Saturday, April 30, 2011

Thank you Mr Mars.

Pretty sure that this is gonna be my "Sunday Anthem" ...

A little bird told me ....

...this casting business is addictive - and it is true!

Here is what happens when you just can't stop ...
This is a bird and twig casting combined - although I did lop off the poor birdy's feet!

I also tried attaching it with a loop hanger...

...but in the end I decided the twirly vine thingy worked best.

 I have made this one as a birthday gift for my eldest who turned 22 (yikes!) yesterday but I will definitely revisit this design. I purchased that lovely dinged up heart at the Creative Souls retreat last year from Judy. I riveted on the cog on as a bit of a reminder that whilst our hearts do get a bit dinged and dented along Life's path - they still keep working. This is the last week-end before Uni goes back and it is going to be a pressure-cooker term - it is very short - so I hope to make some more molds whilst I have the time - and energy!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Well that is a  lame title for this post - let's blame it on fatigue - and over-consumption of joyfulness. And exactly what is making me so joyful? I am glad you asked because I am busting to share my latest adventure with metal! I have had another go at casting pewter. I made the molds, melted the pewter and everything. Given my slight phobia about flame ( ah yes, that is one of the reasons cold connections are so dear to my heart ...), I have managed quite well.
This is the first go ...

This is what they looked like when I de-molded them. I am recycling the pewter that I recycle for other things rather than buying new alloys, so it is a bit grubby. I am working on a way to fix that but for now I am content to deal with the scuzzy bits. These were actual twigs that I collected and used to create a mold.

I used a paperclip topper to make the bird mold - I think it will be rather sweet ...
And here are the twigs all cleaned up ...

I am delighted with the detail from the molds - I patinaed this one to highlight the craggy bark.

And in-situ ...

Copper "twigs" and a hand-shaped crockery shard - I am not sure the photo does it justice really because you miss all the detail of the twig - sigh - never mind I bet you get the idea huh? Oh happy days - I can see this becoming an obsession!

Happy Easter!

Hope everyone is enjoying the Easter break!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

More textile goodness ...

So, whilst I had the contents of my fabric cupboard strewn all over the place, I decided to get onto a project that I thought about at Christmastime. I was going to make some journals as gifts but, despite having purchased the blank journals, never quite got the idea off the ground! Yesterday was the day and I snipped and appliqued 5 little removable journal covers - go me!

I used a combo of new and vintage fabrics and odd bits and pieces I ahd lyimg around. Today they went off to brighten the shelves of a lovely shop in a nearby town - if they don't sell at least I will have made an early start on Christmas!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Playing with textiles.

 Mmmm - fabric covered beads and collage cuffs. I love the Term Break!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

With a chop chop here and a chop chop there ...

From frump ...

to Fab!

I am so delighted that my daughter recognised the potential of this op-shop find! She told me she loved the bodice detail - self-covered buttons and a sweetheart neckline and decided it was worth risking a couple of bucks on! We chopped off a heap of fabric to create a more modern hemline, shortened the sleeves and added two under-the-bust darts for a bit more shape. I think the result is great and so does my girl! We had heaps of fabric over and used the chopped off sleeves to make a cute headband.

I also made a cover for a bag to use for Uni. I recovered one earlier this year but it is too stiff -  no slouch factor at all - I couldn't stuff heaps of books and things in it. Clearly, it had to go! I found a beauty in the oppie and eagerly parted  with my two bucks!

Boring ,bletchy, grey but a great shape. This is what it became ...

and a close-up ...

The wool suiting came from the op-shop as did all the other little bits and pieces. I am really happy with it - I kinda feel like a kid with new stationary at the beginning of the school year! What fun it has been to have daughter #2 home for a few days!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Flea Market Finds

Well, the Great Button Embargo of 2011 has been well and truly lifted! Yes indeedy, I succumbed to the lure of their shiny roundness - and the fact that this big heap only cost two bucks. I am a sucker for a bargain ...

Most of these are rather modern but they are great Autumn colours and there are one or two really nice metal ones that I think would be great models to cast - like the one with the flowers on the left there. And this one with a coat of arms ...

At the very same op-shop I found a lovely piece of embroidery. The volunteer lady told me her Grandma had stitched it ...

It is like an envelope bag I guess - very pretty huh? Just look at those neat stitches!

A little later I found some more cute embroidery ...

Puppies (or possibly kittens?) in pots! Seriously cute. I think I will use these pieces to cover the front of a messenger bag. First I will have to add a few stitches to the dog/cats as they have no eyes and I will feel bad if they remain blind! Lots of folks find lots of cool stuff and share it over at Sophie's, so why not pop over and check it out?!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I'm late, I'm late - but I must take a photo ...

Dear old Adelaide is not as renowned for its lane-ways and graff-art as Melbourne, although there has been a spate of quite excellent paste-ups recently - I think their impermanence renders them kinda polite graffiti which also kinda suits Adelaide. Still the other day I was rushing to Uni and took a lane I don't usually use and just had to stop and take some snaps of some really vibrant wall art.

I was rushing because my train was delayed and I needed to meet with a fellow artist to set up an installation - we were on a deadline! All ended well though and we were able to set up in time. Our brief for this installation was to create a Cabinet of Curiousity in response to a visit to the Museum of Economic Botany. This museum has some great stories to tell about our interconnectedness with plants. It made us think about sustainability - much of the variety shown in the museum is now missing in the real world and also the role of the museum in preservation of both objects and stories.We chose to create some plantforms that a future museum might house - hybrid botanicals that have morphed with the junk redolent in our dirt.

 We filled the cabinet with layers of plastic rubbish and polystyrene

Instead of placing our objects within the cabinet, we decided to place them on top

The plant forms

We cast the forms with soap - something we use daily that we hope will remind us of the daily impact we have on our environment.

This process was a bit fraught as neither of us had any real casting experience. We learned a lot and I am delighted with the outcome - a contemporary Cabinet of Curiousity. It seemed to  generate some interest and discussion almost immediately so that is a good response. It was great to work collaboratively with an artist that I was so insync with - it doesn't always happen and when it does - magic!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Flea Market Finds

Today my Flea Market Find is small - but lovely. I am sure all of you regular op-shoppers are aware that buttons in thrift stores have become a hot commodity. I think longingly about the days when a whole jar of buttons could be purchased for a few dollars. They are scarcer and more expensive these days. There are a couple of stores I frequent where the wonderful volunteers stitch buttons onto cards which is just lovely. I try to restrict my button purchases a bit now because I don't really make that much jewellery with them any more - the market is flooded! Every now and then I find some that I just can't resist ...

They are glass buttons the colour of shiny pewter.

The detail in the design is amazing.

They look a bit like faux marquasite.

I have consulted my trust little "button bible" ...

It seems that they were produced between 1940 and 1960. They are in really good nick so I am guessing 1960ish - before I was born at any rate! Now that you have seen my little treasures why not pop over to Sophie's and see what everyone else has been collecting this week.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Have you ever noticed that if you buy a white Volkswagen suddenly the world seems to be full of white Volkswagen's? Or if someone says they are looking for old-school heated rollers you find a zillion lurking in every op shop you walk in to? This week whilst looking for info for an essay, I got sidelined by YouTube (meh, why fight it?) and stumbled across some really cool demos of a metal working technique called fold-forming. Then I get to uni to find a pal banging away some fold- formed objects. By now I am starting to hear the faint strains of the "Twilight Zone" theme in my head. Yesterday a new book turned up in my letter box and guess what it has ( among other stuff) in it? Yep - a bunch of fold-forming projects! A small orchestra has struck up in my head now! Here is my first attempt at fold-forming - ta-dah ...

This started out as a strip of flat metal and by virtue of repeated bashing and heating and bashing some more, I have bent it to my will ... mwahahaha ...

Frankly, I can't imagine that this will become a wearable piece of jewellery, but it is kind of nest-like so there are other possibilities. It is a longish process ( mental note - buy heavier hammer!) but worth it to see that flat metal become a 3 dimensional object.

And for those of you who don't remember the Twilight Zone ...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sewing Adventures

I had a lot of fun on the week-end. I watched my son play soccer for the first time this season. I ate knackwurst and sauerkraut in a roll. And, I broke out the sewing machine.As I mentioned in my last post I wanted to make a top like one I had purchased - from a real store with real money.  Firstly, I had to make a pattern.

 Now since I was planning to sew this out of stretch fabric I didn't worry about straight lines etc 'cos I figured with the stretchy stuff you always get a certain amount of "easement". I had a fish through my cupboard and found some fabrics to add to my Dollar Day op-shop finds that I showed you in my last post. It took a bit of juggling and I had to quell my natural instinct to include a bit of every fabric and managed to keep it tonal. I had some concerns about this bold pattern - I don't want to look like a Jester afterall.

I paired it with some plainer fabrics - I even managed to include the pocket of the cardie I was cutting up ...

So after a bit of faffing about choosing the fabrics, this is what I had laid out ready to sew.

It is so easy to make - you just have to remember to put the bits together in the right order. On Sunday the lovely Miss Kath paid me a visit and we made a whole schebang of these! (5 I think!)

I still have to finish the hems and add a few details - like some buttons to the pocket but I am Big Kev excited about my new Autumn/Winter wardrobe! They are long enough to wear with leggings but look good with jeans too. I will  layer these up with tees and cardies as the weather gets cooler. Being uber stretchy is a real bonus for a shapely girl like me - so comfy! So there you have it - Super Sewing Adventures with Sue - hee hee!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Flea Market Finds

Once again Sunday has rolled around and it is time to play along with Sophie and friends to show off our thrifting treasures. I am a complete sucker for cup and saucer sets and my collection has grown too big for the space I inhabit so I have been under a self-imposed embargo on further purchases. Until now. A unique shape and design with no hallmarking of any kind and only $2 ... well, what would you have done? Of course I had to buy it!

The outside of the cup is completely plain but inside is a sweet surprise ...

The gold decoration looks like text to me and is a great example of clever pattern making. I am planning to test this set out with a leisurely cup of Lady Grey this arvo. I have been having trouble keeping my journals straight for Uni, I often end up grabbing the wrong one as I am racing out the door. I decided I needed to differentiate them and train my brain to associate a certain pattern with a certain subject. I am pretty sure this has kinda been done with lab rats so I reckon I have a reasonable chance of success. To that end, I hunted up some fabric in the oppie and made re-usable covers for a couple of my journals.

Even if the brain-training doesn't work they are a big improvement on the boring black covers!

I have been all inspired by Don over at Urbandon who has been delving into the world of Japanese pattern making. Not that I am planning anything quite so complex! I purchased a top (new!) and I love it but hate that I paid real money for it so I figure if I make a few like it fron stuff from the op-shop then really I can divide the price by however many I make. Seems logical right? So pleased that Dollar Day/Week at the thrift store has coincided with my desire to sew. Here is a little stash of knit-fabric garments that I plan to repurpose.

I will fill you in later on the details and hopefully the finished product. Hope you are having a creative, fun filled week-end or really whatever kind of week-end you like best.