Thursday, 27 December 2012

Major goal achieved's a major goal for me.

About a year and a half ago (I think), I decided I'd had enough of being a 'scaredy cat' in the water, and booked in for adult Learn to Swim classes.  It took a lot of courage to even get to that point let me tell you.  I've always loved the beach but in the water, if my feet weren't planted firmly in the sand I'd chuck a complete spacko, and I wouldn't go anywhere near the surf without my husband.  I hung onto him like a suction cap..........great fun for him I'm sure.  

My homework following the first lesson, was to face the shower when washing my hair.....yes that's how bad I was! The next week I had to face the shower and hum a tune.  By week four I was in the deep pool - admittedly I was crabbing it along the side, hanging on for dear life, with a white face and big googley eyes.....thank you Jean for that experience!

Roll on to December 2012.....and I have just achieved a personal goal of swimming one kilometre in freestyle.  It doesn't sound much I know, but 40 laps?????  C'mon....that's HUGE in my world!  (Don't ask me how many times I put my face in the water at home and hummed "I love a sunburnt country.....a land of sweeping plains...." in preparation for this very moment).  Yes I know it's not the National Anthem, just a good old Aussie song with very happy memories.  Ok I admit I was in the school choir.....shut up.

This is our local swimming pool.  

I no longer feel sick at the smell of chlorine, I no longer need to swim against the wall, the staff know me by name and I'm the veritable 'Imelda Marcos' of swimwear.

(And it still blows me away that I can actually do laps....what a legend!)

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Comedy of Errors

This picture might look all serene and 'Christmassy' but looks can be deceiving.

A couple of weeks ago I poured myself a glass of (very cheap but very tasty) Cabernet Merlot and sat down at my desk to do a little spot of bookbinding, while my daughter took over the cooking duties for the evening. Hmmmm........what luxury.  This was short lived however as I knocked my glass flying with the first enthusiastic sweep of my brand spanking new red bookbinding thread.  The wine shot straight across the desk and made a beeline into the side air vent of my closed laptop.  The computer technician told me my computer was 'fried'.  
"What exactly is 'fried?" I said, trying to remain grown up and calm. we are.......nearly three weeks disconnected, two thousand unexpected dollars, one new laptop.......(and I was going to say 'and a partiridge in a pear tree').

After that great expense and as I seem to be such a 'dab hand' at credit card swiping just before Christmas, I thought I might as well make a good job of it and treat myself to a cordless whipper-snipper (complete with bonus blower vac). Then I won't have to ask my husband, who works away most of the time, to do the yard as soon as he gets home for Christmas. I can do it myself.  Good idea - why not!  I'm a healthy intelligent woman who is becoming fitter by the day - I can do it with the right tools and a 'go-get-em' attitude.  So first thing this morning I set to getting the job done.  Here it is nearly 2pm and so far I've slammed my finger in the metal lid of the toolbox while looking for a phillips head screwdriver,  accidentally turned on the Thermomix in the kitchen with the handle of the whipper-snipper while trying to attach the grass shield to the other end, dropped the battery pack on the dog while holding the box up to the kitchen window to read the miniscule writing, and blown half the Christmas decorations off the tree while inserting the battery into the blower vac to see if it was was.

I haven't been anywhere near the yard.

So this picture belies what actually happened in there today.  Now I'm going to leave those innocent looking garden appliances alone until I have someone available to call an ambulance if need be.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Skirt number two

Ok, I'm really on a roll now.

This skirt is made from a retro print cotton and has a 'mock wrap' front.  We had to design our own skirt this time from the pattern we drafted a couple of weeks ago.  A 'mock wrap' is about as adventurous as I could manage this time round.....but watch this space.........I think I'm just starting to warm up.

I've trimmed the wrap part with some red homespun and a little bit of the Napthol dyed fabric from Semester  one, cut on the bias with a raw edge, so it will fray just the right amount without getting all 'stringy'.
Does it sound like I know what I'm talking about yet?

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Beautifully Bound Pockets.

We've just finished drafting a personalised skirt pattern from our own measurements, (with the expert tuition of our textile lecturer Gera of course).  This is a shot of me wearing my new custom fitted skirt with the most amazing bound pockets.  

What's even more amazing is that I haven't completely lost what remains of my composure after taking three attempts to get the pockets right.  The actual 'bound' part worked just great!  So great in fact that I was very reluctant to add the pocket part, except that I would've had a skirt with two skinny slits in the front of it (like someone trying to squint).  Attempt number one had the pockets joined only to the upper bound section, so that when you put your hand in, you completely missed the pocket altogether........ok if you wanted a bit of a scratch I guess.  This is a common mistake I'm told......(the pocket not the scratching).  After two more attempts I finally have workable pockets, although I'm not so sure about all those zig-zagged raw edges showing on the inside.  

The good thing is, I now have a baseline from which I can only improve!  

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Time to get serious.

I've been 'off the air' again for a while.  So flat out with Tafe.  All work is due to be submitted in a coupe of weeks and I still have waaaay too much to do.  Therefore I do believe....ahem......that it's time to get serious. 

Time to set the lounge room up as Headquarters Central.'s all systems go.  It looks so serene and peaceful in there on a Sunday morning. doesn't it?  Poor little has no idea what's about to happen!

I wonder if I should put a bar fridge in there too?  (Yeah....I reckon I should!)

Friday, 26 October 2012

Camping at Lucky Bay

Camping means time outside in the open, enjoying great friendships, surfing, laughing, breathing in the moonlight, expertly built campfires,  toasted marshmallows, and leisurely beach combing............and we had it all to ourselves.

Not a soul in sight.

It's taken me ages to get this post loaded. Mainly because I didn't take my camera away last weekend when we went camping and I had to resort (under sufferance) to using my phone to take a couple of shots.  I had absolutely no clue what I was doing....and couldn't see anything at all on the phone screen.  What's with that?

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

'Rust and Tannic' Journal

Here are a couple of images of my latest journal.  It was made with papers and fabrics dyed with 'Rust & Tannic' and Indigo dyes.    

Working with these natural fabrics, old lace and op shop doylies, made me think of my 'Nanna', her beautiful sewing skills, (and even more amazing sewing room) her years during the depression, and how she always managed to make do, be happy with what she had and to just simply 'get on with it'.

I have used papers and fabrics that remind me of her, have been dyed naturally...well sort of (no harsh bright artificial synthetic dyes), look old and rusty and incorporate lace - which she always managed to find a little bit of, to embellish something special.  

I have called the journal 'Tide Marks and Contours' because some of the dye marks reminded me of aged topographical maps, and also because we can't always predict where life is going to take us, and sometimes we just need to go with the ebb and flow of the tide.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Mending Party

Yesterday we had a 'mending party' at our house.  Have you ever heard of such a thing?  Me either.

I always thought mending was a chore, which is why it seems to keep building up untill I get a pile of it somewhat similar to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  Yesterday my two beautiful daughters came over, armed with smoothies from Macca's, (and their mending) and we proceeded to chat, mend, sew, measure, decide on shapes, draft patterns, remodel an apron, drink smoothies, design pyjamas, spray spiders *squeal!* alter bathers, match colours, try on clothes, make coffee, photograph roses........and it was just the best afternoon.

Who would have thought that a pile of mending could provide company, laughter, nourishment and fun?  Me either.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Free Spirit Tribal Fusion Festival

Well hello Freo!

I'm back in one piece (just) after a  fun filled long weekend in Fremantle with a bunch of girlfriends.............

..........staying at 'The Mustards' - a revamped soap factory. attend the Free Spirit Community Tribal Fusion Festival (what a mouthful).  Saturday was a day of workshops...........

(I've never had so much fun with balls in socks!)


Gypsy Caravan................
This was absolutely mesmerising.  Yes, I look pretty mesmerised there I'd say.


.....and performing our 'Mastom Mastom' at the Hafla.................

followed by a frantic shopping expedition at the Fremantle Markets before driving home - of which there is no evidence, thank goodness!!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

National Op Shop Week

I just found out this morning that this week is the inaugural National Op Shop week.  What fun!  I've always loved op-shopping (can you tell?) so I don't need any encouragement, but thought the below article might just be the spark that gets someone else going.

The information came from the Peppermint magazine website (not sure if I'm allowed to copy and paste from a website?) but just wanted to spread the word.

Today marks the first day of Australia’s Inaugural Op Shop Week. Sponsored by ALDI and coordinated by the action group Do Something, the aim of the week is to encourage us to spring clean our wardrobes and donate our unwanted clothes to Op Shops. The latest research shows that more Aussies are turning to Op Shops to buy their clothing, but sadly, clothing donations are going down. Jon Dee, founder of Do Something, says donating your clothes is a great way to help out your community, do something positive for those in need and support the environment. To give us extra incentive to participate, over 2000 Australian charity stores have been listed on the Op Shop Week website.  So there’s no better time to hop to your local Oppie, donate your unwanted goods and maybe even pick up a bargain for yourself!

Friday, 14 September 2012


We've been learning about Indigo at Tafe.  (Perhaps you're wondering if I do anything else other than Tafe, textiles, art and belly dancing?  Well the short answer is NOPE.....and I'm loving every minute of it).

I've been taking my time to stitch the patterning into the fabric before dyeing and some of the results have been a bit of a bummer, and others have been just so amazing.  Well I think they have......but then I'm a nerd with no life remember.

Indigo dyeing does have it's down side though.  The blue dye goes on forever and colours everything within a 50 mile radius if you're not careful.....despite what the experts say.  I picked up my fabric from Tafe today which was still in the Indigo dye bath (a plastic bucket), and very kindly offered to rinse the other couple of students' fabrics also.  I mean what did I have to was a sunny day and I was going to do mine anyway.  (Mistake number one).

I decided to steer clear of my already corroded white acrylic kitchen sink and headed for the sunny backyard.  

All I had to do was take the dyed fabrics out of the bucket, let them oxidise in the open air (and very pleasant sunshine) then rinse them.....not hard.  Really?  I now have blue feet, blue lawn, blue pegs and clothesline, a blue dog, and tonight I even have a blue natural bristle shower brush.    I have no voice from laughing and squealing......the dog thinks the hose was invented solely for her entertainment.  

Oh, I also have some stunning fabric.

Pretty amazing huh?

Sunday, 9 September 2012

My path.

I was looking for a birthday card for a friend yesterday and found I bought it for me!

It took me until I was well into my 50's to realise it was time to walk my own path.  Hopefully I'll live to be 100 so I can get my money's worth!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

The Dye Pot

My husband recently sold my faithful old dye pot.

The conversation went something like this......

"Where's my pot?"

"What pot?"

"The pot that was up there on top of the camping cupboard."

"Oh that beat up old thing....I sold it."

"You sold it?....Who to?"

"That sheila."

"What sheila."

"That sheila looking for saucepans for her son's flat."

"I don't believe you.  I don't believe you sold my beautiful old pot.  I've had that pot for 30 years!"

"Well you never use it.  We never take that pot camping."

"That's because it's my DYE POT......I don't do any DYEING when we go camping."  
.................(thinking that someone around here is about to die very shortly).

"Oh shit."

So the hunt for a new dye pot began.  It has taken me a very long time.  I've scoured the second hand shops, haunted the trash and treasure markets and visited the dump shop repeatedly.  It had to be a particular sort of pot. I wanted a pot that had character.....
a pot that would add it's own 'ambience & glow' to my fabrics.....
a pot that had been well loved and cared for by it's previous owner..........
and it had to be aluminium.

OMG.....I found one!!

Just rest your eyes on this little number.

How funky is it?

.....and what about the tap handle?  I've died and gone to heaven.  Dye pot heaven.

That's why I'm taking photos and blogging.  It's a pretty momentous occasion.

It would be nice to have a photo of my old pot though.  The pot that I used to clean and scour the wool I spun to knit my girls' jumpers. The pot I used to dye that very same wool with leaves collected in the Northern Territory.  The pot that has moved around the country and lived with me in almost every State.  The pot I managed to find a special secret hidy-hole for when we lived in a caravan.  The pot that is probably going to poison the young bloke it was bought for when he cooks his first 'stew'.......they'll no doubt blame his lack of cooking skills as they scrape him up off the kitchen floor!

All that poisoning aside, I'm so happy that I've found another pot to give new vibrant life obviously well loved and looked after pot. Probably one that has sat on the stove for many long hours, fed a family nutritious and comforting food in winter, probably even pickled onions and made preserves...... 

And now it's going to start a whole new vibrant busy colourful life!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Tactile Art

The past couple of weeks at Tafe we have been looking at how our different senses are used to understand and appreciate art.  We had a fun exercise in class involving the sense of smell - and with a honker like mine, I got my fair share of those smells let me tell you.
I got into trouble for peeking into the sealed containers, and leading the Cert II students astray.  Apparently as a Cert IV, I should have known better, which just set me off into fits of giggles (ok I admit I should have known better, and should just grow up.......but it was pretty funny).

For homework we had to produce some 'tactile' art.

I googled it to make sure I was on the right track.  Don't want to be in trouble again.......
Tactile Art - 'that work which can be seen through the touch of fingertips is Tactile Art'.  



I wonder if these can be 'seen' through the touch of fingertips?

Friday, 24 August 2012

Latest bookbinding adventure

I spent the afternoon what's new?  That's after spending the morning belly dancing.  Gee I have a hard life.  (I'm a better book binder than a belly dancer by the way).

Stamping a 'lotus' design into the rust & tannic fabric with a squashed toilet roll.  The technology at my house is unbelievable.

A little bit of machine brain works better in 'stitch'.
Not a very clear shot.  Probably just as well.

The lotus is a symbol for purity and spontaneous generation .......hopefully the generation of artwork in my case!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Hand dyed with love.

Just a little glimpse of the beautiful hand dyed fabrics happening in my life at the moment.

Gorgeous aren't they?

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Hello Colour Copier.

I learnt to use the colour photocopier in the library.  Big moment.  This simple skill is going to open up a whole new world for me........(ok so it doesn't take much).  Now I'll be able to copy my own work to use, and manipulate & rework images that are all my own.  I could hardly sleep last night.

The first task is a couple of new signatures for my visual diary using my own drawings and acrylic 'test strips' as a base.

.........just playing.....................

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Haikus on marriage

This week's theme for our Haikus was 'Love'.

Writing Haikus each week is teaching us to 'pare down' because apparently as Artists we often don't know when to stop.  (Some of us have trouble getting started let me say).
Haikus should consist of three lines.  The first line has five syllables, the second line seven syllables and the third has five again.

Anyway, back to the task at hand.  I decided I would try to condense 35 years of marriage and living together to the required weekly six Haikus.

So here goes.........................


Laundromat meeting
At least I knew he was clean
And he had a car.


Tropical wedding
Life so full of adventure
Then a family.


He makes me so mad
I threw the tub of butter
Stained the lounge curtains.


Nice glass of red wine
An evening aperitif
Too bad it's cask crap.


Working on the mine
Educating our children
It's just what you do.


Getting older now
Began on the 'hippy trail'
Wabi Sabi life.


Somehow the evening doesn't seem complete these days without a cup of hot chocolate and a Haiku poem.  I actually look forward to it.

Yes I know, as I've said before....I have no life.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

More Bookbinding

Look at all those beautiful papers.......

just itching to be bound into another visual journal......

....and the highlight of my weekend was discovering coloured masking tape at Bunnings while I was looking for the you believe it?  Pretty exciting (the tape not the metho....I actually drink red wine).

.....small things.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

A little sewing advice.

I borrowed this from Facebook......

I always enjoy my sewing.

My nanna was a tailoress.  It was pretty serious business.  Whenever we went to visit her she seemed to be always either sewing or 'fitting' her customers.  Her sewing room was upstairs and my sister and I would play dress-ups with all the exquisite fabrics we found in her old tapestry trunk.  Sometimes we would dress up in tulle, satin and high heels (where we got those from I don't know) and slide down the staircase banister to our imaginary awaiting prince charming while the grown-ups were in the dining room having scones....(or something a little more hearty!)

I learnt to sew on an old Singer treadle sewing machine.  It belonged to Mrs Whiting, and for some reason we seemed to have it on a long term loan.  Mrs Whiting was very stern...and really really scary.  I made a fully lined tweed pants suit (real women didn't wear jeans apparently) on that old treadle.  Now I can't even put in a zip without reading the instructions.  Probably the lack of french chalk, powder and lippy.  

Monday, 23 July 2012

Limited Edition digitised!

Guess what?  My Limited Edition Sketchbook has been digitised - how exciting!  All that really means, is that anyone who goes to The Sketchbook Project site can log in and look me up....and see my second sketchbook submission.  (Yeah I know....big deal!)

  I'm thinking about participating in the next one as well....Sketchbook 2013.  Not sure yet.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Tafe holidays.

I've been making art all day my PYJAMAS.  Just thought I'd mention it.....that's all.

Working away quietly in a couple of journals....all snuggly and warm........

Stop laughing, they were a gift from my daughter.  They're really comfy......and I like the little birdies.  The long black hair was obviously a gift from my other daughter.  

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Semester one down.

I have just finished binding my semester one textile notes into a book.  It's a whole lot easier to store these books than it is to store lever arch files (and nowhere near as ugly).

 Now it's time to do other things for the next couple of weeks - like weeding..........blurgh.

Yes........there just might be one or two weeds that need attending to.