Monday, April 27, 2009

Rainy Anzac weekend

Rain, rain, rain, lots of it. Saturday night driving over Vince’s Saddle, Lower Longley, on our way to dinner in Huonville was pretty scary with the hammering rain and fog coming in. Made our Saturday night outing very intrepid (when just going out on Sat night is intrepid for us these days). Today in Hobart it is 10 degrees and expecting snow! I’d like to be at home by the fire.

Over the weekend I hauled out the ladder and picked the last of the apples from the tops of the trees in our garden. We’ve done well again from our three trees, which are old and neglected but just keep on fruiting and save us from buying apples for a couple of months each year. Also couldn’t resist making another batch of quince jelly – so easy: boil up 4 big quinces with the peel and juice of a lemon, 7 cups of water and 1 kg of sugar for 2 hours, strain and then bottle (thank you Sally Wise). The liquid always seems very runny but magically turns into a jelly in the jar - a pretty red colour and delicious on toast or rice crackers. (***Late tip - apparently if you add a crab apple or two the jelly will always set well.)

The young quince tree in my garden, which looked like not surviving is now doing well thanks to husband's grey water reticulation system (he loves that thing) – so hopefully in a year or two I will be able to use my own quinces.

Made two more bags on the weekend – had to have my sewing fix. Listened to the competing sounds of the fire crackling in the other room and the rain falling outside while I sewed away - a nice way to spend a drizzly morning. I am quite pleased with the results. Etsy shop here we come – soon..

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Posting off the goodies

Today I posted off a parcel of handmade baby things to New Zealand for little Maia. With the excitement of my increased grandmother status I had wanted to finish off all the things I have been making for her so even got up early yesterday morning to cut out the fabric for the sun-shaped baby rattle. Finished it off last night after work and had great pleasure wrapping up the rattle, quilt, teething square and nappy bag in pink paper this morning. The pic shows the pre-sewn rattle pieces on my ironing board (really I'm just showing off my new ironing board cover, which I think is rather sexy and a major improvement on the last poxy threadbare number!)

By the way, have discovered that the $2.99 throwaway thin plastic tablecloth liners from Spotlight make great lining for vinyl covered bags - makes them suitable to use for wet items. I really do spend a lot of time in that shop now.

Also below showing off the rather wonderful painting given to us by Peter Gouldthorpe on Sunday. It's titled '4 do Doo Town' as the four us (P & J, A and I) stayed in a shack at Doo Town earlier this year when Peter painted it. The scene is of the wharf at Pirate's Bay - just along from where we stayed. I gushed about the painting back then at Doo Town and feel rather lucky now to be the owner of it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Welcome to the world little Maia

I must have had an inkling because I couldn't sleep from about 3.30 am on this morning. About 4.30 am Alan's mobile beeped from somewhere in the dark on the bedroom floor but I thought it was probably just one of those group messages Telstra sends. When we got up at 6.30 am though we read that baby was on the way. (On James' birthday - the one day everyone was hoping baby wouldn't arrive!) I am sure though he is tickled pink now to have a little sister born on his 7th birthday. When I arrived at work Johno called to say little Maia had been born at 9.55 am NZ time - Mum doing an amazing job with no drugs at all. How lucky am I - six grandchildren now - 3 boys and 3 girls. I can't wait to get over to NZ to meet Maia - only seven weeks until we go.

I will have to get busy finishing off all the baby sewing and knitting projects I've had on the go - and yes I can finish knitting the pink and white striped pants because IT'S A GIRL!

On the weekend I made some more vinyl-covered purses - becoming a dab hand at sewing these now - and also finished another handbag. Pretty pleased with how it worked out. It has a vinyl covered centre area, nice spotty interior and is a good roomy size. I can tell if something has worked out okay because I usually want to keep it for myself - but I can't do that. I am discovering that it's very hard to photograph vinyl-covered bags and purses.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter goodies

Boo hoo - Tuesday night is here, back to work tomorrow. It's been the easter of quinces and zip amnesia. Lots of quince cooking - made quince jelly and baked quince with vanilla for the big family lunch on Saturday. All yum. Zip amnesia has been a by-product of a big push to get a whole lot of stock ready for the next Art and Design market in Hobart. (Noella has kindly offered to have my stuff at her stall if she gets one as we will be in Melbourne...but if it doesn't come off I will have stock for my planned Etsy shop launch.) Made 15 vinyl-covered fabric purses although probably had to redo at least 5 of the zips after sewing them in upside down or at the wrong end ... boring boring boring. Even had to have Sue around for sewing masterclass. Also finished the baby quilt for J & K's new baby due in two weeks (using the funky chenille squares from the Stitches and Craft fair in Melbourne), made two baby teething ribbon flannels and another sun-shaped baby rattle for baby Zephyr and a tote bag. Not bad going! Beautiful autumn weather today - very golden-hued day (probably from the burn-offs in the reserve behind us). Enjoyed seeing all my family over Easter especially lots of lovely little Eliza.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Culture and craft

Had a very busy busy weekend with my friend Chris down from Brisbane. Lots of girly discussions about her pending wedding and whether the older bride should carry a bouquet. I think yes because it's nice to have something to hold on to and flowers 'ground' you. Saturday night saw 'Florence', a performance by a woman from New Foundland (Shipping News territory), part of Ten Days on the Island. Interesting but not as good as some things I have seen in the Peacock Theatre. Yesterday went to 'Ruined Pianos' at the Museum - enjoyed listening to the tinkly, jangly, missing notes, strange sounds and stories of the pianos. Very evocative of different times and places. Also went to the Art & Design market in the Masonic Temple. I am really liking that there are lots of opportunities for makers in Hobart to sell their stuff now. Saw some lovely origami flowers and lots of nice purses made using clear vinyl over fabric. I've got vinyl at home ready for my first sewing attempts with it. Apparently success depends on using the right machine needle? I managed to get my bit of craft in also this weekend by making a baby rattle on Friday night. It has a little bell in the face. On the flip side is an embroidered heart. Made two, one didn't work so well - so scrapped this one. It's for Tracey at work whose much anticipated baby is due soon.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Getting started...

Friday afternoon - bored with work, rainy afternoon, autumn tinged leaves flickering through the venetian blinds of my office view. Hullo Izzie smiling on the window's edge. I want to start my blog but as usual I am commencing before I have fully worked out how to do this... don't have a proper header yet or all the nice bits that make blogs look interesting. My New Year's resolution was to do everything this year with more care and thought but it seems to have transpired that I rush the first of whatever I do, and then refine and refine and finally end up with results I am happy with. At least this is an improvement on earlier practices - when I got an inspiration, madly made a sloppy sort of thing and then moved on to the next creative pursuit. So stay tuned - I will refine this.