I have finally started to prepare for Christmas...About time! With the big day only six sleeps away!
A start has been made on the goodies--on Sunday I weakened and made myself a Christmas cake.
When Ken was alive I used to make a couple of cakes because he always sneaked a" taste test" and with only myself to consider, I settled for a sixinch square rich fruit cake, which is now busily going tipsy with the addition of Rum.
Also made has been some more-ish Rocky Road, and a perennial favourite with my family, Apricot coconut balls.
I have even managed some stitching as token gifts for some friends.. Tea light covers with a Christmas theme!
I found them on Embroidery Garden's website (Embroidery Garden.com) and found them so cute, and with the machine they stitched out in six minutes flat!
Some of their freebies are worth a"look" and a play also. I have a couple of cute holiday cats to titch out for some cat loving friends.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Napier (North Island) is noted as the Art Deco city of New Zealand. Back in 1931, Napier and surrounds was devastated by a severe earthquake, and in their wisdom it was decided that the rebuilding of Napier after that event would follow the principlesof Art Deco architecture , which at the time was THE vogue.
So many of the commercial buildings of Napier feature the clean lines of Art Deco in their windows and verandahs.
The city welcomes visitors with people wearing the fashions of the 1930s and driving vintage cars of the period.
For me, the highlight of Napier was to finally meet with Evie Harris! Quilters around the world will recognise her as the woman who organised "Hearts for Christchurch" After the devastating earthquakes that hit Christchurch in 2011.
And ladies, Evie is the most lovely lady you could hope to meet.
I first met Evie in (I think) 2004 through an on line craft and quilting group. Trust me, GOOD things do happen through the internet!
We both joined Postmark'dArt back about 2005/6 and she has mentored me in trying out new techniques....so it was a special time for me to finally meet her,
Evie was kind enough to try help me "find" art deco public toilets to photograph....and I have lost those pics also
Posted by Maureen at 6:42 pm
After departing Auckland about 6p.m. and steaming at about 18 knots overnight, after breakfast, we disembarked at Tauranga for a day involving a boat trip on Lake Rotorua and a visit to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Reserve.
A slightly overcast and breezy day which emphasized the suphurous fumes of the thermal lakes.
Most interesting to see the mud bubbling and steaming at temperatures far too hot for humans to survive immersion.
We lunched on the Lakeland Queen--a stern paddle wheeler. A quartet of Maori singers/dancers entertained us with song and Haka
Posted by Maureen at 6:13 pm
After anticipating for some seven or eight months, on November 8, my friend and I waved farwell to beauutiful Moreton Bay for two weeks, and as passengers on the Sea Princess, set sail for Auckland, New Zealand.
I packed the IMPORTANT things like my camera,spare battery,extra Memory stick AND the battery charger and started taking photos before the Sea Princess passed under the Gateway Bridge,down the Brisbane River and north into Moreton Bay!
And what happened??
For some strange reason, NONE of those photos, nor those of Auckland
I had hoped that they were hiding on achanged memory stick.........NO.
Thankfully my travelling companion shared some of her shots with me, but I'm still living in hope of finding them....somewhere.
The above shots were taken in the Eco centre in the Auckland area. My fist introduction to native flora and fauna of NZ.
Posted by Maureen at 5:57 pm
It's a week tomorrow since I returned home from two weeks cruising the waters of New Zealand, and it's been thefirst time since the mid eighties that I have been on vacation with nary a piece of fabric,a skein of thread or silk ribbon or a bead or three tucked in my luggage.....a most unusual situation, I'll admit.
Early in November, I was motivated by Maureen B's Blog CrazyQStitcher to attempt to return to my love of Crazy Quilting, by signing up for the
I had hoped to have some naked blocks, threads and embellishing materials to take with me on the cruise, but ambition and lack of time prevented that from occurring----I had virtually forgotten so much of CQ and found just constructing a naked block dificult.
So far I have completed constructing five blocks and need at least another seven:
In another first for me, I am choosing to use cream, ecru chocolate and tan fabrics instead of the usual bright jewel tones that I automatically choose.
I have a feeling that using such quiet colours will make life difficult for me in the coming months as I do prefer exuberant colours.
Earlier this week, Sharon B's PINTANGLE newsletter spoke of the availability of her Crazy Quilt Stencils! Somehow I had missed earlier refences to these goodies, so guess what is now at the top of the list for my "must have supplies"!
If you use the link I have included, you will see just how handy these stencil shapes will be .
Just seeing these has enthused me to get stitching again!
Posted by Maureen at 3:54 pm
Thursday, October 10, 2013
" IF" you work hand embroidery, and "if" you belong to a needle work guild, and "if" you are a traditionalist read no further!
When a white work postcard swap was first mooted, I immediately though of "white on white":
Montmellick; Hardanger; the lacy effect of broderie anglaise and even pulled and drawn threadwork.
And, I ended up doing none of these, but dowloading a digitised pattern from a site, letting EMBIRD (r) convert it; and loading it to a USB memory stick for use in my Janome 350E machine.
To compound my " sin", because I am positive that my embroidery mentors of years gone by would view it that way, I chose to use a bright red fabric for my background.
Cards One and three have their edges completed with Ric-rac braid in two different sizes, and card Two has a binding type hem(that I most often use around quilts) around it
Posted by Maureen at 4:28 pm
Monday, September 30, 2013
When one is involved with crafts, it becomes second-nature to look at every day products and wonder about recycling them into your craft.
I'll be honest: I'm a pack rat! A hoarder!
A thorn in my pragmatic and highly organised daughter's side.
Case in point? All those neat netting bags you get when you buy fruit and vegeables.
Many years ago I used to chuckle at my mother. She would save the plastic bags in which sliced bread was sold; then she would cut the bags into long narrow strips and knit or crochet dress hanger covers from them and gift them to various people.
Later on the plastic was replaced by the more aesthetically pleasing ruffled nylon lace and looked "better" in the wardrobe.
Now it's my turn, and I delved into my hoard of various types of nylon netting bags, and these are the result!
These four cards were made for swapping with other members of PostCardMailArt and will start their oveseas travel later today.
Posted by Maureen at 10:48 am
Friday, September 13, 2013
ABC: Anything But Cotton!
Being restricted by the lack of cotton fabrics, what choices to make?
I went back to my roots, my first love: Crazy Patch and mainly after five type fabrics, consisting of brocade, kimono silks, satin and some raw (rough textured) silk
to which I added the embellishment of laces, braids and fancy edgings.
Over the years, my good friends have been "conditioned" to check with me before discarding any fabrics or embellishments, so I have my good friend Di to thank for the dragonfly brocade!
She had a tote bag that was showing signs of tiredness, so she deconstructed the bag and gifted me with the brocade.
Another friend had supplied the raw silk and the emerald green
Thai silk, and the purple fabric with the yellow flowers in the last card was in a bag of used kimono silks I founds in Japan.Seam
treatments were done with various laces, braids and other trims accumulated/treasured over the years.
Bling was added with flower sequins, cabachon type crystals and butterflies.
The log cabin style card has a kitten in a basket in the central (hearth) block.
This card is destined for Lynn in Washington state........a cat lover like myself.
Posted by Maureen at 5:48 pm
One of my themes for Round 18 on Postmark'dArt is LANDSCAPES!
Maybe my landscapes are not true representations of Nature, but I do enjoy making them.....I hope the recipients enjoy my efforts.
In this series I have used (mainly) Karen Eckmeirs method of "accidental landscapes" where the layers are stitched with a flip and fold method.
It's more time consuming than raw edge applique, but I like the extra depth added from the folded fabric.
Posted by Maureen at 4:07 pm
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
With apologies to "The piano man"
It's 3 o'clock in the morning
It's still as black as pitch
I want to get back to sleeping
But I got the "Inspiration Itch"!
Many years back, I used to laugh at my husband for keeping a notebook and pen beside the bed, now I find myself doing it too.
One of my recent themes for my Postcards was ruins, and oh dear! my itch has come up with some crazy ideas.
As usual, my ambitions have exceeded my capabilities, and many ideas remain on the back burner for some time in the future.
As you know, Australia is not ancient in regards to European civilisation, so we don't have many "exciting" ruins to emulate.
Initially, I had ideas of depicting ruined homesteads or shearing sheds, but found it difficult to reproduce either corrugated iron, or timber slabs for the walls........I could find no commercial fabrics, so that idea will have to wait until I paint or scan my own fabrics.
I finally decided to use the silhouette of a spired building, which could represent a ruined church or abbey, a castle, or even a flour mill.
Initially I planned on using black EXPANDAPRINT to add both texture and depth to the building;
Unfortunately, I found the paste too thick to manipulate for the appearance of bricks or stonework.
Similarly, cutting polystyrene trays to represent stone work was too blky for use in a 6 by4 inch format.
I finally decided on heavy duty Lutradur, painted black and with touches of Xpandaprint to add texture.
I placed Angelina film behind the openings/windows, to represent the sun shining through the ruins, and finally, I couched knitting fibres with added beading for flowers or fruit to not only soften the silhouette, but also to add some interest to the scene
Posted by Maureen at 10:15 am