Monthly Archives: April 2008

Stuff to Make me Slow Down…

After the last post when I was congratulating myself for doing sooooo much I got a bit carried away.

“I can do this before I go to bed tonight”, I said to myself at 10:30pm, on a night when I have work the next day. “I’ll be finished in no time flat. I’ll just use this cotton, it’s not what I want but it won’t matter.”


I spent two and a half hours last night at sewing group unpicking.

You’d think I’d be old enough to contain my impulsivity by now!


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Stuff to Make Me Happy

Postcards from France…

Sunshine-y applique…

Quilted feathers…

This song

I have been very busily working on my secret project. I am trying to finish six quilts. One is done, one is appliqued and the other four are drawn up and ready to go.

I think I can…

I think I can…


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I have become increasingly aware over time that the history of western culture is the story of white men. The explorers, the artists, the pioneers, the inventors, the conquerors, the settlers, the crusaders, the invaders – these are all the men of our history that we have chosen to define our place in the world over the course of recorded time. I know that this reflects our thinking in those eras but it doesn’t mean that other stories and contributions that were valid and important were not being made by others around the world. The remembering and celebration of only these stories is often done to the exclusion of all other histories.

I have been reflecting on these thoughts as we approach ANZAC Day. This year Ashleigh is less than one hours drive from Villers Brettoneux. There is an enormous Australian focus on the region this year. The Department of Veterans Affairs is holding commemoration ceremonies at the enormous memorial built to Australian soldiers. Thousands of Australian soldiers still rest in the area, many in unmarked graves. Many Australians are heading to the area to be there for the ceremonies on Friday. Ashleigh is one of them.

The stories of the soldiers are well known by Australians. We pause to remember them. We observe solemn rituals in their honour. These again are the stories of the men involved: our written history, the stories that we allow to define us. I believe that there is so much more to consider. Imagine the sacrifices made by those mothers who farewelled their young sons as they travelled the world to places unknown to them. Imagine the wives who stayed behind without the support of their husbands to carry on raising their children. Sometimes these women waited for a soldier who never returned. Sometimes they returned as broken men – with bodies that could heal, but with scars that could not be seen. Either way war creates dysfunction.

I do not say these things to denigrate the memory of those soldiers who fought. I say these things to broaden our definition of history. To remember the stories of sacrifice that were made by those who were often excluded from the decision making process, those who were frequently denied a public voice, yet who bore the tangible results of conflict. This year I will remember the soldiers, but I will also stop to think about those who stayed behind without information or contact, in fear and exclusion. They deserve to be remembered and thanked too.


My Grandad, in his last ever ANZAC march 25th April 1992.

Lest we forget.


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Seven Things

Ages ago someone (I can’t remember, but it might have been you, Alice) asked me to write seven things about me. I have been slack about it and not done it. It seems the right time now, so here they are.

1. I am very neat and organised at work. I hate to have clutter on my desk or in my working space. I will take a lot of time to present my space really well. I am not so inclined at home. I spread myself out across several working spaces and never really properly pack up one thing before I move onto the next. I wish I had a studio with a large bench for working and proper storage. If I had the money I’d build a kitchen in my studio, without the cooking facilities, just with all the benches and storage.

2. I am obsessed with cameras. I have a fabulous digital camera, but I am always looking at new ones in the catalogues. I want to see the newest features and how many mega-pixels. When does that constant techonological improvement end? When will we have designed the ultimate camera?

3. I am obsessed with taking photos of water. I love to slow the camera down so that the water is moving while the background is still. I have a lot of these photos.

 4. I love bangles and bracelets. I wear all of them at once. My children always know when I’m coming because they hear me jingling down the hallway. I do not, however, like necklaces.

5. I love to eat blueberries. We live in a climate that cannot possibly produce them, so they are really expensive. Sometimes I pay $8.00 for a punnet of them to eat. I justify it to myself by thinking that if I bought a sandwich from a shop it would cost that much and I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as the blueberries.

6. I refuse to push my children to achieve well in school. It is twelve years out of a long life. Your school achievements are quickly forgotten once you get out into the world. They are good people, I know they’ll be fine whether or not they are at the top of their class. I hate that teachers are always using the ‘could do better / not achieving to potential’ lines about children. We could all do better – even the teachers – but it won’t make us any happier!

7. I can smell rain long before it starts. I always know when it’s coming. Only half of the time will I run to take the washing off the line. The other half of the times I really don’t care if the washing gets wet, it’ll dry again when the rain stops.


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In 1986 my Pete and I each put in $350 and bought a microwave. This was really our first commitment to each other. We were 19 years old and the purchase represented a silent promise that we would set up house one day. The microwave was one of the very stylish ones that was covered in a woodgrain patterned stick-on vinyl.

One day, many years later, it went BANG! and made a very bad smell and we had to throw it out. Thankfully that has never happened to my Pete. We bought another to replace it.

Yesterday this one stopped working. No bang, no fizzle, just cold, hard carrots after three attempts at cooking them.

I guess when you consider that my children looked like this when we bought it

we shouldn’t really complain.


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Look what came in the mail yesterday.

All the way from Canada. Three fat quarters of Paris themed fabric, a hand-made card and some cinnamon hearts. When I went to check the sender’s blog, I found that Maureen had also nominated me as  a blog with a heart. Thanks Maureen. Thanks for thinking of me when we were low in January and sending the pick-me-up gift. I really do appreciate it.

Thanks to the lovely Kirsty too. Kirsty and I are acting as a back ups to each other on projects that we want to achieve. By back ups I mean nags and enforcers. I am not good at beginnings, so she gave me a kick this week. I got started on some super-secret, but oh so exciting quilts. I’m so pleased that I stopped thinking and actually got to the stitching! Kirsty is my opposite, she’s not good at finishing, so I’m looking forward to giving her a kick a bit further down the track. It’s only fair.

Thanks everyone for visiting the Lloyd the Llama blog. Pip has been very focussed as he has mastered the art of drawing his cartoons directly into the computer. It’s fascinating to watch him. He draws with the mouse in his right hand and the pencil in his left. They are ambidextrous cartoons! The new one should be up very soon, if it’s not there already. Think like a thirteen year old boy and you’ll find it hilarious too.

I should explain a very weird family foible that will help you to get the last cartoon. Pip has a habit of finding a word that he likes and saying it over and over again. For a while the word was Jimmy. Any question that was asked – where are my shoes?, who has the remote? do  you have any washing? – he replied ‘Jimmy’. (got the odd clip round the ear for it, which, apparently, just makes it funnier.) Next the word became chicken. Same scenario except the answer to every question was ‘chicken’. So, Ashleigh and I decided that every time he said chicken we would shout ‘Jimmy’ right back at him. This has morphed into a bizarre game, where you have to be the first person to shout ‘Jimmy’ whenever chicken is mentioned. It also counts for rooster, poultry, hen, even chicken in a foreign language – le poulet. If you say ‘jimmy’ first you are the winner. You win the freakiest person in the freakiest family award. I find it hilarious and feel that I should apologise at the same time.


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The Llaunch of Lloyd

Today we llaunch a new bllog. Another member of my immediate family. My son was quite excited at the thought of posting his cartoons on the magical interweb. He is already quite competent at drawing with the mouse. He regularly includes drawings in his MSN conversations. They are funny!

We set him up with a tablet.

He’s already drawing the next installment. It is completely different for him though. As you can see he’s left-handed, but he’s forced to use the mouse right-handedly. For the first time he is using his left hand to draw right onto the computer.

So far he has only posted the original Lloyd comic. He wants to do more, but he has to go to a sleepover at his friend’s place. These are the pressures of being a teenaged blogger!

GO and see Lloyd and others here. Hopefully he’ll find time to update it between sleepovers….


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Boys are Really Quite Smelly

A recent conversation in our household.

Me: It’s going to be so strange when Melodie moves out next month and I am living with only boys.

Pip: Why would that bother you?

Me: I’ve never lived with just boys before. I like the company of girls. They notice stuff.

Pip: What do you mean that girls notice stuff?

Me: Well, if you get a new shirt, or have a haircut. A girl would notice and make a comment.

Pip: Oh.

Me: And if you feel sad or mad, but you don’t really want to say anything. A girl would notice that too and ask you what’s wrong.

Pip: Do I notice stuff?

Me: Not usually.

Pip: Does Ashleigh notice stuff?

Me: Always. Ashleigh is very perceptive.

Pip: Ok then. I’ll try really hard to notice stuff from now on. Is that a new shirt?

Me: No.

Pip: It’s a nice one.

Me: Thanks…


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The Outstanding Adventures of Lloyd

To be continued…

My son has been raised on a healthy diet of the random and the bizarre. Monty Python, the Mighty Boosh, the Far Side… he loves them all. I can see those influences coming to bear in his current cartoons.

I think my son is a freaking genius! Perhaps Lloyd should have his own blog. Would you call by to see what happens next???


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Outside my Comfort Zone

Generally I do not succumb to peer pressure. I won’t bow or change my mind for the popularity.

This means that I don’t take dares or challenges. If you want someone to do stupid things for your entertainment then get a performing monkey. (Although, I do think that would be cruel.)

HOWEVER… my sister made a very valid point in this post. Women hide themselves behind the camera. They happily photograph you and you and your family, but never themselves. I am certainly hyper-critical of my many faults and flaws. I am reminded of them often by less than subtle people. I don’t like to see myself from the outside because from where I sit, on the inside, I’m pretty damn hot. Just the mirror and the camera can shatter that illusion!

Sussanah’s dare was to do a self-portrait. She is fully made up and freshly laundered in her photo. A little encouragement from photoshop and she revealed herself.  Then Stomper Girl  took up the challenge, but she went all hard-core and did her beautiful portrait first thing in the morning… without make up or photoshop tweaking. She really raised the bar high!!

Generally I would just watch from the sidelines and enjoy the happenings, but it seems a revolution has begun. Self-portrait dares are being made all over the interweb. Women are being shaken from their comfort zones. The intention is so very noble. Stop beating yourselves up and putting yourselves down. Be proud of who and what you are. You didn’t get there by accident, you are a product of your choices in this life. You made your choices, be proud of them.

SO I went hard-core too. Stomper is my sister in arms. I took my photo fresh out of the shower. I have no make up and I did no photoshopping. However, the mirror in my bathroom is really grubby so I wiped it with a tissue. This had the effect of smearing the dirt and creating a soft focus filter of sorts. I’m quite pleased with it!

As my heart literally takes a lurch, here I am at 7:45am.


Here I am approximately two and half  minutes later – dressed, hair done (I didn’t brush it, just put that clip into it), make up on and ready to go out.


If you read this post, you have been dared to show your beautiful self.


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