April 26, 2009

Beautiful things

All packed up and on the way to Kinglake tomorrow. As I packed the tote bags full of lovely things, I was thankful yet again to the people who made or contributed to the quilts and the knitted blanket, the softies and restash packs. Everything is so incredibly gorgeous. On a cold weekend like today I'm glad that these warm bundles of colour will soon be bringing good cheer.

Some good things begin on this blustery cold, biscuit-baking, nap-taking, sleeping-in, movie-watching neighbour chatting weekend.

April 23, 2009

Seeking peace

I'm in a strange old space at the moment. Not a lot of blogging, but I don't apologise. I feel as if no one's reading (the old radio trick of feeling like you're talking to yourself) and frankly, I've lost a bit of interest in what I have to say. No point talking to yourself when you're not even interested!

This autumn I've struggled against burn out. I know I need to break free of the burn out cycle, but like many people, I believe I can do everything in the time that's available. I think I'm capable of getting everything -- and I do mean everything -- out of every day, and I'm confused and baffled when it doesn't happen. Even more so when illness comes along to force me to stop and rest.

Why write about it? Well, sometimes speaking our demons is vanquishing them. Naming names to take away the sting. Sometimes I need to recognise that the only thing that stops me from being happy is me. Looking in the mirror and worrying whether or not I am happy.

I may take a break from posting here, or I may not. I do want to feel that I am not 'letting myself down' if I do. If I'm not here, I'm just away, sitting in the sunshine, looking at the sparkles, counting the warm fur on my dog's neck, and loving the green of the grass.

I've just realised that I need to do this one thing: to go slow for a while.

April 16, 2009

Clever clogses...

...spotted the textile design. (Well spotted, girls).

Yes, I have asked for a Spoonflower gift voucher for a very belated Christmas present from my lovely sister, and just the thought of it is making the heart go pitter-pat.


In case you haven't heard me witter on about it before, Spoonflower will print your own designs directly on to nice crisp white cotton. Mmm. Let me just savour those words again:
nice. crisp. white. cotton.

Melts like dark chocolate in your mouth, doesn't it?

I bought a yard of one of the winning designs from Spoonflower a few weeks ago. The quality is good: not as lovely as many of the Japanese fabrics we see at Amitie, but good. I've been reading online about colour calibration and registration and repeats. And I've been attempting to learn more about my design package. All in one conveniently-timed Easter weekend.

I spent much of the long weekend devising designs. Two-stepping tea pots, spots and spoons. I've been drawing a lot recently, some of it to my pleasure, some of it very frustrating.

I'm so comfortable with a good black pen in my hand. Some facility is coming back after years of rusty half-attempts. Mysteriously, most of these drawings are food-related. Oh, and animals. Inspired by images like the ones you see here (which mainly come from the Dover weekly sampler, also blogged here before. Can't say I'm not a steady kinda gal.)

But the 6-million dollar question is: what should I make with the fabric when I do get the colour register right and get it printed?

Is there anything you've seen here that screams to you: Make me in teapots! or Cover me with bluebirds and strawberries! Wrap me in folk villages! Give me yellow dancing bunnies!

Whew. Now I'm overheating again. Time for a cup of tea.

April 15, 2009

Just a thousand words

In one image. (Too tired for lots of 'real' words tonight.)

Do you like the colours?

April 13, 2009

Bright boots for sunshine spring

These little booties were finished off last night whilst watching a ridiculous and overblown epsiode of Poirot. If this weren't the last in the series, I'd have been mumbling to myself; 'Zis iss more than she can bear, no?'

So with one eye on the screen, most of my attention went into these. Soon to be kicking on the end of little legs in the Canadian springtime sunshine.

The pattern is free online at Heather Bailey's website, and it's very easy to follow. - And it's lots of fun to decorate those tootsies!

April 12, 2009

The colour of fun

Today is the colour of fun. Sunshine and shadows on green bright leaves. Blue sky and milky-coffee brown. The rich red of the tiny strawberries ripening on the bushes. Yellow. And blue. And gold. The colours of warmth and peace and optimism.

I spent half the day yesterday drawing. Tussling with, wrestling with, struggling with my drawings. Blog less: draw more. Sorry kids. (Not that you hang on every word). Fancy a thousand images instead?

This morning's bright delight sparked by an idea. An idea of the ah-ha, Eureka! and so forth running down the garden wet from the bath (look it up). Fortified and ready to give it a go. The paints are out, the scanner is humming: I haven't anything to show you yet, but boy, is it exciting.

Here's one of the drawings I was wrestling with yesterday. Trouble with the angles on the coffee machine, but I quite like the look of concentration on her face, pursing her lips as she focuses on making the froth for the cappuccino.

April 10, 2009

Sunshine, dreaming

It's been a tough couple of weeks, with life flying past at a rapid rate and much to be done. So the poor old blog (not to mention crafting!) has been somewhat neglected of late.

There have been a few snatched moments of sunshine amidst a lot of long days' work, the best and brightest being: lunch with the girls at Madame Brussels.

Pretty in pink -- and we love those curly chairs!

BEFORE: Sunnies out, Sharon watches the sandwiches and the stunning - rather alcoholic - punch as it arrives.

AFTER: Now, why has the camera gone all tilt-y?

Just kidding: I had to get back to work for a meeting, so it was the non-alch variety with a small side order of 'sulks' for me. Why? Because they went on and ate cupcakes! (By which time I was pondering project deadlines and talking budgets whilst sorely wishing I was on the rooftop, cupcake in hand...) The world is not fair, my friends.

I've been looking forward to Easter weekend with such anticipation. Planning long sleeps-in; plotting crafty ideas; looking at tasks to be attacked; assessing recipes and making lists to be bought. It's a fine time for me to read, relax, snooze and cook a few new recipes that I want to road-test on ourselves.

Chocolate mousse-in-waiting.
Notice the careful cropping to leave the word 'Light' in at the side? Fooled? No, I didn't think so. Especially not by the tub of CREAM on top, ready to be dolloped in luscious gloopiness all over the top of the thick, creamy dark choloate mousse (with a hint of rosemary). Rarw.
I have no idea what else we are having for dinner. Does it matter?

Recently, I have to admit, I've been overdoing it. Trying to cram too much into one day, all of it computer-based, much of it to deadlines that are too tight, and steadfastly insisting that I'm fine, even if it's not fine. And then that feeling of being caught on a rushing train started to catch up with me: get up, work,work,work, come home, work some more, sleep, get up....

The solution? I've got it. Last night was the revelation.

To solve OverCommittmentitis, follow these steps in no uncertain order.

1/ Call your nearest takeaway curry cafe and order up big.
2/ Argue gently about who will go and pick it up.
3/ While he picks it up, throw in a load of laundry and feel virtuous. See, I'm accomplishing something, you think, as you crack open a bottle of wine.
4/ Watch something 1980s and funny. Mr Tacc's inspired choice was Midnight Run. Truly hilarious.
5/ Pay scant attention to your crochet: after all, someone's got to watch the movie and keep an eye on the chocolate, right?
6/ Bedtime, sleepyhead.

What a great start to a weekend!

April 2, 2009

Winking by candle-light

Earth Hour was on Saturday, but I wanted to show you the event:

Candle light, good company, dinner and some wine. All the elements of a good celebration.

A peaceful moment in the midst of a frantic, computer-harnessed, crazy busy week.

Now back to it! Cheerio and pip-pip.

April 1, 2009

Once upon a time...

Have you noticed, recently, that the word 'Stories' keeps coming up?

It's usually plural, and I'm seeing it everywhere. First it was that national book chain, advertising that they have 'All the best stories' - and one of our TV channels boasts about their stories, and the library, too.

The Duke and Duchess of Urbino (1465) by Piero della Francesca. Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy.
More than just an interesting story.

Today, we received a flyer from a second hand bookshop, promising to deliver a new story for my Enjoyment! (Their caps). Not only do I hate random capitalisation (it's okay; I won't rant), but I'm beginning to get annoyed by this use of the word 'stories', too.

What does it mean? Why are all books suddenly 'stories' as if we are kids at bedtime needing to be soothed to sleep? Maybe we do want escape and fantasy reading. Are we really that stressed out? (Or are we listening to the media too much?) I'm not sure I want a juvenile relationship with words and books and the amazing strands of people's lives that make up the incredible wriggling mass of interesting, odd, and complicated humanity.

Do you?