Friday, February 25, 2011

Action Stations


Without wanting to jinx the process...


Yay, huzzar and all of that!

... and they are willing to exchange on Monday and settle ASAP.

Which means ACTION STATIONS. We will be moving house over the next week, and will hopefully be spending our first night in Hackett next weekend!

funny pictures of cats with captions

Monday, February 21, 2011

so close...

I received the keys to our new house today and shared a bottle of bubbly* with a couple of close friends (in lieu of Best Beloved, who is on a study week away in Sydney) and forgot to take a photo.

It was a lovely feeling, sitting first in the back yard, then on the front step, then sprawled on the carpet of one of the empty rooms, drinking from some gorgeously sturdy French glasses that lovely Sacha gave me as our very first housewarming gift, knowing that this was the place that I was going to be operating from for the next umpteen years. It already felt like home, and there was nothing, nothing of mine in the place, except my son, who was just as delighted as I was.

So... no photo, sorry. I can only really blame myself for dropping my camera out of the car at Christmas time, and for just not thinking about the camera in my iPhone when I really should.

We're still waiting for an offer on the old house... we can't move into the new one until we've exchanged contracts, so I have to be patient, my creatures. At least now I can pop inside & sit on the floor instead of lurking around the cobwebby front garden.

In other, hopefully distracting news, semester has started at art school, and today I met my new booketeers for the first time. They seem a very keen, thoughtful, enthusiastic bunch, which is so cheering. I've also got a couple of exchange students auditing the class, so it's full to capacity, and makes the BookStud a touch snug.

Someone who drops by my studio to play with my press occasionally and travels to England frequently, loaned me a book about Lucien Pissaro (son of Camille), who started a press heavily inspired by the Arts & Craft movement. Which, once I'd looked at it, took me straight to my bookshelf to re-read The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt. Delicious, fabulous, mesmerising.

Bumblebee is enjoying year 8 much, much more than year 7. He's doing his first batch of electives, and to my surprise he chose Industrial Tech and Outdoor Ed. In the former he's coming home glowing after using chisels and planes, full of the praise of his dour teacher, having listened to my advice that he needed to focus on the tools rather than his friends. Mind you, this is the *only* class where he applies that focus, which is a pity. I wish all classes had dangerous elements that could cut and maim, maybe kids would do better if they did. The latter class is full of wonderful energetic, limit-pushing confidence-growing activities like sailing, rock-climbing and snorkel-diving. He's so excited. It's perfect for a 14-yo who is discovering how being tall and limber and fast is FUN. Bless him, he's changed so much over the last year or so.

Hmmm, coming down from the champagne. Wish Best Beloved was here to keep up the SQUEEEEEE feeling. Have to wake up early tomorrow to teach the UCan graphic design students. Might be time to snuggle up with the cats (who are going to LOVE their new domain) and read the book.

Good night!

*Our lovely real estate agents gave me a bottle of Moet with the keys, but I'm saving that for our first real night in the house.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Type type type


Yes, Colonel Duck, I don't seem to be blogging much. Sorry. I'm in a bit of a slumpy void thing where I am hovering glumly between existences: break, teaching; old house, new house; busy, disengaged.

On Saturday I taught a lovely class of women how to do Asian Stab Bindings at the Belconnen Arts Centre. Here we are, doing lovely things:

On Sunday I slobbed around moodily before meeting up with the lovely people of the Hill End Press.

Tomorrow I will be back at the Book Stud, teaching a bunch of graphic design students how to REALLY handle typography.

As their teacher and I were discussing today, young people use typefaces intuitively because they've grown up with the ability to layout visual text on computers with a large (limitless?) choice of fonts.

Tomorrow they're going to find out what happens when there are only a few choices, only a few sizes, and in some cases, incomplete alphabets. They're going to discover that leading means just that: strips of lead of varying sizes that sit between the lines of type. That kerning isn't just an abstract concept, but real physical spaces that you can insert between letters, and sometimes have to insert because otherwise the letters overshadow each other and won't ink or print properly.


I'm also reading Just My Type by Simon Garfield, which seems to be the book on everyone's reading list at the moment. I wasn't fussed about buying it (it'll be on every second-hand shelf in the country in 12 months) but someone lent it to me, so I'm feeling very up-to-date and it is indeed a jolly good read. Having learned eons ago not to judge art by the private life of its artist (we're a weird mob) but I'll certainly never look at Gill Sans the same way!

So there you go. I'll leave you with some typographic kitty play:

Monday, February 07, 2011


We are trying *very* hard to find the right buyers for our house (or any buyers at all, actually), so to the delight of our agent, her proffered weekly editorial to the Canberra Times was not only accepted, but followed through with an interview and -- unheard of for this particular column -- a photographer sent around to shoot us in our lovely unique kitchen.

Click here to embiggen, but it's a bit embarrassing. Firstly, I look DREADFUL, but BB comes across beautifully. Secondly, they took my description of our budding fruit plantings and made it come across as if we're a bounteous Garden of Eden (we're not, there's a lot of room for improvement, but a solid framework of edible things is growing), and thirdly it sounds as though our friend discounted his services mightily. He didn't, formally, but we did give him a pretty tight budget and he did so much more with it than we expected, and we're still utterly grateful to him. I've scrubbed his name out because he's not building anymore, and we didn't want him to be asked if he would do 'just one more'.

You can also see a small fraction of BB's Poole Pottery collection, the jugs, up on the 'floating shelves'. The rest has been in boxes for years, but our new house has ample space to display nearly all of it.

The best bit about the column is that the article straight after ours is reminding everyone that the market is healthy, and yet to find its peak.

So, after prostituting our dignity (and BB's anonymity) and pimping our cats every Wed and Saturday: if it doesn't sell soon, I'm going to be morose. One more week of advertising and then we have to make some hard decisions. There must be a right person out there somewhere. It's a sweet little house.

Remember to breathe, Duckie. You all have full permission to remind me of that. Again, we're not under mud, or on fire, or blown over. That's a good thing to think about.

Freaky sky biz

funny pictures - Urban kitteh is always prepard

Ahem. Moving right along.

Hasn't the weather been crazy?

On Saturday we went for a wonderful jaunt up Mt Majura with our future Hackett community of art school-based friends where we dodged enormous green-arsed bull ants, drank beverages, ate yummies and many of us had swims in the Top Dam. I didn't swim, but I will next time. Best Beloved didn't swim, but he will when he gets over his shyness with my friends who wouldn't give a rats if he has all-over excema stuff. Bumblebee did swim, and I was very proud of him for doing so. He's turning into someone who will try new things, and many of them surprise the hell out of me. Like jumping off the 5m diving board at the Civic Pool, something he'd never have done a year ago. Mind you, he was with his mates, which is a risk-taking incentive that sends small chills up my spine when I think of it being extended to things like booze & cars in a few years.

Anyhoo, about an hour after we came off the mountain, we had another freaky hard rain storm, just like the one the day before that threatened to flood our studios at ANCA. Phew! We're the lucky ones, all threats and very few consequences, unlike nearly everywhere else in the country.

Freaky, freaky, times.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Dear Mister Man at my gym class

Dear Mister Man at my gym class who stares at all the women's breasts as if we were there for your exercising entertainment:

We're not. We're exercising too.

Just a few pointers:

That ponytail doesn't make you look virile. It makes you look virulent, and does nothing to hide the fact that the front of your head is bald.

The tan makes you look like an old piece of leather. Or a tortoise. You take your pick.

The t-shirt saying 'If I'm right 98% of the time, who cares about the rest' says it all. You're right about that.

I wasn't staring at you in admiration, I was staring at you to see if I could shame you into looking away. Yay! It worked, but you just shifted your gaze to the next female across.

If I never look at you again, it's not because I fear Your Awsumness, it's because from now on, you don't exist. No biggie.

Have a nice day.

funny pictures - Peter Pan Kitteh

(Oh my, this was the first LOLcat I found this morning. How apt.)