Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kinetic Sculpture


I first had these at the National Folk Festival quite a few years ago.  I love that they're still made by hand.


It's been close to 20 years since I last visited Floriade.  Although I'm not a gardener, who can resist seeing massed plantings of colourful tulips blanketing the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, just in time to welcome the Spring?
Well, I can't say I'll be rushing back.  Sure there were plenty of flowers, there were plenty of visitors, and there were plenty of high end cameras and keen photographers.  But the theme (A feast for the senses) seemed forced, and realisation of that theme just didn't work.   There were signs to show what particular beds represented
but when you're looking at the flowers horizontally, you just can't get the impact
I remember years when there were brilliant sculptures.  This year there were carnival rides and stalls and more stalls.  For some reason everyone wanted to photograph their girlfriend or child standing next to this carrot (made of oranges)
or its companion giant teapot. 
The swans got on with their lives despite the crowds


In Sydney in the 60s you could not GIVE these away.  I always found them watery and bland.  Although regarded as a vegetable, they're the main ingredient in recipes for "mock apples" or "mock pears",

Liquor Store Sign


Lifeline in Canberra has a Bookfair twice a year and a friend had highly recommended it.  So I went along last Friday.  We timed it perfectly by going just after lunch.  We missed the lineup to get in, and avoided the mad crowds of the weekend.  Hundreds of volunteers sort through thousands of books to categorise and box them ready for the fairs.  The books I saw were good quality and everything seemed to run like clockwork.  You can't go past the prices either - $6 for a trade paperback, $5 for a regular paper, $4 for a hardback.  Part of our haul:

Whole Fish

I have never ordered a whole fish before - this was lightly battered and came with a hot, sweet, sour sauce.
It was easier than I thought to get at the "meat".

Bumper Sticker


The iridescence of these tiles appealed to me
This was definitely Darwin
as was this
I'm pretty sure it's by the Victorian Tapestry Workshop (now known as the Australian Tapestry Workshop) - the same organisation that did the marvellous mural at Parliament House Canberra, based on artwork by Arthur Boyd.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

SAQA Benefit Auction

I've had a crappy few days travelling (will fill you in when I've calmed down).  The work part was great - getting to and from and staying in Darwin, not good.

So it was FABULOUS to arrive home and find that one of my favourite pieces in this year's SAQA Benefit Auction was still available - and without thinking too much about it, lashed out and bought it.  Simple, simple, simple, and beautiful.  Check it out here.

There are still plenty more pieces on offer.  You might be able to add to your collection, or just browse and enjoy all the talent!!  Here's the link.

Monday, September 19, 2011


He likes to squeeze himself into small spaces for some reason...

Mel's Place

What a magic day it was on Sunday.  The weather was gorgeous and I had a day surrounded by creativity and inspiration.  Mel was hostess, and her place is full of character with interest at every turn.

Annamaria Mays-Vermeer

Annamaria joined the Broad Strokes ladies on Sunday at Mel's and brought her amazing felted pieces, drawings and paintings, and talked about her art.  I felt as though I was in another dimension- her vision is so creative and different.  She uses materials that others discard, and comes up with fresh ideas.  This is large scale french knitting stuffed with wool, which she is going to coil into a mat
The colours she puts together are just lovely
She drew on wood someone was going to throw away - this piece came home with me
as did this postcard of one of her paintings.

Creativity Cues

I saw this piece is by Tricia Smout at the Undercurrents exhibition and I loved the colour and the text and the inspiration


On my way back to the car after the Southbank lunch I saw this critter posing for photos

Cherilyn Martin

Cherilyn is a well-known artist based in Holland and she was on a flying visit to Brisbane when she met a small group of us for lunch on Friday.  It was a fabulous day weather-wise and Southbank was abuzz.  We went to Poppy's and chatted and had some show and tell.  Ali is getting ready for an exhibition at the art factory.   Linda, as ever, had heaps of her work on hand.  Cherilyn brought some postcards.  She used to work a lot more in fabrics and is now working with paper.
This piece was a "mistake" that turned out great.  She'd painted leaves and vliesofixed them down, but then the leaf came away - leaving a perfect impression of the leaf in the paint - it looks so good
Lots of texture and stitching

Boy Girl Wall

La Boite has some different and interesting shows, and on Thursday evening I saw boy girl wall.  It was having its return season due to "popular demand".  Yeah, yeah, I thought, how good could it be?  I thought.  Well, it was fantastic.  A one man ball of energy took over the space for 75 minutes of storytelling, humour, visual jokes and clever effects.  The warning had me intrigued - chalk dust??
Yep - many of the props and information were drawn - on the floor
and on a range of blackboards across the back of the stage.  Lucas Stibbard is phenomenal in taking on heaps of characters including an annoying/daggy boss, a narcissistic publisher, the boy and girl of the title, as well as days of the week and the wall, floor and ceiling.  Yep - strange as it sounds, it all makes sense in the show.  It's not absurdist at all, but has a fun sense of the absurd.  It's just damn good fun, clever, witty, and, ultimately, great entertainment.  There was a wide range of ages in the audience and we were all carried along by the wonderful storytelling.  Lucas was called back three times to loud cheering.  It was THAT good.


Happy Day

Finally - I have officially finished!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Granada Lunch

I ate a delicious lunch at Granada on Thursday with 2 friends.  That was the place where I had the delicious sangria.  When I arrived, crumbed olives were on the table, and we also ordered salted almonds, calamari with aioli, serrano ham and mushrooms in sherry.  I like being able to pick at a variety of dishes.  The mushrooms were a real winner.
Dessert for me were churros which I dipped into molten chocolate!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Did you wonder how I pixellated the address on the picture of my brown paper package?  I used Picnik.

It's free - yep! - and you can upload a photo from the web or your computer and then play with fun effects, stickers, all sorts of things.

After I got the result I wanted I saved the photo right back to my computer - all ready to load onto my blog.  Super easy.

R U OK Day Thursday 16 September

R U OK is a non-profit independent organisation aimed at preventing suicide.

R U OK Day is designed to encourage each of us to connect with someone we care about and ask the question - "Are you OK?".  Something as simple as a phone call or a cup of coffee can make a difference, if done with caring and love.

Speaking from personal experience, I've found that having someone listen, without being judgemental, is a huge gift.

Maybe there's someone you know you can give this gift to.

More information here.

Kahlua Choc Chip Pancakes

I doctored my tried and true (and super easy) pancake/pikelet recipe the other day.  Instead of a full 2 cups of milk, I poured what was left in the Kahlua bottle into a measuring cup and made up the difference with milk.  Nearly 1 cup of Kahlua went into the mix - mmmmm

Getting Ready for Retreat - Part 3

I do like redwork, and quite a while ago I cut out all the pieces for a quilt out of this book.
All I had to do then was the stitching.  I finished the 4 corner blocks
and now just need to do 4 more.  I trace my patterns using the Millenium pen in a kind of russet brown.
It's permanent, I can see it, and it's covered by the stitching.
I'll take the stitching with me to Canberra and maybe have it all finished so I can sew the quilt together at retreat.  We'll see....

Getting Ready for Retreat - Part 2

Last June (ie 2010) I started putting together a quilt I cut out in May.  The border 9 patches were from a swap (the year before - 2009).  So this June I sewed the centre of the quilt together but I didn't like the overall effect.  So last week I spent a few evenings unsewing
then ironing the pieces
the scrappy neutral will be replaced with a consistent neutral
So that project is now in its box ready for retreat.

Getting Ready for Retreat

It's still a couple of weeks away, but I like to have things sorted so that when I'm at retreat I don't have to think - just sew.  The shweshwe fabric will be going into the mix for this project that I stalled on in June -
This is the inspiration, but mine will be blue and white.  I now have 28 different indigos for the darks, and a consistent white.  Through misreading the directions I cut 60 blue squares and 60 white squares at the June retreat, then realised I would run out of fabric.  I should have cut 60 in total, 30 from blue and 30 from white.  Oops!!!  That's why I ended up with 120 squares
And why I now have to cut 492 blue 2 1/2" squares and 492 white 2 1/2" squares.  Yikes!!!  I think I'll leave it for the retreat - as a "break" from sewing.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Brown Paper Packages...

tied up with string, these are a few of my favourite things!!!  How long since you got such a nice home made package?
And look - just look - inside. Yippee!!!
Shweshwe fabric from South Africa - the authentic stuff - see the stamp bottom right.  I needed to add to what I had - at last retreat I ran out.  So I ordered 8 more quarter metres.  The grand total?  162 Rand = $AUD21 including postage.  I am very happy....
Part of my "getting ready for retreat" initiative - more in the series to come.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Texas Pun

Remember the

Brisbane Writers Festival 2011 - Sunday

Helpful hint, in case we forgot what day of the week it was...
The first session we went to was about writing memoir, biography and autobiography.  Some extremely thoughtful and intellectually interesting ideas were thrown around.
Inside the red tent, the young man on the right, Jay Bahadur from Canada talked about his experience meeting, living with and interviewing Somali pirates.  This will be broadcast on ABC radio's Big Ideas program.
The last session we went to was about conflict in war - not my favourite subject, but interesting.
Do you like this little seating area - cubby-like isn't it?

Beautiful Noise

This show was part of the Brisbane Festival.  We sat on a specially constructed stadium so we could see eight young dancers perform outside the Powerhouse Museum, with the old wall as backdrop and performance space.  They tapped on the ground, on platforms, danced and moved while being raised up and down on harnesses - with atmospheric techno music as the sound track.  One performer tap/stamped his way to our level and did a little routine for us right there.