Stitched textiles Nature

As a member of Kapiti Coast Quilters  I get to borrow library books. This month I saw  Stitched Textiles: Nature -by Stephanie Redfern   and thought it looked just up my alley.  I was right.

This is one gorgeous book. If you love art, mixed media, fabric and fibre I thoroughly recommend it. Stephanie breaks down the processes she uses to simple steps using simple equipment. I found the chapters and their contents inspiring and useful.  Materials, design and inspiration sources, painting and printing on fabric and developing a design are all discussed.

Some lovely projects round off the book. What I like though is this book can be used to create your own work not just do copycat work. Not that I am knocking copycat work, whatever floats your boat and makes you happy. This book makes me happy.

I am really fussy about what I buy.  A craft book has to include useful, inspiring, doable and affordable ideas I know I will refer back to for me to be interested enough to buy it. I like this book so much I will buy a copy.






I well and truly fell down a rabbit hole, people.

I have set up a Facebook group for people in New Zealand who love mixed media art journaling, altered books, artist books, book binding, visual diaries etc.

You may like to follow / join the page. You can also add your details to the relevant files and maps if you would like people to be able to find you.

Here’s the link:

I am hoping MAJIC NZ will be another way people who love mixed media art journaling etc.  can find information easily about artists, classes, groups  etc. here in Aotearoa, NZ.

Let’s make MAJIC together.Dyed Heaven

Image credit: Book Art Studios “Dyed and Gone to Heaven”


A few of Wendy’s Sunday Quilters (my  fandiddlytastic quilting group) and I are beginning to work on the Songbird quilt from Kookaburra Cottage Quilts .  Wendy had suggested we do this one next. Trying wool applique was also on my Crafting Bucket List  so I was all in.  My friends are using cotton so it wil be fun to see the different versions.

Because I always want to try all the crafts I decided to dye my own wool. I spent a happy late afternoon  (2/6/19) dyeing wool blanket bits.  Bobby Duncan from Fabric By Three sold me some Procion dye powder at Kapiti Coast Quilters recent exhibition.  I bought a blue, a red and a yellow so I could have fun mixing colours. I didn’t want to invest a lot of money if I wasn’t happy with my dyeing efforts.  I won’t share the recipe Bobbi gave me because she runs a great business and sells gorgeous dyed wool and quilting cottoys.

This next bit is notes about how I put together my dyeing kit using what I had. 

02 06 19 dye set up

I had gradually accumulated the  stuff I needed:

Face mask (donation from an intrigued health worker when I told her why I wanted to keep my mask)

Cream  wool blankets  (Dog blankets from the Op Shop)

Scissors  for cutting up blanket bits. Next time I will cut up the blanket pieces using my rotary cutter. 

Large plastic containers  Cut down recycled large water bottles from my dentists’.   I would like to get some wider, shallower containers so will keep my eagle recycling eyes out .  These worked really well though  and I enjoyed seeing the colours changing as the wool soaked up more and more dye.

I  sawed a tiny hole using a cheap hacksaw blade and then cut the rest off using $2 shop scissors. It worked a treat. I did try using a soldering iron to cut the plastic and sawing them off cos I like tools. But honestly the cheapo scissors worked better.

Table Salt  and white vinegar  good ol Pak’nSave

Stirring sticks Wooden coat hangers with the hooks taken out – these worked brilliantly, I found them in CROD (the Craft Room of Doom) when  I braved a look in there to find something that I could use for stirring. They are good and strong and the bend in them is helpful for lifting the fabric and moving it around.

Old jug for boiling up hot water. Lots  and lots of water. If I take to dyeing, and of course I will, I may have to look out for a cheap second hand urn to boil enough water. I just didn’t feel too safe carrying boiling water through the house again and again.

Dish washing detergent and an old bucket

Measuring spoon and plastic teaspoons  (Op Shop and kids takeaways)

Mug (a Craft Fair gift from my lovely friend Barbara Smith). I was looking for plastic cups, realised we didn’t have any and I don’t want to buy any unnecessary plastic.)

What I’d do next time

Cut the wool first

Check the ratio of wool  blanket to water bath.  I guess as long as it’s covered in solution and can be stirred for even uptake of the dye it’ll be Ok

Have more spoons for the dye and have the dye powder in bigger containers so it didn’t spill when measuring

Take photos of each stage to help plan out the best order and process

Have more containers ready so I  can  do more dyeing.  Find a sensible way to mark the recipe used in each dye bath.

First dye lot 02 06 19

Yellow = 1 tbsp  (intense yellow, worse than a chux multicloth)                                                                              Mid green was 2tsps yellow and one tsp green .I  quite like this.                                                                                   Dark green was 1 1/2 tsps each of  yellow and green. Also nice.

I will try and get a better photo in the sun tomorrow.

night time dye lot

This one was taken at night time inside.


I am looking forward to dyeing more.and trying different shades and tints.


Huge thanks to Bobby for being so generous and patient with her knowledge and advice.



The first gathering of Kapiti Art and Heart Journallers ( KAHJ) went off well yesterday. Eleven lovely artists turned up to have fun and try some new techniques.  Moira and I had made up some goodie bags which had a whole lot of recycled bits in to start people off. I should have taken a photo, they looked lovely.  We used brown paper grocery bags, glued a lovely  invocation by Jamie Riddler on the front and popped a pretty paper doliy over the top.

We made journals from old magazines. I thought this would be a great way to start so we were  more open to making a happy creative mess.

Harri Pic 1

I was having too much fun and completely forgot to take photos. Luckily Harri took a few and kindly agreed I could post them on here.

Harri Pic 2

Instructions and credits follow:

Making art journals from magazines

Preparing the base journal

  1. Use one or two magazines with thick paper. You can also cut them in half using a sharp Stanley knife.

They can have missing pages – this is actually better.  Leave a few cms of a stub so you don’t weaken the spine ripping the pages out. You can then glue this down to the page beneath or attach tip ins to it.

  1. Rip off one back cover and one front cover if gluing two magazines together
  2. Glue stick these two together
  3. Glue a picture or blank paper on the front cover
  4. Tape the spine

You can run tape down the centre of the journal if using one magazine

  1. Open the journal and flatten the first few pages so they open out

Then flatten a few pages from the back. Work your way through the journal.


Getting pages ready for arting

Cut and glue down paper a little smaller than the magazine page. Smooth down flat.

Or collage directly on to the page.


All credit is gratefully given to the following artists : 

Art Girl Creations Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose – Making an Art Journal from a Magazine

ArtJournalist:  Art Journalist’s Scavenger Hunt List

 Crafty Hodges: How to make a magazine journal

 Jamie Ridler Studios  How to Make a Magazine Journal – a Creative Tutorial



Wendy Hatley-2 (1)

Belinda, a quilting friend, rang me this Wednesday to let me know that our lovely tutor Wendy Hatley died on Tuesday night. It was a hell of a shock. I knew she had a tough fight ahead of her as she had metasasised cancer but  I was clinging to the hope she would be one of the lucky few who survived. Sadly this didn’t happen.

Wendy tutored a beginners’ quilting class last year and then ran a second class for those of us, plus add ons, who wanted to continue.  She was special to me because she made me feel welcome and accepted, as a lesbian quilter. She really didn’t give a crap, she just liked me and we had fun together laughing about my many quilting mishaps.  I would ring her once a week at least, for advice and a chat, and she was always generous with her knowledge and her sense of fun. I so enjoyed our developing friendship.

I am so sad for her family, who she spoke of so fondly.  To Wayne, her kids and grandies goes my heartfelt sympathy.

We lost a lovely woman this week and I am so grateful for her presence in my life.

RIP my lovely friend, I can truly say that you had me in stitches.



My quilt tutor was seriously ill so  I whipped her up a wheat bag as a gift using none of the techniques she taught me. Nothing says thank you to a tutor you admire than gifting them a dodgily sewn project.  Don’t blame her for the wonkiness.

Wendy’s quilts are amazing. There was no way  I was going to attempt to sew her anything. But then I remembered that a wheatbag never goes amiss so I sewed her up one, unplanned and cut freestyle, as is my wont.

I didn’t plan it out so the open edge where the channels were filled was narrow and rough. In the end I handstitched it down as  I filled to keep the wheat from going everywhere and to stop me from pricking myself continually with the tiny applique pins  I was using.

BTW I finally came across a much easier way to fill those channels. I used a squeeze icing bottle with a lovely big long nozzle (bought but never used for Cupcake decorating). It worked a treat even though I still had to do the ol’ shake, rattle and roll.  What  a difference,  I didn’t end up with wheat from one end of the room to the other, for a change.

wheatbag inner

Next I decided to make a little ‘pillow case’ for it that could be easily washed and then added some hand stitching to it to pretty it up.

Wheatbag - back cover

So here is the big reveal…  Thanks Belinda  for taking photos for me.   (Yep, I suffered Flat Phone Syndrome, yet again.)


Wheatbag front of pillowcase

Done and dropped off.