Monday, January 21, 2008


Thank you all so much for the beautiful messages you left for me. I created a massive migraine for myself, but I feel today as if the air is clear and my spirit has soared. I love you all so much, guys and I love what each of you creates - you fill me with awe.
Today was just what I needed - time with Dylan all day as Nat had to take Kieran for his 6 month (My God where did that time go?) vaccinations. Although not yet 3, Dylan's linguistic talents are astounding (not that I am biased!) He informed me today as he draped a piece of my precious jacket fabric (for MOB outfit) over the lamp that he "Need my cwocodile scissors to cut out this special top for mummy's wedding."

Sunday, January 20, 2008


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I really must blog more frequently (perhaps a NY resolution?), otherwise I have so much to catch up on and feel I am going down a plughole.

OK. First matter of business, a brief tute on the baby shower/gift bouquet that seems so resoundingly popular. Strange, isn't it - I am not a fan of them particularly but the recipients rave. Oh well, if you are curious - first have a look at this where Martha gives a pretty full on description of the process. The only difference was that I used flowers made, first from fabric paper (very thick petals, so u need less) and then from the interfacing thingy I showed last post. I also did a little experiment recently, using the same principles but I made my own little floral bowl and put a block of florists' foam into it. Then I inserted the flower and leaf stems and the rolled up gifties to make a kind of arrangement.

Stupidly, I was in such a rush to finish that I forgot a photo. BUT, it goes thusly:

1. Make shape to mould your bowl over. I upturned a smallish, flatish bowl and taped a square of florists foam to the base. You can slick Vaseline over if you are worried about removal later.

2. Sandwich a piece of water soluble stabiliser between two pieces of sheer fabric.

3. OPTIONAL - scatter some threads, chopped up bits and bobs and FME to hold them down.

4. Work out the overall size of "circle" you are going to need (sorry u need some Math). and cut out from the fabric.

5. Machine stitch around the edge.

6. Carefully rinse out the stabiliser and slap the thing on your mould - preferably out in the sun.

7. Very, extremely generously slop on some fabric stiffening liquid (I guess starch might work - the real stuff, not the spray). Two coats can be useful.

8. Allow to dry very much to a crisp (oh, yeah you will need to kind of fold the top bits to fit both the foam piece and the rounded bowl edge fairly closely). If you wish, after removal, you can varnish the bowl inside and out, but you don't have to if you have made it very firm.

Here's a picture of a similar bowl that I made some time ago and embellished round the edge after with wire and beads.

Man, am I weally, weally excited cos I just worked out how to put that photo there using HTML!!

NOW - this is for Sharon B regarding the Take It Further challenge. I feel slack that I have not posted anything yet, but my mind has been far from idle. Here goes. My source of inspiration is my gorgeous old Dad who, at the age of 84 flew from Canberra to me in Perth a couple of years ago. He was doing what loving dads do - trying to help me out when I was lower than a snake's belly. Anyway, long story short - he was so ill when he arrived (wheelchaired off the plane, white as a sheet and had lost about 10 stone). He used to be such a giant of a man - 6 ft 4 in and 20 stone and of course I was rocked to my very core to see him like this and horrified that my sister and brother in Canberra had allowed him to travel. He was so frail and wouldn't eat or drink anything (made him feel sick), so I forced him to see my doc who took me into another room (always a nasty little signal that) to prepare me for his imminent death. He was put into a Vet Affairs hospital and lasted about 2 weeks. He was such a beautiful man - a wonderful loving, caring and most generous father to all his seven children, a brilliant artist, intellectually amazing right to the end and always, always a wicked, evil sense of humour. A spade was a shovel to my Dad and his honesty and braveness were aspirations I can only dream about. A couple of days before he died, his two younger sisters rang and asked me if they should fly over from Melbourne and Adelaide to see him. I asked Dad what he thought and he said "Good God no! I am not a hypocrite - I have had no liking for either of them in my lifetime, why would I want to see them now? What, do they want to come over and make sure that I kick the bucket?"

Recently my brother who is closest in age to me (I am the eldest) made some derogatory comments about Dad and his gambling problems (yes, he was addicted at one point - but let's talk glass houses and stones to my brother the ex-heroin addict). In a strange way, that was the stimulus for me to complete one of my very long languished UFOs (WISPs). It was GOING to be a tribute to my Dad to be a wall hanging in multi media. The bits of it were variously distributed around the house and I know full well why I never completed it. To this very second I have not accepted his death, in fact he frequently talks to me (yes, I'm still taking the medication) and some extraordinary things he has told me too. One of which is to stop farting around and TAKE IT FURTHER and finish it, after all what sort of a memorial am I setting up by being miserable and horribly sad (but not, NEVER CRYING) about his departure for a better place. No, I need to make something beautiful, something creative to remind me of his gentle giantness and his wonderful spirit.

So - I took some of the beautiful multi- coloured cloth I made (see previous entry) and did a bit of embroidery, beady and felting with silks and wools to enhance the glorious colours that reminded me - strangely of a story he told me not long before he died about his war service in the Coral Sea. Although born on Anzac Day, my dad refused to acknowledge the war until his very latter years (his fave brother disappeared - a RAAF pilot) and he never, ever told us children anything at all about the war. He just said it was awful and horrible and unimagineable and should never be "glorified". Anyway, he told me about how they travelled in the ship through all the beautiful islands, some really tiny and each sailor would pick out an island and pretend it was his. I loved that story, so I am going to incorporate some very special jewelry oddments into the piece. You know - odds and sods that have lost a pair or broken, but they are too precious to discard. So here is my progress to date:

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Here beginnith the tutorial on making a bouquet gift using "flowers" made of fabric paper and other unusual stuff. Having made several of these with fabric paper in the past, I found it very stiff and rather bulky to manipulate - which is fine, but time consuming and not quite the result I wanted. So, I decided to see what I could do with the idea from QA magazine using my own interpretation.

First, I took a piece of thin sew-in interlining and, because it is very floppy and I did want some body, I first painted the whole thing with a mix of fabric stiffener and water (3 parts water, 1 part stiffener). The piece was laid out on a flat surface on a sheet of black plastic.

Then, I applied drops of my first colour choice in printer ink (I used the el cheapo refills that you can find in the supermarket. can find in the supermarket. Drip, splash, or do whatever randomly over interfacing.
I repeated that with the yellow and the blue. ( I have also used the same process with artists acrylic inks, so the number of spotty dots, etc and colours is up to you.) Don't worry about the colours overlapping now and then, this is good and makes interesting shades and tones.

Next, sprinkle as generously, or sparingly as u wish with rock, sea or lake crystals. Your fabric needs to be really wet for this to work and as I was working in very hot summer conditions, I had first thoroughly wetted my fabric before starting and after the salt was added, I gave it all a good drenching with water in a spray bottle. Now, the hard bit - be patient and have trust! Let the ink and salt do their magic. As you watch, the inks move around and interact with each other to produce some amazing results. Ideally you want to leave it alone at least overnight (as I did) or until thoroughly dry.

Notice, I only used the three primary colours but look at the multitude of interesting shapes and colours I got. I think it also picked up some of the white stiffener and whirled it through giving it almost neon brightness in some areas. Bottom picture is closeup of one area. Heat set the fabric, after brushing/picking off as many of the excess crystals remaining as you can. I used a sheet of baking paper to protect my iron and a setting of wool, 3 to 5 seconds per area.

The fabric needs to be cold water rinsed throroughly until you feel as if you have got rid of the salt completely. Be gentle, it is very delicate. A bit of disappointment sets in now as a lot of the ink seems to wash out and the whole starts looking a bit pale. Fear not, I was pretty happy with the outcome, after pegging it on my clothesline to dry:

I feel that a lot of the stiffener could have also rinsed out. Next time, I think I will try thicker interfacing and maybe begin with a few drops of white ink as one of my colours.

Next post, I will show how I made the baby shower bouquets.

Monday, January 14, 2008


I am doing my bit of a tutorial. It is taking ages and ages because I took a lot of pics and Google will only let me upload 4 at a time. I hope to publish tmorra. In the meantime, all you shoe gals MUST CHECK THIS OUT!!!!!

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Having had little time to spit lately, have just spent a delicious half hour drooling on Arlee's last few blog entries. I would like to say that I resolve to be a better blogger but Betty Botter knows that only bitter butter will come from that batter. But, here I am and, as I promised to Arlee and all, here is what I laughingly call the space (s) I work in, on and under plus the storaged secretly unfinished, forgotten and languishing projects, with various materials and stuff I am "gonna do stuff with". My latest excuse is reasonable having to complete 4 bridesmaids dresses, my own dress, jacket and hat (I thought, plus maybe a bag) for the wedding. On top of that, I foolishly made floral baby bouquet thingies and arrangements that I will (definitely, promise, promise) post about, out of fabric paper and they have become extremely popular. To the point that people are pressing me to start a business (I will, probably) making them up as gifts to give at showers, etc. Plus my brain is reeling with all sorts of spinoff ideas and plans and how I can streamline the process, how I can access good wholesale suppliers and....... really and truly I do not have time to think about that now. I also have to do 100 wretched bonbonierre that are only half made and 100 chair wrap, bow, cover or tie thingies that don't cost an arm and a leg and look amazing (to rent, these bastards are $4 each, so there is another business I am thinking about). Any ideas, directions, websites etc anyone can offer will be smooched all over. OK, here goes, no more procrastinating:

Informal meals area with permanently set up sewing machine and ironing board.

Above, right is dining table, same are, covered with partly finished bits of clothing and even the high chair is not safe from storing some recent fabric purchased for the b.m.s.

At left, even armchairs are not safe - this in the family room holds a b.m. muslin being altered, plus my last year's Xmas tree (cardboard, black print) and a nest that Dylan made with wool for his baby birds (off the tree). Hell, I will get round to putting the decs away, it's not Easter yet.

Below, birdseye view of what I laughingly refer to as my coffee table, on this occasion scattered with Dylan's latest WIPs (God only knows what they are).

Above, right are the discarded projects from aeons ago at the bottom of the "baby's room" . These include, but are not limited to - knitting, crochet, scrumbling, scrapbooking (latter lasted 2 days til I realised it was rather like school projects.)
Next, we have the "spare" room, wherein shelves chockas with once upon a time nicely rolled and sorted fabrics lived. Now a project about my Dad, abandoned 2 years ago languishes atop a jumble pile, that has leapt to the floor in suicidal despair. Also in same room, a cupboard containing hangers of sheer fabrics, but alas, many of them have chosen the floor as a permanent residential site.

And finally, beginning under that we see the joke known as the abundant storage areas in the formal lounge and dining rooms. I could not even begin to list what horrors lie within. On that note, I leave to watch a Sunday movie about, appropriately enough, tsunamis.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Yay! Hand turns out not to be fractured, thank God, because it was so fat and black and distorted that the doc was convinced it was and threatened to put it in a cast. Can u imagine in 40 plus degree heat? No, I have simply torn some tendons and permanently damaged some nerves, which is annoying because my fingers keep going

pins and needles
at the most random and awkward moments.

Can you guess what these pics are? I have been playing with Picasa.