Sunday, August 29, 2010

Just Another Example of Taking Things That One Step Too Far

If you read the last post, you’ll know what sort of ridiculous I’m up to.

Give me strength.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Creative Space: No Flies On Me

I’ve been crafting at the rate of (french) knots this last week and have a completed dead fly to show for myself. I’ve never seen the Mr so enthusiastic over anything I’ve made before – which goes to show we’re all a bunch of weirdos around here. He has also suggested that I french knot us a new living room rug.

Excitingly, I have discovered that a 180 degree twirl can dramatically revive a fly.

Dead or alive, there has been serious second-thinking on the destiny of Fly. I’ve developed a fondness for the critter. Any cushion in this house, is almost entirely utilised as soft fall landing for surreptitious dive bombers off the couch. There were a lot of knots you know.

In case you’d like to gain a greater understanding of how many knots (which, I admit, was an enjoyable, extended exercise in crafty, goggle-eyed therapy), here is some scale reference for your viewing pleasure:

So, while I did source fly-spotted fabric co-ordinates for cushion backings and whatnot...

...what if there’s a grander, wittier destiny? Something involving fly swats?

Pop by and visit Kirst (who, incidentally, can teach a mean french knot) for more Spacery of the Creative kind.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bill Cosby: “Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope”

Recently my father downsized from the house he grew up in, to a granny flat-style arrangement at the bottom of the garden. There is no singular doubt which of my parents passed on the You Never Know When It’ll Come In Handy gene. Mountains of conclusive proof was unearthed when Dad required help with the downsizing of his stuff. Which included my grandparents’ stuff: stuff that stayed in the house after they died. The whole experience hasn’t helped with the rationalisation of stuff at my place.

Amongst the stuff I now house, is one typewriter:

Nana Eunice’s recipe books:

Sets of picnic ware:

And a number of objects that I am not at all sure what to do with, but nonetheless feel a great sense of responsibility towards.

This is a vase:

I’m at a floral loss.

What I did not feel compelled to rescue, was still-packaged, soap-on-a-rope, found at the back of Dad’s bathroom cabinet. Said soap-on-a-rope was purchased for ten cents in 1979, by eight year old me, at the school Father’s Day Stall. After thirty one years of pretended gratitude, Dad seemed relieved to see it go. Evil, thirty nine year old me, (encouraged by Mr Cosby), has since whipped up Dad’s Father’s Day Card:

You can find cards for other soap-on-a-rope traumatised Dads here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Creative Space

I have a spare cushion innard requiring a cover. I have newly-found smitten-ness for the art of embroidery (by that I mean, I know how to do backstitch and a french knot). I have breathless, I-can’t-wait-for-the-kids-to-get-to-bed enthusiasm for the crafting of a cushion cover.

With linen leftovers and an array of thread spread before me in rainbowed glory, I plotted: I connived. A tendrilled, delicate floral composition of intrinsic, detailed beauty? The tentative flutter of a butterfly wing captured mid-flight? A weather-inspired (yep, it’s still winter) piece of abstract, arty, designery whimsy?

A dead fly?

Dead Fly almost made it on to some museum graphics a couple of years ago and I’ve been hanging on to him since. There wasn’t even a need to consult the digital archives (although this could say more about a general aversion to filing and admin).

I figure I am embarking on a journey* to discover the inherent beauty in the unexpected. Even if this involves an embroidered insect carcass cushioned on my couch and I’m coming over a bit weirdy-like.

* not a word I use lightly, so I must be serious

To navigate a billion more spaces of the creative kind, (including magnetised procrastination), go see Kirsty.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Grey Old Day

I know that in a blink of an eye, frosty fingers will be replaced with sweaty palms. Rather than the dance of voluptuous, dollopy raindrops over puddles, the grass will become frazzled and stingy. Soon the cicadas will shriek again: tuneless and shrill. The sun will prickle 40 degree heat down on pale, vulnerable skin and torment with tangled, sleepless nights.

I’ve loved the last couple of weeks: it’s been proper winter. Like it used to be. Today there’s a Sunday quiet that comes with leaden winter skies and the call of inside warm. Even the washing machine has gone into weather-induced hibernation and I’m in clean-undie-supply denial (I’ll so kick myself, come morning).

Outside, the garden is lush and generous:

Bejewelled and extravagant in diamonds:

Snug in wintry,

fur coats:

Holding promises aplenty:

All reflected in Impressionist-painted puddles:

Inside there’s a slow Sunday roast dinner cooking, courtesy of the Mr, kids snoozing on bean bags, time to fall head over heels with the therapeutic quality of a zillion french knots. Time to breathe.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Creative Space

This here scrappy scarf, on the hook for a wee while, has turned out pretty much the way I intended.


Was I channelling some long ago, almost forgotten, childhood bathroom? Is this morning’s dawning realisation correct? IS THIS SCARF IMPERSONATING A BATH MAT?


If this is the case, STOP. ME. NOW. Before I finish it off like this one, weave in a ribbon or two, strips of Liberty...

Stop me now, because I would much prefer knife-to-the-chest, glaring honesty, rather than endure the gifting, the unwrapping, the sharp intake of collective breath as a circle of determinedly non-crafty types bemusedly observe floundering, attempted appreciation. Appreciation for a bath mat befitting a snake.

In hopefully less unfortunate news, there’s stuff happening at the kitchen table, involving stencils and screenprintery and embroidery: basically anything not involving a crochet hook. There is wonderful potential for disaster but I reckon I’ll show it to you at the end, bathed and swathed in disastrous-ness, rather than now, as it teeters on the edge of a possibly-silly-but-let’s-give-it-a-whirl-anyhoo-idea...

For up-to your-eyeballs creative spacery, start right here.

PS. Scrappy scarf notion first spotted here.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ramblings, Witterings, A Couple of Things I Have Been Meaning to Say and Does Anyone Know How to Realign Planets?

1. Last Thursday, inspired by Stomper and a ‘carpe diem’ attitude, I tackled birds, bees and whatnots with the eldest two. It all went swimmingly well, until three lines into the book, where I repeatedly stumbled over the word ‘vagina’ because I was in tears-roll-down-cheek fits of laughter. As were we all, including the Mr who was hiding behind a newspaper. Such a mature approach set the scene for a fun, informative chat with attention-grabbing ‘ew!’ factor. I reckon it went brilliantly. Except for the bit when a dawning of realisation crossed the face of the eldest and she recalled in vivid detail the time Mummy and Daddy were having a ‘special hug’. Four years ago. Not quite the first childhood memory I’d hoped for.

2. For those left dangling on tenterhooks, breathe easy. Angus in Northcote has spent much of the winter in behatted warmth, as has the small Angus in Northcote. I can confirm the boys make a mean marinated olive and are master craftsmen at DIY decking.

3. Yesterday there was wonderful, unexpected, footloose and fancy free-ness and the Mr and I people-watched and coffee-imbibed and then sacrificed a couple of afternoon hours of glorious, bright-light, wintry-brisk for the watching of Inception. So worth it. Do watch it.

4. I won a fab giveaway over at Michelle’s place a thousand years ago. The sweet lady even threw in extras. I’m counting on that knitty calendar to tempt me back from the dark side of crochet.

5. There’s a new staple on the meal roster. Emma at Frog, Goose and Bear has a clever chook of a sister who rustles a scrummy curry. A speedy, tasty recipe, I served ours topped with a dollop of natural yoghurt and informed the kids it was dinner and dessert in one. They ate two helpings.

6. The inlaws are coming to town. I am logistically connipting.

7. Kay took pity on me with all the frosty footed whinging. Gotta love a package in the post from a whole ’nother part of the world bringing sweet promises of summer.

8. As I type there are squeaking mouses in the house. It’s a non-school day today and it wouldn’t be the first time there has been freak-Mum-out-mouse-plotting on a day off. I figure the more mortal terror feigned, the less need there will be for kid-mischief upping of ante.

9. Whoever’s up to hanky panky with the planets, could they quit now please? ’Cos things are a bit off-kilter. Curve balls flying from left field, an occasional plate crashing to the ground as it loses spin, a rocking of a foundation or two. Nothing entirely earth shattering. Just wonky. Craft wonk is good. You can embrace craft wonk. But life wonk sort of sucks.

Here’s to the new, non-wonk week.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I Know What You Were Thinking

And so was I. The fate of a bazillion granny circle-in-a-squares, last seen sporadically, patchily, warming anklebiters and inevitably destined for an unjoined, disadvantaged future, frequenting forgotten corners of an abandoned linen press or lurking alongside dust bunnies in ne’er swept corners of a drafty, possibly haunted house. Non?


There’s been quite a spurt of action and if I type fast and without punctuation the enthusiasm may not yet wane so keep up with me while I update you on the extraordinary news that of the bazillion grannies I can confirm that twenty now have woven-in-ends and approximately HALF did you get that HALF have been crocheted together using a flat braid join and can I just say that end weaving in became so incredulously boring that I momentarily but seriously considered the procrastinatory ironing of an item of clothing. With pleats. Shocking.

Three items worthy of note:

Item One
I will pay anyone almost anything (possibly even the beloved stick insects) to weave in eight ends per square at a bazillion squares minus the twenty completed (which, let’s face it, is the merest drop in the ocean).

Item Two
No one should ever – not even twenty years hence through my rose-coloured tintery– let me pretend that this project was ever a joy. Except maybe for that bit at the very start when it was fabulous car craft and effectively distracted me from backseat driving tendencies which may explain why the Mr seems disarmingly encouraging about this one – certainly more so than the Friday crocheting of rock bikinis.

Item Three
As far as I can tell, I have made every mistake under the sun. From these mistakes there has been learning. There has been the undertaking of vows:

Vow A. Thou shalt not use splitty cotton for anything again, not even a scarf for a gnat, regardless of nice shiny colours and non-itch factoring.

Vow B. Thou shalt step back after square number one and objectively analyse whether a smaller (slippery-er) hook should be used before, as opposed to after, the production of a bazillion prototypes.

Vow C. Thou shalt weave in those bloody* ends (eight per square) as one goes, rather than declare it ‘swimming lesson’ (not mine) craft at the very bitter and pointy end (now) and endure exuberant child splashing, non hook glide due to wet cotton and the general waft of chemical chlorine for future all-sensory snuggling delight.

Vow D. Thou shalt join as one goes, rather than upon completion of aforementioned bazillion, which would naturally entail the crocheting of a whole additional round for each granny and only THEN achieving some joinery.

Vow E. Thou shalt consider the merits of shagpile at the beginning, rather than squintily convince self and household of that certain je ne sais quoi and so cop the second ever, as blindingly good as the first, eight year old eye roll.

* I’ve not blasphemed in a post before and believe this to be particularly mild all things considered.

nb. The circle-in-a-square pattern was initially inspired from here, but we know where this got me, don’t we?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Four Rocks and an Eye Roll

Over the weekend, the eldest shot her first (detected) eye roll directly at her mother from point blank range. No matter that the eye roll accompanied a modifying bemused grin, no matter that others in the household exhibited a similar reaction. It is a slippery slope. It was precision-executed. A perfect ‘10’ eye roll and even though the first alarm bell clanged when she was two and wouldn’t eat yoghurt “It’s MY life!”, from now on, the merest sign of pre-teen has me shoe quaking.

The eight year old’s eye roll, the 43 year old’s just audible sigh of resignation (with possible rotational ocular involvement) and the hatching of the seven year old’s grand plan for Mum to crochet a cosy for the school’s roundish pizza oven by Monday, were all prompted by my sudden blinkered fixation for crafting rock jumpers.

I lay the blame squarely at the feet of Margaret Oomen, who’s tute, found via Whip Up, first buzzed the bee in the bonnet. In bonneted bee buzzing style, the usual ad hoc-ness and the pressure of a looming televisual Friday Night Crime date with the Mr, I never quite got around to studying the tute...

...which is why the cobbling together of four specimens randomly break every crochet/rock fashion rule (even those I don’t yet know about). I was hooked for one very loooong evening. So hooked, when I finally looked up at the world around me, Friday Night Crime was long dead and buried and we were in to ungodly hours, 70s rock and roll TV. Not that I could SEE. Suzi Quatro’s mulleted hairdo was but a fuzzy outline and anything more than twenty centimetres from my nose, was entirely unfocus-able. What was that the optometrist mentioned about specs?

A gaggle of teens could have exuberantly eye rolled and it would have been but a blurry bad dream.


nb. The river pebbles shown are between five and eight-ish centimetres and I used Perle 8 thread with a 1.5mm hook.