Well people just when you thought it was safe to get your Nana's rug out of the cupboard and back onto the couch those plunderers of the cultural cringe Romance Was Born have gone and made a frock out of it...

They've also managed to re-fashion other fabulous fete finds as the crochet toilet-roll doll, nylon coat-hanger cover and surprise! surprise! the doily, into matching accessories de-jour. It would seem that all our favourite old school Nana crafts have fallen foul of fickle fashion, even Beck's favourite shell art hasn't escaped unscathed...

We love kooky couture, but is this fluffy pom pom iced vovo creation the shape of things to come? Will we see a collection of our favourite womens weekly baked goods stomping the catwalk pony style in spring? Really people are we getting old or is fashion getting sillier.

and does all this now mean we can wear our macrame owls as jewellery?



back in the fold
It seems that our Blythe exhibition recommendation has done little for some of our more vocal regular readers... even with her freaky bug-eyed plastic pop couture. So ever willing to oblige the natives, especially when they're restless, we have another recommendation for you and this one we think you'll all enjoy. Folded Spaces, beautiful, pastel hued abstract paintings by Andrea Eckersly on at the equally beautiful Abbotsford Convent. It's opening night tonight at C3 in the basement at the Convent between 6 and 8pm. Sadly we won't be there but if you don't have families bugging you round that time for dinner and bed-time boob action we think it would be a lovely spot to spend the evening.

Also on show in C3 are these ceramic plates by Ashley Mariani as part of her Nana Cares what Brittany Wears show...we like the sentiment and the crockery even more so. And if you're quick you still might be able to catch the extraordinary folded sculptures of Japanese artist Kaori Kato's Shades of White exhibition on in the front foyer. Good luck people and happy viewing.



We know we know Blythe is soooooo yesterday. But you know what? We still love her. In fact we ALWAYS loved her and so a celebration of our beloved bugeyed bff is always welcome. As is a trip to Gertrude Street. Robio was responsible for the entire contents of the interns 'santa' stocking at xmas time and it despite being for 'the young folk' the staff there are loverly (more than happy to help a mother holding a newborn gather the goodies despite it being the busiest time of the year). so 86 it there pronto ! (the 86 tram of course! - oh we are funny this morning!)



chairman This guy turned 5 months old on Friday. So this weeks project is all about taking this sturdy little highchair donated by 'lovliest neighbours in the world' and turning it into something super styling for Thom. Showing you this photo on Monday in the hopes to have it sanded, primed and painted by Friday. only time will tell...

photo blurry because he never ever stops moving. ever.


no bake bake off


The chocolate ripple cake is a family favourite here at la casa del Beck. My brother (the in-house DJ and soon to be teacher) and I spent our summers camping at the beach, in tents, for weeks on end and his birthday always fell during the holidays, where of course we had no oven and no fridge for that matter. So, the no-bake chocolate ripple cake became his annual birthday cake by default, given that you can make it without power as long as you have a strong whisking arm and a reliable esky full of ice. We'd planned on making one for Easter, but it seems that everyone in Northcote had the same idea and there wasn't a pack of the main ingredients available within a 5km radius. This weekend however was going to be cold and wintry and involved the watching of our beloved pies play the annual Anzac Day game... so the black and white cake seemed the perfect accompaniment.

After filling the biscuits last night and covering the 'log' with piped cream, we waited patiently until lunchtime today to put together a killer tea-party and ceremoniously cut the cake.

Happily the results were as good as we remembered them... and as you can see the in house DJ was well pleased with his portion!

Which was good, because the pies lost... again.


project of the year

the walls came tumblin' down...

As you can see rennovations are coming along quite nicely at the new HQ... plaster is off, floor is covered in rubble and there is a clear view from the front to the back of the house - through the walls no less. Is this what they mean by open plan living?


delivery of the week

cut with the same cloth

We love fabric, it's no secret. We also love buying stuff online, somehow it doesn't quite feel like you're really shopping or indeed spending any money... until the credit card bill comes in. So when opportunities arise to combine these two favourite pass-times, who are we to say no. This top drawer collection of Japanese prints came via the dubiously named but excellently stocked "funky fabrix". Don't get caught out though, lots of their stuff is sold in yards, not metres, so there's going to have to be some serious re-thinking on the project viability front. Still they're nice to look out while we work out what the hell we're going to do with them.

Thankfully miss penpen put us onto bias binding makers late last year so at least this car fabric (above) can be utilised as a border for a blanket for Max... and a fat quarter is a fat quarter in any one's language so Anna will still get her black, red and white themed quilt (below) for her birthday in July.



The ladies of HML know that it's highly unlikely that 99% of you will ever be moseying down miller street in West Preston anytime soon. It's the kind of street that unless you actually live out North it seems like the back end of nowhere. Shame really - there is a great miniature gallery in an old shopfront at number 108 called The Dolls House. Artist Caroline Askew (great name hey!) has covered the house that serves as the 'gallery' with tea cosies - thus insulating it, keeping it warm, transmogrifying into someting vaguely sinister - bit like Preston really.



cinnamon girl

Had a bad week? Need some cheering up? Only have fifteen minutes to treat yourself to something delicious before the screaming starts again? We hear you! Sometimes the only thing you get to make all week is breakfast, so here's a quick and easy recipe that will start your weekend off the right way.

Cinnamon French Toast:

2 eggs, teaspoon dutch cinnamon, teaspoon brown sugar, three tablespoons milk (approx) a 50 cent piece sized blob of butter, 2 slices of a top drawer bread of your choice (we used a wholegrain sourdough) 1/2 cup good plain yogurt, 1 banana and some cold pressed honey.

In a flat bowl large enough to accommodate a slice of bread, beat two eggs with a dash of milk, dutch cinnamon and a little brown sugar. Soak two large slices of your favourite bread in milk mixture (both sides) and place them into hot shallow fry-pan with a sizzling blob of butter to make it golden brown. While bread is cooking (2 minutes each side tops) slice the banana in thin diagonal pieces. Plate up french toast with banana slices and as much honey drizzled on top as you deem necessary. Sprinkle a little more cinnamon on top and add your yogurt on the side... Voila! Breakfast is served.

Best accompanied by a strong cup of Joe, morning paper and an old Neil Young record.



bloomin' marvellous

Never one to look a gift horse in the proverbial, I'll take all manner of weird and wonderful 'craft finds' from strangers, friends and family alike... much, I'll admit, to the constant despair of the long suffering in house architect. So it was with much amusement that I graciously accepted this particularly unusual west German vase from non other than his sister last week. To be honest I was a little dubious about it's style... regular readers will be well aware of my penchant for brown and orange on the vintage ceramic tip, so I applied my patented Dahlia rule* to see if it would appeal more once it was full of a complimentary coloured bunch of blooms.

and yes, I think we have a winner.



road trip Last time we headed down to Mornington the beautful store Pomme was closed. With our noses pressed agains the glass we could see it was one of the sweetest shop/gallery spaces around. Full of inspiring textiles, jewelry and ceramics...
We'll be making a second attempt this month to see new work by Queensland craft crew Shannon Garson, Mel Robson ans Kenji Uranshi..

And can we just say these little uns would make great mothers day presents from our little ones...hint hint!



Ok peeps. It's nearly 10pm. The baby is asleep, the dishes are done. I have another hour to go but i just can't keep my eyes open. Tomorrow maybe I'll get these done. We'll see...


Craft Saves!
The ladies of HML specialise in biting off more than they can chew in the project department. So Ramona is today going to take a leaf out of 98 year old Maria D'antuono who survived being buried in the rubble of an italian earthquake by crocheting until she was rescued. So despite the fact that Ramona has relatives are in town, work orders piling up, university homework is late, and 4.5 month old Thom is high maintenance (as all babies of that age are!) Ramona is determined that her eggs on the right look more like Martha's eggs on the left by the close of business today. We will go as far as to say another photo will be posted at 11pm to show said progress - or lack thereof. Because while the walls come tumbling down Craft can save us all!



Something or other

That dozy duo that call themselves "sleep club" are at it again. Dell Stewart - high priestess of faux bois, and Adam Cruickshank -think life-sized monkey sculptures bearing "the end is nigh" placards amongst other brilliant stuff, have come up with a new exhibition intriguingly entitled "thing"...and it's opening at Bus Gallery tomorrow night at 6pm (yup people that's Tuesday April 7). According to Dell and Adam's facebook promo blurb: "A thing is an object without specific name or form. An item, device, artifact, tool or instrument. You can find them in the supermarket, on the street, in outer space and at the back of your cupboard behind the shoes.Working in the same studio on separate things, Adam and Dell have produced a series of amalgamated things, shaped and cut things, borrowed things, shiny things, things glued to other things and things with things removed. These things are things in both form and signification. A playful room of experimentation at its most obvious but also an examination into the nature of thingness; the things we make, things that are made for us, things joined together, things about the things that they are and things that are about other things. "

Sounds bonza, count us in.



We try not go on about ourselves (really?) too much on HML but today really is a very special day... Today the architect, muji, master max and yours truly take possession of our new house, which is not something we actually thought we'd do for a long long time and so is terrifically exciting and excruciatingly terrifying all at the same time. Above is said house, which looks brilliant because it's the real estate agent's photo. Don't be fooled though people (not that we're complaining, hell we're lucky to have it) but we have taken to calling it 'the financial black hole'. As photo's on HML tomorrow will reveal, it's going to be a very, very, VERY big craft project indeed.

Above is a photo of the backyard, which surprisingly enough is as good as it looks in the real estate photo... AND the reason we fell in love with the place, despite it's falling down walls, sagging floors and lack of a working kitchen. Clearly a few raised veggie patches, lovely old fruit trees and a winding little concrete path do wonders in helping a yard starved family of four overlook the worst of the renovators delight' elements of the house. That and a big ol' shed at the bottom of the garden, which of course was the clincher for the architect.



mono troppo
Sometimes it can be really hard coming up with new images. To loosen the old drawing arm Ramona took time out this week to get stuck into some old fashioned monoprinting...
it's a transfer technique that means unless your tracing something onto the back of the paper you are ostensibly drawing 'blind'...

it's a great way to loosen up and come up with new characters and ideas. Not sure where the floating bird balloon came from nor the meaning of this triangle that keeps appearing...

The technique give the work a really nice patina and using printing ink means the black is very very black...
Thanks to the young chap at Neils Art Supplies (behind the black cat cafe) who helped out gathering all the needed bits and bobs. Not easy to do when you have a giggling 4 month old baby watching your every move. Maybe these images will end up on canvas, or on cards. Who knows. maybe it's time to get out the dreaded lino tools next?