Monday 28 June 2010


I think by now you can tell its winter here, but if not, here are some more photos of food and knitting to get you in the mood!

The earflap hat is finished and very popular. I prised it off Miss A's head for a moment to take this photo. Another great Ravelry knit, if I made it again I would size it down a little for her. It will be perfect for our trip west this holidays and I might need to knit one for me.

On the food front, eclairs were made as promised on Friday and eaten soon after. They were delicious and not too much work to make though they are filled with pastry cream and topped with the most delicious icing. Miss A made all of it and I only helped a little with piping the pastry and filling them at the end... oh and the eating!

We were invited to a wonderful soup party at a friend's house yesterday so on Saturday I made my artisan no knead dough to prove overnight in the fridge. While I was baking I decided to have a go at bagels too which I'd seen people making around the blogs. These were quite a bit more work as they rise three times and then you plunge them in a pot of boiling water before you bake them. They rise like gnocchi in the pot when they are cooked and take on a great bagel like crust. They were delicious and very bagel like which was most satisfying. And they look so beautiful with their poppy and sesame seed crowns. (I used this recipe: but I changed the molasses to golden syrup and only used one tablespoon. They were plenty sweet enough. I used plain flour rather than bread flour too, I think its called all purpose flour in the US.)

The soup party was loads of fun. Such a great idea, five delicious soups brought by different people, fresh bread and buns, brownies and Frangelico for the adults, home made pizza for the tangle of kids raging round the place, wrestling and trampolining happily and playing board games and then snuggled up under a load of blankets together at the end, watching telly.

Friday 25 June 2010


This month has been a lucky one for Flower Press. These three beautiful treasuries have all made the front page of Etsy. Last night's treasury (at the top) brought 1100 views to my little shop! Wow. I think that might be a record! I love how different they all are from each other. And I think my favourite thing of all is the kitty in the rocket jacket! Thanks to SeaPinks, UnJardinDeHilo and KandiceInWonderland.

Thank you all so much for your lovely comments on Tania's Show & Tell interview, I knew you would love it :-) And thanks to Tania for sharing herself with us.

Would you believe I've had Miss A home this week with the Chicken Pox! I'm just happy the vaccinations the kids had have made their doses relatively light, because its not fun from what I can see. Covered in spots, feeling sick with headaches and insanely itchy for a couple of days, to the point of tears. We are only just through the worst.

One nice thing about having her here is that she loves to cook (oh, and she makes me laugh). She's made cake and toasted sandwiches this week, and just now she's gone off to make her first eclairs! Then later on we might just attempt bagels. (Yes, we have been watching too much Master Chef, why do you ask?!).

I finished Miss A's earflap hat which is a great success. I'll be back soon with some photos of that, and some new repeat patterns (more spots!) that I've been working on, they are headed somewhere fun - I can show you next week.

Amazing times here in Australian politics yesterday. A woman prime minister at last! I only wish it were in happier circumstances, and I really hope that KRudd, a good man, is remembered for some of the wonderful achievements of his short tenure, not least his apology to the stolen generation.

Tuesday 22 June 2010

show & tell - tania ennor

I've spoken before about today's show and teller, the wonderful Tania Ennor, and pointed you off in the direction of her myrtleandeunice blog to read something great. Tania's is another of my very favourite blogs. I love her evocative writing, her beautiful photos. I'm amazed at the way she often seems able to express the inexpressible, the simple beauty, poetry and challenges of our lives. And on top of that she makes me laugh out loud regularly and always has a million beautiful and inspiring projects on the go. What's not to love!?

As many people will attest, Tania is also a great blog friend who leaves a trail of witty comments on her trips round the blogoverse.

Anyway, I've been trying to pin this particular ball of energy down to show and tell for a while - so without further ado here are her answers for your reading pleasure! I particularly love the striking imagery she uses about her favourite place, the three words she uses to describe herself and the way she got round the Fedex people holding her handmade wedding dress ransom ;-)

Tania Ennor

Short description of your blog/style/work...
The blog is family, craft, comedy-of-error days when there isn’t any clean underwear and everyone wears bathers under their clothes.

1. Why blog? How did you start?
I started because I was in the middle of a yawningly-boring work project and I’d already made popcorn, folded the washing, used an old toothbrush to scrub bathroom tile grouting. Starting a blog seemed a reasonable thing to do next.

I blog because I enjoy the writing and the recording. Because sometimes it makes my eyes open to the joy in the ordinary. Because writing about the disasters or the learning curves is cathartic. I also blog because the crafty community is a constant source of support and inspiration and that’s something I heartily enjoy being a part of.

2. Family taught/Self-taught/Trained?
YouTube, Google, other bloggers. Still not sure if I hold a crochet hook correctly.

3. Workspace - studio or kitchen table?
Any clear-ish space going for the crafting. My grandfather’s renovated shed (I can still smell the iron filings) for the printing.

4. Blog/Shop name, where does it come from?
Myrtle and Eunice were two lovely old ladies who connected weekly over the Scrabble tiles. For years of my childhood, I was around to witness these Saturday battles of will and skill and they became part of my weekly ritual. I was holding her hand when my grandmother, Eunice died and in the years since then, realised all the stuff I forgot to ask. I thought I’d write some of my stuff down.

5. Favourite medium to work in?
I am an open to (almost) anything, master of the One Hit Wonder. Except I can’t seem to muster enough wonder for finishing one circle-in-a-square granny blanket.

6. Ambitions/future directions/future projects/medium you'd like to try?
I haven’t an inkling. As of this week I appear to have cultivated a midlife crisis.

7. Are you neat and organised or, ahem, creatively messy?

8. Favourite handmade, handcrafted item you own?
My wedding dress. Reddest red velvet, sewn by my Mum in Melbourne and FedEx-ed and lost on the way to London. One week before the wedding I was camped at the South London Fedex counter, presenting bottles of pricey wine, pleading with staff to check... One. Last. Time.

9. Favourite food/recipe?
Couldn’t prepare it to save myself but I have a somewhat disturbing penchant for beautifully cooked liver. I have a polar opposite non-penchant for broiled tripe. I’m a little over felty sandwiches.

10. Favourite colour?
Reddest red. Other reds.

11. Star sign?
Stubborn, loyal, stubborn, practical, stubborn, intuitive, stubborn, perfectionist, stubborn Taurus

12. Favourite place, landscape (not necessarily Australian)?
Throughout ten years of living in Europe, I had the same regular, recurring dream: swimming freestyle laps in the local 50 metre outdoor pool. A crisp, autumn, early morning, taking a breath every four strokes, each time glimpsing the silhouette of a eucalypt against the rising sun. Magpie morning chorus cutting through the rhythm of my strokes and bubbled breathing. Yep, that would be it.

13. Any tricks for juggling life/work/family with creative pursuits?
The Ten Minute Tidy, choosing your battles, embracing the ‘wonk’ (tricky for this perfectionist), finding a five minute space to step back and see what’s in front of your nose, seeing things differently. I finally spotted happy grater guy after a bazillion cheese shreddings…

14. Favourite artists?
The work of Andy Goldsworthy brings tears to the eyes and/or makes my heart sing. Same for Ron Mueck. Illustrators Benoit Jacques and Pascal Blanchard, the wit of graphic artist Alan Fletcher, the wrapping-the-world mischief of Christo. The Mr isn’t bad either.

15. Favourite blog post/thing you've made/photo?
My favourite blog post describes an evil parenting tactic for long haul travel with anklebiters.

My favourite made thing is, I think, happening at the moment: a scrappy quilt put together using the ‘random rule’. I’d angsted endlessly about how to use some of these treasured fabrics and was hating the process. Nothing like a craft camp, a jump-in mentality, an embracing the spontaneity, to make stuff happen. It’s my first quilt looking to make it to the finish line and includes fabric from things I have made, bits of spare myrtleandeunice tea towels – anything red or white or charcoal that stood still long enough for me to tackle it with a rotary cutter. Give me a week and I reckon I’ll be snuggled under it on the sofa.

16. Three words to describe you?
Mischief. Passion. Loyal.

17. What do you like to do besides creating?
Hanging out the washing! I despise everything else associated with laundry, but when I hang washing on the line, I find the sky, I find quiet, sometimes I find perspective.

Sunday 20 June 2010

gocco to giclee

Sadly Riso, the makers of Gocco, stopped making and distributing Gocco printers and bulbs back in December 2008. And while I have a small stockpile of inks, bulbs and masters the days are really numbered for this lovely format. I'm hoping someone will develop a similar system that has the same wonderful results as Gocco printing but the reality is that they haven't yet. So to keep producing my prints I need to start switching them over to another printing method.

Recently I've been experimenting with scanning, papers and printing to produce Giclee versions, and I've been delighted with the results. Excitingly a new six colour Epson printer and some Archival Epson Matte Paper has given me prints that are almost indistinguishable from the original gocco print (see second pic) - they have all the colour, detail and texture of the original. On top of that the prints are much more consistently printed than the Gocco prints.

This favourite Teapot print, for example is quite hard to print well in any numbers which is one reason it has been out of stock for so long in the shop, in fact I'm embarrassed to say its been a year since the last print sold. I'm happy to say that this popular print is back now. To celebrate I'm selling it for a while at the discounted price of $10!

In the meantime I am going to hang on to my stash of gocco supplies and will keep them for printing original new work. I have a new print planned, too long on the drawing board, which you're going to love... I will give you just one hint, its another in the shoe series, to keep all those Ruby Slippers company. And the Ruby Slippers themselves are the next print that will make the change to giclee printing. Watch out for the discount when I introduce them soon.

Completely off the subject, check out this amazing video of the world's fastest knitter, I stumbled across it the other day when I was checking some continental knitting vids. A-mazing!

And be sure to be back here bright and early on Tuesday for this month's installment of Show & Tell. I'm formatting it at the moment and I know you're going to love it!

Wednesday 16 June 2010

around the world in eighty minutes

This afternoon I went from Italy to China, bought lunch in Japan and then took a leisurely trip down memory lane to the old days.

I live in virtual Italy - walking distance from a fresh cheese shop where they hand make buffalo mozzarella, a fresh pasta shop, an italian bakery and pizza to die for. I'm spoilt. Sometimes when I go in the middle of the week I am the only one in my local supermarket not speaking Italian (I could try but once I'm through the pleasantries in my high school Italian there's not a lot of food bought!).

Another local suburb is very Asian influenced and the specialty Asian supermarket is a package designer's and food lover's dream. Through quite random experimentation, since language is an even bigger barrier here, I have found some wonderful things. Today I got fresh rice noodles for home made pad sie eiuw (sp?), these fantastic seaweed snacks which we love, some frozen edamame (soy bean pods), fresh soy sprouts (never had them), new soy, mushrooms, green tea and some mung bean seeds.

I bought lunch from a favourite sushi shop in the mall and then came home via the local Salvos (op shop). If you've seen the badge on my sidebar you'll know I'm joining in a vintage sheet swap and I was hoping to find some today, hoping but not confident. I'm not a great thrifter, I don't have great luck and I know I'm not patient enough, I usually lose faith half way through a likely pile. Today for some reason the gods were smiling. I got three lovely thick cotton sheets, this little dog bowl, a 'brand new with tags' A-line denim skirt in my size for $6 ($90 on the tag!) and an as new cushion made of Natural linen with mother of pearl buttons for two dollars! 

At the oppy they were playing the local Christian radio station which proclaimed itself proudly between songs as 'Your Sinatra Station'. Amongst all the 60s manchester and seventies clothes that didn't seem too out of place! And after all that when I got home this parcel was waiting, all the way from New York New York. Lovely Aki's beautifully wrapped  frame pouch. It was a good day :-)

Tuesday 15 June 2010

continental style

Brrrrr, suddenly winter is here. You can always tell when it starts snowing in the mountains because the air gets a chilly bite, but the sun is shining again so the days are bright and clear and lovely.

I've been commanded to knit this hat on Ravelry for Miss A with wool we chose a while ago. Because I felt like knitting last week and didn't have right needles for this though I started this gathered scarf too. Such cute patterns, that Ravelry is a very dangerous site!

On the weekend I ventured into the city to a real knitting shop, Morris and Sons in York Street where I bought these great new needles, the silver ones in the photo, they are Knit Pro circulars with interchangeable tips. Unfortunately I was too overwhelmed by all the yarn and didn't buy even one ball, I get so confused by all the plys and things and, well, I do have a couple of balls left in the stash!

 The new circulars are as wonderful as I hoped, lovely sharp smooth needles which slip through the wool so easily. The cable is perfectly bendy too. To celebrate this innovation I decided to finally try Continental knitting which has been intriguing me since I discovered knitting videos on the net. All I've read tells me this is a much faster technique and less hassle to interchange between knit to purl so I wanted to see how it felt. Of course I'm not that fast and I'm not enjoying it quite as much as my old style yet - but I've only been at it a day! Despite that I think its quite easy to pick up and feels like less work/movement. Have any of you made the change? Do you find it much quicker? I'm thinking my knitting is much looser and I actually read somewhere that some people have to knit on smaller needles to allow for that. We'll see.

For any of you wondering about the new Show & Tell interview I've put it off a week due to sickness, holidays and general busy-ness. No hints I'm afraid, but I know you are going to really love this one!! Come back next Tuesday and see - actually I have three more lined up now and I'm looking forward to each one so much :-)

p.s. The collage at the top is from Master J who whipped it up the other night in secret! How sweet, I was so very touched and emotional when he presented it! I think I'm going to have to frame it!

Thursday 10 June 2010

the chicken spots

I've had a little helper this week, Master D, despite being vaccinated, came out in chicken pox last Saturday. We've had a slow week recuperating, watching Deadly 60 on ABC 3, working on his public speaking piece, feeding the goldfish, lunch together, a bit of work for me, two get well parcels from his Granny and his Aunty (so spoilt) with colouring, mags, textas, good chocolate (and a card directing him to share it with Mum!).

With time to play I've been having a bit of fun making repeat patterns in Photoshop, easy once you get the hang of it. The first one is inspired by the chicken spots which are slowly fading. I took the colours from this pic. The second is a design that popped in my head the other day and I drew straight into the computer, I'm not sure about the colours but I love the shapes. The third is a simple but effective design I'm making for Miss A's ongoing biscuit project, part of the packaging she has designed for her banana biscuits.

Its been a nice week, I needed it, my cold has dragged its way to two weeks and it was time to give up and let myself be sick. And Mr D is lovely company, so sweet, a good laugh and a great patient.

I don't think its too disloyal to say that I hope the vaccination does its work with the other two. I didn't get much done this week and I'm hoping this is the end of the spots!

p.s Good luck to South Africa for the World Cup! It looks like its going to be an amazing time there, I'm excited for them. And I really hope the Socceroos do well in their games!

Wednesday 9 June 2010


About a month ago the lovely Aki put my bottle towel into the most fantastic treasury (below) on Etsy. That led me to her great shop oktak where I immediately fell in love with her bright and graphic pieces. I started to wonder what my fabric would look like in her hands and on a whim emailled her and asked if she'd like some RickRack to play with.
Fast forward to yesterday and these photos landed in my inbox. Isn't she clever! I just love the way she's put the purses together, and see the little click purse, she's sending it to me! Thank you Aki! She has another couple that will be in her store, along with all her other beautiful wares.
 I think the thing I like the very most about our collaboration though is this drawing she sent by her 5 year old daughter - who was inspired by my fabric to draw her own version. Aaaaah I love it :-)

Oh and if you can speak Japanese you could read about it all on Aki's blog here.

Friday 4 June 2010

Erin Lykos Ceramics

A clever friend of mine, Erin, made these beautiful brooches (top), aren't they beautiful! I bought them from her newly opened Madeit store, well actually I bought one and she generously sent another. I'm thinking my MIL would love one too, if I can just work out which I can bear to give away!

A wonderful ceramic artist Erin sells her wares through a number of stockists but has just added online selling to the mix. Though at the moment she is only selling through Madeit she has plans to add an Etsy store soon. I believe she's also happy to sell privately if you contact her through her blog.

She only graduated a few years ago and soon after earned a Design Associateship at the famous Jam Factory studios in Adelaide and was also awarded a ceramics residency in China in 2008.

Erin and I are related in a roundabout way by marriage and I've had a precious little salt dish she made for many years which was part of the bonboniere at a family wedding. It died at the hands of a small person round here recently and I'm just hoping she starts listing these some time so I can replace it!

Visit Erin's web site to read more about her and check out the stores around Australia where she sells her pieces, or visit her newish blog to see more of her work and say hi.

Wednesday 2 June 2010


Here we are in winter and going on for about the third week of rain, though we had a spot of sun today. Sprinkled through the damp garden beds these little jewels have been appearing, the most beautiful little miniature orange mushrooms, sprouting from the wood mulch we laid on the garden last summer. They make the most beautiful little fairy rings among the plants and I couldn't resist bringing one in for a photo session.
I'm suffering with one of those draggy change of seasons colds. I thought I'd shaken it off on Monday but it came back with a vengeance and I'm croaky and slow. Lunch today was the best medicine leftover minestrone with toasted pane di casa toast.

Tuesday 1 June 2010

space invaders crochet

From Sydney instititution Remo General Store come these fantastic crocheted tablemats - I just had to share! For those of us from the Space Invaders generation :-)
Remo has had its ups and downs since its heyday but it seems to be thriving again these days. Check out their online store for amazing and wonderful bits and pieces including their new bread tag T. (We have a drawer full of bread tags here just waiting for a project!)