Wednesday, 24 February 2010

I did the draw this morning in the spirit of the Winter Olympics — impartial judging, all's equal, no unfair advantages and all that.
I'm so chuffed so many of you entered — thank you so much!
As it's Chapter III's third anniversary, it's only right to have three give-aways.
The winners are:
Emily (Mousy Brown's House), Suse (Pea Soup) and Sarah (A Devoted Reader) — please email me (lzampatti at gmail dot com) with your addresses and I'll get your prezzies off to you.
:: Is anyone else noticing patchy behaviour from the Bloglines feed? It seems to be updating randomly, and completely missing out new posts on some blogs until there are suddenly six or seven posts to catch up on. Weird.
:: The speed-skating was on in the background as I did the draw, and I heard our silly Australian commentator say emotionally, as the mega-thighed blokes sped to the finish line: "It's like writing poetry ... it's like watching Shakespeare write."
I've hit the mute button again.
Ice-dancing later! Yay!
:: I'm off to work this arvo. When I get home, at about 11pm, David is always waiting up for me. We have a cup of tea, and as I'm usually buzzing and w-i-d-e awake from work, and knackered all at the same time, we watch American Idol, which the telly records for us. Love, love, love it!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

III's three
:: Don't forget to leave a comment - you have until midnight to be in my give-away! ::
This gorgeous snakeshead fritillary was the first pic on my very first post, February 23, 2007. It was photographed on our kitchen windowsill in the evening light by Will, who is still my favourite photographer.
I remember writing that first post very well — and how self-conscious I felt blathering on into the ether.
I'd discovered blogs totally by accident. In our local Barnes & Noble (Highlands Shopping Centre, El Camino Real, Carmel Valley, California) I'd come upon a box of note-cards with pictures of refreshingly modern quilts in bold, bright colours and freeform patterns — not one dusky cottage print to be seen.
I made a note of the artist/quilter's name, Denyse Schmidt, and as soon as I got home, I googled her. I found her blog, and that led me, I think, to yarnstorm, which was Jane Brocket's original blog.
Since then, I've been intrigued and entertained and amused and educated and astonished by this entire parallel universe.
And found in it a noble companionship that has sustained me through all the fun and creative times I've enjoyed, as well as through tough times.
And still does.
You come across the odd bloke, but it's mainly the generous company of women all over the world that for me has been such a joy and a comfort, and a rich vein of inspiration.
My bloglines feed links me to 76 of you whom I read about, occasionally comment on, and always admire, and into whose lives I feel very, very lucky to be allowed to peek.
Thank you.
It's been a privilege.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Give, give, give-away!
Don't forget to leave a comment for my third anniversay blog give-away extravaganza. You have until stumps tomorrow — Tuesday the 23rd. I will post anywhere, and I know I have a reader or two overseas, so please de-lurk and leave me a comment!
:: I've been printing on linen — I love the look.
It takes all colours well, and these simple block-print shapes do look good on it.
:: I'm occasionally watching the Vancouver Olympics with the sound turned off — the inane commentary drives me round the bend. Especially when there's an Australian competitor. All that "With fear in his belly and pride in his heart" hyperbole makes me gag.
I am looking forward to the ice-skating — though if there was an option so you could watch with the music and no commentary, that'd suit me much better.
:: We are in for a horrible, hot week in Perth, with even a 40-degree day forecast. I can't wait until I feel that little bit of cool that signifies the start of autumn — another four to six weeks maybe.
Fortunately we have another weekend at the bay lined up — and it's a long weekend as well, pretty cool!

Friday, 19 February 2010

It's smooth to cut — and very therapeutic — but this brand of rubber is a bit crumbly, so getting sharp edges and lines is not easy.
These are just doodles really, and I'm hoping they'll print up well on some linen and cottons. Then I fancy quilting them a bit and seeing what eventuates.
:: I have three crochet thingies on the go, but I'm about to start knitting another string bag for the String-a-Long 2010, dreamed up by Emily in Wales. The button on the right should take you to the flickr group, if I've managed it correctly! And on Emily's blog there's a list of free string-bag patterns to inspire.
I found some fab cotton in Spotto this morning, and bought enough for two.
I shall be knitting Elisa's Nest tote from Purl Bee — looking forward to it!
:: My three-year blogging anniversary falls next week. I've never done a bloggy give-away before (too scared of rejection — not enough readers — what if no-one wants anything? — bla bla bla), but this year I'm biting the bullet.
Because I'd like to give something nice to some of you lovely people who drop by here, regularly or otherwise, as my way of saying thanks.
So if you'd like to be in a draw for something from me (and you can hint as to what that might be, if you like), just leave me a comment between now and the end of Feb 22.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

I'm feeling in the mood for a little carving and block-printing session. The inky muse is sitting on my shoulder.
This must have been because I sorted out my workroom yesterday and piled up all my lovely white and creamy-calico cottons, plus some of the brights I dyed a few months back.
We'll see what eventuates!
:: This is the papercut picture I cut for Tracey, way over in Far North Queensland. As well as bloggers, we are longtime Scrabble buddies on facebook, and while we were chatting during one of our games (she probably whipped my arse as usual), we organised a swap: a papercut for some of Tracey's brilliant quilting.
Tracey started the ball rolling by quilting this quilt I'd made for a cousin's first baby in England, and she did an amazingly beautiful job ...

... all swirls and stars. Gorgeous! I'm expecting to hear from Brighton any day now to say the quilt has arrived, and that baby Jasmine will stay warm and cosy beneath it during the rest of their Arctic winter. Brrr!
:: I'm reading Someone at a Distance, by Dorothy Whipple. It's a beautiful Persephone edition I bought in Powell's bookstore in Portland, Oregon — isn't that an exquisite cover?
(I went mad in there - imagine, a bookstore starts in a shop on a corner, then it buys and expands into the shop next door, and then the shop round the corner ... and eventually it takes up an entire city block, on all levels; a rabbit warren of books ... sigh!)
Whipple (1893-1966) is a brilliant writer, subtle and fluent, with a perceptive eye for characters. She says a lot by understatement and quiet observation — admirable.
Here in Australia, we haven't heard of her very much, if at all, but I recall listening to a few of her short stories being read by English luminaries through the BBC Radio 4 website, and was blown away by her story-telling.
Someone at a Distance, set just after the end of the war in the early 1950s, is about a warm, loving, happy family and the effect of the arrival in their midst of a cold-as-ice, hard-as-nails French girl, who is to be a paid companion to the family matriarch.
It's fabulous. As someone on the back-cover blurb says, Whipple is the 'literary heir to Mrs Gaskell'.
:: I'm off now to carve some rubber.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Baby Harper is starting to uncurl and smooth out and is becoming more peachy every time I see her! Two weeks old yesterday when I took this.
:: I've been busy with the blades, making pics of dinosaurs and wee birds.
:: I'm off to Albany to visit my family. Back in a few days.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Dodging the heat
Drawing dinosaurs
doodling with crochet
and dreaming up ways to finish these butterflies I started painting about three years ago!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Goodbye, water heater
Marie Antoinette saves the day.
Thanks, Shelley — I knew I'd eventually find the perfect spot for her.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Morning tea
How civilised!
And what a treat to take tea on the terrace in my best friend Shelley's exquisite garden, where everything is just so beautiful it's like a work of art, though far more comfortable and relaxed than that sounds.
It is a hide-away of dappled light, dramatic steps from one level to another, and little nooks and crannies with pots and flowers and sculpture — and the most amazingly healthy plants that are clearly flourishing just by being there.
When I grow up, I want to create a garden just like it!
My best friends Laura and Jane were there too, and Jane brought one of her amazing quilt tops to show us.
Like many of her wonderful quilts, this is made entirely from kimono fabric — stunning.
Back home, I was just in time for a visit from baby Harper and her big brother in his Year 1 school uniform and showing off his smart back-to-school haircut.
As they were leaving, my best friend Damien arrived for dinner, and by the time that was all done the three of us raced off to the movies.
We saw Up in the Air. It's brilliant, with fabulous performances from all three leads, all of whom have Oscar nominations. I loved it ... though it did briefly make me feel strangely nostalgic for American airports!

Monday, 1 February 2010

A room of one's own
How sweet it feels! I've taken over the spare room. My need is greater.
The view of next-door's gas water heater is not the best, but I'll soon hide it with paper cuts and odds and ends.
That's my remarkable and trusty almost 40-year-old Bernina in its new home, ready for a few more decades yet.
:: Sad to learn of Kate McGarrigle's death on January 18. My David shed a tear or two this morning when he found out.