Warning: unashamed bragfest

My baby is back …and I am so happy:)

Three weeks of living in a male-dominated household in the middle of winter (everything is worse at night and in winter I think) had sent me into a tailspin and I was missing her so very, very much.

This is the first time we have been apart for more than a week and I felt every day of it.

She and her school friends have returned triumphant from Venice, Vienna, Riga and Montreaux- they are a group of very talented girls and were accompanied by very dedicated staff from school. Three silver medals from the World Choir Games CforC-3[1](these are two of them), a second place in the Summa Cum Laude Festival image1[1], singing in St Mark’s Basilica in Venice 20140702_173314[1](rehearsal in the Square prior to singing in the Basilica) and playing at the Montreaux Jazz Festival 20140715_133221[1]…what a trip it has been for them.

I remember going to an art gallery when I was in school!


(all images copyright)

It’s a foodie revolt

My name is Jenn…and I am not a foodie. Do I need behaviour-modification therapy, are there twelve steps I need to follow to change this ???

I may have been one once, but after 26 years of cooking dinners for family I can’t remember if I was harassed housewife

I am sick of foodies, both my brothers are foodies and don’t they revel in my non-foodiness! The sly digs about my underpreparation (is that a word?) for dinners and teas really gets on my goat. I have the foodie equipment, but I really cannot be bothered using it past the basic functions (I don’t however, have a Thermomix and I will NEVER have one), there are so many things I would rather be doing than spending hours in the kitchen. I’ve done the slow food thing and watched hours of prep. disappear down people’s throats in minutes- it’s not worth it!

My husband would like to think he is a foodie, but honestly, he will eat almost anything and presentation matters little to him when he is serving.

I think this whole business of foodies is a big w..k.

Sure, I enjoy food as much as the next person, but really; waxing lyrical and exchanging recipes is not for me. I guess my Dutch heritage is to blame for this, the work is more important than the eating that disrupts it (it’s a skewed logic, I know!) dutch lunch [Dutch lunch]

I think “Foodiness” is an excuse to overeat. What is wrong with a nice piece of cake and a cuppa at afternoon tea?  tea and cake

I went to my little brother’s house for tea on Sunday, as well as strawberry chocolate cake, there were carrot cupcakes, a large platter of savouries, beer, wine, tea and coffee- all for 6 people! Smells like gluttony to me.

Food%20Snob [My brothers' next presents]


The Food Grinch.

They come in threes…

It’s been a while I know, life has been busy; so this one is just an opportunistic filler.

At 3.00 am this morning my husband rolled over in bed and the bed collapsed (with a loud bang to boot). He made a comment, rolled over again and went back to sleep. I however, have been awake since around 3.00 am. Lying in our broken bed, I thought, “this is ridiculous, I should get up, have breakfast and go to work early”, but I procrastinated and it was around 4.30 when I did eventually get up (hey, it’s winter and coooold). I ate, got dressed and went out to my car…which has a flat battery. I have been away visiting my Mum and apparently my husband knew the battery was flat a few days ago, but now it is my job to sort it out (grrr). I thought, ‘okay, my car has a flat battery, but I’ll take (my son’s) car…wrong! My husband played around with the fuses a couple of weeks ago and the brake lights stopped working (correct- the playing with the fuses, caused the brake lights to not work), this was to be sorted while I was away. Not done, so I couldn’t drive that car either (the grrrs are getting louder). My husband said, that he would take me to work (okay, that was nice of him)… I arrived about 1 1/2 hours after I intended to get here- Unhappy-rage-face[1]

I should have taken the bus :(

Just random stuff

There is a small chain of bookshops in Perth that deals mainly in secondhand merchandise and the one here in Subiaco has started this little idea P1030471, clever hey? I haven’t opened it yet as I am still reading something else, but I am looking forward to uncovering the surprise within. They encouraged me to keep the receipt so it can be changed if I have already read it.

I guess this marks me as somewhat susceptible to packaging :( Advertising doesn’t register much with me, I have a friend who tries everything new and I use her as an info source should I need), but I acknowledge I am a sucker for beautiful or intriguing wrapping. As a younger person, I would keep boxes or bags that marked themselves as different or special (these days it all mostly goes into recycling). My box collection was HUGE and I knew what was in every one. When I was burgled years ago, the police thought the thieves had not bothered going through my stuff as it was all packaged, but I knew they had been through everything; the lids of the boxes were all sitting wrongly :(

And now for something completely different…I spotted this egret sitting on next door’s back dunny roof P1030467, the sun was shining directly at the camera, so the shots aren’t that good, but it wasn’t bothered by how close I got to have a look.  Isn’t it superb? We live 3km from the Perth CBD, but Lake Monger and Herdsman Lake are only a couple of km away in the opposite direction- we are so lucky to have this wildlife around us!  P1030469 For info on what a dunny is, have a look here (although the ones in my suburb are not this rustic!) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunny

Lastly, some sewing.

I made a Burdastyle Esther jacket when I was just learning to sew clothing. PC1_original_large[1] (Burdastyle.com)It is made of very luxe fleece- the best in Perth at the time courtesy of Knitwit in Nedlands. I love the postbox red fabric, but not so much the jacket. Something about it always made it difficult to wear, it didn’t fasten in the front and it is a bit like a long shrug, in that there isn’t enough fabric around the front to have an overlap. I wore it last to see a friend for lunch and all I did was keep fiddling with the wretched thing- what to do?

Well, this is what I did- and it works! P1030463 Two buttons and a doubled-sided loop of fabric and voila, no more fiddling. I also folded the sleeves back as they were ridiculously long. P1030461It will never be a favourite, but now it is much more wearable and I’m happy.

Although it is cold outside, the sun is shining and it looks a beautiful day- I hope you all have a good one :)

The boredom of black

When I left clinical nursing behind, I was looking forward to being out of a uniform. Twenty-five years in various nurses uniforms had taken it’s toll and I was looking to expressing some individuality.

Well, thank goodness I ended up in research! The idea of wearing corporate-wear every day of the week gives me (as my dear Dad used to say) the dry horrors. All that black-ergh womens_business_clothing1

If you have been following this blog,  you can see, I am not a huge fan of black, I much prefer to wear colour and find black drains my appearance so I look tired and old. Although I still work in research, I am periodically called upon to liaise with stakeholders and do need to have some sort of corporate workwear. I tend toward navy for most of it, but I do have a black coat which gets dragged out on cold mornings. Most of the time I feel drab in it and I don’t like the way it shows any fluff that I’ve picked up; I have told myself for the last 5 years that I must do something to brighten it up. I bought a set of ska-inspired check buttons last year, but they have languished in my button jar and not been put to use check buttons but on Saturday, whilst looking for fabric for a Tarzan-themed party (!), I chanced upon a 2m remnant of Chinese silk brocade for $10 at Textile Traders. It is gorgeous and I thought just the thing for brightening up my drab, black coat. I couldn’t wait to get home and start the process :)

I made a new collar based on the existing one, lined it and sewed it over the top; the long edges are bound in the silk and I intend doing the same at the ends of the sleeves as they are starting to look a bit shabby. DSC_0703 DSC_0705 DSC_0704

The effect is luxurious and exotic and gave rise to several positive comments this morning.

I’m baaaack

It’s been a while, I know…my partner and I are both experiencing significant workplace problems and they have really sapped our collective energies; we are both worried about our Mr 20 year-old who seems to be descending into a quagmire of introspection, loneliness and gaming and our daughter is sick, she is on antibiotics and steroids, but methinks it will be a slow path to wellness for her.

All these factors have meant that writing a blog post comes momentarily into my head and then disappears just as quickly.

Anyway, I’m here now, so this post is just random stuff that has been happening, or thought about recently.

Firstly sewing: I had some left over fabric from my ruched t-shirt project and decided I would make a shrug. Inspired by Thornberry’s concoction (http://thornberry.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/flattery-through-imitation-the-shrug), I went mad draping on Sylvia (the dummy) and ended up with this DSC_0671 DSC_0675  DSC_0670

On the whole, I am fairly happy with it, although I am not convinced with the front, the collar ends in points at nipple level, which can look a bit odd; I’m thinking of incorporating it with the side edges.

Our sweet sixteen daughter is going off to Europe in a few weeks time, on a school trip (they never happened like that when I was at school!). So, at her request I have sewn her some shoe bags, she is taking school and choir uniforms and needs the required shoes for those, as well as shoes for walking, dining in etc- that is a lot of shoes!   DSC_0689  She just wanted the bags to be simple, but I thought a bit of applique would mark them as hers and make them a bit more appealing  DSC_0690  – she is happy enough with them… now she just has to get better so she can enjoy travelling as a healthy teenager.

Something else: We have had some strange weather in our corner of the planet; it is officially winter and, although the nights have been cold, we have been having 21-24 degree days- just beautiful (but a bit worrying on the lack of water front). Last weekend, before all the dramas started, we went up to the Hills outside of Perth and visited Mundaring Weir. I grew up with the history of the Weir (more info here, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mundaring_Weir) and the wonderful C.Y. O’Connor (info about him here, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._Y._O%27Connor) who made it’s construction happen; but I am aghast to admit that my children were ignorant of it :( Not any more. We had a lovely day, breathing the fresh air and walking through the bush, as well as walking along the Weir wall and visiting the accompanying outbuildings. DSC_0662 DSC_0665  DSC_0669  DSC_0664 I grew up in the Perth Hills and count myself very fortunate to have done so, it is a beautiful part of the world to have experienced as daily life.