This week I lost a friend. It was a sudden and very tragic loss. The tragedy includes her partner. I am so sad. I am feeling so many things. I am watching her friends and community grieve. Some of them are my friends and community, too. The loss is so much bigger than anyone can comprehend. Two parents leaving behind two cherished young children. It will take so much time to heal.
This is all playing out in my daily offline life as well as my online life. I know you know my friend. I know you know her because you probably have an online connection to the craft world. If you have that connection then you most certainly know Kathreen and her website Whip Up.
I have been consumed by these happenings in my offline life. Not in a bad way, but a necessary way. Doing my fumbling best to support our common friends. Soozs thoughts on circles of grief (bottom of the post) are ringing so loudly in my ears.
I have been avoiding this space and yet at the same time somehow strangely drawn to it. But I feel now is the right time to come here. This space, this incredible community I am part of, without it I would have never met Kathreen.
Kathreen's connections are prolific. She had such a self-less and collaborative approach to the way she went about things that community naturally built around her. I feel as though the whole world knows about this and is feeling the loss of these two inspirational people.
When we spent time together, we rarely chatted about Whip Up. We chatted about education philosophies, ethical farming, raising boys that like pink (mine), secret farmer's market tips, fox attacks on chooks, once in a lifetime family adventures around Australia... you know stuff. We would say we would catch up for a quick cuppa only to realise three hours had passed.
But you didn't need to have shared a cuppa with Kathreen to feel her loss. A friend talked so eloquently last night about how meaningful online connections can be. How real they are, especially in the crafting community. It is something people outside of the community can struggle to understand. And tonight I remembered that I wrote a post about just that...on Whip Up. (And here I go with the tears again). It was reading that post that compelled me to come here and write.
" I never imagined a connection via a computer could feel so real. But you must have felt it too? "
This is why I know you're hurting, too. Because even though you may not have had the privilege of sharing a cuppa in person with this beautiful, gentle, sometimes cheeky, incredibly talented woman; you didn't have to. You know her because you, too, were part of the wonderful community she created and nurtured. You've nurtured it too, just by participating.
We are all in this together.
** A donation account for Kathreen and Rob's children has been established to help support them in their futures. If you can spare anything, even as little as $5, it will help. All the details are here.
Monday, May 13, 2013
I can't take it any longer. The itch cannot be ignored. It's time to get into the garden. We no longer live in our sweet little 1950s museum house with the amazing garden. The house is still standing, but not for long.
We have been in this, the shoebox house, for around 6 months now. It was so difficult to be here over summer without a healthy garden bed to stick so much as a seed in. I did manage to console myself to a couple of hanging baskets of herbs perched on the rambling branches of the Manchurian Pear Tree.
I dug around, studied the sun moving across the garden, even chucked a few seeds in a bed to see what happened. The outcomes didn't make me happy. Terrible, terrible soil. The best looking bed completely shaded for most of the day. No seeds struck. At least the chooks were happy. Well, when they're not being bossed out of the coop...
I despaired. And then I noticed the back corner of the garden. I usually ignore it. In my mind it is assigned as chook scratching/cat rolling/poisoned bed of former weeds (the landlord knocked everything off with some handy dandy garden poison).
Then I noticed the sun. Perfect, full, warm sun blazing down on that bare patch, all day long. I asked every one I knew with the teeniest inclination towards gardening about the ongoing presence of that handy dandy garden poison (I have not ever and will never use it). And I dug around to see what the soil was like.
Things started to come together. Apparently the poison doesn't stick around for long. The soil can be cheaply improved with all those ausumn leaves floating about, a bit of gypsum and a planting of green manure. The bark chips can be raked away. The chooks can be told to scratch around elsewhere. It's all good.
Other than the pet cemetery I unearthed, with the help of those scratching chooks. That wasn't so great. But according to yet more (this time expert) advice, the presence of the cemetery is not such a bad thing. Creepy? Yep. Problem for the soil? Not at all, in fact it's good.
So I'm soldiering on with my new bed in the perfectly sunny spot. Albeit with an alternative plan that doesn't involve me improving the soil. I scabbed some abandoned bricks, from a lovely neighbour, to mark out the bed and I'll be adding half a trailer load of veggie mix. Then, instead of growing broad beans to only dig back into the soil, we will get to eat them! And our usual winter greens and spring onions and whatever else I decide to pop into that warm, healthy veggie mix. Yipee!
That photo above is the bed, ready and waiting for the veggie mix. I'm already planning the summer garden and it's not even properly winter yet.
Sunday, April 07, 2013
A few weeks ago we had an invite to a 5th birthday party. We spend a bit of time with this 5 year old. Her brief was "something in pink or purple and not something for boys". I can do that, I thought. As time drew closer, I felt little inspiration in the way of something to purchase.
Whenever Miss L visits our house, all the dress ups are pulled out and everyone strips down and dresses up. So I hit my pinterest boards looking for some homemade dress up inspiration.
And so, Super L was created. A personalised cape, super powered cuffs, mask for identity protection, shoe wings for flying (inspired by this pin). All reversible.
I do have some issues with Super Heroes; we spend a lot of time talking about how Emergency Services people are the real super heroes. However, we couldn't hold the flood gates closed on the superhero barrage, so The Smurf has lots of generic, homemade dress ups as well as the trademarked super people. And he loves them. So, I was hopeful Super L would feel the same.
I started out writing instructions for each piece, but really it is as simple as drawing the shapes and going from there. It's pretty simple to work things out from the pictures.
A How To of sorts...
- The wrist cuffs are rectangles of felt and joined on the short ends with two pieces of elastic attached at each end of the cuff. The cuff becomes a tube that is easily slipped on and off. I based the size on a toilet paper roll - The Smurf has quite a collection of super hero cuffs made from toilet paper rolls.
- The mask is two pieces of felt sewn together with elastic sandwiched at the outer edges. No fussy turning out and clipping seams, just draw a template, place it on top of two pieces of felt, trace (with a seam allowance), sew and cut out - be careful not to cut the elastic while you're at it.
- The shoe wings are again two layers of felt. Draw the shape on paper first so you can tweak it until you're happy. Trace, sew, cut. Then punch some shoelace holes for threading onto shoes.
- There are endless free cape tutorials on the web. My favourite is this one by Suzy at Floating World. However, the last few times I've made capes, I've used just one piece of fabric, rather than having a separate piece for the neckline.
- To make a reversible one-piece cape, I fold a piece of fabric in half length ways and use a kids singlet to get a rough guide on the depth of the neckline and tweak a bit deeper from that. Then simply draw the rest of the shape as you choose. Place the cut out piece face down on your second piece of fabric. Pin and sew around your shape, leaving a gap for turning in the right way. Clip your curves, turn in the right way and top stitch. Sew small pieces of velcro at the neck joins (remember Edna in The Incredibles says "No Capes!" so it needs to easily rip apart if it gets caught).
How do you feel about Super Heroes? Have you kept them at bay at your place or is it all Pow! Bang! Biff! Boom!
Friday, January 04, 2013
|Beach House. How's the serenity?|
Since I was last here, we have moved house (into a smaller house with much less inside storage), finished childcare, celebrated Christmas and New Year and all the daily stuff in between. There's been no time for blogging; it's been a whacky, crazy-busy couple of months.
Returning home after a couple of weeks away with family for the Christmas/New Year period has been sweet relief. Sweet relief because I finally feel as though I have some head space to rest, relax and breath out.
Sweet relief because ten out of the eleven beach-house guests were knocked down with a violent bout of gastro and it's all over now. We may or may not (ahem) also have spread it to my in-laws who have also all gone down with it. Dirty potent little bug.
Sweet relief because I now get to finish the postponed unpacking and work out where the hell those last few boxes will be unpacked to. Goodness knows there's no room in the non-existent pantry, non-existent linen cupboard or non-existent wardrobes.
Within that diseased beach-house there was plenty of summer-time fun, oh and some bluebottle stings to boot. I'm sharing some of my highlights so that some day I can look back here and remember that we really did do more than vomit, run to the toilet and get stung by bluebottles this holiday...
|Pa's Backyard Golf School|
|The boys faired better this year|
|Never travel on summer holidays without one of those cheapie slip n slides|
|... is now on the move, cuddles a dolly (nature NOT nurture) and gives (very sloppy) kisses|
|When it was too hot to be in the sun there was always "skateboarding"|
|How the babies roll...|
|Just why are garbage trucks so exciting?|
|New Years Eve fun with fire|
|Glow stick dancing is way more fun than watching fireworks on the telly|
|Our very own, rather old Hairy McLarey|
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
I don't get much sewing time at the moment, mere snippets here and there. I'm combating that by tracing and cutting heaps of patterns in advance, pairing them up with fabric and loading up a basket with it all. That way when I have a rare snippet of time to sew I am ready to go. I figure it's more satisfying that way.
Of course I got a bit over excited with my tracing and cutting plans and it has taken forever to trace and cut everything and get it to the basket. It took all my self control not to just start sewing. In the end I cut my tracing list short and just got cracking.
Starting with this sweet little red dress. Not sure who it will be for yet, but there is a new list of little girls needing christmas presents and this will fit the bill for one of them.
The pattern is the Little Deer Pinafore from Ottobre 2008/1. I was intending to just test the pattern with this red spot before using the "nice" fabric but I really like it. And look! It has piping. And perfect buttons; thank you enormous button stash.
Oh and here's one of my photography assistants/trip hazards:
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
I've got plenty of crafty things to post, but there are more important things afoot. We knew when we first rented our little 1950s museum house that it would eventually be knocked down to make way for 34 soul-less townhouses and apartments. The time has come.
Before we move I want to write more about the garden and how important it is to me but for now I am going to write about afternoon tea under the pear tree.
About this time is the perfect time of year for doing pretty much anything (other than sun baking) under the pear tree. It's about 50 years old and enormous. So, when it finally bursts into bloom, after a cold winter, it provides the most glorious shade, perfect for sitting under. It's our favourite spot to go to when we're hanging out in the garden reading, eating, knitting, just sitting, drinking beer, whatever.
So, I invited some of my lovely friends who share my appreciation for my beautiful pear tree and treated them to afternoon tea. A last little hoorah for 'my' beautiful pear tree.
Homemade Neenish Tarts ( a Sadie specialty), Blueberry Honey Cakes, Bourke Street Bakery Pork and Fennel Sausage Rolls (complete with homemade puff pastry - bit excited by that) and (accidentally) Burnt Caramel Custard Puddings. And my lovely friends added scones and mini quiches to the mix.
After a couple of weeks of glorious spring weather, we were defeated by windchill and raindrops so we abandoned the pear tree and retreated inside to my very messy, cramped dining room.
We set up a sheltered workshop, hand sewing for G's kids' school fete. G is the Yoda of school fete crafting. We chatted. We ate the (accidentally) Burnt Caramel Custards. Accidental because I didn't mean to burn the caramel. Lucky I did though.
All in all a very fitting last hoorah to a beautiful old tree, even if we only sat under it for fifteen minutes.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
I've been thinking about this space a lot. For a while, I didn't miss it. At all. Now, though, I find I am. When I look back through my archives I am reminded why I started this space in the first place; as a way to track my progress and keep in touch with friends.
My little space has grown so much since the start seven years ago and I can see my craft skills - in knitting, sewing, crochet etc - have too. Heck even my HTML skills have. They have all grown because of this space and the community it exists in. I like that.
I like that I can see old favourite projects, evidence of my extreme attention deficient crafting ways, favourite things baked. I especially like that alongside all of that I can see how my Smurf is growing.
I also like that this space (and the ever expanding associated spaces) has introduced me to so many friends, many that I now choose to spend time with in "real" life. Well, in my offline life. I now live in the same city as one of my earliest blogging friends and we hang out sometimes. That's pretty cool in my book. She even still has a toy I made her many years ago.
So, with all that in mind and that there are adventures of another wee Smurf, a Smurfette in fact, to keep track of, I'm making my way back here. I'll be treating it as I always have, as my own personal reference. I won't be trying hard to impress anyone.
I'll just be having fun, hanging out and reminding myself of stuff I'm doing with craft (mostly) my reference point. Who knows, maybe I'll find some more friends along the way?
PS My comment system is completely borked. I need to fiddle and get rid of it. Apologies if you feel inclined to comment and it doesn't work.