Sunday, 30 March 2008

this is ... the contents of my handbag

mobile (when I remember it)
That's all!

Actually, I don't even have a handbag. I just transfer the above three items from one bag to another depending on where I'm going and what I'm wearing. The bags are much more intersting than their contents:

A nappy bag made by my sister using Miffy fabric she bought in Japan.

A Shinzi Katoh tote that is big and sturdy enough to carry my TAFE supplies.

A homemade knitting bag with pockets just the right size for needles, scissors and measuring tape. I have been using this bag much more in recent days and hope to be able to show you the results in a couple of weeks.

My "turf bag", which I made from a square of fake grass that I found in Lincraft many years ago.

And many, many more ...

P.S. Sorry about the scarcity of photos today. Olive has decided once again that she won't sleep unless she's lying on top of me so my free time has been radically diminished. I know it's just a phase, but I'm hoping it won't last too long. And trying not to guiltily think that it's a sign she's become insecure since I went back to work :(

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

first softies

While I am still working on my UFOs, I couldn't resist the urge to try something new. So here they are, my first attempts at designing my own sewn softies. Each contains a vitamin bottle with grains to double up as a rattle.

Lion. It is a worry that I had so little trouble finding a ready-made "jungle" in the back yard.

Sad little bunny.

Pear. Actually, he's the second attempt - the first was a dud whose face is not fit to be seen.

I'm itching to make more!

Sunday, 23 March 2008

this is ... my demon

Another tricky this is ... this week.

Being a non-smoking, teetotalling vegan who doesn't even consume caffeine, I don't have terribly many vices. I do eat rather too many fizzy lollies than I should but surely that's a small indulgence I can allow myself.

But I do have a sneaky little demon who pops out just when I don't want him to: I am shy. Not enough to ruin my life but certainly enough to stop me from reaching out when I could potentially be making a new friend and expanding my world. It was a big plunge for me to launch myself into blogland and even now that I am here, I am very nervous about the protocol for comments (is there one? what is it???) and have not taken enough opportunities to tell you all how much you entertain, encourage and inspire me. I truly do appreciate the time that you take to read my ramblings and really enjoy being able to take a peek into your worlds too.

While I don't think I'll ever conquer my demon, I can continue to try to ignore his voice and take steps to counteract his evil doings. So today I am changing my "blogs I visit" list to a list of "friendly blogs". If you are reading this - that means you! If you would like to be added to the list, just let me know and I will be able to visit you too.

[The beautiful Blythe image above is from Gina Garan's This is Blythe site.]

Saturday, 22 March 2008

finished objects 3 & 4

It's TAFE holidays and I'm catching up, both with blogging and with crafting. So I am very pleased to be able to show you the next installment in the mission to rid myself of UFOs.

This is a pencil case that I put aside about six weeks ago when I realised that hand sewing was required. How slack!

Now it is finished and I am using it to carry around some little bits of embroidery that I'm working on.

This is a hat that I knitted before Olive was born. That was over eleven months ago! I had originally planned on making it look like a baby chicken, to be worn at Easter time. But I couldn't figure out a way of making the features that I thought wouild look alright.

So now it is an egg hat instead!
I have to admit that this wasn't the best photo of the hat that I took today, but it was the cutest picture of Olive. And I'd much rather show her off than my knitting ;)

Friday, 21 March 2008

oh so quiet

Today being Good Friday, I thought it would be a perfect time to visit our local monstrocity of a shopping centre. And I was right! The whole area was deserted and so much more beautiful without any cars or noise.

Friday, 14 March 2008

this is ... looking out my front door

I am soooooo late with my this is ... post this week.

I had thought that I was coping well with the transition from full-time mum to still-breastfeeding-and-expressing mum who is also a part-time student and office worker, but it seems that I was operating on a knife-edge, easily thrown off balance by the slightest little thing. So when Olive had a cold and blogger refused to upload my photos, something had to give. I'm hoping you will forgive me ...

This is actually looking through my front door. We have a lovely set of double frech doors as the front door and two sets in the lounge room. Beautiful but not so practical, really. Beauty wins!

These are the Christmas decorations on the front porch I told you about that have been up since 2006!

Actually, the main view we have from our front door is of traffic. Lots and lots of traffic, all banked up and with nothing better to do than sit in their cars and look at us all weekend. I used to have terrible trouble trying to mow our buffalo grass with a hand mower (wearing a skirt, as always) because everyone seemed to feel the need to either honk or yell out comments and advice.

We have been known to do our own share of staring back out the front window though. Because there is also a bus stop at the front of our house and more than the average number of nutters. The most entertaining of all, though, were the white trash couple across the street. They seemed to save all of their arguments in the front yard. Like the night when we were woken by a "whack, whack" at 2am and looked out to see the woman hitting the guy's car with a broom stick. Or the day when the guy was locked out in the throes of an argument so he threw his shoe through the front window and climbed in that way. The next day he moved out and amused the movers greatly by insisting that they carry some of the larger funiture out through the window. Two days later he moved back in ...

Ah, I am such a gossip!

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Slice for Siew

I promised the wonderfully honest and funny Siew that I would share my easy apple slice recipe and thought that you might be interested too. Particularly as it serves as an update to my fig dilemma. So here we go...

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 cup rolled oats and 1/2 cup coconut.
Add 185g melted butter.
Press 3/4 of the mixture into a small lined slice tin.
Spread 400g stewed fruit on top. I usually use canned pie apple but today it was stewed figs instead.
Crumble the remaining pastry mixture on top.
Bake at 180C for 30-40 minutes.
Serve warm as a dessert (with vanilla icecream!) or cold as a slice.

this is ... my inspiration board

Okay, I confess. I didn't do my homework this week. Because I don't have an inspiration board and I don't really want one - the only wall in my craft room is taken up by floor to ceiling shelves stuffed full of stash and my table looks onto this:

a window looking out into the back yard that provides ample distraction and inspiration.

A do have a visual diary though, which is where I keep pictures that inspire me along with my own doodles, experiments and ideas. So I some of the things that are in my visual diary but could just as easily be on an inspiration board include:
* ink drawings by Gottfried Helnwein. I love his large scale photographic portraits too.
* paper cutting by Rob Ryan and Cindy Ferguson
* vintage and retro wallpapers from designyourwall, johnny tapete, interior1900 and 5qm
* Japanese patterns from these books here and here

While we're on the topic of memes, I should mention that I was thinking of joining in on the Wedneday "On my desk" meme started by Kirstie of Kootoyoo but when I surveyed my desk with an objective eye I was horrified to realise that it is almost completely covered in unfinished projects. And while I agree with the Amitie crowd that it is perfectly okay to be working on a number of projects at once, I seem to have a strange aversion to the very final finishing stages. So if I want to find anything worthy of photographing on my desk, I'm going to have to do something about my UFOs. And I have already made a start! Witness:

skirt waiting only for bias binding to be added to the waist

completed skirt

bibs waiting for the snap fasteners to be attached

completed bibs ready to join their friends in my etsy site (although you may have noticed that I cheated with the photo - this is one I prepared earlier)

Watch this space to check on further progress (and give me a nudge if you don't see any).

Do you have lots of UFOs too? Which is your favourite part of a project: planning, starting, the meaty middle or finishing?