>I want to join the Circus


When I was little I dearly wanted to learn gymnastics. Money was tight to put it mildly and I was already taking ballet classes so this was one desire that remained unfulfilled [ along with learning the clarinet but that’s a whole ‘nother story ].
Undeterred I spent hours doing handstands, the splits, cartwheels and hanging by my knees from the trapeze. I could stand balanced on one leg with the other foot somewhere behind my right ear. I perfected spinning around the monkey bars. Very nearly gave my grade 6 teacher Mrs Thompson, a heart attack by doing a backflip dismount from the very top bar too :]

So I had a ball yesterday when Nadie and I went as per mother-and-daughter-girls-only tradition to see the current incarnation of Cirque du Soleil under La Grande Chapiteau.

Varekai is literally and metaphorically brilliant. It sparkles. It dazzles.

The ‘story’ was … as always … totally incomprehensible and even after shelling out $19 for the program we were none the wiser. I found it later on the official website so if you are interested you can check it out here
The net-work by “Icarus” was absolutely poignant and lyrically beautiful. In a way it was a shame that it was right at the start. None of the flashy pyrotechnics later came close to the achingly beautiful simplicity of this
one act.
I wonder… do you think they could use a middle aged arthritic Grandmother who can still do the splits?
Oh and just by the way, if you are thinking of taking a babe in arms to the performance … DON’T. It’s loud and bright and a complete overloading of the senses. Unhappy wailing babes are intrusive. Parents who ignore said unhappy babes and continue to sit through the performance despite the affect on both the child and everyone within earshot should be ashamed of themselves.

>Big Tree


When this Red River Gum was a wee seedling, William the Conqueror was saying to his mates ” Do any of you boys fancy a boat trip to Britain ?”

and in a stunning display of originality this mammoth example of local flora is known officially as The Big Tree. [ Nadie included for scale ]

Two roads were rerouted around the tree in the 90s when it was discovered that the roots were being compressed. and they moved the power lines rather than prune the branches. Now THAT’S having your priorities right!
today I’ve been:
[re] reading Raisins and Almonds by Kerrie Greenwood for the fourth time
  • also Knit 2 together by Tracy Ullman and Mel Clark. A good knitterly read, amusing, with good patterns including THE perfect shrug. I wish though that the wool requirements had those little ball of wool symbols that the American Yarn Council is so fond of, or a general discription, not just a brand name I’ve never heard of. Not everyone lives in America. Not everyone orders expensive brand name yarns over the internet.
  • back to working on the never ending baby shawl
  • tried out the swift that Maz and Chris lent me on Sunday to make a hank of some lovely BWM wool/alpaca blend 12 ply [ worsted ] and then dyed it in a mixture of burgundy and brown. The brown just nicely toned down the burgundy to a more subtle shade.
  • stencilled japanese fans in copper on black cotton for a future japanes silk table runner
  • disassembled a whole bunch of vintage silk kimono pieces… some of the linings had wonderful little hand sewn mends and patches so these were carefully put aside. The little leftover shreds and strings were bagged up … just too precious to discard. I need help.

>mag news


Here in Oz the major craft chain store in the mould of Joanne’s or A.C.Moore is Spotlight. The nearest one to me is in Bendigo and yes, I do shop there. Regularly. Maybe not so much for quilt fabrics but for yarn and general crafting supplies and manchester? You betcha.

In the last couple of years they’ve even moved into publishing a craft magazine, albeit very much at the mass-appeal end of the market.

I’ve never had any contact with them professionally, so imagine my surprise before xmas when I received phone call and an email asking for an interview and permission to use photos of my sashiko pieces. They weren’t asking me to contribute a project which is usually the case, but okay.

Yeah, fine, whatever [ that’s me being blase there in case you hadn’t worked that out. Is the self-deprecating humour working yet? ]

You never know with a profile article, especially one where the ‘interview’ has been conducted over the phone. There have been good ones in the past and there have been some completely cringeworthy horrors [ and I still think the absolute best was the one that appeared in the Down Under Quilts 2005 Yearbook … thanks Erica ]

Anyway, the issue in question has lobbed into the post office box and guess what? It’s one of the good ones. One small mistake where the writer perhaps misheard me and batting has become backing, [ which may cause minor confusion ] and some gentle rewordings of what I actually said, but overall NOT TOO DAMN BAD AT ALL. They DO make it sound as though sashiko is the only thing I teach but I can live with that.
For the record though, my most requested class is the designing with japanese fabrics one.
This is the first issue that is going to be released in the States so that’s reasonably exciting, n’est-ce pas? [ again with the blase? Why can’t I just say it’s nice to be given some recognition and be done with it? ]

I think the production values / layout etc are really attractive and the photo of me that The Boy’s father took came out pretty damn well.
So that’s the news for today.

>move along, move along


This is one of those posts that are probably best left to friends and family. The rest of you just move along until tomorrow [ or go back and read yesterday’s post about whatever it was about ] because today we all converged on the Anglican Church [ Episcopalian for my American friends ] in Berwick to celebrate Riley’s Christening.
The church was quite simple and modern but incorporated stained glass from an older version which didn’t look at all out of place. The ceremony was short, unflowery and very, very different from what the italian part of the family were used to, although they seemed to approve [ and if they didn’t? well…meh! ]
Anyway, the minister was at some pains to point out that we were welcoming Riley into the christian faith, not specifically the anglican one, and that he would get to make up his own mind in the fullness of time.
I was going to write that he can be a calathumpian as far as I’m concerned, and then realised that I don’t actually know what a calathumpian IS. It’s just something my father used to say. So I’ve looked it up and apparently it is ” used in a non-judgmental way to describe one’s religion or philosophy when it is original, personally assembled, and not institutionalised” which sounds okay to me.
My brother-in-law was a little confused when we recited the Apostles’ Creed and it said ” I believe in the holy catholic Church.” I pointed the small ‘c’ out to him and explained the difference between “One holy, catholic and apostolic church” and Roman Catholicism.
Comparative religion has never been BIL’s strong suite.
Anyway, our little man smiled and blew rasberries all through the proceedings and then between one smile and the next, went to sleep. No whinges, no grizzles, just out like a light. That kid is so laid back he’s horizontal.
Nice party afterwards and then the 2 hr drive home.
and I’m wondering how long Stephen has been wearing glasses? I noticed them at Easter but forgot to ask. Am I the only one getting a hint of Elvis Costello in this particular photo?

>of black cats, saturday sky and precipitation

>Nadie didn’t really set out to collect black cat statues.

In fact nothing was probably further from her mind but she did rather like the pair that Marc bought me in Bairnesdale so I gave them to her when I moved …

except that I dropped one on the way out to the car and it didn’t survive the experience.

Because I felt a bit guilty everytime I saw that lone puddy, I was really happy to find a larger version of the same cat in an antique shop in Kyneton a month or so ago and even happier still when I discovered that it faced the same way as the one I’d murdered.

Then I rediscovered a different black cat figurine lurking in the shed so that went off to join the other two… and you know The Rule.

You DON’T know The Rule?

Okay. Well, it has long been a stated rule Chez Catsmum, and by extension, at Maison Nadie, that if you have three of something , it’s officially a collection and you are therefore at liberty to add to it. In fact, you are pretty much obligated.

So of course THIS had to come home with me from the Op Shop…

…and Nadie?

If you don’t like it, that’s okay cos Sophie doesn’t seem to mind it.

and just by the way it’s the weekend and IT’S RAINING. Here’s Saturday Sky and just to round out the post, a picture of the finger I tried to amputate a week ago. Doesn’t look like much does it?…until you consider that it was the point of a rather broad carving knife that went straight in, and the visible length of the cut in no way corresponds to the depth. Today is the first sign that it has knit together and I am just SOOOO glad to be able to get rid of the bandage. Bloody thing kept catching on everything. There seems to be some nerve damage judging from the weird numb-and-tingly-at-the-same-time feeling but only time will tell with that.

It’s actually been interesting in a way. Pretty much no one said anything and I was perhaps a wee bit … no, not miffed … not put out exactly … more surprised. Yes, that’s about the right word. Suprised, I guess, that no one commented. I mean, in the Blogosphere if you mention having a slight case of the sniffles you will normally be inundated with enquiries as to the on-going situation vis-a-vis your health, get well wishes, posts offering Aunt Ethel’s cold cure and stories of everyone else’s current health problems given just as a show of solidarity. Nadie said just a little while ago that I’d made such a passing reference to it that she figured it was just a scratch. NOW I understand the lack of reaction… and here is the conundrum. There’s no one here to offer tea and sympathy and I want that sympathy as much as the next person being the needy little spot that I am [ except when I don’t want it and of course I expect you all to have ESP and to know which reaction is appropriate, right?] BUT I don’t want to worry the family. Except THEY are supposed to somehow divine that I want them to fuss.

Yeah I know … perhaps I need to add that to the Weird Things list.

>Is it the weekend yet?


Don’t get me wrong. This has been a pretty damn good week… but why did the Fates decide that I needed to fit the whole month’s activities into a quarter of the time usually allotted for such things?
If we start keeping score from last Saturday, then of course it all starts off with my fabulous femmes’ weekend of fun and frivolity with Felicity [ Fabulous Femmes Fun Frivolity and Felicity … am I sensing a pattern here? ]
As documented already, we spent the entire weekend in pursuit of all things textile: shibori dyeing, silk paper making, sun printing, followed by purusing and purchasing at Purl’s Palace, Daylesford ably assisted by a slightly puzzled David. We didn’t make it to The Big Tree at Guilford but I think that was about the only thing we missed.
Monday saw me jump in the car – no, scratch that last bit. Ever mindful of the broken coccyx and being the sedate person that I am [not], I actually SLID ever so carefully into the car – and dropped David off before driving to Girgarre to give a talk on my Japanese quilts. If you just thought “Where the hell is Girgarre?” rest assured that you are not alone. About 99.9% of the population of Victoria, let alone the rest of Australia, doesn’t know either.
I surely didn’t with any degree of certainty until I checked the map on Sunday night. Anyway basically it’s a town of 200 odd people about 2 hours drive north east of here.
I wasn’t entirely sure that there was going to be anyone there other than the ladies of the Girgarre Quilters and a couple of my friends from Bendigo that I knew were going up. I had visions of spending four hours in the car to address maybe a couple of dozen hardy souls, if I was lucky.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Just brimming over with wrongability. [ sorry, channelling Arnold Rimmer there for a second ]
There was probably close to 200 women there from all over Northern Vic.
There was the usual hearty country morning tea which segued seamlessly into lunch and on into afternoon tea. There was endless Chantelle [ Central Victorian quilterese for Show-and-tell ]
and there was me
and my quilts.
This would have to be the first time I’ve ever been introduced at one of these things by someone quoting my Blogger Profile !
The drive home was remarkeable. Oooh look … a dead and interestingly shaped gumtree… some dry grass… another dead tree… a sheep … another sheep… another dead tree. No wonder I had a migraine brewing after 2 hours of that.
Home at about 5, hit the migraine meds and out again to clogging at Daylesford just after 6. Gotta love those modern pharmaceuticals.
To be brutally honest, Monday night’s class was a total waste of time and effort. The regular teacher was AWOL in China, and the replacement couldn’t have clogged or cued her way out of a paper bag if her life depended on it. I think I overstepped the bounds when it got so bad that all the beginners walked off the floor and I collared the headset mike and cued from the back row. Probably NOT a good way to make a new friend.
Add to that, she finished the class more than a half an hour early and was adamant that THAT was the correct finishing time. Excuse me ? We didn’t get to do a single dance at our level which makes me wonder whether she was capable of it herself. GRRRRRRRRRRRR.

Anyway moving on:
Tuesday morning fine and early saw me repeat the wiggle into the car as I headed back … again…to Daylesford, scene of the previous night’s non-class, for a daylong workshop teaching a patchwork cushion with vintage japanese fabrics and sashiko quilting. Two of the girls had never sewn a stitch in their lives but were keen to try. One was very very high maintenance in an exciteable ADHD but likeable way and I was just about hyperventilating by the end of it but it WAS a good day. Once again Pat had driven up all the way from Apollo Bay for the occasion. God, she’s keen.

On the way back out of town I negotiated the purchase of the gorgeous Sandolls from yesterday’s post [ no Maz, I’m not taking up irish dancing. They’re street shoes ]
Stayed on for tea at Robyn’s after arriving to collect Dave [ spag bol … yummo ] and straggled home in time to pop him into bed.
Rest of evening spent playing around with THIS.
Yesterday was the not-allowed-to-be-talked-about Arts Access Project over at Maryborough [ about 60 km each way ] Good session. Shame I can’t tell you about it yet.
and today was spent moving the deck chairs on the Titanic [ Nola-speak for attempting to restore order to one’s abode ] and a lunch meeting for yet ANOTHER project that I’m somewhat unwillingly involved in. Tonight I’m working on Riley’s quilt.
Is it the weekend yet?