Tuesday, July 31, 2007


0707 billycarts
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
It's good to know they're still being made with such delightful ingenuity. It is so very appropriate for billy carts to be home made, individual creations like these, not stamped out with factory sameness..

Monday, July 30, 2007

Morning light

0707 morning light
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Although it wasn't the earliest part of the day, the slant of morning light still caught these stalks and showed their subtle beauty.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


0707 cottage
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Just love this sort of simple Australian worker's cottage.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


0707 faux blossoms
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Not bad for fakes, are they? Spotted them in an op shop window, big blowsy and cheerfully pretty.

Friday, July 27, 2007


0707 thicket
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
So much to do today that I barely scrabbled through the thicket of work. Sometimes it's hard to see the wood for the trees (or twigs, as the case may be).

Thursday, July 26, 2007


0707 fresh quilt
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
The latest project. Pretties with a splash of Amy Butler (does Ginger Bliss qualify as vintage Amy Butler fabric??!!). To be published in Australian Country Craft and Decorating in a few issues' time.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Creamy white, a tin roof, simple fence, simple verandah millwork. Simplicity works, doesn't it? Paring back,working out what's really essential and what's not.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Onwards and upwards

0707 Watsons Bay steps
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Sometimes, what you're given is a journey onwards and upwards, and all you can do is take it. And, if you choose, notice the texture of the stone and grass, the subtle shifts of colour and the turn that hides what dreams may come as you climb. Sometimes it's about the journey, not the destination.

Monday, July 23, 2007

More reading

07 recent magazines 2
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
The rest of the most recent pile of magazines. Quilt Sampler always interests me to see how North American quilt shops are organised, what they feature in fabrics and samples. Country Living, the English one - I just lose myself in the photography. Creating Keepsakes is still my favourite scrapbooking magazine, although the large local shop doesn't even stock it any more and were quite sniffy about it when I asked - they'd 'moved on' from it, apparently. House Beautiful is me succumbing to one of those amazingly inexpensive US subscription deals - I bought one copy locally on spec, and liked what I saw.

It's all input, information, ideas, colour, design, inspiration, food for thought: and time out.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Choir of Hard Knocks

The Australian Sixty Minutes program had a segment on The Choir of Hard Knocks last weekend. Particularly if you're not in Oz, and have been wondering what it's all about, I was glad to find this link. You can see the segment here.

Creative inspiration

07 recent magazines 1
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

It's a while since I did a magazine catchup, so here's the first part of the most recently-read pile. A couple of new additions - I hadn't seen Adorn, or Quilts and More, at local newsagencies before.

What I'm actually doing today, apart from all the usual weekend stuff, is thinking out a table runner in gelato-pretty colours. Got the block design sorted, just have to decide on fabrics and start cutting and sewing. Is it overkill to have thought of three other tablerunner designs while working out this one? Love that feeling when your brain starts humming, and you remember other fabrics you have, and ways to put them together, and various shapes and patterns and photos that are fizzing around in the mix.

And there's one lot of instructions to write for another project. Sometimes instructions are no hassle, sometimes they're just NOT what you feel like doing!

Had a great day yesterday seeing the revelation of an annual quilting challenge. I'm always inspired by what the other dozen or so members of the group produce, and intrigued by seeing how each different creative mind has worked with the challenge in such individual ways. (This took up most of the day, which I why I didn't get to Harry Potter till the evening. It was a good day - two lots of anticipation).


Recent finds.

A rock guitar version of Pachelbel's Canon. I want this finger dexterity....


Poppalina on Acts of Gratuitous Beauty, about people who craft.

A bird in flight


Bella Dia's list of Craft Blogger books

Must revise my links list over there on the right. Some I don't seem to read any more, while my Bloglines list grows ever longer with new discoveries. Opening my Bloglines list is like a wonderful self-made magazine, with columns and sections I've chosen, and new things to read all the time.


I'm doing a few posts on colour palettes over at whipup, but if you don't visit there, do look at this one of fd's flickr toys, which generates the colour palette in a photo: Palette Generator.

Part of my family's DNA is an affection for gadgets - Book of Joe is a wonderful tyre-kicking fix of the wondrous, the wacky, the intriguing and the completely nutty...


Australian Story consistently has extraordinary documentaries. Some you can watch on broadband, if you miss them at 8pm Monday nights on the ABC.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Read. Good . Well done J.K. Rowling.

(Just for the record, started reading at 7pm Saturday, done and dusted by 11pm. And I resisted the immense temptation to turn to the back in the style of Harry in When Harry Met Sally, to see how it ended...).

Friday, July 20, 2007

The splendour falls...

0707 the splendour falls...
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Something rather interesting about the straight lines of the human wall, and the organic shapes of nature. How much we try to organise and order our lives, and yet we admire beauty that will often have nothing at all to do with order and structure.

This castellated wall is at Vaucluse House in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

(Title is from a poem by Tennyson. But you probably knew that. Or if you didn't, you googled it.)

Thursday, July 19, 2007


0707 frost on the grass
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Not as cold or frosty as Tuesday morning, but this morning there were places where the frost had limned the grass...and since I didn't have time to photograph Tuesday's beauties, here's a little bit of this morning. Part of the appeal of frost is the way in which it does make you notice the structure and texture of things - leaves, stonework, whatever gets that subtle white overlay.

For a reality fix, as I wax lyrical about frost, I can give you a kid version: "Why would you bother taking photos of grass????????????"


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wings and stars

Another view of the Hyde Park war memorial in Sydney. I love the winged light flanking the window. The ceiling is full of stars, more dense as you look up towards the centre of the ceiling.

I didn't photograph today's main activity - paperwork (at work) and more paperwork (writing quilt instructions at home). Between privacy issues and not wanting to bore you witless, these didn't inspire my camera out of its bag.

I can't photograph the red and black challenge quilt which I got back from the quilter today (revelations on Saturday, just time to get the binding on....). Showed you the challenge fabrics a little while ago. Found a couple of excellent feature fabrics for the quilt.

Besides, I really wanted to show you this.

The other thing I didn't photograph was a tattoo. Not mine, but someone I know whose response to his little nevvy not being born alive (it was around the 24 week stage of pregnancy) was a tattoo of the baby's name and date and a Celtic cross, which I was shown today (he got it done yesterday, less than a month later). I'm not one for tattoos myself, but there was something very moving about it, in what it stood for in his life: to mark himself forever so the little one wouldn't be, because he was too important to be, forgotten. A very personal memorial from an uncle who's not yet twenty.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sydney Harbour Bridge

0707 Sydney Harbour Bridge
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
How could I do one Sydney icon without the other?

It was the coldest morning in over 20 years in Sydney this morning - around zero. The drive to work had frost-whitened verges and fields - cold enough to be pretty, not cold enough to be dangerous (I've driven on black ice and I'd rather not do that again....).

While this photo was taken on Sunday, its palette of blues and whites is a coolly accurate reflection of today's temperature - the subtle colours of the end of a winter's day.

They're saying tomorrow will be even colder...

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sydney Opera House

0707 Sydney Opera House sails
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
However many times you see it, the sweeping grace of the Opera House's sails never fails to impress. It is such a beautiful building.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Choir of Hard Knocks program

07 Choir of Hard Knocks program
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
The concert this afternoon was absolutely wonderful. My hands were sore from clapping, my ears heard joy and skill and commitment.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Thank you.

Thank you to each of the helpful people who pointed me in the direction of a knitting pattern for my dear mama to knit for one of her grandsons (as posted about a little while ago). Each of you has added essential info to the search, and now it's up to her. She couldn't believe how helpful internet people were!

Thank you.

Vintage chair

0707 op shop chair
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
It's a bit shabby, the paint's peeling and it needs a tad of work (eg. sanding off the flaking paint). But for $4, who's complaining? I like its classic, plain, simple lines. And it's not wobbly.

The dining table in this house is surrounded by mismatched chairs, light wood, dark wood, worn paint, a collection assembled over time, and I love them all.

I've never owned a dining suite or a lounge suite - I'd rather put old and new pieces together and enjoy the eclectic harmony.

Friday, July 13, 2007


0707 Sophie Kinsella book
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

I had a long wait today, one that I knew about in advance, so I stocked up with a couple of book choices to occupy the time. This one, from the op shop pile of a few days ago, turned out to be lots of fun, an entertaining meringue read of the chicklit variety. I haven't read any other Sophie Kinsella books (she writes the "Shopaholic" series) but now I just may.

The fact that it had an aqua cover, and I'm currently rather besotted with aqua, had NOTHING to do with anything!

I get slightly bewildered by the plethora of chicklit that you see in bookshops now - a spun-sugar cupcake palette of cover colours, twirly-whirly-I'm-fun fonts....and unsettlingly often, heroines who sound rather self-obsessed. If you have any chicklit recommendations, please do leave them in the comments - I'm happy to have some pointers to ones that are worth reading.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

War memorial detail

0707 Hyde Park memorial detail
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
This is a detail from the ANZAC war memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney. It's a building that does exactly what it aims to, giving you silence and space in which to consider those who died that you might stand as you do today. The marble work is wonderfully detailed, such as this example around the circular balcony - you look down on a sculpture of the supreme sacrifice.

More info here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Indian feast

To the right, one of the entrees at tonight's Indian feast, rather yummy deep fried vegetables in a chickpea batter. I think I'd be truthful in describing this as my first experience of deep fried cauliflower....

The main course dishes below included (clockwise from top left) daal/dahl, butter chicken, a spinach/cream chicken curry and a potato/pea dish. Side dishes included poppadoms, puri and naan breads, saffron rice, cucumber yoghurt and banana coconut.

The best bit? The company of friends - we've known each other for years and years. Always lots of good conversation.

0707 Indian food

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Watsons Bay mosaic

0707 Watsons Bay mosaic
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

Let me take you for a sunny day's walk through Watsons Bay, on Sydney's South Head. The stone obelisk tells you its age, the road made in the early nineteenth century, but the quaint cottages tell you the same (I didn't photograph the many large modern houses - real estate here, small or large, is among Sydney's most expensive).

Between the houses, you can see the Sydney CBD. Around the headland from Watsons Bay is Camp Cove, where Arthur Phillip's First Fleet of convicts and settlers first came ashore in Sydney Harbour (Port Jackson) in 1788.

Today, and quite accidentally, our timing was perfect to see the USS Kitty Hawk leave Sydney. From large to small - a boat the size of three football fields and the pleasure of window boxes and quirky door ornaments.

Being winter (would you look at that blue sky?) it was too cool for swimming in the harbour baths, but the dinghies spoke of summer and sunlight.

Dunbar House is just one of the large historic houses watched over by the ubiquitous seagulls, who think that Watsons Bay (and any stray chips/french fries) is all theirs.

Congenial company, the famous Doyle's fish and chips for lunch, time to walk along the edge of the water, sit in the sun (out of the cool and searching wind, you could bake nicely), with talk and laughter and friendship - a fabulous day.

If you click on the photo you'll see a larger photo in my Flickr photostream, and you can see the individual photos as well.

VIII miles from Sydney

0707 Watsons Bay stone road marker
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
One sunny day in Sydney, some friends went eight miles from Sydney, to Watsons Bay on South Head to eat fish and chips for lunch, wander along the water's edge and see remarkable things, big and small.

Not really me

Yup, you guessed it, the red shoes are pretty authentic, but the aqua hair is not... and my wardrobe doesn't contain quite such vivid green trews. But heck, why not amuse yourself?

Thanks to Caity and Brenda for the inspiration. Get your own here, but do a screenshot to save the pic. (I wasn't sure how to do it either. So I googled "how to do a screenshot" and got plenty of answers!)

Monday, July 09, 2007


0707 quilt-in-the-making
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
It doesn't look like this any more, after a couple of busy days - it's just got the binding to be sewn down and instructions written. All of the fabrics except the tropical leaf print are from Jennifer Sampou's Kensington range, a range I loved to bits and which seems to have been a more individual taste - don't understand at all why it didn't run rampant. They were beeyootiful (and now pretty much unobtainable, as the main range was out a year or two ago). But it was one of my absolutely favourite ranges of quilt fabric.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Midwinter at the greengrocer

Yup, I was back at that well lit greengrocers today and took more pics to upload. If you click on the mosaic you'll hop on over to Flickr and see it larger - the rococo frills of the brussels sprouts, the Dr-Who-enemy-alien-ness of galangal and taro, celeriac, posing by its very self the question, is it the utterly ugliest of the lot? while the button mushrooms and cumquats and white cherries just do pretty, the quinces do their version of ugly in a brighter yellow at this time of year and a single beetroot leaf's purple wonderfulness just had to be photographed.

Or is it just me, being a tad obsessed with how intriguing the shapes and colours and repetitions of fruit and veg are?

Wish I'd bought the polyanthus now, not just photographed it. They had them at 5 pots for $10. I'm a fool - maybe I should visit again tomorrow and invest in winter colour....

Sideline note: One of the three bookshops at that shopping centre (which doesn't count the other three discount/department stores that sell books there too, and a couple of others with books as a sideline) has taken, the lady said, 900 paid advance orders for the final Harry Potter book. That's 900 people who've thought ahead, paid their dosh and will be in a nearly 900-person queue in a couple of weeks. Sheesh.

Most of all, I just don't want to know the ending till I read it myself. I dread the loudmouth in the store, three places ahead of me on the queue, who gets their book, flicks to the back and shouts out what happens. Nooooooo!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Cheap reading

0707 cheap reading
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Twenty minutes, one op shop (Goodwill/Oxfam/charity shop) and a pile of good reading. Almost French will be good for a friend soon to be on a long flight - I've read it and enjoyed it, the story of an Australian journalist's first year living in Paris, the joys and dislocations of another culture. If it ends up lost in a locker or left on a plane, no worries. I left the Anita Shreves for someone else - I know they're popular, but I find them somehow depressing, like betrayal is always the most likely scenario. Our Sunshine is Robert Drewe's take on the bushranger, Ned Kelly, the basis for the Heath Ledger film, while I hadn't seen the novel that inspired the film Nell before. Geoffrey Robertson's likely to be as good in prose as in speech, and he's damn fine at that. Ruby Wax, ditto, although she romps in different fields. Even though Paul Theroux never, in the Irish phrase, seems to have met anyone he likes better than himself, his travel journalism is still entertaining. Sophie Kinsella - I haven't read much of this kind of pastel-covered lighthearted-drawing-cover chicklit, but at this price, am happy to give it a whirl. The Lovely Bones was one of my books of the year last year, and Lucky, Alice Sebold's earlier memoir, has been on my list, in a quiet sort of way, ever since. And now it's found me.

Total if I'd bought the lot: easily under $20. The only thing cheap is the price....

And then if you don't like 'em, you send 'em back for someone else to find.

Friday, July 06, 2007


0707 Challenge fabrics
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
By mid-July, this collection of fat eighths has to become a quilt.

Found another couple of fabrics and started cutting and piecing it today, once I finished the quilting I had to do first.

It's coming together nicely, imho.

The challenge group has been going for several years, and the annual challenge is an inspiring opportunity to see how a bunch of different quilters can work from the one place to many interpretations.

I've always found the quilts I've made to be ones that stretch and invigorate me to try something different, which is after all the point of a challenge...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Christmas quilt

0707 Christmas quilt
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
I know, I know, back to scrunched pics because I can't show flat shots yet....

This quilt was made from a range that's several years old, Versailles by ?Moda, together with some reproduction fabrics. It was a great range of fabrics, Versailles - I just used the reds and greens for this, but there were wonderful blues and other colours in it too.

Having got it done, I can go and play with some fabrics for a quilt challenge due later in July.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Long johns

0707 long johns
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
I've been working on a cloth doll today - don't the long johns (recycled from a red gingham teatowel) look like fun?

Can't put doll pics here till the magazine comes out in a few months...but it turned out looking rather fun!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Gill Hicks

This remarkable Australian woman, the last person pulled alive from the bombed wreckage in London in July 2005, was interviewed (together with her husband) by Andrew Denton on Enough Rope tonight, on ABC-TV. Below is an ad she participated in for a peace organisation.

Find the transcript of the interview and more information here.

Knitting pattern - can you help?

My dear mama is in search of a knitting pattern for one of her grandsons. She's keen to knit him a jumper with a kind of crossover neckline. It's the kind of neckline in this Flickr photo, only probably going a tad further down the chest. From memory, to knit it you leave the front with a long squared off low neckline and then knit the collar as a rectangle to sew in, crossing over the ends of the rectangle at the front, so they're flat there and curve over to form a collar at the neck.

I don't knit. I know how, but an old injury means it becomes too painful after too short a period of time to bother. If any of you who read this blog, some of whom are knit-knowledgeable, could point me in the direction of a pattern (she wants to knit a size suited to about an 8 year old) I'd be most grateful, and so would my dear mama. Maybe a current pattern, maybe a vintage one (I'm sure they were cranking this style out in the fifties).

Leave a note in the comments or use the email addy over in the sidebar.

Thank you!


0706 Darling Harbour
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
It's a tough look, isn't it? Winter in Sydney? When the weather is kind (not necessarily warm, but sunny) and the sky is blue and for me, there is so much more energy than is sapped by summer's humidity.

This is some of the structure of the Exhibition Centre at Darling Harbour, west of the CBD of Sydney, where the quilt show is held.

Winter in other places I've been is lowering and endlessly cloudy skies, the day ending so early and the streetlights reflected from the low clouds, weak and dreary light. Not this brilliant light and blue, blue sky. We're fortunate. June had a lot of rain, too, so we're doubly fortunate - the dams are up to 50% full now.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Full moon

0706 full moon
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
The Quilt Show is over for another year. On the way home from it on Saturday I stopped to take this photo of the full moon in a gently-coloured evening sky.

Still mentally composing my quilt show account...coming soon...