Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Reading: Saving Francesca

0805 Saving Francesca
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Looking for Alibrandi is such a brilliant novel; Melina Marchetta writes a first person narrative of tremendous immediacy, immensely engaging.

In her second novel, Saving Francesca, she does the same, with a different character in different circumstances. Wonderful prose. Great rereading it this week (I read it when it first came out - I know people who can't read books again, but I'm not one of them).

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ugg boots

0805 ugg boots
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Along with the brussels sprouts, another sign of winter. It's cooled off this week, and the uggs have emerged from hibernation.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Current reading: home magazines

Still working my way through these three. I've been finding a lot of quilt/design inspiration in these - colour combinations, interesting shapes and patternings. Maybe the gridded design on the back of a chair that mutates and translates as I play with it, so you'd be hard-pressed with the final result to know where it began. Ideas are everywhere.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Brussels sprouts

0804 brussels sprouts
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
It's winter.

And the world is divided into those who will eat brussels sprouts, and those who WILL NOT (they're usually emphatic).

Buy the tender little ones. Don't overboil them. Combine them with a sweet contrasting flavour, like carrots, or a complementary sauce (maybe a cheesy white sauce) with something like bacon, to balance them.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


0804 benches
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
After the ANZAC Day march, and the morning tea at the village hall, the benches put out for those watchers who needed a seat were still there, soon to be put back in the hall for other times and occasions.

Or maybe I just took the photo because I like the aqua and vintage style of them. Could be.

Friday, April 25, 2008


080425 ANZAC Day mosaic
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
The alarm clock, darkness, a warm scarf because before dawn in April is chill air, and it's been damp, rainy this week. Scramble into the clothes prepared last night and drive to the local war memorial. More cars parked in the carpark and along the road than you ever see at any other time of year, and certainly not before 6 in the morning.

A defence forces honour guard, a catafalque guard, the utter stillness of each of the ones in uniform. The stooped, grey-haired man who moves around the edges of the growing crowd to give us the sheets with the order of service, the words of the hymns and prayers and sacred texts of this one day of the year. He wears his medals and is still, in this way, serving.

In 1915, Australian and New Zealand forces were part of the attack on Gallipoli - a costly, heroic failure that has made ANZAC Day, 25 April, an unambiguous national day with a different, deeper resonance than Australia Day in January.

Dawn services - large ones in cities, smaller ones in towns and villages across the country, and across the world where Australians may be - are an integral part of this day. In the suburban area where I live, it's a gathering that draws many people into a quiet, respectful crowd, single people, couples, families, small children held by their parents, babies bundled against the cold and held close.

It begins at 6am in the half-light. The flags at full mast, the local concert band leading us in singing "Abide With Me", the voices quiet, almost reedy, not a rousing chorus, but a union in music, unity expressed. We sing, bow our heads for prayer, then listen to a member of the local clergy, who quotes from Les Carlyon's magnificent history of Gallipoli, prose that puts you there in sight and sound and smell and hearing, amid the heat and flies and the scent of thyme, the lice you hoped would drown when you swam on the beaches, the tumbled, twisted, irretrievable bodies of no-man's land, the newspaper pages blowing across this landscape from trench to trench, the bugles sounding advances, retreats.

We sing "God Save the Queen" and quietly repeat, at the end of the ode, "Lest we forget", a murmur that binds the crowd in common purpose, the reason we're here, as the dawn light comes across the sky, even on a grey morning such as this one.

The bugler sounds the Last Post, the flags are lowered to half mast and the silence is utter, even with such a crowd, so many people. Reveille sounds, and there is a shifting and settling, and the voices unite to sing "Advance Australia Fair".

And we all return to our own lives for another year.

Except this year was a double. My father was marching in a morning ceremony. Theirs isn't a large village, and the small group of marchers, less than a dozen of them, came around the oval/cricket ground, followed at a respectful distance by a large group of local school children and other people. Leading them, uniformed Lancers on horseback.

It was still grey, and thinking of rain. The ground was muddy, and among the crowd were raincoats, and wellington boots (gumboots), and had furled umbrellas at the ready. Not a large village, but a very respectable crowd. We sang a hymn, and listened to a medalled older man talk about the dreadful, brave roulette of Bomber Command. Wreaths laid, and the ceremony over, the village hall filled with people eating morning tea, home made sandwiches and cupcakes and Anzac biscuits.

On ANZAC Day, I think of my father and uncles, who are still with us, all of whom were in the defence forces during World War II, and my Uncle Willie, who was a pilot who was lost over France in that war. The first time, he came back, smuggled by the resistance. The second time, he didn't.

Lest we forget.

The saluting soldier in the top left photo, turned, at the end of the dawn service, into the crowd and was clutched by his toddler child, who reached over from his mother's arms to his father's, hugged him and then sat up to gently play with the medals pinned on his father's uniformed chest. It was a quiet moment in the crowd, but emblematic of what war is about: duty and family.

The RSL had a proposal, this year, that only returned soldiers should march within the main groups, with relatives wearing medals, and other non-soldiers, at the end of the march. I'm so glad they didn't enforce this. The village march here was short, and the soldiers marched alone, but in the city marches across the country, it's heartwarming, and moving, and somehow very right to see the people marching who are either side by side with their father or grandmother, or marching wearing medals to stand there for someone who can no longer march, or is no longer here to march. Sometimes they carry photos. of the soldiers in whose place they have come. And that is the future, so the medals are aired, the memories refreshed, thanks regiven, year by year, onward, always.

Lest we forget.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Quilt detail/Further comment

0804 quilt detail
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

Can't show this any bigger, because it's going to be published later in the year* but I did enjoy these fabrics, esp. the aqua/chartreuse one. Yum. Great colour combination. Clearly, it inspired me, because there is evidence of handquilting here, there is indeed. Not my usual thing, since I generally find it daunting and slow and something that gets in the way of me playing with the next lot of fabrics.

Further to my Amazon comment (read: rant!) from earlier in April: the first shipment from my order of 8 April, which shipped on 11 April and was estimated to arrive (by standard international shipping) by 17 May, has come, on 24 April.

I am happy that it's faster than the estimate, and await the second shipment (sent three days later) with interest...Maybe I was lucky. Maybe they cover their behinds, by estimating such a long duration. Maybe they did retire the Amazonian mules for more modern transport...

I finished Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, and liked it, so am glad that Wicked has now arrived to read. The composer was on Spicks and Specks this week (Stephen Schwartz), and I felt fraffly up to date, knowing about Wicked-the-musical and its source. A production is planned for Oz (Australia) from July 2008 in (sigh) Melbourne.

*(look for it in Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine Vol 17 no 2) (current issue in Australia is vol 16 no 9, so it's five issues away).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Op shopping

0804 op shop thrifted finds
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Some finds from Saturday's op shopping/thrifting expedition. Background is a tapestry cushion cover ($2) that will probably become a bag - it's nice quality. Several reels of Gutermann thread for $1 each (for applique), and bags of buttons/threads for up to $2 each.

Particularly happy with the vintage green cotton ricrac (60c I think), the little silver jug (I already have one for pens etc, they're good and solid - this one was $3) and the little artist's figure ($2). Not sure what I'll do with the latter, but I've got an idea or two. New green bead necklace $4. Not bad going for an investment of $25 or so.

The traffic goes the other way too - the Salvos van came by this morning and collected a bunch of stuff. I happened to be going by their local store later in the afternoon and took a quick look. It was startling to see, already on the floor and for sale, stuff they'd only picked up that morning. That's fast! And no, I didn't buy anything back. I wasn't checking for it either - hadn't occurred to me to do so - I was after something else.

My sandpaper board has vanished, and I need to write on some fabric. The Salvos yielded a wooden teapot stand with a flat back (I was looking for a wooden chopping board or similar) and Big W (Walmartish store) some sandpaper, so a bit of glueing, set overnight, will give me another sandpaper board. Otherwise I would have checked the local hardware store that does, sometimes, have cheap/free offcuts. But the teapot stand was only a dollar or two.

(Sandpaper board: if you haven't come across one of these. If you want to write on fabric with a Pigma pen or other fine pen, a sandpaper board will hold the fabric stlil and prevent pulling. You can buy them made, but fine sandpaper glued to a board backing does the trick.)

The biggest luck-out at an op shop today was an unplanned buy that just shows the value you can find. A quality Australian brand coat/jacket (peacoat length?), for a mere $10. 70% wool, poly, cashmere (feels lovely) in useful black, well made, classic style and a great fit in great condition. I got it drycleaned, just to spruce it, and one button needs resewing (it's not gone, just almost off). It seems barely worn - the sleeve label is still sewn on, and there are no signs of wear. In this climate, a coat isn't necessarily an everyday wear thing in winter (I don't stand around on chilly train platforms much), but it's going to be handy. It's warm and comfortable, and a Find! (Certainly I know other op shops which would have had a much higher price on it).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Not a rant: Penny Foolish

0804 "Penny Foolish" title page
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

Osbert Sitwell's wonderful volume found me in an op shop on the weekend for only a couple of dollars. When I'm in the mood for a rant, I must remember the possibility of a tirade, not to mention the balancing effect of a panegyric (a formal expression of praise, I checked).

I flicked through this in the op shop. The contents pages (click on one of the photos, they're over in my Flickr photostream) looked promising. Both sides. My library has previously lacked any volumes particularly dealing with prigs and snobs, and I'm looking forward to reading about the delights of foreign colonies. As you would.

What's not to like????

Aren't words wonderful? They may be slothful, or lazy, but I am merely indolent, and it turns out to be useful...

If you pine for your own copy, they start under $US5 plus postage on

Monday, April 21, 2008

The price of petrol

The petrol tank (gas tank) of the car was almost empty, and this is how much it cost to fill...

It's the first time it's cost over $50 for a tank of petrol for a medium-sized 4 cylinder car.

In July 2006 I thought prices were high, and blogged it here:
and that time it was $45 to fill. Prices went down after that, but they're back up. Cheap day of the week petrol here has been around $1.34/litre for the green Vortex one (which is usually about 7c/litre more expensive than plain unleaded, but which goes a bit further).

$51 Australian is about 47.50 in US dollars , or 23 UK pounds.

31 litres is 8.2 US gallons

This fuel cost approx, in US dollars, $5.79c/gallon, or in UK pounds, 75p a litre. How does that compare with petrol for you?

It was amazing that the moment barrel prices went up on the world market, this was reflected at our pumps, even if that fuel hadn't made it to Australia yet.

Now to wait for the flow-on effect on prices for goods, since so much is transported by road.

Still, cars are very handy. I drove to visit a design wall I could use to lay out those chain pieced blocks from the other day. It would have been way too far to walk, and it was my reward for working virtuously for much of the day (when I didn't have to!).

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Chain piecing

0804 chain-pieced quilt blocks
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
See, you design a modest, simple quilt, and of course you don't count up the number of seams. Until you sit chain-piecing at the sewing machine and it seems to be all whirring, whirring, pressing, more whirring and, on the one hand, you're happy to see the work coming together. On the other hand - and this happens with lots of quilts, or other big projects - there's always that point somewhere in the middle where it seems rather endless, as you cut more fabric, seat yourself at the sewing machine, plod back to the iron...

Maybe that's the point where some projects lose their energy and focus, get put aside and maybe don't ever get finished.

This one will. I took a break from it, read some more of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (rich prose, a plum pudding of prose with the sharp acid catch of lemon peel - Maguire has great imagination, the way he's playing with Cinderella and other stuff to make something new).

And I guess this quilt has some of those qualities, combining old and new. I'm a bit over those seams. But when I get them finished, I can play with a cornucopia of blocks on a design wall, and feel the energy of the next step in construction. And it's also how you look at it, without process there is no product, it's the effort and time that make something happen.

Mostly, I enjoy process, the rhythm of it, the zone in which you can find yourself. And I am happy with how this quilt is coming together.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


0804 girl in the meadow.
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Isn't this watercolour print charming? Reminds me of pictures from my childhood (although it might be a bit earlier last century...). It was in an op shop (thrift shop). Do you think I should have bought it? It wasn't vastly expensive, but I dithered and put it back...

A lady nearby said, "It's a great picture of a chicken, I love chicken things," and I thought, gee, I didn't even particularly register the chicken, certainly not from the point of view of seeing it as the major part of the picture...ah, our different ways of seeing.

Any clues about artist etc? I'd love to know. Should I have put it back or taken it home??? (I left the op shop without it). The frame's not great (and seemed original, judging by the back, which I didn't photograph). But that rosy-apple-cheeked little girl...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Reading: People of the Book

0804 book: People of the Book
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
I read, and loved, Year of Wonders - and have lent it to others, who also enjoyed it. March, her different-angle take on the Alcotts (the one for which she won the Pulitzer), is somewhere in the house, I think it needs to be given a slab of time to get me going and get me in. But I've started this one, her latest, and Geraldine Brooks' prose is so engaging. I want to give this one a slab of time, too.

(I've been doing more dreaming of reading, and writing about reading, than reading itself, this week - and more quilting than anything else, some for magazines and today, something that's just for me. It's so good to play without having to stay aware of explaining a technique or skill, but just play and design as you go, be in that good creative process.)

Tomorrow there's an adventure planned, should be fun...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Today was a good day because....

  • I made a small quilt from scraps and my own design, which mutated as I sewed and pondered, and the final result worked rather nicely
  • I had a lovely lunch seasoned with quilting conversation
  • I got to talk quilting more with other aficionados, and saw some lovely magazines, and planned an op shop tour in new territories...
  • Ikea still had the curtains I couldn't get out of my mind.... I hope they don't disappear with the next catalogue
  • Angus and Robertson had a couple of promising books at 75% off - a Watership Downish but they're magpies story, and Chic Modern (inspiring photos of modern home design ideas)
  • While helping with some advice about a quilt guild newsletter, I got to have yet more quilting conversation and see a spectacularly graphic antique quilt
  • The art supply shop had some pencils which might work for another quilt idea I have, and I found three different possibilities for stabilising/lightly padding the fabric
  • eBay provided me with a couple of winter wardrobe ideas and a sweet (and not bank-breakingly expensive) vintage quilt which might become a Recycled Threads idea
  • While driving about on all these adventures, I listened to my still-favourite audiobook, The Time Traveler's Wife (yes, I know, I've listened to it more than once, but the other ones aren't here yet...). William Hope and Laurel Lefkow, I kowtow and bow in obeisance and admiration for your work on this - just marvellous.

It's too dark for decent non-flash photography, so maybe I'll illustrate this tomorrow. Hope you all had a good day too!

Reading: Eat, Pray, Love

0804 book: Eat, Pray, Love
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
I've read mixed reviews on this one - those who love it (and it's certainly been selling well), those who definitely don't. I'm prepared to give it a go, and see how I find it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Reading: The Night Watch

0804 book: The Night Watch
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Holiday reading that's another vampire novel (I'm still waiting for The Society of S to arrive from Amazon, that's the one you recommended, Candy). I've heard good things about this, and the subsequent two (Day Watch, Twilight Watch) although I gather the films of the first two are gorefests and so not really my sorta thing.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Reading: Nineteen Minutes

0804 book: Nineteen Minutes
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
More from my holiday reading pile.

I've read other Jodi Picoult books, although I don't devour them as must-reads. This one is simultaneously interesting and repellent, given its topic of a school shooting. But she plays with such things in ways that explore them through a multitude of threads, and I'm prepared to take the journey with her.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Reading: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister

Ah, the pleasure of a holiday, and some time to read. So this week I'll blog some of the books on my pile of possibilities.

This one's by the author who wrote Wicked, which became a successful Broadway musical (not yet seen here in Oz). He starts with known tales and fairy tales (Cinderella, in the case of this one, and the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz, in the case of Wicked) and reworks them in an individual style.

This paperback cost $32 Australian. I had a gift voucher for some of that, so I did buy it, but is it any wonder that I've ordered Wicked from Amazon, when even with the exchange rate and postage, it's costing under $20? For the same edition, large format paperback?

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Da planes is flying very slow from The US of A, at least from the Amazon warehouse. I note from a recent order that they will be taking up to a FORTNIGHT to pack the order, and then estimate shipping to take around 4 weeks; or more. (Note: everything was listed as being In Stock, so the packing delay isn't due to stock being unavailable). Does somebody need a better map to your warehouse?

Um, they put a parcel on a plane, and it arrives here in Oz, and the Oz postal system generally takes less than five working days to get a parcel from anywhere in this whole big big country to anywhere else in the country (which is still one big sucker of an island continent). If Australia Post can do it, in a country less populated and bigger than yours...

Sea mail from the US is no more, so why is supposed air transit (and I've flown this journey, it's a shorter one than to the UK, about 17 hours from the West Coast vs. 24 hours+ to London) taking so long? Is the US Mail, or whatever courier/logistics/mail system they're using, populated by Amazonian mules, and it only finds a plane when the mules totter into the international airport?

I ordered something from Barnes and Noble, and while their shipping is a few dollars more (per shipment and per item), they had it packed and shipped within about 48 hours tops, and estimate delivery at 7-21 working days.

This is an apples with apples comparison, by the way: standard international shipping. I know I could pay more for faster, but is this an Amazonian ploy to make us pay more?

Dear Amazon: I love that I can buy from you things that are harder to find here, (and that the exchange rate is rather nice at present) but why is your shipping so slooooow? Can you bung that biplane back in the Smithsonian, and have a chat to Boeing about their latest models? Please? And put the mules in a nice paddock, and find some biofuelled trucks? And repay the appreciation of your international customers with better service as regards shipping?

(it's been interesting to order things through Amazon marketplace sellers, and have them generally arrive pretty quickly, also by airmail. Ask them about the planes they're using. And I've had things from other US online retailers arrive by Global Priority within a week, so clearly there ARE faster planes out there than the ones you're using....)

No comment

From an eBay description:

The dolls house was made by the inmates at Berrima goal, (a working goal in the Southern Highlands of NSW, where inmates built and sold toys and wooden objects to the public) and is solid in construction, will take any punnishment kids could throw at it.


0804 cupcake birthday cake
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
He's a breath away from blowing out the candles, although since the table (outside) which was, for a brief moment, laden with food, and subsequently looked as though a plague of locusts had descended; and the jumping castle in the backyard looked, from inside, as though a riot was taking place (and sounded like it too!) - it's a wonder he had any breath left. But of course he did.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Pink cupcakes

0803 pink cupcakes
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
I didn't eat these (they were entered in a cupcake class of the Royal Easter Show baking section) but they seemed right for today's photo, since today's colour was undoubtedly pink....a friend is having a little one later this year, and knows it's a girl, so today I was shown a wardrobe of lovely pinkness. Pretty things and practical things, you forget how small 0000 and 000 are, and they grow out of these rather soon. But it's fun to share such happy dreams and preparations.

(Yup, I forgot to photograph the baby clothes...!)

Friday, April 11, 2008


0804 house on a grass farm
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
A grass farm, early on a grey morning, with the sprinklers going full bore. I've photographed this house before - it seems to be being allowed to decay, and yet it has the TV aerial which implies a habitation. Such classic vintage lines it has - the roof, the verandah.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Date palm and stormy sky

0804 date palm and stormy sky
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
It was a rainy start this week, and daylight saving ended last weekend, so the early evening was darker and gloomier than it has been - but this last couple of days have been autumnally golden. Lovely.

I chuckled hugely at the number of comments about the bookshelves. Such wise, reading readers you all are!

And meghs, I will get back to 100 word stories again....

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Bookcase by the Stupids

0804 um, about the books?
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

Isn't this a purty, purty place? Lovely colours, that sweet turquoise, delicate embroidery on the sofa fabric, and books....

um, about the books?


Didya notice, fellow readers, that the books are SPINE IN??? This image is from the March 2008 Country Home magazine, a magazine I've been buying for years, a magazine I normally respect and enjoy. But holy-moly! It's the second magazine in the last few months (yup, I'll name names, the other one was Elle Decor and I meant to blog that picture too, an apartment in Houston if I remember) to proudly show a collection of books displayed this way.

I hardly know where to start.

Um, why do they have books at all?

Why are their books merely decorative?

How the fangdoodle do they find a book to read, or are these books not about reading, but about having books to show they're nice reading folks, only if you're nice reading folks wouldn't you want to prioritise FINDING the nice books you want to read, not storing them so YOU CAN'T FIND ANYTHING EASILY unless you spent your entire childhood playing memory games like Pelmonism (I think that's what it's called, I spent my childhood, or substantial parts of it, READING).

Lovely room.

Bookcase by the Stupids.

I'll reproduce the description below, because multiple folks have been responsible for not pointing out that this particular Emperor is not only nekkid, but daft as well.

0804 how not to display books
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

Oh Country Home, you make me weep. And you said it yourself: the backward facing books (backward. Do I need to labour that point? Nope. The readers who read this blog aren't daft) turn what could have been a distracting jumble (both words hugely offensive. Distracting from what? Why is distracting bad? Jumble? Cornucopia, that's what a bookshelf is, a collection of treasures. If you buy a 'jumble' of books, then that's your taste. What, you should just buy books with blue spines or beige ones, so they're decor-books-by-the-yard, irrespective of the WORDS AND STUFF INSIDE THEM?) into a neutral element (neutral. Um, neutered, maybe? simple demonstration of owner cringe? into a laughingstock, maybe....).

From memory, in the Houston apartment in Elle Decor (designed by a son for his mother, but who made the book-organising choice I don't recollect), the decision to put the books spine-in was partly influenced by the fact that they were all dirt-common bestsellery stuff - implication, in this posh noice apartment, they were ashamed of their reading tastes so preferred the calm cream of the page-ends to, omigosh, revealing the titles/authors and their common tastes in reading. Well heck, then put your bookcases in a private room in your apartment, not the living room. Surely any booklover who comes into your parlour will pull out a book or two and instantly know that you're a reader with your own tastes. If they don't share yours, tough luck. They can read what they like.

(I'm steaming, can you tell?????)

Now if only every library in the world adopted this fabulous idea for neatness and design style, wouldn't that be grand? Bit tricky to bung on the spine labels, of course, and it might drive the patrons NUTS...

...and I wonder why there are NO BOOKSHOPS with this display idea?


I are boggled like whoa and damn.

(Just in case you wondered, the fourteen bookshelves scattered through this house all subscribe to the wonderfully old fashioned and incredibly messy idea of having the spines on display, the spines being part of the browsing wonder of the books. Retro, but, um, NOT STUPID?!)

Country Home, I have loved so many of the rooms and ideas and houses you've included over the many years I've been reading. But omigosh.... couldn't someone, at some stage in the editorial process that resulted in this page, have spoken up about this?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


0803 cake decorating bouquet
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
So there's an expression, The cherry on the icing on the cake. I think this example from a cake at the Royal Easter Show is a super-posh version...pretty!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Merry-go-round horses

0803 merry-go-round horses
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
The working week started with a gallop, with all the minutiae of the day to day, a multitude of small tasks compiling into the pattern of a working life. When there is room to be creative, imaginative, helpful to others, it is satisfying, and the day goes quickly.

Tonight, I need to work on handquilting a project. Me. Handquilting. I must be nuts. Certifiable. Well, not certifiable, but certainly not a regular handquilter. It's not a huge project, so it's doable. And this is what it wanted...Do the Quilting Rules say you can't use embroidery thread? you must have even stitches? Piffle! Be off with you, Quilt Police!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Kiva update

Have you made any loans through Kiva? I have two in progress at present, and the scheduled repayments are coming through. When the loan periods are complete, I'll have my money back, and will lend it again.

Here are my two loans, if you'd like to look and see how it all works. If you scroll down past the lenders you'll see the info on the microfinance organisation, and scheduled repayments etc.

Just reading the stories of people as you choose your next loan is an education in how the third world works, and how people's lives are lived there. Fascinating. Learn more about Kiva here. Minimum loan amount is $US25, which is not a lot, and you know that your loan (not donation, so the money can go around and around and be useful many times over) is helping specific people.

There are Kiva gift certificates, if you want a present for someone who has everything...


0804 spiderweb
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
I won't even tell you how many times I tried to catch this spiderweb...what with the angle of the sun, and the fall of shadows, and my camera skill limitations (she wobbles...). I think this was with the macro setting, and I stopped breathing while taking it. The leaf in the centre is rolled up into a shelter for the spider, who's kinda sitting on the verandah and hoping these pesky humans will foof off and let something edible provide a payoff for a Considerable amount of work....

If you click on the photo you can see a larger version at Flickr.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

River morning mist

0804 river morning mist
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

As we set off along the river path this morning, the mist was still rising after a chilly night, hadn't yet been burnt off by the sun. It's turning autumnal, cooler nights, cooler days, the return of mist and fog in the early mornings. It hasn't been a hot summer, but autumn and spring remain my favourite times of year.

I've just done a monster catchup, so if you're a regular reader, skim back through the last couple of weeks to find entries which have magically appeared for days on which they probably didn't happen, but maybe they did. Anyhoo. Back to a photo a day...

Email Australia project

The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney has lots of paper/stone/other correspondence from over the centuries, and is now embarking on an archive of email. If you're in Australia and would like to submit emails, here's the site with more info:

The Categories:

1.Life and Laughter— funny forwards and tales of hilarity from everyday life

2.Touching tales— personal e-mails that touch the soul

3.Family— the first steps to the last, and all things in between

4.Love and romance— e-mails to make you go 'oooh'

5.E-mails you regret sending— e-mails that make you go 'arrrgghh'

6.Embarrassing typos— it's amazing how easily meaning goes ashtray with a small typo

7.Current affairs— news and its effect on us, whether it's local or from overseas

8.Complaints— for those moments when only 'putting it in writing' will do

Friday, April 04, 2008

Vegetable preserves

0803 preserved vegetables
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
I've never tried this sort of preserving, though I have tried jam/marmalade, way back when. But look at the patience and craft here, like the even, even stacks of celery, the diagonal spiral and careful shapes in the jar next to it. Wonderful. Inspiring. Glad it's still being done, glad to have a chance to see these (at the Royal Easter Show, district displays. Can you tell they're among my favourite Show exhibits?)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Jewelled preserves

0803 preserves marmalade
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
There was something jewel-like about the preserves included in the district displays at the Royal Easter Show. Wonderful colours and textures - look at the fine strips in that marmalade!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Fruit cake

0803 fruit cake 01
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
I think these days are bearing fruit. It's just sometimes, when you run from day's end to day's end at work, and see only the stuff left undone rather than the things you did instead (which made people happy, or helped, or with problems solved) that you wonder.

Photo from the Royal Easter Show. Isn't this like jewels?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Cupcake display

0803 cupcake display
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Froma cupcake seller at the Royal Easter Show. Sadly, the ones on the big tiered stand were 'for display only' (so they would last the two weeks of the show), but the ones in the right hand corner were edible, and for sale.