30 December 2009

Christmas Cheer

Hi peeps, clearly you've all worked out that I can only commit to a monthly update, and I've decided that you all must be cool with that, given that there has been no comments to make me think otherwise.

All well in the valley. Christmas has come and gone and my family amazingly all had it off to spend together. It was the usual shenanigans... Tanqueray, board games, prawns and scallops. Laura even got all fancy and made a croqembouche (think custard filled profiteroles stacked up in a cone and drizzled with toffee) but in a not so fantastic moment managed to burn my leg with the hot toffee when she got all enthusiastic and spilled it.

Just so you know, in case you find yourself in this situation, my mother is not the best at most board games, particularly those involving drawing, acting or humming so if you can get out of being her partner, it'd be for the best. However, when we played Cranium (which involves all the aforementioned categories) I wasn't quick enough and she ended up on my team. Lets just say her attempt at humming quality hits such as the Neighbours theme song could only be described as dismal, but the creme de la creme came when she tried to charades the act of base jumping. A praying mantis high on amphetamines might give you the picture. Please note though that if the game involves words such as Scrabble or card games like Canasta, she kicks arse so do not get complacent.

So Christmas for us was merriness all round, we pissed ourselves laughing and ate way too much food which is what it is meant to be about isn't it? Hope you all are having a brilliant festive season xxx

29 November 2009

OK finally, some renovation photos...

So update - where has this girl been of late???

The last couple of months have been busy busy (as usual I am burning the candle at both ends)... Renos are finally done - yay! - so I've been swanning around in my new pad and enjoying the luxuries that came with it, ie a non-leaking roof, clawfoot bath, no more starlings making noise and mess in my ceiling. Brilliant. Here's a little taster of the finished kitchen and bathroom...

I've finally started to process all those photos from my trip to Japan, and thanks to Isis and her stellar bookbinding sesh she ran at Brown Owls a couple of months back, I've been inspired to make the album from scratch. So I've been using some of the gorgeous fabric I bought in Tokyo and Kyoto for the covers and bought some delicious acid free drawing paper for the pages. I love looking at photos from old holidays... Japan was so inspiring and its been wonderful just having my memory jogged again of how great it was.

Speaking of photos, I've bought myself a new camera...finally came around to the digital age and bought a fabulous Canon DSLR. Oh its great, I had an SLR back in the days of film and loved it. I found the process of capturing images manually, you know with the shutter speed and aperture, just so cool. I loved that I had that control. So I think I waited a bit longer than most to get a DSLR, I coped with a little point and shoot for a while until I was a bit more convinced that the DSLR's had sorted out any teething problems that they may have had and lets face it, they are not cheap. But I've got no complaints, the images are turning out great. Best thing is, Rob is right into the photography thing and now I get the benefit of nicking his lenses without the huge outlay. Wicked. We've even crossed over and splurged on our first shared purchase. Yep, its a tripod. We've come so far.

Check out the stellar sunset I captured tonight from just outside my house. We're so lucky to live here...

22 September 2009

Work Work Work (but its worth it!)

Yeah I know what you're all thinking.... this is one inconsistent blog... i know its been a while but I've been busy you know? Photographic evidence is provided for the sceptics.

This last month, its been crazy busy... the cottage is coming along quite nicely. Aside from some last electrical work, the bathroom is in, its operational and I've been conducting all my business from the claw foot bath, that when full comes up to my neck. Yeah I know that some of you out there are on water restrictions, but here in Tasmania we've been in flood so I think that our catchments must be sweet. Dad and I have been installing the Meccano set of a kitchen that arrived last week, and might I say its looking tickety-boo. Its hard to remember what it was like now, its come such a long way from the little purple cave that I first had to the light and bright open plan kitchen. So much more functional.
Rob (pictured) has been stripping windows, I've been painting miles and miles of plasterboard including the craft room ceiling and Dad has found me some extra drawers and a cupboard for storage so its all super-organised, I can actually see the floor! And I can find stuff! So in and around the renovations I've been making stuff for our upcoming market Armadillo in December along with craft star and craft minx (watch this space)...
The other toy I've been playing with is the gorgeous 1958 Italian sewing machine that Rob picked up for me at the op shop, so I have a machine to use at his house. Bless him. Anyway, it just needed a little oil, a screw or two loosened and a bit of clean and it runs like a dream. In many ways its better than my new Janome. Whisper quiet, and sews a beautiful straight stitch alongside about another 100 or so with the cams.

I'll post some photos of the new kitchen/bathroom once the tradies finally pack up all their shit. It doesn't look very Vogue Living if there's always an extension cord or a circular saw in the frame...

24 August 2009

yeah the drought's over (at least in Hagley)

Yeah its still raining... and yeah my once ok backyard is now a mud pie makers dream come true following all the renovations. You know I can deal with that, I've got gumboots. However when you combine rain with excavation for plumbing you have somewhat of a problem. Coming home to my cottage wound up in somewhat of a disaster today. Mags (my faithful sedan) tried to transverse the driveway today only to find herself up to the bonnet in mud, wheels spinning and crying out in distress.

Unfortunately for me this debacle came less than an hour after Joanie (my mum for those who don't know her), warned me about the risk of getting bogged, and me rolling my eyes as I usually do when Joanie gets her diatribe on. So dear readers I had something of predicament. Joanie starts twitching as she usually does when she gets to be all smug, but is trying not to say "I told you so", (when really she's clenching her teeth just holding those fateful words back). Meanwhile, I'm thinking "Fuuuuuuuuuuccccccccccckkkkkk, it'll be Christmas before I hear the end of this".

We tried digging her out, jacking her up all to no avail. I was about to call the RACT, when it hit me. Surely, the benefit of living in the country is that your next door neighbour will invariably own a tractor. And bless his cotton socks, Bill the farmer chained old Mags to his formidable machine and dragged her back out into the land of the living spraying mud in all directions including all over Joanie. Which I reckon is a small price for her to pay for all that smugness.

19 August 2009

Sweat Shop Madness

Yeah yeah, I'm an inconsistent blogger... Its a trait... I get all excited and involved and then comes weeks of nothing, crosses over to many facets of my world: the gym, the house cleaning, making stuff, but I like to think its an endearing quality.

So, after being talked into it by Mrs Smith and her wily cushiony ways, I've decided to do Niche. Only half a stall... we'll share it... but now I've got to get the sweat shop up and running, make some stuff and pay myself 30 cents an hour for my efforts. Its difficult trying to decide what to do though... I don't have a signature thing... Gemma has her dresses, Mrs Smith has jumped on the cushion train... Me? I have always been a bit of a confused crafter. I get bored easily, I struggle to make the same thing over and over, so who knows what it'll be. Its a different craft every week! A bit of this, bit of that... Homewares probably, I don't do kids stuff well, and there's others who do. This week I've made some oven mitts from recycled linen tea towels, and made some Christmas decorations from kusudama. I think the stall will be a bit of a mish-mash of handmade love, inconsistent but hopefully pretty (and saleable). I'll be relying on G for her consistency. So come see us at the next market... Last weekend in November at the art school in Inveresk.

In other news, I'm just about ready to move back to the cottage. The bathroom's pretty much complete other than the electrics and a bit of painting. I'm still waiting on kitchen benches and cabinetry, but that's ok... I can live there without that. The house is an absolute shamozzle though... there's stuff everywhere, plaster dust, random screws and nails that seem to find my way into my feet at unsuspecting moments, and my oven is still in my bedroom waiting for my Dad to reconnect it. I've got old windows to strip back, ceilings to paint and furniture to sand, but I'm loving it. Its super special to own a house that I've put my mark on, and that I'm proud of.

Hope all is well in your worlds, thanks for reading. I can't believe I have followers now... How humbling.

20 July 2009

Pleat and Plaster

The cottage is coming along quite nicely. There's a new floor, the pipes for all the new plumbing is in and the plasterer is in the midst of doing his thing with Gyprock. It's amazing what the plaster does. I don't about you, but I'm shithouse at looking at plans and visualising the end result. Now that there's new walls in I have a much better idea. So far I've been doing well with the budget. I'm currently ten grand under budget which I've been told is unheard of. But I've got an honest builder. The roof came in five grand under what his original quote was and I didn't end needing to replace the septic tank which would have been another five grand. So that means I get new cabinets for the kitchen. Wicked. You can never have enough bench space. I'll whack up some photos soon as I can.

On the craft front, its back on. Given that I'm still at the town house i've been crafting minimalist style. I've got my sewing machine and a box of fabric. This alone is a challenge. I love having equipment. Same applies to kitchenware and books but I digress. Gemma, Mrs Smith and I snuck in a sneaky sewing sesh the other day and my my did we create! Mrs Smith, our Amish friend joined the 21st century and embraced the use of a sewing machine. She'd been making her stellar cot quilts from beginning to end with a needle and thread!!! Now while I'm all for the handmade kosher style, I admit I love the convenience of sewing seams a bit quicker than that. So we staged an intervention and Mrs Smith churned out two cushions in under two hours. Oh I think she's converted. We're thinking of having a stall at Niche in November so the challenge is on. Its sewing a go-go.

22 June 2009

Cottage Renovations #2

The reno's continue...

The old girl has a new roof and there is disarray amongst the starling community who have finally realised that they have been evicted. Its been entertaining however watching them come to this realisation. More than one have attempted to fly into one of their many old entrances only to discover it well and truly boarded up and subsequently have to churn out an interesting in-flight manoeuvre to avoid collision.

This weekend we gutted the bathroom and kitchen, chainsaw and sledge hammer style. Very therapeutic. Turns out (though not surprisingly) that the old rotting floorboards were sitting pretty much directly onto dirt, no concrete, no support at all. Guess that explains why there was a downward slope in one of the corners. We also discovered that it had been the home and pantry of several generations of rats, until they consumed the two kilos of Ratsak that I judiciously threw around everywhere. Hence we also discovered the source of the stench that had led to plague numbers of blow flies even in the middle of June. Needless to say I dry retched more than once. The other items found amongst the demolition derby included: fifteen empty long neck beer bottles, an almost complete but rusty and bent cutlery set, old ink bottles and fragments of old tiles.
On the upside I got to choose new fittings. I've had a resurfaced clawfoot bath sitting in the shed ready to go in for two years, so I broke out the credit card and went to town on reproduction style taps, ordered a new glass shower unit, toilet and gorgeous gorgeous pedastal basin (that almost cost as much as the shower, but what the hell, you've got to have a treat). Choosing the tiles was harder. I thought it would be a breeze, I knew I wanted 40cm square grey floor tiles, how hard could it be? Well when the tile place has about 50 kinds that match that description it all got trickier. I ended up having to leave in anxiety.

So since I now have no operational bathroom or kitchen, I've temporarily moved out and shacked up with my man in Invermay. That alone could be interesting, we've never lived together before. Still I should try to behave, it'd be a pain in the arse if we broke up now. I'd have to find another place to live, God damn it.

28 May 2009

Cottage Renovations 101

So this week the craft is on the back burner. Well, the kinda craft that floats my boat anyway. This week I've downed tools, screen printing stylie, and picked up the cordless drill, industrial vacuum cleaner and crow bar and have been get down and dirty with the tradies. Oh yes, the old girl is having a bit of a makeover... New roof, new bathroom, new kitchen... Hell, she's even getting a new dunny.

You know, when you first buy an old house, there's a sort of romance about it... you know, you have these delusions of grandeur about how much fun its going to be, you use phrases like 'a labour of love', that sort of thing. Let me tell you about my first two days of renovations:

1) Within 30 minutes of ripping the first lot of iron off, we discovered: several dead birds, a dead possum, five huntsman spiders, an old gumboot that was probably home to the said huntsman family, a kitty litter tray, telephone wires that seem to go nowhere, enough hay and birds nests to make about five bales, and three inches of dust. Thats only in 2 rooms, there's another 5 to go.

2) We need to wear respiratory masks, you know the kind with the two filters near the mouth that seem to be the fashion of guerillas and terrorists worldwide. Apparently bird shit and hay in monstrous proportions is the new asbestos.
3) After cleaning out that first room, there was enough old shingles, various carcasses, hay and nests to make one killer of a bonfire. Its the warmest I've been since owning this house.

4) I've discovered the benefits of work trousers. There's the neoprene knees that make kneeling on the those rafters just a bit easier, there's pockets for all my tools (not that I own that many, but I borrowed so I still looked cool), and they make my arse look pretty good.

5) I've started to use terms like 'cladding', 'phillips head' and 'fits like a bum in a bucket' with alarming ease. Tradie lingo is catching.

6) I've become reaquainted with LA FM, and the quality hits they keep churning out. Madonna, Kylie, Oasis what have you. They're all there, and being played.
and 7) I was seriously tempted to pack an esky and thermos for my lunch, but then I thought that was just a bit ridiculous considering I still have an operational kitchen.

Stay tuned for bathroom adventures starting next week!

22 May 2009

Holidays Are Officially Wicked

So ladies (and if there are any boys out there who have the slightest interest in my blog, then kudos),

I am on holidays... yeah for six weeks even and its great. I've been zipping all over the countryside, had a week in Melbs catching up with the crew, doing a little shopping, checking out the handmade revolution there, and then had another week in Perth visiting my little sister and her man. Saw lots of inspiring things: landscapes, flora and fauna, went snorkelling and swimming on Rottnest Island... Boab trees are so photogenic! I am keen as beans to screenprint their sexy sexy shapes.

Then came back this week, had a moment of weakness and joined the gym. What was I thinking? I am so unfit, but what the hell... I either embrace my hoochy mama arse or I hop on the treadmill along with the other gym bunnies. But on a more exciting note, the coven craft collective (and offspring) got together for yet another fabulous day of craft experimentation. We have successfully burnt and screen printed our first original design on beautiful linen, here at the Hagley studios (well my house, but it sounds more profesh if you call it a studio). You'll have to thank Ms Gemma for the arty photography...

03 May 2009

Niche Market

Quick little post... pottered around Niche market this weekend... Brilliant... Oh my god its impossible to name favourites, the quality is well up there, but for me there were some standouts... Loz and Dinny - Gemma, those dresses are looking better and better woman, redbamboo - delectable, almost good enough to eat soaps and candles, my jasmine soy candle already a'burning, and Maya from hideyo - modular kusudama origami that was simply incredible... oh and mrs smith... you are officially an artist I'd say!

Oh sweet Jesus it was inspiring. Its amazing seeing creative people doing their thing and being passionate about it. I've got a pretty cushy nursing job, pretty secure you know, unlikely to be ever unemployed, but I really admire those artists and designers who go 'you know what? i'm going to have a crack at it'... I secretly want to be like them! Viva la handmade!

01 May 2009

Lino A Go Go

Oh cheers Gemma, for rekindling my love for lino cuts... Ever since we carved it up at coven night (soon to be Brown Owls, but more on that later), I've been caressing my lino cutting tools with a little too much enthusiasm to be considered appropriate. But whatever, the wrapping paper is starting to come to life. Keeping it simple for the mo, just the old favourite, brown paper with a white print. But these experiments are looking quite effective really. I like the simplicity.

In other news, the commercial giants Vista Print delivered to me a little box of cards complete with my lovely logo designed by the ever talented Kieran Bradley, graphic designer extraordinaire... its come out a shade more violet than I would have liked, damn monitor colours, but still they look delightful and will add a shade of profesh to my handmade stuff.

So now, I'm going to beaver away at some stuff, and wander around Niche Market this weekend... Be inspired by other lovely handmakers... Wicked, this craft posse is top shit...

24 April 2009

eve and the apple tree... she's back!

Ok so should get this blogging gig happening. Not being much of a techno-junkie, you'll have to bear with me. So this month has been the start of the creativity here in Tasmania. Its taken a while, my little label "eve and the apple tree" enjoyed a little success in Melbs, and for some reason its taken me a while to get my 'craft on' again on the island.

Being in a craft posse has helped... Just by being around other creative types like the fabulous Gemma and Georgia has got my finished and right side of the brain kicking into gear and start churning out some crafty goodness... Last month we kicked off with some lino cut prints... oh the stellar shit that was coming out those craft goddesses hands... Gemma made some shit hot jam jar labels, Marree made the a kick-ass Babushka doll and Georgia, my my... she came through with the goods on a flying bird series, that we hope will feature at Niche Market next month... Right, Mrs Smith?

I'm in the process of rustling up some little handmade treasures for my new Etsy shop... some Gocco printed cards, maybe a little wrapping paper with lino cut prints will feature... Anyway will let you know when that's all up and running too...