Sunday, July 25, 2010

Foot note

Well the weekend seems to have flown by.. I always find it hard to just 'sit down' on the weekends - all that running between chores and dashing to pick up a project. BUT, when i was having a 'sit down' i was looking at this:

Him fluffy white self is perched atop of a couple of rather unsightly foam matresses. Every time we store them away someone needs them for a sleepover. Then we realised that they were quite useful in the loungeroom as an ottoman. Aaaaahaaa! then i realised all i needed to do was cover them.
So voila - i whipped up a slip cover:
Again, using the 'let's work through the stash credo. I found some upholstery scraps and just pieced them together. The fact that i only had small pieces led me to do this patchwork effect. When i needed a slightly different shade i turned the fabric over and incorporated the reverse.. the red inspired a bit of embroidered detail..
Hopefully HIS fluff won't get embedded too much into this....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Reuse and recycle..

There were all these bits of furniture in Mr 12 year olds room. Including this massive wardrobe in the middle of the space. Originally it held all our linen. Then HE made a workshop on 2 shelves. It has been drilled into and painted on. It had to go..

we couldn't sell it - or use it anywhere else as it was, so they chopped it up:

And re-fit it in his room as an L'shaped bench around the room.. not quite a styled pic - more of a real life action shot this one, a work in progress:

So that was my holiday. Back to the day job tomorrow. Hope you enjoyed 'viewing' it. Sometimes i wonder why i blog and what to say.. then i figure lots of bloggers show you all sorts of stuff so i'll just share my creative life. What i do, what i see, on my own or as part of our family.. after all, i like to see what you do too!

Confession time..

So something always has to give doesn't it? For me it's generally house work. I can't work full time, do stuff with the family, work on creative projects AND achieve domestic perfection. Is that what you find?
In the last few weeks or so the studio had become a bit of a dumping ground.. so i left it to the end of my holiday to do a bit of a re-arrange. I moved some furniture around from other areas to create myself a little nook..

I think it would be nice to eventually ditch this melamine white stuff and replace it with some vintage bits + a moody rug. But i had to work in 3D to see how the space would work ... I used to have a big table here for the kids to 'craft' on, but now they've got desks in their rooms or we share the dining room table or outside.
Altho i have inhabited the studio a bit of it still houses the drum kit + guitars..

It's interesting to see how your house can evolve as you do, don't you think? Especially when it's fairly simple!

What are you doing?

I asked Miss r. "well, Paddington Stables haven't been getting much business lately. So i had to make them a noticeboard" she explained. (This shot is from under the bed)...
"Is it working?" I inquired.
"Yes, the pandas booked a trail ride this morning" she told me with a slight glance of the eyes upward....

gnnnnnnooooorr! how cute. just goes to show you can have funtimes without leaving the house too!

Bless you my son..

And to think it was only 8 years ago that my weekends were mostly consumed with loading up the car and going from one playground to the next.. But wait. Now the young folk are giving back! Well, for a small fee. Our gorgeous boy was 'commissioned' to make me a foot rest from scrap timber we had lying around. His dad gave him a few tips - the top bit was made from Miss R's old window frames.. From my part as the client, i think it was $12 well spent.

Allocated places please..

So Thursday pm (of this huge one week holiday i've had) was noodles with friend plus Vicious threads class at the MCA. Artist Kate Scardifield led us through her favourites of the Biennale then up to the workshop room which had a perfect night view of the city from the roof top terrace. The class is in the evenings for 2.5 hours. It's $20 and includes drinks + nibbles OH! and a lesson AND materials! Wow - great for those of us that have limited time and can find a whole term a bit daunting.
So, on Thursday we learnt felting.

The emphasis was on experimenting, trying out various techniques.
In it's most simplest form we did this: we put down a towel. Then a piece of nylon curtain. Then teased out some wool fibre, lay horizontally, then vertically. Covered with nylon. Wet down with lux flakes soap + warm water. Rolled up a sushi mat, kept rolling to agitate.
I wanted to try mixing threads with the fibres...

Although i had to lay another layer of fibres over this to stop the threads just coming off..

this is the finished sample with another piece that i had layed 'eyes' into it - then i folded it and cut slits..
I also wanted to try prising holes into it as i went and 'burying' some muslin pieces..

I was surprised that i even managed a felt ball. The great thing is at that time of the evening my brain isn't really thinking - so i just went with the process and for a 2 hour workshop it was nice to play - and make some samples without getting huffy.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Family Friday..

Yesterday was 'allocated' (see previous post) as family day out: Friday. Luckily after nearly 2 weeks of grey skies Sydney recovered splendidly for a winters day. We all boarded this little ferry for Cockatoo Island to catch the 17th Biennale of Sydney. 25 minutes from Circular Quay and you're on the island which was a former prison then shipyard. Until August 1 you can view the works of 54 artists spread out through the warehouses and historic buildings. I have to say it's pretty much a photographers dream! Bits of aging industrial machinery, piles of rust - all on the edge of the harbour..
Say cheese..

Miss R and i 'nudged' each other out of the way as we sought the perfect bit of weathered surface or work of art... we also 'snapped' each other walking amongst it.. (my mum + I couldn't do that! Remember those days when you didn't want to 'waste a shot'?)

Such fun - the boys had a great time too.. checking out the machinery and World War II buildings.. that moody silhouette of Miss R below left was taken in the tunnel built as an air raid shelter.

You've got 2 more weeks to check it out if you live in Sydney.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Holiday happiness..

So Thursday morning's allocated slot was also 'creative time' (see previous post for explanation). I had narrowed it down to 'embroidery'. I just didn't know where to begin. Sound familiar? I spread 3 bags worth of 'supplies' i have been 'collecting' across the table. Everyone else was out. I ignored the washing. I started with the idea of a canary. It evolved into this...

Not as much huffing and puffing. AND enjoyed journey and destination (see previous).
Then as i was slurping my soup Mr R rings "I'm out getting some laminating done, but have found a buffet at the second hand place. Do you think we should get it for the kitchen, you know, under the gallery there?"
"How much is it?" i ask.
"$55" he says.
"Let's give it a go for that price" i reply.
2 hours later it arrived..

Woo hoo! happiness indeed.

Holiday highs and lows

It's great when lovely little things arrive in the post box - even better when you're on holiday at home and you can wear them straight away! How gorgeous are these bearded men? Check out Jordan's quirky little items here. So i had various 'things' planned for my week off. I had vaguely divided my days into morning + afternoon/evening and allocated various things into the gaps. Have you done this?
What happens when your 'allocated' creative time turns into big frustration?? Do you go with it or abandon the journey? Tuesday morning was 'monoprints'. Major sighing. Please let me know if you know good techniques. We painted (roller + brush) acrylic onto plastic, while wet we drew with sticks, cotton buds, tooth picks, pencils .. then placed regular paper onto it smoothed it out, peeled it off. Huffing + puffing due to:
not being able to get a decent amount of detail, not being able to get a decent result, really.. here is all i got

Here is after i added more white lines in photoshop with the brush tool..

And, here is after i added a wee bit of colour + a scratchy brush.. it needs more work...

And here was somethings simple, but the image is not right at all. But the cotton bud was the only thing that seemed to produce consistent lines..

Now if i had that 'playtime' on a weekend i would have been very 'huffy' at the end of 3 hours not enjoying either journey OR destination.. BUT since i was on holiday i could move on and proceed to 'dinner out' which was next on my allocated timetable... Do you get huffy when your projects veer off track?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Stopping to smell the..camellias..?

Hello! guess what? this is day 5 of my holidays.. I took a week off work to spend the second week of the winter school hols with the kids. First, i had a facial..think warm fluffy towels, massage, eye mask, peppermint, green tea + a choccy biscuit. aahhhh. Second, bought a bunch of native flowers. Spent a day with the kids visiting my mum.. AND not doing any projects. (but was ok with this).

Then came mother + son, father + daughter day. It's always lovely to be able to spend time with one of the kids, just the 2 of us - different from the family of 4 dynamic.
So Mr + Miss R headed off to the country.. (sort of)

They headed off to Rouse Hill House & Farm.. Mr R kindly took these shots in the newly renovated school room as he thought i'd like to see... it says "Educational Sewing squares for primary work". What a lovely idea. It reminded me of my childhood - being taken to grand historic houses (as i grew up in England) ... Imagining who had lived there and danced on floors in times gone by..
Meanwhile the boy and i headed to the inner city and as part of our travels..
And after a tasty brunch we saw "Exit through the gift shop" the movie about UK street artist - Banksy.

What a great movie! Partly because of the voyeuristic approach.. the viewers follow the guerrilla street artists as they work around the world. It makes you think. You wonder what is the truth, what is a construction? I wondered about underground art - leaving/planting things for people to discover versus deliberately creating an image.. However, generally i'm a graphic/visual kinda gal.. so i had to come home and 'deliberately' create a street inspired image.. first we took some shots in the garden..

(the gun is a cardboard 'prop' Mr 12 year old made.. mainly it just stays in his room).. then i searched online to create a 'stencil effect using photoshop - here was a great one. We were going to cut them out and actually spray paint them.. BUT ended up with these..

I had to play a little more and went back to photoshop and did this.. we were looking at creating posters for his bedroom wall..
Nothing like balancing your yin with your yang...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ode to a ruffle...

After wading through the inspiration and trying to avoid the computer. I sat down with my fabric. Make a softie i thought. I even had some half prepared earlier. Then i thought of Fanny (see previous post). I dug this knit out from my third drawer. The back of the neck had come unstitched in an unsightly fashhion. It was either fix or chuck.

Having had some gorgeous ribbon left over from the bunting project, I embraced the ruffle...

Added a few vintage buttons and VoilA!

Not quite 1818, but then I don't really have the right bonnet either...
So what's been your inspiration lately?

Inpspiration, be still..

So if you've read the last couple of blog posts there has been searching. Eventually, like me, you may end up on the sofa on in a movie theatre..

You may have seen Jane Campion's Bright Star, based on the story about English poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne. It is truly sumptuous to watch. And there's craft.

Fanny does a lot of stitching... aahhh. The costumes and photography allow the story to unfold pleasurably.
I couldn't make a dash for my paints/pencils but kept seeing these colours..

I'll have to do something with them next week to capture the depth + richness that the movie evoked..
Sadly i will not be able to stitch up a ruffle with the ease that Fanny did.

More searching (for inspiration) ..

Ok so you've walked round the block and also done the newsagents. You'd quite like to pop on a plane - but you promised to cook Sunday night roast for the family, complete with Yorkshire puddings.

However had you purchased these - "Amsterdam: made by hand" and "Paris: made by hand":

By stylist/photographer Pia-Jane Bijkerk you can float around 2 cities while the potatoes are roasting nicely. Her blog is inspiring too - but be warned you may go a shade of green as you view her life from an idylic houseboat in Amsterdam. But back to her books...

This is why I like them:
Space saving size. Heaps of pics of the shop interiors. Pictures of real stuff. Displays, close ups. Details. It's European, it's all handmade. She tells you what to expect at each place. She tells you where it is and the website. Because the words are to the point you can cover quite a few lane ways before its time to stir the gravy.
Oh and if you are trying to cut back on spending a little.. remember the book depository have FREE worldwide shipping.


Do you sometimes feel yourself restless and searching for something? Do you go for a walk, watch a movie, buy books or magazines?

The July/Aug issue of (Australian) Frankie magazine mentioned artist Dawn Tan who painted everything she ate over eight weeks. I love the detail, the interpretation.. and i guess there's that sense of peering into someone's life...

If you want to own some of Dawn's beautiful work for yourself - to inpsire your eating - or painting ..

Pop over to her shop and pick up her A-Z favourite things zine.. It's 26 pages of hand coloured loveliness.


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