Friday, March 30, 2007

the book MEME

this one's been doing the rounds of Blogdom lately and I love seeing what people have read and more importantly want to read. There are some things on here that I would never ever reread in a pink fit but I did read them once.
If you'd like to join in, just copy the list as is. Don't add any other books to it. Bold the one's that you've read, italicise the ones you'd like to read. [ I've also put the bold ones in red ]

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)

4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables ( L.M. Montgomery)
9.Outlander [ Crosstitch in Australia and the UK ] Diana Galbadon
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)

17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)

21. The Hobbit (Tolkien )
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)

37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. The Bible [I went to a Baptist Girl's Grammar School so I've read the whole of it, several times, except the boring 'begats']
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
.50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo) AND I READ IT IN FRENCH!!!
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)

77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding) totally traumatised me!
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

the truth will set you free

You all know that most of Oz is in drought. Serious drought. I mention it fairly frequently. Six drops of rain rates a mention, we get a half inch, you get a bulletin. If the water tanks are full, you get the Hallelujah Chorus.

Then I usually go and post a really carefully framed photo of my pocket handkerchief sized garden or a bush shot looking over the tops of the trees and I'm sure everyone thinks " Oh that doesn't look too bad. Okay, so it has to be hand watered with buckets of reclaimed water from the shower or somesuch, but it's surviving, right?"

weeeeellllll, I realised that I may have been guilty of gilding the lily a bit.

I've decided to turn the camera round in the opposite direction to let you see what approximately 9 7/8 ths of my 10 acres looks like.

THIS is the reality:

I was also going to show you a progress photo of the Challenge quilt . I realise I've been a bit slack with the posting on that one lately. You probably have to go back to early February to find the last one. Trust me, there IS progress. I decided that top fish was too bright and he now sports painted spots of brown, gold and purple which sounds foul but you'll see soon enough. The machine quilting is done and the bits I'm doing by hand sashiko style are finally underway. Once that's done, "all" that remains is to edge and attach the semi-attached [or detached ] flowers that I removed while I was machine quilting. Notice how I glossed over that ... slick wasn't it? I will admit that it is entirely possible that the flower part of the plan may need revision but at the moment I'm thinking flowers vliesofixed to jade backing piece, then cut to shape, a piece of water soluble underneath and then satin stitched in black rayon thread. In theory the soluble should make sure that the satin stitch covers the edge properly. I haven't actually tried this machine's satin stitch so we shall see.[ cue ominous music ]

Then binding and a hanging rod and label. The deadline is Thursday next week. [ more ominous music ]

Anyway, there was a slight technical hitch in the progress photos department:

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

fly-by posting

Busy week
Cliff's notes version:
Sunday - drove down to Melbourne. Broken coccyx not impressed. Trip took considerably longer than it should've due to the tunnel closure caused by the explosion on Friday
Quality baby cuddling indulged in but couldn't find the camera. Thought I must've left it on the kitchen table only to discover black camera on black car carpet after bubby had been taken home. Bugger.
Discovered that since this photo was taken in January,my grandson's eyes have turned very pale blue like his mummy. The hair is still auburn, there's just less of it.
Nadie talked me into stopping at The Glen to buy a foam wedge pillow. Coccyx happier on the return journey.
Nadie and Chris decided to come back with us for a couple of days so we had a really fast dinner and hit the road.
Monday - general mooching around and Nadie joined Karen and I for clogging at Daylesford in the pm while Chris studied some terribly esoteric maths and Dave kept him company.
Tuesday - 4 hr quilt class here and throwing-up-my-toes migraine. Not nice. Nuff said.
We did NOT go clogging tuesday night :[ but the migraine left around dinnertime.
Today - into town with Dave, hung some quilts at a local coffee shop as my contribution to the State Festival that starts tomorrow. Back home to collect Nadie and The Boy and dropped them at the station, then off to bellydancing, followed by lunch with friend Jeanette who's going stir crazy [ home with post-tonsellectomied offspring ] Opted to stay at Jeanette's rather than go to patchwork until it was time to pick up Dave.
Since then I've :
stripped the beds
and dyed about 200 grams of Bendigo baby wool [ 4-ply fingering] sort of variagated deep blue /
purple. [ photos once it's dry and rewound] Tried Landscapes this time. Easy peasy to use and vibrant colour.
and made dinner
and spent an hour or so quilting the Challenge that's due in next week.
and caught up on my Blog reading
okay off to do the dishes [ mutter, grumble, grizzle,whine, whinge ]

Saturday, March 24, 2007

more more weird things about ME

I don't think you'll get the full six this time but here goes:

  • I've used the Library Database so often I know my 14 digit patron ID number off by heart. Our lovely library has been in this same building for 150 years.

  • I own around 100 coffee cups.There are blue-and-white ones, christmas ones and cat ones. Some are blue and white with cats. A lot are blue and white and japanese. Any others were gifts from people who don't know me very well. I'd have more but I've broken quite a few since moving up here ... concrete slab under floor not very forgiving :[ btw these are stacked three rows deep!

  • I ADORE paper and paper products but hardly ever write letters anymore.

  • I have [ I'm told ] an unusual memory for faces. Not necessarily the names to go with them mind you, but generally I know WHERE I know someone from, even if it's from years before.

BTW Earlier 'weird things' posts can be seen here and here

Currently I'm:

reading: Douglas Adams - Dirk Gently and the Holistic Detective Agency

knitting: Nothing. Just finished a toddler beanie in white and variagated blue wool I dyed from BWM's 4-ply [ fingering]

sewing up: christening robe. Started last year for Riley before I knew he was Riley, but Christina has one already so it's sat around for ages.That's quite okay cos this one's going in the granny box for Nadie. Still need to sew up the Brea bag.

crochet: just starting on the border [FINALLY] of the never-ending baby shawl that matches the christening robe. I've been going around and around and around for months [ on and off ] and it takes ages to do a row given that there's about a thousand stitches per row now. The lace edge for the shawl is the same as but deeper than the edge of the robe... and this one's going into storage as well. By the time I had my kids, my mum couldn't knit any more and she hated not being able to do things for them to wear. It may be quite a while before Nadie needs this stuff and I'm determined that she will have it, whether I'm still knitting, crocheting and quilting by then or not.

quilting: about to get back to quilting the Challenge quilt after dinner. [ or maybe not ... starting to feel that a veg in front of the teev is in order ]

Gardening? Nope but we've had some rain !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Housework? minimal

Listening to: a compilation CD of bellydance music

Plans for tomorrow? Going to Melbourne with DS#2 intent on meeting up with DS#1 Stephen [ plus DDIL and DGS ] and DD [ minus The Boy who has to work ] at Nonna's with a view to celebrating last week's birthdays

Haven't seen Riley since January so I have a feeling all else will pale besides the prospect of some quality grandson cuddling. It is entirely possible that ma in law and Nadie and I could become involved in a fracas over who gets to do said cuddling.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

and the global Bloggers' Tea Party continues

The global teaparty continues. Thanks for stopping by. Is Lady Grey ok? or would you prefer Chai? Maybe peppermint? Russian Caravan? Do you think I have enough teapots to go round? Do you prefer a cup or a mug?

Laume's tea party post has inspired me to show you some of my collection of teapots and milk jugs. I'll leave some of the other tea related stuff till later as this is going to be picture-heavy enough.

Now if you've bopped on over to have tea with Laume you probably noticed that her teapot collection is quite eclectic. Right? Well, almost all of mine is blue and this will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who actually knows me :] I'd actually love to have a pretty one with roses to match all my Royal Albert and Royal Doulton cups but somehow I always seem to acquire blue ones.

I've been actively resisting acquiring any more pots for a couple of years and I really only weakened because the one on the right of this photo which matches both my favourite dinner service and two of my milk jugs jumped at me at an antique fair in Bendigo. [ and why it was at an antiques fair I don't know because it's not even 'vintage' ] Maz you can back me up, right? I put up a valiant battle but the pot was just too strong... and at the Fryerstown Antiques Fair in January I got assaulted by the matching sugar bowl... but prior to those lapses I had been good for a long time. I even gave a couple away when I moved up here.

the little group with the coffee mug are miniatures ... the tallest is just over an inch ... so we're not going to get much tea out of them.

The novelty mantlepiece pot was a present from a long time student. I'm not really into the novelty stuff as a rule but this was blue and white ... and has a cat . I don't need to say any more do I?

okay I have to fess up to some more novelty pots:

a student found the black one at a garage sale for $10 and the other two were bought at Thrift Shops for a grand total of $9.

and I just realised that I didn't get a pic of grandma Marnie's well used, well worn silver plated pot.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

tea for two or two hundred?

Artsymama is hosting a global teaparty so in honour of the occasion, I give you [ once again ] my tea-shirt [ or is it a T-cosy? ]

It's after 11.30 pm so I'm downing one last cuppa and heading off to bed rather than grab the camera and buggerise around with a brand new photo of my teapot collection or something equally pertinent.

I'll leave you with a couple of quotes :
'Where there's tea, there's hope" ... Sir Arthur Pinero
"Tea. Earl Grey. Hot" Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, Star Date: 41697.9
and finally
in the immortal words of Noel Coward: "Wouldn't it be dreadful to live in a country where they didn't have tea?"

for those who might like to make their own tea-shirt, here it is out flat. It was made in 2 strands of vintage laceweight and I'd write you up the pattern but I can't remember for the life of me what size needles I used. If I work it out, I'll get back to you.

The pattern for my teaparty quilt appeared in the 2001 Australian Patchwork and Quilting Yearbook and again recently in one of those compilation-type editions they put out from time to time but I don't recall the name. I hadn't realised until last night that I hadn't photographed it [ pretty poor since it was finished in 2000 ] so that was rectified this morning.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Monday, March 19, 2007

Happy Birthday

Today is my firstborn's 32nd birthday.

I'm feeling a bit pensive this morning, a bit folorn that his father didn't get to see the person he's grown in to. Didn't get to see how becoming a father has softened and matured Stephen's character... and I'm sad that I won't be seeing him today. If he wasn't working today [ and yesterday and the seven days straight before that ] I'd be in the car for the 2 hr drive down there, broken tailbone or no broken tailbone... but he is ... so I'm not :[

Friday was ma-in-law's 84th bd so in honour of the joint anniversaries, I've chosen this photo taken at Stephen and Christina's wedding which was probably the single happiest day of my life.

and in late breaking news:

I just got offered another goaty girl.

Nicky is a pure bred British Alpine and is coming to me as the result of a marriage breakup unfortunately. She should look something like this one. Bigger than Ms Robyn, smaller than Rosie and a good milker.
April are you jealous??????
I probably have rocks in my head taking on another mouth to feed in the middle of a drought but of course I said yes. She also offered me ducks and chooks but I don't have a fox proof pen so I probably have to say no to them.
Awwwww look at that sweet little face!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sh-sh-sh-shibori and this week's gratuitous cute cat

Place: The Hermitage at Daylesford [ about a 40 minute drive away on sunny country roads ]

The cast: the gorgeous Zoe from Purl's Palace which is my favourite YS [ can't be a LYS cos it's not really local ], and nine adventurous ladies some of whom I'd met previously. One of these was Pat who'd driven the 3+ hours from Apollo Bay last night. Oh, and moi of course.

The occasion: my first workshop for Purl's Palace... Shibori Dyeing on Silk

The specs: Gaywool Dyes on medium Habutae, 8 minutes in the microwave.

Here are some of the girls stitching serenely in the sunlit courtyard

The result: judge for yourself :]

Pole wrapping and a happy face

Pleating, folding and clamping

Stitching and tieing and the latest in fashionable headgear

Just look at how saturated those colours are! I luuurrve these Gaywool dyes.

It was a bit rushed towrds the end mainly because of the time getting them all through the 2 microwaves and I really didn't get to recap so maybe a slightly less leisurely lunch next time but otherwise nothing I'd change. Doing the much more labour intensive stitched and tied ones first was definitely the way to go.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Australian Native Animals 101

This cute little guy is my echidna. I say "my" because he lives somewhere on my bush block but I rarely get to see him. Well I say "him" but I really don't know. It's not like he's going to let me turn him over, and I wouldn't know what to look for anyway, even assuming I could get that close...usually, I only see the remains of the white ant nests where he's been and the funny little funnel shaped holes he's dug in the garden with his snout.

Just so you know: echidnas are not related in any way to american porcupines or english hedgehogs, being a lot smaller than the first, larger by far than the second and as egg laying mammals [ monotremes ] are actually second cousins to platypus.

Today I did a really impressive echidna impersonation.
I lay on the table at the acupuncturist with needles sticking out of my legs, jaw and tush.
Basically needles # 1 through to 14 were fine. It was #15 that was the problem. Last week it was mildly painful when he placed five directly over the break and then it sort of subsided into a weird, heavy but not painful sensation... and I had 3 pain free days as a consequence.

TODAY however he must've had one of those buggers a squillionth of a millimetre away from where it was last week cos I gotta tell you it was ... not fun. One second nothing. Next second there were what felt like a gazillion volts straight through my caboose. There was screaming, clenching and a really top quality impersonation of a Harrier Jump Jet. Talk about your vertical-take-off-and-landing!
HE did a lot of apologising.
I did a lot of deep yoga type breathing.
Now this is a whole 'nother issue. You're supposed to breath in through the nose for 6 counts more or less, hold for 3, out through the mouth for 6, hold again and so on. I'm a mouth breather. It drives my dentist insane... and when I'm lying face down, even though it's face down through a conveniently placed hole in the table, I can't seem to get enough air in through my nose and my lungs feel like they're about to explode. Today I concentrated on that whole nose / mouth thing like my life depended on it.

More apologising.

Some quiet time, nice music, gentle heat. One could even forget the invasive presence of foreign metallic objects.
Then we got to the removal of the needles. Numbers 1 - 14 I couldn't even tell if they were in or out, but good 'ole number 15...

Let's just say we had another VTAL episode.

and more apologising

but I'm going back

next week

and in textile related news:

Tomorrow I'm teaching a Shibori workshop at Daylesford. Usually I teach shibori with Procion MX dyes on cotton fabric but for tomorrow's workshop, we're using Gaywool Dyes on silk. This is a hot dye process using a microwave so I dug the old one out of the shed. Do you remember how cumbersome those old microwave ovens were? It was even bigger than I remembered. Still it does the job.

In case anyone's interested in wading through the multiplicity of titles on the subject [ many of which are so simplistic that they're hardly worth even borrowing from the Library ] these are the ones I own and recommend:

This first book is the classic by Yoko Wada and after 20 years, it's still the best. The illustrations are incredibly detailed and precise. Thankfully, it's now in soft cover because the original hardcover cost an arm and a leg and some bugger stole the FerntreeGully Library's copy that we'd been borrowing constantly for years. The Janice Gunner one is prettier with nice big pictures and luscious colours in line with current publishing trends but covers less ground and the Britto one [ a present from my friend Claire R ] is the only one I've seen devoted solely to Shibori on silk and absolutely beautiful. It's mainly concerned with the wonderful textural qualities of pole wrapped silk for wearable art and is very informative but probably not the first one to acquire.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Forget the tired, overweight, middle aged person wearing it, focus on the top... note the well fitted bands on the armholes. Oh yeah!!! that's the right stuff :]

What attracted me to this pattern in the first place was the extended shoulder line and the interesting shaping of the neck... far more flattering of flying-fox upper arms than your standard singlet top.


pattern: Lotus Blossum tank from Interweave Knits Summer 06

yarn: 8-ply cotton from Bendigo Woollen Mills 2 x 200 gram balls, can't remember the colour name but it's been discontinued.

needles : 4mm circs and straights [ Krystal Nacre ]

modifications : kept the shaping but did good old feather and fan instead of the 18 row repeat pattern for Lotus stitch because I needed mindless tv knitting. Minor mods to stitch count to accomplish the change of pattern.

In other developements, todays's trip to the Op Shop [ Thrift Store ] for $6 bag day yielded these cute coffee cups for Nadie, and a couple of funky bright aprons from probably the 1960s [Maz, you want?] and these doll patterns also for Maz. There were also a couple of old quilt mags, some assorted crochet cottons, a shirt for David, a bright plaid pillow case that should match the Licorice Allsorts quilt, a buttoned cream jaquard one for moi and a few other bits and bobs. Most of the clothes and linens are currently drying on the line. Can't stand that musty smell.
Everyone was much better behaved today, with little of the frenzied snatching and grabbing. Given the widespread media coverage of the disgraceful scenes at Target stores this week when the Stella McCartney stuff went on sale, perhaps people have been shocked into better behaviour. Stranger things have happened.