Friday, February 28, 2020

The Character Wall

Our 40 year old retaining wall was becoming unstable and had started to crumble and fall apart.
The original red gum sleepers used, were from an old dismantled railway bridge. The wood had so much character and the colour of the inside was a beautiful shade of rusty red.
Sadly all my old roses (excerpt for 2) that were planted when the wall was made, have been removed.

This past week we have had the wall replaced and I am sure the water meter reader will be pleased that he no longer has to bend over the wall and lean into a pit to tell us what our usage is.
 Not sure how to finish this, maybe an edging with some pebbles, not that I like pebbles.
My neighbour, who is also having her front yard landscaped, suggested a bed of flowering seedlings.
 We are in the process of removing all these bearded iris, african daisies and agapanthus but leaving the 3 dwarf fruit trees.
The front area was a pure delight with a carpet of old fashioned freesia in Spring, dotted with daffodils. Now all gone. You never know, freesias sprout from anywhere.
I didn't sacrifice this pretty pink  miniature rose but will need to buy a new letterbox

The exciting part is that we can now plan a new front garden though not straight away as I am still deciding on what to plant. Perhaps some new rose bushes. I will replant my iris and hopefully find some remaining bulbs that the landscaper has covered with soil.
Next on the list is to remove the lawn and re-sow. 

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Botanical Printing

I spent the day in Sassafras at Paper_Cloth_Studio in a Botanical Printing Workshop.
A wonderful day with 4 other like minded eco printers under the expertise of Joe. 
 Collection of native leaves from the surrounding area.
 The paper filled with foliage were wrapped around the metal pipes before being boiled in the pots.
 Discussion of the types of paper used in printing and then selection of leaves we would like to use. The paper had been pre-treated with iron and soy milk so that saved a lot of the time in the process.
 Joe's studio is under the canopy of beautiful trees surrounded by bushland.  
Two of the students decided to use flowers.
We were given instructions on Indigo dyeing and how to prepare using paper. While our rolls were boiling in the iron pot, we folded pieces of paper for dyeing. 
The dye to start with turns a green colour before finally becoming the colour of indigo blue.

 My pieces of paper and card after unwrapping the iron pieces.
Paper towel

A section of my favourite piece. 
The pale blue stripes were from the paper towel with the corrugated pattern.

I would love to re-do the class another time. So much was taught and I learnt a lot of tips and tricks.
Many thanks to Joe for a fabulous day.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Does A Zebra Have 41 Stripes?

We don't acknowledge Valentines Day as our wedding anniversary falls in the same week.
We rarely celebrate, though decided for 41 years to go out for dinner. 
Werribee Open Range Zoo is just down the road.....well why not!!
A booking for the Sunset Safari Dinner was made and wondered why there were rose petals at the front entrance.....oh, it's Valentines Day!!!
The evening started with 130 other guests enjoying champagne etc and finger food in the reptile house. I stood as far back as possible.....
Divided into 2 groups, we boarded the safari bus to view the animals while the other group enjoyed their dinner. The bird life frolicked in the rain filled waterholes. Unfortunately the hippos were tucked up in bed in their enclosure.
A selection of the animals.
 The heavens opened and we were surprised at which animals were not fond of rain. The giraffes, camels and lions don't appreciate getting wet. 
One of the Southern White Rhino graced us with it's presence right next to the bus

 Scimitar-horned Oryx
The Savannah Wetlands appreciated the rain, the ranger mentioned that the grass was the greenest he had seen in a while.
Dinner was a fabulous evening. We were asked to look under the long tables we were seated at, drums hidden there. The band then led everyone on a drumming sequence with others using the woven shakers to add to the rhythm. 
I have been told that this is the new version of eco confetti.
Paper confetti is not longer thrown, not sure how I feel about our leaves being used instead.
Tiny cut out hearts.
We were not disappointed with the sunset.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

February Book Challenge - Heal

The #areyoubookenough challenge for this month is titled "Heal".
This word can take on many meanings from medical, physical to emotional.
Our country, over the summer period has been inundated by bushfires and lives, property, flora and fauna have been lost and destroyed.
Using my eco dyed papers, I embroidered each charred piece to simulate some regrowth and  regeneration of plants.
 My first attempt at Secret Belgian Binding.
 Various pieces added to the fold out book insert.

 Front cover of the folded book representing burnt undergrowth. Several areas have now received rain and nature has slowly started to regrow.
The centre section is an eco fabric piece I randomly stitched and coloured in the leaves.
 I chose black for the cover to represent the charred and burnt scrub and attached a small image of our Australian Floral emblem, the Golden Wattle.
When opened, the book folds out.

Monday, February 10, 2020


My Sunday was spent with the Papermakers of Victoria at Coopers Settlement, Bundoora, doing a workshop. It was great to spend the day with others who were enthusiastic to learn a new craft.
 The area of the settlement is made up of several building complexes consisting of a 
Heritage Village, Wildlife Reserve, Cafe and Community Gardens.
PofV have a permanent workshop area within the the old stables.

A room in the stable was set up.
I have done paper making before, but Barb gave us many tips and tricks to the craft.
After several batches of paper made, they were put into the press, I was surprised at the amount of water that was extracted.
An added layer to a sheet of contrasting pulp.

 We were taught how to make a pocket in the paper.

An envelope.
 A selection of papers I made. This will add another direction to my book making.