Monday, October 31, 2011


'When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window'.  Maria from The Sound of Music.

Please don't hate me for quoting The Sound of Music.  I know some of you may be utterly repulsed offended.  But I have a drama background and it came into my head and it fits!  Like a lot of us over here I've been feeling the pressure of limitation.  But I did this workshop that helped me appreciate one of the things I really love about Greece.  And that is the deliciously superior quality of the local vegetables.

The workshop was an intro to vegan raw food.  And it was an eye opener.  Firstly, I learnt that raw beets and raw mushrooms can be exquisite.  I had no idea that vegan cheese alternatives (the one we made was called macademia 'cream cheese') can be much, much tastier than any of the real dairy stuff.  And the chocolates we made were so good they made me feel sort of high. 

I made some of the dishes for my family this weekend.  My mum, who is the most unadventurous Greek tunnel vision person when it comes to food went completely nuts and started demanding I get her nutritional yeast immediately so she can make the cheese and ALWAYS have it in her fridge.  My little boy who won't touch boiled or baked beets wouldn't stop eating the raw ones.  Its really good.  If you live in Athens you can head over to Avocado on thursday night and see for yourselves as the lovely troo food liberation team will take over the kitchen to cook Vegan Mexican Thali Platters.  You can read more about the event on the facebook page.

And if any of you are wondering why the embroidered beet the answer is I saw work by Sarah Greaves who stitches anything from bananas to chocolate and my curiosity got the better of me.  Thankfully it was pretty easy and only a small portion of one veg was sacrificed.  Stitching it reminded me of Miranda and the talking hot dog in sex and the city, and in my book that can only be a good thing :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

hard drinking housewife

Once upon a time in university I met a girl who played an operative role in bringing about something of a metamorphosis in my young life.  I was starting to feel seriously sick of whingey music and mosh pits and she came along and opened the doors to Heaven.  And Return to the Source and Club UK.  Liberation!  After years of hiding behind my pout and dressing like a 90's version of an emo I cut my hair and covered my face with glitter.  So one day this influential figure said something to me that really startled my 20 year old brain.  It went kind of like this:

'You know, I think women were stupid to have wanted emancipation.  We could be spending the day painting our nails and having cocktails from noon.  And also, you could go to the doctor and pretend to be depressed and get free valium prescriptions!  What were they thinking wanting to go to work?  Women really screwed things up for themselves.'

This coming from a dynamic, outspoken PhD student.  No.  Really?  Was she at all serious?  I thought housewives were always vacuuming and wishing they could 'break free'.  Could a housewife be rock and roll?  Could being a housewife actually be an option that anyone would ever choose?

So here I am, teaching so few yoga lessons that I essentially qualify as a housewife.  Although now it seems more acceptable to say 'stay at home mom' I quite like the ring of 'housewife' just because it carries so much baggage.  Including stitched baggage!  I love how stitchery by people like Julie Jackson and Carla Hansen takes a style that is traditionally associated with domesticity and housewifery and messes with expectations.  One of my favourite artists, Joetta Maue, makes some valuable points on the tension between feminism and the 'domestic role' in this excellent interview.  Anyway, I felt it was time to follow in the footsteps of the subversive stitchers.

Hard drinking?  Yeah I'm too much of a yoga nerd.  But when I first started this blog I was all about making cocktails.   I quickly found myself with a Mexican Mule obsession that had us consuming so much Don Julio that we began to worry about our money and our health.  Its from diffords guide and I'm including the recipe here because its the best cocktail in the world. I recommend you make it at the first opportunity.

Mexican Mule
1 2/2 shots tequila
3/4 freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 shot sugar syrup
 shake it all up and put it in a tall ice filled glass.  Fill up to the top with ginger beer.  Yum.

We are hard drinking housewives
Eels in the sink
Rats of unusual size
We're not cocks on weed
We are chicks on speed*

*These are lyrics from the Chicks on Speed song 'worst band in the world' from the album Cutting the Edge.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Flesh Embroidery

I get a wide spectrum of responses to my stitchy hobby.  Some are very positive.  But not all.  Ooooooh no.  I try not to dwell  insanely on those comments.  However, sometimes the sneering and scorn can really piss one off.  'Its a wonder you can be bothered' is a classic reaction that I am actually getting used to.  And I ask... why?  Why do they think its lame?  Is it because embroidery conjures images of sentimental ladies of leisure with no social life?  Maybe it brings to mind an uptight auntie whose house is drowning in doilies (σεμεδακια) and small porcelain objects.  How can my labour of love have such a bad rap?  

Embroidery is far more akin to tattooing than to, say, knitting.  I'm not trying to say that embroidery is cooler than knitting.  No way!  But it is a different creature.  Early embroidery took the place of tattoos with decorative symbols appearing on clothes in the same places as they appeared on the flesh.  Tattoos have been called 'flesh embroidery'.

So now things have come full circle, with embroiderers again taking tattoos and applying them to fabric.  The inspiration for this whitework is the most stunning piece of 'flesh embroidery' I have ever seen up close.  I love old school tattoos for their raw style and classic symbolism and this lovely gentleman's arm is an example that deserves to be celebrated.  And, in addition to being a walking work of art, he is a talented artist to boot.  Check out his art here.

I wanted to stitch this in white to create a lace-like quality, to draw attention to the details of the needlework and the parallels between fiber of fabric and flesh.  I wanted it to look, at first glance, like a tablecloth that any elderly lady may use to decorate her house.  But nestled in the centre is a ghost of a tattooed arm.