Monday, May 26, 2008

Sundays are lovely!

My partner and I spent sunday morning at CERES environment park in Brunswick. We love it to bits and go there as often as we can. I took a few shots:
What a lovely native bird!

The river still running despite the drought...

Community garden plots

I learnt that chickens enjoy sitting in trees.
Organic plants and the nursery

A beautiful vine!


And some fresh veggies grown by me!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Food Glorious Food!

Sunday we spent the morning in bed for a change then went for Hot Chocolates and cheessecake at the Hopetoun Tea Room in the city. Yummy food and drink but the ambience was kinda spoilt by the commercial radio playing-surely some old tunes would have been nicer? We also saw some Next Wave art including an exhibition in a stairwell of all the rubbish (painted) that had been found in the stairwell. I really liked the idea and I liked the roof top cafe that was on top of the building. (I'll post some pics shortly).

In the evening I made Spaghetti Marinara for dinner, watched Skins and drank wine and ate lots of chocolate. Nice.

Cate's Easy Sunday Spaghetti Marinara recipe:

You need:

  • Seafood of your choice (preferrably fresh but frozen is ok)
  • parsley
  • white wine
  • onion
  • chilli
  • mushrooms
  • capsicum
  • Spelt Fettucini
  1. Cook Fettucini according to instructions.
  2. In the meantime fry onion and chilli in olive oil.
  3. Add other veggies and cook until brown
  4. Add seafood
  5. Once almost cooked add a slurp of white wine.
  6. Drain pasta and add to the pan with a handful of fresh parsley.

Serve with wine and parmesan cheese.

This week I'm back on my detox program as i need better health/body/energy/immune system for the oncoming months, particularly as I've gained quite alot of weight since I went to england and was eating meals like this:

So a typical day includes lots of fruit and veg, seeds, and wholefoods. No sugar or wheat. I have been extremely tired with a "stonking" headache (Chris' term) for the last couple of days. Lots of sleep seems to help. I am going to dinner tonight at Borscht, Vodka and Tears
and I think I will be ok food wise but it will be hard to resist the vodka!

I bought some wonderful art yesterday on Etsy from seller Artsy including this piece:

I absolutely adore it and can't wait for it to arrive!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday...what can I say....

I picked up a couple of goodies in my lunch break:

I adore all things polka dot and the fabric ($2 dress actually) will come in handy as I want to make some red and blue cushions for my office. I made a rather interesting discovery recently. Apparently the rotary cutter I have been battling with is actually for right handed people! No wonder I can't cut straight with it, even when using a ruler! I'm off to Lincraft tonight to see what my options are...maybe there's a dual one or something. Apparently you can refigure them to be left handed but I don't want to risk cutting myself...

I'm also planning to put together my next Polka Dot Rabbit consignment order and send it off early next week, and finally get stuck into my sketching. Oh, and working on my Softies for Mirabel!We're having people over for a monopoly party on sunday lunch, so I thought I might make spaghetti marinara and green salad and lots of wine (we have two cases under the kitchen table)....

They call me mellow yellow (and a hint of blue)

I have been rather slack posting in my dear blog for and I have very little excuse I'm afraid as asthma doesn't stop one from surfing on the internet.

As my recent 'No spend craft month" I made the following outfit:

A Line skirt made out of a curtain. I'm a far from brilliant sewer and I lost the zipper foot for my machine so I had to handstitch the zipper. I might take it in at the waist a couple of centimetres so it sits a bit flatter at the front.

Can you see the rounded pocket? There's one on each side, but I'm not much good at photography!

I also recreated this t shirt with a cute pic I got years ago as part of a Peter Rabbit bath book. Having owned bunnies (well been owned by bunnies to be precise!) I am fond of all things related to Peter Rabbit!

And here's a close up of the Robin (geez I really should've ironed it):

Other happenings have been around vague organising of our wedding. We've got the venue and reception books and guests have been told to 'save the date' so now we move onto the minutae of all things bridal-despite my attempts to avoid...Here's a picture of my mum with one of the phone book size bridal magazines she picked up.I imbibed several glasses of wine while she suggested I need an "ankle length dress with sleeves" (Mum speak for 'you're too fat for short and sleeveless'). I'm hoping for 50's style retro either bought or made for me, but I think I'm a bit short for ankle length being 5ft3! Plus i have no intention of wearing white....

Here's the beautiful roses which she gave me, with some pyrex bowls I picked up at Savers realising that everytime i wanted to bake a cake I was using a casserole dish as a mixing bowl!

I also picked up this darling bowl for $4.

It's residing on the book case in the living room at the moment, but Chris' shipping from England are arriving on monday so who knows how much knick nack room there'll be...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

No Spend Craft Month: The Results!

No Spend Craft Month
Apr - May 08

How long could you go without spending on your crafty pursuits?

Last year I read Judith Levine's “Not Buying It”, a journalist's account of spending a year not buying anything except 'essentials'. Whilst it didn't go as far as doing without toilet paper, it challenges the idea of doing without, not buying into trends and the role of consumerism and identity.

I considered all this in regard to crafting. I love making things and have always been a huge fan of all things second hand. Whether found, or bought from charity shops or occasionally online. The dilemma is how many things I have to buy to enable me to make my crafts. I prefer charity shops. But it's still spending money. I have a big stash of second hand jumpers, ill fitting clothing and odds and ends stored under my bed, as well as a box of books and comics, and a bookcase full of poorly folded curtains and sheets. When you like second hand goods, there's never really an end point, there's always another purchase to be made. In your head, there's a competing dialogue between what you have, what you could buy, what you are planning to make, and what you could make if you had this and this and this and this....

There’s also the whole commodafication of crafting. Why are crafts ascribed more kudos once they receive a monetary value? Some of you may have been involved in the “Buy Handmade” pledge and campaign from last Christmas which encouraged consumers to focus on handmade goodies, rather than mass retailers. The campaign was initiated by some of the bigger craft retailers and publications. I loved the idea of “Buy Handmade” as I know how handmade things are seen as something to be kept and treasured. But why are we buying instead of making? When did DIY become DIB(uy)?

Is DIY/B still a valiant attempt to have a social conscience? Is it better to buy handmade if it is made from fabric woven in third world conditions? And further to that matter, how many crafters are crafting in effectively third world conditions? Cutting out fabric on the living room floor, hunched over a desk or kitchen table (anyone heard of an ergonomic sewing machine?). And how much is that labour valued? Obviously you need a meaningful middle class job or frugal living to enable to send hours crafting or trawling charity shops for second hand goodies and still have a roof over your head. What about selling of hand knitted garments? Winter is coming, I need some fingerless gloves. I can go to a retailer near my house and get some handmade by a local crafter. They retail at $25 of which I assume the knitter gets perhaps $15. That wouldn't even cover the cost of wool and needles, let alone the cost of labour. Are [predominantly female] crafters worth so little that we are constantly underpriced by others and more importantly, ourselves?

As well as labour issues, there's also the big trend towards eco-logical crafting - using trends such as felting. To felt old jumpers a common technique involves the use of hot water and multiple hot wash cycles. You may even choose to use your clothes dryer. This translates to lots of water and electricity. I live in Australia in the middle of a massive drought. Big carbon footprint.


Where do my materials come from?
What carbon footprint does my crafting leave?
How much time do I spend shopping for materials?
How much money do I spend on materials?
Have I spent money to make money?
What are my materials worth?
What is my labour worth?

I decided to take ONE MONTH from Monday April 7th to see how I manage crafting without buying anything. No buying more fabric 'just in case' or tools instead of looking for those I own. No more spending money to make money. No more buying things I didn't really need at the expense of things I already have.

So what was it like? I had quite a lot of interest from fellow crafters. I felt like a priest as people kept admitting me that they too had a considerable stash of half finished products, fabric they were too scared to cut up in case they made a mistake and couldn’t walk past a charity shop without buying something. Others admitted they had never thought about the conditions under which their fabric was made. A couple admitted a kind of pressure to keep up with gathering more and more stuff-pillow cases, tea towels and retro linen seems to be a popular pack rat items!

Personally it was a challenge. I broke my last sewing machine needle and ran out of PVC. My partner bought me a pack of needles in exchange for mending his holey jeans. (Fair trade? I hope so). In some ways I realised how I had been preferencing the urge to shop over the urge to create. Consumerism seems so much safer than creativity. No risk or making a mistake or being judged for your efforts. I had in the past surrounded myself with vintage and recycled goods as a testament to my aesthetic. I even have books on retro and traditional crafting. But what was stopping me? I started wondering if all the crafters who say they love what they could do and could do it all day everyday were lying or I simply lacked discipline and had an embarrassing bout of terminal procrastination. It also made me wonder what it would be like to sit in a studio/spare room day after day and create. What would it be like to create from scratch without expectation or a nod to the past?

Was it productive? Well, I started a new project with all those second hand jumpers (still not finished). I had a go at photography and took photos of my life everyday for a week. (You can see the photos at ). I started a fabric mosaic of a woman cleaning the toilet. This took some courage. I don’t really know how to mosaic and I had to find photos of women cleaning the toilet! I cooked more than I would have ever thought possible. I made a skirt, decorated some t shirts and made some odds and ends. I’m also working on some illustrations which are somewhat thwarted by my lack of drawing skills.

Would I do it again? Yes!

Future challenges I am thinking about:

  • A month without craft websites
  • A month of starting no new products but instead completing all that are half finished
  • A month of hiring an empty space to craft without distraction


Judith Levine ‘A Year Without Shopping

Jean Raila “What Would Jesus Sell?”

Polka Dot Rabbit

Friday, May 9, 2008

Sewing, soup and sausage rolls!

I had a most lovely evening last night. Chris and i went to the launch of "Soup for All Seasons", a vegan cookbook by the chefs of Las Vegan, published by Aduki Press.

We had some amazing vegan sausage rolls and cherry cocktails. This was followed by a yummy dinner and bits and pieces and copious amounts of vodka.

and i am very much looking forward to some cooking on the weekend, especially if it is cold and rainy and wintery. I promised I would make Spicy Moroccan Pumpkin and Chickpea soup :-).
Other weekend plans include some more glove embroidery for Polka Dot Rabbit store, working on my mosaic, a zine festival at Federation Square and a Rocket Science gig.

Today I took these pics:

Pigeon having a bath outside the library...

Cute shop art in Chapel Street

Today's gloves (embroidered by me!)

I have been looking at Vintage website for wedding dress ideas and i came across this gorgeous skirt that is (alas) sold!