Monday, May 30, 2011

I got them blues...

I’ve got a thing for old blues.
Especially old blues played on our ancient record player.
I love the crackly, skipping vinyls, their sepia stained paper jackets; I love the stories of loss, heartbreak, possessive love, unrequited love, loneliness, and calamity. I love the well-known blues riff – a piano, simple guitar solos, a random harmonica; gravelled voices putting meaning behind each word.

And there’s just something about blues lyrics too. Being of a writing mind, I love the simplicity of thought, and how that simplicity conveys such meaning. Maybe it’s the weight of the music and the emotion that it’s sung in; but working together, it transforms quite a basic song into a familiar anthem of heartbreak.

My favourites?
BB King’s ‘Don’t answer the door’ because it’s obsessive, heated, slow, mean and deliberate; and because it’s far removed from modern relationships, which are all about independence, equality, and freedom.  And Earl Hooker's 'Have you ever seen a one eyed woman cry? because it's such a strange, sad song.

What musical genre do you like?
Do you have a favourite blues song or artist?


Friday, May 27, 2011

Grateful #10: What are you thankful for today?

We all lead such busy lives; I’m guilty of breezing through the day, barely stopping, slurping tea on my way to the next task, shooing the kids away from whatever project I’m working on that day. I’m guilty of not stopping to appreciate anything, and being wrapped up in my own busyness.

So, this week, I’m grateful for:

Small moments of loveliness. This week, I made a point of stopping; and it was based on a blog post I read by the lovely Gill at Alice Becomes.
Gill wrote a post last week about wanting to live in the moment, and how she decided to stop at one night to be present, still and grateful. And it really resonated with me – because I don’t do it nearly enough, and wish I did it a whole lot more.

So this week, I stopped.
A lot.

I stopped to listen to my children chatter to eachother during the day. I fell in love with the fact that they fall all over eachother every morning after a big sleep, and hug like they’re long lost friends, returning from an adventure. I paid attention when they read stories together, when they held hands out to the car, or danced together to new music, Lou stamping her feet off-beat to the rhythm, Judah strumming his three-stringed guitar.

I wallowed in the gorgeous smell of roasted apple and blueberry muffins, hot out of the oven; the extra sweetness of marshmallows in hot chocolate; fresh cut lavender and snapdragons in a vase in our kitchen, straight from the garden.

I lounged like a cat in the sunny spots, and found lots of excuses to be outside. One afternoon, I planted onions, leeks, carrots, beets, sage, coriander, a chilli tree, and a honey-bee attracting grevillea; I stopped to appreciate the warmth of the sun as it broke the chill of the wind, and the loamy damp smell of fresh turned earth.

I stopped to appreciate the stillness of the house late at night, my feet in new woolly sock, the soft glow of the lamp over my sewing machine. And I watched our sad-faced dog dream, legs jerking, yapping a sleepy bark which made me think she was on the chase.

So thank you, Gill – I’m so grateful for your blog post, because I had the loveliest week following your lead.

What are you grateful for this week?


Ps. Link your Grateful post back to the addictive-reading Maxabella Loves, or write your grateful list in the comments section below. You can also follow and comment on Gill and Nic’s project here x

Image from here. I’m the queen of post-it notes for reminders…

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Just a quick post:
Two wee mice were dropped today as part of the BrisStyle/Toy Society Mega Toy Drop – Hurrah!
At the Mater, there were lots of people watching suspiciously as I tied brown mouse Millicent to the seat at the Mater Hill bus stop and took photos; fingers crossed that the nosy grown ups left it for a curious child to find instead!

If you’re in Brisbane, rug up and head in to the BrisStyle Twilight Markets in King George Square tomorrow night (Friday), for a browse in the beautiful handmade markets, and to be a part of a mega toy dropping affair – hopefully lots of handmade toys will be left in and around the city to mark the end of a wonderful make-it-and-give-it month.

Hoping that Millicent and Mathilda are enjoying cuddles from their new owners,


Monday, May 23, 2011

Add it on to the list...

Ever have one of those weeks? You know the ones: “To do” lists as long as your arm, a million things to remember, too many places to be, maybe a sick child thrown in for good measure? It’s only Tuesday morning, but I’m gearing up for a big, BIG week – and I’m actually feeling confident that everything will go to plan.

First up: A custom flying birds order for another birthday (and a visit to the lovely Lorraine at my local quilting shop), this time in soft pastel pinks, blues and greens…

And at last! Our BrisStyle/Toy Society Toy Drop is ready to go! Mice are dressed, letters of introduction are printed and wrapped up in colourful handmade envelopes, and they’re awaiting their drop date this Thursday morning…  

And it’s all systems go! for the lovely plum coloured custom wedding invitation suite, which is being put together this week...

Phew! Sometimes it is nice to have multiple projects on the go – for me, it means that things never get monotonous; I always seem to have something else to work on to liven things up a bit.

Do you like working on one project at a time, or are you a serial project welcomer like me?


Friday, May 20, 2011

Grateful #9: What are you thankful for today?

It’s been all sewing systems go here for the last few days, with lots of projects on the go at the same time. I’ve been pulling out my machine once the kids have gone to sleep, and sewing late into the night, with a cup of tea, the warmth of the fireplace, and something lovely for dessert.
What am I sewing? Read on to find out more…

This week I’m grateful for:

Milestones. During the week, my beautiful little second cousin, Mila, turned one. I just love the time around the first birthday; babes are as sweet as sugar, almost walking, chattering away, and loving exploring the world around them.
First birthdays for babies are such an important milestone; yes, it’s a celebration of the first year of their life, an amazingly remarkable year. But it also celebrates the first year that you were a parent (of one, two, three or more); a year of sleepless nights, endless nappies, teething, tumbles. It celebrates first smiles, first teeth, the first laugh, and first steps; and all those nights that you stood silently next to their cot, watching their sweet sleeping face, marvelling at the beauty of this little child that belongs all to you.
It celebrates the year that sees you come into your own as a parent, and honours your confidence, patience, love, tenderness, compassion, gentleness, persistence, and a million other amazing qualities that have flooded your heart since the arrival of this precious babe. It celebrates the fact that your life will never be the same again, which is the most fantastic thing of all.
I was, admittedly, a crying mess on Judah and Lou’s birthdays – not in sadness, but in total gratitude for the lovely little people we’d bought into the world; and we celebrated in a big way to commemorate the wonder of the year that had been.

Today, we’re heading off to Mila’s first birthday party. And to celebrate her special milestone, I’ve been sewing away, attempting a totally handmade box of deliciousness - scalloped bunting to hang in her bedroom, in plums, chocolates and teal; and flying birds to watch from her cot.

There’ll be lots of kids and cake, and a little lady with the sweetest, gentlest nature, at the centre of it all...

What are you grateful for today?


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

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mosey-in’ ‘round the garden plot

It seems as though everyone is garden mad at the moment – have you noticed that? There’s such an emphasis on ‘growing your own’ with the people I know; a lot of my friends are experimenting with herbs and basic veg, and I love how we can talk about what is working and what isn’t within our own suburban plots.

We (ok, maybe I) had grand plans to reduce our own vegetable and fruit buying by growing enough of our own; but goodness, there’s such a lot of work to be done, and even more planning, in order to sustain the needs of a hungry family of four. But I really do love the stage that our garden is in at the moment; the crops that we have planted are flourishing.

We manage a good size bowl of tiny tom tomatoes almost weekly...

...are awaiting patiently for the right time to cut our two lovely pumpkins from their vine...

...and are constantly picking off handfuls of herbs for cooking, or to give away.

Next to go in are carrots, potatoes, beans, broccoli, more strawberries and an apple tree. I’m keen for a passionfruit vine, even if they do get out of control fairly quickly. I love the idea of lemons and limes, and towards the end of winter, will be planting loads of Asian greens and salad leaves in time for late spring eating.

Are you growing veges for the first time?
Or do you have an established sustainable garden?


Friday, May 13, 2011

Grateful #8 - What are you thankful for today?

This week has been really been all about love; and as a result, my grateful list is very sentimental. But isn’t it nice to have weeks like that sometimes? Where the whole world seems to be in a cocoon of care and kindness? 
(This prologue also serves as a kind of warning…)
This week I’m very grateful for:

Fireplaces. It’s getting really chilly here at night; so socks and flannel pyjamas to bed, lots of comfy quilts, and hearty winter warming food are a staple in our house. And this week, we added to the winter list by lighting the fire for the first time. The first night we lit it, I’d gone out for a walk with a friend - our whole street was hazy with the smoke from neighbour’s fireplaces. But it was lovely to walk into a warm room after the cold and wind of the night, to a blazing fire, the dog stretched out snoring in front of it, and a hot cup of tea. I just love my fireplace.

Dear friends. It’s been a week of new beginnings – wonderful friends of ours had their first baby, a beautiful, precious, little girl; another couple we love to distraction have just found out that they have to move away – but it’ll be a real family adventure. Kim and Mum, my dearest and most beloved friends of all, have allowed me to explore a secret dream by buying me the most wonderful gift, a tool to help see it come to fruition. Their generosity has set my feet on a new path, a brand shiny-new beginning.
This week has made me sit back and marvel at how blessed we are to have the friendships we do; we’re surrounded by the most wonderful, lovingly kind-hearted people, and we’re so fortunate to be a part of their lives – to be able to share these new beginnings with them. So, very grateful for dear friends.

Print available from Lola's Room on Etsy

Love letters. Because I’ve had such a loved-up week, I started writing little notes and leaving them around the house. Have you ever done that? It’s such a lovely thing to see the people you care about the most know that they’re much-loved and so appreciated. And it’s made me smile to think of little things that I’m so grateful for daily, right under my very own roof.

What are you grateful for this week?


Ps. Want to play too? Link your list back to the delightful Maxabella Loves, or you can leave your grateful list in the comment section below x

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Update: Pattern #1

Remember the pattern pledge?
I finally got my act together over the weekend, and within a couple of hours had all my material cut, pattern decoded, sewing machine at the ready, buttons found, arms sewn on, and two little mice ready to go to a new home. So wonderfully quick, and as a first attempt, they’re not too bad at all!

In the spirit of this being a learning adventure, I now understand this:

Sewing golden rule number one:
Read pattern instructions carefully before cutting out pattern pieces.

After I had cut out everything and taken a lovely photo, I realised that the arms were done in a tricky, sneaky way because they were so small. It was very clearly stated on the pattern instructions; I was just far too impatient to get sewing. I’m grateful that it was a small part and there wasn’t too much material wastage, but I did feel totally daft.

To finish them off, I’ll be adding eyes and whiskers, and making a little kerchief and pinny from a made up pattern that’s still in my head. And these wee mice, Mathilda and Millicent, will be going out as part of the BrisStyle/Toy Society toy drop. If all goes to plan, I’ll be leaving them at the Mater and Royal Children’s Hospital, for sick young ones to find and love.

And as for Lou, who has been eyeing off my mice making for the last couple of weeks – she loves her new small mouse friend named Mim. So looking forward to making her some more!


Friday, May 6, 2011

Grateful #7 – What are you thankful for today?

Still blue-sky days, cool, crisp mornings, and socks to bed – what a lovely week!
Today I’m grateful for:

Silence. This week, our youngest managed to smash the television screen. I’m still not exactly sure how she managed it; I ran into the room after the crash/bang to a crying Lou toddling towards me, and Judah, arm outstretched finger pointed towards his little sister in revelation, saying ‘Um-ahhh, Lou-Lou...’
I was relieved that Lou was unharmed, of course; but I was surprised to not be more upset about losing the tele. But, as it’s turned out, it’s been a bit of a blessing in disguise, as it’s enabled us to do lovely things as a family - like pottering about in the garden (and having long discussions about what crops to plant next), making pasta together, and reading five or more stories before bed instead of two. It’s allowed impromptu concerts, more guitar playing, new games, more cuddles, less rush and some very welcome silence.
I don’t think we’ll be hurrying to replace it.

But, in a complete and utter contradiction, this week I’m also grateful for:

Image from here.

The BBC (and their adoption of the period drama genre). Before the death of said television, I’d been watching the most gorgeous BBC series, ‘Lark Rise to Candleford,’ based on the stories and novels of Flora Thompson. It’s full of kind-hearted, wholesome characters, meddling neighbours, beautiful countryside, growing rural hamlets, and sweetly simple lessons on morals and principles.
I’m totally, utterly and hopelessly hooked.
I tucked myself up in bed twice during the week, with a cup of tea and my laptop, and watched until well after while the house slept – bliss! So thank you, BBC, for introducing a new generation to simpler, kinder times, and for bringing my favourite stories to life; it’s the most wonderful form of escapism.


Ps. Want to play too? Link your list back to the lovely Maxabella, or you can leave your grateful list in the comment section below x

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Creative Space

This week, I started working on a custom wedding invitation order with a lovely papercut detail on the front pocket. It’s my first wedding suite booked in for this year – and after the madness of having back to back wedding projects last year, it was nice to have a little break. I feel like I’ve come back to it all with a renewed energy and the dreamiest ideas.
I just love how this invitation has turned out - it’s small and intimate, and very distinctive in lovely rich plums and lavenders. But for now, it's all about papercutting...

Have you done something creative today?


Ps. For more creative spaces, head on over to Kootoyoo … x

Monday, May 2, 2011

What Winter Means...

For as long as I can remember, my favourite season has been summer.
But lately, I’ve been thinking more about what the cooler months mean to me, and I think it just might be giving summer a run for its money.
The reason?
Summer is all about being carefree, independent; sleeping spread-out on beds with fans moving the hot air around, playing outside until just before dinner and maybe even afterwards (if the mozzies aren’t out in force), and bright balmy mornings that see us greeting the day with enthusiasm and eagerness.
But winter is all about being warm, loving – it speaks to me of family, of being together; of slowing down, spending time, and making time. 

Image from here.

The idea of winter makes me want to create cosy corners, with a comfortable chair, a reading lamp and a place to rest a hot cup of tea. It’s about 1000 piece puzzles under warm light, spread out on kitchen tables, and weeks of patient trying.
It makes me want to transform my kitchen into a beating heart; winter equals porridge with drizzled honey for breakfast, and big mugs of hot chocolate with marshmallows.
The cooler mornings have turned my thoughts to firewood collection, and the memory of watching hypnotic fires every night with the children. I love the morning fireplace smell, and still warm daybreak coals.
It reminds me of lazy afternoons in the garden, following the sun like a cat; of closing the house up mid-afternoon to retain the day’s heat; of clear, icy winter nights with the sky brimming with stars.
The idea of winter makes me think of handmade patchwork quilts, Sunday lie-ins with the kids, all warmly close and comfortable under the heavy winter blankets; of hugs that last for minutes rather than seconds, and of cold noses and warm cheeks.

I definitely think winter may be my new favourite season.

What does winter mean to you?


Ps. Confession: I’ve never seen snow. And even though winter in Brisbane is mild and quite pleasant, this year, I’m buying mittens…