Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Last Post

This is my last post on this blog - it rounds out three years of words and pictures.  I will miss it in some ways - it's been great to share my life and crazy thoughts with you.  1082 posts!  How on earth did I find so much to talk about?  There's always something...

If you wish to follow my upcoming travels, drop me an email (if you haven't already done so) at
koszko@iinet.net.au.

I can then send you the link.

Take care...

DVDs

One was research, one was thought provoking.

The Third Man - a huge classic.  Scenes of Vienna, including the Riesenrad (giant wheel).  I'll be staying near the Prater, so it will be in my "backyard".   Fabulous movie, very atmospheric.

Don't watch this if you're squeamish - not a "nice" movie at all, but based on research about the quality of meat, the immigrant labour force, the American dream.

A Social Week

So many nice, and unexpected, things have happened this week.  One of them was getting a lovely gift from Sue - how perfect are these?
They were forged in France, so will be going back on a visit with me.

An Arty Week

During a thrift store crawl with a friend on Thursday I picked up these 2 large canvases
They have elements similar to Utopian Aboriginal art, but absolutely no provenance, and the colours don't look quite right for that area, but I just love them.  They have a strong presence in my study.

I've had this print for a long, long while - it needed new glass and a new frame, and now it's back in position.

Bundling

The term has a lot of meanings - including a very unusual one:
 Bundling...was the traditional practice of wrapping one person in a bed accompanied by another, usually as a part of courting behavior. 
OK - that's NOT what I was doing yesterday... I was getting packages of bits and pieces layered and wrapped ready for whatever the elements may dish out.  These packages (I'm not the only mad one - a few of us are doing this) are going to be hung in trees and buried, hopefully Nature will have its way with them and then they will be unwrapped and the components used in some sort of art piece.
My three bundles were very similar - each layer had some meaning/connection to me -
fabric from a blouse given to me, serviettes from a lovely day at a friend's, dried leaves, chai tea (sorry, tai chi) sewn into cupcake papers, onion skins sewn into fabric, writing on fabric using a fountain pen...and lots of other things.

State of the Art quilt 12 - Opening

It was a great day - the quilts were hung with a minimum of fuss under helpful guidance, we sat and sewed until the 3pm opening, and then PEOPLE CAME - yay!!  Suzanne did the opening honours, then artists who were there spoke to their pieces
 
Here's mine -
At Gallery 159 for 2 more weekends.

Birthday Ritual

For the past few years, 3 of us have gone to dinner at Tanja's Wellington Point - Nola and Paulette have their birthdays on the 19th, mine is the 20th.  It's usually a night of champers and laughs and travel stories.  I was too busy to take more than one photo - my dessert - a Bavarian torte - as yummy as it looks!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Broadstrokes

I was really humbled by the effort the others had gone to at our last meeting.  The secret squirrel emails by-passed me, and the theme was France, homage to the place we all love and to where I will be heading next week (NEXT WEEK?? Yikes!!).  The francophile spirit was in evidence everywhere - striped tops, Chanel perfume, Eiffel Tower jewellery, red white and blue serviettes - zut alors!!!
There were macarons - bought and home made - and other yummy things to eat...Plus Sue had made coasters - I bagsed the one with the French bird/word
As usual a lot of show and tell and inspiration and planning.  A wonderful day.

I Know...

...it's not about bodily fluids, but still...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Friands

Before macarons took over the world, there were friands.  They came on the scene while I was living in the US, and I never did figure out what they were - exactly.  I just knew that every self-respecting cafe had them at one stage.  Well, today I made some (only about 10 years behind the times) and I have to say - I like!  I used up bits and pieces from the fridge - no special shopping - and I ended up with 8 lemon friands.
If they look a bit like eggs - well, that's because I used my egg-shaped wilton cake pan to make them.  All in the spirit of the season of course.  They're packed ready for a delivery tomorrow.

Calling Cards...

Pam Holland made some business cards using old playing cards and I was intrigued.  I found some cards locally - $1 for a whole deck. 
The playing side has great photos that I didn't want to cover up, but I couldn't figure out how to use the back - it is a bit kitschy.  In the end I just left it as is.  There was lots of trial and error in this whole process, aside from what I go into below.  I will spare you all the details.

I found some left over blocks from a quilt
 
 which I cut down
 
 stuck on the back of a bright piece of paper
 
 signed the front and included my email address and laminated the whole thing.
The idea was to then use ribbon to attach it to the front of the card - but it looked lame.
So I pulled everything apart, recut the squares to 1" (!) and bought some blue card, and sewed the square and the paper with my email address to the blue card. 
 One stitching line attaches it to the playing card, so you can still see the pictures of Australia.  Done!

Luggage Handles

A friend gave me some fabric over Christmas.  In fact, it was the wrapping to the actual gift, but I didn't want to throw it away.  So I thought - aha!  Luggage handles!  They will make it easier on my hands plus will stand out on the airport carousel.  There was enough to make 2 -

 And look - they fit beautifully (I did tweak the original pattern you'll find here.)
I thought I'd make a spare set using this very special fabric from years ago - it's from the Oz Dye Art girls and I am eking out what I have left.  Isn't it great?

Fondue

A while ago I bought a fondue pot at a thrift store - totally new and unused - for $3.50.  What a bargain.  I thought it was time to "christen" it.  $50+ worth of ingredients later (now, not so much of a bargain) I had this:
It looks OK, but you can't see the hard bits of cheese that didn't melt (even after 40 minutes), that I had to scoop out.  You can't see the palish pink tinge to the mixture, because I put Cherry Brandy in, instead of kirschwasser.  You can't see the roaring flame underneath thanks to the methylated spirits in the burner - we had to replace it with a candle.  You can't see the sticky mess that was impossible to prise off the saucepan during washing up.  So, not a success, especially as James decided he did not like the cheeses I used (emmenthal and gruyere).  Oh well, it was all good fun...I guess!!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Books for March updated

I've added all books read in March...here.

DVDs

Corner Gas - funny, set in a tiny Saskatchewan town full of quirky characters.

I never tire of seeing the befores and afters - and the quirky characters....

So many Paris tourist sites reference this movie that I just had to see it - it's different and, I guess, quirky!!

Bach Cello Suites

About a week ago I didn't know they existed.  Now I have read a book about them and heard them all played in one concert by Patrick Murphy at St John's Cathedral.  What a great experience! Our seats faced a simple stage with a candelabrum.
In front was a wooden chair where Patrick sat - it was just him and his instrument.
 
Looking up you could see the large stained glass window that reflected the shifting light as the evening wore on.

There were two intervals for wine nibbles and chat...but the focus was on the amazing music and Patrick who brought it to life for us 300 years after they were composed.

Recycling

I do like finding things in op shops and places like that - at the Rubbish Removers on the weekend I scored some great stuff - for almost no money.  A full deck of playing cards for $1 that I'll turn into business/calling cards for my trip.  The backs are all the same - and a bit too kitsch for my liking, so that's where my name will go...
and on the other side each card has a unique Aussie picture - all of places except for the jokers, Mr Koala and Mr Kangaroo.
I also picked up a great cookbook (that I will NOT be using by the way).
 
First published in 1952, this is a re-issue.  Here's a sample recipe (warning, not for the squeamish)

John Butler

This has been on endless repeat in my car...

Carindale

A new "precinct" opened in Carindale shopping centre at the end of last week.  It was teeming with people when I went to return my library books - the library is new and huge and state-of-the-art - there is a dedicated area for downloading books!

To celebrate the opening there was some food-inspired art (or is that art-inspired food?) by Gary Myers.

Just Over Two Weeks

I'm making lists and notes and doing things ahead of time (not my usual last minute rush I hope!!!).

Friday, March 30, 2012

New Arrangement

In honour of Easter (kind of...) I started to re-arrange the dresser in my dining room.  A very much needed clean and shuffle later I had things in place.
I found the nest on the ground outside my bedroom window - the marble egg is from the markets the other week.  The stand was bought on a visit to Queensland many years ago when I lived in Canberra.  The candlesticks from a once-a-year art/craft market I used to go to, and on the right is a little mirror with a frame I love, and a tiny seascape painting...
The platter was hand painted and bought in Florence on honeymoon with wedding present money.  The pumpkin tureen and small blue plates (ivy leaf shapes) were from another Queensland trip - and the trio was a very generous Christmas gift from a friend a few years ago - it is a numbered pattern from her grandmother's wedding china.
These leaves are real - ordinary leaves found on the ground when we lived in Virginia.  The little hand-etched gourd is from Peru - a gift from a friend many, many (many!) years ago....

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rouj Rosalie

Lucky Chris lives within walking distance of Rosalie, so we played Ladies today and strolled to lunch at Rouj.  We shared the mixed entree platter
 
and the mjadra salad (lentils, rice, caramelised onion and pomegranate seeds).  Yum, yum, yum.

The waiter was a hoot - never did catch his name.  He made Chris eat an olive because "it's good for your skin" (she shudderingly did as she was told).  He made me have another cup of turkish coffee before he would read the grounds.  Refused to let us have sugar in the coffee (it was black and strooong) because we wouldn't get a good reading.  But that was OK as the halva and baklava were plenty sweet enough   - one bite, one sip - no worries.

And he DID read the grounds - after upending the tiny cups onto a serviette, he had a close look at what was left.  He certainly sounded like he knew what he was talking about!

Bouquets

Two bouquets today.

First - the cross stitch I was having framed for Mum last year had a chip in the glass which I found only after I brought it home.  The framers replaced the glass of course, but it was a pain in the neck to be honest.  As an apology they gave me a voucher for glass for another picture - I took the voucher in today and no questions asked they will honour it.
Thank you, Framing Corner Toowong.

Second - two weeks ago for Mum's birthday I ordered some wine and nibbles online to be sent to her.  A series of errors and miscommunication (on both sides, I have to say) led to the package taking more than a week to get to her (on the plus side, by the time it got there, I was there also, so I shared some of the wine!).  I was very disappointed, as you can imagine.  Well, totally off their own bat the company sent me some chocolate today as an apology.
Thank you Naturally Gifted.

In both cases the businesses took it on themselves to make it right (and it certainly wasn't totally their fault in either situation).  I appreciate that very much.

Memes

Memes - they're everywhere in blog/internet/www-land.  My son told me of the "If it fits I sits" one - if you feel like checking out the weird places cats (and some other animals) scrunch themselves into, look here.

My domestic companion animal does not disappoint - he just LOVES to squish himself into strange places...like my intray...
BTW - this is him being quite civilised - usually he is curled AROUND the paperweight!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Leaves Quilt

Not long after I arrived in Brisbane I did a workshop with Michelle Steel.  This quilt is the result.
Michelle's version is called "Forest Floor" if memory serves, and we used that as a model for our own renditions.  She allowed us to use her leaf patterns, but encouraged us to draft our own applique pieces. The yellow fabric is from a dyeing session I did with her.  I even quilted this myself, on my little old Janome My Style 16 machine. 

It's far from perfect, but it's always been one of my favourite quilts.  It's going to live elsewhere now, and so I took this photo as a reminder of my beautiful "baby".

Monday, March 26, 2012

Chai

Sue's talk of India reminded me of the wonderful chai I had at Woodford last year - so I dug it out of the cupboard and found a tea set I'd forgotten I had!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Question

I have just ordered a tea infuser - you scoop up loose leaves, put the cap on and let the thing sit in a cup of boiling water until your tea's made - that sort of tea infuser.
Here 'tis in picture form