Friday 31 December 2010

quilt challenge-52 cards in a year

Week 29

I have a great love of dragonflies.  I have no idea what fascinates me about them but when I draw insects it is always the first one I draw.  I think they are very pretty insects and their colours on their body's are just beautiful.  Today I have drawn a dragonfly based on Elizabethan embroidery designs from furnishings from that era. 

The dragonfly was drawn with prisma coloured pencils. (a beautiful pencil with a high pigment content) I thought I would try this one with no other painted colour.  I then went over the pencil with stitching.

I really liked the strong contrast between the white and the coloured stitching. 

Thursday 30 December 2010

quilt challenge-52 cards in a year

Week 28

Today I wanted to see if watercolour paints can be used successfully on fabric.  I chose to use normal coloured pencils to draw onto the fabric with then i painted them  I found I had to just touch the middle of each circle for it to expand to the edge of the colour pencil.  The water colours gave a lovely subtle effect.

I love trees.  I think I must be part tree nymph.

 The inspiration for this piece came from a vector tree found on google images. 

Wednesday 29 December 2010

quilt challenge-52 cards in a year

Week 27

Today I have explored inktense pencils,  pattern and stitch.  I first drew the pattern on with inktense pencils.  (Inktense pencils are similar to a watercolour pencil but a more intense colour is produced when water is added.)  Then I painted over the surface of the material with water which blended all the colours together.

I then stitched over all of the patterns I had drawn.

I was inspired by the patterns found in nature:flowers, grass, bamboo, pebbles and petals.

quilt challenge-52 cards in a year

Week 26

I have finally got a sewing machine,  time and space all working together on the same day so I have all 6 cards (I am behind in) for my years challenge complete.  I have had a lot of fun making these.  I have chosen a medium to work in and explored the use of them. 

Today's is an exploration of crayons, textile paint and stitch. 

I used cotton fabric and crayoned the pattern I wanted onto it and then painted the textile paints onto the material.  I then needed to iron the paint and crayon to set it into the fabric.  I machine stitched the piece with different threads that toned in with the paint.

I was inspired by the strata on rocks and cliff faces which always have fascinated me.  The patterns are wonderful.

Tuesday 28 December 2010

Merry Christmas and a happy new year

I hope you have all have had a wonderful Christmas.  I suddenly realized why It didn't feel like Christmas a couple of days before Christmas day......I wasn't sressed!.  I was so organised that I had a lovely few days visiting with friends and family and cooking and playing with the kids.  It was nice not to be rushing around as much as I have done in previous years and focusing on the true meaning of Christmas for me......My saviour Jesus Christ.   So next year I am aiming to be organised again so I can truly enjoy the season.

I have met all of my goals (except one) I made this Christmas season on the 29th on November 2010

  • Be happy
  • Be loving to everyone, especially my family
  • K.I.S.S keep it simple sister
  • Enjoy Christmas
  • Create everyday
  • Keep balanced
  • Be excited with my kidsAnd celebrate the real reason for Christmas....The birth of Jesus

The only one I had trouble fufilling was getting enough sleep but that one wasn't really my fault.  I have had children up many nights with bad dreams and sleep problems so I ended up with sleep problems too.  I am now feeling a little more normal after 2 nights of good sleep. 

I now have to revise my goals I made last year and set some new goals for the new year.  I think Lots of quilting will be one of them.

Saturday 18 December 2010

photography-the festive season.

This is a list of ideas for photos at this time of year.  Try a few and see how they go!  
  • Expressions on childrens faces
  • Objects that have meaning to you
  • Snapshots of generations of family together
  • Grandparents holding small children
  • Children unwrapping their gifts
  • The face of a child when they see Santa has come
  • The food you enjoy
  • The traditions you carry out
  • The Christmas lights in your neighbourhood and home
  • Decorations
  • Snapshots of funny things relatives do each year
  • Children sleeping on Christmas Eve
  • The presents each person recieves
  • Formal family and friend portraits
  • People using their new "toys"
  • Sleeping family members after the Christmas morning rush
  • Service the family gets involved in
  • Everyone dressed in their new clothes/P.Js/hats etc
  • Preparations at Christmas time i.e baking, wrapping presents,  making gifts

Thursday 16 December 2010

Thoughts for your inspiration

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we

look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one
which has been opened for us."
-- Helen Keller

"You will recognize your own path when you come upon it,
because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination
you will ever need."
-- Jerry Gillies

"Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift
of your attention."
-- Jim Rohn

"It is only with the heart that one can see clearly, for the
most essential things are invisible to the eye."
-- Antonie de Sainte Exupery

"A year from now you will wish you had started today."

-- Karen Lamb

"If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it,
change the way you think about it."
-- Mary Engelbreit

Tuesday 14 December 2010

quilt challenge- A little moan

Well I am now 4 weeks behind in my challenge for the year but with very good reason.  I sent my machine in to be serviced 6 weeks ago.  Just a run of the mill normal everyday service. I will note I own a pfaff 2052, the top of the range quilting machine not a cheap job :)  I received the bill,  paid the bill and picked up my machine promptly (the shop is a 1 hour round trip for me- closest dealer) .  When I went to use it the up and down mechanism and the zigzag were not working properly.  They were working fine before the service.  So I took it back into the shop.  2 weeks later the machine was ready again with a bill.  I queried the bill and was told they would only charge me for a part as it could go at any time and was not caused by the service.  A few days after receiving it home I got it out to use and lo and behold the tool box with all my feet, bobbins etc was not there. So A quick phone around was necessary to locate its where abouts.  The mechanic had found a tool box and couldn't work out whose it was ????????  So 3 days later I received my box through the post.  I was very busy at that time so about 6 days later I sat down an checked it and the up down mechanism and zigzag zag still weren't working.  ARGH!!!!!!!  So back in again to the shop (another week later as it is Christmas after all and I can hardly find time for normal things) to have it fixed again.  So finally six weeks later my machine is home and finally fixed.  I now have 6 projects and 5 cards to have finished  by Christmas (by some small miracle they might get done) or it is off to the shops to buy something instead and a catch up after Christmas.

Moans all done now so off to find some Christmas spirit and good cheer and lots of love to spread around. 

Saturday 11 December 2010

Thoughts for your inspiration

This inspirational story today is taken from a talk by Vaughn J. Featherstone given at Brigham Young University on 3 February 1974.

Acres of Diamonds

Several years ago, a man by the name of Russell Conwell wrote a great book, Acres of Diamonds, taken from his lectures. He tells of being in Baghdad and hiring an old Arab guide. With a camel train they went down the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. As they walked along the banks of these rivers, they saw beautiful white sands and the old Arab guide told story after story, kind of like a modern-day barber. "Finally, instead of acting as if I weren't listening," Conwell said, "I'd act as if I were listening and then just turn him off. I guess he noticed this, because all of a sudden he took his turban off and waved it around to get my attention, but I just ignored him. He kept waving, and pretty soon I succumbed to the temptation and looked over at him. As soon as I did, he started into a story. He said, 'This story I save for my particular friends.' Then he told me this story":

In ancient Persia there was a man by the name of Ali Hafid who owned orchards, gardens, and fields of grain. Ali Hafid was rich. He was contented because he was wealthy, and he was wealthy because he was contented. One day a Buddhist priest came by Ali Hafid's home, and together they sat by the fire. This Buddhist priest told how the Almighty put his finger in a bank of fog and started whirling it around faster and faster until it burst into a solid mass of flame. And then it went rolling off through the universe. As it did, it went through other fog banks, and the dew settled on the earth, and the crust began to form. As it formed, after it had gone through fog bank after fog bank, some of the inner eruption came forth. The priest said, "This is where we got our mountains and hills and our valleys and our deep gorges. This is the thing that beautified the earth. As the earth's crust cooled, that which cooled most rapidly was granite; less rapidly, copper; then silver, gold, and last of all diamonds." And the priest said to Ali Hafid, "If you had a diamond as big as your thumb, you could buy this whole country. If you had a diamond mine, you could place your children on thrones throughout the world."
After the Buddhist priest had left, Ali Hafid went to bed. He was a poor man. He was poor because he was discontented, and he was discontented because he felt and feared that he was poor. He didn't sleep all that night, and when the morning came, he arose early and went over to the Buddhist priest's home and said to him, "I must find a diamond mine. Where should I look for one?"
The Buddhist priest, having been awakened early in the morning and not feeling too pleasant, said, "You look for a river between high mountains, and the river will flow on white sands, and there you will find diamonds."
"There isn't any such place."
"There is," replied the priest, "and there are many of them, and you will find them. You will always find diamonds."

Ali Hafid answered, "Then I will go." And he went home and sold his farm and collected the money. Then he left his family with a nearby neighbor and went on this search for diamonds. He started in the Mountains of the Moon, and then he went down into Palestine, and finally over into Europe. Many years later--in wretched poverty, having been driven all the way across Europe, not a penny left, in rags, heartsick, weary, tired--he stood on the bay of Barcelona. As a giant tide came in between the Pillars of Hercules, unable to resist the terrible temptation, he threw himself into the incoming tide and sank beneath the crest--never to rise again in this life.
And then the old Arab stopped telling the story and went back to straighten the pack on the camel's back. Then he came forward and went right on with the next chapter.

The man who bought the farm from Ali Hafid went out to water his camel one day in the little stream that ran through the white sands of the farm. As he did, he saw something glistening in the sand. He reached down into the water and pulled a huge stone out. As he pulled it out, he noticed that it caught all the different hues of the rainbow, so he took it in the house and set it on his mantel. Three or four weeks later, the old Buddhist priest came by, entered the house, and soon spotted this rock on the mantel. He walked over and said, "Well, that's a diamond! Has Ali Hafid returned?"
"No, Ali Hafid has not returned, and that's not a diamond. It's just a rock that I found out in my stream here."

"That's a diamond! I know diamonds!" the priest replied. So they went out and dug in the sands nearby, and with almost every shovelful of sand, they turned up more diamonds.
The Arab concluded his story by saying that Ali Hafid's farm was the Golconda mine, the richest diamond mine in all the history of the world. If Ali Hafid had stayed home and dug in his own fields, he would have had acres of diamonds.

At this Christmas season help us value what we have in our own back yard and what we have.

Thursday 9 December 2010

quilting-felted tree

I've been working on my felting machine a bit.  I decided to try something a little bigger than I have been doing.  I had been given a bag of old wool and bits of uncarded wool so I looked at what I could make with it.  It was all natural colours so I decided to try a tree.  The trunks was done out of the spun wool and the leaves the uncarded wool. 

I found a photo of a tree that I had taken and printed it out.  Following the shading on the tree I sorted the colours of the tree and placed the wool accordingly. 

I found that I need to have far more shades of colour than I originally thought I would need.  And I had to manipulated the wool more than I thought.  After it was laid out I rolled it up to keep all of the fibres together and to stop them mixing around.  I unrolled a small amount at a time as I felted the fibres together.  I felted just to attach the fibres together so i could have the wool attached to make it easier to manipulate. 

The next stage is to stitch it and to add embellishment and quilting.

Tuesday 7 December 2010

My new christmas tree

I thought I would post my new Christmas tree today.  I am really pleased with it.  The photo doesn't do justice to it. I think the contrast in colours is lovely.  It is much more summery and it reflects my country's beautiful weather and countryside at this time of the year.

It is hard to see the little beaded mirror icicles but they look delightful.  During the day the sunlight from the window reflects and sparkles looking like lights on the Christmas tree.  At night the lights in the room and on the tree reflects on them.  So the tree looks likes it sparkles.

Saturday 4 December 2010

New Christmas tree colours and decorations

I decided this year to create a new colour scheme on my Christmas tree. 

It has been gold and white for about 8 years and I just felt I needed a change.  So I have given myself $25-$30 to spend to create a new look. 

My mother -in-law gave me some beaded and mirrored wind chimes she bought for a lamp shade for a grandchild which she never made.  They are fuchsia and silver so I decided fuchsia would be one of the colours I would use. 

I have created some hanging decorations using them.  After some thought I decided I would use a complementary colour of Lime green as the other colour on the tree. 

I have purchased some baubles,  material to make yo yo,s from.  The centre is felted using a felting machine.

some pipe cleaners (The kids and I had fun making these together)


and I used some wool I already had to make some crochet flowers for the tree.

I'm very excited to see how it looks.  I also spent only $30.00.  I'll post a blog when it is done.

Thursday 2 December 2010

photography for the festive season

In my first part of photography for the festive season I wrote about how to take photos of objects and things that make the festive season special to you.Today I want to talk about photographing people at Christmas.
I try every year to take an 'official' family portrait.  These are generally posed sometimes informal but they have a set structure to them.  The best photos I have done have locations with plain backgrounds and just plain coloured t-shirts (or maybe long sleeve in the northern hemisphere) and jeans.  Plain colours work best so that the main focus of the photo is faces not the elmo print t-shirt  :). Then I just put the camera on a tripod or flat surface and run around and join the group.  If you find this too stressful find a friend to help you.

This photo was taken 6 Christmases ago.  I threw a blanket over a window box and an up light behind us and just kept snapping until we had a reasonable photo.  It doesn't need to be perfect.  Photos that aren't perfect tell a better story about the family any way.

 This photo really captured the personality of the children and was my favourite photo of them. It was taken against a plainly painted wall with natural light from a 3 windows. One on each side and on the front of the group.

This one was taken in our maize field.  Have a think about some creative locations in the area you live.
It was taken at dusk.  The best time for portraits is dawn or dusk when the natural light is at it's softest.  Even in winter time the light is better at this time of day.

Suggestions for locations
  • In front of the Christmas tree
  • Outside your home
  • In front of the family car.
  • With an object that tells a lot about your family ie.  a tractor if you are a farmer,  beside the prized mark 2 jaguar,  at your families favourite park
  • Somewhere with a plain background so your family is the main focus.
Use you imagination

This one is taken at a park.  When posing a photo think about configurations of layouts.  A triangle shape works well, as does people behind each other.  Try to make sure that everyone is at different levels to give variety to the photo.

So points to remember
  • Use plain clothing
  • Find locations with a plain background or with some special significance
  • Use a source of natural light inside or light at dawn or dusk outside
  • Put everyone at different levels to add interest
  • The photo doesn't have to be perfect.  Try an capture the essence of you family instead.  One year we only had tears from one child so that is what we had to go with. 
  • Take regular breaks to give everyone time to freshen up again.
  • Have fun and don't stress.  The more stress the harder it is to take the photo.

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