17 September 2010

vietnam dreaming.... {again}

less than 2 months til we go. images of viet nam never far from my mind. a couple of oldies here which made it through the devastating theft:
*left: village men rebuilding a traditional communal house in the central highlands. the tallest bamboo is sought and used whilst still green to allow flexibility for creating the steeply pitched roof.
*right: a tiny orphan- many ethnic minority women die in child-birth leaving husbands without the means or the ability to raise a large clan. i spent half a day at this orphanage, playing with attention-starved kids. we sang & played games. i gave them piggy-back rides & cuddles. i adore this image.
these two photos are from much later in my stay. this is on the street in ha noi where i used to work- when I did my stint as a manager for a tour company(!) I used to see this lovely bird-keeper every day on my stroll to work. he was always so attentive to his trusting feathered friends.
absolutely, gorgeously fresh produce being collected in tam dao- a tiny mountain village around an hour from ha noi. this lady worked methodically, yet fluidly, deftly picking the lush greens.
my beautiful, inquisitive boy eyeing some market-bound chickens- as they eye him!.
an sang. qua chuoi hoac la pho bo? ngon oi la ngon!
gorgeous aged patinas and crumbling walls. viet nam you are a divine, photogenic soul with abundant grace and overwhelming beauty. i cannot wait until we meet again.

16 September 2010

angry little appliances :-Z

in my house i feel like the 'angry little appliances' are taking over sometimes. I don't wake to an alarm these days- my little punks have taken their place- i do however have a particularly nasty & persistent dishwasher which bleeps at me when I turn it on, when I turn it off, when I open the door *before* turning it off and also the "helpful' series of high-pitched bleeps to let me know when it has completed its mission. what a needy angry little appliance.

my clothes washer is also an angry little customer. when it is switched on (usually several times daily) it beeps & flashes. it beeps as you choose the washing cycle. it beeps as you start the cycle. & it beeps for around 10 consecutive beeps when the cycle ends- especially irritating when sensitive souls are napping. my least favourite beep combination though is the alarm it sounds when you have not shut the door properly. ding-dong-ding-dong-ding-dong which can be roughly translated as 'you weak-armed- fool, the door is ajar and I will not begin my work until it is rectified. remedy immediately!!!'

when buying our latest fridge around a year or so ago, i remember thinking to myself: 'what a good feature to have an alarm to alert you the door has not sealed- so terribly frustrating!' well, let me tell you- we have had words, the fridge and I, as I unload endless bags of groceries with the fridge and the kids badgering me with their various badgering voices. the melt-downs & the bleeps seem to reach fever-pitch simultaneously. what is it about the pitch of these angry little fellows that strikes directly at those cortisol hormones? nothing seems to incite stress more efficiently or effectively.

do NOT even get me started on car alarms, smoke alarms, computer alerts and the like. does everyone in modern life subject themselves to these angry little appliances? are you being heckled by the electronics in your life too?

10 September 2010

johhny cash- my new religion

been sewing & listening to music today. it has been a great selection. the sundays kicked off the day with their gorgeous, full, whimsical tunes. next i got funky whilst sewing boardies to the blue hawaiians (fitting huh!?). some wild psychadelics & paisleys whirred happily through the singer!
currently Johnny Cash is filling my home with his amazing voice & 'modern hymns'. so emotional & soulful is his voice that i actually found myself crying. it obviously touched me on a deep level (either that or i'm premenstrual (!)- i've certainly listened to him many times before;-) and loved him, but today I played & replayed this track 2:
I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that's real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything

What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know goes away
In the end
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt 
Originally by Nine Inch Nails, Cash's version is so much more emotional and real and raw. It also seems to resonate with his life. What an incredible character. So full of life & sin. So full of happiness & regret. So full of love & guilt. It was a religious experience, sat in my crafty introversion. And it dawned on me- these are my hymns. Johhny Cash is my new religion. With his poignant voice & insightful explorations into humanity he is worthy of adulation.

7 September 2010

multi-tasking = multi-failing?

multi-tasking- love it? hate it? as women (and especially as mothers) we all do it.

i am a huge multi-tasker. focusing on one thing at once just seems to be such a waste of time & a massive loss of opportunity. or is it? having encountered several multi-tasking breakdowns lately, it has caused me to pause & reconsider the worthiness of such endeavours.

yesterday for instance, whilst in the throes of the witching hour i was simultaneously feeding the kids, cleaning the house, cooking our dinner, folding washing and sorting fabrics... when a sudden turn in my tracks caused a knee strain which should only really be sustained by pro-tennis players. NOT by silly mummies trying to do too many things at once.

earlier in the week i encountered multi-tasking failure when i attempted to sew a button back onto a dress whilst wearing said dress. big FAT FAIL!!! yeah, i got it done, but it was hardly the stroke of multi-tasking genius i had imagined. it would have been far simpler & less frustrating- not to mention *quicker* had i just taken the dress off :-(

and today, the multi-tasking demon struck a third time when after lingering too long in a fabric store i decided to kill the proverbial 'two birds' by eating a steak & mushroom pie on the return route. i could get home & get straight into sewing without having to worry about making & eating lunch! 'brilliant- that'd save loads of time'. well *NO* it didn't. the diversion into our local baker caused me to forget i'd actually ridden my bike to the train station. i didn't remember until i was halfway home with a burnt tongue & pastry crumbs down my front.

multi-tasking seems to have been failing me of late. but does it in fact always fail? could it be true that by spreading oneself across tasks simultaneously nothing gets done satisfactorily? time to revisit 'buddhism for mothers'- what was it she says about focusing? living & experiencing things completely?

do you multi-task? good tool or poor substitute for the time-poor?

31 August 2010

Spring in the air is putting a spring in my step!

wow-wee sydney siders! what an amazing taste of Spring!
the magnolias are magnificent, the air is warm and the trees are showing those first little signs of regeneration- in that amazing shade of eye-popping green! with all the gorgeous spring blooms in the air, I have made a good start with some projects long overdue. my outdoor, loungey chairs (sad little roadside finds) have been given a new burst of life courtesy of some amazing 'red chrysanthemum' Mexican oil-cloth! on the Mexican theme, I have gone completely OTT Frida Kahlo style with my outdoor Mex- bunting too! At $1 a pop for 3 offcuts, it was just begging for a new life;-)
 also on the agenda... handmade brooches. i have been busy hand-crafting some new pieces, though I must say that many find their way onto my jacket, thus bypassing the shop! in this weather, brooches are the perfect way to add a burst of colour to a light jacket or cardi- SO needed as the temperature plummets when the sun nods off.

i hope you enjoy the visuals to my lovely spring day (thus far). I have orders to fill & children to pick up. the race against the clock continues... if I'm lucky & the weather holds, perhaps my husband & I will christen the chairs with a mojito ;-)

30 August 2010

orange + tangerine + persimmon + rust= HOORAY!

everywhere i look i'm seeing orange at the moment. is it just me?
i'm not one to dwell on fashion week & the like, as i don't follow 'trends', but the good news for fellow orange lovers is that shades of persimmon, tangerine & rust are popping up all over the place.
just quietly celebrating ;-)
to me, orange is so reminiscent of autumn, the 70s, persimmon (!), pumpkin, calendulas, ochre, sunshine & warmth. all things i love.
the bad news is that every tween far & wide well be adding orange flourishes to their wardrobe. this is bound to have a negative effect...could it be possible to have an orange-overload? it is quite likely i will shun my orange this spring & wait until it is totally uncool again. i will however be lapping up all the loveliness while it lasts. it is not often orange gets a real look in!xx

27 August 2010

sweating the small stuff!

didn't someone write a book titled something like 'Don't Sweat the Small Stuff'? yeah, I know...if I was truly interested I would google it. alas I am not. this is because I am LOATHING the small stuff at present.
all the washing to be done in a day! and good golly i am sick of socks & smalls. when there are five people in a house there are LOADS of socks and smalls. to add to my woes, 3 of those 5 are little ones making their smalls and socks even smaller & even fiddlier & very, very constant! this is not to mention all the little strays we seem to have at present- so many sad, lonely little socks widowed of their life partners.
then... there is cutlery. i am utterly tired of cutlery: teaspoons, dessert spoons, soup spoons, serving spoons, big forks, little forks, lovely silver dessert forks, butter knives, serrated knives, chopsticks....... AAAAAGH:-( I feel a bit guilty complaining here, as we do possess a dishwasher, but I am desperately sick of loading & unloading the cutlery drawer. for those dear people handwashing all these silvery irritations, I take my hat off to you.
LEGO. I love you so. I do. I will gladly sit & create when begged to play. I choose you over cars or playdough or trains anyday. BUT... why o why so many tiny finnickity little pieces? Why o why are you so hard to spot? How is it one stray piece can prevent an entire creation? How can such a little 'one-square' cause such a catastrophic melt-down? Why are you so infinitely palatable to toddlers?
Are you with me? Do you have any little grievances in your life!?