Monday, 29 December 2014

Christmassness, stuffing ourselves stupid and enjoying Marina Priors Botox

Yes folks, once again it's time for THAT AWKWARD MOMENT BETWEEN CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEARS!!!

You all know what I mean.  The decorations are still on the tree but that Christmassy feeling has quickly dissipated. You're still on holiday but the house is a mess after all that crazy Christmassing and you're too exhausted to do anything about it but feel like you should, so you randomly wander from room to room kind of picking up stuff but it still looks like the aftermath of a hurricane. The Christmas tree is still up and you want to take it down but THERE'S SOOOO MANY BLOODY GLASS BAUBLEY THINGS AND STRINGY CHAIN THINGS that the thought of unhanging, untangling and packing it all feels more exhausting than the actual doing of it?

I'm also in the middle of a yucky cough thingo. So I cough and cough. I drink the Cough Medicine and it makes me very sleepy. Blech. I want to schlep around and veg or sit on the couch, crochet and watch movies but I know the minute I do, I'll start to fall asleep. It's a catch 22!

So instead I'll have a fun little recap of our Christmas activities.

One of my family's favourite Pre- Christmas activities is to get together on Christmas Eve and watch Vision Australia's Carols by Candlelight at the Myer Music Bowl on TV.  We do it every year.  This year Christmas Eve was at my sisters house.

I think she and her hubby totally did not think we would REALLY be watching the Carols. They would have rather played Wii. As they remarked, "But it's the same thing EVERY YEAR!" 

Yes, we know. But that's part of the fun.

I think at this point I should clarify that part of the joy the Mothership, Fatherdom and I derive from Carols on Christmas Eve is from the fact they do wheel out the same Celebs every year and the Carols themselves.  Like comedian Tim Minchin says in his Christmas song 'Wine in the Sun', we quite like the songs. 

But the other part which I alluded to before is that IT IS THE SAME THING almost every year. And part of the entertainment in that, for us is we are Aussie. And we love to sit and sledge it. Mercilessly. But with good humour and love.

For example.  The Queen of the Carols is Ms Botox herself, Marina Prior. 

When hosts David and Lisa are about to introduce her we wonder out loud to ourselves: "Is she pregnant AGAIN this year?" And then when she majestically glides onto the stage with her everlasting porcelain skin and perpetually frozen, beautiful face we all gush at how wonderfully bee-stung her lips are, how eternally surprised are her wrinkle free eyes and remark at how beautifully smooth her 51 year old forehead is!  And then she sings her usual Angels We Have Heard On High.

I'm not religious. But like most Aussies, I enjoy Christmas for Christmas's sake. And like I said, I quite like the songs. So we love hearing Marina belt this one out every year. She's divine.

Equally we love old Denis. Good old Denis Walters. 

Dear Channel Nine.  Could you please Please PLEASE listen to most of Australia and especially my Dad, the Fatherdom: let Denis sing Oh Holy Night?  He does it better than anyone else!  We're not interested when you pair him up with a little C grade celebrity who won some singing competition. We want to hear Denis belt that tune out with his big gorgeous baritone.  The Google doesn't reveal any recent instances of Denis singing it, but we all would swear on a stack of TV Guides, we've heard him do it at least once. Sometime. Somewhere. And nobody does it like Denis. In fact let him host. We could listen to his juicy, rolling voice all night.

We sing along, we sledge, we had a 10 minute conversation simply about how Tim Campbell is on now and didn't he get married this year?
Oh yes, I hear he married Anthony Callea!

Mothership: What?!? He's gay?!?

Amazona & Sister: Yeah. I think he married Anthony Callea.

Mothership: Really? He doesn't look gay!

Amazona ponders: I wonder why they don't let Tim and Anthony sing together?

Everyone quickly googles on their phones....

Amazona: yep. He and Anthony married in NZ earlier this year.

Mothership: Well I never!

Amazona: Oh well, isn't he David Campbells cousin? Didn't David just call him cousin?
Mothership:  I thought it was Lisa's cousin.

Amazona: That doesn't make sense, he and David are both Campbells!

Amazona: Maybe he's a Prick Relation* though the mother's side, coz he isn't related to Jimmy Barnes!

Song finishes. Hosts Lisa Wilkins and David Campbell make a joke about how Tim Campbell is David Campbells cousin, then quickly clear up that Tim Campbell is actually Lisa's cousin. Isn't the Australian Entertainment industry a Nepotistic little kitten?

Mothership, Amazona, Amazona's sister all sigh, sit back in their chairs and collectively state things like "Well there you go! I thought so, Fancy that?" while the People with Penises roll their eyes and sip their Scotches and silently ponder on the mental cognitive processes of the Amazona women.

*For non- Aussies, a Prick Relation: someone related by marriage

The Happy Couple
And the aforementioned Lisa and David (no relation to Tim Campbell) Campbell:

Then Carols were over for another year, I drag my weary hoardes home so we can sleep and awake to the glory and the presents.....

Melbourne made sure Christmas Day was beautiful. Sunny, mild weather. 

I received some amazing pressies:
 The most gorgeous flocked Stag for my wall.

A super cute owl from Sonofagun No.2

Purchased from my favourite shop Creative House in Yarraville
 And the most gorgeous little fox. He might have to stay out all year long!

 A funky steampunk bird from Fatherdom.

And here's just a couple of the selection of pretty clip on birds from Sonofagun No. 1.

We set up to eat our Christmas Feast outside under a big Easy Up tent in the back yard with a bright colourful theme inspired by some Ikea fabric for the tablecloth....

And commenced the mother of all feasts...
Apologies for the blurry pic. I was being criticised for photographing EVERYTHING and not sitting down to enjoy the Christmassness!

Amazeballs Roast Taters thanks to Jamie Oliver....

Everyone had something yummy to enjoy.
There was present unwrapping on the lawn...

Including a very choice pressie from the Mothership:

Just a brief note here to say, I'm not really a massive Ryan Gosling fan. But I really love a good Ryan Gosling meme of the crochet kind, which has been noted by certain friends and family. I frequently may have posted these ones on my facie page:

And finally by late afternoon, let the Calorie fest begin!
The Mothership's Christmas Wreath Pavlova and Amazona's VERY drunken Trifle

Phew. This has been a long blog entry. Apologies.
So Christmas Day was fun and fatty. The Amazona was exhausted. The Sonofaguns were exhausted. And now we're in THAT AWKWARD STAGE BETWEEN XMAS AND NEW YEARS.
Do we clean? Bugger me if I feel like doing that!  I've just wasted several hours pounding this thing out, and now it's afternoon, it's raining outside and I must do something constructive so I feel like I haven't lost a whole day.
For those of you who picked up on my little mention at the top of Tim Minchin and his Australian Christmas song 'Wine in the Sun', I've taken the liberty of including the Youtube video here.  You may need flash player or something to play it. It's brilliant. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post it on my blog, but I'm not making money from it, I don't claim credit for it, it's written and performed by a wonderfully talented, intelligent and funny man. And if someone wants to sue me, just ask me to remove it because I don't have any money to pay out a lawsuit. Unless I can pay you in Bird ornaments. I've got loads of those. But I'd rather you didn't because some of them were gifts and all of them are very special to me. Which money would be too if I had any. Which I don't.

The Red Haired Amazona 

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Parenting 101: Teaching Children Good Behaviour through bribing them with Christmas

My intention was to blog a little more regularly but Christmas happened. And it's still Christmassing as we speak.  Life gets put on hold as we enter the Christmas frenzy. Work is something we do that prevents us from Christmassing but sustains the bank balance and allows the Christmas to happen. 

Gratuitous Christmas tree pic

Every spare minute we do not go to work, or parent, or sleep, we have our minds filled with Christmas.

My favourite Xmas card of the year (so far ) from The Blonde Bombshell 

We were lucky enough to escape last weekend to Geelong for a few hours. But it was for Christmas purposes. Sourcing Sonofagun No.1's Christmas present. However we were able to engage in some non- Christmas activities.
Like eating yummy Fish and Chips down at Corio Bay on the most beautiful sunny day you could smack your eyes on.

Soooo fattening but soooo damn good!

It's quite beautiful down there. 

Sonofagun No. 2 runs up the stairs to the tune of Eye of the Tiger...

Other peeps enjoying Geelong. In a Christmas way...

Whilst Geelong gave us a Xmas present fail for Sonofagun No. 1, we had a win for Sonofagun No. 2.  He wrote a letter to Santa and only asked for one thing.  A Zoomer Robot Puppy.  For those of you without 5 year olds who are taken in by every single toy ad on tv, a Zoomer Robot Puppy is apparently everything dreams are made of. They apparently become your best friend and do what you ask through voice commands. And as they were advertised to death, Santa could not find a single Zoomer Hound throughout the whole of Melbourne!

So whilst on a trek to Geelong, we pulled into the local Kmart. Now I'm probably delivering the news too late for many Melbourne Santas, but Geelong is teeming with Zoomer Puppies. The acne-riddled Kmart boy was lost for words as this Santa threw her arms up in the air and squealed with Amazona joy when he said, "Yeah of course. We've got heaps of them." I took a tentative impulsive step to smother him with grateful kisses, but then recoiled at the thought of these luscious Santa lips making contact with the erupting, volcano planet in a Kmart shirt.

He was also kind enough to double bag it in black plasticky stuff so the secret of Santa wasn't exposed to the family waiting outside in the car.

I shamelessly engage in a 'Big Brother is watching you' style of parenting.  It's often called upon for a variety of uses for Sonofagun No.2. 

"If you don't stop running around flashing your Penis, Santa won't bring you a present!"

"If you don't put your clothes on, I'll be late for work and Santa won't bring you a present."

"Santa doesn't bring presents to dirty little boys who won't shower!"

"Santa won't bring presents to little boys who eat their boogers!"

"If you don't finish eating your dinner, Santa will bring you a lump of coal!" 
Sonofagun No.2: "What's a lump of coal?"
Amazona: "It's a boring black rock."
Sonofagun No.2: "Cooool!"
Sonofagun No. 1: "Like a lump of poo."
Amazona: "No it's not cool. And it's not poo. It's boring. And it does nothing. And that means Santa won't bring your Zoomer Puppy."
Sonofagun No. 2: "Yes he will."
Amazona: "No he won't."
Sonofagun No.2: "Yes he will." etc

So a week ago, a little visitor arrived in the mail box.
This is Elf. With a photobombing penguin.

Elf on a Shelf.

Elf on a Shelf is an American thing. Invented by some clever mum (sorry Mericans: 'Mom') who may have needed a more tangible form of Big Brother spy for Santa.

Some think he's pretty creepy.  But he's also kind of cute.

He's generated a million memes on the Interwebs.

This is one of my favourites:

Elf can also be a bit rude.  I'm a saucy wench so rude stuff makes me laugh like a melon-bosomed barmaid after a keg of rum. Look away if you're a teensy bit offended:
This is pretty tame.
This isn't:
Yes, I think he's doing what you think he's doing....
But mostly Elf on a Shelf is there to watch all the little boys and girls, note their behaviour, and every night when they're sleeping fly back to the North Pole to tell Santa if they've been naughty or nice.
And in the morning when the kiddies wake, they're supposed to look around the house to find what Elf has been up to.
Now I'm not very original of thought. I'm sure I could be but who's got the time? So I copied some ideas off The Pinterest. 
Here's what our Elf, granted the name 'Rockin Style' by Sonofagun No.2, has been up to:


Fulfilling his dreams of becoming a superhero....

Inviting some friends around for M&M's and water...

And let me tell you fellow Parentals,  the child behaviour has been GOLD!  The Sonofagun who BELIEVES (as opposed to the teenage Sonofagun who thinks it's all a bit of a crock) has been eating all his victuals, marching himself off to perform his nightly ablutions, helping do small 5 year old capable chores AND no complaints about going to bed at night.
Am I a bad mother for convincing my child that a little rubber doll is spying on him for a far, distant, fat man who'll give him pressies in exchange for good behaviour?  When you put it like that, yes.  Quite possibly.  But every morning when he wakes, he leaps out of bed to go see what Elf is up to.
But I think the part of it that's actually so enjoyable is more about generating that magical Christmas feeling many of us felt when we were kids. Elf is a part of that.  Making this time of year FEEL MAGICAL compared to the rest of the year. Teaching our spawn about Santa Claus and Rudolf and seeing their excitement when they find pressies in their stockings, watching the Carols on Christmas Eve, enjoying The Eggnog, eating the fattening victuals, and spending time with family.

I've taken to some outdoor Christmassing:

The yellow rake became a multipurpose branch puller downer for a vertically challenged Amazona

And so now my mind once again turns to Christmassing. We are having a lovely, big lunch here on the day. Everyone brings something so I'm not slaving in the kitchen solo. Which is good because I am not an organised person and I would be totally shit at it.
So off I go. To conduct that level of cleaning only undertaken for Landlords conducting inspections and visiting Grandparentals. It's the visiting Grandparentals (the Mothership and Fatherdom) this time. They will be staying in Sonofagun No.1's room. Which means bleach, tyvek overalls and industrial gloves.....
PS.  There hasn't been much chance to work on my Little Girl's Crochet Cloche hats due to Christmassing but hopefully will be able to spend some time with hook and yarn and give an update when Christmas goes away....


The Red Haired Amazona

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Christmas with Boxhead and The Eggnog

When many people reach a certain age, they don't like Christmas anymore. Some people never liked Christmas.

I love Christmas. Always have. Christmas is my crush. I think about planning for Christmas throughout most of the year.  I said THINK ABOUT PLANNING. I don't actually plan. I don't even prepare early. Please don't confuse me for an organised person. But I still think about it. I PIN Christmas stuff. All year long!  I have a whole Pinterest board devoted to my ideal Christmasness.

I search on eBay for vintage Christmas baubles and birds. Yep. Birds are exploding their little feathery carcasses all over my Christmas tree.

Here's one.

My cute little glass owl with a rather unfortunately placed clip.
And another:

And now one in pink...

And some that are allowed out of the cage all year round but with a Christmas tree thrown in...

The retro TV Table in my front entry with it's usual assortment of birds plus Christmas...

Every year I joyfully, almost orgasmically leap into Kris Kringle's arms, smooch all over his big gorgeous face and declare, "Baby, I'm back!"

I love decorating a tree. I love putting a few little Xmas type bits around, nothing too ridiculous.
Except a pink moose.

Every Saturday night BFF The Blonde Bombshell comes over for movie night.  We call it Hooked on Crochet night. Or Saturday Night at the movies with The Red Haired Amazona, Blonde Bombshell and their yarn.

We watch movies and crochet. At the same time. People seem amazed when we tell them we watch movies and crochet. You Crochet queens will understand, right? It's perfectly normal for this to happen.

Then the people who do occasionally join us express surprise when the movie starts and out come the hooks and yarn. They say, "Oh! You really do both crochet and watch movies at the same time! Gee willickers!" Mostly people with penises are surprised. They aren't up with this multitasking business.

So the month of December is given over to Christmas movies.

Last Saturday we cosied up on the couch with our crochet and fully soaked up Bing Crosby goodness with the most awesome Holiday Inn.

Now this is an absolutely adorable movie but pretty racist (Bing does black face) and Bing & Fred do treat the starlet Marjorie Reynolds like she's the last snag on the barbie.

But the minute Bing starts singing White Christmas, I get all dewey eyed and longfully look out the window for traces of snow. Which is stupid because this is Australia and it was 29 degrees (celcius) outside. Because it's summer. Sad face.

The only thing we were sadly missing is The Eggnog.

Here's a little glass I prepared last year...

The Eggnog with a dollop of Double Cream and a few splodges of The Brandy...
I don't make Eggnog because it's easier to buy it and The Blonde Bombshell loves The Eggnog but hates the idea of drinking anything with real-life raw egg.  However none of the supermarkets seem to be selling it yet which is ridiculous since they've been selling Christmas since August.

Speaking of summer, the weather has been so typically Melbourne: Oh wow, little Stevie on the Today Show says Melbourne's supposed to be 23 today. Aaaand it's sunny, now it's cloudy, now there's a thunderstorm, and it's sunny again. Aaaaand now it's windy and freezing, and now it's sunny.

Some Tigerella Tomatoes

So I had the opportunity to enjoy a 5 minute bit of sun and pick some flowers....

Which I then added to a vase of some gorgeous flowers from the florist...

This Saturday night the Blonde Bombshell and I will be joined by some fellas, so gorgeous, romantic, racist 1940s-50s movies will be replaced by another type of Christmas movie of a sort more enjoyable to people with penises. 

Die Hard. 

We will be watching Die Hard. Yes it is a Xmas movie.  People without penises will also enjoy this movie as it stars BoxHead. And in his youth BoxHead was a cutie.  And I will be doing my very best to ensure there will be The Eggnog.

Yippy ki-yay.....

The Red Haired Amazona

Monday, 1 December 2014

Little Girl's Cloche Hat Russian pattern or 'Are you Putin me on?!?'

The cry for help echoed across the interwebs from 700 kms away.

My Auntie Horse Rescuer (yes, that's her real name) sent me a Facie message a few months ago asking if I could make a couple of these adorable little girls Cloche Hats for her granddaughters.

"No worries!" I replied and thought.

I'm not really a clothing/ accessory making crochet queen. But I can do it. The pictures have almost gone viral in the Crochet World. You can find links to these on Pinterest and other pinny interwebs places.  They are disgustingly gorgeous:

 If I were 4 I'd wear this!

Then I followed the links to the pattern.  It's poorly translated from RUSSIAN!!!!!  My brain nearly melted from trying to figure them out. The original pattern can be found here.

All dedicated crocheters usually are aware of crochet abbreviations so either ignore them at the top, or briefly scan to see if there's going to be anything extra fun like 'hdc'. 

But the abbreviations list of one of the patterns left me with a head scratcher:

ce - Air loop
SS - connecting column
RLS - column without nakida
CH - column with nakida
C2H - column with 2 nakida
C3H - bar with 3 nakida"

Air loop is easy. It's a chain. But columns with or without nakida sounds like crazy talk.

But how's this for a line from the pattern:
" 2p. - In each of the previous row arches provyazyvaem 2 CH separated by 1 VP It turns 12 kb "Ticks"

So I gave it a red hot go for a week. Then I conceded defeat. I gave up.  I know, right?  

"Bloody stupid girly hats! " I thought. If you've read a couple of my little blurbs, you'd know I am the Mother of Boys. Which feels like saying I'm the Mother of Dragons. And sometimes when Sonofagun No.1 has the teenage hormones flowing through his body and is being a total stubborn, shithead pain in the arse, it feels like it.  But most of the time he's a tall, lanky, gorgeous manchild who's as sweet and funny as you'd want him to be. 

So I've never really tried making LITTLE GIRLY THINGS before.

Then just a few weeks later a Facie friend put up a post of the very same hats asking the Facie World if anyone could make them.  And I reentered the Cloche Hat ring.

I have found someone on Etsy who claims to have the translated pattern for sale. Now I don't know if they are selling the Russian- English translated version which is freely available online on the website from which I got the photos above, or if she has actually tamed the beast and figured it out herself.

I think that's kind of rude. It's a freely available pattern. Just hard to make sense of.

So I tried again.  Using 4ply baby wool, I managed to make the Pink Hat above.

But it's way to soft and floppy.  Today I have decided I am going to try and work out the pattern for both the hats and hopefully keep you updated on how I go!   But I hope you're a little forgiving as we're staring down the maw of Xmas and life has suddenly gotten it's busy on.

To get myself started I headed down to Spotlight and picked up some cotton yarn yumminess...

When I've figured them out I'll print the real- life English language version for everyone!

The Red Haired Amazona

UPDATE:  I have just posted about my latest progress on these cute little hats here!