94 days of waiting for an answer. At the end of 94 days, the answer may be there, or it may choose to allude us for another 90 days. If it does arrive, the answer could be a relief, or an unwelcome intruder. After over 6 years of ‘waiting’ for an answer, another 94 days really shouldn’t be a problem. It seems quite a while ago that mum was given the probable diagnosis of ‘benign MS’. Right now, I’d prefer ‘benign MS’ to paraneoplastic neurological syndrome with an underlying lung cancer but I guess we don’t get to choose these things.
One can do a lot of thinking in 94 days. And given my recent history of chalazions, I have the potential to get a few more lumps and bumps on my eyelids from the stress before this is done. So I am trying out a different ‘meditation’. It seems that Zentangles have been around for a few years now. The blend of art with a repetitive action could be just what I need. So I’ve resolved to do 1 a day until we have an answer.
The cats approve of this. It doesn’t disrupt their winter lap perching like painting does. One cat has even been Tangled!
Here are the first few (in order from my first one).
I have an updated OS system on my apple – and I don’t like it. My scroll bars seems to constantly go walkabout.
Flickr seems different – I’m not sure my artwork will embed.
When I text one friend, it now answers to my iPad.
Sometimes I want to take technology and throw it against the wall. A month ago everything worked fine! I blame Christmas. Most people get cranky about something at Christmas and it seems my technology is getting in early and getting cranky at me.
The little cat from yesterday was again today sighted on and off the road near Macdonald town station. This time I was prepared – I had a cat cage in the car. I just to had to hope that she was happy to be carried a block to the car! Thankfully she wasn’t the bitey or scratching kind. In fact, she snuggled up in my arms and didn’t seem fussed.
I was delighted when I got her to Cat Protection to find out that she did indeed have a microchip. It turns out that she is 20 and called Scout. She likes to wander but now with a bit of dementia gets lost.
Alls well that ends well.
Near work I found a man trying to get a cat off the road. He was successful but she went back on and sat down in the middle of the road. She had a collar on and seemed friendly enough so I picked her up off the road and took her to the footpath. When I lofted her I just felt ribs. She was clearly used to being held. I have her a rub under the chin and checked her collar. No tag on collar but noticed she was infested with fleas. I waited until it looked like she was staying off the road and continued to the shop. On my way back to work she was sitting in the middle of the road again. After much deliberation I decided to go back
to work and get a box and walk her to the vet around the corner to see if she had a microchip. She had a desexing tattoo. Someone has owned her at some point. By the time I came back with the box I couldn’t find her. I just keep telling myself at least she’s no longer on the road.
Today Andrew ventured into the heart of Sydney to join others who had gathered to pay tribute to the late Gough Whitlam, former Australian Prime Minister. Whitlam became prime minister when Andrew was about 9 months old. The changes that Whitlam made in the following 3 years in part helped Andrew be there today in his loaned electric wheelchair. Whitlam was behind medicare and without it so much of assistance that Andrew receives for his disability, would be out of reach – a fact not loss on either of us. Today because Whitlam believed in universal health care, Andrew was able to join other like minded souls paying tribute to this giant of Australian politics. He was there right at the front of the crowd near the large screen as Kev Carmody and Paul Kelly sang ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’. Andrew held up his iphone for just over 6 minutes to video the crowd – which with his muscle condition is not an easy task. He knew that it was a special moment and one he wanted to share with me. What he captured which you don’t get on the official video above are the cheers of the crowd – many of whom were Aboriginal – as they sing about the tall stranger who appeared in the land.
Whenever a public figure dies, there is often praise and remembrance. In the case of Whitlam I’m delighted that people are celebrating the way he changed our country forever. Too often his achievements, his vision and ambition for Australia is overshadowed by his dramatic dismissal from power. No matter what your political persuasion; no matter what your thoughts on the controversies of his time; I think it would be hard to disagree that the changes Whitlam made – and paved the way for – in 3 short years, changed the face of the nation for the next 40 years or more. A truly remarkable man.
Now that the disability standards audit is over (and successful), I have a long weekend to enjoy starting with finishing one side of my quilt. I wasn’t sure that any quilting was going to get done as it is not the best activity for 35 degree weather! Thankfully the room wasn’t too hot and with the opportunity to use Bev’s very large specialist quilting machine I couldn’t not! I’m just learning free motion so I went with a wavy and irregular pattern on the brown so you can’t really see any mistakes! It’s much faster doing it free motion than with the walking foot – which is how I’m doing the spirals as my accuracy is not good enough to free motion them. I’ve also attached below a picture of the most of the quilt. Part of the top is missing (as it was hanging over the fence). My next task is to quilt the other brown side and lose all those safety pins.
I’ve finally finished washing out all my dyed fabrics from last Saturday so have moved on to revisiting what I did last Sunday at the Surface Design Workshop with Lisa Walton. Yes, I had 2 days of fabric fun, followed by a week of very long hours. The audit to ensure my employer complies with the disability standards looms ever closer. I use the word ‘looms’ deliberately as I’ve been working towards this for months and it’s a bit of an unknown.
So given this is such a priority, I decided to go for a walk instead! I went in search of any interesting surfaces for some rubbings onto fabric. Unfortunately, this is a little tricky without tresspassing. Mostly I just found manhole covers :-( (see picture above). Perhaps I need to go for a walk in a more stylish neighbourhood!
Since getting home I’ve been photographing some of the pieces I bought home from the workshops and some that I’ve done since. Of course, the girls have assisted as per usual. Pity they don’t help with policy writing!
Anyway, here are the photos of the fabric from the Dye Workshop. I have NO IDEA what I’m going to do with it. When I took the workshop I thought I would learn how to dye and possibly come home with a few pieces of fabric. There are over 24 fat quarters here (and no – they aren’t all orange, that’s just my camera not cooperating!)
I mostly used the more earthy pigments Lisa had available. When it came to my ‘graduated set’ I decided to use the fuschia mixed with something (I can’t remember what!) Anyway, I quickly discovered it was a little too pink in the lighter versions so I added black to most of the pieces and that’s why my fabrics are a little mottled. I’m still not keen on those really light ones. They scream ‘paint over me!’
I learnt my lesson and avoided the fuschia dye for the rest of the day. (I thought it would be more like alizaron crimson, or quinacridone crimson but clearly not. As it turns out I found that all my paint knowledge is fairly useless when it comes to dye colours – I really couldn’t predict what colour I was going to get (apart from the basic idea of hue). I did try to get an autumnal set and was quite happy with the outcome. Evidently there was a lot more staining power in the warm colours than the green as I ended up with 5 warm to 1 green but I’m not fussed. I like it anyway!
Finally, all the pictures below are either from the Surface Design Workshop or pieces I have done since using techniques from that day.
Lisa has just published the first in an ebook series called Creative Journeys. Last week she was very excited and couldn’t wait for its launch. Well mid-week, it arrived and is now available through amazon or from Lisa directly. It’s on Fun and Easy Textile Surface Design Techniques.
It includes many of the techniques we did last week and some more. Indeed, fabric painting is a lot of fun and pretty easy – especially when it comes to salt and sundyes.
Note the all important “e” in the title of this post. When I arrived at the Dyeing Workshop this morning, one of the other participants recounted how her son had asked whether she really needed to attend a workshop on dying?
With a major project due at work at the end of the month, it’s been a long week. I’ve clocked up 43 hours of work in 4 days and probably could have done without the weekend being booked out with fabric dyeing and painting. I had booked this earlier but due to circumstances the company couldn’t control they had to move it to this weekend.
Despite not being the best timing, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. What a magnificent spring day for dyeing metres of fabric in a stunning cottage garden. I’m terribly eager to bust the fabric out of their little zip lock bag batches and take a look at the fruits of my labour… but I’m told I must wait 24 hours! I have them all laid out – it reminds me of pictures from a police drug bust haul.
The workshop facilitator – Lisa Walton of Dyed and Gone to Heaven – was very friendly, had clear instructions and with it being in her studio, it had a lovely air of hospitality (including home baked chocolate brownies for morning tea).
I gravitated generally towards the more ‘earthy’ colour pigments – what a surprise! – with one of my favourites being the ‘tangerine’. Lisa has warned me that the colours do change once dry – another reason I want to take them out of the bags, wash them off and hang them out to dry.
I do need to put them in a washing machine. I’m debating who will be more receptive to freshly dyed fabric in their washing machine – the mothership or the man? (Yes, yes, I know. Quite ridiculous that after years of renting I still don’t have a washing machine but if I got one I’d have nowhere to put the cat litter trays!)
Looking forward to the surface design workshop tomorrow. Much more familiar territory but confident that I’ll still pick up some tips and tricks. At least with tomorrow, when I get paint all over me it will come off straight away. I have managed to dye a couple of fingers blue. Lisa says it takes about 2 days to come off. I do have a 2 day seminar to run at work Monday / Tuesday. Fortunately many of them are clinical people who are used to getting messy with kids so they probably won’t be bothered by my coloured digits!
One of these days I’m going to pour gravy down Licorice’s ear. Every morning without fail I supply breakfast. I am a loyal subject and feed my 2 furry masters a generous helping. Despite this routine and commitment, Licorice seems to feel that unless she sticks her head over the bowl with great gusto that the food will not land in it. I know the day is coming when gravy will end up in her ear and I don’t really want to explain that to the vet. Perhaps it is this vigorous activity she has each morning that has helped to reduce her substantial girth. The last time the girls both went to the vets there was much cheering when Licorice tipped the scales at only 6 kilos and Saffron at 5.5!
While the girls have been busy losing weight, I’ve been creating a new art quilt for them to distribute their fur on. The first quilt I made is at Andrew’s place. The second I gave to mum for Christmas (last Christmas that is). This quilt is mine. I designed it inspired by Gustav Klimt paintings. I wanted something which suggested a female form but was not pictorial.
While I dabbled in painting fabric for the first quilt I did, this one has had a more concerted effort. It’s been fun making ‘art’ on fabric and then selecting pieces of it to sew into my quilt , together with store bought fabrics.
Above is how it looked last Saturday. I’ve left it with my sewing teacher who is sourcing some woven interfacing to help stiffen the piece before trying to attach to the background. Interfacing or not… I’m expecting there will be a few curse words trying to fit the background into those curves. Still, it will be worth it in the end. A one of kind lap quilt for me to snuggle under… next winter!