Friday, November 28, 2008

Zen and the Art of Sewing Machine Maintenance

I thought I needed a new sewing machine. For three years I have cursed the Toyota, "should stick to making cars"..etc etc and lots of swearing. I lent it to a friend, it came back missing the foot and has been in storage ever since.

I took it to Donvale to buy a new one/have it serviced/fixed/get a new foot....whatever it would take. Graham gave me a free foot and half an hour's teaching on the practice of presence and patience and correct sewing machine use. I was doing it ALL wrong. When I asked if I could pay him for his tutorial he said "No, I just feel that if people know how to use their machines properly then they will enjoy sewing. Then sewing will be a happy experience."

I took my Toyota home, put it on the table, set about to practice all that my master taught me, experienced the bliss he had promised and found myself humbly apologising to the machine for all the abuse I have so unnecessarily flung in its direction.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Feeling incredibly grateful for the work I get to do; painting cups and drinking tea with sweet Bridget, mama's work (this week especially the making of the advent calendar above ), rehearsing amazing Appalachian songs for 2 gigs in December, helping to organise child care for Rinpoche's retreats next year and then the more intense but but thankfully transformative work that k and I are having to put into our relationship at the moment. Diverse, flexible, creative and shared - text book Sagittarian heaven. I have managed to avoid full time employment pretty much all my adult life much to the chagrin of my family who have always regarded my alternative ways as somewhat worrying. There are times when I have doubted whether it is possible to live a truly simple life and provide a family with all basic needs, particularly early last year. For us, being out of the city definitely helps. I find myself less concerned about material things and more resourceful and content with the environment around me. I'm less concerned about my appearance (although if I had a mirror I may be more so)and what people think of me and my choices. The simplicity of our needs reflects in the work that we are choosing. I feel like we have the freedom to be much more ethically and creatively motivated. I know it's not everyone's idea of a comfortable existence; we certainly go without a great deal of comforts and convenience but I think we are more and more changing our idea of what those things are for us. I don't think we have all the answers and I don't judge anyone for the way they choose to live. I'm simply reflecting on this here life warts and all and it is good.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

That shop

I have just been in here for the first time. I've bought on line many times but nothing better than being in there with all the colours and soft wool - I was in there for ages. Heaven.

I found the book at an op shop on the way. Good old 'Golden Hands'.

Monday, November 17, 2008

makin' and bakin'

And yay verily the bread was good and the people ate of it and were glad. It's REAL good.

Some Christmas crafting has begun and as often happens when I sit down to hand stitch something, my thoughts turned to my Nanna who died when I was three - consequently I have no memory of her save photos and her beautiful wooden sewing box which still contains some of her tools. She crocheted lace doilies and embroidered a multitude of domestic cloths and knitted the pram rug that became my dearly beloved security blanket. at one time I was also in possession of her antique Singer sewing machine and many other gorgeous pieces of jewelry and crockery, her wood glory box (which I still have) and her old German piano. All I can say is, that if the urge to run completely feral across the country over comes you, resist the urge to give away/sell such precious items and consider future selves and generations. I sadly mourn these things despite the logic of having had nowhere to keep them until the wanderlust subsided.

The sewing box is therefore every dear to me and I humbly imagine that a little of Nan has come back through me!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

bread baking

Have been having great success in the sour dough bread making department. Lovely crusty topped loaves; a mix of spelt, rye and rice flour and lots of seeds, made from a thirteen year old leaven of which I now seem to have a great excess (so very happy to share it out along with recipe).

Tonight's dough (above pic) looks as though it may not rise....could it be the cool change? Perhaps one day I will know the great secrets.

On to yoghurt next. It's the farmer's wife within me, begging for expression. "Jam, lemon butter, pumpkin scones, strawberry sponge cake" she whispers. I am at her mercy.

Half an hour later - the baker is pleased to announce that the dough DOES in fact appear to be expanding. Crusty evidence coming soon...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

birthday crown

Stayed up joyously last night to stitch together this little crown for Taj's third birthday. It really needs interfacing between the two layers of felt, but fits well and has a tricky bit at the back where the band continues and extends when the elastic stretches.

Tahli performed miracles with sugar free and gluten free ingredients - a feast that left no child out of its head (where's the fun in that?). Just the usual afternoon exhaustion and record number of jumps on the new trampoline.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What The Sky Gave Us #4

Yesterday afternoon, a very long drive to see a very spectacular many photos trying to capture peach and pale blue, fuschia, burnt orange, silver and gold...this little camera doing its best but not quite true to the actual event. the guy up the beach with tripod and lenses....oh I would love to see what he snapped.

Such a beautiful contrast to the bush; watery, shimmery, soft and vast clear mirror-like expanse. The fishes and the birds and the smell. Beau was ecstatic.

We were pretty happy about it all too.....

Armed with excellent advice from Ms Hen and a small but adequate budget, I am on the hunt for a sewing machine. I have three knitting projects on the go, and a head full of projects to sew before Christmas. Beau's doll and a felt advent calendar being two of them. Can this Sagittarian do it before she gets distracted? Let's see......