Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It had been so long since I ventured into the craft room to make something that I had to literally dust off of the sewing machine and brush cobwebs away from the windows. Lack of time and frankly, inclination meant any thoughts of actually making something fizzled. Then I came across hop skip jump's new book. The second I saw this monkey, I started picking fabric - in my head. I think I botched up the arms a little but that's just fine. Somewhere between stuffing his head and turning his legs, I realised how much I missed making stuff. The rest of the patterns are great too so I'm looking forward to making more.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Big Wide World

Five weeks, a handful of countries and a thousand memories. Apart from the obvious attraction (not working) there's lots of reasons why I love visiting different places. It shakes you up. Reminds you that you're part of something bigger than catching the next train or forgetting to buy tissues.

Lots of great things happened on this trip, stuff that was unplanned like getting to see a book that belonged to Vita Sackville West at Sissinghurst, eating Bakewell Pudding in Bakewell, furtively watching a 'star' eat breakfast in London (Ron Howard), catching a local farmers market in misty Sennen in Cornwall, being followed by an incredibly friendly cat while we searched for Sylvia Plath's grave in Heptonstall, eating fish n chips and watching a sunset at the end of Brighton Pier, finding the Phantom's box at The Paris Opera, reading Hemingway at Shakespeare and Co, falling asleep on the soft grass near the canals at Versailles, watching squirrels chase each other in Regent's Park.

I've come back full of ideas. Nothing grand just creative thoughts that only seem to bubble to the surface when I'm busy looking at the world as if I've never seen it before.

It's good to be home but is it good to be back?

If you're going somewhere - Bon Voyage.

If you've just come home - Welcome back.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Her Father's Daughter by Alice Pung (Black Inc)

I started Alice Pung's new book Her Father's Daughter on Sunday and have been taking every chance I get (between work & other distractions) to open up the covers and get back into the story. It's a quasi autobiography about Alice that basically picks up where her first book Unpolished Gem left off.
Alice is now in her early 20s and gently trying move away, emotionally and out of her parents house so she can experience life for herself. Her father is especially overprotective - a former refugee from Cambodia - he's witnessed and experienced some horrendous violence at the hand of the Black Bandits, part of Pol Pot's killing fields. He only wants what's best for his family but it's hard for him to watch his children grow up and make their own way in the world.
I'm up to a chapter that started off set in contemporary Melbourne but now looks as if it might be headed in a much darker direction. At this point I'm totally enthralled by Pung's restrained and elegant prose. She takes me along with her with every page. It's such a good feeling when you get swept up in a book. Lead on...

Stay and defend


His daughter is coming home. Well, not exactly home, but back to Australia. It panics him whenever any of his children are far away. She has been gone nearly three months - the first time she has lived outside the country.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

rain, hail or shine

This honey-coloured photo of a corner of my loungeroom kind of sums up my feelings right now. I think I'm in a mid-winter slump and although I'm enjoying doing all those cool weather things: reading swaddled under blankets, the warmth of a dog on my lap, hot chocolates, making lots of wintry stuff like soup (roasted pumpkin, cauliflour) and Sophie Dahl's wonderful lentil shepherds pie and Stephanie Alexander's apple crumble, I'm yearning for some sunlight. The outdoor setting in the back yard looks depressing in the rain and the garden is looking scrapy.
This weekend I'm going to resist the urge to hunker down and hibernate and go for a 'jog', (my version - slow and ungainly), drink tea instead of coffee, make something and just get on with the 'doing'.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Pride and Prejudice

The truth is. I 'feel' like I've read this book but I'm not entirely sure I have, so when I saw Pip over at Meet Me At Mikes was doing Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice for a book club, I knew the time had come.
I think I've seen every movie/tv adaptation, which is why I might be hazy about whether I've actually read it or not. I watched the BBC version a few weeks ago and it made me wonder if Austen is as funny and sarcastic on the page as she is in a well edited/written script. And will any of it annoy me? On film, I'm always interested in a few small moments, especially when Charlotte Lucas tells Elizabeth that she wants to marry Mr Collins.
Who knows. Maybe I'll actually realise I have read it, or possibly not. Have you read it?

Here goes.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortuen must be in want of a wife."

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Collins Street.
Not at 5pm.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Them thar hills.

So we survived. Friday and Saturday were fantastic. Blue skies, hiking, toasted marshmellows, spuds in the fire for dinner, red wine, lots of laughs. It was all perfect until about 9pm on the Saturday. The cool change came in early and the rain started and stayed ... all night. Tent leaked, dogs looked miserable. We ended up 'sleeping' in the car or in my case, praying for dawn to arrive. We packed up early Sunday and had a scary drive down the moutain. That dusty road on the way up turned into a slick, red, muddy killer on the way down. Twice our car silently glided towards the edge of a pretty scary drop. We came to a stop about a metre from the edge. It was the final, bad bend in a series, so we were very pleased when we got down that mountain. But what's a camping trip without a few tales to tell? Such beautiful scenery and falling asleep listening to the was all worth it.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Wilds

Em & I are going camping with friends for the First Time. The weather looks friendly. If we're lucky, the days will be sunny and the nights cold (but not too cold). Who cares, right? So long as we don't have rain. Rain would be a big drag. Looking forward to sitting around a campfire and maybe telling ghost stories? Maybe not. Ahh. I can't wait to jump in the car and head for the hills. No banjos please.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tea for Three

Last night Emma and I caught with a friend. We had dinner at Purple Peanuts, a great Japanese cafe in Collins Street. Such fantastic, cheap, fresh food. It was great to spend the night chatting, not worrying about the time, just shooting the breeze, kicking back and drinking tea. Lovely.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Down Pilot.

Do we need another Jane Eyre? Probably not.
Will I go and see it?
Yes I will. I think Dame Judi Dench will make a wonderful Mrs Fairfax.

If you'd like to watch a bit about the making of the new Jane Eyre directed by Cary Fukunaga starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassenbender, light your candle, unlock your door and go here:
Autumn is here.

It slowly nudged out our fizzer of a summer. There were a few stand-out days but all in all, the season of sun and sea was a mixed bag.

I was sitting on the train this morning, taking photos with my iPhone and thinking about how the cool shiftings of the seasons always make me think about starting new projects.

1. I might start a new blanket. Lots of cream and colours.

2. I might make another book (Remains of the Day).

3. I might learn how to knit socks (unlikely). But I might.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

I stumbled onto Mary Ann Moss's Remains of the Day site via Poppytalk - it's a online course about making journals using paper and fabric. Mary Ann has made a series of step-by-step videos so making the journal is really straight forward with loads of room to be creative. I'm one of those people who collects postcards, tickets, vintage papers and other paper ephemera, so this is the perfect way for me to use everything I already have.
Here are some snaps of my first journal...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Two Views One Morning

Watching the world. It never gets old.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The mornings were lazy and full of coffee and good food thanks to The Duchess of Spotswood. The nights were made up of The Red Shoes, circus folk and dinner by the water. Sunday was snoozy again. The dogs ran in the park, inside the fans whirred and Sunday night? Me in the studio absorbed by making until after 11pm. Let's do again next week, please.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Brand New Year

Ring Out, Wild Bells
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1849)

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

New Year's Eve was hot, especially on my sister's farm but the light on dusk was beautiful. We went for a walk but I forgot my camera so it looked a little like this: poplar trees blowing in the breeze, the sky was a dark blue shot with patches of warm light, the odd locust, making that papery sound, crunched here and there. The road was dusty and although I couldn't see them, I could hear horses in a near-by paddock coughing in that horsy way. That night, we skyped another sister in Rome and my brother in law held the computer out over the balcony so we could see some real Romans walking around their stunning city.

No idea what this year will bring but when our dollar reached parity with the US, I bought Lovely Design's gorgeous AtoZ file but now that it's here, like the New Year, I'm not too what to do with it. It's so new and pretty and I'm worried I'll use it for the wrong thing. Still. I'm planning to stick my neck out more often this year...

... so maybe it will all make sense by the end of 2011 - or maybe it won't - and maybe that's just fine.

Happy New Year.

Some Books I've Really Enjoyed

  • Apples For Jam by Tessa Kiros
  • Saturday by Ian McEwan
  • Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life by Andrew Motion
  • The Bell Jar by Syliva Plath
  • Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
  • Stasiland by Anna Funder

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Living, reading, crafting, taking photos, writing.