Eclectica

This is an eclectic collection of information of weird and wonderful things that have happened over the last few weeks. No no particular order:

Seven Bridges Walk: One sunny Sunday I completed a 27km charity walk with 3 friends. It was such fun to do the Seven Bridges Walk through the city, the bush, and crossing 7 iconic bridges in Sydney. Afterwards we had a cool beer and jumped in the pool…Screen shot 2015-11-06 at 6.48.30 AM

Curtains!: Patrick has had a moment to hang the first set of curtains I have made for the house. They have been sitting there, un-hemmed, for some time. They get moved from the cutting table when I needed to work (to the pool table), they got moved from the pool table (on the sofa) when people wanted to play pool, they got moved to the cutting table (when people wanted to sit on the sofa to watch TV)… you get the idea. So now they are hanging up, but we need to get stronger steel rods that don’t bend with the weight of the curtain.

Also – these two curtains have 3 panels of fabric. I have decided to take one panel out on each of them. There will be several advantages in this, though it’s a real pain to undertake this type of ‘curtain surgery’… (1) the weight will be significantly reduced, so damage to the rod etc is less likely (2) you see the lovely pattern much better (3) it will be a fair bit cheaper, using less materials… BUT a pain to do. Next week this is my project!image

A new toy – eh tool: Since I intend to make curtains for my entire house, I have not spared the expense to order a tool to put the huge eyelets into the top. Nothing like this can be purchased here in Australia, and the curtain tape that I tried (the tape has the eyelets already in, you sew it on and cut the hole out) was simply too bad quality and the weight of the curtain would have ripped the eyelets out fairly soon. I also like to plain look of the curtain that has just the big eyelet – no gathering up, no small folds for the dust to settle in… much more sleek look and easier to look after! Isn’t this just beautiful? It came lovingly wrapped in waxed paper to prevent rusting.imageimage

Big machinery: A tree was taken out of our neighbor’s garden this week. Wow, I could not believe the size of machinery that rocked up for the job. Mind you, the tree was 35m high, so something substantial was needed to do take the 35m tree down! I don’t understand how they got the crane into our driveway!image image image

Wildlife in my kitchen: I got a real fright when I emptied the dishwasher yesterday morning: a gecko was sitting there. Poor thing. No idea how it got in there. Obviously it had not survived the big adventure.image

Presents: Sue came for a knitfix and I don’t know how long it’s been since we saw one another. An unusual 2 months or so! Anyway, she has been on travels to wonderful places and as per usual, she made me feel like it is Christmas with all her small gifts… Tea, honey mustard, exotic relish, pom pom makers in 3 sizes and plenty of chocolate. Thank you so much, Sue!image

Knitting: Whilst I really ought to finish the cardigan I started for my niece just before her birthday in July (!), I had the real need to cast something on for myself. I had made a lovely top down cardigan some time ago, it has stretched a bit and though it’s still lovely, it is a bit loose and not as fitting as I designed it. So, I cast on this week, and did not get up until the tricky bit was over, which is the bit where all the shoulders are cast on separately, joined, sleeveheads cast on and knitted with short rows etc… Sorry, no photo.

Exclusive Two Skeins Club: Just as I toyed with the idea of joining Kate Davies’ Seven Skeins Club I received a parcel from Ireland! My dear friend Eva (and bridesmaid 20 y ears ago!) send me hands pun wool (SHE did it!) from her OWN Alpaca! How exclusive and wonderful! And she still has got the waistcoat I knitted her 25 years ago!imageimage

11209372_1627925310826150_9032442332158189916_nScreen shot 2015-11-06 at 9.00.48 AM

 

 

 

Good dogs: Our dogs had some serious dog training to get them to bark less. They have very much improved, but it is easy for us to slip back into old habits and they bark again straight away. Here is a picture of the model canine citizens in they new bedroom.image

 

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Endlich Ruhe im Karton

(At long last peace in the cardboard box)

A manic few months have come to an end and I am finding myself in a state where I am torn between exhaustion (really wanting to rest) and new energy (all those things I now have time to do).

Facebook

During the conference, some of the lovely volunteers got me hooked up with facebook. What fun! I can see what a waste of time that can be. Worse than pinterest! But on a positive note – it’s great to connect with old acquaintances, get “to know” people I have know forever and seeing an entirely different side to them – wrong, not different – rather a new dimension. And I have picked up the phone to speak to people ‘in person’, invited them to stuff, simply because they are ‘in my life’ on facebook, so I am keen to re-connect in real life!

Home

I have had payback in various degrees for having been entirely absent for 2 weeks +, not so much from the dogs… but from young ones. So rather than reeling in guilt for having worked hard (gained great satisfaction from doing a great job AND getting some money) I have just quietly pampered everyone, as much as I can. Lifts to school in the rain, special something in the lunchbox, helping with homework, listening, a tidy house, doing all the chores myself, lovely dinners… it’s great to be back. It’s kind of nice to know I have been (if but subconsciously… ) missed. And it’s not like I am an absent parent. It’s the juggling between parenting/ nurturing and living your own life welI and lead by example. And over parenting is not really that healthy… On that note, it’s so good that Patrick keeps up with the bands, I love the live music in our downstairs, even though it means the downstairs dweller child gets to bed late that night.image

I am compiling a long to do list of renovations that really need doing (curtain rails & curtains – it’s WINTER and the heating packed up!), the roof, window cleaning, dusting, cleaning the kitchen cupboards) – fear not, I will not overdo it, it would just be nice to have the house back to cosy and operational again.

Knitting and other important crafty Pursuits

I do remember how to do it! I have cast on another Levenwick, this time for my niece Harriet. image

And do look at these lovely yarns – courtesy of Sue – I never seem to leave her house without at least two knitting projects worth of yarns! imageAs per usual, the mind works faster than the hands can cast on, and I am in danger of starting too many projects and ending up with a few UFOs.

On Friday Jenny comes over and we are going to do all the alterations to our ill-filling but potentially amazing wardrobe misfits! Yeah, can’t wait, I have wanted to do this for ages, it will be so much fun to re-design rags and breathe new life into them!

The Great Outdoors

I have booked a few days in the snow with my son next month, he is a keen snowboarder. And I am very unfit. So the dogs are very happy for me to get back to long brisk walks with them. As soon as I have shaken my pesky cold, I will hit the gym again and I am so happy that my husband is a keen bush walker and expedition leader! We explored the Blue Gum Forrest in the lower Blue Mountains yesterday. It was a 6 hour hike and the descent into the valley was 900m. When we started in the morning, it was 2 degrees Celsius, encountered snowflakes, rainbows, severe winds that blew beanies AND ourselves flat to the ground – and endless beauty! DSCN9991DSCN9970DSCN9990

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Work

I am not sure what’s happening next. I am still teaching one day/ week, and am looking forward to my final term with the girls. Some finished their corsets before the winter holidays, a big sigh of relief, it is achievable to complete such a complex project in our class! A few noises/ vague offers from university… a few ideas for networking to give my ‘career’ an new trajectory (costume or event management) – for the time I am simply happy to have some peace in my cardboard box.

Going into Winter, and Proudly Presenting a few things…

Being a knitter, originally from the cold Northern Germany (and having spent many years in Scandinavia…) I love the onset of autumn and winter here in Australia. Finally I get to wear my cardies and jumpers again, usually one or two new pieces that have been on the needles in the sweltering heat of the  summer. So here is K modelling her brand new Reverb cardi, in front of her massive “still to do list” before finishing up this job and moving to Melbourne.image I decided to give it to her before the big good bye, since then I still have the benefit of seeing and adoring her in it…

Then I made this one very quickly. It’s Levenwick by Gudrun Johnston. I felt the need of color injection into my wardrobe, and I have stopped wearing this cardigan, because it’s just too big. imageSo I just unraveled, straightened the yarn and cast on… image I am really pleased with this outcome, and have even redone the lace collar already, it had started going floppy already during this first week of wearing it and consequently the entire cardigan was flipping and flopping and gaining in length every day. It was a tricky operation, because I left the lace button band in place whilst fiddling with the collar… We are a two car family again. So I have got wheels once more. So I stayed dry, while this deluge in Sydney went ooon and ooon. So now I can drive by the supermarket after work to catch some dinner. So I can see my father in law more often again. All not to be snuffed at. Despite having wheels again, I will continue not to rush. Why would I? I have this to look at. image Well, I went on a bit of a cultural excursion with my son, last weekend. I still cannot get over how quickly (10mins) I can transition from the above idyllic scenery to this:image Anyway, We had a look at a student design technology exhibition. And guess what else I found in the same museum – ha! image I dread to think what it would have felt to wear this all day, every day… and wait, there was more – and entire exhibition on underwear… very timely, since I just started working on corsets with the TAFE students. To be truthful – all the above is LAST week’s news. It has taken me a week to find a photographer around here to take a picture of the red cardigan, so I didn’t press ‘publish now’ a week ago…

THIS weekend’s news is that it is Mother’s Day and I a stayed in bed until 11am! Then very slowly we gathered the troops, kids and dogs that is, and went for a wonderful walk at the water… image     imageimage

…while this friend was preparing a nice meal for us, ready for when we returned home.image

Cooking for Friends

I do love cooking, especially on the weekends, and for friends. It’s very nice to treat friends to a good meal, relax together and see what sorts of conversations emerge. It is especially exiting to have people over who don’t really know one another…

Yum… Do look… And all this was cosumed during the sunset on the balcony… Actually, I didn’t take pics of the finished product!!! but you can see how much I enjoyed the process…imageimage image image

Weekend again…

The weeks are flying past, my massive work load has eased and I knit a lot. And I look at stuff on Pinterest. And sort my boards. And download patterns to my Ravelry library. Things must be going well…

I have the time to say “yeah, I am free for coffee” and plan some guerrilla activities… This tree needs some help, don’t you think?

I have time not to get angry with any of the kids for not having “done their stuff”, even been really naughty, or even been totally exhausting… I have had time to cut back on all sorts of activity and focus on the bare essentials.

There has been time to catch up on homework with all of them – something I have never done. I was asked politely to read their school novel for feedback! that’s a first! We have bought highlighters, USB sticks and organised (for the first time in this young adults’ life) scrunched up notes and school handouts and even found some assessment sheets for the FINAL MAJOR WORK IN VISUAL ARTS – due in 10 days time!

We had time to make lists and study plans, talking how serious we are about doing well in our favourite subject.

We did not argue about what movie to watch – Trainspotting it was – others just played board games to pass the time.

We divided up the housework this Saturday – I had a helper to do the shopping, someone else washed up last nights dinner, someone else walked the dogs.

I am doing various trips to basketball games and whilst I am knitting away, observing complicated patterns and constructions, I instinctively do look up when my young adult is scoring an amazing goal which just takes my breath away. How great that is for her confidence.

There is time to invite new friends from the new high school and I love to listen to the endless giggles and watching good-bye hugs.

I am preparing a meal for girlfriends tonight in stages, wherever I find a moment I whack the tarts into the oven, cut up some veggies, pre- boil some eggs, cook the brown rice. I cherish the asymmetry of my tarts and simply call them ‘rustic’.image

This is my kind of weekend… Relaxing into the business of living my own essence, including all it’s associated extensions.

My kind of weekend!

It’s been a great start of the school year, especially for Esther, who is now a fully independent high school kid! She seems to know all the bus routes and has gathered all sorts of relevant intelligence pertaining to her new life in no time at all…
Patrick is about to change jobs, it was a serendipity type of situation and he grabbed it – we will not know whether it really is a good move until he moves, but a change was sort of waiting to happen and this came along and he grabbed it! (What seemed to have persuaded him was that it is a ‘nice ride along the river to Paramatta’, let me translate to you without the local knowledge: it’s 1 1/2 hours by bicycle – and Patrick simply likes to stay fit!).
I have slipped into my new role as TAFE teacher, academic and event manager fairly seamlessly… so I am co- authoring a paper on consent in context of innovative surgery (job 1), organise the 2015 AAP conference in July (5 days and 12 streams, FYI a that means 12 philosophers talking simultaneously, but THANK GOD in different rooms!) (job 2) and teaching textiles (JOB 3).

Despite having taken heaps of reading home on Friday for job 1, I barely got any done. UHhh quelle surprise… I enjoyed plenty of culture this weekend… It all started with watching ‘Still Alice‘ on Friday with a bunch of girlfriends and afterwards enjoying a hot Thai meal, washed down with a fair amount of cold beer.

Then yesterday we went to the museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay (enjoying the classic Sydney vista!) to check out the Chuck Close exhibition. It was really wonderful!

In the evening Patrick and I went to the Theater, we saw Radiance at the Belvoir. Moving, beautiful, authentic… A story about the unraveling of ‘the given, the assumed’, a tragic revelation of the real. We happened to sit in the front row and saw every tear, flinch, emotion of the 3 actresses (FYI a Leah Purcell was one of them, one of the most celebrated Aboriginal actresses of our time).

Today… well… action man had to cycle many km at Akuna Bay before sunrise (nah, was probably later, but just felt like it…) with fellow action man Craig, whilst I walked puppies in the wild and then had lot’s of coffee and (ripped and re-) knitted amazing poncho.

cashmere poncho

When middle child awoke (and I thus gained access to textileshed) I made lot’s of relevant samples for job 3.

How to insert a zipper into a bag (I tried to illustrate 3 stages).image

How to make a classic pocket (again, 3 relevant stages).image

Some embellishment with bias and straight (home made) tape.image

Explaining bias and straight grain.image

Inverted and (what’s the word… ) other type of non-straight edges and how to treat them.image

Different types of seams a and two types of binding.image

When I got too hot (hours later…), I then dipped into the cool water of our pool and felt like a Hollywood movie star :).

After lunch, I also gave both dogs haircuts, which took forever, but seems to have knocked ‘years off them’. Just compare the old and the new hair style on Jasper…

Before….image

… and after…image

It’s just because of the tics around here… they can kill dogs. So with short hair we can spot them easier, but they are less likely to stick in the first place…

Fortunately, we also managed to visit David, which was very good…image and Jasper did show off his new haircut!

And (YIKES….) I have got an iPad!!!! Patrick just got me one… So I think I am now truly in the 21st century… I am a bit technologically challenged, so it’s a learning curve… But that’s ok… I am looking forward to taking so many more photos! I also downloaded a yoga app… Uhhh…. So exiting!!!

So – somehow it’s after 8pm and we had to recruit some children to cook some veg and bbq some meat… where has the time gone??? Hope you had a good weekend, I feel well rested and energized for the next week.