Tuesday, 28 February 2012

sew liberating...when I find the time to sew.

I whipped this apron up for Z yesterday, at his request. It's such a simple pattern and takes no time at all to make. You can find directions and a pattern here at Sew Much Ado.

Now...a few sewing links to things I'd like to make for my wardrobe....
- Sew Liberated's Aurelia Cardigan Sewing Pattern
- Built By You's Tie-Sleeve Dress
- one of these sun hat's from Lotta Jandotter's Simple Sewing book.


Monday, 27 February 2012

The perfect beach day

We experienced one of those perfect beach days on Saturday. Days I remember from my childhood so clearly. Days I've longed for as an adult. The kind of days that stay with you forever. Timeless & fun filled.

Days where everyone goes home happy and totally exhausted, ready to climb into bed.....still smiling.

Be a fruit loop

I love this print from Candidates etsy store. Happy Monday. xx

Friday, 24 February 2012

Homemade Blackerry Jam

Z and I went to visit my cousin and their new little baby, the darling Ethan, on Wednesday. He is such a sweetheart. We snuck a glance while he was all tucked up in bed sleeping soundly. I can't wait to head back for a cuddle shortly. Those teeny tiny babies are so precious, especially when they're sleeping so soundly, bundled up and all dreamy. At an 11.6lb birth weight dear Ethan was not so teeny tiny but ever so precious.

While we were chatting my cousins husband went out and picked around 1.5kgs of fresh Blackberries for us. So yesterday, following a recipe given to me by my friend A, we made our first batch of Blackberry Jam. We used lemon juice instead of pectin and this morning upon turning the jars upside down I can say we have perfectly set jam! Hooray.

This recipe here follows a similar process to the one we used. I sterilised our jars & lids in the oven, 120 degress celcius, while cooking the jam.... so the hot jars and hot jam were ready to go once the perfect consistency was reached. So simple a Z loved the volcanic like eruption of crimson lava from the gently rolling fruit as much as I did.

Now for a taste test. I hope your weekend is sweet & fruity. xox

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Introducing Susannah Conway

An interview with Susannah Conway, photographer, writer & e-course creator.

I first came across Susannah Conway via a giveaway on the Soule Mama blog. Amanda Soule was giving away a place on Susannah's next e-course and I instantly wanted to win..... The idea of unlocking not only how I viewed myself but the world around me, through photography, jumped out and seized me and so did Susannah's story.

I read Susannah's about page on her website and I wanted to cry. Not purely for the grief Susannah experienced, losing her partner from an sudden heart attack but more for her bravery and complete honesty of heart. She stepped up to one of the biggest challenges we can face, losing a loved one, and transformed it into something beautiful. She said 'yes' to making her life bigger rather than 'no' and retreating from the world.
I was totally inspired by Susannah..... so hence, when I was making my list of 12 inspirational people to interview in 2012, she was right there on it.

I didn't win the e-course but I was grateful it came to my attention and I was driven to enroll in Unravelling: ways of seeing myself, the eight week e-course, immediately.

: : :

We all want to feel like we make a difference in the world and here you are 'doing it', 'being it.' You're living every day totally inspiring others through your photography, blogging, e-courses and books. Even on the days you probably feel less inspired we're marvelling at the beauty you capture and the way you tell your story. Did you ever in your wildest dreams imagine how great an impact you would have on other people when you first started blogging?

No, not even for a millisecond. And thank you so much for that lovely introduction — I honestly don’t feel like I’m doing or being anything out of the ordinary. I’m just trying my best to live decently and figure stuff out. To heal all my screwed up stuff so I don’t pass it on to another. Which is why I blog about the journey — in the hope that it will inspire others to do the same.

What is the most rewarding aspect of sharing yourself and your journey with others

Knowing I am doing something helpful is incredibly rewarding. When I started I was blogging just for me. I already had a handful of readers because I’d connected with a few bloggers and they sent a few peeps my way, but back then I had no conception of how powerful blogging could be. Writing about grief was healing and cathartic, but when I started getting emails from readers thanking me for my honesty, I began to understand how sharing my journey wasn’t just for me — it could also be helpful to someone else going through a similar experience. It felt like I went through everything I did for a reason, and that thought was actually really comforting.

Being such a personal journey of healing & exploration. How did you conquer your fears when laying it all out for the world to see? Any tips?

It wasn’t a conscious thing at all. I didn’t know I was laying anything out for the world to see — I was just writing some words on the internet. I didn’t have an audience like I do now -- if I had done I probably would’ve been too intimidated to share anything! I’ve always kept a diary, so writing my feelings out onto the page comes quite naturally to me. Blogging is only a small step on from that, really. I didn’t have any self doubt around blogging — that came later, when I started writing my book :)

If you had to choose only 5 words to live your life by.... what would they be?
Integrity… honesty… passion… humour… love.

Thank you Susannah for the incredible beauty you capture. For your honesty and integrity to live your life & inspire others in the process. The way you capture the world is nothing short of magical. Big hug xox

Follow Susannah's links below to read more about her incredible journey and see the beauty she creates.
Susannah Conway links:
* all photos for this interview are courtesy of Susannah Conway.

Wednesday wrap up.

1. 15th Feb: perfect beach days with neighbours., 2. 16th Feb: The feast, at Vic's., 3. 17th Feb: so very pleased to be about to climb in here this evening., 4. 18th Feb: giant comfry leaves in my herb garden, 5. Love these tiles in my sister-in-laws bathroom., 6. 20th Feb: afternoon light in my living room., 7. 21st Feb: a new face to welcome into our family... & she's oh so sweet.

We have a new addition to our family, Barley, a 4 year old Lab x Heeler...a Heelerdor?....who came to us through Second Chance Animal Rescue (an amazing organisation passionate about rehoming animals. It's run by and incredibly dedicated young lady, Marisa....I highly recommend them if you're looking for a loveable pooch.). She arrived yesterday and is just so delightful. Placid, friendly and very well mannered. We hope she loves her new home as much as we love having her a part of it.
Z is especially pleased and I catch him having quiet conversations with her about her new neighbourhood, or trips we may take together and it's very sweet.

Tomorrow I have interview #2 to post for you. An interview with an amazing photographer, blogger and e-course creator...... any guesses?


Monday, 20 February 2012

Where do you stand?

This article in the New York times, 'The Joy of Quiet' By PICO IYER, paints a pivotal picture in the changing tide of our accessibility. Between blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, email, mobiles, text messages, Words with friends, Instagram, and the multitude of other applications which demand our attention, it highlights our complete desire to disconnect from a maddeningly connected world. It reminds us how important it is for us to sit quietly. Something I always swear to do more of but more often than not neglect to squeeze into my day.

"The urgency of slowing down — to find the time and space to think — is nothing new, of course, and wiser souls have always reminded us that the more attention we pay to the moment, the less time and energy we have to place it in some larger context. “Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries,” the French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in the 17th century, “and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.” He also famously remarked that all of man’s problems come from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone."

If you have the time to read the article I highly recommend it.  Now I just need to make a few boundaries for my own 'accessibility' & sit quietly! xox

Saturday, 18 February 2012

and the winner is......Hilary!

Thanks to those who entered the Clare Bowditch and The New Slang's Modern day Addiction Album giveaway, for all the lovely comments and the enthusiasm for my coming interviews. The L.F. drew one lucky name out of a hat this morning and the winner is ...drum roll please...Hilary.

Hilary a big congratulations & please send me your details to stupendousjoy[at]gmail[dot]com so I can pop the album in the post. xox

PS. I'll be posting the next interview this coming Thursday!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Flourless chocolate cake

This flourless chocolate cake is baking as I type. It's a birthday cake for our dear friend Bretty. The recipe is courtesy of The Cake Mistress, an incredible resource for all things sweet.

Between Z and me sloshing things about, our kitchen looks like a war zone....but the house sure smells great.
Have a wonderful weekend. xox

PS. Last chance to enter the giveaway! Entries close tonight. I'll draw the winner in the morning and post details here over the weekend.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Proof is in the pudding

I love this cover for Litro Magazine a free monthly literary magazine, distributed near London.
The cover is by artist Ann Winder-Boyle.  She was born in Cumbria in 1963.  To my delight she went back to study Fine Art as a mature student graduating with a First Class Honours degree in 2006...... at the age of 43.

You're never too old! 

Another favorite lady who came to art late in life is Rosalie Gascoigne who had her first exhibition at 57 and was still producing work right up until she died at 82.
Mmmmm, it's true a lifetime of opportunity awaits....now, what to do next? x

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

It goes a little something like this...

Week 2 of my Gratitude Project looks like this. I'm loving watching this unfold & thanks Ladle for joining me. x

It's incredible how a visual collection of gratitude really does make me grateful for the beauty and people in my life. It sounds so obvious....and I guess it is... photos are kind of like that...obvious.

** Don't forget only 2 more days to enter the giveaway to win a copy of Clare Bowditch and the New Slang's Modern Day Addiction album.  Leave a comment below my interview with Clare to enter! xox

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Valentines Day xox

Do you have a favorite love song??

Here are a few songs to get you in the Valentine's Day spirit.
Z & I had so much fun making this list.... we could go on all day but there are things to be done.......
Al Green's Let's Stay Together
Donna Sommer's very sexy Love to love you Baby
The Reindeer Section's You are my Joy
The Cure's Love Cats
Sade's By your Side
Very timely, had to include this one for dear Whiteney, RIP, I will always love you. xox

....and Z's pick for the day is Cindi Lauper's Time after Time.

I hope you are surrounded by love today and every day. xox

Monday, 13 February 2012

Weekend roaming

We had a slow day on Sunday meandering around our city. Melbourne certainly turned on the charm. My heart still beats ever so fondly.
:: Stopped in at Federation Square for a squiz at the Tjukurrtjanu exhibition.
:: Marveled at the incredible, totally maneuverable, kinetic sculptures by Theo Jansen. Take a look at this TED clip of Theo discribing the mechanisms of his 'animals'....what an extraordinary mind!
:: Stopped here to stretch the legs and burn off some excess energy.
:: Checked out a friends new digs. An incredible apartment off Little Collins Street. Complete with a secret panel in the bookshelf....which opens to reveal..... the master bedroom. Very James Bond! It's also conveniently positioned above this patisserie.
:: LOVED the yarn bombing of the City Square. A project by Yarn Corner, a collective of yarn bombing artists.
:: Discovered that Matthew Flinders was only 40 when he died. What an adventurous spirit! He certainly navigated a lot in his short life (sorry for the pun).
We ate delicious, cheap food, managed a few humorous encounters with random strangers and totally dodged the St Kilda Festival. All in all, it was a perfect day out with my two favorite fellas.

I hope your weekend was full of great discoveries too. x

Friday, 10 February 2012

Thursday, 9 February 2012

An Interview with the charming Clare Bowditch &.... an album giveaway

On January 1st I made a very quiet resolution, to myself, to interview 12 inspirational people for 2012. I have a tendency to make 'quiet' resolutions. Another was to give up coffee for a year!  See, they're in no way small resolutions.   So you can understand my reticence to stating them out loud?! Aaargggh, what if I can't do it......
Slowly and very quietly I've been making lists, contacting people and sending out interview questions, only 4 questions, to people who've inspired me personally or en mass.
Most of these people I've never met but their stories, non the less, have impacted me.  They've made me happy, sad, want to get out there and get active, believe, create or stand for something.  They're all living their lives, beating their daily demons and saying yes to bigger pictures.  They're the sort of lives I love to see unfolding and love to think I am living.

: : :

The first of these 12 is the delightful Clare BowditchSongwriter, performer extraordinaire...you may remember me talking about her performance in Eva Tales from the life of Eva Cassidy.... here.... she'll also be debuting in the hot series Offspring next season - can't wait. She's mother to 3 amazing kids - twins to boot, wife to Marty Brown ....a man of many, many talents..... and she's one, simply put, all round lovely lady.

For a bit of fun to get us started Ms Bowditch please describe yourself in one sweeping sentence.
Your intro sounds SO MUCH BETTER THAN THE PERSON I WOKE UP AS THIS MORNING!  I am currently on day 3 of a 21 day Raw Food Challenge.  Apparently it gets better.....I really hope so because right now all I want is for someone to post me a hamburger in the mail.

How do you juggle songwriting, the dishes, being a mumma, a wife & finding time just for you?  You seem to do it all.  What's your secret?
Sometimes very poorly!  Often there is no juggle - it's more a crawl. A shuffle!  You know the one....
If there is a secret, it's that I never, ever demand  perfection of myself: I maintain the right to play, to try anything and to suck at it and try something new.  My house is often chaotic and happy.  I'd prefer it looked like something Gwenyth Paltrow's Goop team threw together but that's not where we're at right now, so on we roll.
The other secret is marrying a good man like Marty.  We are in it together (and yet somehow I get all the credit?  How does that work?  Actually that's not true - the ladies at school think he's pretty alright.  What with all the lunch making and kid-drop-offing, he's a pretty awesome Dad).

When did you realise you were really doing this music stuff 'for real'?
Marty & I realised we were doing it "for real" right around the same time we were going to become parents "for real", when we were 26.  Before that Marty was pretty serious about music but I was just kind've making music as one of the things I loved to do.  I didn't think I could ever make my living out of it and I didn't think I'd be a particularly interesting "famous person", so I never considered it in terms of a "career".  But then, when I was pregnant, I realised that it was the thing that brought me the greatest creative joy, and that I needed great creative joy in my life, and if I didn't "have a crack", I'd live to regret it.  It's something I talk about in detail in Rachael Power's book "The Divivded Heart", which is a read I would recommend very highly for all creative mothery sorts.

Where do you feel most inspired?
It used to have something to do with too much chaos and coffee and beer and bad relationships (Sheesh!).  That's what I thought, anyway.  Really I'm most inspired when I feel close to beauty and truth and love - not just the "happy happy" love but the kind of love that you would break your own heart over.  Other peoples art REALLY inspired me.  Babies being born inspires me NO END!  Also happiness really inspires me and I've recently made a point of seeking it out every single day - it is actually the focus of the album I'm recording at the moment.  I also feel really inspired by lazy "Tea & Toast" kind of days.  Any blogs like yours - they inspire me too!  Oh I'm so inspired right now!

Who would you most like to meet?
I'd like to meet my great grandmothers and their great grandmothers.

Thank you so much for taking time to answer these questions Clare!  You're an absolute super star and I believe, a wonderfully interesting 'famous person'.  Totally inspiring, honest and best of all... you're so.... well, real. I can't wait to see you in the upcoming series of Offspring & hear the sweet sounds of your new album when it's released. 
Lots of luck, love & Stupendous Joy to you, fine lady. xox

For your chance to win a copy of Clare Bowditch & The New Slang's album Modern Day Addiction leave a comment below this interview before Friday 17th February 2012. I'll draw one name out of a... hat, gumboot or whatever we have at hand and the lucky winner will be announced on Saturday 18th, here & over on my Facebook page. Good Luck.
* Be sure leave to leave your name & check back to see if you're the winner.  I'm happy to post world wide.

Clare Bowditch links:

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Ginger ale & a glimpse at gratitude

Here's a look at the last week of my Gratitude project. How did your week shape up?

Tomorrow I have some exciting news....an interview for you with one very lovely lady, along with an giveaway.......... but in the meantime I highly recommend a glass of this homemade ginger ale. We are totally in love with it around here. xox

Monday, 6 February 2012

Bright nights and sunny days

This photo was snapped on a tram ride home from Cutler & Co. last Thursday night. The L.F.s siblings gave me a rather generous gift voucher for my birthday to dine at the lush establishment, located in an old metal work factory on Gertrude St, Fitzroy. It was another dining highlight, coming very close to the Vue de monde experience (both, thanks to the decadence of my in-laws).

These foie gras & date cigars are an example of the exceptional detail and incredible flavor they serve up. Aren't they Fantastic?! Such fun and totally delicious. If you're daring and felt like whipping up a few for your next dinner party I came across a recipe by Shannon Bennett for Foie Gras Cigars over at The Chef's Pencil. They'd sure bring a bit of humor to the night and leave a much sweeter taste in your mouth than the cubans.

Snippets of days past:
The L.F.'s granny, Doo, passed away on the weekend. One of a kind. A total lady, whose incredible interest and thirst, for life & those she loved, will be so dearly treasured.
On a lighter note, I took a Stand Up Paddle Board lesson on Saturday with 2 friends. It was the perfect Melbourne day. Sunshine, not a breathe of wind and oh so beautiful to view St Kilda from the water. I can't wait to get out there again soon.
Crafty Monday's are back after a 2 month hiatus ...starting today. Hooray. I eased into it with another pair of these.


Thursday, 2 February 2012

daily dose of "Thank you"

I've start a Visual Gratitude Journal because let's face it as well intentioned as I am I never manage the time to actually sit down and write one. I'll be uploading one photo each day to Flickr.

I'd love you to join me for the ride so I've created a Flickr group, A visual Gratitude Journal. That way anyone (blogger, non blogger, my dad, absolutely anyone) can join in for a day, a month or the whole year.
I know it's nothing new but seeing it's The International year of the co-operatives it would be lovely to start our own community sharing all the good in our lives. Whatever you do, whoever you are & wherever you live there's always something, no matter how small, to be thankful for each day.

If you know someone you think who'd like to participate please share the link:

The only rules:
one photo per day, taken on that day
don't take yourself too seriously or be intimidated
jump in and have fun.

Imagine how beautiful it will be at the end of the year to have a visual collaboration of thanks.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Noticed these beauties recently?

Is it just me or have you too noticed the Crepe Myrtle this year? It seems to be the flower of the season bursting with colour. Adding a tropical feel to the streets of St Kilda.

:: Recently discovered to my delight (thanks Sam).... The Diggers Club, Australia's largest garden club. They even mail order Australia wide.... have 2 incredible garden displays & cafe's showcasing the freshest vegetables and the tastiest fruits picked straight from the garden. They started rescuing heirloom varieties back in 1992 and won the Vogue Entertainment and Produce Award 2007, in the Heritage category, for preserving heirloom vegetable seeds. Roll up those sleeves...it's time to hit the garden.


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