Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A few of my favourite things!!

I know I promised not to show TOO many photos of my new grandson, but he's so cute!!
My own youngest (DD no.3) turned 23 on Sunday so I entertained 15 for lunch. Or should I have said Riley entertained 15 for lunch. He was the perfect guest as he kept everyone enthralled AND he brought his own lunch, VBG.

Yesterday I was Guest Speaker at an historical society meeting, where I talked for about 40 minutes about vintage underwear and showed items from my collection as well as some reproductions I've made. My original Edwardian petticoat (middle photo) has the most gorgeous laces on it, and a real c.1890's chemisette (collar shown above) has exquisite tape lace with needlelace fillings. I'm always amazed at just how much stitching and textiles are entwined in every aspect of my life.

Friday, September 19, 2008

TIF September, some progress!

My to-do lists continue to grow, I'm sure they're breeding in the dark.

I can cross one item off the list though.

Yesterday I took a great workshop at our Embroiderers' Guild here in Sydney with Annette Hinde. The subject was Fairy Slippers, which appealed to my sense of fun and also my interest in miniature things. They were inspired by an article in "Stitch" from the Embroiderers' Guild UK. Annette changed the working method quite a bit, resulting in a messy workshop with vleisofix, Angelina fibres, chiffon scaraves, gilding, sequins, threads, felts etc. You can imagine the fun had by 15 women all making wee fairy slippers. No-one was able to finish in 5 hours, but we all made design decisions and were well on the way by the end of the workshop. The variety of embellishments was quite remarkable, and I'm looking forward to making time in the next week to finish at least one slipper.

So, I've decided that the fairy slipper will be my TIF Challenge project for the month. It satisfies the criteria because making something miniature, and stitching a full project (for once) has been on my to-do list for quite a while!!

The photos show the slippers pictured in "Stitch" magazine, and the progress so far on my own version. I've used yellow felt and 2 different colours of Angelina fibres fused down under a red chiffon scarf as the background for the upper. The first round of stitching is chain stitch in orange stranded cotton, then a round of Palestrina stitch in a variegated silk Colour Streams stranded. Then a round of orange irridescent sequins. I think it needs some green in there, and the star sequins will be a motif on the vamp part of the shoe.

The finished slippers are about 1 1/2 inches finished. If I made a pair they'd look great framed in a shadow box with an illustration of a fairy as a gift for a little girl's room. Hmm, another idea for the "to-do-one-day" list!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

September Update

Half way through the month already and not much stitching progress to report, apart from the to-do list, on this months TIF challenge. I've crossed several committments off one list, including the Open House at Linnwood this weekend, and teaching my YTFG class on Saturday. More about that next time.

One thing I nearly missed though, and thanks goodness I realised just in time, is that this Friday 19th September is a special day. Its INTERNATIONAL TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY !!! See here for all the details. Any excuse to dress up and talk silly and I'll take it!! Could be difficult if I have another committment that day, so I might have to make it Talk Like A Pirate Weekend instead, hee hee. Last year we dressed up and went to Pirates of the Carribean 3 at Parramatta, very enjoyable and I'm sure everyone thought we were quite nutty. You're only young once though aren't you?

I promise to act my age and position (as a new Nan) any day now, but it might have to wait till next week!!

P.S. this post was NOT just a good excuse to show JD in full pirate mode!!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Bonnets and Boats

Christina Henri's exhibition "Bonnets and Boats" opened on Friday night last at Parramatta Artists Studios with about 1000 bonnets on display, and I managed to take a quick photo or 2 of the walls. Here in the 2nd photo is the bonnet Christina commisioned from me for Mary Wade, a young English lass 12 years old when transported to Australia. Mary and an accomplice lured a younger girl into the "privvie" (lavatory or WC to you?) and stripped her of her clothes, including a cap, presumably to sell. The bonnet is exhibited on a fine line strung from the ceiling above a plinth decorated with dried rose petals. The bonnet rotates slowly with the slightest air movement, quite ghostly ! I hope Mary likes the bonnet I made in her honour. The embroidery is in vintage silk thread, and I researched the Victorian Language of Flowers for some suitable symbolic blooms. I chose baby roses for girlhood, daisies for innocence, and Gypsophila or babies breath for future children. The little heart is formed from some narrow fine vintage French lace edging, and is held down with chain stitch (convict chains). A bullion yellow ribbon for rememberance completes the design. Now to duplicate it for the other bonnet to be presented to the VIP whose ancestor is Mary Wade.

I recommend the exhibition to you. Sydneysiders should get along to 45 Hunter Street Parramatta between 12 and 4pm daily to see this fantastic tribute to Australia's convict women, entry is free. You could combine the visit with a trip down Church Street to the Parramatta Heritage and Information Centre for "Women Transported", open 9 to 5 daily !!

I've also been working on another project on my TO DO list which I can't elaborate on because the recipient may read this blog! I'm almost to the point of showing her the current status as a decision needs to be made about the final design in the very near future. As soon as I do that, I'll post the results here. Nothing like a teaser, is there, VBG ???

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

TIF September, first thoughts

I decided to post early this month before things get too hectic, as they usually do around here. Sharon's theme this month is Lists, who makes them and uses them.

I've been making lists for years. In my teenage years it was lists of possible future careers. I can remember some of them - window dresser, fashion designer, book illustrator, greeting card designer, you can see the pattern here. Problem was the Careers Advisor thought I was more suited to Librarian or Teacher. Well I think she'd be pleased to know that I'm currently doing a little bit of all of those careers at the moment, although not as paid work!!

Then when I married I tried to write shopping lists. Haha, I left the list on the kitchen table on my way to the shops more often than not. A shopping list did come into its own though when my 2nd and subsequent children were born. I always shopped in the same small supermarket, so I could write a shopping list for DH in the correct aisle order! All he had to do was push the trolley down the aisle, look right and left and grab the groceries. He was far better than me though in coming home with a few "extras" not on the list!!

I've tried to write TO DO lists but they seem to be never ending, as soon as one item is crossed off another appears. Sometimes the paper gets worn out before the list is half finished. These days I use a white board on the fridge to write short lists, and I think with the list visible to everyone they realise how much I do each day / week. I maintain a small handbag appointment diary, and that's full of lists as well. Then there's the little purple spiral notebook I carry around my bag, with its matching purple pen, to write lists to myself. Life seems to be governed by lists at the moment. I have to keep several. Lists of things I should do by the end of the day, the end of the week, the month. Then there's special lists, like the status of a particular project. I'm about 2/3rd the way through refurbishing a 4 poster bed for an historic house at the moment. We are meeting next week to generate a list of things yet to be done and tick off those already completed.

I'm sure I'm not the only person carrying lists around in their head either. I mentally tick things off, then sometimes commit the list to paper. Isn't it interesting that in this technological revolution we still list things on paper? They're far more portable that way than on a PC, unless you have a Blackberry or such toy. Give me the spiral notebook and pen any day !!

The photo above is of just another thing crossed of the list of things to do this week. I was commissioned to produce 2 identical embroidery embellished convict bonnets for Christina Henri's "Roses from the Heart" project. This is one of the pieces completed for her exhibiton Bonnets and Boats at Parramatta Artists Studios. I wish I'd had more time, but as usual something higher up on my list had priority, and now the deadline has arrived. I'm delivering this one tomorrow, and the other will follow in a few days.

I'd like to produce a finished piece for TIF this month, fingers crossed it doesn't get bumped too far down the list of things to do for September.