Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wish you were here

My daughter Sophie and boyfriend Erlo have just spent a week in Vanuatu, as a celebration following Sophie's completion of 5 years of university study in law and arts. Erlo also completed a hotel management degree in that time and is now working. I thought I'd share some of the photos with my blog readers.

Apparently there is 90% unemployment on the islands, but the people are amongst the happiest in the world. I wonder if there's a connection? Sophie is the one in the middle. In case that wasn't obvious!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ah Spring, how I love you!

We've had a spell of wonderful warm weather (around 80 degrees F for American readers) so I spent a lot of the weekend in the garden. Here's the front garden early this morning - this view is still quite plain, not many flowers yet, but it's a lovely peaceful area.
And here's the side of the house, through the other pergola. You can see I've started to put straw mulch down. Oops, left the spade out overnight!
When i moved here 3 months ago, there was practically nothing in this front garden.
Still in the shade is the vegetable garden out the back. It still has a lot of weeds in it, but some of that greenery is potatoes, plus I've planted lettuces, silver beet, beans, corn, peppers, sugar snap peas, strawberries, tomatoes and a zucchini.
Here's the main flower garden out the back - this also had nothing in it so I've planted it up. That is a wee lemon tree on the right by the woodshed. This is taken at 7am so not much sun in here yet.
And here are my yet-to-be used bales of barley straw, complete with poodle.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Silk Purse (but no sow's ear)

Remember this from earlier in the month? I didn't show any photos of its constructions, but it's made from 2 hand dyed paj silk scarves ripped lengthwise, and woven together, along with ribbons and trims. The piece was then stamped with Metallic Russet and Super Sparkle fabric paint, and covered with black net (limited choice of colours - brown would have been better, but black was all I had). I felt I needed to cover it as paj silk is so light and delicate, and on a bag, it'd be easily snagged or damaged.
I added a layer of pellon for bulk, then lined it with a piece of yellow silk. Then I free motion quilted it. The purse is my own design. It has a gusset that you can see in the next photo and a button/tab closure. The raw edces of the flap are satin stitched.
The finished purse is around 10 inches long by 7 inches wide (25 x 18 cm) so big enough to hold a wallet, mobile phone, keys, sunglasses etc.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A gift; and weaving by moi

I had a lovely surprise in the mailbox yesterday - this card and fabric postcard from Carol in the UK.
I really enjoyed working with flax, so I made these little "roses" from the plant I have at home.
This is the square bowl I made at the class - my first attempt at flax weaving. It's on a bit of a funny angle in the photo. It's about 6 inches high.
And here is the basket ("kete" in Maori) I also made but didn't finish in class. I've since finished it at home.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Simple pleasures

My readers seemed to like the earlier photos of my spring garden, so here's some more. I am especially fond of the Shirley poppies (lower right), not just because they're named after me (heehee) but because they come in an amazing range of reds, pinks and whites.
The lovely Clematis hybrid (lower right) will grow up and into the elm tree. I love spring, it's my favourite season. And here's the dogs, taken from my first floor studio, enjoying a nice tasty bone in the shade in the front garden.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

3-D Weaving

Today I went to a flax weaving class. Here's some of the dyed flax flowers the tutor had as samples. To the right are bundles of green flax that we used. This dries to the light brown colour you see in the samples.
These are small bowls and containers, while below are some smallish baskets.

Some of the class in action, making waikawa, which are large baskets for carrying and storing potatoes.

Here's an almost finished one. You can see some samples in the background, along with a piece of fishing net. And here are two of my flax roses.


Spammers! I hate them. The last 2 days I have logged on to find, each day, over 300 bounced emails...because some pathetic @#$%^&!!! spammer has hijacked my website address to tell the world about their fake penis-enlarging products. This is pollution of the first degree.

These are people who deserve a firing squad at dawn as far as I'm concerned.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

High Fibre Content

In case knitting bloggers think I've deserted them, here's a cardigan I've just finished. It's made from el cheapo fibre from The Warehouse so is more of a round-the-house garment. It's a simple design, but I added the drop stitch detail. It's awaiting buttons on the turned back fronts.
And here's a sneak preview of my current Work In Progress - it's a silk bag, still in embryo unquilted stage.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bless you..

..all my lovely blog friends who left such caring and supportive messages. I don't often spill my guts on my blog, it's not a Kiwi thing to do, but Roxy was such an important part of my life. and her brief life has shaped the person I am today.

There may be those who say (or think) "it's such a long time ago now, she's been gone 24 years, why don't you get over it?"

My way of thinking is that it's the only thing I can do now for my beautiful daughter. All I can do is keep her memory alive. So those two days, her birthday in May and the day of her death in November will always be days that I devote to Roxy.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The best and worst days of my life

Roxy Beren Goodwin, 15th May 1979 - 11th November 1983

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Paying it Forward part 2

If you read my earlier post on PIF, I undertook to send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who responded, provided that they did the same thing. Today I decided to complete that undertaking, and I've made special bags for Nellie, Liz and Debbi.

These are not my design, but come from a pattern by the lovely Digital Gran, Margaret Roberts, in Fibre & Stitch - an online mixed media ezine that I subscribe to.

I made these a little differently, using heavyweight Vilene in the middle instead of Pellon or other fine batting, as I wanted them to be less bulky for posting. They're lined with dark blue lining, and free motion quilted with leaf designs.

Here's some photos of construction: above are the 3 pieces sandwiched and quilted, waiting to be trimmed and sewn.
This is a close-up of the quilting. I love quilting leaves, they''re one of my favourite designs.

Here's the inside showing the lining. The bag flap is shaped to fit around the leaves in the quilting design.

And here's the finished bags, with painted buttons and gold-trimmed elastic as fasteners. The buttons are painted with fabric paint. It may rub or chip off over time but can be easily re-applied.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Ready to go

Here's the silk book wrap completed with its ties, ready to give away.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Wrapped in Silk

Click on the photo for a closer view, as this wrap is cream on cream. It's made of jacquard silk, with added laces and ribbons and covered with net. I've quilted it with a leaf pattern. This is a gift for my friend Bronwen, and because she likes nice things in neutral colours, I am making this a very classy wrap. I'll trim the loose hanging edges of fabric, and maybe even sew around the edges. Then I'll have to find a toning fastener for it.

Then I'm going to use the same technique to make a clutch purse. What do you think? Would YOU use a silk purse ? Give me your thoughts.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

And here's one I made earlier....

Here's the book wrap from rust dyed fabric that I made for myself. Well, at this stage, it's for me. It now has an elastic loop and a button painted with metallic fabric paint to match the stamping I did. Click on the photo for a closer view.

Having a good time.....tra la la

While I wait to mortgage myself up to the eyebrows, I'm having a good time doing some creative stuff.....for a change, I hear you say. Yes, the creative side has suffered lately due to everything else happening, and i dare say it'll slow down again in a couple of months when I take over the busienss that I'm going to buy.
In the meantime, I am rapt with these book wraps. Here's one I have just made out of plaited dyed fabric (very interesting effect, skinny bits of fabric though), dyed silk and various threads and trims.
It's covered with a layer of purple net (formerly one of those trendy mosquito nets everyone had over their beds a few years ago), stamped with Lumiere (before covering), and fastened with a strip of fabric looped around a painted button. This is a birthday gift for a friend, so comes with a notebook.
And for those who enjoyed my flower photos, here's some lovely peonies that another friend gave me. Peonies grow well here because of the cold winters. I love them!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Out on a limbo...again

It's a little known fact that I have a bit of a thing for reptiles. Incidentally, New Zealand has practically NO nasty venomous biting stinging thingies. We have a native spider that can bite fatally but it's so rare, most people wouldn't see one in a lifetime. The Aussies have donated some red back spiders that bite but again, these aren't common. We have no snakes, enormous centipedes, scorpions or other nasties. Anyway...I digress...when I'm in limbo (happening a bit lately) I like to do some soothing hand work (I chew my nails too, but you don't want photos of that) and what I have is blocks of lizards and frogs:
They were made some time ago, all on the same background fabric that I can't find any more of. I'm making some more lizards at present (yes, I'm in limbo AGAIN) on Blended fabric, but I'm just not sure what to do with these guys. Any ideas?

As for the Current you know, I have recently sold my house, bought another, left my job, found another, moved and all that. Yes, thank you, I'm settling in nicely in Rangiora, it's a very pleasant town. However, I now find myself unhappy with the job I have. I won't bore you with the details, but I don't do a job where I get paid just for turning up. Oh no. I live on commission which can be a hard, hard way to earn an income, but when all goes well, it 's also a good one.

This week, I've been offered the opportunity to buy my own financial services business, MINE ALL MINE, something I had never considered before as I thought it was beyond my means. I have already decided to proceed, but first, I need finance, and quite a bit of it (by my standards). This is what I'm waiting to hear about, and why I'm chewing my nails. But that's not all I'm doing.....inspired by the latest Quilting Arts magazine, I've made (but not quite completed) this book wrap out of rust dyed fabric. Ahhhh......if only someone would pay me to do this sort of thing all day!