31 January 2012

27 January 2012

Signs of the Times

Australia Day, 2012

Ball-room dancers - Ruby

New Style Girl - Ruby

The Very Tall Red Man - Ruby

Boy - Nina

Cowboy - Nina?

Flowers on the hill - Grace


Owls - Grace

Australia Day feels wrong to me. Partly because it is a holiday that occurs in the holidays, partly because it has never been associated with anything (apart from 'The Hottest 100'), but mostly because we are choosing to celebrate, as our national day, the day that saw the beginning of the dispossesion of  indigenous people from their land.

I listened to a guy from the Australia Day Committee acknowledge that Australia Day was Invasion Day and Survival Day. Good on him for saying "there is no getting away from that". He seemed to suggest, though, that we could all acknowledge the invasion and the survival, and still celebrate all the wonderful things about Australia. Can we really do all those things? On the same day?

We didn't go to the parade, or have a barbeque, or go to the beach. Instead I looked through the kids recent art work and discovered that I can no longer always tell who has done what. While my back was turned they have been changing. I've posted some here because, you know, it is supposed to be a blog about things we make. (haven't figured out how to take decent photos of art work yet.)

The kids had a water fight with their friend who'd stayed the night, we put a blanket on the kitchen table and played Cheat , we ate cherries and grapes, went down the street for a meat pie and milkshake, our neighbours showed us their new wall, we watched the second half of 'The Sound of Music' and had Indian take-away for dinner.

It seemed as Australian a way to spend the day as any.

20 January 2012

No Craft

I haven't been sewing. The months leading up to Christmas were so fall of small projects - dresses and decorations and baking - that I now feel the need to start a longish, biggish project. Which means a quilt. And I've got some ideas floating around, but I also have a desire to use up materials I have and none of my ideas could be made solely from existing supplies. So whilst I wait for a break in this deadlock I've been making photo quilts. Like patchwork quilts, there is an art in the placement, and I haven't perfected it yet. I also find the process of putting the quilts together on BigHugeLabs a bit cumbersome, albeit simple. Does anyone know if there is a way to edit the mosaic without having to change the order of the set in Flickr? I'd like to be able to play around with placement within the mosaic format (much like playing around with quilt squares). I'm trying to picture how placement will look from a linear photo structure and I'm not succeeding. Hints, tips anyone?

16 January 2012

How it is

You go to bed full of resolve. You think about the kids and your heart is squeezed with love and your mind is full of  failings: the shouted words; the sarcasm; the hug you didn't give; the impatience you felt when they all wanted something; the way you handled the whingeing today; the lecture you gave; the listening you didn't do.
And you know, because you've been told and told, and also because you see it before you, that all this will pass, all this will be gone, all this is fleeting. And there will be a time very soon that you long for those warm bodies to press into yours, that you ache for sticky hands to touch your cheeks. You know that little body breathing beside you in the night won't always be there and that you will forget the squashed night's sleep, the kicks in the midriff, the whack of a small arm across your sleeping face, and will instead remember the nose pressed against yours, the kiss right on your lips, the snuggle into your neck. And you'll long for it in the way you can only long for something that has gone, truly gone forever.
You try to be there, right there, just where you are, but you find yourself flying ahead to the dinner uncooked, the meltdown in the offing, the bickering about to explode and you hear yourself barking orders, corralling, threatening, counting to three until compliance is achieved.
You imagine a day when everything is smooth and easy but you know that is not how it is. How it is, is bits and pieces. An argument between siblings is as water off a duck's back to them; as nails on a blackboard to you. A hug between siblings, an invitation to join a game, a shared story, a joke told, is as common as mud to them, as precious as gold to you.
One day when you get home from work you know that instead of four voices clamouring to tell you of their day, to climb on you or beg to be picked up, to hug you or to ask something of you, you will be greeted by silence, or absence. And instead of saying 'just let me take my coat off' or 'I really need to go to the toilet' you'll say 'hello? anyone home?'.
And yet, and yet, this knowledge that settles on you in the nights, when the house is calm and the children are asleep, falls away in the dawn. This resolve to slow down, to mind less, to talk less, to judge less, is but a flimsy thing. It is shored up by darkness but is unable to withstand the bleaching effects of the sun, the noise of children's voices and the weakness within.

12 January 2012

Bad things of summer

Going to work when the rest of your family is on holiday

09 January 2012

Good things of summer


Beach hair

The flowering gum, flowering

Achieving a small goal

Spending all day in your nightie

Tinkering with an old car, with your Dad

Games: card, board, other

Somehow I managed to spend a week at the beach and not take a single photo of it. Getting towels and rashies, bathers, hats, sunscreen, water, snacks and four kids there each day seemed task enough, the camera an added burden. I regret it now, but doubt I'd have adequately captured the joy of the kids jumping in the waves; the blueness of their lips afterwards (even in summer, Victorian waters are chilly); the absolute sandiness only a child can enjoy; the bliss of a warm towel and friends to share it all with.