taking stock sept 18 003

Hello there. (I’m waving.) How are things with you? There’s been a lot going on, very little of it blog-worthy, but here are a few bits and bobs that fit into the small, quiet, pretty category.

taking stock sept 18 009

Learning: How to dye material using eucalypt and wattle. My friend the Soup Ninja invited me to join her at a natural dye workshop run by the super-talented Sally Blake, who’s done amazing work for a PhD on the subject. It was a few golden hours of chatting and listening and making something beautiful.

taking stock sept 18 021

Photo by C. Hart

Discovering: This glorious mutant, a pink wattle at the Australian National Botanic Gardens. A bonus of the workshop was a fun tour of the gardens with Ranger Bruce while our fabrics were being dyed. I wish I could hire Bruce every time I visit the gardens. If you asked me to choose between a tour of an ancient European city and a tour of the botanic gardens, I’d honestly have a hard time deciding.


Did you know that a wattle was the first plant to bloom after the bomb fell on Hiroshima? And now every September a group of people in Hiroshima send yellow ribbons to the botanic gardens in commemoration. I got a bit choked up over that.

Wishing: That I could spend days researching, collecting, designing, dyeing and sewing. Maybe in the Christmas holidays. (Looks wistfully at calendar and starts counting days.)

Listening to: Brazilian Lounge. It’s very smooth and charming and delightful, a bit like my friend J’s Brazilian boyfriend.

Eating: A lot of brussels sprouts and celery. I know; it’s weird. I hated both those vegetables as a kid and now I seem to be making up for it. Celery sticks with almond butter spread down the middle are very satisfying in a crunchy yet claggy way.

Watching: The Split on ABC TV. I found it so moving. Nicola Walker really is an outstanding actress.

Also watching: Crazy Rich Asians at the movies. Isn’t everybody? Two hours of visually stunning escapism/fluff was exactly what was needed. I came out of the cinema thinking, “I have to paint everything gold and red. And I need orchids EVERYWHERE!”

Reading: Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend, for the same effect. And I’ve researched every cookie/dessert/snack mentioned in the book. Come Christmas I’ll certainly be baking pineapple tarts and kuih bangkit and coconut love letters.

wattle on denim

Grieving: Every day, quietly and constantly. It’s like being stuck in roadworks. There’s no alternative route. There’s no way out of it. You just have to keep inching forward until one day, hopefully, you get to a clear bit of road. And there endeth the pop psychology lesson for today.

Looking forward to: The Gallery of Small Things, which I haven’t been to yet but am itching to see. It’s six metres by six metres, in what used to be someone’s laundry, and it exhibits exquisite, small objects and paintings by local artists. What a lovely idea!

Fuming over: What someone’s done to the beautiful pink fairytale church that I wrote about here: Year of the/Day of. They’ve stripped the inside. They’ve painted the outside white and put on a roof that doesn’t suit it. They’ve cut down too many trees. They’ve constructed an overblown stone and iron front gate and, WORST of all, they’ve put in an enormous water tank that dwarfs the building and really should have been buried in the ground. But that would have cost money and they’re out to make a quick buck by reselling it fast. Now I have to avert my eyes when I drive past.

Feeling amazed that: Even though the temperature’s still below zero most mornings and there’s been NO rain, the jonquils and snowdrops flowered. And now there are new spring green leaves on trees and shrubs that were just sad sticks last week. Resilience in action; that’s what it is.

Wondering: Whether I’ll make it to the Japanese Gardens at Cowra before all the blossom blows away. Perhaps the weekend after next. Fingers crossed.

Hoping for: A quieter life very soon. I would happily sleep for a hundred years. But for now it’s plod, plod, plod on through the neverendingness of things.

What’s happening in your life?

taking stock sept 18 020