Saturday, January 31, 2009

Summertime bounty

Look! From the garden:Unfortunately not from my garden. Things aren't looking too good out there:but I take comfort in the fact that at least this year it's taken two extra months before all my plants die on me. That's progress, right?!

The massive zucchini, cucumbers and the Italian parsley are from a colleague at work who was saying she was overwhelmed by giant zucchini and masses of parsley and seemed quite surprised that I offered to take any she didn't want. Until I explained that I had a very good distribution system worked out and that they should end up feeding 5 households and I could probably get her lemons and plums in return if she needed them. Which she seemed quite excited about.

These really are giant zucchini.They make last year's delivery look like a dwarf variety...

The cherry tomatoes are from J&M and were swapped for zucchini #1 (not shown).

I'm loving this too-ing and fro-ing of free produce and have been incubating a mad plan to set up a Fruit tree register in Canberra (if there isn't one already). You've heard of Freecycle (where people offer stuff they no longer want for free and other people who need it take it): I'm thinking of Fruitcycle where people with trees (or crops) they can't or won't use can register and be matched up with people who will use the produce that would otherwise go to waste, perhaps supplying the tree owner with jam, chutney or preserves in return.

I'm sure there are issues I haven't even considered which means it won't float: if I fall out of your tree while picking your fruit are you liable? If you eat my chutney and get sick can you sue me? Could some unscrupulous person use the info to work out who's elderly and lives alone with nasty consequences?

While I think about that you'll find me searching through my recipes to find something that uses a rather large amount of zucchini. Preferably without needing a beater or blender: still broken, alas...

Oh, and if you're at a loose end tomorrow morning you might like to tune in to ABC 666 around 10:40am. Just saying.

Friday, January 30, 2009

It's a hammer!

I got a call from Dad last night. It went something like this:

Dad: "I've been thinking about my birthday present..."
TSS: "Yes?"
Dad: "And I think I've worked it out."
TSS: "Uh huh?"
Dad: "Well it's not a scarf cause they're boring to knit"
TSS: "Correct"
Dad: "And it's not socks because no one knits them anymore"
TSS: "Err.... actually lots of people do, myself included, but you're right. It's not socks" (Thinking: DAMN! Should have knitted him socks, They would have been quicker...)
Dad: "So I'm thinking it must be a cardigan or a jumper"
TSS: "Wrong!"
Dad: "But you know that I don't wear cardigans. And the only jumpers I wear are fisherman's rib ones that I wear until they fall apart"
TSS: (Makes mental note... Fisherman's rib jumper... Size 104 cm...)
Dad: "And I wear sleeveless vests to work"
TSS: "It's a hammer!"*
Dad: "So I think you're knitting me a sleeveless vest"
TSS: "Argh! You figured it out! But yay: I can now officially be late since you know what it is AND post photos on the blog!"

(* Quote from a very long ago Christmas when Mum tried disguising Dad's presents as he always tried to work out what they were. We thought we had it sorted: we put a hammer in a large box. I think we even sprayed the box with perfume (but don't quote me on that bit). Of course, we forgot that if you pick up any box which is significantly heavier at one end than at the other it's pretty obvious what's in it... Hence the "It's a hammer!" quote)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The week that was

How was your week? I had a grand time while on my faux blog break:

* I watched Mamma Mia (big thumbs down) and Factory Girl (big thumbs up) on DVD.
* I spent Australia Day listening to The Triple J hottest 100 as any good Aussie should. I knitted, too: not sure how Australian that was but needs must as that Feb 4th deadline is fast approaching...

* I cleaned out the garage for the first time in ten years. Things have taken a bit longer than expected (a friend who offered to help set up shelving was sick) but should be done and dusted by this weekend after a trip to the tip.
* I finished reading the copy of Affluenza I borrowed from the Library on Quilting Mick's recommendation. Library books are stressful, I've decided...
* My sample Moo postcards arrived:
They're very nice but a tad too expensive to consider reselling so I'm visiting local printers this week.
* I helped demount my exhibition and dealt with the influx of boxes into Chez TSS.
* I successfully managed to not buy lunch twice and instead trotted home from town and created delicious meals from the freezer. I'm so proud of myself!
* I enrolled part time in Design Fundamentals and remembered what I loved most about school: the list of stationery you had to buy before school began. On my list is very exciting stuff like a visual diary, charcoal and a smock. That last one has me intrigued and wondering if I'll look like a complete tosser if I make me something interesting out of Stash Mountain rather than buy one...

The results are in

And it is. After making a list of commenters, removing me and the second comments from various people I got this:which is Taph. So we may still see pictures of The Old Flame in it afterall...

And the winner of the blocks?perempuan, you definitely have a better luck this time! Email me your address and I'll get them in the post to you this week.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Summertime, and the living is... err... sweaty.

Hornsea Summertime cannister. Salvos Mitchell: 50 cents.

It needs a clean and I suspect it will lose it's lid very soon...

A week of giveaways day seven: vintage block heaven

The final giveaway and then normal broadcasting resumes around here.

These cute plastic children's blocks each measure 5 cm across:with various vintage pictures on each side.If you can see them living at your house, leave a comment and I'll announce a winner tomorrow morning. CLOSED

Speaking of winners, have you been following the comments on yesterday's post? They've caused quiet a quandary around here: do I just go with as usual? If so do I enter 18 comments (all of them) or remove the double-ups (and my comments) first?

Should I announce The Old Flame the winner purely for entertainment purposes? Or take note of the comments explaining just what you'd make while wearing said apron?

I decided to leave the decision making to you. There should hopefully be a poll at the top of my blog (fingers crossed: it's the first time I've used the Blogger poll widget). Please cast your vote and I'll make a decision tomorrow morning...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's good to see you again my friend...

It's been a long long time*
(* Lyrics from the song that was playing on the car stereo when I got in to go home from helping demount my exhibition this afternoon. Seemed apt somehow...)

A week of giveaways day six: Tuesday blues

OK, I get the message: you want aprons not Erasure.

Your wish is my command:
Man this is cute!
I'd keep it but it so doesn't go with the rest of the collection...
You know the drill. I await your comments. CLOSED

(And while I wait I'll be down at Canberra Museum and Gallery helping demount my exhibition... *sniff*)

Monday, January 26, 2009

A week of giveaways day five: music on Monday

Anyone who knows me knows I think Vince Clarke is a God. And one of those people gave me two Erasure CDs that she found going spare. Only problem is, I already have them!

Erasure (1995) Which contains two of my fave Erasure tracks:

Rock me Gently

and Fingers and Thumbs

(The fact both videos are in black and white is completely coincidental!)

Cowboy (1997) Leave a comment and I'll chose the winner tomorrow morning...

Yesterday's winner was Kewpie:Pease email me your address and I'll get your apron in the mail this week!

Modern Miniatures on Monday: Black and White bliss

I spotted these settings on MY MINI PLAYGROUND and even though it's not my usual scale I had to share. I mean black and white? Jonathan Adler? What's not to love?
On his FLICKR set page (where these images came from) Michael Williams says:

"This presentation gets its name from my September 2007 HAUTE DOLL Magazine feature on diorama dollhouse furnishings, and it serves as a laudatory hommage to Bravo TOP DESIGN guru Jonathan Adler (age 41), who first fell in love with ceramics at age 12 in summer camp, but took a brief detour in the movie business before launching his initial line of pottery at Barney's in 1994. The line was an instant success, and in 1998 he opened his first store in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood, which has since been followed by several boutiques across the country, as he expanded his line into a glamorous new furniture collection, along with bedding, towels, and pillows (some of which are licensed and carried by Bed, Bath and Beyond and department stores). He even redesigned the Le Parker Meridien Hotel in Palm Springs, now a hot resort vacation destination."

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A week of giveaways day four: spotted on Sunday

One cute vintage red spotted apron with ric rac trimand a useful pocket:If it needs to come live at your house leave me a comment and I'll draw a winner tomorrow morning. CLOSED.

Speaking of winners:sarah.boirin, please email me your address so I can send your Melmac platter to you...

Seven Things Spring/ Summer 2008 Week 21: more to come

This week's figures are good but there's more to come. I've not yet counted a number of what my mother used to call "cow pats" (little random piles of stuff) I have here and there around the house which are on test runs: ie: I don't think I'll be too worried if they go but I decided to leave them in a pile for a week to see if I have the sudden realisation that I just can't live without them.

I also have the giveaways waiting to go but decided to send them all at the end of the week in case somebody wins two of them. And my Black and White Swap is ready to go when the Post Office reopens after the long weekend. There's also the first garage clear out in ten years (a lot of which can't be counted: dead pegs and scrubbing brushes from the last tenant, packing from inside boxes I have out there: that sort of stuff which I define as consumable and therefore not counted)


* 1 Living Etc magazine (newsagents)
* 1 sewing pattern (gift)
* 4 back issues of
World Sweet World magazine
* 1 Portrait magazine (
National Portrait Gallery)
* 1 Elle Decor magazine (subscription)
* 1 CD (eBay)

Total In this week: 9


* 1 dead lawnmower: dump
* 1 Portrait magazine, 1 AU marie claire, 1 Madison magazine: lunchroom at work
* 2 blank canvases and 1 frame (bought to try screen printing) which I'll never use, 1 too small belt, 1 set picnic cups, 2 skirts which I obviously don't want as they're sat in the ironing pile for over a year: op shop
* 28 fiction books: Lifeline
* 1 set
Steady Sticks: donated to The Old Flame after he provided my poor still-blenderless household with supplies of home made hummus...

Total Out this week: 40


* Secret squirrel birthday present for Dad
* Stitch markers for Swap Bot Swap

Net items out so far during Seven Things Spring/ Summer 2008: 178

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A week of giveaways day three: plastic fantastic

Today's giveaway is a vintage Melmac platter:Measuring 30 cm across, the back is marked:

Hollywood by Tamco
Made in Australia
Leave a comment and I'll draw the winner in tomorrow morning. CLOSED.

And the lucky winner of the (very cute) hankies?
Altera, send me your postal details and I'll get them in the post to you this week.

By the way, if you're into modern minis Altera's
newly created blog is worth checking out!

Friday, January 23, 2009

A week of giveaways day two: nothing to sneeze at...

Up for grabs this morning: two vintage Mabel Lucie Attwell vintage handkerchiefs. Leave a comment and I'll draw the winner in tomorrow morning... CLOSED

And congratulations to yesterday's winner: Elizabeth, I'll have your mag in the mail this week. And if you enjoy Issue One, with the pound like it is at the moment, subscribing to World Sweet World should be very cheap for you!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Introducing a week of giveaways

I'm concentrating on other things rather than the blog. That present for Dad, for instance (still on track with that, I'm pleased to say!) I'm also busy clearing stuff out. And I'm finding treasures that aren't "me" but seem to precious to just fling back into the op shop carousel.

So I thought, since I didn't do anything to mark my 10,000th visitor and my third blogiversary is fast approaching on February 4th, a week of giveaways would be a good idea.

It's the usual deal: Each day, leave a comment if you'd like the item(s). I'll pick the winner as I post the next day's offering. And I'll post anywhere in the world.

First up:
Issue One of World Sweet World magazine (now sold out). I bought a copy at Craft 2.0 back in March and last week succumbed to buying a set of the first four issues when it was announced stocks were low.

So if you need to complete your collection or (better still) have been intrigued by the publication and don't want to subscribe until you have a closer look (I'm hoping for the second option so then the lovely Hannah and Thomas sell more mags!) leave a comment below.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Knitting and thinking.

That's what I've spent today doing. Not the list of things yelling for attention on my To Do list. I haven't even had the stereo on (which is most odd for me).

I'm pleased as this is the state I usually find myself in towards the end of my self inflicted Christmas Closedown. But since I was working at least a couple of days a week through that period (and happily so) and, this year, find myself with a micro business that needs just a little more time and effort than it did a year ago I figured it would take an extra week or so to get to this point.

What also helped was the fact that yesterday marks ten years of me living in this flat. Ten years! I've never lived anywhere that long in my entire life. There are some issues related to reaching this milestone but I'll get back to that.

Then, in my Bloglines catch up after my weekend away, I read several posts over at
Get Rich Slowly which resonated with me:

* 7 Tips for Starting Your Own Vegetable Garden

"It might seem crazy to start thinking about a vegetable garden in January. It’s cold outside! But believe it or not, now is the perfect time to begin preparing for a successful autumn harvest....
Plan your garden today to ensure summer success. Decide what you’d like to grow. How much space can you devote to the project? How much time are you willing to spend? Answering these questions will help you to determine your priorities."

This started me thinking about my very random and not very successful approach to gardening: get given or have urge to buy a plant. Whack it into space where I was told I was allowed to have a vege garden (one of the terms of my lease is that I'm not allowed to add or remove any plants. A good excuse not to weed but after ten years here I think I need to discuss this clause with my Real Estate agent). Unfortunately this space is directly under a large tree which I'm sure is getting first dibs on any chicken poo I sprinkle on the ground and also gets a lot of full midday sun.

So my next step is to watch my plant slowly die.

I need to do some reassessing and, yes, some planning. And probably a lot of learning...

Hustle and Patience: What It Takes to Succeed in 2009

" Gary Vaynerchuk talks about how some people who produce content for the web are Artists, while others are Entrepreneurs. He talks about the importance of Passion. He talks about building Brand Equity. He talks about Transparency, about not hiding things from your users. And he talks about how you need to have Goals."

Goals. I have them. I think. But often get sidetracked on the urgent rather than the important. My days get filled but there always seems to be a few things that never quite get done. I realised today a number of these things were crafting endeavours that I'd promised for friends (or planned to make for friends) on the spur of the moment that I feel guiltier and guiltier and guiltier about the fact they're still half finished or not started.

As I sat today and knitted a (rather time consuming) birthday present for my Father that I started last night (due date to New Zealand: Feb 4th) it slowly dawned on me: I need to stop offering (or deciding to) make stuff for people before I've looked at my priorities and available time. And know that I have the time and resources available to do it in the time required. Especially this year where I'm starting part time study.

I kept getting a mental image of a story I heard about years ago. A chap fills a jar with rocks and says to his friend "Is it full?" and the friend says "yes". Then he pours in some pebbles and asks the same question to which the friend replies "yes" again. Finally the chap pours in a cup of sand and the jar really is full.

I think I've drifted into putting the pebbles and sand into my jar first without noticing it...

The Razor’s Edge: Lessons in True Wealth

Where JD blogs about his friend Sparky and his attitude towards possessions.

A welcome reminder that stuff is still stuff whether you bought it retail, second hand or were given it. I remember when I first moved in here ten years ago how huge it felt and how empty it was. And now I have a space called The Room of Shame. And it hit me: because the longest I've ever lived in one place was five years there had always been that built in assess and purge caused by having to pack all your worldly possessions into boxes and cart them across the country, the city, or (on one occasion) just round the corner.

And there's stuff I just don't see anymore. Or stuff I keep from habit even though what might have been useful and relevant to the 32 year old me may no longer be relevant to the 42 year old me.

It doesn't help that I'm slightly overrun with stock. But that should be all resolved this weekend. The dolls houses come back some time next week I guess but in the time between those two events I hope to discover that I no longer have a Room of Shame.

At the same time I'll write down some goals for the year, for the month and rearrange how I chose to add things to my To Do list. It's going to be a busy few days...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Modern Miniatures on Monday: As seen at CMAG...

If you fell in love with my Lundby Stockholm house at the Canberra Museum and Gallery Playing House exhibition you might like to know my eBay store is fully stocked with the Stockholm range for the first time.

Unfortunately the house itself is too big to be accepted by Australia Post so until I can work out alternatives the house is pick up only unless you can suggest an alternative...

Modern Miniatures on Monday: Katie Lockhart, Karen Walker and Resene

Spotted in the latest issue of Home New Zealand were 6 pages of the most beautiful Bauhaus-inspired miniature houses created by Katie Lockhart to highlight Karen Walker's new range of paint colours for Resene.Stylist Kate Lockhart's website has lovely large photos of most of them or you can download the advertising promotion in PDF format here.

I emailed Kate a couple of weeks ago to get some more information on the houses, her inspiration, and (more importantly!) where the houses are now but have not heard back. If I do I'll definitely let you know what she says...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday success!

I just hope it sets OK...

Seven Things Spring/ Summer 2008 Weeks 19 & 20


* 1 AU marie claire magazine (subscription)
*1 scoop for doling out the baking soda from the container when cleaning: I figured it would save baking soda compared to just shaking it direct from the container (op shop)
* 1 black and white tea towel. (New. At the mall. It was an accident, promise! And at 30% off not too bad an accident all things considered. Not like other mall-related accidents in my recent past...)
* 1 DVD player. Yes, I finally joined the 21st century completely and utterly. No more watching DVDs hunched over my laptop in my office. 1 coffee plunger (gifts)
*1 jam pot, 1 CD rack/ mini apartment, 4 CDs, 1 set wine charms (op shop)
* 1 Real Simple mag (newsagents)

* 1 roll of fabric, plus 1 fat quarter to wrap it in (gifts)
* 2 tea towels (Can you believe it? I went back to the mall and got sucked in for the second time in a week! And full price too!!)
* 11 balls of mohair, 1 book, 1 CD, 2 shirts (op shopping trip)
* 1 badge (souvenir from Bendigo Art Gallery)
* 1 jam pot (yes, another one!), 1 knitting book, 8 pairs knitting needles, 2 pairs pillowcases (can never resist thick white cotton pillowcases when I see then, especially when they're 50 cents each...), 1 CD (Road Trip frenzy)
* 8 packets of wool* (Bendigo Woollen Mills)
* 1 book, 1 yo yo (gifts)

* 1 US vogue, 1 Madison magazine (subscription)
* 2 books (A "Today's shit" op shop visit)

Total In this fortnight: 60 *gulp*


* 4 magazines, 6 books and 1 cocktail recipe book which I inherited with this flat. Have I made a single cocktail since I moved in ten years ago? Of course not! (Lifeline Bookfair)

* 1 special order custom size Groovy Green bag which I made and the orderer never paid for or picked up and has been sitting in my kitchen for months: bin
* 1 Open Road magazine: recycling bin

* 8 fridge magnets, 2 Christmas decorations, 1 bag, 5 items children's dolls house furniture, 1 jacket, 1 pair shoes, 11 items from the present cupboard that have been there for over two years so obviously are not right for the people I give presents to, 4 tops, 2 "sombrero" cardigans (A "sombrero" purchase is a souvenir you buy while travelling overseas convinced it's perfect for you but when you get it home you wonder what on earth you were thinking and never use it. One of these cardigans was bought in Tallin, Estonia and the other in Wellington, New Zealand. I can't believe I've held on to them for so long but I think I might have had delusions that I could felt them and turn them into something else), 7 videos, 2 bracelets, 2 brooches, 1 necklace, 1 ring, 2 pairs earrings, 1 packet coloured post it notes I was given and will never use, 2 pairs sunglasses, 2 sunglasses cases, 1 scarf, 2 pairs black & white braces and 1 tie: op shop

Total Out this fortnight: 72


* Nothing

Net items out so far during Seven Things Spring/ Summer 2008: 147

(*Yes, I may be cheating on the counting. The other numbers I could have used here are 3.38 kilos of wool or 72 balls of wool. And I use "wool" in the loosest form as there's mohair and angora in there too...)

Friday, January 16, 2009

A last minute change of name and we're good to go...

A colleague and her marmalade-loving mother (who happen to also be the owners of a certain apricot tree) visited earlier this evening. So I declared them guinea pigs, toasted up a couple of crumpets, pulled out a cheese slice and a jar of the smoky marmalade. After the sniff test produced comments of "that smells rather good" we did the taste test. And it was declared A OK. In fact there were discussions about whether it would be better used as a marmalade on toast or as an ingredient in a pork stuffing, a ham glaze, a sauce for very good sausages or served with ricotta or mascarpone cheese.

The praise was so abundant I declared all the jars should go live with them immediately. I've decided I'll send the newly designed labels along later after gaining inspiration from this clip:

Introducing the "When Smokey sings" limited edition 2009 boutique marmalade.

It's a good thing I've have a Road Trip to blog about

Otherwise you'd be reading posts that are a litany of complaints:

"It's HOT! I haven't slept properly since I got home!"

"I've still not been brave enough to try the smoky marmalade. But I bought some extra citrus fruit to start again just in case"
"A dog bit me on the thigh and it hurts!"
"But not as much as the site on my arm where I got stabbed by a piece of the box cage at Lyneham IGA yesterday evening while collecting boxes for mailing eBay sales!"
"Which means I no longer feel the paper cut I got on my finger while filing yesterday (hang on, that's almost good!)"
"I'm GRUMPY! I hate FILING! And in a slightly unrelated rant, I'm back to over 100 emails in my home inbox."
"Finally, to cap it all off I discovered today that something I'd gone in to work especially on January 2nd to do (and which looked wonderful and lovely) has completely disappeared and so I'm halfway through doing it for a second time... ARGHHHHH!!!!"

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Bendigo or Bust Road Trip (Day Three)

And on Day Three there were only three photos. I think this is a fairly common theme for bloggers:

Go on a trip.

Day One: Photograph everything. Several times. "For the blog"
Day Two: Take a few photos. When you remember. "Blog? Oh yeah. I remember."
Day Three: "Blog? What blog?!"

So here are my Day Three photos:

1. We started the day back at Scribblers for breakfast. Sackville & Lane was open. We bought nothing. The Lost Sock Office was still not open. We bought nothing. Happy Spider tried on a dress that had tantalised her from a store window on Sunday. She bought nothing.

We set off to find the Woollen Mills the back way without checking the map because I. Can. Find. Anything.


We found Kmart. We both needed to pee so I stopped. And, as we have been trained to have a Pavlovian reflex to Kmart, we then headed straight to the wool department where I texted Taph:

"In Wangaratta. Thought we should buy you some wool. So went to Kmart."

(God we're evil.)But it's true. We cleaned them out of Jet. I wonder if Kmart Head Office keeps track of sales....

"Odd. We have these random days where someone comes along and cleans a store completely out of sale-priced Jet. I thought we had a handle on it and it only seemed to be happening in the ACT but today, suddenly, it happened in Wangaratta!"2. For most mere mortals that would be enough of a wool frenzy for one morning. But we're Extreme Shoppers so (having worked out where we were and where the mills were) we sussed out the boot (full) and the back seat (looking promising apart from 2 cartons of tomatoes and misc travelling crap) and pointed Miss Daisy wool-ward.

It was the first day Australian Country Spinners was open after the Christmas break (lucky us) and the woman behind the counter had our number soon after we arrived. "I've got a couple of nutty girls here" we overheard her tell a friend on the phone "but they're harmless"

No idea what tipped her off. Maybe the sight of us ransacking her stock bins in a very systematic way with little tourette-like squeals: "Silk Road!", "Inca!", "Jet!"

I bought two lots of wool, neither for me. We won't discuss what Happy Spider bought: that's her story to tell (or not)

3. On the way home we stopped in at Morrison's cafe in Holbrook again. I'd been eyeing up their ice cream on the way down and had decided my trip wouldn't be complete without a taste (and the opportunity to buy that tea towel if I really really couldn't live without it) And it was worth it (the ice cream, not the tea towel which stayed on the rack). I had a three scoop cone of rhubarb, coconut and mandarin. It was divine. Pity I didn't make a note of what the brand was (or take a photo).

But I did take this:3. Two little Toyota Secas patiently waiting for their owners outside the cafe. I almost unlocked the wrong one until I noticed a suspicious lack of wool, tinned tomatoes and jam pots (don't ask) in the back seat. Even odder, the other Seca had ACT plates too...

Then we drove home.