Sunday, December 4, 2011

Baking and making the day away...

There are definitely Christmas-related smells.
For me, it’s spices: ginger, mixed spice, cinnamon and ground cloves. Sometimes even nutmeg. It was heady in my kitchen over the weekend, as I baked the most beautiful pumpkin pies; and it made me smile today, as I introduced the kids to their first Christmas baking experience – a tradition that I’m hoping to encourage within our small family, complete with all the smells, mixing, taste testing and patient waiting that goes along with it.

Our lovely Aunt and cousin have a yearly baking tradition that we were keen to get involved with; and this morning we smelled and mixed, and measured and tasted our way through Grandma’s boiled fruit cake recipe (laden with rum-soaked fruit, nuts, stewed prunes and piles of zesty peel), and a big batch of sticky, moreish rum balls.

I watched the kids mix at the table, standing up on their chairs – absolutely engrossed in the step-by-step process going on around them; best-loved carols played on in the background, spices measured out teaspoon by teaspoon, and once the lid was lifted, the strong smell of the soaked fruit filled the air. It warmed my heart – sharing this with family, and introducing it to Judah and Lou. Coming from a family of the most amazing cooks, the love of cooking and of food is something I’m so keen to weave into their young lives.

The weather turned cool and windy this afternoon, and as I tidied up, I eyed an ice-cream tub full of cherry tomatoes from the garden, which we can’t seem to eat through fast enough. And after a full, sweet day of happy cooking and comfortable chatter, I felt ready (and inspired) to do just a little more.
Relish, perhaps?
Thank goodness for Steph from Mon Petit Poppet, who luckily had posted a recipe not too long ago. The tomatoes were cut up in a flash, generously salted and peppered, and are, as I type, roasting beautifully in the oven.

Don’t you just love productive cooking days?

How was your day today?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Making Christmas Ours...

This year, I’m making a pumpkin pie for Christmas Day desert.
And perhaps even a lemon tart, loaded with fresh seasonal berries.
There’ll be lazy after-dinner swims in the pool, iced tea in tall glass pitchers, old (sometimes scratchy) jazz records being played, and a string of lanterns glowing on the verandah.

I’ve been thinking about starting our own family Christmas traditions a lot lately – you know, the things that you do every year as a family (isn’t there just a loveliness in things that stay the same over time?), and the things that we’ll look forward to with delicious anticipation. The small things that will make Christmas our Christmas.

The babes are old enough now to be swept up in magical things, and we’ve been discussing Santa’s job (and whether Santa enlists the help of fairies to help him out), and all the childlike things that go along with it. Judah has decided that he wants to leave a present for Santa, which I readily agreed to – and Lou suggested that the reindeer might like some honey on toast, along with the traditional carrots and apples. Who doesn’t like hot-buttered honey toast?

Dave and I have been brainstorming ways to make the magic of the season real for them both. Inside, on our bright Christmas morning, there’ll be a note left from Santa, footprints leading out from the fireplace, and a pile of string-wrapped presents stacked under the Judah-decorated tree. The plate of homemade goodies that the little ones will make the day before, will have proved too much of a temptation for old St Nick; and outside, the reindeer feast will be all but a memory. There may even be some sparkly glitter in the place where they rested – evidence of their magical pit-stop.

As we lean towards the loveliness of Christmas day, the kids have begun making their presents for the people they love most in the world – with my help, of course. Their drawings are very person-specific, and done with such care and sweetness; some of them have been transformed into small artworks, some have been set aside for more intricate projects in the New Year. But most importantly, they are all wrapped up in the idea of giving to people, and I can’t help but smile at their enthusiasm.

Do you have Christmas traditions that you’ve brought into your family from your childhood? Or have you created your own special family traditions?


Image from here.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Rowdy, rough-and-tumble types...

My babes are wrestlers.
They’re also fast-running-around-the-table, rolling around in mud, climbing dangerously high (and jumping without fear), and fake laughing in the mirror kind of kids. They do everything in a loud way; will shriek and screech over the smallest finds, and love making up circus tricks and tumbling down the hallway. They make loud, scary noises when pulling faces, breakdance to bad 80’s music, and sing off key to our favourite songs. I never dress them in white. Ever.

Even though I’m more than aware of their boisterous beginnings, this week I had the opportunity to see a work in progress performance in an inner city theatre, a play for two-to-five year olds all about play – and I must admit, I hesitated. Especially because when I was reading the email invitation, Judah was standing on the dining table shouting ‘Fi! Fi! Fo! Fum!’ and beating his chest like King Kong, and I could hear Lou outside squealing repeatedly over a colony of ants that she’d found in the mud.
But then I thought, why not? They may just surprise me…

As it was, my energetic two were very good, and aside from a few feet stamping and jumping on cushion episodes, all went beautifully. But the thing I love the most?  How seeing the performance has influenced their own imaginings and the way that they play together: Judah’s been pretending to swim around the house, holding his breath so his plump little cheeks stick out, breast-stroking at a furious pace, and diving onto the couch to paddle-kick his legs at breakneck speed. And Lou has been exploring with boxes, copying Judah’s enthusiastic swimming displays, and hiding under sheets – just like the actors did.

It was an interesting lesson for me – perhaps I box my wrestlers/mud rollers too quickly, and don’t really give them the opportunity to experience new, quieter things because I’m afraid they’ll be too disruptive. But I’m thinking that we may just become a theatre-going family after all… which is very, very cool.

Have your children ever surprised you in a similar way?


Ps. Only one more week left before we draw the winner of our $50 Quill & Ink Handmade gift voucher! To enter, all you need to do is post a photo on our facebook page of your Quill & Ink product with its new owner, and like us (if you don’t already). Simple as that! Best photo wins…. x

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Market Wrap Up: Mathilda's

And so begins a mad month of markets for Quill & Ink Handmade!
Yesterday we peddled our wares at the lovely Mathilda’s Market, which was brimming with eager Christmas shoppers – we met so many lovely people, ate enormous portions of Happy Little Dumplings pork buns (oh my goodness, so delicious) , and had moments where our stall had so many people buying that it was tricky to see past them – very exciting!

Next up: We’re off to take part in the Racecourse Road Community Christmas Event, with a big market hosted by BrisStyle, and held on the grounds of the beautiful St. Augustine’s Church on Friday 25th of November, 5pm until 9pm. The whole of Racecourse road will be taking part in this lovely community event, with carols, roving entertainment, great food, and a visit from Santa - plus all of the local restaurants and cafes will be celebrating in style, with Christmas menus and delicious specials. We’re so looking forward to it!

Will you come along too?


Image from BrisStyle.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Win Me!

On the fifth of December, Quill & Ink Handmade will be a whole year old. Even as I write, I’m thinking of the year like a mother contemplating the galloping of time, and remembering our first tentative steps towards a more creative life, the joy of selling our carefully crafted goods, and the loveliness of being surrounded by other like-minded creatives, who put their whole hearts into the treasures that they make.

It’s been a rosy, glorious year for us, furnished with lots of new ideas, some tears (born from frustration and tiredness), tricky juggling and a whole lot of coffee and cake, but I look at us now – a well oiled creating machine – and I’m so proud I could burst. Sometimes taking a step into an unknown can be the best thing, you know?

So, we’re celebrating.
And we’re thanking you, our wonderful customers, readers, and followers, for all your support, by hosting a fun photo competition to celebrate all the Quill & Ink goodness that’s been bought, given, passed on and delivered this year.

It’s so easy to win! All you have to do is take a photo of your Quill & Ink Handmade item with its new owner, post the image on our Facebook page, and ‘Like’ us (if you don’t already) to be in the draw to win a $50 Quill & Ink Handmade gift voucher to spend on whatever takes your fancy in our Etsy Store. The loveliest photo will win – simple as that!
Entries close on 5th of December – just in time to have your Quill & Ink parcel delivered before Christmas.

Hurrah! We just love giveaways!


Ps. Image from here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Slow Slithering...

(Lemon Jellie, this post is for you!)

So, some of you may know that our house is a mecca for creepy wildlife. There’s something about backing onto a creek that brings out the beasties, and among the hundreds of bearded dragons, giant spiders, and a myriad of birds, bats and lizards, are many, many snakes in all different varieties that I’ll often find in really unexpected places (and usually in places I need to be).

I have to admit, when we first moved in here, I was absolutely petrified. I already had a paralysing fear of spiders, and would regularly find them on the inside of the shower screen, the toilet seat, on a random towel or behind pots and pans, and once on a cardigan that I pulled out from my wardrobe. There was much shrieking and a whole lot of obsessive checking of things; but thankfully, as the years have passed, I seem to be coping much better with their surprise visits.

Just recently, we had a mad month of snakes at our house. We’d find carpet pythons, metres long, exploring the front verandah, slithering over the kids bikes, curling around our outdoor furniture. Snakes that sunned themselves in the backyard, mated in our side garden, used trees as ladders, and sneaked from one end of the house to the other through the guttering. Night after night, they’d mate in our roof cavity, sliding over beams, the rough sound echoing through the sleeping house. And there were plenty of nights that we sat up, at two in the morning, drinking tea or eating ice-cream because the noise of them was just too loud.

And then, nothing.
Not a trace of them around the house; no persistent scraping noises in the roof, no shrieking of local birds who followed and alerted us of the snakes when they were migrating in the garden. And weeks go by in blissful silence.

But this morning, look what I found:

Last year, we found baby pythons under the couch, or suddenly in the hallway, or writhing on the bathroom floor. The kids, ever fascinated, would sit on their haunches and watch as we tried to shepherd them into boxes or bowls, to be released near the creek.

Finding the first skin this morning was a cue to be a little more vigilant around the house – hopefully there won’t be too many of them wriggling into our lives this season!

Do you have interesting wildlife at your house?
Or got a snake story?


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Market Wrap Up: Blackwood Street

It really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas, isn’t it?
We had a wonderful day at the Blackwood Street Farmers Market yesterday, and loved talking to so many lovely customers about their Christmas plans. It was deliciously hot, and we were surrounded by the best gourmet and locally produced food – which makes for a pretty perfect Sunday morning.

We’ve got two weeks to tackle (and conquer!) a maddening list of sewn goodies, and then it’s off to our last Mathilda’s Market for the year. If you’re in Brisbane, come on in for a look - The line up for this market is just divine, and featuring a lot of our favourites, including the very cool Furious Kingston, lovely summery Kaftan Kids, the bright and eclectic Wimcee, and the snuggly Frankandharps. And there’ll be dumplings for lunch from Happy Little Dumplings – delish!

We’ve also been hard at work creating some fun new products – one in particular I absolutely can’t wait to see transform from sketch to reality. Think small tattoo, nautical, eye patch, and ‘Land Ho!!’ (Sneak peek soon!)

Have a wonderful Monday,


Friday, October 28, 2011

Grateful #23 – What are you thankful for this week?

Sometimes being unwell is just the remedy you need, you know? It forces you to slow right down, look after your body, listen to the early bed call, and take the time (or make the time) to rest, instead of rushing around madly. And even though you feel utterly wretched, sleep and love and tea mean that you’re stronger and better able to climb back on top of daily tasks when it all passes on.

With that in mind, this week I’m grateful for:

Hand sewing. At the beginning of the week when I felt broken and stuffed up and in need of at least ten years of sleep all in a row, I started on a small, lovely project for the doting Grandmothers for Christmas. All propped up and comfy on the couch, with water, endless boxes of tissues, and a life-saving movie on for the babes, I began to embroider - what a relaxing, wonderful skill! All those small, neat stitches, a simple design, and the makings of a (hopefully!) treasured present.
But the sweetest part? Judah climbing in and snuggling under the covers with me,  and measuring his hands against the embroidered pattern, just in case he’d grown while I was stitching…

Renovating. Ok, it’s not my real house – but a simply-designed wooden dollhouse I found on Ebay for an absolute bargain, and started working on this week in preparation for Lou for Christmas. I’ve been having a ball painting and planning and researching (you’d be surprised how many people take the redecoration of a dollhouse very seriously), but I’m keeping it simple: a lick of paint, some new upholstery on the wooden furniture and bedding (plastic-y pink fabric is out!), and a change of clothes for the peg-like dolls. Lou has a real love for small, pocket-sized things, and I’m bursting at the thought of her playing with this lovingly restored treasure on Christmas day.

What are you grateful for this week?

Ps. Want to play too? Link your grateful post back to the very clever Maxabella Loves, or write your grateful list in the comments section below x

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Baking = Serenity

I bake a lot when I’m stressed.

It’s something I realised over the weekend, after a particularly challenging morning with the kids, a whole stack of sewing to somehow speed through, and what seemed like hundreds of tedious household jobs to somehow squeeze into the mix. Without really thinking about it, I put some music on, and got out my mixing bowls, some eggs, the flour – and while I chopped, fried, mixed and waited, I was aware of how much calmer I’d become. And how much more achievable all those tasks seemed to be.

I know it was probably just the act of having a small window of time to myself, but lately, it’s gone hand in hand with cooking, and I’m not necessarily complaining – and actually, neither are my family. In the last week alone, stress has led me to bake two gorgeous batches of sultana, honey and oat slice, a lovely silky lemon tart, and a hearty loaf filled with roasted pumpkin, feta and crispy bacon (spread with a little garlic and chive dip – divine!).

How do you deal with stress?


Image from here.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Let them eat cake!

Take lots of daydreams about sweet, pretty cakes, simple sketches and carefully knuckled out patterns, the softest wool felt, cups of tea and Italian biscuits, and an afternoon of wonderful conversation, and this is what you get:

The newest addition to our market line-up for Christmas this year are these delicious petit fours (6), beautifully boxed, and ready for hours of the sweetest pretend play!
Pre-order your box today – only $25 + postage; or if you’re in Brisbane, pick them up at one of our local markets….


Ps. Waiting on supplies to arrive in order to finish the last cake. But I’ve sketched out a Neapolitan-style petit four, garnished with banana and kiwi fruit – if I can figure out the best way to do it!  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The times they are a changin’

Lots of things change within a year.

I’ve been thinking about this all week – how we ever-so-slowly change and grow, and how nothing really ever stays the same. And today - because it’s my birthday, and a gal can do what she likes on her birthday (within reason, of course) – I thought I’d write a post on a few of the random things that have changed over the last year, like….

  1. I now like leeks, spinach, and kiwi fruit. I’ve also been able to drink full cream milk for the first time in nearly ten years, and am experimenting with the after-effects of eggs, after not eating them since my late teens. So far, so good. And how good are eggs?!
  2. My feet are no longer made for heels.
  3. My new ultimate favourite homemade dessert is lemon tart. It wins hands down over chocolate every time. I also had my first ever macaron about six months ago. Oh goodness.
  4. I never used to wear jewellery – but over the last year, I’ve slowly been buying handmade beads and brooches and things, and it’s so lovely. Easiest way to add a bit of brightness to a well worn outfit.
  5. I haven’t written in a journal for a whole year today, and it’s the first year in more than twenty that I haven’t.
  6. I’ve learnt to really trust my creative instincts over the last year. The things that I have a great ‘gut feeling’ about are the things that others love just as much as we do.
  7. I had my first filling and first tooth extraction this year.
  8. I used to be totally fine with drinking instant coffee, until we found a stove-top coffee percolator in the cupboard, left behind by the previous owner. Oh, how good it is - the smell of brewing coffee first thing in the morning, the real jolt of caffeine, and perfectly frothed milk. I admit it: I’ve definitely become a coffee snob.
  9. Since our house seems to be a shining beacon for all things beastie, I’m delighted to discover that I’m no longer afraid of crazy long snakes or big-as-your-hand spiders. It was proven this week, when a carpet python curled up at our front door, and we had our first mega huntsman for the warmer months appear in the bedroom. I took photos of them both.
  1. Somewhere along the line this year, I realised I was happy – like really happy, for the first time, ever. You know that wallowing-the-goodness-of-life kind of happy? Where you live in a technicolour bubble and life is full, beautiful, brimming with possibility. It’s put a soft, rosy glow on the year that has been, which is the best way to step into the year that’s ahead.  

Thank you for indulging me, dear readers!
Do you have any random things that have changed over the last year? Tell me!  


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bloomin' Gorgeous!

I’m about to head out to do some weeding, but thought I’d quickly show you what’s been going on in the garden over the last few weeks. I wish you could see it in its budding glory – all the beds are full up with flowers and vegetables and bees and worms, and the recent rain seems to have a booster built into every drop – things are growing at the most magnificent pace!

How is your spring garden looking? Have you planted vegetables too?


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Grateful #22: What are you thankful for this week?

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks.
But in amongst some out-of-this-world temper tantrums (toddlers – sheesh!), was the loveliest, food and wine filled holiday spent in the company of the most wonderful people. It’s given me so much to be grateful for this week, including….

The comfort and contentment of home. We had the most delicious time away, and absolutely loved exploring and spending time with our beautiful family in Adelaide. But how nice is it to come home to familiar spaces, well loved things (and to a beloved husband who was lonely without two rambunctious children)?
We arrived home late, on a warm, clear night, and as soon as the bags were inside, I crawled into our bed with the smile of a happy traveller. In the morning, I couldn’t help but marvel at the growth in the garden (our tomatoes and snow peas are in bloom!), and even allowed Ella, our stinky mastiff, to lie smiling on my feet.
I baked, drunk tea, and pottered; did loads of laundry and watched a snake wind its way around a tree in the garden. I took up my needle and began to sew.
I like travelling, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a homebody at heart; and it made me even more grateful for our patch of the world, and all the love and life it contains.

Lyra. The littlest and loveliest of our family turned two a couple of days ago – Lyra (or Lou) spent the day in a sea of colourful balloons and pink wrapping paper, talked loudly, giggled and squealed, ate dreamy vanilla cakes with chocolate butterflies perched on top, drew all over her legs and face with new felt-tip pens, and was loved up by lots of people who think she’s just the bees knees (Judah, on the other hand was so distraught that it wasn’t his birthday that he spent most of the day crying, and/or stamping his feet with the injustice of it all; which is actually pretty funny).
But our sweet Lyra-Lou – goodness, I love her. She wakes with a smile on her face every morning, charms the socks off anyone who meets her, and is just the loveliest, most delightful little person. I spend all day thinking about how very, very fortunate we are to have this precious girl as our own, and how much light and love she’s given us in the two short, blink-of-an-eye years that she’s been here. And that she’s my child: my heart almost bursts with gratitude.

How about you? What are you grateful for this week?


Ps. Want to play too? Link your grateful post back to Maxabella Loves, or write your grateful list in the comments section below x

Monday, September 26, 2011

Holiday Eve...

So, we’re off on a Boeing 747 early in the morning, and I’ve packed, written lists, double checked, and talked to Judah for hours and hours about flying on a plane; done a last minute holiday clothes dash at the shops, bought us all new shoes (woot!), talked to lots of parents about flying with active kids, and wallowed in the deliciousness of anticipation, as we wait for this lovely long day to come to a close.
Oh goodness: I do love holiday eve.

Hoping that you have a wonderful week, wherever you are in the world…


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Grateful #21: What are you thankful for today?

What a week!
My fingers are sore from so much hand sewing, but today I very proudly reached my market stock quota; which is a first, and pretty darn exciting! It means that all that careful planning has finally paid off, that I’m somehow staying motivated, and that I’m working consistently. Anyone who is self-employed will know how hard that is to do at times! My nook is alive with colour and material and bright spools of cotton thread, and I’m sketching new ideas and small things to try almost daily. It’s the most delicious thing, to be in a creative surge…

And aside from being very grateful and quietly chuffed with my new found creativity, this week I’m very grateful for:

Bananas. I’m not sure how the banana situation is in the southern states, but ever since the beginning of the year, Queensland bananas have been madly expensive, and for us, way, way too costly to buy.
So, as I’m driving home one afternoon, I see that our local fruit and veg shop started selling their ladyfinger bananas at $3.99 a kilo. I almost squealed, and very nearly had an accident in my haste to get there and bag up. They were tiny and green and in gorgeous bunches; and lucky us! We’ve all been wallowing in banana-ry-goodness this week. As silly as it sounds, I’m so grateful for the chance to eat one of my favourite fruits, whenever I like without worrying about the price. And sliced banana on fresh buttered toast is the best and most delicious start to the day.

Power-naps. I had a power nap for the first time yesterday. Set my alarm for 20 minutes, crawled into bed absolutely exhausted, and promptly fell asleep. And even though I did get a crazy fright when the alarm sounded, I jumped out of bed, and got back to work, feeling a bit dazed but refreshed none-the-less.

Questions. So, we’re firmly in the ‘but why, Mum?’ phase with Judah, who asks a million questions about every random thing that we see, hear, taste or do during the day. I’m getting better at answering his queries, but I do catch myself saying, ‘because that’s just the way it is,’ – after we’ve been harping on the same topic for what seems like hours and hours. He doesn’t seem to mind; it opens up another topic to ask hundreds of questions about. Lou’s jumped on the bandwagon, and has begun asking her own ‘why’ questions – but quickly loses interest and seems to like the way that why sounds when it’s said, more than the information that follows it.
I am so liking this new phase in their development, and I’m enjoying being a mini font of knowledge (even if some things are made up).

What are you grateful for this week?


Ps. Grateful? Want to join in too?
Kim and I are heading up the coast to prep for Mamma's market in the morning, so this post is scheduled. But if you visit the gorgeous Maxabella loves after around 9pm tonight, you'll be able to follow where to leave your grateful linky.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Right now...

It’s been a busy, flying-out-the-door, need-more-hours-in-the-day start to the week, as it usually is during the lead up to a new market. But I’m putting down my needle and thread this afternoon and stopping for a wee while, to appreciate what it is to be still - to stop, close my eyes, breathe, and relax.

I’m listening to some rainbow lorikeets fussing about in the banksias’ in our back garden, and can just see a baby bearded dragon sitting as still as stone in the fading sunlight. I baked the most moreish oat, honey and sultana slice late last night, and it’s sitting on a saucer before me, along side a fresh cup of coffee; and I’ve just picked up a book I ordered from the library – ‘Home made Vintage’ by the very clever gals at Cabbages and Roses. Perfect afternoon tea reading.

What are you doing right now?


Saturday, September 17, 2011

All a-hummm and a-bloom...

I thought I was imagining it, when I opened up the house this morning – a hum so loud, that it sounded like some kind of machine running on idle.
But as I stepped out into the garden, I realised what it was – bees!

Standing underneath or tall trees all abloom with delicate white and pink flowers, the hum of our working bees is an amazing thing. I tried to take photos of them busily searching, but there were far too many whizzing around near my face and outstretched-camera-clad-hand, and I was too nervous – sorry!

But, best of all! I found them all over our carefully planted and tended plots, where small flowers are unfurling, turning their heads towards the light…


I’m hoping that the visiting bees may just mean a big, beautiful harvest of lots of spring and summer fruit and vegetables this year – they really are the most miraculous little creatures, don’t you think?

Do you have a garden in bloom at the moment? Or plans for a spring garden?


Monday, September 12, 2011

The Collectors...

I’ve never had a fabric stash.

I know how ridiculous that sounds, being someone who sews quite a lot; but it seems that whenever I have fabric, I tend to use it. I don’t save it, or keep it tucked away for that special project; it’s used – and used fast – on a random project, or on small something for a new baby, or on a last minute whipped-up-present for a friend. I guess that’s what it’s supposed to be for, in the end.

But I do admit, I had a case of serious fabric envy over at Kim’s yesterday – she’s got this hefty box of colour coordinated material in micro-prints, spots, stripes and solids, and is, at the moment, trying to match clothing for a couple of new dolls she’s working on. The box was stuffed full, neat as a pin, and there were random fat quarters strewn almost artfully all over the table; I stood over it and thought of all the lovely things that could be made with such a stash, but also how beautiful such a collection can be.

And it got me thinking about how some people are just born collectors.
And, how I’d quite like to be one of those people (but not in a crazy, obsessive, hording kind of way).

So, this is a very roundabout way of saying to you, that if I had all the money and time in the world to be a collector of things, this is probably what I’d start off collecting:


Most definitely, I’d start by amassing a beautiful stash of fabric and buttons...

...I’d also add to my collection of photographs and daguerreotypes – and may even splash out to find some turn of the century mourning photographs (because even though the idea of them is a bit morbid, the actual images are so peaceful).

I’d then build a collection of ink pots and ink bottles....

And I love the idea of collecting old newspaper advertisements – the things they’re often peddling are wonderful and strange…

(This is from a small collection of “Lloyd’s Sixpenny Dickens” which I found by accident and snapped up posthaste – it contains the original stories written by Dickens and published in the newspapers, which have then been bound into paper books. My favourite is the advert for Coles’ Ointment, which is a cure-all for abscesses, boils, poisoned wounds, eczema, as well as sore throats, croup and chesty coughs. What a miracle!)

What about you? Are you a collector?
Or do you have a list of things that you’d love to collect too, if money and time weren’t a factor?


Friday, September 9, 2011

Lyra-Lou is turning Two!

A little lady is having a birthday in our house soon.

I actually think that this is more exciting for me as a parent, than it is for Lou; because at almost two, the concept of a birthday is lots of fun, but something that seems to happen to everyone else. And even though I’ve been telling her that it’s her very own birthday soon - which means balloons, and cake, and hugs and presents - she looks at me with a ‘So what, mum?’ kind of face, and wanders off, leaving me to explain to Judah exactly why he can’t have a birthday and a cake of his own (on the same day, with hundreds of colourful balloons to-boot), and why we only have one birthday a year and not as many as we want (thank goodness for that).

So, I was keen to make as many of her presents as I could, and because our Lou loves to pretend, cook and force-feed her dolls, this week I started making her some felt food to play with.

Think: A sunshiny pretend-picnic, with lovely salad sandwiches, some delicious doughnuts and cakes, a couple of sweet red apples, fruit salad, and a cheerful red and white cherry-print sheet to sit on. Who wouldn’t want to join in?


Ps. It’s totally fun sewing something new!

Monday, September 5, 2011

On with the show!


Lovely Mille dons her hat, and gathers up a posie,
she’s draped in scarves and beads and brooches,
with sweet cheeks, oh so rosy.
It’s almost time - she checks the clock – a few more minutes to go;
noise is gathering, butterflies brewing -
it’s nearly time for the show.
She walks down the stairs, her entrance grand,
The crowd thunders in applause;
Marvellous Millie - delightful diva - the best in all the land.

Got an enthusiastic performer in your house?
Our gorgeous new doll, Marvellous Millie, is now available in our Etsy store!
(Take her home today for just $25 AU + postage)


Thursday, September 1, 2011

A spring in my step...

No more bitingly cold air when I’m pulled out of bed at stupid-o’clock in the morning; no more warming hands on steaming mugs of coffee, or that horrid pins and needles feeling when I step into a hot shower. No more blanket clad checkups on the kids, to make sure they’re still cosy and tucked up in their beds. And no more comfort food (alright then: less comfort food than I’m currently eating).

Spring is really here - and aside from being my all time favourite season, it seems as though it’s everyone else’s as well. In the 24 hours since spring officially launched (for want of a better word) in Australia, social media hubs have gone berserk – have you noticed? There seems to be a collective sigh of relief that the greyness of winter is finally over, and an optimistic lilt in the status updates of hundreds and hundreds, as they all dream of the loveliness of the warmer months ahead of us.

I so love the start of spring for this reason; the promise of balmy afternoons, late night swims in the pool and the gardens alive with sounds and scents and beautiful, tender new things that have lay dormant for months. I’m grateful for the longer days, the mozzie-slapping barbeques, the lightness of meals, surreal blue afternoon skies, and the fact that Ella (our sad-faced Mastiff) will soon stop her painful arthritic limp, and run again like a pup.

There are always plans made in early spring, and energy found or renewed. All those projects that seemed too hard to tackle during the winter months are revisited with enthusiasm, and added onto a blossoming list. Our renovations screeched to a halt once it started to get cooler, but I’m quietly gathering steam to begin again. It all seems much easier, now that spring is here.

What do you love about the change of season?


Image from here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Point and Shoot: Our Weekend that Was

We’re joining in with lovely Lou’s meme tonight – Point and Shoot. It’s been a while since I’ve taken photos with a P&S purpose, but we’ve just had the loveliest, loveliest weekend – wanna see?

It all started with a lemon tart - my first lemon tart making experience - and it just happened to be so, so good that I made it twice in two days. The first was shared with dear friends after a seafood feast; the second was horded and eaten sparingly, in a savouring-the-refreshing-sweetness-of-it-all kind of way…

The kids were handed oversized gardening gloves on our sunny Sunday morning, and put to work tidying up the sorely neglected vegetable garden. And underneath all those prickly cobblers pegs and spiky, suffocating weeds, were these vibrant beauties…

We turned the soil, all rich and loamy after a few days of rain; we hunted through the strawberry leaves to see if any new berries were forming, rubbed fresh picked lavender between our hands to release its heady scent, and worked up a sweat in the gorgeously warm spring-time sunshine.

There was a long, lazy afternoon of sewing – piecing, pinning and pulling together the six cheerful citrus blocks from my beginners sampler quilt (I didn’t think it was possible, but it seems to be even brighter now that it’s edged with the chocolate brown sashings!)...

…and a big, hearty tart filled with slow roasted winter vegetables and melt-in-the-mouth Danish feta for Sunday dinner (I meant to take a photo of this too, but it was cut up and tucked into too quickly).

Some weekends are just meant for family and pottering, aren’t they? 


Ps. Got some wonderful photos from your weekend that was too? Join in! Visit Sunny + Scout here to link up with Lou’s P&S post. And check out her beautiful, candid photography while you’re there – it’s heartwarming, honest and utterly delightful x