Sunday, 27 June 2010


I just made this wonderful new discovery!
It is possible to print directly onto the embroidery stabilizer. Yes, really
This is what I did:

I cut a piece of stabilizer and a piece of freezer paper to exactly A4 size (to make sure it doesn't get eaten by the printer) and ironed the two together.

I then put it in the printer with the stabilizer (print side) facing down and printed as normal. I don't have the best printer in the world so I was prepared for things to go terribly wrong here, but everything worked out perfectly.

I peeled the stabilizer off and voila: A perfect embroidery-pattern ready to start stitching!

I made a sketch of the photo because I made a few changes to the original picture, but it is possible to print the photo directly onto the stabilizer too.

Now no more light boxes and window tracings for me! Yippee!! (You can see why I was looking for an easier way to copy the picture, can't you?)

As you probably know by now, I am a completely self-taught embroiderer. Except for some help from my mother and grandmother when I was still small, I never had any formal embroidery training. Now you can understand why I am so thrilled with this discovery - I figured it all out by myself and it is going to make my life a lot easier.

All I need now is for someone to tell me this is the way everybody else does it, and I have been the only one living behind a rock for the past 20 years...

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Du-bye embroidery progress

I have about two weeks left before I have to hand it over, but it still has to go to the framers too... that means I have to finish THIS week! Still lots of work to do...

Since the last time I've added the Harley, with some help from a friend who had to convince them to pose in this exact position.

Their wedding. They came to Dubai as a couple but only got married here.

As it looks now. I still have to fill in the top part 'above' the clouds. And do a border. And get it framed...
The embroidery stabilizer is still on, so I'm still in suspense to see what it will look like when I dissolve that.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Our bird family - new development

Remember our Bulbul family from way back in November? Well, I am happy to report that they came back, made a new nest and produced a new offspring!

This time they built their nest deep inside the bougainvilla bush at the back of the garden, where nobody could see or harm their baby. I watched them through the window carrying first their nest building material and later their baby's food into the bush.

Then on Friday we noticed the Young One out in the open. The parents let it out of the nest and away from the protection of the bougainvilla bush onto the ground. They hid it in a pile of leaves behind the water tank from where it jumped onto the handle bar of the bicycle next to the tank. It sat there for a long time. It looked as if it didn't know what to do next. It looked like the poor thing was really suffering from the heat. It was about 45C outside. The parents collected water dripping from the tap at the tank to drink but they never gave any to the baby while I was looking. The parents were very nervous and hovering around the baby. They wouldn't let any one close. I took these photos through the window as they got very upset when I opened the back door.

This morning they were gone. No Baby. No Mom or Dad. I hope they moved on to safer ground and that the little one is doing fine...

Saturday, 12 June 2010

My first article for HAND/EYE Magazine

The June issue of HAND/EYE online magazine is now out. I am privileged and honoured to have an article published in this quality publication. The whole issue is dedicated to all things textile. Click on the screenshot to have a look:

The June print issue of HAND/EYE Magazine will be out soon. This issue is dedicated to Central Asian art, craft and artisans. Another one of my articles about Central Asian Embroidery will be featured in there. For subscription details click here.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Art in the foyer

The A-level (year 12) art-students at my kids school had an exhibition of their works in the school foyer this past week. I photographed a few I thought was good. There was quite a bit more, but they didn't quite speak to me. All the work was accompanied by sketchbooks and descriptions of the creative process involved.

These artworks are mostly not something I would personally buy or put in my house but I can appreciate what they are saying and I am impressed with the fact that 16-year olds can produce work like this.

May their art-futures be bright!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010


It is this time of year again... the time when expats move on to new and greener (and cooler) pastures. One more set of friends whom we came to love over the past few years are moving on... This time back to South Africa.

I am pretty sure they don't read this blog (Jan, if you do, just pretend you don't until the end of the month ;-] ) so I am going to show you their farewell gift in progress...

I made a collage of the different things they experienced and enjoyed while living here. He is a licenced pilot and they loved camping and fishing amongst other things.

It is the first time I am using a wash-away stabilizer and so far I am very impressed with it. It is far easier to draw on the stabilizer than directly onto the fabric. It also helps with keeping the stitches even. Let's hope I am still impressed after I washed it away...

I have three more weeks to work on this and quite a few more experiences to capture, so let me get on with it...

Soccerball Progress (not!) 3

Remember last time I said things like "only 15 to go" and "finish before the start of the World Cup"? Well, it ain't gonna happen...
I went to the yarn shop last week to buy one more ball of each colour and... they ran out of the variegated colours! And apparently they don't plan to order more any time soon, so I had to improvise.

I bought one of each of the main colours from every variegated yarn and went home to redesign my pattern.

After some deliberation I changed a few of the swirls from variegated to solid colours. I had to do it in such a way that the colours are evenly spread around the ball. It meant I had to undo some (most) of the finished hexagons to change one colour to a solid. It also meant that each hexagon now has to be individually labelled because every one has a very specific place in the bigger scheme of things.

So, the Good News is: It will look better this way - more depth in the colours
but the Bad News is: It won't be finished before kick-off on Friday...

Thursday, 3 June 2010

African Flower

During my past week's blog browsing I came across a picture of an African Flower crochet hexagon. I have never seen it before and had to try it.

This is what it looks like, following the pattern. I then decided to make a few changes and the second one looks like this:

I changed the dc's in the centre to sc'c to keep it more compact. I also made the centre a different colour to make it look more like a flower. I really like the first green row of sc's - it frames the flower nicely.

I have a few things in progress at the moment which I have to finish first, but I can see a new blanket brewing... (as if I need it)

Apparently there is a whole Flickr group dedicated to African Flowers, so if you have access to Flickr, check it out.

Summer is here!

That's 118.4F
I was on my way to pick the kids up from school