Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bit of this, bit of that

I've been moseying along with the usual bits and bobs this week. Continuing my war against cooking, with limited success. I am winning the battle of laundry by refusing to engage with it at all - but I think that is a pyrrhic victory, and the washing will have its revenge on the weekend. I have parted with some of my quilting books for the school fete - so much harder than fiction! But I really don't use these at all, and someone else might enjoy them.

This is the craft stall pile - some pretty bunting, some christmas bunting, and a couple of buckets of doll pillows / fairy beds / pincushions for the 50 cent end of the purchasing public. I'll drop them off tomorrow which will make me happy that I've done something! I'm not so good at organising (actually I'm fabulous at organising, but only if everybody acknowledges I'm the boss and agrees to do it my way, which is why I avoid voluntary roles, SO HARD to keep everyone in line) - I would rather help out by sewing and cooking and turning the occasional sausage.

And I've been making square in a square blocks with my crumbs. I don't really like them so far - I've made quite muted colour choices and I'm not sure it's working. I can't really tell until I get them all together, so we will just have to see. I might just make a few more and have a little quilt....

Sunday, October 26, 2014


This is the view from my kitchen window. It's very lovely at this time of year - the first roses are out and everything is blooming away. Most of it is valerian which is self-sown and very hardy. I will have to rip a few of them out in autumn as they are starting to take over - but right now I like them. I like anything that will flourish in Canberra; baking hot summers, freezing cold winters, no rain ever and horrible clay soil. I like to put the common in "common or garden" .... I am also fond of geraniums, agapanthus and rosemary.

It's good for endless hours at the kitchen sink. Not that I spend anything like hours at the sink - I am trying to give up cooking but it won't be possible for a few years yet. In the meantime I am attempting to re-define cooking as either unwrapping, or rinsing. My meals are narrowing down to sausages, home brand garlic bread, and raw vegetables.

Luckily my husband is very good and will do a roast beef or curry that will go two or even three nights. If pushed, I will peel a carrot, but you can eat them with the skin on, and we do. Shelves and shelves of recipe books sit there ... I would like to give them all away but I might get interested again in a few years? Seems unlikely.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


As ever, when I don't know what to do, I make something scrappy. This time, my 3 1/2 " strip bag came out (and all those random ends of yardage that I poke in the strip box - I sat down and actually cut them into proper strips and put them in their baggies - it took an hour but was so worth it).

The pattern is from Bonnie Hunter's Playing with Jacks, although she uses 2 1/2 " strips, and has a more co-ordinated colour scheme. Mine is just two fabrics per block and all different! But with a central blue square, which tries, and fails, to tie it all together.

I made blocks until I got bored and then made a couple more so it would be square. The quilting is a pattern of my own invention that I'm calling four-leafed clover. Not naming it out loud, just for my endless internal monologues.

And the backing is one of my mother-in-law's old dust ruffles! Or valances? I am not sure what Australians call them because I don't think anyone has them any more. Certainly my mother-in-law has no use for them, so they came back to Canberra from Brisbane and are finding a new happy home as quilt backs. I've cut off the ruffley bits (well, der) and saved some for labels - nice pale solids will be great for labels. Speaking of labels, I named this quilt "Proceeding Gently" which seems appropriate at the time. (Internal monologues! Can spit out odd results).

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Warming up

Spring really is lovely in Canberra - winters are cold and summers are hot; but for a few weeks in September and October the world is green and fresh. We're enjoying the back garden; mostly because the back fence is down and hasn't gone back up yet, so we get the vista of our neighbour's back yard as well. Theirs is two thirds amazing vegie patch and one third immaculate lawn (so much better than our scrappy grass disaster). The main concern is keeping the rabbits on our side of the invisible line.

Baseball started again today and number two son and I walked over to watch the end of the game. Except we missed it because it took longer to walk than I thought. It was 5.3 km and took an hour and ten minutes. We'll know for next time, and there will be a next time because I'm walking that little critter every weekend - just because he cried off baseball doesn't mean he gets out of exercise.

Number one's team was like every first game of the season; not entirely sure they remembered how to throw a ball. The main activity was all the parents freaking out at how the cute little kiddies from the under 10s or even under 8s have turned into great big under 14s ... mostly pushing six foot and six inches of that growth has been since last season! I know all parents of early teen boys go through this, but it is just astonishing. They all still hug their mums though - nearly bowling them over in the process - see how long that lasts...

So to counter all this exercise we've just been to the Indonesian Embassy Open Day - lots of people, dancing, raffles and masses of stalls selling delicious Indonesian food. We sampled widely.

This week I made a quick and easy baby quilt for a new baby boy. Simple piecing, straight line quilting, but should be fit for purpose.

I like the dots and stripes together - in hindsight I should have used it all through the quilt and not just in the binding.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

End of the holidays

Back to school now after a quiet few days enjoying the end of the school holidays. In an unusual turn, the weather was nice until term started on Monday and then turned to crap - with a freezing 9 degree maximum yesterday, and raining. I had spent a morning sorting the boys' clothes and putting all the warm stuff away of course. And taking bags to the Salvos; they are both growing like weeds.

This is not a disastrous mess apparently - it is a carefully staged battle scene. Every character has a well-planned back story and method of death. Apparently it is also obvious who is winning ...

This was the same morning that number two son wanted to know what curds and whey was. I explained, and couldn't think quickly enough to come up with a reason why we couldn't make it. (I say "oh no, I can't be bothered" and they say "why not?" and I say "it will make a mess" and they say "no it won't, it will be educational, and I'll tidy it up" and then I give up).

It turned into a rather nice paneer, that I ate most of. I like it, especially in thin slices and sprinkled with salt. Number two son had lost interest by the eating stage, which he does a bit, which is why I'm so FAT.

And in sewing news, I have joined the hipster craft scene with strings of bunting. No, not for me, I could never be cool enough for bunting, for the school fete. There is a craft stall and it's really hard to think of something that is quick and easy enough to sell for what people are willing to pay. But everyone likes bunting! Surely?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Better mood now

In a better mood, and not so inclined to fret about things I cannot change. Still enjoying the sunshine though, and the school holidays (although I am working) and the flowers in the garden. Here are some beach photos - we went on a lovely walk on Monday - around the south headland for a change.

There's no path around the rocks, so you walk along the top of the headland, past the big houses with the amazing views. It would be fabulous to have a place up there to look miles to the north, and south along the beach, and east all the way to Chile. The daisies are a weed and no doubt dreadful for the local environment ... but so beautiful at this time of year. They were all the way down the cliff to the water.

The headland goes around to the big river, so we walked along the riverside for a while then turned back to the streets. There's a big river frontage space before the houses (flooding, probably) that makes a lovely spot to walk. We saw a place that rents kayaks that we didn't know was there ... my husband and number one son are dead keen. The rest of us, not so much! A lot of work I think, and damp, just to waft along a bit of water.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Another gorgeous weekend

We spent this long weekend back at the beach - and it was lovely. Some beautiful warm days and we couldn't resist swimming even if the ocean was still really cold.

Oh, for fuck's sake. I can't write anything more about my flipping beach weekend while I'm watching ebola on the news. How on earth did I get to spend my life in luxury, safety and ease? Bloody hell.

Don't worry, I'll be self-absorbed again tomorrow, and will post some photos.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Home improvement

The new floors have given us an unexpected burst of home improvement. It may be spring, or it may be our sense of achievement, or it might be that everything else now looks a bit shabby. I will take advantage while is lasts though. First, I recovered my ironing board in the sewing room. It had gotten very manky, and I was happy to use my staple gun again.

Then we put up a new curtain rod in the family room. The old curtains were too long, so people (boys) stood on them and pulled on the rod, which was bent in a few places. Which made the curtains even longer and messier. And stained with food and marker pens. So a new rod, sturdier this time, and new curtains. Storebought - curtains are a big pain in the arse to make - but I did hem them.

And new cushion covers. I didn't make those either. The boys don't like me throwing things out (anything at all! Such hoarders, and sentimental too) but some of the floor cushions were just rank. Nasty.