Saturday, November 28, 2009

a couple of precious hours home alone

I have just had a couple of really lovely hours home alone. Scott has taken the girls to an ice skating show (featuring one of E's grade 1 friends). I stayed home to have a rest and recharge my batteries. I had already been to my quilting class this morning so felt quite spoilt, although a bit tired from frantically quilting to make the most of the class time to get as much done as possible. Anyway....eventually off they went happily with Daddy (E with her hair still wet and neither girl looking thrilled at being photographed).

Oh ....what to do first??? After some quick chores, I checked my favourite blogs while listening to my very small but extremely important to me itunes playlist (Steve Forbett's wistful Romeo's Tune", Gillian Welsh's "Orphan Girl", Split Enz's "Message to my Girl" - my favourite Enz song and one of the world's poppiest pop songs, the hypnotic "Fall on Me" by R.E.M. , Talk Talk's "It's My Life" and Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights" and a couple more. Probably something from each of the past few decades of my life. Precious memories of high school, an old boyfriend or two, my student nursing days, my childhood pal, Annie, who lent me an REM album when she went off travelling overseas, my autumn being a nanny in Oxford in 1987.....)

Then a beautiful cool bath and a lie down in a cool dark bedroom to try and relax or meditate or sleep or something. A bit hard at 5pm in the afternoon but I always crave a lie down on weekends so couldn't resist. But....I kept thinking about how great the yard looked freshly mowed by the husband and how much I would love to go and remake the half finished, weedy, falling apart no dig garden I started about 6 months ago. I blame the author and journalist, Margaret Simons, for planting ideas in my head because I have almost finished rereading her book of wonderful Earthmother columns from the Australian newspaper from years ago - Wheelbarrows, Chooks and Children. The garden kept calling until finally I jumped up, put on shorts and sandshoes and grabbed my gardening gloves, secateurs and bag of stinky chook poo pellets. I pulled out the weeds around the edges, cut off the overhanging branches, rearranged all the bricks and old logs around the border, poured some water over the old newspaper, scattered handfuls of chicken pellets, laid down a layer of sugar cane mulch, added more water, put the puppy fence around it to Kippy proof it, and then spent ages just wandering about the back yard admiring the new garden from all angles and feeling so satisfied. I even started dreaming about what else I can do to beautify the ugly overgrown back corner. I could make another no dig garden in no time!

It's now dark and the girls and Scott aren't home yet. They'll arrive any moment - chattering and tired and over excited and full of Twisties and wanting milk and toast. I'll have to wait until the morning to show them my handiwork. What a gift to have a few hours of solitude, and they come...

I'll post photos tomorrow when I take some.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A parcel from Florida

Here is a photo of the lovely box of goodies that winged its way from Florida to Queensland in Australia courtesy of the generous Tammie. After sitting for a week or so in the local Post Office after I mistakenly threw away the notice from Australia Post with the junk mail, it was waiting patiently for me when I had the bright idea of checking to see if it was there. Getting a letter or card in the mail is always a joy. I am maybe from the last generation who grew up without email and so wrote thank you letters, letters to friends, and love letters that went in the mail with a stamp. I've got a bit of a mail fetish actually and once, in Sydney on my own, spent an hour or so looking through the postal museum (I'm not sure what its official name is). Anyway, the only thing better than a letter is a parcel and one from another country is so exciting. Have a look at what was inside.....(there were also an assortment of little packets of exotic (to us) lollies but of course, they have all vanished).

When I saw this beautiful bundle of fabric from Tammie, some of which I recognise from her various sewing endeavours, and some of my all time favourite rosebud material, I literally got tears in my eyes. There's something so lovely about friends passing on loved pieces of fabric to take on a new life with someone else.

There was also this gorgeous little bag that Tammie made. I'm so impressed. And I don't know if she somehow made the button, because it seems to magically match the fabric. I'm not sharing this one with the girls, but keeping it for myself to keep something nice in. (I'm not sure what yet).
So thanks again, Tammie for my box of treasures from Florida.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Reasons to be cheerful

I have recovered from my attack of the doldrums and am feeling more cheerful about life. Thank you so much to the people who sent me words of encouragement. A special thank you to Tammie for sending me a box of exciting goodies in the mail. Nothing like a parcel from the other side of the world to brighten one's spirits. Now that I am thinking more clearly, I, of course, can see that I have very little to complain about and lots to be cheerful about. Hopefully I can remember that next time I am having a bad day or two. are some of the things that have cheered me up lately.....

1. Food colouring in the bath. I'm amazed that the novelty of this hasn't worn off after about 349 coloured baths. It never fails to amuse my children. E's new favourite thing is to float peacefully in the bath looking like a mermaid. G now copies her and says in a loud monotone "I can't hear ears are under the water".

2. The general patience of my long suffering husband, pictured here trying to make the plastic string in the whippersnipper behave but being constantly interrupted by a dog and a child who is Daddy's limpet.

3. Puppy love. (sort of makes it worthwhile picking up all that dog poo in the yard)

Home made patty cakes (with extra chocolate happening)

4. People who love me - seen here reading Scott's birthday cards made by the girls. That's a little G you can see on the back of the card.

Monday, November 16, 2009

quilts and gardens

I have finally planted some vege seedlings in the new garden. Some eggplants (which were great for Scott's homemade gluten-free pizzas last year), some weird round looking carrots and a strawberry plant which looked very healthy at the garden shop but already looks a little worse for wear. It wilts very quickly and so I have to remember to give it some water in the mornings before the sun starts to burn. Emma is actually out of shot watering the seedlings (her idea for a happening photo!)

The whole point of the pavers and chicken wire was to keep Kipper out. Dad built a little stile for the girls to climb over, but of course, Kipper, now climbs over as well. Out with the stile!

My only other Kipper proof garden (apart from my three hanging baskets) is filling up nicely with nasturtiums, lobelia and snapdragons. It brings me so much pleasure to see some colour when I look out of our front door (and, literally, past the dog's breakfast that is sitting on the patio).

I took this of the quilt fabric I bought a few weeks ago in readiness for my first quilting class. (E loved the yellow floral material and was so disappointed that I didn't choose it for the front of the quilt that I bought it for the back) The fabric cost much more than I bargained for so making the first cuts and stitching the first stitches was a little bit nerve wracking. After lesson two I am feeling more confident. I'm amazed how well my corners match up now that someone has shown me how to pin the seams together so that the corners match up! Sounds obvious, I know, but I was just making it up as I went along before and wondering why everything looked a little wonky. Never mind - at least my first two quilts don't look factory made!

I haven't been blogging much as life is a bit hectic and I am a little down and overwhelmed by life which is how I am sometimes. Sometimes, it's hard to know what to say or blog about and after admiring Beck's exquisite photographs and words and laughing at Tammie's dry wit, I'm a bit lost for inspiration. But of course, blogging is not a competition and the joy of it is that we are all ourselves and that's what makes it such a great patchwork of people and ideas and images to stumble around in. I am also conscious of editing what I say sometimes as some people I work with know about my blog and I don't want to completely spill my guts about every little thing. Perhaps I need a new "secret blog".
I'm enjoying seeing what you are all up to so keep blogging girls.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Another quick post

I was going to upload lots of photos but that seems to have ground to a halt. There are definitely gremlins in our computer at present - time to call the boys at Supergeek to come out in their Supergeek van and fix our IT woes for $80. (Sigh!)'s all been happening here at Hester's Garden. E and my husband had birthdays this week so it's been a crazy happy mess of new toys, clothes, and much too much cake and chocolate. Here is G helping out with E's new princess puzzle.

E also got some groovy new felt pens which smell like the appropriate fruit (ie strawberry for pink, you get the idea) and a sketch pad so she soon busied herself doing a portrait of Kipper. Kip, as you can see, still spends the night in the laundry behind baby bars. Em still gets up at 6am if not before. Then it is a cascade effect...she wakes Kipper....who wants to go a parent gets up....and the other members of the family soon follow. Why can't our dog sleep outside like a proper dog????? (ie - the one we had when I was a kid)

Finally, I took a break from making patchwork quilts to try my hand at applique to make a square for a baby quilt for the beautiful Jo, about to have her third baby. Her clever friend, Melissa, is organising a group effort for the quilt and I think it is going to look beautiful. I did a crash course on the internet by googling "How to applique" and bought some of that sticky iron on glue netting stuff which has made a slight mess of my ironing board. (Sorry, Scott, about the glue on your work shirts!). I also had to remind myself how to do a proper stem stitch and blanket stitch but worked it out eventually, again with help from the internet. How did we ever live without it? I did a lot of the embroidery on the train going to work and back which made me feel like an old woman in her dotage. Never got done and that's the main thing. We could decorate our square however we liked with something significant for Jo. Her firstborn came to our house when his little sister was being born at home just a few houses away from us and got busy in our sandpit with E. Hence the significance of the bucket and spade.
I have started my patchwork quilting class which was exciting but a little daunting. I thought my new quarter inch sewing foot on my machine would magically make all my patchwork seams perfect...but no.....there is still lots of room for error. I will post photos of my lovely fabric I'm using in the class when the camera returns from a work jaunt with Scott and his youngest daughter to Redcliffe.