OK so HML is going a little off topic today because for us it's a very special day - it's Oscar Day! The intern and I have been very dedicated this year and between us we've seen all ten nominated films. So tomorrow she's taking the day off school and watching the live telecast. Very excited! So what did we think of all these movies? And is it possible for me to make some craft comment thus justifying this long blog entry? You betcha!

Inception: We absolutely loved it. The Intern saw it not once but three times at the cinema and we now own it on DVD. Should win for music and art direction but wont. Craft: dreamscapes are always inspiring. Watching Paris fold up on itself made want to make a cardboard city.

Toy Story 3: We love animation, always have. But we were never really attached to the Toy Story Franchise. This one made us cry. Craft: one sequence took the animators two years, that's craft.

The Kids are Alright was...alright. It's all very PC and user friendly. I found it a bit uptight and the Intern couldn't get past the fact that the teenage boy was called Lazer. Craft: kick arse organic farming and landscape gardening.

The Fighter: This is the one I haven't seen despite loving everyone in it. The Intern thinks Christian Bale should and will win best supporting actor. Craft: hmm I can't say for this one, Wahlberg's abs maybe?

Black Swan: hate the first half, hate the second half. She should eat a sandwich she'd feel so much better. But cant wait to see it again. Suspect Portman will win. Craft: oh for costume freaks this is a gorgeous film

True Grit: this was just lovely. The music was just beautiful. The costumes, the shoes! But we made the mistake of watching the John Wayne one afterwards which, despite the lame ending is surprisingly better.
Craft: this is all about the music for me. Steeped in early hymns that then swell to lush orchestration the further away from home she travels.

The Social Network:The Intern and I have decided we would give this best picture. So timely, so smart, so well written. And she has a crush on Jesse Eisenberg. Fair enough. Craft: he builds the equivalent of a new country.

Winters Bone: very few people saw this amazing film. I thought Jennifer Lawrence, at the ripe old age of 19 acted her sock off, certainly overshadowing the pouty Portman . This is hillbilly crime noir, it's tense and sad and compassionate and difficult. Love Love Love. Wont win a damn thing. Craft: there are some excellent handknitted jumpers in this one! And some squirrel skinning which is as gross as it sounds. Poverty has a way of forcing you to be resourceful.

127 Hours: speaking of resourceful! This is a great story and a great film. If I had my way this kid would be winning the Oscar for best actor. If only he'd remembered that Swiss army knife. Ouch. Not for the faint hearted. 4 people ran from our screening and there were warnings at the ticket counter.

The Kings Speech: yup well it's probably going to clean up. Colin Firth seems like a nice chap and I dont begrudge him the win. And crazy Helena, well shes such a nutbag its always good to see what shes wearing. Craft: the absolute joy of this film is the interiors. So if you need us we'll be in front of our respective televisions today, trying to get work done in the boring bits and make dinner in the musical numbers. Beck and I will be on the phone bemoaning the lack of wacky outfitting and faux pas (people are so well behaved at these things nowadays). The Intern will be ignoring her maths homework and the Womble will clap when everyone else does - because he can. RAMONA



Blue Monday... on Friday

Monday I had the increasingly rare privelidge of heading off in search of op-shop booty without toddler in tow. It seems the more I clear out of the studio come nursery for intern number two the twitchier my op-shop antenna becomes. No real surprises I guess there! Monday's haul again came with a colour theme. This time blue. First find was a beauty straight from the Time Life library The Art of Sewing/BOUTIQUE ATTIRE . Behind what was I can only describe as a misleadingly blue hued pastel cover lay the keys to what will undoubtedly become the inspiration for my winter wardrobe. Take a look at these beauties...

Because of course we all want a metallic patchwork puff jacket as the perfect transeasonal accessory, but never knew how to make one before.

And a floating multi-shibori maxi dress to get you through those difficult to dress for 'last days of summer ' outdoor social gatherings.

And why not take tips on how to hand paint your own silk kimono jacket from a cross dressing Brains in a Barbara Feldman wig.

Of course we already knew that macrame owls were so last season ... but who would have thought that cloud motifs work so much better when hand painted, cut in faux suede and applied to a winter mu-mu?

Fabulous, inspirational and now proudly sitting on the bookshelf right beside my copy of Bob Mackie's Dressing for Glamour.

I also managed to find this Japanese ceramic bird, the likes of which i've been searching for seemingly forever. So excited. And also so terrified that with a house full of boys it will last all of five minutes on the mantlepiece...

and then there were these two blue handworked embroidery pieces that clearly I couldn't do without either.

Although between you and me what I will eventually do with them still remains somewhat of mystery. BECK



token tote

The ladies of HML have taken a little time out this week. We even managed to go out to breakfast together - a rare occurrence these days. Despite living in the same suburb weeks go by without clapping eyes on each other. Lucky for us we have HML to keep us connected! Everyone is so busy these days. My friend K is the stage manager for Victorian Opera which means 16 hour days and no fun on midweek birthdays. I spent an hour on Sunday making her a little tote to take her lunch in to work - or in her case breakfast lunch and dinner.

I also got to use some of my wrapping paper - which between you and me made me feel smugly organised.
Now for an early morning delivery before her rehearsals start. They're doing Verdi so it'll be a long day. RAMONA



tweet tweet

Thanks Portlandia via Michi for giving us the funniest thing we've seen all year... as if we needed another reason to love the peeps of Portland.



I've made a list (what a surprise) of all the people I want to learn more about this year. That list includes artist and textile designer Sonia De Launay. The Intern and I have also made a commitment to attempt projects 'in the style of...' as a way of learning new skills and enjoying the process.

We bought a simple white tshirt scarf and spent a couple of hours hunched over the dining table painting it together

Of course there are things we'll do differently next time. I'd let it dry more on the table to avoid the colour bleeding and I'd use an even lighter base material.

The Intern makes a far better model than I do.

A tip: instead of putting newsprint underneath to protect the table put good butchers paper so then you have wrapping paper at the end of the day too.

It's been ages since I made something just for myself and for fun. Should be more of it! RAMONA



I met Eddy Carroll once. She struck me as a very thoughtful person, very warm and considered in her responses. I remember someone asking her if she was 'making anything' and she said 'this and that'. I guess this absolutely beautiful show now on at Hand Held Gallery was what she was working on.

There is no doubt that hand craft can be therapeutic for the broken hearted. Something about one stitch in front of the other, the passage of time, the meditation that comes from doing the same thing over and over.
When seeking catharsis it can also create objects that come to represent that pain and as they stand removed from the maker a process of healing can begin.

This is a lovely lovely show. Very thoughtful and considered, just like Eddy Carroll. Not to be missed. RAMONA

'Something to Hold On To by Letting Go'
Until March 5

Handheld Gallery
Suite 18
Upstairs Paramount Arcade
108 Bourke Street
Melbourne City
Tues -Sat 12-5



hot stuff

Like many craftspeople I have a dodgy back, and being deskbound in the office and increasingly pregnant is not helping in any way. Similarly like many other craftspeople i'm great at getting things made for other people but completely hopeless and getting anything made for myself. Especially if its something I actually need. Enter wheat pack. My old and shamefully dodgy pink whale cord original finally bit the dust around September last year... and it has literally taken until today to make a replacement. Embarrasing no?  But a combination of unexpected grandparenting of Maxwell and a very recent reaquaintence with my scrap fabric box during the craft studio to nursery transformation we're currently undertaking had me reaching for the scissors and trusty old Janome.

I cut pieces from an old skirt, vintage house dress, left over christmas ribbon, scrap of denim and one of the architects old chambray work shirts (don't mock him, it was a uniform) to make the front. Call my crazy but I felt compelled to try and make it a little fancy given it seems like an eternity since I made something, and I did have a spare hour up my sleeve.

I then very randomly and none too evenly stitched the peices together to form a 'patchwork' front...

and decided that hell, while I was at it, why not do a little stitching on the back. I cant fully explain where the little tree came from, although I suspect Ramona's avid christmas listing has rubbed off on me and this is either a christmas present prototype or a VERY early present to myself...

I then lined the patch front with one of the panels of chambray shirt and the other with some calico for extra strength and then stitched them together to form the back.

$2.25 worth of organic wheat from the Fruit Peddlers later and ...

Voila! Brand spanking new wheat bag, heating my stiff and aching back while I type. Brilliant.

 Now I just need to get started on the curtains, cushions and chair covers...



cut and paste

Morning Everyone! The ladies of HML are loving some of the new shows that have finally started around our town. This week we are looking forward to see the the work of Sydney based artist Kate Scardfield at Kings ARI gallery

We always are interested in how artists incorporate craft practice into there work. The use of fabric, stitching, silhouette certainly has craft appeal but this pieces are a little sinister (felt pancreas cut out anyone?)

I'd you get a chance to look at her site make sure you look at the older work - very inspiring for textile lovers! The first time Beck and I went to Kings ARI we couldn't find it, got completely lost, had to ring for help - and (like all great ARI's) - it was right in front of us the whole time. Make the effort people, totally worth it. RAMONA

Kings Ari is up the stairs at 171 King Street.
it's open  Wed- Sat 12-6
The show runs til March 5 which is closer than you think!



shopping lists

Besides the supermarket, farmers market and fish market duties this weekend, don't forget there are also two cracking hand made craft markets taking place.

It's the first Craft Hatch of the year!  Check out bicycle-inspired hosiery, 'multi-wear' t-shirts, folded cardboard wastepaper baskets, screen printed fabrics and fat quarters, wooden timepieces, recycled coffee bag cushions and fancy hand made knickers... oh and do say Hi to the lovely Kim Brockett for us.

Craft Hatch Level 1 Gallery, Melbourne City Library, 253 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Taking Place every second sunday of the month, Northcote Town Halls Gallery Market is making it's mark on the local landscape. Artisan, hand crafted and designer pieces by local makers, including the bicycle inspired hosiery also on show on Saturday at Hatch! Be sure to leave time to hit High street for a coffee afterwards, we're big fans of Penny Farthing, The Estelle, Palomino and The Aquarium Cafe, but you be the judge.

Gallery Market at Civic Square, Northcote Town Hall - 189 High St, Northcote

(10 min walk from Merri and Northcote train stations 86 Tram - Stop 30)
10am - 6pm.



hop to it

A friend of mine turned 1 year old this week and I wanted to mark the occasion with something small and soft. Having already made him this quilt (a year ago!) I thought I'd use a remnant of the fabric to make this simple bunny. Something soft and light that he can hold onto.

Look he's a bit wobbly that's for sure but he's kind of sweet and suits his new owner - who is also soft and wobbly. This was a really simply project and only took me a couple of hours (so it will probably take you 45 minutes ha ha). You can find the pattern and step by step instructions...you know where. RAMONA x



are you recieving me?

Today we'll be back on RRR at 10.30 reporting on the craftiverse with the lovely ladies of The Grapevine. This month sees us reporting on some new-ish shows, spaces and things to do. Including a range of craft classes starting in February in places like the new Harvest Textiles Workroom, Fitzroy's Thread Den and the trusty old CAE that will get you making all manner of hand crafted awesomeness from screen siren glamour garments to pine side tables. Ramona will also be boning you all up on the origins of Valentines Day and why it is such a favourite festivus for hardcore craftists. Yup... you don't want to miss it.



me two

Maybe it's not such a co-incidence that like Ramona, I have been clearing out the craft cupboards... however it is somewhat of a gob smacking crazy handcraft parallel universe in which I too manage to find two beautiful beakers by one of Australia's leading ceramicists squirreled away at the back of my own fabric and glitter stash . These raku numbers are by old school master blaster Owen Rye. On the upside it was excellent to find them again, still wrapped in tissue complete with receipt, on the downside however it made me realise how little crafting I actually did last year. February New Years resolution anyone? BECK



Has this ever happened to you? Yesterday I was rifling around in my chaotic craft cupboard - which is a total disaster area - for I don't know what. So many unfinished or unstarted projects, so many bits of paper and glitter and glue and fabric and wool. And I discovered these two beautiful beakers by ceramicist Honor Freeman which were meant to be sent as a wedding gift to friends in England a year ago. So I guess they are now an anniversary present. I'll throw in a big bunch of my valentines day flowers too! RAMONA