28 February 2010

the kindness of strangers (amongst other things)

It's been a mixture of gloom, trepidation and excitement around here this weekend. Gloom due to various things including the reality that the end of an era has been reached, trepidation due to uni resuming this week and the inevitable juggling and feelings of overwhelmedness that will bring, and excitement brought on by, happily, several things:

My upcoming birthday next week - restaurant recommendations please, Melbourne folk!

The beginning of a whole new era and all that entails;

Lots of sewing, knitting and spinning projects underway or completed recently;

and thrillingly, my first paid photography gig.

birds nest found in the garden

No, not photographs of birds nests made of twigs, dog hair and bits of dead rabbit. But this will have to do as I can't show you what I've been photographing. One day I'll be able to link to my photos on a website, but until then please enjoy this little example of fine craftmanship. Unbelievable how they weave and shape all that with a beak, isn't it?

Also, my god, take a look at this.

a little ruffle

Ignore the turkey neck and focus on that magnificent ruffled scarf; a gift from a blogreader, all the way from Italy. It's grey, it's handknitted, it's just what I wanted (selected from my Ravelry queue, no less), it's alpaca, it's unbelievably soft and beautiful, and boy is it generous. Thank you so much Gisella. It came at the perfect time.

( I should also mention that another gobsmackingly amazing gift arrived during the madness that is December, which remains unblogged thus far because I want to photograph it when I've had it framed. However I don't want to be remiss by neglecting to acknowledge it publicly. Thank you too Louise, very much, and I promise I will get it framed and blogged hung soon).

I shall leave you with this.

alien landscape

After I posted a picture of a sunrise from my kitchen window and declared it the first in my series for The Alice Project, the project founder herself opined that it was too photogenic and couldn't I choose something a little more pedestrian like a 1970s shopping mall? I couldn't bring myself to photograph our local shops on a regular basis but I did immediately think of this particular roof which I pass six times a week and have often considered snapping but not done so. Done.

23 February 2010

The week was bookended by birthdays.

Last weekend, the Valentine baby quietly and without fuss turned sixteen ...

sixteen candles

... followed five days later by the youngest child turning eleven and celebrating with a bowling party. We took nine boys to the local bowling alley for some fun with the pins, then brought them all back here for party pies, watermelon and birthday cake. The birthday boy pronounced it an 'excellent' day and the whole thing ended up far easier than I'd been imagining.

nine boys a-bowling

I had been stressed because two days of work immediately prior to the party had meant I'd done absolutely no preparation beyond sending out the invitations and booking two bowling lanes, but I rose at some ungodly hour on the day itself and managed to bake the cake, tidy the house and direct the laying out of all the food before the hordes arrived. (I did have to ice the cake after the first guests had turned up [early!] and totally botched the first batch, so under the watchful eye of a mother far more experienced in culinary matters than I, made a second batch and successfully smothered the cake with chocolate icing and then strawberries).

Oh. Here's a little tip if you find yourself stressing that you don't have enough time to finish everything: get some extra adrenalin into your system by ensuring that an enormous black spider leaps out of your towel and runs up your shoulder as you step from your morning shower. Works wonders at quickening the blood, believe me.

17 February 2010

The Rock

a doiley on a rock

Behold the Rock, which is now an inside doorstop.

But! Wrapped in a doiley a la Resurrection Fern's pebbles to stop it scratching the doors.

(It's not a pebble though, it's a bloody great rock that weighs a ton. Perhaps that's a symbol too).

If you should choose to cover your own rock with a doiley (and I know lots of you are rushing to your gardens and linen cupboards right now to source the perfect Rock and doiley), here is how to do it. Wrap the doiley tightly over the rock, turn over, cut the doiley to fit, walk the few paces it takes to reach your sewing kit and sew the ends together. This is important. Do not think, oh that tube of Superglue is much closer, I'll just use that instead, for this will lead to you glueing the Superglue tube to your right middle finger, the panicked spillage of impossible-to-remove drops of Superglue all over the kitchen bench due to the ensuing trauma over your finger, many tears, painful tugging and half a bottle of nail polish remover.

You have been warned.

Some answers:
The shoes are from Target at Greensborough Plaza.
The doorstop tutorial was found here. I didn't use a zip though, just sewed it all up.

ps. blogging is taking a back seat around here as it's Birthday Central at the moment. Also, I'm spinning spinning spinning most nights! I'm over at Flickr most days though. Just click on any photo on my blog and it will take you to my Flickrstream.

10 February 2010

a mixed bottle of catch up

1. Proof that my sewing machine still works.


On warm days we prop our front door open, usually with a rock. (Shut up, it's a lovely rock. It's rather a special rock actually, as I smuggled it home from Falls Creek last Easter when Mr Soup and I returned to the scene of our mountain home meeting twenty-three years ago, only this time with three offspring in tow. The Rock is a symbol. Oh yes).

Anyway, one night last week as the mister left for soccer training he said (rather hurtfully seeing as I am fond of The Rock) We have to get rid of this stupid rock. It's scratching the door and driving me crazy. When he returned an hour and a half later, not only had I made dinner, but had done some online research, rifled through my stash of Ikea furnishing fabrics, sewn a doorstop, stuffed it with rice (quick rethink regarding the risotto I had planned to make for aforementioned dinner but now could not), and put it in position by the front door. (ps. that's the doorstop there in the photo in case you were pondering).

I have never been so efficient in my life.

(The Rock is now an indoor doorstop where it continues to drive my husband crazy. Ha).

2. It's hot. Autumn, where aaaaaare you?

3. As I type, the eldest child is making Kool Aid and praising the Americans for their ingenuity. A drink! From coloured powder! (Teenagers have compromised taste buds).

4. The sunrises have been pretty this week.

summer sunrise

5. I have been thinking about Mary's and Alice's project of taking photos of a particular spot in their lives on a regular basis in different lights and seasons. I've been taking photos of our view for the past four years, and while I wanted to find a new spot to join in this project, the reality is that this is my favourite scene to photograph. (It's also the handiest). And so in 2010, I'm afraid once again you will be subjected to a whole slew of pictures of "Through my Kitchen Window". (As I typed that I turned around, noticed that the evening sky is particularly beautiful tonight, and took a photo. I'm back now. See what I mean by "handy"?)

Speaking of projects, I did join The Coffee Lady and Ali's flickr group The Changing Room and am having marvellous fun spying on what everyone wears, giving and receiving helpful feedback (well, theirs is helpful, mine tends to be OMG I love that skirt! and Where did you get that necklace? and I have major hair envy) and as a result being slightly more mindful of my wardrobe and making the most of what I already have. It also made me clean the bedroom mirror, so that was an added bonus. Then my boss took me window shopping at her favourite boutique and shoe shop in the city and I got all wanty again (we have a major bash coming up and she said we need something faaaabulous). Aarrghh.

6. We lit a candle and said a few words before dinner on Sunday night.

7. We had a new toilet installed through an initiative of our local water provider to subsidise the installation of dual flush loos in our region. Those of you who have multiple boy children will understand when I say that a fresh, new, modern and clean toilet in my house gives me great pleasure.

8. A reader of my blog astounded me with her generosity, and brought tears to my eyes this week. Thank you Gisella. Photos to come when the weather cools a bit.

9. I listened to Jane Eyre (narrated by Juliet Stevenson) on audiobook. Oh my word, the men in that book! I'd forgotten [spoiler alert] what harsh, unpleasant creatures they are. Yesterday I picked up two film versions of the story to watch while my own menfolk are at their interminable soccer training sessions. Also yesterday I finished reading Sarah Dunant's new book Sacred Hearts which I heartily recommend if you are into Renaissance Italy with particular focus on women in convents (you know you are). A ripping good story and I wish I could convince my bookgroup of the merits of historical fiction. Our bookgroup just read La Lacuna (by Barbara Kingsolver) with mixed feelings. Parts of the book dragged for me but overall I enjoyed it, and it prompted a re-viewing of that Salma Hayek film Frida with all its colour and glory, so that was a positive.

10. And in magpie news, I now have several brave birds who will take bread from my hand.

Ok then! We're all caught up.

(Tomorrow ... I shall show you The Rock. I know. You can't wait).

1 February 2010

Mosaic Monday : : handspun edition


Roving to singles to plied skeins.

The blues and the pinky oranges were spun into chunky bulky yarns, while the one on the bottom right was spun as finely as I could possibly manage and yielded a pleasing 375 metres (they were all from 100 gram bundles of roving). I have a similarly dyed braid of roving yet to be spun, and if it spins up to be close enough in tone, I can combine the two skeins and have a significant amount of my very own handspun yarn to play with. In other words, more than one sleeve or teacosy worth.

I foresee many enjoyable hours lost in the seductive web that is Ravelry, on the quest for the right pattern.

In other news, the children returned to school today after the summer holidays. They all pronounced it an "awesome" summer, yet all were happy to return to school and catch up with their tribes. Can someone tell me though, how on earth it came to pass that I have children in Years 10, 8 and 5?