Sunday, November 30, 2008

Au revoir George

That fine old theatre The George Cinema is no more. One more independent business closed its doors, but at least they did so on a high note. The choice for thier final screening was Amelie, oh such a beautiful, romantic, and funny feel good film...and to think I had never seen it on a big screen before! It showed to a full (happy if nostalgic) house.
It was a very hot night and so the after party spilled outside, everyone eager to soak up the fresher air...the free drinks flowed and spirits were high. I enjoyed reminiscing with others about the films I'd seen there, for me the most memorable were Pans Labrynth, Taxi driver and probably my favourite, going to the opening night of 'Lucky Miles.' ( I can't recommend that film enough) I haven't talked about films for a while so after seeing such a sweet French film re-living the special moments of that film and all the others that have touched my heart was very special for me.
Anyway, cheers George, ta for the memories...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

to market to market to buy a fat pig

Hey, short post today, to let you know of an event coming up. It is a crazy busy time of year so if you are not already comitted to something keep the 13th December free! The Juice Tank cafe on Oxley avenue in Margate is the venue for a exciting happening, from 3-9pm.
It is another red revolution brainchild, this time an event with a tropical theme. There will be a market, with local arts and crafts stalls(I am having a stall & will post up some photos of the items I will be bringing along ASAP) plus food and drink and fun people!
hope you can make it,

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I really enjoy my children, having children in my life really has been the making and saving of me. Thier sweetness, silliness and playfulness always reminds me of these qualties in myself and their presence helps create the conditions I need for developing patience, creativity, strength, responsibility. Again this week so far has been jam packed with kids, my own and others, baby sitting, visitors, last nights dinner table reminded me of a school camp!
When my children are not with me I think of them a lot, I feel okay and am pretty much the same person, but I carry them about in my mind, they are inside of me. A friend of mine told me about some memory loss phenomema called the "out to lunch sydrone." Apparently mothers memories become less sharp, and the more kids the more an effect it has on the ability to recall. I am sure there are brillaint scientific reasons for it all and blah, blah, blahdy blah, and I know my memory is definetely not what it once was but maybe it is because we have something really lovely on our minds instead. We are filled with our kids lives, not just our own thoughts.
A leaf print on the footpath.

One of my favourite childhood memories is of when a friend of mine and I wandered through some paddocks filled with a native flower, that we knew as belly buttons(?) We had a lovely time gathering loads of them, there were hundreds growing wild, with long stalks and round pom pom shaped yellow flowers. I am sure her parents had a word with us afterwards because there could have been snakes and we had slipped away without saying where we were off to, but, hee,hee I am glad we did it, it was beautiful.

I am reminded of it by a vacant lot near the Northey Street city farm. (A great market for buying fresh fruit and veg and where I studied
The vacant lot is usually filled with dandelions, which Luka loves. I park near it when we go to the organic fruit and veggie markets on Sunday mornings and we have to cross through it. He can't, simply can not walk through it quickly. He stops and picks, wanders and studies the flowers, picking each one with special care until he has a bunch gathered for me. He has me sussed because he knows this is the kind of bunch of flowers I like, gathered, not harvested, naturally grown, not farmed...he is clever and sweet. And Jack warmed my heart today, I asked him if he was happy living in our new house, he said of course he was and said I was a really wonderful mum. I felt like taping him saying it so I can play it back to him when he is a teenager, but sneakiness aside the special thing for me was I knew he really believed it. I am pretty lucky.

Monday, November 24, 2008

mysterious things

It has stopped raining, last weeks stormy skies are clear again and so I have been enjoying outdoors, very simple pleasures. I stopped off at Shorncliffe on my way home, its a beautiful area. The foreshore has great parks, walking and cycling tracks, and the Queenslanders and fig trees are so grand and stately, yep, its a charming place.

The view here of jelly fish, was taken from the Shorncliffe pier. There were thousands of them, swimming over each other. They are grotesque and beautiful all at once. My son Jack told me when they form a group they are called a forest of jellyfish? I could google it to be sure, but its weird, plausible and good sounding, even if its not true.

No matter how hard I try if I am at the pier at sunset I can't help but take cliche shots like this...

While I was mostly indoors this weekend I had a fine time and kept busy. I tried my hand at dyeing wool, the results are mixed, I got un-predicted colours, brighter than I wanted, orange instead of brown, etc.

I am re-dying some and getting better results with layering the colours on. It is mysterious fun, I liked, no, I loved the process, especially waiting to see what the colour would be once the wool dried. I used a mixture of food dye, water and vinegar and popped the wool in the microwave for a couple minutes to set it. I didn't really follow any specific set of instructions but there are some good sites out there.

here are my steps;
Wet 50 gram wool in warm soapy water. Squeeze out excess water.
Mix 1/4 bottle food dye with a 1/3 cup vinegar(adjust quantities for darker colour or more wool) and enough water to cover the wool.
Place wool in and soak, overnight or for a few hours for lighter shades.
Microwave wet wool for a couple of minutes, wrapped in a plastic bag.
Hang out to dry. Rinse in luke warm water and dry again. Voila!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

After the rain

Every few months Brisbane is hit by torrential rains and big cracking storms...and strangely although I have lived here for over 11 years now, each time it takes me by surprise. I am never prepared and I always think each rain is going to be no I get drenched or avoid dangerous storms by a few minutes or such...or this happens to my lovely little seedlings...

They went for a bit of a swim, right out of their little plastic pots.

Much like my friend Jo's gumtree did, doing a belly flop right into her pool!! (Jo's photo)

Mmmm, I reckon out of the 2 of us I did alright. She is possibly the bravest and most gutsy woman I know but considering she was home and all alone during the cyclone she got very freaked out. She sent me a text message straight after (which I didn't see til much later,) which in part read, "holy f***ing mother of god..20 foot of tree on the roof, lost 4 large trees, thought I was going to die..." when I rang her she had taken a few medicinal sips of vino and was really very calm.
To think she had been enjoying a swim in this pool only an hour before! The damage is incredible really. I am just glad very glad that she and her neighbours were not hurt.

This photo is the usually high and dry, grassy bank of Kedron brook, a full 10 hours after the rain had stopped, which shows how dramatically the waters rose.

On a totally different note, this week a dream has been realised for my friends Vonney and Marty. In the heart of West End(44 Thomas Street to be exact) they have opened up a fairtrade coffee shop, Blackstar. Here's the lovely Vonney, a woman beautiful inside and out, with a heart as big as her hair(hee, hee!)

mmm, retro table...and mmmm-ier pastries!

I am sure to be a regular there, they do the best, the bloody BEST iced coffee ever and the whole place is warm and inviting and so pretty. In the new year I am hoping to get in there regularly to be with others and do some kind of craft thingy-thing. There is going to be an opening party on the 5th of December so locals keep it free, or of course pop in between 6.3o am and 3pm weekdays for coffee with conscience, conversation and most of all fun!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

sea side wanders

After a series of days of being indoors, with unwell kids, I had to get outside and breathe the fresh air today. As I walked along the Margate foreshore I came across this lovely yellow flower which had fallen and landed oh-so perfectly on a rock.
It was like the tree above was making its own offering to buddha or a god...too sweet! It is looking like it is going to rain again any second, but at least those moments were a refreshing break.
I would love to say being stuck indoors has meant lots of creative activities and baking and the like but for that kind of thing you'd best follow Soulemama
I am more like slowmama or sleepymama...trying to get bedlinen dry mama, trying to keep kids from falling down stairs mama, chocolate eating-tea drinking mama.
And, oh, speaking of chocolate, I have exciting news, my friend Sam.J put me onto this, ta to can buy organic fairtrade chocolate at Aldi stores for only $1.50 for 100 grams! And its not even on special, just their regular price for it...hmhmmmm. I do like a feel good discovery like that one!
I am going to have to get back out and rescue my washing....fingers crossed the predicted storm tonight skips us and everyone else who is already roofless or powerless...

Monday, November 17, 2008


After yesterdays humid dramatic stormy weather todays dull skies and drizzle seem very uneventful. Having heard about trees falling on cars and roofs and into pools and golf ball sized hail stones I feel very lucky! We didn't even lose our power fortunately.
Crochet, tea and music and Miss Lovely were peaceful company for me on this overcast day. Miss lovely is the sweetest, most playful cat, but she was eventually evicted from my room because the yarn dangling down from my work was too tempting for her.
Todays music: Swan song by Laura Jean, vanilla rooibos tea and some beautiful hand dyed blue wool, care of a Brighton op shop, which I am using to make up some purses.

I need to learn how to dye wool blue, I love these indigo, phalo and ultramarine blue shades, especially how they blend. I would like to try to re create a sea sort of look and I have some white and cream wool awaiting treatment. Meanwhile this wool was 50 cents, I was amazed finding it, in the exact colours I love.

I have been thinking of how much colour inspires and moves me and I am very happy to share this very pretty image, of a very sophisticated recycled artwork...
I can't tell you much about the artist because her (Finnish)website is not translated into English... but the whip-up site had this to say...

' Marja Hakala(artist), “Rename it”, made of T-shirts, installed at Kivinokka, Helsinki.

Marja collected second hand and discarded t-shirts then cut out the a circle shaped where the logo appears, then stretched the t-shirts between trees. The red of the t-shirts and the green of the environment contrast - the grass will eventually grow up inside the cut out sections to replace the logos. The cut out holes are also stretched and attached together nearby - without context the viewer can rename the whole work again. "

Well, I imagine the grass growing through will take a while, but the whole thing is very whimsical yet somehow deeply moving too. I was reminded of my favourite artist Andy Goldsworthy. He uses natural materials and spends hours, days placing them carefully and photographing them...this one is made with Rowan leaves stuck down with mud, and it truly makes my skin prickle.

The colours almost seem to have a life force in them, and this is the kind of art that makes my heart open and phew, these artists are very talented.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

When you're lost in the rain ...

A huge summer storm passed directly over our house today. The thunder and lightning rattled the windows so much one flew open, so the gutter overflow poured in directly onto a bed. It was a wet ol' job getting the window closed again!!

'Woke up, got out of bed.
Looked up at the sky and said :
"Yeah I think I see some blue"
But as I drove the rain began
Walked the path once more again
This time not to the top
The rain fell and would not stop'

I have planted lots of seeds (tomatoes,bok choy, basil,coriander,pak choy,capsicum!!) this week. The rain is seeping down through the soil, swelling out the seed case and the first 2 leaves, I like the idea of them down below, all geared up and ready to pop open and push their way through to the light, what a big journey for a little bud?
Hmm, I will sleep well tonight with the sounds of rain on our roof.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

backyard bliss

I am head over heels in love with my backyard. My environment is something I am sensitive to, and living in the city can be such a drag, especially when I spend a lot of time commuting in my car. I am lucky though, I live a couple of blocks walk from the river, and have one of the biggest yards I have ever seen in an urban area. I have a cup of tea first thing in the morning out there and dream up amazing projects and plans...or I just don't think much at all.
Its a great big beautiful mess, rambling, full of weeds, bugs, birds, possums and it is noisy with the sounds of clucking chooks from next door or excited squeals from happy busy kids finding poochiellas*
There is a place in this space for...
little camp-fires....

for old trees to slowly, beautifully disintegrate

for hiding

for climbing

for poochiellas*

for waiting

for gazing

for wandering....

*little known of "furry cute" and very rare creatures found only in our backyard...mostly by little boys called Luka...

p.s...2 markets coming up!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

little loves

I was reminded once again today how universal grief is, you can't escape loss, it unites us all...
fortunately though so does joy, humour, hope, all the good stuff, so here I am sharing a few of today's best moments.
These little ones I am sometimes lucky enough to be with have given such love, and so I want to celebrate them for a moment.

love them.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

bubble o bliss

Hmmm, okay so I have found a reason to be happy its getting is ice cream season! This is a yummy bubble o bill. This charming cowboy ice cream comes complete with a large bubblegum nose and a hefty dose of happy childhood memories too! Believe me, they taste just as good as they ever did, but of course, I highly recommend testing it out for yourself, just to be scientific about it.

I spent a few days down the coast, walking along the beaches, dipping my toes into the sea, swimming and squealing like a pig in the freezing water, eating hot chips and calamari rings, reading, sewing, eating fine food and generally having a lovely time.

Also squeezed in a day trip to Brunswick Heads which apart from having the prettiest coloured sea also has the best calamari rings. Every time I visit I glaze over, wander into the starfish fish and chip shop and find myself ordering them and consuming them in a dream like the end I have a swollen belly, greasy fingers and a slightly dopey smile...

Without my boys for the couple of days I carved out some time to do some serious sewing and crafting work. I made some brand spanking new brooches using a mixture of new and old felt and old buttons, backed with reproduction forties patterned cotton.
I love the repro fabrics, and would love to get my hands on the originals. It is great to be able to use these small scraps left over from an old patchwork sewing project though, I knew I kept them for the past 3 years for some reason!! Although looking around at my very cluttered room the last thing I need in the world is another reason to justify hanging onto things....
I also used a pattern from the 'bend the rules sewing' book to create some 100% wool tea cosies, made from old jumpers recycled into felt and a few buttons from my mums and sister in laws collection.
My sister in law has some fantastic antique buttons(and uses them for her wonderful knitting.) Her grandfather worked in a factory removing buttons from old clothes that were being used for paper making. He kept quite a lot which were passed down to her, so she has a gorgeous selection of very old decorative and intricately made wooden and melamine buttons. She kindly let me pick out some last Christmas and so I have some very beautiful ones, waiting for something really worthy.

My friends West End coffee shop has not opened yet, some kind of building delays...but I had a sneak peek last Wednesday and it is going to be so beautiful. Melamine lamp shades, retro chairs in mint condition and a coffee bench fronted with the most amazing purplish-reddish rusty coloured steel panel...lovely! Will post up photos as soon as I can...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

garden party

It was so still and humid and hot today that I was willing a storm to come and bring a cool rainy breeze...the ceiling fans whirred away, and kept me from surrendering to the temptation to just lay in the hammock with a cold drink. So hard to do house work when it is really hot, but the house seems messier then too?
I was compelled to mop and vacuum for some reason, it all looks good now, shiny floorboards, and because I did it late afternoon it should last one whole night! Sharing a house with up to 5 kids means there is always much cleaning to be done, and the oh-so- temporary joy of a clean floor is something to savour.
Anyway, there is a gorgeous breeze coming from the river now and I know will sleep well tonight.
Despite the muggy weather housemate created a whole new no-dig method garden bed today, edged with big rocks. I was inspired by this lovely surprise to pop in some seeds with the help of my youngest son. Luka patted the soil down over the seeds oh so gently, I think he kind of thinks of them as little babies, it really was sweet to watch the care he took with it. Both my kids love being out the back here. It does not feel like we live near 2 main roads in an inner city suburb at all...this is the view from the kitchen window...very foresty-lush, huh?
We had a garden party yesterday. The words 'garden party" conjure up images of tea sipping and scones on lawns to me, but ours was bit more jungle, beer and vegan bbq style. The plan behind the festivities was to invite people over, feed them, give them a beer and get into the garden, maybe establishing a veggie patch or two.
So about twenty friends came over, ate and drank and had a lovely time. But the garden is looking much the same as ever, not a garden tool touched, not a weed plucked...but it was really a lovely day, we were all too busy talking and cooking and eating to venture out into the bush that masquerades as a backyard.

Here's a quick snap, of some new projects, but just a hint really, once they are finished I will photograph them properly...