Thursday, April 30, 2009

Between the flags


It's pouring with rain this morning, but not quite as chilly as yesterday...or maybe that's just because it's not as early. There is almost nobody around, although the flags are up. I walk slowly under my big red umbrella, noticing one of the regular swimmers walking along the beach with her friend. She is probably in her late 60s (if not 70s) and I see her almost every day going off for her ocean swim with her swim-cap and snorkel.

The two of them walked down to the north side of the beach, she took off her fleece, handed it to her friend together with the umbrella, and slipped into the water.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009



It was going to be a busy day for me, so I had to get down to the beach very early. A dark grey morning, very cold (in Aussie terms) but not too blustery. The sun was just rising behind the clouds. So early that even the lifesavers were still snuggled up in their warm beds, so the beach was completely unflagged - wild and free.
P.S. Some answers to your questions: The flags show where it is safe to swim. I shall try to capture some close-up vibrant blue when I see it, with pleasure. And yes I do indeed walk with Blue who loves the sand and waves (but is not allowed on the beach), will gladly swim in the coldest weather, but detests (with a passion) all skateboarders and cyclists who pass us by (there's a cement walkway along the sand).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Between the flags


Not quite as cold this morning as it was yesterday, and much less windy. The beach didn't have quite the same brightness about it, perhaps because a few light grey clouds were slowly passing by. There were quite a few small waves, making it hard to remember yesterday's smooth, mirror-like ocean.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Between the flags


I have decided that I will take a picture of the beach every morning this week. This is today's photo, and as you can see the ocean is completely calm due to a westerly wind. It was a cool, crisp morning...a great way to start the week.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Magical Toy Society

So you start your own blog, and a year later you find that you do things like travelling interstate to meet some new friends. You have great fun with these new friends, and you can't quite believe how crafty most of them happen to be. You know, they knit and sew clothes, and they create works of art and generally do things that you have never done in your entire life. So then you return home and continue reading their blogs, and one day you click on a button which says "The Toy Society." Lo and behold, you discover that many of these new friends of yours enjoy crafting the most stunning soft toys, and then leaving them in public places, to be found by...anyone who comes along. Just for the joy of it.

So you start wondering how you can be involved in this, because it's the most fabulous idea.

But you are not at all crafty.

Enter Jodie with her birdcage pattern. You trust Jodie, if she says her pattern is simple to stitch together then it is, and so you buy it, and then you sew it together. Of course, you fall in love with the little bird-in-a-cage and want to keep it for yourself, but NO, you will use it for your very first toy drop.

Which turns out to be a very good idea.

The next week you find yourself dreaming of crafting your own little toy, FROM SCRATCH, for your second toy-drop. Your family cannot stop LAUGHING because suddenly you're talking about fabric and felt and the difficulty involved in threading a needle. Eventually you decide on a fish, and you adapt the techniques you learned when making Jodie's bird - you sew the fins and tail on inside out (like her birdcage loop), you sew on a tiny felt nose (like her birdcage base), and you add a tiny bit of selvedge (in her honour). You then name the bird Fifi (for obvious reasons) and place it in a bag with a lovely picture which you found in a Luckie box which was gifted to you by a new crafting friend, and then you leave that fish all alone, in a public place, and walk away (gulp).

Which also turns out to be a very good idea.

Then you are so happy that you spend a lot of your time skipping around the house and singing.

Because that's the effect The Toy Society has on people!!

Thanks Bianca!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Craft, book, music

Before I started blogging I didn't know that there was a place in the world called the Faroe Islands. But now, thanks to Margretha and Dorit, I can visit any time I like! In fact, I was just having a lovely cup of tea with Dorit today when she introduced me to Lisa Hannigan (who is Irish) and this wonderful video which combines craft, books and music. I thought that you might enjoy it as well, good night all.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Imaginary consolation

I came across this quote a few days ago and it has been a source of great joy to me:

"Consolation from imaginary things is not an imaginary consolation." Roger Scruton.

That quote made me feel like listening to this music (click on "Russian Rag"), and looking at this photograph.

This music and this photograph then made me feel like writing a little bit more about that messenger bird which Princess Elzebeta sent to the queen, in search of our long-lost knight.

That message bird flew all the way to the Himalayan mountains, and as she hovered there, in mid-air, between cloud and cliff, air and leaf, she transformed herself (even SHE did not understand exactly how) into a white dove.

Our newly-doved message bird softly landed on the topmost tip of a red triangular roof, and she looked down from her perch and saw a steep, pebbled path winding up the mountain towards her, and along this path, hopping and skipping from stone to stone, moved two tiny creatures.

Each of the creatures had two legs and two arms which they swung to one side, and then again to the other side, a movement which propelled them all the way up to the base of the small, red-roofed, bright-flagged house.

Just as the dove looked down at them, so did they both lift their brightly shining faces towards the piercing blueness and the sharp redness and looked at our tiny feathered friend.

"It's a dove, a dove...It must be a dove house!!" The children ran around and around the house with glee, and the dove perched there silently and watched and watched as the house slowly began to shimmer and shine and then fade the roof-red away, until, in its place, was painted the clearest, cleanest white, as white as the very feathers of...well....of....of a dove!

And from that day onwards, visitors from far and wide would travel over oceans and deserts, deepest forests and grandest of cities, all with the sole aim of visiting the children's little white birdhouse.

But our messenger bird's adventures did not stop there.

No, they certainly did not, for there was still the pressing issue of an errant knight, a failing marionette theatre and a little girl called Ellie, who were all still waiting very very very far away......

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Harmony Sweater

I went to bed a little too early last night, and now I am up at 4am. Ridiculous. So I decided to look through my commentboxes (it cheers me up) and I came across Gillian from Lookinout. Hi Gillian! Nice to meet you! Now, as you probably all know by now, the language of knitting is a wondrous mystery to me, so you can well imagine how excited I was to scroll down Gillian's posts and read the phrase "Has anyone knitted the Harmony Sweater?"

Here is my understanding of that phrase:

Has anyone knitted the Harmony Sweater?
Has anyone finished it right?
I followed the pattern and
Still I am sleepless with
Dreams of it all
Through the night.

Has anyone knitted the Harmony Sweater?
Your comments would be a delight.
I thought that I had it
But still missing half of it,
How can dark colours
Be bright?

And for my next trick...I will attempt to interpret "I'm looking for a copy of Blues," which is followed 2 months later by: "I received Blues a few weeks ago and was horrified at my choice."

Signing off....

Sleepless in Sydney.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What I've been doing....

I built Margalit's sandcastle:

I wrote Duyvken's limerick:
Duyvken said "This whole quilt's a mistake,
And I feel quite a bad stomach ache."
G, J, C and JW
Said "Mummy, we love you!
A kiss-patchwork for you we will make."

I ate a LOT of kosher for Pesach (Hebrew word for Passover) food. A LOT. Oh, and guess what? I'm STILL eating because Pesach is STILL going on, and on. There are certain foods which I eat during Pesach which are completely ADDICTIVE because their taste is so different and peculiar and they remind me of my childhood. For example, "charoset" - a mixture of ground apples, sweet wine, ground hazlenuts, a bit of ground almonds, cinnamon, a dash of ginger and more wine. I dip matzah in it and I could eat it all day. And night. My dad always makes it with the kids, and he always makes extra for me to take home with me. Oh, and the longer it sits in the fridge marinating...the better it tastes.

Another additive Pesach food for me is what we call (in my family) "egg soup." It's bizarre, I warn you. You take salty water, cut a couple of hard boiled eggs into it, and eat like soup. Cannot.stop.eating.once.I.start. Reminds me of my grandparents and other very very happy memories of family eating.

This year, I am excited to announce that there is now an ADDITIONAL ADDICTIVE PESACH FOOD on my list. It can be found here. That is where my mother found it, and then she made it, and gave it to me to take home. I won't even begin to describe the fights in my house over that container of crunchy chocolate caramel matzah HEAVEN. It got ugly.

But I always win.

Chag sameach everyone!! ("Happy holiday")

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I know I said I wouldn't be blogging for a bit, what with Passover and all. Actually, I'm about to run out the door to my parents' place for our Seder, and I really don't have time. BUT....

I was just taking out our garbage bins to the side of the road and I bumped into the Nanny From Next Door. She was just getting into her car after a full day caring for 3 year old Mr. Man and 2 year old Missie Moo. I asked her how she was, her answer:

"I am completely and utterly exhausted...this age is so very difficult...I simply cannot wait to get home and hop straight into bed."

So this post goes out to all of those mums out there tonight who have been at home looking after small children.....

When I was looking after my little ones day and night I did not realised that a trained professional would find my work "so very difficult." Now, looking back at what I did, I am overwhelmed with the knowledge that it was work, very hard work, and so very much harder than the Nanny Next Door's job because my job was 24/7, and I couldn't leave in my car and go home to my quiet, soft bed.

If I had really believed that at the time, I might have been a bit calmer, a bit less hard on myself, and I might have asked for help more often. But for now...I'll just write about it...and go off to celebrate Passover - the festival of hard work and freedom.

Monday, April 6, 2009

One Today

Today's the big day!! My blog is exactly one year old today, and I must say that I am as excited and happy today as on my "real" birthday. My blogging has introduced me to such wonderful people and places all around the world, and I have had so much fun. I'd like to thank each and every one of you for all of your kind words, your encouragement, your laughter and your friendship throughout the past year. I am looking forward to even more joy during my second year of blogging.

And now....for the winners of my very first birthday giveaway......

Alice C will be receiving this calligraphic rendition of my poem "The Kite" (calligraphy by my mother). I imagine, Alice, that it will remind you of your many readers who sit-look-smile while enjoying your words and photographs of global moon-lit rhyme (I am one of them!). Share on!

Jeanette will soon be listening to the beautiful music of Elena Kats-Chernin (composer and pianist), while also reading a little bit about Elena's good friend Kylie Kwong (celebrity chef, restaurateur and writer), also included is Kylie's recipe for Elena's favourite dish. The collaboration between these two women (their photos are below) reminds me of the connections one finds so often while blogging. I imagine, Jeanette, that you will find yourself creating some magnificent works of art while listening to this music, for it is fairytale magical.

The custom-written limerick has been won by Duyvken. Oh my.....this will be wonderful fun....hmm...I am already itching to rhyme "mother extraordinaire" with "nothing ever drove her to despair"...nonono....maybe....I'll rhyme "with gastro they were ill" with..ummm......"the yoyos turned out brill" ....ok, I know...I'll keep on working on it and when it has been perfected it will be yours dear Duyvken.

The custom-made sandcastle has been won by Margalit. I'm already organising a proper spring-cleaning of said castle, so as to ensure that it is kosher for Passover. I hope, Margalit, that your sandcastle will remind you that, whatever the season, there is always time to stop and build another turret on your own wondrous castled dreams.

So....that brings to a close this wonderful day. I'd like to say a special thanks to my first-time commenters (especially the anonymouses), I am absolutely thrilled to hear from you and hope to see you in my commentboxes in the future.

Passover (the unleavened bread know...those big square cracker-looking things called matzah) will start in a couple of days, so I will be very busy. I shall probably take a short break from blogging, but hope to return refreshed and ready to post some details about our family's Passover celebrations.

See you soon,

Eleanorfromthecommentbox xxxxx

P.S. Alice & Jeanette: Please email me your snail mail addresses and you will receive your prizes very soon. Duyvken and Margalit, it may take me about a week..but I promise that your prizes will be emailed to you as soon as possible.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

One more sleep to go!

One more sleep....and then....we'll celebrate my blog's first birthday!!

Please feel free to pop your name into a commentbox to be in the draw. New commenters are especially welcome, as are veteran commenters, and everyone in-between :-)

While we wait for the party to begin, I'd like to introduce you to a wonderful new blog which I recently discovered. Hillary is an art researcher and consultant based in New York. She writes unique descriptions of current art exhibitions, and has gently opened my eyes to a new way of viewing art galleries. In a fabulous twist of fate, Hillary recently visited Melbourne, and her post about the NGV allows those of us in Australia to feel a direct connection to her observations.

I shall keep my commentbox closed for this post....I'll be seeing you over at Hillary's commentbox.

Good night all.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Craft

I’ll spin for you
Our evening song
With threaded colours

You’ll knit for her
A blanket long
With woven tones of

She’ll wear for us
The blanket warm,
Upon her shoulders

Those shoulders once
Were sleeping place
Of babies’ softest

So I do spin,
And you do knit,
And she receives
The wearing.

For handmade gifts
Of friendships rich
Are found in deepest

Don't forget, if you would like to enter the giveaway...there's still some time! First-time commenters are especially welcome!

Elzebeta Marionetta's bird

I woke up this morning and discovered that Elzebeta's bird is flying still - hovering over a sleepy Swedish town as I write this.

Thank you dear Jeanette for unknowingly illustrating this part of the story, and a HUGE congratulations on your wonderful exhibition! May you and your art go from strength to strength.

[Oh, and don't forget...there's still plenty of time to enter the first anniversary giveaway!]

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hot off the press




But today there is no grand draw....there is, however, a bit of sketching going on. It seems that Sir Knight needed a backstory, and this little post at Julia's place supplied it.

If you are a new reader, then please feel free to catch up with the latest antics of our little Knight here and here and here.

This sketch goes out to Ellie and Caroline, with love.

Elzebeta Marionetta
Sent a letter
To the Queen:
“Dobry den,
Your Royal Highness,
I was wondering
How you’ve been.”

“You’ve been gone
For quite a while,
And although I know
You’re busy,
Your absence has put
All of us
In quite a big ol’ tizzy.

Since you left
On your grand tour,
Our play’s reviews
Have been quite poor.
Critics wrote:
‘This play’s a muddle,
Their wolf now plays
Jemima Puddle.’

Poor Wolfy cried
For two long days.
We cheered him up
In different ways.
Grandma hugged him,
I lent him my crown,
Knight tickled his whiskers,
But Wolfy still wears a frown.

Little Red then declared:
‘I will only wear blue!’
And then Grandma sneezed
(I think she might have the flu).
As for me,
I’ve worked hard
Ever since you’ve been gone,
For I’m a queen in the making
And the show must go on.

But now something has happened....
And I write with dismay that
My knight in shining armour
Has gone far away.
Knight said, ‘Princess my dear,
I must go find our Queen,’
Then he left with a clatter,
Never again to be seen.

Ten long days
We have waited,
Ten long nights
I have wept,
For his absence is
So hard to accept.

Now I hope that this letter
Will reach you post-haste,
For my birdie is fast,
Swiftest wind does she race.
If Knight’s with you already,
This request do not heed,
But if Knight is still missing,
Your royal help we do need.”

Your adoring,

Princess Elzebeta xxooxxoo

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Looking back, looking forward

Once upon a time there was a travelling player (stage name - Eleanor) who travelled far and wide with her small bag of tricks. She would stop at each village, unpack her wares, and smile shyly at the passersby. Some would walk past, some would stop to chat, and others would return again and again, just because. One day she reached the Magical Forest, and she stood at its edge peering into the darkness, wondering if she should continue or turn around and return to her home.

As Eleanor peered into the vast chasm of the forest, her eyes caught the tiniest of glimmers. With a sigh and shrug she stood a bit taller, pushed her shoulders back, raised her chin, and began to walk into the darkness. Following the glimmer of light as it twinkled before her she found herself following a path of sorts, turning and bending through the dense underbrush of a foreign land. It was a land so foreign that even the sound of the wind in the leaves was indecipherable; even the dripping of a raindrop, the crackling of a branch, the scuttling of a creature, were all the unfamiliar language of an alien land.

As the glimmer of light seemed to grow larger and larger Eleanor soon found herself standing face to face with its source. She was standing in a large clearing, surrounded by a perfect circle of silvery eucalypts, and in the centre of the clearing stood a large wooden house with gingerbread woodwork and a bright blue door and 6 large windows, each of which glistened and glimmered with light. Through these windows she saw the dark silhouettes of women as they darted back and forth, back and forth, and she heard their light laughter and soft voices.

Just as Eleanor was standing in front of the house, wondering whether she should knock or simply turn around and continue on her way, that bright blue door opened with a raucous shriek and out skipped a tiny woman who looked straight at her and said, "Well, there you are, finally! We thought you'd never get here!" And with that the tiny woman clutched one of Eleanor's hands between her own and pulled her into the house, closing the door gleefully behind her. Inside the house, past the long candle-lit corridor and through the two swinging doors, Eleanor found herself in a huge, canary-yellow kitchen. There was a large red kettle whistling away on the stove, a cinnamon cake rising in the oven, and a warm crackling fire. Gathered around the large round kitchen table, in a variety of different poses, were a great many women.

But that's another story.

Dear Reader,

I published my
very first post on my brand new blog on April 6th 2008. It now seems almost impossible to remember what life was like without my little blog, and without all of you in my commentbox.

To celebrate my first year anniversary I have decided to offer you the opportunity to go into the draw for a number of gifts. The gifts are as follows:

A handmade, calligraphic rendition of my poem "The Kite" (with thanks to my mother, the calligrapher).

The CD "
Slow Food," by the Russian/Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin, in collaboration with her good friend Kylie Kwong.

A custom-written limerick, just for you.

A custom-made sandcastle, just for you.

So...If you would like to go in for the draw, please say so in my have a week before I pick the winners.