Latest Opshop Finds.

Just a couple of things from our most recent sprees;

First of all.... SPORKS! Splades if you will, or as is written uninspiringly on the actual box: "buffet forks". Whatever you call them you must know their greatness - most of the forks in our cutlery drawer are not forks at all, oh no, they are these babies and EVERYONE loves them. I love them because more often than not, I'm balancing a plate on my lap instead of eating at a candle-lit, flower adorned dining table, and it is made so much easier by having all utensils in one hand...

They're great for the Little Punk too since she's still learning how to use a fork, when she fails to stab she can scoop & vise versa - a grand invention, how are they not more popular?! Is it because nobody wants to admit that they don't always sit at the dinner table in their professionally decorated dining room with the best silver & linen napkins...? Were people more comfortable admitting this in the 70s (whenever I stumble upon still-boxed sporks the boxes are invariably a lovely brown & orange combo...)? Or were there just more parties? (...but if there were more parties, weren't they already supplied with their own fondue sticks, and otherwise engaged with bowls full of car keys...?!)

Also pictured is a pack of 2 adorable duck decals that I know not what to do with but am deliriously happy to have come across... that little duck is so cute & cheery! The amount of old furniture floating around with similar decals is amazing - they were the obvious solution when a baby was suddenly expected me thinks - "The baby needs furniture... quick, take my cupboard & throw a puppy sticker on it...!!"

A purty good-as-new handmade dress for Le Punk - it is beautifully finished & just waiting for a sunny day.

What do you think of the pictures? I've been playing with Picnik again, it's sooooo easy to use & quicker than messing about in Photoshop.
Example of my fave effects -


After: Applied "Ortonish", "Rounded Edges" and & watermark. Instant Vintage charm me thinks.



I need this doll, erm... I mean Punk does... Isn't she GORGEOUS?!

I always fight with myself when I enter a blog giveaway I really, really want to win, I wonder if I should blog it to get an extra entry or try to keep it all to myself! This is only the second time I've done it, the first time I was super lucky & won the skully tote... So hopefully that is some sort of good blogging karma & if I cross all my fingers & toes, & perhaps my eyes, I might be oh-so lucky again..?

Of course I want you to enter too. At least then I'll be able to rest, knowing such a precious dolly found a wonderful home... ;)

Her creator is a Crafty Mama too, so you know she has to be great!
Giveaway running at Handmade Kids until midnight on Wednesday 30th September 2009.
If you don't want her (but who wouldn't?!).... feel free to enter for me... ;)

Some Felt Baking.

Cookies!!! I think these ones look like peanut butter & chocolate chunk.... mmmmmmmmmm..... peanut butter & chocolate.......
Finally I have made a start on the felt food for Punky's birthday kitchen, it was fun making these, but then I started on a "slice" of bread... it took FOREVER! Probably because I was supposed to sew the edges with embroidery thread & I only have black & red so decided against it. Will have to go get some to make the food production a little swifter.
I haven't been using any of the pretty patterns out of the Japanese pattern books I got... I should have known I wouldn't, but they're pretty to look at all the same. I'm just winging it, as usual, but I don't think that's a bad thing.
Oh - another reason I'm glad I got the books - one taught me, in pictures alone, how finally to do blanket stitch! Since all the arts & crafts I know are entirely self taught, I really had no idea how to do it - even the basic sewing books I have either assume you know how to do it or explain it in such a way as to confuse the heck out of me, so I have just stayed away from anything absolutely demanding blanket stitch, until now....!
Yay for well photographed Japanese pattern books I say!

(PS, Le Punk has already tried to eat them.... I guess that's a good sign...?!)



My Putty-Tats (aka Geelong Football Club...) won the AFL Grand Final yesterday, meow!!
In their honour I have rounded up some cute etsy pretties in the team colours....

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade


Spot The Punk.

Can you spot the Little Punk amongst this motley bunch?!

I discovered later that not only did she have so many toys up there with her, she'd actually managed to wedge several under the bed sheet.... I do believe I have shared this sentiment before; odd child!


I take it back.

Okay, I'm not going to go so far as delete my last post but I am going to take back the part about being the messiest person.... I mean, it's still true, I don't know anyone messier than me, but I know that there ARE messier people. I mean, there must be.

AND, I have been TRYING.

I really, really have.

I've found the key to keeping things *mostly* under control is STORAGE! So that means the more opshoped cupboards & the like I can get my hands on the better, more storage = less clutter which = less mess.

This little gem has only taken 28 years to come to me.

Some proof of my attempts;
Le Punk Residence;
Itty Bitty lounge;
What happens when I TRY to put my fabric away;
Okay... so I still have far to go... I just noticed the dust on the bench in this picture. Don't look!

My *coughs* "other" Creative Space....

As much as I have enjoyed reading about how neat & tidy everybody thinks my new craft area is (and I have... it is very nice..!), I am afraid I cannot live a lie.

I am the messiest person I have ever met. I wish I had met one of those hoarder people they show on bad current affairs telly, just so that that wouldn't be the case, but I haven't & I am.

My lovely new craft cabinet is so very neat & purty because I've not actually done any down & dirty crafting there yet - just really used it as a bench for the few days it has been in existence.

I am already having doubts about my ability to happily pull out my machines if and when I want to sew, and then.... put them back. I hope that I will feel somewhat obliged to keep the space tidy since it is in the lounge room, mostly because Le Punk would get up to mischief aplenty if I left it all "undone", but the reality remains to be seen.

My Mother has photos of my bedroom from various stages in my childhood - in most it is hard to even see the bed, if not impossible.

Which brings me to my "other" Creative Space I boasted so happily about yesterday.

That space meant to inspire my artistic sensibilities & creative vision.


I have MANY excuses as to why it looks like that, but I doubt any of them would really fly.... I mean, I can only really blame Punky for the stuff she can reach, can't I?
Basically I pilfered all the nice crafty stuff & placed it ever so prettily into my new cabinet - laying this area to waste.
I'm going to clean it up.
Really I am.


My Creative Space....

AKA My still new & shiny, smells like varnish in a good way, pretty, pretty, pretty crafty cabinet creative space...!

I am joining in with kootoyoo's "My Creative Space"! First of all I have to say that a) I can't believe I actually remembered to do this on the right day (or at all), and b) I actually have something going on in my 'Creative Space' to document in the first place!

So I guess the first thing to note about the week that was is the whole "new" creative space - as I mentioned earlier, this was intended as an occasional craft area but I just can't leave it alone. Yesterday I moved my machines in here & everything, so I've effectively made two completely separate areas, this one for crafting & my old one for painting. It is probably for the best - I kept using fabric to wipe my dirty paintbrushes on for a start....

The other thing going on in my nifty new space is a rare Work In Progress. I don't have many WIPs - I either finish what I start in a feverish can't eat ('cept for chocolate... have to keep the energy levels up), can't clean up (woohoo!) sort of way, or give up completely, but this I have started and it is a rather big, prominent piece of furniture that I'm not even half way through so I am committed whether I like it or not.

I don't know whether I want to reveal the exact details (that is a lie, of course I know... I don't want to), as I like the whole "reveal" of a before & after shot without the dodgey in between stuff, but you can draw your own conclusions from my Creative Space this week and whatever else I have already mentioned... you sneaky Sherlock Holmes types....


Dust Free Day!

Thankfully we have been spared the eery red haze of the dust storm that has engulfed Sydney & Brisvegas today - although I have been captivated by the images, I can imagine the discomfort that would come with having to actually, well, breath, in such an atmosphere.

The other day Le Punk got a balance bike - it is super cute & she loves it, she did have a little trike thing from last Christmas that was meant to be pushed along & then converted into a trike to ride alone, but alas, converted the thing stands still as a statue no matter how vigorous the Little Punk's legs whirl on the peddles, so, a balance bike seemed like a great solution for my bike loving little one.

Today was mostly windy & rainy, but we did get a teensy bit of outside time in.


Why is a raven like a writing desk? (Or, my latest furniture refurb...)

I am SO excited to be showing you this... I could pretty much only be prouder if I had built the thing myself.....



What I did:

Scraped off the old varnish & sanded (by hand!!!!), painted interior shelves, stained & varnished outside with 3 separate coats, waiting 8 hours between coats, replaced handles, decoupaged desk top (whatever that green stuff is would not be painted...).

Filled with crafty goodness.

This was intended to be my 'little projects' craft spot in the lounge room, but I love it so much I think I may be spending a lot more time using it than previously anticipated.
You can probably tell I am pretty damn chuffed with my efforts - first time I have really got into the nitty gritty what with the sanding and everything - it was a test of my patience and my need for I.C.G (Instant Craft Gratification) but I got there in the end!


This would have looked much more impressive...

...if I had a better camera. Or lens. Or something.

To you I mean. To us it DID look pretty spectacular - a rainbow that seemed to arch right over our backyard. :)

And The Winner Is....

Toni Collette!
I was so excited to hear this morning that Toni Collette had picked up an Emmy (Outstanding actress in a comedy) for her performance in United States Of Tara - So truly deserved! (And how GORGEOUS is she in her spiffy frock?!)
I heard a little grab on the radio where she said she hoped that her own daughter doesn't end up in therapy trying to figure out why she had been breastfed at times by a strange man - how great is that...?!
United States of Tara is my favourite show this year - I just can't get enough of it - I watch the same episode two nights in a row, I'm disappointed when it ends and edgy before it starts, it's wonderful and incredibly addictive.
There are a few reasons why I think it is so awesome, not least is Toni's magnificent performance as Tara, Alice, Buck, T and more disturbingly of late - Gimme. With Diablo Cody of Juno fame writing and Steven Spielberg producing - I think a hit was assured from the start.
The concept of the show is original, quirky, touching and funny, the characters rich and intriguing.... ahhhhhhh, can you not feel the love...?!
For the uninitiated (...and I pity you);

"Tara Gregson is a wife and mother with dissociative identity disorder (DID). After deciding to take a break from her medication to discover the real cause of her disorder, her alternate personalities re-emerge: wild and flirty teenager T; old-fashioned housewife Alice; and male, loud, beer-drinking Vietnam vet Buck. Tara is supported by her calm and level-headed husband Max, her somewhat troubled teenage daughter Kate and quirky, good-hearted gay son Marshall. Her sister, Charmaine, is not so supportive, often expressing her doubt about the validity of Tara's disorder." - Wikipedia

Apart from the antics of Tara and her alters, I really enjoy the subplots involving Marshall and Kate - okay. You've caught me. There is nothing about this show I don't enjoy - from it's craft-inspired opening credits to it's all too soon end.
Congratulations Toni! (I soooooooo know you happen to avidly read my little blog lmao) You rock!!


Over My. Dead. Body.


A great name for;

The Govinator....

A Cartoon character with a football-shaped head....

A Pig....

A sitcom character.

But NOT, I repeat, NOT, for a child born into the Punky household. Now I assure you this is not some sort of coded announcement, I am not "with child" and have no intention of becoming so any time soon, but I have resigned myself to the idea that it will probably happen sometime in the next 5 years. I am quite happy just with a Punk, or, would be more eager if another girl could be assured, I like the idea of having 2 girls.... but The Boy wants a boy funnily enough, and not only that, he wants to call him Arnold. After a dog. His favourite dog. When he was 9.

I have said "Sure!" but there is one condition; I will have to die in childbirth first.


Finds From Far Away Opshops...

Okay, that sounds rather more dramatic than it was - we just drove for an hour & twenty minutes... but still, it was pretty far for Punky, she HATES going in the car.
First Oppy we found had these;
...I'd have rathered boots, no doubt, preferably in cherry red like my old ones before they fell apart, but oppers can't be choosers!! $8.
27 copies of Golden Hands mag for $2.... they are so. freaking. marvelous;
Things like this make me wish I could knit;
Examples of adult clothes reconned into kids outfits, HOW AWESOME is this?!

When we got back to town, The Boy was off to get a hair cut (finally!!!) and because too much opping is never enough, Le Punk & I had a quick peruse around another & I bought a good, solid writing desk for $25 - I am currently considering what I am going to do with it cosmetic-wise, so I am holding off on pics, but functionally it is going to be my little craft space in the lounge room - for small projects or times at night when it's freezing in my craft area & I feel cold & alone out there... ;)


Handmade Home; Book Review.

First of all, anyone who might be expecting something that resembles a "professional" review in any way... well... avert your eyes!!! This is just me rambling on about a book I was lucky enough to win.... ;)

Right! So, Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule, of SouleMama fame;

The day I got the book I couldn't resist having a quick flick through it - and from that I have to say that I was rather disappointed. Being a bit of a craft/repurposing nut, there was little in the form of projects that I haven't seen before, either in other books or on the Internet, so with a sigh I put it aside and went about my business. (I have to say here though that I loved the vibe of the book, the feel of it, the pictures...)

Last night however, I sat down with a cuppa after dinner and actually read it. The whole thing. From cover to cover. Imagine that... actually reading a book... as opposed to just looking at the pretty pictures, as I had done.

Well. That will learn me to just flick through - judge a book by it's cover if you will, because this IS a gorgeous book.
I discovered that Amanda is a woman after my heart, albeit a more productive, eloquent version. ;)
She loves vintage, she loves old, she loves "thrifting" or opping to those of us on this side of the world. She is a 'homebody'. She tries to tread lightly on the earth. She loves to make things for her family and to enjoy them and to dream.
This book is intended for the novice or beginner sewer, in my opinion, as most crafters would have come across most of the projects in this book already, as I had, as we are a curious and searching bunch, but after reading it, I don't think it should be limited to this group alone.
It is also undoubtedly aimed at 'Mamas', although there are projects that anyone could do and enjoy, but there is a lot of using your kids art work or making things for or with your kids - which I loved.
The book is divided into sections;
  • Nourish: Projects to Inspire Family Feasts
  • Nurture: Projects to Inspire Wellness and care
  • Play: Projects to Inspire Imagination and Growth
  • Seek: Projects to Inspire Adventure and Exploration
  • Retreat: Projects to Inspire Calm and peace
There are things I like in each section; I fully intend to finally make a word banner, for example, and we have a definite need for the 'Beach Blanket To Go' and the repurposed towel rugs for the bathroom, but it really isn't the projects that I love about this book, which is odd, considering it is a craft book, but the sentiments behind them.
The book is punctuated by Amanda's musings on family, creative and home life, and I enjoyed these most of all. The small tips she shares within these sections I also found more inspiring than the projects themselves, but I did enjoy reading about each project and how she came to make each one.
Her talk of the stories behind old things, either thrifted or handed down to her within her own family, speaks to me in the nicest way. Her passion for breathing new life into the old, how she has adapted the old adage 'waste not, want not', and her conscious efforts to reduce her footprint on the earth, all made me eager for more.
The focus on family and showing love within it is pure and honest - just as love should be. The use of 'home' and 'family' in this book is totally interchangeable, I think. Home is where the heart is (except in the case of her cute 'Family Heart' which can be carried along with an intrepid traveller when they are away from home).
One of her tips, more like a side note within a piece of writing entitled 'Comfortably Worn', about how she likes to fill her home with old things, was on 'Patchwork Furniture', a tiny paragraph about patching up old & beloved chairs as they need it, was the inspiration for my latest (as yet unfinished - blasted thing!!) Work In Progress. Another of these little snippets was about how her family has a 'healing basket' which is where the family head when they are sick, tired or out-of-sorts, for some comfort, filled with necessities to make one feel a little better, "...a first aid kit, without the medicine..." an idea I am definitely going to adapt.
As the book is predominately aimed at new crafters, she has included information on repurposing fabrics (the whys and wherefores), where to find vintage fabrics (I don't know if I like that - they're all mine I tell you - ALL MINE!) and setting yourself up to start sewing - all super handy if you're a novice.
All in all, Handmade Home is an inspiring, even nourishing, book. If you are new neither to sewing or repurposing, you will find food for the soul (...or soule... sorry, I couldn't resist...) in this book, it is heartwarming and interesting. After thoroughly reading through it, I found my mind alive with ideas, sparked by something Amanda had written or kicked off by a simpler project - that in itself, the inspiration to think more creatively, or more importantly, live more creatively, is worth the cover price alone (...or it would be, hehe, if I had bought it...!).
I recommend it to Mamas most of all - it might even make you a bit teary - we're a breed prone to that sort of thing - but it will also make you look at your home with fresh eyes, and fresh ideas.



It's SUNNY!! I know it sounds crazy... but it's true! Two days in a row now.... TWO DAYS!!!
Now, in the interest of honesty, I have to say that it DID rain yesterday, twice, and the wind was rather... gusty, but all the same, there was a fair bit of sun in there too.
Unfortunately for me, this means lots & lots of washing - we don't have a dryer so the never ending rain has taken us perilously close to wearing paper bags a few times... ;)
I have some cute company at the clothes line though - I don't know why, but Punky is obsessed with it - right now there are 6 or so of her toys strewn around it, and she heads straight there first whenever we go outside... odd child.
Chookies like the sun too... and pecking about on the overgrown lawn....!

Might it be too much to hope that Spring is finally here?!


Things I Keep Forgetting....

...the very first thing being that I forgot to even blog yesterday - I was immersed in a blasted WIP that is taking much longer than I anticipated, which is annoying me because I am ALL about the instant craft gratification. All I am going to say is that it as close as I am ever going to get to quilting, and the fingers that hold the needle feel both numb and as though I should expect horrible callouses at any moment. Sounds like a fun project, no?

Anywho, I actually started this catch up post the day before yesterday, or the evening before yesterday, but as I was typing *zloop*, everything shut down. It was super windy & the power was out.

We sat around looking at each other for a while, considering our predicament, and then decided to go for a drive & see if it was just our side of town temporarily plunged into darkness. Turned out that not only was the entire town power-less (it is both strange and satisfying to see those 'golden arches' and 'bucket in the sky' unlit in the night), but most people had the same idea - driving around sticky beaking... probably, upon reflection, not the greatest idea we've ever had, since the traffic lights were also out of business.

On the way home, I saw one of those cool (weird) bright plastic toy boxes in the shape of a round frog on the side of the road, with some other random stuff & a "FREE!" sign - I practically jumped out the window and scared The Boy half to death; "STOP THE CAR!!! I NEED THAT....!" he was like "....what the...?" having seen the stuff earlier on the way home and totally ignoring it (*sigh*), he had no idea what it was. "It's a toy box!" I breathed excitedly, having seen one at the Mill Markets on my birthday for $50... "And I NEED IT!!!".

So he had to turn around and drive back, then I jumped out to get it... but it was much heavier than an empty plastic tub should be... it was full of toys! I almost had heart palpitations, that's how excited I was.... luckily, as we turned into our street, we say street & porch lights turn back on - hurrah!

We (Punk & I) rushed inside to peruse our free loot - and loot it most assuredly was - the first thing I picked up was a little Miss Piggy Muppet baby figurine that I recalled from my childhood, a Mickey D's toy from 1986 no less - and then her car.... score! ;)

The other stuff that went into 'Mummy's" pile; a matching gonzo on a rocking horse, a fozie bear sans whatever he was supposed to be on (or perhaps he went on the rocking horse... I can't remember), and ALF clip on with tag still attached from 1989, a carebear, a smurf, 2 teenage mutant ninja turtles in cars that I also recall from road trips, a beagle boy, Rodger rabbit, Donald duck & Fred flintstone.
Punky was thrilled with about a gazillion cars & trucks (she loves them as she only had like 2 Fischer price cars before), Donkey from Shrek with the tag still on, and various other little figurines.

Even The Boy had something to get excited about; an unused Michael Jordan shrinky dink from 1996!!!

I don't think Mr Frog and his stomach full of goodies could have found a better, more appreciative home! I hope all free stuff people put out because they can't be bothered to take them to the oppy have such a fate... ;) We think he must have been a "Grandma's House" toy box, considering what was inside.

Anyway... I digress! All that had nothing to do with my actual post, which is about stuff I keep forgetting to post, starting with;

Lemon Meringue Update;

It WAS delicious. The Boy was very happy with it - pleasantly surprised you might say, and that means I don't have to put up with the hopeful "I bet you can't make a lemon meringue as good as my Mum's..." ever again. I also forgot to mention that the lovely Lisa from Crafty Mamas pointed me in the direction of the (obviously foolproof) recipe for Mile-High Lemon Meringue Pie, I had to sign up for the free trial to get the recipe, but it was SO worth it; http://www.cookscountry.com/pwlogin....ecipe&iseason=

Punky Update;

She has a big girl bed! She loves it, even though the sight of my little Punk in a big bed made me a tad weepy to start with. The very first thing she did after it was put together was to bOuNcE....

Drawing A Day Update;

*shuffles feet* There isn't one. I've not been doing it. I have no excuses.

Flylady Update;

See above. *sigh* The house really looks like a bomb site today, since I've been working like a maniac on my afore mention WIP and hence ignoring everything else, including Punky's rampaging destruction.

Mail Update;

I fully intend to try my hand at a review for the book, I have had a thorough look through already, of course, and can say that it is a pleasure to look at, at the very least.
Right'o, that's everything updated... now I have to go get my house in order.


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