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Fragrant green tea and fruit toast for an unhurried breakfast on the back step.

A thoughtful and generous package from the lovely Bells.  I recently won a contest to celebrate the anniversary of Bells’s wonderful blog, and was lucky enough to receive a perfect little project bag made by her own fair hands (I love the fabric combination), and a skein of the most swoon-worthy yarn from Knitabulous.  It is the 50/50 silk and wool blend 4 ply in Summer pudding, a lovely subtle rhubarby red.  What a glorious shawl this will make – maybe this one …  Thanks so much, Bells!

Shells collected from the seaside on the weekend by my boy.  I love how he marvelled over each one, no matter how imperfect, noticing the colours or sheen.

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There’s not normally much opportunity for creativity here, but some time off work has initiated renewed opportunity and enthusiam for making things.  Some preparations for Christmas ….

Creative Spaces abound here at Kootoyoo

Late Autumn, and this is what some of the vegetable patch at the Children’s Garden looks like at the moment.  A common theme in the bloggy world that I enjoy is acknowledging and celebrating seasons, cycles, special times and anniversaries. 

Not as auspicious as some anniversaries, but I just realised that it is one year to the day since I starting blogging. 

I started on a whim, without many expectations.  I had enjoyed reading about the creative/domestic lives of others, and wanted in some way to have a journal, a scrapbook, a chance for some dialog with people who like similar things or have similar experiences.   Best of all I now feel like I have made some good bloggy friends, whose blogs I regularly visit and am inspired by, and who leave me cheerful, informative and supportive comments.  And that contact, virtual or actual, makes life more enjoyable.

Thanks so much for visiting me.

A quickly made, soft, lacy triangle made on impulse.  A lovely blogging friend was getting married, and was having a stressful time generally, so I really wanted to send her a small gift in celebration and support.  I’m not the first to remark on how funny, or rather wonderful, it is to feel that you are friends with people you have never met, but who you feel you know as friends through their on-line presence.  I feel that I share so many interests with Josephine, and that I have a sense of her personality through her eloquent writing.  I love than I am often surprised at, always interested in and often have cause to think further on what she writes about on her blog.  She comes across as highly intelligent, imaginative, warm and approachable, with an open inquiring mind and a touch of magic about her.  And charmingly off-beat, which I love and admire.  And she loves handcrafts …

I quickly decided on a shawlette/triangular scarf pattern that I’d been interested in trying, 198 yards of Heaven.  The yarn is Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 10ply in Lake.  This was such a quick and enjoyable knit!  The 10ply yarn and interesting yet intuitive lace pattern meant it grew quickly.  I think I may be addicted to knitting lace shawls …  My only downfall was that I used a version of the pattern that I printed out some time ago, and the pattern has since been updated.  In the older version the border doesn’t match up as well with the body.

I loved the way this looked straight off the needles, with its rumply garter stitch border, but blocking was required to make it large enough to wear.  The pattern instructs to block aggressively …

The result was surprisingly light and lacy despite the heavier weight wool, and a nice size for wrapping around the neck under a coat.  The large-scale of the lace pattern gives it a modern look, but it has a vintage style to it too. 

Modern, yet respecting tradition.  Practical, yet romantic.  A bit like Josephine!

For more Hot and Not guidance, visit Loobylu

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HOT   NOT
     
The weather   The weather (too hot)
     
Poppies for remembrance   To be totally obvious (but it goes with the poppies), War
     
Fresh peaches on my muesli and yoghurt, and breakfast outside in the cool of the morning   Not managing to buy a house on the weekend (sob)
     
Slipping back into work without too much drama.  Sadly, it’s like I’ve never been away in some ways.   Getting up at 6.30.  Driving in heavy traffic for an hour to get to work.
     
Getting a babysitter, leaving the house without children, eating Indian food and seeing a movie!   The children, unused to it, don’t like us getting a babysitter and leaving the house.  (But they survived)
     
If this keeps up, dinner here is on the cards!   Our good friends moving back to Sydney in a few weeks … sob
     
Thinking about Christmas and doing a bit of on-line shopping for gifts, and planning crafty activities   Thinking about Christmas … only how many days away?
     
Home-made icy poles, strawberries and watermelon   A proper breakfast (as far as young R is concerned)

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Also really hot is the garage (literally), and drawing on the ground, and of course, Buzz Lightyear.

Joining in with Loobylu, see here for more reliable hot and not lists than the following …

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HOT   NOT
     
Flowers appearing in the garden to be picked by little hands and given proudly to mummy   Babies waking constantly at night
     
Picking a rose bud to put in a vase in the kitchen so I can look at while doing the dishes   Having to do the dishes.  A lot.  (We do have a dishwasher now, but it’s still hard to keep on top of it.  And don’t get me started on the laundry …)
     
Trips to the market for mangoes, strawberries, basil and Mr Pitta pitta bread   Having to go back to work in three weeks!  This means having to get up at 6.30am to have any hope of arriving there on time, made more difficult by the interrupted nights mentioned above.
     
Japanese biscuits and edamame   Almost any other food that four-year-olds liked last week
     
Origami (well, isn’t it?)   A distinct lack of household organisation
     
Rediscovering childhood favourite books … like The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Gouge.  Obscure even when I first borrowed it from the library in the early 1970’s, but now made into a (less subtle) film so back in print   Being sprayed with baby food as babies decide that it’s good to practice blowing raspberries during mealtimes
     
Being set to embark on a new knitting project, maybe this or this   A self-imposed deadline to complete a shawl before my aunt’s 80th birthday
     
Dottie Angel’s challenge   Probably having to spend money on (larger) clothes for afore-mentioned return to the workplace

 

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Loobylu had the great idea of reviving the In/Out list in her post yesterday, and although I certainly don’t claim to be an arbiter of taste, here’s what’s hot and what’s not chez nous:

Hot Not
*Mango milk (with yoghurt) *Milo
*My new Olfa Rotary Cutter (whee!) *Patterns and pins and scissors and slipping and sliding
*Lightning McQueen (still) *Bob the Builder (poor Bob)
*Crunchy salads with red (purple!) cabbage and grated carrot *Not bothering to make a vegie meal component
*Planting sunflower seeds *Realising that maybe they should have  been planted in a different area
*Gorgeous new Francophile fabric from Retro Mummy that I couldn’t resist (and Corrie’s having a giveaway at the moment) *Indestructible pure lambs wool op shop jumpers that wont felt, despite hot heavy duty wash and hot tumble dry
*Standing up with the aid of furniture (if you are 10 months old, that is) *Jamming tiny fingers in drawers
*Wanting to knit the Colonnade scarf/shawl from the new Knitty *Being the last knitter on earth to catch on to shawl making
*Finding a cute crocheted shawl in the op shop *Not finding enough op shop things in natural fibres for a planned project
*Bendigo Woollen Mills Harmony (cotton/wool/lycra blend) is back!!!! *It’s a limited run, and my stash is too embarrassingly large to consider stocking up

 

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Photos from a lovely jaunt to Prahran Market – ah! fresh produce (and sorry if this column thing is hard to read – I’m still struggling with formatting text here).

 

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As a relative new-comer to the world of blogging, I am always pleasantly surprised when I receive visitors and comments, so it made my day to actually receive a blog award!  The lovely Josephine Tale Peddler has awarded me the Honest Scrap Award.  (And I have stolen her image concept for this post*)  As this virtual award is for bloggers who write from the heart, I am extremely touched and flattered, especially given that Josephine herself  is such a fascinating and accomplished (not to mention prize-winning) writer in real life as well as in the blogosphere.

In accepting this award, I must reveal ten true things about myself, and pass on the award to ten other blogs that I love.  So here goes:

  1. I always thought that I would never have children, so it comes as quite a surprise to me that I’m now a mother of three.
  2. Although born in Australia, I am actually 3/4 Scottish!
  3. I have an irrational dislike, ok phobia, of buttons.  I’ve never liked clothes with them, and the current popularity for button jewellery and embellishment gives me the shudders.
  4. My mother-in-law was a showgirl at the Tivoli Theatre in Melbourne in the 1940’s.
  5. I have had basically the same hairstyle for 25 years.
  6. Although I normally consider myself discerning about food, I prefer cheap supermarket sausages to gourmet ones.  (Preferably well done and in white bread with tomato sauce.)
  7. I used to be a near-gym-junkie, going to the gym at least three times a week, and loving the Les Mills classes.
  8. I have very poor eyesight in my right eye, but my combined eyesight is such that I don’t need glasses.  It always makes me wonder if I’m missing something …
  9. I passed HSC (year 12) Art with a series of hand-dyed macrame wall hangings incorporating woven sheep fleece.  Apparently my overall score would have been better if I had expanded on the soft-sculpture jellyfish theme instead of the macrame.  We live and learn.
  10. I am obsessed with the film Les Demoiselles de Rochefort by Jacques Demy.  I wanted to name my twins after the twins in the film, and only half got away with it.  (Demy’s wife, Agnes Varda is my favorite filmmaker (apart from Mr Foxy).)

And these are some of the blogs, apart from Josephine’s,  that I love to read at the moment and would  love to pass the award on to:

  1. Michelle Giacobello, a talented painter, crafter and mother who writes eloquently of art and life. 
  2. Bellsknits, fabulous knitter and writer always with an interesting story to tell.  I love how her tales of the knitting community elevates the craft of knitting, and she is theKnitting MacGyver!
  3. Suse at Pea Soup, she knits, she dyes yarn, she talks about the good stuff in life and takes great photos.  And I love her humour.
  4. Jelly Baby Blog, Jo’s projects are inspirational, and she writes from the heart of the practicalities, joys and challenges of parenting.
  5. Attic 24.  I love to lose myself in Lucy’s gorgeously colourful world, and her crochet is so inspiring.  And she most generously shares her designs.
  6. Jaboopee, Elaine is an awe-inspiring sculptor and glass artist with a collection of misfit toys always up to no good.  And she makes a mean granny square lampshade.
  7. Neulova Narttu, well to be honest I can’t claim that Soile writes from the heart as I don’t read Finnish, but her blog is certainly full of heart.  I love her eye for colour, her personal style and glimpses into her life in Finland.  Oh, did I mention that she knits and spins like a dream?
  8. Plum Pudding, Megan’s pretty blog always inspires with family-friendly crafts, recipes and activities, and she has a love of vintage goodies.  Her spaghetti-dogs have to be seen to be believed!
  9. Clementine’s shoes, Di is an architect, mother and knitter/crafter who manages to be down to earth and incredibly stylish at the same time.  Again, lots of knitty/crafty/home-making inspiration, links and tutorials.
  10. Assemblage, Knitting , sewing, cooking and parenting with style.  Kirsten is a talented and generous knitwear designer (in her spare time when she’s not running her own architecture business), and her blog is a calming visual delight.

Merci beaucoup Josephine!

*Oscar winners (L-R) Mercedes McCambridge (Supporting Actress), Broderick Crawford (Best Actor), Olivia de Havilland (Best Actress) and Dean Jagger (Best Supporting Actor) during 22nd annual Academy Awards at RKO Pantages theater.
Location: Hollywood, CA, US   Date taken: March 23, 1950   Photographer: Ed Clark, Life Magazine
LouiseBrooks1[Louise Brooks in Pandora’s Box, 1929*]

I know it’s a cliche to say so, but the internet is such a wonderful opportunity to feel part of things, catching up with he makings and doings of like-minded souls via blogs, forums or networking sites.  I always used to think that it was sad that people had to turn to the virtual to communicate with other people, but I’ve now come to value what it can offer.  I still love to see and socialise with real people of course, but in times when everyone is so busy, working or looking after their families, it is a boon to be able to connect in convenient moments offered by the always available internet.  And also, only a couple of my friends are actually interested in knitting and craftiness, so there is the bonus of access to unlimited inspiration and stories about my particular obsessions interests.  So it’s really an adjunct to, rather than replacement of, your usual social life. 

Although I’ve been looking at a small number of favorite blogs for years, and have even joined a networking site (well it is all about knitting), I’ve never really participated in the dialogue.  Just quietly lurking, looking, absorbing, getting enthusiastic and inspired, then going off to my own life. 

I guess that started to change a bit when I started this blog.  I started to look forward to comments, which made me more likely to leave comments on others’ blogs.  I joined some groups on Ravelry and even submitted the odd post in forums. 

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Then I got involved in swaps!  Suddenly I was participating and eagerly checking for new posts on the forum.  Hearing about other’s progress and looking forward to seeing what everyone made.  Of course the major thing about swaps is trying to work out what another person would like, then making them something as a surprise.  Knitting (or crocheting) a present for someone who actually appreciates the work going in to it.  This alone may be something not experienced in normal life.  Oh, and someone else makes something just for you, too!

I just completed my second swap with the Bendigo Woollen Mills users group, and was the lucky recipient of a very generous package from Jaffa7.  Part of the art of the swap is ‘stalking’ your swappee to discover their interests and preferences.  Kelly was astute enough to guess at my love of 1920’s styles to make me this cute cloche and scarf, and also included some balls of my favorite alpaca yarn and the very shampoo soap I’d linked to a reference to in a previous blog post.  It feels very special to have someone you don’t know go to the trouble of thinking about and researching what you might like.  Thanks so much for your thoughtfulness, Kelly, I love it all!

swap2 collage

And there is to be another swap to be signed up for by the end of the week.  I haven’t yet, but think I might have to…   The theme is Op-Shop Karma– apart from something made with 100g of Bendi yarn, all items must be sought from op-shops, with the idea being that you use the materials to make new things a la Betz White or Amanda Blake Soule.  Could be fun, or nerve-wracking …

[*any resemblance between Ms Brooks and the matronly figure pictured below is entirely wishful thinking on the part of the blogger.]

As started by Pip, earlier in the week …

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  • Making :  my Ravelry Bendigo Woollen Mills Group swap project
  • Cooking :  kid-friendly chili con carne
  • Drinking :  filtered water, and interested in this new product
  • Reading:  my new copy of Handmade Home, just arrived
  • Wanting:  more consecutive hours of sleep
  • Looking: at nice magazines, like Selvedge (thanks Michelle) and Inside Out
  • Playing: an audiobook from the library, England’s Mistress
  • Wasting: too much time browsing Ravelry
  • Sewing:  only things knitting/crochet-related of late, but would like to get a sewing nook set up one day (or like this one)
  • Wishing:  for more time and energy
  • Enjoying:  sunshine and signs of spring, amongst the high winds
  • Waiting:  for a too slow internet connection to load pages
  • Liking:  browsing Etsy for gifts, now that the exchange rate isn’t too bad
  • Wondering:  how long the babies will sleep and if a routine is possible
  • Loving:  my vintage granny-square blanket on my bed, the gift of a friend and found in a Darwin op-shop, rediscovered in the linen cupboard
  • Hoping:  a large-enough house in a reasonable location could become ours before too long
  • Marvelling:  at the beauty and cleverness of my three babies
  • Needing:  a good old tidy up around the house
  • Smelling:  (until recently) jonquils
  • Wearing: my February Lady (if you’re a Raveller, here’s mine here)
  • Followingthe Uniform Project – inspirational accessorising, for a good cause
  • Noticing:  that clutter is quick to collect
  • Knowing:  that my moments of peaceful pottering will end soon as the kinder run is nigh
  • Thinking:  that the characters populating everyday life in 18th century Britain and Europe was actually much younger than we imagine – people started working independently as young as 10 or 12, heads of state and politcians could be in their teens or 20’s.
  • Feeling:  lucky that I don’t live in 18th century England
  • Bookmarking:  recipes and activities in The River Cottage Family Cookbook 
  • Opening:  my parcel from Fishpond
  • Giggling: at babies blowing raspberries, in unison and at length
  • Feeling:  tired but generally content

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