Monday, December 15, 2008
Saturday, November 08, 2008
What the *bleep* has happened to thee?
I'm glad to say that it's been going strong
Despite my illness I've been playing along
Ok, ok, there was a tofu incident
Still from the path I have not *generally* bent
We've had lots of soup, and them some more
(In fact our dining has been a bore)
As Grumbles and I recovered from our bug
There was nary a softdrink bottle from which we did slug
I promise more updates will come your way
But now it's time for me to hit the hay.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Alas, nothing. It was determined to stay in there, taunting my futile efforts.
So this morning I bit the bullet and called the surgeon's office, who bade me to come in at once. After a bit of poking around, and fair bit of spitting blood from me into the basin thoughtfully provided, it came out.
Hooray - now even my mouth is Plastic Free Month-ready!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I'll concur with their point - it does take a little more time. Yesterday, for example, I needed some broad beans for dinner. It would have been much faster to jump in my car (let's presume that I actually own a car, and know how to drive one!), joining the hoards on the road, spewing pollution and carbon emissions as I went, and then lunge into the supermarket, getting a plastic packet of cheapie imported broad beans from the energy-guzzling freezer, then driving back home to quickly throw them in a saucepan, without the hassle of removing them from their pod.
Much, much faster, but at what cost?
Instead I spend an hour or two at the start of each month doing a monthly menu plan, based on what is currently in season. I love this time - I happily dig out all my cookbooks and food magazines and daydream about fabulous meals, drooling as I go. Then, a few times each week, I take Grumbles in hand after consulting my plan (no asking "what's for dinner?" at our place, we always know!) and we sally forth upon our feet down to the local shops, stopping to natter to shopkeepers and friends as we go. It's not quick, but damn it's enjoyable.
Then we walk home, savouring the fresh air and sunshine, or rain if it's that sort of day, chattering about the shoes hung over power lines ("Grumbles, is that where we keep our shoes?" "NOOOOOOOOOO, bwahahahhah!"), listening to the birds, pausing to scratch the bellies of neighbourhood cats. Then we plonk ourselves on the front stoop, scrap bowl and broad beans in hand, and shell them together. Grumbles learns about food, and locality, and the importance of community, and I enjoy watching her learn and blossom, proud to stand by and watch her showing Max the book shop man her new shoes, and informing Zota the cheese shop owner that we're having pasta with broad beans for dinner tonight.
I'm sorry, but I don't consider that to be a waste of time at all. The hand-shelled broadies win for me, every time.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
As long time readers may recall, last April I took a pledge to be plastic free for 21 days, and it went rather well. I didn't purchase anything that was made of or came wrapped in plastic (except for an odd hiccup or two) as I was sick to death of it coming into my house.
I've mostly stuck with it, but over the last few months have become a bit lazy (having four wisdom teeth out will do that to a girl), and slowly but surely the plastic has been creeping back into my house. Dip containers, juice containers, plastic-wrapped foods - you name it, we've got it. It's insidious, and bloody everywhere, and I am putting my foot down!
No more plastic! I'm making November the new Plastic Free Month. It's disgusting that we scar the earth by drilling for oil (a rapidly dwindling resource), expend huge amounts of energy in processing the oil to turn it into plastic, then manufacturing it, packaging it, transporting and distribution it, polluting heavily the air, the oceans, the rivers and the earth as we go, and then once we get the plastic home we throw it in the friggin' bin. ENOUGH!
My pledge is going to be three-fold:
1 - I shall refrain from purchasing anything that is made of or is packaged in plastic for a month;
2 - I shall try to minimise all waste created for the month, and only purchase products in packaging that can be recycled;
3 - I shall crap on about it here, in the hope of inspiring others.
This does mean that my purchasing over the next month will be limited mostly to food, but that's quite ok as I have enough stuff as is, and I'll be saving money over the start of the silly season.
Now for the interactive bit - who's with me? Trust me, it's easy and green - think of it as an early Christmas present to the earth, as we eshew unsustainable practices, and focus on recycling, reusing and reducing. Now, before you start freaking out and begin wailing "I can't do it, the damnable stuff is everywhere!", I think it's only fair to allow a few caveats. Mine, for example, are plastic lids on glass bottles, plastic linings in canned goods, and plastic-wrapped medicines if we fall ill. I'm not going to beat myself up over any of those, although I'll try and avoid them where I can. I think the key to making this work is making active choices whenever you can, and not sweating the smaller, unavoidable instances.
I'll help you all along by posting menu and recipe suggestions, as well as plastic free Christmas ideas. So c'mon! Sign up, and let's be crazy and plastic free together! I promise, I'll blog about it every day as we go!
Monday, October 27, 2008
The challenge will be to come up with six interesting things about myself that I haven't already mentioned before. Yikes! I'm not sure I'm that layered, but here goes:
1 - I LOVE LOVE LOVE mid-century illustration, like the above pic. Can't get enough of it, no sirree! Just as well the fabulous Plan59 is around to give me a regular fix. If anybody knows of any other similar sites, feel free to let me know.
I mean, seriously, how excited is that kid over his spaghetti? He's all "Great Scott, Spaghetti! I may very well crack my face open with excitement! Spaghettispaghettispaghetti!" Oh man, it cracks me up, gets me everytime. I can't see the youth of today being that thrilled over mere pasta.
2 - I'm rather partial to a bit of spaghetti myself. Especially with freshly made rocket pesto and roasted pumpkin.
3 - I only paint my toenails in summertime. Never the winter, because I'm too lazy to upkeep something that is always hidden in socks and boots. So now you know - I'm a nail maintenance slob!
4 - I never did the big travel/work/live overseas thing, as we chose to have Grumbles instead. I often get pangs of envy listening to others talk of their big adventures, but I'd still make the same choice if I had my time again. Still, never too late, eh? I hear Norway is nice this time of year...
5 - Cheesecake is my favourite dessert. I ate three pieces of it the night before my wisdom teeth op. I figured I'd best shove the calories in whilst I could still move my mouth, and thank heavens I did because it was nothing but mash for a week afterwards.
6 - I am not ashamed to admit that I love Careless Whisper by George Michael, although I may regret announcing this when you all stop reading my blog in disgust at my pathetic taste in music.
Right - tagging time. This one has been doing the rounds for a while, so if you want to do it and haven't yet had the pleasure, consider yourself tagged by moi!
Friday, October 24, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
It's here - the paper making tutorial you've all been waiting for! This is such a fun activity - not only is it ideal to do with small helpers, but it's recycling at it's creative best, and cheap as chips to boot. What's not to love, eh? So pop on some old clothes (one does get a little wet), and let's get cracking.
A paper recyling kit (I bought mine from a National Geographic store years ago, but you can find them online here)
A tub that is larger in dimension than the deckle in your kit
A space to lie the paper down to dry. The kits usually come with drying boards, but they won't work if you want to make larger pieces. I usually use the concrete out the front of my house, as it's nice and smooth, but I always give it a good sweep first, as getting dirt on your new paper is rather annoying.
Step 1: Gather your paper to be recycled. I save every bit of coloured paper that comes my way. The more heavily pigmented the paper, the more colourful your hand made paper will be. Tissue paper, in particular, creates some vividly coloured paper, due to the heavy pigmentation.
Step 2: Sort the scrap paper into piles based on colour. It's best to do this, and then you will end up with lovely coloured paper, rather than some drab tone.
Step 3: Decide which pile you will attack first (we chose the blue pile), then rip up the paper into small pieces, about the size of a postage stamp.
Step 4: Cover the paper with water, and leave to soak overnight. If you are using glossy paper, such as old wrapping paper, or magazine paper, you may want to leave it to soak for 48 hours.
Step 5: Assemble your equipment in the place you are going to spread the paper out to dry (I usually do this bit outside). You will need a tub, a sponge, and your paper making kit, comprising of a draining mold, a piece of fine mesh, and the deckle (the wooden frame).
Step 6: Now it's time to make the paper pulp. Place a small handful of soaked paper into your blender, then fill the blender with water, being careful not to go over the maximum liquid indicator mark. Whizz until the paper looks small, and you can't see any big chunky pieces flying around.
Step 8: Assemble your kit. Place the mesh on top of the draining mold, then the deckle snugly on top of that.
Step nine: Holding your kit, dip it in the pulp mixture, holding tightly with both hands. Bring it up out of the tub, and, resting it on the side of the tub, let as much water drain out of it as possible.
Step 10: Remove the deckle. You will have a rectangle sheet of wet pulp on the mesh. Carefully pick up the mesh, and place it pulp side down on the ground, in the position you want it to dry in (i.e. full sun, away from curious pets).
Step 11: Carefully sponge off the mesh, getting all excess water out of the pulp (which isn't actually pulp any more - it's a very wet and rather soggy piece of paper!).
Step 12: Once you have removed as much water as possible, carefully pick up the end of the mesh, and peel it off the paper. If the paper begins to rip and stick to the mesh, place it back down and re-sponge it, using a dribble of water to removed the paper from the mesh.
Step 13: Voila! A brand new recycled piece of paper. Well done!
Step 14: To make larger pieces of paper, repeat steps 8 to 13, being careful to place the second piece of paper slightly over the edge of the first, so the overlapping sides will adhere together.
Now that you've mastered the technique, it's time to experiment. Here's some ideas to get you going:
Step 15: Continue until the piece is big enough for your liking. The one in the picture above is 5 pieces across and 3 down - 15 in all.
Step 16: Leave the paper out in the sun until it is absolutely bone dry, then very carefully pull it off the concrete. Ta da - you've done it!
- Try drying your paper on different surfaces, which will result in paper with amazing textures.
- Add different colours of pulp together to make 'swirl' effect paper.
- Scent your paper with essential oils.
- Sprinkle your paper with plant seeds, and then give as gifts. The recipients can plant them in the garden, and marvel when the plants grow up.
- Iron the paper once dried, for a super smooth surface on which to write.
- Experiment with plant dyes to really colourful paper.
- Get the little ones involved, and turn the paper into funky masks/cards for Grandma/Christmas decorations etc
I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial. If you have any questions, drop my an email or leave a comment.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Since it's going to be a bright and sunny 29 C on Saturday, I was thinking I would spend part of the day making paper for gift wrapping.
Is anybody interested in me documenting the procedure, and making a tutorial? Leave a comment, and if there is a bit of interest then I'll endeavour to cover my camera with as much paper pulp as possible!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Scary ones, at that. I've always had a morbid fear of pirates, particularly ones sporting ruffly shirts, eye patches and, er, chest hair.
Ooooh, these two look like they are planning mutiny. Arrrr, ya mangy curs!
Although, if it is indeed mutiny they are planning, that one on the left might just stuff it all up. He don't look too bright, and the captain looks like he might be hitting the rum, whilst the one in the middle looks like he's still suffering from the rum he had by the barrelful the night before.
Still, why take any chances, 'eh? I'd best grab Grumbles, and we can fire our cannon balls at them, and sail safely off on the seven seas. Ahoy there!
We got this splendid Pirate Ten Pin Bowling set from Fairground Child. Grumbles and I have spent many happy hours knocking them over in our hallway (much to our neighbours delight, I'm sure!). They are Fair Trade, and made by a cooperative in Sri Lanka. Not only do Grumbles and I have fun playing with them, but they are also a hit at parties!
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
Tomorrow I am getting my wisdom teeth out. All four. In hospital.
How do I feel about this? I am scared out of my fricken tree. Seriously. The last time I was in hospital, giving birth to Grumbles, I almost so very nearly didn't come out again, so the thought of having to lie on that hospital trolley again, counting down to ten as the anaesthetist does his thing really doesn't appeal. I'm having a mild anxiety attack just typing this.
Even just the smell of a hospital sends a shudder through me.
I'm not worried about the pain. Pain I can handle. It's just the thought of something going horribly wrong that is giving me the willies. I know, I know, it's just a dental procedure - what can wrong? Well, last time I was just meant to pop out a baby, and look how that finished up. Me, lying there, star of my own blood-filled medical tragedy, featuring 5 hours of emergency surgery, 18 blood transfusions, loss of coagulation system and a sub-partial hysterectomy. Yay - happy days!
Whew. Deep breaths.
It's the waiting that's doing me in. The weekend was fine, I was rushing about like a mad woman, cooking pot after pot of soup, and making numerous batches of ice-cream, both of which will see me through the week. But now Grumbles is having her nap, Galumph is at work, and I'm sitting here trying to keep dark thoughts out of my mind. Having a vivid imagination isn't always such a good thing, ya know? Bring on tomorrow and let's get the whole thing over and done with.
Ok, more deep breaths. Sorry for being such a sook.
I just want to wake up, and be ok. I just want to be able to live a long and happy life, growing disgracefully old with my husband, and having the joy of watching my little girl grow up. Please, please God, don't let anything go wrong this time.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
I read with interest on your website that you are always seeking new candidates who believe in the joy of building, the pride of creation. In that case, please let me introduce my daughter, Grumbles. I know it's hard to believe, but this clever four year old built this helicopter herself from scratch. Amazing!
No, really, it is amazing. I have distinct memories of being in grade 3, and still only managing to build sad, featureless towers from your most excellent product. The kid has surpassed my Lego skill many, many times over. In fact, I doubt I could put together a helicopter now, let alone at such a tender age.
Although, just between you and I, I'm not so sure the pilot is seated in an ideal place. It seems like a sure-fire recipe for decapitation to me.
Um, ignore the manic grin. I'm absolutely positive that's not what she has in mind. She's obviously concerned for his safety, hence the helmet. Really, she's a kind-hearted genius!
Anyway, if you have any need of four year olds who are a whizz with small coloured blocks, give us a call. I'll send her right over (and maybe her Dad, too).
Thursday, August 28, 2008
A few months ago I bought myself some super amazing mascara. This magic in a tube claimed it would extend my lashes by 2,000,000 percent etc etc, and the marketing campaign gave the distinct impression that every fellow in a four mile radius would do nothing short of swoon at the very sight me and my mega-long eye fringes.
And whilst it has made my lashes look noticeably thicker (clumpier? cement-ier?), I must say that it has made no real difference to my life. I have not had any dapper cravat-wearing gentlemen of a certain age press bouquets of flowers into my hands, whispering words of awe as they do so over my lustrous lashes.
I know, I know – I can hardly believe it myself! Although the latter may have more to do with the fact that I rarely step into a Tiffany's store. Budgets, you know.
**Not it's actual retail name.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Still, it's amazing what you can get through when you stick to sparkling apple juice rather than wine at knit night, eh? Bwahahahahah! Remember, Jorth: wine and beautifully knitted garments are, alas, mutually exclusive.
So last night I whipped out my needles, said a polite no to the sticky dessert wine all the way from Germany, and made good progress on my Harvey, from Rowan Studio 1. I've almost finished the left front, having already completed the right front and back, and will soon be ready to hit sleeve island. In typical Jorth fashion, I'm sure I'll finish it just in time for summer.
Because Harvey is such a summery top, oui? (Snort, snort).
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I'm sitting here now at the computer whilst Grumbles sleeps, wondering if it's evil to wake her up so we can catch a tram down to the fabric shop. That'd be wrong, huh? Damn. If only I didn't have to organise my knitting club for tonight, I would be hunting through my fabric stash right now, planning and cutting and tinkering away.
I think Jocelyn is to be the first cab off the rank, although I'd prefer mine in bright, crazy red. I want the model's hair, too. And her legs. I swear, the more I exercise, the more my thighs chunk up, yet my arms remain flaccid and tone-less. ACK! That's not supposed to happen.
Sorry, got a bit off the track there. Back to the sewing. What's everybody else planning for summer projects? Surely I'm not the only one with the sewing bug!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Grumbles: It's okay, Mum, it's ok. Calm down!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
- Excited about rain as Jorth is? Check out how much is falling here!
- Ever wondered what it would be like to live in the past? I have a reoccurring daydream that I'm wealthy and fabulous in the 1930s, swanning around in silk satin dresses, cocktail in one hand, and ciggie with as-yet-unknown-negative-health-associations in the other. In my dream I run with quite a fast set, and have a damn good time. Oh, and I blow up all the car factories before people begin to think cars are indespensible, and found a factory utilising the energy from the sun to make the world's first solar panels, preventing hundreds of coal fired power stations from being built, and saving the world from climate change. That's right, I'm Super Thirties Girl!
Really, there's no need to thank me. I'm just doing what's right. Still, as marvellous as those day dreams are, I don't think I'd go to all the effort of living like I actually was stuck in the 30's, 40's or 50's. Didn't stop these broads, though.
- Now, onto more serious stuff. The latest news from environmentalists and climate scientists suggest that for the first time in human history the Arctic will be ice free in summer by 2013. This will have massive effects on rising sea levels, weather patterns (more storms, anyone?) and local wildlife, already facing extinction. For a fantastic program exploring the issue more, go here. Well worth a look.
Monday, August 11, 2008
1 Lazy Sunday morning spent blobbing around in jimjams until 11am
1 Jigsaw puzzle
4 hours to spent on it
2 bunches of narcissus perfuming the air
2 or 3 (according to taste) cups of tea, with Green and Black chocolate to nibble on
1 wonderful husband who is willing to cook both lunch and dinner (ok, so it was Pasta a la Galumph both times, but we'll forgive him)
1 crazy kid who likes nothing better than doing the dishes
6 hours of rain lashing the windows, and a lovely warm house to hang out in
Friday, August 01, 2008
Darlings! Hello! Yes, we're just back from the ski slopes, and what a thrill it was. I was cruising down those black diamond runs like nobody's business, inbetween perfecting my aerial jumps and...
Oh heck, who am I kidding? Yes, we did go skiing, at the lovely Falls Creek, but I'm more of an invalid shuffler skiier than anything else. Seriously - I look like I should be holding a zimmer frame, rather than being perched precariously on skis. When I do actually move it's so timid and pathetic, especially when 5 year olds zoom past with condescening looks. And heaven help me if I come to a slight hill that requires me going down it. My legs don't make the pizza shape like they are supposed to, and I end up sprawling my way down in a flurry of arms, stocks, and ski rage. Very attractive!
As for the head skiier of the family, Galumph - well, he came down with a nasty cold as we were driving up to the ski fields, and spent most of his skiing break curled up in bed. The poor old thing felt so miserable that he didn't even have the energy to vocally lament that fact that he wasn't out in it, and trust me, the man loves to ski. Why else would he don those ridiculous glasses?
My highlight was trying to get some cross country skiing done in what is predominately a downhill resort. My friend and I shuffled our way to the ski bowl at the aptly named Windy Corner in what felt like a force 10 blizzard. The wind howled and the snow sandblasted the skin off our very faces, resulting in a bit of a lobster look for the next few days. At one stage we were being blown backwards by the wind, and only the action of digging our stocks in the snow kept up from being blown up in the air, Mary Poppins style. I tried to laugh, as the whole escapade was an absolute skiing farce, but the wind kept whipping the air out of my throat, I couldn't even see more than 2 feet in front of me and I was beginning to get drenched by my running nose.
If you wish to apply for the recently vacated position of Ski Bunny, please email me at jorth-can't-ski-for-shite.com. Sigh.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
And now, to keep you in suspense no longer, the winners drawn by special Galumph random drawing thingy magic are:
Stephanie - Modern Quilt Workshop
QuiteContrary1977 - Knitted Babes
Muralimanohar - Japanese Totes book
Nikkishell - Japanese Embroidery book
Well done! Sorry to keep you all in suspense for so long, poor old Grumbles has been rather ill this week, so in the haze that comes with looking after a sickly child and not getting much sleep, I kept forgetting to get the Galumph to do his random wizardry. Oops!
Friday, July 18, 2008
This means several things:
(1) The bloom of my youth has well and truly faded, and that it's only a short trip here on in to hagged and crotchety;
(2) I can no longer say things like "When I grow up I want to be a blah blah blah", because it will only make me look dafter than I already am;
(3) Time is a'running out if I want to be an accomplished piano and trumpet playing bilingual diplomatic officer and bona fide chess master before middle age strikes;
(4) It's the Jorth birthday giveaway!
I suspect it's the latter that you're all interested in. Never mind me and my aging crisis, just show you the goodies, hey?
Firstly, the rules. Long time visitors know the drill - give me a bit of birthday love by leaving a nice message, telling me I don't look old at all and that being a diplomatic officer is vastly overrated etc etc and mention which gift you'd like to be yours. After the weekend I'll draw the winners out of the appropriate hats, send you an email requesting your postal details, and you and the pressies shall soon be one.
Rightio, first cab off the rank - Knitted Babes by Clare Garland. Lovely, sweet book, featuring these easy to knit up dolls that can usually be made from scrap yarn. I hope you have better luck than I did with mine, which resembled nothing but a burnt alien. Grumbles took one look at it, and crawled for the hills. Don't blame the poor kid, it did look pretty scary. Oh well.
Next up is The Modern Quilt Workshop by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr. Fabulous introduction into world of quilting, with a heavy emphasis on colour and design. Very inspirational.
Third is this nifty Japanese embroidered handbag pattern book. The bags in here at to die for, and there are about 10 I'd love to make, but it's been sitting on my shelf for 3 years now, and in my heart of hearts I know I'll never get around to making one up. So I'll hand it over to somebody who hopefully will. Or somebody who will at least drool over the pics more often than I do. (See more of the projects inside here)
Lastly is another Japanese craft book, this one featuring patterns for tote bags. Some very, very cool designs in here.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Pattern: Dream Cardi from And So To Bed by Lucinda Guy
Wool: The pattern specified 9 balls of Rowan RYC, but I went for a more budget knit and used Bendigo Woollen Mill's Classic 8 ply in Musk (1 1/2 balls)
Size: 3 - 4 years
Notions: Three vintage shank buttons from my stash (thank goodness for yard sales!), 1 metre spotted pink ribbon.
I love this cardi, as does Grumbles judging by the number of times it's been worn since I finished it two weeks ago! I'm rather glad that my camera didn't pick up the spaghetti sauce stains on the sleeve *ahem*.
Despite adoring the cardigan, I did take a few liberties with the pattern. It originally called for the lower bodice to be knit separately using double yarn, but I felt it made the pattern (which was knit all in one) unnecessarily complicated, without any major visual payoff, so I rewrote the pattern to suit me, and worked it using only a single strand of yarn.
I also ignored the instruction for croched button loops, and instead made my own using this method from the lovely Anna, which I felt would be far more sturdy for the age group specified.
But other than those minor quibbles it's a great cardi, with a lovely stitch pattern, and I can tell it's going to be worn and worn and worn!
In fact, I rather fancy making one for myself! [Said whilst hunting around for a calculator and some note paper]