Thursday, July 30, 2009

My Creative Space

After yesterday’s fishy fiasco I’m doing penance. The six year old asked if any other kid had a Hot Frog to snuggle in bed yet. Guilt ridden, (again), I’m now on the case. Free wheat bag pattern and tutorial ready for posting in the next, phew, day or two...

Hop on over to Kirsty’s for more creative spaces.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fishy Business and Other Evil Acts

Let’s have it all out in the open from the get go: mea culpa. It’s my fault and given my track record with dead fish (poor, dear Myrtle), you’d think I’d have known better.

What I should have done, once the Dwarf Guarami fish hit an apparent life crisis and began indulging in titchy neon Tetra fishy appetisers, was take immediate action. Particularly once the entire household had witnessed the bullying of Eunice the Angelfish. I did make the call and arranged for the aquarium return of the newly-named ‘Piranha’ (surely a point awarded here for resisting a loo flushing?). Then things got busy.

Before you can hum the theme tune to Jaws, a week had passed and I fooled myself that the bigger Eunice was the fish with karma on her side and as long as everyone had full stomachs, all would be well. A month passed and apart from a couple of minor misdemeanours and Piranha time-out in the corners, everything seemed under control. Let it be know that throughout this month, I brushed aside no less than a zillion kid reminders for fish removal.

Last night I forgot to feed the fish.

This morning I performed an impressive series of distracting manoeuvres whenever a kid ventured within fish tank viewing distance.

This afternoon, after trawling three aquariums, I purchased a spottier, blacker, almost entirely unconvincing Imposter Eunice. No doubt she could have done with an orientation program: a settling in period. But I’d already maxed-out on evil and with a school pick up deadline, in she went without ceremony but with a handful of extra weedy disguise.

My children have an apparent inability to locate an object lying directly beneath their noses and my aim is to keep Imposter Eunice swimming at some speed. All my bets are on this infinitesimally small chance to get away with one impressively dodgy bit of parenting. It’s a theory. There may be a need for a Plan B.

PS. To clarify: Myrtleandeunice the blog is not named after Myrtle and Eunice the angelfish, even if the angelfish came first and everyone (blog and fish) are named after the same two lovely old ladies...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Every Which Way But Loose

Knitwear and I have a love hate-hate relationship. Let’s just say I inherited the Eunice busty gene and you’ll understand the terror of bulky knits. However when Gina, the Queen of Refashion presented a luscious red, ready-felted cardigan and suggested I might like to give the whole cut and paste thing a whirl – well, I’m up for a challenge. What with all the excitement I forgot to photograph a ‘before’ version. Get your imagination out and think somewhere along these glamour lines:

After tying the cardigan and myself in knots last week I had the somewhat alarming notion that it worked UPSIDE DOWN. A sort of bolero-inspired number. In the end, I decided the Eunice gene was all a bit terrifying – though I’m still betting it would work on someone less curvy. Following a weekend re-think, I went with the predictable approach...

(Drum roll thing)

Presenting the refashioned BACK TO FRONT cardi-vest:

Now I’ve seen a photo, I reckon it looks like a back to front cardi-vest. As I type I’m wearing it the right? wrong? (other) way round, and am excited to have discovered the AMBIDEXTROUS cardi-vest. Again, you’ll need to get your imaginations out. Just think the back of me is really the front:

Yesterday I showed a friend. Speechless, she raised an eyebrow. Like a red cardi to a (Taurean) bull, I have vowed to wear this upon every subsequent meet-up, with the possible exception of an occasional mid-summer scorcher.

Finally, the process. No pins. No measuring. Pure wing and prayer:

1. Leaving the top front button where it is (for the back detail in above pic), remove rest of front buttoned up bit and sew closed

2. Cut sleeves off, following shoulder seams

3. Use part of one sleeve for the extra bit of asymmetrical collar detail

4. Take in the seams at the sides to pay homage to a waist which I think is somewhere

5. Nick two buttons from the front button up scrap and sew in place on extra bit of collar detail

6. Hoard all offcuts for future creative output. Think better and forfeit side seam scraps so kids can wear bandannas, do ‘kung fu’ and buy me a little more time to faff about before someone comes over too enthusiastic on the Jackie Chan.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fourteen Bits of Goodness

There’s obviously some planetary alignment on the go. The house is as tidy as it’s ever likely to be, the laundry door now contains the washing mountain, the smell of freshly baked coconut cake containing inordinate amounts of sour cream is wafting, the sun is shining through with some crispy wintry warmth and I’m off to chase kidlets in and out of frigid sea water for the afternoon. I’m feeling good.

Here’s some other bits of good coming my way lately...

Bit of Goodness Number One
Funky, hand-felted necklace giveaway win, courtesy of Marie at Craftyrie, arrived via the traumatised postie. (I knew it was coming, he knew he was watched). Marie even included a bonus crocheted hairclip – just cos I’m talented enough to live local.

Bit of Goodness Number Two
No rest for the persecuted postie. I had half a notion that Leonie at Raglan Guld was sending a copy of one of her gorgeous pics – but behold! A beautiful brown paper package tied up with string, containing a few additional favourite things.

Bit of Goodness Number Three
A birthday pressie purchased from Claire at Gugaw in the UK and destined for a Someone in, er, the UK. Despite the well travelled-ness of the bracelet, I am wearing a goodness halo right now. Months ahead of time, I am. Just to truly freak out the MIL, I’m planning the surface mail option to prove all redemption and uber organisation.

Bit of Goodness Number Four, Five, Six, Seven, Blah, Blah, Thirteen
I cashed in my birthday Crafty Shopping Spree Voucher over at Sunspun yesterday. I might just manage a beautiful Brooklyn Tweed, Porom beret out of this stash, but for the most part, it seems I’m in it for the making, not the wearing. Apparently I have an unforeseen mission to bedeck loved ones in knitted accents of varying shades of grey and four kinds of duck egg blue.

Bit of Goodness Number Fourteen
One small compromise on duck egg blue.

Hope a bit of goodness shines through your Sunday.

Friday, July 24, 2009

One Special Dress

Some thirteen or so years ago, in the wee small hours, I returned to my south London home, collapsed into a chair and with shining eyes announced to my Pot Noodle-eating flatmate: “I’ve met him.”

So began a long and drawn out affair – just getting the ‘him’ to notice the her. Almost as soon as he had noticed, my visa expired and I was back in Australia. So began an excruciatingly drawn out, long-distance affair (of sorts), until the penny finally dropped and the guy realised he couldn’t live without the girl either. Not that we’d lived together. So began a short and sweet three month affair being ‘fiancées’ (it says so in my passport). This was the get-out clause, before a quick-sticks-or-someone-will-be-kicked-out-of-the-country, wedding.

Weirdly, I discouraged my Aussie friends and family from travelling to London (“we could be divorced in a month!”) and it was only a dear Dutch friend/bridesmaid/matron of honour/flower girl (she hauled over a plane-load of tulips) and my adamant Mum whom I ‘allowed’ to come. Such is my regret.

Mum made my pillar box, London-bus-red wedding dress. It caused some great angst as she sewed into the wee small hours from far, far away and there was much finger crossing for its sizing and its safe arrival. It still hadn’t shown a month after sending, one week before the wedding and the London-based FedEx office was bribed with bottles of wine to encourage them to consider conducting a decent search.

It was only when we were exchanging vows amongst fifty mutual friends and family at the Wandsworth Town Hall, that the Mr and I looked into each other and it was all very clear: we are made for each other.

It was a special day. It’s a special dress.

PS. Check out Pip’s place for a whole week of ‘special stuff’...

PPS. If anyone knows a wedding dress-sewing genius, local to the Melbourne area (my Mum near fainted at the suggestion) can you let me know? A friend is in need. She’s not the type to give her mother in law the fright of her life by turning up in red velvet to marry her son. She’s more the elegant, streamlined, understated kind...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Creative Space

Ever since Gina sent the bloggy world on fire with this spot of inspired refashioning, I have been itching for a dash to the local oppie to see what potential I could unearth. Imagine the glee when the refashion genius herself, presented this Myrtle and Eunice a ready-felted, raring to go, red (favourite colour) cardigan.

It’s only because we really need to not have eggs on toast for dinner again tonight, that today the creative space is ricocheting about in my head, while the little red number follows me around. Do you know the feeling when you’re pottering about, maybe cleaning your teeth or possibly searching for the toothpaste which finally, inexplicably, shows up in the two year old’s cot and suddenly you have a stunning revelation? Your heart thumps in your ears, there’s a tingling in your fingers, a flush to your cheeks and you know that NO-ONE – ANYWHERE – HAS EVER CONSIDERED YOUR BLINDINGLY BRILLIANT IDEA? Today this happened to me. My new red cardi becomes a (very nearly) instant bolero-style success when worn upside down. And except for Nikki’s wee one, who wears her coat upside down while shopping (but that doesn’t count because Nikki thinks she reckons it’s on the right way) I am convinced I have reinvented the wheel.*

* Someone, please, stop me now...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mouse in the House

I swear this household is filled with Troublemakers. Myself included, of course. Today it was the turn of the eldest to have a day off school. She’s well acquainted with my mouse phobia issues and the cringing involved in the crafting of this one’s tail. So why would I be surprised when a strategically hidden mouse keeps reappearing to punctuate my day? I punctuated the day of every other living being within a 5km radius with my first honest-to-goodness shriek (there were shadows, there was a sticky-out tail, I wasn’t expecting evilness). Admittedly the following shrieks were for entertainment value alone but nonetheless impressive. In the end, I figured if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. It was fun posing mouse around the house. Naturally, the state of the place is still as vile as it was this morning (I only cleaned the bits where we were photographing) and it was eggs on toast for dinner tonight, but the kidlet and I had a grand giggle.

The ‘tail’ shots were somewhat challenging for the Phobic One (me) and so the ones the kid obviously enjoyed most:

There were the sweet shots (even my heart melts at slightly more than glacial speed with these):

The crafty mouse shots – well ok, anyone up for weaving in yarn ends, wins brownie points in my book (hat based on Pea Soup’s Eat Your Vegies Baby Hat pattern and finished – or unfinished – no less than a year ago)

Finally, the mousey interpretation (because his hands can’t reach his eyes) of the Small Kid Invisibility Theory: if I can’t see you, you can’t see me:

Jodie of Ric Rac fame is responsible for the fab Jofus and Lally pattern. My take is a lazy handsewn version (not sure why pulling out a sewing machine lately seems a chore as major as negotiating a large mountain), but you can find the way it’s supposed to be done right here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Little Birthday

After writing my last post I collapsed in a bloggy heap and got on with celebrating birthdays. Today my Little is two and the story of her arrival should be easy to write because her birth is my triumph. Actually, it’s the complete opposite. I’ve had a good five go’s at the writing – but after the last post, I’m spent and I can’t and these are the really important ones – the ones I want to get right.

The birthday girl is my against the odds, most perfect birth I could have hoped for. A home waterbirth, just me, the wonderful Mr and our intuitive midwife. This babe is the one who arrived in the still of the pre-dawn without a cry, the room lit only by the glow of the fire. Hers is the birth that makes me raise my arms, throw back my head and breathe it all in.

So Miss Bizzy Britches, Miss Fashion Statement,

Miss Finder of Trouble Around Any Corner,

Happy birthday to you, darling Poppet.

And if you think that fake look of remorse is convincing me, you so have another thing coming!

For those I couldn’t track down to thank personally – your comments and support after the last post were so heartily appreciated. Many prompted more of the teary stuff (in a good way) and provided very welcome therapy.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Birth Story (Number Two)

Consider yourself warned from the outset. I have always known that I would write these. I have always expected that the writing of stored-up fragments and fractured memories would be the full stop at the end of three very different birth experiences. Due to my appalling sense of timing there is another birthday and so another story in a day or two. That’s the one where things go really, really right. This is the one where things are a little rocky for a while. (And for anyone about to do the birth thing and up to the eyeballs in tales of woe and disaster, it all ends just fine but maybe best come back for the next one?)

Everyone says that a second pregnancy, a second birth is a lot different from the first. No one seems to know the answer when a heavily pregnant woman looks them directly in the eye with a rabbit in the headlights stare of unmitigated panic and asks: “What if it's worse?” It wasn’t until a month before my due date that a midwife at the birthing suite had the guts to look straight back at me and suggest I go and talk to someone.

A week later I’m headed off to the other side of the universe to chat to an independent midwife who hears all I say as it spills without punctuation and lands like a puddle at my feet. Three hours later we have dissected and theorised, what if-ed and plan-of-attacked all over the shop. Soul purged, I rush back to my side of the universe to help put a small one to bed and debrief with an equally birth-traumatised Mr. For the first time in eight months and one week, I am ok. So, I pack away the notes and the optimism for another day and then my waters break.

There’s evidence of the baby poo, meconium stuff and there’s a phone call and then there’s an immediate birthing centre summons. It’s an easy ride in but there are familiar twinges and stuff is happening and I’ve remembered to bring the optimism but meconium prompted the beginning of a slippery slope the last time round.

My feet barely touch the low-lit, pale-pink-carpeted birthing centre floor, before I am shunted across the corridor to the ‘real’ hospital with it’s glaring fluorescence, dodgy feng shui and easy-clean linoleum. There is rational and measured debate over the need for induction and the compromise is to wait while a stopwatch ticks. I ‘fail’ at the first hurdle. It’s not happening often enough, intensely enough – just calm down everybody, my waters only broke three hours ago. Although I have spent eight months with my head in the sand, I know I face an uphill battle as syntocinon is loaded into my system even though I’m not ready yet and the foetal monitor says we have a happy heartbeat. My body is wired for fight and flight. I can’t focus, I can’t breathe and thank goodness for the Mr who reminds me of the logistics behind our ‘When Things Aren’t Going To Plan’ plan.

There is more syntocinon to get things moving and I need things to stop stop stop. Hold on a sec, let me catch up let me get my breath but five hours in and contractions are falling all over each other in a tumble to be heard things are not right there is blood everywhere and people filling the room and it happens then only then. Someone takes the time to look me in the eye and tell me gently that there is something very, very, wrong. Even though I am writhing and strapped and screaming on a bed with a crowd at my feet and barely coherent, suddenly I get a say. I snap the bleedingly obvious. DO. SOMETHING.

That’s all I know.

Everything needed to be too quick for the Mr to be there. I wasn’t there. My second little bundle came into the world under, I imagine, a glare of white bright light and unfamiliar voices and cursory hands. He was whisked away down the corridor and into the lift and when I woke, I was handed a polaroid photo taken by someone with understanding and no sense of composition. I can remember the Mr, demanding that I be taken to see him, but I was too drug-addled to remember our first meeting or my first touch. Later I touched his face on the polaroid, trying to understand that he was real and that he was here.

I look back on this time now, write these words and hear how naïve I sound. Throw in a migration back to Australia, a nineteen month old, twice-weekly five in the morning commutes to a faraway University for lecturing, a house to find, counting the days to the arrival of our belongings and I get part the way to remembering how easy it was to distract myself from my fears. And I have never known the luxury of a fear-free pregnancy or birth because there are always the tragic memories of watching my brother crumble with the loss of one of his own.

I am lucky, because a birth is only the opening paragraph of a story and in the room next door slumbers a so nearly-turned six year old. At the moment he is struggling to find his place in the world, negotiating the middle kid thing, fighting my attempts to help because he is different from me. Walking and holding his hand today, I noted a precious moment that is numbered because soon he will be too old to let that happen. The thing is, I’m still trying to make up for the moment that I wasn’t there to welcome him, say his name, tell him I love him to the moon and back and back and to infinity and beyond. And to hold him close.

Happy birthday sweet boy.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Creative Space

Mouse body parts this week – destined for the Soon To Be Two. I’m taking liberties with Jodie The Softie Genius’ fab pattern with the hand stitchery approach (because then I get to be one of two kazillion watching Masterchef). TV distraction aside, I keep coming across all queasy. In stitching the tail detail particularly, I can’t help but visualise how a real-life version looks. It’s a ridiculously pathetic vermin phobia and given once, twenty years ago, I sat on the arm of a couch in the foetal position for no less than five hours waiting for the Knight in Shining Armour to return home and remove the unwell mouselet in front of me, it’s a long-standing and extreme one. Having just arrived in Holland, I knew hardly a soul and resorted to throwing scrunched up bits of magazine and inventing Dutch-sounding swear words in an attempt to establish a convincing communication with the wee critter. My only redeeming quality here is I am extremely heroic (and nice) with spiders of all shapes and sizes, regardless of leg hair.

Fabric on the left, with excellent potential for another gift – I'm thinking corduroy pinafore with a splash of Amy Butler for a bottom edging detail, but am also concerned the Soon To Be Two could look startlingly like a frog. A long sleeve tee and yet to be untangled (sigh) thread because Gina alerted me to the blindingly obvious – the Soon To Be Six’s froggy drawing should be embroidered, post haste, on to something. She also kindly explained to me the intricacies of a transfer pen, so I'll be tackling another steep crafty learning curve in front of the do-or-die TV cook-off tonight.

Pop on over to Kirsty’s for many more crafty Creative Spaces...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hot Frog

A couple of weeks ago, when I made a few wheatbags for a few birthdays, the (now) Four Sleeps Until He’s Six Kid came over all huffy and demanded to know: ‘When am I going to get stuff?’ I couldn’t argue. I hate to say it, but he does get the short end of the craft stick – you can’t go very wrong with a girly skirt and I have a fear of zips and crotches.

As this birthday looms large, I’m still guilt-ridden over his 4th birthday raw deal. We were forced to cancel his party and move a knocked-together celebration to Grandma’s house which I DIDN’T EVEN ATTEND because I was too busy with the huffing and puffing malarkey associated with the arrival of the third. Planning has never been a strong point.

In an effort to go at least part of the way to making it up to the little Mr, I have crafted him his own wheatbag. Or wheatfrog. Inspired by this dude:

With dinner included for extra six year old appeal.

Seemingly always ready with a cuddle, wheatfrog was also obliging when I suggested a test spin in the microwave:

He emerged toasty warm but dazed, confused and a little green around the gills.

Fabric by Amy Butler from Amitié, corduroy from the stash and wool felt for the detail bits.

Monday, July 13, 2009

To Market, To Market, To Buy a Fat Pig...

...Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.
To market, to market, to buy a fat hog,
Home again, home again, jiggety-jog.
To market, to market, to buy a plum bun,
Home again, home again, market is done.

A few weeks ago there was an anklebiter uprising and the weekend before last was declared a market-free zone. To set things back to right, the Mr and I put our conniving, cunning heads together and this weekend we visited two.

Conniving and Cunning Plan Number One
Farmer’s Market at the Collingwood Children’s Farm. My kids love the place, even if the conditions were what I imagine a snowstorm to be minus snow. As well as those chickens with feather foot warmers, we saw a real and generously proportioned pig. Should you wish to buy, his organic cousin comes sausage-shaped.

Conniving and Cunning Plan Number Two
The Great Market Challenge: Part One. Inspired by the nursery rhyme, the first of these (ahem) weekly challenges, is to locate as many pigs as possible. Warthogs and flying pigs permissible. Degree of difficulty: 8.5 (Camberwell Market is a busy, buzzy place and only one of our number exceeds 153cm).

The final tally:

Not bad, don’t you think? Especially given our search was limited to the main thoroughfare and fronts of stalls. The good news is, it turns out Camberwell Market pig farmers are exceedingly generous with their wares. We arrived home again, home again, jiggety-jig, with two piggy donations.

Considering the constant kid monitoring and pig spotting, I owe it to my finely-tuned peripheral vision for treasure unearthing. This 1" x 1.5" card of antique, miniscule (doll?) button-lets:

A similarly sized, intricate objet d’art:

And some nice typography:


Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Favourite

Even though our days are only just starting to creep into longer and my toes are permanently frozen, I haven’t forgotten our last blistering, burning summer. I listen to the reports coming out of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, and have very mixed feelings over shout-it-out, run-all-about fun at the beach and the disastrous potential in the bush.

For now, there’s a sense of quiet in our poor old neglected garden. The trees strike a silhouette pose, stark against pale skies. On the ground, there is lush green cool as random wild jonquils bulge to popping point.

Even with all the wintry hibernation, we have more splashes of colour in our garden now than we do in a stressed, shrill, water-deprived summer. We bucket bath water over Winter Roses all through the warmer months but now is the time to reap the reward and bring some of the outside in, with exuberant vases of my favourite, slightly prickly, loveliness.

See more Friday Faves over at Melanie’s...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My Creative Space

It’s always a bit of a struggle finding a creative crafty space. Not only are there underlying housework issues, but I’ve already taken the biggest room in the place for the work gig and recently weirdly realised I can’t mix the two – even in a geographical sense. My creative space tends to waft around the house. Recipe for disaster with a nearly two year old fancying herself as a bit of a natural knittery-type.

I have been faffing about with a cone of Habu Silk Stainless Steel yarn for way over a year without rhyme, reason or scrap of vision. My cover story is I’m making a(nother) grey scarf but really it’s just a long-winded swatch. Thank heaven for bamboo needles – without them it would be more enjoyable knitting with a spider web. After frogging no less than ten starts, I have given up on any practical outcome and now while away many a potentially productive crafting hour because I am OBSESSED with the texture. The stainless steel element and its ‘memory’ is intriguing. I’m throwing in an occasional bit of merino 2ply for extra body and swapping between titchy and giant needles which make nice wavy edge bits. But I’m thinking it could be time to step back for a while, when adding SEWING THREAD to the mix for a dash of blink-and-miss colour, has me jumping around exclaiming ‘Oh my giddy Aunt!’ and reaching for the high-powered magnifying glass for the Mr to share the joy.

Find more creative spaces (complete with rhyme and reason) over at Kirsty’s...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Latest Hang-Up

Over recent months I have been busily developing a complex that I am the aunt who gives the dodgy birthday presents. For all I know, I have the reputation for foisting the kid equivalent of soap-on-a-rope or a seven pack of beige undies upon nieces, nephews and other birthdaying school-aged persons.

I am also the aunt who upon entering a large toy shop has been known to mutter like a crazed nutter. Plastic McDonald’s play food to instil an early understanding of nutritional balance? Bratz doll to teach your young diva a healthy respect for her body and pine for an ever larger head? Branded, co-ordinated outfit to match bedlinen, television viewing, books, schoolbag, lunchbox, breakfast cereal, toothbrush...?

Only the third paragraph in and I’ve come across all wholegrain and soap box. While I would infinitely prefer to steer well clear of branded toys and cheap plastic destined for landfill within two weeks, we do have some of this stuff around our place – often gifted by concerned relatives at birthdays and Christmas. If they aren’t used, these toys are donated at the earliest opportunity to the local op shop, (although a screechingly vile musical instrument will one day realise a less worthy demise, when this Mum finally comes over all heavy metal and guitar thrashing).

I’m pretty sure a computer game or two, would make things a lot easier these wintry school holidays, but so far, as far as I can tell – and my radar is up – my kids aren’t ‘missing out’. They attend a Steiner school, so the pressure isn’t yet there to own the latest fad or gadgetry. To date, they do have an appreciation for far simpler play things and, oh so importantly, they do have imaginations that soar up to the sky. I know the clock is ticking before they start to spread their wings wider, but in the meanwhile I am very happy to protect a childhood for as long as I can. Plenty of time for the real world later.

So what to give my seven year old’s three birthdaying classmates on Sunday? After detailed art direction from the party goer and strict quality control...

... these wheat bags were given the thumbs up (no doubt only because our house is FREEZING). There is every possibility each wheat bag is competing with the complete set of something highly kid-covetable that I wouldn’t know about because I’m living with my head in the sand. But three birthday kids will be warmly tucked up in their beds and I’ll be sleeping soundly at night.

Wheat bags based on the pattern by Claire of Loobylu fame and found in Pip’s excellent book. Stash fabrics including bits and bobs of Auntie Cookie.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday See Saw

Last Sunday was Lisa’s birthday. Luckily for me, she and her family have been off up north defrosting and she’ll never know (hmn) that it was, as usual, after the day when I pulled my present-crafting act together.

See Saw, (as dubbed by my youngest), is a goddess in the kitchen. With a fiery, feisty temperament, she is also an infinitely generous soul and the gentlest, nurturing Mum. She is goodness and sweetness and all heart. I am continually bowled over by her thought and care and the remarkable timing with which delicious homecooked dinners, for those with a somewhat more chaotic approach to life, (possibly someone like me), spontaneously appear.

Recently, Lisa pushed away my gushing gratitude and said simply “I just do the things that I am good at.” Taking a leaf from her book, I thought I’d do something for her that I was good at. Or ok at. Or getting better at being sort of ok at. I know that Lisa will look at those last, wonky, half-asleep-because-it’s-three-in-the-morning seams and see only my intent to give her something back of me.

Scrumptious and utterly addictive olives by Mr Myrtleandeunice, who has somewhat alarmingly declared an olive grove calling and was seen to be scouring the real estate pages of the Saturday paper plotting upheaval in the name of Kalamata.

Basic apron pattern (embellish to your hearts content) by the Queen of Tie One On, Amy Karol in her book ‘Bend-the-Rules Sewing’

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Canasta Tournament, a Spider and Biscuit Medals for Lovely Blogs

Some centuries ago, me, my best friend Debbie, my Mum and Granny were playing our summer holiday, nightly Canasta tournament, into the wee small hours. My usual annoying ‘a fast game is a good game!’ quip was interrupted by three piercing screams. A giant, juicy, mouse-sized (not including legs), Huntsman spider was pootling along the nearest wall. Had the spider resembled a mouse in anything more than size, I too would have turned to jelly. As it was, someone had to be a man* about things and I boldly snatched a saucepan, a bit of newspaper and captured spidey with a kerplunk into the pan. As he was tapping away looking for the nearest saucepan exit, I'll admit that walking out into the deathlike quiet of a moonless night was daunting. Removing the newspaper lid and blindly flicking spidey into the dark, was also a fine and courageous act.

I have never known glory as bestowed upon me by three hysterical canasta opponents. Had Mariah Carey been around to sing Hero, no doubt she would have fronted up to the door then and there and had a three piece backing vocal. As it was, all that was available was an uninspired looking biscuit and a bit of string. Mum fashioned me an edible medal, there was a presentation ceremony and giggly fits of three-in-the-morning hilarity. From that moment on, whenever I win anything – be it a three legged race, a calisthenics solo performance (replete with stunning side stage entrance cartwheel to the Star Wars theme), or a blog award, I think of the original bikkie medal.

Which finally brings me to the point of all this long-windedness. Over the last couple of weeks, Kate at One Flew Over, Lisa at Cute as Buttons and Lou from Buttons by Lou Lou have bestowed the One Lovely Blog Award upon Myrtle and Eunice. I am chuffed and blushing on behalf of the ladies. Many hearty thanks to you.

With the awards come the rules. With the rules come my own fifteen nominations for lovely blogs. The problem is I could name about seventy. The following are arty, crafty blogs that make my day. Please note, arty, crafty bloggers that make my day, you’re not tagged, unless you want to be. I’m just handing you over an award of appreciation with a bonus bikkie...

Gina is the genius behind the inspired Swiney softie, appeals to my sense of the absurd and tackles real life with great aplomb.

Craft Schmaft
Claire appears to be able to torment any sock in to a characterful softie delight.

Beck’s blog makes me want to crawl under a granny blanket in a cosy corner and knit stuff.

Just when I think nothing else could be done with felt, Floortje serves up another beautifully crafted something.

Claire has some lovely photography, gorgeous jewellery (and a giveaway if you hurry over by the 6th).

If it’s a grey old wintry day, head on over to Andrea’s for a veritable explosion of colour and crafty know-how.

Loz and Dinny
Sewer of gorgeousness, with a current vinyl obsession (after a 20 metre vintage find) and a feisty streak that comes out at garage sales.

My Black Cardigan
It’s a case of I have no idea how Nikki does it, but along with one year old twins, she has one heck of an imagination, leads the field in emergency softie surgery (but has unfortunate taste in music).

Pepperberry & Co
A wicked sense of humour, some inspired storytelling and excellent crafty tutorials to be found over here.

Prone to even longer post titles than me, Nanette is one of those who crafts personality into everything but prompts tea-spluttering-over-keyboard-laugh-out-loudness.

Smitonius and Sonata
There’s an impressive vintage button collection and quirky random pics lurking around here.

Even after all this time, Soulemama still reminds me to breathe.

The Cart Before the Horse
You never know what critter is popping up on Jo’s blog, but they all have their own uber personality.

Ric Rac
No one else could write about middle-of-the-school-holiday-shopping-centre-jean-purchasing with such startling honesty. Jodie also has, oh, a truckload of crafty creativity.

You Sew Girl
Nikki knows real stuff about making really nice stuff. And she generously shares a bounty of information. Plus she has a kid who wears her coat upside down to the supermarket.

* I know a man who comes over all a’flutter at the mere sight of a moth