Thursday, 31 December 2009

Now there's some nice lint balls!!

I had been saving dryer lint over the winter months and have recently worked my first temari using them as the core material.  I made the mari back when the TC Thread Challenge began so I was inspired by pink and purples (not what I usually stitch with).  The temari on the left and right have been detailed in previous posts but the central one was made during Christmas week and is based on Ice Crystals from Barb Suess' book. 

One of the ladies from our May Temari 101 class called saying she was having trouble with the stitches laying flat on this pattern and (although I hadn't stitched the design before) I offered some advice that I thought might help her.  As it turned out what I suggested did help when I used the same advice to stitch this ball.  I admit that while I don't actually like how my ball turned out (the colour choice and lack of sparkle is at fault not the design) I think I will try it again at another time.  I tend to stitch designs as pattern blocks (work up one shape then move to the next... I like to achieve in blocks) and as this one is stiched in woven layers (all the shapes are stitched in each round). 

I am trying to use up the Patina from our thread challenge.  It is lovely but too thick, I much prefer the rayon sold in our store. I did attempt to ply the Patina down like Debi A did in her challenge ball but then tried to stitch instead of wrap it. BAD MOVE!!! It didn't work for me at all!!! I just ended up ripping it out and doing this design instead.  I hate to waste thread so I put all my rip outs into my lint bag for another mari. 

A note on  using lint for the base... I wrapped 'Goldilocks' balls during my experiment with lint.  The first one was too soft, the second (of course) was too hard but the third... it was .... just right.  I have been experimenting with several core materials including shredded paper (not yet stitched on) but I must admit I am a rice hull girl at heart and it is my preferred temari core. 

Well this is my last post for 2009 so have a safe and happy New Years and catch you back here for 2010. Wow I can't believe I just wrote that... 20 something years ago I remember a group of friends working out the ages we would all be in 2010 and how old it seemed.  Now it doesn't seem too old at all. 

My new 'stitching' years resolution is to get out my list of designs to try and make 2 a month... that'll take care of 24 out of the 100's I have on the list... oh and to finish the quilt I began in 2007... still only 100+ blocks to go!!!!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas

Hello Beautiful Temari People,

Just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas (to those that celebrate it) and Happy Holidays (to those that don't). Thank you for taking time out to read our blog throughout 2009. I know that many of us are not so lucky to be physically surrounded by other temari makers.

I have just turned off my oven for the first time in 3 or 4 days.  I've had no time for stitching this week because I've been madly making my Christmas lunch contribution which is 'Desserts'.  We all have a designated 'course' to provide for our family luncheon.   We have a mass of people for lunch... and it gets bigger every year... we always invite friends who may not be able to be with their own family on the day - our motto is no one should be alone at Christmas - so it is a mish-mash of odd chairs, glassware, plates and cuisine (because eveyone brings something).  We always have the most lovely time.  A fun thing we do it a secret santa.  Everyone brings one wrapped gift that they can purchase (worth no more than $20) or make (or be something regifted - you know useful and nice but not for the current owner) and we draw numbers from a hat and take turns in selecting a gift from under the tree.  Last year (and because it was so fun we will do it this year) we made a new rule that the successive gift takers could opt to take the gift from anyone who had previously opened a gift should they like it instead of choosing a wrapped gift then the giftless person gets another pic.  Last year someone put in a Japanese dancing dragon figure (the type that dances at new year) ... wow did that get stolen over and over... In previous years it has been large bags of fertilizer with potting mix that were stolen again and again.  This time I have put in a huge box of luxury toilet paper rolls (I checked it would be ok with Suzanne first) we both believe it will be the present to beat this year.

I am lucky to enjoy baking so I can avoid cooking the roast meat or going to the fish monger for the seafood.  This year my contribution is the following: Baby Toffee Tartlets with Pecan & Macadamia, Mini Pudding Cakes with lashings of Brandy Butter, Smashed Raspberry & Meringue Icecream, Hazelnut & Kaluha Chocolate Icecream Cake, Vanilla Baked Cheescake and a Second Birthday cake for my little Niece who is lucky enough to have her birthday on Christmas Day.  I don't know what else we will have on the table but I am sure that there will be no shortage of sweet things to eat...

I hope you find something lovely under your tree, the weather not too hot or cold whereever you are and you are surrounded by those that you love. Best wishes, stay safe and I look forward to posting to you all again in 2010...

Saturday, 19 December 2009

What's new pussy cat?

This last 7 days have been a whirlwind of anticipation, happiness, worry, sadness, joy, hope and relief.  The net result is we are again glad for the marvels of modern medicine, hopeful that all we endure really is part of the great plan and trusting that we can make great lemonade anytime we are offered lemons.

One of my best friends almost always begins a conversation with me by asking 'What's new pussy cat?' Well what's new is amazing... actually it's whose new... Miho (my SIL) has delivered their new son.  The labour was surprisingly long and Suzanne (our Mum) and I stayed for support.  He weighed in at a sumo sized 4190g (9lb4oz I think) - no wonder the labour was so long.  He is gorgeous, just like his big sister and even bigger cousin.  Miho did an amazing job using just a little laughing gas and nothing else.  We are so very proud of the amazing person she is.

Here in Perth we have newborn screening tests and thankfully when our newest fav little guy was screened he raised a red flag.  So all were packed up and rushed into our local children's hospital for futher tests... Very greatfully he is heading in the right (safe and healthy) direction (30 years ago the outcome would have been gravely different and we are thankful for all the medical wonders we take for granted most of the time).  Whilst his Mum and Dad were busy worrying, not sleeping and pacing the hospital floor yesterday, I was blessed to have my niece for our first overnighter together.  Getting her to sleep was a bit tricky... it took me a while to remember which rocking action is the one that makes toddlers fall asleep in your arms (it is figure 8's in case you are wondering) We made penguin waffles for breakfast and I can't resist sharing this pic of our happy bunch.

 I usually don't put personal pics on this blog but this one really is gorgeous and shows pure joy... over the smallest of things... homemade waffles for breakfast.  They were all just out of bed about 10 mins and my neice is doing her famous "Yatta!!!"  My son is stamping his own 'style' on being in the pic and DH is surprisingly chirpy for 6:30am on a Saturday.

In the few quiet times we had this week between hospitals, school, shopping, cooking for christmas and doctor visits... I managed to bang out another ball with my temari challenge challenge thread - no this is not a misprint ;).  I have done the pattern before but I do love it and this time I just used the mandarin (bamboo) floss, RG nordic gold purple and added some threadart perle 8 cotton. This ball was the smallest I have done so far as a C10 and it must have taken me 4 goes to get the marking close to right.  I didn't count the rows just filled up the 6 part triangle spaces and moved on.  I think by the end I may have gotten the hang of  keeping the floss flat (when that's what my actual intention is).  Anyway have a quick squinting look so you don't see too many of the flaws...  It wasn't quite finished when this pic was taken but you get the idea.

It was also the last week of school for my son (and thousands of other Aussie kids) as the next 7 weeks are summer holiday.  Next February there will be a new teacher and new room/grade etc so when I asked what do you want to give your teacher for Christmas I was surprised when he said "a nice temari please because she wont already have one".  He picked one from all the temari I have made and I was amazed that he picked a previous version of the same design as I had been stitching this week. So here is the temari for his lovely teacher Ms Murray.  I don't usually do the tassles but this one was for a special gift. I added two gold stardust beads and used gold twilleys goldfingering for the hanger and tassle.

We got our forcast for Christmas day tonight and it will be 36 or 37C (close to 100F) I am so glad that 2 of the desserts i am making are icecream based!!  What will the weather be where you are this Christmas?

Well that's the wrap up... At least all that I am sharing today. I have been up for 18 hours (after a 4 hour night sleep), made waffles, choc chip cookies and  pizza on homemade bases for dinner, danced around the whole house with my niece, coloured in lightning mcqueen pics and played wii fit and watched a movie with my son, travelled 2 & 1/2 hours and fought the Christmas rush at the Joondalup mall for a dippin dot fix for the gang... and now I think I need to sleep.... in my bed rather than on my keyboard so until next time....

Sunday, 13 December 2009

TC Thread Challenge Ball Number 2

This is the progress shot of the second ball for the TC 2009 Thread Challenge.  It is a pattern on page 53/55 from 4837704867 (click link to go to my book post, it is #10 on the list) The division is a bit dodgy (see note below about core materials) and the mari is smaller than the recommended size so I skipped one row of colour.  I used Nordic gold in Purple and Pale Gold and the two colours of Very Velvet Petite.  I considered using the Mandarin Floss but thought it would be too blue. I also thought of plying down the Patina to outline the shapes but thought a contrasting colour would be better.

All said I am pleased with this ball even though it has some very obvious flaws.  It is my first dryer lint ball and was a little squashy and slightly off round... I am so used to the firm base provided by using rice hull for the core.  The texture of the needle going into the ball took some getting used to.  I missed the usual noise of the needle occasionally brushing the hull.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

It's beginning to feel a lot like...


I can't believe it is December already.  We always (or at least always try to) get our tree up on December 1st each year.  We always had a real tree when we were kids but these days I prefer to leave the trees in the forrest where they can offset some of my carbon footprint.  So we have a... what's the sofisticated way of saying it... Simulated Natural Tree.  Ok it's fake; completely and utterly but it looks nice when it is fully dressed up and still looks green on Christmas morning (which I couldn't guarantee of a real tree with the hot summer weather we have in Perth and my black thumb).  Anyway here are a few progress shots of the tree 'dressing' coming together.  We are at the lights, Advent stockings and Temari ball stage.  I couldn't get the whole tree in a picture because it is so tall and wide (we need to bend the top over so we can get the star on top) but you get the idea

I don't really know the protocol for dressing a tree is it lights first or lights last? I'm sure we debate the point every year in our family but this year I was sneaky because we are decorating the tree on Thursday (instead of our usual 1st December due to scheduling issues) so to appease my son we decided to put the tree up and string the lights on it as a compromise then finish the rest with the extended family. 

This year I made mini stockings for my son's advent calendar.  Forever we have used a long divided box with little covers that spell out 'Merry Christmas to you' after each day has been opened (and treat inside has been eaten).  I made it when he was only 1 yo so it has been retired in favour of the new system,  which he loves cause these hold bigger treats. 

The little stockings are made with felt and ribbon and I think they are so cute.  I stamped the numbers on little cards in gold or silver and attached them with fancy paper clips.  I like them so much that I made a few extras and filled them with sweets to take for the kids at my DH's work Christmas party.  I am sure that they will be popular with the kids... maybe not so much with their parents. ....insert manical laugh here ; )

Til next time...