26 February 2013

So Much Depends

upon a red wheelbarrow

glazed with rain water

beside the white chickens.

Nik, because I know you sometimes read this blog, this is for you, with apologies to William Carlos Williams.

17 February 2013

At Forty Two

I turned forty two yesterday, looking out over this view and dreaming a few dreams. Takeaway Vietnamese with the in-laws, a passionfruit sponge, a fancy new frock and a promise, from the kids, of a day without fighting (the day to be selected at my leisure).

16 February 2013

Not Feeling It

Whilst making this quilt a little while ago I kept seeing in my mind's eye a little corner of another quilt. It was red and grey, I knew it had white in it somewhere, and it was squares made into crosses. I couldn't quite get a visual on the whole thing but I thought it would take shape once I plunged in.

I started it immediately and was a bit excited to be using only solids - a first for me. And as I started cutting I was thinking 'yep, this is so right, this will work, this will look good'.

And then I laid out the squares and felt a bit flat.

Something about it reminded me of a high school project. I googled red and grey cross quilts and found a few that were almost identical to the one I was making. I hadn't consciously seen those quilts before but who knows, maybe Id stumbled across them and they had lodged in my mind. Anyway, I liked them on the internet, so I pressed ahead with this one, thinking (hoping) that once it was sewn together it would take a better shape. But the pieced top didn't float my boat either. I asked Craig, who has generally excellent taste.  He made a sort of face.

Nevertheless, I know that the actual quilting can bring something out in a quilt, inject some life. I departed from my recent stippling and went straight lines either side of the ditch. It's a quilting method I've loved on many quilts I've seen but again I'm not sure it works here.  Perhaps these squares (6 inch) are just too big? Perhaps the visual austerity would have benefitted from some stippling? Perhaps that one grey that leans toward tan is just wrong?

But I'd come this far, I reckoned I'd better finish it before judging. Maybe the binding would save it?

I adore this binding generally and I think it does help this quilt but still, the quilt doesn't quite work. Maybe the love will grow? Does that ever happen, or is it more likely that my current indifference will harden into loathing?

Maybe I can't do solids? I've got another quilt (and it is still not Lily's quilt) lurking in my mind. It is all solids. I was so excited when I got the idea that I immediately purchased all the fabrics I needed but it is solids again and I've lost a bit of confidence now. Perhaps, without the gorgeousness of prints to distract the eye, a stronger, better aesthetic than I posses is required to successfully work with solids. What do you reckon? Feel free to rip into this quilt, I'm not precious and could benefit from some insight.

14 February 2013

Salt Dough

Is it bad that I did this activity with the kids but then couldn't stop thinking 'what do we do with eightybajillion salt dough things?'

13 February 2013

Science Experiment (inadvertent)

During the recent hot spell Ruby asked if she could freeze her water bottle to take to school the next day.  I kind of forgot that she might not know that you can't fill a water bottle up to the top and freeze it.    Quite impressive, isn't it, the power of water?  That's stainless steel.

12 February 2013

At the Bottom of the Garden

Lily was invited to her friend Yvette's third birthday party.  Yvette is also the youngest of four, though in her case her older siblings are all boys.  Her mother and I were once neighbours, when we were both young and inexperienced in the parenting game.  We still catch up once a week whilst our elder children have piano lessons and our younger children wreak minor havoc and play in the street like kids did thirty years ago.

She asked my elder girls to be fairy helpers at the party, which they were pretty chuffed about, even though it meant wearing costumes which, when you are heading toward ten, has the potential to be a bit embarrassing.  I whipped up three very quick tutus with some fabric from the bargain table at GJ's. At $2 a metre I couldn't go wrong and all three took me about an hour (Grace's tutu I made a while back).    The girls decided they were (in order of height); the garden fairy; the sunrise fairy; the bird of paradise fairy and the rosebud loveheart fairy.

Almost against my better judgement I felt a little pang at the sight of them all dressed up.  There will not be too many more occasions, I suppose, when I find four fairies at the bottom of the garden.

09 February 2013

Mr and Mrs Popanally

Mr Popanally is 80 years old.  Mrs Popanally is 75 years old.  Mr and Mrs Popanally are very colourful.  They are really much smaller than this.

Mr and Mrs Popanally's Information File. 
Height: Mr Popanally is 1cm tall.  Mrs Popanally is almost a cm tall.
Housing: As you probably know already Mr and Mrs Popanally live in a mini tic-tac packet.
Accomodation: They have 5 rooms in their house, 1 bedroom (they share a bed) 1 bathroom 1 kitchen 1 living room and 1 laundry.
Address: The street they live in is called 'Paramonal St' in 'Coponal Nooth' in  'Hobart' in 'Tasmania', a very nice place to live.
Extra info: Some things are VERY secret hidden and special like this, for example, even though it is bigger than Mr Popanally it was his.  It was his only weapon to defeat and save MANY things.  He everso loved this sword and treated it with love and care.

I will now take you on a tour of their house. Fact: The house is MUCH smaller than this.  Just showing inside.  Not in colour.  Some birds eye view some not.  Ruff drawing.

The house is fantastic isn't it?  So now I will show you their landscape.  It's really MUCH smaller than this.  Well not too much, especially the house.

Oh, Did I mention that Mr and Mrs Popanally have a pet flea called 'Honey Dip' that lives next to them.  It has a water bowl and a food bowl.  It is a girl and quite often gets a ride on the Ducks in the pond.  It is a baby and looks like this:
Fact: It's really MUCH smaller than this.

Mrs Popanally also wrote books.  I've got one with me today.  It's called 'Dear Grandpa'.  It is a great book. 'Dear Grandpa I love you very much and hope I can see you soon (especially being on school holidays) From Emily.
Dear Emily I love you too.  Are you having a good holiday. I am.  What do you want for Christmas. From Grandpa'.
And that's only a bit of it.
Here it is the FIRST copy ever!!!!!

Mrs Popanally's old job was an Artist.  She did many pictures and everyone had their favourite ones.  But today I've got one that a lot of people liked called: "The Mountains" even though it's not got any mountains in it.  This is it.  It was Mrs Popanally's favourite picture and Mr Popanally agreed.
Instructions to Open: 
1. Unfold latch and slip through.
2. Lift lid
3. Take out picture. Open
4. Unfold picture
5. Look at picture

Note to self: There are more than just the picture in the case.

This little project kept Nina occupied for quite a few hours over the summer.

08 February 2013

Person People and Dots

Doesn't this just capture a particular stage of childhood drawing. I must have seen a million variations on this theme by children.  The hair straight across the head, the limbs coming out of the body/head.  This stage usually only lasts a few months but now I want to cling to it a little longer.

07 February 2013

Blue/Black Boat

Grace painted this on her first day of school.  I could say all sorts of things about symbolism but I just really like the colours.

06 February 2013

Cat in a scarf

As the post title suggests, a cat in a scarf. By Ruby.

03 February 2013

Pencil Work (small scale)

Recent tiny scribblings of Nina's.

02 February 2013

Blues and Greys

This little lap quilt is a gift for a 40th birthday. We are not quite ready to join the blue rinse set and my friend is most definitely not grey, but I do love these colours and fabrics. Some of them were bought for the quilt I planned, but have not yet made, for Lily. I love them but they were not quite right for a three year old. Perhaps too grown up? I am very pleased at the quilting on this one, which has hardly a pucker and is very regular and without the jaggedy lines my stippling often suffers from. I'm improving!

I so enjoyed the tessellations of the quilt that Ruby's class made that I wanted to give them a go myself. Obviously I'm still not quite over my triangle phase. I do love the possibilities with triangles, the way you can look from one direction or another and see something different. Whilst making it I kept envisaging my next quilt, which will be crosses in red and grey and white. Do you find you are always thinking about the next project, even whilst working on the current one? This always happens to me, perhaps is a sad indictment of my attention span. As for Lily's quilt, I still can't seem to get a picture of it in my mind. She is such a particular person; stubborn, brutal, hilarious, adorable. I'll have to think on it some more.

01 February 2013

Tea Time

Lily and her friend Sahra made a tea party. You might think twice before you accept an invitation to tea at our house unless you really like sand.