Sunday, July 27, 2008

a tale of two old ladies

Tinkingbell sent out the challenge to write about our homes.

She lives in a stunning old home complete with a tower or widow's walk that I'd love to have. While jealous I'm still delighted with my houses, both haunted by lovely old ladies.

You see, I'm a lucky gal who has two; my first was my bachelor pad that did us well until there was one child when we decided to move about 500m as the crow flies to our present home.

We bought our present home the day it came on the market. It was everything we wanted. Big rooms, plenty of yard and character.
Our 'old' house had character but lacked room. It was a cottage, stand alone yes, but with two bedrooms, a lounge, an eat-in kitchen and a tiny bathroom and laundry it was getting cramped. It is a solid place with cedar skirting boards, dada boards, picture rails, the works. A beautiful fire place and a wood stove in the kitchen that made the best scones and kept the house warm in winter. But it was too small.

So off I went hunting and I found it. A large block, still in a spit of the town, in walking distance of the city's best cafes, on transport links and with almost a third of an acre block.
Best part of it was the huge hedge out the front that shielded the house from drive byes.
I'd had a stalker for several years. Nothing violent, but disconcerting all the same so the hedge sold me before I even went inside.
The place was built in the early 1990s and was cavity brick, with patterned ceilings in every room bar the back built-in veranda that became the kitchen, bathroom and dining area.

The back yard was once a formal garden but had fallen into such a state that we couldn't see the back fence. We didn't know about the two mulberry trees at the back of the yard or the fruiting mango tree less than two metres from the lounge room window either. We had lived here three years before we found that tree.
The house has patterned and coloured glass, the floorboards are wide and the place although in need of paint and in some places, paint stripper, was perfect.
The plan was to build an extension on the back with a new bathroom, kitchen and family room to go with the three bedrooms and lounge room, but of course every time I manage to undertake something big like a new mortgage, I get pregnant so while we got the plans for the extension the week Zegal was born, they are still sitting in the filing cabinet.

But unlike my old house, this place has huge rooms, massive rooms, and two of the bedrooms have working fireplaces, as does the lounge room which has been treated to a deep red paint job. We've been able to cope, but are now working towards revised plans that include more space, because while the plans we had drawn up were great for a family of four, we are now a family of five.
For me the best thing about the house is the old shed built in the 50s that I've lined and turned into my workspace.

Another funny thing about my homes is that both are never called mine by the neighbours.
My old house is old Maisies house after the woman who was born there and lived there until she was taken off to a nursing home. In that street and all through the suburb, most of the homes are still owned by the same families for the past 100 years, so Maisies house it will always be.
The same thing has happened at our new place. The block of land was bought in the late 1800s by a family who built the house. They had a daughter who was born in the house and when she married and became Mrs Roberts, she ended up back in the house raising her children and was said to have had the most incredible gardens. She died about 18 months before we bought the house, but again in our street most of the residents remember her, going to play in her gardens and being given fruit from her trees.
Even delivery blokes and taxi drivers refer to our house as Mrs Robert's and the couple who bought the place after her death swear that she used to sit on the end of their bed and tut tut at them. They used to say she didn't like gay men in her house, personally I think it was the state that they let her gardens fall into, because even when she wasn't able to garden herself she had teams of gardeners come in and do it for her. Even the front hedge was trimmed once a month, so I dread to think what she would say about the tuffs on top of it at the moment.
I think I've only seen her once, but that was when Jar was three months old and due to his tiny size when born I hadn't slept more than two hours in a stretch and was starting to dream while awake. One day I was sitting and feeding Jar when I swear an old lady sat down in the lounge and talked to me. I realised later on that it was probably not a good idea to tell the fellow about my visitor and that until I managed to get some sleep I should turn in my car keys as well.

At the old house I've had painters refuse to go back in after being shaken off ladders. I think they were trying to do a quick lick rather than a decent job and Maisie didn't like it. It often sounded like people were walking up and down the hall way in that house but the house was so nice and warm and friendly and I was never shaken off a ladder when painting myself. The only time it got really scary was when an answering machine which wasn't plugged into anything, telephone lines or power, started recording things. No I wasn't drinking at the time but Tash and I certainly raced for a bottle of something after that event, coming as it did days after our best friend died. I've still got the tape, but have no idea what was on it as it is just a mess of noise.

So this is the tale of my house and my old house, Maisie's house and Mrs Robert's house.

The photos are all from Mrs Robert's house, and this bottom one is what people see above the front door when they walk in the gate: Two old goats skulls, the perfect remedy to scare religious nutters away.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

happy sad week

As the last post pointed out, this is the season for anniversaries.
I had a birthday, a blog birthday, a wedding anniversary and this week marked the 10th anniversary of the death of my best mate whose was Foatboy's godfather, though the jury is out on whether he did renounced the devil or not.
So it has been a strange week all round.
I wrote a long post about what he was, what he meant to me, how he drove me fucking insane at times. But in the end he is-was more than mere words on a page floating around the internet so I hit delete.
Instead I'll show you the clock that moved into the house this week, a circa 1850s American oak long case clock.
If Murray had managed to avoid his black dog this clock would be one of the things I'd be catching him trying to drag out of the house during one of his ever revolving moving in and moving outs.
We worked out one drunken night that the two of us were real family, how else could you account for the fact that we moved in and out of each other's houses, nursed each other during romantic disasters and illnesses and still loved each other madly.

Next post there will be some stitching action, including Squidy, the crochet cat toy.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Yes, it is almost my blogversary, or is it bloganniversary. Doesn't matter, but it is almost here. And so is another anniversary in my life, whoops, two special ones in fact.

But back to the reason for the blog.
Creating. Yes there has been plenty, but for the moment, none that can be shown. Yes I'm still-a-secret knitting. But a week off and plenty of knitting and sewing time has meant more time for other things as I don't have to deal with that pesky day job as well.

Biscuits have been made, shows have been caught up on. I've managed to watch series three of the Mighty Boosh. Oh Vince, how I love thee. How I love your hair, your clothing.

So off I go back to secret-knitting. But I'll leave you with a photograph of my second ever sock.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

secret knitting

At the moment I'm doing some secret knitting.
The secret is all to do with the Got You Covered swap over on Ravelry where each swap participant offers up two wishes: Something to cover the body, something to cover an object.
Most offered up the need for scarves or cuffs, a hat or three and arm-wrist warmers, while the objects range from hot water bottles to mp3 player covers, coffee and mug warmers and the like. It was supposed to be a smallish knit and a few goodies, to a maximum of around $30 plus postage.
A few scallywags have listed the desire for socks (!!!!) but fortunately my assigned swap parter was playing within the rules and asked for a _____. So I'm knitting away, trying to get it done by the weekend so I can get back to my Lady February Sweater which was stalled by the need to whip up a jumper for the snow.

So instead of a pic of knitting today I give you . . .

A strand of ivy. This was knitted from a jumper I recycled. It was handwash wool which was first knitted up, dyed with food colouring and then felted down.
The main part of the vine was knitted double with, from memory, eight stitches for the I-cord. The secondary tendrils were picked up from the main vine and knitted with a single yarn into a four stitch I-cord. The leaves were then knitted from the main strand.
Then I dyed it up using food colouring, using the tutorial I wrote for Yarn magazine so many years ago. What I'm going to do with I have no idea. It just hangs from the top of a book shelf.