Saturday, May 26, 2012

... on Thing #3: The Famous Five

I've just unpacked a box of old books, and come across a treasure: my Famous Five collection. When I was a kid, Enid Blyton made me want to be a tomboy; have a rowboat, a cellar and an attic; go on bicycling holidays; sleep on a pile of bracken in a cave; find an overgrown steam-train on a moor; go to boarding school; and say things like "What ho!" (said Dick. "WHAT HO!")
Five get into trouble 1970 Hodder and Stoughton London
The illustrations by Eileen Soper in the Hodder and Stoughton editions are just lovely.
Five go to Smuggler's Top 1954 Hodder and Stoughton London
Five go to Smuggler's Top 1954 Hodder and Stoughton London
Five to to Smuggler's Top 1954 Hodder and Stoughton London
Five fall into adventure 1954 Hodder and Stoughton London
Endpapers for Five on a Treasure Island 1969 Hodder and Stoughton London
Endpapers for Five fall into Adventure 1954 Hodder and Stoughton London
The rest of the collection is made up of extremely ratty-looking paperbacks from the late seventies which tied in with the TV series made at the time, when Timmy turned into a border collie. Is it awkward that I can still sing the jingle? Probably.
Heavens though... I've just realised that I'm missing five titles - could it be possible that there are Famous Five books that I haven't read? I can't WAIT until the next Lifeline Book Fair!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

... on a garden update.

For a while there it seemed like nothing was happening... and now look!
The zucchinis are well on their way to proving right their claim that "one plant can feed an entire postcode." The silverbeet is doing MUCH better than it looks because... well, we keep eating it. Too-thickly-planted garlic could become an issue but I didn't expect them all to survive, and the shelling peas along the back have put out their first tendrils reaching upwards for their wire support.
I have three pots of blueberries, one of which has already developed some convincing-looking fruit. How sweet are these blueberry flowers? That ant thinks so too.
The spuds... oh boy. That first lot I put in are already bursting out of the top of their bags! I've learned something along the way about growing potatoes in bags... to be careful about adding more soil/compost as the plants grow. I covered over some of the smaller shoots (thinking they'd push their way through) and they just rotted. Luckily I was harbouring a suspicion that I'd put too many spuds in each bag, so it could be for the best! I think the casualties were the red ones, so I've planted more, and they've just come up. Sweet reddish shoots!
 ... and the marigolds are for the bugs! Oh happy garden!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

... on discovering new places.

I'm an epic early-morning walker. By that I mean that I like to get into my hiking boots and stride off for the sort of long walk that sees me coming home sweaty, hungry, and satisfied that I've been out into the world for a bit. Over the past few weeks I've been scoping out the new (to me) local area for some good routes, and I'm pleased to report that I've found some... oh yes!

This first place is a path that runs along a ridge high above the Brisbane River. It sits beside a road bordered on one side by one of those bushy sustainable-eco types of housing developments, and has a gravelly path that reminds me of Girraween National Park, my favourite camping destination.

If I feel up to the climb on the way back up I can take a steep bush track that zig-zags down to The Rocks Riverside Park. It's an old concrete works and incorporates lots of old industrial stuff into the design. One of my favourite parts is the old jetty which has these grates that you can look through down to the river, and is teeming with chittering swallows who zoom in between the pylons to their nests underneath.

I'm delighted that the river is within range, and just the other day I found another bit that I like a lot. There's this odd little pocket of rurality in Oxley. It has horses in paddocks, a dam with a cloud of mist often arising from it, and even a farm stall selling garlic, eggs and tomatoes on Fridays. I can walk down a hill past an area of rainforesty bush listening to whip-birds calling, say hello to the horses and stop by the river awhile, which always looks beautiful in the early part of the day.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow's walk already.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

... on a SpeckleFest.

There's been quite a lot of paint flying around here in the past few days. My new plan to build up enough stock to fill a market stall is taking shape, and I've just finished the latest batch of speckled bird's eggs. On some of them the grey paint tones are taking on a blue-ish look which was completely unintentional but hey! Happy accident!
The back wall of what I am calling The SpeckleBooth (a cardboard box to contain the overspray) is building up into a lovely piece of spotty goodness all by itself!
For the record I'm using Jo Sonja's 'Matte Fluid Acrylic' paints. I'm using colours straight out of the tube so I can recreate if necessary. For the last batch of these eggs I mixed up colours and so getting them to match when I ran out was a nightmare! 
"Plan for the future, Em!" Not my best characteristic, but I'm learning!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

... on getting busy.

A week ago I started to itch. Most of the moving boxes were unpacked. I'd got going with the vegetable garden, and overblogged about it as a result. Me and the new oven were getting acquainted, and I'd tested it out with a few roasts, biscuits, a cheesecake and two apple crumbles. The Pekins were settling in and although they have been the cause of itchiness in the past (mites, bird lice, uuurgh) they weren't the culprit.

This was a 'making something' itch. It was time to get busy.
Task for the week? 'Make a stack of plaster eggs'. Cast, dry, trimmed and sanded.
C bought me a set of my very own drill bits. I was delighted!
As I don't yet have my old Airspeed fan at the new house, I had to find an alternative! This woven lightshade worked pretty well while the undercoat dried.
Colour coat. I'm planning on be-speckling most of this lot - I might leave a few plain too.
Aaah! The itching has eased somewhat.

Although I haven't been making anything for the past months, Etsy has been on my mind. Now that our house is finished and we're comfortably moved in, I find myself in a rather delicious place. I can have my dream job - that is, to work from home as a maker-of-things, full-time. All those 'give up your day job' Etsy blog posts - that's me now. And I'm terrified!

In the meantime, there've been a few good things happening on the making-things front. I've rejoined BrisStyle, originally a small group of Brisbane Etsy sellers. Since I went to their very first coffee-meet-up four years ago, this group has turned into a large incorporated organisation running a variety of markets around Brisbane. They also host information sessions about crafty business, and a few weeks ago I attended one about 'Pricing your Work' which made me think rather hard about whether I had ever really thought about this. The answer? Not really. Beyond 'a dollar's worth of plaster + a bit of paint + some glue + a finding + a piece of ribbon + some of my time equals... oooh about that'... no, apparently there's such a thing as a 'profit margin' that I should be very interested in. It was also great to meet all those lovely people with craft in their hearts, and I look forward to getting to know them better.

Another good piece of recent news is that there's going to be an official Etsy symposium in a couple of weeks. Called 'Etsy Success Sydney', it's a one-day event held at the Museum of Contemporary Art featuring a variety of workshops and speakers, including Etsy's CEO, Chad Dickerson. Any excuse for a trip to Sydney - I promptly bought a ticket.


So, what's next? I'd like to have or share a stall at at least one market before the end of the year, and the challenge will be to build up enough stock to fill it. I'm advertising... starting small with ads on Etsy, Facebook and in a shared BrisStyle print ad coming out in the next Peppermint magazine. I'm thinking about new products. I'm excited about a possible studio solution, as it's become apparent that me working in the lounge room just isn't feasible in the long run. And for a moment, I'd like to stop and reflect on just how blessed this all feels, even though it's terrifying too!