Monday, March 31, 2014

Little Bits Here and There

Often I am a week or 2 ahead of myself with Make My Week and I end up saving little projects in case I get caught short without some show n tell one week.

Today I'm being daring and I thought I'd show you a couple of little bits that have been in the make here lately.

Stitched houses - this is another of my 'make it up as you go along' stitchings. Houses and homes seem to be in my thoughts a lot lately. Perhaps it's being in a full furnished flat with not a lot of outlet for making it my own or maybe it's all the interiors, styling,making books I keep lugging home from the library??

either way - here they are.

Also I inadvertently got taught to crochet. We made miniature hearts but I really wanted to make rows (you know, because in about 500 hours of rows I could make a blanket!) So I sat in the park making a great hash of the whole thing and someone walking past asked what I was making and I said (like any proud in public crafter would do) I'm not sure, I don't really know how to crochet.

So she stopped and helped me and we got chatting and she lives next door to one of The Atlas' work colleagues... small world huh?

So this wonky creation is a promised teddy blanket for one of Bounce's wee bears. Who knows where this could led me. Never say never aye??

love you more than accidentally learning a new skill xxx

Sunday, March 30, 2014

13 of 52

candid shots

out and about

love you more than a perfectly timed shot xxx

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Author Chat - Rivertime by Trace Balla

Living in Australia I want to be engaging with it as a culture, rather than assuming it is the same as NZ or assuming it's all about the sport. (I think we can all safely assume I'm not interested in engaging with the sport). So having an opportunity to read a truly Australian picture book was a real treat.

Rivertime is sort of a cross between a comic and a picture book. It documents a little number lover's (we like the main character already) slightly reluctant family trip down the Glenelg River, which is near us. What Clancy thought would be an afternoon trip with Uncle Egg was instead a 10 day sojourn down the river.

This is a book I can see my 7 year old spending a lot of time in, soaking it up, relating to Clancy and spotting the myriad of Australian birds and wildlife that appear on it's pages. It's a book to take time over, a book to digest and absorb. It has a slightly hypnotic feel to it - as you read it you feel yourself actively slowing down and floating along at river pace.

I got to ask some questions to the author/illustrator Trace Balla and this is what I asked. (Slightly edited for space).

1. How is it to have a book you've written published and in your own hands? 
It feels good, but even better was witnessing a friend’s child (who got an early copy of the book ) being totally absorbed in it. My childhood dream was to get a kids book I created in the I got an isbn! that was a really lovely moment for me.

How important was it for you to write something that really reflects Australia?
I think it's great for people to find a book they can identify with, as well as to inspire them to take a closer look at and appreciate whats around them.

When I was a kid I remember the stories by May Gibbs with the gumnut babies, and  Storm Boy by Colin Thiele, which was my favourite. Otherwise most of the books I remember weren’t set here. These days there are much more Australian settings and content in childen’s books, which are inspiring readers to appreciate this country and it’s creatures and cultures.

I was really pleased that the Gunditjmara Elders group (aboriginal people from the area where the book is set) were happy to have some Gunditjmara kids depicted in the story. I hope the Gunditjmara kids (and other aboriginal kids) will be pleased to find that in the book as often if you are not the mainstream, you are a bit invisible in the media. It was really important to me to include the indigenous subject matter, and without taking their stories. (yes I love this!!)

2. How long did you spend writing the text for the book and how long for the illustrations?
I wrote journal entries with images for the book whilst I was on a ten day canoe trip on the Glenelg river. Putting the story together took at least a couple of months, maybe 3 or 4, its hard to say as there was a lot of editing and communications with the publishers. I used a lot of sticky notes all over the wall to help me structure the story. The final illustrations took about 6 months. I think I’d done most of the storyboard by then… the whole thing took about one and a half years.

3. What is your main hope, as the author, for this book?
I would love for readers of all ages -… to take some messages from the book..or lessons from the river, as I did on my canoe journey. These are mostly about appreciation of nature, facing challenges, not needing so much, connecting with the earth…. I would also love the readers to get a feel for the journey, I guess I would love to be able to share the experience in this way, for them to get the feeling of slowing down..And be inspired by the story to take a closer look at this beautiful planet…and then care for it more…

I’d also love them to enjoy the humour and have a chuckle!

4. How closely does the book follow your own river experience and how much do you use creative license?
The story is based on a canoe journey that I did with my partner.I created to a boy character so that kids could relate to the book, and also to change the boy to more of a reluctant urban kid. My son Joey loves maths and numbers so he inspired a lot there. Uncle Egg is very similar in some ways to my partner Greg, they both loved bird watching and slept a lot! 

I did see a lot of birds and animals, but not quite all of those depicted. I wanted to include endangered and threatened animals of the area. And yes, I did see a swimming wallaby! Twice. And a running koala! 

I liked finding little jokes and puns I could add that may not have been my own experience. However much of the action where Clancy had trouble getting off the jetty’s, and when he made a sail from the tarp were from my journals of what actually happened. I named the locations creatively in the book, as well as on our journey, so there are times when experience and creativity overlap!..Whose truth is it! 

I didn’t meet those Gunditjmara people. But I didn’t want the characters to just read some signs about them like we did, I wanted the aboriginal content more tangible and to do so in a respectful way everyone was comfortable with. I went and spoke with the Elders about it and got their blessing. 

5. What is your favourite Australian bird?
Oh I’m not wanting to have favourites…but I’m quite partial to the Nankeen Night Heron...and I’m really excited when I see Emus running..oh and that spotted pardalote is just so gorgeous…..and what about the dawn chorus…ahh... don’t get me started’.. I knew I couldn't have a favourite!

6. If you were a bird which would you be and why?
oh too many choices...maybe a Great Crested Grebe..they look a bit wacky and they love to swim…and sometimes I’m a bit of a galah! oh or maybe one of those bowerbirds... I’m a hopeless collector of junk.

7. What parts of the process from idea to published book were the most enjoyable, and which were the toughest?
Being in the canoe with Uncle Egg (woops I mean Greg!) amongst the trees and birds all those days, just living a version of the story was so brilliant... I love to sketch and write snippets when I travel, it connects me to the place and the moment… so that was all just such a lovely part of it.

I found structuring the story quite challenging, but at times when it came together was really pleasing. Now and then when I was writing or drawing or both I had these magical little creative moments where things just worked so well, so satisfying.  Storyboarding was pretty good, but with the editing sometimes it was like canoeing into a headwind!  I really enjoyed inking up the final drawings, and coloring them in. It was like entering a little refuge from some really hard stuff going on in my life at the time.

I really had a great rapport with my lovely Editor Elise Jones. It made the whole publishing side such a friendly supportive experience. We have now got these “characters” of ourselves that have a connection... she’s the wombat, and I’m the possum… I think the poss and the wombat both had a bit of excitement to see the finished book. It was also an exciting moment to receive an email telling me that David Suzuki, one of those people who I have so huge a respect for, was endorsing the book. It felt very encouraging like getting a pat on the back saying, you’re on the right track here kid…  

8. How much does storytelling play a role in your day to day life?
I love to catch stories. They are everywhere. Its like having a butterfly net. I have made stories for different reasons, like when someone dies, or to honour something special. I often have a journal of words and images going... I’ve written lyrics for a few songs too. I’m more into making things though. I like to sketch and weave and play with clay and make stuff. 

9. I see you are an art therapist, what is your approach for getting children to engage with and make art?
Don’t be too precious - wonky is the way! Art making is an adventure - and a great way to express!

10. What adventures should every Australian child have?
Ooh! Apart from art adventures… to get into nature..camping, waking up with the birds, cooking on a fire,  gazing at the stars, spending slow time in the bush , leaving all those electrical gizmos back home… having enough unstructured time to explore and relate to what’s around us …  simple things like being up a tree or paddling in a creek… climbing on rocks…  getting muddy…tasting bush tucker… 

Trace’s new book, Rivertime is published by Allen &Unwin and will be available at all good bookshops and online. RRP $ 24.99. You can also download a free bird watching guide from their website to go with the book.

What questions have you always wanted to ask an author you love?

love you more than losing a hour immersed in a lovely book xxx

Friday, March 28, 2014


Perhaps the best ways to achieve lasting change are in the small ideas, offered humbly, done with love.

Somehow I think the making of soap, side by side, with a traditional enemy is rather a powerful thing, more so than grand speeches and political handshaking and special summits that play out on the world stage.

Perhaps side-by-side making is the way forward?

(Soap from oxfam)

love you more than reading a label that makes your heart leap and your eyes leak xxx

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Make My Week - Functional

Today's makes are functional, not that much fun and a lot of 'ctional'.

Swimming bags were required and so I found some fabric at spotlight and made 2 bags - shoulder strap for easy carrying and to prevent ground dragging, drawstrings to stop underpants and other items falling into a puddle in the changing room.

The boys liked them and they are robust and do the job - the odd functional make also makes me feel good about the amount of selfish sewing I do!

I also threw this cushion cover together with some left over fabric from a special project I will show you soon and a fat quarter I bought over with us. 2 happy fabrics in an easy 10 minute project!

Other ladies crafting capably over here.

 Show & Tell Thursday's

love you more than catching your undies before they land in a changing room wet spot xxx

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

in my neighbourhood - an oxfam Easter

So, committing to no child labour chocolate for Easter is great on paper but kind of tricky in real life, right? I mean the shops are full of those huge bags of mini chocolate eggs that taste suspiciously like plastic and doing a fair trade chocolate bar search for Easter lacks a certain feeling too.

So Oxfam here (and I suspect Trade Aid) in NZ has actual eggs! Whooo-hoo. Yes they are more expensive than the plastic tasting ones you will buy at The Warehouse or Kmart or wherever you might buy eggs, but that means the people who made them got paid properly and the cocoa will have also been farmed in a sustainable fashion, and they have been made from actual ingredients. Also (which is a bonus for people like me who can be easily blinded by bargains, into buying more) I will buy less and think carefully about my choices.

Today I bought these (on special, see bargains above), which are a cool set of 6 hollow eggs and arrows so you can plan a hunt for someone. I'll get the boys to make them for each other.

and I will probably buy one of the paper mache rabbits (even though I prefer chicks, who at least lay eggs) with chocolate buttons in them. After that an egg for The Atlas and maybe some little eggs. Really my boys are only ever allowed one egg or 2 on the day and then the rest go away and we forget about them.

Truly - ask my sisters how many kgs of half eaten bags of lollies, lolly pops, mini eggs, chocolate coins,.... I gave away when I went through my pantry - it was embarrassing!!

... so this Easter if you are wanting to make fair and kind choices check out your local (or online Oxfam or Trade Aid) and buy less plastic chocolate and a couple of really nice eggs instead. If you want to do an egg hunt how about making some felt eggs or similar and just a couple of choccies?

Or buy a fair trade block of chocolate - Whittakers Dark Ghana can be quite reasonable if it's on special at the supermarket (it's hard to find here :o( ) and make some of your own.

I'm going to do a whole post about the lovely Oxfam shop here at some point but for now check out their Easter loveliness.

love you more than an egg hunt followed by home made hot cross buns xxx

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

random thought for the day

I took my plastic flowers for decorating my bike basket) to the counter at the op shop.

The sales assistant asked: Are you proposing?

I replied: I think if someone tries to propose to you with plastic flowers, they're probably not the one.


love you more than a posey of plastic flowers xxx

Monday, March 24, 2014

twelve of fifty-two

Something has gone wrong with the flash card on my camera and so I can't use it. Which means I am reduced to The Atlas' phone..... so that would be my excuse and lament for the day.

A trip with daddy to watch the football (soccer).

and a little cray-cray excited about new 50c toys (like we need more!).

Also a little shot after visiting the op-shop at Hahndorf.

love you more than a reliable camera xxx

Friday, March 21, 2014

sometimes things happen that make your face hurt from smiling

Last month I entered a wonderful competition launched by Offset Warehouse - think lovely fabric, ethically sourced and made.

 Zoe of So Zo blog (she is the great brain behind Me Made May and Self Stitched September) was one of the mighty 4 who Offset asked to come up with a theme for a challenge using their fabric. People were asked what they would make for the 'everyday awesome' theme Zoe proposed.

And Zoe chose me!! Which means I will be receiving a bundle of beautiful fabric and sewing a garment with only three other people (selected by the other bloggers) and then it will be over to the public to decide what they like best.

Honestly I feel like I am a winner to have been selected, from here on in it's all icing my friends! I am so, so excited and the fabric I have chosen is so beautiful online. Hopefully it comes quickly in the post I have only until 9th of April to get it done. To read my entry on Zoe's blog have a look here.

Love you more than a email that makes you dance xxx

What I'm Reading - Safe With Me and a giveaway

Okay so here's another book I literally ate up. One afternoon and evening and I was done. I think perhaps I am a fast reader?

Safe With Me by Amy Hatvany

Anyway, this book is new to hit the stores this month. It's the story of 3 women - 2 mothers, 1 daughter and the way their lives, tragedies and secrets become entangled in each other. This books deals with some very big themes - losing a child, domestic violence and organ donation. Technically it's an easy read but emotionally it isn't. Having never faced any of these personally I still found myself really upset for the characters in parts of the story.

The author I think, does them justice though. She presents them as rounded, multifaceted issues forcing the reader to think about how that could be them, rather than making judgement calls from the sideline. In parts it gets heart pumping and edge-of-the-seat, I-wish-I-could-read faster ish.

The 3 characters Hannah, Olivia and Maddie take chapters in a turn-about fashion and so the story moves from one character to the next, fully engaging you with her tale until you move onto the threads of the next person.

I think this is a book that many women would relate to. It is at its heart about relationships, particularly that of a mother and daughter and how we make decisions based on the important people in our lives. It also identifies the need in all of us to be in relationships where we can be truly ourselves and how healing this is.

This is the first book I've read by Amy Hatvany, but she has also written Heart Like Mine. Judging by this book would be happy to read anything else she wrote. Also I love that in her author bio it says this 'In 1998, Amy finally decided to sell her car, quit her job, and take a chance on writing books.' I always love it when people go all out for their dreams.

The good news is, thanks to postal issues, I have ended up with 2 copies of this book so Allen and Unwin said I am allowed to give my extra copy away. I know!! Whoop :o) If you think you need something to read and this sounds like it - leave me a comment and tell me one author you think is always spot on. Giveaway open for a week or so.

Details - Publisher Allen & Unwin, 1 March 2014. Sold wherever you find your favourite books. :o) RRP
$29.99 Aus

love you more than a parcel in the mail xxx

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Make My Week - Little House on the Prairie, New Look 6699

So this is the pattern y'all chose in the Monthly Stitch challenge. I found the fabric for $5 a metre at a fabric shop in a suburb called Hindemarsh. It is an enormous shop but to be honest it has a very different vibe than me so there wasn't a lot there I was into.

In terms of the pattern I cut a 12 but added about (I guessed with my eyes) an inch to the bottom of the bodice piece. I sewed it all with 1cm seams instead of 1.5 because I'm a bit bigger than a 12 but I wanted a close fit.

I took miles off the bottom because it was a bad length on me (mid-calf when you have very strong calves...not a great look) and the Little House on the Prairieness of the fabric was singing its song loudly at that length as well.

Sorry about the bra straps flash - that would be my camera man not letting me know they were out. Also I am wearing my new-to-me shoes from goodwill, I rather like them suede and patent, yes please.

Overall I'm pretty happy. I think the straps at the front could be a little further spaced but it was pretty easy to throw together. I took your suggestions and went for the fuller skirt. I would quite like to make the pencil skirt option some time too.

Also, yes I died my hair orange. It's a semi permenant and already starting to fade (when the packet says 3-30 washes you don't hold out a lot of hope!). The Atlas really isn't loving it, I'm a bit mixed - now that it's faded I quite like the golden glow but it's probably not a great match to this fabric. I do really like the colour it's made my hair I'm just not sure if it's a good colour for me. If you have an opinion do share I'm pretty relaxed about the yes or no, I don't actually mind (if you were talking about my personality that won't just wash out I'd take it personally of course!). Hair disasters aye? they take me right back to my spiral perm at 11 - now that was a bad look!

Joining in with crafty lovelies here

 Show & Tell Thursday's

love you more than a pattern that's too small to pattern-match xxx

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

in my neighbourhood - le Carpe diem

bonjour my lovelies

last week we were introduced to another lovely Adelaide gem, le Carpe diem - French cafe creperie. Now I must tell you that most Sunday mornings The Atlas makes crepe/pancakes for breakfast because he is practicing for his retirement career in which he wants to own a crepe cart.

In his dream he will just pull up and make crepes (probably at sporting matches because that is the kind of place he will want to spend his retirement) and hang out with the locals.

So when we found this place we knew it would be a winner. I remember eating crepes in France and ordering mustard and not being able to enjoy the crepe because it was that awful strong, burn your mouth off stuff, rather than the fake American stuff I thought it was... I digress.

This lovely cafe is run by a family (I think) and they all speak in French to one another. The savoury crepes are named after places in France (St Malo, anyone?) and the sweet crepes with women's names.

The interiors are cool and French feeling and I love the blue ceramic jugs with water in them. The boys were fascinated to watch the crepes being made and we were all happy to eat them. We spent most of the time talking about people who 'would love this place' and we were really impressed with the range and the taste.

The cafe is located on Grenfell St at the east end of town and we'll be going back :o)

How about you what are your retirement dreams?? (I'm living mine at the moment, until I decide what step to take next!)

** In my neighbourhood, recording our journey and writing the kind of posts about living in Adelaide I wanted to find before we left NZ**

love you more than real maple syrup xxxx

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

B.M.W.B - Draw By Dice

This year as well as reading more I am trying to engage more with art and buy the boys nicer things to do art with.

So, one afternoon before they got home I set up the table to look inviting, which means I wiped chiseled off the breakfast leftovers, put out supplies and snacks and made up a list.

As far as I know this is an original idea but really I'm not precious about that - I'm sure someone else has already thought of it and done it better than me.

I wrote 4 lists A,B,C, and D and numbered one to six under each list. The activity was to choose a list and then roll a dice to see what to draw. Whenever you got bored or ran out of inspiration you rolled the dice again.

I can't say we produced our best artwork but we had fun and it was so nice to come home to something special to do together.

Becoming the Mama I want to be is about taking time to enjoy the journey of parenting, to honour it's value and to hopefully inspire and encourage any mama. 

Create Hope Inspire

Simple. Achievable. Intentional: becoming the mama I want to be

love you more than rolling a six in the chocolate game xxx

Monday, March 17, 2014

What I'm Reading - The Life List and For God's Sake

This is perhaps an unusual combo but this is what I'm consuming at the moment. I grabbed The Life List on a whizz through the library to pick up the other title, which I had on hold.

The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman

This is an easy read - I started and finished it on Saturday. I like this novel it's chic-lit without being embarrassingly mindless. As you can tell, because I'm admitting I read it here! It's about a daughter whose inheritance is withheld until she completes her life list of goals that she wrote and tossed at 14 and her mother retrieved and kept. It is her mother's ultimate gift to her - the push to revisit the things that brought her joy when she was too young to deny herself that honesty.

As much as it's really an entertaining story it also gave me pause for thought about the things I once hoped for that I may have 'let go' as an adult, and question whether the reason for giving those things up was worthy of giving them up. Of course I never had buy a horse on my list! This is perfect holiday reading, simple, happy ending and a little bit tear inducing (for me anyway).

This is Lori's debut novel and the acknowledgements in the back made me really smile. It's well written and has some lovely characters.

Details - Publisher Arrow Books, Random House UK, 2013

For God's Sake - An atheist, a Jew, a Christian and a Muslim debate religion by Jane Caro, Anthony Loewenstein, Simon Smart and Rachel Woodlock.

I haven't finished reading this book yet so my comments can't be seen as a complete review but I think I am going to really enjoy the whole of this book. It makes me happy to see intelligent thoughtful people having a chance to present robust and well thought out opinions on big topics that refrain from becoming mud slinging, assumption-based arguments.

The authors are respectful of one another yet fully convicted in their beliefs. Each chapter of the book covers one of the big 'issues/arguments', written as short essays from each writers point of view, e.g What is it to be a human being, Where do we find hope, Doesn't religion oppress women? The answers are intelligent, well written, accessible to the average reader but show a true depth of feeling and thought to them.

My one criticism so far would be that they have chosen and Jewish atheist (as in, culturally a Jew but not religiously), which seems a shame as there is already one atheists point of view and I think there could have been the voice of a believing Jew instead. Having said that I pleased that there is a diversity of voice including a balance in gender as well.

Details - Publisher Pan Macmillan Australia, 2013. RRP: $32.99 Aus

* this year I'm committed to extending my reading repertoire beyond children's books and craft books - though I'll still be reading those as well! *

love you more than a day of indulgent reading xxx

Sunday, March 16, 2014

11 of 52

New haircuts!

Rather short but cute nonetheless

love you more than a hairdresser with an immediate gap xxx

Friday, March 14, 2014

Thankful for...

Surprise parcels that arrive when you've given up hoping!

New blog friends - Juanita has just moved here too so we're creating our own Adelaide bloggers internet dating phenomenon. ( not sure the Adelaide bloggers are ready for us!)

Tickets to shows

More blog connections and fabric - the ASG had a fringe event with lots of fabric and lovely Sarah from Ask Sarah. Yes I look crazy... yes I do!

A new blog card with a new sentiment on the reverse.

A family picture at a fringe event (see tickets above)

People who put the great british sewing bee up on you tube. ( even though hit keeps getting taken down - come on BBC the likelihood of us ever getting here: slim to none, and if we do I'll watch it again, I promise!)

This simple, moving Lent journey. A couple of minutes each day to reflect and enjoy other peoples creative thoughts. Lovely.

 What about you? Got something to be thankful for this week?

love you more than a packet of squishy dark liquorice xxx