Monday, 30 June 2008

Sunday, 29 June 2008

mr porcelain and miss pen pen go to the outer suburbs

In search of raw materials for our recycling work, Gregory and I decided on a Sunday jaunt to the far outer reaches (ie Savers in Dandenong and Frankston). 
"Hey" we thought ,"let's take the newly opened Eastlink." 
Dumb idea. 
Being inner suburban types, we didn't even bother to think that there would be people who would think it was a fun Sunday drive to check out the new road. To us it was just a quicker way of getting from A to B. 
"Mullum Mullum" we said as we entered the tunnel. (This is Wurrunjeri for 'bugger we should have taken the Monash Freeway'.) It is, however, seriously worth doing this section just to see the geological strata where they have cut through the hill to put the tunnel in- it is a natural wonder and stunning! I'm serious!
We had a stop at  the Wantirna Trash and Treasure Market- hmmmm- let's just call it the Trash Market. Then back on the freeway (or rather tollway) passed Dandenong and on to Frankston.
Our favourite art works included the 'Hotel'. Strangely a lot like those F1 motels out by the Hume and the airport. Quite surrealist in tone and, obvious, the committee that chose this submission had their tongues firmly in their cheeks. Cars were slowing down as if to find the off-road to pull in. We chuckled.

Mr Porcelain loves the Emily Floyd bird and cubist worm, which sadly I didn't get a chance to photograph on the out, so sorry it's a bit hard to see.

But our all time fav had to be this one. As we drove towards it we were both making noncommital humph noises. It looked like a broken electrical pylon- then we both squealed with delight. It is gorgeous. Covered in metal leaves and flowers. It just works in that wonderful way were it changes before your eyes and, in doing so, totally changes your perception.

And I scored big time with Johnson square plates and pressed glass dishes and a wooden chair. 
And we had mango lassi and Indian Magic Marsala potato chips from M.K.S. in Dandenong.
All in all a very good Sunday.

Friday, 27 June 2008

oh! possum!

Heading into the city tonight, through the gardens, I had a cheeky little possum run across the grass towards me. He stopped in front of my shoe  and looked up at me. Then he bit the toe of my silver Converse. I told him if he waited about an hour I'd come back with some bread. He nodded and bounced off.
An hour later, having been to the supermarket for some rolls, I strolled back and did my quite effective (if I must say so myself) possum 'chick-chick' and out they all came. One fresh little'n was tugging on the end if my scarf and trying to open my bag. They didn't even care I was using the flash on the camera (and they don't mind being patted either).

* They liked my camera and I think they wanted to take photos of each other.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

love this

Jess and I saw this in the window of Le Louvre on the walk home from the city this evening. It's gorgeous. A mesh helmet embroidered with stems and flowers. Tres chic!

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

taking it to the streets

There's someone spreading a bit of love around the streets.
Bianca has started The Toy Society and things are happening!
So if you see a creature in a plastic bag with a label on it saying 'take me home- I'm your's' -
do what it says!

a view

Another picture from the 'I love my new camera series'.
This is the view from my desk. Every day is different. Sometimes the Collins Place towers are wreathed in cloud, fog and rain. Sometimes I can watch the cloud shadows float across their surface. And at night they glow.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

another night shot

Rather enjoying my new camera- I would never have got night shots with the old one.
This one was done on the way to the city last night. St Pat's.

at home day

Spot the Cat here. 
Great thing about your house-slave working from home is that she might turn the heater on for you.
(The ol' opposable thumb issue- that's why we need humans- can-openers, doorhandles, brushes, etc.)
Anyway, gotta sign off, got some zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz to catch. 
Caio Miao.


The last week's to-do-list has been topped by 'prep tablecloths to make quilts'.
That one can be ticked off. 
(I hate lists.)
Now I just have to get it to the quilters.
It's always exciting when the roll comes back and I can start cutting them up into lengths. Each piece can only be planned up to a certain point and it totally changes when each one is measured off and released from the meterage. 
This is when I get to know what each one wanted to look like. Interestingly, working this way I have never had a dud quilt and I use up all the fabric with no waste (just jinxed myself there!).

Sunday, 22 June 2008


Gregory and I were sitting around the other bemoaning the demise of the incandescent light globe. They might chew energy, be highly un-p.c. in this day and age but nothing beats them.
Then, yesterday, there appeared an article in The Age Good Weekend magazine, I think the writer might have been eavesdropping!
I love the globe, it is wonderful, the light is beautiful and there is no way that you can convince me to start using fluorescent light globes as they are being produced currently- there was a great section at the end, discussing the fact that compact fluorescents contain toxic mercury, are ugly and slow to illuminate, that the quality of light is cold and flat , and best of all as designer Ingo Maurer (whose work you should have a look at) is quoted as predicting "(not entirely jokingly) that switching to CFLs will trigger mass depression and a psychotherapy boom." That made me laugh as I've just spent a small fortune ripping out a whole pile of fluoros from the Cottage. My electrician and a random friend, who dropped in during the renovations, told me it is something you should not try to do yourself- apart from the whole electricity thingy- they both said the fittings are dangerous to work with.
Gregory and I had been joking about filling a cupboard with an incandescent stash and today I headed off to Bunnings to buy the first batch. I plan to sell them on the incandescent blackmarket in the near future.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

winter solstice

'The Wickerman' is a hoot of a movie if you can get your hands on a copy. I was quite young when I first saw it late one night on TV, my Mum was/is a huge 'Callan' fan and Wickerman had us rolling in unintentional laughter...... and the final scenes are a clincher! It is one of those movies with a bit of everything- a thriller, a bit titillating (for the time), a bit of esoteric cultish behaviour- what more could you ask for for the Winter Solstice! (I know wicker man burning is a rite of spring but according to the paper today there is going to be a burning man festival in the South Australian desert for Winter Solstice- go figure, we're a weird mob down here.)

Maybe the Winter Solstice is to blame for my lack of pep, get-up-and-go, lacklustre energy levels........ it would be kind of fun to know that I was going to wake up in the morning full of vim-and-vigour. Although I seem to remember that Vim was a brand of cream abrasive polish used to clean the bathroom and stove so may I'm not so keen to wake up full of that, I would probably end up frothing at the mouth (at least my teeth might be pearly white).

Have a fun longest night of the year and I'll see you if the sun comes up in the morning!

carole king has left the building

'Carole King', the tapestry pouffé, left the shop today to go to a new home. The home has newly polished wooden floors and a cat and she was bought as a birthday present. We wish her all the best! 

Thursday, 19 June 2008

gertrude street, the happen place

Starting tomorrow- Friday- night Gertrude Street is having a happen, or rather a series of happenings, going on for the next week.
There are going to be projections happening on outside walls, inside venues and in shop windows. There are going to be viewing walks, an opening party, a closing party...... busy, busy, busy!
So if you feel like visiting Gertrude Street, in the dark, for a magic light show then come on down!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

flat as a........

.......pancake, dosa, himalayan mountain bread, roti, crepe, CD, the proverbial tack.

Sometimes it is all too hard. Sometimes one feels like an abandoned pink TV in the Fitzroy of life.

Out the back of my place, where we park the cars, is this bit of laneway where things (ie rubbish) just keep appearing. Each morning I look out the bedroom window to see the latest offering. Most days its a broken bed, bags of rubbish, crapped out 3-in-1s, a cool metal trolley that someone got to before me, the usual detritus of inner city living. Today it was a pink TV. I don't know where this stuff comes from. It just appears overnight. Weird.

**thursday morning update**
pink TV has disappeared, yellow trolley has appeared

Sunday, 15 June 2008

new species of magnolia discovered in fitzroy

Sunday afternoon in Fitzroy, a new species of magnolia was discovered- Magnolia Doilii.

Samples were taken by our CSI (Craft Scene Investigation) team to determine if the species is actually M. Doilii or a subspecies of M. Crochetis.

Then again it could be a nasty outbreak of the dreaded Tea-party Fungus. 
We will keep you informed of our results. 

Also go here, here and here.

Thursday, 12 June 2008


I've been working on a notebook project since last year and I just couldn't get it happening. It wasn't hard, it was really simple but ........ it just didn't want to come into being. 
In the last couple of weeks I finally found a company and they made some samples- and I hated them.
This week I realised just how much I hate things that are mass produced. Even though they were blanks that would then be worked on, the whole idea of a thousand identical starting points began to creep me out. So what did I do? The answer was staring me in the face. Duh! Cottage industry!
Kitchen table, me, a pile of paper and my new toy, a hooley-dooley paper trimmer. Sweet.
I don't think they are costing me much more than if I had them done away from the cottage and I'm getting to use lots of different papers (including glassine end papers) and the covers are made from anything I feel like- like vintage grass wallpapers that I have had stored away for years- and my fingers feel like destroying some books to make some books. 
Hopefully this way the boredom won't set in.
So much more fun.
(Can you see why I'll never be rich or famous? I can't help buying equipment and putting my hands to work. At least something came out of this fortnight of coughing and fuzz-headedness.)

gold splatter cushions

This is one of the best bark-cloths I've ever managed to get my hands on. It's a stunner with brown leaves, grass green fronds, pink and turquoise flowers and the whole background scattered with gold splatters. The first 2 cushions are in the shop as of this afternoon. It's kind of Atomic in style yet much prettier and realistic than Atomic..... if you know what I mean. Lover-lee.

silver and gold

For some reason I dumped my silver leather connies on my gold leather pouffé the other day. When I sit on the couch I can see them and I think they look cool. Accidental decorating with shoes. I can't count how many times people have complimented me on these boots.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

cough cough....cough cough

Well I finally made the doctor decision this morning. Coughing up blood is always a good sign it is time to go on the antibiotics! (Apologies to all those squeamish out there- personally I like a bit of graphic yuk!) Twelve days of coughing took its toll. It's not like I was feeling overly ill but everything I was working on turned to dust. That's probably a good sign that something needs to be done.
Now I'm looking forward to actually getting some work sorted...... although I've had bad news on my new machinist, she's too busy to take on more work, back to square one again...... 
I've been playing with the new camera on night-time walks. 
I like my new camera.
Lets hope the anti-bs work.

Monday, 9 June 2008


I love books.
I love reading.
I feel sorry for people who don't love reading books.
I love re-reading favourite books. It is like visiting old friends.
I am lucky I have friends like Dell and Adam. They have sent me these beautiful books they found at a Berlin flea-market. Sadly my German is getting progressively worse the older I get and these are in old German script and are a bugger to decipher- but they are gorgeous!

Thanks to a romantic notion of my mother's I got saddled with the name 'Penelope'. It wasn't 'romantic' in the notion of lovey-dovey but rather her admiration of someone she knew as a child whose name it was and who she thought was a lovely person. She stuffed up there!
I only ever got called Penelope when I was in deep doo-doos and was being sent to my room. Everyone in the family and friends of my sisters called me Nel or Nelly and it was only when I changed schools on Grade 2 that some bright spark of a teacher decided I would be called Penny- hmmm- I had no say in this and was never happy about it. Not long after a Greek friend of my mother's told us that it could be spelt p-e-n-e and I went with that. In classic Australian style it always got shortened to 'Pen' anyway. It's funny but I've never felt 'Penny' (spoken name) was ever me. Occasionally  I won't answer to it, just to be perverse/annoying.
My relationship to 'Penelope' is strange though- I like the story of Penelope and Odysseus. It may not be politically correct to like a tale about a man going off to war and slutting his way around the Mediterranean while his wife stays at home fighting off suiters. But I think she is pretty clever and wily. And most of all she is a weaver- Penelope the Weaver. And that's how I started out in this game- I was, from a young age, a weaver, with little looms and then big 4 shaft floor looms. Penelope the Weaver. (And maybe deep down I am  waiting for my Odysseus to come home.)

But 'Penelope' by Elizabeth Kirby is one of those hilarious books you stumble across in a second hand store. It's from the 1920/30s and it's a trashily good read. And she gets the right man in the end!

still sick

Well the bug hasn't gone away- this one is just weird, it's like it's trying out different combinations of snotty-coughy-gastro-y things until it's got it just right. After coughing all over customers, I went up to Romsey on Sunday and coughed all over family. It would make a nice change if I ended up giving the under 10s an illness instead of the other way around, normally it goes up the feeding chain!
I wanted to get some photos of my favourite old house on the road to Romsey but I was in such a hurry on the way there I couldn't stop and it is one of those places you can only see going one way, so I missed it on the way back (which is why I've used an old photo I took last year- but it is a bit of stenciling that is in my new 'hood so I think it passes muster!). By the time I got home I must have been a bit delirious and almost went on the nod on the couch, stumbled into bed and had one of those dribbling early evening naps but woke up a little better.
Normally on a holiday, like today, I would shacked up in the studio working. I find on holidays I get heaps of work done but today I  have Sally from Lulu coming to visit the shop, so I decided to sleep in, eat a late breakfast and read the newspaper and do some work at home. Maybe I need to listen to my Bug and take it a bit cushy for a day/afternoon. 
I certainly haven't been working well for the last week and have hated everything I've started. That is the worst feeling, being excited that you suddenly have the time to do all those projects you've been hanging out to start and then stuffing them all up. Very soul destroying, annoying, temper-tantrum inducing! It really takes all the fun out of creating. And if anyone tries an optimistic platitude on me I'll head-butt ya- ok!?

Thursday, 5 June 2008


Don't know what it is exactly that I have but I thought the 'common cold virus' looked kinda cute.
Very floral. Personally I don't feel very 'floral' so I am thinking it ain't a cold........... this could lead to a whole new way of determining illnesses........

techno-fried brain

My brain was so fried by having to set up the phone and the camera last night that I couldn't read the new copy of Selvedge that I'd picked up. Normally it's all excitement and inspiration when a fresh edition arrives but the words hurt my eyes and I couldn't absorb the images. I hate that. Bugger.
In fact I feel quite out of whack. Probably the chest infection/gut bug I've had since Saturday is going into its next phase. Haven't left for the studio yet as I'm waiting for the postman, and a cheque that is late, which probably won't arrive and then I'll be annoyed I waited around. Catch 22? Murphy's law? Postman's revenge?
See, I've tried to be a cheerful little blogger but the grumpy old me just can't help rearing her head. I like being cynical and pessimistic (optimists are always let down, pessimists are always pleasantly surprised!), it makes me chuckle. As you can see I'm wasting time sitting here waiting for the postman........(that sounds like a song..... probably Elvis Costello.....)

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

the great camera/phone attempted murder-suicide of 2008

RIP camera. RIP phone.
This is how it happened. The phone pushed the camera off the kitchen bench onto the concrete floor in the kitchen and then threw itself over the edge, landing on the camera's screen. 
Result 1- one smashed digital camera screen. Camera survived and works but you can't see what you are pointing at. Could be a new game, point and shoot- hmmmm, like the concept!
Why did the phone jump? It has been slowly dying for sometime, perhaps it was euthanasia....
it was just cruel to take the camera out with it.
Result 2- empty bank account and a serious case of techno-migraine. I hate working out how to use new gadgets. I can feel my brain expanding ready to explode out my ears. Also that nervous churn in the pit of my stomach that I have spent the rent money- again. The idea of not having a camera just did my head which is why I had to get a new one asap- and to repair the old camera was going to cost as much or more than to buy a new one. Recycling and technology just don't go together very well sadly.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

it's going to be an expensive week

My mobile has been dying for sometime and things are getting worse with it. Then yesterday I dropped my little Canon ixus i5 camera on the concrete floor in the kitchen and the mobile phone landed on top of it. Well I've managed to smash the screen on the camera (with the phone). It still takes photos (I pointed and shot the photo above) but the memory card is now full and because I can't see anything on the screen it's really hard to wipe the memory! But let me tell you about the pouffé above- that's far more interesting. It's made from lots of 'other people's craft', bad stitched tapestries but I love it! It has turned out really cool. It's a one-off and I'll probably never get to make another one as it took me ages to collect the panels to make this one. Very excited!

.........and hello to everyone who popped in for a chat on Saturday! 

Monday, 2 June 2008

another baby!

How exciting! Elephant baby on the way- congrats to Dokkoon! (I think her keeper's got the wrong end in the photo however!) I'm a bit worried about knitting the baby blanket, it's going to be huge, but at least we've got 22 months.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

expatriate puppies

Young Sweet Fanny Adams and her brother Goose have arrived in New York and have found time to send through some photos. They found an apartment in DUMBO (the home of Etsy is in their street for all you internet craft shoppers) and are very excited they have their own dog park (and what a dog park- look at that view!). Not wanting to forget where they come from they took with them Australiana cushions for their new abode, here you can see Sweet Fanny reclining, with her friend Pepe, on a classic.