Thoughts, opinions, rants, art.

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Saturday, 5 April 2014

More Doodle Art

I've done this one on A4 acid free watercolour paper (300gsm) and allowed a border so that it will fit in a frame.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Ladies Who Breakfast

On my morning walks on Tuesdays and Thursdays I exchange smiles and 'good mornings' with a couple of older ladies who have breakfast on those two days at the coffee shop. They are very smartly dressed and give me a little wave on my first circuit.

This morning only one of them was there and she beckoned me over and asked me if I would mind picking her a newspaper up from the newsagents and dropping it off as I passed in the other direction. I was quite happy to do that for her. She thanked me saying that she didn't want to lose her place.

I had a little smile to myself as I walked off. The place was practically empty, but these ladies always sit at the same table. However, one morning they had to move onto the next table as there was a usurper already sitting at the one they'd claimed as theirs! That day, on my second lap I saw the young woman getting up to leave and the two older ladies couldn't move their meals and drinks fast enough to get back where they belonged.

As it happened, this morning I had not been given enough money for the paper, so I didn't get one. I don't carry money when I go walking otherwise I would've just paid the extra 20c and got one anyway.

I took the money back and apologised for not getting one. Someone had given her a newspaper anyway, so it didn't matter. We got chatting and her name is Phyll (presumably short for Phyllis) and she was telling me how her family had lived in this district for generations. Along the esplanade there are lots of plaques set into the walkway commemorating local people and she told me she was related to most of them. It was quite an interesting chat.

I don't know where her friend was this morning.

Friday, 7 March 2014

I Found it Again!

I found the kaleidoscope quilt I had put in a safe place. It was in an empty bedroom and I don't even remember taking it there, which is probably why I couldn't find it :)

Anyway, here it is. This little wall hanging (which doesn't have any means of actually hanging it - yet) was hand-pieced - all except for the very outside border, which I did on the machine. The idea came from a book called Mirror Manipulations by Gail Valentine.

I completed it in 2001, according to the label I put on the back, so the details are a little hazy. You use fabric with a large pattern and place the two mirrors standing on edge alongside the points of various plastic templates placed on the fabric. When you remove the template and keep the mirrors in place it gives a kaleidoscope effect and you can move it around the fabric and choose designs which appeal to you. There is a selection of different angled templates to choose from included in the book and you just use that 'template plastic' and trace over them. When you've chosen which particular bit of the pattern you like you then use the plastic template to cut the exact same pieces of fabric from the whole until you have the number of sections you need. It is quite a wasteful exercise, so look around for cottons that are inexpensive to have a go at this. Big designs give you a more impressive end product.

I quite enjoyed the hand piecing as I could cart it around with me. I made it easy by marking the 1/4 inch seam in pencil on the back of all the pieces. It's basically a tiny running stitch which is used. You can see it on the bottom picture first border.

I suppose I should sort out some sort of hanging arrangement for it - loops or something.

If I did this again, I would choose a more muted colour than the purple, which I chose because it matched a colour in the floral fabric. It shouts at you a bit. It measures 80cm or 31.5 inches square.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Soapbox Time Again!

Some time ago I wrote about Arnotts* Premium Crackers and how the holes in said crackers had increased in size. I stopped buying them at that time and changed over to Salada crackers. Now I have to stop buying those because, the last box I bought, the holes were much larger in those too!
Welcome to the new sized holes!
Quite a lot of cracker missing!
Crackers used to have pin-prick holes in them; now they are making the holes with knitting needles! I have found some Coles brand ones that still have pin holes in them so I will be buying those from now on.

This is what they should look like

This may seem like a petty whinge, but what irks me most is that all these manufacturers are treating their customers as though they are of sub-normal intelligence. Do they really think we don't know what they're up to?  Their primary concern is obviously the shareholder and not the customer.

I am not a shareholder in any concern nor am I ever likely to be. I don't have the money to gamble on shares and it pisses me off that the 'have nots' are being continually ripped off to keep the 'already haves' happy.

I wonder how long it will take them to work up to one big hole with a bit of cracker round the edge???

*Arnotts used to be an Australian owned company but was bought by Campbell Soups of USA who have made lots of changes to recipes etc. I rest my case.

Sunday, 9 February 2014


I've been notified by my friend, Jane, that her comments are not getting through. If anyone else is having a problem could you let me know please? - on my profile page (see sidebar with my image on) there is a button where you can email me. Thanks :) 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Being 'Green'

A friend sent this to me by email:

Being Green 

Checking out at the shop, the young cashier suggested to the much older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment. 

The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this 'green thing' back in my earlier days." 

The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations." 

She was right -- our generation didn't have the 'green thing' in its day. 

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soft drink bottles and beer bottles to the shop or pub. The shop/pub sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled 

But we didn't have the "green thing" back in our day. 

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribbling. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn't do the "green thing" back then. 

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. 

But she was right. We didn't have the "green thing" in our day. 

Back then, we washed the baby's nappies because we didn't have the throw away kind We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 240 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. 

But that young lady is right; we didn't have the "green thing" back in our day. 

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief 
(remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Queensland. 
In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power.  We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. 
But she's right; we didn't have the "green thing" back then. 

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. 

But we didn't have the "green thing" back then 

Back then, people took the tram or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mums into a 24-hour taxi service in the family's $45,000 4wd or van, which cost what a whole house did before the "green thing." 

We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest hamburger shop. 

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the "green thing" back then? 

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart arse young person... 

We don't like getting old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off...especially from a tattooed, multiple pierced smart arse who can't make change without the cash register telling them how much.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Shopping for a Border

Having searched in all my bags and boxes full of fabric pieces and scraps, and failing to find the piece of green material from which the inside border of the heart quilt was made, I went in search of an alternative.

I went to my local Spotlight store. They have 'renovated' the place and moved things, making it difficult to find what you want. I wandered around their quilting section but could not find the right shade of green. My daughter and I decided that a grey in the same colour value would be the best option. They had nothing suitable in the 100% cottons; the only one which looked reasonable was a polyester cotton mix. The rest of the quilt is 100% cotton, but needs must so I bought 50cm of the grey at $3.99 per metre. I got out my $2 only to be told by the young woman serving me that I had to pay on the way out. Previously you could pay at the counter of the department you were getting your items from.

Fair enough! I went to the exit and joined a small queue. There were four people in front of me. If you've been reading my posts for long enough you will know I don't do queues. So, I'm standing there - three checkouts and only one girl serving. One lady was being served and another customer fronted up to the desk avoiding the queue - she'd been served but had been overcharged so she had to be dealt with straight away. The girl called for backup and another assistant appeared.

The next person in the queue had a trolley almost full-to-the-top of fabric pieces and notions and was pulling them out, one at a time, at a very leisurely pace. By this time I was contemplating chucking the piece of fabric on a fixture and walking out. I glanced behind me and the queue now had about 15 people waiting!  I did eventually reach the counter and asked the girl, 'Why haven't you got all the tills manned? They're queueing out the back door.' I had heard her call three times for someone named Kylie to come to the service desk, but she never appeared while I was there.

I will not be going back there again if I can help it. Life's too short to be queueing up to pay for stuff - especially when you're on the slippery slope end. When faced with a queue of more than four or five people I invariably look at what I'm trying to purchase and decide that I don't really need it that much, and leave. From now on I will be looking at the ratio of customers to assistants, too.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014


Spurred on by my cyber-friend Jane's determination to tackle all her UFOs this year, I am dragging out some of my stuff that has been on the back burner for some considerable time, i.e. years. This quilt was started................ oh, it must be 10/12 years ago and it went like a house on fire while I was creating the bouquet and even putting the borders on. I was undecided about how to do the actual quilting and I started off trying to do hearts within the heart, but obviously I was not satisfied with the way things were going as that stitching is no longer there! I think I sort of lost interest after that. I've dragged it out a few times and given it two coats of looking-at, but that's as far as it got. Sooooooo, that is going to be my first finishing task. I also have two 'stained glass' quilts that are at a similar stage - everything bar the outside borders and the quilting is done.

This flowery one measures 77cm x 83cm (30.5" x 32.75") so far, but I still have to add the outside border (if I can find the green material I used for the inner one. Which may be a problem). I thought it was square, but apparently not.

My quilting adventures started out with a couple of simple cot quilts with squares of different colours. I then ventured into a single bed size scrap quilt using the same layout pattern as the Africa quilt in a previous post. That one was made of scraps, literally. Stuff that was left over from other things and old, cotton clothing. Then I did the Africa theme one.

I found then that I wanted a degree of difficulty. I think that stems from my love of puzzles and the need to stretch myself. I gathered pieces of floral prints to make this quilt, which is what I believe is called a watercolour quilt. I also have a kaleidoscope quilt I made - just a wall hanging - but I think the borrowers have taken it. I was only looking at it about four days ago and now I can't find it. I must have put it somewhere safe! When I rediscover it I will put that on here too.

This actually looks better from a distance. It was designed as a wall hanging. Now I'm going to have to get this finished or Jane will be nagging me :)