We couldn't get enough of it this week. It may be because we are hard at work preparing for an exhibition as part of this years Melbourne Scarf Festival in June. Regular readers will have heard us make mention of Spod and we are happy to report progress is well underway.

Spod. Scarf +Pod. This week was all about planning, plotting, dreaming and scheming...oh and cutting. Which can be quite scary but even we were excited by the results. It's an exciting time for us and we'll keep you posted as to Spods progress.


knit two together


As you have probably already guessed by this weeks entries the HML team have turn their attention to all things knitted. The chill of Autumn is in the air, the football season has started and root vegetables are coming into season (watch out for pear and parsnip soup in coming weeks). This means it's time to dust off the needles, buy some overpriced yarn and get to work on the winter woollies.

It's always good to start with a small project that you can finish quickly and show off immediately, especially if you are like us and can't stand sewing up garments.

We know the scarf is the craft equivalent of a cliche but who can resist this quick knitting fix?


knitted nuptiuals


cast off wedding

UK knitting collective 'Cast Off 'managed to whip up an entire knitted wedding, dress, cake, decorations, flowers and all. Those of us that weren't lucky enough to attend the ceremony in person can take a peek at the wedding album online... ah those eccentric English


knit one, purl one


The pink tank cosy, knitted as part of a peace protest in Copenhagen

Dave Cole's "knitting machine" in it's full patriotic glory

Arizona based textile artist Mark Newport giving his spiderman cozzie the final touches


gettin' knitty wit it


Winter is truly upon us. We've pulled on the bedsocks, stoked the fire (well the central heating ) and turn our attention to this seasons knitting projects. The hml team love to knit but we aren't so hardcore. Like most of you leading a handmadelife our interests are diverse and demanding. In our dream world there are unlimited hours to make beautiful things but in reality we are lucky to get a knitted project for winter finished in time before the balmy breeze of summer blows in.

First things first...

Inspiration is needed so we turn to our fine collection of knitting books that range from lovely pamphlets printed in 1973 (white crocheted bell bottoms anyone?) to the latest slick feminist tract on why knitting is actually about empowering women (yes you can have it all didn't you know? And wear a stylish poncho at the same time!)

We take all that with a grain of salt. But we do turn to the knitting tomes for inspiration. Current favourites include:

This is probably one of the most beautful knitting books on the market and we have to confess not one single project from the book has been completed.
Why recommend it?
Because it's about being transported into a world where you have the time to curl up on the couch drink hot chocolate (recipe included) and knit quietly while watching dvds of all the films that feature someone knitting(list included). Those fingerless gloves are looking pretty good right about now...

When the HML team finally makes it to New York one of our first ports of call will be the yarn shop 'Purl'. But for now we'll make do with owner Joelle Hoversons stunning book 'Last Minute Knitted Gifts'.
Hats, scarves, potholder, bags all make an appearance but there are some neato surpises - the yoga mat bag for you healthy friends (mad as they are) and possibly the best knitted elephant ever devised. Be warned -
not so last minute. I'm not the slowest knitter in the world but I needed a good four to six hours on most things in the book. Legwarmers...excellent
Erika Knight has published some really beautful knitting books, all of which are inspirational. The lushest example is 'Simple Knits with a Twist' which is the kind of book you take to bed with you in the hope that you'll have dreams where you have the time and $400 to spend on Rowan yarns to make a patchwork quilt, or knit a pair of boudoir slippers out of silk ribbon. purlease! Wire basket is great fun and fast. Lovely book.

The books listed are not intended to teach you how to knit or to really provide you with practical projects. But do offer inspiration and some good bedtime reading. We picked ours up at Amazon but your local knitting shop or Borders should be able to get these for you.

Of Course HML already have a winter project...SPOD. we'll keep you posted...

spod week one
amazon bookstore



re-discovering our inner accountant... at the affordable art show

after spending some 'quality' time inside the venue we decided that aside from the work of dark art diva Irene Grishin-Selzer, most of the affordable art actually existed outside the walls of the exhibition building... Viva street culture.

The rest of the week was spent readying ourselves for the onslaught of 'SPOD' a new exhibition project from the workshop of handmadelife. A little something special for the 4th annual Melbourne Scarf Festival. Scarf + Pod = Spod

first comes the knitwear, next?


dark arts


Iggy & Lou lou

The HML crew are long standing admirers of the Iggy & Lou Lou aesthetic and we thought it high time you knew all about it. This exquisite range of hand crafted porcelain jewelry and homeware comes from the studio of Irene Grishin Selzer, craft queen and all round good egg. The website gives you a window into this wonderful and inspiring world.

Images are diverse and rich with historical references and meaning.

Victorian-era styling with lace textures embedded into the porcelain. For beauty queens and warrior queens alike, these are tokens imbued with myth, music and mystery that will Images are diverse and rich with historical references and meaning. Victorian-era styling with lace textures embedded into the porcelain. Skeletons and skulls, butterflies and anchors.

For the Red Riding Hood in you there are woodland creatures to guide you through the forest – including the big bad wolf. For the Film Noir femme fetal a cameo at the collar may be best. Special pieces that hold a sense of history with a completely modern twist, making them magically timeless.

For beauty queens and warrior queens alike, these are tokens imbued with myth, music and mystery that will instantly become your good luck charms.

Iggy & Lou Lou


climb every mountain


BECK: with all the interest in affordable 'new' art at the moment I thought I'd pull out a recent acquisition from my own collection of cheapskate masterpieces. I am amassing quite a collection of lowbrau tapestries and this example is an absolute corker. A majestic mountainscape straight from the heart of the motherland, although it does makes me feel like I should be at an Oktoberfest waist deep in lederhosen.

cheers Deiter!


I dont want your money honey I want your art


Art Melbourne O6

With the promising line of "75% of all art under $5,000!" you can see why it's no longer called the affordable art show. Our idea of affordable is a noice print from Ikea for under 20 bucks or the tapestry treat Beck picked up as Craft Find of the Week.

No matter, HML supports any attempt to bring art to the masses and we know for a fact that there is a small but wonderful craft contngent there too. We'll be heading straight to the 'Off the Wall' section to support Melbourne ceramicist & jeweller Irene Grishin Selzer who has been hand picked to fly the flag of craft.

Rock on Irene!

Art Melbourne 06 Royal Exhibition Building Carlton Gardens 20-23 April. tix are a not so affordable $20 (so take a cut lunch people!)


hop to it!


It was a cold and miserable Good Friday here in Melbourne Town and what better way to spend it than in the kitchen? We know we know it's all very 1950's, but sometimes we get the urge to bake and bake we did.

We also plotted world domination, discussed current IR policy (grrr) and argued about the Christian myth of a man rising from the dead so it was a productive day all round.

Mind you we had conveniently forgotten that the process really does take all day ( factor in a dozen cups of tea and alot of chatter).

If you are going to undertake this project then a long weekend is the ideal time. If you can rope in a friend, or a child, or a childish friend then all the better.

Even we were impressed with the outcome.

Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe

Icing Inspiration


I smell something fishy


letters to the editor....

BECK: Ok I'll admit it my Dad is kinda nuts, but we love him here at HML, especially when he tries to get a gig writing for us by sending us semi-anonymous letters via email like the one below...

"Dear Handmadelife Bloggers,

I have followed with interest your blog site and have decided to assist by submitting a short article for your consideration .

Please advise if you wish me to continue submitting articles and the amount you would pay for such contributions.

The first article I would submit is my own recipe for red dye which is usefull for tie- dying amongst other things.

First stage is collection of the natural primary ingredients which is conducted in an aquatic environment by hand using basic manual implements and it does necessitate a considerable amount of skill as well as a particular unfeeling and coarse personality such as I am favored to possess.

I have included an image of one of the basic ingredients collected during this week as well as a picture of one of the collection vessels filled with the ingredients for your perusal.

Your opinions of the suitability of this article for publication in your Blog Site would be appreciated. "

we love the addition of instructional images,
keep up the good work Fred we're considering your offer ...




You know we had grand plans that involved marbelling, tissue paper, egg cartons and a hot glue gun. But quite frankly we just haven't even managed to make breakfast. It's a curious thing when you think of yourself as a crafty kid but a whole week can go by where there is nothing to show for it. We're so happy Good Friday is a holiday so we can take the phone off the hook and make stuff.

We know that many of our readers sneak us in during bored meetings and water cooler talk so we wanted to take the opportunity to wish you all a happy and crafty Easter and to let you know that our Weekend Edition will be worth getting to the computer for.

Jesus himself may rise early just to bear witness on our dexterous use of the piping bag. Bless!


clucking funny


This weeks website pick is brilliant and the best use of post it notes we've come across yet... Especially poignant given the exalted position egglets find themselves in at this time of year we invite you to discover your inner giblet at Doug Savages' Savage Chicken's blog.

You may also finally get the answer to the age old "which came first?" question, although you're more likely to get some wiseass chicken making a swipe at Jesus, or spouting ninja related haiku...

Savage Chickens is for those of us that always knew that Gonzo loved his feathered girlfriends for a good reason (well beyond their false eyelashes). They know alot more than you think my friends.

Forget the dolphins, these avian dynamos not only know the meaning of life, they know it really has no meaning...bok bok bok.


bright eyes...


BECK: What with it being almost Easter and all I thought I'd turn to my cottontailed craft collection for inspiration and hands down these are one of my best craft finds - period.

I don't know what it is about this pair, but you just know they are baaaaaaad bunnies, up to no good and a long way from Watership Down...

Currently guarding my Queens of the Stoneage and Kyuss collection, I cant help but wonder what mayhem this evil duo will end up creating come Easter...


everything is going to be ok...



This week sees the opening of the new show by the Founder of Flatland and Flagship Mr TimFleming. We know many of you have one of his office set figurines adorning your mantle pieces - or perhaps a pack of dogs, a four leaf clover, a rock band playset or (as is the case at hml headquarters) the word 'cheese' sitting on top of the tv. But there is so much more to this slightly eccentric world that the prospect of seeing new work in a gallery setting is so exciting.

Those of you unfamiliar with his work will be in a for a real treat as he takes over gallery 3 of Craft Victoria. The stage has been set for the inhabitants of Flatland to take us on another neo-craft adventure. The work is engimatic, funny and engaging. It's not asking too much of you, just a little nostalgia and a sprinkle of pop culture to make you sing a little. Opening night Tuesday at 6pm.

Craft Victoria

Flatland & Flagship

show runs until May 6. Craft Victoria 31 Flinders Lane Melbourne City 3000 ph:9650 7775.


everything's coming up roses...


When my grandmother died a few years back, I received her coveted rose bush which I have lovingly cared for ever since. Luckily it seemed to take to me and didn't mind when I prematurely plucked every rose that flowered that year.
As Christmas approached I decided that I would make her daughters, (my Aunts) something with the petals from the bush, just a small reminder of the comfort that she gave all of us, and a tradition was born.

Now that the weather has turned, many of us will be ending our working days by slipping into a nice hot bath. These bath salts are probably the easiest of craft projects. More assembly than craft really.

Any rose petals will do, pick 'em fresh and dry them in a brown paper bag (hey that's crafty) and don't steal your neighbors unless you plan on giving them a jar full of the finished ingredients!

Buy good rock salt, you can go gourmet or supermarket saxa depending on your budget.

I like to add a little tea to the mix for a bit of extra bouquet, as with the salt you can get your hand picked French floral tea or a regular twinings teabag - raspberry and peach seems to work well, and empty out the contents.

Place all ingredients bar a handful off the petals in a big bowl and mix together with your hands or wooden spoon. The petals will start to break down under the salt, so be gentle with your mixing. When it looks right stop.

Spoon your finished bath salts into a noice airtight glass jar, intermittently adding remaining petals throughout the process. When your jar is full, pop your lid on and your done.

easy peasey.


settle petal


Synchronicity. And we don't mean the Police (altho every little thing we do is magic).

We aren't the kind of gals who embrace the dark arts of Flower Arranging, let alone planning nuptial ikebana any time soon but we thought it was astounding that at the very moment we were struggling with our $2.50 craft kits (see yesterdays entry below) Martha Stewart, domestic doyenne and hardcore crafter, was constructing one of the most complex bouquets known to humankind armed with only floral wire and tissue paper.

It freaked us out no end. With no time for the HML team to replicate said bouquet we thought we'd direct you straight to the source so you can at least dream about attaining her zenlike approach to projects (you'll need to invest in a nice linen shirt and pearls first).

marthastewart.com - go on, you know you want to...


if you're going to san francisco...


It's the little things that get us excited at HML. Sometimes when the mood strikes us we like our craft projects in kit form. And hey, when they're under five dollars how can we go wrong? In keeping with this weeks theme we've gone all foam faux floral and we were remarkably impressed with the outcome! Although, as per usual, we didn't quite follow instructions for assembly and our daffodil has taken on more of a freeform look.


every rose has it's thorn

Well we've set the floral theme for this week, and in a complete 180 degree turnaround we move you from the high tea world of Royal Daulton to the lobrow art and craft community of L.A's cannibal flower.... enjoy your trip.


what a dish


RAMONA: When seeking out our floral Craft Find/s of the Week I had almost forgotten about this stash of small dishes tucked in the back of the hutch cupboard. But having pulled these little sweeties out and really examining them I've come to re- admire their delicacy and old world charm.

Hand painted fine bone china is not as coveted as it once was. The names Wedgewood, Coalport, Royal Doulton, Royal Albert are now laden with nostalgia. Let's face it, my favourite dinner set is from (beloved) Ikea.

These small dishes serve no purpose - too good for a butter dish, too twee to sit out on show, to precious to hold keys or paper clips. But I nod to the unknown artists with their fine brushes and patient hands who mastered the art of the peony rose and forget-me-not.


flower power!


the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show... where you can see everything from this:

2004 award winning design by Jack Merlo Landscape Design and Construction

to this:

This week will see HML flush with floral blooms. We'll be tracking down Jamie Durie in an attempt to swindle a HML backyard blitz! We'll also be hoping for some hot ikebana tips, some free seedlings and as many project sheets as we can pack into our complimentary calico bag. I can't promise you'll catch us donning the cactus dress but we have to at least admire the iniginuity- certainly good protection on a first date - keep yourself nice in a prickly pear twin set! We'll be on the look out for the finest blooms, the craziest arrangements and the perfect botanical outfit. We'll keep you posted!

The Melbourne International Flower Show Wed April 5 to Sun April 9. $17.50 Adult tickets. Gates open 9am Royal Exhibtion Buildings and Gardens.


reward challenge


And so our week of Survivor inspired craft draws to a close. But we couldn't leave you without a reward - HMLs very own Trail Mix. Those of you on Exile Island or, as we like to call it, Northland Shopping Centre, are going to need a tasty treat to see you through those lean times.

After a bit of research it turns out trail mix can be pretty much any yum dry engredient you have in the pantry. We chose peanuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts, oaty flakes, pinenuts and almonds...oh and jaffas. Quite frankly you are more likely to find us at the cinema than the campsite this weekend - our trail mix is a perfect alternative to that expensive combo deal!