Monday, January 15, 2018

My new header

I thought the blog could do with a bit of a refresh for the new year - and a slight change of name because it's not really about quilting so much! and more about me .... it's all about me. I did wonder whether naming your blog after yourself and putting a picture of yourself at the top is problematically narcissistic, but then I thought I was probably overthinking it all, and my readership is what you might call selective, so perhaps I could get over myself. Which I did.

I did the picture by running a selfie through one of the "art effects" websites, I think the header one is coloured pencils. Below are watercolour, oils, and charcoal, but I like the coloured pencils one best because it clearly shows the quilt on the bed, the mess in the open cupboard and the bookshelves. Which sums me up quite nicely.

I'm not back at work yet but I'm being more productive now I'm back at home. I'm re-visiting our ludicrous expense on broadband, pay tv, mobile phones and insurance - I am one of those lazy people that just keep with the same provider but it has gotten ridiculous - they have much better deals now. It is just so painful and time-consuming to compare and change! I have cleaned out the cupboards in the family room and will take a pile of kids toys and games to the op shop, and then it's time for the christmas decorations to come down. Boring but essential. I'd rather be at the beach. Book club on Sunday was fun - we read The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August which we all thought was fantastic! A great premise, and really well written, and made us think. I'm going to hunt out more by that author.

Friday, January 12, 2018


Welcome to 2018 everybody - although we've been in it for nearly a couple of weeks now! As you might have guessed, I've been down the beach since Boxing Day, and it was glorious. Some wonderful summer weather (and some storms) and some visitors, and some very quiet days, and general fabulousness. The boys didn't want to go (no internet, no friends) but once we got there they were fairly polite. I let them do pretty much what they wanted, with only some small insistence on fresh air once a day, and they got into the groove OK in the end. I absolutely loved it, and swam every day, and went for walks, and read lots of books, and drank lots of beer.

The dog enjoyed getting the wind in her fur. My husband had to work, but he came down for the weekends. I did a little bit of sewing but not much, number one son had a surf lesson which he really enjoyed, and we had a burst of enthusiasm and painted the dark yellow wall a lovely light blue. It looks much better. I would have stayed there until the end of the month but the boys negotiated an earlier return date ... Canberra is supposed to be 35 degrees today. Hellish.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

We had a merry Christmas

Another Christmas successfully navigated. The boys liked their presents, we ate slightly too much, didn't drink too much surprisingly, and socialising occurred. I have had another Enthusiasm (remember the watercolours? Keyboard? Weaving?) and got a guitar, with a how-to book. I have always wanted to learn the guitar so now I'm going to. This has the slight advantage that both husband and number one son also want to learn, so we can egg each other on.

Christmas Eve we invited friends over at the last minute, so happily had a few drinks and chocolates in the balmy evening air. And we know it was balmy because we were sitting on our brand new outdoor table! A very excellent present from my husband's parents, which we got from IKEA on the 22nd, then put together on the 23rd (and 24th to be honest) all ready for al fresco drinks on Christmas Eve. It went together very easily, but we do have an in-house expert.

Christmas Day we went over to friends for lunch (12 - 6) and ate some amazing food and enjoyed their company very much. Boxing Day was round to other friends for brunch ... there were a lot of people having quiet Canberra Christmases this year so we compared notes on how little we did all day. Most people still do the big trips to catch up with family (we gave up years ago) so it was a novelty for them to just have a quiet one, but I think they are sold now! My husband braved the Boxing Day sales but I'm not that keen.... ready for the January snooze.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Chunky churn dashes together

I have sent off my research paper!! What a relief, and I think I will pass, even though it is not nearly as good as I thought it would be when I started, and was full of enthusiasm. By the end I just wanted to get rid of the damn thing, and not have to think about it any more. Phew.

These are the chunky churn dashes with a slightly offputting purple sashing. I was going to do Bonnie's pattern (hourglass blocks between, which makes it looks like it's on point) but I didn't have the right fabric for the hourglass blocks. I could have gone and bought some, but I am still trying to use what I have on the shelves. So I went with the purple sashing and red cornerstones, and I'm not sure that it's doing the scrappiness of the churn dash blocks any favours. Oh well, live and learn. I am on a scrappy bent at the moment so I might just stay on the Quiltville site! It is absolutely my cup of tea.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

This is how I know it's summer

1. The roses are in full flush. We had so much rain this year that they are doing wonderfully - the rain and the awesomely scientific pruning I gave them back in July. It is time for another solid deadheading, which is a job for the weekend. Now I've done the Christmas shopping! Or nearly done the Christmas shopping.


2. The fundraising mangoes are here. I'm not sure if it's just a Canberra thing, but every October schools and sports groups collect orders for trays of mangoes to be delivered from Queensland in December. And the mangoes are beautiful, and perfect, and delicious, and the whole tray gets ripe at once so you stuff yourself silly with mangoes for a week once a year. Truly the start of summer.

3. The stair railing lights up. For two weeks every year - the second half of December - the morning sun comes straight in our front door and lights up the stairs. So we put tinsel on it, and it sparkles, and that's how I know that Christmas is nearly here.

It's not all fun and games though, summer, on Tuesday there was a brown snake on the driveway. The most common sort round here and apparently the second most venomous land snake in the world ... but you'd have to be unlucky to die, given how close we are to the hospital. The dog ignored it! Sensible thing.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Another week goes by

Another week, and I have not sat at my sewing machine for a single second. How tough is that? I am trudging my way through writing the most boring research paper in the history of the planet, and it looms over me like a dark cloud. A rainy dark cloud. On the bright side, we picked up the new car on Friday! My goodness the technology has come a long way in 9 years. Even though it is just a basic white Golf it has cameras and sensors and bluetooths and beeping that the other car wouldn't even have dreamed of. I am loving driving it around, it's very peppy. And just so CLEAN.

That is a very bad graduation certificate photo. We bought him a smart shirt especially! That makes two times he's worn a collared shirt this year. Growing up :) We are now done with the end of year assemblies and concerts - still going on the christmas drinks and catch-ups - and number two's rehearsal schedule is picking up just as his school work is dramatically declining. They are on film appreciation this week - i.e. watching DVDs and playing board games - I was chivvying him to hurry up to get to school and he was all "Coming right away Mum! Such a hurry! I've got films to appreciate!"
And here is a photo of what I'm wearing today. It is our Christmas lunch so I am wearing green pants and red shoes. Like an elf.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Finally, the beach

It has been far too long, but I finally got myself a couple of days down the beach to sniff the sea air and check on the house. It was a weekend of massive rain in Canberra - which doesn't normally get much rain at all - but only drizzle at the coast. Which was fine because I was there to break the back of this goddam research paper! Did I do it? No, I did not. But I did something, which is better than nothing. It's been raining for most of the past week. Here is the dog being towelled off.

I only went down Saturday morning rather than Friday night because we went round to friends' for pizza and, would you believe it, she has just been appointed Australia's next ambassador to Samoa! Such excitement, and I was able to advise on important things like restaurants and snorkelling. I will leave the difficult questions of bi-lateral engagement well alone. So I lost Saturday morning to driving, and I shouldn't be too despondent about not really doing much on the research paper. I'm sure I did more than I would have if I'd been in Canberra and distracted by shops and sewing machines.

Here is Saturday afternoon and a quick walk between showers. Not really enticing me in for a swim. Speaking of awesome friends, one went on holiday to Tasmania on Friday and is letting us use her car, which has been an absolute lifesaver. It is much fancier than any car we've ever owned and beeps at us whenever anything is too close. My husband is driving it to work because he has guaranteed undercover car parking and mine is a bit dicey on sitting weeks. Yep, Parliament is back, the fun continues. This should be the last sitting week for the year ... end of year assemblies and graduations are continuing, christmas parties have started and I am very much looking forward to January. Lots of beach!