Friday, April 24, 2009

Mushrooms and Anzacs

Mushrooms in the garden .... we have had some rain in the last week, but these mushrooms are the beautiful hand printed Thea and Sami Fabric. http://www.thea-sami.com.au/ I was fortunate enough to win some of this hand printed linen from Thea's blog giveaway in February, and this is what I made with it. This woodland elf is an adaptation of Jacquie Lecuyer's pattern, Uma . This was a pattern of the month in January at Hello Dollies http://www.agbhellodollies.blogspot.com/ - my doll group at Anne's Glory Box . My version of Uma not only features the prize fabric, but some my embellished felt and one of my husband's wooden buttons. It is a cloth doll, with a needle sculpted face. I am still very much a beginner as far as needle sculpted faces go, as I tend to make most doll heads from clay, but I like the idea of "soft sculpture" so am determined to keep practising.
Mother's Day is coming up , so with the remnants of the mushroom fabric, I made some very simple little matryoshka dolls. I really enjoyed making these and think I will make some more, with other little bits of leftover fabric I have stashed away because I've liked the prints so much.
Tomorrow is Anzac Day - an important day of remembrance in Australia.for those who have been lost in war. The dawn services and other memorial ceremonies are very moving and allow for serious reflection, but later there is usually time for celebrating mateship and family. Our family love ANZAC biscuits. There are lots of variations of the recipe, and while this one isn't original , it makes the biscuits just the way we like them and we pretend it's healthy because it comes from the Weight Watchers' site.

Anzac Biscuits
POINTS® Value: 2.5
Servings: 18
Preparation Time: 10 min Cooking Time: 15 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Fast to make and utterly delicious, these ANZAC biscuits are not too crunchy or chewy, but just right!

Ingredients
1 spray Gold 'n' Canola Canola oil spray
150 g plain white flour, sifted
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup rolled oats
100 g butter, melted
2 tbs golden syrup
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
Instructions
Preheat oven to 180°C. Spray 2 baking trays with oil and cover with some baking paper.
Mix flour, sugar and oats together in a large bowl until well combined.
Melt butter and golden syrup together. Combine one tablespoon of boiling water with baking soda and add to butter mixture, with vanilla essence.
Mix butter and oat mixture together to form a dough. Drop teaspoonfuls onto baking trays, gently flattening each one. Leave 3cm aside each biscuit for spreading.
Bake biscuits until edges turn golden, about 15 minutes. Let biscuits stand on trays for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool and crisp completely.
Notes
You can also add ½ cup of dessicated coconut to the dry ingredients for a slight change

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Odd Socks

We all need some silliness in our lives. I have become an ardent fan of "stray sock sewing". I think it is or was a fad in Japan. Years ago, I made funny little toys from socks for our children, but recently I discovered a person called Daniel who has taken creative sock sewing to a new dimension. His little sock dolls aren't just dolls . As he says, they are more like little pets with unique personailies. I am completely "hooked" - I just love making these. I have called my creations - SOCKSILLIES.
What is a socksillie? A "socksillie" is a fantastic soft creature made from a single sock or a pair of socks. Any resemblance to a real person or animal is purely coincidental.

Each has been named and their names indicate the number in the series. For example, the twins in the first photo above, are Abbie and Bertie and they were the first two socksillies I made. Then there is Clarrie, who now has a new home in Sydney. The "contented cat" character is Eddie. Below is Dottie, who lives with my mother in Townsville.

How do you make socksillies ? It's easy. For a basic socksille like Freddie below, take a brightly coloured stray sock with a colour block heel. (This one was an ankle sock. ) Roll polyester fibrefill into a ball the size of the body and stuff it into the sock in one go. Take another ball the size of the head, and stuff it into the heel part of the sock for the head, manipulating it by rolling the stuffed sock in your hands. Don't try to put too much stuffing in the sock as you will tend to lose a body shape. You'll know how much is right by the feel - cuddly! Sew up the opening using a ladder stitch or small overhand stitch. Give your sock creature a personality with embroidered features and you'll have no trouble naming him or her.


My Socksillies are waiting for homes at the ETSY shop http://www.empresswu.etsy.com/

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Great Easter Egg Hunt 2009

If you celebrate Easter, I hope you had a peaceful and blessed time. We had the great Easter Egg hunt for our grandsons at our place. This was the hunt in ten easy steps ....

1. Read the instructions on your individualised map.
2. Get help if you're not so good yet at reading maps. 3. Look ...
4. Find ... (can you believe how small these eggs are? )

5. Stash ... 6. Count your eggs ...


7. Check if there are any eggs still hidden ...

8. Work off the"sugar high" creating with clay,

9. Try other artisitic pursuits , 10.And, phone your friends to tell them about the good time you're having.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Featured Artist - Fay

This month, I am featuring and singing the praises of a very talented and creative textile artist, quilter, embroiderer, teacher and doll maker, Fay King . Fay is seen most days at Anne's Glory Box (Hamilton, Newcastle, NSW) where she is the shop manager. Samples of her work are throughout the shop ... Fay has an extraordinary sense of colour and design, and what others would not dare to put together, works beautifully for Fay

Fay is also the coordinator of Hello Dollies,a doll makers' group both in Newcastle and Sydney. She makes the most exquisite dolls, embellished with her renowned delicate embroidery . Fay's dolls are quite small, so these photos only hint at the tiny, perfect stitches on the doll's clothing.




The beautiful fine features of Fay's work demonstrates her keen eye for detail in design and her meticulous attention to neat and complete finishing off. This is what inspires me and what I really admire about Fay's approach to sewing, embroidering, quilting and doll making and setting up displays and exhibitions.
Fay is one of the most generous artist-teachers I know : always willing to give advice freely when asked, shares her knoweldge happily, tries different and new things herself and encourages others positively. Fay has taught many, many people to quilt, even before she came to Newcastle and I consider myself very fortunate to have met Fay via Hello Dollies when I came to Newcastle in 1999 and consider her a friend.
Fay's latest creative venture is "APRONOLOGY" - Fay will be having a great class on 9 June - all you need to bring is your sewing machine and a muffin recipe to swap ( and class fee$15) to spend a fun day with the talented Fay. You will be inspired, laugh a lot, create new things, and enjoy Fay's company.


I almost forgot to say that most importantly, Fay is a devoted and loving wife, mother and grandmother, and isn't her family lucky to be loved and cared for by Fay.