Friday, February 27, 2009

Market research in London

We took a day off on Thursday to go & visit the sights of London. (Well we could really call it market research I suppose).
I've wanted to visit the ecclesiastical suppliers Watts and Co for ages. It's right behind Westminster Abbey. They have been making Church vestments and furnishings for more than 130 years. I was not disappointed. There were Chasubles and Copes thick with gold embroidery, stoles and surplices, candles in all sizes and behind glass, Bishops rings with whopping huge amethysts and a magnificent Monstrance. Heaven on a stick for me really.
A Mr Cook came out to serve me with a tape measure round his neck, he'd worked there as the Cassock maker for 26 years. When he realised I wasn't just some tourist he warmed up a bit and told me about the rigours of Cassock making as well as helping me source some silk Damask that I've been trying to find in the right shade of blue. A mere £127 per metre! Bargain. I bought a great book on Church embroidery.
After Watts we walked through St James park where the crocuses are sprouting. The squirrels there are so tame that they come right up to you & put their little paws up to ask for nuts.
Past Buck palace (no corgis seen). Don't you just love a golden winged statue.
Then on to my favourite place in London, can you guess where it is from this photo of inside the toilets?Yes it's the V & A museum. More market research in the textile rooms looking at embroideries from the 15th century onward. They're all mounted in small glass frames which slide out with a handle on one side. It's not a very popular spot as the frames are awkward to handle and so we had the huge long room to ourselves for ages. Calling out to one another as we found more & more amazing specimens. The one I liked best was a piece from an altar cloth from the 1920's of swallows flying with garlands of blossom in their beaks between them, trellises beside them were covered with Pussy willow & Catkins and beside these were huge yellow iris and lilies. It was all so tenderly and perfectly done. Tall stems are incredibly hard to do in embroidery as the stitches have to go horizontally to the long vertical stem and your eye picks up any divergence.
After feasting our eyes it was time to make our way out.
It was so hard to walk quickly through the new jewellery section though. It's low ceilinged & painted glossy black with clear glass cases zig zagging through the room, spot lights pick out the jewels and the whole place sparkles. Here's a picture from the V & A website of the staircase which we didn't have time to go up... And here some pictures of the jewels to make your mouth water...
A diamond and saphire tiara designed by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria
Then it It was time to meet up with Richard's friend Rose, who was in London with her gorgeous daughter Abbie for a flying visit to find distributors for her organic make up business 'Zuii'. Rose is a stunner and a great advertisement for Zuii. She had great stories about her pet black cockatoo that used to have a diamante glued onto it's beak, the same cockatoo that had to have liposuction on it's legs as it had been eating too many sunflower seeds..... the same pet that poor Abbie used to have to arm herself with a rolled up newspaper to walk through the house against from a young age.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More talent

Boy I do have some very talented friends.
Look at these absolutely beautiful tumblers made by my friend Sheila McDonald. More Do-ray-me needed. Better go & get that lottery ticket now.

What's going on here?

There may not be sunshine or sisters but there are snowdrops out... and roast duck with poached pears, bock choy & baby new potatoes (don't take any notice of the one that got away).

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Flying visit return

How I wish that all the bits of my life, all the lovely family, all the lovely friends , could get to meet one another, just once somewhere in the world.
Sue Thomas and her lovely Isa brown chickens that are part of the family....
Our step-son Dylan and beautiful new baby boy, Orson...
Our wonderful friend Gwen who's been around since I was 11. Here with Macgregor's brorther Hamish who was always the groovy elder brother to our foolishly immature trials....
Mardi & Macgreg here with Sue & Adam (her partner) at Gwen's for dinner with our (step) daughter Roxi.The wondrous Olive Honey (Mardi's daughter).......On a different tack here are my wedding presents on the Bride & Groom's bed...
And on yet another tack, I had a few precious moments having a coffee out at Yarra Yering winery with my sis a fabulous spot, very VERY close to where the bushfires were. Here's a photo at the vineyard looking through the cypresses to the blackened grass beyond...
Adam had been working on a beautiful house at Yarra Glen when the fires came through. It was one of the few houses to burn there, the house was almost finished but all his tools were there & he lost the lot. This is it before...and this after, so sad to see such a beautiful piece of Victoria's history raised to rubble.

On a happier note, I went to visit a friend of Sue & Adam's, Sandy Kilpatrick an amazing jeweller. Here is some of her work, boy, if I had the do-ray-me boys,this would all be mine.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


At last the big day arrived. The sun shone the smoke cleared and all the world looked beautiful for Mardi & Macgreg's wedding. Here are the first bridesmaids heralding Mard's arrival. How can I explain how special these two people are...Mardi & Macgreg are an inspiration with their blended family and it was profoundly emotional to see them tie the knot.
Mard has had a hard time ... her beautiful Dad "Biggy" died last year and her daughter's Dad committed suicide in 2005. Macgreg's Mum died in 2002, his Dad died a long time ago. There was a lot to remember....
When she & Macreg got together we all waited with baited breath to see if such an amazing pair would actually tie the knot. Here is Macgreg waiting for her too.
First came the littlest bridesmaids....
And at last the girl we all wanted to see most, on Biggy's partner Ced's arm. This was when I started crying and I didn't really stop.You can see here what a big thing it was for them... but they were so keen to be there. at last some relief with sisters, daughters and friends.
Unfortunately I missed the dove free-ing bit with the camera by seconds, but this is moments later. That's the wedding blanket they both knitted hanging over the Beverly Hillbillys chairs.
Next up was THE PARTY, at their groovy new (to them) 7o's house... it was 70's dress and boy did people take it to the limit.
Finally we all let our hair down. People were on the dance floor from 5.30 pm!!!!
Bless you my wonderful buddies. I can't think of anyone who deserves more happiness.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I'm really here!!!!!!

This was the eerie light from the bush fires this morning. Sobering to say the least.
We are about 1/2 an hours drive from Kinglake and the air smells of smoke. Everyone knows someone who's been directly affected and people are weary of disaster. The Age newspaper has the most amazing images.

But I'm here for good stuff as well.
It 's Valentines' day and look what came? The most perfumed bunch of roses and eucalyptus from my most gorgeous Valentine.
Then it was off to the Vic market for bleary eyed morning coffee and weird drinks.
Special photo here for Father Dave of endless amounts of Australian cuddly toys (all made in China)
Roxi & I were on a mission though, to buy 2 white doves for THE wedding. Unfortunately you can't see them as they are in the box.