Tuesday, October 28, 2008

plastic free november

melbourne greenista-sista jorth has declared november plastic free and invited all to join her. i have been getting more and more appalled at the volume of plastic coming into palazzo seahorse and (after disgorging contents) going straight into the bin or nesting in the cupboard under the kitchen sink.

so i am going to try hard to make november plastic free. jorth's commitment is:
1 - I shall refrain from purchasing anything that is made of or is packaged in plastic for a month;
2 - I shall try to minimise all waste created for the month, and only purchase products in packaging that can be recycled;
3 - I shall crap on about it here, in the hope of inspiring others.

i can certainly do #3 and #2 -my main worry with #1 is milk - my lot drink gallons of it and it only seems to come in plastic jugs or plastic coated cardboard cartons. so i might have to get a milk exemption.

just checked the pantry and the non plastic packaged items were Milo, jam vegemite, jelly crystals, tea, coffee, vanilla, flour, sugar, tamarind paste, all the sauces (fish, hoi sin etc) rosewater, cocoa, tinned tomatoes, tinned tuna and olive oil. the stand out tricky items are pasta and rice - traditional staples chez seahorse.

eek! bread is tricky too. even at the bakery they tend to put it in plastic bags. i can see some lateral thinking is called for.

thanks jorth! who else is going to take up the challenge of living plastic free?

Monday, October 27, 2008

what the?

ok where are you? put your hands up who visited my blog yesterday?

my stats went from a steady 9 to 12 visits a day (i prefer to think of you as a small select band of loyal followers rather than my mum and a couple of friends checking in to see if i'm still alive) to a jaw dropping 57 yesterday or possibly the day before - i haven't quite figured out the algo-logorhythmy thing for this counter)

sorry if that didn't sound very welcoming - do feel free to come back, have a cup of tea (from a clean cup, i promise) and feel the width...


off to bed - i have had the kind of day that results in a twitching eye and the surge of rising blood pressure - in my next life i think i will either be childless or stop at one. a quiet and meek one. quiet, meek and adoring perhaps. and i certainly won't be having a dog who feels the need to supplement his diet with choice items from the cats' litter tray.

i think i just lost the 50 new friends. and possibly the 7 old ones.....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

today's other project

i have been thinking of playing more with paper for a while so i made my first collage today. last night i made some paper beads - the first lot were of pages torn from an ancient falling apart book called old and new london. then i moved onto making some from strips of japanese silk paper - which gave me the idea for the bogong moth cocoons...

anyway back to the collage - i had stashed one of those cheap stretched canvas box jobs you can buy at places like the warehouse so hauled it out and covered it with black gesso. while that dried i made my beads and set them to dry on some old double pointed knitting needles that make my hands hurt if i knit with them.

this morning i played with a few ideas and ended up tearing a couple of pages into small squares and just pasting them onto the canvas with mod podge. the vaguely heart shaped piece is made of torn scarps of japanese silk paper.

now i am handstitching with perle 8 cotton run through my beautiful lump of beeswax to ease it through the layers. it's fun reading the words as i stitch. i see more of these in my future :)

as i write i am listening to beth orton accompanied by the dulcet tones of the new dishwasher manfully installed by urbane scrumping this morning. so far so good - my mozz on cleaning appliances hasn't kicked in yet although when i returned from a foraging trip to psarakos and a much needed cruise through the carwash (where i carelessly left my front number plate - see, i am just not meant to clean things...) then was a mysterious feline wailing to be heard.

toby was stuck somewhere - i checked every cupboard (even the one above the stove - he is that sort of cat) and inside the oven. i had to lie on the floor and home in on the direction of the shrieks and yep he was stuck behind the dishwasher.... i pulled it out and he ricocheted out like a black streak and was indignant for some time.

here are a couple of gratuitous billthedog photos (all taken by w)

and the errant number plate has been retrieved....

bogong moths quilt stage 2 - cocoons

getting closer - i made some beads from green japanese silk paper and painted them with sepia - voila - cocoons!

i couldn't find any images on google of bogong moth cocoons so i used some poetic licence....

the piece is now sewn onto a japanese silk paper background. stage 3 will be more hand sewing and i think some more washing with sepia or walnut ink and then something sturdy to support it. this is one piece that i think might need framing of some sort

well - on with the motley, as my Mother says. chicken caesar for dinner....

Saturday, October 25, 2008

today i

  • got up at an indecent hour to feed indignant cats who were clearly starving
  • went back to bed and listened to my yoga nidra cd
  • then went back to sleep
  • got up and post breakfast did a minor mrs tittlemouse on the bathroom (done wearing only knickers and pink rubber gloves while the cats averted their eyes and billthedog lay down with a cold compress on his head)
  • took billthedog for a walk down to high st (2 blocks from the seahorse palazzo)
we had a lovely time visiting cass at the environment shop where she bonded with bill and i bought these

then a stroll across the road to the indian grocers to buy some long felt want spices

then further north past the diana supermarket, various cafes, the charcoal rooster ( a takeaway not an actual beast), the bizz buzz hardware store that has a wonderful neon hammer sign on the roof, the fabbo smelling butchers that promised fresh goat meat in the window and had some plumply enticing weisswurst on display. bill and i slavered briefly and then continued up to pippa may cook - my favourite cafe.

i had a fresh, zingy salad of spinach, grapefruit and avocado followed by a latte and bill had a bowl of water. no photos of salad or the bowl of water i'm afraid - both were disposed of fairly quickly. i did buy dinner, some roasted seeds for snacking purposes and a jar of the honey dijon dressing that subtly graced my salad. (the photo incoudes their card as they are websiteless - too busy making good food)

the chicken was yum - i just ate it during the great sloughs of time it takes blogger to meditatively upload photos....

but the highlight of the walk was strolling back down high st to see what new shops had opened when i walked past the real estate agent from whom we bought our house in 2002. and in the window was a notice with a sold sticker across it and a photo of

our house.

it had been there since being passed in at auction in december 2001! it had the usual generous description - i was especially impressed with the poetic licence it took to describe the gas heating (an old wall heater) and air conditioning (an ancient shuddering brown box). i alerted urbane scrumping at once and he will hopefully post a photo.

his urbanity and i then went with young w to inspect new dishwashers, carefully avoiding any of the brand beginning with b and containing vowels. the recently deceased dishwasher has been a bad egg (worse than the reluctant vacuum cleaner and the puddle mop) and has cost more than $500 in repairs in the last 12 months. and it is only a few years old - grrrrrr. i will accept that it just have been a bad example of a good brand but am not willing risk it again - the next dishwasher will be a much plainer brand

and now having envittled i am thinking of going to see a fillum - i have't been to the cinema for a long time and urbane scrumping recommended that new one with george clooney (yum) and brad pitt (meh but okish) whose title escapes me at the moment.

off to the magic lantern show in carlton i think....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

must be doing something right

this evening at creche pick up w's kinder teacher told me that he had recognised the Aboriginal flag and told everyone that the flag belonged to "mummy's friends" :)

although i still feel deeply uncomfortable about unwittingly going to a men's site at emily gap near alice springs earlier this year. i had no idea that it was a men's site and taboo for women until i watched the fourth episode of the brilliant Aboriginal history first australians tonight. i wonder how many blasphemies we commit as we lumber over a sacred land that we can't read and haven't had the wit to ask.....

Sunday, October 19, 2008

this evening

photographic evidence and a couple of Mystery Pictures

voluptuously yummo - potatoes, red onion, capsicum, cherry tomatoes, basil, oregano, rosemary, garlic, olive oil and a couple of ladelsful of chicken stock baked on the oven and served with kanga bangers (kangaroo sausages - sorry vegos but they're really good) and mint peas.

then a mango each (sorry no photo they went too quickly)

and in fifteen minutes we will each have a slice of this - pear, cinnamon and ginger cake...

then the third instalment of the excellent first australians - i don't think you should be allowed to vote unless you have seen this series.

and two mystery objects:

sunday afternoon

virtue hath gone forth this day chez seahorse.

i have:
  • cleaned the floors, first with the Reluctant Vacuum Cleaner then with the Puddle Mop
  • cleaned out one of the big drawers of the wardrobe and filled 2 garbage bags of stuff for the op shop (incluidng my maternity clothes, last worn 4 years ago)
  • sorted multitudes of clean laundry and dispersed them to the correct bedrooms
  • found the tax documents (eek)
  • completed another dig on the ktichen table which is now completely clear except for a full fruit bowl
  • set chicken carcasses, water, carrot, onion, pepper corns, bay leaves and water to shudder into chicken stock
  • made fish curry for tomrrow night's dinner
  • made pear ginger cake (currenlty in the oven and scenting the whole house)
and it's only 4 o' clock - who knows what wonders may be perfomed before the day is out?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

what to do, what to do?

last weekend i ran up a piece made up of chunks of kimono fabric (bought as a scrap bag from kimono house in the fabulous nicholas building in swanston street) - i fused them to a length of indigo cotton (bought from tombo in westgarth - one of my favouritest shops) and then fused that to some crimson japanese cotton. machined over and around all the edges and here it is.
but it lacks something - it just hangs there - quite colourful and balanced but lacking in oomph.

so, any ideas? i have thought of foiling, stamping with discharge paste or doing some meandering stiching in an abstract tree of life kind of way but my imagination is as slack-jawed as the quilt itself and i don't have enough clarity or purpose to actually do anything.

suggestions or encouragement most welcome

Saturday, October 11, 2008


right now there is a high level of om chez seahorse - tonight is the first extended twilight of daylight saving; i have done an hour of yoga (for the first time in at least 5 years) the western sky is still washed with pink gold, a bright waxing gibbous moon hangs in the eastern sky, the air is warm with jasmine and i am barefoot and wearing a sleeveless shirt.

the air is lit with stray bird songs, the odd chook squawk and the sound of billthedog crunching his dinner

i am about to have a poached egg on wholewheat toast for my dinner - the egg is freshly laid courtesy of the cwa and retrieved from the compost bin which is the preferred location for egg laying if you are a discerning chook. i should add that it is the secondary compost bin and contains only old straw from the chook house: since it has became the nesting box du jour it is inactive as a compost bin. the "live " compost bin is elsewhere and there is no way i would eat anything from it (relax, mum)

after doing a modicum of housework this morning, i hied myself to carlton for a hair cut and colour with the wonderful jay at chainsaw massacre (websiteless but at 190 elgin street carlton), went to readings and bought the 'cannot buy my soul' cd of kev carmody songs (it's playing as i write and it's wonderful), looked at jewellery at cellini in faraday street, bought some sushi for a late lunch and came home newly haloed with some fine gold highlights.

it's now well into the dim - the moon is shining like a startling pearl, the sunset is mauvy-pink and everything is suddenly focused in the last of the light.

tonight is some sewing, puddling around and watching the angels on sbs at 10 o'clock. (will add some photos from last summer to give you a flavour of the evening)

subterranean housework blues

a small grrr as first item on the weekend agenda....

now if you read textileseahorse even semiregularly you would know that i do not count housework as a hobby or even a high priority. but in the interests of keeping child protection and cholera at bay i do clean the house (in the loosest definition of that word) once a week - floors, kitchen and bathroom get an oily rag wiped over available surfaces and the floors are even swabbed.

BUT i feel hampered in even keeping a modest level of cleanliness going when my so called vacuum cleaner refuses to step up to the mark. i don't know if you could even call it a dilettante vacuum cleaner so low is its interest in removing dust and assorted cr*p from the floors.

now it's not a state of the art vacuum but it was sold to me AS a vacuum cleaner and it cost more than a tank of petrol so i think it's reasonable to expect some grudging sucking at ground level (which sounds like the perfect lead in to an actress/bishop joke but i will resist)

i often invoke hercules as my patron saint of cleaning but i bet he got on much better with his tools than i get on with mine. this vacuum has a Bad Attitude and the mop (the one i bought under the influence of aliens back in february) is good at scrubbing (tick) but bad at not leaving pools of water on the floor (frown).

so with 3 kids, 3 cats, 1 billthedog and 2 chooks* is it any wonder that chez seahorse could be known as chez filth-hound?

*the chooks aspire to live inside within comfortable distance of the kettle and tea caddy but are confined to cwa headquarters (how many people still have tea caddies? i see a post of the virtues of loose tea and the teapot in my future)

!!! just before i posted this i did the usual spellchecking as i type in ye olde englishe which is picturesque but mystifying for Dear Reader. and lo the message appeared at the top of the post - 'done spellchecking' - minus the last g that's the perfect retirement home name for the civil servant..... although 'dundraftin' also has its appeal and i have often said my twilight years could be spent in a home called 'dun kvetchin'

off to clean my dusty cups (and a final aside it may be the north wind that bloweth outside or the spark of spring in my blood but in retrospect this post is full of potential bishop and actress opportunities)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

bogong moths stage 1

here is the background for my bogong moths quilt. it serendipitously began with a piece of eucalyptus dyed silk that had been folded and held with a bulldog clip before immersion and when unfolded looked like a row of bogong moths....

the background is composed of many layers - black cotton, batiked cotton and paper that was free motion quilted in zig zag rows then painted with walnut ink, sepia, fabric paint, xpandapaint, rubbed with shiva sticks, touched with copper gutta and copper embossing powder. then lightly toasted with the heat gun.

final assembly should be this weekend so more photos then

and i'm feeling better although still a bit like a failed sword swallower

Sunday, October 05, 2008

sick as a frog

i have been sick on and off for the best part of 4 weeks now with various forms of the current bug - mainly sore throat, cough and no voice but this latest iteration is the nastiest. i have had a sword swallower's sore throat and earache since last wednesday, antibiotics since friday and it's not getting better :( so i'm feeling very sorry for myself.

apart from anything else it's boring.

and not good for creativity. so there are no photos of anything new. but some of where i would rather be....

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


i just added the followers widget in the sidebar - sign up if you like :)

off to feed the chooks...