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February 2008


I have started my colour piece for Sumptuous Surfaces.  I was really surprised at all the threads I had in my stash.  I didn't realise that I had a full set of DMC stranded cottons!  But I do have a weakness for beautiful and different threads.  I am attracted to them like a bee to a honey pot.  For ages I have been buying them and putting them in boxes knowing that one day the would come in handy.  And then, they are just 'lovely to look and delightful to hold.'  A lot better than lollies because they are not fattening!!  Just ask my purse.


A trip to the country

I went to visit my daughter who lives in Ipswich, which is about 35 kilometres outside of Brisbane.  We decided to drive up to Toowoomba and drove down the Warrigo Highway.  Once you get outside of the city you are quickly into pure country.  Farmers, elastic sided boots and hat towns.

We turned off the highway to the little town of Forest Hill.  Now you have to know that this little town is there or you would never find it.  Out through rich black soil and you step into another world.  There are two pubs, a butcher, newsagent, hairdresser, a child care centre, a general store come coffee shop and the post office with a gift shop and coffee shop beside it.


The general store come coffee shop has the best coffee and food.  This place attracts people from all over.  It is only by word of mouth, but it is popular.  Yet, it still has that country feel.  The locals come in to get their bread, milk and vegetables.


It isn't flash, but the food is really good.


This little town, like many others in Australia, has a war memorial.  It's base is full of names of those who fought for our country through two world wars.  These memorials or precious.  I have seen them in every state.  In the outback and in the city.  They were erected around 1918 to the early 1920's.  So many young men who died on foreign soil.


Lesson Three

There is nothing like a little pressure to get you going!  I have down loaded lesson four before I started lesson three.  So, lesson three has had my full concentration today and being Sunday I have been able to give it my undivided attention.

In my last post I talked about moving onto another design but overnight I have had another think about that.  I think it will be a good intellectual exercise to keep with that same theme.  To that end I have investigated rock pools, not only here in Australia but around the world, and I find that they are fascinating  for many people not just me.

Thy first images I found were the rock pools of my youth living in Sydney.  My grandparents had a house in the Eastern suburbs near to the surf beach and those old pools were wonderful.  You would hold hang onto the chain for grim death as the surf rolled over you.  So exciting.  Its great to see that they have been discovered again.

Then there was Carnavon George , which is a Jurassic Park out in the middle of the dessert.  I sat by this pool early one morning and watched a family of platypus fishing.  It was the first and last time I have ever seen platypus in the wild.

But these images, though very nostalgic, don't lend themselves to embroidery.  So after going through countless  CD's of old pics, some of which I took and some I think I saved from the net because I liked them, I selected these.  Then I played around with colour and shape.Barnac1_2



I then went back into some really old photos and thought that I might be able to make something out of this.


But then decided  to return to the original photo  that I had used as the inspiration for my  first piece .  I  selected one section of the  design  and  then experimented  with line and colour.



My next step is to preview stitches.  I think that I will keep to the pink purple colours.  I do love some of the other ideas so will keep those for the future.

The finished piece

Well I have finished my piece for my 'Sumptuous Surfaces' class with Sharonb.  I think I should have taken a simpler design.  The one I decided upon was very intense.  It was so linked to emotion that this was reflected in my stitching.  Interesting that.  To see the links between how you feel and what you produce.


I found it difficult to represent water and ended up using layers of sheer fabric, colour on colour, and then folding it to give the impression of depth.   I think for my next piece I will keep away from things that I have an emotional attachment to .


I have found my camera.  I'm not sure where it has been but it just turned up in a place I had already looked!  Oh, and my son came home that day!!

What also arrived was my parcel I mailed home from the UK.  This took 4 MONTHS to get here.  That's as long as it took my ancestors to get here back in 1790 from the UK.  I thought there would have been some improvement in over 200 years.   And then there was the cost.  Almost $160.00 Australian.


But all my notes from the Textile Society Conference where there and lots of other things that I had forgotten.  I had a wonderful time looking through things and remembering.


End of the week

School has taken over my life again, and it only took three weeks.  Preparation of lessons, marking, discipline, all the old themes.  I'm not complaining, I love teaching and am so pleased to be back.

I started Spanish lessons also this week, in preparation for my trip to Mexico later on this year.  I then found  that one of the teachers at school has a Spanish class running on a Friday morning for students. I've asked to join that as well as I don't have a good ear for languages.

I lost my camera and that was like having my arm cut off.  What did we do before digital cameras?  We had a challenge at Maberley Quilters, (my patchwork group,) and that was to make a handbag from a place mat.  Everyone was different, no one spent a lot of money on the project and I think it extended us.  Who would  think that you could do this with an ordinary old place mat.  This photo is from one of our members, Cheryl.  Thanks Cheryl.


A problem

My camera has gone missing.  I have looked everywhere for it.  Now the problem is I can't remember if I took it to work.  If I did it has been stolen.  We lost some money out the the staffroom on Friday and my camera might have gone at the same time.  But I'm not sure if I took it to work.  I remember asking my self  if I should take it but I can't remember if I did.  I'm putting it all down to stress, old age has nothing to do with it.

My embroidery for Sumptuous Surfaces is coming along really well.  ( no pics at this time) One of my fellow guild members asked what I was doing and then answered herself by telling me it was one of those 'wild things'.  I suppose in a way she is right.  It doesn't look structured or ordered but rather wild.  And the other piece that I am working on is a bag challange for my patchwork group.  I have decided to decorate my bag with lace, it looks rather like a piece of French underwear!  Why do I always leave things to the last minute?

I found a really good recipe that is easy to prepare and quite delicious. 

It is called warm chicken salad.


250g small new potatoes cut in half                            Dressing
2 tablespoons of olive oil                                                    2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
1/2 bunch of asparagus                                                        1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 zucchini cut into batons                                                    1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
8 cherry tomatoes cut it half

200g chicken breast


Roast potatoes that have been tossed in the oil in a moderate oven for about 30 mins
add the other vegetables and a little more oil  and roast for a further 10 mins

Grill chicken breast and when cooked cut into chuncks.

Plate the meal by layering potatoes and vegetables and topping with the chicken
combine the ingredients for the dressing and drizzle over the chicken and vegetables.

Serves 2

I saw this little picture and thought I would share it with you.


The postman has been.

I have this terrible habit of clicking twice with my mouse.  Now this normally doesn't cause any problems but when you are paying bills or buying goods on the Internet it can be embarrassing.  I had an outstanding credit card debt that I wanted to pay, and, I payed it twice.   Well, I have some extra credit I can spend.
Then I did the same thing with a purchase from the USA.  Now I'm trying to salvage the situation by going through my birthday book to see if some of the purchase could be used as a gift.

I bought this wonderful magazine from Joggles on-line store.  And I was able to give a copy to my friend.


We are unable to use blogs in the classroom because of security problems.  However, I see that they are trying to find a way to introduce them in a controlled environment.  I know my students would be blown away with some of the sites and I think that it would be a wonderful tool for teaching literacy.

I introduced some of my year 9 students to using their sewing machine as a pencil for drawing.  That gave me such a buzz.  They were so excited with what they might be able to do with it.  We started with how stitches could be programed into the machine.  Then when I lowered the feed dogs and started to free sew the level of interest went up about 500%.  I am so glad I'm a teacher.

I hate housework!

Yes I do, but it is just one of those things that has to be done.  I would much rather be stitching. I have spent today doing that terrible housework and preparing samples for my textiles class.  Luckily I have been given loads of old sample books by Harris and Nugent who are a soft furnishing fabric reps.  The problem is I love all of them and cutting them up and giving them to kids tears my heart out.  This piece retails for over $1,000.00 per metre.  It will definitely stay with me.


I have two large plastic crates of these treasures.  Dscf0003


Fluffy, my old cat, (she is 18 years old this year,) sits by me and complains if I do too much sewing and I am not paying her enough attention.  It gets so bad at time I have to shut her out of the room!


Sumptuous Surfaces Lesson One

I have spent the last week trying to juggle starting the new school year and completing Lesson one's exercises for my on line class.

I have got through the first week of school without falling apart and in fact am congratulating myself on coping well.  I am trying a new strategy for remembering names and faces for each class.  I took my pocket camera along with me and photographed each student, then, at night I put the names to the faces.  It seems to be working well.  Normally you remember all the difficult students first.  I have a Work Education class which will keep me on my toes, I don't think that I have had every student there as yet and some have already been given a few days at home to consider their behaviour.  Still I have a great year 9 textiles class.

I decided to use Coochiemudlo Island as the source of inspiration for the designs for my on-line class.  And after spending the day there taking photographs, reduced them to four that I thought would make possible designs.  Images of this place are so tied to emotions and memories that it is very difficult to decide just what is the essence of this Island.

I have used the image of the wild hibiscus before in my work but colour is so important to it that to make it monochromatic in beige and white was too difficult emotionally for me.


When I took it back to neutral colours it was a pretty picture but didn't capture what I wanted to say.


This design relies on colour for its impact so I have discarded it.


This one was another possible but it only showed on small part of what makes up the island.


I almost threw this photo away it was so ordinary.  Just the red rocks of the island, sand and a bit of weed washed over by the sea.  But this is an island in Moreton Bay Australia, that has sandy beaches that are safe to swim from.  Distinctive red rocks. That is what the name means in the aboriginal language, 'red rock in the sea.'


I took it back to black and white and started to play around with it.


I had been drawing a lot of organic shapes and have decided that there is possibilities in this design.


The next step was to annotate the drawing with suggested stitches and ways of working. (double click to see the details.)


And my next step will be to get the design onto my fabric, so, I'm off to the Embroiderers' Guild to use their light box.  Now, a light box, Mother's Day is in May!!!