Thursday, 31 July 2014

Day 21: the closest I will ever come to oil painting anything

Today's flower is photographed on a piece of grey wool and has then had a filter called oil paint applied via photoshop. That was quite fun, and I also manged to blot out some not so great edging with the clone stamp.

Today I stumbled upon Nicholas' project. He's doing a drawing a day. Nicholas describes his drawing skills as below terrible. He has no idea...The drawing here is of the not actually black dragon fish. We like the dragon fish because even though the detail is minimal the combination of the colours, and the randomness of the teeth give it a sense of menace. You wouldn't want one in your goldfish bowl, I think.  

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Day 20: a fifth of the way there

Today's effort is another play with black and white. The flower has been superimposed on a bruised and bleeding Palestinian flag (shamelessly stolen from Neetflux) in memory of the Palestinian children massacred by the Israeli assault on Gaza. Yes, I too was brought up believing in the right of Israel to defend itself - Exodus and all that - but changed my mind when the Israelis bombed Gaza zoo. The peacocks might have been firing rockets at Jerusalem but it seems improbable. As I write this, news of another school in Gaza bombed. In packed Gaza there is nowhere to run.

Meanwhile, this from Associated Press:
The Associated Press         @AP

As much of world watches Gaza war in horror, members of Congress fall over each other to support Israel: 

There are no words for this injustice.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Day 19: we fade to grey

The flowers are still pink but I discovered how to make colour photos black and white tonight. So I did. Here's the previous two days' efforts liberated from the main piece of fabric and rinsed off, sitting camouflaged on a piece of quilting fabric featuring brightly coloured daffodils.

Today's awesomeness comes from Kirsten. Kirsten is painting a fish per day on "a beautiful piece of Schoellershammer illustration board". According to Kirsten they don't make it any more and she has decided to use it. This is to be commended, and I will show you an example of why below. In the meantime here's some of Kirsten's gorgeous fishies. As you can see they are a lovely mix of the fantastic and just plausible.

We have quite a bit of stuff they don't make any more around our place, too. There comes a time when you realise you might as well just use it because if you shuffle off your mortal coil then all that will happen is one of your facile young relatives will sell it on Trade Me to the next hoarder. So for you fabric-o-holics, here is a piece of wool gabardine I have recently started cutting up. It may be the last piece of fine Italian wool fabric left in the country. It might be possible to buy such fabric in New Zealand these days but I have no idea where. I'll come back to the problem with fabric in another post, but in the meantime here's some genuine gorgeousness.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Day 18: flowers with grapefruit

Yes yes I know we've done flower with grapefruit before but grapefruit is the only fruit we have apart from some manky old bananas. We have a fully-laden grapefruit tree so they're a cheap prop. Tonight's photo has the exposure adjusted to brighten the grapefruit and flowers and darken the background to a murky, slightly spooky mess.

My sewing machine has started grumbling and breaking the thread. I may have to change the needle again: the needle has possibly gotten bent from constantly changing the direction of the fabric, and since it's only a #11 it's not very robust. Amazingly the bobbin thread has held on for all the flowers so far, and looks like it might do for tomorrow as well.

Because we like them so much, here is another of Crafterzan's crocheted animals. Here, in memory of Ring of Bright Water, is the otter.

On a less frivolous note, Sarah is taking a creative walk through history. Sarah is creating mixed media vignettes of historical figures and events, partly, she says, to improve her history skills. We love the Nixon piece. Initially I thought it was Benjamin Franklin made to look like a spaniel but in fact the sketch is of Checkers, Richard Nixon's dog. Fans of bad television are probably more familiar with Checkers in Futurama (this Nixon, unlike his real-life counterpart, is comedy gold):


Sorry...back to Sarah. Bogans everywhere will love this. It's a Studebaker (acrylic paint and toy car) which, as some of you may recall, was a car no one messed with when you drove it down the Southern motorway. They did about 100 gallons per mile and went the way of the dodo. Still, it almost makes one nostalgic for the days of big cars with leather seats, endless cheap gas, no climate change, and beehive hairdos with capri pants.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Day 17: starting a new batch

Here's the first of a new batch of flowers: pink ones this time. There will be lots of these so don't worry if it's a bit much the first time round (ha! just kidding). I've also decided that since these photos all get processed through photoshop to make them easier to deal with, I might as well start having a play with the photoshop settings. So far all I can do with photoshop is crop, rotate and auto-contrast. I have a long way to go before I'm as good as those North Korean guys but there's 83 days to play around.

In our household we're suckers for small furry critters. You can sell me anything if it has a picture of a kitten, and I have no idea why I'm not allowed a kuni-kuni pig in the front yard to go with the chooks. So imagine my delight having stumbled upon Crafterzan's project. S/he is crocheting the alphabet starting with little animals. Each is an original design and they are amazing. Here's the iguana.

My crafty friend Rhonda, who is no slug herself in the crochet department, thinks these little critters are rad. Because I can, here's one of Rhonda's #monstabomb (photographed in Wellington, far far from home).

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Day 16: a new colour

Having run out of blue organza to recycle, it was time to start on the pale pink, Although I have a strip of this I should ideally be able to get 10-12 flowers out of, i did waste a bit cutting the first flower out because I wanted to see what it looked like. And here it is. If you look closely you'll see I've trimmed the fabric too closely and snipped some of the embroidery stitching. I've been waiting to do something stupid like that, and suspect it won't be the only instance of this. Anyway, enjoy the change of hue.

Today's featured project is Murray's Lunchbox. According to Murray "I'm not good at making my lunch to take to work. I usually get in the car and drive to the shops This is expensive and boringly repetitive after 35 years. Making my lunch every day for 100 days doesn't sound that exciting however I feel this buzz inside..." I fully get the desire to explore something new after 35 years. Murray, it must be said, looks like he's having a great time. We like this photo of the silverbeet soup and smoked bacon muffin accompanied by a couple of photos of what we assume is the -2 degree sunrise of the morning he ate it. Bon appetit!

Friday, 25 July 2014

Day 15: and then there were 5

A batch of 5 blue flowers, that is. This is the last of the blue so from here on they will be pale pink flowers. Lots and lots of them.


Have you ever had great ideas for what might make Auckland a better, more people-friendly place to live? Ideas like what if roads in the central city were closed to traffic sometimes and people could just hang out and ride bikes with their kids? Or rooftop gardens? You probably have your own ideas - I know I do. So does Stuart. Stuart tweets his ideas and they turn up on the Transport Blog twitter feed. He has 100 ideas and you can find them on his 100 day project. 

Here's Stuart's idea to revitalise Auckland's inner-city neighbourhoods (I warned you we were obsessed with neighbourhoods). Sadly many of these places are under or next to motorways and cut off from other parts of the city. I think Stuart should be the Chief City Planner (maybe he already is, who knows?)

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Day 14: a slight technical hitch

Yesterday I used up the last of the solvy. Today I went to Stitch 'n' Bitch to get some more but they didn't have any. So i am unable to bore you with another blue flower. So instead I've posted a preview of the fabric for the cape, the lining and the pink organza that I will use to make the next batch of flowers when the blue runs out. Which will be very soon.

Today's featured artist is Saskia, a name I picked because it is the name of one of my favourite sociologists (yes, really). Plus, Saskia is posting photos of dogs. (Yay!) In much the same way my project is about learning a new skill, Saskia's project is about learning to use her new camera.Here's a photo of her dogs playfighting. Woof!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Monday, 21 July 2014

Day 11: and another (and some cool clay sculptures)

Today's effort. Cunningly photographed to look slightly different ffrom the others. I don't think it's worked terribly well.

Today's shout out goes to ana (✿◠‿◠). Her project is to make 100 clay sculptures from 100 grams of clay (that's 100 gm per sculpture). They are beautiful: simple but expressive. The one pictured here is a wolf. According to ana "The wolf singing his song, waiting for red riding hood to stop meditating."

The howling wolf/coyote is an archetype and can symbolise evil or the positive and spiritual. Given humanity's long and deep association with canids we're going for the positive and spiritual. Although Little Red Riding Hood almost came to a sticky end, the real evil is our treatment of wolves and coyotes. I hope ana's wolf and Red Riding Hood will sing together for many moons to come. 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

0ne 10th there!

So far so not bored.

Today's pikky is two flowers showing the variegated thread. I was going to wait till I'd done a batch of four but am too impatient to wait that long.

It's Sunday so that's all for today.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

A slight change of pace

Today's effort features different coloured thread. I can't recall where I got this thread or why but it's been kicking around for ages (I usually use it to mark darts and pleats). Happily, it also just happens to go with the colours I'm using for my project.

So tonight's flower (and several to follow) will be done using this. Here's a preview (prior to cutting and rinsing the solvy off).

You'll notice the tension problem has vanished. A close look at the thread revealed the blue is #60 and the variegated thread is #40. Pity I didn't realise that before doing 8 flowers with the white bobbin thread showing. Never mind. At least we've learned something.

Today's features project is Catherine's Garden. Catherine, apparently, has the same issues with her garden as I do with mine. I hope Catherine's garden was more hospitable than mine today (and with less rampant oxalis). Here's her garlic and the support crew (always valuable for us gardening types). Good luck with the garlic, Catherine!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Day 8: blue on red

I thought I'd put the blue flowers against the red cape fabric to see what they looked like. It looks OK although the photo doesn't really do the red justice. It's darker than it looks here but you get the idea.

Happy to have made it through the first week and enjoying some of the amazing work being done by others.

Today's fave is Tineke's project "The Neighbourhood". We're slightly obsessed with neighbourhoods and their relationship to people's physical and social wellbeing. The photo below with its commentary that "This place is always full of locals, the staff know everyone by name and the waitress with black hair and red lipstick calls out to someone as they are leaving  "you're a diamond, remember to keep shining!" " reminds us why neighbourhoods are important. Looking forward to seeing some more.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Day 7: and another

Today's effort. Looking a bit tidier around the points.

In case you wondering, the fabric is a recycled organza blouse. The blouse never quite worked or some reason but I love the colour, and hate wasting good fabric. The darker line is a french seam (something you won't find in anything you buy from The Warehouse) and of course there's a buttonhole.

Meanwhile, other people are doing real hand embroidery. Penny is creating wonderful and precise tiny stitch patterns to make into a single piece at the end. Here's a picture of a couple of the patterns. Yay for hand stitching!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Day 6: Two attempts

This project and the manual embroiding of the flowers was meant to be a learning experience. And so it has proved. This evening's effort was dire. So dire, it made the ultimate sacrifice and became fuel for the fire.

The problem? The tension (still) isn't quite right, and tonight there was more white bobbin thread showing than coloured embroidery thread. So I rethreaded the bobbin (I have a suspicion the bobbin thread had jumped out of its tension unit) and put in a new needle. The machine is second hand so I have no idea how long the needle had been there. Anyway, one or the other of those worked and the second effort was much better. Still not perfect, but better.

The flower on the left is yesterday's effort; that on the right is today's.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Day 4: One step forwards, two steps back

Well, that's what it feels like after today's miserable effort. Crikey, what a mess! Hoping for a better day tomorrow.

Here's the last three days all cut out and rinsed. Mercifully the ink pen hasn't run (I have a proper fabric pen now. Embroidery, I can tell you, is not a hobby for the cash-strapped).

Perhaps whatever is in this cup can help.  (Courtesy of Melissa)

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Day 3: 97 to go!

Only 97 days to go!

Here's today's effort showing the wrong side. It looks a lot like the others but better except for the bit where I overshot the mark on one of the petals.

The same flower every day is a bit tedious. Fortumately others with more wit and imagination have stepped in to alleviate the boredom. Here's a couple we like: 
From Boss_Tanaka:

And this from kathryn who promises us 100 scribbles. I wish I could scribble like this (we love cats, too):

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Day 2: Bulk processing

I'm happy to report that day 2's effort is far superior to day 1's, as you can see from the pic (left). I dropped the thread tension a shade from yesterday and that seems to have worked. 

The photo shows the completed flower but it's still in the embroidery hoop. The reason for this is that the fabric and solvy (the water-soluble plasticky sheet you can see) required to make one flower is far more than required for the flower alone. This is because it requires the fabric in the hoop as well as some overhang so the hoop has something to grip on to. So saving resources is important because waste is naff, and more importantly, I'm using two layers of solvy for each flower, and it's expensive. The solvy stabilises the fine organza while it's being embroidered.

So rather than use a while lot of material and solvy, I'll cut strips wide enough for the hoop and then just move the hoop up the strip. This means the flowers won't be able to be cut until they pop out the other side.

Today's disgression is some truly stunning embroidery from Yves St Laurent and Oscar de la Renta. This famous jacket is an embroidered tribute to van Gogh and is from the Spring-Summer 1988 haute couture collection. Also shown is a close-up. The picture below is an Oscar de la Renta jacket (I can only date it to the 1980s) showing some spectacular Lesage embroidery. Enjoy this feast for the eyes!

Friday, 11 July 2014

Day 1

Sometime between the rain yesterday and the rain tonight the Tutor managed to get round to our place and show me what to do to make the flowers. It was remarkably simple in theory. It will take a bit of practice to get them looking professional. I'm figuring that by flower #100 they should just about be good.

On this one it is possible to see the tension wasn't quite right but hopefully we can get that better. Plus it's a bit wobbly, in part because the light on the workbench isn't as good as it could be (plus I'm blind as a bat from years working in front of a computer). But mostly because I haven't got my sewing-around-corners technique up to scratch. Still, here it is. An electric blue organza flower.

I've also had a sneak peek at some of the other projects. There are some very talented people hiding out in our communities. I hope they all make it to the end and get a chance to show off their extraordinary work. This is my favourite from today. Mostly because I love bikes, too.

(From Amanda's Bike Hunt: Amanda Earle;

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

2 sleeps to go

I'm getting quite excited - and slightly anxious - about commencing the project. The problem is that each day's effort needs to be uploaded. Which is not itself a problem but since I'm supposed to be embroidering 100 flowers, it will be if I can't figure out how to use the embroidery machine.

The machine has a cord with a USB plug at one end, so in theory the machine will talk to the computer if you put the embroidery CD in the computer's CD drive. Our attempt to do this failed miserably. The two bits of machinary were talking to each other but were clearly speaking different languages. So the Tutor, who is a bit rusty, had to go away and figure out Plan B. Hopefully Plan B will be nice and simple (we all have to start somewhere). The sewing machine in question is amazing and definitely a few steps up from my old but faithful Pfaff which does straight-sewing, zig-zag and inevitably scruffy (that's my fault) manual buttonholes.

Tomorrow the Tutor and I will have another attempt at the embroidered flowers. Fingers crossed because this needs to be sorted or I'll have to start late and fudge it. Here's a sneak preview of the design. It's a Jenny Haskins design and is nice and simple for obvious reasons. Just the flower bit, not the leaves. I'll explain my reasoning about the fabric and design choice in another post.

The process of making the cape to sew the flowers onto will also be a subject of this blog, and, very likely, intermittent ramblings about the decline of Western civilisation as well. In the meantime, here's some seamstresses not using electronic embroidery machines. This comes from a blog with a post showing the history of Pringle of Scotland (they're still in existence, remarkably, and sell knitwear should you want some). Link to the blog post is in the picture caption.