Saturday, July 31, 2010

Book Reviews

New reviews -
The Continental Op; Dashiell Hammett
The Housekeeper + The Professor; Yoko Ogawa


There are lots of bushes around my area with glossy green leaves that are used as hedges by the sides of footpaths.  The flowers are just unfurling; they are a creamy white with the most heady sweet scent!

The Pen Shoppe

There is a wonderful shop in Elizabeth Street in the Brisbane CBD called The Pen Shoppe.  I stopped in there yesterday after work to get a bottle of ink (in a delightful purple colour called Storm) as well as some ink cartridges for one of my fountain pens (remember my post about my collection?)

The shop's door sign and handle are absolutely appropriate!

Winter Book Chat

Riverbend Books is one of my favourite book shops in Brisbane.  The Winter Book Chat by the owner Suzy Wilson highlights some of the new books in the shop.  For our $15 we got a generous glass of wine and a bowl of mushroom soup as well as the chat.  The blinds on either side of the deck are perfect for a bookshop!
Here is Suzy enticing us with book suggestions!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Clean House

What an AMAZING play!  Loved the writing (funny and layered and interesting without being depressing or laboured), fantastic acting (especially by Brooke Satchwell who plays a Brazilian cleaning lady who doesn't like to clean), great set, wonderful lighting and music.  Very impressive.  The main weakness, for me, lay in the characterisation of the only male in the show.  It was thin and shadowy, not interesting and strong like the female characters.  Overall, though, one of the best plays I've seen in a while.  And the rest of the audience loved it too!!

Before the Show

I had some time to kill before the show I was going to.  At the library I found a display of creations by local designers.  A Made by maisie doll
The maker has a blog and also sells her dolls on etsy - cute!
There was time for a cake and coffee -
The installation "Steam" outside the library is lit at night -


I parked at West End and decided to walk a way I had never gone before.  Here are some shots from the south side of town, heading towards Victoria Bridge

and here's Victoria Bridge from below -

Labyrinths Signal Box

Near the Homemaker Centre in Fortitude Valley is this bright signal box.  It's unusual that both sides have the same design...

Sunday, July 25, 2010


A bit of history preserved -

Book Reviews

Two more reviews -
Thereby Hangs a Tale; Spencer Quinn
The Marriage Bureau for Rich People; Farahad Zama

Toronto Symphony Orchestra

This DVD gives a glimpse behind the scenes into how an orchestra is run.  Peter Oundjian was chosen as Musical Director to help turn the fortunes of the orchestra around.  It was many millions in debt (and still is), and there was disharmony and dissatisfaction.  We don't see much of that in the film.  What we do see is Peter's amazingly positive approach, his hard work, and the hard work and talent of the orchestra members and admin staff.  There are some wonderful shots of Peter conducting and he is DRIPPING with sweat - he pours his heart and energy into it, it's not just finger waggling!!!  We also hear Renee Fleming and Yo Yo Ma and Emanual Ax as soloists.  Great stuff.  If you go to the website, you can listen to podcasts giving the context to a number of famous pieces.  I was really taken with the one about Beethoven's 9th.

Lynne's Party

Lynne had heaps of people over for her "birthday" party last night.  Her birthday is in May, so I guess it's a little late...There was live music from Costa on the deck, delicious food being passed all night, created by the owner of the Mambo Cafe in Cleveland.  Then we heard middle eastern music, and lo and behold there were three beautiful belly dancers doing their thing.  I didn't get a shot of them, but doesn't Lynne look great doing the shimmy?
Later there was much breaking of plates in the backyard!  I met some new friends and caught up with old ones.  A fun night!

Ipswich Art Gallery

Isn't it always the way -  you don't get to an exhibition until the last day or so because you always think you've got plenty of time?  The Fabric of Society exhibition at the Ipswich Art Gallery was a case in point yesterday.  If I didn't get there then, I would miss out!  Although I had seen some of these quilts before, I still wanted to see them again.

First of all, have a look at the sign on the outside of the building.
I like the use of negative space to form the letters of "ART".
The exhibition was well advertised.
I couldn't take any photos in the exhibition itself.  I will say, though, that one of the quilts in the exhibition was found here in Queensland.  I was with the Quilt Study Group when we had the privilege to look at it closely at Miegunyah.  Right in the middle of the quilt it seemed to be dirty - when I leaned in for a closer look, I discovered the FINEST cross stitched name M A PAGE and a date - sooo exciting!!!

Photography is allowed in the rest of the gallery.  I was drawn to this portait of Neville Bonner and his wife,
and I was really taken with the poem near the bottom of the frame.
"A Curlew Cries" for Senator Neville Bonner - in Nan Ingleton

Our decades drift, as dust across the void
on alien gusts, the Dreamtime tatters fly:
While dying campfires hold the dusk at bay,
Through halls of haunting spirit-cry
"I am your ghost Australia mourning still,
The trespassed shore, the broken tribes...
I stand
translating tears, for men unversed in grief,
That mine may summons justice in this my

This wacky dog and  his "bone" tickled my fancy.

Drum Tao

I drove to the Gold Coast to see this show as the Brisbane tickets were sold out.

Lots of energy and some wonderful drumming, but the show was patchy.  In some places quite amateur and over the top and not quite in synch.  At other times, amazing and quite transcendant.  The audience was wowed and gave them a standing ovation.  This is the inside of the Main Theatre before the show.

Sewing Day

Every Thursday a group of friends meets to sew and chat and eat.  I got a surprise this week.  At Christmas I gave each person a runner I had in the cupboard that I had not quilted.  Two of the ladies finished theirs and brought them for show and tell.  So great to see them done!!  This is Paula's
and this is Sue's
I was hostess and served up (among other things..) some cute meringues with different colours and flavours.

Sun Fruit

When I first came to Queensland I stopped at a house that had a sign "Sun Fruit" out the front.  I was so excited!!  I would get to taste a fruit you don't see down south.  The large-ish yellow fruit looked truly tropical and I asked the girls selling them to tell me about them.  "Well, " one of them said, "they are really passionfruit, but we couldn't spell that word."

This week I got to eat my very own Sun Fruit from my very own vine!  Yummy!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Word Cloud

This was just emailed to me - created at a site called Tagxedo - isn't it cool?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July DVDs

My Family Feast - DVDs of an SBS series.  Sean Connolly visits with various Australian families from different backgrounds - the Congo, Bali, Afghanistan and so on - and listens to their stories and watches them prepare food for a feast.  Mouthwatering!

A pleasure to watch these shows again.  They are kind of timeless, although the fashions are obviously not modern!  Simon Templar is SOOO smooth!!

This was supposed to be a popular miniseries.  I found it difficult to watch despite the big names (Ed Harris, Helen Hunt, Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward).  Ed plays the main character who is beholden to the town's rich lady, is divorcing his difficult wife, and seems a bit of a nice guy loser.  It was all a bit bleak and I wasn't drawn in to his life or character.  I didn't finish watching it.

A kind of documentary about what it means to live in the suburbs - how people in houses where all you see is the garage engage with the world.  The endless commutes, the barren landscapes and the cell phone towers.  Mixed in with the acting are some interviews with urban planners.  Kind of funny and sad at the same time, and thought provoking.

This comedy series is OK - not as funny as other UK skit-based shows.  I don't think I'll be watching any more of this.

I think Maeve O'Meara has the best job in the world.  Standing in other people's kitchens and tasting what they are cooking!  What a job!  The food always looks so scrumptious, and the people cooking it always seem to do it with love and care.  Watched it twice!!

DVD Catchup

Way back in June I watched the following DVDs -
A young Australian man who came here from Hungary returns to talk to his grandfather about his involvement in the 1956 uprising.  His grandfather's name is hated by many in Hungary to this day as he was involved in sending many people to their deaths following the suppression of the revolution.

Betty Churcher is interviewed and she comes across as a wonderful, interesting, active and intelligent woman who played a huge role in art education in Australia - both through teaching and also in running the National Gallery in Australia.

This is the DVD of a TV series.  It got me thinking about why we have the images in art and advertising we do, and gave an insight into the development of art.  Some interesting connections and thoughts.

Book Reviews at Our Ms Books

I have had a real lack of interest in reading for the past few months.  But I seem to have gained a bit of momentum.

Over at Our Ms Books you'll find my latest reviews -
A Drunkard's Path' Clare O'Donohue
Catch Me When I Fall; Nicci French
Marry Him; Lori Gottlieb
Misery Loves Cabernet; Kim Grueenfelder
Blink; Malcolm Gladwell


I like to collect things - books, fabric, aprons, kitchen gadgets...

I love writing with a fountain pen - it is a joy to feel the pen slide smoothly along the paper and watch the shapes of letters and words appear in ink.  I am presently using up some lovely lavender ink I've had for some time...

I've acquired these pens over many years.  The silver one on the left is a Parker (cartridge or bladder); the one next to it is a Rotring "rive" - interesting shape.  Some think it resembles an alien seed pod - it's plastic and ergonomically designed - no longer in production - takes a Rotring or Pelikan cartridge.   Then there's a Shaeffer, and the orange one in the middle and the black one to the right of it are also Shaeffers - both are calligraphy pens.  All three use cartridges.  Fourth from the left is a "hero" from China - bladder fill.  The orange and black mottled one seventh from the left is a vintage model; you twist the end to suck up the ink.  The next 2 are also from China - my most recent purchases.  Both of these also have unusual mechanisms for filling. The one in the box on the extreme right is made from the timber of gun stock which was handed in after the Port Arthur massacre.  The pens were made by adolescents in the care of the Richmond Fellowship.

Think. Again

I LOVE this!  I like coming up with different meanings, and it fits perfectly with the image of the newspaper.  A very enjoyable play on words.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Feeling Virtuous

My son and I put the pool cover on the other day
and today I cleaned the chairs and washed their covers and swept the outdoor area..
feeling very pleased with myself!


I was leaving a friend's place on Sunday when I saw a beautifully shaped leaf, and a tiny bit of newspaper about school and education (he's a teacher).  I wanted to do an arty piece and here is the result with lots of memories and references...really enjoyed making it, but I think it needs something more...will let it "marinate" and work on it again...


I was reading this blog post about hammy cupcakes when I realised I had all the ingredients so I went STRAIGHT to the kitchen and put the mix together.  I didn't have quite enough corn, so added a little bit of zucchini.  Yum!!


I went to a concert by Graeme Connors in Caloundra on Saturday.  Had fish and chips before the show.  This was the lovely view across the water