Saturday, September 29, 2007

When Real Life gets in the way...

Unfortunately, the need to earn a living and pay the !@#$%^&*!!!! mortgage is taking precedence over creativity at present. Such is life.

In the meantime, here's a shot of the full moon at around 6am this morning. Doesn't that make you glad to be alive?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Let there be light

Because the former master bedroom is now my studio/office ( and a complete mess that I'm far too embarrassed to show anyone), I have made the downstairs bedroom the main one. It has its own bathroom, which is a plus, and means that guests have their bedrooms and own bathroom upstairs. I bought a free-standing wardrobe as the room had none, and yesterday, I had a skylight installed. The room is at the back of the house and the existing windows face south (that's the undesirable way, for northern hemisphere readers) so it didn't get any sun.

Now the cats have sun in the afternoons, and here they are enjoying it. The down side is that it lets a considerable amount of light into the room at night, and I found it quite hard to sleep last night. If I can't get used to it, I may have to make a little curtain for it at night. Maybe even tasteful surface designed ones!

After 4 weeks here, I'm really enjoying Rangiora. I still don't have a day job but I'm close to sorting that. In the meantime, I'm concentrating on my little business Tillia Dyes to bring in a few dollars to keep me afloat.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Using up leftovers

That sounds like a cooking class! I had to dye some Blended fabric yesterday for an order, and had leftover dyes. I tend to not leave dye sitting around in jars as I never remember later what colours are there, so I decided to use up what was left. I started with a metre of PDF fabric and then thought "why waste good unused fabric here, when I could overdye some vile stuff in my stash?". Not my OWN vile stuff, you understand, but fabric I inherited when I bought the business. So here's the results - above is a watercolour piece that was on the undyed fabric.
The next piece was a plain allover turquoise fabric that had faded along the foldlines and so was unsaleable.
These last two were originally a light blue that had also faded along the foldlines (the fabric was folded in four and wrapped on little "bolts" of cardboard.
Unfortunately, it's truly hard to photograph dyed fabric well. This piece is lovely. The pinks are really interesting - there was no pink or red dye, so I assume this came from the Lilac.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Not all my own work. Unfortunately.

Blogger moves in mysterious ways. Trying to upload these images is a constant struggle as to exactly where they might appear. And, of course, the ACTUAL placement of the photos of the blog is not the same as I see on the draft.
As for text, it's anyone's guess where THAT will end up when you're typing in around photos. Anyway, for those folks who are going into the shorter days of autumn (fall for the American readers), here's some photos of our New Zealand spring to brighten your day. If the photos stay put, I'm reading clockwise from top left: my dwarf peach tree that has made 2 shifts (or maybe 3) with me - it's underplanted with with grape hyacinths; a potted blueberry in bloom; lovely white tulips; hoop petticoat daffodils in the rock garden; and my magnolia stellata that travelled from Oamaru with me (yes, A-frames are strange as they have spouting at ground level).

As usual, click on the photos to get a larger view.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Several flokati rugs

Hard to tell where the rug ends, and the poodles start! In a couple of weeks, they will be clipped short and look quite naked. I love them long and shaggy, though they tend to get their fur hanging into their mouths, which isn't so good. They're so lovely and soft to cuddle up with.

After they've been clipped closely, they race all over the place like spring lambs. I guess it feels good to get that fur coat off! Their skin feels like velvet, and their faces look dark as they have black skin under their muzzles, though it's pink elsewhere.

This week, I'm concentrating on sending out a customer newsletter in order to bring in some money as I haven't yet got a job. There's a huge amount of administative work to do in updating customer records, writing the newsletters (2 different ones) and then emailing them out in lots of little batches so it doesn't get caught in spam filters.

I've got all the emailed newsletters done; now I need to copy the newsletter and send by snail mail to those who either don't have the internet or whose email addresses have changed.
This is what I did with the hellebore prints. I'm happy with how I painted them, but underwhelmed by this arrangement of blocks. I'm going to find some suitable background fabric and lay them out in a more spread-out fashion.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Creative Block (and how to pretend it isn't there)

I am suffering from a serious dose of creative block. Also from Can'tBeBotheredDoingStuffitis, but let's not go there. It's not that I don't have a thousand wonderful ideas, it's more than I just can't seem to be able to translate them into reality at present, leaving me frustrated and dissatisfied.

Oh well, you may think, if that's ALL she has to worry about, it's not. I'm unemployed, on my own, with a mortgage and critters to support, shortly to turn a year older so with more sags and wrinkles than I had last year.......have you had enough yet?

While trying to find things in my office/studio storeroom (formerly the walk-in wardrobe, and a very unusual shape it is owing to the A-frame, even has a window), I've come across some earlier work that has never been completed.

Sometimes you look critically at your work (often, in my case) and think "this isn't worth finishing". However, some of it is ok. Here's "Hibiscus Bars" (I typed Bras to start with!) which is quilted with a hibiscus flower design (click for a larger image). It looks better in real life than in the photo, colours are a bit strange here.

This one is called "Radiance" and is just a top at this stage. It's made with a painted background (diagonal stripes) appliqued with positive and negatives sun-shaped cutouts. I started to do cutouts (large and small) when I broke my ankle, as I couldn't do any dyeing so branched into painting instead. This piece is very striking, but I haven't had any inspiration as to how to quilt it yet.

Any ideas?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

More fun than working

What a pity someone doesn't pay me to do this! I am enjoying being unemployed, apart from the fact that I have no income.

Today I've been playing with digital images in Photoshop, following on from my dabbling yesterday. Naturally, I haven't done much else. I scanned a Hellebore (winter rose) flower and then set about reproducing it in various ways. My colour cartridge was running out of ink but I wasn't concerned about that, as I intend to paint and stitch over the images. Then I think I'll assemble them into a wallhanging of some kind.

I haven't done anything like this before and it's very exciting. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities for me - of course, other fiber artists have been doing this for years, but I'm a late bloomer y'know. Better late than never!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

No, honestly, I'm writing a customer newsletter...

...which I need to do to bring in a few dollars as I'm currently unemployed. However, here's a shot of the table in my office/studio, where you can see (click image for larger version) that I've been altering images in Photoshop and printing them out. Unfortunately I have only a basic knowledge of PS so can't produce the radically re- coloured images yet that I really want to.

Because of the size limitations when using a printer, I'm thinking of working on images with paint and thread, and then attaching them to stretched canvas blocks such as painters use.

I saw the artworks of Charlotte Ziebarth in Quilting Arts mag, and just LOVE her stuff, especially "Return of the Robins". Naturally I don't have any wonderful photos, so am just playing with what I have. This is what I mean by re-colouring images, and I just don't know how to do it, so if you do, please let me know!

If you're a fiber artist or art quilter reading this, why not join the new FiberArts/Mixed Media group? It's so inspiring to have a bunch of like-minded people in the same place, and I'm loving it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A tribute to Anita Roddick

There are few women that I consider inspirational, but Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop, was one of those few.

Not only did she make great cruelty-free beauty products (that I buy), but she was way ahead of her time in recycling, supporting causes and generally actively doing her bit to make this world a better place.

She wasn't afraid to take a path that others weren't taking, and not just be "one of the crowd". We need more people like her. She will be missed.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Peach Room and the Turquoise Room

These are my spare rooms which are upstairs. Should any of you overseas bloggers visit New Zealand, you are welcome to come stay with me if you're going to be in Christchurch.

I sleep in the Yellow Room downstairs, but you can't see that until I get the skylight installed and a wardrobe built.

People who know my previous houses (which were one-and- a -half-storey houses, not A-frames) have commented on how similar this house is. I guess I have a thing for pointy roofs and exposed beams.

I'm leading up to doing something new and creative, but what with Sorting The Place Out and Having To Get A Job in order to pay the mortgage, I haven't actually DONE anything yet. And did I mention I haven't found all my stuff yet either?

I went to a local art show yesterday, and while my art appreciation is the "I don't know nuffing about art but I know what I like" kind, I was interested in how a few of the paintings were very similar to art quilts, just a different background medium. Interesting too, to see what kinds of paintings I'm drawn to.

And lastly, thanks to all you lovely bloggers and blog readers who make this whole thing worthwhile. With the computer now upstairs, I'm still not blogging as much as I used to, but hope when I've got the studio part of the Office/Studio in action, I'll be up here more.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The new me

I can't work out how to change the photo on my profile, so I'm posting it here instead.

Moved and back online

Moving is hell. But it's all over now and I'm pretty much settled into the new house. I have only got connected to the net this morning so haven't any photos of the office/studio as I haven't sorted it properly yet, due to lack of aforementioned broadband.

However, I'm always ready with the camera, so here's a photo of the snow-capped mountains I can now see. It was -4 degrees Celsius this morning, so I'm glad I made buying firewood a priority.

And here's part of my new living room - once you get a few quilts up on the walls and plants here and there, it looks like you've been there for years.

I've also had a bit of a makeover - at least, my hair has, so I'll change my profile photo once I can get a respectable shot of myself.