27 June 2014

Boundless Plains to Share

Refugee Week

This story was very sad but it was exilent too. Because it shows that Australia is quit rich. We have food and clothes and water too. We are lucky and we also don't really let refugees in our country. We should help refugees somehow. We need to share. 

Grace wrote this after a school visit from a young man who came to Australia as a refugee from Burundi and is now a successful hip hop artist. All my girls were very impressed and moved by his story. 

26 June 2014

The Best Reference You'd Ever Get (also flattering to librarians)

'She's fantastic Kim, if you met her you know what I mean.  She's as friendly as a librarian and you can tell her anything. She's as funny as a clown and makes me laugh, a lot. She's as patient as a teacher with a class of cheeky kids. Not only is she our babysitter she is also our friend. Every morning when we hear the doorbell we run to the door like a pack of bloodthirsty wolves hunting for their prey. To see her is always a joy and every day she has a new story to tell. She is as amazing as every act in the circus put together and I love her like a family member.' 
By Nina 

25 June 2014

Nina's Stick

Whilst I was on craft camp Craig took the girls to the bush for the night with Nana and Pa. Nana is determined that age and dodgy ankles won't inhibit her walking up to the top of the ridge (at least partly because that's the only place she can get mobile reception and she is plugged in to technology, my mother-in-common-law). She invested in some fancy hiking sticks and Nina adopted the idea for herself. She chose a likely looking bit of wood and polished it up with Craig, carved her name in it and gave it a coat of varnish. I had a bit of leather that we threaded through as a strap. I'm quite jealous of this piece actually. Isn't it lovely?

24 June 2014

Little things of no great importance.

Every day a hundred words, a thousand thoughts, a million moments forgotten.  Did the invention of the camera aid or inhibit the process of memory.  Do I remember my newborn's face, or do I just recall the photograph?  

Captured forever: the muddy feet; a completed sunflower stitching; singing in the rain; the end of autumn; taking a bow; preparing for lunch with friends.

I'll look back on these in a year or more and perhaps remember the lunch - we had tuscan bean soup and salad and bread; how kinder was unexpectedly closed so Lily came to work with me; how much Grace and Lily loved making a muddy mess of the newly-dug-up veggie patch; walking to tap class through the autumn leaves, Lily and Grace playing clapping games along the way.

I remember Ruby teaching Nina those clapping games.  I remember Pauline Mak teaching me 'My Name is Aitch Eye Aitch Eye Chicken Boy Chicken Boy Uni Uni Eye Eye Eye' in grade 2.  Back and back it goes.

And a few more years will pass and perhaps I'll forget the lunch and remember only the bowl and the tablecloth. I won't remember who did the stitching but might remember sitting with my girls, helping them pull yarn through hessian.  I won't remember why Grace and Lily are bowing, but will remember that house with the high picket fence and the forget-me-nots that poked through it in the summer, Saturday mornings at tap, watching the Fred Astaires and Suzy Q's be absorbed into little feet and minds.

I wonder how our memories are distorted by photographs.  How the act of capturing that image gives it a disproportionate importance and corrupts the truth. 

21 June 2014

The Big Apple

I have two unfinished quilts from craft camp but they are both requiring some careful thought - about sashing and colours and design - and I was in the mood for something quick and easy and stash busting.

Another strip quilt was an easy way to scratch that itch and I do have plenty of red fabrics. So this apple-red-with-dashes-of-green quilt was made.

Last movie night, there had been an insufficient number of lap quilts to accommodate the requests of each child for something to snuggle under and I love an excuse for a new quilt. And I was also pleased because I had found this apple fabric at Ikea and thought it would make a great quilt backing.

But then all my slack-arsed-instant-gratification-quilting chickens came home to roost.  Because I hadn't pre-washed my fabrics, (I never do) and when I popped it in the machine to get that nice bobbly quilty look, disaster struck.  Or perhaps more appropriately disaster ran.  Included amongst the scraps I used were a red and blue madras (which I should have predicted would run), and a beautiful and very expensive bit of red linen (which I was quite shocked ran).  These culprits ran all over the lovely fresh whiteness on the backing, quite destroying the crisp apple effect.

Just to show you how bad it looks I upped the contrast on the photo editing. The colour ran all around the quilting within each strip of fabric.

I have been told that there is a colour-run remover on the market and online I've read recommendations for oxygen-based bleaches, vinegar and various other remedies.  I'll try whatever I can, and if nothing works, it's still a nice quilt top, and perfectly good for snuggling under. And I suppose it's also a good reminder about cutting corners, though to be honest I doubt I'll always pre-wash fabrics from now on -  maybe just red linen and fabric of unknown provenance.

11 June 2014

Craft Camp

Lily's interpretation of Craft Camp - lots of stairs and stars apparently

Suse's beautiful old Singer. Similar vintage to my old Singer from my banner

A peek under the table

Laying out my drunkard's path quilt

By the end of camp I had 4 unfinished objects
A lot of work and a bit of unpicking needed before this one is finished

Turns out socks are excellent thread magnets

First night after craft camp I had one finished object

What is the oppostie of a vanguard? That is me. Late to blogging, late to Instagram, never joined Facebook, or Pinterest, tipped a toe in twitter but it wasn't for me. I'm not an early adpoter, I couldn't predict a trend, I know nothing about fashion in any form. When I started reading blogs, they were probably already on the wane. The hey day of local crafters connecting through the internet had, no doubt, already occurred. Certainly by the time I started blogging myself I noticed that some of the blogs I'd read had fewer and fewer posts, interspersed with the occasional note of apology or a promise to 'do better' and sometimes just a post to say 'thanks folks but this is it'. The fading of 'the blog' seems to have accelerated recently, possibly as a result of the rise of Instagram and other forms of social media. On how many platforms can one be bothered to remain engaged?

This weekend just past I discovered that those crafters no longer on the blogging landscape, some whom have even (gasp) deleted their blogs, are kicking on crafting and connecting in all sorts of lovely and interesting ways. I was lucky enough to get an invite to Sewjourn, which I'd seen on many a blog over the years and which seemed a sort of crafty nirvana to me - uninterrupted sewing time with like minded people in a dedicated space. It was all those things and more; such good people, such crazy skills, such abundant talent. I liked that people sang along to the music and no one cared. I liked that the food was delicious but not intimidating. I liked that everyone kindly blamed the oven when my cake didn't rise. I liked that some poeple made a zillion things and others made a couple and some people took naps or baths or drew or read. I liked that apostrophes mattered and hair/clothes/makeup didn't. I liked that these women were as keen to get into their pyjamas and get down to some handwork as me. I liked that everyone drank lots and lots of tea - real tea, with milk or not, with sugar or not, but actual tea. In a pot. I liked that everyone now calls their overlocker 'The Overlord' courtesy of Kate's little boy. I liked hearing stories - of families and mothers and the blogging/crafty world I know only a fraction of, of jobs and passions and children and fan fiction and auditioning for 'Stomp' without ever having learn to tap dance.

Such a nice weekend, so hard to return to real life. Upon returning home I sewed up the binding on one little quilt, finished another bunny from the 'Posie Gets Cozy' pattern and wished myself back at Craft Camp.