Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I am in trouble now. I haven't finished my challenge piece for this month and a new one is due on Friday. Could this have something to do with getting my head around the concept of "Organisation"? Well, partly. But mostly I put a marathon effort into finishing off the Wedding Album I have been doing for the lady at work. Once DH finishes watching his DVD I will set his chair up to take the photographs. I want to give it to her at work tomorrow.

And I have been doing it the slow way, I hand stamped every page and embossed the stampings. I made paper flowers by hand rather than purchase ready made ones. Because I have used binding for the spine, I reinforced every page, meaning that I had to move everything over enough to allow for the reinforcing cardstock as I put it on last. There is much "Slow Cloth" concept in the album and I am very proud of that. When I put up the pictures on the weekend you will see what I mean.

I don't feel it is finished, either, but I want to show it to her, incase she doesn't like what I have done.

So I will put in a marathon effort on the weekend to finish the challenge piece and begin to journal ideas for the next challenge. Maybe I should offer to photograph and post the journalings, because then I will have to do it to put up.

see you soon ...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Blue and Green

I am going to place some pictures here of some weedy vine growing at the back of our place.

The area is rough: we haven't had horses down there for months, since the young colt died.
I can still hardly bring myself to go down there, because I expect him to come running up wanting to know what is going on.

I am putting them up, however, because of the beautiful colour contrasts. It is quite an overcast day today, but the colours are still vibrant. I would love to capture these colours in some way, and maybe during the year I will be able to. Still I thought anyone looking might enjoy them as well.
I think they are some sort of morning glory. They have little yellowy things in the middle that have the pollen stuff. (I did say I don't know much about flowers).

The rather amusing thing about this vine is that it is smothering the lantana, which is also considered a weed in this country. However, the really sad thing is that it is also strangling many native trees growing in the bushland area next door. The owners are a Government Department who unfortunately do not seem to care one little bit about the trees, the bush or any of the native (an unnative) animals that reside there. Even the "conservationists" do not care and that is really, really bad. I guess it is out of the way and not a stage for their egos. If we went in there, we risk being charged with trespassing. The maniacs on their motorbikes do not ever get charged but we have been warned.
The bath is a water tub for the horses, and always has a little water in it for the birds and a rock so they don't drown. We have never used the hitching posts. If the horses use, them it is for a good scratch, but now it is a little low for the mare and just something to walk around.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


I have been thinking about this for a while now. No one else seems to have written much about it that I can see. However, I consider it is an important aspect of working in all needlearts.

I suppose older, more experienced needle artists do not think too much about it, but the newbies and even intermediate stitchers need a bit of a primer on the back of their work.

Why is the back so important? The back is important because if it is too lumpy and messy, it will show through to the right side of the work as unsightly lumps and bumps, it will feel harsh to the hand and give the appearance of lack of knowledge or care in execution.

I guess in a way, taking care of the backside of your work is also part of the slow cloth concept.

People often comment to me on how tidy the back of my cross stitching is. This is because I use a loop start stitch so only the tails are threaded under stitches when finishing. My work lies flat. Also I do not cross over rows at the back, either, so nothing shows through the holes when viewed from the front. It has taken me an age to learn to do this, but it has made such a difference to my work.

If I made you a garment, say for example a jacket, but I did not finish the seams, did not line it or press it as I went along, it would not be very beautiful nor would it look good when worn. However, spending the time to finish the inside seams, press all the seams open or in one direction, lining and even handsewing where needed, although you cannot see these things from the outside, would make such a difference to the appearance of the garment and how it felt to wear.

If, like me in the needlearts, you are self taught, it is worth investing in a few "how-to" books and taking the time to learn to finish the backside of your work so that the front is beautiful.
Taking the time to learn how to finish stitches on the back so that the work is flat is necessary. Learn how to finish without knots; press your work from the back, using a towel when raised surface embellishments have been added. If necessary, prepare your fabric with the use of a tear or wash away backing, so that the front surface does not pucker. Spend the time on preparation to have a good backside and it will lift your front side to a much greater level. You will notice the difference yourself, and people who look at your work will notice the difference.

Time is of the essence ...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I forgot ....

In my rush to load up for my TIF challenge, I forgot another photograph that I had taken.

I downloaded the colour swatch of the challenge and went in search of the embroidery threads. If I get some time I might try them together with some cross stitches or French knots. Anyhow, I referred to the website Sharon had said offered the DMC numbers and wrote them down. But as I had printed it off as well, I compared to my own threads, and sure enough I had some of them already. But, as you will see, I found a different number to the strange green colour:

The green I found is 522 (directly under the colour swatch) where the recommended colour was 3764. I am sorry to be a pedant about this, but I was just looking around for some rubber stamps when I thought I would look. The creamy yellow doesn't show well in the photo, and I think that is because of the overabundance of green.

I am off to the Scrapbook shop tomorrow to work on the Wedding Album and hope I will have some progress to report tomorrow night.


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Here we go ...

Well, I have a bit to get through in this blog.

First, for my challenge piece. Much of my time has been spent researching my subject. So it does not look like I have done much. Cut a piece of A4 (ish) card, covered it, stamped and embossed it. Downloaded a couple of pictures of my subject. But I am still considering, as I have to find some newscuttings and stamp words onto it. This woman, while extremely beautiful, was not a "flowery" person. So flowers and girly stuff are not going to be appropriate.

So to get on with it. Here is a photo of what I have achieved so far. As I said it doesn't appear much - yet.

I like the size. I can put much onto it to better convey the feel of the woman during her heyday. What you can't see here, is how beautiful this woman is. Later, when I have done the piece I will upload the top picture to give you a better idea.

I will also give you a link to my horse page so that if you want you can read the result of the research I have done.

My next photograph is the art piece I did for my sister's 50th Birthday.

I started these cross stitches originally to frame each individual piece and give them to her for Christmas a few years ago. I did one of them and started a second then lost interest in them.

When I realised her 50th was coming up, I thought I would finish them and do them as one picture. I looked around on the internet for a stamp to make background paper, but ended up doing a terracotta tile that is in the middle. The picture doesn't show the detail on the tile much, but it has some gold embossing and greyish paint to make it look old. It does work. When I put it together I wanted a sort of Museum Exhibition effect. The ankhs are made from dipping cut card into gold embossing powder with UTEE in the meltpot.

I still have it because I am going to get it framed. I hope that I can get it done soon and without too much expense, although I won't let that stop it from being done. Some detail of the cross stitching is below:

I love the stitching in the hair of the queen and the detail on Tutankhamen's beard. It took ages to do and was pulled out several times, but finally it was done. I also debated with myself whether or not to add beads to the queen, but in the end, I just left it.


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

My concept

Well, I have had an interest in Arabian horses since I was about 12 years old. To me, of all the horse breeds, they are the most beautiful. The Thoroughbred, my second favourite, is the most courageous.

Lady Wentworth (Judith Blunt-Lytton) was the inheritor of Crabbet Stud, the English foundation stud of the Arabian horse. She was quite a character, and it is interesting to see that even today people still have contraversial ideas about her.

The stallion that she purchased and began the controversy was, of course, Skowronek. I could not find any photographs of her without him. So the two photos I downloaded, from the public domain have her with him.

She was trained as an artist, and I noted that recently some of her waterpaintings were sold for quite healthy prices. She also modelled for artists and was a beautiful woman in her own right. One of my photographs shows this quite clearly.

Of her breeding program, no one could doubt she was a formidible character. But what I also found admiring about her was that she was prepared to stand up and be counted when it came to things Arabian, including contradicting American men who thought they knew more than she did.

I always have admired the stronger women of history, and there are plenty that I could choose to conceptualise into a piece of art, but I think Lady Wentworth tops the list of Admirable women in Arabian horse history.

As a point of interest, Lady Wentworth's grandmother, was Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron. Yes, the one who helped Babbage with his computer concept and who wrote the first programming language.

I am going to do a collage of her.