Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Quilting bliss

Today was one of those great days.  I finished a quilt I have been working on for a while.  If feels good to have finished this piece. I have been working on this piece for many weeks.   A lot of my own personal history has gone into this piece of work.  I have scanned onto fabric all the men in my family who fought in the great wars.  It is a lovely memento to their sacrifice for me.  They gave their all for unknown posterity and unknown millions of people who would follow them on the earth. 

As I contemplated each on their sacrifices I also thought of the woman who also sacrificed a great deal for me and my family.  What an amazing amount of love they must have had for their fellow country men and families. 

When I look at my own life and look at the sacrifices I have made it really pales in comparison.  I can't think of anything I have done that even partially measures up what they did and contributed to the life we live now.

I hand painted and machine quilted the poppy.  After I photographed this quilt I wrote the name of one of my ancestors on the cross in the centre of the poppy. He died in France during World War 1.   He was a school teacher and only aged 26 years old.  He died rescuing wounded comrades in heavy fire on the 8th of October in 1916.  I don't have a picture of him just a story of his heroic deed.

The edge of this quilt is a stamp of barbed wire encasing the men and the symbol of the war the poppy.  Quilted onto the photos is a collection of crosses.

I hope it is a fitting tribute for all these amazing people.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Artisan quilting challenge

I have entered the 2012 Cloth, paper, scissors 2012 Artisan challenge. In some ways I am hoping I won't get in after finding out the increase in costs in postage in NZ .  A package I sent last year cost me $7.50 this year it is $25.00.  I wish our wages went up as fast.  : )  Although this is just a small part of how I feel. 

I have experiemented with making paper cloth.   A technique written by Kelly Perkins.  One of my favourite artists.  Her work is so quirky and original.  Essentially the techniques involves layering lots of different paper on gluey fabric and then painting it.  Layers are then added of colour,  stamping threads and stitiching.  I had so much fun with this technique I think I will be doing lots more. 

These are my finished products.

Lime sorbet

Orange crush

Mixed berries

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Skechbook challenge: 7 days of drawing

Entry for August 17th
Everyday objects: Lip gloss

Entry for August 18th
Everyday objects: Bedroom lamp

Entry for August 19th
Everyday objects: Boys Lego
 Entry for August 20th
Everyday objects: My sunnys

Entry for August 21st
Everyday objects: Razor

Entry for August 22nd
Everyday objects: Parker pen

Entry for August 23rd
Everyday objects: My quote book

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


I won't be posting any photography on my blog for a few weeks.  Some charming and wonderful person (sense the sarcasm!)  entered my my home while we were out and helped themselves to my camera and other important possesions.  I hadn't emptied my camera for a while so I am annoyed that I have lost all my precious photos. It has really shaken up the children but I am not so bothered as we have had this happen quite a few times before and I have become a little imune to it all. 

On a good note my mamma and baby quilt has been accepted as a finalist on Leah Days machine quilting transformation challenge.  It was nice and much needed news after my weekend. 

Saturday, 20 August 2011

I have entered the Quilting bloggers flower themed quilt competition this week. Come over and see all the lovely work and vote for me :) (no pressure !) Just follow the instructions!

See you there

Friday, 19 August 2011

Taking Individual potraits

Taking an individual portrait is quite a intimate experience.  It is you and the the person you are photographing.  I usually take two types of shots formal and informal.  I am going to show you some formal shots I have taken recently of my daughter at her school ball (prom)

Formal :

*  I usually take photos on a cloudy day or at dawn at dusk as the light is the softest then.  This is perfect for a portrait photograph.

*  The subject can dress informally or formal for a formal pose.  It is entirely up to you both.  In these shots my daughter is in full formal dress.

A full face shot. Your subject doesn't have to be smiling to get a nice photo.

Side on face shot with a nice view of the hair.

This captures my daughters wonderful personality.

A side on shot.  Your subject doesn't have to have their eyes open for nice shot either.

An inside shot.  A nice neutral background doesn't detract the eye form the important person in this shot.  I took this one without a flash.

More of her personality coming through.

A back pose with a full flash.

Try taking a photo with a hobby of the person.  This helps tell a story.

Another photo of her playing her violin

A full shot.  I would have got more full shots and other poses normally but I had a rather reluctant model! 

Try and capture the subjects personality.
Take lots of photos.  The more the better...then you have more to choose from.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Skechbook challenge: 7 days of drawing

Entry for August 10th
Everyday objects: My favourite mug

Entry for August 11th
Everyday objects: Our mantle clock

Entry for August 12th
Everyday objects: Sewing scissors

Entry for August 13th
Everyday objects: Can opener

Entry for August 14th
Everyday objects: Toothpaste and brush

Entry for August 15th
Everyday objects: My daughters clean and clear

Entry for August 16th
Everyday objects: Stapler

Monday, 15 August 2011

quilting-in chilly weather

Our country is in the middle of a polar blast from the Antarctic and boy is it cold!!!.   Auckland has had snow fall (it didn't settle) .  This is exceptionally rare,  the last time this happened was 82 years ago.  Normally snow only falls down in the mountains 4 hours south of us and according to the Met services we're in for more wild weather for the next few days.  The kids are desperate to see snow but unfortunately it went all around us,  as the weather often does as we live in the centre of 3 sets of hills.  They keep running out to see if it is snowing.  We've had a lot of hail and sleet and very heavy rain.

I have taken the time to snuggle down today to draw and quilt in front of the fire and next to a heater.  I am making 3 entries for the Cloth, paper, scissors artisan challenge. 

artisan search

 I am making my entries out of paper, paint, Angelina fibres,  wipes,  magazine clippings,  fabric, and fibres.  It has been really fun to work with some new mediums and to create something beautiful and cohesive with them.

Sewing through so many layers and textures is very challenging.  I have found a few things help
  • Use a new needle and change them regularly
  • Use a fine needle so the entry holes are smaller
  • Use the same thread on the top and bottom so if the underneath thread comes up you can't see it.  This can sometimes happen when the foot needs to go over contrasting textures
  • Use a straight needle plate.   A plate you can put on the sewing machine bed that can only take the needle when it is doing a straight stitch. 
  • Experiment with different thicknesses of thread and see what works best.
  • Be careful!! because you can't unpick.  Whatever you sew has to stay there as it leaves holes if you unpick any thing.

When I am finished I will post the pictures of my entries.  I'm nearly finished so it should be in the next day or two.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Photography this week

Ponds in the house hot.

Reflections on the pond.

Tropical plants in the hot house.

Snow settling on the bottom of a pine tree.

A view from the museum window. 

The hot houses at the botanical gardens.  A view form a bed of snow nearby.

A pathway in the gardens. 

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Skechbook challenge: 7 days of drawing

August's new topic is everyday items. 
It is easy to find the models but some of them aren't so easy to draw!

Title page for August everyday objects

Entry for Aug 2nd
Everyday objects: Electric jug

Entry for Aug 3rd
Everyday objects: Wallet


Entry for Aug 4th
Everyday objects: A collection of objects

Entry for Aug 5th
Everyday objects: Hole punch

 Entry for Aug 6th
Everyday objects: water bottle

Entry for Aug 7th
Everyday objects: Pottery gourd

Entry for Aug 8th
Everyday objects: Car ornament

Entry for Aug 9th
Everyday objects:

Tuesday, 9 August 2011


I read  Lyric Kinard's newsletter this week about having bliss-ters.  This really struck a chord with me. 

She said  'Where is the bliss? I know what my calling is.... so where's the bliss? It's the peak of summer and I'm tired. I'm keeping the children occupied, trying to keep the house from devolving into complete chaos, struggling to meet deadlines. My art-making feels much the same way. I'm barely slogging through the things that must be done. Aren't I supposed to feel bliss every time I sit down to my sewing machine or pick up a paint brush? '

My life in a nutshell at the moment.  I could add to that that I am tired constantly,  children sick for weeks, husband working a lot,  and only so many hours in every day to get things done.  It is almost overwhelming for me. So what do I do to solve the problem?......nothing.  I carry on doing things the same way even if they aren't working.  I don't feel bliss at the moment when I do art work it feels like a chore waiting for me.

Lyric continued further in her article to say 'Professor Thompson learned something very interesting.Follow your blisters "The pain and burdens and sacrifice were not threats to their sense of calling—they were part of it. The work was meaningful because of the trials and burdens. That is an important lesson. We can’t expect deep meaningfulness from our calling unless we are willing to assume its burdens as well." A number of years after Joseph Campbell coined the phrase "follow your bliss" he quipped, "What I should have said was, 'follow your BLISTERS!'"

Here was a aha! moment for me.  I need to embrace these times and work though them.   I need to use these times as part of my learning experiences when I make art.   How can I do this because it is easier said than done.  Here are some Ideas I am going to try. 

  • Schedule time each day to do art work.  Keep my commitment to art even if I don't feel like doing it.
  • Take short breaks while I work to refresh (but remember I have to go back to it again within 5 minutes!)
  • Don't let other things like computer distract me from what I could be doing.
  • Make small projects to keep ideas fresh and exciting and manageable
  • Embrace the good and the bad as part of the learning
  • Make a small bliss-ter art piece
  • Change how I think about the hard times
What works for you?  Please leave a comment and let me know
If you want to read more of Lyric's newsletters follow this link and join for free.  It is well worth the read.http://www.lyrickinard.com/blog.html

Friday, 5 August 2011

Photography this week

Some more photos today of my trip to Dunedin.  I had a chance to photgraph before the snow during the snow and after the snow.  Enjoy!

With a normal exposure

With a darker exposure

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