Monday, April 28, 2008

This favourite book - and 123 meme

Firstly, continuing the This is... meme this week (theme brought to you by Dees from Daisy in LaLa Land). This is supposed to be my favourite book. I'm sorry, I just couldn't do it. Asking for a favourite book is like asking for a favourite song - honestly, it depends on the day, on my mood, etc etc. I really did try to narrow it down, but this is the best I could do.

I imagined that I had to get on a plane right now, and could only take three books from my bookshelves - so what would I pick? First, I grabbed this one - because I'm in that kind of mood today:

The Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1918. Chosen and Edited by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. I've no idea where this book came from. I know it once belonged to my mum and she let me take it with me when I moved out of home. But only because she'd never opened it before, and I'm sure it came to her from someone else. Maybe a grandparent? I'll have to ask. Anyway, I spent much of my Uni days pouring over this book - lost in the romantic imagery of poets such as Keats, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Blake. I have so many poems bookmarked in this book, and I lost an hour this morning going back through them. In fact, I enjoyed flipping through this book again so much, that I've decided to start doing a Monday's Verse on this blog. And I will post a favourite poem (not just from this book - I have many!!!) each Monday. Not sure for how long - until I get bored of it I guess. So for now, here's my favourite from this book:


What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare? -

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

- William Henry Davies

I know poetry isn't everyone's cup of tea, so for those who are starting to nod off, here is another book that I would have to take on that plane with me.

Actually, I could have grabbed any Tom Robbins book - I've read them all more than once. But today I would feel like reading this one. Skinny Legs and All - here's a bit of the blurb:

...An Arab and a Jew open a restaurant together across the street from the United Nations...It sounds like the beginning of an ethnic joke, but it's the axis around which spins Tom Robin's gutsy, fun-loving, and alarmingly provocative new novel, in which a bean can philosophises, a dessert spoon mystifies, a young waitress takes on the New York art world, and a rowdy redneck welder discovers the lost god of Palestine - while the illusions that obscure humanity's view of the true universe fall away, one by one, like Salome's veils...

It's a great read. Trust me. Read it!

And lastly, I would also take a very recently read novel - Eucalyptus by Murray Bail.

I read this book for Book Club, but I really rushed through to get it read on time. And it was a bit like scoffing a very fine meal. I want to go back and savour it. It is written like a fable, although set in a one-horse town in New South Wales it brings the fable into the bush which gives it a unique flavour. This is a book to read not only for its story, but for its stories within the story - and for its meanings within those stories. Which are all too easily missed when trying to rush through the narrative. It is a gentle read, and I started out quite non-plussed about it - but the aftertaste has lingered, and I keep finding its subtle magic swirling around in my mind, whispering to me to come back to it.

And on a not entirely different note - I have been tagged by the wonderfully literary Paula from Great Stories, for a 123 meme (if ever you need inspiration for reading suggestions or book reviews, please head on over to visit Paula - I've had many a great book recommendation from her). Anyway, I figured what better place to do it than in this post about books. So here's the deal.

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

It's an interesting meme, to find out if three sentences can convey a writer's style, or the feel of a novel. So the nearest book to me is actually none of the above three, but the book I have just finished reading (for Book Club again).

Water for Elephants. By Sara Gruen. And here they are:

The voices drop. There's a shuffling, and someone shushing someone. "What is it?" calls August.

Hmmmm, not sure if the above is really telling much about this novel - but I do recommend it for an absolutely absorbing read, with a cracker of an ending. And after all this, I really don't know who to tag, so I think this time I will leave it open. If anyone would like to take part in this easy literary meme, please do, and leave me a comment so I can come and check it out :)

Happy Monday everyone, and happy reading :)

Friday, April 25, 2008

A parcel full of smiles :)

Yesterday I received a package in the mail. Due to being out all day, and everything being very hectic, I didn't open it until very late. I was tired, I had lost my voice (yes, another lovely cold) and was feeling very blah at the end of they day.

And then I opened the parcel. (This is where I should have a photo off some beautiful packaging, but I was so excited to see it I ripped in without even thinking about my camera, so shut your eyes and picture this instead - two parcels, with tissue paper wrapping, all tied up with gorgeous yarn and held together by a big funky black button!!!).

The goodies above are what was contained inside. It was my swap present from Sherrin (aka Starashan). I can't remember the last time I had this much fun opening a present. I thought I was getting a few handmade bangles - and to be honest I would have been absolutely stocked with those alone! And by the way, they are absolutely gorgeous, and they fit perfectly!

But no, that was not all by a long shot!

In each of these three beautiful handmade envelopes (made from 1950s cookbooks - complete with great food photography and recipes for cooking sole!) was a collection of bangles made from vintage knitting needles (see above), two gorgeous big brooches pinned onto handmade cards (I already have the brooches attached to two of my favourite tops - and they look great!)

And in the third envelope was the most beautiful green vintage buttons sewn onto another handmade card.

This photo doesn't do these buttons justice. They really are spectacular!

And that's not all, Sherrin also gave me some stunning vintage fabrics. This yellow one makes my heart soar every time I look at it!

And lastly, she also made a beautiful handmade card with a lovely message that put a huge smile on my face.

Thank-you so much Sherrin!!!!! I really am so overcome by your generosity, and the time you put into these beautiful handmade goodies. To everyone else - if you haven't checked out Sherrin's handmade goods then I strongly suggest you check out her shops at Etsy and Ozebaby. The quality of her handmade goods, and the detail and care that goes into her packaging, is really something else. I can personally guarantee it will be impossible to open up her packages without a big smile on your face.

So yeah - I still have a very husky voice today, and now Matt is coming down with the cold too (which is bound to be 'man flu' right?).....

.....but I'm smiling :)


Monday, April 21, 2008

This latest discovery

I had no idea what I was going to do for this one. I actually thought my discovery was going to be that I had discovered nothing lately......which is probably not entirely true, but I just couldn't think of anything...until I gave up, went blog/flickr-hopping and stumbled across this:


by Flintknits

You really must check out this knitted beauty. Isn't it just the best? Now I'm completely sure my knitting skills are nowhere near up to making this. But this is going to be my knitting Everest. And one day I will conquer it. How could I not? I really want it!

Find out what others have discovered recently by visiting Angela's blog at Three Buttons. And thank-you to Knit Owl for this week's theme.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Brown paper packages...

Tied up with string and all!

Finally got this little bag off to Leah today. I did mean to get it sent off early this week, but Kate had a little setback with her virus/croup, so it has been difficult leaving the house. Until today. Seems like everyone has turned the corner and today I had two happy little munchkins who were as desperate as me to get out of the house and have a change of scenery. Even if it was just to the post office!!!

And with one bag going off out into the world, I have actually managed this week to bring one into it as well. This little number made it into the shop a couple of days ago. Another little reversible bag - this one's called 'Binkle', and she feels quite lovely. Very vintage and grannyish on one side, and a bit more sleek and modern on the other.

Or maybe it is 'Summer flowers' on one side, and 'Winter cosyness' on the other. Either way, I love the duality of the reversible bag. They're really fun to make too!

And I've just finished another bag that I've made for a swap, but I won't show that one until the receiver gets it, as I think it would be nice for it to be a bit of a surprise, even if she does have a vague idea of what has gone into the bag :)

Sometimes I think sending off packages is almost as fun as receiving them...unless they are packages containing buttons and chocolate. Then I'd DEFINITELY rather be receiving them :P

Sunday, April 13, 2008

This perfect dinner party guest list

Boy was this one hard! Only six people to choose for the perfect dinner party. For you AND your significant other...

Well, in the spirit of fairness, I picked three people that Matt would also like to chat to over dinner, and he picked three that I would also be happy with. So our party would include (my picks first):

John Safran. Because he would talk a lot, and would, I imagine, provide both interesting and amusing conversation (I would love to hear him chatting to my next guest).

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo. After reading A cave in the snow, I would love to talk to this British born buddhist woman, I mean, she spent 12 years in a cave, sleeping in a three foot square meditation box, and has dedicated her life to overcoming sexism within Tibetan buddhism. She also has the goal to attain enlightenment as a woman. Full on!

Noel Fielding. Do I need to explain why he's here? OK, so I'm quite sure I would enjoy his witty conversation and humour. But come on, it's nice to have some eye candy too :P

And here's Matt's picks (as OK'd by me!)

Tom Robbins. As Matt said, "the guy's a tripper!" What wouldn't be interesting about a dinner party with him there!" I would also love to ask him when his next book is coming out. Because they just don't come out often enough.

Johnny Depp. Of course I was particularly happy with this pick. And when I asked Matt why Johnny Depp, he just said "I dunno, there's just something about him that appeals to me". Also, Matt has loved just about every movie he has ever been in. So that could also have something to do with it.

Justine Clarke. Matt's reasons for inviting Justine Clarke are pretty much exactly the same as my reasons for wanting to invite Noel Fielding.

Now I'm off to check out everyone else's lists. You can see who else is playing at the Three Buttons blog. And thanks to Lily and Agathe for this week's theme!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Forty three smiles for me :)

Thanks to everyone who left a comment, and a happy thought on my blog this week. Each one gave me a smile. And I really needed some extra smiles this week. Today alone I've had two sick kids (one with croup), a trip to the doctors, and I'm on day three of severe sleep deprivation. I know it's getting bad when the voice in my head that tells me to stay calm and it will pass, is starting to get drowned out by the voice that says "for $%^$^$% sake everyone, just leave me alone for one second!!!!!"....And then of course I get to do that lovely pendulum swing between being ridiculously frustrated with my grumpy, demanding, sleepless ill children, and then horribly guilty for having such feelings when they clearly just need extra patience and humouring. I'm sorry, usually I do like to keep this blog as my happy place..but...some days are just like that.

But back to happy stuff! I did print off all the names of people who left comments, put them into my trusty lotto bin (aka, my apron pocket) and let Lee do the honors. And the name he pulled out was...

...Hyena in Petticoats

So Leah, if you want to email me your address I will get this little sucker posted off to you next week (the bag I mean, and I wasn't implying that it sucked, although maybe it was a Freudian slip, as I did have a moment of anxiety when Lee pulled your name out, as I was kinda hoping that the winner would be someone whose sewing skills I wasn't just a bit intimidated by.....okaaay, I'm rambling now aren't I? I always do this when I'm tired. Anyway, I do hope you like it....)

I really am losing the plot....I was going to post some pants I made for Kate, but because of the full-on chaotic week I had, I made them (at night, because I REALLY needed some quiet time to do something constructive yet meditative) then forgot to take a photo of them until the end of the day after they had been worn and covered in crumbs and avocado, so I think I will wait until they are washed and ironed and look all nice, and..... aahh, what the hell, here they are anyway, creased as all getup and covered in food. Noice! They do actually look quite cute on.

And yes they did get washed after this (although given how tired I've been it is lucky they didn't get put back into the cupboard while on the hanger - ooohhh, extra noice!).

I really like them with these shoes, so for some bizarre reason I thought I'd hold the pants over them, so you can get an idea of how they look together. Is this a bit weird? I don't even know now - too tired to have any perspective I think.

Oh god, can I blame my above-mentioned sleep deprivation for this rambling nonsensical post? I promise I'll be back to my regular programming by the next post (it's the weekend, so at least Matt and I can do 'sleep shifts' if we need to. Yay!!!)

Goodnight everyone. May you all have restful and rejuvenating sleep...or at least, just......sleep.


Monday, April 7, 2008

Celebration Giveaway!!!

Welcome to the world Jett!!

Just over one week ago my little sister and her husband had their first baby boy. He is the tiniest (2.75kg) most gorgeous little boy, and after only a week he has well and truly nuzzled his way into our hearts! It is extra exciting for me, as we live only five minutes from each other, and Jade and Kym have always been like surrogate parents to our kids (we have always seen Jade at least a few times a week, as Kym is a chef - so works ridiculous hours, as most chefs do - and Jade usually has a couple of dinners a week with us). So this means that little Jett is not just our nephew, he will be a part of our extended family in the loveliest way possible. And for Lee and Kate it is practically like having another sibling (Lee wants to know when Jett will be a big boy and play trains with him).

So I've been planning this giveaway all week. I mean, you can't have something so wonderful happen in your life and not throw something good back out into the world can you?

Also, I've been reading some awful crafting stories on various blogs lately, regarding theft, design copying, and general unethical behaviour in the crafting world. But what I have found truly inspiring is that the people who have been infringed upon have refused to let the negativity invade their life and bring them down. And for every unethical copycat crafter out there, there are hundreds (possibly thousands) of kind, generous and honest crafters doing their thing. In fact, I received some gorgeous japanese fabric I bought from Corrie from Retro Mummy last week, and for no reason (other than being a generous person) she threw in two free fat quarters of more gorgeous fabric. Such a lovely surprise! And only this morning I was reading my bloglines to find that I have won my own first blog giveaway! Justine from 62Cherry was giving away some lucky dip fabric packs, and I was one of the lucky winners! Yay!! Thanks so much Justine :) Also, I have noticed two other crafters running giveaways (visit machen machen : make/do and crafty remix: djbebe to check them out). So I figure what better time to keep the great craft karma going, by sending out my own little package into the world, to hopefully make someone's day!

Originally I hoped to have time to make a bag specially for this giveaway, but I have realised that if I wait until I do this then little Jett may end up being big Jett the teenager. So I'm taking the easy option of pulling a bag out of my shop, to be sent to a random reader.

This little bag is made from a combination of new Japanese cotton canvas, green recycled cotton fabric remnant, and a recycled faux-suede curtain. The brooch is made from new felt and an old button from my Grandma’s button tin.The bag is reversible, so you can turn it inside-out to match whichever side best suits your outfit (or your mood!).

To enter the giveaway, I am asking for one small thing, I would like you to tell me about something that is really good about today. It can be as small as enjoying your fresh aromatic tea for breakfast (yep, that's what I'm actually doing right now) or as big as gratefulness for your beautiful children. I don't mind - just a happy thought. Something positive :)

Oh, and I'll draw the winner on Friday (Aussie QLD time) so plenty of time to enter :)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

this is... my knick knack/jewellery box

Continuing the 'This is...' meme hosted by Angela from Three Buttons, here is my knick knack/jewellery box. OK, boxes if you will.

I seem to have lots of little vessels everywhere holding all manner of adornments. Not so much knick knacks per se, but hair ties, ribbons, bows, and of course lots of jewellery. I never do actually wear that much jewellery, but when I do, I like to have choice. So here are the three main containers I grab from as I'm heading out the door.

A Dinosaur Designs platter (oh colourful resin, how I love thee!!!), which holds hair clips and brooches, all felt or fabric. Many made by me, some not.

A Dinosaur Designs trinket box, which holds my favourite rings and pendants.

An old handmade box which holds a ridiculous amount of hair bands and ribbons, as well as as necklaces and bracelets - all mixed in for good measure. Not very organised, but fun to rummage around in :)

Looking forward to checking out everyone else's treasure chests!

PSSSSST!! You might like to check back soon for my next post. I have some love to share :)