Monday, 25 December 2017


My Emily collects small Nativity scenes, especially those from other countries which are not traditional. So I made her one for Christmas 2017. I purchased the buttons in a packet from a stand at the Quilt and Craft show at the Brisbane Convention Centre. Then had fun stitching a little stable and positioning the buttons.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Oh Tannenbaum

Oh Christmas tree oh Christmas tree
Of all the trees most lovely
Oh Christmas tree Oh Christmas tree
Of all the trees most lovely
Each year you bring to me delight,
meaning in the Christmas night
Oh Christmas tree Oh Christmas tree
............with faithful leaves unchanging

My tree is filled with decorations that have so much meaning for me and my family. There are all those wonderful little girl handmade angels and fairies and baubles.
Then there are the many angels from the years I spent making a Christmas angel to mark the passing of the years. Only kept up for about 10 though. I can spy other ornaments I made at quilt meetings, retreats, or WIP days. Many others were given as gifts...quilting friends and an exchange with a quilt group in the U.S. There are those bought by my Mum each year for her young granddaughters . Two of these show the wear from being taken off the tree and played with. There are handmade decorations I purchased from fundraising gift stalls. There is a special teddy from my godmother and a red bird I received in a Girl Guide secret Santa swap. All treasured and all bring special memories.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Christmas cats

Today having fun creating something from what I can find. So here is a Christmas angel for 2017. The hankie was in my pile of vintage white hankies and I noticed the bells embroidered on. That  was the starting point. Christmas bells, then some folding and it became a dress for an angel. Then the search for the angel was on. Not many around here .I was thinking if I had any wooden large beads with faces or not as I could paint them on. Then I thought maybe an old doll would have a head I could pull off....told you no angels. Found a bag of ‘stuff’ and in it was these two little abandoned Sylvania cats. So they became Christmas angel cats. Mother and child , Madonna and baby, Mary and Jesus.

The small lace tablecloth in the hoop was inspired by a similar hanging hoop by @aknitakcreations . The Cat angel can be packed away after Christmas and another object placed in the hoop...or not maybe they’ll hang around for awhile.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017


As I contemplate my entry into the 2018 SoTA ( state of the Art ) exhibition I have been reflecting back on this piece Journey which was juried into the exhibition in 2012. I had painted and stenciled a piece of calico. This sat for awhile before I noticed the large central circle. The colours led from there and the boat as a symbol for a journey came from the quote by Mark Twain

         ‘ Twenty years  from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do
             than by the ones you did do.
             So throw off the bow lines , sail away from the safe harbour’

Boats and sailing on the high seas have always been a part of the folklore within my family now and in the past. The words  salt spray,  trade winds, marine, anchor, ocean, roaring forties, mainsail, Cape Horn and North winds touch the part of me that holds the genetic memory of ocean sailing and always invoke a feeling of excitement and longing and so these were used to form a mind map for stitching on this journey.

After watching and dabbling in slowstich by following along with Jude Hill @spiritcloth I knew this was the style of textile work I preferred. Hand stitch , slow stitch , story cloth , mindful stitching , soft, organic, free, no rules, no confinement, mending , darning, vintage and tattered textiles.  So my little piece Journey was the start of a new journey for my work.
 Now to 2018’s entry šŸ¤”

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Chicken Cushion

I got this chicken or maybe rooster embroidery from somwewhere as a give away . No definitely chicken as one is named Rita. Blocked and stitched to a piece of vintage wool blanket. Just a simple overlap on the back to join. Used all recycled materials , the embroidery, blanket , bias binding and embroidery thread.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

ladies in waiting

These ladies pushed themselves to the fore during my searching in the studio for something else. They have been doing it a lot lately but so far I have managed to keep them under control and well hidden under piles of fabrics also waiting for attention.
Ok ok I will see what I can do. Out came a recently thrifted vintage hand towel. This gave some colour choices. Pinks and green with a touch of orange.  Then of course hats are needed so maybe these odd lace scraps will give some cohesion and I don’t have to think about fashioning hats , or fascinators. The green is a failed experiment firstly it was disperse dyed in a workshop then I threw into a green dye when I was dying some other fabric for a project.

The ladies themselves are faces I painted years ago when my fascination was making dolls , especially with attitude. So this is a strip of about 5 faces ready to cut ,sew and stuff for the heads. But now they want something gentler like this white cotton hand towel. They don’t have to stress about details and sitting straight.

Saturday, 11 November 2017


I made this little felted pod a few years ago at Spinners Weavers and dyers. It was a bit ordinary so I decided today to add some surface embellishments to it. So I used some cream vintage crochet thread and blanket stitched around the rim, adding extra stitches and a web like structure across the opening. This led down to the side and I finished up with French knots. Just rambling along not planning but enjoying the process. These just came off the needle and landed at a place where they needed to be Enjoying its new found adornments giving new life to this wee pod.
I am thinking I might poke around amongst my old bits of lacey  scraps and add some of that as well.

Friday, 10 November 2017


Started making a house this morning out of a vintage table napkin. It was crisp with starch so the folds went in easily. A door developed out of the image and was stitched down. Needed to cover some rough bumpy bits so flowers were cut to become eyes. Happy Eyes, sleepy eyes maybe at the moment they just are looking out and waiting. Will it be Grandmas house, or Margaret Olley Hat Factory or some other place from the mind. My house where all it’s lovely imperfections are overlooked. It really needs some house work but I’d rather be stitching.

Home must always be the loveliest spot in the world....LM Montgomery 

Collect things you love, that are authentic to you
And your house becomes Your Story

Friday, 27 October 2017


Meet Johanna a vintage mannequin I purchased from The Camp Hill antique and collectibles Centre. I have been looking for awhile for one to display a vintage 1930’ s hemp French workers chemise that I am going to embellish for a Margaret Olley inspired piece. She is wearing this with a length of vintage embroidered braid. Hopefully standing beautifully around looking lovely will inform further the details I want to add. There will be line drawings in hand stitch, there will be lace , there will be mother of pearl  and old glass buttons, there will be embroidery, there may be fabric, there may be other pieces of old linens.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Eco dye

So now I have soaked the pale pristine pink piece of quilted fabric in soy milk and wrapped it up in a tight bundle with coreopsis flowers from my allotment and the petals from a rose that I picked up on the ground in Woolies car park. I have now boiled/ steamed it on the stove top with some onion skins and left to cool overnight. Now I will leave it outside in the sun for a few days. I don’t think. I could be patient enough to wait longer but I’ll try. Maybe I could try and forget about it then in several weeks have a lovely unwrapping surprise!

While I was outside doing this I had a doily that I’d also soaked in the soy milk. I am experimenting so laid it in a cardboard box sprinkled it with the fallen Jacaranda petals from my tree in the front yard. Then  took very rusty nails from my rusty nail jar and laid them in a pattern resembling three wee people , like stick people, covered with plastic and weighted down. I will also leave this in the sun for a few days and see what happens.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Vintage pieces

I have recently acquired these three pieces of vintage quilts or quilted fabric. I have been reading Mandy Patullos book and she uses old parts of quilts as backgrounds for more appliquĆ© and embroidery. So I am inspired to work these into something more to just go and see where it takes me. So the first pink piece is very sweetly pink, crisp and clean , has thin soft wadding and a pure white muslin back. I imagine this fabric could be bought off the roll . It has machine quilting in the typical bedspread of the  age manner. I am going to dye it to give it an aged look , not sure if it will be tea dyed, or onion skin or if I go to rust or botanical dye with eucalyptus.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Stitch sketching

Practising  some machine stitch sketching. I much prefer hand stitch , slow and mindful as the cloth is held in the hands. With the machine there is a bit of lost control , especially around corners and look at the fat fingers.! But then I should keep working at it and could possibly enjoy controlling my machine.  Maybe I will go over this in hand stitch as well it could give it an extra dimension. It is done on a piece of commercial quilting fabric that I altered with some diluted fabric paint. Not sure where if anywhere this is going. She is not telling me anything about herself , if she enjoys posing, what her name is what she likes and hopes for. This comes with hand work holding and feeling a part of the fabric and thread and so get drawn into the story. I shall call her my mystery, secret keeper, at least until she starts to share.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Stitching stitching stitching

Have gone back reinvigorated to continue and try to finish some pieces. So the Little Red story I have  started to appliquĆ© down some hexagons and Grandmas house. Now to stitch down the raw edges of the linen outline. I will use some variegated thread. I have been contemplating the meaning behind my fascination with Little Red , complicated thoughts of the need to have my own cultural stories . Cultural story, family story , heritage story , childhood story which all meld together . These old European stories that are familiar to me, I can’t change that ,it just is or was. Blinky Bill, Gumnut Babies and Coogee Bear ( but that was a Rolf Harris story so has to be secretly stashed away)  add that special Australian focus to the fairy tales and nursery rhymes of forming a child’s memory. Used to teach , inform and give children that special connection to family and their childhood friends.

Monday, 9 October 2017


I am making a little book from some men’s handkerchiefs. This is the first one folded in half then will use the double layer to stitch and appliquĆ© on. I am not sure where this water, sea , beach theme came from . Maybe it is the blueness of the hankie made me reflect on the ocean. Little lighthouse with a vintage linen covered button.

The birds are cut from an old pillow slip.

Thursday, 28 September 2017


It's amazing where in the world you can find an old Singer sewing machine. Valued for their beautiful iron bases and made into a table. This one I saw on the streets of Hanoi ,Vietnam outside a street coffee shop.

I have one that belonged to my Great Grandmother. It has a marble top on it.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Embroidery in Vietnam

If you find a comfy seat and a quiet moment it's time to embroider! Traditional embroidery of the Hmong people in Cat Cat village again in SaPa Vietnam.

Such fine detailed work. Time and patience . Made into beautiful clothes or textile pieces for the wall.
Seen behind glass in the Fine Arts of Vietnam museum in Hanoi. Finely stitched and embroiderers textiles and clothing. Panels for jackets. Indigo dye, hemp, silk and cotton.

Monday, 18 September 2017


Today in the hillside village of Sapa in northern Vietnam we went for a walk to the Hmong village of Cat Cat.
Here are images of women working on textile traditional work. Batik, Indigo dying, Hemp preparation by beating the fibres to soften, weaving the hemp, embroidery on hemp and cotton.

This elderly lady is applying bees wax in a pattern to a square of cotton. It will then be dipped in the indigo pot.
A young Hmong woman spends time embroidering the traditional stitches. Black cross stitch to outline , which is then filled in with colour

Pounding the hemp fibres to make them soft for weaving into cloth to be batiked , or stitched or for other purposes

Monday, 11 September 2017

Harbour Bridge

Another Margaret Olley inspired piece in the planning. On the floor amongst stuff that was lying there of course.

This is just laying in pieces to get an idea. Might be best up vertical on a design wall , but there's other stuff there so the floor it is. Everything is just randomly added but some thing is emerging. My Dads  family home in Sydney had views of the Harbour Bridge and this was where I spent my early years. So this image done in embroidery and a little fabric paint that I found in an op shop was special. With Margaret in mind as she also, as an art student would wander home from the harbour and look back at the bridge. Very much an image of Sydney which is where she spent her later years. In the Hat Factory. Vintage lace, doiley and bias binding tape. The background is a sample of deconstructed screen printing done years ago. Not sure if it fits here I wanted the bridge and the flowers to be the focus. The flowers in the vase are some flower bashing I did with Nasturtiums. Fun process

Wednesday, 30 August 2017


Background stitched . Found a piece of vintage lace for the foreground . But I feel like she is now trapped behind the glass like a 'specimen'. Can't remove the glass easily so I will let her sit for awhile.

She is sitting on top of my piano.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017


This is my first Little Red. For my 7 th birthday in Wellington New Zealand from a school friend. Kept with me all these years. The little rabbit has lost an ear but I can't recall when that happened. I used to play with these , very carefully but I'd set them up and the animals would speak to Little Red. 'No Little Red don't do it, don't go to Grandmas there are wolves about' or 'there is a lone wolf lurking in them there hills'. So this little frame came from Vinnies. As soon as I saw it I thought finally a home for Little Red so she doesn't have to be kept hidden away safely.

Then I made the background for her . It shows Grandmas house which is pure white, but that is a disguise. There is ecodyed silk, batik, dyed scrim, indigo dyed sky and a commercial cotton with the tree printed on it. More lace and stitch to come. Not sure if I should paint the box , white, varnish, a colour , add text or leave it?

Saturday, 19 August 2017


Here is a simple stitching of a photo of my Mum in her younger years. I copied it from a framed black and white photo. Traced onto tissue paper then stitching through the paper. Eyes need some more work. I have stitched it onto vintage cotton cloth. The other half went into the background for my last Little Red piece .

Tuesday, 15 August 2017


 Needing to find a home for these little cats inspired by Jude Hill at Spiritcloth. The small one is on cloud nine using some vintage handkerchiefs and a doily that needs to be cut in half, but I am baulking. I am not going to put any more colour on the white as I like the crisp pureness of the background , after all the cat is an angel in the clouds. The larger one is made up of three pieces from various experiments. His head is the cut away back behind a large appliquĆ© Cheshire Cat on a quilt from about 1998. I saved it for a reason!. The doiley was indigo dyed with Ali George at her studio in Taroom and cut in half to share with Annamaria Mays, who has already used her half in a textile art piece. The lower part is an experiment in cloth weaving to make a surface. And the round eye is over his heart.

Now I need stitching. A face to embroider. Must cut that doiley and stitch it down.  Words in the backgrounds , maybe some more clouds.

Sunday, 13 August 2017


Sampling for Margaret Olley again. A tracing of her teapot or at least one of the teapots in her houses that she used for her still life set ups. Then stitched through the tracing paper with back stitch. Paper gently pulled and tweezered off. Doesn't show up very clearly , the green on the orange, but the background is a vintage 1970's Thai silk and was chosen to reflect the warm orange tones on a wall of   the Hat Factory where she lived in Paddington , Sydney. The green is for her love of green in her paintings. It is only 5 inches square.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

1year of stitch july

Here is an update of my year of stitches. So much done and so much more to fill in yet. I have stopped trying out new stitches. I know that I like running stitch, back stitch French knots and buttonhole in organic circles. My hand is stretching forwards releasing the stitches , symbols of life and mindful awareness of the directions some paths are travelling.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Flowers for Grandma

Starting another Little Red piece. Using the left over bits from the doily I cut the hexagons from for the ecodyed hexagon piece. Added Grandmas house. But Little Red has decided that Grandma doesn't want the cakes and bread, she wants flowers. So Little Red ditched the food for flowers for Grandma to enjoy , to enrich her soul.

Lots of stitching to come. Stitching the backing together which is part of a tray cloth on the top and a pulled apart old soft pillow case. Both have embroidery on their ends which I will cut off for another piece.
Going to add some octogons around basket, will outline shape of cutout hexagons a bit more....blanket stitch or stab stitch. Need to back stitch in Little Reds hand....a sun in top left? Door, windows ...pathway? Too much to think of . Firstly I might iron it all!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Ecodye Hexagons

I need to do something for the 2QAQ display at the Quilt show in October. We have been asked to display pieces using the Eco / botanical dyed fabrics we experimented with last year. So I started making hexagons from a piece that was wrapped and boiled with  eucalypt , purple carrot , turmeric and onion skins either bundled up with or in the boiling water. I have also used an old doiley where I cut out the small embroidered flowers to make more hexagons. An old  crochet doiley is just sitting as I ponder the layout.

I also embroidered some of the fabric then made covered buttons to go on the piece.

'Rising out of the rough weeds, listening, looking'   Mary Oliver

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Improvisational piecing

Went to a workshop today on this style of improvisational piecing run by Jane Rundle. Really enjoyed the process of which I have done some of before but not just random exploration and thinking of the process. I have used Gwen Marstens book for inspiration , where she delves into this style. I have made house blocks. So it was good today to think more of the design as I was going along such as line , repetition, contrast and focal points.

Not such a good picture against the pine floor. The dark is a dark blue not black as it looks in the photo. I love the colours. Might keep going or turn it into a book cover. I would like to use this technique with some of the vintage linens and embroidered textiles. White with embroidery and other colours that combine ...maybe a indigo dyed blue.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Can't see the branches for the wolf

More work on Little Red. Love the name of the Sylko thread I picked up at Vinnies today. Mid Mole ....perfect colour to appliquƩ down that wolf. I think he quite likes balancing that branch on the tip of his nose. He doesn't look at all wicked....maybe he isn't. I think he is having so much fun being a tree he has forgotten all about Little Red who will come sneaking into the picture soon. Watch out wolf she's coming for you!

Watch out for wolves

Another Little Red. This time I have ecodyed a white embroidered doiley with avocado pits. Then a small piece of silk from an ecodyed bundle forms the wolf. But I am going to add more to him so Little Red will need to keep her wits about her because as she will find sometimes the wolf appears in the most unlikely places. Just when she thought she was safe . But maybe it's that grandma again hiding in the trees and just looking like a wolf....who knows?

More stitching to follow...not sure where to put Little Red.. entering from the side, behind the tree oops I mean wolf, or does she even need to be there?

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Lipstick hibiscus

Here is the results of my lipstick hibiscus solar dying. The silks are a soft beautiful pink and the cottons are  faintly tinted. But I didn't soak in soy or add any protein to the fabric before dying so didn't expect to get too much if any colour. They are still wet in this photo and now have dried a little paler, but I am happy with the result.

I have to work out a way to keep note of how I got the colours. So these are now tied together in a bundle with a hand written tag detailing the information.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Running stitch

I have started an online course with Sue Stone . These are my first two samples where running stitch is explored. There are variations in each square to relate to spacing, tone and texture. I am trying very hard to make my samples neat and controlled but my fingers and mind won't let me that something about new dogs and old tricks? As I stitch these I am pondering how I can use some of these textural stitching ideas in pieces that have come to a standstill because they need something to bring them out of a predictable space they and my thoughts are in.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Year of Stitches

Today I went to the Aladdins Collectables fair and purchased some vintage lacy small appliquƩs. I have added some to this weeks stitching.

I also bought some unfinished transfer embroideries and a totally cutable doiley,which has stains but not on the actual embroidery. I will make hexagons out of the small floral embroidered bits scattered over it. Also got some lace , some white covered buttons and a beautifully mended hand made baby dress. It has grub roses and smocking on it, lace edges and small holes. But the mending speaks volumes, of repair , saving, hand me down, cherishing and the evidence of women's work, the hand of the maker in the process. 

Wednesday, 7 June 2017


Thinking of flowers and jugs , using up , recycling, simple things and as always Margaret Olley is on my mind. Too busy a background? Or should the foreground be stronger colours to come out a bit more? Will try a few other layouts. The background is an old sample of machine quilting I had been practising.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Primitive Doll

I was inspired by a work colleague Koula @akida2 who has been making these primitive or folk dolls. Made up a pattern and didn't think too much about colours and matching, just went with the items I found. She is so endearing! Might be inspired to make more ...why ? I have made dolls years ago and did not think I would ever get back into that activity again. I think they became so popular and very detailed that the fun for me was taken out of them.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Solar hibiscus

Some lipstick hibiscus which are a beautiful red colour. I have put in some silk, cotton and lace. Will see what happens . Planning to put outside tomorrow. Cut from the garden of my family home which changed ownership today. Also I did a rubbing with paint of the hearth , took some soil, have pressed some of my Dads favourite pink geraniums, picked leaves for printing and cuttings of several plants.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Blooms and blossoms

Workshop today with Miriam Gillam a beautiful lady who works with fabric and stitch. She interprets her inspiration with machine and hand embroidery, nature inspired pieces including corsets and 3D sculptural objects. The focus of the workshop was to develop ways to turn an image into a piece of work. We did word storming, mind mapping, sketching or drawing and colour matching. We made mood boards inspired by the 'blooms' of choice some from images in the Georgia O'Keefe, Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington-Smith Making Modernism exhibition at QGA. We planned varieties of ways the marks could be interpreted in stitch for our individual images. Then to end on a peaceful note we use tissue paper to make a collage of the image.

Saturday, 13 May 2017


Getting away from Margaret Olley, I found this little traveller made when I was sampling for Little Red . Added some extra bits as I ponder her inclusion in something else or to leave it as is. She is slowly going, seeking, moving on. She knows the value of not being trapped by possessions. The heavy weight of them as they shudder and fill the air in a home with their energy. Too much drags you down especially if the material possessions do not bring joy or are useful....or so the saying goes .

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Houses on the Tweed

I have been working on this little piece with Margaret Olley in mind. The houses depict the houses along the Tweed River where Margaret lived as a child. Scraps and joined with a raw edge appliquĆ© . Today I went to the Embroiderers Guild Mothers Day Fair and purchased some beautiful vintage lace.  Several tiny bits of lace were perfect to add to this piece in special small detail.

'Thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirit of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes'
e.e. cummings

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Solar dying

I have been inspired to try solar dying with flowers. Some coreopsis in one bottle with a circle of silk to make a moon or a sun. The other jar contained dried black beans . In this jar I put a piece of broderie anglaise and a scrap of silk. This is the black bean result a beautiful purpley bluey pink.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Year of Stitches

Last day of April and here is the update on my 1 year of stitches. I have several ideas to keep going including filling areas with French knots, more feather stitch, some circles and a tree. I am really enjoying the randomness in the way I am working the filling of this piece. I have found a great embroidery book by Constance Howard to find inspiration from.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Mixed Media

Here is a collection of paper strips I put together for further experimentation . There are three handmade paper surfaces for embroidery to be added. Paper strips of music pages , heavy tissue and mulberry sheets.Lace, embroidery on the small fabric hexagons. Green colour in being mindful of the green of the Margaret Olley work. Will slice up and find smaller pieces to use in a artist book. Experimenting, exploring layers of a life ,of colour. Faded beauty , multiple fragments, some adhering to traditional values and beliefs.