22 December 2013

Fourth Sunday of Advent

The fourth light of Advent
It is the light of man.
The light of love, the light of joy
We give and understand.

19 December 2013

nearly there

Some more shots from Queensland. The day after i came home Mum rang me in great excitement to say Dad has been promoted from high care to low care. I am hopeful the move will result in improved surroundings and some companionship.

The kids are all out of school, last night was the tap concert (excellent fun) and i have one day of work left for the year. Nearly there.

15 December 2013

Third Sunday of Advent

Third light of Advent

The third light of Advent
It is the light of beasts.
The light of truth that we may see
In greatest and in least.

14 December 2013

focus on the pretty

Must be December


There's nonsense, but as Son#2 said to me on the phone today, at least it's rational nonsense not unicorns in the bathroom or anything.

Gotta love that optimistic lad.

13 December 2013

weekend in Queensland

long term carpark


Oh Queensland your tropical flowers are lovely

I've been taking the odd Friday off work over the past six months and heading north for long weekends, staying with Mum and going to visit Dad. Life eh? Unexpected.

12 December 2013

quilting is fun

Last pink block I think.

Flushed with the success of the pink and grey quilt blocks (the purple, not so much), i kept going and made four extra pink blocks. Mostly because it was addictive and i couldn't stop, and partly because we received the delightful news that friends of ours had just had their third baby girl.

I dug out my favourite quilting book, sent to me by the lovely and gracious Jane,


... created an inspiration board ...

... and made a quilt top.

Baby girl quilt top done.

I was particularly inspired by this one and this one.

And now i am hand quilting the quilt and loving it. Whoohoo new addiction.

hand quilting

8 December 2013

Second light of Advent

Second light of Advent

The second light of Advent
It is the light of plants
Plants that reach up to the sun
And in the breezes dance.

4 December 2013

Quilt blocks

So Shannon put the call out for some quilt blocks to help out her sister and nieces whose house burnt down and i thought, i can do that. I can make a block. I'm sure i have enough fabric scraps for a block.

Grey quilt block done.

Grey quilt block 2. All ready to post.

Pink quilt block done.

Pink quilt block 3

Purple quilt block 2

Purple quilt block 1

Turns out i had quite a lot of scraps.

Turns out quilting is still addictive.

1 December 2013

First Sunday of Advent

First Sunday of Advent

The first light of Advent
It is the light of stones
The light that lives in seashells, crystals and bones.

27 November 2013

27 nov

Blue Green

The Lane.




Snippets from the week. I know, it looks like i spend all my time in bars or photographing trees, but in fact this week is insanely busy. I've been working until 7pm most nights, coming home and crashing into bed and doing the whole thing the next day, usually without even a lunch break. Tomorrow will be an even later finish so i thought i'd pop in here tonight to share some pics. I've failed miserably at posting every day in November but i have enjoyed exercising the bloggy muscle a bit and keeping my hand in.

I have some quilt blocks to show you soon. In the midst of the work craziness i made a point of spending some quality time with pretty fabrics and my sewing machine on the weekend and not knowing quite when to stop. It's addictive.

Also. Tonight as i collapsed on the couch i noticed the mister was sporting a bandage. Actually, not a bandage but MASKING TAPE. I raised my eyebrows in what i hoped was a sympathetic and caring manner and he informed me that he broke his finger. Last Saturday.

Bad wife no notice.

23 November 2013

23 nov

Ginkgo leaf rust progress. Day 5.

Rust progress, Day 5.

I bought those ginkgo leaves from the school Spring Fair last weekend, from a young woman who told me they were made by her dad. They reminded me of the magnificent ginkgo mandala at the school's art show last year which i lusted after, and which i later found my lovely friend bought for her garden. You can see it in all its glory here. Shady (said friend with the glorious garden) commented the other day that the same artist is doing more for the art show next year and the thought began to develop that hey i have a significant birthday next year, conveniently in the same month that the art show is always held. Mmm yes, a fitting birthday present to celebrate a half century, non?

I mentioned it to the mister once or thrice (he countered by saying he'd been thinking of a Burmese kitten, omg decisions decisions!) and anyway so this morning i went to the website of said local famous artist and all of a sudden my three little ginkgo leaves looked startlingly familiar.

Yes, his daughter sells the little cut outs from her dad's enormous and spectacular sculptures for $1 each (the sculptures are considerably more) and so without even knowing it, i am the proud owner of Rudi Jass artwork, quietly rusting away outside on my picnic table.

You can see the real deal here at Rudi Jass design and spot the sculpture from which my little leaves were cut.

20 November 2013

20 nov

Got any snacks for us please?

We had a brief bout of good weather recently and the ducks enjoyed having people outside at lunch time once again. I sat with my knitting which they were interested in but when they realised i had no crumbs they soon took off.

Spring green

In other adorable wildlife news, it's Spring which means baby bunnies in my garden. So unbearably sweet for feral vermin. A family with four babies lives under the shed and the wee ones leap about on the lawn every morning, much to the cat's frustration. This morning one of the babies was dead under the swing and i sent Son #2 to despatch it. He returned looking a little green around the gills and declared i now owe him bigtime.

Have you seen the How to Look like Batman Using Your Cat instructions?

Here, in case you need to catch up.

We tried it at home.


The cat was not enthusiastic about participating.

EDITED: link now fixed!

16 November 2013

16th November

steel gingko leaves

More ginkgo leaves. I bought these at the school spring fair today. If you wet them and leave them outside, they gradually develop a beautiful rusty patina. I'll report back.

Caitlin bought a set too.

14 November 2013

14th november


I have a thing about gingko trees (see leaf, above). Did you know the gingko tree is a living fossil? They were on the earth at the time of the dinosaurs. Later, monks planted them around temples in Japan and China. This leaf comes from one of the three gingkos growing just south of the Baillieu Library at Melbourne uni, just near the entrance to the medical library. I used to always detour when walking through the campus to ensure i passed them. I have just been informed that other notable gingko specimens frame the entrance to the Old Geology building also at Melbourne Uni (must return), another is in the Geelong botanic Gardens, and a 200 year old specimen is in Kew Gardens in London (also, must return).

Gingko trees make me feel calm and inspired.

13 November 2013

nov 13th

Sea glass necklace

That's the seaglass necklace and the mister thinks he gave it to me. I'm not convinced.

Leaf dish

And this is my soap dish. See what i mean about the colour? I actually have a physical reaction to this colour - a real clasp-your-hands-under-your-chin kind of reaction although I hasten to emphasise that the clasping is performed with a wistful melancholy sigh rather than a girlish squeal.

My dressing gown is this colour too. So is the Madeline Tosh yarn colourway 'Celadon'. I think i need to knit myself a lightweight cardigan from three skeins of Tosh merino light in that Celadon. I must remember this when the mister starts asking what I want for Christmas (because if I forget and just shrug, I'll end up with body lotion).

Colour Affection shawl: 50% complete. At the obsessive stage now where I will sneak a row while waiting for a document to load and hurriedly shove it away if i hear a colleague approaching, because you know, sitting staring at a frozen screen is acceptable but to be seen knitting is not.

Cladonia shawl: starting the lace border tonight. The pressure is on. It needs to be finished and dyed and blocked by 3pm Sunday. Umm ...

Ranger cardigan: we will not speak of this.

EDITED TO ADD: thanks to my clever and helpful readers, i now know the necklace is made of tumbled fluorite not beach glass. Thank you!

EDITED TO ADD SOME MORE: the soap dish is more blue, less green than shown here. The light was poor last night when i took the photo.

11 November 2013

11 nov

5.55pm. Coles supermarket carpark.

When i'm stressed i don't sleep properly. The next three weeks are crazy-busy, starting today, so naturally last night i was awake all.night.long.

Tonight there was a function at work so i had to stay late, but the payoff was a superb dinner. And people saying nice things which was another payoff. I had my hair cut at lunchtime. Fresh! New! Revitalising!

Now i'm home snuggled up by the fire and the high heels (it was a posh function) are OFF. Time to put the kettle on and unwind.

Then sleep.

PS. All four of my menfolk not only noticed the new haircut but each one said it looks good. They're growing up.

PPS. This morning when rummaging in my jewellery box for a necklace (the function! the pressure!) i found a necklace that i only vaguely remember receiving and absolutely no memory of who gave it to me. (If it was you, i unreservedly apologise. I love this necklace!). It's a single strand of teeny weeny beach glass stones, dozens and dozens of them. Aqua, eau-de-nil and celadon are my new favourite colours, together with my longtime alltime fave, duck egg blue. So it's perfect; thank you whoever you are, mystery giftgiver.

9 November 2013

9 nov

The two things i always think every Friday night as i lug my cello up 22 steps and wrestle it into the car and then out again at the other end are:

1. Why did i not choose to learn the piccolo; and

2. Oops, forgot to cut the nails on my left hand again.

Goats milk and olive oil soap

I cut the soap today. This is the batch of olive oil and goats milk. Yum.

8 November 2013

8 nov

This morning as i pulled out of our driveway a young kangaroo exploded out of a nearby neighbour's front garden and tore across the road in front of me. It frantically tried to clear the fence of the property across the road, panicking and flailing about until it successfully made it over. The odd thing was, it was soaking wet.

I wonder if it had fallen into the neighbours' pool?

Totally unrelated picture because a post without a photo is just a lot of font.


7 November 2013

7 nov

I know it's bedtime. I didn't have time to talk to you earlier today because i was being very busy earning a living all day followed by meeting a friend at a rather *niche* little bar where we ate tiny portions of exquisite food with pink wine served to us by hipsters in their mid twenties, as all hipsters are i suppose, and listened to Miles Davis records played on an old fashioned record player.

We had to order an exquisite and tiny cheese platter because we were still hungry.

But I don't WANT to look at the camera.

The cat did not want to look at the camera his morning. He apparently didn't care for his collar either as he removed it some time during the night.

We're going back to the tiny inner city hipster bar next month. But if the slightly too cute waiter with the pretentious accent calls me sweetheart again we might have to repair to the pub next door.

6 November 2013

6 nov

colour affection

Knit knit knit.

Random thoughts in my head right now: my lime tree has died (gall wasp i think), the garden is looking sad and in need of some attentionor even just a little sweep and weed, i made soap on the weekend instead of sweeping and weeding, tonight i shall cut the soap and let it cure, my eyes hurt today (the overhead fan is on in my office and the breeze is the culprit i think), three birthdays this month and i have no idea what presents to procure for two of them, thinking about Christmas and hurriedly pushing away that thought, feeling the need to book another long weekend for myself to go and see Mum and Dad again soon (i went up there a month ago), enjoying flexing the bloggy muscle again even though i still don't know what this blog is except a rather public brain-spill. You'd think after eight years i'd have a handle on that wouldn't you?

Knit knit knit.

5 November 2013

5 nov


So bright, i could've done with sunglasses in my kitchen this morning. It doesn't look very bright or dazzling in the photo so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Lots of Melburnians had the day off today (for the "race that [apparently] stops a nation"). People who work in universities however, do not as it's most definitely the pointy end of semester. We did make a point though, of gathering to watch the race and cheer on all the pretty horses before drifting back to our desks for another hour of toil before the bells tolled. (They do toll too, at this university. A little melody rings out every hour on the hour, followed by the appropriate number of chimes. It's quite lovely especially as they change the melody every week or so. Often it's an anonymous little tune but recently i swear the bells were chiming London Bridge is Falling Down).

Son #1 has officially finished his first year of uni, as of this morning. I asked him what he plans on doing between now and March to which he replied "Lie in the hammock and drink dacquiris." Kidding. That's what *I* would have said. His answer was to try and get another couple of shifts at the cafe where he currently works.

Son #2 starts exams tomorrow. Son #3 is alternating between being um, challenging, and his old delightful self. Can we talk about raising teenage boys please? I need some tips. From my experience they are at their best when you get them alone, when they absolutely respond to being treated like a reasonable, rational and civilised young adult. But in a group? Oy vey, that pack mentality is wearing.

Your thoughts welcome. Or your offers of alcohol. I'm not fussed.

4 November 2013

4 nov

Gather round children for i have an important lesson to impart. If you should perchance find yourself struggling with an increasingly geriatric sewing machine, a dearth of good light (owing to being banished to the dim confines of the dining room because Son #2 is filming his masterpiece in the light-filled family room) (a year 11 media project), and and patience in short supply, you might wish to STEP AWAY FROM THE SEWING.

Nice fabric, shame about the seamstress' skills.

Or you might find that not only does it take three separate attempts to insert the zip on your new spotty skirt, but it also is inserted back to front.


Watching: Call the Midwife season 1. Crying a lot.

Reading: Jasper Jones still. Started Game of Thrones and lasted one chapter before sending it back to the libray in disgust. What a load of codswallop.

Knitting: a third of the way through the lace shawl, about to start the third colour on the stripey shawl (lunch hour project, lives in my office), have not touched the cardigan since previous report.

Worrying: big redundancy program at work. Depressing.

Struggling: with zipping and unzipping a zip whose little zip-pull thing is on the inside. Sigh.

3 November 2013

nov 3

I got that wrong yesterday, didn't i? I thought it was the first of the month not the second, which goes some way to explain my general state of mind and discombobulation these days. I am eating a mince pie as i type this ... Crumbs on the iPad ... And that's just wrong. I would dnit have purchased them before 1 December but the mister did the grocery shopping this weekend and he's a fan. He buys hot cross vuns in January too.

Those typos are bugging me but as i said yesterday, i can't edit. And my computer is currently showing a very important soccer match so i can't use that. Soccer is more important than end of year exams and essays, apparently.

There are seven magpies playing on the trampoline. At least they use it. Two are drinking from the birdbath (which is a grand name for a terracotta dish of water plonked on the lawn) right outside the window but if i look at them or attempt to take a photo they go all shy. Lately there's been a teeny tiny blue fairy wren who darts out from the cistus bush to take a quick bath when he thinks no one's around. He is as breathtakingly beautiful to see as the magpies are to hear (when they're singing, that is, not when they're fighting each other on the trampoline).

I have nothing else to say and it's only day 2 (or 3). It doesn't bode well for the future of the blog really does it?

Oh yes i do! In stage-mother news, Son #1 the budding sports journalist had his first byline last month, and is about to have his second article published. It felt like that scene in The Breakfast Club, or maybe it was St Elmo's Fire, when the journalist boy slaps the newspaper onto the windscreen of the car the girl, you know the one, the redhead who kater had sixteen candles and a teen pregnancy and now writes books and sings jazz, is sitting in and she sees his byline and squeals in delight. It was just like that. Although it might have been the dark haired girl. What happened to her i wonder?

Oh what has this blog become? Here, have a look at an example of rural New South Welsh yarn bombing.

yarn bombing

Back tomorrow. Bet you can't wait.

2 November 2013

nov 1

Poor little neglected blog, i should really get rid of her before the spambots take over, but i can never quite bring myself to.

I'm going to try and blog every day in November to see whether i still have it in me. To start with, here are twenty-four adorable little traffic hazards at work yesterday. Yes, it's duckling season and the campus roads are full of wildly swerving buses and scooters as ducks everywhere waddle their way to their particular favourite pond or lake seemingly without a care for their own personal safety. I suppose they know they have right of way.

24 adorable little traffic hazards at work this morning

Knitting update: two thirds of the way through a blue cardigan for the mister, half way through a stripey shawl for me, just started a lacy shawl for my bestie's 50th birthday.

Reading update: Halfway through Jasper Jones by Craig Silver (recommended), recently finished Foal's Bread by Gillian Mears (oh yes, very good) and thinking about starting Philippa Gregory's The White Princess.

I'm typing this on the iPad and the new IOS7 doesn't work terribly well with blogger. I can't edit properly. Apologies.

See you tomorrow. That's the plan, anyway. Let's see.

9 October 2013


First we went here (Yanga Station National Park) ...









and then we went here (Lake Mungo National Park).






Camping in the remote bush or Outback is good for family relationships (after you've put the tent up, I should add. Trying to put up a tent is not good for anyone's relationship). There is no wi-fi, no mobile phone coverage or email access and all the children's iPods run out of charge after 48 hours, forcing actual interaction and conversation. Shock horror.

I think this is my favourite photo. I got out the camera and they immediately 'posed'.