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I'm A Table








Katie ❀ Melbourne, Australia

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




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Works in Progress

GeoMushroom I


Grannyland Blanket


Swedish Christmas Shawl


Lammily Tank Top


Mixtro Monster


Polkadot Coathangers
(Set 3)


Kimono Lady Needlepoint


Couch Armrest Cover





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January 16th, 2017


One of my resolutions this year was to do more crafts. I have a huge number of craft projects in progress -- 52! (Or even 56 depending on what I classify as a craft.) Even to me, that seems incredibly high, but I practice many different crafts, from crochet and knitting through to hama beads and embroidery. I realised that I had quite a few I'm never going to finish, for various reasons. I didn't like the colours anymore, or the little person it was for had outgrown it, or it just didn't pique my interest anymore.

Back in December, I decided to cull 12 projects. That would bring it down to 40, which is still high, but not quite as bad! It wasn't as hard to choose as I thought it would be. I have all of my craft projects listed on a spreadsheet, which is incredibly handy because it would take me hours if I'd had to sight each one physically, digging through boxes and tubs. Some of the projects I culled were:

✖ a baby blanket with squares that puckered
✖ a scarf I didn't like the colours of anymore. Also it was supposed to replace one I'd made years ago which is getting a bit ratty, but which I still wear. (Also, I'd rather put my energy into making a Hufflepuff scarf instead.)
✖ a scarf for my Lammily doll, though I might re-work it one day
✖ a sewn handbag which I can't find anymore. I already have a lot of handbags anyway.
✖ an experimental monster plushie which I didn't like the way it was turning out. I tried knitting it, but I've decided I prefer crocheting them.

Once that was done, my craftload seemed much more manageable and I felt lighter. However, deciding which project to work on in any given session was still a bit overwhelming. So I made a Top 5 Projects list. It includes some small projects that I can finish quickly for (almost) instant gratification, plus some larger projects that I want to have finished sooner or later. I collected them all together in my craft basket in the lounge room for easy access. Here's the Top 5:

1. Pink Flower Cushion
I bought a flower loom a while back and made this flower while learning to use it. I didn't want to waste it, but didn't know what to do with it for a long time. The obvious solution was a hair deco, but the colour doesn't work for me. I finally had the idea of making a doll floor cushion and sewing the flower to the front.



2. Polka Dot Coathangers
My dream is to have nothing but nice coathangers in my wardrobe. For some reason I always make them in sets of 3, because it seems easier to make them in batches, but also because I like the idea of matching ones. I had nearly finished knitting the second one when I found a third one I'd started ages ago which is sort of polkadotty, so the project is even further along than I'd thought.



3. Travel Bunny
It's a small, simple bunny that I'm going to make into a trackable. The method of turning it from a plain square into a bunny seems quite clever. I'll explain further in a future post. To finish it, I'll have to find the website with the instructions again...



4. Swedish Christmas Shawl
I call this the Swedish Christmas shawl because it was inspired by the shawl a girl was wearing in a TV ad comparing Australian Christmas to Swedish Christmas. The pattern is just a simple straight granny stitch, so it's good for mindless crocheting. It's incredibly long though, and I think it will take quite some time to finish.



5. Granny Land Blanket
I always have at least one blanket or afghan in progress. This one was inspired by Pinterest and I want to make it large enough to really snuggle under in Winter. I haven't thought about how I'm going to join the squares yet, but there are plenty of methods to choose from. The internet is a wonderful thing!




January 13th, 2017





Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a young adult urban fantasy novel, released in 2011. It is the first book by author Ransom Riggs. The story is unique in that it is peppered with vintage photographs, which do not just illustrate the story, but are woven into it. According to the author, all of the images are actual vintage photos that he found in thrift shops, etc and used to inspire the story.

Jacob Portman is a 15-year-old boy living a boring, ordinary life in Florida. He is closest to his grandfather, who tells him unbelievable tales of his youth, but is becoming increasingly senile and paranoid. One night, Jacob's grandfather is murdered in a horrific manner, and this sets off a chain of events which lead Jacob and his father to a small Welsh island in search of his grandfather's true story.

On the island, Jacob discovers an abandoned old house. After spending several weeks exploring it, he is kidnapped by a teenaged girl and taken through a portal into the past, where he finds the house intact. There, he meets the peculiar children and Miss Peregrine, their headmistress and protector. Gradually he finds out about the world of the peculiars -- fae-type people each with their own magical power who live in time loops which keep them safe from the outside world. As long as the time loop is maintained, the same day repeats over and over, and only peculiars can enter it. Jacob's grandfather lived with this magical troup in Miss Peregrine's time loop as a child, and Jacob realises that all the 'fairy tales' he told are true. There are dangers in this magical world though, and the children are vulnerable to vicious monsters and evil part-humans, if they can lure the children out of the time loop.



I liked Jacob, despite his characterisation in the beginning as a bored, bratty rich kid. He is realistically honest, having a complicated relationship with his father, and making decisions based on his hormones at times. He has some serious choices to make in the second half of the book, and makes them on his own, which shows a maturing and depth of character. The writing in the first half of the book was very enjoyable with several witty passages. Many 5 or 6 line sentences were so well-crafted that the general advice about keeping sentences as short as possible seems moot. The Welsh island and the salty characters on it were delightful to read about. I especially loved the scene where Jacob is advised to visit an old man to speak to him before "Father Ted comes on the telly".



The story begins to falter about halfway through. I felt as if some parts were awkwardly stretched just to fit the photos in, and the monsters are quite cliched and out of tone with the rest of the book. At the start, it seems assumed that the readership is older teenagers -- the vocabulary is mature, horribly violent events happen, and Jacob displays symptoms of PTSD. But as the book progresses, it feels like the target audience is getting younger and younger. By the end, the plot has become simplified and sees the children fighting boogieman-like monsters. Compared to the creepiness of the vaguely alluded-to horrors earlier on, the monster fight seems quite crude. The childrens' characters are reduced to nothing more than what magical tricks they can produce to further what needs to be done. The witty tone falls away and it's as if the author has run out of steam and is just plodding towards the end.

One thing that confused me was that Jacob finds many photos of children from the home in his grandfather's photo album, which led me to believe there was quite a large population. However, at the end of the book, a count of ten children (including Jacob) is specifically mentioned, and there is no reference to any other inhabitants who may have left, etc. Where are all the others? Were those photos just included in the book because they looked cool?



Another thing that irked me was the ending which left such an obvious opening for a sequel. The back cover of the book mentions that it is the first of a trilogy, but I have a newer edition and readers might not have known that when it was initially released. My edition also plugs the movie heavily, both on the cover and inside. (Though I have to admit: it would make a good-looking movie.) On the other hand, there were many things about the book I loved: the creepy vintage photos, the 1940s setting, the colloquial Welshness, a tiny island with its clunky museum and proudly displayed bog-man, a time travel concept that's not brain-shrivellingly difficult to understand. Physically the book is quite impressive too, with a weightiness that comes from all the ink used in reproducing the many photos, as well as the Victorian-styled chapter headings.

The world of peculiars and time-loops that Riggs created is a fascinating one, and I wish it had been revealed further, rather than devolving into a typical light horror tale. I was intrigued by the children, who are really 70-and 80-year-olds in children's bodies, living the same day over and over again in Miss Peregrine's time loop. Are they playing the role of children to pass the time in what is essentially an endless prison, or are they actually in deep denial? I would like to have known more about their lives and thoughts. That's why I'm going to read the rest of the trilogy, but I'm not going to expect as much as I did from the first book. Next though, is to watch the movie which came out in 2016.

January 8th, 2017

First Cativersary!

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As of yesterday, we welcomed Sharick into our home one year ago. It doesn't seem that long, but at the same time I can't imagine life without him! He's a complete huggle-fiend, insisting on a cuddle from each of us if we've been out all day. He's an incorrigible lap cat -- as soon as we sit on the couch, within a minute you can guarantee he's there. Even in hot weather!

He's truly a Prince of cats, with his grey tiger stripes and imperious glances. At other times, when the weather is unsettled, he clings to me in the most adorable way. When I'm painting or writing at the computer, and he jumps up, insisting on a cuddle, it's a reminder to take a break and enjoy the little things in life.

I'll leave you with some kitty photo-spam selected from my Instagram:















January 5th, 2017

Apricot Harvest

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The apricots from our tree seemed to come early this year -- they were ready for picking on New Year's Eve. This picture shows about 80% of the harvest. We kept a few back to use in cocktails and eating fresh.



I love how easy apricots are to process. The stones pop right out!



I decided to make stewed fruit instead of jam, as I wasn't quite ready for such a big undertaking, and also the harvest not quite big enough to justify so much effort. Stewed fruit is healthier than jam as well, as you only need to add a little sugar, or none at all if you like. I added about 3 tablespoons of sugar. The downside of stewed fruit compared to jam is that it must be stored in the freezer.



They only need to be cooked for about 15 minutes. The camera lens steamed up in this shot!



I put the apricots into small containers to make it easier to defrost and use them later.



Here are a few uses that I thought of for them:
⋆ pie filling
⋆ fruit crumble
⋆ serve with ice cream
⋆ topping for breakfast porridge
⋆ use in smoothies
⋆ apricot chicken dish

January 2nd, 2017

Hello 2017

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This time of year is always the same for me -- I declare boldly that I don't make new year's resolutions, but I have an urge to make some anyway ... and trawl the internet to spy on other people's resolutions! This year I've also come across various lists of questions to ask yourself about the past year and the coming year -- each set longer and more excrutiatingly intimate than the last.



Although I mentioned in my 2016 wrap-up post that I had a pretty good year overall, there were a few things that I regretted not doing more of or would like to have done differently. So I decided to write out a few goals wishes (Havi at The Fluent Self calls them 'gwishes'!) for 2017. There are many more things I'd like to do, but I limited it to 9 so they don't seem so overwhelming. For now, they're just outlines. In the coming few days, I'll sit down and figure out more concrete ways of making them happen.

1. Spend more time outside. I think this will improve both my physical and mental health. Whether it's going for a walk, finding things to take photos of, or gardening, all of these things make me happier.

2. Share more on the blog. I've done so many things that I didn't write about on the blog, and regretted it -- from making hot cross buns to my crafty birthday party! I want to share more and be more personal on my blog from now on.

3. Finish KonMari'ing my house. I'm about two-thirds of the way there. I just know that I'll be happier and be able to enjoy my house more once it's finished.

4. Plan a regular yoga practice. Aside from being on my 101 Things in 1,001 Days list, this is another thing that I know will improve my well-being.

5. Continue my rune studies and other spiritual pursuits. In 2016 I concentrated much more on my spiritual side, and it really did wonders for my confidence. I'd like to extend this more in 2017.

6. Spend more time doing crafts. I only completed 6 crafts projects last year -- that statistic makes me really sad! In the second half of last year, I focussed more on art and writing, but I missed doing crafts. I'd like to find a way to bring all of them together.

7. See if my sewing machine still works; if not, buy a new one. About a quarter of my in-progress craft projects require sewing to finish them off. I've also been meaning to start sewing clothes again. This would very much help me to achieve the next gwish, too...

8. Explore fashion more and take more photos of myself. Since I gave my clothes the Kon-Mari treatment in the middle of last year, I've been much more interested in fashion again. I want to add more pieces I really love to my wardrobe and create some thoughtful co-ords. I also want to take more photos of myself: to document my outfits, and I also find it helpful for my confidence and increasing body positivity.

9. Play with my dolls more, and make/design things for them. I posted that I received a Lottie doll and some outfits for Christmas. I have to admit I have at least two other dolls that I haven't even unboxed yet. My interest tends to wax and wane in this particular hobby, but I think that if I have a spot to display my dolls in, I'll be more likely to want to do things with them. (And again, that will make me happier!)




I also have something really big coming up later this month, which I'm still proctrastinating about announcing, even though I've known about it for a while now. Soon, I promise!




December 31st, 2016

2016 in Review

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It's generally being said around the Internet that 2016 was the year from hell, and in many ways I agree. In my own life though, it was a very good year, with many changes, most of them positive.



I was going to write about things I wish I'd done differently this year, but I'd rather focus on the positive, so here's a list of good things that I did or happened to me:

➸ I left my old job and had 6 months off
➸ I got a new job in the field I wanted to go into
➸ We got a cat (!!)
➸ I went on trips to the country, the beach, and a fashion show (all on my own!)
➸ I made a new friend
➸ I went to see a shaman
➸ I KonMaried my house (it's not finished yet, but I did most of it)
➸ I turned 40 and had a crafternoon party to celebrate
➸ I made jam, preserved olives, gluten-free hot cross buns, and learned how to make gluten-free pastry
➸ I started writing a zine
➸ My attitudes towards work, material things, and other people all seem to have changed



Now for the customary stats (last year's stat in brackets):

Books finished:
full-length: 20 (14)
short & manga: 20 (38)
Currently reading as of today: 9 (13)

Blog posts: 63 (69)

Craft items started: 6 (8)
Craft items finished: 6 (7)
Craft projects currently in progress as of today: 40 (I did have 52, but I made myself cull some a few weeks ago.)

Last but not least, the annual Apartmentcat Favourites Awards!
Top Movies:
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Rogue One
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Maleficent and Mad Max: Fury Road were also very good.

Top Books:
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Essays in Idleness by Yoshida Kenkō

Have a happy and safe new year everyone!
xx





December 30th, 2016



I hope you've been having a wonderful and relaxing time, no matter what you celebrate. Thank you for the views and comments this year! May your 2017 be everything that you wish for.


And now for the presents! I didn't receive as many this year, but I don't mind at all. I love everything I received. Husband bought me the board game Scoville as I heard about it from a workmate a few months ago and I mentioned it to him as a game I might like.



Lottie Fossil Hunter doll and two outfits. I ordered these online and then gave the unopened box to Husband for him to give to me.



Books -- some I asked Husband to give me, some I received from my mother and father in-law, and Cakemoji was from my best friends. My mother-in-law slips a cheesy romance novel into our Christmas hamper every year -- it seems to have become a family tradition!



Food gifts: the bottle of Kirsch has a spinning mini bottle insert in the front. Husband and I are always on the look-out for interesting liqueur bottles to give each other. The mug was a going-away gift to me from one of my workmates. I gave it to Husband to wrap and put under the tree because, it's quite pretty and why not?



Crafts: I instructed Husband to give me some sparkly gel pens and a pencil pouch. The Tsum-Tsums activity tin is from my best friends. They know I like childish things like that, not to mention tins to keep my craft projects in!



Lastly, I did indeed receive the Harry Potter boxed set that I wished for. Husband and I bought it together as a gift for ourselves, so we decided to revive an old tradition from his childhood -- we designated it a "gift from the tree". When he was a child, his parents would wrap small gifts in green paper and hide them amongst the branches of the Christmas tree for him to find. This gift was much too heavy to hide in the tree! but it was just as special. It's something I'd like to do every year, not only to solve the problem of joint gifts, but as a lovely tradition.



Happy festive season to all!

December 18th, 2016

Christmas Wishlist

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Harry Potter Boxed Set
For the last few months, I've had a hankering to read the whole Harry Potter series again. I never had a full set because I'd borrowed the first 3 or 4 from the library to read, and had only purchased the last few as they came out. I must have donated them because I can't find them anymore. So I'm wishing for a lovely boxed set like this one:



New Phone
Actually, I have a phone, it just isn't set up yet. I'm not very technically-minded, so it's taking a long time to figure out how to do everything. (My situation is complicated by the fact that I have an old-style sim card that doesn't fit the phone, my music library is on my old laptop, and my contacts, apps and photos are spread across 3 devices.) I know I have to do the work myself, and it's a bit unrealistic to call on the Christmas elves to help, but a girl can't help dreaming, right?



Plant Pots
I have so many baby plants now that I need a constant supply of nice pots for them to live in. Spare pots are also handy for keeping craft supplies and other household items in. Specialty bonsai pots are the prettiest, in my opinion -- they come in small sizes, and many colours and shapes.



Hose Trolley
Watering the garden every day in Summer is a must for it to survive, but lugging around an unco-operative hose is no fun. It would be so much easier with a retractable hose trolley that I could trundle around to different parts of the garden.



Miss Peregrine Book
I don't often buy fiction books unless I'm sure I'll like them, but having seen the trailers for the movie, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children seems to be one I'll surely like.



I'm quite sure at least a couple of these are under the Christmas tree already!

December 6th, 2016

Late Spring Garden Update

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It was a very wet Spring this year, which meant I didn't need to start watering the plants until a few weeks later than normal -- they sprang into life on their own and most things are growing well. Weeds grow so fast it's hard to keep up with them! (I secretly prefer the lawn like this, with dandelions popping up all over. It's the witch in me.):



I noticed when editing the photo that the shrub in the background looks like it has bright blue fairy lights all over it! But it's just the sun reflecting off the glossy leaves.

The orange tree has hundreds of tiny green globes all over it:



The plum and apricot trees are coming along nicely. I'll need to put the bird netting on them this weekend. This is the plum:



The ferns normally start to flag a little when the weather gets warmer, but it's not quite time for that yet:



Last but not least, the roses are even more glorius this year! The Circus Gold is a little too bright for me, but I can't help falling in love with its exuberance:



I'm very excited to see that the Julia's Rose is blooming properly for the first time in the three years I've lived here. The delicate pastel copper is just exquisite, and it smells wonderful too. It's competing with the Blue Moon (background) as my favourite at the moment.



This time next week, the weather is forecast to turn hot. The nightly cycle of sprinklers, hoses and watercan-hauling will soon begin. I like spending time with my plants though, it's calming and a relaxing thing to do after work when it's too hot for baths and tea.

November 27th, 2016



Recently, someone at work pointed out that there are only 6 weeks until the end of the year. Instead of getting stressed about everything I have in progress, I decided to set myself a little challenge. Before the end of the year, I'd like to finish:

* 3 books
* 2 paintings
* my zine
* walking 200 kms (12 kms to go)
* 2 craft projects
* my 2016 Hobonichi (catch up on blank pages)

I've been looking into Bullet Journalling lately. The system as a whole isn't for me, but I was inspired to make a 'bujo'-style tracker for my challenge. I didn't pretty it up too much, as I'm not going to keep it beyond the end of the challenge. For each day there are 6 squares, and if I did something towards any of the goals that day I get to fill it in. I haven't been able to do much as I've still been sick, but the tracker helps to remind me of what I have done, as well as keeping me motivated.




It's true, there were more than 6 weeks until the end of the year when I began, but it doesn't hurt to give myself a head start, does it? I also have another possible project coming up which would be quite exciting if I can be involved. I'll write more about that later!

November 15th, 2016

Art is Important

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Today, I worked on my art for the first time in 2 months. I kept hesitating because I was worried I'd screw up the canvases. Because they might not come out like the image in my head. Because my art is different to other people's. Because I can't draw as well as other people.

Today was different though. I decided to be brave. As I worked, I was listening to some old cassette tapes. Weirdly, when the song Kids in America started playing, the events of the last week must have caught up with me. Normally I never cry, but cried then, for all of the decent people of the world. By the time the song ended, I knew what to do. I remembered showing a friend some of my paintings a few months ago. Among other comments, he said that looking at them made him happy.

That's what I want to do -- I want to make people happy. Something shifted in me. I worked all afternoon, made some steps on a painting that I'd been hesitating to make, and started a new one. I can't imagine letting those doubts get in my way now. They're nothing compared with what I need to do. I hope this means that good can come from bad, not just for me but for the whole world.







November 12th, 2016

My Hogwarts House

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Yesterday, I finally created an account at Pottermore and found out my official Hogwarts House! I don't know why it took me so long to get around to it. I first started reading the books after the third one came out, so that makes it 1999. At the time, I was instantly drawn to Ravenclaw -- it fit my personality perfectly.

When the online quizzes and tests appeared, I did a couple and the result was always Ravenclaw, too. I was a dyed-in-the-wool Ravenclaw! Or was I? When chatting with Husband and some friends earlier this year, they said I struck them as being more of a Hufflepuff. Were the tests wrong, or perhaps I've changed?

About a month ago, I came across a sorting system based on personality psychology. It's quite complicated, and there's no quiz -- you have to read through the desciptions and decide which one fits you best. The site is here and I would recommend it as an interesting exercise if you're interested in psychology. The system is two-tiered. Your Primary sort is based on your value system: why you do the things you do. Your Secondary sort is your methods: how you achieve the things you want to do. It also explains the concepts of Modelling and Performing.

Choosing my House for the Secondary sort was easy: it was Ravenclaw far and away above the others. I had a very hard time choosing a House for the Primary sort, however. In the end, I tentatively chose Hufflepuff first, with Ravenclaw a close second.

While this exercise and learning more about the psychology-based sorting system was very interesting, it left me even more confused than before. Can you be a RavenclawxHufflepuff? That's why I decided to join Pottermore, do the sorting quiz there and get the 'official' truth. Which is: I'm a proud Hufflepuff!



It wasn't much of a surprise actually, when I think back on the last 15 years. I've changed in many ways. Learning and knowledge are still very important to me, but so is community and supporting others. (The rise of the internet is probably partly the reason for that.) In the last 3 years especially, since buying our house, gardening and plants have become a new and passionate hobby for me. That, more than anything else, is probably the reason my friends now think of me as a Hufflepuff!

I am very happy to be a Hufflepuff, as I think it suits my personality the way it is now. And who knows, perhaps I would have been the student to build bridges between the Houses and show that Hufflepuffs aren't "duffers" after all! There's only one drawback to being a Hufflepuff. The House colours -- yellow and black -- are the same as a football team here in Melbourne. None of the other House's colours suffer from that problem. I suppose that if I ever want to deck myself out in Hufflepuff regalia, I will have to make sure the crest with the badger is clearly visible. I don't mind though, because the badger is the most adorable and foresty of all the animals!

I actually think that if I lived in the Harry Potter universe, I would have been a Ravenclaw. If I'd been admitted to Hogwarts at the age of 11, where would the Sorting Hat have put me? I was such a strong Ravenclaw back then. If the hat had given me a choice between Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, I would certainly have chosen Ravenclaw. Now, I would choose Hufflepuff. And J. K. Rowling agrees.


TL;DR I'm a Hufflepuff!


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