Monday, September 28, 2009

Return of the Socksillies

 Socksillies return to the Simmons" household!
A couple of weeks ago, my daughter-in-law asked me to make a socksillie, one of my silly sock toys for her to give as a baby gift. I hadn't made any for awhile and I had forgotten how much fun they are to create. I made this one pictured as I watched a detective show on TV last night, so what an easy relaxed process it is. Socksillies are made by stuffing a sock, and creating a character with embroidered facial features or by adding accessories. This one is for a baby, so it has no bits which could find their way into mouths, noses or other orifices. Its two ears or long haripieces are made by cutting the centre of the top part of a sock, and sewing up the middle and curving the ends. By the way, the baby who will be the recipient of this socksillie is a girl, if that wasn't obvious. This socksillie is named Hettie, making her the eighth in the series - I can keep track of the number because I am going through the alphabet to name each one. The background of the photo may have already suggested that there are few more socksillies about to need names.

The dust storm has dominated conversations with friends and family during the last week. I was in Dubbo ( western NSW) with a friend doing Rotary club presentation when it hit there. The orange sky was eerie, and somehow beautiful, but the dust was not ... the photo shows what my friend's car looked like with a few drops of rain.

It apparently was no better here on the coast.  There have been some very witty comments made about the dust storm .... I liked "For all those who haven't seen the Nullarbor, look up, it's come to visit " ... Someone said they thought it was the "end of the world" , so whether funny or serious, everyone has had something to say about it. On the weekend, I attended  a Public Relations seminar and I think it must have been a tough week for anyone wanting media coverage this week - unless it had something to do with dust.  So here is a dust related promotion  - I belong to DUST , the Down Under Street Team which is a group of Australian artists, craftspeople and artisans who support Etsy and promote independent handcrafted  goods here in Australia and worldwide.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Felt Art Dolls - Compass Series

I have been trying hard to have my samples ready for next year's workshops and was really happy that this week, I finally finished one of my "Compass" series felted art dolls. This one , I think is going to be called "Western Landscape" or maybe "Way Out West". I have planned to make three others ... East Wind, Northern Lights and South Seas - they are still in my head.  These "dolls" are made from one piece of  felt made using the wet felting process with a plastic resist. With this particular one, I used wool and a silk hankie, and then embellished with gemstone chips, beads and some simple surface embroidery .

And here is a little needle felted bear I made at "Hello Dollies" yesterday. Cute?  Please also have a look at the photos of the great day we had with Marilyn Halcomb, who gave us a mini workshop on needle felting figures  - Hello Dollies blog

Monday, September 14, 2009

Too Early for Christmas?

Is too early to think about Christmas ? Not for the Gumnutters Doll group! Last Saturday, our project was to make a "scrappy angel" . Obviously so called, because they are made with scraps of fabric. I made mine 50% of the original pattern size, so they could be little Christmas tree decorations.  I am usually still making Christmas things on Christmas Eve, so it seems rather amazing to me that I have at least two decorations made this early. Thanks to the Gumnutters for motivating me.
This week, I was really surprised and delighted to see my Artist Trading Card (ATC)  Doll featured on the homepage of the ATC Doll Group site. I made two ATC dolls as part of a monthly swap which had a theme of Coffee/Tea. ATC dolls are made on a card base, the size of an artist trading card/playing card. Other attachments can be added, but must fold down to the card size.  For my tea ATC doll, I used the tea bag packet from my favourite tea, Lady Grey and created a vintage Lady Grey, complete with cup and saucer. The other one, the Coffee ATC doll recycled a 'saying' given to me on a card from a friend, Connie. It was fun making these, and quite a  relaxing diversion from my other activities.
I have over the last week been racking my brain, trying to find an exciting name for my workshop to be presented at the Kurri Creative Textile retreat next May. On Thursday night, I went to bed with the dictionary, and my workshop is now entitled Felted Fashion and Fallalery. Yes, felt and fashion are OK, but what is 'fallalery' . It is described as the act of using/making fallals, which are trifling ornaments or decorative finery. Exact description for my felted three dimensional figures and containers ! If you are interested in the retreat, please go to the NCEATA Newcastle Creative Embroiderers and Textile Artists site

Monday, September 7, 2009

Something Blue - Pay It Forward

 DUST is the ETSY "Down Under Street Team" - a group of Australian Artists, Craftspeople and Artisans who support ETSY and wish to promote independent handcrafted goods here is Australia and workwide. I am a proud member of DUST . Each month DUST has a sale with a theme. This month, the theme is "Something Blue".  I had very few things in my shop which are "blue", so started to get out all the blue stuff I have.This Blue Beadie is one of the little pieces I created once I saw how many blue beads I actually had in my stash. I could probably make hundreds of blue beaded things with what I have collected over the years .  Do I have Bower Bird syndrome? I also made another little blue Angel of Hope. This one is number 21, but will be sent as a gift to a friend
Do you believe in Pay It Forward ... doing a good deed with nothing asked in return except that the hope that the recipient would go and do another good deed for someone else to keep the cycle going. This is probably more of a 'paying it back" story, but a similar idea. Yesterday Jim and I were having a light lunch in a Japanese cafe "Kitami Kitchen", in Hamilton, Newcastle. A rather dishevelled man came into the cafe and asked the owner for some food for a friend  but he had no money. This is a very small business with just the owner and a chef, with three tables in a small shop front - very unpretentious.  I expected the owner to refuse and ask the man to leave the premises, but instead, he quietly packaged up some food in takeaway containers for him. I don't want the cycle to finish there, so besides leaving a huge tip for the cafe owner's kindness, I'd like to recommend this little cafe for a quick lunch or takeaway food. All this happened after a great Father's Day outing with our family. What a great Sunday...