Easter Tues
For someone who doesn't have too much disposable income I sure seem to have a pile of new books to cart up to bed with me at the moment. Bit of cooking, bit of fiction, bit of good craft, bit of bad craft. I know the cooking styles of Curtis Stone and Bill Grainger are pretty, well, boring but I have to feed a 16 month old boy, 15 year old girl, a 40 year old truck driving historian, my mother (age undisclosed) and myself every night. That's four generations, five hungry appetites. Sometimes simple food is the best. It's always a great day when the new McEwan comes out. I'm still devastated by On Chesil Beach. But what we really want to talk about is the craft right?
I know some people are a bit freaked out by the intarsia/ fair isle explosion that is Kaffe Fassett but I have to admit I love it. It's so crazy, so English (despite Fassett originally hailing from the US) and so DIFFICULT. when I worked at Craft Victoria there was a regular customer who came in wearing a full Kaffe hand knit coat which I was just blown away by. I'd attempt this amazing scarf  but it takes 23 colours and Rowan tweed is currently $15 a ball - you do the math. But I'll add it to my 12 book strong collection of his work.
As for this Felties madness I had to laugh when I read the disclaimer at the the beginning stating that these were not toys and shouldn't be given to children. Um ok, so I make them for myself then? Bury me with my Felties! Line the dashboard of my car with Felties! So Cute! So useless! does anyone have the time? This is the craft equivalent of beany babies. blech...
still I am making the pensive rabbit to wear as a brooch to Mass on Sunday. Fool that I am.
Thom and I are branch hunting this morning. These Easter chickens need a home  (at the moment they seem to be hiding in Thom's toybox).




The ladies of HML  are having a bit of a time of it this past week. Overwhelmed by sick kids, work commitments, family tragedy, printer issues, no sleep and just general mayhem Easter has snuck up on us. I spent all last week making flowers (the paper ones above went to Wilkins and Kent) and I didn't have much time for making anything apart from wailing noises when it all got too much for me. I'm trying to get back into the spirit of the season by turning to Easter crafting. There are daily projects to keep me occupied, the first of which is to finish my Easter craft from last year! I'm off to spotlight this afternoon for ribbon and beads to finish them off. then to Darebin park to find a good branch to hang them off. I have work overdue,washing to do, articles to write. Sometimes craft has to be the priority!



bakers dozen

We're a little inundated with zucchini here at the moment, so we've been working through as many courgette configurations as we can manage, and to be honest we're just about over it. Let's just say we're pretty much at the "If I eat another zucchini I may shoot myself stage" . However today I was inspired to try something new, and had someone coming over for afternoon tea I needed to impress, so I took a deep breath, picked more of the blasted things and got busy in the kitchen. Suprisingly in just over an hour I managed to whip up a couple of batches of these mini zucchini, carrot, date and walnut cakes which I have to say were unbelievably delicious ( if I do say so myself). And a piece of cake (sorry) to make. So here's the recipe for anyone else out there who's vegetabley challenged at the moment. Oh just in case I should confess that I was baking these at the same time as a peach and apple crumble so you may have to adjust the oven temp and cooking time accordingly for best results of course you could just make a peach and apple crumble at the same time.

1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1 large zucchini grated
1 large apple grated
4 large dates, roughly chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup raw sugar
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups sifted SR flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg

Preheat oven tp 180 degrees
Combine walnuts, grated apple, grated zucchini in a large bowl with the sugar, buttermilk, oil and eggs and mix well. Stir in flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spoon mix into large muffin patty pans in large muffin tray (mix will make 18 mini cakes this size) and plonk a walnut on the top of each one. Bake for around 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and golden brown on top. take out of tray when cooked and cool on wire rack. apparently they'll keep in the fridge for around 5 days... if they last that long.




This week we were lucky enough to hook up for a lunch date with I Make Stuff  participant and international art superstar Takashi Iwasaki. AND HE IS AWESOME!!! He told us to look out for a guy with green glasses and a pony tail, so we knew in advance we were in for a treat - he's been here on tour checking out Melboure after a month long sting back in his native Japan, and weirdly enough,as it turns out has been based in none other than our home suburb Northcote (well doesn't everyone?). For those who need reminding here's one of his amazing watercolours.

It was fantastic to meet him and talk about the local craft/art scene as well as finding out fascinating facts about his adopted home in Winnipeg... after all you know how fetishistic Ramona and I are about Canada, snow, mountains, moose -what more do we need to say! Needless to say got busy planning new adventures with our new best freind. Stay tuned!




There's so much on in Melbourne at the moment that our heads are literally spinning -seriously  too many things to mention so we're just going to send you over to the L'Oreal Fashion Festival cultural program guide 'choose your own adventure' style and let you be the judge... don't worry it will all be pretty good, and some things will be excellent just get out amongst it while it's all happening. We will however make the following reccomendations to help get you started:

Get your stripey tops on and get to it. He is a GENIUS people!!!
Films include: The Day Before (image above): Jean Paul Gaultier (2009), The City of Lost Children (La cite des enfants perdus) (1995), Falbalas (1944), The Falbalas of Jean Paul Gaultier (Les Falbalas de Jean Paul Gaultier) (2004) Unmissable.
ACMI Federation Square
Thursday March 11 – Friday March 19
Adult Tickets $13 Concession $10

Genius! During the Festival Glitzern will be jammed packed full of all kinds of earrings for all kinds of ears. Its ears and ornaments everywhere including the biggest earrings in the world (it's official) exhibited by guest artist Narelle Desmond.
1A Crossley Street, Melbourne

Monday March 8 – Saturday March 20

The Knitted Assassin is a collection of artworks by Jud Wimhurst based on the idea of identity and self-expression through fashion and the idea that fashion is for everyone – in this case, a fictitious collection created for assassins. Featured works include knitted balaclavas in different 'outrageous and surreal' designs with a matching knitted handgun. Worth seeing for the title alone.
8 Inkerman Street, St Kilda

Sunday March 14 – Monday March 22

Also once again people it's time to Make it Work! The new season of Project Runway starts tonight on Arena at 8.30 with an all-star spectacular, we are beyond excited seeing as we are getting another dose of our some of our favourite fashionita's from seasons past including Santino, Sweet P and Daniel V. Awesome we are beyond excited.

AND While all this fashion festivalling is happening here a little something came across our desks that shows that some exciting  things are still happening in other parts of Australia- so for all you out of towners here's our pick of the week.

by Melinda Young
An interesting proposition combining multimedia and jewellery sees Sydney based artist Melinda Young
making threadworks inspired by and as a compliment to a series of video installations by Dutch artist Fiona Tan. Each neckpiece  follows on from an earlier body of work last seen at Craft Victoria entitiled Take a ball of thread'  (which by the way was excellent for those that missed it) The works hav been made from hand spun sewing thread as a response to the interior and exterior landscapes of the body, and following the visual and symbolic cues from Tans photographic images.
Threadworks at Pablo Fanque
March 19 to June 12, 2010
Fiona Tan's video installations are screening in the following two venues:

Sherman Contemporary ArtFoundation
16–20 Goodhope Street, Paddington

National Art School Gallery
Forbes Street, Darlinghurst



pumpkin head

The first pumpkin here at hq finally ripened on the vine... it took a LONG time to get to this point, and we were both thrilled and trepidatious about cutting into the little beastie, and finding out what it was like inside. Because you never really know with the first home grown gourd.

Thankfully it was a delectable golden yellow: firm, juicy and everything we'd hoped it would be - to look at at least. But the proof as they say is in the eating, so I whipped up a one pot blonde minestrone (which also utilised some of our humungous harvest of zucchini) complete with oversized parmeson  and garlic crouton  to see how it tasted.

the answer? Delicious with a capital D, in fact the best butternut i've ever tasted. Thank god we've got another five or so on their way, becuase now we've got a long list of pumpkin recipes to try out from pumpkin gnocci with sage butter to japanese adzuki beans with pumpkin, kombu and sesame seeds, not too mention scones with the last of the apricot jam stash. Hurry up little pumpkins - we're hungry.



 sugar and spice and all things nice

Zine might not be the right word for Spoonful. This little happiness companion is more like a hard copy version of the loveliest blogs you've ever seen complete with Etsy shop listings, gorgeous photos and short and sweet entries to make you smile. There is something charming about receiving this little tome via snail mail. It can clear up those little dark clouds that hang over our heads every now and then. It's like the opposite of Craftbusters (we are pretty sure no glue sticks or Officeworks employees were used in the production!) but often opposites attract and we are quite smitten. A Spoonful of happiness indeed.



myth making

With the Fashion Festival in full flight (hard to say before coffee) we are most looking forward to Figment - a new show at E.G Etal with some of our favourite jewellers responding to a really interesting brief from curator Fleur Watson. The makers had to draw on personal memories of a fable or myth -what a high falutin idea!With Katherine Bowman, Michaela Bruton, Anna Davern, Natalia Milosz-Piekarska, Jessica Morrison, Karla Way and Katherine Wheeler all part of the show the work is sure to be as diverse as it is beautiful. We hear there is a 'bespoke' installation for the show by French graphic designer AnneLaure Cauvigneaux. We love bespoke - the word, the idea, its all fabulous as is befitting the festival! Ms Wheeler also has a great show on at handheld gallery. 

I will be particularly interested in seeing Katherine Bowman's work (I got a sneak peek a couple of weeks ago) and because I am the proud new owner of her beautiful silver and lapis lazuli ring.
What I love most about her work is the level of personal detail. Each piece quietly imbued with the mark of the maker. And it's a pleasure to spend time with, not intrusive but great company. A lot like Bowman herself.
We know there are a lot of links in this post but take the time to check some out - jewelers make great bloggers!




While working on ideas for the insert coin here project, I spent an evening trying to re-capture the essence of my 80's hobby of making spangly soft sculpture jewellery. (Oh yes people clearly I have no shame and have outed yet another dodgy pastime from my closet of crap craft) Anyhoo... I couldn't find any lycra in the fabric stash to get started, so was on the hunt for an equally stretchy alternative  - given we have an 18month old 'in-situ' we are a overly blessed with balloons. Snap! A whole new crap craft: Balloon embellishing.

Personally I think these are totally freaky, but Ramona was dead keen on me showcasing them to the world via HML. So here they are in all their poddy glory.

As you can see incredibly time consuming, alarmingly unattractive and complelely useless. Perhaps she was having me on.



For those of you that have not had enough ball talk over the last couple of weeks here is an update:
The first lot of balls from the Insert Coin Here roaming exhibition were at Craft Victoria.Which was a good thing because I was determined to snaffle up some goodies early, and well placed to get in first. I was also extremely lucky, because as it turned out the first 150 balls sold out in a couple of hours!

Imagine my delight as my first ball rolled out of the machine and I discovered i'd hit the $2 jackpot!

I'd been coveting this 'hairyman' since I saw him on the website - I LOVE LOVE LOVE cut and paste puppetmaster Alexander Ouchtomsky's weird little creatures, and this Micro Gunski (his official title) just seemed like he was made for me, or perhaps The Mighty Boosh (same thing tho really).
Anyhoo, I thought I should also pick up a little something for my compadre Rambo while I was at it...

and can you believe it - another Jackpot, a string and porcelain necklace by geometric ceramicist and jeweller extrodinaire Deirdre Hoban. wah-hay! I really want to head on down to Alice Euphemia next week and try my luck again, these machines are addictive - like art and craft pokies.
and while we're still talking balls I should let y'all know that tonight is the Insert Coin Here opening party  Launch at 1000 £ Bend, 361 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne.  7-11pm The entry is free but the balls will cost you.
I finally managed to crack a mention on the cool kid broadsheet Three Thousand yesterday... (I knew not even the uber hip could stay immune to diamond daves charms) the intern will be so impressed.
Oh and Craftbusters has been updated! what a hoot.




Monday was Labor Day here in Melbourne, which means a public holiday, which means a barbeque. This particular one was for my italian in-laws, and extended family, and while I would have loved to have whipped up a pav or cheesecake for the event all I had time to do was buy a packet of chocolate ripple biscuits and a couple of cartons of cream. Thankfully I also managed to have a delicious punnet of organic strawberries and some 70 % cocoa lindt chocolate hanging about. Having also splashed a little alcohol into the mix I realised that in fact  'the chocolate ripple method' is very similar to the tiramisu method (well kind of). Hence it's new monniker at ours: Bogunmisu. It certainly made it much easier to explain to the in-laws.



the emperors new clothes

We're not going far this week for our fashion festival fix - these three shows opening at Craft Victoria on Thursday night will provide enough to contemplate with a diverse range of garment related works made from books to body parts.

Kate James: The Work of Worry is Never Done

Kate James is worried: about animals, about people, about technique. In this exhibition she has created an exquisite range of horsehair Jewellery created using repetitive incredibly time-consuming and precise techniques that include horsehair hitching, tapestry, hand spinning, knitting, hairwork and rope-making.
The show is thematically centred around the concept of anxiety and these ancient craft techniques used to make works replicate a common feature of anxiety: whereby thoughts, images or actions are repeated over and over. While the use of hair in jewellery takes its cues from Victorian mourning jewellery, the art of Horsehair Hitching dates back to as early as 600-800 AD in Spain.

Interestingly it was a craft adopted by Midwest prisoners in the USA during the mid 19th century, as a measure to make constructive use of the prolonged time they had at their disposal while incarcerated. It takes about an hour to hitch 1 inch. And that doesn't take into account the time preparing and finishing the hairs for hitching. Very Definately Slow Craft.

Nicholas Jones & Warren Harrison: Without Bias
Book sculptor, Dandy and mustachiod and man about town Nicholas Jones and up and coming fashion designer Warren Harrison of made by warren have worked on a collab of late to create works that explores the technique of binding as a cross-over point in their respective practices. We love a collab, and we love books and as for fashion... well we just wish we had figures and bank balances that could indulge our passion properly.

In Without Bias, Harrison has incorporated basic book-binding techniques to create garments with a distinctively bookish twist.While Jones has made a series of sculptures from books about textiles, garment construction and fashion design which take their inspiration from the tools of the fashion trade (scissors, needles, thread).

Adele’s practice uses the body both as location and material, fashioning ‘garments’ by manipulating the skin you’re in. Apart from her extensive background in fashion she has also worked as a special effects artist on a range of b-grade movies. And you know how much we love both b-grade cinema AND a makeover show. This could well be our perfect exhibition.
All in All well worth coming to the openings on Thursday night just to see what Nick will be wearing, and perhaps what Adele will not.



Due to popular demand the ladies of HML now have a permanent blog address for Craftbusters. Updated every Friday. Good for a craft laugh. Coz lets face it, it can be funny. Bookmark it, blog roll it, enjoy it!



to market
I got a real bee in my bonnet this week about heading up to Daylesford for the farmers market and the Makers Market. I'd been seeing them pop up on other peoples blogs and the idea of staying in Melbourne doing housework just wasn't going to cut it. So the boys, Maggie and myself headed out despite the ominous clouds.
We were so lucky with the weather. We managed to get around the whole Farmers market and make it back to the car just as the heavens opened up. We then managed to find a parking spot on the main street just outside the Makers Market - miraculous!
The Makers Market was actually really sweet with lots of great kids clothes, some terrific music and most importantly shelter from the gathering storm

By the time we got back to the car the heavens had opened up and the drive to Woodend was the slowest we've ever had. Quite scary at the time, but incredibly beautiful. I took nearly 100 photos on the short drive!

We had to go via Woodend for one reason only...
despite driving in the rain and coming home to a flood in the bathroom it was a lovely lovely day.

oh and what did we get from the Farmers market? Beer made in someone's garage, olive oils infused with lemon and basil, kangaroo salami, lemons, potatoes,capsicum, corn, tangello marmalade, two kinds of feta, a butterscotch and date pudding for Easter, north African spice mix, and fresh pistachios on special request from Miss Pen Pen. 
From the Makers Market a little wool/cotton collar (reversible) for the Intern and a cute screen printed tee for Thom. 
We spent way too much money and got a little damp and cold. But what a great way to spend a Saturday!



sew easy
Regular readers of HML will know that I am no seamstress (the sewing machine is really Becks dept) but god knows I try. I might add that in the past five years, through trial and error and asking questions, reading books and watching instructional videos on youtube (how to make bias binding, how to mitre a corner on a quilt, even how to use interfacing - seriously I had no idea) I've got some simple sewing skills under my belt

So this week as work has calmed down a little I'm making the above trousers out of the below fabric. Thom needs 'going out to cafe, gallery, library' trousers - all his other clothes seems to have permanent dirt stains on the knees. I read on someone's blog it took them 1 hour to make them. I'm giving myself a week.
I've also splashed out on this GORGEOUS book by Heather Ross after her seeing her make a simple sun dress on Martha
I'm very keen on this kimono-ish frock but am terrified of setting sleeves. So I've given myself March to complete this one (there may be a bit more youtubing I suspect).
And really the only reason I am allowing myself these indulgences before I start my winter knitting (more on that tommorow) is because I have nearly (after a year) finished this
I think this was for Maggie last mothers day, then birthday, then Christmas and I never quite got there. but I'm nearly done. Lucky I had this beautiful fabric by Saffron Craig to work with. Actually this fabric would be great for that skirt on the front of the book.
I'm hoping as my skills improve so will my speed. I've found to get things perfect I need to move like a big old tortoise. just keep going, just very sloooooowly.