Monday 27 September 2010

At the bazaar

Yes, the bracelets from the last post made the deadline and the show went off without a hitch.
Well almost. My boy was supposed to perform, but his appendectomy put an end to that! An understudy was hastily sought, and lines quickly memorised. All was right on the night.
I have been helping to make costumes during Term 3, and it is always so special to sit back on the night and enjoy the spectacle.
This year's musical was a Moroccan-inspired extravaganza.
How is it that 11 and 12-year-olds seem to have so much more talent these days than they ever used to?! I'm sure we were never so clever at their age.

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Late night stitching

Thirty two (!) glitzy bracelets for the dancers in our school's Moroccan-inspired musical ...
... By when? TOMORROW!

Thursday 16 September 2010

Bloom-a-day: Acacia floribunda

What would an Australian garden be without a wattle or two? 
This is Acacia floribunda (also known as the 'Gossamer wattle' or the 'Sally wattle') in full bloom.
Its branches gracefully droop to the ground, and are laden with pale yellow finger-like flower spikes. An extra bonus is its beautiful fruity scent that pervades the garden. 
An Austrian work colleague told be that the smallest slip of acacia costs a fortune in Europe. How we take them for granted here! Since roughly 1000 of the world's 1350 species of wattle are native to Australia, it is hardly surprising we consider them just part of the landscape.
However, we are immensely proud of our stunning national flora. This dress perhaps epitomises our pride!

Jan Taylor, Australia's representative at the Miss International beauty pageant in California, 1964, wore this dress as her 'national costume'. It was designed by Beryl Jents, a leading Sydney designer of the 1940s-60s, to promote Australia and Australian fashion to overseas audiences. The dress is embroidered with state floral emblems and wildflowers, including wattle. (Source: National Museum of Australia).

Today's wallpaper of Acacia floribunda can be found here.

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Bloom-a-day: An uncommon beauty

Tonight, my 9-year-old daughter and I went to an amazing children's theatre production. Called 'The Grimstones', it is a gothic fairytale played out with beautifully crafted marionettes and giant books. The writer, creator and performer of the fairytale is deaf. 
The basic plot: A mother is inconsolably grieving the death of her husband. Her young daughter seeks to comfort her by magically creating a new baby for her mother to love and care for. The baby is born with three legs. The mother initially rejects the deformed child, while the daughter is smitten with the baby & confused by her mother's reaction. Eventually, the mother grows to love the baby too, and they all live happily ever after!

I asked my daughter what she thought the moral of the story was. She quickly replied, "Don't judge others by their differences". Yep, she got it!

Hence my bloom for today is unusual, and beautiful of itself.
These are the long pendulous flowers of Acer negundo var. violaceum.
The flowers are like giant tassels, which adorn bare branches in the Spring.
It is a spectacular sight, and heaven-sent for the bees.
You can download the last of these images for your desktop on the 'Wallpaper' page of my blog.

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Bloom-a-day: Hellebores

Hellebores are surely the most demure of blooms. 
They hold their elegant heads discreetly downwards, with only the ants privileged enough to delight in their inner beauty ... or perhaps a photographer flat on her belly!
They are not so far removed from the ranunculus of my previous post. Hellebores are from the same family, Ranunculaceae. While hellebores are also known as 'lenten' or 'winter' roses, they share no heritage with roses.
I have always loved botanical illustration, and I found this wonderful hellebore image on the net. It was published in Germany in 1885. So beautiful!
I couldn't get this post over at Leanne's House out of my head. As a consequence, I have added to my hellebore collection this winter, courtesy of Post Office Farm Nursery in Victoria. So there will be more of these shy little blooms next year.
You can find two of these photos to use as your desktop image if you click on the 'Wallpapers' tab at the top of my blog. 

Monday 13 September 2010

Bloom-a-day: Ranunculus

The landscape here in Australia is bursting forth with the fresh and hopeful signs of a new Spring. The country, in general, has had an especially wet Winter, so that much of the parched inland is now a lush green, and waterways that have not flowed in years are gushing with new life.

For each day of this week, I thought I would post images of some of my Spring blooms. And as a small gift, from my garden to you, I will load some in a large enough format for you to use as wallpaper on your computer if you so desire!

So let's start with a show-stopper for today's bloom - the brilliant cherry red of ranunculus.
I love to grow these flowers. I love that something so stunning and cheerful can emerge from such a weird and apparently barren little brown claw of a beginning:
I have posted instructions for using these images as desktop wallpaper on a new page on my blog. Just click on the 'Wallpapers' tab at the top of this post. Hopefully, it will work!
I will be back tomorrow with a another glimpse of Spring on this side of the world. 
And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.

~Percy Bysshe Shelley, "The Sensitive Plant"

Sunday 5 September 2010

Tutorial - Fitting appliquéd text to a quilt block

I am working on a small quilt at the moment that I am hoping to be able to show you very soon. Occasionally, I have the need to appliqué text on a quilt or other project. I have put together a tutorial, as much for my own reference as anybody's, but perhaps you will find it useful. I am using Microsoft Word on a Mac, but the commands should be much the same for PC.

Open Microsoft Word. Go to File ... Page Setup. Change Orientation from portrait to landscape. Click OK.

Go to Table ... Insert ... Table. Set 'Number of columns' to '1' and 'Number of rows' to '1'. Click OK.

Go to Table ... Table Properties. 

Click on the 'Row' tab. Choose 'Specify height' and set to your desired block height. In my case, I set this to 5". Also make sure 'Row height is' set to 'Exactly'.

Click on the 'Cell' tab. Set the 'Preferred width' to your desired block width. In my case, I set this to 7". Also set 'Vertical Alignment' to 'Center'. Click OK.

Type your desired text in the table. I typed 'Olivia'. Select your text and go to Format ... Font. Select the 'Outline' box.

Preview fonts until you find one that you like. Remember that if you intend to appliqué the text, it is best to choose a simple font with not too many corners to negotiate! I chose Optima Extrablack.

Increase the font size. Mine is 165pt. Click OK.

Note: You will need to repeat this step to fiddle with the font size until it fits your desired block size nicely.

Hopefully, on your Microsoft Word document, you will now have text that perfectly fits your block size. Print the document. 

This template can now be used for tracing letters for appliqué. Place the template face down on a light box or window pane, and trace onto fusible web. The letters will be reversed. Cut out fusible web letters roughly, approximately 1/8" beyond the traced lines.

Fuse letters to the back of your desired appliqué fabric. Cut letters out exactly on the traced line with a short, sharp pair of scissors.

Use the template to position the letters on your quilt block. Press in place. I have appliquéd my text using a machine blanket stitch.

You can now add whatever text you like to your latest creation! 

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Everything is coming up roses!

I spent today planting new roses into the sticky muck that is an excuse for soil in our town garden. Never have I required a crowbar to plant roses - until today! There is big rain due in the next few days so hopefully the roses will be happy. If they survive the soil conditions, they should resemble these:
Most of these are David Austin's (my favourites). From top to bottom, left to right: 'Lichfield Angel', 'The Endeavour', 'Jude the Obscure', 'Triple Treat', 'Summer Song', 'Strawberry Hill', 'Darcey Bussell', 'Jane McGrath Rose', 'Heidesommer'.

I still need to choose a couple of climbing roses, so if you have a favourite, please suggest it to me.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogging tips