Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Bounty ......

There were only seven of us ..... but we had a really lovely Christmas Day.  The weather was very mild,  low 20's which was perfect as we like to have a traditional Christmas lunch.
My sister Lee always makes a wonderful antipasta platter to start the meal....frittata, BBQ chicken balls,  cheeses, olives, fruit etc.  Just scrumptious.
We had roast turkey with maple syrup glaze, roast lamb with garlic and rosemary,  ham on the bone,  and masses of beautiful vegetables.
We had Chocolate meringue mousse cake,  strawberry flan and much, much more.  I love having the family sitting around our table for a special lunch!  There's always plenty left over which keeps us going for days after the lunch. 
Afterwards there's always time for a bit of cricket for the boys and this year my nephew Hugh had his first driving the farm ute out in the hay paddock.  He did super and in years to come I'm sure we'll always remember his first lesson.
I hope you all had a beautiful Christmas too.  It's a special time of the year.

And of course there were the present from special,  my sister Lee just knows me so well!!!!

This beautiful cross pendant by Ayala Bar.

An amazing book on the ceramics of the Ottomans....this book is truly luscious (and will inspire many a painting I am sure).  The colour plates are beautiful !!!!

I have a bit of a reputation as a Bower Bird (and I do love blue, especially indigo,  just like the bower bird).  Previous books by Sibella Court are ETC.  and NOMAD  which are equally as lovely as this one.

And what a treat this little horse was..... a Kogo (japanese incense holder) .... my heart skipped a beat when I opened this one.  I had admired it at Kazari a while ago and my lovely little sister went back and bought it for me.  It is only about 1.5 inches high.  Such a treasure.  In the background is a gorgeous specimen vase I bought from Erinswindow.  Each Sunday a light a candle for my mum and now I also place a flower in this little vase I bought for her.  I bought one for Lee too so she can do the same.

A beautiful pottery teapot by Samantha Robinson.  I love her work and over the years have purchased quite a bit of it for Lee as she collects her pottery.   The little painting behind is one that I bought from Magaly Ohika quite a while back .... another artist whose work I love and like to support.
Yesterday I had my friend Dot come out for a day of eco dyeing.  The above were from our onion dye bath pictured,  and also a couple from a red cabbage dye bath.  It's lovely to do something creative when we get together.  Dot has already unwrapped hers (and they look amazing....I'm trying to wait a day or two longer....but may succumb to opening one of them later today ....)
I hope your Christmas was filled with happiness and love .... just as mine was.
Jacky  xox

Monday, December 10, 2012

Just wanted to share .....

I've been busy making clay tags again.  Last weekend I visited my friend Dot and we had our very own 'clay day'. These tags are lots of fun and beautiful to decorate your gifts and/or your Christmas tree.  There is a great tutorial on Jo's blog .....  and many other wonderful, festive things for you to try.

We used all kinds of things to make our imprints into the favourite being the bracken (growing along our roadside).  We used a doiley,  rubber stamps (the simpler the better), pieces of jewellery, cake decorating tools.  I have some lovely snowflake ones that I havent photographed yet.  We had  lots of fun  and so easy to do in your own home. 

We didnt have a rolling pin,  so we used an old bottle.  I didnt have my awl,  so we used a rivet that I had found in my husbands pocket (he had been doing some metal fabrication down in the shed).  You can use a skewer!  We used glasses instead of cookie cutters....

Do pop over to Jo's blog and say hi,    and see the other wonderful holiday treats she has been making....I love the paper stars...already have a few of those ready for presents too.

I recently did an online workshop with the lovely Roxanne of River Garden Studio.  We made the most beautiful, nature inspired art books,  guided gently by Roxanne.  Such an enjoyable and rewarding experience.   The above art by Roxanne arrived in my mail box this week.....such treasures... that beautiful little bird and the gold moon....I want to make another book now for these lovely gifts.

Only a short post....I just wanted to share the tutorial for the lovely tags with you all.


LOVE and PEACE be with you all.
Jacky xox

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December already ......

I cant believe it's December already!!!!  Christmas is just around the corner,  and for a change I have done a lot of my Christmas shopping.  I still want to make a couple of last minute gifts, but otherwise (touchwood),  better organised than usual.

This month,  the girls I paint with on Friday mornings are having an exhibition out at Lillico Gallery.   The opening  was last Friday.   I had the two pieces below framed for the exhibition.  I loved the angel with the indigo sky (and she was the first piece to sell).  I had painted her to use for my Christmas Cards this year.  The reindeer below my angel was also painted for my cards.  I really love folk, naive style artwork (and hope the people that receive my Christmas Cards do too).  Click on photos for a closer look.

The two white dots are the lighting,  not on the painting.

the Gallery looked wonderful with all of our art and the beautiful glassware made by the galleries owner Hayden.

Often Meg sets up a still life for us to paint .... these were our interpretations (mine centre bottom) of a still life with pink lillies that Meg had set up when we arrived. 

I've been busy getting some festive bunting made for friends.

 And last week went along to our local art gallery/ co-op  where they were having their Wednesday "Clay Day".   I really love working with the clay,  molding it with your hands.  This week we made these rustic clay ornaments/gift tags .  
I'm also taking part in a Collaborative Cloth with a few friends  (Dot, Jenxo and Tallulah),   over the next few months.  I decided my colourful pony can be sent off for the others to add their own touches.   Thus far I have blind stitched the pony and stitched a couple of accents onto him and basted down the fabric weaving so others can add their stitches and/or embellishments.  I look forward to seeing how he looks when he gets home again.

have a beautiful week.  I will be stitching and painting (I hope!!!)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Angels everywhere .......

Christmas is coming......  it always creeps up on me too quickly and I am rushing about, trying to get things finished (that I thought I had plenty of time to do!!!).  But I do LOVE Christmas.
Each year lately I have been doing a painting/drawing to make my own Christmas Cards.  This year I did this Angel in watercolours and gouache (you can click for a closer look) .... she will grace my cards this year and I have had her framed for a Christmas exhibition my local art group are having during December.
There seem to be Angels everywhere at this time of year.  Pop over to Dee Mallons blog and see her latest cloth and the wonderful Angel that has appeared......

Last month I did a pastel portrait workshop with Agata Lelek.....I felt very challenged as I dont work with pastel and I am definately not a portrait painter/artist.  I love naive, folk style art. 
I really enjoyed this workshop .  We chose a picture/photo from a group that Agata supplied and then she taught us her technique of putting down the pastel with a cloth and lifting off with a kneadable eraser to make the picture appear.
Believe it or not,  the portrait below was from a picture of Charlotte Johansen in the movie "Girl with a Pearl Earring".  I know there's not much a resemblance,  but I was pleased with my picture and would love to do more with Agata...she's a wonderful teacher.
Talk about a Jack of all trades and master of none......  next..... below is a cloth I began a couple of years ago with Jude Hill.  I never completed it,  wasnt happy with certain elements, especially the little houses.  But, after seeing some of Dee's  cloths,  I thought I might get it out again,  pin it up for a while and get some ideas brewing as to where I might go with this cloth.

A page from my daily journal (which as you know I dont do daily entries....I'm not disciplined enough,  but I still call it my daily journal???).  I do love to record quotes I come across,  words of wisdom, little anecdotes etc.  from blogs I read and I love to have a play around with my little travel watercolour set.  I never work on pages in a chronological order....often randomly stick something down or paint so that I come across it further into my this little owl.  Elements of him were used for a linocut I did earlier this year.  And now here we are in November I came across him again...that made me smile.  I might even do come more work on him?

Some days when I look out my kitchen window I just have to grab my camera and capture the colours, the wedges of colour.... paddock, trees, sunlight, mountain range, sky ... this was after a storm recently and the sunlight on the land behind the trees looked amazing,  was just glowing.  The photo doesnt do it justice,  but it reminds me of that warm glow.


Take care of yourself in this weeks coming up to Christmas.

Jacky xox

Sunday, November 11, 2012

eco friendly fun .....

We had glorious spring weather on Sunday ... a perfect day for some eco-dyeing with friends.  Dot, Ro, Nat and I spent the day at the Belgrave studio of Jude Craig...doing an eco-dyeing workshop. Fun, fun, fun and less than an hour from home .... and lots of fabric to take home.  Jude has been a passionate eco-dyer for many years .   She has done workshops with India Flint  years ago and was inspired and influenced by her teachings and books. 
 Two of our gorgeous dye pots....the concoctions:  tumeric at the back and red cabbage at the front ... our bundles had simmered and we were waiting for them to cool so we could take a peek.  Normally we would leave our bundles for at least a week (if possible,, even longer Jude advises...but I'm always a tad impatient).  But, as this was a workshop we wanted to share our experiments with each other.  The results were still wonderful.

The grey colours came from a eucalyptus dye bath in an iron pot (see the perle thread below from that same pot!!!  Beautiful strong colour).  The purple/blue colours were from the red cabbage and purple carrots and those yellowy/mustards from the tumeric...thanks to Nat for bring along the tumeric root and sharing with us all.
I love to tie my bundles with white DMC or perle thread... after the dye pot you get some wonderful threads to use for stitching your cloths .  This time I also put in a few buttons that I wanted the colour *tempered* a little.  I was really happy with the outcome.  Even got a few variegated threads!

The velvet on the left shows colouring from the purple carrots (Ro and Dot loved the purple carrots).  The second from the right shows some strong yellow/mustard from the tumeric.  I am looking forward to dyeing more with the tumeric.  I have been trying to get a muted mustard colour...thus far trying euphorbia and wattle...nothing to exciting yet.  Thinking a mix of a few might work.  Need to *play* more in the dyepot.

I think all photos are clickable for a closer look...some great effects from the bundling/tieing.  I love the serendipity of just never know what you are going to end up with when you untie your bundles.

My little indigo seeds are struggling....BUGS  have been eating them as quick as they appear.  They have a special cover, but still the bugs gets in.  Luckily they appear quite sturdy and keep coming back... a couple are still in tact.  I have my fingers crossed that I will have a few healthy plants come summer to try some indigo dyeing and to seed so I can have a crop again next year.  I might transplant them next weekend and see how they go in a bigger pot.

My sweet friend Dot recently gifted me these two beautiful fabric pieces.  A lovely burnt orange cushion...kimono fabrics, wools, cottons....fabric weaving, buttons.  It is gorgeous.  I have only one problem with dear old dog Oakey thinks it's his "special" cushion and loves to snooze with his head on it (he's so old he sleeps most of the day these days).  Dot is an animal lover.  I think he knows that and that is why he prefers this cushion to any other on my couches.
The beautiful greens are a lovely tote bag Dot made tote my lunch and other goodies to work each day.  The Kaffe Fassett fabric is one of my favourites.  Lucky me to get two such beautiful, colourful gifts.

Jacky xox

Monday, October 29, 2012

disconnected .....

A little *disconnected* nine patch....some little (previously) discarded pieces of fabric stitched to a base cloth.  Inspired by Jude in our Cloth Diaries ....

 These pieces are only about 1" square,  offcuts from other cloths.  I like how the formation of the little nine patch gives them a life of their own.....
They are stitched onto a beautiful piece of indigo dyed linen and the backing fabric is a lovely soft Japanese cotton from my friend Shirl in W.A.  Just perfect for this simple little cloth I think.

Still on things Japanese.... on Saturday my friend Nat taught me how to bind a journal using coptic stitch.  I really enjoyed the stitching (and got quite confused many a time....thanks Nat for being so patient).  Notice on the spine you can see colourful papers.  These were beautiful handmade Japanese papers that we added to our journals too.  I havent decided what I will use this journal for as yet .....maybe all things indigo????

And great excitement this first indigo seed sprouted ....I am so excited that I may be able to dye with my own homegrown indigo later this year  (I am being very careful to water and cover these little seedlings...give them every chance of surviving, protect them)

This evening we had a beautiful, soft moon (dreadful photo...sorry).  I went out to water my seedlings and it was there, softly hanging in the evening sky.  It was my Mum's birthday today, she would have been 73.  After some really grey, cold, horrible days we had glorious sunshine and then this beautiful fitting!

Jacky xox

Friday, October 19, 2012

art book...........

I'm still working away on my 'art book' for my online workshop with Roxanne.  Really enjoying the building up of layers, the search for 'just the right' images and text.  It's very soothing........ My friends Coral and Nat are doing the workshop too.  It's lovely to catch up and show each other our pages and discuss techniques.
My first spread (you saw the beginnings in the post below).  I've done a bit more work to the first page and started on the second part.  My background is ready,  one image at the ready ....hoping to work on finishing these off on Sunday.

This is the second spread. Another background for the page on the left, ready to go.   The page on the right is finished though and ready to be glued down.    I love the Queen Anne's Lace that grows by the roadside this time of year so I picked some whilst out walking and sketched it into my book.

We are making "Little Books" also,  which are part of the bigger book and will be stitched in later.  I will place this with the page above as it continues with the them of the Queen Anne's Lace.  Another little sketch,  pressed snippets of the plant.  The cover for the little book is eco-dyed silk,  dyed with our local gums.
Another glimpse inside the little book and a tag which I will include in the book.  The image on the tag is a little naive style hand carved stamp I made a while back.

 And yet another glimpse.  This little book is only about 2 1/2 inches square.

Did you notice the lovely indigo fabric behind the little book?  Here is a better view.  I bought it at Zigu Zagu last weekend.

Last weekend I went to the opening of an exhibition at Kazari  in Malvern.  The exhition was of art and craft using vintage Japanese fabrics purchased from their shop Zigu Zagu  .....  as you know,  one of my most favourite shops.  Two of my friends,  Dot and Nat were exhibiting their work,  so I popped along to the was an amazing exhibition.  Beautiful cloths, clothing, artwork by 26 artists all set amongst the beautiful  Japanese setting of Kazari.  If you are in Melbourne this weekend,  try and get along to see it.   If you cant get there....visit Nat and Dot's blogs for more photos.
This photo montage was made by Nat of some of the work that was on display.  All photos are clickable for a closer view.  I particularly loved the indigo dress on the bottom right by Lulu Kane.
Enjoy your weekend!
Jacky xox

Monday, October 8, 2012

Just getting started....

Sometimes (most times)  I find just getting started the hardest part of a project.  For the month of October I am doing an Art Book Worshop with Roxanne of Rivergarden Studio .... no time for procrastination,,,,,although there has been quite a bit of dithering about themes etc. (I am hopeless).

What I needed was some inspiration..... I decided upon the theme of spring as I am really enjoying the arrival of spring this year (and it was a prompt from Roxanne, that always helps).

Inspiration...papers and some eco dyed silk.  Delicate seed pods from my Japanese maple; new growth from the silver birch; beautiful, bright blossom buds from our apple tree; a beautiful, mysterious, dark  Helebores bloom.  I will press a few for my art book,  and also sketch a couple I think.  You can click on all photo's for a closer look.

 The art book has been prepped in readiness...

I made a start on a journal old paper bag that I was using for prepping my paper, overlayed with an old tea some colour.  Some hand stitching with a soft, spring coloured variegated thread that is hand dyed by a local artisan.  The seed pods from the Japanese Maple.  I have no double that some fabric will find its ways into this book ..... 

I've made a start though.... A good start I think....  I'm happy.




NEW ...




Enjoy your week.


Jacky xox

Monday, October 1, 2012

not much stitching ....

A beautiful piece of Indigo Resist dyed cotton (Chinese I think)  bought recently from Ziguzagu ... couldnt resist it.  This piece is 1.80m long and I think will make a beautiful runner for my table.  I couldnt cut this one up!
There hasnt been a lot of stitching or painting happening recently.  A bit of purchasing though!!!! 

I really enjoy my journalling and while out today I came across this book,  "Art Escape" by Dory Kanter.  Lots of great ideas for daily journalling.  Also bought three new paint brushes... and a new tube of gouache .... violet bluish.  A grey/purple colour.  Nice to add to my colour palette.

Purchased some lovely variegated red sock yarn to crochet a scarf for a friend. It's getting cold where she lives.    Some new magazines arrived for inspiration and did do a little bit of fabric weaving with some scraps from my basket.

While I was in the UK I visited "Liberty" and purchased a metre of fabric (I was very restrained).  I dont have a lot of Liberty fabrics,  so when out and about today I bought two more pieces to add to the 'Liberty Stash' for a project down the track.  Also found these lovely linen tapes and some vibrant Kaffe Fassett project in mind,  but just loved them.  Lots to inspire in that lot.  ( think if you click you will get a better look, the linen tape is lovely).

It is Spring,  I couldnt resist sharing these ranuncula's and leucodendron's I have in my lounge room.

Next post I will have been more industrious....I will be stitching along in the Cloth Diaries and  journalling with Roxanne .... so should have something to show!

Jacky xox

Monday, September 17, 2012

Through the fog ......

I feel like I have been in a bit of a 'fog' since I returned from my trip .... a creative fog that is.  To overcome this,  I did some stitching.  This little patch for a friend got me started ... and once I started ideas began to form for a new cloth I want to make.  I am looking forward to the continuation of the Spirit Cloth Diaries with Jude and to an upcoming workshop with Roxanne of River Garden Studio ... that will get me back into my rhythm again.

I've decided to hand quilt this old quilt that I made for Norma many years ago too.  Sometimes when mulling over ideas for my current project I like to have something I can sit and simply stitch without thinking .... to do some meditative stitching.  I made this little quilt for my MIL a long time ago and was rushing to get it finished to give her for Christmas.  Thus it was only quilted sparingly...just enough to hold it together.  Now it will be quilted within an inch of its life...quiet time to think about Norma and projects I am working on.

Aren't these fabric snippets beautiful!!!  My friend Dot gifted these to me on the weekend when we caught up.  I have something special in mind for them.  Textiles, my favourite gifts!

I recently bought these two pieces of wool flannel in grey and mustard... and these locally made variegated threads (gifts to send to a couple of friends).  Aren't the colours gorgeous?

She keeps him company every day....  Oakey is old and sleeps most of the day, and most of the time you will find Minnie curled up with him.  Sometimes he wakes up and wants to go out for a short time....Minnie leads the way and watches over him while he is outside.  She knows he is blind and she has become his seeing eye cat.  Aren't animals incredible?



Have a wonderful week.
Jacky xox