Friday, June 22, 2018

Frosty the snowman

It was minus five last night, and still only one degree when I dropped the boys at school .... frost thick on the ground and no buildings open for another twenty minutes! Haha, time to toughen up. At least number two had a nice orange puffer jacket on .... I looked at this photo from Sunday and realised that it was really time to retire this one. I look like a hippo in a sleeping bag. And perhaps purple trousers with an orange jacket was a mistake.





But number two was super happy with it, and it looks very cool on him with ripped jeans and converses (sigh), and it keeps him nice and toasty.


Number one son came with me to walk the dog - he's also wearing an old jacket of mine that keeps him nice and warm. He doesn't like his gloves (that he picked out himself, shopping is such a nightmare, it never works which is why I happily give them any item of clothing in the house if they will actually wear it) so he's trying to keep his hands warm. It was very bleak and very windy.




Other than cold, the week has been busy. Number one is having assignments and exams, which is a bit stressful for him. Number two had his mini-play on Tuesday night, which was a half hour mash-up / inspired by Midsummer Night's Dream (he was both Puck and Egeus). I have had a slightly crazed sitting week and my husband had an incoming group of Germans (he is currently running courses at the uni, much fun). Two weeks till school holidays....

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Autumn rhymes with boring



Here is the finished blue and brown triangle quilt. I did just stick with triangles in the end - different sizes and heading in different directions but still just triangles. Very autumnal colours but perhaps not very exciting.

I am not a huge fan of this quilt (as you can probably tell from the  name), but it is an interesting exercise in colour. I remember only two dyes - light blue and brick red - but perhaps I had some leftover black or yellow that I threw in there as well. It is definitely all the same cotton though, and it's not a very good one. God only knows where I picked it up - it was probably on sale - and it is very light and falls into a slight crinkle. It's definitely cotton otherwise it wouldn't have dyed so well, but I don't think it is 'quilt shop quality'.



So perhaps making the whole quilt of it was a bit risky ...especially then doing straight lines. It ended up really really wavy on the edges, and there is some pleating in the backing and some strange wobbling as you get to the final corners. I am blaming it on the dodgy fabric and not at all on the dodgy quilting.



Here is the back - still using up stuff from the shelves! I went with as co-ordinated as I could.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Sticks

Whenever I don't know what to do next for a quilt, I pick up a book by Gwen Marston, and find something. Despite looking through the books for years, and making heaps of quilts inspired by them, there is always something that catches my eye that I haven't done before. And this time it was sticks! I am still going full steam ahead with solids. And yellow ... so yellow background and multicoloured sticks.

Time will tell how well it works. I love how vivid the red quilt is; the yellow might be a bit more one dimensional. This is from "Freddy and Gwen Collaborate Again".



We've been having a great long weekend. I have done about a million loads of washing, practised my guitar, sewed and went for another run this morning. There were more people running than usual on my normal route but I didn't think much of it until I rounded the first point and saw a big "finish" banner with people standing on either side cheering! It was the Sri Chimnoy, and I went through the finish barrier (it was across the whole path) with people clapping but I'd only run 300m at that point. Bit awkward.

And that hanging thing I thought was a bell actually is a bell. It didn't have a clapper, but today they had a solid pipe of wood supported by a sling at both ends hanging from the roof of the pavilion, and they swung it forward onto the bell a bit like a battering ram. It made a lovely rounded deep bell noise.



Last night we went round to friends for dinner, which was lovely, and met their two new dogs. One is a lovely Tibetan spaniel with a fluffy tail, and one is a little fat black pug dog. Number two son thought she was lovely, and it seemed to be entirely mutual. Funny little creatures (both of them).

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Another long weekend



Someone at work sent this around yesterday ... we take our laughs where we can find them in our office. It's the long weekend but we're not going anywhere - raining and cold today and I don't have any enthusiasm for anything new or exciting.



I went for a slow damp run this morning around the lake. All the carp had their little mouths out of the water. There were hundreds of them - backs and tails showing - and then sucking at the air. Is this normal carp behaviour? I thought they were going to kill them all a while back with carp herpes (or "cerpes" as number two calls it, apparently they did a noxious species unit last term) but if they did infect them it's not working. Unless this was the literal last gasp of hundreds of dying carp?



The chinese gardens have a new little pavilion with an excellently gorgeous bell. At least I think it's a bell, it could be an ornamental large hanging thing. I know absolutely nothing about it, and I don't care enough to google, but it was very pretty, and looked good with the last of the autumn leaves and the grey sky.



I ran for 3.2 km which isn't very far at all; it's taking ages to get fitness back after the broken toe. I should go more often....like I should practice the guitar more, do some more weaving, get back into dressmaking, try something from the recipe books and watch a Handmaid's Tale. Today I would be happy just to cook dinner and get the washing dry.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Cold and sleety

It's a cold and dark and rainy afternoon, and we are hunkering down very pleasantly. I have paid the bills, and the boys are drifting around because we have three hours of "device free time" before dinner and they act like the world is coming to an end. Number two son has put his dressing gown back on  - my husband thinks he looks like he's in some English club but I think he looks like a grumpy homeless man.  I have told number one son to tidy up the stationery and pen drawer by the computer so he has pretended deafness and vanished upstairs, which is what I wanted.


I have been sewing on with solids - this is pink and yellow. It is very pretty and bright and not at all like the outside scenery. I'm using as much as I can from the scrap bin.

Here is the view walking up to my work on Wednesday morning. I quite like parking in the overflow carpark and having a stroll before the day starts. It's only about ten minutes but some days that is all I get in the fresh air...this was Parliament House slowly emerging from the fog. Politicians in the Mist.



My husband has just shared with the children the photo of his graduate year that was in the Department of Defence newsletter when they all started in 1988. Amazing what the graduates thought was appropriate office wear - many of the women are in dirndls and sensible sandals - and only two of the guys are in suits. They all look about twelve years old, and very happy to be making $18,000 a year.

I asked who one of them was who looked familiar but I have never met him - "that's Ian!! He hated Canberra and left within a year ... but we have his saucepans." Yes, thirty years later, we are still cooking with the secondhand saucepans of a failed defence graduate. And, apparently, his baking trays. I don't know why I'm surprised - our main dinner set is one that my husband put together at much the same time .... with his whole family saving up coupons from Coles and swapping them a plate at a time. I feel like it was back in the Jurassic, when stuff was expensive and hard to get.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Long weekend

We had a long weekend in Canberra for some random reason that escapes me now - the last couple of years we've had a holiday in September which has now moved to May. All gratefully accepted of course ... and I went down the beach. It was cold and cloudy but still very pleasant indeed. For something different, this is a moonlit beachscape.



I pinned up three quilts, and used up batting scraps. I normally can't be bothered sewing them together but they're bursting out of the cupboards so it was time to use them up. I hand stitch them together actually on the floor in a very large tacking stitch. It doesn't take very long at all, just a bit backbreaking.



I also practised on my guitar, although I'm still hopeless. I'm sure it takes me way longer to learn anything that it used to - I just can't seem to remember the chords!!! At least my fingers are getting callused, and it's no longer so painful.



Here are some very keen surfers. I wasn't tempted to swim at all, it was freezing. But apparently a decent swell. There was a lot of haze from hazard reduction burns. I like a hazard reduction burn because our little beachside town could, in theory, burn down in any summer. It's not very likely but there are not many places you can say won't burn, and the Tathra fires were a bit scary. But it made for a smokey weekend.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Xavier Mertz

Remember the pastel solids I was making? It turned into this quilt, called "Xavier Mertz".



I got a bit arty with the photography and took one of it on a chair.



And one hanging off a tree. I'm not sure if that is entirely successful.



The quilting is baptist fans in the middle, and a squiggly thing with pea pods around the outside. I think I like the denser quilting better ... the idea was to give it some definition because it's all very similar across the quilt, but it may not have worked.



I called it Xavier Mertz after the explorer, because it was one of those coincidence things where you never hear of a person then hear about them half a dozen times in a week. It started off when I was listening to a Andy Irvine album (I saw him at the folk festival) and he has a song about Douglas Mawson, then I went to Hobart and went past the replica Mawson's Hut a few times and there were things about the expedition in the information centre, and then it came up on a quiz in the newspaper and I was the only one that knew it! So the quilt is Xavier Mertz ... and it looks a little bit snowy and icy. Maybe.