Monday, January 29, 2018

Some bad sewing

I've been sewing up a storm but there's no point in taking photos because it is very boring scrappy sixteen patch blocks. Quite fun but not very exciting. Today was my first day back at work after five weeks of glorious holiday and it was a RUDE SHOCK. Not only did I have to concentrate all day, with no time for reading books or drinking beer, but everyone had saved up all their thoughts and concerns to share with me when I came back. Most unfair, I should be able to ease back into it. I am moving into a new team so most of the day was spent physically moving stuff into my new office (approximately ten metres to the south of my old office. It's not a big change). 

On the weekend I went and saw the Starstruck exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery which was fantastic! It is mostly stills from Australian movies, with some posters, some publicity photos and some casting albums from the early 20th century which were just fascinating. The nice thing about the NPG is that they give you really detailed explanations of each picture - who the person was, and the historical context. Which makes it much more interesting to me than trying just to stare at some random art and thinking about what it could possibly mean.

The best things for me were the half dozen costumes they had included. The one above is the "Miranda! Come back!" dress from Picnic at Hanging Rock, which is a landmark Australian movie that I have always disliked. But the frocks were great.

And how about cock in a frock on a rock? Who can forget Hugo Weaving prancing about in the desert in this number. I had a very close inspection and it is truly appallingly made. The trim is just sewn on in a wobbly zigzag, there is no fastening (it's tied into a knot at the waist) and it is damn nasty cheap polyester... it totally looks like something a bloke sewed in a moving bus. Unlike Nicole Kidman's Moulin Rouge red dress which was immaculate inside and out ... with a waist I could just about squeeze my upper arm into. Maybe.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

I went to the beach

Canberra has been crazy hot the last few days - high thirties every day - so I snuck myself off to the beach. I totally offered to take the boys but they would rather swelter with internet. Crazy kids. The coast was wonderful. Great waves, great weather and not nearly as busy as earlier in the month.

I spent hours in the water - the water temp is just wonderful at the moment. A bit fresh getting in but then delightful. I have always loved being in the sea - any water really but a surf beach is my favourite. I spend so much of my life heavy and overheated, and to be cool and weightless is like heaven. I love catching waves, even tiny waves, on my boogy board and bobbing around waiting for waves when there are none to catch. I think it's the same dopamine that makes me avoid poker machines and play much too much candy crush - an addictive personality. You wait for ages for a wave and then you get a really good one and it's fantastic so you keep going. And waiting. And then when you get a not so great one you keep going, because it's bound to get better .... there are worse things for addictive personalities to get hooked on.

Speaking of candy crush, after four years and 2938 levels I deleted the app on New Year's Day. All the freebies I'd built up, all those levels, gone forever. Of course I haven't missed it one bit, what a pointless time suck. I absolutely shudder to think how much time it has taken me to get through nearly three thousand levels, especially given I refused to spend any money on it, so it is just time. Crazy.

Our beach had a massive seaweed tide while I was down. This is way more than I've ever seen there before, and it was a bit off putting to wade through in the shallows, but it stopped at the breakers. The weed just spent a couple of days coming in and out with the tides and presumably it will all wash out, or rot away, as some stage. Our neighbour says it happens every now and again.

One afternoon I went for a drive to hunt up future retirement properties .... still a long way off but it's nice to dream, and look at the little roads and isolated beaches we might end up near. This is Bingie Point, in the National Park, and it's very beautiful but not a friendly local beach. There was a big swell and some happy surfers but it looked way too dangerous for me and my little board.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Still pottering about

I have cleaned out the freezer, re-arranged my sewing threads (more a pleasure than a chore, to be honest) and glued the chair back together. I clamped it and everything! Then I used duct tape on the laundry hose (the one that runs out to the garden, we are desperately fighting a losing battle to keep the plants alive) so basically super handy person. I have gone back into work but just to change my library books - I stopped to say hello to my work colleagues but tried not to do any work. It's very quiet.

I'm watching episodes of Lark Rise to Candleford which I picked up randomly from the sale bin before Christmas. It's great! Love a bit of BBC period drama ... especially when it's reasonably light and feelgood. I'm also watching Eureka, which is completely different but also light and feelgood. That might be my theme for January. I've never watched all the Star Wars movies so my husband and elder son sat me down and we worked our way through them all over the Christmas break so I'm ready to go and see Return of the Jedi ... should I want to do such a strange thing. I must be getting old because I find going to the movies quite loud and overwhelming, and I'd rather get a DVD. And it's cheaper...

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Basic blocks

I have two quilt tops finished that I should pin and quilt ... but that is boring and difficult, so I'm making new things instead. The tops will get quilted one day, or not, as the case may be. I use Bonnie's scrap users system where once your piece of fabric gets below a certain length - about twelve inches for me - you cut it into various size strips and store the strips together. So you can then just open a bag of strips and make blocks when you need them. I love it, but I haven't been using the strips lately, so I'm on a mini-mission, and I'm enjoying basic blocks of scraps with white. I don't do much with white (booooooring) but for whatever reason it's appealing to me at the moment. Here are some basic sixteen patch blocks.

And lemoyne stars. My autocorrect changed that to "lemony stars" which would also be an awesome name.

We are all getting into the slow groove of summer in Canberra. I am still having a small organising frenzy and so far have saved us $115 a month - I have a great ambition to go into the bank next week and tackle the home loan! We have the laziest of all loans (i.e. whatever they gave us back in 1997 when we bought our first house) and I am quite sure we can do better.

I have been reading personal finance blogs which are kind of hilarious because they tend to show Extreme Frugality ("we paid off $180,000 in consumer debt in three years, here is the spreadsheet" kind of thing). I could never do Extreme anything, you need a certain type of personality. Which, frankly, is probably why these people were in such debt to start with. But we do spend a lot of money without much to show for it, so I think we can try harder this year. And to celebrate this resolution we are going out to dinner with friends tonight ....

Monday, January 15, 2018

My new header

I thought the blog could do with a bit of a refresh for the new year - and a slight change of name because it's not really about quilting so much! and more about me .... it's all about me. I did wonder whether naming your blog after yourself and putting a picture of yourself at the top is problematically narcissistic, but then I thought I was probably overthinking it all, and my readership is what you might call selective, so perhaps I could get over myself. Which I did.

I did the picture by running a selfie through one of the "art effects" websites, I think the header one is coloured pencils. Below are watercolour, oils, and charcoal, but I like the coloured pencils one best because it clearly shows the quilt on the bed, the mess in the open cupboard and the bookshelves. Which sums me up quite nicely.

I'm not back at work yet but I'm being more productive now I'm back at home. I'm re-visiting our ludicrous expense on broadband, pay tv, mobile phones and insurance - I am one of those lazy people that just keep with the same provider but it has gotten ridiculous - they have much better deals now. It is just so painful and time-consuming to compare and change! I have cleaned out the cupboards in the family room and will take a pile of kids toys and games to the op shop, and then it's time for the christmas decorations to come down. Boring but essential. I'd rather be at the beach. Book club on Sunday was fun - we read The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August which we all thought was fantastic! A great premise, and really well written, and made us think. I'm going to hunt out more by that author.

Friday, January 12, 2018


Welcome to 2018 everybody - although we've been in it for nearly a couple of weeks now! As you might have guessed, I've been down the beach since Boxing Day, and it was glorious. Some wonderful summer weather (and some storms) and some visitors, and some very quiet days, and general fabulousness. The boys didn't want to go (no internet, no friends) but once we got there they were fairly polite. I let them do pretty much what they wanted, with only some small insistence on fresh air once a day, and they got into the groove OK in the end. I absolutely loved it, and swam every day, and went for walks, and read lots of books, and drank lots of beer.

The dog enjoyed getting the wind in her fur. My husband had to work, but he came down for the weekends. I did a little bit of sewing but not much, number one son had a surf lesson which he really enjoyed, and we had a burst of enthusiasm and painted the dark yellow wall a lovely light blue. It looks much better. I would have stayed there until the end of the month but the boys negotiated an earlier return date ... Canberra is supposed to be 35 degrees today. Hellish.