Twice as nice

This weekend, despite grey skies we celebrated the Maxmonster turning two. Yeah i'm wondering just where that second year went as well! After scanning the dodgy array of store bought birthday party decorations all week, and being sadly dissapointed in the choices (fairy, pirate, thomas, spiderman) I decided on hand made bunting and balloons. Overall I was super happy with the result, although perhaps a little less enamoured of the lack of sleep the night before as I whiled away the hours cutting out triangles, then stapling them along crepe paper. 

Food wise it was a bit of a Masterchef special, as I had a crack at Donna Hay's never fail vanilla cupcakes, and Mick whipped up a truck load of Gary's home made sausage rolls. Both went down a treat (thanks Ramona for the last minute icing assistance) Unfortunately the sausage rolls were devoured before I managed to snap a photo. Probably an excellent reccomendation for the recipe i'd say!

We decorated the pre blosson crab apple with some of Max's stuffed toys, which he found completely hilarious, so much so that I think every toy in his collection ended up there by the end of the morning.

Unfortunately for poor Muji there were some not so Dog lovin' little peeps at the party, so he was confined on a lead within begging distance of the food table, which of course he worked to his best advantage...(Maybe that's where all the sausage rolls went?)

We had a red hot crack at setting up a bit of adventure playground action in the backyard, which the birthday boy thankfully gave a big thumbs up. And after much running, sliding, tunnelling, bucketing, driving, tipping and digging it was time for some time out while everyone sat down and had a cupcake, or three.

Then of course came the presents, great excitement all round... the boys were very good with sharing the toys and the unwrapping duties.

Max especially loved his pies scarf and football from Auntie Ramona, despite yesterday's one point loss. And big ups to the weagles loving truck driving historian for actually fronting up and making the black and white purchase...we know that must have hurt!

Although the pies present had some serious competition from Rory and Lucas's gift of a pop up Thomas book complete with talking fat controller.

And it was good to see that Max and Thomas had called each other earlier to make sure that their outfits were colour co-ordinated.

Of course once the last present was opened and the kids started to come down from that cupcake sugar high the wheels started to come off a little.

So why not make like Thomas and just grab another cup cake then hit the slide to up the mood again!

Then of course everyone's favourite surrogate grandfather stepped in and started some 70's Dad danger bike racing games... (although we're not quite sure why he was dressed like an extra from Underbelly for the event). Uncle Matt, not to be outdone, got behind his own green racing machine and soon both boys were flying around the old concrete track like Captain Slow and the Hampster while Ramona and I nervously looked on wondering why we hadn't hired the Stig and which one was going home in an ambulence. 

Thankfully, this time it didn't end in tears and we finished off a rather lovely second birthday party with a load of very loud birthday poppers... and coloured streamers.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MASTER MAXWELL WE LOVE YOU!!!  and we hope you had a super fantastic day.


Local and or General

We could go on and on about this one - synthethic hypercolor taxidermist Kate Rohde has always bamboozled and delighted us with her renderings of Wunderkamer meets Baroque. And we do so love the woozy neo-craft interpretations of sydneysiders Romance Was Born. We were gaga (lady and otherwise) over the outcome of the collaborative pairing of these peeps for the Romance Was Born spring/summer collection showcased during Australian Fashion Week last May. So we're very excited by this exhibition of  new works which sees a a further refinement of the spectacular and colour drenched aesthetic of the runway shows: this time placed in the slightly more formal exhbition environment. As with most of Rohdes work inspiration is mostly drawn from animal imagery, this time in the form of dinosaurs, antelope and deer all fused with the insane excess of the Baroque and Renaissance traditions and her now tradmark hand made psychadelic technique.

Sculpture, clothing, wall-paper, fabric, accessories and objects crafted from synthetic fur, resin, expanding foam, papier-mâché and psychedelic prints are on display for purchase during this unique one month exhibition. We wish we were there.

Karen Woodbury Gallery
August 25 - September 18

We love collecting stuff, and showing said collections of stuff off - regular readers will be familiar with Ramona's famous hutch installations and my teak sideboard and german ceramicdisplays. As you can imagine, with these pursuits and new small people in our homes we are faced with new storage problems. Credenza Credentials now on in Adelaide's Jam Factory is a smorgasbord of contemporary storage solutions that features some of South Australia's leading furntiture makers, all of whom have taken on board the many functions and fashions of dining room furniture and come up with a diverse collection catering to all tastes.More than half the makers in this exhibition have been through the Jam Factory's furniture program, and the dedication to some seriously old school craftsmanship is apparent in the level of respect given to both the raw materials, construction and finish.  Apparently the term credenza is derived from credentia, a medieval latin term for the practice of food and drink tasting by servants to check for poison. Let's hope the offerings that ultimately adorn the tops of these delectable works are not quite so deadly!

Andrew Bartlett, Gareth Brown, Petra de Mooy, Edward Garcia, Michael Geissler, John Hayward, Takeshi Iue, Gray Hawk, Tom Mirams, Michael Penck, Ken Pfitzner, Julie Pieda, Adrian Potter

30 July - September 5 Gallery one,
Jam Factory, Adelaide

Hot on the heels of the brilliant collaboration between Alexander Ouchtomsky and Aimee Fairman

comes the next set of hand made exhibitionists brother and sister combo Simon and Jemila Mac Ewan. where Aimme and Alex worked through sci-fi and fantasy to create other and off-world objects and environments, this pair take the shared books of their childhood as the starting point for their installation. In a case os sibling simpatico rather than rivalry their everyday lives both work in creative fields Jemila as a set, costume designer and artist; while Simon is an artist who also works as a jeweller and illustrator. In this exhibition they combine their diverse skills to explore the childhood influences on their creative practices - creating a hand crafted shadow play light show which slowly spins in the window while gallery 3 transforms a collection of sparsely filled bookshelves into a tiny paper theatre as daily new creatures and characters from the books will tumble from their shelves and escape into the gallery space.
August 23 –  September 4
Craft Victoria




it's not easy being green

still in post election shock...
very happy about the Greens
very worried about Abbott
hopefully we'll come round by mid week
and be able to get on with our regular reporting



where geek and craft collide

The ladies of HML are quite proud of our geek credentials but I don't think we'd go so far as some of the mega geek crafters that can be found at the Geek Crafts website. Mind you now we know you can potentially crochet a cylon cap to celebrate the final season of Battlestar Galactica we may just frakking do it.

The baked goods section has some excellent Nintendo cookies, robot cupcakes and this brilliant Revenge of the Sith birthday cake.

If we were going to make something for each other I would give Beck these Dr Who Softies (maybe go nuts and do one for each Dr).

No doubt Beck would take up crochet to make this mounted Spock. Boldly go where many crafters have gone before and check it out! RAMONA



We have to hand it to Chris Alexander. He took his passion for Star Wars and the craft of the origami and really ran with it. Many a rainy adolescent afternoon was spent trying to draw the Millennium Falcon but I never considered making it three dimensional. Chris has been very generous on his website in providing instructions.

I have a very dear geek friend who has collected about 500 star wars figurines. He's almost impossible to buy or make presents for. I think a star wars origami mobile for his abode may be just the ticket!

I'm thinking a mix of Naboo and Jedi starfighters, Anakins interceptor, and a Sith Infiltrator will do nicely!

I'll also buy him a subscription to RRR. May the Force be with You! RAMONA



geek god

There is no doubt you'll have your own very firm ideas on who the ultimate Doctor is. How do we know this? Well the ladies of HML are well aware that there is a direct link between sci-fi and craft geekdom. In fact we've never met a maker who didn't harbor some ambition to share an earl grey with Jon Luc Picard on the Starship Enterprise, play chess with Captain Adama on Galactica, swap hair tips with Princess Leia in between addressing the Jedi council or indeed getting the keys to the tardis.

Beck and I are both in agreement that as much as we go weak at the knees for the Tennant our first love will always be for Tom Baker who embodied the Dr for 7 years at the height of our impressionable childhood. Most famous for his multi-color scarf and ability to disarm with charm we figure this is the perfect geeky craft project.

You'll have to make the difficult decision between seasons 13,15,16 or 18. Beck will go uber-classic with the above season 16. I'll be going for the ruby jewelled tones of season 18 below.

You'll be pleased to know that there is a website dedicated to the Dr Who scarf that includes instructions for each one, history, images of Dr Who scarves around the world and a ep list so you can spot your scarf.
like the true geek you are.



first contact

This morning round 9.30am we'll be sitting down with two of radios loveliest ladies Donna Morabito and Kulja Coulston of  The Grapevine and doing our bit to get you all to give up that six pack of martha glitter for the week and instead invest in the best darn tootin' radio in the universe. Yes that's right people it's radiothon time again, and Melbourne's own RRR is asking you all to dig deep and keep them live in your loungeroom for yet another fabulous year. Regular listeners will already be aware that this year's radiothon theme is sci-fi.

Which is completely brilliant, becuase there is no bigger crossover in the craftiverse than the one between sci-fi geeks and craft geeks, I don't know a single serious crafter who doesn't also harbour at least one sci-fi obsession. One cannot exist without the other. I would even go so far as to say without craft there is no sci-fi.

Did you just say you didn't want a jelly baby?
We (surprise surprise) both adore sci-fi, I kicked off my lifelong love affair with the genre over Dr.Who, The Tomorrow People and Blake 7 (which looking back have all completely informed my outfitting ever since) and for Ramona it was all about Star Trek and Star Wars waaaaaaaay back in the day. In honour this week will be completely devoted to geek craft, sci-fi style.
Stand back Blake 7 team and be protected by my batwing leather sleeves!! 
Prepare to knit your way through an official season fourteen Tom Baker scarf, cross stitch home sweet home in Klingon and fashion your own crochet Princess Leia wig. And as I type i'm already thinking of Battlestar Gallactica both original and new versions ...I was an Apollo fan, Ramona Starbuck (although in retrospect clearly Starbuck was the catch while Apollo was a good looking drone with great hair)

and jeeezuz we haven't even touched more recent moments like Solaris, Firefly, Pitch Black, 2001, Dune or even Alien for god's sake. Oh lord this is gonna be big.... death star big. Hang onto your space helmets people the combined forces of HML HQ geekdom my get the better of us all!

Quick go here now and 'make contact'.




Friday morning means morning tea and backyard excavations. In preparation for the arrival of mixmastermax's best bud thomble the womble we decided to whip up a batch of banana chocolate walnut muffins (Ramona and I are also rather partial to a little fresh baked action with our coffees so it works out well.) This was Max's first big crack at cake baking, although he has helped out plenty with the pasta previously. As you can see above - he took his mixmaster duties very seriously.

Almost as seriously as he took his spoon licking duties...

Thankfully we managed to get a batch of the mix into the pans and not just into his mouth, and although they weren't exactly the prettiest muffins we'd ever seen...

Boys both seemed more than happy to chow down on them after completeing yet another major sandpit excavation.



cubby house in my pocket

While the idea of making cubby houses from cardboard may be neither new nor original, most kids find plain old cardboard boxes brilliant house building materials and more than valid imaginiary substitutes for everything from submarines to rocket ships. Regular readers will recall that recently the architect repurposed a very large cardboard box pinched from our Craft Victoria display site at Design Made Trade into a fabulous cubby house for the Maxmonster. This now wallpapered, windowed and push button lit box is a complete hit with both max and all other house guests under five, as well as our dog Muji and many big people who really should know better than to fold themselves in three to get into said box and stop complaining that they need help to get out again. (not that i'm mentioning any names Uncle Matt)

However when I saw recent graduate Liya Mairson's prototype fold out cardboard cubby house  (called 'My Space' ) I was completely blown away. Designed for 3-6 year olds living in small apartments, the cardboard folding play area folds flat for easy under bed sor behind door torage (genius) and exploits all the best bits of a pop up book scaled up to life size.


Fully recyclable it's also been made so that little peoples can manipulate it themselves without the annoying intervention of big peoples.Way-Haaay!!! Bugger the kids I want one for myelf.




"Long ago, amidst the primordial mists of Gertrude Street’s ancient past, before the words ‘soy chai latte’ had ever been uttered and the term ‘hipster’ referred to 50’s jazz enthusiasts or fans of Kerouac, a humble little shop-front was magically converted into an exhibition space for young and emerging artists."

Seventh has always been one of our fave exhibition locations, and not just becuase it's on our tram line and is five minutes stroll to one of our favourite cafe's. It's mix of the good, bad-ass and challenging never ceases to keep us interested and always has us coming back for more. Having recently secured their new lease (and new lease of life according to the press release) today they're chalking up their 10th year of service to the artists of Melbourne SEVENTH is inviting one and all to come and celebrate their birthday TONIGHT. Join with melbournes indie art elite in eating a GIANT CAKE, popping balloons, becoming entagled in streamers and a checking out a photographic survey of the gallery’s unique history.
Ongoing celebrations will be taken to the Workers Club (bands, drinks, merriment $8 on the door) where they'll will also be launching the new 'Workers Window' - a free Seventh Curated window space at the Workers Club.

155 Gertrude St, Fitzroy
TONIGHT from 6 – 8pm...