Saturday, 26 June 2010

Brrrr.... it's cold outside!

Regular readers know I live in Perth, Western Australia. Actually in the info section in the side bar it mentions it too. Perth is classed as a temperate climate zone. You know, never too hot or steamy and never below freezing.  Well this year has been really weird weather wise. For the first time (that I can remember) I have woken 2 days in a row this week to find our lawn areas covered in frosty dew. Most of our two large lawn areas were actually white. A few friends that leave their cars parked in their driveway tell me the vehicles were covered in ice.

This morning was -2.4C (27.7F) at 7:30am and yesterday it was -1.8C at 7am. (I know you guys that live in snowy climates are saying pfft! So what?!) But these numbers are amazing to me, so far this year we have had the longest hot spell - with temperatures consistently between 40.8C and 43C (109.4F), and concurrrently the longest period without rainfall in several decades, which was broken by the biggest (and most property damaging) downpour of rain and hail which fell in the shortest period of time.  Now we seem to be having a real cold snap.

So for all you folk in the snowy climates... this is the problem (and the reason for my moaning)... our houses here in Perth are not built for such extremes of temperature. Only houses built more than 20-30 years ago have wide varandahs to keep the house cool and shaded, most modern house lots are small and covered almost entirely with building and have very little grass or trees planted around them. Also no one has central heating or floor heating, many people have tiled floors rather than carpets and all homes have giant windows in every room (and they aren't double glazed either).

This morning I had a luke warm shower... I only had the hot tap turned on... but the pipes aren't insulated here so the water was rather cool by the time it got to the shower head. I just scanned my fingers with my infrared thermometer, they are 19.9C (or 67F) I think I need to do some star jumps to get warm.

Now I know why I have been consistently choosing reds, oranges, bright pinks and yellows to stitch with lately.  I wonder if I can stitch temari wearing gloves???

Brrrriiinnng ooon Spppprrriiinnng!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(that was bring on spring - in case you missed it)

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Temari Addicts by the Dozen

Last weekend was a complete blur. But in a good way.

On Saturday I took a group of ladies through the basics of temari making in a 6 hour class. It was a wonderful day and all the ladies did very well on their temari balls. There was a lovely morning tea of delicious homemade goodies make by the attendees. The group was organised by two ladies (Shirley and Penny) who attended a class with me last year. This time they gathered a ladies from their lace making guild. During the afternoon several other ladies came to make their lace and sat in amongst our class.  I must say I've never seen lace being made and it was rather difficult to keep my mind on temari making... the lace making was so intricate and so stunning that my eyes kept wandering over to see what they were doing. One lady must have had 30 or more bobbins flying through her fingers. Amazing!

On Sunday we had football (soccer) in the morning GO FREO UTD 9's!!! After that I raced home to mark my ball and get organised for the last 2 hour session of the beginner class I have been taking. We did a kiku design ball... I like to save it for last... because it is the one everybody loves the most. It is a nice reward to make such a pretty pattern after all the effort of learning the basics of temari making.

It was an awesome weekend and we minted a dozen new temari addicts to boot! Hmmm..... now what I am I going to do next?.... Finish some UFO's or start some more?

Biscuit Boutique

I used my new biscuit cutter yesterday. For you guys in the US it's cookies.  Remember the dress cutter I purchased a while back? So this is what I made yesterday afternoon.

I haven't ever made decorated cookies before... as you can tell... but it was fun to do. I made these with rolled fondant that I coloured blue (I have a boy so it is the only Wilton colour I had on hand). I can think of a shopping list of supplies I will need to make these really good next time... oh dear... another craft... ;-)

I am glad my son and hubby have no problem eating biscuits shaped like dresses because they will all get gobbled up by people other than me.

Gotta run now... I'm off to have a girly morning tea with my bestie Claire we're celebrating her birthday from yesterday and mine, which is tomorrow.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Linda's Basketweave ball finished

I stitched up the rest of this ball tonight after dinner. The original ball is stitched in Yellows and Blue/White on a mid blue ball. My ball is a bit different... I seem to have a red and orange this going at the moment. The basket part was pictured in this post. I figured that stitching yellow would be too much and due to the base colour being white... I wanted to avoid white too. So I pulled a bunch of blue tones and a pale grey.

I also wanted to encircle the kiku with the green instead of breaking up the kiku with it. I left off the french knots. So here are the final pics.

I quite like how it turned out. I will make this one again on a larger ball, so I have more space at the pole to make the french knots. 

 Now I have 4 UFO's to complete. There's the last colour variation of my JD series from last week, a S6 spindle design, a S12 braided kiku and the project I was working on from Cosmo 6. Then I need to get going on my ball I promised to make with Jane and I'd also like to try out a ball that Rod has worked on recently... They are both on my to do list.  Oh I forgot I am also part way through Joan's weaving stitch along on TT..

Ask and ye shall receive

Last year I got terribly stuck on a Cosmo pattern. It bugged me for months. After many tries at working the ball from a picture (no pattern), several tantrums and a few balls being thrown across the room I reluctantly decided to ASK for help. I am a firm believer in the importance of mentoring. But I always have trouble asking for help. Ironic isn't it?

This week Shirley (one of the ladies in our expanding Temari making group here in Perth) was having trouble with TemariKai  Pattern 99LW10 so she asked me if I could work it out with her.  Well I looked at the sheet she had printed out and saw the diagrams showed pole views and an equator image. Then I scanned through the pattern wording and promptly led myself down the wrong garden path. Somehow when I went back to the diagram I had forgotten it showed pole views and that's where the problems started. I scanned over but missed entirely two crucial phrases 'Stitch triangles A-B-C-A on the extra marking lines', and 'The base of the triangles will cross the South Pole.' Yep I had myself thinking of it as an obi (stitching in the area around the equator) design with kikus stitched at each pole. Half a dozen rip-outs, several hours and two headache tablets later... it occurred to me that asking for help was the next logical step.

This is one of the most awesome parts of being a member of the Yahoo groups. There is a whole world of folk willing to share their expertise and different viewpoint just a few clicks away... and they all do it for no more reward than a hearty email thank you.

So while I tucked myself up in bed... several kind people on the other side of the world took time out of their busy lives to help me out by answering my query. 
Linda (the pattern author) emailed me twice - even though she was on holiday.
Barb illuminated me to the fact that the flower shape appeared only on the north pole and the basket crossed over the south pole.
Debi sent me a wonderful diagram showing a side view of the pattern and a detailed set of notes (even though she has never made this ball before).
Ginny confirmed there was no underground stitching in the basket area.
Charla dug through emails in an old email account to find correspondence between herself and Linda where there was a side view photo of the design.
and Kristy emailed to see how I was going with the design and if I'd managed to work it all out.
Wow!!! When I woke this morning all the answers were sitting in my inbox. By lunch time I had stitched the basket section of the design.  I did mess up a bit of the weaving in two places (should have gone under but went over instead) but I think so far it has turned out pretty good. Here is what it looks like so far...

Thank you again to everyone that helped out. I am really lucky to have made so many temari buddies all over who are so willing to share. If you're not already a member of one of the Yahoo Temari groups, I highly recommend you join up.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Global Temari

Image from stock exchange

When I meet people and talk about temari with them I am surprised how many have done free hand embroidery on a ball. Most of these people have never heard of temari making so it is amazing that they think of stitching on a spherical shape. One lady even told me she decided to call the felted balls she had made 'tellurian balls'. What a cool name.

Often people mention how cool it would be to see a map of the world embroiderd onto a temari.
American temari maker Glenna K has done just this and you can see her photos of the process and her finished ball in her webshots album (click here). It is really an amazing work of art.

Tellurian is an adjective meaning of the earth.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Pattern play

I have been working on some patterns this week and have stitched several balls to see how the colours effect the design.

Here is the first pic.

I stitched the light pink one first. I adore the colours and think the background sakura shape the emerges is amazing. I stitched white, yellow and green on this one with Nordic Gold #4. You can just see a hint of the sparkle in the center. The next ball was the mauve one. This one is cream and 2 shades of purple with Nordic Gold #10.  I think the metallic was a little too bold for this design, still nice. The last ball is the cerise one. Stitched with white, yellow and navy and Nordic Gold #12. Which mix of colours do you think works best? I think my brain is drawn automatically to the light pink one because it is more likely to exist in real life. How often have you seen a cerise or lilac coloured sakura flower?

Here is the next pic.

I made the blue one first. I always think of stars being in oranges and yellows on blue backgrounds. I wanted to try to break the mental mould so I chose 3 colours at random from my wrapping threads and decided to stitch them. First I made the one on the far right. It is kind of a burgundy shade and has a lipstick pink, orange and pale yellow. I quite like this one in real life... it is much brighter. Next was the grey one. It is made with sky blue, lead grey and steel blue. It is really cold looking. The last ball I made was the coffee coloured one.  It is stitched in 3 shades of pink.
Which one do you think is nicest? I think my brain prefers the blue/orange one, but my heart can't really choose between the 3 others as they all seem to have such a different feeling.

Last pic for today.

These are the flip side of the balls in the previous pic. It is interesting that while I really couldn't decide on my favourite for the other side, I definitely prefer the ball in the top left. I really like all of the balls but this one really says fiesta to me. What do you think?

Friday, 11 June 2010

So excited I knocked over the bins!

Our mailman rides a motorbike. It is one of those smaller cc Honda varieties that have a certain 'sound'. I know I have written posts before about waiting to pounce on the poor guy when he is making deliveries.

Today I heard him coming down the street and it took me a second or two to calculate the postal times from Japan and then it occurred to me that today would be the day I would receive the thimble I won in the May Show Your Thimbles draw. 

Aha! I jumped up from my desk barrelled through the kitchen knocking over all the recently emptied bins and out through the garage to the mailbox. Somehow in my mania I had managed to pick up the mailbox key (although I don't remember doing it) and almost scalp my self on the 1/2 up garage door. I was out at the mailbox so quick I nearly knocked the mailman of his bike (or at least he nearly leapt off it in fright). In a frenzy I tore open the parcel and after a quick happy dance said 'Hey look! This is what you just delivered me, isn't it gorgeous?' All he could manage was 'Yeah... it's.. er... great.'

Here is a quick pic of the thimble with a bunch of my handmade pins in it. I love it! love it!! love it!!!

I raced down to the post office and have popped a set of these pins in the mail to Chloe Patricia as a thank you gift... lots of pinks and purples maybe something for a Pink Saturday project?!

Well that will be the end of our mail deliveries for a week or so until he calms down a bit. And I also got some bills in the mail :(

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Rush rush rush.

I am hurrying to get everything done this week. I have a new round of Temari 101 classes underway and a one day workshop booked in about 10 days so it's all systems go and full steam ahead too.

Yesterday I wrapped 12 white balls for the workshop. The bowl looked very boring so I've put in some patterns I've been playing with which are my effort toward some new beginner ball patterns for future classes. Can you spot the weird thing in the photo, besides the dodgy lighting? (the answer is at the end of this post)

How to come up with a new pattern? I wouldn't feel right teaching from other people's patterns so I always endeavour to come up with something original. This can be very tricky because, let's face it, Temari making has existed for several hundred years and so it must be very difficult indeed to arrive at something absolutely unique. In addiction there are so few resources for Temari makers (especially in English) that we must all be following a similar 'artistic consciousness'. Still I do try... The first thing I do is get out every book I have and leaf through the pages looking for inspiration.  Next I get a feeling for an element I want to incorporate in the design... then I go for it. I don't make notes as I go... after the ball is finished I make retrospective notes and then see if I can do the same ball again from the notes.  I also 'tweek 'as I go and make reedits along the way. This is  probably completely backwards to the way everyone else does it... but it works for me. 

I wanted to do something with stars, hence the two attempts above and also something floral is always nice so there is the Sakura shape too. I usually teach a really simple Chrysanthemum ball as part of every class, no skips just up and down, but I think it is time for a change. I like the Sakura but want to work on the star a bit more the outer star needs to be a bit fatter and the inner star needs to be thinner.... or something.

I also squeezed in an hour or two at the Bassendean textile workshop today where we learned finger crochet. I made a few strands of it to contribute to the city logo mural the organisers are making.

Photo Answer: The front blue ball is casting a white reflection on the bowl. I photo shopped it in from another picture I had taken because the blue ball is actually one ball with two different patterns. I nestled it on top of a white ball. Did you get it?

Saturday, 5 June 2010

International Temari Appreciation Day Proposal

I am a night owl, often staying awake well past 1 or 2 am. Usually I spend these hours stitching, but sometimes my eyes just wont last for stitching, especially if I've already spent a few hours making thimbles.
A while ago I was doing some night surfing on the net.   I was checking out the earth calendar site  because I wanted to try to associate my posts a little more with what is happening about the place... also I thought it might inspire my temari making.  Anyway, this is how I discovered that there are only 6 days in the whole year not already slated for a recognised holiday. Then I had an idea ....

What about an international day of celebration for our craft of temari??? Hey, if doughnuts can get a day we should be able to too.

These are the dates that are not currently holidays anywhere in the world (so far as I am aware) so one of these would be great for an international celebration date for temari making/appreciation:

  • 23/1
  • 13/2
  • 20/2
  • 20/4
  • 22/10
  • 29/12
What day do you think is a good day? 

How could we celebrated it? So far I can think of:
  • Get an exhibition at your local library or arts center.
  • Host a local stitching day.
  • Share temari making with someone new.
  • Show your first temari (mine is scary) and your newest.
  • Share a story about how you learned about temari.
  • Share/swap your temari with another temari maker.
  • Mention it on your blog/website (if you have one... with a special project).
  • Share a photo in a flickr group file dedicated to the day.
Do you have a different/better idea? I'm sure you do. Please share it.

I am happy to coordinate/sponsor the day. I know several English speaking temari makers throughout Australia, USA, England, Canada etc but I'd also love to get the Japanese, French, Dutch, Greek, Russian temari makers (and any other country that makes temari) in on an international celebration too. Any ideas how to make it a truly global celebration?

If you have any ideas please leave a message... don't worry you wont be volunteering for anything you don't want to if you leave a message. Love to hear from you all if you have any thoughts.

I created this button and now I am trying to work out how to write the programming for it. (Not my specialty but I'll see how I go)

Just so you know....
My next post is definitely going to be about an actual temari I have stitched..... I've been so bad.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

The amazing WWW and my new favourite thing.

I think that the Internet is amazing. We use it every day with out thinking about how stupefyingly brilliant it is.  Until we are without Internet access for a few days we don't realise how much we take instant global communication for granted.

Here is an example of the amazing web experiences that I came across just a few weeks ago thanks to my connections on the www.

I am a subscriber to Martha Stewart's website and I get sent a daily email with craft projects on it.  Last year I saw a little heart soap project that got me thinking about making soap. This led me to reattempt to source soap-making supplies in my local area.  I discovered, with the help of Google, an online soap supplier which linked me to the SoapQueen blog run by Anne Marie from Brambleberry.

Now Anne Marie's other obsession is cupcakes so in her links I came across Cakewrecks and Bakerella where I found the link to Cake Journal. At this site I looked through the list of favourite blogs and came across OhSugar's blog where she features the most lovely little black dress project. Thankfully she included to link to the supplier ecrandal so off I went and made my purchase of my new favourite thing few weeks ago. (ecrandal is family owned and operated by Hubby and Wife team Eric and Jamie... if you want something special visit their store)

I got an email a few hours later to say that they we about to make my cutter and would advise me of the postage when they knew how much it weighed. It was being made by hand... just for me. A few days later it was in the post with a kind handwritten note and exquisitely package with a raffia ribbon bow to top it off.

And here it is... my very own handmade party dress cookie cutter. Sitting on top of one of my reusable self made Mors shopping bags

I almost cried when I opened the parcel. My early birthday present to myself. It is so beautiful and it is all mine and I can't wait to use my cutter.

Handmade with pride in North Carolina, USA and cherished in Perth, Australia.

Say hello to my little friend

Sorry about the Al Pacino/Scarface reference but my 8yo son heard it once and now he says it constantly. (Just so you know he hasn't watched the movie... but saw a tiny extract on a 20 to 1 Famous Movie Quote Show)

I have a little reptilian friend that comes to visit me from time to time. He (maybe She) lives in our side garden near our vegetable patch. This area is fenced off so it is a perfect oasis for this little creature... safe from our dogs who probably would have tried to eat it long ago if they could.

My office window opens out to this area and, while I can't see the ground level due to a leadlight section being propped against the window, the little scratches on the glass alert me to this little guest's arrival.  Who is it? Let me show you...

A little blue tongue lizard sitting on the outer window sill. I must admit I used to freak out when I saw it scratching and flicking it's tongue at me through the glass, but now I am OK with seeing it... so long as we are on opposite sides of the glass. It is about 20-30cms long cute in the true sense of the word... ugly but interesting.

Now something nice to look at....

Here is a bouquet of flower pins stuck into the last pincushion I made.  I think they are adorable. There are 14 flowers in this bunch... not bad for a pincushion with a 2.2cm diameter.

It took a little trial and error, some stuck fingers to thumb (and trousers stuck to my leg) to get the right glue technique but now I've got it working nicely.  Thank goodness I use to be a nail technician and had plenty of Acetone on hand... or I might still be making the OK sign and wearing the same trousers 2 days later.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

I'm a Flickr winner!!!

Wow! I was randomly selected to win the May thimble giveaway from Chloe Patricia's share your thimbles group. How lucky am I? I am so looking forward to receiving it and will treasure it always. 

Here is a link to the pic of the thimble from Chloe Patricia's blog.

Time for the happy dance...
those readers in the know, know what this means.... ;-)

I am not usually blessed with such good fortune. In fact the last time I won something was in the early nineties when I won a huge (I mean massively huge) gift basket at my Christmas work function. We got lots of confused and slightly panicked looks from other motorists on the way home as I tried to balance it and myself on the back of my future DH's Harley Davidson. Actually I am surprised we were not booked for being a wide load.

Trumpet fanfare! Here is the first Yubinuki

OK brace for something scary! Yes it is time to share the first thimble that I tried making more than 12 months ago.  But before I do that I will show number 14 and 15.

It is getting really cool here now and so I thought stitching in oranges and reds would help me warm up... of course it didn't warm me up but the thick socks and blanket I had over my knee did. Here is number 14.

This one was made as usual on a 6cm form which was divided into 12... but when I realised 4 colours wouldn't work on 12 division as I wanted, I divided each section which resulted in my first 24. I quite like the result. Also I hardly stabbed myself at all because I wised up and stuffed the inside with padding which allowed me better grip on the thimble. It is still a bit gappy but I think that is down to not marking out divisions until the first row was stitched so the stitching wasn't as even as it should have been.

And here is number 15. Don't you love the little flower pins? I made them because... because I just had to have some super cute pins. The thimbles are so cute but it is sad to stick boring old pins into them when they are converted into pin cushions. I made about 30 pins after dinner last night.   My hubby and his/our best friend both thought I was nuts... but they just don't get 'it'.

This one is my regular 6cm size divided in 10. I started out following Debi's recent Thimble Thursday post but when I got to the 5th row of blue I thought "hey, how would stripes look?" So that's what I did. I filled one section with the fuchsia then stitched 5 blue, 3 fuchsia and so on... Now I know it takes me about 21 stitches to fill my sections. As usual I didn't measure after removing the form I just eyed the distance. I'm getting a little better at this I think.

OK so here it is... as promised... the nastiest little thimble I ever saw!!!     Disclaimer: I cannot be held responsible of any injury caused by viewing the following images. You may experience temporary blindness, stomach upset or some other sudden malaise.  You view these images at your own risk.


Here is the run down of errors made with my 1st thimble attempt:

I had used the wrong thread (believe it or not I used multiple strands of floss)
I the needle I used was too big (thickness)
My base was not wrapped thickly enough (and I think it was done in computer paper not card stock)
My base was also too tall so the proportions look weird
My bias binding was sewn together and created loads of lumps
I don't even remember knowing that I had to pad it so it is flat flat flat
I had never seen anything in English about thimble stitching apart from a page on temarikai so I pretty much made up what to do after seeing thimble stitching on a temari ball.
So the moral of the story??? If at first you don't succeed, try try again. And then put it aside, do some more research, find some fantastic mentors and try again.

Thanks to all the members of Yahoo's thimble ring group for helping me find my way.  Without all your hard work, support and guidance I would have stopped at making Thimble #1.

Now go and have a cuppa, a bit of chocolate and zone out... you earned it!