Monday, 27 September 2010

Awesome day.

This weekend is the Queen's Birthday long weekend. Now I'm pretty sure her birthday is actually in April and the rest of Australia celebrates it in June but we have a holiday to celebrate our state's foundation then so we get to celebrate it now... when the weather is better! Lucky us and lucky Queen Elizabeth II... if she gets birthday cake 3 times a year.

Yesterday we had a leisurely picnic at Houghtons winery in the Swan Valley. It was a perfect day, our boy found some kids to play cricket and soccer with. I am amazed at his capacity to make instant friends where ever we go. I guess if an only child can't do that who will he play with? We caught up with our friend Louise and finally got to give her birthday gifts... only 22 days late. This is one of the gifts I gave to her. It is a C10 with the pattern from Barb's Echo Stars on one side and an interlocked stars pattern on the other. This is the final temari in a set of three that I have been gifting to her. I have previously made two others in the echo stars pattern, a smaller and a medium size. Now she has her gift I can share it with you too.

Today we spent the day at the Perth Royal Show. Our son has been doing odd jobs in earnest to earn extra pocket money to go this year. We arrived at 10am and walked around and around all day long seeing the animal exhibits, heritage machinery, wood chopping, and so on. We also got to send a message by morse code across a big shed and get it typed out by the morsecodians group of WA... some teenagers didn't quite get the fuss until I mentioned that this was the first version of text messaging, the gentleman volunteering overheard me and piped up to say that it is less costly and quicker than modern text messages too.

I really wanted to visit the arts and crafts and cake decorating competitions but just didn't get there. Although I did manage to see the photography and painting exhibitions which were really gorgeous. There was the most beautiful small canvas with a vase of ranunculus that I could have run off with... if I wasn't already weighed down with things we had already collected and there weren't two big security guards at the door. And I visited the CWA (country women's association) where two ladies were doing a demonstration of tatting. AMAZING!!! I even got a start on some Christmas shopping... I purchased one of the 2011 CWA calendars which are a little (but only a little) 'risque' with members almost baring all for the McGrath foundation (An Australian Cancer charity established by Glenn and Jane McGrath before she lost her own breast cancer battle in June 2008). The CWA has lots of chapters around the state and the president invited me to come along to one of their Perth meetings. It will have to wait until the new year I think but it would be nice to join up.

Our boy got to pat a pig and cuddle a chicken, try out a police bike, a real army gun and night vision goggles... these were his top 5 activities. The boys had 2 turns at the bumper cars, our son was so pleased because the last time he visited the show (3 years ago) he was not quite tall enough to drive. We took our lunch and found a shady spot by the grand arena to watch the parade. I have never seen so many beautiful animals in my life.  We sampled lots of yummy treats and had an awesome time.

I think my legs are 3 inches shorter and my arms 3 inches longer from carrying all the showbags and walking around for so many hours.

I have made some temari this weekend while my hubby was working out of town but I didn't get time to take pics yet. Hopefully I can blog them by Wednesday. No promises though... today is the first day of school holidays.

Happy days to you!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Blog tinkering completed and store update.

I hope you like the new background on the blog.

I think I've tweaked the layout as much as I can for now. I even made a new cute little button to send you to the supply store. I accidentally overlooked checking the link address and this afternoon I discovered it went to a very unexpected place. Sorry if you clicked on it already, please take another look as I've fixed up the link now. I've also put a similar design on the supply store banner.

Speaking of the store... we have started getting in some new threads. We are trialling a small range of Rainbow Gallery Very Velvet Petite, Treasure Chest & Treasure Braid Petite. Most of these threads are virtually impossible to find in local needlework stores and the Australian on line stores that sell these ranges do so at a higher price. The Very Velvet Petite makes a beautifully soft to touch temari. The Treasure Chest range is a set of lovely multicoloured metallic which is a little thicker than Nordic Gold. Treasure Braid Petite provides a smooth sparkle and is a fine thread which makes it perfect for marking support lines on combination divisions. If you are interested in a colour not already listed in the drop down menus send me a note and I can special order it for you. We still have our ranges of KYO rayon, Nordic Gold, Japanese Temari books and needles in stock.

More exciting news: we have a quantity of V-Rulers from the JTA available for sale. You wont get these anywhere else in Australia. I can also send them overseas but you will also find them available through Etsy stores from time to time. These rulers are sold at cost from the JTA and are supplied with a handy ruler keeper card to keep it nice and flat.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Blog Tinkering, Mari Making and Pillow Fights

Today when I logged onto blogger I saw a note about a new feature, the ability to  add your own uploaded background picture. I have wanted to change from the 'green balls' design to something else for so long, but while the pictures offered by blogger are beautiful, none of them quite said 'this is a temari blog' to me. I am sure the background will continue to evolve as I tweak the image to get it just 'right' over the next few days. Then again it could even change back.

I have been wrapping bases like a woman possessed this week. I have completed 25 bases in about 8 hours (over 2 days, while watching several movies) and will use these for upcoming classes. I find the best way to get newcomers truly addicted to temari making is to get them right to stitching on a prepared base. Then once they have enjoyed the outcome of stitching they are more accepting of the base preparation process. There was a time when I loathed making bases but now I really quite enjoy it. I like to challenge myself to see how many I can make in a set period of time. This week's ones were made on Styrofoam bases which take a slightly different process to my usual rice hull temari. I think for learning the first couple of balls it can be easier on foam because hull can be crushed to 'off round' either by the more overzealous stitcher or inside the kit bag. Also if you can get a good round mari on a foam ball you will make awesome hull maris if you decide to use that as your core material later on.

I am playing with the idea of making individual zabuton (pillows) for my temari to sit on. I made a test one today with gold satin fabric but we all agree that it isn't puffy enough. I will add 2 layers of wadding to the next one. You might remember this older temari, it is still unfinished (I need to work out what to do around the equator) but it is made with KYO rayon thread. It is lovely to use, but challenging to photograph... just like the satin fabric. I'll try another zabuton tomorrow.

I have finished up all but two of my temari UFO's but I've started a new temari so the old ones are back in the basket. I think I will treat myself as a reward for all my industriousness (is that even a word??) and make a yubinuki.

Friday, 17 September 2010

A thumb nail trick!

I am working on quite a few patterns at the moment, I've done 3 stitch along balls, have got 3 temari classes coming up and I'm working on JTA projects so I seem to always have a needle in my hand. I don't have anything to show today but what happy work!!!

Temari is my single addiction. Hmmm actually I am addicted to my family and chocolate too so let's say temari's in my top 3. The one thing I have always struggled with is nail damage to my left thumb. All that constant needle guiding and holding back threads can cause my nail edge to wear away.

So today when I was scrubbing spilt wine from my carpet (a cork came out of a bottle of red in my wine rack - I did cry a little) it dawned on me that I should try an acrylic nail. I used to wear acrylic nails for about 10 years but I took them off 3 years ago when they got in the way of my crafting.   Now I don't want to get acrylic nails again but I do think that one acrylic nail could be very helpful. But what kind of shameless crazy person am I? I can hear you asking this very question. Luckily I don't need to go to the local nail bar and ask for just one acrylic nail to be applied. One of my many jobs has been... nail technician. So this means I already had all the stuff on hand. Well actually I was out of acrylic liquid... so instead I have a gel nail applied to my thumbnail. It actually works well. Just a thin layer of gel is protecting my nail really well so far. I'm so glad I thought of it... it is amazing where your brain travels when your body is busy doing something else.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Soccer Balls

Tomorrow is the last day of our Junior Soccer club's 2010 season. Our boys skipped an age group this year and were placed in the top division. Most team parents hoped that our kids might lose a few games this season. While this doesn't seem like good parenting - hoping your kid will lose - our reasons are sound. Our boys haven't lost a game in nearly 4 years, although I think they did draw 2 or 3. Experiencing failure is a very positive experience, so we want our boys to learn that is it ok to come second, they only lose if they lose heart and understand that a loss can lead to positive self analysis and is useful as a guide toward improvement. Saying this, our boys are only 7 and 8 years old... so if they understand that you can't win all the time and the importance of being gracious in defeat that would be a good start.

In a few weeks we are having our windup and trophy presentation. I want to make some 'soccer' ball temari to give to the Assistant Team Manager and Assistant Coach as thank you gifts. They offered loads of time and provided a lot of help to DH and I in running our team this year.

I tried to count the faces on an actual soccer ball 3 times this morning but kept losing count. Then I decided to go ask how many faces there are. DH gave me a strange look and said 'I'm pretty sure it is 32, but isn't it written on the ball?' Looking over the ball I discovered that yes, '32 face' was written on the ball in very large print in one of the hexagons.

Our team is black and white so I need to decide if a black base or or a white base would work better... or if it really matters. Methinks I will do one each way... and experiment while making the gifts aahh... multi-tasking!

I'm planning to wrap the bases tonight after dinner and might even get them marked up (thankfully I can mark a 32 - thanks to Barb, Debi A and TC's HHG challenge from earlier in the year)

If you read my earlier post this week this is why I forgot our Anniversary. This is full costume check before the show (before beard adjustments of course) .  He only had 4 or 5 lines in the play but he had such a strong concept of how he wanted his costume to look... how could I deny him. Isn't he the cutest 'old man at the bank' you ever saw?! I made the little waistcoat from a cute pattern I trolled the net for (I did need to redraft the pattern to get it big enough), the bead and wig were made with the dilly bag technique I learned at the Bassendean craft workshops a few months ago. I added 89c teddy glasses and hooked them into the beard so they stayed on. The shawl is a cut up thrift shop dress and the Shirt and Jacket were also altered thrift shop buys. I made use of some pants I had previously altered (took the cargo pocket off of) for an Eisteddfod performance. Thank goodness for DH's cuff links and tie and Old Nana's spare wooden cane which completed the ensemble.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Thin blue line.

I don't think I have ever posted something like this before and although this is a temari blog and I do always try to stay on topic, today's post is a bit of therapy for me.

My hubby works for the Police department. I know that lots of people have issues with police but most of the ones I know are good, honest and hard working. As a police wife my greatest fear is the possible day when someone knocks on my door to say he's not coming home to us again.

On the East coast this week we lost a young policeman who was fatally shot during a drug bust. I didn't know him, but all police (Australian and International) are a family of sorts no matter what part of the world we are from.  We have known many good people injured or disabled and attended funerals for several friends who have died in the carriage of their police work over the years and it is always hard, sad and tinged with guilt for the feeling of relief and thanks to God that I still have my healthy, able bodied husband beside me.

I have a poem laminated on the fridge and I look at it every day. I don't know who wrote it but it was submitted to the newspaper by a local Police Superintendent many years ago after the death of a WA Police Officer.

A Police Officer's Poem
The police officer stood and faced his Maker, which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,  just as brightly as his brass.
"Step forward now Police Officer, How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek? To your maker, have you always been true?"
The Police Officer, with squared shoulders said:
"No sir I guess I ain't, because those of us who carry badges can't always be a saint.
But I never took a penny that wasn't mine to keep,
Though I worked lots of overtime when the bills just got too steep.
I never passed a cry for help, though at times I shook with fear,
And sometimes, please forgive me, I wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place among the people here.
They never wanted me around, except to calm their fears.
But if you have a place for me here, well, it need not be too grand.
I never expected or had too much, so if you don't I'll understand."
There was silence all around the room where saints respectfully stood,
As the Police Officer waited quietly, for judgement bad or good.
"Step forward now Police Officer, You've borne your burdens well.
Come walk the beat on Heaven's street, you've done your time in hell."

Next time you see a Police Officer try to find a way to say a simple thanks for the work they do in your community to keep us all safe. They don't do the job for praise, but it sure is nice for them to get it once in a while.

Tomorrow I'll return to happier temari talk. Thanks for reading todays post. Health and happiness to you all.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Tale of a bad wife.

My hubby started work at lunch time today. When he has a late start our morning never runs smoothly... it interrupts (in a good way) the regular routine. Too many giggles, jokes and horseplaying means sometimes we end up tag teaming jobs like making lunch, ironing uniforms, checking teeth and doing the school run. So when it was agreed I'd make lunch if he did the drop off,  I made our son's lunch and hubby's lunch too (which I almost never do).

After my hubby returned from school he presented me with a huge wrapped parcel. What the heck is that for? I asked just as he began saying happy anniversary! Oooops, I forgot! Totally, utterly and completely forgot, oh dear. I guess it makes up for last year when I accused him of forgetting because I had remembered a day early. Actually now I think of it.... I'm not sure if they cancel each other out at all.  I thought it was traditional for the husbands to forget these types of occasions.

I actually had remembered it was coming up a few weeks ago, before I got laid up with a bad throat and ears. I had actually planned to give blueberry bushes (4th anniversary = fruit and flowers). Last week when I felt better no one had any in stock and this week I spent a whole day making our son a costume complete with handmade wig and beard for his school play (He played the old man from the bank in Mary Poppins). So it just kind of slipped my mind. Too busy trying to be an awesome mum to remember to be an awesome wife too. Late August and September is a cracker time for our family with umpteen birthdays and father's day too. We have 'banned' the birth of any more kids in our family in Dec/Jan with all 3 cousins having birthdays within a 3 &1/2 week period near Christmas. I have also considered screening potential friends to ensure they aren't born in Aug-Sept or Dec-Jan. Something like this.... Me: Nice to meet you Alice... so when is your birthday?  Alice: September 15th!  Me: Hmmm... ooh that's no good... let's see... um.. we have openings in April and June how does that work for you? Yes we can be friends if you want to celebrate your birth in April or June! OK?!

This year I have also been distracted by the quakes in Christchurch, NZ which are 20km's from my best friends parents farm (all her family's homes have suffered some damage), the sale of my brother's house and the death of my furry niece Ninja last week. RIP little Ninja hope your chewing on a big bone in heaven!

I  did consider getting emergency anniversary flowers delivered to DH's job... but he is a it too macho for that and besides his all male coworkers would probably still be ragging on him the day-after-never if I did that. So this afternoon I drove around to two different Bunnings (a chain of warehouse hardware and garden stores) and 2 other nurseries in search of blueberries.  Bunnings #1 only had Blackberries and pomegranate. Nursery #1 only had strawberries and goji berries. Bunnings #2 had.... nothing, and Nursery #2 had huge blueberries plants but they were $49 a pot Ay, caramba!!! but then I found some smaller ones and purchased 2 (always a safe bet to get more than one of any plant for our garden) Thanks to our son for helping to carry the pots to the car despite the fact he needed a liberal dose of hand sanitiser after getting a teeny slug stuck on his finger... he may still need a few therapy sessions though. (He gets it from me sadly... I will weed the garden for hours or until I come across the first spider or other icky creepy crawly and that's it... like ricochet rabbit I'm outta there)

Tonight when my DH gets home at 11pm he will find a huge basket of plants. 2 blackberry, 2 blueberry and 4 varieties of strawberry bushes.  I hope that is enough fruit to make up for this morning. If I hadn't been so tired this morning I would have just presented him his lunch box and said happy anniversary to you too.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Choosing colours and a big fat bargain

Anyone that knows me understands how much I love blue. I have a 2 blue sofas, a long window covered in steel blue curtains, loads of linen in blue tones, several shades of blue carpet throughout the house and even blue tiles on our bathroom floor. When I decorate cakes and cookies and make my homemade soap I usually choose blue. Even my child is blue (a boy anyway - as opposed to a pink girl - and his school uniform... it's blue) and my hubby's work uniform?? Yes it is blue too. I dread ever putting our home on the market as I am sure potential buyers would refer to it as 'you know that blue house...' Anyways can you really have too much of a good thing. Not really but sometimes I can have a little trouble working with other colours on my temari. I think of red as a traditional colour for making temari so I usually find most of my temari in red or blue.

This week I wrapped a few temari in unusual colours (by this I mean not blue). I have a medium green, a chocolate, a latte, and a creamy coloured temari ready to go. Now these are lovely colours, but I grew up in the 70's and think I had my fill of them (thank you fashionista Mum who kept us dressed in the latest threads when we were growing up) I am really trying to challenge myself and by choosing weird colours it is going to force me to think outside the box.
What colours do you always gravitate to??

A few weeks ago I went to Spotlight (Australia's craft supply chain store) to pick up some threads because I had a $40 voucher burning a hole in my pocket. When I got home I looked over the receipt and noticed the price per skein was 49c more and the balls were $1.49 more than the needlework store across town where I have previously made purchases. My frown quickly turned upside down when I noticed on the back of the receipt the store has a lowest price policy where they will beat any other price by 10%. So when I went back today I took proof of the cheaper price and with the money I got back I purchased 7 extra skeins and had $2 left over.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Maki Kagari AFL Temari

I didn't actually plan it at the start, but this is how it turned out. Last week I made a bunch of balls to compare the Cup measurement technique for filling temari cores.  I had always suspected that all cups were not equal and now I have proven it as far as rice hull and dryer lint anyway....

So as I had plenty of smaller sized balls I ended up making three balls made for one TK Maki (wrapped band) Kagari stitch along this week. I have also learned to mark a C8 by eye instead of measuring and have been practicing this new skill. I made several balls without measuring when I first took up temari making but I decided it really wasn't scientific enough as a techique so I stopped.... I bet with a bit more practice I could get quite good at this... It does save time with not needing to pin but then I am slower at actually wrapping the marking lines this way so it is probably no quicker just now.

The first one (top left in WCE colours) was wrong... due to an assumption of the instructions rather than the actual instructions. I really like it anyway. The second one (front in Dockers colours) was right... thanks to actually reading and following the instructions... and the third one (top right in Magpie colours) was just me wanting to cover all the marking lines.

In our family we support 3 different AFL teams (Australian Rules Football) Two teams are from Perth and the other is from Victoria.  It is almost the end of the season now and there is only 2 more weeks of finals until the grand final which is held on the last Saturday in September. Sadly, my team the West Coast Eagles (WCE) have been eliminated from the finals... OK they didn't qualify... alright they came last in the competition. Fremantle Dockers, my son's team, are in the finals for only the 5th time ever... OK they have only been in the competition since 1995. The Magpies aka Collingwood, is my husband's team. They are the team most people love to hate, established in 1892, they have only managed to win one AFL grand final... OK they did win 13 grand finals in the predecessor of the AFL which was the VFL. My worst scenario is that Fremantle and Collingwood will face off in the 2010 AFL Grand Final. That will be a terrible 100 minutes of viewing in our house followed by weeks of crowing/crying.

So like our recent federal election (held on August 21, 2010 for which we still have no result) choosing a team to barrack for in the Grand Final this year is more like eliminating the teams you least want to see playing until you reach just two teams... then deciding which of those two you would be least crushed to have win.

All this spot stuff is fun but actually pretty irrelevant, with major flooding in Pakistan, and on the east coast of Australia, people getting hit in major storms down the eastcoast of USA and a huge earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. I hope wherever you live you're safe and dry today.