Monday, 3 December 2012

Oh the excitement!!!

I've been super busy in the real world lately and I've not has as much time for temari making. I've had packages flying all over the place sending temari books and supplies to many distant lands.

I have been having tremendous trouble sleeping since I began working so many more hours (I'm almost full time again) and every night without fail I have woken between 1-3 am or dreamed about work for several hours during that time. No wonder I was getting tired and cranky... to be perfectly honest I've been acting like a nasty cow for the last week.

Last night I took needle to Mari and actually did some stitching, just an hour or so but can you believe it... last night was the first really good refreshing sleep I have had in weeks! I always say that temari is like medication to me but last night really proved it once and for all.

Didn't I mention something about excitement in my post title?  Oh yeah on to that. I order my business cards and other stationery from Vista-print and they have just released iPhone 4 and 5 covers. Ooh the possibilities  Coincidentally they sent me a $30 coupon so I just had to make a phone cover. Can't wait to get it a little Christmas gift to myself. The image isn't that exciting but the coupon was about to expire and this was about all I could manage before work this morning (in between eating my cereal, ironing my trousers and putting on my mascara).

If you'd like to make a cover for yourself here is the link. I am sure it would be nice to have a pic of the kids or something on my phone but how could I resist a temari phone cover... not that I actually need another phone cover of course.

Well it is well past time to cook the dinner so until next time, keep on stitching!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Macarons... but not from my kitchen

... or anyone else's. This macaron was created in my sewing room. It is just a test to see if I could work out how to make one so the fabric was just a few scraps from the top of the remnant bag in my craft room. I had to shorten the metal zip (an exercise in patience, strength and lightening reflexes... almost lost an eye - twice). I think it turned out kinda cute.

It is all hand stitched... including the zip (something I've never done before). There is a little ribbon loop on the back so it can be hung off a bag (in theory). It is quite small but can fit about four or five coins inside. I am sure you could fold a few 'emergency' banknotes into it too.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Hinata Gallery Cafe 2012

I wish I'd had time to blog about this before the event, but I've been kinda busy lately. I worked 8 days straight leading up to this event (between all my jobs - paid and volunteer) so by the time the day came I was a bit tired but talking about temari all day long does give you a boost.

This year one of my temari made it onto the back of the flyer. Lucky me!! I was so busy I forgot to take photos of everyone's stall but if you would like to see you can click here to go to the Hinata Cafes' blog

I sold several temari including my 'revolution of thought' set of temari. I also sold some Yubinuki thimbles which were fashioned into either necklaces or pin cushions.

I did take some pics of my stall. It wasn't as beautifully laid out as last year. My Mum is the lady with the display knack but she is still out of action since her fall down the stairs some months back. So I had to do the best I could in a short space of time with my 10 year old 'helping' so we could go home and he could play with the kids in the neighbourhood.

These pics were taken on set up day, I took them so I could work out how to make the space look nicer for the actual event. So on the day it looked different and better than this... I forgot to take a photo on the day though. I liked the wooden stands, they worked really well. I needed a longer bit of the cream coloured temari fabric for the table top the darker fabric doesn't let the items pop.

Thursday, 27 September 2012


Thimble rings are what we westerners have dubbed Japanese silk stitched Yubinuki. They are like temari (because they are Japanese) because there are never two the same. Each stitch placement, colour selection, division and size make each one look entirely unique from every other. Even if you try to make two the same they never work out identical.

I have had another binge on thimble stitching lately. I seem to leave these for months at a time and then suddenly become inspired all over again. I love the feel of them when they are finished, nothing beats the smoothness of silk thread. I like all their profiles from the tall slender tubes to the short chubby stuffed ones.

I sold a few of these (with 5 pins in them) at the recent Hinata Gallery Cafe that I attended at the beginning of the month. I don't know many people that appreciate and collect thimbles these days so I turn mine into something 'useful' by making them miniature pin cushions. I even display them with hand beaded flower pins... just because I can.

Sorry for the dodgy photo (which was shot on my iPhone) but here are some of the ones I've made lately. I keep forgetting to charge the battery on my camera so I have several iPhone pics for the next few posts. Sorry.

I stitched the 2nd and 4th ones in the top row and the 1st and 4th ones in the bottom row from my head. I had no idea how they would turn out. I just randomly chose a division and several shades of thread and began stitching. I had a few aha! moments as I went along. The top middle and bottom right patterns were from Debi A's old website. All the others were from the thimble and flower or hard cover thimble books.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Cheesy Goodness

In my last post I wrote a quick update about all the goings on around these here parts. One of the things I have been doing lately is making cheese.

Three friends and I all got together to learn how to make Haloumi (also known as Halloumi) cheese.

Pan cooked Haloumi Cheese. Image from Wikipedia
Have you ever eaten this type of cheese? If not you are missing one of lifes' great experiences. It is brilliant for pan frying (I like it with a little garlic in the pan) and serving in a salad or eating just on its own with a drizzle of lemon or lime. Yum, yum and yum. The problem is it is fairly expensive in Australia so when the opportunity came up to learn how to make it I jumped at it. As part of the course we had a Masterchef cook off at the end to see which team could make the best appetizer with their box of mystery ingredients. Our team won and we all got a Cheese maker cooking timer and a set of mini measuring spoons.

This is a white cheese with a salty squeeky bite which is stored in brine. Originating from Cyprus, this was traditionally stored wrapped in mint leaves (which it tastes fantastic with) and can be served cold atop a slice of watermelon and garnished with a mint leaf. This sounded gross to me but I tried it and it is an amazing flavour combination. In Cyprus it is made of raw sheep or goats milk but we don't have access to that here so I make mine from pasteurised cows milk from the store.

Some people think it is too salty, others don't appreciate the squeakiness... but actually when you make your own cheese you can control both of these factors through the cooking and brining times. I like it salty and squeaky, but my cooking partner and I decided to cook out 3 blocks made in class for different periods of time so we could try all the options. Louise liked her Haloumi less squeaky. Sonja liked it less salty. Courtney was another salty, squeaky Haloumi lover just like me.

If you would like to try haloumi for yourself go grab some from the store and use it in one of these recipes.
I think I'm going to go to the store for milk and make some more today!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Hello world...

it's me! My little corner of the planet has been so busy lately. My free time has been squeezed, squashed and stolen mostly by the pressures of various paid and volunteer work.

I am very sorry for not posting in more than 6 weeks (a first for me) and I'd like to thank everyone who kept popping by to see my blog despite there being no new posts. Also here is a shout out to everyone that sent an email to check on my welfare... sorry to have worried you all, I have been A-OK just too busy to get blogging.

So what have I been doing?

I learned to make Haloumi Cheese with 3 of my girlfriends at The Cheesemaker in the Swan Valley. If you haven't had this lovely cheese before you need to go find some. More details later about that.

I've been making some yubinuki thimbles again. This time I have been stitching without any pattern just seeing how it turns out.  More details to follow.

I've had another 1 day workshop with my group of temari makers in Fremantle.

I've been working as an Administrative Assistant at one job and Bookkeeper at another. Also just for fun I've been volunteering at my son's soccer club as his team manager and also as the co-manager of the canteen. Every Sunday for the last 18 weeks has been swallowed up entirely by soccer.

We've celebrated Father's Day, and a ton of birthdays so of course there has been much baking.

Stock has been piling into the temari supply shop and shipping back out to customers just as fast. More details about that will follow.

I spent some time looking after my DH with a serious case of Man Flu.

Last weekend was the Hinata Cafe, I had a stall there again. It was fun and busy! More details later about that.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

OMG look what I found!!!!

... She said stamping her feet while happy dancing around the room.

A months ago I headed to a part of the metro area that I don't usually visit to pick something up for DH. I recalled that there were a large fabric and a smaller needlework store in the vicinity so I decided to make my way home via these shops.

I had NO intention at all to buy something or anything, I just wanted to have a mooch* around inside these stores and see what they had.

At the fabric store I looked all around and as I was about to leave I saw a long wall of quilting fabric. I wandered over and began looking at all the bolts lined up on the shelving and then...
I saw...

something I just...

HAD TO HAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Temari printed cotton slub fabric from Japan. It has such a beautiful indigo background. You could make Noren with this fabric, or a wall hanging, it would be nice as a small table cloth for tea service too. I purchased the entire 7 metres left on the bolt.

Also I came across these fabrics from Michael Miller when alerted to them by the lovely ladies over at the Temari Challenge group. I purchased these at this store. They arrived in the post this week. As you can see there are four colourways in this fabric. They also have a selection of other type the word temari into this link to see related printed fabric. What will I make with these? Well I don't really know to be honest.

*Mooch can mean many things including stealing or sponging, but in my case I definitely did not mean either of these things. I use it as the second meaning which is wandering around without any purpose.

Gnome Home

We've just had 2 weeks of winter school holidays. I've been spending as much time as possible with Mr W. On the first Monday day we went to Gnomesville (which is a few hours south of Perth). I had heard of this place for a few years but I really didn't have much of an idea where it was so with a full tank of fuel we headed off. He stopped at Donnybrook and got some new season apples. They had the most delicious Pink Lady and Granny Smiths at only $4 a kilo, the Orchard owners wife offered me a whole box for $10 but really I couldn't see how I could use all of them before they would go bad so I politely declined.

While at Donnybrook we stayed for a hour at their huge free playground. It was really busy (the forecast was for rain for the remainder of the week) Mr W quickly buddied up with some other kids and they had a great time together.

We had a bite of lunch and found the Gnovesville area... which is in the middle of nowhere. The story is that the local govenment had decided to build a roundabout at an intersection of two low traffic roads. The residents in the district we up in arms and didn't want this but no one can beat 'ciy hall' so as the roundabout was being built some folk began depositing their un wanted gnomes at the site. The word spread and the gnomes came from further and further afield. Eventually they overtook the rouindabout so they council removed them to the bushland adjacent to the roundabout. These days gnomes come from the US and Europe and many other places too. People have made lots of displays and dedications with their gnomes.

I am surprised how many naughty gnomes there were! Mr W wants to go back next holidays to donate a gnome of his own.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

New Temari

I've been quietly stitching away lately and have a few small projects completed. Not that you can probably tell from the photo but the larger temari is in Olympic ring colours. I marked in gold but included silver and bronze metallic in the stripes. I wanted to use the red in the JD area but I ran out of room so I made a modified star burst (the centre is buried under the pole).

Also do you like the new temari printed fabric I got in the mail today? Actually I purchased 2 yards (yes it's from the US) of this fabric and 3 others. I'll take a photo tomorrow when the sun is back out again. I also came across some temari fabric imported from Japan a few months ago. I'll post about that too... I have been too distracted by other things to photograph it.

I am so scattered lately there are so many projects on the go but just not enough self discipline to finish anything before I start something new.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Baking cupcakes... this time with doves!

Just when I thought my cupcake baking days were over...

On Friday afternoon, after work, I baked cupcakes for a friend of the family who was celebrating her daughter's engagement party. I got a pretty open brief: silver cases, pale purple and doves (if possible).
This is what I came up with. Seven boxes containing 60+ cupcakes with two shades of purple flowers and some snuggling doves.

I've never done doves before, but I lucky to be able to find a special embossing cutter to make these. I tried a bunch of different poses for the wings... IMHO they all looked weird, but the 'customer' really liked them. I also brushed them with white pearl shimmer dust. I got an email this morning to say they were a great success, and lots of ladies took the doves home instead of eating them because they thought they were cute.

I had a heap of royal icing left over (the icing used to create the dots at the center of the flowers) so on Saturday afternoon I used it up by decorating some cookies which were then sold at the soccer canteen I co-manage on Sundays.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Rainbow Inspiration

Remember the rainbow from a few weeks back? I guess that image has stuck with me because I am working a new Renzoku in rainbow colours. We have been puzzling out some photos supplied my Joan at Temari Challenge. The sample ball had a light and dark tone in 3 colour-ways but I decided that I'd make mine with 7 colours in the sequence as they appear on a rainbow on a bright bluish coloured base.

It is really chaotic (maybe a little psychotic) but quite fun. For the Obi  I wrapped two rows of each colour so there actually is a real rainbow at the middle. I probably should have made the obi first but I didn't know how long my legs would be so I completed one side first and then stitched to match on the other.

I feel happy looking at this one, how could anyone be misreable looking at all that crazy colour.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Working on a stitch along...

or should I say stitch behind! Over at TC the group has been exploring Renzoku design with the guidance of Joan Z. Last month they did S12 design and this month (read this week) I started it.

I just used a ball that I had wrapped and ready to mark, it was roughly the right size but I would preferred to have stitched this design on any other colour had I had the option available. Let's face it, had I needed to actually wrap a ball... this stitch along would still be in the to do list. It didn't turn out too bad, the purplish blue works in OK and I used some blue goldfingering thread I had in the back of my thread draw. As far a variegated threads go, I don't seem to have much luck getting nice ones here in Perth but I think the green I used isn't too bad. I will definitely stitch this one again. Everyone did their own thing to decorate their equator area and I also offset the colour. I did 1/2 star-bursts in green and then filled the remaining space with blue in the other halves at the equator so that's something a little different with star-bursts inside my diamond shaped negative spaces.

The rest of the group moved on to puzzle out another similar design. I will get to that soon-ish but for now I am happy to have been able to complete this one. The positioning of the thread in relation to the needle needed to be over or under based on where the stitch was taken... this gave me curry until I finally figured it out, but there were still a few rip-outs and restitches going on after I though I had it mastered.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Girls day out

On the 23rd we had a girls day out for my actual birthday with C, L, and S. I forgot to take photos so I've added links to most of the places if you want to see where we went.

We started out in Whatley Crescent in Maylands where we had a fossick in a second hand store that is closing down called Ivy Forado. They had lots of interesting old artefacts there, I almost purchased an old Japanese tea set, but resisted the temptation when I remembered I had no where to store it in my house. C purchased an Italian dinner set and S got a bundle of silver Apostle spoons for $1 each.

Next we visited a store called Chapels on Whately. We had a lovely morning tea there and I purchased the most amazingly gorgeous Tibetan woven blanket there with birthday money from C and S. It is about a metre wide and at least 2 metres long so I can recline on the sofa with it wrapped around my shoulder and still have it cover my toes.

I wish my camera would pick up the real life beauty of the colours
We wandered down the street after morning tea and popped in and out of all the little stores among them Smoult's Continental Deli which had a rather nice array of gourmet treats, a retro pop up shop (where I got a deck of mini Uno cards for Mr W and a small gift store that carried some really unique product lines... I just wish I could remember it's name. 
Next we visited Guildford where we popped into the Dutch Shop. We got lots of treats there including a bag of mini stroopie for Mr W and cookie mould for making speculaas cookies for me and some droste cocoa. I will definitely go back there for another visit. We also went into a gallery store called Stories on the Wall and met an artist there called Bonnie Atlan, she is about to have an exhibition at the store and invited us to come. When she handed us an invitation card we all immediately were drawn to the same image. No wonder we are all good friends. 

Can you pick which image we all loved? Click the image to make it larger.
After this we went across the train tracks to look at another really lovely store called Panache Living. They carry an eclectic mix of many gift-ware and clothing. I decided I needed hand cream (because my skin is so dry from all this cold weather) so I treated myself to a purse size tube of Mor Blood Orange. It is so lovely to use in winter because of its fresh citrus fragrance... I also purchased a tube of Marshmallow for C, Lychee Flower for L and Cassis Noir for S. The ladies at the store even took off the price labels and popped each tube into it's very own silver gift bag so they looked really special for the girls. Then we were starving so we drove around to Woodbridge house to have lunch by the river. It was a really lovely leisurely lunch. It was really hard to choose what to eat because everything on the menu sounded so tasty.

Mini Stroopie, AC Vinegar with Honey and Blanket
After that we got into the car again to check out the nougat factory in middle swan and then we stopped at the House of Honey where I picked up some creamed honey for my honey and some honey and apple cider vinegar. I got to taste test it and could feel its healthiness. Last stop for the day was the Margaret River Chocolate Factory . Just after we arrived a big tour coach came in and I needed to get out of there quick, there were lots of chocolate things to buy there (of course) but I had got enough treats for myself and my boys so we headed home.

When I got home I unloaded and distributed all the booty before getting back into the car to go to my Mum's for birthday dinner. Last year I didn't get a birthday cake for my birthday and while I haven't harped on about it... my Mum did tell me that me saying that everyone deserves a birthday cake stuck with her. So this year everyone made one. Miho and her kids made carrot and walnut cupcakes, DH and Mr W not only purchased a strawberry and cream gateaux but also made Banana and Vanilla cupcakes (yes two batches) and Mum baked a raspberry and almond flan.

I quite honestly say that we could not have fitted any more fun stuff into that day. The weather was cool but sunny almost all day (with not even a drop of rain - and we Winter babies appreciate a rain free birthday). Thankfully DH drove home and I was soon snoring my head off in bed.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

When you get your camera back

A few weeks ago I was with my Mum, Miho and her 3 kids. I took out my camera to show them something and Miss D insisted she take the camera to personally examine the images more closely.

I have no problem with that, although she is only 4 she is fairly careful and knows how to treat other people's things with respect. We (adults) kept talking and I forgot that Miss D had my camera until it was time to leave and we needed to put it back in the case. 

Tonight as I was going through the memory card looking for some photos I found these random shots. Miss D had taken a few images while she had the camera. I remember Mr W used to do the same thing when he was about the same age. Thank goodness for digital cameras hey? I would have been shot had I 'wasted' the film in the camera when I was a kid.

Here is a selection of Miss D's pics.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

It's A Sign

Sometimes you need a sign that everything is going to be ok. When things aren't working out the way you hoped, people disappoint you, you feel under pressure to meet everyone's needs or the weather is just plain miserable.

It is those times when you need a simple reminder that life is still good and there is still hope for something better. When you see that sign you can't help but smile and remember you are still lucky and although you might not see just yet how it will all work out in the end.

The other day as I sat at yet another red light (which was making me later and later for my destination) I was grumbling to myself when I happened to look out of the window. If it wasn't for the bad traffic and horrible rainy weather how would I have seen this beautiful rainbow?

It says: Keep your chin up, and have faith it will all be OK it in the end.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Peep's Chocolate Egg

The day before my birthday Peep surprised us with her first egg. We had almost given up hope she would lay, she hadn't even been visiting the nest box and was already 34 weeks old.

There isn't much information on how quickly Marans chickens mature so we were guessing it would be around 24-26 weeks... we were wrong. We all took bets on the dates... we all lost.

Here is the egg. Ok I admit it isn't made of chocolate but it is a dark brown egg. Much darker than the Isa Brown's eggs and a nice compliment to the blue eggs we get from the Araucanas.

An interesting note is that the Isa Browns have gone off the lay since Peep started... maybe they that have shell pigment envy. Puffles (our mixed breed pinkish shell layer) still hasn't got back to laying since her moult in Autumn. Hopefully as the days get longer we will see a time when we get all six chooks laying in a single day.

Even though it is the middle of winter (and really flipping cold) I had boiled eggs and salad for lunch today... they were so tasty. I love keeping chooks.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

June Temari Class

At the beginning of June we had a temari workshop where we tackled an oldie but a goodie temari design. The all over plum blossom. This is a C10 stitched in two colours and is really a lot less complicated than it seems. The design forms as you keep stitching pentagons and triangles to cover the ball. The catch is... the ball has to be nearly dead on round and the marking as close to perfect possible for this design to work.

Some nudging and fudging is possible but honestly not preferable for this design. Here is my first attempt... I admit my marking was not as round as I would have liked and I learned that she'll be right isn't necessarily so. 

This design requires a lot of faith, as the design doesn't emerge until nearly the end of stitching. Lots of the ladies in the group thought it wouldn't work out but those that have shared pics of their work with me  managed to get the design to emerge on their temari.

Coincidentally Laura showed a similar design on her blog, but hers has sections of underground stitching. Isn't it weird how we temari makers tend to work on similar designs at the same time without even knowing it!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Our 100th birthday party

My Mum and my birthday are about a month apart, this year we are both celebrating 'O' birthdays so on the 16th of June we decided to combine our parties and have a ladies high tea with our girlfriends. We said it was for our 100th... I'll let you do the math.

We love to give party favours and worked furiously to make some for this party. Here is a selection of what we offered for our guests to choose from.

Tiny handbags filled with a selection of lavender, rose or cinnamon to hang in the wardrobe or anywhere else. These were lots of fun to make and Mum did all the hand stitching (the job I dislike) while I did the machine stitching (the job Mum has no confidence in doing - although she is quite good at it). We got to use up some of my compulsively purchased fabric stash. Love the crown fabric.

Next is lip balms in 3 flavours. Mango, vanilla and chocolate. This was fun to do too, and was the first time Mum had made lip balms. We spent ages sniffing all the various flavours before deciding on these three. Because it is winter here we though lip balm was a perfect takeaway to keep everyone's lips soft and kissable.

We also made a range of scented soaps. We printed the tea cup images on water slide paper so it will dissolve when it gets used and there will be no pulpy mess in the shower. The was vanilla, ginger-nut, plum tea, cranberry pomegranate and several others. Each soap had a clear layer followed by the image and a white layer which was finished off with a coloured layer to represent each fragrance. We had to keep filling up the basket. Don't they look cute?

The next few images are from the main table. There were several flavours of cupcakes and lemon meringues plus non dairy cakes, my first ever gluten free chocolate cake (which didn't taste half bad despite the lack of gluten) and of course the brownies in a bottle.

I baked six boxes of cake and other sweets for the party and because there were no men around to count our calories for us we and our guests managed to devour almost all of them. 

I did forget to refill the caramel pecan nut tarts, so when the boys arrived back from golf they tucked into them. I forgot to take pictures of the savoury food, but there were also sandwiches, cheese and crackers and several varieties of mini quiches along with Miho's most delicious sushi and meatballs. We also had champers (oops I mean sparking wine) with many options for teas and coffees.

Although we had both expressly requested no gifts, we were both showered with flowers and gifts which left us both feeling
truly spoilt.

It was wonderful to have such a lovely party with  so many amazing ladies. We are really blessed.

The last picture is my gratuitous 'arty' shot of the champagne (sorry sparkling wine) flutes ready to be filled and clinked... maybe I need to take a photography class.

So there you have it, this has been one of the many reasons my temari stitching time has been so limited lately.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Fur Babies Together Again

I've been quite on this blog for a while, I do apologise. There are lots of things to post but lately there has just been no time to write anything longer than a grocery list.

As with everyone else's lives ours has been somewhat of a roller coaster, lots of thrilling highs and several crushing lows. On Saturday June16th, just half an hour before we held a party for my 40th, we had to put our little dog to sleep. Now both my fur babies are together in doggies heaven.

Shadow in the background
Shadow was a sweet and faithful companion for more than 15 years. He was born to follow, hence his name, he arrived with us 6 weeks after his brother (they were from the same litter) and he was unwanted. We visited the pet store with our pup Chilli to buy some dog food and saw the little black pup in a small yard, his claws were overgrown and he was much thinner than our puppy. We decided that although it was almost the end of the month (and there was still one week to go until pay day) if we had enough money in our bank account to buy him we'd take this little unloved mutt and give him a home forever.

Never in the lead, Shadow lived up to his name until the very end. They did eventually grow into their ears... well almost. The photo below of our favourite pictures of the boys when they we still young-ish pups, we even made it into a jigsaw puzzle.

Shadow and Chilli
I don't quite know what we did to get them to stay still enough to take this picture, although it looks like I captured this image just before they sprung off the sofa.... probably for an icy-pole.

For all the running after them when they'd take off at doggie obedience school, the eaten books, washing torn off the line, tumble-weed balls of dog hair, drool soaked tennis balls they begged me to throw and poops I managed to step in over the years... if I was back in the pet store I'd take them home all over again.

Miss you Shadow Meister and Chilli Bhagwan!  

Thursday, 31 May 2012

OMG Book Avalanche!!!

I've been waiting on the post man for ages, patiently (and not so patiently) but he just didn't arrive until late last week. In a single day I received the bulk order of Barb's book that we organised for the Aussie temari makers from America, a box of Japanese (Language) Temari books and replenishment KYO threads along with some special edition shades from Japan. I also got 2 flags from England for my DH's birthday (MUFC and Barcelona FC) and a delivery of 5 more flags from Melbourne, a soap making and a cookie decorating book from Fishpond (Aussie version of Amazon) and a huge box of supplies from Officeworks. It seemed like all I did was open the door and sign for parcels. Lucky me, I must have met every mail delivery person in my area, one fellow even got half way down the street before realising he had another parcel for me, I am amazed how everything seems to happen at once...

I am sorry for not posting anything on the blog but all this stock in and out, birthdays and my part time jobs and workshop prep has left no time at all for blogging for the last few weeks. This week my Mum decided to break/fracture/twist/tear the ligaments off  her ankle so Miho and I are playing catch-up/nurse. The hospital called yesterday while I was at Mum's and told me to cut off the cast because they thought the ankle wasn't actually fractured after all and because she has a DVT risk so they wanted it off quick smart and in a hurry. Wow cutting a cast off with a pair of blunt scissors... that was an experience I never thought I'd have!

On the bright side one of my suppliers sent me a little care package of threads to try out on my temari with a view to adding to our range. When I get time I will have a little stitch session to see what might work. I do have temari to share but it will have to wait again because the days are getting very short and are mostly overcast lately... not entirely suitable for photography.

How is everyone enjoying their new Temari book? Mine arrived, I went on a temporary strike so I could browse through it just once... it is very deluxe! I already have an idea of what I would like to start on.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

It's not here yet Charlie Brown

Dsu7XZ on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs

A few months ago I put out a call to all Aussie temari makers (the ones I am in contact with anyway) about making a bulk order of Barbara Suess' new book. I have noticed some American temari makers have begun receiving their copies but ours are still en route. I know they are in the mail, so until they arrive here I will be crying by my empty mailbox until they arrive. Actually the books are coming in two large boxes which I imagine will need to be collected from the post office.

I have seen an electronic version of the book during a Skype meeting with Barb so I know it will be worth the wait. If you missed the chance to order with our group you will still be able to get a copy direct from Barb, she will probably even sign it if you ask nicely, here is the link. Also if you don't own a copy of her other books you might be able to grab them too.

My hubby forced me to clean out my crafting room today so there is room to fit my new temari book in there, assuming I ever put it down that is.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Happy Mother's Day

What a busy day we've had. Breakfast in bed with Mr W (luckily he sat on his Dad's side of the bed so the toast crumbs aren't on my side of the bed), followed by gifts. Then off to his Soccer match where we distributed 50 cupcakes to all the Mum's standing on the sidelines. I made them yesterday and 'employed' four of the siblings from a child in our (and another) team... I 'paid' them in cupcakes if they promised to say Happy Mother's Day to all the Mums as they went.

Then back home to get the dessert ready for lunch at my Mum's house. Cupcakes of course were one option but the main dessert was baked vanilla cheesecake with cream and mandarin segments. We were so late, arriving at 1:45pm, after getting held up by rubber-neckers* looking at an accident, a breakdown, road works, and every traffic light being red (there are almost 20 sets) all the way there. When we got there we were starving and so was everyone else. I made photo soaps for Mum and Miho. They got 4 each, all with a different picture, soap colour and scent. I forgot to take a photo, but trust me they were super cute. Mum gave us both a flat tin bucket to put our gardening seed into. Miho gave me a loofah that she grew in her garden (and I always thought they were from the ocean) and Miss D hand painted the wrapping paper.

At 5 we were cleaning up and heading home by 5:30 (this time we got green lights about half the time) and we had snappy toasted sandwiches for dinner.

What a lovely day! Hope you were able to be with the people you love today. Only 365 days until next Mother's Day.

I've misplaced the temari I made, but tomorrow I will find and photograph it... I promise!

* A rubber-necker Person who cranes, stains or otherwise awkwardly turns their head and stares while passing the scene of something interesting (usually morbid in nature).
This is usually seen and performed while driving past the scene of an accident, or any other incident where there are police, firemen or ambulances with lots of flashing lights, this action results in slowing down the flow of traffic and occasionally causes another accident.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Huston we have a problem...

Today I had my first senior moment*, and boy was it a doozy*!

I had a 30 minute window of time to visit the post office before I picked Mr W up from school today. I went in and paid for my articles and headed back out the door. I glanced at my receipt and I noticed that one article of postage had been overcharged by more than $3, OK that isn't the end of the world or anything but I pay enough money in postage on a regular basis so I turned around and went back for a refund. (no this is not the senior moment)

After a 15 minute conversation with the post master they accepted that they screwed up and gave me the refund. I figured I must have been getting short on time so I raced out to the car, clicking my unlocking clicker as I got close to the drivers door. (senior moment coming up) I thought it was weird that the central locking didn't make that unlocking sound, but thought maybe I just didn't hear it or I was too far from the car to have heard it... so I pulled on the door handle but the car was locked. Weird! Oh well maybe this was Karma for hassling the Post Office. So I clicked the clicker again, still there was no familiar sound... and the door still didn't open when I pulled the handle.

(insert senior moment here) I tried this same sequence of clicking the clicker and pulling on the door handle about 3 more times before I got fairly frustrated and for reasons unknown glanced into the car... and then I discovered the car I was attempting to get into was not actually my car! Oh for shame! The car I was trying to get into was the same colour, make and model as mine... in fact it was even parked in the same spot I had parked my car in ... yesterday. My car was actually parked across the other side of the aisle.

Here is a diagram to complete the picture of my first senior moment.

Now attempted stealing of a motor vehicle would have been fun (not!) to explain my way out of had the real owner come along and seen me trying to get into their car... or worse a police officer!

At least I still have my sense of humour intact, I nearly choked on my dinner due to laughing so hard as I told DH and Mr W this story tonight. Mr W merely rolled his eyes and sighed, that took me back about 30 years to when I used to do that as a child.

Doozy: something bigger, more difficult or more spectacular than usual.
Senior moments are lapses of memory, logic or mental function which is atypical or unusual. The individual suffering the event, may not necessarily be advanced in age. Also related are the Brain Fart, Pregnant Pause or Menopausal Moment (depending on age and experience... and I guess gender) all relate to a brief moment of loss of transmission before returning to regular programming.

I have a new temari to share next time.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Temari Math Info Site is gone

Today I got a comment on this blog asking how to contact Debi A from the temarimathinfo and temaritrain sites. For many years these sites have been some of the go to destinations for all things temari.

Unfortunately for all of us Debi has shut off her websites. I actually could feel tears well up in my eyes when I saw that Debi's sites were gone. I have no idea how to contact Debi, I have emailed to the address I have of hers but it is a GMail account so she may not receive it.

I will work on removing all the links on this blog site (there are lots of them) but please be patient with any broken links that remain in the interim.

Debi, if you are still following blogs and happen to read this post... I want to thank you wholeheartedly for all your inspiration and kind guidance as I have stitched along my own temari journey thus far. I will always appreciate the wealth of information I gained from reading your sites and dearly miss the generous sharing of your temari knowledge. Best wishes to you for all your future ventures.

PS Debi, is there any chance of turning your temari calculator in to an iPhone app... I would definitely pay real cash money for that.

I have a new post in the works but it will be a few days before I can get the photos done (due to our wet, overcast weather forecasts) and ready to put up.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Koinobori and birthday

Last night we put up our Koinobori set. We did it in the dark and there was no wind so we couldn't see it fly. This morning I noticed we had put them on the inside line of the flag pole so they got caught up. Also the little fish (representing Mr W) couldn't fly because it was under the roof line. So I undid it all and fixed them up.

Now they are flying high over our front garden. What a happy sight!

It's May Day today (whatever that is... it's listed in my diary) but more importantly it is my Mum's birthday. We are off for a bite of lunch later today, but we'll have a family lunch on the weekend when all the family will be back together in Perth.

Here is a cupcake to take to lunch today, just one for the special birthday girl! Miss D helped make the flowers, leaves and the cupcakes yesterday. I made the little sign this morning and stuck it to a pick, Mum loves dragonflies.

Happy (undisclosed-th) Birthday Mum we love you!!!!

Monday, 30 April 2012

Something promised... and the promise of something good

Yesterday I wrote about the ladybug temari I have been working as part of the TC stitch-a-long... that just finished. Did I mention yesterday I am really far behind? I am sure I did... and here is the proof.

The good news is that I had my lovely niece for a sleepover on Sunday night and when I asked her what I was stitching on  this temari she said without even pausing "Oh they are ladybugs Auntie!" So at least I know I am on the right track even though I am way behind.

We had such a busy Sunday. Mr W's soccer match was at 11am, then DH was asked to referee the match that followed. We didn't leave the ground until after 1:15pm. Then we dashed to collect Mr W who had gone home with a friend. Actually not only did we collect Mr W, but his friend came with us too, together we headed home for a quick bite of lunch and an equipment change before heading off to DH's soccer match at a soccer ground on the other side of the city. DH hasn't played for a few years but his old team was desperate and begged him to play this game. This game started at 3:30pm (we made it just in time) and we sat through several rain storms and saw really passionate, spirited soccer - I learned a  few new swear words - and watched DH get taken out big time. I heard the cracking sound from the opposite side of the field, he actually laid on the pitch for ages before he could get up again. Don't worry he's a tough guy and there are no permanent injury (although I did keep checking on him for the following 24 hours because it was his head that got cracked). Good news is that his team won 1-0 (not as good as Mr W's team that won 9-0). I took a bunch of craft books from the library by Barb Suess with Kathy Hewitt (9781933308210) and Kumiko Sudo (9781933308043 and 9781933308142) and I read them during the rain breaks. At 5:30 we were leaving the soccer ground and went to pick up Miss D for her sleepover, then drove back to Fremantle to drop off Mr W's buddy before heading for home. Phew what a big day!

What do you do if you can't pick between 5 colours? Paint them all of course!
Today I spent the day with Miss D. Another busy day!! We took Mr W to school then, painted her nails (in five shades of varnish), baked cupcakes, pressed out icing flowers and leaves, decorated cookies with royal icing, did some washing, played with and fed the chickens, same for the dog, had lunch, cleaned up again, picked up Mr W from school, met Miho and my nephews, took all the kids to the skate park, came home again, cooked dinner, cleaned up again, played with everyone, bathed the kids, ate dinner and said goodbye as they all headed off home.

But the most fun and indeed most satisfying thing we did today was let Miss D make her own temari ball. I stitched a little on my ladybug temari and Miss D chose the thread wrap and wrapped most of it herself (I did the final layer) and then she chose her own threads while I went looking for a suitable needle (a bit thicker and not so sharp or long as the type I use). Then off and on all day she kept going back to her temari and stitching a bit more on it. I was so pleased she willingly went back to stitching on it. She didn't stab herself (or anyone else) with the needle and I just let her go at it after I showed her how to take a stitch and how to thread the needle. A totally freestyle temari stitched by her apart from a heart she asked me to make for her because she said she couldn't quite get it right.  Here is a progress shot.

Miss D's (4 years old) first temari in progress.
After this she chose some deep purple to add to the lavender and metallic red threads. I did try to stitch down the long piece of thread until she said "Hey hey hey Auntie don't break my hanger please!" The finished ball got wrapped up during the dinner preparations (before I thought about taking another picture) so she can give it to her Papa when he returns from a business trip.

Perhaps she will ask to make another temari some other day... I hope so!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Chucking it down

After a long hot (and fairly dry but not as much as last years') summer we are getting the first good Autumn rain today. It is raining fairly hard, hence the phrase 'chucking it down' which just means raining hard. It was reported in our local news that for the first time in almost a decade the whole of Australia is free from drought. Lucky us! It has been so dry for so long that we let some of our gutters get a bit old and ignored a rust spot by the front door... now the rain funneling through the small hole in the gutter, falling onto the pavement path and driving me nuts. I'll be lucky to sleep at all tonight if it keeps up.

On the positive side (not that I am failing to see the positive of the lovely rain) I am catching up on my Ladybug temari that I am stitching with the TC stitch-a-long. I realise that everyone else is almost finished but that doesn't bother me. I marked my C10 weeks ago and planned to add marking lines to make a T6... but I just couldn't get motivated to do the marking. I did pin out about 1/4 of the ball but things kept getting in front of doing this... like working at a new job, school holidays, baby shower, birthday and funeral wake baking.
Image from:
This week I decided to abandon the plans for additional markings on my temari and just start stitching as a C10. This means that there will only be 20 ladybugs to stitch and 12 areas for flowers and lots of in between places for smaller blossoms and leaves.  I have decided to make my ladybugs follow each other around a path on the ball, like when you stitch a HHG on a C10, the bugs will spiral from the north pole all the way down and around to the south pole. I am stitching the bugs using the first method outlined by Debi.

I also did some research on what flowers attract ladybugs. It seems that mostly they are yellow and orange flowers, some are white. I thought instead of stitching the kiku or lazy daisy style flowers that many other people are using I'd try some of these suggested flowers. This is just a thought at this stage of course and I do reserve the right to do whatever takes my fancy at the time of actually stitching the flowers on :)

So far I've got 5 spotless, eyeless, antenaeless, black headed, outlined ladybirds and 2.5 red hexagons stitched. I've decided to stitch 5 at a time so it doesn't seem so overwhelming - not that it is overwhelming in anyway... I am just feeling a bit overwhelmed with life in general at the moment :)

I'll take an in progress shot of my ladybug temari tomorrow and load it on another post.

Friday, 27 April 2012

It's apple season

On Monday I baked cupcakes and because it is apple season they are some of them are apple cupcakes.

Pink Lady
I love apples, my personal favourite is Pink Lady pictured above. They are crisp and juicy with a sweet to tart taste and are never floury like Granny Smith can sometimes be. Also they are an apple developed right here in Western Australia. How could I not love them?! I ran this photo through Kuler and I'll see if I can make some Pink Lady inspired temari.

Pink Lady Kuler Colour Selection
Ooops I lost my train of thought... oh that's right cupcakes. I need 4 apples for my recipe and I used some delicious new season apples grown just a few hours south of where I live, in the Manjimup and Donnybrook areas. Of course I used a Pink Lady and a Granny Smith (Mr W's favourite apple variety), but I also used two new apples.

These new apples on the market this year are Kanzi and Greenstar varieties. I saw the Kanzi at the Perth Royal Show last year so I was excited to buy it at my local grocer this week. Kanzi is a new variety of apple that was first grown in Europe, where it was developed from a natural cross between a Gala and a Braeburn apple. This created an intensely flavoured apple with the juiciness of a Gala, and the tartness of a Braeburn.
"Kanzi is a very crunchy and sweet apple; it'll be another fresh eating experience after the galas."
"Greenstar may well look like a granny smith but one of the great differences is that Greenstar won't oxidise due to high levels of vitamin C so you won't get that browning." The Greenstar apple was also developed by the European organisation Better 3 Fruits, from a natural cross between the Delbarestival and Granny Smith varieties, both of which are known for their juiciness and fresh taste.

I actually did my own test to prove this point made about the browning... it was true, even after a few hours the Greenstar and Kanzi apples were hardly brown at all, the Pink Lady and the Granny both browned fairly quickly.

What is in season where you live?

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Look what google alerts turned up

I have a google alert set up for various things I am interested in. As you can imagine one of those alerts is set for Temari.

I was quite surprised to see this link in my alert list today. It is for a verbena. It is quite lovely but I did feel a bit sick in the pit of my stomach when I saw the word Temari had a registered symbol next to it. How can anyone register that word? And could that mean a potential problem for the all us Temari makers?

This world is getting to be a scary place when words that are have been used with a generic meaning end up being trademarked or registered for business. Anyone remember the Ugg boot saga recently. Hope we don't all start receiving cease and desist notices.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

ANZAC Day 2012

Today is ANZAC Day. After the dawn service, and the March most people go on and savour the free time afforded by this public holiday.  Many people with previous defence force ties go to their local RSL (Returned Services League) to have raise a glass and enjoy time with mates and remember those friends that are no longer here.

A tradition for ANZAC day is a game of Two-up. It is a gambling game, Aussies (mostly) love to bet on almost anything horses, dogs, goannas, even which fly will reach the top of a wall. Perhaps this evolved from the early settler days of living in a large mostly desolate country and needing to find their own amusement in simple things.

Two-up is a traditional true-blue Australian game which is actually illegal to play in public, apart from special days such as ANZAC Day public holiday, since it's actually gambling. Of course you can gamble and play it any time in an Australian casino. There is a good video on YouTube about how to play Two-up.

It is played in a ring which must be a smooth area of ground 3 metres diameter with any number of players participating. Here's a few terms used in the game:
KIP : Piece of wood on which the pennies (coins) are placed for spinning
RINGER : Assistant to the Boxer who runs the centre of the ring
SPINNER : Player spinning the coins
COCKATOO : Keeps a lookout for the "Law" aka Police .
BOXER: Owner of the game

The RINGER will call for the SPINNER who will place a bet with the BOXER. When this is set, side bets may be made, for either Heads or Tails. The RINGER will then call "Come in Spinner", the SPINNER will then walk into the centre of the ring and tosses the coins upwards.

If the coins land with 2 Heads facing UP, it is called "HEADS". 2 Tails is called "TAILED THEM", and when one of each is showing, then it is "ODDS". The coins must be tossed until a result is obtained.

The game is for the SPINNER to spin as many pairs of "HEADS" as possible. When 2 Tails are showing, the SPINNER passes the KIP to another person.The modern game is now played with three coins thus giving a quicker result i.e. 2 HEADS or 2 TAILS.