Sunday, July 31, 2011

A hazy shade of winter

I hate winter.  This is a well known fact in our household.  Unfortunately for Stos, I feel obliged to remind him of this every year.  I loathe the cold (except when I go skiing) and moan about that I am sick of being cold, starting around May.  But I was greatly cheered up by the sunny weather this weekend and this beautiful sunset:

I keep reminding myself that after winter solstice summer is on its way.  And that makes me very happy.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Our Creative Space

Frogdancer's block by AndreaAMM
Back to the MMQG "Oh Beehave" block swap. This one is the July block for Frogdancer and involved learning another new technique; quilt as you go. Basically we sewed the fabric to the batting and added on quarter inch quilting lines were sewn on on to each component and this was quite time consuming, particularly since my quarter inch foot isn't symetrical so I couldn't pivot and sew the other way after finishing one line. I'm curious to see how the back will be added and how it will be joined without having bulky seams.

What I enjoyed about this month's challenge was constructing a block out of colours that I wouldn't have thought to use but really loving the way that they came together and the end result.  I had to add some fabric and the hardest part of this was looking for something to buy that I knew would work with the rest of the block and not succumbing to something that I loved on an individual basis. A good lesson in combining colours outside my comfort zone.

For more creativity, go to
this spot.

Monday, July 18, 2011


On Saturday July 2nd, a lovely lady left us after a long life and on Friday 8 July, we said goodbye to her and laid her to rest with her beloved Herb.  This was my Great Aunt Jean who was an important part of our family's life, particularly my mother's.  Her funeral was an opportunity to celebrate her life and also Uncle Herb's.  My uncle died suddenly and unexpectedly 28 years ago and being in a state of shock, celebration was the last thing on our collective family's mind. 

For many people, the term “Great Aunt or Uncle” may mean elderly relatives that you visit dutifully every so often for tea, biscuits and a nice chat.  For me, having no Aunts, Uncles or first cousins, the term “Great” meant ‘terrific”.  I am fortunate in that my memories of Auntie Jean and Uncle Herb are associated with celebrations, fun and the beach.  In particular we loved our visits to Carrum where we would head out the back gate to the beach and swim in all kinds of weather.  Afterwards, we would race back to the house for something to eat and before setting off for the long drive home, Auntie Jean would whip up a batch of delicious scones. We enjoyed all sorts of occasions together and I have the feeling that I might have had my first sip of champagne to celebrate R and K’s engagement.  I certainly remember having oysters for the first time and champagne at J’s wedding, which was again celebrated by a beach. 

Auntie Jean was very special to Mum and she saw a lot of her when she was young, being my grandmother’s only surviving sister.  Grandma and Auntie Jean were close and I remember the support that she provided Grandma during Uncle Bill’s final illness.  Uncle Herb was always the genial host at family gatherings and I remember him gently teasing Mum about being her “illegal guardian”, calling her “Marmee” and referring to my unborn brother as “Sebastian”.  He was like a father figure to Mum, having lost her own at a young age, and this realationship extended to him giving her away at her wedding.  Although he was not there for my wedding, Auntie Jean made our day special by lending me the diamond earrings to make up my set of old, new, borrowed and blue. 

Other clear memories of the good times we had are R’s birthday parties at Melbourne Zoo, barbeques around the pool at North Balwyn, Auntie Jean’s trifle, a week spent at Carrum over school holidays, the family visiting the new born K in hospital and our mass family christening.  The only dark time was the terrible shock of Uncle Herb’s sudden and untimely death and the devastating effect on our family, particularly my mother.
While time moved on and Auntie Jean’s health deteriorated, visits were still special.  These included a family Christmas at our last house and Auntie Jean’s 80th birthday celebration (although I think I remember her not being impressed about turning 80).  Until the last year or so, I know Auntie Jean recognised Stos and I when we saw her and with J and R, we usually tried to get out of the nursing home for a coffee or lunch.  If the offer of a glass of French champagne was made, she would spark up immediately, which always raised a laugh.  More recently I remember visiting with R, having been told on the way there that J had given instructions that we had to do Auntie Jean’s hair as she had missed the hairdresser's visit that week.  With Stos heating up the rollers, R and I exercised our non-existent hairdressing skills on a very patient and tolerant Auntie Jean, until she was rescued by a staff member who knew how to put rollers in the right way around.  We still haven't told J that the presentable hairstyle was courtesy of Y.
I will miss my lovely Aunt but can look back and remember the good times.  I am lucky that there were a lot of them.