Spring flowers

29 08 2010

Before the heavy rain set in this afternoon, I wandered out with some secateurs to see what the fine weather of the past two weeks has brought out in the garden (other than weeds!). The kangaroo paws and other native plants are close to flowering, and some others were already in their prime.

Here’s a taste.

It’s nearly spring

27 08 2010

It’s almost spring (spring officially starts on 1 September in Australia) and the paddocks are still green and the skies are clear. The animals I see on my drive into town are everywhere — this morning there were hundreds of black swans on the estuary; the paddocks were populated with lots of horses, cows, sheep, even a camel; there were wild ducks, pink and grey galahs, white egrets, pelicans, ring-necked parrots, willy wagtails, magpies,etc. either on or close to the estuary. And kangaroos — lots of kangaroos (they were too far back to take photos of, but I’ll try another time when they are much closer to the road).

I took my camera with me this morning when I drove into town, and was able to get some shots of the swans and some of the other animals, as well as the peaceful drive I take every few days when I ‘pop into town’.

Click on a thumbnail picture to see it in full size.

Etsy Treasury #30

13 08 2010

Another Etsy Treasury, this time featuring one of my sets of chicken coasters.

Etsy Treasury #29

13 08 2010

Tooli featured my Channelling Piet Mondrian journal cover in a Piet Mondrian Etsy Treasury the other day; this is my second appearance in a Mondrian-inspired Treasury! Thanks Tooli.

Brief interlude

2 08 2010

Monday’s are normally my day off. I usually catch up on accounts, makeĀ  appointments for that day, do shopping, write blog posts, etc. Well, today was like many other Mondays — I had a chiropractor’s appointment, did some shopping, called in to a solar energy place in town to ask about photovoltaic systems, came home, paid bills etc. Then, as it was such a GORGEOUS winter’s day (with a Spring feel to it), my husband suggested we go for a drive. Anywhere. Just out of the house for a few hours.

My brain was numb and I couldn’t think where to go for a while. Then I suggested we drive inland to Harvey, a small town close to where I grew up, then loop around back to where we live. Off we went. When we got to Harvey, we decided to cross the main highway and head up to Harvey Dam. I hadn’t been there in decades and my last memory of Harvey Dam was the time it cracked and was threatening the town of Harvey in the 1964 (?) floods.

They rebuilt the dam in 2002 (I didn’t know that), and what a pretty spot it is! We walked across the top of the dam wall and I took some pictures of the scenery, the picnic area below, the spillway, and some gorgeous large purple flowers near the picnic area.

Our little jaunt this afternoon was a pleasant break from the computer! I can see us returning for a picnic, BooBoo! šŸ˜‰

Pretty peacock

1 08 2010

I had it in my head to make a stylised peacock from jewel-coloured fabric scraps. So after letting my brain consider the idea for a few weeks, I started my peacock a couple of weeks ago — and finished him today. I didn’t have a pattern — I just made him up as I went along!

Here’s a summary of the process I went through :

  1. Decided on the colours for the ‘feathers’. I picked several batiks in various shades of orange, aqua, purple and green. The reason I chose batiks was because they already have colour variation in them — they aren’t flat colours. I hardly put a dent in my scrap bins….
  2. Decided on the colour for the background. I chose plain black as I figured it would set off the jewel colours better than white or cream.
  3. Fused fusible webbing to the backs of the fabric scraps, then cut out about 100 teardrop shapes (about 25 of each colour). (The squares below are 1 inch squares, so those teardrop shapes are quite small.)
  4. Repeated step 3, but this time for the peacock’s body and legs/feet.
  5. Fused very light fusible interfacing to the black background to stabilise the fabric.
  6. Marked up the black fabric with centre lines and ‘borders’ into which the peacock and all his ‘feathers wold fit. The centre line was for the placement of the peacock’s body and feet.
  7. Fused the legs/feet, then the body to the background.
  8. Arranged the teardrop shapes around the peacock then picked off the fusible webbing from the back of each teardrop shape, then fused it in place.
  9. Free motion stitched radiating ‘circles’ coming out from the point of each teardrop shape, in a matching thread for the fabric. I used orange and green neon threads for the shapes in those colour; blue metallic thread for the aqua shapes; and purple rayon thread for the purple shapes.
  10. Stitched down the raw edges of each fused applique shape with a tiny blanket stitch, using an invisible monofilament thread.
  11. Free motion stitched a spot at the teardrop end of each shape in the same thread as the radiating ‘circles’ for that ‘feather’.
  12. Stain stitched the raw edges of the legs/feet in neon orange thread.
  13. Used a blue metallic thread and a U-shaped stitch to stitch the peacock’s body. Added a ‘collar’ in the same blue metallic thread.
  14. Stitched bobbles on top of the peacock’s head.
  15. Stitched down the raw edges of the body with a tiny blanket stitch, using an invisible monofilament thread.
  16. Cut a piece of thin batting (non fusible) the size of the background fabric, then basted it down.
  17. As I wanted to finish the edges by turning them over to the other side, I needed to leave an area unstitched when I stitched the layers together. I ‘eyeballed’ a spot about 1 inch in from the edge of the black fabric, then tightly stippled the entire black background and the areas between the ‘feathers’, making sure I left at least 1 inch of the black fabric near the edges free of stitching.

  18. Squared up the piece, then cut away the excess batting from the back of the 1 inch ‘open’ edges of the black fabric.
  19. Cut a piece of stiff fusible interfacing the size of the stitched area (it was 10 x 13 inches), positioned it squarely on the back of the stitched area, then fused it down.
  20. Turned the excess black fabric over the edges of the interfacing (like a hem) and pressed it down.
  21. Cut a piece of backing fabric about 11 x 14 inches, then turned under 1/2 inch hems all the way around the rectangle.
  22. Laid the wrong side of the backing fabric over the back of the main piece and pinned it in place so that no backing fabric was exposed and all the tucked under black fabric ‘hems’ were covered.
  23. Using black rayon thread, I then top stitched 1/2 inch in from the edge of the completed piece, then added another length of top-stitching 1/4 inch from the edge. This secured the backing fabric to the main piece and finished off the edges of the main piece.
  24. Finally, I sprayed the whole piece (back and front) with fabric protector and added my ‘Resplendent Peacock‘ to my Etsy store. Unfortunately, the colours as rendered in the photograph just don’t do the real colours justice — they are much more vibrant than shown in this photo.

Etsy Treasury #28

1 08 2010

One of my grape leaf-shaped plate mats made it into a gorgeous forest green Etsy Treasury the other day.

Knock, knock…

1 08 2010

Who’s there? Magpies, that’s who!

So there I was, sitting at theĀ  breakfast table reading Saturday’s paper at leisure in the quiet of a gorgeous winter’s morning. Sun shining. Birds singing. Husband still asleep.

I hear a knock on glass. I look behind me and to the side of me (I’m surrounded by two large sliding glass doors). No-one there. I get up, go to the hallway and check the front door — no-one there either. I go to the back/laundry door. Nope. No-one there either. But I can still hear knocking. Now that I’m in the passage near the laundry I can tell it’s close. So I walk into my sewing room and lo and behold I find three magpiesĀ  pecking away at the window! Cheeky things.

I think they could see their reflections, and were perhaps attacking them. The sewing room window faces north and at this time of the year it’s getting quite a bit of direct sun. There’s sunblock tinting on the window, so giving it a mirror-like finish on the outside. At first I thought they were going for insects, but the tapping of their beaks on the window — not in the nooks and crannies where insects like to hide — makes me think they were reacting to their reflections.

This morning (Sunday), they were back again at the same window!