Monday, July 31, 2006
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Saturday, July 29, 2006
The 45's scratched and probably unplayable, but it was delightful to find this at the op shop today. We had an LP record of this 1950s musical, Salad Days when I was growing up, and I can still sing many of the songs:
If I start looking behind me
and begin retracing my track
I'll remind you to remind me
we said we wouldn't look back...
Mind you, we had the record but I've never seen a production, so it's something of a jigsaw puzzle, story-wise. Pianos? Regrets? Sitting in the sun? Sounded like jolly genteel japes.
We mustn't say these
were our happiest days
but our happiest days so far..
I could google it, but that would dissolve the mystery.
This is a glimpse of the quilt top pieced from the Quilt Cut photo last weekend. I've added the border, pinned it and begun quilting it today. It seemed happy as a background to the graphic design of the record cover.
I also rather like the leaf print on the cover - could be fun to play with that sort of idea.
Friday, July 28, 2006
Thursday, July 27, 2006
It's a lot harder to avoid buying petrol, though. It used to cost under $30 to fill this tank - and the 32 litres shown here is only three-quarters of capacity...
Every now and then it's good to record such mundane details as this - they are a part of every day. Maybe one day we'll marvel at such cheap petrol.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
I've never seen this crockery before, in all any op/junk/vintage/antique shop. Just the saucer, no cup, but delightful for all that. Which photo do you prefer? - I haven't decided yet. The Denyse Schmidt quilt fabrics worked rather nicely for the background.
This page shows some Melbourne Olympics souvenirs, but all the china is more souveniry/bright than this design.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
(You may note the absence of green vegetables. They work perfectly well, of course, but there is the fascinatingly unappealing colour of the result... rather agricultural in nature. This one's a curried cream of orange and white vegetable soup). Must buy some crusty bread on the way home...
Monday, July 24, 2006
Stephanie at Yarn Harlot has an honest, engaging take on the 'Easy As Pie' (or so some think - not her!) process of writing in this blog entry. It's no wonder her blog is as popular as it is - her voice and character leap from the page.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Whip up has an excellent entry on keeping a creative visual diary/ideas book - here's the link to it.
It does, however, involve, oh, about 100 fabrics, give or take, including a sample of every fabric from Amy Butler's Charm, some of Jennifer Sampou's glorious Kensington and a whole bunch of Moda fabrics (I knew those charm square offcuts would come in handy). (You don't need yardage to get variety - charm squares are great. Fat Quarter Shop sells a huge selection, if your local quilt shop doesn't, including precut ones from Moda and ones they do themselves as "Jolly Packs" from other fabric houses and ranges). Often enough I'd rather have a little of a lot instead of a lot of a little. More colours to play with!
Had a lovely time piecing it today, with a 3 year old girl as my 'randomiser' - she chose the next piece to use according to some principle which completely eluded me... except all the pink pieces DEFINITELY went in early. When the quilt centre was pieced, she pointed out more than once that she'd made it too. And so she had.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
But that rise in the verse - It goes like this he fourth, the fifth/The minor fall, the major lift/The baffled king composing Hallelujah - is a glorious thing, with Hallelujah as resolution.
If you want to pursue a cornucopia of versions, this blog has done all the research for you. Including providing eight verses (scroll down to the comment section). Apparently Leonard Cohen sings a selection, in concert, not necessarily the same group each time.
Another blog that discusses Hallelujah includes in its comments this one:
I think it's about emotion and faith, two things that must be experienced, not explained. The 'secret chord' is that mystery; we search for it without knowing what it really is because its experience is beautiful, terrible, and grander than ourselves.
which is from this blogger.
Friday, July 21, 2006
On supermarket and fruit shop shelves, there isn't a writhing mass of yellow fruit, just a few bananas - a dozen or two at most. The price tag is astronomical in comparison to what we've been used to - $11 per kilo and up, which can run at $2 per banana or more. People walk past, and look, and walk on, shaking their head at the cost.
In March, when this photo was taken, they were under $5/kilo, and probably lower. And back then, if one went riper than you liked, you could chuck it in the freezer for banana cake or banana muffin use, and think nothing of it. Now, you watch 'em like a hawk and savour every bite. Hasn't Cyclone Larry in Queensland changed our view? I've never heard a fruit so talked of as the banana is on radio right now. I've heard people talking about their holidays in terms of how they could eat cheap good bananas every day. 99c/kilo in New Zealand! Cheap as chips in the US!
They're saying a new crop is coming through, and soon....soon...sometime in the next few months we can enjoy them like we used to, with profligate pleasure through the day. And maybe, until we forget, we'll still savour them in their abundance as we do now.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Monday, July 17, 2006
Sunday, July 16, 2006
On the right, my original design, Song of the Village, made using Old Sturbridge Village fabrics by Judie Rothermel/Marcus Bros.
On the left, a friend's version of the design, made for her aunt's 90th birthday.
I may have designed dozens of quilts, but it's still a huge buzz to see one made by someone else, particularly a friend selecting it because it appealed to her (not from sympathy!). It's also great to see how it works with different fabrics and a change in the light/dark of the star block's corners. It works!
Saturday, July 15, 2006
A Recycled Threads bag, combining a souvenir tablecloth of the Cotswolds, a pair of green corduroy jeans and a tapestry (or needlepoint) of what could well be a Cotswolds view (it reminded me of the village of Upper Slaughter).
It was a jigsaw exercise, fitting it together, an exercise in ingenuity, imagination and the belief that it should and could work....
It's a casual weekend-away sort of size - vaguely carpetbaggy! Definitely rustic. I rather like that it combines natural fibres as it does: wool (tapestry) and linen (tablecloth) and cotton (corduroy).
The mosaic shows various details - the individual photos on Flickr have more information. The tablecloth had a centre map, surrounded by district images - this border became the side gussets and picture row below the map. The outer green stripe border of the tablecloth became the handles. The ubiquitous 'green' supermarket bags led me to try the 'covered seam' approach, due to the bulk of the seams. There are magnetic clasps below each handle.
A whiplash entry (tutorial).
Friday, July 14, 2006
Might have an open fire tonight - the forecast's for ongoing rain, and it will be a winter-warming treat. Just the sort of night to look into flames and wonder why that's such a soothing, engaging, restful pastime. Certainly not something that would happen for a usual Australian Christmas - air conditioning is what's soothingengagingrestful in December!
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Today's actually truly significant achievement was getting my parents set up online with an email address and internet access. There is so much to interest them on the net, and possibilities like live English cricket commentary, interactive Scrabble games and more. Fingers crossed!
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Some of yesterday's lemons, destined for home made lemonade. Home grown lemons have a pleasing variety in their sizes and shapes, with odd ridges on some, and bird poop on a few.
Elizabeth Farrelly, the architecture writer for the Sydney Morning Herald, had an interesting piece in today's paper that relates to this. She begins with a Biennale exhibit involving thousands of hand made clay figures, little more than bodies with eyes, but oddly compelling. Antony Gormley's Asian Field.
To quote from her piece:
It's a quality for which English should supply a name, but doesn't. Something like unity-in-diversity would do, except for the ecumenical overtones. Or complexity-within-unity. Emergence is similar - the idea that simple units and rules can co-operate, like termites in a colony or neurons in a brain, to produce a sophisticated and self-directed whole. Emergence, though, is a concept from science, not aesthetics. And it doesn't capture the idea of essential difference, where small but myriad variations in the parts generate an extraordinary beauty in the whole.
It's a quality that occurs, if we're lucky, in buildings, street walls, facades, villages, textures and spaces. Compare, for example, a typical 17th-century brick wall with a new one. The first is warm, charming and picturesque, the second cold, chiselled, ruthless-looking. It's not just age or patina or the traditional patterns of brick-bonding, though these all help. It's that the old bricks, being handmade, are all slightly different, slightly wonky.
This simple fact gives the completed wall a softness, or humanness, to which we instinctively warm.
She goes on to talk of the garden walls in Lang St near Centennial Park "singing from the same song sheet", and the terraces of Paddington clinging up and down its steep streets, landscape dictating variation even if the basic design of adjacent houses is the same, as architectural examples of these ideas.
I'm sure, in patchwork, that this principle operates. I was talking today to another quilter. Both of us have made quilts that now, in the hands of non-quilters, have a place of honour on a wall that we never imagined. We each made relatively simple quilts, never beginning with the intention of a masterpiece, and not ending, either, with something that we considered to be one. We took care and pleasure in the making, and made quilts that pleased us. But those who own them now have them hanging as artworks.
Past a whole bunch of other arguments (I don't think we'd have been happy to find our works being trashed or treated like any old covering), there is an accessible pleasure in quilts for the nonquilter, and part of that is probably due to the handmade repetition of which Elizabeth Farrelly speaks.
Some modern art quilts can seem remote (and I've seen others that are way too much in-your-face personal, too). But pick a vintage quilt, simple blocks, pleasing colours, and you'd be hard-pressed to find many people who didn't feel drawn to it, and the non quilters at local quilt shows are equally drawn to what they see.
These lemons aren't perfect. Nor are my quilts (perfect points? Nope - they may sit flat, but the points aren't necessarily perfect). But they share this quality of simple units combining to a brain-engaging whole. I find myself liking repetition in many places. I learned a while ago that one of Nancy Crow's childhood favourites was the picture book, Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, for its illustrations. I loved it then and now - for the power of its story as well as its singular and engaging illustrations. (It's by Virginia Lee Burton and is still deservedly in print: Amazon has an excellent list of classic picture books here).
NOTE: If you're interested in reading the Farrelly piece, which includes an illustration of Asian Field, the SMH lets you read stuff for 10 days free, and will then require payment. This is the full URL of the article today:
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
I was going to call this "wild lemons", but that would be twee AND a fudge, since they aren't, they're the ones that grow in the garden, admittedly without much help or attention. Now, just past the middle of winter, the tree is heavy with fruit, some of which is reachable.
I rather liked the yellow and green of the lemons against the blue of today's clear sky.
SeaChange update: up to the second half of series three, the final series (it's been good to quilt to). Max is being irritating (and irritated), Laura having been perverse is being rewarded by the attentions of Warwick (the world's most boring man), and so it goes. I think my favourite individual episode in the series to this point is Playing with fire. Beautifully, cleverly written, and the strong performances shown with fine photography - it's an episode with images that stay in your mind - silent hands questioning the water in Marco Polo, Miranda's name written in fire.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Sadly, the framer was rotten. I still think, one day, that I'll dismantle it, add more tapestry canvas to the corners and either reframe it or make it into a cushion. On a more positive note, I still admire the subtlety of the original design, particularly the petal shadings.
Victoria House is still there, still with an astonishing collection of tapestries and embroideries, threads and patterns. I acquired a number of sampler patterns from them over the years (Sheepish Designs were favourites), but right now I'm mostly quilting. So when I'm in Mittagong it's the two quilt shops (and a couple of antique/junk shops) that get my first attention.
Still have a couple of tapestries on the go - mind you, they've been on the go for several years. One's a counted one (not printed on the canvas) so it needs attention to continue, while the other is printed and is mindlessly wonderful as a way to allow long meetings to pass.
The world map shows where readers of this blog reside (I do hope whichever one of you looks to be mid-Mediterranean can swim really well, or else has a delightful island).
LibraryThing shows five (random) books from the library/catalogue (beginnings of - only 80 titles so far) that I've established on that site. If you haven't taken a squizz at LibraryThing, it's got a lot of play potential - how many people have listed which title, tags, clouds, all sorts of amusement - you don't need to join or list any books to play there. It's good to know others enjoy I heard the owl call my name (Margaret Craven) (a work of fiction written with clarity and intelligence and deceptive simplicity), and interesting to note that for some titles, I was the first one to list them. It's amusing to see the internet serve the book in this way.
I also recently revised the list of creative blogs - there are some entertaining and inspirational links there, if you've got the time...
Sunday, July 09, 2006
I have an affection for vintage encyclopedias like this - these are four random volumes from a larger set, circa 1961. They're a snapshot of their time: concerns, attitudes, matters of importance, ways of seeing, what was considered new/fresh/innovative (does a computer fit in just one room yet?). And sometimes, when you're lucky, colour plate illustrations, although they can be an astonishingly random selection of images. There were only the four on the op shop shelf - I wonder what happened to the rest? These were $2 each.
The silver dish is also from an op-shop. Or was it a garage sale? Either way, a bit of silver polish and elbow grease brought it back to life. Of course, the first time you polish it is always rather more fun than the second. Or third. Or...
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Friday, July 07, 2006
Fabric for two Christmas projects to get done in the next few days, a table runner and a Christmas quilt. It's nice to have the contrast between funky colours/fabrics (the lime/red and trees) and traditional colours with not a Christmas fabric in sight. Australia's is a summer Christmas, so it's fun to play with more light, summery colours as well as the classics.
Photographed this in several places and from several angles (I do love digital cameras!) and the colours just seemed to pop better against green. The basket cost a whole $2 at an op shop last week.
*WIP Friday: for works in progress, a meme started at hop skip jump. There's a Flickr group here.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
What I actually did yesterday involved teeth (for others), a spiffing lunch, family time and 346km. None of which I photographed. So instead, this image I took some days ago, of current reading. And of course, the pictures. William Morris is endlessly inspiring. And while I love his colours, his patterning, this quote from him is what I love best of all (and maybe one day might stick to...)
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
The Australian Socceroos were magnificent; they stood up and took their challenge with joy and determination and team spirit to teams ranked far higher - win, lose or draw. Their approach showed some of this country's best qualities. This house watched every one of their matches live.
It was beastly cruel and distinctly whiffy that an opposition dive and a ref awarding a penalty rather than, say, a corner at the utterly final minute should have robbed them of the chance of extra time in their match against Italy. And each time since that Italy has won, the air fills with 'what if?'.
Wimbledon's on, and so forth, but the next sporting event to attract the serious attention of this house will be the Ashes series at year's end. That should be something to see, after the last one.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Another Christmas project done and dusted. I'm still trying to work out what possessed me to entertain a block with 75 pieces in it... While finishing it today I put the BBC Jane Eyre (Zelah whatserface and Timothy Dalton, 1983) on the DVD player, but didn't watch much because I was looking at what I was quilting/binding. A kinda talking book.
a) I found Rochester a bit too demanding and contrary. An elusive charm (unlike, say, Darcy). Jane a bit prissy. And the way he kept going on about her being an elf/fairy etc. erk. In a crinoline? With that many white lace collars?
b) they've sure improved the lighting in more recent bonnet dramas. This one looked entirely lit by fluorescent lights, from above. Just like they had in the mid nineteenth century.
c) maybe it's the way it was filmed (on video instead of film, or some medium that hasn't lasted so well?), but it seemed drained of colour - browns, greys, very muted in decor, clothes, interiors. I'm sure I've read that Victorian times included some outrageously bright colours, particularly after the discovery of aniline dyes.
d) it may be 'period' but it's still interesting to note the prism of its time of making - it has a late 1970s/early 1980s feel about its costume, here and there - in the hair, perhaps some fabrics. Make it again now, and even though its period would be the same, the representation of the period would be different, however much each production's designers strove for authenticity.
Still, 330 minutes later the partially quilted quilt had been fully quilted, binding and hanging sleeve attached and hand-sewn down, threads snipped off front and back, label made and sewn on. Finito (except for the instructions). Amusingly enough, these are 'reproduction' fabrics, a Judie Rothermel 19thC range called "Spirit of the Season".
Although it's far from Christmas time yet, it's definitely been a cold winter so far. The paper said today that's because of global warming - high pressure systems bringing clear skies and cold nights. Brrr. Well, brrr for Australia. None of my Christmas quilts are ever used in Australia's December for warmth, but they work for decoration. Ho ho ho.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
I believe there are several countries with flags this colour - Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand and the US, among others...
But American quilt history has been hugely inspirational for me, so this is an acknowledgement in North America Week (Canada Day, July Fourth).
Monday, July 03, 2006
Sunday, July 02, 2006
The colours are somewhat gaudier than my recollection of the English countryside. Still and all - one of my grandmothers did tapestries as her needleworking, as well as knitting dolls' clothes (for larger dolls, Sindy defeated her) (we had Sindy, not Barbie). I've made more than one tapestry in my time, as it's nice non-brain repetition, good for occupying time with another activity (the teev, meetings etc). It's a kind of colouring-in with wools.
This may be a modest and also unsubtle piece, but I'm glad to still have it, for more than one reason.