Monday, 24 June 2013

Songs From the North

It was a dark and stormy night - how many times have I read that old chestnut, not dreaming that one day it would be the perfect opening sentence to a blog post?  But it was indeed dark and stormy night last evening as we ventured bravely forth to a concert.  If it wasn't for the fact that our daughter was singing in the choir and we were meeting up with the family at the venue, we would have been mightily tempted to stay curled up on the lounge, glass of red in hand, watching some Sunday night programme on TV.

But venture out we did, battling through heavy rain, parking miles away from the venue, on a steep hill, with the water gushing down the drains threatening to sweep our brave little car away, or so it seemed. There had been dire warnings not to drive and if you were so foolhardy, try to park under cover and not park under a tree.  Right.

I am really grateful that our daughter was singing and that we braved the weather to attend the concert, because it turned out to be the most enjoyable evening I can remember in a long time.  It was a sell-out event and we were so fortunate to find seats in the front row, which meant that the three grandchildren could see the stage without the usual frustrations of trying to look through rows of heads blocking their view.

The choir, Senisuara, joined two other choirs formed by their musical director Anna Humberstone, to present the most marvellous a cappella singing.

They warmed the audience admirably for the main event, the highly acclaimed The Idea of North.  They had performed the night before on Queensland's Gold Coast and their flight to Sydney had been delayed by three hours, due to the appalling weather.  Luckily for us they arrived on time.

I know I have featured this clip before, but it's worth another look.  I have admired this group for so long and was thrilled to finally see them perform live.  At interval it was clear that the boys (aged 4 and 6) were wilting, so their dad decided to get them home to bed, while their big sister (aged 8) stayed on with us for the rest of the evening.  She loves music with a passion, learning the piano and playing the trumpet in the school band.

The highlight of the evening came during the last song, Down in The River to Pray from one of my favourite movies Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?  Early into the song I noticed that Emily was quietly singing along with them.  When it was over, I asked her how she knew all the words.  "It's Daddy's favourite song.  He sings it to me all the time."  I was so sorry that Daddy had taken the boys home and had not been there to sing along with her.

The only down side of the night was discovering that someone had lifted our umbrellas from the massive pile in the hall foyer where we had left them so trustingly.  I can only conclude that the person/s needed them more than we did and think kindly of them.  Not.

Monday, 17 June 2013

What's in a name?

There are so many fabrics available to us today that making a choice can be quite daunting.  There I was a couple of weeks back trawling through a local fabric store when a particular fabric caught my eye.  I picked up the bolt and looked at the selvage.  What I saw took me by complete surprise.

Our first-born's name is Marianne Elizabeth and I had assumed that the combination of these two names would have been unique.  Apparently not so.  There is another.  It was meant to be and I snapped up several metres.

It was such a pretty, soft colour that I knew it was perfect for a little toddler's party dress.

My friend Sandrine of Image In Cafe lives in the warmer climate of Queensland's Gold Coast, so I sent the dress up to her to be photographed.

I received the images today and all I could say was Oooooo!  I am so happy with them.

It's available in sizes 1 to 5 and can be found here or here.  And the name of the dress?

Marianne, of course.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair

Tickets: check.  Four year-old grandson delivered and left in charge of Granddad for the day: check.  Camera: check.  We were ready for our Big Day Out.

My daughter (The Knitting Whirlwind) and I had planned our trip to the Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair many weeks back and now the day had finally arrived.

We were greeted at the entrance by a large screen displaying an image of an old friend from Brisbane, textile artist Sharyn Hall.  It was a delightful surprise to see her smiling face and I felt for a moment that I was back in Brisbane.

We grabbed our free copy of The Australian Women's Weekly and then headed straight for the quilt exhibition where I was so happy to see that a couple of friends had taken out awards.  We were permitted to take photos for our personal use only, so I'm afraid you will have to take my word that they were stunning.  The collage at the top of this post will give you an inkling of what we saw; however the major prize winners can be seen here.  There were well over 400 quilts on display, which was a little overwhelming to take in - rather like diving into a bowl of thick whipped cream.  It was wonderful, of course.

After a well-earned coffee and cake, it was time to hit the mall.  I literally bumped into Fiona, proprietor of Fifi's Fabricology.  Luckily she had a trusty helper manning her shop while we had a chat.

So many things to swoon over.

Decisions, decisions.

The Knitting Whirlwind can be seen here stalking her prey before going in for the kill.

My bargain of the day was this box of threads which was on special for $10.  I should have bought more.

Look at the buttons I found.

Aren't they beautiful?

They are destined to be found on some Hot Fudge creations in the near future.

But for me this was the greatest discovery.  Self threading needles.  Whatever genius thought up this little invention, I thank you. 

Don't ask me how it works - just be thankful that it does.  You simply push the thread down over the top of the eye and it pops into position.  No more squinting or swearing.  Thank you, thank you whoever you are.

We two had such a perfect day, bumping into friends, shopping, looking and generally have a typical girl's day out.  There's still time to visit the fair if you are in Sydney, as it runs until Sunday.  Just go - you won't regret it.

We arrived home to find that Dan had taken such good care of Granddad.  They bonded by watching DVDs, playing cars and games, devouring sausage rolls and generally doing things that boys like doing.

It was a win-win sort of a day.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Somewhere in the world it's warm

Sitting here in Sydney on a fairly miserable day, I take heart in the knowledge that in that other hemisphere people are basking in the sun, licking melting gelato and generally enjoying what was ours only a couple months ago.

Putting on my Pollyanna hat, I could say if we didn't have winter
we wouldn't appreciate the warmer months.

Imagine how boring it would be if it was warm all year.

Even worse, if it never rained.

OK, I wouldn't mind a little rain now and then.

Maybe I should move to Hawaii.

But then I would miss the changing colours of the trees and the beautiful winter flowers.

So I'll embrace these winter months and appreciate the joy of each season.

At least until I can feel some warmth in my bones again.

In the meantime I have been kept busy with the first of the new season's designs.  You can find them here or here. Wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying and appreciating the wonders of the season.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

I remember Four

Four years ago today our youngest grandchild decided it was time to enter the world, albeit two months early.

Today he's a delightful little boy who charms everyone he comes in contact with.  Isn't four a wonderful age?  The world is yet to be discovered and your life is full of great expectations.

What must it be like to be the envy of your big brother and sister with a Lightsaber all of your own?


This is our second autumn back in Sydney and we are still surprised at the beauty of the season after so many years living in a sub-tropical climate.

Not only are we delighted at the vivid colours of the trees, but suddenly there are sasanqua camellias blooming everywhere.  It almost makes the cold weather worthwhile.  Who am I kidding?

The week has flown by and I can't believe it's the weekend.  On Monday I met up with some old school friends at the home of one of our classmates and her sister.  Their unit is in a building constructed in the late Thirties and I was fascinated by the stained glass window in the stairwell.  

We were thoroughly spoilt as our classmate's sister is a gourmet cook, and a girl can't have too much lemon delicious.

I fell in love with their TV room and am secretly hoping that they will leave their home to me in their wills, but that's not going to happen.

The next day we drove our daughter and son-in-law to the airport and bade them a happy three months in Europe.   Not in the least envious. 

We know they arrived safely because this is their latest image on Facebook.  What a marvellous time to be living in.  They are on the other side of the world in London, yet we can see within seconds what they are drinking.  It's good to know they're looking after themselves.

As are we.

Happy birthday Dan.