Friday, February 27, 2009

i spent this past wednesday afternoon in hospital, having a camera fed into my gizzard and various atmospheric shots taken of my insides.

of course the most important part of the preparation was painting my toenails
and the worst part was the fasting. i am a definite grazer and have boxes of nuts, dried fruit and crackers in my desk drawer so that i am never too far away from a blood sugar restoringsnack so going from 7.30 to mid afternoon snackless was not a pleasant prospect. and part of my morning ritual is having a life enhancing encaffeination while going through my emails. so i was fairly sooky by the time my colleagues were opening lunch bags and warming up delicious smelling leftovers.

luckily the hospital is 5 minutes away from the office so i trotted up the hill and sat reading my book until it was time for my close-up. i was going to post the colour version but decided that was a bit too Technicolour for public consumption and took another shot of it in black and white.
and the verdict - i have an inflamed stomach :( (possibly from all the anti-inflammatories i have been taking for my prolapsed disc) and next week i have a different sort of test to see how well my gall bladder is working (more fasting....)

on a happier note here is a photo of one of our current fig tree visitors. the lorikeets have been making up for the lack of bats and having a fine old time gorging on figs (photo credits again to urbane scrumping)

and tomorrow i trot off to the quilt convention - hurrah!

Monday, February 23, 2009

i miss the bats

Hanging around
Originally uploaded by Hopkinsii

usually at this time of year our evenings are full of bats - chittering in the fig tree, flying in squadrons over the northern suburbs, exploding from said fig tree if you go to put on a late night load of washing, eyebaling you through the kitchen window as you do the washing up.

but not this year. not since that dreadful week of 40+ temperatures when more than 4000 of the yarra bend colony died.

another sad statistic in this horrible summer

(thanks to urbane scrumping for this photo)

Sunday, February 22, 2009


two weeks ago we were all feeling shocked and paralysed at the awfulness unfolding from the bushfires. there's still a feeling of bewilderment and there is more fire weather expected this week - hot hot days and strong winds...

since 7 february so many people in the craft blogosphere have rallied to raise money, to think of what we as knitters, sewers, quilters, felters, spinners, all sorts of creators can do, to bring comfort and to do something tangible when we feel so helpless.

i have started by going through my stash for the restash a crafter project being coordinated by suzie via and through groups such as scquilters. but digging through the stash wasn't enough - i needed something more personal, something handmade by me.

so i have made:
  • the first flush of pincushions
(pincushion pattern here)

  • and a monster bear (no pattern, i just traced around one of w's baby toys) that i cut out and stitched during this morning's national day of mourning service (which was wonderful)
  • and a toy kitty using one of amy karol's patterns. the pattern is well written and very straight forward but the process reminded me of how much i don't like making toys - too much precision and fiddle faddle! so it was a real labour of love.(i just realised the thing i loathe about making toys is the turning bits inside out, especially limbs. so kitty remains unadorned - i'm not sure whether i'll embroider eyes, nose etc or not. i rather like the simplicity of no features but don't want it to look unfinished)
and we had cake - a new recipe using glace pineapple, ginger, cherries and apricots - molto yum.

the orange and blueberry cupcakes were eaten and the remainder put in the freezer before i remembered the camera

Friday, February 13, 2009

all in a hot and copper sky

there was a copper sunrise, a scarlet sunset and a blood red moon today in melbourne. the air smells of smoke, we have lost track of what day it is, partly because the news every day is small variations on the same theme. more destruction, more people dead, horrific stories and knowing that it will go on like this for weeks.

w and i did a large supermarket shop at coles this afternoon and the shop was packed - coles pledged to donate today's profits from all their australian stores to the bushfire appeal. safeway and i think others are doing the same next weekend.

maybe i'm tired but things feel quietly ominous: and as though we have killed a large albatross.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

what can we do?

well it got worse - we are now looking at possibly 300 people killed in the bushfires, possibly more. and there are still fires burning out of control. dreadful, dreadful stories of loss and terror. we have become news junkies scanning websites and papers, glued to the tv news and weeping through every story.

but what can we do?
  • give money to the red cross appeal - they have already raised $30 million in 2 days but the need is vast
  • give the salvation army donations of money, clothing, anything to help people rebuild their lives
  • give blood - not just now or tomorrow or next week. they will need blood for months to come as people have surgery after surgery for their burns
  • support all the various community fund raisers - there will be quilts raffled at the Australian Quilt Convention next week, pip at is coordinating a fund raising and relief effort, cindy is raising money through online craft auctions at and she has a list of other suggestions for providing practical help now.
  • if you're in australia do a big shop this friday as coles supermarkets are donating all their profits to the bushfire appeal. and hopefully other big stores will follow their lead.
it won't bring anyone back or rub out the horror but it's something.......

Sunday, February 08, 2009


it's too awful to write about the bushfires. you can read about them here and it's only going to get worse - most of the state is on fire.

but i can tell you that yesterday's weather was the most appalling heat i have ever experienced. the forecast was for 44 - like last week but with a cool change in the evening and the prospect of one more super hot day was bearable when you knew it wasn't going to go on for days and that cool would come within hours. but it was 35 degrees by 10am and the wind was blowing straight from hell - a scouring furnace blast that burnt your skin.

we defied the premier's edict not to leave home as we both had appointments for hair cuts - but the walk from the car park to the salon was literally painfully hot and we retreated to the coolest room of the house, watching QI and checking the news updates.

the sky was full of smoke, trees are scorched and wilting from the heat - twice a day we hear the bushfire helicopters going overhead. it's cooler now but the fires are still burning.

Friday, February 06, 2009

calm friday before storm saturday?

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego seem to have taken a season ticket - it's going to be 44 again tomorrow. although, according to the media, they'll have to bunk up as war, famine, death and pestilence are expected on the next train from armageddon.

the premier has asked all to stay home tomorrow as it's going to be "the worst day in the history of the state" - which after last week does seem to be overreacting a little, unless his briefing officers know something we don't..... perhaps next week we will be exhorted to excavate bunkers, although digging for victory is out as we don't have enough water.

today, bun shop day, was very restorative. last night i spent the evening laughing until i cried and my face ached watching season 5 of QI. we slept in this morning - rushed e off to school at the last gasp and then had a nice mix of the leisurely and the hausfrau.

so w and i had coffee/hot chocolate
and raisin toast
at our favourite cafe,
did practical stuff at medicare, came home, stripped the bed, did the dishes and vacuumed. i did some practice sewing with rayon and then it was time to do the school pickup and a trip to psarakos.

there was some judicial choosing at the fish counter (w chose whiting after some deliberation over the various merits of snapper, flounder, trout and whiting - trout was rejected because of the jeremy fisher connection) and a large purchase in the fruit'n'veg section (including 4 kilos of watermelon to take into the bunker with us post apocalypse tomorrow afternoon)

i also managed to take some photos of molly today - usually toby is the matinee idol and is very good at posing for photos while miss molly moth is of a more restless disposition and doesn't stay still long enough to be captured on film. i realised too that if she sees the camera she tries to climb on my shoulder or rub her face on the camera thus stymying the photoshoot.
here she is glaring at the treeful of lorikeets that descended on the fig tree this morning
and asleep in w's wooden kitchen corner

Thursday, February 05, 2009

end of the week OMG

who would have thunk that 3 days at work would leave me a drained husk? i am absolutely stuffed.....

but tomorrow is bunshop day with young w and i hope to revisit the bits i discharge dyed on monday... the indigo cloth didn't bleach much at all and is still airing to get rid of the brimstone smell that lingers.

i am determined to use the sewing machine this weekend too - it hasn't been fired up in weeks and i want to practise my free motion quilting with rayon. but for now i think i will watch another episode of the wonderful QI and let the work week ebb away

Monday, February 02, 2009

last day

today is the last day of my 2 week break. and i was a Bad Selfish Mother and sent w to creche (to his great and loud protestation). e had her first day back at school and a spent his last day of school holiday slumped in front of the tv.

i came home and had a restorative coffee to repair the nerves and started playing with fabric and discharge paste - always a happy combination. i had an idea for a small piece made with some japanese indigo cloth i bought ages ago from tambo. i'm not sure if that worked - it seems to have had a reverse amityville effect - the bleached bits looked fine while they were still warm but the indigo seemed to reassert itself as the cloth cooled. attempt #2 with a thicker layer of paste is drying outside.

i had much better results with a gorgeous piece of hand dyed fabric i bought from dijanne last year. it is so gorgeous that i haven't dared do anything with it until now - just looked at it , smoothed it and put it away again. but when i went to dijanne's place a few weeks ago i saw a line of crows - about a dozen of them, each perched on a fence post and it gave me an idea for a quilt using dijanne's fabric. it is mostly reds, oranges and blacks with some purple - perfect for hellfire.

i decided to have a panel with 3 bleached moons so i cut out the darkest piece of the fabric and hopped into it with the discharge paste. stage 2 will involve printing onto silk (perhaps) and flywire......

while the bleach paste did its thang i made a quick trip to the darebin recycling centre which is co located with the darebin tip and it a great place for rarey finds like this
i have no idea what this is but it called to me - it reminds me of norns (although google image reveals norns to be wyrd women - i alwsy thought they had horns...)

i also found some books that are the same age as me - one volume of a medical encyclopaedia (which included pregnancy, rheumatic fever and this wonderful diagram of the different degree of radiation sickness)
and a guide to visiting london which includes a list of great men's houses :)
then a visit to yarn barn on the way home which yielded these fabbo buttons and some more fibre for felting.