Monday, September 29, 2008

Tweet tweet!

The Visitors are still here, but they leave tomorrow. Today I convinced Mr QM to take them out for the afternoon so I could *ahem* do some work.

Because I'm getting sick of being watched every moment of the day. Like when I was making sandwiches for lunch - there they were. Watching silently, every slice of tomato, every turn of the salad spinner. It wouldn't be as creepy if conversation took place while the watching was happening.

Birdie pouch

This afternoon I made this little birdie.

I'm not overly happy with the way the lining sits, and the execution overall is a work in progress, but this one's all mine so I'm not complaining too much. Well, not about the Birdie, anyway.

Birdie pouch

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sun and moon and stars rejoice

I feel rotten for worrying you all.

In the end, my birthday was quite lovely. I woke up super early and opened some wonderful gifts (including crafty gifts - photos some other time), then headed to the farmers' market. Breakfast at Gus', a turn around Civic, and then home to lounge and enjoy the warmth in the air.

The visitors arrived just before grand final kick-off. They ackowledged my birthday. It was the first time they have done that, and this is, I think, the third time they have knowingly shown up on or before my birthday (it's the curse of Floriade and having a spare bed).

And then, because it was my birthday (and as I reminded them all, I only get one of those a year) we headed to the Nara Candle Festival right on dusk. Seeing the river of candles glowing brighter as the sky grew darker was absolutely magical.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The day before the year before

It seems everyone is tagging me for a meme lately, and while I'm very honoured, I've already done it.

You can
read it and be bored all over again.

Tomorrow will be the first day of the last year of my 30s. Normally I'd be quite excited by my birthday - it's spring after all, and I was looking forward to a lovely day with Mr QM, with farmers' markets, breakfast, the Nara Festival, Floriade. But last night we heard that we'll be welcoming visitors to our home instead. I am not looking forward to it, and in fact the prospect of having to entertain the most miserable person I've even met has sent me on the slippery slope into a huge depression, something I normally fight quite strongly against.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Six funny-shaped bags sitting on the shelf

Shop update 25/9/08

Available now in the
shop. I'm fairly passing out at how awesomely cute the chocolate bear sunnyboy is. Cute, cute, cute.

Honestly, I think I'm pretty lucky having a job like this!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

FO: Pebbled Sand socks

Forgive me friends, for I have sinned. It has been 24 days since I last posted a crocheted finished object.

Finished - Pebbled Sand socks

Pattern: Pebbled Sand by Janet Rehfeldt (from the book "Crocheted Socks!")

Yarn: Schachenmayr nomotta Regia Canyon Color, supplied by my friendly
German sock yarn pimp.

Finished - Pebbled Sand socks

Hook: 4 mm bamboo

Time: Started August 30 and finished September 22.

Notes: For the first time ever, I didn't have to adjust and adapt one of Janet's patterns. It was a freakin' miracle. Also, the Regia Canyon Color is probably not the most ideal yarn for this pattern - I don't think it shows the stitch pattern as well as a plainer yarn would. Plainer, say like Wollmeise in the Sonne colourway?

In progress - Pebbled Sand socks in Wollmeise

Yep, that's better. But I still love these Regia socks. Favourite socks yet, but also the least stretchy out of all of them, and it doesn't appear to be a problem.

You'll notice that I celebrated the cracking open of the Wollmeise with a new sunnyboy of my own. I figured I deserved another. (There will be sunnyboy bags in the shop tomorrow - I can guarantee penguins, matryoshkas, knitting script, polar bears, magenta bubbles. They've been quilted and are now awaiting zippers and seaming! But that can wait until tomorrow.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Soup Swap - September

I've joined in on Soup Swap '08 over at Jessica's blog. She's over in New York and they are coming into Fall right now, while here in the sunny south-east of Australia it's all about the blossoms, dust storms and hayfever.

But I love a good soup, so here goes with the first month. This soup is so easy and so delicious - it has very few ingredients, and within half an hour you have lunch!

Kumara and Red Lentil Soup - 1

Kumara and Lentil Soup
(serves 4)

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
300 g peeled and chopped kumara (red sweet potato)
1 cup red lentils, very well rinsed
3 1/2 cups water
1 large vegetable stock cube
salt, pepper

Kumara and Red Lentil Soup - 2

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and add the onion, stirring until softened. Add the chopped kumara, lentils, water and stock cube and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and put the saucepan lid on for 20 minutes, or until the kumara is soft and cooked.

Kumara and Red Lentil Soup - 3

Take the pot off the heat and allow to cool a little. Use your mouli, or your stab mixer, and puree the soup until it is very smooth. This is the point where you add more water, depending on how thin you want your soup, and also season for flavour. I only ever add freshly ground pepper, as the stock cube does most of the salting in this dish.

Return the pot to the heat and bring back up to serving temperature. Serve with a little natural yoghurt and chopped chives (but this soup doesn't really need either - it's delicious by itself).

Kumara and Red Lentil Soup - 4


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dance like nobody's watching

I hadn't seen this video before. I suspect a lot of other people have though.

But take a look if you haven't. Pure joy.

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A little more this, a little more that

* I cooked the omelette. Verdict? Well, I didn't upchuck it, so that was good. It was, in fact, absolutely superb, and the parsley salad was inspired - but it's ridiculous to think that something with six eggs, four potatoes and a couple of chorizo will feed only two people. Way too much food. Next time I shall halve the recipe and serve it with a jumbo green salad. The recipe is from Jamie Oliver's "Jamie at Home" book, in case you were wondering. It's a great book, especially if you love tending your vegetable patch.

Chorizo and Potato omelette

* In case you were worried about my powers of procrastination, let it be known that I have applied for five temporary employment registers in the last two days.

* I was invited to apply for a stall at the
Handmade Market here in Canberra in November, and I was so excited. But when I worked out how many sunnyboys and needlebooks I'd have to sell in order to pay the $110 stall fee, I realised it was just a lovely dream. I'll be at the market for sure, though, no doubt buying all my Christmas presents!

* I received my subscription issue of World Sweet World today, and oh my goodness. This is such a great magazine, and it continues to get better with every. single. issue. And this weekend, I really, really want to make this.

* Go
St Kilda. GO!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

I've struggled to get my appetite back in the last three weeks. The worst thing (best thing?) is that I've gone from being a complete coffee addict to barely being able to stand the stuff. I think I've had a total of two cups in the last few weeks. But why oh why aren't I losing weight with this lack of appetite? The universe is conspiring against me.

Last week I couldn't stand the thought (or sight) or eggs. But tonight I'm making a big step forward. I'm cooking this:

I'm cooking this tonight

Because with chorizo and potato and parsley in the one dish, how on earth could I go wrong? Yum. I have a little issue with the lack of a 20 cm oven-proof frying pan (my pan is a 36 cm monster) but I'm hoping some strategically positioned alfoil in the pan will convince the omelette to stay in it's 20 cm boundary.

Today I finally finished a custom monster sunnyboy for my Finnish buddy Ruth (she of the Japanese fabric personal shopper fame). Ruth makes amazing felted Blythe helmets, and needed a big sunnyboy to cart all her massive skeins of wool and her circular needles around. I hope this is big enough - each seam is about 12 inches, rather than the usual 8 inches I make.

Big sunnyboy

I also dilly-dallied for quite a few days with the question of the perfect batting for a larger bag - and decided to use a quilting wool/poly blend batting instead of thin pellon. I did this so that the bag could keep it's shape under it's own weight. It turned out beautifully in the end, and I'm really pleased with how it feels.

And with that, I only have three more custom jobs to complete - a needlebook, and two massive lots of Blythe stockings (oh how I hate making Blythe stockings - and I used to love it so). I'm afraid the shop is now closed for custom orders, as it is eating into the time I need to look for a job. Maybe some day I'll have the time to do custom orders again, but for now it's just not possible. But there is heaps of stuff in the shop at the moment (and I'll continue updating every week) so you should be able to find something to tickle your fancy, no?

P.S. Blogger formatting totally sucks.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I only wanted to see you underneath the purple rain

So the shop is now updated. Yes, I'm later than I promised, but I've included some new products, including this magenta sunnyboy (it's not red, honestly!) and a purple wool felt for the needlebooks.

Magenta pebbles sunnyboy

Purple birdie needlebook.

In addition, I've made a needlebook for the sewers and embroiders out there - more leaves in the book, but no needles are included (you all have your favourite needles, and I'm not going to mess with that!).

Oh! Oh! There are also a couple of two-toned needlebooks. I just went CRAZY in my sewing room this morning (quite obviously).

Anyway, sorry I was late with the update. I kind of got distracted - Saturday was spent half-comatose from exhaustion, but Sunday I suddenly perked right up and *ahem* started painting the house. I'm just at the sample pot stage at the moment, but there will be photos soon, I promise.

You'd think I would spend this sudden energy burst on doing something fiscally sound, like, you know, applying for a job. I'm hopeless.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Maybe she just likes the feel of the soil or keeping in tune with the seasons

Yes, I'm aware that my shop doesn't have much stock at the moment.

But if I could tear myself away from the garden, I might be able to make stuff. (Hell, I might be able to find time to apply for a job, too.)

Garden in Spring

Maybe this weekend.

OK. This weekend. I promise.

Monday, September 8, 2008

In the last 24 hours ...

... I've served up soup and had a lot of fun singing at the 15th Birthday Party of Canberra Union Voices.

Canberra Union Voices

Corroboree Park Hall

... Gone op shopping for vintage sheets (as I'd run out of sunnyboy lining), and bought $3 of vintage Pyrex and FireKing,

Filthy Pyrex and FireKing

... ooh, another 50 cents of Pyrex and a table runner,

Pyrex and table runner

... and, luckily, some sheets.

Vintage sheets and zippers

Right now I'm cooking pasta before racing out the door to Stitch n Bitch at Tilleys.

A good day!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

It turned into a midi-update

Saturday, September 6, 2008

So you gotta hang until tomorrow, come what may

Tomorrow, in between making kumera and lentil soup, and watching my team win, there'll be an update to the shop.

Two patch sunnyboy

I have no idea if it will be a mini-update or maxi- one. At the moment though I've only got four things made, my back is aching, and the sock-with-the-recently-turned-heal is calling me from the sofa.

There will definitely be a couple of two-patch sunnyboys. I hope you like them.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Soup supper and song

If you're in Canberra and you feel like soup and songs in a warm toasty hall on a cold Spring night, then do I have a deal for you!

Birthday party!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The kindness of strangers

I've been buying quite a bit of fabric, both for the shop and *ahem* myself. (Let's just say "mmmm matryoshkas" and be leave it at that, OK?) Yesterday I received some envelopes from Elissa at Kelani Fabrics, and I was shocked to receive some sock monkey fabric that I hadn't ordered.

Ooh! Sock Monkey fabric!

It was a gift to help me feel better. How nice is that? I've never even met Elissa! Anyway, thank you Elissa. I really appreciate it, and the fabric is so beautiful, and yes, I do feel better. My brain is already ticking over with ways I want to use it. An appliqued tee for me, an iPod case, some toddler PJs. Hmmm.

Tuesday's project-a-day went by the wayside due to a course in minute-taking I was booked in for (who needs an executive level salary? APS2 jobs everywhere are now mine. I have the skillz, dudes! Ho ho ho!). Yesterday I finally made my owl from Paper and String. It was a lovely afternoon - just me, the sofa, 'Ready Steady Cook' on the telly, and the kit.


I think he looks a bit gumby though. All that stitching and he could be Franken-Owlie.

The sock is moving along quite nicely. My next move is the heel turn. Bad photo though - the yarn is really very vivid.

Socks in progess

Monday, September 1, 2008

Project a Day - Monday


Ah, spring! Flowers, warmth, smells, blue skies ... but really all that pales when I consider that the first day of spring always means my birthday is in 26 days. Heh!

With all the convalescence that's been going on, there's also been quite a lot of deep thought, particularly in regard to my future. Thursday will be the three month anniversary of when I left my job and entered a world of no stress, and (let's face it) no income. Three months was the holiday Mr QM and I allowed myself to do with as I wanted - I chose to start Buttontree Lane, and I couldn't imagine a better-spent three month holiday (unless of course it is a 5 star first-class round-the-world train trip with on-call masseurs. That would be quite nice too).

But my time is up and it's time to find a job. Buttontree Lane won't close - I just won't be putting out the goods as quickly as I have been, and I'll most likely stop doing special orders and customs, and taking the time to reserve things for you lovely people. It's not because I won't want to - I just won't have the time. So I suppose what I'm saying is get in quick. There'll be another (small) update either late this week or early next week, but once I've found a job it will be dribs and drabs time for Buttontree Lane.

So given my impending short time frame for remaining home, I realised I have all these crafting things I haven't yet done. This week is therefore the week for doing them.

Today's project was a goccoed birdcage from Jodie at Ricrac. Clever chook that she is, Jodie made these kits a few weeks ago and sold them in her Etsy shop for way too little money. While listening to a very enlightening Craft Sanity episode this morning with Meg McElwee, I finished this little beauty.

Gocco bird cage

Love it, love it. Jodie, you need to make some more, but you also need to charge more!