26 May 2011

Boroondara Sustainability Award

Thank you to the City of Boroondara! I just found out that I received a special commendation in the 2010 Sustainability Awards, Sustainable Gardens category 'For showing how tenants can improve common areas and fostering a sense of community through productive gardening.' This also goes to my partner John who built the raised beds and helps out with seed every year, Alan next door who looks after the compost heap and my landlord who has let me do what I want with the backyard.  It's mostly my baby, but I do share a backyard with two neighbors and wouldn't be able to do it if they weren't in favour of having it there.

These are the photos from my submission last December:

Building the raised patch from old sleepers
There was an old asbestos shed in this spot that had to be removed. The landlord was completely agreeable to a veggie patch being built on the site.  The old clothes-washing copper from the shed now has plants in it (lower right). 
Climbers by the carport
Heritage varieties of green beans, eggplant, asparagus, peppers and basil.  You can get creative with where to grow food when you have limited space.
 Potatoes in Autumn 2010
 ‘Listada di gandia’ heritage variety eggplant
Spring onions, heritage lettuce varieties, nasturtium, broccoli, beetroot leaves
Green Manure crop grown in Winter 2010
This was dug into the garden to add nitrogen and improve the soil texture
A local visitor
We always have interesting birds and bugs in the garden!

19 May 2011

Spicy Goodness

Mmmm....Tabasco! Full of Spicy Goodness. I put on almost everything except my cereal.  I love the taste, I love the colour, the shape and size of the bottle and I love the branding. It's an iconic item that I can't live without.  To me, the Tabasco bottle is to the USA what the Vegemite jar is to Australia.  So what better to do than embroider it?! I started this months ago and just finished it. It began on a piece of gold velvet corduroy that was leftover from making a dog cushion for Mai-li. I didn't know what the final product would become and it turned out to be just the right size and thickness for a sunglasses case.

First, I traced the full-size image onto water-soluble stabiliser from an embroidery shop, with a water-soluble pen. This is the box from the big 12oz/355ml bottles I get at Costco (these last me about 6 months. The litle bottles only last a few weeks in my house!).

I used a couple of different colours of red and green, split stitch and stem stitch for most of it, and satin stitch to fill in the bigger letters. I free-handed the shadowing stitches on the bottle and label rather than tracing them.

My initial concern about loose stitches on the thick textured fabric was justified. You'll notice that the stitches in the diamond-shaped border came loose when I turned the fabric right-side-out after sewing the case together. I'll fix up those stitches at some point.  I was also using beeswax on the floss in the beginning and then switched to Thread Heaven.  The thread with beeswax (ie; the word 'TABASCO') is a bit dulled.  All in all, it was an experiment that I'm pretty happy with

01 May 2011

MadMen Mel

I think this little avatar-maker has been around for a while, but this is the first time I've seen it!  You can MadMenYourself and choose your body, hair, face, clothes, accessories, props and settings! Tehehehe! Very fun.  I have to admit that I am probably one of the few vintage-junkies who doesn't watch this show. I find it to basically be Desperate Housewives re-set in the 50's and 60's.  I love the clothes, and am a bit disturbed by the sets which look like they time-travelled to my early youth in Greenwich, Connecticut. I watched about half of the first season and can't stand any of the characters.  I really don't remember EVERYONE being that misogynistic in my early youth (granted that was 60's and 70's). Oh well. It's pretty with the sound off and it has created a resurgence of interest in vintage! Have fun making your own avatar! ;-) Mel