Tuesday, September 21, 2010


It'd been a month since we'd last had a Sunday outing, so last weekend we set off with daughter and granddaughter for a Spring outing at Araluen.
Araluen is a Botanical Park set on 60 hectares in the valley of Roleystone, and each Spring it blooms with tulips, daffodils, bluebells, poppies, pansies and many more, as well as the established rhodedendrums, azaleas, camelias, magnolias and blossom trees.
There's a swiss log cabin "Chalet Healy" for devonshire teas and light lunches, walks around the lakes, and the Grove of the Unforgotten.
It's a magical day picnicing amongst the flowers, and a wonderful place for families to enjoy a day together.
I just adore bulb flowers and can't get enough of them.  In our climate its often hard to grow them, but in the hills the temperature is cooler in winter and the soil more hardy, and the flowers grow well.
But I have to admit this years display was a little disappointing from previous years, due to lack of funding and a very dry winter with little rain.
This years flowers were amazing, but in the past I've seen them in greater abundance and been mesmerised by their colour and beauty.
Whenever I get stuck for a colour scheme in my design work I turn to Mother Nature - in one single flower you can get the most amazing colour combinations.
Bluebells are my all-time favourite flower, but poppies come a close second.
I took over 250 photos and have selected just a few to share with you.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Even though you can't smell the scent of this magnolia I can assure you it was heavenly.
I went home full of the joys of Spring.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Noodle by name only

My noodle box is finally complete, and I have to say I'm quite chuffed with it.  It's a "noodle box" by name only, and intended as a storage box.   
I was going to put a handle on it, but I think it would detract from the design work, so I've decided to leave it as it is.
I'm not a beader and am a bit ignorant to the ways of stringing beads, but I persevered and finally got two tassels that I liked, and added them to the top as handles to pull the two sides apart.
I was pleasantly surprised to find the colour beads I needed in my stash.  Do you ever find that despite all the stuff you have, you never have the right colour, right shape, right texture that you need and still have to go out and buy more!? 
This is a view of the inside of the box which is plain, but compliments the stitching on the outside.  I enjoyed making the box and plan to make more in different shapes and sizes - but without all the needle lace.
Also a big thanks to Amanda at View From our Hill for going out her way to find and email me info on Dorset buttons.  I've done a few more and have also been working on buttonhole rings on a Hedebo stick to add a bit of "zing" to my tassels ...
... just got to crack on and make them! 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Spring has sprung

Winter came and went in a flash this year.  The amount of rain we had is hardly worth mentioning, but we did have extra cold nights and mornings.  Now Springs is here ....let the battle begin ....
In one corner is medium-weight fighter Thimble Fingers - in the opposing corner are: water restrictions, aphids, rose chomping parrots, clover and double G's, and mosquitoes.
Armed with every concoction the garden centre can stock I've been out there spraying, weeding, hanging CD's from trees (to scare aware the parrots who LOVE to chomp my new rose buds), fertilizing and clipping.  If I can get on top of it all now I might be able to sit back and enjoy Spring/Summer.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sammy's progress

Thank you for all the lovely messages of support for wee Sammy, I really appreciate it, and it helps to know there are people out there who understand.  My little man has had a rough time of it and is still quite poorly, but getting better slowly.  He's on more medication that a hyperchondriac and I've yet to master the skill of giving a cat a tablet.  Fortunately the vet changed the antibiotics to a liquid form which is a bit easier to administer.
He's enjoying a bit of sunshine at the moment, but is still quieter than his normal self.  He's done a bit of yelling at me this morning which I take as a good sign.  He's most happy when he's in his favourite place - the dog's kennel!  Bonnie has never used the kennel, she prefers the more human form of relaxation - sofa's, beds, humans, etc, but Sammy's always loved it in his little house.

I have to keep a close eye on him for the next week and monitor every bit of food and water, and his habits, which is restricting me on things I need to be doing, but I'd rather that and have my wee man, than have time for jobs and not have him.
I did manage to rust some fabrics whilst he was sunning himself in the garden.  This morning I've dunked them in cold tea to grey the colours more.  No idea yet what I'm going to do with them.
I also spent last night working on my Dorset buttons for Module 10.  The first attempt was awful, but I'm gradually getting better.  I find the hardest part is centralising the spokes.  The are fiddly to make, but look really nice once completed.  I'd love to know how to do some of the other Dorset button designs, but can't find any instructions on the web, so if anyone has any links I'd be most grateful to hear from you.
And guess what turned up in the post this morning ......
.... no points for guessing what I'll be doing this afternoon.  Yes, feet up, fire on, cup of tea, packet of chocolate minstrels (courtesy of my lovely daughter - to cheer me up), Sammy on my knee, getting lots of cuddles, and  inspiration galore on the DVD.  I'm off to enjoy.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mixed emotions

Everyone's lives are full of high's and low's and mine is no different.  Full of enthusiasm I cracked on with the noodle box.  The machine lace was hand tacked to the dyed purple fabric, then attached to pelmet vilene and cut to shape.  From there it was many hours of hand stitching blocks of straight stitches all over.  The inside lining of the box was the same without the machine lace.
Then the two layers were placed together and machine stitched at the bottom and around the edges.  All going well for a time - now its sat for 3 days waiting for me to stitch up the sides and complete it.   All enthusiasm went out the window after a death and funeral this week.
Then I got a "high" .... I decided to treat myself to a Dog Daisy Chain design.  I read Jackie's blog each week and have always loved her designs but recently one colour scheme in particular spoke out to me and I just knew I had to have it.  Its funky and fun and makes me smile.
Then yesterday I crashed back to "low" mood.  My precious little boy Sammy is in hospital and very poorly.
He's an old fella now, nearly 16, but has always been in good health and is the gentle-ist of souls.  My heart is in my mouth waiting to hear from the vets if he's going to be okay.  All thoughts of stitching and amusement have vanished whilst I wait patiently for him for come home and sit on my knee so I can cuddle him and smother him in kisses.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hot Rods

Last Sunday's outing was to a Hot Rod exhibition at the Burswood Dome.  Cars aren't normally my idea of an exciting day out, but as hubby supports my interests, its only fair I support his, so off we went - me armed with camera as usual.
There were some amazing vehicles there, and I have to confess to a love of the old gangster style cars.
The engines and wheels bored me, but the paint work was really exciting.
Lots of flame designs - to be expected.
and the colours and styles were wonderful.
Lots of design ideas to take away with me.
You have to commend the men (and women) who restore these vehicles, so much love and effort, and not to mention money, has gone into them, they are a labour of love - and after all, everyone needs a hobby.
Some of the paintwork designs blew your mind -
others were a little nauseating.
There were even familiar faces there .... albeit cardboard ones! ...
as well as some humour (you need to read the info board on this photo)
and by the end of the day hubby had found something he wanted to take home with him!