Friday, September 25, 2015

primary, secondary, tertiary friends....

I was just putting a pic on Facebook about dinner tonight.

I don't usually put pictures of my food on Facebook, but it's been a yummy day and sometimes I just have to celebrate that.

In reading the general comments on the post, I was reminded about something one of my oldest friends talked about a couple of Boxing Days ago, over a civilised champagne and leftovers.

Without giving away too much detail, I've been lucky enough to have some friends in my life for 51 years.  We started primary school together, Year 1A. I don't clearly understand why there was 1A and 1B before year 2, there just was.

Sometimes we didn't see each other for quite a while, (as long as 37 years, in one case)  but when we next saw each other the conversation just picked up from wherever we left off.

These are primary friends, from primary school (or Sunday School, or before). It was the 60's, we couldn't afford pre-primary.

There are friends from high school, again you lose contact for a while, but still sharing birthdays and collective (if growing vague in parts) memories.  These are secondary friends.  Not secondary in terms of importance, just arrival.

Then there are tertiary friends, university, work, other life events after high school.  In some cases, these people have been in my life for 40 years now.  We may not spend as much time together as we once did, but it's still as easy as it was when we were 18 or 25 years old - before kids, partners, life events. And we have lots of adventures to remember - or try not to mention. Sometimes we only see each other once or twice a year but every time we catch up it's special. Sometimes it's only electronically, but still important. Not tertiary in importance, just arrival.

And of course, there are sisters, more like 56 years, and still special. And offspring, mine and everybody else's. If you love your friends, how can you not love their kids?

I've been very lucky to have these all of these people in my life, and particularly lucky in that generally they all get along with each other. I'm really bad at sending cards and calling for no particular reason, luckily everyone seems to understand that. 

Let's all celebrate our friends.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Mid-century sideboard, mine. *Note: no mirror
If you've read other posts, you might know that my friends and I are rather keen on old things (and that I am a master of understatement).  

A friend, who lives quite close by, was out on the trawl for treasures when she came by a mid-century/late deco wooden and mirrored dressing table, alone in the back room of the house which was being cleared. She forked out the requisite dollars (not very many) and hauled it back to her burrow, where she and a friend unloaded it into the garage.

A lick of paint, a bit of sanding, and it was looking very schmick indeed, so my friend and her mate hauled it up into the bedroom, where it faced the bed.

This is Tasmania, it was winter. My friend was complaining that she couldn't warm the house, even with the wood heater and the gas heater and the sun shining through the big windows. Like my house, it has big windows to catch the sun and it isn't a cold house. She started to have aches and pains in her knees.  She started to be woken in the night by a great weight on top of her, or pressing against her, in her bed. She was alone.

My friend's young grandaughter came to change for netball, but wouldn't change in the bedroom any more. 

Chest of drawers, spare room.  No mirror.
Discussion ensued with someone we shall call "Friend 2", who has a certain sensitivity to such things.  Her immediate response to the knee aches was that religion was involved - prayer on the knees and so on.

Further research by Friend 1 showed the dressing table had been owned by a pastor, of the old fashioned brimstone type. 

She decided that the dressing table should leave her possession pretty urgently.  In the meantime, she wanted to move it out of the bedroom. The friend who had helped her carry it in came by to help move it.  Without anything in it, they could barely lift it. They managed to drag it into the hallway, with difficulty.

It was advertised super cheap on Gumtree and Facebook, but no-one who expressed an interest turned up.  After a night, the girls gathered their strength and managed to drag it out onto the front veranda, where it sat, mirror to the wall, sulking.  

Occasional table, no mirror
I went there for dinner on the Friday night, and I can confirm that it was definitely sulking.  I did not want to be standing on that veranda, I felt very uneasy while I was waiting for the door to be opened. My door knocking had a certain frenetic edge, especially since the veranda light wasn't working. There may have been scratching on the door. But inside, it was toasty warm. My friend's knees had returned to full working order.

It eventually sold for a pittance and was removed. It either wanted to go or the people were very strong.  Or it had found out about the plan to drop it into the pit at the tip, where it would go one on one with the big bulldozer.  My money was on the bulldozer.

I still can't look at furniture involving mirrors. 

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.