Friday, 27 January 2012

Finally a new temari project to share

I've been working on these temari for ages. They look like a multi petalled flower. The blue one is really large and although it is STILL not finished I decided to share it anyway. This temari design is a big commitment despite the fact it is a simple division. This temari took me a week of dedicated stitching back in October to get one side done (I've misplaced the threads for it so I need to find them before I complete it). One of my temari friends shared a photo of a temari made with this pattern. It took me a good while to decipher the pattern, but I think I've got it.

The temari below is my take on making the temari less consuming to stitch. Fewer divisions on a smaller temari means it is quicker to stitch up. Still it took me a week to stitch this one. There are two different sides on this one. Can you spot the difference? Besides the one on the left being slightly out of focus that is.

 I am about to begin a new version of this one with a couple of extra divisions to make it look a little more lacy.

School goes back in 3 days so I will have more time to dedicate to stitching again.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Not happy Jan

This is a saying popularised by an advertisement by Yellow Pages and it's now firmly embedded in the Australian vernacular. 

Definitely describes people living in the City of Perth for the next 7 days. Our local bureau of meteorology seem fairly confident in their prediction that we will be experiencing hot weather of mind bending proportions.
I've included the forecast below... fingers crossed we keep our power supply for the next few days... the only thing worse than such hot weather is no power to run the aircon! How did the pioneers do it??
Today was quite hot too. We picked up my Mum and took a day trip to Lancelin (315km round trip) for a swim. We wanted to go to Geraldton for an overnight stay but couldn't get accommodation at any hotels there. The beach at Lancelin isn't (in my opinion) as nice as those nearer the city or down south but the water was nice and cool, the air-conditioning  in the car blasted away and kept us wonderfully cool and there weren't too many cars on the road. 

There were only 8 people on the entire beach. We stayed for about an hour, had a bite of lunch and headed back home. 

We have more than travelled 1500+km this week. I am getting behind with my stitching due to all the time I've spent behind the wheel this week. TAST week 4 has been posted already and I still haven't looked at week 3.

Forecast for Wednesday
A very hot and mostly sunny day. Moderate to fresh E/NE winds, easing in the
afternoon with a mid afternoon seabreeze near the coast.

Precis:      Very hot. Mostly sunny.            
City:        Min 24     Max 40 
Mandurah:    Min 23     Max 38 

UV Alert:    8:20 am to 4:40 pm, UV Index predicted to reach 14 [Extreme]  
Fire Danger: Coastal Plain: HIGH        
             Hills:         HIGH        

Thursday     Very hot. Partly cloudy.               Min 26     Max 41
Friday       Very hot. Partly cloudy.               Min 25     Max 39
Saturday     Very hot. Sunny.                       Min 26     Max 42
Sunday       Very hot. Windy morning.               Min 24     Max 40
Monday       Very hot. Sunny.                       Min 23     Max 40
Tuesday      Very hot. Sunny.                       Min 26     Max 40

The next routine forecast will be issued at 4:50 am WST Wednesday.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Feeling a little crispy

Mr W and I went to the beach today. Sorry for the poor quality pics today, I left my camera in the car, so these were taken on my phone.

The water at my feet was so cool and bubbly.
We only live about 30 minutes from some really beautiful beaches but felt like a change of scenery so we drove to the beach at Busselton.

Mr W (red shirt) immediately made friends some nice kids.
We had a splash about for about an hour and then came home. I got a little sunburnt on my forearms and side of one knee (I missed these with the sunscreen)

Busselton Jetty... almost like a postcard.
At the start of today's trip stopped at our local library and Mr W chose a book to read while we were driving... he finished it on the outward trip so we returned it on our way home. The librarian was very surprised to see us back so soon.

Travelling South today and East yesterday
Today we travelled between A and the southern B (365km 228miles). The other trip on the map is the one we did yesterday to York, Beverley and Westdale A-D (335km 208miles).

Tomorrow we will consider taking a day trip to Gingin (186km 115miles) to see the Gravity Discovery Centre. It will depend on the weather... believe it or not (from the clear blue skies in today's pics) storms are predicted tomorrow. Perhaps we will take one of the neighbour kids with us. Or we might just stay home and watch a movie aka stitch temari.

Maybe heading North tomorrow?
But for now I've covered myself in after sun moisturiser and I'm off to bed.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Unbuttoning My Lip

I have been keeping a secret for ages and ages. I am quite good at keeping other's secrets even though I really hate to have any secrets of my own. This secret is such a really awesome and juicy secret that it has been just about impossible to keep. I have found myself almost biting holes in my lip and holding my breath while counting to 10 so many times trying to keep myself from blurting it out that I may have done minor  damage to my brain function due to oxygen deprivation... not that most people would notice - tee hee:)

Anyway seeing as it has been let out of the bag at TC by the secret's owner I can share it too.
Let me give you some hints... it is:
something most all of us have dreamt about for an awfully long time...
something which is very drool worthy... and
something I wish I could have in my hot little hands today.

No!!! It is not Hugh Jackman, Robert Patterson, Ryan Reynolds, Brad Pitt, Gerard Butler or George Clooney*.

Ok ok ok I'll just tell you...

 it's a book...

a temari book... 

a temari book written by Barb Suess.

Barb's new book due for release in March 2012

Double excitement with a dollop of cream and a cherry on top, right?!! 

I have been lucky enough (along with a select few temari makers) to be able to test stitch some of the patterns which may feature in this new book (Title still TBA)

I have made space in my bookshelf for the book although it wont be available for purchase for some time yet. Possibly another 6 months or more but knowing the book is a near probability instead of a distant possibility is very comforting (wrapped in exciting, wrapped in thrilling and tied with a bow of joyful)

I am sure if you bookmark Barb's website or blog you will be one of the first to be able to order a copy when it is released.

*(Just a side note to my DH in case he reads this post: I googled 'the most gorgeous men' to find out who they are... I don't fancy any of them myself... well unless you count Hugh but that is just because he is a dedicated husband and father  - like you - or Gerard but that is just due to our shared Scottish heritage although Dutch/Spanish beats Scottish every time... but can you practice your Scottish accent a bit - just kidding!)

Saturday, 14 January 2012

TAST with Sharon B's Pin Tangle

Week 2: Buttonhole Stitch

This week I tried two versions of this stitch... with varying degrees of success. Buttonhole Wheel and Rosette of Thorns. I think I got the first one OK but managed to keep messing up the second. Nevertheless it seemed to go OK and I am fairly happy (not completely disgusted anyway) with the end result. I am still yet to get my flat sampler organised so I am already a week behind on that but never mind I hope to get to it this week. But first I need to get some Dutch Courage to get into my craft room which is so full of boxes, fabrics, board games and assorted junk that has been dumped in the over the last few weeks. Ugh!!! I hate when it gets into such a state but that is the result of 'get to that later' housekeeping.

Oh now what was I talking about??? Yep got it, my TAST Week 2 attempt. You want to see it right? Well here goes... keep in mind I am a temari maker but not an embroiderer so all these stitches are brand new to me.

Surely it must be easier to stitch these on a flat surface (something I hope to discover during the week once I am organised). When this ball is filled up I will make a new more densely covered temari to continue this challenge which will make all the future stitching look better too.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Bargain Tomato Box

In our house we love pasta. I've been making my own tomato pasta sauce for more than a year now. I usually buy about 3 kg of tomato for about $7 or $8 and use a huge jam pan to cook up about 8.5litres (15 pints) of sauce.
A few weeks before Christmas I noticed we were a bit low on sauce but I didn't time to make any more because of all the other end of year activities we needed to do.

On Monday I went to the Coventry Market in Morley and purchased a big black box of Roma tomatoes for $5. Mr W and I had to share carrying it to the car (one handle each). I think there must have been about 10kg (22lb) in the box. On Tuesday I spent 8 hours cooking two batches and ended up with 23 jars of sauce (and a bit to spare which we ate for dinner last night).

I decided to make up another (slightly different recipe using zucchini rather than aubergine) batch on Wednesday to use up the remaining tomatoes. I think there are about 35 jars altogether.

Things I discovered I like about making my own pasta sauce are:
The faint aroma of warm olives when the onions are being sauteed in the olive oil.
The faded scent of garlic that remains on my finger tips even after I have washed them numerous times.
The way our chickens go crazy over the off-cuts of tomato that they get given - this is their favourite treat.
The plopping sound that the thickening sauce makes as the air bubbles surface while simmering.
The way the sauce gloops into the jars as I pour it through the funnel.
The tink sound that the lids make when the vacuum seal pops down when the sauce cools down. It is unexpected because every jar takes a different length of time to seal and I have usually washed up and am relaxing by the time this happens.

I guess I wish we were Italian because the only thing missing is the horde of apron wearing relatives all chattering and helping with a job like this. You know like the sauce making scene from Looking for Alibrandi.

UPDATE: Lilybets commented that the sauce isn't very red and asked what I used in the sauce. I add aubergine (eggplant) and zucchinni so it lightens the colour also I use all the seeds (I think they are traditionally removed but I don't mind them in the sauce) and also I blend the chunky bits if I run out of time and haven't let the sauce simmer for the full four hours stated in the recipe. This breaks up some of the seeds and adds to the lighter colour sometimes. My SIL is going to her Italian neighbours house tomorrow to see how they make sauce... I am a bit jealous but I know she will share all the secrets with me.

Side note:
Week 2 of TAST has been published at Pin-tangle so I am going to read through the information about buttonhole stitching and plan my attack for later in the week (when I stop smelling of garlic).

I was amazed, perhaps more shocked, that my more-than-humble-scratching of fly stitch was selected in the showcase of week 1 due to it being on a ball rather than a flat surface.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Christmas Cherry Jam

I have been fairly absent from my regular stitching activities since before Christmas. I made a bunch of bunting, six embroidered clothing items, a set of four Kanzashi style flowers but I haven't done much temari. Other things keep getting in the way... like bargain cherries.

My SIL purchased a huge box of Cherries for Christmas day. We all knew there would be no way we could eat them all but it was suggested the leftovers could be turned into jam.  Between Christmas and New Year, that is exactly what I did. We ate more than I expected so I added some raspberries that were left over from the Christmas Ice-cream cake too. I just need to remember to share out all the jars now.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The Big One Oh

On Sunday our baby turned 10. I can't believe it, I have no idea where all that time went, of course that is also what my Mum and Grandma say about their babies too.
To celebrate he had a pool party at a nearby aquatic center. For 2 hours 11 boys (and Miss D, Mr M and Mr H) slid down the spiral super slide pipeline, competed for the largest splash at the bombie pool, created a whirl pool, tried to cross the inflated pool maze in the quickest time and then ate huge amounts of snacks to replenish all those lost calories.

His Mohawk is beginning to grow out now, it almost looks better - maybe I am just getting used to it now.

This year he asked for a devil cake that he saw in the AWW Children's Birthday Cake book. It was actually for a number 6 cake but we adapted it a bit and made it into a 10. If you squint really hard it looks ok, Mr W loved it of course. The cake part was a really nice fudgy chocolate recipe from the book.

For the record I don't want to make black or red icing anytime soon... and I did gently mention this to Mr W so he has a whole year to come up with his idea for next year ensuring there is no black or red icing involved.

I bet you are thinking I am a little drama queen-ish about the icing colour but here is the other cake I made for Mr M's birthday which was celebrated just before New Years.

It is supposed to be Pingu. I make the scary little fish from cake offcuts. They remind me of the scariest fish I have ever seen... Orange Roughy. This cake was make with Caramel Apple... Mr M's favourite. Before I made this cake I made test cupcakes to practice making the icing in black. I think we have all consumed more than enough artificial colourings to last out the next decade.

Friday, 6 January 2012

TAST with Sharon B's Pin Tangle

Week 1: Fly stitch.

I am not an embroiderer so I jumped at the opportunity to get on board with this challenge. I have been playing with this stitch on a temari (and mostly it looks pretty awful) but hey it is a new skill I am hoping to acquire so I'm going to keep practising.

I decided to try the fly stitch as an Obi decoration. My plan is to stitch rows toward the pole with each weekly challenge until I fill up the ball.

At first I stitched east west around the equator using several long stitches followed by sections which were more densely packed, but it looked too awful and reminded me of the jacket that Adam Ant used to wear. I unpicked all of it and stitched again with a north south orientation in a plaited style. The negative space looked like little houses all in a row when I was done so I turned the ball upside down and stitched another row.

I was more happy with how they had turned out but there were large empty diamond shapes along the Obi that just didn't look right so I went back and stitched tiny fly stitches in alternating north and south inside the holes. Of course this worked until I got to the last diamond shape and I had the prospect of two fly upright together or two down together at the last fly stitch so instead of that I made a reversed fly stitch (which turned out more like and x).

I think I am also going to practice these TAST challenges on some scrap fabric in a hoop.  I realise that if I am going to 'traditionally' embroider onto the surface of a temari I need to make my thread wrap tension more firm and dense than usual. I will add more tight extra thread layers on the next temari I use.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Today I made...

Actually I am about to make Cherry jam. We had some fruit for breakfast (yummiest peaches I ever ate) and went to Coogee Beach for sandcastles and splashing around fun. The water was cool and dead flat, there was just a gentle breeze blowing and the sun had just the right amount of warmth.

Mr W and DH dug a huge pit and I took a walk along the shore. It was really quiet and peaceful... days like these make me remember just how immensely lucky my life is. We ate pancakes (which we cooked yesterday but we zapped back to life in the microwave) when we got home and now I am going to de-sand myself and get cracking in the kitchen.

I plan to get a little stitching done this afternoon.

Life is good in my little corner of the world! Want me to send you a sunshine?