Monday, August 30, 2010

relaxing time



We are having a wonderful relaxing time at Okarito - it rained most of Saturday but was beautiful and sunny on Sunday - Monday morning geting to be time to go it is another lovely day.  I couldn't resist another photo of the shed on the jetty - I have photographed it each time we have been here and yesterday I bought a postcard of it as well. It sits on the edge of the lagoon.

We have been on some walks through the bush

lots of ferns


deep in the blurry forest

I didn't see any dotterels on thebeach but I did find a shell or two

and lots of stones


Ian brandishing his lovely new camera pictures from which I will post when we get back home. We went to Franz Joseph for dinner last night since we had run out of food - a good spot for a good restaurant opportunity for an aspiring chef - he or she isn't there yet.

A cabbage tree beside the lagoon

I have a bit of dry felting and stitching so not totally unproductive. That velvet will shrivel up when wet felted.

Today we are off to Reefton. Hope you have enjoyed my pics. Have some better ones soon......

Saturday, August 28, 2010

West Coast and Okarito

This is the view we saw when driving from Christchurch to the coast - the snow capped mountains waiting for us but not as much snow as I thought there would be which is good really as Ian wasn't excited at any prospect of driving through snow. The car rental people told us that if you hire and plan to drive to Queenstown you must have chains. Nice sunny day driving on the east coast side of the mountains - the Southern Alps in case you wonder and haven't ever been to beautiful NZ.


All that rich farming land. Next day Ian met a guy on the beach in Okarito who had arrived same time as us in a helicopter - his farmer mate from Ashburton's helicopter- twenty minute flight across the alps. As I say - rich farming country.

 At Arthur's Pass, we stopped for coffee and this friendly Kea was sitting outside - I expect they do well - they are very cheeky.

A little further down the road we stopped to look back at the Otira viaduct which is pretty spectacular and I posted pictures lasy November when we went over it. I was going to get out to take a photo but these cheeky Keas were busy hopping over the car and this one settled himself on the mirror- obviously very used to tourists and travellers.

The view on the each in the morning when I went for my walk. Now Ian has a new camera I have been allocated the old one - the beach was deserted except for us

 Lots of driftwood everywhere - a real West Coast beach. We don't need to collect any for our fire - the wood shed is full with both chopped wood and kindling. Don't even need to chop it.

Looking back towards the snow capped mountains which you can barely see- the light was very bright-my glasses which are those changing ones were as black as could be and very fast.

Looking to the sea - not as visible as it really was - there were some very big waves crashing in - varying shades of grey all around me.

And all the wonderful stones everywhere but no - I really can't take them all home with me. Magical.

Lots of rain later when we went off to Whataroa so we didn't go for a bush walk. However it is the coast and it will rain - right now on Sat morning the sun is out again so time to be off and explore.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

We have arrived at Okarito

Had a great flight over - Ian seemed to manage to sleep   allthe way- got into Auckland at 5.20am and then flew to Christchurch - you go through as an international flyer and do your customs stuff in ChCh. Then we picked up our car, went shopping and drove over. The weather in Canterbury was good and sunny but it starting raining and closed in once we hit the mountains.Not as much snow as I expected but it was a lovely drive. Shopped some more in Hokitika - perishables - and got here about 5.30. Now the fire is lit, the cds are playing, the wine is poured and the local cheeses are being tasted. What more could you ask for? I am settling in with PD James. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Piccies tomorrow especially the kea or two we came across.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Such excitement - Okarito here we come

I wrote in the newsletter that we were having a sneaky break during August - well - this evening we are off to New Zealand - flying to Auckland and then to Christchurch - pick up a car and off to Okarito via the Otira Gorge. Stopping in Ilam to do our grocery shopping and in Hokitika for the remainder. Okarito is on the West Coast of the South Island and we are looking forward to relaxing and reading and walking and maybe a boat trip and visit the glaciers or whatever. I have my pile of stuff of course so hoping to do drawing, playing, stitching and some felting. We have hired a bach so no local restaurants this week. I shall have to cook every night.....
Thia fabulous aerial shot above - of Okarito - was taken by David Alexander - do check out his website - he has some fabulous photos there http://www.davidalexanderphoto.com

Isn't the beach glorious - and looking at the weather at present I think it will be wet and cold maybe. Who knows? But we will have a log fire to keep us warm.

Okarito is the home of the white heron - we may be a wee bit early and I know we are a wee bit early for whitebait as the West Coast has different dates from the rest of New Zealand. But you never know what you will find.

Lots of snow I expect.

Okarito from the sea - not sure what computer access we will have but if we do I will post to my blog. When we leave we will go up through Reefton and catch up with Max - go out for dinner but not to Dawsons ever again.

 Then we will drive back over the Lewis Pass through Hamner for a swim in the hot pools - there are springs here - very famous - in the 'olden' days the wealthy used to go up from Christchurch - Ian likes the very hot pool - me - no.
and back to Christchurch. Then we are going out to dinner to Saggio di Vino

finally we fly back home via Auckland - back in action next Thursday 2nd September. Kia Ora

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

studio today? - HA

How could I have imagined that I would get into the studio today - not only did several people order loads more Angelina which meant a lot of packaging - again - but the latest Cloth Paper Scissors arrived - I knew it was due and hoped it wouldn't arrive tomorrow so thankful for that. All dispatched - I think there might be one copy left - I shall have a quick read of it tonight.


Whilst we are still having a few dramas with the kangaroo paws and may lose some - they are mostly all starting to come into flower. But as well as that the grevilleas are statring to look rather beautiful as well. The birds love them.

I have decided to make you hang in suspense until tomorrow to tell you our excitement. Too busy and off to tidy and sort first.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday mutterings

Today Val Holme's book Textile Art Textile 1 arrived. I love it really because it is in French and English so I am practising my French by trying not to read the English. Val is usually next to us at Ally Pally and we enjoy her company and lots of French folk always gravitate to her stand and we listen avidly in the hope of improving our French. This year I think we have all been moved a little way away so not sure where we will be. It's a good book - she says it is for beginners but it is quite innovative - Val always does great work. Last year she was working on a a very creative jacket.

The intrigues of the election continue to dominate the scene and fill the newspapers but we have also enjoyed reading about the All Black win and have to admit that we popped down to Grant's yesterday afternoon and watched it all over again and thoroughly enjoyed the 2 tries at the end second time around. It's easy when you know the result.

The day seems to have flown by with all the usual jobs to do - nothing like packaging Angelina and putting everything away and then someone phoning for more particularly when you haven't packaged extras of those ones. One day I will get on top of it all again. I seem to package 100s and 100s and have it everywhere and then voila - it has all gone. We are waiting on a new shipment - bit like waiting for grass to grow.

I am getting through all my writings and tomorrow hope to spend most of the day in the studio - then I will tell you about our little treat coming up. Exciting times and we also heard today that the Versa Createx Tools are on the high seas so will be here earlier than we thought. I am on the prowl for mylar to cut my stencils.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

wonderful rugby to keep us up late

What a nail biting rugby game - we were both very quiet as the minutes ticked by and then - TWO tries in the last few minutes. Such excitement. I had thought that Ian opening the champagne seemed a little premature but I sure did enjoy the last glass. Beating the Springbox in South Africa before a crowd of 94,700 people is pretty awesome. What it means is that the All Blacks have won the tri-nations with 3 games to play. It's up to the Wallabies to do their thing for the next 2 games before the final game in Sydney.

Our Tagine last night was delicious   - I forgot to take a photo after I lifted the lid and only remembered when we were nearly finished. Just take my word for it.

The election ended up last night kind of as predicted - undecided and probably a hung parliament. Most exciting is the Greens win in Melbourne - maybe people really are fed up with the attitude and ineptitude of the 2 major parties. Our member is Stevie Smith - nice to see you on tv last night Stephen - we certainly never see you in our  electorate. Maybe you will think about us next time round. Not that we actually saw any of the candidates in our electorate. Heather - to follow up your comment about appreciating that the suffragettes fought for our right to vote - I couldn't agree more but I do believe that it should be my choice not some big brother telling me I  must vote. I  was born in a country where voting is not compulsory - I always voted from choice. I am afraid that there are too many people wanting to tell me what I should do and what is good for me - don't even get me started on fluoro jackets.

We have been slogging away on the computer nearly all day - Ian is working on the website and I have been writing various things. one of the things I am doing is preparing a submission to teach overseas (can't tell you where yet but it is somewhere we haven't been to) as I got an exciting email asking me to put in a submission. I find it hard to be precise about what I am going to do in 2 years time - I dont always know what I am going to do in 2 minutes time. However I am working away on a topic centred around the artful journey.

It is a beautiful day here in Perth. I am a bit late but I am off to cook pumpkin soup for lunch.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

election day

Election day is best ignored so I have a Tagine cooking in the oven instead. Lamb shanks - I shall what the contents look like in a few hours time.

This is puddling - if you spray onto baking parchment and then lay your surface onto it, you get wonderful effects - this is a little Khadi fold up book all ready for more action - there still seems to be a lot of stuff on my table.

Jacinta on her blog has been making silk paper using silk rods so I thought I would too - I used natural ones and dipped them in a cup of water to wet and soften and pull the layers off - I laid my down onto a puddle of Silhouette Silver Moonshadow Mist in 2 layers and then covered with a second sheet of parchment and ironed with a dry iron on hot. Then I sprayed Black Orchid Starburst Spray onto a cut 'n dry foam pad and stamped onto the surface and finished with some stitch. All ready for my journal.
The front and the back depending how you feel. The silk 'fabric' is easy to stitch onto once it is ironed. Amazing little things, aren't they?

Most exciting - later on tonight after we have been bored silly by the election stuff we will rock up to Grant's and watch the rugby on fox. The All Blacks are playing the Springbox in South Africa.

Friday, August 20, 2010

It's Friday again

When you have plans they always get sidelined - I seem to have been very busy all day today but I am not quite sure what I achieved. When you think you have lost something it distracts you and puts you out of sync. I thought I had lost my Okarito journal - hadn't seen it since the show here in Perth and of course the brain goes into overdrive. However, all was well and if I had tidied up like i said I was going to - it IS on my long list of things to do - I wouldn't have lost it. We are having an enormous amount of spam which is very annoying since we pay corporate rates - apparently they are checking out the filters. Ian has been having exceptional fun and games at the post office - sort of like a Monty Python script. Just as well he can laugh at the end of the day - here he is between the trees with the chopped off heads - watering the kangaroo paws.


I have discovered that you can apply Xpandaprint to form-a-foam and then heat and then of course spray with colour and then stitch. more to experiment with this. Not on this one but I have also lain painted webbing on the surface before heating and impressing. Very effective and then add some foil. Can't find my playings for this - think I need to tidy my work table.

A long time ago, I left some fabric in the garden - had done rubbings with Shiva stiks and stitched a little. I have moved it around a few times - rescued it etc but completely forgotten about it until the landscape people where here and I spotted it in the garden they are going to do the plan for. I KNOW they thought I was nuts but then Ian was standing around with his beanie on so that made two of us. I washed it clean - it had snails and all sorts on it and resin from the mulberry tree - and I have hung it on the lemon tree to dry. It has rotted in places - possibly next door's cat has dragged it around, but otherwise it looks rather interesting. I shall think what I might do next.

The election is tomorrow and then thank goodness that will be over - but then the media will be on and on about whoever it is that wins. Time to disappear.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

the first freesia

The first freesia is out - there are lots waiting and lots of nasturtium leaves but this flower won the competition. The scent I cannot share but this is a special time of the year along with autumn (we don't have that here and really once spring does start it usually skips straight into the stuff I don't like).

I have received a heap of samples of lovely Indian silk yarn and I am having to make the big decision of which ones to order. Always exciting. I also have to finalise the numbers for the new magazine Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts. If you fancy a copy then you need to email  us pretty fast. The sales person from Interweave tells me it is going to be fantastic and very popular but then she would. wouldn't she? She is a sales person after all....


I did spray my large sheet of Tissutex last night but that was as far as I got. I used 3 colours and it has a lovely sheen. I hope to get to make my flower book for holding the flowers, tomorrow.

Ian has loaded all the Textile Tantrums onto the web so do go visit them - they have their own gallery. He will be adding the artitst names and titles tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

a litle bit of Tuesday

Cas Holmes much awaited book 'The Found Object in Textile Art' arrived today - sometimes we get lucky with books - not usually though but if they are printed in Hong Kong they get here on their way to Europe and we get them first. It is refreshing to see new things from old instead of loads of stuff from other people's books regurgitated.


What have I been reading? The latest Ruth Rendell - it's a very interesting look at people with the usual intrigue of Ruth Rendell but I think when I want to relax I like Inspector Wexford and books which are easy on the brain after a busy day. I usually read crime stuff when we fly off into the never never so I should have kept it for the next trip!


Last night I cooked (yes I do quite often) a chicken curry so I made the same chutney type dish that I made for the lamb shank curry last week. It is quite yummy - yoghurt, cashew nuts, chillie, cumin, ginger, coriander whizzed up in the food processor. We have quite a bit leftover so I might need to make a different curry further on this week.

It's 6pm and I am only just about to go to the studio -  I am off to spray some Tissutex to make a little book to put all my flowers into. The election stuff is just so boring - what you need to realise is that they are all the same and nothing will actually change after Saturday and I would rather not waste my time voting. I had hoped it would happen when we were out of the country. We have waited 2 days for a courier company to deliver something which  arrived in Perth at 7am yesterday and it may come tomorrow (if we are lucky). And to top it all off I have had a huge resurgence of junk mail particularly from someone wanting to show me my wife's sexy photos..... I never ever heard back about the ladies coming from Dubai for embroidery lessons - shame... Obviously we will have to sneak off to Cantina tonight to give ourselves a wee break.

Monday, August 16, 2010

some more garden coming up

Dion and Annette from Evolve Landscape came today to see how they could work some magic with our last untouched garden area - in the back outside the studio. They did think it was a challenge. This is one of their award winning gardens - it isn't ours - my water stays in the pots with the sleeping waterlilies waiting for spring. We are looking forward to seeing what they come up with and then seeing our garden spring to life.


The Petit Carnets arrived today - that means little journals - I got a tiny order in to see what they were like and how they would go and we sold them all at the show here in Perth - not even one for me - so I got some more and they arrived today. Ian with his new fancy camera has even loaded them onto the website. There are 5 different sets with 2 journals in each bundle. They would make great presents as well if you could bear to part with them.

Today I received a lovely card from someone who had won a prize in one of the quilt shows. We give quite a pile of generous prizes for various happenings around the country and often you don't hear a word so it is really lovely when someone takes the time to write and says thanks. We really appreciate it. I am absolutely passionate about textile art and encouraging people to experiment, explore and play and our business is based on all the things which I love to play with. I started the Thread Studio because I couldn't buy stuff I wanted to play with and I introduced so many new things into this neck of the woods. Another word for a history degree is a nosey parker degree - I would like to think of it as research.......

Grant has updated his blog - swell time - with the last 2 regattas he has sailed well in - even a video to watch.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ian's new camera and a bit of play

Ian has bought himself a lovely new camera and spent a fair bit of time playing with it. It's amazing really how things update so fast and what you thought was the latest, now looks like a heap of crock. I remember many years back when we both flew to Sydney and the boys stayed in Reefton with their grandparents and flew over to Melbourne where we met them (flying alone aged 7 and 8  - today we would probably be called negligent parents or something) - it was the time of the underarm bowl which no Kiwi could ever forget and we were amazed when so many Aussies kept apologising to us. I digress - what I mean to say was I bought Bruce a little digital (I think) game which seemd so modern. I wonder where it is today. But Ian has been in the garden photographing some of the kangaroo paw flowers and practising. At top is our original one which has been in flower for a while but the others are all the new ones - it will be a very vibrant garden of paws before too long. not to mention the bulbs which are bursting to appear - no no - not yet - it is only August I cry.

The rest of my pics are from my i-phone - the new toy battery is charging......


I have read a few comments about the Castaway stamp pad - can't remember where and I thought I would get it out and see if it still works - I think someone said it wasn't playing ball.  This one I sprayed kahdi rag paper with Colorwash and then used a daisy stamp and Castaway - it came out quite well - the pic doesn't do it justice. Then I tried it over Moonshadow Mist with parts of one of my new polymer stamps. I thought this was quite effective. I use Versamark for ghost images but the Castaway gives a slightly more definite image.

Next I thought I would do some digitizing - I told someone at the show in Perth that I was good at digitizing letters - not particularly good at other digitizing. You learn what you need to know for what you want to do. Just imagine how overloaded your brain would be if you learnt it all - that's a good excuse anyway. In fact I had forgotten and had to get the manual out and start all over again.... Practice does tend to help with anything. That's why when you learn the piano you need to practise.... Anyway I want to make a word wrap around for my stitchy stonehaven journal so that was my reason. Any genuine digitiser would choke seeing my efforts - my stitch leaves spaces etc but that is the effect I want - then I can burn into them with the soldering iron. I am using rayon - Stonehaven naturally - don't use cotton or polyester as your good work will be for nothing.


The picture is not that clear but I stitched a number of letters (I like letters and words) and burnt them out with my new toy - I have been busting to use it. This is the Creative Versa-Tool, available in north America for a number of years and soon to be available down under. We have been in negotiation with Walnut Hollow and are having our own made to Australian and New Zealand specifications. They should be here in early November. They sent me one to play with - I had to get a transformer for it of course as our ones are being made right now. It has 11 different interchangeable tips, is very sturdy, has its own stand and comes in its own carry box. So much better than the one we have been selling previously. It was a long hard decision as we had to buy a huge number but I think it will be worth it. SO many people have asked us about getting a good tool in. Ian is very impressed with it and that means more than my opinion because he looks at things thoroughly. I just get carried away. We are not sure of the price just yet. It also enables you to cut stencils which I hope to try this week. Too exciting for words.


Evelyn - thanks for the comment about hands-on workshop. If I get enough people I will run one in November.

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