2 years of Project 365

Today marks 2 years that I have been completing Project 365.

Project 365 is an app that is described as ‘Take a picture every day of the year, become a better photographer and never forget a day in your life.

Taking a photo a day can be a challenge and a commitment but it is now just part of my daily routine.  I find myself thinking about what my photo will be during the day. There are very few days when it comes to 8.30pm, when the alarm reminder goes, and I realise I have not taken a photo. So I whip out and take something in the garden or of my dinner! The best days are when I have taken several and it’s hard to decide.

When the photo is uploaded it appears in a calendar format, I also upload mine to Flickr and place them in sets.

Not surprisingly my life revolves around social gatherings, friends, food and family!!

The sets in order of popularity are Friends, Me, Overseas, Food, Exhibitions, Family, Nature, Cooks Beach, Dyeing and a few more.

It has improved my photography skills and I use it more as a visual diary of what I have been doing.  Some photos have lots of other memories attached to them. It is amazing how many times I have referred back to photos for dates or occasions. And more importantly it reminds me what a full and varied life I have.

Take November for example.

Project 365  November

Project 365 November

It began with a weekend in New Plymouth with 11 great friends who have been meeting around Labour weekend for the last 10 years.

1st We went to an opening at the Kina gallery and I ran into 2 of the 3 people know in New Plymouth.

2nd I was fascinated with the design of the Te RewaRewa bridge just north of the city and we walked from there back into town on the Coastal Walkway

3rd  We had a fun purple night to mark our 10th anniversary

4th Attended the funeral of an old mate

5th Shared my great nephews 2nd birthday on Melbourne Cup day

6th Had my sister in law and her family stay from Melbourne. This is Toby and Bella feeding the ducks at the Hamilton Lake, but look at those stunning clouds.

7th  Attended a charity art auction ‘Beads of Courage’, the waitress’s dress matched the beetroot hors d’oeuvres she was serving!

8th Had lunch in a café with artist friends and met buddy Annabel

9th We are very fortunate to have NZ Dotterels nesting at Lonely Bay

10th Our son Blair was at the All Blacks v France game in Paris and emailed me this image of the Stade de France

11th Trying out a new App called Camera Plus

12th Young Toby got to go on a site visit with my husband to see graders and rollers etc.

13th Friend Brigid‘s gumboot sunburn line

14th Art on the wall at the new Chim Choo Ree Restaurant in Hamilton to celebrate a girlfriends birthday

15th Celebrating my daughters 24th birthday at Cooks Beach while she is in Perth

16th Scallops for dinner from Opito Bay

17th Organic Berry Ice cream from Tairua Organic shop

18th Looking down on Garden Place, Hamilton from Milk and Honey café

19th Strawberry and Chocolate Tart at Punnet Café

20th Cut this off an old tee-shirt bought in San Francisco many years ago

21st Ice Breaker Christmas gift for Blair

22nd Me and Potter legend Barry Brickell from Coromandel at opening of his exhibition at Waikato Museum

23rd Gorgeous Ellie visited

24th Visited a friends Jewellery exhibition ‘Wear’, at Royal Studio at Kingsland

25th Blair filming Ritchie McCaw after narrowly beating Ireland in Dublin, establishing an unbeaten record for the calendar year in professional rugby

26th Meeting at this café to discuss a Ceramic exhibition that I am coordinating in 2014

27th Walked round the Lake twice

28th Attended Dick Frizzell artist talk at Wallace Gallery, Morrinsville

29th Tui on Flax at Tairua lookout

30th Friend Gary at Cooks beach



Result of Eucayptus bundle and Dio Day Out

Most natural dyers say ‘time is your friend’ and encourage you to leave bundles soaking for weeks before opening for the colors to deepen.  Normally I can’t wait that long to see the results and don’t leave them for longer than a few days!  So going overseas was an ideal opportunity to leave them soaking.

I had a mordanted (alum and cream of tartar) pre loved cream blanket


that I bundled into a sausage shape with Eucalyptus cinerea.


I boiled it in a brass preserving pan for several hours and left it soaking while we were away.


After 2 months there was some mould on the top


but it did have some deep colorings.


It was exciting opening it and this is the result, washed and dry.

blanket compressed

I was surprised that some of the background color stayed a creamy/beige color, specially on the inside of the bundle. I am guessing the liquid did not penetrate that far. Maybe I should have rolled it wet?

I have not boiled a whole blanket with eucalyptus like this before so can not comment on whether the results are different, but I was pleased with the variety of markings.

I cut the blanket up and made cushions backed with other natural dyed blanket of a solid color, I even mastered button holes and used recycled buttons. I struggled using the synthetic polyester inner! I had also made other cushions of dyed silk and used a recycled mans shirt as the backing, (no need for buttonholes!!) an idea gleaned from my artist friend Charlotte Giblin of Bouncing Pig.

Half of them sold at the recent ‘Dio Day Out’, a fundraiser for the local Waikato Diocesan School for Girls. My friend David Lloyd has his sub tropical garden, with zany sculptures, studio and gallery open for visitors. There were several other artists exhibiting including David with his recycled wood works, Fiona Tunnicliffe from Putaruru with her signature pottery animals, Travis Taylor, a Graffiti artist and Jennie De Groot a modern impressionist painter. Jennie  is a very productive painter and has an amusing blog  called The Distracted Painter

Dio Day out cropped

My display at Dio Day Out

Here are other photos of the gallery taken by Jennie De Groot




935122_261602060631147_99853257_nNext time I will show some more bundles that were left brewing.

Treasures and Alice Fox

You may remember that when we went overseas I planned to collect leaves and treasures and do a bundle a day and microwave them when I had access to one. This is what I took.

ImageWe stayed in Hotels, Guest Houses or Bed and Breakfasts with no microwave, other than once in Edinburgh. So this is all that I achieved.


I was thrilled with the variety of these 6 rectangles, that are enough to sew into a cushion top as a souvenir.

The dark marks were from found metal or bottle tops.

One of my favorite artists and whose blog I follow is English artist Alice Fox who recently had an exhibition called ‘Gifts from the Pavement’.  Her observations, images, marks and discarded objects from around  the streets of Saltaire, West Yorkshire form the basis of this exhibition.

The natural world is her inspiration and she works mainly on paper and cloth. She has some lovely Pinterest boards.

Alice was Artist in Residence at Spurn National Nature Reserve, East Yorkshire during 2012. Over a six-month period she engaged with and responded creatively to the unique landscape of Spurn culminating in an exhibition.

She inspired me to do my residency at the Arboretum, so thanks Alice.

More next time of the bundles that I left brewing while I was away.


My portrait in stitch

We are home after a fantastic holiday to UK and Italy and settling into routine again.

I will tell you some of our travel highlights but firstly my favourite textile highlight was having my portrait stitched in the Greenwich Markets, London, by a lovely young artist Harriet Riddell who specialises in observational drawings in stitch. While studying Contemporary Applied Arts at the University of Herefordshire she began machine stitching in her life drawing classes!!


She sets her machine up in random places like cafes pubs, trains, launderettes and narrates her surroundings in stitch.

One project involved her stitching individuals while they pedaled a bike to generate the power for her sewing machine! And stitching in a forest using a generator.

For me this was a unique and memorable experience. For  20 quid I sat for 15 minutes while she stitched and we chatted.


She had a bag of scrap fabric and had an excellent match for my new Scottish scarf and turquoise heart pendant.

And this is the result. What do you think?


Be sure to check out this enterprising young artists website documenting her projects and portraits.

The Comfort of Stitch, by Lee-Ann Newton

Remember this fabulous quilt from the Taupo Quilt Symposium that I featured here on 31 July, well I was thrilled today to be contacted by Lee-Ann thanking me for featuring her quilt on my blog and she kindly gave me this link to share. It shows the original quilt and progress images. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the read. Thanks Lee-Ann.

The Comfort of Stitch - Lee-Ann Newton

The Comfort of Stitch – Lee-Ann Newton

A gift to myself

My husband and I are going to London tomorrow and get to catch up with both of our adult children. We will travel Scotland and Ireland together as a family and then we go on to Italy, so it’s countdown now.

I have been in touch with Monika from red2white blog who does amazing natural dyeing and lives in the Western highlands of Scotland. If we are in the area and she is available it would be great to connect.

I was tidying up my dyeing materials and found a bucket of Eucalyptus cinerea that had been soaking for about 3 months, it was a bit slimy and smelly! I also found a pot of Tupelo leaves soaking and another pot of Tanekaha that had been soaking for about the same time and other random collections of foliage.

So I have given myself a gift for when I return at the end of September and done about 12  bundles to leave soaking.

As all natural dyers know, time is your friend. The longer bundles are left the deeper the colour usually. So now they have an enforced 5 week soaking period and I won’t be here to be tempted to open them!


Some were wound on PVC pipe, some on iron pipe, one on a rusty can – see notjustnat blog of 8 August for her great results.


IMG_1122I also rolled a pre mordanted wool blanket (alum and cream of tartar) with eucalyptus cinerea and have it boiling in a brass preserving pan now. It will probably steam as it does not quite fit in.



I am taking 33  zip lock bags, 33 small oblongs of cloth, two wooden dowel rods and string. I plan to collect treasurers each day and do a bundle a day and microwave them when I have access to one. And no I won’t be taking leaves between countries!!


So that’s it from me for 5 weeks or so.  I’ll have some interesting reports when I return.

Around town in Taupo

We struck Taupo at her winters best.


Two lovely galleries sit side by side in Heu Heu street.

Kura Gallery specialises in contemporary ethnic art. They had a tempting  selection of jewelry, NZ prints and much more.

Kura Gallery

Zea You on the corner, is a larger space that specialises in paintings, sculptures, bronze, jewellery and has a stunning selection of cast and blown glass.

Zea You Gallery

These galleries are right next to a ‘must stop’ cafe and kitchen ware store ‘Replete’.

Also in Heu Heu Street a few blocks down from the galleries is The French Cafe, serving authentic French fare.  Check out the size of my delicious omelette.

Brunch at the French Cafe

Along the Lake front, shining in the sun against a foggy back drop, is a sculpture by my friend, Hamilton cast glass artist Colleen Ryan-Priest.  ‘Swell’ is a wind wave sculpture presented to the people of Taupo by the Taupo Sculpture Trust.

Swell by Colleen Ryan-Priest

Swell by Colleen Ryan-Priest

The Taupo Museum’s Ora Garden of well-being is a tranquil oasis, with native planting and includes a silica thermal terrace and a hot mineral pool.

Ora Garden

Those were some of my highlights in Taupo.