Monday, November 30, 2009

Best If You Stand On Your Head



11pm last Saturday night and what with one curve ball and another, I still needed a couple of designs for Day Two of the screenprinting course on Sunday. Channelling Sooz and Kate and a certain Tea Towel Swap more than I first realised, this (Australian?) skipping rhyme took my fancy:



Wash the dishes
Dry the dishes
Turn the dishes over

(I’m betting there is but an odd reader, of the oddest kind, standing on their head).

Then there was a speedily cut leaf-ish stencil...



...and an experiment using one of the critters from one of my cards:



So after completing that highly successful Stop Procrastinating Now! course, then waiting nineteen years to get my act together, guess what? I came home. This Myrtle And Eunice is not done with screenprinting.

WHAT. TOOK. ME. SO. LONG?!?!?!?!?



(There’s a moral in there somewhere).



PS. I promise I’m not letting any cats out of any bags – these aren’t for the swap.
PPS. Unless I hit a brick wall, in which case I hope like heck March is far enough away for these to be long forgotten.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Supporting the new addiction...



...with the slightly-less-new hook addiction. Passenger seat crafting of the birthday kind. Crocheted, buttony hair ties for embellishing the celebratory pressie. You can whip up two of these in the time it takes to get from my place to Myuna Farm (where there is a veritable world of under-eight birthday partying previously unbeknownst to moi).



More speed, less haste on the way home. I have three up my sleeve for next week. Which is a great help because there’s a birthday girl dress yet to begin. Yikes!

Christmas? Did somebody say Christmas?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Creative Space: Design For The Bin



Nineteen years ago, I was tossing up between two short courses offered by the Centre for Adult Education. The first was an intensive screenprinting course and the second was titled Stop Procrastinating, Now! The best solution, I wisely figured, was to deal with the procrastinatory issues and then dive headlong into the messy stuff with ink. Pah! Last Sunday I finally got around to the first of that two day screenprinting course.

This Sunday is all about using some processes and learning to fly – a bit. We have homework – a design to prepare. I am awful without a brief. All the possibilities, all the prediction and second guessing over which solution will be earth-shattering, world-changing, climate cooling. Can you hear the dreaded, debilitating, ugly, perfectionist gene rearing it’s head after a long, (prompted by kid arrival and necessity), sabbatical? The self-sabotage version follows closely behind. With only two days to vaguely test the screenprinting waters, you’d think I’d cut myself some slack and get on with it.



I have endless ideas and none of them the ‘one’. My Mum, who knows nearly everything, has advised me to ‘design for the bin’. Enjoy the process, expect some disaster, shout out loud at the wins, embrace the happy accidents, see the curve balls. Learn. Inspired by this (sign up now!) Swap*, I ordered an excessive thirty linen tea towels. A tea towel provides at least a bit of a brief. Thirty blank canvases of potential. Or not.



I’m giving it a whirl.

* Fear not, fellow Swappees, these are for practise play only (we have a lot of wet dishes).

Hop over to Kirsty’s to see some no-pussyfooting-around Creative Spaces...

EDIT: 100% linen tea towel ‘blanks’ available from here!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Place And Yours: My Collection



There was, up until last year, a skeleton* in my closet. He belonged to the Mr and migrated all the way to Australia from the UK only to be given up for some paltry sum to a worthier cause. I miss reaching past him to find my clothes and sharing a moment of closet irony, although the fallen-off fibula was wearing thin – always rolling out the opened door.

There are other body bits around the house. The collection of dolls eyes bought by my father-in-law...

Macabre and beautiful.



Or just plain weirdy.



There is also a pair of right legs. During an eighteen month stint freelance designer-ing for The Body Shop in London, there was an attic clear out. How could I resist body parts from The Body Shop? The Tube ride home was memorable. Many will understand that Oxford Circus station is slap bang in the middle of things and somewhat bizzy at rush hour. There we were, squished like stand-up sardines, all winter coats and damp Evening Standard newspapers. Me holding my legs in the air. There was much carriage bewilderment. In true middle-of-winter, London style, no one said a thing.



We’ve yet to unearth their destiny. At the moment they make excellent swords for playing Knights and look alarming when stuck to the ceiling. Mostly I like ’em because they remind me of a time a long way away.

Thanks to the lovely Theme Queen Kate – and pop on over to Pip’s to find a veritable collector’s paradise...


* Not a real skeleton. A medical model, to clarify.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Instant Gratification Gone Wild



12.40pm: Arrive home to package from Nikki at You Sew Girl containing button making kits ordered yesterday.



1.10pm: Put kid to bed with wing and prayer and indulge in closer package inspection.



1.40pm: Sixteen 23mm buttons all dressed up with (as yet) no place to go. Exercising extreme sports style restraint, I stopped at three of the 12mm versions, realising these have a matching-to-fabric, making like real buttons sort of destiny.

These kits should come with a warning.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Coming Over With a Case of the Bloggy Warm and Fuzzies



Yesterday Nikki at My Black Cardigan posted ‘Just Because’ and I read it with a great silly grin on my face – mostly cos I love that the Queen of the Just Because Present received some of her own sweet medicine. I have also been one lucky chook in the last while with ‘just because’ postal treasures, (thank you again Mel), some giveaway wins and little heart and soul extras thrown into packaged-up purchasings...

After a somewhat cheeky negotiation to turn a giveaway win into a part purchase I am the proud owner of the textural, beautiful, hearty garland above, courtesy of ELK at Red or Gray Art. And the kidlets scored some hearty cards to match...



Kylie at Three Sheets has prompted great evil on my part.



I purchased one of her fab shopping bags with selfless Christmas present intent and then she went and printed and fairy-stitched my initials on two bag-attached tags. Obviously I have been FORCED to rethink the situation and have used said bag every day since it arrived and couldn’t care less that I’m no closer to Christmas shopping closure.



A sweet lavender sachet arrived out of the blue from Christie at Pigeon Pair. The youngest kid refers to it as HER ‘ear’ pillow. Hmn. In her dreams, I’m afraid.



There have been some made-my-day giveaway wins:

A sweet vintage wallet from Ingrid at LottieLuLu...



This chosen pendant, courtesy of Claire at Gugaw, who packages a gift with great finesse, (won via a Down and Out Chic giveaway)...



I now know how to wear a brooch with conviction (I was forever wondering where to put ’em – honestly, I have the dodgiest hang ups), thanks to this beautiful, quirky take on poultry by ReRead:



and this brooch of ‘inspire’ by Sophie Isobel at Her Library Adventures:



Finally, a piece of my most coveted fabric, Lush Deer, courtesy of Kate at One Flew Over. I confess, I have completely lost the nerve to cut into the stuff.



Needless to suggest, Santa has a lot to live up to.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

How To Be The Best-Ever Mum And Then Not In One Afternoon



1. Spot two year old headed straight for the path of a snake at Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens and sprint to save surefire Death Adder catastrophe.

2. Realise Death Adder in question sports four legs and is blowing reptilian raspberries with a blue-stained tongue.

3. Pick up Not Death Adder But Blue Tongue Lizard and present to anklebiters.



4. Bask in infinite anklebiter street cred glory.

5. Name the Not Death Adder But Blue Tongue Lizard ‘Lemon’.

6. Declare after lizardy/kid bonding that it’s time to put Lemon back from whence he came.



7. Watch infinite anklebiter street cred glory fly out nearest window regardless of the fact that Lemon is less likely to be served a roasted beetle dinner with the works at our house on Sundays. Eldest partly consoles self by collecting two leaves upon which Lemon walked.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Creative Space: Coming Over Efficient-Like

A couple of months ago, the eldest spotted me at the sewing machine, put on her solemnest, earnestest, best manners voice and in so doing, skilfully navigated her way to the top of the To Do List. Kid sewing for nearly eight year olds has become more a miss than a hit affair, as my girl embraces the right to have a (shock! horror!) opinion. It took mere minutes to produce – this head scarf that I have looked at every. waking. moment. of. the. last. eight. weeks.

Aside from the odd occasion when it’s wrangled into the wash, it’s worn day...



...night...



...while standing on head...



It dawned on me, after a few queries from school Mums, that I could be on to an uncharacteristically efficient winner. With Christmas and a kazillion birthdays looming, I’m thinking crafted with love but SPEEDY little pressies, disappointed head lice, dots, florals, (small pattern repeats) and a new take on the non-obligatory school uniform.




PS. You can whip ’em up in no time flat. It’s just an isosceles (I can’t believe I remembered that) triangle with a seam along each edge and a ribbon detail (or whatnot). The finished size of the one in the pics is 83cm x 58cm x 58cm.

PPS. Pop over to Kirsty’s to see what everyone else is doing about that six weeks and counting ’til Christmas thing...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hold On To Your Hat #1



I’m beside-myself-chuffed. I FINISHED something. That sound you heard was the Mr fainting from the shock. I found the button, lurking forgotten, at the bottom of the button bowl and experienced a wave of excitement at the notion of all ’round closure. The Margaret Sling Bag is now ready for an embarrassingly late birthday delivery tomorrow. Which is about the same day the recipient is expecting a delivery of her own and when I go straight back into the ‘sin’ bin, catch-up crafting for a newborn. At my current level of productivity the poor kid can expect something somewhere in 2011.

It’s the ‘worn across the body’ version of the bag, really comfy to wear, but quite a bit bigger* than I thought it would be. The model was heard to be muttering stuff about WorkSafe practises and an ouchie arm, with all the ‘handle in the air to avoid tripping’ thing. On the other hand, the model’s approach to tripping about in her mother’s heels is a whole lot more stalwart than her mother’s ever was.



The bag is fully lined with two pockets and a really nice pleat detail reflecting the outside design, which unfortunately you’ll have to imagine because better photography was superseded by a heel catastrophe and the 37th band aid requirement of the day.



* This is because, predictably, I did not read the instructions first and also because the shoulder bag style (with a deeper pleat) is shown in the tutorial images. But it’s a really well written Oh, Fransson! pattern, a breeze to follow and there’s more of that Ikea fabric in my stash for another – hopefully earlier than 2012.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Looking Up



Saturday morning, after a foot-stomping evening of Heel and Toe, the Mr and I redeemed the Christmas 2008 Grandparent Weekend Babysitting Voucher, headed into central Melbourne and had two arguments within the first hour.

They were sort of necessary arguments because I was feeling weird and the getting huffy, then huffier and then getting over it had an all round clearing-the-air effect. After that we remembered how to be just ‘us’ for the first time in ages and I stopped scanning crowds trying to locate three kids.

I spend a lot of time looking down at kid level. Which is why I admit that I quite like hanging washing on the line (it’s a glamourous life). Looking up past the pegs reminds me to notice stuff like cloud critters, or a flock of birds making like an arrowhead, or how much moss has grown on our roof tiles.

This weekend I was up-looking with abandon...





...and wondering who invented the sport of Tied Together Shoe Throwing.



Someone up high was looking straight back down, because odds dictate that I should have walked into something unforgiving and pole-like.

There was also much looking elsewhere with the Melbourne Theatre Company Garage Sale, which involved the essential purchase of a mountain of wooden hair curlers for the princely sum of $1. I haven’t the foggiest why we bought them – everyone in the family has more curls than they know what to do with – but they were a Mr find, which confirms that he and I are on the same weirdy wavelength.



There was a spirited attempt at a cinematic catch-up watching two hit-the-spot movies.

And a visit to the Thread Den market to see Sandra of Pepperberry & Co and her notebooks:



Jo and Evelyn with their felty lovelies:



And to pick up a fabric pack of typographic, dotty goodness from SpinSpin:



I’m aiming at a glass half full approach, so Monday promises more of that looking-up malarkey as I tackle teetering, back-to-real-life mountains of last weeks’ washing.

Hope your Monday is looking up!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Yee Har!



We’re off to a bush dance tonight. It’s an all-in, from grandmas to toddlers, school fundraiser, dosey-do affair and I’m digging around for the matching gingham twirly skirt and the boot scootin’ footwear. I LOVE a good bush dance and it promises to be an authentic affair, if the kid dress rehearsals are anything to go by. While the boy kid was appalled at the school Heel and Toe Polka practise, he was mightily impressed with the whip cracking.

So, I’m sort of giggly excited with a smirky grin on my face. The first time I went to a bush dance was the first time I was kissed. I was twelve or thereabouts and after getting to grips with the Pride of Erin Waltz with a good-looking, impressively-grown-up (sixteen year old), wholesome, country type, we were waiting out the next dance in awkward non-conversation. Then, taking me somewhat unawares, he lurched at me and kissed my left eye. Over his shoulder, I saw with my right eye, the look of unmitigated disgust on the face of my ten year old brother – which is what’s prompting today’s smirky grin.

The relationship came to an abrupt end that very night. It turned out the First Kiss Guy had an equally grown up, fairly identical twin, dressed in almost-matching cowboy duds. Imagine, if you will, a progressive barn dance and the unfortunate circumstances that may arise from dancing with a boy whom you thought just kissed you on the left eye, but didn’t and then some way around the circle later, dancing with the boy whom you thought regretted kissing you on the left eye, but didn’t, but did now.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Creative Space: Skirting Around The Edges



Except there aren’t any skirts in this week’s space. This week it’s Crafty Procrastination Space. I should have known when I set myself a brief and a timeline and suddenly made this crafty thing feel like WORK that it would all go belly up. At the moment all those body bits up there have me well and truly stumped. For now. While I haven’t yet stooped to cleaning the studio, I have been, ahem, clearing my head, busying myself with all manner of patently essential tasks:

1. The nearly finished, very late, lucky-if-it’s-gifted-before-the-next-birthday bag. It’s waiting for ‘the’ button, which I’m thinking this unfortunately isn’t.



2. Some strike-while-the-iron’s-hot fabric purchasing for a looming kid birthday and the making of a Miss Madeline dress after the music to the ears statement: “I think I’m too big for pink now Mum.” Woo hoo! I’ve only waited nearly eight years pretending to be zen about wall to wall pink.



3. The circle-in-a-square granny towers growing by the week. Shot from this perspective so it’s quite impossible to determine the teetering height of the tower with the unweaved-in-ends. I know. I know.



4. Another teensy, circle-in-a-square inspired Perle 8 experimentery, (in turn inspired by this eye candy).



After all that avoiding the task at hand, it’s fair to say that Mel at From Little Things saved the week. The sweetest ‘inspire’ package arrived complete with some fabric lovely and a moleskin notebook with a handmade cover. Thanks to her, I have been religiously scrawling my own thought bubbles down and there’s a fair chance I’ll be making some sense out of those body bits by next Thursday.





Or ordering another from her online shop which I am sure she will set up once she’s finished gallivanting around cooler European climes. (Lucky chook).

Find the Creative Spaces where it’s really all happening via the fab Kirsty...