Saturday, September 29, 2007

Annie's Birthday

My friend Annie is celebrating her birthday with a very special cake made by her son (my godson) Matthew, aged seven. Clever boy!

His big brother Anthony, aged nine (also my godson!) helped him to decorate it with plastic horses surrounded by a pasta fence, lurid green icing and a Dora the Explorer candle. No, Annie, those are not ants, just chocolate sprinkles!

But the best part was inside! Bright pink and yellow food colouring swirled through the mixture to create a technicolour wave effect! Yummmmmm!!!

Happy birthday, Annie!
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Scatterday W - Week 6

Scatterday Week 6
Originally uploaded by dijobbins

This one really had me thinking.....but I've managed to come up with a few items.

Black Things - There it was, right in front of me - my wireless internet modem!

Tool - Wire brush, a tool a conscientious painter might use to prepare a surface for painting. I hate preparation when I need to paint.

Game - Whac-a-Mole! I've never seen it before either. According to the box players bop a mole on the head as he emerges from his hole in the ground. Seems like a good way to take out one's frustration, doesn't it?!? I could have also shown you photos of "Wizardology" and "Where's Tinkerbell?" - but this looked more fun!

For these last two items I prowled the hardware and toy departments of my local K Mart store, mobile camera phone in hand, and snapped my photos when no-one was looking in case someone bailed me up wanting an explanation for my weird behaviour.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Presentation Night

It's taken eighteen months of dedicated stitching (with just a smattering of "naughty sailor words" when the going became tough) for Moo to create this magnificent cushion to pad the rector's seat in our church. And Boak, as the current rector, gets to have his seat padded first. He looks pleased, doesn't he?

The focal point of the cushion, slightly modified from an original design by artist Angela Lober, is a stylised winged lion, symbol of the evangelist St Mark, set within a diamond, and Moo has well and truly risen to the challenge and made her stitches in the scarlet background so beautifully even, as only an experienced tapestry worker can do.

The presentation took place at a glittering "night of nights" - actually an intimate and relaxed dinner for seven at Edwina's place - and grins and cameras flashed as the long-awaited cushion was finally handed over and the project that has consumed so much of Moo's spare time (not that there is much!) was complete.

Well done, Moo! Congratulations!

What fresh challenge can we find to keep Moo out of mischief now, I wonder?

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The Joys of Spring - Azaleas

Although I do love living in Sydney's Eastern suburbs, I really miss the spectacular displays of azaleas that the North Shore climate produces every spring. I photographed this magnificent specimen at my parents' home at East Lindfield today.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Megan's birthday

My friend Megan had a birthday this week - so four of us went out for afternoon tea to celebrate. Happy birthday, Megan!
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"Shoestring" - An unashamed promotion

My indomitable stepmother-in-law, Joy Jobbins (Twig to her family) celebrated her 80th birthday this month - with the publication of her colourful memoir, "Shoestring". How many octogenarians can make that claim to fame?
Today was the book's official launching, and Joy was the featured speaker at the Sydney Powerhouse Museum's After Noon Talks, afterwards signing copies of her book outside the Gift Shop.

She's doing it all again on Sunday 25th November at 2pm - details on the Powerhouse website. Joy's donation of advertising material and photographs relating to fashion promotion in the 1950s, and The Australian Wool Board in particular, has been very gratefully received by the Powerhouse Museum.

It was an exciting day for all of us, since this memoir has had a gestation of 15 years or more since Joy first put pen to paper, having been polished, nipped and tucked, and promoted along the way by various members of our family of wordsmiths.

A former swimsuit model, and then advertising executive in the male-dominated working world of the 1950s, Joy recounts, in often hilarious detail, how she managed to juggle motherhood with a high-powered career that eventually led to her promoting wool fashions as the head of advertising for the Australian Wool Board.

In "Shoestring" Joy herself admits that the lily is deftly gilded in parts, and to my mind there's just enough embroidery to enhance her tales of fashion, fun, family and a financially-challenged life.

In the best tradition of autobiographers, too, she name-drops with gay abandon! Leo Schofield, Chips Rafferty, Maggie Tabberer, photographers Laurie le Guay, Helmut Newton and Henry Talbot, Sir William Gunn, Robert Helpmann, the Queen's couturier Hardy Amies, Jimmy Stewart, Peter Carey, and Pierre Cardin are just a few of the colourful characters who have crossed her path or been a part of her life.

It's a wonderful book ..... honestly!

And you can read more about the remarkable and glamorous Joy Jobbins and buy your very own copy of "Shoestring" by going to Joy's website.

Or you can buy it from Dymocks and other good bookstores. Just $24.95.

Of course the Princess came along too, and was the perfect listener to Great Grandma Joy's reminiscences. I wonder what experiences life will bring her?

A postscript......
Imagine you are 9 years old, out on an excursion to the Powerhouse Museum with your school class and teacher, and you suddenly spot your Grandma Joy signing books in the lobby. That's exactly what happened to Twig's granddaughter Geena today! Absolutely unplanned, but a real thrill for everyone, especially little Geena.
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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Scatterday B - Week 5

My creation
Originally uploaded by
Favourite Things - So many things to select from here, both animate and inanimate. Blogging, Books, my Bible, my Baby granddaughter, my DH Boak, my quilting Buddies....... Call me shallow, but I chose Bolts of fabric just because they made a pretty picture!

Big Things - This is the big Block of units that looms over the back garden of our lovely 168 year old sandstone rectory. Makes scampering to the clothesline in one's nightie rather difficult!

Shop - Borders bookshop, where I can buy books, my quilting magazines, audiobooks, and enjoy a great coffee. What else could one want?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

...parties on!

Then on Friday she had morning tea with the church garden volunteers...

...and after a short nap at home she swept off to the yacht club for lunch. What a little social butterfly she is becoming!
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Our party girl

Alexanne had such a busy round of social engagements last week!

First she attended Aunty Sare's birthday party and ever-so-carefully helped her cut the cake.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Scatterday Q - Week 4

Scatterday Q
Originally uploaded by dijobbins
Hello. My name is Di, and I'm a Scatterday addict.

Please don't try to rehabilitate me - I'm having too much fun.

From the moment I receive the next week's challenge my sluggish grey cells stir into action and, along with the fiendish Sydney Morning Herald Friday crossword by DA, provide the perfect defence against advancing brain-mush.

This week's Scatterday is brought to you by the letter Q and the categories Music, Square Things and Clothing.

Music - Sunny, gorgeous mother of my seriously cute granddaughter Alexanne, volunteered her CD of the quartet, Queen. Daresay they used the odd quaver in their compositions too. Not just a pretty face, my darling Sunny!

Square Things - No, my extraordinary daughter Sarah is not "square". However this photo of her on her graduation day was taken in the quadrangle at Sydney University, a very square area, by definition. My DH and I, as well as two of our children,are all graduates of Sydney University, so it's a pretty special place. However in my day (donning 'Old Lady' hat here) the only day you were allowed to walk on the grass in this quadrangle was on your graduation day. These days I believe you can actually sit there as an undergrad and eat your lunch!!!! Is this the end of civilisation as we know it???

Clothing - I have an exquisite Chinese satin quilted jacket, given to me many years ago. It's reversible and since I couldn't decide which side to show you, I had a bet both ways and made a mini-mosaic of both the red and blue sides.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Look who's having a birthday!

*** Sarah ***
(Yes, the tiger IS real!)
My beautiful, accomplished and confident daughter turns 26 today, and tonight we're having a family dinner to celebrate her special day. What a girl!
* * * Happy birthday, Sare! * * *

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Another stitchery - Tuscany to a "T"

"The Italian Job" just wouldn't have been complete without a sunflower...

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Stitching while travelling overseas - an update

You might recall the memory quilt I planned to make while we were travelling around Italy - The Italian Job.
[To see my previous references to this project, please click on the "Italian Job" label in the right hand column]

I had laid out my fabrics (reds, golds, greens and creams from my stash, the colours of an Italian summer) in blocks until I was happy with their placement. Then I photographed the unstitched "quilt" and each unstitched "block". Some blocks comprised as many as 6 pieces of fabric, but always included a square or rectangle of cream quilters muslin and a corresponding piece of Pellon. Then I popped each block's fabric into a zip lock bag, taped its photo on the front, and labelled it (A1, A2, A3...etc) so I knew exactly where each block fitted in the scheme of things.
The plan was to photograph design elements, or simple buildings or landmarks, that we saw on our travels around Italy - and what a wealth of material there is!!!! Then I would make simple sketches (at night, in our hotel) and trace these onto the quilters muslin pieces, then back them with Pellon ready to embroider.

16 zip lock bags were quite light, compact and flat, easy to carry in my computer bag on the plane. I just needed to remember, before each flight, to swap my lethally sharp embroidery scissors for my Clover pendant cutter. I had no trouble anywhere (Singapore Airlines and Alitalia) with carrying needles and a small supply of pins.

The airline movies were so much more enjoyable with my stitching in my hands, and it was wonderful to enjoy so much guilt-free sewing time! When we were wandering around Rome, Palermo etc I would just pop one of my little plastic bags, with needle, thread and scissors, into my handbag, and each time we stopped for a coffee at an outdoor cafe I would take out my embroidery, while Boak would read a chapter of his book.

He did comment one day that he considered putting out an upturned hat, since so many people seemed to gather or slow down to look at this strange activity! If people would pay to watch buskers juggle, dress up as the Statue of Liberty, or play at being Pinocchio, then who knows what they might have paid to see a foreign lady stitching their landmarks into a quilt?!?!

Well, I've arrived home with 10 blocks (out of the 16) completed, so I'm very happy with my progress. However, since this quilt is just for me, and since I have several quilts and other projects for other people, the Italian Job is unlikely to be completed very soon. I have done the sketches, though, and traced several more designs onto their quilters muslin and backed them with Pellon ready for stitching.

Here are some of my finished stitcheries......

This was part of a huge golden mosaic in the apse of Monreale Cathedral in Sicily. My humble stitchery just doesn't do it justice, but I was so impressed with the real thing that it had to be included in my quilt of memories from our trip.

This is my interpretation of Angela's beautiful little villa where we stayed, on a hilltop surrounded by groves of olive trees, a few kilometres from the Tuscan villiage of Manciano - and a thousand kilometres from care!

I think this has to be my favourite stitchery so far, a little elephant carved in red granite by a pupil of the great sculptor Bernini, supporting an obelisk on his back. He stands in the Piazza Minerva, a stone's throw from the Pantheon, and is just the cutest thing!

The splendid Basilica of San Francesco dominates the town of Assisi, and so it was a natural choice to represent our visit there. The symbol looking like a letter "T" is actually a "tao", a peace symbol, and Assisi has adopted it as one of its emblems.
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Friday, September 7, 2007

Scatterday R (a little early)

Scatterday R
Originally uploaded by dijobbins
This week Scatterday is brought to you by the letter R, and the categories Plant Life, Childhood and The Arts - and was a real challenge for me!

Plant Life - I have captured one of the gorgeous ranunculus flowers in my front garden, after a shower of rain. I bought the corms at the Melbourne Garden Show in March, and they are all shades of pink, red, burgundy and white.

Childhood - Who else but my favourite little girl, Alexanne, with her soft, cuddly rabbit.

The Arts - Wikipedia tells me that Literature is a branch of The Arts, so I went to our bookshelves and selected some books written by authors whose names begin with the letter R. Whether all these volumes should be considered literature is another question entirely, and no correspondence will be entered into!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Alexanne is 5 months old

Alexanne (Xan) was quietly bemused by my antics behind the camera, as I did what all grandmothers have done for generations (or at least ever since cameras have been invented) and made a complete fool of myself with the silliest noises and actions in an all-out effort to get her to smile for this photo.
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It's Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day, Daddy!!

This is my always encouraging, supportive and incredibly youthful-looking father, Trevor.
He will celebrate his 84th birthday next month.
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