Wednesday, May 15, 2019

ScrapHappy May

It's the 15th of the month, and that time again to produce any work made from scraps. I just have two small scrappy projects this month.  Firstly, although I haven't done very much sewing in the last month, I did manage to make a few red hexies for the redwork quilt I posted about back in February. I haven't done a lot more on it, but had a bit of a reprieve on the deadline. You may remember I'd been working on it for a friend's 75th birthday gift, and was wanting it finished by the end of March, but Christine's sister decided they should go overseas to celebrate their milestone birthdays.... it was her 70th this year. Since it was all a bit rushed, and she was leaving the day after her birthday, she suggested we celebrate when she got back, so I still have a couple of weeks to work on getting the top pieced, if not the whole quilt finished.

I've also managed to prep the pieces ready to make flying geese blocks to fill in around the redwork embroideries I've done. Now that I'm feeling better, and more focused, I'll put the blocks back up on the design wall and work out where these will go, and what else I need to do.

 My second project is a bit different, and is one where I've used paper scraps.  I've had these metal card file boxes since 1987, carrying around the country with me, each time I moved, knowing ....hoping!.....someday I'd find a use for them.

They have a bit of history behind them. Back in the 80s I worked for DoCs (the welfare) in Western Australia, and these boxes were used to keep the card files of anyone who came into the office requesting a food voucher. Not a very good system, as there was no-cross-referencing with other offices, and people could go from office to office and claim a food voucher many times in a week. It was a very exciting time when all those handwritten records could be entered onto a database, and with the tap of a button, we could see when and how often a person was applying for assistance and respond accordingly.

Of course, the metal boxes were obsolete then and were to be thrown out, so I rescued these two, thinking I'd "do something with them".  Well it only took me 30 odd years, and so, with the help of some discarded seed catalogues, this one's being turned into a seed storage box. 

I gessoed the base of the box, then tore words and pictures and layered them all over, brushing on more gesso as I went. They're not finished yet, one side to go, but I'll add a layer of matte medium over all for protection, and fill up with seeds. It's been good to have a fairly mindless project to keep me busy, and great to have all my seeds in one place, and easily found. 

 Here are links to others who might have a scrappy project, there's always interesting ideas and inspiration, and they're a good read even if there's no scrappy post.

till next time............

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Upright and out and about

At last.  Although it's been a bunny-hop kind of healing process. Each time it seemed I was done with it, either another phase came knocking, or I went backwards to a previous one, with spiking temps and nasty headaches. It all seems to be evening out though, with tiredness being my main problem now.
My first foray out into the world was last week, when I went for a blood test to check the virus is no longer in my system.....and the results on Friday were positive.....or negative actually....all gone, which means it can't be passed on if a mosquito bites me, then moves on to someone else....Such a relief.

Now that I'm feeling better, I'm really enjoying getting out for early morning walks with my girl. She was pretty happy to head out with whoever came to take her, until she realised I wasn't coming, and would peer through the gate at me, whining softly. It usually took a few throws of her ball to get her off and running, but she'd still be looking back to see where I was.  

It's been good, too, to have the energy to enjoy wandering around the garden, checking out all the lovely autumn blooms, and ticking all sorts of little jobs off the list I've been compiling in my head for the last few weeks as I've staggered past, back to my bed, muttering to myself.."must weed that garden bed, sweep those pathways, tidy the potting table" etc.

 I overdid it the first day, and so have been pacing myself more, and just doing an hour and stopping, even if I feel like continuing. So far, I've cleared the weeds from the veggie patch, and now have broad beans, green beans, broccoli, cabbage and greens planted. I'll have to re-do the broad beans, as "someone" decided it was a lovely cool spot to have a lie down in.

Not looking very remorseful at all

Mother's Day 'mums'.

 A lot of my allotted garden hours have been spent trying to get rid of a nasty feral weed, the madeira vine.  It's sprung up everywhere since the flood, seems to grow overnight, and resists most efforts to be rid of it, since it sends long and strong tubers underground, and the fine tendrils it sends out end up twining and joining together to form a very tough stalk.

Twining together 

Thick network of stems, that all lead to zillions of tubers underground

 It grows up into tree canopies and smothers any plants in it's path and if you try pulling the vines out of the canopy, little potato-like bulbs fall to the ground and re-grow. Cut vines can remain alive if they're left on the ground or in the canopy and regrow as well.  The best but most time consuming way to get rid of it is to cut it back carefully so as not to dislodge the tubers, to find the sems that lead back to underground tubers and scrape and paint, with regular follow up. I'd been doing this but in the time I've been unable to do any gardening, it's taken over again.  It definitely takes the pleasure out of gardening, talk about Day of the Triffids!

But there have been more pleasurable tasks, like cleaning up the courtyard and getting it ready for winter enjoyment.

This morning I pulled weeds from the paving, tidied, pruned back overgrown shrubs and set out the chairs and tables. That dreaded madeira vine had started to grow here as well, but they were just small plants and easy to eradicate. This is such an excellent little winter spot, and is a great sun-trap,  surrounded by tallish plantings as it is, and protected from the cold south-westerlies that can make the riverbank unpleasant this time of year. it's the perfect spot to enjoy a pot of tea, some reading or hand sewing, and even today, with not much sun around, it's really pleasant to sit here, enjoying the back drop of the camellia in full bloom, the buzz of contented bees, and the odd honey-eater visiting to enjoy the nectar, and churring away above me.

I managed to catch this one feasting on the bottle brush.
Afternoon tea will be enjoyed out there later, as I have a few "orphan mothers" we call ourselves......coming ..........friends whose mothers are no longer with them, don't live locally, or whose children are far I'm off now to pop some strawberries on the sponge cake, and dig out the prettiest cups and saucers  ready for an afternoon of good company, cake and laughter.

To all the mothers, I hope you're having a lovely day.

Monday, April 15, 2019

ScrapHappy on the Couch

Day 11 of languishing with dengue fever.  Of  body aches, axe-through-my-head- headaches, non-stop nausea, upper abdominal liver fighting the virus ...and high fever requiring a stay in the emergency department until it came down to an acceptable level. Rest, paracetamol and lots of fluids is the only treatment. Molly kept vigil with me.

I spent the days in an odd fever/pain twilight. I drifted off to sleep as clouds come over and it rained.

Then woke to sunshine.

And was lucky to catch sight of an osprey perched in the tree out the back.......... 

waiting for lunch

By Saturday, as the wicked headaches and pain behind my eyes began to subside, I felt able to think about doing something other than sleeping, and gathered some books and stitching to have nearby, ready for an alert moment or two. 

Day by day, friends and neighbours came by and let the chooks out, locked them up again at night, made sure I had gallons of herbal tea and lemon water close by and took Mirrhi out for walks and games. She stayed close the rest of the time, and I often woke to this face close to mine, snoring gently.

So onto scrappiness. Yesterday I felt well enough to sit up and sew for a little while. I had been making hearts blocks for Christchurch.....I'm sure everyone has heard about the horrific terror attack on the mosques in Christchurch. Since then, quilters from all over the world have responded by coming together under the umbrella of Quilters Healing Hearts for Christchurch, making heart blocks and putting quilts together to gift to those affected within the Muslim community, as well as first responders and emergency services personnel. 

Green hearts were requested for the families who lost loved ones 

I had made these pieced blocks....6.5 inches unfinished .... before I took to my couch, but as there was no way I could sit at the sewing machine, but, upright at last, at least for short periods, I decided to make some appliqued blocks. It's been slow going, I still tire quickly, but have this little pile to show for my persistence. 

Coloured hearts for first responders, emergency services etc.

Joining with Kate and many others for ScrapHappy Day. Go check out Kate's blog and be inspired by what others are doing with their scraps.

It's back to bed for me, see you next time.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

ScrapHappy March

I'm a little late for the actual Scraphappy Day...15th of the month.....but had some depressing and gut wrenching news at the end of the week that left me feeling too upset to think about much at all, and definitely not blogging. I'm not ill, but it's something that affects my home and lifestyle, and I might post about it eventually, but now it's even hard to talk about, so maybe one day......

Anyway, on to scraps, which are far more cheery to talk about and make me happy.  We have 2 wonderful op shops (thrift stores) in town run by volunteers, and all proceeds go to the local Wedgetail Retreat Palliative Care Hospice. They're not out to make huge profits, so the shops are treasure troves of minutely- priced bargains. I've made a couple of quilts I've donated as fundraisers, and so Edna, who manages the shops, often puts odds and ends away for me that she thinks I might be able to use.
So when I went in last week looking for a sleeping bag for an old man I found sleeping cold in the unused railways station, Edna had a surprise for me tucked under the counter.....

 ....a lovely handful of fabric bundles, little scraps and left-overs from other people's sewing, all lovely soft cottons in dainty prints and so perfect for a project I've had in mind.....making tiny gowns for prem babies. I have the patterns for 3 sizes - 10 com (4") 14cm (5.5" and 20com (8")

So tiny they don't take long to sew up

Finished size 10cm (4")

A few of the tiny ones ready for sewing

and a pile of my own small freshly washed and ironed pieces ready for cutting.

These will be going off to Adelaide, to Walk with Wings, an organisation that offers not only support to parents during their journey through NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit) but also distributes premmie support packs to hospitals around South Australia, to present to families suddenly faced with a premature baby. It's an exciting time for parents when they're told they can dress their baby, who, being so small and delicate, need simple gowns in fabrics that are soft and gentle, and styles that are ok to to use with these little ones, who usually have tubes and monitors attached. 

A support package for the parents of a tiny premmie baby - credit Walk with Wings website

Joining with Kate and Gun who kindly host ScrapHappy Day every month, where we can show off our scrappy projects....whether fabric, yarn, wood, paper...whatever can be turned into something useful or decorative. There's some interesting posts this month, go check them out....
they weren't late!

It's been raining steadily here for a couple of days, the ground's damp and soft and it's cool(er) out, so a perfect time to head out and do some much-needed weeding.

So, till next time...............

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

I Dream of a World..........

I popped down to Sydney on the weekend for the opening of this powerful exhibit by my friend and amazing artist Mo.  I only started following Mo in January 20I7, after her vision for this artwork was already launched, so I'd had no idea where it all began. I read back through Mo's blog posts today because having seen the culmination at the opening, I wanted to to put it into some sort of context.

It seems to have begun with a number of to and fro conversations back in 2016 on a blog post about Rebecca Solnik's book Hope in the Dark where Mo made a comment about "looking after our beautiful broken world with kindness "  This phrase pops up a few times in subsequent posts, and then the gift of an old wedding dress, Mo's growing concern for our broken world, and a sign on a building in Newtown NSW, where she lives, birthed the idea for a powerful and important message of hope and healing. Mo decided to cut the wedding dress into pieces, and put the call out for anyone interested to put their hands up to make a pennant, making their mark in some way with their hopes and dreams to heal our world. For those, like me, who were a bit slow putting their hand up, Mo called for small talismans to be made to be attached to the installation., which I'll show later.

Photo credit Mo Orkiszewski
 If you're interested, you can read more about her vision, the planning and process and how she pulled it all together here along with posts which celebrate the arrival of the pennants and talismans. 

And so it all came together, and on Sunday we gathered to celebrate this wonderful installation that saw hands, hearts and threads joined across the world.

44 pennants from all over the world - threads and stitch connecting people and making powerful healing energy

(Photo credit Fiona and Bruce Dempster)

awe and wonder 

choosing a favourite
And speaking of talismans.........that's mine in the middle.  And below are close ups of it, front and back.

Talisman - 1.5 cm ( .5 inch) square, handmade felt. It's a little pouch, and inside on two pieces of  handmade paper I wrote .... I dream of a world..... and a Sanskrit prayer. 

 A shisha mirror for protection and reflection of the good we do. A tiny green heart is nestled in the soft wool fringing.

On the back I embroidered an Aboriginal symbol for meeting place.....for Mo's blog and this project have been  a meeting of hearts, minds and intention......and the colours of purple and green symbolise the power of women joining together to help heal our world.

I can't begin to describe the wonderful feeling of seeing all the pennants, talismans and the structure to hold it all that Mo dreamed into being and created to display and anchor them to the veil and train of the old wedding dress. It was possible to stand underneath it, and feel the energy and harmony created by the thoughts and prayers stitched into the work, and feel contained and held by the soft light filtering through the fabric.

As someone else said today describing it .......what a buzz!

Congratulations to Mo.....for bringing us all along on this wonderful journey of love.

If you'd like to see more of the pennants and talismans and their maker's stories, go here to see the amazingly beautiful catalogue.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Scraphappy Day February

On the 15th of every month Kate and Gun host ScrapHappy Day, an opportunity for us to show the myriad of ways we've used our scraps, whether they be fabric, yarn, paper or something else. All scraps are welcome.

I'm a little late, but my scrappy project this month shows my progress on the redwork blocks I posted about here. For a variety of reasons, including the fact it's been too stinkin' hot to sew, and I've been having the laundry's hard to keep the momentum going when it seems the tiler or painter are popping  their heads around the door every 10 minutes to ask 'can you come here for a minute?'....... I haven't done as much I would've liked, but a cool change has kicked in, so sewing is happening again. And the renovations are finished, thank goodness.

To start, I bordered the blocks log-cabin style using  a variety of 1.5" strips I had left over  from another quilt.  When I ran out of these, I cut strips from scrap 'chunks '....pieces smaller than a fat quarter, larger than 6 " length.

So that was the easy bit done......I had 7 blocks of different sizes.....what was I going to do with them? After a bit of time spent on Pinterest looking at various quilt settings, and searching through old magazines,  I decided to set them as a scrappy sampler quilt.  The finished quilt will be around 42 x 46, maybe a little larger if I add borders, and I used pieces of paper to work out the sizes of filler blocks, where they might go, and what they might be.

This will be my centre block, and I'll build the rest of the quilt top around it.

So far, I've made a tiny friendship star...3" finished..... and have two more cut ready to sew.

......and a long strip of appliqued hearts and flowers.

These will border the centre block.

I found some left over dresdens from a quilt I made my daughter a few years ago, and they'll go in somewhere. I think the rest will grow organically, not a lot of planning here, just vague ideas of where it's going, which is rather fun.

Sort of looks like this so far.

Kate has a list of bloggers who usually have some scrappy inspiration for us, don't forget to go have a look here.

See you next time.........