31 October 2005

more toile


Another sewing project finished. These curtains have been hanging over my head (ha ha) for many weeks now, but they're now up in Son No. 1's bedroom. He loves them thankfully, as I do I.

29 October 2005


A plea to all my invisible friends out there. Please go and visit my dear friend Sueeeus and bombard her with kind thoughts and invisible hugs.

And here's a little chocolate penguin, just for you Sueeeus.


28 October 2005

it's all about toile

I have lately been discovering my inner romantic. I have had a secret, ongoing passion for toile de jouy for some years now, and have decided to express it. Today I made a black and white toile cushion to go on the vintage cane chair in my study, to match the toile swag I slung over the window last year. It is aesthetically pleasing with the mustard coloured walls.

While on a roll, I made a pink and white toile cushion cover to go on our bed. We have a frilly old fashioned sort of bed, so I'm going the whole hog and completing it with floral quilt and toile cushion. Then today while dropping off a couple of bags at the op shop I found two vintage pillowcases with pink rosebuds and blue ribbons. 50 cents apiece. So I couldn't leave them there, could I? Mr Soup looked quizzically at me, then turned away with a resigned sigh.

We used to have a very mod futon, but after ten years of breastfeeding the babes in our bed it needed, er, tossing out. Futons have a tendency to go mouldy you know. And you have to roll them up each morning. Which doesn't look great. In fact, it kind of looks depressing. So when friends of ours ditched this old bedframe, I snapped it up.

And discovered abovementioned inner romantic.

PS: Son No. 1 was not breastfed until he was ten. I have three children, remember?

PPS: this post also qualifies for Friday Show and Tell

27 October 2005

Thursday, 27th October 2005.

So, tell me Suse, how did you and Mr Soup spend your fifteenth wedding anniversary today?

Well to be perfectly frank, I have to admit I forgot it was our anniversary.

Not really? What were you thinking?!

Contrite thoughts.

I'm ashamed to admit it to you and your readers, but there you have it. Mr Soup awoke me with a kiss and a cheerful 'Happy anniversary' and I slapped my hand to my forehead and shut my eyes in denial. He presented me with a card and gift (a silver and black necklace) and I continued to groan embarrassedly.

My god, what a bad wife you are! So what did you do?

I got up, fed myself and the children, dressed, and left the house with my head lowered, kicking the still-dead car viciously on my way out. I spent the day at uni, texting "I love you" to Mr Soup three times in between lectures and classes. After my last class I caught the tram into the city and bought a block of chilli chocolate and a wee chocolate penguin, because you might have seen on my blog recently a little penguin reference or t ...

I'm sorry? You have a blog? I didn't know. I've never read it.

Oh do go on.

... um, where was I? Yes I have a blog. A few people read it but not too many. I'm not famous or anything.

OK, so I got home to find Mr Soup and the children there already ... Mr Soup has been on school drop off and pick up duty all week cos my car has been dead.

You'd know about that if you'd read my blog.

Well did you go out for a romantic dinner or anything?

No. We had baked beans on toast for dinner and then raced out the door to watch Son No. 1's class play.

Baked beans. Uh. What was the play?

Something about ancient Egypt. He played a messenger and a slave. His best friend's slave. At one point the best friend has to whisper an evil plot into his slave's ear. Son No. 1 told us in the car on the way home that he actually whispered 'I just farted'. Which accounts for the badly stifled giggles. Not really appropriate from a slave who had just been told of an evil plot.

But we were very proud nonetheless. And he looked cute in an Egyptian skirt.

Anything else? A romantic nightcap, perhaps? A glass or two of something bubbly and expensive in front of the fire? Something to acknowledge fifteen years of marriage?

Hell no, we were buggered. And it's too hot for the fire these days.

We did blow the roofs of our mouths off with some chilli chocolate though.

This post was brought to you via Calling all Correspondents.

26 October 2005

Show and Tell #2

Browsing through my pantry last night (translation: frantically tearing through cupboards at 5.00pm screeching What the hell am I going to feed the family tonight?!), I realised that half my medicine chest is actually in the pantry. And I neglected to show and tell this last Friday. And I have bugger all else to blog about today apart from housework this morning in preparation for first Open for Inspection this evening (gah!) and work this afternoon. Or more whinging.

So with no further ado, the 'other' medicine cabinet. Second row shelf, inside pantry door.


From the left ... Blackmore's Phosphate (for Son No. 1. Recommended by naturopath for when he gets nervy and hyped up over trivia, as is his wont). Various homeopathic remedies for Sons No. 1 and 2. Rescue Remedy for life's little emergencies. Small animal worming drops, left over from Flopsy-days (RIP Flopsy, you are missed), Women's multi-vitamins for obvious reasons, eucalyptus oil and tea tree oil for various purposes such as disinfecting, removing sticky labels from things, cleaning, and lice preventative preparations (recipe available upon request).

25 October 2005

self portrait tuesday: photo documentation

There has been much whinging on this blog of late, so first off, some pictures to lift my spirits.

I woke up this morning and found my California Tree Poppy in bloom. I nurtured this plant for years, urging it along, tending it lovingly, but it never did much. Didn't thrive. Then, after about four years it suddenly took off. I now have to prune it viciously or it takes over the front garden. Yesterday I found a bit growing up through the verandah boards.

Next door's banksia rose is doing its thing, all over our back garden. It looks fabulous for two whole weeks of the year.

Son No. 2's oak tree is wearing its Spring clothes. He grew this from an acorn. The pot was his birthday present (his request).

And now for some self portraiture: photo documentation of one's day. Last one for the month.

The carpets were steam cleaned this morning. The equipment was amazing. But we are still soggy underfoot this evening. Bit concerned.

Our mechanic has taken the car's computer away for intensive diagnostic procedures. I collected the children from school by train. Son No. 3 thought this a marvellous adventure.

The other two were less impressed.


Handmixer still unreplaced.
Dishwasher still broken.
Car still dead.

And now the computer mouse is broken.

That's four!

23 October 2005

it comes in threes

It's been one of those weeks.

First, my little electric handmixer broke. I use it every few days to make cakes and so on. No biggie, I can replace it for not too much of an outlay. More annoying than anything else.

Next, the dishwasher died. We called the trusty Fisher and Paykel man. I don't have the energy to make jokes about New Zealand accents because he announced it needed all sorts of expensive parts that would take at least a week to source and cost approximately $300. Ouch. Meanwhile we are washing dishes by hand. We are not used to this. The whole business is annoying, inconvenient and painful to the hip pocket.

Then yesterday the car died. Annoying, inconvenient, hideously expensive, and nerve wracking, as it died with myself and two children on board, in the outside lane of Melbourne's busiest multi-lane road. We waited nervously (well, Son No. 1 and I waited nervously, Son No. 2 calmly read his book the entire time) amid the noxious traffic fumes for half an hour until the roadside assistance people arrived. They prodded, poked, issued instructions to me over the roar of the oncoming semi-trailers, and pronounced the thing dead. I suspect this means I haven't the faintest idea what's wrong with your 13 year old car, lady, but it's lunchtime so I'm giving up. He called the tow truck for us, I called Mr Soup to come and collect the children, and then waited nervously another hour for the tow truck to turn up. Just as it arrived, there was a four-car pile up in front of me. I didn't cause it! Honest! By this stage I was a nervous wreck, dying of lead poisoning and desperately in need of a loo.

I arrived home courtesy of the tow truck driver and Mr Soup poured me a stiff drink.

Our own mechanic arrived this morning and quoted a figure that led to us both pouring a stiff drink.

And now I must go. There is a mountain of dishes in the kitchen that need to be washed. By hand.

21 October 2005

show and tell: medicine chest

When the command came to Show and Tell your medicine cabinet I thought I would skip it. I mean, my medicine cabinet is a little embarrassing. It is not even a cabinet as such. It's an old ice cream container. Plus I considered that a medicine cabinet and its contents do not make for interesting blogging. But hey, I have posted about worse before. And She Who Must Be Obeyed must be, um, obeyed.

So here it is.


When I dragged it out of the bathroom cupboard to photograph it, I remembered that during a big clean up the other week I had tossed all the little frogs, sharks, turtles and lobsters that had been residing in the bathtub into the icecream container.

So. We have zinc cream, Vicks vapour rub, savlon, Stingose (because I live in Australia and many things sting), burn cream, an asthma pump for those attacks brought on when I forget that champagne gives me asthma, and sundry other boring items.

But all charmingly accessorised with sea-dwelling creatures.

... some entertainment recommendations.

In the past week I've seen two fabulous things. Firstly, the film Look Both Ways, Sarah Watt's first feature, starring William McInnes. I can say in all honesty it's the best film I've seen in years.

Also, The Odyssey which is on at the Malthouse Theatre. Once in a lifetime, must-see theatre. I had one or two quibbles with it (being a classics student 'n all) but overall, it was bloody brilliant.

19 October 2005

Wednesday evening

Wow, that was fun. Comments from all over the English speaking world! Thank you, it was lovely to hear from you. And to learn that people 'subscribe' to me ... I feel like a magazine. I feel famous. I have no idea how to subscribe to anybody. I started replying to the comments but soon gave up (how do the biggies cope?!) so will say here ... thank you.

Some business ... a couple of people asked how to find out about blog statistics. If you go right to the bottom of this page (among the annoying horizontal lines that I can't get rid of because I am technically dyslexic) you'll see a little site meter. It's free to sign up and the nice people will send you a weekly update of your stats.

Have you noticed the dearth of pictures on this blog lately?

That's right. I'm on a mission to post no pictures for a week to see if my side bar returns. Every time I post a picture the sidebar drops to the bottom. I'm getting rather miffed. So. No pictures. We'll see what happens.

Right. On to the important stuff.

I found this daft but amusing meme on someone's blog recently. (Can't remember who. Sorry!!!) You google your own name plus the word 'needs' and write down the sentences it finds. Intellectually stimulating it ain't. But so what.

Here's mine.

Susan needs opportunities to practice literate speech.
Susan needs to work on writing better songs.
Susan needs to write "her age".
Susan needs to keep reading her quit tips because her roommate still smokes outside their apartment.

And my personal favourite ...

Susan needs a lip. (WTF?)

18 October 2005


Conversation overheard in the bath tonight.

Son No. 2 (giggling somewhat): What if somebody didn't care about others? Only cared about themself?

Son No. 3 (wildly): Yeah. Like penguins!

All three children laugh maniacally.

Mr Soup and I out in the kitchen look at each other.

Like penguins?!


I've dried up.

I have absolutely nothing of interest to blog about. Who wants to hear about housework, essays two returned two to go, the stress of putting one's house up for sale ( ... okay, breathe deeply, breathe ... ) and too many late nights. Book group, sewing group, tax (must must must), sourdough bread, Son No. 1's statewide test results, what on earth is for dinner tonight.

These are all the things buzzing around in my overworked head.

Even the camera batteries have died so I cannot photo-document my day for your amusement.

What to do?

So I idly peruse my blog stats. I discover that I have 86 readers. This amazes me, as only half a dozen people ever comment. I look closer. I have readers in Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France, Portugal. How did this happen? (Welcome!) I'm blown away. Some months ago I had a reader from Nepal who stayed for 90 seconds.

There are other, more familiar visitors from Seattle, Tuvalu, Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Canada, Slough. And someone from Lambeth, London. I was born in Lambeth and have the birth certificate to prove it. Hello Lambeth reader! And visitors from wonderful sounding towns like Chilliwack.

Now, what would happen if I invited all those in far away places to say hello?

Would you?

Will you?

16 October 2005

immaculate conception

... a few days later ...

Son No. 3, stopping dead in his tracks: 'Where are all the seaboys?'

13 October 2005

it's all Greek to me

Scene: Strolling along the beach after school.

Six year old son: That seagirl has headcups.
Me: Pardon? (Thinking: is he speaking English?)
Son: That seagirl. It has headcups.

I look to where he's pointing at a seagull engaged in a coughing fit after eating what it assumed was a chip (it was actually a cigarette butt).

Translation: That seagull has hiccups.

11 October 2005

good stuff

Lately I have been ...

having fun at ... Michele's place. Anyone else visit her? She plays games ...

... enjoying the exquisite art of Misty Eyed Art ...

... discovering my topography ...

... and loving the freeform knitting designs of Prudence Mapstone. A friend put me onto her work and I have just missed her latest workshop, but she's on her way to London, Jane, if you're interested. Her stuff looks amazing.

self portrait tuesday - self documentation # 2

Trying to study. The sun is not conducive to studying.

I am easily distracted.

I notice that a couple of the tiny mirrors on the wooden stars and moon need re-glueing. Clearly this cannot wait. This is more important than Homer.

The jasmine needs pruning. So does the weedy vine that grows over from next door, threatening to take over my passionfruit.

I fill the green-waste bin. Fill it, I tell you!

I see myself reflected in the back door. My posture could be better.

Inside to wash. All dusty and dishevelled.

Time to pick up the children from school. Oh well, I read two pages of the Homer article. Better than nothing. And the garden looks better.

Check out other people participating in this project at the self portrait tuesday blog.

9 October 2005

blood and bone

From the comments, it is clear that American people do not know about blood and bone. For gardens, that is.

Blood & Bone is a natural, organic fertiliser, available in bags from supermarkets and gardening shops. When we first moved to this house 10 years ago the soil in our garden was so depleted and powdery dry that every week when I did the supermarket shopping, I would toss a bag of blood & bone, or cow manure (also available at my local supermarket, happily) into the trolley. It became a weekly thing to throw onto the garden and after about two years I had lovely rich dark loam. Except for that dry bit under the paperbark that is doomed to remain dry and powdery and not grow anything except euphorbias.

Don't ask me whose blood and bone is in the bag, as this is a question I do not wish to know the answer to. I suspect it's elderly cows or racehorses. But really, it's best not to dwell. Are you ready with me ...? Stick your fingers in your ears and sing La la la la, La la la la. Loudly.

I dressed a chair


The new chair cover. Needs ironing. (The wind and the rain will have to take on that task, as I ... I Do Not Iron.

"A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust." - Gertrude Jekyll

Off to learn patience in the back garden this morning and dress the other chair tonight.

spike, worms, mulch and sewing

Today I saw a little worm
wriggling on his belly.
Perhaps he'd like to come inside
and see what's on the telly.

- Spike Milligan
'Silly Verse for Kids'

I have been gardening today. Blood & Boned the whole front garden and then covered it with a layer of mulch. It rained all last night so it was perfect timing. Plus, I finally finished planting all the seedlings. Tomorrow I tackle the back garden. I feel good, smug even. But my back aches.

To celebrate the new look garden, tonight I made the first of two new covers for our last remaining directors chairs. Pale blue fabric with trees, flowers and hot pink butterflies. The butterflies should complement the hot pink wooden outdoor table, and the hot pink roof of our little blue shed.

It's midnight now so I'll photograph tomorrow.

Did you know that despite his quintessential English daffiness, Spike Milligan was Australian? From the town of Woy Woy. Which seems fitting, somehow.

Edited: No he wasn't. His parents and brother lived there and he just visited a lot. Apparently.

7 October 2005

You knitted a what?


If I knew how to do categories in my blog, this would be filed under Odd Knitting Projects.

It's a facewasher/washcloth/flannel/whatever you call it in your neck of the woods. I saw them recently in that beautiful handmade shop I rabbited on about in a previous post and thought, well I can do that! It's knitted in Rowan cotton denim, which the label assures me will shrink and fade like real denim. I've just cranked out two of these and my fingers are blue from the dye. Rather ghoulish.

One of these washcloths is about to wing its way to Tasmania, along with a couple of balls of beautiful handmade (not by me) olive oil and poppyseed soap, to some friends who have just gone and bought a hippie house in the wilds of Tassie. An odd kind of housewarming gift you may think, and you may be right.

Note to self: do red or cream next time for easier photography.

6 October 2005

Show and Tell

So show and tell has moved to Thursdays. I don't know why. No explanation was given but I have my suspicions that it is somehow related to Survivor.

'Something in your kitchen, which you cannot live without'.

I was torn between showing my kettle, and the breadmachine. But let's face it I am a shallow person and the kettle is far more aesthetically pleasing than the breadmaker.


Well ... I could live without it, but life would not be quite as enjoyable.

Oh, and for Susie. Yep. Tea with my children every afternoon. Boiled in the blue kettle.


4 October 2005

Self Portrait Tuesday - self documentation #1

A very domestic day in the life of ...

Wake myself up by having a shower. Long and hot. Pears soap.

Drop the children at school. Day 2 of the final term for 2005.

Meet a friend at the local nursery for a cup of tea and plant buying spree. Herb seedlings, some native grass seedlings ...

... and a delicious clematis. (Clemahtis, or Clemaytis?)

Home. Hang out the washing. Plant most of the plants.

Make bread (in the bread machine).

A quick lunch. Good grief, look at that butter sculpture! I didn't notice that at the time.

Half an hour of blogging and emails, then some (paid) work on the computer. Like my mouse mat? A present from a friend who travels to the US for work a couple of times a year.

Collect the children from school. And just for a certain someone, I stop to take a photo of a signpost that I pass every day.

Bake kiwifruit & coconut muffins for afternoon tea with the children. Burn the tray of mini ones.

The rest of the day is undocumented. (I ran out of steam).

No.1 Son made pizza for dinner. No.2 Son and I put together two bar stools purchased at Freedom, with 8 bolts and 2 allen keys. (He did a better job on his stool than I did, and wants to mark his somehow so he always sits on 'his' stool.) Bodies were bathed, stories were read, knitting was undertaken, and finally, bedtime arrived.

Phew! I managed a whole self portrait self documentation without a single picture of me.

2 October 2005

mail, and a bit of business

First, the children's loom, for Dani. With my left thumb for scale. And yes, that's a dirty big crack (that will get some google visitors I expect) right in the middle. It snapped one day when No. 1 was weaving. I was in the shower (more google visitors. Welcome! Pull up a chair! But it's not what you think ... ) and he held it up to me through the shower screen, lower lip trembling. Some of Daddy's special highly toxic wood glue was applied, and it's still going strong several months later.

In other news ... look what arrived in the mail a couple of days ago!

I was one of the lucky ones to receive a port2port postcard from mav and arc's first letterpress adventure. I didn't actually know what a letterpress was, but now I have a better idea. I love it. Thank you girls.

I was a bit peeved at Australia Post for the shoddy condition it arrived in however.

But I still love it! How wonderful is this blogging community?!