Rugrats and Old Biddies


IMG 0046

A speed limit sign on the wharf at our local yacht club, Dinah Beach Cruising Yacht Association…

I thought I’d take a picture before some sourpuss complains to the committee and has it taken down.


Bear with me…

Apple 85W MagSafe Power Adapter for 15- and 17...
Apple 85W MagSafe Power Adapter for 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Minor home tragedy has occurred…my Macbook’s charger got its positive and negative pins crossed, yesterday (ahem, while I won’t mention any names, I’d like to point out that it was the Mr. Handy Man of the house who re-wired the plug…because he said I’d gotten them mixed up and had wired it wrong. Hah!), made an awful sizzling noise, and gave off the acrid fumes of deep fried circuit boards…all in the one second before I could run to unplug the thing.

So. No charger until I order a new one. Mine was modified to plug into a automobile’s cigarette lighter socket and charge straight from a 12-volt DC battery—without using an energy inefficient inverter—by the effing geniuses at MCT, Inc.seriously, I owe these guys, big time, for the technology I enjoy whilst living on a boat out in the harbor…these are my real heroes, not the pikers at Apple)

That’s nearly 200 smackeroos…thank you very much, Apple, for being such a bunch of snobs and designing the oh-so-exclusive, nobody-else-is-allowed-to-manufacture, fits-with-nothing-else-on-the-planet Magsafe Adapter.

In the meantime, the Macbook battery that they said lasted 8 hours, lasts 4, if you’re lucky. If I wanted to blog or check e-mail and RSS posts, I’d have to row ashore everyday, cycle into town, and plug my laptop into the power grid at the library or something. Weh. I’d much rather stay home and go into seriously intense creative mode. Things are going to be a bit quiet around here until my new charger arrives from the U.S. Sorry ’bout that.

In the meantime, go and check out Catherine Frere-Smith’s little embroidered bird softies, which have me in a paroxysm of love and envy at the moment. She was going to be my next über embroiderer, but it can’t wait till my power struggles are resolved…you really should go and have a look at this fresh blog post now.

Ah, and there goes my Pinterest account…

Image representing Creative Commons as depicte...

Oh, I know Pinterest is already working, and quickly, on the big problems they have been having with copyright issues…so deleting my account wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction to rumors of lawsuits or anything like that.

But I was never comfortable using Pinterest…often because I would look at someone else’s pin, trying to find the source for an image (because I want to know who made it), and there wouldn’t be any information or links back to the original. There were just too many unacknowledged images on my boards, too many re-pins that, when I looked into it, didn’t have attribution. It was such a mess (and I was so mortified that I had been doing this to other people’s images!) that I deleted my account tonight. It just seemed easier than going through all my pins, deleting the ones I couldn’t trace to source.

I’ll wait till Pinterest has sorted its shit out before starting up again. So sorry to all the Pinterest followers I’m dropping, but I’d hate to think I encouraged anyone to re-pin an unattributed image that I’d used wrongly.

To be quite honest, I wasn’t using it very much anymore; I found all those images overwhelming. Spend too much time looking at other people’s original work and you might not be able to come up with your own! It was like being raped in the eyeballs by Pantone swatches: cupcakes, quilts, wedding decorations, dresses…all higgledy-piggledy and terribly, well, preoccupied with the acquisition of consumer goods, and with self-delusion: “If I can’t own it, at least it’s mine on Pinterest!”

I found that looking for too long made me start to want things…things that I didn’t need, that I didn’t even really want, that wouldn’t make me happier than I am, and that, when I finally got my hands on them, I probably wouldn’t use after the two-week shiny-new-toy phase had passed. It just does that to you…convinces you that you want/need all this…stuff! There were some good things, of course, but most of it was just ordinary junk, but in pretty colors. Blargh, I’d kill myself if I had more  than two things together in one room that used the rainbow as a color scheme. I’m not even sure that the rainbow can be called a colour scheme*…when you’re 14, the rainbow is a color scheme. But I’m not 14. Anymore. And I’m so glad my mom refused to paint my bedroom walls with balloons arranged in rainbow stripes, when I was!

*it’s a spectrum…you’re meant to choose a few hues, and leave the rest. That is a scheme.

As for my own images, I wish I could say something cool about the Creative Commons permission I put on my online images, but  it’s all pretty straightforward and uninteresting. Share alike. Attribution would be mighty decent of you. Non-commercial, though I’ll be honest and tell you I can’t be arsed to enforce anything, legally. I did, however, tell a woman to “drop dead” in 2003, and she obliged the next morning. Also, I put on a curse on someone in highscool, and her partner recently killed himself, I was told. Just sayin’. *laughs*

Banksy was cool before anyone else, and nobody does the Copyleft magnanimity better than he does. You’ll find this gem on his website, under the ironically-titled ‘Shop’ heading:

Banksy - Online Shop


candles on a dark rainy day

Nights, by the light of whatever would burn:
tallow, tinder and the silken rope
of wick that burns slow, slow
we wove the baskets from the long gold strands
of wheat that were another silk: worm soul
spun the one, yellow seed in the dark soil, the other.

—from Without Regret, by Eleanor Wilner

Our wet season is winding up, but we are getting a few days of hard, straight-down, heavy-as-lead rain, as a kind of encore before the monsoon trough relinquishes it’s hold on the weather. Soon it will be winter in Australia—cold down Sydney-way, yes, but it’s a fantastic time to be in the tropical North. Everyone in Darwin is looking forward to the change of season.

One recent morning was so dark and wet and miserable that I lit a few tapers…not so much to see by, but because I needed the emotional warmth, the flickering energy and golden color of those nibs of flame. Candles are a great comfort to me…I love the way they send shadows dancing around a dark room, and I can sit and stare at them for hours. My mom was a candle maker for many years…she didn’t make everyday taper candles, but one-of-a-kind art candles—tall, heavy pillars of translucent wax which glowed from within, revealing trapped dried flowers and fern tendrils curling inside the wax when lit. Her candles were widely exhibited, pricey, and sold to collectors…

But that didn’t stop my mother from using them as everyday candles in our home; she loved the 8-hour scheduled blackouts that the government instituted, for one year, in an attempt to cut down on national power expenses. She would come in from her workshop with armfuls of candles, and light them all. There were candles everywhere in the house on those nights—fifty of them, standing in groups of three or five, sitting on every piece of furniture, shining down from high ledges, throwing their light far up into the wooden beams of the pitched roof. The house looked like a medieval chapel, it was magical.

And there’s a teensy bit of the candlemaker passed down to me, too, because I spent many hours sitting with my mother in her workshop…it was where we had most of our mother-daughter talks. I even did some work for her, when she was swamped with orders, so I have the rudiments of candle making. Maybe someday I’ll do that for a spell.

This post was a bit random…just a bit of blather and procrastination before I get to work on some sewing projects I swore I’d finish today. 🙂

My perforated heart…a love letter

perforated love letter WIP

Here’s a sneak peek of a project I’m doing in collaboration with my friend Katerina Bona Vora of Zero the One

✕✕✕ ✕✕✕ ✕✕✕ ✕✕✕  ♡  ✕✕✕ ✕✕✕ ✕✕✕ ✕✕✕

I drew the design on 2mm. graphing paper, and then used the same as a guide to perforate a sheet of 220 gsm. watercolor paper. I’m working the stitching using a single thread of DMC embroidery floss, in a shades-of-fresh-to-dried-blood variegated red…

perforated love letter WIP

perforated love letter WIP

perforated love letter WIP

Come to think of it, this piece has the same feel of this other ‘love letter’ that I made 3 years ago, using the same variegated skein of thread…

The Midnight Velada

This needs to be said, and said, and said, until it sinks in.

Steal Like An Artist

Was introduced to Austin Kleon‘s timely little book this morning, via a post full of Kleon’s catchy, inspiring graphics, over on Thoughts On Theatre. Followed her links from there to Kleon’s own site promoting the book.

Steal Like An Artist - Promotional Poster

There’s not much I can say to add to this succinct message. If you are a creative person, you will already, instinctively, intuitively know these things. No doubt you’ve heard the message before…you’ve come across one of the many famous quotes on the subject, or maybe you’ve even thought these things up for yourself, and reading this list simply confirms what you have suspected all along.

Steal Like An Artist - Good theft vs. Bad Theft Poster

And yet, as common and familiar as these ideas are, seeing them still excites creative types. Why? Because while we’ve all heard the message, it hasn’t really sunk in to the point where we believe it, practice it, apply it, and really, truly KNOW it.

Kleon’s message is familiar, but not redundant. These things need to be said, and said, and said, until it sinks in and starts to change us from the inside:

The ability to create is a gift that life gives to everyone—your own creative ideas are a mashup of having seen other people’s creations—and what you then go on to create becomes your gift to the world, your contribution to the massive pool of art, ideas, and thought; you are simply joining in a conversation that started when human life began.

“Creativity is not magic, creativity is for everyone.”

Gillespie, on Charlie 'Bird' Parker

One of my favorite examples of both the continuing life of a good idea, and of artists drawing on what has inspired them in order to go on and make something “same, but different,” are these incarnations of a rhino woodcut that is nearly 500 years old…

clockwise from top left: anonymous 1514, Durer 1515, Durer 1515, Dali 1956, preemiememe 2009, Hans Burgkmair 1515