Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Before and (One Third) After

BEFORE:
Three smelly, roadside-find chairs, with good bones.





AFTER:
(the removal of world’s stinkiest, mouldiest upholstery; four hours of orbital sanding; two applications of clear varnish on oak; an Echino themed fabric shop visit, replacement foam purchasings; hand stitchery;



compressed-air stapling and upholstery stud battering,



we have):

...

...

...suspenseful-type, drum roll scenario...

...

...

A. Chair.



I have a smile on the dial.



And blooming sore fingers.



Just a bit excited about the two, smelly, roadside-find chairs, with good bones, waiting in the wings!

Er...but you know me. P’raps best not hold your breath.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Midwinter (With a Bit of Crazy)



It’s been a bizzy, bizzy week and we’ve thoroughly celebrated the midwinter solstice. On Tuesday night, it was the school Winter Festival and the eldest crafted the sparkle-arkling pumpkin above and there was a lantern walk and hot soup and bread for dinner and bonfires and thoroughly frosted feet.



On Wednesday night, it was the kinder Winter Festival and the Small’s face was sparkle-arkling with excitement and there was a lantern walk and hot soup and bread for dinner and a bonfire and by then I’d given up on ever feeling my feet again.



The ritual associated with celebrating midwinter is my favourite. I confess it brings out the hippy in me.



I love the sense of community that sharing food and magical, wintry kid stories and frostbitten feet brings.



Just for good measure, the school threw Crazy Hair Day into the mix. 8.30am and the hairdryer went up in smoke and the Middle’s hair was looking distinctly unimpressive with its quarter mohican styling. Some speedy, lateral thinking later, we discovered another use for those Easter Chicks...



Throw-together-in-seven minutes, (yikes! careful with that super glue!), crazy, bird-nest hair.



A prize-winning, if somewhat itchy, hair-do.

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Please note: No real bird nest was permanently harmed in the making of hair art.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hands Down Impressed With Myself

Last night I out-outdid myself. Never before have I reached such dizzyingly efficient heights and never shall I dare to hope for the same again. This is why this entire blog post is dedicated – largely without distracting imagery – to last night’s one point five hours of amazingness (otherwise, I’ll forget).

..........................

MY YESTERDAY, BETWEEN 4.30 AND 6PM:

• Baked a carrot cake. It did not burn. Just emerged out of that oven perfectly perfect.

• Located thirteen Not Quite Overdue library books for the Mr to return.

• Put a load of washing into the machine. Filled it with only undies and socks.

• Sent one kid off to Joey Scouts and one to gymnastics and both of them had drink bottles.

• Popped a kid in the bath and told her she had to keep singing so I would know she was ok. But because she thought it would be fun if I sang from the kitchen, we both launched into ‘Oh, how lovely is the evening...’ over and over and over and then IN ROUNDS, for fifteen of the longest minutes of my life. Oh, my throat.

• Raised one eyebrow when the Mr fleetingly returned home, to re-remember the thirteen Still Not Quite Overdue library books.

• Unloaded dishwasher, loaded dishwasher, cleaned kitchen, chiselled dried Weetbix off table.

• Washed bath kid’s hair and combed it flat and long like a mermaid’s!

• Made soup from the pumpkin the Mr had hollowed out earlier, for tonight’s winter festival. Love a sparkly pumpkin lantern.

• Dropped four glass bowls but MIRACULOUSLY only one broke. Swept up. Tackled kitchen and sunroom on a vacuuming whim.

• Googled a recipe for Thai fish curry, made it and rice and later eldest kid declared it Best Dinner Ever.

...........................

The Reality Check
This morning everyone is wearing scraping-the-bottom-of-the-barrel, aged underwear, with dodgy elastic (I forgot to hang the washing out). Last night a drink bottle was left at Joey Scouts. The mermaid with the flat and long locks, was entirely miffed to wake up with sleep-tousled curls. When I preventatively wiped Weetbix off the table earlier, I stood on a teeny sliver of glass. Gale force winds threaten lighting of any pumpkin lanterns, promising one very dark winter festival. The kitchen looks like a cyclone hit. The Middle is still talking about the Worst Dinner Ever. We are all beside ourselves excited at the prospect of carrot cake for snack play or morning tea and essentially, it’s a back-to-ordinary but ALL-IS-RIGHT-WITH-THE-WORLD Tuesday.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Eyeless Bird Brooch With Wire Leg Bits

Typically, (because this always happens when I sign myself up for a swap), I have spent the weekend all knickers-in-twist. What sort of brooch to make for a (top secret) swappee with yarnbombing tendencies and a thing for birds? There were too-many-to-count false starts and Choice Words randomly uttered.

I found a small-ish, flat-ish, vaguely bird-shaped, polished stone and cast on a rock jumper in Perle 8 embroidery thread, intending a yarnbombing in miniature. And then I looked outside at a weak, blue, waning, wintry light, declared dinner ‘tragically late’ and proceeded to photograph the beginnings of a NOT VERY, ONLY SLIGHTLY BLUE (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?) rock jumper in weak, waning, wintry light.









OK, um...sorry. It’s a definitive case of ‘had to be there’. But observing seasonal light changes through a lens always leaves me gobsmacked.

A full night of inept crafting, with Liberty scraplets and minuscule felt bits and fairy stitchings was followed by a carefully aimed, brooch-throwing tantrum. Thank ye gods, for an invigorating, suck-it-up approach the following morning, when a birdie brooch was finally completed.



I’m still worried it’s a little on the twee side, (although the bird remains eyeless in the interests of twee minimisation). The wire leg bits were included at the last minute because I apparently have a thing for birds with wire leg bits.



Dear secret swappee, I do so hope you like your brooch.

.........................

And dear Susie, I told you from the start there would be inevitable hyperventilation. THANK YOU for an inspired swap, SUPREMELY organised...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Found!



It’s always when I’m not looking, that I find ’em. There is always unmitigated delight when the discovery dawns. Finding a face, a patient little character in an inanimate object, is on my Top Ten List of Fab Things to Happen in a Day.

This amicable (elephanty?) soul, unearthed at Camberwell Market a year ago, has always been thoroughly appreciated for his supreme pencil sharpening talent. Yet, until now, he has been socially ignored. Rest assured, since his discovery yesterday afternoon, he has been fully welcomed and inducted into the Myrtleandeunice household. Some of us ate cake to celebrate.

........................

Have you spotted any critters lurking in your house? Do you also chat to your cheese grater or commiserate with your fence paling? Ages ago I set up a Finding Faces Flickr group, forgetting that I’m a tad lazy when it comes to being a good Flickr-er. But inanimate objects are a social bunch. There’s animated talk of a party. Consider this an open invite.

(AND HAVE YOURSELF A MIGHTY FINE WEEKEND. WITH LOTS OF PARTIES. OR KNITTING. OR KNITTING AT PARTIES. WHATEVER TAKES YOUR FANCY).

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Toasty



The next time you find yourself munching on a piece of toast at breakfast, just stop for a tick. Leave the school lunches, the location of matching kid socks*, hold your tongue on the Haveyoucleanedyourteethrememberedyourmusichowmanyshoelaceknotscanakidneedhowdoyouspellarchitect? (or is this only my house?). Now study that toast. Note the subtle shift in golden brown tones. Allow yourself to be overwhelmed with the wonderment that is the intricate texture of crispy bread.

Things got a bit obsessive.

It took seventeen (million) attempts to reproduce toasted toastiness onto blanketing, using one of those needle felting stabby thingummys.



Luckily, I ran out of blanketing, so things had to come to some sort of end.



A super snuggly (just like this one) hot water bottle cover, as warm as, er, toast, off to do its bit for the Hottie Challenge, organised by the excellent Curly (Super) Pops.



PS. Were it not for Kirst and the use of her needle felting stabby thingummy AND the supply of her stash blanketing AND expert advice then I’d still be at the Gazing at Toast phase. Thanks mate.



* Actually, matching kid socks are not even faintly attempted around here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Good Stuff for the Soul

Soul Stuff #1
Perfectly toasted leftover marshmallows for a nutritious Sunday breakfast start to the day...



(the Small prefers ’em ‘raw’).



Soul Stuff #2
A couple of good friends over and a still, crisp, perfect evening for another outdoor fire, with mulled wine and a slooooow cooked dinner perched on knees. Followed by some more of this business...



before knackered kids were packed to bed.

Soul Stuff #3
Some soft and soothing knittery...



...which ended up looking like this:



but only until that sloooow cooked dinner was eaten around the fire.



(currently soaking in something promising removal of slow cooked osso bucco).

Soul Stuff #4
Quite some of that knitting happened rugged up, basking in wintry sun warmth, lounging in this:



(feeling the luckiest of ducks).

Soul Stuff #5
A day at the Zoo, revisiting the Mr’s hippo play sculptures...



Kids so disappointed the fun sprinkler elements are hibernating for the season. Parents so very relieved.

Soul Stuff #6
ART and ONE MILLION DOLLARS left in our letter box.



Both received with great excitement by the Small as this wobbly lower lip Mum looked on. Here’s to your grand (only five years, alrighty?), New York adventure, excellent family.

Soul Stuff #7
YOU. Thank you for letting me have my meltdown and for picking me up and dusting me off. For making copious cups of tea (with cake!) and, well, mostly just for lending an ear.

MUCH BETTER NOW.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Writing. It. Down.

Eleven months ago a series of events was set in motion and with it came an undeniable realisation, that being (supposedly) grown up, can be entirely horrible. These issues of the unbloggable kind have cut to the quick. They sit so heavily upon my shoulder, there are times I can walk only in circles.

Such events do not involve a tragedy or the loss of a loved one and indeed, on the surface they appear entirely superfluous: in the grand scheme of things, possibly even frivolous. Yet they do involve another kind of undeniable tragedy and certainly, a great sense of loss. Foundations are rocked when you realise what you have always thought ‘is’ just isn’t. When a great sense of betrayal gives way to a grief that pitches low and constant and is barely perceptible but rises to the surface, in a blink of an eye, with the rawest of howls.

In the last month, I have made a conscious decision to minimise, as much as possible, the emotional cost of these events. I realise how destructive it is, monotonously waiting for communication, much less explanation. Things were beginning to be better, until yesterday. Yesterday those events were presented to me again and I ran in circles and journeyed nowhere and blew up in a great roar of frustration and today I am numb and again my brain only thinks in ‘bland’.

.........................

PS. Please know that everything that is most important is fine. The Mr wrapped me in cotton wool and made much tea and the kids have drawn sympathetic pictures in the form of dinosaurs and hearts and left notes with many exclamation marks (and then apologies in case so many exclamation marks “hurt my eyes”).

PPS. Also cutting through that numb blandness is a realisation that it really does help to write stuff down...

PPPS. ...to the extent that when wandering away from the computer on a coffee quest, I noticed something small and significant and wonderful. Those seeds the kids and I planted way back when? Growing! Not dead! Living!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mischief (aka: Tears, Blood, Not Sweat)



Even though I would love nothing more than to live in a street, lined with doilied trees and would blink not an eye at possible neighbourhood wrath, I realised this would take some stretching of one tablecloth. Instead I directed the mischief and the doily-bombing at one of the school trees.



As usual, I failed abysmally at covert, guerilla-ness, arriving with my ladder during some random, round-robin footy match, which involved five teams and their associated spectating supporters. I calculate a possible 140 witnesses observed the great gust of wind that blew the ladder onto my head: DOINK! Ah, the tear-stained indignity.



The blood was shed while clinging to a wildly, swaying-in-the-gale tree and sewing through the denser tablecloth bits with a too-big, very stabby needle. I kept wondering where all the red paint was coming from. Next time I’m guerilla-ing I shall remember band aids. I meant to take a photo to induce the awe of the ouchie-obsessed three year old but forgot due to ladder-induced concussion.

Not a drop of sweat went into the cladding of a school tree in a doilied tablecloth. There was a wind chill factor of -27 degrees celsius. Rewardingly, my efforts did not go unappreciated by a now-warmer, resident cockroach:



and then the ladybird hung around for a leisurely hour-long chat.



After the last knot was tied, the final finger pricked and OUCH! squeaked, I stepped back to take photos. Then the tree, clad in new leggings, performed a languid, extreme-slow-motion cartwheel...



...or is that the concussion talkin’?


.......................


PS. I’ve been such a bad bloggy type lately – lots of real life getting in the way of a good ol’ catch up. I’m missing yez.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Yet More Neck Warmth and Time I Got Up To Some Mischief



Contrary to how it looks, I have not double crocheted all my scrappy yarn offcuts around and around in loopy loops and then figure eight-ed it around the necks of two of my anklebiters.



Even though it looks like it, here is the irrefutable photographic evidence:



One of them is 220 stitches round and skinnier and loop-de-loops three times,



And the other is 150 stitches round and wider and was accidentally twisted at the very first join. I realised this is precisely what should happen with a cowl, when it loops around a neck twice. Even though it looks a bit strange when it’s off, it sits nice and flat when it’s on.



This tree that I am hanging cowls from willy nilly, is the same tree, that me and my girl yarnbombed way back. It sits out the front of our house and these days it’s looking a little on the scuzzy side.



Recently, our neighbours were auctioning their house and in the weeks leading up to The Big Day, there was frequent polishing and cleaning of fence posts with toothbrushes, (I truly kid you not) and manicuring of lawns with nail scissors, (I kid you only a tiny bit) and I was beginning to think our scuzzy yarnbombed tree was letting the side down.

The day before the auction, I was measuring up the tree...



for a bit of tablecloth/doily, freshening-up action...



...when the neighbour who lives opposite asked me what mischief I was up to this time? This is the same neighbour who is all kinds of wonderful and blinks not an eye when I lie in the middle of the road to photograph snakes. But when I informed him of my grand spruce-up plans, he all but blurted out that he really, really didn’t think my next door neighbour would like that. No. Not one little bit.

While I’m overcoming incredulity that a clad-in-tablecloth-tree is, to some persons, not a vision of sheer delight, I realise I have two options:

1. Come over feisty and doily bomb every tree on the street.
2. Come over all neighbourly and focus my plottings on the (poor) school.

Footnote
I’m not sure how much it had to do with the not-clad-in-tablecloth-tree, or my propensity for lying on our road photographing snakes but there was not one auction offer on the house next door.