Thursday, 29 December 2011

oh how I love this time

La Tartine Gourmande from Unusually Fine on Vimeo.

Time seems to remain suspended during the Christmas & New Year period. There's a certain peacefulness about life I'm always so eager to devour at this time of year. The long days lend themselves to a few of my favorite things. Things I often struggle to fit into the everydayness of life...reading (I just finished this & have started on this), lazy catch ups with friends, meditation and some totally inspired cooking.

Looking for a recipe using black quinoa I stumbled across the delights of La Tartine Gourmande and this lovely clip promoting her new cookbook above.

Whatever you're doing I hope it's peaceful and totally restorative....... before the hum of another year kicks in.

Here's to a v. joyful NY.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Have yourselves a very Merry Christmas

May your Christmas & New Year be bright, cheerful and filled with peace and good times.
Thanks to all those friends I've made here in blogland. Thanks too for my everyday face-time friends and my family for the love. You all make a difference to my day.

Lots of love for the silly season and see you in 2012.


PS. For all the people who question the 'Aussie' Christmas tradition... here's a little 'Night Before Christmas' Tale I was sent this week which follows along the lines of this song (I'm not sure of the origin?). It's a little long but fun all the same.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Our morning so far

-:I caught the early morning sunshine bathing these flowers while waiting for my jogging companions to arrive this morning. The light is amazingly beautiful at 6.30am this time of year. It has a way of speaking to you, coaxing you to see things. Little things. Things you ordinarily walk on by, at any other time of the day. I love the crisp clarity of early mornings and I'm so grateful to my friends for helping me establish this routine because it was originally met (and if I'm honest, still is, on occasion) with such resistance.
-:Our Christmas cakes all wrapped and ready for Z's teachers today. The fruit has been soaking for the last 2 months. I baked them last night....we sampled one this morning and I must say it was pretty darn good.
-: The necklaces Z & I made for his teachers....this one here rotates between me and Z's dress up box!
-: Batman appeared for dress up day today. It's Z's last day for 2011. Don't you just love the under pant line on this suit! Hilarious.

Here's an old Native American saying I love and am holding near to me as Christmas approaches. 'You should never judge another man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins.'
As the frantic pace of Christmas accelerates and our frenetic selves tend to emerge it can be a handy thing to bare in mind....especially on Christmas Day.


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Hitting the west up for inspiration.

If you're looking for last minute gift inspiration as Christmas closes in, I highly recommend a visit to Post Industrial Design over in West Footscray. They have all manner of gorgeous locally made gifts for young and old and the most delightful displays. Their window above gives a hint of the delight you'll experience here. It evokes a sense of magic and playfulness, sorely missing in most other retail outlets these days.

The above toy wooden tram was a hit with Batman. It has 12 wooden passengers and 2 uniformed tram conductors that have their own cabins on each end of the tram and is painted in the iconic Melbourne tramways green and gold. If you're wanting to buy one of these online it's also available over at the Lark website.

I'm all done with my Christmas shopping this year. Whoop whoop, oh what a feeling. Hope you're all done and dusted too. x

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

70's Christmas vinyl

Back in the 70's my grade 2 teacher, Miss Minnahan, had a copy of this Evie album which she'd play in the classroom around Christmas. I was a little besotted with Miss M and I insisted we get a copy for home . The album was on continuous rotation in our house on Christmas day...right up until the late 90's. We weren't a particularly religious household but Evie definitely became a part of our Christmas tradition. I have no idea where the album ended up but no doubt the vinyl was almost worn through. "Come on ring those Bells, everybody sing" is etched into my brain and when i discovered it here on youtube it really made me smile.
It's far from the Christmas album I'm loving at the moment, A very She & Him Christmas. A collaboration between my all time favorite, M.Ward...and actor Zooey Deschanel. It's a heavenly little album. One I hope becomes a part of our family Christmas tradition.
Thanks Lise xo

Here's a little snippet.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Christmas in a rusty Holden ute

We spent the weekend down on the coast for my Dad's birthday.
Yes, the part (I could only fit 3 in the car with all our luggage & ourselves, a small oversight)... were delivered! Hooray. They look great.
The limoncello was a hit. Icy cold & sipped slowly, it was amazingly good. Orders have been placed for more, so I'm taking that as a good sign.

Z had a lovely time hanging out with his cousins. Christmas is a time I have such fond memories of spending with all my cousins. My mum was one of 8 children so Christmas was a hugely exciting affair with a never ending amount of presents (or so it seemed). It's lovely to see this continue with Z. The delight and excitement of seeing one another (almost) outweighing the consumerist side of Christmas. How nice it was to be away from Melbourne and nowhere near the craziness of here the week prior to Christmas.

Saturday night we all spent, on the lawn in the main street, for Carols by Candlelight. A highlight for me was the 'Aussie' version of Jingle Bells! Something, in all my years, I've never heard before...How have I missed this?

Jungle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way
Christmas in Australia
On a scorching summers day
Jungle Bell, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden ute.


Saturday, 17 December 2011

The winner is..... Bruise Mouse. X

Congratulations Bruise Mouse! My Dad, the birthday boy, drew your name out of a hat this morning! One tea towel heading to Berlin.
Thanks everyone who entered and a very merry Christmas to you all. Xx

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Making old cards into ornamental balls.

I have a little obsession with making these ornamental balls. They are a tad fiddly but I love the result.
I came across the tutorial over at Martha's website some years back and ever since I've been hooked.
It's been a great way to re-purpose all the beloved cards too beautiful to turf out and they also make great gifts.
I love knowing the messages are hidden on the inside of the ball. At first I was reticent to cut the cards up wondering if I'd regret not being able to read them later. Then I remembered a quote from a book my mum gave me years ago 'The Quiet Eye', which went something along the lines of.... keep only that which is beautiful or functional.... now that I look for the quote I can't find it but it's something that's stayed with me and discouraged any tendencies to hoard (it's also a great way to practice non-attachment!).
You can find the instructions here.

I rediscovered this one while decorating our house this week.
I still love it.

Happy count down....12 days to go. x

NB: Suzy left a comment below asking whether the quote I was after was the William Morris one “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” That's the quote! Thank you Suzy.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Screen printing snaps

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. ~ Confucius .......... even the humble ol tea towel!

Here are a few snaps from our day of screen printing. It was such a fun day I'm itching to do it all again. I was even quite sad to dismantle all the lines. They looked so lovely hanging in our house. I think I'd like to do another run in yellow and then move onto a new design.

I've had some sorry excuses for a tea towel stashed in my third drawer.... How about you? Are you in need of a new one?
You can still enter the giveaway until the 16th December by leaving a comment here or 'LIKE'ing here and one of these little lovelies could be yours.

I hope your weekend hasn't been too crazy with Christmas cheer and the likes.
We've been on the hop and I'm feeling a little Nanna nap coming on. xox

Friday, 9 December 2011

Shallow Hal

Too hot to be wandering the streets we found plenty of colour around our home today.
Then, this afternoon we trekked out to one of our favorite suburban pools for a splash.
Some of you may recognise it from this series .
There's something about an outdoor pool that makes me so happy .....and strangely... proud to be an Aussie.
It must hark back to my childhood in the burbs.
Really, what better way is there to spend a day?


Have a great weekend. x

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Baking in the summer sun

Z & I spent the morning cooking in his makeshift kitchen. Z's all time favourite movie at the moment is Ratatouille. Every chance he gets he likes to improvise by making soups, baking desserts and and adding herbs from our garden to every dish in an attempt to recreate 'delicious treats for the diners'....spoken with a rather gruff French accent. If you look closely you'll notice Z's hat is made out of a brown paper shopping bag which we cut the bottom out of and taped to fit his head.

We cooked up this little play dough message for the L.F.

Homemade Playdough
2 cups plain flour
4 tablespoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup salt
food clouring
2 cups water

Mix the above ingredients in a saucepan and stir over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until the mixture congeals.
Easy peasy.
Store in an airtight container to prevent drying out.

Something slightly more sinister we have brewing in our kitchen is this. The colour is incredible after only 4 days. I opened the lid this morning to smell the contents and it took me straight back here, where I spent my 28th birthday, consuming way too much lemoncello!


Dont' forget if you want to enter the draw to win one of these tea towels you need to leave a comment here or go over & 'Like' my Facebook page. Entries open until 16th December. Share the love, the more the merrier! xox

Monday, 5 December 2011

My Superhero

I made this Superman Cape some months ago. It's sat in the dress up box. Completely overlooked.... for a cowboy, rabbit, chef or pirate.... until yesterday.

My superhero was in full action mode. Tearing around the house with his cousin.....

You can find the tutorial for the cape over here, at Floating World.

Hope you had a lovely weekend. x

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Chinese laundry Giveaway

Our house resembles a Chinese laundry at present. We have 60 screen printed tea towels hanging from clothes horses, make shift lines and chairs around the lounge and dining room. It's such a great sight.

The whole process of screen printing was so enjoyable. It's a little messy and it definitely requires pre-printing organisation (or a Dutch person..organisation is an inherent quality of the Dutch it seems) so things run smoothly . A 2 person person with very clean hands is needed to handle the finished tea towels.
There were a few learning curves but on the whole things went very smoothly. Only one smudged print - that was from careless hanging rather than printing...I'll also confess to being the culprit. oops.

My neighbour, Vic, is an experienced screen printer and kindly came over to lend a hand. She even ironed the tea towels before we printed. Thank you Vic!!
There will definitely be more screen printing as our dinning room table is perfect for printing and the process is very addictive.

As a little Christmas thank you to all who regularly visit....and to any newcomers....I have a tea towel to giveaway. Just leave a comment below or head over and 'Like' my facebook page before the Friday 15th December for your chance to win one for yourself. I'll be placing all the names into a pillow case and asking the little man to pull one out.

Good luck & thank you. Ho ho ho.


Monday, 28 November 2011

Crafty Monday

D day for these Parker chairs is December Dad's birthday.
I can't wait to have these chairs completed and to hand them over to my Dad. The first night celebrating on them over a long home cooked meal down on the coast with my family will be such a joy.

They've been totally stripped back from the awful lacquered teak they were when I purchased them.
the backs have been re-padded & reupholstered.
the seats re-webbed.
Lastly, the seats are ready for new foam and upholstery.

The momentum is building. I know they've been a while in the making but I'm so pleased with the way they're turning out.
I do love Monday and the feeling of progress. x

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Ready for a new life

Another 2 chairs complete. I'm making headway, stealing a little time here and a little time there, making friends with my compressor and becoming more efficient. My skill level is expanding with each job. It's a great feeling building a skill. Now I need to get a move on and open a little online store.

I've added a new page for those of you who love to drool over chairs in all their guises and included links I'm often snooping around on for inspiration.


Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.
- Seneca

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Sharing the love

A little list of lovely people & places to visit:

Daily imprint. I especially enjoyed the interview with Hallie Burton.

Reading about the adventures of the Click Clack Gorilla living in a caravan community in Germany. Marvelling at the size of her van & the fact that she's about to have a baby. Wow!

I know I've listed it before but there's always so much to delight over at habit.

This magic wallet by Mini-eco is about to hit my to-do-list. I love it.

Permablitz Melbourne. What an amazing idea, eating the suburbs one backyard at a time.

Kiuyu. The rescuing makes me bop about the house. It's possibly the sound of the casio that makes me so happy.

Enjoy xox

a late addition... Ben's cold pond water blog. I'm so impressed Ben. Winter in the uk...are you mad?

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Thrifty finds

Z and I met his cousins at their school fete, St Johns's Primary Mitcham on Saturday morning. For those of you not in Melbourne on Saturday, it was absolutely pouring! Mitcham is quite some drive from our place without the rain. Thankfully it was warm......just incredibly wet. We were soaked through within 15 mins of stepping from the car but still our enthusiasm reigned. There were show bags, hot dogs, scary rides, jumping castles, scones, face painting, mini golf... you name it, they had it covered.

For me, where things really started to heat up......the bric-a-brac stand. My heart skips a beat. The thrill of finding something special in a pile of 'junk' always brings me great pleasure.

Saturday was no exception. I discovered 4 very retro Greman Melitta glasses and made them mine at $2 the set. I then found 4 tub chairs stashed under a stairwell and after some deliberation thought there was no harm in asking a price. '$2ea... are you sure?.... I'll take them.' I then discovered another 2 hidden under a mountain of junk and snapped them up too. Four I could squeeze into the car with Z and I .... but six? I had to call for reinforcement. My brother arrived with his ute, shook his head and graciously packed them onto the tray top without fuss (a thousand thank you's Uncle P).
I wasn't 100% sure my vision for these chairs would translate once home but at $12 it was worth a shot.

They're perfect! What's more I feel like I'm sitting at Cicciolina when I sit at the table. Now, that can't be a bad thing.

Friday, 18 November 2011

{this moment}

A special moment from the week. One I am so very grateful for.

Z was out in the garden singing away at the top of his voice while dancing around last week. A little later he came into my room and said "Mum, did you hear me singing outside?" I replied that I had and how fantastic it was to hear him sing with such gusto.
He then said "I was just celebrating you mum."

My heart melted. He's 3. I love 3 & I love my Z.

Have a wonderful weekend. xx

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Shopping South Melbourne & my Kippis mugs

I love, love, love my new Kippis mugs. They're a belated birthday present form my long time friend and neighbour, S. They came from here....somewhere I've been meaning to visit....but have resisted as I know the temptation to purchase something and everything will be quite overwhelming. So a huge thank you, they're the best.

Another birthday present I'm particularly fond of is this charming milk pitcher from Southwood Home.
If Southwood Home doesn't get you hot tailing it to Coventry St check out The Design Files Shopping Guide to South Melbourne (it's from 2008 so although it has a lot of wonderful retailers listed there's even more to excite these days). Be sure to pop into Chez Dre for a pastry (or two) in their courtyard. Heaven. x

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

a new look for an old gem

Friends commissioned me to reupholster this armchair for their sitting room. The original chair, with it's terribly 80's fabric, was in desperate need of a make over. It had the lingering qualities of a 'has been' chair from a big time boardroom.

Ta dah..... look at it now. A little love and some handy work have given this gem a completely sleek look (much more in keeping with it's owner). The fabric is from Spoonflower and the geometric design is perfect to complement the handsome timber arm rests. I'm very happy to be sending him home looking all swanky and new.

I hope the C-S's love it as much as I do. x

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Making it in merry good time.

We've officially started making our Christmas gifts! Yippe, we're on target. Let's just hope we keep up a steady momentum. The gift list is long this year.
These FIMO necklaces are to be bundled up for Z's carers.
The tea towels are still in the works. We have all the materials now we just need to agree on the design and set a date to start printing. Hopefully next week.

Have you made a list and checked it twice?

PS. My favourite stall from the Magnolia Square market this year was Sirens Swimwear. These cossies are so very flattering! They get a huge tick from me.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Hand printing on Fabric

1. Screenprinting, 2. Folk Birds - Tea Towel, 3. Dusk Lupine - Tea Towels, 4. pattern of the day-026, 5. Shipping Out I, 6. Untitled

I've decided (with a couple of friends) to hand print some tea towels for Christmas presents this year. Being complete novices we've been investigating the process, made trips to Melbourne Etching Supplies and Riot Art for supplies, watched youtube tutorials and consulted our copies of this Lena Corwin book and my beloved Lotta Prints book. I'm now hoping we'll be ready to roll next week.

We just need to come up with our artwork & choose whether to use the Drawing Fluid & Screen filler or stencil technique.

Here are a couple of tutorials I found which are handy if you'd too like to get crafty and print up some tea towels of you own.
Miss Daydream Believer's print studio
Anna Laura's screen printing using drawing fluid tutorial.
Craftgrrl's Cheap screen printing using an embroidery hoop.
Dakini Silk & Things tutorial.

I've also been pinning my favorites over here. If you have any inspiration.... or tips I'd love to hear. Please leave me the links below. xox

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Friday, 4 November 2011

My Cinderella Chair

I just came across my reupholstered 'Acland chair' over on a couple of delightful tumblr pages dreams and idle pleasures and chair porn. It's quite a compliment to see it there amoungst the gorgeousness.

This chair was found on 'Acland' street, by my friend Tom Tom, on his way to work one morning. He texted me a photo & the location so Z & I scooted down and bundled it into the car. The incredible stench emanating from it was something made my tummy turn. Springs and wading were popping out in every direction. This abused and abandoned chair needed a lot of love.
It almost didn't make it home.
After stripping it back to basics and reupholstering it in this lovely linen...I'm so pleased it did.

Happy weekend x

Thursday, 3 November 2011

What's cooking?

It's been a week of organising and getting back into the swing of things.

A little ho hum for some.......but I've prepared my Christmas cake mix & it's soaking in Grand Marnier ready for baking in December. I used the trusty old Womens Weekly Christmas Cookbook recipe (I see Peter's of Kensington have a lovely hard cover edition) but would love to hear about any of your prized Christmas cake/pudding details....Do you have a favourite recipe?

I've made a batch of Chewy Coconut Biscuits, from cityhippyfarmgirl and also one of the Cashew Chia Date rolls....although, mine didn't turn out looking quite so well but it tastes delicious.

I made another Flourless Orange Cake last night for the L.F. to take into work today. I really do love this recipe. If you have a couple of hours to spare it's super easy and so delicious. I hope there's a slither left over for me!!

We've de-slugged our veggie patch with some more of this & enjoyed cooking up the bounty of Swiss Chard we came home to after our break.

All in all a lot of time has been spent in the kitchen but after eating out almost every day on our holiday I've totally enjoyed it.

Here's a peep at our kitchen. The giraffe grow chart I painted to keep track of Z's height. 'Growth spurt' really is an appropriate term for little people. It's incredible to see how quickly he shoots up.

Adios, I'm off to make moussaka. xox

Monday, 31 October 2011

Holiday snaps

Holidays involving a trip to the airport are memories I cherish from my childhood, Z was no less impressed on this trip.

Tropical flowers, monsoonal rain and full days spent swimming in the pool were all part of the magic.

It was a wonderful mix of contrasts. Perfectly depicted by the battered NRL football we found in the park and the sublime tropical work of Anne Marie Graham, a Melbournian artist, currently exhibiting at the Cairns Regional Gallery.
We are all definitely restored and relaxed. There's nothing better than a family holiday to get everyone back to basics.
I hope you had a wonderful couple of weeks and that you too are ready to face the pending Christmas merriment. Tomorrow is November. Blimey Christmas is just around the corner..... how did that happen?


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