Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Turning 12 is hard sometimes

Em is turning 12 soon. She wants to have an Alice in Wonderland party. No problems here kiddo. We've come up with some great ideas for decorations and games. I've told her she can use real china cups, white linen, the silver tea service - and have a Mad Hatter's Tea Party. She wants to be Alice and after a small spat with Claire at 7.30am one morning we resolved that Claire will not be an alternative (read smaller/cuter) Alice but the White Rabbit (bribed with the promised use of an impressive pocket watch on a chain that I just happen to have).

So what's the problem? Well turning 12. Her great enthusiasm has been dampened somewhat by the response of a couple of friends. She made the mistake of seeking approval of the plan rather than just extending the invitation to come and join the fun. These little girls are turning into young women - this is her last chance to have this sort of party. Next year she'll be in high school and turning 13 and she and her friends will be old enough to think it's naff rather than fun. Some are already teetering on the brink - involved with boyfriends and flirting with eating disorders. She's worried that everyone will think she's a baby and/or that they won't come.
We had a long conversation about deciding whether to follow the crowd or lead it and whether pursuing friendships with people who think they are better than you or too cool to come and help celebrate your birthday are worth the effort.
In the end mummy logic prevailed over the quivering bottom lip and the boo boo face and she's now back into highly enthusiastic mode. Gulp! No pressure there - I'll just be eternally damned if the party's a flop.

So the invitations are printed and ready to hand out. We'll put up a marquee in the garden (a friends gazebo), lay trestle tables with white linen and put out the silver tea service (probably filled with peach flavoured ice tea) and the china tea cups. We'll serve ribbon sandwiches, jam tarts, chocolate dipped strawberries, cookies iced with the word "eat me" and little iced cupcakes. We'll decant the fizzy drinks into coloured glass bottles with labels that say "drink me". I've promised a red velvet heart shaped birthday cake with red fondant icing and iced flowers. And if anyone wants to get too snooty then I shall say "Off With Their Heads".

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hiro Nakamura wins the Australian election

Is it just me - or am I the only one who has realised the resemblance our new fearless leader has to Hiro Nakamura from Heroes?

It was bugging me last night that Kevin Rudd looked like someone I knew but I couldn't think who. Then it came to me this morning - Hiro Nakamura!

So Banzai Kevin. Now could you wind back some of the nastier elements that have crept into Australian life since John Howard got to set the agenda. You know - things like locking up people in detention for very long or indefinite periods in the name of "national security". Thank goodness that the US will soon be rid of the dreadful George W.Bush.
Looking forward to a kinder, gentler world. Be gone peddlars of the politics of fear. I've had a gutful.
Just an update - I read this article by Hugh Mackay in the Sydney Morning Herald after the election. It really hit the nail on the head for all the things I'd been feeling (and I'm not even a "doctor's wife". It will be interesting to see whether this pans out to a long term trend.

Monday, November 12, 2007

They Came, They Saw, They Gave

Well I am happy to report that the Watoto Hope Charity Dinner went off without a hitch! The rain ,which we've had all week, stopped and it was a lovely cool spring evening on the Harbour.

We kicked off with Drumbeats performing on the balcony. Anyone who wasn't sure where the venue was only had to follow the drumming! Everyone then moved inside and was able to join in the performance with the drum or tambourine placed on their chair.

It finished with a conga line round the room and out the door (which is how they cleverly collect all the instruments). Lots of fun and a great icebreaker. They generously performed for half their normal fee - so if you are looking for a great icebreaker /team building exercise for an event - give them a call.

The venue looked terrific - no photos yet but I'll update this post when I get a hold of some pictures. We also had the Australian Girls Choir perform - they walked in singing "I Still Call Australia Home" (their signature song) and followed up with "Starlight Express", "Keeping the Dream Alive" and finished with "O Yeah - Can You Hear Me Calling" . They were really marvellous and everyone enjoyed their performance so much. They even did an encore.

Matthew Smeal is a Sydney based photojournalist and he took us through some of his very powerful images that he took while on trips to Uganda. I have copies of his photos but don't want to post it without his permission - so I'll ask if it's ok to put one or two of them up here.

There were so many people who donated their time and skills.

My friend Allison asked her friends Lee and Graeme and to do the A/V which they did - free of charge. The normal fee would be around $3500 for an event like ours. Friends like Ken (see below on saxaphone) and Dave came and provided fantastic music for the evening - free of charge.

Elisa Colla - a very gorgeous and very talented young lady from our church sang with the band - her first real "gig" - but certainly not her last. If she doesn't end up very famous I'll be very suprised!

Even the session muso who turned up to play keyboard free of charge refused to take the $50 travelling money.

In a world that is often dark and cold - isn't it nice to know there are so many people willing to do wonderful things just for the asking? It's been a real lesson to the four of us to always ask. Sure the answer might be no - but so often it's "yes" and an enthusiastic "yes" too.

Mark Bradshaw from Watoto's Australian Head Office was there as were Unia and Michael from the Watoto Children's Choir.

Unia travels with the choir and Michael is an 11 year old who is in the choir. Isn't he gorgeous?

It was wonderful that they were with us - not only to be part of the evening but also to answer people's very valid questions about how much of the funding reaches the kids versus admin costs etc.

It was good to stand at the back of the room and just take in the fact that it was all really happening. Everyone was switched on and attentive to the information - which was great to see. It's always tricky to present a pretty graphic story of desperate need on the one hand and on the other hand not make people feel so uncomfortable that they look for the nearest exit. After all people have come to hear about the charity but also to have a fun night out with friends. Without tooting our horns too much - I think we nailed it - people were engaged in the information but obviously also had a great night. We were supposed to finish at 11pm - there were still people sitting at their tables chatting etc. at midnight!

So - what was the punchline? From a room of 165 people we raised $104,000! I was hoping for a house which is $38,000 - so $104,000 was just gobsmacking. I am rarely a) lost for words and b) near tears - but believe me - I was both. Unbelievable. And the great thing was that it wasn't a few people giving a lot but everyone giving something which I think is a wonderful thing as it means everyone was engaged in the message and everyone made a response.

Thankyou everyone who came. Thank you to everyone who gave their time and effort to make the evening so successful. Thankyou to those who said yes to bringing a table of friends. Thankyou everyone who gave.

Now we can build two houses - which will totally change the life of two mothers and 16 children. Plus the additional funds can be used towards another building.

Thankyou. Thankyou. Thankyou.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

It Never Rains it Pours

It never rains ... it pours - wow - three posts in one day. I go for ages not posting and them - whammo - I can't stop.

This time it's a few pictures of my Tome. The tome was designed by Patti Culea and I have a group that meets once a month at Idyll Pleasures. We get a new pattern each month and do some work on the page for that month. It's suprising how much we get done in three hours actually. It's been fun and a good discipline for me to actually work my way through the patterns. Here is my cover - the three girlfriends.

The fabrics are actually from the Girlfriends range by Sis Boom for Freespirit Fabrics. They are offcuts from the quilt I made earlier this year.
This is the back page (front and back) It has tyvek leaves and some free motion embroidery on it.

Page 2 is photo transfers and windows- the pics are of my kids.
The rear of this page is a pocket with an angel (she needs finishing).

Page 3 is fabric collage. I am still working on this page - need to collect some more flowers. I traced the face from the pattern and coloured it with prismacolour pencils. Cool. I am looking forward to completing the whole tome - I think it will look awesome when it's finished.

Maggie Grey's Cat

I mentioned Maggie Grey's post recently. She had a terribly funny post about having her cats temperature taken at the vet. I told her it reminded me of my favourite picture in a book published in the early 1980s called "100 and 1 uses for a Dead Cat". Here is that page.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Not Such a Blog Addict

Apparently I am not the blog addict I thought I was - there are many others who far surpass my meager efforts! Erica - thanks for not pruning me from your list - I shall try to be worthy of such an honour. I have been following your growing home renovation with equally growing bemusement. For God's sake woman - quit while you're ahead!

Judi W (who subscribes to 105 blogs) was the lovely person who told me about bloglines - so if I do become a certified blog addict it will be all her fault (lol). Actually Judi has started
another blog for people to comment on cloth doll patterns - ones they've actually made etc. and what was good/bad/indifferent about them and I've just realised I haven't added it to bloglines yet - so there's another one!

I have been an excellent mother this afternoon and whipped up a skirt for Miss Claire with a matching headband.

She refuses to get off the Sims 2 long enough to model the skirt for my blog (ungrateful little snit) but is wearing the headband.

So I will take a picture of the skirt all by itself.
I found the pattern here at Grand Revival Designs. The headband was a quick whip up with a couple of yo-yos made with the Clover Yo-yo makers. They are a groovy little contraption which makes whipping up yo-yos a doddle. I got the idea from Heather Bailey - and they are her fabrics featured in the headband and skirt. Heather actually has a rather lovely looking headband on her site - but I am too lazy and made up my own.

Blog Addict

How many blogs do you keep track of? I had a whole bunch saved into favourites - then someone told me about where you can keep a list of blog feeds and it tells you when they are updated. So far I am up to 66 blogs - is that too much? I hate waiting for my favourites to post something new and groovy - so I figure with 66 feeds then there's something to read every morning (and it's far more interesting than the newspaper these days).

There is so much eye candy out there - it's like a personalised magazine. Speaking of magazines - I hear Victoria magazine is back in print - however whenever I go to their website it tells me it's not there. Very frustrating! I hope it will be available in Australia - actually I think someone mentioned they got a copy at the Crewel Gobelin in Killara - must call them and ask!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Recommending books

Maggie Grey is a wonderful British textile artist who has a terrific blog about her comings and going and "arting" (which is the general term used by my daughter Claire for doing creative things). Maggie has wonderful "netiquette" she replies to everyone's posts in her blog and checks out all the people who post to see more about them. How well-mannered can you be? She checked out my blogger profile and has even recommended a book for me to read which I will lock in here so later when I am trying frantically to remember what it was I'll be able to find it. Note to self - the answer is Phillip Pullman's Dark Materials.

I am a bit hopeless when it comes to good netiquette - but I did finally manage to post a comment on Sashi's blog after all the wonderful comments she has left on mine - it was the least I could do! I vaguely recall I owe a response to Linda Misa too. Isn't it funny to think that I'm in Sydney, Linda's in Tasmania, Sashi is in England - we've never met and maybe never will in person - but know quite a bit about each other through the various online groups we belong too. Weird really. I know Linda has young kids like me and can't wait for school holidays to end (especially summer - ooh Linda - how will we survive?). I am a firm believer that I would be a really fantastic wife and mother if it weren't for my husband and kids.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

"Mischief is your middle name, but your first is friend. You are quite the prankster that loves to make other people laugh."

Hmm - spookily true. I love these silly quizzes!