30 October 2008

to celebrate

: : the reopening of my etsy shop

: : mixtape zine issue no. 6 (in which yours truly has an article)

: : Pea Soup's 571st post

: : and three years, four months, and eight days of blogging

: : also because I've never ever done a giveaway before or let you know how much I appreciate you (and oh I do, I really really do)

... I am giving away either a hand knitted pure cotton washcloth, or a 100g skein of hand dyed aran weight pure wool yarn.

smocked dishcloth100g Gelati yarn

Leave me a comment and I'll draw a winner early next week. Make sure you tell me your preference - cloth or skein!

ps. I'll post to any location - local or international.

edited to add: the colourway of the yarn is 'Gelati'.

29 October 2008

fragile

fragile

I don't know what kind of bird laid this egg, but the colour was exquisite.

impossibly tiny

I do know who laid this unbelievably tiny one though.

A Welcome Swallow (they are also known as House Swallows). That pair of tiny birds that live outside the laundry door in their little striped mud nest are now proud parents. They fly in and out all.day.long and every now and then when I venture out to the clothesline with a[nother] basket of washing I catch a glimpse of a fluffy wee head or a gaping beak poking above the rim of the nest.

When she takes one of her rare breaks on the shed roof, I swear I can see exhaustion in the mother bird's eyes.

26 October 2008

new clothes

grey a-line skirt

This is that skirt I made at craft retreat. I'm very pleased with myself. Smug, even.

It's a grey linen bought from Lincraft eons ago and the pattern is a simple A-line, although you can't tell from that photo.

Here's the "practice" one I made first from an old sheet.

for spring

See the grubby mirror? It's spotless in real life y'know. And the bed is made. Truly.

lounge pants

And here are the fabulously comfy wide legged pants (made from another old vintage sheet). I have barely taken them off since, except to go to work. I'm wearing them as I type. I think I even slept in them one night which is appropriate, given their origins. (Action shot of them being created here).

Bit nervous about going to work tomorrow. Given my role, I'm in the thick of all the stuff going down. I hear that there's a protest going to be staged outside (inside?!) a meeting I'm part of tomorrow night. Better wear my new lucky skirt.

22 October 2008

creatif

create

Craft Retreat was fabulous.

May I just say that again? Fabulous.

the cottage at SewJourn

After a Friday during which everything at work went pear shaped, beginning with a shock and awe announcement at my dawn meeting, followed by turmoil and rumour all day long, culminating with a press conference being held right outside my office window, I was very ready to hit the road and put it all behind me.

the studio

And how.

The venue was everything we could ask for and more - a light-filled cottage chock with handmade quilts, cushions, lots of little decorative touches without being cluttered, and stacks of quality craft mags and books to inspire. Then, a few steps away, a dedicated workshop/studio complete with large worktables and enough room for (ahem) several sewing machines and overlockers. Plus couches for the handsewers, embroiderers and knitters to recline upon. Add a cd player to the mix so one can sew to the crooning of Norah Jones or rock along with Absent Friends, and the setting was perfect.

birks and baskets

As per usual on these weekends the food was magnificent, the company inspiring and the laughter long and loud. Thanks so much to Sooz, Di, Janet, Sue and the blogless Maria, Catherine, Jill and SallyRose for such a great time.

blue chairs

One of the best things about craft weekend is seeing what others create, and while I am not so prolific as some people, nor as accomplished as others in my tailoring skills, I am proud to say that I managed to make myself a simple pair of wide leg pants (a la the Amy Butler Lounge Pants that are proliferating around the craft blogosphere in the past year) and two (two!) A-line skirts. My first two items were actually made out of old floral sheets from the op shop because I was too scared to cut into my 'real' fabric.

Photos to come soon of me draped in clothing made of old sheets. (Admit it, you can't wait).

nine women, nine coasters

At Sewjourn guests are invited to create and leave at the venue a coaster from the Last Minute Quilted Gifts (one of the many craft books left lying around to drool over inspire). Mine skidded into the collection at the very last minute and I'm guessing Jan will be pleased to hear it's not made from someone's old bed sheet. Can you tell which is mine?

No? Okay, behold, my VERY FIRST QUILTED ITEM.

coaster

I'm up for a whole quilt next I reckon. Oh and if you're related to me, you might be receiving custom made coasters for Christmas this year, such is my pride in my new prowess.

What a weekend! More photos here and on other peoples' flickrs of course.

Finally, this was the sight that greeted me as I pulled into the driveway on Sunday evening, happily exhausted.

I can even play football on my stilts

Son #2 on his new stilts.

Playing football.

Sigh ...

20 October 2008

place marker

I'm back from the most wonderful Craft Retreat at the best ever location. Details to come when all the photos are uploaded. Suffice to say I have got mah sewin' mojo baaack ...

In the meantime, a little housekeeping and linky love for you.

I have been the blushing recipient of three blog awards lately from a trio of amazing women. Thank you so much.

Some more goodness from the interwebs ...

... to make you laugh out loud,

make you weep delicious happy little tears,

or smile happily and nod along.

I was amused recently at the fact that by merely commenting on a blog I managed to be quoted in The Australian. Famous! For blogging!

And I know I'm repeating myself but I just love going back and listening to that gorgeous gorgonzola video. (Made just for me me me.) So here it is again for those who missed it.

Finally, I can't remember how I wandered into the mystical land where the hermitage lies, but I'm oh so glad I did. Because it led to a little mouse coming to live on my kitchen window sill ...

accordian playing mouse in an eggcup

He came all the way from the wilds of Scotland, accompanied by another little fellow who brought his own transport. Thank you Rima, I feel privileged to have these in my home.

button house for a button mouse

And now, back to domestica. How does one bathroom get so filthy? I was only gone two days.

15 October 2008

odd, sods, etc

read my palm

There's been another rainbow in the house this week. On the floor this time, rather than hiding in the crockery drawer.

House Swallow

A little House Swallow has built a mud nest under the eaves outside the laundry door. A mudbrick nest on a mudbrick house. How appropriate.

The birdlife is amazing around here. As I sit at the kitchen bench typing this, swallows, currawongs and bellbirds are swooping about in front of the windows making an unholy racket, and a large flock of bright primary coloured Eastern Rosellas (not the usual Crimson Rosellas we get all the time, nor the Swift Parrots) has swung in, trying to claim territory. Two kookaburras are laughing their heads off, safe in the knowledge that they are superior beings who just belong. No fighting necessary.

morning light

More golden sunrises.

Mum's lemon cake recipe

Because you asked for it - the lemon cake recipe, as given to me by Mum years ago (the tick means I've made it and approved, so safe to bake again). Note complete lack of instructions as to how to actually put the thing together. Thanks Mum.
Edit: lemon juice is the final ingredient in the icing. As someone pointed out, it looks as though there's more writing. There is, but it's a note to me from Mum, so I cropped the photo there.

verdant

Enjoying the green while it lasts. Soon it'll brown off with the coming hot weather.

Spring morn

Another early morning shot, taken from the kitchen window, just because.

cistus

Cistus (are doin' it for themselves.) I luv Annie Lennox.

I'm off to Craft Retreat this weekend with the usual crowd of crafty bloggers and talented women so I need to go and organise my patterns and supplies and plan a fabuloso Saturday night dessert.

Later, alligator[s].

12 October 2008

10 October 2008

grey to gold

I knitted a slipper this week (pattern from here) for Son #1 who is growing like a weed right now. His voice deepened over the past month too which simultaneously delights and saddens me. I think I'm in denial. I didn't sign up for teenagers, I just wanted babies. Where's my blonde blue eyed strange little toddler-boy? I'm sure he was around here only a year or so ago.

slipper

The slippers may be for the fourteen year old but that's my ankle, daringly bared on the blog. If anyone out there speaks Japanese/Chinese (see how ignorant I am?) and can tell me what my pyjama leg says, please enlighten me. Unless it says something like Gullible White Chick, in which case just lie and assure me it says May you sleep within the serenity of a thousand cherry blossom petals. Thanks.

rumpled

The light was beautiful this morning, streaming into the house and turning everything to gold.

Early morning light on the small change tin

Okay. Onto the second slipper.

6 October 2008

Mosaic Monday

knitting inspiration

Inspiration for when I don't feel like being sensible.

4 October 2008

long time coming

still warm

Seems I don't have much time for blogging, although there's lots going on here behind the scenes. The menfolk have gone off to see Melbourne Victory play Queensland Roar (or something like that) so I have a precious couple of hours to listen to Vivaldi and knit and see what you've all been up to.

another smocked dishcloth

And me, you ask? Well.

The children have been on school holidays for two weeks which led to me taking one week off work, and in the second week the mister and I juggled and tag-teamed the parenting. Thankfully it's been semester break at my book-learnin' place too, so apart from the first couple of days when I was writing a paper and the boys had to rediscover the joys of reading and playing Lego without parental intervention, I have had some time to do things with them (like go to the Show, or hang out by the river, or instruct them in the finer arts of vacuuming, or go rockclimbing).

nest

Sporadic, scattered knitting has taken place with more dishcloths, more green vest, more Haruha scarf, more Luminare socks and now god help me, a brown mohair shawl (hmm, not sure about that last one but I needed some chartless, mindless dvd knitting and so I cast it on. And hey, why did no one ever tell me shawls are quick and easy?)

Nigella's breakfast bars

I've become obsessed with baking two things. Nigella's Breakfast Bars (which I think I originally saw on Ali's blog but can't now find the link), and lemon cake. I have baked these two items every weekend for about the past seven weeks.

little acorns, metal and wool

Some fabulous books have been devoured. Dear BB, noting my recent penchant for historical fiction, put me onto Sandra Gulland's excellent trilogy about Josephine Bonaparte. I gobbled up the first two (note to self: put third one on hold). They are written as diary excerpts and letters and are chock full of tidbits, anecdotes and fabulous detail.

Prior to those I read Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love to see what all the fuss was about. A quick and entertaining read but it smacked of rich white spoilt woman too much to be truly enjoyable for me.

In the car ... oh and by the way, meet my newest love! It doesn't belch smoke, or shudder violently when stopped at traffic lights, all the door handles work and the radio doesn't mysteriously turn itself on when I go over bumps. Nor is it sixteen years old. It's all round good stuff.

reflections

Where was I? Oh yes, In my car. In my car, my new, blue, shiny, pretty car, I'm listening to more historical fiction.

I'm on a Philippa Gregory roll. I recently watched The Other Boleyn Girl (the movie, not the BBC improvised thingie) and thought it was so mediocre (except for the frocks which were very fetching and Eric Bana who was also rather fetching although swarthy which isn't usually my thing but hey he wore tights and a ruff) that, you know, I just ached for more. So I googled and discovered the general consensus that the book is better. What a surprise. And lo, my keyboard somehow put on hold every Philippa Gregory audio book it could find at the library and now I've listened to not only The Other Boleyn Girl (yes, heaps better than the movie) but am now onto The Virgin's Lover (about Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley) which gets a bit bodice-rippitty at times but is holding me in thrall. Next up is The Boleyn Inheritance and I am beginning to suspect that Ms Gregory is a bit of an English history nut.

wee birdhouse

I also listened to Joanne Harris' Chocolat which is truly madly deeply superior to the movie and was narrated by Alan Rickman's Truly Madly Deeply costar, the honey voiced Juliet Stevenson on whom I've had a crush ever since she and Mr Rickman sang When I'm Without Yoooouuuuu loudly and out of tune in her tumbly down full-of-dead-people London flat. Anyway, if you get a chance to read (or listen to) Chocolat I highly recommend it. Much darker and more poignant than the film and with a different but more satisfying ending. Interesting that the filmmakers chose to make the baddie the town mayor, rather than the priest as in the book. Hmm yes, funny, that.

And I will not let that segue into the frightening realm of American politics because if they win and he has a heart attack in the excitement of it all and she is in charge then I'm digging a great big hole in the backgarden and hiding for a few years. Or moving to Iceland with Bjork and the geysers.

altissimo

In other news, Altissimo is flowering which means it's Spring around here.