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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Another Dozen Eggs

No ... not in a carton, and not from chooks ... or any bird for that matter ...

Yes ... almost the same as the 7 eggs I just posted about in my previous post here ... same size/shape/etc ... but these ones have white stuff on them (maybe the others did when they were first laid too?)

... and this time - I know who laid them!

but first - let's go back to the beginning - which, incidentally, was about 15 minutes after I finished "publishing" my last post - I said I was going out to sort out/tidy up some more stuff under the pergola, and that is what I did ... I was "knee deep" in boxes of stuff when I heard this rather loud buzzing noise, approaching me from behind ... I thought it might be a big mud wasp or one of those huge flies I have seen around here sometimes ... but it was this bug!

yes ... of course I had to pick it up ... it was the best way I could think of to get a decent photo without it crawling away too fast ;-)

Yes, I know - some bugs/things bite - but this one happily crawled onto my finger when I put it in front of where it was walking ... which is usually a good sign that it isn't too likely to get aggro at me and try to defend itself against a percieved threat ... or something like that ... (hmmm is there such a thing as bug psychology? :-)

I tried to get some photos from some other angles - especially head on (that view usually makes an interesting photo) - but it kept turning around before I could get the camera to focus ... then if flew away and landed on a box of stuff ... so I picked it up and tried again ... and it flew off and landed with a plop into the dog's water bucket! ... so I fished it out (with my finger ;-) and put it on one of the posts that holds up the pergola ... and this is the best front on photo that I could get ...

That was when it had finally decided to stand still ...

and that was when I noticed that it was rubbing it's backside on the post ... and I thought to myself - "it looks like it is about to lay eggs" ... and I was right ...

She laid some eggs ...

and she kept laying eggs ... (while I kept taking photos ;-)

and, because my digital camera has a video mode, I even took some video of it ... she had laid about 9 or 10 eggs before it occured to me to go get the tripod and use it (close up video while squatting down beside a post with the camera tends to result in movies that make the veiwer seasick! ... so I will spare you from those!)

So ... Youtube willing ... (hmmm ... I should have done this first - it is going to take ages to upload the video there) ... here is some video of the bug laying an egg ...

and now ... I should have gone to bed about 3 hours ago ...

...and for those who are looking for my "Take A Stitch Tuesday" stuff, that I WAS going to blog about tonight (until I saw that bug lay her eggs ;-)
- that will have to wait until tomorrow (er ... later today? ... if I come in here and do it BEFORE midnight, for a change ...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

From 7 eggs, came ...

... 7 bugs:

Something must have laid these 7 eggs on this (a fabric bag with some quilt batting in it) while it was sitting outside under the pergola ... I had moved it from somewhere else, and put it in in the sun, and I was about to pick it up and put it somewhere else when I noticed the bugs, standing in a little group beside the egg cases they must have just emerged from - I guess the warn sun must have been a cue to all hatch together - they kind of looked like a group of soldiers ... maybe a group of some sort of new minions from a game of Warcraft (a computer game which my daughter has been playing lately) waiting for someone to move the cursor over them to select them and tell them where to go and what to attack ... which makes it kind of funny that I have just been looking on some insect websites and found out that they are probably assassin bugs!
( see if you are interested)
After I took a few photos, I put the bag over beside a bush ... and the bugs all crawled up into the branches and vanished ... probably never to be seen again (which is a pity in one way - I would have liked to see what they grew up into ;-)

While I am posting insect photos ...
... here is another visitor that came and had a rest under the pergola the other day:

I was busy sorting out junk when I noticed what I thought was a beautiful black and white butterfly fluttering around the garden beside me ... then it came under the pergola and landed on the beam above me ... and I realised it wasn't a butterfly it was a moth ... but it was still beautiful ...

(yes - there IS a difference between butterflies and moths - )

Anyway ... talking about the sorting out of junk under the pergola ... that is what I should go back out and finish doing now ...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Of Halleys comet - I saw nought, but this year - I saw McNaught!

It was sometime in 1986 that Halleys comet wasn't very visible in the sky, and it was not long afterwards when I bought that cheap red T-shirt I mentioned the other day ... I really must remember to go into the bedroom and dig it out (I still have it somewhere) sometime when DH is not actually asleep, so I can wear it ... (I an not as small as I was then, but the T-shirt was loose on me then, so it still fits me ... well enough to wear around home anyway ;-)
Fortunately Comet McNaught is a lot more visible - when the relevant part of the sky is not covered in clouds, that is ...

Last night was cloudy, but I took some photos the night before, and again tonight ... although the comet seems to be fading a bit now ... I also took photos of the moon, the stars, the sunset, clouds glowing orange in the city lights, the dog and cat following me around the yard while I was taking photos ... My husband (who buys and sets up/maintains any/all computers in this house) will probably complain that I am filling up the hard drive - I took 60 photos this evening! (and at least 20 of those were before it got dark enough to even see the comet!)
and I took 24 the evening before ... (and most of those were before it got dark enough to see the comet - about when it was getting dark enough, the clouds came and obscured the relevant part of the sky ... so I took a couple more photos of the clouds, and a couple photos of the stars in the other side of the sky, and came inside and wrote that long blog post about detached chain ;-)

hmmm ... I wonder how long this post editor thingy has had a spelling checker built in ... I am sure it didn't have it last night when I wrote all that stuff ... but it does now! I make enough typos that I would have noticed it while writing a short post, let alone a long one (there is a red line under the word "thingy" LOL ... and under LOL ... which means Laughing Out Loud, if you didn't know what it meant)

anyway ... before this post ends up as long as the last one ... time to find and upload a couple of photos:

but first ... it is raining ... I had better check that I didn't leave anything outside that really shouldn't be getting wet ... YAAAAAAY rain - hope it keeps raining all night - we need it!

ah good ... nothing much ... just a box of dried plant stuff (for basket making) that the bottom started to fall out when I picked it up ... it will dry out again tomorrow
but when I went out there I had something that wasn't in the rain that should have been:

... I took this photo on Christmas Eve, then I picked up all the buckets ... so I have just "re-created" it (and of course the rain has now stopped!) - the buckets catch the drips that run off the edge of the pergola - the pergola is large so it doesn't take a lot of rain to fill them up ... then a couple of days later, when the rain has long gone and the garden needs a drink ... the buckets get emptied onto some thirsty plants (except one or 2 that I leave for the dog to drink from ;-)

I guess we could put a gutter on the edge of the pergola ... but that costs money ... and the buckets didn't :-)

btw ... the rain has started again too ... we might even get enough to actually soak in to the ground ;-)
(how far into the ground is another matter)

Now ... where was I?

Photos ... well I guess that was a photo ... but not one of the ones I was originally planning to put here ...

ok ... first - one or 5 photos that I took the other night (Sunday)

I have not done anything to this photo - the sky was this colour!
(and if you look closely you can see a thing "toenail" moon somewhere near the middle - why a "toenail"? - that is what my kids used to call a very new moon - it kind of does look like a toe nail clipping ;-)

Here is another one taken a minute or 3 later:

but facing in almost the opposite direction ... that is our house in the side of the picture - and I did not play with this photo at all either - we get some good sunsets here!
(even more so at the moment, because of the smoke drifting up from the bushfires in Victoria)

Then I went for a short drive to a nearby spot where I could get hills on the horizon instead of some ugly roof or another behind us ...

btw, I have been getting lost in cyberspace at the same time as doing this ("this" being writing this blog entry at the same time as finding and fiddling with photos ... yaaaay for multitasking ;-)
I found something really weird looking and weird sounding ... seems sort of appropriate for looking at photos to do with comets and stars and stuff ... so ... if u are game - open another browser window/tab and listen to/look at this or for a bit more musical try this one or click on one of the other variations in the menu on the right ... I don't think I could even begin to understand the maths/etc involved, but it is rather interesting.

now - back to the photos ...

I can see the comet in this one ... can you?
(there is also a moon and more pink clouds ... which kind of go nicely with the grey ones)

No comet in this one, but a nice one with the moon, trees, and Venus:

More weirdo pink clouds - looking South, towards our house.

The comet (and the moon and pink clouds) over part of Dunlop ... the water in the distance (with the sky reflecting light from it making it shiny) is a settlement pond.

Here is the Comet, as the sky got even bit darker ...

And again - as the sky got even darker, and the comet started to vanish behind that line of clouds:

I also took some photos of the stars ...
This one might look like nothing much on here - but if you click on it (goes to a bigger version of the picture - like all of them do) you will see the Seven Sisters (Pleides or however u spell it) and some other constellation that, to me, looks like a mouse cursor! (my daughter says it is a Christmas tree!)

Here is Orion (I grew up calling it "The Big Dipper" or the "Saucepan" )

For those if you in the Northern Hemisphere this will probably look wrong - I think the constellations look the other way up from down here.

This is how I know I am in the Southern Hemisphere ;-)
... the Southern Cross and the pointers ...

They are what I (and a few thousand Boy Scouts/etc who know how to find South from the stars) use to tell which way is South - so that photo is sort of looking towards home ... which is where I eventually went ... at about 10pm!

The sun came up while I was still messing around with this post ... it took ages to move the photos the the right places on here when I uploaded them (this editor thingy seems to have gone back to doing something I thought they had fixed ... only gives me a narrow window, that I can't change the size of, to type in, and if I try to drag and drop an image it doesn't scroll down when I bump it against the bottom of the window, and when I upload the images they all go to the top - so I had to drag each photo down about 10 lines at a time through all my text and past all the other photos - if I had known it was going to go back to being like that I would have put all the photos on here first and then written about them!) So I saved it as a draft, logged out and went to bed!
(maybe I should have tried saving it and logging in and out sooner - I can drag the photos from the top, all the way down to the bottom, in one go again now ... but the spell checker isn't in here any more ..> maybe I should change over to the new one with google log in instead of using the old blogger ... then again - if the editing window I got last night was the new one - I don't want it - the odd spelling mistake I don't see is worth being able to drag photos around in here more easily!)

btw ... I will make the time/date on this post appear as the time I saved it and went to bed (rather than now) - seeing that is when I finished writing most of it.

I have not even had a good look at the photos I took last night ... I might stick one or 2 of those on here in the next few days, if any of them are any good ... but my next post will probably be more of those Tuesday stitches I have bee doing on felt/etc ... unless I have/think of something else I want to post about ...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Detatched Chain

No - not this:

I meant this sort of "detached chain":

- the embroidery stitch called detatched chain (aka floating chain, lazy daisy) - that is what week 3 of the "Take a Stitch Tuesday" challenge is.
(btw- that link goes to her "weekly round up" - so you can go look at what everyone else has been doing this week ;-)

I have stitched some detached chain on the bit of felt that I was fiddling with.
... and I have started/finished some other stuff on there too:

... it's getting a bit crowded on there now!
That photo (and all the others) should be a link to the full sized one - so if you want a closer look just click on it.

The 2 little photos under the bit of rusty chain are a bunch of flowers/whatever, and the "thingy" that I mentioned in a previous post.

The bunch of flowers/whatever is done with detached chain with a very long anchor stitch forming the stems (which are gathered together with a stitch to make them into a bunch), with 3 more chains that are meant to look like flowers/whatever that have fallen from the bunch.
... they also look like rice grains - which is what I used detatched chain stitches for, on my "International Year of Rice" quilt ... it had blue rice plants on it, and white detatched chains scattered all over the bare areas that didn't have any other quilting/etc ... I needed to put something there to quilt those areas so I came up with the idea of doing white rice grains :-)
(I will have to remember to put a photo/etc of that quilt on here sometime - feel free to remind me if I forget ;-)

The other thingy (the flower thingy in the other little photo under the rusty chain) is still not finished ... I was half thinking of leaving it unfinished (because it looked interesting like that), but then I thought that maybe it would look a bit odd if/when I did the other end of the worm (the one that starts on the other side of it), so I have been doing the rest of the stitching (that was the last thing I worked on today ... I had to stop because it was time to go outside and see if the sky was clear enough to see the comet, and it was - so therefore it was time to get ready to go and take some comet photos ... I think I actuallymanaged to get at least a couple of reasonable photos of the comet, and the moon, and some stars, and a sunset ... but some of them need to be fiddled with, in my image editing software, because they came out too dark/etc, or need cropping or whatever) - some of those photos will probably be in my next blog post ;-)

I finished the snake ... the end of his tounge and his yellow eyes are detached chain.
This photo shows the head of the snake, the bit of his body where it crosses over itself, and another detached chain thingy:

between the snake head and the fish tail, there was just enough room to squeeze in a circle of detatched chains ... I am still trying to decide what it actually looks like (seed pod? cross section of some kind of sea creature or fruit? some funny spring washer thingy I have some of in the garage? ... whatever it is - I like it)

Here is that ear of grain that I purposely didn't talk about last time:

not that there is really much to say ... I started at the top (which is pointing to the right in this photo - I forgot to rotate it before I uploaded it ;-) and worked the seeds in detatched chain with a long anchoring stitch ... then made them point up more and more as I went down ... then I did some straight stitch and stem stitch to make the stem/leaves.

I came up with another plant idea too ... sort of by accident:

I decided to see what I could come up with, by working some detatched chain over that wonky herringbone star - I did the first detached chain with a long anchor stitch pointing out, and then decided to see what it looked like if I did another one joined on to it and pointing in - and came up with bullrushes! (I might have to work some of those, with leaves/etc so they look like they are actually growing somewhere, on my black block)
Before I did the bullrushes on that star, I did that yellow "Forgot me knot" that is next to it ... and I didn't actually forget my knot on the forget me not ... I just have not done it yet ... the original plan was to do a black knot, and some more petals (probably in black), and see what it ended up as ... but then the star/bullrushes thing kind of grew into the space ... but I did make one of the rushes shorter to leave room for one of the 4 more petals I had planned to put there)

There are also a couple of other bits on the felt ... an unfinished looking thing on the top left hand corner - that probably IS finished ... unless I add to it with yellow thread or something, and on the bottom there is some black and yellow blanket stitch (with a couple of detached chains worked in as I went) that I have not finished yet ... I think I was having fun just stitching wherever it ended up going ... I had seen stuff a bit like that on some of the other blogs (the ones belonging to other people doing this "Take a Stitch Tuesday" thing) and it looked like fun ... it IS fun ... I am not sure what I am actually going to do with that felt block ... but that does not matter - why should I HAVE to DO anything with it? (although I probably will think of something to do with it anyway, knowing me ;-)

Actually - I will put a photo of that unfinished looking thingy here:

there is no point clicking on this one to get a bigger version because this is as big as it gets - I just cropped it from the photo of the whole felt block - I put it here so you know what thingy I am talking about
... so what was i going to say about it? - I just thought that anyone who is mad enough to be actually reading all this stuff might be interested in how I did this one - the inside circle was done last - it is my poor wonky effort of a blanket stitch "wheel" ... but it is the outside circle that was interesting - I worked around the circle doing the blanket stitch and the detatched chain (where I used it) all in one go - so the needle went in to the fabric for the blanket stitch, then out to do the detached chain, then back in to do the anchor stitch which was also threaded under the loop to become the blanket stitch ... if that makes any sense.
(and where there are 2 detached chain loops nested together, I made both loops and then did the anchor stitch)

I have not done much more on my black block (which is something where I do know what I am going to do with it ... provided I don't change my mind or file it away for "later"), but I did put these 2 things on it:

I have "pinned" 2 different bits of the block together with a needle, because those 2 things are not actually next to each other)
One is another blanket stitch fish skeleton (the backbone and ribs are blanket stitch, the head and tail are detatched chain/whatever else it turns into when you leave a really big gap ... fly stitch I think ;-)
and the other one is a detatched chain "forget me knot" (a "forget me not" with detatched chain petals and a French knot middle ;-)

(hmmm - I like that name I just called the block ... my "black block" ;-) ... maybe that will have to be it's name? ... actually - I think I will call it my "Black Blog Block" :-)
... I could be really silly and call it my "big black box blog block" ... because it is going on the lid of a box ... and I could use the box as somewhere to keep any other blog blocks that I make ... so the box would be my big black blog block box ...

... I think I had better stop before I turn into a Dr Seuss clone or something!

but first ...


Here is something I finished crocheting a week or 3 ago:

no - I didn't drop my brain on the floor!
... it is a "hyperbolic crochet" moebius strip thingy ... I was talking about that sort of thing a while back ... here it is - it was the first URL in this post ... I did this with some weird bumpy pale green yarn, and it sort of looks like a bit of dried up lichen or something ...

For those who think I should be crocheting something more useful (hi Mum? ;-) I also recently finished this:

I think I was given most of that thick crochet cotton (I think it was Boadacea's leftovers) and I liked the feel of it, and the colours - so I decided to make something with it ... so I now have a nice soft cotton beanie hat ;-)
... actually ... today was a bit cooler than it has been lately, and tonight it has even got cold (even cool feels cold after it has been hot) ... so I am wearing the beanie right now (I put it on to take a photo of myself wearing it - the photo looked awful - but the beanie was nice and warm so I left it on my head ;-)

Btw - this is what happened sometime last night, while I was TRYING to actually USE the computer mouse:

yes - Spook SAT on it

(and my hand ;-)

I think she was trying to tell me it was bed time ...

... tonight Diesel (the dog) is doing that - but he is doing it his way - he is lying on the floor beside me, sound alseep!

then again ... maybe he was not sound asleep? - his eyes opened when I rattled the packet of wasabi cashews (strangely enough he loves them, so I was going to put one beside his nose and see if he ate it before or after he woke up ;-)

... so I gave him one anyway, and he ate it without even sitting up! ...

talking about sleeping animals ... this "animal" needs some sleep too!

goodnight ...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A tale (tail?) of comets that did and did not amount to (Mc)Naught

Somewhere, I have a red T-shirt, with some weird picture and the words "I saw the planet Earth" written on it ... I bought it cheap, sometime back in the 80's, a while after Halley's comet was supposed to be an amazing sight in the sky ... but turned out to be a real fizzer - I never saw it ... nor did anyone else unless they were lucky, or had a telescope and knew where to point it ... so I was just a little skeptical when I started reading, a few weeks ago, about how this comet (Comet McNaught) was visible in the Northern Hemisphere and was going to become visible here, downunder ...
I dutifully checked out when and where to see it, and the first night it was supposed to possibly be visible - I totally forgot (but I don't think anyone else could see it anyway) ... then we had about 5 nights where the relevant bit of sky was either cloudy or full of smoke haze (probably from the bushfires down in Victoria) ... then finally tonight (well - techically "last night" seeing it is now after Midnight again) it was fairly clear ... so, at the predicted time - just on sunset, DH (Dear Husband) and I went outside to look ... and we looked and we looked ... and the sun set and the sky got darker and darker ... and we looked a bit more ... then DH got bored and came in here to fiddle with some star watching program on the computer to see where that said the comet was ... then finally, as the sky got even darker, I spotted it! ... in fact once I had found it, and it got even darker - it was a bit hard to miss!
... Unfortunately it was easier to see it, than it was to get a good photo of it ... but I did get this sort of OK one:

the tail looked even bigger later on, when the sky was even darker, but the darker sky meant my photos were not that great ... and I probably could have got a better one shortly after I took this, but DH stole the tripod! ... then when he finished with it, I decided to go walking with the dog and the camera/tripod, to try and get a photo with hills on the horizon instead of someone's roof. Unfortunately when I got to the first bit of high ground, the steet lights were too bright, and by the time I got to the further away bit of high ground, the head of the comet had totally vanished into the smoke haze/clouds that were right on the horizon and the tail didn't look very bright either.
Oh well I didn't get any really great photos, but at least I saw it! ... it has taken me 44 years to get to see something quite like that.
It is a pity I didn't get a few better photos - just before the comet became visible, I spotted the very thin crescent of the moon, just below Venus ... so seeing Venus, a tiny thing slice of the moon and then a comet, all together in the same bit of the sky, was rather a pretty sight ...
Hopefully there will be a clear sky again tomorrow ... and this time I might go find that hill a bit sooner, and, if DH isn't using it with his camera, I will use the tripod and a longer exposure a bit sooner (it was only when it got dark that I thought to go inside and find the tripod)
DH didn't get any decent photos either, even though he now has a digital SLR camera (second hand on e-bay ;-) trying to take photos of a comet, in a hurry, in the dark, is not the best time to try and work out how to use all the fancy settings/etc on a new camera ...

A few mintues after I took my "sort of OK" photo, with the flash turned off and using the tripod, DD (Dear Daughter) stood on the ladder (we had the ladder beside the house so we could see the horizon over the ugly tall roof on one of the houses behind ours, but when the comet bacame visible it was still high enough in the sky to see it while standing in the back yard) and she took a photo of the comet with my camera ... it was even visible with some camera shake, and someone's outside light on (I am glad they didn't put that on until AFTER I had taken my photo - the glare would have been right between the comet and where we could see it from down in the back yard) ... in fact I kind of like DD's photo ... the wierd reflections from the light in the lens make it look like the aliens are beaming in to the neighbours back yard or something ...

"Beam me up Scotty" ... I want to go and explore the universe!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Fiddling with felt

... because it felt good at the time?

actually it did - there is something strangely satisfying about sitting and stitching whatever comes to mind/falls out of the needle onto a bit of fabric/felt/etc ...

Tuesday afternoon I had a couple more ideas for things to do with blanket stitch and herringbone stitch (the first 2 week's stitches for the TAST challenge) so I dug out a bit of white felt and some black thread (I was tempted to do it the other way but decided that one black background to try and take good photos of is enough ;-) ... and this is what I came up with that evening:

The star thingy at the top is 2 circles of blanket stitch, with some detatched chain being worked around that (more about that in a later post - that is the stitch we are doing this week).

I also did this weird thingy in blanket stitch:

I am not sure what it is - it just "fell out of the needle" ... but I quite like it.
Also I did the funny pointy herringbone thingy at the bottom right.

But neither of those were what I had the ideas for - the first 2 things I stitched on the block were a blanket stitch fish skeleton (a blanket stitch herring bone?! ;-) and the tail of what is going to be a herringbone snake.

Here is a close up of the fish:

I made the photo lighter so that the stitching shows up better (all these photos should come up as clickable links too - so you can click on them and see the full size picture if you want a closer look at anything ;-)
The fish is done with 2 rows of blanket stitch back to back ... and his mouth and tail are - yes - more detatched chain (you know me - why just do one thing at a time if I can do several things at once? :-)

Here is the snake's tail:

again - I made the photo lighter so the stitching shows up better.
This is worked in herringbone stitch, and in just one row, not 2 rows over the top of each other (which would look almost the same) - instead of bringing the needle up next to where it went in, I came up one "cross" further along, leaving a gap that is then filled in whith the next stitch on that side ... if that makes any sense.
I worked this bit of stitching free hand with no lines marked (and I started in about the middle, worked to the tail and then went back to where I had started off and worked back in the other direction) ... then I realised that I was going to have to plan where the snake was going to be so that it fitted in around the other stuff on the block, and so I can leave a gap where the head end of the snake crosses over the tail end - so I stitched the blue dotted line to use as a guide.
(that is not visible on this detailed photo but it is on the first photo, and on the next one ;-)

hmmmm - that little bit of detatched chain poking into the bottom right hand corner of the photo has given me an idea - one of those would make a really good tounge for the snake too!

Tonight last night (it is after midnight so anything before then is technically yesterday, but I am thinking of it as "tonight" because I have not been to bed yet) I added some more bits while watching something on TV:

There is now another blanket stitch circle thingy next to the other one (inside what is going to be the loop of the snake, when I finish the snake) and a herringbone star ... that is a bit wonky on one side (the side I started on - with some stitches, such as blanket and herringbone, I tend to have to fiddle to get them right when I first start ... probably because I don't do them every day, and I probably never work the stitch the same way twice in a row either;-)
I also did an "ear" of grain using this weeks stitch (detatched chain) but I will post more about that later (sometime in the next few days).

... and, while I was putting those photos onto the computer, I just had another idea and did this:

not the top bit (that is the upside down top of the ear of grain) - the blanket stitch bit at the bottom of the photo - ?half of a worm? ... or it could be a grub/caterpillar/whatever ... I could use the idea for any of those things, and maybe also for a body for an insect too (like a bee or moth or something else with a segmented body). I will probably finish this and make it a worm, or maybe turn it into a centipede or millipede? - I left it half done for 2 reasons - 1: I had done enough to take a photo of and I want to finish doing this and go to bed before it starts to get light! and 2: by leaving it half done so there is a bit where only one side is done, it shows how I have worked the 2 rows of blanket stitch facing each other (as opposed to the fish, where they are back to back).

That last photo is a bit blurry too (the other one I took was even worse) ... I have noticed that close up photos don't work too well in bad light (the flash washes out the whole photo, or if you don't use the flash the shutter speed is a bit too slow)

Anyway ... the clock on the bottom of the computer screen is just about to tick over to 4am ... oops ... I wasn't going to stay up quite this late ... sigh ...

(it's a good thing I am still on holidays from work ;-)


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wilting Pumpkins

In the middle of the day, when it gets hot and sunny, the pumkin leaves wilt - and while they wait for it to get cooler again, they stand there looking like a forrest of abandoned umbrellas ...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Herringbone and Buttonhole

I finally got around to doing Week 1 and 2 of the "Take a Stitch Tuesday" challenge (see and )

Week 1 is Herringbone stitch.
I looked at Sharon's whole pile of interesting examples, and noticed that one of them kind of looked like chicken wire/cyclone fence wire ... and an idea started to form in my mind ... why not do some chicken wire on my block/whatever (the idea came a day or 5 before I actually decided what I was going to do these stitches on ;-)
... then I got to thinking about how I already have some bits set aside to make my Decmember Journal quilt (from last year - I still have December and August to make and November to finish the last little bit of) and some of those bits are a couple of odd shaped bits that were cut from ... wait for it ... chicken wire! ... funny how some things kind of pop up out of nowhere and then the same thing pops up again a few days later and/or somewhere else - like an idea wants to make sure it comes out one way or another ... so I got to wondering if, for my bit of herringbone stitch, I might be able to do a peice of chicken wire/fence that had been cut - like I have broken out from wherever I don't want to be ... or something weird like that ...

anyway ... this is what I ended up with:

... someone tell me WHY I chose to do this challenge, which I intend to take and post photos of, using SHINY BLACK fabric? ... especially when I already know, from prior experience (with trying to phtograph other shiny black quilty things, like my Janurary journal quilt last year!) that shiny black fabric quilts/etc are something that is VERY hard to take a decent photo of!
I took several photos (both last night and today) of this stitch, ditto with the other one, and ... maybe shiny thread also wasn't a good idea for something I want to photograph - I ended up with several out of focus pictures (but that is usual ... even the newer digital cameras still have a bit of trouble with black/shiny/close up/badly lit stuff) and a few where the flash is shining off the thread so much that I can't see the stitching at all ... and this one - I played with the colours/etc (with photo editing software) of a few of the pictures, but I ended up leaving this one the colour it was because when I thought about it - I realised that the fabric probably WAS this colour at the time - I took this photo outside, in a hurry (the TV show I wanted to watch was about to start ;-) just before sunset this evening ... so I think that golden glow was probably really there ...

The stitching was done in some shiny silvery stuff that likes to shred itself as I sew (grrrr) ... the herringbone was worked in horizontal rows ... I started at the bottom of the photo ... and worked the rows back and forth in 2 directions (so I had to turn the work upside down for every other row).

Week 2 is Buttonhole stitch:
There is one variation of buttonhole stitch that I came up with a year or 3 ago, and have done on a few things now, it is nothing fancy and the same thing has probably been done by other people before anyway, but I hadn't seen the exact same thing when I came up with it ... I was sewing pretty seams onto some crazy block or another and trying to decide what to do that wasn't just boring buttonhole/blanket stitch with the "ends" all the same size and this idea kind of "fell out of my needle" ... I think I did 2 or 3 stitches of different heights and then realised I could make it look like the markings on a ruler ... I think I did a couple variations on that block - I had to have one in cm and one in inches ;-)
Anyway, even though I also had another idea I wanted to fiddle with, I decided that I would do a seam of buttonhole ruler markings on the block as well - so here it is:

yes - mostly out of focus (the other 5 photos I took were worse), and I had to fiddle to get the colours right (the black looked brown in the photo) ... but you should be able to see what I did - this one looks like a ruler that has 1/4" graduations ... except the "inches" are NOT an inch long on the block (they are closer to 1cm ;-) ... I don't intend to use it to actually measure anything, I just wanted it to look a bit like the markings on a ruler ...

The other idea I had was to do a circle of buttonhole so it sort of looks like a star, and this is what I ended up with:

The dots at the ends of the stitches are French Knots - they were part of my original idea - I like using knots or tiny beads at the ends of things like this. I did the first circle of buttonhole stitch (the larger circle with the shorter "spokes"/ends/whatever u call them) and the French knots on the ends, and I decided it looked a bit bare with the stitches so far apart (they were sort of closer in my mind but that didn't happen when I actually stitched it) so I did what I often do - came up with an even better idea to "fix" something that didn't work as intended - and added the second circle of buttonhole stitches (and the knots on the ends of them) and I liked what I ended up with ... but - me being me - I just HAD to add the blue knot in the middle ... but I think that makes it even better ... kind of gives it a middle ... and makes it sort of look like an eye ...

I have also been uploading a pile of other photos onto this computer while typing this (the same lot I was putting on the other computer while typing the stuff I posted here on Saturday ;-) and while I was doing that, and this, I have also been having a bit of a poke around in some other photos ... I found this one:

... actually it is part of a bigger one I found, but I cut out the relevant bit to put here - it was a crazy block I made for Mum, and this bit has a sort of ruler thingy (except the stitches are only 2 different heights so I guess that one is a cm one marked every 5mm? ;-) and some of the sort of herringbone I usually do ...

- actually there are 2 variations of herringbone I have done on various crazy blocks/quilts/etc - I often do this basic one and sometimes I get a bit more fancy and do the one where you do stitches over where the bits cross over ... I think I do most of my "getting fancy" by using different threads or fancy yarns, or adding weird beads/motifs/etc, rather than doing complicated stitches ... mostly I kind of do what comes to mind when I look in my stash to find threads/yarns/beads/etc that go on whatever it is I am working on ... and I use the fluffy/etc yarns and stuff because I like them ... but I often do some sort of stitching experiment on whatever it is that I am making ...

Oh Ok ... if you insist (I guess I was planning to put a photo of this in here sometime anyway) - here is the whole block:

The "experiment" on this block was a couple of swirly "S" shaped thingys done with beads- one spiralling in to a sequin (the one just above and to the right of the blue butterfly motif) ... actually the block next to it was also an experiment - it is coloured wool that was trimmed off the end of a felted scarf someone was making, sewn down with some matching thread. Beside that is a spider on a web - I try to do one of those on all the crazy quilts/blocks I make, then next to that is the other swirly beaded thingy I was talking about - seed beads spiralling in to a sequin, but this time I threaded some matching thread (2 strands of pearle 8 I think?) through the beads after I had sewn them on.

Now I really should stop raving on, and also not do any more rummaging around in my photos, and go to bed - if I go now, I might just have time to get to sleep before DH has to get UP to get ready for work ... if you have not already guessed - yes - I am still on holidays ;-)

oh - btw - all these photos should (provided this works like it usually does) also be clickable links to the full sized versions, if you want a "closer" look at some of them.

goodnight ...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

"Take a Stitch Tuesdays" ... my yearquilt?

Hmmm ... I have more UFOs (UnFinished Objects) than all the episodes of "The X-Files" ... but here I am starting something else ... as usual ...
So what is my excuse this time? - well ... this person - - has challenged everyone/anyone to "Take a Stitch Tuesday" ... every week this year she is going to post something about a stitch/etc (an embroidery stitch or whatever that one would use on things like crazy quilt blocks or samplers etc) and those who want to join in then go and have a play with that stitch and see what they come up with ... so of course I said I would join in ...

This is what I said in the comment I left on her blog -

I am not sure WHEN I will fit this in, but I can't resist a challenge ;-)
so - I will try and do each week's stitch ... eventually.
I will try and do all the weekly stitches/whatever but they might not all get done during the week they are supposed to be for (knowing me, I will probably post my pictures of them a few at a time every few weeks) but I will try not to get too far behind - it will be a good excuse to post something to my blog a bit more often than I have been doing :-)
Now all I have to do is actually FIND something to stitch with and something to stitch ON ... at the moment I am in the middle of a huge sort out of my sewing room (and the rest of the house and the garage too!) I know where my threads/etc are but I don't have a crazy quilting project on the go that I could use for this, and didn't have plans to start one right now ... but I can stitch on something now and work out what to do with it later, so I am sure some interesting fabric will turn up amongst the mess, and tell me to stitch on it ...

Of course I was still deciding what to do when the first Tuesday (Herringbone stitch) came and went, and when the second Tuesday (Buttonhole stitch) came, I still had not made anything to stitch on (although I did have half an idea what I was going to do) ...
When I thought of what to do, I also decided to make it double as my "yearquilt" - I am on a yahoogroup for people doing yearquilts ... most people do things like choose a design/quilt block/etc and then choose a bit of fabric to represent each day and use those bits of fabric to make the blocks/quilt (some people do a block for each week or month, others do rows of rectangles/etc and others do a hexagon/etc for each day and join them all up into a quilt ... of course the year I got around to doing one (turned out to be an interesting year to do it - 2003 - with the Canberra bushfires and all sorts of stuff happening), I did something totally different and chose a little triangular scrap of fabric for each day, with the idea of laying them all out in a wiggly line across a background and sewing them down with lines of quilting, and calling it "365 Daze" ... I chose a fabric for each day, and wrote in my diary about those that had anything significant to write about (there were a few boring days/weeks where all I did was go to work and not much else, so I chose some nice scraps I had got from various people/places for those) ... but they are all still pinned to a bit of styrofoam ready and waiting for me to actually make the quilt ... I might do that one year ... I want to do it now but I am still in the middle of sorting out my sewing room and the garage (yes - the same sort out I was blogging about at this time last year! - I never did get it finished!)
er ... where was I? LOL
Oh yes - the thing I am going to do my weekly Tuesday stitch on - I had the idea of making 6 crazy blocks and either doing 2 months of stitches on each one, or stitching on whatever one each week's stitch would work best on, and then making them into a quilt ... but when I had the first block 3/4 done last night, I decided that more than 2 months would fit on a block, and I had thought of something else to use the block for - I noticed that if I "just add a bit more to this side and finish that bit" it would be the right size to fit on the lid of a box I had lying around ... so here it is, lying on the open box:

... also in the box are the threads that I will probably use to do the stitching with ... the box just happens to be handy to use to put the block and threads and other sewing bits in while I work on it, and when it is finished, I will probably use the box for other small sewing projects. The block will go on the top of the lid, and I might line the inside with fabric and do some more stitching on that, depending just what sorts of stitches get posted and if I run out of room on the top ... although if it gets a bit crowded with stitches/etc after a few months I will probably make it a 6 month quilt and then do the stitches on something else for the other half of the year ...

Now that I have done all the typing I guess I had better put the photo in ... which I can't do until I actually put it ON the computer ... (I only just took the photo a few minutes ago, while I was writing this stuff - I am at the computer in my sewing room and the block/box/etc are on the sewing desk beside me ;-)
Actually, putting the photos from the camera onto this computer was what I came in here to do - I took more than 50 photos of the sunset this evening! (I took a heap of the dog and cat etc too - I think I took about 100 pictures in about half an hour or so ;-)... but I decided to post to my blog while I was here ... so of course I ended up starting this first ... LOL

ok ... photos are on the computer ... hmmm ... the silvery grey bit in the middle of the block does not stand out quite that much in real life ... and yes it is a weird mix of all sorts of odd black (and dark grey) fabric ... hopefully it will look good with silver and "jewel coloured" stitching on it (Jewel colours is what a lot of quilters call those nice bright shiny pinks, purples, blues, greens etc that look so good on/with either a black or white background)

I thought about putting a dog photo (or maybe even the video I took of the dog ingoring the cat having a dust bath right in front of him on the back lawn) here too ... but, apart from a Christmas card, I have not posted anything to Spot since about June, so I might put it/them on there ... so I suppose I had better go do that now ...

Goodnight ;-)