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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Zzz ... ? ... Zen and the art of stitching?

[Note: this sounded like a great post - in my head - while I was out walking the dog an hour or so ago! ... I wonder how much of it I can remember now that I am actually IN here typing it all up?]

[Another Note: the dog walk was actually a day or so ago now ... but I came in here and started typing this about an hour after walking the dog ... spent an hour or 2 typing it, then went and took photos, came back in here and typed a bit more, and did a pile of editing, and somehow I seem to be still up at "stupid o'clock" again.
btw - I can type quite fast, but it usually takes me a while to think up what I actually want to type]

Zzzzzzz ... oops?! ... I slept in? LOL
... actually no ... well ... er ... yes - not having to go to work at the moment (I work at a School - so am officially on leave for most of January) means that I have been staying up until "stupid o'clock" in the morning and sleeping in until lunch time most days ... but that is not why I am almost probably definitely too late for a Z post for ABC Wednesday (because the linky thingy is closed ... sigh ...)
I kind of didn't have any fantastic ideas for Z ... and then what few I could think of kind of paled into insignificance and didn't seem worth me raving on about, in light of what has been going on with all the floods (and some bushfires, just for variety) here in Australia (and in a few other places for that matter).

so ... this post sat here as a draft with this small list of ideas in it and nothing else:

Zed (as opposed to Zee)
stuff with Z genus/spp names?

The were a few things that I thought of while I was logged in doing my X post, or maybe it was while I was typing up the other thing I posted on Tuesday?
hmmm 3 short lines doth not an interesting blog post make - LOL
Zed is how we say the letter Z here in Australia ... well - except for way too many kids who have been watching a bit too much American TV and say Zee instead of Zed ... sigh ...
Zonked is probably what I should be instead of being up too late getting lost in blogger/doing my e-mail/playing with Gimp/on Facebook/surfing on Youtube or some other weird website I found/whatever.
And I could have found any number of Zoological or botanical/etc things to post about ... like spider species/genera with names starting with a Z ... or Zooplankton ... or Zygospores, Zygomycota, Zygotes ... etc etc etc ... I could have even posted about Zooxanthellae (except I only just found out what those are a few minutes ago - while getting side tracked on a website where I was originally looking at stuff about spiders - lol - well - a link to a sea slug forum sounded too weird NOT to go and have a quick peek at ;-)
(btw ... the first 2 links go to some random search results ... the third one goes to the Australian Museum website - where I was looking at spiders, and the sea slug forum - lol)

But ... doing another rambly nonsense post, for no other reason than to ramble on about some Z stuff, just didn't seem right ... so I went back to getting lost checking the e-mail in the yahoogroups I am on, and checking Facebook - because I know people on both those who have been flooded out, or nearly were, or have family who were, or who live in areas near the flooding but I wasn't sure exactly where they were until they posted to say they were ok.

In between times - I spent some time doing some of the sorting out I was hoping to get finished during these school holidays, but probably won't again (sigh) and a lot of time watching the varous 24 hour news channels on TV, and watching a few other odd TV shows that DH (Dear Husband) and I watched together because he is a shift worker and was on days off ...

Then a day or 2 ago I did start to think of half an idea of posting something about Zentangles ... which seem to be all the rage among some of my e-mail and Facebook friends (and yes - that link is to the blog where I kind of accidentally WON a Zentangle drawing by being the 100th person to subscribe to her blog! - I posted about it here but it had not arrived in the mail yet so I didn't post a photo of it) ... I have not got into Zentangling as such myself - but I have been doing the odd similar sort of doodly thing ever since I can remember ... at least as long ago as when I was in high school ... so maybe I can do Zendoodles instead of Zentangles? (especially seeing Zentangles is a name that the "inventor" of that name has copyrighted).

Seeing everyones Zentangles on the WWW has actually inspered me to do a few doodly drawings lately - mostly during a couple of interesting public lectures where I realised that I did not need to spend the whole time taking copious pages of notes that I never get around to reading again anyway - so in the spaces between the bit of note taking I did do - I doodled ...

This is one I did in the front page of my "visual diary" ... which I started drawing/writing/pasting/etc  stuff in aproximately a year or so ago (very aproximately - for some odd reason I didn't write in the date I started it, or write a date on the first few things I put in it ... except for "2009" on an envelope of leaves I collected in 2009 but had in a plastic sleeve with something else for at least a couple of months after I collected them, and a date in March 2010 printed on a bit of paper that I then wrote/drew something else on and stuck in the book)

The book was actually some old one I found in a drawer in one of the science labs at work - in fact I think there were 2 of them and both had a page or 5 in the front that were used and they were going to be thrown out - but the rest of the books were still nice and clean looking and the rest of the pages were still blank - so I tore out the used pages and kept them (I think my original idea might have been to write out some poems in them or something, because I did already have a visual diary with blank pages, but I had used it for a bit and then kind of stopped).  I also drew a quick doodle on the front ... actually I think I remember doing that in about Febuary and that it was just after I started putting stuff in there ... but the cover of the book is some sort of shiny stuff and I used an overhead projector pen, so even though it was a permanent marker it has almost all rubbed off again ...
Here are a couple of more recent doodles, done during 2 or 3 different public lectures I went to late last year:

I didn't glue these into the book yet because I was thinking of scanning them ... I might still do that sometime later - then I will have a lot clearer/better image of each of them to play with in GIMP  ;-)
Anyway ... when I was thinking the other night (probably one of the nights when I took the dog for a walk at "stupid o'clock" in the morning, which is why I sort of half forgot about it again until I was out walking the dog at a more normal hour this evening ;-)  I started thinking about maybe I should do a post about what I had been sewing and maybe not worry if I did a Z post or not ... and then I got to thinking about what I might say about my sewing, and about the floods that I was watching stuff about on TV while sewing some of it ... and I got to thinking about how that sort of sewing is possibly a kind of stress realease type thing ... and I reaslised it is kind of rather ... Zen ... ! LOL   ... so - I guess I was doing some Zen stitching ...

[Yet Another Note: this is where I finally got to the point of this post, and the title actually might make some sense to anyone mad enough to still be reading this]

It started out as a bit of calico fabric (an off white coloured cotton fabric known as muslin in the USA) because I wanted to do something for the "Summer Challenge" for the textile art group I am in - ACTTAA and the only rule is that is has to be some kind of cover for a diary/notebook/visual art diary/etc and it has to start off as/with a bit of calico.
so - I went and found a bit of painted calico that I had - it was one I had from an art quilt group activity day, where we played with painting on fusible webbing (stuff like Vleisofix/Wonder Under/Mistyfuse/etc) with acrylic paint and ironing it onto fabric ... and I used this particluar bit as my clean up rag - if I do fabric painting (or dying), I always find/take a bit of scrap fabric to use as a clean up rag - and I find as much interesting stuff to clean up as I can - so that I end up with a very painty (or dyed) bit of interesting looking fabric to play with later on ... this one just happened to be a sort of greyish greenish blue, because those were the colours I (and probably the person next to me ;-) had been using.
Once I had dug out and ironed that bit of painted calico, I then grabbed something as a batting/backing material (needed something a bit stiff but not too stiff, and soft enough to give the stitches some texture but not too thick ... and I found a couple of weird cleaning rags (unused ones - I "borrowed" a couple from work because nobody liked them anyway, and gave them something else instead) that were just perfect. (even more so seeing the front was a "cleaning rag" too ;-)
Then I machine stitched some swirly lines all over it, and then spent ages doing hand stitching all over it using various threads (mostly, but not all, cotton sewing thread - because I had that in the colours I wanted).
This is what I ended up with:

and this is the back - showing the weird cleaning cloth I used underneath:

I drew that black line around my 2011 diary - which is what this is the cover for - before I did the stitching (and I allowed about 1mm for the shrinkage that happens when you stitch on something like this) and then did a line of straight machine stitching on that line so I could see where to stop when I was hand stitching on the front.

Oddly enough - the colours were not inspired by the floods (but I am kind of happy that the colours kind of suggest that they might have been, if that makes any sense) ... the worst of the floods had not happened yet when I chose that particular bit of fabric, and the threads I used on it. I was originally thinking of using blue and green thread and maybe some purple and some gold metallic stuff I have ... but then DH (Dear Husband) and I took DS (Dear Son) and his girlfriend out to tea at an Indian Resteraunt that they like, and I saw this hanging on the wall:

yes - it just happened to be almost the same colours as my bit of partly stitched fabric (so far I had only done a little bit of green and blue stitching on it) and I realised that I liked the greenish blue and silver better than the original idea with the gold in it - and I also have some nice metallic silver threads - so I used those ...

hmmm - it isn't easy to see unless you do the "click on it to get the original size image" thing - but I didn't realise just how much gold was also in that Indian quilt! LOL
Anyway ... here is what it looks like sewn up into the diary cover:

one side ...

... and the other side

both sides with the diary open upside down:

diary open so you can see there actually IS one in there - lol

- of course I had to be "me" and put a matching tassel thingy on the end of the bit of ribbon in the diary.

btw ... that one is actually my second thingy I have made for that challenge - I made this one late last year:

... but this first one was never meant to be the only one - it was something I did fairly quickly (a couple of weeks after we were given the challnge, which isn't due to be finished until the Febuary meeting) when a couple of left over bits I had been using to make ATCs (Artists Trading Cards) jumped out of a pile of sewing stuff I was digging around in (looking for something else I probably never did find) and told me to use them - I didn't have a new diary for 2011 at that time, and was not sure what size I was going to buy, but I had seen some small ones for $1.50 at the newsagent ... not sure why I didn't find an old one the same size (I have a few - I keep my diary each year, just in case I need to go back and look when I did something) ... I probably wasn't sure I wanted a diary that small anyway (not much room to write in all the things I sometimes do) ... so I grabbed a small notebook (one of those ones that is just a pile of sticky notes with something odd printed on them ... the sort that get handed out as advertising/etc) and decided to make a cover that would fit something about that size (which was also a good size to make a calico cover with those ATC things on each side) and if the diary didn't fit I would use it for that, or make a notebook/art book/etc that did fit. Next time I went to that newsagent (the next day on my way home from work ;-) I bought the diary ... it did just fit (if I took the plastic cover off) but a day later I found a bigger diary (the one I now have inside the Zen stitched greenish blue and silver cover ;-) at a different shop, for the same price as the small one ... so I gave the small one to DD (Dear Daughter)'s boyfriend because he said he needed one when he saw me fiddling with it the day I bought it. I might make some sort of arty farty mixed media art book thingy to go in that cover ... and/or I might use it as a cover for my business cards, if I ever get around to designing and printing any hmmm - kind of not a lot of point having a business card if I don't have a business ... LOL ... but I do sell one or 2 odd things in the shop they have at the yearly textile art exhibition and guess I could also use a business card, with my name, e-addy, and blog URL, as a label for the items I put in there to sell ... (or at least try and sell - not everything gets bought - if I don't want to keep it why would anyone else? ;-)

hmmm - this post wasn't meant to be yet another ratty "all over the place" one ... but it sure looks like it is! ... not really very Zen at all? ... sigh ...

It is also Zzzz time again ... and I have not put any of the photos in yet ... probably because I have not put them on the computer yet ... I was going to do that while I typed this, but I kind of never got around to doing that ... and I realised I still needed to TAKE some of the photos ... which I have just been doing for the last half an hour (I got busy digging around finding a few other things I needed/wanted photos of, that were also in the same pile of stuff, or nearby ... oh ... and I took a photo of the 1 Chritmas card (out of about half a dozen I got sent and about the same number I got given at work) that actually got hung up this year (oops?) and then I took a few weird photos of spider webs amongst the stuff on the top of some shelves that I realy should dust a bit more often than every 2 or 3 years!)
so ... I might add the photos, and anything else I need to write about them (depending which ones I actually put in here) and then hit the "publish" button sometime tomorrow.

Yes I DID find/take a few more photos to add in here ...

- a pile of bits I will be making something with soon, but after the other thing I have to do first, the art quilt group I am in (part of Canberra Quilters) did a Christmas swap - where we swapped envelopes of bits, with the idea that we will make something with the bits and bring it to the March meeting.

The other thing I have to do is for the same group - but due at the Febuary meeting ... so of course I have not started mine yet ... but I will do that in the next few days.

a spare postcard, and an extra not quite big enough one I also did the same thing to, from the Spring postcard swap we had on an Art quilt yahoogroup:

(I sent 4 but I think I forgot to take a photo of them before I sent them - but they were the same design as these 2)

... and above them is a brooch I made a year or 2 ago, because I don't think I had ever taken a photo of it and it was hanging around with all this other stuff (the brooche is some fabric - probably more leftovers from ATCs or something, with dog hair and shells stitched on to it)

These are the 4 wonderful postcards that I got back from the swap:

(they are from Ann, Marg, Diana and Buffy)

And this is an ATC ... but not mine ... it is one I got from Linda who offered to swap a couple with other bloggers - I sent her one and she sent me this one (except it was the other way around because she had already made hers and I was a bit slack and took a while to make one to swap back ;-)

maybe it would have looked better NOT sitting on its envelope/card/etc?

... but the card/etc were nice too ;-)
(the ATC is made from selvedges - clever eh?)

This is something else I made late last year:

in fact I was in the middle of making it when I found out about that diary/journal/notebook cover challenge and maybe could have got away with using this ... except the background fabric is not calico (but the backing is ;-)  Actually I don't have any particular use in mind for this yet ... I needed something to take somewhere and sew, and threw togethe this fabric with some batting and backing and Zoomed up and down it with some wiggly lines of machine stitching and then did all the hand sewing ... I might use it as the top of a box or folder or something, or I might just hang it on the wall as it is ...
(btw ... the hand stitching on there is done with crochet yarn, crochet thead, some beads, linnen thread, some yarn I finger spun out of hair from my dog (with a bit of the cat mixed in on one end of one bit), and a little circle of my hair as well)

And ... because I just couldn't do a Z post without at least one weird Zooological type photo - here is a snail:

He/She (snails are actually both at the same time ;-) was on the path when I was walking the dog the other night ... looks like this one was being a typical Canberra driver - keeping one eye on where it was going ... while the other one (er - 3 in this case?) was on whatever else it was doing instead of just driving ... lol

btw ... I did think about saving this last photo for my A post, but seeing I have something else in mind for that - here is a photo of the Illuminated A Zentangle thing that Jane sent to me:

it is rather Amazing!
(it is approximately A5 size, which is half the size of A4 paper usually used for letters, or bills. I didn't realise just how incredibly fine the detail is in her work until I saw this one in person, rather than on a computer monitor ;-)

and now ... I seem to have run out of evening again, and seeing that I have to get up in the morning - and go to a sewing morning with Canberra Quilters and then have lunch and a vitit to the art exhibition at the cafe and visitors centre at the Australian National Botanic Gardens with a group of people from the Textile art group I am in, and it is now almost "stupid o'clock" again - I had better go get some Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


  1. Way to much for me to read, Z or A, that is the question?

  2. I love your doodles. You do beautiful work. I mostly love that you can get up at stupid o clock this month! Relish it : )

  3. Fun post for the A Day! Great doodles! Hope you're week is going well!!

    ABC Wednesday Team

  4. Doing it all, I see.

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  5. Wow, this is quite a post. A lot of hard work went into it. Thanks for all the information and lovely stitchery. You have more patience than I.

  6. Beautiful work! I can't believe you did all that for ABC. You're very dedicated.

  7. I'm your newest follower from ABC-WED, hope you will follow me back here@ Step Up
    Take Care

    Jijie :)

  8. beautiful creations..

    Visiting from ABC Wednesday. I am your new follower too. I hope you can visit my entry too.
    A is for Angels

  9. I really like your diary cover.

  10. WOW ... all these comments! - I didn't know that many people actually READ my blog!

    ... yes it is mostly Z, got Another thing or 2 lined up for A ;-)
    I like the ABC Wednesday thing because I have fun making stuff (that I wanted to post about sometime soon anyway) fit whatever letter we are up to (and a few that we are not up to quite yet - those posts get started and saved as drafts ready for when we ARE up to that letter ... although sometimes I miss it one or 2 times and it gets changed a bit/added to/etc)
    Now ... I had better go look at all your blogs (sometimes I am so busy doing my posts, and all the other things i do online and in the real world, that I run out of time to go and look at all of the other ABC posts every week)

  11. Hi,
    I tried to read this post, but I must confess that I could not finish it. The best blog posts are said to be about 1000 words. For these alphabet-memes, I try to choose a topic that has something recognisable to most people. I also try to edit so that I get to the point in my copy.
    I am no expert. It could just be that I am too tired. But it might be something for you to think about when you write your blog posts. If you want to be read, you should think a little more about the reader. Otherwise you may as well just write this in a notebook that no one looks at.
    Best wishes,
    Anna's ABC-Wd-A is for Animal-Helpers

  12. Just a quick comment to say:
    1) I'd never heard of Zentangles until this post
    2) Love your doodles.

  13. Anne - thanks for the feedback - you are probably 100% correct - lol
    ... I guess most of the reason I originally started this blog was so I had a kind of virtual "notebook" (that I didn't mind if nobody reads) to stick some stuff that I noticed I had been writing in e-mails to some lists I am on, or comments on blogs ... then I kind of discovered I liked writing blog posts ;-)
    but, even though I know a few people actually come and look at my blog - I still tend to forget to make sure it is interesting/readable for anybody other than someone who thinks exactly like me - LOL


Feel free to have your say ... I will read it eventually ... and maybe even answer you, if you asked a question ;-)