Thursday, July 28, 2011

Best Present EVER!



Ever since January, I’d been counting down the days to the Small’s birthday. Don’t you love it when you know, with every fibre of your being, that you have a perfect present to give? I’d even been counting sleeps, I tell you!

Way back, during all the Flood Relief Raffle-ing, I was the beside-herself-with-excitement winner, over at Michelle’s. I won a famous Poppy, Bean and Bloss, crafted-to-order, Waldorf doll WITH a wardrobe (heart flutter).



Eight days since birthday day and Lily is fully integrated into the family. There’s another seatbelt to check, another place at the table, two more pigtails to tie. Speaking of pigtails, words cannot express how impressed my kid is by Lily’s long and flowing locks. I’m just impressed how Lily handles all the upside down and sideways...



and jiggling all about-ness.



The shoes and all of the clothes and especially the undies are a great hit,



and so is the snuggly, flannel-backed doll quilt.



Lily’s grandma, (cripes, I’m a grandma), was also utterly chuffed with the gorgeousness of Liberty buttons, smuggled into the package...



Michelle, you out-outdid yourself. You absolutely made the kid’s day and you made mine too.

Um, did you notice? The kid was convinced to wear warmth today. Her top is the second Like Sleeves For Kids I have knit (love this pattern), this time with $1 a ball, on sale, pure wool. There’s not a lot of ‘soft’ in $1 wool. But it meets all kid colour requirements (oh for the pink phase to end) and I have managed to delude the child into thinking that underneath skivvies – to ward off neck itch – are COOL.

Finally and just for the record, the Middle birthday kid scored his embroidered bug. It has been, ahem, some time since I promised him the Christmas Beetle Knee Patch. Instead I artfully sewed it on to a birthday top. Not right in front, cos it’s supposed to be all plain clothes at school but more secret-like shhhhh! off to the side. Right where he usually, delightfully, wipes his hands clean. Here’s the bug in question on top of the dirty washing pile:



Chocolate birthday cake smears, I do believe.

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PS. Hey, my Mr! Yes YOU, fellow lover of mischief, of the big idea, finder of joy in the smallest of things. You who can’t eat enough tomato kasundi (the stuff that blows the socks off the rest of us), you who can laterally think the biggest problem into a solution, you with eyes that smile bright, you with the infectious chuckle, the faultless Scottish (though dodgy Irish) accent, you who have my heart...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

PPS. I made the full English Breakfast. It did near send me over the edge.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lately...

Late one night last week, I whispered goodnight seven year old! and in the morning he was eight. Late the very next night, I whispered goodnight three year old! and in the morning the Little said she was Very Big. And all of last week, at odd and inbetween moments, I remembered that kid birthdays are, secretly, as much for Mums and Dads. Anniversaries of long labouring hours and those first moments when our hearts were stolen and worlds were rocked.



Late one night this week, I shall be up to my elbows in the making of coffee and walnut cake, because it is the Mr’s birthday. He is talking endlessly, hintfully, teasingly, about how he hopes to wake to a full English breakfast, (ON A SCHOOL DAY!). The preparation of which he knows, is likely to send me over the edge, due to the complete lack of ‘morning person’ in my genetic make-up.

Last week and this week and next, I have work up to my eyeballs but it’s nice work and so far I have managed to keep at bay, the tone at the edge of my voice, that hints at too many fingers in too many pies.

I am over the moon that the bike race is over and I can go to bed and not feel that I am missing out on priceless Phil Liggett commentary and I am chuffed to bits about the outcome. But I am indignant, that last week, a complete stranger, (and patently no Tour de France convert), who had no idea how exhausted I usually look, commented on how exhausted I looked.

I am remarkably serene that the cardi I have been knit-knit-knitting for the last six weeks is finished and a complete fail. This goes to prove that I am all about the process and sadly, barely anything about the result. It was a game of Yarn Roulette from the start. I have been modifying the pattern to make the most of my limited, discontinued yarn and it all worked – except for the neckline, which is uncomfortably tight. The heavy irony is that I am now left with enough yarn to make the necessary adjustments but to do those I will have to unravel four weeks of knitting.

Goodbye cardigan.



I wonder what you’ll morph into next?

Last night, inbetween a kid drop-off and pick-up, I happened by the local library and was overwhelmed – for the first time since discovering craft – by a need to read. With a crick-in-the-neck, sideways-tipped head, I scanned shelves of titles and, appalled, realised I no longer know who to read.

It was with the skill of a ninja that my nana Eunice, performed the Art of the Simultaneous Knit and Read. I have long vowed to follow in her footsteps and I suspect this is the time to start. Book suggestions? Top tips? Only now do I consider that the Large Print-ness of all Eunice’s library book borrowings were to accommodate the knitting and distance-viewing as much as the failing eyesight.

So hope your world is swimmingly good, lately...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Art of the Two Minute Pom Pom*



Just in case there is anyone else out there itching to bedeck their garden/street/entire neighbourhood in pom pombing...

Just in case there is someone else out there, (like ME), who never ever immediately ‘gets’ the easiest way of doing things...

Just in case you haven’t happened upon or thunk up an even easier method for bulk pom pom production (please do share if you have)...

Then this Two Minute Pom Pom how-to is for you.

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1. Use either these plastic pom pom maker gizmos, widely available in craft supply shops (or just make your own cardboard versions), a darning type needle and yarn.



2. For my smallish pom poms, I measured four, generous, arm spans of yarn and threaded ’em through the big needle.



Double the yarn over (so you’ll be working with eight strands).

3. Use the needle to easily wind your yarn through and around your plastic gizmos/cardboard circles...



...until they just. can’t. take. any. more...



4. Trim ends.



5. Hold onto those ends as you carefully snip between your plastic gizmos/cardboard circles.



6. Manoeuvre a piece of yarn between the plastic gizmos/cardboard circles and secure your pom pom with a knot or two. Remove the plastic gizmos/cardboard circles. Tszuj your pom pom.



7. If you’re up to pom pombing mischief, you can use this same tie to hang your pom pom from an unsuspecting tree branch.



And before you know it...



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* DISCLAIMER
I am no pom pom expert. I am no serious maker of pom poms. In my opinion, pom poms are too cheerful to come over all serious about (especially when they are hanging around on tree branches, jiggling in the breeze). Apparently, there are seriously snazzy pom pom maker gizmos out there, somewhere, (so I’m told). This tutorial is not researched (although I did test it forty one times). It may not stand up in a court of law.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pom Pombing (AKA Pom Pom Bombing)



For about a month I have been looking at the bare, wintry bones of our Liquid Amber tree at the front of our house and thinking I should bedeck you in pom poms!



Don’t you think the seed pods look like (albeit spiky) pom poms?

A bit of Monday and a bit of Monday night, I pom pommed away and the kids joined in for a bit but then lost interest, because it was a case of Weirdy Mama Strikes Again (eye roll).

The first pom poms took me a relative eternity but after 41 of the suckers, I had perfected the art of the Two Minute Pom Pom.

Yesterday, the kids went off to my Mum’s for the night and even though there was urgent work stuff, I was so taking a pom pombing break.





As with all my dodgy yarn bombing installations, I was caught clambering about on the ladder AGAIN. Happily these Next Doors are wholeheartedly signed up to such yarny larking about and we had a coffee over the fence to celebrate.

Look!



They do a choreographed dance in the breeze! (gale force wind)



They don’t seem to mind getting a little damp! (torrentially rained upon)



They look just like the spiky Liquid Amber pom poms (only really not).



I keep going out to have a look at them. In my slippers. Which are now soaking wet.



I love that in a little while, it will be hard to spot a pom of colour through new green leaves. I don’t mind that they might not have the staying power to last through to next winter – that seems fitting somehow. I am wondering how I can get my hands on a taller ladder or better still, a CHERRY PICKER.



I can hardly wait for the kids to get home to see ’em. I know there will be big grins (followed by one of their Weirdy Mama Strikes Again eyerolls).

Lots more Creative Space business, HERE.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Spreading the Joy

I’m not really here. I’m chained to a work deadline this bright crispy morn and it was with toddler stomping, (IT’S NOT FAIR!) that I waved the Mr and the kids out the door. So, Agustina Woodgate, I have you to thank for firmly replanting a smile on my dial and a skip in my step. Your work is all kinds of WONDERFUL.



Happened upon via Hula Seventy...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Creative Space: Quite Possibly the Evil-est Idea I Have Had Yet



It is no longer in dispute. I am a mother with a slightly evil tendency. While I find my latest idea inspired, my children are (currently) only mildly bemused. I have considered that this may morph into an emphatic irritation.

In our house, misbehaviour is met with time out in the Naughty Corner. Although, with a nine year old, I suspect the days of this consequence are numbered, I quite happily grant me, the forty year old, time out for the smallest offence. To date, there has been nowhere to sit in the naughty corner and the floor is pretty chilly, come this time of year. I have been eying off one of my three roadside finds...



I stripped another chair of old, stinky upholstery and I like the uncushioned bones even better. The Mr thinks I should try and replicate the first chair in an upholstered but non-matchy fashion but I reckon a chair for the naughty corner invites a more, um, spartan feel.



My intention is to sand this chair for an eternity, then cover the back and seat with all the things one could do or not do, should one wish to be a well-behaved ANGEL. The kids have brainstormed such naggings with me, which is why there is also a solid representation aimed squarely at their mother.



In the meanwhile I have been Googling ‘découpage’ how to’s and top tips and getting myself into all sorts of trouble because I keep accidentally typing in searches for ‘décolletage’.

’Course it’s the school holidays and all of a sudden, I have twenty seven looming work deadlines. Juggling these is tricky enough*, let alone finding the free time for playing with such evil projects of seated whimsy. I wonder, if while taking a little time out from the blog, working punishing night-time hours, being a veritable EARTHMOTHER to my children, (whom I love and adore), that I may possibly see the error of my ways and rethink this whole Naughty Corner concept?

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* Yesterday I was forced to schedule a meeting with a new client while naked and in the shower. This is because the Middle kid is very helpful and answered the studio phone for me.

PS. Find more spaces of the creative and, undeniably less evil kind, HERE.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Friday Night In



Boy do we know how to roll a weekend in, in style.

The Mr and I had come across the work of Tony Orrico for a project we were working on and the Mr has been plotting ever since. How to get his hands on BIG paper?



On Friday, he was chatting to his mate, George and before you could clear a living room floor, ginormous photographic backgrounds were rolled out and everyone was scrabbling about in drawers of odds and ends for bits of crayon.





Do you remember playing with a Spirograph set when you were a kid? That hypnotic whirling of the pen and cogs, creating all sorts of fabulous pattern? You'll need a greater level of fitness and buttock muscle and determination to become a Human Spirograph. But given half a chance, there is something incredibly meditative, about the repetition of pattern-making and getting into that zone that pushes beyond the aged-knees-bouncing-on-wooden-floor ache.



Can’t tell you how much I LOVE IT when things are turned on their head and the usual routine flies out the window!



I doubt we’ve heard the last of it. The Mr was heard muttering things about getting whole school classes involved...



Here’s how the original, PROFESSIONAL Human Spirograph does it:

Friday, July 1, 2011

This and That

THIS...



is what was in my mailbox. Beautifully printed and crafted by Emily, of Millicent Crow. My swap brooch is all kinds of wonderful, has just the right amount of QUIRK and works best, right there,



on my wintry coat.

(Again, my hearty thanks to you, Emily and to the excellent Swap Hostess with the Mostess)....

THAT...



is the look on the new computer box and is the very same look as the one on my face, when my old computer died at 9.07am Wednesday. Due to work deadline freakout, the new one was sourced and sitting on my desk by 11.30am. Now that I’m over bill shock, the new ’puter brings THIS...



look to my face.

THAT...



is the sad state of knitty affairs. I hope there isn’t a limited amount of knitting stitches one can achieve in a lifetime and that I’m not permanently on strike. My urge to NOT knit is alarming. Foreign. Bewildering. My world is ROCKED. ROCKED!

THIS...



is a Dinosaur Egg update. In creakingly slow fashion, the green is a growin’. So is that strange white spotty mould-stuff, affliction-thing. I may live to regret this little exercise.

THAT...



is the Middle’s Birthday Wish List. Apparently his dream Metl Dtecta is one that detects more than nails in a floorboard and maybe even works under water. Another pressie on the list is a Reel Dinasur Tuf. Tips?

Have a weekend of gloriousness, all!