Monday, March 30, 2009

designing fliers...

Computer design leaves me baffled once again...I am trying my best but adding type to my pictures...tis not easy for me. I like the last one, it seems more unified but I am not sure how to make any of them more legible...
I had a lovely coffee and crochet break morning at Blackstar-and ta to the lovely folk who befriended me. Your croissants were yummy and I hope you enjoyed the rest of your sickie day-your secrets' safe with me!
If I had a penny for everytime someone said I was brave for "knitting in public" though...
No, I am not brave. Wool is not scary. And it's actually called crochet. It's really getting time for some craft revival crusading once more-thank goodness the markets on this Friday, maybe I will even wear my dash robin caped crusader outfit....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Beers and beanbags

Its good enough for me...the movie, 'goonies' played on Friday night at southbank and I was so excited. I thought it was the coolest film when I was younger, and with time it has only gotten funnier and sillier. Seeing a film out in the open at night is great and t'was especially lovely, with beautiful weather, bats flying overhead and beers... And we even hired beanbags($3-bargain!)
The open air film screenings have only just started so keep an eye out, 'Milk' is coming up and so is (drum roll please, I can hardly wait)...'Ferris buellers day off.' EeeeeeK. I was a girl of the eighties. Ruth could remember so many lines of the Goonies I felt like an amateur. Do not play any kind of 80's quiz with her, she may pass as a sophisticated opera singer above that kind of thing but she is also a on the sly genius with her 80's stuff.
Apart from filmy-friendly nights I have been going along to the various markets of Brisbane. The Green flea market in West end has such great food and coffee and we spent a lazy Satd'y morning there with some lovely friends. The yummy Greek food stall can't be beat, with scrumptious haloumi rolls and delicious home-made tzatiki.
This morning my flatmate and I visited Northey street market and got some organic goodies and plants. If you haven't tried blue quongdong jam yet, you really don't know how good jam can be. And scones with organic jam and organic cream served with rooibos earl grey tea, well, words fail me.
I used the c.w.a recipe and it is the best-and fast and simple:
You need
2 cups of self raising flour,
1 cup milk,
1/4 teaspoon each of salt and sugar,
4 tablespoons cream.
Mix the dry ingredients first, then stir in the rest to form a damp dough.
Turn out and really lightly roll out to about an inch or so thick. Cut into good sized chunks and pop on a tray into a hot oven(about 200degrees) for about 10 minutes. Brush with melted butter when they come out and gobble them up with cream and jam. Then go have a nap.

This coming Friday is market night at Blackstar. It feels like so long since I have been in there! I am really excited and have lots of really wonderful new things to share. I have been working with a fantastic talented seamstress and together we have created some things I am very pleased and proud with. Indeed a couple won't be coming in at all because I can't bear to part with them! I can't wait for that beautiful blackstar iced coffee too-mm.mmm.
I bumped into Vonney at the markets and we discussed our shared need for some more art therapy and craft events in the shop. To that end I will be heading into the shop to do some finishing throughout this week. I will post up when onto facebook but if you have the urge for a coffee you may find me in the shop, busy, busy, but happy, oh so happy to chat(and procrastinate.)

I was looking out for organic or renewable fibres such as bamboo, but they don't have much in that line at 'threads'. They do have a very wide selection so this came as a bit of a surprise to me.
If you are after organically produced wools or alternative fibres I found that 'Thurechts' in Redcliffe have a brand new selection of natural fibres.
I am very pleased to see the organic fibre market being supported in Brisbane and Thurechts stock organic cotton, organic wool and silky soft bamboo yarns- in some really lovely colours and weights. They are really wonderful yarns too, soft and natural to touch. As we head into cooler months I recommend anyone interested in getting into knitting to start off with real natural and organic fibres-you will never look back. Bamboo in particular is a really silky fibre and is produced without much need for herbicides or pesticides, and it feels absolutely divine against skin.
I have been very tempted but have lots of wool sourced second hand and from un wound garments to use up first... and on that note I better get myself a cuppa and pick up the hook again.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

city farms

I love this season-love, love, love it. We headed out to one of the few places in this city where seasons are noted and planned for...a city farm is a wonderful place for urbanites to recharge thier connection with the ecology.
We headed out late Saturday afternoon for the Autumn equinox festival. Amongst other things we got to have a bit of chook time... what amazing colours these roosters feathers are!
At Northey street city farm seasonal bonfire nights are a regular way of celebrating, and along with food seem to be a big draw card for gatherings, attracting all kinds of people out.
I am always moved by the beauty of the nighttime lighting of the bonfire, the spiralling streams of sparks swirling up into the dark, glowing red-orange lights tracing fleeting lines against the deep inky blue.

Two lovely children dancing together before the fire is lit.

The garden is looking so lush and being surrounded by all the thriving plants and trees and smiling faces is really special for me. The word that comes to mind is 'gentle', its all feels so effortlessly 'right', so natural and calming. These gatherings always attract crowds, with lots of young children playing together or being with thier families but rarely (if ever) are there the tears or tantrums that are so common in urban environments that we almost being to think they are normal.
We loved the sweet acoustic, ambient music, and tried out weaving, natural face painting and yoga, outdoors activities, relaxed and creative.
Even our bellies were warm and full with spicy chai tea and wholemeal mud brick oven baked scones, served up for us with cream and jam.
Once the sun had set and the bonfire was alight the wide grassy area around it became an impromptu dance space, people and kids skipping and clapping around in a loose ring. Luka is into dancing in a big way, he would have stayed all night if he could have, asking for 'once more around,' a few time I will have to pack a thermos with tea and some warmer clothes for when the air gets chilly.
Hope everyone else got in a bit of peace and fun in this weekend,

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

oui, oui

Last night the lovely French singer Melanie Pain, (of Nouvelle Vague), played at the Zoo...there was a smallish, very chic crowd, lots of cute frocks and european style glasses frames, (I always have such fun watching people-and they were all so cute!)

The staff had covered the pool tables with heavy cloths, going to some efforts to make the space seem more intimate and Parisian...but hmmm...I am sorry to say the thick humid air and odd layout of the Zoo wasn't the best fit. It was a beautiful performance, so it would be lovely if the environment was right. I do love the Zoo, but there is a definite need in Brissy for an intimate lounge type of venue.

I am always interested in the details of spaces I am in. Visual things draw my attention, it has always been the way I move through the world...I think about and compare it all, from tiny stitches and detailing on hand embroidered fabrics to the material used on lampshades in a venue, it seems important to me. This is why I am attracted to handmade creations and obviously, to making them myself. I can ponder over what button to use(and its so good to have big choice-colour, material,age,size,design,shinyness,dullness...I love jars of buttons!)...what yarn texture will work with which colour and where exactly to place it so it all just seems 'right.' And hopefully all that attention to detail, all that craft and crafting, creates such a unity or sense of grace about a piece, that it will comfort and bring joy.


Monday, March 16, 2009


Sometimes I feel like I am on permanent holidays living in Brisbane. I took these as I walked into the city, they are not retouched. It is that sunny, the sky is that blue, the river that wide, the plants that lush...of course the holiday feeling disappeared fairly quickly as my lovely walk ended and the biz babes workshop began.
Today's big head spin was trying to define the benefits of our unique selling propositions without mentioning the attributes of our product or service...oh my. Pass the panadol please! Honestly though, it is a practical, directed and inspiring study group-I feel like I am being equipped to be savvy with my love of art and my creative skills, turning these into something I could actually earn a honest living from, something I never thought possible.
I have been lucky to have had some wonderful learning experiences in the last couple of years, which have kept me moving forward and in a good direction.
I joined the Vulcana womens circus and enjoyed it thoroughly, getting fit, having fun and learning manoeuvres with names like, 'fast dismount'( a scarily accurate name), the 'cocoon'the 'coffin', the Russian climb, etc. I also joined an arts therapy group which lovely Vonney Andrews created, where through creative expression and conversation several women and I explored meaning and identity. So I was up high doing aerial workouts on tissu and trapeze and down low getting grounded and digging into the roots of life and purpose...phew.
Sometimes though, with all this learning, this 'newness' happening, I really enjoy the moments when I can sit quietly and do some crochet...which I guess brings me full circle back to where all the dreams begin...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday mornings...

Few things in life make me feel happier and more content than drinking a cup of tea in a beautiful garden, so visiting the Northey street market cafe is high on my list of lovely things to do.
There is a large market (sellers/growers of organic produce) open Sunday mornings, with a chai and coffee cafe & the edible landscapes nursery is open too. This nursery is attached to the farm and is the best fruit,veg and herb nursery in Brisbane. They have a diverse range, cheap prices and use excellent environmentally sustainable practices...I was happy to part with $5 for my most favourite flowering tea herb, pineapple sage(it has beautiful pink flowers and a gorgeous fragrance).
After my drink I wandered around soaking up the mild weather and the beautiful surrounds.
These beautiful plants are rosellas, they are a native hibiscus flower and the stunning ruby red fruit can be used to make delicious jams. I have tried unsuccessfully to grow some and can only stare in awe and envy at the huge beautiful patch of rosella shrubs in bloom there.

Visiting places like this helps me relax and focus as I get prepared for the next few days of workshops. I have loved researching and working away on plans and ideas, but its big breath time again as another avalanche of information is about to come my way!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

roast potatoes

It's getting cooler in Queensland again, the humidity dropping enough to allow jeans to be worn(yay!) and even proper shoes (instead of daggy practical thongs!)
I also joyfully head back into the kitchen, turn on the oven, and roast potatoes. The first roast of the year has left our household well stuffed with no complaints-YUM!

I am getting ahead of myself- but after these sticky, stormy summer months I feel like yelling up at the lovely cool grey clouds, "Bring it on! Oi! Call that cold? You, yeah you, show me what you can do!" Oh cool weather, its so nice to see it again.

Now, let me introduce you to...this...

shhh, my little one is fast asleep. Made today this owl?gumble?randomly shaped toy, is made from the finest piece of fabric. Isn't it fabulous-the groovy little ripples, the mixture of bright and dull colours, the fact that it is corduroy, hm-hmm, I adore it...if only there had been enough for a skirt!

I am sure there are many people rushing out to spend their economic stimulus bonus (besides paying bills) on all manner of 'stuff' at plazas and big name stores...and I am sure I will find myself lured in at some point. Besides that though, now that I have a spare dollar or two again, I can't wait to go visit the nanas in the oppys and have a good old rummage. Ah, my love for dusty old fabric stashes never wanes ,despite my growing conviction that I have enough...maybe...;o)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

some things never change.

I want these-how cool are they-convertible sneaker/rollerskates! I'd never be late again, ha!
Well, anyway, the age of 8-11 of my childhood can be mostly summed up with two things-roller skating and books, or more specifically libraries.
I really haven't changed much.
I had a few minutes to fill today so I popped into a bcc library...ooooh, did I find some goodies!
I love books, love them, in fact I revel in my big fat inner nerd and still usually hit up a library at least once a week. And now with cds, dvds, internet access, etc, there is oh- so- much more to love.
And if you aren't into libraries can I take a minute to recommend them because
-they are free (does that word sound like its singing to you, too?)
- they are absolutely eco-friendly-what could be more inclusive and environmentally friendly than a place dedicated to sharing resources with a whole community, brilliant.
(And if you aren't and weren't ever into roller skating...dunno what to suggest really, maybe go read another blog? ;o)

Today's interesting book finds-

"Cath Kidston in print"

'Grouped by fabric type, each chapter showcases Cath's own choice of vintage and modern fabrics—from painterly florals and faded chintzes to cool abstracts and cozy patchworks. To help the reader achieve the look, she’s included sixty simple do-it-yourself projects such as curtains, cushion covers, pillowcases, laundry bags, and more.'

That's the blurb, so you know they will go on about her particular fabrics... but the beautiful photos within illustrate how (your own)vintage fabrics can be used in really surprising but effective ways to create lovely interiors and special pieces.

(-p.s-having now found a chance to go through this book more thoroughly I can add another good reason to borrow rather than buy books. I picked it up expecting to find 60 patterns...hmm, the projects are little more than a paragraph long. Theres no real detail or instruction and the book contains not one single pattern...its really more like a coffee table book, if you know what I mean, lovely to look at but...)

'Seventeen craft bloggers, seventeen different stories, and seventeen patterns.'

The crafters companion.

This book is summed up so well I can't add much more than that... and its not even possible to explain how much I love this book! Its great.

In craft-land I have been happily crocheting still and have started making myself a poncho.
I love that word. Poncho. Anyway, I also finished the birthday cap and Christel looks cute in it and I am chuffed to know my little sister has a cap from some of the wool from my dads big green jumper...
I am one present down only 3 more to go...gulp!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Happiness for me is not just a cup of tea and choclate. Although they are pretty 'key' issues, true.
It's also to be found in making a present. So completely enjoyable to make and will be such a joy to give(another crocheted surfer cap, so easy now I have grasped the pattern.)
Each little loop is made with relaxed attention, fingers passing along the whole length of the yarn, touching it lightly, wrapping and spinning and catching the fibres. It has such a pleasing gentle rhythm. It may be speeded up now though as the birthday is tomorrow...
I am on the mend, after eating loads of kids party style junk food yesterday(little Finns now big 4!)
Anyway, darn it, I missed the market. Although I wished I could go, I did enjoy resting and being home with my boys. It's the simplest things that bring me such pleasure with them, like today all three of us colouring in the same picture, lazing on my bed. And Luka saying, "you can do whatever you want to!" so happilly, delighting in whatever style Jack and I used and complimenting our efforts through out.
The encouragement they give eachother warms my heart. Todays beautiful moment was Luka calling out to Jack to climb up and join him on a platform on a high rope climb. Yesterday (with lovely honesty) Jack had spoken of the platform as a place he'd never reach because,"I don't have the guts to."
But today he did do it, because his litle brother was excited for him and wanted him too. And so his desire to share in Lukas joy and support his little brothers good feelings, in turn made him reach for more too...a nice deal, huh?

Hmm, I am glad I am writing these really quite easilly forgettable moments down and making a record of them. It might just help them stay in my memory, because the teenage years are ahead and I really have some big fears about them! But for now I shall do my best to take in these good times and try and store them in my heart for any (potential) challenging times to come.
now I gotta get back to the cap,
P.S- what about these weather conditions, hey? Bushfires, floods, now cyclones, what next, locusts??!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


These are my favourite pillow cases-I give thanks to the many op shops across Brisbane, because of thier existence I have lovely 100%cotton bedding, in exceptionally groovy patterns. These pillow cases were 50 cents each, which when you consider 100%cotton pillow cases are usually at least $10 and up anywhere else, is a bit of a steal.
You may be wondering why i am sharing my pillow case collection with you, well I will admit it, this is a post coming to you direct from my glamourous and sexy..not!
I have copped another "flu-virus whatever" and feel like I am half Koala half woman again(now that I have finished sleeping, must be time for a nap!)
However on the upside I have been happilly hooking(or crankilly crocheting, if you prefer) and making these fuzzy flowers...
and this fuzzy cap.
This pattern is from the chicks with sticks guide to crochet,(surfer cap) and was done up with 100%wool. I imagine it will be good for winter here, enough yarn thickness to keep me warm outside but open spaced so not too stuffy to wear indoors.
The photos are not the best but you get the idea...and my own little question is, why do I want to crochet when I am sick and not when I am well? In any case I am happy to be 'sticking it to the wool' once more.

And another not so great photo showing the finished article of the boys room divider-hanging thingo(see earlier post).
It looks great and has a really lovely kinetic sculpture like energy when the breeze sways it.
To finish up(cos I surely need a nap) the next little piggy market is on tomorrow, yes Friday night. I am undecided about going, but it should be a fantastic night, bigger and better than last with more stalls, more food and music yet again, with (I think?) the lovely Sitara dj-ing. It starts about 6.30pm, on Thomas Street and in the Blackstar cafe.
hope to see you there,