Sunday, November 30, 2008

challenge quilt #2 - stellar

here is my stellar quilt - background of black velvet with layers of severely altered paper and lutradur. the orange red centre is made of brown paper with many layers of paint, bondaweb, wax crayon, shiva stick, angelina and walnut ink and melted with the heat gun (using maggie grey's technique from 'paper, metal and stitch' -a brilliant book). the top layer is painted and shiva sticked lutradur, finished off, after stitching, with the heat gun. free motion machine stitched and hand stitched - it has a lovely crunchy surface.
inspired by this photo taken by urbane scrumping i had lots of fun making the fiery centre and endless trouble getting the right black on the lutradur. ironically the right black ended up lacking depth so i attacked it with shiva sticks which gave the piece much more energy and visual texture.
i'm still not sure which way up it should go....

Saturday, November 29, 2008

looking up trees

some photos of trees - looking up. first of a series i think. (textileseahorse long haulers may recognise the last couple of shot)

sisters market

this afternoon i took w and e over to brunswick town hall for the sisters market - local, handmade, indie design. there were some gorgeous things there and i met aunty cookie and nichola/nikkishell from mixtape.
and i bought some beautiful aunty cookie fabric packs
and this beautiful (and reasonably priced) silver, copper and bronze ring from silver rocks oz.
but there was an awful lot of baby stuff - very cute and all that but it was a bit overwhelming. i hope the twilight market at the northcote town hall on thursday will be a bit more balanced. less bags and baby clothes please :)

we rested and looked over our purchases in the garden of christ church brunswick - it was lovely to see a fountain actually working - the ones in the city have been turned off due to the drought and are very depressing but this one was using rain water and it was very soothing and cooling.
then a coffee/iced chocolate at pippas and home to make risotto for dinner. this is my favourite recipe - one we have used since dinosaurs ruled the earth and i think it may have been a terry durack recipe in the age. really easy - you just need good ingredients. arborio rice, butter and olive oil, tomatoes, chicken stock, mushrooms and dried porcini mushrooms (restored by soaking in hot water), prosciutto, garlic and some cheese stirred through at the end. followed by mango gelato. yum.
(apart from the risotto pic these photos were all taken with my phone - i finally tracked down a usb cable to fit my phone and managed, with the help of a handy 13 year old i prepared earlier, to transfer them onto the computer)

and to the statuesquely lovely ms v who commented on the previous post - email me - i miss you already! and where's your blog???

Friday, November 28, 2008

return of the coiffed - some after shots

billthedog had his shampoo and set today - he was a very anxious bill when we arrived at the salon and tried to cut and run. i think it reminded him of the lost dogs' home where he spent his early youth. so i was very relieved when we went to pick him up and he trotted out quite happily, buffed and coiffed and looking (and smelling) like a supermodel. or at least very like perry como.
and i picked up my parcel from the post office - not only had it travelled from the UK to Melbourne in 5 days, it was full of wonders....more tomorrow

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

wednesday minutiae

a few observations from today which was a very pleasant 29 degrees (for those readers who are into the wacky world of weather)
  • there are some people who will always be racist in their outlook and assumptions and who continue to proselytise their philosophy that Aboriginal affairs is a lost cause, continuing to fund programs for Aboriginal people is throwing good money after bad and that 'they' are beyond help. This is a view directly descended from the old White Australia policy and assimilation and assumes that Aboriginal people are a basket case : this means of course that people who continue to work on Aboriginal policy are naive and soft minded fools. This view was trotted out again today and as always makes my heart heavy and cold.
  • conversely great leaps were made in the preparation for the launch of the Victorian Aboriginal Children's Charter on 10 December (International Human Rights Day)
  • my car now costs a mere $38 to fill with petrol :) not long ago it cost over $60
  • a parcel is waiting for me at the post office (very exciting)
  • billthedog is booked in for a shampoo and set on friday at the hound lounge (see the 'before' photo above)
  • i had 2 homer moments this evening and lifted w out of the car at the service station and then later carried him from the bedroom to the bathroom. consequently i have applied drugs and heat to my back in the hope that more trouble has been averted. i also dragged out my copy of 'treat your own back' (which i always thought a very churlish title) and have been doing some of the emergency putting back in exercises
  • finally, the reason i carried w to the bathroom was to avoid a repeat performance of 5.30 this morning - when small boys go to sleep without the benefit of the bedtime ritual (see last night's post) they are apt to have damp accidents in the bed in the early dawn and drench their poor unsuspecting mothers.....
  • really finally - during the precautious spellcheck the gizmo wanted to turn 'philosophy' into 'flyspeck' . i will leave you with that thought

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

progress report

for some reason time dragged by on leaden feet today - the first hour at work seemed to last an awfully long time. the day was punctuated by painkillers, back exercises and rewarming the wheat bag (monster kitty is the perfect size to take to work and to wear relatively unobtrusively around the office). i managed to fit some work in as well - the Big Launch is in 2 weeks' time which is rather eeky.
this evening w went to sleep on the floor, drugged no doubt by the dog miasma which still fugs the rug - i think we need some serious rug cleaner. followed by serious dog cleaner. but that meant no w bedtime with stories and tales of the day and songs which can take quite some time. which meant i could leisurely do the next stage of the gessoed pieces - painting.
i was very afraid that i had ruined them but they don't look too bad. it helped to pounce them with a white cotton sock :) i had bought the socks with a view to making something out of this book so a bit of hand dyeing can only add to the charms of the finished product, n'est-ce pas? i am thinking of making one piece out of these four (depending on how they look at the end of the painting process) and using some meandering hand stitching to link them together

Sunday, November 23, 2008


i forgot to add that this wonderfulness arrived in the post this week - aren't they gorgeous?
you can buy your own here at viadelia's etsy shop.

just seeing them makes me want to shout 'hurrah' again :)

sunday evening

my new bag (made by mattt, bought at incube8r)
my new apron made by cherry stew, bought at pippamaycook (sorry for the filthy mirror and chaotic being re-organised bedroom - but the apron's cute..)

e's first real knitting

the slice w and i made after dinner
gessoed pieces drying after another layer of goopery

Saturday, November 22, 2008

stellar done

i think.... here are some views of stellar - the whole thing can't be shown until 1 december as part of the around the world in 20 quilts challenge.
the search for blackest black ironically ended in my deep black sky being buffed with gold, turquoise and violet shiva sticks and black ink so there is quite a glow. this added much more energy and depth to the piece and it looked less like a design for the essendon football club... i used my challenge materials - lutradur and paper - and am really happy that i have learned so much from making this piece. maggie grey, dijanne cevaal and marion barnett's blogs, websites and books have been inspirational.

the weather continues..... i could surf down to the laundry should i wish and had to don oilskins and waders so i could put a load of towels on to wash this afternoon. my catalogue will be a soggy puddle at this rate.....

the gesso obsession also continues and i laid in more stocks of black ink this afternoon (how did i go through a whole bottle of ink in a week??) here are this afternoon's efforts drying on the kitchen table.
(as i wait for blogger to laboriously load the photos the krazy kat kavalry has started for the night - ba-doom ba-doom ba-doom ba-doom ba-doom down the hallway, in and out of each bedroom, circle the front room and zoom back in here - scattering papers, magazines, knitting needles and toys as they go. billthedog has gone to bed.....)

cataracts and hurricanoes

there are Lear-like elements all around this weekend - you may recall a couple of weeks ago i was moaning that it was hot. well, now it's cold, the heating is on and there are waterfalls cascading off my roof. welcome to melbourne in the spring :)..... of course it nothing like as bad as the floods in brisbane this week - hope you're ok up there, linda!

of course the chooks are out marching around in it, cracking hardy and pulling their cardigans tighter: 'just put on another pair of galoshes, dear'. i think billthedog has been helping them build an escape tunnel as they seem to spending more time outside their compound than in.....

billthedog, toby and miss molly are safely tucked up inside the ark/house and no one is going to venture out into that.... although i might punt down to high st later and get more provisions. i'm so glad i live on a hill.

only sporadic creativity as i still can't sit for very long:

this is going to end up being a triptych of some kind i think i ruined the rocks piece by putting too much ink on it :( but i have brushed it with discharge paste and am about to light the touchpaper and see what happens.

but my main task this weekend is finishing stellar - stay tuned

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

getting better

i have been good and doing my exercises and taking my drugs and the back is getting better - yay! although carpet cleaner was swiftly put on the shopping list when i lay down on the rug to do my back exercises and was nearly overcome by the fumes of dog miasma..... billthedog is not a smelly dog but there is a definite afterglow effect on the rug....

i still can't sit for very long - urbane scrumping very kindly took me out for lunch and i spent much of the time in the cafe standing up or moving around. it was a very good lunch - pippa's croque (sourdough toast with spinach, bacon and an egg - i think there may have been cheese involved too - followed by a very good blackberry and lemon tart) at pippa may cook- my current favourite cafe.

short term sitting means i can't really sew but i can paint and have started another couple of wips - my supreme talent seems to be starting projects..... i am playing with some of the techniques in maggie grey's new book textile translations (available here) if you buy the book you can also access free online classes with maggie and participation in the class yahoo group which is really really valuable as you get all sorts of tips and guidance and reassurance from maggie. which makes you less likely to give up when you Make a Mistake. my bits didn't turn out the way i was expecting/hoping but i am going to keep going and turn them into something else.

first here is the result of experiment 1 - gesso and inks and paints on vilene. the chief mistake in this one was trying to add texture with some overly thick bits of paperclay (a new to me product that i haven't mastered yet - they will be salvaged and used for something else) in the meantime i like the marks they left on the vilene.

experiment 2 is 3 pieces of hessian, painted with gesso, ink and paints and incorporating a sort of lace collary thing i found in the stash - it has been cut in half and stuck down on the outside pieces of the triptych.

both the experiments were painted with gel medium and are drying. maybe inks tomorrow....

and here is the handsome chunk of gorgonzola that we hoed into before dinner this evening - yum-mo

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

in which we discover that codeine and sewing don't mix

hmmmm - i couldn't find any of the extant wheat bags chez seahorse so i thought i would run one up. using w's monster kitty as a pattern i traced around him onto freezer paper being a bit too head muzzy from codeine to want to fuss with pins. the freezer paper ironed onto the fabric worked a treat
- except -

can you see the problem?
2 fronts - or backs... so i cut another two. then slowly sewed them together - my sewing machine doesn't need the foot pedal, having a stop and go button and speed control thingy - perfect for people with rotten backs.

but - i hadn't reckoned the size very well and while monster kitty wheat bag is admirable in many respects he is only suitable for small pains.
so i made another - this time a serviceable rectangle in a more suitable size. but this time i sewed it together without checking to see if both right sides were facing out..... so i decided that this wheat bag has a front and a back and filled it with brown basmati rice (best use for brown basmati rice i think), heated it up and hopped into bed with it.
i kept w and e occupied while i cooked dinner by setting them to paint some calico christmas tree ornaments - here they are drying on the cake rack