Thursday, May 31, 2007

Amazing art in the mall

Today I went with 2 friends to Hornsby (a northern suburb of Sydney) on a quest for some mattress ticking for one of my historic house projects. The shop staff told us to look for the big clock and we could not miss the shop. Well, we did (miss it, that is) and we drove around and around in circles till eventually consulting the telephone book in the post office (no help because we couldn't find the street signs) and then asking a friendly local. She pointed out the clock and said just up there on the left. Well, this is THE clock. How could we miss THAT? It's a magnificent metal (bronze?) sculpture / clock / water feature in the centre of the mall at Westfield. The details are just fabulous. Local birds, bats, and a tribute to the local waterway (the Hawkesbury river not far away). A real centrepiece to the mall, and a drawcard for the locals and visitors alike. It made the 2 hour drive worthwhile, although the companion directing the driver disliked traffic and stop lights and took us on the "scenic route" !! I'm ashamed to say it helped that the local Target department store had chocolates at 30% off too (actually, that's not 100% true, I deserved some spoiling!) I also bought 2 giant punnets of local strawberries from the Organic Growers' Market as a treat for my DH.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

My tips for Creativity.

On her blog "inaminuteago" (see sidebar for link) Sharon B. invited us to list our tips for creativity. I had to really think about that, because my creativity is so chaotic, I don't think I have any useful tips ! However, here is what I know:
1. You can't force yourself to be creative. No matter how soon the deadline to finish a challenge/ submit an entry/ do a class sample you will NOT be able to magically produce your best work on demand.
2. The irony is that you will feel most creative when you don't have the time to be. It is so hard to resist the urge to put just a few more beads or sequins on the project as it is leaving the house / studio / craft room "because it just needs a little something more".
3. Your most creative moments will strike when you don't have the materials required to hand, and by the time you gather / buy / acquire the materials, the moment often has passed.
4. The moral of number 3 is you need to have a big stash of materials so that when the moment strikes, you're ready.
5. The hours between 11 pm and 3 am are my most creative. If I can stay awake, I can do great work.
6. Chocolate is a great source of energy at 2 am, just make sure you always have a good supply in the house (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!)
7. I love to look at other people's work and marvel at their ingenuity. I shouldn't, it just makes me feel lazy.
8. I need a "wife" to cook, clean, wash and keep house for me. Then I could spend more time in creative pursuits.
9. I need to learn to turn off the computer after I check my emails, reply to them, check out my forums and groups, post to my journal... You get the idea.
10. I should celebrate when I finish some stitching / costumes / lace / patchwork because I do good work, just not a lot of it. It feels good to finish something, I just need to complete a bit more.
Not sure how "helpful" that will be for others, but it sure was cathartic writing it down !

Friday, May 11, 2007

Another chick has flown the nest!

Well today my middle daughter's best girlfriend took possession of her new 2 bedroom flat which is about 5 minutes away by car. She invited my 24 year old to share with her and pay rent so the past few weeks have been very busy for Col, looking for a permanent teaching position, packing up her bedroom and buying a few "essentials" like pots and pans, cookbooks, kitchen utensils, ironing board, broom, fry pan and a clothes airer. Funny what the kids see as essential, her friend had about 50 glasses (gifts), candles (gifts) some Tupperware and the contents of her bedroom, and thought that would be plenty !! We bought them a lovely woollen feature rug for the living room, and furniture has been ordered for weekend delivery. It took Col all of 15 minutes to pack her life in boxes into 3 vehicles and then she was off. She assures me she'll be back home often as she doesn't have a computer yet at the flat. She has a 3 month posting in P.E. but not a permanent job unfortunately. She is looking at retraining in another subject area as there is a glut of P.E. teachers presently. Doesn't seem right that a student can graduate with 2nd class honours and still not get full time employment in their field. That leaves my oldest girl still in residence (although that could change soon too) and the youngest girl officially still living here, but we see less and less of her as she works 2 jobs and stays with her boyfriend's family a lot. Her fish and cat are still here though so perhaps I can hold them hostage? The house is suddenly looking a bit big for just hubby and me, lets hope I get some grandchildren to visit some day?

Monday, May 07, 2007

TAST running stitch - pattern darning

This sample of pattern darning from my Basic Course at the NSW Embroiderers' Guild shows a few more complicated designs than the bookmark in the post below. Here I have used positive and negative spaces to form the patterns from a basic running stitch. The threads are perles except for the purple thread which is a stranded persian wool and the work was stab stitched while in a large hoop. The fabric is an evenweave linen about 22 count.

TAST Running stitch - pattern darned bookmark

Here is a little pattern darning bookmark I worked several years ago, using a simple running stitch action to create the design. The chart is my own, so you may use it freely. Pattern darning is also very suitable for kids to do as they can easily see where to go next, you could simplify the designs onto a larger grid for them. I used perle threads in this example.

An apology

Following my lovely relaxing trip to Northern Queensland I received the news that my elderly biological father had passed away after a short serious illness. My mother and father divorced when I was just 17 so we had not been close for many, many years. It was only in the last 10 years or so that he had re-established any contact with me on a semi-regular basis. The emotions are very mixed up at present, and I feel the need to "stocktake" if that makes any sense at all. The death of one parent has caused me to examine the parent-child dynamic with my own kids and with my remaining parent. As a result of holidays and now this past week I have not done any stitching on my TAST group, but hope to get back to it soon. I apologise to group members who may have popped in to check my progress recently. I have been checking Sharon B.'s blog every day but "life events" have taken over from actual stitching just lately.