Thursday, December 31, 2009

Crazy Critters

I just made a sound more animal than human, not only frightening myself but causing the neighbour's baby to burst into tears. The reason for the sound? I discovered these:

Best bit: They're little brushed crocheted critters from Roman Sock AND they come with free patterns, which means I can make them!! LOVE!

Resolving things

New Years Eve. The ringing out of the old and ringing in of the new. Ironically for me it's more the reverse (reverting to the old, waving goodbye to the new) as I pack the last of my clothes and make those last minute keep/throw decisions. The hall is lined with a city of boxes and looks not unlike the city skyline I'm leaving behind, along with a year full of few ups and lots of downs.
I'm one of those people that makes a list of resolutions each year with strict determination to meet every goal. And succeed at none. So this year I've decided to focus solely on one goal: to remember the little things. Yesterday, while packing and feeling sorry for myself, I came across the left-over bubbles from a friends wedding this year. I'd just painted my nails red in a moment of procrastination. Blowing the bubbles up into my fan, I got caught in a moment when, in the chaos of boxes, strewn clothes, and medical bills, I couldn't help but smile. Red nails. bubbles. Michael Buble singing I've got the World on a String. The world was happy for a moment, and for that moment it didn't matter that my life was falling down around me.
So in 2010 I'm going to focus more on the small moments.

The bubble blowing

red nail

crazy dancing

day at the beach

sweet treat

first kiss

unexpected discovery

moments that make all the big-bad-bear moments seem not quite so big.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sifting memories

I'm packing.

Supposedly. In actuality I'm sorting through things bought, found, or acquired in an effort to place a value on the memories each contains. Is the ragged red Cananda hoodie I've had for almost ten years worthy of less sentiment than the shiny new cocktail dress I've never worn (and maybe never will)? Oftentimes I find myself drawn back to those old ragged items, the ones that my mum keeps telling me are too worn to wear, too unsturdy to hold my whole book collection. There's some kind of security in a car that has survived hundreds of thousands of kilometers and years of sun and rain, a security that you don't have with this year's model. There's something comforting about the old that the new just can never replicate for me. And no more so than when I'm on unsteady ground.
I'm moving because, after a year of 300+ job applications, two failed jobs, and a knee reconstruction, I'm broke. I have finally put up the white flag and admitted that the only way possible for me to go forward is to start by going back. And so I'm going back home for a while, where my mother fluffs and frets over me not eating enough, my father complains about me sleeping too much, and my dog looks at me with awe and joy.
Even with the decision made over a week ago I still haven't come to terms with my fate. I keep reminding myself that it's only for the short term, that it's just a way to get to where I need to go. And still it cuts and tears at my heart. I feel like I've failed at life, that maybe at 25 this is all I will ever be.

And I feel broken.

If Only

is a stubble-tongued whore
who clacks her bedroom
slipper false-teeth
and twitches well-oiled hips
you coulda done more
you shoulda done better
if only and if only
you’d sweated harder, never slept, tried again,
double-checked, revised, replaced
been worthy
deserved to be right
it would all have fallen
into place
by now.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Crafts

So, it's Christmas. Normally I  Love Christmas, but with everything that's happened (or not happened) this year I just can't seem to find my Christmas mojo. I'm sure after a few margaritas and, mango bellini in hand, I'll find some Christmas cheer, but right now, even on Christmas Eve, it all just seems too much effort.
So instead of blabbing on about the holiday joy and the fun I've had baking, I'd rather just leave a few photos of Christmas crocheting tasks I've completed. The first, A blanket for my lovely friend B.

My high-school boyfriend used to jokingly refer to her as Old Man. Sadly she now is suffering from a disease which leaves her feeling like an old woman most days. I made this foot blankie to keep her warm on long cold nights when her bones ache and her belly hurts. Funnily enough I chose the colours purely for their delightfulness, only realising as I sat weaving in the last ends that I'd chosen quintessential Christmas tones. 

The second project you may remember from this post. That very night I sat down and attempted the bow on the alice band with such great success. I also achieved the alice band for my cousin and couldn't wait til Christmas to give it to her. Unfortunately she loved it so much I didn't have time to snap a picture of it. Not to worry, I've got another one in the works as we speak.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sugar and Spice and all Things Nice

It's been a rainy weekend, which is the perfect reason to dust off the rolling pin and get spend the whole day in the kitchen. Since I hurt my leg I've been unable to stand for too long which has limited my cooking soires to reheating and packet-cooking on the few days my mum hasn't been around the house to cook for me. I must admit I'm enjoying the easiness of being home for a while. The chores are shared and the mess is halved with more hands to help.
But this afternoon I gave my mum the afternoon off and took over the kitchen for a few hours. I started by making the dough for these little fellas:

And then I left it chill for a while and thew together possibly the yummiest blueberry muffins in the world:

I found the recipe (I can't remember where) last year sometime and have had all the ladies at mum's work begging me to make them again every time I come home. They're super easy and quick, and disappear way too quickly.

Blueberry Heaven
1/2cup unsalted butter (I'm lazy so I used salted and just omitted the salt)
1 1/4cups sugar (I used caster ut I've also used raw and they taste just as good)
2 eggs
2cups plain flour
1/2tsp salt
3tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
125g mashed blueberries
125g whole blueberries

Cream butter and sugar on slow speed. Add eggs one at a time.  Sift in dry ingredients, alternating with milk. Add blueberries and stir gently until combined. Fill muffin papers 3/4 full and sprinkle with a little extra sugar. Bake at 190C for 20-30 minutes.

The Gingerbread men I took from the mini recipe book on the December issue of Australian Good Food. We had a whole heap of treacle in the cupboard and not much golden syrup so I substituded half and half which I think produced a slightly darker cookie. Again, I also used caster sugar instead of brown and omitted the cloves because, well...I forgot ro get them. 

Gingerbread Soldiers
1/4cup golden syrup
1/4cup firmly packed brown sugar
1tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2tsp ground gloves
1tsp bicarb soda
125g unsalted butter, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 1/4cups plain flour, sifted
Combine golden syrup, sugar and spices in heatproof bowl over simmering water and stir until sugar dissolves. Add bicarb soda and stir until mixture bubbles.Remove from heat and add butter, stirring until butter is melted and mixture is smooth and leave to cool.
Stir in egg and add one cup of flour, stirring until combined. Add remaining flour and use hands to bring dough together. turn out onto lightly floured surface and kneed gently until dough is soft and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30mins.
Roll out dough and use man-shaped cutters to cut out biscuits, placing on a greased and lined baking tray. Bake at 180C for 10-15 mins, or until biscuits start to harden and colour.

I used a basic icing mixture to decorate the little men and also made a few ginger stars while I was at it. I think next time I'd add a bit more spice to give them more of a kick, and maybe make them a bit bigger so I can use smarties of m&ms for buttons.

Friday, December 18, 2009

I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way.

I have this thing for vintage pinups. Hmmm...That makes me sound like a perve. Maybe it's some girly obsession with glamour, maybe it's my child-hood love of Jessica Rabbit:

 Who knows. Don't get me wrong, I'm under no illusions about the relation between these girls and porn. I get that these girls were the Playboy bunnies of their day, the centrefolds of the 40s and 50s. But look:

They're just so darn sexy. There are plenty other naughtier images out there with the girls naked, but even they seem so much classier than the pinup girls of today. And some of them are just so fun, like this one:

and this one:

The pin-up artsits of those days didn't stick to the typical "naughty naked girl" routine, they had fun with it, and seemed to get that less isn't always more. And some of them even became famous! Alberto Vargas created a whole line of WWII pinups known as the "Varga Girls" and inspired a 2008 photo shoot with stars doing crazy things like this:

That's susan Sarandon looking every bit pinup material at 62. Wow! right? I saw this shot in a magazine last year and fell in love with it so much I'd love to recreate it, and hang it on a wall somewhere. In fact, I'd love a whole collection of pinups for my walls, including this lovely Varga Girl santa:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Sky is Falling

Isn't it amazing how a moment can change so much? How at any given point every inch of your life hangs on this huge set of scales waiting to be tipped one way or the other.
At the moment my scales seem permanantly tipped in this direction:

when only yesterday they were closer to this:

My Workcover claim for my knee was rejected on Friday. Today, after talking to my district manager, I've been informed that until I am able to come back on full duties I will be on unpaid leave. Seems fair enough, and it's nice that they're holding my job for me, but they will only hold it until mid-January and, unfurtuantely, knee injuries and ladders are not close friends. It may take more than a month for me to be fully capable to bend and climb. Ergo, if my knee is not better by January 10 I have no job.
Why has work cover rejected my claim? Because walking is an 'everydady activity' and therefore not a suitable claim in relation to a work injury. Can I protest? Yes. Will it get me anywhere? Probably not. So, I'm pretty much jobless AND I have a nice little pile of doctor's bills and hospital fees to keep me warm at night.
At least I've got my health. Oh, wait...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Turning the frown upside down

Things that make me sad: Worksafe rejecting my claim for a work injury.

Things that make me a little less sad:

These Christian Louboutin heels. They're call Rosazissimo, which I think describes their sweet craziness perfectly.

These wedding photos from Green Wedding Shoes. They're just a little bit cute.

Williams Sonoma's Sandwich cookie cake tin. "I only had one cookie...."

Friday, December 11, 2009

Going Knit-crazy

Due to the nature of my body I'm constantly under threat by any number of old wounds. Sadly, at the moment this wound is in the form of a torn ligament in my right knee, angered by years of badly-taught netball drills. To be exact, the interior meniscus which, I'm led to believe, is one of the major ones that holds everthing together and keeps it working.
I damaged my knee two weeks ago while at work. I was walking. When I tell people this most smile at me knowingly, expecting me to regal them with the real story. But that's it. I was walking, and I managed to tear a vital part of my knee. Even my surgeon seemed dubious at my explaination. No exciting story about saving a small child from a burning building, or rescuing a kitten from a tree. Just walking.
Because I did it at work I am hoping to be covered by work cover, which stops me from fretting over the ever-increasing number of bills. It also means that I still get paid while I'm off work for the next two weeks, recovering from the operation to stick things back together. It doesn't, however, prevent the pain and frustration at not being able to walk, bathe, sleep, or sit normally. And it certainly doesn't stop the crazy boredom that seems to be encapsulating my days while I sit...and sit....and sit.
To keep me busy I've got a bunch of beautiful wools and fun crafty things to play with, my problem is always finding the perfect project for that perfect wool. While I'm not sure about my skill level (still completing my first ever granny-square blanket) I've got big plans and giant dreams for my next batch:

I love how this necklace from creativeyarn looks both delicate and chunky. I've got some recycled cotten yarn perfect for this. AND my new milk/acryllic blend was handlicked for this one from the same site:

I'm endeavouring to get this one done for my counsin's Christmas pressie. She's been giggling at my nanna ways but after seeing this, all of a sudden crocheting is cool. I think with all the free time I've got overthe next two weeks I'm going to have heaps of time to master both these and work on something even bigger.  I've just got to find the right project....

Sunday, November 29, 2009

And Summer's lease hath all too short a date...

Summer is my absolute favourite time of year. I love everything about it. Summer has the best smells (fresh cut lawn on a hot day, frangipanis wafting from the neighbours garden, the earthiness of hot ground cooling in the evening shade). It has by far the best activities: Swimming and sunbathing, BBQ's and Picnics, waterfights and evening parties outside.
And then there's the food. If I could live perpetually on one particular season's food it would, without a doubt be summer's. Mangos, Pineapples, cherries, and melons! Fresh seafood and zingy salads. Sorbets, icecreams, frozen fruit slushies! I remember as a child sitting in the sand out front of our holiday rental, watching the boats drift by, feeling the sticky, salty breeze on my sunburnt skin, and licking up every last drop of sweet mango juice dripping down my arm as I devoured the fruit ravenously. Even now nothing says summer like an icy mango and a scoop of good vanilla icecream. 
From the food of summer comes the Christmases I love the best. Sitting in the scorching heat watching the soft marshmellow clouds tumble through the sky. Water fights and backyard cricket. Electrical storms terrorizing the dogs and children and sending shivers down my back.  Pelting rain and hail hitting the hot dust and sending earthy, sweet smells into the air, followed by the fresh, clean scent of wet grass.
Cicadas singing, frogs croaking, even the mozzies buzzing and biting has a certain charm at the end of the day. And as I lay in bed listening to the sound of the split-splot on the tin roof I smile and thank God for every sound, smell and taste summer hath brought.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Getting Lost

I've been feeling out of sorts for a while. Not really sad, but far from happy. Almost numb. It's as though my feelings have taken a wrong turn and got lost on their way to Emotion Central.
When I feel like this I often realise it's because I've not been doing the things my soul needs. One of these (and the reason I've started this blog) is writing. Writing unscrambles my thoughts and allows all the little halfling ideas in my head to make sense of themselves. It allows me to separate the tangles in my mind and file things in some kind of ordered chaos. It helps me breathe.
My soul craves water. Not to drink, although liquid refreshment is very important. Water soothes me. It is the element that makes me feel the most at home. Swimming in it, gazing at it, or simply smelling it as it splots onto the dusty earth after another scorching day. In all its forms I live for it. Sadly water has also been lacking in my life of late, leaving me restless and constantly on edge.
My soul pines for words. To read allows me an escape from life. It allows me to lose myself in another world. A world where things may even be worse rather than better, but are, most importantly, different. When I find myself feeling the most lost I turn inevitably to books, all sorts of books: fiction, non-fiction, drama, comedy, travel, history, even (and not just becuase I'm desperate) text books. Somehow by getting lost I manage to find myself again.
This is how I'd like to find myself right now:

 Arabesques by Richard Desaix

The compete works of E.E.Cummings

"To me the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the music the words make."
Truman Capote

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Here I am

Here’s what I am. I’m 25. I’m Caucasian. I’m 165cm tall (although my license reads 168cm). I hover between a size 12 and a 14, usually closer to the larger end. I have red hair and milky-white skin swathed in thousands—if not millions—of pale chocolate freckles. I have small breasts and large, slightly manly shoulders. I have toe issues, foot problems, a dodgy right knee, a crooked pelvis, bad vision, cold sores, and endless teeth dilemmas from clenching my jaw while I sleep. I’m a catch, right?

You’ve picked yourself up off the floor, grasped your ribs in agony, and wiped away the tears of laughter? Well done. I’m sure there are hundreds of others who didn’t survive the torrent of incredulous guffaws produced in response to that last quip. Because, who are we kidding, I’m not exactly pin-up girl material. In fact, as far as 20-somethings go, I’m probably well below average when it comes to physical make-up. But here’s the kicker. I’m mentally and emotionally a bit under par too.

I have a quick temper. Yep, say what you like about stereotypes not being true, but this redhead has more fire than the aptly named matches. But I don’t just get angry. Oh no, I run the whole gamut of bad moods: melancholy, morose, discontent, disjointed, confused, and just plain lost. I’m can’t make decisions. (That’s not completely true, I can’t make decisions about my life—others’ lives on the other hand, I’m all over that.) I like control, but I don’t want it. I love spontaneity, but it terrifies me. I hate being stagnant, but change unsettles me too much. I want everything now, not tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong, I want that sense of achievement that comes from working hard, but do I really have to get up before nine?

So what about the deeper me? What are my hopes and dreams? What do I really believe in? What do I love to do? I want to travel. But I don’t want to just see the world, I want to take it by the hand and say “how do you do?” I love to cook and I want to be able to do it well. No not just well, amazingly well. I want to effortlessly rustle up the best damn soufflé you’ve ever eaten, or the most mouth-watering roast duck you can imagine. I want to create stuff. What stuff? I don’t know. I can knit and crochet. I (occasionally) make my own clothes and jewellery. I just need to create, damn it!

You know what I want most. I want to have some kind of purpose in my life. And that’s what this is. It’s about finding a purpose. Something more than just a lifestyle, a dream, or a career. I’m not searching for my real self—I’ve already got enough personalities fighting for control. What I’m hoping for is to slowly untangle the hopped-up, flipped-out, craziness that is me. And take you along for the ride. Now I’m warning you, on any given day this may involve absolutely nothing. But it may also involve high-strung excitement at completing a knitting project, the blissful calm that comes from producing a perfect chocolate tart, desperate anxiety over another failed job/interview, and even complete and utter depression when everything just falls apart.

Welcome to the ride of my life. Strap yourself in, it is going to get bumpy, but I’m sure (I hope) we’ll all survive.