Friday, August 22, 2014

hello and 'bye

Lots has been happening and I haven't found the time to blog.  My dear ex mother in law passed away 2 weeks ago after hanging in against the cancer until her 90th birthday when family arrived from all over to celebrate with her.  Sadly, she went downhill after that, and passed away quickly and peacefully with all her family around her.  I didn't really feel like blogging much at all then.

So the 'bye part is off I'm on exciting travels, flying out to tonight to Kathmandu, meeting a pilgrimage group there, and we're going to Mt Kailash via Lhasa and Lake Manasarovar.  You'll have to google all that yourselves, as I don't have time to find and post links and pictures.

After Tiber, a friend is meeting me in Kathmandu and we're going to have an adventure across India.

I'll be back in October with tales to blogging while I'm gone, I don't have any "devices" and I think I'll just soak up the experience.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Gifts in, gifts out

About a month ago Suzanna from Mostly Threads had a giveaway for a pretty little stitched raindrop, a prayer in thread for more rain in California.  I left a comment to be in the draw, but didn't win.  What I didn't know was that Suzanna was also giving away a print of her raindrop to all who had entered, and mine arrived a couple of days ago, and here it is.  It's so pretty, thankyou Suzanna.  Suzanna has some lovely stitching on her blog, pop over and have a look.


Remember the quilt I was working on for my ex-mother in law?  Well it's finished, after a couple of late nights to get it done.  Here it is hanging on the line after I washed looks odd because I'd hung it sideways and then flipped the photo.  I was very pleased with how it turned out.  I backed   it with a beautifully soft vintage sheet so it will feel gentle against her fragile skin.......forgot to take a photo.

And here is Rene, with it tucked around her....(I didn't chop her head off,  she didn't want her face in the photo) . When I handed her the parcel and she was opening it, she was saying all the "right" things...."you shouldn't have, you didn't have to get me a gift" etc.....then saw the quilt and clutched it to her and said it was just what she wanted without knowing she did. How nice is that?  She was absolutely thrilled with it.  This was a bittersweet gift... you see, what I didn't say in my last post about making it, is that Rene was diagnosed with cancer just before Christmas, and the doctors said there was nothing they could do and gave her only a few months.   She's lasted longer than the doctors said, but is very frail and fragile.  I don't know how much longer she'll have to enjoy her quilt, but I'm pleased she has it to comfort her for however long.

early morning rainbow
.................til next time

Monday, June 9, 2014

In the winter garden and a chicken bower

Winter, that's a bit of a joke.  Although there's a cool breeze today, outside it's quite warm enough for a t-shirt.  It's good growing weather, warm days and cool nights.

This is the bed I had prepared last week and is now planted with broad beans, Asian cabbage, spinach, collards, and too hard to see, calendulas and heartsease.  Radish seeds in the middle space.

This is a new bed I finished a couple of days ago, after breaking my back removing weeds and hauling soil.  It's now home to snow peas, a couple more broad bean plants, some bok choy and marigolds.  Radish seeds in the "holes" in the mulch.
Homemade climbing trellis for the peas, using long branches picked up on my doggy walks.
When the sun gets too hot for the tender seedlings, the trellis supports shade cloth. This area used to be in shade in the afternoon, but is now in full sun since the jacaranda tree fell.
Potatoes doing well, they've been hilled up twice since I took this picture, and I've nearly unrolled all the way to the top of the bags, they quite like being in the sun all day .


The chickens have been noticing the absence of the jacaranda as well.......not only had their run become very hot without it, but they had lost their "jungle" overhead, which made them feel safe, and so they wouldn't venture out into the open space.  So I made them a shady jungle bower from the broken branches that had to be trimmed off the mulberry tree. Not pretty but it works.

 Spangly Lola, golden Juno and a black blob which is Brenna, happily hidden away....I think they like it.

 Today, I need to check on the newest seedlings of bok choy and kale and see if they're ready to plant out, start some more seeds and I know there are tomatoes ready to be potted on.....all that and some sewing to hopefully finish off the Seed Packet quilt will fill the day quite nicely.

...............until next time

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Virtual sewing party

Donna at held a virtual sewing party to celebrate her blog's 2nd birthday.  She had real people enjoying a weekend of sewing, good food and "bubbles" at her house; whereas most of those who joined in sewed alone......I find I get more done that way, anyway.
I only managed a little sewing this afternoon, after spending most of the day tidying up the mess the tree fall made, fixing trellis back again, and giving all the plants that had either a shock or a squashing a little tlc to get them back on track.
I worked on this quilt I'm making for my ex mother-in-law.....although I haven't been married to her son for many years, she and I are still good friends, and I visit her regularly.  It's her 90th birthday in 3 weeks and the quilt is to be her gift. It's a pattern by Bronwyn Hayes called The Seed Packet quilt.

I already had the stitcheries done, so now I'm adding the borders, and finished 3 and a half today. 

These 4 are left to do, plus a heart block.
I love this about the internet, that there were dozens of women on the weekend all stitching or knitting, doing their own thing,  in "company" with each other.  We have the opportunity to visit each other's blogs and see what everyone's doing, give encouragement and admire the works underway, all while enjoying a beverage of choice and some treats.....well, it was a party!  I don't know if I would've bothered doing any sewing today, choosing to relax with a book instead, if I hadn't "signed up" to party along with Donna. 
Happy Bloggy Birthday, Donna

What a day!

I was woken about 2am yesterday morning by a loud noise, a thwumping kind of sound.  I got up and checked on all the animals.....all were fine.  As I headed back to bed, I suddenly realised what the noise was, so I stuck my head out the back door and sure enough, the huge jacaranda tree belonging to next-door's had fallen......into my yard!
Here it is in all it's glory a couple of years ago.
and here it was at first light this morning, laying sadly on it's side, broken and finished, it's roots ripped out of the ground.

My weaving frame, and a couple of chairs are under here, 
My neighbour was out there pretty quickly with his chain saw and had it all cleared away by mid-morning.  Luckily not much damage was done, part of the fence was buckled, and my garden weaving frame ......that's it in my header picture.....was pushed over, and some chairs near it were flattened.  If the tree had fallen during the day, there's a good chance I'd have been sitting right there, where I have a little table and chairs set up, and Mirrhi and the chooks gather there with me of an afternoon.  The weaving frame is ok, it was able to be pushed back upright, and will just need a couple of metal pickets to support it and stop it falling over again.  Luckily I'd put the table in my car the day before, ready to take to the markets yesterday.

With the tree gone, a huge gap is left on the western side of my yard, and will change the whole climate of my garden, as it provided welcome shade from the afternoon sun in summer.  My shade-loving plants will need to be moved I think, and replaced with sun loving vegetables and flowers, so it might be not be all bad.  The birds will miss the tree as a huge variety made it their home.....I will miss the birds!  My chooks are very nervous now about being in their run, as they've lost their safe 'jungle' overhead. And I'll miss the beautiful blue-mauve carpet of the blossoms as they flutter to ground come spring.

Here's the space with the tree gone, luckily there wasn't much damage done to my neighbour's tropical forest, so there's still a lot of greenery there.  It's different now, but other plants will grow and thrive without the competition from the hungry tree, and soon it will seem like it was never there.

As if that wasn't enough excitement, my friend Jan and I had our first market stall together at the Tyalgum Markets.   The markets are set up in the beautiful rose garden of the local B&B, with gazebos set up around the perimeter, giving it the look of a medieval fair. 

 Jan arranging our stock
 We call ourselves The Kelpie & The Cat......there's the table that missed being squashed!

 This little tyke spent the afternoon napping on my knee, he'd come to the market with his owner, a fellow stall-holder.  It was a pretty quiet day, with steadily worsening rain keeping any customers away, but a pleasant afternoon nonetheless, sitting and chatting in good company.
til next time 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Gutter Gold

I joined a couple of friends at the Tweed River Art Gallery yesterday.  The Gallery alone is worth a visit.  It sits on a high parcel of land overlooking the Tweed River, green and rolling pastureland and with spectacular views to Mt Warning and the Caldera rim to the north. 

Source: Art Gallery Website
While we did enjoy fun and laughter and a delicious lunch out on the balcony, the real purpose of the visit was to see an exhibition by Adrienne Kenafake, a Gold Coast artist who says of her work......"my works focus on the immediate environment by investigating the flotsam and jetsam of daily life.  All the artworks are made from found and recycled materials, my sculptures have become a visual record of the unwanted items we carelessly discard on a daily basis"
 'Rare as Hen's Teeth' . Source
Silly me, I left my camera in the car, so these photos are from various art galleries, with credit to these sources. Not all of these were in the exhibition, but were on a similar theme, so you get the idea
Adrienne's work is stunning and confronting.  As well as using fabric she colours with windfallen leaves and barks from local plants in the style of India Flint,  Adrienne uses tiny bones from road killed animals, mostly wallabies, rat vertebrae, fish scales, human hair  and the fabric segments are roadside discards or from council clean-ups.

Her titles and imagery are telling too.......this is called 'Introduced Species".  Sorry, the pics are a bit blurry, but you get the idea.  She also made the little wagon from recycled materials as well.
'Introduced Species'.  Source

This next one was on show at the gallery, and was my favourite.  It's so iconically Australian, the sad sight of stiffened road kill all along our country roads.  You can't see it on this picture, but this one has an injured tummy, with big blowflies sitting on it, made with fabric, and fish scale very lifelike.  It's claws, if you look closely, are wallaby bones, and it's made from plant dyed silk.

                             Flyblown'.   Source
                                      'Wanderlust'.  Source
                 'Stay Together'.....that's human hair on their heads!   Source
This was a great exhibition, asome amazing, very detailed, thoughtful work from a very talented artist with some clear messages.  In her own words .....broken, busted, forgotten, lost, flyblown, shiny new, here in the gutter lie the treasure of the suburbs........golden traces of existence waiting to tell their stories.  If you find yourself in northern NSW, or hear that this exhibition is coming to a gallery near you, give yourself a treat and go along and see it.
We also checked out the new Margaret Olley Centre, a space dedicated to her paintings, sketches, education and workshop spaces and an amazing recreation of her studio and over 20,000 items collected in her lifetime.  More on that though in another post.
.............til next time

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Let's all light up...and in the garden

I haven't been posting much lately.  I've not been at my best, because of my new neighbour who is a heavy smoker, and spends her days on her deck, enjoying the sunshine and fresh air, and smokes the day away.  While I have to close my house up tight to try and prevent the smoke coming in.  It doesn't work.  I'm living in a dirty ashtray!  And the smoke makes me terribly, horribly sick.  And sad, and varying degrees at varying times.  The smoke has infiltrated my whole house and yard smell, my animal's coats smell, my car parked under the house, smells, my clothes, fabrics and knitting wools smell.  I can't use my deck, because the fresh smoke blows across onto it.  I'm not in a good place, physically and emotionally. I've spoken to her about how her smoking so close to my house affects me, but there's been no change.

But I can still escape to my garden.  I've been slowly turning this weedy area that I've fenced off, into garden beds, it's my space where no feathered or 4 legged creatures are allowed.  There was really nice lawn growing here, but this side of the yard gets the most sun, so it seemed silly to waste it on lawn.  It's been hard work though, and it seemed as quickly as I  dug the grass out, the weeds crowded in because I wasn't able to get to the next stage quickly enough.

But here it is, a week later, and I've cleared a large area and put two beds in.  They've been prepared  with compost, composted horse and chook poo, and rock minerals.  Today I finished putting trellises in for the beans, peas and broad beans that'll be planted here, with greens.....kale, bok choy and Asian cabbage .....planted in front.  Photos of that in another post when I've planted up.
..............and here's one I prepared earlier.  In here there's cabbage, rocket, kale, silver beet and collards, a couple of parsley plants and climbing the wire fence on the left are sweet peas.  It's very satisfying to wander out and gather a good handful of greens for a meal.  The cabbages will be shared with the chooks!
On the other side I've started potatoes in used chicken food bags.  These are Nicolas, and I noticed today they're sending up shoots already.  I'll keep covering the shoots with soil and rolling the bags up, until the shoots reach the top......then I'll wait for the yummy harvest.  I grew potatoes this way a couple of years ago, and had a wonderful crop. 
And here's a couple of things that remind me there's lots to be happy and thankful for when I feel like I'm taking my last gasp through the smoke haze......this beautiful face
and the colours of an autumn sunrise...............
.....till next time.