Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Squeak Squeak...


SqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqu...

Etcetera.

I’ve lost my voice. For days. Getting the big kids out the door for school has been an exercise in wild gesticulation. 

Ironically, my voice always seems to reappear to summon great coughs of hacking-ness...

HackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHa...

Etcetera.

The Small has been worse. (But today she isn’t grey. YAY!)


Ruptured ear drum, then Friday night in Emergency, with lots of cuddles but not many soothing words from Mum except for the best intentioned...

HackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHackHa...

Etcetera.

For a few weeks I’ve been stitchety-stitchin’ a blanket for her Big Girl Bed. Never ceases to amaze me how a crocheted row or two squeezed between bits of a day can grow so speedy-like.

StitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitchStitch...

Etcetera.



255 stitches per row, all of ’em trebles (I’m talking UK language here), two rows of each colour and entirely prompted by Lucy’s blanket of happy. I reckon I’m halfway-ish at 1.5 metres wide and just over one metre long. The Small and I have been snuggled under it as I go. 

Perfectly fabulous until I reach the end of a row, flip the whole shebang over and all the ‘warm’ disappears. Bad, bad mother. Sorry sweetie.


Remember the Epic Blanket, crafted from Yarn of All Manner of Gloriousness? It is coveted and stolen from my bed on a regular basis. That Epic Blanket almost required a second mortgage. I will never ever tell you how much the Epic Blanket cost to craft. I will most certainly NEVER EVER tell the Mr – even though he reckons he’s worked out the yarny yardage. Hmm.

The Small’s blanket is a toe tip into the World of Acrylic. I am a great big acrylic yarn snob but I can see the benefits of this particular one greatly extend beyond the cheap as chips. No need for a second mortgage and no itch factor! Best of all, so far, no sign of what I had been dreading – you know that acrylic-y sound I mean? The sound of...

SqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSqueakSque...

Etcetera.



Monday, October 15, 2012

Randomly Mused


ONE
For obvious reasons, I always look before I empty the Middle Kid’s pockets. I always do a quick reconnaissance, before I touch anything inside his school bag. I thought we’d hit an all-time EW! high, when I spotted the DEAD BIRD LYING AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SCHOOL BAG.



He said he collected the interesting piece of wood because it looked like a vulture. He has his eye out for two of the same in complementary sizings, so that we can arrange all three on the wall, in duck-like fashion.

TWO
I have an addiction to frozen blueberries. I cannot stop. I do an excellent impression of a Blue Tongued Lizard. The kids are mortified and keep warning me about the legend of the great aunt who turned bright orange from eating too many carrots. (She really, really did).



THREE
The Small drew a cockatoo on the wall. The Small scrubbed at the cockatoo and said it wouldn’t come off. Secretly I like the cockatoo. 


Secretly I am collecting roadside-find picture frames. I plan to paint the empty frames white and mount them on a wall. Then there will be an open invitation to draw artful, direct-to-wall things. I also quite like the notion of a champagne-fuelled gallery launch.

FOUR
Jodie and Sarah’s Mum wanted an update on the state of the Dinosaur Egg. I am very sorry, Jodie and Sarah’s Mum, for the disappointing and hard-to-grasp imagery. A jungly garden seems to have grown around the Dinosaur Egg and there is no longer a clear line of sight. For three weeks during a wet, wet winter it looked doilied and verdant. Until a fungal affliction struck and the verdant was replaced with white spots. The white spots have eaten away at the doily bits. As far as a doilied, Jurassic-type Dinosaur Egg goes, it looks extra convincing.




PS. Jodie and Sarah’s Mum, if you are considering a stab at mossy creations, might I forewarn that success seems to depend on a truckload of commitment. It’s like keeping an ever-thirsty pet (don’t even think about a holiday).

PPS. Worthy of note is a distinct lack of green in either of my thumbs.


FIVE
The eldest has adopted a parsnip as a pet. This is Phillippa. I note Phillippa seems to be wearying of the experience and would probably prefer to be baked.



SIX
A Well Known Magazine published one of my patterns and forgot to ask permission. The Well Known Television Version of the Magazine filmed their own version of my tutorial and forgot to ask permission. I sent them an invoice. I emailed an invoice chase-up. Invoice was paid. Sometimes it’s all about the principle.

SEVEN
I am overusing the word ‘snazzy’. ‘Spiffy’ seems to creep in occasionally too. The other day, a youngish client asked me to make a poster design look ‘sexy’. But I am 41 and obviously nearly ancient. And I have a constantly weird-coloured tongue from too many blueberries. I can do snazzy posters, but ‘sexy’ is patently well beyond reach.

Hope you’ve had a SNAZZY start to your week!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Big Kid

Every now and then, I receive an email from some nice person and in amongst the chat, there’s a HOW’S YOUR BIG KID GOING THESE DAYS? query.



That has been a bit of a tricky one to answer. Throw in the pre-teen moodiness of Nearly Eleven and consider the light and dark that fills any day and it sort of depends on the timing of the question. On balance I’d say things were much better. I would have said that my big girl, on balance, was travelling ok.

Then there was the recent episode which I should never have allowed to happen. How I kicked myself. On a playdate with a friend, I belatedly realised that my girl would be exposed to the main protagonist of last year’s awful bullying saga.



I realised this halfway through the basketball game that my kid was attending for the first bit of the playdate. I paced the floor. I rationalised there would be a dozen kids or more. Pacing and reckoning that with all those parents and friends around, my kid could hold her own.

What I did not reckon on, was the mother.

What I did not reckon on, was that my kid would be left in the care of that awful mother of that awful bully kid. Not for long. Just long enough for my kid to endure the long, steely glare – ‘right through my head, Mum!’ when my girl dared to utter her nervous hello.



My girl held it together. She did. Well done kid.

Then she went back to her friend’s house and was treated to entries in her friend’s diary written by the bully kid a month earlier. Eight months since bully girl had last attended my girl’s school and still the insults and slander continue in a written format, recorded for posterity.

My girl held it together. She did. Well done kid.

Long enough to arrive home. At home she screamed out her indignation and anger and hurt. I joined in. Somewhere there, in amongst all that mutual fury, things got funny. We had a long chat about choosing our friends. Understanding a healthy friendship. Finding good hearts and kindred spirits. About how much stronger my kid is this year than last. How she has changed, how she gets to decide how to deal with things.



I realised that these days my kid is much more than travelling ok. She’s travelling brilliantly, thank you very much. And she’s wearing her made to order (longer in the body, shorter in the sleeves, please) Rubble jumper LOTS.


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

PS. It did not end there. There was communication with the Mum of the playdate and an entirely productive frank and open discussion. YAY!

Meanwhile, I know from previous entirely patronising and ghastly experience, that approaching the bully girl’s mother is an exercise in gobsmacking FUTILITY. This may or may not be the reason why I am still fighting the still adrenaline-charged temptation to aim one heck of a hearty slap. No apology from me on that one, I’m afraid.

PPS. I realise I haven’t had it in me to blog the details of the bullying. The big kid still sees a fabulously down-to-earth, with a wicked-sense-of-humour counsellor type person. The appointments are increasingly infrequent. Much to my dismay! That counsellor has been as much therapy for me as for my kid. Except she says I probably shouldn’t slap the mother.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Dizzy Around the Edges

Throw an emergency my way – particularly a medically-themed one – and without missing a heart beat You Can Count On Me. Calm, capable, clear-thinking, efficient, methodical: that’s ME!

Except...not any longer. Last Thursday, it became evident I have acquired too much traumatic, bloodied history under the belt.

I am no fainting type. Last Thursday I turned a whiter shade of pale and felt a tiny bit dizzy around the edges. I gladly accepted the role of ‘support act’ to the Mr’s competent ‘lead’.

List of Traumatic Bloodied History (All Weirdly Occurring on Holidays) With Two Faint-Inducing Links
1. A couple of weeks before the birth of our second kid, my Mr made an impressive attempt at severing his thumb with a circular saw. I was on maternity leave. (So I guess it wasn’t a real, official-type ‘holiday’).

2. My nearly-two-year-old Small attempted to permanently sever her finger in the cog of a bicycle wheel. (I feel a bit dizzy even typing that). It was the Easter holidays.

3. Then there was the unmentionable incident involving the poor, unfortunate groin and the slamming rabbit hutch lid. That was the Christmas holidays.

4. These school holidays I bring you the next trip to the Emergency ward...


...Involving a wrong-way-up Swiss Army Knife, an impaled hand, some frantic arm-waving-about, eventual removal of a blade and an impressive, back-garden-covering, splattering of blood.

No tendons involved – HOW LUCKY IS THAT? Wound healing pretty well now, thank you for asking. 

Mother of child booked in for twice weekly appointments with therapist to address issues of sustained and repeated trauma and the fact that she has unexpectedly morphed into One Great Big Wimp. She also currently feels a little overwhelmed at the sighting of red food colouring.

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

PS. Yes. Of course I would really, really like it if the Middle Kid sat quietly inside and read a book for the remainder of the school holidays, avoiding all objects with impaling potential.

PPS. Instead he’s back to the now meticulous, painfully careful use of his Swiss Army Knife, (while his mother helicopters irritatingly overhead).

PPPS. School’s back on Monday. Thank ye Gods.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Ugly Blanket



These last months, while I’ve been working my cotton socks off, bits of coloured yarn have proven something of a lifeline. Every day for half an hour, I’ve tied one end securely to a skerrick of sanity and stitch by stitch, woven a bit of headspace back into my world.

What has become increasingly apparent, at times such as these, is that I care NOT A JOT about the ‘look’ of things. Well, hang on – I do care a very lot at the very start – and the Ugly Blanket was a planned yarny purchase. But once I’ve made that first slip knot, I couldn’t care less. It’s ONLY about the ‘make’.



Stitch stitch stitch. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.



Even though I don’t think the Ugly Blanket is as ugly as all that – SHEESH! – the name has stuck. It was coined as soon as I reached for that apricoty, pasty, naked-coloured yarn in the middle. There was a raised eyebrow from the Mr and some immediate banter concerning the exact shade of old man undies. I blue-in-the-face argued that old man undie colour is a lighter shade of beige, possibly with yellowy undertones. Right?

Regardless, the family has decreed that ‘apricoty-pasty-naked’ is a bad colour for a blanket.



Stitch stitch stitch. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

Ironically, after all the family insults, when I went looking for the blanket with my camera, I found it in the kids’ cubby house. HUMPFH.

Not too ugly to be STOLEN.

I twisted arms and forced admissions. Now it’s the ‘Ugly Snuggly Blanket’. Apparently the Ugly Snuggly isn’t entirely awful.

I left it to hang out in the cubby for a very teensy while.

Ugly Blanket details over on Ravelry...






Sunday, September 30, 2012

Not Drowning. Waving! (Though P’raps a Little Waterlogged Around the Edges)


I hadn’t planned to fall down some watery vortex thingy, unannounced and all, but, well...you know. The ante was upped and there were kid issues to deal with and some really lovely work stuff to juggle and now months have whizzed by and I’m sitting primly on the edge of the posh chair, knees pressed together, back straight, trying not to slurp my tea and feeling like a guest in my own blog.

While I was doing the vortex thing, I amassed eleventy bazillion blog posts in my head. I’ve forgotten almost all of them...

I’ve been a lioness Mama and done a victory lap. From the sidelines I’m learning to read – like you learn to read when it doesn’t happen by osmosis – and my dyslexic kid has a smile on his dial.

There are countless other, supremely dodgy Mama moments. Mostly swept inconspicuously under the rug.

I made two quilt tops in February and gifted them in their total unfinished-ness to my July birthday children. The flimsy bits of scrappy cotton are still draped decoratively over their doona covers. Both children know NOT TO PICK AT LOOSE THREADS.

I thought up a brilliant name for a business. Unnervingly, inexplicably, the name and the website are available. This indicates the rest of the world thinks this is a stonkingly bad name for a business.

I’ve knit a whole lot of therapy.

I crocheted an Ugly Blanket. It’s ugly snuggly.

I changed my blog header and purposely stuck a blurry fly on it. I still like flies. Flies still have chutzpah.

I took one day out and I went to The Nursery. Breathe.

I took an hour out before dinner and went to the beach with the kidlets. Double breathe. I remembered the camera...


Took a goofy shot...




A kid nicked the camera...



(Evidence I haven’t been swallowed by the vortex – albeit with scary, vortex hair).

I was thinking I’d like to come back for another visit. Find the comfy armchair in this blog, slurp tea and not care if I leave biscuit crumbs.

I’ve got some catching up to do. HOW ARE YOU?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Anti-Quilt



’Tis a ridiculous notion – the one that involves two graphic designers (and three children) meeting at a fabric store. Even when the graphic designer with a small amount of quilting experience, has forewarned the graphic designer with no quilting experience, of the danger of Overwhelmed by Sheer Choice. Both graphic designers will enter the fabric store with a degree of confidence, nonchalance and a solid understanding of colour theory.*

One graphic designer – the one foolish enough to haul along her three offspring, will waftily declare a time limit: “Twenty minutes! Tops!” Yet, it will become apparent to both graphic designers, within thirty-seven seconds; they have bitten off more than they can chew.

All around them, real quilter-types will bustle about the store, throwing thirty fabric combinations together, with confidence and ease. Meanwhile, the graphic designers will freeze with indecision and the three children will punctuate their inevitable, long-haul wait, with huffing and eye-rolls.

Only after the desperate notion of an ‘anti-quilt’ is vetted, will the two designers function sufficiently to select two plain fabrics within fifty minutes. One fabric for the quilt top. One for the quilt back. There is no requirement for the piecing together of any fabrics. None of that daunting co-ordination of floral with stripe, spot with paisley.



There is a palpable sense of relief.



On a roll, the two designers will take but thirty minutes to shortlist from the Liberty fabrics on offer and select one for the binding. One of the children will nap fleetingly under the cutting table.



After eighty minutes, two dazed graphic designers will be evicted from the fabric store by the three desperate (to varying degrees) children. One graphic designer will drive home, in a stunned sort of silence. She will ponder the reasons why the other graphic designer a) claims to enjoy this quilting lark and b) is dumb enough to haul three children to a fabric store. This graphic designer will wonder if the anti-quilt she has commissioned will ever arrive in time for an important birthday.

The other graphic designer will drive home in a stunned sort of silence, as two children threaten calls to Child Services for the Gross Act of Boredom inflicted upon them. The third child will seem quite perky, (after the fleeting nap) and the graphic designer knows this child will punish the Gross Act of Boredom with wakeful vengeance into the wee hours.

Some time later, after the wee hours, the graphic designer with the small amount of quilting experience, will baste the quilt. Some time after that, she will machine-quilt the living daylights out of the thing.



In the true spirit of her notion of an anti-quilt, she will do her best to make things haphazard and rule-bending – even if she doesn’t know any of the Official Rules in the first instance.



She will make many, on-purpose, anti-quilt-type, stitchy mistakes and use kilometres of multi-coloured thread.



The graphic designer will remember, at the very last moment, to stitch the personalised message requested by the other, commissioning, graphic designer.





The Anti-Quilt is finished an uncharacteristic three weeks prior to gifting deadline. Characteristically, both graphic designers leave things to the very pointy end and engage in a panicked, sixteen-mobile-calls-later, top-secret, Spooks-style handover, with a mere handful of gifting hours remaining.



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

* It took the graphic designer with the small amount of quilting experience, thirty eight years to work out the correct colours of the rainbow, (it turns out THAT song led her well astray) and she has never grasped ANY theories on colour. The other graphic designer, with no quilting experience, could draw you a definitive colour wheel in a snap (but a paisley pattern scares her senseless).

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Click Clack Click Clack (etc)



You’d be forgiven for reckoning, that along with the lapse in regular bloggy activity around these parts, that everything crafty had also taken a flying leap out the nearest window. But you’d be wrong. Admittedly it isn’t the creative sort of activity launched by a nutty notion or a DAMMIT! I AM SO GIVING THAT CRAZY IDEA A WHIRL! Ah – I miss the time for that kind of thinking and mischief and making.



Rather, it’s the therapeutic click clack of the knitting needles, that punctuate the day in tiny blocks of time. As the kettle boils for the hot water bottle (my studio ain’t no Bahamas), the wool weaves its way, the sanity holds and I can kid myself I’ve had some quality ‘me’ time. Excellently, it’s just enough to keep my world on track for weeks at a time.

So, I thought I’d better tackle this knitty malarkey in style! I’ve considered cladding my nearest and dearest (and everyone I know with a birthday) in winter woollies and angsted over online colour selection and stalked the postie waiting for the parcels of yarny goodness to arrive.



I decided way in advance that this yarn and this pattern, (modelled by the eldest), was all sorts of right for this lady. A while ago, I spent a forever knitting a 2ply cardi in the same colour – ahem, worn lots in warmer weather, er, not yet properly blogged – so I knew it well. I stitched that origami-like pattern and thought about who was going to receive it and wondered how they were travelling and hoped they would like it, all the while crafting in loads of care and some heartfelt warm.



A gift to her and to me.

Ravelled here.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

In Predictable Myrtleandeunice Style, Another Deadline is Pushed to its Very Limit and as the Last Ticks of May Are Tocked, There’s a Sprint Finish...



...and a Make it in May Skirt Sew-Along contribution is completed – JUST IN THE NICK OF TIME.

I can’t express the ridiculousness of posing an entirely motionless sprint finish while balancing on a wooden beam while Mr Myrtleandeunice takes a few forevers to take a pic.

On reflection I can see that I really should have ironed with care and possibly even attention, rather than in a sprint-finish, haphazard blur. On reflection, I can see that I really should consider a visit to a chiropractor (it’s not the skirt that’s crooked).



The skirt is a ClothKits purchase and I’ve been trying to grow taller since it arrived.



Usually I’m a slightly shorter a-line skirt wearer, (longer skirts make me feel 153cm and stumpy-looking) but I couldn’t bring myself to hem through those parked cars and ruin all that nice perspective.

Located not far from my London workplace, I’ve walked past the Trellick Tower, alongside those parked cars, a few times. I never imagined I’d be back in Australia, no taller and three children later, walking around looking 153cm and stumpy and WEARING the Trellick Tower.



You can sign up for Cam’s Make it in May Skirt Sew-Along over here. Best make it like Speedy Gonzales.

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

PS. There’s a really lovely Rob Ryan skirt over at ClothKits. Like the Trellick version, it comes with the pattern printed on to the fabric, lining, facings, excellent instructions, zip and thread. Best suited to tall persons, those with patience to rejig a pattern, or those who can work a lengthy a-line without coming over stumpy.

PPS. I know it seems as though I’ve disappeared from this space – but in my own head I haven’t! (I enjoy this bloggy-lark too much). Apart from skin-of-the-teeth skirt making, I’ve been bizzy ‘stepping up’ to that real-world parenting gig. Geez, there’s some cathartic writing brewing, on that particular business.

PPPS. So hope all is going along swimmingly in your world.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Fairy Godmother



Meet my Fairy Godmother – he’s the one on the right. The one on the left, is a latex doppelganger, conceived back in the era of Spitting Image puppetry and the satirical UK television series. The larger than life version, was born with a glint of evil in his eye, a shocker of a temper (bellowing roar to match) and a talent for the foulest vocabulary. To this day, I have only Fairy Godmother Roger’s influence, to credit for our full-to-the-brim-and-overflowing swear jar.

Roger Law was also born with a heart of gold, though he’d deny it to the death. He disguises his acts of fairy godmotherliness in a veil of self-interest. As the creative director of Spitting Image for 13 years, capitalist (it used to say so on the business cards) and artist, he markets the employment of the latest young upstart for the advantages of enthusiasm and cheap labour. From the young upstart’s point of view, Roger presents only exciting possibility.

I met Roger at the AGIdeas design conference in Melbourne. I was his ‘minder’. Collecting a jetlagged, two-metres-taller-than-me, long-haul-from-the-UK, non-driving, backseat-driver in the wee small hours, inspires a certain level of fear. Deirdre Amsden, Roger’s wife, who was born talented, gorgeous and Thank God A Diplomat, (as well as considerably shorter and more conducive to good-humoured, sardine-like air travel), typically smoothed things over.

Later that year, with one week of a design degree remaining, I received a bolt-from-the-blue call from Rog. Did I fancy coming over to London to work on the final series of Spitting Image and could I start in ten days? Born with a gene prone to fabulous bolt-from-the-blue opportunity, I’d committed an unhesitant YES before I’d put down the phone.

I never did work as a line producer on the show, but I did play at Assistant Puppet Co-ordinator on set, hanging out on reception inbetween. As it turns out, I wasn’t born with the single-minded, eat-’em-alive drive of a TV producer – but geez, I had a heck of a lot of fun finding out. After four months, the show and an era ended, then Roger bumped into his mate, (my other Fairy Godmother) and pushed me onto the right career path.

As it happens, Roger is also my Mr’s fairy godmother. Straight out of the Royal College, the Mr landed a job as a sculptor for Spitting Image. It is therefore a lot Roger’s fault, that the Mr and I are the Mr and I. For our wedding gift we were presented with not one – but two – of Roger’s framed paintings, (the explanation in the inscriptions is: “in case of divorce”).

My Mr and I watched Artscape on Tuesday night. Both of us wore great, ridiculous grins for half an hour. This is because we were reminded that there is something else that Roger was born with. It’s a bit intangible this ‘something’. It’s a bit bloody-minded determination. It’s a lot to do with that eye glint, that palpable obsession with his craft(s) and a booming enthusiasm. Mostly it’s his infectious living life LARGE. There is no regret. There is a truckload of mistakes, tailgated by three lorry loads of swearing, and a crashing write-off of lessons learned. To top it all, the Fairy Godmother has a heartstopping talent. His ceramics are breathtaking. He draws in infinite beauty.

I don’t think I ever said a proper thank you.

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

The ABC’s ‘Artscape’ programme, ‘A Law Unto Himself’ is one heck of a worthwhile, half hour watch, currently easily accessible on iView.

Watch out Sydney, Roger is back in town! His latest exhibition, ‘Travelling Light’ is on at the Mary Place Gallery, May 15 to May 20.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Finally! The Child Succumbs to (Momentary) Warmth



Over the Easter weekend, I started and completed a Rubble jumper for my smallest.



It was a get-your-teeth-into-it, satisfyingly speedy knit.



Even though there have been many days of freeze-your-socks off, since Easter, it has taken veritable weeks for the child to feel the cold.



Admittedly with all that usual running around



and leaf-throwing



mischief,



the kid never really looks cold.

She was heard to declare: Mum I am soooooo snuggly! no more than three seconds before she took her Rubble jumper off.



I’ve had the Rubble pattern earmarked for ages, because it looks as sweet as all get-out as a layering garment and also because the sleeves are on the cropped side – oh, how the kid DETESTS warm wrists! (cue: Mama eye-roll).

Knitty details ravelled HERE.