Friday, 3 June 2016

Sun Goddess......

An afternoon of felting.......the inspiration, my original Sun Doll made for a Summer Nature Table a few years ago now



My original Seasons Dolls



The beginning of a new creation with some inspiration sitting close by....... I want her to look a little wilder this time......more part of nature....





The Sun Goddess.....

Happy with an afternoon of felting.....





Sunday, 18 October 2015

The Longest Pause.........Moving house

Throw in a major life change or two and my new blog sat.......waiting.......my priorities lay with my family, making sure all was ok.........you sometimes have to decide which things are most important and let other things slide for awhile..............my priority is my family.........and now I return......now the time seems right.......or so I thought when I began writing this post in November last year.....


In September 2014  we packed up our car and horse float, loaded with 2 goats, 2 dogs, 2 cats, a cockatiel and 3 hermit crabs and began our journey 1,831 kilometers south west to Mildura, Victoria  to begin a new chapter of our lives. My husband was to begin a new job in Mildura (Sunraysia country, land of the Latje Latje people) and we had found a place to rent, just across the river that would take all of our family pets. A difficult time to move two teenage daughters who feel the Manning Valley is home, their enthusiasm ebbs and flows. We would be closer to family in Echuca and Melbourne.....the main attraction along with the promise of better health for both of our girls in the warm and dry climate of Sunraysia country....









We had spent weeks before this preparing our house for sale, cleaning, sanding, painting etc, with much needed help from some amazing friends, before we headed south. With an exciting adventure ahead of us, parting from our beloved home, friends (many of whom had become family) and life in the beautiful Manning Valley (Mid North Coast NSW) wasn't easy. We  laughed and cried as we navigated our way through the stresses of moving house and said goodbye.




Our magical home...


Our creative space...



The beginning of our journey...


We arrive at our rental exhausted and overwhelmed......




A house on stilts that rocks from side to side every time someone moves!!!



The beautiful bush surrounding our temporary home. Quiet and peaceful.


A paddock for our goats Luke and Fabian.....a priority on our rental list.....


Our closest neighbours....


Inka and Raani discover the river....and we discover that Raani does like water....he apparently just didn't like the beach and waves!


We found ourselves in unfamiliar territory................so very different from the place we call home............from subtropical to desert............from mountains,  oceans and green valleys to flat dry country filled with grape vines and orange orchards........where are the trees?........Lots of new challenges and lots of exciting things to discover.



Above and Below
Discovering desert country...Perry Sand Hills NSW.......just a short drive from our rental!






The Mighty Murray River (above and below)



Kings Billabong Reserve


A little bit of home as we find Greenpatch Organic Seeds at the local organic shop!


Move forward to 13th September 2015, I began writing this post again (the most drawn out in the history of post writing)

            Since beginning to write this post much has happened.......my two beautiful girls have gone back to school. Jess to begin her VCE and Molly to complete year 10 before entering her VCE years. I miss them and treasure the time we spent whilst they were homeschooling.......(we learnt so much more than I expected and much more than the curriculum outlined.....all three of us).


             I sustained a knee injury in March resulting in surgery and then a complication with a blood clot....the stairs on the rental were painful and exhausting.....life feels tough.


             At Easter our dear old cat Kiara died following a battle with cancer...........


Midnight keeps a watchful eye on Kiara.....her last few weeks were happy and filled with love....

             In May a new job for me, in a local preschool  (the early childhood field......my other passion).......exciting and challenging at the same time whilst navigating exhaustion from the knee injury and resulting complication.................Again I found that handwork, sewing, knitting and felting provided me with relief from pain, a sort of meditation, as did my recovery cats after I had spinal surgery.


             In July.......another house move as we find a place to call home in Red Cliffs, Victoria..................again exciting but the move was exhausting.




Our new home.....of course there are trees. "To be poor and be without trees, is to be the most starved human being in the world. To be poor and to have trees, is to be completely rich in ways that money can never buy." (Uncle Aovar: The Faithful Gardener - Clarissa Pinkola Estes). The house garden is wonderful, lots of trees, an oasis in a dry land. We have much planting to do in the paddocks though, once filled with grape vines, they lay bare, ready for us to fill. 



Re-establishing creative spaces....slowly getting there...




             Then the loss of my Dad on the 2nd Sept.........heartache and somehow the world has changed beyond my capacity to put into words.....   So here I am 18th October 2015, ill, exhausted and depleted of creative energy. I know that life will move on and as the seasons come and go and the pain will ease. What I need to do now is to make sure that I find time for my felting, writing and music, time with family and friends and time to just be.......and then I will re-energize............

In memory of my Dad
Laurance Richard Collins (Laurie)
14th August 1934 - 2nd September 2015


Mum and Dad's Wedding  1956    



October 2014 with Mum.........Echuca, Victoria


  When I feel alone I look into the stars at night
and feel I am in the presence of those
I have loved and are not with us any more
When the breeze touches my face
I feel their wings fanning me with wisdom
and I take comfort in this awareness
Have faith the one you love is
now on their special journey;
Take courage and strength from those around you
And when times seem hard to bear,
look into the stars at night
feel the gentle breeze and take
Comfort the one you have loved
is not only in your heart and in
your memories, but all around you.
Adele Basheer

























Friday, 25 July 2014

Introducing my Wombat design.......

Hello there,
It is wet and cold today, wonderful as we so need the rain here in the Manning Valley.
A good day to finish off a few felting pieces. Some mice found pouches, some eyes on my white kangaroos and of course my wombat friends, waiting patiently for me to sit down and give them sight!

So, here are my little wombats -I designed these little ones for my daughter Jess last Christmas at the same time as designing a kangaroo for my daughter Molly. Even though they are now 16 and 14, they still like a little hand made something, made with love.

For the first time I have made some for sale in my Etsy shop and here they are.....




What do you think? They are a little shy..... but rather mischievous looking....

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

A Little Fairy Magic.....

A few weeks ago my daughter and I began a fairy making project. I love needle felting when you begin without an absolute plan and the creations seem to take their own form and surprise you when they are finished. This is the beginning....




Last night she came to life...







 If you are looking fora little fairy magic, she can be found in my Etsy Shop here...




Saturday, 21 June 2014

Making Little Winter Gnomes...


It was a cold wintry evening and my daughter Jess said let's make gnomes.......I haven't made any for quite a long time, but "yes" just the weather for an evening sewing together. 

This is a fun and easy pattern for the beginner sewer and needle felter. One that was given to my daughters on a scrap of paper when they were just 5 and 6 years old (Just be careful with the needle felting needle with children - you need to decide on their 'readiness' based on their fine motor skills, experience with a sewing needle and temperament!).  

To find what I think is the original pattern for these little gnomes look up the book 'The Nature Corner" by M. van Leeuwen and J. Moeskops. Here is the Link. This is a great book for the beginner felter, it is on my book shelf and a good place to start with a variety of sewing, needle felting and knitted projects.

Here for you is a photographic account of our evening sewing gnomes... 

Materials: Pure wool felt piece; cotton thread; wool fleece for stuffing; Romney or Corriedale Dry Felting Fleece in face colour; scissors; pins; crochet hook (using the straight end for stuffing!).


Make sure that you use good quality, sharp scissors when cutting out your felt patterns. I always work with 100% pure wool felt. There is no comparison between the quality of wool and synthetic felt. Wool felt gives you the added bonus of being able to sculpt more character into your creations by needle felting!

(Note: the younger the child - enlarge the pattern as smaller things are more difficult to sew!)

Begin by folding the felt piece in half and sewing from the tip of the cap to the front of the cap...in blanket stitch...


Now down the side...


and to the front point....


Now stitch the two sides together and continue back around to the top of the cap on the other side (Make an extra stitch on the last stitch and slide the needle along the seam and cut the thread off)...


Now sew down the front....


Leaving the thread attached, stuff fairly firmly...


Next, sew on the base (this isn't actually part of the original pattern - I added it on as I like the stuffing to be secure, but lots of people just felt the base and leave it open .... personal choice, but I make them with little children in mind so I think that having a base is better for a sturdy finish, ready for lots of play!).


We like to add a little bit of a pattern on the cap and sometimes the side of the gnome.....creative ideas here abound!....


Now using the natural coloured fleece, needle felt the face. Start fairly loosely so that the face slowly felts down to a smooth surface....




I also needle felt around the base of the cap to give the gnome some shape (see pics below)... and often crochet a little pouch for these little ones to travel with their new best friend....


This little one is cut out with an elongated and curved cap...



I have created some more shape on this one by needle felting around the base of the cap...


Our evenings work.... 


 Jess likes to cut our her own versions of this pattern, mostly freehand  and she creates all shapes and sizes, each with their own personality!


You can add facial features, beards etc like these little ones that Molly made a few years ago...



Happy Felting....