Sunday, May 27, 2012

Stitching in Sydney

I have been to a few big events lately, but I will write about them later.  I really just want to put up a quick post with some photos then get back to stitching.  I am feeling quite good about the process and the results of just wielding various needles and various threads.  I like the calming, meditative effects that it has on me, as well as the creative release.  I also like feeling part of a huge, world-wide community of artistic people who are embracing textiles and fibers as a medium.  The ancient and future possibilities of even the most scoffed at Cross-stitch are driving me to almost delirious extremes.
So here are a few pictures of what I have been up to so far, and I am back at it.

part of one of my Ode to Lucienne Day stitch samplers

1912 Ukrainian women processing hemp
my first Amigurumi (crocheted toy)

my first cross-stitch: actually called Assisi stitch 

an ancient yugoslavian cross-stitch pattern and my own plan

this actually tempts me to get a tattoo!
I am making a granny square (circle in a square) pillow

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Time For a Good Lie In

It's a rainy Sunday, a perfect day to crawl back into bed and read/peruse my new pattern design book that I got yesterday.  After my trip to New Zealand, I got a small but tenacious cold that has been dogging me all week.  I had to work then go to Mira's Mother-Daughter dinner so I couldn't give in to the stuffy head and just sleep it off like I normally would do.  I didn't feel actually sick enough to call in sick or even to collapse into bed when I came home after a full day of work.  Instead, I would watch TV and drink a whiskey (that I got at the duty free) and tell myself that that was the best medicine for me.

Mira's dorm room with the quilt that I made her

a little blurry and I need a haircut, but a pretty cute picture

my new book and the yarn I  bought to knit a lace shawl (next on the list)

some of the gorgeous designs inside
Mira asked me to meet her during the day Saturday to go shopping in Newtown.  She needed a dress to wear to Florence and the Machine this coming week.  We had lunch at Luxe cafe and went into every store on King Street.  We finally found two black, really cute, modified vintage dresses that were quite cheap, so I made her get both of them. She wore one to the dinner last night and we matched with me in my black tweed dress that I got last year at Banana Republic.  Mira said that I was the most stylish mom there.  Isn't she sweet?  I actually did wear stockings and heels and my beautiful necklace that Sharon made me.

Anyway, while we were shopping, we went into a paper/book store where they had several books on textiles.  I couldn't resist the one called Print and Pattern.  It is like a textile bible or roadmap - a font of information and inspiration!  I got Mira an early birthday present of a book on the history of hats.  How fun is that?  She was very excited, especially since it was on special for $15.

I have so many ideas lately that I have to write a list because I can't do them all at once.  It feels good to have my brain working creatively again.  I even had a great idea for my manager at work.  I told her she should open her own high style boutique where she could demonstrate and sell fabric and paper craft products and combine it with event planning/stylist services.  Isn't that a great idea?  She could be like a young Martha Stewart, only cooler.  I even had an idea for the name of it, but I am not going to say in case she actually decides to do it.  You might be thinking, "Sheila, why don't you do it yourself"? I have too many ideas and I can't do them all but I might end up with something like that, combining design and styling.

For today, I am going to make some little stitches here and there on various projects, and I am going to actually get cozy with my book under the covers and listen to the sound of the rain.

(p.s. Mira requests that I tell everyone that the One Direction poster over her bed was put there as a joke by her roommate. She is not actually a fan)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Boppin' in "The Wood"

facial or karaoke in Burwood

beautiful old brick apartments - notice the window in the middle of the second building

We live in Surry Hills.  It is a trendy neighborhood with shops, cafes, young people with dogs or babies, and hipsters aplenty.  It is close to the city center with lots of easy access public transport, and bike lanes. In a word - ideal.  The only trouble is the cost.  We really can't afford to buy a house or even a flat here.

Our friends who also just moved here from the US live in a suburb called Burwood (or as they say, The Wood).  They really like it there.  Being new to this city, I am curious to see what other people's lives are like around the various, close-in suburbs.  We had dinner over at their cute, Victorian, house last Saturday night and were able to see a bit of the night life on the main drag.  Then I went back on Monday afternoon to go shopping with Nicole.

It was 45 minutes from my door to the bus, to the train and arriving at the Burwood main street where the station is conveniently located.  $5.80 round trip.  There are cafes and shops, parks and beautiful brick homes.  The main difference, besides the more suburban streets with yards, is that the businesses and the population are primarily owned, run, and frequented by either the Chinese, Korean, or Lebanese neighbors of the Burwood community.  Apparently, one end of the strip is Asian, and the other end is Lebanese, with the train station smack dab in the middle.

We didn't go down to the Lebanese end because we were on a mission - a mission of Cute.  Nicole and I discovered that we both love the kitchy, silly, cuteness of shops like the famous Morning Glory.  There is an MG in The Wood, but we didn't make it past the smaller, local one called H for Home.

We were like silly 12 year old girls gasping over the cuteness of everything from note pads to slippers to false eyelashes to fruit baskets.  We spent about an hour perusing the crammed shelves and aisle ways.  Most people would say "yes, it is cute, but I don't really need another cute pocket mirror." We, however, said "I actually do want and need this cat journal for my happiness and sanity."  I am not sure exactly what the combination of factors was, but I haven't had that much fun in a while.

Nicole in her cute bunny apron
After that, I was spent (in more than one way), but I wandered deliriously through the Korean clothing store, ate a green tea and red bean bun at Bread Top, and checked out the graffiti and side streets behind the train station.  We decided that next time we would try out one of the karaoke bars.  I was back in Redfern Station and able to walk the 20 minute walk home before dark.

I think most people in Sydney like the neighborhood they live in and they find it hard to imagine living anywhere else.  I guess this is because there are so many many suburbs, each with its own ins and outs related to shopping, transport, and people.  Once one has one's routine down and everything figured out, it is hard to switch to something new and start all over.  But, in the end, I don't think there is much difference in quality of life from one to the other burb.  There are a few dodgy exceptions, but overall, there are loads of fun, livable neighborhoods.

What else:
We had David's colleague here for a few nights.  She brought us some delicious wine from Shingleback and we took her out to fabulous Japanese food at Toko.
I went to another embroidery class, turned in my two stitching assignments and got excited about learning (of all things) cross-stitch.
Valerie went on an overnight class trip to Canberra and visited many of the spots she hadn't seen since she was there at age 6.
I am off to Christchurch for a week.