Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas #25envelopes/25

 It’s Christmas - and here is the last envelope in this series #25envelopes . I hope you all had a wonderful day, celebrating in the spirit of Christmas - giving , sharing and caring .

Thank you for following this series, for all your good wishes and positive hopes for 2021

Christmas Countdown #25envelopes - The Night before Christmas


24 December Christmas Countdown #25envelopes - ‘Twas the night before Christmas , When all through the house , Not even a creature was stirring , Not even a mouse ...

Recycling a Chinese New Year postage stamp, today’s envelope interprets the first few lines of the classic poem . Santa Claus and his reindeer might soon be zooming across the skies. May your Christmas Eve be less hectic , relaxing and joyous

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Christmas Countdown #25envelopes/23 : Magi


23 December Christmas Countdown #25envelopes - the Magi - otherwise known as Three Wise Men or Three Kings , bearers of gold , frankincense and myrrh.   They were distinguished foreigners in the Gospel of Matthew and Christian tradition, perhaps coming from Persia, Ethopia and India. While three gifts have been named, the number of magi could have been different. However, three men are usually depicted in the Christmas story. 

Again today , this envelope took its cue from the beautiful Christmas issue stamp . A simple collaged paper and fabric background and even more simplistic figures with minimal stitching are overshadowed by the the colourful design of the stamp .

And some Christmas humour....

What would have happened if it had been three Wise Women instead of three Wise Men? 

  • They would have asked directions, 
  • arrived on time, 
  • helped deliver the baby, 
  • cleaned the stable, 
  • made a casserole, 
  • and brought practical gifts, and
  • there would be peace on earth

Christmas Countdown #25envelopes/22 - Christmas Cockatoo

 22 December Christmas Countdown #25envelopes - Christmas Cockatoo .

This embroidered fabric collage on an old dyed doily is stitched on a recycled envelope . It is inspired by one of this year’s beautiful Australian stamps which features the Madonna and Child surrounded by Australian animals and birds . The sulphur crested cockatoo caught my eye the moment I saw this envelope and stamp.

I see these cockatoos most days in our neighbourhood.  Last week, I commented on how Christmassy this scene looked -the cockatoo looked like a decorative ornament in the tree.

Today’s exercise took a lot longer than the half hour I usually allocate as this one was also the work for Textile Artists’ Stitch Club workshop by Mandy Pattullo - all hand stitched.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Finding Gold - Textile Art


This year , I have spent a lot of time practising free motion stitching on my sewing machine, a Bernina 550. 
 Earlier in the year, I had one of my machine stitched artworks, "Take Time" chosen for the exhibition, "Stole the Show, curated by Rod Pattenden.  This was created using the machine's set stitch patterns on collaged fabric. 

The  newer work, "Finding Gold"  doesn't use any set designs. It is free motion stitching, which is really like free hand drawing, with the needle in the sewing machine like a pencil. The only difference is that the fabric is moved rather than the needle - just like moving the paper rather than the pencil. Sometimes, I think free motion machine stitching  is like rubbing your tummy and patting your head simultaneously, but with practice, the action of moving the fabric under the needle and keeping the machine whirring in a rhythm becomes comfortable. 

 "Finding Gold"  started as one of my practice pieces and  evolved into a collaged and stitched wall hanging in response to the 2020 NCEATA ( Newcastle Creative Embroiderers and Textile Artists) theme , FUSION. 

"Finding Gold" interprets ‘fusion’ as a union, melding, combining, and blending. A great union is not one where there is perfection , but one where gold is found in one another’s frailties . I was inspired by Proverbs 11:27 Anyone can find the dirt on someone, Be the one who finds the gold.

Yesterday , "Finding Gold" was one of the artworks installed  in  the exhibition, ‘ Fusion’ , NCEATA Newcastle Creative Embroiderers and Textile Artists
exhibition , at Timeless Textiles 23 December 2020 - 31 January 2021 .

Monday, December 21, 2020

Christmas Countdown #25envelopes/21 : Hark the herald angels sing....


21 December Christmas Countdown #25envelopes - Hark the herald angels sing ... voted as one of the most popular Christmas Carols ( at least according to Songs of Praise, UK)

The real  inspiration today came from the British postage stamp, an illustration of an Angel bearer of the good news of the birth of Christ. The stamp refers to the Holy Bible ,  Luke 2:10 ...
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 

The colours are also drawn from the stamp's design - some touches of gold The Angel is a stamped image on a background of marks made by ink on fabric and then attached to a used envelope, which must have once held a Christmas card sent to us - the postmark says "Birmingham UK".

Christmas Countdown #25 envelopes /20 : Dickens' Christmas

 20 December Christmas Countdown #25envelopes - Dickens’ Christmas .

In the next few days , I’ll be taking my copy of’ A Christmas Carol’ from the bookcase for its annual reading . What would Christmas be like without Dickens? One of the favourite Christmas stories of all time, A Christmas Carol recounts the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. After their visits, Scrooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man.

Today’s envelope does not include a portrait of Charles Dickens- it is just a collage attempting to recreate the atmosphere of the author’s novels . However, those British spostage stamps are modern!

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Christmas Countdown #25envelopes/19 : St Nicholas Day

19 December Christmas Countdown #25envelopes - St Nicholas Day .

In eastern Christian countries, the Feast of St Nicholas is celebrated today . St Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra (modern day Turkey) , known for selling his own possessions , giving to the poor and protecting children.

St Nicholas has become synonymous with gift giving to children and is the inspiration behind the modern day Santa Claus .

The upcycled envelope marks this day with a paper collage and a free motion stitched motif, coloured with textile marker. The Christmas issue postage stamp recognises the joy of giving and seems appropriate homage to St Nicholas.


Friday, December 18, 2020

Christmas Countdown #25envelopes/18 : Hanukkah

18 December Christmas Countdown #25envelopes - Hanukkah .
Today marks the end of Hanukkah, a Jewish celebration, Festival of Lights. Hanukkah is an eight night Jewish holiday The Hanukkah celebration revolves around the kindling of a nine-branched menorah. On each of the holiday’s eight nights, another candle is added to the menorah after sundown; the ninth candle, called the shamash (“helper”), is used to light the others. Jews typically recite blessings during this ritual and display the menorah prominently in a window as a reminder to others of the miracle that inspired the holiday.

Today’s envelope collage has a transferred clip art image of the menorah onto ink stained paper . I did this with Orange Power and added gold foil with machine stitching.
chose this used envelope because of the stamp which seems apt for a celebration of light


Thursday, December 17, 2020

Christmas Countdown #25envelopes /17 : Christmas Mail

 17 December Christmas Countdown #25envelopes - Christmas Mail .

Today I am remembering Christmases past where lots of cards and letters would be written, posted and received during the season . Probably the most famous Christmas letter was written in 1867 by 8 year old Virginia O’Hanlon to the New York Sun asking for the truth about the existence of Santa Claus and of course, the newspaper editor replied to her letter publicly.

While emails, e-cards and messages are allegedly more efficient and eco friendly, here’s a big hurrah for post offices and their staff everywhere - some of us still love ‘snail mail’.

Today’s envelope is a ‘handwritten’ themed paper collage with a free motion stitched motif of an old fashioned letter box.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Christmas Countdown #25envelopes/16 : Christmas Carols


16 December Christmas Countdown #25envelopes - Christmas Carols ...

This postage stamp designed by a 5 year old child reminded me of the Carol ‘The First Noel’ .

The First Noel, the Angels did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep

What is your favourite Christmas Carol? Which Christmas Carols annoy you , particulary when they are played over and over in shopping centres?

Today’s envelope is a free motion stitched motif on a background of rice paper and a used envelope from a Christmas card .

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Christmas Countdown #25envelopes/15 : Home for Christmas

 15 December Christmas Countdown #25envelopes - ‘Home for Christmas ‘

This morning, when I saw this Christmas issue stam,, a child’s drawing of the Nativity, I recalled the first line of the carol ‘Away in a manger, no crib for a bed ...’ and how we all love to be home for Christmas.

My thoughts today are on this envelope - a stitched collage of a path leading home ... I hope you all find comfort in your home this Christmas.

Please also spare a thought for the homeless in your community during this festive season.....

Children and their families shouldn’t be homeless.

Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) is a leading cause of homelessness. Someone accesses a homelessness service due to DFV every 7 minutes.2  Every Australian should have a safe home this Christmas.

Christmas Countdown #25envelopes/14 : Tonttu

 14 December Christmas Countdown #25envelopes - tonttu

Of all the places where I’ve lived , no other country does Christmas better than Finland ... today’s envelope features tonttu which is a mythological creature from Nordic folklore associated now with the winter solstice and the Christmas season. They are generally described as being short, having a long white beard, and wearing a conical or knit cap in red or some other bright colour. My tonttu is free motion stitched with coloured pencil and collaged with other fabric .

Best wishes to all my Finnish friends and host families - hyvää joulua

PS. Some readers  may know of these little folk as tomte ( Swedish) or nisse (Danish) 

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Christmas Countdown #25envelopes/13 : Family Christmas

 13 December Christmas Countdown #25envelopes - Family Christmas .

Today was the Simmons Family Christmas get-together. This is an annual event - some would say a family tradition. This year, a slight change from the traditional party in someone's home, we had a picnic in the park under the shade of big fig trees on a mild summer’s day - perfect!

Today’s envelope acknowledges the togetherness of this loving and supportive family with a stitched paper collage and a celebratory postage stamp

Christmas Countdown Review #25envelopes 1-12


01 December - Summer Christmas 

02 December = Tree of Joy 

03 December - And heaven and earth sing ... 

04 December - The Little Match Gir 

05 December - Mistletoe 

06 December - Christmas Markets 

07 December - Dia de las Velitas ( Day of the Little Candles) 

08 December  - Red and White 

09 December - Holly 

10 December - Peace ( International Day of  Universal Human Rights) 

11 December - NSW Christmas Bush 

12 December - Gingerbread ( National Gingerbread House Day)