Saturday, December 26, 2015

Boxing Day

I hope everyone had a very pleasant and relaxed Christmas. We certainly did - just the four of us opening presents, eating whatever we wanted, and doing whatever took our fancy. Reading books, playing computer games and watching movies mostly. My husband did the cooking and took the dog for a walk - I did the dishes and napped. Perfect. On Christmas Eve we went into town and saw the lights like we did last year.

It was a world record this year - most lights on a Christmas tree! and it was very very sparkly. When we arrived the lights were pulsing in tune with Bohemian Rhapsody ... and there you have Canberra in a nutshell. This is my son making ET hands. Creepy child.

I am not sure why there was a polar bear out of lights - not very Christmassy I thought to myself - and then went home and took a look at the bottom of my Christmas tree. Maybe there is something about polar bears - all that snow?

Christmas Day was quite hot, especially later in the day, but today has rained and rained. Good news for the bush fires that have been burning down houses in various parts of the country, and good news for our garden too. We went round to friends today for a lovely relaxed brunch - sat and watched it pelting down. My husband says he brought it on by watering the hibiscus and by running out the laundry hose - he carefully hooked it all up to the washing machine and positioned it on the garden - stepped back with a feeling of satisfaction just as the first thunder rolled ... and it's been raining ever since.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A gentle stroll

Now it's cooled down a bit (thank god! the weekend was just about impossible) I am really enjoying my gentle stroll to work. I won't be able to do it in winter - it's through the bush and just too dark - so the fact that it's seasonal makes it even more enjoyable. Coming home can be a bit of a trudge but first thing in the morning, when it's all fresh, is lovely. The first bit is across the street and up the fire trail. There is where I usually meet George from three doors down walking Snowy his lovely golden retriever.

Then down the narrow track through the bush. If I'm ever going to meet a brown snake I reckon it will be on this track. I do not stick my hands into hollow logs.

Then it's twenty minutes wandering through wide and leafy streets where the posh people live. I would love to live there too - it always feels cool and quiet and calm. Yes, that is a for sale sign, but I suspect it is beyond me. Holy crap, I just googled, it is way beyond me!!! I wonder if they'll get that for it, seems a bit optimistic, even with an indoor pool and a wine cellar.... And the other reason it's all so green is that they've put down bores and are sucking up the aquifer for the garden while the rest of us peasants have to pay for town water.

And then over the ring road and up to the big house on the hill with the flag on top. I tend to get the theme from Bear in the Big Blue House stuck in my head as I walk up this slope - another immovable remnant of the toddler years. "Welcome to the big house, welcome to the big house".... my first fieldwork back after maternity leave with number one son was a series of prison visits (the joys of the public service, you're never quite sure where you will end up) and I had that stuck in my head. Entirely inappropriate. Like the time I got shown round the USS Essex and all I could think of was "War! What is good for? Absolutely NOTHING"...

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The scrap vomit complete

I'm still calling it a scrap vomit - unfortunately I can't give it another name because this quilt doesn't have a name (other than "Happy 40th Birthday Karen!" which is what is on the label). It is a present for a friend who has three boys so I was very pleased when it turned out nice and girly. Not that she is a very girly girl, but you know, a bit of balance.

It is quilted with an allover curved design because I didn't think it needed any more lines, and I bordered and bound it in two different light yellows. I was going to do a striped binding but it was too much and in the end I went with something that blended it a bit more! I think in hindsight I could have done with a more definite pink, to make the pattern a bit more obvious. Never mind - maybe next time (although I am unlikely to do another one any time soon. It got a bit boring.)

School finished yesterday so I knocked off early and met the boys at the shops for an ice-cream and a catch up with friends. It was 34 degrees yesterday - heading for 36 today and 37 tomorrow - so summer has well and truly arrived. We've raced around all morning doing chores and tidying so that this afternoon we can just lie around feebly and watch movies and eat icy poles. We might go to the shops where it's cool - although everyone else in Canberra will be there too - it's a toss-up. There's a cool change coming through Monday that will bring it down to a brisk 27 degrees, and it should stay that way until Christmas which is very good news. I like to drag everyone out for a walk on Christmas afternoon but no chance if it's over 35.

I took a day off work on Wednesday to do my Christmas shopping - and to go to the newly opened Canberra IKEA! Such excitement, I'd never been to an IKEA before, and it was truly wondrous. So many pretty things that would make my home into a wonderland of organisation and minimal design. If I bought anything, which I didn't. Maybe next time. I moved on to other shops, and did most of my Christmas shopping, which was a win.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Some sewing-related activity

Just to prove that I have been doing some quilting related things (other than shopping, went to Spotlight on the weekend, they were having a massive sale) here is some dyeing. Blues this time. I have oranges batching away as well.

And I am quilting the blue and green snail trail. I stared at it for ages trying to think of a quilting design that would follow the snails around and emphasise the pattern. And then I thought bugger it, let's do feathers. So I am - nice fat feathers reasonably close together and just ignoring the piecing design.

I would be further along than I am but I melted my plastic water jug all over the iron ("What's that smell? Can you smell something? Are you kids making toast?") and it took forever to clean up. And to be honest I'm not sure if the iron will ever be the same again.

In another frustrating few hours of sewing, I attempted to make mastectomy swimwear because the stuff you can buy is so expensive and ugly and a dreadful cut. Unfortunately I had no luck at all - I have successfully made swimwear in the past and I'm quite happy with it technically - but I cannot get the structure of the breast pocket right. It has to be quite solid to hold the fake boob in while you leap around in the surf, and swimsuit material is very stretchy. I tried a couple of methods using multiple linings, and it didn't work, so I will put it one side for now, and do a bit of internet shopping. I might have to go to American shops, they have everything!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Kind of busy, but not really

A whole week since I blogged! I would like to say it's because of my christmas partying, but that would be a complete fib. We did have our work Christmas do on Tuesday lunchtime, which was very enjoyable, and then the school Christmas concert on Wednesday evening. For once it was a beautiful evening - not too hot, not raining, not blowing a gale, and not a freezing ten degrees. We have had every weather variation over the years except a lovely summer evening - and we finally got that on Wednesday. Number two son is in there somewhere, over on the right. They sang a cappella and did a wonderful job.

Number one son was meant to be at baseball practice but he's got an infected ingrown toenail, poor kiddie, it's very swollen and sore. His father suffered terribly with ingrown toe nails when he was a teenager and the doctor used to cut them out every time - so they went off to the doctor on Friday full of expectations of hacking and slicing and chopping ... but apparently they don't do that any more. Antibiotics and bathe the toe and hope it grows through.

My husband has very elegant long fingers and toes (I have fat pig feet and potato-farming hands) and I was pleased when number one inherited his father's digits. I remember so clearly when he was a baby and I'd admire his feet and make him laugh by nibbling on his gorgeous little baby toes ... no way in hell I'd be doing that now - great size twelve hoofers and now all ingrown and mutant. Bloody genetics. Anyway, the toe meant he got to go to his brother's concert, so fun times all round.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

No gardening at all

I fully intended to keep up the good work this weekend and get some more of that mulch on the garden ... but it was just too damn hot. A clear sky and 31 degrees is too melty for me to dig and haul mulch, so I decided to do any jobs that involved the hose. I shampooed the kilim and put it to dry on the trampoline. That was quite fun actually - the internet was quite confident that it wouldn't wreck it and it was right! Felt a bit weird hosing down the rug and putting Garnier fresh and fruity on it, but it came up well. This is the one the rug man in Ankara swore was a decades old Iranian kilim ... I have no idea but it proved to be colourfast and when it was wet it smelt very strongly of woodsmoke. And now it's cleaner than it was.

You can see the grass has died already. We have a few weeks of green and then it's yellow and crackly. This might also be the last useful action of the trampoline. We bought it when number one son was eighteen months old and it's been awesome; but it's just starting to perish beyond help. My husband is going to put it on the kerb with a sign that says "free" and see how long it takes to vanish. He thinks about two days ... I'm saying six months.

The other useful thing I did with the hose was wash the windows. They were very filthy and now we can see out into the garden! This is the kitchen view. It's like being in a green cave in summer. I love it.

And this is the kitchen window from the outside - you can see why I say we like a heavily-planted garden! The grapevine is just ornamental sadly, no grapes, and gets cut back hard in autumn. The roses are just about at the end of the first flush, although we might get another flowering from some of the better established bushes. The rest is a hardy hodge podge of valerian, geraniums, rock roses, snow in summer, oregano, lamandras, may bushes and agapanthus. And some stuff that grew from the bird seed....

The boys are currently putting together the christmas tree (it's a bit complicated, but they are very clever). We had people over for a very relaxed bbq last night, and other than that I haven't left the house! A very laid back weekend for this time of year.  I went to my old work's Christmas party on Friday and had a lovely time catching up with everyone. They are such a nice bunch of people and the Christmas party is always a hoot as everyone winds down and liquors up....