Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blogtoberfest Day 31: October Over and Out

Here it is - the last post for October 2012 and the end of Blogtoberfest for this year.  Big thanks to Kat for hosting it.
My copy of Awe-manac arrived in the mail this week.   I'm going to enjoy it's little prompts for inspiration and fun, especially for journal writing. One of the suggestions for this week was to write a poem where each line begins with letters in order of the word OCTOBER. So just for fun, and without much thought or care, I came up with these three:

Once only ever
There be
One of me so why not
Be the best me I can be
Remember this!

Once the roses
Come into their first bloom of Spring
There will be new dreams.
Ones where
Beauty inspires.
Even when it is

Once more I
Check the letterbox.
There's no mail yet
On Mondays its really late
But that never stops me
Expecting that the mailman's
Routine just might have changed.

Happy Halloween!  Happy All Saints Eve! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Blogtoberfest Day 28: Sunday Snippets

{sunday snippets} A collection of photos from your week. No need for words. Let the pictures tell your story.  Joining in with Cathy and others here

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blogtoberfest Day 25: the start that wasnt

Today is the beginning of the big challenge I have set myself - to make 60 garments in 60 days.  I didnt say in yesterdays post, that most of these will be for sale in my  shop.  Anyway, today I have done no sewing.  That is zip, zilch, zero.  Not a stitch. Not a good way to start. I've been house cleaning, grocery shopping, going to the Post Office, cooking and other boorrring things like that.  Guess it all has to get done sometime. But I do have something to show you.  I found the above pattern in a few different sizes in various Etsy stores and I have ordered them.  Most of them are already on their way here (they were shipped today) Such prompt service, yay!  Cant wait til they get here.  Apart from being super cute and summery, this is a good pattern because it has adjustable straps.  It seems to be tricky to get the fit of pants or shorts right because more measurements are needed than just waist and hips - there is the length of the body to consider.  And we all know what happens when there is not enough length in the body - them pants go creepin right up were they ought not go. -- or conversely, when there is too much length.  Anyway, adjustable shoulder straps should fix this little drama.  I'm picturing them made up in a light weight denim with liberty like floral print pockets. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Blogtoberfest Day 24: 60 in 60

Tomorrow is the 25th, so just two months until Christmas.  It will go fast, I'm sure.  One of the things I've decided that will help make this last part of the year enjoyable and manageable for me is to keep focused and be productive. To have a goal to work towards.  A goal that allows me to celebrate achievements along the way.  In that vein then, I have set myself a stretching challenge: to make 60 garments in 60 days.  It will be a big ask.  I already have events and days committed to other things, so it will be more than a garment a day on some days.  I was going to make it 50 in 60 days, knowing that would be challenging enough but then thought, what the heck, why not set myself something that would have me reaching hard to make it.  So what if I need to burn the midnight oil on one or two occasions. And so what if I dont make it - I'm going to have fun trying. And if I do manage to pull it off, I'll be over the moon!  So tomorrow is Day 1
What about you?  What does your ride til Christmas look like?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Octoberfest Day 23: Gluten free Carrot Cake

Yesterday was my brother's birthday and even though we couldnt be together to celebrate I decided we would have curried prawns and birthday cake for dinner last night, in his honour.  I think, hope, he would have approved.  He is remembered with such joy and sadness.
It is the second time I have made this gluten free carrot cake and it is a sure winner. It is light, moist and tasty.  The first time I made it I put a cream cheese topping on it but I didnt have any on hand and truly, the cake needs nothing else.  Having said that, though, I really enjoy the spices in this cake and wonder what the addition of ginger would be like.  Think I'll try that next time, if I remember
here is the recipe:

Gluten Free Carrot and Walnut Cake
200g (2 cups) walnuts
2/3 cup gluten free plain flour
6 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon natural vanilla
1 and a quarter cups castor sugar
2 large organic carrots, finely grated (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon mixed spice

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celscius
2. Grease a 24cm ring or Bundt tin
3. Process the nuts and flour in a food processor until the nuts are finely ground. add the mixed spice and baking powder and pulse until incorporated into the flour/nut mix
4. in a large bowl beat the egg yolks, vailla and sugar until lighter in colour then stir in the carrot and mix well.  Add the nut/flour mix and combine well.
5. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold half the beaten egg whites into cake mix. when incorporated add the other half of the beaten egg whites.
6. Pour batter into prepared tin. Bake for 45 minutes until evenly browned and inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow the cake to firm up in tin for at least 20 minutes before turning out.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Blogtoberfest Day 22: Spare Room Makeover

The spare room has been the last room to be sorted since moving into this house in August.  Just a short while ago, it looked like this (above).  The last remaining boxes waiting to be unpacked and things out of already unpacked boxes still needing a home strewn all over the room. Two weekends ago I got stuck in to this room and found places for all of the stray objects in there so as to finally get rid of any packing boxes. Last week I whipped up a couple of cushions for the bed and put together the IKEA light. I put some Charley Harper prints from a calender into frames, made the bed, put books in the shelves and found some zingy decorations.  My fave is the little floating penguins.  Anyway, now the room looks like this.  All ready for our first guest.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Blogtoberfest Day 21: Sunday Snippets

{sunday snippets} A collection of photos from your week. No need for words. Let the pictures tell your story.  Joining in with Tinniegirl and others here

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Blogtoberfest Day 20: Grateful for...

I'm not much of a gardener.  I have fits and starts. Make a big effort and then dont keep it up.  And I dont really know much about what I am doing. I've had a go at establishing a garden from scratch. It was hard work.  It didnt look the way I wanted it to.  The trees were going to take years before we could enjoy sitting under them. So this week I am really grateful to now live in a house with an established garden. As the weather warms up the shady trees will be even more appreciated.  A grapevine covering a trellis is going to be a lovely cool spot in summer.  When we moved in the camellias and azaleas were a picture.  The mandarin tree was loaded and the rhubarb was just waiting to be made into crumble. The roses had just been pruned. Now three months later they are beginning to flower.  I'm loving the surprise of finding out what colour each one is. New things keep appearing or flowering.  I was very excited to discover a number of varieties of bearded irises.  Many of the trees, vines, hedges, flowers  take years to establish so I marvel and am very grateful

Playing along with 52 Weeks of Grateful
hosted by Maxabella Loves

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Blogtoberfest Day 16: New

I have gone on thinking about my Spring Manifesto, using my morning pages of writing to explore this further. Thinking about it while walking with Billie.  It is beginning to take some shape and I am really enjoying thinking about how I can make this last quarter of the year fulfilling, enjoyable, fun, profitable, manageable. More thinking is yet required on this. What I am really clear about though, is just how good it is to have the chance to begin again.  To start over and over again.  With new hopes, new intentions, new goals, new practices.  Like pressing the refresh button at the top of my screen.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Blogtoberfest: Spring Manifesto

Kat's post today about creating a Spring Manifesto really resonated with me.  She says
Regardless of the hemisphere you're in, I suspect you'd agree that it's a slippery slope to the holiday season from here. The rest of 2012 is about to disappear into a whirlpool of end-of-year concerts, final reports, gift buying and family politics (er, I mean, "quality time"). is a wonderful time to think about what you would like to invite into your life as the calendar year draws to a close.
I always find Spring bittersweet.  I cant forget that summer is just around the corner.   Years of living on a farm where summers are hot and dry, pesky flies abound in the day, mosquitoes at night  and the everpresent fear of bushfires always looming on the horizon have left their mark.  I dont like Christmas either and summer means Christmas.  This dislike of Christmas has to do with grief and not having family around.  I no longer live on a farm and summer in the city is nowhere near as harsh.  My early losses are sad but I have good friends and even though I havent looked forward to Christmas since I was 15,  the truth be told, I have very much enjoyed Christmas for a number of years now.  I recognize that my feelings of fear and dislike about the season are a choice, a habit in a way, that no longer serve me well.  I like Kat's idea of 'listening to the whispers of your heart, the yearnings of your soul and the true needs of your body' so as to be clear what it is I would like more or less of in my life.  I like that I can set my intention, make plans - write a manifesto to remind myself to stay on track so that I can enjoy Spring with out fearing Summer and then when Summer comes make the most of that.  So, I'm off to write my Manifesto.
What about you? Do you look forward to summer and the end of the year? 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Blogtoberfest Day 14: Sunday Snippets

{sunday snippets} A collection of photos from your week. No need for words. Let the pictures tell your story.  Join in here

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Blogtoberfest Day 13: Grateful

Today I'm taking up Kat's invitation to play along with 52 weeks of Grateful, which is hosted by Maxabella.

This week I have been grateful for ....
1. The rain. The garden really needed it. Now it is looking lush and lively again. And I didnt have to spend time watering it. The soil is again dark and moist, able to nourish all those microbes and the growing plants At the moment there are little tiny grapes forming on the vine. Figs, too. Flowers on the citrus trees. Leaves growing everyday on the passionfruit and the raspberries.  The strawberries are starting to fruit.  The roses are budding.  So I'm really glad it rained

2. Audiobooks.  I've looked forward to being in my sewing room each day this week because I've been engrossed in Henning Mankell's "The Fifth Woman". Last week it was Michael Robotham's "Bleed for Me" and "The Unlikely Pilgrimmage of Harold Fry"by Rachel Joyce

3. Leftovers.  Having something yummy and healthy to eat without having to spend time preparing it. Some even taste better a day or two after the original dish was made.

4. My fabric stash. This week I have enjoyed finding and using fabrics already on hand to make cushions,  pillowcases, trim sheets, a jacket and some skirts.  As well as mixing and matching fabrics and planning furture makes

5. IKEA. A new chest to store clothes in. A funky light for the spare room and a few other touches to brighten up the place for relatively little cost

6. Trams.  I love Melbourne's tram system.  I especially love that I get to sit back, relax and dream while I travel. And it is so great not to have to worry about parking.  I like the walk up to the tram. And the wait is never long.

7.  New seasons salad veggies, as well as some weather conducive to wanting to eat them: juicy watercress, tasty tomatoes, fragrant basil leaves

8. Deep Heat. I pulled a muscle in my leg and tried a few things. Deep Heat, extra strength has given blessed relief!

9. Walking with Billie.  She loves it so much that I cant not enjoy it. And I just feel grateful for the physicality of walking, as well as for the chance to notice my surrounds.  There seems to be lots of birds around at the moment.  And of course all the spring flowers

10. A good night's sleep.  The night I hurt my leg I had hardly any sleep.  The night after that it was still painful and hard to get comfortable in bed.  But last night I slept really well and it was sooo good to wake up and find that it was morning and not the middle of the night

Friday, October 12, 2012

Blogtoberfest Day 12: Whistleblower

Last night I watched 'The Whistleblower', a recent release thriller I borrowed from the library.  It is a powerful and shocking story inspired by actual events. Kathryn Bolkovac (played by Rachel Weisz) is a police officer from Nebraska who accepts an offer to work with the UN International Police in post war Bosnia. She plans to go for six months and for the large amount of money she will earn. She urges and helps police develop an angle by which a Muslim  woman can seek justice through the court system for the brutal domestic violence she has been subject to. The trial is successful. Following this Bolkovac is made head of a department for gender affairs.  She becomes involved in the case of a young Ukranian woman named Raya who has been sold by her uncle to a sex slave trafficking ring.  Through this case she is then able to uncover a wide scale sexual slavery and human trafficking ring that various international personnel, including that of the US have participated in.  Furthermore, when she brings the scandal to the attention of the U.N., she discovers that they have covered it up in order to protect lucrative  defense and security contracts. Kathryn finds allies in Madeleine Rees (Vanessa Redgrave) and Peter Ward (David Strathairn), authority figures who support her investigation and once she is fired encourage her to go to the UK, where Democra Security (her employer) is based and expose the scandal through the BBC.

It is said in the ending credits that following Kathryn's departure, a number of peacekeepers were sent home, though none faced criminal charges because of immunity laws. It is also noted that the U.S. continues to do business with private contractors like Democra Security, including ones worth billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kathryn Bolkovic wrote a book, The Whistleblower: Sex Trafficking, Military Contractors And One Woman's Fight For JusticeThis article about Kathryn and what she discovered in Bosnia is definitely worth reading. Sounds like the movie toned down the real story. Unlike those who had been quietly sent home, Bolkovac’s professional record was blighted by her dismissal and she’s been unable to find work in international law enforcement since.
The movie leaves us with a sense that the horrific stories of sex slavery are still continuing in Iraq and Afghanistan. What we saw in the movie was that it wasnt just 'sex' either' but really degrading, violent, brutal stuff, often in public for the amusement of a bar full of men. The young women are treated really, really badly. One of the officials in the film refers to the 15/16 year olds who have been abducted and sold, usually by someone they know - father, brother, uncle for sex as "the whores of war. All wars have them' .  This comment made me furious.  The so called ' whores of war' have no choice in the matter. No rights at all. In fact it is gross abuse of Human Rights.
Bolkovac believes trafficking is still not taken seriously. 'You should see the amount of money that’s put into training for anti-terrorism and gun-smuggling,’ she says. 'But when it comes to human trafficking and violence against women you don’t see the same resources being generated.’
Sex trafficking is not, unfortunately, confined to areas with a military presence.
The New York-based Somaly Mam Foundation, set up by a Cambodian woman who was trafficked as a child, estimates there are 2.7 million people enslaved globally, 85 per cent of whom are women and girls in forced prostitution.
The most recent figure for England and Wales is 12,000, which Abigail Stepnitz of the British anti-trafficking organisation Poppy Project, calls 'a tip-of-the-iceberg number’.
'For me the idea is to go after the demand end, to stop focussing on the victims,’ says Bolkovac. 'We have to focus on prosecution of the perpetrators.’
This is starting to happen.
Joseph Yannai, an author based in New York State, was convicted last June of trafficking girls from Europe, tricking them with adverts seeking editorial assistance. He’s facing a sentence of up to 80 years.
Also last year, a Romanian father and son operating a huge forced prostitution ring in Britain were given 21 years. - from The Telegraph
Using the internet to find out more on the issue of sex slavery and human traffiking I discover that it happens here too, right in my own back yard.  Up to 2000  women are trafficked  into Australia every year and effectively forced to work as sex slaves in Sydney and Melbourne, a new study has found.  Four Corners also ran a story of this issue  last year. Find it here
What to do about this dreadful issue?
The Australian Federal Police have a community resource on their website found here
World Vision Australia have an information page and also receive donations here
Stop the Traffik website lists things ordinary people can do to help stop the traffiking of other people
Project Respect has suggestions on their website
the Not for sale campaign has suggestions on their website, too.
United Nations Victoria are showing a film and holding a forum on this issue in Melbourne on the 29th Oct details here

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Blogtoberfest day 10: Warming up my bedroom

It's late and I need to go to bed but I want to keep up my commitment to write a blog post for as many days as I can in October, in the spirit of Blogtoberfest, so I thought I would show you my bedroom transformation.  For a long time I have loved all white in my bedroom. I find it peaceful. In the new house the walls are not white but cream and the light in the room makes the white feel cold and grey.  I wanted to do something to bring some warmth to the room but still have it feeling clear and calming.  Painting the walls white might have helped but I've done my quota of painting for this year.  Also, it may make the room look colder - just more white to be turned grey in the room's light. I spent a few hours Googling quilt covers and found some I liked which I thought would create the desired effect but decided I couldnt really afford to be spending any money on linen for the bedroom.  So off to my fabric stash I went.  I found a lovely gauzy piece of warm toned blue cotton fabric with streaks in it - kind of like how denim gets.  A hand printed square of flax linen also caught my eye.  I had bought this at a market. It was just enough to make a cushion front. For the back of the cushion I used a cotton fabric that has little white dots on the same natural coloured background.  As you can see I have made the blue into a throw.  I'm happy with the finished result.  The two simple additions do add the warmth I was looking for.  I also jazzed up some sheets and made some pillowcases, using linen and lace from my stash. I might show you them another day .

The hand printed cushion fabric is made by Leslie from Maze and Vale

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Blogtoberfest Day 9: Haikubes

After Kat's post yesterday about a word tool box and Alana's today about sharing a poem I thought of the box of word dice in the Haikubes set sitting in my study.  Perfect time to get them out, I thought.
There are two dice with red printing. These set the direction for the haiku.  The phrase I rolled was 'a dream about my work life'.  It was a bit limiting working with just the words that are showing.  I pictured fabric, cloth, colour, making something beautiful and in no time at all came up with my haiku. No doubt a bit more time and I might have come up with something much more poetic. But hey, this was just a lunch time activity, and time was something I didnt have much of.  It was a bit of fun.  But the image of moving in and out of glorious floaty lengths of beautiful fabrics pleased me and has stayed with me for the rest of the day

glorious tangle
a gorgeous swimming journey
woman touches grace

Monday, October 8, 2012

Blogtoberfest day 8: The texture of my day

Tex·ture  (tkschr)
1. A structure of interwoven fibers or other elements.
2. The distinctive physical composition or structure of something, especially with respect to the size, shape, and arrangement of its parts
      a. The appearance and feel of a surface
      b. A rough or grainy surface quality
4. Distinctive or identifying quality or character
5. The quality given to a piece of art, literature, or music by the interrelationship of its elements

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin textra, from textus, past participle of texere, to weave; see text.]