Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Snippet at the End of the Year..........

New Years Eve 2009!

A snippet of a challenge I'm working on!

Challenge Snippet

Rain, rain, rain………………We’ve had glorious rain! The lawn is no longer dry and crunchy underfoot! In fact we'll have to mow before it warms up again as it will be a great haven for snakes!) The paddocks are greening up too and that means we won’t need to buy in as much hay for the animals.

Little Lily (the calf) is growing daily and is such a source of joy! Watching her bucking and yee-hahing around her yard makes me smile….

We had a lovely couple of days away over Christmas….  We rode the motorbike and being fair weather riders don’t even own wet weather gear but we had to ride home in the rain (about 31/2 hours!)- Suffice to say I’ve never been that wet whilst wearing clothes! Once you reach saturation point it really doesn’t matter any more does it? Hubble did a wonderful job of getting us home safely.

It’s been lovely to get back in the studio! I’ve been working on some challenge entries and so can only show a snippet! The photo above is so unlike anything I've done before! I'm working on 3-4 entries at the moment. Once they're done I'm going to clean up the studio! (I promise!) Hopefully find some shelves, rip up the vomituous carpet and paint the walls also! I've been offered some casual work in the New Year too so I shall be a busy girl!

Best wishes to all for a creative,  joyous and prosperous 2010!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Our 'Lil Christmas Lily!

We have been gifted an orphaned newborn (4 days old as I write this on Sunday) Black Angus Calf. She is absolutely beautiful and healthy and large! (The demise of her mother it seems) Hubby works with the owner; and because they are going away over Christmas they won’t be around to bottle feed her… Guess what? We have a new member of the menagerie…. Her name is Lily.

My 2 youngest kids are with their father for 3 weeks over Christmas but we have a houseful anyway (5 extras!) with hubby’s twin boys (15), his daughter (19) with her boyfriend and my eldest daughter (18). So Lily has been very well received and spoiled and will grow up to be the tamest cow ever!

She has the most beautiful big dark eyes with the longest lashes you’ve ever seen and is the most adorable creature! She is so easy to love… and I doubt that she will end up as steak! The original owners would like photographic updates!

Black Angus Calf
4 Days Old

Little Black Lambi
Approx 3 months old

Hasn't Lambi turned out to be a handsome boy?

Indignant about her new haircut!

Occupied with her favourite past-time

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Something Old..... Something New!

I bought a pomegranate whilst doing groceries the other day... Not to eat (well not yet anyway!) but to paint! We had a pomegranate tree at home when I was growing up and I'm afraid I haven't even seen a fruit for years and years! These were imported from the US and I just knew one had to come home with me as inspitation! They have such a gorgeous voluptuous shape and beautiful colour  topped with a quirky crown!

Pomegranate on Saucer

Still quite a lot to be done on this; highlights, shadows and I'm not so sure about the window frame colour.

Here's something else new, pretty faces painted onto onion skin dyed silk.

Pretty Faces
Painted Silk

Now for the something old! Here is this mosaic style stitching I was working on a few months ago. The stitching is finished but I haven't done anything with it yet!

'Mosaic Rose'
Rayon Thread on Inkjet Transfer on Cotton

This little cross-stitch was completed about 3 years ago. I designed it from a pastel painting I had done (with the aid of some Cross Stitch software)

'Posy for Klimt'
Cross Stitch on Linen

This Tree of Life is my own design too; from an acrylic painting. It's also about 3 or 4 years old.

'Tree of Life'
Needlepoint on Canvas

And the shape of the day is... SQUARE! All these pieces are square format; which is not usual for me as I'm a circle fiend! (Except for the last photo which is a bit off skew as it hasn't been blocked yet!)

Looking back, I have also noted that generally I am using more earthy colours than I have ever before... My work is becoming more muted, rusty, earthy... I think I like that.

I love colour and I have always used quite saturated colour; lots of colour contrast and solid colour with black and or off white. (This is true of my home too... ) Maybe it's an age thing?! Or maybe it's just a realisation that maximum volume loud colour isn't the only way to get noticed! Or maybe I just don't care about being noticed at all!

My alpacas are shorn and I have another couple of bags of beautiful wool to play around with! Really must get my act together and hunt down some carding combs! Think of all the fun I'm going to have! The girls really aren't happy with me and seem to be quite indignant about the whole process- and they do look rather hilarous without their thick coats!

Friday, December 11, 2009


Just a quick post with a couple of photos of some old work (2008).

From memory this was my first painted quilt! Approx 5" x 7" Postcard size. It was machine quilted and embellished with beads....

Copper Contours

My second painted quilt was a lot of fun... also machine quilted with bead and silk embellisment along the top and approx 5" x7". I like how the paint turned out on this one.

Cinnamon Moth

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Of Creative Challenges and PaperCloth

I've been busy playing in the studio and have succumbed to having the aircon on in here most days as it has been 35degC + again. We had a storm come through yesterday and about 5 minutes of heavy rain which all soaked into the dry earth immediately. We really would love some good soaking rain to green up the paddocks for our menagerie. We are hand feeding everybody at the moment! I'm about to 'batten down the hatches' as my Mum says (close windows, curtains, blinds) in an effort to keep the heat out of the house as much as possible. We have a ducted evaporative a/c in the rest of the house but I try not to run it until at least early afternoon! 39degC forcast today (100degF+) It really is just too hot to be outside... and the garden looks parched! Hubble and I were up at 5.30 am again this morning to water the trees we planted in Autumn and Winter... we do this every 2nd morning in this sort of weather. Still, the rain will come.... We have had some small bushfires around the region caused by lightening strikes and today is very smoky/dusty which tends to filter the scorching sun a little......

Here's what I've been doing: I finished the art doll for the Cloth Paper Scissors Challenge. (Unfortunately there is a limit of only 1 entry per person so I've sent in photos of the one I've completed and have let the other just sit for a while. I know I'll get around to finishing her but I'm busy doing other things for now!

Art Doll Challenge -Detail

My latest play; making PaperCloth!

Ranunculi Paper/Cloth Detail WIP

I think I may have added too many layers of paper as it seems quite stiff (I'm not sure if that's how it's meant to be?) Also, the PVA has dried glossy which I don't like so much! There is a tutorial at Quilting Arts Mag website- somewhere... I can't find it again. Will add link when I do....!
Here it is: PaperCloth Tutorial

Ranunculi Paper/Cloth
WIP with some freehand Machine Embroidery

This is for another challenge I'm going to enter also for Cloth Paper Scissors Mag. It's for the 'Make it Pretty' Calendar Competition. I'll only be able to post sneak peaks as the entries have to be previously unpublished!

'Pretty' WIP
Hand dyed fabric and lace

... about the smoke/dust filtering the sun. I lied! Just walked up the driveway to the letter box (about 350metres) and I got baked!- we get mail delivered 3 times a week. Good news!Guess what arrived today? My Dec/Jan copy of Quilting Arts! Yay! Guess what I'll be doing this afternoon???

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Of Rust and Earth and Sacred Symbols

Here is a sneak peak at a couple of things I am working on at the moment....

Winter Wonderland
I mentioned in my last post that I am entering a Winter Wonderland themed Exhibition at Hand Embroiderer's Network. I'm gradually building up some surface embroidery on the felt design, including couching a fluffy novelty yarn around the edges.

Couching and Running Stitch
Winter Wonderland WIP

Mother Earth Art Doll
This is another challenge I am going to enter, but I need to work quickly because the deadline for photos is the 18th December! Yeek! It is a Cloth Paper Scissors Reader Challenge to create one mixed-media art doll representing Mother Earth. I have two versions on the go and will choose my favourite upon completion! Nothing like amping up the pressure on oneself!

Version one is plain cotton that has been rust dyed with sacred symbols; I think I may still be adding some embroidery.

Mother Earth Art Doll
Rust Dyed Sacred Symbol WIP

Mother Earth Art Doll
Ooops, sideways photo but you get the idea!
Painted facial features (lips) and rust dyed markings. WIP

Version 2 is using some leftovers of the discharge dyed fabirc that I used for my first Quilts 4 London pennant and a similar technique....

Mother Earth Art Doll- WIP
Discharge Dyed, Fabric Paint and Embroidery

Here is an old embossed book cover that I rusted. I'm so pleased with how it turned out! I'll eventually use it in a mixed media piece............ but for now it is sitting on the mantlepiece in my studio!

Rusted Book Cover

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Aboriginal Circles

I'm so excited to have finished the first of my pennants for Quilts 4 London.... that I've just started another!

I have some small pieces of contemporary aboriginal design cotton fabric which I am making into individual circle quilts about 2 " diameter. They have a plain coloured back and wool batting inside and I will quilt them individually! Then I'll slip stitch them together and join the many circles together by hand also -into a pennant shape!

Quilts 4 London Pennant #2
left:front, back and wool batting inner
right: completed circle minus quilting

That's the theory anyway! I've made 2 circles to date. I'm not sure at this stage if I will join them randomly or more likely into rows....I blogged quite recently about a circle quilt that I was going to do for the Bunbury Quilt Challenge. (I haven't actually started that yet but I'm stealing my design idea for this more managable sized project!)

I had fun making felt again today. It was supposed to be nuno felt but the beautiful peacock blue silk I used as the base fabric was too finely woven so I didn't get the lovely bubbly effect I did on my previous piece. (It's good to experiment, right?) Still, I 'm happy with the design (It's for an online challenge at Hand Embroidery Network . The challenge theme is Winter Wonderland) It's turned out pretty well exactly as I designed it in my sketchbook. Now I'll be embellishing it with embroidery.....

Sketchbook design
Wool fibres laid out ready to felt

Fibres wetted and felting process started

Felted and embroidery embellishment started

I just love the uneven edges. I added glitter to the fibre before felting and was going to embroider a huge snowflake over the entire scene but I'm not so sure about that now.

I've been playing with a few other things too (as usual!)

Here is a piece of rusted watercolour paper which I am very pleased with. I want to stitch or draw into the image.....

Rusted Paper

I dyed these scraps of fabric and I think they work perfectly with these pieces of hand dyed lace I was gifted from my ex MIL many years ago!

Hand dyed fabric and lace

I want to apologise for the links not working on my blog. Even the one's that were working don't seem to be working now! I've tried to edit posts and fix the problem but I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong! It seems to be a basic and simple thing to add a link but they just aren't linking through to the websites. Any hints will be gratefully accepted!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

3 Bags Full!

Yay! I’ve finally completed my first pennant for Quilts 4 London! (As Australian Coordinator I thought it was high time I got this completed and added onto the Quilts 4 London website) I’m very pleased with how it’s turned out!

'Chains of Ponds'

I have added a hanging sleeve to the back but not the label yet as I will print out a few at a time onto Inkjet Fabric. There are many hours of linen french knots embellishing a discharge dyed background. I also used fabric paint. I have blogged about the process previously, so if you're interested please go back to the last few months of my blog!

Detail of embroidery and binding

Detail of backing fabric and binding

The objective of Quilts 4 London is to make a pennant (a mini journal/art quilt in any textile medium) to present to each participant at the 2012 London Olympic Games. I thought this was such a wonderful idea when I came across it that I knew I wanted to be involved!

There are instructions for making a pennant on the website if you’d like to participate as well as a gallery of completed pennants, and lots of useful links. Email me if you live in Australia and have any questions or admin if you live elsewhere.

Edited to add website (as these links may not be working.....)  Just cut and paste into your browser.

On a completely different note; I got my sheep shorn today- all 6 of them! The weather has been around the 40deg C (about 100deg F) mark for about a week now with little relief and I’ve felt so sorry for the larger ewes who were carrying a lot of wool. I managed to track down a portable shearer and now have 3 bags full of wool! (Well, 2 ½ anyway; so I have more than enough to play around with!)

I want to teach myself to spin first and I also want to make felt using the natural colours (I have black, silver and a couple of fleeces that are tri coloured!).

Now, I need to find some carding combs!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cycles of Life.............

Sadly, one of my alpacas died today. Her name was Prima Donna (Donna for short), she had been brain damaged at birth. -She was 5 1/2 years old. (We were gifted her when we picked up the other girls from the breeder- it wasn’t a hard decision to make to accept her!) She walked with a bit of a stiff legged gait and wasn't as agile as the other girls but she was so sweet. She was a bit doddery and wobbled her head around a bit at times; I don't think her eyesight was particularly good either. I called her Ditzy Donna and she was always a bit of a special girl...

The vet and I moved her into the shade but the heat today- at least 38degC (100degF)- took her quickly even after the vet did what vets do.
I don’t have a photo of her to post here. We lost some photos earlier in the year with a computer crash but look what I found in a native frangipani tree close to their paddock…. 3 bubby Willy Wag-Tails in the cutest nest - with Mum and Dad dive bombing me as I got too close! (Hence the photo quality!)

Cycles of life……….

Monday, November 9, 2009

It's definitely finished this time....!

So, here is the Pear collage again! This time it is definitely finished! I fixed the centre top section that was annoying me and am so much happier with it now!

Pear on Saucer

Pear on Saucer
Collage, Detail

I'm so completely enamoured with this technique that I've started the background for the next one already! Again, this is on stretched canvas which I'm finding to be a perfect substrate; I've had this circular canvas sitting around for a while now............

New Collage, WIP

Here is this gorgeous piece of Nuno Felt! I'm enjoying stitching into it and because of it's thickness and texture and double sided-ness I can stitch different embroidery on front and back! I'm not planning at all - just going with the flow...............the best sort of art!

Nuno Felt

Nuno Felt

And here is the progress on the Olympic Pennant! Those French Knots are coming along......

Olympic Pennant
Chain of Ponds

I really like how this is turning out! For more information on the Pennants for the 2012 Olympic Athletes go to Quilts4London. Click here to add the banner and link to your blog or website! For information for Australian participation contact me at: Sandi

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Nuno Felt Experiment!

OMG! I had a great deal of fun this afternoon making nuno felt! This is my first time ever making felt and I think I'll be hooked on this too! There is a great tutorial here.

Nuno felting is a form of wet felting whereby an inner or base layer is used. When the wool shrinks with the application of hot soapy water and friction, the base fabric puckers up forming wonderful texture!

I used a synthetic organza (not recommended as the wool doesn't adhere to it as well as to cotton or silk) but as I made my wee piece double sided (I added wool to both sides of the base fabric and the fibres knitted together through the organza) it seems to be holding together ok....

You can also leave some of the base fabric visible to add colour to your design. Being my first time I didn't want to risk making the felt too thin!

Nuno Felting
Experimental Piece (Back)

Nuno Felting

I almost like the 'back' better as it has more colour variation. The ginger colour is coming through from the front around the edges and a ghost of the black dots too. The purple/blue organza is visible near the edge also.

I can't wait to start stitching into this and seeing where it takes me!

Pear on Saucer Collage Update

Here is an update of the collage I started yesterday. I think it's finished except the dark patch in the upper centre is annoying me. The tones aren't perfect but it is already at least 2 layers thick in most places and I don't want to play around with it too much more! For the most part I like it and can see myself doing more!

Pear on Saucer
Collage on Stretched Canvas
30cm x 30cm (12" x 12")

Next time I will do an under painting (either of the design or a graded or flat colour to help tie everthing together) I used a tiny bit of blue tissue in the shadows on this but found it really hard to cover it up entirely. I need to think about backgrounds before I start glueing too! Lots learnt and a very enjoyable exercise overall... nothing like ripping and sticking!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

November WIP, Collage Inspiration

I'm working on so many different things at the moment and not feeling disjointed about it! I'm actually enjoying the contrasts and similarities between the different genres as I work between them!

2012 Olympic Pennant :Quilts 4 London

I'm working away at my Australian Pennant; Chain of Ponds

WIP- 'Chain of Ponds' Pennant.
Sampler at top, Binding Fabric top right and Backing Fabric bottom right

WIP- 'Chain of Ponds' Pennant
Detail showing French Knots

Journal Pages

I'm still enjoying working on my 'River of Tears' (divorce) journal. I'm impatient to start a new artist's journal but want to get these existing journals finished first! [I know myself just a little too well! Once I start the new one these won't get a look in!]

'River of Tears' Journal

All that remains... Blue tissue paper, white tissue, and threads from the small container I use as a mini bin on my sewing trestle (Of course I don't throw the threads away - I knew I'd find a use for them!), tiny lettering stickers

Starting a new life from the threads of my old life... Red tissue paper, white tissue, stickers and threads...

Original Entry reads:
Thursday 6.25am 28th Feb 2002  A sunrise is the promise of a new beginning - maybe that's why I enjoy them so much!

Collage on Stretched Canvas

WIP Pear

This has got to be the most monotoned piece of work I have ever done!!!! I have a little more tweaking of tones on top of the pear but think I'll get the basics in first. Since I took this photo this morning I have put in some lower background. I have been playing around with collage for a little while now and remember doing some with just coloured tissue paper at an art class I went to in NZ (about 15 years ago!)

I am trying to exclusively use the rusted papers I made with an art friend last week.; hoping that the colours will help to unify the whole. I am loving the process. I'm using Impasto Gel Medium instead of the PVA I've used previously and am loving it!

I want to share the most amazing collage work with you:! The artist is Elizabeth St Hilaire Nelson (click to link to her blog) Here is a link to her Gallery. Her work is amazing and so inspirational!

Dry Felting (Needle Felting)

I've seen this mentioned in articles and tried looking up the technique on the net a few times - even tried to find the felting needles at the local craft shop (to no avail). A couple of days ago I had to get some more linen thread for my pennant and was adament I wasn't going to look at anything else! Well I ducked down an aisle to get to the checkout and what did I find? Dry felting needles (one size only) and merino tops etc... Well, I did what any other hot blooded artist would do... I succumbed!

Now, you're not to laugh.. here's my first attempt. The base is a piece of tannin dyed recycled felt, the pot is a piece of the same, undyed, the tree is made up of two colours of merino roving -the cream was very cleverly felted into a spiral (TIC)- which can no longer be seen! I sewed on buttons and embroidered a trunk and leaves... I know. It's a bit twicky twee but was just a trial to see how the needle thingy worked! I think I'm going to like this! Must hurry up and find a shearer for my sheep (6) and alpacas (3)!

I need more colours and more techniques... OOOooohhhh I'm going to love this!

First Attempt at Needle Felting!

Back to 'work'! ; )

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

WIP 2012 London Olympic Pennant

I've done some more work on my first Olympic Pennant for Quilts 4 London.
I've decided on the binding fabric and I bought some fabric for the backing in town today. The binding is a retro pattern but I think it gives the piece an aboriginal feel. The work as it develops reminds me of the outback after rain. The rain soaks away and evaporates leaving billabongs and chains of ponds in the river and creek beds. I wanted it to have an Australian feel without adding kangas or koalas!

Olympic Pennant - working title 'Chains of Ponds'

I have worked on a small sample of the leftover discharged fabric to see how the fabric paint ponds and french knot wild flora will look. I am quite happy with the resultant sampler and may even bind it as an iddy biddy quilt! (That assumes I finish it of course! I should probably complete it first as I can see I will be quite 'over' french knots by the time the whole pennant is done!) I am using linen thread as with the running stitch detail and am finding the dull finish is a lovely contrast to the lustre of the metallic paint (Pebeo Setacolor Shimmer Electric Blue Opaque)

A Sample of Painted Ponds and French Knot Wild Flora

I went shopping today and bought the loveliest dress for summer! I couldn't wait to wear it as it was full of luscious summery colours and made me feel so happy; so I asked the lovely lady who served me if I could wear it out of the store! A bit cheeky perhaps but she was most obliging.......... luckily I was wearing shoes to match!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blissful Journal

Here are a couple of detail shots of 'Bliss'. I'm liking her more and more and am really enjoying working on her now!


These wee daisies were fun and I love the variegated thread!

Bliss' Dress Detail

Bliss' Bouquet Detail

I love the unexpected colour combinations that some of these small works create.

I found some Letraset in my filing cabinet... Don't laugh but it must be over 20 years old - 8 years of which it spent in New Zealand! There's not a lot of it but I will use it in the River of Tears journal!

hope - lift your face to the sun........

...with some added Letraset

Alive but Trapped

Another journal page... I love the way the sun caught this!


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