Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Finding Faces: the Return of the Sequel

There’s nothing like seeing stuff in a new light, for a bit of extra spark in your day. For some time now, the Myrtleandeunices have been on the lookout for sneaky critters appearing out of the woodwork (quite literally). Be warned, it can get a little obsessive if “Hey Mum, there’s twenty million hundred ‘faces’ at school, when are you bringing your camera?” is anything to go by. I first posted about the finding of faces in inanimate objects here, with a ‘sequel’ here. I had figured our household head count finalised, but lo! last week I spotted this chirpy chap above. Thrilled to make each others acquaintance, we grinned like long lost kindred spirits – until I turned him ’round to grate parmesan on his back.

There’s also a reggae-obsessed, Marley look-alike, hitching a freeloading, non-peddling ride on the back of our tandem:

Down the road, I came over all MI5* and Spooks-like, surreptitiously snapping this entrance security system. Commendable invisibility accomplished, given kid in pusher, two shrieking on scooters, dog kitted out in knitted jumper and bulky digital SLR camera.

Elly Bee at Tuinstruinen sent me this surprisingly surprised fellow. You’d think he’d sort of get the thing with the squirty water by now:

And this little Pinocchio should just stick to the cold hard facts:

Finally, Wendy at Unleash the Inner Fwog, sent this little gem over, which just goes to show, you never really know someone until you’ve seen their washing machine:

You can find the sort-of rules here, if you just can’t resist playing. But even if you can, you have got to go and see the little doozies Kylie at A Little Red Dress and Jo at The Cart Before The Horse found.

I know I should set up a Flickr thingummywhatsit group in an uber-efficient fashion. Thing is, I’m second day into an extremely gale-force windy school holiday and someone, somewhere, has scientifically proven that the wind/kid combination is a too-true recipe for disaster. Instead you’ll find me rocking back and forth in the nearest corner, summoning the wherewithal for a third day attempt at earthmotherly sweetness and light.

* Just so you know, they will know if you click on that link

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Wrap (or, Not ANOTHER Market)

With blogging, comes accountability. Without documenting stuff, I would never clock how many unfinished projects I have on the go (although at last count, I lost count), or the disproportionate amount of childhood my anklebiters spend at markets. Guilt moves me to declare next weekend a non-market event, (unless we end up at the John Brack exhibition and happen by a nearby and patently unavoidable situation). Nonetheless, today has been a winning day...

The fifty cent button card stall:

(and that would be a win for the button bowl):

Some well-considered pocket money expenditure (particularly given the burning-hole-in-pocket issues):

A wooden chooken (what’s with the vaguely unnerving poultry obsession?):

Hyperventilation on behalf of someone else who knows how to make grand designs with veritable kilometres of crocheted circle whatsits:

Masterchef scones for afters. (If the Mr is coming across inebriated it’s due to the waft of baking and the – surely not unreasonable? – one whole minute cooling ruling). A unanimously declared cats pyjamas scone recipe...

Heartily endorsed.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Handbag and a Hitch

The fate of the treasured Parisian baby dress was sealed when the toddler appeared carrying the aforementioned by the straps and squealed: ‘Bag, Mama!’ True dinks.* I have mixed emotions over the kid inheriting my way of thinking.

Andrea had kindly left a comment jam-packed with excellent suggestions and I proceeded with some confidence. Apart from the removal of the straps, none of the dress was cut or altered. I blanket stitched with the touch of a (large) fairy. In order to maintain the scalloped top, I did something with iron-on interfacing at the very top edge of my lining and attached with further blanket stitchery. My no doubt dodgy, interfaced-top-edge-of-lining solution, was put under stringent, independant, Choice-style testing and when the edges emerged unfrayed, I declared it a ‘winging it’, winning way. (Oh, what evilry have I committed?)

I considered a bottom gusset thingy, but ‘gusset’ is such an unattractive word. Besides, I don’t mind my bags looking distinctly like a dress and it was never, ever supposed to function as a tote. This bag is for special outings and destined to contain dainty, ladylike items, once I have acquired dainty, ladylike items. Whenever I am out soirée-ing with bag in hand I shall wear heels or walk on tippy toes. There’s even the possibility that stitches can be undone, straps reattached and a future grandkid could yet gadd about in a bag.

Here’s the hitch. While clicking away with the camera, the toddler spotted an opportunity and delightedly made claim (reclaimed?) her bag/dress. Last seen, she was headed in great haste in the approximate direction of the sandpit. And so prompts the appalled and previously unconsidered questions: Who has the legal right? Who gets custody? Does anyone know a good lawyer?

* Two colloquial words that last touched my lips in 1986. For any bewildered international visitors, the meaning is along the lines of: ‘I’m not joking’, or ‘I tell no lie’, or ‘I did not put her up to it (as unbelievable as this may sound)’.

PS. My hearty thanks to Nikki of You Sew Girl for organising a splendiferous bloggy morning tea - it was lovely to put faces to names and indulge in whole cups of tea and a natter!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Blindingly Brilliant, Four O’Clock in the Morning Idea

Maybe. Generally I treat Blindingly Brilliant, Four O’Clock in the Morning Ideas with high suspicion. Four in the morning is a time for dreaming whimsically of a blurred and innocent youth spent frolicking in bright white,* through overgrown wheat fields, with a floral wreath-thing perched upon long, breezing-in-the-breeze, down-to-the-knees, tresses.** Four in the morning is not for staring into the dark, brainstorming refashioning notions.

During a recent sort-through of anklebiter hand-me-downs, this exquisite, all the way from Paris, size six month baby dress, was one of three items placed to one side. I planned to wrap in tissue, attach a death threat in moth language and haul out a few eons hence for the sentimental dressing of frolicking grandbabes, (refer pic on the left). Unless I make a handbag, (refer pic on the right).

The issue is, I haven’t the foggiest how to sew (much). I haven’t any inkling of most of the rules, but manage to bend them anyway. I do know that a lining is the order of the day, even though I do so like the see-through holey bits. I know it’ll be fiddly, but I’m happy to go evenly and patiently by hand. I’m also thinking just-right wooden handles might be the bees knees. So stop me now, you sewers in the know. You may just be able to spare some poor future grandkid an unfortunate experience, gadding about in a wooden strappy number.

* I have only ever known off-white
** I have only ever owned curly hair. Curly hair in my family never grows longer, just springier.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Busy (an Understatement)

I take my hat off to all parents (let alone single parents) of twins. Should anyone need this Mum/Auntie tonight you’ll find her knitter-ing and rocking in the corner, sipping on something calming and therapeutic and not tea.

They didn’t look this clean by the end. My first-ever, year-old, formed doll (who upon completion, prompted an involuntary splutter from the Mr – so unfortunate is her hair), also barely survived to tell the tale.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Fuller Confession

Last week I posted ‘A Full Confession’ but strictly speaking, didn’t. Which just goes to show, you can’t believe everything you read on the internet. I probably did come across a trifle sheepish in proportion to my mostly gift-related recent purchasings. This is because, even as I typed, I knew a limited edition screenprint of The Bus Driver’s Prayer, was snailmailing its way across the world. Although I am not in the slightest bit repentant, I now have nothing further to confess, which proves, Kate, that I am doing a better job of ‘good’ this week.

Martin Grover’s work is varied and gorgeous, but The Bus Driver’s Prayer, based on Ian Dury’s words, is so good for the soul, I’m sure the One Above would forgive the re-interpretation. While Mr Myrtleandeunice is also fully signed up to this acquisition, he never stood a chance. Such was the onslaught of an articulate, relentless, PowerPoint-presented, one-sided negotiation for the use of his mostly-forgotten, English bank account and our few spare pennies rolling around inside.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Drum Roll, a Winner and a New Week (Sort-Of) Resolution

Given my recent foray into the ‘drawing of a winner’ was a somewhat drawn out affair,* this time Random.org did the picking for the voodoo pincushion prize. Get the microscopes out, or just take it from me, the winner is...(still reckon it’s worth a drum roll)...

Number 9: Tinnie Girl!

“I often find myself scarred from a visit to the Body Shop and their over zealous sales approach. My ‘favourite’ experience was when I was in there shopping for a gift and the sales person asked me if I knew if the gift was for a male or a female. Doh, I wonder if I know who I'm buying the gift for? I told her I did know but didn't share the gender.”

Tinnie Girl, I suspect you have no less than seventeen pincushions.** And I feel the need to inform you that as delicious as inkjet fabric is, it probably isn’t the perfect choice for a pincushion (you really have to stab those pins in). While you are most welcome to stick with your custom-made (with relevant logo), crafty voodoo like this...

...you can instead opt to come over all zen-like and choose a set of ten (two of each), printed on gorgeously cottony paper, Critter Cards by Myrtle and Eunice.***

* To be honest, every idea I came up with, involved pins or darts and overstepped my (admittedly quite high) weirdy threshold.
** There’s even one on your blog header.
*** Have made a conscious decision to do more good than evil this week.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Eye Spy... a Sign

Jenaveve at August Street is hosting this week’s Eye Spy Sunday and I’m taking the literal approach to the ‘sign’ theme. I'm partial to a nice bit of wayfinding in general but have always loved Alan Fletcher’s front gate in particular. The late, great, English master of design, based his gate alphabet on an old condensed wooden typeface. The letters are held together by the hinge straps. The ‘tail’ of the ‘Q’ ingeniously acts as the gate-stop. Faces huddled into winter woollies, speedy-walker types or those who expect only plain vertical iron bits on the fronts of houses could easily miss the gate-joy.

For five cumulative years I worked in the vicinity of Alan Fletcher’s home and studio in London and passed these same gates to and from the tube station. Count that up and that’s three thousand, six hundred and fifty gate passings (give and take a holiday here and weekend work there). You can directly translate that into roughly three thousand, six hundred and fifty on the inside (and, not infrequently on the outside) Tania grins.

Find more Eye Spyers over at Bug and Pop. Image from ‘Pentagram: The Compendium’

Friday, June 19, 2009

Double Trouble

OK, more double than trouble, but everything that could go wrong did (in spades) with the second dress. A few dollar coins in the swear jar later, the Mr was heard to mutter under his breath ‘Hmm, couldn’t imagine anything more relaxing than crafting.’

Excitingly, this means a ‘crossing off’ on the To Do list. And baby Beatrix and Isabella, way way away in sunny England, have a summery get-up to soirée about in. As much as one month babies soirée. I’m also making a wild assumption that new Mums of two are lucky if they can squeeze a shower into their day, or even week. Am quietly confident there are no cats getting out of any bags here.

On an altogether different note, I am so thrilled it’s nearly a much-needed weekend that I could go and jump air somersaults on the trampoline. Consider the impact of three births and you’ll understand that for the grandiose statement it is.

nb. The dress/tunic is available as a free pattern here by Made by Petchy and it’s a super-simple fun one. My sewing machine took it upon itself to have a conniption during the making of the second – the sole reason for the swear-induced slog. And one day I’ll get out more, but there’s always guaranteed fabric success at Amitié.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Breathing Now

It took just one cut into that fabric to begin breathing again. By that I mean, I could actually hear and feel the air moving in and around and about and out. For the first time in many weeks, I wasn’t running on adrenaline. When I spoke there wasn’t the shrill edge to my voice that maybe only I can hear. I didn’t notice that tight lump of stress in my throat. I wasn’t thinking ahead to the next task. There was a mini revelation.

Sometimes friends who have fewer than three children say ‘I don’t know how you do it’. Usually my response is somewhere along the lines of ‘Well, you should see the state of my house’. Secretly, I have worked on the theory that I can adjust to more kids, more work, more friends, more everything. Sure it’s tricky at first but then I’ll make it work. To me there aren’t any real limits – only less sleep, less rest, less play, less time to listen to breathing. Usually it’s the day to day housework and washing that falls by the wayside. Lately there has been a higher price.

Although I have skirted around the edges of this revelation and seen it in a squinty, peripheral, distracted, outer body sort of way, I hadn’t felt it in the middle of my chest or pit of my stomach until last night. Working with the fabric allowed me some time and space to forget the running order of the day and somewhere in there, a whopping serve of clarity hit me between the eyeballs. It seems there’s a tipping point. Here I am, teetering right on the very precipice of a pyramid of priorities. I can just make out from way up high that the ones furthest down are some of those I hold dearest.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I have just heard from Gina at Clutterpunk that I am the WINNER of a Swiney! I am beside myself. It was love at first sight ever since Gina first posted her anatomically, virologically accurate Swine Flu softie. Just check out those “cute green neuraminidases and swanky red haemagglutinin right down to the eight strands of RNA in the middle.” Swiney appeals to my sense of humour in every way – nuthin’ like facing a pandemic with a smile on your dial.

Because I am such a delighted winner, but also because I have received so much recent group voodoo therapy from you all, here’s one ridiculous offer. Leave a comment detailing a shopping experience from which you are yet to make a full recovery and you’ll be in with a chance to WIN. It doesn’t have to be related to the same store as my own shopping nemesis - and please, no actual naming while shaming. The prize is a CUSTOM MADE voodoo,* I mean, pincushion doll. But it’s all win win, because with venting comes inner peace. You’ll be a tranquil-er craftster for participating. Entries close at the clang of midnight this Sunday June 21st.

* It’s not real, like, scary or stuff. It’s just for sticking pins in so you don’t step on ’em with your bare feet.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Full Confession

It’s about time I came clean on some recent acquisitions and hope like hotcakes Mr Myrtleandeunice isn’t paying attention. Really, a significant percentage of all this loveliness isn’t for me. I’m not feeling guilt (it’s all used up on parenting), only an uber-organised, holier than thou-ness because a few nearest and dearest will receive birthday gifts within spitting distance of this year’s birthday. They'll fall out of their trees with the shock of it all.

I have been keeping track of all the experimentery going on over at Curly Pops and the moment I saw this beauty, knew it was a must for a certain someone:

And the same goes for this button pendant from Lauren Williams (Lauren I am the vision of restraint. I haven’t yet succumbed to the Dark Side and it remains destined for gifting):

The weekend before last, we whizzed off on a daytrip. While I have already ’fessed up to this from the Daylesford Maker’s Market, I also picked up some sweet Dandelion hair floweries for the present box, because I was already overachieving resisting Beck’s bunnies.

On Sunday we squeezed in a fleeting trip to the Melbourne Design Market. The kids hit the playground and we tag-teamed the market. I bumped into the very lovely Queen of Pepperberrians and we had an eleven minute chat. Although the Mr has been busy growing a serious halo lately, on Sunday he was an-understandably-over-lots-of-solo-parenting-grump. In my remaining agreed four minutes I purchased this loveliness from Nest:

...gave in to this way-too-scary-to-cut fabric from Ink & Spindle, (this could be where it starts being about me):

...and adopted a rooster. A veritable mirrored chook beauty (not me, the rooster) from Lightly. Not bad for four minutes.

I gave myself a high five.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Crafty Voodoo

There were two small windows of crafting opportunity over the weekend and what did I do? Come over all a dither of course. There wasn’t the time beforehand to plan the crafting and I kept picking up the sticks, knitting HALF a row and then wandering off to gaze at stash fabric. After wasting an entire opportunity on pfaffery, I gave up and went to bed in an irritated huff. By the morning it was apparent that therapy, on every level, was the order of the day.

Some relevant things to note:

1. I have lasted a long time without owning a pin cushion

2. I do own five sheets of the fun-est, fab-est thing around: inkjet printable fabric from Nikki at You Sew Girl

3. I have a long-running, simmering and ever-growing frustration with a certain store. It’s a place with an uncanny knack for bringing out a purple-turning, sarcastic, feisty and wholly unattractive rage.

Here’s where the craft therapy led:

Importantly, she doesn’t do real magic. I haven’t sourced any locks of hair or anything else disturbing. In fact there is absolutely nothing used in the crafting that you would ever hope to find at this store. The stuffing is 100% wool, as is the hand-dyed, gorgeous to touch felt, (both purchased from our school fete). The inkjet fabric prints beautifully and the Perle 8 is from Amitié. So keep calm everyone. There isn’t any REAL evil at work. Just a sort of quiet satisfaction whenever I feel the need for some therapeutic pin cushion action.

Hey, I'm not ready yet!

Man, I hate that when you accidentally hit the return key and an unintelligible stream of consciousness writing gets PUBLISHED with NARY A WARNING. I was just pottering around the edges with my crafty voodoo, so you lot with an RSS feed, ignore. I'll be with you in a while. Depending on when the kid wakes up.


Saturday, June 13, 2009


It only takes a glimpse of a London Underground logo for me to be able to visualise the cracks, patches and inconsistencies in the pavement on the route between Clapham South station and my home six years ago. Similarly, a browse around Smitonius and Sonata or Kay Loves Vintage with the occasional quintessentially Dutch imagery, has me straight back eighteen years ago, working sixteen hour days and recalling the precise detail of the endlessly polished silver cutlery and a doomed first, ‘big’ relationship.

This morning I was sorting through our girl baby, hand-me-down clothing. It takes only a glimpse of this or that to bring flooding back the sleep deprivation, milky, musky smells, a head too heavy to support itself, a snuggled-in closeness, first steps, I’m-choosing-my-own-clothes-now-ness. Is that why, as I fold and sort, that I can’t resist burying my face in a jumper, trying to breathe in some of that history? Is that why, even though I am very pleased to pass them on to the babies of dear friends that I would also like them back when they are outgrown? Just to marvel at the smallness and softness and experience that clarity of memory, of a busy, fraught, wonderful, difficult time. Then I’ll fold them and sort them and pass on the hand-me-hand-me-hand-me-downs to be part of another small history.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This Season’s New Look...

...may or may not have something to do with peering through upside-down swimming goggles, but should definitively have something to do with upcycled clothing. One of the treasures found at the Daylesford Maker’s Market is this reconditioned jumper-ette by Mermadeit. Deborah does top and bottom sets too, but given nary a matching sock-pair has made it out of this house alive, I opted against the exercise in co-ordinates futility thing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mike Tyson, Another Dead Stick and a SEWN Winner!

A lot of love has gone into the making of this Chickummyjig and to be honest, we’ve grown quite close over the last month. Somehow it didn’t sit comfortably, letting some randomly generated whatsit decide his fate. It only seems fair that this Chickummyjig should choose his own new home...

So. I have cut up a kazillion pieces of ‘straw’ and written the name of every SEWN Blog Party Giveaway commenter on the back and then attached a paper clip. At this point I’m warming to the Random.org concept, but I get a look from the chook. Finding yet another use for a dead stick (honestly, I’m blown away by the limitless potential), I harness a ‘fishing’ rod to a startled Chickummyjig, who is now also re-visiting the Random.org thing.

If you’re thinking the chook looks as though he’s gone a few rounds with Mike Tyson, just you try being a chicken and sucking on a magnet. Drum roll please...

The moment of truth...

And the winner is...

JESS of Oh My!

Congratulations Jess. On all fronts. Having checked your blog, it’s obvious you are the perfect chicken and baby number FIVE, Mum-to-be! (if you’re thinking a Chickummyjig with attitude might just tip the scales, let me know).

Er, he’s packed and ready to go, best email me those postal details...

A hearty thanks to all for playing and hurray! for a SEWN Blog Party Giveaway...