Monday, 14 November 2011


I started out making this bag as a Christmas present.
But actually, I'm not perfectly happy with it.
The lining material is not a tight enough weave, so it's way too soft and lacks substance, and the handles aren't quite the same, and ... meh.
The dark denim bottom was a success though - and it's been boxed at the bottom so it stands up very well and won't blob.I'll probably use it myself when I need a slightly bigger bag.
Let's hope that won't be the result of the rest of my gift making!

Saturday, 12 November 2011


I'm making the Christmas cake today. It's an old boiled fruit cake recipe that I've had for years, and which always works. When it's baked and cooled and wrapped, I store it in the same big old biscuit tin and get it out every week to feed it with brandy or whatever festive spirit we have in the cupboard.
I always faff about with exactly what fruit I put into the mix. One year, I substituted dried apricots for the cherries, which was pretty good. I always bung in a goodly handful of chopped up crystallised ginger, because I just can't conceive of a Christmas cake without it.

:: I went last night to see When the Rain Stops Falling, at our lovely new Heath Ledger Theatre. Well, yes, it was really very clever, and seamlessly realised and directed. Charged with Themes and Symbolism, and References. And, quite possibly, Messages.
The actors did really well; the stage looked fabulous. But ... and this may, of course, be because of what it was dealing with ... it was a g-r-i-n-d. And it all seemed so self-conscious in its minimalism, and therefore, to me, leaden. And unsatisfying.
What did it lack? Language? Poetry? Some feeling? More fathomable characters? I'm trying to work it out.
But, don't listen to me! I acknowledge that, unlike my brilliant husband, I do carry an awful lot of baggage with me when I see live theatre: I just don't like it. I keep going, and every now and then, something comes along that has me transported, like the brilliant Red a few months ago. But on the whole, no.
It's a bit like me and Tom Waits ... I try and I try and I try. I listen to his old stuff. I listen to his new stuff. I love his songs done well by other people. The guy really can write. I go and see him. But I just don't like him.
Okay - throw stuff at me now!

Friday, 11 November 2011


Forgive the shonky styling and the super-bright, soon-be-overhead, late-morning, late-spring sunshine, but I am very pleased to have finished this one, and that it worked out okay.It's about 1.6m square, and took me five or six hours to quilt last weekend, listening to bossa nova and getting up every 40 minutes or so for a stretch and a cuppa. Good fun.
I'm tossing up whether to throw it in the washing machine and then the drier so it will achieve that lived-in crinkly look I like so much. Ho hum.
It will be delivered this weekend, I hope. Then it's on to the next project!
This is the de-rigueur shot to show off the surprisingly neat job I made of the binding — especially on the corners!
:: I have Golden Girl here with me this arvo, and this evening I'm off to see Andrew Bovell's play, When the Rain Stops Falling, on David's recommendation. He reviewed it for the West and said it was one of the best plays on in Perth this year.
:: Hope you all have a fab weekend!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Speeding up

Just when I thought things would settle and I'd gain some quiet momentum, I find myself hurtling towards Christmas ... so I'm all busy again. There are probably no readers left out there, but anyway.
Before I get started on Christmas gifts, I thought I'd finish off this quilt, which is a present for my sister-in-law's 50th birthday.
I'm keen to finish it soon, because she'll be 52 in a couple of months ...
The all-over stippling is looking okay, though there are occasional angular bits, and two points at which I have crossed over a stitching line. But I'm telling myself this is the idea of handmade stuff. As I'm stitching, I keep telling myself, "Curves ... curves ..." to stop doing loops and zig-zags, which feel more natural.
:: I'm reading Stella Gibbons' (of Cold Comfort Farm) novel, Westwood on the kindle and loving it.
:: David and I have spent several weeks watching 20 gripping, tense episodes of the Danish thriller, The Killing, and now we wish we could start it all over again, it was SO good. And how fascinating it was to hear the Danish language spoken. It sounded quite guttural, with not so many staccato consonants as in the Romance languages. And for the most part it seemed entirely incomprehensible, until suddenly the characters would say a short sentence or the odd word that sounded like German, or English. It just added to the fabulous TV, in my opinion.
We are also loving The Slap - so brilliantly done. I forgot how truly despicable so many of the characters are - good stuff. Likewise the BBC adaptation of Alan Hollinghurst's novel, The Line of Beauty. Lord knows if either of these will get to air in the US - there's so much graphic, no-holds-barred sex in them that they'll cause conniptions.
Oh well - back to the swirly-wirly and curves, curves, curves ...