Thursday, July 24, 2008

TIF July - Finding time to stitch

It's been even more difficult to focus on Sharon's TIF Challenge than usual this month, even for me, LOL. I make lists, and cross off jobs as I complete them, but the lists just seem to get longer and longer. I'd love to know how other people are so productive in the stitching department. Are they early risers who get all their housework finished early then settle in to stitch, do they do minimal housework like I do, or are they just superhuman, LOL? Do they have partners who like to clean, wash and cook for the family, do they have housekeepers (my dream, by the way) who take care of everything leaving them with leisure time to while away stitching? Or are they like me, snatching a few hours of stitching once in a blue moon when all other obligations have been met? The photo shows what has been my focus this month, the finished Australian convict woman costume for the Exhibition at Parramatta as worn by my youngest daughter Bron, who's pretending to spin for a photograph. The costume was my design and completely handsewn by volunteers.

I've always had a problem with time management, even in my teenage years. I was a good student until I hit middle high school when our family situation required me to be surrogate mum to my younger brothers while Mum worked to put food on the table. Study had to come after the family, and I was less successful than I had hoped at my final exams. I really envied the students who had great sporting success, were on the debating team AND were among the top students at my school. I wish I'd asked their time management techniques back then. Perhaps that should be a compulsory subject at school, I'm sure I'm not alone in this department. Perhaps it's all about less sleep and more productive waking hours, didn't Einstein only sleep for 4 hours per night, LOL?

Now I sound like a real whiner, perhaps I'm just too tired tonight. The Exhibition goes up this coming week, thank goodnes, so that's another job to cross off the long list. It's almost the end of July, and I really WANT to produce something for TIF this month. Still a few days left, and I intend to take the time off everything else to catch up and regroup!! I think an ATC will have to suffice this time, still not sure if I'll go with the colour scheme which I love, or with the theme. Let me sleep on it!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Rest in Peace Ollie

Our dear internet friend Olive Riley passed away peacefully on Saturday 12th July in the morning. For those who didn't discover Ollie's "blob" (as she called it) until after she passed, you'll need to wait a few days to access her official blog, because it appears to be down due to the overwhelming volume of traffic.

Update As of 19th July, you have limited access to recent posts

Olive was 108 in October 2007, yes that's not a typing error. 108 years old and very with it till almost the very end. Her "biographer" Mike Rubbo helped Ollie to record some of her memories, video taped her for YouTube and even made a movie about her. "All about Olive" has been screened on Australian television several times. When Ollie was 104 she decided she'd like to visit her home town of Broken Hill in far outback New South Wales Australia. This was no mean feat for a frail older lady, as they travelled by train with Mike and their entourage. Broken Hill is pretty remote, only small planes fly in, and Ollie needed a wheelchair. Actors approved by Ollie took the parts of her school friends, herself and her family to show what it was like growing up in country Australia. The movie is very poignant, especially when Ollie went to the cemetery to visit her beloved sister Emma's grave. The family couldn't afford a headstone, but on that trip it was finally resolved. I'm sure Ollie will join Emma there soon.

I could fill pages of posts about Ollie, I've been enjoying her blob since I discovered it about 18 months ago. I can't remember where from exactly, but I think it was linked from one of my textile friends' blogs. Mike felt sometimes that he was pushing Ollie to recount her stories which were sometimes painful and upset her. He didn't know if he should continue, having found her himself through Eric Shackle, another older blogger. Recently Mike took his daughter on an overseas trip, and Eric set up a temporary blog for Ollie here
There are several elderly bloggers around the world, including a lady in Spain, but Ollie was certainly The World's Oldest Blogger, VBG. We assured Mike that Ollie's story was fascinating and very worthwhile to tell, and I'm so glad he managed to film her and record her so often. It's prompted many subscribers to think about doing the same with their own family elders. After all we need to learn from the past as well as look towards the future, don't we.

In a few days, I hope Ollie's "blob" will be up and running, and that people will go back to the beginning and read all about this Most Remarkable Lady. In the meantime, pop over to YouTube if you'd like to see our dear girl.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

TIF Challenge July, first thoughts

I know it's past the end of the first week of July already, but I've been very busy working on a couple of hand sewn garments for an Exhibition for the local Heritage Centre, and the deadline keeps changing. Don't you hate that when it happens, VBG.

The theme for Sharon's July TIF Challenge is "what is it to be at the half way mark?"

When I first read it my immediate thought was that I'm already past the "half way" mark in age. The average life span of an Australian woman is 83 years, and I'm only 30 ish years away from that!! Then there's the issue of my dear SIL having a serious illness recently. It really does make you examine what you've accomplished in your own life up till now.

When people ask what I do for a living, I have to admit I don't "go to business" as my Nanna used to say. I "freelance" from my home doing historical and theatrical costuming. Not quite the brilliant career as a fashion designer I saw for myself when I first left High School, but very satisfying in its own way.
I've been married to the same wonderful man for 34 years, been a stay-at-home mum and raised 4 bright and independent young people. We now own our own home, and I keep in reasonably good health. I've been lucky enough to be able to indulge myself in quite expensive textile hobbies, realise my ambition to work on some great professional theatrical shows and for the Australian Opera. I've been fortunate to be a (nervous) guest speaker at various club meetings and done several local radio interviews about our local historic house where I volunteer. I've dressed in historical costume and gadded about the countryside being shot at by re-enactment "bushrangers", visited cinemas in themed costumes and hosted school groups at historic sites in appropriate costume. I'm an enthusiastic volunteer for organisations I belong to as well. And I'm going to be a Nan soon!!

You could say I've had an interesting life so far, and I'm just over the half way mark!! Tonight I made an appointment to see an illusionist who needs some new costumes made, and last week I made a Narnia lion costume for the dancing studio. Life is never dull in my corner of the world, that's for sure.

I think this month I'll have to have a closer look at Sharon's suggested palette of colours and design some stitching around that. It's been a couple of months since I produced a finished piece, so I'm thinking ATC size, perhaps for a promised one to one swap I'm arranging? Watch this space !!!