Sunday, April 28, 2013

Some actual sewing!

You wouldn't think this was meant to be a quilting blog, there has been such a lack of actual sewing. I have been doing a bit, but it isn't very exciting - finishing up the 100 half square triangles, the 305 four patches and the 144 triangle in a square needed for the cathedral star quilt. But I've done it, and sewing them into blocks, and now I'm making the rows!

There they are on the floor while I audition fabric for the setting triangles. I think I'll go with one of the darker ones.

In the original pattern Bonnie used the same dark fabric for the setting triangles as in the jacob's ladder blocks, but of course I don't have enough. The downside of only ever buying a yard at a time... but it's a blessing in disguise because then I can use a different fabric and make the whole thing just that bit more scrappy! Why use five fabrics in a quilt when you can use fifty. Or five hundred.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Still not throwing out many shoes

Haven't put any shoe shots up for a while! I have still been wearing different shoes every day, and taking photos, but it's been a short couple of weeks with school holidays and Anzac Day today. I don't really understand Anzac Day, it all seems a bit martial and strange. I'm not sure if it's because it's not such a big deal in NZ, or because I don't have any family history of involvement in wars, or maybe I'm just naturally sceptical. Anyway I don't really want to hear about past battles, and no matter how much they talk about loss and horror and making sure it never happens again, it all comes over as jingoistic after a while.

But back to shoes! These are my go-to shoes that I wear all the time. Black, comfortable, low-heeled, can run for a bus (not that I have been on a bus since 2005, but if the need arises...) So I'm keeping these.

These are terrible $7 shoes from Big W - bright shiny purple plastic flats. I love these shoes. Definitely keeping them.

These shoes require a terrible confession. I bought these shoes IN A CHEMIST.  Yes, I am 95 years old, and I buy my shoes while I'm waiting for a prescription to be filled. Needless to say, they are deliriously comfortable, and I'm keeping them.

And these last shoes are leopard-fur flats, which makes them basically slippers! That I can wear to work! What's not to love about that. Keep.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A weekend away

It's the school holidays here in Canberra, so we piled the kids in the car and drove up to Sydney for the weekend. We stay with old friends on the northern beaches, so it's about a four hour drive. Our friends have two boys as well, much the same ages, so we had a lovely time drinking and talking and shouting at the children to let us drink and talk in peace.

Saturday was both number one son's birthday AND the most torrential rain to hit Sydney in months ... but we'd promised him an outing so we went to the big IMAX at Darling Harbour near the centre of Sydney. It was awesome, if a bit damp. And when it's your birthday you can have icecream even though it's 18 degrees and bucketing.

After lunch my husband took them to the aquarium while I did a bit of gentle window shopping in Sydney's CBD. To my country-mouse eyes it was insanely crowded, and I didn't buy anything except a lotto ticket, but always nice to have a potter around somewhere different. I love big cities, but don't like people in my personal space. I think I need footmen to keep the peasants away as I walk amongst them. Actually when I win lotto ($50 million superdraw) that can probably be arranged.

On Sunday the rain had cleared and the sun was out, so we went down our friends' local beach. It was closed because of the bad weather the day before. I thought it was closed because of dangerous surf - doesn't it look dangerous?

But it wasn't. It's closed because after heavy rain all the run-off comes down through the houses and the streets and the drains into the streams and out into the main creek and pollutes the beach. So that would be that filthy polluting creek right there, with my children in it...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Still no sewing

Thank you for your comments on the last post - yes, it was quite revolting and disgusting. I can report that the baits have all been chewed on, but apparently it takes 7 to 10 days for them to die. Which I'm not looking forward to. It could be a bit death camp in there for a while. We didn't see any live rats during the clean out, just heard rustling in one of the boxes. My husband immediately grabbed the long-handled secateurs to deal with it .... what are you going to do? Prune it to death? Just as well he never spotted it.

On a happier note, my 32 yards from Hancocks of Paducah (free international shipping!) arrived in this big box, packed nice and tight.

Here is the pile of fabric - not a very exciting shot but it was a very exciting pile, trust me. If only I'd been doing some sewing this week! I got my son's cold pretty much the instant I got home. It's not a bad cold, but we've all just been lying on the sofa in the evenings watching garbage TV (is there any other sort?) and I haven't even turned my machine on. Next week....

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

From luxury to rat poo

Thursday night I checked out of my fancy hotel and did the red-eye back to Australia, and back to grim reality. Although it was very nice to see everyone again - I picked the boys up from the local shops after school as usual and had the compulsory Friday ice-cream. It was the last day of term so everyone was a bit tired, but both the boys really enjoyed their school camps earlier in the week. Lots of mud.

So grim reality didn't really kick in until Saturday, when we turned out the shed. It's not really a shed - it's a walled-in area underneath the garage, which is higher than the house. Fantastic storage, but it had become absolutely infested with rats. And it wasn't until we had got everything out of the shed that we realised quite how disgusting it was ... drifts of rat poo and nests. They had eaten through almost everything paper or cardboard that we had in there, so all those boxes had to be cleaned out.

Luckily my Dad is staying and he is a machine with this kind of thing (and a wonderful motivator when my husband and I would just have given up) so we got it all cleaned up and even threw masses of things away. If any relatives are reading this they will be chortling; apparently my Dad's garage is a complete disaster zone because he NEVER throws anything out ... he says it is much easier to toss other people's stuff than your own. He could be right.

This is really an "after" shot. Before was too horrible to contemplate. I have bought lots of rat-proof plastic tubs and we will transfer all the papers to them (hopefully with at least half being chucked, but no promises) then re-store in a more organised fashion. And we've put down a lot of poison. No wonder the neighbourhood has had a brown snake explosion, we've been feeding them from our shed.

Friday, April 12, 2013

High and higher

Here is the view of Jakarta from my hotel room - a perfectly civilised fourteen floors up. High enough to be interesting, but not worrying, especially with a nice enclosed balcony.

Here is the view of Jakarta from the Skye Bar - a bar on the top of a building 57 stories high and open to the elements. One side has a scary but acceptably solid-looking glass barrier, but one side has a sort of a ditch and water feature that gives the really convincing impression of being no barrier at all.

These photos are terrible (the flash on my iphone won't light up a city of 15 million people, come on Apple lift your game) but you get the idea. This is my face at the time, although I was a bit more relaxed after a couple of very alcoholic cocktails.

So it's been satays and fun times this week which is good, but I'm missing the modern quilters tonight, which is bad. I wanted to show them my trip around the world, instead of actually tripping around the world. Maybe next time.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Views from a sitting position

But none of my sitting positions since my last post have been at my sewing machine ... which is a bit sad.

I spent a good couple of hours of Saturday with this view - footy season is on again. I don't quite understand Australian Rules football (or at least not the version played by the under-11s), especially now they're playing on a full-size field for the first time. Most of the game they seem to be specks in the distance doing strange and unco-ordinated things. I assume that one of them is my child, but they all look the same and I can't tell what they're meant to be doing.

The field is too big for the coach to yell instructions at them, like in a normal game (i.e. netball), so they send runners onto the field with messages. Now I'm no education professional, but the idea of sending a ten-year-old boy 50 metres with a message for another 10 year-old-boy is, perhaps, fundamentally flawed.

Luckily Sunday's view was more serene. This is me stretching my legs out as far as they could go and I still couldn't touch the seat in front of me!!! First time on this airline, and I think it's a keeper.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Home again

It's not exactly a difficult trip, but the boys have captured the thrill of air travel.

Now I'm back in the sewing room I'm making Bonnie Hunter's cathedral stars quilt - it's more complicated than the stuff I usually do but I want to use my new rulers that make little triangles-in-squares. And I like this quilt. So I've made a pile of four-patches.

A pile of triangles in squares.

A hundred half-square triangles.

It's taking forever, and I'm following the instructions to the letter (gasp!) but it's quite nice just to do that every once in a while. I might let my freak flag fly on the borders ... or I might not. I took these photos on my phone - I lost the camera for a while but then I found it again and took it up to Brisbane with me. And then when I was doing the washing the night we came back I basically tipped the dirty clothes suitcase upside down into the machine and washed everything ... including the camera. It does not work AT ALL now. Not one flicker of life ...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The creek

This is the creek over the road from the house in Brisbane where my husband grew up. According to him, he spent most of every day here between 1968 and 1981. His mother could be heard if she hollered from the kitchen window, but otherwise there was no-one and nothing around ... except for his brother, roaming hordes of other neighbourhood kids, and the broadest range of tropical wildlife.

We were in Brisbane for Easter, and my husband and his brother took their kids (and me) back to the creek. Ostensibly to look for baby turtles, but none were found. It didn't stop lots of serious searching though ... until number two son thought it would be more fun just to take all his outer clothes off and bumslide down the rocks. Fair enough. The creek is amazingly clean, and very pretty. And completely unchanged for the last forty years, according to my husband.

Number one son was more focussed on panning for gold - his uncle had brought his panning saucer! As you do!! No more success with the gold than with the baby turtles. But we did find baby frogs - when they still have both tadpole legs and tales - and lots of little fish. We saw birds but (thank god) no snakes.

A magical way to spend a sunny morning, especially once I managed to tune out the brothers' reminiscing. Remember that time that kid slipped and smashed his head open? Remember that time we set the bamboo on fire? Remember that time we saw a four metre carpet snake? Remember that time we made chlorine bombs in old milk bottles? I'm amazed either of them made it to adulthood.