Sunday, January 30, 2011

Saying Goodbye to the First Month of a New Decade

As I type this it is almost midnight on 31st of January.
Where the heck did the rest of the month go? All I know is that it seems to have gone by super fast!!

Right now I'm pretty much feeling that I've slept most of it away - or have been to tired to get out & enjoy it the way it should have been enjoyed. I had so much planned for the 5 1/2 weeks of summer holidays that follow after Christmas & yet here I am with the new school year starting in 2 more days & I've done none of what I intended to do beforehand.

What I have done though is pay a lot of attention to the sky & in particular the sunsets. So here, to bid farewell to January, is a montage of both the subtle & the spectacular sunsets it has provided me with.

The best things in life truly are free :)

Just click on the image to see the full size version.

To Reveal or Not to Reveal - that is the question...

As you can guess from the title my Artistic Challenge ~ Kumihimo project  is still not completed. It's almost there - but not quite to the point of how I pictured the end result when I was working on the Kumihimo braid.

Best I back up a bit & explain. When I started this I was a little ambitious for someone who had only done one 8 strand braid in her life before - I decided I wanted 16 strands & that the braid needed to have some sort of design to it. Then there were the beads.....
I don't have any seed beads that are a regular size & within an inch of braiding knew that this wasn't going to work for me - so I undid the lot & started again without beads. It seemed such a pity as the beads that I did have worked well with the colours of silk I'd used.

As I braided an idea formed in my mind... & then a plan. Of course I blithely overlooked the fact that the plan would involve yet another skill to learn - that of stitched beading. Braid finished I set about the task of learning some basic seed bead stitching.
I eventually settled on ladder stitch all in the same style beads as it seemed to compliment the Kumihimo braid without competing with it too much. It also allowed me to add different size beads every now & then for a bit of texture - without the need for me to try & figure how to make bridges around those beads. This step took me almost as long as the braid to complete... & I had bigger plans yet!!!

This is where I was up to on the 27th January - the intended reveal date. All was going well until I discovered that I'd used all of my 16 gauge copper wire to make the "Love Me Knots" for mine & Mallory's first Artistic Challenge.  So off I went out in search of some 16 gauge copper wire to pull it all together into a completed piece.
Perhaps you can imagine my disgust at finding that a 10' length of 16 gauge copper wire was going to cost me $18.00 locally. I decided that I wasn't that desperate & left the shop without it..... & then spent the rest of the day quietly fuming at how much we pay here for what few craft supplies we can actually get. In fact I was so wrapped up in my fuming that I forgot I was meant to be posting the results that night.

The next day things went marginally better & I did manage to get one other component I needed I also managed to source a short length of copper wire from a friend, which should be arriving any day now.

So there you have it - a semi-reveal, the completed braid & beading but not a finished piece. That you are going to have to wait for - but hopefully not for very much longer.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Unrevealing Reveal

Today was supposed to be the day that I revealed my Kumihimo project done as this months Artistic Challenge between Mallory aka Rosebud101 & myself.
This one has nurtured my somewhat battered creative soul & I have been enjoying the repetitive actions associated with doing Kumihimo finding that I don't need to concentrate too hard on them & because of that it is quite calming.

So how the heck could I forget from only this morning, when I went in search of  some copper wire as part of the project, that tonight was meant to be the reveal. Apparently quite easily!! Such is life at the moment - I know it will improve soon though.

I've left myself a note for tomorrow so I don't forget to finish my project off!

For now all I have to show is this -

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

~*~ImpressArt Metal Stamp Set Giveaway Alert~*~

Lori Anderson of Lori Anderson {Pretty Things} fame (as well as a whole heap of talent in the jewelry design & making department & creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party) has a fabulous ImpressArt Metal Stamp give away on, on her blog.

Now these are the coolest set of stamps & what is really fun is that not even a couple of days before this Giveaway came to light, a friend & I were talking on Skype while drooling & dreaming over the stamps sets on the PJ Tool & Supply website.

Check out Lori's Blog to see what you have to do to get in the draw for a chance to win this fabulous set of Stamps.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Almost There - A Teaser for this Months Artistic Challenge

Sneak peek of what is in store....
I'm just hoping I get it all together in time for the reveal...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fun with Fabric a la Microwaved Mesh

Sewing before the wedding appears to have reawakened my fabric fetish.....

While shopping for fabric for Gabriela's dress I discovered that one could purchase plain old cheap as chips stretch mesh & crinkle, wrinkle or crush it  themselves at home so that it would hold it's crinkles pretty much permanantly. This appealed to my experimental nature.

That I discovered a pattern that I rather liked at the time which would work well with a crinkled mesh fabric seemed to me to be further indication that I should start doing a little sewing again.

Last week I got to play with step one of the process.
Essentially there are a couple of options for getting the Ƨrinkle/wrinkle/crush look depending on how you want the finished look.
Either you pull the dampened fabric up into little bunches & put rubber bands around them - or you gather each end in, pull it into a long taut length & twist it until it twists back onto itself ....then you put your bundle in the microwave with a cup of water for 20 minutes, checking at 5 minute intervals.

I went for the little bunches in rubber bands method, figuring it would give me a random creased look that I quite like. It was certainly time intensive putting al those rubber bands on a 2 meter length of fabric.

After removing from the microwave you have to let the fabric remain bunched up over night. This wasn't the easiest part for me as I was dying to see what the effect looked like. Somehow I managed to resist though & waited until the next day to unfold it. I loved the overall effect, but unfortunately I had been a little too 'exact' in the banding up of  my bunches making sure the fabric was all tucked in & it had caused peaks in the fabric where the centre of each bunch had been.

I couldn't see me wanting little pointy bit's sticking out all over the top I intend making, especially if any of them ended up over the bust area,  so it was back to the drawing board.

Not being to thrilled at the prospect of  spending an hour or so putting rubber bands in again I just dampened the fabric & went for the twist method....& was far happier with the results. Next step is to sew it up into something wearable.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Rebel in the Vege Garden

Way back at the end of October I planted my vege garden. It's not a huge patch, quite small in fact when  you consider that I was trying to plant around the well established artichoke plant, but I made room for some flower plants so I had a bit of colour since there is nowhere else in the garden to plant flowers. By the 31st of October all the seeds planted had germinated & everything was coming along nicely.

Not even 6 weeks later on the 12th December it was looking pretty darn established. We were already picking lettuces & the 'miniature' cabbages .

 By the 27th December we'd had a good feed of lettuce & were ready to plant the second crop. The cabbages weren't so miniature any more & nor was a small variety of something else I had planted...

A Rebel in the midst & this is it!!

In front of the beans I had planted some Moulin Rouge Sunflowers. Call me fanciful but I liked the idea of something flowering in front of the beans that would stay a bit lower. The packet said they grew from 75-90cm (30-35") tall. The packet lied!

The fence is 1.8m (6') high & as of a week ago the culprits were a good foot above the top if the fence. Currently they are providing support for the wayward beans ;)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Resuscitating Old Skills - Part 2

Remember this post "Resuscitating Old Skills" way back at the end of November last year?
It was an adventure that was for sure! Sewing is not like riding a bike after years of not having done so. Or perhaps it is in as much as you remember how to push the pedals but when it comes to the finer details such as changing gears on hills you have to stop & think about it.

All of the things that used to come naturally I had to stop & try to drag up through the fuzzy memory of time. The machine was the easy part, but all of those little tricks for a nice finish that once came so naturally eluded me. Shoot - a couple of times I even had to look at the pattern construction instructions & the last time did any garment sewing that was unheard of! Of course the instructions weren't a lot of help because some person had bought a pattern that was just the basic shape she needed & then gone & changed almost everything about it willy nilly, without a care in the world....and we'd bought chiffon. Slippery, slidey, super fine chiffon.
Very clever.

Still,  Gabriela's dress turned out fine in the end, even if I was hemming it in between everything else on the morning of the wedding. Unlike the pattern it was age appropriate & with a wee short sleeved bolero over it she looked super sweet.

I don't have any decent photo's of her wearing the dress yet, none that show the dress well anyway, but no doubt some will turn up at some point though. So for now here is one I snapped quickly.

This was the pattern I used as a base for the under dress. You can see why it was somewhat changed - she's 13, not 23!!. It seems there is a distinct lack of young teen patterns around & once girls start getting a bit of 'shape' you have to go straight for the adult patterns. I can see more pattern tampering in my future ;)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Silk - a teaser for this months Challenge

Beautiful raw 100% silk fibre. So much potential!
It's been sitting in my stash for some time so my mind went to it immediately when Mallory & I talked about fibre being used in the form of Kumihimo braiding for this months challenge.
My intention was to dye it - but you will have to wait & see whether I did...or not.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I Can Read His Mind....

Hercules rushed into the laundry thinking I was putting more food down only to discover that his 'sister' Bizkit had beaten him to the bowl. Hercules is a funny cat, so chilled out that he almost borders on stoopid at times....

"If I sit nonchalantly & pretend disinterest she'll hurry up & finish.... "

"OK, so that didn't work - I'll give her "the look" & maybe she will get the message..."

"ohhh look there's another handsome cat waiting too, Hello!" 

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Around the garden in January

High temperatures, long hours of sunshine & plentiful watering has resulted in what flowers I have planted putting on a continuing show for me. The first thing I do every morning is take a wander around the garden & check on what is was with a huge whoop of joy that I saw the first runner beans were ready to harvest.

Guess what I had for dinner ;)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

First Monthly Challenge of 2011 - Ms M & Deb Conspire

It's that time again & by gosh this one snuck up on me. Where on earth did December go? Was there a December? I seem to vaguely recall it & speaking with Mallory Hoffman ~Rosebud101 of what we were going to challenge ourselves with this month, but then this jolly New Year went & got all hot on me & fried my brain.....
Well that's my excuse & I am sticking to it!

In our mission to nurture our creative souls we are pushing ourselves to work outside of that with which we are most comfortable with ~ melting glass (quite frankly I think I have probably forgotten how to melt glass, & this just sounds better but don't tell Mallory that!!).

Seriously though, when a predominantly right brained (creative thinker) person tries a different technique or process to what they are used to it often stimulates the thought process into new ideas. Do you ever find yourself working on a project & while you are doing it your mind is racing ahead of you filling up with ideas for something totally unrelated to the task at hand? It happens to me all the time - but my biggest problem is that I don't stop what I am doing & write those idea's down (that can be a bit difficult at the torch) & I often lose them by the time I finish what I'm doing.

This months media should make it a little easier for me to stop & capture those technicolor images that play in my head! Mallory & I are going to work with fibre in the form of Kumihimo. This should be interesting - considering I have only played briefly with this once before & the unfinished result is,as you can see, still on the loom!

The reveal will be on 26th January. Be sure to check back in then & perhaps check in once or twice beforehand as this month I will finally have some time to post 'teasers'.

You can check out Mallorys twist on this challenge over on her blog here.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Summer Daze....

Time to just relax & enjoy the post Christmas winding down & think about the potential the year ahead brings.
Some days are ripe for going out & exploring around the city

Others for observing things closer to home

At yet others for just staying indoors & trying to keep cool, when it's been that hot during the day that at 7.30pm you find this a perfect temperature for it to have cooled down to....

Monday, January 03, 2011

Oh - oops!

After effects of after shocks saw the washing machine hose shake loose of the outlet pipe & a little after midnight on the 28th December we found ourselves with a substantial amount of water running into the house....

72 hours later, with the aid of two huge nosey industrial fans it was all dried out!
May I mention now that the white noise of fans running day & night for that long is enough to drive a person to distraction!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

The First Day of 2011

My morning wander around the small patch that constitutes my garden revealed a lone bloom on one of the vines that germinated from seed sent to me by a friend. How apt!

On the second day of the new decade, today, two more buds bloomed.

There are many more buds waiting to follow suit & if the lovely Ipomea "Grandpa Ott" is indicative of the year 2011 it is going to be one to look forward to with great anticipation!