Monday, April 14, 2014

A lot of work....

 ........and still not quite finished.  Not even half way through and I was wondering why was I doing this. 

  Plenty of books still to be shelved.....maybe some culling first?
This being swapping bedroom into what was the sewing room.  Behind a huge cupboard that was in the room when I moved here was quite a few years worth of dust and cobwebs!   So there was heavy duty cleaning to be done as well.  Moving the bedroom , not so bad.....the packing up of the sewing room......oh dear!  It all took me the better part of two weeks, and felt quite overwhelming at times.  The sewing room is still not shipshape, I promised myself there'll be no shoving things in a cupboard out of the way, I want it all to be organised and everything where I can easily find it all....ha ha, famous last words?  We shall see. 
Overall though, now that my bedroom is organised, I'm glad I did it.  My 'new' bedroom is now at the front of the house in the larger room.....feeling quite grown up about that!....and away from the noise of one of my neighbours who goes out at 4.30 most mornings to do triathlon training.  Her car is parked quite close to my old bedroom, and I was woken by the click of their back door closing or the sound of the car starting up.  I know she tries hard to be quiet, but in the stillness of the early morning sound travels clearly.  So no more being woken too early, I'm cranky all day when that happens.  And my sewing machine is in place, as is my worktable, so at least I can step around the waiting assortment of who-knows-what and have a little fun in between the sorting and organising
Some of the fun included sewing for  Jewell's  Easter swap, which I joined. This involved finding gifts for your partner beginning with the letters of Easter Time. A lot of fun, and a bit of a brain stretcher to come up with interesting items.  I was very creative with some of mine!!  I can't show you the gifts as it's a secret swap, but here they all are wrapped up ready to go. They were posted last week.   I hope my partner likes them! 

 a sneak peek at one of the items I made for the swap 
I managed to find some time to sit and relax and do some kantha stitching on the little patched piece I showed in a previous post.  It was very tempting to just sit and work on this rather than sort out my moving mess, but I resisted. I'll get back to it tomorrow at sewing group.
 And during the move, before I took my work table down and packed up the sewing machine, I quickly put together this bunting for my neighbour's little girl (yes, the same one who's noisy in the mornings)  She's just had a cubby (play) house built, so this will look pretty strung across the front. 
 I'll leave you with this sweet kitty face, the last thing I see at night as I turn out the bedside lamp, this is Neesa,  stretching across to give me a kiss ..... she was treated very cruelly as a tiny kitten, poor love, and sadly, isn't keen on being held or sleeping with me, so the bedside table is as close as she gets.  
 Until next time............

Monday, April 7, 2014


Vintage Knife Juggler - random Photo

                            image source fanpop

I'm not finding time to blog at the moment, as, on top of regular daily chores,  I juggle trying to get things done in the garden,  and inside as walls and rearranging rooms, clearing my lounge and hallway of sewing room stuff, so just talk amongst yourselves until I'm done.

be back soon 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

all that rain

Mirrhi was excited to find "her" park was a lake when we headed out for our walk yesterday morning.  Constant heavy rain for nearly 24 hours had resulted in some localised flooding and the river breaking it's banks.  This park across the road from my house is usually a grassy play area for the school on the corner and local dogs.....the fence encloses the playground equipment.
 North towards the bridge and 'Hospital Hill'......we usually walk under that bridge to a park on the other side....not this time, we'd have needed a boat!

Looking towards town across the river.....people come and fish at that gap in the reeds

I took these photos late in the afternoon when the water had already gone down a bit, it was still raining too heavily when we walked in the morning to take photos.  The reeds in the centre of the above photo mark the river's edge and stand about 2-2and half metres tall.  We usually walk along there, but stayed on the top of the levee bank yesterday.  Once the rain stopped the sun came out and the afternoon was hot and steamy.
 Looking west to Mt Warning and houses on the opposite side of the river
 Ibis flying home at sunset
 The road home....underwater, too deep to wade through
 Early morning today....most of the water has drained away and everything was quiet and spooky- looking with fog.  Birds come in from all over and enjoy the feast of insects and worms, frogs and whatever else lives in the mud.  One year when it flooded we had hundreds of pelicans swimming gracefully along the park, enjoying all the bounty.  The noise last night was deafening as the frogs...those not eaten.....came out to play.

The sun's out now and I have a muddy chook run to muck out!

Whatever your weather, enjoy your weekend..........

Thursday, March 27, 2014

It's curtains for you, chicken!

Don't worry, it's not as drastic or blood thirsty as the title suggests.  This handsome black chicken is Brenna...she's loud, greedy, a bit bossy but quite a character.  I also suspect she might be an egg eater!  She does all the right things...sits in the nesting box, makes appropriate noises then struts about looking very pleased with herself.  But when I check the box, there's just a soggy mess and bits of shell.  What little is left of the shell is quite hard, so she's not laying soft eggs that fall apart, and anyway, there's no evidence of yolk anywhere.  I did some searching online, and the only suggestion that I thought might work was curtains on the nesting boxes. The idea is that the interior is dark so the naughty hen can't see her egg and the curtains are meant to be on the inside and hanging down a bit, hence restricting the hen's movement....if she gets up and tries to turn around and fossick for the egg, hopefully she'll bump into the fabric and be put off going further.  My nesting boxes are covered cat litter boxes, and where the lid joins the base is too low to hang the fabric on the inside, and being plastic, no easy way to attach the this will have to do.  I don't know if it works yet, as Brenna decided today she was not going to produce ! So I'll have to wait and see if this works, and maybe try to work out a way to have the curtain hang down inside as well.
Early morning in the hen house.. with Lola photo bombing from the left
 Apart from annoying the chooks in the early morning, I've done some more dyeing in a jar.  This time some red cabbage plus a few red onion skins.  I folded the cloth around a lid as a resist, and I'm hoping I'll end up with a circle on the cloth.  It's only been brewing since the weekend, so I'll give it a few more days.  I hope the rich colour lives up to it's promise and leaves a good colour on my fabric.
I've not checked the blue -with -turmeric- to -get- green  cloth yet, maybe a job for tomorrow.

I go to a sewing group once a week, where we all just work on our own hand stitching projects, knitting or crochet.  On Monday night I quickly put this little cloth together so I'd have something to do.  I cut a number of patches roughly the same size and basted them onto a background cloth. As most were from thrifted clothing, I decided to make a feature of the hems and seams. I bundled these predominantly whites and creams into a jar of weeds and rainwater and left them overnight, then rinsed and ironed them, all ready for stitching on.  A couple of the pieces were already dyed so took the colour more strongly.  If you're looking closely for that stitching it's not there....I chatted all morning and did no work at all! Never mind, I now have a little cloth all ready to start on next week.

And I finished the prayer flag I posted about last week, and a friend snapped it up right away as a housewarming gift....

It has rained heavily on and off all week and more is predicted.....lovely for the garden, as I've just planted out silver beet, bok choy and cabbage seedlings....I hope they don't drown ....and my water tanks are full and overflowing.  There's been good steady rain out to the west as well, where farmers were suffering badly from drought, so it's good all round.  I have a day home tomorrow, so at the top of my to-do list will be the pink quilt which I haven't had a chance to work on this week.

take care, see you next time......

Thursday, March 20, 2014

pink scrappy quilt and blue to green

A nice pile of washed and pressed fabric. Some late night sewing. And patches and strips slowly coming together.  I've been gathering pink fabrics since last winter, planning to make myself a light weight summer quilt.  Well, summer is gone now, but no reason not to still make that quilt.  These fabrics are a mix of pieces from my stash, vintage sheets, pretty cottons from op shop clothes, pieces from used cushion covers and pillow cases, and some favourite pieces gifted from friends. Four and a half inch wide of varying lengths between 4 and 6 inches stitched together.  It's an easy, gentle project, perfect for a spare half hour here and there when I feel like being at the machine. 
There's been some chat back and forth between myself and Peggy (in Colorado USA) about how to get green fabric from dyeing with plant material.  So we decided to have a dye-along, to see what sort of colours and effects we each get, given that there are such differences in our water, plant sources and mordants and the effects these will produce on whatever fibres we use, whether silk, linen or cotton as well as the method used. 
I've started with a blue cotton, a cushion cover from the op shop cut into small strips. The front has interesting patches of a waffle weave in white and a deeper blue and I'll be interested to see how these take the dye. The back is plain blue. They've been soaked in vinegar then stuffed into a jar with a couple of spoonsful of and yellow make green right?...........and a piece of what I think is brass.  I'm just leaving this one in the sun to "cook".  India Flint talks about solar dyeing in her book Eco Colour and suggests "the process can test your patience as you burn to investigate the results".  I don't have much patience, I might leave mine a week or maybe two...have to discuss that with Peggy, it's probably best if we  leave our experiments for the same amount of time.

I want to do a couple more using different mordants and method .....not today though,  I have a puppy wanting to go for a walk.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

out of the dye pot

Two of these bundles contain lemon scented eucalyptus leaves, and one has morning glory.  I wrapped bark around two of them, and eucalyptus leaves around the other, and they were all steamed in a eucalyptus bath, then left in the cool for about a week to dry.
 eucalyptus leaves with bark - nice markings from where I folded it
Morning glory, wrapped with bark....I was hoping for more of a green.  I added alum to the pot for this one, so this might account for the more tan outcome, or the alum really brought out the tans from the bark....not sure though.
Other eucalyptus bundle....darker in real life, richer.  I added some crushed eucalyptus dried flower heads to this bundle.
I was pleased with the outcome, it's all experimentation.....unfortunately the colours aren't true, they're more tan and ochre in real life.  I need to sit and play with my camera settings I think. 

I mentioned in my last post about the tiny scrap dyed with tibouchina flowers.  here are the flowers before I bundled them....a beautiful rich purple.  These gave me some good colour.  The piece the scrap was from I'd added onion skins, but left them out this time.  I bundled these into a jar with water and vinegar, pushed more flowers around them, and steamed the jars for about an hour, then left for a few days before unwrapping them.

Darker spots are from loose petals I'd added......on silk
on linen
And an update on little bird........who I'm pleased to say is not an orphan.  I was lucky enough to be in the garden with my camera and catch this parent coming to feed him.  The other parent was in the tree above, keeping watch maybe. So relieved.
This is a little blurred, but I managed to catch him up on his tippy toes, furiously pumping his wings. He looks like he has some of his tail feathers missing, perhaps from one of the birds that was attacking him earlier.  I'm hoping they'll grow back.
Practising, exercising
Juno enjoying the late afternoon sunshine
Enjoy your weekend, I'm off to make a quilt.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A little orphan bird and some stitching

little watchful face.....he gets frightened and scrambles away up high if I get too close...
(taken with a zoom then cropped )
catching some early morning sunshine
little bird fell from way up in this poincianna tree
sheltering from a sudden and heavy downpour

 This little fellow, a fledgling rainbow lorikeet fell from the poincianna tree literally at my feet on the footpath about a week ago. After a chat to WIRES (wildlife rescue service) a friend and I attempted to get him to stay in various trees, as his parents flew frantically around. Too young to fly, he kept falling out and would waddle around my front yard, worrying me that he would come to a sticky end. He eventually settled on the one he's in now, and seems quite ok.  I watched him yesterday fanning his little wings at the very top, strengthening, practising for flying.  Unfortunately his movements drew the attention of other bigger wild birds, and he quickly retreated where they couldn't reach and attack him.  I'm relieved and pleased he's survived this long, although I see adult lorikeets flying around, I'm not sure if they're his parents and if they're feeding him, but he seems to be doing ok. I hear him calling at dusk, but can't bear to watch and see whether his calls go unanswered! I'm worried the next stage is going to be hard for him, as he starts to fly he's at risk from other birds, but I can only watch and not interfere, if he's going to survive he has to do it on his own and he's managed so far. 

early morning autumn rain.......
 and afternoon autumn sunshine, still warm but it's lost the fierceness of  summer
 red lentils, cooked, pack and ready for the freezer.....just add fresh vegetables and rice and a quick delicious meal

this little scrap eco-dyed with tibouchina flowers
 I've been enjoying some slow stitching, working on these prayer flags.  Individual little flutters of cloth and stitch with encouraging words to be sent off on a breeze, a sigh, a thought. Just made with scraps of recycled fabric gifted from friends, pieces from old doilies and lace and bits of op shop (thrift store) finds and some of my eco-dyed fabrics.


Enjoy your day.