28 May 2007

Ooh! a new book

Okay, I confess I picked up this book because of the colours on the cover (I LOVE the combination). However, once you realise who the author is (a writer of great books about using colour in quilts) and once you start reading her 'visual coloring' approach to really seeing colour instead of just assuming it, it becomes even more compelling.

Even though I still have the book open at the page displaying one of the the cover quilts (the swirly one on the right - page 35 - quilt by Adrienne Lindsay Cannon), I am sure I will be able to drag myself away to read it properly. It may take some time as I spot other colour combinations that appeal...

26 May 2007

Blown away

Having been fully immersed in this movie earlier this evening, I have emerged, blinking in the light and not sure that my sleep will be undisturbed tonight. This version of Macbeth is extremely violent and totally dreamlike. Engrossing and surreal, it shows how a classic storyline can be reinterpreted in a contemporary urban setting.

22 May 2007

Colour vent

Thank you all for allowing me to vent about my aversion to brown. I feel MUCH better!

When I moved into this house, the first thing I painted was my mission brown front door. It is now a beautiful cornflower blue gloss. I have always wanted a blue front door (who knows why) and it gives me enormous satisfaction when I look at it every day. Sadly, I still have light brown carpet but I barely notice it anymore. I think I've blocked it out of my mind.

This led me to think about the items we own that make us feel good when we see them. I remember Susan writing about her blue and white mugs (can't remember which post it was though) - now there's a collection I covet! Do you have a simple item that brings a smile to your face when you see it?

20 May 2007

Fashion

I find it interesting how some people are influenced by the availability of new ranges of fabrics. We all enjoy seeing new designs and like to inject different colours into our designs, but sometimes it seems to me that we are persuaded to buy some fabrics because of peer pressure.

Last year, there was a discussion on an internet list about brown fabrics. Now brown is one colour I simply can't abide in my quilts. My first quilt (made in that wonderful era of the mid 1980s) features brown. I know that I used that colour then because I didn't want to use the green/apricot combination that was popular at the time. There was a lot of brown clothing around in the late 1970s and 1980s and I wore many clothes in a combination of brown shades. There really was little choice as fashion decreed that it was a popular colour.

Now that we have a huge range of commercial patchwork fabrics from which to choose; and now that many of us opt to dye our own colour combinations, I fail to see why I am expected to swoon over every new line that is released just because it is fashionable. I simply do not want brown fabrics in my quilts and just because there is a plethora of fashionable fabrics in this colourway, it doesn't mean I should be expected to use them.

I'm interested in whether others have made 'fashion mistakes' with fabric purchases. Have you ever bought fabrics you don't really like just because everyone else says they are gorgeous?

19 May 2007

On the design wall

Remember the strips I sewed together last month for a challenge? Today I have been trying to decide how to lay out these pieces. I tried using three lots of strips, divided by the floral fabric but I didn't like that much. So I cut one lot of strips in half and sewed one half to the end of each of the remaining strips. With a wider panel down the centre and narrower panels on the sides (and maybe the top and bottom - haven't decided yet), I think I like this.

Of course, it's not sewn together yet (it's only pinned to the wall) so I may change my mind again!

17 May 2007

Pathetic parsley

This is the story of a struggle - woman against nature. So far, nature's winning. Look at this plant - do you recognise it? Yes, it is Italian parsley - you, know, the type with the broad, flat leaves. Can't see any leaves?

I live in a large city. I do not live in or near the bush. I have a small garden, in which I grow ornamental plants, fruit, herbs and vegetables; all with differing degrees of success. Until a few months ago, I was able to grow healthy parsley plants. I had twelve plants in different parts of the garden. The stems were long and strong. The leaves were broad and tasty. I enjoyed eating my parsley. Obviously, some other creature enjoys my parsley too. All the leaves on all the plants have been munched. Not the stems - just the leaves.

I planted out my new garden bed last month. I planted beetroot, silver beet, pansies, more parsley, chives and rocket. The beetroot, silver beet and parsley has been eaten. Obviously the muncher has no taste for rocket. No sign of the animal. I kept hoping it was a rat because I could kill it. I put out rat bait - no luck. There's no sign of a local possum, so that's probably not it. What's a girl to do?

This weekend I will be whipping up some chili spray to squirt on the parsley stems. Standby to see if it works. I am determined to beat this!

14 May 2007

The power of a novel

As part of my abiding interest in people, their behaviour and their stories, I am always engrossed by novels where these matters are presented as multi-layered. One of my favourite authors is Jodi Picoult. I have gained much from all of her books and have recently finished reading Nineteen Minutes. Ostensibly a story about a mass killing in a high school, it shows how complex situations can come about through bullying.

People are complex and judging the way they act is not something that should be done on a superficial level. I like to understand what makes a person behave the way he or she does. All of Jodi Picoult's novels have helped me see why certain decisions may be made by characters in particular circumstances and how, perhaps, other options for actions may be available.

Today's news in Australia is that the NSW Supreme Court has awarded a lifetime of wages plus $213,000 to a boy who was bullied at school since the age of five. I'm not sure how I would have reacted to this news if I had heard it before I read
Nineteen Minutes. Having read the novel and absorbed the characters' grappling with their actions and the consequences of those actions, I can only feel sad that this child's life has been ruined.

Writing can be powerful and novels allow me to engage in one of my favourite pastimes - trying to get inside other people's heads; trying to understand. Never underestimate the power of a novel.

13 May 2007

Todays' adventures

Today I spent some time in my garden, cleaning the weeds from one of the beds and cutting back the huge clump of lemon grass that grows in one corner. I never knew that it would grow so big. I bought a plant in a small pot and I imagined it would be about the height of chives - ha! My clump is about 90 centimetres high and spread out.

I disturbed a lot of lizards while I was fossicking around and they reminded me of this ATC. It's another one of Ellie Neil's and I love the Outback colours that she has used.

By mid afternoon, I was getting restless. There were so many ideas and half-thoughts crashing around in my mind. I have been wanting to learn to meditate for so long and today seemed the perfect opportunity to start. I had read so much about the process before but had just never put it into practice. That's how I usually work with any new subject - I soak up information for a long time, let it percolate and then try it out. Do any of you tackle new subjects in this way?

Well. I cannot tell you how much I gained from my first short meditation. I am a convert. In an uncanny way, I think Ellie must have had an inkling when she made this ATC for me.

12 May 2007

In the pink

Probably the only good thing about not seeing my garden in daylight between weekends is the pleasure I have discovering what's happened since last weekend. Today it was the turn of the tree dahlias.

This plant is about two and a half metres high. It grew from a cutting that Nola gave me from a plant in her garden three years ago.

The flowers never fail to surprise me. The stems grow for months until they are so long, with plenty of leafy growth. One day, clusters of buds appear at the very top and then they burst open into these glorious pink blooms. My plants lean up against the back fence, so that my neighbours can enjoy them as well. After the flowers finish, I will cut the plants back to ground level. New shoots will emerge from the tuber in time and the whole cycle starts again. Some people think there are no distinct seasons in Sydney, but my garden knows otherwise.

08 May 2007

A quest

It's probably well-known to regular readers that I love making and collecting ATCs. These small textile cards delight me and I am always keen to convert others to swap with me. This week, an unexpected package arrived. Five gorgeous ATCs tumbled out - all made by Ellie Neil for me.

There's a story behind this. Last year, I was talking to Ellie for work-related reasons and we were chatting about the quilts we were making. I told her about my latest batch of ATCs and how I found them addictive to make. Ellie, who had never heard of them before, said she might give them a go. Well! Look at this.
Ellie says that the image is of me, on a quest to track down more ATCs. That's me at the helm, with my hair flying in the wind. Isn't it simply divine?

I'll show you the other four once I photograph them. Now I have to think about the type I will send her. Tricky.

05 May 2007

No power

in the camera, that is. I have two sets of batteries for my camera and always make sure the set not in use is charged up, ready for whenever I decide to take a quick pic. So why did both sets choose today to need recharging? Pictures will resume once power is restored.

I spent today thinking about time. How we use it, what we achieve during it and how we always want more. After a particularly high-output week at work, switching from one project to another and trying to ensure I take the right set of thought processes with me for each project, it is not surprising that my thoughts are about time.

So where does this lead me? I want to make a textile clock. Don't ask, I don't know why - all I know is that I need to make one and I know how I want it to look. Hmm.

02 May 2007

The other side

At the risk of boring you with my obsession about this rock, here's a view from a different angle. There's some oxide colour showing as well as a little grey from this perspective. That relates to your three beiges (sand) and a grey, Stephanie. I like that idea very much.

Susan, I've shown you my rock, so you show me yours! I'm up for making a quilt inspired by the colours in my rock. Anyone want to join us? No deadline, no promise of having it completed in a hurry, but it will come when it's ready.