Books and Writing

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An action shot today!  Yep, despite the low level migraine that’s been bothering me since early last night, I actually got some journalling done today.  (Of course, if you wanna see JOURNALLING, you must go check out Teesha Moore’s most recent posts – I am in AWE, always, of her work.)

One of the things I do when I get into a period of slump and self doubt about my art (dare I even call it that?!) is re-read two fabulous books by Peter H. Reynolds: (Who now has a blog!)

the dot


Both are wonderful stories about overcoming your fear of creating – Vashti’s teacher gets her to just make a mark in art class… and her creativity leaps from there. And Ramon’s drawings are not to his satisfaction, but his sister treasures them and says it doesn’t matter what it was supposed to look like – it looks (x) ISH!

*sigh* Love that.

I’m off to make DOTS. (Speaking of which, you might also like to see Jude at Spirit Cloth’s exploration of dots – really beautiful textiles.)

I started re-reading (for the gazillionth time) The Princess Bride.  (And  you know, I can’t decide if the book is better than the movie, they’re both awesome.)

Then when I got downstairs this morning, I saw this in the news feeds:


A BBC film crew recording a programme in an extinct volcano in Papua New Guinea has discovered a new species of giant woolly rat, a frog with fangs, and around 40 other exotic creatures unknown to science.


(yes, I know there are much bigger rodents around the world.  But sheesh, work with me here, ok?)

(Also – FANGED FROGS?  How freakin’ cool is that?  In a creepy, gawd I don’t ever want to meet one unexpectedly kinda way. Obviously.)

With jodphurs and whip and chair, oh my!

With jodphurs and whip and chair, oh my!

Today Sue and I wrassled our overlockers (sergers for my US readers).


We did have help:


and this one:


I thoroughly recommend both books.  The ABCs of Serging is a great basic book with clear line drawings and great information on the basics. (And since it was published in 1992, reminds me a little too much of the clothes of my misspent youth – frills!!  And MORE FRILLS!  And let’s stiffen those ruffles with FISHING LINE that would catch a marlin, yeah baby!!)

The Easy Guide to Serging Fine Fabrics is exactly the quality we sewing enthusiasts have loved in Taunton’s books: Clear text, informative pictures, and techniques that really lift your sewing out of the ordinary.  (WHY they aren’t reprinting this yet I just don’t know!)

The instructions for making bias tubing in the Fine Fabrics book had us rolling on the floor –  not because they were WRONG in any way (in fact, we’ve both decided that this is THE way to make those tricky little filled cordings) but because Ms Benton instructs that once you have your turner-looperer- thingummy (ok, she used the real name, I don’t have the book in front of me!)


hooked at the end of the tube, you put the circle handle end over one of your thread spool holders and “Back away slowly” to turn the tube through.

“Don’t spook the sergers – they’re skittish beasts!”

“Maybe if we blow in their nostrils and offer them a carrot?!”

“*snort*” (that was me making an unladylike noise after too much giggling, not the sounds of the unruly overlocker!)

ANYWAY, the point is that while we may not be qualified Serger Whisperers yet, we can now at least approach from the correct end and saddle up the beasties.  WIN!!!

And now – I shall tackle threading the upper looper with *drum roll and audible intake of  breath from the crowd* WOOLLY NYLON THREAD.


If I’m not back by sunrise, bury me with my boots on.

As I write we are in the middle of a wonderful fabulous heavy rainstorm.  Ahhhhhhhhhh!  I know this makes me sound like I’m 80 instead of 40, but the relief in my joints when a storm finally arrives is BLISS.

The other cause of happiness: Today a book arrived from my Mum and Dad:

On Food and Cooking - you NEED THIS BOOK!

On Food and Cooking - you NEED THIS BOOK!

I had the first edition – in fact, I have had SEVERAL copies, one I which I gave to my Dad – but somewhere in one of the moves I lost MY copy.  When I was at my brother’s over Christmas I was browsing his copy and remembered how much I enjoyed it – and so Mum and Dad kindly agreed to buy me a new copy.

So now I have the revised edition, with lots more info, I think I may have got the better end of the deal!

The charming and erudite Harold McGee continues to write about food and science – his most recent monthly column can be found at this link or by clicking the “news” tab on his website.

(*giggles* I might add that the book doubles as a handy weight for triceps and biceps work – you need strength to hold this up to read, or your nose will get smashed!)

Falling over at step class: free.

Supports to help heal the injuries: $120

Ankle brace

Ankle brace - not MY ankle, obviously!



An expensive lesson in not pushing myself QUITE so hard quite so fast.

Still feeling quite cross with myself, but I need to keep going.  Pilates class tonight – normally I would do this on Monday mornings, but my ankle and calf were not going ANYWHERE yesterday.

Not much else going on – just about finished reading this:

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective by Kate Summerscale.  Interestingly, the same Great Detective, Mr Whicher, was a key investigator in the case of the Tichborne Claimant – something of a celebrity connection with my home town of Wagga Wagga, NSW!

And now, I’m off to the libary, because I’m about to enter into that most dire of states: I HAVE NOTHING TO READ!! Then to Pilates class… ouch ouch ouch ouch….

it was MAD in Adelaide city today – duh, first day of post-Christmas sales will do that!  I was very restrained (not least because virtually the only sizes left on the sales racks were 8s – even at my THINNEST, under 60kg, I need a 12!)

However, I did treat myself to a new book from my absolute favourite author/illustrator: Shaun Tan.

Shaun Tan is a genius....

Shaun Tan is a genius....

Also grabbed a book for Mr Beloved (which I will also enjoy)

Not quite as nerdy as trainspotters....

Not quite as nerdy as trainspotters....

And Ju tried on some lovely dresses and a gorgeous french lace silver sequinned bolero (but we can MAKE that , and it won’t be $799!! sorry, George Gross!)

And now we’re home again, eating the most GINORMOUS mangoes you’ve ever seen:

  • Mangoes!
  • Mangoes!


    Right – nearly time for dog stick river.  Tomorrow: markets and perhaps some dressmaking.


    Still sick.  Been in bed most of the week.  BORED!! So I must be getting better – although my cough is still quite scary and the aches are undiminished *sigh*

    Also, it’s very very hard to lose weight when all you do is sleep and eat.  Funny that.

    Today was, however, a Good Mail Day: The latest  Quilts Japan; the new Threads, the latest Cloth Paper Scissors – and two patterns from Christine Johnson (the wrap dress, and the princess top/shirred top pattern).

    Read two Charles Stross novels yesterday (Glasshouse and Halting State).  Brilliant sci fi writing – Glass House references one of my faves (The Forever War by Joe Haldeman)  as well as a lot of other sci fi; but don’t even ATTEMPT Halting State unless you’re at least marginally familiar with computer science/A D&D/sysadmin work.  If you have a working knowledge of those, then you’ll love it.

    Also in recent reading: three of the Sir Baldwin de Furneshill series by Michael Jecks – 14th Century murder mysteries; another couple of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s Count Saint Germain series (which is far more an excuse to write about interesting historical periods than blood & gore vampire stuff.)

    No new sex-and- shopping finds – although I am waiting on several on the reserves list at the local library.

    All of which is merely a lead in to showing you this (very rough, he didn’t want me to post it!) cartoon by Mr Beloved about my reading habits:

    Click for bigger; the caption reads:

    Chocolate-eating Vampire Quilters in Manolos Go Shopping For Love.

    Yep, I’d read that – would’t you?!