Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Pinwheel for giants

Ever since I started quilting I have wanted to make some pinwheel blocks. I just never thought that I would end up making one as big as my house.

My friend is working on an upcoming festival called Parramasala. In order to dress one of the performance spaces she had ordered 20 2meter x 2meter pieces of Indian fabric. She asked me if I would be interested in sewing the pieces together into a patchwork backdrop of sorts. My first paid sewing work!

I knew that the area that needed to be covered by fabric was about 14meters wide by 6 meters long but apart from that when a huge box packed full of fabric arrived at my door I pretty much had free rein. I wanted to do SOMETHING a little creative with the fabric but at the same time I was quaking at the thought of wrangling 14 meters of fabric through my grandmothers old sewing machine. 14 meters is BIG people. My solution was to create a simple pinwheel in the center.

Laying out folded squares of fabric to check colours

My numbering system

The real challenge of the project was not being able to look at anything that I had sewn together because of the size of the fabric. I literally didn't have enough room in my house to lay things out to see if the seams were in the right places. I had to draw a pattern on paper and devise a numbering system for each piece of fabric to try to keep track of what went where. How organised of me!

Fist pinwheel block sewn together

Still I really wanted to look at the pinwheel when it was done so I channeled Christo tried hanging it over my back upstairs veranda. Turns out just half the pinwheel was bigger than my house.

My pattern

R and L coming to find out why the living room had just been plunged into darkness

After a few mishaps and a few unpicked (very long) seams I THINK the final product is correct. I still haven't seen it all laid out. My creation has made its way to the Stud Factory (best name ever) to get eyelets along to top so that it can be rigged. I will post pictures of it in all its festival glory soon!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Sleep 'til you're hungry, eat 'til you're sleepy

When it is Sunday and outside it looks like this:

There is no choice but to do this:


Two lovely friends live a convenient 10 meters, if that, from my front door (in a house, they don't sort of camp at my front door, we just have a skinny street, an alley really). So when the rain was whipping the spring jasmine outside we both expressed our desire to bake and more importantly eat, baked goods. A few hours later I was lucky enough to open the front door and be met by these:

I made this:

There was supposed to be an element of competition to the Bake Off but seeing as I was instructed 'not to win' by my opponent, I don't think we were taking the competitive side very seriously.

But to give credit where credit is due my pecan pie was slightly undercooked and some of the oozey (but yummy) pie filling had oozed under the pastry as it cooked (how? I have no idea). On the other hand, Jenn's chocolate and salted caramel biscuits were LUSH. Plus, they were not made from a recipe, they were invented in Jenn's ( i do believe that 2 batches had to be made though before they were deemed edible). So I declare the winner of the Rainy Sunday Bake Off Round 1 to be Jenn Blake!!

Who wants to join us for round 2??

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

My Place: Henson Park

I live in the inner west of Sydney and I'd like to share some of the places that I feel have become part of 'My Place'. First up is Henson park.

The inner west of Sydney was full of brick pits in the early part of the last century. Henson park was once a huge gaping brick quarry. After the brick pit closed the quarry filled with water and became somewhat of a hazard so in 1937 it was transformed into a stadium. Henson park was originally built as a velodrome for the Empire games ( a forerunner of the commonwealth games). The cycle track was later filled in and became a grass oval and home to the Newtown Jets (NRL), who still play here today.

Henson park is a pretty amazing space, I find it hard to do it justice with pictures. When you enter the park from the direction of my house you enter right at the highest point. You can very easily imagine the days when a great yawning quarry was spread out at your feet rather than a grassy hill. The air has a very open feel to it and I always find it very relaxing to be in. When Lewis was a newborn I would walk laps of the park with him in a sling. I was reeling with all the emotions that come with being a new mother and the quiet symmetry of the park always helped calm me and my fussy baby.

Trying out the sling at Henson park a few days after giving birth

I love the late 30's architecture in the stadium, you see it dotted all over the inner west, old pubs and chimneys all made out of the local bricks. Henson park features a great old grand stand called the King George V Memorial Grandstand

A lonely spectator

While Henson Park is still a functioning sport stadium it is also a favourite dog walking park. At dusk on most days locals come and let their dogs roam as they chat. It is very rare that I have visited the park and not stopped to have a chat with at least one dog or their owner. Henson park feels like it is part of our community.

It may seem underwhelming, an old oval ringed by concrete but Henson Park feels good to me, it is a space that I enjoy being in, an so does Lewis. Oh and of course it wouldn't be part of the inner west if it didn't feature...planes! Again this is hard to photograph but when the huge A380 lumbers into the sky above the park you really do feel like you could reach up and tickle its tummy.

I found out recently that Henson Park is also a Geo Caching location. Geocaching is a global treasure hunt where each 'treasure' location is identified by following a co-ordinate using a GPS. The idea is to locate a geocache (canister) and share your experience online. It is meant to promote community and the environment (somehow) and I guess teach GPS skills. I haven't really gotten into it on a large scale (though I am intrigued) mostly because I don't have a GPS (maybe if I get my hands on an Iphone4) but I was delighted to learn that inside a crack in a wall in my own little Henson park was a little treasure just waiting to be discovered!

So that is Henson Park. Part of My Place. Why don't you come for a walk there? Lewis and I will gladly join you!