you wanna know what you're playing for?


Beck Wheelers Anti-Mascot gold medal winnin' Aussie Superhero... "Davo"

and the very close second and equal third anti-mascot minor medal winners

Our regular readers will know that of course this week has been about Survivor but we did manage to get out into the world and see some other amazing sights. The Anti Mascot Project at Platform was a hoot - and had us thinking of a full size knitted Lord Mayor John So.

45 Downstairs Surprised us with Wordly Goods: Fantasy Coffins from Ghana. Nothing makes us happier than a big wooden chicken. When trying to imagine our final resting place it was hard to go past a giant ball of string, combining our love of craft, stationery, spheres and useful things (not to mention string theory).


you lose it out here and you're in a world of hurt


One of hml's favourite movies is Predator... and a favourite scene from said movie is when the Indian chiefs strips naked to the waist, applies warpaint to his cheeks, ties the headband of his fore-fathers firmly around his head and walks unarmed onto the tree bridge to face the dreadlocked beast.

Survivor also uses the tribal headband to great effect, and with this in mind we decided to make ourselves a potato print (hey we're Irish) camouflage HML headband to wear during moments of competitive crafting, alien invasion or just to keep the hair out of our eyes while dusting...


love shack


really given the theme, could it be anything else but this...

Beware those who dont like a spoiler - the U.S. website is weeks ahead of us. You can however use this insiders guide to uncannily predict exiled survivors from week to week and amaze your workmates around the watercooler.

We thought those of you who might not be interested in Survivor per se but still harbour a love of all things bamboo might like to order their own 'Survivor shack' for the backyard. The HML office is being transformed as we speak into Tiki Lounge Splendour. The appeal? If you can lash furniture together with bamboo and rope, mix a mean pina colada and wear a good batik print all the while - what is not to love about that?


bali high...


BECK: A few years back I had myself a genuine tiki lounge in my home to rival Smorgys, complete with a fish filled bar, bamboo lounge-suite, Hawaiian record collection, fake palms and battery operated dancing hula girls. Although the lounge is now history I've never been able to part with the hand carved plastic lighter that sat so proudly next to the coconut monkey ashtray atop the bar.

Given our exile island survivor theme I really couldnt go past it as craft find of the week.

While ugly to some for me it remains a reminder of a more glamorous time of exotic drinks, bad men and dodgy nightclub singers - in other words heaven.

which reminds me where did I put my leopard skin stilettos?


the tribe has spoken


We're revealing quite a lot about ourselves with this weeks pick for the show of the week, but there is currently no prime time show that involves more craft than SURVIVOR. I mean you just have to look at the immunity idols and neckpieces, challenge game pieces and tribal council sets to see that the handmade is alive and well at CBS.
We here at hml love it, although we always wish they'd get a decent carver or basket weaver on the show to make more Gilligans Island type shelters, but I guess without the genius of the Professor or the overseeing eye of Thurston Howell the 3rd where are you...

survivors are you ready?


fig jam



This weekend why not celebrate both the oncoming football season and the delicious fresh figs currently on offer in a nona's garden near you... maybe you get to know your neighbors and trade a jar of the finished product in exchange for the raw ingredients?
We made a batch of fig jam (with sesame seeds) with the fruit from the in-laws tree...
and here's the recipe courtesy of the fabulous online recipe book - epicurious

1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
2 lb firm ripe fresh figs
zest from one lemon
juice from one lemon
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted

simmer sugar sns water in a large heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. gently stir in figs, zest and lemon juice and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thick and syrupy (usually takes between 1 3/4 and 2 hours). Gently stir in sesame seeds.

Jam will keep covered and chilled in the fridge for 1 month.
makes about 3 1/2 cups.



it's a frock off!


Yinka Shonibare The Masked Ball
The most bewitiching video installation ever made is now on show at the NGV:A as part of the Contemporary Commonwealth show. Why this piece isn't at ACMI who are hosting the 'moving' aspect of the exhibition we can only wonder...show runs until May 21

Martin Grant's little black dress
There is still time to see this almost too perfect show at NGV:A (yes we were trapped there this week in an endless loop of beautiful frocks and fancies). The show runs until May 7 but you'll be surprised how quickly time flies (this week was our fourth visit, it's that good).

Now there is something else that has filled this week at HML - anticipation.

We have been counting down the days and feeling a little bit giddy waiting to get get get on down at THE event of the weekend - BOLLYWOOD AT THE BOWL. We believe it's time we put on our boogie shoes, and well, we love bollywood... a lot.
If you want to catch a glimpse of the kind of masala magic that will be on offer we suggest you check out the long limbed Punjabi magic of number one son Mr Abishek Bachchan
whoa! can that boy bust a move.


badge on the run


Nothing like a school holiday activity to make the hml team really happy. And what could be better than discovering the art cart at the NGV:A? This was a dream vehicle packed with paper, pencils, glue sticks and the much coveted badge making machine!

We were on our way to attend a forum or some such important grown up event but were bewitched by the all the possiblities an art cart offers and ended up happily cutting and pasting well past the grown ups time to go home.

Really, who can go past the simple pleasure of making stuff with people you love?


delftly handled Charles


Seeing as we seem to be working blue this week, particularly in regard to all things ceramic, it is with great pleasure that we at HML bring to you the work of Mr Charles Krafft.
Traveler, tale teller, poet, craft journeyman, genuine all round genius.

The ladies of HML take their collective hats off to a man who can fashion both a grenade wielding bunny and Delft patterned Colt 45 with equal aplomb. Definitive multi-tasker he is also the author of some truly wonderful poetry with titles such "A week ago I bought some cheese" and "God told me to give you the finger". We wait with baited breath for the time when some canny curator gets around to bringing the Disasterware downunder so we all may sup from the dark plate of Krafft.

please enjoy your explorations at Villa Delirium.


don't it make your brown eyes blue


RAMONA: This small paperclay ceramic house is one of my most treasured posessions. You may think it is a strange object to have as craft find of the week but hml really wants to stretch what that means. The preciousness of objects is not always obvious. Sometimes it's the story behind them that imbues them with history and significance. Sometimes they wear their preciousness on the outside, as is the case with this weeks object.

My house was 'built' by Susan Robey and was part of her 2003 show Palimpsest at Craft Victoria in 2003. I remember it cost me a weeks pay and it was the first major piece of what has become a love affair with all things blue. Robey trained as an architect and this little house, while seemingly so fragile is built on a solid foundation. It looks different from every angle, it changes with the light and it has become almost like a poem in the shape of an object.

You know when they ask what posessions you would save in a fire? This small blue house would be the first thing I would tuck under my arm.


we just can't contain ourselves


'Cargo Cult: Suburban Racket'...tennis anyone?

If this week art has become like a demonstration sport then surely the Containers Village at Docklands would qualify as the marathon.

43 groups of artists (yes from across the Commonwealth) were invited to respond to the theme 'Empire Games'. There are mixed results and it's quite a gruelling show to trawl through but there are some magical and definitely crafty moments within.

Highlights include 'Cargo Cult: Suburban Racket' from the High Street Project Trust of New Zealand. Their knitted bbq complete with eggs and chops was super cool.

HML was also impressed by the kooky Canadian outfut The Discriminating Gentlemen's Club whose video installation 'Fox Hunt and Memorial Garden' made us laugh out loud.

The challenging 'Warren' curated by Ella Barclay and Vicki Papageorgopolous is a sort of shanty museum that is both inviting and threatening - an installation that swallows you whole.

There is so much on it can be hard to know what to do. Don't be frozen like deers in the headlights, make sure you have your Next Wave and Commonwealth Games guides at the ready, some sensible walking shoes and time enough for rest stops along the way.

Container Village 15-26 March Shed 14 Docklands open 12-8.30pm


Fly the Flag

While attending various Commonwealth Games sporting events (table tennis anyone?) hml has noticed that there is a lot of little flag waving going on. We're not so taken with those polyster tokens of nationalistic pride but we do like to wave our arms about and sing bad songs at the top of our lungs. We've whipped up a small pennant to wave at all future events.

We used our perrenial favourite (felt), a spot 'o' stitching (don't go crazy - it is the weekend after all), and our pinking sheers and hey presto a flag that we can flap loudly and proudly any time we are in the bleachers.

So simple to create and easy to transport. Hmm... getting that knitting needle past security may be tough... Not to worry, it doubles as a hat!


video killed the radio stars


We have to admit this week there wasn't a whole lot of making going on apart from making jokes. It's been about sport, about being tourists in our hometown, being too poor to go to an opening ceremony but lucky enough to be in a first world country where the party outside the arena was more extravagant than the one inside.

Big screen tvs, weightlifting, table tennis and Next Wave. It was about hanging out with family and friends and being so weary from our adventures all we could make was a cuppa tea. And this week was about fireworks. Really beautiful fireworks.

This weekend HML goes live on ABC with Helen Razor at Federation Square, as part of her recent attachment to all things crafty. We'll be talking up our back catalogue of knitting achievements and trying to out pearl each other in a one hour knitathon... feel free to listen in or come and see us prove to an audience of tens that we really do have great faces for radio...


I aint afraid of no ghost


BECK:This week we had grand plans of making up our own stuffed spooks but over ambitious as always we found ourselves out of time and out of inclination by the time we hit the sewing machines. We did however get up to quite a bit this week, including an entertaining but eye burningly long trawl through the free art on offer at Docklands, Fed. Square and ACMI in search of the elusive commonwealth games 'vibe'.
We'll be reporting on said 'vibe' tomorrow.

So for now,
instead of our spooky toys, you've got some drawings...
We promise we made them this week, and they do include ghosts.
And in the immortal words of of the cummerbunded one "two outta three aint bad".

We might be able to face making something more three dimensional by next week's column, although with the fireworks, table tennis and wrestling to attend, we're not making any promises.

RAMONA: Small drawing below...too tired to spook...will spook tomorrow I promise!


may the force be with you


boy knits world

We know it doesn't take much to get us excited in the offices of HML but when we saw Jake Henzler's knitted toys we were a bit beside ourselves. There was something so simple, so genuine and so damn crafty about his work we just had to let y'all know about it.

This Newcastle based designer really is the bee knees. If you are lucky enough to be in the Newcastle area you can see an exhibition of his fine work at Watt Space until April 2. For the rest of us the website is a great window into his woolly wonderous world.

We are particularly fond of this Yoda, even with your basic 8ply knit stitch Jake has managed to capture the jedi master essence.

Clearly this is one knitboy who is at one with the force!


shake your tailfeather


BECK: Ok so I went to a family wedding in Echuca last year, wedding was nice, bride looked beautiful, groom looked terrified, usual stuff... I did manage to slip away from the nuptials (as any HML laydee worth her salt would) and made the most of the shopping strip. I found some pure country craft magic in the shape of this hand knitted numbat, and what a delight it is, especially it's tail which I'm sure used at least 3 Patons fireside 8 ply balls in it's construction. It's a much better souvenier than the 60 y/old boiled lollies they were trying to foist upon us in every store as well...which begs the question what is it with 'historical' country towns and boiled lollies anyway, have they never heard of a pollywaffle?


The king is dead, long live the king


This week sees the biggest show in town roll into Melbourne. If the crew at HML can tear themselves away from the big screen tv at Federation Square we'll be trying to catch up with the extensive arts and culture program that's on as part of the Commonwealth Games - most of which are free (unlike the opening ceremony).

We all know the Queen is here but unless Phillip Treacy starts doing her hats, Alexander McQueen her outfits and Vivian Westwood her shoes we won't get too excited.

That being said there is another side of British aristocracy that we at HML go wild for. As part of the Beaded Links exhibition currently on show at Brunswick's Counihan gallery is a 1930 Pearly King skeleton suit and it is a sight to behold.

The premise of the show is that all Commonwealth nations have a shared heritage of beads and beading. Focussing on the one craft form give the whole thing an optimistic feel - demonstrating our similarities rather than our differences. After all what is so different between The Pearly King and the Yoruba OBA regalia from Nigeria (below)?

Counihan Gallery. 233 Sydney Road Brunswick. Wed - Sat 11-5, Sun 1-5. Show runs until April 9

Below is an excerpt from the official pearly society website http://www.pearlysociety.co.uk that will give you a brief overview of the History of the Pearly Kings and Queens...

The London tradition of the Pearly Kings and Queens began in 1875, by a small lad named Henry Croft. Henry was born and raised in an orphanage in Charlton Street, Somers Town, London, NW1. At the age of 13 he had to leave the orphanage and make his own way in life. His first job was as a Municipal Road Sweeper in the market of Somers Town. Henry worked hard in the market and soon made many friends, he was particularly drawn to the Costermongers who were a tough breed of market traders. He got to know more about their way of life, their generosity and their fashion of smoke pearl buttons sewn on the piped seams of their trousers, jackets, waistcoats and caps. This showed their status as they worked the market stalls from day to day. The Costermongers were caring and looked after each other if they were sick or in need.
Henry was so fascinated by this way of life and decided he would like to help those who were more unfortunate than himself, including the children back at the orphanage where he had spent his early life. He knew that in order to collect a lot of money he needed to draw attention to himself. So as Henry swept the market streets he started to collect all the pearl buttons he found that had fallen off of the clothes of people visiting the market, and when he had enough he started to sew them on his cap and then continued until his entire suit was filled, the very first smother suit.

Because Henry was an orphan he had no one to help him with his suit so he had to learn how to sew. It was this that started the tradition, which is still carried on by descendants of original Pearly Families, that the Kings do all the designs and sewing. Designs on suits tend to run in families but here are a few that you may see and recognise:
Horseshoe = Luck
Doves = Peace
Heart = Charity
Anchor = Hope
Cross = Faith
Wheel = Circle of Life
Symbols of Playing Cards = Life is a gamble
Flower Pots = Costermongers
Donkey Carts = Costermongers
Henry Croft was in so much demand for his charity work, as many of London's hospitals, workhouses and orphanages needed help, that he turned to his friends the Costermongers and they did not let him down. Many of the Costermongers became the first Pearly Families. There were 28 families, one for each of the London boroughs, one for the City of Westminster, and one for the City of London.

Each outfit can hold many tens of thousands of buttons on it and can weigh as much as 30 kilograms or more. There are two types of suit - a Smother Suit and a Skeleton Suit, the former having very little cloth showing and totally covered in buttons, and the latter having far fewer buttons.
It is estimated that when he died in 1930 (aged 68), he had collected over £5000. The equivalent in today's values would be approximately £200,000.
His funeral was a spectacular affair, and was filmed by Pathe News. All of the Pearlies attended (roughly 400) and they followed the coffin to where Henry was buried. The charities that he had helped over the year all pulled together to help pay for a statue of Henry for his grave. Unfortunately in 1995 the statue was vandalised and no longer stands in the cemetery. It has been replaced with a headstone, inlaid with Henry's photograph, so it can be easily found by visitors.
The statue has now been fully restored and can be seen in the crypt at the church of St. Martins in the Field, Trafalgar Square.
The Pearly tradition has survived for over 125 years and hopefully it will continue for many more to come. We still have a few families who can be traced back to the original generation of Pearlies. Henry Croft's family still carries on the tradition with his Great-Granddaughter wearing the title of 'Somers Town'.
by Jon Arrowsmith, the Pearly King of Walthamstow

what an absolute delight they are... Long may they reign.


hot chilli woman


Waste Not Want Not is a creed we here at HML fully endorse. And while crops are bountiful even in the confines of our innercity gardens it's a good time of year to thread up the chillies in preparation for a long cold winter.

They of course look excellent with a pom pom at the end. Remember to use 100% cotton thread and hang where they'll get plenty of air.

They bring a festive vibe to HML headquarters. Perhaps there's still time for one last bbq before daylight savings end?


You've got the look


Young designer of the week, Hope proudly standing alongside her spongebob Chanel inspired jacket, and chux dress ensemble at the fashion happening on March 8.

Well you'd literally have had to spend the entire week in the Diamond Creek shopping centre to have missed out on the Melbourne Fashion Festival. We know we did a lot of talking up of the fabulous array of talent on offer, however there was one particular event that didn't rate a mention in the cultural program that really spoke to us here at HML... and as a result won out as the hottest ticket in town.
Said event included an afternoon tea (complete with scones, jam and cream), rock quiz, and three piece bass-heavy 'tween' covers band, 'Biodegradable'. We think Hope's ode to the domestic goddess took the cake, and probably cleaned up after it as well.


A bird in the hand...


BECK: This week was all about flipping the bird, literally. Pictured above are double sided bird decorations inspired by a batch of 'pretty birdy' cards I made earlier in the week. They were fun to make but a royal pain in the butt to photograph. I'd like to think of a reason for their existence, but I cant think of a single religious or secular holiday that actually requires the hanging of polka dot birds as part of its decorative identity. Still, they're kinda cute... and any excuse to use the term flip the bird is ok in my book.

RAMONA: What is really weird is that as Beck was stanley knifing her way round a robin shape, I too was inspired by our feathered friends and happened to have some polka dotted felt to play with. This was actually done without any discussion in the offices of HML...spooky stuff.


i still haven't found what i'm looking for



It's always magical, when you find that crumpled up piece of paper on the train that has a shopping list, a love letter, a phone number. the folks at Found Magazine have gone one step further and collected them all and now have their own book series and a fantastic website where you can catch a glimpse into other peoples lives by what they have left behind. Take this poster stuck outside a library in North Carolina:


fly away peter, fly away paul


We don't really know who the hell Peter and Paul are, although we suspect they maybe the two nimble fingered fellows responsible for producing this robin red breast sampler we picked up in Wonthaggi. Currently adorning Ramona's studio wall, it features two perennial favorites of HML, cheap felt backing and a delicious faux brass/timber frame.
Excellent work gentlemen.


love of the common people


Common Goods: culture meets through craft.

We here at HML are not known for our love of the earnest. We tend to like our art and life straight up and flying slightly to the left. The Common Goods on show at Melbourne Museum have come about from a series of residencies and partnerships fostered by Craft Victoria and the Festival of Melbourne which have brought together artists from across the Commonwealth. So in between buying tickets for the weightlifing, karak merchandising and wondering what Thorpeeee will be doing with his hair, why not take in some craft with a capital 'C'.
Jenny Bartholemew's kooky creatures (see above) never fail to break the ice at what can often be a dullsville academic soiree, they also make a nice entry point in to what turns out to be an exhibition nowhere near as boring as it sounds in the literature...we promise.

God Save the Queen, really.


And the Oscar goes to...


It's Hollywoods Night of Nights on Sunday and HML plans to celebrate by creating a choc top in honour of all the nominees. This is a weekend DIY job you can really sink your teeth into.

Take some of the best quality vanilla icecream, ice magic, cone, and cake decorating bling and presto... a dessert worthy of any red carpet event. Invite all your friends round and present them all with their own delicious oscar. Everyones a winner baby that's no lie, and choctops never fail to satisfy...