Sunday, October 28, 2012

Spring growth

sage flowers
When ever its not raining I'm mostly spending time in my garden.  To my eye my efforts are being rewarded with a lot of progress but mostly its still in potential and not very picturesque (except for the sage flowers which are stunning).

bean sprouting

A patch of tilled soil where once there was a tangle of weeds on compacted earth. A raised bed covered in mulch that hides seeds and seedlings from the birds.  Bricks and rocks consolidated from their scattered positions into edges and mulches.  Young trees (mostly) withstanding the spring storms and dog attacks.

nasturtium and mesculun

In my imagination I can see the garden in a few months: already lush, colourful and productive. In a few years it will be entirely transformed.

rainbow chard

But in reality my reward right now comes when I focus on the tiniest intimations of future growth.  The thrill of germinating seeds. The delight of first strawberry nubs reaching out from under their leaves. The curl of a pea tendril reaching for its string or stake.

microgreens (linseed and radish)
I am already eating from the garden (as well as daily microgreens and sprouts grown inside).  Every day or two there's a few leaves of early lettuce and parsley. As I weed I harvest the younger, more tender dandelions to make horta, a Greek dish where the boiled greens are tossed with olive oil, balsamic and kalamata olives: delicious.

mystery brassica uncovered among the weeds 
I'm not exactly a novice gardener but my experience has been patchy and not recent. It's been about 25 years since I last made a serious commitment to starting a large garden of my own. The steep learning curve I'm on now is part of the pleasure.  I know enough not to be devastated by my mistakes and failures (so far mostly seeds that won't sprout). I have become a voracious reader of gardening magazines and blogs as well as a more articulate gawper at other people's gardens.
baby strawberries
The garden is big, my budget is small and thus there are endless opportunities for creativity. This project is as satisfying as any stitching.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A bit of bunting

Bunting is very fashionable in the crafty-internet world and I have succumbed to its charms. These are fairly large flags that I patchworked together from a variety of scraps of fabrics too good to stuff into a pouf.  My second pouf is sewn but only half filled, its yawning mouth greedy for more stuffing but there is a hierarchy to fabric scraps and only those which can't be used more visibly go into the pouf. Also manky old t shirts and anything polar fleece (as I'm trying to do my bit to remove polar fleece from circulation where it sheds plankton sized flecks of plastic into the waterways every time we wash it).

This bunting is making itself useful by helping as a privacy screen. When I had the large pittosporum removed to let some sunlight onto the main vegetable beds, the back deck suddenly was suddenly opened up to the neighbour's main door and hanging out spot. It will take more than one strand of bunting to achieve the level of privacy I'd like from it, and I'm already working on the next set using a different set of attractive scrap fabrics.  

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Antarctica Unpacked

There's a lot of gaps in my new house.  After years of dedicated anti-consumerism, simplicity and travelling I simply don't own enough possessions to fill all the shelves and cupboards now at my disposal.

One thing I do have in sufficiency is art to hang. I have taken My Antarctica out of its storage box and placed it in my small blue bedroom where it does much to lighten the intensity of the dark walls.

Note the almost empty book shelves! I need more stuff
My bedroom also features sections of an installation that I've shown a couple of times called Membranes. (The other half of Membranes is hanging near the dining table, also providing some privacy towards the same neighbouring property.)  It looks a very dark room in these morning photos, but in the afternoon sunlight streams in (not onto the wall with My Antarctica- I don't want it to fade- or melt ;-)).

I like living with Antarctica for the first time since I finished making it about two years ago.  I finally have enough distance to really feel it as a whole object, rather than a series of imperfections in my work.  Despite being such a big strong piece it actually works really well in a bedroom, where the blankets feel right at home.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Planned Pouf

I have planned this pouf for at least three years.   I found the pattern online so long ago that I've lost the link and it no longer comes up in a search, replaced by other, more recently posted, pouf patterns.

Since I moved back to New Zealand I've been saving every snip of thread and scrap of blanket and other materials for the stuffing.  Filling the cavity this afternoon was a trip through nearly four years of stitching projects.  I packed all the scraps in so tight that the overflowing bale in which I'd been collecting scraps is now almost empty.

I spend ages looking for the right cover fabric and eventually found a couple of metres of this sturdy cotton print in an op shop for just a few dollars. Then there was a long wait to find a home big enough to use the pouf, as I didn't want to make it just to put in storage (as happened to so many projects created in my last place).  Finally, after moving to my new spacious home  a few weeks ago, I needed some dedicated time for sewing something so long anticipated.

Finally today was the day it all came together.

I'm not completely sure why I sustained such a long engagement with this pouf.  As a person with almost no furniture of my own, a pouf is affordable (mine was about five bucks) and versatile (it can be a seat/footstool/coffee table/yoga bolster).  I do love to look at poufs in shops, especially those Indian import shops where each cushion is a luscious patchwork of colourful silks.  But more than I coveted the owning of those beautiful imported poufs I wanted the gratification of making it myself. Indeed, so gratifying is this pouf, both in the making and the sitting, that I think I'll start planning another one.

Introducing Shine, my flatmate's dog and my regular daytime companion