Sunday, July 31, 2011

Piano Lessons

This was very enjoyable.  It reminded me so much of my piano lessons with Mrs Snopoff (I know, I know).

The play is based on Anna Goldsworthy's autobiography Piano Lessons.  It's a two hander with Anna herself being Anna, and Caroline Kennison as her teacher Mrs Sivan.  The whole action takes place in a space dominated by the marvellously shiny black grand piano.  The space became Mrs Sivan's house for lessons, the stage for the Eisteddfods and concerts, and Anna's home.  Anna narrated part of the story directly to the audience as well as playing her role.  Caroline did the voices for some other characters, as well as being the teacher.

There was nothing terribly deep about the play, but Mrs Sivan's philosophy and sayings (with humorous twists as she translates them from her native Russian) were thoughtful.  I particularly liked hearing Anna play, giving the piano a voice, bringing it to life.

New Project Bag

I saw this gorgeous bag the other day and just had to have it - it's roomy and bright and practical -

Singer 319

This Singer came to me from the same source as the Standard Hand Crank.
The 319 has "piano keys" that are levers.
They can be raised and lowered in various combinations and used with an assortment of cams
to make lots of different stitches.  The machine was in great condition - it just needed a little glue to the wooden case.  It didn't have a power cord, but I had a spare one.  The fitting on the machine was not compatible with the power cord so a new fitting was found online and once the new fitting was in place, I plugged it in and - voila - it worked!!!

Well, strictly speaking, I could see the needle bar going up and down, but I couldn't sew with it until I sourced special needles.  If you don't used the correct, slightly shorter, needles (not the regular ones that just about every other machine in the universe uses), the bobbin case gets damaged.  As a salutory lesson, the machine came with two bobbin cases - one damaged one not.  So, once the special needles arrived, and once I fiddled with the stitch length, I put fabric under the pressure foot and  - look!! - real stitches and everything.
the machine has a lid/carry case with room for a snazzy extension table -
I think this will be coming with me on retreat later this year so I can have a lovely play...

Standard Hand Crank

I have wanted a hand crank machine for some time - I don't know why, but they appeal to me.  Through sheerly wonderful confluence of stars and things - in other words, goodness knows how, really - I was talking to someone who had a machine she wanted to get rid of - imagine!  In fact she said she had a few that nearly ended in the skip.  So I went to see what was on offer.  This was - 
This is modelled closely on a Singer, but was made, as far as I can tell, in Cleveland Ohio.  On the base is a stamp that suggests it is Japanese, post World War II.
The decals are in superb condition -
It came with a nice domed cover.  It took me some time to pry the cover off, as the key is lost.  I think this can be easily remedied.
I did a good clean and played a little.  Once I adjusted the presser foot tension the feed dogs fed fabric through beautifully.  Threading is pretty intuitive (or maybe I'm just attuned to Singers), and being purely mechanical, not much can really go wrong.  So if we have a power outage, I will still be able to sew.  I won't be able to SEE anything, but I'll be able to sew.  Now for an appropriately vintage project to sew using this little gem...


After getting some books from the library I had breakfast at The Rare Pear - doesn't it look so wholesome??  All veg...
Then it was a foray to a couple of fabric shops and another coffee with not so healthy cake this enjoyable Saturday morning.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Winter Texture

I went to the Inspired Buy Coffee Gallery on Saturday with my Broad Strokes friends.  It's on Wynnum Road, Morningside, next to the ANZ Bank.  The cafe showcases original work - no commission for sales, just a fee for displaying your items.  I spotted this scarf - in the colours I knew I needed
Although Jane tried to explain how it was done, I couldn't get my head around it.  Not that I need to, I have one now!!  But in case you are wondering, Esther's blog has some more information about the construction. She calls it a chain yarn scarf.

There was some great jewellery at the cafe, so will no doubt visit again.

I have plenty of black tights, so yesterday I found some yummy chocolate ones.  Interesting texture, and so warm.

Milano Dinner

We were meant to go to the lab bar in town - but who would have thought that it would be booked out on a MONDAY night?  So Maree and I ended up at Milano on the Mall.  It was heated.  I know - in the open - but it did make a difference.  She had seafood
I had veal schnitzel.
In between good conversation and 2 glasses of sparkling wine, we cleaned our plates.  Mmmm.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Little Malaysia

Christine and I have been wanting to meet for lunch since our birthdays in late April.  We finally got together last Friday.  I'd seen the sign for Little Malaysia from Vulture Street many times and was keen to try it.  Well, I was quite disappointed.
My laksa
was bland and the bean sprouts were stale-tasting.  The company was great, though.  Driving past I've always been taken with the architecture of these columns -
big, bold and powerful.
Walking back to the car I saw that this wonderful old building houses the local library -


Not sure why a coffee shop should be named after a Lancastrian martial art using black puddings*, but I guess it makes sense to someone, somewhere...
 *as per The Goodies

Ahead of His Time

My now 21 year old son as a 3 year-old; planker-in-training, methinks...

Sunday, July 24, 2011


My brother is visiting from Sydney, so I thought it would be nice to visit the Mt Gravatt markets - I didn't twig that if the Mt Gravatt Show is on, the Mt Gravatt markets, which are at the SHOWground, probably won't be.  I got all the way there and saw the sign to say they aren't on...So we drive back to Chandler.  We had a lovely few hours wandering around together.  Aside from fruit, my usual fruit bread, and some lollies, I also bought an interesting silver spoon
I think it's an orange spoon, or grapefruit spoon or fruit spoon - something like that.  It's quite gorgeous.
I also bought some CDs - all of these for $10.  Pretty good.
(Yep, one is repeated!)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lots of Reading

A few years ago I met with a young Hungarian woman for lessons to improve my language.  She's now living back in Hungary.  Last year I sent her a children's book I knew she wanted that she couldn't get there.  The book did a round the world trip back to my place, so I sent it off again - with the correct address this time.  She got it a couple of months ago, and as a thank you surprised me with a package of Hungarian magazines!!
I'm pretty slow, but there are plenty of pictures, and I can work out most things.  You'll notice a title that is unlikely to EVER be adopted by an Aussie mag lol

Pebble Vases

This porcelain trio looks gorgeous together - with one little bloom in each. 

New Machine!

I've been thinking of getting an embroidery machine for quite a few years, and recently I had the luck to win one on ebay for a good price.  It looks like new!
It's a Janome 300e - not new, but I've seen the work it does, and it produces some nicely stitched designs.  It arrived safe and sound from Victoria thanks to a mountain of this stuff


Parking was at a bit of a premium last night when I went to pick up my son.  I finally twigged that red means occupied and green means empty - genius!
Surf lifesavers are everywhere - even at the airport..

Coffee and Gifts

Mia's in Camp Hill is a great place for coffee and cake on the verandah in the sun, and for a leisurely wander through their offerings of jewellery and other giftware.


Hmm, this is en route to quite a few government offices in town.  I wonder whether there's any significance in that...

Courier Mail Art

This reminds me of how they used to serve hot hand made chunky chips, lots of salt and vinegar...
Not sure of the significance of the date


Soft colours, interesting image

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Dex

Dex turned one on the 19th - Happy Birthday to all other birthday boys and girls!!

Bird Antics

From my study window I see the birds come and feed from the grevilleas.  They love to hang upside down to get the nectar -

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


syn. - budding, flourishing, flowering, opening, burgeoning.

Curtis Stone's Spicy Garlic and Parsley Prawns

Well, not "his" as in I ate off his plate or anything...but "his" as in: Coles has larger-than-life images of him all over the shop and heaps of booklets full of his recipes just there for the taking - so I did.  I felt like prawns last night, and so I made this dish.

Mistake Number 1 - I thought I'd save some money by buying the unpeeled cooked prawns.
submistake 1 - already cooked
submistake 2 - messy!
submistake 3 - I ended up with less than the 700g of prawns in the dish

But I saved a whole $2!!

Also, I did not want to buy lager beer - so used semi-sweet sherry instead.  I knew it would work and it did.

I bet you can't tell the difference -
Well, luckily I could or I would have been eating paper.  Tasted pretty dam* yummy!!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Destination USA

On Saturday I went to the opening of Destination USA at Gallery 159, The Gap.  This is a collection of work by Sue Dennis relating to her time in Texas in 2010.  Images are on her website here.  They look great, but to see them in person is even better.
Sue was done up in totally the right style, complete with some wonderful Navajo jewellry.
The venue is intimate and friendly without being small, and I bumped into a lot of people to chat into.  A really nice afternoon.


I walked to the shops a few times this past week.  One day I spotted this beautiful flower...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

When You Least Expect It...


This is a cute cover for a post-it note pad I made a while ago, and it looks so pretty on my desk.

James Goes to NZ

On Wednesday morning I took my son to the airport for his long anticipated trip to New Zealand.  He was to go with 2 friends, but Things Happened and it ended up just being him.  He is usually such a laid back guy, but was quite excited by the prospect of a whole week of boarding.  Here he is with his gorgeous girlfriend Holly
I took on the persona of the Well Behaved Mother until he was on the escalator heading downstairs to the departure area.  It was fun to wave madly and shout "Byeeee" - he was suitably embarrassed.  Sometimes it's great being a parent.

Monday, July 11, 2011


On Saturday I went to the Jindalee Bowls Club where a few ladies were selling their hand made items.  I bumped into a few people I knew which is always nice.  French knots make up the beautiful design of this brooch
This scarf is simplicity itself - lay out strands of interesting yarn, then knot at regular intervals.  For $8, though, it was easier, quicker and cheaper to just buy a ready-made one
The same seller was de-stashing and I picked up 2 charm packs