Saturday, December 24, 2011

Joyeux Noel .....

Little glimpses of Christmas in my home .......

The presents are gathering under the tree.

 Some of my favourite ornaments on the Christmas tree.

Some of my collection of Santa's

My sweet little dog Oakey looking festive on the quilt.... he's 16 now....such a beautiful old boy.

Thank you all for popping by my blog this past this year. 


Have a most wonderful Christmas!

Jacky xox

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Quietly stitching....

I have enjoyed a peaceful, quiet weekend.  Lots of stitching,  just simple, methodical stitching but I love the effect.  The two pieces I have been working on were both inspired by Judy Martin.  I love how Judy  'makes marks' with I have been mark making on this little cloth I started for Norma.
The background fabric is indigo dyed (on a recent trip to my friend Nat's) and some of the threads were dyed by her friend Lynda...the lighter coloured thread she eco dyed.  I love stitching with it, such a beautiful neutral colour.  You will also see a few thread beads in there,  Jude Hills influence. Over the past few years Judy and Jude have inspired many cloths.
Another inspiration for this piece was Australian Aboriginal art. I love aboriginal mark making and I'm always drawn to the repetitive style of some of their it dots or lines, it tells a story.  This  really appeals to me and I am going to make a series of these cloths.

When visiting  Judy Martins  blog this weekend she had posted a wonderful tutorial on making reverse applique dots.  This little nine patch uses the method in her tutorial, but I think I used a bigger spool than Judy.  The first few were quite untidy (stitches showing),  but I refined them as I went along.  I am very happy with this little nine patch with dots...thank you Judy.  Again I used some of the fabric from my indigo dyeing with Nat,  the colour is quite washed out in the photo though.

Have a wonderful week and enjoy the festive season.




Jacky  xox

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

fabric and linocut ......

No post for November!!!.... I've had a very busy time of it lately. As you may know from previous posts my MIL has been very ill these past two years.  Sadly she passed away last week .....she will be missed in many ways, one of them being that she has been a large part of my creative life.  Always encouraging me to paint and sew.   She was never scared to try something new, she encouraged me to try lots of things I would never have been brave enough to do without her nudging me along (ever the procrastinator).  I have begun a cloth, marking it with stitches, in memory of Norma.  No pictures today,  but I will share it with you soon. 

 Even though I have been busy I have still been doing a bit of art.  I recently got together with my art friends Ro, Dot and Patsy at Ro's home and we did some fabric printing...lots of fun and  Ro shared her fabric printing technique with us all, showing  how to make our own prints from bits and pieces we all have around our home.  I was very happy with the fabric printing I did on the day and will make sure it goes into a special cloth.  Some of these pieces were using a stamp I had myself on the day and others with stamps that Ro had made earlier. Isnt the effect wonderful!!!

I have also been doing a bit of printmaking lately.  I took part in an exhibition with a couple of my art friends,  Meg Abrecht (painter and printmaker),  Regina Dudek (jewellery and sculpture) and Nic Perrin (oil painter).   Will share some photos once I upload them.  I carved and printed quite a few whimsical birds for this exhibition with my "Sunshine Owl"  being my inspiration.  Below is a little owl  linocut print, approx. 3 inches x 4... I have named him "Whoot".  He was the simplest and smallest of my pieces,  but I loved his simplicity and he came up well framed.

I hope you are all enjoying your preparations for the festive season.  I love the Christmas season,  everyone is in such a happy and generous frame of mind ... the world is a nicer place. I intend to get all of my Christmas decorations up this weekend (normally I have them out by the 1st December...bit slow this year).  I love decorating the house for Christmas.

I will be back soon with a photo of my new cloth.




have a wonderful week.

Jacky xox

Monday, October 31, 2011

Mrs. Moody .....

Meet  Mrs.  Moody.  I have always loved Lynne Hoppes art work,  particulary her faces (portraiture).  Recently she had a tutorial on her blog (sept. 20th) to explain the process she uses to create these wonderful characters of hers.  I've been meaning to have a play and today was the day!!! 
Lynne uses mixture of pencils, oil pastels, gouache, watercolor and many other mediums (she's very brave) and she very generously explained exactly what we needed.
Back in 2009 I was in an altered book Round Robin.  I found an old book,  "The Greatest Thing in the World" by  Henry Drummond and sent if off.  The problem was there were only four of us participating in the RR,  so there were still MANY empty pages.  I decided this book was perfect for me to practice faces.
Mrs. Moody came about due to a reference on the page I used  of the 'Messrs. Moody '....  
Lots more practice needed,  but I loved incorporating the oil pastel, gouache, watercolours etc.  Lots of fun, smooshing them around, smearing and generally having fun... thanks Lynne.

Mrs. Moody. (click to enlarge)

I have been haunting the Opportunity Shops (charity shops) lately too.  Finding some old books and fabrics.  A couple of weeks ago I found this lovely still life painting.....I am quite taken with still life.  Of course I had to buy it ($50).  I just love it and have it hanging in my bedroom.  I think it will be in the lounge room soon, where I can see more of it.  It is oil on hardboard by Ellen Mileo (1934-2006)  a real TREASURE for me.  I am trying to find out a bit about the artist.

"Cyclamen and pomegranates"  by Ellen Mileo (oil on hardboard)

I have been doing some crochet too.  I've been enjoying crocheting this scarf for a friend of mine ...arent the colours glorious.  They make you happy ....and it is coming along quickly as I'm always wanting to get to the next colour in the variegated ball of yarn.

crocheted scarf.

Thats all for the moment.  I know I've been away from my blog for a while, family commitments make it hard sometimes,  but I am still quietly creating when I have the time.  It's great therapy.


Ralph Waldo Emmerson

Bye for now,


Monday, October 3, 2011

a star and a spirit ....

Today I met with my patchwork friends (first Monday each month).  We've been meeting for over 20 years ....quite often lately there's a lot more chat than stitching! 
I follow Jude Hills blog and have been doing the Magic Diaries workshop.  I've been a bit quiet on the stitching front for a while,  so I thought today was a good chance to pick up my cloth again and get a bit of stitching done.

I have always admired Jude's wonderful story cloths and the non traditional way she often approaches her quilt making.  I have always loved patchwork stars,  so I began with a primitive style eight point star..just eyeballed the points and then invisibly basted (all as per Jude).  I was happy with this relaxed version of the eight point star.  Still lots of stitching to be done....that can come later and at this point I have quite a few patches completed. Maybe I need to start thinking about the size and placement of these patches?  

When I was visiting my son in Switzerland last year I started this piece.... my sunflower spirit.  Often my husband and I walked through the amazing woods near my sons home...there must be spirits live in those woods,  they were so magical.  After one such walk my little spirit was born.  Still a bit of stitching to be done on her.

I think she will fit in well with my cloth.  I am sure there will be more spirits and beasts to join her soon.



Jacky  xox

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Settling stitch ......

Things have been a bit hectic and out of sorts for the past month or so....very little stitching and art being done.  I decided I just needed to do a little stitching to settle myself, ease back into my cloth for the Magic Diaries workshop with Jude Hill.

It worked well.... I ripped some fabric, cut out my little version of a harvest moon and began stitching.  So thereapeutic, it slowed me down,  gave me time to think. Teeny little stitches, fraying edges.... I love to stitch. 

This weekend my friend Dot and I had offered to 'babysit' our friend Patsy's exhibition.  Such a vibrant and happy exhibition.  It was a dreary winters day outside, cold and windy and quite a bit of rain....eveyone who popped in to see the exhibition was warmed by Patsy's beautiful artwork.  Beautiful array of paintings, art quilts, handmade bags and journals.  Very inspiring...I am itching to paint again.

I'm wondering what has happened to the glorious spring weather we've been experiencing lately.  The last few days have been bitterly cold and wet....I woke to more rain and coldness this morning...stoked the fire as I had to go out for the morning.  By this afternoon though we had glorious sunshine again.  I bought these beautiful Waratah's (I plan to do a painting of them) to brighten the lounge room.  So beautiful.... I smile each time I catch a glimpse of them. Click on the above link if you want to know more about these beautiful flowers, the floral emblem of New South Wales in Australia.

Have a great week, nature is wreaking havoc all over the world, so I hope you all stay safe.




Monday, August 15, 2011

Friends & Felting Fun ......

I received the most beautiful surprise in the mail last week.  Leanne Pizio  (Paintergirl) had sent me a package with some gorgeous japanese fabrics and hidden amongst them a box with this treasure below of her ceramic lotus pods.  I was blown away by her generosity...for years I have visited her blog  admiring her wonderful ceramics (especially with bird and owl images) and paintings.  I still cant believe I now have some of her art in my is even more beautiful in real life.  Heartfelt thank you Leanne for this lovely gift.

 Ceramic lotus pod with beautiful turqoise glaze inside.

And another lovely friend Dot gifted me some beautiful kimono silks and thread to add to my stash for my Magic Diaries cloth.....yummy.  These will fit in very nicely thank you Dot.

 Dots birthday tomorrow,  and we usually organise a creative day or workshop to celebrate our birthdays.  This year Dot invited myself and our friend Nat along to a felting day at Elizabeth Armstrongs studio.  Elizabeths studio is an Aladdins Cave of colour and creative mind goes into overdrive when I enter her studio.  Below is the scarf I made on the day.

Nat took the photo below (on her trusty iphone) of me and my scarf in progress on the day.  Pop over to Nats blog to see the amazing scarf she made on the day and some more photos of Elizabeths studio.

Today I have been doing more linocuts .... working on a special project and this week I will be doing more on my Magic Diaries Cloth....incorporating my new fabrics, playing around with a little 'beast'.



Have a creative and happy week.

Jacky xox

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tearing and stitching .......

I have been enjoying tearing fabrics and stitching this week....enjoying the relaxed pace of the Magic Diaries workshop I am doing with Jude Hill.  The pace is relaxed, the stitching gentle and the interaction with Jude and other cloth mates is just lovely.

I am enjoying working with the earthy tones below...very Australian colours ( is a vintage japanese kimono fabric and the other a hand dyed fabric from my recent trip to Thailand).

my stitching this week

The torn strips were for my fabric weaving and I have added the stitched moon.  At the moment this block is just basted down,  but more stitching will appear as this cloth evolves.  I dont want to add too much stitching/embellishing as yet as I'm not sure where this is going and will add more once it has grown a bit and I can see the story more clearly.

I have noticed that quite a few of the cloth mates have incorporated their own symbol for this quilt....something personal to them.  I have decided to make the above heart (without Jude's feather) my personal symbol for this quilt.  This stylised heart shape is one that I found  I use repeatedly in my journal, so I thought that as this quilt will also be a type of journal I will stitch a version for this quilt and repeat it throughout.  

I do love fabric weaving and the torn edges give such an organic look to cloth.  Again I have used the old kimono fabric and the hand dye from Thailand.  I enjoyed stitching the ragged cross stitches in my moon, reminds me of the stitch used in boro cloths to strengthen a cloth.

sweet bird song

While I was stitching away yesterday I could hear the most beautiful bird song outside (click for a closer view).  This fellow was serenading me outside my kitchen windown...having a wonderful time!  It was nice to stand and watch his antics for a while....I think he is quite the extovert warbling away, loving having an audience.  I might have to sketch him later.

Off to work again tomorrow....I count down those three days until I am home again and stitching/painting.

Jude has been talking about edges these past couple of weeks,  so I thought this quote from Sark fitting...



Jacky xox

Monday, August 1, 2011

Winter Sunshine......

The 'beginning' .... my first block stitched for my Magic Diaries with Jude.  For weeks I have been procrastinating, drawing up ideas, selecting fabric stashes, but I hadnt put needle to thread.  I am happy with this little nine patch, loving the way stitches show through to the front, the fabrics...the grey and the centre patch are fabric from Thailand and the other a natural linen.  Now I have started, I am itching to do more!

The 'beginning'

Reverse side of 9 patch  taken in the dappled morning sunlight.

Someone else was enjoying the winter sunshine this morning....this is Minnie.  We havent seen a lot of sunshine lately so she was making the most of it.

 Being winter I am enjoying crocheting some scarves....I visited the Tarrawarra Gallery at Healesville on the weekend to see the Archibald Winners Exhibition.  Wonderful portrait paintings...awesome in fact.   The winning portrait this year was of one of Australia's most well known painters, Margaret Olley.  Sadly she passed away last week,  so it was especially poignant to see this exhibition and remember this beautiful, talented lady.
After the exhibition my sister and I did some wandering around Healesville and I bought these lovely wools .  The Charcoal is for my sister and the two variegated (arent the colours yummy!!!) wools for my friends twin girls who will turn 9 at the end of the month.

 I am keen to stitch more on my latest quilt,  so in my travels this weekend (this time I was over in Geelong seeing an exhibition by local printmakers)  I found these vintage fabrics in a little shop.   A couple of kimono's and old scarves.  These will come in very handy and may find themselves in a dye pot soon.

I bought a new long line vest today .....I only noticed the sunshine heart when I got I'm sending you some sunshine....

Enjoy your week....I plan to stitch .....




Jacky  xox

Friday, July 22, 2011

Indigo Moon in nature....

It's been a chilly week down must be snowing somewhere close by!    I popped outside the other night to get some wood for the fire and noticed this beautiful indigo moon...what gorgeous deep black/blue sky colours and that softly, glowing moon. 

I love seeing the trees all naked,  seeing their intricate branch patterns.  The picture below is a view of the farm in winter,  through the crazy willow.

Meg is back from her trip to Greece (and feeling the cold back home after three months of warmth).  It is lovely to have her home and to be back in her studio with the other girls drawing/painting/chatting/sipping tea/eating lemonade scones.  I have missed those Friday mornings while Meg has been away.

Today we did some little pen drawings (15cm x 15cm) using pattern as our background.  This is my little work in progress.  I love drawing with pen and ink...very relaxing.  I really enjoy making all the little patterns and designs ....filling the page with dots and dashes. click for a closer look.

While I was in Thailand I bought this beautiful silk runner / wrap.  Click on the photo to see all of the beautiful kantha stitch and the lovely little fringe.  This piece is approximately 2m long x 75cm wide and double sided. Imagine all of that stitching!!!!   I am going to use this piece as a table runner for special occasions. 

This is the reverse of the cloth.... they use quite contrasting (and vibrant) colours on each piece.  I loved the beautiful muted colours on the front of the cloth...and I am getting used to the brighter turquoise/purple on the back.
I got this cloth out this week to inspire me as I have been thinking of stitching and fabric quite a lot as I am taking part in the Magic Diaries with Jude Hill.  I have been getting pieces of fabric together,  threads, fragments from older work.  I have been writing down, and drawing up,  lots of ideas.  I am enjoying the process.
This workshop takes place over the next six months.  I love the longer class format, the feeling that there is no rush,  just letting things happen as they will.



Jacky xox

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Winter wattle .......

It's one of my favourite times of year....the wattle is starting to bloom down here in Australia.....brightening up some dreary winter days.  Once the wattle begins to come out,  I know that the days are getting longer, the weather is beginning to become milder....spring is on it's way.

bunch of winter wattle to brighten the lounge room

Our exhibition has been and gone....such a wonderful time.  It was amazing to see you art hanging, to have such positive comments.  It was so lovely to be part of this exhibition with these four lovely (and talented) women.  L to R  Julia Dean, Patsy Worledge, Dot Christian, myself and Ro Bruhn.  The photo's below are thank you to Ro's lovely husband Steve who took photos for us all over the weekend.  I have borrowed these from Ro's blog....pop over to visit her and see more.

Julia, Patsy, Dot, me and Ro.

view of the room  with our art hanging.

Melbourne turned on a beautiful, clear winters weekend for us.  Below are some photos taken on our walk to and from the exhibition over the weekend.

Flinders Street Railway Station and one of Melbournes iconic trams.

Dot in Hosiers Lane.  We loved to walk through the lane on the way to St. Michaels and take in the street art.

Part of the "Forum" building.  What gorgeous architecture!

Melbourne in Winter.

And what have I been up to since the exhibition????  Art wise,  not much at all.  I seem to have needed a little break.  A bit of journalling,  but not much else.   I have had visitors though.  My MIL Norma came down for the opening of the exhibition and stayed for a while afterwards.  Today my some arrived home from the USA for a weeks holiday with having my boys at home!

I am taking part in Jude Hills latest online workshop.... The Magic there will be some fabric being stitched soon.  I am also going to do a bit more linocut printmaking.  I love that process and want to do more of it.
My friend Meg, whom I paint with most Fridays is still away on her holiday in Greece (3 months....lucky girl).  But,  she will be back soon and I will get back into my painting again.



Have a wonderful week.

Jacky xox

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Embroideries and Exhibitions......

Whilst away in Thailand I drew up some little images,  inspired by art and nature that we saw.  I had taken a little travel pack with odds and sods of fabric and threads.  These raggedy little pieces of fabric were small samples from a dyeing class I took last year...waste not want not....I knew they would come in handy one day and they were perfect for sketching up these little stitcheries.  I have been busy stitching them this week and I will put them into a cloth soon.

AND,  great excitment.  My art group are holding our first exhibition of our work in Melbourne later this month.  Of course....YOU'RE  ALL  INVITED!   It would be lovely to see you there...we girls always have such fun when we get together,  so come along and join us if you are in Melbourne that weekend.

I will leave you with the beautiful of photo of lotus flowers that I took in Jim Thomspons  garden in Bangkok.  The home and gardens of Jim Thompson are sooooo beautiful,  make sure if you are ever in Bangkok you take a visit...some quiet time to feed your creative soul.  Lee and I were there for hours.

I hope these photos have worked OK this time.  This is the second time I have uploaded.....last time part of each photo was missing....fingers and toes crossed.



Have a happy week.

Jacky xox

Monday, May 23, 2011

Beautiful Thailand.....

You might have noticed....I've been away from my blog for a while....I meant to find time before I left on my holiday to Thailand to do a quick post.  But, time just flew before my holiday.  Extra work to do at home,  painting and stitching to do in readiness for my art groups upcoming exhibition...I just ran out of time.

My lovely sister Lee took me to Thailand for a ten day holiday to celebrate our birthdays this year (our birthdays are only two days apart).  I had never really holidayed in Asian before, and I was in for a treat!

First we visited Bangkok for a few days.  We took in so much art, visited many markets and malls (will have to cover them in another post).  But, for me,  the best part was our week in Chiang Mai.  A beautiful city, still having very much a country feel compared with Bangkok ....and very friendly and beautiful people.

We stayed at the Chedi in Chiang Mai and I would recommend it to anyone.  Below is the first view I had of our hotel as we arrived in our taxi...hopefully you can click on the photo to enlarge.  Wonderful architecture and decor.  So many things I would have loved to pop in my suitcase and take home.

Entrance to Chedi Hotel

Each morning we wandered down to the restaurant to have a lazy breakfast down by the river.  Considering we were right in the midst of Chiang Mai,  it was so lovely and peaceful....and of course the food was yumbo.
Breakfast area under the tree by the river.

We found many nooks and crannies where we sat and sketched,  read our books,  just lazed around.  It felt good to slow down and relax...nothing like going away with your sister!
Me relaxing in one of the areas on the upper verandah of the old Govenors residence (restaurant at hotel)

This was another favourite spot to sit and sketch,  and we did have a few cocktails.  Lee told me that Gin and Tonic wards off of course we had to have one of those most days (purely medicinal).  Our favourite drinks though were the Virgin Mojita's....we refreshed ourselves with quite a few of those during our stay.
Yet another spot to sit and relax alongside the floating lotus pool.

Whilst we were away,  it was Mothers Day in Australia.  So we promised our families that we would have High Tea and the Govenors Residence....another yumbo experience.  The little chocolate pots were unbelievably good!!!
Chocolate pots served with our High Tea.

Quite a few afternoons were spent under the fans under the verandah partaking in tea or light refreshments.  We took along our sketch books and sat sometimes for hours just talking and sketching.  I just loved the green, green grass and the lovely black bark of the trees.
View from restaurant across to our room (behind the pots and big tree).

And this is my gorgeous sister Lee.  We were having an early dinner before we headed off to the night markets later (of course had to buy goodies for our family and friends at home).
Lee under verandah.

We were blessed with beautiful weather.  Lee and I visited many galleries,  saw some wonderful art (I cant tell you how many cards  I bought so I would remember the artists and galleries!!!!).  I have tried to upload some photos into a mosaic to share with you,  but not able to do that yet,  but thought you might like a glimpse of what I've been up to since my last post.  I will try and upload some photos of the art and architecture soon.

No art to show this post,  but I have been busy since I arrived home.  Will take a few photos soon.  Lovely to be back and I will be catching up on blogs soon.


Sending much love....

Jacky xox