posted by on chatter, christmas, cooking, festivals

2 comments

Still reading, still note taking, still writing, still practicing.  There may not be time for quilts and pottering and furniture and dolls … but there’s always time for bread.  And call me corny, but watching that dough rise never ceases to delight me.  Sprinkling the top of that soft, taut mass with flour then sinking my hand into it feels wonderful every time.

Today’s was extra sweet – on a garage cleanout on Saturday, I unpacked THE LAST kitchen box. Mmhm!  It was another Elasta-girl moment.  And there, at the bottom, was my Romertopf – something I’ve not seen for almost six years (yes, that’s how long the boxes were packed for – man, I can’t believe it was six years – at the risk of extra corniness, so much has happened since then!)  And a sugar shaker thing I don’t even remember owning.  Both almost found their way into a box for the thrift store – let’s face it, I managed without them for six years.  But then, I thought of my bread making … the Romertopf will be perfect for baking the bread in – a lovely moist environment.  The sugar shaker – why, perfect for sprinkling flour.

And they both lived up to their newly assigned roles with vim and vigour …

dough

flour shaker

table

shaped

romertopf

ready for baking

slashed

done yum hanging
So … no stitching.  I could tell you all about recurrent leg ulcers.  Or the psychosocial implications of emergency surgery for the elderly.  Maybe you’d like to hear about postoperative psychosis.  Or, sadly, how there’s very little evidence to support complementary pain relief therapies … but we’ll keep trying anyway.

annunciation(this beautiful image comes from here – doesn’t that look just how you’d feel if that glowing man with the alarming news appeared in your bedroom!)

Or maybe I’ll mention that today is the Annunciation … the day that the Archangel Gabriel came down from heaven to let Mary know she’d better start knitting that layette.  I’ve never thought about it like this, but I reckon that means today’s a good day to start preparing for Christmas.  I mean, if WE were having the baby we would, wouldn’t we!  We’d get out the needles and get stuck into it.  I love the Annuciation … thinking about it just draws our year round into a perfect circle full of life and love, anticipation and promise.

And today, the Passover begins.  As I walked Fu tonight, homes all around us were in darkness .. the usual Monday night routines abandoned.  Instead, every several houses or so, there was an explosion of light and bustling as families came together to celebrate the Seder and share the story of the Exodus from Egypt and slavery.  It looked so lovely as we walked along.  In one, there were at least 20 people squished around the table and they were SINGING!  Fu and I stood outside in the dark and soaked it up.

Bread, caring, the promise of a dear little babe, the joy of freedom.  What more could you want on a Monday.

posted by on books, chatter, dolls, embroidery, family, knitting, needle felting, nursing, our furry children

3 comments

embroidery

 ~ very simple, very sweet and oh so very soothing ~

new friends made

 ~ new friendships were cherished,
endings that arrived so quickly were lamented
& promises were made ~

cafe au lait

~ an early morning prac was rewarded
with a steamy, creamy bowl of coffee in the sun ~

knitting

~ knit, knit, knit, knit, knit … & so with tiny stitches
the jumper surely grows ~

warm bread and butter 

a little bit of essay a little bit of politics

~ the torture of essay writing was relieved
with cups of tea, warm bread & butter,
& frequent checkups on the state of the nation ~

fiddling with fabric

~ just one hour was granted to the cutting of a pattern & fabric
… just one hour, I promise ~

a new pumpkin girl

~ a little girlie wanted her own pumpkin doll …
& so I earned my money needle felting with a small girl at my side …
it’s a hard life ~

saturday morning breakfast

~ ahhhh … saturday morning breakfast … long and slow
… with the essential ingredients ~

asking for a play

~ she gathered her toys, bringing them to my desk one at a time,
hopeful I’d notice … I did,
surely one walk won’t an essay make late ~

favourite books~ a pile of favourites … rescued from the shed … so many waiting to be re-read
once this current rush of assessment has passed … but where to start
… bilgewater? my utmost, utmost favourite of all ~




 

 

 

 

 

 

piecing the babies

Mar
2013
20

posted by on patchwork

3 comments

rotary cutter

watching the sunrise

four rectangles

Hmmm … dragged an hour out of my day today to play with my gumnut babies … look at these darling little squishy bottoms!  Oh I do love babies’ bottoms :-)

Am quite pleased with the layout I have come up with.

However … simply MUST iron the seams open … the folded seams on these blocks turned into such immense speed bumps my sewing machine had trouble driving over them.  To say nothing of the difficulty I had in lining up the points.

Perhaps there’ll be an hour tomorrow for more play.  Before or after I finish that essay on community based aged care in Australia?  Mmmmm …. I suppose it should be after.  I’ll just write super quick.

Yes … gumnut baby bottoms, coloured triangles, and open seams.  That sounds like just the ticket for a lovely hour, don’t you think?

What are you going to squish into your lovely hour tomorrow? :-)

abby’s owls

Mar
2013
18

posted by on knitting

1 comment

at her desk

See!  It’s not a dreary colour at all, but instead, a lovely celery green.  And such deliciously smooshy yarn too – almost slightly felted.  It’s a chunky (12 ply) Cleckheaton that is no longer made – found, of course, in the bargain basement of Wondoflex for a mere $2.50 a ball.  Best value pure wool sweater I’ve ever knitted.

from the back

spinning round

against the grafitti

It’s a little looser than Kate recommends – she suggests a negative ease.  But Abby’s not the sort for suction tight so requested a few sizes bigger than she measured.  She also wants to be able to wear it over things.

reading her book

Who would have thought, just four days after the hottest March days ever, it was cold enough to wear a chunky weight jumper to the beach – she was the only one of us who was warm enough!  What silly weather.  In fact, she wanted to wear it the night before on a family outing to the movies (my goodness, have you been to the movies lately – $75 for a family of four here in Melbourne – almost spat my teeth out) but alas, I had not grafted the armholes.  Bummer!  You can bet I grafted those armholes lickety split come Sunday morning.

She says she loves it – WITHOUT owl eyes – I think she does.  And that is why mamas knit.

 

 

posted by on beach, books, chickens, crafty, family, knitting

3 comments

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 or share a link to your place!

prettiness of seams

little bit of stitching

~ making some time to put one little square of fabric with another
& finding just as much prettiness in the finished piece’s
thickly layered seams as the richly pieced front ~

clouds that hsve been piped into place

~ marvelling over clouds that look as if they’ve been made of
a good, stiff icing & then piped into place ~

knitting

~ allowing the peace of knitting to soothe my frazzled nerves ~

abbys new craft project

~ full of awe and admiration for Abby’s latest crafty experiments
this time, iron on paper transfers ~

boxes of photos

family photos

 ~ so grateful for my lovely, lovely Julian who has spent the best part
of his weekend scanning in hundreds of my funny old family photos
providing me with heaps of giggles and lovely moments of “ohhhh ...” ~

abby restaurant

bento box

~ after twelve days of everything Australian, we celebrate the end of a lovely
homestay experience with a little bit of local Japanese ~

casting on second sleeve

car knitting
~ making the most of long drives in the car, very much needed airconditioning
& obliging/long suffering daughters  ~

cosy inside pouring rain outside

~ giving thanks for an afternoon of good drenching rain,
whilst enjoying the warmly lit cosiness of inside ~

swedish folkart

~ relishing the creativity shared in this bloggy community
Kate’s new/vintage Swedish folk art book …
& dreaming of ways to interpret such quirkiness ~

leftovers for breakfast

eggs

~ the feathered girls swoon over homemade pesto pasta for breakfast,
& I almost cry with relief/joy that they have recovered
enough of their oomph to lay an egg ~

lost thongs
soft

~ putting a pair of abandoned/lost thongs to good use
on a late evening, soft, grey beach wander ~

posted by on books, chatter, chickens, quilts

8 comments

Winston had his black dog.  I have my red queen.  Melodramatic I know.  But Kim, you hit the nail on the head yesterday when you commented on hormones.  Part of me truly hates to say this … I feel as if I am playing into every patronising, patriarchal notion of the hysteria of women … but, before the tangible arrival of the red queen each month, she sneaks up on me with poisoned sceptre and my spirits plunge from really cheerful and energetic to horribly glum and slothful.  And, as I age, I’ve noticed the pitch becoming ever more obvious.

When I feel the sadness descend, at first, it feels as if life is grinding to a halt.  Everything around me seems difficult, I become so focussed on what’s inside my head rather than the everyday loveliness and normality of what’s around me.  Then I remember to remind myself, no.  This is just my period about to arrive.  This feeling will last a day or two (hopefully not three), and then I will bounce back and everything will be perfectly doable again.  And it is.

I’ve even come to the realisation that I have to share with Julian and Abby.  They are so sweet – they smile sympathetically, nod knowingly.  It’s a secure feeling, knowing that they know.  And I don’t just fall down into a heap.  Instead, I plough on with everyday things.  Waiting for it to pass.  So that’s what I’ve been doing the last few days.  I’ve MADE myself cook dinner.  MADE myself make the bed.  MADE myself vacuum.  These things don’t banish the red queen, but they give me a small feeling of competence and control.

Yesterday morning, I started at Ceres – and it was sooooo good.  I spent a lovely morning in the autumn sun, harvesting the last of the little tomatoes, making up plumply fragrant bunches of basil for the market, pulling out the spent cucumber plants and chopping up the remaining, battered cucumbers for the chickens.  It was very therapeutic with so much to learn, the people lovely, and I’m looking forward to next week.

dutch cream potsbasil

When I could feel myself becoming VERY frazzled, yesterday afternoon, I slipped out into our back garden with some handquilting.  Letting the needle slide in and out, and in and out.  Feeling the lovely cool breeze of the much longed for change wash over me.

yarn and scissors

made some linesedges

 

Listening to the increasingly crunchy leaves rustle.  Noticing our little feathered girls regaining some of their confidence and feathers, as they chatter and bustle about, delighted with their succulent, seedy cucumbers.

bits of brown

cucumberswahts this

nogs funny feathers

Last night, I finished one book – Sally Vicker’s new novel “The Cleaner of Chartres” which I loved – Agnes is such an endearing character and the setting is beautiful.  And had a long, warm, sweetly scented bath with a new book – Beth Gutcheon’s “More Than You Know” – utterly different time and place and story, but certainly intriguing thus far.

Do you find your hormones wreaking havoc on your emotional state?  What does it feel like for you? What helps you move through these times?  Do you hate admitting it!?

 

wobbly thursday

Mar
2013
14

posted by on furniture, knitting, thrifted

6 comments

… sorry the blog hasn’t been working properly the last few days … wordpress had changed things … & I hadn’t upgraded … Abby worked it out … Julian fixed it … & hopefully all is fine now :-) …

I know … it is supposed to be my quiet, much anticipated day.  And nothing awful happened. Nothing awful has happened all week.  I just feel a bit wobbly.  Bit prone to self pity.  A few tears.  That terrible introspection where I sit and dissect everything I’ve done for a week and found myself wanting.  Thankfully, the weather was tremendously cooler today , so I curled up on the sofa.  I watched several episodes of Great Ormond Street Hospital (so inspiring) and Midsomer Murders ( I want to live in one of those villages).  And knitted … knitted …. knitted … and just about finished Abby’s owls.  Only have to graft the armholes (that’s what that wee bit of thread is you can see hanging under Abby’s arm!), weave in the few ends and then give it a little wash and blocking.

she doesn't want the yes

This is quite awesome.  Tomorrow it will be two weeks since I bought the yarn and cast on.  That’s a record for me.  Started and finished in two weeks.  And I cabled.  Now, I have cabled before – many years ago, on a pair of arm warmers for Abby – but I was a bit nervous about it.  No probs.  Does cabling make you nervous?  It’s not at all bad – I didn’t even have a cable needle – I just used one of the circular needle ends – you know, the needly bit that screws on to the cable – and it worked just fine. Getting the sleeves lined up with the body of the jumper – now that had me fumbling for almost an hour.  Nothing wrong with any of the knitted pieces or the instructions – I was just fumbly and awkward.  Must be the wobbliness.

with macine

And the girlie loves it.  Julian is in awe (and wondering why his cardigan hasn’t been finished with the same enthusiasm).  But Abby won’t let me put the buttons/beads on for the eyes.  Hmph!  Now folks won’t know that’s what those pretty cables are – owls.  But I guess what other folks think about Abby’s new jumper is neither here nor there, is it.  What other folks SHOULD know is that Kate Davies is an awesome knitwear designer – she’s my favouritest of favourites ever.  This is my fourth Kate knit – her patterns are brilliant, they are wonderful to follow, and her knitted goodies are a complete pleasure to knit and wear.  If you haven’t yet tried one of her patterns out, rush over to here and choose one.  Abby’s already chosen her next – the Warriston sweater – and I’m mad keen to get started.  All I need Kate to do now is knit her Tom a sweater and then all three of us Boots can go out in our “Kate Davies”!!  Oh I am such a geek!

abbys owls

Oh, and the sideboard’s in.  Looking spiffy and very useful.  Here’s a wee glimpse of what it’s up to.  When the handles are on (j-u-l-i-a-n!) I’ll take some more photos.  We’re now thinking that when we have our own home, we shall have a free standing kitchen full of gently restored old sideboards instead of newly bought pieces.  Just one modern piece for the sink.  Mmmmmm … there are more sideboards out there for me yet :-)

sideboard is in

Now, I shall finish my water and hop along to bed.  Tomorrow begins a new adventure for me … volunteering/learning to garden at Ceres, the wonderful community market garden in north Melbourne.  I’m so looking forward to it.  Another step towards our little place in the country.

Wobbliness be gone! Oh – and I’ll take much nicer photos of the Owls Jumper tomorrow – outdoors with light – ’cause it really is a MUCH nicer colour in real life than it looks here :-)

 

posted by on beach, clothes, crafty

2 comments

Way back in spring 2012, Mum rang me one day to see if I’d like a new hat for summer.  She was at a little boutique in downtown Merimbula and had found some very sweet, inexpensive crocheted paper hats.  I was keen so she picked out a sky blue one for me and one for herself – I can’t remember what colour yours is Mum!?  Brown – olive?

Anyways … I wore it everyday during our lovely lovely summer holiday at the beach.  And then, on the dreadfully hot day when the bushfire struck, we were cutting out four inch squares of lovely soft Japanese lawn.  Because of the length of fabric we had bought, there was a very narrow strip left over from most pieces.  Hmmm …. what to do …

- here I simply must insert these gorgeous photos of Mum’s cosmos
she is a wonderful gardener (I don’t take after her at all)
I took these on our last day in Merimbula & completely forgot about them
until tonight, when looking for photos of the hat …

ooooh!  and see this stump?  I can’t remember whether I’ve shared this, but where Mum’s house is, was once the family owned dairy farm that provided Merimbula with all its milk – very appropriate given just how much we Boots love our milk – at first we thought this fence was a gardener’s folly, but now wonder if it is, in fact, a remnant of the farm. Such a lovely thought.  Back to the hat …

After a few more days thought – and a lot of hat wearing – I decided to thread some through the hat – mayhaps a couple of rows around the brim?  So there, on our last day at Bar Beach, with seagulls a-watching, I began.  I used my crochet hook to pull the lengths of fabric through – up, down, up, down.  To start and finish, I simply tied a knot at the end of each length of fabric nice and close to the hat.

By the end of that night – most of the hat was covered!  Oh it’s the old lily story.  Once started, couldn’t stop.  I even unpicked the hem of the brim and wove a piece of fabric around that – like a very simple whipping.

I love it … such a cheerful and colourful hat … and a little bit wonky.  Perhaps a bit like its owner? :-)  And it’s had SUCH a good workout over the last couple of weeks.  Here’s the finished product whilst on duty at Birdrock Beach …

And at Mt. Martha’s Gelati Bar.  Three marvellous features – it’s instantly identifiably as mine, has a lovely low brim so offers wonderful protection from our aggressive sun, and is wonderfully crumpleable – I just squish it up and shove it in my handbag or basket – and when it comes out, it looks just like it did the day it arrived!

Thank you so much Mummy darling for thinking of me – it’s grown into my favourite hat ever :-)  And if you should want your hat to match, just send it my way ;-)

p.s. hope you love your cosmos photos xxx

posted by on chatter, family, travels

2 comments

We went to the zoo!  On the hottest day of our heatwave so far ….. (that sound is me hissing through my teeth)  … it was lovely.  But excruciatingly hot.  The best part was when I stood under the canopy sprinkler with the kookaburra.  I just wish they’d turned the tap on a bit harder.

We started with a quick airconditioned stop to plot the route followed by three hours of walking.  I think the only critters we didn’t see were the echidnas – I don’t know how we missed them, we just did – and the wombats, they had sensibly taken to their underground burrows and weren’t coming out for anyone.

There were wonderful pelicans – my favourite …

- this fellow had one very skinny leg and one normal chubby one,
don’t know why, but the poor thing looked a bit lopsided -

- these two were so funny, they did everything in unison,
perhaps they were escaped circus pelicans –

Abby wanted to take this wee fellow home – a Tasmanian Devil – they are so cute.  Look at his amazing feet – they almost look like ours, don’t you think.  Poor little dears – they are at risk of extinction due to a horrible facial tumour disease that has spread like wildfire through their wild populations.

We met an incredibly charismatic emu, who after winking to get our attention, gave us a wee curtsey and wandered on over.

She then got quite frisky – practically charging Rina who responded in typical teenage girl fashion – squealing – which amused the emu no end!

But then she changed her mind and did a big poo instead … much to the raucous amusement of every child in the vicinity.

Very satisfying … and off she went …

There were snoozing bats …

chortling peach faces …

not laughing kookaburras – this one was too busy having a good soak under the
sprinklers …

lots and lots of kangaroos and wallabies, conserving their energy in the shade …

and of course – koalas – what every Japanese school girl dreams of …

they are such funny things … this one was maintaining his balance with his forehead – smooshed up against the tree, his arms and legs sticking out skew-if.  Much of the eucalypt foliage you can see is actually this …

Very clever – and apparently, very expensive.

Julian loved the reptile house – such a boy – he had an alarming or funny story to match every inhabitant.

Look!  It’s a long necked turtle – relative of the two Julian rescued on the back road between Bairnsdale and Sale last year.  He was a marvellous little swimmer and hasn’t he smiled nicely for the photo.

There was also a lovely Platypus House – Abby’s favourite, and a Nocturnal House – it was like a circus!  But both were so dark, photos weren’t possible so you’ll just have to take our word for it – they were marvellous, and their little inhabitants utterly enchanting.

Yep, it was a lovely afternoon at the Healesville Sanctuary.  Heaps of interesting information and a wonderful focus on living sustainably and gently with our smaller, native neighbours.  And I would love to go back … in winter.

 

 

 

 

 

posted by on chatter, family, furniture, giveaways, growing our food, homely, our furry children, sewing, thrifted

9 comments

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 :-) ~


posted by on beach, family, travels

3 comments

… 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!

Mar
2013
08

posted by on furniture, thrifted

4 comments

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.