Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sneaking back in, The Panda, and a terrible injury

Oh hey. Don't mind me, just sneaking back in after ALMOST A YEAR of not writing blog posts. How did you survive, I hear you ask? I missed you so much, I hear you wail! For the love of god, woman, have you finished your sexy novel? 

Yes, yes. Please try to calm down a little bit, and all of your (my) very caring (imaginary) questions will be answered (probably).

Why no write? Short answer: I am a fickle woman and I got bored. Long answer: how long have you got? But rest assured, when I finally got off that submarine, the president gave me a nice medal, the rescue dolphin was reunited with his wife, and I finally understood why breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Yeah, you missed me. 

Anyway, I found this draft just now. From August or something. Enjoy!

The Panda is the next Abandoned Cross-stitch clutch at MiuAndUmi now. I had so much fun deconstructing this one, as it was large and professionally framed. I got a little medieval on it's ass.

And then it got a little medieval on mine. Luckily I am incredibly brave and managed to soldier on.

Few people understand the trauma of that day...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dads, hearts, treks, pods, paint and poor communication

 Oh hi! I've been making lots of stuff lately. I'm going to show it to you without lots of words, because my communication skills have been... not at their best lately?

Happy Father's day - I painted this for my dad, but he's been away on holidays, so he hasn't got it yet.

Happy Father's day - I painted this for C, he's not my dad, I realise that. But the kids think I'm now an amazing poet. (And I didn't even know it?)

 Heart cakes - for my beautiful Kirsty's birthday. We chowed heartily at YaYa, and discovered that dining with 6 children is not for the faint of heart.

Trekking with C, hunting for lost trolleys, finding them.

Et voila. Poor thing.

To throw or to glow? This table was on its last legs...sorry. But it was, so we chopped the legs down and hit it with the brightest yellow paint in existence. It's for the garden, so I can rest my drink.

Omg. Zinnia seedlings. You have no idea how much I'm goggling in anticipation of these flowers.

These nasturtium pods (poor man's capers) look super weird. They'd better be tasty.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Woods, outside the comfort zone.

The Woods is one of the Abandoned Cross-stitch clutches in MiuAndUmi right now.

Today I jumped right out of my comfort zone and sent part of my rough draft novel to a friend for feedback. This is something I practically never do. Occasionally I'll read out a paragraph that's troubling or pleasing me, only to have Cam say "It's good. I like it." I consider Kirsty to be my number one proof-reader/teller of truths, but when I read her the 'sexy' parts we just ended up in hysterics, so I figured it was time to outsource. Stay tuned for that one.

Which segues nicely into this little bit of insanity...

You're welcome?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Abandoned Cross-stitch, the best cake ever, and ancient history

Yay finally! The Abandoned Cross-stitch clutches are in MiuAndUmi! What a relief to get the ideas out of my noggin and into the shop. Now I can stop obsessing over them! I went through a brief phase of - shall we say - intense interest? Scouring op-shops, sewing until all hours, generally being a terrible wife and mother (oh, the shame). Meh, you know I don't care. I'm like the honey badger.


Say hello to the best cake ever. (According to the newly 8-year-old PomPom.) It was an epic production, wherein I displayed all the emotions a human is capable of, and possibly discovered a few new ones. It took. All. Day. But was worth it because of the delicious love I got in return. And ahem - Instagram/Facebook kudos which I lapped up like the shameless praise whore I really am.
Would you like to see me giving it out indiscriminately on Instagram? I'm melanieshmelanie.
Terrible photo quality, I know, and I just love that I managed to capture the one corner of the kitchen where the tiles are still waiting for their grout... But none of that matters, because...

PINATA CAKE!!!!!!!!!

Did I mention that I also made rainbow cupcakes and threw a little party at the playground? Yeah.

Pink lemonade! I sugared the kids up real nice. Parties are fun, aren't they?
Oh, and while I think of it...

A good birthday for me. Not for the horse.
So May is now a fading memory, and I'm no longer able to say "but it's my birthday month" when I want to get my own way. I raised $200.60 for Kiss Goodbye to MS and feel proud of my contribution. I even made a celebratory collage. Impressed? I know I am.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Taciturn at best


At home on this rainy old day. My little guy has a cough, so we're laying low, drinking herb tea.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I see red, I see red, I see red!

It's a lucky thing, I'm thinking, that I both like and own so much red. Wearing red every day, drumming up (some) funds to help Kiss Goodbye to MS, has seen me taking more selfies than I've ever taken before, and getting a weird amount of compliments about how smart I'm looking??!!

Perhaps I should wear red lipstick all the time? It's just so haaaaaarrrrrrrrd. (Boo hoo, all that checking and re-applying is terribly taxing.)


Yes! So far I've managed to raise $135 to go towards this very important cause. I know, to some, it may not seem like much, but if I'm uncomfortably honest with you, my shop has never made that much money in one month before. Nevvvvverrrrrrr. Um, not even close? So I'm wildly pleased! And crazy grateful to each person who made a purchase.

Especially this lady.

Thank you Em, you're the best.

So in amongst all this frantic self-photographing and garland making, I went out to a gig with my best guy and a rowdy bunch of extremely good-looking folk. We hit the Beetle Bar to catch Some Jerks, and as usual they made a lot of noise and forced us to dance with wild abandon. If you ever get a chance to catch these guys live, DO IT. Your ears and brain will thank you.

This track from their self-titled album is called So Long, and right now it's stuck in my head. Enjoy.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Kissing it goodbye

The first 8 days of May!

I'm wearing red every day of May to raise funds and awareness for Kiss Goodbye to MS, and donating 100% of my sales from Miu & Umi to this important cause. If you see something you'd like in the shop, know that with your purchase comes support for amazing research that could see more effective treatments and most importantly, a cure for Multiple Sclerosis.

Last month I was truly saddened by news of the death of Divinyls' lead singer Chrissy Amphlett, who lost her battle with breast cancer and MS. Ms Amphlett lived in our neighbourhood when we were kids, and Kirsty and I would stalk her in the supermarket, starstruck to see her shopping for groceries in her huge black suglasses. Growing up, we both loved her incredible fuck-you aura of rock posturing, appreciating that in Australian rock, chicks like her were supremely rare. She was tough and unapologetic and outrageously sexy, and probably could've taught young musicians a thing or two.

Kirsty's blog post on MS! The Musical talks about Chrissy Amphlett and MS, and affords a glimpse of her daily physical and emotional struggle. But somehow she still manages to be good-looking, hilarious and cool as shit? What's with that? She's pretty much the most mathematical person I know.

So, it's getting cooler and you know what that means... crochet, baby! I'm smashing out a bunch of heart garlands at the moment, and dreaming of big booty blankets and all the other cool stuff that can eventuate when hook meets yarn. If you'd like to order a garland, or have ideas for different colours, lengths, what have you, PLEASE let me know. That would be cool.

In other news - it's my birthday! Yay! Cue trumpets, confetti and balloons! Man, I'm getting so old, but I still feel like a spazzy teenager. What's with that?

I've already shared a giant Hershey Kiss with the kids (actually I nibbled the nub off the top, then the kids put their hands on it, and I know what they do with their little hands, ewwww, so the rest of the chocolate is now theirs. Too much knowledge is a burden.) But the best bit is that Cam gave me a frickin OVERLOCKERRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Words can't express how much I've yearned for this. I'm practically beside myself! Now I have to learn how to make underwear, and t-shirts, and all kinds of crazy stuff. Omigod you guys.

Just awesome. Thank you Chrissy Amphlett.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Verbs are doing words

Admitting - defeat. Yup. I extended my borrowing time from the library, and even still... In my defense, this is one incredibly dense novel. It deserves my full attention, and that's only gonna happen if I own a copy. David Foster Wallace -1, Me -0.

Rethinking - a project. Do you ever do that thing where something looks amazing in your mind, but the reality is just kind of... meh? I found these brilliant felted alphabet stickers and thought it would be perfect for a bit of wall lyric action. But I got halfway, ran out of A's, and fell hard out of love with the whole idea. These weekly projects are harder than I thought!*

(Dear reader, you may have noticed that I've spaced big-time on the weekly projects. That's because I'm oppositional. Equal parts lazy and stubborn. I hate being told what to do, even if I'm telling myself. I'll get back into it... probably. I've still got a bunch of weeks, right?)

All that being said, I've got some really fun stuff in the works. Stuff I love wildly, that makes me very happy, stuff that gets me out of bed in the morning! So, stay tuned.

Thrumming - in my veins every time I hear this song by Melbourne band Harmony. It's called Cacophonous Vibes, it's loud and strange and full of soundwaves. Enjoy!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Project 8 - Get happy, stupid.

I've been a gloomhilda this week. Normally this is when I just put my head down, avoid interaction and try to ride it out. I have nothing to complain about, but we can't be shiny all the time, right?

So I've tried a bunch of things to improve my mood, rather than waiting for it to get better, and in the grand tradition of the internets, I've made a list to share with you.

I call it

My List of Things That By Rights Should Improve My Sooky-La-La Temperament.

1. Trampoline. Jump like a crazy coconut until your PF muscles remind you that you've had two children and neglected your Kegels. (It's good cardio-whatchathingy too, apparently.)
2. Fondle haberdashery. Either this makes perfect sense to you, or you're glazing over. Whatever. I'm hot for fabrics and don't care who knows it.
3. Avoid the internet. If you're in a tetchy kinda mood, maybe the photo-perfect lives and exploits of others isn't what you need.
4. Season 1 of True Blood. Vampire Bill - hello, salty goodness. Am I right?
5. Dancing like a dickhead. This only works if you are a very bad dancer, which luckily I am! Venue? The loungeroom. Visual reference? This piece of gold.
6. Hugs. From the kids, randoms in public, whoever will stand still long enough and not call security. 
7. Write that shit down! As horribly honest, mean-tempered and foul-mouthed as you can, write down exactly how you're feeling and then burn it, recreate it as interpretive dance, throw yourself a tickertape parade. It's healthy, and way cheaper than a therapist.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Verbs are doing words

Encouraging - myself to stick to it. I've mentioned before that I'm really good at starting things, but not quite as ace with the finishing part. Knowing this about myself, I've set a task of writing a 55,000 word novel. I've even given myself permission to be as bland and underwhelming as possible. This will make sense to you if you are a ideas-driven, head-in-the-clouds perfectionist with the attention span of a gnat. I realised that as soon as I gave myself  a little permission to fail, all the assumed pressure dropped away. I don't have to write the most perfect and amazing novel in the world, I just have to write something.

Craving - the sun.

Yup. There, I said it. I am 100% certain that this weather system can go suck an egg. Vamoose! Scram! Get the damn hell gone.

Sucking - up the information. Fascinate by Sally Hogshead is a slice of marketing nouse, aimed at people who want to understand what creates and controls that powerful quirk of human behaviour - fascination. This is psychology at its most fickle, really. Half the time what drives us to make our choices is so basic (and base) it's almost embarrassing. Think Salem witches, the first economic bubble caused by the prestige of tulips, and Marx being well off the mark about diamonds.

Fascination reminds me of The Psychopath Test, because of the way it's encouraged analysis of the people around me. I know some very fascinating people, and now I can dissect them to understand why. Yes, dissect them! Cut open their brains! MwahahaHA!

All those awesome children of the MTV era - this is for you. You know who you are. If you don't like this clip of The Cure, singing Fascination Street, I order you to get off my blog right now and never ever come back.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Lolita Love

I stumbled across this clip a little while ago, and everytime I watch it, I fall in love. It seems to catch hold of something lovely and ethereal and bittersweet, and zooms me straight into when I was little and spent a lot of time exploring in the bushland with Kirsty. We made up whole new lands and personas, and it was more real than anything else.
But we never met a stag*. Which is probably a good thing?

*A white stag (!) and a doe sometimes appear at the edge of the heavily treed land behind Kirsty's house. They never stay long enough for me to give them a hug.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Project 7 - A week of mending

A week of mending! That was the plan, anyway. But of course, although I've mended boring things like school uniforms and a rashie, there's still a stack of troublesome to-mends waiting impatiently for me.
The most fun mended item was my plaid skirt, which I wore (as usual) despite a raw hem. It looked super cute but I could hear my mother's voice reminding me it was a little shabby. (She's right. No surprise.) So I mended it with bias binding and teeny-tiny stitching. (Well, it was without my glasses)
As a fun addition, I embroidered plus signs in sets of three, and a little heart too. It's the tiny things that make me happy - maybe no-one else will ever notice, but I will know that I took that time and effort to make it different and special.
It also led me to wonder about the underside of my hem. I know it's proper to keep your underside tidy (so to speak) but what do you think?

A little iron-on cutie that found it's way onto a painted board. Should I add this to my hem? Undecided.

My pincushion is in a bad way. It's all out of shape and a little dusty, with random threads just hanging out on it. The most precious part is the knowledge that inside that fat little poodge of pincushion, there are myriad tiny needles just waiting for me to squeeze, agitate or manipulate this thing in any wrong way. I'm not exaggerating.

I need a new one. Stat.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Breakfast for dessert

We had so much fun making these cute little bacon and eggs on Wednesday afternoon - don't they look adorable? It's so simple yet effective, and easy to do with the little monkeys (although I do admit I got a little perfectionist mum, saying things like "No no, the M&M is upside down!")

Not proud. Can't help it.

Anyway, the mixture of salty, crunchy pretzels with the sweet white chocolate and M&Ms is tasty delicious and reminds me a little of the salted caramel milkshakes we make at work. Yum!

I wish I could claim the cleverness of this invention, but alas, t'was not I. This was the source.

I think the ratio of yellow to all other colours in the M&M packet was a little skewiff. We ran out of yellow, so we made some green eggs. Now I'm figuring out which lolly could look a bit like ham... any ideas?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Project 6 - I think I'm turning Japanese!

Well, maybe not, but I'm trying something new! My plan this week is to try something I've never done before. So here it is, ladies and germs! Gyozaaaaaaa!
I had a sneaky feeling that I'd have a hard time finding the gyoza wrappers, but I shouldn't have doubted Fred at the local Indian/Asian grocery store. (Every time he sees me, he asks me what I'm cooking today, and when it comes to advice on cooking perfect authentic Indian food, he's the best!)

Since it was the first time, I googled around for different takes on making gyoza. This recipe from Steamy Kitchen was the most helpful. I just followed the directions, making the pork and vegetable recipe.

I served up the gyoza with a soy and sesame oil dipping sauce, shiro miso, steaming edamame and sake! Of course we had to do the chanting, just like at Harajuku Gyoza
Dekimasu sake! Kampai!.

And I can't forget the dessert, which was vanilla icecream with blueberries, served in a chocolate bowl! I dipped balloons in melted chocolate and chilled them until they firmed up. Then I popped the balloons and voila! Edible icecream bowls! (Which I then served in bowls... )

So that's Valentine's dinner AND project 6, done and dusted. I wonder what I'll do next.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Verbs are doing words

Reading - Poetry from Allen Ginsberg. It's wonderful, wonderful writing, it captures the wildness and desperation of such an incredible time in the modern history of America. And the best part is that when I read it, I can hear Ginsberg's voice!

Contemplating - the mood board that has been the same since December. I think I need a little fresh inspiration!

Shifting - chairs and such around the place. Do you get bored with things really quickly? Living in such a tiny house means space is at a premium, and every available corner is filled with things. Sometimes, I just long for a bit of empty space! (You wouldn't believe we contemplated living in a bus to travel around, would you?)

Who's that cutie patootie in the photo? It's me! At the tender age of 19, modelling for my dear friend Alison. Seems like a million years ago, but I can still remember how much fun it was.

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