quiet days indeed

doll adding the borders finished close up of border

It was a strangely unsettling weekend … terribly grey and oh so very quiet.  Julian’s dad passed away on Sunday afternoon.  Julian was holding his hand and without any drama, Robert’s pulse grew slower and weaker, then vanished altogether.  And that was it.  I’m so glad he was there.  Julian and his brother seem peaceful about their dad’s passing.  He had been sick a long time.  Robert’s wife is heartbroken.  Well of course.

tree trunk adding the blossoms close up

Meanwhile, Abby and I sewed.  Worked on essays and assignments.  Talked about love and death and the expectations we have of life.  We called my Mum.  Told her how glum we were.  How cold and grey and quiet it was.  She hopped in her car and drove on down.  She’ll stay for the week, whilst Julian is away. What an absolute gem of a mother she is.  How we do love her so.

It’s such a peculiar time.  We weren’t close to Robert and there’s no funeral to travel for.  So here we’ll stay, fulfilling all our school and nannying and studying obligations.  We’ll keep calling Julian to hear how he’s doing, remind him how much we love him.

I’m sure it will continue to feel a bit sad and awkward as we await Julian’s homecoming.  Keeping him close to our hearts.

 

friends

at her feet

reading

Abby and Sacha have been friends since they were wee little cuties in Mary Janes and striped school dresses.  From the moment they met, they were kindred spirits.   When we moved to Melbourne, Sacha came too to help Abby settle in.  And she’s been back again and again and again.  We call her our other daughter.

Sometimes, school and teenage busyness takes over and there may be a few weeks between skype sessions and endless texting.  But that never matters.  When the holidays roll around, Sacha is on that plane in a flash and they pick up where they left off.

They spent the first hours of Easter Sunday sprawled out in the front room, a huge pile of picture books between them, reading and sharing and giggling and going goosey all over (Tomie De Paola will do that to you … have you read Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs … oh my!  I’ve gone tingly all over and hot tears have welled up in my eyes just typing the title).  Listening to them was all the pleasure I needed for the day.

Then the scroll saw called from the shed … an environment that strikes me as terribly gloomy, especially on a cool grey day.  But they went prepared with chocolate, blankets, quilts and music …

behind the door

added cosiness

soundtrack

… Abby gave Sacha a crash course in how it all worked.  She picked it up quickly – she’d done woodwork at school in Year 8 – so cool!  And they set to designing and cutting out their toys … in their pyjamas.  Real friends don’t need to get dressed.

concentraing

pyjamas

their toys

Then, armed with advice from the internet about using food colouring for their wood stains – why didn’t I think of this ?!?!?!? – they moved into the laundry where they spent a riotous few hours making watery colours and experimenting.  The results were sweet. Even lovelier – the way these two find so much joy in everything around them.  They are my own little Anne and Diana :-)

testing the food colouring

abby's graeme

sacha kitty

Our lovely week with Nan followed.  Sacha was delighted with everything we did and loved every place we visited.  And having her friend to share it with not only made Abby so happy, but gave her a new appreciation of the beautiful south coast.  Isn’t it funny how things become so much more magical when there’s someone to show it all too.  They swam and played and drew and read and explored and picnicked and watched films with us and ooohed and ahhhed over all the dear little animals.  Bliss!

The drive home from Canberra was an absolute riot.  We left so late – after 8pm – which meant the three hour drive was in the pitch black.  And when you’re driving across the Monaro and down Brown Mountain, it is PITCH BLACK.  But the two in the back kept us in stitches all the way, thanks to “Numbugga”.  Yes, that really is a small village on the South Coast.  Numbugga.  We now have Numbugga tribal chants (with dance steps) and Numbugga Buddhist meditations to add to the family song book.  And a new record for the number of times you can say Numbugga quickly.  Abby can make it to 27.  You try it.  It’s very tricksy :-)

Add to that the diminutive male petrol station attendant in Fyshwick who admired my braids, the two very large men that had crashed their little car into the cliff face on Brown Mountain and were standing forlornly beside it, the Bemboka publican, the copper from Bega, and the helicopter that we swear was circling us on the Princes Highway, and it was a night we will always remember with tears of laughter.  We felt as if we were in a Cohen brothers film.

Now we are only one sleep away from dropping Sacha back at the airport.  How does the last day come so quickly?  :: sigh ::  It’s a shame we can’t keep her!

cream bun sacha and the bun

at blue pool together

But I know that when she returns, they will simply pick up where they left off and wonderful times will be created all over again.

Oh they are such lucky ducks, these two girlies, and how I love them both!

p.s. Sacha wants her own “owl sweater” – ooooooh, how exciting!  I can’t wait to knit it again!

~ loveliness found 12/52 ~

embroidery

 ~ very simple, very sweet and oh so very soothing ~

new friends made

 ~ new friendships were cherished,
endings that arrived so quickly were lamented
& promises were made ~

cafe au lait

~ an early morning prac was rewarded
with a steamy, creamy bowl of coffee in the sun ~

knitting

~ knit, knit, knit, knit, knit … & so with tiny stitches
the jumper surely grows ~

warm bread and butter 

a little bit of essay a little bit of politics

~ the torture of essay writing was relieved
with cups of tea, warm bread & butter,
& frequent checkups on the state of the nation ~

fiddling with fabric

~ just one hour was granted to the cutting of a pattern & fabric
… just one hour, I promise ~

a new pumpkin girl

~ a little girlie wanted her own pumpkin doll …
& so I earned my money needle felting with a small girl at my side …
it’s a hard life ~

saturday morning breakfast

~ ahhhh … saturday morning breakfast … long and slow
… with the essential ingredients ~

asking for a play

~ she gathered her toys, bringing them to my desk one at a time,
hopeful I’d notice … I did,
surely one walk won’t an essay make late ~

favourite books~ a pile of favourites … rescued from the shed … so many waiting to be re-read
once this current rush of assessment has passed … but where to start
… bilgewater? my utmost, utmost favourite of all ~




 

 

 

 

 

 

heidi

Thank you so much, dear folk, for all the lovely words you shared in yesterday’s comments.  I wish I could send every one of you some
May Gibbs goodness & a lily-pillowslip :-)

I am so inspired by your enthusiasm, I’ve added a few more details to the giveaway – your very own copy of Alison Lester’s Magic Beach
to read whilst snuggled up with your pillowslip, & I shall embroider your name – or anyone else’s name that takes your fancy – on the pillowslip & bag.

Remember – you have until Sunday to enter.
I shall draw a name at 8pm Australian Eastern Summer Time & announce it in this week’s
~ loveliness found ~ post.

Thursday mornings are sooooooo good.  No classes.  No predawn departures.  A morning when I can share a lingering pot of tea with Abby … make some pancakes for breakfast … have second coffees with Julian.  Completely spoilt.  I know that for the next 10 weeks I shall really treasure Thursday mornings.

After enjoying such a civilised breakfast this morning, I actually buckled down and finished the chores before picking up a needle or fabric.  That’s extraordinary willpower on my part.  Oh yes … there’s many an afternoon when, with half an hour to go before I need to collect the little girlies, I frantically – ineptly! – squeeze in as many chores as I can and end up racing out of the house cursing my earlier frippery.  But not today.

Thus, it wasn’t until morning tea had come and gone – without tea, because it’s too damn hot – that I sat down with Fraulein Heidi on my lap.  She’d been sitting – headless – on the craft table for more than a week.  It was becoming rather disconcerting.  So a crocheting we went.

That part didn’t take at all long.  The stuffing – a little longer.  Truly, I find stuffing more of an art than sewing, knitting or crocheting.  Dang it’s hard to get it right.  But what took FOREVER was creating Heidi’s face.  It’s such a marvellous thing that needlefelted features can be ripped right off with nary a sign that they had ever been there.  Always makes me think of that skit from Sesame Street – the one with the orange who rolls out of the fruit bowl, the kitchen bench becomes her stage, rubber bands, the dish mop, other bits and pieces become her facial features and then, under a spotlight, she sings opera.  Do you remember that one?  I loved it.

Anyways … back to Heidi’s face.  On went excessively rosy cheeks.  And off they came.  On went multicoloured (I was trying for hazel) eyes.  And off they came.  She had no less than 5 pairs of lips before I settled upon one that didn’t make her look like an alarming ventriloquist’s dummy.  At one point, her eyebrows sat rather smooshily on top of her eyes.  No good. And I tried a felted nose – which made her look like a Muppet.  Her cheeks came in.  Went out.  Moved down.  Back up.  It’s amazing how a few millimetres difference in cheek positioning can be the difference between looking like Abby from “My Family” (and no, that is most certainly not who we named Abby after!  I first met the name Abigail in the brilliant Ruth Park novel – an Australian classic! – “Playing Beattie Bow” – I was completely besotted) and something a little more girlchild like.

Without moments to spare (stolen moments that meant I could only wash half my hair) I quickly plonked a roll of soft, flimsy white linen onto the kitchen table – bought at a thrift store in Richmond for $5 – and worked out the right shape for a petticoat.  It shall have pinch pleats at the front, with wee eidelweiss embroidered around the neck and a fine crocheted lace at the hem.  A buttoned back – the kind that Laura and Mary would have to do up for each other.  These dolls of mine – their heads are so big, I doubt I shall ever make them anything big enough to pull over them without giving the dolls disturbing neurosurgery.  And then I shall make Frida a petticoat too!  And a paper pattern, so that I may do it as many times as I like!  And you could as well!

Of course, the petticoat is the start of Heidi’s layers – there’ll be a wee brown skirt, white puffy blouse and bodice next.  And I’m hanging out for the winter knits – I bought a wee Clover pompom maker the other day and I can’t wait to knit Heidi a beanie with a pompom on top.

‘Twas funny … after snipping up the linen, I had to dash … school pick up, afternoon tea, homework at the kitchen table, cool baths with long chapters of Little House in the Big Woods – in which everytime I mentioned the cold or frost or snow or howling wind, the little girlie flung herself back in the bath, imploring the heavens to grant her the same – little girlie dropped home, Music Festival with big girlie, take-away dinner with Rina … and then, finally, I plonked down on the sofa and there she was.

Fraulein Heidi – sitting in the armchair across from me.  Looking so sweet, I expected her to start talking any moment.  Made me smile.