Thursday, August 29, 2013

Gentle Spring

Pussy Willow, picked on a Sunday drive to Warrandyte

Spring is starting to show itself. The front garden is beginning to bloom with all of its lovely self-sown flowers (they are the children of plants my grandmother planted many moons ago) and the air is warm and sweet. As it gets noticeably warmer, I have to remind myself not to fear the hot summer days that will follow Spring, but to enjoy what is here right now.

A trip to the op-shop this morning yielded treasure in the form of three Beatrix Potter books - The Tale of Ginger and Pickles, The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes and (of course) The Tale of Peter Rabbit. I bought them to sell online, but now I'm not sure if I can part with them. That's how our house has ended up full of books!

This is such a pretty song. I thought you might like it. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Disappointed Cat says...

I made this little guy a day or two ago after seeing a similar idea for a felt brooch in Pip Lincolne's Meet me at Mike's book. At first, I didn't like him because I didn't think he was very cute. But now I kind of like his rather affronted expression. Sort of like Grumpy Cat but more...Disappointed Cat.

I found two lovely looking cookbooks at the op-shop this morning - The Vegan Table and The Joy of Vegan Baking, both by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. The recipes look delicious and easy, two things that I have wondered about the possibilty of with vegan cooking in the past. I have never cooked vegan before. Have you? Any tips?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Underground Overground

I once read that the more you try to diet and restrict the intake of a particular food, the more likely you are to crave that food above all else. For example, chocolate (possibly doesn't hold true for cabbage). So it is that, several weeks after declaring a major household purge on all items that are neither beautiful nor useful (thank you William Morris) or are simply too numerous, I find that I am trawling Etsy and Ebay to sate a few little obsessions, looking for more stuff to fill the house with.

Namely, Wombles and Kiwiana (NZ kitsch - like Australiana).

Suddenly I can't get enough of Tomsk, Tobermory, Great Uncle Bulgaria and the rest, nor paua shell and hei tikis. I suspect it's the thrill of the chase, more than anything. I have resisted the urge to buy so far, holding myself to a cooling-off period instead.

Do you have any little fascinations on the go at the moment?

Friday, August 16, 2013

This Charming Man

 In case you want to go back to the musical source, this lyric comes from The Smiths song "Sheila Take a Bow"

I love it when someone does something really clever but it has to be quirky clever - that's the best clever of all. I'm on Facebook, sometimes against my better judgement, and as The Smiths tragic you now know me to be, I have 'liked' a Smiths page. On that page yesterday was a link to a truly wonderful site - 'This Charming Charlie' ( which is a play on The Smiths song 'This Charming Man' because this site brings together the words of The Smiths with the figures of the Peanuts cartoons. Putting the serious, melancholic lyrics of Morrissey into the mouths of the perpetually sunny Peanuts kids (with the possible exception there of Charlie Brown) is such beautiful fun but also such beautiful pathos as well as being somehow so apt. Genius! I contacted the very talented creator of This Charming Charlie, Lauren LoPrete, and she very kindly gave me permission to post some of the images from her site here.

Lucy and a line from "How Soon is Now"

Schroeder and "Panic"

Lucy and "That joke isn't funny anymore"

Sally ponders the imponderable - "How Soon is Now"

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

To talk again

I have been missing my grandmother lately. I'm not quite sure exactly why. We live in what was my grandparents' house, so I guess they are never far from my thoughts and also they were the only grandparents I really knew - my mother's parents spent a lot of time ill and passed away when I was very small (my maternal grandfather died before I even arrived).

But I have been thinking lately that perhaps it's because I have changed just a little bit in my interests since Grandma died in 2008. As you know, I am now completely into knitting, sewing and baking - things that she would have loved me to have shown an interest in. She was very accomplished in all of these pursuits and I would love now to talk to her about how she does things - this stitch or that cup of flour. That's not to say that she would have been a patient, sweet-natured teacher! I can still recall being told in no mollycoddling or uncertain terms how to knit when I asked at age ten. But it would just be nice to ask and to talk again.

And so I made this very tasty currant cake yesterday from one of my great-aunt's cookbooks, The Kookaburra Cookery Book. I'm thinking it's 1920s at the latest. With lots of nutmeg, it even tastes old-fashioned, reminding me so much for the flapjacks my grandma made every week, without fail, so that there was always something on hand for visitors who came to tea.

Currant Cake

1 cup butter
Half-cup milk
2 cups caster sugar
4 eggs
3 cups self-raising flour
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
Half-pound currants

Combine. Bake for 45 minutes - 1 hour (keep an eye on it) at 180 degrees celsius.

Monday, August 12, 2013

It's the little things that make me so happy

 Five gorgeous little animal postcards from Ikea

I know that things aren't supposed to make me happy. I know that I should delight in the people and not the objects around me. And of course I do. But sometimes, a little acquisition or two can raise the spirits. And they don't even have to be very large.

A delightfully weird Japanese exercise book with a German cover from (the Japanese store) Daiso

Owl cushion cover from Ikea

Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs now have Smurfs in them (oh no, there are nine to collect...)

And two Bowie albums ("Low" and "Heroes") on sale from JB-Hi in the CD player...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Touche crochet

I can't crochet. I. can't. crochet. I can't crochet! I have tried and I have tried and I have tried but I just can't crochet. I am totally fascinated by all of the different ways that stitches can lock together to make a whole gorgeous thing and while my knitting has improved, I cannot crochet. I have watched You Tube videos. I have read books. I have studied diagrams. And yet.

Yesterday I thought I had made real progress. I managed a line of chain stitch ('casting on' in crochet world, I guess) and then a first row. But then I had to 'turn'. Just flip your work over and start again, the nice lady on the You Tube video calmly said. I flipped. Then I flipped it back the other way. Then I flipped it upside down. My yarn tail got in the way. I flipped again. I could feel the old, familiar crochet fog filling my mind. Damn!

Does anyone know how to crochet? If you do, where did you learn?

At least I've had a little bit of Swedish pop to keep me calm...