Friday, December 9, 2011

Head down, bum up

I've been busy!!

There's been knitting .....

and sewing

These cheery babies are ready for their journey to Pip, of Meet Me At Mike's.  (Sorry, can't seem to get the link thingy to work, giving up after X amount of tries and much **#@*##!)

I'm going to miss them

Softies For Mirabel

.....................there's been snuggling and napping in warm places, because it feels like winter, not summer!

.............parcels have come in the post

 a generous gift of sharing from my Christmas decoration swap partner, Rhonda.  Some yummy pieces of fabric to play with.  Thankyou Rhonda, it was very generous of you.

and I treated myself to some of Arlee's eco dyed silk

Detail on Wish Upon a Star

Close-up of Rosier Park

The photos don't do justice to the beautiful subtle colours and ghostly markings.  And they smell delicious too, like a forest floor. 

What else? 

I supported the Tweed Shire Women's Service's 16 days of Activism events, and joined the Sistas Against Violence Lantern Parade last Friday night, an event organised by local Indigenous women, and the White Shirt walk on Wednesday.  No pics from these events, as it was quite cold and wet, we just wanted to be seen and heard and get out of the rain. I've attended similar events for years, and it's disturbed me that  often they can be quite militant, which I think, is counter to the message of non-violence we're trying to get across. But both these events were peaceful, with a lovely quietness at the start, and building to an intensity and passion that felt hopeful and determined, but without the aggression I've witnessed in other years.
The 16 Days of Activism is an International campaign calling for an end to violence against women and children.  There's history and information here,  there were some gruesome and horrific crimes perpetrated against women which, sadly, were the platform for these events which are now held to raise awareness that there will be zero tolerance for violence against women.

......and on a lighter note, the Christmas tree has been put up

and there's more knitting and sewing to be done for Christmas gifts and Secret Santa presents

 The sun has just come out here after a week of rain, and I hope, wherever you are, there'll be some brightness and warmth  in your day too.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pintangle - Take a Stitch Tuesday

I've signed up for TAST- Take a Stitch Tuesday with Sharon Boggins.  I signed up a couple of years ago, but because I wasn't well,  I don't feel I joined in as wholeheartedly as I would've liked, and now I have a second chance to play.
cq by earthbelle

Here's what Sharon says - Each Tuesday I will post a challenge stitch for the week. You work an example of the stitch. Learn the stitch, experiment a bit, take it a bit further if you have time then photograph it, and load it to stitchin fingers or put it on your flickr site or write about it on your blog. Then you come back here, leave a comment on the post where I posed the challenge and tell everyone where they can see your sample.

If you are busy and want to swing in and out of the challenge as life dictates that is fine too. I cant make it more guilt free than that. Simply put - all who want to stitch are welcome. However, last time people that worked all the stitches said that they learnt a lot! Even stitches that did not initially appeal to them, they learnt from, discovered a way of working and sometimes were surprised to find they enjoyed them.

If you'd like to play too, go here, read about it and sign on.  Go on, you know you want to, there's still time.

It doesn't start until January 3 2012.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Christmas ornie swap - the great reveal

My partner has received her ornies, so I can show them now.  Did you guess the first was a wee felt bird?

These are inchies strung together, double sided, so the same pattern is on the back.

Rhonda was very pleased and delighted with her gift.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sign of summer

At the Farmer's Market this morning, freshly picked, pesticide free apricots.  No gassing, cold storage, or big food miles.  Straight from the grower from south-east Queensland, a couple of hours away, plump, sweet, juicy and delicious.

You could only get better if you picked them yourself.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Surprises in the mail and a day out

Remember this post about the Down to Earth Community Forums Christmas ornie swap?  well my gift arrived yesterday, and I've received the loveliest decorations, and other little gifts.  Look here....

My swap partner, Rhonda from Sydney, who I also sent to, has made these little hanging ornaments from brown paper, with words of good cheer on them.  What a great idea, so homespun and natural.  They look and feel really good, and make a very satisfying sound when handled.   Rhonda also sent me a great little bag, beautifully made....I love the fabric....and a handmade soap, that smells and feels delicious.  To make it even more special, the parcel was wrapped  in brown paper and string for mailing..  I've been truly spoilt, thank you Rhonda.

Mullumbimby stock images
I had a day out and bought myself some gifts too.  I went to Mullumbimby to visit  Jo's new shop, which she shares with 9 other local artists and crafters, all selling their own locally handmade goodies.  Jo sells natural craft materials, unique hand painted wool, handyed wool felt, and little craft kits.  The shop is a treasure trove of all sorts of wonderful gifts and goodies, and shares the space with a florists, giving the whole area the lovely scent of fresh flowers.  Jo and I first 'met' in blogland, and it was great to meet her in person, she's a lovely warm welcoming presence in the shop.  She has a website 'Indigo Inspirations" where you can see and buy all her wonderful offerings.

I treated myself to this bundle of supersoft, wonderfully bright hand dyed wool felt....I see some yummy creations in my future. I was really pleased to find Jo so close by, I use a lot of wool felt and usually buy it from Melbourne, but supporting local business is something I'm passionate about, so I'm pretty happy I've found a felt dealer in my neighbourhood.

.........and a trip anywhere always means checking out the local op shops, where I found this little vase that looks like a milk churn for's perfect for a few flowers in my lilies from the garden, and those fuzzy topped things are garlic scapes, now unfurled from their tight papery covering and gifted to me by a woman at the farmer's market. 

I hope your days have been filled with wonderful gifts.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Settling In

I've had a new pen and coop built for my chooks.  The old one was pretty protection from the rain or heat, or the wild birds that waited impatiently every morning for their free feed.  Dozens of them every day guzzling my good organic feed!  Not to mention the ibis that flew in and hoovered up porridge and scraps whenever they'd had enough of the rotten fare at the tip.   The coop was too low for me to get in and clean properly, and hot in the summer for the girls.  Time for a new abode.

I told the builder what I wanted, and he put the plan into action. 

Enjoying the early morning sun

Water tank is plumbed in

Girls exploring their new space

Shuttered window

Opens for a little breeze on a hot summer night

The ramp - new skills to be learned to get in and out

Edie - an Isa Brown, the querulous chicken, complains all day long 

Freya - a bantam and boss of the coop for all her diminutive size

Goodie, she's a quiet little bantam

and Big Juno - she's barely a year old, a buff Plymouth Rock, a gentle and sweet chicken
It's taken a few days of gentle coaxing and reassurance...and cake... to get the little girls to use the ramp, but they seem to have the hang of it now, and they use it at bedtime and in the morning, but haven't quite figured out they go back up there to lay....eggs left in all sorts of places so far.

And it's relieved a lot of stress for me, I don't have to let them out and put them to bed each day, or struggle to keep their space clean, and no worrying about the wild bird hoards descending.  They're let out of an afternoon to free range, usually while I'm working in the garden in the cool, as they sure do love my lettuce.

We couldn't be happier.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Frogs and art

I meet up once a month with a group of women all interested in various aspects of textile and fibre art.....The Gold Coast Wild Women Ceative Textile Group....and we met yesterday and the big event of the day was checking out each other's frogs from the Frog Challenge. All were much bigger than mine, but he held his own quite well amongst the big boys.   The challenge was well interpreted, with a variety of background fabrics, textures, embellishments and goofy expressions and a couple of toads.

This felted fellow had a tongue stud.....think he might be a cannibal though?

A couple of months back we did a weekend workshop with Carol Wilkes,  who teaches free motion embroidery and textile art.  A couple of our ladies brought some pieces they'd made since the workshop, and one focused on making the cords we'd been taught.  She'd made a large decorative piece, as well as some smaller  pieces, which she uses as jewellery or clothing decorations.

This was about 40cms long (15") and about 30 com (12") wide.

Smaller piece attached to a large ring, made into a necklace

These pieces were interpretations of layered fabric and thread work taught at Carol's workshop.  Carol is a vibrant and energetic teacher, and generously shared her skills and knowledge and love of textiles to inspire us to find our own "voice" and individuality.   She teaches one or two techniques that can be altered and interpreted in as many ways as her students can think of.

It's always a fun day, lots to see and learn from show and tell, and plenty of chatter and sharing.  Our next project is to make a Christmas wreath to give as a secret santa swap for our Christmas meeting....can't wait to see what turns up, we have some wild and wacky artists who think way out of the box.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


............a quilt for a friend, her boy is due any day.

.... a challenge from the textile group I go to.  We were given an organza gift bag and had to make something from it.  We were also given a project to make a frog, so I used the organza bag....I unpicked it, cut it into strips, and wove it into a piece of cloth, with a contrasting shade of organza and a piece of the ribbon as well. No pics of that bit. Lots of tiny hand stitches later and he was ready to be cut out, stitched together and embellished.  Inspiration for cloth weaving and stitching from  Jude Hill .   He's about 12cm (5inches) long, and waiting for his eyes.

and lastly, a sneak peek at some Christmas ornies I made for a swap I joined at the Down to Earth Community Forum .   My partner, Rhonda lives in Sydney.....hello Rhonda, if you visit, I hope these little glimpses don't give too much away.  They'll be posted today.

Off to make this wonderful fellow building my new chook pen a cuppa!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ticked off and a street fair

Have you seen this ugly fellow? I have, it was buried in a friend's neck!  It's a paralysis tick, and the toxin it released made her very sick....swelling of her face and chest, problems breathing, confusion and wobbly on her feet. Christine lives on a bush block about 20 minutes from town, and the ticks are pretty bad this year.  I began my week with a quick dash to the emergency room to get her checked out, and after a jab of something, and pills to take, it was home to get her to bed for a few days while she recovered. I spent the week going back and forth taking care of her and her animals, and my own until she was on her feet again, so no opportunity or inclination to blog.  These ticks can be deadly to animals, and Christine's already had 3 of hers at the vet's so far for treatment, and is always picking them off herself with no effects....for some reason this one was different.  Thankfully she's ok now, but I've told her I'm not visiting her again until winter.

This part of the post is for Terry- enjoy a trip down memory lane.
After being released from nursing duties yesterday, I headed south west to the little village of Tyalgum, for the Spring Fair. It looked like the whole village was there, with stalls of all descriptions set up on the footpath and in the green spaces....cake and craft, organic produce, face painting, home made ice cream, live music and a petting zoo.  All the shops were open and spruiking - all 4 of them, including the general store, and the only cafe, Flutterbies, were doing a roaring trade.  We were looking forward to having afternoon tea,  but decided to have it at home when we saw we'd have to pay $9.50 just for a slice of cake!  I think to have only one venue for refreshments, apart from the sausage and sangria stall!!! detracted from what was a great opportunity for locals to come together in their community, and entice tourists and locals to visit.  I heard that there are plans to have a seasonal street fair, so I hope the monopoly can be addressed.

and here's a look at the outer lying areas of the village, and the hilly country I travelled through from town.  It's so green and lush, it almost hurts your eyes to look at it.  The weather was changeable all day, the clouds and rain rolled in, then the sun came out and steamed us......always beautiful though in all weathers.

this is the pub!

old farmhouse - not abandoned though.  For sale, for 1.8 million!

 Finally, if you had to "go" what better place than this outdoor loo in the main street with a view across the paddock?

I did manage some stitching during the week, but I'll save that for next time.

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