Monday, June 04, 2007

Post 99 will be my last one ever

on this blog. Please come and find me at MY NEW BLOG.

There'll be cake and balloons, games and giveaways, lollies and chocolates.

Well, I'll have all of the other things...but there will be a giveaway.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Opinions sought

The beautiful Flo and I have been hand-dying our own quilting fabric. It is good fun, we do it for the pure pleasure of creating colour with our own hands. It is not particularly cheap though. We need to create an income from this process in order to sustain it. If we want to dye more fabric - and we do - then we need to get some money from the stuff we have already dyed.

We had go at selling our fabrics at a market last year, but it was not at all successful. We decided that we would need to create quilts with our fabrics in order to make any sales. Being the smart people that we are, we have realised that our best bet for sales was to make something for children. Here is our first (almost) completed creation.

You can see that I haven't put the binding on it yet. The quilts are about 1m (40in) by 1.1m (44in). The background is a whole piece and then our original drawings (this one is Flo's) have been raw edge appliqued onto it. I have then quilted it quite heavily and added detail to the applique shapes. We have used a brushed cotton or flannel on the back to make it snuggly for a little one.

I have quilted ferns in the background because it seems appropriate for dinosaurs.

So this is what I would like to know, dear readers. How much should we charge for these? We are thinking to charge $85 - $95 Australian. This is our logic:

1. We are selling them at a craft market, we think that $100 is a psychological barrier at that venue. They may be worth that, but if no one buys them then it is pointless.
2. We will cover our purchase costs, but not really pay ourselves much for our time. That is the bane of the craft sales world. You are making one off items, you can't really pay yourself for that until you have a designer name.
3. Selling them (we have made 18) at that price will give us enough funds to buy PLENTY of materials to make more.
4. We enjoy making them and are happy for this to be a self-sustaining cycle - sell them to make more - rather than an earth-shattering business to put us onto the rich list.
5. We want each one that we make to be unique. We don't want to take orders to re-make these ones. We want to design quilts that match the fabrics we dye because we love the serendipitous nature of hand-dying fabric. This is pure fun for us and we would like it to remain so.

Given all of that information, would you buy one of these for your son, daughter, granddaughter or grandson. Would you think that paying $85 to $95 would be a reasonable price for a hand-crafted original item purchased at a craft market. Please give me your honest feedback. (See that email address up there? Use it if you feel you have a lot to say.)

Oh and by the way, if you see one that you love, but can't come to the craft market in Townsville at the end of July...make me an offer!

Monday, May 28, 2007


Today we pulled out some winter clothes so that my son could wear them to the movies. Twelve months ago we were turning a cuff on his jeans because they were too long for him. Look at them now...

I guess we'll be going shopping this week. The problem is that he is so skinny that even these very short jeans are too big around the waist - he cannot jump without holding tightly to his waistband.

I hope that he slows down soon or that three-quarter length denims suddenly become this season's must-have item.

A teaser - look over to your left and you will see that this is my 97th post. Pretty good! You will want to be here for my 100th post. I have some exciting stuff planned.

Friday, May 25, 2007


One of the first things that I bought with my own hard earned cash was a sewing machine. A little Janome that cost me around $350 in 1984. At the time I was at uni and my car was worth less. I clothed myself for many a year with that machine.

Five years later I was married and living in Brisbane while my Pete was at uni. I was teaching, so I had an income. We had no debt and no children. I went to the Brisbane Ekka with my mum and on an impulse I upgraded to the top of the line Janome. Instead of spending $20 for the day on show bags, I spent $1700 on a sewing machine. My Pete was a little surprised when I came home to tell him.
The machine was computerised and did lots of fancy stitches. I had just begun quilting, so I played with all of its features.
I just loved it. So much so that when I bought a new machine about nine years ago I couldn't trade it. Instead I gave it to my mum. She loved it as much as I did. She has made clothes and quilts and bags and curtains with it.
Today my mum and I met to make a quilt for my cousin's wedding. We turned on the sewing machine and it didn't work. This message appeared on it screen...
I rang the lady at the local Janome shop and she gave us very bad news. This means that the board has gone and it cannot be repaired or replaced. The machine is no more, it is an ex-machine.
Good bye faithful machine, we have stitched many, many kilometres together.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Jen tagged me to answer a four quiz. I feel a little exposed doing this because I am essentially a very boring person. This doesn't really bother me, it rather delights me to be so. I am the sort of person who will order the same meal at a restaurant each time that I visit. If it was good last time, then it must be good this time. I don't need to get something different because maybe it won't be good. I eat the same food for lunch each day - a ham and lettuce sandwich when I'm working, and the same thing for afternoon tea - a small box of sultanas, dried pineapple and dried pawpaw. I liked it yesterday, so I'll surely enjoy today and again tomorrow. If it isn't broken then don't mess around with it!

So I have to say four different things each time, hey...are you sure that one won't's my favourite one....I've always loved it...OK here goes

1. Four favourite jobs - OK I've failed already. I haven't had four different jobs that I could call favourites. I have been a primary school teacher for a long time. I studied for it, I earned it, I never have felt the need to let it go. I am a quilter. I started my own business as a machine quilter. I enjoy this, but it can be a bit lonely, though I do love to see a quilt when it is finished. I teach quilting to ladies at the local quilt store. I enjoy this and have quite a few regulars that I look forward to seeing each week.

2. Four of my favourite local places - my house, specifically my studio. This is my space and I love to create in here. The Strand, just beautiful. It made the whole world of difference to this town. The walking path around the Ross River. A fantastically restful place to exercise. Balgal Beach, it used to be unknown, but it is starting to be quite popular.

3. Four of my favourite foods - sushi (especially tofu and satay chicken (lunch every Tuesday)). Turkey, cranberry, lettuce and avocado sandwiches on multi-grain bread. Lean pork chops with roasted pumpkin and onion. Duck, once I had a duck salad at a local restaurant that was damn fine! (Sussanah will mock my bland selection, but I could eat this menu each day and be the happiest girl alive)

4. Four international places I have been or would like to visit - I went to the US on 21st of September 2001. We had tickets to stand at the top of the twin towers and would have been there one month to the day that they fell. It was a very stressful trip for a person who is as anxious as I am. I did love Washington DC because of the Smithsonians. I loved Hawaii because the sun was warm and that always picks up my spirits. I loved Rotarua in New Zealand. It was so different to every thing that I know and was so fascinating. I was there without my Pete though and I would like to take him back there. Of course next year I intend to go to Paris, if only to get time to be with my girl. But I have wanted to go there for so long, I want to stand at the Eiffel Tower and be in the presence of a Renoir, Van Gough and Da Vinci.

I tried and tried to think of a song about four to go with this. I already used Four Winds a few posts ago, damn! So I went with a song about forty. (Stomper be brave and look at it! It is a little bit naughty.) I'm sure that everyone will be able to tell me fabulous 'four' songs and I will kick myself for not thinking hard enough.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Road Trip

I have been on away for a long weekend with my sister and her two children. We went to Yeppoon to visit my grandmother for her 86th birthday. It is an eight hour drive from here to Yeppoon. We had a one year old and a five year old in the back seat, so I am certain that you can appreciate that the trip had some difficult moments! Thankfully they were brief and both of the children were remarkably patient.

Grandma didn't know that we were coming to see her, so she was thrilled!

She had been waiting to meet my nephew. My sister adopted him last year and he has our much loved grandfather's name. Needless to say he was the star of the weekend. He was charming to all he met and left a lasting impression.

That face is pure cheekiness!

We were able to spend about an hour each day on the beach.


jumping waves,

searching rock pools and

finding hermit crabs.

It was a lovely weekend, but as always, it is good to be home.

A song from our road trip.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Matilda Station and Self Congratulaions

I have just finished quilting a Matilda Station quilt for a client. I was quite excited to get the opportunity to quit this quilt. I haven't done a large applique quilt since I got my new machine. I found it a breeze to stitch around the animal shapes with accuracy, although it was time consuming to do so many stops and starts. I filled the backgrounds with lots of curly shapes because it had a quirkiness to it.
Curly wool around the sheep.
Little bugs flying amongst the chickens

Cows amongst the flowers
A few posts ago I mentioned that I had sent a quilt away to the Down Under Quilts calendar challenge. I am pleased to say that my quilt was selected to be included in the 2008 calendar. I received a letter yesterday congratulating me and giving me the good news. I had begun to think that I had missed out this year because they had 54 entries.

Once again, life is good.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Don't you love it?

I hope that everyone had a wonderful mothers' day with their families. I found this on my pillow:

Apparently my son had been in at 6am to whisper to my Pete," Where is the wrapping paper?"

Without even opening his eyes my Pete waved a hand and said to look in the cupboard. Isn't is beautifully wrapped! I love it. He also made me bacon on toast with a barbeque sauce letter M to mean mother - so touching. He's very sensitive, my boy.

I was looking at my two the other day and was struck by how very similar they are in profile. Their colouring is different and my daughter has more delicate features (a kind way of saying that my son's nose and ears look bigger). They are a picture of concentration as they try to recapture the space port from the Empire, or some such vital thing.

I'll leave you with a feel good song for all of us who know we are crazy. Listen to the words - they touch home.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Tagged by a virus

Last night I was supposed to go and see Eskimo Joe with my brother-in-law. He is my partner in live music - he appreciates it as I do. Note I said 'supposed'. I had to cancel because of a stupid, miserable virus - sore throat, sore head, cranky attitude. Not at all right for listening to a band. He tells me it was great - he went with his brother instead of me. Never mind - I feel much better now.

Sussanah has tagged me to say six to eight random things about myself. I am wondering whether this is an altered version of the weirdness meme that I did once before. In the game of whispers this meme has come back to me re-invented.

SO...six to eight things

1. I have lots of Peters/ Petas in my life. My husband, his father (and so on down his lineage for five generations), my sister, my cousin and a close friend all have the name Peter. This is the reason that I always refer to my husband as MY PETE. I do this when I write and in conversation. Our son is not called Peter.

2. I am nine days older than my Pete, but he was born sixteen days late. Isn't that disgusting - he caused his mohter to be pregnant for nine and a half months.

3. I love music. At high school I played the flute and really enjoyed it. I am always humming, singing, listening to something. I hate easy-listening music stations on the radio. It is mediocrity.

4. I hate mediocrity. I am cynical. The populist view is popular because people just believe it without thinking. The most important skill that I hope my children have is the ability to reflect and question.

5. I don't watch the news. It is full of populist crap. I hope that someone will ring me to let me know if something important is happening - like a cyclone.

6. I do not understand sport. Who cares who can jump highest, swim fastest, throw furthest, roll around the floor the prettiest etc, etc. Really, who cares?

7. I am a procrastinator. I know that whatever I do will not be good enough so I control my fear of failure by not starting. My impaired logic is that by not beginning failure is inevitable, but I controlled that failure. If I begin and fail, then I really know that I am not good enough. It took me years to work this out about myself. Acknowledging a problem is part way to solving it, but I know that I am blogging right now because I am supposed to be quilting.

Tracey, aged three. Probably supposed to be drawing and creating collage, but procrastinating by dressing up.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Can you tell it's me? No photoshopping has taken place - look at the beautiful colour of the sky against my pale, pale skin.

Generally I wear a strand of wooden beads around my right ankle - perhaps you can see a faint tan line there. I lost them. Just last week they fell off and I have no idea where they have gone. Certain people in my extended family referred to them disparagingly as hippy beads. It makes me love them all the more. I bought them at the least hippy place on Earth. Everyone else was on a scary ride and I wandered alone carrying all the bags and found them. They have been on my leg for six years. I have started to look for a replacement strand, but it won't be easy to find something just right.

Why did I take this photo whilst executing a neat yoga position in the middle of the backyard with my dogs kissing my face? I included it in a teeny, tiny book - just 4cm by 5cm. The theme of the book is anonymous. I included two other foot photos and emblazened them with anonymous words that women use to describe themselves - mother, sister daughter. The book came to me via H&B, I took too far long to complete my part (sorry) and it is now on it's way to Stomper Girl to make her own anonymous contribution.

Friday, May 04, 2007


My daughter will have a wonderful exchange.

I was blogging away so well...until we got the news that my daughter is leaving us for France next year. I guess I should deal with the issues that this raises for me. One of the reasons that this is hard is that she reads my blog - both of my children read it. That is OK, I don't mind, but as a parent I try to hide my frailties. I don't want my children to have all of my faults, even to know about some of them. I don't pretend to be perfect, but I would hate for my fears and insecurities to be passed on. They don't always need to know how my mind works! I am trying to establish a secure environment for them - one where they can be children without cares and I will worry about the bad stuff for them. This may be a huge parenting mistake on my behalf - maybe in doing this I have restricted their emotional freedom. I don't think that I have - they laugh easily and show passion. I just want to shield them, I want them to be oblivious to my conflicts and turmoils so that they will only feel the joy and see the positives.

SO...while my mind is only just beginning to think about the reality of 2008 and the enormous impact that I will feel on my daughter's departure, I want to tell you, from time to time, the reasons that she was selected. These are the reasons that she should go. These are the reasons that this is the right thing to happen. These are the things on which my mind should focus.


My girl was born completely self-sufficient. She has never been needy, she has always been very good company for herself. This is not to say that she is a loner - far from it, she has a wide social group and some very close friends. She enjoys having people over at our place and visiting others. She has just never really needed others to make decisions for her. This photo was taken when she was three. We were on holidays in Cairns with my sister and her husband. Ashleigh has taken herself off to read while we are unpacking and organising things. She probably sat here for a good half hour, just enjoying the Bananas in Pyjamas book. She had no doubt memorised the story by then.

During this year she spent a lot of time with Sussanah. Sussanah was looking after her a couple of days each week while I worked. Sussanah was a uni student, but was also working at the student union. Ashleigh spent a lot of time at the student union offices. Once, in the days before mobile phones, Sussanah had a car problem and was late to pick her up. I was worried that I would be late for work and had no idea where Sussanah was or how long I would have to wait. Ashleigh said, "You just go Mum. I'll be fine to wait for Sussanah." I actually looked down at my three year old girl and for a nano-second thought that she would be fine. She has always had such a sensible, centred attitude. I am certain that she would have just calmly read a book while she waited. I didn't leave her - I would never have done it, but I knew, at that point, that she was more that capable of looking after herself and not frightened of the prospect of doing so.

I know that she will look after herself in France. She will remain centred, she will astound others with her ability to resolve issues alone. She will find ways to entertain herself if she has to. She will be able to find and negotiate medical help, financial issues and practical day to day life.

She will be fine!

Off topic now - a song I'm loving ( and I usually hate the violin).

Wednesday, April 25, 2007



Sorry about the echo caused by my prolonged absence. It has been a VERY busy week. I worked for four days at the Townsville Craft Show. I presented a workshop each day about quilting with your domestic machine (workshop 2, 2pm if you're looking for it). It was a wonderful four days of chatting and socialising with like-minded souls from all around the place. Take a look at Sussanah's blog if you want to see me in action as a tutor. I spoke to over one hundred very keen and interested ladies over the four days. I handed out lots of business cards and hopefully picked up some new business.

Once the craft show had finished I swung into action to complete a quilt for the Down Under Quilts calendar competition. I had to stay up until 2am two days in a row to finish it. It annoys me that I do this. I started the quilt months ago and had the deadline in my head the whole time. I really didn't have that much left to do to complete it, but I just dithered about and wound up having to do some LATE nights to finish it, kicking myself the whole time. Do you know how many ads there are for mobile phone sex after 11:30pm? It is sad, sad, sad.

I can't show you photos of the quilt that I sent away (thank goodness for express post), but the very day that I posted it, the quilt which I entered last year returned home to me. This quilt was a winning entry, it is featured in this year's calendar. It is a well travelled little quilt, having been to Japan twice for exhibition. It returned to me along with a Japanese quilting magazine. Luckily there was a post-it note in the magazine, drawing my attention to this photo

See that quilt just at the end of the pen nib, right behind that lady's head? That is my quilt on show in Japan. Am I internationally published now? Hell, yeah. But without the post-it I would never have found it! Well, maybe with a magnifying glass.

In exciting news.... Today was the first meeting of the cool quilters club. The cool quilters are the beautiful Flo (get a blog so I can link to you!), the multi-talented Kirsty and me. Why are we so cool? Because we think so. We enjoyed conversation that was at times intellectual, other times ridiculous, we were silent at times as we worked and we were very creative and supportive. We had the radio on and listened to very cool music while we worked on our quilting projects. We share similar views of the world. It is so nice to meet such clever people with a similar, accepting views and opinions about art and life. There have been times in my life when I have felt very lonely in a large group of people because I cannot find any one with a mindset like mine. Not today. Thanks ladies.

It was very difficult for me to choose a song to commemorate our first meeting. but after careful consideration I choose this one. I hope that you approve!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A New Blogger

My sister Sussanah is an amazing woman. She is loving and kind to all around her. She has such generosity that she will literally give away all of her own belongings, and several things that belong to me, to complete strangers. She makes me laugh constantly with her quick wit and astounding vocabulary . She has a razor sharp tongue that could reduce you to tears, but she would never do that. She has an amazing ability to sum up a situation in just a few short words when others have been wondering and unable to work it out. She is a fabulous aunt to my children, she will drive across town to get them anything that they desire, just because they want it.

She is married to a lovingly neurotic man, who knows that danger lurks around every corner, and together they are raising two children. Their children show a lust for life and an ability to find humour everywhere that they have inherited from their mother. She has an intelligence that is astounding, she actually knows what is going on in the whole world at any one time - I'm certain of it! She can offer you her opinion on everything, because we know she has one. She reads without fatigue and in such a variety of subjects that she is a fabulous conversationalist.

Saying all of those wonderful things has made me somewhat nauseous. so I will temper them with some warnings:

1 - don't ever lend her a book, and if you ever stay in a motel in Cairns, ask them if they found my daughter's first run copy of The Prisoner of Azkaban left behind circa 2005.

2 - don't let her borrow a DVD on your video shop card, I'm still paying off the Gilmore Girls fine.

3 - don't expect that you will be able to find a spot for your feet if you sit in the passenger seat of her car, by the time you have pushed all the diet coke bottles to the side you will have reached your destination

You may have noticed that for sometime my sister, Sussanah, has been attempting to hijack my blog. (and those of her friends) She has been making song requests and leaving insults disguised as comments.

She has finally succumbed to the peer pressure around her and started her own blog. Go there, I know you'll find her a wonderful blogger. Maybe if we visit and leave comments for her she will be able to sustain her attention for longer than ten minutes!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007



Today this beautiful girl received her acceptance letter.

She will be spending 2008 on exchange in France.
We are a little overwhelmed right now. When we have finished laughing and crying we'll tell you what we are feeling.
I am just so proud that she was accepted. I know how remarkable she is. Now I know that others see it too.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Hair of Red

Last night my Pete dyed my hair for me.

I used to get it done at the hair dressers, but it was costing over $150, then they would want to see me again six weeks later. When I thought about it, that works out to be $25 per week!!! I was spending that amount on petrol each week and thought it was expensive. So I decided that I would just buy the supermarket hair dyes that are about $15-$20 and let my Pete dye it for me.

My Pete is very particular and very focussed on details. When we painted our house he used an artists' brush to finish all the edges. He is an absolute perfectionist and thinks nothing of spending seven hours on one wall. He may not be speedy, but I know the job will be finished to exacting standards. I knew that he would not do a dodgy dying job on my hair. When I go to have a hair cut the hairdresser always comments on the great job that he has done.

Part of the fun of having him do my hair has always been the side show that he puts on. The particular brand of dye that I buy supplies a pair of gloves. These gloves are too small for my Pete's man-hands. He always has a rant about them. It is hilarious.

"Who has hands this small? These gloves are made for pre-pubescent girls! How am I supposed to put these on? F@#*!" (That last comment is the point where his giant thumb tears through the plastic glove.)

Of course I offer him my sympathies, I need my hair dyed after all, but inside I am chuckling to myself. It is one of the primary reasons that I ask him to dye my hair.

Yesterday we opened the box of dye and discovered that a new type of plastic glove has been packaged. A large plastic glove. One that fits a man-hand.

"Well. Look at this. A glove that finally fits. Isn't that great, now I won't tear through it."

Quite frankly I was disappointed - a nice hair job, but no show.

A fabulous song about hair dying.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Times are a-changing

Today I bought these:

for her: daughter is not five any more, but it is hard not to think of her like this at these life-changing moments. When I look at her sitting in the car she looks tiny.

Can she actually see over the steering wheel? Can she actually reach the pedals? Just barely! She is only starting the car for me to drive here. She has told me that it won't be possible for me to teach her to drive because when I get into 'teacher mode' I annoy her. I know that this is the point where our personalities are similar and, therefore, clash. If my Pete tries to tell me how I should do something I will immediatley ignore him and try to work it out for myself. He may be right in the end, but I will come to that conclusion alone, thank you very much! I wasn't offended that my daughter said this to me. Far from it. I was impressed that she could be so self-aware as to know that this was a trigger for conflict. I'm also happy to avoid the responsibility for teaching her to drive!

My beautiful, articulate son seems to have completely lost his ability to talk. He sounds like he only has half a tongue. What could have afflicted him so? He has become obsessed with Weebl and Bob. It is pretty funny and it suits his off-beat humour. All day today he has asked me questions which allowed him to respond to my answers with "make sure you are". (but say that like you have half a tongue) He has always laughed so easily. He finds delight and humour in all situations. He reminds our whole family of why it is a joy to be alive. This photo was taken by my sister six years ago. It is one of my favourite photos of my son and his cousin.

Finally I have been listening to this song quite a bit in the last few days while I have been quilting. It is a song that makes me very happy. It must do good things to me, because I am VERY happy with this client quilt that I finished with my brand new machine.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Poor Ken

When my daughter was young my mother-in-law made a bridal gown for her barbie doll. She thought it was beautiful.
"Who is she marrying?" I asked her.
"Ken," she replied. "As soon as I find his head."
A metaphor for life, don't you think?
When our son was born we thought we were so tricky. We had one child of each gender - it felt like hitting the jackpot! My daughter was almost four when her brother arrived. The long time between them was not all by choice, sometimes nature makes these decisions for you. It was good for me to have one child who was independent before I had another.

As time has gone on I have at times been a little sad about having a long gap and different genders. My children love each other, but have often existed within their own worlds - separated by maturity and gender. They each have their own circle of friends.

Recently I have started noticing them having conversations about life, quoting movie passages to each other, remembering funny experiences and laughing together. I like it. My daughter can still be bossy toward my son, but he just mocks. My son can still be gross to my daughter, but she is usually able to ignore.

Yesterday I could hear them chatting. Intrigued by the smell of toasting hair I went looking for them. Could these be my children? Have I entered a parallel universe?

I'm fairly certain that this was her idea to straighten his hair, but he willingly went along with it. He has to bend right down for her to reach. By this time next year he will be looking at the top of her head. The relationship will have to be renegotiated then!

He patiently allowed her to play Ken dolls until it got to the hair spray.

She sprayed once, he yelled, "That smells like crap! I'm out of here."

She spent the next ten minutes chasing him through the house. Balance was restored in the universe.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

My Quest

My quest for a decent photo of the elusive Ulysses butterfly that lives in my backyard continues. Today I took this

Pretty damn fine photo! But I stood still for SO long to take it that my arms hurt form the wieght of the camera and I may have some sunburn! Steve Parish, I am in awe of you!

Friday, April 06, 2007

North Queensland in my own backyard

Today I have spent many hours watching a Ulysses Butterfly dance across my backyard. I took about 100 photos and managed to actually capture it eight times. They fly like are drunk a in wild erratic way. We decided that it might be a strategy to avoid being lunch for a hungry bird.
Prepare to be amazed at the quality of my photography....

Do you see that flash of brilliant blue???

Try again.

A little fuzzy, but you must see that!

Here is my Pete's barramundi. He started with six, but they are carnivorous and happy to be cannibals too. Now he has one. It is about 25cm long (9inches). They are delicious, but there are strict bag and size limits. I doubt that this one will ever be lunch. It is much too loved for that.

Two icons of NQ found in my backyard. What do you have in your backyard which is typical of your area of the world?

Monday, April 02, 2007


Right now we are under a tsunami warning! This is the first time that I have ever heard such a thing. We live away from the water and on high ground, so I am not in the least concerned. The media are alert and prepared for a disaster, but as likely as not it will amount to very little. Well, I certainly hope it will amount to very little.

I have finished the music quilt which will be raffled by the high school to make money for the senior music tour. Certain rude people in my family like to call it 'band camp' a la American Pie, but be assured, this is music tour - entirely different!

Generally I photograph my quilts inside against a wall with full flash and holding my camera. After doing some reading I took this photo outside with a tripod in natural light. I don't think the result is any better! I'll go back to taking them inside the house.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Real Women

Nutmeg tagged me for the Real

These are my responses...

Real women...are proud to be called sister.

This photo of my sisters and I was taken in Melbourne in 1977. I am on the left, I was eleven, Sussanah is in the middle, she was four and Peta is on the right, she was seven. These girls rock my world. We live about 3km apart and raise our children in a collective fashion. Each of our children has called all of us Mum at some point. None of us has left Townsville because we know we would miss each other and our children unbearably. We can be honest with each other (sometimes brutally so). We can turn to each other and say "What will I do now?" and expect a supportive answer in reply. We can allow each other to be in a bad mood without taking any offence. I love these girls!

Real women....proudly raise nerdy sons. Last night a program called cuttlefish, the brainy bunch was advertised. My son declared, "Cool. Can I watch that?"

I love that he has a sense of wonder at the world and is always investigating something. School has not managed to beat this out of him. He watched the show with concentration (and a dislocated looking arm).

Real women....listen to loud, and often inappropriate, music. I love music where people are angry at the 'system' and question the status quo. This one says

Why don't the presidents fight the war
Why do they always send the poor.

That sounds like a fundamental truth to me! I love people who use their artistic talents to make a point, to stand for something. I have an inner hippy and an inner punk! This song is heavy and it does contain bad language. You have been warned.

Real women....apologise to their children.

In the last post my daughter left me a comment. I reacted to her being in my space and made a flippant comment in response. She said, "But I said something nice to you.", in that hurt teenage fashion. I went back and re-read it and it was genuine and heartfelt mixed with just a dash of sass and sarcasm. (This girl will go a looooong way in this world!) I have known her for her whole life, but our adult to adult relationship is still just new and sometimes I stuff it up. In order to suck up offer my humble apologies I will leave you with her favourite song. We hear this song at least fifteen times each night. I suggest that you play it on repeat to get the full effect!
Click here to listen and enjoy (beacuse I can't get the damn thing to embed!)

Kirsty, I tag you to tell us what real women do.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Pretender

In the very depths of my mind I often feel like I am a pretender. I feel that one day someone will say to me 'You are really crappy at that.' Then I will have to confess that I have been pretending all along. I very rarely allow myself to feel successful and worthy.

Maybe this is due to my own personality - I am somewhat of a perfectionist and I am well aware of my own inability to be perfect. Maybe this is due to a childhood where my efforts were never quite good enough. I'm not sure of the origin of these thoughts. Nor do I believe that they are necessary, but they some times exist. I don't even believe that external affirmation is needed to make me feel any different. My own mind causes these thoughts.

I have been feeling a little overwhelmed. The verbal attack which I endured recently left me a little shaky. Changes are afoot in my family as my son has begun his teenage years and my daughter finishes high school. I think a lot about these things and at times they are difficult to rationalise.

I wasn't going to post tonight at all. That was until I saw Nutmeg's post in which she nominates me for a Thinking Blogger Award. I feel honoured by that. I know that what I write here is well-considered before I press the publish button and I am glad that others are able to see that.

Thanks Nutmeg, you just made my day!

A voice behind me just said, "If that's what you think then you're a dork!" Oh yeah, have kids people, they'll bring you back to earth with a thud every time!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

No Respect

I was interested to read Stomper's recent post about real parents.

I am a pretty free and flowing parent. I don't even think that I parent any more. My children are 16 and 12 and they never make a decision that disappoints me. Please don't assume that my children are perfect...lots of hard work was done when they were younger. Now they are just cruisy, easy-going, well-mannered young people.

I have always been a big believer that personality is innate. You are born with a personality. Your environment can influence you, but essentially you react to it in the way that your personality programs you. I have not fought against my children's personalities. They are very different human beings and I have allowed them the space they needed to be themselves (in a socially acceptable way!)

My children talk to me fairly easily. Our family is very open about our lives and no topic is taboo in our family. We are not easily offended by topic or language. I like that. I am very grateful to have this relationship with my children.

This week my daughter came to me to discuss a car accident that was reported in our city. An 18yo driver had lost control of a vehicle and killed his 16yo passenger. This is a media focus around Australia at the moment and is quite close to home for us. I reminded her that she always had a choice about getting into a car. She only had to call on us or one of my sisters and we would pick her up any where, any time if she was uncomfortable.

"Never get into a car with someone you think is a dickhead!" I said to her.

She gave me a knowing smile and nod and with big, innocent eyes said, "Hmm. Last time I travel with you then."

Fancy ME having a smart-mouthed child!

No Respect!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Quilting and Jogging

See that? It is my brand new quilting machine fitting beautifully into the space that had been created for it in the studio. Notice the large dent in the side, right above the last 'M' in millennium. It took quite a knock during transit. Thankfully the damage is only cosmetic and a replacement top cover will be sent to me. It did give me quite a fright as I was unpacking it though! It is beautiful to use...I am in love with it!

The quilt pinned on the frame is one that I have made to donate to the music program at my daughter's school. They will raffle it to raise money for a music tour that they are taking later in the year. It has a large violin appliqued onto it. I'll post a photo of it when it is finished.

Sometimes I wonder if I am jogging through my life. (Not that I could actually jog...or would really want to) Today is a jogging day. I have to pick up my daughter from school at 1pm, she finishes early for study. We go and have sushi together for lunch. I enjoy spending time with her like this, especially as I know that the time she has to spend with me is almost over.

I pick up my son at 3pm from school. I cook dinner at 3:30pm because I have to take my son to guitar at 4:30.

My daughter often likes to go to the public library during the 30mins of the guitar lesson, otherwise I just sit in the car and read. Half an hour is not long enough to drop off and come back again. I come home in time to get changed and go for a walk around the river with my Pete. This is often my favourite part of the day. We just walk and talk, bliss. We walk for an hour, come home to eat our dinner. By now it is 8pm and I feel like I did absolutely nothing all day!! Nothing, but jog from place to place!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Reflections on Aggression

This week I was verbally abused by someone in my work place (not a fellow-worker). There was a trivial, piddling matter last week which she felt that I had not resolved the way that she would have resolved it. She held onto her anger for six days, then approached me. She had no desire to engage in a discussion and resolve the trivial matter, she only wanted to attack me. She left me with no room to speak at all. She attacked my character, my professionalism and my ability to make decisions. She finished by telling me that she would take the matter over my head to my administration team. This was when I finally got to speak. All I said was "That sounds like the best thing to do. Go to the admin team, go there now." When she left I was shaking; my hands, my legs, my confidence were all shaking.

I work in a very supportive environment. She was just as abrupt when she got to the admin team. They were incredulous when they saw her reaction to such a minor issue. As a result of her behaviour she has been sent a warning letter. If there is another event she will be banned from our grounds. If she breaches this we have the right to involve the police.

All of that is academic. It is straight forward and an easy procedure to follow. This does not begin to describe the way I am feeling. I do not understand aggressive behaviour, and in truth I have no motivation to begin to understand it. I find it unpredictable, without logic, as such I cannot plan for what may happen next. I cannot prepare myself for how this person may repsond to any situation. My solution would be to put myself into a place where I would simply not cross paths with her ever again, but this is not an option. I will have to deal with her for the rest of this year. Today I was going to the shop and I found myself worrying that I may see her there and wondering how I would deal with that. I know that with the benefit of time this will disappear, but right now I just don't want to deal with it.

Maybe Silverchair said it best:
No more maybes
Your baby's got rabies
Sitting on a ball
In the middle of the Andes
Yeah, I'm a freak of nature
Yeah, I'm a freak...... What ever that means!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

For the Uninitiated

THIS is a quilting machine.

This is the one that I own now. This will be my small one when my new one arrives. The sewing machine sits on a frame, which has tracks which go left to right, and on a carriage, which has tracks which go forward and backward. This means that it can move smoothly in all planes by pulling the machine across the quilt as it sews. This frame is four metres long to allow me to quilt even the biggest quilt by pinning it to the rollers that you can see. The actual sewing machine, which is to the right of the photo, is only a sixteen inch throat, meaning that I can quilt the width of the quilt by about fourteen inches at a time. This one attaches to the computer, so I can program a pattern and it will stitch it out using vectors.

My new machine has a 26 inch throat, but only a 3.6m frame. It has stitch regulation (the feature that I was desperate to get), which means that when I move the machine across the fabric it will do ten stiches for every inch of movement. The motor is activated by movement, so if I move slowly it stitches slowly. I will use it to do custom work by hand.

Does that make sense to everyone? Now you can see why I needed a big space to fit it!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

My Studio

Ten years ago my Pete and I built the house in which we live. At the time the plan included a two car garage. Since we were already paying for floor and roof, we opted to make this a room and extend the roof forward to make an open car-port for our cars.

This room has been through several incarnations. It was initially called the toy room. In true socialist manner I hate the notion that one child might 'own' a toy and not let the other enjoy it. In the toy room all toys were available to all children. At times large lego cities were established that couldn't be broken, but that was ok, we could just close the door.
For a while my sister, Peta, and her husband lived in this room with their bed, tv and fridge, as they waited for their new house to be built. It was quite a happy arrangement. It didn't cause us any stress because they were able to have their own space, and they cooked the dinner half the time.

The room then became a bit of a teenagers' retreat. It housed computer, tv, stereo, playstation etc. When the children had friends to visit we could again close the door. All the toys that we couldn't throw out were moved into the spare bedroom.
NOW the room is my studio. We have just pulled apart and re-arranged the room in preparation for the arrival of my new quilting machine. It should be here in the next few days.

Against this wall are some old school library shelves which my Pete made into this fabulous unit of shelves.

The opposite wall has the computers, tv,stereo, playstation and my fabric cupboard. See that drawing board in the middle of the room? I have been trying to get rid of that for years, but my Pete is quite sentimental about it. (Wish he could be sentimental about things small enough to fit into a shoe box!) Architects don't even use drawing boards any more, but he spent MANY hours late into the night while we were at university sitting there and drawing. The little table is my working table for when I am quilting.

This is my desk. It was an old bank desk which my Pete has restored for me. It weighs a tonne! Opposite my desk is all the space that my children have left in this room - a couch and a play station.

This open space is awaiting the arrival of my new quilting machine. I don't know if it will fit. My Pete has counted out tiles and he thinks it's big enough. If it isn't then the drawing board, couch and playstation will be finding new homes!!!

I spend many hours in this room with the airconditioner on and the radio blaring. Where do you spend many hours?