Sunday, March 18, 2018

Still hot

I know I complain a lot about the weather, but it is another 30 degree and windy day, and I'm wondering if winter will ever be here? I know I own cardigans and tights and scarves but I haven't seen them in six months and I'm wondering if I'll ever need them again. In a rare moment of marital togetherness my husband and I took the dog for a walk this morning and I was dripping sweat, at 9 am, at a slow meander (the dog's legs are very short). I am over this heat...

Here is a photo of downtown Sydney from the Law Faculty building of the University of Sydney, where I went on Friday for the day for a conference. It was a long day but worth it to hear some seriously smart people talk about the other side (i.e. the non-pragmatic, non-political side) of something I spend a lot of time thinking about at the moment.  My husband texted me to see how it was going and I said I felt like a teletubby - which is something I usually say when I'm around thin fashionable people - except this time it was the mental rather than physical. I felt I had the intellectual wattage of Lala, or possibly Tinkywinky. Groups of people discussing complex topics in complete sentences, or even paragraphs, when I'd still be struggling with articulating a word or two. I did enjoy it, but I didn't say much.

'd never been to this university before, and it has some cute old bits. I never did find out why there was a boat there. The building I was in was super modern with far too much glass and grills (I prefer a real wall when I'm more than one storey up) but it did look very cool and had wonderful views. Sydney airport on the way home was having some kind of meltdown - every flight was delayed, I think it was air traffic control - but I made it home eventually ... my Dad had made the family fish from NZ for dinner. It is lovely to have him here, although we haven't seen much of him this weekend (stamp show....)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

I've been sick

Nothing major, just a head cold, but it completely ruined my plans for a productive weekend. I had intended to use my first peaceful weekend at home for ages in doing useful things (and sewing, yes) but I started to feel sick Friday afternoon and spent Saturday and Sunday with a fever and dreadful aches and pains. Nothing serious, and started to come right on Sunday afternoon, but what a nuisance. Monday was a public holiday, which I spent packing to fly to Toowoomba on Monday afternoon for work (three hours in a propellor plane, dear god).

But Toowoomba is a lovely town, lots of gardens and parks, and the weather was delightful. I didn't see a great deal of it but took the photo because I liked the bit of public art. Love some reflective public art. Home again on Wednesday afternoon and arrived in the airport half an hour before my dad who is over from New Zealand for a visit! Lovely. I am not looking forward to getting in a plane again tomorrow morning but I will be home tomorrow night and this time I am going to have a proper weekend.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Girly weekend

I went down the beach last weekend just with a friend and it was delightful! I like being on my own but I also like company, especially company that is happy to swim and eat and nap and watch silly television and chat. The weather was just beautiful and we had lots of swims.

Weirdly the sea spat up a heap of sea foam on the Saturday afternoon. We don't usually get that down there. And this is why I love blogging, because it made me actually google sea foam, which I would never have done before, and I learnt something new. The sea was also an unusual green colour, so there might have been algae breakdown or possibly seaweed. It certainly did not stop us swimming.

I went for a short walk but the broken toe is still a bit sore if I spend more than about half an hour walking. I went for a swim in the pool at my work on Thursday which was lovely - it's only 25 metres so I'm not sure how much of a workout it is. The main problem is I then spend the afternoon feeling relaxed and snoozy. And that has been my exercise for the last few weeks, which isn't enough.

Pam that photo of the dog in the last post does have the same quilt in it - I took it from the back, so that's the edge of the brown backing fabric. I don't have quilts hanging randomly around the garden although, now you mention it, it might look pretty cool....

Sunday, March 4, 2018

How Many Michaels

A quilt! A finished quilt!!!! Chunky churn dashes with a weirdly purple sashing and poorly chosen red cornerstones. When scrappy goes wrong.

My two inch strip bags are much emptier now, which is good, but I don't think I class this as one of my proudest quilt-related achievements. It is quilted in big feathers, which might have been overkill because you can hardly see them.

The back is using up more uglies from the stash.

It is called How Many Michaels after a song from the Able Tasmans, a peculiar NZ band from the 80s and 90s. Their Come In Spinner album is one of my all time favourites ... but I'm not sure if that's because it's one of the world's great albums or because it reminds me of a certain time in my life. I can never be objective about music, it's always associated with other things. In the early 90s I was working at the Wellington Public Library which had a wonderful collection of CDs that I could borrow and tape onto cassette. Which was probably completely illegal looking back, but I could never have afforded to buy them. Not as an impoverished student ... the tapes have long gone but Spotify has it all now. I love Spotify.

I will leave you with a photo of the dog looking almost intelligent. Like there is a light flickering behind her eyes and sending some sparks through her brain. There's not.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Something new with solids

I absolutely didn't mean to start a new quilt - I have finished the quilting on the scrappy two, so I should be pinning up the lemoyne stars and the sixteen patch and quilting them... but I got distracted by this excellent quilt. Isn't it great? Simple shapes in solids, with a limited number of colours. I am not much of a one for patterns though, and I thought it would be better with some horizontals, and different shaped rectangles, and a different size, and different colours, so did some colouring in and some maths.

Then pulled some soft pastels from the shelves of solids, and I've been cutting and piecing ever since.  I originally had a soft lemon yellow in there, but pulled it out. The only time I've ever thought something was better with no yellow in it!

I don't know how well it will work - my colours might be too similar in value - but there's only one way to find out! And I don't have enough of any of those colours so I have to find other ones that are kind of similar; the joys of home dyeing. I can never re-create anything. It is fun to use the solids again though - I am full of ideas for the next one.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

A weekend of two halves

Saturday was 35 degrees and airless; Sunday was 15 degrees and rainy. Saturday number one son had an all day board-game fiesta at a friend's house, Sunday number two son spent the day in a friend's rumpus room watching Parks and Recreation and trawling instagram. Saturday afternoon number two and I went to the swimming pool where I did lengths and he frolicked; Sunday afternoon number one and I went for a rainy driving lesson where he carefully went on the road for the first time! and I stayed very calm.... Saturday night I made brioche, and Sunday night I made bagels. Here are the brioche, I cut back on the eggs/fat/salt and they are not nearly as nice as they would have been otherwise. And yes, I do just put Saturday's dinner on top of the weekend papers that are still all over the table. Smear me in buttery crumbs and call me a slattern.

In between I quilted on the scrappy top and the purple scraps and solids top - nearly done them both now so just a matter of a bit more quilting, then some binding, and I will actually have a finished quilt! First one this year? Might be. I also had book club on Sunday afternoon - we read "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline which two of us really liked (including me), one of us didn't like and one of us hadn't quite read. Which is about the normal odds! I really enjoyed it; a good old-fashioned science fiction / adventure read by an author I'm not familiar with.

This was the star of book club - a new kitten. Not so much of a kitten any more, more of a teenager, but still very cute and very fluffy and adorably playful until the point where she found a comfortable lap and nestled in. Awwww......

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Adelaide and Perth

On Sunday afternoon I flew to Adelaide, for a day's work on Monday, then a flight to Perth, for a day's work on Tuesday, and back home Tuesday night. Different time zones, but I think I just stayed on Canberra time, which worked out fine. Except for going to bed at 8 on Monday night and waking up at 5 am on Tuesday morning, but honestly, when you're in a hotel room on your own, it's not a problem.

In Adelaide we were in the Old Chamber Room, which is the original parliamentary chamber, from 1855. It is very simple and not grand at all, compared to the Victorian one, although not quite as cute as the Tasmanian one. South Australia uses a new Parliament House (1889) which is much more ornate. When we arrived on Monday morning the paper announcing the dissolution of parliament before their upcoming election was pinned to the front door, so they couldn't be opened. It was an A4 sheet of photocopy paper; I would have expected something fancier.

Somehow we arrived in Perth before we left Adelaide, so I got a chance to have a slow hobble around the CBD while it was still light. It's my second 24 hour visit to Perth, and one day I am going to go back properly and have a look around! It feels like a very open, sunny city to me, with lots of space. It is apparently the most isolated city on earth, in terms of distance from everyone else, and it feels like it spreads out on the ground.

Everyone was very chilled and relaxed on a pleasant summer evening. I found the Margaret River Chocolate Company shop, which provided bribes for the family, and had dinner in a pub next to an open window.  It was a long two days - and I'd rather be sewing - but I can't really complain...