Saturday, May 31, 2008

Chandelier spiderweb

0805 chandelier spiderweb
Originally uploaded by rooruu

All along the bush/woodland path we walked this morning, spiderwebs festooned the greenery. Although it wasn't sparrowfart (early early), it was still early enough for the dew to have beaded on them. Beautiful, like chandeliers, or grand necklaces strewn about carelessly.

If you can't quite see this so well, try clicking on the photo to see it larger in Flickr.

Friday, May 30, 2008


0805 cupcakes
Originally uploaded by rooruu
These are white chocolate mud and raspberry cupcakes. They were cooked, iced and eaten, and more will be required next week. It's a while since I've done any baking, it was good to play. The trays are small-hole ones, the cakes a mouthful or two. While cupcakes have yet to tsunami their way here as they have in the US, it is a bit easier to find coloured paper cups for them, and little coloured paper cups, than it used to be.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Late afternoon

0805 late afternoon
Originally uploaded by rooruu
The end of another long, busy day at work. The only photo you seem to have had time to take is the trees in the near-empty car park silhouetted against a blushing sky. Still, that's something worth trying to catch.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ladybird books

00805 Ladybird books
Originally uploaded by rooruu
Ladybird books were a much-read and much-loved part of my childhood. There were lots of them in the house, and they informed, and entertained us for many happy hours.

I noticed these sets in the bookshop this week. I'm perfectly happy for them to reissue vintage Ladybird books, but was ambivalent about the way they'd chosen to do it. One box is for boys, one for girls. (Won't take you long to guess which is which). And while this might accurately reflect the times of these books' original publication, I wonder about doing so now. Am I just being politically correct? But why do boys get to make a transistor radio, while girls shop and help at home (oh, and understand maps, which is the only one that doesn't have me bristling a tad)?

Was this the only way they could divide the books into sets? What about a set about making, another about careers, another about 'how things work'? I know that's more than a neat, gender-specific (complete with assumptions) pair like this. And I know that while these sets may suit children of the specified gender, the underlying sexism troubles me.

The shelf of Ladybird books with which I grew up wasn't divided into books for boys and girls. Even if the books did reflect their times - fifties, sixties, seventies (and they did and do), this marketing choice is a modern one that seems unfortunate or ill-thought-through, to me.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


0805 brown autumn leaves
Originally uploaded by rooruu
Today was one of those days when you aim to focus, while things come at you from all angles. Not unmanageably so, but constant. Didn't achieve all I wanted to, but some of it happened, and more will tomorrow.

Ended the day with a great conversation with an independent bookseller. Ranged over lots of things, but one of the many things we agreed on was that, with a good book, you go on an engrossing journey that you can't experience any other way. Doesn't have to be the finest literature - we all have individual lists of page-turners, words that take you into worlds. Love that about books.

It's so good when you can share them, and find someone else getting the same delight. I've recently lent a bunch of Georgette Heyers to a friend who'd never read any, and she enjoyed them immensely, disappeared into them, set other things aside so she could stay in, travel in the world of each one. Love that about books.

On reflection, I'm fortunate to have had "The Time Traveler's Wife" as the first audiobook I'd listened to in a long time. And unabridged (William Hope and Laurel Lefkow, utterly brilliant readers). That rendering was of such quality and depth. It slowed me down to notice what I hadn't noticed before, it took me through my favourite sections with unalloyed delight. As I've said before, I've listened to it three times. It also sent me back to the printed book.

From the bunch I posted a couple of weeks ago, I'm now partway through "The Art of Mending", and believe that it's not just the reader's voice that isn't gelling for me, it's probably that the book isn't connecting either. I don't believe it, I'm not able to suspend disbelief. The central character is a 'quilt artist', but in a way that I've not known anyone to be so - switching between working with commissions involving loved clothing to other ones involving new fabric. Perhaps there are people doing this in the US, but it seemed unfocused to me, a tad implausible - the quilt artists with whom I'm familiar tend to have honed their attention to a specific body of work, rather than being jills-of-all-fabric. Somehow this woman was a commercial commission quilter, maybe, but not a quilt artist. Or not an art quilter, if that's a better way to put it.

It wasn't just that, though. I wasn't enjoying spending time with these people. I didn't care what happened to them - they were boring and self-involved and smug and tedious (whereas you can have self-involved characters that you dislike intensely, but want to keep reading about). They stayed as words, they didn't become real. The book hasn't held me - I've only experienced it as audio, I don't own a print copy (slight disadvantage, I can't just flip to the end and read the last couple of pages!) and I don't think I'd be interested to. It's got about four stars on, so there are plenty of folks who disagree with me.

So now I've started on the unabridged audiobook of "Outlander "("Cross Stitch" was its publication title here and in the UK) by Diana Gabaldon. It's a book I've read and shared and read again. And again. And while the reader somehow isn't my favourite (I don't know enough to know, but it seems like her Scottish accents are a bit dodgy from time to time), it's a serviceable version and is again bringing the book a new dimension and sending me back to the printed book.

To focus my thoughts so far: a good audiobook can enhance the original print book; but I'm not sure that a decent one can do anything if the original words don't have what it takes to draw you in. (As was true with "The Last of the Mohicans" audiobook, despite the skill of William Hope). It's unreasonable to expect every book to be a winner , but I don't want to spend money on books that aren't, or at least not often. That was what I talked of with the bookseller, too. Nearly $30 is a lot to spend on a book you end up disliking or feeling indifferent about.

Tomorrow is another day. And will include books.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Blue window

This photo dates back ten years, to a visit to Blundell's Cottage on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, in Canberra. The intense blue appealed to me, and the crazy-piecing of the stonework (OK, so even then I could see quilts in all sorts of non-quilty places).

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Conversely, ...

0805 red shoes, green grass
Originally uploaded by rooruu
Tomorrow I will be wearing these to work. Not formal, but comfortable, and there's a big day all day on my feet coming up. So practical overrules stylish (not that I wear high heels anyway, too much running around on a normal day). With these, and thick socks, my feet will survive, even if I arrive home catatonic with fatigue. Luckily we only have these particular big days a few times in the year.

These are the red leather Project Red Converse boots which you can find around the traps - some of the proceeds go to Bono's charities. Last time I owned gymboots I was a teenager. These are great.


Yup, I'm playing with the blog header. We've gone from purty roses to vintage kitchen cupboards - not the ones in this house, but I liked the blue and white and little bit of red. And the wear on them. This one will be there for a week or two, then another one will appear. Why leave it the same all the time, I say (having left it the same all the time for months and months...).

Must get the photos off the digital camera. I should have had it at the trivia night last night, the table dressed up as Ghoulies had gone to a LOT of trouble, including cupcakes with maggots (that would be candy maggots, I hasten to add as you recoil) and icing in sinister purple and ominous green. They came equal first with our table, the good cause for which the trivia night was being held made a decent profit, and it was a cheerful evening all round. One of the most amusing questions/answers was a loquacious and circumlocutory quote which we attributed to Gough Whitlam, and which turned out to be the work of Kevin Rudd. Hmm. Not sure which of them would be more disturbed by our misattribution. (note for those overseas: you'll find 'em in Wikipedia, but the short version is EGW=Labor Party Prime Minister in the early 1970s, and KR=current Labor Party Prime Minister).

Petrol's now over $1.50/litre, some places with it over $1.60 litre. I needed some border fabric for a quilt yesterday and was very happy to find something just right at the shop 10km away rather than having to pursue an obscure fabric to a shop which is a 90km round trip. I'd used the obscure fabric elsewhere in the quilt and it was a range on which most shops had passed (but it's NICE you hear me whine; but it's not the common taste, you hear the shops reply. Story of my life).

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Doesn't autumn last a long time?

0805 autumn leaves
Originally uploaded by rooruu

Seems to be so, on this blog, doesn't it? Well, there are plenty of eucalyptus trees about doing nothing in particular different now to what they do the rest of the year, so it's nice to notice the ones with a bit of variety - autumn colour now, blossom or jacaranda in spring.

I like the variation of colour in this, from green to dead brown. We walk past this tree each week, and it's getting closer and closer to no leaves at all.

Quite happy for autumn to last a long time. It's not as cold as winter. But winter's coming, you can tell. Even if it's the milder Sydney winter, no snow or ice. But yes to frost and fog and needing the heaters on and enjoying hot water bottles and hot chocolate and cinnamon toast.

Friday, May 23, 2008


0805 white flowers
Originally uploaded by rooruu
Athletics carnival day today - but still time to photograph the lane marking (to several people asking, why? in bewilderment) because it amused me to see how the painting had made the grass almost seem like white flowers.

I have been accused of being, at times, easily amused...

It always interests me that, at athletics carnivals, when you're actually there, the contest that ends up drawing the largest crowd is always the high jump, when the good jumpers are getting towards the end of the competition. The tension, the wonder, the visible challenge, the way, in the end, it's person against bar. I hope the Olympics and Commonwealth Games broadcasters will someday realise the potential of this and broadcast more than brief highlights. Maybe someday.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Writing Life

0805 The Writing Life
Originally uploaded by rooruu

I bought Annie Dillard's book in 1994. I did know of it, but had not found it in any bookshops here in Oz. And then stumbled over it being used (in multiple copies) as beige shelf-filler at a chain furniture store. I notice that Ikea uses non-English books as filler in its stores, so they are probably at minimal risk of being bailed up, as this other store (it wasn't Ikea) was.

Could I please buy a copy? I asked. Just one. I really want to buy this book.

It's just decor.


We don't have a price on it.

Can you make one up?

(Clearly I wasn't going to give up).

OK, they said, just one copy, $10.

Done, I said, handing over the cash.

Maybe it was around in some bookshops in Sydney, but it wasn't one likely to be stocked by many. Now, I'd hunt it up on the internet (you can buy over 100 used and new copies from, for example, I just checked). But then, back then when the world was young and the closest I'd got to the internet was some Macworld caper a computerish pal was playing with (and I never got to see, since it wouldn't work when he tried to show me what it was like), back then, to find a copy of this was phone calls and guesses.

I reread it today. It's as wise and insightful and tough-minded as it was then, and has been on each rereading in the years since I bought it. If you're interested in writing, it's certainly worth reading. It may inspire you or make you despair, but that's your response. It's a fine book. Review, including quotes, here.

How the world has changed. It is so much easier to track down obscure books, and that's just one example among many. With the increments of days, months, years, it can be difficult to remember 'then'. 'Then', for instance, when there were maybe two antique dealers in Sydney where you could find antique samplers - now, the internet offers many, available from around the world, with a broader price range. Then, when buying vintage American quilts was virtually impossible (maybe one dealer in Sydney? - hoo-wow, now you can look at, and bid on/buy, from hundreds on the internet). Then, before digital cameras or blogs or Flickr or Skype or email, let alone the other possibilities of the internet.

Everything's changed, and yet not everything. I still buy books, read books, love books, browse bookshops in the real world as well as online. You can't get Kindle here, only another very very expensive reader, so the closest I've got to reading longer work on the computer is an ebook I still haven't finished. Nope, as far as I'm concerned the book is far from dead.

It's good to step back now and then, and reflect. Of course the kids say, that's what old people do...

I registered for my second webmail email address, at Yahoo!, towards the end of 1997, but my first one (from the long-defunct-swallowed-by-Yahoo! Rocketmail) was in existence for a year or so before that. A dozen years. Not so long.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

100 Glimpses quilt

0805 100 Glimpses quilt
Originally uploaded by rooruu

This is one of my entries in the Sydney Quilt Show, the top almost finished but the quilting (which will be simple) still to be done.

When it's finished and hanging in the show in June, I'll post a flat full shot here. Truly. And one of my other show entry.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Berries, which become a rant

0805 autumn berries
Originally uploaded by rooruu
Still playing with the zoom and macro settings on my little camera. A brighter version of autumn than the browns I've been photographing - almost Christmassy, although the only Christmassy thing around now is the thinking for Christmas projects, as the deadlines for them are closing in....

There are now three films I'm looking forward to seeing, all of them either November or December release (sigh):

* Australia
* Twilight
* The Time Traveler's Wife

In the meantime, our screens will be too darn full of other sound and noise, signifying nothing, or movies targeted at 14yo boys (those of us who aren't 14yo boys don't go to the cinema when there's nothing we want to SEE, don't the film makers and distributors get it??? Films like The Jane Austen Book Club, or 27 Dresses are nowhere near as charming as Sleepless in Seattle, although I saw a recent article lump 'em together as 'chick flicks'. Maybe so, but on a long continuum.). I'm very happy for the 14yo boys, I guess, but why can't they make films I do want to see? Not just decent escapist chick flicks, but quality stuff that travels a good journey. I look up what's on at the local multiplex, and there's nothing I'm remotely interested in seeing. My local cinema does its best, but even though they have better taste, they're hamstrung by lack of good stuff to show. Seems like too long since I had a good evening at the cinema.

Now how on earth did I arrive at that rant, starting with some berries? Dunno.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Australia trailer

The next Baz Luhrmann film, Australia, with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, is due for release in November. This trailer has just been released....

Here's the YouTube link:
which does work, even if the embedded one seems to come up sometimes as unavailable. There are lots of posted links for this trailer on YouTube, anyway.

Offical site (which has the trailer too) and imdb page for Australia.

It was bugging me that the music sounded familiar, particularly the second half of the trailer. There seems to be a thing where they'll use music from another film, maybe because it does sound familiar (I remember noticing music from Little Women used for another film's trailer). I find myself with an odd disconnect, wanting to remember the original source...

Give me a moment......

Ah, got it. Kenneth Branagh's Henry V, music by Patrick Doyle, from memory. That's what it is. It's a favourite film, I should know that music.

Autumn colour

Actually, less favourite colour. This looked like the colour scheme a 'modern' fifties or sixties kitchen might have sported. Yellow, dark brown, white. Erk. The way the brown/white leaves colour is fascinating - dark brown one side, white the other, completely different either side.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

DIY Matisse link

If the Matisse widget doesn't work on your blogreader etc, here's the link:

DIY Matisse

A new widget from Widgetbox to play with. The Matisse widget lets you drag up Matisse-like shapes and arrange them - place, rotate, resize. If you come at a given shape from the left, it's a different colour to that if you come at it from the right.

It's rather fun. And you can print the results, should you wish to.

Je m'excuse humblement, Monsieur Matisse, et ne peut dire dans ma défense que votre travail est source d'inspiration. (Merci beaucoup Google Translate, this may be dicky, but it's kinda French...)

Audiobook loot / reviews

0805 audio book loot
Originally uploaded by rooruu

This lot arrived recently, and having finished (and thoroughly enjoyed) Skulduggery Pleasant in audiobook form (take a bow, Rupert Degas, your voice is a wonder and a delight, I was laughing like a drain!), I am now starting on these on my daily commute.

All but Outlander were among the bargain audio books at Barnes and Noble, so there's a goodly amount of bang (or voice) for your buck here (and that's even with postage costs: audiobooks here are usually pretty expensive. Outlander alone would have cost more, if I'd bought it here, than all seven in the photo. Thanks be there aren't audiobook regions such as you find with DVD regions).

Apart from Outlander (by Diana Gabaldon, published in Oz & the UK as Cross Stitch), the rest are not books I've read before. Some are abridged, some unabridged: for a fiction book in particular, that I had read in print, an abridged audiobook could feel a bit filleted, and I think I'd find myself waiting for a particular bit and being disappointed if it wasn't included. Maybe I'll disprove this theory somewhere down the line, but for now, if I know and love a book (eg The Time Traveler's Wife), it's unabridged only for me. Conversely, if I listen to one of the above and love it to bits, I may hunt out the novel. The ones above include three nonfiction, four fiction.

My audio book listening tally so far is:

The Time Traveler's Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
unabridged: read by William Hope and Laurel Lefkow

Rating: utterly brilliant. I loved the novel anyway, but their voices have made me love it even more. It's 16 CDs, and I've listened to it all through, um three times? And lent it to friends. Keeper. This is the audiobook that was so good, it got me into audiobooks. And if you work through that thought, Audrey Niffenegger's book was so good, on the page, that I ventured into its unabridged audiobook. Thank you, Audrey.

The Last of the Mohicans
by James Fenimore Cooper
abridged, thanks be: read by William Hope

I blogged about this. I wasn't polite. William was the best thing about it, and he was wading neck-high in sludge-like prose, poor man, doing his best (and a bunch of accents). Realised that my version of this book (and my only version, you can fergeddaboudit regarding any actual printed text) is the Michael Mann/Daniel Day Lewis film. Aaaaah.
Rating: not remaining in my collection. Probably given away anonymously, so as not to embarrass myself by association.

Skulduggery Pleasant
by Derek Landy
unabridged: read by Rupert Degas

The book's hilarious, and the audio book's hilarious too - and with an audible Irish accent, instead of you remembering to put it in yourself. Rupert's characterisations are excellent - you never mistake Stephanie for Skulduggery - and it's all just heaps of fun, with a wonderful Irish sense of humour.
Rating: must lend this one to kids. And adults. Would be great on a car journey. Keeper.

From the group in the photo:

Middletown, America: one town's passage from trauma to hope
by Gail Sheehy
abridged: read by Gail Sheehy

Abridged here was good - I'm not saying that as a slam, but this was a book I hadn't read, and I think I've gained what I wish from the 6 hour narration. Sheehy's book is based on hundreds of interviews she undertook with people from Middletown, New Jersey, which lost proportionately more people in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre than almost anywhere else. The book is a lens to consider this event, refracted through the lives of a varying group of people. Some, angry in their grief, focus in on the why, and their energy drove an unwilling government towards accountability. For others, it was the loss of a father who'd never know the daughter his wife was carrying on 9/11, or the family who lost a firefighting son/brother, or the men who worked at Ground Zero. All sorts of stories showing how this one day reached into so many lives in so many ways, and how people responded (well and not so well, she doesn't sugarcoat). Sometimes, Gail Sheehy's voice has an odd halting quality, hitching or halting where you would have expected smoothness: but what she can bring, which no narrator in this case could, is her memory of just how the people she interviewed said what they said, tone, inflection, volume. Anger, despair, hope, grief, the gamut.
Rating: good. A keeper, but I won't be listening to it again for a while. Not only do I have loots (sic) more to listen to, it's a story to let sift and settle.

The car's CD stacker has been completely overtaken by whichever is the current audiobook - I listen in the car rather than at home - and every journey now, commute or whatever, is companioned by these stories. It's been one of the good things I've learned/discovered this year.

Which one's next? Either Outlander or The Art of Mending (which I accidentally bought as audiocassettes rather than CDs, but since the car's old enough to have a cassette player too, this isn't a problem - and it was a bargain priced audiobook).

I haven't yet investigated and suchlike sources of audio downloads - the car doesn't have an mp3 socket, and I'm not sure how these would work with my internet connection in terms of time/bandwidth and associated costs. One step at a time.

Oh, and for several good reasons I listen to the radio rather than audiobooks when I'm quilting or sewing, although I know that's audiobook time for others.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Grass jelly

0805 grass soup
Originally uploaded by rooruu
Not from one of those amazingly scented, and usually amazingly crammed Asian groceries, but lurking on a lower shelf in a suburban supermarket - grass jelly. OK, what's grass jelly?

Its main ingredients were starch and water, with grass playing a minor (but presumably fairly significant) role. Can't say I'm especially enticed by wobbly dark greeny-black chunks (maybe that's a serving suggestion), so I didn't buy and therefore didn't try. When I tried Wikipedia, its article described the used of 'aged and slightly fermented' mint leaves and a 'bitter, iodine' flavour. Hmmm. Not enticing.

Still, if it's on the shelf someone's assuming there's a market for it. The tins to the left were Asian-produced tropical fruits in sugar syrup. And although I don't eat it, the majority of the world thinks the Australian affection for Vegemite is considered aberrant food behaviour by most of the rest of the world.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Rosella in champagne

0805 rosella in champagne
Originally uploaded by rooruu

Before you exclaim in horror at drowning a pretty parrot, even in champagne, rosella is also the name of a native Australian fruit. You can buy them preserved in syrup, for example, and one of these makes a sculpturally interesting (and flavoursome, but not overwhelming) addition to a glass of champagne. A change from strawberries.

Should you be fortunate enough to be at a table also containing macadamias, runny brie and sliced pear, and other such toothsome nibblies, well, you're in luck.

And if that table is surrounded by charming, funny friends, and has happy and varied conversation entertaining them, well, how good is that?

Thursday, May 15, 2008


There's something beautiful about this - the buttery yellows, the darker background, the imperfections, the classic leaf shape, the caught moment. If there were enough of the yellow leaves, you can imagine Andy Goldsworthy having so many choices of how to have a rather wonderful time.

Went to a work conference today, and ate a catered lunch. When the place was able to produce and elegantly simple salad of undressed leaves (?baby spinach) with slivers of good parmesan, and another salad of Greekish style, also good; and a third salad which I can't remember, except it was good too...and a classy antipasto plate, and so on; why can't they manage an unmashable lasagne? You shouldn't be able to eat lasagne with a blunt spoon. Haven't they heard of al dente? I wouldn't have noticed, except they did other dishes at a decent standard.

Conference was 'lower-tech' in presentation than some I've been to in the last little while, but full of good, wise, actionable ideas. Which only goes to prove, as I've always believed, that technology isn't everything. It's not nothing, but it isn't everything, either.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


0805 4fer
Originally uploaded by rooruu

Clearly, this is a plant with issues defining itself, or deciding what it wants to be when it grows up. The mediaeval spiky weapons, fluffy yellow blossoms, sharper scarlet buds and green and burgundy leaves are all on the one plant.

I know how it must be thinking, some days - who AM I today????

I would of course tell you the name of this plant. If I knew.

Later: but I don't need to, because Pennie has named it in her comment. What a useful person Gwy is! Thank you!

I still think it's a weird brew of elements on one plant.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Yellow-green autumn leaf

I've been messing around with the macro setting on my little camera, and have been enjoying seeing the results. Not all good, not by a long shot, but it's a journey. I liked this autumn leaf, ugly-beautiful.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Autumn leaf

0805 autumn leaf
Originally uploaded by rooruu
This leaf almost looks like wood, with its burnished texture and rich brown colours. On and around the tree was a palette of colour, from yellow through to this one.

While the northern hemisphere blogosphere is rejoicing in spring, we're enjoying the colours of autumn, and the renewed relevance of warming cold hands around a mug of hot chocolate. In the middle of the day, it's not so cold that you can't sit in the sun, out of the wind, and enjoy the outdoors - Sydney's climate hardly plunges you into the depths of winter - and you feel more invigorated, as opposed to the humidity of summer, which sucks the energy from you.

Spring and autumn (fall) are my favourite seasons.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Reading: Benighted

0805 Reading: Benighted
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
In the world of this novel, most people are lycanthropes (the word 'werewolf' is never used) and the few who are not (disparagingly known as barebacks) are required to risk their lives to keep order, particularly when the moon is full.

Kit Whitfield spins a convincing, gritty world and explores prejudice and its meanings, wrapped up in very readable crime fiction. I chose this one based on Amazon descriptions and reviews, and wasn't disappointed.

The title is Benighted in North America, and Bareback in the UK, if you're hunting for it.

Mother's Day

Flowers for Mum on Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2008


So, what do you think? I wanted to add a couple of new things, and so needed to transition to the latest Blogger formatting, which involved choosing a new template.

The only thing bewildering me a tad is that Blogger specifies the pixel width of the banner image, but then it doesn't occupy the available space, but jams left and top. Wouldn't mind either centering it or filling the width with it.

A change is as good as a holiday, they say. I shall wait for the effect to kick in....!


0805 starfish autumn leaf 02
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
This unfurling leaf has a starfish quality, in its knobbly surface. Noticed it on our Saturday morning walk. The small medieval spiky weapons behind it are from the same plant - seedpods, maybe?

Friday, May 09, 2008

The last rose

0805 the last rose
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
The last rose from a friend who's going overseas, so I won't receive any more bounty from a wonderful rose garden. As beautiful, and as much appreciated, as all the others. I'm very grateful for such generosity.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Reading: The host

0805 Reading: The host
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
I've skidded through Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books (know lots of kids who love them dearly) so I skidded through this one. There are some interesting ideas - although I'm not entirely sure why this is classified as 'adult' fiction rather than 'YA' fiction. In Meyer style, it's thick, and full of the torn-this-way torn-that-way angst of the heroine, and not a bad rainy day read.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


0805 autumn leaf
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
It was a fairly nondescript, narrow tree, with unremarkable green leaves. But the ones that had coloured for autumn (fall) were dying so spectacularly, midgreen turning lime then yellow, blotchings in black, creeping yellow, jags of red. Just amazing. And every one different (You can just see another one on the left of the photograph). Maybe I'll mosaic some of the photos I took (I won't mosaic the odd looks I got from people parking their cars and trying to work out what the madwoman was doing photographing a nothing tree in a carpark). It's good how seasons and the changes they bring open your eyes to different things as you traverse the places of your ordinary life.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Scarlet rose

0805 scarlet rose
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
I've been the beneficiary of a green fingered friend's generosity, and this is one of the last roses, as the season ends. It's been lovely to enjoy them on my desk each week.

Isn't it beautiful?

Monday, May 05, 2008

Quilt detail

0805 quilt detail
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
I used to be Very Rude about Suffolk puffs/yo-yos. And then I found a way to use them in a quilt so they were something else entirely. And changed my mind.

I recently acquired one of the Clover yo-yo makers, and by gum it makes yo-yo making they've reappeared in my work, on this quilt. And have worked out rather well, representing something other than Suffolk puffs. Or yo-yos.

Candy's been making a rather nice Suffolk puff quilt in brights with black and white, over at Not A Walking Encyclopedia (link over there in my blogroll).

(Quilt to be published in Australian Patchwork and Quilting vol 17 no 3, about five issues away, which is four to five months, so all I can show here is a detail).

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Miniature sampler

0805 miniature sampler
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Another purchase from yesterday's miniatures fair. I bought a cushion from this maker last year, and admired her samplers, so here is this year's investment. The gauze on which she stitches these is 40 count (standard aida cloth is 14 or 16 count and while linen is very often 28 or 30 count, it's stitched over two threads). Incredibly fine (and definitely requiring a magnifying glass). Just wonderful work.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Miniature meat safe

0805 miniature meat safe
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

At the AMEA Sydney miniatures fair last year, I saw this wonderful woodwork. It stuck in my mind, so when I saw it this year, it came home with me. Apart from the superb craftsmanship, I love that it represents a vintage type of Australian furniture, the meat safe.

Apparently they could have sold it many times over if it hadn't been painted wood. I'm so glad - love the worn aqua paintwork. I won't mention the maker's name, as she does this as a craft, not a business, but she's brilliant. The doors open (the catches are so small!) and the drawer opens. Such fine, exact work.

I knew which doll's house room it was for, and it fits in so well (I'm still completing that room, so I haven't photographed it in situ).

It's only the second time I've been to the Sydney miniatures fair, and just like last year, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the multifarious ways in which people are creating and crafting in this particular arena, on the sale tables and in the exhibition houses and displays. Fascinating. I bought a few pieces, and came home inspired with plans to work on my own ideas/rooms and get them closer to being finished.

Friday, May 02, 2008

The blocks that came back

0805 recycled blocks
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
So there I was earlier this year, sorting out the sewing room and among the good things I took to the Crowle Foundation was a set of blocks. I'd made them a while ago, and they hadn't become anything more than blocks, so I sent them off to find a new home.

It was hilarious, after having said farewell to them, to have a friend show me the lovely blocks she'd bought from the Crowle May fair. Very very familiar, they were...

It's win win win. I've decluttered, Crowle's made some money and my friend is happy with her purchase. It's all good!

The Crowle Foundation is a charity organisation supporting adults with intellectual disabilities. The foundation has an annual needlecraft fair in May, selling second-hand craft goods, and also shops that are open throughout the year, with good quality second hand books, craft goods and fabrics. Click here (and scroll down) to find out about their fabric cave, book stall and plant nursery. If you're decluttering craft items in good conditions, then it's such a worthwhile cause; and you know they'll sell them as craft goods, not 'rags'.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


0805 portrait
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

One of those delightful self portraits children draw. Just love them.

This is from the Recycled Threads project I handed in this week (due for publication in a few months in Australian Country Threads vol 8 no 9) - I was so pleased to find the item featuring this, which I reworked.