Wednesday, 31 August 2011

It's Spring... well almost

Tomorrow is the first day of spring. The days are getting longer and a little warmer. We are having our rain a little later than usual this year, and I don't mind because there are plenty of blue sky moments between the grey.

Our garden is coming back to life. This week we got the first blossoms on our Plum tree. I love to watch these blossoms arrive, because we don't get cold enough temperatures for real Cherry Blossom in Perth so this is the closest thing. One day I will get to drink sake under the Cherry blossoms in Japan.

I took this photo on the way back from School this morning. I love the little sparkles of rain on the flower (and I am amazed my camera managed to capture it).

There are lots of buds but just a few flowers at the moment so I am hoping for a nice show of flowers this year. I feel so lucky to have such a lovely tree in my yard. Also this year the Blue Irises are going gangbusters!!! We planted these several years ago and each year we leave them in the ground and cover them with a new layer of mulch for a bit of protection from the summer heat. I must say I am surprised to see them sprout new shoots every year and I a simply AMAZED that they multiply and flower so abundantly. Since we planted them, each year has gotten better and better. 

There are Irises along almost the entire front of our yard. It reminds me of the Van Gogh painting of Irises which I have a print of hanging in my bedroom for many years. (I like Van Gogh and we have a print of Street Cafe in our dining area.)  The pond should have some lily flowers soon, I forgot to take a picture last year, and you might see the red flecks in the pond which is our fishy family. There is a baby fish in our pond. I don't know how it got there (ok, I know how it got there) rather I am not sure when it was born but we first noticed it at the end of summer. So now there are 4 fish, 3 are about the length of my hand and then there is the little one but it is too well protected by the parents to see its actual size.

I also really like the Lillypilly hedge that borders this little corner of the garden. At this time of year it has a flush of new red growth which is just lovely. There will eventually be tulips popping up (I hope) and somewhere there is usually a single white Iris that flowers

Not too bad for a couple of black thumbs!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Workshop in Fremantle

 I have hijacked a most lovely group of ladies from their usual lace-making activities and I am slowly but surely turning them into temari addicts. Earlier this year we had a workshop and many of the ladies made their first ever C10 temari ball. In the last workshop we dabbled with C6 (a modified C8 division).

Here is a small selection of temari made in the August workshop in Fremantle. I love stitching time with this group of ladies. I do feel slightly guilty about getting you addicted to temari making, but I also think your temari are amazing.

Photograph courtesy Shirley B
See you all in October for the next instalment. Thanks to Shirley for organising everyone, opening your lovely home to us and sharing this photo.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Where did the week go?

I can't believe it has been so many days since my last post! What have I been doing with myself? I took a trip to Bunbury down the new(ish) Forrest Highway. Spent a day trying to get a start on cleaning up my Mum's craft room while she was on holidays (I have neglected my own craft room... I can barely get a leg into it). Had Miss D for a sleep over, we baked several recipes, visited the park, did some artwork and painted our nails. Spent a day at Miho's helping out with all the kiddies because Mr M had overdosed on delicious strawberries and made himself sick - I completely understand him because who can stop at just one or two strawberries right? I also did a bunch of boring stuff that doesn't rate a mention and vegged out almost all day yesterday.

Maybe it is a planetary alignment thing but I have not been my usual very motivated self this week, not even in the crafty arts. Last night my Mum came for a sleepover and to spend some time with Mr W. Today we went out to some of our favourite stores together. Spotlight, Howards Storage and Kitchen Warehouse were some of the top shops we stopped at (goodness me try saying that last bit 3 times!). I think I am inspired again to play in the craft room.

The bird fabric cried out to come home with me!!!
Spotlight had lots of lovely fabrics in for Christmas and with 30 percent off the usual price. Wahoo!!! I got 3 really nice bits... I can see several machine sewing projects in my future. Mum purchased fabric for making some festive bunting. I also got a few odds and ends for some little projects I've got planned.

Never used any of these things before.
I am going to challenge myself to using a few new craft materials I've not considered before. I have made covered buttons using a giant pressing machine in a furniture factory when I was a kid, but never using these self covering button kits. The snaps look interesting too. Don't even ask me about the Sculpey, I think I am going mad but I want to try to do something with it.

So hard to find Aust Standard Measuring spoons (1Tbs=20ml)
I also purchased a new set of measuring spoons and a whisk set at the kitchenware store. I snapped my tablespoon measure measuring butter while making cupcakes with the kids last week. The new set is a bit deluxe and I hope they last me another 20 years.

Ok I didn't get these last things on my trip today but I hadn't shared them yet so here they are, a new calico bag and cute milk jug from New Norcia. I took the bag to Spotlight with me today and they gave me a card that rewards you for every purchase taken home in your own bag. I like that they are rewarding us for thinking about caring for our planet by utilising reusable shopping bags. The jug was purchased to use for pouring lip balms etc because it is thin and microwavable... the whisk above is also for that same purpose.

I have been gathering temari making ideas this week but I wont get time to stitch anything until next week. I did see a lovely glass vase that came up to my hip today. With very wide eyes I asked my Mum how many temari she thought I'd fit into it. She reminded me it was a (just) little narrow at the base so thankfully I didn't purchase it. What a lifesaver and I'm sure my DH will be grateful!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Day Tripping... and Temari Inspiration

Yesterday we took a day trip out to New Norcia. This lovely, peaceful town is entirely a Benedictine Community tucked away just 1.5 hours north of Perth. I am sure I must have been to New Norcia as a child but I don't remember it and as an adult I have always wanted to go there. We took along Mr W's friend Mr C, they found all the history a bit too much at times (they saw the AFL goals and wanted to kick a football) so to keep them 'manageable' while on the tour I gave Mr W my camera and Mr C my camera phone. All the images in this post have been taken by the boys.

Photographers Mr C and Mr W
 What is the most impressive thing about New Norcia? Hmmm it is hard to say, the buildings are wonderful, there is 164 years worth of amazing heritage to see, an incredible art and history gallery to experience, but maybe the most surprising feature of this township is the sense of peace and tranquility which is felt everywhere.

Pax (the Latin word for Peace) is the motto of the Benedictine Monks of New Norcia and it is central to their daily life. We took a 2 hour tour through the town, our guide (Roy) was a previous student of the St Ildephonsus boarding school and had great knowledge of the history and workings of the area. The land area 15 kilometres East and West of the town and 5 kilometres North and South all belong to the Benedictine community. They grow canola in many of the fields and there are many vistas of gold to be seen in all directions.

Canola Fields in New Norcia
The Benedictine Monks escaped religious persecution in Spain back in the mid 1800's and fled to Italy where they met an Australian who suggested they return with him to Western Australia to do some ministerial work with the 'natives'. Their 20 acre parcel of allotted land was expanded and became the town of New Norcia, they established a mission and school settlement and became self sufficient. It is said that during a rather savage bush fire that threatened the Monastery the Bishop Salvado (the founder of New Norcia) held the painting Our Lady Good Counsel facing the fire and prayed for help, at that time the winds weakened, changed direction and the fire burnt itself out. The Aborigines that witnessed this are said to have remarked that the white woman was very powerful. Prayer answered, lucky coincidence or a bit of both it's up to everyone to decide, either way it is a colourful bit of history.

We purchased some really delicious New Norcia Bakehouse bread and a few other trinkets at the gift shop including a calico shopping bag and a beautiful milk jug.
Here are a few more photos of town... at the end you'll see some temari inspiration:

Mr W sitting on the Monastery step, a close up of the inner door behind.

Chapel Pipe Organ. Look at the keys... a shortage of Ivory?

New Norcia Church

And now for some temari inspiration. Can you see the shapes I see?

Stained Glass in Chapel
Doorway at St Gertrudes
Various Pressed Tin Ceiling Finishes

Wall Finishes in Chapel
Monastery Gate to Monk's Private Residence

Friday, 19 August 2011

Explore Temari Site

Debi Abolt has long run an amazing site called TemariMath.Info. It is a place I have visited many times, there are mathematical studies on many aspects of temari making (many of which make my head spin to varying degrees) and there is a notebook section in which are so many amazing temari featured along with the notes kept for replicating the design. I think this site is a great resource for all temari makers and an excellent example of how to keep an organised temari notebook which records not only the basics such as the size of the ball, threads used and scratch notes on the method but also the source of the design, illustrations and notes on Debi's experience stitching each project. And that she is willing to share all this with the temari community WOW amazing.
Explore Temari Homepage

Over the last couple of years Debi has been quietly working on her new site ExploreTemari, and this week she launched it for the www to see. I really love the new search feature which allows you to browse the gallery for temari by various criteria: size, source, and keywords (such as stitch types and divisions) to name but a few. There is also a resource section where information about all the source materials can be found and also a glossary for terminology. I haven't found the notebook patterns associated with the images in the Browse tab but I hope they are there somewhere or will be added at a later date (especially the lovely pink and orange one featured in the top right of the homepage banner - it is lush!!!)

Did I say wow before? Well I'll say it again WOW WOW WOW what an amazing job at putting together this new website. Thanks Debi!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Musical movement temari

I mentioned in my last post that I have been toying with the idea of musical temari for a long time. I have a tendency to be a bit frugal (let's say I am a cautious spender) so I want to get the biggest bang for every crafting buck I spend. While the musical mari bases I've seen available aren't that really too expensive, they do represent a much larger investment than the rice hull I use for my cores. Add to that the fact I am easily bored and want a new 'special' temari for each Christmas, I'd need to buy a new musical core every year.

So here is my cunning plan for a musical temari with the bonus of movement, the bare bones of the concept at least.

As you can see from the picture above, the music box itself is tiny. I've removed the winding key and added a Perspex shelf which doubles as a winder. I've also got a smaller shelf but I'm still playing around with the components to see what works best. I picked up 6 boxes which play various tunes... I see temari gift giving in my future.

I am going to look for small (possibly) wooden box to house the music maker which is sitting inside a cute Mor Marshmallow body cream box (my favourite body product!) in the video below. I've stacked the musical movement on top of my camera battery charger in the box and punched a small hole in the lid for the stem of the turntable.

The tune being played is called Everything is Beautiful... (I think it should be renamed Every Temari's Beautiful)

So what do you think? Good concept? Silly idea? Unworkable? Any ideas to improve it? Post a comment and let me know.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Weekend Workshop

Last weekend we had another two day Temari making workshop.

Like Christmas, workshops require a lot of planning and preparation. As the day approaches a nervous excitement begins to build, I wonder if the everything I've planned will be well received and hope the designs provided will be the right mix of learning, challenge and fun. Also like Christmas, no sooner have we sat down to begin the workshop and in a flash it is all over and it is time to pack away and go home again.

Shirley opened her home to hold the workshop, which was so kind, and we got to see the wonderful view of the Indian Ocean from her home's very large windows.  It was just amazing that every time I looked out of the window the ocean and sky appeared so different.

We were treated to the sound of many ticking, striking and chiming clocks through the weekend. I really love the sound of ticking clocks (but not ticking wrist watches which always keep me awake for some reason) and having a bunch of them in the room all ticking away was wonderful. I never really thought about it before but each clock  has its' own unique sound and some of the clocks had such beautiful melodies, they made me think about musical Temari bases.

I have long considered making a musical Temari base but I figured that having a lovely Chirstmassy tune coming out of just one Temari was a bit of a waste. I know... maybe I am easily bored or just a bit fickle but I want to prepare a new and special Christmas Temari every year. So I have been mulling over this idea of musical Temari for a while and I've come up with a cunning plan which involves sound and movement.

I haven't quite worked out all the specs but I'll share the bare bones of the idea tomorrow.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Answering emails... Where to find Temari Classes in Australia

I get emails on a regular basis which are seeking the answers to many Temari related questions, lots of them ask similar things. So seeing as I haven't got any new stitching to show today (I'm packing up for a 2 day workshop) I thought I'd share another recent email.

The writer is interested in starting temari making and asked about the possibility of finding Temari classes in Victoria because she wanted to see temari making in action as the books at her local library just didn't do it for her.
Promoting temari making... well I am all about that, so here are my suggestions.

I am not sure which books you have been looking through, there are some good ones I highly recommend for beginners.
Making temari is really the most enjoyable creative pursuit I have discovered but I too found it tough going working from a book alone when I started out. Sometimes I would get lost in between Picture A and Picture B on the page... sometimes there really is no substitute for moving pictures to show technique. (I know those of us lucky enough to have attended a real live class will agree)
The only place I know in Victoria that takes classes is Kimono House . I am not sure how often the classes run, but several ladies in Victoria have attended them previously. (I really must get around to calling them to find out more about the workshops they offer to Temari makers.) There are also some stitching videos in the temarikai website toolkit, but these deal more with executing various stitches once the temari has been prepared for stitching.
I run workshops in Perth from time to time (and I am honoured to have a lady who travels from Victoria to attend some of these). Also I think some CWA branches and embroidery associations around Australia may also run classes occasionally (if they have a temari maker in their local guild).
I also have a video tutorial series available from my store which shows how to wrap, mark and stitch 2 designs. There are also printable copies of the pattern and shopping lists on the disk which give advice on the best type of threads, needles, etc... to use which will make starting out a breeze. Just pop the disk into your computer and off you go.
I hope that this information is helpful, please don't hesitate to make contact again for any further assistance.
Here is a heads up for my fellow Australian temari makers. If you are interested in reaching out to other potential temari addicts (or forming a local group) in the Real World just drop me a line and I can try to put you in touch with someone else in your area. I know there are now temari makers living in most Australian States.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

ITAD Competition 1 and 2 winners...

have been announced click over to the ITAD site to see all the details.

Also I have been playing with some new features on this blog and I've added a new icon to the address. Oooh  fun!!! Now I'll just need to go to the ITAD page and do the same.