Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Simple Pleasures

My simple pleasure for this week is reading.  I come from a family of voracious readers and my parents  always encouraged us and, to the best of my recollection, never censored our choices.  One of my earliest memories is going to the library around the corner from where we live now once a week because there wasn't a branch in our suburb.  I loved going up and down the stairs between the fiction and non fiction sections, poking around, and picking up my allocation of books for the week with the librarian stamping the due date slip in the back on the way out.

Today, one of my favourite ways to finish the day is to walk home from the train station via that same library to see what is available or pick up a book on reservation.  In addition to getting maximum use out of the library,  I borrow from family and friends and also buy far too many books from various sources, including op shops.  While I prefer quality literature, I am happy to admit that I love a good trashy read, particularly when on holidays.  While we were building the new STLT HQ, I acquired 5 boxes of books from the Landlady with the result that even with new bookshelves in the house, I still did not have enough room to accommodate them all (the photo below makes my books look far more ordered than the reality).  Even so, I cannot contemplate buying an e-reader - part of the pleasure of reading a book is the feel of it and having that sense of ownership.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Our Creative Spaces

This week was all about getting out of my comfort zone.  For Lisa's Bee Bold Bee Brave Bee Helpful quilting bee block, she chose an eight pointed star, which filled me with dread as it requires precise matching of points to give maximum effect.  This isn't really my thing and I have been procrastinating about attempting this since receiving the fabric in early November.  However, I was determined that I was going to finish this and give it to Lisa at the last Melbourne Modern Quilt Guild sewing day for 2012.  As I spent most of the day talking and eating, this didn't happen, but the last seam was sewn last night and I posted it off today.
I did need to get the seam ripper out a few times but this was mainly due to using the wrong side of the background fabric (it was quite hard to tell the right side at times) and joining the composite pieces into triangles instead of squares.  But in the end, I got through it and while not perfect, I'm pretty happy with the result and hope Lisa is too.

The lesson here is to be confident in your own abilities.  I will promise myself that next time I am set a challenge, I will jump right in fearlessly.  And carry this through in other areas besides sewing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Simple Pleasures

Looking for unconditional love and affection?  Someone who listens but doesn't answer back? Doesn't care what you look like?  Get a dog or, better still, get two.
Sure, there is a bit of work involved in feeding, walking and cleaning up after them, but the joy they bring to our house is immeasurable.  We love our girls to bits and cannot imagine life without a dog being part of it.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sunday Snippets

Better late than never!
 All happy at the circus.
 Having a bite with old friends at one of our favourite places.
 Trying to include some healthy treats in the Christmas excesses.
 We don't like the OTT aspect of Christmas but couldn't resist these pretty lanterns.
I raced through this latest 'must read' book and it had me in most of the way, but like most blockbusters, the ending was disappointing.  The plot was a bit too clever for its own good.

Thanks to Tinnie Girl for hosting Sunday Snippets.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Simple Pleasures

This week my simple pleasure is culinary.  Stos and I like to cook and eat and we are fortunate enough to be able to dine at some terrific restaurants, but one thing that we cannot resist is a barbecued sausage.  However, the perfect snag has a few criteria to meet:

- The sausage must be nondescript.  No gourmet morsels here.
- This is one of the few occasions when it is acceptable to serve something in white bread.
- It must be served with bottled tomato sauce (my preference is for White Crow brand).
- Inclusion of barbecued onions is acceptable but adding grated cheese is over the top.

My favourite place to get this delicacy from is from a hardware store or shopping centre where usually a local charity is on duty out front selling snags in bread for around $2.  I have been known to dash across a four lane highway after identifying a barbecue in progress at a Bunnings store.

An example of this treat, cooked at home last Sunday is below but it is not really the perfect version in that it is with wholemeal bread (didn't have any white to hand) and we only had Masterfoods tomato sauce in the cupboard.  But did this stop me tucking in?  No way!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Snippets

 Having a cool beverage on a scorching day, overlooking the water.
 On the way back from a rare trip over the bridge.
 I do love the modern look of STLT HQ, but sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live in a lovely period house like this.
 After nearly two years of leaves, we now have lilies.
Some new kitchen equipment required to make frozen mango lassis.  With the inclusion of white rum, this might be a new summer favourite.

For more Sunday Snippets, have a look at what is going on over here.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Our Creative Spaces

The Roller Rink quilt is progressing.  What I love about this project is that the blocks are very quick to make and I am also trying to chain piece the 2.5 inch squares to further speed up the project.   I have about about 10 blocks more to come from the participants in the Melbourne Modern Quilt Guild "Bee Bold, Bee Brave, Bee Helpful" quilting bee, so will shortly have a few rows worth to start getting a feel for the completed quilt.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Simple Pleasures

There is a lot to think about at the day job - deadline, workloads and restructuring.  I know that I have a lot to be thankful for and there are people with much more serious concerns, but these things do wear you down over time.  To try and stay positive,  at least once a week  I am going to make a conscious effort to think about the small or simple things in life that make me happy.

Today's simple pleasure is doing the word puzzle in the newspaper (yes, the print version).  This is my routine on the way home on the train.  Very simple premise - you are presented with 9 letters and need to make as many words as possible (min. 4 letters each) from these, but all must include the letter in the centre square.  One of these words must contain all nine letters.  For each days puzzle there are three levels - good, very good and excellent and the number of words you need to achieve these differs, depending on the degree of difficulty.  A great end to my day is achieving a word count over the "good" level and nutting out the nine letter word.  Today was one of those days and it put a spring in my step all the way home from the train station.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lighten up

We are due for a bit of electrical maintenance at STLT HQ; nothing serious, more fixing up a few things that we have come across as part of the process of living in the house for nearly two years (can you believe it?) and working out what works and what doesn't.  So we have been in touch with Sparky Dave to come and sort our very little list (nod to the Mikado) of jobs.  I never thought I would say this but we need more power points in the study.  Four double power points is not enough!  Well it would be if one were positioned closer to the sewing machine, but the final layout of the room has only emerged over the last year.  One of the other numerous jobs is to put up a light where our cookbooks are shelved as there are no LED ceiling lights at the periphery of the room.  Stos found this gorgeous wall sconce on eBay and while I didn't like the photo as much as he did, I thought for the price it would do.  However, on seeing it after it arrived today, I love it and can't wait to get it installed, even if it's just for show.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Snippets

Just back from a weekend away with lovely friends.  A bit of eating, drinking and shopping in Bendigo and surrounds but sadly it's over and we are back to work tomorrow.
 What a lovely way to start your morning.
The beautiful conservatory at Bendigo.
Enjoying dinner at the Enoteca Dispensary.
A weekend away isn't complete without a cocktail.
Look at the beautiful Art Nouveau lettering at this former bank in Kyneton.
Part of the haul from the inevitable stops at antique and secondhand dealers.

Look for more Sunday Snippets over here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sunday Snippets

I think I might have just made the deadline.  What a week!  Trying hard to be good after a lot of eating out with friends and family over the last few days, only to do it again next weekend   

             Photos never do justice to a rainbow.              
         Hard to believe that this lovely restaurant is just minutes away from          the urban sprawl.                                      
         We have really given Mexican food a good go but it just doesn't do it          for us.                                                  
                     It's the simple things that make us happiest.                                                
                  He knew I couldn't wait for this to hit our TV screens.

Hope your week was fun too.  Over to Tinnie Girl for more Snippets.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Time out

Today is the culmination of two great Aussie passions - sport and a day off.  Our horse race is known as the one that stops the nation; well, Melbourne at least.  I have always loved this public holiday - when I was studying, it was an opportunity to take a long weekend and cram for exams, and now it is a sign of the end of the busiest part of the year for the day job.  So unless we have an invitation to a barbecue, it's a great day to sleep in and chill out.  Today I gave the gym a miss but took the girls out for a long walk, visited the smallest nephew and his very chilled out cat.  It was great!
After watching the race and catching up with R & C, we have a quiet night in planned with fish and chips for dinner.  My other job for the day was to put together some of my blocks for the Melbourne Modern Quilt Guild "Bee Bold, Bee Brave, Bee Helpful" Quilting Bee.  It's my turn in November and I have chosen Elizabeth Hartman's Roller Rink quilt as my project.  However, never one to follow a pattern completely, I've gone the scrappy route:
Once made up, the quilt will look much better on the Hans Wenger couch that the rug Stos put there.
I hope you had a winning day as well.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Snippets

It has been a week of ups and downs - worrying about our peeps in New York, relief at getting to the finish line at the day job and hosting some junior members of the family here for a visit.  Looking forward to a well deserved rest on the day that stops the nation.
 A beautiful day down the Tasmanian end of Collins Street.
 A household that got into the spirit of things.
 Something pretty amongst the weeds.
The girls have never been so spoilt for attention.

For other Sunday Snippets, visit Tinnie Girl.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Like a hurricane

This looks really hokey but look what I pulled out from the cupboard tonight while making muesli.
This is a souvenir from New Orleans;  just something you pick up for fun, like a packet of the famous beignet mix.  Who knows, one day I might even make it up. But tonight it made me think of all the family and friends in NYC and on the east coast of the USA who have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy.  Some have had to evacuate as the power and water are off in lower Manhattan; others had to batten down the hatches but sat it out and all is now well.  Two we haven't heard from and hope it is only because their apartment is without power.  We are told that while above 37th Street life is fairly normal, below is dire.  It is so hard to imagine a powerful and vibrant place like New York at a standstill.

So here's to thanking the powers that be that we know most are safe and hoping to hear from J & R soon.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Snippets

 With Stos away last week, it was girls night out every night.
 Another mass of spring colour.
 It looks very James Bond, but just a bit of maintenance - I think?
 Some good news for a family member.
Some pasta, tomatoes, olives and anchovies - simple and fresh is always best.

Hope you all had a great week as well.  Check out what others have been up to over here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sunday Snippets

Sunday Snippets - pictures without words.  Thanks Tinnie Girl for hosting this great series.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Our Creative Spaces

It is the busiest time of the year for the day job but I managed to get this little number finished for a boy born on 1 October.  I'm really happy with the way this turned out.  I'm getting better at the hand stitching in terms of getting the reverse side even and with such a cute animal backing fabric, I know I would want to look at  the back as well as the front.  It's not the end of the baby gifts - there are two more quilts that I need to make before the end of the year and then maybe I can get back on to projects for STLT HQ.  But no Wonky Stars or Cowboys for a while, methinks.
For more creative spaces, head over here.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday Snippets

A big week of music, dining and crafting.

Early morning reflections.
 Antony & the Johnsons performing Swanlights with the MSO.  Wow!
 Gorgeous lilac - only here for a moment
 Output from the Melbourne Modern Quilt Guild Super Sewing Saturday.  The first of this years Bee blocks - this one is for Kellie.
 A sunny spot for a lazy girl.
 A spectacular sunset to close the week.

Thanks to Tinnie Girl for pulling the Snippets together.