Sunday, December 31, 2006

The end of one year

A year ago, I set myself the challenge of blogging one photo a day, not knowing if I'd stick it out for the week/month/year. And here, a year later, it's done.

What I most value is the catching of the ordinary stuff. However trite the sentiment, life is like a box of chocolates and you don't know what you're going to get (Thanks, Forrest Gump). But now, to be able to look back at all sorts of things, the minutiae of daily life in the early 21st century in this particular corner of the world - well, my eyes and camera have paid so much more attention. It's enriching, to be catching the moment. Even though it's undoubtedly been a busy year, I will ever after know and be able to remember so much more about 2006 than 2005. I thought of doing a humdinger post repeating all the month mosaics from the year, but this will do in expressing what I want to express.

In looking around for an avatar, I remembered the gingerbread cutter I'd found in an op shop the year before - it's used and a bit rusted here and there, but there's a jaunty tilt to the head and arms, an asymmetry that somehow humanises it. We're not symmetrical either.

The chocolates came from an expedition at the end of the year, a day out with friends during which we visited a specialist chocolate shop in Auburn - it's fun to look over the stacks of luxury and make a modest selection (only trouble is you get home and can't remember which is which - we really didn't know which one we were getting when we ate them!).

Am I going to stop here? No - not when I've developed such an excellent useful inspiring habit! So more to come in 2007.

Thank you to everyone who has read or reads this blog. I write it first for me, but looking at that map over on the right, the world blobbed with red dots where people have been who've read this - well, that's just astonishing. Thank you. The blog's had over 7,800 visitors since mid-year while the photos on Flickr now number over 1000 and have had nearly 15,000 visits. All amazing.

May the new year bring you joy and peace, discovery in the everyday and unexpected delights.


Film favourites of 2006

While I organise a humdinger (and posted late) post for New Year's Eve, here, in no particular order except no. 1, are my favourite films (movies) of 2006.
  1. United 93. The most astonishing, moving, sad, awful, grand, human, imagined recreation of the flight that ended in a Pennsylvania field on 9/11. Brilliant.
The rest:
  • Casino Royale: vigorous, invigorating, reinvigorating the genre. And as a sideline observation, I want to buy yardage of all the damasky backgrounds in the title sequence with which to quilt. Sometimes, your eye just notices...
  • Brokeback Mountain: the restraint held more courage and sadness than more obvious choices would have done, while the delicate, evocative music from a South American did the same.
  • 49Up: because this documentary series only gathers power each seven years, and I'm grateful for all the participants who had no say in their place in film history and whose lives illuminate our times and give reasons to reflect on our own lives.
  • Ten Canoes: whoever was brave enough to fund a film entirely spoken in Aboriginal dialect is, I hope, basking in due praise. Rolf de Heer and his Aboriginal collaborators gave us a wonderfully entertaining and engaging film to enjoy.
  • The Queen: begin with a clever script, engage a cast worth watching and then throw Helen Mirren a challenge she meets with resoundingly brilliant thought and grace.
  • Gallipoli: I wonder how many war documentaries there are in which you can show both sides, as this one did the Turks and the Allies in World War I? The one heartbreaking visual story of photographs, archival footage and recreations was made with two narrations, one in Turkish, one in English, by a Turkish film-maker. The voices (many using words from original documents, letters, diaries) spoke from both sides of the war in the same way: fighting for country, for national goals and honour, longing for home and family, dreading the outcome. They faced, and respected, each other across the boundaries and barrier of patriotism, and more than anything the film shows the common humanity which makes us question why the crude and often ineffective tool of war is used at all.

I saw fluff and fun too, this year - the Meringue Movie has its time and place and is not to be sneezed at. But these are the films which will stay with me after 2006, because they gave me new ways of seeing or showed me a way into other worlds or perhaps because I cannot shake them from my memory, should I so wish (I don't).



Saturday, December 30, 2006

New glasses

Went to the optometrist today, and afterwards went in search of new frames. For those of you who have never worn glasses, you may have little or no idea of what a trial this can be. Forget what it's like to buy sunnies - you don't wear them all the time, and you've got few restrictions on them. And they're more forgiving than the frames that you wear all day every day that define your face and yourself. Imagine if you had to wear exactly the same clothes all day every day, weekday and weekend, not just a work uniform but a life uniform.

There seems to be little or no science to glasses frames. Fashion? Yes. Science? The game seems to be just try on this and this and that and this and that till something looks OK, with no real definition of OK except, "do you like it?" - that's all the optical dispensers seem to ask.

I've worn glasses since the age of 11, and over the years have had some horror frames. Some inflicted by my parents (the white cat's-eyes which were my first pair from the kids' range at OPSM just show how far kids' frames have come since those gruesome days) and some for which there is no excuse bar fashion or my own bad choices. And don't they date you in photos? Often to greater sniggering than hairstyles or clothes which time has consigned to ridicule. The large goggles of the 80s, for instance? There WAS no other choice then!

And now fashion has moved to narrow rectangles as THE fashion for spectacle frames. Hello? If you have to have multifocals, you need a certain distance from top to bottom of the frame, or the multifocal lens will have tiny useless fields. You don't need goggles, but you do need more than an inch. I guess it makes choosing frames easier, if 2/3 of the available frames are too narrow.

So you try on various personas with each frame - the Ikea designer (black, definitely a rectangle), the arty gal (Versace rectangles with blue/green colourings in the frame) and so on. Some make you actively recoil - that's not ME! while others make you wish it were you, maybe - but since these things sit on your face all day every day, you have to settle for a middle road. They're way too darn expensive to have a multiple pairs, like handbags or shoes. And you wonder quite why this small amount of plastic (and I'm only talking about the frame here, the lenses cost even more) will cost about the same as your first car did. And that's not paddling up the designer deep end.

Some pinch. Some tilt, and I always avoid those because they will never really sit flat and level, however often the dispenser heats and tweaks them. Dozens are just no and no and no until finally you find something that seems to work, won't scare the horses or give the spectacle makers more than one extremely fine holiday... and you know when they come back and you put them on your face, you're in for two to three weeks of sore ears while your head adjusts to wherever they hit to stay on.

This isn't a whinge so much as bemusement that all these years later, so little has changed, and it feels more like good luck than good management to find a reasonable frame. I went for a wire frame, dark in colour, with a slightly quirked rectangle. Maybe I'll photograph them when I get them back...

Friday, December 29, 2006

Aqua and brown quilt revisited

0612 aqua and brown revisited
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

Don't even ask - the blue and brown quilt idea I had (and which is now at the quilter's, all 80 inches square of it) got gazumped. So here we all are, to quote the appalling mother in Strictly Ballroom, cutting out another blue and brown quilt that has to be finished, with instructions, by 2 January. That's 2 January 2007, aka Tuesday. Ain't life fun? I still like this colour scheme and am happy with the new, entirely different to the old, design (God bless the Around the Block books, which have so many inspirational block ideas in them). But having spent a large part of the day on it, we're going to run away to the cinema this afternoon and then I'll put my nose back on the grindstone this evening.

The editor was OK with version 1, but I thought they were too alike (and damn it was a great design idea - why did someone else have to have it at around the same time, entirely unbeknowst to me???!!!) so it's my call to start afresh so I can deliver a blue and brown quilt on Tuesday. So I am. I don't want to look like I'm copying someone else's work, even if I didn't (I do make exceptions for long-dead quilters, whose work is constantly inspirational - but this was a modern design idea that got gazumped, not a vintage one).

PS: all is not lost - version 1 always was, and remains, destined to be entered in the Sydney Quilt Show in 2007. And I can't wait to see Kim Bradley's brilliant quilting!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ring Walk, Sydney Olympic Park

As part of the Sydney Olympic Park, you can go on this Ring Walk on a walkway suspended over the former brick pit, habitat for the endangered green and gold bell frog. We didn't today, but it's on the list...

(Although from my memory of the size of the endangered green and gold bell frog, you're much more likely to hear it than see it, from that height.)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Christmas Meat Contest

Every year my sisters talk about Christmas meat bargains - if you trot along to your local supermarket on Christmas Eve later in the day, the supermarket will be in a frenzy of selling off its meat because of the two-day-closure, and so astounding bargains can be had - eye fillet for tuppence nothing etc.

I've never especially bothered to do this (nor at Easter, when it happens too). This year, they talked of eye fillet for tuppence nothing etc, and I knew I wasn't even in the contest (cue Annie Oakley, anything you can do I can do better...). Well, at least till today.

At the local supermarket, they had a few frozen turkeys and turkey buffes (breast section, with bone, minus wings/drumsticks) left. A 4kg (just under 9lb) one was, according to the ticket, reduced from $43something to$17something. I do love turkey....

So I succumbed (boy that's going to be a lot of turkey for this household - but the family will help eat it all). At the register, it scanned at $43something. Aha! But the ticket said $17something. So with huffing and puffing and sending of minions in search of said ticket, this was established (after I explained what a buffe was several times, and said it Wasn't a breast roll, they don't get bigger than 2kg). OK. Established that it should have been $17something.

Only, under state consumer laws, if something scans at the wrong price, you get the first item free and then any others the same at the correct price. Supermarket folk reluctantly agree that This is So.

I got 4kg of turkey (currently defrosting in the fridge, it's apparently going to take 18 hours per kg, so it will be ready to cook this year, just!) for nix. Nuffin. Free.

Do you think I won the Christmas Meat Contest this year? !! anything you can do I can do better... eye fillet for the price of sausages? Meh.

Gingerbread landscape

0612 gingerbread landscape
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
I could tell you that all 12 dozen gingerbread hearts, daisies and stars survived Christmas Day....but they didn't. Which is exactly as it should be. Just as well they were photographed as they were piled on the cooling rack.

The background is the door of a classic old Australian brand of stove, Early Kooka (I don't own a whole stove, just the door from one, which I found years ago, and which lives in the kitchen as a Decorative Object).

I chuckle as I post this - in reading some of my favourite blogs, there's a positive epidemic of Christmas baking landscapes like this - trays and trays of shortbread and sugar cookies and I don't know what all! Lots of people with home-made Christmas goodies. Who says it's the computer age and nobody does home-made any more?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Noah's Ark

0612 Noah's Ark at Christmas
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Grandad made the Noah's Ark; grandson took immense delight in it, sitting, oblivious to everything else amid the chatter and frenzy of Christmas Day presents. It stayed with him for the rest of the day (except when he was seeing if he could abscond with another four gingerbread bickies without his mother noticing).

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day

0612 Christmas baubles 54
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Blogging will NOT be a Christmas Day priority - too much else on! Conversations, people, family, music, food, presents, amusements.

Here's breakfast (although you may not have time to gather the ingredients for Christmas Day this year, try this for brunch anytime!)


For every four croissants:

Mix 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of sour cream and 1/2 teaspoon of French mustard. Cut the croissants in half and spread with the mixture. Chop 2 bacon rashers and cook till crisp. Meanwhile, chop 2 shallots and 60g mushrooms. Place the bacon, shallots and mushrooms on the croissants, close them and cook in a moderate oven (160degC) for about 10 minutes. YUM!

Translations: shallot in Oz means the overgrown chives with long green leaves (?scallions?eschallots), not baby round onions. Chives would work, but not be as oniony. 60g mushrooms? Ah well, you can work out how many mushrooms you'd like to finely slice and bung on your croissants, can't you? As for the mayo mix, if you stay consistent with US/UK spoon measurements, you shouldn't go far wrong.

Christmas Greetings!

We celebrate Christmas here, so whether or not it's your end of year celebration, that's what we say, rather than the generic Happy Holidays. Meh to that. Happy Christmas!

Thank you to everyone who's read this blog during 2006 and those who've taken the time to comment. I've learned so much from reading your blogs, thank you for what you share.

Peace and goodwill to all for 2007. May it be a creative, happy year for you.

Blogging here may be a bit intermittent over the summer holidays, but it's not ending....

Sunday, December 24, 2006


0612 rain on the violets
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Rain on the violets - welcome, steady rain. Who cares if it's misty and rainy on Christmas Eve? The forecast for tomorrow is cool (mid twenties Celsius) and it probably won't be a day for waterpistol fights, unlike some other years.

Still doing final preparations (well, except when I'm photographing violets)...gingerbread isn't made yet. But it will be!


0612 cowboy decal
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Isn't it great to have someone to whom you can give the vintage item featuring this cowboy decal?

The other side of the item has a very politically incorrect sleeping Mexican with some rather nicely decorated pottery. The cowboy side prompted my purchase, however.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Martians at Christmas

0612 Christmas baubles 20
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Could it be true that the Martians have chosen Christmas-time to invade? Although they're not so happy with the strategist who told them that the disguise was perfect....

The presents are almost all bought and wrapped. Still a couple to make (note to self: decide to make such things earlier next year). And gingerbread. Seems like several people have made lime shortbread - lovely! The lime does cut the thick sweetness rather well.

Being under orders to learn to be ambidextrous on mousing/touchpad is an interesting experience. My left hand isn't doing badly, but it's a lot slower. Right hand and arm are enjoying the break, except when I forget and return to the former status quo.

Friday, December 22, 2006


0612 Christmas baubles 52
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Rather liked this stylised moderne nativity scene, even if the Holy Child looks like a melted chocolate...

Don't own a nativity scene - plan to make one one day. NOT this year!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas at the office

0612 office tree 2
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
The office Christmas tree was front and centre today. We have an angel/mortal swap for the last five days leading up to Christmas, and so under the tree you have a wonderfully eclectic range of presents, one for each of the participants. It's like good will made manifest, seeing those presents under the tree.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Shortbread landscape

0612 shortbread landscape
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

It looks home made, doesn't it? It is. I like that rustic home-made look. I have shortbread moulds, but don't use them very often - especially when time is pressing, as it was this morning.

This is lime shortbread, one of my Christmas specialities, and here is the recipe - a gift to you!

(all measurements are in metric, but any online converter will put them into imperial for you)



250g butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
finely grated zest of 1 lime and one tablespoon of lime juice
1 egg, beaten
500g plain flour, sifted (I usually take out 1/4 cup of this and replace it with 1/4 cup ground rice for that gritty shortbread texture which I prefer)
pinch salt


Cream butter and sugar, add zest and juice, beat, add egg, beat, add flour, beat. Kneading the mixture (turn it out onto a lightly floured board) will improve the texture (or let the mixer bing it around a bit longer). Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper, or grease it lightly with butter. Roll out the mixture and use Christmas cutters - stars, hearts, sheep, angels - to cut out the biscuits. Bake in a 160 degrees (Celsius) oven for about 20 minutes. Cool on the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a cake rack to cool completely. You may decorate these with royal icing and silver cachou balls.

(Cheat's note: my landscape of shortbread is cooked in a lamington tin and cut into squares - the time-poor solution. You have to cook it for longer, of course...maybe 30-45 min? As you can see, I prick the top with a fork and slice it into small squares while it's still warm in the tin) (a lamington tin measures 11 x 8 x 1.5 inches).

I like the lime because it 'cuts' the thick richness of the shortbread. I'm not sure if purist shortbread recipes use an egg, but I find an egg enriches the flavour of biscuits (cookies if you're in the US) (or do we all meet on common linguistic ground with 'shortbread'?).

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Fairy light scribbling

0612 fairy light scribbling
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Hmmm. How to take a photo of the fairy lights? I'm not expert in night photography - and not sure if my camera has the capacity anyway.....

So you aim your camera at your fairy lights, and press the shutter, and whizzle the camera about, keeping the viewfinder aimed at the lights.... and you get this sort of result. Sparklers are better for 'writing', but I rather like this. Cool!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas angel

0612 Christmas angel
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
This year's new Christmas decoration. I rambled on yesterday, so this is your lot for the day...!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas cards

0612 Christmas cards
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
After lots of writing, the box full was ready to take to the post office, along with some parcels.

I know people who get positively incandescent about Christmas letters, but I'm not one of them. I don't care if your letter is photocopied. I don't care if every one of your children is a wonder-baby and the most brilliant child ever born. I'd rather read more than a Dear You love Me greeting on a card, learn more about your life during the year. And if you don't think your wonder-baby is a wonder-baby, then who will?

While there are friends you stay in touch with fairly constantly or intermittently through the year, there are other friends where a Christmas card exchanged is the main communication, and I'd rather learn your news through a Christmas letter than not at all. It's just not realistic to expect people to write pages the same to dozens of different recipients, when much of what they want to describe is the same.

The State Library of NSW has an archive of such letters (embargoed for research purposes for some decades, I'd guess, while the collection grows annually) from people who've been writing one for a long time. They will be fascinating for social historians of the future - illuminating the concerns and lives and achievements and thoughts of ordinary individuals. Linear lives of not the much-chronicled 'great and good', but the real people. Love that sort of social history. It would be marvellous if my grandmothers had written Christmas letters - but to my knowledge, they didn't.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Black cockatoos

0612 black cockatoos
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
The one on the left was crunching away at banksia nuts, to a constant ark-ark commentary from the one on the right. Beneath the tree the ground was littered with falling pieces of banksia nut. I don't see black cockatoos so often - much more likely to see the white ones. These two weren't bothered by people being around, they just kept doing what they were doing.

Friday, December 15, 2006


Oh, there are lots of other favourites, too, but in compiling a mosaic (did I say thank you to flickr toys? thank you thank you for your mosaic tool which is a wonder and joy) of the year, here is an edition of my favourites.

The rooruu gingerbread lady cutter - or is she an angel? - jaunty, simple. The smile on the face of a boy contemplating an enormous Australia Day lamington cake. The ATC I made for a magazine and felt worked as well as I had hoped it would. Quilt made from scraps for a calendar quilt challenge.

Proteas from a friend's garden, the pallets I would never have noticed but for the blog/camera I carry everywhere. The iPod bag - also from scraps - which is my most popular photo on Flickr and the old fence leaning in the light of an early, foggy morning.

Vegetables - always liked the focus/distance on this one. Magazine cover with a particularly beautiful cover on it. Children running and leaping, making a sunlit historic bridge into something new and good for them. A little girl's drawings that became Christmas decorations.

And old jumper, felted, became four Christmas stockings. The shape, turn and age of an old machine - look at the colour, the patina, the shapes. Frost. My favourite white cane chair with a quilt and autumn leaves.

Raspberry cakes, a birthday gift. The colours of a joyful quilt I had in the Sydney show this year. The dolls house I want to work on over summer. A quilt made from orphan blocks left from over forty other quilts I've designed (and made).

The angel on the verandah, a gift from a friend. The quilt in my office, and the balloons being given to a friend and colleague who went overseas. That white cane chair again, with a pile of Christmas quilts. Tropical happy modern quirky Christmas decorations.

A year in 24 photos.

Most, if not all, of these have been blogged at some stage in the year, but wasn't it fun to revisit them? If you want to see a bigger version of the mosaic, click on the pic to be taken over to it on Flickr.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Red hot

0612 Christmas baubles 30
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Red baubles (wow, there was a trad Christmas colour amid all the mod glam tropical/pastel/blue ones!) for a day predicted to reach over 37 degrees Celsius (or 99 Fahrenheit, for those still working with the old money). Yesterday? 24. Tomorrow? 23. It's a mad weather rollercoaster. For today, we'll be hurrying from shade to shade, hoping there will be airconditioning to make rooms bearable.

This must sound so odd if you're in the northern hemisphere winter and have never had a summer Christmas. The really down downside is the bushfires in Australia at the moment - no lives lost, afaik, but certainly homes and businesses burnt in Victoria and Tasmania. Long drought, dry country and a lightning strike or firebug, and then all you need is a hot, dry, windy day and then....

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sweet baby quilt

0612 sweet baby quilt
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Isn't this a sweet baby quilt? Can you tell what it was made from? The backing and binding are new fabric (they went with the top so well) but the fabrics in the top are well-washed, vintage, and not originally thought of as patchwork fabrics...

Baby quilts are so easy to whirl through the machine to quilt, after a fair number of my more recent quilts have been larger ones. Although I mostly quilt my own work on my domestic machine, one really large one is coming back from the quilter this weekend. I can't wait to see what she's done - it needed a freemotion genius (she's a freemotion genius) (I am not a freemotion genius).

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Santa convention

0612 Christmas baubles 26
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
A slightly confused-looking gaggle of Santas. You can just imagine the conversations - they do appear to be chatting with each other.

(It's not baubles, OK? All that happened today was washing on the line, breakfast, work, washing off the line, 40 degrees Celsius weather, dinner and relief at getting home. And none of that was photographed.)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Another bauble

0612 Christmas baubles 57
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Clearly, I'm on a baublefest. But aren't they fun? Here are some more tropical ones. I will look for something else for tomorrow, I promise.....

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Baubles and more baubles!

0612 Christmas baubles mosaic
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
A feast of Christmas colour (maybe it's because I've been too busy photographing baubles that the tree isn't yet up...).

Aren't the colours delightful? Enjoy.

If you click on the image you'll go to a larger version in Flickr.


This, my friends, is a corker. Wonderful escapist stuff - parkour chases, car chases, budgie smugglers, the lot! Head on down to your local cinema, buy yourself a choc-top and enjoy. Daniel Craig nails the role of Bond brilliantly.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Tropical Christmas

0612 Christmas baubles 59
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Maybe it's an Australian thing? There seem to be so many tropical-coloured Christmas baubles and decorations this year. Vastly outnumbering trad green and red. There's something joyful about the colours, though. I haven't bought any - yet...


One of the great pleasures of Christmas is carols.

My ever-always favourite is Once in Royal David's City.

But only when sung at King's College, beginning with a single boy treble and building, building through every verse (no skipping) to the whole chapel-full, choir and congregation, the organ going like billy-oh -

When like stars, his children crowned
All in white, shall wait around.

That's a great Christmas moment.

I finally found a CD with this on it - every verse, the treble, the choir, the congregation, the lot. It's been on high rotation. Wonderful stuff. Strong, true, enduring, powerful.

It's how they always begin the annual broadcast of carols from King's, so if you haven't got it on CD, you can get your fix when they show it, as they always do, on the teev at Christmastime.

As to other Christmas planning...
  • cards? nope, not done yet
  • tree? nope, still in the box
  • decorating? 3 decorations on the mantelpiece is a start...isn't it?
  • lights? this weekend, definitely
  • presents? some...
  • baking? not yet
  • Christmas angel scheme at work? Yup, all organised and starts next week.
It's a start. A modest start.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Sydney Town Hall Christmas lights

So there you are, pootling along the streets of Sydney, when suddenly the Town Hall transfixes you. In daylight, it's a wonderful sandstone wedding cake of a building, but for Christmas this year they've done some fabulous colourful projections onto the wedding cake at night. Each one lasts about a minute - it was so much fun to stand and watch each one.

My camera is a little one, so these aren't the clearest photos, but you get a little of the idea of how magical it was. It's on till Christmas Day.

If Sydney's a bit far for you to go, there's more info on the Sydney City Council website here (along with slightly clearer pix of each projection - maybe they've got a bigger camera...!).

Lovely imaginative stuff.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christmas kitsch, Australian style

0611 Christmas baubles 14
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Yes, I do own classy Australian Christmas decorations. I wasn't even slightly tempted by one of these Things. Blick. Erk. Don't tell Joern.

If you want a far more delightful reworking of Utzon's masterpiece, try An Opera House In Every Home by Eric Thake. Dead clever.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


0611 festival 013
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Took this one at the festival a few weeks ago.

Great intricate patterns on these drums! You could hear them being tested (with greater and lesser skill) all the way up and down the street, despite the bustle of many other festival stalls. Tight, sharp, rat-a-tat kind of beat.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Worth a comment

0612 commented on
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Today, for the first time as far as I remember, comments on my Flickr photos required two pages. Terribly modest, in comparison to so many of you, but here in my corner of the net, chuffed is the word of the day. I take these photos firstly for me, to catch things, try things, observe the world, record colour - any number of reasons. To know they're finding friends is an added, unexpected delight.

The iPod one is my most 'busy' image in terms of page views etc - and it gets funnier and funnier that I took it in artificial light on the evening when I'd finished making it - for all the trouble I've taken with other photos, this one, hardly elegant, has taken the cake. The photo's own qualities are secondary to the subject and its idea. That's a humbling thought for a photographer!

So thanks if you're one of those who comments either here on the blog or over at Flickr. It's appreciated.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Blue sky

Driving to work this morning, I looked up at the sky. An ordinary enough thing to do. But today, for the first time in weeks, it was pale blue, beautiful, clear pale blue. The odd small white fluffy cloud scattered here and there, so you could admire the blue just that bit more. After days and days of the scent of smoke, the sight of smoke, haze and dirty ominous air, the morning sky was a gift - clear air, blue sky. Ordinary, valuable gifts.

(The fires are well-contained and nearly out).

Christmas snowflake light

0611 Christmas snowflake light
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Probably the closest we'll get to snow this Christmas, what with it being Australia, and summer. And we've had a few too many 40degree+ days with summer barely begun.

You know the whole digital photography thing is getting to you when you're hanging around in a department store Christmas section waiting for the snowflake light to shift colours to the one you want to photograph...

My favourite Christmas lights come from Ikea - a small string of fairy lights with a 3-battery box. So you can wear them - or give them to small children and watch their faces go aaaaaah!

It's time to replug in the house's fairy lights - it's after 1 December. Maybe tomorrow (it's a modest array, but nice). Today was a Rumpelstiltskin day on the computer, and my wrists are very tired and rather achy - particularly my right (mouse/touchpad) hand. The straw isn't gold yet, but it's on the way.

(with fairy lights).

Sunday, December 03, 2006


As, in the midst of everything else claiming (demanding!) attention, I blogged today's photo, it occurred to me that I'm almost at the end of the first year. Back in January I challenged myself to find a photo a day (it didn't end up quite being TAKE, but close. Very close. Life's like that.). This blog was a place to put them with some sort of accompanying burble/rant/whatever.

And now I'm almost a year in, and have the most amazing collection of images. Not because I'm a brilliant photographer, but because I know I've caught this year for myself - the surprising, the mundane, things I might have seen but would never, otherwise, have remembered.

Writing the blog, and travelling through the blog community reading other people's blogs, has enriched the year - learning, laughing, thinking, dreaming.

Here are two recent posts about blogging which you too may be glad you've read.
Posie Gets Cozy
Creative Little Daisy

I wanted to go to a Handel's Messiah performance today, but it wasn't possible. So, instead, I've found my 3-CD box of the full work (including all the bits performances sometimes leave out) and that will provide a soundtrack to the day.

I sang in a Messiah choir for over a decade, every Christmas - that's another choice in my life that enriched it too, immersing yourself in that glorious music every year. In the highest note of all, in the soprano part of the final Amen, you feel, as the performance ends and you reach a note which you normally don't imagine you can reach, as though you are flying, filled with sound, surrounded by the harmony of many voices, facing an audience with joy in their faces.

Challenge quilt

0611 calendar challenge quilt
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
This is my quilt entry in the Quilters' Guild of NSW 2008 calendar challenge (it's 12in square). I used only scraps and leftover pieces from other projects, including the backing and wadding as well as everything on the quilt top. Some are folded into prairie points, some sewn and the striped border pieces are used raw-edge and overlapped. (OK, so the threads are new!)

The centre is from a yellow fabric that I used in a magazine project quilt - I had SO many enquiries about it , but sadly the only stockist I knew had sold out by the time the magazine was published (I'd bought the fabric about six months before using it, and then of course a magazine's lead time can be up to another five). It's a great graphic, Picassoesque fabric!

All the calendar challenge quilts will be on display at the Quilt Show at Darling Harbour, Sydney, in June 2007, and the calendars (for 2008) will be on sale.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Victorian house

0612 Victorian house
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
When you're out of your local area, it' s fun to see the different architecture - costs nothing to admire beautiful old houses like this from the footpath! Very serene, with the balanced lines of the architecture and the green garden.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Daft Christmas ornament

0611 Christmas baubles 10
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

Spotted this in a respectable department store that's gone all Christmas-quirky this year. It's the top nominee for Daft Christmas ornament, imho. (if you've photographed any contenders, by all means let me know).

You've got to wonder who sat there going, well, we can have a cow. That's Christmassy (?). And a scarf says winter (not that you need a scarf in the Australian summer). Hmmm. Add some Christmas tree elvish figures on the back, holding mittens and facing out: wearing aprons, of course, for what is a tree elf without its apron? When it's in a dancing circle on the back of a cow? And give them red shoes. Yeah. The cow should probably have shoes too - red stripey ones, there's a thought!

The most accurate bit is the cow's expression of almost total bewilderment. It's about 8in high from hoof to horn.

And gibe as I might, fact is that it IS on sale, and may just be someone's trulyy roollyy dream.

I think it's the shoes that disturb me most.....

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Summer Christmas

0611 Christmas baubles 3
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
If the hot hot days we've had recently (close to 40degC) haven't reminded us yet, Christmas in Australia is summertime. This lot look very summer like, with the bright colours - the turquoise/lime/pink is a fabulous colour combination (a future quilt, perhaps?).

I am, however, officially bored with 40degC days. Up to 30, OK, but higher is just 'orribly 'ot.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Year of Color: Violet Red

A Year of Color: Violet Red
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
A Year of Color is such fun - I do love the way it makes me go back through my photos and remember the context in which they were taken, what caught my eye then, what catches my eye now.

Bowl of scraps

0611 bowl of scraps
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
It's not really worth keeping scraps this size, is it?

(But they're beautiful, and some are from Amy Butler and were left over from the quilt on Sunday's blog entry)

Aha! There's that 12in square calendar quilt challenge for the Quilters' Guild of NSW which you had no intention of entering, having way too many other things to do.

(But wouldn't it be fun to play with them, just for a little quilt?)

It's due in the office on 30 November.

(Yikes! Where's my midnight oil?)

So, it's made? Don't forget to post it today. And you still have these scraps left over?

(Gosh it was fun to work again with virtually no rules, just letting the quilt evolve in whatever quirky way it liked. Got to do that more often).

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


0611 chenille
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Some vintage chenille scraps came my way and were refashioned into a cushion which is destined to be a little girl's Christmas present. I think she'll like its colours, and the softness of it. Cosy, old-fashioned stuff, chenille.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Nursery rhyme quilt

0611 quilt
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
This charming nursery rhyme fabric (from Timeless Threads) inspired a quilt. That's how it often (but not always) works for me - one fabric becomes a springboard. Although sometimes too I find that in the end, the springboard fabric is discarded as the other fabrics come together as a cohesive quilt idea.

Annie Dillard, in The Writing Life (a brilliant book) talks about this in writing, how that very idea which seems to be the essential pillar of a particular piece of writing is the one which may need to be ruthlessly knocked down as the work evolves.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Favourite magazine ;-)

Australian Patchwork & Quilting vol 15 no 2, just out...

(gee whiz it's a buzz to have your quilt on the cover! - for all sorts of reasons, including the memory of assembling the quilt top with a four year old girl's help (she kept picking the pink fabrics first!). Love the way quilts carry memories).

It was such a long while ago that I acquired the Amy Butler Charm fabrics around which I designed this quilt. Check out the 1 Feb, 29 March & 23 July blog entries - this is what they became.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


0611 gardenia
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
You smell their glorious scent before you see them. I don't care if the rain bruises them (well, if it did rain) - they're just wonderful anyway.

When I did wedding flowers one time, I tucked gardenias at the back of the vases at the front of the church - their scale was wrong for the (large) vases, but this way the bridal couple would have their scent as part of the ceremony.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Blue Christmas

0611 Christmas baubles 2
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Nice baubles. Isn't it grand to live in the age of fake permanent raindrops? We could do with a few real ones right now - the haze is smoky and persistent, although with backburning they're getting some control over the bushfires.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Party frocks

0611 frocks
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Today was spent touring/evaluating event venues - when it's finally held, party frocks will be the order of the day.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


0611 bushfires 04
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

Looking west towards the Blue Mountains. The contrast between the smoke filled area and the clear blue sky with white clouds was striking.

It reached 38 - 40deg Celsius today - hot, windy, low humidity, none of it good for fires. The Blue Mountains fires now include threats to Mt Wilson and Mt Tomah, fire in the Grose Valley, fire near Blackheath, spot fires further down the mountains and a new fire started by windborne embers near Faulconbridge.

Fire updates on this link.

0611 bushfires 06
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Another view.

0611 bushfires 05
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Another view.


0611 bushfires 03
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

Tankers, assembled and waiting a few kilometres from the nearest fire. Another another view.

0611 bushfires 02
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Tankers, assembled and waiting a few kilometres from the nearest fire. Another view.

0611 bushfires 01
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Tankers, assembled and waiting a few kilometres from the nearest fire. You can smell the smoke in the air; even in the short distance seen here, the furthest trees are lightly wreathed in smoke, while the sky is a light, ominous brown.

Movember II: A Hard Day's Moe...

The second iconic album cover from the Express Publications photographers. For more information, see the Australian Country Threads blog here. The guys have raised nearly $500 so far.

To sponsor them o to enter their Rego number which is 20247 and your credit card details. All donations of $2 and over are tax deductible.The money raised by Movember will be used to change the face of men’s health by creating awareness and funding research into prostate cancer and male depression. For more information visit .


0611 cherub
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
A verandah guardian.

(I don't know what else to say! - it's on the verandah, it's a present from some years ago, I kinda liked this angle and the fall of the light.... hey, enjoy the pic!)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


0611 plumbago
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Plumbago: just delightful on the table for a summer evening - it's so free flowering you can pick and pick and there's still more. Don't even need a vase, just trail it around the glasses and dishes on a pretty cloth. Another summer favourite.