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).