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Hottle Wottle Bottles

As I called them as a child…..

I’ve just signed up for this……it looks like a fun thing to do, and raise some money for the Margaret Pratt Foundation at the same time.

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The aim of the challenge is to make a hot water bottle cover, which will be exhibited in the gallery space at Open Drawer Art Textiles and Learning Centre from Friday July 5th, with a grand opening on Sunday July 7th from 2-4PM. The hotties are then given to the Margaret Pratt Foundation to auction and raise funds for research into organ transplant at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.  If you are interested in participating, then click HERE for information.


		
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Back again…

Actually I have been home for almost a fortnight, and I’m reminded once more how difficult it is to return to blogging once there has been a long break.  I came home full of good intentions, planning to write screeds about my travels and share some of the many photographs I took, but somehow it did not happen.  I even took these on the first night back, to show how content we three were to be home again.

However, better late than never, as they say….so here goes.

As you know I am a very keen photographer these days, mostly taking macro shots of insects, flowers and other interesting things around my property, which I enjoy enormously, and which have recently been made into a book. Finding I was getting a little bored with this, I decided I needed to expand my knowledge, practice and experience by taking a different sort of photograph, with different subjects in different localities, with different light, and different techniques – so I went to Tasmania for a couple of weeks with this intention.  I took my car on the Spirit of Tasmania, on my own so selfishly I did not have to consider what anyone else wanted to do, with a vague idea of where I wanted to go without being in a hurry, but with a plan to include a few days with my brother and another friend in Hobart.  I had a great time, deciding most mornings with a great sense of freedom, what I would do and where I would go each day, with no accommodation booked ahead, and avoiding many typical tourist spots while seeing a great deal of the country.

I traveled over 1500 kilometers, I saw sunrises and sunsets, the car went well, the weather was mostly kind, my new knee proved its worth, I did no shopping beyond a morning at Salamanca market, and did not go to any needlework or patchwork shops on the entire trip!  The latter would have been unheard of a couple of years ago, in fact I used to plan trips around where such shops were situated.  I stopped where I wanted to, ate when I liked, chatted to folk as the mood took me, walked miles, explored little towns, and thoroughly enjoyed the solitude of my adventure, coming home with a great sense of achievement and well over 1000 photographs (which have since been culled to about 600).  Tasmania is a very beautiful place, with mountains and rivers, and endless landscapes to photograph –  I shall be sharing some of them here, but also over on the photo blog, so do have a look there too.

The time away and being alone, allowed me to review and think about many things that have happened in the last year or so, to make some decisions, and consider what next in this life of mine.  All most worthwhile.  I returned home to a grand welcome from my dogs, family and local friends, to find everything as I left it, the grass in need of cutting, the garden overgrown with weeds, a schedule of regular activites to begin again, and a new online course (called Now You, which is about self portraiture) with which to catch up.

Life is really pretty good!

A taster……….the Huon River on a misty morning.

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A Good…no, Great Day

Today has been one of those days which will be remembered for a while…it began very early this morning when I woke just after 5.00am, and because I can rarely get back to sleep when this happens, I got up, made a cup of tea, and wandered to the computer in the early dawn, leaving the dogs to snore on alone until a more sensible time for starting the day.  Imagine my surprise to find an email from Jude Hill saying she needed my address………..thinking I could not have been so lucky, but with fingers crossed I went straight to her website and found this video.  I’m one of more than one hundred folk who left a comment on her blog, in the hope of winning a small piece of her work that she had decided to give away in November, and I won!  Jude has called it Peace on Earth and its story is there on her blog – I feel very lucky and can’t wait to hold it in my little hot hand.  This is a photo I have taken from her blog – Thanks Jude – but I wanted to share it with those of you who love her work.  I shall be delighted to give it a new home, and it is even more special as it features one of her beasts that I love, and some of her signature feather stitching.  There will be more shots when it arrives.

The second nice thing which happened today was lunch with my small stitching group at a rather posh place in a nearby town to celebrate the coming Christmas season, and a birthday – with delicious food in great company.  It was also a celebration of friendship, none of us knew each other well until we discovered a love of all things stitch related, and began to meet on a regular basis about five years ago.  We have now become very good friends, and can share confidences and laughs with ease which is wonderful.  I wore my flower dyed linen shirt for the first time, and not only did my friends say complimentary things about it, but I later realised Vicki Welsh had mentioned it on her latest Field Tripping the Web this morning, so today this blog has had a huge amount of traffic as a result.  I always love new blog visitors, and do hope they visit again….

And lastly, I had been asked to take photos of guests at a friend’s surprise birthday party which was held last night, and had reluctantly agreed, but anxious that the results would be lousy so special moments might be missed.  Sure there were a few dud shots, but the majority were fine and I was able to put them on a disc early today, give them to my friend who was then able to share them with her interstate visitors before they went home.  The birthday girl was very pleased with them all, and I think may plan to have a photobook made to record the event, which means the photography was really OK.  What a huge relief!

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Safari in the suburbs….

The last time I went to a zoo was probably when my children were small, although I also have a vague recollection of spending a pleasant evening listening to Jazz at the Melbourne Zoo some years ago……so today’s outing was a real treat.  Instead of taking my children, my son and D-in-L took me to Werribee Open Range Zoo which was a great experience.  We took a 45 minute safari tour  around the whole place and were able to get quite close to a number of the animals from the safety of a bus, and later walked various tracks through jungle type gardens, to view lions and other animals up close through glass screens.  The Hippos and Meerkats were my favourites, and of course there were a lot of photos taken.

This last one was taken by my son as the lion came down to lie against the glass – it was actually as close as this appears, but on the other side of the glass!  Apparently this fellow had been fighting with his brother, hence the scratched face.  They have since been separated.

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Two thousand and ten.

2010.

Where does time go?  Ten years ago I can clearly recall the anxious preparations at the turn of the century, when the great concern was that everything would go wrong as computers failed when the clock ticked over to the year 2000.  I was on 24 hour on-call for my then job, being paid an extra allowance as the organisation for which I worked prepared for the worst.  All to no avail, nothing happened, and all went on as usual.  Last night should also have been a non-event, as I did not plan to stay up until midnight – however strong winds, heavy rain, thunder and lightening meant the small dog needed sedation and comfort, there was little sleep for me as she tried to sit on my head, and a wild welcome to the New Year.  Today has been much quieter…….

I wondered about the usual New Year Resolutions:
Exercise more….
Lose weight….
Walk the dogs daily….
Keep my sewing room tidy…
Don’t begin something new until all works in progress are complete…..
Blog more regularly……
Keep up to date with the ironing…..
Become more frugal……
Etc………………………

but I decided there was absolutely no point as they do not last even as long as the twelve days of Christmas, let alone a whole year!
Instead I resolve to take life a day at a time and do the best I can, in all things – seems simpler and more likely to be achieved.

A small selection of some of the things I made in 2009:-

To start the year on a creative note, today I fixed this:-

the shredded screen door.  Never having done one before, it was not difficult and the result is great – nice tight new screen and no more flies or mosquitoes inside.  I then had to reteach my dogs that they could no longer walk in and out at will, as they had been using it as the biggest dog door in the world!  In the process I discovered the beginnings of a native wasp’s nest on the frame.

I also took some photos in the soft light of the cool and damp garden…..lovely raindrops on things.

To conclude this first post for 2010, I would like to wish you all the very best for the coming year – may it be a good one!

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Bits and Pieces

I have to confess that I have not picked up a needle and thread for some time now, and am very much enjoying the fact that there are no deadlines to meet.  I don’t know when or what I might start stitching again, it will happen, but not for a little while yet.  I did unearth a half knitted jumper, begun about three years ago, and did a few inches on the sleeves last night…..it may just be complete by next winter if I stick at it!  The wool is a locally spun natural 8 ply from Meskills in Kyneton, and it is all done in double moss stitch.

A couple of things found on my web wanders that might be interesting for you to check out:-

Online Jigsaw puzzles, a huge variety with many options for number, size and shape of the pieces.    I spotted them on someone’s blog, and am now addicted – they are a great time-waster!  It seems a safe site, though you do get the occasional pop-up advertisment, so you are warned.

A good tutorial about using striped fabrics to good effect can be found here – Geta Grama’s blog from Romania.  Interesting she uses fabrics from the Swedish Beast, so I guess one might find them in Oz too.

Another snippet from a favourite blog that I shall not name, but I thank the owner for providing such a gem, which you would otherwise not see…it is from a copy of a LIFE World Library 1965 edition about Australia and New Zealand.  A quote from Chapter Four, entitled “A Breezy, Unpredictable People” reads…..
“Certainly the Australian male is tough–very tough–and in appearance lean-eyed, hatchet-jawed, relaxed and slightly ungainly. The girls generally run in two types — either a rather stringy, small-breasted, leggy girl with a sun-baked complexion, or else one with a large-hipped figure and an easy grace of posture. Both sexes look athletic, purposeful and healthy; yet each may be said to lack style and glamour.

A friend has just started a blog, not much there just yet, but she is a quilter and has promised to write about her quilting and other textile activities, so do drop by and welcome her to Blogland.

Two more blogs of interest:-

The Hand Embroidery Network – here

Subversive Stitchers – Women Armed with Needles – here

So to end, some photos. It has stopped raining I have been out with the camera….. things have been very battered by the frequent downpours that brought nearly 150 mls of rain in November, but these looked good today.

This beautiful Clematis grows up one of the veranda posts and is covered with huge blooms.

It is Poppy time again….

An Aquilegia –  a variety called McKenna’s Giant

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Hallo Sailor……

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This charming pair are just two of a series of humourous painted wooden sculptures that are set along the foreshore at Geelong, reflecting the maritime history of this, the second largest city in Victoria and about an hour’s drive directly south of here.  I had not been there for some time, and was impressed to see some of the new developments in this area and around the town, and would like to go back and explore further.  It was a quick trip with friends to investigate the latest Apple Mac computers which were released last week.  My friend has been using an ancient machine which is now in its terminal stages, and as mentioned in the last post, I am thoroughly fed up with my PC as it is so unreliable.  We had resolved not to do anything on impulse, but to research, cost, count, compare and consider before making any decisions.  In any case, the shop had already sold out of the model in which we were interested………however, I have now compared , considered and decided and am going to join the ranks of happy iMac owners next week.  I can’t wait!

These are a few more photos taken around the Eastern Gardens area, on what was the most beautiful day.

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I love the cheeky look on the last lifesaver – obviously not got his mind on the job, and is watching the girls watching them!  And then there were some with black eyes…..fighting over the same girls??

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These little sculptures are only about a foot high, with exquisite details.  I could not find anything to explain their story or significance, they look like oriental gnomes, so are just someone’s fantasy.  Set among and on rocks near a children’s playground, one can imagine the fun kids would have playing around them.

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