Thursday, March 17, 2011

Goodbye Joan

My dear wife Joan has left us. She battled the beast for over a year and died on February 25th, 2011.

She is sorely missed by me and her offspring, Helen and Martin.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Binging on books

I have been very slack about stitching - the only time I have been into the sewing room for months has been to do some trouser shortening for Martin and some repairs for Helen and Kevin. I have been feeling so tired that if I wasn't sleeping I just wanted to sit. So I have been reading and rereading.

Last year I reread all the Phyrne Fisher novels by Kerry Greenwood and was delighted to discover a newly published one which I promptly devoured. Then Stephanie Laurens came out with the final book in the Bride Quartet, so I had to reread the first three before I read the new one! This series is set in India in the early 19th century and involves a group of four East India Company soldiers who discover the villain behind a vicious cult and have to take the evidence to England, hotly pursued by the cult. Naturally each encounters a lady along the way and romantic entanglement ensues. I enjoy SL's story telling, but have to skip large chunks of the sex scenes.

Then the final volume of Nora Roberts Bride Quartet came out. This is modern romantic fiction and good light reading, but of course I had to reread the first three before I could finish off the series!

I also read "Ape House" by Sara Gruen. I loved her first book "Water for Elephants". I was less taken by this, mostly because the story timing was inconsistent throughout the novel - events moved very quickly, then slowed to a crawl, then heaps of action at the end. I may have to reread it to see if my first opinion is justified.

Since New Year I have been indulging myself in the "in Death" series by JD Robb (aka Nora Roberts). I read the latest volume "Indulgence in Death" (appropriate) and started rereading the entire series from the beginning. Some days I have read two of them, so I am now half way through #11. I suspect I am getting a bit tired of them, so I may stop soon.

I have only one completely untouched book waiting - "The Distant Hours" by Kate Morton. I enjoyed her first two books "The Shifting Fog" and "The Forgotten Garden", so I expect to like this as well.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Wedding

Helen and James tied the knot on Saturday. It was a lovely day. Here is is a pic of the park where the ceremony took place and of a couple of onlookers.

This is the happy couple at the ceremony and at the reception.

Another picture of the bridal couple and one of both lots of their parents. It was great that Gail and Dave were able to come over from Queensland.

The reception was lunch at a riverside restaurant, the Red Herring. The food was excellent and the wine waiter efficient. I managed to eat a fair bit - particularly of the vegetables in the antipasto. I fail as a food blogger - no pictures. If you want more pics, there are others on the family blog and my other blog

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Another Christmas Party

This one was Secret Drawer, my friendship sewing group that was started 22 years ago. Members have come and gone, but there are still two originals - Mary and me.

Unfortunately Mary could not come yesterday. She had heart stents inserted last week and thought she should wait for an all-clear from her doctor before venturing out.

The gathering was at Jenny's house. As usual there was ample food, and I surprised myself by how much I ate. The desserts were great. There was a pavlova and a strawberry custard tart, as well as mincepies. I took one of those home and Kevin ate it later.

I had a lovely time - pity the photo is out of focus.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Designing Women Christmas Lunch

Saturday was the Designing Women Christmas lunch which I was really looking forward to. I was sick in the morning and Kevin thought I really should not go, but Juliet had offered to take me and I knew I could just sit. I am glad I went. There was an impressive array of food (I didn't eat much, but I managed some savoury food as well as some of Pauline's to-die-for icecream cake) and Delys made a wonderful non-alcoholic fruit punch of which I drank at least 5 glasses.

We always exchange a handmade Christmas decoration and I received two lovely baubles from Jan.

In addition, Jaslyn gave me a lovely angel.

It was a very pleasant afternoon. Delys has a wonderful house, full of the beautiful dolls she makes and lots and lots of vintage china. We had lunch outside in the alfresco area which is really lovely. Thank you Delys - it was great.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A birthday

Today was Kevin's birthday - as one of our friends said "you have exceeded your biblical allowance of three score and ten" - he is 71. We had a little gathering with friends yesterday to celebrate. It was also Helen's birthday so she and James came as well.

Today Kevin and I went to Garden City to buy the iphone that is my present to him (I also bought him a cover and a car phone charger) We got a beginner salesperson who was firstly a bit taken aback that we didn't want/need a sales pitch and then proceeded to take such an excruciatingly long time to complete the paperwork that we both almost lost interest and walked out. We were a bit too tired of the whole bit that we didn't check our invoices/receipts and found when we got home after 4pm that we had someone else's. The phone wasn't in action by then either - activation was supposed to be within an hour. We plan another visit to another salesperson tomorrow.

We then went to have lunch while we were at the shopping centre and decided the Asian food train looked worth a try. You select what you want, and pay according to the colour of the plate the food is on and the number of dishes you consume. As usual these days, I wasn't very hungry, but some rice paper rolls appealed (two to a plate for $4.50). I enjoyed mine and so did Kevin and he could have eaten more. Unfortunately, it seemed that there were no more available and so we paid up and moved on. A couple of prawn dumplings from another stall and an iced coffee from another and we had had enough.

When we got home I Googled rice paper rolls and found several recipes. All the necessary ingredients (except peanuts) were in the pantry or fridge/freezer so I made some for dinner tonight. They were very nice, though Kevin wasn't too keen on the coriander I included. I/we will make them again.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Rich in Stitch

This exhibition celebrates the tenth year of the Designing Women textile group and is the sixth exhibition the group has mounted. We went to the opening last Friday night. This is Thelma Cluning who did the honours. She is a textile artist herself.

This is some of the audience.

There were 76 pieces on display. I don't have photos of many, because though I took my camera I didn't pull it out of my bag, and Kevin, as official photographer, was concentrating on the opening crowd. I loved these two nuno felted and stitched pieces by Juliet.

This lovely piece is by my sister Dorothy. It was made in response to the challenge "10" and has several tens included. One you can't see is a ten-cent piece hiding in the undergrowth.

I will take more pictures of the works when I do my turn of exhibition sitting next week.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

UFO finished

I have been very lax in updating this blog, though I must confess that I have not been fiddling much. I have been reading lots and I may blog about that later.

I wrote about the quilt top I made from nine-patch blocks which I swapped way back in 1996. I finished off the top recently by adding a couple of borders and sent it off to be quilted. A couple of weeks ago I bound it by machine, so it is finally finished. My only problem now is what to do with it. Here is a photo.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

More ATCS and some other stuff

I finished some ATCs yesterday. These are for the Metal theme of the bimonthly (is that the right term for every second month?) swap for the Aus-NZ Art Quilters list on the internet. I am running a bit late because they were due at the end of September, but I was assured that it would still be OK. I forgot to take any photos, so I will have to wait until I get my swapped cards.

I have been unpicking some trouser waistbands to try and shorten the elastic so I can still wear them. Having lost close to 25 kilograms and approximately 20 cm from my waist since November, everything literally falls off me. I have donated a couple of bags of clothes to the Good Sammies, but I am hesitant to pass on some, because I like the fabric so much. I will see how it goes on one pair before tackling any more. I have fabric to make some more, but I lack the energy to cut them out as yet.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Australia Wide II exhibition

I am really chuffed - I have had one of my quilts selected for the second Australia Wide exhibition (I had two selected for the first one - but who cares! Just one is a great ego boost.)

Here is a tiny peek of a bit of the detail, since I am not sure whether it is acceptable to show the whole quilt before it it is put up on the Ozquilt Network Inc site.

I posted it off today so it should get to Sydney by the end of the month. It needed a hanging sleeve and a label as well as the facing to be stitched down and I was a bit concerned that I mightn't make the deadline because of my stint in hospital. However I felt energetic yesterday, so the necessary bits were finished.

Today Juliet drove me around. We went to a framer - I want the piece I did for the Melville Art Awards properly framed for the Designing Women exhibition, then to the Post Office to mail off the quilt and then to Heathcote to see the Stitched and Bound exhibition. I loved some of the pieces, especially the triptych by Lisa R, but I felt that the overall exhibition did not address the cutting edge of contemporary quilting. There were several pieces that were immediately recognisable by the maker's style. Lovely pieces, but hardly avant garde. Maybe I got it wrong, and the aim of the exhibition is no longer to stretch the boundaries.

I am pleasantly tired after today's excursion, but have decided not to take a nap. I plan to go to bed immediately after the "Collectors" show on TV tonight.