Wednesday, September 30, 2009

an exaggerated need to crochet

image from here

I don't know how to crochet... but I have determined that I need to know.

I am really loving sewing but it is not particularly portable. I see crochet as something I could easily put in a bag and take with me on my daily adventures 'just in case' a moment availed itself.

My family gave me a crochet hook for mother's day this year ... but I'm yet to use it. Got the books. Looked at youtube. Found a friend to teach me. Now all I've got to do is ... well... do it!!!

A person who crochets the fancy stuff is Laurel from Miss Muggins. Pop over to her place to check out her beautiful work and while you're there enter her giveaway.

And if you're as intrigued by crochet as I am then pack your mask and snorkel and take a trip here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

just a minute september

I'm playing along for the first time with the JAM fun @ August Street...

Reading... Jane Eyre (again!)

I can't say that I am 'reading' them because it is more like flicking through the pages and admiring the pictures ;)

Watching... the ABC on Wednesday nights - Spicks and Specks, The Librarians (finished now - felt like a very short series) and then United States of Tara.

Listening... oldies in the car like My Friend the Chocolate Cake, The Beautiful South and Lenard Cohen. Nina Simone features every month.

Thinking... about commercialisation, sexualisation, globalisation and brainoverloadisation.

Tasting... lots and lots of vegetarian curries.

Discovering... that persistence and patience really do pay off, just not straight away!

Exploring... parks in the local area on weekend family walks. Blissful times I will treasure forever.

Monday, September 28, 2009

one sheet

I recently inherited this sheet. Originally it was my paternal grandmother's but for some reason my mother has been hanging on to it for the past 10 or so years. Now it has found itself to me and I'm looking for inspiration on what to transform it into. I've got a couple of ideas gathering speed but I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

eye spy ... something that I shouldn't eat but do anyway

I try not to use the words "should" and "shouldn't". Over the years I have found them to be no good for my relationships in general - including with people and food - and they are certainly no good for my mind. All too easily these two small words build fortresses around me that prevent me trying new things or, worse still, become canes I use to beat and punish myself.

With that in mind I considered foods that I consumed that could be replaced with better options. It is commonly touted that eating locally produced food is a better option to imported goods because it supports the local economy. I'm still in the process of deciding how this sits with me and what my attitudes to globalisation is - you'll get to read more about that one day in the future. Regardless, it is important to me that by eating local products I am reducing my carbon footprint and helping the environment.

Our family tries to buy as much of our fresh food as possible at the local farmer markets which primarily sells local produce. We also try to grow some fruit, vegies and herbs in our own garden. Economies of scale being what they are, not to mention the fact that both my partner and I feel incredibly time poor, we do still pop up the road to our local Woolies to grab items for the pantry. As I walk up and down the aisles price is at the forefront of my thoughts. It is common for my shopping trolley to be a 3D collage of red and white 'homebrand' items. This has changed a bit of late as we make much greater efforts to avoid preservatives and artificial colours. Nonetheless where the product is made barely features in my decision making.

With trepidation I today went to our pantry cupboard to survey where exactly our staples came from. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were a lots of Australian made (with Australian ingredients) items - but there was still a significant presence of imported food stuffs.

Almost all the homebrand items were made from overseas. So I could eat better but with a tight budget I'm probably going to eat some imported homebrand products anyway. I promise I'll look harder for a local alternative at a similar price.

On the side:
Sally to her partner in a very excited tone as she rummages through the very messy pantry: "Wow! the homebrand tinned beetroot is made in Australia"
Partner: "Who else but Australians would eat beetroot out of a can?"

Thanks to Jennifer Rose for this week's theme and thanks too to Cindy for hosting :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

would you kiss it?

Look what we recently saw at a local lake. It was such a wonderful discovery - a little thing really but it made our day.

I can't imagine ever having the inclination to kiss it ...

Friday, September 25, 2009

a brilliant idea

Last week, after writing about my dismay at being gifted a onesie with what I felt was offensive text, Sam of Jetta's Nest suggested that I embroider a correction. A brilliant idea that appealed to me on so many levels. So last night, while I 'bonded' with my partner watching the Grand Final Footy Show, I did some stitching. I love the result. Ms. M wore the onesie this morning to play group and it received rave reviews. Thanks so much Sam for this fantastic solution.

Ms. M's got the spunky attitude to pull it off...

Monday, September 21, 2009

flowers over all

I finished these floral overalls for Ms. M on the weekend. I started sewing them about a month ago but stalled for a while when it came to the snap fastenings in the leg seams (for easy nappy changing). The pattern that I was guided by (following would be a misrepresentation of my sewing style) used snap tape - but I couldn't find 'snap tape' in my local area. As an alternative I made my own bias tape which I hand stitched snaps onto before hand sewing onto the overalls. It was a slow process! If I make something similar in the future I'll be stitching up the seam and taking the extra time to change the nappy. Ms. M is a real wriggler so changing her nappy is slow battle of wills at the best of times anyway.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

eye spy ... an inspirational person in my life

Cindy of bugandpop asked me to choose this week's eye spy theme. I'm not sure what I was thinking at the time, although I do recall fending off a barrage of cushions being hurled at me by Master E, but the theme has resulted in much contemplation on my part.

With so many inspirational people in my life how can I choose just one?

It goes without saying that my partner and children are truly the greatest inspirations in my life. Linda Evangelista wouldn't get out of bed for less than $10000 a day, but for these folk I'll roll out of bed completely sleep deprived and for free! They inspire me to be the best self that I can be.

Famous people like Hillary Clinton, Julia Gillard, Cate Blanchett and Cathy Freeman came to mind and then I became side tracked considering the differences between admiration and inspiration - but I'll save those musing for another time. I'll just note that I admire Cathy Freeman as an athlete but she hasn't really inspired me to go for a walk let alone a jog!

So who does inspire me?

Reading Gina's blog has really impacted on my day to day life. She has inspired me to reach for the bi-carb and vinegar, to consider the possibilities of refashioning and upcycling. Traditionally I have been clutter-phobic but she has even inspired me to re-evaluate my attitudes towards clutter.


This is my 100th post - and I have to say that I'm suffering a bit of blogger's block feeling the pressure of becoming a centurion in blogosphere.

I am actually surprised to even find myself tapping on the keys writing this post, as I'm not really sure why I started blogging. I've been considering my reasons over this weekend. Some clues can be found in the title I chose. I decided on "Virtually Sally ... almost me" for a number of reasons. Most obviously I liked the whole idea of a 'virtual' self being my introduction to the interweb, but the tag line "almost me" alludes to a journey of re-discovery, a quest to find myself.

In the transition from "full-time" (8-ish hours a day) paid employee to full-time (24/7) unpaid Mama I have somehow managed to lose myself. I'm not who I was and with two children now I never will be. So I'm "almost me" and this blog is an account of the journey to find me.

At the time I started this blog we received a box of fabric remnants for my son to craft with and it was this that re-ignited my interest in sewing. There were pieces of fabric that were just too yummy to watch a two year old cut up and paste with. My sewing machine had travelled Australia with me, but when I started writing this blog I was unsure of how to thread it. Four months later and I feel like I could thread the machine with one hand tied behind my back. Creating started as play but now it is so much more.

The search for patterns and tutorials online led me to discover a beautiful blogosphere - a community of people reflecting on their daily lives, interests and creations. Kylie at 3 Sheets and Cath at Chunkychooky have both recently pondered the marvelous sense of community derived from blogging and I echo their sentiments. It is certainly a remedy to the isolation that I sometimes feel at home with my two young children.

The journey that I have started has led me to try new things including sewing, ebay, embroidery, and printing. There are so many more things that I want to try... so stayed tuned.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

hand + made = handmade

Hands are so significant in our lives. Holding hands – a wonderful thing. Shaking hands – so much importance is placed on this simple act in our society. What part of the body do you “take” in marriage? The hand, of course, upon which the ring is placed. For some of us our hands are our primary form of communication, but even those of us who do not sign use our hands to say far more than we realise.

When we make something with our hands all that significance goes into the object. The word “manual” comes from the Latin for hand (and what do we call our guide? A manual or a “hand”book). The process – using the hands – can be just as important as the final product. Whether we knead, shape, paint, stitch or create in some other way, using our hands is a therapeutic process.

And that is why I love the handmade. The product is unique and often it tells a story. It is a story about the other things the hands were doing at that time, as if their memories were transferred as part of the process. Like a photo that captures life at a certain moment, the product is imbued with that moment and cannot be replicated. It has a life of its own.

my hands

Nikki at My Black Cardigan is giving away 5 copies of  Handmade Melbourne. Quick get over there and tell her why you love all things handmade for your chance to win.

Friday, September 18, 2009

so what to do with it?

Ms. M is growing so fast. Time, for me, is surreal. It feels like only yesterday I was waiting for her to be born yet the period between 1600 and 1730hrs Monday to Friday feels like eternity! Easier to understand is that Ms. M, travelling her own journey, is learning every day.

Ms. M was given the onesie pictured above when she was born. I had forgotten about it until this week when I was sorting through her clothes. She is now big enough to fit into it but I, deeply offended by its text, cannot bring myself to dress her in it.

So what to do with it?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


It is a truth universally acknowledged that we all need a hug every now and then. Hug by Jez Alborough is a truly delightful tale of a young chimp in need of a hug. Told almost exclusively with pictures - the only words in the text are "hug", "mummy" and "bobo" - the story is one that the reader, regardless of their age, can easily relate to.

A part of our own collection, Hug is a story that my son and I have enjoyed reading for years. Often he and I dramatise the story when we're goofing around and play acting. Even though our copy is the board book version it has been so well read that it is now held together with tape and contact.
Ms. M is now too discovering the beauty and universal themes of this charming yet simple tale.

Monday, September 14, 2009

a smiley dress

a summer dress for Ms. M

I made this little summer dress for the adorable Ms. M using remnants. The entire process of making the dress was a happy one... how could it have been anything else when handling such a cheerful yellow? I couldn't help smiling... even when it seemed like I might not have enough yellow floss to finish stitching the edges of the decorative flower.

I hope she has many many happy moments wearing it!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

eye spy... seasons change

Bye bye glasses of red wine snuggled on the couch in front of the heater and HELLO! gin and tonics sitting outside watching the summer sun set.

See more "Eye Spy" @ Cindy's (thanks for hosting)

*pictures from here and here.

BREAKING NEWS - Tues 15/9 - Cindy has asked me to choose the theme for next week's eye spy!!! Now that the panic has subsided I've decided on the theme "Eye Spy - an inspirational person in my life" for next week.

Friday, September 11, 2009

what the?

This storage unit is outside my local train station. There are a series of these yellow boxes as you enter the station - all but this one are for storing bicycles. I just don't get it! Why would a person need to store their wheelchair before boarding a train? If they needed a wheelchair to get to this point in their journey why wouldn't they need it anymore?!?! I might also explain that this unit is about a 150mtr walk to the actual platform.

Some things Lots of things in life I just don't get.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

welcome to my world

a difficult task - Aurelio Zingoni

With two children under three years I can really relate to how the woman in this image feels!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

three degrees to al gore

Photo from here
I discovered this evening that there is only three degrees of separation from myself and former US Vice President and now environment crusader Al Gore... and so I thought - as if it was likely that we might now bump into each other - that I really should make a greater effort to be environmentally aware.

So how do I now discover that Al Gore is orbiting my o so glamorous social circle?

Well - my friend Karen sort of knows a guy who is an environmental leader personally taught by the big man himself ... ok ok - it's a tenuous link - but it did motivate me to take the time to refresh some of my environmental knowledge here and here.

a wednesday evening with...

... a friend I'd like to spend less time with!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

good days bad days

Good Days Bad Days is written by Catherine and Laurence Anholt. As the title suggests the book follows a family's good days and bad days. A collection of illustrations with minimal text Good Days Bad Days examines the reasons behind the different type of days that we all have - it is a good day when everyone plays nicely together whereas it is a sad day when the family pet dies. Master E currently has the book on loan from our local library and we have been reading it almost every day. The illustrations certainly reflect life at our home and as such are a wonderful catalyst for my son and I to engage in some rather meaningful discussions.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

eye spy ... something blossoming son's puddle radar!

See more wonderful blossoms here.

happy father's day

to all the dads, daddas, daddies, papas, pas, poppas, pops... hope you have a great day!

Friday, September 4, 2009

a better blue

Not a lot of blogging today. Finally the skies were radiant blue and there was spring in the air - recharged my batteries and got some creative mojo back... phew.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

life in blue

It's three days into 'spring' and the sun is yet to show itself so this painting by the forever insightful Pabalo Picasso really speaks to me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

stuffed green peppers

Look what I had for dinner...

A super yummy feast. Download the recipe if you want to try... but be warned - there are lots and lots of dishes to wash up with this one. Mind you I might be a little hyer-sensitive to washing up dishes as our current abode is without a dishwasher - of the non-human variety :(

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

what the sky knows

One of my greatest daily pleasures is reading to my two small children. Generally I read about six to ten children's books a day - most are wonderful, enchanting and perhaps humorous whilst others have me thinking "what the?!?!"

I thought I would start sharing some of my thoughts about these books with you...

What the sky knows is written by Nike Bourke and beautifully illustrated by Stella Danalis. The text examines, using metaphors, juxtaposition and symbols, all the different aspects of the sky - colour, sound, movement. What the sky knows is fanciful and enchanting - capturing both the child and adult reader's imagination. The illustrations, which are colourful and intricate collages, are filled with visual tricks and jokes providing plenty of discussion points (in my son's case "what's that called?" and "why?").

With my ever increasing interest in surface design What the sky knows is a feast of patterns that capture my imagination and leave me feeling inspired to go forth and create.

are you there god? it's me jane eyre ...huh?

Pip over at meet me at mikes is facilitating a bookclub. The novels for the upcoming month are Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Judy Blume's Are You There God? Its Me Margaret.

I've read both more than once but it has been a while since I've turned their pages. With every re-read of a novel something new is learnt - either about the text or about one's self. Both texts examine the journey from child to woman but in very different times and place. Great choices...

***chuckling to myself***
As I write this post I am taken by the thought of Jane Eyre at Gateshead Hall hidden away in some corner flapping her arms about chanting "I must! I must! I must increase my bust!"

hello??? ...spring - are you there?

Well I was hoping to post a beautiful photo of a gorgeous spring day... but alas in my part of the world it wasn't to be. It is absolutely freezing today - raining, gloomy, glum, ...

Spring - where are you???