Saturday, 20 December 2008

Stained Glass Poppies

I made a decision a couple of weeks ago to stop reading quilt/art books, watching Simply Quilts (so far I've watched every one from episode 1 to episode 757), and surfing the web, and start making things that have piqued my interest from what I've seen/read.

So, not counting my rust-dyed Ghost Gums and small landscape, I've decided to start creating a series of small works, around A4 size (11 1/2" x 8"), to try interesting techniques.

Here's the first one - Stained Glass Poppies. The pattern came from a "free" website. Originally I was going to do the leaves all in a dark green batik, but they didn't have enough light shining thru, so I've used a little of the dark green, lime green "snail trail", a lovely orange batik, and a piece of rust-dyed fabric for the background. The leading is done using Clover 4mm fusible bias tape, and the border is some hand-dyed cotton.

Most of the sewing is done using clear monofilament thread - I still don't really like this stuff, but I think I've bought cheap and nasty (Birch!), and on a bulk cone, so I found it works better to transfer some to a smaller spool - and what a pain that is! I used a blind-hem stitch on the bias, and a straight stitch to outline the outside area. It's backed with a low-loft polyester batting, adhered with bits of visoflix.

I'm quite pleased with the result, and like the orange of the poppies and the rust-dyed fabric best.

Where Did December go?

Saturday 29 November
"Shore Thing" Stitchers Exhibition, Devonport, Auckland.
Dropped Becca off at Drama class, and David and I went to have a look at this exhibition. Lots of lovely works. They've been going about 12 years, and do a lot of fibre art work, and "fun" quilts.
Then played hookey - collected Becca from Drama class and went to a friends' for a BBQ dinner - much more fun than going home to #1 son.

Monday 1-Tuesday 2 December
Flew to Sydney to meet the President/CEO of the company I work for, was totally blown away when I was given an award; "Hidden Treasures", which included a coin, a certificate, and MONEY to spend on craft stuff (oh GOODY!) - for being a good girl and making things happen! Flew home again.

Friday 5-Sunday 7 December
Got my eyebrows & eyelashes done, flew to Sydney, explored Darling Harbour - pretty lights! Darn, where was the camera? Oh, that's right, we wouldn't be out long! Saturday morning we walked up to Hyde Park, said hi to all the Ibis's, (who were trying to get a burger out of a paper bag), walked down to the Opera House, caught a bus back up to the top of the hill, talked to the security guard outside a Synagogue (finding out later that the Karaoke bar next door had been firebombed the previous night). Walked down to the Queen Victoria Building - beautiful, Titanic-like architecture and decoration - then back to the hotel. Got mini-bused to Rosehill Racecourse at Parramatta for Races and yummy food, then back to Sydney to Helm Bar for more yummy food and alcohol, finally stumbling back to the hotel around 2230 - getting old!

Took 2 hours to get thru check-in at Sydney airport due to lack of staff - arrived 0930 for an 1130 flight, thru the gate at 1115! And then of course the plane was delayed 30 minutes.

Friday 12-Saturday 13 December
"non" Dress rehearsal, and then the real thing for Becca's drama production - she's only been going to class for the last school term. We thought her group's performance of "The Beast" was pretty adventurous, and certainly enjoyable. And yes, I'm her parent, so I'm certainly biased, but it was still pretty good!

"Ghost Story" by Becca

The oaken door slowly opened, and as he cautiously stepped forward the old floor creaked. Justin almost screamed, quickly looked around and shuddered. He was a slim, pale-skinned boy with blue eyes and light brown hair. He was easily scared, especially in the old castle where he lived.

It was a very old building, with maze-like hallways and forgotten, dark rooms. He was in one of them now, trying to make a map of these old and rotting rooms. Justin hated it, but his rich parents had ordered him to, so he had to do it. He flicked on his bright torch and looked around the room. This place was the creepiest room yet! It had an old-fashioned bed with a blood-red canopy, an old wardrobe that looked like it was going to collapse any minute, and a mirror.

The mirror was the scariest thing in the room. It had a dark, rough-edged frame around it that had a little carved bat at the top. He shuddered again. The bat’s eyes were red, as if they were on fire. The surprising thing about this room was that it had a window. That meant he was on one of the outer walls already, and he had only been to about twenty of these rooms so far.

He cautiously went over to the window, the floor creaking with his every step. When he finally reached the stone window frame, he found that it had torn, fire-red curtains, which were blowing into the room. Justin slowly opened the curtains, to look out at the view below. There was now a roaring thunderstorm outside, with lightning ripping apart the sky and thunder crashing through the air. There was also a howling wind, and as Justin looked down he saw he was in a tower three stories up. He quickly looked away, not wanting to look at the terrifying drop below. He backed away from the window. He could now see, in the light from the open window, the amazing tapestries hanging from the walls. He added the creepy room to his map. Then, he bolted out of that terrifying room, and forcefully slammed the oaken door behind him.

As he was walking towards the next door, he thought he heard whispering voices behind him, in the now pitch-black hallway, back by the creepy room with the oaken door. Justin spun around, his bright torch cutting through the darkness.

There was nothing behind him.

He continued to the next door, this one older-looking and made of a strong type of wood. He forced the door aside, and continued into the room. He thought he heard the voices again, and spun around to face the hallway. Once again, there was absolutely nothing there. He shuddered, and turned back into the room. This one looked like a dungeon! There were bare stone walls, not a window in sight, and the only piece of furniture in there was a lump of straw, which may have been used for a bed. It did not look like a very good place to sleep, as the floor was covered in dead moss and other dead weeds. There must have been a window here once, he thought.

He added this room to his map, turned to the door and… stopped. The door was closed. Oh, come on you big scairdy cat! He thought to himself; it must just be a self-closing door! He reached for the iron handle. The door was locked! Justin tried not to scream. He started beating on the door with his fists, crying “help! Help! I’m locked in! HELP!!!!” but it didn’t work. The thick wood of the door absorbed his voice. Besides, there was no one out there to hear him. His parents didn’t come into these forgotten rooms; they had no need to. It looked like he was spending the rest of the night in this dungeon of a room.

He slowly walked over to the straw bed, sat down, and started to cry silently. He must have somehow fallen asleep, because he eventually woke up. He stood up and started to walk to the heavy door to check if it was unlocked, but he clumsily fell over. He slowly got up and dusted himself off. He looked behind him and saw a heavy metal ball attached to his ankle by a chain. Someone must have put it on him during the night. Justin tugged, pulled and heaved at the metal ball, but it wouldn’t budge.

He looked around the room for something that could help get this thing off him, but the room was bare, just the same as last night. Except, just within his reach, was a tray of food. He pulled the tray closer and ate hungrily. The food wasn’t exactly delicious, just some bread and water.

Then he realised he might be a prisoner in this place. He remembered something his dad had told him, when he was younger: “Remember, son, if you are ever trapped in one of these rooms, then you are a prisoner of the ghosts that have haunted this castle since medieval times; they will let you go eventually, but just play along and stay calm until they do.”

So that was what was happening. The ghosts had trapped him in this dungeon, and he was perfectly safe. He slowly fell asleep, knowing he was fine.

The next morning when he woke up, the metal ball was nowhere in sight and the door was wide open. He ran out of the creepy dungeon in that dark hallway in this forgotten part of the old castle, to his nice, warm bed, where he lay down, pulled the covers over his head and tried NOT to think about ghosts.