August 2009

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… if you’ll show me yours.

Here is my current workspace (sometimes known as the kitchen table) mid art journal page the other day:


[clicky for biggy, you really want to see some of this!]

I cannot create in a sterile space.  I also find it very difficult to leave white space in my art. (An art teacher commented on this negatively – to which I replied “And which part of BIPOLAR DISORDER are you not understanding?”)

And there must be tea. Lots of tea.

So -how about you? Do you DARE show your workspace in full fling? And do you crave chaotic clutter to create, or seek serenity in your space?  I personally subscribe to at least three of the Guiding Principles of the Institute of Backyard Studies:

  • A big mess in the shed or the backyard is only a problem for those without a clue.guiding-principles.pngguiding-principles.png
  • Reticence, mumbling and disorganisation are the signs of a deep and enquiring mind.
  • Good ideas are precious beyond rubies but if not shared freely are as useless as tits on a bull.

My art spaces and sewing piles are my “shed” .  If you haven’t heard of the Institute before, do go and visit – make sure you check out the youtube of Hoke’s Random Excuse Generator working, it is a Thing Of Beauty.

And in further backyard news… we went and looked at chooks today!!  Hoping to have the run built and the snake (and fox) proof wire costed within this fortnight…

At long last – yesterday was THE DAY for the solar hot water installation!  We’ve had the unit and various boxes for SIX WEEKS but because of bad weather and then we were sick and then the installer was sick – well, it was THE DAY.  Things didn’t start all that well – the Blokes arrived (having driven up from Brisbane) a bit after nine and discovered straight away that VITAL COMPONENTS WERE MISSING.  Oh noes!

Boss Bloke got on the phone to the supplier.  Did I mention the AGONY we had already gone through getting anything done with the supplier?  Because our solar electricity panels were part of a government pilot program, we were assigned to a supplier who had won the government tender.  Had we but known…

The supplier has been just AWFUL to deal with.  At one point they even sent OUR information to another customer in Toowoomba (!!) and we received yet ANOTHER customer’s personal details – bad enough, right?  But add in the phone calls never returned, the forms not sent, yada yada yada… Anyway, we had already ordered the solar hot water system at the same time (last NOVEMBER, can you believe it?!) as the solar electricity, well before we knew what a stuff up they would make of everything.

So we’ve got Offsider Bloke getting down to things and removing the old hot water heater (which we then discovered had been leaking for quite some time..) and removing Lino of Renovations Past and (aha!) mouldy newspapers from 1976.  Which means our hot water heater was 33 years old – no WONDER it was getting sicker and sicker! They have a mean time to failure of about TEN years!

bathroom floor

(Floor is actually still pretty solid – looks worse than it is, and needs a good drying out)

Outside, Boss Bloke is ranting (quite justifiably) at the supplier saying “Vital Parts… you do this to other tradies but you don’t bloody well do it to ME… get it HERE!” and being told that the part was leaving on a courier RIGHT THEN.  (Which turned out to be a LIE on the part of the supplier – what a surprise, eh?)

Long story short – even after spending an hour for lunch and driving round various stores in Toowoomba, the tradies couldn’t get a replacement part.  Obviously made of pure unobtainium, that bit. More angry phone calls, drama, etc… and tradies standing around doing NOTHING  – which as you know, costs $$$.

I phoned the CEO of the supplier and had a rant. The courier still not here – a 90 minute trip had so far taken 6 hours, if we were to believe the supplier. Roadworks? Sure, there are roadworks on the Warrego Highway, but SIX HOURS? I DON’ THINK SO!!

Offsider Bloke is getting increasingly surly as the afternoon wears on… Boss Bloke is fuming but still chatting amicably some of the time… both Mr Beloved and I are EXHAUSTED from dealing with people in our space (and demanding people at that) all day… and at close to 5 pm the courier arrives!!!  YAY!!!

Eventually we get the paperwork sorted, I’m out of pocket a HEAP extra (well, actually, Mum and Dad are in the long run, since they have kindly and generously offered to fund the solar hot water, *mwah* Mum and Dad!) that I am going after the Supplier for.  The invoice from the installer notes that the extra impost is Due to delays caused by non-supply of parts, as discussed with CEO of Supplier.

Boss Bloke and Offsider Bloke finally get away at almost 6 pm.  Mr Beloved and I manage to eat something (hooray for about to be out-of-date filled pasta on sale at the supermarket!) and end up in bed by 7:30 pm. (although Mr B gets up and does his computer and online stuff, which is Good For Him.)

At this point, I am VERY glad that Supplier is so stupid about record keeping and paperwork – you see, THEY HAVE YET TO BILL US FOR THE SOLAR HOT WATER UNIT.  Which means that WE have the winning hand – and if we have to take them to small claims court it will still be worth our while.  Because as I said to the CEO – I can’t afford to have had tradies standing around doing nothing . So he’s bloody well gonna wear that charge.

solar panels

[See the solar panels? The one on the lower part of the roof is the new solar hot water one.  As you can see, it’s quite overcast today, so it will be interesting to see how much hot water we get.  Fortunately the hot water heater also has an electric element and a pump, so we ALWAYS should have hot water…]

what bird

The late afternoon thrill was my very first sighting and identification (thanks to our venerable 1963 edition of Mr Cayley’s What Bird Is That?)of red browed finches in our yard!!  I was lying in bed this morning just replaying the excitement when I realised I suddenly GOT IT – the thing that mad twitchers (birdwatchers) are about.  I’m hoping that today I might be able to get a photo, you really have to see the RED on these teeny birds, and the way they are totally fearless about hopping around in front of you!  (And I think I might have to treat myself to an updated bird book – this one tells me that the Latin name is Ægintha temporalis, but it’s now called Neochmia Temporalis.)

And this morning I also heard the wonderful “mooopmoopmoopmooop” call of the Tawny Frogmouth.  Ahhh! Birdy bliss!

Well, It’s now 10 am, I better get my day started… before I go, here’s some other birdy news: our cockatiel hen, Bolly, is spending all her time in the nesting box, sitting on at least two eggs! She has yet to actually get eggs to hatch (although the last lot did appear to have chick embryos well formed before she gave up on them) but this could be the year we get baby birds…

memory smaller

[click to see a bigger image]

The writing says “I know I am losing my memory… But mostly I forget to worry about it.”

Think it might be a good one to show the psychologist tomorrow, yes?

Do you have ANY IDEA how frustrating it is to constantly read the word “Slip waxed paper in between the pages”… or variants thereof WHEN THERE IS NO WAXED PAPER TO BE HAD ANYWHERE?!!?

Seriously, every bookbinding/journaling technique I am reading now recommends this, and assumes it’s easy to get.


Not a single supermarket in town even STOCKS waxed paper anymore.  You used to be able to buy rolls of it, or packets of precut sheets, but NOOOOOO, not now!  Mr Beloved and I think it’s because those little zip-lock sandwich bags have become ubiquitous.

And no, silicone coated baking paper/”parchment” does NOT work as well.  *sigh*

Can anyone help me in locating and buying some? PLEASE?

lemon butter


Yes, I know too much is BAD FOR YOU (heck, isn’t that what “too MUCH” means?!?!) but there is  NOTHING to compare to home made lemon butter on toast.  Mmmmmmmm.  I used Nigella’s Lemon Curd recipe from How to Eat.  (I don’t know why the names – butter or curd – are interchangeable, but apparently they are.)

This was a recipe that would be utterly UTTERLY perfect if I already had two of my dream things for the house: chooks (for the 4 whole eggs plus 4 yolks) and a lemon tree (for the 4 lemons).  Slowly, slowly, we’ll work towards getting things set up the way we would like.

I have very fond memories of my Mum making lemon butter – I think we must have had a lot of lemons available!   I also remember that Lemon Butter was a good thing to buy at church fetes and street stalls… possibly because it came from people who had chooks +lemon trees.

Oh, and after the first spoonful of the luscious home made version, the remainder of the FOUL store bought version (all citric acid and cornflour, possibly with artifical lemon essence… ewww!) was binned.  We kept the jar (of course!) to use for the next batch…

At least I’ll have an adequate vitamin C intake this week, eh?  The flu symptoms are FINALLY abating (fingers crossed!) – as in, I only wake up coughing a couple of times a night now, and the aches are approaching normal range (underlying fibromyalgia has NOT helped with recovery!).  I was somewhat heartened when watching the V8 supercars racing yesterday to hear a comment that one of the drivers – and bear in mind that these guys are endurance athletes, wrestling their cars around for hours at a time in temperatures often over 40 degrees – anyhow, one of these super-fit guys was still recovering from the flu that had laid him low at the last race meeting a month ago.  And I am NOT an athlete!  Another week off from the gym, though, then I get to start back gently gently…

Oh – and it amused me that the stove was so far out of scale with the lemon person.  Tee hee! I am being Very Good and actually USING my “good” art supplies – there are still a lot of colours in my tin of 30 Caran D’ache Neocolor II watercolour crayons that are untouched, but at least I have used SOME now!

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