Tuesday 28 July 2015

The rest of Melbourne Craft & Quilt Fair

Jan, Pam, myself and Suzanne
Myself and Della
The Glamorous Pam Groble and myself
The Melbourne Show felt like a slow four days - I'm not sure why - it was quite busy in numbers, but it somehow didn't have the energy of some of the others. I was a bit sad about this, as I expected Melbz to be the pinnacle of them all! Still, it was, as always, an enjoyable experience, and I caught up with some fabulous people that I have met at other textile art events. Pam Hovel of Raw Edge Textiles, Jan Everett (whose workshop at Ballarat in 2016 we are strongly considering as the annual Bunneh getaway) and their friend Suzanne on one day, the wonderful Della Jones in her beautiful felt coat adorned by butterflies, whom we met one year at said previous Ballarat event on another, and finally, the glamorous Pam Groble of Lara Downs, who was wearing an eco-dyed scarf of mine and proceeded to buy a further three scarves from me!! Thank you so much for your support, lovely lady! It was a pleasure to spend time with you again!
Sean Sheep in dancing pose
Poor Sean being stuffed into the backpack!
Miss Chrissy in Poiret-esque coat
Miss Fisher Costume
Sean Sheep was, as usual, travelling with me, and I sure did appreciate his woolly warmness! After such lovely previous experiences, I was interested to see how he would be treated by housekeeping here, and it seems it really does depend on who you get! One day he was left looking quite dismal, face down on the bed, another, he looked positively joyful, as he danced his way across the sheets! One day Maman decided he looked bored, so she gave him a book to read.... The worst time is always pack up, and this time there was no room in the suitcase, so here he goes into the backpack for the trip home. The upside to this is that he gets to come out on the flight, only to be used this time as a pillow by Miss Chrissy!!
Drink me, Alice!!
Miss Chrissy, Tessa and Vanessa
But, before then,we checked out and caught a tram to Rippon Lea Estate, where the Miss Fisher costume exhibition was on in the most wonderful setting - a complete experience!. We met up with Miss Chrissy and Co there, where she modeled a gloriously Poiret-esque coat, and we got a lovely shot of us where she said "I feel like when we go out together we fall down the rabbit hole!" We all enjoyed a riotous lunch before Maman and I headed back on the tram  to collect our suitcases and catch the Skybus, only to rejoin Miss Chrissy in the baggage queue and ride her glorious coattails into the blessed Virgin Lounge! Yesssss!!
Home again, only to head off for Canberra one week from today! Much to do before then, including packing some serious warmz! Canberrrrrrrrrrraa!!

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Melbourne Craft & Quilt Fair Set-up Day

Set up day dawned, and I was quite excited to get going! I arrived at the Convention Centre to find it warm and ready to go - signage up, table and stool already there - yahoo! It was good to see my 'travelling circus family' although I was devastated to find Mick the truck driver would not be there - apart from the fact that he's a lovely guy, I had planned to use the compressor in his truck to blow up my inflatable mannequins!! All the other boys tried very hard to come up with a solution, but finally admitted defeat and sent me to the nearby servo. It wasn't far, and it was nice to get out and see the very mild Melbourne day. It worked a treat, although I was very aware of the interesting sight I was presenting! Back to it, and I was out of there by midday, ready to meet Mum for lunch. I stepped straight onto a tram which took me right across the city to the Windsor Hotel, where we hoped to have lunch or high tea. Unfortunately, there was a function on

and the restaurant was booked out, so we had a drink at the Cricketers Arms whilst we decided what to do. Which was to walk down Flinders Lane to Federation Square and try 
Arintji, which we had looked up last night and marked as 'interesting light noms'! It was toasty warm and quiet, with a lovely view over the river to the boat sheds. I very much enjoyed my Gruyere Souffle with Cauliflower Croquettes, followed by a Rasperry Pudding - oh dear!  We rolled out to wander the city streets on the way home, and enjoyed ducking through some lovely laneways - including the one
that houses the
Hopetoun Tea Rooms - look at those noms! I also loved seeing these guys again - some of my favourite street art.  I am now glad to be tucked up in the warm burrow to relax and prepare for tomorrow - I'm looking forward to it!

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Last week I received the email of acceptance from WOW for this year's show - phew!! For the first time ever, the judges have asked for some alterations, and with my trip to Melbourne looming, it was nose to the grindstone for four days straight to get it done in time. I am grateful for both my acceptance and the opportunity to improve my design, which is how I see the judges' request. I know that I have spent months working on these and have become absorbed in them, and I can appreciate the fresh eye with which they have been viewed, and their suggestions make complete sense to me. Finally last night, I had every sequin stitched on that leather, and it was all wrapped up. Time to pack for Melbourne....
It was an early start for Mum and I, and I just scraped through with a 22.9kg suitcase! Unfortunately, although the flight made good time, we spent well over half an hour trying to cross the runway at Melbourne, due to delays caused by iced up planes this morning. Having caught the Skybus into town, we waited quite a while to be ferried to our apartment, which was really within walking distance, but we didn't want to drag our bags through the streets. At check-in, we discovered that the room had not been booked as a twin, but luckily, this could be fixed. Then we got into the lift to head up, pressed the button - nothing. We started to panic as the lift would not move, nor would the doors open - we were only moments away from pressing the alarm button, and I had already knocked loudly on the doors, before noticing the key-card slot.... ohhhhh.
It was time then to dump the bags and get out for noms - I was ravenous! Mum wanted to unpack a little, and managed to appease me for a short while with some cashews and crackers, but these were not enough to fend off a full-blown hangry, so we trotted across the bridge to South Wharf, where sadly, nothing really appealed, but I eventually settled on The Common Man for some lamb meatballs and salmon croquettes. Afterwards, we enjoyed a stroll along South Bank in the lovely winter sun, and checked out the many restaurants - so much pizza, pasta and burgers - meh!! We're here for interesting!!
We walked back through town and stopped for supplies and struggled for the few blocks home, arriving just in time for me to receive the phone call for my radio interview with Canberra, whilst I surreptitiously sipped on my 'Wicked Elf' beer!! We have since settled in, sussed out some decent restaurants, and to my delight, have discovered that I don't set up until Wednesday - I thought it was tomorrow!! Whoot! I'm writing this whilst Mum cooks me dinner - this was a good idea!!
Woke around 7:30 to a pretty nice looking day, assessed as I ducked out to get my start-up coffee. Large double shot $4 - happy with that!! I decided it was too nice a day not to get out for a run, knowing that it would probably not be like this all week, so got dressed in my gear and headed off. It was cold but lovely, and I enjoyed my run along South Bank, then under the bridge towards the gardens. I've never been on that side, and I passed many rowing sheds before it turned into the gardens, where I saw a huge Magnolia tree absolutely laden with fragrant blooms - heavenly!

The rest of the day was spent at the Queen Victoria Markets, where we picked up some lovely noms, including a cave-aged Taleggio, and an aged Spanish Goats cheese - Om nom nom!! (Apparently there is a dessert restaurant here called Om Noms - must find it - and the Cat Cafe! That's for patting cats, not eating them.) It's a pretty overwhelming experience with the sheer volume of choice, topped off with the shouting vendors. Tomorrow is set-up day, which should leave me with a free afternoon. I've finished off the day with a little quiet time at Arbory, a bar in a wonderful position between the Yarra River and Flinders St Station - every station should have such a thing!!

Monday 13 July 2015

Launceston Craft & Quilt Fair

A smooth 2 hour 20 minute flight in the afternoon  included a wee snooze - it had been a busy morning! Launceston didn't seem too hideously cold, and I caught a shuttle to the Olde Tudor Hotel. What a set-up! It kind of feels like a holiday camp - there's a supermarket, cafe and shops right next door, and best of all, the entrance is a bottle shop!! I didn't even unpack before I set out for supplies, as I was unsure of trading hours. Unfortunately, although I was given two sets of wi-fi passwords, neither worked, so I went to get some replacements. Still no good, so it was an early night with the tv - no arguments here though! (Turns out, that as I am one of the furthest away units, it's busy, there are double brick walls, and something to do with the weather, I don't have much hope of ever getting it. Sigh.)
After the usual reasonably restless first night, I cautiously opened the door to find... that it wasn't too bad out there!! Misty, and definitely cold for a Queenslander, but do-able. After a cup of brown water (International Roast) it was time to find a cafe - stat! Luckily, the Lime Korner was in the nearby set of shops, and despite my reservations, turned out a totally nommy coffee for $3.50! You've won me!! Only trouble is, they either don't open till 10 or not at all on the weekend! Now awake, I was able to enjoy my walk, which took me around a corner to a misty view of Launceston. I took a few side streets, enjoying the architectural and botanical differences between Tasmania and Queensland, and of course, found a super crop of lichen upon lichen! I may have even had too many layers on, as I got quite warm, but even then, could still feel the chill trying to bite it's way through. After a leisurely
breakfast at my digs, I packed my duffel bag full of all my new stock, and a half mannequin! This was not even a replacement for one of my poor inflatable girls who lost the battle with a slow leak after Sydney's show, but one for me to use as I sew the special piece I am working on. I set off up the road, finding Silverdome only a short trudge away, and made an entrance walking down the steep loading dock in my big boots! And then the transformation of empty space began.
Five or six hours later, it was done. It's the most different one so far - I only had a back wall, but then I ended up with two tables! As the Silverdome is a sports venue, I also ended up with a white circle on the floor, which became my starting point by telling me where Isolda should be positioned! Less wall space than usual, two broken dress stands (I'll sort that in Melbourne) and one mannequin down found me struggling a bit to sort myself out, but in the end,
I am happy with the new set-up. Around 3pm I was freezing cold, tired and hungry, so set off home, via the op-shop I had walked past this morning. It turned out to be a little further away than I remembered, but it was a nice afternoon, and I enjoyed the smell of wood-smoke in the air,
reminding me of my time living on Tambourine Mountain. I found some nice bridal and formal gown patterns there, and topped up my reading supplies. Back to base to cook up a roast to be my lunch for the next few days! It was then that I realised the six new nuno felted lace scarves I had made and had packed into my duffel bag this morning had not been unpacked today - so where were they?!! Slight panic as I tried to come up with a reasonable answer, and thought about trudging back to check, but with a 10am start tomorrow, there'll be plenty of time then. And they're not here, so they MUST be there!
(Sadly, as I suspected, they were not, and there not many options for what happened to them on set up day. However, I will not dwell on that.)
Today was slightly tough, after an evening at the hotel bar watching the local karaoke. The trudge was a bit more of a struggle. Apart from that, it was a lovely day, and I have to say I think the Taswegians are my favourite crowd so far! They were very responsive to my work, and I enjoyed talking to them as I practiced my tambour beading and stitched my special waistcoat. It was nice to get out into the fresh air this afternoon on the way home, and I was set to bunk in when the phone in my abode rang - I took a while to figure out what and where it was! Miss Chrissy of The Lindy Charm School was in the bar - would I like to join her for a drink?! There were a few others from the show there, and we enjoyed a catch up before everyone departed. For me, it was a detour to the IGA for some cheese which I couldn't initially pay for because I messed up my pin number three times - aaaaghhhh!!
It was an interesting night as I dreamt I lost my mind - quite an amazing feeling (I know, the cheese)! I set off early to the show to have a look around before we opened - I was also keen to get back to work on my waistcoat. I again got many compliments, really heartfelt ones. I got a fun one from Trevor the Scissorman - he said I looked like some kind of fashion superhero in my fur cape and big boots - this inspired me to grab Kerrie to take a photo of me in action! (Scissorman was also kind enough to lend me a fab rechargeable LED light for my needlework activities - thanks for helping me not go blind!!) 
It was however, very cold today, and my chair was very hard! It was a cold walk home in the quickly darkening evening, but it was nice to be in the fresh air. 
Sunday - the last day already!! Didn't we just set up? I went for a walk, cooked myself a delicious breakfast, and made it into the Silverdome with perhaps a minute to spare! Here is what the beginning of the day looks like as the crowds make their in after the 'Let's Get Ready to Rumble' introduction! It was a slower than normal start for the poor visitors as they had to negotiate the steep and uneven stairs, but nothing was going to stop them!
It was straight into the Tambour Beading practice, which certainly gets some interest, and it wasn't long until I met the delightful Willie, a TAFE teacher who was so enthralled that she had to come around and try it! And mastered it straight away!! There I was still struggling, continually getting snagged, and she could do it like a pro despite never having done it before! Sigh. However, this wasn't merely annoying, it was very beneficial, as she was able to put into words what it was that I needed to do to pull the hook through smoothly and behold - now I can do it!!
I also met a talented young lady who was keen to dive into the world of textile creations, and was able to give her a helpful hints, like subscribing to TEXTILE Fibre Forum to get all the textile news, and joining ATASDA. She was so excited, she had to come around and give me a hug, and we got a great photo - Josie if you're reading this, post it up on my facebook page! The day passed very quickly with lots of chatting and lots of sewing, and then it was pack-up time. I felt like an island facing an encroaching tide as the fair melted away around me.... I had still held a faint hope that the bag of scarves would miraculously turn up, but had to face the fact that they are indeed gone. Now I know I said I wouldn't dwell on it, but I am absolutely devastated that someone would do this. Why? They wouldn't have even known what was in the bag?!! I spent days making those scarves and they were quite beautiful. I hadn't even sewn my label into them yet, but can I just say to all in the textile world to keep an eye out for them and let me know if they are spotted. Here they are again - they all have lace felted into them.
 Now it's a day of catching up on emails and all the other internet tasks I have been unable to do all week, as I don't fly out until 4pm. See you Tassie - it's been cold but fun! Oh my goodness, a week today it is off to Melbz - totez!! And tomorrow, the email stating whether I have made it through to the next round of WOW - eeek!

Monday 6 July 2015

Tambour Beading Workshop with Karen Torrisi

Another amazing weekend - done! This time it was Tambour Beading with the long-admired-from-afar Karen Torrisi - Sydney grown, now London based. For as long as  I can remember, hers is the name associated with Tambour Beading, and thanks to Koala Conventions, I can now call myself a student of hers. Apart from the fact that she is stunningly gorgeous, and a heap of fun, she is a kind and generous teacher full of encouragement. It is not the easiest craft in the world to learn, and requires patience and dedication, as well as kind words from your  teacher in order to endure! I myself was very much challenged by it; by the end of the first day, I think I worked myself into a knot for not being able to master it, by the second day, I understood that the more relaxed I was, the better it worked - to the extent that if I couldn't get the correct motion, I would simply look away, take a breath, and it would all come to pass! It is by no means a product oriented workshop, in fact, the first days work was pulled apart by the end of the day, and not much survived the second, whether by intention or not! There was nothing impressive to show off to Matt from my weekend of work! These few lines were the sum total, (some actually have beads on the other side!) but you have no idea what they mean to me! I have found a fabulous new challenge, and am very much looking forward to practicing  - guess what I'll be doing at the Craft & Quilt Fair in Launceston this week?! I also enjoyed a bit of bling shopping at the trades hall, stocking up on some seriously gawdjuss beads from Colour Streams, as well as from Karen

Thursday 2 July 2015

Back in the Studio, and a weekend of Beading!

It's been just over a week since I returned from Sydney, and it's only a matter of days before I head off to Tasmania, but I have packed in some creative time in the studio, and after a full day there today, am feeling a bit blissed out! Both Matt and I had studio/workshop days today - I love it when we're both 'at work' together!! I've worked on several projects - I've felted three scarves with lace
included, which I have then botanically dyed. One was with some lovely dimensional lace which had organza petals, which I think complements the dyeing nicely. I've also been putting together this special piece made of many fabric fragments, including dyed and painted lace, which I hope to be stitching and beading at the next Craft & Quilt Fair. A certain someone is getting a very nice new waistcoat made from this beautiful silk twill fabric, which takes
dye lusciously, and is also the base fabric of previously mentioned special piece.
Then it was back to the felting table, to make three more scarves, this time to remain white as they feature some beautiful beaded lace fragments. I've also hemmed quite a few metres of silk for some new designs which should be finished in time for Tasmania. Some more silk scarves, (extra wide, luscious charmeuse), camisoles, and tank tops arrived today, so after gathering some new
windfall dye materials from the local bushland, I wrapped up as many items would fit in the pot tonight, or was that as many as my hands could handle doing?! I even brought home a lovely rusty tin can to use, and have wrapped some of my new silk/wool blend scarves around it! I've already fully raided Matt's scrap metal bin! I'm really happy with what I've achieved, but must remember to clean up the mess again before I go - there is nothing like returning to a clean workspace.

Much as I would love to sustain the momentum over the weekend, I have no choice - I am off to do a tambour beading workshop with the legendary Karen Torrisi at Koala Conventions!! Whoo hooo!!