Thursday, March 16, 2017

Using my scraps in March

It's Scrap Happy Day again.  I missed last month as I was in India, and this month's scrap project is to do with India.

I'll start with some background to my project so it's in friend Vana who organised the tour...which she called Stamping Around India.... has a quirky little shop in Wauchope NSW, in the Jacaranda House Creative Hub, where they regularly hold exhibitions that showcase and celebrate local artists.  The next one is coming up soon and is called Reflections - Stamping Around India Textile Trail.  Not only will it feature all the brilliant textiles that Vana bought on the trip, but she has invited each of us to create something that reflects out trip.

While I love the hustle and bustle, and colour, the noise and movement that never seems to stop in India, I always enjoy getting away from the cities and towns into nature.  One place we visited holds beautiful memories for me.....The Wild Ass Sanctuary in the Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat.  We headed out to the Sanctuary in a very chilly dawn, but soon forgot the cold as this vast desert saltpan appeared before us. At first glance it appeared dry and desolate, but is actually full of life and sound.....the wind through the scrubby salt-bush, cries of myriad birds, most hidden from sight, and the background to it all, the calls of the wild ass.  In the monsoon season the area becomes a gigantic marshland, and is home to thousands of migratory birds of many species.

                                          Image may contain: sky, outdoor, nature and water

But we had come hoping to see the flamingos, they're here only in winter and we were lucky enough to spot a couple of large flocks, out in the marshes, feeding.  Off in the distance sadly, but there they were!


So I decided I would try to interpret this beautiful place in cloth and stitch as my piece for the exhibition, to reproduce the wonderful sight of the flamingos with the backdrop of the marshes, stretching out to the misty dawn horizon. And so I delved into my box of grey/blue scraps and sorted and auditioned and changed my mind about how I wanted it to look, and then of course, changed it back again.

And finally came up with a background I was happy with. I stitched pieces together in rows to start with, then used the stitch and flip method to join the rows. It's about  30cms x 23 (12x9).  

So far I've played a bit with using fabric to add the suggestion of the distant tree line and the shoreline. There'll be stitching to represent reeds and shallow water and of course, those all-important flamingos, for the moment, just paper cut-outs.

I'm hoping the finished piece will convey the sense of space and serenity I felt, but also that this marsh on the edge of a desert is not empty, but full of life and energy and sound.

Stay tuned.............

If you'd like to be inspired to use your scraps, visit Kate or Gun and check out the growing list of bloggers who are joining in on ScrapHappy Day.

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

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Make it quick

...........make it easy

Since I returned from India, my moods and energy have been all over the minute fidgety and restless, my mind anyway..... to get into the garden and the sewing room......the next, languid and indifferent and blah. Probably more blah than keen actually.  To be expected I suppose, but not where I want to be.

After hearing a friend, who rents a small studio space, say that she'd wanted to sew at home rather than trek across town, but that all her sewing supplies were at the studio, I had an 'aha!' moment.

I'd seen a mason jar sewing kit/pin cushion on a couple of blogs, so decided to make her one, the ideal small project that wouldn't take long, but would.....I hope...... get me moving again.

I've done a little step by step picture tutorial as I went along, pretty easy.  Gather your supplies....a mason jar....mine was recycled from the op shop.... fabric,you only need a small piece, about 12cms square (5"),  some wadding and cardboard.

Draw a circle on your fabric, using the jar lid insert, and cut it out about an inch larger.  Also cut a circle from your cardboard, same size as the lid.

 Put the lid insert face down, fabric on top, right side down, then pop some wadding on the fabric.

 Push it all into the lid, making sure the lid insert is pushed firmly right up into the lid.  This will push the fabric and wadding up through the top, so you end up with a little squishy bump to put your pins in.  Make sure the fabric is smooth and wrinkle free around the edges.  Turn the lid over, and trim the fabric so it sits neatly, use some spray adhesive ( or hot glue gun) to hold it flat. Oops no pictures of that bit.

Glue the circle of cardboard inside the lid, this will cover those messy jaggedy edges.

While it's drying, duck off to your sewing room and gather some supplies to gift with the jar, or if it's for you, decide what you'll keep in it.  I've put a couple of reels of  threads I had two of, some needles, a pair of scissors and  a few pins in the top.  You can do the label or not, as you please.

All done, start sewing, Anne.

That feels better, I'll have to see now what I can manage tomorrow.

........till next time

Monday, March 6, 2017

So, ok. I went to India!

..... and although I've been back a couple of weeks ..... actually maybe that's 3 weeks takes time to come back down to earth, sort through all 700 and something photos, then decide to sit long enough to write!

This trip was my 9th to India, and my first on an organised tour, usually I just head off with no definite plans, climb on and off trains and buses and check into likely looking hotels on the go.  It was very different travelling with a group, having to sit on a bus for long hours without being able to get off where and when I felt like, and, be constrained by an over zealous guide.  I understand why it had to be like that, and ...mostly.....submitted with good grace but often ill-concealed impatience!  But I believe all journeys encompass the inner as well as the outer, and this trip certainly presented me with some wonderful opportunities to do some self-reflection!

But all that's done now, and my friend Christine and I did manage some adventures by ourselves, heading off to an amazing temple standing on the edge of the Arabian Sea, and then east and north to West Bengal and Darjeeling.......that was really good, to just wander and explore and do it "our way".

The purpose of the tour was to explore the textiles, artistes and culture of Rajasthan and Gujarat.  There were hands-on activities of block printing; chundri - tie and dye; indigo dyeing; mud resist block printing, over-dyed with iron water.  We saw fabulous old forts and palaces; a step-well dating back  5700 years; watched weavers making rugs and carpets, using age old patterns that have been passed down verbally through their families.  We stood at the very western edge of India on the Arabian Sea and then were left speechless and awe struck at the serene beauty of the White Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, a salt marsh desert stretching from the coast of India to the Pakistan border.

So here's some 'postcards' of the trip.....not 700 I promise........although there were so many I wanted to include, that evoked  a memory, a conversation,  a smile or a laugh,  or a sigh of delight.  They're in no particular order, just snaps that caught my eye as I scrolled, edited and collaged.  If you click on the collages you'll see a larger image.

It didn't look like this lot were all that pleased to see me back, they were pretty fond of the house-sitters, I think, who were wonderful and did a great job of taking care of everything.  Their attitude has changed somewhat now that I'm the one feeding them!

View photo in messageView photo in message

I hope to post more pics and stories of India in another post.

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

Thursday, December 15, 2016

December Scraphappy

........kindly hosted each month, on the 15th, by Kate and Gun 

I haven't done very much sewing this month, being mainly pre-occupied with painting.....not the artistic kind, but walls and furniture.   To prove it, I have multi-coloured splotches on my feet, my hands and up my arms......pretty green from my sewing room walls, lovely turquoise from sprucing up an old armoire-type cupboard, also for the sewing room and dollops of navy from transforming a stained timber tv cabinet from the op-shop into an eye-catching piece for my lounge room.

I did manage some scrappy stitching though.  I wanted to make a gift to send to the US as part of a Christmas swap, so I played with various size patches in shades of blue, and laid them out 'boro-style' to make the background for some bunting.

A start 

I added some green, cream and some of my sun-prints for contrast and interest, and after cutting the triangles, and backing them, settled to the task of kantha stitching  the layers together.  I find this easy rhythm of the in and out of the needle calming and peaceful, almost a meditation.

  After binding and joining, I added buttons.

Then deciding it needed a bit of sparkle, I stitched a bead trail in a snaky pattern the length of each piece.

Yes. that's better 

And here it is, all finished. For the binding I used a scrap of green I had left over from cutting up an op-shop (thrift store) cotton shirt I'd used for something else.

My swap partner was delighted with her gift, and has it hanging on her apartment balcony. She said it reminds her of Van Gogh's painting 'Starry Night' as it sways in the breeze.

As always, you can visit Kate or Gun to see who has joined them this month in the battle of the scraps.  We even have a yarny scrap post this time, with The Snail of Happiness showing her stripy granny squares.

The day has cooled, there's a good breeze blowing in from the east, so it's time to let the hound loose.

.....until next time

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Notes from November

I had good intentions of popping in here a few more times this ...oops... last month than I actually did, and I know a lot of bloggers are asking the same question.....where are the days and weeks going, they're flying by so fast.

So then I thought a bit of a round-up was probably a good way to go, so you...and I...can see what I've done.  Because sometimes it feels like not very much at all. So let's see, in no particular order.....

There was boro -style bunting, which went off to the States for a gift in a Christmas swap.  My partner had requested a non-Christmassy gift, and as I knew she has a little plant filled balcony, I though what better gift than fabric, beads and buttons to flutter in the breeze.

Gifts received in return....very sweet felt Christmas ornaments......

I indulged in some charity sewing and serious stash busting .....these three toys have gone off  to Western Australia, to join hundreds of other dolls and toys being sent to Uthando, where they'll bring a smile to the faces of children affected by AIDS.

Soft and cosy pouches and liners for a wildlife rescue group in Queensland.......

And bags to make carrying drains easier for patients after breast cancer surgery ....these went to Tasmania to a group called The Simple Gift of a Bag

A local group put out a call for donations of quilt blocks, which would then be assembled into a quilt to bring some cheer to a young girl diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer.  I dug into my stash again, quickly made these two and sent them off.

I think that was all the sewing, apart from the scrappy quilts I showed in my last post.

Then there was the day out with a friend, where we played tourist and visited the Numinbah Natural Arch, halfway between both our places, but just over the border in Queensland.  We hiked the rainforest trail up to the arch then enjoyed a picnic afterward by the river.

The gathering heat as the month raced toward summer brought vibrant sunrises

and fog shrouded mornings, that turned into hot sticky days as the sun burned through.

And just as quickly were replaced by sudden storms with hail and strong jacaranda tree was knocked over by one of these ...... and as I write this another thunderstorm is rolling in from the south-west, cooling the day down, and bringing lots of very welcome rain!

Breakfast was enjoyed with friends.....

The cats are having their second egg!

So...November was a pretty full month after all, and a bit of well-earned resting was done on the verandah in the cool.

I hope your November was full to the brim too.

Till next time...........

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Stitching in the heat

Summer has arrived with a vengeance here, after a couple of months of mild spring weather,suddenly the days  are in the mid 30s (90s) with climbing humidity.  My sewing room has windows facing north and west and it gets very hot.  It's been the last room to have any attention in this house of renovations, so there's no blinds or curtains up yet, only an old sheet tacked up which falls down with annoying regularity, and doesn't really keep the space cool.

So my sewing machine and I have migrated to the dining table.  The sun is away from here by mid morning and there's usually a cooling breeze from the east.  And I can keep an eye on the building progress across the road, as another out-of-character -for -the -neighbourhood house goes up!

Today's the 15th of the month, and that means Kate and Gun are hosting ScrapHappy Day today.  I haven't been here since last month's SHD, but it's been one of those kinds of months!

I'm pleased to say I've accomplished a couple of projects to show you today.  This cot size quilt went off to Tasmania last month to an organisation that supports teen mums.  It had been finished for a while, just the binding needing sewing down, and for some reason I'd put it away and forgotten about it.  So a quick finish and away it went, I bet it already has a little some-one spitting up on it!

Next is a quilt top only at this stage, which is also destined for a Young Parent's Program in SE Queensland.  More scrappy log cabins

Sweet pastels this time
And remember the orange and blue number from here .... it's still being quilted.  I was just getting so bored quilting around those squares, so I put it away and started on the pastel blocks.  Much easier and way more satisfying!  It was a pain too, to have to keep taking the walking foot on and off to work on other projects.....i know, life's hard! I'm thinking I need another sewing machine, this one ready to quilt with all the time and another to do regular sewing on.  

There's no rush for this, if it's ready I'll send it off with the pastel one at the end of the month, if not, there'll be somewhere else to send it.

I'm joining with Kate and Gun who kindly host ScrapHappy Day every month.  They both have a list of Happy Scrappers who join in, so go check out what everyone's doing.  Or if you have your own scrappy project, you might like to join in.  Here's what Kate has to say about it.........
ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps – no new fabrics. It can be a random or formal quilt block, a pillow or pincushion, a bag or hat, a collage or rag rug. Anything made of scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address shown on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. You don’t have to worry about a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link."

Eastern Water Dragon

Must go,  time to let the chooks out and walk Mirrhi while it's still relatively cool  out there.  I'll leave you with this fellow who spends his day surveying his world from atop Buddha's head.

Till next time...........