Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Over Cottesloe, September 2012

I hope I never lose the ability to be silenced by beauty.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sewing for Orphans in Vietnam

A few days ago I stumbled upon this project and thought I'd give it a shout out here in hopes that all three of my regular readers would see it and want to help.

Say what? There are more than three of you? Well, hello there. Pardon me, it's just so quiet in here usually that I don't know you're there. Say something, will ya?

More importantly, if you're able, would you please sew something for the orphans at Tam Ky?  Teresa and her two children have spent some time working at the orphanage so she's not only asking for donations to strangers; these children mean a lot to her but there are more of them than she can sew for on her own.

Image from Crinkle Dreams

Please read the project post to see the five specific items Teresa is asking for and some more guidelines. 

If you're in the Northern Hemisphere and would like to take advantage of cheaper postage, you can send your items to Teresa in the US but she needs to receive it by September 30.

Or you could send it to Teresa's friend Mrs Hanh in Vietnam, if you'd like a little more time. There's no deadline for that but I guess that doesn't mean you should try and send a bundle of sundresses to her in June 2016.

If you have any questions or want the addresses to send to, please email Teresa directly: teresacoates at mac dot com.

Happy sewing and thank you!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Practical crochet, Part I

I asked for timber floors.

More specifically:

Three to four months ago when I was about to begin searching for a home to rent, I made a list of attributes I would like said home to have. They ranged from "sensible" (safe neighbourhood) to "practical" (close to train station and/or bus routes) to "what are you doing asking for something so non-essential, especially in the price range where you're looking?" (timber floors).

I got what I wanted -- much more than I wanted -- and now, months later, still can't stop giving thanks for it. But the thing with wishes granted: you then have to look after them. Make sure they stay in good shape while under your care.

I had all this furniture, a combination of new and second hand but with the common denominator of potentially scratchy metal legs. That beautiful shiny floor needed protecting.

I did have an initial solution, but it was neither practical nor stylish.

And my toes were getting cold.

Enter my  not-yet-one-year-old crocheting abilities. Chair socks! I thought. The perfect plan: custom fitted, and more understated than mismatched adult human socks. A basic square, then a few more rows around the square, taper towards the top...

"Too much time, ah?" my sceptical (and also quite lovely -- they helped me move, unpack and assemble various articles) friends asked when they spotted the first sock in progress. "Wouldn't it be better if you just went and bought rubber feet from the hardware shop?"

And I did consider it, putting crochet hook and yarn aside while I went about finding more places for my various possessions.

But then the very same day I read my favourite crochet blog and lo, her latest post was all about how she'd gone about protecting her hardwood floors from chair scratches.

With chair socks.

So I plunged back in, and soon...

I was eager to test them out straight away, and was rather pleased with the result. Not because they look great; I don't think anyone would even notice them unless I pointed them out and got the person to bring their heads close to ground level for a good look.

I'd like my guests to return for subsequent visits, so I don't think I'll be doing that.

No, I think what I found most satisfying about this project was the small escape it provided from the lifestyle of assuming that everything must be bought ready made, that if you want something you go right out and plunk down money and get it right now.

There are times when I don't want to be instantly gratified.

And I also saved myself the cringe that inevitably comes when I open yet another non-recyclable package of mass produced something and generate more feed for the insatiable landfill.

(Yes, I do realise that I procured the yarn for this project by going to a shop and plunking down money for it, but it's still more sustainable than manufactured rubber feet because if my need for furniture socks ever winds down I can always unravel them and re-crochet them into something else. Rubber feet will always be rubber feet, until age takes over and they turn into rubber flakes. Also, the only packaging on the yarn was a recyclable cardboard band and, for what it's worth, this yarn is purportedly ecologically sound. Natural dyes, pesticide-free cotton or something. I take such claims with shovelfuls of salt.)

As if the square cross section did not provide me with challenge enough, I decided to also make a set of socks for my metal shelving unit. How to make right-angle corners?

Mitre them!

It worked, but the end result looks as though it stretched out into triangles unless you peer very, very closely. I repeat: I would like my guests to return, so don't say I made you do it. All in all, I'm pleased with the result.

I quite like how it feels to evade instant consumerism.

Friday, September 07, 2012

It's that time of year

Next year's diaries have started selling.

Which means soon I'll have to make a decision that has implications for the whole of my next year.

Hey, it's serious. Unlike many smartphone users, I still use pen and paper to make my personal appointments. It's nice to have a whole book of the mundane, the impromptu and the bizarre-even-for-me to look back on at the end of the year. And I consider my diary a symbol of that year of my life, so when the year begins I dedicate it to the One I live for, in token of dedicating my life.

It's a big decision.

So which should I choose?

frankie daily journal 2013
Image from Frankie Press

Frankie again? This is what I'm using this year and while it's adorable and the cloth jacket makes me feel nice and old-timey, it's a little scant on writing space and I do have some packed-out weeks.

Then there's Kikki.K's Cute, which I used in 2011 and liked very much. I wouldn't mind another 365 days of Cute.

Image from Kikki.K

But then there are other contenders this year, such as the Moleskine Le Petit Prince. I like the quality of Moleskine's covers and Prince is one of my favourite books, but I don't know about the paper. And do I want the little prince sprinkled across the pages of my 2013?

Moleskine 2013 Diary - Weekly Notebook - Limited Edition 'Le Petit Prince' - Large (13x21cm) - Blue - Hard Cover
Image from NoteMaker

Or perhaps something from Shinzi Katoh, like below? I'm sure when I go to Sydney next month I won't be able to set foot in Kinokuniya's stationery department without spinning into a diary frenzy.

Image from Mark's Tokyo Edge

And countless more that I've glimpsed while out and about, plus the dizzying selection on Etsy. So many choices; only one year. (I know. I'll have more years, DV, but the choice broadens every year.)

I know, first world problems, blah blah blah but you really don't want to know about the other things I'm up against. Paper goods are much more enjoyable, trust me.

Do you use a paper diary? Have you seen anything else that I might like? Please feel free to add to my dilemma.

I have no affiliation with any of these brands or retailers. I just like the stuff they're selling very much.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


I was running late this morning, this drowsy grey morning with the severe weather warning and the kind of wind that makes concrete bridges sway. As I drove I saw the clouds, heavy with raindrops waiting for their cue. 

Still, I had to stop and capture it. When something catches me, I don't just let it go.

Half a minute later the raindrops came thick and heavy, ushering in the grey that they say will still be with us tomorrow. But the colours stayed all day.

Where will the colour in your next grey day come from?
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