Sunday, January 20, 2008

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:


Nellie's Needles said...

Margaret, thank you for sharing about your father and your tribute that is coming along beautifully. I'll be back to keep up with you as well as the progression of your art.

Quilt Pixie said...

the fabric you've made does have a real coral sea feel to is -- that bright stunning blue, and the bright, though not jarring, fushia and yellows... I love the sense of sea current they have in their movement...

Hélène H said...

A wonderful tribute to your dad.

arlee said...

That is going to be WONderful! A stunning tribute to a man you loved very much, a powerful testament to his influence on your soul. Great work, sweetie!