Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

New toy: Scrapblog



Just a first attempt to show you what this toy can do. Your online scrapblogs can be private or public - I left this one public so you can go take a squizz, if you wish (http://www.scrapblog.com/viewer/viewer.aspx?sbid=464894). It's just a single page, but you can do multi-page ones too. There's a whole bunch of backgrounds, stickers, frames etc to choose from, and it's free to register/create scrapblogs. You can also fish photos from your Flickr account, and do other things, including put them on your blog. Worth a look - there's a short how-to video on the home page, or just play and work it out that way.

http://www.scrapblog.com/

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Man on Wire documentary /Philippe Petit

One of the most crazy, astonishing stunts ever done is the subject of this new documentary:





http://youtube.com/watch?v=EIawNRm9NWM&feature=related

Can't see a release date yet for Australia.



If you haven't yet discovered this picture book about the same event, it's brilliant.




The man who walked between the towers, by Mordecai Gerstein.

Image from Amazon.com.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The New Classics in fiction

In a fairly US-centric list (not a surprise) Entertainment Weekly lists the 100 best reads 1983-2008.

I scored 15%:
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Rowling
  • Cold Mountain - Frazier
  • Into Thin Air - Krakauer
  • The Handmaid’s Tale - Atwood
  • Bridget Jones’ Diary - Fielding
  • The Things They Carried – O’Brien
  • The Joy Luck Club - Tan
  • The Lovely Bones - Sebold
  • Angela’s Ashes – McCourt
  • His Dark Materials – Pullman
  • The Giver – Lowry
  • The Remains of the Day – Ishiguro
  • Eat, Pray, Love – Gilbert
  • Atonement – McEwan
  • one I’m not prepared to name, because I disliked it intensely as meccano-fiction.
The four in purple are the ones I rate most highly. I may not have read them recently, but they stay with me.

What about you? Which have you read, which do you rate most highly?

Added later: my list above is only 15 of the 100 - the top link takes you to the full list. I appreciate that EW is hardly the New Yorker - but even then it's interesting to see the list (which is a tad curious, and as noted heavily weighted to American writers) and yay for books being discussed...). Thanks for the comments!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

100 Word Stories: Would you just shut up?

Joe? JOEY? Why are your filthy soccer boots IN THE WASHING MACHINE?

I don’t care if Max said it was a great idea. Not on top of the load of clean towels, don’t you ever THINK??

AMY! Mrs Britches has another mouse. No, I’m busy in the laundry. She’s your cat, get rid of it NOW!

David? Honey? Are you still keeping an eye on dinner, I smell something burning…

All the things I have to say. No. All the things I
think I have to say.

What I want to say? Love you, my dear ones. Love you lots.

Quiltlet: A for Adaminaby


Quiltlet: A for Adaminaby
Originally uploaded by rooruu
This is the first in a series of quiltlets I'm designing for Australian Patchwork & Quilting magazine. This one's in Vol 17 no 1, just out in Australia.

It's being a lot of fun working in this smaller scale and trying new ideas. I'm currently working on G (such is the lead time of magazine projects and publishing) so it's good to see one in print as I toddle on through the alphabet and a welter of ideas.

I've played with various miniature quilt, doll quilt, small quilt ideas before, over the years, and have taken inspiration from lots of places - books, blogs, magazines, exhibitions, images. I'm not necessarily aiming for complicated (nope, not me) but I hope it will be a varied and interesting journey from Adaminaby to Z...(nope, not telling which Australian town will provide the Z name!).

Monday, July 21, 2008

Quilt detail: Oriental


0807 quilt detail
Originally uploaded by rooruu
Detail from another quilt I finished during the break. It uses a combination of fabrics (including this one from Lakehouse) but has overall an Oriental feel to it. Due for publication in Australian Patchwork and Quilting Vol. 17 no. 6, due out late in 2008.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Peeps


0807 Peeps/Scott Westerfeld
Originally uploaded by rooruu
I thoroughly enjoyed this one!! Westerfeld's take on vampirism is that it's caused by a parasite - the protagonist has been 'infected' but only as a carrier, and is part of a secret government organisation in NY devoted to preventing outbreaks from the non-carrier vampires. He has some wondrously funny inventions, such as the effect of vampirism being to cause the new vampire to hate what they previously loved; so the protagonist begins trapping a rogue vampire by putting up Elvis posters near all the entrances to the building. The narrative chapters alternate with chapters describing in great , humorous detail various real parasites and what they do (erk...). This one was enormous fun to read!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Lifeline book fair loot


0807 Lifeline book fair loot
Originally uploaded by rooruu
I myself personally hadn't got to a Lifeline book fair before. This will need to change... I happened to be in the area for a quilt challenge revelation (wonderful inspiring quilts were shown) and stopped at this on the way home.

Not only a HUGE range of books, but much dross eliminated.  Among my selections:
  • The Shifting Fog: I'd been meaning to read Kate Morton's book for a while, an Australian author who's finding an international market.  This was retitled The House at Riverton in overseas markets, I believe
  • Third Book of Hundreds of Things a Girl Can Make: full of quirky ideas.  I'll probably blog some images separately...
  • The Superior Person's Little Book of Words: I already have this erudite and entertaining work, but will no doubt find an erudite and entertaining friend to give it to
  • City of Dreams: a novel about the early days of New York, by Beverley Swerling
  • The Conjuror's Bird: didn't know anything about this Martin Davies novel, but took a punt on it
  • How To Cook a Galah: celebrating Australia's culinary heritage by Laurel Evelyn Dyson.  Not that I intend cooking any galahs
  • The Colony: this was a reality show on SBS TV in which several families lived as they would have done in colonial times - I'm interested in the historical detail (as with the book above)
  • A couple of quilting magazines which include my work (always good to have a spare copy)
  • A Nursery Companion: Iona and Peter Opie's compilation of all sorts of nursery rhymes, complete with vintage colour pictures
  • Keeping Up with Keeping House: a practical guide for the Harried Housewife by the former White House Housekeeper.  What's not amusing about Mary Kaltman's work?  It's dated 1971 and is, with the brief browse I've done so far, a fascinating snapshot.
  • Open Your Eyes: 1000 ways to bring beauty into your home and life each day (for $3, I'm sure Alexandra Stoddart can tell me something I haven't thought of)
  • Lyn Le Grice's Art of Stencilling: her book The Stencilled House is a favourite stencilling source, although she goes far further than perhaps I would.  Still, beautiful designs and more and less subtle ways of using them.
  • The Family Home: relaxed, informal living for all ages.  I liked a number of the photos in this one.
Total investment for these: just under $50.  Thus, I shall be attending to the dates/locations of further Lifeline charity book fairs...  I also bought some kids' books, of which they had good ones and plenty too.  And the volunteer staffers were charming and helpful.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Moon Called etc.

Must be something about these hols and reading paranormal fiction...this series of three was a reread, and enjoyed just as much second time round. Mercy Thompson is a mechanic and a 'walker' who can shapeshift into the form of a coyote. When your neighbours include werewolves and your friends include a vampire and fae, well, stuff is likely to happen. And does. Patricia Briggs is starting another series with its first book out soon (Cry Wolf), and on the strength of these, I'll probably give that a whirl.
  • Moon Called
  • Blood Bound
  • Iron Kissed
I've read various paranormal/vampire etc fiction this year (partly because it's a genre in which the kids are very interested), and have tossed more than I've enjoyed (tossed to good causes or charity or back to the library or whatever, not binned). This is one of the few keepers.  Not YA like Meyer or Westerfeld's work.

My ultimate vampire favourite is Sunshine, by Robin McKinley. Blogged it here.  Love that book.  Her next one, Chalice, is out later this year - yet another world, she doesn't do series (but it must be exhausting to constantly invent worlds...).

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ah James...



Trailer for Quantum of Solace, the 22nd James Bond film.

If YouTube has A Moment and says it's not available...here's the link:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=mLPp8y-mEhw

Twilight series/saga


0807 Twilight series
Originally uploaded by rooruu
With the fourth book due out at the beginning of August, I've reread the first three. It's pageturning teenfic, riffing off Romeo and Juliet, various elements of vampire/werewolfery and yes, I'll be toddling off to see the film when it's released here in January. In twenty years, will anyone be reading Twilight? Dunno. But they're reading it now...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Puzzled & gobsmacked


0807 Telstar puzzle
Originally uploaded by rooruu
Had a happy day up the mountains. If you've got kids, www.selwoodscience.com.au at Hazelbrook is worth a visit - science made fun! Lots of examples out to play with and try, including puzzles like this one. I got it to have in my office to amuse visitors (and don't I wish now, hours later, I could remember how to do it?!) (and I'll be upfront, I got them to show me how it works - and STILL can't get it separated!).

Very nice lunch at Loaves and the Dishes in Leura (bacon and egg pie and salad), another visit to the cupcake shop and also beestings from the cake shop half way along Katoomba St for later. Many interesting shops browsed in in both Katoomba and Leura and afternoon tea at Leura Gourmet.

We all shared a $22 cheese plate for AT, and were a tad gobsmacked to discover (as we glanced at the deli cabinet on the way out) that one of the cheeses was over $100/kilo and another over $60! It was a very nicely presented cheese plate, too - water crackers, sliced strawberries, sliced pear, walnuts in honey, raisins, and four cheeses: a Beaufort (the expensive-est), a washed rind soft cheese, a camemberty one and a blue. We ate it instead of photographing it, but will probably burgle the presentation for future use...

(Still can't untangle that wretched puzzle!)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

3-Film Tuesday: Unfinished Sky


0807 Unfinished Sky poster
Originally uploaded by rooruu

This one is the winner. It's brilliant. Best of the day by far and away, and the one I most wanted to see.

Given that it was cheap Tuesday, I lined up my choices so I could go to three in succession. This was the third, and I'm glad it was the last because I want to keep thinking it over in my mind.

This is probably the one you don't know. It's an Australian film, set in rural Queensland, where William McInnes' character is a lonely widowed farmer, just him and his blue cattle dog Elvis, for reasons that become clearer later on. Stumbling onto his property one day is an Afghani woman who has run away from enslavement in a brothel, and he chooses to hide her rather than give her up to the authorities or the men who come seeking her.

It's a thriller and a love story and although it's a reworking of a Dutch film (The Polish Bride) it feels very Australian in its landscape and light, its use of silences, its sensibility. If you've seen SeaChange, you know how William McInnes can convey character with little dialogue. The Dutch actress Monic Hendrikx is great, too.

Memo to Australia's filmmakers: if you make films like this, I WILL go and see them. So much 'Australian film' in the last few years has been dross or daft or dark or just not engaging. This is a story worth telling, well told, and it deserves to find an audience. (At the start, there are so many funding sources, it's a credit to the producers that they were able to gather all this support and finance and make it work.)

Wonderful stuff. If it's on at a cinema near you, don't miss it.

The other really good film I've seen recently was The Painted Veil, and I'd recommend it too. But Unfinished Sky is my best of the year so far.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Read a review and see the trailer and some clips here.

The film's official website is here.

Here's the trailer on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2sX4emqUq4


3-Film Tuesday: Prince Caspian


0807 Prince Caspian poster
Originally uploaded by rooruu
This was everything you'd expect it to be. After seeing the first film I did try to go back and reread the books, having enjoyed them so much as a child, but I found them heavy-handed and hard to enjoy again. So maybe I'll only be revisiting Narnia in fillums for now. (Although even in the films I keep wondering, within the context of the story, who's doing the catering, and washing of clothes and such for the kings and queens and characters, and doing such nice hairdos for the girls - you don't see this, and they always seem to have clean clothes, and in the last one there were always pretty tents up whenever they needed 'em. Maybe I'm getting old...! )

It was decently done, and perfectly satisfactory, and well done, and there you are. (I shouldn't be wondering what happens when the battle goes on and on and Susan never seems to have more than a dozen arrows although she's firing 'em off at a rate of knots).

I did enjoy this more than Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull which I saw a couple of weeks ago. That felt tired, and as though it was trying too hard. This had a freshness and energy; I don't think I'd bother seeing Indiana again, but I'll find time for the next Narnia film.

3-Film Tuesday: Mamma Mia!


0807 Mamma Mia! poster
Originally uploaded by rooruu
After working hard on a bunch of quilt projects, today was a chance to catch up on some films (Tuesday's the cheap day at the cinemas). I went to a big multiplex in a suburb that is assumed to have some taste and discernment, and thus had the film I most wanted to see.

This one is an utter meringue movie. Light and fluffy. Laugh-out-loud amusing in parts, and cringeworthy-embarrassing in others (no, Pierce Brosnan, you can't sing, and the cameraperson should have been kinder than giving you a closeup while you were (allegedly) singing). It all looked like they were having a lovely time on a perpetually sunny Greek island. Looking past the dialogue/actors/etc, there were some rather nice textiles - some great prints and a sampler or two on a wall.

If you go see it, sit through the credits to catch a couple of numbers done with verve and lycra... Margaret Pomeranz on the ABC review show At The Movies bagged the choreography, and I could see what she meant. Odd, if one is being kind.

It was fine, but I was glad to have only paid the cheapday price. Although to be fair, there was a spattering of applause at the end, so lots of the folks there found it a hoot.

As I said, a meringue movie.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Doyle or Bodie?

Poll result: Doyle won, 80% to 20% Bodie.

Me, Doyle's my favourite in the series, but Bodie holds a corner of my heart because he reminds me of a late friend of mine.

Quilt detail : Christmas


0807 quilt detail
Originally uploaded by rooruu
This is one of the projects I've just finished, a Christmas table runner which will be in the Christmas issue of Australian Country Threads later this year. Used some rather nice Moda fabrics in it, mostly 3 Sisters, although it does seem as though they're repeating colourways and styles they've done before - this is from their Vienna/Wuthering/Chocolat/Peace on Earth strand... Maybe lots of people like 'samesongnextverse', but it's also good to see new ideas. Their Paris map fabric from Paris Flea Market is still one of my favourites (I only have a leetle leetle left....)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Magnolia


0807 Magnolia
Originally uploaded by rooruu
It may be cold weather, but it's clear and sunny too; wonderful blue skies, and the magnolias are budding and blossoming.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Frosty morning


0807 frosty grass
Originally uploaded by rooruu
Despite clear sunny winter days, it's been distinctly cold at night around here. Presented as evidence, this morning's frost. Hmmm. Should have taken the gloves for this morning's walk, maybe. Still, it's motivation to get moving...so we did.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changing....


Pruned
Originally uploaded by rooruu
After several years of longer hair, today was time for a change. My hairdresser enjoyed herself, and did a lovely job. My head feels lighter...

(And the last time I saw her I'd recommended Diana Gabaldon's Outlander books - and she's hooked now! Ha! Another convert!)

(btw, who says I never put photos of me on my blog - this is at least the ?second in ?three years?!) (I just find much more interesting things to photograph for you). (Maybe it's the third - I showed you a new thimble once...!!)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Box of cupcakes


0807 box of cupcakes
Originally uploaded by rooruu

In the parts of Sydney where I live and work, the cupcake phenomenon is slow to take off - the nelligant fancypants ones adorning US blogs and country magazines are harder to find here. Most cake shops have A Cupcake - sometimes with a kinda effort to decorate 'em a bit.

Well, mostly I make 'em when I want 'em (I have my version of Nigella cupcakes on this blog from a while ago).

But if you happen to be toddling up near enough as makes no difference to Katoomba, where Cupid's Cupcakes has their tiny shop, well...

You invest. These one are strawberry, double chocolate, orange, passionfruit. Closer to the US flights of fancy in presentation and taste.

But not too pretty to eat. Just not all at once.

They are scenting the kitchen all sugary-sweet, just sitting in their box.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Professional quilting (!)


0807 quilt
Originally uploaded by rooruu
It looks too sweetly pretty to be done while Doyle and Bodie are biffo-ing and smart-alecking their way through the nasties of England, circa late 1970s, doesn't it?

You never can tell.

This is a Christmas quilt that will be published later in 2008 in the Christmas issue of Patchwork and Stitching magazine. Dozens of different fabrics in it - nothing like a Christmas scrap quilt. For now, all I can give you is this glimpse...

Monday, July 07, 2008

Doves and Lemons


0807 Doves and Lemons
Originally uploaded by rooruu
I fossicked around the Sydney Quilt Show a year ago, hunting lemon and grey fabrics, as I had a yen to make a two-colour quilt with these. Not the easiest colours to find, but with the increasing number of retro fabric ranges, do-able (and the fabrics include vintage repros, Asian fabrics, modern retro, dots and more). Many were larger in scale, so I made something simple, with Kaffe Fassett fabric for the wider border. You can find this in Australian Country Craft and Decorating magazine vol. 19 no. 8, which is on sale now in Australia.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

...the poll...

Sorry shequilts, I can't edit the Doyle/Bodie poll because people have voted and this removes the option of editing. Maybe you'll just have to wrench yourself to decide if one just tips out the other...?!!!

Tweed Valet Tray


0807 Tweed valet tray
Originally uploaded by rooruu
This is the second-last design in "Recycled Threads", a column I've been writing and designing for the last three years for Australian Country Threads magazine. This is in vol 8 no 8, so the final design and article will be in 8/9. The magazine publishers decided to redesign the magazine and vary its contents, and so "Recycled Threads" is going as part of those changes.

This is a valet tray (which I designed before knowing that's what they're called!) made from a vintage Harris tweed jacket - for a fellow to toss in his keys/wallet/loose change when emptying pockets at day's end. Very practical!

You'll find full instructions and article in the issue of the magazine referred to above - it's on sale now in Australia.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Comments and a poll...

I've just gone through the comments tick tick tick and so there's a bunch of new ones on the blog now.  Thank you very much to each one of you that has taken the time and trouble to admire flowers, appreciate quilts, snicker at Ikea and chuckle at a bookshop cat and so forth and so on - I have enjoyed reading them. (I have comments set to moderation due to problems with spamming).

Normal, more frequent blogging should resume this week.  Hurray!

And given that this house is about to embark on a marathon viewing (well, on and off) of the 1970s TV series, The Professionals, I've added an incredibly serious (cough) poll to the sidebar.  Do vote, whether or not you're a commenter - the more votes, the more fun to see how the balance falls (I won't reveal my preference till it closes).  Even though it's not especially politically correct at times, and there's all that biffo and such, there's some lovely clever dialogue and acting and general smart aleckery in it.

Sweet Baby


0807 Sweet Baby
Originally uploaded by rooruu
This very sweet baby, just two days old here, was born to friends just before the end of June. All well, all happy, all good. Her mama is a quilter, but has three quilts started - and none finished - for little Ms P. So although I'd said I wasn't giving the baby a quilt, not with her mother's plans... I did. Poor little munchkin can't be without a quilt, and her mama may well be rather too busy/tired to finish the other ones for a while.

The quilt was one I designed for Recycled Threads in Australian Country Threads, using vintage (well-washed) handkerchiefs. I named the design "Sweet Baby". Very appropriate.

All the luck and joy in the world to you, little Miss P.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Gerbera


0806 gerbera
Originally uploaded by rooruu
Nearly at holidays, nearly nearly...so much to do, so little time...back shortly.

Loved the strong colours and shapes of these gerberas.

(thought I'd better post something in case you thought this blog was an abandoned orphan child. Nope.)