Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas....

The stockings are all hung up and even Jazzy wont be missing out.

We just had a really big storm, but no damage was done. Just lots of thunder and lightening.

On my way home from work today I was listening to a CD with lots of Christmas songs. I always have abit of a chuckle to myself about singing along to songs such as White Christmas and Let it Snow, when its a humid hot summers day outside. I love all those songs though. I especially like Judy Garland singing "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and all the songs off the Bing Crosby "White Christmas" album. Those are all the songs my mum used to play when we were growing up. There's also some good Australian Christmas songs like "Six White Boomers" and "Aussie Jingle Bells".

We are having Christmas dinner at our house tomorrow and my Mum and Step-Dad are coming over.

Dylan is very excited and was worried that Santa wouldn't be able to come when we were having the storm. But all is well now and he has been assured that Santa and the elves are currently packing the sleigh.

Merry Christmas to you all. Hope you have a wonderful, safe and happy time with family and friends.

I'll enjoy looking at all those photos on blogs of White Christmas's from around the world.

All the best. Take care.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

I had a wonderful Birthday yesterday

I got some lovely presents for my birthday. One of them was a Keith Urban concert DVD. I went to Keith's concert in Brisbane earlier in the year with Donna, one of my friends, and it was one of the best concerts I have been to. So I watched this in the morning and got to relive the memories. He has some beautiful songs.

Then we went to Byron Bay for my birthday and looked around the many interesting shops. I bought a book (that wont surprise anyone) and also a beautiful ceramic green mug with the "OM" symbol on it.

We then went to the Crystal Castle and had lunch. It isn't an actual castle. They have beautiful gardens, a labyrinth, cafe, bookshop, crystal and jewellery shop and a Buddha walk with lots of statues. There are also amazing giant pieces of quartz, rose quartz and amethys scattered throughout the gardens. My friend Donna and I enjoyed taking many photos of the various statues, the view and the beautiful flowers in the garden. See the mosaic of photos I took in the post below.

Crystal Castle

My creation
Originally uploaded by Barb64
A mosaic of photos taken when we went to the Crystal Castle.

Friday, 19 December 2008

I have been blogging for one year today!!!

I just realised that it was 12 months ago that I started this blog. I'm enjoying the blogging world, especially going around and looking at all the various blogs of so many wonderfully creative people. I have loved reading all the comments people have left on my blog and being able to connect with people that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to otherwise.

Here's to another year of Blogging, creative pursuits and keeping in touch with new and old friends!!!

The first present under the christmas tree

There was a storm last night and Jazzy was hiding under the Christmas tree. My son saw her under there and said "Mum there's a present under the tree".

This is the tree. It looks great with all the lights on. Not many days to go now, the countdown is on.

Looking forward to the weekend. I was supposed to be working but it is my birthday on Saturday. I'm going to be 44. Also Duncan's work Christmas party is on that night. So I wanted to enjoy myself and not have to work. We will probably be going out to lunch somewhere on Saturday. I also bought myself a few books for my birthday and I have managed to not open the package yet although I was very tempted.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas

This is the bell that Dylan found on his bed after watching Polar Express - one of Santa's spare bells from his sleigh.

We have a shop bought tree that we got a few years ago that looks fairly life like. It's the biggest tree I've ever had and nearly reaches the roof with the big star at the top. Lots of our baubles were old looking so I have started each year building up a supply of new baubles. Also I like how different ones, like the one above, will have a little story to go along with how we got it.

These are some that I got this year.

I really love the green and the pink ones. They have a real Indian look about them. I think there was also a blue one the same colour as the blue bell one above. I think I will have to go back to the shop and get the blue one - might even get some more so I have two of each. They are just so lovely. By the way - there's no colour co-ordination on our tree. Its a real mix and match of coloured tinsel and various coloured baubles - but I love it that way.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Australia - The Movie

I went and saw the movie Australia last night with one of my friends and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We laughed and cried. It had great scenery as well. I loved Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and the little Aboriginal boy. It was just an enjoyable entertaining movie.

I have been sick of hearing all the bad reviews over the last few weeks since it came out. Also I think they went abit overboard in criticising Nicole Kidman. I think she is a great actress. I also read a blog (I forget which one now) that went on and on about how bad they thought the movie was and picking everything to pieces. I do respect other peoples opinions but I think its abit much the way some people go on. Of course not everyone is going to like the movie, or any movie in that case. But I think it's enough just to say they didn't like the movie. So many people seem to just look for negatives. You could sit back and just pick everything to pieces in life as nothing is ever going to be perfect or exactly how you would do something yourself.

Anyway, enough of that....just expressing my opinion.

I've got a busy week this week - my son's school Christmas concert is on and a few Christmas parties to go to. Christmas is a nice time of the year. My son, Dylan, is 7 and is still wrapped up in the magic of Santa. I did a little surprise for him the other night. We were watching The Polar Express and in a commercial I snuck out of the room without him realising what I was doing. At the end of the movie when he went to bed there was a big red round bell on his bed with a note that said - "This is a spare bell from the sleigh for your Christmas Tree, Love Santa." He loved it so much, he was abit too excited to go to bed. If you haven't seen the movie - the boy in the movie gets a bell from Santa's sleigh for Christmas. Anyway Dylan has been telling everyone about it. Its fun doing little things like this - I hope it is something he will remember.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Week 3 Online Mixed Media Class with Jane LaFazio

I've really been enjoying the online class I'm doing. I've skipped a few classes but I'll go back to them. This is from Week 3 and only needs some stitching. Today I was working on Week 4 which I should have finished tomorrow. Looking forward to tomorrow as Week 5's lesson will be available on stitching. As the class is through in the USA the class comes through in the early morning sometime - in the past I have been known to get up if I haven't been able to sleep and print the class out in the wee hours of the morning. I don't think I'll be doing that tonight though, feeling abit tired.
Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving to all those in the USA!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Not just another embroidery book

I was so excited when I received this book in the mail. I purchased it from The Thread Studio and it cost a fair bit. So I was abit worried when I ordered it. In the past I have ordered some books from various places and been disappointed because the content hasn't lived up to my expectations. But this book definately exceeds my expectations.

This book is so comprehensive and inspirational. In the introduction it mentions that "241 stitches are clearly described and illustrated ....exploring the possibilities of contemporary embroidery. The author has also done extensive research on the embroideries of other countries, bringing to light new stitches and unusual variations of traditional stitches."

The sections of the book cover - Starting to Stitch, The Stitches - Flat stitches, looped stitches, chained stitches, knotted stitches, couching and laid work, and Creating with stitches.

When explaining stitches she gives comprehensive directions, easy to follow diagrams, lots of variations, ideas and examples of work. I really liked how she talks about the background of the stitches, the country they came from and various little snippets of stories relating to them. She writes in a casual way that is easy to read and follow.

I particularly enjoyed the story about her search for a Tuareg nomad blouse from Niger, which she had once seen a photo of and her duplication of the stitches.

The Creating with Stitches section is really inspiring and gives lots of ideas for creating your own contemporary designs. Some of the chapters, Building Borders spontaneously and Embroidering flower shapes, both give many ideas for combining stitches in different ways with lots of illustrations.

As you can tell, I love this book. It makes me excited and full of inspirational ideas just looking through it. When I first got it, one of my first thoughts was that there was a lifetime of learning in the book. It is a great reference book to have for embroiderers of any level.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

November is running away.

October TIF

I can't believe it is nearly the end of November. I've been busy working the last few weeks also I have a bad cold at the moment. But atleast I have 4 days off work so I can spend some time doing my online class lessons and TIF. I've done alittle bit more of my October TIF piece which you can see in the photo above.

Last week I got some great books/mags in the mail that I want to show. I was supposed to leave them unopened till my birthday in December. I only lasted one day though, and couldn't resist opening the package.

Also I have a book that I want to review. Its an embroidery book that I was blown away with when I received it - its jam packed full of wonderful embroidery and inspirational ideas. But you will have to wait till tomorrow for the review - hopefully I've got you feeling curious. See you then.

Saturday, 8 November 2008


Following are some backgrounds I've been doing for Week 1 of the Joggles online Mixed media class with Jane LaFazio.

There are some very talented people in the class so it is going to be interesting to see their class work. I think my favourites are the first photo (the red/orange one) and also the yellow/green one. It doesn't look as bright in real life.
This is week 2 of the class, so I have to get thinking about what images I will use. I might also make some changes to the backgrounds as I go. I might need to tone down some of the patterns abit and make some additions. I will see how it all unfolds. Its alot of fun!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Tissue Paper

I bought this tissue paper today from K-mart in the Christmas section. I love the designs. I think I will have to use this in some of my work. Its abit too nice just to wrap presents in and then have it thrown away.

Some things I like in my garden.

Monday, 3 November 2008

October TIF Challenge Progress

I little bit of progess on my October TIF. I work again tomorrow so will do the stitching and beading later in the week. I have 6 days off work so will hopefully have it finished in that time, so I can start thinking about November TIF. Times slipping away too fast, its nearly Christmas and 2009!!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

October TIF Challenge

I got a little bit of my October TIF done. I used an idea from this dvd by Joyce Becker which involves doing free motion machine stitching onto water soluable stabiliser. In the dvd she uses it for a beach scene to depict the white sea foam. It looked very effective.
These are some examples I did. I used a different colour in my bobbin which gave a different colour effect on each side.
I then did some looser examples to see how they would look.

I can see that this will be a useful technique to keep in mind to add to my work.

This is the one I'm going to use in my October TIF piece. It is going to be used to represent my workspace at the moment, where all my colours are mixed all in together and its pretty messy. I'm going to position this either in the bottom left hand corner or the middle of the piece. I'm then going to have strips of various colours of material radiating out from it. On the coloured strips I'm going to add colour co-ordinated emboidery as well as attaching colour co-ordinated buttons, beads etc if I think it needs it as I go along.

Things have got busy this week. I'm organising my son's 7th birthday party for this Friday after school. It's going to be a Halloween themed birthday party, so I've been busy getting everything ready. Also my online Jane La Fazio class starts this week as well. So I know that this wont be finished by the end of the month, but I'm going to try to get it finished early in the month.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

October TIF Challenge

This months challenge is all about thinking about your textile work space. How do you feel about this space? What role does it play in your life?
I was going to post a photo of my workspace, but I'm alittle bit embarrassed to show it. It is in a spare room that has other boxes and thinks in it as well. It is abit cluttered. My materials and fibres are in 3 baskets under my work table, all in together with no colour co-ordination. I have a 4 draw cupboard in my built in cupboard which has my painting, stamping, and various other supplies in it. My work table is covered in various unfinished projects. I have to take my sewing machine out to the Kitchen table and set it up every time I want to use it.

Anyway this challenge has made me think about how to improve my workspace. At the moment it is hindering my creativity. I want it to be a light, uncluttered, colour co-ordinated area for me to work in. It's only a small room so I'll have to think of some ways to utilise the space in the best way. At the moment I have a table but I would like to try to find a bench table that has some storage cupboards underneath. I want to have a working board on the wall. I have a large bookcase in the room with all other books on it. I'm going to swap the books and only have my quilting/embroidery/mixed media/etc books in it. The built in cupboard at the moment is very cluttered too, so it needs a good clean up too.

I have taken a before photo and will show this when I have some nice after photos to show. It might take me alittle while to do all this but I will defineately show photos when its done.

I think this space will play a bigger role in my life and I will be able to create more when I make it into a space I love being in.

Anyway I have some ideas for my challenge piece using an idea I haven't tried from a Quilting DVD I got out of the library. I don't work tomorrow, so I'm going to drop my boy off at school in the morning and come home straight away to start creating. I'm hoping I will get quite abit of it done tomorrow and will have something to show.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Playing with backgrounds.

I've been playing around with some background ideas. I put wool and fibres down on a black cotton background. I covered it up with black netting and did lots of messy free motion embroidery. I used this same technique for my August TIF challenge piece but I wanted to play around with some different colours and use the black netting.

My scanner isn't working at the moment so I had to take photos. The colours are a little washed out and not as rich looking. Anyway, I created this blue background to use as an underwater scene.
Also this week I got this book in the mail. It was abit of a surprise as I had pre-ordered it quite awhile ago, so I wasn't expecting it. This is a great book. I've started to read it and can see lots of inspiration starting to stir in my mind.
I'm looking forward to starting Jane La Fazio's Online class through Joggles next week.
I've been thinking alot about the October TIF - I know I'm running very late. It took me awhile to get into this months challenge, especially since last month was so busy and I skipped the TIF challenge. Anyway, I will post tomorrow about my thoughts on the October TIF. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

I've been on Holidays.

Hills Inlet and Whitehaven Beach, North Queensland

We've been away on holidays at Mackay and Airlie Beach in North Queensland. This photo was taken on a daytrip we took on a boat through the Whitsunday Islands. We went snorkelling, walked up to the Hills Inlet lookout and swam at Whitehaven Beach. It was a wonderful day.

There were two of these statues at the enterance to our Balinese style resort at Airlie Beach.

This was the view from our Bedroom and loungeroom. The photo really doesn't do it justice. The water was a beautiful blue/green colour.

This was taken from our balcony looking down at one of the pools. There were 3 pools and a spa. It was very relaxing and we had a great time. We went swimming most days and managed to work up abit of a tan.

We've been home a few days, so have been unpacking and doing all the washing. I didn't do the September TIF Challenge. I have an idea of what I want to do though. I will get started on the October TIF challenge though and try to fit in September.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

I've been Shopping!!!!!

I haven't been able to help myself - I had to buy these wonderful books, dvd and material. I'll have to do a review of the books when I get a chance. I watched the DVD yesterday and really enjoyed it. I'll have to make a soulful door when I get the chance.

I got these materials from There were so many others I could have ordered but had to control myself. I love green. The brown one on the left reminds me of the Basic Grey papers which I love. That one and the paisley one make me want to make some exotic Indian inspired piece.

Running behind with TIF but will post my initial thoughts for September soon.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Books and Cooking Class

Today I did a wonderful cooking Class called Elegant Vegetarian with Nadine Abensur . Nadine is the author of some cookbooks, two of these are - Enjoy and The Cranks Bible. We made Mediterranean Garlic Soup with Red Onion and Cumin Jam, Cauliflower Fritters in Chickpea batter with Zhoug, Dolmades of Haloumi in olive oil with pine nut, tomato and Chickpea couscous. Artichoke and Parsley Salad, Fried Eggplant with pistashio, coriander, orange blossom pesto and finally for dessert - Churros with Chocolate sauce. The food was absolutely beautiful and Nadine is such a great chef and teacher. I'll have to keep my eye out for more of her classes as it was alot of fun.

This is one book I have been interested in getting but I ended up getting it out from my local library. It starts off with the basics and then has a gallery of lots of designs, explaining how they are done. Then the last section has various projects. The designs in the book are all very modern, interesting and are great inspiration to explore your own ideas. I haven't tried Crewel before so I'll have to have a go. But this one is also good for exploring ideas for other types of embroidery as well.

I also found this book "Stitches for Embroidery" at my local library and it turned out to be abit of a surprise. I'd like to buy this book to have as a reference book. The first part has a stitch sampler of the 20 stitches that are used in the book followed by the directions for doing each stitch. The next sections explore Lines, Texture, Filling Shapes, Leaves and Foliage, Round Flowers, Flower Spikes, Flower Impressions, Stems Trunks and Branches, Trees, Sky, Water, Buildings, Stitch patterns, Patterns from Nature, Getting it all together and Designs. I haven't had time to sit down and have a really good read of this yet but it explores many ideas for expressing these various ideas with stitch. It looks like a book I'll be able to learn alot from.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

August TIF - Finished

August TIF Challenge - Balance
So here is my finished August TIF piece. I was thinking of adding more to the background but I think I like it the way it is. I like how the Shisha embroidery turned out, but I think I should have totally filled the paisley shapes in with embroidery and then did the Shisha embroidery over the top of that. I don't think the blue background behind the Shisha's works very well. Anyway, we live and learn. The gold thread that I used in this looks really dull in the scan but its actually a sparkly gold thread. I really enjoyed doing this so it might lead me onto doing some more at some stage.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Spring has Sprung!!

I'm excited that spring is here. This is a photo from the table we ate lunch at yesterday at one of my favourite cafes. It's where my husband and I got married and had our reception 7 1/2 years ago. My husband took the photo on his phone so the quality isn't the best. Also it was a little bit windy so we chose a table in abit of a sheltered spot. My lunch was absolutely beautiful - Linguine pasta with roasted pumpkin, feta, pine nuts, rocket, spanish onions with a pesto sauce through it. I'm not supposed to be eating pasta on my diet but sometimes you just have to bend the rules. I was so full afterwards anyway that I didn't eat any dinner. So it all balances out in the end.

Yesterday, the new Joggles online classes were announced. It's always exciting going in and checking them all out. I think I will be doing Jane LaFazio's new class - Mixed Media with paper and cloth, starting at the end of October. I've done 2 other online classes with Jane and I really enjoyed them, I'm sure this is going to be just as wonderful. I can also highly recommend any of Susan Sorrell's and Sharon Boggon's classes too.

I've made some progress with my August TIF - Balance piece. I want to do some more before posting another photo, maybe I'll post a photo this afternoon.

Also the September TIF challenge was posted by Sharon yesterday. The topic this time around is "Lists". I have absolutely no idea what I will do, this is going to take abit of thinking.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

I love the quilt on the cover of this book!

I love the quilt on this cover so much. The colours are just so striking and the beading looks great.
I got this book a few weeks ago and I've enjoyed reading it. The first section covers the basics, so its a good book for beginners.
The next section covers projects. It covers projects from beginners to more advanced including the quilt from the front cover. I like coming up with my own ideas so I don't like just doing projects and creating a replica of the project piece. Although I am tempted with that cover quilt design. Anyway, I'm finding lots of interesting ideas and beading ideas that I can use to inspire my own creations.
The last section is a gallery of some amazing beaded quilts by various artists and has lots of great eye candy. One of the artists is Susan Sorrell. I have done a few of Susan's online Joggles classes. Her classes are wonderful and her art quilts amazing. I'll have to look up some of the other artists up on the internet and see more of there work.
In the book I think there are a few too many projects with just basic beading and although some of the projects are more advanced I would have liked to see a really heavily beaded quilt with detailed instructions on doing the beading. Apart from that its a great book and any how I just love it for its cover.

Monday, 18 August 2008

August TIF Challenge - Abit more

A little bit more done today. Rosette chain around the outside of the orange paisley design and blanket stitch around the outside of the pink one.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Update on August TIF Challenge

I managed to do some more of my challenge piece this weekend. In this photo I have used some paisley designs as a pattern so I could get my outside shape. The designs on these look great, but I'm going to come up with my own design for the inside. It's a chance for me to explore some new embroidery stitches or do some known ones in a different way. Once I do the Shisha mirrors, I'll be filling in the rest of the paisley shape with embroidery.

In my last post I mentioned that I was going to do some paisley designs as a different interpretation of the ying/yang symbol. I know you are probably thinking that this doesn't look exactly like the ying/yang symbol, but the ying/yang symbol is expressing perfect balance. With this piece I'm not trying to do that. I'm trying to express the image of their being a balance in managing to juggle endless priorities and being able to do 10 things at once and even though the balance may not be perfection - maybe it doesn't have to be and it is still okay.

I'll keep you updated on my progress....shisha mirrors should arrive this week, so I should have more to show next weekend.

Monday, 11 August 2008

August TIF Challenge

I've skipped the July TIF Challenge for the moment but I know what I want to do. Hopefully I'll finish August quickly and go back to do July.

The August TIF challenge is about balance. Initially lots of thoughts went through my mind such as juggling, a see saw, tightrope walker, the ying and yang symbol, etc.

I decided that I wanted to do some Shisha embroidery (using those little indian mirrors) which I haven't done before. This lead me to think of using a paisley design as a different version of the ying/yang symbol. I wanted to express balance emerging out of a busy life with competing priorities.
The picture above is my August piece so far. I used a bottom layer of black cotton fabric. On top of that I have a layer of blue and purple wool fibres and difference pieces of wool yarn. On top of that the third layer is blue netting. I did free motion embroidery over the top of this. I then did creton, herringbone and chain embroidery using different shades of blue. I will probably do more background blue embroidery once the main images are done.
I'm ready to start the paisley designs. I haven't been able to buy any Shisha mirrors locally so I had to order some online. I'm waiting very patiently for them to arrive. I'm going to do the paisley designs in bright colours. I should be able to do the embroidery for the outlines of the designs while I'm waiting for the mirrors. I'm thinking that I might also include some beads in the background and on the designs. I'll have to see as I go along.
I like how the background has a painted look to it.