Sunday, November 11, 2012


Do you love bright, blue sky, sunshiny days, but secretly yearn for a puddle or two to jump in?

Yearn no more - there is an answer.

Simply pull on your favourite gumboots and fill with water.

Stomp, dance, spin, jump and skedaddle away. 

 (she insists there was skedaddling involved)

Spend the rest of the day wondering why your crazy mum keeps singing "What a feeling!"

Hope your day has been wonderful too xo

Thursday, October 4, 2012

the eye of the beholder

The girl and I had a big talk the other day. Some other kids had told her that her artwork was "ugly," and she felt sad and angry.

We talked about how everyone has different opinions about art. 

I told her about artists - Monet, Van Gogh, Seurat - who were told that their art work was "not good enough" at some stage in their life. 

I told her some of the reasons why I find her art work beautiful - because I loved hearing the stories behind her work, because I love that she doesn't just make art that looks the same as everyone else's, because I can see how much she loves the process of art, trying new ideas and techniques along the way.

We talked about how it feels to be told that something you have made is ugly - and about how, while it's totally OK to dislike someone's art, it's not a good idea to tell them that.

She made this painting for me as a tribute to Georges Seurat, one of my favourite artists. Some might see a few blobby dots - I see thoughtfulness and love. It hangs proudly on our bedroom wall.

How do you handle the "beautiful / ugly" thing at your place?

Friday, September 28, 2012

an accidental hibernation

I'm not entirely sure why I took a 4 month break from blogging - but I do know that in the last few weeks I have thought about why I do blog.

I blog because sometimes writing about my thoughts helps me to think more clearly.

I blog because I like to have a record of lovely things in my life, and of things I have made (very occasionally I need to record the not so lovely things too - but I like to make my blog a mostly lovely place, even if that is a bit dishonest).

I blog because I like to be part of a kind and supportive community, and I feel so grateful for this.

I planned to get back to the blog yesterday, but instead spent a glorious, sunny day in the garden working and playing until I ached (in a good way).

I woke today, and now my heart is aching, and the sky is crying, and Melbourne (more than Melbourne) is so sad. In the midst of this, my blog seems so trivial.

My thoughts, love and sympathy go out to anyone today who is sad or grieving - for Jill, or for anyone xo

*NB: please remember to avoid any comments about the case or the accused that may compromise court proceedings, here or anywhere on social media. Thank you*

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

reverse finds revisited

Nearly two years ago, I made a deal with myself (and my blog) to find a new home for some of my things every week during Spring. I called it "reverse finds."

In doing this, I realised that, while I am by nature a hoarding type, it can feel pretty great to give things away...

I look around our cluttered place today, and know I need to get on the reverse finds bandwagon again... but I need some inspiration - so I thought I'd tell the story of something big (for me) that I gave away last year - a story that still makes me smile.

This old printer's box was one of those things that became "mine" because no-one else wanted it. I can still remember the strain of carrying it to my car with all the drawers sliding out (until I worked out I should carry it the other way around).

I remember finding a few odd tiny letter type pieces in one drawer (they are now safely stored away somewhere I can't remember...).

I remember trying and trying to come up with some way I could use the tiny compartments - but they were just too small for anything I needed to store... even too small for buttons, or a little person's stone collection...

In the absence of any "practical" use for it, I used it as a little side table.
Then, I visited a work friend at her new home, and was lucky enough to be given a tour of her husband's studio. He designs and makes beautiful stationery using a beautiful old letterpress machine - a really old, carefully restored working piece of history... and I knew where "my" little box should live.

It took a week to convince my friend that the printer's box should become a printer's box again.

The day before I gave it away, I took a mountain of photos, to help me remember all the little details I'd loved but never used.

I love that I gave this box a home for so many years, and "saved" it from being scrapped.
I love knowing that one of the marks on the top is from when I left a drink on top and fell asleep after a long solo drive from my Adelaide "home" to my Melbourne "home".

I love imagining it being used back in the 1940's and wondering what was printed - newsletters? cards?

I love love LOVE that it has a new, more fitting home...

and I love that the week after I said goodbye, I found myself able to rearrange furniture and see new possibilities for our room - that one less thing really made a difference...

Do you have any favourite stories about things you've given away?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

trying and not trying

A few days ago I made my first toy from this gorgeous book - to celebrate the birthday of a delightful, adorable one year old boy.

It took me days to choose the pattern, and hour upon hour to make... not because the pattern was hard, or the instructions hard to follow (it was in fact beautifully set out), but because of me... my worrying, my procrastinating, my trying sooo hard (I tried so hard I managed to break an embroidery needle)...

In the end, this little hippo turned out pretty well, but I see him and think of my struggle making him, wishing I'd felt joy instead.

Last night, just before bed, the curly haired girl announced that her whale Teacle was now fully grown and wanted to have a baby (!)...

I found my chance to make with more joy and less trying.

A rough pattern was made, the trackie pant and t shirt scraps box found, and by the time QandA was finished (with regular breaks from stitching to talk back to the television), a baby whale was born.

Baby whale is by no means perfect, but is absolutely gorgeous.

Teacle is a very happy mum...

I'm glad I'm a person who tries hard, and cares and worries a lot about things, but I'm glad to learn the lesson that less worrying and less trying can sometimes be a better path...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

colour in our garden

Our backyard is a tiny strip along the length of our unit, so we have a lot of fence to look at... and it's not a pretty fence. 

Lately I've been checking out paint websites, coming up with lovely colour plans (and even dreaming about covering the whole fence in blackboard paint to make giant chalk murals)... but have baulked at the cost and time involved

Yesterday, I came up with another solution... and pulled out our lovely big bottles of kids paint...

enlisted the help of an enthusiastic little artist... 

and began to paint a mural (inspired by "Isabella's Garden" - a beautiful book).

The little artist developed a wonderfully effective technique for making the "worms" and insect tracks - scraping off paint with a paddlepop (ice lolly) stick. 


It was the sort of project that makes you lose track of time... and I have no idea how much time we spent... but it was worth every minute.

We even managed to get out the chalk...

Inspired by all this colour (and by a post we'd seen that morning), we embarked on another crafty garden project...

making our own mini garden gnomes (somewhat more rustic than the original).

I hope your weekend has been full of colour and happiness too!

Sunday, April 22, 2012


When our curly haired girl was just three years old, she made up a song: 

"When I get bigger I could fix the world" 

(it was an easy song to remember as these were the only words, repeated three or four times, until her big finale, riffing on her final "w-o-o-o-r-l-d").

Nearly two years later, I still think about this song with immense pride and love, but also some sorrow and guilt - how and why should a three year old know that the world is in need of fixing? 

Most days, the love and pride wins out  - together with a reminder that I could do more right now to make things a little better before she gets "big".

Yesterday we hung out in the garden, and decided to try making a big soil and mustard seed stencil for fun (and it was fun!).

Today we found out it was Earth day, thanks to the wonderful Lola Nova, so a big soil love heart seems like the perfect thing to pop on this quiet little blog for a while.

Happy Earth day!

Monday, April 2, 2012


... for Annie x

Visit Anna's post here to find out more and join in (and don't forget to check in with Horsey and Eustace for some extra inspiration and encouragement...)

Friday, March 16, 2012

our little patch of green

Finally, we got some fake grass for our tiny concrete backyard. It's just 2m by 3m (the grass, that is).

It feels much bigger - suddenly we have a place for picnics, for lying down and watching the clouds, for hula hooping and skipping, for backyard yoga (kind-of) and for who knows what else (Melbourne weather permitting).

Even though I will continue to dream of a bigger space and real grass, this little change has been a wonderful one for us.

We've been growing more green this year too (though at times we've been better at feeding the caterpillars than ourselves!), and loving the little side salads and pesto dinners that we've been able to source from our own backyard.

Finally a little bit of blue - because I just realised it's St Pat's day tomorrow and feel a bit silly doing a green post, and because it is the curly haired girl's favourite colour (and I'm so proud she has not given in to the "real girls don't like blue" messages she has been bombarded with lately).

 Happy weekend to you xo

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

celebrating the leap

I don't really think of myself as a "leap-er" - I'm more of a "look before you leap-er" (who sometimes spends so long looking that the time for leaping is long-gone...).

Lately, though, as leap-day approaches, I've been thinking about what leaping means to me - trying something new, stretching to or even beyond perceived limits, being brave, and also having fun (I especially remember leaping all over the lounge dancing to 80's music with my sisters  - in the 80's!).

I've been thinking about people I know and respect and love who've been making their own leaps in their own way - many wonderful blog friends included.

And I'm thinking I will try to be a bit more of a "leap-er" too.

Happy Leap-day's eve! xo

Friday, February 24, 2012

muppet inspired puppet storage

This is one of my favourite makes, which may seem funny, as it doesn't look like much: an opped frame,  some cardboard, paint and paddle pop sticks... (oh, and some papier mache clay made from toilet paper, which you fortunately can't see...)

but it holds all our finger puppets (well, there's one space free, and I know at least one or two are missing - where are you, Mr Pigeon? - so almost all might be more accurate!), and it makes me think of the Muppets song every time I see it (which is not surprising given my design was ripped off from inspired by the Muppet Theatre) and I had so much fun designing (and redesigning) it, and making it, and filling it up with puppets...

(and just because I couldn't resist an animation...)

how do you make gifs

How do you make gifs

Sunday, February 19, 2012

good things

I'm just taking a moment to enjoy some of the good things in our life right now...

Celebrating with the gorgeous Jess and her lovely family and friends at the opening of her (and Martin's) exhibition.

Making yummy carrot-banana-sultana cupcakes, with a recipe I first made in my teens (I think).

Styling advice - "pansy cupcakes would be nice" - courtesy of a certain curly haired girl.

Celebrating 156 months since our first date (we went here, saw this and froze on a cold Melbourne night...) with fancy pancakes (thanks to Cath for the link).

 and having fun with some "secret pancake messages"...

Hoping your day is full of good things... x

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rorschach cat

What do you see?

Oh, and her name is Lena Germfur Inkblot Cat (yes, I know, perfect!)...

Hope you're having a good week x