September 30, 2008

We're all a-tumble

... it's circus time over here, folks!

This circus thing has been growing on me for a few weeks now, sparked off in part by the gorgeous carnival photos by Elle Moss Photography (in her Etsy shop here), seen on Penguin and Fish (and discovered through that keen eye, Big Cat at Big Cat's Emporium).

But the circus imagery has grown on me, already susceptible as I am to the glories of graphic and poster design. I'm working on a new art quilt for Posted Stitches and the theme of the month is 'Balance'.

The Railys certainly display a sense of balance in their cycling act:

And the Girardys?

Well, I'd like to know how they get that eagle to hold up the banner AND the trapeze AND the 'equilibristic' water torture implement tied to the poor chap at the bottom.

These posters are The Best in this Kind - to paraphrase the Girardy poster.

Al of these images are found amongst the hundreds of archive posters and photos on the Circus Museum of the Netherlands. If I go on any more about the wonders of this site, someone will think I'm their new marketing department. It's just great - go check it out!


September 28, 2008

Bacon and eggs and fibre fanatics

Bright and early yesterday, we hit the road for the Geelong Fibre Forum. Zipping down the freeway for an intense morning of fantastic fibre inspiration, we were armed and ready:
  • flask of coffee, check.
  • homemade muffins, check.
  • bacon-and-egg pies, yum yum yum, check.
  • spending allowance, of course!

The Fibre Forum is a residential week-long study conference, held every year at the Geelong Grammar School. It's organised by TAFTA, the Australia Forum for Textile Arts (and they also hold an annual Forum in Orange, NSW, in April).

At the end of the week, participants celebrate with a show of their works, artists sell their hand-made goods, traders offer tempting stalls, and the doors are open to all. Best to get there early, as the Forum displays run from 9AM-12noon only, and there are seven different areas of delights to get through, with everything from shibori silks to felted fashions, guest artist exhibitions, demonstrations, artist's books, and dozens of traders to visit.

Classrooms are open with displays, and teachers and students alike are often available to talk about what they're been doing for the week. These magnificent felted vests and the died silk scarves (above) were just two of the dozens of displays of student work. The enthusaism of the participants was infectious!

We started our visit with a peek in the main hall, where the Seller's Bazaar provided treats for the eye and temptations for the wallet. Artist-made work in the Bazaar ranged from intricate garments and unusual jewellry, to screenprinted socks, exquisite fabric dolls, Indian embroideries and hats galore! We spent careful time checking out all of the goodies before deciding what we had to buy...

My bag filled with screen-print socks and embroidery bags, I joined my friends to check out the traders' stalls, where supplies of every sort were to be found. We found kimonos and kerchiefs, felt and fabric paint, stencils, silk, threads, dyes and fabric samples of every sort.

More calssroom shows - below, this is what you can do with an op-shop shirt. Inspired? I was!

And this colourful beauty is an amalgamated skirt made of many op-shop shirts and garments. The student who made it was pointing out her favourite bits - shirt collars running lengthways down the skirt, buttons still attached. Behind, you can see a deconstructed orange shirt, and more costume creations.

These wonderful garments were made in India Flint's class, Embelly-ish. For me, they were one of the most exciting things I saw!

Upstairs, a fascinating exhibition of artists' work was inspired by a trip to India to a conference on natural dyeing techniques.

Floaty wraps by Kate Reilly:

And natural-dyed silk by Glenys Clissold.

We came away from the morning footsore, happy, inspired and with lovely bags of goodies that we admired in the sunshine. We'll be back next year!

September 26, 2008

Rhubarb Muffins

Mmmm.... Home from the movies (Days and Clouds - darkly tough, but good, by the director of "Pane e Tulipani" - Bread and Tulips).

I'm snarfing a late-night dessert - or, I should say - taste-testing one of the Rhubarb muffins for breakfast. Seeing as I missed the Week of Retro Baking, due to the Week of Viral Sniffling, here's a belated recipe: this one came to me via Mom and Dad, winkled out of a B&B in Canada, went to a friend who writes a newspaper column and was in a deadline panic - and then it ended up in one of Nigella Lawson's cookbooks, Feast. Don't believe me? See p 194 - my credit! (We both did an extremely silly little dance when we found out, and I still haven't gotten over it.) More about that friend and her fabulous cooking adventures in a post coming to you soon...

Stop blathering about your one and only claim to fame, gal: produce the goods!

Here it is: North American-style cup measures. (For English weighed measures, ask Ms. Lawson.)

Rhubarb Muffins

1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk or plain yogourt (I usually use low-fat yogourt)
1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional: I leave them out because I'm allergic to them)
2 cups flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Sugar and cinnamon for the topping

Heat the oven to 400 degrees and grease (or line) 12 muffin cups. (We use natty Canadian flag papers, eh?)

Mix brown sugar, egg, oil, vanilla and buttermilk or yogourt in a large bowl. Stir in the rhubarb.

In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together, then stir them into the wet ingredients just until combined. (It will be runny and look rather soupy, but don't worry).

Fill the muffin cups generously. Mix together 3-4 tablespoons of sugar with 1/4 tsp cinnamon (or to taste - depends on how much you like cinnamon!) Sprinkle the sugar mix onto the wet muffin mix in the tin - it will form a lovely crunchy crust when the muffins are baked.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Then try not to snarf them all! Mmm-MM!

One more sleep, yay!*

* As Karen was heard to say....

I just might over heat at the prospect of what is ahead.

... No, it's not Aussie Rules (tsk) ...

... No, it's not my birthday (sigh) ...


We're off to the Textile Fibre Forum Open Day at Geelong tomorrow morning, bright and early. Yippee!

Some lucky souls have been there all week, taking classes and soaking up incredible arty inspiration. Since I learned about these Forums last year, I've been desperately envious of people who can afford the time and money to spend a WHOLE WEEK playing with fibre. Ooh, that thought sends chills down my spine.

For the rest of us, they open the doors at Geelong Grammar School at 9:00 tomorrow morning, only 'til noon. There will be exhibitions of student and tutors' work, tables of loot to spend all my not-earned cash on, and fibre inspirations galore. You can see some more details of the Forum here on the official TAFTA site, and here on the Artstitches blog.

And with that whirl of excitement, I'm off! I just remembered that I rashly promised to bake breakfast treats for the road trip, and I've got a date tonight with my husband at the Italian Film Festival.

I think this has just become a Love Friday post, it all sounds so good!

Will anyone else be there? Drop me a note if you want to say hello.

September 24, 2008

On my desk...

Here's a little thing, on my desk. It's my first (or second) attempt at an art journal page, inspired by the interview Jennifer hosted with Dawn DeVries Sokol over at CraftSanity.

I've been sitting on it for a week or two. (Not literally!) I just wasn't sure if it was really art journaling, and then I opened up the book today and decided that because it had blue all over it, I rather liked it. A photo from a greeting card, some wrapping paper, fabric leaves and a fabric flower. No acrylics? Just use fabric paint. Who can tell?

Things that inspire me....

I'm getting over this virus, gradually. Very big thanks to those who sent me well-wishes. It made me smile, and that made me stop being grumpy for a while - and that made life easier for patient Mr Tacc., who was heard to say, "You're grumpy as all hell when you're getting better." Yes, I'll take that award. It's perfectly true.

Last night I dragged my weary self to the Victorian Writers' Centre for a talk called "Getting into Editing", which was an interesting discussion about the profession, starting with the experiences of four very different editors. The audience asked some excellent questions, and the session gave me plenty to think about in relation to long-term goals. Not least, I know I have a few things to learn!

It was lovely to be out and about, and the city is vibrant in the early evening, with everyone out after work, strolling the lanes. On the way to the session, I stopped and picked up a course brochure for the CAE, who do short courses in the city. When I got home, I went through with a red pen and circled the courses I'd like to take. Gosh, that's a lot of red! Apart from sewing and textile design, there's crochet, book binding, silversmithing, dichronic glass jewellery, resin sculpture, woodwork, mosaics, contemporary drawing and so, so much more. Decisions, decisions.

With energy returning, I'll try to get a few seams done on the summer quilt today, and take some photos (I've also got two rather intense job applications to do).

Looking through some photos recently, I realised that what's inspiring me at the moment are the rich saturated colours that appear in nature.

Springy bright pink flowers on the trees on my street.

Summer flowers at the O'Keefe Ranch, BC, Canada. (Our visit and gorgeous quilts blogged here: Quilt Hunting and here: Quilt Hunting, Part 2.)

Darkness falling, late afternoon in winter. Okanagan, BC.

These are the colours in the summer quilt, and I hope they'll remind me of this year's extended summer in the Northern hemisphere (travelling through Canada), and the summer that's just waking up here in Melbourne.

September 22, 2008

Still not well

I'm taking it easy for a few days, and I'll be back when I've got some energy.

September 20, 2008

Working up a little sunshine

Why is it that Melbourne days start sunny at the moment, and just when you've stepped out into a bright new day, ready for sunshine fun, it goes grey windy, and showers rattle 'round?

Well, today I found the solution: get up early, go for a long walk off our usual route (me 'n the dog went to check out the Community House), enjoy the sunshine with a cup of coffee in the garden, and then, when it goes grey....

... go back to bed.


I do not, pretty much never ever ever, know how to sleep in. Nor do I nap. I can try, but daytime sleepy goodness does not come to me. Too bad today's sleep-fest was just the indication of a virus passing through to tickle me with its long and creepy fingers. Heck, me - a cold? I don't have time!

Well, in between sleeping most of the day, I did sew a handful of seams. This scrappy delight is taking shape, and using up some of my favourite fat quarters as it grows. I'm still on a stash-busting mission to use what I have before buying anything un-necessary. So far, so stitchy. I'm determined to finish some of the languishing projects that lurk. Stop lurking, you lot! Out, out! Into the light and let's see some action! (Sort of like 80's aerobic classes for quilts. "One mpore seam, c'mon girls! Lift! Lift! Feel the burn!")

Hm, I must be feverish. At least I'm getting my first view of what the summer quilt will look like when it's done. Built to keep some sunshine in my day, everyday!


September 19, 2008

Italian dreams

Tonight as dinner cooked, I was looking at photos on the laptop and sighing over the pictures from Rome. I've been thinking of Italy all day, today - just can't get it out of my head....

There's been a lot of thinking going on lately, about this new adventure of mine called; "What am I going to be when I grow up?". I have been searching, and looking, and talking to people, and examining my past with the aim of finding my future: which new career will suit me best? I count myself lucky to have had an excellent first career in marketing, with 12 years of book marketing, online editing, and its associated fields. But it's time to move on, or move over - the shift might be just across the hall or it may be all the way down the street and around the block, into a new industry. Meanwhile I balance the question of time, and the necessity of finding something soon.

Beep! Beep! Where is this little blue truck going?

To the market perhaps, she loves food! Or just to hang out outside the art gallery and look painterly? She's had an interesting life so far.

As a part of this search, I'm using a book many people have recommended before, called "What Colour is Your Parachute?", by Richard Nelson Bolles. It forces you to assess and stand back from what you have been doing, what you love doing, and where you can make a living, through a series of exercises you do. Together, the exercises build up a picture of where you're going (or should be going). Best of all, the book gives you a regular shot of confidence, which can be sorely needed when the hunt goes on for several weeks, and you start to worry.

What have I discovered? Well, that there are so many things that I'm enthusiastic about, but writing, books and art are always there. Thinking, looking and learning. Being with people. I have met some fantastic people through the search through interviewing them about their jobs, and what they love (and loathe, if they want to tell me).

Like the Aussies say, it's a long road. I'm looking out the door, wondering whether to trot left or right, or just see what turns up.

Honk, HONK! With a honko-horn like this, you sure would hear me coming...

September 17, 2008

Stitching and reading and sunshine...

I need to draw up a new map of the city. It would plot local branches of my gym relative to excellent fabric shops. Then I'd stick to my weight-loss plan, right? Work out first, THEN go to the fabric store. It's so much better than candy as a motivating impulse (the cunning reader will notice that I did not go so far as to say that it's better than chocolate. Hem.)

So, Amitie. Good move that, you're positioned directly across the street from a gym. But let's skip the gym bit and get right to the good stuff: the fabric shopping.

I was remarkably restrained. I went there to buy sashing: I bought sashing. I went to get cushion backing: I bought cushion backing. Nothing else (Can this be true? I assure you, dear reader, it is.) Of course, like Amelie fondling the beans in the sacks at the market, I sidled up to the Kaffe fabrics and stroked them longingly. And the new Anna-Maria Horner range, which I've wanted to see 'in the flesh' for a while now. I also love the quilts that they have around the shop on display as samples. They give me so many ideas and impel me to get on with it and finish the quilts and tops that are in various stages around the house.

Currently there are four quilts under construction:

- the Summer Quilt of brights and whites is being pieced and going at a rate of knots - speedy!

- a bright batik windmills quilt, started a year ago, half hand-quilted and living on the sofa again in the determination to get it done.

- a mostly-finished quilt top, one I'm calling 'City circle', because I completed about one square a day while riding the train to work.

- and.... oh dear, this one's embarrassing. A spring quilt I started at Easter four and a half years ago, and which has spent most of the last three years in the closet, wrapped in a sheet. I loved it but it's gone flat on me, probably because I used cream muslin, acres and acres of cream muslin, instead of fresh white. So I hand quilted 80% of it and then decided I needed to go back and add oddles of bright embroidery-thread quilting, and that stopped it all.

Oh, and while I was at Amitie, they were telling me horrible gruesome stories about what happens if a needle gets embedded into your leg. (Did you know it migrates through muscle tissue?) Ew, ew, eww. (Bet you didn't want to know that.)

I am in the habit of putting my needle into the seam of my jeans at the knee, when I'm taking a break - and I have been ADMONISHED by the health and safety department (in the nicest, scariest, motherliest way) that this is dangerous and that I MUST make a pincushion. Yes, Ma'am. I did.

Here's my new pincushion. The scrap is one of my favourite fabrics, alas, this is the last few inches I have left of it! And the scarab beetle bead on top comes from the British Museum, and is a little memento of our trip.

Happy (incident-free) stitching!


PS: OK, this is annoying. My camera has decided to allow me to download images only one at a time. ONE per download. Yessir, what a fun time I've had downloading each one and then wiping the lot. Let's hope its little brain wipes that idea off its face, too.

September 16, 2008

On my desk ( the sofa): A finished project in one act

Sunday night, in a little house in the city. The small room is filled with books, clutter, and fabric. Outside the wind howls and laundry flaps on the line. A couple sit on sofas, their knees covered with brightly-coloured home-made quilts. On the TV the opening sequence of 'Midsomer Murders' is playing...

He: Woman on a bicycle! Woman on a bicycle! - That's how we know we're in England, right.
She: [stitching] Mmm. Wait till you spot the black glove.
He: Twee cottage, roses, check. Thatched roof, check. Gate, check.
She: Scary music, check. Must be a dead body in the roses.
Dog: Grumble. - Rolls over and snores loudly.
[end scene]

I finished some stitching while watching TV this week, and here is one of the projects 'off' my desk and in the finished bag. It's another applique teatowel - this one's for me (I'm learning to be selfish).

Trouble is, while watching Grand Designs last night, I kept getting distracted and poking myself in the finger. "And this wonderful architectural design", says Kevin "is a paean to OW! modernism..."

Just another night in Northcote.

There have also been some SECRET birthday things! (oh ho ho) being finished off and about to go out in the post.

Have a lovely Wednesday!


September 15, 2008

A new tutorial


I've just finished a new tutorial on Posted Stitches, showing how to insert a spinning mechanism into a small quilt without the workings showing on the back.

It's suitable for small wall quilts - and it would be fun to do a number selector or a toy clock.

Hope you like it!


Track your life

Songs and stories - tracks that bring back the days - early love, best friends, travel and tears. Mikes has posted a prompt to 'Track your life' - and I'm off into the land of ...

'Brim full of Asha' by Cornershop. It was playing all day, every day in the UK in about 1999 (holy cow that's nearly ten years ago). I was a grad student at a fancy UK university, but not being a very fancy-pants person myself, I'd hooked up with two great friends: a short, 'chain-smoking Bengali-man', as he called himself, from Delhi - and a large, quiet German with a killer sense of the ridiculous.

We used to go to the clubs together and the college 'hops' (yes, they called them hops), and dance around being as silly as possible. Large, round Uli danced JUST like the guy in this video, and short little Subarno was fascinatingly manic. We had the best time, and it usually started with a group of us at the local Indian restaurant, Subarno on a stool in the kitchen, swapping arguments with the Bengali cook, and all of us out in the main, demanding to be fed.

Wonderful days, just watch this video: it's not us (imagine a quietly gleeful Canadian girl in there, too) - but their midwest video footage had me giggling. Gotta love the pillow-paddling at the end! Go guys...

September 14, 2008

This is...

What I do with a spare ten minutes:
(But then ten minutes can be a euphemism, as in "I'll just be ten minutes" - translation: "Go away and stop hassling me for a bit.") Application of hot water usually helps.

Here's another favourite ten minute idea:
Many years ago, I had a 70km commute to an early start at a job I didn't like much. Most mornings, I built in ten minutes to my schedule - and I planted something before I left. A seedling, or a handful of seeds. In a pot or tucked in the garden beds. I felt that even if I didn't like where my time was being spent, at least the seeds were in and growing every minute of that day. (And I ended up with a packed garden plus a house full of flowers!)

This meme was brought to you by the lovely folks Handmaiden (love those clocks!), Hoppo Bumpo, who suggested the theme, and Three Buttons, who started it all off.


My own Inukshuk
Originally uploaded by Claude@Munich
I'm starting to work on the next month's theme for Posted Stitches. Before the end of this month, I need to make a small quilt (10'x10") on the theme of 'Balance'.

(Blogger keeps dropping this image credit: My own Inukshuk originally uploaded by Claude@Munich)

I've been hunting online for ideas and inspiration. Balance could be literal (standing on one foot), or it could be figurative (being off-balance, finding a balanced view). Which will it be for me?

This image of an Inukshuk caught my eye. You see these figures all over the Canadian landscape - piles of rocks, balanced to make figures. It's a reminder that I'm home when we leave the towns and cities, and on the rocky outcrops there are silhouettes of figures and cairns - sometimes even an Inukshuk dog! Heading north of Toronto to Georgian Bay, or just like this photo, which was taken in Alberta, where I grew up and camped every summer.

It reminds me of the major balance in my life, which is that I don't live in the country I grew up in. Although I'm happy here and Australia is my home, I'm continually on balance. I'm not from here, but I have family and great friends here. I've been away from Canada for so long that I don't get the popular references or I remember things as they were 10, 12 years ago - not as they now are. I've moved internationally four times - twice as a child; twice as an adult. I balance Canada, the UK, and now Australia, which is my home.

I don't often think of myself as an immigrant, because that brings to mind questions of loss and leaving that seem final, complete, and historic - all those images of people arriving post-war at the big sheds in places like Melbourne, or Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Image from the Pier 21 museum website - they have a fantastic collection of stories and photos.

But I do think that many of us carry around multiple identities based on heritage, languages, family history, international ties and a balancing act of who we are. In my case, that's sometimes very Canadian, sometimes quite the Aussie. Sometimes not sure which will come forward until I find myself questioning things I once took for granted as the 'natural' (Canadian) way of doing things. Well, no, there are many ways to do such things - health, schools, social life, language - one is no better than the other. They all live in a constantly-shifting balance inside us.

Balance. What does it mean to you?

Now that was weird...

I'm back in the sanity chair after my morning's OD on caffeine. Which I followed with a lie down that turned into a snorathon 2 hour nap. Which then had me whirlwinding around the house, desperately cleaning up before friends came for dinner.

(Guess it's lucky I sent my friends to the wrong suburb, eh? That's a good trick to buy a crucial half hour.)
Sorry kids, if you're reading this, you know we love you because we saved the food 'til you got here!

There hasn't been a lot of sewing here for the last two days and I think I'm going to have withdrawal symptoms if this keeps up. ("Hey honey, anyone who reads my blog is going to think I'm chemically-dependent or cycling an OD-withdrawal thing. You cool with that?") I find that if I don't get even a few minutes - just those magic ten minutes - to sew, I notice it. That's my main pleasure in hand stitching: slowing down, enjoying the road not the result, letting the fabric and the method dictate the pace. We live our lives at such speed, and I'm just as guilty as anyone else of cramming too much into a day and not leaving enough time to 'be'.

This little penguin finished himself on Wednesday, and he was hijacked on Thursday by a beloved 94-year-old who decided he is coming to live with her. So now he resides on a bedside table. (Let's hope he's a well-behaved penguin who doesn't fiddle about with the settings on her hearing aid.) We did agree that he looks a little bit tipsy, but she wanted to adopt him despite any habits he may have.

Lots of projects on the go at the moment:

- Summer brights quilt. Zing-zing!
- Two more applique tea towels, in bright red and turquoise.
- Screenprinted t-shirt - love the print but need to alter the very high neckline of the men's t-shirt in order to avoid drawing attention to the 'big friends'.

On the mental back-burner, soon to get cracking: - A secret small wedding celebration gift, a baby play blanket, pyjama pants, new handles for old bags (who you calling an old bag? ...ah, the old jokes are best...) and several op-shop alterations. Hey, if I leave it long enough the seasons will change and the 'other' bag of op-shop alterations will come out of the closet. Such efficiency.

September 13, 2008



This morning I accidentally drank an entire pot of espresso coffee. Not one of those little ones, one of the family-sized pots of stove-top espresso.

Funny thing, after that the morning passed in a blur: research online, check websites, check blog, look at comments (hi guys!), check blogs I follow, look at PostedStitches, drink more coffee, walk the dog, check job sites, apply for position, do the dishes (pre-baking), bake muffins, bake cake, search for volunteer positions, wake husband (failed), cuddle dog, tidy living room, apply for volunteer position, clean stove, eat muffins, do dishes (post baking), hoik husband out of bed, organise files on computer, get head rush, realise drank all the coffee, drink lots of water, sit down. Breeeathe....

Thank heavens I diluted it with milk: it could have been worse! I might have (horrors) cleaned the bathroom or (drum roll) Done My Filing...

Here's my Mom's recipe for wonderful, healthy muffins. I'm off to scoff another one - mmm!

Basic mix
Make this dry mix and put it in an air-tight container in the freezer or the cupboard - then making muffins takes approximately 5 minutes plus cooking time. This mix makes several batches of muffins.

4 cups plain flour
3 Tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup sugar
3 1/4 cups bran cereal (the long, twiggy bits - mm-mm)

Quick Bran muffins

In a large bowl, mix these ingredients:

1 egg - lightly beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Stir in:
2 cups of the basic mix (above)

Optional: add any fruit of your choice (e.g. berries, apple, etc) - my favourite is 3/4 cups frozen blueberries plus one peeled, chopped apple.

Spoon into muffin tins and bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Makes 12.

September 12, 2008

Love Fridays...

And I'm loving this one just because the sun is shining.

Blossom and sunshine.

Good sniffs wafting on the warm breeze...

Must go and enjoy said sunshine while I can, peeps! I've got a quilt to put together and some freshly-gesso'ed art journal pages for playtime later.

Happy weekend.


September 11, 2008

On my desk...

On my desk this week there is a large stack of lovely bright fabric, which is gradually becoming a summer brights quilt. This photo shows the strong rays of sunshine coming in across my desk: it was divine to sit at a sunny window, with the fresh air coming in while I stitched away.

I give away nearly all of the quilts I make, so this is a refreshing exercise in using the fabrics that I adore, in a quilt that's for me. Not a fancy quilt, just a colourful quilt.

Ten blocks completed and I'm getting there!


September 9, 2008


Both 'the boys' are sleeping... My husband came in from work and crashed out. The dog, who'd been running around the park with me, soon followed suit. So it's quiet and I can get on the computer.

It's exciting! I've finally finished my quilt for the Posted Stitches challenge - only eight days late... (grin) This month was a real task for me and, so I gather, for Jennifer. The outside world did its best to take over (avast ye maties! Stand by to repel time-wasting work-like money-earning... oh, yeah. Um.) But, I suppose, deadlines are here to inspire us, not to drive us insane. Or something. It's done!

I'm quite happy with it - this month's theme was 'Dreams' - and Jennifer sent me a real doozer of a challenge pack. Head on over to have a look, and I'll be posting the 'How I did it' photos tomorrow, including the mechanical parts. (ooh) Oh, and the next month's theme.

While we worked that out, this is a side-project that started itself up:

The lozenges and stripes of colour on the fabric inspired me to draw characters on top. And then I thought - hm, wouldn't that be interesting on its own right as a mini quilt? - So I applique'd the shapes and started stitching a character on top.

Here's as far as I've got for now:

The sketches -

The applique -

The drawing on thin interfacing on top -

... and the start of the stitching!

I hope it turns out well!


September 7, 2008

Oh, I could just BUST!

With excitement.

I tried screen printing for the first time this morning. I know - 'what do you mean, you've never screen printed before?' My husband informs me that he didn't know I was so 'deprived' at my school. Well, we just didn't do stuff like that.

My art lessons at junior high school (middle school equivalent?) were pretty legendary around here.... They were taught by one of those teachers you prefer to forget but whom (grammar) you never do. (Anyone catch the reference? Tell me who says that and I'll send you a fat quarter. Yes, I'm not kidding!)

Anyway, there was no forgetting Mr Whatsisname, because he insisted that, and I quote "All mountains emerge from the ground at a 120 degree angle". To whit: all students are expected to draw a 120 degree angle and turn it into a mountain. Preferably two. And then we all, and I do mean all of us, because if you didn't, he would fail you or even worse, paint it in on top of YOUR painting - we all drew two 120 degree mountains and a stream going between then and a "noice" thatched cottage. Yes, thatched. Always. Advanced students got to put in a "noice" little lake.


I still look at mountains, and do you know, most of them just haven't got that 120 degree angle thing right. 'Junior Mount Must Try Harder if he is to grow up to be a picturesque mountain and get invited to art shows...'

As you can see, the scars last to this day. His classes might have well-prepared me for some of the jobs I went on to do in the 'real' world, in marketing - but thank heavens for my Mom and Dad, who allowed me to change my mind at the last minute and to attend a fancy-pants state specialist Performing and Visual Arts school on the other side of town. In the rough part near downtown. Brace-toothed, permed me, learned to politely decline when people try to sell me all manner of -'interesting' - objects, needless to say - I was oblivious to most all of it.

- But we still didn't do screen printing!

Here are a few of my efforts from this morning. My class was at the very excellent Thread Den in North Melbourne. I keep fingering the piece of paper in my pocket on which I wrote down the names and addresses of two screen printing supply shops.

Love at first squidge: it's a scary thing.