Monday 30 December 2013

Sandra Brownlee workshop

a little while ago i mentioned that Sandra Brownlee will be teaching a workshop in South Australia.

while it is a way off yet [October] already three places are taken. Her class at Geelong Forum filled ages ago so it's worth making a commitment soon if you're thinking of attending.

more details here

i will definitely be there...i'm cooking lunches for the class!! but before you think i've leapt into the realm of workshop hosting. no, it isn't me.

Jenni Worth is the brave soul taking bookings. and if you click on her name it will take you to her email address and you can drop her a line. or two.

Thursday 26 December 2013

i made y'all something special for Christmas...

back in January of 2011 i set up a few experiments in order to test a theory about the alchemy of archaeology. the first results were unpacked in the middle of 2012
and now
right at the end of 2013
i've put together a book.

quite a few of you have asked for online classes
but somehow i couldn't yet bring myself to do that
so, being a little old-fashioned, i've written this little book instead.

it contains a technique you can do even in the smallest of apartments
and that i think you will want to do over and over again.

i was thinking about the mould problem that occurs while we wait patiently for bundles to ripen
and about the chewing-and-running-away-with problem that has popped up when certain puppies decide to play
and about how hard it is to wait
we secure our bundles in such a way that they look so gorgeous we will be able to resist
and the good thing is that this process produces brighter results from those delicate anthocyanin-rich leaves

stuff, steep + store
is 48 pages, 10 x 8 inches so it fits easily in a bag
costs a good deal less than it does to attend a workshop and you can read it in the bath.

Tuesday 24 December 2013

renew and re-use

as y'all know i'm a firm believer in using things that are tried and true rather than buying new stuff - with the exception of underpants. nothing will induce me to wear second-hand bloomers.

so when my son discovered a 1967 Landrover for sale i pricked up my ears. for expeditions to the bush i'm much happier in something that can be fixed with a piece of no.8 wire than something that requires its computer to be reprogrammed if the battery has gone flat.

rumour has it 90% of Landrovers ever built are still on the road; like the original VW they're a good basic piece of kit.[and yes i AM aware that some people think they need constant repair. i'm of the view that good maintenance and respectful use contribute substantially toward vehicle longevity]
so let me introduce Edgar

named for the late writer [and former Anglican monk] Edgar Woods Castle
gorgeous, gaunt, tall and snowy haired,

who used to greet me in the main street of Mount Pleasant with
"darling... how are you!"
and then pronounce to any hapless passer by "i've been in love with this woman for thirty years!"

a slight chronological exaggeration
but most warming to the heart
especially as his voice was rich and deep [imagine Leonard Cohen with a British accent]
i miss him.
[i missed his funeral too, by one day, returning too late from goodness knows where]

Edgar the Landrover's engine has just such a comforting rumble
and i bet Pa would be pleased...he had a soft spot for old Landrovers

Saturday 21 December 2013

PayPal SchmayPal

after a phone call, six emails and hours spent searching for documents, copying them and uploading them to PayPal i am apparently still under suspicion. even though my account page says i have complied.

perhaps they think my whirled-wandering involves training people in nefarious activities [note the bit about "politically exposed persons". i rarely expose myself, preferring to dress [as my children put it] in things that resemble small Bedouin tents and if i did expose myself, it would not be to politicians. so there.

or maybe they want blood? DNA? perhaps my grandmother's left index finger? that last one could be tricky, she was buried in 1987. and i'm not sure i want to disturb her slumbers. and my other grandmother was cremated and later sprinkled around the farm dam. maybe i could scrape up a soil sample?

clearly i was not cut out to be a shopkeeper and it is just as well this has happened now, and not when i eventually launch the promised limited edition publication as it would have made a right dog's breakfast of the distribution process. [thank you, those of you who have suggested other means of accepting payments, i am exploring possibilities]

meanwhile i'm going back to the sewing room. it's nice and quiet there.

wishing merry everything, good health, abundance and happiness to y'all....and if anyone still wants to buy anything i have made [via the interpixies, that is] FarFetch is presently your only option.

Thursday 19 December 2013

the trouble with my name

i have had trouble with my name from time to time
especially when it comes to email
which is why i changed it to appaloosa rather than using
mail AT indiaflint DOT com

because things with india in them do bounce back
and people like spotty ponies better, it seems
i suppose it could be worse.
nigeria, for example

but this morning's advice from PayPal
that they were investigating me for money-laundering
due to the sudden inflow of $ [thank you, those kind people who opted to purchase a scarf!]
took the cake

today i am posting the scarves for those kind and quick people who paid before they closed the gate
[though apparently i have to await an investigation before PayPal will pay me]
but any further interest will have to rest on ice

and given today's weather forecast promises 43 degrees C
...that's  109.4    on the scale of F major
ice may be a good thing.

Wednesday 18 December 2013

like wearing a watercolour

i was so excited to be at home
and unpacking a pot just for me
that i completely forgot to take pix of the cooked bundles
they were rather luscious, if i say it myself

i love dyeing SilkyMerino. it takes colour so very well
and it feels so delicious and buttery soft when worn
[i really need to do a dance commission again, just to show the whirled what a versatile fabric it is]

anyway the three presents have been packed up and will go to the Post Office tomorrow
[for some reason i cannot face driving into the village today and there are too many flies for walking to be fun]
which leaves a limited edition of SilkyMerino loop scarves available for purchase.
i'll make it lucky dip as the colours are "of consistent variety" throughout.

there are a couple on which i only used Eucalyptus cineria
that look like this

but mostly they are variations on this theme

i'm notorious for dropping scarves and from a small child was always concerned NOT to emulate Isadora Duncan so i like my scarves not to fall off.

these are 50cm x 70cm [which would be 140cm if opened out].

wear them slung once as a neck ornament
wrapped twice for a lovely loose twisted scarf
or three times around to keep out a good ice storm

you can even flip a loop over your ears in a pinch
and it's like wearing a watercolour painting

anyway if you think you might like one, simply email me here
[making sure your return email address is correctly typed please]
and we shall discuss how you might cross the gypsy's palm with silver...

to see Sidnee Snell wearing a slightly wider version [70cm x 70cm] please pop over here to my website

Saturday 14 December 2013

fabulous chia smoothie

it's lovely being home for a bit
enjoying this glorious summer of much content[ment]*

i am rebuilding my relationship with the whizzBizzer
[NO this is not a personal titillation device, it is the name i give to the thing in which solids are placed and then liquified/made fluffy]
and back to having my standard summer breakfast : a smoothie

the smoothie has as many variations as there are plant-dye possibilities
so is the perfect breakfast for a Sagittarian

this morning i experimented by leaving my chia seeds soaking in water
whilst i went for the early morning totter
and being organised paid off, as by the time i'd returned
the seeds and water looked like a lovely jellyish cup of frogspawn. yum.

and when i whizzed up today's ingredients :

mango, banana, yoghurt, pineapple juice, ice, honey, two big spinach leaves + grey-jelly-seeds

the mix turned into a wonderful wobbly fluffy mess that needed eating with a spoon rather than slurping from a cup. with the added bonus that the seeds didn't stick in my teeth.

next i think i will do what my gorgeous friend Claudia does
and make chia bubble tea

oh and a word of caution. yesterday i used raspberries with spinach leaves. tasted lovely but looked as though the mix had been through a cat with tummy troubles. not something you'd want to serve your beloved....

*sorry, Bill [Shakespeare, that is].

Friday 13 December 2013

and the winner is

thirty years ago today i was with my beloved great-aunt Rose
taking part in the Feast of Santa Lucia
with the Swedish expat community in Paris

it was a wonderful evening as we processed through the streets
carrying candles through the snow
led by a group of girls wearing crowns of lighted candles
their hair protected by alfoil
their long white dresses made from sheets
worn over sturdy cold-weather gear

in some parts of Europe it is traditional to mark Santa Lucia's Eve by setting small boats afloat
to drift downstream carrying candles
here in Australia in summertime that would be asking for trouble

but you aren't here for reminiscence
you're here to find out who will be receiving a wee package by mail.
Martha decided sleep was more important than pouncing on gum leaves
so i had to use other means

and now, without further ado
the winner from the comments left on the blog is

Madam Shen aka Sheri Ricker

and then we have a winner from FaceBook as well
Tarla Elward

because there were a multitude of private emails
[from people who were having trouble leaving a comment]
i dipped for a winner there as well

Brece Hunnicutt

i think i have postal addresses for Tarla and Brece, but Sheri if you could sling me a line via the contact page on my website
and tell me your address

i shall get myself organised for a visit to the Post Office on Monday!

thank you all for joining in and leaving lots of helpful comments. there's much fodder for thought...

Wednesday 11 December 2013

home, sweet home

after a very pleasant class at Fort Bragg
where my host Lolli Jacobsen at Pacific Textile Arts
was very kind to me
where i was housed in a most delightful apartment midst the redwoods
[splendidly designed by its owner Jackie Wollenberg on quarter inch graph paper]

i also had the great good fortune to meet Larry Thomas [thank you Lolli] and visit the studio he shares with his partner Ann Hedges [attending a workshop with him is on my bucket list] 

i motored south on the coast road

[would have loved to stay for the snow, but i had a plane to catch]
...there was pretty ice building on the pond as i left.

someone had echoed my thoughts concerning that lovely city by the bay
on the walls of one of the old forts in the Marin Headlands

it's always a little hard to leave
the flight across the big pond
is easiest if you take the option of landing in Brisbane [as opposed to Sydney]
it comes in at the civilized hour of 8am
gliding in over azure waters and sandy islands
and then you have the bonus of a lovely flight across the middle of our beautiful continent

and so to home
to family and friends
and the scent of eucalyptus

goodness me, the piggies are big girls now!

peaches are their favourite vegetables

peacocks have taken over the pizza oven as their roost.
[that may change at the conclusion of the fire ban season]

our sleepy local town has discovered yarn-bombing
[a mere nine years or so after the rest of the whirled]

and now, having unpacked
washed my clothes in rainwater [such bliss not to have to smell of chlorine]
enjoyed a couple of early morning walks under crystal skies
it's time to get back to work.

i think i have a bit of sewing to do...


and you have two days left to enter the draw
Friday 13th is going to be lucky for someone

Friday 6 December 2013

brought to you by infinicam ARP-6082

it's been most heartening to read the comments on the previous post
as well as those over on my FarceBook page
[for those who haven't yet dipped a toe into the water, you have until December 13 to do so]
all of which encourage me to keep poking at the keypad
in the hope that words will form and flock together

i managed to create order from chaos +
restrain my belongings sufficiently to allow them passage on a plane
leaving Portland behind
where i had enjoyed not only the precious gift of time
[you'll find some of the results here, beautifully documented by my friend Christi]
but also enjoyed a life very different to the one i lead at home
where everything other than the post office is at least 30 minutes away by car
which encompassed
walking to the store to buy food
having frequent dinners with friends [and cooking for them at mine]
and wandering Portland on foot [fabulous bridges and more of them than you can point a forked stick at]

and now
via two blissful nights in San Francisco
[you really appreciate a queen sized bed when you have slept for six weeks in a single where your feet hang over the end]

i wandered to a favourite hill
found a heart in my pocket [thank you Sandra]

and hung it on a tree
[the one in the middle of the first photo]

a little later i wrote a poem about it
other people have left hearts not far away too

and my friend r tells me that Tony Bennett
was in SF just last week
eating [but not singing] at his favourite restaurant
that's ok
i sang it for myself.
and another one for the heart.

i gathered leaves
at a place where i know i will always find them

wandered down to Aquatic Park
had a quiet talk with some stones i know there

and left them to the incoming tide

yesterday morning i reluctantly gathered my bits again
picked up a rental car
and motored northwards

on the way i met a man
tall, sturdy, silent type.

i liked his kitbag
[that nice boy over at Whipping+Post makes a similar one]

i stopped at a railway line
to collect dogspikes for the class

made a silly self pawtrait
and kept on going
until i reached the ocean

i have arrived in Fort Bragg for the ultimate class of the year
[please see definition '1' here if confused by that pronouncement]
slept encircled by redwoods
where i am now consuming a most excellent breakfast

a salad of organically grown mixed leaves
smoked wild caught salmon
chopped green onions
a tomato
a handful of pepitas
dressed with greek yoghurt
hot sauce

washed down with black coffee

and now it's time to go to work!

Wednesday 4 December 2013

the giving season

tis the season of twinkling lights and of giving
and i am well content
in a place that is dear to my heart

i am announcing a give-away to kindly followers of this blog

you have until December 13
to comment telling me what you would most like to read about here
and share this post via your blog [if you have one] or some other social medium [if you participate in such things]

i will write your names on windfallen eucalyptus leaves
toss them in the air
and ask Miss Martha to choose one at random

i think she will like that game

a similar give-away is running on FaceBook
that gives you two chances!

Thursday 28 November 2013

giving thanks

giving thanks for things

thank you for all the friendly emails from folks who assure me that they do like to swing by this sometimes vacant lot in the hope of a story and for the kind words they leave in return

giving thanks for kind friends who have loaned me a baritone saxophone for the rest of my stay here in Portland

though the squirrels in the ceiling are not impressed.

giving thanks that i had done my yoga on Sunday morning
so that when i was affected by gravity on these stairs

and landed suddenly at the bottom
bent the wrong way and with my head making contact with the door jamb
i was properly flexible and nothing broke. not even the spectacles that fell out of my pocket

also thankful that i had a bag of frozen leaves in the ice-box
[frozen leaves make a much better ice-pack than frozen peas]

i think it was the Dogs Above telling me
slow down
look before you leap in
a timely reminder that we are really about as durable as a splash in the river

giving thanks, too, that i will be going home at the end of next week
home where my folks are
home to a long-overdue reality check
where my chillun will poke me if i get too full of myself
where my cat will [i hope] leap on to my suitcase
and glare at me, defying me to touch it [the suitcase, not the cat. she will require pats]
and where i can go and sit down in a paddock at sunset
knowing that sooner or later
a certain chocolate coloured someone with big feet will wander up behind me
blow warm grassy breath down my neck
and then rest her big velvet muzzle on my head

it will be summer
and warm
and i am going to spend most of it in this dress
that i have worn so much, the cloth along the seams was disintegrating

it is cotton, the kind that is fuzzy inside
bought for a song from a purveyor of remnants
because it was stained. [chuckles]
so after mending
and before dyeing

i drew on it with remnants from the kitchen

a turkey baster is useful for writing
[and for transferring indigo if you are attempting to emulate Hiroyuki Shindo's pool-dyeing methods]
and you can make moonstones
i love moonstones

even the ones that don't last

the dress turned out rather nicely
with a pleasant contrast between the SilkyMerino repairs, the silk stitching
and the worn cotton background

even the interior is nice [above and below], so it is now reversible as well

i dyed some cloth for labels in the same pot
ready to stitch with my name and a numerical code
that identifies the garment. something to do on the long plane ride.

the traditional Japanese saying "never throw away a piece of cloth big enough to wrap three beans" translated here to "use the little leftover bits for labels"


and before you ask
i have no idea what made that mauve

words of wisdom
found at Imogene and Willie

i'm taking that one to heart.

Happy Thanksgiving.