I had this amazing Escher cross stitch pattern favourited on Etsy for ages but it always seemed a bit too ambitious. Then came covid. And a very long lockdown. I remember rushing to Spotlight to buy linen and 20 skeins of 5 shades of grey thread was one of the last things I did before everything shut last winter.
It was my first time using linen instead of aida, which took a little getting used to, but I am now a full convert. I love how it looks. I can see a few mistakes but overall I’m very very happy with this project. I’m kind of tempted to make another one?
July was… variable. It started off ok, everything was open and no restrictions, then lockdown #5 happened, and then it ended again. We are certainly learning that there is no point of planning ahead, and definitely don’t procrastinate anything. Do everything you can NOW, because the rules might change a few hours later.
Poutine on Canada Day at the Catfish with my internet friends. I didn’t feel great about celebrating Canada Day, but… I really wanted poutine. :P (Cheese curds are illegal in Australia.) The cheese was good but the chips were too thin. I can theoretically make cheese curds at home now though so there will be more poutine in my future.
Had a few friends over for my birthday. We introduced everyone to crokinole.. it was a hit. Also played Wits and Wagers and ate tons of snacks and acted silly. I had fun.
Can you tell that the family got me a new lens for my camera?
I went on a photo walk with my internet friends. We didn’t plan it well, so ended just wandering around aimlessly taking pictures of random stuff in the city, mainly Chinatown. It was good practice for me.
Fun with longer exposures.
More games! We finally got to have friends over to play boardgames again. We made pulled pork and slaw and taught them Lords of Waterdeep. We had to use the expansions so that all six of us could play and it took 5ever but it was fun!
Mischa made us a beautiful loaf of sourdough. It was professional quality.
Then we went to Pyalong, which I blogged about already. The night we got back we went to trivia for Ash’s birthday/our anniversary, and then the next day we got put back in lockdown for two weeks. Sigh.
Delivery treats! I’ve been wanting to try Black Star Pastry ever since Jess told us about it ages ago, but it was only in Sydney. Then they opened in St Kilda, but only at funny hours. Then they had a pop up delivery event so we ordered their famous Strawberry Watermelon Cake, the Raspberry Lychee Cake, and the Chocolate Mirage Cake.
To be honest, we didn’t like it that much. They were TOO light. Mostly cream and flowers. The watermelon cake probably tastes better in the summer when watermelon is in season, because at the moment it was kind of bland. The chocolate one was good but not life-changing. I would prefer to have our wedding cake from Ganache instead.
Glad I got to try it but probably won’t go back.
I ordered us a hotpot feast from Little Hot Pot Heroes for a treat dinner. It came with the pot setup, broth, all the ingredients, 7 types of banchan and some drinks. I got an extra broth so we can make our own soup next time. It was a fun activity and pretty tasty. I liked everything except the rectangle ham pieces.
Does anyone know what type of banchan this is? It was super crunchy, like much more crunchy than cabbage. I loved it.
I accidentally bought these masks with stupid phrases on them. They were folded and had a sticker on the package so I thought they were just plain. :( I literally yelled out loud when I took them out of the package.
So I attempted to terrazzo them with acrylic paint and textile medium. I think they turned out ok, at least somewhat wearable. Unfortunately when I washed them some of the paint came off of the parts with letters underneath so they’re not perfect. Oh well. Still better than “SMILES ARE CONTAGIOUS”. Cringe.
No pictures but lockdown #5 lifted right in time and we were very lucky to be able to have more than ten guests for Scott’s Nana Jean’s funeral. They had a nice funeral service and then the close family went out for lunch afterwards. It wasn’t a good occasion but it was nice to see everyone, like a sad Christmas.
Afterwards Scott and I squeezed in a quick walk at Birdsland where we saw lots of purple swamphens, ducks, bronzewings, and a darter. Then I went to training and then out for a Vietnamese feast with my weightlifting friends. It was a very big and exhausting day.
Unpictured things/things rolling over into August:
The Olympics started and I became a professional Olympics viewer. I watched SO MANY SPORTS. Including, all of the weightlifting, gymnastics, athletics, trampoline, track cycling, BMX, skateboarding, sport climbing, diving and tons more that I am forgetting.
I screwed up my elbow and now I have to do weird rehab like things with weights dangling on rubber bands.
I trained terribly during lockdown #5. I wanted to cry many many times. Thankfully for the first time ever they re-opened gyms right away when lockdown finished, so I got to go back for a glorious FIVE SESSIONS before lockdown #6 started. :/
We went to Braz and Lisanne’s going away party. They are moving back to Canada. :(
Thank you to Scott for being a great photography assistant for all of these shots!
Six shots stacked.
I forgot about taking multiple pictures of the same thing for stacking until the very end, whoops.
Tried a bit of light painting. Plus a plane in the background.
I would like to try again. I’ve booked some time off for the new moon in September, hopefully we’re not in any kind of lockdown then. We kinda need to go even further away, Melbourne was still so bright we couldn’t really take any pictures in the south direction.
Scott and I did a six week pottery term at Ceramiques Camberwell.
The first two weeks were throwing. I don’t think I have a picture of week 1 because we had to leave a tiny bit early to go to a dinner thing. We learned how to make basic cup shapes in the first week, and then how to make curvy things in week 2 (pictured above).
It was fun but also hard and I didn’t really find it relaxing, as you can tell from my face, lol.
Week 3 was trimming. I found it difficult to center my pieces for trimming because all my pieces were lopsided and not perfectly round, but once you got it going it is a very satisfying process. I really liked getting rid of all the extra thicc bits at the bottom.
Week 4 and 5 was throwing with different types of clay, and trimming again. We learned how to marble the clay, and theoretically how to make plates (did not have much success with that). The dark brown clay was very very very rough, like, sandpapering your hands off rough. The medium brown clay was gritty but nicer. The next day the callouses on my hands were stained orange!!
All of my pieces on the left, and all of Scott’s on the right. Ready for wax and then glaze.
The final week was glazing. Scott kept saying “4-20 GLAZE IT”. Glazing was a bit chaotic. They had about 10 different types of glaze set out for us, and we each had about 10 pieces to do, but only one person can use a bucket at a time. They showed us how to do multiple different techniques of dipping, pouring, dripping, mixing etc. Also every clay and glaze looks different at this stage compared to the final result.
I had a grand plan of how I wanted to make everything look but then got totally confused and ended up just dipping things randomly/making everything pink.
Glazes pieces ready for the final firing. I was so worried I’d messed up all my pieces at this point. I kept knocking the sides with the tongs and accidentally leaving fingerprints on everything. And if you didn’t put enough wax on the bottoms or didn’t wipe off enough glaze from the bottoms your pieces can stick in the kiln and ruin everything!! POTTERY IS NOT RELAXING!! (At least as a beginner/stresshead).
Finally 8 weeks later (damn lockdown 4.0) we got to pick up our finished pottery. We were mostly pleasantly surprised, with some cringe. A lot of our pieces have cracks from not compressing the bases enough, and yes there were some poor glaze choices and mishaps. But overall we have a buttload of functional tiny vessels, and some of them are really very nice!
Scott’s stuff. The mug is his favourite.
My stuff. I also like my mug the most, and the textured vase thingy on the right.
Better picture of my tiny vase. I scooped out all the little circles in the trimming phase, and then was hoping the glaze would settle into them and look interesting, which I suppose it did! I like it. What should I use it for?
Overall the course was pretty good. I don’t like not being immediately good at something. :P We might do another term some time, but we didn’t sign up right away. It would be fun to do it with some other friends as well.