Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
This is a mini-quilt all stitched using the Brazilian Embroidery technique. It is from a Canadian design, MBE Designs, and was started with the help of Christine Hause in Denver, Colorado, an excellent Brazilian Embroidery teacher. Christine taught at my shop in Colorado a number of times and later at my house. I love Brazilian embroidery because of the beautiful lustrous rayon threads used and also the dimensionality of all the stitches.
A wool blanket I am stitching using a design published in Country Bumpkin's magaine "Inspirations" and in their book "The World's Most Beautiful Blankets". The eucalpyts are all Australian natives and there are eight varieties depicted, 2 in each corner. I am planning to stitch Jenny McWhinney's kookaburra in the center (also from "The Worlds Most Beautiful Blankets). This is for my Mum to keep her warm in the winter. I am always hot - she is always cold! I have some lovely fabric for the binding and backing with eucalypt leaves all over it.
I stitched these stumpwork Kookaburras from a design in Embroidery and Cross Stitch magazine published by Express Publishing. The flowers are all stitched using Rajmahal Art Silk thread and embellished with beads. The Kookaburras are stumpworked with DMC floss. Shirley of Shirley Bourkes Craft helped me with the stumpwork.
A summer bouquet of flowers in silk ribbon I designed to teach an introductory class to silk ribbon embroidery. There is a large variety of stitches and ribbon widths used in the design to demonstrate the various techniques and versatility of silk ribbon embroidery.
A Christmas star I created using a Victorian Santa print on silk. This was quite a simple but effective project. I hang it on my door to greet my visitors at Christmas time. The silk image is stitched on velvet and then embellished in Crazy Patch style.
I made this Crazy patch Christmas stocking for Santa a couple of years ago. I had lots of fun with all the Christmas themed thingys on the stocking. I especially like my Colorado Blue Spruce and my Elk - now a great memory of my years spent in Colorado. I used lots of different threads and ribbons on this piece. Everything from silk to cotton, to to rayon and silk ribbon and rayon ribbon floss and more. I love Crazies - you can do what you like - there are no rules!
This was stitched to celebrate Mums 80th birthday. She is now 84 years young and is suffering from dementia. She remembers all the old stuff but nothing current. I am now her carer. The quilt has a bouquet or roses in the center surrounded by pics of Mum from a young girl to 80. All the blocks feature charms, themes etc that were important in Mum's life.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
These are before and after pics of my garden at Currawong Cottage that I have spent some hours in creating in the last year. Gardening and stitching are the food for my soul! We have had it very very dry here in Toowoomba and are not allowed to water outside at all. This has been a challenge - I have carted buckets and buckets of laundry and kitchen/bathroom grey water to get things going and keep them alive. Laundry day around here is hard work! Thankfully we have had lovely gentle rain falling ever since Christmas Eve so no bucketing for a while - actually no laundry since it is too wet out to dry any clothes with our solar dryer!
The back area of the garden is quite shaded with a very large Moreton Bay Chestnut tree that the lorikeets loved when it was in flower. I have planted lots of shade tolerant plants in this area including bromilieads and clivias. The center round garden was expanded and is supposed to be mostly shade and drought tolerant plants. I have learned the hard way that Aussie natives do not like grey water and are best left to their own devices. At the bottom of the garden are a number of fairies who look after things for me. Agapanthus do well here and give the fairies places to hide. I had some lovely foxgloves earlier in the year also. The gravel paths were made by me hauling buckets of crushed granite from a pile in the driveway. It took a while but the end result was worth it I think. I also made a patio area under our chestunt tree which I use a lot to contemplate the outdoors and just enjoy the birds.
The front area is a more typical cottage garden with roses (lots) and petunias, cosmos and alyssum, along with some iris and salvias and assorted natives. One of my special roses is the apricot one pictured "Just Joey" planted in memory of a very dear young woman and good friend of mine and especially my daughter, Johanna. The world is lmuch ess without her shining light. Other roses include Double Delight, Blue Moon, Iceberg, Freesia, Susan (of course!).and several David Austin roses.
The center bed is anchored with a white Banksia rose at one end and a weeping cherry at the other. The bed is filled with slavias, small natives, iris, and other cottage plants including lots of spring bulbs - many of them cooked in the ground this year! I have a small area on the south side that is grounded with Magnolia "Susan" (why not!) and small conifers that is supposed to be my Japanese themed area. I love to sit in my chair here in the evenings and listen to all the birds coming home to roost.
Currawong Cottage borrowed its name from the native Currawong birds that live in the large trees in the back of the property - specifically a large Chinese elm. They have a nest there. When we moved in this April (09) I was enthralled by their beautiful and constant song. They are fairly large birds that look a lot like magpies. I am told they are viscious and hunt other birds away and even kill other baby birds to feed their young. I still seem to have plenty of other birds in the garden including pee wees, doves, wrens and a pair of pale headed rosellas that come to visit almost every day. I also have lots and lots of rainbow lorikeets around as well.