz it up a bit more, after I've waited 48 hours for it to dry ... patience is a virtue they say.
I've no idea what I'm going to do with it afterward, but enjoyed playing around and trying new things.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Module 9 Wall Hanging

Before commencing my wall hanging I decided to finish off my crazy patchwork sample to be a stand alone sample, finished as a mini quilt.  I did this with the folded star window, but didn't quite get the corners of the  binding right, so I tried again, determined to master the mitred corners.  Think I've got it.
Then I added a sleeve at the back so that I can insert a rod and hang  it up for display.
After procrastinating for a few days I finally took a deep breath and started to work on the Anglo Saxon/Viking inspired wall hanging.  I don't feel good about this design, just feel that I haven't got it to come together like I want it to, but its early days, so we'll see where it leads.
To start I made a polystyrene mould of the cross I want for the centre of the design, and glued cord to create an impression in the finished cast.
I then covered the mould with water soluble paper, pressing it into the grooves I'd made, and leaving it to dry for 2 days.  Now its done I have to colour it.  Of course I'd like to paint it, but the whole thing would dissolve ... Duh! so I'll have to go with a wax or something.  This'll need some thinking about ...
... and the hardest part is - I can't even have chocolate to help me through the frustration, as I've taken a vow of abstinence, in the bid to lose weight.  By the end of the week I'll be ready to throttle something.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


We've been asking for rain, after not having any for 5 months, and it certainly came yesterday ..... by the bucket load.  A massive storm front hit Perth at 5pm and caused absolute havoc in the city and suburbs ....
flash flooding, 160,000 homes without power, lightning damage, hail stones the size of golf balls, cars and windows broken, car accidents, traffic lights down, trains at a standstill, air flights cancelled ...
what a night!!!!  Not one I want to have again for a long time.
We didn't have any damage ourselves, but it threw everything into chaos.  Fortunately it went as fast as it came and today is blue skies and heavy humidity.  Wonder if its a warning of the winter weather to come ... hope not!
Photos courtesy of

Monday, March 22, 2010

Frilly bits

I'm quite a novice on the blog scene, but my confidence has been building (ever so slightly) and I've decided to have a play around with it.  You'll notice I've changed my photo, added one of my designs to the title block (finally worked that one out!) and now I've added a background.
Not sure if I like the background or not ... I'll leave it for a few days/weeks and see if it grows on me, if not I'll go back to the simplistic approach.
What do you think?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Lazy weekend

It was so hot and humid on the weekend that none of us had the energy to do anything, other than laze around the pool and relax.  We had a little bit of rain which lasted all of about 4 minutes and was over before we realised what it was ... its been so long since we saw rain we've forgotten what it looks like.  I love the smell of first rain after a hot spell, steamy and sweet, but all it did was make it more humid and uncomfortable and zap everyone of the energy to do anything.
We had a welcome guest in the garden who was enjoying the sunshine on Sunday morning ...
He had the most iridescent green spots on his back and was just lovely to watch.  Surprisingly he was sitting in the pond, as we usually find them doing a few laps of breaststroke in the pool until the salt water chokes them ... its a summer past time to rescue frogs from the pool filter!
Monday was cooler and down to a pleasant 28C so I was full of the enthusiasm for work once again and managed to finish the last sample of this module.  This is my folded star patchwork sample. 
All the instructions I could find on the net and in books gave the same measurements for this pattern, but when I tried to construct it according to those measurements it didn't work, so I had to adjust it to suit which was a bit frustrating, but at least I managed to finish it.  Now I'm taking a deep breath before throwing myself into the wall hanging.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Crazy patchwork - Module 9

I finished my crazy patchwork sample today.  It took longer than I'd thought it would, but I'm quite happy with the finished result.
Although crazy quilting always looks a bit haphazard, you do have to do a fair bit of planning and head scratching to get it balanced and work within the colour schemes.
I think I've achieved that, but as its my first attempt I could be completely off-track, and have absolutely no idea at all .... so I'll leave that to the tutor to assess.
I did enjoy the hand embroidery .... its been ages since I've stitched by hand and I fell straight back into it, like wearing a comfortable pair of slippers.
I've been referring to loads of books I have on different stitch techniques and now I'm inspired to do some samplers of all the different stitches, but it'll have to wait a while ... want to get Module 9 finished first. 
 So that's 6 samples down and only one more to go ....
the last one is a folded patchwork piece.  I've got all the colours and fabrics sorted, and if I can drag myself out of bed early tomorrow I might, just might, get it done in a day.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Crabfest 2010

I had a day off on Saturday and hubby and I went with friends to the Mandurah Crabfest.  This is an annual event held over 2 days with lots of entertainment, food, and fun to celebrate the crabs that Mandurah is famous for.
The weather was hot, but it didn't stop families coming out for the celebrations and the foreshore was full of people and the atmosphere was great.
We decided against eating crabs this year, and instead I opted for fish and chips with a nice glass of cold wine ...

and hubby had the most unusual ploughman's lunch I've ever seen, but he said it was nice.
These are the blue manna crabs that we get in the waterways around Mandurah ... not much meat on them, but yummy all the same ...
We saw this crab on the rocks at the foreshore ... no idea of what type of crab he is, but he looks like the meanest crab I've ever seen ... and I think he's a bit boz-eyed too!!!
They had lots of food stalls set up and I couldn't resist a jar of decadent passionfruit sauce for my icecream .... delish!!
I usually have a go on the sideshow stalls, but this year I couldn't be bothered ... it was just too hot  ....
We walked along the foreshore where I often take the dog, and were surprised to see Black Swans in the water.  There's usually no end of pelicans to be seen around town, but the swans are usually in the estuary, so it was a pleasant sight to see them at the foreshore for a change.  Dolphins are also common and follow the pleasure boats, but we weren't lucky enough to see any today.
We always get loads of white cockatoos in the Moretan Bay Fig Tree's and they didnt' disappoint today ... so cheeky and noisy .....
This picture I had to include ... as always I was armed with my camera in case I found anything suitable for design work, and I took a picture of the sun shining off the water ... I just love the "star" shapes its formed ....
and last but not least, I also had to include a photo of an unwelcome visitor waiting for us at home.  This is the second Huntsman Spider I've had in the house lately. They are HUGE and HAIRY and definitely SCARY, but I did manage to kill it.  The hot weather's been bringing them out in abundance ... all I can say is roll on winter !!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

More patchwork piecing ...

I've almost finished the samples for Module 9 ... only 2 to go.  The black/grey sample below is my second english paper piecing sample using two different shapes.  I found this really awkward, but liked the finished effect ... don't think I'll be making a bed size quilt in the near future.
Whereas, I really enjoyed the cathedral window sample.  I thought it would be difficult to do, but was quite simple and the overall effect is wonderful.  Got lots of ideas for this in the future (just need the time!)
Then, there was the variation on the cathedral windows.  This is Secret Garden, again a nice effect, this I  would like in a full size bed quilt.
So now I've just got to finish the crazy quilting and do another folded piece, then I can get into constructing my wall hanging.
I got my mod 8 results back from the tutor and was happy with the feedback, so now I can put the chocolate back in the fridge and relax a bit more ... today's a rest day, off to the "Crabfest" in town ... enjoy your weekend everyone.