#stitchingsanta reveal #2

The second parcel still hadn’t arrived when we left for Western Australia a few days before Christmas. Our neighbour was collecting our mail, so I knew it would be in safe hands if it arrived. We came home a week into January. When Melissa gave us the post I wondered about the lack of parcel. I even wondered whether I had muddled up things, and that there wan’t one. I was concerned that an unknown blogger had gone to a lot of trouble to make up a parcel for me and it was lost in the mail system. I felt quite rude.

Time to ponder what to do. Check with Melissa; email Sheila. Then I read a new blog post from Rita at Rita’s Design, who was telling her readers about the parcel she had put together for Anne. Oh dear….but at least I knew who to talk to.

And then a most amazing thing happened.

Not half an hour after I had read Rita’s post, the Fella called out “Anne, there’s a parcel here for you!” There was Rita’s box, but it wasn’t telling of its adventures from Germany to Australia!

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I happily ignored this instruction!

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Inside was a delightful hand made card, with this message

As I first scrolled down on your blog I immediately felt a connection to you because I respect and love nature just like you. Even though we have a different way of expressing that and our creativity I think we have a lot in common.

I think so too.

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Rita designed this tray especially for me, and the feather decoration was just perfect. (There are feathers on the sides of the box too.) It will be a fine box to put my feathers in. 🙂

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In the background you will see a white mug with a fine feather on it. Rita stencilled it herself, again with that feather motif.

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She lives on the border of the Netherlands and thought I would probably like one of their hot-choco-spoons. She is right 🙂

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This delightful little angel was crocheted by a very talented friend of hers.

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However, Rita made this key holder, again in the shape of a feather ~ a parrot feather methinks! ~ so I won’t be loosing my keys again.

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Or my luggage, because now I have a luggage label made of the cutest fabric.

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Speaking of fabric, as well as all these other goodies, there were two (not one but two!) pieces of material. Soft colours, and the top one has a feather pattern too.

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Again, I was overwhelmed by Rita’s generosity and thoughtfulness (and grateful that it is not languishing in the depths of of an Australia Post cavern.) I am humbled by the kindness shown to me by both Rita and Joey.

In Rita’s box there was one more little treasure, these festive coasters, on which will sit my new mug, on top of the protea placemats. A BIG THANK YOU to both of my #stitchingsantas, you have made my Christmas even more memorable.

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If you want to find out what I sent to one of my #stitchingsanta buddies you can read Lynn’s unveiling of one of my parcels. And in a lovely twist, Lynn is one of the Sisters of the Travelling Sketchbook!

If this has piqued your interest for Christmas this year, follow Sheila’s blog to watch out for her announcement.

#stitchingsanta reveal #1

You may remember me telling you about the #stitchingsanta swap organised by Sheila at  Sewchet. You could opt in to either a knitting/crocheting secret santa, a sewing secret santa or both. Then Sheila matched us all up. What a fabulous idea, and what an organisational nightmare it must have been! Thank you so much Sheila. 🙂

The idea was that the goodies wouldn’t be opened until Christmas Day. My first parcel arrived well before then, which was lucky as the trip to Western Australia was going to get in the way. It came from Joey who blogs at littlebackdogsa. You might also like to follow this link to see why she calls her blog Little Black Dog.

Imagine my delight to see this parcel arrive at the door, all the way from South Africa!

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Inside were lots of individually silver-paper wrapped presents. I am very easy to please, and anything wrapped in paper delights me!

Her card said

I am your Stitching Santa buddy, all the way from Johannesburg, S.A. I had so much fun putting these gifts together for you. I tried to keep it South African, but with your love for plants and birds as part of the theme. I hope you enjoy them

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Joey’s instructions were to open one present each day leading up to Christmas, which was good because (a) I wasn’t going to be in Melbourne for Christmas and (b) I am terrible at not opening presents!!

I can’t remember the order in which I opened them, but I do know which was first, because I was blown away by this spoon and knife set. Look at those beautiful patterns!

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There were a generous number of threads, chosen to suit my palette of colours! They will certainly be used over the year.

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There was some tape. I am going to use the lacy one on a project that my Mum is working on. I think she will love the extra zing it gives her work.

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Tapestry needles ~ Yay! I needed some with different sized eyes, and these have their own little house to be in. How did she know?!

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A very cute coin purse….

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and some South African chocolates and biscuits. These got eaten on the trip over to WA! Yum.

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A note pad and pencil, because Joey must know that lists are the backbone of my life.

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And there is more. Are you blown away by Joey’s generosity, because I certainly was, and still am. Here is a set of cards with a beautiful lacy pattern cut out of them, (I love writing letters), as well as a notebook (I love notebooks!). Of course the notebook has a Cape Town post mark, proteas and, I presume, South African birds.

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Finally, some more South African themed goodies….two placemats, again adorned with proteas, and a bag that will be perfect on my walks.

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Joey’s thoughtfulness and generosity is amazing. I can only hope that she had as much fun organising the gifts as I did opening them.  Many, many thanks Joey. xxx

Her card was a postcard of the Ponte Tower. The photo was part of a project that is dear to her heart, and you might like to take a look. iwasshotin joburg 🙂 is a project where former street kids are given disposable cameras and encouraged to photograph their world. You can see more at iwasshot

Now, I did say that there were two parcels coming my way. The second was also a delight to receive, but it is a story for tomorrow.

 

In my studio, December 2016

What’s happening in my studio?

Well, not much painting-wise. Like you, I have been busy with other interesting things that this time of the year throws up, including a very interesting talk by Dr. Tom May, who spoke about “From mushrooms to the mycobiome”. But that’s not what this post is about…..

My Cullen painting is at the same stage as last month. It’s not going to be finished in 2016. 😦

I have sent off my #stitchingsanta parcels. It is a fun idea organised by Sheila at Sewchet. Back in October she sent out an invitation to play along this year. I love making connections around the world, so I was in. I asked for two people ~ a sewing and a knitting/crocheting secret santa. Then Sheila’s email arrived telling me who I was going to collect for. I had so much fun collecting things. But challenged too. They need to be things the present-opener would like, as well as having an Australian theme and flat enough to go through the post as a letter. I think I did well, but, as it is a secret, all I can show you is this…..

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In my studio I have some new treasures……

I can never go far without picking up something to bring home. These caught my eye on the path near the Botanic Gardens. I love how the weighty seedpods contrasts with the delicate wings, the smooth and the finely textured, the green and the pink, the shadow and the light ~ all this in one little miraculous package.

The other treasure is a print from my very talented friend Melanie Lazarow. I saw her recent exhibition and enjoyed her abstracts. Some are large and a wild mixture of vivid colours, some are small with detailed geometric shapes. She is also a wonderful photographer and her passion is recording how people fight against injustice. However, it was this print that cried out to go home with me.

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Image copyright: Melanie Lazarow

I love the colours in it, its moodiness, and of course the plants.

While my Cullen painting has been languishing, I have made progress with my embroidery.

It is such a different process to my botanic art. When painting I know exactly how I want the final image to be. The point of botanic art is to replicate the plant in fine detail. Many of the decisions about composition, colour, tone, the process and so on are made before I start. Major problems I encounter during the painting process have usually arisen because I haven’t thought through issues at the beginning. The colour may be wrong or I haven’t really considered how I am going to paint those fine hairs or realise that the original drawing was incorrect.

The embroidery is so different. I have an idea of how it is going to be at the end, as I often work from a photo, but that only gives me the broad outlines, the shape of the tree or where the sky is going to be. I am always problem solving as I go. What stitch is best to make this look like grass? How am I going to show the highlight? Is my yarn giving me the tones that I want? Why don’t I try this thread? So many ‘What if….?’ questions. And I love that about it. It’s playful.

So….what’s happening in your creative space? You will notice that I am not saying “studio” except in the title. I like the sound of it there! Creative space is much wider ~ I’m thinking studio, kitchen table, sketchbook, computer, note book, anywhere you create. And I am not limiting it to painters. Writers and quilters, printers and poets, everyone is welcome.

And it doesn’t have to be a final, well rounded piece. It can be, but it might also be a look at what you are working on, a tip, a technique, a new piece of equipment. It might be a photo of your work space or your inspiration board. Or even an inspirational quote!

Leave a comment below with a link to your blog post, Instagram photo, Facebook entry….whatever.