loveliness found 10/52

make sure you get to the bottom of this week’s ~loveliness found~ post
to check the winner of the May Gibbs giveaway!

again, thank you all so much for entering and leaving such lovely comments
– I only wish I could send all of you a pillowslip!

p.s. & if you would like to share your ~loveliness found~ moments from this week
– & I would so love it if you did,
please leave them in the comments (links always enjoyed :-)

~ the acorns are making promises they can’t keep, the carrot seedlings are exploding, thank god for indian summer cocktails ~
(freshly squeezed beetroot juice, a twist of lemon, traditional bitters,
a splash of Cinzano, soda, & a whole lot of ice)

~ big girl reading whilst little girl playing,
silly-sweet dog can’t decide who to squash up to
so boings from one to the other with a huge delighted grin  ~

~ picnicking delights – hand squashed strawberry jam
& gorgeous new to me magazine ~

~ finally getting the hang of things …
making the little green machine zig & zag,
& whizzing along with that magic loop ~

~ one day closer to filling these drawers,
oh how I love before & after photos! ~

~ the season of birthdays is over … the new one will arrive before I blink
… oh my she’s growing up so fast ~

~ & the winner is ….. number 27, Elizabeth Boswell!
send me an email, Ms. Elizabeth, to arrange delivery :-) ~


this is where I eat humble pie …

… and say sorry for every occasion on which I have been a bit dismissive – alright, downright sneering – about the beaches of Port Phillip Bay.  I’m truly sorry.

Today I have been forced to eat almost every harsh word I’ve ever uttered regarding the rights of Victoria to claim that there’s lovely swimming to be had in Port Phillip Bay. Yes, I’m prepared to admit that we have just had the best summer’s day I have ever had in Melbourne – it FELT like summer – it LOOKED like summer – it TASTED like summer and it was spent on Birdrock Beach, Mt. Martha.

This greeted us from the top of the wooden stairs that tilt one way then the other, down, down, down the steep, fire red cliff.

Under the shadows of thickly canopied trees, through patches of brilliant sunlight …

… until we reached this.  Oh my.  My heart was all aflutter.  My eyes open wide with delight.  A huge grin on my face.  This is our fourth year in Melbourne.  How did we miss THIS!  A hasty camp was established under the only bit of shade on the beach and a picnic lunch quickly gobbled before we hit the water.

A bit tentatively at first.  After all – this bay is fed by the Bass Strait and Great Southern Ocean – warm currents are likely only to be enjoyed if you – or someone nearby – spend a penny!  But – the weather here in Melbourne at the moment is frightful – another day over 36 – so that cold water felt utterly delightful, and Abby and I squiggled into our swimmers as quick as could be.

This being Rina’s first ever trip to the beach – first time she had ever stood on the sand and let little waves ripple over her feet – amazing! – she decided to stick to paddling and photos.

Ahhhhh folks.  I have never felt so at home down here.  At first, you must pick your way across a very rubbly section – next time I will certainly bring some old rubber soled sneakers.  Then – you think you’re going to hit a lovely patch of sand – ’cause you can see its soft creamy smoothness through the sparkling water.  But when you get there – it’s ROCK – smooth, velvety, sand-coloured rock.  And the water’s still only up to your thighs.  Any deeper demanded the tricksy navigation of more rubble.  So there I stayed – bobbing – floating – allowing all the heat that has been building up in my body this week, to slip away.  It was so good.

Little waves plinked and plonked around my body as they hurried into the shore, sounding like a delicate xylophone.  Laughter and jesting floated over to me from a small group playing frisbee in the water.  Out in front of me, a trio of young men scampered across the rocks for which the beach is named, looking all the world for like they were walking on water.  Around them, the rocks’ regular inhabitants – the sea birds – were fluttering and strutting.  The deeper blue waters were filled with small darting yachts – in neat rows, they flitted in and out between vivid orange buoys.

My fingers and toes turned to prunes.  I caught myself absent-mindedly sucking the salt from the end of my plait as I did when I was little.  If only we could have set up a wee wooden caravan there on the edge – something quaint and old fashioned, stocked with wonderful books, thin cotton sheets, soft pillows, yummy food, and cold drinks – we could stay for the next week, swimming for hours, pushing that nasty heat wave away with our cool, shrivelled, salty hands.  Oh can you imagine how utterly blissful that would be.  Bugger school!  Bugger university!  Bugger work!  I think that if the temperature is over 35 – then it MUST be the summer holidays, regardless of what the calendar says.

And what a treat being able to share it with Rina.  In a usual March, we would have been driving up into the mountains to admire the trees’ autumn finery, wander the lake’s edge at Daylesford, hunt for mushrooms in the forest.  Not this year.  Rina was enchanted.

However, all good things come to and end.  Eventually we had to brave those stairs – this time, trudging up and up and up through wilting steaminess.  Every time we turned back to the sea we wailed!  We would need another swim to cool off by the time we reached the top.  It seems to me there’s something not working quite right with this arrangement.

On the way home we stopped for icecream at Chill – Mt. Martha’s Gelati Bar – highly recommended …

… stopped for a super quick play on this ship – I was waiting for it to sprout leaves a’la Quentin Blake’s divine book “The Green Ship” …

… and made our final stop for the day here …

… why yes, this truly bizarre sight is real.  That’s why I snuck a photo.  CPR dummies under the trees in Frankston.  First time I’ve ever played this game on my way home from the beach.  However, I’m not complaining – if I hadn’t had to be in Frankston at 5 pm to spend half an hour pumping their flaccid chests for thirty counts before pushing two breaths into their funny little mouths – over and over again – we would never have made our way to Birdrock Beach.

And you thought I would once more try to end my post with some meaningful and poetic words – ha!

oh no!

oh yes!  Shhh!  Julian hasn’t seen it yet.  Well, he might have.  He did walk past it this morning – it was in the boot, he was on his way to work.  But I think he was too preoccupied waving goodbye to me whilst bemoaning the muggy heat.   He didn’t mention it.  Of course he may well have seen it and just decided to block it from his consciousness.

I spied this little number last night.  It’s all the fault of the weather.  If it hadn’t been ridiculously hot, I would have cooked a lovely supper (well, hopefully lovely – might have been ordinary :-).  Instead, I was flaked out on the sofa telling people that breakfast cereal with cold milk was a perfectly good option.  They disagreed.  So what was I forced to do?  Go to the fish and chip shop.  There I was meandering down Alfada street – relishing every moment of the car’s airconditioning – when I spied a gathering of furniture on the footpath.  Hmmmm ……..

… looked like a sideboard to me.  Its back was to me – but in the darkness I could spy an arched backrest and horizontal planks nailed across the back.  Odd – the backrest said art deco, the planks suggested much earlier.  Definitely worth a closer look on the way home.  Which I did … and almost gave up on it.  Even in the gloom I could see that this poor art deco sideboard had been doused in a red cordial coloured stain.  Ugh!  And it was shiny.  Ugh! Ugh!

However, come this morning, the sideboard was still dancing around my mind – I knew exactly where I would put it and what I would use it for – so I took Abby and Rina for a quick squiz on our way to school.  Rina looked appalled that her Australian “mum” liked other folks’ junk.  Abby was a bit sceptical.  See, she’d totted up the number of sideboards that currently reside in Bootville – that would be four – and she reckoned five was too many.

I must confess, I still needed convincing – all that red cordial was unlikely to come off easily which meant painting the sideboard.  And I couldn’t imagine it painted.  So I drove by again after dropping the girls, and this time inspected it in the daylight.  Yes, that stain/varnish was just as hideous in the daylight.  But oh my, it did have the loveliest curvy shape and lines.  Deep cupboards, deep drawers.  Oh the potential!  The owner was in his front garden with the builders who were measuring up his renovation.  I said my good mornings and inquired as to the status of the sideboard (Yeah … like I didn’t know it was heading for the council’s hard rubbish muncher).

“Oh that!” he replied “You’re welcome to it!”  “Marvellous,” I said with a smile – already having lowered the back seats and positioned the pink rug I keep in the back just for this purpose – protects the tailgate when I’m loading furniture.

“I’ll help you lift it in!” he added, strolling down the drive, “Actually – mate!”, to his builder friend, “You can help me.”

“Yeah right!” said the builder with a grin, “I saw that one coming.”  They picked it up and slid it in.

“You’d never have managed that, love”, the owner said to me.  Oh really!  They don’t know Lily Boot!

An hour later, after Julian left, I tried to concentrate on my pintucking.  I truly did.  But that sideboard was calling from the car – and besides, I couldn’t fit both the girls in at pickup time if I left there.  So out it came – lily style – and I decided to just give it a wee scrub with the metho to see what the red cordial did.  Lo and behold!  It came off.  Woot!  Which meant that I then spent the next four hours wearing my fingerprints off my fingers.

Oooooooh!  Look at that – nice.  There’s still a hint of pink in some parts of the grain, but I kinda like it.  It’s like the sideboard is holding on to a little bit of its story.  It will give it a rather unusual warmth. And I simply could not have painted over that lovely wood – I’m a complete sucker for art deco veneer.  This sideboard is perfectly matched to Lotte’s sideboard and the Gentleman’s Wardrobe.  It was made for us.  I can’t WAIT to get stuck into over our long weekend (Labor Day here in Victoria on Monday) – I reckon I’ll have it finished by Monday and in situ.

“Where?!?!?!?”  you may well ask dubiously.  You’ll just have to wait and see – I have a cunning plan.

 

heidi

Thank you so much, dear folk, for all the lovely words you shared in yesterday’s comments.  I wish I could send every one of you some
May Gibbs goodness & a lily-pillowslip :-)

I am so inspired by your enthusiasm, I’ve added a few more details to the giveaway – your very own copy of Alison Lester’s Magic Beach
to read whilst snuggled up with your pillowslip, & I shall embroider your name – or anyone else’s name that takes your fancy – on the pillowslip & bag.

Remember – you have until Sunday to enter.
I shall draw a name at 8pm Australian Eastern Summer Time & announce it in this week’s
~ loveliness found ~ post.

Thursday mornings are sooooooo good.  No classes.  No predawn departures.  A morning when I can share a lingering pot of tea with Abby … make some pancakes for breakfast … have second coffees with Julian.  Completely spoilt.  I know that for the next 10 weeks I shall really treasure Thursday mornings.

After enjoying such a civilised breakfast this morning, I actually buckled down and finished the chores before picking up a needle or fabric.  That’s extraordinary willpower on my part.  Oh yes … there’s many an afternoon when, with half an hour to go before I need to collect the little girlies, I frantically – ineptly! – squeeze in as many chores as I can and end up racing out of the house cursing my earlier frippery.  But not today.

Thus, it wasn’t until morning tea had come and gone – without tea, because it’s too damn hot – that I sat down with Fraulein Heidi on my lap.  She’d been sitting – headless – on the craft table for more than a week.  It was becoming rather disconcerting.  So a crocheting we went.

That part didn’t take at all long.  The stuffing – a little longer.  Truly, I find stuffing more of an art than sewing, knitting or crocheting.  Dang it’s hard to get it right.  But what took FOREVER was creating Heidi’s face.  It’s such a marvellous thing that needlefelted features can be ripped right off with nary a sign that they had ever been there.  Always makes me think of that skit from Sesame Street – the one with the orange who rolls out of the fruit bowl, the kitchen bench becomes her stage, rubber bands, the dish mop, other bits and pieces become her facial features and then, under a spotlight, she sings opera.  Do you remember that one?  I loved it.

Anyways … back to Heidi’s face.  On went excessively rosy cheeks.  And off they came.  On went multicoloured (I was trying for hazel) eyes.  And off they came.  She had no less than 5 pairs of lips before I settled upon one that didn’t make her look like an alarming ventriloquist’s dummy.  At one point, her eyebrows sat rather smooshily on top of her eyes.  No good. And I tried a felted nose – which made her look like a Muppet.  Her cheeks came in.  Went out.  Moved down.  Back up.  It’s amazing how a few millimetres difference in cheek positioning can be the difference between looking like Abby from “My Family” (and no, that is most certainly not who we named Abby after!  I first met the name Abigail in the brilliant Ruth Park novel – an Australian classic! – “Playing Beattie Bow” – I was completely besotted) and something a little more girlchild like.

Without moments to spare (stolen moments that meant I could only wash half my hair) I quickly plonked a roll of soft, flimsy white linen onto the kitchen table – bought at a thrift store in Richmond for $5 – and worked out the right shape for a petticoat.  It shall have pinch pleats at the front, with wee eidelweiss embroidered around the neck and a fine crocheted lace at the hem.  A buttoned back – the kind that Laura and Mary would have to do up for each other.  These dolls of mine – their heads are so big, I doubt I shall ever make them anything big enough to pull over them without giving the dolls disturbing neurosurgery.  And then I shall make Frida a petticoat too!  And a paper pattern, so that I may do it as many times as I like!  And you could as well!

Of course, the petticoat is the start of Heidi’s layers – there’ll be a wee brown skirt, white puffy blouse and bodice next.  And I’m hanging out for the winter knits – I bought a wee Clover pompom maker the other day and I can’t wait to knit Heidi a beanie with a pompom on top.

‘Twas funny … after snipping up the linen, I had to dash … school pick up, afternoon tea, homework at the kitchen table, cool baths with long chapters of Little House in the Big Woods – in which everytime I mentioned the cold or frost or snow or howling wind, the little girlie flung herself back in the bath, imploring the heavens to grant her the same – little girlie dropped home, Music Festival with big girlie, take-away dinner with Rina … and then, finally, I plonked down on the sofa and there she was.

Fraulein Heidi – sitting in the armchair across from me.  Looking so sweet, I expected her to start talking any moment.  Made me smile.