Thursday, April 30, 2009

.... and now, back to normal

Dear Diary,

It's been seven days since my last confession, I mean, post. It's been busy, that's all I can offer.

In the intervening period I've done a number of things. I have:
  • worked like a demon
  • eaten my body weight in potato chips (salt & vinegar) and Lindt balls (cinnamon)
  • cut all my hair off
  • not slept enough
  • spent three days in Sydney
  • delivered an outstanding result at the office
  • forgotten to call the Sober Judge on his second birthday (ouch - BAD godmother!), and
  • failed to sew even HALF of what I need to for the Thornbury Market on Saturday.

But I'm pleased to say that from today, I think, normal service will be resumed.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I'm sew on hold ....

You really can tell how busy I am at work in any given period, without me actually saying so.

It's more what I don't say, in fact. It's the amount of blogging I don't do.

For example, this is only my second post this week since Saturday. And it correlates with a particularly busy period for me at work. I didn't even have time to take a photo of My Creative Space so that I could join in today!

I have a pretty good creative space at the moment, too. It's filled with all the projects I've got on hold until there's more time in my life next week. Sigh ....
  • There's an embroidered cushion I'm working on in dove grey and pink - part of a new range of text-based cushions (watch this space)
  • Some doorstops for the next Made N Thornbury market on May 2
  • A dinosaur for my godson
  • A headband for the Amateur Actress
  • A baby toy for my colleague who's expecting a little girl
  • A half-made bag in a Nicole Mallalieu pattern
  • Some doorsnakes, because winter's coming up

I can't wait to keep going on these projects next week ... my cup runneth over! I feel like I'm brimming with barely contained creativity.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I should have stayed in bed

It wasn't until I turned the corner, half a mile after leaving home this morning, that I realised I'd forgotten both my mobile phone and my blackberry.

Not just one of them, oh no, both of them. Both.

It was at this point that I should have turned back around, gone home, gotten under the quilt, and stayed there.

There was something in the air that did not bode well.

But I ignored that instinct, didn't I. Instead, I went back to collect the accoutrements of my trade, surprising the Amateur Actress as I walked in the door. They're essential though, there's no way I could have continued on without them. I had to go back.

And so then, with my electronic gadgetry in hand, I set off down the hill again, determined to continue my long (1.5 hours) morning walk to work. I only do this walk once or twice a week, and I already knew I was going to be frighteningly busy at work for the rest of the week - to wit, this is my first post since Saturday - so exercise in that kind of time-poor context becomes even more important.

And then, at ex-ACT-ly the same point, half a mile after leaving home, I realised that I'd also forgotten to put a bra in my backpack. I was wearing one, of course, a sports bra .... but no way could I spend the entire day in it at work, especially after a long and sweaty walk. Oh no.

I sighed - again. Turned around - again. Went home - again.

Podae was ecstatic to see me, his whole body quivered with delight as I came in the front door. I think he thought I was there to stay. And oh, if only that was true. But it wasn't.

I caught the train to Jolimont in the end, considering I'd lost all that time going up and down the bloody hill to pick up my forgotten things. And walking from Jolimont to the office took about 40 minutes, so that almost passes the test of being exercise. If I count the two trips up and down the hill, I can probably add another 10 or 15 minutes in there. Which is practically an hour. But certainly not the kind of exercise I'd originally planned!

So here I am at work (wearing my bra, and carrying around my phone and blackberry) and sure enough, it's been the kind of day that I knew, just knew from the start, would be better off spent in bed with a book.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ask, and ye shall receive

Okay peeps, you asked for it - here are some pictures of the Booty Dress. Don't say I didn't warn you!!

But first, here is a photo of me in my birthday suit .... as it were. Note all the straight lines! This is MUCH more my usual attire than the curvy curves of the booty dress you'll see below.

Please take particular note of my new bugundy knitted vesty thing, which my mum made me at my request, and which I absolutely LOVE.

It fits perfectly, it's the ideal trans-seasonal item for Melbourne, and the colour is beautiful. Here I've paired it with a simple white cotton top underneath, and a black patent belt to cinch it in at the waist.

I've also accessorised it with an amazing brooch The Headmistress made for me as a surprise birthday present.

Isn't it incredible?? She did this by HAND, people, by HAND. She has a precision of touch which I can only aspire to. Please zoom in on this photo and appreciate it in all its wonder. It has three different layers of purple, and gorgeous beads sewn in around the middle individually. If I'd tried to make this it would have turned out a bunched, unbalanced, uneven horror of a thing.

But now for the piece of resistance - the Booty Dress! Here is is in all its glory. I'm sticking out the booty, just for you.

And Grimth wanted to be a part of it as well....

And so did Podder. Honestly, you can't do a thing in this house without a cat coming over to investigate .....

Friday, April 17, 2009

Love Fridays ... and inner booty

It's that time of the week again .... time to Love Fridays. Today I Love Friday because I'm wearing a new dress, and it's totally unlike anything else that I own. I'm absolutely hooked on it. It's a Fashionable Friday post. Brace yourselves.

It. Is Tulip. Shaped.

Yes, you heard correctly. A tulip dress! The kind of dress that accentuates your booty! The kind of booty that I always try to cleverly disguise!

(I am giving you time to pause here, and recover your composure before reading on.)

AND, not only is this dress tulip-shaped, as if that weren't bad enough, the skirt is then actually also deliberately pulled in where it ends at the knee, by a wide cream stretchy jersey band. Which accentuates the already tulip-y tulip shape. Like the hobble skirts of olden days.

I NEVER wear tulip skirts or dresses. Or bubble skirts. Or puff skirts. Or tight jeans (or any jeans at all, for that matter). Or anything else that might draw attention to any part of my body that happens to exist below my waistline. Most of my clothes have straight lines: lines that SKIM the booty but do not enhance - let alone draw attention to - the booty. Minimise, more like.

I bought this dress from Ink as a sample. It's made from burnt orange jersey, with three-quarter sleeves and a close-fitting bodice that's edged in the same cream jersey as the hobble-band.

And there's a cream jersey sash that ties at the back, and the bow rests just at the small of my back, so the ends hang down and dangle tantalisingly around the booty area, which draws even more attention - if it were possible - to that vast tract of land.

I don't quite know what possessed me to buy it. I do love the colour, but normally I would recoil from something as overtly ... not sexy, per se, because it's got a high neckline and therefore satisfies the prim instinct that usually dominates my style; but this is something different. It's overtly ... curvy, is the best description.

So here I am, at work, in a bright orange clingy jersey booty dress.

It's my birthday tomorrow, see, and I am turning one of those ages that make you stop and think about life.

And you know what I think I decided when I saw this dress? I decided that it's time for a change. Time to highlight everything I usually try to hide. Time to own the flair and the flaws that make me who I quintessentially am. To recognise the booty inside of me ... the inner booty.

So I'm here to announce: I have booty, world! And if Beyonce can be proud of her ass-ets, then so can I!

And just to complete the picture, I have matched it with steel grey opaque tights, and terrifically polished grey patent leather t-bar wedges. I figure, if I'm going to draw attention with this outfit, I might as well totally rock it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The arch side of life

Ooo! Ooo-ooo-ooo, look at this!

I was just blog surfing, riding the wave, hanging ten, catching some rays ... (actually that's not true, I hate the sun and will do whatever I can to avoid it).

But I was mucking about on this wonderful thing called the interweb, because that can easily be done from a darkened room, and look what I found! Thankyou, fireflies blog, thank you.

The artist's name is Colette Colascione - isn't that a perfectly artistic name - and I think she is MAHvellous.

I love this kind of artwork. It's stylised, and highly intricate, and detailed, and it explores the covert and unspoken side of life that I love so much.

I don't know why I feel an affinity with the arch side of my personality, but I adore the dark side of the moon, to borrow Pink Floyd's immortal phrase. And this artist seems to express it so well.

I would love one of her paintings! Did I mention it was my birthday this weekend? (Some of them are admittedly a bit oo-er rude, there's one of a lovely lady and a giant scaly green lizard, so probably not that one thank you. But definitely this one here, I would have that one.)

The Sister Of My Heart and I were discussing succulents over the weekend, for example. I have one in the succulent garden which looks like little cubes balanced on top of each other. It's in the final moments before bursting into bloom, and it makes me shudder in a horribly spinal kind of way, because the flowers are all growing out on little stalks that look like fingers, and it reminds me of the film Pan's Labyrinth, and the bit where the monster has eyes on the end of each of his fingertips. Eeeeuuuw, it gives me the creeps in a really shivery and wonderful kind of way.

And we were discussing this weirdly gory remembrance of mine, and we decided that I need to make a line of toys which are a bit strange. I'm musing on this right now. What shall I make? And how shall it be odd?

I'll keep you posted ....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A whopper of an overheard mobile phone conversation

Apropos my post the other day about overheard mobile conversations, tonight the Amateur Actress heard this from a nearby passenger on the 86 tram she was riding home from the city.

"Hi can you pick me up at the station, and by the way can you try and ring John, he's left a suicide note and he's not answering his phone and I totally think he might be dead."


I can't even begin to express how I feel about that. And My One True Love can't believe I'm relaying it via my blog.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Earnest the Easter Wabbit

Hello everybody. My name is Earnest the Easter Wabbit.

I popped out of a giant sewing-machine shaped egg on Easter morning. I drank Russian Caravan tea from a porcelain cup before bounding off to hide for the Easter Egg hunt.

It didn't take long for someone to find me. I think my Japanese-designed linen outer gave me away. My Amy Butler gusset was completely hidden. Isn't gusset a lovely word? My creator loves that word. It smacks of old ladies and euphemisms.

But back to the task at hand. It could have been my spectacular ear that was spotted first. I dressed it in camouflage ribbons and laid it flat in the grass, but even the best-laid plans can come undone.

I'm very fond of my giant pom-pom tail. I like to waggle it when something particularly pleases me.

At full stretch I measure approximately 30 centimetres high. Let's not talk about my waist-to-hip ratio. Easter means chocolate, and lots of it, and that's all I'll say about that.

I have button eyes, I'm stuffed firmly with polyfil and I sit up all by myself. What a talented wabbit I am.

I deserve a burrow that's really special. If you let me come home with you I promise to nibble your ear and bring you chocolate carrots in the night, and whisper stories to you of faraway places ....

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The birth of the Bowling Pin Bunny

Ah, the fruits of today's labours. They look like they're enjoying hanging out together, too.

On the right is a new variation on the Hoot theme. This one's made from sublimely soft paisley flannelette, in this bright pink and yellow pattern. I think I got this fabric off eBay last year, and I made myself a pair of pajama pants out of it for winter. These are just the leftover scraps, and don't they work well as a Hoot?

The wings, ears and feet are made out of an old flannelette pillowcase I found on that great anniversary weekend to Mildura - my, that was a productive weekend!

On the left is a new creature, made freehand today out of a few scraps I've had for a while. The warm furry bottom half is really textural and lovely, like a soft chenille robe. It's a colour my mother has always called Elephant's Breath.

The top half is a gorgeous pale pink Warwick upholstery fabric - again, it's got a lovely texture. The ears are backed in the same fabric but lined at the front with a Liberty print in chocolate and pink.

I stuffed him with cotton wadding, so he's really firm and good to hold. He'd be a good toy for a really little kid, because there's nothing on him that could be a choking hazard - his eyes and mouth are embroidered - and he's just the right size to grab with one hand.

I freely admit he looks a bit like a bowling pin with ears, but I think he's pretty cute regardless! I'm going to call him the Bowling Pin Bunny.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday? It's been a GREAT Friday!

As the black orpington came towards him, the Miniature Genius quavered with studied delight. Not having seen a chicken before, this was quite something. There were fraggle chickens, and white chickens, and bantam chickens, and ducks, and golden cockerels ... so many chickens! In one only place!

He started bokking quietly. Bok! Bok! Ba-gok!

The Miniature Genius does a pretty good chicken impression, I have to say. He can also do Rawr, for the tiger and the lion we saw yesterday at the Melbourne Zoo, and he can say Giraffe, but as they don't make any noise he can't do an impression.

But my goodness, how quickly he's learning new words at the moment. He's on the cusp of turning two, but his vocabulary is extensive. I know three-year-olds who can only say "bacon", and only under intense pressure. This one, though, will repeat just about anything you say. Except my name of course, which has four syllables and is an understandable mouthful.

That's part of the reason we call him the Miniature Genius, though he's also such a serious and considered child that I'm thinking of changing it to the Sober Judge.

Anyway, the visit to the Collingwood Children's Farm was a rip-roaring success, and was probably pipped only by the meerkats at the Zoo yesterday. It's been quite a busy weekend.

The Sister Of My Heart and I have celebrated this rare opportunity to spend so much continuous time with each. Each afternoon at 430, we've toasted the event with a champagne cocktail while the Sober Judge sleeps. Delightful!

Take one champagne flute. Add two centimetres of Chambord, beautiful black raspberry liquer. Pour champagne to the top. Sit back and enjoy.

It's a perfect recipe.

While I'm loving them both being here, the pussins in the house are not quite sure. Fatpuss disappeared under the bed at the first sound of the Sober Judge's dulcet tones, and we think he may have built a fortress under there. The positive side effect is that he's not eating while he's under the bed, so his diet is going quite well at present. I think Fatpuss was scarred by a small child a couple of years ago, when a two-year-old called Gideon spent three hours running up and down the corridor squealing at the Fatpuss. He's never quite recovered.

Grimth is slightly unsure about this small and unpredictable creature now roaming the house. He slinks up curiously, and then turns tail and runs at the slightest movement.

Podae though? He's all smiles and waggy tail, and thank goodness for that. Because without at least one cat to pat, the Sober Judge would be quite upset!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I choo-choo-choose the chocolate egg train

In Sydney yesterday, I finally realised that Easter is just around the corner.

And check out this gold Lindt bunny I saw yesterday near the office - I'm lucky (or unlucky, depending on your perspective ) to be located quite nearby a Lindt chocolate cafe, and this guy was flanked by lots of people handing out lovely little Lindt eggs, of which I ate far too many.

And see how big he is? That is a real live person in the background on the right. That's how big he is. He's a whopper. A big, gold, chocolatey whopper. Actually I think he's inflated with air, not whipped chocolate mousse, but we can dream, can't we?

There are a couple of reasons I love Easter, I think.

I'm not religious though, and I don't especially love chocolate above all things in the way that many women do (and My One True Love too, he eats more chocolate than any woman I've ever known).

But first - and foremost, I think - my birthday falls in April, and so as a child Easter always meant my birthday was just around the corner. And that was definitely something to be excited about. Birthdays! They're the only day that truly belongs to you. Even if the Easter holidays did often mean there was no one around to come to a party, so I hardly ever had a party on my birthday.

And secondly, Easter did mean chocolate as a child, and there was not a lot of chocolate or even non-specific sweet activity in my household when I was growing up.

This was undoubtedly a good thing, as I'm sure that if I'd been let loose on sweet things I'd have, shall we say, indulged my sweet tooth perhaps more than was healthy for me. But it did also have the short-term effect that whenever I had pocket money I would try to spend it on sweets, and I'm sure I developed a very unhealthy obsession with sugar for a while there until I learnt how to self-regulate.

But what I loved THE MOST about Easter was the egg train. Do you remember the egg train?

It was a cardboard train, just bought from the local supermarket I'm sure, that had individually foil-wrapped eggs in each passenger seat. And every egg was a bright colour, and we all know how much I adore bright colours. I know when Trinny and Susannah were out last week they deplored the lack of colour in Australian wardrobes, and I also know that if they'd had the pleasure to meet me, they could never have accused me of that crime.

I loved the egg train. I looked forward to it every year. I would measure out the eggs by day - slowly unwrapping the foil and smoothing it out until every last wrinkle in the rectangle was ironed out. And the way the foil smelt of chocolate! Coloured chocolate foil, that's what I'm talking about. The chocolate was important, but certainly, it was secondary too, to the glorious foil.

I loved the train for years, until finally it was surpassed by a Red Tulip egg I received when I was .... well, I must have been younger than eleven. That's how old I was when the Sister Of My Heart moved to Sydney, and I know that I used the Red Tulip packaging as a money box to save my Show money into, and that I took it with me when we went to the Show together the year that I was given it. So perhaps we were even in primary school.

I loved the yearly Show, with its showbags and animals and carnival rides, and the ghost train, and that Show (the one with the Red Tulip package as pseudo moneybox) was where the Sister Of My Heart introduced me to the phrase "shout", as in "I'll shout you a ride", which she duly did.

But the Show is another post entirely, let me not get carried away down the sideshow alleys of my memory.

This post is about coloured chocolate foil, and the fact that I'm now trying to find a cardboard train for my godson the Miniature Genius, who's coming to visit me in the arms of his mother, the Sister of My Heart, for the entire Easter break. Five whole unadulterated days of Easter holiday with them both - I can't wait!

So I must, must find the train for him. I want the train. I need the train for him. I choo-choo-choose it, to misquote the Simpsons. The train is an essential part of what Easter is all about. Where o where can I find a chocolate train??!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Up in the phone-free air

Unexpectedly in Sydney today, for reasons not anticipated on Friday when I last left work, but it's all good.

I caught the plane this morning with two people who were either serious drug dealers, or porn merchants, or possibly both. They looked like human lizards, complete with leathery skin, thin necks and reptilian eyes. BIG sunglasses, leopard print shirts - and these were men - and Louis Vuitton pocketbooks being hugged very, very closely. Way too much tanning time on the sunbeds. And the older one, who was white-haired and widely-paunched, was wearing a cream Panama hat with a black ribbon trim. Eeeeuw.

And then nearby in another seat was William H Macy .... or at least, someone who looked very much like him. I wanted to go up to him and shout adoring things at his wrinkly dried apricot face, but I reasoned that William H Macy would not be catching an early-morning Virgin flight from Melbourne to Sydney, and certainly not in economy class.

So I settled back instead, and read the Financial Review.

I quite like plane trips. When going on holiday, I look forward to the plane trip as much as the destination itself.

Plane trips are free time rides. That is, all phones are off, blackberries are off too, no one can email or ring me. It's me-time, of the best sort. All I need to do is sit back, read my paper, perhaps have a little snooze, do some meditation, daydream .... there's no work to be done and no work that can be done.

It's bliss. I dread the day they introduce phones on planes. I keep hearing rumours that they're running trials to see how it goes. And I cringe, thinking about it.

It's bad enough hearing all the details of someone's love life, or boyfriend issues, or work challenges, or any other of the myriad details - all of them banal - that you hear on public transport and in the shops at home.

It's quite another to have to Sit There In Your Seat, unable to escape in any way, while those details pollute the relative calm of the air around you. I shudder just thinking about it.

You never hear anything good when you're forced to hear a stranger's conversation. It's never salacious gossip, or important news, or some witty commentary on the fashion trends sweeping the inner-city tribes of London or the amethyst shade that's destined to become this season's new black.

Oh no, all you get is "I'm on the train/bus/ferry ... I'll be five minutes late .... and then she said .... shall we have fish or sausages for dinner" ...... BORING!!

God forbid the introduction of mobile phones on planes. I'll have to start carrying a parachute to deal with it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My TIDY creative space

Okay, so Kootoyoo's My Creative Space meme has finally caused me to tidy up the horrible mess of a dining table which masquerades as my creative space. Thank you, Kootoyoo, I owe you one.

And look at this! Here is a lovely neat photo to show you as a result.

This is what's currently on my creative space. Amy Butler's (relatively) new In Stitches book, which is filled with lots of lovely projects. AND it includes pattern sheets in a little envelope at the front.

I bought this on the weekend ... I've been thinking it over for a while, and then of course I was possessed by an impulse and just bought it.

Of course, I'm never going to make some of the things in it ... like an incredibly complicated quilt, or a bed valance (I mean, really)... but there are others, like the cushions and the napkins and the placemats, that look really fun.

The book is lying on top of my new Cocoa Sugar Snap fabric by Melissa Averinos. Did I tell you she wrote me a comment on Monday night? I'm still quivering with shock and awe, but at least I've stopped hyperventilating.

I think I might use some of this lovely fabric to make one of my Perfect Picnic Rolls. It's just the loveliest, brightest fabric - the way the fuschia and tangerine colours pop is just beautiful. I think it would be the ideal picnic accessory.

And then over on the left of the photo is a small saucer of buttons. I got a button kit from Etsy recently and it's been great fun to use up my fabric scraps on lovely little buttons! Now I can coordinate the eyes of my various creatures with the fabric they're made out of.

Back to sewing tonight then! I have the Shirt and Skirt market coming up in late April, but before that I've got a cushion to finish, two Hoots to make, an Ellyfump, and a dinosaur as well....

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Seventeen courses of feast ... and famine

So the Fatpuss had a weigh-in at the vet last night.

After the kicking and screaming stopped - he does so love the vet - we plonked him on the scales, and guess what?

He is right on target! He's meant to lose 70 grams a week, and that's exactly what he's done.

It hasn't been easy. He starved himself for the first week, clearly reasoning that if he just stuck it out, eventually we'd give in and go back to feeding him. He mourned, and smooched, and flirted, and stomped off in a fury. He tried everything.

But ha, it didn't work. It may have killed me to watch him, knowing how desperate he was, but I held my resolve.

And around Day 8, the penny finally dropped, and he started eating the new diet chompies.

Podder is quite pleased with the diet chompies as well, so he's tucking into them regularly. But the Grimth ... now that's a different story.

He doesn't like chompies, so he won't eat them. Which means he doesn't eat a thing during the time we're at work, he hangs out for dinner time when we get home. At which point he virtually inhales his food, and then seconds later, sicks it back up again because he's shocked his poor hungry tummy.

We had about 10 days of this. Gorging and vomiting, gorging and vomiting.There was a very bulimic tinge about the house during those days. He began losing weight, because he couldn't keep any nutrition down. And this was meant to be the diet for the Fathead, not the baby!

So now we've managed to train him. He gets a ten-cent-piece sized blob of food to begin with, and he has to wait ten minutes before he gets another one. And so on, until about an hour and a half later, he's finally eaten (and kept down) a reasonable amount.

He's not happy about it. He's taken up residence on a dining chair, and he perches there scowling at me until I rattle the food container. If only he'd eat the chompies!

So we've got one cat who wants to eat ALL day but is only allowed to eat twice a day. And one cat who only wants to eat TWICE a day, but has to be given it in a seventeen course meal.

Cripes! The effort I go to for the furry babies. Thank goodness the Podder is easily pleased.