Saturday, August 29, 2015

Positive procrastination

I came across a great blog today, while I was procrastinating.  It was a general procrastinate, nothing specific. I had some spare time, so I used it positively, to procrastinate for style and goodness.

The blog is called Idiosyncratic Fashionistas, and they are also on
instagramJean and Valerie describe themselves as "style bloggers for "women of a certain age setting a bad, bad example for older women everywhere".

Since this is roughly my own mission statement, I was drawn to them immediately. Of course my own mission statement also includes setting a bad example to younger women too; not to forget my obsession with round eyeglasses and hats. 

Since my focus has been on wardrobe, I've been doing a spot of alterations and dressmaking for myself.  I bought a pumpkin coloured boiled wool coat when I was in Paris.  I decided I wasn't happy with the collar, so a $7 scarf, a snip here, a tuck there and some handsewing et voila!

I love boiled wool, so easy to manage.  It can be re-blocked at will and is super warm and rain-resistant.  

Last week I made a dress and adapted a top in linen from Tessuti, using their 'Eva' pattern and some linen I bought a while ago from their Melbourne store.

I just looked quickly on their site to get the link and they seem to have more lovely linen in stock.  Oh Dear...

And this morning the interweb advised me solemnly that Sew Tina Givens, a US site had the pattern for this

on sale so with a few keystrokes and an outrageous Aus/US exchange rate, it will be winging it's way to Australia. 

Some years ago I bought a Pfaff sewing machine.  There was, I subsequently found, a timing problem with that model which no amount of servicing would cure.  If anyone else is experiencing that problem with their machine, I can heartily recommend having a removalist toss the machine into a carton (and I do mean 'toss'), and transport it a few thousand miles on trucks and ships.  It seems to have had time to rethink it's options and is sewing beautifully.  Perhaps the overlocker had a quiet word while they travelled together.

Now, if I can only remember how to thread the overlocker...

Sunday, August 16, 2015

It's been a week of deaths, and funerals, and sadness, of finding lost friends and hanging out and eating with close friends and discovering the remarkable properties of Sloe Gin. Suffice to say we shall be out there picking those Sloe berries... 

We did the garage sales yesterday. One lady pointed out that those who like to get there at 6.30am (who does that?) come tearing in and go tearing out, looking for that underpriced treasure so they can sell it. Then they rush off to the next place.

It's not that I'm not a morning person, I'm more not a waking up person.  I prefer to make a more dignified progress, have a chat to the sellers, it's really not that urgent. Often they find some little treasure for you, at the bottom of a box or the back of a shelf. I enjoy the chat.

Why DO garage sales have to start so early?  What's wrong with 9am? Because I would really want a bunch of strangers gathering in my yard (no respect for privacy, here) at dawn. Does the term 'leisurely breakfast' mean 
nothing to these people?

I came home empty handed, although my sister found a lovely old illustrated encyclopedia and a couple of other bits and pieces.

I might check the oppies tomorrow, you never know...

Monday, August 3, 2015

The reviews are in...

I haven't written anything for quite a while, it seems.

There was the whole packing up and buying a house on the internet and moving from one side of the country to the other thing.

Then there was the unpacking and replenishing the stash and hanging out with my oldest friends and my sister and checking out the local opshops and tipshops and markets thing.

Tomorrow, it's exactly one year since I arrived back in Tasmania, the place I grew up and went to school.

I've survived four seasons. People here call reverse cycle airconditioning a 'heat pump', because the other bit doesn't get used a whole lot.  Which, after 30+ brain-melting summers in WA, is a good thing.  I've had to install a gas log heater because, frankly, the heat pump wasn't holding it. And a heat pump has less than zero ambiance. I like ambiance. And warm.

I'm amazed that so many of the locals have forgotten just how amazingly gobsmackingly beautiful this place is.  They're so used to it they don't notice it.  The colours, the red of the earth, the mountains, the stone, the rivers are so incredibly lovely and so very accessible.  You can drive for an hour, and go from the beach to the snow. 

Real estate is relatively cheap here, compared to the capitals and bigger cities on the big island. Rates and water rates aren't cheap, and neither is gas or electricity.(You must remember that there is a way smaller population base from which income can be derived.) That being noted, electricity does seem eye-crossingly more expensive here.

Firewood is taken very seriously.  It will be brought to you stacked very neatly so that you can see exactly how many cubic metres you're getting. In WA a ute dumps a pile of wood somewhere in the vicinity of your house...

There's an abundance of reasonably priced local veggies, fruit, seafood and meat.  It's a foodies paradise, as long as you stay away from the major supermarkets. There are heaps of small veggie shops, butchers, and independent grocers, as well as markets. Buying local is taken very, very seriously and that's great. 

I'm desperately missing a really good deli, with cheeses and salamis and stuff like that. All in one place.  There must be one somewhere.

The local wine is great and most of the local 'champagne' is magnificent.

There are events all year round, arts, food, music. Always something to do, something to look at. Unless it's Monday night.  Pack sandwiches, if it's Monday night.

And the opshops, and the tipshops?  Perhaps I'll tell you about those next time...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

No bakelite on the Block....

Summer's grinding to an end, the evenings are closing in, I'm considering wearing warmer clothes and eyeing off boots and jackets in the wardrobe. It's rained a couple of times, and that-which-used-to-be-lawn is slowly greening.

I want to move house in 5 months, and as I'm slowly
sorting and 
packing up I'm uncovering things I've put aside for a purpose. I decided to go ahead and finish them, rather than just sell them or give them away - or take them with me. I've planted the terrarium, and old canisters with no lids which have been kicking around in the bottom of various boxes for years. I like the cream of the bakelite, ideally they would probably be on a sunny window ledge. 
The afternoon sun is still a bit vicious at the moment for that.

We started garage saling again last weekend, more for a bit of a poke about than an acquisitional outing. The standard seems to have dropped, and the prices increased since last we ventured out.  Perhaps it's just that I'm in a downsizing sort of mood. There were a few tiny treasures and odds and sods to bring home. Next week, we're clearing the back veranda...that should be big.

Taking things to the local tip shop isn't really an option here - are we really the only municipality in Australia which hasn't grasped recycling?

The local council has contracted the collection of refuse to a multinational company.  As part of their contract they are obligated to operate a tip shop, but they don't appear happy about that.  We have an adequate building, although it's a great deal smaller than most others I've visited, all around Australia. It's spacious though - because it's generally pretty empty.

The staff do their best, but management insist on pristine - um...surfaces. It's a tip shop, not the Block, people. Meanwhile, because the 'responsibility' for recycling is delegated,landfill, and the scrap metal pile at the tip are full of re-usable items. Beds, chairs, tools, name it, all wasted. Some things are sifted out, and some people quite rightly choose to put usable items to the side in the hope that someone will find them. 

Everyone cares, but no-one wants to take responsibility.

There's still no serious commitment by the council to recycle and reuse, despite lip service to waste reduction, and supportive staff. More resourcing for the tip would provide enough people to separate and sort the stuff that comes in. Simple concrete bins, similar to those at landscape suppliers, would enable people to separate their waste, rather than using a massive loader to dump it all into a dump truck. Supervision and assistance for people using the facility would ensure that sensitive electronics are actually not just dumped on the metal pile. Usable building materials, such a sheets of metal, guttering, and so on could be recycled.

In the meantime, I made this...

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Artist Purgatory

Another month's slipped by.  I've been busy, no time to go to work, don't know how I ever fitted it in.  The weather has been perfect for reading on the veranda. I'm going to need more books.

If you ever wondered about the composition and techniques of a painting, I can recommend reconstructing it from 1000 pieces. Some call it a jigsaw, I tell myself it's study.

I've got some drawing and mixed media work done, and framed.  I also finally got around to framing some things I brought back from Paris last year. A French map of Scotland?  I think so.

I live in a sort of artist purgatory: I was married to a man who wouldn't hang things on the walls, and now I'm not supposed to hang things on the walls in this house. 

I've also had time to play with some of the photos I took on that trip. I'd frame them too, but...
(Not Disneyland - Tower Bridge)

Despite planning an interstate move later this year, there are just some things you can't leave behind when you see them laying about. And my lovely neighbour brought me a care parcel of bits left over from her house renovation.

I'll be flogging the Tupperware from the kitchen cupboards at a garage sale, but packing the jars of sunbleached bones. And my skull collection. Some things a girl just can't leave behind.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Real Estate, sales optional

It's been a while, I've been off wandering and it's far too hard to type on my tiny travel tablet.

I got home this week. The catches I'd installed on the cupboard doors had forestalled the invasion of mouse which greeted me last time I got home from a wander. The gas had been cut off in my absence, and because the real estate property person had also been off wandering, it was two days without hot water. Apparently some sort of gas leak had caused sudden interest from the gas company.  Luckily, it was in the high 30's and had been for some time, so a hot shower wasn't high on the list. This house has a fantastic outlook over the harbour, but lots and lots of quirks and foibles. In this case it was a gas bayonet, never used. The gas company was happy to identify that there was a leak, but offered no clues to the plumbers, it must be good for developing their investigative skills.

On part of my wanderings, I did come into contact with real estate agents in another state. The quirks and foibles of this house have led me to crave the relative serenity of home ownership again. I spotted something which fit the bill on the internet, and being in the vicinity, I contacted someone to have a look at the house.

I knew I'd reached a parallel universe when the conversation started with the alleged saleswoman (for she was a woman) sighing heavily and saying that she was awfully busy.  And she didn't work on Wednesdays. And Thursday wasn't really convenient.  I suggested Friday, perhaps first thing.  "What do you mean by 'first thing'?" she responded, somewhat warily. I was on the phone, but I could feel her eyes narrowing. After some negotiation, we settled on crack of dawn: 10-ish. 

Those of you on the big island with me may be surprised by this reticence. Usually, the scream of the german-engineered brakes roughly corresponds with the click signifying the end of the phone call, so eager are operatives to earn their commission. 

At the appointed time, we turned up, eager to view the property. We asked questions, admittedly difficult, such as 'Where is the boundary?' We established that she didn't know that, nor what the applicable planning scheme contained, whether there were any easements (turned out there were) - actually, she knew nothing about the place. She seemed to have found the kitchen by accident. The house generally fit the bill, the price was within the realms of reality, so I suggested that yes, I wanted to make an offer.  You know, to buy the house.

This was greeted with a barely suppressed moan, not, as one would expect, of happiness. Actually, it was more of a groan.  Well. If I could text her sometime next week perhaps she could get someone to type something up and maybe we could do something then.  My sister, always a believer in the work ethic, free enterprise, that sort of thing, suggested that if not later today, perhaps tomorrow, Saturday, we could do something.  The withering response, roughly paraphrased, indicated that work was not her whole life and she had to have some time at home.  And before we even asked, she had ironing to do on Sunday. (What does she do Wednesdays, we asked each other? Apparently not the ironing.)

This was just the start of 4 weeks of my life trying to buy a house in a place where only the owners apparently want to sell. I may have worked out why sales aren't high.

Because no-one there is prepared to share their commission, I had to ask different agents about each different property. One didn't want to show me a particular house because "someone might buy it". Riiiight. If they actually got to look at it. Because there seems to be a surreal, one at a time process in place which no-one explains to the buyers.  Or possibly the vendors.

Only one agent appeared to be operating in the real world.  She was the only one who actually suggested that she might have other houses listed which I might like to look at. This was a concept apparently not embraced by the others, she must not have let them in on the secret to her sales success. 

I still want to own a house there.  I may have to wait till it's my turn to look at something, or put an ad in the 'wanted to buy' column of the local paper, no agent need apply. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ten, in the overcoat and the sandshoes.

Today is my sister's birthday. I made sure that I rang her in enough time that I could sit down to watch Dr Who.  She's my sister, she understands. My verdict was Ten, in the overcoat and the sandshoes, although Eleven's superb glasses do get an honorable mention.  

It's an indicator of my great age that I remember William Hartnell, back in the day, but  Patrick Troughton was really the Doctor I grew up with.  He was the one with the dark Beatles 'do and the baggie suit.  In those days, families were lucky to have one TV set, and the thought of children having their own set would have caused a parliamentary enquiry. Somehow, I was allowed to scare myself silly for 25 minutes a week, with cybermen and daleks, while my parents rolled their eyes.  I never did grow out of it, although even I was sorely tested by the McCoy regeneration. Dark days indeed. Thank you, Mr Eccleston.

I'm still a Who tragic, and even at this late stage Two and Ten remain fixed in my affections. Tonight, however, has raised most vexing questions - is Ten Ten, or Eleven? Does that make Eleven Twelve? The Twitterverse will be alive tonight.

While we ponder that, those who aren't keen on Doctors can chat amongst
themselves and have a look at some things I did this week, to do with cyber-dragonflies and an occasional fish.