Monday, 23 December 2013

A Merry Murder and Quilty Christmas.......

 Were you watching Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries Christmas special last night?  (Go to the ABC web site if you missed it or want to watch it again).  Lots of fun - spot the location, which props were brought in  and what really belonged to Montsalvat? Was that wall really there?  Great reasons to watch it again!  But what great use of the Great Hall especially, not an angle or entrance missed.  And of course now we know what all these lights were for.

They'd almost finished removing the snow when this picture was taken - on the quiet, the snow look remarkably like quilt batting! 

 The spirit of Christmas reminds me of the  kindness and generosity of quilters.  Not content with making often complex and beautiful quilts for themselves, as groups, both large and small, they quietly get busy with projects where their time and sewing skills  can be used to help others.   

Take my friend Olga Walters.  Many of you know of her as an award winning art quilter and patchwork teacher.  What most of you wont know is that she is also a brilliant  traditional quilter, absolutely wonderful with colour and design. As you can see by this work in progress.

 In her non-existent spare time she  spends her Friday mornings at St Phillip's Anglican Church in North Box Hill helping teach Sudanese women how to sew.   It is a skill building class that teaches women  to dressmake for a living or to sew for their families - and of course sometimes a patchwork quilt. 

They have a very well set up classroom, many of the machines have been donated, some new, some reconditioned. A little kindergarten is run in the hall  at the church during the class so that mothers don't have to worry about their children. 

 With Christmas  coming  Olga had the  idea to make dolls for these little children.  So she got busy  - she's made ten of these lovely dolls......and no two are the same, each has it's own clothes and a different hair style.  

We are having a very home-made Christmas this year.  I can't show you anything now in case some of our family see this so, on Christmas Night, after our presents are opened, I'm going to start a Twelve Days of Christmas - question is can I have the self discipline during the holiday season to do 12 straight days of blogging?

Merry Christmas everyone!


Sunday, 22 December 2013

Once there was a wedding tree...........

What goes up must come down!   Our yarn bombing in wool and cotton was starting fade, and looking a bit sad.  So the time had  come and on a hot summers evening we made a sortie to Montsalvat to bump out.

Our woolly tags came off in seconds along with spiders of ALL sizes, slaters and many creepy crawlies.  Horror - we were removing habitat!

But then, the wedding tree

Margaret started at the top, me, being a ladder chicken, started at the bottom.  Not so many bugs with this, maybe they dont like white.  

Such a picturesque image - could have been harvest on a summers evening.  But on with the unpeeling......

Came off quicker than we thought.....

Just a heap of cotton crochet on the grass -  which turned out not to be quite the pretty white it had been on the tree.

The first wash to remove loose mould, dust and moss.  In the new year it will be soaked, pressed and sorted.  It was a kind of harvest, because, we have plans for it!!!! Just wait til our exhibition next year!!!!

Now back to a previous post - as you will see I dont really have egg on my face over the snow at Montsalvat issue.  Dont miss tonight's Christmas special Frynne Fisher, ABC1 at 7.30, and you really will see snow at Montsalvat just like we did!

Merry Christmas Montsalvat, and a fantastic New Year full of so many more amazing things.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Green Grafitti?????

A Facebook message - "you gotta look at this, its just right for you".  Yep, it was Margaret leading me astray again.  This time its Green Grafitti.  Google it, its amazing.  The idea of a subversive grafitti, paint it on, cant tell its there, then in a few weeks where you painted grows moss.  Wow !  Then clean it off with lime juice and its not supposed to harm the wall underneath.  That latter I'm not sure of, when I scrub moss off our paving there's definitely damage, however I haven't tried limejuce.....yet......

Well time has gone by and at last, now the weather is hot and likely to be dry and totally wrong, its time for a test run.  Any sensible person would wait til autumn, or the beginning of winter - but you never know your luck, after all the seasons are a bit topsyturvy really.

Step one find some moss..... we have lots, many different kinds.....

And just as I said, its dry, despite the rain we've had.

Step two, wash the dirt of the roots of the moss. 

Bend of Islands moss obviously behaves quite differently to European or American moss.  It did not want to relinquish one grain of precious dirt.  Again a sensible person would  soak it for a while.  Me, I want results now!  So I got a squirter and tried a bit of pressure, none of this "carefully" stuff for me.

The little patch of dry stuff had at least  three different kinds of moss. One example I'd seen on the net had several different textures and colours so today I decided just to use the finer moss at the bottom of the picture and experiment with the others later.

Next step, add the moss to a mixture of yoghurt, water and  corn syrup.

Even the fly on my hand was puzzled.

Now for the moss shake.

Obviously,an artist has a reputation, so no way is there going to be anything in a  public space until there's been an awful lot  of experimenting.  No problem there's plenty of opportunity here.

First of all the rock garden around a shaded pond

Hoping the moss will contrast against baby's tears in the dirt in between

Then there's the spaces between the slate paving....

The bottom of a flower pot - that should be interesting, in all the web photos the moss only grows exactly where the moss shake is painted or stencilled.  So will my pot look rather silly with a mossy stripe on its bottom, or will it look even a little bit natural?

The white coating is where in the past I have painted to milk to try and get moss to grow (not very successfully).  The wet terracotta is the new stripe.

Last of all the side of a garden seat.  Its an old very weathered sleeper with deep ridges on the sides which ought to be just perfect for mossy inserts.

Having had a lovely afternoon  in high humidity painting on my moss - we've now got  38' and a northerly wind forecast for Thursday.  

The instructions on the web say paint  and come back in a couple of weeks to see how its growing, spray occasionally in warm weather.  Somehow I think I'll be wetting it a lot more than that!  That is if it isnt just too hot anyway!

Not good on the patience thing, will it be like watching the grass grow..........Let you know in a couple of weeks.....maybe......