Thursday, February 26, 2015

Yeah I Made It...9/52 little makes

Birthday pillowcase

Seahorse baby taggie

I rather like the seahorse baby taggy which is good because on Weds 11th of March I am going to be the crafter in residence at E for Ethel's as part of their fringe programme, so I am going to sit down and make a whole lot. Then I'll need some more friends to have babies so I can give them away - although Bounce would happily have a bed full of them.

Do come and visit me if you like - it's a fabulous cafe.

The new challenge is going to be finding time for creative pursuits in the midst of balancing the new job. I still hold that making is good for me and creativeness and nurturing it enlarges me and extends me.... I believe it is worthwhile so I need to make time for it.

How do you balance giving time to creativity?
Do you see it as a top priority or a nice optional extra?

love you more than a full box of gifts ready to give xxx

Monday, February 23, 2015


It's been a long week.

A week of learning curves, helpful people, less than helpful people, early mornings, high emotions (on my part) and way too much heat.

The summer here has been good - by my standards, which probably means terrible for most Adelaidians. However Friday, Sat, Sun have been gross. Too hot for me and sticky to go with it.

I don't like being hot at all and on days where the heat is soaring and I have walked to the library to do printing and found it closed, in 40+ I am not pleasant to be around.

I'm learning but I have a long way to go.

These boys have been so good, little troupers.

I do love them dearly.

... and as The Atlas always reminds me there are few things that are not improved by a good water fight.

how about you? Hot or Cold? and do you get heat rage too?

love you more than a day inside, all day xxx

Friday, February 20, 2015

Yeah I Made It... 8/52 Coffee Table Makeover

This new place we are in isn't furnished (hooray!) which means that we needed to get furniture.

This coffee table arrived looking totally fine but I wanted to do a little makeover on it.

Sanded and primed (yawn)

Coat one

Tape applied

Coat two and three

Tape removed - we all liked this bit!

A few patches needed a recoat (nothing a small paintbrush and spray paint in the lid couldn't fix)

it worked!

Before and Afterish

I've decided that teal and navy are a perfect combo. There will be another coffee table makeover in this same combo but a different style. I also grabbed a table from someone's hard rubbish the other day for the boys room that will undergo a similar transformation.

Have you ever done a hard rubbish snatch??

love you more than a house full of colourful furniture xxx

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Vignette According to Bounce

This is how our house looks when you are 6

not the vignette I would have chosen but joyful all the same

do your kids take random shots on the camera?

love you more than a wonderful self portrait xxx

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

7/52 - Sunday Afternoon Wrestling

In the blue corner....

and in the red corner....

and getting his work out for the week but unavailable for publicity shots (!) The Atlas.

love you more than getting out of wrestling on Sundays xxx

Monday, February 16, 2015

Books To Celebrate Young Women

These books are both for the teen/ YA market, wholly different but both inspired by a need to honour and value young women in the world. Both are interesting and worthwhile reads.

Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis

Many years ago I read Deborah Ellis' Parvana books. They are great books about the journey of families and young women in the middle east. At the time I was so pleased that someone was telling these stories in a way young people could access and relate to them.  In Moon at Nine she has stayed true to this theme. Following the world of Sadira and Farrin (from Farrin's perspective), 2 bright and promising young women in Iran, she explores what is means to be a young, clever and gay woman in this world. As their love unfolds so does the realisation of what it might mean in a country that still executes people for being gay. (There are other countries that do this too). Based on a true story this book is neither explicit nor terrifying although she does not shy away from the realities of execution. Ellis' writing is fluent and gentle and the characters are well drawn. It is a love story but not in a gushy or romantic 'novel for teens' kind of way - it's about love that makes you live well and love that drives you to put another before yourself. Well written and informative I think this book is a timely book for a world where intelligent women are still shut down for being who they are in too many places.

I honour Ellis for using her talents to make a difference for people in the world and for tackling difficult topics with grace and realness.

Details - Allen and Unwin, Jan 2015 RRP $16.99 also available as an ebook

Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean ed Kirsty Murray, Payal Shar and Anita Ray.

Another book that responds to honour young women is Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean (don't you love the title?) a collaboration across the world edited by Kirsty Murray, Payal Shar and Anita Ray. In response to attacks on young women in Australia and India writers and illustrators have put together this collection of short stories (word and graphics). As with any short story collection there are ones I liked more than others. Some I felt were interesting and particularly strong and other stories felt like the writer was still on a journey to find their voice. I feel like this book would be a particularly good addition to a school library because it has short readable stories that have females as the protagonists. Most of the stories are set in the future some with a bleaker outlook than others. All cast young women in honoured and important roles. I would recommend this for any avid reader from about 10-14ish. I also love that there are commentaries in the back from each author or illustrator talking about how the collaborative process worked for them. In this regard I think it is also an interesting resource for any young aspiring writer.

Details - Allen and Unwin, Jan 2015 RRP$16.99 also available as an ebook

Thanks to Allen and Unwin for the wonderful review reads they continue to provide me.

love you more than an afternoon of being bookish xxx

Saturday, February 14, 2015

6/52 - those evenings

when time slows down and you get the paints out after dinner

and I read four chapters of the secret seven while you paint like little angels

these peaceful moments

of togetherness are for treasuring

love you more than all the colours xxx

Friday, February 13, 2015


For eight and half years I have been the stay-at-home (or race around madly) mama of 2 little men.

Next week I start a job 3 days a week.

3 afternoons and mornings a week I won't be the one to drop them at school or pick them up.

This is a big change for us as a family. I guess this is a journey that faces every parent somewhere along the line. Suddenly I realise I will miss some assembly performances and I might not be able to go on every school trip - things I have had the joy of taking for granted since I have had them.

I feel quite emotionally overwhelmed by it all at the moment - the same way I feel at each of the milestone markers we have had on the journey so far. A chapter is closing (and opening) for me. Eight and a half years without a regular job - although I have done other work along the way - is a big deal for me too.

Because it is a teaching position I will still have the joy of school holidays but I will have zero flexibility around my working hours - I can't start late so I can go to see an assembly or swap a day so I can attend sports day or any of the other things that might be afforded me in a different job... and there it is I guess for every parent. Choices and compromises pros and cons. You have some wins you have other losses.

I am excited about this new phase for us as a family but I am also sad to wave goodbye to the easy days of being able to be completely flexible around the boys.

It probably means changes here too I guess but for now let's just enjoy whatever comes okay?

(on the plus side I bought 2 pairs of proper shoes today - not as high and exciting as I would like but for now more professional than the birkenstocks I wear every day to combat the heat.) Maybe I'll do a series of what I wore for work photos - although early starts, not a strength - we might have to see how that one goes!

For those that juggle this kind of lifestyle I'd love to hear your top tips. Cleaner? (Oh yes please!)

love you more than an easy morning on a school day xxx

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Yeah I Made It...7/52 Necklace Storage

In our last house in NZ I filled the wall with pins to hang my necklaces on - you can do that when you own a house

not so much when you are renting.

The Atlas picked up some acoustic sound board for me at the local hardware store (much cheaper than peg board). I staple-gunned string across the back and hung 2 hooks on the wall (by eye not a spirit level in sight!) then I used short push pins to make some hooks for the bling.

Now the tangled tin of brooches and necklaces is this wonder.

So simple to do but such a good feeling to have completed.

20 minute job and basically a new piece of 'art' for our bedroom - all those colours make my heart happy.

What is the state of your jewellery box?

love you more than a colour explosion xxx

Monday, February 9, 2015

Furniture - Kind Of

So our new place is unfurnished - hoorah which means we get to furnish....

whilst I do like a good house and garden (actually just the house bit) magazine I also don't want to spend all our income on furniture.

Also I really want to buy as much second hand or re-use as much as possible when it comes to making accumulation decisions.

The boys are in quite a small room with very large wardrobes which is kind of pointless seeing as they don't own anything that hangs up and the only ironing that gets done in our house is every morning when The Atlas irons his shirt for the day....

So when it came to draws I wanted to use the wardrobe space instead of the floor space in their room.

Enter a cheap set of put it together yourself shelving from Bunnings, but I knew that would still end up in rather a mess so rather than purchase a whole lot of plastic boxes we just used the boxes we moved with. I taped them up again and cut them in half using a kitchen knife. (yes I am that blatant in my disregard for doing things carefully).

Then we let the boys decorate them and for the in-between space (because we couldn't fit 3 across) we used those soft but not too soft reusable supermarket bags.

For a grand price of about $15 and some awesome reusing (even if I do say it myself) we have their draws sorted. The Atlas also has the same shelves in half our wardrobe for his clothes.

So easy, so cheap and so recycly. Don't you think?

love you more than extra money to spend on the furniture that counts xxx

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Eyes Open

Today may you open your eyes and see

love you more than a slip of perfection in the midst of the mundane xxx

Friday, February 6, 2015

Waitangi Day

Ah Aotearoa

arohanui beautiful place  

I miss your geography, your people, your obsession with marshmallow and chocolate...

I miss, I miss, I miss

May we travel forward little country with honour, may we address our past faults, acknowledge injustice, set to right wrongs, and extend compassion and forgiveness

May we be a shining light all the way from the ends of the earth

Toward a future together

love you more than our national anthem xxx

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Summer Reads

Sometimes I crave books that are simple to read and feel indulgent.

Recently I grabbed both of these from my local library sale stand, second hand and cheap. :o) Both for less than $2 - win.

Laura's Handmade Life by Amanda Addison

All about Laura who has moved from London to rural Norfolk with her husband and 2 children. Laura is a fabric designer and as the novel progresses she falls in love with stitching. She also has a vintage wardrobe filled with items saved from her mother's wardrobe. There are love interests and relationship worries but in the end this is really a book I would recommend to makers and crafters. How can you not be taken in by all that stitching? A perfect un-demanding summer read for the person who likes to have a little crafty in their life. Also a good motivator to make you want to get your crafty on.

Details - Sphere June 2011, RRP 6.99 (GBP)

Recipe for Life by Nicky Pellegrino

Detailing the lives of Babetta and Alice this novel covers years of their lives as they tangle and intertwine. From America to Italy two women whose lives are confused. Each chapter alternates between one of the women - at times living as next door neighbours and other times worlds apart. They speak different languages but they love one another... a young woman on the cusp of her whole life and an old woman watching as her life winds down. There is also a lot of good food in this novel which I really enjoy.

A book to savour filled with imperfect but lovely characters. Perfect for the food lover, the travel lover and the one who loves to watch lives unfold.

Details - Orion March 2010, RRP 6.99 (GBP) also available as an ebook.

What book are you reading right now? High brow or easy?

love you more than a novel transferred from the reading pile to the read pile xxx

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Yeah I Made It... 6/52 Toadstools

I've never done a pattern test before January so when the opportunity came up and I had some time  I thought I'd put my hand up. I do love Lisa's work which helps.

On the menu were toadstools - I made the small ones.

I did a garden theme on one

and an animal theme on the others.

The boys love them but I'm hoping to use them as stylish pincushions, I wonder who will win that one?

It was fun doing a pattern test and I tried to take my role seriously so that I could give helpful suggestions to Lisa. It was my first time using a PDF pattern and it went together well.

So that means, as well as trying Dragon Fruit for the first time, I have also pattern tested for the first time - I'd call that successful for January don't you think?

If you want to by the pattern you can get it here and for the release Lisa is offering a very generous launch discount of 50% use the code TOADSTOOL50. Code expires midnight Sunday 8th Feb. This is a simple sew definitely do-able and great if you want to play around with embroidery but not on something massive or time consuming. If you weighted them really well in the stalk they'd also make very stylish door-jambs don't you think?

If you want to see other people's toadstools pop over and check them out on Lisa'a blog.

love you more than a new experience that works out well xxx

Sunday, February 1, 2015

5/52 - school starts

First day of school photo

I remember these from my own childhood and the terrible year where I looked fab and both my sisters looked awful so mum didn't use it on the Christmas Newsletter (it must be said one of them was accidentally flashing her knickers) and the following year where they both looked great and I looked like I'd stuck my finger in a socket and my hair had singed - she used that one in the Christmas Newsletter. ** I forgot to talk to my counsellor about that but I probably should don't you think?? Clearly a hugely damaging moment in my life** (I jest!)

These boys looking neat and tidy - happens once a year - best foot forward and all of that.

love you more than a perfect shot for the Christmas Newsletter xxx