Hello from the Other Side

Hello from the first days of 2022!

New Year’s resolutions? None. That is – no concrete ones. Not like “attending yoga once a week” or “drink more water” or “eat your Greens”.

What has been on my mind is the simple fact that I am not getting any younger (a polite way of saying that I am getting older) and whilst I am still fairly young – mid 50s – I am only a few years younger as my parents were when they died. It’s not haunting me, but I am beginning this year with a very strong feeling that time is my most precious commodity. Of course I have always know this – but I feel it very strongly now. I am a person with infinite energy, yes, but I am asking myself many times a day ‘do I really want to spend my time doing this‘ – yes/ no – and I make a clear decision and act upon it. It gives me a real sense of freedom.

We had a few days with all kids and dogs in Vincentia. We lived near the beach and none of us were actually very social. It was a type of social deep relaxation consisting of eating, walking and sleeping. I felt very relaxed after that. In fact so relaxed that I started cleaning our kitchen cupboards on the day we returned!

Of course we had a Christmas tree, and one person had even bought presents!

This will be another year when we are heading into the big unknown. The pandemic is anything but under control, even though our leaders want us to think that we are in a “strong position”. I really don’t care what the rules and regulations are at this point. I have been thinking about upcoming work and decided not to attend any fittings. Period. This means either not working at all or zoom fittings (not so good) – but this is me taking control and deciding on which risks to take.

On the creative side – there are tons of notes and drawings and certainly no shortage of ideas. Many unfinished quilts, many vintage knitting machines that want to be put together again after a thorough service, a few unfinished sewing projects – I am refraining from making a full list because that would just kill my mojo.

There is the one thing I have been wanting to do for a long time and that I finally did with a fabulous helper – I did some screen printing at home! It’s nothing revolutionary really, but it was just nice for Tom to go through the notes as well and point out this and that useful hint in setting up the work surface and positioning the frames. I really want to do more of that, yep.

The Year without Christmas

As the kids got older and older, Christmas has been less and less of a deal. This year there seems to be no Christmas in our home whatsoever.

German bikis – no way, it’s too hot to bake!

Christmas tree – no way – we are away over Christmas anyway

Gifts – no way, we’ve got everything we need

Just give us more health, sanity, time together. Thanks. That’s what it is all about. And the kids agree. We count our blessings, pack up kids and dogs, swimmers and board games and off we go to Jarvis Bay.

But before I go – here are some special moments from the last few days…

Pretty Birthday Flowers from our garden
Visitors during COVID lockdown
My favorite place in the world
Quickquickquick – finish this off before going away
A lovely stroll and catch up with Chris and Helen
But there is nothing quiet like the sunset over our home… nothing…

Stay safe and well XXX

No apologies

No apologies, no promises, not even intentions…

I used to love this little blog. It slowed me down. Made me put feelings into words. Frame images to reveal the beauty in the everyday. And above all – it kept my overseas family in touch with what we are doing here, in Australia.

What happened?

Well, Instagram seemed a ‘faster’ option to ‘communicate’ ideas and moments. And Facebook. And LinedIn? That one is funny – I only remembered a few weeks ago that I had a profile there, too and had not been on it/ updated it since 2008. I checked it out and there I was, research assistant without even a photo. And 50 people had looked me up in the last 2 months.

And, wait for it, I am trying to do the ‘right thing’ in building two websites. Yes. Just because that is what you are supposed to do, when you run a business, or if you have got skills. I have tried for months and yesterday it came to me, the realization why I have not managed to progress. Actually it is because I just don’t want another online thing to manage, maintain and update. And I don’t want to convert/ translate my skills and personality into something stylized that can be universally understood/ categorized and judged instantaneously.

Hello, little blog. It is nice to be back… X

Ooops, well, that was a long break…

I am a really bad sleeper, I do tend to wake up in the early hours every now and again and am unable to go back to sleep. When this happened just now I panicked “Yikes – whatever happened to my blog???”. Ha ha ha.
Nothing has happened to it, because I really have forgotten about it for 18months!

Well, home life, work life and life in general have been pretty full on and I simply retreated into myself. But let me share one of the most exiting things that has happened recently, and it is a nice way to continue from where I left it off 18 months ago. Lambs of God won a heap of awards at the AACTA and (tatatataaaaaa) costume design was one of the winning categories!

It was the icing on the cake, great that this movie, which was so much fun to work on, got the recognition it deserves!

The other thing that was really awesome about Lambs of God was the fact that I spent a few days on the film set, in the costume that I made for the body double, and I was a hand model for one of the actresses! With hand make up and everything.

Originally I got hired to do some of the knitting on camera. I took this very seriously. Because a week before I was due to do this on the set I realized that they don’t knit continental style, like I do!

I consulted various friends and YouTube of cause to learn to knit in the non- continental style… I spent nearly the entire week to get the hang of it… and ha ha ha – THAT particular scene was shot in 3 minutes. It was fun to do all sorts of other things on camera with my hands and the best thing was that when we watched the premiere on the big screen, my son kept poking me every time he spotted my hands.

I have no idea when I worked on Necrotronic, in any case – last time I wrote it wasn’t out yet so I would not have had these photos. It was a pretty fun story to watch on the big screen and I was particularly pleased that my youngest loved it, because our taste in movies is very different.

Well, there has also been some very serious work for the Opera…
… and some extremely serious work for Melbourne Theatre Company

A few good things have happened on the knitting front. When I went to Germany and England for a month with my youngest, we spent a lot of time on trains and I really got into knitting shawls. Here is number one and two – the third (really awesome one) I gave away very spontaneously without photographing it properly. Well, none of them I have photographed ‘properly’ yet…

I got the main color from Sue for my birthday. As I traveled on all those trains I simply kept casting off and crocheting a bit when I got bored.

I have also made a few sleeveless things… T-shirts or maybe tank tops or even vests they are called… no photos yet… it is best if I leave the knitting for a while, my hands feel twice the size than what they really are because I have simply been overusing them.

We also have had a couple commercials shot at our house. Here are some photos documenting the transformation of study, my workroom and the lounge!

La Boheme

La Boheme holds a very special place in my heart, of ALL the fabulous operas out there!

In 1991 I spent my first ever date with my (now) husband sitting next to him during the last act of La Boheme at the English National Opera. Wow, that was really special…

During my time at the English National Opera i did work on a production of L B sometime between 1992 and 1994. It was a beautiful show designed by a very nice German designer, who I work with later in Hamburg on Macbeth. 

More importantly – I saw L B during the Sydney Festival in 2015 with my brother in law, Matthew and it was such a moving performance, during which both of us cried through the entire show, that I decided to quit academia and return to costume work!

Thursday night Patrick and I attended the dress rehearsal for L B on Sydney Harbour. It was raining cats and dogs… but the show just went on. My costumes were in Act I… so we admired the acrobat that was flown in on a hot air balloon and the accordion player… and went home to enjoy a cup of tea in a hot bubble bath… brrrr.



In the City

I have had such a long summer, surrounded by bird sounds, sun, fresh air, beautiful light AND solitude… it is a bit of a shock to the system to catch the train every morning in the dark and being surrounded by people at close proximity all day.

But hey, it’s all worth it and I managed the transition just fine. One person who is very nice to have around me is Beryl, a lady I worked with at the English National Opera 26 years ago, oh what a puny world we live in… to find ourselves here in Sydney in the wardrobe department -after so many years – is a bit of a hoot!

I have been making stuff for Opera on the Harbour, a production of La Boheme, which I just love! There is this coat for an accordion player.


There also have been a vast amount of alterations to existing jackets and finally, I am making the Toyseller Parpigol, who always gets a wacky costume and this production makes no exeption! The role is played by a lady acrobat, just saying… it is fairly wacky, here is just a tiny sneaky preview…

It is nice to catch up with the tribe over lunch, all the other freelancers who are floating from show to show, finding out who works currently where and where the next gig might be.

It feels like most nights I have stayed in town after work for various events, making the days rather  long. I continue with my life drawing at the Django Bar on Wednesday nights (and will treat myself to some decent art supplies today).  









There is beautiful light here in the city, too! 

And moments of reflection, if one walks around with open eyes…

It was fun to visit the opening night of Charlie and Issy’s exhibition – a great way for people to come together…




The Summer is coming to an End…

I am starting a contract at Opera Australia today, it feels a bit like my first day at Kindergarten. Toolbox and lunch packed the night before, anticipating problems focusing in a new work environment and being surrounded by people all day. 

Luckily i finished my major renovation project in the nick of Time, I actually painted all the wood and cupboard doors in the bedroom… oh so seventies. I absolutely love it! 

Lions ready to roar

Let he story about he lions continue… I finished the last post with four finished lion faces.

I had the shapes of the individual mane pieces cut only roughly, as I sewed them, I used the pattern piece for a template. And I tried not not muddle them all up…

Shapes cut with a tiny seam allowance and turned to the right side.

Then I turned my attention to the ears! White patch pinned to ear pieces.

Zigzagged all patches to the ears. Cut brown away from the back.

Ears sew, turned, stitched to face: Mark with pins, then machine.

All the mane pieces tacked to the face before machining – it was all too thick to use pins.

The seam that joins front and back of the hood marked and sewn.

Edges overlocked and front hem turned and machined.

Face pinned to finished hood and attached by hand.

Neckline marked, cut, overlocked, machined.

Hood pinned and machined to body.

Tail and belt sewn, turned, tip of tail stitched to tail, tail machined to body.

This shot is great: lions neatly folded and packed up, ready to go!!!

And on a quiet suburban street, in the garage of the house in front of which all the trucks are parked, I set up a mobile workshop to finish the size of the bodies after a quick fitting on the starlets.

It seems to work! Cut, overlock and hem!

On my way home, a quick stop at Bilgola Beach, washing off all that preoccupation with work and looking forward to some quiet time.



Proudly Presenting: Field Study

I am not sure when I started knitting this jumper, not that long ago. It was daunting to follow the instructions, it is so complicated at first sight, but since Ann Kingstone has done a marvellous job at writing them with clarity – I managed! 

One of the very daunting steps was the steek for the neckline on the front, dooohhh, it was really simple actually. The steek allowed me to keep knitting the colorwork pattern in the round.

I will love wearing this jumper…