Tuesday, March 31, 2009

brave new world or going to hell in a handbasket?

i found this the hardest challenge so far - the phrase 'brave new world' has been used so often for so long that it seems to have been drained of meaning. i thought of the original context in the tempest and drew a blank. i thought of course of huxley's novel, of test tube babies, of orwellian futures.

and drew more blanks.

the recycled element of the challenge was easier - i used the back of a jumper i knitted for my daughter that never fitted her. it was taken out of the drawer and felted in the washing machine. the second recycled element was the practice piece of 45 degree squares that i made a couple of years ago after seeing a gorgeous quilt made by annabel rainbow - she explained the technique in a now defunct blog - roughly speaking you sew ribbons along a piece of cloth (or in this case painted interfacing), doing some decorative stitching and then cut across the piece at 45 degree angles - the assembled squares make a mosaic). as it involved maths and pythagoras i found this a painful and brow knitting technique but worthwhile for the result.

i imagined things falling apart and thought of that poem by huxley's contemporary (roughly) william yeats - things fall apart the centre cannot hold. this seemed to fit the zeitgeist with the global financial crisis, the never ending wars, climate change, bushfires and the feeling of imminent apocalypse.

the quilt captures the moment when the rot has well and truly set in - the squares look ordered at the top of the quilt but the free motion quilting is rough and jagged and fade into the disorder below. the squares start to disintegrate and are consumed by the flames below. (although a friend saw it exactly the opposite way and thought that order was being born out of chaos)
techniques - i cut up the 45 degree piece (that was hard), laid the squares on top of the felted jumper, strew chopped up bits of synthetic in various colours, chopped angelina film , sequin waste and ribbon, then laid some red netting from an orange bag (third recycled element), red organza and black tulle over the top and pinned like a madwoman. then free machine quilted with variegated, orange and red rayon thread. i broke 4 needles doing this piece !

then i hopped into it with the heat gun and zapped away. the synthetics melted at different rates and added to the feeling of inchaote uncertainty - you can't really tell what was what.

a good challenge topic and fun to make. lots of detail photos over on flickr

dimensions: 11x18 inches
materials: felted wool, rayons, synthetics, ribbons, painted interfacing, plastic orange bag, Angelina film, sequin waste, rayon and polyester threads

Monday, March 30, 2009

a photo of me that i like!

a rare occurrence these days as i age plumply into the sunset.....

taken by the scrumpster

(although i feel i should point out that i'm not sewing that knitting pattern - i was hand sewing the vitals of my hempen cardigan and using the light of the sewing machine all the better to read with....)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

earth hour

we observed earth hour last night - one hour of no electric light.
it was a small but symbolic thing to do.

Friday, March 27, 2009

my creative space...

playing along with kirsty et al (let's just pretend it's thursday ok? cut me some slack, i'm a working mother :)...)

my creative space is a kitchen table that used to belong to my inlaws - they very kindly gave it to me for a sewing table and even came and installed it! it's great although it would be lovely if it had its own room

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

sneekery peakery

i hate that phrase 'sneak peek' especially because it is often spelled sneak peak. i have similar feelings about the incorrect use of the apostrophe and people saying 'myself' when they mean 'me'

but this post is not about grammar but about saying hurrah - for my challenge quilt is, i think, done. it's still at the stage where i look at it for a while to see if it needs anything else but i'm pretty happy with it. after staring at each other through narrowed eyes yesterday i took the bull by the horns and just got stuck into the cutting assembling, quilting and burning. the whole thing will be unveiled here next wednesday 31st.

and here is a photo of toby looking like an alien. i caught him pulling pins out of my pincushion and tried to take a photo but he was too quick and rushed up to rub his nose on the camera.

and thank you for those nice comments about my shoes - they're birkenstocks, the most comfortable shoes in the world :) bought from the very good shoe shop in station street fairfield

Monday, March 23, 2009

you may have to use your imagination for this one....

a couple of weeks ago the lovely susan gave me a sisterhood blog award here. it's for blogs which show great attitude/gratitude :)

unfortunately the great attitude evaporated as i found i have lost the capacity to post logos or badges on my blog - i had the same trouble trying to put the handmade helps out badge on my blog - very frustrating and i feel like a luddite dolt. i did know how to do it once upon a time but that part of my brain seems to have fallen off (very like the number plate on my car when it went through the car wash on the weekend but we won't dwell on that...)

so imagine the same badge thingy that's on susan's post

and now the convention is that i:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received your award.

now the last time i did one of these awards one of the nominated heaped invective not on me directly but on the notion of blog awards in general so i hope the following bloggers (whose words and pictures i truly enjoy and look forward to reading) don't mind being outed as favourites of mine
  1. suse
  2. other susan
  3. jackie
  4. celia
  5. annabel
  6. shula
  7. laura
  8. penelope
  9. jorth
  10. susan
and if you're wondering why i am blogging on a monday morning instead of attaching my nose firmly to the bureaucratic grindstone, i am looking after a gastro-struck A who is supine on the sofa and about to be borne off to the doctor. and, something to be grateful for, no photos.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

sunday sunday

it has been a quiet but productive weekend -

luscious octopus on friday night
some assiduous cleaning, including a white tornado in the bathroom (preparing for the advent of The Cleaner - hooray!)

i almost finished a bag (still need to find some groovy handles) and decided that i am not cut out for making bags - too fiddly, too demanding of perfection.
although i was very pleased that i managed the magnetic snap fasteners.
and the challenge quilt? the one that is due for display in the web by the 31st? weeell i took another photo of its constituent parts. and calculated that i would need 2 hours to finish it. and started something else.
i have a real mental block with this piece, i just can't get my act together to finish it. perhaps i need a deadline screaming down at me? i'm also bored by it. coming up with something original for the theme 'brave new world' has been really hard - my imagination just said 'meh'
part of avoiding working on the challenge quilt saw me taking some happy snaps of my sewing table.

the lovely sue at mousenotebook sent me these lovely birds as part of her recent blog giveaway
and the process of taking some more up to date photos of me for my blog picture yielded a most bizarre but typical shot of me being attacked by w while billthedog bumbles genially in the background. we all look as though have attenae (mine is especially elaborate)
and the quilt still sits.....

Friday, March 20, 2009

oh brave new world that has such bargamonious vegetables in it

another bargamonious trip to psarakos today. we have had a bit of an ad hoc approach to meals lately and i thought it was time to have a bit of forward planning (she said ironically)

so the menu for the next week chez urbane seahorse is as follows;
  • tonight - octopus legs
  • tomorrow - moroccan fish
  • sunday - egyptian aubergine
then through the week the options will be
  • chorizo pilaf
  • spag bog
  • chicken schnitzels
  • chicken orzo
  • takeaway
(note that 'takeaway' becomes the last option rather than the first)

a glossy, tight aubergine cost me $1.50 and the green chilli that will go in the pot with it cost only 12 cents. i didn't think you could buy anything for cents anymore....
before our foray to psarakos w and i had a civilised coffee/hot chocolate at maize which is round the corner in high street. we wanted to go to pippa's but she is open saturday to monday at the moment, having recently had a baby.maize is good but doesn't have the same living room atmosphere as pippa's. i had a latte and w had a hot chocolate and we shared a raspberry friand - good but could have done without the flaked coconut which had an unfortunate tendency to stick in the craw. the coffee btw was excellent and w's hot chocolate looked good and chocolatey.
we also made playdough today - and in this photo you can see my new apron (another bargamonious purchase - this time from dymocks where they were selling them for $19)and my favourite shoes....(also a favourite of the backyard cwa who come and peck at the flowers....)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

new blog

the scrumpster and i have decided to have a blog dedicated to the eating project - if you're interested in totally subjective reviews of the various eateries up and down high street, northcote you can nestle over here

Monday, March 16, 2009

sunday domestics

no, not of the argy-bargy kind.

but of the washing kind

and the baking kind

and the finally starting the challenge quilt kind

Sunday, March 15, 2009

we raised $5m!!

yesterday's concerts raised $5m for the bushfire and flood relief funds! and if you didn't make it to the concerts you can help by buying the cd and dvd when they're released (soon i hope)

cake, wild yak's, concert and gizzards

it has been a busy weekend

off to a good start with a visit to my new chiropractor who is working magic on my back, followed by a trip to a new to us cafe in high st. coco inc has amazing cakes, good coffee - w and i tried the most modest looking cake - a swiss truffle which turned out to be a disc of chocolate sponge covered in a mound of really light chocolate mousse and then a thin shell of chocolate.
as you can see the presentation was amazing.
and w's verdict?
friday evening was the first instalment of the "eat our way up high st project" that urbane scrumping and i have embarked on for 2009. the five of us will choose a different cafe/restaurant/supping station every second friday night going up rucker's hill and then down the other side. the area has changed so much since we first lived here in the late 80's - it's on the cusp of becoming the next brunswick st so we want to try places while we can still get a parking space.

wild yak's was the eatery of choice and the food is great - light delicate curries, lots of veggie options if you're that way inclined and a light fluffy rice pudding for dessert accompanied by jasmine tea (which i like despite it tasting like bathwater - although maybe that's why i like it...) we got the take away menu and will be returning. (apologies for the poor picture quality - i forgot the camera and had to use the phone)

unfortunately my gizzard comprehensively rejected the tibetan food after 15 hours of considered reflection. just in time for the bushfire concert at the mcg...... i now can give a qualitative assessment and recommendations of the lavatories at the mcg (go to the members' stand ones) btw there was nothing wrong with the food - every one else was fine and my dodgy innards have been capriciously rejecting all sorts of food lately.

so urbane scrumping and i joined 81,000 of our closest friends
to see the most amazing concert - all proceeds donated to the red cross bushfire appeal. there was a simultaneous concert at the scg with the proceeds divided between bushfire and the queensland flood relief funds.

i could have done without the hip hop act - that sort of music seems clunky, mannered and joyless to me - and i found the nuremburg gesturing rather disturbing. but the young people seemed to enjoy it......

but then the big acts started - after a couple of songs liam finn was joined by his father and uncle for a surprise crowded house turn.
More Big Screen Finns
it was my first time in an 81,00 voice choir but it was a sign of things to come.

hunters and collectors,
Hunters and Collectors
split enz
I See Red
and midnight oil
filled the next 3 hours with the anthems, hymns almost, of a generation.

it was fantastic :) (see more of urbane scrumping's concert photos here)