Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Quilt: Festive Charm

0810 Festive Charm
Originally uploaded by rooruu
Festive Charm is a Christmas  quilt (well, Christmas table runner) I designed for Australian Country Threads magazine. It's in vol. 8 no. 12 and is out now, or any day now. This is the Christmas projects issue.

I picked up a pack of charm squares (Peace on Earth by 3 Sisters for Moda) and that was the basis of this table runner - economical and effective.  And not uber-Christmassy, either, so it's useable throughout the year.  Even more economical.

I blogged about it back here with a scrunched-up photo.

And I'd like to send greetings to Candy , who asked me to put whole images of my designs up when they're published. How about two in a row? That's a start!


Monday, September 29, 2008

Modern craft - article from The Age

Nice article on modern women's craft and community from The Age newspaper in Melbourne - read it here.  A stitch through time, by Ginger Briggs.

I like the references to the pleasure of process rather than the requirement of perfection.



0809 dandelion seed head
Originally uploaded by rooruu
I'm on holidays for a couple of weeks, and at this point it's like this dandelion head - trembling with possibilities, all sorts of directions in which to head. And lovely to have. Today's plan? Lunch with friends in a nice local deli - we booked the window seat so we can watch the world wag by as we talk of cabbages and kings. It's all good.

Don't you get to wish, when you blow on a dandelion head?

Oh, and here's an idea I'm playing with this week , from Ali Edward's blog.  I kinda sorta do it in this blog anyway, but will focus particularly this week.  As long as I don't get distracted...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Spring leaves

0809 spring leaves
Originally uploaded by rooruu
These leaves were exquisite - small, still growing (you could see where they were headed by the larger ones on the tree - maybe a small oak?), the freshest, most unblemished green. Absolutely spring (yes, spring and autumn are my favourite seasons).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Valley of the Waters, Wentworth Falls

Afternoon tea at the Conservation Hut at Wenty Falls, on a balmy Saturday afternoon, in good company and with this view. What's not to like?

(The Blue Mountains are blue, if you don't know, because of evaporating eucalyptus oil from the many trees. I'm not sure why other blue mountains in other parts of the world are blue, but that's the reason here).

Kiva: Jenny Chagua Gabriel

Most Christmases I've written a Christmas letter to put in with the cards, telling some of the year's stories and experiences.  While I'm not writing it yet, it's around now that I start thinking about it, and what the year's stories, experiences, themes might be.  One theme is certainly Kiva, participating in this microfinance venture to support entrepreneurial people from poorer countries.  What better way to celebrate spring holidays than adding another Kiva loan to my portfolio?  Meet Jenny Chagua Gabriel from Peru:
Look at that embroidery - isn't it beautiful?

Here's more info about Jenny .  Jenny is 31 years old and lives with her parents in their house. She us a responsible young woman whose heart is filled with gratitude towards her parents. This is why she has spent more than five years embroidering the cotton skirts that are traditional in the area where she lives. She decided to launch this business because of the high demand for her work, due to its high quality. She works full-time, and for each skirt she uses many beautiful colors to achieve just the right combination. With a lot of hard work, she completes her custom orders on time. Jenny thoroughly enjoys the ability to independently work from her own home. Jenny works hard for one reason: to improve her quality of life and that of her parents. She is requesting this loan to buy fabric and thread in bulk, and thus increase her productivity. It looks as though she may be a source of employment for many people in the future, since because of the growing demand for her products she will be able to contract employees to do some of her embroidery work.

Jenny's loan is fully funded - with the recent changes to Kiva, and the return of your investment as each repayment is made by each entrepreneur (instead of at the end of the loan term), loans are being funded all the time.  Just look over here and see who you can help - minimum loan is $25US, which isn't much (even if our dollar has sunk a bit against the American dollar).  This is my sixth Kiva loan this year, and I'm now lending with a combination of repayments and new investment money - my portfolio's here .

Kiva's another one to think of if you have Christmas presents that you do with a goat or toilet or such from Oxfam or World Vision's gift voucher catalogues.  There's a permanent link to Kiva over in the sidebar.

Friday, September 26, 2008

White blossom

0809 white blossom 1
Originally uploaded by rooruu
With a few warmer days, the blossom trees have really - um - blossomed. The orange orchard welcomes you with a sign that says, "Come and see our navels" (I kept meaning to get a photo of that, and they changed it a day or so ago - to the pure, all things are pure) and has other newly harvested fruits for sale too. I've some holiday time and PLENTY to do during the break. Including admiring blossom trees.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My decoration (really? Try the quiz yourself).

The Shopping Sherpa mentioned this quiz , which purports to describe your decorating style.

Here's what it said about the answers I supplied - although to have the word troglodyte included does not, to me feel complimentary, nor the assumption that I have or may fall victim to 'designer cliche' (wouldn't say I have) and not all the images it supplied of 'things you'd like' were things I did like...Nevertheless, it's an interesting way to consider choices and ideas:


There's nothing quaintly countrified when it comes drawing inspiration from nature. You have an elemental approach to interior design, certainly in terms of colour, texture and (most of all) materials. It's going to take guts to even attempt to pull off the look: you not only see the beauty in wild flowers but in field grasses and scrubland too.

Living Room

You love connecting with nature and the world outside. The rustic living room is cousin to the country cottage, but it's altogether earthier and more rugged, almost troglodyte. There's something elemental about this look, which embodies the romantic spirit of a pilgrim and celebrates the independence of the hermit. That said, it can be warm and welcoming -- a respite or sanctuary from the world outside. It's about the homespun and the homely, about authenticity and log-cabin cosiness. Country-style accessories will help to soften the overall look without compromising on integrity. Vibrant, jewel-like colours command attention while bold prints add character and personality. Curled up on the sofa with a good book, your living room's the perfect place for some "me-time".


Your bedroom benefits from a lovely feminine touch. Sleep is fundamentally important to our well being. Clean, fresh air can truly aid sleep, but so, too, does a well-made bed and the best mattress you can afford. Touch is an important issue in the bedroom, from crisp, linen sheets to wool or even sheepskin underfoot. You like to surround yourself with pretty frills and flounces in your bedroom, using light, bright colours to create a refreshing retreat that's easy on the eye.

Dining Room

You're a maestro of minimalism using carefully chosen ingredients. At home, 'less-is-more' simplicity appears effortlessly stylish. With so little on show, every single item comes under scrutiny, so it's important that you give time and thought to your choice of china, glass and cutlery. Try to avoid the 'designer cliche' trap, whereby every single piece has impeccable provenance: at best this looks like showing off, at worst it's sadly predictable. When it comes to entertaining, you like to make an effort for family and friends.

Home Office

A little of what you fancy does you good -- even when you're working. Making a dedicated space for a home office really does make sense: a desk with adjustable task lighting and adequate filing is all you need to keep on top of things. Your innate sense of style will probably lead you to creating a work space that's as individual as the rest of your home. Just bear in mind basic ergonomic principles, especially when choosing a desk and chair.


Your home is a canny combination of styles and references: the log cabin but also the tree house, the hermit's retreat, but also the childhood den.

Quilt detail: challenge

0809 quilt detail
Originally uploaded by rooruu
This isn't one of the quiltlets from Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine, but part of my entry in the 2008 Quilters' Guild of NSW challenge, which has the theme, "Coast and Country". I'll post a pic of the whole quilt after they've been judged (in October). I do like the possibilities of quilt challenges, not only to work within established parameters (for this one, the theme and a set size, 50cm x 70cm (approx 20inches x 27.5inches) ) but also to take the opportunity to try something new by way of techniques or approaches or whatever. I did, with this one, and was happy with how it turned out.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Some fabric blogs etc.

A couple of Australian online fabric shops that stock interesting modern fabrics and support Australian designers too:

They very likely do ship overseas, so if you're not in Oz, don't be put off.  I have no affils or brownpaperbag arrangements with any of them.  It's nice to encourage small businesses like these.

Changing the subject, Amy Butler's just released china tableware with Mikasa - view the range here , but it's not ezzackly dirt cheap at $US75 for a side plate or $79 for a single place setting (also, this house just invested in new china, which hasn't been blogged yet, although the sharp Shopping Sherpa  picked it from a vague hint I dropped a while back.).  Amy Butler's china, Vintage Botanica, looks to be based on her Belle range of fabrics.  That may reveal what a fabric tragic I am.  But perhaps you already guessed).

Images sourced from here. 


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

Barack Obama meets Jed Bartlet

Aaron Sorkin, the original screenwriter for The West Wing, conjures a meeting between Barack Obama and (ex) President Jed Bartlet in this terrific piece from Maureen Dowd's NY Times column.

Read it and weep.  Or laugh.  Or both.


Hot air balloon jigsaw

0809 hot air balloon jigsaw
Originally uploaded by rooruu
After the Simpsons jigsaw that lived in the tearoom at work, the next one onto the table was this, and we all enjoyed contributing to it over morning tea or lunch over several weeks. It is a nice way to switch your brain off-track and relax. Well, except when you CAN'T FIND THAT WRETCHED PIECE. Sorry. I forgot myself there.

Many op shops have jigsaws, and some have them checked/labelled. They're usually pretty cheap, too - a lot cheaper than buying new. You take the risk of a missing piece or two, but the price is right.

The next jigsaw (an op shop buy) is already opened, and we laughed when the lid was lifted. Somebody, somewhere, is till hunting for that set of reading glasses they lost...they were neatly folded on top of the puzzle pieces.

We've decided on a couple of jigsaw principles. One is, small boxes mean small pictures, and it can be harder to work out which piece goes where, with fine little detail. Another: yes, it is worth sorting out the pieces by general colour groups.

I wouldn't be keen to have a running jigsaw at home, but at work, as a shared enterprise like this, it's rather fun.


Sunday, September 21, 2008


0809 blossom 02
Originally uploaded by rooruu
You know it's spring when the winter-warm sheets are drying in the sunlight and a gentle breeze before being folded away till next year, and the crisp cotton sheets have taken their place.

Oh, and blossom. Of course.

Oh, and sitting on the sunny verandah, browsing the weekend papers while eating a leisurely lunch.

As the kids say, it's all good.

It is.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Lizard basking

0809 lizard basking
Originally uploaded by rooruu
Here's the lizard we saw on today's walk. The weather's definitely warmed up, and so this one - and several others - were enjoying basking in the sun on a rocky area by the river. Not sure what kind it is: it's about 15 inches long, nose to tail end, smaller and smoother than last week's water dragon.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Balloon leaves

0809 balloon leaves
Originally uploaded by rooruu
Such a busy week it's been - all sorts of things inflating in their consumption of time and energy, needed here, needed there, jostle jostle, trying to keep up with everything. It's OK, a lot of it's happy-busy, but it still leaves you in a slightly collapsed state by Friday evening.

The worktable's awash with several projects, and more are running through my head, so it's a weekend to aim to clear the decks a bit, finish a couple of things and then have room to play more.

We've had a couple of warmer days this week, and so spring cleaning has got its way closer to being on the agenda. Who doesn't love housework?????


Monday, September 15, 2008


0809 burgundy nasturtium
Originally uploaded by rooruu
I don't mind the orange and yellow ones - nasturtiums are cheerful flowers, and easy to grow. But there's something rather rich about the deep colour of the burgundy ones.

I also rather like, in this photo, that the leaf is chewed. It's not perfect, it's real.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Water dragon

0809 lizard
Originally uploaded by rooruu
For all our walks along the river, this is the first time we've seen a lizard. It was nearly a metre long, nose to tail, and suspicious of us. It stayed still, we stayed still - and when we moved (I'd hoped to get a better photo) it scooted off down towards the river, into the underbrush.

We thought it might be a water dragon, and maybe so - here's a link to learn more.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Feet (Tap Dogs)

This one made me hoot with laughter throughout. Dead simple, and funny and clever.

And here's the URL, if the above doesn't work:

What the heck. While I'm at it, here's my favourite part of the Sydney 2000 Olympics opening ceremony:

And again the URL, if the above doesn't work:

The energy of it is infectious, the beat so engaging. Lovely stuff.


White flowerhead

0809 white flowerhead
Originally uploaded by rooruu
I had a whole bunch of things to get done at work today. What's that line from Gilbert and Sullivan? "I've got a little list..."

Well, I got through most of them. It's good to tick them off.

Now to make up the weekend's list....

Thursday, September 11, 2008


0809 poppy
Originally uploaded by rooruu
It's not a red one, but who says that's all you can use to signify remembering?

We didn't stop, today, but that doesn't mean September 11 is forgotten. No. It's not.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mobile phone tower

0809 mobile phone tower
Originally uploaded by rooruu
Ridiculously, I felt almost surreptitious taking this photo. I've got no evil intent - I'm just interested by the manufactured techno-geometries of the tower against the drifting watercolours of the late afternoon sky.

I thought it blogworthy because it is just a bit of scenery from daily life in 2008 - years from now these will probably be quaintly obsolete. Reflecting on what teenagers consider to be essential to daily life, my teenage years are tinged with the quaintly obsolete - how DID we survive without IM, the net, social networking, mobile phones (cellphones) and so on and so forth? It's amazing really. But we did. And here we are.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Quilt fabric catalogue

0809 quilt fabric catalogue
Originally uploaded by rooruu
These catalogues are utterly evil, they are. Much worse than browsing the website - technology's all very well, but it isn't the same as a double page spread of quilting fabrics all calling your name... You can track ideas (hmmm, green fabrics) across ranges and pages, see at a single glance what options are available (fat quarters? charm squares) etc. Back copies also become intriguing snapshots of fashion and trends in quilt fabrics - what's available now is just amazingly more than even a decade ago, in styles as well as volume.

(You can request a catalogue on their website http://hancocks-paducah.com/).

Monday, September 08, 2008

Brown leaves

0808 brown leaves
Originally uploaded by rooruu
It's the end of winter - still nippy at times, but hinting of spring in the middle of the day, if you find a spot in the sun and away from the wind. And these leaves stil tenaciously on their tree. Great shapes, aren't they?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Paddock and sky

0809 paddock and sky 02
Originally uploaded by rooruu
Stopped on my journey home from Fathers' Day lunch to take this photo. The sky was amazing - the colour and formation of the clouds - but I'm not sure that the camera caught what I hoped.

You can see from the brownish colour of the ground that it's been dry recently. This week's rain has greened things a little, but more rain is needed before the greener look of the paddocks from earlier this year is restored.

What the????

Reproduced below, an actual email from Amazon.

I think their logarithm failed them this time.

Dear Amazon.com Customer,
We've noticed that customers who have purchased or rated books by Country Home Books have also purchased A Weighting Scheme for Security Patterns Using Mobile Agents by Jessie Walker. For this reason, you might like to know that A Weighting Scheme for Security Patterns Using Mobile Agents is now available. You can order yours for just $76.00 by following the link below.

While I'm sure this is an utterly fascinating tome,

no. No additional purchase happening here. What the????


Saturday, September 06, 2008

Quiltlet in progress

0809 quilt in progress
Originally uploaded by rooruu
Sorry, I can't show you any more of this, until it's published in Australian Patchwork and Quilting vol 17. no. 8 early next year (2009). I toyed with the scraps from the quilt I showed you a few days ago (still clearly besotted with the black and white fabric from Alexander Henry) for this one. The quiltlet series started with APQ 17-1 and A for Adaminaby (they're named after Australian towns) and I've also shown you B for Bondi from the issue currently out in Australia. This one is H for... well, you'll just have to wait and see!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Bird on the water

0809 bird on the water
Originally uploaded by rooruu
I've been noticing silhouettes in home decor things recently (did I tell you about the china? No, don't think I did), but here's a snapshot with the messy authenticity of nature as is. Not sure if it's a cormorant? Dunno. But it stayed still long enough for me to fire off the camera. And I like the water, blue to dark and rippled.


Thursday, September 04, 2008

Ikea catalogue 2009

0809 Ikea catalogue 2009
Originally uploaded by rooruu
See? I can spell catalogue (in Australian English), and it's the correct spelling for this, as it's the Oz Ikea catalogue (as opposed to the US Ikea catalog link I posted a little while ago).

I'm always interested to see this, and see what new ideas it contains. Not a lot here that leapt out and bit me to buy instantly, but always good for a browse.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Quilt in progress

0809 quilt in progress
Originally uploaded by rooruu
This one started with that fabulous Alexander Henry black and white fabric (in a shop game to stock it). The quilt's going to be published in Australian Patchwork & Quilting magazine vol. 17 no. 8, due out early in 2009 - so all I can give you for now is this sneak peek. The quiltlet for that issue is made from the scraps of this quilt.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Kiva: Karomat Roziqova

Kiva's just had a great policy change!  Now, as the working poor repay their loans, the lenders receive back their funds (rather than waiting till the end of the loan period).  I've had enough paid back from Tajikistan, Bolivia and Pakistan (link to my lender page on Kiva) to be able to lend again - turning the money around to work again for someone else.  This time, my fifth loan, is to Karomat Roziqova in Tajikistan.

Why her?  Another needlewoman, a tailor, using her craft skills to support her family.  This is what I learned from her Kiva page:
Karomat Roziqova is a resident of Rudaki district. She's married and has a child. She embroiders cloth. To ensure smooth operation of her business, she would like to take out a loan to purchase beads and threads. She plans to repay the loan within 15 months. Her business brings in a decent income and so she is trying in any way possible to develop it.
There's a Kiva link over in the sidebar - why not click on that and see if you'd like to participate too?  Minimum loan is $US25, so it's not much, and it's a loan, so you can turn the money around and around again to help, as I've been able to do with this loan.  Microfinance is such a satisfying game to play! (In case you wonder, when it is paid back you can withdraw it if you wish - I prefer to keep playing).

Monday, September 01, 2008

Reading (well, listening)

This isn't on the Gabaldon shelf because it's in transit, the current car audiobook for commuting and other journeys. It's one of my favourite books in the series and I am enjoying experiencing the story again. Listening, I find, can draw my attention to sections I might have skidded through, reading.

It's a whopper, though, like the book - 48CDs. They're that kind of story, lots of threads, good characters, plot twists and turns. I'm not listening to the audiobooks in order, but it's not worrying me much - I'm just enjoying whichever one is the current one.

For some weird reason, I can only find the book before this, The Fiery Cross, direct from Recorded Books for over $100US. All the others (unabridged - I'm not interested in the abridged since I like the stories and want to hear EVERYTHING) are available from Amazon.com or Audible.com or both. Can't figure that one, but since they are so large and expensive, I'll wait for TFC to turn up at either of the above. If you do know of it being available, do let me know.