Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Loops Of Life - A TIF Challenge for February

I finished the February TIF Challenge today. I must admit I found this colour scheme a little dull
to work with. A few years ago I would have loved it but my friends from Stitchers Plus have drawn me out from my comfort zone & taught me to add sparks. To me this still needs a spark in some way, shape or form.
My thinking on this piece can be read here, and my stitching went like this. I started with a blue piece of poly cotton, then added my digitized design of circles. This was made by creating a background in a candlewick stitch, cutting circles in this background with my "cut holes" tool, digitizing satin stitched circles, cutting, pasting & re-sizeing them to where I felt they looked OK, then added a row of stem stitch to tie them all together. Once stitched, I then added some buttons to continue the circle theme, add more texture & interest. The pink button has given a little life to the piece but not enough in my opinion. I'd be interested to hear opinions of others.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Stitchers Plus Day

Today was the first meeting for the year for my creative stitching group. Show & tell as always was pretty amazing, we are such a creative bunch. There are lots of pics of what we had all been doing over here. The ladies in the Library were also having a major sorting out. I made a donation & in return added two more books to my personal library at home, both on bobbin lace. This is just one of the pages in one book. I dream to be able to one day work these beautiful edges.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mother Nature's Architects

February in Sydney can be extremely hot, humid & sticky. This year has been a little different in that the extreme heat has not eventuated, however the humidity has been horrendeous. We have had rain nearly every day, sometimes in storms, sometimes in just little drizzles like this morning. The little fine shower early this morning was just enough to accentuate the spider webs in my garden.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

February TIF Thinking

I have been thinking a little about the February TIF challenge that Sharon B has posted. Mmmm...... what am I old enough to remember?

The first thing that came to mind was the Moon Landing in 1969 where Armstong took "one small step for man & one giant leap for mankind". I was in primary school at the time and had the headmaster for a teacher. He happened to live next door to the school & I remember our whole class was squashed into his private loungeroom that afternoon to watch this historic occasion on black & white TV. I might add that the rest of the school were in the school hall watching one little TV set out upon the stage. I somehow think that we had a better view, even if we were squashed.

The other history event that I vaguely remember is our Prime Minister Harold Holt dissappearing off some beach somewhere in Victoria. I was only really little & the memory is more about my mother being glued to the radio trying to listen for news updates. Please note this is the radio my Mum was listening to, not a TV. The only technology we had was the radio, television was something new that only the richer people in town could afford. I remember being taken across town to my Mum's friend's house to watch "I Love Lucy", it was a treat for Mum as her name was Lucy also. Mum finally bought a TV when I was 11, and that was because my older brother had homework of watching certain shows on TV. A little hard when we didn't have one.

Because my early chilhood life was without TV, we spent lots of times playing outside. There were daisy chains to make, bikes to ride, a double block of land with lots of friut trees & garden to play "hidies" in, the kids next door and across the lane to play with. On hot days there was the council pool or the river to swim in, & on rainy days we played games like monopoly, ludo, scrabble & cards.

Then there were the trips to Newcastle by bus, (getting up at the crack of dawn because the bus left at 6am), Queensland or Sydney by train, all because we did not have a car. We would go to these places for holidays to visit family, & I remember my Dad carrying suitcases to the station to catch the train. We were lucky with the bus, it started just next door.

Telegrams were the quick way to get urgent messages. Few places in town had a telephone and we often relied on neighbours to relay messages that were of utmost importance.

I remember stinking hot days when we would play in the tar bubbles on the street, temperatures of 108 deg F in my mother's kitchen. Then there were the mornings when the ice would put a layer over the dish of hand washing water outside by the tank. The loo was ouside in the garden, a torch was required at night to see the way and also to check for creepy crawlies. The only running water in the house was in the bathroom & to get it hot to have a bath we had to light a chip heater. At my Aunt's house the "dunny trucks" would come twice a week to take away the human waste because the sewrage was not yet connected.

We walked to school everyday, & came home for hot cooked lunches every day. There was no fear of predators & we walked the streets a plenty collecting bottles for refunds for pocket money.

Cooking was on a fuel stove, the ones that you had to light a fire in to get heat to allow you to cook & boil kettles to wash up the dishes. This required wood & kindling & it was my job to collect the kindling ready to light the stove. This stove provided our heating in the winter & I remember getting dressed in fornt of it so as not to catch cold on those cold frosty mornings. Our school clothes would be hung on a wire above the stove so they were warm for us to get changed into.

OK, OK, enough of the childhood memories. So what are my thoughts on this challenge? I feel that life is a circle. We are born, we live, then we die, some of us think we are born again. Throughout life we see changes in technology & our standard of living, but there are times throughout life when we don't have the technology, like when we lose our mobile phone, or the power goes out for hours at a time when Mother Nature gets angry. Who can forget Cyclone Tracey who flattened Darwin?, and more recently the tsunami that devistated the Indian Ocean rim, or Hurricane Katrina ? So what do we do then? We go back through the circle of life & remember how we coped when we didn't have the technology. So I think I will base this month's challenge on circles. I have been through my fabric & thread stash ( pictured above) & picked out some colours. Not sure how it will all come together yet but watch this space & you may soon find out.

Friday, February 01, 2008

What a Difference a Day Makes

24 hours sometimes can be a very long time, other times it flies. This time yesterday we were all sweltering in the humid conditions of Sydney, and it was January. Today it is much cooler, the humidity is much less & my garden is singing after the 50mm (2") drenching that it was given by the storms which blustered through Sydney late yesterday afternoon & early evening. The storms were reminiscent of the one we had last year, but with less damage.

Today is also February, the start of a new month, and a new TIF Challenge. Sharon B has posted us all a new challenge which can be read here. My brain instantly went to the moon landing, but I am know there will be other things if I stop & think some more. The colours we have to work with this time are above, an interesting combination which should be easy enough to work with. Watch this space as my interpretation of this challenge evolves. My January TIF challenge can been seen here.

On the personal stitching front, I have made some progress on my other challenges for 2008. Patternmaking has started on the bridesmaids dresses, one quilt top is well & truely on the way, the second quilt top has been planned & all fabric bought & pre washed, and the reticella piece is slowly being re-designed after my major bungle. At this stage it is highly unlikely that it will be a reticella piece at all. I have had a list of about 20 different ideas as to what to put in the space, but all the things that I want to do just will not quite fit in. At least the re-designing exercize has led me to other areas in embroidery that I now want to explore. Oh for more time!