Sunday, 28 March 2010

Net absence

Hi, it's me! My son, Eben, arrived safely last week from the UK and we travelled back down to Osa with him on Wednesday. When we arrived home, I discovered that the cable on my Mac is bust. Actually, there was smoke coming out of it when I plugged it in. Typical! We were at an Apple store the day before we travelled home, and now we're a million miles from civilization. We have to head back to San Jose next week, so I'll buy a new cable then. In the meantime, I am borrowing Reinaldo's Macbook (which I hate!) and don't want to download my recent images to his computer, so I'll have to wait until mine is back on it's feet again (the images in this post are his!)

Nilo's first time catching a juvenile Jesus Christ (Basilisk) lizard that was in the house earlier this week. He was just thrilled!

Although they have no teeth, these critters have hardened jaws and will give you a decent nip! I once saw an adult Basilisk attack a hunting dog!

I've been super busy, this week I had a surprise meeting, and all kinds of big things have been happening in our small lives.

How about you?

I have alot of catching up to do on emails and blog posts, etc. But just dropped in to say hello and I hope everyone is well.

P. S. Thanks for your recent comments. You can contact me at:

Friday, 19 March 2010

Photoshopping and the False Tile

Nilo has been off school for the past couple of days. He's had a throat infection. While he's been home, he's been drawing and drawing and coloring in, and it's been great fun! I've also been working on my design ideas. But since I can't show you any of that just now, I'm going to be posting his stuff instead, which is, in anycase, pretty inspiring stuff I believe. But then, I would ;}

First of all some Photoshop drawings. Please note that I have his permission to publish his work here, so long as I credit him and use his titles.

"Dangerous Love" by Nilo Francisco Aguilar Bainbridge.

"Watch out in the sea (the 3 urchins)" by Nilo Francisco Aguilar Bainbridge.

Now for some fibre tip work...

"The False Tile" by Nilo Francisco Aguilar Bainbridge.

I think I'm going to commission him to stencil the kitchen wall :)

I have a friend coming over in the morning. She just lives in town but I haven't seen her for nearly a year, because we're both always so busy.

Because I've been otherwise occupied, and because our power was off all day today, I am behind on reading everybody else's posts. But I will catch up!!!

P.S. For those of you who speak - or at least understand - Spanish, here's a short Channel 11 report, which aired last week, featuring Reinaldo commenting on the gorgeous endemic plant Osa pulchra (Rubiaceae - the coffee family)

Wednesday, 17 March 2010


Reinaldo just come home from town with two packages for me.

One from my friend Angela, who used to live here in Osa, but who has now embarked upon a different journey, and is studying to be a vet in Winsconsin. And she's going to be a great vet! She sends me alum, soda ash, urea, and Yogi teas. Better not confuse them! Thanks Angela. This is going to be very helpful in the course of the next few weeks.

P.S. Good job we didn't get pulled aside for suspected traffiking... this being Latin America and all ;}

A package to dye for from Angela Braun ;]

The second package comes from our blog friend Suzanna Klein. A lovely selection of patchworking cloths, threads, buttons, a tape measure, quilting needles, one of her gorgeous embroidered bees which you can see more of here, one of her own lovely cards and a couple of pieces of her shibori. She is learning online from shibori goddess Glennis Dolce. Thank you so much for your generosity, Suzanna. These are lovely gifts and will be greatly enjoyed. I'm amazed just how quickly this arrived!

Sewing supplies donated to A Common Thread from Suzanna Klein.

Now here's a thing...

I've been up for a few hours and am doing stuff, but it's still fairly early here and I haven't checked anybody's new posts yet. I just wanted to show you this, which I came across when checking through Nilo's workbooks last night. He is doing the senses right now (tedious stuff, as he knew this like five years ago!) and the teacher had written Draw two things that would make a sound. And he's drawn one. And it's divine. And here it is.

Any ideas?... Answers on the back of a post card! ;]

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


Thanks to everyone who left a comment on yesterday's post. I'm curious to discover if any of you know of a way to get blogger to allow me to respond to a comment, directly following the comment itself. Or is that too advanced for blogger? That's a problem, no?

If you haven't already been over to Jude Hill's this morning, Go there next! She has some fabulous images posted today! I really love this. Guess it's one of those times when, without knowing how or why, ideas collide in the ether. Why do I say that?... Here's a peek at the start of one of my new lines for the B&H autumn/winter collection, which will be available in September. Or... maybe late August to you *:9

A touch of South America... Sorry folks, but this is all you're getting right now ;}

Check out Sandi Manning's "Gorgeous Girls" here! Go Sandi!!! Beautiful sisters... beautiful stitches! You weren't a finalist.. but you're still a winner! :)

Monday, 15 March 2010


I'm back home. I've been busy all morning on an idea for the Autumn/Winter collection. It's a secret. All I can tell you is that I have fallen in love with cotton jersey! We're going to go with traditional fashion seasons, at least to start with, and we're going to jump forward, because it's going to take us several months to make a small collection saleable by September. It's also going to take a while to figure out how to incorporate my ideas about how to get local women involved in textiles.

Nilo and I had fun in San Isidro over the weekend. Shopping for fabrics and thread...

Here's a snapshot of one of the best thrift bins in Costa Rica! I should point out that teh lady in teh yellow shirt on the left is actually in the bin. I always find something in here. This time, I found a whole bunch of different cotton based fabrics, which will be great for dying when Megan arrives. We have treated ourselves to a Color Collection dye kit from Earthues.

Nilo loves digging in the Lycra bins. There's always a tonne of ghastly printed fabrics in there! Great fro making lizards and stuff :)

Shopping for Bionicles...

Nilo, in our hotel room, wearing his latest creation.

Window shopping...

A cute little dress with a pretty embroidered motif (probably machine embroidered!).

And it's a lovely time of year. And nothing beats Cherry blossom... except for Tababuia rosea (Bignoniaceae) that is! A native tree that leaves me speechless!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Leaving my island

I am leaving my island shortly, heading north to a... town! I'll probably be back at the weekend. Do you need anything?

I just wanted to share with you, before I go, something that Eliza has just said to me.
She says;
"Cada cabeza es un mundo."
- literally translated -
"Every head is a world."

I've never heard that expression before,
but I really like it!
Have a great day :)

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Gone stitching - Or, one cloth, many possibilities!

I am going to be stepping back from appearances on my blogs for a while. I mean, I'll still be posting, but just not so much and not so often. Just so's ya know!

My son, Eben, will be arriving for two weeks on the 22nd of March. YIPEE! - haven't seen him for 2 years!

Eben Ptolemy Bainbridge

Here he is , my baby, in his uniform. He studies full-time at college and works as a customer care assistant for a new branch of Sainsbury's supermarkets, in Cardiff. I like that my boys learn to pay their way in life! My father always said, "Freedom comes hand-in-hand with responsibility". He was so right! Eben has had alot of freedom - he left home at 14 years of ageand lived, studied and worked in the city alone for 2 years before going back to the UK for more of the same there - and turned out to be a very responsible human being. I guess that wouldn't work with every kid! I count my lucky stars :)

Anyway, shortly after he leaves, my design partner, Megan, is coming down from California for 3 weeks of intensive studio time [makes me laugh, 'coz I'm old enough to be her Mom too] We're going to be working to mesh and meld our ideas for a collection, dying, printing and painting cloth, and generally playing around with different techniques that focus on manipulating the surface of the cloth. So, the next few weeks are going to be super busy! But I am still here, and will still be dropping in and leaving comments at all of my favorite places :)

Last year, I bought several, meter-long remnants, of this soft jersey knit fabric, which I hauled out of the bottom of a seconds bin in San Jose. I love the deep reds, and the print is kind of Ikat-ish I guess. Well, it was cheap, about $10 for the whole lot. Most places here sell cloth by the kilo, 'coz most places in Costa Rica only sell seconded or remnant fabiric! You have what there is and you don't have more! Which works for my needs. This is nice fabric to work with, it's just that, who wants to wear a jersey knit in the tropics, right? So, yesterday, I set about starting to come up with alternative ways to make use of all of this fabric. Today, I'm going to show you some early-in-the-process ideas that I plan to develop further today. And, nevermind all the other sewing projects that I have underway already ;} I always say, you have to go with the inspiration when it touches you! Surprisingly, perhaps, I think that's what makes me a pretty productive person, inspite of all the day-to-day stuff that I have to do too, like cook, do dishes, manage a 7-year old, organise homework, etc, I still manage to get alot of creative stuff done. Last night, 3 guests arrived, for 3 days, doing field work, and Reinaldo flew to San Jose this morning, so I'm managing that too.

Blah Blah Blah!

Ok, back to the cloth part.... which is what you're really here for, right ;}

The cloth in question.

Cutting the cloth into narrow strips and stretching!

Weaving the strip. I also made the "counted cutholes" in the cotton (what is that called, anyway?)

Cutting the stretched strips into small rectangles, stitching these down, and trimming level.

The off cuts from the trim.

Using the off-cuts from the above trim to create a dotted surface. Everything has a use :)

Making the dots fill a space.

Very rapidly combining that idea with some very crude stitching.

How about combining that idea with a border of the original cloth?

Alternating couching.

A button flower.

Small sections, looped at one end, and then stitched down. This makes a wooly hooked-rug effect.

This is one of my favorites. Look at that gorgeous, tweedy, tonal effect! Very nizzzz!

Coiled. I see this has massive potential too.

Ok, gotta run now. Later this morning, I will be off on my bicycle, collecting Nilo from school and sharing this baby out amongst the villagers.

An 18 kilo squash to share. Reinaldo bought this in the next village yesterday for $7

Eliza gets the machete stuck in the squash and I end up having to do the job. Pure muscle, me! ;}

Taking half of the seeds out to plant. Who knows, we might just get lucky!

Reinaldo and I.

And just so's Eben isn't really pissed with me for showing you his recent photo, here's one of my sweetheart [husband] and I. Funny huh? I'm quite tall for a woman (5' 11') and Reinaldo is a [typically] small Costa Rican, and definate proof that the best things in life are worth waiting for and come in small packages. I just don't wear heals when we are out together ;} Imagine!

Bye! Have a great day people!

Monday, 8 March 2010


I'm sending you flowers this morning.
Epidendrum fluxuosum
to be precise.

Happy International Women's Day!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

I've had a busy day. To see what I've been up to you can read this.

Guess what? Reinaldo came home yesterday afternoon after a couple of days in the field with a package under his arm.

It was the purple package from Kaye Turner. WOW! That was super fast in getting here!

Apart from the lush purple pretties that were intended for me...

... Kaye has kindly included another pack of mixed fabric scraps for the group I'm planning to start shortly, as well as ribbons, beads, and threads and other bobs and pieces, as Nilo says :)

Thank you so much for your generosity Kaye! I love it all... but promise to part with at leasy half of it... and your package of pales and textures will be on it's way to you shortly (now that I have your mailing address again!).

This is fun! :)

I have a big headache. Too much sun. But I'm stitching the panels down on my latest creation, the "Leafing into Spring" bag, otherwise known as "Islamic rain". Arlee is one astute lady ;}

I have woven a single metallic white-gold thread through the buttonhole stitching. Adding a subtle sparkle. In Kaye's package there was a small wound of organza and satin white gold ribbon... it's very tempting!!!

Friday, 5 March 2010

Leafing into Spring: Part III

Further to this...

The first panel for the front of my next bag is done. Right now I'm stitching it onto the second panel, a biscuit colored natural canvas fabric, (which was part of a package that my design partner Megan sent me at the end of last year. A package which began this blog as a matter of fact!), that will provide a border and break up the cream on cream in a gentle way, because the actual shell of the bag is a vanilla-colored velveteen. There's So, it's back to pale neutral toned cloth again! The next one will be brighter. I promise.


Finished applique panel, 21 x 23.5 cm. Hand embroidered.

Makes me think of something, but I don't want to mention what, because I want to hear what it makes you think of first!

Leafing into Spring: Part II

Following on from yesterday's post...

One of the things I'm always trying to teach master Nilo, is to be economical in his craft work. He is a big fan of the TV shows "Mr. Maker" and "Art Attack" and it drives me crazy - just as it did my mother - the sheer level of waste on these types of programs! "Now we're going to cut a circle of card for the sun...." And what do they do? Cut one measly 2" diameter circle from the absolute center of an A4 sheet of card! It's the same with paint. They need to paint something the size of a postage stamp, and prepare a half gallon of acrylic paint!!! End of rant. We lead by example! So I showed him this, which comes from part of what I'm working on at the moment. It may seem obvious to many of you, but it's surprising how many people still don't consider the need for us, as humans, to economize, in all areas of our lives. And so I'm thinking, as I write this, about the relationship between waste and wastfullness.

Leaf outlines drawn out onto a small corner of one of my recycled fabric scraps (yes, one of the ones dyed with Neurosa Yellow, which is the name I've decided to give the dye from the native plant Neurolaena lobata (Asteraceae), known locally as "Gavilana".)

The backside of my work (talking of which ;} I've been up since 2:15am this morning with more of the same plumbing related issues that I've been experiencing recently - I have an inkling of what that might be about). I'm rather proud of how neat this is all looking. Usually the back of my stitching is as inpenetrable as a Malaysian jungle (I'm not sure that they are, or are they? I just made that up).

The arty shot. Always remember to throw into your portfolio at least one or two of these types of on-the-slant images, which always seem to make things look so much more interesting than they might otherwise be ;}

The work so far. Believe it or not this has taken me the best part of 12 hours to stitch! As you can see, there are 4 rows so far, but today I hope to add another two. More and more, (currently... 'coz you know how I have a habit of zipping off into a completely different direction with little advance warning, if any), I'm thinking how much I like the idea of creating an all-over print effect using applique or stitching or both. And if you're thinking that this reminds you of something else... you're quite right. It's a new angle on this.

Over the weekend, Arlee sent me this link, and I wrote to the lady responsible for the project, Fiona Wright and she responded last night and is opening a dialogue between us by writing this.

It sure is exciting to connect with the world!

Look at that, it's still only 4 am! ZZZZzzzzzzzzz

Opps! Forgot to mention these. I can haz niz shuz! *:)

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Leafing into Spring: Part I

I have to start by saying a big thank you to my friends Arlee Barr and Jude Hill for plugging my blogs and my new adventure over at A Common Thread . Also to everyone who has already joined me there. Welcome! And don't forget to tell all of your friends :}

And... sheeeeeeeeeeee's off! A new idea. But this is all you're getting right now, because I have to get on with it... a sneak peak of what's on the work table today. I am busy busy here!

Leafing Into Spring

Before I go... remember folks... there's very little that a serving spoon of Nutella can't fix! ;}

Nilo. That's one happy child!
Related Posts with Thumbnails