Today in Ten

Wednesday is the day we get our weekly box of organic fruit and veggies. We had a few bits of not-so-appealing fruit in the bottom of the fridge, so they were stewed for breakfast (with a bit of water, honey and cinnamon).
Phil's been away for two nights, and Aaron and Hannah are camping with cousins, so we've had a rather small family for a few days. Thankfully the little boys have been thoroughly enjoying each other's company.
There have been many hours of Lego play (oh, the joy of school holidays!).
And drawing at the dining table.
Oh, and pinning at the dining table – new jackets for Hannah and for myself for church.
And more drawing at/on the dining table.
My jacket got photo-completed. (Still some handstitching required on the inside).
I was going to say that there is not much happening on the art quilt front this week, but then I noticed that there are four potential quilt drawings hanging in various places in my living room (on the chalkboard and in the windows), all being contemplated and evaluated while I'm busy with my other tasks.

And then there was more drawing at the dining table. A perfect kind if school-holiday-day!

I hope yours was a good day too, whether or not it was a holiday…

 

Create: a new wholecloth quilt for our bed

We always have an extra quilt on our bed in winter. Well, I do. Phil throws his half off before getting in to bed. My mum made us one for our wedding with mathematical symbols appliqués on it (we both love maths).

This year, though, is was keen to have something fresh. So I'm working on a wholecloth quilt inspired by the quiltwork we admired in France ages ago. I thought about designing the quilting myself, but have Quilts of Provence on my shelf, and it includes a pattern that was just right (i.e. not too frilly). I'll save the brainwork for other projects! I've marked the quilting lines with washable fabric marker. I NEVER use this on my artwork as I've heard horror stories of the effect it has on the fabric over time. That would bother me in my artwork, but not in a bed quilt which I'm only really concerned about using for the next ten year. (Beyond that is a bonus!) Maybe more recent markers are OK, but I try to keep chemicals like that off my art quilts. I'm curious, though, what the quilt makers of Provence used to used to mark their stitching line.

As you can see, this one is being machine quilted. One day, when I am old and wrinkly (family terminology for 'retired') I'd love to hand quilt one of these. But right now I'm too eager to have a new quilt on the bed for this winter!

 

Draw: gestures

Sadie Reads (c) Ruth de Vos 2014

(click image to enlarge)

For the past year or so I've put a fair bit of effort into drawing children in action. Where these drawings have been life drawings (i.e. not from a photo), the sketches tend to be fairly rough, but they served the purpose of capture information on posture and poses. So I was pleased to see a similar exercise come up in our Year of the Fairytale workshop. And then one of the participants shared this article.

It's nice to know I've spent my drawing efforts on a worthwhile exercise…

So when I tagged along for Aaron's first soccer game last Saturday, I took my sketchbook along, hoping to capture some action from the soccer field. Only, the boys actually spend a whole lot of time standing around waiting for the ball to come their way. But then I spotted a friend and her daughter on the opposite side of the field, and the daughter was assuming a whole host of poses. Perfect for drawing! And yes, she was reading a book. Just like some of my children – rolling on the ground, sitting up, or upside down, moving constantly. I managed to capture some of the poses in a very rough form, and have enjoyed fine tuning them at home.

Now, how to turn this into a quilt?…

 

Experiment: mono printing on fabric

I did some more playing with putting images of children onto fabric the other night. I tried mono printing using a piece of glass. I took a fun set of photos of the process to share with you. Unfortunately I forgot about them when I formatted the camera card before our morning outing to Fremantle on Monday, so they are no more. But I can at least share the results.

They're not fancy, but they were fun! The process is very simple – paint the image on to a sheet of glass, lay the fabric over, roll over the back with a roller, then lift the fabric carefully.

I assume this process is very much the same as gelli printing with the main difference being that the gelli print has a bit of give in it, compared to the glass, and will therefore give a more complete print. But maybe those of you who have actually used gelli plates can correct me if I'm wrong?

 

Inspire: coffee stop in Fremantle

So much line, shape, colour and texture in Fremantle this morning! I had to collect some quilts from somewhere north of the river, and in my opinion, any trip north of the river requires a coffee stop to make it worthwhile, so we took the camera and detoured via Freo on the way home. I think the boys enjoyed the coffee stop. The only bad thing was the realisation that my favourite ever bookshop (New Edition) is no more. How very sad!

 

5 Family-Friendly Meals for When You are Too Busy Sewing

The sewing machine is humming along. The kids are all playing happy so there's no interruptions. And if you can go for just a little bit longer, you'll get that bit finished.

Then you happen to glance at the clock and realise you should have started cooking dinner an hour ago. Or better still, you hear the garage door open and realise that hubby's home and it's dinner time already.

Please say that happens at your house too!? Here are five of my favourite family-friendly recipes for pulling together at times like this.

Grilled chicken, tortillas, yoghurt dip, avocado, tomatoes, cucumber (or whatever veggies you have available).

The chicken tenderloins are grilled on the BBQ (with a shop-bought spice mix sprinkled on top) while the dinner plates are arranged with a little bowl of Greek yoghurt, a dollop of fruit chutney and the cut veggies. The tortilla chips are made by placing the tortillas on an oven rack, spraying with a little olive oil, sprinkling with salt and pepper, and then baking until they start turning brown. When they've cooled off a little, I rip or snap the tortillas into wedges, perfect for dipping.

Hamburgers. I always have rolls and patties in the freezer, and patties are cooked in no time on our Weber. The whole meal rolls we use, along with the veggies we include, make this a reasonably healthy meal.

Mince, kale, cabbage, curry (pictured above) – in tortillas with Greek yoghurt, or fried with rice. (Or this version, which doesn't require meat). (I always have a pack of tortillas in the pantry, and usually have leftover cooked rice in the freezer too).

To make this, I shred the kale and cabbage (with my beloved monstrous chef knife!). I fry the mince till it's brown and crumbly, add some curry powder and the veggies. Try to cook until the veggies are just a bit crunchy still, but not soggy.

Pizza (we usually make our own base, but I always have a couple of pre-made bases in the freezer to pull out at the last minute if necessary. The kids love theirs with tomato paste, Italian herbs, mushrooms, bacon, pineapple and cheese, but we also have pizza with whatever leftover veggies we can find in the fridge. We've used leftover roast veggies, or some of the mince and kale mix from above, or sliced leek with leftover satay chicken. Yummo! If I have spinach leaves in the fridge I always sneak some of them in under the other pizza toppings.

Rice with butter and sugar (brown or white) – seriously! My kids love it. It doesn't happen often and usually only if Phil is not home for dinner, but I figure that it can't be worse for them than the average takeaway meal!

What's your favourite meal for pulling together at the last minute?

 

Draw: How Does Your Garden Grow?

How does your garden grow?

(c) Ruth de Vos 2014

With much thanks to Carla Sonheim and the Year of the Fairytale for the complete over abundance of inspiration and ideas currently being faced here…

Daniel is also producing paper dolls by the dozen, and painting imaginary flowers incorporating various techniques that Aaron, Hannah and I have been using.

 

Organise: a perfect centrepiece for a family full of kids

We’ve just had our annual verge junk collection. That’s when I have to exercise great self control to not check out every pile of treasure junk we pass.
But every attempt at self-control flies out the window when it comes to rustic wooden boxes. Actually, not entirely. I drove past this one three times before I convinced myself that I would forever regret not picking it up. And it’s the perfect centrepiece for our long dining table. Ok, it looks a little bit small on this shot of the empty dining table, but in reality, the dining table is never empty, and the box is the perfect thing for having pens, pencils and scissors right there where they get used for a good part of every day.
I was going to pull those wooden ‘feet’ off, but I actually quite like how they add a bit of height to the box.

Normally, our dining table looks a lot more like this:

I love a functional centrepiece! Do you have a functional something parked on your dining table? Or, what would you love to have as a centrepiece if only it were practical?