it's about life, my life, quilts, midwifery, and whatever else occurs to me.

20 March 2015

The Aussie alphabet: O is for Opera House

How could O be for anything else?

The Opera House, normally:

Bonus: the Harbour Bridge in the background!

You can see more pictures of it if you click on that link just above, and read about the history, the construction, etc. etc. if you want. Fun fact: the architect - Danish!

The Opera House, during Vivid Sydney 2014:

Photo credit: me.

The building is beautiful and, of course, iconic. Never actually made it to a performance within the walls, but really, that's okay.

Now that I think of it: O can be for one other thing: 

This is an opal in the rough - still embedded in the rock it formed in.

And this is a fire opal ready to be set into a piece of jewelry. These guys are super expensive, when they are solid - (this one isn't, it's on Etsy!) and stunning.

Read all about them here:

04 March 2015

The Rainbow quilt top is done

A little history: This top came from a kit I bought in California about 10 years ago.
The shop was in Fullerton, or somewhere near there. I just fell in love with the colours. Then it sat around for ages while I made other quilts. Finally last year - no, late in 2013 - I got it out and started putting it together. Then I was interrupted by the need to piece and finish a thank-you quilt before we left Oz. While that one was being quilted, I finished this top, minus the borders. I finished the borders working on it for parts of the past 3 days.

I was going to look for someone to quilt it for me, because it's too big to quilt on my home machine. But a shop in the area rents time on long-arm machines and they have a sit-down machine that is a bit less intimidating than the ginormous stand-up ones but that I think is still big enough to do the job. So I'm going to go out there next week and see if I can get started doing it myself. Also plan to put a real label on this one, not just write on it like I usually do.

22 February 2015

The Aussie alphabet: N is for Ned Kelly

Moving on with the Aussie alphabet - I hate to leave projects unfinished! - -

Ned Kelly is the Jesse James of Australia, I guess you could say. He's known as the last of the bushrangers, defined as bandits of the Australian outback ( = bush) who harassed, robbed, annoyed, and sometimes killed the more law-abiding folk around them.

This is Ned, aged about 25, shortly before his death.

Ned was born in 1855 in Victoria, the eldest of 8 children of John and Ellen (Quinn) Kelly. John had been transported from Ireland for pig theft, and married Ellen in 1850 after serving his sentence of 7 years. 

By the time he was 14, Ned had already been in trouble with the authorities, and his chief occupation seems to have been horse theft until he graduated to killing police officers who were trying to apprehend him, and robbing banks. He was declared outlaw in 1878, complete with a price on his head, and finally captured in 1880 in a shootout with police. At this last shootout, he was wearing this suit of homemade armour, now iconic in Australia:

Image from

He was tried for murder, found guilty, and sentenced to death; he was hanged on 11 November 1880. As has happened with other so-called outlaws, there are those who yet view him as a hero struggling against the oppression of the ruling class and their agents, the police. His exploits are now the stuff of legend.

Back in the USA: Austin

I have taken another very long break from writing. Here's what happened since my last post in September last year:

1. My stepson got married on a boat in Hawaii.

2. We packed up our apartment in Brisbane and moved to a temporary rental in Austin, TX.

3. We bought a condo in Austin.

4. We moved into the condo, with our stuff that we packed up (see 2), on Boxing Day 2014, exactly one year to the day from when we were packing up our stuff to move into our rental apartment in Brisbane after selling the house there.

5. Phil started a new job.

6. My brother-in-law died at 71, way too young.

7. We bought a Vespa and took a course on motorcycle safety and management.

8. Phil had knee surgery.

9. I started to learn to knit.

So it's been an eventful almost 6 months.

Today I went to a quilt show at the Austin Convention Centre. I am always in awe of what other people can do with fabric. I took quite a few photos, of the quilts I liked, and they are still on my phone. Later. But my stitching room is set up, and now that most of the fixing-up needed here is done, it's time to get back to it!