Monday, January 16, 2017

self portrait - ooh.....



I spent the last three days down in the Porongerups taking a workshop with Lou Gardiner http://www.lougardiner.co.uk/index.html  - well I missed the last afternoon because I had to drive back to Perth. It was a fabulous workshop - for a number of reasons. I avoid anything to do with portraits and faces - I do try to draw most days but not people. BUT - Lou is a contemporary embroidery - independent - working very hard and creating wonderful work. I am full of admiration for her. There are so many "artists" our there playing at the creative scene - so much rubbish and pretension and everyone pandering to them. When you meet a genuine artist you know the feeling. She creates intricate, embellished, one-off designs that incorporate layers of intricate, free-hand machine stitched embroidery, paint, ink and applique.

The Porongerups are about 4 and half hours south of Perth so with Leonard Cohen and Monteverdi at full strength, I whizzed both down and back. I had to drive 5 k from where we were staying at the Porongerup Inn (hostel/store etc) to get the internet where I could look at this view. One becomes rather reliant on the internet......

The workshop was organised by Chez Armstrong who runs the Great Southern Workshops and if you click on it you can see what has been and what is coming up. I am hoping to teach there myself later on this year.

This was one of Lou's pieces - probably from a previous class. We had exercises to do and it was serious and a lot of fun - scarey at first - I am not going to tell you what we did because if you ever get a chance - do a workshop with her. She is teaching now in Margaret River and then in Bendigo (I think) but she may return to Australia.

I loved everyone else s work - everything so so varied and everyone produced a fabulous portrait - not self - that was me - I drew someone else or two and then decided to do myself. I can never get my hair to stand up so why not now? I will come back to it when I return from Adelaide and maybe try another - it was fun and uninhibiting once you got going. I am sure the ones I will show you here  - the owners won't mind. (or send me a stern email and I will remove)

This is Gai's in progress


and Maree's - note the sherry - that was a part of the fun

and this is Liz's - she is adding her hubby as well


and I am not sure who owns this one but hats were part of the action as well - yes - even I had a hat on at one stage.

They are all brilliant and I would love to see them all when finished.

Lou also gave a wonderful inspiring talk about her life and her work and I indulged myself by buying this gorgeous silk scarf - titled Because I Love You. I shall wear it with superb pleasure. Do check out her website and remember - be creative and enjoy every moment.

Monday, January 02, 2017

a little hexie fun





A few month's ago I got a little obsessed with these hexie things. Had never heard of them until Shelagh told me it was something I should play with - so I bought a packet of fusible paper stuff and duly printed out a page of hexies - with the marking and stuff on them.I scanned some of my stitched work, my drawings, my collections and printed them out onto the printed paper. Of course I did not read the instructions and discovered you actually are supposed to iron the printed sheet to the back of the fabric and cut it out. I thought that was a little boring so I carried on as you do. Added stitch and stuff - and I will explore this particular family heirloom a little more before too long. I am afraid you won't see me creating a beautiful hexie what not like all the ones I have seen. it does seem to be a bit of a craze. 


I have, however, bought some hexie dies in a sale and can see they might have some use as well. Silly to just buy one size I thought.



I needed to test them out and found some Evolon all coloured and sun dyed with a stencil and stones and stitched them on a page for my Sea book. 


 I also cut some from a fabric I made some time back and will think about what I might do with this. It's all layered stitched and the tops burnt.


For good measure I cut some shapes in abaca paper for layering - I have a plan for this idea but may move to larger sizes to make life a little easier. i am working on an idea for something at the beginning of April. Let's see if I get there.

 This ia a favourite piece I made some time back


 I photographed part of it

 Printed it on paper - you can see it is a little lighter


and printed it again onto the sheets of fusible paper with the hexie pattern on it (I have a large packet of sheets) Then I cut it up and applied it to one of my newspaper - scrim - stitched backgrounds like the one below


It's all about exploring a theme and the possibilities. You will never know what might happen if you don't try.





Saturday, December 31, 2016

Another ending - 2016

Well - it is the last day of 2016 and many of my plans to write often have vanished. It seems to have been a busy year indeed and not looking much less busy for 2017. I have managed a trip to NZ but only once, a trip to Broome, a trip to Toronto and San Fransisco, a trip to Barcelona and Girona plus London, and a wedding in Margaret River and in between busy as. In 2017 we do have lots of excitments planned - bring it all on.

As usual I didn't get many of the things on my list done, but I have plenty of things lined up for tomorrow onwards. On thing I did complete and rather proud of my discipline, was the 100 days project where I worked on circles of assorted varieties. Sometimes I had to improvise when I couldn't load what I had at the ready but I did manage each day. I felt if I didn't, I would simply fall behind. It was good for me. If you want to see them all go here. This image is large in that I can't get any words to go below
However I shall just wish everyone a wonderful 2017 - let's all be creative - happy - healthy (most important) - our motto as always is EAT DRINK TRAVEL in any order. And I will try to write more often - I like my blog as a reference point - it is over 10 years since I started - better than facebook where words move down the line and vanish - fb is instant - a blog is always easy to read. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Hannah and Grant Get Wed


On 11th November - that's Remembrance Day so you don't forget - Hannah and Grant got married in Margaret River - don't they look wonderful?

The wedding was at Secret Garden - a beautiful spot and perfect weather

Amazing symmetry with attention to detail


 Irises and Roses out on full bloom and wonderful colours

In keeping with style I wore red shoes - I do have rather a few pairs to choose from and it will be a case of she who dies leaving the most - wins.... But they were nothing like Hannah's beautiful blue shoes which I can't post because I can't 'steal' that photo but they were lovely

It was an 'unplugged' wedding which meant no photos and then of course I forgot to take any later on. but I stolen a few here and there. This one because it is a record of a baby plopped on my lap for safe keeping - I am not sure what Ester was thinking. Fortunately Hannah's mother rescued her.
I managed to collect this photo too not often will you see Ian in a suit.


And us with them.

There are lots of fabulous photos but I do love this one.

Here is our happy lot - the reception was at Howard Park and it was great that everyone could come over from NZ - so they were away when the earthquake in Wellie and Kaikoura happened.

Our intrepid twosome once again.

So we were bused to the wedding - then to the reception and like Cinderella - on the dot of 12 - bused back to where we were staying.


On the Saturday we all gathered for a barbeque and then after that we all dispersed. We did manage a bbq here before the wedding and another once we got back.

Now Ian and I can be as irresponsible as we like.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

All manner of happenings


It's been a busy couple of weeks since we got back from Europe - but I have managed to get the front and back covers out and in finished for my grannie book and have worked a tiny bit on some of the other little books I started ages back. This little hexie idea I have further plans for - none of this papers in the back stuff for me - it actually sounds rather boring.   Two great concerts we have been to - last week the ACO and we simply loved the programme. Sorry to have missed the one while we were away but them's the breaks. And then last night we went to the Tallis Scholars and they were simply sublime.    The All Blacks have gone on their northern tour and played Ireland in Chicago last Sunday morning. Not shown live on Fox so we paid for the privilege of getting up at 4am for live streaming on my computer screen (a large one) but in a  small space. It was a fabulous game with Ireland winning and deserved. I don't think it is a bad thing for the ABs to lose - and it is good for rugby and anyway if any team had to beat them, Ireland was the best. We watched the 2013 game down town in a bar full of Irish folk who were devastated at the end - not us of course. The game in Ireland next weekend will be well worth getting up at any time for!  


I am amazing myself by managing to keep up with the 100 days project - up to day 78 and still going. I started on it because I thought it would be a good discipline and doubted if I would manage it - I feel that if I don't post every day I will quickly miss the plot. It is keeping me out of mischief.

I am also working rather furiously on quite a few other things but they will keep.

Big weekend coming up - Grant and Hannah are getting married - last Sat was Hannah's hen party - a little bit different from the kitchen tea I do remember my mother organising some thousand years ago.

at least I got to drink champagne.

So right now, apart form being shocked by the US presidential elections like we did with Brexit - I am wondering if it all stems from our tree being poisoned - we are welcoming our relations and off to Margaret River for the wedding.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

A week or so later

We came back to a pile of parcels, boxes and the like - this box was delight to open - single colours in sari ribbon but each one is different. I am looking forward to using them - I am going to iron them first. Of course. It is obviously helping the Indian economy and they are not guaranteed strong etc but this is te delight of working with them. Weave and stitch and cover weak spots or leave them to vies things below 0r bond to a surface like felt and stitch strips. Yummy.  
Before we went away we sent our two sofas off for recovering and they have just arrived home. We are thrilled with them - red velvet and of course madam who is seen on the patchwork chair has rapidly moved over.
We put a matching red towel down for her to sit on but of course she moves over as fast as you can blink. Anyway the recovering man gave us all the fabric leftover so we can cut patches and arm covers. We have had these two sofas for a very long time - we bought them from a friend years ago - they are the best. Goodness knows what new ones of this quality woudl cost. As always when you go away we have been busy with the verandah and orders. We brought back 20 kilos of khaki books and paper and it has all sold but we have another bigger order coming on the 7th. Al least we don't have carry them in our back packs this time.
Our special veg and herb garden is full to chukka but I have found a tiny bit more space to squeeze some more in. It is great collecting greens every day for salads - can't get fresher than that.  
Today I bought some more lavender to fill a spot - or rather to replace something in a spot. We have many weeds to clear out this week but pleased to say bbq time has cometh.

Friday, October 21, 2016

That's it folks for this trip

Wednesday morning we left Girona - really enjoyed our stay - but time to head back to Barcelona
Very pleasant medieval city   
Back in Barcelona for half a day we checked out Gaudi's work along with thousands of others - the inside of the cathedral is rather awesome and loved the stain glass - the colours and the play of light were wonderful We also went to the Maritime Museum where there was a life size replica of a 16th century - I think - boat - was rather hoping to see the Spanish Armada but no go  
ANd yest another fabulous door to give plenty of inspiration - look at the writing in the top left. Mmm.....
We caught the TGV back to London via Paris - we had paid a wee bit more for 1st class and the service etc on the Eurail was very good indeed. - My holiday stitching is making progress.   Waiting at Heathrow to catch our flight for the usual long boring flight but that's the rules if you want to travel. Our three suitcases came to 59.9 kilos - that's including 20 k of khaki books and paper - 2 giant rolls of lutradur rolled off the core and lots of threads and stuff. That's a bis shipping saving we don't have to pass on to our customers.   See you on the sunny side for a bbq on Sunday night after a hopeful All Black win on Saturday - and then it's back to work

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Out in the countryside

We hired a car for a opulent of days and made some trips out of Girona. it is very easy driving around - the roads are very good. First day we went to the Costa Bravo - not our sort of place really - I think we are spoilt on the west coast of OZ - this was at Tossa de Mer and it was full of tourists so I expect really bad in July/August - in fact the book said you would never be able to find a spec of untouched sand. Against my better judgement I had a Kiwi COla - nice fresh kiwifruit but sadly ice cream which has melted and reiced. That will teach me. 
There were wall to wall restaurants which ever way you looked
Then we drove north along the coast - magnificent views. This was looking back to Tossa de Mer
And some more - the road was amazingly pretty and windy and scarey - and all the way there were these enormous holiday places like large towns - you couldn't just drive in but only look from the car rather gobsmacked.
I guess it is pretty packed in the summer. Second day we went into the hills - we thought we would be driving up little windy roads - ha - 4 lane highways and magnificent tunnels. We got right up near the border to France and stopped at a lovely little town for lunch. I didn't take any photos at all - one things we loved seeing were the autumn trees.
Back in Girona I came across this statue - I though it had ideas for doors actually.
Last view of Girona walking across one of the bridges. We had a great last night meal at a delightful restaurant where the guys were very friendly - possibly the best red wine we have had.  

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