I got it from the lovely Kathy at Buttonmania <www.buttonmania.com.au> in Melbourne, who designed and makes them herself.
Made from what must be hundreds of eyelets, on an elastic strand 156 cm around (that's 1.7 yards to you Americans), you can double or triple it up, twist and knot it around - it's very versatile. Mine's pink, but you can get lots of other colours too.
I'm partial to statement jewellery, and this definitely fits the bill. I had four separate compliments on it the other day.
Some friends have a fashion label, Baraka, and a new store, Baraka HQ. They are in the process of making the store the place to be for all kinds of things besides a lovely place to shop, with craft classes, a book club, story readings, movie nights and much more.
I mention this purely to show you some pictures I took of a kid's t-shirt printing class, which was going on in the next room from the book club I attended. (We were discussing Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea, if you're interested; which is very much worth a look.)
Masterpieces created on the day included: a charming lady robot,
but my personal favourite was the shark.
Specifically, the proportional size of the tiny fish's eye at the realization of what appears to be imminent.
In other news, last night I went to a yarn swap at the best yarn shop that sells coffee (or cafe that sells yarn) in Sydney, A Coffee & a Yarn. Ok, maybe the only, but it's still good.
I took a bag full of balls from my stash that I was unlikely to ever use, and came back with ... these:
This Christmas, I started taking photos of some of the beautiful textiles in my grandmother's home. Then it occurred to me that I don't really have a record of her personal style. Photos taken in her various homes throughout her life have mainly been of people. That's important too, but one of the things I dearly love about my grandma is the way she puts objects together in a room.
The way she'll disguise the ugliness of a heater, for instance, by surrounding it with so many lovely things, you no longer even notice it's there.
I missed the opportunity to record her decorative style with the gorgeous house she and my grandpa had when I was growing up. I've missed it with the smaller house they moved to when the old place became too much to handle. I'm left with the tiny flat she lives in now that she's a widow and 91 years old.
But it still speaks so strongly of her and her unique aesthetic. I look at what she does, and I see love.
And so it came to pass that, after recent verbal assurances that I could stay living in my house as long as I wished, and an enthusiastic go ahead to get chickens and really commit to living here...
I received a notice to vacate. Within 8 weeks.
Never trust a landlord. I really should have that tattooed on my forehead. Backwards, so I can read it clearly when I look in the mirror.
I sat in the no-longer-mine-but-still-beautiful chicken coop with my mental but much-loved brood and cried. For 3 days. Someone should have taken a photo. They could use it to put me away forever.
Then I dried my eyes and hit the streets.
Which precipitated still more crying. Honestly, the things people have the audacity to call homes. How do they fucking sleep at night? I get depressed at the thought of anyone living in these loveless, lightless, smelly little hovels with their pre-war wiring and their spakfilled doorlocks. To consider doing so myself causes me to hyperventilate with terror. And, for the dubious privilege of occupying said miserable deathtrap, you then hand over either your virginity or your first-born child, whichever you're still lucky enough to possess, as security.
That said, it's all slowly coming together. A house has been found and applied for, though I can't talk about it yet, as it's by no means finalised, and more nervous breakdowns may yet be forthcoming. But the ducks and chickens have been found a home even better than the one they have now, and for that my heartfelt gratitude goes out to my oldest friend in the world. We started school together, and she could whisper animals even then. I never did work out how she does it. It's just a mysterious gift she has. Those are some lucky birds, let me tell you.
The Kid has been a champion. She chose, unlike her mother, to be forward-thinking, excited and optimistic, and did a lot of patting of shoulders and making of tea, lest Mummy lose her vital bodily fluids from all that leaking. Only twice did she ask me to please stop crying and come out from the chicken coop because it was 3 in the morning and I was starting to freak her out.
So. Cross your fingers, your toes, your eyes, if it will help.
And I'll be back in a few days with either good news...
or a suicide note.
Editor's note: application successful. See you on the other side... xo
Today I started making sweet pickled watermelon rind, to give as a Christmas present to a few people. It's so pretty, and pretty yum, too. The recipe is from Stephanie Alexander's first book, Menus for Food Lovers. I was then faced with the prospect of eating all the flesh of an entire watermelon.
Hmm. What to do? My husband doesn't like watermelon very much, and I can only eat so much of it myself. But he says he does like watermelon granita on a very hot day. (Which today isn't.) So I decided to make a watermelon ice, which we can keep in the freezer for any time we want it.
I whizzed the flesh of one (seedless) watermelon in a food processor, and added a scant teaspoon of rose water and a capful of dark rum (we didn't have any white rum, which I would have used if we had).
I put 250 g of castor sugar in a pan with 1/2 cup of water, and brought it to the boil, stirring so it would dissolve. I let it boil for a few minutes, then turned off the heat and let it cool.
Then I stirred the sugar syrup into the watermelon juice, and churned the mixture in an ice-cream maker. (You could do it by semi-freezing, flaking with a fork and re-freezing, if you don't have one of those).
On Friday, I went to pick up a new machine: woo hoo!
It's what I call a babylocker, but since the brand name is, in fact, Baby Lock, this could get confusing. (My Baby Lock babylocker?) Basically, it's a domestic overlocker that is versatile enough to do 4 thread overlocking, 3 thread overlocking, a tiny, rolled hem—or babylocking—and almost anything in between.
It's always exciting to unpack a new machine. This one comes with a dinky little zippered plastic pouch containing extra and spare bits and pieces.
One of the nice things about this machine is the way the whole front opens up, for ease of access.
People can get a bit overwrought over the complicatedness of threading overlockers, but I find that most domestic machines are pretty intuitive. (By which I mean you can pretty much tell where the thread is supposed to go to from one point to the next.) Plus they tend to have a little diagram inside the front panel if you get lost.
I've been wanting a machine that can do a babylock finish since forever.
So now that I have one, in addition to my industrial five thread overlocker (Brother), my industrial straight stitch (Consew) and my domestic zigzag machine (Husqvarna), I really don't need the three thread domestic overlocker that I haven't used in years.
Which means that if there's anyone in the Sydney area (local pick up only) who'd like to own a simple little Husqvarna Huskylock 435 three thread overlocker, I have one available.
I bought it second hand in the '90s, so it's old, but it still works beautifully, and there's nothing wrong with it.
One of the particularly good things about it (that I'm really going to miss when using the new machine) is that the lever to raise and lower the presser foot is on the right hand side of the machine, rather than on the left at the back.
That means that when you've got your work all lined up and ready to sew, and you're holding the work steady with your left, as is natural, you don't have to stretch your right hand across to the other side of the machine and around the back in order to lower the foot. Why in God's name they design them any other way is beyond me.