As you can see I worked on the sand and cliff. I wanted the sand to be unobtrusive, so I chose to do it in a simple half stitch, which linked it into the sky. The cliff, however, needed to be more wild, to create the texture that I love.
(The yarn is another merino wool yarn from Fibreworks. This one was specially dyed for me. It is a colour that, surprisingly, occurs in Australian landscapes. It is wonderful for eucalyptus bark.)
The next stage ~ the trunk ~ was trickier, and to be honest, I am not sure it works quite as I wanted it to. I am not sure how the branches merge into the canopy. Any thoughts?
I tried to include the background colours too. I suspect my problem is that I hadn’t thought it through ~ the original planning was incomplete. That area may well come out. However, I value your thoughts.
One of the things that I do love about this work is that it has brought be back to being creative after many months of obstacles. It has helped me realise that while I am not ready to get back to paint, pencils and paper, I am ready to solve creative problems (which I love doing!) with something that I can pick up and put down with ease.
In fact I have already begun my next SAL project. More of that next time.
There is a great group of creative stitchers involved in this SAL group, organised by Avis. Do drop into their blogs for their latest SAL posts. Prepare to be amazed!
While much of Australia has been burning, carpet has been on my mind this week. [Catch up on the fires from Meek’s and Kate’s posts.]
Let me set the scene….
My house was built in c.1910 in the Victorian style ~ a long hallway down the side of the house, leading to the lounge, kitchen, dining area down the back. The bedrooms are off the hallway.
Ages ago we had the place reblocked [ie replacing the stumps that the housesits on]. All the baltic pine floorboards were removed 😞 and replaced with sheets of brown board called yellow tongue. The skirting boards were off and the hall became a dumping ground. It stayed that way for ages.
Why it languished like that is a long and boring story that I won’t go into. It involved procrastination ~ lots of procrastination ~ and exasperation and convoluted plans for under the house [don’t ask!].
Fixing the hall was always on my To Do List, moving from month to month and year to year. A couple of years ago I had a burst of enthusiasm and project managed us into painting the hall from a butter yellow to a plain white. The skirting boards were sanded and painted, in a delightfully named paint, ‘Pale Lady’. That’s a lot of skirting boards, as the hall is 12 metres long!
Then things stalled again. In another burst of enthusiasm we got things out of storage. ‘Things’ were mainly boxes of my books, stored when we did the reblocking, which had no where else to go but be piled up in hall.
So here we were, with boxes of books and other stuff, skirting boards leaning against the walls, noisy flooring and draughts. I had had enough. No more procrastination, no more “I need to do this [insert long term unrealistic plan in here] before we get the carpet down”, I was determined. I was also determined that we were going to outsource as much as possible. No unrealistic plans for us doing it ourselves.
This photo shows the hall in a rather respectable state, with only some of the piles of stuff.
First job was to get our handyman friend, Ron, to put the skirting boards back on. He was so willing and available, many thanks to him.
Second job was to choose the carpet. The hall is not only long but rather dark. The carpet needed to be light and have an interest down the length of the space. Most of the choices were dull, but as soon as I saw the right one I knew it was the Right One.
So, I ordered, paid, organised the layer to come. We moved boxes and book cases and stuff; we vacuumed; and I waited for The Day to finally come.
Brett, the carpet layer arrived on time and was an immediate whirlwind of activity.
Our only glitch was the front door. We had to take it off and shave a centimetre from the bottom, to allow for the new height of the carpet and underlay. While the Fella did the cutting and I did the supervising, Brett did the heavy lifting of taking the door off and then putting it back on. I was so grateful!
Brett cleared all the scraps up and was gone, off to his next job, leaving us with a miracle!
It is soft, it is quiet, it is wonderful ~blissful sigh~
And it is DONE! No more hurrying down the hall with down cast eyes. These are areas of the house to be proud of.
The hearth in the bedroom was another one of those “One day we will fix this up” things. No more, because I decided to cover the whole thing up with carpet….. problem solved!
Let me show off, just a little more….
Ahh, I could bore you for hours and insist on showing you more photos; instead I am going to walk up and down on my new carpet in my bare feet….and maybe even vacuum it again!!
P.S. I mentioned my brother in my last post, another whirlwind, helping us clear the garden of weeds. He was chuffed that so many of you asked whether he would come and do your gardens. However, he wanted you to know that if you live in Japan he will be there in on the next plane, anywhere else, sorry, he’s a no show. ☺️
On this day, when New South Wales and Queensland are facing catastrophic fire conditions, these are very wise words from my very wise friend (and talented author) about fire in Australia are a must read.
I am also thinking of EllaD and the GO. Stay safe.
I wasn’t going to write a bushfire post this year  because I thought there was no need, not with the devastating fires in NSW and QLD to focus everyone’s thoughts. But I’ve just been on Twitter and seen some of the misconceptions about bushfires.
So…here are some basics:
Fire needs just two things to burn: fuel and oxygen. However the size of that fire depends on many things:
Dry fuel – makes a fire burn harder and faster. Fuel is made of up dry grass, leaves, small twigs and fallen branches that build up on the ground over time.
Low humidity – i.e. moisture in the air and soil – makes a fire burn harder and faster.
Strong winds – provide the oxygen to make a fire burn harder and faster. They also transport embers ahead of the main fire.
How about this…two posts in one week! It may be an indication that life is returning to some sort of normality. Fingers crossed.
In my last post I wrote about an issue with my computer, explaining that I had to leave it at the shop for a few days, a few internet-free days. Did I miss Facebook? No way, especially as that is where the hacked message came from. However, I did miss this blogging world. I missed finding out what you were up to, catching up on the news.
I think it is a special place we have nurtured, a warm and welcoming space. We have built friendships across the globe. While we may never meet in person, we are friends. Dr Snail posted recently about the loss of her blogging friend Patricia. It is a loss that touches all of us who may have read Patricia’s wise posts.
So, come my friends and sit with me in my Spring garden. Let’s forget about droughts and fires and the insanity of the world for a little. We will have tea, or coffee, or even a glass of wine, and cake and natter about whatever comes to mind! We will find a little space in our lives to just sit and enjoy.
For my garden is now in a fit state to have visitors. The weeds have gone. I have moaned about them before and some got to be about a metre high.
The compost bins were being engulfed.
And then my brother came and like a whirlwind uprooted them all.
Thanks to his hard work I have weed free spaces and can easily find the compost bins.
I am delighted by the flowers that have not only survived the neglect, but seem to have thrived on it.
Sit with me and enjoy the foxgloves that I planted last year and are coming into their own this Spring. Admire the three different coloured irises ~ you can see one of them behind the foxgloves. The aran lilies are past their best, but the salvias are thriving, and it seems to be a glorious year for roses. (Remember how pruning the roses was the only thing I did in the garden over Winter? I am reaping the reward of finding that small pocket of time!)
Let’s admire the complexity and beauty of the foxglove spires. Can’t you just imagine the little fox paws inside these?
It is still rather weedy out the front, but let’s ignore them and admire the poppies that are exploding into flower.
I must show you the seed heads of the salsify. I am not sure that the neighbours love these seed blowing in the wind, but I think they are wondrous.
I managed to get the tomatoes in before Cup Day ~ that’s the marker for the right time to plant tomatoes in Melbourne. (And yes, we do get a public holiday for a horse race. We get another for the grand final of the Australian Football League. That’s how obsessed with sport many Melbournians tend to be ~ the rest of us just enjoy the day off!) There are strawberries to be harvested too.
Thank you for sitting and strolling with me, for taking some deep breaths and enjoying what the botanical world has to show. Your company is very special to me and I thank you for that too. Here’s to friendship, and foxgloves!
I am a little late in getting this post out, but I have just picked up my computer.
I did a very silly thing. A friend supposedly sent me a message, via Messenger, about a video I was in. I am usually very wary about clicking links and I am far more likely to delete a message/email/link than click on it. The message didn’t seem my friend’s style, and I couldn’t image that she would have a video I would be in, but instead of the warning bells going off, I thought “Oh well, let’s see what it is”. Click!
Of course, her Facebook account had been hacked and the message sent to everyone. So, caution finally kicked in, and I took my laptop to the computer shop…just to be safe. Everything is okay. Phew! I am a couple of days older, much wiser and far more cautious, and a little bit poorer, as peace of mind costs money.
So, I haven’t had the computer for a few days and this Stitch-a-long post is a day or two late.
I have been working. My wild, freeform work is progressing well.
As you can see I have worked on the bushes in the foreground. (The photo I am basing it on is the feature photo at the top of the post.) I used the same yarn, a variegated merino wool, as I used for the tree canopy. The stitches are random cross stitches. I wanted to keep them small to look like the small leafed foliage, and to make them different to the canopy. I enjoy the challenge of working the tones with the variegated yarn. Often the effects are quite serendipitous.
I left parts around the trunk. I can fill them in after I work on the trunk, as then I will be able to tell where the tones need to be.
I am moving on to the sand and cliff face next, and am really looking forward to working all those nooks and crannies in the face.
Thanks to everyone for your very encouraging comments on the last couple of SAL posts. I am part of a supportive group of embroiderers who regularly post about their personal stitching work. Do have a look at the others involved in the group, hosted by Avis, and be prepared to be amazed by their beautiful work! A welcome back to Connie.
Well, I have been beavering away on the background undergrowth. I wanted to create the rounded shape of the bushes without being too detailed. The lighter yarn helps to add the illusion of highlights on the tops of the bushes.
The overall view shows me just working my way around the background, either using random stitches or a very loose form of cross stitch.
I am happy so far. However, I am not sure what to do with the next elements. The tree (the blobby space in the centre) is the focal point, and so it need to be quite a contrast to the rest of the foliage. At the same time while the foliage on the right side of the tree is lighter than the background I have done, I don’t want it to compete with the tree. (The header photo on the post is the photo I am working from. Looking at that might make more sense!) I think I will have to work my way around the areas, looking to see what looks right and what doesn’t.
Thank you to everyone who left such supportive comments on my last SAL post. I got the feeling that some people would like to give freeform embroidery a go, but were not quite sure of where and how to start. A way to dip your toe in is by creating samplers.
Jean encourages the stitcher to play with different stitches ~ exaggerating, layering, using different yarns and threads. So I did.
Sampler inspired by the arid areas of inland Australia
Sampler inspired by all the water we saw on our trip
They are a small 10 x 10 cm square. Easy to play, without feeling daunted by filling a larger size. Little samplers that don’t have to be anything but experiments.
I love to use tapestry canvas, as it handles the bigger yarns, and I can work boldly and quickly. However, you could do exactly the same with linen or any other backing. Draw out a small square and see what your favourite stitch can do.
Which has made me think…maybe the trunk of the tree would work well if I couched it? Hmmm…..
A big thank you to Avis, who organises this stitch-a-long. We post on the third Sunday of the month, local time. I think, like me, you will be blown away by the beautiful work that the other stitchers create. Jump over and have a look, but remember, the time zone may be different.
Okay, if you are interested, this is the second painting I am offering to you for sale. There are more details below, but if you would like to know more, or like to buy, contact me, leave a comment below or email me firstname.lastname@example.org
I love the contrast between oil pastel and ink. The ink creates such fine detail, like the dead bits of the branch, while the oil pastel has a wonderful complex abstract textures and layers. This work is different in that I used brown ink with a nib pen. Usually I work just with a black pen. This time the black was layered over the brown.
So, to the details:
Oil pastel with brown and black ink
Paper size: 38.5 x 25.5 cm 15 x 10 inches
Image size (approx): 35 x 19 cms 14 x 7.5 inches
Free shipping, and I will happily send it anywhere.
Remember, contact me, using the ways at the beginning of the post, if you would like to know more.
Also, I have set up a page with the paintings I am offering. Like to see the first one? Check it out here, or use the tab at the top of this page.