Monday, August 13, 2018

India

My last post was a pre-scheduled one because I've been out and about - travelling with work to exotic destinations again! Can you believe the wonderful things I get to do - I can't. And I certainly had to pinch myself with this one, which was ten days away in India and then Indonesia.



I was accompanying a parliamentary delegation and it was full-on; meetings every day and official dinners every night (actually it was usually breakfasts, lunches and dinners, I am SO FAT) but on the Saturday the embassy arranged a driver and guide for us to go to Agra and visit the Taj Mahal. I was there twenty years ago with my husband on our honeymoon ... this was not quite so romantic but still beautiful. You know sometimes you go to world famous things and it's a bit of let down? The Taj Mahal is not like that, it is amazing. And hot, very hot.


We went to the Red Fort in Agra as well, which was also astonishing. Indian's history is incredible, and I remember how much we loved our honeymoon, and how we were going to come back and visit the south of India. We never did, but maybe in retirement...

Monday, August 6, 2018

Like a fiesta

This is the quilt top I've been working on lately - inspired by Freddy Moran again - or at least just by a part of a quilt that I saw on an old blog post when looking for something else entirely. It's about halfway down the post ... isn't it such an explosion of colour? Inspirational.



My version is a bit tidier. I wasn't game to have things on too much of an angle, and the joining strips are a uniform size. So it lacks a bit of character, but the colour more than makes it for it. It was a very fun quilt to make! Can you tell I'm jealous of my sister and her husband who are currently on holiday in Mexico? That is a very exotic place for us antipodeans to holiday, and they are putting up heaps of photos full of colour and fun. Like a fiesta.

Friday, August 3, 2018

A cotton scarf

And here is the other scarf from the striped warp - this is the first one I did and the reason I did the broken point threading, to get the design.



I had originally intended to do the whole scarf in the diamond pattern, but after doing it for a bit it didn't look very special, so I alternated it with the same length in plain weave, to make it stand out a bit.



The weft is an ordinary crochet cotton same as the warp and it is very loose. I could perhaps have done more ends per inch, or perhaps beaten it a bit tighter, but it is what it is. And it means that it is very light and drapes nicely, which is good in a scarf. The cotton was really easy to work with, but it
isn't the most elegant yarn in the world.


As ever it amazes me how the same warp can produce two such incredibly different pieces of cloth. I have ordered more of the mercerised pearl cotton from BBYarn - which is much finer and shinier - and I will put on another warp and experiment again! I have the weaving bug back. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A woolly scarf and an amazing dessert

So, just over a year after I started, I took off the cotton striped warp and the two scarves that I wove on it. I have washed and fringed the woolly one, and it is just lovely - I am really pleased with it.



The warp is very ordinary crochet cotton from Spotlight - quite thick - and it is black and white stripes at a 12 epi sett in a broken point threading. For weaving I just did a 2/2 twill, expecting a straight diagonal, but because of the broken point threading it has this lovely zig zag.



The weft is three different mohair blends - the yellow is plain but the grey and green are variegated. Of course on the ball they have a subtle blend through the shades but when you weave you wind it onto a shuttle, and then cut it, then start from that end. And when you finish, you wind up from the ball again, but where you start is NOT ANYTHING LIKE where you finished last time ... so it looks like there are these strong changes in colour.



Other people might have gathered that intuitively just from thinking about it for a moment, but it took me a few hours weaving before I figured that it was never going to give me the gradations I was after. Luckily I like the changes in colour, and the whole scarf is so fluffy and soft that I would forgive anything in the design. It is super snuggly.



And here is the amazing dessert; peanut butter parfait topped with dark chocolate mousse, then a salted caramel sauce and the whole thing was then sprinkled with peanuts. It was one of the best desserts I have ever had, and made by my very clever friend, at our Christmas in July on Saturday night. It was incredible....

Friday, July 27, 2018

Bird whisperer

Here is my husband hand-feeding a gang-gang parrot while the rainbow lorikeets are on the feeder. After I took this another dozen lorikeets flew down and pecked around on the ground - they are so pretty with their little orange heads and green feathers. The gang-gangs are very lovely and chatty, but he took a closer look at the massive beak and decided to go and put a leather gardening glove on. We've seen them snip through small branches and could probably do major damage to a finger or two.


We are at the time of year where the parent magpies are pushing the adolescents out of the nest, so both parents and young ones are extra keen on food. And extra grumpy with each other to try and get it.  So in the morning my husband the bird whisperer chops up bits of cheese then opens the kitchen window and feeds them as they hop along in turn. Parents first of course. He has had to leave early all week because of early work starts so I have been on magpie feeding duty. I wouldn't normally do it but they bang on the window until I do and I can't enjoy my coffee....

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Procrastiblogging

I should be writing a job application but I loathe it with every part of my being so I am procrastinating by blogging. Procrastiblogging. In the past I have also procrasticrafted, procrastibaked, procrastijogged and procrasticleaned. Number two son likes to procrasticuddle when you ask him to a do a chore. It's hard to be too cross.

The job is a promotion at my work and I haven't got a hope in hell of getting it, but sometimes you have to show that you're keen, just for the look of it. I doubt I'll even get an interview, which makes it hard to spend a lot of time polishing the application.



Anyway we are all back to school and work this week after some lovely beach time. I went down with number two son and two of his friends. Which was great, although I am not really attuned to fourteen year olds ... they spent a lot of time asleep, and a bit of time putting lemon juice in their hair to see if it would bleach (it didn't) and a lot of time staring at their phones. They did also go for walks and have a bonfire and even put their togs on and went to the creek for a swim! They are in the photo above, although only from a distance. It was super cold - below zero most nights and only about twenty during the day - but I think they were lured in by the sun.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Taller than Jesus

I have finally finished the green and blue courthouse steps that I started ages ago. This is the one where I decided to pre cut all the strips - unusually for me, I tend to chop away as I go - but got the maths horribly wrong and cut exactly half as many as I needed. Which made me cross, because I'd folded all the greens and blues up and put them away, but instead of cursing the whole project and throwing the blocks in the cupboard I got the fabric out again like a grown-up and cut some more strips.



The sewing was straightforward and I completely ignored value, which makes the courthouse steps pattern not nearly as obvious as it would be in a  traditional quilt. Just the colour to show it, green and blue.



The quilting is an overall clamshell. Like the Santa Fail and Autumn Rhymes with Boring, I just went for repeated simple shapes which I think looks good on solid quilts. I haven't finished with the solids yet - there is the sticks, and the triangle things, and I am currently sewing up a mixed solids and prints all in half square triangles. It is quite in your face, but I love it so far.



The name is for two reasons; firstly because I was having a bit of a Lloyd Cole fiesta and it's a lyric from "Holier than Thou" and secondly because at sixty inches square this quilt is almost certainly taller than Jesus. I googled "how tall was Jesus" which was a mistake because there are some lunatics on the internet, but generally anything over five foot is considered optimistic.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Weather-dependent weaving

I've picked up my loom again and been doing some weaving! Not literally picked up, but definitely literally dusted it off, it was a bit grubby. But I blew the dog hair off and started again on the cotton warp I loaded last June!! Over a year ago.  Luckily I wrote down exactly what I was doing because I had completely forgotten everything. Even some of the basics of weaving, but I went back to the excellent notes from my classes and everything fell into place eventually.




It was a five metre warp (two scarves) so I finished the red cotton first half and now I'm doing the second half  with fluffy wool in a simple two-two twill. I would quite like to finish this and move onto something different ... actually I am thinking about getting another rigid heddle loom like the little daggy one that I borrowed. It seems a bit strange to get a less complex bit of machinery - most people get more complex things - but I did enjoy the uncomplicated nature of plain weaving.

And it is weather-dependent weaving because the family room / kitchen where I have my loom is far and away the warmest part of the house. It's the only living area you can really shut off, and it has north-facing windows and a fierce little heater. It was minus seven at 6.30 this morning and that is cold. The days haven't been warming up either.  I went for a run yesterday morning; when I left the car at 10.00 am it was minus one - when I hopped back in at 11.00 am it had got up to positive one, but that's not really warm. I was warm (because fat and running) but there weren't many people out and about.



This is number two son MC-ing the end of semester awards ceremony at his high school. Apparently they have a script they are not meant to depart from although he did squeeze in a teacher-name-related pun, bless his heart. And he wore his best flannel shirt for the occasion....

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

What I've been reading

Late last year it started to irritate me that I could never remember what books I'd read. I could remember characters, or plots, or settings but never anything useful like a title, or an author. Which is hopeless when you're trying to tell someone you've read an excellent book set in Greece, or about an old woman. I borrow my books from the Parliamentary Library, which has a small but perfectly formed fiction collection. And it's literally 100 metres from my desk ... talk about enabling. Even if I wanted to break the reading habit (which I don't) it would be impossible with my supplier downstairs giving it away for free.

Anyway the only bad thing about the library is that it's a primarily research library, not a lending one, so they don't have a record of what you've borrowed. So I whinged for a bit about not being able to keep track, then decided to do something about it and installed Goodreads. It has an excellent scan function, so now I'm in a routine where before I drop my books back I scan the barcode with the iPad camera and put the book in my "2018" shelf on Goodreads. It is very simple, and means I can tell you that for the first six months of 2018 I read the following 61 books (in reverse chronological order, with the most recent at the top):

Leonard Woolf: A Biography
Victoria Glendinning
The End of the Day
Claire North
The Women in Black
Madeleine St. John
Re Jane
Patricia  Park
Primary School Confidential: Confessions From the Classroom
Mrs. Woog
Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal #1)
Zen Cho
One Fifth Avenue
Candace Bushnell
We Are Not Ourselves
Matthew  Thomas
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd (Flavia de Luce, #8)
Alan Bradley
Relatively Famous
Roger Averill
The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen
Syrie James
King of the Badgers
Philip Hensher
Where There's A Will
John Mortimer
Ink and Bone
Lisa Unger
An Unkindness of Ghosts
Rivers Solomon
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce, #1)
Alan Bradley
The Passengers
Eleanor Limprecht
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (Flavia de Luce, #7)
Alan Bradley
The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag (Flavia de Luce, #2)
Alan Bradley
How Hard Can It Be? (Kate Reddy, #2)
Allison Pearson
Love & Fame
Susie Boyt
Dying: A Memoir
Cory Taylor
Too Close To Home
Georgia Blain
The Girl With All the Gifts
M.R. Carey
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
Gail Honeyman
This Side of Paradise
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)
Becky Chambers
Cooee
Vivienne Kelly
Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris
Edmund White
A Red Herring Without Mustard (Flavia de Luce, #3)
Alan Bradley
The Supernatural Enhancements
Edgar Cantero
The Secret Recipe for Second Chances
J.D. Barrett
Dyschronia
Jennifer Mills
The Wonder
Emma Donoghue
Breathless: An American Girl in Paris
Nancy K. Miller
The Days of Abandonment
Elena Ferrante
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer
Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1)
Ernest Cline
Never Let Me Go
Kazuo Ishiguro
Eleanor & Park
Rainbow Rowell
Of Human Bondage
W. Somerset Maugham
Norse Mythology
Neil Gaiman
Wedding Night
Sophie Kinsella
Cosmo Cosmolino
Helen Garner
The Jane Austen Project
Kathleen A. Flynn
Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles, #1)
Melina Marchetta
The Group
Mary McCarthy
Diary of a Provincial Lady
E.M. Delafield
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
Claire North
Stardust
Neil Gaiman
When We Were Orphans
Kazuo Ishiguro
The Outcasts of Time
Ian Mortimer
DIS MEM BER and Other Stories of Mystery and Suspense
Joyce Carol Oates
Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark, #1)
Veronica Roth
Let Me Be Frank With You
Richard Ford
Landline
Rainbow Rowell
The Forgotten Garden
Kate Morton
The Distant Hours
Kate Morton
I've Got Your Number
Sophie Kinsella
She's Not There
Joy Fielding
Then We Came to the End

Joshua Ferris

Most of them are reasonably lightweight - I read for pleasure not for learning - and I haven't included about another twenty that I started and then decided life was too short to read a boring book (most literary prize winners end up in this group because I am a philistine and book judges are mental). Also this list doesn't include the really crappy ones I download from the ACT public library for when I travel ... this is mostly anything by M.C. Beaton, the Phyrne Fisher series and many with the words 'regency' and 'romance' in the title. Embarrassing, but I can't read anything remotely intellectual in a plane or an airport. I think it's the avgas.

If I had to pick three books off this list as worth reading I would say The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, which we did for book club and loved;  When We Were Orphans  - bits of which still stay with me randomly; and the most recent one - a biography of Leonard Woolf who I knew absolutely nothing about (and cared less to be honest) but Victoria Glendinning is such a superb biographer that I loved every page.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Santa Fail

So many years ago I made some improvised triangle things in sort of 'Santa Fe' colours - turquoise and ochre and fuchsia. But it didn't work out properly, and I didn't like the next border of chevrons so I chucked it in the bottom of a drawer and ignored it. As part of my current  drive to "use up what you have and stop shopping for god's sake" I pulled it out of the drawer, whacked some borders on it and finished it off.




I'm still not a super big fan of it. The triangles are a bit odd - they look a bit haphazard and blobby. I didn't want to put anything complicated around it, so it's just a plain border or two and some half-square triangles.



The quilting is circles of different sizes ... or at least they're meant to be circles! I don't think I picked the most even bit of quilting to take a photo of, some of them are quite like real circles. It's all freehand, in case you can't tell...



I've been trying for a while to find a time without rain or a line full of washing, but this morning I gave up and got my husband to hold it. Unfortunately the quilt had been in the sofa in the "yet to be photographed" spot for slightly too long and when I went to find it it had gone ... unearthed on number two's bed after five minutes searching, but it does look a bit rumpled. The name might be a bit harsh but I couldn't resist.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Minus two minus three minus four

Goddamn there have been some frosty mornings here in the wintry capital. It makes for good sleeping ... but hard getting out of bed. We've gone into the winter parliamentary break which is an excellent chance to get some actual work done, and has the added advantage of being able to lower the dress standard, and wear woolly cardigans to work. And fluffy socks.


Number two son had a couple of friends to sleep over on Friday night. This is their nest in front of the TV - I think they were off destroying the kitchen at the time. Not that I'm complaining, they tidied up and put the dishwasher on! The influence of better parents than I am. It's the last week of term and it's showing the difference between year 9 (movie appreciation and chocolate brownies) and year 11 (assessments and stress). It'll be nice for them to have a wee winter break too.

Friday, June 29, 2018

19 gun salute for ME


Normally my arrival at work is unremarked but this week I got a 19 gun salute!!! Well, not me exactly, it was the visiting Prime Minister of Vanuatu but our arrivals exactly coincided so I stopped to pretend I was in the motorcade, inspect the Federation Guard, say gidday to Malcolm and Lucy, sing along with two national anthems and have my ear drums blown out by a 19 gun salute.  Actually I didn't count them so it could have been less.



There weren't many people there - normally it's protestors with visiting heads of state but even the most avid activist can't get too outraged by Vanuatu - so it was mostly public servants procrastinating getting to their desks and some primary school children who seemed a bit confused and probably couldn't find Vanuatu on a map. Although it is quite hard to find, being very small.  These photos don't show that it was exactly zero degrees. Our poor South Pacific visitors would have been struggling.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Coastal wildlife

Back down the beach this weekend - a short break from the minus five mornings before they started up again on Monday....  The coast was cold, but so lovely during the day I forgave it the frosty mornings. Mid-morning walks were particularly delightful - down at the river with the pelicans.


This intrepid group are the ocean swimmers off for their few km round the headland. Crazy. Seriously, it was freezing, and if I had put myself in the water even with a full length wetsuit I think my heart would have stopped. That kind of clear cold that you don't even know is cold until your blood freezes and you fall, lifeless, to the bottom of the ocean. The group looked very chipper. I don't think they know what's in store for them.


I was at the beach with friends who are thinking about a place of their own down there. So I went with them to an open home round at Maloney's Beach, which is a lovely little enclave of houses tucked into the national park. Which is great for wildlife ... except that wildlife sucks. It eats all your grass, leaves a literal carpet of shit everywhere and drives your dogs insanely crazy. We saw a Pomeranian chase four kangaroos down the road despite being about a tenth of their size. Pomeranians are not known for their sound common sense - do you know how kangaroos kill dogs? They get them into a pond or dam and drown them by holding them underwater. This is TRUE, and can be googled.






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.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Sunday in boring and unnecessary detail

I woke up at ten past nine and had muesli and two cups of coffee for breakfast. My husband went to the farmer's markets. I didn't notice he had left for the spare bed about four in the morning. We had people over for curry and red wine last night and he said he didn't sleep well.

After breakfast we went to Costco - leaving number one son swearing at his computer that was not responding well to a recently installed Windows update. Number two son was still at his sleepover. Costco was busy but we hadn't been for ages so it was quite fun. We bought a bootful of groceries , spent a lot of money and didn't get home until half past twelve. I bought an eight-pack of Frixion erasable pens which was probably unnecessary.

We had leftover curry for lunch. My husband left for a scale modelling afternoon (they are building a display stand at one of the guys' place who has a lathe. I don't know what that is.)  Before he left he pointed out a little grub crawling up the inside door of the pantry and said there had been quite a few over the past couple of days.

I rang number two son and checked he wasn't outstaying his welcome. I rang him again ten minutes later when his school weekly email came in and there was an overdue assignment. I said if he hadn't handed it in I would come and get him right now. He said it was a group assignment and one of the other people was handing in the paperwork. I decided to let him go unpunished. For now.

I sewed on my blue and brown quilt while number one swore at his computer, and the dog and the cat slept. After half an hour he asked if we could go for a driving lesson. We drove to our usual deserted carpark and practiced starting and turning. Neither of us knew how you are meant to turn the steering wheel so we googled it and watched a truly excellent video by an Irish driving instructor called Donald. We are now both much better at going around corners.

When we got home I pointed out the grubs to number one son. He said he thought it was from the bottom drawer (plastics and empty jars) so pulled it out and put it in the middle of the kitchen floor. There were no grubs underneath.

I went for a run. I saw four people I knew and waved at them. It took them a noticeably long time to recognise me. I do not think that people expect me to be a runner. I am quite fat. It was cold, but I was fine (fat = warm).

When I got home, number two son was there. He was falling asleep on the sofa, with a temperature. I asked him why he didn't come earlier if he was feeling so sick but I couldn't be too cross because he was quite clearly unwell. He went to bed.

We had leftover curry for dinner. It took my husband and I several minutes to get the drawer back into the cupboard. The grubs were in the pistachios. We threw out several other food items. My husband took in two baskets of washing, and hung out another one. I folded six baskets of washing and watched the news. I thought Meghan's dress was too simple, but I liked the veil. I refused to share my mother's day chocolates.

At the moment I am writing my blog, my husband is changing the sheets, number one is doing his homework, number two is asleep, the dog is asleep, the cat is asleep. Soon I will go and watch the new adaptation of Agatha Christie's "Ordeal by Innocence". I do not think it as good as previous ones. Several key characters are different from the book.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Blues and browns


Here is what I am working on at the moment. It is literally a two-colour quilt, even though there are dozens of colours in it, because I dyed all of them myself from two colours. So I know it's two colours, even though it looks like heaps. The two original colours are a light blue - close to the one on the right, and a brick red. I am just doing different sized triangles at the moment - I might mix it up a bit down the track but I probably won't.


It was cold and rainy and windy over the weekend. I went for a run (a slow walk/run) on Saturday afternoon and the sun broke through very dark grey clouds briefly, and the wind died right away. For a few minutes it was lovely ... unlike the rest of the weekend.


But it didn't bother me, because this is a picture of my Mother's Day. A selection of chocolate, as requested, and a decent library book, and some peace and quiet. The wind was howling outside so this was extra nice...