Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Kafuffle

I could be very Grinch like and say how much I would like to go to sleep and wake up on January 2 but I won't. However I would like to point out that the whole idea of Christmas being a time of reflection and gentle peace is just such a crock of Christmas Crackers! In fact, the only one I spent like that was pre- child in the Sahara with the Big Fella and a friendly bunch of Bedouins who didn't do Christmas at all! That was camels, wise men, stables, stars, tagine, drumming and dunes...actually very Christmassy for an Islamic December 25.

This one is concerts, rehearsals, graduations, dinners, LAUNDRY. There were no washing machines in the Sahara! That's why it felt like Christmas. Other people's children's board shorts and towels keep multiplying like cuckoos' babies in my laundry basket.

Just twenty minutes before the Christmas concert last night (the third in two weeks I might add) we realised we had given away all the small Yuletide cossies. So in the spirit of Christmas, here is a twenty minute insta- costume.

1. No fabric paint, just good ol' Jo Sonia's gouache for the hands.
2. We ARE potty training and in fact had our first win yesterday but I hasten to assure you this is also Jo Sonia's paint in Provincial Beige. Flossy was not impressed with having it schmeared on her feet until she realised it tickled and was fun. I recommend using a naked child for this activity as they can share the paint around a bit.
3. This bit she loved!
4. Ta Da! What is it, you ask?
5. Look away, Buttonphobes. With the addition of some hastily stitched buttons from her own stash we're cooking with gas!
Now one is able to join the polite hoi polloi at one's myriad Christmas functions. Look at how over it Lala is. Blah Humbug indeed!
A Christmas cuddle from the tallest elf in the room.....
...finished off with ice creams on the tallest hill in the city.
One can donna this dashing ensemble and go anywhere. She has even been spotted prancing amongst the blitzen on the High St this very morning. Little Vixen!
The self-bedder is back and has an accomplice now. Shoryt just disappears when she has had enough and crashes on our bed. May be time for Santa to bring a new bed!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

From the sublime to the domesticus.

After watching Steven Wiltshire on Sunday and waxing all lyrical there for a brief time, reality bit yesterday morning. * This is MY red carpet getting hosed down after somebody delivered a spectacular parabola of vom-vom on it en route to the car to go to school. He said he felt much better afterwards and wanted to go to school as they were making clay dinosaurs. I said I felt much worse and wanted to stay home because I felt like I was becoming a clay dinosaur. It was quite restful downstairs in the dappled morning shade, sipping a tea and massaging the sudsy woolly rug with my toes. I'd given it a good shake out over the jungly bit of garden first- of course! However it was a pleasant tactile experience on a warm summer morning and a girl has to take whatever sensory experience she can some days. With a little latin American music, this could be the new Zumba! Yes, they are exercise pyjamas.
I went with the 'Answer to All Smelly Textiles' in our house. Mrs Martha Gardiner left her lovely eucalyptus scent in the place of Fishy's less aromatic one.
Fish finished his dragon at school then fell asleep on the desk and knocked it over, then he fell asleep at home practising on the sixth child for his exam today. He is presently asleep on the couch.
Speed it up, big boy! Like Yoyo Ma on LCM's.
Continuing my love affair with yellow and eggs and the garden...
I tried to go all domestic and make cornflake biscuits like the ones you see at fetes. These were seriously buttery suckers. The offspring still ate them but I didn't bother to photograph them as they were a bit blah. I need a better recipe than some generic internet one.
It may be time to delve into the new tome. I haven't had the time, inclination or ingredients to try this yet.
I like how some of the contributors add a little personal something to the recipe, like Mary here who recalls making these cakes for cookery class in 1945. And who knew jam drops were ever called pansy faces- a much nicer name.We are all heading to hit the wall early tonight so it was mass Moonie showers, home made pizza and pointing their sleepy bodies toward the bedrooms before it gets too late. That's a ring-in child there.
The end of the year is getting hard.

*Stephen Wiltshire finished his Brisbane drawing this afternoon. You can see it and the last four days' progress on his blog here. Have a look in the 'It is summer here' photo. It's Where's Wally meets Cluedo.... Annie with a pram on the phone in the library. Wish I could have gone back but the above day got in the way.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


We love GOMA! Always have, always will! Today tawdry ol' Disney was gazumped by GOMA as the Happiest Place on Earth, for five wee-uns and their bedazzled minders.

Seriously this place has everything a brain fried mother could ask for both entertaining and, dare I say, thrilling our little people. The State Library has this sunken lounge play pit place that looks like the useful box exploded from Play School.
The theme today was 'My Island Home' so there were toddler sized boats with nets to fish for softy sea life, lizards, lighthouse cubby, a Torres Strait type house, T.I. softy people,
very funky seating and crafted children's sculptures of all the associated themes including a dugong and some more boats and islands. This beats playgroup. There are lots of enthusiastic young volunteers and views outside of all the people walking past.
The cool people had lunch in some cool river breezes then chased dump birds- verminous scavengers that are even ruder than bush turkeys. That is a waitress, not a dump bird.
Than we ran with feverish anticipation into the deliciously cold concrete sanctuary of GOMA. I hadn't been back for a while- possibly since before the floods and that was a stunning kids' exhibition too.
The Spot Room is back but on a vaster scale. It's like legally vandalising your own home.
Even 12 year old boys can do it and not be bored.
They might even be happy enough to allow the annoying little sister to sit between themselves and the friend as they attempt to tag with spots. They think it's cool but it's cool like playing the lead break of Smoke on the Water on Euphonium is cool. (That's another post and, yes, Bungalowgirl, it is I who am the mad mother who accepted that instrument!)
This is just the tip of the iceberg as many of the truly psychedelic rooms are not allowed to be photographed. 'We Miss You Magic Land' is a surreal, colour drenched delight of fantasy worlds that took months to install. They are made of found objects like squirrels and deer and op shopped tiny figurines and little hills and gardens made of beads and patterns of coloured sugar. There is even a rainbow floor boardwalk into the rooms. MMMC!!! Take the Fin K! It is beyond Moomin loveliness.
Aunty Jussy loved it too.
I was besotted by the Avatar-ish floating gardens with whimsical root worlds below.
Meanwhile, this man is the reason we went in to Southbank today. I first came upon him when I was teaching children with autism in London. His abilities interested me as one of my students was also a gifted autistic artist but not quite on this scale. Stephen Wiltshire was only twelve at the time but now he is thirty and seeing the world and making a living out of his extraordinary talent.

He went up in the Southbank ferris wheel on Friday and looked out over the cityscape and memorised its detail. Then he came down and started to draw it completely from memory. Astonishing! He uses Staedtler felt tip pens of varying thicknesses and draws onto a huge panoramic curve of paper. I could have watched him for hours.
He was completely absorbed, smiling as he drew, listening to his i-pod and only looking up when people crossed over his demarcated barrier into his space. (e.g.. dancing toddler, overly aggressive photographers) He draws, not building by building, but in vertical strips of the page from left to right like a scanner would. I love how the whole thing was loosely mapped in first so there is the lovely fade from meticulous detail to gestural soft line.

Do I sound excited? I really was! This was meant to be a separate post altogether but I couldn't wait to tell you. He working in the State Library foyer till Tuesday 5pm when he is due to finish.

I could spend a week in there and camp in the T.I hut. Seriously. I even love the GOMA restrooms! It could be done!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Home School Day 101

It was raining yesterday and this one was knackered. They'd had yet another late night school concert and B2 doesn't cope with sleep loss. Poor pet. However, once he emerged from bed there were still some pretty good life lessons to be had over the course of the 'sick' day.Lessson 1: ROAD SAFETY
Do not ever bask on a warm road at night. This poor fellow learnt the hard way! For the overseas folk, I think it's a carpet snake, fondly tolerated by many Brisbanians for the job they do keeping vermin down. Even they won't eat bush turkeys though.
When one door closes...
another one opens. This giant soft toy was bequeathed on us a couple of Christmases ago as a hand me down. It has spent much a of last year languishing under the house. I brought him up to take him to the oppy but was met with short resistance. So I resorted to trickery. Having restrained Shorty in her car throne, I stashed Tigger in the back unbeknownst to her. We got lots of beeping horns and waves on the way to Ron and Brian's.
After she had scored some Teletubby op shop booty as a distraction I reattached her to her seat and unloaded the noble flea bag behind her back. It was a bit like leaving your dog at the pound and, yes, there was some guilt as I sped away. He will make an only child with more floor room very happy.

The op shop karma bank has clearly not recognised this deposit as yet. There was only a nice 1982 Australian tea towel, an embroidery ring and a pretty pillowcase which is not vintage so I should be able to cut into it.
Asphyxiated by the old food fumes embedded in the Stinky Winky, the Divine Ms M was rendered incapable of noticing the loss of Tigger. She was pretty darn chuffed with Stinky and (I shamefully confess, a Barney DVD).
There was also a dear deer and then when we crossed over into a parallel retail universe we found this cute patchwork one at Typo. I like Typo.
I like Mor Marshmallow soap too. Restricted in my cosmetic range by impatience with painted ladies at counters and limited birthday vouchers, I rarely buy myself yummy things like this. In fact this range of stuff is discontinued. I mourned it's demise over a year ago then it reappeared near Typo in a liquidation store significantly cheaper than it was before. I can shower in this stuff and be transported from every domestic ghoul there is. It is feel-good escapism marred only by one negative experience. I once picked a box of it up off Lairy Godmother's kitchen bench to inhale. As I waxed lyrical about its contents and opened the lid up to my face I inhaled, to my horror, the scent of their dear, departed, pet Mousey. Pretty packaging had become a pet coffin! It has to be good stuff to overcome that memory!
How we all love the old 'resilience' chestnut, the most popular jargon words in primary schools today. Bereft at the Stinky Winky's departure into the vortex of clean....
Shorty was happy to bathe in the same room ...
if not the same receptacle.
Having learnt all these lessons, B2 returned refreshed and enlightened to play in the swimming carnival today. Can you spot him?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Surprise!

Today I was surprised and a bit startled to find I had received an award in Blogworld. Surprised because I'm new at this and did not expect it. Startled because I'm new at this and don't know what to do when something different to the norm pops up. Seriously, even the simplest e-things seem tricky to me. This is the first link dinky thing I've participated in. It seems the polite and sincerely grateful thing to do. My name is Annie and now I am a Versatile Blogger.

When Annie from Knitsofacto passed this parcel to me she wrote about why she blogged. I could not think of one clear reason why I was doing it. It took some consideration and a few days to come up with a few answers.

. Blogging records a part of my life that I dearly cherish so that I can recall the details and trivia in years to come. Sometimes life with five offspring is too busy to smell the roses over the soccer socks and nappies but with the last one there has been more time. I am eternally grateful to this surprise child for giving me a pause in the cannonball run that life was becoming.

. I was encouraged to start a blog for a long time by a couple of friends whom I admire and enjoy the company of, both in real life and on their posts. One I have known since the birth of our first children and we've been through a lot of life's big ones together. The other I met as a blogger and got to know her through a series of very enjoyable and funny comment dialogues over a year or so. She was the first blog friend I met in real life. These two are naturally the first people I'll pass this award on to.

. I have lovely friends in real life but we don't always have common interests. They have different passions and likes and that's fine too. In fact, very few of my friends and family know I have this blog but that may change as I gain confidence. However, it is lovely to share with like minded bloggy souls. There are women at my children's school who would be horrified at the thought of entering an op shop when, in fact, I get all a- quiver. It's the thrill of the hunt and all that. See! I couldn't tell them that. Sometimes when you've been out of your own shoes as a woman with a career, colleagues and the associated respect and you step into Mummy shoes for a few years, it is comforting and healthy to regain your voice in this gentle way.

. It seems to me that the bloggy community I have stumbled into is so supportive and kind and likeable that it is rebuilding my confidence in making art and even in having a public opinion. Sometimes it can give some objectivity to a complex situation or a paint colour just by writing about it but also in some of the sage advice offered by the comment contingent.

. It's fun.

Anyway, I'm still learning, enjoying it and expecting to finish the year that I put aside to try it out.

Here are some of my go to Blog favourites who are versatile and interesting always. Some of them may have already had this award. (Did I do this right?)

*Anna at Shiny Happy Art (artistica)

*Carmel at Make mine Mid-Century (eclectica)

*Bungalowgirl at Bungalow Bliss (other eclectica)

*Justine at I found you just in time...(Poetica)

*Zigsma at Ope Shope Hope (Musica)

Thanks, Annie

Christmas List

2011 Christmas List

. Automated sock retriever, washer and sorter... acme Sockmeister?

. Three of the most expensive and fabulous skateboards known to the Western World for around $1000 all up. (They're dreaming.)

. Signed paperwork for a large extension to the house including a studio/ panic room/ hideout. (I'm dreaming.)

. A Section of the Fire Swamp from the Princess Bride with the Pit of Despair and secret tree entrance to be used as the Best Boys' Base in the world. Excellent for sleepovers! (or panic room/ hideout)

. A beach cottage for Nanna and Grandad to live on the water and smell and hear and walk by the sea every day. Me borrowing it. (studio/ panic room)

. A permanent part time job as an art teacher in a nearby school with flexible hours and a huge media budget all for me.

. An extra six hours in each day to achieve a few other things besides colourful stacks of jolly folded laundry.

.Tickets and baby sitters for some of the shows I really wanted to see over the last ten years. We could go to them in situ via a jet with a bed for huge quantities of uninterrupted sleep.

. Huge quantities of uninterrupted sleep.

. A pill to cure snoring so I could get uninterrupted sleep.

. All next year's school fees paid in advance.

. A world at peace with well fed children in it who at least own shoes if not the most expensive and fabulous skateboards in the whole world. Yes! Really!

. A global virus that renders all play stations and x boxes nerdy and uncool.

. Happiness trumping unhappiness for all my loved ones and everybody else as long as we're fantasising here.

What's it matter? We'll be getting none of the above and having a great time with my huge, dysfunctioning family as always. I can't even remember what I got last year but I had a ball.

On that note here's the touching Christmas carol my 8 year old came home with this year.

The Stowaway and Bartlett's Booty!

Something big and green and furry came back with me from Anna's. I found it in a black garbage bag in the boot with a few other odds and ends. It was a bit like a sample bag from the Ekka. There was also this clever print kit of one of my favourite Anna paintings which I now have to make into something special for Floss- maybe for Christmas. I can't decide what to make yet- tote bag, cushion, softy or just to frame it...? There was also a great print on canvas which I love, a hand-me-down Dora t-shirt which Shorty loves, a car seat which I forgot to take out of the car...
and these Martha Stewartesque puffy things. Lala loves them. Apparently they are easy to make so I'm thinking a big bunch of red and green and white ones might work somewhere for the feisty season.
There was a bit of other stuff in the hoarder daughter's room. She doesn't so much line things up like Flossy, but rather sets out tableaux. We like to call her room the 'midden'. The big rose pink ashtray was a present from her beautiful Aunty Kath who also painted this lovely canvas for her when she was smaller. Floss has a similar one.
This is one of Lala's own canvases from a few years ago when all the foursome made themselves paintings based on their names with collaged newspaper and old house paint samples. Remember Wattyl Turkish Bread? I know a couple of you have it on your walls!
Can you guess her name from this lovely bit of mixed media grunginess?
Here is Santa in his civvies handing out presents in the park. This man should be a Santa as he adores the littlies, is the gentlest man alive and has all the white hair going on. We met with Grandad's seven brothers and sisters and their offspring and offspring's offspring.
Look what Flossie got! She felt the package and thought it was a book but was overjoyed to find Brobie from the Woomba. Nobody show Anna's kids this post!
They have been inseparable. Needless to say I did not get to sleep in my bed last night. The Big Fella has gone kayaking to an island to sleep on a mosquito infested beach tonight just to get a good night's sleep. Apparently Brobie has a devilish wit and has already usurped Roadkill Teddy.
I have brought back another souvenir from Mrs Bartlett's and it is called Studio Envy. I wish I had taken photos of her Aladdin's cave of a workshop. Santa's elves would be right at home! Meanwhile this is my 'studio' at the moment and it's not pretty.

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