Thursday 29 December 2011

Black and white Magpie

Tragic life
Role model
A generation.

Beyond blondness.

Written for Magpie Tales with compassion for all of us who live in a persona, tragically fearing judgement of our reality.

Saturday 24 December 2011

Magpie in a purple treehouse Haiku

To you I was a subject
To me you were a shadow
I wanted more

For Magpie Tales and The Purple Tree House Haiku Challenge.
And to my Christian friends, I send a wish for a Happy Christmas, to my Muslims friends, seasons greetings and to the Atheists, a year of human cooperation.

Monday 12 December 2011

Kidnapped for ransom.


I’m up to my nipples in sand,
The tide’s coming in again and
This time, I’m afraid
You win, Tess Kincaid
I’ll give you the five hundred grand!

Take the risk and visit Tess at Magpie Tales  but run if she's toting a shovel!

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Dart: Verb transitive, to move suddenly. Dart: Noun. 1. Pointy thing thrown in the general direction of a target to fill in time between drinks. 2. Sewing term meaning shortening by pleating and sewing together a triangular section.

The pattern did not work. Where the sections overlapped, there would be three layers of material. An experiment using a small off-cut revealed the flaw. Three layers fitted (only just) under the foot when it was lifted to its highest point. That raised a sweat and but I went ahead anyway.
When the machine hit three layers of vinyl at the seam it made a very unsettling noise and jammed with the needle down. So, remembering Sue J's advice, I opened the bobbin thingy and removed it. Apparently the machine could not pull the needle with thread back up through three layers, so I cleared the needle and had a rethink.

Here is the BBQ on its table, so you can see its complicated shape. Yes, I made the table from left over bits of seating and window polyglass. The curled up tube is the gas bottle connector and you can see its control on the right. The cover must go over the whole thing so it can be left attached to the rail and still be protected from sun and rain. On the right just visible under a towel is a bit of my old pirate ship wheel, covered to keep the sun off.

So as an experiment, the vinyl sheet was laid over the whole thing and the corner darts pinned from the underside until it fitted as well as a flat sheet can. Then the darts were sewn with straight stitching several times, each time making the darts tighter until it slipped over the BBQ and table neatly then the excess was removed. Next, a 3/4" hem to hold elastic was sewn all round using the widest zig-zag, stopping at each dart where the direction was reversed for an inch or so to prevent unravelling, then missing the dart and starting again on the other side.

SFX: Drum roll. Ta dah!

(There will be no close up shots of the hem stitching or the knee deep mess on the floor). When the elastic is threaded through, the plan is to hand sew the gaps (if necessary).
Sewing is now suspended. This morning I am off to Sydney by train to help IXL with her project (garments for the Canberra Hand Made Market Dec 17 and 18) where I am not allowed to sew. My principal function there is to run errands, mop brows, mutter soothing words and pour whiskey. Friday back here to get Heavy Metal ready for her move to Sydney for the festivities, including anchoring in the harbour for the excellent New Years Eve fire works display.
There will be photos if I can remember to take them.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Hey! A guy has to start somewhere!

When is a tailor a sewer?
So here I was home with my seven metres of duck, two reels of polyester thread I was assured was UV stable and a set of leather needles. But I was nowhere near confident that I was ready for the big jobs so I cast about for practice material and there hanging beside the hatchway was a bevy of holey shopping bags.

I reckon those green (black, blue, pink) bags are built to last about a week then degrade but hey, who cares if I stuff up! So I zigged and I zagged over rips and tears giving new life to half a dozen old bags. But there was one with an actual hole.

So, I cut a bit of old cloth and sewed it inside,

then zig-zagged over the raggedy edges.

As Ninotaziz pointed out, the term for a bloke who sews is a tailor. But after viewing this effort she may agree I am still a sewer; effective but messy.

Today, back to Spotlight for some marine vinyl. Why? I need more practice, so the next job is a cover for the BBQ. The pattern is almost done, so be patient.

Monday 5 December 2011

You had better be quick!

A few years ago I had a new sail cover made from duck at a cost of $500.
A sail cover is pretty basic. Just a more or less rectangular sheet, hemmed with a zipper on one end and an eyelet on the other, with a few clip-together straps in between.
As I now need two new sail covers plus new mattress covers plus new covers for the dining alcove cushions, plus (if I can handle it) sail repairs, I decided that I need a sewing machine and began to research them. I was advised I would need a machine that had a 'walking foot' for the thick stuff, a high lift foot and was powerful enough for vinyl and leather.
At Spotlight (FYO Spotlight sells mainly stuff for sewers. No, silly, not those smelly old pipes in the ground, I mean those old fashioned people who still make things with needle and thread), with IXL, who had developed a yen to compete with Beijing and sew clothes for sale, I saw what I wanted. It had all of the above.

How much? $249.
I thought that was a bit too cheap to be any good but was advised by Lynne that it came with a three year warranty. Then when I hesitated because I was still wondering if it was too cheap to be any good, Lynne advised me to 'wait until next week and it is on special for $75 off'.
So I told her to put my name on it and I would be back. Then, while IXL was busy choosing enough cloth to do a Christo and wrap Sydney Harbour Bridge, I filled out the application form and received a VIP Club card.

Two days later, in the paper there appeared an ad for Spotlight that offered 20% off all sewing machines. Also I was reminded that VIP membership entitled me to a further $40 off any purchase over $100!
Are you still with me?

The math is as follows:
20% off $249 (rounded) is $50, plus the VIP discount of $40 comes to a total discount of $90!

When I presented the ad and my VIP card to Lynne, she was surprised to say the least. But she agreed with my maths, so here is my brand new Toyota Jeans machine for $160! Howzat!
(This confluence of offers ends today).

Lunch time Magpie

Hey Fritz! Did you hear the one about the...
Shuddup  'n eat!

My reaction to this week's Magpie Tales prompt.
( I would hate to work there!)

Saturday 3 December 2011

Found this while surfing the web

Ode to boat people
Seeking dreams on foreign soil
The creak of salt soaked timbers
oil and diesel assail the nose
stretched upon the deck huddled
stench of fear uncertainty
Journey of months for some
Others years of labour hardships
All are equal on this boat on fear
Drift sleep sip water sleep again
The sailors cruel no compassion
Greed money unlawful desire
Pray to god land be near
Day and night nothing changes
Shift in mood the sailors scurry
Shadow of grey upon the horizon
Anticipation the journey end
Booming voice a new journey begins


In Australia the 'boat people' debate has been a political football for years causing so much unnecessary pain to the most vulnerable of people.
Most of Simyart's poetry is romantic and can be found at

Thursday 1 December 2011

Parallel Universes.

Newspaper headlines. (Often in same edition).

Oceans dying from CO2 acidification,
Newcastle Ports proposes new 2.7 billion coal loader.

Murray-Darling needs more flow to maintain system health.
Irrigators say cuts to water entitlements ‘irresponsible’.

Four trawlers mothballed at Mooloolaba for lack of fish.
Sign on fisherman’s ute: “Fix the fishery; shoot a greenie!”

How will we feed nine billion people in 2050?
Government pays baby bonus to increase birth rate.

AIDS epidemic in Africa. 40 million infected.
Pope bans use of condoms.

Add your own 'parallel universe couplet' as a comment!.

Maybe you got this in your inbox too.

Subject: Just a good example

George Orwell

When the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.
Is this man truly a genius? Checked out and this is DID happen!

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan". All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A.... (substituting grades for dollars - something closer to home and more readily understood by all).

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.
It could not be any simpler than that.
Remember, there IS a test coming up. The 2012 elections.

These are possibly the 5 best sentences you'll ever read and all applicable to this experiment:

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.


My comment:
Can you really believe that any university would really do that? Can you believe any group of students would all return a paper with an opinion opposite to that of their professor? Did Obama really say: 'no one will be rich and no one will be poor'?
In this society there is a such inequity because we do not value the work of people who clean hospital floors for $4 an hour but do value a director of Lehmann Brothers who gives himself a $30 million bonus for dreaming up yet another way to siphon off more wealth through dodgy accounting. Who is offering value for money? Do you really think the cleaning lady could ever become a director of Lehman Brothers because of the rewards that offers?

Perhaps if George Bush's tax break billionaires paid their fair share of tax, she might be paid enough to not need food stamps and maybe put her kids through university and surely a million or two for sitting around a board table is enough, and like her, only if he performs.

Nobody is suggesting everyone gets the same rewards, just that the extremes are pulled in a bit so more of the pie can be shared. That seems to me what Obama wants, but propaganda like the above with it dishonest and simplistic message is paid for by the very rich to influence voters and it works. I wonder how many cleaning ladies can pay a PR company to flood the internet with such crap!

How about we send this quote out to Republicans and Tea Party members?
H.L. Mencken said: "For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple--and wrong."