Sunday, 30 October 2011

A dozen flowers... 12th of the bunch

Peach Blossom variation. This one is almost identical to the last flower. Can you spot the difference? 

Did you guess the pentagon is over the flower shape instead of underneath? The previous flower had the pentagon tucked under the Kiku area.

I still haven't managed to perfect the French Knots but I still live in hope.

I really love the S10 colour selection again but I think it works much better having the white as an accent colour rather than the main colour.

The obi is created by stitching wide wedged Uwagake Chidori around the equator. I alternated a row from the North then from the South.

I've finally finished stitching the pentagon outlines for my new version of these flowers on a big C10. This time I am using Sakasa Uwagake... right now it looks like a white and green soccer ball. Hope that the flowers fix that once they're all stitched on.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Meet Pip, Pop and Peep

Twenty one days ago we purchased four fertilised eggs for our broody hen. Yesterday was hatch day. Sadly one egg was found flicked out of the nest during the dark hours of Thursday/Friday and when we found it the egg was already cold and the chick (which was fully formed inside the shell) had no chance of survival. Happily however, we have three cute balls of yellow fluff which Mr W has dubbed Pip, Pop and Peep. The reason for the name selection is because they pip at the shells before hatching and then when it is time they pop out into the world, then they begin to make cute peeping sounds.

Want to see a picture? Or maybe two!

Toetoe's Chickies, They are French Wheaton Marans.
Boy it's hard to get some grub when everyone is standing in the bowl!
Now we just need to hope that one is a girl and that we can twist DH's arm to keep one. Please please puuuuurrrrrlllleeeeaaaasssseee.... [batting eyelids and pulling our most angelic looking faces]

A dozen flowers... 11th of the bunch

Peach blossom. I like this one despite the dodgy french knots. I will perfect french knots one of these days. This design really needs to have the outer points stretched as it is stitched. I chose a bit of an unusual colour combination for the S10 version of this design. I think works. I'll share the obi and last flower of the dozen next time.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Aaaaaarrrrrggggh! What a big week!

This week has been hectic. Lots of events, changed plans, sleepless nights and deadlines happening all week long... with a bit of hair pulling and a few tears along the way too. I must admit some of the dramas were actually self inflicted this week.

This weekend our city is hosting CHOGM* so we have a public holiday today. The holiday is usually held at the beginning of October to celebrate the Queens birthday (I know it isn't on her actual birthday but October is the time when we recognise it). Anyway the holiday was held over to today because the Queen is actually here in Perth to open the CHOGM meeting and having a public holiday now limits the traffic within the city area which will help all the delegates get around much easier.

My DH has been on night shift this week which means I've been sleeping very lightly. On the first night I finally exhausted myself by 3:30am, and each successive night I managed to get off to sleep an hour earlier the previous night.

In addition to my usual crazy schedule this week, on Monday I decided I really needed to have raspberry jam on toast, but we had run out of jam several weeks ago so (as I was looking for pointless projects due to my procrastination over other deadlines) I spent several hours cooking and bottling jam. That night I planned pasta for dinner but we had run out of home made pasta sauce, store bought sauce always tastes very acidic to me so I try to avoid using it, so we had sausages and vegetables instead.

On Tuesday I made and bottled 9 litres of tomato and eggplant sauce. It takes about 4 hours to cook and as it simmered on the stove I tinkered with a few other projects. Then my husband's best mate dropped in for a coffee (DH was home from work). This meant I forgot to stir the sauce near the end and one corner of the sauce cooked onto the base of the pot. Thankfully it didn't transfer any burnt flavour into the sauce but it took me about 45 minutes to scrub the pot clean.

On Wednesday I made some fresh pasta to go with the sauce. I took some fresh pasta, sauce and a small jar of jam to my Aunty. She is recovering from a full knee replacement and recently lost her last sibling. I intended to cheer her up with my visit but we did share some tears too while I was with her.

I also finished taking photos of my S10 flower sampler temari sampler and did the grocery shopping. We were supposed to a have dinner guest but his plans got mixed up so it got rescheduled to Thursday. Instead we decided to all go up to Mum's for a visit after school. We came back via Miho and Seth's house to collect a red lamp and we played with the kids, stayed for Curry Rice for dinner then came home late.

On Thursday I started getting everything organised for the workshop this weekend. I ran out of ink as I began printing the patterns and had to dash down to Officeworks for more. I changed the ink cartridge only to discover that the new cartridge had broken the print head. After a few minutes of wringing my hands and feeling tears well up in my eyes I called EPSON to ask for help. This has happened before when I was working toward a tight deadline and they kindly couriered me out a replacement printer. To my horror I discovered that they had closed their Perth Office at 2:30 (probably something to do with the Public Holiday today). So I called Officeworks and they very kindly agreed to help save me. Not only did they refund the $80 I'd spent on ink even though one of the cartridges were jammed in my printer but they also professionally colour printed all my workshop notes for free while I waited.  Hallelujah for good old fashioned service!

Also on Thursday our guest came for a quick dinner. I was a quick dinner because DH was rostered on a night shift and Mr W had a school dance. I am surprised but I managed to get the dinner organised by 6pm. We had spaghetti cabonara made with our own eggs and home made pasta noodles and fresh crunchy salad and a tasty apple shortcake slice for dessert.

Today I have been packing up ready for the weekend temai workshop beginning tomorrow. I hope I don't forget anything... I really should make myself a checklist.

*CHOGM:  Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting

A dozen flowers... 10th of the bunch

This flower is a variation in the last one. The difference is the distance from the center of the inner points on the striped star.  I am about to restitch this entire project but this time I am limiting my palette to pale shades of pink, blue, purple and yellow on a white ball.  The obi shown in the last photo is stitched with simple Chidori Kagari in the Jyouge Douji (merry-go-round) style. I think this maybe the best of all the obi stitched during this diamond experiment. If you missed any of the other flower designs look through the other posts labelled A dozen flowers from earlier in the month. 

Thursday, 27 October 2011

... all beef patties... and a coronary!

I follow the Ogijima blog which is written by a French guy about his beloved Kagawa area of Japan. His posts are really varied and interesting. Sometimes he posts something really unexpected (quirky) that makes me laugh out loud. Today he wrote about the healthy reputation of Japanese food.

OMG I almost went into cardiac arrest just looking at it... but what value... only 990Yen. 

Hey Super Size Me!

Oh my arteries!

A dozen flowers... 9th of the bunch

This flower is stitched and woven Uwagake Chidori. I like the contrast of the striped and plain stitching. The little plum flower in relief that is formed at the center is so cute. I just noticed I forgot to remove the marking lines on the S10. Oops! I really like the colours of blue with white, they really pop in person. 
I will show the C10 obi next time.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

A dozen flowers... 8th of the bunch

Here is the next flower in my sampler set. This is Mr W's flower. Can you tell why?

I think I prefer the look of this one on the C10 where you can see it on a more flattened surface.

The Obi on this one is just a set of 10 diamonds stitched over each other. I had planned to interlock them but I lost my way while watching a good movie. I do like the effect of larger diamonds encased in a row of smaller ones.

I am surprised but there is still no hankering to keep the marking lines on the ball. I can remember the days when I would never dream of taking off the marking lines for fear that the entire design would melt off the surface.

I like the circle centres on the C10 more than the S10. I had stitched on every line (20) on the C10 but I had used a darker marking thread on the S10 which made it impossible to see for such fine stitching (even with my work lamp blazing away).

PS. I can still hear Mario-kart theme music when I look at this pattern.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

A dozen flowers... 7th of the bunch

I tried something totally off center for the next two temari flower patterns. I've probably seen something like this somewhere but I'm not entirely sure. It think it is a kaleidoscope of rainbow flower petals. When I finished the petals on the design I didn't like the open space so I added the concentric rings of stitching to the middle. Then I thought "Super Mario flowers".

I'll share the Obi and the other design on the S10 in my next post.

Monday, 24 October 2011

A dozen flowers... 6th of the bunch

Striped Snowflake Flower. Hmm don't know of a better (or real) name for this flower but it does remind me of a snowflake.

This one is stitched with double the divisions (I added 10 extra lines) as the last design. I also included a little step out just near the outer edge which I think adds a bit of a lacy element to the pattern.

And as promised the last image is the Obi. This time I stitched Uwagake Chidori Kagari from both sides of the equator.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Yummy Pasta

I've been making my own tomato pasta sauce for a while now, I make a huge batch every few months when tomatoes are cheap at the store (or if we have them in the garden) and share it out with family and friends. Home made sauce is so much nicer than store bought even if it is messy and probably not any cheaper to make.

On Thursday my Mum surprised us with a quick visit. She had a wonderful gift for me too. My very own Jamie Oliver pasta machine.

Jamie Oliver Vintage Blue Pasta Machine
Wow lucky me! And I can't believe it is blue too! My favourite-in-the-whole-world colour. Of course we had to try it out straight away, so we had fresh home made pasta for dinner that night. For some reason I already had pasta making flour (TIPO 00) in the cupboard.

I was on my own making the dough which was a golden colour due to the lovely golden yolk in Puffle's chicken egg. Mr W helped to crank the dough through the machine, it was really fun to do. Unfortunately I had run out of my own tomato sauce and my new crop of basil still isn't big enough to make pesto so we used our emergency store bought sauce.

The pasta was delicious and I have pushed making a new batch of tomato sauce to the top of my to do list.

Mum suggested we get one of those pasta drying racks. But do I really need to spend $50-$90 on a rack when I could make my own? Better yet as my clothes airing rack is almost always out why not just place some strips of baking paper over a few rails and use that.

Thanks Mum for the cool prezzie!*

*Prezzie (also spelled as pressie) means gift or present.

A dozen flowers... 5th of the bunch

Striped Star Flower. I am sure there is a name for this flower but I don't know it. I like it but I prefer the switch up I did of this design which I will show in the next post.

I am getting a real appreciation for how different the designs look on the C10 face and S10. I don't usually stitch a design on two different divisions at the same time so I am finding it very interesting. I think this is an example of a design I prefer on the C10 where the open areas are more obvious and the final shape doesn't get lost with the curvature of the temari.

I'll show the Obi in my next post.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Happy International Temari Appreciation Day 2011

October 22nd means it is International Temari Appreciation Day.

I'd like to give thanks to all my temari mentors and friends for sharing your passion of  temari making with me and for guiding, supporting and inspiring me along my own temari journey. I am constantly amazed how our shared love of this wonderful craft has brought so many people together from every corner of the globe.

In Perth it is cool and overcast today so I didn't get to spend time out stitching in a park like I had planned... I have been having some bad asthma symptoms over the last week so I don't want to risk getting a cold. I am getting more sensible as I get older.

So instead got out all my temari books to browse through them and be inspired to try new design projects through the coming year. I also wrapped 4 balls in shades of blue (my favourite colour) and read several of my favourite temari related blogs, then spent time working on my temari for the workshop next weekend.

I'd like to remind you about the competition running over at the ITAD site. Pop over and have a look.

Happy stitching! Enjoy your day!

Friday, 21 October 2011

A dozen flowers... 4th of the bunch

Here is the next flower in the series. It is another type of rose. This one has more petals (it is stitched on more marking lines) which spiral around the centre.  I added French knots to the centre instead of having the usual pentagon stitching there. I like how much more raised off the base this design is. There are so many layers of stitching is ends up with a slight dome and feels quite textured.

The last picture is the Obi which separates the two roses.

This one is stitched in the merry-go-round style (Jyouge Douji) but done with plain old Chidori Kagari stitching then a keeper stitch tacks all the little bundles together.

It has suddenly dawned on me that the last few temari I've made have all had the marking lines removed after the stitching was completed. This means my usual metallic bling is missing... and I didn't even miss it while I was stitching... so could this mean my addition to metallic threads is finally broken? Probably not.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Broody hen gets some eggs

Our little Lavender Araucana/Silky cross has been broody for ages. We tried everything to break her of her desire to sit on a clutch of eggs but we just couldn't. Finally, after having a day with no eggs laid (because she was hogging the nest) and seeing her sit on the nest even though it was empty, we gave in and have purchased 4 fertile eggs for her to try to hatch.

We've moved her from the hen house and she is snuggled into a small doghouse that I reclaimed from a roadside rubbish collection inside Mr W's wooden cubby house.

4 Maran Eggs
Not that I am counting my chickens before they hatch... but hopefully in a few weeks we'll have some lovely new French Wheaton Maran chicks. Here is a pic of the eggs before we put them under Toetoe.

See how gorgeously dark the Maran eggs are compared to the eggs laid by our hens!

They should hatch around the last day of the month. Fingers crossed!!!

While Toetoe is locked away in the broody box everyone else had a morning of free-ranging around the garden. They all had a pecking and scratching good time!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

A dozen flowers... 3rd of the bunch

A Rose Garden. These ones are outlined with a contrast colour to separate the petals. I think with the difference in tone I used to stitch these the outline wasn't really necessary, but I do like it.

I like how much more round rose on the S10 looks compared to the C10 version.

Sometimes I write about how the colours I choose don't work out quite 'right'.  I think the rose on the sample ball is an example of this. Although now I have seen it for a while it is growing on me (a bit). Joan Z has just started her own blog, and in her second post she has let us into her mind to understand the creative process of how she produces her gorgeous temari. I recommend you visit her blog if you haven't already and read how she gets her colours to work out every time.

Next time I'll show you a variation on this rose theme and the obi on the S10 ball.

Monday, 17 October 2011

A dozen flowers... 2nd of the bunch

Here is the second in this flower series. Again it is a Camellia flower, but this time I have changed it up a bit from the classic look. I've stitched the centres as French Knots. The sample ball was stitched in Perle 8 so there are A LOT of knots there. The colour changes are quite bold and I wondered if a more gradual change would be better so in the S10 version I did very subtle colour gradation... a little too subtle. I can barely see the difference.

Below there is the picture of the diamond pattern obi.

Did you miss the last post about this series? Check out the links in the archive. All these posts are titled 'A dozen flowers'.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

A dozen flowers... 1st of the bunch

I've been working on these flowers for a while now. I know I haven't shown temari for ages, sorry about that. Hope the next 12 posts makes up for it. The top image is from my sampler ball and the second image is from a set of six S10 temari I've been making. I have also been experimenting on these making diamond obi designs using different methods. I'll show the obi in the next post.

The sampler ball is of course much larger than the second temari. It is interesting to see how different the flowers look given the change in curvature of the surface area covered by the design.

The next post will be a different take on this Camellia design.

Until next time... happy stitching!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

ITAD in less than 10 days... the excitement is building.

Not long to go until we celebrate the 2nd International Temari Appreciation Day.

I've set up a competition over on the ITAD blog so you can share your stories about Temari and ITAD to win a prize.

If you haven't heard about the competition yet GO take a look.


What? You're still here?

Click the link above to visit the ITAD site.


Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Perth Royal Show 2011: Part 3 - The Finale

I did take a lot of photos at the show, and I so enjoyed the pavilions with all their interesting displays.

I really loved the floral and cake decorating areas. I couldn't take pics in the cake area because when I went through the crowd was rather tightly packed in (think Crocodile Dundee at the subway) and there was just no stopping or moving against the herd.
Here are some of the photos from the floral displays. There were two category sections. Ladies Day at the (horse) races. The spring racing carnival is just about to begin here in Australia so this is a timely theme.

What does the left one remind you of? My Fair Lady? The hat is amazing! Such a classic beautiful look and I could instantly see Audrey Hepburn in my minds eye when I saw this display.

The right photo is also part of the racing day display but it is more of a modern and stylised interpretation. I thought it was so cool as a representation of Fashions on the Field which is a tradition on Ladies Days at the races.

The other category was floral arrangements inspired by paintings. What do you think the first one might be?

Did you get Ballerina? I did, and that was before I realised the theme was painted canvas in flowers... or saw the print at the base of the stand. The next photo is what made me realise the theme (yes I am oblivious to the obvious most of the time). I looked at it and thought 'hey that looks like a monet' then I saw the print at the base of the display and then the penny dropped.

The last photo I planned to share was one with Japanese fans represented with flowers... but something happened to the image and it didn't work out so lets take one last look at the hat from the first photo.

Makes me want to recite: 'The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain' with a pebble in my mouth.
 Well that is the wrap up of the 2011 Perth RAS.

If you follow my blog you may have seen two posts about a dozen flowers... sorry to tease you but these are some posts coming up which are currently saved in my drafts (I accidentally hit the post button instead of save). Rest assured they will be posted over the next few weeks and they are all temari I have been working on recently.

Day tripping to Bunbury

Mr W just needs to push a little harder to knock over the light house.
We took a trip to Bunbury last week. I went on my own about a month ago, the weather was awful and I never did any exploring when I got there. This time with my little driving buddy to keep me company (and some nicer weather) we had a great time.

Having a little rest after climbing the tower of  'terror'.
My legs are still aching a bit after climbing the lookout. A testament to how unfit I have become over the winter. The pic of Mr W at the start of this post was taken from the tower.

I took this picture from the top of the tower. Can you see the top right circle? That is our X-trail. The lower red circle is Mr W waving to me. And if I zoom in....

...there he is!

We had a pretty cool day. We went to target and he purchased a lego model which we built while eating our lunch.

Remember in my last post about the new Forrest Hwy I said how boring it was? Well this time a local insurance company (RACWA) with help from the Brand Agency advertising firm has done something to entertain you along the way.
I love it!!! Immediately Mr W began singing 'magical food' from Ice Age... if you have kids/grandkids you probably saw this scene.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Perth Royal Show 2011: Part 2

I live in a very big state and the local community display pavilion showcases all the differences between the districts of WA.

Working from the top of the state down here is the display for the Kimberly/Pilbara area. Click on the pictures to see more detail. In this area there are loads of mines. Iron ore, pearls and diamonds all come from this area. The Ord river offers a veritable bounty of food. There is a strong aboriginal culture in these areas and you can see some of the implements they use near the rock formation  in the photo. See the croc skin and bones? There are lots of salties and freshwater crocs in the top end of our state.
Above is a picture of the Great Southern districts. Another great diversity of produce is grown in these communities. The area includes Albany, Esperance and Denmark. The display was so big I couldn't fit it into a single photo.I think the display of grains is awesome, I never realised how many types of grain is grown right here in my own home state. So many types of wood too, Jarrah, Marri and Karri. Also there is a wide variety of wool and fresh produce raised in these areas. Did you notice the wine and all the varieties of eggs?

A little closer to Perth is the South West district which is featured in the next two pics. Or as we say 'Souwest'. Another wonderful area which includes Donnybrook, Harvey and Margaret River. Here they grow the best apples and oranges in the world! There are also many dairy farms and that means lots of cheese and yoghurt too. I loved the spinning apple display and I saw a new variety of apples (Kanzi) on show, I can't wait to try them.

Second last is the Wheatbelt district. Can you guess what they grow? Yep that's right wheat! But that's not all, there is also some mining and sheep farming. I like how the various grains were displayed here because they look like fields (just how you'd see it from the air flying over it). This area is full of very large farms (and as far as I know not too much else) I imagine life in this area is pretty tough and quite lonely too.

Last of all in the Goldfields display. Kalgoorlie/Boulder and Coolagrdie are the main areas in this district. Take a look at all that sparkly stuff!!! I think of gold, pubs, miners and brothels when I think of Kal (Kalgoorlie)! It has a pretty colourful history since the late 1800's.

I really loved a solid gold encased USB stick that was on display... so did everyone else... I didn't get close enough to take a photo. I think it might be time to take Mr W out to Kal to brush up on the history of Paddy Hannan (a gold rush icon) and CY O'Connor (a man that laid a water pipeline linking Perth to Kalgoorlie).

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Perth Royal Show 2011

On Saturday  1/10/11 we had a day at the Royal Agricultural Show (RAS) in Perth. We took Mr W last year and had no intention to go again this year but the government has sponsored kids under 12 free entry (due to them delaying the usual public holiday that falls on the Monday during show week), it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

Last year we did all the things the boys wanted and this year we got to do many of the things I missed out on last year. Namely the cake decorating and crafts displays. Also we had a big interest in the poultry (now that we have our own chooks). Mr W spent ages at the Scouting and defence forces displays.

Here he is in a huge tank. He also spent ages in the night vision tent and has a good go at the exhibition guns that were on display. His dad (who is ex-military) showed him how to switch a gigantic gun from single fire to automatic fire and all about it how to sight it etc. I felt nervous just standing near by... I am glad that the artillery they had hanging out the side was just for show.

The boys also went on the chairlift which crosses the show-ground end to end. It was my favourite ride as a child and we would count the number of lost thongs* and show-bags on all the pavilion roofs as we travelled along. (I must note I did grow up in the 70's and they were simpler times) I walked along underneath the chairlift, which was good excerise and helped me make some calorie room for the basket of hot spiral chips we ate for afternoon tea.

I'll add another post with some more pictures later.

*Thongs: In Australia thongs are a rubber apparel item for the feet not a type of underwear that lodges in your butt. No offence to anyone who prefers to wear that type of underwear but I spend most of my life trying to avoid my knickers going like that :) Also while most Aussies own at least 1 pair of thongs, in recent years many of us prefer to not be seen wearing them... maybe we are finally becoming a little more style conscious as a nation.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Today I made...

Stamped pendants.*
Remember the Sculpey clay from a few weeks ago? I finally got to play with it last week. Apart from using this type of clay to make handprints of Mr W's hands when he was a baby, I have never clay played.

One thing I realised was it is really (I mean really) hard to get to a workable texture if it is a bit old. I think I may have bruised my palms trying to get it to squish together. Another thing is that it takes longer to bake than you'd think. I had a few misfires along the way.

I have discovered that using a special conditioner helps get the clay back to a more workable texture. I think I'll invest in some for next time. My Mum wants one of these made with a silver butterfly. The blue/white combination makes it looks a bit like a piece of delft pottery.

I am having a bit of fun with these and learning as I go along. I also made some really nice pendants with black butterfly scene (larger) and a deep orange blossom scene (smaller) which I strung together for a friends birthday a few weeks ago. I didn't get a photo but I think they looked really cool.

* Small correction... this post has been sitting as a unfinished draft for a few weeks (since 30/8/11) as I couldn't make time to take the pictures.