the night max wore his wolf suit …

big hairy feet sneaky eyes

Whatever is hiding amongst the oleander?  Oh! It’s a Wild Thing!

wild thing

Julian’s Wild Thing!  I gave it to him for his 22nd birthday – the first birthday we celebrated together. He had a copy of Where the Wild Things Are when I met him – sitting there amongst the computer programming tomes and science fiction novels.  It was his favouritest book as a little boy.  I knew it from my childhood as well – but I must confess, I had been scared of it.  So when I spied this fabulously fierce little fellow at the University Bookstore, I just knew upon whose bookshelf it would feel right at home.

closeup of wild thing

A few years later, one of my wee cousins, Alastair, came for a sleepover.  He stomped up the stairs to our flat, pleased as punch to be so grown up as to have a sleepover all by himself, and whilst his mum and I had a cup of tea, he had a little explore.  After peering into our bedroom, he ran straight back over to his mum and whispered tremulously in her ear “Mum!  There’s a Wild Thing in there!”  It was so sweet/funny – and formal introductions had to be made before Alastair could be convinced it was indeed safe to stay.

cards scattered wild thing cheating

Wild Things have been a firm favourite in Bootville ever since.  Julian’s copy of the book became very battered as it was read over and over and over to Abby – by the time she was 3, both she and I could recite the whole book off by heart!  We made a copy of the audio book, borrowed from the library, and that was played on Abby’s little tape recorder until it literally wore out.  And there’s been many games of Wild Rumpus enjoyed at the kitchen table – always accompanied by lots of shrieks and the frantic slapping down of cards.

with abby reading

When the film version came out a few years back, just before we left for Melbourne, Abby took along 5 of her lovely friends from primary school to see it for her birthday.  Oh how we all loved it.  I do think Spike Jonze did a brilliant job – no, it wasn’t an immaculate translation of the book, frame by frame, but as an interpretation it was outstanding.  Exquisitely and imaginatively filmed with such a real and touching story.  As for the soundtrack – oh I went out and bought a copy the very next day.  We used to drive around Brisbane with all the windows down, the breeze rushing in at our faces, singing along to the second track at the top of our lungs.  Even now, I only need to slip it on and that beautifully haunting, childlike music transports me.

favourite on the chair

Needless to say, when I visited Spotlight a few days before Julian’s birthday this year, and there were bolts of Wild Things fabric lined up at the counter … well, all previous birthday present plans went out the window and I made him a Wild Things quilt instead.

binding red and orange arm

I bought the red, yellow, lilac, purple and black contrasting plains at the same time, went home, sliced them up into squares with thin black strips for borders, then spent a whole afternoon puzzling over just how it was supposed to go together.  I finally settled upon this layout a) because I felt it was the most striking whilst allowing Maurice Sendak’s beautiful illustrations to shine, and b) ’cause it reminded me of strips of film – a film of the Wild Thing playing through our lives in all its incarnations.  Then I had to take Abby back to the shop with me to choose the perfect green for the border – an adventure set deep in the forest.  I have a tendency to choose very olivey greens – none of which looked right – thankfully, she knew just the appley green it needed.

I pieced it frantically over the weekend before his birthday and had it a-l-m-o-s-t quilted in time for the birthday breakfast.  Backed with a beautiful vintage blanket and quilted with my scribbly-wibbly lines.  And the binding – Julian’s idea – he wanted something with all the colours in it.

blanket looking down

The birthday boy loved it!  For the first few weeks, it graced our bed.  There is something very endearing about coming to bed late, after knitting into the wee hours, or working on an essay, to find my husband, snuggled up under his Wild Things quilt.  Especially since Julian doesn’t have any mementos from his childhood.

on the fence post touseldBut now that the cooler weather is here, he’s brought it out into the living room where he sits with it warmly tucked around his lap each eve (we’re having our second winter without heating – saved a fortune last year!).  

I adore that our quilts are shared and loved and dragged around the house, out into the car, on picnics, taken on school camps, piled up on sleepovers, squished up into balls, spread out onto the grass, cuddled into by doggles, and quietly retreated under when an afternoon nap is needed.

As for a Wild Things quilt – well it’s sure to stand the test of time.

loveliness found ~ 9/52

~ my mummy coming to visit – with an icebox full of pouring cream! ~

~ the soda stream – Julian’s Christmas present – adored by the whole family
– soda water on tap is just the best ~

~ following Alicia’s advice to try this technique – and loving it so much
we’re on to our third loaf for the week ~

~ a new to us, gorgeous vintage chess set … enticing us to plonk down
at the kitchen table and share yet another game ~

~ knitting, knitting and more knitting – yum! yum! yum!
hoping to reach the owls by the end of the week ~

~ the sweetest daughter – sharing her time and talents ~

~ family … learning / fun / exploring / teaching
… the perfect back garden Sunday ~

~ my wonky – but fabulously fun! – first attempt ~

~ her extraordinary, first time marvel – oh my! ~

~ another birthday – 43! – and the candles are no longer lit because of
the huge chunk of long, streaked-with-grey hair that caught fire
whilst the birthday girl (moron) leaned across the birthday wreath
to blow out her candles – ahem! – age would appear to be dulling her brain ~

p.s. there are no photos of the fiery spectacle – Abby and Mum were too busy gasping with horror whilst Julian was grabbing the dog quilt with which to smother me.  I, however, upon seeing the flames out of the corner of my eye, simply clapped my hands over and over the flames, putting most of them out, whilst turning to the sink where I doused the remaining singed bits in water … the stinky burnt mess fell into the sink and Abby trimmed up the remaining hair with the dressmaking scissors.
An almost fitting end to the week.


loveliness found

~ the little girls discovered the thrill of making their own music ~

~ Jules celebrated his birthday … with cherry cocktails and a kitchen supper ~

~ a quilt design was tinkered with, fabrics were foraged from the stash (there’s a newly thrifted lampshade needing dressing), and an ever-so-sweet layer cake arrived ~

~ the ancient hills hoist clothesline fell down – completely rusted – one of us cheered, the other (being she who hangs out the bedding) pursed her lips ~

~ the big girlie devoted her afternoon to helping the little girlies with their maths’ project – the kitchen was buzzing with excitement and creativity ~

~ in return, the big girlie and her grateful mama spent the following hot and steamy afternoon savouring gelati and soaking up the air conditioning of our local Readings ~

~ Heidi grew and grew and grew  …  a wee felted heart was stitched for her and slipped inside for extra love ~

~ summer’s last Sunday barbeque was relished …

~ as was the return of tablecloth week! (one week off, as per Julian’s preference;
one week on, as per Lily’s preference ;-) ~

~ a favourite magazine was enjoyed after dinner
– two pages per watering can refill ~

~ & I felt so lucky to be watering the herbs and spinach by moonlight,
or I’d have completely missed this beautiful sight ~

What loveliness did you find this week?  Share your delights in the comments or leave us a link so that we may follow the path to your place :-)

at last, the party …

… and oh what fun we had!  The day bloomed bright and hot and as I stumbled sleepily into the early morning kitchen,  needing to bake and ice the birthday biscuits, the beauty of the world outside my window filled me with such anticipation.  I LOVE birthday parties :-)

By the alloted time,  a friendly fellow stood by the porch, waiting to greet the guests … why it’s Turnip Head! Gigglingly crafted by Abby, Emma and finally, because of his extra whacking of the stake into the ground skills – Julian.

Then it was off to the back garden …

… where the early arrivals garnered the shady spots, the birthday girl (trickily disguised as Totoro) finally took her place upon her birthday “throne” …

and even the iced biscuits sweated on a hot, hot, hot afternoon …

Wonderful, silly party games were enjoyed by all … there was “goldfish” catching – a traditional Japanese game in which we substituted grape tomatoes for the goldfish and chopsticks for the nets …

Another Japanese favourite was accompanied by hoots of laughter and shrieks of horror … blindfolded watermelon bashing …

the end result of which was thoroughly enjoyed by both the fluffy and the feathery …

Then, as the heat intensified (serious Melbourne heat folks with that scorching, dry, wilting wind tumbling in from the north west) these gorgeous girlies settled on the picnic quilts under the oak for the less rambunctious games – guess that quotation (all from Studio Ghibli films) and celebrity heads (ditto!)

After prizes were won and eaten before they too could melt, the girls headed back to the table for sushi …

… and finally, admitting defeat, into the relative cool of the house.  Origami was folded, the birthday cake was lit sang to and gobbled up,  studio ghibli films were watched, eight girls and two excited doggles slept on the floor of the family room – chattering and laughing well into the wee hours of the morning.

I stood in the kitchen, their merriment filling my heart,  No-Face and the spirit statues observing me quietly from the garden …

Oh  I was hot and weary but there was a second, icy cold beer in my hand, my husband and mother by my side, and nine very happy teenagers in my home.  The birthday party that took so long in coming had been very very well worth the wait.

the day before

:: an exquisite summer’s day … cerulean blue sky, the prettiest light that fills me with happiness and gratitude that I am right here, right now … driving around collecting last minute supplies and frozen cokes whilst John Mayer & Walt Grace remind me of summer afternoons on Nanny and Grandad’s porch listening to the Eagles on their old record player

:: Mum, Abby, Emma and me … pottering with purpose … armchair almost-finishing, cake baking, statue painting, toffee apple dipping, christmas tree decorating, plate finishing, spirit house lighting, gold fish party game making, turnip head scarecrow dressing,  … such summer birthday goodness

:: heading to bed now … dreaming of tomorrow … we are so excited … oh it will be such fun … I do so love a good birthday party

scenes from a birthday weekend

:: Saturday dawned early – there were last minute birthday gifts to paint (which then had their finishing touches embroidered on at 2am the following morning/night!) – good thing teenagers sleep late.

:: doors were re-hung by she who is the most adept at wielding the screwdriver, glass was polished and polished and polished and polished until we gave up and bought Windex (oh my, this sure does work!) and Lotte was given a moving time bath and carefully stacked in her new home.

:: a very late birthday present (only found on Friday afternoon, side up on the nature strip of Dandenong Road – 4 lanes of traffic either way) was discovered, claimed by the daughter as the perfect addition for under the window in her new room, stripped, and DRIED after it was inadvertently left in a freak shower of rain (whilst I drove the daughter and friends to the movies – oh how I cursed every rain drop and every car on the way home to my drenched chair).

:: the loveliest of birthday breakfasts – cloth wrapped, home made presents, hydrangeas from the garden, the birthday wreath reminding me that fifteen years have passed since that first love filled birthday morning, poffertjes with melted butter and icing sugar … and Julian, straight off the plane and into the candlelit kitchen just in time.

:: whilst the papa-daughter team raced Mario Karts, the birthday dinner was prepared to the accompaniment of button making, button pulling and general upholstery – what everyone’s kitchen looks like on a birthday afternoon.

:: and now, the day after the birthday, the daughter is at school, the husband is at work, the dog is at my feet, and I am left to bang the last pieces into place (don’t you love my high-tech upholstery gadgets – a wee antique silver salt spoon used to locate the screw holes for the arms) before getting stuck into teachers’ gifts (patchwork for the most-loved and peppermint bark for the little-bit-loved) and party decorations.

Sooooo looking forward to Christmas preparations – they will be so relaxing after all of this :-)

a bit of miyazaki-inspired craftiness

That would be Mr. Hayao Miyazaki – the Boot family’s absolutely favourite maker of films – My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Ponyo, just to name a few.  He creates films of such beauty and truth – encouraging his audiences to care for the people around them – no matter who they are or how they appear because no one is ever a simple caricature of good or evil, but a complex being who longs to be loved and accepted. Stories that remind us to shun violence no matter how glorious and exciting it may seem – the cost is always too high.  The constant reminder to nourish our environment because without it we have nothing.  And my favourite feature – strong, independent, resilient and creative heroines.  Oh they may, at first glance, seem like simple children’s animations, but Mr. Miyazaki offers us such a refreshing and enriching view of life.  If you haven’t seen any, you simply must rush out and find one to watch – you’ll be delighted.

So I couldn’t be more thrilled that Abby chose a Studio Ghibli (Mr. Miyazaki’s studio) themed party to celebrate her 15th birthday next week. Oh my, I do so love birthday parties – deliberating upon the theme, planning the games, making the decorations, preparing the food.  It’s such a wonderful opportunity to bring the whole family together in a joy filled creative burst that we can then share with our favourite people!  And I’m ever so pleased that my girl and her friends still think a themed birthday party, choreographed the old fashioned way by the mama and papa, is the most fun way to celebrate.

This afternoon, after school for Abby and a day of travelling ’round collecting supplies for me, we settled at the kitchen table and made the table accessories for the party – Totoro plates and Howl’s Moving Castle drink bottles.  Abby drew the Totoros, I cut them out and we glued them onto the back of simple glass plates from Ikea.  I used an Australian glue that promises it will stick the most difficult surfaces and after curing will provide a water proof coating. It’s terrifically thick – I started off using a foam brush, but as Mr. Jobs declared, our fingers are the most useful tool we have, and this proved to be so with this gooey glue.

Eeeeee!  Such fun!  Tomorrow we have large sheets of ply and the jigsaw at the ready – spirit statues (as seen in Spirited Away) for the garden :-)  Oh yes!