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31.3.11

You've come a long way, Bunsen



Today is Robert Bunsen's 200th Birthday.

He is the chemist who invented the bunsen burner which lead to the invention of the Bialetti stove-top coffee maker, so as far as LOML’s concerned he is the best inventor ever.

But that’s not why I noticed his birthday.

We all have a Mean Girls story from our school days. Mine happens to be a Mean Boys story, but we all know how these things play out. Group of kids makes life a misery for single kid for reasons known and unknown to themselves only.

I guess being nicknamed Bunsen and having a large group of boys call out ‘heeeeey BUUUNNNSEEEN’ every single time you walked past them isn’t the end of the world. I’ll take that any day of the week over so much of the teenage warfare a lot of kids endure.

But still.

Ground-opening humiliation for a teenager desperately wanting to fit in, even if the boys only came up to my armpit and, like all teenage boys, had absolutely nothing to offer. On and on and on it went. I went from laughing it off with a sweep of my offensive tresses, to attempting to ignore it, to only ever walking in the centre of a gang of girls, to going miles out of my way to avoid them altogether.

The burden of the peer group.

You know, once those boys stopped being a peer group, many turned out to be very nice indeed. I was oddly the only girl invited to every single one of those boys’ 21st birthday parties. I went along to a couple. To them it was ‘hey old mate!’ and I realised that as BUUUUNNNSSEEEEEN I was always a part of their gang; their quirky little mate who took teasing on the chin. They were boys and that’s just what boys do. Shudder.

The mystery of the peer group.

That’s what Robert Bunsen means to me. Happy birthday, clever man.

Were you picked on as a child? Do you think that Bunsen was bullied? What's the line between teasing and bullying? Is there one?

[Image by giac1061]

30.3.11

And on and on and on she goes


Silence is one of the greatest arts of conversation - Cicero


Yep, still talking.


I’m a babbler, a prattler, a discloser, a jabberer. I can’t stop talking. On and on and on I go.

I must drive people nuts with my incessant chatter. What am I, five?

It occurs to me regularly that I should just STFU, but I can’t hear myself over all my talking. Sometimes I am so embarrassed that I talk even more. It’s a nervous reaction.

I just love the sound of my own voice. And I think I’m funny too. It’s a headache-inducing combination.

Blah, blah, blah, blah.

Blah.

Do you suffer from a hearing inability due to your talking ability? Do you sometimes wish you were quieter, more introverted, The Mysterious Type? Any tips on making myself shut it?

[Image via Abuzeedo]

25.3.11

This week I'm grateful for... sisters


... and little breaks.

I'm heading to Fibrotown for the weekend to visit Gran and Pops with the Tsunamis and my best friend Yes We Are Nearly There Yet in tow.

My fab sister MultipleMum at And then there were four is hosting Grateful for me today... have you met her? You'll love her!

Head on over to say hi and link up your Grateful post.

See you next week!

[Image by Metin Demiralay]

24.3.11

♥ Loving Shoes of Prey



I think we've established that I'm all about the ideas rather than the actual skills / drive to pull them off... I dream about dresses that will never be designed, businesses that will never trade and (apparently) coffee tables that don't exist (EIGHT years!).

Shoes of Prey is a mad name for a really cool concept. You draw and design the perfect shoes and they make them. Yay!

Wouldn't it be fabulous if other industries did the same? Do you know of any?

[Shoes above are not made by Shoes of Prey (unless you want them to be!) but I just love them to bits so here they are. Image via weheartit]

23.3.11

Wearing Clever Clogs #3: Cuppa + Cake


Preeeeesenting, lucky number 3 (which happens to be my fave number): Leonie from Cuppa + Cake.

Once upon a time, Leonie owned a home-based online fisherman pants shop called Raglan Guld, and started a blog to support this shop. She soon found that getting the balance right between a young family and her own business was about as impossible as we all know it to be. She closed the shop, but continued to blog – and how grateful those of us who know her are about that.

Leonie is a sewer, a knitter and a crafter and… well, I’ll let her tell it her way…


So, Leonie, with so much on the go, how do you find the time for creative pursuits?
As well as holding the invaluable portfolio of ‘Domestic Affairs’, I’m also a partner and chief bookkeeper in a brick laying business. I’m also the extra-hands on site that washes down the bricks and helps her husband load them up! Its a bugger of a job but this year with the money that we saved, it has helped us retrofit our house with skylights. I also work one day a fortnight, helping manage an old country homestead garden.

I’m super lucky when it comes to support. It’s no secret that we have a disabled son and because we live in the lucky country (Australia), we are given respite care of 4 hours a week on a Thursday night. Dave and I often use this time in the garden or the workshop.

We love tending to our veggie’s and pottering around the yard. I also have very dedicated (close by) grandparents that love to spend time with the kids. So both get a set time each week to kidnap the elfs and create their own adventures.


How did you learn to do what you do?
I’m a tinkera, thinker and trier. I learnt some basic gardening, knitting and sewing skills from Mum but for the most part I jump in totally blinded, with loads of gusto, good books and chocolate. Dave supports my creative adventures fully, laughs at my many stuff ups and says all the right things when it falls into place.


Can you recommend some sites that might have tutorials for us to learn your craft too?
I am a super slow learner, so most YouTube tutes drive me nuts because I have to pause and rewind all the time. However, I can recommend a few books that I constantly use.

Knitting Without Tears - Elizabeth Zimmermann. If only I had this woman's sense of humor my knitting would never fly across the room again!

Encyclopedia of Knitting and Crochet Stitches - Fran Westfall. If you can get your hands on this gem then GRAB IT!! I believe its out of print but invaluable for learning more complex stitches.

Sew Step by Step - Alison Smith. This book is brand new on the market and I am learning all the secrets that seamstresses know. I would recommend it to anyone.


Leonie's own work is also great for learning and inspiration...
Make the cutest wrap skirt from scraps (above) via Leonie’s easy tutorial (well, easy for some, I suppose!)

Check out her marvellous fertility goddess pin cushion (with boobs!)

And to inspire creative play in your junior burgers, you can’t beat Leonie’s take on Poppy Dolls (see pic at the beginning of this post).

Where do you do your work?
Most of my crafty work is done in my studio. I know that sound a little “swish” but I have this huge space in my house that was once a second lounge with loads of natural light and we still don’t really know what to call it!!
Because we live in the bush we also have 'the every man’s dream'.....7 SHEDS!! I know....I’m super lucky!


What drives you to make the time to keep creating?
I think it started with a yearning to make an original thing! You know the magic “thing” that no one else has. Often my creations are one offs and people ask me to make more but I have done that and I didn’t like it, so now I’m a touch greedy and just make for myself, friends and family.

I have spurts and farts when it come to creating. Some weeks you can’t get me off the machine, others I am glued to the knitting sticks and then sometimes I’ll be plonked on the couch with my head in Jane Austen… I know that didn’t come out right!

Hi.larious! I’m leaving that in!

I have never really thought of myself as a creator more as a tinker but in all honesty I think its all the same.

Creating for me is an essential part of our lives. I am often making things we need rather than want. Its cheaper and a whole lot more fun.


Can you share with us five fabulous crafty blogs?

Myrtle and Eunice
Chunky Chooky
Ric-Rac
Greedy for Colour
Foxs Lane

Where to next, Leonie?
Who knows? But I am really excited to be here, to go with the flow and to enjoy life. I think that's what blogging is about for me. Its about documenting my trials and tribulations, about telling stories, sharing knowledge and trying to improve my skills, oh...as well as having a laugh on the way.


I urge you to meet Leonie over at Cuppa + Cake. Her blog is like her country kitchen table where we’re always invited to have a yarn over some yarn… (sorry about that). Leonie is charming and oh so 'real'! For me, posts like this one are what blogging is all about. Wouldn't you agree?

22.3.11

That peace of paper


Any young couple who has been together for a long time (and, of course, any not-so-young couple who have been together for longer than a month) will find themselves asked The Question.

Are you going to get married?

In the hot seat this week was my younger friend. He has been living with his girlfriend for years and as far as I know she has had an eye on her bare ring finger for well over two years now.

Guess what, no ring.

He says that he's not sure he believes in marriage. Why does he need to get up in front of everyone and declare what he already knows and she already knows? It's just a piece of paper.

I disagree, my dear friend. It's weddings you probably don't believe in. Marriage is something else entirely.

Marriage is a promise. A promise to grow together, to nurture, to forgive. It's a promise that no matter what, no matter how pear shaped things go (literally as well as figuratively, as it turns out), no matter how needy, you will care for that person. It says, 'I will be there.'

Marriage is optimism. It flies in the face of all we know - that life is fleeting, that people change, that promises get broken all the time. It says, 'you make me believe.'

Marriage is selective. There's no-one else you're married to, just your match. I may have been with others, I may look at others, I may wonder. It says, 'but I choose you.'

Marriage is security. It makes plans that run further than we can properly imagine: holding weathered, bony hands on a somewhere-shaded verandah while white rocking chairs rock and voices creak. It cries at the thought that one day one of you will be here and the other long gone. It says, 'you are not alone, you will never be lonely, I'll hold your hand just to know that you are there.'

No, it's not just a piece of paper, my friend. It's the biggest-half piece of you.
The peace of you.
__________________________________________________

I rewound this post on 30.4.2011 at the Fibro.
[Image by Tania Lippert]

21.3.11

Nuclear Power


I had a great time meeting up with my Mum and Dad and siblings on Saturday night. Al and MultipleMum had just been to the AustBlogCon, so after a quick catch-up on who's who in the bloggy zoo, we were free to just hang out with The Rentals and my youngster brother (aka TICH). It had been years since it was just the six of us sitting around the dinner table. Just like old times, except that despite my most persuasive efforts, Mum and Dad refused to move their chairs around to the heads of the table, so it wasn't quite like the old days, but, hey, close enough.

What a privilege it was to step away from my every day responsibilities and regress, just a little. Not parent-me or wife-me or even grown-up-me. Just a sister and a daughter basking in the company that has known and loved me my whole entire life. We were silly beyond words, occasionally serious (religion! again!), always scathing of anyone who dared to hesitantly raise an opinion that differed from the gang. Ah, family.

There is something deeply comforting about my nuclear-six. My marriage is a beautiful one, my darling children aren't going anywhere, but there was a comfort-level on Saturday night that I felt cocooned by. These are my people.

They know me. They grew me.

Have you caught up with your nuclear sans new family lately? 
Do you have a good time together? What do you usually talk about?

[Image by Amanda Gilligan]

20.3.11

It’s a ratio thing


I am not a mathematically minded person by any stretch of the imagination.

That is such an understatement that I can hardly type I am laughing so hard. What I meant to say is that my whole life I have loathed Maths with the passion of a thousand burning suns… or is it 1001? I’m not certain because there is a number involved.

Once I was introduced to excel in the early nineties, this numbers business picked up considerably. Excel was The Incredible Hulk blasting straight through my titanic Maths-Block. It seems that working out how to get something else to work out Maths seemed infinitely easier than doing the Maths myself. I never looked back, to the extent that for a brief, bizarre moment in my life, I actually worked in Trade Finance in London doing Bulgarian and Nigerian oil deals. Why yes, yes I did.

I think all along I was actually a much more logical thinker than I ever gave myself credit for. You see, I’ve been a slave to ratios my whole life.

Food requires a good ratio of X to Y to taste right. If the ratio of sauce to pasta isn’t exactly right, for example, eating pleasure is considerably diminished. Ratios become critical when you’re dealing with strong flavours like onions, chilli, honey or garlic. Get the balance out of whack and the whole dish needs rescuing.

In art and design, the whole success of a work depends on ratios. The ratio of X colour to Y. Between light and shade. Negative and positive space. And on and on.

I’m rabbiting on about all of this because lately I’ve been investigating why I ever had a Maths-Block in the first place. I think it’s important for me to know because I am in danger of thoughts such as ‘Cappers is a creative person’ and ‘Maybe Maxi-Taxi will be a numbers guy?’. There’s those pesky labels again!

I think I learned at an early age that you were either a Maths person or a Creative person and I wanted to be the latter. Nowadays, I don’t think it has to be an ‘either / or’ thing (more on the ‘Golden Ratio’ in a future post). I think you can be both and I’m doing everything I can to find the parallels between the two. I think if I can find out more about that, I can help my children to learn the ‘other’ way of thinking with a lot more ease than I managed at school.

Are you a ‘Creative’ person or a ‘Maths’ person? Do you think you can be both?
Did you also struggle with a particular subject at school?

[Image via weheartit - please let me know if this image is yours so I can correctly attribute it]

18.3.11

This week I'm grateful for... the big three


If I really thought about it, my list of the things I am grateful for each week wouldn't change one bit. You would be very bored indeed. There are three major things that make up my life and not a day goes by when I don't reflect on how lucky I am to have them.

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

104. My husband - I got this part right 15 years ago and all the rest has been a joy as a result. He is my perfect match.

105. My children - They are growing me.

106. My happiness - Occasionally lost, always treasured, never taken for granted.


So, what's making you smile today? Add your I'm Grateful For post to the list below, you can add the button (code in my sidebar), if you like, and pretty-please add a link back to me in your post.  Then pop over to visit other bloggers who are spreading a little sunshine. Happy weekend to you!


Oh, and... if you haven't visited our British cousins via Michelle at Mummy From the Heart, head on over for a link up and a visit today!


________________________________________________________________










Well done! You've found the Wonder house. Leave me a comment in the comments below starting with the words 'Wonder House' - being Anonymous is fine, just make sure you leave an email where I can contact you. I'll be sending the first person to leave a comment the Wonder house for your family to enjoy and a couple of wonderful surprises just for you. 


x





[Image by Stephanie Smith]


17.3.11

There's really only one thing to say today...


If you're going, just enjoy the socks off the Aussie Bloggers Conference!

Not to suggest for a second that I am anything but optimistic, but for me, the over-riding thing was 'what if meeting my fave bloggers in person changes their blog for me?' I would be devastated beyond belief. So I didn't even think about attending, just in case. Blogs are too precious to tamper with.


Will you be there? What are you most looking forward to?
Are you not? Do you know why?

[Image via weheartit. Please let me know if it's yours so I can properly attribute it.]

16.3.11

Wearing Clever Clogs #2: Foxs Lane



Every now and then you come across a blogger who seems so genuinely wonderful that you think 'I wish X lived right next door to me'. Kate from Fox's Lane is such a blogger for me and not just because being Kate's neighbour would mean I was living next door to an organic farm in Daylesford. No, not just because of that.

Kate is a warm, loving person with a blog that's super-fun. She has three girls and a hunky Farmer Bren to call her own. She's sooooo creative and crafty that my head spins. Read a little more about her and you'll get it.

 What is your creative space all about?

My creative space documents what I am making at any given time. I get distracted easily and I feel like my creative space portrays this.

I am a crafter who likes to try a bit of everything, sometimes separately and then at other times all together at once. I knit, I crochet, I sew, I design, I draw and I print. I do not do ceramics because I cannot stand the feel of the clay on my hands and I don't patchwork but I am thinking about it.

[Kate is also an awesome photographer, as evidenced by her blogs!]



How did you learn to do what you do?
I grew up in a house full of academics so I feel like I must be mainly self taught. I believe that if you love what you do, then the learning how to do it is mostly fun.  The most exciting crafty projects for me are ones that challenge me along the way - projects that require new knowledge and skills.  I ask Mr Google or that lovely knitting helper lady on YouTube, I look up books or I just try it out and make it up as I go along.

I love learning new knitting stitches and trying to work out how to make a sewing pattern just right. I love looking at how other people make things and then figuring out the best way for me.

These days I am a bit too impatient to be taught stuff, but if it works with what I am trying to do then I'll muddle along until I get it right.


Can you recommend some sites that might have tutorials or inspiration for us to learn your favourite craft too?
I learnt to crochet from Lucy at Attic 24.
I was totally inspired to knit after seeing some of the gorgeous patterns Georgie was designing at Tikki.
And I recently made a purse from one of Nikki's fab patterns at You Sew Girl!


How does creativity fit into your everyday life?
I do not make time for creativity, creativity demands my time. I have so many more important, pressing things to do, but creativity creeps in and makes itself at home. It makes me prioritise it and makes me feed my kids rice and vegies too often for dinner.

Creativity is like an itch for me. I feel restless and irritable if I am not making something. I make wherever I am, whenever I can.

I always carry a few projects in the making for a crafty opportunity on the go, and I love that time of day when the girls are in bed and the dinner dishes are done when I can snuggle up on the couch with my Farmer Boy and knit a few rows.


Where do you do your work?
I do have a couple of desks in our office/sewing room for my sewing machines and sewing stuff but the truth is I have projects dotted all around the house. Little nests of craftiness waiting to be picked up and played with.

A cut out dress on the ironing board, a half hooked granny square near the kettle, a wrist warmer on the needles on the couch.

I cannot pack anything away because I know that something new and exciting will inspire me and the packed away project will remain unfinished forever.


What sparks your creativity the most?
My girlies, a pattern, warm air, a song, a picture, a dream, the cold, nature, an idea, a smell, love, a feeling, sunlight, happiness, time, craft supplies and vintage, floral manchester... life.


What drives you to create?
I think that's who I am. My craft defines me. I don't want to create, I have to.


I urge you to visit Kate's blog and her online shop to see what all the fuss is about. You will be so glad to get to know this spirited soul a bit more. Thanks for being part of things, Kate.

Is it just me or does Kate also spark in you an urgent desire to move to a pretty country town, grow organic vegies and make wonderful stuff?

15.3.11

Easy money



Like the cobbler's wife that has no shoes, I have no budget. My hub is a banker and a qualified financial planner, but no, we have no budget.

I've realised that aside from occasionally going a bit mad buying stuff for the house that we probably don't need, we are fairly careful with our money. I know that we buy whatever we want at the grocery store and that as a family we have never gone without (see point 'My husband is a banker' above), but still I think we are careful. We don't carry any debt (except our Obligatory Overwhelming Aussie Mortgage (OOAM)).

There are lots of little things we do without thinking that probably make the difference.

We don't drink a lot. Our 'alcohol' budget is generally minimal to non-existent during an average week.

We buy fruit and vegetables and meat fresh every other day. I know this flies in the face of the 'buy in bulk' mentality, but little and often means we always use what we purchase.

I have a bad back, but I still get my massages at the Nature Care Clinic which I discovered twenty years ago when I was a penniless student with a bad back. $38 for an hour long remedial massage. Happy with that.

In the same way, I wait for a Jump On It hair special to come up before getting my hair done. I haven't paid full price for a cut since I was ripped off by a salon who tried to charge me $200 for a haircut because it by a 'Senior Stylist' when I didn't even realise I was getting the infamous 'Senior Stylist' (and nor, it would seem, did my hair).

With the Tsunamis we have 'buying days' and 'no-buying days'. This renders pester-power a non-entity at our place. I tell them before we go that it's a no-buying day' and while there used to be whiny 'oh Mums', these days they just accept that a no-buying day is exactly that.

I've found myself having my own 'no-buying days' and try from time to time to not buy anything that's not food-related for a month or so. I generally do this if we need to get back on track and save a bit extra.

We religiously save money into a completely separate account (it's even with a separate bank). The money goes out when our pay comes in and we don't even look at it.

Yeah, well, I know these tips are pretty pathetic compared to people who are actually thrifty.  Those amazing meal-planning, hole-mending, co-opting, re-purposing geniuses. That's why I wrote this post... can you tell me what tips you have to help us all stay on track?

[Image by Elvira'sDADA]

The interview



It's kinda funny. I did my first stint in the interviewer's chair last week interviewing Natasha. And today, it's my first stint as interviewee with Simone at Honey and Fizz interviewing me! Thank you for thinking me an interesting enough subject, Simone. After the actual answers came back, I am very impressed that you still hit publish! You're a good gal, you are.

It was so much fun. I love talking about myself. As teens my dorky friends and I interviewed each other incessantly, celebrity style. What's your favourite place in the world? How often do you brush your teeth? Why do you think the world is coming to? If you could have any dress which one would you have? All the important, thought-provoking questions that meant so much to us at 16.  Now it's all about my decorating style and my fave perfume.

I guess I grew up?

Well, kinda! Check me out and you tell me!

PS - Do you 'follow' yourself? It only just occurred to me that it would be nice to see myself in my Reader from time to time. I'm my newest follower.

[Image via weheartit. I gotta stop going there. I hate not knowing the real source. To high a price for a shortcut!]

14.3.11

Super Heroes

The world has been a crazy place in 2011. Our children are noticing that something is different. They can feel the earth shifting around them and the waters tumbling in.

At bedtime I have a little ritual of the 'sleepy story' with my children. I tell them a tale about me as a young girl. I can never remember my exact age with childhood events and so I usually say "I must have been, oh, about ten". And Maxi says"You're always ten in these stories! I can't wait to be ten!"

After my sleepy-story each child goes to their own bed and I tuck them in with a 'magic sheet'. I say, Safe and warm in Cappers' bed, peaceful dreams, my sleepy head. The 'magic' bit is that the sheet keeps them safe and warm all night, even if it comes off (this part was invented because for a while there they were kicking off the sheet and I had to go through the whole ritual again).

Last night Maxi said, "Why are people being drowned in Japan?'

I said, "Sometimes bad things happen just because."

He said, "But why?"

And I said, "Well if everything was good all of the time, people wouldn't get the chance to practice their super hero skills."

"So we need some bad stuff so we can be extra strong?"

"Yes, my darling, we do."


[Image via weheartit. Please let me know if this image is yours so I can correctly attribute it.]

Edit - 21.10.11 - FOUND the image source! It's from the beautiful Tortoise and the Hare blog. Go visit!


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Shared in March.

Photobucket

What lurks beneath



Today Life in a Pink Fibro asks us whether we are an ironing-basket disciple. I am, but it’s not what you think. I am more Judas than Peter.

If I need a sherpa to get over the washing basket, then I need to be helicoptered in to deal with the ironing. It sits in a corner of my dining room, growing ever more mountainous as yet another crumpled garmet is precariously loaded on top. I shudder when I remember the day we almost lost The Badoo in a landslide.

You might visit my home and feel that it is loved and cared for. Everything seems reasonably clean and fresh and organised. You might settle in and contentedly think, “Ah, nice people live here.”

But you would be wrong. Lurking beneath the scrubbed-face home, things rank and gross in nature possess it merely. And not just bad Shakespeare references. Short-cuts, blind-eyes, lazybones – they are all here.

So, no I don’t iron. LOML does his work stuff and the Tsunami’s school uniforms. The rest is ironed by body heat.

Except for an ocassional spritz with a bit of vinegar and a half-hearted swipe with the steel-wool, I haven’t cleaned the oven since we bought it 3 years ago.

The crumbs on the floor of my car would feed the entire San Marco pigeon population for a year with leftovers. Oh, I’ve heard about that technique where you imagine that the car is just another room in the home to vacuum regularly. Yeah, I heard about that.

We have three third-drawers down.

The side of our backyard deck is our Secret Garden. It is overgrown with hydrangeas that shade a multitude of thrown toys, the old dryer lint filter which blew over the side a year ago, a dropped can of Mortein and at least 27 discarded seedling pots. I clear it out each Winter when the hydrangeas lose their leaves and guests start enquiring what our tip fees are. Then the whole cycle starts again.

That’s me. That’s us. That’s my home, my sanctuary.

Are you the same?
(Oh, tell me you’re the same, even if you’re not!)

[Image by squeakypeach4]

11.3.11

This week I'm grateful for... being grateful


Last week, quietly and without fanfare (due to it being unnoticed and for no other reason (it is me after all!)), I passed my 100th grateful thing. Over 100!

And I think that it is very fitting that number 100 was 'mundanity'.

You would think that I'd be running out of things to be happy about by now, but I've barely rippled the surface. From the trivial to important to the profound, there is magic wherever you look.

In order of appearance from oldest to newest, here are all the things I've been grateful for... so far...

1. Fairies
2. Snot-free sleeves
3. House-porn respectful posties
4. Vaseline
5. Colleagues
6. (Almost) self-explanatory school reports
7. Trumpet-blowing bike couriers
8. Spa gift vouchers
9. Bus drivers
10. The humble pea
11. Happy weather
12. Circus-going friends
13. The Badoo
14. Cappers
15. Maxi-Taxi
16. Rainshine
17. Birthdays
18. Honesty
19. Dreams
20. Slow-cookers
21. A decent vegie-peeler
22. Letters
23. Volunteers
24. Recliners
25. Verandahs
26. Green tea
27. Comments
28. Beaches
29. The great dress
30. Ben + Jerry's Phish Food
31. Thoughtfulness
32. Solitude
33. Freesias
34. Music
35. Hugs
36. Big tries
37. School
38. Italian MILs
39. Drip-irrigation
40. Schools
41.  Toothbrushes
42. My BIL
43. "Boys' Bathroom Cleaner"
44. Wharfs
45. Easy days
46. Sand
47. Hammocks
48. Mermaids
49. Lights
50. New experiences
51. Cushions
52. The kindness of strangers
53. Rest
54. Change
55. Space
56. Support
57. Birds
58. Toilets
59. Newspapers
60. Good customer service
61. Egg yolks
62. Kites
63. Mums
64. Moo Goo
65. My surprisingly adventurous job
66. LOML's job
66. Milk
67. Stationery
68. Savignon Blanc
69. Muffins
70. Dusk
71. Trampolines
72. Funky necklaces
73. Treehouses
74. Fabrics
75. Skipping
76. Holidays
77. House swaps
78. Leona Edmiston
79. Hope
80. Community
81. Love
82. That pool
83. Bloggy friends
84. Cameras
85. New friends
86. Older children
87. A cool breeze
88. Confidence
89. My children's school
90. Zooper Doopers
91. Laughter
92. Inspiring posts
93. My lunchbox
94. Thunderstorms
95. Emails
96. Forgiveness
97. Coincidences
98. Knowledge
99. Movies
100. Mundanity
101. Flowers
102. Sparkly shoes

103. And, today, I am grateful for all the wonderful bloggers who take part in our weekly Grateful fix. For me it is a very refreshing, grounding way to quietly close my week and prepare for the next. It makes me happy.

Thank you.


So, what's making you smile today? Follow me, add your I'm Grateful For post below and pretty-please add a link back to me in your post. You can also grab my I'm grateful for... button from my sidebar if you like. Then pop over to visit other bloggers who are spreading a little sunshine. Happy weekend to you!


[Image by Bea Marquez]

10.3.11

Having the time of day

Aside from that exact moment when my butt hits the bedsheets at the end of a long one, twilight is my favourite time of day. The winding down of a full day is like the soothing tick-tock of life's true rhythm.

Sometimes we head to the beach in the late afternoon, to swim in the fading daylight. The waves are calmer and everything has a pinkish-hue as if rose-coloured glasses are suddenly the norm.

We often grab a glass of wine and sit out on our front verandah, watching the day shut up shop. If we're feeling generous, the Tsunamis are allowed out to roam the front garden and the reserve, looking for insects and trouble. Watching them amble about, all scrubbed and pajaymaed, is like a balm at day's end.  And, of course, they are never better behaved or more loving then when the threat of straight-to-bed is looming.

Twilight: I love it here.

What's your favourite time of the day? Are you one of those early-birds who greets the dawn? If you are, do reveal how you manage to bound out of bed in the dark day after day because I've done that once and I've suffered from PTSD ever since...

[Image via the dreded weheartit. Note that if you are Team WTF I wouldn't recommend doing an image search for 'twilight'... 'dusk' is preferable!]

9.3.11

Wearing Clever Clogs #1: Piper and Lily


Meet Natasha. (And one of her cute little poppets, above!). Natasha runs two boutiques: Little Love: home of the small via etsy and Piper + Lily via Made It. As well as being talented, inventive and generally just all-round lovely, as our maiden wearer of the Clogs she's clearly a very brave person indeed.

I'd like to say that Natasha and I sat down over a lavish meal at North Bondi Italian (like all the interviewers seem to do), but we didn't. Nope, it was a lot more like heeellllloo Gmail.



So, like, hi... and, um, what do you, like, do? (Bear with me, my never-before-seen-the-light-of-day interview technique clearly needs some polishing!!)
I'm a Mum, Wife, tiny business owner, blogger, lover of handmade, vintage & photography. My business, Piper+Lily, is where I get to run my sewing machine into the ground making vintage inspired children's clothing & accessories made from eclectic fabrics ensuring that there's no matchy-matchy stuff in the collection! little love : home of the small is my new venture selling hand picked vintage pieces for kids. I love taking way too many photos, sewing from scratch and repurposing what we've got lying around or what we've picked up from the op shop. One day I hope to have time to learn how to screen print, quilt, crochet & knit properly! 


Reversible Cotton Baby Slippers (I would like some in 'Extra Enormous' please, Natasha!)

What sparks your creativity the most?

I have no idea! Probably my girls - I like to make them cute things and see how excited they get when I make them something.


How did you learn to do what you do?
I think that I learnt to sew by osmosis.! My Mum has been sewing for all of my life. Being the youngest in my family by 13 years I spent a lot of time hanging out with my Mum while she was sewing my dancing costumes so I kind of just picked up how to do it while I was most likely annoying the crap out of her!


How on earth do you make the time?
I would LOVE to say that I have fantastic time management skills and I am super organised but the truth is I suck at these two things! Between working 3 nights a week, ferrying the girls to kinder & their activities, general mothering & wifely duties(trust me, not those kind of duties!) and running two tiny businesses something has to suffer and it's usually the housework!


Where do you do your sewing?
I work out of my study/sewing room which unfortunately has no doors to hide away the chaos!


Here comes the tough one: what drives you to create?
Some internal craziness that won't just let me relax and do nothing! While I can easily avoid boring things like cooking and cleaning, if I'm not making something I can be a bit like a kid with ants in their pants!


Can you recommend some sites that might have tutorials for us to learn your craft too?
Made is quite good, it has a heap of tutorials. The Burda Style website is quite good as well and Grosgrain have a heap of tutorials and a sew-a-long called A Frock by Friday where you can follow along, sewing a bit each day and hopefully have an outfit made by the end of the week. A great one to get you going.


Thank you for sharing, Natasha. Before we go, can you share your Top 5 crafting sites with us - we do love a new blog!
Craft:
elsie marley
Crafterhours
The Crafty Crow (great for kids crafts)
Homemade by Jill

 
That's it for my first Clever Clogs! Be sure to visit Natasha at her blog - I particularly love her Piper's 4th Birthday Party post and her thoughts on choice in breastfeeding.

And, pretty please with vodka on top, let me know if you like the Wearing Clever Clogs idea. Works for you? Bores you to tears? Okay but things could be better? Let me know what you think!


8.3.11

The cleaning fairy: part 2


So, I'm the fairy.

I realised this because LOML has been making our dinner every night for the past four weeks. He cooks lavish low-fat meals that are special every single night. He plans the meals, buys the groceries and puts the whole thing together without fanfare or complaint.

Now, prior to this he had cooked me dinner approximately two times* and both times the meal featured prawns. Prawns are pretty much the one thing I won't eat (yick) so the fact that he produced a prawn dish two times reveals just how long it was between meals. Long enough to forget, that's how long.

I tell you this because it has recently occurred to me that prior to the big diet change, his hidden culinary talents (and it turns out there is lots of talent there) were never called upon. He didn't cook simply because I always did.

In the same way, he knows how to clean, but doesn't do it because I always do it. He does do the dishes, the laundry and the ironing (oh yes!), but the rest is left for the cleaning fairy. It's a truth universally acknowledged that a woman will always clean first and clean well. After that, there's nothing to clean.

He is probably more than capable of organising the kids' parties, buying the presents, arranging the playdates and packing the school bags as well. But I wouldn't really know because I've never asked him to step in and do those things. It seems I'd rather just whinge occasionally about the burden of domestic thought and get on with it myself.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, we always make our choices.

Every Thursday we go to my parents-in-law for dinner. They make us a beautiful Italian meal and we chat and laugh about the kids and have a lovely time. Then we leave.

Back in the day I used to make an attempt to clear the table and do the dishes, but my MIL always brushed me away: "I'll do that". I remember feeling terribly guilty when she first did this years ago, I was happy to help and confused as to why she didn't want me. Time passed and my offers of help became more and more half-hearted. These days I don't even bother to get out of my chair.

She'll do that.

You see?

* Note that the 'Meals LOML Has Cooked' tally does not include bacon and eggs, omelettes or baked beans on toast.

[Image by Vivienne Love]

7.3.11

The cleaning fairy: part 1


Like all women, I often go to bed at night and dream that a fairy will come into my home and clean. The washing folded, the showers scrubbed, the biohazard in the oven magically poofed away. The 1031 crumbs all swept away and the 1032 bits and pieces of paper, gone, all gone. She loves it, she lives to clean, she can't do enough for me.

But all this time, I've been waiting in vain. She's not coming and do you know why?


She knows she's not needed. 

Because while I was busy dreaming her up and wishing she would come, I actually turned into her.

That's right, I am the cleaning fairy.

My kids mess up their room, walk away and poof, it's gone.

My husband leaves muesli crumbs all over the kitchen counter every morning but he probably doesn't even realise it because, poof, they're gone.

The showers clean themselves. So do the toilets, floors, linen, counter-tops, skirting boards and the entire house while it's at it. Dust magically wipes itself away. Towels change themselves. Washing self-folds. The vacuum self-sucks.

And speaking of self sucking...

We did this to ourselves. We run around like little fairies catching the drips, wiping the smears and sweeping up the gritted teeth that goes with the lot of it. We bitch occasionally, throw our hands up in despair and screech "Do you think a fairy does all the cleaning around here?"

Why, yes dear woman, yes she does.

Are you a fairy? Do you just get in there and do it all? 
Do you do it because otherwise it 'wouldn't get done'?
Happy International Women's Day!

A little wish: a little follow-up



My little wish for commenting was really quite a big wish and it came true. So many blogs seem to have changed their comments to pop-up and it's just so much easier to leave a note. I notice this particularly when I'm doing the Grateful rounds. It's fab.

Many of the commenters (and Jane in particular!) mentioned that while we were at it we really ought to get rid of word verification.

So I did.

I've hardly had any spam and 99% of it has been caught by the 'Spam' box. The other 1% has been caught by my 'approval if post older than 3 days' setting. I have always had that setting because I would hate to miss a comment!

So, I highly recommend turning off the word verification and seeing how you go.

Of course, I will miss my strange moments in word verification, but I think I'll live...

[Image picked up at weheartit]

6.3.11

♥ Loving Deep Within the Armorie


The whimsical work of Stephanie Bracciano deserves a wide audience. She captures the essence of an emotion in a single moment. Her images settle within you like a poem.



I imagine Stephanie to be a deep-thinker, a wise and kind soul. Noticing the details, hearing stories that are whispered only to her. A locked box of secrets released through her art.


Whole stories of longing seem to leap out of her work, begging to be written.

What do you see in Stephanie's work?