Wednesday 29 August 2012

A locomotive challenge

Grandchildren in our family are usually welcomed with what has become known as 'a farm quilt from Grandma'. 
She chooses a fabric panel, usually bedecked with tractors, cows and chooks, and surrounds the panel with a simple checkerboard of coordinating squares.
Her latest quilt was sufficiently delayed that the recipient was able to tell her exactly what his preference was for his quilt - "I want trains Grandma"!
And so the traditional tractors were set aside and the search was on for train fabric. She decided on a print from Just Train Crazy by Dan Morris for RJR fabrics.
We raided the stash for some 'not-too-girly' coordinates, and she got to work.
After an appearance in the local show this weekend, the quilt will finally be excitedly received by my locomotively obsessed nephew.
I coerced my sick blossie out to the adventure playground to take these photos. Usually there would be no coercing involved. She really is unwell!
We are off to Sydney to Westmead Children's Hospital next week to try to get to the bottom of her unrelenting headaches. An MRI has assured us that there is nothing especially sinister to worry about, but after 3 months of persistent pain, we are hoping for some answers and some relief for her. 
Thank you to everyone who has shown such kindness and concern for my daughter. Your many encouraging messages and personal stories have been very much appreciated.

Saturday 18 August 2012

Reap What You Sew garden apron

Six months later, I can show you the finished product. Published in this month's Garden issue of Australian Homespun, I have put together what I hope is a very practical tool for the gardening Miss: an apron!
When I was asked to submit a project with a gardening theme, my mind flew straight to the recently purchased Loulouthi range by Anna Maria Horner. It is perhaps my favourite of Anna's lines, and since Loulouthi translates to 'flower' from Greek, it seemed perfect for my purpose. 

I chose two of the darkest prints from the range, 'Clippings' in the Passion colourway, resplendent with vibrant blooms and butterflies ... 
... and 'Hugs & Kisses' in wine to coordinate. 
While the reward of a garden is beauty and peace, the underlying process is a lot of hard work. I opted to make my apron from dark fabrics as testament to the toil that a garden entails. If a gardening apron is to be used, it should be practical, not too precious and able to wear some dirt!
I tried to think about all the things I would use in a gardening apron, and so there are pockets for secateurs, marking pens, a mobile phone and a clear vinyl zippered pocket for various other gardening paraphernalia.
I was really pleased with how this project turned out, and quite frankly, I can't wait for it to return to me so that I can give it a workout!
When I design a project, I tend to gather inspiration from a myriad of sources. I was inspired for this project by two favourite quotes which are very realistic and uncompromising descriptions of the gardening process:

If you wish to make anything grow, you must understand it, and understand it in a very real sense. 'Green fingers' are a fact, and a mystery only to the unpracticed. But green fingers are the extensions of a verdant heart. 
― Russell Page, The Education of a Gardener

Then seek your job with thankfulness and work till further orders,
If it's only netting strawberries or killing slugs on borders;
And when your back stops aching and your hands begin to harden,
You will find yourself a partner In the Glory of the Garden.
― Rudyard Kipling, ‘The Glory of the Garden’

There is an accompanying seed storing wallet in next month's issue. But, apart from this peek, I will keep you in suspense!
Australian Homespun Issue No. 111 is available in Australian newsagents right now, and digital versions can be purchased from Zinio.

Thursday 9 August 2012

Off to see the wizard

The school term for my kids is flying by in a blur of assignments, exams, athletics carnivals and musical productions. The musical for the senior school this year was 'The Wizard of Oz'. The main characters were immediately recognisable and were played brilliantly. 
I suspect poor Toto had very sore knees by the end! 

'Ooh - what a smell of sulfur!' 
The witch was VERY convincing which caused some issues at the matinee for the Kindergarten classes! 
Colour and fantasy abounded in the Land of Oz.
The director's interpretation of the Yellow Brick Road was inspired. Can you spot it?
There is something to be said for the positive self esteem of these beautiful young ladies clad in tightly fitting body suits!
The director is one of our Science teachers. She has an impressive knack of creating visually stunning scenes, working with simple props, monochromatic lighting and costumes.
The tornado was represented dramatically by dancers whirling about the stage in whites and greys.
Hues of green assembled en masse in The Emerald City.
And the wild scarlet Jitterbugs jitterbugged far too energetically for me to get a good photo!
Perhaps my favourite moment was when the field of poppies ...
... magically transformed into snowflakes with a flip of their capes. So clever!
A truly wonderful production. I have probably said it before, but it is so easy to forget that these kids are, well just that, KIDS! They have so much talent, enthusiasm and professionalism that they lull you into believing they are much more!
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