31 October 2009

Stickers & Doodads

I've had a busy day. Can't say I've been in the best frame of mind today. The next door neighbour rang at SEVEN AM. There went my planned sleep in. Still, things achieved.

Decided that sharp objects and measuring (requiring clear thinking) probably weren't a good idea. Took some time this morning to make some stickers for the family calendar. I use a big, almost A2 sized, desk calendar for the family. I bought some stickers, but there's things missing that I wanted and things that we don't use. I went to Word, found some related clipart, and made my own.

To find related clipart (ie clipart that's in a similar style) - search for an image in Word. Open the preview window so you can see the name of the image; usually a bunch of numbers dot jpg or wmf etc. Copy that name into Goggle; the top result will almost certainly be the Microsoft clipart site (that's the easiest way to find it, rather than navigating the MS site). Open the preview window there and there'll be a link for "style" (another number). If you click that, it'll find all the clipart that's the same style as the original.

To make my stickers, I resized all the images to 1.5cm high, printed a long strip of them, and then feed them through a scrapbook sticker maker gadget. Handy dandy thing. Think it was about $15 from KMart; rolls of tape are about $10 (but seem to last ages); works a treat. I use it for address labels, spice bottle labels etc.

My 2nd creative effort was to extend one container of fried rice into a full meal. Cut up a bunch of veggies, scramble fried some eggs, fried the veggies, added the fried rice, added a packet of fried rice flavouring. Hey presto - a full meal and left over.

And last, but not least, I've started a sewing holster. It goes around you neck; looks a bit like an extra long undone bow tie LOL. Has a pocket at each end and a pin/needle holder. It's all quilted and the one in the book looks pretty speccy. Tonight I chose some fabrics and cut them out. The idea is to quilt the fabric and then cut it to the shapes required. Hopefully, pictures to post tomorrow.

30 October 2009

Catch Up

Wednesday - creatively talked my way into an early mark from work so I could come home and go to bed and read. It was a coolish afternoon 'cause it rained; perfect weather for snuggling up with a book. Nothing else achieved LOL.

Thursday - I cooked Burmese Chicken. A fairly standard curry recipe - cumin, tummeric, cardamon. But with lots of ginger (fresh and powdered!), lemon grass and oddly enough, cinnamon sticks. It was very good. I've tried my hand at about 1/2 dozen different curries and I'm pretty consistent at producing the goods. Which helps make up for my more traditional meals (spag bol, meat and three veg, and the like), which aren't so consistent. Or maybe its just that I don't like them whether they're good or not. The others seem to polish them off without complaint.

I've sorted my main project for my upcoming quilting retreat (just one week left)

The fabrics. These aren't my thing at all. I recognise that they're very pretty, but they don't float my boat. However, I know the person I'm planning on giving the quilt to will love them.

The book:

The pattern. The idea is that you make 6 different blocks using 6 different FQs (and a background fabric - my beige FQs). You then decide on a layout to suit yourself, filling in gaps with extra blocks or left over fabric from the FQs/BG fabric. I saw one a friend made and I loved it.

27 October 2009


Completed two more blocks while watching "Back to the Future". Fun movie, even after all this time.

Just Quickly

Quilted another T for Thomas block. Might do some more while watching Back to the Future tonight; then again might just blob.

Burnt dinner (that has to count for some measure of creativity).

26 October 2009

Busy Weekend

We had a full weekend. Lots of creative activity. Saturday I worked on T for Thomas in the morning. Later in the afternoon we went to the Jacaranda Festival; a local fair. In the evening we went to the Planetarium. Unfortunately, it was pretty cloudy so we didn't get to see the real stars. Saw a great star show in the dome though and got some contacts for The Girl to learn how to use her telescope.

Sunday morning we visited a church on the north side. I met Graham & Sheila Woodward about 20 years ago in Victoria. Although our time together was brief, they made an impression on my life. Our church was away for the weekend, so we took the opportunity to go visiting.

Afterwards, we visited other friends on the east side of town. We ended spending the rest of the day with them. It was a good afternoon. I came home and went to bed. No "artistic" creativity on Sunday; but lots of inspiration. Some lovely quilted wall hangings in the church and some wonderful dramatic presentations. And some inspired conversations in the afternoon.

Today I have created a card for my friend whom we visited on Sunday afternoon. The photos are brilliant (I was been "hurried up" to play cards). The flower is a larger image behind an aperture in the front of the card. The verse is 1 Corinthians 2:9 No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.

I had a realisation today on the way home from a very draining day at work. Since April I have spent the vast majority of my work day buried in programing a database. Database programming is very logical and analytical. Today I tracing numbers; it's complicated to explain but suffice to know that there's LOTS of numbers and NO art LOL.

I considered that maybe I need some means of clicking from left brain to right brain when I get home. Maybe the 'forced' five minutes of creativity is enough; I'm not sure. I know there are exercises that are supposed to engage both sides of the brain. It's something I plan on investigating.

23 October 2009

Inspiration & Trousers

I went to the Quilting & Craft Fair today. I had a ball. For the first time I took money I was allowed to spend. I started quilting after we had The Girl and there hasn't been too much spare moola since. (Not sure if that's the fault of the Girl or the quilting ;-)

There seemed to be a lot more quilting stands at this year's fair than in previous years, which was great, 'cause as much as I enjoy the other craft's I go for the quilting. I picked up a few gadgets. A nifty brush for de-linting my machine, a magnifier so I can watch movies (long distance glasses) and thread needs etc (without my reading glasses). I bought a brooch for my glasses, so I can wear one pair and have the others handy.

And I bought fabric. I have a quilt by M'liss Rae Hawley called Mystery Sampler that I really want to make. You make 6 different blocks with 6 different FQs and a background fabric; and then you put it together however you want, with filler strips and bits to fit. I realised I have the perfect excuse to make it, but the recipient to be has very different taste to me. She likes muted colours, browns and beiges. I picked up a lovely bundle of 10 FQs for $25. BARGAIN! All beiges, dusty pinks and sky blues. Very pretty (but not very me). Then I got a bundle of 7 cream on cream FQs for $35. An average of $3.50 a FQ. The most of the stalls had FQs for $6 or $7. So, again, BARGAIN.

I saw some STUNNING quilts. Man, oh, man, oh, man. Some people are just amazingly talented. Colour choices; quilting that was just gob smacking; and details that could just blow your mind. I snuck some photos on the phone of quilts that appealed to me AND that I thought were within my ability level. Which meant I didn't take photos of some that really blew me away LOL.

And when I came home - I SEWED. (The crowd goes wild, the cheerleaders leap to life, the fireworks go off.) I sewed my trousers. I finished my trousers! Which is probably more amazing than me starting them. They're just so DARN EASY. Some photos (which aren't brilliant) to prove I've been creative today.

The shape that you cut out (need two, plus the four ties).

Showing them flat. Look like elephant pants LOL.

Showing a little bit of leg.

The finished product. Very comfy. And they don't look bad either.

22 October 2009


This has seemed like a very long week, but I'm not really sure why. I only worked for an hour on Monday (although it took me 3 1/2 hours to get to and from the hour's work ); and I'm not working tomorrow :-)

Tomorrow I'm off to the annual Quilting & Craft Fair. Must remember to take some snaps on my trusty mobile of all the great ideas I see.

Today I spent about 10 minutes searching for some fabric. I bought some pretty groovy fabric to make summer trousers out of. It's a lovely light weight cheesecloth sort of stuff, bright/light greens and yellows with a silver thread through it. My pattern couldn't be easier. I have a pair of 'wrap around trousers'. Bit hard to explain but let's try. You put them behind you and tie waist ties in your front. Your back side is covered and they curve around to stop towards the front of your thighs. You then reach under and pick up the other side to bring it to the front. It ties at the back and the sides overlap by several inches (I guess maybe 4 or 5 at the waist). Little bit daring; wonderful cool in summer. (And expandable if you eat too much desert ;-)

The beauty about sewing them is that there's only two pieces plus two waist band/ties. You place the pattern (my old pair) on fabric that is doubled and folded; cut a curve for the middle; hem & edge them; sew two seams; sew on the waist ties. Hey presto; a pair of trousers.

Now, I only got as far as finding the fabric this evening. I have a basket of clothes sewing projects - all the fabric, notions and patterns in bags (so I don't accidentally use bits in something else). The fabric wasn't there; wasn't any where that I could find. Eventually I found it in the very bottom of my misc dress making fabric tub. Which is odd, 'cause it was one of my more recent purchases. I also dug up the pants I'm using for a pattern.

I'm guessing tomorrow my creativity will be focused on photos of great ideas. But maybe Saturday I might whip up a pair of pants and post some photos.

21 October 2009

Mail Organiser

I wasn't creative yesterday. Went to the library and borrowed lots of lovely books. I love books. I'd happy to read all day every day. Love reading. Buried myself in a book by an author I like and didn't surface til way past bedtime.

This afternoon I drafted a pattern for a mail organiser wall hanging. We have great difficulties co-ordinating the mail. The Man can't see to grasp that if it's open - I've read it. I open it, read it, leave it on the table. He reads it, and leaves it on the table.

My organiser has three pockets - one for him, one for me, and one for filing. My idea is simple. BWAHAHA. I put his letters in his pocket, I open the rest. Anything he needs to see I put in his pocket. He then knows (this is where it falls down) that opened mail in his pocket I have read. If it's ditchable - ditch it. If it's fileable - put it in the file pocket.

Will it work? I'll never know if I don't make it. This afternoon I drafted up dimensions; printed some alphabet letters as templates for appliqueing on the pockets; and found a picture of a mail box that I'll probably simplify to use as a pretty picture on the top.

19 October 2009

Teddy Card

I wasn't creative yesterday. Most of the afternoon I was battling a caffeine withdrawal headache. Why I do this to myself I'll never know. Today I finished my niece's engagement card.

The front of the card. The card has a precut window and came with various coloured frames. The teddies are from a packet of postcards I bought about 12 years ago. They were supposed to be for birthday cards. On the back in the postage stamp corner some of them have names. Obviously not a goal that I met!

The inside of the card. The card doesn't have a flap to cover whatever you put in the cut out, so I needed to cover it with paper of some sort. My sewing/craft room is very well organised. Everything is in boxes, with labels. There's no boxes behind other boxes. I used to have lots of smaller boxes, but the ones behind were a pain to get to. Now, I have larger boxes and some have smaller boxes in them. I have a box labelled paper craft. Inside is a box with stamps, another with pens, etc. I spent two days looking for paper. Naturally, I couldn't see the BIG box labelled "scrap book paper". When I did eventually find it I found these lovely couple of bears, who look like they're supposed to go with the front bears. In fact, they're from a cutesy calendar I saved (also probably 12 years ago).

Personal details on the envelope have been smudged electronically; in real life they're very pretty :-) I stuffed the envelope. Day dreaming away I wrote the groom-to-be's name instead of the street name. DUH! I have no labels at home, but The Girl has a label maker. Feed your bit of something in the top and hey presto a label pulls out the bottom. So, I took the opportunity to make the writing a little fancy.

17 October 2009

Crafty Afternoon

I spent this afternoon crafting with a friend. I didn't have much inclination or enthusiasm, but I figured it was the ideal opportunity to get my 5 minutes in. I think I packed about 1/2 my sewing room into the car; we spent about 5 hours together. I created one card (I'd upload a photo, but I haven't unloaded the car yet) and marked the quilting lines on the rest of the T for Thomas blocks.

16 October 2009

Creative Creativity

My creative effort for today is, well, a creative attempt to justify doing precious little.

My niece's fiance mentioned on his FB the other day something about pineapple lumps from New Zealand. I happened to see some in the supermarket this afternoon, so I grabbed a packet. I even got to the post office in time to get a padded envelope and postage so I can mail them! I call it creative gift giving.

Tonight I stumbled on a site about running 5km in 9 weeks. That works out to about 80 metres a day; I think I can manage that. BWAHAHAHA. Actually the site is a plan to start at zero to work your way up by combining short burst of running and walking, gradually decreasing the walking and increasing the running. I spent some time crunching the numbers; working out where I would need to run to/from to get the stated distances. Thinking about whether its something I really want to. I call it creative self-delusion.

I entertained a work collegue with my wit and humour. BWAHAHA. I have a very! dry sense of humour and a lot of people (most people) just don't get it. They think I'm a serious and that's just tragic. However, my work friend thinks I'm hilarious. I must admit, its a lovely ego stroke. If I could clone her for audiences, I could work the stand-up circuit. Creative entertainment.

So, while I haven't been artistically productive today, I feel I have been creative. Not sure about the 5 minutes of tangible evidence, unless you count the to-be-posted package on the kitchen table. Creative procrastination.

15 October 2009

Ready to Start Over

I finished unstitching the unwanted teal this afternoon. I then spent 10 minutes looking for the sticky roller thingie. I know I own one; I remember buying it. I bought it for two purposes - one to clean up cat hair and two to clean up unpicked stitchings. Eventually I found it in the bathrooom. Naturally - that's where I get dressed; that's where the cat hair is noticed (supposedly). Sadly, I'm far too unaware in the morning to notice something like cat hair.

The roller does, however, work like a charm on threads from unstitching.

Below is my T for Thomas block, minus the teal.

Tomorrow I might start quilting the remaining blocks or maybe I'll spend some time in the garden.

14 October 2009


My creativity today consisted of starting to undo work already done. Originally on my initial "T" block for "T for Thomas" I stitched a teal. The stitching was quite good really, but I didn't particularly like the teal and teals look much like ducks. (It's a long story why the teal in the first place).

This afternoon I started unpicking the teal. It's taking longer than expected because its hard to trace where hand stitching goes, but I'm almost finished.

I've found that sometimes you have to deal with something that bugs you to enable you to move forward. Sometimes that means undoing, sometimes it means simply accepting that 'perfect' is a pipe dream.

13 October 2009

T is for Thomas

I am working on a quilt for my nephew Thomas. I've been working on this quilt for over 3 years! It's right up the top of my "must finish" list. It's an applique quilt from an "initial swap".

An initial swap is fairly simple. We had 12 in our group. Each person cuts out 12 large squares of background fabric. On one of them you applique/stitch/whatever a letter of the alphabet. The whole bundle is then sent to the next person. They take a square and they stitch onto it something that starts with the letter you've chosen. At the end of the month, everything is then sent onto the next person. After 12 months you get back 12 squares - your initial initial and 11 pictures.

I chose "T" for "Thomas". And I got back some lovely work from some lovely ladies who put a fair bit of thought into it. Since receiving the squares they have sat in my project box. Recently (ie this year) I decided to put them together. I'm working with a quilt as you go scheme (never done that before). About a month ago I stalled.

Tonight, I cut out enough squares of wadding and backing to put all the squares together. Now I just have to quilt them, bind them together, and bind the quilt. I have actually finished 5 of the 12 squares, so I'm further ahead than I thought was.

I'm tempted to aim for one square quilted each day, but I'm keen to not box myself in. I know myself well :-) If "rules" are flexible there's far more chance of me succeeding at this "creativity every day" gig.

12 October 2009


About a month ago (how time flies) I did some sewing. For one reason or another the sewing room got left "as is".

I don't work well in mess. I'm not a great housekeeper, but I need a tidy space to work. My desk at work is always spotless; if I'm cooking I need clean benches; if I'm sewing I want only the current project around me.

I spent all of 5 minutes (give or take a few) tonight tidying the sewing room. Putting things away and chucking out paper seemed to be the only tasks. Why is it that we put off and put off tasks that are actually so quick and painless?

My sewing room is now ready and waiting for me tomorrow night.


Monday, Monday. Getting anything done on a Monday seems to be a chore, but I'm determined to give this every day creativity a fair shot. While the Girl was at painting class (being very creative) I went shopping for handles. I couldn't find what I wanted, but what I ended up with is possibly actually better than what I wanted :-)

For some time I've wanted to put some handles on our man-hole cover. We have blow-in insulation and any foray into the ceiling space results in dirty hand marks on the cover. The man-hole is visible from our bedroom so it often occurs to me. Plus the hall way is the next space to be painted. I don't want to paint the ceiling only to have dirty prints on it two days later.

Man-hole cover complete with grubby hand prints.

The second thing I wanted handles for was our bins. We have four - one for ordinary (putrescible) waste and three recycling bins. They have a spring to automatically lift the lid, but on some the spring has sprung. On the ones that still have a spring all it takes is a bit of paper caught when the lid is closed for the spring to not work.

Maybe tomorrow I'll get something artistically creative happening.

11 October 2009

Creativity - Every Day

Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. Thomas Alva Edison.
As a creative person I don't seem to actually do a lot of "creating". I talk about it, I think about it, but I don't actually do it. I think sometimes the issue is that I sit around waiting for the inspiration to hit while wasting my time doing ... stuff. Stuff like surfing the net, Facebooking, playing silly games, watching TV. Actually, for someone who doesn't own a TV, I watch a huge amount of TV. The advent of past TV series on DVD has been my downfall.

I have decided that the only way I'm going to overcome this lack of creating is to start putting in the perspiration bit on a daily basis. I'm pretty certain I'm not going to succeed, at least not immediately, but I am aiming to do something creative every day.

My rules are pretty simple. Something every day. Can not be housework (cleaning, vaccuming, mopping, dishes, laundry), can not be shopping, and, as much as I love it, can not be reading. If I include reading I'll never do anything else. It can include cooking (not sausages and eggs LOL), gardening, decorating/renovations, sewing (obviously, since that is my main hobby), and any other craft activities. Reading about projects doesn't count, I actually have to do something tangible.

I'm thinking if I'm blogging about it, maybe I'll push myself to do something. On the other hand, maybe blogging will take up time I should be using for creating, so we'll see how that goes. My on-line quilting group has a "Friday Flaunt" where members post their blog addies with their creative efforts for the week, so initially I'll make it my goal to blog at least once a week.

Believing that today is always the best time to start anything, I have started. It's a partial cheat. We don't like commercial tartare sauce and Tuesday night is fish & chip night and we're out of tartare. Tartare needs a bit of time to sit and mature. It's sort of a "have to do" but it is still creative.

My tartare sauce recipe:

1 jar of the absolute best mayo you can get. I only buy one without fake anything in it.
1 or 2 large "branches" of Italian flat leaf parsley (from the herb garden)
couple of stalks of tarragon, leaves only ditch the stalks (also from the herb garden)
2 spring onions (ditto the garden :-)
2 large dill gerkins
2 tablespoons of capers

Put everything except the mayo in the food processor until teeny tiny. Stir it through the mayo. Store for two or three days before eating. Yummo.

Note: always check the bits from the herb garden for visitors. They're best removed before you chuck everything in the food processor!