Friday, 28 December 2007

Christmas And Boxing Day

I love looking at other people's blogs around Christmas time. It's interesting to read about the way people celebrate the holiday season all over the world. (It's also inspiring ~ after reading Northern American blogs I've taken to Christmas baking.) Carola, has written a lovely post about Swedish traditions.

Christmas celebrations are always a team effort for my family. My mother readies the house for overnight guests, we all cook and my baby sister puts up the decorations. Last year we ate Christmas dinner under the stars, with lots of twinkling lights:

This year, my sister decorated with Chinese lanterns:

I made a pavlova, the national dessert of Australia and New Zealand ~ my first:

As you can see, I topped it with strawberries, milk chocolate and passionfruit. It was (she says immodestly) delicious. Nigella has a similar recipe to the one I used (if you take out the chocolate in the meringue) here.

We celebrated Christmas in the evening because it was so hot, scorchingly so ~ Christmas Day was 40.1 degrees celcius. The following day was even hotter, a sizzling 44.2 degrees celcius ~ Perth was the hottest city on the planet on Boxing Day. I stayed inside, underneath the ceiling fans, eating left~overs (Dad's roast chicken, beef and potatoes with red~wine gravy, my sister's pumpkin and pine nut salad, lots and lots of chocolate...mmmmmmmm), watching old movies and , finally, finding the time for some more crocheting (hooray!). I made a Pink Shells dishcloth out of some gorgeous Peaches n Creme cotton that I bought from The Wool Shack.

Christmas was a simple but lovely time for me.
I'm not planning on taking down the decorations any time soon, I'd like to savour the season's memories instead.
I hope that you also had a wonderful holiday, wherever in the world you were.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Beaded Snowflakes

Yesterday, in between cleaning up my dusty home before a friend came over for drinks and busily making cards so that I could post them out in time for Christmas, I took a little break and beaded some snowflakes:

I was only going to make one, seeing as I had so much else to do, but they were so much fun, and so quick, to assemble I ended up making three:

... and I'm going to make some more today so that I can give them away as little gifts.

There is an excellent tutorial for constructing these over at Beading Daily. (These snowflakes would be great to make with children too.)

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Love On A String

I'm finally on holidays! Yay!
I spent all of Saturday crafting, which was heavenly,
and a lot of crocheting was done.
Unfortunately I can't post any of it here yet because it's for a swap
but I can show you some of the jewellery that I made.

Here's a close up of a necklace that I put together:

I made the necklace out of glass beads and semi~precious stones, stringing them on to tiger tail. The beautiful marled green stone you can see in the foreground is called prehnite. I also used rose quartz and aventurine. I love the properties that these stones are supposed to have ~ both the aventurine and the quartz are said to provide comfort and heart healing; the rose quartz is meant to engender feelings of unconditional love.

I made a memory wire bracelet to match:

This was made out of rose quartz, glass and bugle beads.
Actually, I'm going to reassemble this. I've decided that I'd like to include some of the aventurine chips that are in the necklace. I also want to add some blown glass focal beads that have been lying, forgotten, in my stash. These focal beads are made out of clear glass with little pink rosebuds encased inside, and I think they would look really sweet.

Lastly, here's the necklace and the memory bracelet, along with a carved jade bangle that I always wear.

I wanted all of these pieces to work together and I'm happy with the match.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

A Small White Rose and the Chooky Dancers

My garden continues to delight. Here is a bloom that's been picked from the little rose bush that sits by my back door:

and, speaking of delights, have you seen this
~ a fabulous YouTube DVD?
It's a record of an indigenous dance troupe called the Chooky Dancers, from the top end of Australia, who are dancing to Zorba the Greek.

Watching this made me feel glad to be alive...and sentimental.
I used to be a music teacher, working in a very multicultural school (thirty different cultures were represented in our student body) and this troupe reminds me of some of my indigenous students, who used to dance an incredibly beautiful, unmistakably Aboriginal, very ancient stomp.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007


I am rising early these mornings.
I'm usually awake by 6:00 a.m. and the first thing I do is go out into the garden. I like the soft light, the stillness, the cool air and, most of all, I love the perfume. The honeysuckle is flooding my courtyard with sweet scent.
It smells so delicious!

I also have a small, fragrant gardenia:

These quiet beginnings offer a peaceful respite in otherwise busy and pressured (but rewarding) work days.

...and, whilst on the topic of gorgeous perfumes, I've been using two incredibly refreshing aromatherapy sprays from Verissima House. One is called Peace of Mind Mist
and the other Pillow Spray for Sweet Dreams.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Simple Christmas Ornaments

I'm planning on putting up my decorations this weekend so I've been digging around in my stash of tinselly things. I came across some little tree ornaments I've made and I photographed some of them this afternoon.
Here is a small glass bauble that's been drizzled with glitter glue:

This is super simple and good to make with little children (...and isn't that blue sky in the background beautiful?)

Here's another ornament that I've made with youngsters ~ an ever so slightly skew whiff wooden star:

This was made with clothes pegs that were stuck together with PVA (white) glue and sprayed with gold paint.

Here is a little beaded star that I've constructed with wire and beads:

...and here's one of my favourites:

It isn't really simple, I know.
It hasn't been made by me either, but I think it's lovely.
I bought it last year from a beautiful gift store called Lotus and was really excited to find a tutorial to make ornaments just like it, with cookie cutters, over at Sunshine's Creations.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007


I'm managing to get around to a little bit of Christmas creativity ~ in between paperwork I'm doing a few rounds of crochet or buying beading supplies...
Happily, I'm going to have time this weekend to get down to some serious crafting. I don't have any recent creations to show on this blog though because I've been so busy with my job, so here's a small pastel and pencil sketch of poinsettias that I drew, very quickly, a few years ago. I used it for some of my Christmas cards:

I usually make my own Christmas cards. This festive season, I'm thinking about using the photos I took of an Australian Painted Lady butterfly as a subject. Then again, I might use a photo I shot of a little, delicate, lemon coloured Cabbage White butterfly. Maybe I'll use watercolour paper and soft graphite pencils and oil crayons...or maybe I'll run out of time and end up photoshopping a butterfly drawing I've already done...Whatever I end up doing, I know I'll have fun playing with images.

Saturday, 1 December 2007


I had a fabulous time at Fremantle Art Centre's Bazaar last night. I hung out with my baby sister, caught up with friends, drank champagne and shopped shopped shopped.
What more could a girl want?

Here are some beautiful handmade goodies that I purchased, some from last night and some from last year.

These are made by a ceramicist called Amanda Harris:

(I bought these at last year's Bazaar, but Amanda has a stall this year too.)

This is a candle made by Golden Hill Candles:

It looks even prettier in real life.

I bought this necklace last night. This is by a jeweller, artist and film maker called Risa Herman (who I had a really interesting chat with) :

(I'm wearing this necklace as I type this blog entry, and I'm loving it!)

...and my favourite buy,
a vintage button bracelet, also by Risa Herman:

There were lots of other fabulous tables. I was really inspired by the FeltWEST stall. I'd love to participate in some of their workshops next year. The good news for Perth peeps is that Bazaar is on again tomorrow.

...and on an equally bright note ~ I have just finished most of my paperwork (that I've been grizzling about for the past five posts or so) and I've managed to meet the deadline
which means Sunday is all mine! Hip Hip Hooray!!!!!!!!

Monday, 26 November 2007


I am tired of paperwork.
My poor neglected cat is tired of paperwork.
Here she is. She's forced herself onto my lap and insisted that I pay her attention,
after a weekend where I've done nothing but feverishly shuffle notes and type into my laptop:

...but I am nearly there.
I'm so close to resuming my life outside of work
and I am looking forward to baking,
and tending my garden,
doing lunch,
hanging out with my darling niece and introducing her to the fabulous North and South,
making jewellery...
(actually, I make quite a lot of jewellery and when I've organised good enough lighting to take decent photographs I'm planning on posting some pictures of pieces I've made here.)

Oh, I am looking forward to soooo many things
and if I get back to the paperwork NOW
I might even get enough done
to be able to get out to Bazaar at Fremantle Arts Centre, which I usually go to every year because it's such a smorgasbord of hand made delights.

'Tis the season to be jolly

Friday, 23 November 2007


I've been really sick with a migraine.
I was so unwell at the beginning of the week that I had to be rescued by my parents ~
my dad came and picked me up, drove me to the doctors' and then whisked me away to spend a couple of days at his and my mother's home.
I usually live very independently,
I haven't relied so much on them for a looooong time,
but it was nice!
I was sympathised with, given cups of tea, cooked for and sent off for naps. As I felt better, I worked in the garden with Mum and talked about lots of arty things. My mother loves to create, and to draw in particular. She showed me this little pencil sketch she did a few weeks ago while she was waiting in a doctor's surgery:

(This is probably destined to go on the front of the Christmas cards my parents are going to print this year. )

My mother gave me some copies of other pieces of her work for me to share here.

This is a pencil drawing of my niece when she was a baby:

...and here's a portrait that my mother drew of me:

She's clever, isn't she? Not that I'm biased or anything.

I'm glad to say that I left Mum and Dad's feeling nurtured and nourished and healed.
May it continue!

Happy weekend, everyone.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

It's Starting To Look Like A Lot Like Christmas

Which means, here in sunny Western Australia, that the jacarandas are flowering in profusion and our beautiful native Christmas trees are covered in honey coloured blossoms
...and last night I was driving home in the dusk and saw, for the first time, a house lit up by Christmas lights. Hooray!

This little macaroni angel was made with some of the children I worked with the year before last.
I love kids and Christmas time ~ children's excitement is so infectious.

Here's a picture the angel on last year's tiny tabletop tree:

Only two weekends to go before I've finished most of my paperwork and can start really enjoying the festive season. I'm itching to craft again!

Monday, 12 November 2007

Mixtape, Dickens, Tea And Roses

Spending most week evenings and much of the weekend doing paperwork is a bit grim.
I keep going by treating myself to things like cups of tea in the garden and short recreational reading breaks (, and unlimited amounts of icecream.)

I've been looking through my copies of Mixtape. Mixtape is a new craftzine, and, I'm happy to say, an excellent diversion, celebrating things hand~made, green and groovy.

...and speaking of treats, I was taken out last night to see Miriam Margolyes in Dickens' Women. (If Miriam looks familiar, that might be because she plays Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter movies.)
It was fabulous.
Thanks Dad!

Friday, 9 November 2007


For the next month I am going to be spending a significant part of my weekends doing paperwork. Sigh. This Saturday and Sunday I am consoling myself with Unbelievably Easy Fudge, which actually is unbelievably easy to make.

I am also planning on breaking this weekend's work by going to the Margaret Woodward exhibition at the Gomboc Gallery. I went last weekend and the drawings were so delicious I want to see them again.
...and if any Perth readers plan on going too, you'll need to be quick. It closes on the 18th of November.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Snowflakes For Christmas?

I'm starting to look forward to Christmas. I'm organising tickets for Christmas concerts, I have been helping put together the work do, I've made a trial run of fudge, I'm signed up for a Secret Santa and, of course, I'm considering Christmassy crafts. Last year, amongst other things, I crocheted snowflakes:

This was fun to make. (Actually, I got so attached to this snowflake I just couldn't bring myself to take it down ~ it's still hanging up in the kitchen ...and, while I'm at it, I'll also sheepishly admit to leaving up Christmas fairy lights all year 'round too.)

This season I'm thinking amigurumi. How sweet would some of these look hanging from a tree?

Saturday, 3 November 2007

A Pretty Visitor

Look who visited my garden this afternoon:

I'm pretty sure this beautiful creature is a Lesser Wanderer butterfly. (Edited to say that, after consulting the butterfly book I bought from the museum, I think I've made a mistake. It's more like an Australian Painted Lady.) It flitted about these flowers for about half an hour or so and didn't seem to mind having its photo taken at all.

I was thrilled to have it come in. I always get myriads of Cabbage White butterflies, who lay their eggs on my nasturtiums (with my blessing), but hardly any other species. Very occasionally, a small native Skipper butterfly visits. Sadly, I haven't seen any Skippers for a year or more.
I've been doing a little bit of research on butterflies for work and I've found out that some butterflies are losing their habitat because of land clearing around Perth, so I've armed myself with a copy of Bring Back The Butterflies from the WA Museum and I'm going to see if I can grow plants that butterfly larvae like to feed on. Hopefully, I'll be able to encourage a more diverse range of butterflies back into my neighbourhood. Wish me luck!

Sunday, 28 October 2007

A Bouquet Of Cotton (and lots of links)

I have been admiring the gorgeous vintage crochet potholders over at Purlbee for a while now.
I've been inspired to search out some retro patterns like
this retro inspired pot holder
and this one
aaaaaaaaaand this one
but, alas, I haven't found that there's a great deal of cotton sold locally that comes in a wide enough variety of colours to play with or, if it does, is suitably I was delighted to read, on the Aussie Knitters forum on Ravelry, that an Australian Ebay seller, called Natty Yarns, was clearing her (substantial) stock of Lily Sugar n Cream.
I bought twenty three balls
and here are just some of them...

yarn = joy

Friday, 26 October 2007

Silk Painting

Last Sunday I rediscovered a silk scarf I painted quite a few years ago and I thought I'd share it here. I made it at a weekend workshop. It was my first attempt at painting on silk.

Here are some details:

and here's the scarf in it's entirety:

The square in the middle is unintentionally wonky but, wonkiness aside, it was great fun to paint. The silk colours were really pure and vivid, the paint blended effortlessly and I loved the process of creating it. I liked making it for sentimental reasons too ~ the leaves I drew are from my much loved gum tree, so it's a nice memento.

Writing this has helped to get me all inspired again (which is one of the things I love about blogging) and I'm planning on going to more silk painting workshops when I get the opportunity.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

A Pretty Pair

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm participating in a secret teacosy swap over at Ravelry. Yesterday, I received this comment on my blog:

Anonymous said...
So, if you're in a tea cosy swap, how will your partner know what size to make? Could there perhaps be a picture or dimensions??
A Well-Wisher

Thankyou, my thoughtful (yet strangely shy) anonymous visitor. That is a very good idea. I'm sure, ahem, I could even say confident, that my secret swap partner will be very grateful that you suggested it.

Actually, I have two pots and I don't mind which one my swap partner makes a cosy for.
Here's a photo of one:

It's 15cm tall and 14cm across at its widest point. (Incidentally, I bought it when I was op~shopping at St. Vincent de Paul's. Isn't it cute?)

...and here's a photo of another:

This one's a little bigger. It's 15cm tall again but 16cm across at its widest point. The ball of wool, by the way, weighs 50 grams.,
and if my aforementioned anonymous visitor can think of anything else that might help my secret swap partner, do let me know.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Shill Shelling and Tea Cosying

I've continued to work on my Shill Shell Shawl. I have been trying to complete three rows a night. It's made with DK yarn so the going is fairly slow but I'm optimistic that it'll be ready to wear for the beginning of December.

I'm also participating in the Aussie Tea Cosy Swap over at Ravelry. I've been looking at cosy patterns (Crochetroo has some sweet ones, including free instructions for a gorgeous scallop tea cosy)...and stalking my partner. No~one's revealing their identity so there's an element of surprise to it all. It's fun!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

A Thankyou, A Present And Some Charity Work

I'd like to start off this post by expressing gratitude to the people who've commented here. I appreciate your attention and support, and when I get time I'm going to respond to you individually. Thank you.

I've finished felting the little pouch I am making as a belated birthday present for my mum.
Here it is pre~felting,

here it is post~felting

and here's a close~up which I've included, really, to show the sweet seaside and snowflake daisies that have self seeded in my garden!

Now I've just got to sew the felted daisy pocket on to the front, and make some ties and a button.

I'm also using the pattern to make some little pouches for orphaned possums and bandicoots that are being cared for at the wonderful Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. For overseas people who are reading this, here's a picture of a ringtailed possum, which is one of the species of marsupial that Kanyana nurses.

This little possum's name is Scaredy and I befriended her when I was holidaying in Margaret River at the beginning of the year. The picture's a bit fuzzy I know (I didn't take many shots because I didn't want to hurt her eyes with the flash from my camera) but it gives you an idea of how lovely these creatures are.

If anyone would like to help out and make pouches for the wildlife centre too, please leave me a comment and I'll send you details.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

...And A Little More Progress...

My daisy blanket is the size of a lapghan now:

(I'm thinking of sewing down those curling petals when I come to weave in the ends.)

This is such a lovely, relaxing blanket to make...crochet as meditation...

For those of you who don't yet have the pattern for the daisy square in the middle, you can find it here.

I've just updated the pattern link for the daisy square pattern.
You can also find it on Ravelry where it's listed as the Easy Daisy Granny.
29th October, 2010