Monday, 28 February 2011

Madeit Update

It's been a long time empty but I've started to add some items to our Madeit store. I have been so focused on stitching, studying and teaching, blogging and selling supplies that I almost forgot about the madeit store. I know, bad me.

If you've never heard of madeit here is the low down. is a handmade online buying and selling destination, which showcases Australia’s most creative, undiscovered art, design and craft talent. Lovers of handmade can purchase items on, direct from the sellers and can choose from fashion, art, homewares, accessories, stationery, children and babies clothing and toys and much much more. is different to other online designer destinations as it only supports local Australian talent. Shopping on madeit is a great way to support local designers and crafters and sellers can gain exposure and sell their wares all day every day and to every corner of Australia and the world.
I have made some lovely purchases at madeit too. I'll try to remember to showcase some of them over the next few weeks.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

New C10

I think this is my most Japanese-looking temari to date. It is similar to the other recent temari I've made. I have been trying to break away from my Western colour mindset and use colour combinations that don't really come so naturally to me. I an doing this by reviewing the stash of Japanese fabrics in Miho and my collection. So here she is.

I treated a grouping of 3 centers opposite of each other as 'poles' and used the red embellishments and the remaining 6 pentagons around the 'equator' were decorated with the yellow centers. I really didn't like the colours when I started this temari but I think they worked out really nicely.

This is one of the pieces of fabric that inspired the colours of this ball. It didn't scan as prettily or brightly as it looks in real life.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Book Stock Arrives

The first box from my large order of books has arrived from Japan. I have replenished all the Cosmo books that were previously out of stock so here is your chance to grab one. There is another large (I mean huge) box on its way... which contains some books that we haven't previously carried. I'll put them up in the store when they arrive.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

New Zealand Earthquakes

Today I arrived back from reading at school and turned on the morning news to see that our New Zealand cousins are suffering a terrible day with many new strong after quakes from the major quake last September.

I know there are many temari makers in New Zealand... a good number of them are around Christchurch.

I immediately sent a text to one of my very best girlfriends who was born and raised in Christchurch. She replied a few minutes later to tell me she was actually there and she was still getting shaken about as many small shakes were continuing. I haven't spoken to Louise for a few weeks and was unaware that she was heading home for a visit.

Image from more before and after pictures available there.
Many buildings that shook but stood last year have fallen today. This image breaks my heart. I've walked around many of Christchurch's beautiful buildings including the church above on a visit to NZ a few years ago. Just 5 hours after the quake there are already 65 confirmed lives lost and many hundreds of people are trapped and injured.  
We Aussies and Kiwis always enjoy a good natured ribbing of each other, but today our hearts and prayers are with you.
If you can please say a prayer for these people.

For up to date news visit which is telecasting news directly from NZ TV3 news.

Sharing temari with our community

I have finally hit maximum density with my temari storage space. Like most temari makers I have so many temari balls around my home, they fill vases and bowls, sit on stands and are tucked away into boxes and drawers.

To free up some space I have donated a box of temari to my son's school. You might think that is a strange thing to do but at my son's school the children learn Japanese as their second language. As far as I know the other schools near by learn Italian and Indonesian. So we are really lucky that our school has Japanese because it fits our family dynamic to a tee.

The Japanese classroom has moved into a different building this year and when I visited the room yesterday it looked very big and a little empty. I offered the temari to help decorate the room and to be used (or given away) by the teacher however she sees fit.

I added simple hangers to all of them and added a tassel to all the smaller balls to make them seem a little more special. Here is a picture of most of the temari, they wouldn't all fit on the tray, ready to be packed up into a box.

When I stitch temari I am very still and focused, I can feel everything around me slow down and stitching seems almost like meditation. I guess that a little piece of my soul passes into every temari I make. The temari I chose to donate have been made over a wide span of time. Some designs were made when close to when I started making temari, like the Dogwood designs, others were experiments along the way and a few have been made just recently been stitched, like the black and white one. If I had to guess I'd say it probably took me about 3 or 4 months in total to make all of these balls - and I enjoyed every minute of that time.

I was a little surprised how hard it was to put them into the box. Boxing up 26 at once seemed like a big part of myself to give away (like when you make a gift temari but keep it for yourself and need to make another to gift away), but I hope these will brighten the Japanese room and bring happiness to the everyone who visits. I know that they will be appreciated and I am so happy that I can share them.

Also as an added bonus I have some more space to make new temari and my DH can't complain that there is no room for them... for a while at least. A win/win situation I am sure you would agree.

Happy temari making!

Monday, 21 February 2011

A photo surprise

This morning while I was uploading my photos for the last post I came across this one. Mr W had been secretly playing with my camera last week and snapped this self portrait.

I should be cranky because he knows he should not use my camera - he got his own digital camera last Christmas for playing around with - but when I saw it my heart skipped a beat and I got that contented joyful feeling that Motherhood brings. Mind you some days that feeling only happens when you see them sleeping.

I only have one child, but what a blessing this one is! I can't wait for school pick up time to give him a big old hug... after we leave the school grounds of course so I don't blow his 9 year old's 'street cred'.

This week's C10 Temari

I have been playing with pentagons on C10 division over the last week. Here is my first effort of temari making.

I can't help thinking of sand dollars,which are usually white, but the link image I found while writing this post is in purple. I realised after the first 3 rounds that I was using the wrong lines in the pentagons, but as I hate to rip out threads, I decided to continue with it anyway. I Zen-stitched* this design, which I think is original (but you can never be 100% sure about that).

My intention was to make a design like the one below, which is my second effort for the week. Still stitching dodgy french knots... but getting better than my first attempts from last year.

Both these temari have 12 pentagon shapes stitched on them. Isn't it funny how different these temari look? I think maybe I should change my perspective more often.

*Zen-stitching: This is what I call any stitching done with no active plan or perceived outcome. It is when I just pick up the needle and stitch. I sense when I am finished because the end product will suddenly appear. This type of activity is really meditative. You can also Zen-drive or Zen-walk (I mean move in a direction that is not planned) and find yourself somewhere unexpected. I usually will end up at the beach, a nice park like Kings Park or Queens Gardens or most likely my Mum's house. I don't, however, recommend Zen-shopping... that is fraught with danger... especially in a thread shop, stationery or kitchenware shop!
Here is a quick bit of theory on Zen.

Find time to do some Zen-stitching today.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Interesting Results

A few posts back I mentioned that I had relabelled the 200 posts on this blog. It was a huge task (now I know why most people don't do it retrospectively) but it confirmed a few things I knew and others I had not even suspected. Here is a screen shot of the labels today.

The things I knew:
My favourite stitch is Uwagake Chidori Kagari.
My favourite division is C10.
I went through a phase of labelling posts with my name... but as I have ended up writing the majority of the posts... it was a bit redundant so I stopped.
Because of my desire to keep my threads straight (also because I forget to label my shapes and get lost when working the whole ball at once) I tend to make temari using Nejiri (interlocked weaving) rather than Kousa (layering).

What I never suspected:
My most used simple division seems to be S8 which is ahead by a nose (although most of the other simple divisions look fairly evenly utilised.)
I use a lot of stars (Hoshi Kagari) and pine needle stitching (Matsuba)
I should have a label for pentagon shaped stitching but I'm not sure what it is in Japanese... but I bet there would be a lot of that used too.
I use a lot of links to other sites.
I also like wrapped bands (Maki Kagari) more than I realised.

Join Temari Challenge Yahoo Group to download a copy of this document.
I think my next goal should be looking through the skill checklist created by members of the Temari Challenge Yahoo group for new directions (new labels to add) to push myself toward and also review the very small labels to see what else I can do with those stitching elements.

Post Note: I have removed store and shop from this label list and replaced them with Supply Store Updates (Things I Sell) and Treats (Things I Buy).

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Temari Train tips for understanding Japanese patterns

Debi A at Temari Train of thought has written an excellent post for anyone just beginning to decipher all those wonderful temari diagrams to be found in books or on the net.

A common bother for all new comers to foreign language temari books seems to be the reader's inability to read what is written in the text. We all get worried about that in the beginning... or at least until we realise how much information can be found in the diagrams and photos.

Here is the link

Thank you Debi for writing your informative post... I expect if you listen carefully you may hear the sound many pennies dropping all around the world.

And now that you have some clues on how to understand the patterns... have a look at our range of temari books available in our store.

I've got a new temari to share but I'll post it tomorrow because I forgot to take a pic in the daylight today.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Meet some new Girls

I think it is official... we have gone chicken mad! On Saturday we went up to Herne Hill (fairly close to where the recent fires north of Perth burned... and there was another fire raging a bit further northwest on Saturday too) to buy some more chickens.

This time we got two 16 week old Blue Andalusian hens. They were crammed into a tiny cage with about 6 other birds and looked very sad indeed so we had to liberate them. That doesn't mean we stole them, of course, we paid for them. They are much smaller than the other chooks who are now 30 weeks old and happily laying 7 eggs each every week. We have to keep the girls all separated because they are two different gangs... 'The Blues' and 'The Browns'. So for the next 4 weeks they need to be able to see each other but not be able to fight.

Itchy and Scratchy testing the 'Range'
 The pen seems a little small when divided up so we saved some tables from the trash and have converted them into a run that we will be able to move around the yard.  A penned kind of 'free ranging' so they are also safe from our dogs. By re-purposing the tables we saved about $400 on the purchase price of something similar available on eBay and done our bit to reduce Perth's landfill. Aah Double Happiness!!!

The new chickens are called Andie and Lusia... get it? Andalusian??!! Yep we were having a low inspiration day. Ok so Itchy and Scratchy wasn't that creative either but the names seem to fit.
We have an idea of the next chicken breed we may purchase... Araucanas... they lay blue or green or pink eggs. The insides are the same as regular eggs.

 Seth wants to get Marans which are layers of chocolate brown coloured eggs... I'd get them too if they laid actual Chocolate Eggs... Maybe I need to buy a goose that lays Golden eggs?! Then we could pay off the house quick smart and in a hurry!!! LOL

Monday, 14 February 2011

Romatic Dinner... for one.

Last night our son had a sleep over at my brother's house. He loves staying with his cool cousins, Aunt and Uncle. I was invited to stay for dinner but I had plans to make a really nice dinner for DH and me. I got cooking and made a delicious garlic prawn tossed with steamed broccoli with a big garden salad. Only one small problem... when the prawns we almost cooked - perfectly timed for 8:45pm when DH was expected home - he didn't arrive. I checked his work roster then I realised he wasn't due home until 11:45pm. Bummer!!! And I had cooked mini banana cakes for dessert too.

So I slopped all the prawns on a plate with way too much salad (I missed lunch) and sat in front of the TV to watch some old movies. Never mind, it tasted so good it didn't mind that it turned out to be a dinner for one... and it almost made up for missing out on Miho's Karaage Chicken (only almost). The link above is not Miho making the Karaage Chicken but it is funny and the guy enjoys making it. This video below is the same guy but an updated video so it is easier to follow and has a variation of the recipe which includes the sauce. Enjoy Karaage Chicken.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Post #200... Time to Reorganise

This is the 200th post, wow that snuck up on me. I've realised that the labeling of the posts are getting a bit messy and need to be cleaned up. Ick sounds like housekeeping!! I have relabelled all the posts so that each type of stitching is covered.

These are the new labels I've just added:
32 Center
HHG-hito hude gake - continuous stitch
Hoshi - 5 pointed star
Jyouge Douji - merry-go-round stitching
Kousa - layered stitching
Maki - wrapped bands
Masu - square stitching
Matsuba - pine needle stitching
Mitsubane Kikkou - triwing
Mitsubishi - three diamonds
Nejiri - interlocking stitching
Sakasa Uwagake - reverse kiku herringbone
Shitagake Chidori - descending herringbone
Tsumu - spindle stitching
Uwagake Chidori - kiku herringbone stitching
Uzumaki - swirl stitching 

I think this is important so that I begin using the correct terms more regularly and so that it is easier to find all the examples of each type of stitching. It seems no longer enough to just categorise into the various divisions. If you are unsure what any of the labels mean click here to Japanese Temari's site where you will find a glossary with images.

In 2009 several members of the Temari Challenge group worked together to brainstorm a skills checklist. This was an important achievement because it has allowed many temari makers the ability to chart their own temari progress based on various skill milestones. I will probably add more new labels as I review my learning progress on the checklist.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Spindle Practice Redux

I've had another go at the spindle design this time using 1 row less stitching and a 0.5cm larger ball.

I think it turned out to look like a bag of musk sticks in this picture. Or maybe I am just a bit hungry. The colours are much nicer in real life. I think I am going to do this one once more... but with a twist.

Do you like my tea set? It was a birthday gift from Miho and Seth. I had just washed it up after making some Genmai-Cha with Matcha (green tea with puffed rice and powdered green tea).

Friday, 11 February 2011

Yubinuki (Thimble Display Case) Frame Tutorial

Yesterday I went to IKEA with my Mum. I needed to buy some replacement rail fittings for my family room curtains, and I have also had my eye on a shadow box for my yubinuki. I found this frame for $20.

I used a large piece of heavy weight thin cardboard and made some shelves to fit inside the shadow part of the box.

Got some thimbles you want to display? I didn't actually plan to make a tutorial at the beginning of this project but it turned out so good I wanted to share.

Here's the how to:

1. Measure the depth, height and width of the box. My frame was 3cm x 22cm x 22cm.

2. Determine the number of shelves you would like inside your display. Then divide the height of the box by this number. (I wanted 4 shelves so divided by 4... my gap was 5.5cm) Double check that the items you want to place on the shelves will fit this gap. This save alot of heartache later... if the items wont fit just recompute with one less shelf.

3. Cut a length of card to the width and height of the box plus 2 times the depth of the box multiplied by the number of shelves.
(For me it was 22 + 2x3 + 2x3 + 2x3 + 2x3 = 46cm)

4. Measure out 1 unit of depth then a shelf height then 2 units of depth and a shelf height etc until you have Score and then folded the shelves up, glued them with pva glue and pegged them to dry. You may need to cut down your shelf height by up to 1cm to get them to fit just right. Just trim little bits off at a time... if it is too small you can't disguise it.

Not a very nice colour (at least not what I wanted to see) so I used some felt left over from a previous project (either the Christmas advent stockings from 2009 or the bunny hats from Easter 2010) and covered them over using thin double sided tape on every edge. I guess you could also use just about any leftover fabric or possibly thin paper... maybe plain is better than a print though.

5. Cut felt 2cms larger than the original cardboard and tape it down beginning just slightly over the end of the cardboard. Trim excess felt on the sides but leave it on the top and bottom. Use a little double sided tape to stick into the base of the frame and lay out your treasures. Very carefully place the shelves into the frame and add the backing. Done!

Here it is filled with some of my yubinuki which I have converted into thimbles. Sorry the photo is a poor quality. Oops I forgot to pull the top bit of felt taught before I closed the back of the frame. I will remember to do that when I add more thimbles.

I plan to fill it with 4 thimbles per shelf but it is almost school pick up time and I have promised to make banana muffins after school so I had better sign off for now.

Seeing as I already had the cardboard, glue, tape and felt this neat display just cost $20. Hope you like this project.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Golden Wattle: WA Floral Emblem... and Cookery Book

A few weeks ago I wrote about making jam and scones. I used a my Mum's copy of The Golden Wattle Cookery Book for the scone recipe and it made me feel all nostalgic. My Mum has had this book since she was a schoolgirl. It is a basic little book and was originally compiled with this premise as laid out in the introduction page:

1. To place before young students a record of methods of cookery taught at school; supplementing lessons given from foundation recipes, and generally increasing their knowledge of the subject.

2. To enable girls who have left school to maintain their interest in cookery, and to have in their possession a book of dependable recipes which may stimulate a desire to venture further in the culinary art.

3. To give, in a concise and simple form, information on food values and the cooking of food.

4. To set before those taking up life in rural districts of the State simple directions to bread-making, jam and jelly making and fruit preserving, which will secure success at the outset.
I think if you substituted the food terminology for any other subject you have a really good criteria for publishing any 'how to' reference book.

The edition owned by my mum (the Twentieth edition) is stained by spills, dog eared and has been rebound to save the loose pages becoming lost forever. It is still a cherished book and the first one she reaches for to help with remembering the basics. Here is a pic of this edition.

I purchased my own copy sometime after I left home. My copy is a thirty first edition and was printed in 1996. The cover image is scarily un-appetising in a very 1980's way. The brussel sprouts look boiled to within an inch of their life, the gorgeous corningware casserole dish, not to mention the fish and chips garnished with parsley or the pea stuffed tomatoes.  Just goes to show the 80's weren't just bad for hairstyles and shoulder pads.

 Mocking aside (I do love the splayds* - which I recently purchased 20 of) I cherish my own copy of this book and find myself hunting around the office for it looking for a back-to-basics recipe that modern cook books just don't bother including.
Image from NSW library website.
The first edition of the 'Golden Wattle" book was printed in 1926. The edition above was released around 1937. If my grandmother was given one of these books at school it was probably this edition, and I must say the cover looked familiar when I found it on the web.

This copy below is the latest one released (also the thirty first edition but reprinted in 1999) has a much, much nicer cover than mine. It reminds me of the more classic look of earlier editions.

ISBN 9780207180729
 I will admit some of the notions (and ingredients used) are a little old fashioned - like lard and suet, and are heavily reliant on traditional English and American cooking, but  this book does give good suggestions on how to use up ingredients and left overs that most people would just toss away. I wont ever EVER need a recipe for fricassee of /or fried brains, hot corned sheep's tongue, ragout of rabbit or stewed tripe with onions; but I have found hundreds of really useful tips and tricks including what to do with quince, how to bottle fruit and vegetables, cuts of meat, souffle, biscuits, basic substitutions and so forth.

*Splayds are an older cousin of the spork - invented in 1970 and sometimes known by the fancier title of buffet fork are a unique all in one knife, fork and spoon.

From Wikipedia: A Splayd (plural 'Splayds') is a brand of single eating utensil combining the functions of spoon, fork, and knife, sometimes called a sporf or spork. The splayd was invented by William McArthur in the 1940s in Sydney, Australia. In addition to an overall spoon shape with four fork tines, it has two hard, flat edges on either side, suitable for cutting through soft food.

Image from
SPLAYD® utensils came into their own in Australia during the 1970s when they were the preferred cutlery choice at buffets and cocktail parties. Being just so easy to handle, SPLAYD® utensils manage all sorts of dishes effortlessly.  Today SPLAYD® utensils continue to seek their rightful place at all the good parties. They are also most practical for camping, picnics and dinners in front of the television.

Post note: The boxes of 6 featured above cost about $50 but I got my nice new stainless steel slaydes for $1.90 each and when I took every one I could find in the store to the counter I discovered they were on special so I only paid $1.52 each.

Monday, 7 February 2011

The Library

I love ordering books at the library. I always want to preview them before I commit to buying... nothing worse than being disappointed by your purchase (I have only purchased one temari book I didn't truly love... I'll not speak of it but you can go through my old posts if you want to know which one it is). I currently have about 5 or 6 books on order from other libraries around the state.

Today I received an email to notify me that the first of the 5 books I ordered to help me with my TC flower temari had arrived. I gathered all my bits and headed out the door. When I got to the garage I noticed the ash that has been blowing in from the fires around Perth. No wonder my nose and lungs are so cranky today, and my dogs so unhappy too, they just hate fires.

The other car was worse but of course being silver you couldn't see it in a photo. So off I headed down to the library and I also went to the bank, and grocery store for a bottle of honey and some cough drops for Mr Sickie (aka DH).

On the way home there was another fire alert on the radio. Sixty three homes are now guttered and another 34 have been damaged. The bureau of meteorology says that the winds we are experiencing are due to Ex Tropical Cyclone Yasi which has travelled all the way from Northern Queensland, through the Northern Territory and South Australia before entering Western Australia. They're not gale force winds but the air has heated up by crossing the desert which makes a very warm Easterly wind.  I made this map of the fire zones. Still thankfully no lives have been lost. Already this year there have been other large fires near Herne Hill and South of Mandurah. We can often hear the drone of water bombing planes throughout the day. The wind seems to have changed direction as we can smell less smoke this afternoon.

When I got home I sat down to check out the book which is really nice but maybe not so helpful for what I wanted. Here is the cover image.  It is applique after all and now my ideas are changing about what subjects to use for my project.
ISBN 9781863514118
There are some stunning waterlilies and irises in this book. More to ponder over the coming days....

Busy weekend

This weekend just whizzed by so quickly. On Friday afternoon I took Mr W to a Karate trial. He has always wanted to do it, and really enjoyed the lesson... now we need to see if we can juggle it into his after school schedule or it we'll need to wait until the soccer season ends in August.

Saturday morning Mr W and I went grocery shopping... an entirely boring task for a 9 year old and not that much more thrilling for me either. We visited the large grocery store, then the fruit and vegetable shop and then Seoulmart (a Korean shop that also sells Japanese foods) where we picked up two packs of Natto for Miss D and a bottle of Mr W's favourite Japanese 'remon' soda drink which has a marble that seals the bottle shut. 

When we returned home I put prepared a big pot of pasta sauce and let it cook in my huge jam pan (thank goodness for stainless steel - I couldn't have done this in a copper pot) for several hours before pouring it out into 8 large pasta sauce jars that I have been saving. I gave 2 jars to Miho.

Saturday afternoon we invited Seth and Miho (and kids) for dinner. We had 4 homemade pizzas and a huge salad. Miss D (3yo) helped me cut the pizza toppings which was very nerve racking because all my knives are super sharp and we almost lost a finger tip several times. She and Mr W did very well at kneading the dough, rolling it out and slopping on the tomato sauce too. We were all starving by the time the pizzas were cooked and we happily ate them outside under the patio.

After dinner we did 'paint nails' for Miss D, she had purchased a matte purple nail polish with her Dad... it was a bit icky (in my opinion) so we did a top coat of silver and purple micro glitter polish which improved the look greatly and Miss D was more than happy to the glitter polish take home when I suggested it.

It was lovely under the patio in the early evening, we put the dogs away into the carport so we didn't have them under out feet or begging for food (a personal dislike of mine), straight after dinner we opened the gate to let them back in with us. Chilli came out but we couldn't find Shadow anywhere. My hubby and my brother eventually discovered him whimpering and stuck fast under the 4WD (think you guys in the US call it an SUV). DH must have run over some roadkill on his long journey to/from work and Shadow loves to sniff at the tyres and wheel arches... he must have ventured too far in under the car and with his old arthritic hips so he couldn't get back out again. He was fine once he had gotten a few gentle pats and been lovingly told 'Oh you silly old dog" a few times. Here they are (at least 9 years ago), when they were our number 1 fur-babies and got dressed in silly scarves... i.e. before Mr W came into our lives. Shadow is on the left and Chilli is on the right.

When I went to pay their 3 yearly dog registration in October last year the woman behind the counter casually said 'oh they sure are old' (they're almost 15 now) 'this will be the last time you need to register these guys.' While the reality of it is true, I did feel big tears well up in my eyes at this prospect. We have had them since they were puppies. They are brothers whose mum died from a snake bite during a fire, to this day they still have little areas around their legs and paws where no hair will grow. We originally just planned on having Chilli but when we returned to the pet store to buy more puppy food (after we had Chilli for a month) we saw that Shadow was all sad and alone there so we decided that if we had enough money in our bank account (it was almost the end of the pay month) we'd buy him too. Well we did, so he came home with us that day.

Sunday was spent cleaning up, doing some washing and looking after DH who came home from work (after only 2 hours) with the bad cold that Wesley and then I had over the last few weeks. We tried to stay shut up in the house on Sunday due to smoke from one of the several large fires burning around the outskirts of Perth. One fire has burnt out about 40 homes in the area where I grew up... more are expected to be lost today. Thankfully no lives have been lost... we need the winds to drop and a big dump of rain. Thank you and safe passage to all our firefighters working hard around the clock to contain these blazes. You are all heroes.

Kristy emailed me today and offered to send us some rain from Queensland... she says they've had enough of wet weather. I hope it arrives soon!

I am glad to have the distraction of temari making and cooking which are both good for my soul. I wrapped 4 new temari bases and got some stitching done. I am reworking the last pattern I made again, this time on a ball 1/2cm bigger and using 1 less row in the spindles. I'll post a pic when it is finished.

Just keep on happily stitching.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

C10 Flower of The Month Sampler

V ruler number is 8.78cm, the needle is 9cm long

I have had a change of heart about my C10 Flower of The Month Sampler project for TC. I still haven't added the borders to each pole, but I have been giving the flowers a lot more thought.

First off I thought of doing Australian flowers, then I considered doing a Southern Hemisphere flowers of the month, or just favourite flowers of my relatives for their birthday months. But today it occurred to me that maybe I should try to do flowers from my own garden. I began to think about the varieties of flowers that occur through the year in my garden.

We have several Rose bushes, Gardenias, and Azaleas, then there are spring bulbs such as Tulips, Iris, and Ranunculus. Also during the spring we have the Plum (Ume Blossom), Lemon and Lime blossoms. And at other times of the year we get to see Strawberry flowers, Nasturtiums, Cosmos and even Dandylions when I haven't weeded the garden for a while.

I think I need to percolate on this a little more before I decide what to do.  Barb Suess has been posting on her blog about the progress being made with her temari (which is coming together particularly nicely) if you haven't seen what Barb is doing click over to take a look.

Friday, 4 February 2011

More spindle practice

Following the temari I made with the TT group recently I decided to have another go at stitching spindles. I have traditionally avoided stitching spindles but they aren't actually as beastly as many people make out. The biggest secret is stretching the points so everything lies down nicely. I have discovered that spindles work best when you know the area you need to fill and work the number of rows accordingly. This means ideally you need a pattern and a ball the correct size to get everything just right. But what happens when you are inspired by an image that has no pattern or size reference??? Well you just give it a go. I did this earlier in the week trying to decipher a beautiful temari I had seen elsewhere.

Most temari images have no (or an unfamiliar) reference point so it is sometimes difficult to rework a design on the correct size temari base. But this week I had a go and this is what I came up with...

My spindles are a little crammed so next time I will either make the temari 1 cm larger or stitch 1 less round. Also I will make sure to measure the starburst at the centers... or we could just pretend that I meant to have one longer line there. I am just about the begin this one again so I'll keep you posted on how it turns out. I took this photo on the 'zig zag bridge' walkway near my front door. I think this is my new favourite place to take photos... even the two ants that were crawling about kindly stayed out of shot. Nice!

Stitching this temari has helped my work out the possible first flower on my TC project ball... more about that in my next post..

Wishing you a stitchy day...

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Cyclone Yasi crosses the coast.

Two weeks ago Southern and Central Queensland bore the brunt of mother natures fury and tonight it is Northern Queensland's turn. At this very moment a giant tropical cyclone named Yasi is crossing the North Eastern coast of Queensland. The local time is 1:30am. It is a category 5 storm and one of our news agencies has made the image below with the storm superimposed over USA to show how huge the storm is. The red circle part is the center (which itself is massive) but the entire system would cover three quarters of Europe, or Asia. I knew it is a huge system but I actually couldn't comprehend how enormous until I saw this graphic.

You can read the article above for more comparisons. The bureau of meteorology issued this statement: VERY DESTRUCTIVE winds with gusts up to 290 km/h between Cairns and Ingham and the adjacent ranges will extend inland and gradually weaken. The VERY DESTRUCTIVE CORE of the cyclone will take up to 4 hours to pass.

It is expected that in some areas the storm surge will reach more than 6 metres (I have also heard 9 meters being reported).  This is the largest and strongest cyclone in living memory to be faced by Australian's. My step son lives in Townsville, and my brother in laws family are all up in this area too. Evacuations have been taking place over the last few days. Most buildings in Northern Queensland are not rated for category 5 storms, some smaller towns have no buildings strong enough to survive this storm.  People have been told not to expect calls for help tonight to be answered, as it is too dangerous for anyone to move around. There are 500 police on standby, the army are ready to move and many other services and agencies ready to swing into action as soon as the storm passes. Our government has told us to expect that the property damage will be massive, let's all hope the human toll will not be.

If you have a minute please say a little prayer for Northern Queensland. I know tonight is going to be sleepless one for us, my heart is with Northern Queensland tonight.