Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Clay Play Flower

An urge to play with clay and few minutes to spare... Roll a couple of balls of clay, flatten them out, layer them up and voilĂ  a quick clay flower.. creative urge sated after work, now I can go to sleep.

 i think I'll poke a whole in the stem so I can hang it when it dries.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Japanese Dragonware with Geisha Lithophane

My wandering through a local op shop caused me some joy when I spied a dragon coffee/ tea set that was similar to the one my sisters and I had as children to play with . I think my younger sister has it now. The teaset we had was of the wide brim variety and the thing that was most exciting about it was the geisha that could be viewed when held up to the light.
This is the set I found for a bargain price of $8. I actually didn't have $8 on me so the lady in the shop sold it to me for $6 (I did say I'd come back next week and pay when passing).

My set is a gold or gilt enamel dragonware set with 10 Coffee/tea cups, creamer, milk jug and coffee/ tea pot
Whilst standing in the shop I assume a collector whom the ladies recognized informed me that they were Japanese face cup. Now knowing the name of my purchase I decided to glean more information on these porcelain pieces.

This particular lithophane is the Quizzical Geisha
There are nine poses of the geisha in the original set. The geisha was apparently the artists wife 
A very good representation of the differing poses can be found here

The orange lines to the side of the dragon represent wisps of smoke.
Most dragons had three toes. Only the emperor could have a 5 toe dragon and if a commoner was found with anything greater than three toes they were executed. 4 toe dragons we allocated to the emperors commanders  and other important dignitaries.
Dragons represent fertility, human procreation , and warding away evil spirits in Japanese culture

I don't know how old this set is but I assume  it was a post WWII

Monday, 20 August 2012


Yesterday my son made the observation that I always introduce myself to people by saying "Hi I'm Monique" - in the same tone, always the same!
His observation sounded like a criticism and insinuated that that my approach to introduction was ? boring or treats people like they are idiots because they may have met me before on occasion.

My thought was that I probably always sound the same and say the same thing because on a daily basis at work I introduce myself to people whom are already in a vulnerable position and by being personal from the start allows them to bond/ gain a level of trust as a patient to nurse, reducing some of the formality from the out set of our meeting.
Hospitalisation is always fraught with some level of anxiety. A daily indicator of this is when you take somebodies blood pressure on admission and then compare it four or five hours later, it would have significantly dropped due to adjustment  to surroundings and routines. (Of course observations of temperature pulse and blood  pressure give indication of disease processes and attributable to admission)

So what is considered to be acceptable introduction and in what setting should you introduce formality?
The early turn of the century Jane Austin Era relied upon formal introduction by another acquaintance to be formally acceptable. MR Darcy turned his back on the Pastor whom had not been formally introduced and dared to approach him for introduction without appropriate solicitation.

But in today's modern society what approach and how familiar can we be with people you barely know?
I imagine you learn to read cues from people as to what is broach-able subject matter and in what setting.
In the hospital surroundings people are more willing to divulge information of a personal nature in a endeavour to better their cause and ensure the best care possible. Nurses generally are generous people in nature as well and often share anecdotes / stories regaling tales of their exploits to bemuse and entertain their patients.
 I personally don't think there is anything wrong with telling people who you are, even if they have met you once or twice before. If you're anything like me the passing parade of people can become a blur and introduction is important in re-establishing connection. Heck I'm the first to admit I can't remember your name but I'll be able to tell you what bed you were in five years ago and for what reason. So forgive my blank look, my introduction and go with the flow!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Quilt As You Go - A tutorial

For a while now I have been collecting grey and sour green fabric squares with the view of making a quilt as you go quilt. The impetus to start this quilt now is my nephews 21st birthday, which I have already missed and it was always my intention to present each niece and nephew with their own quilt on their 21st - better late than never. Quilting as you go is infinitely faster than hand quilting, although I do enjoy that slow  labour of love. This quilt is a great way to utilize any scrap wadding you may have collected over the years

 The beginnings of the quilt.

I've used the same material to make the backing as for the front. Currently I have approximately 30 differing colours think I'll still need more material as I plan to make 64 squares

The quilt squares measure nine inches when quilt completed

For Green Block

Backing square is 9   1/2 " Green material

Wadding square is 9"

Front pieces :
center block 3  1/2" square  in grey
center outer cut two  3 1/2" square blocks  in green
outer panels cut two  3 1/2 x 9 1/2 " strips in green

Grey Block reverse colours

1.On backing square outer edges mark guide for seams at 1/4 ", then 3" spacing x3, then 1/4"

Pin wadding to backing allowing for 1/4"seam allowance. Wadding tends to move so pinning is essential. Draw lines between texta marks to form grid for seams.

 Place center colour  (grey) with on outer 3 1/2"square on top geen.
 Sew from end to end of backing block across wadding and center square

Open up press seam and pin

Align other centre outer square with centre grey square and follow seam line on backing square from end to end

add outer panel following seam guide line sewing end to end

 Complete grid with last outer panel

Backing will have cross hatch of sewing lines to form grid (nought and crosses board)

To quilt  mark  quilt block as follows

And follow guide for quilting line - its all done on an ordinary sewing machine.

When you've complete the required number of block for your quilt  lay out in order of sewing.
Lay the 2 back sides together and sew allowing 1/4 "seam allowance. the grid lines should meet up on the back and the front of your quilt will have open seams.
Sew together strips of two blocks wide only
The sashing between blocks must be added
I shall continue this tutorial  next instalment- Adding Sashing ( I've run out of time!)

Addit: Many months later and you can find the completed tutorial here and  a view of the completed quilt here.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Ruffled Dress Shirt

I've been into the Stylish Dress Book again and decided to make myself the ruffled dress shirt. I rarely wear ruffles (in fact never) and decided to venture beyond my comfort zone into frilly land. I don't mind bright colours and love stripes and geometric but it is a very rare occasion that I wear anything fru-fru!
I found some lovely soft cotton voile and tossed up between the sour yellow geometric floral print or the big grey spots.
The big grey spots won and I'll go back for the other next week.
I've really been enjoying stretching my sewing machines legs, which I haven't  done for a long time and making something constructive in such a short time is rewarding.

Sorry about the photography

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Wear With Freedom -sun dress

Some time ago I purchased the Stylish Dress book : Wear With Freedom. I'd  also bought some lovely patterned material off the bargain table, reminds me a little of Broadhurst prints. The colouring in this material will lend itself nicely to being matched with a cornflower blue cardigan or tee shirt.

I had been hankering to make this little dress for my daughter but as it turns out its not to her taste.

Not to worry my sister said she'd like it although I am dubious as to whether it will fit her but perhaps her daughter might like it.

Once the pattern was cut out it only took an hour and half to sew together, minimal seams and a simple gather in the back. Nice detail with a little frilled collared neckline.

I still love the material and pattern alike even if unappreciated by my daughter. I should know better than to try to convince her to try to like something other than what she chooses.

Well next project is under way. I thought I would make myself a top in a large grey spotted cotton voile. Only trouble is I have to make the pattern a size larger than what is provided. Cross fingers it will fit.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Woven Brooches

I'm always looking at other peoples blogs and being inspired by what they produce. Often Ill look at one blog and then wander through their blog list and go travelling around the world of blog land. Sometimes I wish I book marked sites more often so that when I utilize an idea I could give credit. That being said ... I saw on someone's blog a reference to another's site where they had woven patches for jeans etcetera and then that person had utilized that idea to produce simple but lovely brooches. I've added one step further by adding a decorative flower to the brooch. So not an original idea but working on that of another...

I picked up some tapestry threads, frame and incomplete long  stitch pattern the other day for four dollars.. unbelievable huh? I really have no desire to complete the tapestry but immediately thought about weaving the threads into brooches.

Its quite relaxing to sit and get into a rhythmic motion of weaving even just for short spurts.

I can't wait to wear my brooch and my dress, but the dress will have to wait until warmer weather.. I purchased this lovely dress in Lazybones sale on line.

I got carried away with the process and played with the colours available. I think I'll head to the brighter colours soon when I next play with weaving

I've just today sourced somewhere where I can buy brooch backings and will go have a look tomorrow.
The one prepared above is wrapped around cardboard and has a woven backing (not very tidy and time consuming to produce)

Quite like the yellow - gives a nice fresh feel

Not to sure about this one but think I'll grab some beads and sew on the flower. Things always look better when they are finished off - but you get the idea right?