Saturday, March 31, 2007


0703 Scrabble mosaic
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Today I visited - briefly - a Scrabble tournament. And learned new stuff. At the start of the tournament, all the boards are like the top left, every tile checked and accounted for. At the end, the 10x10 square is made up again, but it's a count rather than a letter-by-letter accounting. In the carpark outside in the morning was the giant Scrabble board, being set up to show some of the words newly allowed in the game (eg. OXO) with a few familiar ones as filler.

The family member who plays competition Scrabble (and has a NSW and Australian rating, eeek!) won 4 and lost 4 and had a happy day.

Others of the family had fun romping around op shops making discoveries (but not buying them all) and having rather a nice chocolatey afternoon tea. While the day was certainly sunny, there was a gentle reminder in the breeze that it's autumn, and that was lovely too.

Best buy? The cane chair marked (and overpriced imho) at $70 which they knocked down to $50 (still overpriced, so we left it) and then, at the cash register, they accepted our initial enquiry amount ($10). Bargain! It's been ickily spray painted brown, but a can of enamel will fix that....

Friday, March 30, 2007

Rat adieu

A Special Housekeeping Moment has now occurred, the corpse is gone and has taken its to smell a rat ambience with it, and peace has descended. Aaaaah. Thanks be. Yerk.

Australiana quilt

0703 Australiana quilt
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
As foreshadowed yesterday...

Since it was made to be taken (by others) as a gift to China, it features Aboriginal fabric and fabrics with Australian flora and fauna.

I knew from the get-go that it was intended for this purpose - it interests me how I can be both engaged and detached, when I know it's not a 'keeper'. I don't feel a sense of loss, but rather of a job satisfyingly completed. The people who will be taking and giving it are happy too, so that's good.

I'll play with the design/layout idea of it again - it has potential!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Borlotti beans

0703 borlotti beans
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
More colour! More texture! More autumn fruit and veg! Bountiful! Beautiful! That's enough exclamation marks for one blog entry!

I've been working on a quilt, so I'll try to get a photo of that for tomorrow.

I would like, of course, to tell you that I took home some borlottis and consulted Stephanie Alexander's magisterial and comprehensive Cook's Companion and other tomes and devised an imaginative gourmet beanfeast that was enjoyed by all.

Nah, for now I took the photo. Maybe on the weekend...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

ugly beautiful (quinces)

0703 quinces
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

There's something ugly beautiful about quinces, an autumn arrival in the well-lit greengrocer's. The knobbly, lumpy shape, the scabrous/mottled surface, their inedibility, uncooked.

And yet - their knobbly, lumpy shape, the subtle interplay of lime and pale brown, the amber clarity of quince jelly, the pleasure on the tongue of quince paste with good cheese.

Years ago, in a country town, an old couple gave me quinces from the tree in their backyard. I'd not met quinces before, but after some quick cookbook research, essayed quince jelly. It worked out well enough to enter it in the (uncrowded) quince jelly class at the local country show - which it won. So I was able to generously bestow prize-winning quince jelly on friends (and the old couple). Never made it since - maybe it's time to try making quince jelly or quince paste.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Pine mushrooms

0703 pine mushrooms
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Never seen these for sale before in the greengrocer's - any greengrocer's. Great colours (and authentic pine needles, just to show you they're proper-like).

More info on pine mushrooms here.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Red dahlias

0703 red dahlias
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Great cheerful colours, and wonderful abundance!

As regards the book list, I'm happy if you want to add suggestions in the comments, for authors and/or specific titles.....

Monday's a busy day!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

100 books meme

Courtey of Kirsty at twolimeleaves:

Original instructions: If you want to play along, simply take the list below, paste it into your own blog, put READ next to those you’ve read, WANT TO next to those you are interested in, AGAIN & AGAIN next to those you’ve read and can’t stop, and leave blank those you don’t care to read and “MEH” for stuff you read and weren’t impressed by.

rooruu variations: AGAIN vs AGAIN AND AGAIN - liked, liked v. much. SOCK DRAWER - tidying that would be better than subjecting myself to this alleged literature again. (You'll note below that I didn't keep entirely to their rules, or indeed mine. C'est la vie).

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown) Quadruple Meh with pike aka SOCK DRAWER
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) Again & Again
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) Not for a long time, but sometime again
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell) Not for a long time, but sometime again
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien) Never could get through LOTR
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) AGAIN AND AGAIN
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon) AGAIN AND AGAIN
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling) AGAIN
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown) MEH. Not b. likely after TDVC's meccano writing. SOCK DRAWER
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling) AGAIN
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden) READ
16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Rowling) AGAIN
17. Fall on Your Knees(Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King) Not a fan, except for Shawshank
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling) AGAIN
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) AGAIN
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien) see LOTR
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger) READ. Borderline SOCK DRAWER
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott) AGAIN
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold) AGAIN AND AGAIN
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) READ (radio series brilliant)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte) READ
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis) READ (enjoyed more when a kid than now)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert) READ
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell) READ years ago
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley) This is a weird list, Orwell to this in one leap.
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt) AGAIN
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver) WANT TO
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens) READ
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling) AGAIN
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough) READ (as a teenager)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood) AGAIN & AGAIN - an uber-favourite
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger) AGAIN & AGAIN - a new uber-favourite
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolsoy) READ years ago
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice) READ years ago
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares) WANT TO
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo) - saw the musical in two cities, does that count?
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding) READ
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje) READ. Loved the film.
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett) AGAIN & AGAIN
76. Tigana (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith) READ
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White) READ
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck) READ
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen) READ
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams) READ
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley) READ
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer) SOCK DRAWER
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding) READ
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum) READ
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton) READ as a teenager
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford) SOCK DRAWER, I suspect
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce) SOCK DRAWER

And having done that, I've got Isssues with this list - it's wacky in some ways. Lots of Harry Potters, a couple of Irvings and Rowlings just to check, is it? A distinctly odd collection of classics of various eras.

I think I shall meditate and come up with an alternate list. Which will quite likely reflect my predilections and choices in literature, but with an eye to a general audience. Hmmmm. Leave it with me.

Good at castles

0703 ballerina and castle
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
It started with a ballerina on the stage (can you tell that purple is a favourite colour?). Away she went, back to the table with the colouring pens.

When she came back, there were blue curtains. Is there anything behind the ballerina? we asked. Maybe a garden, or a ballroom, or a castle?

A castle, she said, as she headed off. I'm good at castles.

I love that at seven, this is one of the things you can be confident about.

As you can see, the ballerina (purple) got a castle (also purple). (Doesn't purple just work? It's so multipurpose).

And then she gave it to me. It's on the kitchen dresser, adding its own individual, purple, good-castle style. Great present. It's been signed, now too, with her name and age, because these things are worth both keeping and remembering.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

velvet ricrac / rickrack

OK, OK, I hear you! Here it is!

The velvet ricrac is from Not on the website that I can see, but she has lots of trims, and is contactable by phone/email.

This looks a bit wine/maroon, but it's a rich raspberry in the real world, imho. The darker side of both is the velvet side. It was $3.50AU/metre. Lovely texture, can't remember the composition.


0703 Amy Butler fabrics
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
How much Amy Butler fabric is too much?

It's interesting stuff to work with, or so I find, because while the patterns can be very individual, and of course often larger scale, it all goes together very happily. Can be quirky, but it has always worked so nicely for me.

This photo, I hasten to add, was taken in a shop and is NOT a picture of my stash.

Today's task is stash evaluation and sorting. I hope to be realistic about what I can/will/am likely to use, and wise about what to do next. So I've enlisted a friend's help - she doesn't come from a long line of hoarders....

The Amy Butler fabrics will be among those I know I will keep, and use.

Friday, March 23, 2007

ric rac? rickrack? rick rack?

However you spell it, I LOVE that evil scrapbooking means that cotton ricrac is back. For years, apart from vintage, all you could find was boring primary colours in icky rayon or another synthetic. But now...scrapbooking has really spruced the quantity and quality of ribbons and braids in the crafting market. I may not be using them for scrapbooking (well, not yet) but I'm a happy ricrac-enthusiast camper. Lookee here - wide, narrow, cheerful colours, subtle colours - aaaaah. They even had velvet ricrac (not in the photo) and that was really quite green velvet ricrac, raspberry velvet ricrac....

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Blue guitar

0703 musician
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
It wasn't really a blue guitar. But when you catch one of your favourite musicians in action, and the photo as taken really isn't what you'd call prime, or even reasonably good - well, that's an invitation to explore the photo editing software menus, if ever I saw one...

Enjoyable gig, rotten photo, exploration and an inaccurate but amusing result. Excellent!

Mind you, the death's head on a mopstick behind the music stand's a bit of a worry. But intriguing...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Harmony Day

0703 Harmony Day
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Unique badges celebrating Harmony Day, the Federal Government's approach to recognising the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The theme colour of the day is, as you can see, orange.

There's a lot of good can be done with some scrapbooking papers, fonts and a badge-making machine.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Warhol's tricycle

0703 tricycle Warhol 2
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

Well, not really. But the fun you can have with fd's flickr toys... this is a fairly new toy, the Warholizer. One photo and a new version every time you click.

I blogged this photo here, in its original form. And drew some connection between it and pedalling like mad to keep up with everything. Which is equally relevant to today's madhouse of this and that, multitasking like that Indian god/dess with multiple arms, while my brain quietly melts...

Rodent update: last night, in what I hope was the staggering of near-expiration, the rodent tipped over a box of the bait it had taken behind the fridge - first time I've heard anything. I did get to glimpse a tail - far too long a tail for a mouse..... No further sound, no more bait taken or moved. Should my nose start to wonder if it's expired? The bait instructions say to keep baiting for two weeks, but death usually happens 4-7 days after the first feed. Fingers crossed... it's sayonara time, Mr Rodent....

Monday, March 19, 2007


0703 Layer Cake DVD
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
No, no, not the film, which I've been interested in seeing since Casino Royale. I looked for it then, and the only options were around $35 for the DVD of this film on its own, or $28 for this with two Guy Ritchie films (one of which I'd seen - Lock, Stock etc. - and the other which I'd no wish to see, based on the first). That's curiously daft for starters.

As is the fact that you'd think they'd see the marketing opportunity of folks being interested in Daniel Craig's oeuvre, and get his back catalogue out at reasonable prices.

Suddenly last week, and as you can see this WAS priced at $35, Layer Cake was on sale for $12.99. So I bought it (haven't had a chance to see it yet).

DVD pricing's an utter mystery. I'm grateful for price comparison sites like so I can get some sort of peg on price variation on a given DVD title - and vary they do.

Rodent note: Yet another bait tray has vanished - well, almost, I can see the edge of it behind the fridge. Confirms my suspicions. Either this sucker's got superpowers, or it has to be feeling extremely unwell, if not downright (um, not ratty) seedy? Each morning my nose twitches for the odour of decaying rat, while my eyes check the bait tray status. Soooon...

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Its 75th birthday celebrations are today - and while it's easy enough to wander down to the harbour and see it from dozens of angles, I like the way it comes to you in glimpses when you're in the city.

When I was in NY some years ago, it was seeing the World Trade Center at odd moments, glimpses past modernity to the Chrysler building, the Empire State building - these felt more real, in some ways, contextualising the buildings rather than placing them as lone icons.

Happy 75th birthday, SHB - I can still remember the great feeling the first time I drove a car over the bridge, under that grand and graceful arch.

I took this photo in January - nope, went nowhere near the city today.

It's a great day for the Irish - I'm distantly related to Francis De Groot, who sliced the ribbon before Premier Jack Lang, on the day the bridge was opened, and also distantly related to the captain of the current Irish cricket team.

My dear mama specifically asked me to note here that IRELAND IS IN THE FINAL EIGHT at the cricket world cup in the West Indies, having beaten Canada (ha!), tied with Zimbabwe (yay!) and beaten Pakistan (on St Patrick's Day) - HOORAY - so Pakistan won't make it through the first rounds but the Irish minnow has triumphed. (So far!) Onward and upward!

Visual DNA

You pick from their photos - there was no photo of making a quilt....!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Provençal fabric

0703 Provençal fabric find
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

So I noticed during the week an ad for a sale at Les Olivades (one of their antipodean branches). If you don't know them, their French site is here. Gorgeous fabrics. The ad included attractive points like "up to 70% off" (They're not cheap fabrics, so this is very good) and "remnants" (better still, a quilter is never troubled by good remnants, they're full of promise).

My de-cluttering adviser agreed with the foolish point I made: this house is not suffering a fabric famine as we speak. (I don't really have a DCA - it's a friend whose packrat gene is extremely weak and easily cowed, and so she views the world differently).

But Les Olivades! At bargain prices!

I remained strong, this morning (it's the 75th birthday celebrations for the Sydney Harbour Bridge this weekend, anywhere near the city, or going to the city, is likely to be bonkers with traffic, crowds, etc) and instead spent less than half an hour visiting two local op shops.

I needed two more yellow shirts for a shirt quilt I'm working on. Check. Found 'em at the first shop. I also needed a feature fabric to use on that quilt. And in the photo you will see that a very nice French fabric in sunny yellow and happy blues found me. A kinda Olivades cousin and a reward for my strength of character. A friend who visited France once brought me back some charm squares just like this fabric.

(The sale's still on tomorrow, when traffic will be even worse because 200,000 people are going to walk over the bridge, which is closed to traffic; and gee whiz this has whetted my appetite for French fabrics. On special. Remnants too.....)

The fabric in the photo is currently a pinafore with a very gathered skirt - excellent for cutting into quilt pieces, as it doesn't have a million seams or much shaping to contend with.

Channelling DCA: There isn't a fabric famine in your house. Just because because fabric's on special, it doesn't mean you have to buy some. They will have another sale. You'd hate tomorrow's traffic and crowds - not worth wrangling with. Be calm, be happy. Use what you have.

Rodent note: Another 50g container of bait was moved to the middle of the kitchen floor last night. I hope you're feeling very VERY unwell, Mr Rodent....

Fabriholic note: If you're game to brave the traffic, the sale's at Les Olivades in Transvaal Ave, Double Bay.

Friday, March 16, 2007

More current reading

0703 more current reading
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
I don't think Australia's quite reached that level of cupcakery - but I'm sure it will happen (that's almost too much icing to think about, although it's hugely pretty).

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Early autumn fruits (and a rodent)

0703 early autumn fruits
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Early autumn? Late summer? Whatever. The supermarket had this array of unusual inhabitants in their fruit section this week - green starfruit, fresh figs and the hairy wonder of rambutans.

Exotica's great, but bananas back at around $2/kilo (a kilo is just over 2lb) are most welcome too.

On another note, this is the time of year when a rodent or two needs dealing with. There's one (optimistically she says one) that's got me bewildered. After being alerted to its presence by its chewing, I went this time for baits - poison pellets in cardboard containers.

First morning, I noticed some nibbling. Dandy.

Second morning, it looked as though there had been a full-scale domestic, with a ripped cardboard container, almost all the pellets gone, and scraps of cardboard scattered across the floor. O-kay. Glad you're enjoying it. Eat some more and preferably expire outdoors...

Third morning (having put down more baits), one container is definitely disturbed, some bait eaten, the container moved from where I'd put it. Hope you're finding it yummy, Mr Rodent (4-7 days, it says it will take to kill 'em, and they will still eat bait during this time, even though one feed is enough to do the deed).

Fourth morning, one container (about 4in long, with around 50g of bait in it) has VANISHED.

The rodent raptured, and took the bait with it?

I'm not looking behind the fridge yet. I still hope expiration takes place outdoors, not behind the fridge or somewhere in a cupboard.

I'll bung out another couple of bait smorgasbords and see what happens next.

(I just searched my blog with the word "mouse", and sure enough, it was about this time last year that the mouse hunt took place. It's that time of year...)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Rose mosaic

0703 rose mosaic
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Just a couple of rose bushes among a weedy bank of assorted municipal shrubs. i rather liked the progression from opening to full blown (speaking of full blown, I fully blew the focus with the bud, so it's not here...!)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Lawks! (a tantrum)

In this grand and wonderful world of instant internet self-publishing, can we just establish a couple of things?

You pour lemonade. Tipping fluid. (Ice in the glass is nice.)

You pore over a manuscript. Examining stuff.

Another one:

A peek is a look.

A peak is a mountain.

So when someone writes about a 'sneak peak', or 'pouring' over a parcel or book they've received, I'm bewildered. What the?????? Why are they dispersing liquid over their new treasure? What mountain has suddenly drawn their attention?????

Spellchecks won't catch 'em. In both cases, both are words in their own right. But it's driving me quite nuts, when otherwise lucid and capably written blogs have these usages. There's a positive rash of peaks and pouring instead of peeks and poring. Folks, I'm really glad you're looking at this stuff, I'm happy to read your work, and I'm not a grammar/spelling Nazi, but o gosh o golly me, can you respect your readers and spell correctly? It'll make you look good, too....

See, I'm not going anywhere near the spelling fracas on yarnharlot the other day - that was about American usage vs. the usage of other, quite large and populous English speaking parts of the world, like, oh, England, Canada, Australia... from what I can gather from wordnet.princeton, pore and peek are spelled the same in American and English English. So these switches are not explained by geographic variation.

I will now pack up the soapbox and replace it in the cupboard. I'm feeling peaky - time to pour a refreshing drink. Like lemonade....

Any other odd usage switches like this that you've noticed?


Pin doll

0703 pin doll
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
The sales table at cloth doll shows (always supposing you can find a cloth doll show, they're nowhere near as thick on the ground as quilt shows) with members' work for sale, can yield wonderful treasures. I have several pindolls sourced from them, including this one by "BMcG 2004").

Monday, March 12, 2007

(Almost) current reading

0703 reading
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
This one's back on the reading pile - read it last year (somewhat later than the rest of the world, I suspect) and enjoyed it thoroughly - the characters, the world created, the twists and turns of the story. Another defnite keeper.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Current reading

0703 current reading
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
I changed my mind. This week included the monthly long return train journey, an opportunity to really get into a book without distractions. Last month I read The Memory Keeper's Daughter and it wasn't. A keeper, that is. Without spoilers, I'll just say that all the characters either bored me, or didn't interest me, or both. What do I know? It's near the top of the Amazon best seller list. But I won't keep it and have no plans, ever, to bother reading it again. No memories being kept here, move along.

But The Time Traveler's Wife? An entirely different kettle of fish. Since it was annoying me before (read in a snippet of time could be part of the reason) I started at the beginning again, and had read well past half way by the end of the train travelling. Knocked over the rest the next day. NIffenegger handles a tricky plot (when? who's what age right now?) well, and the central characters of Henry and Clare did interest and engage me. This one's undoubtedly a keeper, a much better, more thoughtful, wiser work than TMKD. I will enjoy savouring it again.

Definitely recommended.

The other thing I've read recently, which is entirely hilarious, is a blog that does for romance book covers (mullets and muscles anyone?) what Go Fug Yourself does for celebrity 'fashion'. This link will take you to the SBTB analyses... (note, some saucy language may be involved, so if that bothers you, be aware). It's amazing where following blogroll links can take you...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Quilt cut

0703 modern quilt cut
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
A good morning's work from a lovely bunch of modern fabrics. No point letting Belle (Amy Butler) or Freshcut (Heather Bailey) fester, let alone the Flea Market Flancy/Fancy ones I've cut before (they're by Denyse Schmidt). Holy fabrics look so much nicer in a quilt than in a pile, or a box.

I might put a scrunched pic of this on the blog when it's sewn, but a flat shot will have to wait until after it's published in (our southern hemisphere) spring...

Friday, March 09, 2007


0703 honeysuckle
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Sometimes it's good to focus on something that just does its thing - like honeysuckle, rampant but sweet-smelling - away from the daily chores and worries.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


For me, the definitive version of the Hunters and Collectors song, Throw Your Arms Around Me, is by the Doug Anthony All Stars - slower, savouring the melody and lyrics.

This YouTube clip is from the Concert For Holly, in memory of Holly Robinson, who died from a brain tumour in her early twenties - the DAAS came together to perform in this (charity) concert after their breakup (which from memory, wasn't entirely amiable). But grief can give you another perspective on what's important, and (again from memory of coverage at the time) this song, and their version, was a favourite of Holly's.

This is the URL, if the above doesn't work: I"m glad a pal pointed me in the direction of this clip.


0703 blue quilt fabric 02
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Feeling a bit blue at present - here's some of the evidence, look what followed me home....

I like the way it's not an entirely smooth run, it's not 'perfect'. There are a few fabrics that jump out a little, that flirt with your eye and want a bit more attention than some of the others, that don't quite fit with utter harmony. Utter harmony in a quilt can have you hiding a small, slightly confused yawn, and wondering why you don't like it as much as you want to or perhaps ought to.

I also appreciated the fact that the quilt shop is one where you can fiddle about, adding and subtracting and auditioning fabric to your heart's content without being disturbed. Putting together a bunch of fabrics can be a most social activity, if you want, and that can be great fun.

But sometimes too, you want to let all the chatter and discussion happen in your head, and be left in peace to potter. And it can be very soothing, that sort of pottering, turning over ideas in your mind, listening to your eyes and heart and design imagination.

Yes, I have an idea now for these, but it's still a bit nebulous; it needs quiet space to work itself out, and a bit of playing on EQ to examine possibilities.

I'm not sure if the idea will require the fabrics to be used in a run from light to dark, but photographing them is a useful way to see how they 'read' - I wasn't trying to put them in a perfect run here, but the photo shows me how I could rearrange them if I wanted them to shade that way. I use a door peeper often when a quilt is in progress.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Comet toy sewing machine

0703 Comet toy sewing machine
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Not mine, but a friend's (and the backdrop quilt is by another friend). We were talking old sewing machines and toy sewing machines, so one brought in her childhood machine for us to enjoy. It's a "Comet" and dates circa 1960s, I believe.

For all the sewing I do and have done, I have no recollection of owning a toy sewing machine as a child. The sewing machine I used from the age of about eleven or twelve was the family's obstreperous, temperamental Janome. Some of the patience I may or may not possess as an adult is due to that machine, which had the nastiest tension in the known world. But I still sewed lots of clothes on it and would rather have had it, for all its difficulties, than no sewing machine available at all. The Elna I bought while a uni student was a blessing - its tension was usually fine.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


0702 puddle
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
With the so-welcome rain we've been having (and some quite spectacular thunderstorms), the puddle is no longer quite the novelty it has been. Hurrah.

I tried cropping this one, to have the nice green and puddle and purple flowers and fenceline, cropping out the evidence of industry. But it made the photo look squat. Any photo is a selection of the truth - so I left in the industrial buildings and let it reflect, with more honesty, this corner of the world..

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Loot (Japanese)

0703 loot
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
A friend went to Japan, and most kindly returned with this loot for me. Yum! Maybe a bag, maybe a table runner - something....

Such delicious colours and patterns.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Quilt pattern

0703 tile quilt pattern
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Well no, it's tiles from the entrance of an early twentieth century shop.

Well yes, if you're finding patterns in the world, then it's a Rob Peter to Pay Paul kind of pattern, or bow ties if you want to focus on the lighter sections.

Either way, graphic and effective, with a pleasing sort of diagonal lilt.

Devoted quilters would probably sew curved seams, and feel virtuous and happy and clever and all justifiably so.

Devoted and lazy quilters, like me, would work it as appliqué , because quilting doesn't have to be difficult to be fun. You can do raw edge appliqué , bullseye style, or gather a circle over cardboard, use spray starch and an iron, then quarter these. Stitch down by hand or machine.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Current reading : Sunshine

0702 current reading
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
(No no no, not the soppy seventies saga made into a weepie film).

This book did everything fiction can, and everything you hope it will do. Created a world, characters, a narrative, a place for your brain to travel and imagine and wonder and hope and fear and be surprised.

I've loved Robin McKinley's work since Beauty, the best retelling of Beauty and the Beast you will ever read. Her Damar books, The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown are also favourites I've read and reread.

This time, she's working with vampires. Can't say I've done a lot of reading about vampires, but if Robin McKinley's writing, I'm reading.

I didn't want it to end. I almost stopped reading it at times, because I wanted to make it last.

She has a website, She's one of my favourite writers.

Her next book's due out this year - it's about dragons....

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Nepean House

0702 Nepean House
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Between this early 19th century house and the looming Blue Mountains escarpment is the Nepean River. The Georgian architecture of early Sydney has enduring grace. The eye is pleased as much by what is not there as by what is, a sense of paring-down to a calm and reasoned and functional geometry.

Someday soon this house will be on an island. The land all around was once prime agricultural land, some of the oldest cultivated land since colonisation. It's now the property of a consortium of construction companies, and the quarries supply much of the raw material to feed Sydney's hunger for concrete. As the quarries are exhausted, the Penrith Lakes scheme grows. More information on the area here and on Penrith Lakes here. If you Google Earth "penrith nsw" you won't be able to miss the Penrith Lakes.

Today the road past this house, which has served as an artery for many many years, will be closed to through traffic - a new line of road has been laid out to skirt around the Lakes. I took the opportunity to take some photos of the house before the old road closes.