Friday 25 March 2016

Common Threads Judging Weekend in WA

Early morning take-off on Friday, dog-tired after staying up late during the week trying to finish my fashion design developments. I put them all on the usb ready to work on them on my laptop - at the airport my laptop ran out of battery in 40 mins, and I had forgotten that I only had photoshop, not illustrator on there!! With no book, and no tablet, I thought, 'well at least I can sleep', but that just would not happen! I even hoped that a few glasses of wine on the plane would help, but no. So I sucked it up, got out my notes, and familiarised myself with my presentation, as I had not had a chance to do so before.
On arrival at Perth, I ran into my chauffeur, Jennie Abbott, in the bathroom, which was well done. She kindly drove me the hour to Mandurah from Perth, and deposited me at the Sebel, my home for the weekend. After a quick hello with Barb Thoms, the force behind Common Threads, I settled into my luxurious new home - wow!! It was not just a room, but an apartment, with a lovely view. It was only early afternoon there, and it would have been great to have a walk around, but by now my
tiredness was getting critical, so I showered and crawled into bed with Shaun Sheep. Alas, I was still not to sleep, but managed to lower my heartbeat and at least rest. I was roused at one stage hearing a voice calling out, and wandered out in a towel to find the manager stocking my fridge with Diet Coke, fruit, yoghurt, French Brie and crackers!!  Having got myself dressed and out onto the breezy boardwalk, I alerted Barb to the fact that I was up and out, and she came to collect me to go to the garden party organised at a lovely park. It was lovely - lights strung up, lounge chairs and  couches spread out, live music, a food truck and a bar - my kind of night! After a few lovely brews from the Three Rivers Brewing Company, it was finally time to sleep.
Mmmm, beeer!!
I woke thinking 'whatthehellwasinthatbeer' and then remembered that I had nommed some of the French brie before heading out - a more likely culprit for the absolutely insane dreams featuring giant rabbits, blue guinea pigs, and a meeting with Alice in Wonderland. And people still wonder how I come up with my ideas.....
It was an early start with a meet and greet brekky with my co-judges, and newly appointed ambassador for Common Threads, Rayne Embley, who will be hosting the showcase in May, and who got to model this creation by Louise Wells. See the video of the day here
Rayne Embley in Louise Wells' piece
After a briefing from Barb outlining the theme, sections and awards,  it was on to the very serious, very organised business of judging. Armed with  a booklet of artist statements and photos, it was at times magical as entries glided (or stumbled) in through the darkness to reveal their self-illumination, or tinkled through, or simply walked out to reveal themselves in full light. After a look through the artist statement, we were all on our feet to get out from behind the table and examine the garment in detail. I felt sorry for the young models each time we did this - we seemed to descend like a small swarm of locusts each time! Those designers who were there were able to come in and speak to us after we had completed our examination and answer any questions we had. Mostly we just provided some
feedback, as the artist statements generally covered the story behind them and their creation. One aspect I really enjoyed was the multitude of interpretations of the overall theme, 'Illumination'. Fortunately, we judges were in accord with our scores, so there were no tricky moments to deal with at the end of the day, which finished for me with some lovely drinks (including this lovely passionfruit mojito) and noms at the Peninsular Hotel, just below my digs.  I spent the rest of the evening preparing for my presentation the next afternoon. Sunday dawned as yet another glorious day, so it was back across the bay to The Dome for my wake-up coffee and a lovely walk. I was still on Brisbane time, and was up early, so had time to kill before checking out the markets later on, and lying on the grass in the sun listening to live music - nice.
The view from The Dome to Home
The day was incredibly hot, and I could feel my skin frying as I walked the short distance from the Sebel to CASM, where 'An Afternoon with Svenja' was to take place. I was most happy to step into the air conditioning! I enjoyed sharing my journey with the attendees, and I hope I successfully answered most of the questions they had. I'm so passionate, I could have gone on for hours, but many of them had to pick up their entries from the previous day.
Monday morning dawned gorgeous once again, and I enjoyed the sight of dolphins frolicking in the bay at very close quarters as I trotted off for my coffee.  One final catch up with Barb, then it was time to be chauffeured (thanks again to Jennie Abott) back to the airport, where I sneakily managed to plug myself in to the wall whilst I had a late brunch, before boarding the plane in next to no time, and heading home.

Tuesday I was due to hand in my design developments at TAFE, but although I had hoped to get them done during the weekend and flights, it had not happened, so I was able to get an extension. It was good to be able to just work at home, but it was a solid day, which by no means completed the

designs - her are two of them, I'll probably swap the skirt from the second one into the first, and make that as an outfit. Thursday was also due date for my Magyar coat, which I had dyed, and then decided to make embellished buttons for, which entailed a very late Wednesday night! I had hoped to use the machine at college to make button holes for them, but it turns out they were too large, so I had created myself another job! A few options were explored, but I ended up doing a rouleau loop with some lace, which actually balances the buttons

better than a simple buttonhole would have. So, as usual, troubles turn into bonuses. The term has now finished, after a frantic effort to complete a terms worth of work in a few days, and completed design developments. I was a bit sad to find out that we only have one week break, which I will spend trying to finalise my second WOW entry. It's been a busy start to the year that was supposed to be a bit more relaxed! Next project - to finish my TAE qualification by early May, then off to Tokyo in June!

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Bunz wif Gunz go felting in da Grampz Part 3

Bunnehs arise at crack 'o' dawn (PB still on BNE time thinks she has another hour before upzzz but nooooo..) To the bakery for 'coffee' - although the faces we turn to one another as we see the machine expresses our mistrust of the strange, very un-espresso looking machine... still, better than nothing! (Iz tolerablez, but is nawt most delishus cawfee!) On the way to the workshop we stop for some real coffee, and run into our tutor from five years ago,Phyliss Hoffman! When we arrive at the Parkgate Resort to find our classroom, we just follow the trail of women carrying pool noodles! Our lovely tutor, Pam Hovel, shows us samples and explains
what we can make - BB is very excited and is itching to get going! A happy morning is spent laying out wool, then visiting the traders at lunch time, where BB finds the perfect piece of old gold lace to use for the centre back of her wrap. Happy Bunneh! Pam approves the choice, and BB motors on with her layout. We finish the day at the wetting down stage, and leave our layouts rolled up as we go to set up for the market. PB loads up her clothing rack and wheels it across to the markets, aware that there is too much weight for the flimsiness of it. Sure enough, it twists apart, but luckily the lovely Elizabeth Bowe is right
 behind, ready to rescue! We set up in the absolutely blazing sun, and BB goes off for a walk (after bringing PB a cold beer - nice work! And a White Rabbit, at that!) Not only do I get to catch up with lots of Facebook contacts, but am very pleased to see one of my felt wraps leave with the lovely Madeline Hedges - a perfect match! We also catch up with Della and Heather, from Ballarat forums, as well as two out of the original group of three we met on our first trip to the Grampians! BB drives an exhausted PB home and we have an early night watching the Aussie classic, Crackerjack.
Sunday morning we get in the car, and both rear back and scream as yesterdays a/c setting blasts us away! With an immediate need for caffeine,
the buns head to the local cafe where they intend to breakfast. This is put into jeopardy  by the presence of a baby, loudly and joyously banging stuff on the table. Why people feel the need, or, as it would seem, the right, to inflict this on others escapes me. There's a reason I chose not to have children, people. At first I thought I could ride it out, but there was danger I might chuck a sad, so I re-assessed, and we moved outside.
BB gets her wooly cape shaped on her body by Pam
After breakfast, we had another check of the traders, grabbed a takeaway coffee, and headed off to class. As we arrived, PB expostulates "Why aren't these children at school?!!" "Errrrr, because it's Sunday, Bun." "Oh." The next quote came from BB, as she said "I'm really looking forward to rolling!".  "Can I have that in writing?!!" She really did enjoy the rolling, particularly as it was timed rather than counted. Amazeballz.

At lunchtime we popped back to the traders for some finishing touches to add to BB's wrap - some gold thread intended to stitch into her piece, whilst PB scored a lovely choker of bling for $2. Whilst BB made some more felt to support the lace felted into her collar, PB made a replica wrap in miniature for Shaun sheep, much to the delight of Pam, who requested that he join the workshop display table!
After the brief display, we picked up some noms for PB to take to meet with Big J, with BB dropping her off as she goes for a walk - perfect! PB is very happy to meet Janet's housemate, the lovely Philomena Hali - a very familiar name for years! We all enjoy some bubbles and noms before BB returns, to take PB and the seven dolls she has mysteriously acquired home. (The dolls are intended for distribution amongst artists to dress for the exhibition at Gallery 159, June 19th, to celebrate marriage, and PB's in particular.) There is a complex discussion trying to explain this to BB, which is repeated verbatim in a later conversation with Matt!

BB then suffers an evening of ABC television at the hands of PB (apparently Call the Midwife is the worst show in history) as we pack. Anxious about the drive to Melbz, we get up at 6am and prepare to leave - there is one hideous moment as PB delves through her bag looking for something only to feel hair, and a face - eeeeek! A doll!! We head for our scheduled coffee stop at Ballarat, where we have an excellent time in several opshops, finishing with a derishous coffee from the Darrel Lea shop, which also included some chocolate shopping for boys at home! After one more brief stop at The Old MillMarkets, we continue on, for another smooth entrance into the Virgin Lounge.
Here is the fleecy wrap, now much improved by a visit to the dye pot!!

Sunday 20 March 2016

Bunz wif Gunz go felting in da Grampz Part 2

Thursday started with more delishus coffee, and a short walk to the pier, as we were due to head off. There had been a nice dump of kelp overnight,
which I enjoyed rummaging in, much to BB's
displeasure, and even found two big bunches just waiting for me to lift them up - phwooaaar! Those guys are heavy!! (Why does my back hurt, Bunneh?) We had a successful op-shop mission on our way out, and headed towards the Twelve Apostles. (Side note, PB has announced that she 'shall not brain today'.)
Whingy BB seems to have an issue with sand, of all things, so whinges when we walk down Gibson Steps (STEPZ, Bunneh!!) for a selfie on the beach. Back up and exploration of the cliff walks, where PB is somewhat daunted by the amount of tourists!! Hilarious signs advise of possible death, unstable cliffs, and snakes!
After a fuel stop in Port Campbell (next to Frying Nemo - bahaahahaa!) the hangry bunnehs decide they can make it to Warnambool (AKA 'Womble'), although BB insists PB eat the fricken muesli bar - now!! Good idea, Bun.
We decide not to stop at some other scenic spots (how many rocks do we need to see) - we need to get to our burrow and to noms!! We reach the lovely new burrow and immediately set out for noms, at the lovely and likely looking Pavilion Cafe. Well, disappointment has a name - Pavilion Cafe is serving coffee and cake - unasseptable!! The Bunnehs stomp their way back to the burrow, jump in the car (with PB driving, as BB refuses to get back in the drivers seat) and head to Fishtales, where BB is delighted to find a Boho Bowl, and PB gets a beer and lovely lamb souvlaki! Now in a happy food coma, PB needs a little convincing to get back out there, but supplies are needed, and getting that done will free up some time in the morning. We pick up pool noodles for the workshop, and noms to keep us going, before returning
to burrow. A few hours are spent relaxing - reading and catching up on komunukayshunz, before a video call with Matt (hilarity) and watching Wogboy, where some unfortunate new words enter our vocabulary.

Friday begins with PB sending a text upstairs to BB - "Oh Hai Bunneh - what time is upz?" "Now is good", comes the response! A strange offer of coffee is shouted down - "You want Asian Wisdom mud or regular mud?" "Just regular mud, thanks Bun". It's a strange language... Back to Fishtales for
a real coffee before our walk around Lake Pertobe, where we enjoy a bmx track, a maze, a flying fox (which is too high for scaredy bunnehs) - and many bounding Bunnehs on the pathway!! After breakfast and a look at Middle Island (of Oddball fame - are they penguins? No, I think they're seagulls...) we set off for the Grampians. After a boring, sleepy
drive, we pull over for a stop at "The Picaninny". BB explodes out of the car to stretch her paws, and we decide to walk the "1.2 km's" to the 'Picaninny'. Well. After 15 minutes of relentless ups in the hot, dry midday sun, PB, who is not wearing active wear but actual clothes for the first time in three days, chucks a bit of a sad when we reach the sign that says we are 0.8km. Errrrrr, NO! With AC back blasting on us, we drive into Halls Gap and find the workshop venue, and determine the morning coffee destination before finding our new burrow - a lovely three bedroom house! After settling in, both bunnehs have a little noy noy on the lounge floor in the a/c....
The dry heat is killing the Pink Bunneh, but the crayzee bunneh goes out for a walk!! Although the opening party is on that night, PB cannot face the heat, so we meet at the Indian and order takeaway! Shortly after that, Big J (Janet de Boer) rings and suggests meeting for Indian, so we highly recommend it to her! We manage to watch Memoirs of a Geisha (amazing)  after which PB attempts to sit outside - still Hot as Hades!

Thursday 17 March 2016

Bunz wif Gunz go felting in da Grampz - Part 1

After the smoothest check-in in my history, this Bunneh was very excited to enjoy the Virgin Lounge
Great Ocean Road!
once again - aaah, to have Priority Bunneh Kompanyunz!! First stop, after picking up the car and hitting the road was lunch in Torquay, where we enjoyed yummy food, great service, and a lovely view - well done, Torquay! There was great excitement as we saw this sign confirming that
we were, indeed, on the Great Ocean Road! Next stop was the Mantra in Lorne, where I delighted a group of oldies with my appearance (purple suede stiletto boots, black lace-up leggings, long pink hair out...). "Are you here for something special?", they asked. "Just my life", is what I should have replied!! (We passed this group a few times around town that afternoon, even getting a raucous round of applause as we passed them dining on the street. Not even one day in town yet!!) So it was straight out for walking, starting off along the beautiful

Relentless upz!
ocean road and including the pier ('well, as long as one of us wants to go"), but then heading inland, for what became 'relentless ups'!! It just didn't seem to stop! Signage, directions, 'you are here's', times and distances were non-
existent. Walking directions - Lorne, you're doing it wrong!!
At the first opportunity I guided Bunneh towards a downward looking track, and after passing a great
Cheeky cockatoos at Lorne Hotel
sign  (Bush Walkers, turned into Bus Wankers)
Our dinner table!
we passed the lovely sculpture park, where we saw these crash test dummies hanging rather tragically yet beautifully from their posts. We emerged into the township around 6pm, which felt so much earlier to us, and everything was closed! It was such a beautiful afternoon that we decided to head up to the Lorne Hotel, where the Cockatoos posed for photos along the rail, awaiting any opportunity to raid tables. ( Jenelle taught me to remember that the white ones were cockatoos, because the pink ones, like me, are galahs!) One was lucky enough to nab a saucer of tartar sauce, and to everyone's delight, actually flew off with it! Sadly, there were a couple with beak and feather disease - broken beaks and
tattered feathers - very tragic. Unfortunately the disease is untreatable - I hope they have a euthanasia programme for them down there.
With nowhere really taking our fancy for noms, we decided to do our own, so headed to Foodworks, where we were delighted to find a selection of sushi and Bento boxes. I also found beer, so we assembled a picnic and headed off to the beach to devour - in our active wear!! With around 30 hopeful seagulls...
The next morning we found delishus coffe across the road at the Moon cafe,  and walked along the Erskine River before returning for breakfast at the Mantra. We made the foolish mistake of sitting outside, where the cockatoos were very cheeky, and Jenelle lost her toast to one! Off to Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Road, stopping at Sheoak Falls for a supposed ten minute walk.  (Signs, Lorne - you're doing it wrong). The path took us down through a spooky feeling patch of 'corn' (what is IN there?!!) and up, up, up to what might, in wetter times, be the falls....
At Carisbrook we stopped to view the recent phenomenon that is the hundreds of stone towers - apparently some tourists built a couple, and people keep adding to them! We stopped at Merengo to start a bit of the Great Ocean Walk,  but had a little trouble finding it, then figuring out what to do when the path petered out onto a beach! After struggling with a giant section of 'UP', we

stopped to assess our situation, and were horrified to see we had made very little progress on the map - the complete opposite of what normally happens to us! We turned back and drove to the Cape Ottway Lighthouse, which we didn't even get to see as they wanted to charge $20, each, just to get there! Hhmmmppph!!  We returned to Apollo Bay, where BB (Blonde Bunneh) was very happy to find  a roast vege salad, and PB (Pink Bunneh) was pretty excited to find this place, the home of the scallop pie!!

Mornay Scallop pie! NOM! It was here that I checked my emails, to find out that my application to go on the study tour to Japan had been accepted!! Squeee!!

Scallop Mornay pie and coffee
On return to the Mantra we found that we were locked out of our room, and after BB made two trips to reception, we learned that they thought we were checking out that day, so of course, our room had not been serviced either. (Speaking of the room, can we just show you this amazing piece of machinery, aka R2D2, which was our cold air device. Never seen anything like it!!)
Shaun and sardines
We grabbed our cold drinks and headed to the beach once more, before migrating into the Lorne Pavilion where I dined on tinned sardines, !! We were too lazy to get out of our active wear and go out!! Shaun sheep was much admired, and was asked by the waitress to do a 'sheepy shake', which he performed to her great satisfaction!