24 October 2011

Tempting Fete

I know Melbourne is famed for it's mercurial weather. I know to always pack both a cardie and the sunscreen. And, you know, spring and all. But still, it did seem a little unfair that it poured with rain for our fete, when the very next day was blazing sunshine and 30 degrees. Today it's back to winter with the heating on.
Grace and Lily survey the crap weather

I was pleased with this awesome kilt I scored for Grace at the second hand clothes stall. I'm delighted with the heirloom tomatoes, basil, beetroot and mint for $1 a pot at the plants. And I'm pretty happy that I kept this little scrap of wild orange chenille for a dress for Lily.  Even in the rain, it was a good day. 

20 October 2011

The Chip Band

Sometimes, after quite a hard week, a picture like this is all it takes.

17 October 2011

Chenille (but not Janelle)

chenille dresses

Spring in Melbourne means school fete season. I love the community spirit and the thousands of hours of work done by parents all across town to put these days together. I don't love the fact that the money raised is so desperately needed by our schools to fund essentials, such as our school music program.

chenille toddler pants

Someone donated some old chenille bedspreads to the craft group, and they found their way to me to be turned into toys and clothing.

chenille elephants  - waiting for eyes to be stitched

Although chenille is apparently french for caterpillar, it seems such an Australian word to me.

I think my (heretofore unknown) desire to work with chenille has well and truly expired. I hope attendees at the fete have not similarly exhausted their desire for all things chenille. Is it all a bit 90's or is there still an appetite for clothing that makes you look like a colourful woolly mammoth?

14 October 2011

Vale Tigey

Granny gave Ruby her Tigey for her first Christmas. For many years Tigey went everywhere with Ruby but in more recent times, he's stayed closer to home. He's been loved so much the fur has worn right off his tummy. He has a belly button. He sleeps round her neck. She says that because he's so worn, he gets cold quickly. That's a good thing. He ends up deposited all over the house and we often have a hunt at bedtime, trying to remember where he was last seen - on the side of the bath, at the foot of our bed, under the bench.

When she opened her backpack and realised he was not in it, there was a howl like I've not heard before. She keeps reliving the panic she felt when she knew she'd left him on the plane. She says it's the worst thing that has ever happened to her. It's her first experience of grief.

Endless phone calls to airports all over the country have not met with success. Each morning she has to remember, again, that he is gone.

Like many things that are silent, he seemed to have a sort of wisdom. I miss him too, I miss seeing him there, with her, always.

Family of Six Quilt

Finally, I finished my Family of Six quilt, in time to give it to my brother and sister-in-law and their four boys, as a house warming/thankyou-for-putting-up-with-us-for-a-week gift.

Apparently it makes a good cubby too.

Thankyou Amelia for your inspiration.

11 October 2011

Splendid Isolation

Perth is one of the most isolated capital cities in the world. The entire Indian ocean lies beyond it to the west and to the east it is thousands of kilometres and many day's drive to a next city of any size.
How lucky for us, then, to have my brother and sister-in-law, their four boys, and their new pool, to welcome us.

Who could imagine that a week in a house with eight children aged 10 and under could be quite so relaxing?

We barely saw our eldest two, so preoccupied were they with their cousins and endless games of 'Sharkey' in the pool.
Craig and Lily, King's Park

When we could be bothered dragging ourselves out we explored some of Perth's many fantastic parks.

Tom, Ruby, Nina

The kids frolicked at the local beach while we kept a half eye on them from the beach front restaurant.

City Beach sand dunes

It was as if the weather, the scenery, the generousity of my brother and his family, their spectacular house, were conspiring to convince me to move to Perth. And here I was convinced I was a Melbourne girl, through and through....

10 October 2011

On the Road

somewhere in the middle of nowhere

I was bracing myself for a disaster. Unremitting whinging and bickering from the kids, ugly roadhouses in the middle of dust bowls, endless hours of driving on straight road.
caravan park at Iron Knob

As it turned out it was one of the best things we have ever done. The wildflowers were out, in blooms of purple and pink and yellow amongst the roadside scrub.

wildflowers in Norseman

The colours of this country always speak to me, even though I am a city girl born and bred. There is something heartbreaking about that blue blue sky, the orange earth, and the gentle greens and greys of the bush.

A very long train

We saw whales - more than twenty of them, mothers and calves and young adults - at the Head of the Bight.

one of 76 whale photos...

We saw a pink lake, sand dunes that looked like meringue, lizards all over the roads (not always alive), a Big Galah. We passed through quiet towns that seemed deserted, and bustling sea side villages. We camped by the side of the road, in dusty caravan parks, in sandy beauty and on luxury lawn amid towering pines.

Wayside camping near Balladonia

There was certainly enough bickering to go around, but even so, by far the best thing about this trip was the kids.
Nina at cactus beach
Their absolute delight made it for us. At the end of a long drive, with dinner to prepare and chores to do, their excitement in gathering wood for a campfire, toasting marshmallows, seeing an 'old fashioned' petrol pump, finding star fish, exploring their 'awesome' beds made, made us smile and remember why we were doing this. Each evening they would gather around the table to write and draw in their books. At each stop they'd find some game to play, together or alone.  It made me feel that, for all my doubts and fears, we've done something right with these kids.

Albany at sunrise

I learned things too. Grace would rather go cold than wear a jacket she doesn't like. Nina doesn't like to stay on the path, both literally and, I suspect, figurativly. Ruby can anticipate when things are about to go from crazy to unmanageable and neatly step in with a story and a distraction. (Thank you for telling the 'ten duckies wearing nappies' story so many times Ru.)  Craig is more patient than I am.  Lily loves to drive but not for more than an hour or so on the trot.  Then the screaming starts.  And I? I can spend every minute of every day and every night in the constant company of my whole family, without knitting needles or a sewing machine and without even reading more than half a page of my book, and be very very happy.