Tuesday, 29 July 2014
The weeks keep spinning past, with similar themes, but each with their own flavour and season.
We had our ninth year at the annual band competition at UNSW the weekend before last, our two high school bands were in the highest divisions of their section. It fills my heart to see all those different sized kids lugging their beautiful shiny instruments around with an offhand everyday attitude. I never got to learn music, it was never in my orbit, so I'm very happy we have given our three kids this gift.
The five of us went three different ways on Friday night, it was fun. Because of the way things turned out we had dinner at three different restaurants. My son J and I chose a popular restaurant round the corner from us we'd never visited, where you have to wait on the street to get a table, further tortured by the view through the glass windows of the yum cha ladies rolling dumplings! It was worth it. Can't wait to go again!
I got a whole making day on Thursday and threw a few pots. I love this simple beaker that came from this batch, I hope I can make some more the same, maybe add a handle, a lip... The more I throw the more I realise how much there is to learn!
Also this weekend we pruned back the garden and I did my annual pruning of May's roses. May is my 96 year old neighbour and I prune her roses each winter. She is such a delight I'm happy to do this tiny thing for her, and we both love the roses when they flower. She was in hospital when I did them but happily she's home now. Such a brave and independent woman. I really hope I am like her when I am older.
The last of the soccer games is on this weekend and netball ends soon, the days are starting to lengthen and I can imagine spring finding its way to us soon. Time to get some vegetable plants growing I think...
p.s. A milestone this week when my neglected flowerpress shop reached nine hundred sales! That's a lot of handmade goodies and packing parcels, hooray!
Friday, 18 July 2014
I love the Australian landscape. It took time living overseas to really see it though, to realise how much a part of my identity it was. I remember soon after I returned to Australia driving from Melbourne to Sydney and just staring out the window at the greys, browns and olives greens, the grasses, the gum trees and feeling a wave of belonging.
Our road trip to Mudgee and back took us through lots of different landscapes, steep flinty hills, rows of vineyards, green rolling fields filled with sheep, cows and one lone emu in a paddock.
The driving was punctuated by food stops. Yum! My highlight was the amazing 29 Nine 1999 Dumpling Restaurant in Rylstone, an oasis in this tiny town on the road out of Mudgee. Run by Na Lan who married a local lad and came out from China to live here, it was a delight. After our big late breakfast we had room for six different dumplings each and endless pots of jasmine tea. I'm dreaming now of going back to try some more of the 30 different handcrafted dumplings on the menu.
We tried some of the local wines over dinner and found them all to be delicious. We didn't get time to visit any wineries though, but I'm going to track down a mix of wines at my local wine shop to buy.
The day before we returned home we went to Orange to have lunch with some friends who have relocated there from Sydney. It was so nice to catch up over a long lunch, and the brownies and lemon curd cheesecake were an added perk!
p.s. do you run like a girl? Lucky you!
Monday, 14 July 2014
We often travel out west from Sydney over the Blue Mountains to visit Mr Flowerpress's family in Bathurst.
Last week we decided to take a roadtrip to see some more of the surrounding countryside. I love to travel to new places, and its always amazing to me just what you can see quite close to home.
We planned an extended journey, staying overnight in a hotel in Mudgee and driving there via the small town of Hill End, one of the sites of the Australian gold rush back in the 1850s, and later home to an Artist's colony which included Russell Drysdale and Donald Friend.
This lovely little town is steeped in history, and after a lovely counter lunch at the Royal Hotel we had a wander around, imagining the place back in its heyday. A short drive takes you out to the local creek and Bald Hill mine (which never produced much gold apparently) and then further on to a lookout where you can look down on Hawkin's Hill where the really big finds were made, including the Beyers and Holtermann Specimen the world's largest single mass of gold.
I've got some more pics of the rest of the trip, the landscape, the little towns, the food... I'm going to share them later in the week.
Friday, 4 July 2014
Hoorah! After a long wait I finally got a phone call the other day to say my glazed ceramic pieces had been fired. (I can't wait till I have my own kiln wired in so I don't have to wait so long for firings, but its also nice to know my pieces are in safe hands being fired by the nice people at Pottery Supplies.)
Its so exciting and nerve wracking driving out to see how they had fared!
These are the first pots I've made completely at home and fired twice to completion.
There are a million options for decoration in ceramics which is one of the really inspiring things about it. I've been trying to experiment with different techniques and materials. I've been a bit like a kid in a candy shop.
I've posted some before and after shots for those who are interested. Previous blog posts tell more of the history and show photos of my ceramics journey so far if you're interested, like this one and this one and this one. Looking back I see some of these pieces were thrown back in March. Sigh. It feels like that long.
I'm still a newbie. Its only been about six months that I've been making with clay. These pieces were the first I made with my new/old wheel way back when. Hopefully I am slowly learning more and improving slowly.
Oh, and can I ask a favour, if you have time can you leave a comment and tell me which piece or pieces you like. I'm so interested to know which shapes/designs/colours you like. Including any I haven't shown here, I have a limited palette of underglazes but hope to keep expanding my collection.
I'd like to make more pots and maybe offer some for sale down the track, so it would be great to hear from you guys who have such great ideas.