Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Summer is here... Umm... Where?

Well, it's practically summer in little ol' NZ, and here I am wrapped up in a hat, scarf, woolly jumper, and fluffy socks, clutching a hot drink. It is drizzling outside, the wind is bitterly cold, and there is a sprinkling of snow on the hills, and more in the high country. I can see I am going to have to get in extra firewood this year, and make sure I do a good stock up on basics (flour, sugar, etc) before winter, 'cause it's gonna be a nasty one this year, and I ain't going out in it!
Still, we've had two mild winters, where the garden produced all winter, and the weather was good enough to walk into town to do shopping, although the temp still managed to drop to between 2C and 0C (35.6F and 32F) in the house. But the bad winters are even worse! And this coming one is going to be a doozy!
On the up side, I don't get a lot of crafts done in the mild winters, but in the hard winters (assuming I have gotten enough firewood in), when it can be a whole 3-4 months before I can get out to go up shopping, and there is nothing alive in the garden, all there is to do is crafts! Hopefully this year I will get the tops done on the several Eye Spy quilts I have had the fabrics stashed away for, for the past two years.

Even more exciting, I am hoping to get a start on my "Ultimate CQ". This is a single-sheet sized CQ (being done on a flannel single sheet) that will be entirely hand pieced, whole cloth style, all in fancy fabrics, which I have been collecting up for the past 5 years. Most of the antique laces I scored last December have been earmarked for this project. Was so thrilled to have been able to get those! The gorgeous jewel tone hand dyed laces I got from Nicki at Raviolee Dreams  a while back will also be going into it. 
Getting suitable threads and embellishments has been a lot harder. Silk and other fancy thread are rarer than hens' teeth here (and more expensive!). I could make a hens' teeth necklace before I could afford - or even find - the fancy threads for it here! And most of the embellishments available are either waaaay out of my price range, or are 'plastic craptastic' imitations of the good stuff. But the deities of handwork have smiled on me, and I was directed to a FB page by one of the CQ ladies, for people selling off their excess 'stash'. Yay!
Two of the lovely ladies in particular have gone out of their way to be helpful and accommodating. Kathy S., from whom I have gotten a range of gorgeous crystal beads, glass flower and leaf beads, tiny clay flower beads, charms, and other shiny things - stuff I just can't get here; and Vickie T., from whom I have been able to purchase a range of fancy threads - especially silk ones. And both were selling at phenomenally great prices - enough so that it was worth buying from them in the US in spite of our currently sucky exchange rate and the cost of international postage. Thank you so much, ladies!

Just some of wonderful "pretties" from Kathy S. The threads from Vickie are still on the way.

Also of special mention is Kathy P. I have been trying for some time to get some Shiva Paintstiks, yet another thing we can't get here. They are perfect for using on fabric with my stamps and stencils, store beautifully without drying out, and come in a wonderful range of iridescent colours and metallics. I tried eBay, but none of the sellers would post International, and Amazon only posts books and dvds International, not any of the other stuff they sell. So Kathy very kindly offered to get them from Amazon for me and post them to me here in NZ, and I send the money to her thru PayPal for the cost of the Paintstiks and postage (I do love PayPal - it makes it so much easier to do this kind of thing!). The guy at her local P.O. made the whole process a living hell, and after over an hour of murderous frustration, she ended up having to get her husband to take it to another P.O. further away, on his way to work, to post it! Thank you so much for your wonderful efforts and kindness, Kathy!

I was expecting something the size of oil pastels, so I was surprised - and thrilled - at how big they actually turned out to be!

Several years ago, I sent Mum a list of goldwork supplies I was after (which she bought for me and brought over on one of her trips), to be able to do some of the spectacular stumpwork goldwork beetles from Jane Nicolas' book. I will be doing these on this project, as well as the surface embroidery ones from the book. So the only things left that I really want for this project are shisha mirrors, and beetle wings. Yup, you read right - beetle wings. They were something that were used in Victorian embroidery, and I found an Etsy shop that sells them! So when I have the money, I will get some - not many, but enough to be able to put them in a motif and say " I have done beetle wing embroidery". Yay!

Beetle wings for embroidery


  1. Awesome! So glad you are going to be able to enjoy them!

  2. Dana can you share the face book page where you can purchase over stash ( get it over stock LOL) Thanks so much ( you can message me via facebook) Melody

    1. Not a problem :) I have PM'd you the link for the stash page, as well as the page of the CQ group I belong to. You will love all the eye-candy!