Friday Poem: Synchronous

I am in Canberra (Canbrrr), our national capital, hanging out with three cats and far better internet connection than I am used to at home. Since I have to walk anywhere I want to go, I’ve been paying keener attention to the weather forecast than I usually do. I don’t mind cold, but I like getting wet about as much as the average cat does.IMG_4823 (Large)

Checked Canberra weather
Late afternoon
Late autumn
11 degrees and fine.

On a whim
Checked Aberdeen weather
Late evening
Late spring
11 degrees and fine.

For Canberra-
a stronger breeze.
In Aberdeen
Higher  humidity.

Next day- 1pm Canberra
12 degrees, cloudy;
8pm Aberdeen
12 degrees and cloudy.

The fact remains
– almost the same.across the Wishkah (Large)

If you’ve read much of my blog before, you’ll know we visited Aberdeen Washington a few years ago. This is the now famous Wishkah River, she of the muddy banks. Although Aberdeen is famous for rain, what I remember is a blue summer sky (it was mid August). Aberdeen is 46.9 degrees North, while Canberra is 35.3 degrees south – I guess Aberdeen being on the coast accounts for it’s milder (and wetter) climate.evening galahs (Large)

In a month or so, the weather north and south will be wildly different (presumably!). Today we had sunshine, although the temperature only reached 16 C. These young galahs were enjoying the last warmth of the day, and providing me with a fine photo opportunity as well.

Creativity:Making a Book

I’m having a very quiet time in Canberra (or Canbrrr as I like to call it at the moment) with just my daughter’s three cats for company. With few distractions, the plan is to get on with some creative pursuits, and I packed accordingly. One of my projects is to make some more books, using the skills I learned from Adele Outteridge at Grampians Texture in March of this year. I had prepared the paper and card at home, making use of my guillotine to cut recycled paper packaging to size.IMG_4783 (Large)

All I had to do was fold and assemble the papers into sections before making the holes and then stitching them together.IMG_4789 (Large)

I used part of a paper bag as an end-paper at the front of my book. The bull dog clips are holding the freshly pasted layers together while they dry. I added a couple of stickers to complement the stamp already there.  IMG_4820 (Large)


I didn’t use an end paper at the back, partly because of the tape and sticker there from it’s previous incarnation as packaging, which I like the look of. I pasted on the disk, which was backing from the gold circle inside the front – which was itself  a leftover from an envelope seal…IMG_4818 (Large)

This page is a little short, a piece of the paper bag. I decided to turn it and the next page (heavy kraft paper from wrapping) into a pocket in which to store things like the business card you see peeping out. It’s from a business wittily called KimoYes, which is nearby. I used a glue stick along the two edges, and reinforced with staples.IMG_4817 (Large)

I’ve pasted a piece of handmade paper onto the front cover. The book is still a work in progress, but the basic structure is now in place.IMG_4793 (Large)

As it’s to be a sort of record of my stay, I’ve started to add some inspiring content. I found an appropriately worded horoscope and highlighted the bits I liked, then wrote those same words on the opposite page. For the record, I read another one for this same week that said I might be too broke to go anywhere and should just stay home!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Broken

The photography challenge for this week is to portray something ‘Broken’, a topic that struck a chord with Mike Hardisty! My choices are rather more domestic. It was my father-in-laws funeral just over a week ago (although it seems much much longer, what with coming up to Canberra to cat-sit so soon after!). After the service, the beautiful flowers are placed near the reception area, and the mourners are invited to take one (or a handful) as a memento. Otherwise they are discarded. I chose some orchids (he used to grow lots of them), delphiniums, leucadendrons and roses.

We were only home for a day before packing up for Canberra, where I will be for 3 weeks. It seemed a shame to leave the little bouquet, so I propped it, vase and all, in the boot of the car with everything else. And that is why it is a little bit broken in places – but still beautiful.

broken boots As are these sparkly punky pink boots I bought for Juni in an op shop/thrift store. They are probably still a bit big for her, but she loves to stomp around in them, resulting in some wear and tear in their shiny awesomeness.

Friday Poem: Driving Home

Technically, we weren’t driving home, at least, not to our home. We got up early and crammed in the car with Matt, Zoe and Juniper and two weeks of luggage, and drove all the way to Sydney Airport – after which we were to bring their car back to their place in Canberra.

With no map, and a vague notion of where to go…it was a longer trip back than it might have been.adventure (Large)

A long road
Too long
The scenic route

Late sun
Interminable rain
A mighty rainbow
Tracks us across
The hills

An hour and more later
In the limpid twilight
We are
Driving home.IMG_4738 (Large)

We made a few stops along the way, for coffee and to stretch our legs, and it didn’t rain all of the way.IMG_4748 (Large)

We got back after dark, to three hungry cats – my charges and companions for the time the family is visiting Perth. No more long drives until I go home to Victoria!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Enveloped

Photography Challenge of the week – to portray “Enveloped”. It is, as ever open to interpretation, and that is where the fun lies – coming up with something oneself, and also seeing what others have done with the idea!

Here we have my vintage overcoat, fresh from the cleaners and ready to envelop me against the cold, one of my darling old embroidered pillowcases (which envelopes my pillow), and some ripe red tomatoes, enveloped in a plastic box, a superfluous piece of modern excess packaging. IMG_4630 (Large)

Finally, my five kids, all adults now (how did that happen?), together for a few hours after their Grandpa’s funeral service yesterday, and enveloped in family love.

Friday Poem: Sweetie

I guess this saccharine ode to a sweetheart is an appropriate follow up to last weeks poem about an old fellow’s love affair with cakes and slices…maybe a bit too much sugar, but totally worth it!sweet things

Hey sugar-face freckles
Your hair in the sunshine is like cotton candy
And your skin smells like
Burnt sugar and ripe peaches,
Peaches and cream in your cheeks.
Oh cup-cake, I could eat you up
Right now,
My honey sweetheart sugar-pie;
Cross my heart and hope to die:

Pass me that lemon –
My blood sugar is too high.sweet

The sweet cup-cakey image at the top is from an afternoon tea at Ararat Regional Art Gallery last year.  The second is a mismatched cup and saucer from my collection. Odd pieces are easier to find than pairs, and it’s fun to find which ones ‘belong’ together. Finally, a rose, because a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, as Romeo remarked. I’m sure if he knew of cotton-candy, he would have compared it to Juliette’s hair!sweet rose

Creativity: Escape XXII

. My father-in-law has died, 6 1/2 months after his wife, as often happens with couples who have been together for a long time – they had almost 66 years of marriage. He was in his 89th year, and in a state of health that makes it a blessing to quietly slip away from this life. However, there are extra things to do and think about, so this is just a quick post this week – one page of my altered book, “Escape”.Escape III (Large)The original text was obscured with a mix of three colours of acrylic paint. This is ordinary household paint – leftovers and sample pots – I believe in using what I already have whenever possible. My ‘note-to-self’ was written first in purple, with a narrow tip, and then redone with black, for a lively style of lettering. I believe that’s a pleasure-fairy in the top right-hand corner. I do get very frustrated at times when I don’t get enough time for working on/playing with my bright ideas- I need those days Home Alone to read, draw, sew or whatever it is this week! Sometimes putting it all off is inevitable – life gets in the way – but I know there are other days coming when I can catch up on myself and create something.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Forces of Nature

Another week, another challenge to photographers – this time we are asked for photos that portray Forces of Nature, whether they be seedlings popping out of the ground, or windstorms, or waterfalls, or….

On the left is Mt St Helens, thirty or so years after she blew her top and flattened everything for miles around – you can see it’s still quite bare of trees, but on Johnson’s Ridge, where we were in August 2011, wildflowers were blooming in profusion, contrasting forces of nature both monumental and minuscule.

In my own garden in the past week, my Alexander rose was bearing one beautiful bloom, which I was hoping to pick for my mother on Sunday (Mother’s Day). Unfortunately for my plan, we had a day or two of severe winds, which scattered most of  the brilliant vermilion petals of Alexander all around the garden, leaving a very sad remnant of a rose on the bush.

Friday Poem: Cake Man

I know nothing about this man, apart from what is in this poem. I wish I did – I’d like to know his story. Is he recently widowed, with no one to cook for him anymore – and did his late wife never let him have cake? Maybe he knows his days are numbered, and he’s eating cake while he can. If I ever find out, I’ll be sure and let you know…tea tray

An old guy
with a beard
somewhere between  hipster
and Santa
A peaked cap
on his old white head
In his 70’s
maybe 80’s
Hard to say
Looks pretty skinny
under his khaki jacket.

It’s the third time I’ve seen him
in here
In the bakery cafe.

His order each time –
An assortment of cakes and slices
This time I count seven
There might be eight
Hard to tell
with them all piled up on a plate
like that.

He has a mug of tea
not too hot
Today he has a meat pie
with sauce
which he eats slowly
with a knife and fork.

It’s not all about dessert.

I have to leave
before he gets to the cakes.oct2010 015 (Large)

This isn’t one of his cakes – it’s a dessert taco we invented a few years ago – but you get the idea!DSCF7091 (Large)

I’m an introvert – well over to that side of the scale. I guess that’s why I like the internet, and it’s also a reason for liking sitting on my own in cafes, with a coffee and a notebook (and maybe something sweet) close to hand. Sometimes all I write is lists of things I need to do, but if I’m lucky, and paying attention, I get to glimpse someone else’s life, and take notes.

Creativity: Escape XXI

Escape ISome more pages this week from my altered book “Escape”.

The page on the left has a photo of sunset over the waters of Juan de Fuca Strait, taken in Port Angeles in 2011 – The Trip Of A Lifetime, which I aim to repeat…(The trip, not the lifetime). For a change, the old text is obscured with circular scribbles, apart from the words “live forever”, and sunset-y colours are washed over top. A prose poem is then written over a torn piece of yellow sticker. Variety is the spice of life, and also of altered and scrap books.

The right hand page has a sheet of hand made paper pasted over the text, and then that is painted over in pink with a dash of yellow. In keeping with the Pacific North West theme, I drew and painted pine trees at the top and bottom – the green of the trees matches the paper scrap with a quote of Jack Black on Kurt Cobain (more PNW…). A creativity Quote completes the page, along with a foxy face and a sweet little sticker.

Escape II


I’m getting towards the end of “Escape”, so soon I’ll have to find a new subject for these posts…Stay tuned.