Monday, 26 May 2008

Decorating with stitches

This is the Angel decoration that I've been working on. The patterns were in Inspirations magazine a quite a few years ago, and I've made one for myself and given a number away as gifts over the years. This is another one for me and will be hanging on my Christmas tree this year. Just a few more stitches, then I'll cut it out and sew around the edge (adding a hanging thread as I do that) and stuff it with a small amount of cushion stuffing.

And a brooch that I've made for myself. The background is silk paper, and the metal is a brass shim which I heated in the flame of the gas stove, to get some blues into it. I then machine stitched it, and painted bits of it with a blue-green nail polish andf a purply one, and added beads.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Christmas is coming...

...and so are some photos for this blog!

I have a new digital SLR camera. It was a Mother's Day gift to both of us from my husband. He says that, on the grounds that he had something to do with me becoming a mother, it's only fair that he gets to share the gift. Hmmm.

Anyway, it's a wonderful Canon EOS (the same as the one I tried out). He wanted to make sure I was happy with the "feel" of it before he committed to buying one. I find that so many cameras are too big and clunky for my hands. They're obviously made with a man's hands in mind. I've always liked Pentax, for the reason that they feel right in my hands, but so does this Canon. The best part is that the lenses from Dad's camera fit it, and Dad has given me those. His sight problems (Macular Degeneration) mean that he can't see to take photos anymore.

The problem is, though, that I now have to learn how to use it, and the last couple of weeks have been rather busy. Our kitchen has been renovated in that time, and now looks fabulous, but the dust and dislocation has been rather a lot to contend with.

Last Saturday, I escaped the confusion and went to an embroidery group meeting. Needing something to take to work on, I unearthed a Christmas Angel decoration which I started embroidering a couple of years ago. It's embroidered with metallic threads on white silk, and will be a challenge to photograph well. So, the challenge for this weekend is to get a photo of it onto the blog. That's after I finish my study assignment, which needs to be in by Monday. But at least I'm getting ready for Christmas early!

Sunday, 4 May 2008

A different view

I've been increasingly frustrated with the camera that I have been using. It's a small, autofocus one - a "point and shoot". The photos just never seem very sharp, and close-ups are a problem - I can never get the details that I want.

This morning, I had the loan of a digital SLR camera. These are the results I got in a few minutes in the garden at just one tree. Wow! I need one of these! Just look...

This is the blossom on the tree -
I love the colours in the bark -
And the morning sun was caught in the spider web -
Stamens from the blossom had been caught in the spider web, too -

Autumn Colours

Eevry year at around this time, we try to visit Orange, a town in the Central Tablelands of NSW. It has a climate that is almost European, so the gardens of Orange feature plants that suit that climate. Cook Park is a beautiful public park near the centre of town that was planned and planted over 100 years ago. When we lived in Orange, over 30 years ago, my Sunday mornings were spent reading the newspaper in the park, while my husband spent some "quality time" with our son, playing on the swings and visiting the duck pond. Maybe that's why this park always has such a calming effect on me...but I think it also has something to do with the beautiful trees...

There's also a lovely old conservatory, where they grow prizewinning begonias.

Apple and cherry orchards surround Orange (it was named after the Prince of Orange, not the fruit!) and in recent years, vineyards have been replacing some of the orchards. There's some rather delicious wines coming from Orange now. We had lunch at one of the wineries, looking out over the vines and the mountains, and enjoying a glass of Zinfandel, which is a very enticing red. It went very well with our venison pie. A few bottles of it found their way into the car to come home with us, along with a bottle of a locally made cherry liqueur that we couldn't resist.

Campbell's Corner is an area planted for autumn colour and always worth a visit at this time of the year, too -

I needed a photo of the lichen growing on the road, as well. I'm sure there's inspiration for an embroidery there -