Saturday, November 19, 2011

Something Three-Dimensional

I've been busy working on orders lately, but I always have an easier project on hand for when I'm feeling tired.  This is one of my latest efforts.
It's what I call a 'teaching pattern', as it uses six different techniques, designed by Diane S. Hertler and it was published in Bead and Button magazine.  The original pattern called for size 11 Delicas, I used size 15 Japanese seed beads which are quite a bit smaller.  As you can see, it works out to be pretty right for a 1/12th scale miniature.  I'm interested in exploring more three-dimensional work with beading so you can expect to see more of this type of thing in the future.
What I like most about this little backpack is that it has a pocket in the front, and the flap opens so you can put school supplies in it.
It also has straps at the back, so it could be worn by a miniature 'person'.
In case you're wondering, it is sitting on a miniature silk braided rug I made some time ago, and underneath that is a full size crochet doily.  Now I have all sorts of ideas running around in my head for things I could make using these techniques!  In the meantime, this little backpack has found a home in my miniature beading shop.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Wild Ones

By now most of my followers will have worked out I'm an animal lover - no secrets there!  What I haven't told you yet is that I also encourage wild birds in my garden.  I have an organic garden - no chemicals or poisons are used, I don't spray for insects or use nasties like snail pellets.  Instead I like to encourage the wild birds into the garden, and they in turn take care of the pests for me.  I also feed the wild birds a variety of seeds, fruit and nectar, and provide them with the most essential thing in our hot Australian climate - fresh water.  To date, the reward has been a total of 40 different species visiting my little suburban block, some only seen rarely but a surprising number visiting on a daily basis.  There are also regular visits from the local possum population - they eat any leftover fruit the birds leave behind, and trim the climbing roses on my garage wall. 

Here are a few photos of some of the daily visitors - first some of Sam's friends - the wild Galahs.
Next are some native Crested Pidgeons - these make an unusual sound with their wings when flying.  I have a regular family who wait for food to be put out every day, they roost at night in a neighbour's tree.
There are a few regular visitors that I can actually recognise individually, like this Little Corella who is a loner and not part of a flock.  He's unusual because he has a pink tinge to his feathers, and Little Corellas are normally white.  He has come to know me so well that he now calls to me for food morning and evening, and will fly down as soon as it's in the feeders.  He will let me approach within a few feet of him, he's quite bold.  I have nicknamed him 'Pinky' for obvious reasons. 
There are also regular visits from flocks of about 60 Little Corellas, but I haven't taken any photos of them as yet.  Some people say they are destructive and regard them as a nuisance, but to be honest I have not seen any evidence of that here.  I like to think they repay me for feeding them by behaving themselves!

Another type of parrot which visited recently is the Long-billed Corella.  Pinky may be a cross-breed between a Little Corella and a Long-billed Corella.  I haven't seen this species until very recently, and I've lived here for 20 years. 

All the other birds in this post are native, but the Blackbird is an introduced species which is very common here. So what's so special about blackbirds in my garden? Well, these ones have been nesting in my hanging baskets for years, and recently produced three chicks. The plant you see them nesting on top of is right outside my bedroom window, in my back patio where I go to sit often every day. The parent birds fly in and out, feeding their young only a few feet away from where I sit and are quite unafraid of me. When the chicks fledge and leave the nest, they are so used to me that I can walk right up to them.  As I was taking these photos, the chicks decided to leave the nest.  I wasn't quite quick enough with the camera to get the third one!

Will I or won't I?
Only two left in the nest

Ready to fly!

Last but by no means least, a very special visit from a true Australian Icon - the Kookaburra. This visit by a pair of them is also a first for my garden. One in particular was very approachable - I was able to walk up to within a few feet of him as he sat in my Apricot tree.  Kookaburras range over a wide territory so they were here for a few days and then left - I probably won't see them again for several months but hopefully they will now include my garden in their rounds.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Comment problems on Blogger

Hi all, My good friend Susan helped me out of a pickle yesterday and I'd like to share what she told me with you all because it affects all Blogger blogs. I found I couldn't leave a comment on my own blog (to answer another comment). It kept asking me to sign in then wouldn't recognise me and consequently I lost the comment and it wasn't published, instead I just went round in circles - very frustrating!! Susan's answer was on blogs with embedded comments, untick the 'stay signed in' box and you should be able to leave a comment (once you sign back in it should publish). For those with embedded comment forms on their blogs, if you switch to either pop-up or full page comments your followers will no longer have this problem. The setting is under Settings then Comments.
Update - I just did a search and came up with this answer from the Blogger support forum, it might help if the above suggestion doesn't.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I've been very naughty

It has been ages since I posted to my blog. Real life has kept me hopping lately, and what little spare time I've had has been taken up with commissions which I can't show anybody until the new owners have received them. One of the real life things happening here has been the arrival of our latest rescue, Sam the Galah, in April.
As you can see from the photo, Sam was plucking his feathers when he came, a condition caused by stress in captive birds. Sam is a very social bird, he was brought up in a household as a pet and is a great talker. Since he came he has spoken over 200 words, phrases and sentences! He even seems to know the context of what he is saying - he says things at the appropriate times rather than just 'parrot fashion'. The funniest thing is that he asks questions, and expects you to answer!! Thankfully he has stopped plucking his feathers since he came and seems to enjoy his new life in his extra large cage, he has bonded really well and calls us by his previous owners' names (he seems to think he thinks he's back with them). He should put on new feathers with his next moult and be a much prettier (and warmer) bird. I'm working on handling him so that he can have some time out of his cage too, he seems to enjoy the attention but still bites me every now and again. His favourite toys are those with wooden blocks, which he takes a great delight in reducing to sawdust.

Another reason for my absence is a furry friend who is staying with us for a time while his owner is overseas.
Ninja is an Italian Greyhound like my rescue dogs, he took a little while to settle in but has buddied up with one of my girls now and seems very happy. Here he is (top left) with several others enjoying the heat from our wood heater. These guys really love the heat. I have to move all the bodies before I can stoke the fire!

Last but by no means least, our dear little dog Banjo (nicknamed LoLo) lost a hard fought battle for his life in July and it has taken me until now to be able to write about it. He had such a hard life before he came here and consequently had many health and psychological problems and he was very old so he took more work than all the others put together. But he was worth every second of it and I would do it all over again a hundred times just to hold him in my arms again. For all the terrible things that human beings did to him, he was the sweetest, most affectionate little dog anyone could ever want, and he was such a character, he made us laugh constantly. Everyone who knew him said he was special, he touched a lot of peoples' lives in the three years that he lived with us. Through him, I have been fortunate to know many kind hearted souls. You can see one of the last photos I took of him above (he's the one on the extreme left in the front row), he was very ill here but was still enjoying lying on the sheepskin rug in front of the fire. Rest in peace, dear little LoLo, you will always have a place in my heart.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I've been busy!

I haven't posted any work on my blog for the last couple of weeks, but that doesn't mean I've been idle. I have been designing some miniature petitpoint teacosies for a client commission but I won't show the teacosies until they are with their new owner so you will all have to wait a while for that!

Not to disappoint anyone, I have also been busy with my miniature tatting and have several new miniature doilies to show. Most of these are actually snowflake designs, but the doily below is my own design, and is intended for a miniature setting and not as a snowflake. It's called Tranquility, and once again it is tatted with 100 sewing thread. Shown here next to a US dime, this doily is really tiny, and would probably look good as the centrepiece on a 1/24th scale dining table. I have decided that I like the 100 sewing thread I have been using so much for its fineness and strength that I will probably do all my miniature tatting with it. This is number 5 in the 25 Motif Challenge.

Number 6 is Carol Lepard's Snowflake 1 - an unusual design and one which really caught my eye when I first saw it. I think it has a very modern look. Thanks again Carol for allowing me to use it! Carol wrote this pattern for needle tatting, so it was interesting to try tatting it with a shuttle - I found I had to add a split ring here and there to avoid joining between the rounds.

Numbers 7 and 8 in the challenge go to two more of Jon's beautiful designs. These are part of a matching set called Sweetheart. I just love these designs, and Jon has designed a matching edging to go with them too. I am tempted to try the edging in miniature as well!

I should mention that although I have posted photos of one motif of each design, I have actually tatted three of each motif on my blog - one for myself and two for sale on my stall at the VAME miniature show in Melbourne, which is held in July each year. That means I've actually tatted 24 motifs so far, but I'm not counting the duplicates in my Challenge count because I want to have the incentive to tat some more!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Shuttle mania

I got a good dose of shuttle mania lately, when someone at my Tatting Guild brought in some gorgeous handmade wooden shuttles she had purchased from Keld Oleson at
I took a card from her and looked at the website when I got home - I just adore nice needlework tools and I knew I had to have some of these. I enquired whether Keld could possibly make me a pair of 'mini shuttles' for my miniature work. He agreed to try for me, although I'm not sure what he thought when I told him I wanted to tat with them! Apparently he usually makes the small ones as earrings. They arrived recently, and I had such a fun time unwrapping them all, it was like Christmas. Lots of oohs and ahhs! The striped tools are different woods which have been laminated together before turning.
I have had time to 'test drive' most of the tools, and I'm really impressed. The quality of his workmanship is superb, and these tools feel so nice in the hand that it's hard to put them down - they are a real joy to work with. My favourite are the mini shuttles - they are so dinky and - well - just plain cute! The points are nicely closed and they 'click' just like a full size shuttle does.
The look and feel of the wood on the full size shuttles has me itching to do some work with them too.
Then there are all the tiny hooks - the first is a 0.6mm crochet hook, next is a tiny latch hook and last is a pair of lace hooks which would have to be the smallest I have ever seen. I have tried these out as subsitute crochet hooks for my miniature tatting, and they work beautifully!
Of course, I couldn't wait to try out the mini shuttles, and here is the beginning of 'Snowflake 1' by my friend Carol Lepard from

There's a US dime in the photo to show scale.
Thank-you Keld, for making me so many wonderful tools!

I'll show Carol's snowflake again when it's done, but in the meantime my next post will be some other miniature tatting I have been working on.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Are you ready to see more miniature doilies?

Hot off the shuttles tonight are two more 1/12th scale miniature doilies.

This was my very first miniature tatting design,"Starlight", tatted with 100 sewing thread. The original doily appears as my blog profile photo, but that was tatted in 50wt silk so this is the very first time this design has been tatted with the finer thread. These miniature doilies are roughly the diameter of an Australian 5 cent piece, a little smaller than an American dime. They are for a customer order and will be headed interstate shortly. Here's a close-up of one of them.

I'm counting these as number four in the 25 Motif Challenge.