Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy days.......

I have recently been on a short holiday to the countryside of Northern New South Wales. It is (to me at least) one of the most beautiful areas of Australia, and luckily only a few hours drive from my house.

Just before I left, I ordered some threads from Rebecca, and along with my order came a beautiful lilac temari and a Temari Addict coffee mug. It was a lovely surprise and I'm excited to see this type of pattern 'in person'. It's a variation of a swirl pattern, and if you click the image you can see the detail in the stitching. Thanks Rebecca!

My holiday lasted only 4 nights but was amazing. I could have quite happily spent another month there, but 'normal' life must keep going. Here is a picture of the cabin where I stayed. It is pretty much just a bed with a roof, and a little porch with a couple of chairs. I spent most of my time sat on the porch stitching temari and reading.

I ended up reading two novels and stitching 4 temari. I had the balls already made, so all I needed to do was stitch. I didn't take any patterns, books or instructions with me. My theory was that I needed to spend time being unstructured, and this applied to temari as well. So......using nothing but my head, I stitched a C8, JD, Kiku and another JD:

My aim was not to be too structured, not to be overly concerned with precision. The balls were ones from when I first started making temari and not very round, the marking wasn't very precise, and hence the stitching was not as exact as it could have been. BUT.......I stitched for the pure joy of it and had the best time. I didn't debate the colours, I just picked them. I tried not to thing tooooo much about the what/where/how's, and just take an idea and put it on the ball. And I think, overall, the results aren't too bad. I particularly like the pale purple one with the pink/green/yellow stitching. I'm going to re-do it with a slight variation on the obi part, and a bit more precision!

When I got home, I found out that the ball I sent to my Grandma had been shown around, and could I please make one as a 21st gift for another family member. Serendipitously, the colours requested were the colours I was already using on a ball, the pattern worked nicely, and so I think this one will fly south as a gift. It is done in Kyo rayons, which adds that extra element of special to the ball - perfect for a special gift. This is it here:

To top it off, I received my New Years GITS from Sue S in the mail. Looking at the brown cardboard box has nearly driven me to insanity, and it's only been 24 hours. Anyone who knows me can tell you that insatiable curiosity is a major part of my personality, for better and for worse. And when you link that with impatience, get the idea! The fact that I not only have a temari that I cannot see, have no idea what colour it is, what pattern it is, and that it has been made just for me, as well as giving me a specific date that I have to WAIT for..... it's driving me nuts!! I have hidden it in my temari room, behind the books, so that I cant see it. Hopefully that will make it easier!!
I hope everyone has a happy holiday time filled with good cheer and happiness.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Temari treasure arrived today

Today the mail lady dropped off my temari supplies order from Ai at TenTemari. I was so excited when I saw the box. Inside was a treasure trove of goodies. I got some bunka thread, clear rings for temari to sit on, and some plastic cores, as well as a roll of paper tape to weave a base out of. I know I can make these things myself, and probably will in the future, I just thought since I was ordering other things I might as well get them too. There was also the piece I was most excited to see - a musical mari base. I'm going to use it for a gift temari. I have an idea of the who/when it is for, and it plays quite a nice tune (hina matsuri).

The reason for my order was that my family get stuck trying to find birthday and Christmas gifts for me, so this year I asked for temari books and a musical mari base for myself. I had to put them back in the box to go to my parents house - and it was soooo difficult not to look through the books!!!

I cant wait till christmas to be able to look at all the amazing designs!!! The musical base plays "moon from ruined castle". It has a lovely haunting melody. I'm thinking it needs a design coloured in twilight shades like indigo and soft violet. I'm not in a hurry to stitch it as I want it to be a really effective piece.

Anyhow, I'm off to continue stitching my current project - and to browse books for possible patterns for the 'moon ball'. I hadnt let myself look at patterns in case the postal system kidnapped my order :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Latest creations

It's been a little while since the last post, life has been getting in the way of temari, and the temari that I have made have been intended as gifts, so I couldn't share them until they had been received. The good news is I can share two of them with you. I made the first one while procrastinating about another pattern (which I'm still avoiding). It's an S12 Kiku that now lives with Rebecca in Perth.

This next one is a thankyou present for my grandparents. Grandma kindly shared her stash of wool with me again, and now I have quite a hefty stockpile of yarn-wrap for temari. It is my second attempt at this pattern, and I was happy with how it turned out. I'm now doing this pattern for a third time - with the Japanese kyo rayons in my fav combo of black, white, blue and purple. Hopefully it wont be long before I can get it finished off and post it on here for you to see.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Two out of three aint bad.....

I finished the Kiku I was working on! Not that it was that hard, I just had to sit down for longer than 10 minutes and finish it off. I'm afraid I can't show you what it looks like yet though, it's a present for someone, so after they receive it, I'll post a pic. It actually turned out a little better than I expected, which is always nice. Still a bit of wabi-sabi going on, but it's worked out nicely (I think anyway).

I also decided on a pattern for the GITS. Now I need to choose some colours and stitch it up. That should be fun.

And the pattern a la procrastination - that's the one out of three I didnt get to yet!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The wonders of online shopping, and other recent events.

I love the Internet. It never ceases to amaze me what I can find online. Whether it's a fascinating hobby or craft, interesting, quirky or downright strange facts, or a little bit of retail therapy - I'm always a little bit amazed. Lately I have had the good fortune to come across several of the things I have been searching for.

1. A temari work-basket. I have been searching for "the perfect basket" for ages. I currently have a basket/tote that I am not happy with, and have been exploring other avenues. The basket I have is OK, but if I could find the perfect basket..... It's a really good excuse to use a couple of fat quarters in the most amazing fabric that have been awaiting 'the perfect project' too. Ultimately I wanted a woven basket that was big deep enough to hold my supplies, but not that deep that I would lose things in the bottom, with a dome/bowl shaped removable lid that I could use as a work basket, and preferably a handle to carry it with, but I wasn't sure what sort would suit it. It also had to be roughly the right size. Not too big, not too small. It would be nice if it could be lined with fabric, and sturdy - no flimsy baskets allowed. I was suffering from a near fatal case of Goldilocks syndrome. None of the baskets I found was quite right. So I went from idea to idea and I was just about to start testing a second hand hatbox I had found when I found a set of baskets on Etsy.

I have only just remembered Etsy. It's somewhere I don't tend to go a lot - I'm more of an Ebay girl. But - I remembered Etsy, and I searched for baskets. And now I have these 2 absolutely fabulous baskets. They are the right height and size, the right material, and will look great and hopefully will perform well. I'm a fraction concerned they are not quite strong enough, but will investigate that a bit more. They remind me of hot air balloons. With any luck, the search for the perfect basket can finally be laid to rest, and if not, they look fantastic on the shelf and I'll keep searching - next option is a hatbox - lined with those fat quarters of course!

2. Temari books. Through an online bookshop I have just purchased three more temari books. They are sure hard to find (at the right prices anyway) and even harder to find secondhand (at even better prices). I'm so excited my collection is growing slowly and surely. I have put these back in the box as they are actually a christmas present. These three are English books, two by Diana Vandervoort, and one by M. Ludlow. Nothing puts a smile on my face faster than adding to my bookshelves, and that smile gets bigger if they are temari books.

A big thank you goes to my Grandma in Victoria - who sent up a heap more of her knitting machine wool, and my Grandad - for encouraging her to do so. She has nearly cleaned out her stash, and I was fortunate enough to be the recipient. I have enough wool to see me through ooodles and ooooodles of temari. I cant even begin to figure how many - I'm thinking in the hundreds!!

I have been working on a particular pattern - trying to figure it out, and it has taken me a bit longer than expected. I have to figure it out from photo's and I haven't worked a temari like that before, so I'm doing what I tend to do best - I'm procrastinating. Of course it doesn't help when I work full time, and then I decided to stitch another Kiku pattern at the same time, and then I got the urge to re-arrange the cats bedroom/craft room. On the plus side, "Temari Land" (aka the craft room) now has a mid sized shelving unit to assist with storage, the space is easier to work in, and the cats like having something else to climb on.

So today....hopefully....I will finish the kiku, decide on a pattern for the New Years GITS I am participating in, and begin stitching the pattern I have been procrastinating about. Hopefully.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

One yarn mari, two yarn mari, three yarn mari, four....

Unfortunately there hasn't been much stitching happening here at the moment. I was working on a UFO that still -frustratingly- remains a UFO. That one has gone back in the box, hopefully to be resolved the next time it comes out. I had also wrapped a mari for a pattern I was about to start, only to find that it was quite a bit smaller than the original and I really should make a new one. I really should have been paying more attention to the temari and not thinking about the new reading book sitting beside me! order to put my mind into positive temari-mode, I started wrapping mari.Between reading and wrapping (with the occasional cat cuddle thrown in for good measure) it was a great day.

Wrapping mari is something I generally find relaxing, and this morning was no exception. I had worked my way through most of my yarn mari's , so I figuered wrapping another batch would be therapeutic as well as productive. I find if I have a good selection of yarn mari, then I can enjoy the colour choosing and stitching more because I dont have to spend time wrapping a ball up.

Anyhow, before I knew it I had over a dozen - some with bells inside, some with button rattles, some that make no noise at all. Some larger and some smaller, some with rice hulls and some with polyfill, some with blessings inside and some without. I figured I wont get too stuck for choice - not in the near future anyway. And then I made the last one for the day - the one for the pattern I am itching to stitch. Hopefully, I'll be able to show you soon what it looks like, but until then - this is the basketful of mari 'canvases' I have to play with.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Seven heads are better than one.........

To celebrate International Temari Appreciation Day, several members from the Temari Challenge Yahoo group got together (figuratively speaking) and created an original temari design. Each of us took a turn in adding an element to the ball until it was finished.

My contribution was to select the division type and marking thread, something I was quite happy about doing. So I chose a C8 , thinking to challenge myself. And then I must admit I went from very keen to a little apprehensive when I realised I may have got my ambitions mixed up with my capabilities! However, there is always a very generous sharing of knowledge in the temari community so, I figured that there would be someone who could assist if I got stuck, and sure enough, when the first stitching element (Sakasa Uwagake Kagari) was added it wasn't one I had ever done before, and Rebecca kindly offered to help. Luckily I was able to understand the instructions over on the TemariKai website, and went on to follow the other pattern elements without too much drama. That's not to say my Sakasa Uwagake Kagari stitching is wonderful, I actually have no two that look the same on the ball. It was stitched on three threads, and I have several variations in tension and length of the 'legs'. It shows me in no uncertain terms that while I now understand the concept, I have a long way to practice in the execution!!! (I plan to complete this design again in a different colour scheme so that gives me plenty of opportunity to practice!!)

The challenge was great. I learnt so much from working through a design this way. It's amazing how much you learn to 'see' and actually recognise once you are actually stitching it. And together, we created an original design. This was also something that had me stumped. I'd sit there and think "of course it's possible to design an original, if you're an experienced stitcher. I need a lot more learning to even begin to know where to start designing." Now I'm thinking, "of course I can design an original temari pattern now and it will be pretty cool, and when I am more experienced I will have oodles more ideas to play with".

So thanks to (in order of design), Rod B, me, Laura B, Rebecca AK, Kat, Barb S and Debi A. The image above is my interpretation of our combined design.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

GITS received

Through the Talk Temari yahoo group, I was recently involved in a GITS - that's a Great International Temari Swap. This is a great initiative that enables stitchers to create a temari for a swap partner in another part of the world. It enables temari to be shared and for stitchers to view temari other than their own. Even with the expansion of the internet, and the number of fantastic temari images now available, there is nothing quite like viewing a temari 'in person'.

This is the second GITS I have been a part of, and this time the theme was 'Stitchers Choice'. My partner was Bonnie from Vermont, USA. I got home Wednesday to find that the postman had left a card in my mail box so I excitedly dashed around to the corner store to collect my parcel, and then dashed home again. I opened up the box to find this stunning temari inside. I love the flowers and am very proud to be the recipient of such an awesome gift. Thanks Bonnie!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's Temari Time!! now I'm up to date...let's get onto temari!

Temari making took over my spare time in April this year. It's (as many would tell you) something that very quickly turns into an addiction. A big thanks to Temari Addict Australia for helping me develop my orbsession (get it?!) so quickly.

I dont have the longest attention span when it comes to focusing on one particular hobby, so imagine my surprise to find that I not only made one temari, but then made several more, and as yet, haven't found the fascination to be dwindling at all.

I have a few Japanese books, and a few of the English ones as well. I'm fascinated by the patterns and the shapes, the layers and colour combinations possible. I'm learning different techniques. And I'm having a ball (oops...there's another one!).

So a little while ago, the idea for an International Temari Appreciation Day (ITAD) was born (thanks Rebecca), and it's October 22nd - yep - that's tomorrow! There is a Flickr page for ITAD, and a fantastic competition aimed at spreading the temari word. Go have a look at some of the great pic's that are there already. Thanks also go to Rebecca for setting up a International Temari Day blog page.

To celebrate ITAD, I have put a small display at my workplace, and also done up some leaflets for my local craft shop. I'm also working on a ball with a group from the Temari Challenge group on Yahoo, an original creation with inputs from seven of us. It's interesting to see what each person adds to the design, and I'm itching to see how it turns out.

I also decided to add this blog to my signature on the Yahoo groups so that someone other than me knows it exists! Anyhow, here are some photo's of some of the temari I have made.

My favourite temari is the black base with the purple, yellow and green kiku pattern. I have my threads seperated into four colour groups - blues, greens, earths and pink/purples. I challenged myself to choose one colour from three of the four boxes, and this was the combination that resulted. I am repeatedly amazed that a change in colour combination can alter the apperance of a relatively simple design so drastically.

Dragonfly pincushion

This a pincushion and scissor fob that I created. It used blanket stitch, which is my favourite of all stitches. I can still remember the look on my Mums face as I repaired the torn sleeve of an old yard-shirt with blanket stitch. I think she despaired of me ever being able to grasp the concept of neatness and invisibility when it came to sewing.

Lucky for me, sewing pincushions and associated bits and bobs with felt can incorporate blanket stitch quite effectively. Yay!!!

I participated in a pincushion round-robin, in which a box of pincushion goodies went around the world. That was fun. The pincushion and fob in the picture now reside on the other side of the country. I love how the internet has made interstate and international crafting so much more available to everyone. It's awesome to know that something in your collection started it's life in the hands of someone thousands of kilometers away, or that something you made now lives in a different house with a different crafter and is possibly being shared with a community that you never would have had something to do with beforehand.

Unfortunately, with the incorporation of temari making into my life, pincushion making has taken a backseat. If only I could pay my mortgage off with craft items!!!

Playing with clay

Another one of my forays was into the world of clay sculpture. Now I have never done anything like this before - excepting the coil pots I made at high school that were a little bit of a disaster, so I wasn't sure how this would go. The instructor assured me she had never had someone 'fail' before, so I jumped right in.

I spent hours and hours at classes. It was great. The only reason I'm not doing it now is that it was a fair way from my house and the travel got to me after a few months.

So this is what I ended up with. It's a bit androgynous, but I was really happy with the results. I was inspired by the fantasy fiction I read, and wanted to create a human-like species, but not quite. I think I managed to create a respectable piece of art, that looks like it represents a person from a fantasy world.

Past explorations......

Here are a couple of pics of stuff I have done in my craft life BT (that's Before Temari).

This first image is of some books and miniature-book bookmarks I made after completing a bookbinding course a few years back. It was great, and being an avid reader, creating books was awesome. I couldn't believe I actually made a book. OK, so there was nothing written on the pages, but I made a book nonetheless. Bookbinding is one of those lost crafts that combines precisions, technical know-how, and creativity, and if you ever get the chance, I'd recommend that you have a go!

The second image is of an ex-libris plate that I designed. Being that I have an ongoing fantasy of one day owning a huge library with sliding timber ladders, spiral staircases, floor to ceiling shelving, and a dozen cats curled up on stacks of books and big leather armchairs, I got sidetracked into looking at ex-libris plates. These are also known as bookplates, as they are glued into the front of books to identify the owner of the book. You may remember them being stuck into school books when you were a child. Books used to have quite a limited availability and be quite valuable, and identifying who owned a book was important, especially if they were loaned to other people.

Anyhow, I decided to create my own design, one that represented me. Then I discovered that I couldn't glue them into books, as it borders on vandalism to me (I cant dog-ear pages or write in books - even in pencil -either). So...I have an ex-libris plate that serves no practical purpose :) Oh well. So be it. I'm just happy the design turned out nicely.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Welcome to Kuriosity and the Kat!

Never having blogged before, I thought it was a good time to start recording and sharing some of my creative efforts. Over the next few weeks, I'll upload some pics of my past endeavours, as well as sharing my latest (and greatest) creative focus - Japanese temari.

I chose Kuriosity and the Kat as the blog name because it pretty much sums up my foray into creativity. I'm incredibly curious by nature, and enthusiastically explore any and all pathways I find myself on, much like a cat. It also has a tendancy to get me into a slight amount of trouble, as it means I tend to hoard craft supplies! Luckily, most of them get recylced into other projects later on. The blog name may change......I'm not compeltely sold on it yet. I have another in mind, which is more specific to Temari, I'm just waiting to see how things pan out.

Past endeavours. There are lots, especially considering I'm not yet thirty. Most of them were quite quickly explored and moved through. Some never even got started properly, only the initial stages were explored and then something else snaffled my attentions. I'm have shocking stick-ability when it comes to hobbies. I've attempted clay sculpture, bookbinding, knitting and crochet, plastecine sculpting, freehand embroidery and pincushion making. I've tried candlemaking and decoupage, paper tolling, origami and quilling, as well as making a variety of preserves, and household recipes like furniture polish. I colour in mandala pictures, designed an ex-libris image and also love to read. I did belly-dance for a while, making my own costumes - beaded sleeves and all. I play softball 6 months of the year, and I have just done a free Tai Chi class - am still deciding on that one whether to continue that one or not.

Most of the time, my journey starts at one hobby an finishes at another. For example- Temari. This came about because I had gone to a craft show and seen crewel embroidery. I loved it. I got a kit, but wasn't confident enough (as I have very little embroidery experience) to complete it. I tried to do some of the stitching, but it wasn't up to scratch. So I explored the Internet, and found some basic free hand embroidery on felt pincushions which would give me stitching experience in similar shapes/stitches to the crewel and also be rewarding as I would have finished projects instead of UFO's.

Well, I stitched pincushions for a while. My stitching was getting better. I participated in an overseas swap. Then, while googling for inspiration, I found Yubinuki (Japanese thimbles) that had been turned into pincushions. My interest was piqued. From there, it lead to Temari, a natural link as they use similar techniques. And there I have stopped to explore for a while. So far, I have made about a dozen temari since April. And I'm happy with them! Hopefully I have found a hobby that I will finally stick with, that I can do without going to classes (thanks to a great level of online support) and that I really enjoy.

Explore and enjoy - it's what life is all about :)