Saturday, October 31, 2009


No door knocks so far, which is just as well since I haven't bought in any supplies. Fortunately there are only a couple of children living in our cul de sac and both of them have parents who probably won't ever permit this kind of door knocking.

I HATE Halloween - it has never been an Australian tradition, and it seems like an excuse for older teens to indulge in gratuitous violence. There is a trial in progress at the moment - an 18 year old killed with a jarrah picket swung by a then 17 year old on Halloween last year. Ugly revelations of continued confrontations between groups, but they all dressed up that night before indulging in their booze fuelled activities.

As a result of my marathon cutting yesterday and more sewing and cutting today I have produced 110 5 inch squares. Not yet ironed and not enough for a queen size quilt. I think my calculations yesterday were a bit optimistic.

And I have now made a post for every day in October this year.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Fiddling - AND Flowers

I have spent most of the day ironing fabric and cutting bias strips. These will magically become squares composed of two triangles - all due to a ruler I have had for years and never used. But I did test it today and it works!

The fabric is something else I have had for years. Part is a collection of Klimt inspired designs in rich reds and browns - 13 different ones. It is accompanied by some reasonably subtle maize and soft yellow prints. There are 27 fabrics in all and I had either a half yard or half metre of each, so ironing took quite a while.

I have cut 54 strips and I should be able to get 6 or 7 squares out of each pair, which means I will probably have almost enough for the queensize quilt I am planning. This is one I promised to make for daughter Helen years ago. It's best not to hurry these things!

We have four bauhinia trees along our boundary fence. Kevin doesn't like them because they drop leaves in winter and pointy pods in summer, but they are absolutely beautiful in spring.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Clearing the decks

Well, at least part of the walk-in wardrobe. I have been intending to do this for months. After three hours, this was the result - 6 rubbish bags full of good stuff for the Salvos Op Shop.

And I'm NOT finished! The chest of drawers is untouched as is Kevin's section of the wardrobe. I also have a bag full of clothes that I couldn't bear to dispose of because I loved the fabric so much - these may be cut up eventually. There is a small bag of stuff for rags, while 3 pairs of shoes went into the bin since they were too worn to give away.

So this was today's fiddling. The worst of it is that you can't see where I have culled.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fractured English

This sign is taped next to each of the checkouts in the local (Spearwood) IGA. It is a most peculiar example of poor expression.

What security purpose do lettuce leaves serve? Slapping politicians on the wrist?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


we didn't go walking. We had to deliver Kevin's new (old) Mazda 929 to a garage for wheel alignment and suspension whatsits early in the morning, though they didn't actually do anything till the late afternoon.

I went to Bestway for yet another of Pam's inspirational 4D workshops. I can now digitise grub roses and circles with various fills - more purple circles?

I sat outside and read after we picked up the car. Temperature possibly 22 degrees Celsius - very nice. But as the sun sank, the mozzies invaded. I think they may be a problem this year since we have had so much rain - it even sprinkled a little today.

Dinner was Cardamon and Black Pepper Chicken - so easy and so yummy. Thanks, Helen, for reminding me of this recipe when I rang - she was making it too.

I did absolutely no fiddling with fibre.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Our walk this morning was at North Lake. We haven't been there for months and felt that it is becoming somewhat degraded. Despite the good rains the lake is a long way from being full, and you can already see the weeds poking through the shallow water.

We didn't take any photos, but here is one that Kevin took yesterday by accident. I love the colours and texture. I think it could be translated into a great background fabric. Can you guess what it is?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What I did today

Went for a walk at Bibra Lake early in the morning. The bird watch boardwalk and jetty are being reconstructed.

At breakfast, ate too much of the bread I left to cook overnight in the bread machine. I have new yeast and it was very airy and hard to cut. Yummy though.

Helped Linda look after the Designing Women stall at the Textile Art Expo. Not many people around, so I went to watch a bookbinding demonstration. Really good. Made two more purple circles using my couronne stick.

Visited an exhibition - LOUD - at the Atwell gallery which Iris recommended. It was. Bright colours and heavy textures.

Bought fruit and vegetables at the markets down the hill.

Sat outside in the warmth of the late afternoon and drank wine while a curry simmered inside.

Started a new book.

Didn't do much really.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Day of Textiles

Elizabeth Morley ran her Sea Urchins workshop for the Innovative Stitches group today. It was intensive work, but most enjoyable. We needed to prepare six base segments ahead of time, so that today we bound and embellished them. We were then to stitch them together. For once I wasn't left behind in a workshop - in fact I was the only one to manage to assemble it. Here are some of the pieces.

This evening I went to the Art to Wear fashion parade which was part of the Melville Textile Art Expo. It was an impressive show, though I didn't manage many good photos. The models were school girls, seen here wearing pieces by Jennie Abbott.

While there I was chuffed to be told that I had won a prize in the Mad as a Hatter competition for the Tea Party hat and that one of the bowls I had in the Designing Women display had sold. Happy dance here!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A display and Friday Flowers

Yesterday evening my sister Dorothy and I set up the Designing Women display at the Melville Textile Art Expo. We were pretty pleased with our efforts. Here is a section of the display.

I went back this morning to add printed labels for all the pieces, then listened to a talk on zines from one of the exhibitors. Interesting, but I think I will stick with a blog.

As I was getting into the car to come home, I noticed this flower head on a zamia palm ( a common WA native plant). Almost like a pine cone or a pineapple. So this is this Friday's flower.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I wrote yesterday about Joyce Tasma who collects all sorts of stuff for her baskets, including animal skeletons and mummified fish and other creatures. She said she won't let her husband clean out the shed because he would insist on throwing out most of it. I was sitting next to Iris who nodded in agreement as Joyce spoke about her collection - she has a shed full of this kind of stuff too.

Coincidentally, today I made a start on a collection of my own. We were walking at Bibra Lake for the first time in far too long and came across a dead tortoise. It had been dead long enough for the ants to have eaten out all the insides, but the legs and head were still attached. Of course we brought it home - we each had a plastic bag for collecting litter and my collection was promptly deposited in Kevin's bag. It is now sitting on the brick path out behind the shed in the hope that the limbs will mummify a bit more.

We found a tortoise shell once before, but it no longer had limbs or head attached. Helen was doing a unit with her students on bones, so we gave it to her.

And talking of coincidence, Kevin used almost the same title for his blog today.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Purple Circles

I have put together some of the buttonhole circles I made (am still making) with purple yarns and threads, a piece of hand dyed fabric that I stamped and stencilled with bleach and a piece of purple felt that I punched shades of blue polyester organza into, then circles of wool fibre and then buttonholed circles and spirals on top of those. It is interesting that most of it is done by hand - a radical departure for a confirmed machine lover like me. The piece is for the Designing Women display at the Melville Textile Art Expo which is on this weekend.

This is Purple Circles.

The phrase "Purple Circle" has been stuck in my mind for ages - ever since I had an argument with a "traditional" quilter who maintained that quiltmaking had been hijacked by a purple circle who used embellishments and machines to make wall pieces rather than hand made bed coverings which were the only "true" quilts. Huh ?!!

Last night at the WAFTA meeting the guest speaker was Joyce Tasma who makes the most interesting baskets from materials she gathers, mostly from her beach walks.

Her presentation was extremely interesting. and her photos are wonderful. I must take some credit here - she and the organisers could not get her new Macbook to talk to the data projector. I made a call to our own Mac guru, Rob, who talked me through the process to success! Thanks, Rob.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Over the last couple of weeks I have read all eight of the Bastion Club novels by Stephanie Laurens. These are romances set in the English Regency period. I enjoyed her storylines, but skipped the major portions of each book that were devoted to descriptions of love making.

Then I read this.

It is the story of a writer whose speciality is Household Guides - to the Kitchen, to the Garden and so on. She is dying of cancer as she writes her last book. The novel explores how she addresses the unfinished business of her life and deals with the legacies she wants to leave her husband and daughters. It could also be described as a romance, but contains no sexual descriptions. I loved it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Finished Hats

My entries for the Mad as a Hatter competition are finished - two days early, which would have to be a record for me. I am usually pushing the deadline.

I decided the Geek Hat flag wasn't quite right, so I made another one. I like the effect of this one much better.

Here is the Tea Party Hat. I am quite pleased with it. The pillbox shape base DOES look rather like a cup with its beaded handle. I made the teapot quite a while ago, so it too is recycled.

Next task - try to finish off a few textile pieces so there will be something to display on our stall at the Expo itself.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Researching exhibition spaces

Designing Women will be holding another exhibition in November 2010 - our sixth. We are trying to find a suitable venue. The one we had last time was not very satisfactory for various reasons.

We need a space with good light, plenty of wall space, easy access and enough parking. There are not too many candidates that fit the bill.

Today Juliet and I went to look at an exhibition by a painter, Ron Nyzistor, which was hung in his studio space in Melville. I know the building well - it used to be the Alfred Bracks Library, but it has been stripped and refurbished. We have had some discussion with Ron about possibly using the space for our exhibition.

The space is wonderful. Ron is obviously a minimalist, and there were only 22 works hung. Lots and lots of blank wall. The major problem we foresee is whether he will want a final say on what we exhibit. The whole group have a meeting with him in November prior to our usual meeting.

In the meantime we are still looking for alternatives.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

One Down

The Geek Hat is finished. It's not quite as I originally visualised it, but I can't think of anything more to do.

Today I have been prepping the base for the next hat. I am using a pillbox hat from Spotlight. The only colour I could get was black, so out with the trusty acrylics again. I want it to look vaguely like an upside down teacup, so it is turning white.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Flower

This rose is almost lavender in colour.

I have almost finished sewing on the computer bits, but my hand is hurting so I have called a halt for today.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

More Geek Hat

I finished the stencilling.

Then I made a flag by ironing vliesofix to fabric and cutting out the reversed letters.

Ironed them on, then stitched around them.

Tomorrow I need to enlist Kevin's aid to cut some of the computer bits smaller and drill some holes so I can sew them to the hat.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mad Hatter Competition

The City of Melville is running a Mad as a Hatter competition in conjunction with the Textile Art Expo at the end of the month.

I have entered two hats. This is the start of Geek Hat.

Base: recycled ladies bowling hat.

Embellishments: stencils and recycled computer parts.

More progress pics to come.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Spring Colour

More pics from last Saturday at Piney Lakes.

The eucalypts are all putting out new shoots. We have our leaf colour in spring rather than autumn.

Most of the bottlebrushes are in bloom. I love this curly one.

I have started on my entries for the Mad as a Hatter competition at the Melville Textile Art Expo. So far, so good.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lots of money for seemingly little effort

My followup appointment with the hand surgeon was for 2.30 pm. He had been on time when I visited last Monday, so I fed the parking meter for 40 minutes, thinking it should be plenty of time.

Wrong. It seemed all his followups were scheduled for the same time, so I had to feed the meter again. The City of Perth obviously does well from the patients of specialists - street parking costs $2.90 hour in West Perth. I got to see him just before the meter ran out a second time. Total parking cost: $4.90. Not happy about that.

Then I was handed the bill for the surgery. Over $1100. I will get some of that back from Medicare and HBF (our health insurance fund) but we will still be quite a lot out of pocket. Fortunately the cost of the day hospital was completely covered by HBF. The anesthetist (whose bill I am yet to receive) fee will also be covered by a combination of Medicare and HBF.

Last Tuesday the surgeon probably operated on a dozen people. He apparently does surgery on 2 or 3 days a week - say 25 operations. Most would be a bit more complex than mine, but would consequently incur larger bills.

I realise that he has had to have had many years of training and that it costs plenty to run a consulting room and associated staff. But he must earn in a week more than our allocated pension pays both of us in a year. Nice work.

And the assessment? My finger is healing really well, with 90% mobility. No pain except if I bump it, so it needs to be protected with a bandaid when I am working. The thumb injection has not as yet had any noticeable effect, so I have another follow up appointment in late January. The City of Perth will make more money from me then.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Blowfly Grass (Briza maxima)

I remember this plant as a child, but I haven't seen it for years. Yesterday we found several big clumps near the artificial lake which is south of Piney Lakes and part of the Sculpture Walk.

The grass gets its name both from the appearance of the mature seed heads and the sound they make when you shake them. We used to love playing with it.

I was surprised to find when I googled that it is of Mediterranean origin, very widespread in Australia and an invasive weed.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Revisiting Piney Lakes

Today's meeting of Designing Women once again focused on the Piney Lakes environment. In the morning we took a walk around the lake with the intention of finding and photographing aspects that we could incorporate into future work - possibly with a 3D emphasis.

The last time we did such a walk we spent our time in the wetlands section and I gathered enough inspiration for a series of work - starting with the layered organza and embroidered silk pieces and culminating in the Windows to the Wetlands piece.

Today we walked up the hill, away from the wetlands. We saw lots of interesting flowers and vegetation and 2 bobtail lizards. The first had a bright yellow head which indicated it was either looking for a mate or had recently mated.

The second one was more uniform in colour.

I took heaps of photos. I really like the shape of this hollow log.

In the afternoon as we were leaving the building I noticed the flowers on this blue gum just by the gate. So here is Friday's Flower on Saturday.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Brainstorming Fabric Books

I ran a workshop for the Contemporary Quilt Group today on display methods for bits and pieces of textiles - samples, exchanged blocks, journal quilts, ATCs, all the stuff that gets stuffed into a plastic bag and shoved in a cupboard.

While there are lots of different ways the question of displaying textile pieces can be approached I decided to focus on using the structure of a book as a vehicle. (This was the impetus for my Aries book. I had to have a finished sample, and I had had those blocks for 5 years!)

I had lots of books and magazines to help stimulate ideas. I supplied all materials and equipment and obviously thought of almost everything - but one group wanted (not available) plasticine :(

The members were divided into 3 groups and each group was given a couple of sheets of butcher paper on which to write brainstormed ideas. Here are some of the results.

Liz came up with some great ideas.

Then each group was asked to make a model of the display method they had chosen. It is interesting that two groups chose skewers (perhaps influenced by the Aries book?) but their solutions were quite different. The models were made from paper so they had to consider how different the end result would be if fabric were used instead.

This group decided to make an interesting basic structure on which the pieces of textile work could be displayed.

This group used a similar idea, but focused on interesting connections.

The third group decided that there needed to be room for expansion, so additional "pages" could be added.

I think the workshop was very successful and helped spark ideas for the future.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


the Aries book today and I'm pleased with it.

First task today was to stitch on the binding for the cover. This was NOT easy - not only were there two layers of fabric plus wadding plus Timtex, both fabric layers had fusible web on them. The needle kept gunking up, the thread broke often and there were heaps of missed stitches. It was finished eventually, though there were a couple of needle changes, lots of needle cleaning, plenty of unpicking and the occasional swear word. Here the cover is ready to have the holes cut in the spine
and here it is finished.

I painted these skewers to use to hold the pages together

and made machine cord to tie it all together.

Here is the finished book, from the top and the side though still without cord.

I will do that tonight.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Good progress

My finger has not stopped me at all! I still have little feeling in it, but I have no pain, so I spent the day fiddling.

I have almost finished the Aries Challenge book.

I completed the pages early this morning, then free machined the cover piece. I printed an acknowledgement page on fabric with a comic Aries pic I found somewhere years ago. Since I don't know where it came from, I won't show it here. This will be on the inside back cover.

I digitised and stitched out "the ARIES book" on the front cover, attacked it with the soldering iron, then sandwiched it with backing and two pieces of Timtex.

I have attached a binding to the cover piece which needs to be stitched down, then I have to make some buttonholes and it's finished. Should get it done tomorrow easy peasy, even though I have to take an hour or so to help Kevin collect some computers. Not a biggie - I owe him lots for all the running around yesterday after me.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pointing to the spot

The purple arrow indicates where I got the cortisone jab that will hopefully alleviate the pain in my thumb joint that occurs when I do much handsewing or writing. The other spot is where the cannula was inserted. Quite a bruise building up there.

There is another arrow on this hand, but the dressing hides it. I am supposed to keep this hand elevated so I am typing with only one hand. I had both general and local anasthesia. The local hasn't worn off yet, so there is no pain. No feeling in the finger tip either.