Thursday, 25 July 2013

Yarn Along

Something else cultural that I managed to experience while in Perth during the school holidays last week was, well, I read a book. These book reading moments have been scarce of late, so I took to the task with relish and read "Burial Rites" by Hannah Kent in three days.
It's good. Very good.
And there's knitting in it, too which is understandable given that the characters are holed up in Icelandic winters with little to do.... keeping hands from being idle. For very powerful reasons!
I loved it, I cried over it, I recommend it. So very, very well written by a talented young Australian writer.
Next to 'Burial Rites', in the photo, lies my tikkiknits Darwinia dress I am making for Miss M. It's quite a lot further along than this photo indicates as I took the shot in Perth and left the novel behind for Dad to read.
For my next reading adventure, I have been seduced by the recommendations of @cypressfoss on instagram #book_chat, that 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' by Anne Bronte is one of her all-time classic favourites - I have purchased a copy online and am awaiting its arrival. Impatiently!
If you are on instagram and love books, #book_chat is a hashtag book club you need to discover - with giveaways!
It's so very good to be reading again!
Joining in with other Yarn Along sharing here.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Chatting with Cezanne

When we were in Perth during the week, I took the girls to the Art Gallery of WA. I know. I am still recovering.
But I desperately wanted to see the exhibition "Van Gogh, Dali and beyond" which is full of artworks currently on loan from the Museum of Modern Art.
I loved it!!
Even before we walked in, while we were waiting in line to enter, I caught a glimpse of the entry artworks through the door. Oh, my!!! There was the Van Gogh, but wait! Right next to it. There, glowing on the wall, a Cezanne still life!!! Ahhhhh!!!

I could have stayed in front of this painting, blocking everyone else's view, for hours. But I had the girls with me, and standing still is not something they are renowned for! And so, on we went.
The girls found the kids' art activity section - yay....

And Miss E thought the view through the window into the next room was far more compelling than the stunning artwork on the wall. Hmmm.......

The second half of the exhibition was viewed at a rather rapid pace, but that wasn't too bad. I had to exit the room to take the girls to the toilet, which meant that we had to re-enter, past the Cezanne, in order to see the remainder. Really? I have to walk past the Cezanne again? If I must :) !
I haven't felt such an emotional response to an exhibition since I saw a Brett Whiteley show at the gallery in the late 1980s. I think. And the biggest difference in those 25 years in terms of gallery etiquette would have to be the plethora of technological devices that people now take with them into exhibitions, and the NUMBER of photos that they take - hey, I'm one of them (obviously!), but it just seemed, well, wrong.
Great exhibition, great day. And great buddies - my friend Julie and her son came with us and I am eternally grateful for her kid wrangling assistance while I was being hypnotised by Cezanne.
This exhibition is worth every cent, and, if I manage to get myself back to Perth before the exhibition closes in early December, I am going to have another chat with the Cezanne painting.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Darwinia Babydoll Dress Ta-dah!


Seriously, this was so much fun to knit! I started this as a bit of a knitalong while watching the Tour de France. The dress is finished, and the tour continues. Yay! More knitting time!!
Tikki Knits' Darwinia pattern is cleverly constructed in one piece from the top down, and is written in detailed instructions which kept me interested every step of the way. The design can be knitted in two style options, Babydoll and Dress, and its flexible sizing makes it adaptable for all sorts of little girl body shapes and sizes. 
pattern::    Darwinia by tikki knits (aka Georgie Hallam)
style::        Baby Doll version
size::         size 21 inch chest and 5 year old lengths
yarn::        Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 8 ply yarn in Sunflower
needle::    4mm, 3.25mm
yardage::  470m or so
mods::       I didn't knit the eyelet row for the ribbon - Miss J didn't want it.
I am really impressed with the Luxury 8ply; it's so soft and squishy, surprisingly so for such a well priced yarn.
And I have a very happy Miss J - if had let her, she would have worn the dress when it was still wet so I only needed to lightly block the hem, just enough so it wouldn't fold over. Now that I have made one, I have an order for another, the dress this time, from Miss M who has chosen "big girl colours", because "they are more sophisticated, Mummy!" Hilarious!!
Love love love this pattern!!


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Last week

Last week, le Tour De France began, and so did Miss J's yellow Darwinia dress which I began as a bit of a knitalong. The Tour is only up to stage 11 tonight, but I will be finishing the dress. And starting a new one for Miss M!
Last week I wrote my very first selection criteria job application. I have written many others over the years but somehow I have, until now, rather successfully managed to avoid selection criteria writing. It wasn't as painful as I had been expecting, but then I suppose all those Uni assignments I wrote a couple of years ago have tended to soften the pain of academic/professional writing somewhat. I have yet to hear whether it has been successful but I am hopeful. Crossing my fingers!
Last week I began what I now understand to be the lengthy process that is a tooth root canal. Yuck!
Last week I baked my first Flourless Orange Cake and wondered why I had waited so long to do so - it was yum!
Last week I picked up two of my little Albany landscapes I painted from the framer. I am not entirely convinced that I chose the best matt board colour and am very close to returning them so a better colour can be substituted. Okay. I've convinced myself. Back they go. 

 Last week, I painted my first Name Painting in a very long time. And liked it - it was fun! And I want to paint more. Anyone interested?
Last week I realised (while painting the Name Painting) that my glasses need upgrading - again!
Last week I had two entertaining dinners with one of my neighbours, one at her house, one at mine. I feel so lucky to have found another crazy woman so nearby, and the fact that her children are in the same classes at school as mine makes everything so much easier. I have even converted her to the delights of Offspring, lending her the DVD box sets to catch up, for which G reckons I have a lot to answer!!
And last (this) week, the girls started school holidays. I can't believe how tired they are at the end of term; neither can I believe how narky they are with each other - *sigh* - but at least they had fun painting today!
Making and Baking - life is good!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Hexagon Blanket Ta-dah!

Hooray - it's finished!!

Sometimes I have liked it, sometimes I loathed it (it hibernated for about 10 months), but now I absolutely love it!

And the part I enjoyed crocheting the most? The edging. I enjoyed the rhythm of crocheting the dc stitches around the outside, and found it quite meditative and soothing, especially with the warmth of the blanket covering my knees on these colder nights.
The edging consists of two rows of double crochet with ripply decreases in the inside corners, and increases similar to those used on the hexagons on the outside corners. It is finished with a row of the bobble edge stitch, as demonstrated in a tutorial on Attic24's blog here. A solid colour border for solid colour hexagons.

And here is the blanket as best as I could photograph before it was whisked away, already in use with today's kid on the couch.


 (Miss J has a very sore tummy!)

Yarn:: 8 ply wool
Colours:: an assortment, mostly from Shepherd Colour 4 me and Cleckheaton Country yarn ranges
Hook:: 4mm
Will I make another one? I'm thinking of it - I particularly like the circle version made by Greedy for Colour (photograph in this post), where she uses solids for the centres, and finishes the final round of each hexagon in the same colour. Result? Circles. Clever!
So happy!


I had it all worked out.
My plan was that, once everyone was settled into new jobs and school, I would paint when the girls were in Kindy for their two and a half days.
It is part of my personal truth that I only have so much brain space available for creative pursuits once the rest of that space is taken up with caring for my family (which I love doing!). With the twins at school for a little bit longer than last year, I suddenly found myself with the space, energy and motivation to paint and be an Artist again. And that is what happened - I set myself up and began painting some of the beautiful places we have experienced since we arrived in Albany.
All was working really well - I finished four little pieces, and had started on a fourth, larger work - until two things popped up to block my path.....
1. I started a short term part time teaching contract,
2. I discovered instagram.
As always, and I hate to say it, but painting has been the first thing to be dropped while I find my way through these changes. And with that shift, another consequence has been a flagging attention to this blog. I'm a realist. Blogs change as their owners do. What to blog and what to instagram? I'll work it out.
And I'll work the painting thing out, too. I expect that next year there may be more time to venture forth with my painting goals. In the meantime, I will still dabble here and there; just not in the way I imagined.
But the most interesting shift for me has been my teaching job, which has been more rewarding than I expected. I have been working with young mothers to support them as they work on TAFE qualifications online, and I have enjoyed it so much that I have applied for the job on a permanent basis. One day a week, I have been utilising my Literacy Education teaching skills, and I love it!

My instagram bio states that I am an Artist and Teacher. I am both.

Except, right now it seems the emphasis is more as a Teacher.

I hope I get the job!