Thursday, November 29, 2007

off we go again

tomorrow is our wedding anniversary - not as many as the royals but tonking along. This is us many years ago - just think I was only 19! And that hair is all mine. Ian's is all his too.... We have a table waiting for us in Queenstown tomorrow night if I ever get packed. I have just finished all the orders and sent out the newsletter with only 2 spelling mistakes - thanks Doreen! .

Here is the last flower to back the embossed velvet one. I used all the scraps from the last 2 postcards. There is a water paper cast somewhere hidden in there.

Back in a week. We are flying to Christchurch, then Queenstown. Teaching in Wanaka 2 days (while Ian is roaming the countryside or the vineyards) then up the West Coast to Fox Glacier for a night, then to Reefton - Ian's home town - to see Max and Nelsa and Aunty Shirley, then over the Lewis Pass to Hamner Springs for a swim and back to Christchurch.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I have been up for a long time today - think I first got up at 4am which was a bit early even though I had plenty to do. The latest Quilting Arts finally arrived having been in Customs for a week - if only the correct documents would come with the shipment it would make all of our lives easier. Here's hoping for the next issue. But we worked very hard and got them all out by the end of the day. There is a lovely article from Sara Lechner whose work I have always admired.

Here is today's flower postcard - not quite finished as it needs some hand stitching - yesterday's has gone to new pastures. They are both similar - embellished background using 3 different colours of scrim which Rae has just sent me all brightly dyed as per my special request and the tiny flowers are using the flower stitcher (of course...) Yesterday's had embellished velvet flowers - today's has a water soluble paper flower.

Last night Bruce took seemingly 100s of photos of the studio (and even some with me in them which he and Ian thought were up to their usual awful standard. The upshot is that I have a superbly tidy studio but one still has lots of work in progress and lots of inspiring things to see.
Today I held the slats for the fence so Ian could nail them back onto the fence and it looks like they never fell off although there is lots of tree debris in the garden and I have to face the fact that other branches have to be chopped down.

Wow - this is the first time I have loaded a picture which won't blow up when you click on it - I have even scanned it twice and reloaded it. Must be meant to remain small.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

more flowers

Bit of excitement this morning - a very large and heavy branch fell down from one of the eucalyptus trees and broke the new fence between us and next door. Lots of sawing up of branches and slats to repair!
Here is my today's flower postcard - it has changed shape back to more conventional.
Many photos later and a nice tidy organised studio. Maybe I should do this a couple of times a year.

No local takers for my freebies at the front door.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Cleaning the Studio

I have spent most of the day cleaning up my studio - it's so tidy I will have to mess it up tomorrow - well the next day anyway. Bruce came around to inpsect and decided that I needed to do a bit more so he is coming to photograph tomorrow when I have tidied my big table. That's how your kids get their revenge....

This is one of today's flowers - embossed velvet - I will stitch it tomorrow and join it to whatever is going to be on the other side. And of course, Joan, you can see them! I am just trying to gather my ideas and techniques into one place.
Today a copy of Embroidery Studio arrived from Amazon. I have had a copy for a long long time but I haven't been able to find it anywhere and I am sure I haven't loaned it out. Maggie told me it was very expensive on Amazon etc now but I managed to obtain a copy for a good price. I am sure mine will turn up and then I will sell this copy for what I paid for it. It has been a particularly valuable source book for a long time - Val C-H has 2 contributions and she has signed my original so that is why I am still searching. As a book, each contributor looked at a piece from the Embroiderers Guild collection and intrepreted it in her own way. One of my favourite pages of 2 is Jean Mould's page below. It was my intro to hand made paper and I used to spend ages staring at these two pages.

The scan doesn't do justice to the work. As an inspiration for ideas rather than projects or copying stuff, it is superb.

On our front verandah (as a result of my tidying up), I have a spinning wheel, a trolley thing (very useful for carting stuff to workshops in) an a big bag of spools for winding down onto. They are free but need to be collected by Thursday morning before we go to NZ. I also have a pile of textiley magazines for anyone who wants them.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday Stuff

Must be the day after such excitement of the election results. It isn't hot temperature wise but it must be very humid and we are quite listless so on a go slow in operations. I have been continuing on my flower postcards for my workshop next weekend and have also started a Flower book in one of my Khadi rag books. i have a pile of samples so thought it appropriate to give them a home and some semblance. This one is an Evolon flower. This one a paper napkin flower - the flowers on top have been dipped in clear UTEE

This one is a copper tissue flower card.

Have to get up bright and early in the morning to clean up the studio - Bruce is coming to take photos in the afternoon - it's high time for a big sort out!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

australian election

Well we have had our election and the results are in. Just hope we all get what we think we will get. Have to say the speeches from both John and Kevin were dreadful - is this the way of the future?

We had our bbq and we all 5, the rugby watchers, are waiting for the rugby to start on 14th Feb

Friday, November 23, 2007

Flakes and stuff

Working on my postcards today - but here are some of the new flakes - this one trapped in between black Gossamer Fuse and black chiffon scarf - stitched with gold on top and copper on bottom in flower shapes and zapped with the heat gun. This one - flakes in between white Gossamer Fuse and coloured chiffon scarves and zapped as well
These make great little crunchies and I shall attach them to one postcard.
Very hot here and going to continue tomorrow. Hope everyone in Australia remembers to vote. for the first time since we were students, we are actually doing something - working for Get Up in Stirling - in the middle of the day - in the heat - so must remember to take our hats and water bottles. Tonight and tomorrow night we are having a barbecue in the back garden.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

still running like crazy

Have you ever been surrounded and covered by layers and layers of metallic flakes? We have just had a huge shipment of 8 different colours of them - I thought they would all be in plastic bags inside the boxes but the first one I opened was loose! Heaven forbid - they got everywhere. I have spent this morning decanting a fair amount and this is blatant advertising - there is 4 times as much in each jar for $11 as opposed to our little jars of gold and silver for $9.90! There is gold, silver, copper (at last) and 5 different combinations. Ian should have them on the web pretty soon (although he does have his usual backlog of stuff to do). Wonderful for the usual gilding things but also super for trappings and adding to almost everything - as I packed, Ian ran behind me with the vacuum cleaner - they certainly do cling to your skin and I found a little flake in my sandwich at lunchtime.....

I haven't made it much into the studio as yet this week but should be able to get some work done tomorrow - I need to.... Our sofas have ome back home all newly covered, new springs and looking beautiful. They should last for at least another 15 years. A brave new colour scheme which seems to fit in quite easily.

While we were in Melbourne, our new lawn was laid on the verge. If you are a visitor you will know it has been rather bleak for a while but so far it is looking great - Ian is busy sweeping up the leaves. He keeps popping out to see how it is going.

And to make a third thing, these are our new double gates at the back into our right-of-way. The flats etc next door are finally completed and are open for viewing on Saturday - next task for us is to get a sail for the last bit of privacy.

I have just finished reading Janet Frame's posthumous book - Towards Another Summer. She wrote it in 1963 but stipulated that it not be published during her lifetime. It is very personal and a brilliant write. I have been reading Janet Frame for a very long time - my feeling is that she is NZ's greatest writer.

Finally - the netball. Shame about the Silver Ferns' loss but it was a fabulous game to watch. They are both such even teams but I do feel Liz Ellis made the final difference. So well done the Aussies. I couldn't believe that it wasn't shown live in Australia - the land of sport but obviously only blokes sport....
I have also added a pic on my embellishment blog of the Merrylock whic Kates Sewing Centre in Melbourne is selling. It's a good value machine which I had use of at Geelong from Jacinta. I should also tell you that we have had lots of other exciting goodies this week - little wooden charms - hands/feet/hearts in petite and grande and little charm faces. Great for adding to your wild women akka Sarah Lawrence style or even your little embellished houses my style.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Back and running

We had a good time in Melbourne although it was hot and we got out in time. But - the flies drove us mad. They were those small sticky ones which stick to your face etc. Horrible. The trade show was good - met lots of nice people and we had some good meals out - ventured to Bridge St where we haven't been before. And I went shopping on Thursday - something I never have time to do. Plus we had a real bonus in going to see the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra perform and discovering that Nigel Kennedy is playing with the MSO in February - yummy.

When we got back there were lots of parcels and new goodies waiting for us, including the new Fibre Fusion book - On Form. Lots of good three dimensional stuff here.

Also the latest issue of Altered Arts had arrived along with the 2 new sets of rubbing plates from Cedar Canyon - flower ones - highly appropriate for my workshop coming up. Tomorrow I will off to try and get some more stuff done. I bought myself a great flower template and I want to see how it works.

It's always nice to be back in your own bed. And in the morning to check out the newly laid lawn on the verge. Very smart. Ian has to water at 10am and 2pm every day so the grass feels at home.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

just a quickie

Just a couple of pics before we head off to Melbourne - turns out we thought we were going tomorrow as we don't set up until Friday but somehow we booked the plane and the hotel for today. Just as well we checked or we wouldn't have rocked up to the airport until tomorrow... Will have a nice day out in Melbourne instead. Back home on Sunday night when our new lawn on the verge will be all planted and hopefully still alive....

In Marrakech Ian went out to the Palmerie - it is really soemwhere where someone has planted a lot of palms - quite iinteresting. I stayed behind and read on the roof. Resident camels as well.
This is the other side of last night's flower.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tuesday's Flower

Here is my next flower card but I won't tell you how I made this one is suffice to say that I used the dear little flowers Beryl Taylor gave me and I will have to email her and see if she will send me some more. Another for Wanaka and I don't want them to know yet..... I have lots of different techniques for my class and most I will create into flower cards. Yesterday was 39.8 - no wonder it felt hot. Today was hot but not so bad. Always a nasty start to the summer. Our new gates at the back have been installed so it all gets better bit by bit. We didn't quite full the skip before they took it away and there is still dirt to move but maybe on cooler days we can fill the big rubbish bin bit by bit.

Lois came to visit yesterday and brought her wonderful photos of Granada and Barcelona and Paris - now we are thinking mmmmmm.......... next year? The similarity of some of the patterns to Marrakech (and Istanbul from a few years back) were all very interesting.

Tomorrow we are off to Melbourne in the afternoon for the Australian Quilt Market - a trade show.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Yesterday was so hot and horrible that I reckon we must have been struck with first day of heat-ite-is or semi sunstroke from working in the garden or whatever. We were in bed at 9pm and I was so exhausted. Kept the air con on for most of the night. It was supposed to be 39 today but whatever it was, it was lovely this evening. You want to try packaging Angelina in the heat - it sticks to your fingers and refuses to go into the bag.....

Bruce and Kazuko have been growing things in their garden and these squash are a gift from them - these ones have been cooked on the bbq tongight on skewers with other goodies and they were yummy.

Here is Ian lighting the bbq - we have a hibachi which, believe you me, can churn out food for many. No fancy gizmos needed here. If you look behind Ian you can see one of the hydrangeas which has survived the being away period. They are all thriving and ready to flower.

One thing about the weather, Maggie, is that once you have certain weather where you live, you tend to totally forget what it might be anywhere else in the world. I think we just know we might be in for one of those long hot summers. Global warming, while we ignore it, is very much a part of our lives.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

hot hot hot

It was said to be 36 today but I wouldn't be surprised if it was hotter than that. Not a good day to be trying to fill a skip! I spent some time in the front garden pulling out weeds and Ian in the back digging dirt until I got covered with sand or something when we decided to change the bins. Then I retreated to the studio to get some of my samples for my NZ workshop done. The topic is Postcards and the theme is Flowers- it's hard trying to decide what to do when you can't take heaps of stuff. I got 3 made so that's a start. I also had an entirely disastrous making of a distressed piece so I have to start all of that again. Never before has polycotton not burnt away with the heat gun..... This is an embellisher flower postcard

This one uses some lovely paper I found somewhere - oiled parts and stuff.

Maybe it will be cooler tomorrow - we had forgotten how horrible it is.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

a little more Marrakech

This poor little donkey had a fair load to carry. Ian has just made his weights heavier and I feel a little like the donkey when I lift them....

Djemaa el Fna - the main square. On day 1 it took us ages to find it - we walked all over the place until finally Voila! I read that it is a world heritage spot. A huge square - full of stands with fresh orange juice, and heaps of wonderful fruit - dates, figs, almonds for starters. We saw lots of citrus and olive trees when we went to the Atlas mountains. There are also snake charmers and henna painters and in the evening many new stalls appear - food - they cook up all manner of goodies - we ate there one night. And the other thing we enjoyed were the story tellers - surrounded by crowds - we couldn't understand a thing but you get the idea - the story is dramatic! Off the square is the myriad of souks where it is easy to get lost.

We spent a decadent hour going on a horse and cart ride - all round town and out of the city walls. Our driver was quite informative and invited Ian to take a photo when we got back to the square again.

This is a beautiful gate we passed. Gather it isn't much used but it was beautiful. More of those patterns again.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Happy Anniversary

Today is Bruce and Kazuko's 5th wedding anniversary. Just where does the time fly? It only seems a wee while ago that they got married and we all had a great day in our back garden before the studio was even thought about. They got married at the Japanese gardens at the Perth Zoo but tonight they are going somewhere quite different to celebrate - Frasers in Kings Park.

Maggie - when you view things from downunder you get a better view!!!

Beautiful day in Perth - we have just sent off the onahead boxes to the trade show - Australian Quilt Market - in Melbourne next week. This weekend we will be filling another skip - the last one up the back so it won't be long before we can start planting and stuff.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Jardin Marjorelle

The first morning we visited the jardin majorelle
where I had the wonderful find of the Delacroix Morroccan journals. It is a super place to visit - cool and colourful. Majorelle was a French painter and he opened the garden to the public in 1947. It is now owned by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge and they established a trust to ensure the future existence of the garden. If you go to Marrakech , this is a must see. Click on the pictures for more detail.

Don't you just love the colours? This is the outside of the Musee D'Art Islamique which was also worth a visit. It was full of all manner of treasures including lots of embroidery - I just did a few drawings. There is a wall full of door frames and window frames. one hung in our riad outside our bedroom but my photo has not come up very well at all although I did do lots of drawings of it to remind me.

Lots of colourful pots and a very extensive collection of plants including plenty of cactii.

The outdoor cafe where we had lunch. I am amazed it is empty as it was packed when we were there. Ian must have taken a photo during a change over of people. That's me over in the corner.
Last night we went to the Australian Chamber Orchestra which was very enjoyable as always although there was an especially strange (thankfully short) premiere of something. They played 4 encores - magnificent. That's the final concert for 2007.
We are still enjoying the fact that no traffic can traverse our street!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Happy Birthday Grant

Happy birthday Grant - you've come a long way (like grown a bit older) but still the same...... ready for action.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Tuesday stuff

This is one of the labyrinths in the Medina - the old part of Marrakech where we stayed and not far from our riad. No wonder we got lost. Most days a group of old ladies sitting on the ground would simply point the way for us.
You wouldn't think that behind this door was our wonderful abode. Always a relief to get back safely and ring the doorbell.

Up on the rooftop is our neighbourhood mosque. I loved all the patterns and also the colour of the green tiles - malachtite.

Again the rooftop where we could relax to our hearts content away from the hurly burly of the souqs. I can't imagine why anyone would want to stay in the hotels outside the wall.

However back to reality - we have been busy again today but all the Cloth Paper Scissors are on their way to their new owners. Our street is normally very busy morning and night as it is used as a through-way. Quiet on the weekends and during the night. However, it is closed off at the roundabout because of the deep sewerage works and this morning it was so quiet we slept in. When I woke I thought it must be Saturday. Some drivers (especially those in 4WDs) can't believe that 'Road closed' means road closed even for them. They roar up, stop, look bewildered, and then turn around and drive back. We are going to write to the council telling them to keep it that way. Bliss.

Monday, November 05, 2007

little more Marrakech

This is a pot just outside our room. There were lots of pots in this style in our riad. In fact one thing I noticed in Marrakech were the patterns - or maybe I am just into patterns. So many patterns I don't know where to start. I spent a lot of my time sketching out patterns.

Night time on the roof - what better place to enjoy a glass of good french red....

A wall waiting to be photographed just outside the mosque by the museum. After Ian took the pic, a boy came along and spread out skins on the ground in all manner of bright colours but Ian had vanished with the camera - or he may have been studying his map or checking the satallite dish compasses to make sure he was going north.

The street just out of our little rabbit warren to our riad. One thing I noticed about Marrakesh was how clean it is - eat your heart out London.

The mosque next door to our rooftop

This is a section of my carpet - made by the Berber people - lots more patterns.

The CPS mag finally arrived this afternoon but not before Ian had made his many phone calls. What a saga and Useless Parcel Service sures lives up to its name. Off to GoGos with Val and Jim tonight. I think they get jealous when we go and they miss out....

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Lazy weekend

The weather has been glorious and we are enjoying our barbeque once more and the extra hour in the evening which daylight saving gives us. So we have had a reasonably lazy weekend and gone nowhere, not even gardened - tut tut.

Ian has finally sent my pics from Marrakech across so I thought I would share some. This is the entrance to our bedroom in the riad - there were 4 rooms on the first floor - over the balcony you could look down into the pool on the ground floor. If you look above you will see the roof is open - it had a very natty system to close up when needed for shade or rain .

Ian reading his maps - still trying to sort out the sun situation in the northern hemisphere.

This photo is of the beautiful screen and doors in our room which led into the bathroom

into here - the hand basin and such divine tiny taps

also in the bathroom there were shelves and a gorgeous little window which you could open - I loved the way the light came in.

Up on the roof wher we had breakfast in the morning and a glass of wine at night

The view from our roof - see all the satellite dishes - Ian sorted out that he could use them for a compass whenever he was lost. With views like this why would you want to be anywhere else?

Finally to show I have done something creative, here is today's rust page - I have stitched a piece and distressed it - a good fragment. I have also fianlly got my scanner working properly so I have started on my digitwise module 4 at last.


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