Calling mum

Today would be, IS, my mother’s birthday. She died nearly 20 years ago, six weeks after my father – it was an unimaginable tragedy. They were so young, late fifties and early sixties, when they both succumbed to terminal illnesses. My sadness, all our sadnesses were endless for their lost lives, their incompleted lives and it then seemed, this bottomless sadness was never ever going to end. But everybody who has lived through grief knows that humans get through tragedy somehow, receiving scars and bumps and burns. It becomes part of us, makes us who we are, it doesn’t go away.

Grief is an ever changing process. For so many years now, my grief is really all about me, my loss, my children’s loss, our family’s loss. All the love we have missed out on! All the moments of sharing successes or losses, when “you have to ring to tell mum/ granny”. My parents never lived to find out I had two more children…img_9280

Today is also a day of celebration, indeed a day I would desperately want to share with my parents and make that phone call!

It is exactly a year ago that I returned to my first career as theatrical tailor. Last January I made my first tailored coat in nearly 20 years, it was for the character of Jean Valjean for the Manila production of Les Miserables. Today I have finished the same coat, for the same character (different performer), but the Brazil production. This coincidence, finishing this coat on my personal ‘coat making coming out of hiatus anniversary’ and my mother’s birthday so makes me want to ring her and share one of the biggest mysteries of life: you win some, you lose some – we never know what happens next, you just don’t know how things will turn out. Be in the moment, spot opportunities, grab them with both hands, be always guides by your heart.

Happy Birthday, mum.

Working…

There does not seem to be much difference in business between me “not working” and “working”. So now I am working and tradespeople have left, our family will not have any more general anaesthetics or orthodontic or dermatology appointments for a while, the dog trainer has been twice and issued very specific instructions to us of how to turn the pooches into model canine citizens.

I signed a new contract at uni, so that’s part time and very flexible, looking after a grant project. They even gave me MacBook – very nice, but part of me feels that I have way more hardware than I really need.image

And here comes the really exiting news: I met up with a very busy costume designer and her (ladies’ costume) cutter and had a wonderful discussion about how to get back into the trade. The sweetest thing was that both kept asking me what it is that I really wanted to do. If I really could have my way, I would make costumes again… Get back into it… Tickle my brain to remember how to do all the inlays and canvases in men’s jackets, get my hand sewing up to speed, remember how to cut – above all things, get my confidence back!

So today I am taking it easy. I have a terrible cold and am sitting in the sunshine on our deck, just reflecting on how life can open new paths quiet  unexpextantly.

I also got my dusty tools out and gave them a good wipe. These have travelled with me from Helsinki, to London, to Sydney.image

And marvelled at my new friend, donated by Tussanee. Relocated by my best friend.image

And then I unwrapped the parcel that I collected earlier today from the work room and it felt like no time had passed at all since my last costume job. There is the design, the swatches, all the fabrics, the patterns, all the trimmings and threads.image

It feels like home.

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 Рand 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.

Multitasking SUCKS

Warning – First World Worry Post. This one comes from the heart: multitasking just sucks! Just about EVERYTHING I do I love, honestly. I love my family (husband, kids, dogs, extended family and friends), my jobs (1, 2 & 3), my house (in need of Reno – type), my hobbies (knitting, sewing, walking in the bush, sailing, reading, thinking up stuff). BUT – it is soooo hard to keep jumping from one thing to the next, then to another one and YET another one… An oooon and oooon it goes, mercilessly forever and endlessly… How easy (and likely very boooooring) would it be to go on doing the one thing, not switching back and forth between email addresses, outfits, locations, identities and the like?? (Sigh) It is Friday evening, pls take this into consideration, TGF… It’s been a one rich, surprising, kinda productive week in weird and wonderful ways… But If I could only manage to stick to one… Or two major themes in my life – it would be sooo much easier (and “boriger”?). So there were a few milestones achieved in teaching textiles: I designed a whole new (more fun and practical?) OHS worksheet for the class and I will trial this interactive beast on my students next week. May I say I was moved when one of the girls said on Tuesday that textiles should be on the curriculum heaps more than once a week? It is a very enriching experience to go into the classroom and be led by what those kids really want to do, (dare I say, some of them have severe challenges that stand between them and life far more than you or I can imagine…) engage them and somehow tick the boxes of educational requirements. And a milestone with the conference organisation! The websites are about to go live and today, just prior to my sign off meeting, my work computer died. I was unable to take any printouts of emails (with really handy feedback) to my meeting with the wonderful IT nerds – only myself, my brain and my pen! And voila ¬†– I did ok!!!! And wait – there was (at least!) one more challenge for today. I met a colleague about this consent paper… I will not go into the details, but it was a meeting that had been in the offing for some time and was about the kNitty gritty stuff about major changes of direction – totally ok on a good day – but after the computer dying, major meetings of an entirely different kind, instructing the computer genius to fix the mess etc… Yes- it did feel challenging… To a point that I forgot to have the (especially baked) chocolate cake with my lovely colleague!!! And wait – more first world worries… A beautiful (local) concert to attend to tomorrow night AND an amazing theatre show on Sunday. Oh Pooh! How will I possibly manage??? Well. I think I will try to get 3 concession tickets for the kids to the theatre show… Enjoying the show together and and afterwards a HUGE Lebanese meal at Abduhl’s in Elizabeth Street… That might just be the solution to my worries! AND a knit fix with Sue prior to the theatre show… That should fix me up. KNITTING – YES, I am still at it! I failed to take pics of the new (well, old by now…) pink Japanese style jumper and that lovely (what’s the word???) throw/ shawl/ poncho… And yarns arrived in the ,ail to start Dominic’s jumper (that one’s got to be called “Daaah Di Dom”…). What blessing it is to be a wife, mother, daughter in law, Aunty… Just ignore all I just said… And have a great weekend!

Embracing Mistakes

I think we all have regrets, thoughts about how we could have done something better, prevented some mishap or how we could enjoyed something more while we could (before it disappeared from our lives) and so forth. It’s hard to watch others make mistakes. We want to stop them, let them enjoy the benefit of our hindsight. So hindsight – how do we gain it? Through mistakes. Our mistakes. Us paying for our very own mistakes. So we better embrace them. Because there is really nothing else we can do. They are good for us.

I stuffed up a little pouch that I attempted to make. I cannot believe how I stuffed it up – spend an entire afternoon stuffing up this tiny easy project – NO, I am not putting a picture up for you. (I am just really quietly embracing my mistake). But what happened as a result was really awesome. I chose a difficult bag and collected lot’s of determination and I did not leave the shed until the job was done, … well done, I may add. I found a nice bag pattern on the internet and decided to customize it. And funny that – all of a sudden the pattern didn’t really work anymore and all of a sudden a heap of stuff had to be altered, since I didn’t think the whole thing through very well in advance.DSCN9701

I just unpicked, re-did, re-drafted, re-consulted google, changed my mind and am really happy with the result! I also added some extra details – like the little pocket with button loop at the back…DSCN9702

… and an inside pocket with sections sewn for pens (so I don’t have to keep nicking them from everywhere because I now have them in a secure spot!).DSCN9703

Note the wee tags at the end of the zip – to make the zip go in smoothly…

I made a lot of mistakes, which made me explore so many more options of possible groovy details to put into other bags, notebook covers and other items.

 

 

This is One Lovely Blog!

This blog has been ticking along quietly for nearly 3 years, without much excitement, just a personal tool for reflection on life, outdoor adventures and my passion of all things textile. Thank you so much, Dre at Grackle and Sun, for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog award. I humbly accept this honor.

Now to the formalities (rules):

  1. Thank and link back to the person who nominated you.
  2. List the rules and display the award.
  3. Include seven delightful facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers and let them know about the award. (This is where I fail horribly… I don’t KNOW 15 blogs, because I knit and sew wayyy toooo much…hope 7 is ok)
  5. Follow the blogger who nominated you.

Seven delightful facts about myself:

1. I was a terrible teenager (really shocking) and somehow turned into a reasonable citizen in the end, I try to keep that in mind as all my kinds have entered that stage in their lives…

2. My love for sailing came about through my husband so much hoping our kids would get into it… I got the opportunity to crew a boat and gave it a go – mainly because I thought my kids may get into it by my leading the way and because I love the captain and his wife. And now I have to truly add it to my passions… strange but true.

3. At work, people think of me as a diligent administrator, being the herder of highly intelligent people and organiser many significant projects and events… at home, I do forget to empty the letterbox and to take my kids to their friends’ birthday parties… oops.

4. I only ever published one academic paper, on Logic – if I read it now, I wouldn’t have a clue what that was about.

5. I am content! Why is that strange or delightful? I used to be such a restless soul moving from one country to the next, learning new languages, finding new dentists and setting up tax file numbers and bank accounts… and I am just so happy now where I am and who I am with – I’d never want to be 30 again…

6. At this point in life, I don’t mind tidying up my house… this is a huge surprise to me!

7. When I grow up, I want to be a… I still am not sure, actually…

Here are some blogs I love and would like to nominate for the One Lovely Blog award – do have a look at these!

whatiamuptotoday has got a really original voice and perspective on live – an eye for detail for the ‘small’ things, the things that really matter. And of course plenty of knitting and tales about his pets…

A room of my own is the most compelling blog I have come across – it is so very honest and personal and unbelievably well written. A wonderful woman sharing what is really happening, no nonsense commentary on life how it really is. I commend you for your open reflections and get much inspiration from sharing all your posts!

All She Wants to do is Knit is an obvious blog to like – so much knitting going on and such a fun outlook on life… I really enjoy following this one!

Knitted Notes or ‘Knitting and blogging in Italy in times of economic crisis’ is the best blog EVER for beautifully designed and knitted garments with wonderful details. And there are savvy political comments on the crisis in Italy, as well as fabulous reviews of wonderful movies. This is a seriously visually stunning blog. And all of the posts are bilingual!

Worsted is a stunning blog by a master knitter who is also an amazing wordsmith and who can take beautiful photos! I admire his knitting and design skills and would love to see more frequent posts!

Pikkukiisken kotona is an amazing blog about treasures found on flea markets, fabric design and superb retro interior design on a serious budget. I love what this lady with 4 wee kids can do! It’s in Finnish – but hey, just select ‘translate this page’ and you are on your way!

Write or Wrong is an amazingly well written blog by a lady who thinks out aloud about everything that life throws at her! An enjoyable read!

Here we go, let’s have a toast to my little textileshed’s award… Many thanks again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… more, higher, better, faster

School’s back, after a really nice and mellow holiday… I am back at work… as a family, we have experienced some stressful time. My father in law has been relocated into a nursing home – which is a huge adjustment for him, of course, but the rest of the family goes through some major adjustments as well… In addition, my mother in law had a terrible fall, subsequent surgery etc… so all of a sudden all of us carry a major responsibility in addition to ‘just the usual stuff’, which seems – on a regular day – just plenty enough. Nevertheless… life goes on and it is so important to see all the beauty in the everyday.

MORE I did put my hands up to do a few costumes for the school play… and I did know that I would most likely end up doing 3 times as many as I originally volunteered for. Yes, of course that eventuated… but it’s been lovely to host sewing bees here at our home to set up production lines for Indian girls, mermaid tails and Hook…

Patrick made an awesome canon for the play. There was the smell of burnt wood, machine oil, spray paint… I think he may well still add some flash/ bang/ smoke effect for when it goes off in the play… I am holding my breath!!!DSCN9020

I get a lot of nice ideas for knitting and patchwork, but have to restrict myself to sketch and make samples… no time right now…none… not a moment.DSCN9018

Work has been huge fun. All the qualitative data (interviews) I have been transcribing and coding over the last 6 months is coming together, since I am preparing a workshop and a paper on consent in surgical innovation with a colleague. It is very much like a patchwork top that is been put together and then quilted… endless bits of information starting to make sense and creating a bigger picture that informs us about the core issues and hopefully can contribute to the discussion about best practice, future policy and regulation.119731_600

HIGHER The one thing Lena really wanted to do in the holidays was climb the Harbour Bridge. I thought this was a nice idea, so I promised Lena and Jo they could do it. Little did I know that 14 year olds need an adult to go with them… urgh… moi… I had done it 10 years ago and didn’t enjoy the experience at all, I was just so scared! But this was entirely different. We went early one clear Sunday morning, before it got hot and we could see the entire world!!! Awesome!DSCN9019

BETTER A real whirlwind change occurred with my oldest child’s schooling. Tuesday afternoon he returned from his first day back at school – deeply unhappy, not being sure how on EARTH he was going to get through his last year at school at that particular institution… no fun, no engagement, no mojo… and within less than 48 hours we had researched, applied, been interviewed AND accepted at a different (a senior) college where 50% of his subjects will be visual art related and where he is the boss and I will retire as his personal ‘whip cracker’… Happy Days. Let’s hope THIS is the right environment for this bright kid to flourish. Go Vincent!!!

FASTER I finally had my first little sail on our own boat yesterday (started Twilight sailing on the Barubi last Wednesday)… so I dressed as I do when I crew on the Barubi… T-shirt, jeans – whatever was I thinking? This little Tasar goes like a rocket, you certainly cannot answer your phone, have a cup of tea or knit a few rows as you wait for the wind to come up. Within no time my bum (which was hanging waaayyyy out there) and the rest of me were klitsch nass (soaking wet) and I kept aaaaaaayyyyyyy:ing and OH NOOOOOOO:ing for the entire duration of the sail, since everything happens very fast on the Sparrow and the BIG DARK water is right there, only a few inches away… ok – yeah – this is not Patrick and myself, since… we didn’t have a camera, nor did we have a free hand to take a photo, but you do get the picture, right???

Walk your dogs, kiss your children, tell your partner you love them, call a friend in need, forgive people who have hurt you, cherish every moment. We are here only once.