Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve

It's New Year's Eve and we are going to stop for the night and celebrate with a relaxing bbq in our garden with an eye on our tree which is developing new growth in places. Thank you all for the caring comments and emails - makes me feel good that others appreciate what trees are there for. Not the culprit though that I have noticed!

This is a new plant in our front garden in with the grevilleas and kangaroo paws - a Sturt Pea - I bought it wondering how it might go and this is the second flower blooming now in two weeks.

I have started on a few New York pages - this is the first - maybe too much yellow? I have used a pile of paper napkins -

And the second page is playing fabrics I got at the City Quilter in NY

Lots to do but also lots of other things to do as well - the tree saga has put us behind with the e mag which is nearly done now - except I have to finish an article! And I am busting to get onto other things on my list - what's new?

See you in 2015 when hopefully there won't be so many dramas

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Love a tree because you never know

I am writing this blog entry because I want it all on file. If you don't like trees or don't care, just click off!
Look at this tree stump which never dies. When we bought our house 22 years ago, we had a garden full of growing and large Eucalyptus trees. The ones in the front garden we have slowly topped as they grew unsafe. I hate it but I know it has to happen. But trees are so precious - just imagine where all the birds who frequent our garden would go if they were not there.  This one is just outside our gate and we actually had the tree man (we use Tree Wise Men and they are fabulous) drop some poison in it but it is a survivor and new shoots sprout as fast as. We let one grow a reasonable amount and then chop it down and lo and behold, another appears. It is surrounded by very large bricks which are impossible to move - they arrived after our front lawn on the verge was redone.

Just inside the fence is another beautiful tree which has lemon flowers and those red seed pods which a lady collects to use in her jewellery. We keep an eye on this one but it is not a tall grower, just a hanger over. It smells wondrous after any rain.

This magnificent tree is on our verge - it has those wonderful red flowers and is a native of WA - note - I never remember their names. It drops a lot of leaves on our front lawn but you just rake them up. Not the end of the world in order to enjoy it in its glory.

In the front garden we have two which grew very tall and have each been topped off at different times. They are hardy and by letting a branch grow it keeps our shade and anyway they are beautiful. They all have loads of bark which you have to gather at bark dropping time and I did make paper one time with it - hard work though.

Also in the front garden is the latest one to have its head chopped off (the arborist was horrified) but it has grown a mop like topsy.  It's happy - I was not but I know it has to happen. The kangaroo paws and grevilleas in the front garden are all very happy and so are the birds.

In our back garden we have three wondrous lemon scented gums. These ones are in front of my studio - sorry the light is wrong because the sun is in front of me instead of behind. But the studio was designed to fit with them - they are magnificent and we love them to bits. Of course they lose leaves and limbs and bark but that is the price you pay for them. If you didn't like them you would live somewhere else, wouldn't you?

And in the corner of our property at back is their big brother - what the Vincent Council called a magnificent specimen. When we returned from our week in NZ, Ian noticed that this beautie had a lot of dead leaves and put it down to the water not being on up there at present. He asked our friend Gray, who is an arborist and he thought it sounded stressed and may have been disturbed by things happening. So we started pumping water in and feeding it fertiliser.  Below it is our lovely mulberry tree full of mulberries which got very excited about the extra water coming its way. Just after we discovered this, our neighbour called over the fence asking if we knew the tree had died. Interesting comment because two days later we received a letter from the strata company telling us the tree was dead - false - the tree was falling over - a fanciful false idea - and we had two weeks to remove the tree. Ian replied and we kept watering and feeding. After two weeks on a Saturday, Grant was here and said it was probably poisoned - we said NO - who would do such a thing? But with chair in hand, he popped into the right of way between the properties - we have legal access which someone paid plenty for back in 1900 or so - and looking over the fence and discovered that indeed two holes - 3cm in size (that's tradie size for sure) had been drilled just below the fence line and covered with debris.

There they are - horrifying to think that someone has done this and it must have happened when we were away. A large drill bit makes a reasonable amount of noise when in action. Now - we are pretty sure we know who did it but cannot prove it of course. A nasty, malicious, evil sort of thing to do. An unhappy person it has been suggested.

Here is one of the holes and you can see where killer of some sort has been poured in. So it has been a stressful time and that is why we did nothing much leading up to Christmas - The City of Vincent has been fabulous - the Manager of Trees and Parks and Gardens came around and was horrified - they recommended an arboriculturalist who has also been wonderful - he came and assessed the tree and drilled loads of holes and filled them with food pellets. I have learnt more about trees in the last week than I ever thought possible. The Police were also fabulous when we reported it (probably a nice break from the stuff they were dealing with).

You can't see it very well but this is the bottom of the trunk outside my studio with its hose splashing away 24/7 and yesterday we did the sugar and water treatment - can't help and anyway every tree needs a sweetener. I have my tree observation chair where I am watching the leaves and there are new coppery leaves appearing. I had always wondered how leaves appeared and where and when.

If you have stayed with me and read this far, thanks for your support - I have posted some of the offensive pics on my facebook page and I thank everyone for their fabulous support. It is something which we consider evil, nasty, malicious and quite unfathomable. Just because someone does not want to sweep up a few leaves. Incidentally, of course, since the tree was poisoned and dead leaves appeared, we have had more droppage than we have ever experienced.  And I never thought I would care so much about a tree but the birds are hanging in as well.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas acometh once again

Christmas crept up on us as it does - this year had a rather traumatic beginning which put us a number of days behind, which means we are going to be behind until 2015. More about that in another blog entry because this should be a relaxing happy one. We have had a busy few weeks which we do not complain about and we have even been blessed with the weather not being too hot. We had a couple of bbqs with friends before Christmas and I made my pavlova and cointreau ice cream last Sunday as Kazuko and others came and I know she loves it. Then I made a second one for Christmas Day.

Quite a change in plans for us - usually at home and last year in Broome, this year we went to Hannah's  folks for a wonderfully relaxing and hospitable day. I forgot to take any photos other than Esther's yummy mince pies but I can assure you there was loads and loads of food and good times.

Today being Boxing Day, we are relaxing - Ian and I didn't buy each other any presents for Christmas becasue we just didn't have time but we count all the holidays and trips as special presents and this morning I ordered new outdoor chair cushions online in a sale with free delivery next week. So that will be 4 from me to Ian and 4 from Ian to me at half the price I was thinking of paying last week but didn't have a chance to get to the shop. It's got to be a win win situation.

I hope everyone had a wonderful relaxing day where ever you were. 

I got some wonderful new letter printing blocks this week which will be on the web before too long but I have been having fun using them. You can never have too many letters.

Friday, December 19, 2014

This and that and where does time go?

Wonderful Hyde Park - the Perth one near us!

I thought I would mention wonderful Wellie once more - it is once again one of the world's top cities - no 6 in fact. And my favourite and i love other cities as well but I always love coming down the gorge - the weather part doesn't worry me but on a lovely day, it cannot be beaten.

When we were in Wellington a couple of weeks ago, we checked out somewhere new - the Museum of Wellington - City and Sea - and one we will explore more next time. There is a fabulous documentary on the Wahine disaster - on that particular day in April 1968, we were at varsity in Christchurch and I remember just what a terrible weather day it was there as well.  There are fabulous boards of history - I was particularly interested in the 1940 Great Exhibition - my parents had a pie stand and sold heaps - my father always told me that Mr Hitler stuffed up his chances of early retirement by declaring war.

We also enjoyed a brief visit to the Botanic Gardens and enjoyed the roses - it was a little late in the afternoon and cold - I used to take my boys there when we lived there.

I indulged myself with a bottle of Foxton Fizz for nostalgia - - if you want to read about it - it was at the other end of town and only for a very very special treat as my mother did not approve.

We have been very busy since we got back and things will quieten down now for a while but we have a long list of things to do - the e-mag is getting closer to being ready although one of us is still busy stitching away. I have been exploring all sorts of new things but I am keeping them until the new year - above is something very new which won't be available until mid January but great effects with deColourant. Watch out for these sponges. I must go back and try them on the gelli plate. My studio has been vacuumed which means the floors etc look great - all thos cobwebs making me feel guilty have vanished. My big table is getting clearer but of course i now have more baskets full of themed thoughts all over the place......

It is hotting up in Perth so looks like air con in studio.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Foiling Fun

We had a delivery of new foils this week. Since Jones Tones discontinued their foils, I have been searching forever without a great deal of success - mostly because people would not answer my emails. But then out of the blue I finally got a reply from a firm who manufacture all sorts of colours - about 100. It was hard to choose especially when you are only looking at a paper chart but in the end I chose 10 new colours and 10 top ups. I love that most of these are quite earthy so was pretty keen to have a play.

 These are the colours I chose - olive green - apple green - lemongrass - burnt sienna - sunset gold - burgundy - plum - all pretty earthy. I decided to use a stencil or two and brushed foil glue through. I have worked onto one of my stencil and spray backgrounds on khadi paper so it isn't in your face because nature isn't either. I like the subtle look and you could layer up.

 This is a second one quite less defined.

 On another worked page I foiled a ponga stencil I have made. I haven't used the iron, just worked onto the tacky surface. Sometimes I have trouble with this method but I didn't want it well defined.

 Another chevron stencil

Then I found some fabric previously stencilled and with a wash using Sun Dye fabric paints over the top - I applied foil glue to my fern stamp and pressed it down. I liked the fact that I missed parts of it.

 On the same piece of fabric, a very subtle leaf stencil


If you are layering, you can pop a paper napkin grid (obviously made with a napkin which fits the theme) over the top.

I also made a thermofax screen and applied glue through it onto both khadi paper and fabric. The khadi paper is textured of course and the results were  not so clear but I was playing

 On the fabric you can possibly see some of the words - definitely forest at the top. Ready for stitching which would emphasise your work.

And a final little piece - the background is something new I am playing with and the good people in Adelaide will be able to explore this idea in January at my Summer School class.

A few pointers, when you use foil glue, make sure you wash your stencils and screens soon after use and thoroughly. Wait until the surface is tacky and either iron over baking parchment or press the foil, colour side up, over the surface. this does not always work for me. Permission to play as always.

You can see our  foils - stencils - paints and sprays here and of course our khadi books


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