Sunday, 31 January 2016

In which I go dumpster diving for fabric....

....well more like rummaging in my own kitchen bin.

As the title of my blog suggests I like scraps and they can be pretty small and still useful in my book.

My darling daughter has, over the years, discovered her sewing skills and with the explosion of pretty young things making craft groovy she is motoring along and sewing a great wardrobe of simple tops and pants for her working life.

This girl of mine has simple but expensive tastes and being single, not owning a car and still living at home as a student she can afford to indulge a little.
Thus she has purchased yardage of Liberty to make a few tops, and being an awesome person passes on her left over scraps to me so I can add them to my stash.

Imagine then my surprise when I open the cupboard to ditch the soggy teabag in the bin when I espy colourful fabric scraps IN THE BIN!!!!!!!

Luckily there were no soggy tealeaves or indescribable meats thrown on top of these precious pieces, and yes I may have still dived in and washed them later.

I retrieved the fabric and later told my daughter what I had done and "why did she throw such things away nilly willy?"

She sighed.....and said, "Mum you are officially bonkers!"

Yes, yes I am! But I am hooked now on small pieces of precious fabric, the possibilities, and Liberty scraps are worth the indignity of being discovered head down, bum up scrabbling around in ones own rubbish.......are you with me? Anyone?.....No just me then?

 I mean anyone can see these are still usable.

 And this is the standard that determines whether or not a piece is thrown out.

 I collect them in a pretty glass dish.

 ...and this is one I prepared earlier.
A small purse made from 1/4 inch hexagons. Loved making it and I have several purse frames to make a few more.

 This scrap quilt is on a slightly larger scale, its the 365 quilt led by Audrey from her blog "Quilty Folk"

 I started on New Years Day, and this is the result for the month of January. So far so good.

 I have found this routine has focused me and given me permission to be a "creative being" Its been an adjustment but I am getting more and more relaxed as I look forward to the next phase of life.

I am seeing both my Mother and my Father In Law dealing with their advancing years, and their examples have made me more determined to finally live life on my terms. 

My Father In Law is a true example of grace and determination, he never moans but sees each step along the ageing process as a bit of a challenge. He recently had a bad fall and broke his hip and wrist, he was frail to begin with and we were very concerned as to how this would play out.
He is just getting on with it, he is almost energised by the rehabilitation, he knows he will never be the same but he does what is required with his diminished physical limits and still has a sharp and enquiring mind. A man I admire very much.
My mother on the other hand has become petty and very demanding, she is not above using guilt and manipulation to blame her ageing and ill health on others, especially her daughter.
Such a contrast!

So I will play with scraps and love what I do, I will seize my life and love deeply those who love back.....the rest can just please themselves.

Phew who knew a blog would be so cathartic?

Saturday, 16 January 2016


Whoo..........this is a deep breath out, and Hmmm, this is a deep breath in, and I sit down and sew a little or a lot.

It is a very fortunate woman or man that has a hobby like ours. We are indeed blessed to have found that thing that settles us down and allows us to create.

With my retirement and my husbands closely following, there has been a period of adjustment. I was so happy to have him home, looking forward to spending more time together and enjoying each others company as we did when we first met. 
Then a change sweeps through, our routines are disrupted, our roles are changed, I have more time and freedom, but I also have more time and freedom!!

It has taken me time to realise that I have this new situation, I seriously have felt a little lost as my role has changed, but I have a creative outlet and I am giving myself permission to get in there and create. 
My mind continually tries to tell me how I have "wasted" the day.
 I can go to paid employment, be bored and busy at the same time, yearn to be sewing, and yet because I now have no wage I deem myself to be "wasting" my time now.
Sanity is a fickle mistress. 

The simple act though of going to my sewing room and selecting a circle for the 365 quilt has strangely opened a door. Its a routine, like work was, that sparks my desire to do more. 
As I tick off that little task, I then go onto the next work in progress and then my head starts planning all those other quilts that I have wanted to start.
Suddenly I feel that I can do these things, I can start because I have more time and freedom than before. 

I am also a little superstitious so please gremlins give me a break, don't fill my new found freedom with other responsibilities....yes I do like to worry too about things that may never actually happen the way I think they its Whooo ...a breath out and Hmmmmm....another breath in and I sit and sew.

 This is a jar in which I place all my current small scraps
 As it fills I decided to do as
Victoria Findlay-Wolf  suggests in her book,
"Fifteen Minutes of Play"
....and that is to play.

And this is the happy result. I have made new fabric from small pieces. I found that sewing it onto a paper foundation gave me direction and stability. I am planning to sew these with plain fabric pieces for one of my many scrap projects. 
And this is what I do when I just feel like "wasting time"

So adjustments will continue as life continues, my husband and I are getting to enjoy having a lot more time together and he too is glad I have that hobby, then he is free to pursue his hobby.


 No longer a worker bee, but now we can stop and smell a flower.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

....Wait there was more to show.....

Phew, I am so glad to here in my happy place! 
I am dealing with my elderly mother whose mental capacity is suspect and the old family dynamics rear their ugly head.

My sister and I do not communicate very well given a long history of insecurities and manipulation by parents in the past, I thought by the time we had reached the grand old age of 50 odd we would suddenly act in an adult manner. Throw in the interference of money and brother in laws and its becoming very toxic very fast.
And they dont even know about me or my life so they would never have seen this blog....yep close like that!!! LOL

Glad you asked about that huh? No I just had to get this off my chest and then I can concentrate on the good things, like remembering my grand tour of Barcelona.
Remember my infatuation with Gaudi? Yes there is more!

 These are the chimney pots on a building he designed in the main city of Barcelona. They were privately owned apartments and the residents would have had to get used to crowds stopping to take photos. Now it hosts exhibitions and art events

 These are just utilitarian chimney pots, but to an artist such as he, why go that way, why not create beauty that lasts?
These are the balcony iron works, again pure art. See how the sandstone blocks are curved and flowing?

This was completed in 1910 and is considered Art Nouveau.

We whizzed past this building as we were headed to another Gaudi site just down the road, I called the dragon house as you may work out when you see it.
Its official title is Casa Batllo.

Be prepared to have your senses assaulted, in a good way.

 The facade with balconies. This house was started in 1905 as a commission for a wealthy family that was not afraid to flaunt their style and standout in a crowd. Would have loved to have met them, what brave souls to embrace such daring design.

 A shot from the street looking up to the roof, this building is many stories high and when you are inside it feels like it goes up and up forever. 4 or 5 floors I think?
 The sun was setting right behind the roof when we left and I took these shots, so the colour is a little hard to capture. But now you can see my dragon reference....yes, no?
They look like dragon scales to me.
 A rooftop. Seriously could you imagine a whole street or town with this type of design. It would be like living in a fairy tale...sigh!

 And the facade again, all that colour is mosaic work, with large pottery discs fired with colours dotted throughout.
The balconies remind me of masks, and how is the detail even underneath the balcony?  

I did get to tour this building but I will spare you the overload and show you next time.

Monday, 4 January 2016

A little catch up on the home front

Its not all international travel in my world I will have you know, in fact very little, which is why I am always banging on about it!
So I will change the subject just for now to start my New Year and start to make sense of all my projects. 
Also not a bad time to reintroduce myself to the blog.

 A corner of my creative space, my room is my sanctuary and now I no longer co inhabit with the family computer..its decorated exactly how I excuses, no explanations it is mine to clutter and mess up and put up things and take things down and move other things around. 
In fact I do that a lot, which Feng Shui followers would tell you indicates I have too much clutter and waste a lot of time arranging my "stuff". 
Yeah well. (shugs shoulders). 
 Having said that I did read as much as could glean from other blogs about the new KonMari method and it did make sense. I used to try and store things.....and let me tell you storage is the new devil.
Now its out and proud, and I am trying so hard to let go of things that no longer bring me joy. Trouble is like most collectors I see possibilities in all my "stuff"......I was strong and I did cull a lot of extra things and did NOT buy more storage. (Except for the heaving shelves...are shelves strictly storage???)

The other side of my creative brain space.

 The whole hot mess!

 From one side to.......

The well dressed headless apparition is my dress maker form, I found the bra helped getting fittings correct over my bumpy bits, a great necklace and an apron I think stops her from being immodest.
Design wall to the left, and whats that on the floor? Well how sweet of you to ask!
This is one project that stewed a lot on the back burner of life and is now on its way to being finished.
 Its Maple Leaf Rag from Sarah Fielke and it features in "Material Obsession Two".
Its my scrap project and after a few fits and starts and learning a lot on the way, I think I have it almost right.
There are quite a few teaching moments in this project like accurate foundation, cutting and has a few rough patches but its coming together and I like it.

This is Sarah's version, I think hers has points that meet neatly in the middle on the webs...mine not so much.
But you can really not tell unless you were looking closely at mine.
Its what makes mine all my own work and the errors are all mine too. 
 This is a new slow project from Audrey at Quiltyfolk.
Her 365 quilty project.
Its awesome, select a scrap piece of fabric that sings to you on that day, do this everyday for a year and then we have a fabric mood diary of sorts.
I applique a circle each day and note the day on the back, then I intend to sew them chronologically.
Lets see if my fabric choices change with seasons or moods.

 Audrey started hers in Oct...but my schedule would not allow me to do that and I felt New Years Day would be a place to start so here we are.

I started this on the 15 hour flight, I mean you have to have something to do in airports besides shop and eat.
Now of course I have to finish it......

And this is the staging post for all the flimsies that have yet to be quilted, that is a whole other story, but a spare bed does come in handy and I really am going to try and finish a few more than I start.
Wish me luck and lets see what the year brings!

Friday, 1 January 2016

....That afternoon the adventure continued

When we arrived and settled into the accommodation I looked out the window and noticed the roof of a church. 

My intention in Barcelona was to just visit Gaudi sites, and I really didn't research much about anything else. I was to become entranced with the hidden delights that were on our doorstep......quite literally.
We stayed on a street called La Rambala, a wide thoroughfare with limited traffic and a wide promenade down the centre. 
I recommend this area as it is central to almost everything, lots of eating places to peruse and lots of small alleys and streets that run off La Rambala, and a magnificent fresh food market that has its roots back to medieval times. The market has been modernised, it is clean and incredibly fresh.
The locals come to purchase fresh seafood which they then take to small bars/kitchens in the market where it is cooked and served back to them for lunch, along with a cheeky glass of wine. 
Did I mention the food is wonderful?
Hehe.....I loved this fellows little chubby tummy. This is no reflection on eating or otherwise, we ate whatever and whenever travel is not a time to be a picky eater. 

We had to try and find a particular chocolate shop after our tapas tour the previous night. I just remembered the images of cats on the walls of the courtyard near said establishment.
These are just one example of the hidden delights that are in the side streets.....sigh...... missing it already!
 We found the chocolate shop and had the most exquisite hot chocolates, hard to describe the drink was almost jelly like in consistency. the chocolate flavour refreshing.....seriously refreshing. It didn't appear to have added fats and sugars like our chocolate but a pure flavour that didn't coat you mouth but almost cleansed your mouth......the best I have ever tasted. 
I didn't get to photograph the shop as it was open late in the afternoon and I had no light left to get a decent image. It is tucked away in a small alley just near this cat wall....if you ever get there ask a local they will show you.

And now we hit the Gothic quarter.
This is the oldest part of the town, dating back to Roman times. Where aqueducts built by the Romans are butted up against medieval palaces.
We discovered history that is still living, these buildings are still used and revered by locals. There are shrines to saints tucked into corners 
and retail outlets that date back centuries. I was too shy to ask to take photos but one shop intrigued me so much and it was the icon store, where religious icons and statues were bought and sold. Such amazing art.
The shopping in this quarter is very good. They had a section dedicated to beading, trims and necklace making, quite unexpected. Along with antiques, tapas restaurants and modern homewares. Very few tacky souvenir stores,,,they tend to stay out on La Rambala, 

 Looking up you see more wonders. This was a detail on a nondescript building, but the guttering was quite something.

 A detail over the church entrance

 My long distance lens enables me to see great details

So that is small taste of this part of Barcelona, a real unexpected delight for me to discover.

Some of the buildings along La Rambala

This place has much more to offer than I ever imagined.