Friday, April 14, 2006

3 Hours at the Hairdresser??? What's with that???

I guess something had to be done about the hair, but I wish it wasn't so boring at the Hair Salon. And those lights; I'm sure they use a special bulb that makes you look old, overweight and desperate. Surely I don't look like that all the time!!! I think a bit of flattering mood lighting would do a lot towards luring me back there. The hairdressers could wear those miners lamps so they could see what they are doing.

At one of the open houses we went to on our search for a new house there was an ancient stove in the kitchen. I quipped to Don that I would have to sell it on Ebay if we bought the house, and the Real Estate agent gushed "Oh it's so refreshing to hear a woman your age mention Ebay!" As if I was a doddering 80-yo. And she wasn't young herself!

Then the hairdresser took great pains to help me up out of the chair; I must look like I'm on my last legs. Must work harder at the gym....

We leave in 8 hours, but I think I'm as well prepared as possible. Tickets, money, passport... Whatever I don't have I can buy.

I will be at
MQX, Manchester, New Hampshire
Paducah, Kentucky
MQS, Kansas City
Spring Market, Minneapolis

Stop by the Golden Threads booth and say hello...


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The days are racing past, and I'm just not keeping up! But I am making progress; the appointment with the accountant went off fine, no major drama, so now it's just a matter of packing everything I could possibly require for 5 weeks on the road.

I went and bought warm clothes yesterday, which was sort of fun. Today I have to do shoes and hair. I wish wigs were in fashion and I could forget about my hair entirely. I have one cut a year, usually before a big show, and the hairdresser sighs and looks tragic as she contemplates my sorry locks. Trust me, if it had ever once looked nice I would take better care of it. And I've saved about $5000 by neglecting it. More money for fabric....

Sharon asked when I was in Kansas City. I was at the Spring Market in 2002, in the Convention Centre. I thought the city centre was really deserted for a major city, but that suited hicks like us. I liked KC, especially a barbecue place called Fiorelli's. John and I were in heaven; we shared a plate of just the burnt bits and it was divine. Must...go....back...

And the Arabia Steamboat Museum was utterly fantastic, I'll be paying another visit there.

I'm really looking forward to the antique quilt vendors at Paducah, they have such lovely old quilts, and often vintage fabric as well. I will be keeping an eye out for Maverick quilts to share. Some vendors don't allow photos, which is a pity. I couldn 't afford even one of these quilts, so it was nice to have a photo to remember them.

This Sunburst quilt was part of a display at the 2002 Spring Market, and it was stunning in person. I love the way the colours seem to pulse outward. I've wanted to make one of these for decades, but I cna't decide whether I would do it by hand or machine. It would seem like hard work by machine; maybe this pattern is best left to leisurely hand piecing.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

I just went and checked the weather in Chicago; 31 degrees at 1am. I am so definitely taking my wool coat on this trip. I packed light last time and froze solid.

Seeing there's no sewing going on here I've been trying to find old photos that may be of interest. There's this one, of a wall in Kansas City, down by the river. John and I were wandering, and found ourselves in a very isolated spot. It was probably perfectly safe, but you know how it is when you suddenly realise that no-one knows where you are, and the only groups of people around are staring at you as if they can't believe their luck..... Well we got out of there quick smart, only stopping long enough to take a few interesting photos. Wouldn't this make a great crazy quilt?

The next photo is of a headstone in a tiny graveyard outside Camden, in country New South Wales. It's one of the oldest graveyards in Australia, and they certainly had a talented stonemason at work. The carving was fantastic, but what fascinates me the most is the obvious symbolism of the elements of the designs. There must have been a book available, because I've seen these same elements in headstones the length and breadth of Australia.

The small flowers outside the circle are forget-me-nots, the hand points to heaven, the three-lobed leaves represent the Holy Trinity. I don't know what the rose growing from the finger means, maybe eternal life? Other headstones feature oak and apple trees intertwined, which are a symbol of marriage, and passionflowers which are a representation of Christianity. I could spend days documenting these fantastic works of art. The circle has lettering that reads "Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the Cross I cling." Which is part of an old Hymn.

The last photo is of an abandoned building in Port Adelaide, South Australia. It's an amazing mix of textures and angles. The original brickwork was quite decorative, but then it's been added onto with bits of tin and wire, and what looks like an old stone boundary wall incorprated into the building itself. This would be a great place to photograph on a dark and stormy night, but it's not a 'nice' area at all.

I think I like both cemetaries and abandoned urban landscapes because they are both monuments to man's endevours. The people who built this huge building and laboured here could never have imagined that it would end up a useless shell. I think this is slated for redevelopment, which means they will paint it in 'Federation' colours and put dress shops and coffee bars in there, and all that atmosphere will vanish. Bit sad really.


Saturday, April 08, 2006

I had a little holiday today, and took my camera for a drive around town. I've been meaning to photograph the sheds in the railway workshop for years, and decided to finally do it. I love dilapidated buildings, and the last thing I wanted was to find that these old sheds had been spruced up with a coat of paint, or worse still, torn down before I photographed them.

They have a fascinating structure, built as adjoining sheds around a central courtyard. Each of the sheds is slightly wedge shaped, so the perimeter of the building has the appearance of a curve. I couldn't get close enough to take the photos I wanted, as they are strictly off-limits to the public; I wish there was some way to get round government red tape and get inside there.

I love corrugated iron; it's iconically Australian, and weathers into the most delicious red rust colours. These rooflines make great angles and lines, there may be a quilt idea in there someday.

I also went to a local rose garden and took about 50 photos of the roses. So I have a folder full of dilapidated industrial buildings and breath-taking flowers. Worlds apart.

I take the weirdest tourist photos. My family has given up asking to see my holiday snaps. I tend to concentrate on industrial landscapes, especially chimney stacks, and the backs of buildings; tree bark, stones, photos where leaves fill the whole frame, barbed wire, oil drums. On one trip I came home with photos of the lace curtains in a truck stop, the backyard of a pub and someone's laundry. (There was a beautiful marcella quilt in the laundromat waiting to be washed, and the owner let me take pictures of the patterns.)

The photo that made the biggest impression was one I took in a KFC in Iowa. We don't eat things like that in Australia. The people we were with actually ordered the Gizzard Dinner, and John was brave and tried it. We never speak of it; it was too traumatic. (I have a photo of the dinner, but it's not something to spring on people unawares...)

And to make it quilty, this is on my design wall; four Many Trips Around The World blocks. I won't have time to do much more on it before I leave, but I like the colours. I'll be able to work on it in....June!


Sunday, April 02, 2006

It's been a stormy weekend here, alternating between pelting rain and hot sun. It's strange weather indeed. I've been stuck in the office working, no sewing achieved , but I did load the strip set instructions onto my website. I have yet to finish the instructions for putting the blocks together in the various settings, but it's a start.

Daughter Seonaid has been home for the weekend, and it was lovely to see her. She even managed to squeeze into my old jumper, but it was way too small for her. She's nice and thin, lucky girl.

I'm only 5' tall, and I dearly wanted my children to be taller than me. Don is 6'5", so there's not much chance the kids would be shorter than me. Seonaid is 5'6", and Rhys is 6' at the last count and still growing. At least I have someone to reach things down from high shelves.

Our Mum turned 84 today, so we rang her and had a long chat. That's not a bad innings for anyone, and she is still healthy and feisty and determined to keep doing things her way. Good one Mum!

The quilt picture today is a quilt that Mereth pieced years ago and gave to me to quilt. I love the colours in this quilt, and the block is a favourite too. I like collaborating on quilts, it's a lot of fun.

Time to toddle off and watch Lore'n'Order SVU. If it weren't for those shows I wouldn't watch any TV at all, except for House. We recently watched the Blackadder series again, and it's impossible to equate that Hugh Lawrie with House. Some weird sort of alchemy went on there....


Saturday, April 01, 2006

It's only two weeks till I leave for America, and I had better start getting prepared. I might be getting excited soon...

I have to get our taxes done before I leave, so I'm slaving away at that. It's not much fun at all, but there may be time for a little sewing this weekend. Every year I vow and declare that I will be a good little vegemite and keep my bookwork up to date, and then I get hopelessly behind. Maybe this year will be the year I finally get organised.

I shall endevour to get the instructions for my set of scrap quilts up on the net this weekend, I have the photos edited and everything. This is another quilt made from those blocks, and I like the 3D effect. Just imagine this without the green and apricot accent colours. They were a dull lot of scraps on their own. I think my Stashbuster allowable purchases should be expanded to include another B word- Brighteners.

I've been working away at streamlining the possessions, and that has been quite satisfying as some sort of order is restored. This is the fourth time in a year that I have combed through my stuff, and each time I find things that I can bear to part with. Soon I will have a normal amount of junk, instead of a scary mountain of junk.

The extra space upstairs means that my treadmill has found a home in the TV room, instead of taking up most of the floorspace in my sewing room. It's luxurious to be able to move around and open cupboards without climbing over gym equipment. And I can lay the bigger tops out on the floor now, which really helps.

I adore the treadmill by the way; I got it first week of January, and plod away for an hour each day, while reading the book du jour. I ordinarily can't justify reading, as there is always something else to do, so it's great being able to combine reading and exercise. Watching TV or DVDs just doesn't do it for me. Between the gym and the treadmill I'm actually getting fitter at last. Long way to go yet, but it's a start.

I finished my 25yo fair isle jumper last night, now I just need to find a 10yo child who can fit into it. I remembered that I abandoned it when I discovered that I had knit the last band of pattern out of sequence and it needed to be unpulled; that took all of 5 minutes, then another four hours to knit the rest of the sleeve, the cuff and the neckband. Honestly, how pathetic is that? It's been unfinished all this time for the want of 4 hours of work. Hmm, I think there's a lesson in that for all of us

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