Easter Thoughts

For a very long time I have not practiced any kind of special religious traditions at Easter time and with the kids being older now, we have started dropping the Easter egg hunt. Now Easter is pretty much just a long weekend… but this year it was a bit different.

On Good Friday I just sat on the sofa, I had to finish reading my book.

One sentence just stuck with me, at the very end “… but I suspect that God is what you do, not what or who you believe in.”

”… when you make good – well, then you are an instrument of God. Then you are joined to the divine, to the life force, to life itself.”

Saturday we went to Cockatoo Island to see the Sydney Biennale exhibition. I had attended Ai Weiwei’s keynote at the Operahouse a few weeks ago and got very fired up about his work, which attempts to advocate for the plight of refugees. I had seen already his Chrystal Ball at the Arthouse. This huge Chrystal Ball sits on life vests he found on the beach in Lesbos, Greece, after many thousands of refugees landed there.

Anyway, apart from Ai Weiwei’s giant lifeboat and the old industrial machinery that are permanent fixtures on the island, we found nothing much of interest.

I was very taken by the lifeboat and by many of the quotes surrounding it’s base. All religions and heaps of wonderful authors say the same about hospitality, the treatment of strangers, right? And it’s all a bit of a no-brainer, but I was very moved how many quotes expressed this very poetically.

Here some shots of the island before I reveal the highlight of the Easter weekend…

Sunday and Monday I spent with my husband in the wilderness, at the Colo River. It was a very physically and mentally challenging trip, not exactly a walk in the park. When we hit the river, we just ripped out clothes off and plunged into the river, drinking and drinking and cooling our sore bodies.

We camped on the little beach in the light of the full moon.

The hike out of the wilderness went mainly through the river, so we swam most of it.

I am left feeling very refreshed and spiritually charged after this weekend. Whether there is a God or not, it is important to be the best person you can be, look after as many people as you can carry – and take time out for yourself and your nearest and dearest. And if there is a God, think we found where he lives…





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.


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).


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!


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



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.


I have not posted anything since our Easter trip in the bush! An entire term. Well, here is an update with what’s been going on.

Relaxing. I have simply been very quiet and mellow and inwardly still regrouping with myself and close family since the big move (I have even been lying in bed in the afternoons on the weekend, reading novels and napping!). I have read many books and really enjoyed forgetting the world around me. Then I joined a new gym and I can walk up there and take weight classes and yoga/ pilates/ body balance. I feel great! And I have started a low FODMAP diet and finally – after years and years of discomfort – have no tummy aches!

Knitting. That cable cardigan is very slow. I have mainly just knitted at basketball and soccer matches and then sat down for a day to really get ahead with it. NOW is the coldest time of the year and the cardigan is NOT finished! Near- daily craft opportunities in the evenings have simply evaporated… DSCN8095


So the winter sailing season has started – ‘hoot hoot’ – on the first race day there was so little wind that we didn’t even cross the start line… even thought we tried for 45 minutes to edge towards it. On the second race day we took off and came fourth. Happy Days… even if we had come last – it’s just such a good time on the water. The third race day we had a mutiny, the all girl crew refused to go out on the water since there was a gale blowing, but the captain stayed in his reality distortion field claiming it would be fun to go out (35 knots…fun?)

More children – we have had another child – not a baby, no no no,  my cousin’s daughter Lena has arrived from Germany and will stay with us for 2 terms (6 months).  We are so exited to have her living with us. She is just the right age to hang out with Jo and Esther. So it’s 4 kids in 3 different schools now… all going nicely in the school holidays, but I am sure I won’t know what has hit me next week, when we are all going back to school and work.DSCN8062

Work has been really interesting. I am transcribing a heap of interviews that my colleague conducted at a local hospital into innovation in surgery and now I am coding them into a special software program to analyze this big qualitative study. It certainly is a huge learning curve and a few unexpected themes have emerged with this – it is really nice to be thinking at work, instead of just doing admin and organizational tasks!

Renovations in our new home have commenced. We have no windows downstairs – we had to take them out to fix a steel beam that was rusted through and was supposed to hold up the balcony. The structural stuff has been completed, windows have been ordered and now we are just waiting for them to be delivered to put them in. Patrick has been amazing in managing all this and planning the next few projects ahead. DSCN8098I have sanded our old dining room table, a tiny contribution to beautifying the home… I am getting very tired of all the beige in this house and am craving the odd color injection.DSCN8096

I am hoping the air conditioning guy will come back to us soon with a quote – the reverse cycle has died and we have just about NO heating and this is the coldest month of the year here in Australia, brrr…

Quilting. There is so much nice stuff to do, so many ideas in my head, but I have too many quilts on the go to start something new, even a quick machine sewn quilt. So, I am plodding along with Esther’s hexagon quilt, slowly slowly and just pinned another star on the lounge room wall. DSCN8097

Listening. I have noticed that during the ‘full on working week’ it is all too easy to not hear people and that listening to others is not as natural as it may seem. During a regular working week most interaction is unfortunately restricted to telling off or instructing to do (kids) or filling in on events and schedules (husband) and plotting how the logistics will work tomorrow (myself). So, listening doesn’t happen easily. How we all feel, why we like/ dislike what we like/ dislike… dreams, hopes, motivations, funny ideas… all that what is most important too often stays covered below the business of the days. So, these holidays have been a bit of an exercise in listening and hearing that what doesn’t even get said aloud… wonderful.

That’s about all from me, for now…


New Inspiration

I have been lying low, and since this blog is a MFZ (moan free zone), I have been thinking whilst doing the hoovering this afternoon what positive there is in being so busy like I am right now (and now I surrender to the idea that it will not change) – see, not that I am unhappy with life at all, but the work – knit balance has been totally out of whack since this year kicked off. I came out of my little reflection thinking that if this is my only problem, then I am doing really well.

What is really positive about being so busy is that I get a nice paycheck, have lovely colleagues, interesting and stimulating work that I am largely in charge of and that I am being very organized fitting all manner of things into a tight schedule. Another really good thing is that everybody around me is picking up tasks that I am too busy to do… the kids are very much pulling their weight with chores and dog walking. So – what problem???
DSCN5881This arrived in the post this week – lovely yarns from Zigo Zago… and I guess that’s when it hit me that I have not knitted anything for myself in ages, even though this year was going to be all about me in the knitting department. And all I wanted to do is take to my bed for 3 weeks and knit something amazing for myself. But there are projects in the cue…

As I tidied the house, I thought that meeting my frustration head on would help coping. So I got all my yarns that I have accumulated (against all good intentions) over the last year in a vacuum bag – to look at, to acknowledge that they will really just be on hold until further notice (until I have finished my current 3 projects).DSCN5886 Not bad, eh? From left to right, let me introduce you: Merino yarn from Zigo Zago, I am dying to make a Twin Set (yesss!!!) or a lovely longish tunic, then gorgeous Shetland yarns for a wonderful Fair Isle jumper, then cream and dark brown yarn I bought in Tasmania, then bright red for a nice something or other and a lovely charcoal for another something or other… And then look at this, I sucked the air out of the bag to keep the yarns nice and clean and moth free!DSCN5887 I also thought I should put a photo of ‘the other’ baby jump suit on this post, just to realize that even though I have not been able to dedicate as much time to knitting as I would have loved lately, I am still getting somewhere, if but slowly… this one is of the stripy variety, and it is actually great to do another one to really check the pattern details!DSCN5888 And then I just got on with it. Knittathon galore. I watched 3 movies straight: one with my daughters, one with my son, one on my own – and the Bull Jumpers’ intarsia is just about done, I cannot believe it myself! What was all that agro about?!?!?! Another thing I have done over the last few months, being short of time, I have relocated the shed into a wonderful trunk that serves as a coffee table in our lounge room. It has all I need, right there, no need to even leave the armchair (once I am in it…), tough I will need to lift the wine glass for access…DSCN5885DSCN5884Uh, with all this under my belt for achievements on a Friday night, I am ready to take on house hunting, basketball matches, weekly food shopping, soccer trials and the rest of it for the weekend. No worries.