Sunday, 31 July 2011

My ITAD logo ball entry at Flickr

This has sure been a busy week. Mr W started back at school and I've been to visit my gorgeous niece and nephews several times. There have been cupcakes and cookies baked, and we even had one of Mr W's school mates over for the whole day on Saturday when (amongst other fun stuff) we made animal face soap.

All this extra activity has put me a bit behind on my temari stitching... but I finally got my ITAD ball completed and added to the Flickr group today. There are some other really nice temari which have been added by others... click over and have a look, remember to vote for your favorite.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Temari making in Indonesia makes the news.

The Indonesia Temari Association is currently holding an exhibition at the Japan Foundation in Jakarta. In August they will also be holding temari making classes. More details can be found at the Jakarta Globe.

Last year the Japan Foundation held an exhibition in October at Jakarta. There is an article here about it. Check out the amazing Ikebana styled temari display picture. Wow that is an achievement in engineering!

Temari making is slowly but surely stitching its' way across the entire world.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Answering emails... Where to buy temari books

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've been pattern writing this week) I thought I'd share one recent email.

The writer asked about a magazine that regularly has temari patterns or to recommend a retailer and books to help encourage her Mother in continuing with temari making.
 Promoting temari making... well I am all about that, so here are my suggestions.
There are no magazines (I am aware of) which regularly feature temari making but there are several books written in English about this craft.
You can find a post on this blog where you will find details about temari books. Some shop front book stores may be willing/able to order in these books for you if you provide the ISBN, Author's Name or Book Title. 
The English language books I recommend are Barbara B Suess and Mary Wood. There is also a 5 volume series of temari books written by Diana Vandervoort, (personally I don't find them very easy to follow - but then that is just me, many other people find these texts a wonderful resource). 
I don't retail the English language books but I do sell most of the in print Japanese titles and an excellent range of temari making threads, needles etc. from my supply store.
On the Internet there are several good places to visit for free patterns. Once you have learned the basic stitching and marking techniques you can also go to TemariKai to view a toolbox of techniques and a wonderful range of patterns. . [I omitted the reference to TK in my email because I hit send too soon - silly me  - also TK has 9 pages of free patterns too.]
I run workshops in Perth from time to time and I think some local CWA branches and embroidery associations around Australia also do this occasionally (if they have a temari maker in their local guild).
I hope that this information is helpful, please don't hesitate to make contact again for any further assistance.

Hope that information is a good start point for anyone interested in beginning temari making.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

I'm an Aunty


My brother and sister in law's much anticipated baby boy has arrived! He is quite a little night owl too arriving at 2:10am on July 22nd. A little smaller than his big brother at 3460g (7lb10oz I think) but just as cute. Like his big sister, brother and even bigger cousin he is gorgeous.  

Miho did an amazing job, using no pain relief at all.  Unfortunately I didn't get to learn any new Japanese 'bad language' during the labour. There really are no words to express how in awe I am because of the incredible person she is. My brother Seth was an excellent support person, they really are a fantastic team.

I had the honour of cutting the cord, which was surprisingly tricky to do. When I came home I had to apologise for the occasional ribbing I'd given DH through the last 9 years after he struggled with the same task when Mr W was born. I guess I am better with embroidery scissors than those blunt duck-billed hospital ones, but I did manage it after the midwife kindly teased me a little.

Team KAT: Miss D, Mr H, Mr W and Mr M
Team KAT is what I've dubbed our collective kids and represents our original and married surnames. They are all having their first hold of the baby in the photo above, Mr M looks like he is wriggling away to get another cupcake.

Miss D had called me to let me know 'the baby is coming today' and promptly requested cupcakes to celebrate. How could I resist?? Of course I made lemon cupcakes decorated with blue sugar hearts on top. I packed them in my bag and took them to the hospital with me before Mr H arrived.

Monday, 25 July 2011

OMG that must have hurt!

Both our Isa Browns are finally back on the lay which is wonderful because it means 12-14 yummy brown shelled eggs from them each week. In addition to these we are also enjoying blue shelled eggs from both Auracana chickens (6-8 eggs per week). Last week our Polish/RIR started laying too, she has laid 4 eggs in the 6 days she has been laying and they have a lovely creamy pink tint on the shell. You might remember this is the chicken we got in exchange for the Rooster we gave back to the breeder a few weeks back. So the only hen not to be laying is our Andelusian... maybe she is sad that her Rooster buddy is gone or just hasn't matured enough yet to begin laying. This week we have gathered a grand total of 23 eggs.

Scratchy (the Isa Brown who had the horrible moult earlier this year) had not laid for about 3 months but since she has restarted her eggs are increasingly large. The weight and size of her eggs have grown from 50grams (1.76oz) to 60grams then 67 grams to 75grams and today her egg was a whopping 82grams (2.89oz).

Here is a picture of Itchy and Scratchy's eggs today.

These are Vegemite, Toetoe and Puffle's eggs.

And here is a comparison of the eggs from smallest to largest.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

What's stitching this week

Over the last month or so I have found myself more than slightly enamoured with C6 marking. There are two ways to mark this division, either by marking a S6 and adding additional lines at points determined by calculating a formula or by starting a S4 without and adding additional diagonal lines from the equator. Both methods are explained in the toolbox section of  TemariKai.

I like the second method (it avoids most of the maths). Once outlined in green a C6 gives you 4 nicely sized triangle faces to experiment with. I have played with the arrangement of the colours on each one and I've shown each face in the last picture. Which colour sequence do you thin is best? I think I prefer dark petals on the outer edge.

I have also really enjoyed seeing some net stitched (Amime-giku) designs on recent web searches and so the idea sprang into my mind to combine both ideas. So far I've made 3 with each getting better as I go.

Round 1:

Round 2:

Round 3:

I think that the 3rd one is my favourite, the green base on the second one was just too out there colour-wise. I think I am going to take a leaf out of Rod's blog (Jtex)  and invest in one of those colour wheel thingys, his colour choices are always right on target. I also found this cool colour wheel gadget on the web, I've bookmarked it for future reference.

I really like this netting look and I plan to play around with this style a little more.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

My JTA Temari Submission

I just realised I haven't shared the pictures of my temari which I submitted to the JTA in June as consideration for the Koutouka level.

Sorry to have overlooked this, I guess my excitement at everyone's successes just got away with me and I simply forgot to share my own temari.

C8 Group 2011
C10 Group 2011

Level 1 Group 2010
I know there are a few years before I can even consider making a submission for Level 3 but the dark, quiet spaces in the back of my mind are percolating ideas already... which is a good thing because it will take a long time for me to develop enough original temari designs which are stitched with a suitable level of excellence to be considered worthy of Shihan status.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Road trip to nowhere

Out on the open road
Last week we took a road trip to... home. It was a nice day for driving so we set out for destinations unknown.

Mr W chose the direction we would drive toward by spinning around several times then randomly pointing and checking the direction with his compass. DH did all the driving, usually we swap but he was happy to drive the whole way, he suggested that it will be my turn to drive a whole trip next time... I bet we will be heading out to Road Train  territory. Oh how I do hate driving with road trains.

We headed Northeast to York and did a loop around to the South past Beverley and Brookton and turned back West and home via Armadale. All up we travelled almost 350km and had lunch in York (and visited the candy store again). Mr W proved he can run really fast across the suspension pedestrian bridge, after several attempts he managed to cross and return in just 20 seconds... but had to get helped back to the car because he was so exhausted. A nice (and clever) way to get a free piggyback if you ask me!

It was amazing to see how different the countryside looked since we visited back in April. I took a few pictures of the beautiful green fields.

Sorry we're travelling at 110kph, but look sheep!
In April this was dusty, brown and barren.

Love that sky

I adore the spots of blue peeking through the beautiful clouds and those lush green fields.
A cool looking gnarled dead gum tree, sorry still doing 110kph. 
We had afternoon tea in Beverly and played a few hands of Uno in the park there. We didn't stop at Brookton because we wanted to get home to collect the eggs before our chickens went to bed.

What a great day together.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Revisiting an older design

Remember the C10 starry design series of temari I made earlier in the year? I guess I hadn't finished tinkering with it yet because a few new ideas have evolved lately. I have stitched the first idea... it wasn't too successful, nice enough but leaves me with a 'Meh' kind of feeling.

This was done using a rainbow variegated thread. I'm not sure if the reason it doesn't grab me is the paleness of the colours or the thinness of the thread. I hadn't used this thread before (it is called Mercer #40 and I guess it is for crochet???) but I liked the colours well enough in the store to give it a go. I think perhaps it might work better on one of those spirograph flower designs. The link will take you to Glenna's webshots album

I thought I had published this post already (on July 18th), but seeing as I hadn't, I've added idea 2 now that it is finished. I quite like how it turned out, and I can't say I remember seeing anything exactly like this before. Perhaps it is original?? or at least I came across the idea from within myself after wondering what if about other temari I had made. I don't think we can call it a Renzoku design though now that the colour changes within each shape.

From Urban Dictionary: Meh is an interjection used to imply indifference towards a subject; "a verbal shrug". This particular interjection has somehow become quite popular among teens, the reason for this popularity is a mystery. Other popular interjections are "bleh", "dah", and "mih". Usu. pronounced shortly, without eye contact or body movement.
"You wanna go to the mall?"
"Meh, I have nothing to do for the rest of the day..." etc.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Mmm mandarins

We're right in the middle of winter and all our delicious citrus trees are bearing fruit. We have had so many limes that we sent Mr W around to place a bag on all the neighbours doorsteps. Our lemons are going gang busters too. I've squeezed a load of them and placed the juice in the freezer to use later. The orange and kumquat trees aren't doing much this year... they are both in pots and suffered badly with our long, dry summer.

The mandarin tree is a big success this year. I can't remember ever eating fruit off this tree before, but this year they are just delicious... and there are lots of them.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Tinkering with design

Sorry for not posting in a while, the sky over Perth has been dark grey for so many days but today was sunny enough for some photography.

The last 3 temari I've made have all been variations of the same design. I really like playing with the colours and seeing what difference (if any) it makes to the overall look of the temari.

Round one:

Round two:

Round three:

Can you work out what was changed or do they all look the same? I am thinking of further embellishment on the 3rd temari, I have used removable marking thread on this one... but then again I might just remove the marking thread and leave the illusion of the design floating on the temari surface.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Today I made...

home made soap from scratch by the cold process method.

Well actually it was Tuesday when I made these but I only got to cut into it today. It was fun but scary to make as I had to use a lye solution to saponify the oil mixture which resulted in soap. I must admit I don't really like the fragrance very much (I think it is called Linden Blossom) but decided to use it in case I mucked up the batch. I am a bit more confident to make the next batch in a few weeks with the other fragrance (the one I prefer) that came in the kit. I didn't add any colour to this batch, but the next batch will have green clay added to it.

It was really fun but I heated the oil a little too hot so it all took a long time to get to a the temperature required to mix with the lye water. Ok so the cutting is dodgy but I am sure this will improve too. Also I'm not sure how much these will shrink as the curing time is when the water component evaporates away. We can also cut the pieces in half later on if they are still too big. The darker marks are loofah shred. DH fashioned me a cutter out of  bamboo and wire fishing trace. Now that I see the photo it looks a bit like a 'kill' kit especially with the latex gloves on the left of shot. I can assure you the ONLY thing we dismembered was soap.

I did lots of net researching and read a few e-books about soap making before I did this project but the best resource was from soapqueen tv. There are four videos in the cold process soap series and I watched them all at least twice before I started.

Now I just need to wait and wait for 4-6 weeks to let it cure before we can use it. Lucky I am getting more patient with age.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

2011 International Temari Appreciation Day on October 22

There are just over 3 months (105 days) until October 22 a.k.a. International Temari Appreciation Day a.k.a. ITAD.

Here is a quick challenge for all of you who write a blog or have a website.

We want you to give our craft's special day a shout out so please write a post to let your readers know about ITAD and then make a comment with a link to your page at the ITAD blog. You can write about what you did to celebrate ITAD last year, what you plan to do to celebrate this year, add a button to your page, suggest your readers enter our new 2010 logo competition or anything else temari related... just remember to provide a link so your readers can find the ITAD blogspot.

One entrant will win $15 of threads from the Temari Addict Australia Supply Store.

Here's the small print: You can enter more than once, so if you have multiple blogs or web pages you need to make a separate comment with a link for each page you wish to enter. You must provide a link to direct readers to the ITAD blog in your page.The prize threads totalling AUD$15 can be chosen from any range but shade selections will be from current stock only so please be aware we may not have all shades available. The winner will be announced on the ITAD blog on July 30th at 6pm. You will need to provide a postal address for delivery of your prize before August 10th or the prize will be re-drawn. All competition times are Western Australian Standard Time. 

There is also another ITAD competition running but you will need to visit the ITAD blog to learn all the details.

Big Fun with Little People

On Thursday we were lucky to have Miss D for a sleep over. It has been ages, maybe more than a year (?) since she came and stayed over night so we tried to make it a big treat.

On Thursday afternoon, after playing for several hours at my Mum's house, we got some shopping and fuelled up the car then we picked up Mr W from school. Off home to cook cookie pressed butter cookies. Miss D made heart shapes and Mr W made Christmas tree shapes. Next it was lots of fun with the neighbourhood kids playing basket ball and hide and seek in the garden. After dinner it was time for a nice long soak in the tub with some Japanese Bath Salts - which start out orange but turn the bath water green. Then it was story time and time for bed.

On Friday morning we made pancakes for breakfast. Miss D asked for mini ones. I made her a very small one and she said 'No Auntie, not small ones, Minnie ones!' Then I understood she meant Minnie Mouse shaped ones. We took Mr W to school and made a big puzzle with some of his classmates because it was Fun Family Friday. We got the puzzle finished before the bell rang so everyone got a token in their jar. Mr W got three because he also got one for each family member he had brought to school.

Back at home Miss D and I made soaps. Lots of mini shaped soaps (about 1.5kg altogether) which were made into hearts, 2 types of fish, flowers, stars and disk shapes. When they set we counted them out and packaged them up into little bags. We made some tags and tied them on with ribbons which Mr W later helped to write the names onto. After lunch we made some lip balm pots. Miss D wanted Raspberry and Chocolate flavoured balms. Next we wrote a shopping list and went to the store for a few things to make a roast lamb dinner.

We got back just in time to pick up Mr W from school and after a play on the monkey bars we came home for a snack. After running around the yard for a while and feeding the chickens/collecting eggs they both settled on the sofa to watch a movie and chat while I got the meat and vegetable ready for the oven. Just as I got everything in the oven (at about 4:30pm) I noticed that the conversation had stopped... Miss D has completely run out of energy and had fallen asleep.

The only thing we didn't get to do was paint Miss D's nails - we'll do that next time.

Soon Seth, Miho and Mr M arrived for dinner and DH came home from work. We ate dinner - we were all so hungry - and then we played a few rounds of UNO (Miss D and I were a team) and Mr M entertained us with some of his new comedy routines. He is so cute and finally beginning to come around to liking to be with me... maybe next time we can have him for a sleep over too.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Insert Happy Dance Here

Almost every night before bed I check my emails. Being in a time zone approximately 12 hours apart from many people I communicate with on the Internet makes this something of a necessity. Last night I didn't check my messages before bed, instead I sat by the heater and stitched temari (yes it was -0.4C and now it is July we are using the heating sparingly).

This morning at 7:30am I logged on to check my messages while we ate breakfast. I saw a e-card from Barb and it told me I had passed my Level 2 JTA submission. How exciting I am now Koutouka!!! I am glad I didn't know late last night or I may not have been able to get to sleep.

I really want to give thanks to Ai for facilitating and supporting all of us that choose to follow the path of JTA accreditation  Without Ai's kind assistance it is doubtful that any Westerner would have such opportunities. Also thanks must be given to Barb who held my hand, gently encouraged and supported my learning efforts over the past 2 years while I was making this journey.

I am sure many other people passed their submissions for various levels too. To date I know that Glenna Kipp has passed her Level 4 Kyoujyu (now a Professor of Temari) and I saw a notice on TT about Anne too (but I am not sure about the level she had submitted).

Congratulations everyone.

Now let the happy dance begin!!!

Thanks too Deb from Sydney who had already sent me an email to congratulate me this morning. 

Here is a sample ball pattern that was part of the submission.

In English:

In Japanese: