Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Danish Whitework Treasures

My husband, who is Danish, is the eldest of four boys, and I am the only daughter-in-law who is interested in embroidery and textiles. This is lucky for me, because a number of years ago my mother-in-law was clearing out her collection of family treasures. She packed most of them up and posted them to me in Australia. I have framed some of them, and every few years, I take them out of the frames and wash them (very carefully!). It was time to do them again. So, before I put them back in the frames, I photographed them. This collar was made by one of my husband's great-aunts, who lived in NorthWestern Jutland. It appears to be Hedebo work, which was a whitework technique developed in Denmark. I just love it - I have no inclination to do this type of work myself, but I can really appreciate the intricacy of it.
This is a close-up of the beautiful work in it. The triangles are done with needleweaving.

The stitching in this butterfly isn't as fine, and I think was probably made by the other great-aunt, but it's still lovely. The antennae are quite fine - it's almost all stitching, with very little of the base cloth showing.
This collar fascinates me. The embroidery on it is beautiful, but...
...just look at the way it's been joined together!
I think this was probably done by someone other than the original embroiderer, maybe to make it smaller to fit a different dress. I'm also assuming that this join was the back of the collar, and maybe hidden by long hair. But, if you look back now at the photo of the first collar, you can see how uneven the neck edge is. I can't imagine why someone would do all that work on something that wasn't perfect, so I'd love to know the story behind these pieces. Unfortunately, I never will.

Saturday, 24 February 2007

Artist Trading Cards for Erica

Clearing up "stuff" in the studio should clear my conscience. It didn't work that way today, though, because I discovered an ATC that I received a long time ago. The reason it made me feel guilty is that I haven't sent one in return. It was outside of a normal swap, so it was easy to forget. Not a good excuse, but the only one I have! So, I decided that it was past time that I made an ATC to send. This is similar to the ATCs I made for the last swap I was in and uses the same technique as the birthday cards I've been making.

But I was still feeling guilty, so I made another one to send to her. Once again, it's similar to ATCs I've made before, but I like this one better. I think it's the reeds that I've added this time that make it a little more interesting...

So, they're done and awaiting delivery. I've had a lovely afternoon, just playing around with making them, which has helped to make me realise that sometimes I just have to start, and then the ideas will flow.

All I need to do now is find that snail mail address so I can post them...

Monday, 19 February 2007

What a sight to wake up to !

Recently, I was lucky enough to stay in Sydney with my clever friend Lisa. She was dyeing metres of fabric and this is the sight I woke up to in the morning - these gorgeous fabrics hanging on the clothes line amongst the bushes in the garden. I rather think that all gardens should be decorated this way...

This is where my strips for "Woven Water" came from, if you hadn't already guessed and I thought you might like to feast your eyes on the lengths of fabric, too.

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

My glorious flowering eucalypt

Today I noticed red gum blossom caps on the lawn and path in my front garden. This is a sign that my favourite flowering tree is flowering early this year! I love the contrast of the bright red caps with the yellow-green blossoms and the grey-green leaves. It's a spectacular sight, and people are stopped in their tracks when they see it in all its glory. The bees love it, too - if you look closely, you can see three of them. It's native to Western Australia, and I should know it's botanical name because I know I've been told...but I've forgotten. It usually flowers in March, so maybe it's another sign of the way our weather is changing. I collect the caps and put them in a bowl, so that I can admire them for the rest of the year. The colour lasts quite well, although they do darken as they age. They look great in a potpourri mix, too.

Sunday, 11 February 2007

Woven Water

Why are someone else's offcuts so much more interesting than what's already in the fabric stash in the cupboard? Well, of course, when they're as delicious as these offcuts, they're just begging to be played with - beautiful hand dyes, in cool colours. It could be the effect of the drought and the heat here that made them so appealing, too.

As you can see, the strips still have raggy edges, and are different widths. I cut them all to the same length, wove them and then fused them to a dark blue commercial fabric. I haven't done any stitching yet, but think this method has possibilities and will be playing some more.

Thanks for giving them to me, Lisa!

More Paper Play

No, I haven't disappeared! I've been trying to post for over a week, now. Unfortunately, I just haven't been able to - Blogger just wouldn't let me do anything other than sign in. Anyway, after fiddling some more with some settings on the computer, it looks like we're in business again. Yay!

I've had a few times recently when I've been away from home for work, and away from my fabrics and threads. My hands have been itching for something to do, and this is what I've done. I used a pigma pen on a watercolour postcard, started in one corner and worked my way to the corner diagonally opposite. It's easy to carry in my bag and was fun to do. I think it has possibilities for developing some embroidery ideas.

Friday, 2 February 2007

Cafe Style Chicken Salad

This is a great chicken salad. The type that would cost you a fortune in an upmarket cafe, and it's easy to make. Looks good and tastes terrific. I tried taking a photo, but the photos didn't turn out so well and I didn't find out until all the salad had been scoffed. So, you'll have to make it yourself and see what it looks like. Enjoy!

Creamy Chicken Salad

Serves: 2

1 chicken breast

2 rashers lean bacon, chopped

300g (just over 1/2 pound) small new potatoes, quartered

(or use sweet potato for lower GI)

1 tablespoon olive oil

Mixed salad leaves –a couple of large handfuls

½ capsicum (bell pepper), sliced thinly (red or yellow for colour)

2 shallots (green onions), finely chopped


1/4 cup greek style yogurt

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

½ -1 tablespoon seeded mustard

2-3 teaspoons SunDried Tomato Pesto

3 large sundried tomatoes, finely chopped

Mix together.

Toss potatoes in oil. Sprinkle with salt. Bake 25mins at 250C (475F), turning once. Cook bacon rashers, drain. Drain any fat from pan. Cook chicken breast and then slice. Tear lettuce, put into two bowls. Top with capsicum, potatoes, bacon and chicken. Drizzle dressing over, sprinkle with shallots.