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Merry merries to all

In a show of enormous Christmas spirit,  you all overwhelmingly made the decision to send the Gorgeous Giveaway prizes to Jane from My Pear Tree House.* Merry Christmas from us all and Godspeed, dear Jane. We are all thinking of you and wishing you a smooth journey on your challenging road ahead.

This is my final post for Twenty Zen. It's been a great year for me, strengthened by my desire to make it my 'slow down' year. I have practised living in the moment and cherishing the things that I already have, rather than focusing so much on what is to come. I've worked on being less busy with things that aren't important or interesting and taking time out to just be. It's been a lesson in happiness and I will continue to practise these valuable skills all my life.

I'm taking a little blogcation. Not sure how long for... back sometime in early Jan. I'm going to let the Summer Tsunamis wash over me and see where they take me.

Very best wishes to you and yours for a merry Christmas from me and my three little elves** (and LOML too, of course). See you in the bright and sparkly and really-rather-ravishing new year. I am working on what kind of year it will be... I like to theme these things you see. It will be hard to top 20Zen, but I'll do my best!

Enjoy yourself.


* I'm sorry if you missed out on having a say...
** If you haven't encountered 'ElfYourself' from OfficeMax before, pop over there now to make your own hysterical Christmas fun. It's free to create and email out to family and friends.

Edited a little later on Monday...

PS - No, wait, there is more of me to love. On Thursday I'm guest posting at Gina's blog Acute Designs. She has asked me what 'five (material) things I can't live without'. I wrote the post only three days ago but already I can't remember what I wrote and definitely won't remember by Thursday. December does that to a person, right? Anyway, check it out as I'm sure it's bloody brilliant and even if it isn't, Gina's a fab, fab gal.

And then again a little bit later... (alright, would you just get off now, Maxabella. You said you were going...)

PPS - Just heard from Jane and she is recovering from surgery. Her spirits seem very high (probably the drugs) and she is overwhelmed by the generosity shown by all of us involved in the Gorgeous Giveaway present. That's you, too, by the way... thanks for giving up your entry to offer a little bit of light in a dark, dark day for Jane. x


A change of plan?

I wonder... I wonder if it would be okay with everyone if instead of using to generate a winner for the Gorgeous Giveaway, we just very unrandomly choose Jane at My Pear Tree House.  Jane is a long-time follower of Maxabella loves... and a fun, generous supporter of many of our blogs. And, oh my, she's going through a really, really tough time right now. 

Please let me know via comment if you are okay to forfeit your entry and send all the prizes to Jane. If I get a enough comments saying 'yes' then that is what we will do. We'll send her a care package full of all these lovely handmade presents from all of us in the blogging community. 

Thank you Posie Patchwork, Scissors Paper Rock, Mira Narnie, Ivy Designs and Loved for being open to this idea.

Please let us know.


This week I'm grateful for... treehouses

Let's talk about treehouses. I saw three boys of about 11 making a fort in a paperbark gum in the bush yesterday. Watching them was great fun (particularly for the Tsunamis who were busy taking notes to attempttheir own tree-top  fort - in about five years time, kiddos!). It could have been any era, any country, any Summer... some things are just timeless.

So, this week I'm grateful for...

1. The simple things - high in a tree, building a house, lost shirt, big brown belly laughs, a rope to pull up the big planks, a tireless friend scooting up the little ones, pushing and shoving with mudsoaked hands, hot work, a bottle of cool water waiting on the ground, waiting to tip over a protesting friend.

2. Fabrics - a quick cut with the scissors and a tablecloth, some bunting, a gift wrap, a mermaid tail, a headband, endless possibilities are born.

3. Skipping - is there anything more joyous than a child learning to skip?

Finally, if you can spare a moment, please join Jelly Shane's Girl Power initiative to help out My Pear Tree House.

So, what's making you smile today? Grab my I'm Grateful For... button from my sidebar if you like, add your Grateful post below and please add a link back to me in your post. Then pop over to visit other bloggers who are spreading a little sunshine. No hurry - we're all about laaaaazy Saturdays. Link is open all week. Happy day to you!

Note that this will be the last Grateful Saturday linky for 2010... by all means, keep being grateful while I take a little Christmas break. I will see you all bright and cheery in January! Merry merries to you.

[Image via weheartit]


Dealing with Difficult People #2: The Competitive Parent

I'm not the most tactful person in the world which is less than ideal given that I work with some of the most arrogant and annoying people on earth (see "I'm not the most tactful person..."). Ergo, I've had loads of experience picking my way through social and political minefields so I thought I'd share my top tips on Dealing with Difficult People.

Maybe they missed out on selection to the Sydney 2000 Badminton squad. Maybe they peaked in high school and just want to go back. Maybe their surname is Jones so there's a certain expectation thing going on. Whatever the reason, the Competitive Parent (CP) just makes you want to run, run, run away. Very fast.

I first encountered these Difficult People in the hospital with my pesky newborn. Day 3, C-Section smarting like a teacher's pet, rumbling down the hall with the world's loudest breast pump machine in front and the angst-ridden newborn in the trolley behind. Busy, you know?

"Oh," cooed the CP. "Breastfeeding not working out for you?"

Be fooled by neither the CP's warmth nor their question. They are not interested in you. Before I had a chance to respond ("Yes actually, it's going great. So great, in fact, that I thought I'd spend the next two and a half hours pumping out an additional 40 mls just because I can...") she launched into the real reason why she was cooing.

"It's my first baby too," she chummed. "But, to be honest, I don't know what all the fuss is about. He was breastfeeding before they even cut the cord... so easy, so natural. So right. He just found his way there like a little primate and it's been BLISS, pure bliss... sigh. Well, good luck with the world's loudest breast pump. You know, by the sounds of things last night, your baby could do with a volume switch too! Toodles."

Yes, CPs are scary creatures, but I'm not afraid. Try these pointers the next time you encounter one:

1. Don't engage
You'll notice in the convo above that even though I didn't get a word in, I was going to respond. Rookie. I haven't made that mistake since. Don't talk to these people. They may ask you a question, but it's okay to look down and spend the moment picking off the crusted Weetbix* on your baggy t-shirt. They will have the same conversation whether you talk or you don't - they don't need your feedback. Let them get whatever miraculous deed their child has done today off their chest and then just calmly walk away.

2. Don't encourage
Often normal parents will make the mistake of oohing a little. A bit of 'good for her', an occasional 'well done' for added effect as Tenor's school report is given the blow-by-blow by a proud mama.  Under normal circumstances this is expected and harmless. But you're not dealing with a normal parent here and every 'good for her' translates as 'future banker' and 'well done' just adds 'at Macquarie' to the portfolio. Just listen quietly and get working on that Weetbix.

3. Don't take it out on their child
It's tempting. If you spend morning after morning at the Kindy school gate hearing about Rainer's future career prospects, you kinda don't like him.  You may find yourself trying to get dirt on Rainer via your child ("So, um, how did, say, Rainer go with the colouring in? Lines, no lines?" ) but it will all be fruitless. Rainer is not at fault here, he's really just an impeccably-dressed innocent bystander. Relax, with a name like Rainer he will get what's coming to him.

4. Don't take it out on your child
Like any victim, you listen to enough of your oppressor's version of reality and pretty soon their incredible child becomes your reality. Before long, your own child's achievements start to look, well, a bit lacklustre. Horrifying, impossible, never-on-my-watch, but true. No matter how tempting, don't ever start a conversation with "Did you hear that Tayhlia was picked as the prettiest ever contestant on Australia's Next Top Model?" as it will only end in tears.

5. When all else fails, fail
If weeks have gone by and the silent treatment is not working, lower the bar. As the Libby Lenton of parenting, the CP is completely disinterested in the paddling pool.  So for every achievement, counter attack with an under-achievement. "Reilly was first in her class for spelling" / "Sam can spell Sam"; "Reilly got a medal for running" / "Sam got told off for running"; "Reilly is on level 23 for reading" / "Sam can read Sam".  Believe me, the CP will soon be off to deeper waters.

Oh, hush. Don't worry, no real harm done. You're just pretending your child is below par, remember? We all secretly know that there has never been a child quite as golden or as smart or as beautiful as your child...

Know any CPs? How do you handle them? Are you prepared to admit to being one?

* The hardest substance known to man.


Click to enter!

[Image by Suse Bauer of some of her many amazing Revoluzzza monster softies!]


When the whole world is a gallery

There's something about The Badoo. She's into everything. I've had three toddlers in the house over the past six years and number three is, without a doubt, triple the trouble of the other two.

I didn't really need to "baby proof" the house for Maxi or Cappers, but suddenly six years into parenting I'm down at Bunnings clearing out their stock of powerpoint plugs and cupboard guards. Once she drew all over the walls with a black permanent marker. Along the hallway, into her siblings' rooms, through the bathroom, up the stairs. The house looked like a massacre scene in a black and white movie.

She was roused on, of course and sent to her cot. She can't handle being yelled at - she just goes to pieces. It's hard to stay angry at that cute little face when the bottom lip starts to drop, but a massacre made it easy. She was sent to the cot for 5 minutes and every time I checked on her the lip would drop and the tears would flow. She knew she'd gone too far.

Or so I thought.

Five minutes after she was sprung from her cot, the builder popped over to measure up some bookshelves. The Badoo (who is usually extremely shy of strangers in general) took him by the hand and led him to the scene of the massacre . Like an artist surveying her first gallery exhibition she proudly gestured to the walls. "I did that," she beamed. "It's a road."

What were / are your toddlers like? Did you get the big tantrums or the cheeky mischief? How on earth do you manage?


Click on the button to enter!

[Image features wallpaper from Land of Nod]


A Lusciously Lush, Fabulously Fab GORGEOUS GIVEAWAY!

I've been blogging since April this year and it's been such a pleasure. Just a delight, you know? I feel like it's given me an outlet to be creative, to be thoughtful, to be a part of something special. Blogging may be 'big wide world' stuff, but to me Maxabella loves... just feels like a warm-hearted little village. A little village that has welcomed over 500 neighbours. Five hundred! I think that's a milestone worthy of a big celebration!

Lucky for me (and even luckier for you), five of our Maxabella lovelies... are wearers of those smart, shiny crafty-clogs and they just happen to be as generous as they are talented. And that's really, really, really OMFG talented.

Just look at what Brenda, Wynona, Mel, Jennie and Claire are offering to one lucky Maxabella loves... follower. Be sure to check out both the blog and the store for each of these special gals. Their work is beautiful and so are they.
Oh so handy Key Chain.  Made with natural webbing, gorgeous linen blend leaf printed cotton fabric and secured to metal hardware. Simply attach your keys and slip over your wrist.  You hands will be free and keys always remain handy!  RRP $10.

Custom-Made Maxabella loves Ornamental Bird.  Made with linen blend fabric, complete with printed twill tape, crochet wing and cord and beaded detail! RRP $Priceless!

Thank you Brenda! ESPECIALLY for the Maxabella loves... customisation. How cute is that! And the key chain is so VERY clever - "how did I ever live without that?"

An inspirational and grounding 'Life is Beautiful'. Print is 30cm x 40cm, printed on a silk finished paper. It comes unframed and the winner can select the colour of the print. RRP $22

And... a 'Live Laugh Love' 5 x 7 (inches) print, perfect for a standard photo frame. Printed on a silk finished paper. It comes unframed and the winner can select the colour of the print. RRP $10

AND a packet of sweet little Lunch Box Notes. As a child, Claire's Mum would leave little notes of love and encouragement in her lunchbox to brighten her day. Now you can do the same! RRP $5.

Thank you so much, Claire! I love your inspiring prints and the lunch box notes are just such a sweet touch.

Delicate crocheted necklace, lovingly handmade using a soft charcoal cotton.
Worn draped around the neck, as you would a scarf, with shell buttons adding weight to hang elegantly down your front.  The perfect summertime accessory. RRP $22.

Thank you Mel! I am the proud owner of this very piece, so I know how versatile and special it is. Bring on the compliments!

A whole pack of deliciousness!

Handmade Living, autographed by Tania, Julie & Tina (editor, founder and illustrator respectively)
Tasmanian Oak knitting needles with polka dots
Sweet gelato-coloured floral hair slides
Pretty fabric Christmas decoration
Adorable Humpty Dumpty coin purse
Vintage learn to sew card set
Little brooches and badges.  
RRP Over $100!

Thank you so much Jennie! I am so disappointed that I can't be in it to win this bag of goodies myself.

Look out for Posie Patchwork at a handmade market near you or pop by her online store. She is the Queen of Special.

'Little Red' 40cm x 40cm, 100% cotton designer fabric, Original Illustration by Ivy Designs, framed with Japanese cotton fabric with deers. RRP $40

Thank you Wynona! As readers of this blog will know, I adore your pieces to pieces (sorry about that!)

See, I told you it's a Gorgeous Giveaway!

One lucky duck will win the lot! All you have to do is be a follower of Maxabella loves... and leave a comment on this post. 

Tell me: Who is in your 'village'? Who do you rely on to get through your days?

One 'village' comment only please. You can earn extra entries if you spread the word by:

♥ putting my giveaway button in your sidebar (it's over there in my sidebar if you want to grab it); 
♥ or write a post with a link back to this giveaway post; 
♥ or write a post with a link through to one or all of these five lovely crafty blogs; 
♥ or link to this post on facebook; 
♥ or send out a tweety tweet

... or you can do all five! 

Remember to leave a comment below with a link for each extra entry. 

Giveaway is open until midnight 20 December (Sydney time... whatever that is in international time lingo). I'll post the winner (drawn using on Tuesday, 21 December. Best of luck, my lovelies! 

Oh, and thank you so much  for being a part of my village.

[Giveaway button image is from Upon a Fold - stationery lust!]

PS - if you don't have a blog that links back to your name, don't forget to leave an email addy!


EDITED 20/12/2010

In a show of community spirit, we asked entrants to the Gorgeous Giveway if they would be willing to give up their entries to allow us to send all the prizes to Jane from My Pear Tree House. And they collectively shouted YES.

We will be sending all of the prizes to Jane in the next week or so.

Thank you everyone for your generosity. Please leave any comments concerning this giveaway at this post here.

♥ Loving Hearts

[Image via weheartit]

This one's for Anna over at ♥ Much Love ♥ - to make up for all the non-hearty pics throughout the year!!! Happy days, Anna.

[Image via weheartit]

I heart hearts very much. They're about love and warmth and kindness and all the good stuff. They're symmetrical and balanced. They're curvy with an edge. They're often pink or red. They make me cheerful.

[Image by Irene Suchoki]

[Image from Tatterbean]

[Image by V. Kontarkte]

[Image via Doreese]

[Image by Mandi Campbell]

The gorgeous LOML is taking me on a road trip from Paris to Roma for our tenth wedding anniversary in 2012... now that's something to inspire many hearts!

[Image by G!L]

[Image by Amy Biness]

[Image via Maybeitsyou]

[Image by Peace of Mind]

There now, doesn't that feel so much better? Enjoy your day!


PS - I feel a bit like self-promotional fat heads Heidi and Spencer, but if you felt the urge, you could vote for me in the Babble Top 50 over here...


This week I'm grateful for... dusk

Sometimes we are so busy focusing on what we want we forget to be grateful for what we already have. It's nice to pause to appreciate the positive and affirming things in your life, whatever they may be.

This week I'm grateful for...

1. Dusk - When life is bathed in glorious warm light, the day is settling in behind you and the evening opens ahead, full of promise.

2. Trampolines - At dusk while I enjoy a glass of wine on my verandah, our trampoline contains those happy Tsunamis effortlessly.

3. Funky necklaces - I always get compliments for the neck pieces I wear and I'm so glad they drag the attention away from the rest of me!

So, what's making you smile today? Grab my I'm Grateful For... button from my sidebar if you like, add your Grateful post below and please add a link back to me in your post. Then pop over to visit other bloggers who are spreading a little sunshine. No hurry - we're all about laaaaazy Saturdays. Link is open all week. Happy day to you!

PS - For extra weekend fun, I always play Weekend Rewind with my sister Life in a Pink Fibro. Join me!

[Image from weegeebored]


Dealing with Difficult People #1: Newborns

Excuse me while I detour from my usual Friday post - I am starting to agree with Maxi- Taxi: "learning stuff is boring". (He will go far.)

I'm not the most tactful person in the world which is less than ideal given that I work with some of the most arrogant and annoying people on earth (see "I'm not the most tactful person..."). Ergo, I've had loads of experience picking my way through social and political minefields so I thought I'd share my top tips on Dealing with Difficult People.

I'm starting with Newborns.

I've only ever worked with three of them, but I've seen quite a few in my time and let me tell you, without exception, they are all Difficult. They're selfish, cranky, demanding.... they're mean. They cry until you're blue in the face and then they zap you with one of those windy little smiles like that's supposed to make up for weeks of sleep drip torture, poo, mastitis and vomit. Worse, that windy smile works like a charm and we fall in love with them despite their general unloveliness. Like I said, Difficult.

But, here are my top five tips for managing these pesky newcomers:

1. Handle with confidence.
Do not, under any circumstances, let them know that you don't know what you're doing. They can smell fear and they will vomit on it.  A very tight wrap administered brusquely will help immensely until you've genuinely got a handle on things. Watch your midwife to get an idea of what brusque looks like. Watch her also for tips on how to handle the newborn - watching Rugby Union can also help here.

2.  Don't play with them, they don't like it.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that newborns are capable of doing anything more exhausting than eating. Every minute you spend dangling a toy in front of their face and gooing and gagaohlalaing is ten extra minutes they will spend screaming in their cot because they are so over stimulated. I learned this the hard way with Maxi-Taxi.

For the first eight weeks, cuddle them on waking, cuddle them before you put them to bed (preferably skin on skin), but if they're not actually eating (preferably skin on skin), ensure they are lying in their cot or pram ready for sleep. Playing comes later (and never, ever ends).

3. You're a family now and forevermore
Batten down the hatches and for now just fold yourself into a little family package. Some visitors are lovely and easy and leave the home in a more relaxed state than they found it it. Most are not like that. You have more important things to do than serve drinks and tidy the house for guests. Like sleep.

It's also about keeping the overstimulation down to a manageable size. Faces are MAJOR work when you're freshly minted. Know that the more people your baby sees and is held by, the crazier he will be. Guests go home, you get left with the crank all by your lonesome.

4. Newborns cry, that's what they do.
Newborns are all different, but they have two things in common. They're all mysteriously adorable and they all cry. Maxi-Taxi was an overstimulated mess. He cried every night from 6pm until 9pm, non stop. All we could do was hold him and cry right along with him. Cappers was an angel who rarely cried but when she did it she would set car alarms off in the street. The embarrassment of her screeching when we were out in public had to be experienced to be believed. The Badoo just grizzled permanently from sun down until sun up. Grumpy was her middle name and while she rarely cried, she rarely smiled either.

Your newborn will cry too and that's okay. It's up to you whether you pick them up every time they cry. Just know that they can cry in the bed just as easily as in your arms. And they'll be crying in their bed for a lot, lot longer if they get used to crying in your arms...

5. Remember, you're a newborn too.
Be gentle and kind to both your baby and yourself. You're a newborn mum and you deserve to give yourself the same loving care that you are giving your baby. Sometimes that means co-sleeping when you didn't plan to co-sleep. It means giving a bottle when you wanted to breastfeed exclusively. It means calling your neighbour and asking them to come right over to mind Cranky Pants so you can run away.

Treat yourself as you'd like your baby to treat you. With love, with kindness, with compassion, with sleep.

And remember, above all else: This, too, shall pass.

How were your newborn days? What are your best tips to share?


PS - Come flog with me come flog come flog away... 


[Image by Suse Bauer of one of her many amazing Revoluzzza monster softies!]


That every kid in the class thing

Maxi Taxi came home from school the other day munching on a gingerbread man and holding a crumpled card in his hand. "Merry Christmas, Max. Love Elliot".

Oh no, I thought. They're doing that 'every kid in the class' thing. I dreaded that thing. Now here it is and it's only Kindergarten.

Elliot's mum has twins Maxi's age and an older boy. She's managed to do the every-kid-in-the-class Christmas thing with three classes to cater for. Three.

Of course, always one to rise to a challenge, I dug out some old seed packets, a heart hole punch and a weird little banner punch that I bought long ago and never remembered why. Last year's batch of received Chrissy cards were duly punched through to make some snazzy decorations. Then I borrowed Paola Zakimi's little birdie gift tags which were a freebie from the awesome magazine Gifted. I had already used her image to make my Christmas cards (all sixty seven of them posted in the red box at the end of our street today... phew!).  I popped a whizz fizz into each seed packet, punched a few holes, strung on the gift tag and viola! I know I'm supposed to painstakingly cut out each swing tag but, you know, these kids are six years old. Surely, the details are less important when you're six? Surely!

I read Life in a Pink Fibro's Chrissy card post last week and it went nuts. What is it about the giving and receiving of Christmas cards that sends us into a frenzy? 

* I vow that next year I am going to learn my way around a camera!!


The language barrier

Warning: explicit language used throughout which may offend some viewers... 
Which is kinda my point...

I swear like a truckie. I won't touch the 'c-word' with gloves on and my gutter language is more of a sprinkle than a flood in my every day chatter, but I have been known to come out with statements like 'For fuck's sake, it's all just mutha fucking fucked'* during a work meeting.

You wouldn't know this about me because I don't like to swear when I'm writing. I struggle to even write 'oh my god' or 'dear lord' in case someone finds it offensive, even though I use those two expressions pretty much daily. Of course this makes me question my lacksidaisical approach to swearing in the first place, but one thing I know for certain:

It just seems to mean more when it's written down.

Take that Cee Loo Green song. You have the 'Forget You' version and then you have the 'Fuck You' version and frankly I prefer the former. Is it really necessary to have the latter? I don't think saying 'fuck' rather than 'forget' adds a single thing to the song.

I'm kind of with the censors on that one.

I get that it's 'just a word'. But I just think that whether we're dribbling f-bombs in everyday conversation or not, we really don't need to have it gilded forevermore in written expression. I think swearing is best left for chit chat (and I totally understand why some people would like it erased even there). It's just not as effective (or, on occasion, as funny) in writing. Surely when we're writing we have more time to craft a heartfelt statement that doesn't require offensive language? Surely?

Where do you stand on blue language? Does it bother you in its written form more than when it's uttered?

* Just so you know, it is actually physically paining me to write the word fuck, but I'm not hypocritical enough to say 'f-word' or 'fark' during this post as I usually might in a post... 

[Image by Gloria Rivera]


The Over-Styled Life

I was happy when Bubby Makes Three gave me the opportunity to let it all hang out. As much as I adore the aesthetics of life, I've got a bit of an issue with the Over-Styled Life. I previously mentioned Fleur Wood's book and how much it made me cringe. Even though I couldn't get into the over-done images and seemingly forced bubbliness of the whole thing, at least it was authentically Fleur Wood. I think she's really, genuinely like that.

Although sometimes I'm rather too preoccupied with the way life looks for comfort, I'm not really in danger of leading an OLS any time soon. It's the kind of life where at a party the host worries more that everything looks perfect than the happiness of the people attending. It's perpetuating the myth that women leap out of bed fully airbrushed into homes that look like a magazine spread. A world where only a $495 rubbish bin from Top 3 by Design will save our homes from becoming land fill. It's eating Donna Hay food rather than just looking at it. It's shopping at boutique grocery stores and paying $36 for a slice of cheese without batting a Bimatoprost coated eyelash.

It's sands and taupes and camels. It's definitely never beige.

It's the woman watching the people watching her children frolicking in their matching white sundresses rather than watching the children herself. Her husband smiles indulgently and wonders if she's put on a bit.

It's over-bright smiles and self-conscious fussing. It's forced whimsy and copy-cat cutesy. It's like we stopped looking at Pretty in mags and decided that we wanted that stylist-created, airbrushed life for ourselves. Without the stylist or the airbrushing.

It's all so samey same same and it's infiltrating more and more sectors of my life and it's driving me a bit bonkers!  Fortunately, I am far too frizzy, beigey and generally lazy to really fall victim to the OSL phenomenon. But, I know it... oh, yes, we've met and I didn't instantly turn my back like I should have...

Are you a victim of the OSL? Can you maintain the pace?

[Image by Peter Guthrie]


♥ Loving Christmas spirit

The tree is up and sparkling. The front door is festooned with a new wreath. The Eiffel tower is glowing with fairy lights... it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

I made the wreath in about 10 minutes for about $10 yesterday. A half-price plain wreath from our friends at Lincraft, a bunch of ribbons cut up and tied on each branch. A little birdy ornament from Morgan and Finch strung up in the middle. Easy peasy and I just love it.

I add something Christmassy each year. My favourite is my fat garland-toting boy angel with his nose permanently toffed. He just seems to be saying "meh, this Christmas gig, I can take it or leave it".

See, the Eiffel tower really is strung up with fairy lights!

Are you ready? Have you done your shopping? Can you feel December sliding away like a sled on snow?


Playing along with Lou today too...


This week I'm grateful for... stationery

I mentioned yesterday that I'm not organising any Christmas parties this year, but in actual fact I have two non-Christmas parties on the go as I write. The Kinder 2010 Twilight BBQ - a bit of a 'farewell to Kindergarten' to be held after school at a cool park on 10 December. And the Kinder 2011 Welcome Lunch, where we welcome the new Kindy parents to our school next year. I just happen to be both a Kinder 2010 mum AAAAND a Kinder 2011 mum... so I was a natural fit for running the show (apparently). I'll keep you posted on both these gigs and in the meantime...

This week I'm grateful for...

1. Stationery - it allows me to think things through, put them in order, make lists, wrap gifts, compartmentalise stuff and weirdly feel happy just looking at it. I can't help myself, I love the stuff.

2. Savignon Blanc - and her sweet sister Chardonnay. Sometimes that Friday night glass of wine is all you've got going for you all week.

3. Muffins - so easy to make... so easy to eat.

So, what's making you smile today? Grab my Grateful button from my sidebar if you like (see, over there to the right), add your Grateful post below and add a link back to me in your post. Then pop over to visit other bloggers who are spreading a little sunshine. No hurry - we're all about laaaaazy Saturdays. Link is open all week. Happy day to you!

[Image from Little Jane Street]


Things I learned this week including that 'vinyl' is back

It's December. I've been dreading mad December for ages and yet here it is, quiet as a lamb. Organised, social, calm little December. How did that happen?

Well, I'm not hosting any Christmas parties this year. I'm just showing up to a few with a cake under my arm and a wine under my belt. Festivities are infinitely easier to just show up to rather than to host.

I've learned a few other gems this week...

1. Vinyl tablecloths have come a long way since the seventies, baby. I'm loving the fact that 2.5 metres of fabric from Me Too Please, with a splice of rik rak sewn around the bottom  has resulted in wipe-clean, chic heaven. Perfect for both messy Tsunamis and messy mums and dads after a couple of wines at the BBQ. While I was there, I also grabbed a few 1/4 metres of various oilclothes to make some matching bunting to increase my Summer delicioiusness. The bag in the picture above could also serve as inspiration for the more gifted sewers amongst us...

2. Tea Tree Oil took the itch straight out of my1000 mosquito bites. I love you Tea Tree Oil!

3. Jasper Jones is easily the best book I've read all year.

4. We can never know why things are the way they are... unless we ask. My 'dud post' turned out to be a technology glitch and I felt like a total moron. But then, as Madame Marielle pointed out so beautifully "Isn't that a relief? It's like when a guy doesn't call, and it turns out he actually left his phone in a cab..."

5. Wishlist makes online 'if only' shopping really easy.

Did you learn anything new to share this week? And what's the best book you've read this year?

[Image of pretty oilcloth tote from Jane's Teawagon]


The dud post

Yesterday's post on The Badoo was, well, a bit of a dud. I'm not sure why it didn't resonate - maybe it came across as a bit boasty? Maybe people were appalled at the sight of an entire Badoo with her pants down?  Maybe potty training just ain't all that interesting?

Whatever the reason... crickets.

It got me thinking how fascinating it is that we move en masse towards some things and away from others. It's the reason why fads are created, why celebrities come and go and why last season's 'must have' item is suddenly 50c at your local Vinnies.  It's compelling that something grabs us all one minute and not the next but it's even more compelling that it seems to happen to a vast majority of us at exactly the same time.

Our society is made up of millions of unique, creative, clever and discerning people and yet... we all do much the same thing at much the same time and we like much the same thing at about the same time too. As much as I like to think of myself as an 'individual' who is defiantly 'not on trend', I've come to realise that my own pattern of likes and dislikes pretty much follows the masses... with an edge (I tell myself. I please just let me have an edge!).

Is it important to you to be 'individual' or are you happy being one of the crowd? How closely does your way of living follow what's 'on trend' (even if you don't mean it to!)?


PS - I'm doing my first ever guest postie for Belinda over at Cupcakes, Frocks and Pink... head on over to have a chat about being a grown up.
[Image by Sarah Reed]