Thursday, May 31, 2012


I am taking my cue from the latest posts two of my favourite blogs today - Living in the kingdom of too much and Tiny Happy. I have had some great op-shop visits lately. Today, for example, I found a terrific collection of books, including Joan Phipson's childrens' book, Hide Till Daytime. It's about two children who are locked in a department store overnight. Did you ever wish for that? I had a favourite local shop when I was a child that specialised in Snoopy merchandise. I had my overnight stay there planned right down to what I would...uh...borrow from them while I was there on my own. Little wanna-be Fagin that I was (or perhaps Oliver Twist?) - if only in my imagination! I haven't thrown any books out, though, to even things up so I'd better get onto that if I am to keep visiting op-shops...

Teddy, above, was also one of today's finds. He has been in the op-shop for weeks, looking at me imploringly. I couldn't leave him on the shelf another day today. "Relax Teddy," The guy behind the counter said as I bought him "No need to look so worried - you're off to a good home." I've called him Stanley. What do you think?

Also found some sweet little Mac's Shortbread tins from the 70s. Perhaps this is a Melbourne-only reference? When I was a child I could smell the biscuits baking from our backyard. The factory (obviously) was not far away. Love little old tins for storing crafty bits in.

And Tiny Happy wondered today about what was making me happy. I would have to say the gorgeous warm sunshine - lovely after yesterday's grey day. Autumn's last hurrah, I think. Stanley, as you can see in the photo above, is lapping up some rays.

What's making you happy at the moment?

Monday, May 28, 2012


My ardour for Eurovision is not quite what it once was! In the past, I have managed to watch both semi-final nights and the grand final but this year saw me watching the first semi-final night only. I had planned to watch the grand final, having assiduously avoided any mention of the winner all day on the news (here in Australia we are a day behind with the telecast, so the winner was already known), but our local news service announced the winner last night without so much as a "If you're going to watch Eurovision tonight, step out of the room now..." So, I thought, was there any real point in watching all the way through it last night? I watched Downton Abbey instead. But I must say I loved the Finnish entry by Pernilla Karlsson,  "När jag blundar" (which apparently translates from the Swedish as 'When I close my eyes'). Beautifully sweet but perhaps not the sort of 'dance anthem' that is likely to win Eurovision.

Did you watch? What was your favourite?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I Heart Waechtersbach

You know how when you go to the op shop and you're thinking to yourself 'I'm going to look for a...' Well, of course, you won't find it. Op shops present to you what they want you to find, not the other way around. So today I was thinking 'I would really like a pair of warm, tweedy, nubby pants for winter'. Nothing. Not even something that I could make do with. Oh well I thought, dejected, I'll have a look around anyway. And then I found four of these super-sweet bowls (see one above). They're made by a German Pottery, Waechtersbach, and although they are a little the worse for wear, I love them. I've just checked Etsy and there's a ton of really cute Waechtersbach vintage. Just when I thought Hornsea was my collectable! My husband will be so pleased that I've found something else to fill the cupboards up with...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Important news to impart of quite considerable importance

Did you watch the first episode of season two of  Downton Abbey last night? I have to admit to being a little bit disappointed. I'm not sure if it's because there's been a fair gap between the screening of the two seasons or whether if watching it on commercial television with a block of advertisements every five minutes just breaks the continuity too much, but I just found it a bit too much like every other period drama I've ever seen. Upstairs, downstairs, thwarted love, war etc., etc. What do you think? So I couldn't resist posting part two of the Downton spoof I posted a couple of months back (see below)... 

The scones incidentally went down an absolute treat on Friday night. I need to make them a little bigger next time but I would swear by this recipe -

Half a pound of self-raising flour
Quarter of a teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of butter
6 ounces of milk

Combine flour and salt. Rub butter in. Mix into a soft dough, using almost all the milk. Turn onto a lightly floured board, kned and then roll out to half an inch thick. Cut into shapes (I used the floured top of a glass). Place on greased tray. Bake in very hot oven (about 240 degrees celsius) for 7-10 minutes. Cooked when golden brown on top and sides are set.

Eat with berry jam and cream.

Smile with contentment.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The stone of scone (hopefully not)

From Australian Home Beautiful, 1977

The op-shopping gods seem to be smiling on me at the moment. Yesterday, three editions of Australian Home Beautiful from the 1970s to feed my current 70s obsession. I love the walkway pictured here, with the greenery of the garden so much a part of the house. I also bagged three lovely pieces of Polish linen, all patterned like the one above (which has just come in from the clothesline, hence its rather crumpled state). They are just about the right size for small wall-hangings but in our little house, I am fast running out of vacant wall. What to do?

I found another vintage Puffin too - Henry Treece, Viking's Dawn - as well as Miss Read, Affairs at Thrush Green and the short stories of Chekhov. It also looks like I may have found myself a little job at the oppy...oh dear!

I am going to try out making scones tonight for the first time. I know - how did I get to be thirty-(mumble) and not have made scones? I found Approach to Cookery, put together by the Melbourne Home Economics Teachers' Group in 1965, in an op-shop a couple of weeks ago so I'm figuring their 'foundation scones' recipe for school kids can't be too hard... We have dinner with my parents on Friday nights, so scones will be dessert tonight with jam and cream! Are scones a universal food item? I don't know. If you've not heard of them, they're basically little floury buns - originally from Scotland, I think? There's a (place) Scone in Scotland, isn't there?? Any fellow scone makers out there?

And joy of joys, Dowtown Abbey season two is back on our poor deprived Antipodean tv screens this Sunday. Hoorah! Anyone else looking forward to it?

Enjoy your weekend - I'll see you next week.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Above and Below from Children of the Island Town
From Auf Deutsche, Bitte!
I had a lovely op-shop yesterday which I thought I'd share with you. First of all, a very sweet book from 1961 - Children of the Island Town - which describes Stockholm as seen through the eyes of a couple of kids. I love the colourisation and lighting of these mid-century photos. Love the old map, too. Next up, adding to my expanding collection of vintage 'learn German' books - Auf Deutsche, Bitte! (In German, Please!) from 1974. I have a similar one in French from my schooldays (which looked vintage even then) and I just love the drawings. Don't you adore Karl's expression in the middle panel! And finally, a lovely vintage Puffin from 1965 - The Children who lived in a Barn. It hardly looks as though it's been read. One for my beginning old Puffin collection! 

Have you had any good thrifty finds lately?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Woolley Goodness

It was Mother's Day here yesterday and for once I achieved one of my constant aims on present-giving occasions - I made the gift! This is the simple scarf I knitted for my mother (as modelled by her!). She doesn't like long scarves so this is short neck-warmer-upper. I used a kilt pin and a silver spiral I made myself  (from 12-gauge wire, if you're interested) as a clasp. Well-timed, I think - our weather has taken a decidedly wintry turn. The skies are grey during the day and in the evenings, woodsmoke is heavy in the air!

Hope you had a nice mother's day if it was celebrated in your neck of the woods yesterday - whether you were a giver or a givee!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Golden Hands

Ages ago, while op-shopping, I found a copy of Golden Hands - a British craft magazine from the late 60s/early 70s. Then I discovered volume 1 of the collected Golden Hands (you know, one of those deals where you buy the first volume for a dollar and each consecutive edition ends up being $20). Wow, I thought to myself, imagine if I found all of the collected Golden Hands volumes... Then lo and behold, I did exactly that about three weeks ago in my local Salvos op-shop. I was gob-smacked. The whole 18-volume set! Although the covers suggest cheesy 70s crafts unlikely to appeal today, inside they are really well done with all sorts of very nice projects - knitting, embroidery, dressmaking (the maxi is back, you know!) and other, perhaps less considered crafts, like wall hangings and weaving. I am thoroughly enjoying looking through them and I've discovered that the trick is to take elements of the project that work for me, that I like, rather than taking on the original idea in its entirety and ending up with something that may well look a bit dated. For example, the stitched motifs on the back of the gloves above, inspired me to try out similar shapes and designs in stitches on a bit of felt.

Fun for all the family!

What craft projects are you working on at the moment?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Game of Thrones

As with so many 'hit' shows before it, I am only just now catching up on Game of Thrones. I love it! Ah, the backstabbing! Ah, the gore! Ah, the rather dodgy sex scenes! Seriously, it is a well-told and thoroughly enjoyable epic tale and we are glued to it. The theme song, too, is just brilliant.  Have you seen it? What do you think?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Is Hornsea, Is Good

I have been having a brilliant time thrifting of late. I've been casually looking for Hornsea pottery for some time, having already acquired my first piece from my parents - a salt cellar which was an engagement gift of theirs from 1967. Then, a couple of years ago, I found the gorgeous brown and black flour barrel (below) in a local op-shop. But not much happened after that. Then, in the space of a couple of weeks, I found the wonderful blue and green owl mug (above) and, on Saturday, the cow mug. Love the rather surreal and oh-so-70s designs on them all. The cow mug is especially quirky - the cow is printed with unrelated  newsprint-style words and sitting behind it is a fish?? Dali meets British pottery...perhaps. 
As well as Greenwitch (see yesterday's post), I have also just started Haruki Murakami's After Dark. I have been meaning to read her books for some time and last week during another great op-shop jaunt, I found that one. Have you read her books? What do you think of them? This one reminds me so much of our trip to Japan and the slightly seedy world that was hinted at as we walked briskly past Tokyo's many alleyways at night...!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Down the Rabbit Hole

This original cover of A Wrinkle in Time is sourced from Wikipedia

Hello! It's nice to be back in the Yellow Wood. Hope you've been keeping well.

One of the questions that has come to mind while I've been having a crack at writing a novel is how to tell a story. This sounds pretty elementary for a budding writer, I know, but the mechanics of it is - for me at least - a little more complex than you might imagine. How do I make the story engaging? How do I make the reader want to turn to that next page?

So I have been reading all sorts of things to try to see how other people tell stories. Going back to children's stories has proved to be a particularly interesting source - especially those children's stories that involve the fanastic or the magical. How is the reader encouraged that the plot is just possible enough to keep reading? I've just finished Madeleine L'Engle's lovely A Wrinkle in Time and I've just now started Susan Cooper's Greenwitch. I've been watching Children of the Stones and The Tomorrow People on You Tube too. Funnily enough, I didn't read books like this when I was actually a child - they scared me! And I couldn't watch Doctor Who either, for the same reason.

What did you read when you were little? Do you remember these books? What makes a good story for you?