Friday, 23 September 2011


Today was Mr W's school faction carnival. We have had dreary weather all week but today was heavenly. Not too hot and just the right amount of sunshine.

The kids are all allowed to dress in their faction colours and even do weird things to their hair and faces. Today Mr W requested a red mohawk. Here's a pic... note the lack of smile - apparently you can't smile if you have a mohawk!

Yep, glad I didn't decide to got into a career in hairdressing (so is everyone else I am guessing). I just hope we can get all the red out of his beautiful hair tonight when he washes it. My Mum always told my brother 'do what every you want with your hair but don't come home with a tattoo'*... I think I'll be happy to have the same rule for Mr W. If you hate your hair you can cut it off and it will grow out nicely again, but if you regret your tattoo you're stuck with it.

Anyway back to the sport carnival. Mr W's team won for the first time since 1996. Blue faction had won almost every year since then. Go Red!!!

*In less than a week during his teens my brother had a long style then it was yellow, then it changed to purple and then it had a shaved undercut and then cut shorter with tracks shaved into it. I think it might have been the following week (or sometime very soon after this) that he talked Mum into rubbing wax into his hair for dreadlocks. He never ever got a tattoo though.

Gosh I don't relish the prospect of my boy with dreads... and what would that look like anyway????

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Answering emails... Which thread?

For many of us there is no local needlework store (LNS), we are often left with no other choice than to turn to the Internet for our supplies. This week I got an email from a customer who had a question about the difference between two metallic threads.

When I began temari making in Perth the Internet was also my only option. There aren't too many LNS in Perth and those that are here don't carry everything a new temari maker wants and most of the staff behind the counter (while knowledgeable in other forms of embroidery) have never even heard of temari, let alone seen one or know what tools and threads to suggest to a newbie. I guess this is how my online store began. I got tired of never being able to find what I wanted at the store to I started my own small business and the rest is history.

Now I carry a range that includes metallic, rayon & cotton threads, needles, v rulers, books and the like.

We all have our own favourite threads for stitching temari. Each thread has its own pro/con depending on the projects use, users desired outcome and stitching skill.

Here is an image to compare the various threads I have for sale in my store.

From this image you can see the thickness of each thread. I've even included a sample of DMC (which I don't sell) so you can compare a thread you are familiar with to others you may not have seen before.  In addition to the thicknesses there are other aspects of each thread to take into consideration when choosing which one to use in your project. 

Cosmo Lame and Nordic Gold while very similar in terms of thickness, are manufactured in different ways. Nordic Gold is a chainette and has a slight stretch when pulled. Cosmo Lame is a braid and it has a slight flatness. Both of these threads are a little thinner than Perle 5 cotton so you need to be aware of it's potential to get lost between lots of tightly spaced rows of stitching. Cosmo Lame is sold in 3 shades in our store, Nordic Gold comes in 14 shades. 

Treasure Braid Petite is substantially thinner than the other metallic threads (although one or two shades are a little thicker than the one in the image). They are made as a braid and are quite strong despite their fineness. They are great for adding multiple lines to a C10 or C8 temari. While I wouldn't stitch with them along side Perle 5 thread, they are great for adding fine detail to outer edges or making small matsuba,  stars shape, obi chidori and the like. They work perfectly as a substitute metallic stitching thread when using fine stitching threads (like top stitch quilt or single strand embroidery thread) on tiny and teeny temari. This range comes in more than 70 shades and several levels of shimmer.

KYO thread is made with rayon which makes it GLOW on your temari, so much so that taking a really great photograph of temari stitched with KYO is quite difficult. It is thinner than Perle 5 cotton (between DMC #5 and DMC #8) is a little slippery but it is divine to work with as it rarely gets kinks and is quite strong. A good size knot or several zigzags underground at the beginning of stitching will keep it anchored nicely and you'll need a couple of zigzags at the end too. This thread is also available in more than 70 shades.

Cosmo Cotton #5 pearl is the thread used in many of the Japanese language temari books. It is softer than DMC so it plumps nicely and knots up much less too. This thread is not very well known to the rest of us but has a long history of usage in Japan and is much loved by Japanese embroiderers, it really is a great quality thread equal to (if not better than) DMC. There are 260 shades in this range. I really like using this thread to stitch my temari and although I don't carry the full range of colours at this stage, I hope to continue to widen the selections available over time.

There is an almost infinite variety of threads available to temari makers and the ranges I sell are my favourites. They are the ones I have tried, tested and found to offer the best results for most applications.  Visit the Temari Addict Australia supply store for more information of these ranges of threads.

My number one recommendation for purchasing threads on the Internet is to invest in a colour chart for the ranges you prefer to use. Purchasing from an image on the screen can sometimes result in disappointment when the 'in person' shade doesn't match the 'monitor' shade and it can throw off your whole design.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Just when we'd given up hope

... we finally got our first egg from our Andalusian hen! We've had her since February and were told she was already 16 weeks old. She has been threatened with being 'invited' for 'dinner' a few times but now she has laid her first creamy white egg we are happy we didn't put Lusia in the pot.
Unfortunately is is really dark today so the picture isn't very good but let me assure you the in real life the eggs are pinky beige (L), mid brown (B), pale blue (R) and creamy white (T).

Seth and Miho also had an Andalusian but she only laid a few times then carked it*. Hope we have better luck with our bird, because she is quite lovely looking and gotten very tame.

Our other chickens are all doing well, but we have a little silky/araucana cross (that lays blue eggs) who dearly would like to be a mama. She sometimes spends hours sitting on the nest trying to brood everyone else's eggs. Shame it wont ever happen because we don't have a rooster. If she doesn't get this idea out of her head soon I might need to go and buy some fertilised eggs so she can get the baby chicken making thing out of her system.

Definition: cark it
An Australian idiom said to have originated in or before the 1970's. To die, as in don’t tell the kids the budgie carked it. Perhaps it is a play on the standard English word croak ‘to die’, or it may be a shortening of carcass. Cark it also means ‘to fail or break down completely’: my blender’s carked it.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

I'm still here

Just being a little quiet. We've had lots going on lately, but this week has been quiet because I caught a cold. I've spend the last few days doing as little as possible apart from blowing my nose, using my asthma medication or stuffing my face with headache tablets and hot honey and lemon drinks. I am glad I squeezed all those lemons a few weeks ago because now all I need to do is pop a ice cube  of juice into a mug add the honey and pour over the hot water... it's even easier if I batter my eyelids and cough as my DH will make it for me. He is such a darling!

I must admit I have felt a bit sorry for myself, but I do keep reminding myself how truly lucky I am despite the inconvenience of feeling a bit off. This month has been filled with milestones and reminders of how lucky life in my small corner of the world is and has always been.

Since my last post I have been working on my temari patterns for the October weekend workshop. This week I've been typing up my handwritten notes... I think I'll wait until my head clears to draw the diagrams. Goodness knows how diagrams would turn out otherwise.

Today I'm feeling a bit better so I just made cheese scones from Jamie Oliver's website for lunch. I Changed up the recipe a bit, substituting some Parmesan for cheddar, and powdered chicken stock for salt. I also added some Cajun spice mix. Mine turned out great (even though I forgot to brush the tops with milk before I baked them) they were really golden coloured, tall and flaky on the outside but soft in the middle. We ate them with Vegemite spread all over them. Yum!
Vegemite, I think Aussies are born with a predisposition for the love of this stuff, we also take a tiny bit of pride (or maybe sick pleasure) in the fact that, with very few exceptions, people from other parts of the world absolutely dislike it in almost every way. I think it is a bit like Natto for Japan. My niece loves loves loves Natto and while it has taken me nearly 3 years, I now no longer gag when I smell it... I still can't bring myself to eat it.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Oops I did it again!!!

well almost! Lucky for me I remembered before DH did!

Today is our wedding anniversary. We have only been married 5 years so I am more used to thinking of the day we met (back in July 1995) as our anniversary. I can't really believe that we have been together for 16 years now, I know it isn't really very long in the broad scheme of things, but in these times of disposable marriages I guess it is an achievement.

I read that wood is the traditional gift for a fifth wedding anniversary so I purchased a lovely locally made wooden box. It is made of Sheoak wood which is native to the southern corner of Western Australia (like me). It has a really lovely marble type of grain and is a much lighter and more golden colour than Marri or Jarrah (both also WA native trees). I filled the box with his favourite snack and I'll give it to him this evening.

No romantic dinners for us this evening though, Mr W chose home-made pizza for dinner tonight - but that is always a fun family activity. I better make a list of what we need from the store.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

A busy day

Today was a very busy (but awesome) day.

I took Mr W to school, listened to all this classmates reading, then zoomed back home to get ready for a one-on-one refresher temari class. Between 10 and 12 we played with temari, working on refining basic marking skills before venturing into marking a C10 then a quick demo on a take home C10 project. It was totally fun to have a session just focusing on temari with one student.

At 12pm I tore out of the house heading for the city to enjoy a birthday lunch with my bestie Louise. I gave her two handmade pendants, some perfume and a set of stacking retro (but funky coloured) mixing bowls.

I had planned to catch a train into the city but after driving around the station parking lot for more than 10 minutes I gave up and drove instead. I don't mind driving into Perth (except that every time I do the Council has changed the direction of traffic flow on yet another street) and I really dislike paying for parking there. I don't know what they charge in your city, but today I paid $12 for just under 2 hours. I am getting old (obviously) because I am getting to the point in my life when now regularly say "I can remember a time when..." and in this case the sentence ends with ... I parked for the entire day in that same parking garage for less than $12.

While I was waiting (I am a habitually early to arrive) I got to do some people watching. I love doing this, and I even make up stories to amuse myself based on what I observe. There were so many different types of people in the city today: people of all colours, nationalities and walks of life, people with silly things printed on their t-shirts, people listening with amusement to foul mouthed messages on their phone, people with armfuls of shopping bags, some with suitcases, others rotating maps while looking for street signs and even one man with a plush R2D2 backpack. It is really interesting and nice to see our once boring grey city becoming more vibrant through diversity.

Lunch was awesome, we ate at a small upstairs cafe and our table was on the balcony so we got to see and hear the street below. We had a really good catch up, shared all our new stories, lots of laughs and shared a great meal too. I had squid for the first time ever.

On the way back home my Mum called asking if I was very far away because she was locked out of my house (in our family everyone has keys to each others homes and can just let ourselves into each house whenever we need to - but DH and I changed a broken lock and I forgot to cut new keys for everyone) luckily I was just a few minutes away. We made a quick cup of tea before school pick up time and then when Mr W came home we walked up to the corner store for an ice cream. Before we knew it the time came to make dinner, delicious steak and vegetables followed by a custard dessert. Mum and Mr W played Monopoly while I made dinner. DH and I also started playing but then he got a phone call so Mr W made an executive decision and split all of his Dad's money between the three of us... then I started dinner and they shared out my assets and continued playing. Mr W had a dubious victory... we are all very certain he did more than a little cheating.

I was worn out by the time I fell into bed just before midnight.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Last Weekend

On Saturday I spent the entire day cooking in my tiny kitchen. In the evening we went to Scitech (a technology and science themed entertainment venue). We got a family pass which meant we could take along one of Mr W's friends. It was really fun they had chickens hatching out of eggs in one area (I knew the answers to all the questions asked at this display thanks to all the research done from keeping our own chickens) lots of different experiment areas including water, gravity, electrical to name but a few. We saw a cool show where they used a Tesla coil to generate electricity and tried to make a composite identikit  image of a 'criminal' being described by a 'victim'.

Sunday was Fathers' day. Mr W had an early 9am soccer match so the boys headed out to that while I stayed home and iced the cakes I'd made the previous day.

We usually give homemade gifts (of the foodie variety) for Father's day and flowers (or something handmade) for Mothers' day. These days retailers are so busy pushing their wares on us that many families have forgotten that these special days are actually days to recognise and give thanks to your parents for all the care and support they have provided (and still do once were grown adults). I don't know that a new car, dishwasher, jet ski or any other high priced consumer item says you love your parent more than a simple gift made and given with thought and love. Anyhow getting off my soapbox about that now...

So this is the list of what I made (with minor assistance from Mr W) for both my Step-dad and DH.
Caramel Popcorn
Coconut Rough
Speculaas Butter Cookies
Lemon Butter

We had a family lunch on Sunday to celebrate Fathers' day and also two birthdays. (Miho's and John's - our Step-dad). I was in charge of dessert - no great surprise right? So I made chocolate cupcakes for the kids and Hummingbird, and Lemon cakes (which I also used some of the batter to make cupcakes.) I also made the cutest mini lemon meringue and chestnut filled tarts. The little lemon tarts were so cute, but I forgot to take a photo of them before they were all gobbled up.

We had such a great day together, the kids children wandered down the road to look at the baby goats kids, the boys all took turns playing wii and Miss D showed us her inner ninja by kicking butt on Swordplay Showdown... she isn't even 4 yet but plays better than me. We were all exhausted by the end of the day... too much food and fun crammed onto the weekend.

Sunday was also one of my best friend's birthday. I had to miss the afternoon tea she had to celebrate it, but we will be catching up for a lunch-date sometime this week.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Today I made...

Dairy Free Chocolate Cake and Coin purses.

The cake was for Miho's birthday. The recipe made A LOT of batter, I made mini cupcakes so the kids didn't eat too much cake and poured the left over batter into a round cake tin. I didn't test the round cake with a skewer and it ended up being a little undercooked (well moist anyway) which reminded me of fudgey brownies. We heated a slice up with ice-cream for dessert. Yum! I almost slipped into a diabetic coma!

Handy to hold a few notes and coin at the bottom of your beach bag, gym bag or to put your bus/train swipe card into, these coin purses are kind of cute. Actually I think these would also make a great orts container when stitching out and about. I used fabric scraps from my stash and the snaps I purchased last week to make these. They are really easy and fun to make, I really liked adding the snaps... there was something rather satisfying about bashing the heck out of the setting tool after a few very parentally frustrating days. Also it's much better to whack the snap than snap and whack the kid... don't you think?

The first one I made with patchwork patterned fabric, but the other was pieced together and then cut to the pattern shape. Note the Suica and Mt Fuji phone card in the bottom right image?? Yep I am all ready to travel on the JR system too bad the reality is the smart card for the Perth transport system... a girl can dream though!!!