:: Meet Me at Mikes :: My Place and Yours - Blog HQ

blog HQ, theme by ninon, for the Meet Me at Mikes, My Place and Yours meme!

here is our little shared computer area - i have to block in time, what with a brett finishing up the semester. we share our laptop and i have 10 minutes to write this post before our laptop leaves for library land. thus, i tend to also do a lot of stuff from my computer at work which is not that nice of an HQ to look at. but today i'm not at work, yippee!

we have here a recovered chair jimmied with ikea fabric, the tiny printer table beneath the desk is also a refurb from a curbside collection i think. . .

a 17" mac of some description, big headphones, dictionary/thesaurus, some
beauty books and a jar of pens. sloppy looking paper holding thing back there too!

corkboard - we like corkboards with various bits, actually this one is fairly tidy at the moment and i promise all i removed was a receipt and a post-it with logins and passwords on it. we have a nice card with a print by Anmanari Brown on it, cute BB photos, a collage done by BB, Brett's uni schedule, and on the wall my favourite new painting by BB of me with a baby in my tummy.

thanks for having a look at my place and letting me have a peep at yours!


mmmmm, classics. . .

Oops! I accidentally bought 2 (Hardy and Bronte) of these hardback, clothbound beauties today at lunch. . .they are limited edition Penguin Classics, with illustrated covers by Coralie Bickford-Smith. I don't normally buy books but these were pretty cheap (AUD$20 each) and I had a 30% off coupon. Don't you just want to collect them all really badly?

Pretty Neat Stitching

image source

knit graffiti/yarn bombing/guerilla knitting are here to stay it seems. the Vivalagong Festival in Wollongong this weekend is featuring an installation of the work of Australia's own guerilla knitstress, Diane Litchfield aka grrl+dog in cahootz with some local knitters, poets and writers. something about abstract knitting appeals to me, and it seems a lovely thing to do to warm up urban spaces. i am always worried though about the fate of these diligently stitched sweeties - quite a lot of work goes into some of them. in know in some organized events they are sold for charity and such but what about your everyday casual guerilla knitters?
does anyone know what happens to these cozies?

also featured at the festival is the surreal and incredible Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project, part of a global textile art project instigated by Margaret and Christine Wertheim, sister and directors of The Institute for Figuring in LA. the project seeks to highlight the threat to these spectacular and diverse ecosystems due to global warming and pollutants. serious craftivism! the building blocks of the reef species are created using the hyperbolic crochet techniques mathematician dr daina taimina, which has been elaborated by the institute to create very accurate representations of the real life taxonomy of coral reefs. hyperbolic crochet is basically a pattern that uses a mathematical equation (usually exponential). by increasing stitches exponentially, the structure of the piece constantly curves away from itself, creating ruffled shapes. corals grow hyperbolically in nature therefore this technique lends itself very well to reproducing nature with yarn. oops! i feel a little nerdy at the moment - but simultaneously inspired to make my own little desktop coral garden perhaps. . .


Recipe: Leek and Mushroom Pie

this is a recipe for a savoury pie i made saturday for the vegetarian part of a belated thanksgiving meal - it turned out really nicely although i don't have a delicious just-out-of-the-oven photo of it. this pie is easy to make and very yummy eaten cold the day after. . .

You will need. . .

2 leeks, cleaned and cubed

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 scoops using both hands of button or other small mushroom, roughly chopped

a nob of butter

a bunch of thyme, pick about 1.5 tbsp of leaves

2 eggs

a cup of cottage cheese

salt & pepper

2 tsp lemon zest

a recipe for a savoury pie pastry plus some for a lid (if you are a pastry maker)

2 sheets of frozen puff pastry if you are not a pastry maker

preheat oven to 180 (375) degrees

saute the leek and garlic in a frying pan with some salt and pepper

when the leek is transparent, add the mushrooms

cook until mushrooms are soft and the leek has some colour

add the thyme leaves and put this mixture into a bowl

blind bake your pastry

meanwhile, add the eggs, cottage cheese, salt and pepper as you see fit and lemon zest

mix together thoroughly, and plop into the pie shell

cut a lid with vents for the pie, or cut circles of pastry with a cookie cutter or inverted cup and arrange to cover the leek and mushroom mixture

if you want to be extra fancy you could brush the top with a beaten egg and sprinkle with thyme leaves and sesame seeds

bake for 30 minutes or so until the pastry is golden looking



Meet Me at Mikes, My Place and Yours: Bedsides

When I heard that the Meet Me at Mikes My Place and Yours meme theme this week was “bedside” I really wanted to participate as i had a lot to say about my two bedsides. . .

You see, we have an almost-three-year-old. And that almost-three-year-old used to be a baby, who became very used to sleeping amongst parent-folk. She is wonderful and sweet and cute and funny. We love her to bits of course, and have never been ones to force things upon her. So I still spend quite a lot of time ensconced in her bed. I do like it there, I must admit. Her sweetness and softness is so nice especially as I don’t see her much in the day as a full-time Monday to Friday type worker. I try to start in the adult man and wife bed, but inevitably find myself waking up with BB each morning. Then sometimes we go and visit the daddy in the big bed but mainly we let him sleep in because he stays up very late late late lately, studying.

Accordingly, I have included a range of bedside photos.

this is BB’s. She likes fairly lights, her teddy bear named Curry (her favourite food) and lots of pillows. the posters at the head are from Frankie magazine and the play dough poster with recipe was hand drawn by a friend’s father, who used to run a day-care centre sometime in the 80s. i really like that poster.

BB likes her bedtime reading nearly every night in this order – A Lion in the Night (bought in a Pamela Allen pack from the post office), Santa’s Aussie Holiday (a gift from our friends Julie and Simon), and the Quilt Makers Gift (given to BB by my mum on a recent trip to Canada). I don’t think she has ever made it to the end of the Quilt Makers Gift (too sleepy), but one game she loves to play is Quilt Maker with scraps of fabric I give her to use. oh and i sometimes read in this bed too, in this case Alexander McCall Smith's 'the Careful Use of Compliments'.

hanging on the bedframe are some mardi gras beads from my mum. we also use a lot of Tiger Balm on her mosquito bites and recently a lot of lanolin on her face as she had a cold and was getting chapped cheeks and nose from wiping it all the time.

my other bedside is not quite so nice. in fact when compared to BB's, it is downright horrible looking! i should fix that. brett thinks perhaps a nice chair might do the trick and also i could put my discarded clothes on it instead of the floor. i am a chronic leaver of clothing on the floor! It drives brett batty. he is quite tidy and puts his away all the time. the guitar is not quality and sounds very tinny. it doesn’t get played all that much. i would like a nice one sometime.

whew! turns out you can tell quite a lot by people’s bedsides. this is exactly the kind of voyeuristic activity i enjoy! my mum and i both love walking at night and ahem, looking in other people’s windows. not at all in a creepy way, don’t worry – it’s all very innocent curiosity, promise.

thanks for having a look at our place, and letting me have a peep at yours!


Alphabutt: Everyone who owns a toddler should own this album!

Kimya Dawson’s (of the Moldy Peaches and Juno soundtrack plus various solo albums) Alphabutt album has officially been BB’s favourite listening material for an ENTIRE YEAR! Yes - for a whopping one third of her life she has been chanting along to the likes of “Wiggle my Tooth”, “Alphabutt”, “Bobby-O” and “Little Monster Babies”. Mr and I are also quite partial to it. I am sure all parents can agree that kids’ music must not drive the adult ear mad, and Alphabutt categorically cuts the mustard. Kimya, along with some musical friends and their children, sing about pooping, farting, peeing, tigers, bears and doggies. It is repetitive (but not annoyingly so), and this makes it very easy for young children to learn the songs and sing along. It is very silly and sweet, and has nice messages about breastfeeding, co-sleeping, body hair!, and elimination communication (EC). “I Love You Sweet Baby” nearly always brings a tear to my eye.


a happy weekend

a very lovely weekend, full of walks to the park, friends and yummy food. . .

  • birdies by Spool, part of my Christmas sewing for which i feel considerably impressed with myself for starting so early
  • the wading pool at the bay side near home was looking particularly appealing on a warm Saturday morning
  • beginning the 1st pair of Norwegian fair isle mittens, using horribly sticky yarn which i need to banish from my stash
  • Lizzie's chickens. always a big hit with BB, unless she is having a snack and they begin to stalk her
  • the beautiful violet-purple of a Jacaranda tree, which are all gloriously in full bloom at the moment
  • sauteing leek and mushroom for my pie, which was served Saturday night as part of a belated Thanksgiving dinner
  • Sunday, was a very windy day, perfect for flying kites. BB and i took in the sights at the Kite Flying Society meeting. yes! such a thing exists. BB wants in.
Hooray for a very lovely weekend!


Things to do. . .

  1. various cultured milk products: i have an urge to make some yogurt and quark. I’ve done it before, but for some reason it would never turn out as thick as we like it. Since then, I’ve realized that to get really thick homemade yogurt you really have to use some cream as well as milk. Could be the ticket. . .
    I am also enthusiastic about the prospect of making quark from some of the yogurt, which is also covered in Down to Earth’s amazing blog.
  2. Napkins and Lunchbags: a colleague’s parents allegedly have a bunch of teatowel seconds. i have a plan for them i think, involving sewing washable lunch bags with matching napkins. Something like this, but with a snap closure instead of a button.
  3. Homemade Ginger Beer: we are going through a ginger beer phase at our place (ginger ale, in Canada). i’ve found instructions on how to make it at home! this idea has me very excited. Long gone are the days of rye and ginge with the ladies, but this homemade recipe from Down to Earth is an equally thrilling prospect. Actually, i’ve been thinking this weekend at our belated Thanksgiving dinner ginger beer and champagne spritzers might be the ticket for me.
  4. Happy Birthday Bunting: for BB who will be 3 at the end of the month.
they look like something in between this, from Belsize Square, and this, by Soulemama.

Only they will have to be infinitely more pink. i have no idea where BB's out of control
zeal for pink comes from. i blame it on dressing her in gender neutral colours as a baby.
one thing i have recently learned is that if i want her to like something that i spent hours
making for her, it had better be pink or it will stay on the shelf/in the closet/at the the
bottom of the toybox.

5. Felt Play Food: start sewing BB’s birthday presents, which I received the patterns for today via email from Umecraft on Etsy. Amazing play food made of felt! All in my inbox within 24 hours in PDF format. Sandwiches, veggies, cakes, icecream cones and SUSHI just to name a few. Hopefully I can do them justice.

see, we all like a bit of a list. actually, i prefer a completed list, with all items ticked off - which is the primary motivation behind a list i suppose.

so above is a list of five things to do over a rather long time frame. probably months. hopefully less than half a year. scratch that, a list needs a deadline. i'm going to say christmas. the only problem with a christmas deadline is the fact that there are additional tasks to accomplish before this day, specifically gift making projects. i have actually started on one christmas gift project but i must say it is going rather slowly. mainly because northern and southern hemisphere specific craft activities are directly opposite all year - come australian spring, time to start knitting for canadian family and friends but sitting in 30 degree heat with wool even close to touching me is highly undesirable. except on the train. the train ride in and out of the city 5 days a week takes place in a frigid carriage where being swathed in wool wouldn't be a bad thing. so i knit on that train, but it is only for 1 hour per day. can't get much done there. poo.


Some recent gifts and house things. . .

Beautiful beach ball pattern from Purl Bee.
This is the large size which is about 25 or so cms diameter but there are also small and medium size patterns included. Still on my list to make all three as a set - they are a very quick sew apart from the hand sewn circles on each side. Given to 1 year old sweety whose birth I attended last year as a doula.

A few clothes line snaps of a recent pyjama making frenzy - i think I'm over it now after making 5 pairs of matching tops and pants. Not great with mass production projects unfortunately for my market stall aspirations! They are made with mainly op-shop found fabric. They are my own pattern devised by tracing favourite old pants and dresses.

The first 2 pairs were given as a gift to a friend (who blogs here). Well, more specifically to her daughter for her first birthday. The second 2 pairs are BB's. I think she actually likes wearing them after having only singlets and t-shirts as bed-wear for most of her life. They're a little bit fancy. . .

The other part of the gift. . .which i am just a little bit proud of is this mini grocery bag with veggies. The bag is my own pattern, but the veggies (except the carrot, which is my own pattern) are from Hansi Singh's amazing book, Amigurumi Knits (which can be found here). I am in love with her very innovative knitting techniques - I am not much of a pattern person but I have learned a lot from her patterns as she uses very unique shaping methods. She also has a shop on Etsy as Hansigurumi.

Yes, I know - all ikea fabrics, but
they are so appealing and cheap who can resist. Not i. Also excellent for throw pillows and beanbags (bottom, in blue) as their heavier cotton canvas feel is more like upholstery.

Hello, a little tour

Finally, B is sleeping in after a long night of study and I am able to actually use the computer! I thought I'd start with a little tour of some things I've made around the house, mainly in BB's room.
The quilt pictured is my first and only foray in the world of quilting. Love the look of quilts, but how many does one really need? Luckily have the excuse of b2 coming up to make another. . .

. . .and a cute display of objects on top of her wardrobe, including a little photo printed canvas using a scanned image of a vintage bed sheet. We bought her the beautiful pink flower fairly lights in Byron Bay a few months ago. Sumo and the gold cat are present from grampa and gramma in canada.

Painting of dragon from a favourite book - outline by B and orange paint job by BB.

Painting by me, for BB.