Friday, 29 May 2009

Friday in the hood

Have a great weekend! I'm off down south for a few days. See you later.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

It's the 28th and I've got 14 squares completed. 
So I'm halfway to where I ought to be. Which also means I need to do 10 a day from now until Sunday.
Fat chance.
I'm extending the deadline to take in all of June!
Cake and quilts
More accurately, it was lunch, with shared cake for dessert and twenty minutes of quilts on the way home!
Had lunch yesterday in Rokeby Road's phenomenally successful and minuscule cafe, Boucla, with best mates Shelley and Deb for a leisurely catch-up.
It's such a neat little cafe, with great food. If you're a Perth-ite, and especially if you're a Subiaco-ite, you won't need any info about Boucla.
Its decor and food are Greek with a little bit of something from Morocco, Turkey, and the Middle East. The effect is colourful, scruffy and friendly.
They have excellent coffee, so excellent, in fact, that when we were recruiting for Bondi in its early days, we stole one of Boucla's most popular hosts and baristas, Steph, to come to San Diego and work for us.
It's tiny. You sit elbow to elbow with guests at the table beside yours, squashed into nooks between the furniture groaning under the weight of giftware and goodies. You can never go to Boucla without there being a crowd already there. There's even extra seating outside the door, with kelims spread over milk-crates. Prosaic but efficient.
After lunch, Deb walked up the street a couple of doors to start work, while Shelley had to work extremely hard to persuade me to visit a brand-new local quilt shop, Materialise, in Aberdare Road, Shenton Park. (It has a website,, but I'm unable to open it so far.)
It's a beauty: walls of fabrics in sublime colour and pattern, inspiration, and room to move.
the decor is simple and stylish and doesn't get in the way of the fabric — you can see everything without worrying there's something you may be missing.
I can imagine spending many very contented hours in there trying to choose one glorious piece of fabric over another: a delectable dilemma!
In November last year I went with Shelley's daughter, the lovely Iman, to Purl's patchwork shop in SoHo, NYC, and was as underwhelmed by it as I was by its highly-touted knitting shop just a few doors away. 
Materialise is way better.
And it's in Perth!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

After two or three days of drenching rain, it's bright and sunny again today and we have a chance to dry out.
We're almost sorted, on the home front. We both worked most of the week, so nothing much got done apart from the kitchen as we went along, but we spent all day yesterday organising the wall of books in the dining room-cum-spare room, and today should see that finished. 
We have a motley assortment of bookcases, with a big one I made with my Dad that is designed to hold fiction paperbacks, and two cheap and cheerfuls from Ikea.
The overall look is rather like the shop in Black Books, but I love it. Now it really does feel like home. I just have to level up the top so it all looks a bit more balanced. Nothing sits entirely square on the old jarrah floorboards, but I don't care. I'm a sucker for a room full of books.
I've organised all my fiction alphabetically, from Akunov to Zola, after lots of time worrying about whether Lynn Reid Banks goes in the Bs or the Rs. And what about Frances Hodgson Burnett and Janette Turner Hospital?
We've got a separate section for fiction anthologies, and today's burning question is whether Sarah Vowell, the brilliant NPR radio and Chicago newspaper columnist should go in with the short stories or the current affairs-stroke-politics.
I can see why you need a degree to be a librarian. 
Our bedroom is finally clear and free of its week-long chaos, and now my attention is turning to the family room.
We've still got a lot of Lily's books spread out to dry on the big table (below) — there was a bit of a flood on Friday and Saturday, with rain puddling in the garage here, where all her boxes were stored.
Dave and I spent an anxious morning shifting all the sodden boxes, transferring dry things to dry boxes and laying out all the wet things to dry. 
Lil's fabulous Tony Lama cowboy boots — handmade in El Paso, Texas — were completely waterlogged and limp, so I'm happy we found them soon enough to save them.
Nothing like a mini-disaster when you're already up to your eyes in it!
Now I'm off to clean up the dog sick I just found on the carpet (acres of jarrah floor and only a small percentage of rug ... it's as if he k-n-o-w-s) and get ready for a visit from my lovely brother who's in town for the weekend.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

What was I thinking?
I signed up for the nine-patch challenge being run by Amanda Jean here, and I'm supposed to make one nine-patch block a day for the month of May, by the end of which there'll be enough for me to make a quilt.
Brilliant idea, but I've only just started — so I'll have to make several a day to catch up.
Like I haven't got anything else to do!
Feels like home
All our stuff is here and we're loving it.
We have our huge bed home at last, and sleep is a joy. Every time I turn over, I'm even more comfortable than I was before.
Never knew we had so much bedlinen though — finding somewhere to stash all the spare sheets and pillows and doonas is the matter we'll be tackling today.
Luckily this house has ginormous built-in wardrobes with racks and drawers and shelves.
And, of course, my Big Mac and I are lovingly reunited, and he's sitting here with a view out to the lovely Perth autumn and the ever-changing leaves of all the big trees we can see from our window.
I have a week's work back at the Post this week too. Pretty darned good all round.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Breathe easy: Australia is safe ...

... from these unspeakably dangerous shoes.
Is it just me, or do the ones on the right look pretty damn clean? Not even scuffed ...
Our stuff gets here this morning — minus the above shoes, which are now Will's ex-shoes, of course.
It cost us $530 for the quarantine inspection of our container load, which comprises over 150 items. So I guess it was clever of them to find four shoes so dirty and deadly they had to be sent to the firing squad.
At unbelievable expense.
Perhaps they had an armed guard to escort them.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Does the team think ...
I do intend to post more frequently than weekly, or fortnightly, but have been up to my armpits in it recently.
So I'm posting today because I just have to ask your opinion of this.
Our 'stuff' has arrived at Perth from the US and we have heard from the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service — a wholly admirable organisation — that it has seized "two pairs of shoes" which it wants to be steam cleaned or destroyed.
We have no information about what shoes they are, or why they need steam-cleaning or destroying.
We are expected to send the money straightaway: $370 for steam cleaning! Or the similaely ludicrous sum of $55 to have them destroyed.
Don't you think this is an outrage?
How can it cost $370 to steam clean ANYTHING?
What can possibly be on two pairs of our shoes that needs such treatment? Why not a simple disinfectant bath? What if any of us had been wearing these shoes on a plane home — there is never any inspection of dirt on the soles of our footwear.
I have demanded more information.
I'm seeing red.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

And now it's May!
What happened to April? I still have that Brand New Year feeling ... yet when I look at the calendar I'm all out of whack.
There's been lots happening at Schloss Zed.
• I've had a great time with grandson Mack, who is fantastic fun and, with Uncle Will, can spend hours and hours playing with a couple of old rice-paper shades

and then making a cubby

and baking banana buns.
• I've been painting — there are now no storm-cloud blue walls left in the family room (hooray) and the dining room-cum-bookroom-cum-spare room has been transformed from a mustard and purple room to a calm-looking creamy white room. Much much better (sound of contented sigh).
• Laura and I have had a couple of play days and have put together Jaryd's quilt, which I am now quilting. I'm trying to get it done ASAP as winter seems to have descended over in Victoria ... while here in Perth we are loving week after week of perfect, clear and sunny autumn days in the mid to high 20s with lovely coolish nights (sound of another contented sigh).
• I have painted a few bits of furniture and we've bought some glorious big rugs for the jarrah floors and the house is looking better and better. Despite the fact we are S-T-I-L-L waiting for all our stuff from the US, which someone in Singapore managed to forget to load on to the boat to Perth (that would have been a bloke, is my bet).
• We have succumbed and had Foxtel installed and here there is the sound of another sigh of contentment. Will and I gasped, groaned in disgust, held our breath, pulled our hair out and sat like stunned mullets all at the same time while we watched "My Super Sweet Sixteenth Birthday" — well worth the price of connection to the satellite dish.
• I have started getting myself organised to create a new, improved range of Chrissie angels — yes, I know December is months away, but these things take time and I want to get a goodly host all ready in the hopes ... maybe! ... of selling them!
• We have a baby kookaburra living in the park behind oour house. It came and sat on the garden fence this morning as I was having a morning cuppa on teh deck with my neighbour.
• I finished reading The Slap, which has to be one of the very best new Australian novels and which I cannot recommend heartily enough. Now I'm reading Births Deaths and Marriages, a collection of finely-written memoirs by Georgia Blain, daughter of feminist, journalist and columnist Anne Deveson. Books are so exy here! I'll have to join the library.
• Lily and Nick are planning to move to P{erth. Life on teh farm is fantastic, but they need the internet and library access in order to study efficiently. They both just had a weekednd in Perth with us, which was wonderful, and I'll be very happy to have Lil in the same city. Very happy.
• I'm knitting away — I've started another clapotis in exactly the same wool as I used for the last one (I have a L-O-T of it). Knitting keeps me awake when I'm watching telly at night — otherwise I'll just drift off in heavy, contented slumber.
More news bulletins later!