Sunday, December 29, 2019

Welcome to a New Decade

 It has been a pretty horrible and busy year to say the least.  Early in January I finished my radiotherapy, and then it was onto my shed to clear it out as I had sold my block of land, ten years after I put it on the market. I put all my belongings into storage as I had not had the time to look for any other property. My father died  in February whilst I was on Atauro Island and though  he had many illnesses including cancer, it still comes as a shock. After returning to Australia it was straight onto France for exhibition in Chartres and i think that is when the tiredness of the radiotherapy hit- i seem to have done a lot of sleeping apart from attending the exhibition. Then it was back to Australia to welcome the ladies from Boneca de Atauro for them to exhibit their work at the Australian Quilting  Convention in Melbourne and my goodness we had some very busy days! After farewelling them back to East Timor it was back to Nantes for exhibition at pour l'Amour du Fil, some teaching and then some catching up with friends before returning via Barcelona and more teachin near Girona. Then it was back to look for a house- whilst away I had been searching the internet for a house and  after initially  thinking that Churchill in Victoria might be a good spot, but changed my mind when I read that people had died and many houses had been destroyed in the 2009  Black Saturday fires. After living in the Otways since 1996- I did not want to live  in another high fire risk area- so I settled on Morwell, and it has good access to  regular public transport .

 Found a house and was able to get an early settlement and then the job of cosmetic renovation started. The house was and  still is in original condition so with the help of friends two bedrooms and the lounge and kitchen were painted- the hallway and the third bedroom await the peeling of wall paper and then painting. We discovered that the wiring for the lighting was pretty dodgy so the whole electrical circuit for overhead lights needs to be rewired ( which will happen soon) and the gas heater was dead as was the gas stove, so they all needed replacing- the gas heater might have to wait for the time being. Now it appears there is a problem with my drain- have tried all the usual stuff  so it looks like the plumber will have to be called. I have worked at setting up a vegetable garden of sorts but not much other gardening has been done apart from attacking the overgrown  ivy which was threatening to take over my guttering.

I am still sorting through books to take to the opshop and have finally rearranged all my fiction books in alphabetical order- they had got into disarray with all the moves- and are now spread alphabetically over a few rooms.

The wall on this side of the sitting room is still waiting for the installation of art work- every room in the house has picture rails except the lounge. I may  install one of those picture hanging rail devices near the ceiling which would allow me to change things around  as I please and would cause the least amount of damage because the plaster is also circa 1950.

So things were starting to take shape and I was beginning to settle into my home after the paint dried ( which took ages because of winter) and had finally had my furniture moved to the house and was starting to allocate stuff to where it needed to go when my mother had a stroke. Her whole left side was affected and they did the clot retrieval procedure despite mum having had the stroke at least 24 hours prior. I was surprised they did the procedure as I understood the window for the procedure is maximum 15 hours- but the doctor told me because mum had been fit and well and living independently prior to the stroke that they now try the procedure even though the time frame was longer. I would have to say it's been quite a success as mum is back home living independently- with a bit of help but prior to that it was a lot of back and forth to the Monash Medical Centre and then the Rehab Hospital- what a great job all those people do and I am incredibly grateful. So hopefully things will continue to improve and mum should  have back full functionality with a few minor deficits which  they are working on and say can still improve.

However it has meant my year has been extremely fragmented and nowhere near as much work as I had hoped got done. It is a good thing I am used to being frugal and after shed life have decided I can do with a minimum of electrical appliances- so have got a small fridge, but a good washing machine for my dyeing and printing. I have also decided to limit my wardrobe to one chest of  three drawers. I am so used to travelling with a limited wardrobe ( my suitcase is usually full with quilts and such things) that i decided to adapt it in my daily life- my only concession to more space is a few  jackets I  bought when travelling in Syria and two winter jumpers that won't fit into the said drawers. But the rest of the clothing fits and I intend to keep it that way- it's actually quite liberating and not many choices to make! Plus I  am intentionally mending clothes as well especially a few favourite pieces.
My veggie garden is taking shape- and I have already had a meal of beans and zucchini from my little patch. I did buy an advanced tomato plant which has been delivering a tomato every few days , plus rocket and lettuce and herbs. I will grow the garden bigger for next year as i don't particularly enjoy mowing lawns. There will be quite a few plants getting the chop come winter time- I just wanted to see what everything was before I started chopping..

My herb patch- I am battling the ivy and some other invasive spreading thing but I have managed to rescue a bit of soil!

But the year ended on a great up note- my  middle and younger daughter finished their courses this year and are both graduating with Distinction ( as did my eldest daughter a couple of years ago) I am incredibly proud of you all- your work ethic is wonderful and you have worked really hard for well deserved results. Does anyone need a qualified textile designer, I can highly recommend one!

So that was my year in a nutshell-  but there are good things to look forward to in 2020. I will be teaching at Grampians Texture in mid March- my classes booked out quickly thank goodness and I should be teaching at a Slow Stitch Retreat in Ulladulla in late March- but as the area is affected by all the dreadful fires and will remain on alert for the summer- we will see what happens. Then I am off to Moscow to exhibit work at the Moscow Quilt show the second weekend in April and the next week  in the Netherlands  at the Quilt Dagen in Rijswijk. I will also be teaching in the Netherlands in the week after Rijswijk in Schagen- a town very close to the town where I was born. I intend to stay in Europe a bit longer so if you are interested in my teaching in Belgium, France or Spain or Italy please email me. I am working on updating my class samples and adding some new workshops to those that are already listed on my blog. I will be teaching near Girona, Spain in early May  I hope!

I am also working on a heart quilt- which I started on the 1st day of December thinking about how to generate greater empathy and how to be more compassionate. I am surprised at how different each day demands it's heart to be and how much my emotions are playing a part. There is quite a few fiery/smokey looking ones as we watched the Australian bush burn last week with dreadful fires all up and down the coast and with loss of life and property and business. The volunteers do an awesome job and have been exhausted because the fires started early and it is only the beginning of summer- it would be nice if  a few resource and media billionaires ,who claim to have an Australian heart ,saw fit to donate some of their billions so proper equipment could be bought and if our government would actually  provide some leadership- but they are all on leave  after 43 sitting days of Parliament.

So I leave you with a small commission piece I recently finished and some of my hearts that are starting to grow and grow. I wish each and everyone who reads my blog all the very best for 2020- lets hope it becomes the decade of true compassion as we battle to save our planet!