30 November 2008

First light of Advent, 2008

first light of Advent, 2008

The first light of advent
It is the light of stones
The light that lives in crystals
seashells and bones.

Advent crept up on me the Advent Fairy this year, hence the rather humble tealights on the nature table. (That Advent Fairy is as slack as the Tooth Fairy sometimes). However I did manage to find a golden pinecone candle to be the special lit-on-Christmas-Eve-candle, so all is not lost.

We lit the first candle to celebrate, spoke the verse and each put a little rock or crystal in the dish. Son #1 put on a small display of teenage coolness, but the Advent Fairy shot him a look and he managed to participate in good humour for the benefit of his younger brothers.

Tomorrow we will dig out the Advent Calendar and hang some angels on the mantlepiece. The children always start nagging to put up the tree some time in November, but a few years ago we made the rule that they have to wait until 1st December. The basket of Christmas books will be brought out (although the other day I went into the lounge room and found the younger two sneakily reading Raymond Briggs' volumes on Father Christmas. They looked suitably guilty, but what parent would chastise their children from reading?) and I get to drag out the Christmas carols cds, hooray! (Mr Soup rolls his eyes whenever I put them on the stereo).

Each year at this time, I get lots of visitors to my blog via Google - people looking for ways to celebrate Advent. This is what we do in our family - it's a nice way to enjoy the season and anticipate Christmas without the emphasis on constant daily gifts and treats. Or chocolate. If you're interested, my 2005, 2006 and 2007 posts regarding Advent, including the verses for each of the four Sundays, can be found ...

First Sunday of Advent here, here and here.

Second Sunday of Advent here [ the one in which Son #1 learnt the truth about Saint Nick, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny in one traumatic week], here and over here.

Third: this one, this one and that one.

Fourth Sunday - here [the one where I explained where the verses came from and no I didn't make them up] and there [no fourth post in 2006 apparently].

I hope that helps. Happy first Sunday of Advent, everyone!

29 November 2008

beauty from the interwebs, #587

felted acorns

Are these not exquisite? They're from Aux Petits Oiseaux over at Etsy. My little acorn obsession wouldn't let me leave them in the shop all lonely-like.

Speaking of acorns, I promise I will write out the knitted acorn pattern very soon. I get so many requests for it, and I do mean to share it, but I need to knit it first and make sure my scrawled notes make sense. In the meantime I've discovered Nicky Epstein also has a patten for knitting an acorn that you could use. However hers is knitted flat and then sewn up, while mine is knitted in the round because, you know, I.hate.sewing.up.

Also, a big welcome to readers of Yarnstorm! I am so flattered to be among one of the Ten Beautiful Blogs voted by one of the most beautiful blogs ever. Thank you Jane.

26 November 2008

mad quilting skillz

I am flushed with success.

Following my recent (and first ever) quilting triumph with The Coaster ...


I got all excited and made, wait for it, 18 more.

Can I just repeat that? Eighteen more!


coasters for birthdays

The pinkish ones are for my bestest friend, whose living room is full of aubergines (the colour, not the vegetable) and purple hues, and whose birthday was um, back in the first week of November. (I am a bad bad friend).

The sage green ones with dark brown thread are made from an upholstery fabric sample book found at Reverse Art Truck and also seen en blogge this time last year being made into Christmas cards. Mum and Dad's lounge room is all sage greens and chocolate browns, so these will do nicely for my Mum's birthday, which was, um, the second week of November. (I am a bad, bad daughter).

And the other six, I hear the mathematically minded amongst you ask politely?

Blue floral with red quilting thread, for my dear friend L whose birthday is in APRIL. Thank god, I'm ahead of schedule somewhere in my life. They didn't make the photograph because it was kind of dark by then and I was practically sewing by candlelight. I am nothing if not obsessive.

I am also planning pink ones for another friend as a thank you for the loan of the clown stilt pants.

Oh, and a big shout-out of a thank you to Jane, who provided me with the batting used in the coasters. Ages ago, Jane and I indulged in The Great Chocolate Biscuit Competition, and she used quilting batting to wrap up a Persephone book that she also kindly popped into the parcel alongside the biscuits. I remember looking at the little wad of fluffy batting stuff bemusedly (not being a madly talented quilter in those days) and shoving it into the drawer with all those other things that may come in useful one day, and lo, when I suddenly had the urge to make and quilt eighteen little coasters, I knew where to turn. (Moral of story: don't throw away STUFF).

24 November 2008

me again

Hello world. I am "working from home" today. I love that phrase.

And although I am working (very hard) (in between WordTwist games with fellow bloggers, you know who you are), I have some things to tell you. You lucky lucky people.

• Those of you who've been around the soup for a while might remember that almost exactly three years ago, I was challenged to an arm-wrestle, by two separate people, for Cate Blanchett (you know, should she come knocking on my door to suggest we elope). You don't remember? Let me refresh your memory, I'll wait.

Are you back yet? Okay, well, I win. I can happily report that on Saturday night I had a close encounter with Cate Blanchett's knees (hi Cate if you're googling yourself on a whim checking out your publicity). The mister and I went out for a harrowing night at the theatre and as we were standing in the queue to go in (just after the deputy vice chancellor from work had spotted me and waved merrily [hi Professor! You googling yourself too?]) I said There's a woman just arrived, successfully wearing very difficult-to-pull-off tweed knickerbockers, who's the IMAGE of Cate Blanchett minus the elf ears. As we took our seats in the small, rather intimate Malthouse Theatre, I took off my jacket (black, with the spiders eggs and pubic hair brooch attached), swung it around to the back of my seat, and elbowed Cate Blanchett's knees. In the flesh. She didn't seem to mind, and so I fully expect her to call any day now with her diary in hand, ready to set that elopement date. Telfair and Blackbird, eat your hearts out.

Anyway, she is as pale and beautiful in real life as you would expect. And her knees are lovely, if bruised. Even in tweed knickerbockers.

Oh, the harrowing part of the evening was the play itself - Euripides' The Women of Troy. The Barry Kosky version with Robyn Nevin. Dear god. The woman next to me was sobbing within three minutes of curtain up. If you go, take a hankie.

We had read the press and I know the play so we were expecting a confronting spectacle but, oh boy. We tried to pre-order interval drinks at the bar before we went in and the barman laughed and said There's no interval. Just two hours straight of bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! [slamming his fist into his palm with each bam!] and then we open the doors and you all fall out, pale and wan, and stagger home. He wasn't wrong.

After the show we were gulping down a stiff drink each and the cast came out and air kissed Cate and each other. And hey, Robyn Nevin is little. She has such a powerful deep voice and huge stage presence that you expect her to be a giant. But she was right next to me and *I* am actually taller than her. By a lot. (I am never taller than people except ten year olds).

• On a lighter note, we watched Son #2 perform his first and last violin solo in a concert on Sunday afternoon. He got through it without tears and only minor screeching and we were very proud. He can't wait until the next few weeks are over and he's finished with Class 6 and can give up violin and take up the saxophone which is far more his style. (All children in Steiner schools learn an unfretted stringed instrument from Class 3 to 6).

• Now, thank you to whoever it was recommended I read/listen to Joanne Harris' The Lollipop Shoes, the sequel to Chocolat. Apart from the unfortunate title which makes it sound like hot pink chick-lit, it's a ripper. Darker than Chocolat [hahahha] and with more bite [hahahaha], I thoroughly enjoyed it. I especially liked learning the back story, which was hinted at in the first novel, but not really explained. Now on my commute I'm listening to Roald Dahl's Boy which is read by Andrew Sachs. I've heard Roald Dahl read it himself at some stage too - I remember his lovely dry, rather expressionless reading - but Sachs does a fine job, and if you listen closely, every now and then a tiny bit of Manuel slips in when he gets excited.

• This morning I had my hair cut.

• I think it's time to stop this gushy name-dropping drivel post and turn off the party side of the computer for a bit.

Have I mentioned I love this working from home bizzo?



21 November 2008

Circus Magnifico


They made a grand entrance, all 25 of them, on stilts ...

stilts in formation

to perform impressive wheels and marching formations, better than my calisthenics team when I was 12 and we had normal length legs.

umbrella war

This was followed by war (minus the stilts). An umbrella phalanx was formed, with Son #2 atop, leading the charge in his bright yellow raincoat. This was followed by a cream pie fight of which there is no photographic evidence as the audience, including your brave photographer, was busy ducking.


Parents gasped in terror and younger siblings yelped with delight as children flew and soared through the air. Some, smaller and lighter than their peers, flew the longest and highest. (Ahem. Their parents squealed the loudest).

There was lagerphone playing and stomping, musical accompaniment, human pyramids and tumbles, death defying feats of bravery and even a hilarious poetry reading from their stalwart teacher while the class stood behind him acting out the poem, culminating in a 'rainstorm' landing on the poet's head (Ahem. One of the cheeky bucket-wielders was my child).

serious clown

It was FABULOUS. I spent the entire time half laughing and half crying.

And no clowns were harmed in the process. Thank heavens.

16 November 2008

the randoms

early apricots

: : has anyone else noticed that the word verifications on Blogger are less gobbledy-gookish these days and more like actual made up words? like linseff and onoin and troinus rather than lkdjfledkjfkdf. this pleases me. much like that wonderful book by Douglas Adams (alert: two Douglas Adams references in a week. something in the water) The Meaning of Liff which features words he created for all those little parts of life that don't currently have words, such as 'the cool side of the pillow on a hot summer night' and 'the little rubber nodules on the underside of the toilet seat'.

: : it's Sneak PEEK people, not Peak. please get it right.

: : i have a large list of important things to do. i am not doing them.

: : now that i knit socks, i need to learn how to darn. when i only ever purchased socks, i didn't darn, i tossed.

: : if you are a music teacher and you normally stand in front of and conduct your ten-piece string ensemble of year 8 kids, but then when they perform in the kindergarten garden for the entertainment of visitors and you introduce them and then walk away, they will not know how to keep time themselves, and Pachelbel's Canon will be a shamozzle because the cellos will go too fast, the violas will fade away to nothingness, the violins will flounder, no one will do the big breath in thing and take charge and they will all look wildly about for help, all the while playing on and on and on ... so next time, could you stay in front of them and wave your arms around for them to follow? pretty please? because otherwise the parent next to you will say 'that was hilarious!' which isn't really the desired outcome, is it? thank you

: : i have a cold. and i'm still not addressing the list.

14 November 2008

Do you ever

... wish you could hold these small fragments of innocence and imagination in your heart, not just on paper?

elf, by Son #3

... try really really hard to not slip up in striving to be the person you would like to be?

sunlight on the Desiderata

... imagine you could Swallow-swoop and dive in the cool Spring dawn?

welcome swallow in flight

... think, it's time to knit the second sock.

one Luminare sock

10 November 2008

Sewing as a displacement activity

another one

Yup, I made another one.

More clothes from other peoples' old sheets. And this one doesn't have dubious stains on it, so, you know, BONUS!

Kidding! (I mean, the other ones don't have worrying stains actually, that's what I mean by kidding. ALL of my old sheet other folks' castoff bedclothes cool vintage linens clothing items are CLEAN and FREE OF HIDEOUS GERMY STAINS).

I think I'll stop there.

Except to say ... the pattern is Burda 8879 for those who care about such things.

Oh, and also to say that the person who left a comment asking if s/he could ask me questions about Steiner/Waldorf education but left no email address, the answer is yes of course you can. My email address is over there, --> top right. Go for it.

9 November 2008

and the winner is ...

icing the lemon cake

We finish up the kitchen poetics with an announcement ...

new red oven gloves and callistemon flowers

that we have a winner in the great Pea Soup giveaway ...


according to the random integer generator ...

it tickles
that shot's for LuLu who has an intimate knowledge of all types of bugs

(removing the duplicate comments first, naturally) ...

teapot, sugarpot, jug

and the winner is ...

evening sunlight


(Douglas Adams would approve).

Danna you were the 42nd commenter. Please email me with your details and I will get your winning skein in the post! Thanks to everyone who entered - it was fun to see some new faces and watch the comments arriving from all corners of the planet.

8 November 2008

kitchen poetry : : 4

muesli biscuits, cars and homework

Muesli biscuits (recipe here) cooling on a rack, toy cars (evidence of the 9 year old's presence) and the 12 year old's homework (a project on Tasmanian devils).


A cup of tea and a still-warm biscuit.


7 November 2008

Kitchen poetry : : 3

raffle tickets, school newsletter, apples, clutter

sundowner apples, raffle ticket butts, school newsletter ...

my kitchen bench is frequently all of a clutter

5 November 2008

Kitchen poetry : : 2

Turkish trivet

A nightly ritual.

The little two-person teapot sits ready, just waiting for the mister and I to take a cup of tea and our books (me: The Virgin in the Garden by A S Byatt; him: Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem by Peter Ackroyd) to bed.

The pretty blue and red trivet was a recent gift from my friend L who holidayed in Turkey last month.

ps. Did you all read yesterday's comments? Our resident poet and storyteller Eleanor wrote a poem to go with my first kitchen poetry post. I told her I expect one each day now, so do keep a look out.

4 November 2008

Kitchen poetry : : 1

sunlight on the oven

A week of kitchen poetry, hosted by Simple Sparrow.

You can play too.

Note: I'll keep comments open in my giveaway (scroll down a post) for the rest of the week while I'm participating in Kitchen Poetry. Please feel free to enter if you haven't already!