Tuesday, 17 August 2010

New beginnings

I feel as though I've been in a bit of a creative rut recently and whilst my sister was staying with me last week an idea came to us that might help end my creative drought. My sister has been working through Keri Smith's Wreck This Journal and has found that having instructions on each page has allowed her imagination free reign and has helped prevent "journal block". We thought that we would try our own take on this idea - my sister is going to set me tailor-made tasks that will help me achieve some of my creative goals.

The first challenge that she has set is to create a brooch using buttons. My first idea is inspired by dominoes and liquorice allsorts - not something I've ever though about in the same sentence before! I've glued together several layers of coloured felt and then sewn on mother of pearl buttons.

My second idea uses fabric left over from my bridesmaids' dresses three and a half years ago. My original plan was to sew a few small black buttons into the centre, but I think the sparkly pewter coloured beads look better instead.

I have a third idea that will use several subtly coloured shell buttons sewn onto linen with decorative embroidery stitches around them. I'm enjoying the challenge and I feel as though I am justified in ignoring some of the housework in order to try and kickstart my creativity.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Home again!

After 27 hours of travel, I am back home. Mr Q met me at Manchester airport, and the cats met me on the doorstep of our house. I am tired but happy. It was a successful trip and we have collected several hundred fossils - mostly snails and sea urchins - which will help in my research and in my PhD student's project. I was anticipating trouble at customs and had made sure that I had all the paperwork in order, but no-one raised an eyebrow or asked any questions about the large number of tiny well-wrapped packages in my hand luggage.

I enjoyed my last day in Australia - I spent it wandering around Melbourne. I went to the botanic gardens, took photos of Flinders Street Station (apparently my mum learned about it while studying geography at school) and managed to find time to visit a beautiful yarn shop, Woolbaa, in Albert Park where I found Jo Sharp yarn and pattern books to bring home as a souvenir. I also rushed across town on the tram to stop at one of the best quilt shops I've ever been to, Patchwork on Central Park, in Malvern East. Although the fabrics were predominantly from US and UK manufacturers, they had a fabulous selection of modern, bright, funky designs.

On the long trip back (I watched 7 movies!) I did a little tatting and crochet. I'll sew the ends in and then I'll be able to show you the tatted snowflake that I've been slowly working on.

I'll be back in Australia again at Christmastime with Mr Q, visiting his family. It'll be my first Christmas in the southern hemisphere and the first time Mr Q has been home for Christmas in ten years. His mum is already planning Christmas dinner!