Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas in Australia!


Somewhere on the road around Townsville.  Taken today by my sister, Helen, making a long drive from Cairns, Queensland, to Birregurra, Victoria.  She hopes to make it in 3 days.  She is moving to Doha, Qatar for 3 years.  Another destination to add to my travel list.

Fantastic to see the Christmas Spirit alive in the middle of nowhere!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Snow

I think a lot about snow.  I don't know why this is so, because I live in a snowless zone of the world.  I have experienced snow and found it to be truly magical.  I simply marvel at the way it transforms a view.  I would love to live where it snows.  I'd love to wake up to that magical transformation.  I love the smell of snow, sparkling snow in sunlight.  It's soft, silent, flurriness as it falls. I imagine sitting in a window and looking out and never growing tired of the view.  Marvelling at trees, mountains, fields, cottages hidden under snow.  I imagine sitting and crafting, cooking, reading in my snow covered cottage.  Friends crunching up the drive or path to visit.  Talking off their wellies or shoes and scarves and welcoming them inside with warm drinks and delicious bakings.  I love the idea of the warmth inside the house nestled in amongst the coldness of the outdoors - I can feel it glowing and oozing comraderie.  I imagine walking in it, my cheeks and nose ruddied by the cold, hearing if crunch underneath, sinking in my wellies across fields, shaking branches and having snow rain down on me, leaving footprints (like you do in the sand here).



I've had 5 wintery, snowy Christmases and been absolutely thrilled by every one of them.  It fascinates me as an Australian growing up with hot summery Christmases year upon year why I dream of snow and wintery landscapes, when it is not my norm?  Am I displaced?  Shall I go and live in the Northern Hemisphere again and live through more cold winters.  So many people emigrate here for the weather...why am I thinking the exact opposite?  People crave my Australian lifestyle/weather.  Is it a case of wanting what you don't have.  Do people who move away from snow miss it?  Do people who live with it, love it, hate it?  I know people whinge about it and it has its ugly side in slushy, mushy traffic snow.  But I've even found that fun... I have never tired of it when I've lived in northwest Iowa or the UK over those 5 winters. Today I was googling snow images and the ones here are some that I found courtesy of Google images....


Imagine skiing across that!



If you love snow leave a footprint and say hi and let me know what you love about snow let's share snow joy...x

look what I found today - http://sbmillefeuilles.blogspot.com/ - this post about winter and including a wonderful picture of a girl dreaming of snow!!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Lavender Hearts

December is rushing away from me at a very scary rate of knots....the tree is up, I've been to a carol service, one parcel has gone, the fruit is (still) soaking for the Christmas cake.... a few gifts have been made... not a scrap of shopping has been done, no menu decided upon.....and this is my first post for the month! Doesn't sound too bad when I list it like this, but I'm not feeling organised at all.  8 more days of work until we break until the 9th of January....

Yesterday I stole a couple of hours at my sewing machine and made up these lavender pouches.  I've used scraps of fabric of which I have an abundance!! No surprise there! Family and friends are all going to get a couple for Christmas, either as their gift or adjunct to.  I am staying true to my using up resources commitment.  It is amazing what I've found stashed away in all the different boxes that have been packed away for years while we renovated (the still-in-progress 7 year renovation).  I am slowly sorting them into 1. rubbish, 2. garage sale 3. usable/giveable!  I will be free of clutter and junk. I will, I will, I will....

It was so lovely to sit at my machine for a couple of hours and I'm planning on getting quite a lot of sewing time in on my break.  Finally making headway on several quilts and aprons I have planned.  Also a couple of bags....I am really excited about being at home for a couple of weeks. Normally I long to get away, but I think thanks to our European adventure, I'm happy to hang in Perth and my home and the beach!



Group shot of heart shaped lavender pouches

A pretty floral ....
Amy Butler scraps

Monday, November 28, 2011

Oh my, oh my!

I'm having palpitations!  Look at this Christmas tree skirt from anthropologie!!  So exciting - it has caused major creative stimulation of the brain.  For years I have had the odd thought of making a Christmas tree shirt.  I've seen some gorgeous ones in shops, none I've felt compelled to buy, because I really want mine to be home made.  I've been accumulating Christmas fabric for years now with no particular projects in mind.  I've used some of it to creatively drape around the bottom of the tree for the pressies to sit on which has been perfectly fine....every year I choose something different and if the pets have a field day with it - it's no stress - just wash it and fold it an put it away again. But I never ever thought of a knitted or crocheted one!!  It was a slap to the forehead - this is my style!  Doh!  So now the journey begins, pattern, style, colours..... There's no time frame, no pressure...I am in my year of deleting wool reserves so no new wool can be purchased, but that's fine - I can design and plan away which is such an exciting part of the creative process.  I'm all tingly!

Thank you Anthropolgie - I do love you! 

Please share any other Christmas Tree Skirts or links to - I am on a mission to look at what wonderfully crafty blogland has to reveal...here's one I found today on a short blog browse The Hood: A Christmas Tree Skirt over at Fresh Lemons; so inspiring and providing lots of food for thought and idea generation for my own skirt. I mean how serendipitous is that!!! Spooky!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sunday Outing: Coffee and Cake....

On Sunday I headed out for cake and coffee with a couple of my besties.  I took them over and introduced them to the delights of Sherbert Bake Shop in Maylands.  We each indulged in a delicious cake from their amazing selection of made-on-the-premise goodies and a terrific flat white coffee and nattered away an hour or so.  My chocolate and almond cake was so so yummy it will be hard to go past it on my next visit.  Oh the angst ...the same again or try something new...



The shop has a lovely retro vintage shabby chic vibe going on



As you can see I wasted no time tucking into mine....I did order first ....!!!

Perth has no end of great coffee shops - and I am on a mission to discover and go to them all....... so far this rates in the top 5!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A new bag is on the needles

Lately I've had lots of new bag style ideas swimming around in my little brain.  Colours, dimensions, names, patterns, yarns.  It's a total creative buzz high!!  It's consuming me and I can't knit fast enough to see them all into fruition!!  I knit a row and look at the colours and just get more excited as it grows and evolves into my vision.  Ah I love the creative process, it makes me feel alive and like skipping everywhere!!!

There's a couple on the needles, but this is the one I'm concentrating on... here's a sneak peak.  It will change so much between now and being finished and that is so exciting...exactly what will it look like finished ... will the felting process fuse it and transform it as I imagine.  I won't know 'til it's done, so I'd better get back to the knitting!!!



It already looks different....I'm using up all the scraps...  Project Delete Wool Reserves  is making progress.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Our day in Aix en Provence

Nice to meet you Mr Cezanne! I love the idea of time travel - wouldn't it be fabulous to be able to sit and have a chat with people you admire from history.  Not a new idea, I know, but I love the idea. Perhaps I could have been an artist's muse!  Ha!   I loved "Lost in Austen" and I must see Midnight in Paris before it finishes at the cinema.  Roaming around Aix En Provence I lost myself in visualisation and imaginings of Cezanne in the cafes, walking the streets, echos of voices passionately discussing brush strokes etc....






An exhibition on Australia at the local museum.











Back to the ship for a well earned liquid refreshment to accompany my baguette - the best baguette EVER!  Hiding in the bag is the cheese and fresh raspberries!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pottery Barn Quilts



I dream of a house filled with quilts.  Every room to have its own quilt and/or crocheted or knitted throw.  For years now I've watched the inspiration rooms on the Pottery Barn website.  Every one of their bedrooms looks so inviting.  They present beautifully, if not a little unrealistic for this little black duck.  I don't think I can ever live their reality - I'm way too messy.

There's a formula to their rooms I think... great looking bed, lots of pillows, bedside tables usually piled with an enticing stack of books, walls adorned with interesting finds or artwork - (I love the giant buttons), a sensational lamp and great light in the photo and evidence of a cuppa.  They just sing to me, relax and loose yourself in the comfort and luxury that I am - your bedroom, your haven.  A bit different to my reality...I do try to make my bed everyday but I forget as my mind screams coffeeeeee and I stumble to the kitchen to put the kettle on. Yes I am working towards my bedroom evoking all these positive feelings, but there always seems to be a pile of discarded clothes, odd shoes, towel, handbags....perhaps I'll share a photo, perhaps not!

Anyway I digress, I'm not doing too badly, there's a quilt for 4 rooms.  Perhaps one day I'll manage a B&B and it will give me an excuse to dress up more beds, or maybe there's a job going somewhere for a bed dresser... eh, Pottery Barn??  Quilts supplied. 

But aren't some of these quilts just fantastic.  PB have embraced American quilt history - you can watch a video on their website.  They've collaborated with the American Craft and Folk Museums, Gee's Bends and Denyse Schmidt, I love how they are so proud of their quilting heritage.

BTW all the above images are from the Pottery Barn website either recently or saved to my inspiration file over the years - I am not responsible for any of the images and am not pretending to be!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Desiderata

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann

My paternal Grandma had a copy of this on the back door of her loo, so I grew up reading it over and over again, whenever I visited her and the loo!  I have my own copy now - somewhere - I must put it up on my inspiration board.  It never fails to make me take a deep breath in and out and relax about my state of affairs. I think it grounds me.  I never heard Grandma utter a bad word about anyone, and she seemed so at home in her own skin - a smile and a funny quip were constantly forthcoming too.  She was a gem or as someone said at her funeral - "a national treasure". Oh Thelly May - so many admiral qualities - thanks for the Desiderata legacy - you did always manage to ground me!  Oh and she made the best Green Tomato Pickles EVER!!!

(Where did this post come from?  A work colleague and I were talking today about philosophies and sayings etc and it just occured to me how much Desiderata had been a part of my life, so I just thought I'd share)

Monday, November 07, 2011

Paris! A Visual Feast!


Le Tour Eiffel - View from Above



Macaroons!


Montmartre


Frog's Legs!

Fabric shops abounded



Crepes!


Traffic at the Arc de Triomphe!


Dreams do come true! Me and my girls at the Eiffel Tower - Very special!

Parents on tour!

Cafe Lunch!

Look at those cheeses!!

Berry nice!

Snails




Decision Stress ... which ones to get...!!!


Lollipops!




Bread and wine!  It's all good!