I'm A Table

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I'm A Table

Katie ❀ Melbourne, Australia

dreamer ✧ public servant ✧ crafter ✧ artist ✧ cook ✧ reader ✧ gardener ✧ collector ✧ list-maker ✧ Forest Girl
Why "I'm a Table"?


gardening & bonsai
art journalling
recipes & cooking
game reviews
books & book reviews

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Works in Progress

Swedish Christmas Shawl

Lammily Tank Top

Lammily Dress


Mini (Test) Monster

Mixtro Monster

Ball Monster

S's Knitted Dino

Smooshy Stripey Scarf

Autumn Sky Shawl

Chequerboard Scarf

Polkadot Coathangers
(Set 3)

Babbi Blanket

HorseHead Filet Wallhanging

My First Entrelac! Headband

Snow Elf Baby Jacket

Your Chequered Heart Baby Blanket

Baby Bum

Rambunctious Roy

Frankenstein's Toyster

60s Cardigan

Katia Tank Top

Grannyland Blanket

Squares Couch Rug

Branwell the Brachiosaurus

Rainbow Rug AKA The 20-Year Afghan

So Retro Cushion Cover

Gingham Embroidery Table Mat

Sausage Dog Xmas Ornament

George & Mildred Softies

Embroidered Bar Mat

Sewn Hand Bag

Kimono Lady Needlepoint

Kumihimo Bracelet #2

Mori Brooch

Hama Bead Two-Way

WISH Journal

Kitty Needlepoint

Island Embroidery

Yarn Picture

Elements Thanks To

Percentage Bars Thanks To



May 17th, 2015

I bought these Crayola Paint Brush Pens from the toy shop in the town where I spent my short holiday a few weeks ago. I was intrigued by them as I'd never seen anything quite like them before. As it turns out, they weren't quite what they seemed! So I decided to write a review.

There were five pens in the packet, coloured red, green, blue, yellow and purple. This product is obviously aimed at children (or parents of children!) with its emphasis on the no-drip properties and easy clean up. In fact, the words "no drip" and "no spill" are repeated several times on the front and back. This claim is true, and it's quite easy to make -- because these aren't actually brush pens, they're felt-tip pens! (Or textas, as we call them in Australia.)

I was disappointed with this obviously false advertising, and I may not have bought them (especially at such a high price of $13.95) if I had known. I already have plenty of textas of many different kinds in my art supplies stash. However, these ones have a flexible, brush-like tip, which I don't have any of, and they can create some interesting effects.
(Not the "great paint effects" promised on the packaging, but still....)

Writing with them gives a calligraphy-like effect, which I liked....

I can quickly and easily do some brush-style writing without having to break out the brush and ink. And yes, it's a lot less messy than mucking around with my inkstone!

Drawing symbols, patterns and random swirls with them also has some pleasing results...

And if you run out of other ideas, you can always use them on an oblique angle to add a layer of transparent colour over text, etc...

Although it's not good that this product is not what it says on the packaging, it's clearly aimed at parents who just want to give their kids something not-too-messy to muck around with, and don't care exactly what it is. I paid too much for this product, but I don't blame the independent, small-town toy store that needs to survive the tourist-unfriendly winter months. I can't comment on their longevity as I only bought them a few weeks ago. However, they have those annoying lids with air holes in them that prevent children from suffocating if they inhale them, so I don't expect them to last for years.

I would recommend the Crayola Paint Brush Pens if you are happy with what they are, not what they say they are.

May 3rd, 2015

My Trip to the Seaside


A few weeks ago, Husband and I went on a trip to the seaside for four nights. I brought many things to do -- crochet, drawing paper, books, board games -- but in the end I didn't actually do much of any of that. Instead, there were a lot of unscheduled naps and spa baths. I guess I just needed to rest. Here are a few shots of the things we did do/see:

The view from the porch of our cottage -- nice and secluded...

Walks along the foreshore ...

Pirate-themed mini golf in the rain...

Noticing small details...

The ocean ... the actual ocean. We spent about 10 minutes there. Not really ocean-y people...

Breathtaking Buchan Caves...

Next update, I'll show you my souvenirs!

May 2nd, 2015

My April…


April this year has been like the old Aprils that I remember as a kid -- the memories that have made it my favourite month. I love the cold that settles into your bones early in the morning, that gives way to cool, clear hazy afternoons. There's enough rain to rejuvenate the plants in the garden, but not enough yet to dampen the spirits. At the start of the month, I made sure to spend time outside in the garden while I could, but now it's dark when I get home, and I have to wait until the weekend to go outside.

What I've been working on ...
I've been feeling a strong urge to write recently. It's strange because it's been such a long time since I did any writing except blogging, and the urge came on very suddenly just after I got home from my holiday. I've written stories, reflective pieces, reviews on all sorts of things ... expect to see lots of reviews on the blog soon!
Photos of writing are probably quite boring, so here's one of some mushrooms I found in my garden a few weeks ago. They had completely disappeared the next day.

What I've been dreaming of ...
A craft room of my own. We're making progress, bit by little bit. I'm trying to do one thing every day. Even if it's just something tiny, like hanging up one cardigan, or choosing one thing to donate to the op-shop. It might seem like something insignificantly small, but at least I can tell myself it's better than nothing at all.
A photo from Pinterest that shouldn't be to hard to aspire to in the early stages....

What I've been taking pictures of ...
This seems to be turning into a regular feature of my monthly update! I'm not taking quite as many pictures as I was last month, but I still have quite a few in reserve, so I may as well share some.

April 26th, 2015

Craft Projects In Progress


Over Summer I tend to avoid anything that makes me hotter, and that includes having a big pile of wool on my lap! So it's been a while since I posted any craft updates. The weather has cooled down enough now, that I just want to snuggle underneath a blanket and, well, make a blanket!

Here are a few squares from my granny square blanket. I haven't decided on a name for it yet: I've been calling it Granny Galore, Granny Land, Big Granny, etc. I don't know how to join the squares together yet, but that's some way off at the moment.

Next is a shawl that I started a few months ago. It's made with 'straight granny' (I'm sure there are other names for it too), and it's my first time working with this pattern. I'm enjoying watching it taking shape. The green is the Bendigo Woollen Mills Bloom that I bought and blogged about a few months ago. The variegated twist that slowly changes from grass green to sage green is absolutely delightful to work with, and I only changed colours because I didn't want to use it all up too soon!

Last week I suddenly had the urge to make/own a scarf in a filet or grid pattern. I nearly rushed out at lunchtime and bought wool to start one, until I realised that I was already half-way through one! So I dug it out and started working on it again. I have to concentrate slightly more on it than the others, to make sure I crochet the bobbles in the right spots. On the other hand, I'm much further into it than I am the others -- about 75% -- so knowing I'm much closer to finishing it is giving me motivation to continue.

April 19th, 2015

I Planted Some Bulbs


Today I planted some bulbs in preparation for Spring. I didn't plant any last year as they seemed to be a bit too complicated for a newbie like me. This time though, I took the plunge, but I made sure to choose Naturalising bulbs. As I've just learned, these are bulbs that you can leave in the ground over summer: they don't need to be dug up and stored.
I should also apologise in advance for the quality of the photos -- it was a very dull day.

Most of the bulbs were a lot smaller than I imagined they would be. I ended up only planting two out of the four packs, as it kept raining on and off, and the spots for the other two required more preparation. That would have made me more wet!

Here are the Dutch Iris bulbs. Everybody uses a spare bonsai pot as a container, not just me ... right?

This is the spot where I decided to plant the Freesias:

I was surprised to find that there are a lot more roots under there than I thought there would be! I guess they must belong to the fern. I couldn't dig any deeper, so I used the handle of my scoop to make deeper holes, then pushed the bulbs into them.

Then I covered it all up again with soil and leaf litter. I'm not posting a photo of that because it looks almost exactly the same as the second-last photo!
So, when Spring comes, we will see if my endeavours have come to anything.

April 14th, 2015

This is the second in my occasional series of tabletop game reviews. My first one was on Junior Monopoly: My Little Pony. Also, if you're interested in games, Husband has started blogging about them here.

Godzilla: Kaiju World Wars was another game that Husband got me for Christmas. I love Godzilla, so I was very excited to receive this -- especially when I saw that there were figurines inside! I think his quest to get me addicted to tabletop games is working....

This post also gives me another chance to show off our new games table!

The Game:
Godzilla: Kaiju World Wars is based on the classic Japanese Godzilla series of movies. The monster, born from radioactivity, rampages through Japan, fighting other monsters or the foolish humans who try to kill him. Inevitably, destroying any cities that happen to be in his way.

(l-r): Ghidorah; Megalon; Rodan; Godzilla.

The board represents Tokyo, already half-destroyed by Godzilla and the other Kaiju monsters. Before the game starts, the board is filled with buildings, parks and ponds for the monsters to destroy. Tanks and Personnel Carriers are also placed on the board. The configuration of these is different depending on the scenario. Husband and I played "Destroy Tokyo!", which uses the simplified combat rules and is recommended for first time players. Each kaiju is issued with a card that has health and energy trackers, not to mention a cool portrait of the protagonist. Several Action Cards are placed along one side of the board.

Godzilla is ready to rampage!

Players take turns destroying Tokyo at their whim. Players may move, destroy a building, attack another kaiju or attack a Personnel Carrier/Tank, or all of the above during their move, until their kaiju's energy has run out. For each building, park or Personnel Carrier/Tank that a kaiju destroys, he scores Destruction Points. The taller a building is, the more Destruction Points the kaiju earns from destroying it. Personnel Carriers and Tanks can attack the kaiju back but, being weak humans, their attacks don't tend to do much damage.

The plastic building tiles have adorable stomp-prints on them!

Hmmm, what to attack next??

At the end of each round, a die is rolled to determine the Action for that round. The card corresponding to the number rolled is actioned. For example, all tanks from that point onwards will be fitted with bazookas and are twice as likely to hit the kaiju. This aspect of the game adds an interesting twist, and can range from a minor inconvenience to a major, game-changing pain.

Rodan attacks a building, with matching action and screeching!

All of the buildings have been destroyed, there's nothing left but to attack each other!

Each scenario has different conditions for winning. In the scenario we played, the first to score 35 Destruction Points wins. However, we were having so much fun that we decided to make it 50.

Oh look, I won! But only by one point!

++ It's Godzilla, what else can I say?
++ The board and tiles are very detailed, with buildings, rubble, craters and other assorted destruction. The building 'blocks' even had monster footprints imprinted on them. So cute!
++ The kaiju figurines are also very detailed and fun to play with.
++ There are several scenarios with a choice of simple or standard combat rules. While we've only played one so far, I'm thinking they will add variety to the game and extend its playing life.

-- Husband and I felt there weren't enough park and pond tiles. We wanted more to be able to destroy in the city!
-- Some pond tiles had ponds on both sides, and other tiles had a pond on one side and exploded rubble on the other. The instructions didn't adequately explain why this is.
-- The scenario we played was a bit short. There was still plenty in the city to destroy when we reached 35 Destruction Points. (On the bright side, however, the game was so fun we wanted it to go longer!)
-- It's just a small thing, but the Rodan figurine doesn't stand up very well on its own. We glued it on to a base, but now it doesn't fit back in the box properly.

Final Comments:
I found Godzilla: Kaiju World Wars to be a very enjoyable game. It would be a great addition to the games cupboard for fans of Japanese pop culture, as well as fans of general destruction of stuff.

April 6th, 2015

The Outdoors ... Fail!


Last weekend I (perhaps somewhat naïvely) decided that Husband and I should go on a picnic and forest walk at our local Gorge. We'd never been there before, but we drove past it on our way to a birthday function last month, and I thought it might be a nice place to visit. To prepare, Husband made some curries which he packed into our Tiffin picnic set, and I made sausage rolls for entree. I won't post the recipe as there isn't one, but here are some progressive shots:

We had some trouble finding the picnic area as the GPS kept wanting to take us around to the other side of the gorge. Eventually, after going down some bumpy dirt roads, we found it. There was already a large group there who looked settled in for the afternoon. Thankfully we hadn't brought anything that needed cooking on the single barbeque that was there. Unfortunately I didn't get any shots of the curries or of our picnic spread at all. The place was infested with wasps that kept flying in our faces and trying to land in our food, so we scarfed down our food as quickly as we could. It was also a little disconcerting when members of the other group kept staring at us as they walked past to use the toilet that was situated not far from our table.

I'd also wanted to go for a walk on some of the walking trails that the Intertubes had promised were there. The last few times we'd gone bush (Chiltern National Park, for example), the walking trails had been nicely signposted with the name of the trail and estimated time to walk it. Nice and civilised. However, there were no signs whatsoever and we couldn't really figure out where the walking trail started -- or even if there was one at all. It was a little disappointing. As we were walking back to the car to drop off our picnic equipment, we were still in the mind to possibly try and find the trail. Just then however, about 8 more cars-full of rowdy families arrived. That made the decision for us. We got in the car as fast as we could and went straight back home!

I did manage to get a couple of photos before we fled, though:

Perhaps I've been conditioned from a young age, or perhaps I just spend too much time on Pinterest, but I can't help thinking that the Australian bush is ugly compared to the majestic Redwood forests of the U.S., or the damp, moss-covered pine forests of Europe.

Next time, we might visit our local Scrubland, or our local Culvert.

April 2nd, 2015

My March…


The weather is starting to cool down and the days are shorter. It's dark again already when I get up for work. The plum tree is starting to drop its leaves, but many of the other plants in the garden seem confused. Some are growing vigorously after the recent rainy weather; while others are still hunkered down as if they're expecting more hot weather soon. Maybe they know something we don't!

The night-time background when I
check the weather in the morning.

On a more personal note, I've made some changes at work. A few months ago, I had the opportunity to apply for a promotion, and I received it, which was quite nice. However, since then, some changes occurred that I didn't anticipate and the situation has become increasingly stressful. All of this was affecting my home/crafty life as well, as I was too tired to do any arts and crafts, and the eczema on my hand, which gets worse when I'm stressed, was preventing me from doing any fibre crafts. So a couple of weeks ago, I did what any self-respecting sensitive artistic type would do -- I asked to go back to my old position. Since then, I've been much happier, more motivated to write and do art, and my eczema has started healing up.

What I've been painting ...
After a break of about a month, I've started art-journalling again. Even with my hand in the state it's in, I can still hold a texta and do some scribbling. I'm interested in the concept of Asemic Writing (marks that look like writing but are actually not). So I've been writing passages using my scribbliest handwriting, deliberately trying to make them unreadable. Often the words are snatches of phrases that I've heard while watching TV. Later I like to cover them with semi-transparent layers of paint to make them even more difficult to distinguish (and mysterious, hopefully!).

What I've been obsessing over ...
Earlier this month, I finally found my notes on creating my own writing system. I'd been working on it on-and-off for several years, but when I moved house, the notes got packed away somewhere. No matter what I unpacked, no matter where I looked, I couldn't find them. I was getting very frustrated indeed! Finally, one weekend, Husband and I made a last-ditch attempt to find them. Finally he found them in his wardrobe, in a shopping bag full of electrical cables. I was overjoyed! Since then, a fair portion of my spare time has been spent in continuing my research. I'll dedicate a post to it soon to explain the project in more detail.

What I've been reading ...
I've taken up The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein again, which I started over a year ago. I find it hard going, not because of the comma-sparse, semi-stream of consciousness style, but because of the endless name-dropping and repetitive episodes recounting evenings spent with a revolving-door of various famous people. At other times, I remember that Stein wrote this supposed 'autobiography' of her life partner Alice B. Toklas, which does nothing but talk about Stein herself throughout. The audacity of it amazes me -- it's as if she wants to prove that she can self-aggrandise along with the best of the male artists and writers of her generation. Then there are the poignant moments, like the mother who wanted to return to Paris in the middle of World War I to bring her son's overcoat to him. At the moment I'm about half-way through; I don't know how long it will take me to finish!

What I've been photographing ...
Enough words; I'll leave you this month with some more photos I've taken in my recent outings.

March 29th, 2015

Op-Shop Recon ... Part 1


For the last few months now, I've been pining to get back into op-shopping (or thrifting, as it's known in many circles). I guess it's partly envy of the exciting vintage hauls that I've been seeing other people sharing online, and partly a reaction to my drive to get rid of stuff recently. But I am trying to be mindful not to re-stock too much and keep a balance!

It's been many years since I've been op-shopping, and I don't know where the good ones are anymore, so I thought it would be fun to go to several places, do a bit of a Reconnaissance Mission and report back my findings. The first shop I went to was the Salvation Army Store in the CBD, at the top end of Bourke Street. It was very small and, I thought, a bit overpriced. It was mostly clothes, with a book section, and no homewares. I was particularly looking for some clear glass mugs or a teapot, so I was a bit disappointed. I didn't end up buying anything. (I know, my friends will be shocked!)

The second shop I went to was the Brotherhood Shop in the basement of the Royal Arcade. It was larger and had the full range of what you would expect from an op shop -- clothes, books, linens, homewares, toys, etc. They didn't have the exact items I was looking for, but I came away with a few things.

Here we see some cute vintage mugs, a shelf-stand, a vintage sewing pattern, a hand-knitted baby blanket, and a travel guide to New Zealand in Chinese:

I positively swooned when I saw this hand-knitted baby blanket in pastels. It's now draped over the back of my couch. I'll add the sewing pattern to my collection. And the travel guide ... well, I've been really interested in Asian writing systems lately and I'm sure it will have many good pictures that I can use in my art journalling.

And I'd been wanting to get some more shelf-stands from Ikea to help re-organise my tea cupboard. But Ikea is so far away from where we live now. So when I saw this shelf-stand, I figure my visit was meant to be!

March 22nd, 2015

Yes, we went back again ... And yes, this post is basically just more kitty photospam.

I do have some news though -- there are three new inhabitants at the Cat Café, and they're all adorable kittens! Chirp, Nod and Tillie all have distinct personalities: Chirp was one of the first cats we met on the stairs leading up to the play area, and he loved to annoy the other cats until they either batted him away or consented to play with him. Nod spent the whole time sleeping, curled up in one of the pods. Tillie was nowhere to be found at first, but eventually slipped out of her hidey-hole to check out what was going on.

We were there in the last timeslot of the day, right after which is feeding time. The cats all emerged from wherever they were and started loitering around the hallway, so we got some group shots as well this time.

A good, solid hour of petting, playing with, and admiring a cohort of kitties was exactly what Husband and I needed to make us happy after a tough couple of weeks.

Now on with the photospam!

↘ Nod in the sleeping pod.

↘ Braveheart eyeing off the birds with his one eye.

↘ Winter and Ruby get in some solid sleeping time.

↘ Tilly jumps on top of the napping house.

↘ Tilly is too dignified to play with toys!

↘ The cats just love sitting on this cardboard thing.

↘ Chirp being curious and coming up the tube towards the camera.

↘ Lottie can't resist the rope toy.

↘ Group shot.

↘ It's nearly dinner time!

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A Visit to Cat Café Melbourne Return to Cat Café Melbourne

March 15th, 2015

Last weekend was a long weekend. Husband and I had already decided to do some cooking; we just didn't know what. Before I knew it, he was whipping up a marble cake! The chocolate portion is chocolate-flavoured (uh huh) and the pink portion strawberry-flavoured. He divided the batter into two jugs.

We then had fun pouring the jugs into the tin at the same time, moving back and forth to create layers of strawberry and chocolate. We also added some chocolate-covered crystallised ginger that was left over from our Christmas hamper.

We baked the cake in a flexible silicone Ikea baking tin that allowed the cake to bulge outwards instead of up! I named it the Pregnant Cake. (I guess any silicone tin would do that, not just Ikea ones? Or perhaps it was the batter? Will have to experiment.)

No worries though, the cake was delicious! Husband made some chocolate buttercream icing, and I decorated it with sprinkles -- though most fell off! The marbled effect was very pleasing. The only thing we regretted was adding the ginger -- it overpowered the strawberry taste. I thought it would be much better in a spiced cake next time.

Then for lunch we made sushi! I have to admit that I'm a little proud to say we're the kind of household that can spontaneously make sushi from things we happen to have in the pantry. Tinned tuna, cucumber, carrot, rice, Kewpie mayonnaise, soy sauce, dashi, and nori sheets.

March 10th, 2015

I got a Free Plant


Going for daily walks at lunch time is a good thing in so many different ways. A few weeks ago, I took photos of the summer plant display in front of the Melbourne Town Hall. The following week, I went back the same way, and the scene was completely different. Staff were dismantling the display and only a few broken, forlorn-looking plants were left in the big water-filled metal pans. A little shocked at the sudden (to me!) change from the beautiful display I'd seen not long before, I asked one of the staff what was going to happen to the plants. She said I could have one.

It must like being at my house, because it's flowered already!
Thank you, City of Melbourne, for my free plant baby.

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