Friday, October 20, 2017

Not the photo I was planning

I finished the quilting and binding on my sugar bowl blocks quilt and fully intended to show you pictures of that ... but I couldn't take photos after work last night because it was raining. Good, proper, heavy rain that we haven't had for weeks and weeks. So I can't complain, but it did stop me taking quilt photos, even inside. It was quite gloomy.


So this is what I'm doing now - quilting the rainbow scrap blocks. I was also quilting another scrap and purple quilt but that's waiting on the binding now, so I'm doing boring straight lines on the rainbow. I actually did not intend to do close-together straight lines on this one but I was sleeping under Scarlett Johannsen and I really like the effect of the lines. It makes a quilt noticeably heavier but also quite snuggly. Takes FOREVER though.
 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Floriade



You know you're back in Canberra when you spend a sunny Sunday morning at Floriade. And it was a beautiful sunny morning this morning; not hot, not windy, just glorious. You can tell it wasn't windy by the lake fountain going straight up. When I went for a run yesterday morning on this same bridge I got drenched with the spray (it was very welcome, I was very hot and sweaty, the Europe adventure involved a lot of food). This is the traditional bridge shot where we spend five minutes walking to avoid fifteen minutes trying to find a carpark.



Today was the last day of Floriade - it goes for four weeks - and the flowers were still amazing. Some beds were past their best but they stagger plant them ... god knows how, it must be ridiculously complicated. Whatever they do it is clearly working because I think it's one of the best I've seen in the twenty odd years I've been tiptoeing through the tulips. Well, not actually through the tulips, that would get me arrested.



Here is an actual photo of me on my actual blog! Can you believe it. Number one son took it (number two chose to stay home in his pyjamas and invite friends over for the afternoon) and I took the traditional number of close-ups of flowers. They were so pretty.



There was also the usual weird art. We all quite liked this spider thingy.


Honey puff donuts were purchased, and possibly an ice-cream. We ran into several people we knew, admired the bat colony and the eastern swamp hens, looked at the pretty flowers and came home. I am still suffering a slight 3 pm energy slump, where my body thinks it's bedtime, and a slight 3 am wakefulness, but nothing too bad. I've done a lot of sewing and a little bit of exercise these past few days and it has been a perfect recovery time. Back to the grind tomorrow.... in the meantime these are double fringed tulips. I thought they were beautiful and very unusual for a tulip.

Friday, October 13, 2017

And home again

When I changed jobs two years ago I knew that I would miss the travel - not the actual flying places because that is exhausting and boring - but the chance to meet different people and talk about things from a non-Australian perspective and to see things that I would never otherwise have seen. I did miss it, but the new job has been so good it's been worth it ... and now the lack of travel has been well and truly made up for by the recent ten-day adventure to the European Parliament. I was in charge of gifts, bags, report writing and general dogsbodying, and it was just wonderful. Non-stop from 8 in the morning to ten at night but still just fantastic.



We transited through Paris - I had an hour and a half of daylight there and I walked about ten miles, looking at as much as I could. I can see why people like it! What a beautiful city, even on a cloudy evening in October.

We had two days in Strasbourg. I got up early one morning and wandered around the old centre of town, and the astonishing cathedral.



We had a day in Brussels, where I didn't get to see anything much except the inside of meeting rooms!  So I took a photo of my dinner - moules of course.



We had a day in Ieper to lay a wreath at the Menin Gate and have a tour of WWI battlefields. We visited the Tyne Kot cemetery ... I knew that the front was a disastrous waste of human life but seeing the landscape, and the cemeteries .... awful.



We had two days in Tallinn (the capital of Estonia) which was amazing - a wonderfully preserved old town. So astonishing. So old. During my average day, none of my built environment is older than I am. I can go months without seeing anything built before 1930, and I can name all the people that have dug in my garden before me. What must it be like to open doors every day that people have opened for five hundred years?



So now I am jet-lagged and still a bit sleepy. Tallinn to Canberra is five flights and takes 37 hours! But so worth it. This was my first time ever in Europe and it was just a taster ... will definitely have to go back.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Beautiful spring morning

October already, and it is a beautiful spring morning here in sunny Canberra - not too hot, gentle breeze, the flowers are out and the birds are singing ... squawking. Australian birds aren't known for their gentle birdsong. It's also the first day of daylight savings so the boys barely stirred before midday - allowing my husband and I to take the dog for a nice educational walk by the lakeside, and through the sculpture garden.



The dog wasn't very impressed but we love the sculpture garden. You're not supposed to touch them but it's pretty hard to avoid running your hands over the surfaces - especially the Henry Moore bronze ones. So goddamn curvy.



Then we meandered through the gardens at Old Parliament House and admired the wisteria. Eleven months of the year we are happy we pulled out (chopped, poisoned and still it wouldn't die) our enormous old wisteria that was pulling the eaves off the house but in October we kind of miss it. It's such an amazing colour. Their roses are much further on than mine. I felt bad for giving mine such a big pruning but I think it was the right thing to do - the OPH ones are thriving. Mine are only putting out a few grumpy shoots now.



It's been a good week off - the theatre production is going well, and it's my husband's turn to be on kid patrol this week while I travel with work. I'm quite looking forward to it (other than the actual travelling bit) but it will sadly interfere with my sewing time. I've seized the chance to put my machine in for a service, so I will be already to go when I get back...

Thursday, September 28, 2017

On leave this week

It's the first week of the school holidays and I'm on leave looking after the children. Well, not really looking after, more driving them places. Number one son spent four very long days at a friend's house filming for their media project - not exactly sure what they're filming but he came home covered in dust and blue dye. Apparently most of it is in front of a green screen (sheet over the clothesline I think) and the friend is going to do computer graphics. Maybe. He was very tired by Tuesday night. Number two son has another theatre production - rehearsals every day this week for opening night on Friday. He's not sure if they'll be ready in time ... is anybody ever sure they're ready for opening night? We are going along to watch regardless.



Between the driving around, I've done a bit of grocery shopping, washing, errands and general tidying up. I've been postponing everything for the past month to do in my week off, which is always a foolish strategy. I never get it all done. Mostly because I've been distracted by scraps, which I am making into colour co-ordinated blocks this time.


The sugar bowl blocks were a good scrappy introduction, but then I decided to get real scrappy and make a rainbow quilt, because everything's coming up rainbows in Australia at the moment as we have our "non-binding postal survey" on same sex marriage. Despite every poll for the past two decades showing majority support for gay marriage the government doesn't have the guts to just legislate it, so they're having a postal survey (not a vote, the legislation for a vote didn't get through, long boring story). Waste of time and money but not a complete waste if I can get some quilt inspiration out of it.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Sometimes I hate my cat

A week without a post! Not because I've been busy but because life has been quiet and boring, and there's been nothing to talk about. Working, yawn, cooking, yawn, parent-teacher interviews and ordering socks on-line. Hardly the stuff to share with the world ... although there I go. Sharing.



So this is why I hate my cat. Despite being seventeen years old, and deaf, and a bit blind, and creaky in the joints, she can still destroy the back of a brand new sofa in the five minutes we leave it uncovered. Normally there is a carefully draped rug there for just this reason. We used to shout at her and she'd run off (because very early on we shouted then squirted her with a water sprayer, and she remembers that) but now she can't hear us shout. She just scratches until we get up and push her away, and she acts all surprised - why didn't you warn me? and stomps off. Having made the sofa look like crap.



Last night my husband and I went back to the war memorial for the roll of honour projections for a distant relative of my uncle - a 20 year old second lieutenant from Toorak who died in 1917. There was no-one else around on a still night - the war memorial is very atmospheric. I failed to do it justice with my iPhone.



Friday, September 15, 2017

The flowerpots

I've finished my Freddy and Gwen flowerpots - I put them horizontally in the end rather than vertically. I was going to do a border but couldn't quite find the right border fabric, or the right piecing pattern, so just left it without one. We mostly use single-size quilts to be honest - the boys have them on their beds and my husband and I sleep at such different temperatures that we both have our individual pile of quilts on ourselves, no sharing.


It is called "The Thoughts of Others", no reason why. As you can see from the photo below it is raw edge machine applique (using fusible to stick it down, then stitch around the edge) so it is quite likely to fray with repeated washing but I don't really care. It bows dreadfully at the edges too, because the fabric cut from old shirts is so soft and doesn't want to hold its shape. I don't care about that either. I quilted it in big fat feathers because they are fun to do and I could guide the feathers to make sure most of the dodgy applique edges were held down with at least a little bit of quilting.



And on the back I dragged some very ugly fabric out of my shelves - possibly flower related? Definitely colourful. Strange lady hippies on one side, and something that looks like sad 1980s duvet cover on the other.



Overall this quilt didn't use up a lot of stash, which is a shame, but when the urge comes to make peculiar little flowers in vases you just have to run with it.