Saturday, May 29, 2010

Amber Arrives

My sister Dorothy gave me a cat (to be adopted from the Cat Haven) for my birthday back in April, but I delayed the selection till we got back from Queensland. Yesterday was the day.

We met at the Haven and inspected some of the range of available cats. I had already decided I wanted a cat rather than a kitten because of toilet training. I also wanted a female because there are two males that come and fight in our yard and I thought a male might want to get involved - even if neutered.

It took a long time but I eventually chose Amber. She had been the pet of an elderly couple who had had to give her up when then they moved into a retirement home, so I thought she would be used to sitting on laps and people who don't look where they are walking.

Amber is 5 years old and has the most wonderful bushy tail. I had always thought that all ginger cats were male, but the girl at the Cat Haven assured us that ginger females were becoming more common.

She tolerated the long trip home in the car very well - not a peep out of her, for which I was very grateful. Our last cats hated the car and started yowling the instant they were put in which was very stressful on the driver. She has not settled in yet, and has spent most of today hiding under and behind couches, but she is eating and drinking well and using her litter tray. Last night she even jumped onto Kevin's lap, but she is less friendly today.

Friday, May 28, 2010

New machine

I have had my overlocker for possibly 20 years. It was the second one I ever had and it has served me well. Recently there have been a number of new overlockers released by the various sewing machine companies and I began to think a new one would be good - especially if it did a cover stitch which my old one doesn't.

Some weeks ago I gave in to temptation and ordered a five thread Pfaff overlocker. It arrived the week of the Craft Fair, and the seller was really too busy to give lessons, so I waited till this week to pick it up.

Yesterday was the big day. I had a long lesson and I have set it up ready to go. Now I just need to sell my old one. There is nothing wrong with it and it has some extra feet, so I shouldn't have much difficulty, I hope.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A new bag

I don't usually buy kits - I would rather put my own spin on a design - but I couldn't resist this one when I saw in at one of the demonstrations at the Craft and Quilt Fair last week. It is called a Bac-Pac and uses some Japanese style fabric and shashiko stitching. It also has the zipper neatly concealed, so that it it is pretty safe from unwanted fiddling.

Today I cut out everything and even fused the iron-on pellon to the main pieces. I thought I might have to make a quick trip to Spotlight for the pellon, which was the only thing not supplied in the kit, but I discovered a couple of metres in the bottom of a cupboard. There are definite advantages to having a stash - though I rather wish mine was better organised!

No photos - I will take some as I progress.

Monday, May 24, 2010


I did much better than I expected - the ATCs are now on their way to New Zealand!

I am not sure what happened to some of the tree images in this photo.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Fire ATCs

This swap has been on my TO DO list for too long. I emailed the hostess, Diana, in New Zealand this evening to notify her I was still a contender, even though the deadline is the end of the month.

I have actually made some progress. I painted some vliesofix in fire colours last night, and today I have ironed it onto some red fabric and added lots of flame like pieces of organza. Tomorrow I will free machine stitch the fabric. With any luck, I should be able to post the ATCs tomorrow night - or at least on Tuesday.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Melville Art Awards

I have been entering this since 2003 or 2004. I live in hope that one day I will either win a prize or have my piece purchased by the City of Melville. I don't think either is very likely!

I woke up in the middle of the night and decided that my piece needed to be restitched. There are some silk organza inserts and they were puffy, rather than smooth and flat. So I pulled the piece off the canvas and unpicked and repositioned the inserts, this time with a dose of spray starch and lots more pins. Success. Then I stretched it over the canvas again and Kevin stapled it for me. He also did the hanging wire.

I started the refurbishment at 8.30 and the piece was finished by 11.15 am. Off to the Council Chambers to deliver it before noon. I arrived in plenty of time and met Juliet and her husband Chris who were delivering her piece. As we left there were probably eight or ten people bringing their pieces. I think there are more than me who only just meet deadlines!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Craft Fair and QuiltWest

I went to the Craft Fair today. I had volunteered to assist with manning the Contemporary Quilt Group stand in the afternoon, so I went in the morning to look at the stalls and watch some demonstrations.

I was going to take the train, but Kevin offered to take me to Perth, so I arrived fresh and full of energy. I paced myself well, interspersing two demonstrations with stall browsing, then a sit down for lunch (which I took along to avoid the high prices for show food). A final bit of browsing, then off to the CQG stand. I was able to sit down for most of the time I was on duty.

I did manage a quick look at the major quilt display. There were some fabulous ones, and I took lots of photos, but don't think you are supposed to post them on blogs. I can, however, show the pieces I had in the CQG display.

I also had a piece in the WAFTA display, but I didn't get a photo of that. I came home by train and we have had takeaway for dinner. Tomorrow I must finish stapling my entry for the Melville Art Awards to its frame and attach a hanging wire, then deliver it - all before noon.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

One step forward, one step back

The piece for the Melville Art Awards is going well. I would have finished the background stitching today except I got the edge folded under and managed to stitch about six by six inches before I realised what had happened. Quite a bit of frogstitching (rippit, rippit) and all was well, but I didn't have time to finish before we were due to leave for my oncologist appointment.

Another setback. My white blood count is low again, so the Xeloda is delayed for a week in hopes it will improve. I did get a low dose of Avastin though - with a full one supposed to happen next week. Also, the oncologist is going to the US for a conference at the end of the month, so my next CT scan won't be scheduled till he is back.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Moving along

Using double sided tape and photographic paper worked and the printer duly delivered two A3 size prints on fabric. They are one photo split down the middle and will be joined together as the background for my piece.

This morning, after some cogitation and measuring of pre-prepared canvases, I decided that I needed another A3 print for the background. A bit of Photoshopping later, I had altered one of the background prints sufficiently that it could join reasonably seamlessly to the others. It also printed without hassle. Obviously, freezer paper is too flimsy for large prints - the printer needs a heavier paper to cope with fabric as an additional layer.

I have now fused all three prints to a background fabric and have stitched one third of it. I am taking a break - my back is aching a bit from hunching over the fabric as I freemotion stitched. I will do another hour after I have had a little rest, and tomorrow I should be able to fit in another two hours or so before we have to go to the hospital. This should mean the background stitching will be finished. Then I have Thursday to complete the piece. I am hoping to be able to go to the Craft Fair on Friday - the piece is due for submission before noon on Saturday. I will probably make it!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Melville Art Awards Entry

As usual, I am right on the deadline. The piece involves photographs printed on fabric and collaged. It has to be submitted on Saturday morning.

I printed the A4 size ones with no problems - both on poplin and organza. The trouble began with the A3 pieces. Kevin bought an A3 printer secondhand some weeks ago specifically for me to do this. The paper jammed and the edges frayed. We have given up, and I will try again tomorrow.

We think the freezer paper is too flimsy and does not hold the fabric enough. Kevin has some A3 photographic paper and we will try taping the fabric to that.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Home again

We arrived back from Queensland last night. So glad to be home - our own bed and ensuite, kitchen etc. Even the laundry!

We did not have Internet access for the last three days of our trip so no blog postings. I am not sure whether I want to do a catchup or not. Kevin has done a bit on the family blog.

I resumed my group meetings today - I went to Husqvarna Club, which is a week early due to next week's Craft Fair, and in the afternoon to my friendship quilting group. I haven't been able to attend many meetings this year because it is usually a chemo day, so it was lovely to catch up with everyone. We worked out that I will be able to host the next meeting in a fortnight, so I am looking forward to that.

Tomorrow I need to collect the pieces that were in the ShowOff exhibition, plus finish two pieces for the CQG exhibition at the Craft Fair. I WILL be busy.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Someone is looking after me

It is day 4 of our Queensland holiday and we have had a great time so far. Kevin has been writing about things we have done in our family blog. But today I have an incredible story.

We checked out of our Brisbane hotel before 10 am and set off for Ipswich, where there is a Railway Museum and, more importantly for me, an exhibition of historical Australian quilts from the collection of Annette Gero.

We enjoyed our museum visit (we are both fans of technology museums) and went into Ipswich itself. We found a parking spot and I pulled out my purse to give the assorted small change to Kevin for parking, then I set off to the Art Gallery to look at the quilts. They are lovely, especially the 19th C crazy quilts, but the one I found most graphically interesting was one made by a man. He was a tailor for an army regiment in the Second World War and the quilt consists of 1200 (?) colour patches from the regiment stitched to a grey Army blanket. It is not quite finished and you can see the blanket, but the regimented red and shades of blue coloured patches are visually very impressive - it looks like a painting from the distance. Photography was not allowed or I would have taken one of that.

After I had finished my visit we set off for the Gold Coast and our next stop. We had got about 50 km from Ipswich when I suggested to Kevin that some food and drink would be a good idea. We pulled into a shopping centre and I went to pull my purse from my handbag. It wasn't there! Panic! We remembered the small change episode. I must have dropped it then. What to do? We went straight back to Ipswich. On the way I rang the Art Gallery - no luck there.

Once in Ipswich Kevin looked in bins near where we had parked and went to the Art Gallery to check again. No luck. So last resource - go to the Police Station. It was hard to find - it had moved from where it was on the road directory we had. I joined the queue - people wanting to pay fines and another lady reporting another lost wallet. Finally I got to speak to an officer. Just as I started on my story, the officer taking the other lady's details asked my name. They had my purse - completely intact, including more than $200 in cash. It had been picked up by an elderly lady. She was supposed to have written me a message and left it in the purse, but I can't find it. I am going to ring the police station tomorrow to try to get a contact for her. She is an angel and I want to acknowledge her.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Castaways at Rockingham

We drove down to Rockingham this morning to look at this year's Castaways exhibition on the foreshore and beach. It opened today and runs till May 9th. In my opinion it was better than last year's , especially in the use of recycled materials. I was particularly taken with this installation. It is by Claire Davenhall and is titled Lost Soles. A quote from her artist statement: "The chain and rope connects lost soles from generation to generation".

Other sculptures I really liked in the recycled section were Spent Seed Pods by Greg Gelmi,

Reptilian Roadworks by Robin Yakinthou

and Extinctus (made from old tires) by Leon Zuks.

In the section with an aluminium component my favourites were

Tania Spencer's Light Shadow

Ruth Acton's Red Fish

and Richard Fry's Egg.

There were heaps of other great pieces, and I thoroughly recommend a visit if you can make it down to Rockingham in the next week.