I'm seeing roses everywhere I turn at the moment. In the gardens I walk past on my way to work, to the shops, to playgroup. Petals struck to the art Grace brings home from childcare. A vase of blooms from mum's garden placed where I can see them eating my breakfast. Another jar of beautiful blooms from somebodies garden up the back of the office at work today. Roses threaten to attack me as I enter the gate to my mum's house and make my hands itch for the secateurs. And up at the new house, there are roses in the next door neighbour's front yard that spill over into ours. I thought at first there was just a pinky lavender rose, but on the weekend I discovered that there are two more bushes hidden amongst the weedy pittosoprum and self sewn ash. A deep red rose and a blousy yellow. Tousled by the wind and scorched by the early warm weather and needing some care but still all gorgeous and deeply scented. I read in Jackie Frenches gardening book tonight that roses are an anti-depressant. Perhaps that's why.

Up until now, my garden plan for the front yard has been something woodland like. And for the last two months I've being trying to resist the roses that my mum wants to give me.  Her garden has way too many roses. Many were there when she moved in and although she loves them, some need to go for a carport and to allow other plants room to grow. I think I was resisting these roses because I wanted the new front garden to be mostly green with only subtle plashes of colour. A restrained garden, that wasn't bitty or garish. However, these roses and the others I keep seeing are just so beautiful. And tough. And would provide endless cut flowers for the house, for giving away. And then there would be rose hips in the winter. Endless photographic possibilities. And pruning. Which is a garden task I do enjoy.

Gerard's a fan of roses  too, even though they seem a very unblokey flower. So maybe we will have roses after all. Although probably not until next year. Right now the front yard is almost completely dead grass and weeds and I can't see that we're likely to have enough rain to make establishing a garden feasible until next winter. But I can see a rose obsession coming on.

I stripped screws today*

Indeed. That's what I did today. Stripped screws. And window hardware. It was quite satisfying really. I had been going over one of the windows, doing some sanding here and linseed oil putty filling there. Hoping that by the end of the day it would pass muster and could be ticked off as something ready for painting by Mr Fussy Finish. Who I might add is quite right, now when I see old windows where the bumps and layers have been painted over in haste, I can tell and I think it would irritate me in this house. It's a small, fairly plain house and I think what will make the difference is finish.  Even so the tension between perfection and getting it done is becoming tighter and tighter. I booked a truck yesterday, in a tentative, can we change the date if we're not ready, kind of way. So we have a month to finish and move in. Or not. I'd quite like to be living there before the pool opens on December 1st, so you know, this is the pointy end of the job.

Anyway when I thought it was the end of this set of windows, I asked G what we were going to do with the window fittings. He took them off the windows and I soaked them in stripper and stood there at the kitchen sink with the scourer, some steel wool and a brush. Listening to the next door 's music clash with the my generation show on the golden oldies station. They were featuring 1983 and among the dross were some beauties. Like Culture Club's Church of the Poison Mind . I thought it was great then and reckon it still stands up. Anyway, although the two sounds effect was irritating (probably for her as much as for me) it was nice standing there at the sink. Some of the fittings came out beautifully, some are pocked with rust. We've decided that they're all going back on the windows and we'll call it patina. Then I asked whether I needed to do the screws, because really that did seem a little fussy and G came in with some pliers to hold them in, and a screwdriver for getting the paint out of the heads. This is the man whose mates mock him for re-using nails, but seriously it was quicker and more pleasant than going down to Bunnings and then searching frantically for just the right thing before closing. Although I'm sure there would be more than the odd screw in his shed.

* actually that would be yesterday, but as I was getting ready to add pictures and press publish, the D drive on my computer disappeared into the ether. Gulp. Luckily Dad was able to come over and weave his magic, oops I mean calmly and rationally work through the issues and everything is fixed. Including some minor issues on outlook. Thanks Dad!

craft nirvana

The other night dreamt I was back at Sewjourn, working at one of the big tables with Suzie, Di, Suse, Sue, Maria, SallyRose, Cath and Jill. Grace refers to these women as the ladies from the computer, (as distinct from the pool ladiesI guess.)  In my dream I could hear the whirr and rattle of the sewing machines interspersed with music, singing, laughter and the odd swear word. Projects were discussed, life matters dissected, garments tried on, tea drunk, blogging talk indulged in by the bloggers, biscuits eaten and wine bottles emptied (I wish the medication would have allowed me to help more with that one, but I'm sure I made up for it in the biscuit department). It was good. So Very Good. And the best thing about this dream? Knowing that I can go back. Will go back. After many different venues, we seem to have found our crafting home. Suzie's written 15 reasons whySewjourn was so good and all I can say is, if you have a group of crafters and you want to go away together somewhere close to Melbourne then I doubt it gets better than this. 

craft nirvana

Despite not finding enough time to cut out the fifty million things I was intending to make, I put completed a new pair of trousers and a new skirt, both of which I'm really pleased with. The other skirt I made for myself, out of fabric I love, I rushed at. As a result I sewed the front pocket onto the back of the skirt and now it's sewn too tightly to be unpicked and looks really strange. The sundress I made for Grace without a pattern also needs a bit of fixing. So from now on, I'm resolving to slow down and make one or two things as well as I can. No more manic rushing. Although the energy before dinner on Saturday night and again on Sunday afternoon was pretty high. It's exciting, but perhaps that's the time to whip up a coaster or to embellish a few t-shirts for Grace. She quite likes her new yellow t-shirt with the bambi on it, along with a pretty pink cotton dress that I nearly didn't buy at the Lancefield opshop because I thought it might be too tasteful for her. But she loves it, worked backwith her purple t-shirt and red shoes. The opshop also yielded a heap of old kids books which I may or may not get around to photographing.  

There's so much more to say really. Especially about the privilege of being able to go away and revel in sewing and craftiness with these amazing women. To be in a space outside my everyday life where I can do something that I get deep pleasure from. It always feels good to get back into the groove with my sewing machine. That I can plan on this sort of weekend as being something that will happen again in the future. Perhaps this will be the earthcore equivalent of my forties?

since we last spoke

I've been on a fantabulous craft weekend, about which there's lots to say. It's probably mostly been said, but  told myself that once I'd cleared my backlog of pictures and done an in betweeny post, then I'd have a clear run at it. Life does seem to be getting in the way of blogging at the moment. We've had visitors from tassie and up north who helped Gerard work on the house. Things got done at a cracking pace, the whole project moved forward significantly and it was fun and totally exhausting. Here's a picture of Adrian glazing our kitchen window, which the previous owners had covered with plastic and sticky tape (which had become yellow with age). He also glazed the other broken and cracked windows. In less than a day.

I can't tell you what a difference it makes to the kitchen, which we're not painting because the paints OK until we do the big kitchen refit in a year or two. However we're starting to talk about buying paint for the rest of the house very soon. There's just a few minor issues to resolve before painting. For instance the textured suface on the walls, which we like but which looks strange when the cracks are filled with plaster. It's a 1940's or 50's finish, so there's another lot of research for moi. Hopefully I'll do better than the linoleum that turned out to be vinyl but is still quite nice in a hospital sort of way. I had a glimpse of how special the bath and the basin will look together when we measured up exactly where it would go and where the shelf will be. Once the painting's done, we'll be all set to move, so we're talking dates. Exciting times. I'm very keen to move in before the end of November. Even if it is a bit daunting.

What else? Grace has had an on again off again gastro/giarda bug that finally responded to a treatment.  But not before she had a crappy couple of weeks and I did a whole lot of washing and worrying about the poor little mite. She had a casual day at childcare today and seemed to really enjoy it, but passed out on her chair before dinner. Obviously naptime is shorter than at home. My feet are puffy again and I think I should probably go to the doctor. Sigh. Oh, and that's right, the stockmarket crashed. Which means recession will be upon us once more and I'll be super busy at work. Probably a better place to be than where I was last time round. Although in the eighties we did get to have boozy lunches and smoke at our desks as the sky fell in. Och, not making sense. More about craft tommorrow.

I'm your best friend

Not the Sunday just gone, but the Sunday before that, Grace and I had a special trip to the zoo. Just Grace and mummy. Sunday has become one of the days we spend at home together while Gerard works on the house. So he can take the car early, I've taken to doing the shopping on Saturday night which is so not my idea of fun. The combination of staff with lacksadaiscal attitudes (obviously the staff with aspirations do not work on a Saturday night), badly stocked shelves, louts in the carpark and interesting young things buying liquor on their way to fabulous parties reminds me that the best I can hope for most Saturday nights these days is to be at home watching teev with my significant other. /end whinge. Anyway, the big, big plus of this new routine is that Grace and I have full morning to do something fun. Usually we just go to the park, but the evening before we were talking about which park, and she said she'd like to go to the zoo again, to see the animals, on the tram.

You'd have to walk all the way, I said. Mummy can't carry you. And she did. Even learnt how to get on and off the tram which she finds scary, because of the big steps. Note to self, always use the steps next to the driver, because they can't see little people and tried to close the door while I was helping her down. Once we got to the zoo, we took a map, which she consulted throughout the day, and decided which animals to visit. It's always the elephants and the primates. Although we did see rather a spectacular lion on the way. And stroke a tiger pelt.

Afterwards we went to play in the park again and the roundabout was going. I'd promised her a ride earlier in the day and Grace was so excited and entranced by the whole thing. Quite a moment really. Although I did think it was odd that the roundabout rotated to "love is in the air" rather than hurdy gurdy music. She cracked it a bit when I wouldn't let her have a second ride but then we had sandwiches for lunch followed by a cupcake for me and green jelly for Grace. Which we shared very nicely. And then she looked at me and said, I'm your best friend. Aww. I had to write it down, because it just thrilled me. In the best possible way. I'm used to getting lots of cuddles and I love you, mummys but this was different. It was all about doing things together and it being really good. Later that week Grace told Gerard that Daddy does all the work, Grace does all the playing and that Mummy and Nana do all the talking. Indeed. The world according to Grace.

moving the bath

The new bath is in and so is most of the plumbing.The wall between the hall and the bathroom has been framed and the sliding door has been hung. The bath was a bastard to move. So mostly I just stood around and documented the occasion. Except for last friday when I had to help push it into the car and help get it from the boot to the driveway. Where it stayed until Lance could come and help. He reckons his big talent is brute strength and I have to admit, they made it look easy. Much less swearing than I expected. Cast iron baths are heavy, heavy, heavy. But now it's in, we reckon it's the business. I love the way the blue of the basin and aqua of the bath are different but related. It's not a look for everyone, but we love it. 

I'd still like to find some crystal taps, I thought I saw some attached to a bath for sale on e-bay but unfortunately they were only the acrylic ones which are still easy to buy. Does anyone know if crystal taps are still available? Perhaps in some dusty old hardware shop full of unexpected treasures - the man at the plumbing shop said that they were made by Dorf in the seventies. I'm also on the look out for linoleum, but that can be bought new. Just not in groovy patterns. I didn't know this, but linoleum and marmoleum are sustainable (made from resins on a woven base), don't release gases and are really long lasting.  Who knew? I wish I could shop here. Awesome.