Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Raise high the roof beam, carpenters...

One weekend, two very different weddings.
The first, a young couple, filled with joy and boundless optimism for a bright future. There was much merry making and many toasts made by guests overlooking a harbour bespeckled with boats as the glow of the autumnal sun faded from the sky to reveal the dazzling bright stars.
The second, an older couple with slightly more world-weary souls who were glad to have found each other to continue their life's journey together. As they spoke their vows, the forest around burst alive with the songs of kookaburras, and all who were present felt the blessings bestowed by nature herself.
Two very different weddings - but a whole lotta love!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Do you take this green clad creature?

Grumbles is lying in bed with a nasty cold, and occasionally, as I sit out here in the lounge room typing this, I can hear a little cough. Poor thing. This does not bode well as we have not one but two weddings to go to this weekend: my sister on Saturday and my step-sister-in-law on Monday. No coughs allowed!
I love going to weddings. I love getting dressed up, and the yummy food at the reception, and seeing friends and family that one doesn't get to see often enough. But most of all I like to check out what the bride is wearing! My other sister had the most amazing beaded strapless gown - she looked incredible. As she moved the beads would catch the light, and she dazzled us all with her beauty.
I, on the other hand, wanted a more earthy sort of look. So I designed myself a frock of green. What can I say - I wanted to look like a wood elf! As I sketched out the design all I could think of was trees and brambles and heather and, um, chlorophyll. I must say the dress went down a treat - at the reception a whole possee of aunties kept following me around, clutching at the fabric as I tried to meet and greet. I was attended by their mutterings of "Would you look at that - she's put flowers and leaves on her dress!" "Yes, dear, and look - those edges on the leaves have just been done with pinking shears - now that's what I call clever!"
Those memories still make me smile. It was a very good day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

From U.F.O to W.I.P in six point five... months

I know many of my dear readers have been relentlessly logging on to Jorth, desperate for news on the progress of Harvey, from Rowan Studio 1. Well rest easy, folks: I'm pleased to announce that I have finished the second sleeve, and am now ready to pick up the stitches on the neckline. Once the collar is done the darn thing will be ready to be blocked, sewn and worn. About time!

Remember me?

Maybe I'll do that tonight whilst watching Harvey. Harvey and Harvey. Lovely! What can I say - I'm a sucker for Jimmy Stewart. Life's always better with a 6 feet tall white rabbit around, hey?

Monday, March 23, 2009

If you're making me ride half way across the city, I want some decent lunch, please

Sunday morning, it was declared, was to be dedicated to a family bike ride. I broke my rule of never eating hot cross buns prior to Good Friday (much to Galumph's delight!) and we stopped at the first park we found and scoffed some for morning tea.

Lazily we watched the grey clouds roll in, as we lolled at the base of the city.

Then across town we pedalled, stopping in South Melbourne for some lunch. Just when we thought we'd found the perfect cafe to a bite and a rest, a dog chained up out the front began barking his little head off. "Ack!" said Grumbles, hands clamped firmly over her ears, "he's scaring me!"
The owner came out, all middle-aged blonde blow dry and designer clothes, and began hitting the dog around the head with a rolled up newspaper, hissing "Shut up, you silly mutt. Shut UP!"
"Ack!", I said, "she's scaring me!"

So we did Japanese instead. Huzzah - I'm no longer a Japanese food virgin! In fact, I think black rice pudding might well be the new favourite food chez Jorth. Preferably served without a side of violent dog owners.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Not a good way to go

Last night, whilst I was at the movies (Easy Virtue, rather good, go see it!), Grumbles and Galumph amused themselves at home by building a Lego house. And boy, is this a good one: two chimneys, lots of windows to let in natural light, a groovy indoors-outdoors aspect, balcony and attic.

However, something is not quite right. Something amiss. Something you don't usually see on a normal house on a daily basis...

OMG! WHAT THE HECK IS THAT LEGO MAN UP TO?????? Get down from there, right now, mister! I swear, you're giving me a heart attack, being perched all the way up there! What are you trying to do? Survey your lovely green piece of land from the best vantage point? Considering diving into your as-yet tragically unbuilt pool? Blast off into the stratosphere? Put a sharp end to your plastic existence? I hate to be the one to tell you, but jumping won't work - you'll just bounce. Being plastic, and all.

Grumbles is at kinder, Galumph is at work and I am sitting here, with no idea what is going on.
Help me, please!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Maybe I should just stick to reading knitting books...

One of the most enjoyable things about buying yarn in hanks is taking the time to wind it into a ball. I do this the old-fashioned way: by draping the yarn around a chair whilst I do a strange yarn-winding dance around it. Besides providing much exercise (and giving loved ones another reason to shoot me odd looks), it also gives me a chance to indulge in a few daydreams.

Now, daydreams I am never short of. Often, in fact, whilst doing something as mundane as the dishes, I'll happily while away the time with a pleasant fantasy starring George Clooney. It will usually involve some simple plot: he'll relentlessly woo me, but like in any good rom-com I'll block him at every turn using nothing but my dazzling wit and some snappy repartee. Thankfully I usually finish the dishes before I need to make the agonizing decision of finally falling for George's charms or sticking with the loyal Galumph (don't worry, honey, it's you every time).

When winding ball of yarn, however, the fantasies take on a far more literary spin. Something about the repitition of winding the yarn over and over usually provokes an Austenian response in me, and my inner dialogue usually goes something like this:

"How good it is to be all together again at Longborn! As soon as I finish winding this ball I should see to getting the lamps lit, for Galumph will soon be home. I wonder what Hil has organised for dinner. For it is the truth universally acknowledged that a man in possession of a long bike ride home must be in want of a good dinner..."

Then I imagine Galumph coming in the door. Instead of revelling in simple, homely delights, the daydream can often take a darker turn at this point into Isben terrority:

Galumph entering stage left: Behold, my little skylark! Winding your ball, just like the little women of the house that I want you to be. Stay, my love, wind that ball, and remain trapped in your stifling marriage, with never a single thought of independance to cross your little mind! Just the way Torvald likes it!
Jorth: ARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHH! Get me out of the Dollhouse!

Usually at this point I fall into a slightly depressed slump. Torvald always does that to me. From here it's only a short hop to Dickens territory, and we all know how cheerful he can be:

"Here I am, winding my ball, always winding as my life slips away, caught in a cycle of defeat and despair. I can't figure out which I'm more like: the wards of Jarndyce, watching their fortune be swallowed up by never-ending legal costs as all hope rapidly disappears, or Miss Havisham, locked in the mindset of the jilted bride, with nothing better to spend her energy on that teaching wee Estella to devour the men. Can that be the time - twenty to nine! Still here I am, winding my ball, over and over. Winding, winding, winding..."

Then I turn into Ada Doom from Cold Comfort Farm, hunched over my ball, as I begin to mutter about seeing something nasty in the woodshed.

Pity the poor Grumbles or Galumph who happens upon me at this stage. I'm a sight to behold, clutching my ball of yarn and beginning a keening wail, eyes madly darting about as I hop around the chair.

I'm telling you, books and yarn winding: not always a good mix. Does, um, anybody else have such vivid daydreams? Anyone? At all? Pleeeeaaase tell me I'm not the only one who embarks upon literary flights of fancy - or fancies the pants off George Clooney!

I think a poll is in order:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

No - it's a facewasher!

I'm not really sure what's come over me - maybe it's all the economic doom, maybe it's the colder nights and crisper days - but I suddenly felt like staying in and making something useful.

Now, usually in times of recession, people would go to their stash and whip up a facewasher or two with odds and ends. I was just about to do this when the thought struck me: If we're worried about making ends meet, what's it like for those who have far less than us, but with many more burdens to carry?

The thought stuck around for a few days, but was just about to burrow into the deep recesses of the forgetful chamber of my mind when I chanced upon an article detailing how charities are especially feeling the pinch, as more and more people stop donating money as the credit crunch gets worse.

I knew then what I had to do.

Jumping online, I ordered myself some amazing organic cotton yarn, produced by EcoYarns. The yarn is 100% organic (good for the environment), is plant dyed by hand in Peru (reviving ancestral techniques) and is Fair Trade certified. To quote from the label:

By buying this product, you are contributing to the welfare of the women (and their families) who work to bring you this product. The women often come from the poorest localities in Lima, they are given Fair Trade conditions and a litre of milk per day that they work. The money that they make helps their children to obtain an education.

All this, and it's also the softest, most exquisite cotton I've ever handled. Normally I'm not a fan of cotton at all, but this yarn is an absolute dream to work with. It's turning me into one of those sad creatures who sits around fondling and crooning to their yarn - yikes!

On a more serious note, as a crafter I'd much prefer to work with high quality products than cheap and nasty items of dubious origins, and it's marvellous to think of the profound impact schemes such as these have on struggling communities. Sure, it's more expensive than what your big box craft store would sell, but I'd rather my craft dollars went to a noble cause, such as keeping traditional skills alive and helping women feed and educate their children, rather then just lining the wallets of some corporate fat cats.

Now excuse me, but I'm off to save the world, one hand knitted facewasher at a time!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

How do you spell idiot?


I just walked down to the doctor's surgery for my checkup, only to be told that my appointment was tomorrow, not today.


I'm going to stare at this picture of Fudge the dog until I feel better.

To quote gallant Captain Oates, I may be some time. After all, that's quite some stupidity I need to recover from.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Yet another Jorth apology

Good grief - I'm so sorry folks! I've had nagging concerned emails from many corners of the globe, wondering what the heck has happened to this here blog and, by extension, myself. I'd like to offer up some sort of death-defying excuse, like being mauled by a rabid rooster, and only just emerging from my coma, but I'm pretty sure you all know that roosters aren't exactly aplenty in my corner of the inner city woods.

Truth be told, I just felt like being quiet. For many reasons, not the least of which was seeing Grumbles off to kinder. She's doing two full days this year, which has been a bit of a shock to my system. I've been so used to having my little mate around me for the last four and a half years, that I found it to be quite distressing to watch as the cord that binds us became more and more frayed as she ventured further into the world without me by her side.

Don't get me wrong - I'm pleased as punch that she's walked forward so confidently, displaying such eagerness to embrace the magical big wide world. Inside, however, I felt like I'd been sucker-punched each time I kissed her goodbye then walked down the street by myself, instead of having my lovely girl chattering away besides me.

Throw in swimming lessons, music lessons, French and photography lessons for me, plus a whole heap of craziness on the side, and you'll find a rather full-on start to our year. My brain has been running around, trying to absorb and digest everything, as has my slightly breaking wee heart. So even though my inner dialogue has been racing along at it's usual pace, I just found that I've had not much to say.

I've also been wrestling with the big question: what will I do with myself when Grumbles goes to school? It's less than a year away now, and I still have no idea what I want to do when I grow up. Should I become a knitwear designer, a fancy that often fills in a few happy hours of daydreaming? Or should I write the book that the Galumph swears I have in me? Maybe I should just suck it up and settle back down into the corporate world, working for the man as a tech writer, glad to have a wage coming in, even if my creative side feels stifled and dulled. So many questions, so few answers! If anybody wants to figure it out for me, let me know!

I will say one thing, though: I thoroughly enjoyed writing this. It's good to be back.