Friday, October 30, 2009

What I Can and Can’t See

I can see the English (and for good reason) answer to everything: tea and toast. Except at the last second I went for sweet, milky coffee and am now experiencing a wobbly, over-tired, sugary high. I can see crochet therapy.

After 72 hours of working with the Mr on his scary deadline, all of which culminated in the inevitable sprint to the finish, just-throw-everything-on-the-floor-as-you-go, there are many things I can’t see.

I can’t see the piles of washing (even though I vaguely remember this one is clean and at least it’s still in a basket):

I can’t see the streams of paper offcuts strewn knee-deep over the floor between the studio, kitchen, living room, shed, but not the bathroom (no one’s had time to visit there):

I can’t see the stack of last night’s dirty dinner dishes...

...waiting to be loaded in a dishwasher still half filled with clean or possibly unclean (I can’t see, so I wouldn’t know) crockery:

Nope. This is all I can see:

I even managed to squint past spreading butter and jam on the toast with the wrong end of a fork because I also couldn’t see any clean knives.

For anyone contemplating a spontaneous drop-in at my house, tonight is not the night. Or not, at least, until the completion of several rounds of the Ten Minute Tidy.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Creative Space

Breathing in...breathing out...breathing in...

So far this week, my marriage has survived. So far, we still think each other is excellent enough to watch grow old and crotchety, even though this week it’s not just about living together and both working from our home. This week it’s about working together, WHICH WE REALLY SHOULDN’T DO BECAUSE NEITHER OF US IS BESIDE OURSELVES WITH ENTHUSIASM AND WE GET TO SEE IN VIVID DETAIL HOW MUCH CROTCHETY POTENTIAL THERE IS FOR THE NO TEETH, WRINKLY, INCONTINENT (ok, doing pelvic floor exercises as I type – everybody now – though not you three male readers if you don’t want to) PHASE OF OUR LIVES.

Breathing out.

The vestige of remaining creative space, is an oasis of calm. I’m so late with this birthday present, there’s no point stressing. Every now and then, when things get FRAUGHT working with the Mr, I count the cut pattern pieces and take a minute to cut another one. ‘Think music’, Nikki calls it. She’s right, all sorts of things fall into place over a pile of fabric.

I’m stashbusting the Ikea, though I suspect once I’m finished, I’ll be braving an unheard of second visit (there’s a once a year rule for reasons of sanity). And I’m making the gorgeous, generously free pattern, Margaret Sling Bag from Elizabeth at Oh, Fransson!. Slowly.

PS. Kirsty, judging by recent weeks, is hosting a veritable Creative Space PARTY over at hers...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Patchy Warm

Yesterday Tracey asked me, via a comment, how I was going with my granny squares. Well. She need not ask twice. In a background, fortuitous craft sort of way, I am a woman OBSESSED. I’m sticking my hand up for every kid pick-up, on the offchance I can squeeze in a granny round or two while waiting. The Mr has not yet cottoned on to increasingly earlier pick-up times, while I leave him with the other wee ones. Crafty evil, that is.

So here’s the state of play: currently sort of patchy on the warmth factor; forty-five-ish down; half with unweaved-in-ends. Mel at M* wrote me my very own detailed and excellent tutorial on how to weave in as you go and I was fully signed up, until I realised the cotton and hook size I’m using means things aren’t covered up or secure enough on the reverse side. Mel, there’s a whole world of the crochet-obsessed, armed with smaller hooks and weightier wool, awaiting your expertise and theories on yarn ends.

Finally, there are three hundred-ish of these little numbers required. I have resorted to mass production. In the time it takes to drive down our street (there are speed humps and no, I’m not driving) I can nail the first circle of a granny. I’m carrying one ball of wool at a time and producing six simultaneously, in the same colour configurations.

I said I was obsessed.

PS. Anyone else want to join the Frantically Crocheting at Kid Pick-Up Time bandwagon? Or even the Public Transport Commute to Work, or the Just in Case I Get Stuck in a Traffic Jam version? Find the circle-in-a-square granny pattern over at Tam’s place...

Monday, October 26, 2009


My very excellent Granny is 88 today. Last night we had a birthday ‘do’ for her. The middle kid woke everyone up that morning yelling ‘I know what I’m going to make for Granny!’ and proceeded to get busy with toilet rolls, tissue box, feathers, buttons, wool, the odd kilometre of sticky tape and put together a mid-flight bird and a legless horse. He also gave her $2.

With that sort of ante-upping, the pressure was on. Eighty eight year olds, about to downsize the living arrangement, don’t need a whole lot of stuff. But given Granny has handed the iceblock feet down the generations, I figured a lavender wheat bag couldn’t go astray. A luxuriously snuggly, felted, red, woollen offcut (previously recognisable as a sleeve from this wardrobe refashion and originally gifted by Gina), looked pretty spiffy with some Auntie Cookie chickens...

Because, along with the iceblock feet, I have also inherited the sense of mischief, I couldn’t resist a bit of embroidery from the heart...

Happy birthday sweet lady.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Getting Closure

This post is really about zips, (even though it looks like it should be about knees) but first it’s about back seat driving. I’m a shocker. This is why the Mr and I have a set-in-stone agreement that if he drives, I crochet. This is why I am certain I’ll finish my circle-in-a-square blanket.

The same can be said for back seat photography. The Mr was asked if he could take some snaps of the Ikea fabric skirt (which is held together by a ZIP). Things were just starting to get arduous (upset kid, too blurry – my fault for setting the camera up wrong, both of us wanting it our way), when the Mr called my bluff, demanded I have a taste of my own medicine and jump on the trampoline.

Just as it works when I get the kids up there, the effort of maintaining a demure but airborne pose, while in a skirt and not falling on my head, put an end to being all art director-y. I do apologise for the excess of knee. I do apologise to John the neighbour, who may have been alarmed at the intermittent head above the fence line, or merely the notion of me on a trampoline.

All I really wanted to say in this post, is that I now have zip closure. I haven’t the foggiest what all my terror, hysterics and ‘I should just do a course!’ were about. Admittedly, we’re talking invisible zip, but honestly, next time I come over all drama queen, I think I’ll quietly sit and take a moment.

PS. This has nothing to do with zips, knees or back seat driving. It has everything to do with something far lovelier: The Quilt Project. It was inspired from the start. At the unveiling last night, there were plenty of WOW! moments standing back, seeing the gorgeousness of the finished piece, (it’s HUGE), as well as the up-close, crafted detail. My heartfelt thanks to Kirsty for being the chief inspirer and bringing it all together: the idea, the people, each and every one of those individual squares!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Creative Space: Er, Which Way is Up?

It’s been a half week of Oh My Giddy Aunt – in 3D digital vision and surround sound. I’m in a spin. A lovely someone with a Seize the Day attitude made a suggestion at the close of business last week. A suggestion that seemed so utterly, intensely, intrinsically (bear with me, you’ll see what I mean), gob-smackingly ridiculous. It still is. My creative head space is a blithering mess.

No matter that I was living a blissfully un-craft-committed existence up until Friday afternoon. No fear I have not an Etsy or a MadeIt online shop set-up. Do we think my extensive market experience (a stint at the school fete) counts? Hmn. Yet there I am, signing up for the Incubator at next year’s Stitches & Craft Show.

Have I yet mentioned that I haven’t anything to sell?

Hence the conniption. Now that I’ve gone and connipted in public, there really is no backing out. Yes, I fully understand the likelihood of falling flat on my face (though not yet which bits will be those to trip me up) and no, I do not expect to cover my costs.

So here’s the why:
WHY NOT? Give it a hearty good shot, burn a few kazillion midnight hours between now and May, take any advice thrown my way. Above all, step outside a comfort zone and do something I just don’t yet know about. It could be one hell of an adventure. At the very least I get to look the eighty year old me in the eye and say ‘I gave it a whirl’.

I’m just waiting for my head to get to here:

So I can locate the creative head space and have a largish think.

Spin on over to Kirsty’s to check out more Creative Spacers...

Monday, October 19, 2009

My Place and Yours

I’m jumping on to Pip’s bandwagon, (and it’s a mighty crowded one), partly because I realised I had a clean shelf.

‘E’: purchased in London for 70 pounds. If anyone just fell over you’d fall further still if we talked shipping-to-Australia costs. Worth every penny to me – it’s my most loved something.

‘a’: one of five made by me with Grandad’s jigsaw, while hanging around endlessly waiting in Melbourne for the English Mr to decide whether I was the girl for him. Forget basket weaving. There’s therapy in typography.

Dinky-more-than-slightly-wonky-machine-felted-woollen-bowl-thing: containing two year old’s crayons for drawing exuberantly on house.

Craftapalooza apple pin cushion: I’m too busy looking at it to use it.

Eduardo Paolozzi plaster Empire State Building: art.

Thread: Another attempt at convincing bewildered family that craft supplies are not for packing away.

Oh, and these little gems purchased fifteen years ago from a dinky little store in New York. It’s just not about the stuff. It’s about the moment. A bit of past the stuff represents.

Pootle on over to Pip’s for a fun old snoop on everyone else’s shelves...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A ‘Drop’, Separation Anxiety, Probable Hypothermia and a Case of the Warm and Fuzzies

I’ve barely slept a wink. I’ll be finding myself a support group for when my children are of the age where they get to make the decisions. Late yesterday afternoon, minutes before the Children’s Garden at the Royal Botanical Gardens closed its gates, I ‘dropped’ my donation for The Toy Society. There was barely time for a photo, let alone a fond farewell or litany of “Mind how you go’s!”

I hadn’t expected to become that attached but sort of did, once I’d embroidered her face and suddenly she had a (mostly asleep) personality. I hadn’t factored in an overnight, outside-in-the-cold scenario and now I’m concerned she’s hanging around with the wrong crowd. Last time I checked, that gang from The Magic Pudding attracted trouble, like bees to honey.

I did try to get over myself. Feigned undistracted interest at elephants:

Enjoyed the anklebiter enthusiasm for a runaround:

Made the wry note to self that the stripey top would need some sort of satellite tracking device to make it home:

Bemusedly wondered how this kid gets around so fast while navigating the low-slung crotch thing:

Went back to the (unidentified) plant life (that this lady, with the take-your-breath-away aesthetic, could no doubt roll off the tongue in big latin words):



You can see, I tried.

Then I gave up. I barely had to utter the words to the Mr with his knowing look. I had to go back to see. Confirm that the inanimate object that is my Ruby Doll hadn’t wandered off and become lost, climbed a tree and become stuck, fallen into a pond without adult supervision. Because I knew where to look, I could see her from the entrance. Even the Magic Pudding himself hadn’t run off. And all that woolly stuffing would surely keep the hypothermia at bay...?

But if any kindly soul is around here today:

Would you mind popping by to check?

PS. Make your own Ruby Doll courtesy of Jhoanna’s pattern at One Red Robin.

PPS. Sign up for your own The Toy Society drop and make some stranger’s day (albeit with some possible separation anxiety) here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Creative Space

An eon ago, I was indulging my talkback radio habit (sad, but true) and there was a discussion involving the drive thru of a large fast food chain. As I understand the story, it began mid-morning when someone paid for their order and then, on a whim decided to pay for that of the car behind them. The first thing the car behind knew of this, was when they were preparing to pay and were informed they didn’t need to. Instead they paid for the order of the car behind them. And so it went until somewhere into the middle of the afternoon, (presumably when someone saw a mini bus containing the local footy team through their rear vision mirror).

While I realise this may well be the stuff of urban legend, this is the kind of notion that makes me come over with a case of the warm and fuzzies. I love random gift-giving. I love the way it’s possible to make a complete stranger’s day.

When a non-bloggy friend recently railroaded me in the school grounds with a great exuberant, shout-it-out “WE DID IT!” she inspired me to rearrange my To Do list and get cracking with my own Toy Society drop. Why the hell not ‘help spread the love throughout the streets of the world?’ Besides, any chance to foist a spot of handmade upon a kid...

My Ruby Doll still needs her embroidered face (and blimey, I always have a mild conniption at this point, because doesn’t the face make or break a softie?)...

...and then we’ll need to have that ‘sharing’ conversation with the two year old again, before we make the drop. Given next up on the list is a Softie for Mirabel, I’ve issued a Code Red, Miffed Toddler alert.

PS. You can also sign up for the World Wide Christmas Toy Drop 2009 over at the Toy Society blog.

PPS. Make your own Ruby Doll courtesy of Jhoanna at One Red Robin

PPPS. Drop in on a whole bunch of other creative spaces via Kirsty’s...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What’s Hot, What’s Not

The HOT:

1. Ride to Work Day
Both the Mr and I were miffed at missing out again this year. So what if we both work from home? We’re in the lycra (well, one of us is) and off on the tandem to do a whizz around the block.

2. Puddle Love
After looking mystified at all that palaver above, the two year old embraced parental distraction to go off and love some puddles. Strange how the wearing of gumboots induces surefire watery indifference.

3. That Knitty Pattern
Well it’s hot around here – and at Christie’s. Can’t. Stop. I suspect it’s all about the knit in the round, no seam thing. Plus it’s so simple I can do 13 stitches without looking while (almost) keeping up with United States of Tara. Which is another ‘hot’ except tonight it’s the last episode of Series One. Next Wednesday is looking distinctly cool to mild-ish.

4. My (No Longer) Nemesis, the Zip
Even if it means another wee small hours crafty soiree, I’m ready to get to grips with the zip. There is a chance these suckers aren’t as scary as I think. There’s a smaller chance I’ll create something wearable (although I may, while wearing, have to keep all moving and blurry-like).

The NOT:

1. Mystery Mouldy Whiff
I’m catching an unsavoury (old apple?) waft every now and then – and I’m on the hunt. My bets are on some sort of anklebiter snack stash catalogued somewhere amongst the CD collection, which, before you get frightened, is not even close to Dewey system-ed.

When the NOT Becomes HOT:

1. Finding Faces
Even though I have lived with these drawers for ten years, even though I thought I had introduced myself to every hidden personality in this house, I just now realised there’s a veritable crowd of slot-eyed critters keeping mouldy snack secrets. Despite the holding my nose thing, this therefore, is no longer a NOT. In my book, this is a scorchingly HOT.

Waft on over to Loobylu’s to be up to the minute with what else is hot and not...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Something Less Than Perfect

Because it’s Sunday evening and I am older and wiser than Friday night, I know now that I set myself up for a fall. It’s the first weekend in months which hasn’t involved a work deadline of some description and with two crafty, family, lovely-weather days ahead, I was ready to jump onto the trampoline and come over all Geoffrey Rush in Shine. Then I remembered that the true spirit of that movie scene involves nudity, except for a trenchcoat and earphones. (In case you haven’t the foggiest what I am going on about, please trust, the scene is all about exuberant joy and nothing to do with sleaze, despite the trenchcoat involvement). Anyway, I don’t own a trenchcoat. But I did own some big expectations. The weekend would be perfect.

Thing is, lots of things were mighty close to perfect. The weather was mostly bliss:

There was a fun, nattery, making-stuff Saturday afternoon spent at Kirsty’s constructing a HAC Multi Tasker with these girls. Which I promptly roadtested Sunday, making bias binding: you can cut! you can iron! you can hold things in place!

We went to the beach, found stuff – slimy stuff (please note: neither human nor echinoderm was hurt in the shooting of this image):

We pottered about, watched ants, pondered dandelion amazingness:

I started a Ruby Doll, crocheted a few granny squares, made Habitual’s Simple Kimono Wrap (but have only these unsatisfying shots because the kid no longer does camera posings):

In theory, it was a perfect weekend. Except life didn’t work like that. Instead it’s been competitive and fractious and fiery and niggly and exhausting and draining and all leftover coughs and ‘notty’ noses and I wish I was just talking about the kids. Now that those anklebiters are in bed and there is quiet, I can see how inevitable this sort of weekend was. There was air to be cleared and conversations to be had – ones that we have been too busy for. No doubt there will be more but now we’re doing a much better job at looking out for each other.

I only wish I’d made Kirsty’s ‘X Marks The Spot’ bookmark before the HAC workshop on Saturday.

I may have had better responses this weekend, had I already read the intriguingly promising next chapter: ‘The Right Answer to Everything’.