Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Driving home from Kew in the car, I realised I've just about missed the big Sew Mama Sew giveaway! How on earth did I let that happen?? I feel as though I've almost caught it by its coat-tails ... but it's just slipped out of my grasp.
I think it's because My One True Love and I are going to Coffs Harbour at the end of this week, and it's all I can think about. Can't wait to be on holiday for a bit!
So now I'm off to cruise some blogs and have a stickybeak at what Other People are giving away.....
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
It's Tuesday and I can't wait to ... finish this bizarre upholstery job that I'm doing at the moment!
The story goes back a few months, to even before Christmas. It was at one of my stalls at the Shirt and Skirt Market at the Abbotsford Convent.
A lovely lady and her husband came up to me and looked at all the things on my stall, and then asked if I could re-cover the seats of her stools. I thought about it for a minute (I have re-covered exactly ONE, count it, ONE drop-in seat in my entire life) and then I figured you know what? I can probably do that. And hell, if I see the things and decide I can't, then no harm done.
So I passed over a business card with all my details and forgot about it.
Cue the phonecall then, about seven months later. What a surprise! Of course I immediately remembered them, they were a lovely friendly couple, and admittedly it was pretty easy to remember ... even with my memory, which is like a sponge. Not because it soaks everything up, mind you, but because it's full of holes. I'm a bit like Homer Simpson - every time I learn a new thing, it pushes an old thing out. I have recall of about five seconds on a good day. See, even just writing that, I forgot that the point I was trying to get to was that it was easy to remember them because I have only ever had one single enquiry about upholstery, and it was theirs. (phew, got there in the end.)
So anyway, we arranged a time to meet. They'd bought the fabric and when I arrived at their house, she showed me the stools.
Two were easy - the two on the left of the photo, I knew I could do that. Straight lines, easy! I've wrapped enough presents in my life to be able to cover straight-edged chairs. And sure enough, they turned out well. Isn't the fabric lovely? It's a Warwick upholstery, in gorgeous tones of plum and antique gold.
The other two though, the round ones .... I wasn't so sure about them. ESPECIALLY when she showed me the fabric, which - although it's another Warwick product - is less a fabric and more a tricky vinyl-type thing. So seats, curved. In a vinyl, which doesn't stretch and isn't easy to get to curve as a result. If it was ordinary fabric I'd simply have cut the material on the bias and everything would have been hunky-dory.
So we talked it over and agreed that I'd do the two easy ones, and if the circular ones were beyond me, I'd just bring them back and she'd find someone else (someone with experience and skill in the area!) to do them. She was a really gorgeous client in that concern - respecting my limitations and very understanding.
As I was loading everything into the car she called out "You can do it! I have faith in you!".
And what do you know? It turns out she was right!! Isn't it great when a client has more faith in your abilities than you have in yourself?
So this is my first formal, commissioned and completed upholstery job. It's not my talent, it's not my style, but boy am I pleased with the results.
Now, just two tiny cushions to go (out of the plum and gold fabric) and I'm done. Consider it another professional mountain climbed!!
And now pop on over to Lou at ButtonsByLouLou and see what everyone else can't wait to do with their Tuesday.....
Monday, May 25, 2009
Ah, it's pouring down rain tonight here in Melbourne - at last! I am very happy about this. The pussins are not.
I love the sound of the rain on the roof. I love the way it makes the ground smell good, and I love the way it helps my garden perk up after weeks and weeks and weeks of dry, dusty weather.
The pussins do not love the rain though. None of them.
Podder hates the slightest bit of damp - he won't even walk on the grass after I've done the watering. He consciously and deliberately objects to the rain.
The other two however .... they're a bit different.
Fatpuss is the funniest. He's got such fat, thick fur that he usually doesn't feel the rain for some time, especially if it's a light dusting. He will sit outside with the rain gently falling on him for hours, and then finally, when the water starts to penetrate his fur and touch his skin after what seems like an age, reality dawns upon him.
It's quite amusing to watch. One minute he's there in the garden, checking things out, snapping at cabbage moths, examining the dirt .... and the next minute his eyes are as wide as saucers as he realises what's happening. You can see it in his face as he recoils in horror:
"oh my GOD! I am WET! It's WET out here! Its - it's RAINING ON ME!!!!!!!!!"
And then he'll dash for the back door and miaow like someone's holding him down and threatening to withdraw his food supply, until one of us lets him in.
The Grimthlet too, he's a different kettle of fish. He knows it's raining on him, but he engages in a silent battle of wills with the weather, steadfastly stoic in the belief that he can stop the rain through sheer mental effort ... that, or outlast it, at least.
Of course this never works. But he'll sit out there resolutely, frowning crossly and willing the rain to stop, certain that he's going to win this one through sheer stubbornness and obstinacy, despite all evidence to the contrary.
And then we have one cranky puss on our hands.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
It's been a big day for Fatpuss - all day long he's been pacing backwards and forwards around the house, miaowing loudly and with great vigour.
He's been looking forward to drawing the giveaway for ages ... every night for the past week, before I've tucked him into bed he's been asking if it's time for him to pick the winner. And I've answered Not yet, Fathead, not yet. Soon though, it will be time.
And here we are now on the giveaway day! He woke up in a great state this morning and required more than the usual amount of chompies, to fortify himself for the important task ahead.
I had to brush his fur especially well, as he knew he'd be appearing on camera again. He smoothed his whiskers down, and washed his paws, and put on his best collar, and then finally - at last - we were ready.
The Amateur Actress stood over him, with fifty-three entries in her hands. She threw them up into the air and they fluttered down around us like the ten thousand autumn leaves that fell onto my front path today a millisecond after I spent an hour sweeping up the original ones. (Sigh.)
Fathead fixed one with a steely gaze, shot out his paw as quick as lightning, and stomped it onto the ground. Then stood there, purring, terribly pleased with himself. And then he licked it.
Without further ado, the winner of the amazing, astounding, astonishing SURPRISE giveaway is ..... "thereisabuttonmissing" !!! Fatpuss sends his love and congratulations to you.
And if you could send me your address, your super-surprise box will be in the mail without further ado. Hurrah!!
(Afterwards, Fatpuss was so pleased with his sterling efforts that he went upside down in bliss.)
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
The Castle Bag poem (see post below) for the Sister Of My Heart isn't the only Spencer and Rutherford poem we've written each other.
There was a period of time there where we wrote SMS poetry to each other about our various bags we were using that day, and things like that. I do love an ongoing interaction, one that gets richer with every shared exchange.
And that's why I was so delighted when some time ago, more than two years after I first wrote the Castle Bag poem, a NEW stanza turned up in my inbox! It was on the eve of the Sister Of My Heart going out to the ballet one night (you'll understand). It's taken me some time to find it, as I never delete any of her emails and that means there are a LOT of them to search through.
So without further ado, this is the second half of the poem that I will be entering into the Spencer and Rutherford bag competition, on our behalf, along with the full story of the Castle Bag and the depth and succour of our friendship:
O Castle Bag
O Castle Bag
I'll take you to the ballet
Can marvel at
Your atmospheric chalet!
As the Sister Of My Heart so eloquently put it: "I'm sure the chances of either of us winning are synergistically boosted by several orders of magnitude if it's presented as an ongoing interaction rather than a one-off piece of creative genius."
And thus they shall, as they were always intended to be.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
The wonderful crew at Spencer and Rutherford are having a competition of their own!
If you don't know who they are, Spencer and Rutherford are the makers of AMAZING and ADORABLE handbags. I have a collection of them, and I take the opportunity to give them to friends when I can, because they're incredible. They always make you stand out from the crowd.
Take this bag here, for example. How astonishing is that?
It's a really large tote, and I gave it to the Sister Of My Heart as a present a couple of years ago. It's big enough to fit all her sheet music in (she plays the piano a lot and does lots of amateur musical productions) and it's stunning to boot.
At the time, I wrote a poem about the bag and popped it inside as part of the present. And it's this poem which I'm going to enter in the Spencer and Rutherford competition.
To take part, you have to go to their Facebook page and write on the wall, telling them which bag is your favourite and why. And then you're in the running to win a lovely beaded "Twiggy" evening bag, worth over $450 ... in these exact same colours! Ah, it's true serendipity. Wish me luck!
Castle Bag, o Castle Bag, how wondrous is your sight,
Castle Bag, o Castle Bag, I'll cling to you so tight.
I'll take you out in sunny days, I'll take you out in rain,
I'll take you to my musicals, and you shall hear my playing.
Your gothic towers black and bold, your clouds so fair and pale,
Your silv'ry shining moon and stars - you're like a fairy tale.
Castle Bag, o Castle Bag, how happy I shall be
When on my hearth you cast yourself, and come to live with me!
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Ah ...... coming back home to Melbourne is always such a joy.
Nothing beats seeing My One True Love again after a few days in absentia - absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
And I'm always overjoyed to see the furry babies too; I miss their furry faces when I'm away. There's something very special about the welcoming smooch from a puss that hasn't seen you for a little while.
Along with all the other loot I brought home from Sydney, I also carried this beautiful glass jar, all wrapped up safely in six metres of cream polar fleece which I took onto the plane with me as carry-on (don't ask, even the flight attendants thought I was peculiar, and one exceptional wit [well, certainly a "-wit" of some kind] asked if I had brought my own parachute. I say: no one who works for Qantas is really in a position to joke about things like that since the oxygen-bottle-blowing-a-hole-in-the-side-of-their-plane incident last year).
But I digress. Mountaingirl gave me this gorgeous apothecary jar as a present for my birthday last month, and I think it's wonderful.
Doesn't it look absolutely spectacular all filled up with my orange ribbons? It's sitting on an orange patterned silk scarf that I use as a tablecloth for one of my side tables in the sitting room.
I keep all my ribbons colour-coded and in separate ziplock bags so they're easy to find. Mountaingirl though is slowly weaning me off the awful plastic and onto these divine glass jars, which look like the sort of thing you'd find in a fantastical lollyshop, or a dusty old chemist.
I love them, and my ribbons look SO much better when displayed properly. Thank you Mountaingirl!
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Fatpuss is absolutely beside himself with pride. He is taking all the credit , that greedy puss, for being the one who *really* inspired you all to take part, and he would like to thank everyone for the nice compliments about him and his magnificent haunches. That cat's got booty, he truly does. He is without doubt a truly marvellous animal and is pleased you all recognise it too.
There's been nearly three days break in transmission, which is primarily due to my having flown to Sydney for a girls' weekend with the Sister Of My Heart and Mountaingirl, who live (conveniently) very close to each other.
And what have I made them do while we've been having this girl's weekend? I've made them go to fabric shops, naturally, even though neither of them are the crafty type. They're good friends, these gals. They have the kind of patience I wish I were able to develop.
Want to see what I bought? I had to come all the way to Sydney to get it, but LOOK and BEHOLD - my magnificent new corduroy collection.
(I just need to say something first: Penrith Lincraft, you suck. Apart from your one nice boy at the service counter, you suck big time. You need to know this.)
But Penrith Spotlight, you totally rock!! If anyone out there is in need of a wide range of corduroy I cannot recommend this store enough. I've never known a Spotlight like it. The lovely Jo who served me actually knew about fabric, and showed an interest in what I was buying, and even managed not to fall over with hilarity when I asked if she could whisper the total price to me so I didn't faint. (It was $362, if you're wondering. See? Now you understand why I needed it to be whispered.)
And I got this lovely variety of 30's inspired cotton as well, which I just love.
Of course, it's completely the wrong kind of weather to be sewing it up - I think I'm going to make it into clothes - but it was one of those moments where I knew I wasn't going to be back here for a little while, and I had to weigh up the possibility of not buying it and never finding it again, against the overweight baggage fee and the near-impossible chance of sneaking it into the house unseen by My One True Love.
It was a mighty internal struggle and I dithered for .... oh, at least fifteen seconds.
In the end there was really no question. Reader, I bought it.
And then I bought these two pieces as well. Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, eh?
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Could this be ... a giveaway box?
Why yes, I believe it IS! It is a giveaway box!!
Thank you Fatpuss, for helping to illustrate how fantastic the surprise box is for the giveaway. Isn't he lovely, ladies and gentlemen? The inside of that box is clearly very captivating.
Today's super-duper incredible giveaway marks my one-hundred-and-oneth post. And it's because of you, lovely readers, that I have gotten this far. So the giveaway is my thank you to YOU for your support and encouragement, and for all of your fabulous crafty comments which I love to read.
As to what goes IN the mystery box ... well, you'll have to wait and see. But let me think ... hmm, I think it'll have to work the "hundred and one" theme.
So, it could be any one of the following things, for example .... how to choose, how to choose ....
- a hundred and one very small dalmations
- a jar of hundreds and thousands
- a hundred and one buttons
- a hundred-and-one year old granny to knit you 101 granny squares
- notes to my Philosophy 101 class from university
- a hundred and one secret recipes
There are two ways you can enter this amazingly fantastic giveaway (and who doesn't need a hundred and one new dalmations in their life, honestly??!)
1. If you're an occasional reader or lurker, all you have to do to enter is join up as a new Follower. Simple! I have plans for world domination, you know, and I'm sure I will only manage to get there with a hefty dose of your support, spirit and enthusiasm.
2. And if you're already one of my immensely talented and wonderful followers - and I treasure and adore you if you are - you can also enter by leaving a comment on this post, or blogging about the giveaway yourself and linking back here (and letting me know via the comments section).
And that's it - enter in one of those two ways, and straightaway you're in the running to win a whole pile of wonderful. How easy is that!
The winner will be chosen at random on Saturday 23 May, by a panel of eminently experienced and impartial judges. Okay, they're the furry babies. But you couldn't ask for a more honest judge than one who works for chompies alone, even if they *are* diet ones - right Fatpuss?
Hurrah! I love surprises, don't you?
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
And so without further ado, here is my list of Awe-Summm'ness:
1. I have a nice smile. This comes from being a country girl, where you get to practice your smile because smiling is a natural part of life and not some odd character trait that marks you out as either completely naive or strange and to be avoided, like it is here in the city. Smiling here in the city often gets me into trouble.
2. I live my life in colours. Both literally and metaphorically. Be it clothes or risk-taking, I am a go-get-em girl who often acts impulsively without thinking about the cost (again, either literal or metaphorical). This can often get me into trouble.
3. I (like to think that I) have integrity. Can one have quite elastic morals without losing one's integrity? I believe so. Integrity is as much truth to oneself as it is to others.
5. I am an iron fist wrapped in a velvet glove. Sometimes first impressions can be misleading. To the outside world I can appear a sweet, lovely person. But I have an icy core inside me that comes to the fore when needed. Rarely, but when I need to, I can get really, really intensely angry at people without raising my voice one iota. It strikes fear into the hearts of men - and totally works.
6. I will eat just about anything. I've tried some weird food in my time, which comes from having lived overseas for a while in the Middle East, and also links back to the no-fear and life-in-colours aspect of me. One of the best things about travelling is trying all the strange cuisine where you have no idea what you're actually eating. There was this squid and kidney dish in China that just about made me throw up in the restaurant ....
And now I would like to pass on this Awe-summm award to the following seven bloggers who rock my world on a regular basis.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
It's a cot quilt (or swaddle, or receiving blanket, or lap quilt, or whatever else you might like to call it) for a colleague at work who's shortly expecting a little girl.
I've made it out of a combination of fabrics - some vintage, some new - and the aim was for it to not be too "girly". So I filled it up with bright colours, but not a lot of pink.
I'm with the mother on this one - if there's one thing in the world I can't abide (and okay, there are many things in fact) it's the Disney pink that little girls seem to be awash in from birth until about the age of nine.
What is it with that fricking colour? Honestly, there are so many other, better colours out there!
So here is my new quilt, in the colours of the rainbow and tied up with a lovely cerulean blue satin ribbon. I put fleece inside as the filler, rather than quilt wadding, and I finished it off with a red pinwale corduroy on the reverse side. I hope she likes it!
And I've made these two little guys in recent days as well.
The pink one with orange eyes is my Hepatitis Hoot. I think he looks a bit under the weather - which is appropriate, given that I made him while I've been sick for the last week.
The yellow one is Chirpy Hoot, because he's yellow like a hen.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Look at my creative space. Just look at it!
Oh, I know it's cute (very, very cute in fact) but it is also bloody frustrating at times! See what he's cuddled up on? That would be my corduroy. My black corduroy. That I was trying to make a new Catticus with. Which he came up and sat on. And then stretched out on. And then went to sleep on.
Gah. Save me from furry babies spreading their lovely fur all over my lovely corduroy.
I couldn't move him though, could I ...
So it's just as well I'm a snot factory today and can't contemplate trying to do anything that involves sharp implements or needles of any kind.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
This is the quilt under which I have spent most of the morning, coughing piteously.
It is the quilt under which I intend to spend most of the afternoon, too.
(Clearly I have not taken this quilt to work and am in fact at home again today. I've still got the sick, though I feel as though I'm improving ever so slightly now, which is nice - and a relief. But wouldn't it be nice if we could take quilts to work on the days we felt we needed some cosseting?)
This was the first quilt I ever made, last year. And because of that, I will always keep it and never sell it at a market. Perhaps one day I will be able to hand it down to someone. Maybe in years to come someone will say lovingly, ah yes, that's the quilt my Flickettysplits made, and it's all the more special for it. (I can dream...)
My Crafternoon friend, the Quilting Queen, inspired me to it. The Quilting Queen is amazing, she knows quilts like no one else. She is currently doing one that has over FIVE THOUSAND PIECES. Sheesh.
I, on the other hand, have no such talent in this area. So when I decided I was going to make a quilt, I knew it would have to be an easy one.
So I ordered a bunch of Michael Miller and Moda fat quarters, and printed out the free Amy Butler Lotus Brick Path Quilt Pattern, and set to work with my rotary cutter.
I confess it took me months. I measured, and cut, and stitched, and ironed all the seams in the same direction, and swore at the bloody fleece I used as the wadding as it moved around when I was trying to pin it in place on the backing, and I broke needles, and stitched in all the annoying wriggly ditches .... but eventually, it was done.
I haven't "quilted" it properly all over - just the stitching in the ditches - but it doesn't matter. I love it anyway.
So now I'm going to snuggle back down underneath it.
(PS, I forgot to mention - probably because my head is stuffed full of cotton - that I'm coming up to my 101-th post. Yay! So I'm going to have a giveaway. Am currently thinking about what that might be .....)
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
I ask because I've got it. I've got the sick. If I were writing this phonetically it would sound like this:
"I've godd de sick. By throad is all swoahden up an dit's hard to swaddow. I hab a fad tongue! Id feels like subwund pud a razor inside by deck and scraybed id ub and down. "
So no work today.
Instead, I'm joining in with Tinniegirl's week of Loot, Glorious Loot, and today I'm showing off the marvellous buttons I got at Camberwell market on the weekend (where I also got the spectacular blood box. Oh how I love you, my beautiful blood box.)
These buttons are fabulous, they're all bigger than a 20cent piece - which makes them the perfect size for eyes on my soft toys. And what amazing colours! Have I mentioned lately how much I love colours? Colourful buttons rock.
Looking closely, you'll see two tiny black ones at the front with diamantes in the centre. They remind me of diamonds set in jet, one of my favourite jewellery settings. These two lovelies came from CravingsFrocks at the Thornubury market on Saturday. They're beautiful, and they're my favourite.
See also the benzoic acid apothecary jar I mentioned a couple of posts back? I love this jar too.
Right now though, it's time to go back to bed.
As a parting gesture, here is a photo of Grimth the devil cat enjoying my blood box as well.
See, it has a very broad appeal - not just to me and my weird obsession.
Monday, May 4, 2009
I'm going to line it with pretty paper and use it to store my silks in. Who else do you know will use a human blood carrying case to keep their pretty things in?!
I bet the previous post surprised some of you. It's a lesser-known facet of my personality ... but for some of you who know me well, it won't have come as a surprise at all to see the arch side of my soul emerging for just a moment.
But time now to leave my fascination with medical objects to one side. I will return to it, I'm sure, but right now I need to show you the beautiful things I bought at the Made N Thornbury market from Saturday. You can check out the wrap-up from the day over at Curlypops, she has done a wonderful job of capturing the event!
I have a rule when it comes to markets, and it's this: NO BUYING ANYTHING BEFORE LUNCHTIME. It seems to work ... that way I get to do the rounds of all my lovely neighbour stallholders, and I can spend some time ruminating about all the gorgeous items I'd love to purchase.
I was *very* restrained this time around. I desperately wanted one of the mini totes from Pepperberry & Co, but My One True Love and I are trying to enforce the New Frugality (it's an epoch, believe me), and I knew what he'd say if I came home with yet another gorgeous bag.
So I limited myself to a selection of mini beauties from ButtonsbyLouLou ... (because they're tiny and I knew I could bring them home without them being noticed). Also, my new short crop demands pretty hair ornaments. World of small clips and bobbypins, here I come.
I think my favourite is the badge at the very top. It's so fresh and bright and feminine - the perfect thing to wear to the office on a miserable Melbourne day when everyone else is coccooned in their safety layers of black. Not me, though! Colour ahoy!
Today for example, I am wearing a skirt and top made from a silk cotton I bought in Beijing on holiday a few years ago. It has a yellow base, with blue and red houndstooth print. The skirt is A-line and has a centre pleat with yellow button highlights.
I've teamed it with a cream top underneath, a blue bauble necklace, and low blue heels in exactly the same shade.
Overall, the effect is quite stunning, and usually has *exactly* that effect - it stuns people I work with in the corporate office - and not always in a good way. Some people are frightened of anything other than black, navy and grey.
But not me! I don't do neutrals that well. Colour ahoy, I say, colour ahoy!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod, this is so COOOOOOL!
So cool in fact that I have to postpone my post-market Made N Thornbury post that I had planned, because I've got to blog about this object first. I am metaphorically jumping up and down with excitement. It's a giant trunk - and yes, it says what you think it says:
"Human Blood - Handle with Care".
It's my newest acquisition and I love it even more than I thought I would when I spotted it through the heaving crowd of people at Camberwell Market this morning.
Ostensibly I'd gone to the market with My One True Love to buy buttons from the lovely button ladies there, as well as some new soaps for my next market stall. I did that (pictures of buttons to come later), and found two fantastic succulents and grabbed those as well.
Then, rounding the corner, I turned my head and it was like a beacon of light shone down from the heavens and onto this trunk, which was crammed into the back of a van deep at the rear of one of the stalls. It was as simple as that - I turned my head, and my eyes locked onto it.
This trunk is a combination of the things I love. I love tins of all kinds. I love tins with text. I love giant storage boxes. I love hinged lids. I love heavy buckles, and big handles.
But most of all, I love love love medical paraphernalia. LOVE IT TO DEATH! (Sorry, I'm excited - I didn't mean to yell. And please pardon the very bad and wholly unintentional pun.)
I don't know why, but I do. I think I can trace it back to the time my father gave me a pair of surgical clamps his dad used to own. They were smooth, and cool, and so deeply and darkly medical. Almost sinister. But clinical, at the same time. Such a lovely contradiction of health and harm, those clamps were.
I've still got them, of course. And I've added a collection of apothecary jars with ground glass stoppers. My button collection lives in the huge one marked with a Benzoic Acid label. And I've got pharmaceutical bottles of different colours, including sought-after collectables, and a green one with the lid fused shut that says Pheno-Barbitol.
Ah. There's something almost calming about them. I wouldn't call it a fetish per se, but it's certainly a sharp interest.
And this new acquisition is a fantastic addition. I'm going to store fabric in it (of course, what else would I use a blood box for?), and I think it's going to live in the sitting room where I can see it every day.
Eventually it'll go into the sewing room I'm planning in my head, once we've sadly farewelled the Amateur Actress and I've commandeered her room.
But until then, I'm leaving it out so it can be seen in all its hinged and wondrous glory. And I will feast my eyes upon it.