Sunday, May 29, 2011


I have had a week of the sicks.

Everyone came down with something of some sort at some time or another. I am currently sitting up in bed after a week of having to get on with it, by afternoon on most days my eyes and nose had a mind of their own,of course just in time for the school pick up. My husband tonight ordered me to bed with honey and lemon tea and a water bottle to snuggle, he cooked and cleaned whilst I have blogged.

I had tried earlier to rest but my two littlest babes just wanted to cuddle me and each other in my bed, awwww the cuteness factor was off the charts. But all is quiet now and I needed some moments to touch base and show you some of what I have been up to,

I wish you could have tasted that soup. Great for those times when you're ill but still have an appetite. You'll have to See Jamie Oliver's Dinners book for the recipe. Or if you beg enough I'll blog my version when I feel better.
Spicy pumpkin laksa soup with rice.
I tweaked it a little to suit me, I like the rice in a chunk not cooked into it. This warms the tummy, soothes the soul, and kicks that head colds butt if you add the chilli. We all had seconds.

I thought you might like to see some more drawings. I am trying to find a theme or a thread, I am feeling a little all-up-and-over the place. The vintage finds drawings are something I am liking doing, I think I'll keep those up. I'd love some ideas for a direction!
tea towel findfloralnine five two oneblue teapot
The two fashion ensembles I saw this week clothing-and-style-wise were just too much to take in. My head-cold head was in overload. I couldn't visually store the salmon bicycle red lipsticked taupe and salmon vintage sunglass-ed girl in my head. I must carry a camera for such occasions.

I am keen to sew again,I have a stash of fabrics awaiting my return. They warm my sideboard at the moment looking comfortably neutral, rustic, and floral. I am thinking cushions with some of these, my veranda needs some colour.

And finally: My daughter Beatrix's drawings. They are an inspiration to me, and the small images here don't do them justice, click though to Flickr on the coffee cup. Her precision and eye are to be commended, she is ten for goodness snakes! She is going to be restoring the Sistine chapel when she is my age.
Beatrix drawsChandelier by BeaMum's coffee

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hard rubbish

lacesagain, laces

This Monday morning bright and early I saw my child Beatrix off to school camp, without looking in her bag, trusting that she'd packed well herself.

I made her shoe laces Sunday night while she slept. Seeing her appreciative smile and receiving her warm hug was the best reward, but Facebooking these laces and receiving a whole heap of comments on them was fun too. I'll be whipping up more of those.

It's also been hard rubbish this week. I found a great-but-huge chair on the side of the road. Cramming it into the car with the children while my three year old is not entirely getting in on the spirit, not so much fun.

In fact she is telling me she hates the chair, hates me, hates her dad. And all of her siblings, apparently, all this over a chair. This is not her normal self, she is sweet, loving and incredibly fun to be with. I know now that she was beginning to feel unwell, but at the time I was just amazed.

Well I wasn't going to have her dampen my spirits. After I got home and piled everyone out of the car I called my husband to share my glee. And our daughter's hate, he'd want to hear about that too. He just laughs, I bet, and thinks he's lucky to be at work. I thought he'd care about the chair, and I was right.(he likes to send me on a wild goose chase)

He went on tell me where he'd seen an "amazing 50's chair" the night before. Well seeing as he was in on the thrill and excitement I had no hesitation before piling the children back in the car to drive five blocks to get that chair for him. I quickly made some peanut butter sandwiches and some cut up apple, we always have these in the car.

A little food will buy you time when it comes to children. Bribery, threats and intimidation, those are the keys to successful parenting.

Eliza my three year old was by now over the initial adversity to this picking through other people's hard rubbish. She even proclaimed to like this particular chair that was still exactly where he said it would be, unbelievably, and looked even better than I'd imagined. I called to tell him it was his, it felt good.

green chairstreet find

Latter that day I reorganized my veranda to make it cozy and nice,that was fun, sitting out there with a cupcake and tea with a much perkier and happier Eliza, now that was more like it. I'd sat there for quite a while before I realised that Aaron had totally trimmed the trees and bushes while I wasn't looking, and that's why it was so nice. Go him!

Although we may not be out there as much in the winter I have enjoyed the space this week and like coming home to a neater veranda. Alison over at The Idea of Home has made me all alert this week for a skinny old bench to put alongside the front door to pop my bags down on whilst I fumble for keys. I have been driving slowly weaving the streets looking for it It's out there. I can feel it.

Ohhh I love hard rubbish time.

In my part of the world we are coming to the end of Autumn, we had had a rather cold week and then a lovelier dry all that washing kinda week this one past.

In our house the nightly routine now involves a lengthy process of water bottle making. Three of the children and one for us adults to share. We line them up, we dole out the water, secure the tops, and hand them to eagerly awaiting babes, it's a production line.

They snuggle that rubber bag in it's tatty old cover and hop straight into bed with less fuss and more calmness the yawns usually follow and then the snores. One likes the bag on her tummy, the other two on their feet. Personally I lay mine into bed before I get in, then when I am ready I slide in between warm sheets. I hold it to my cold hands and then I like it on my feet, too.

Those tatty old covers, I should say, barring one: a custom-made green monster, one my husband made for our boy out of an old jumper is staying just as it is.

Mine however needed a new cover. One of my favorite books, linen wool cotton, has a great water bottle cover.

So I made it.
tucked inrickrack
I had all my fabric chosen: some nice wool, some flannel and some rick rack. "What is rick rack," I think I hear. Yes, I too had to goggle "what is rick rack." Well now I know.

It is "a decorative zig-zagged trim," one which I might add isn't easy to sandwich-and-sew. It is small and you need to be precise well... So one side worked out the other not so well. I do think however that all in all my cover turned out well.

I am now warm and a little more stylish in my bed at night. Now I have orders from my eldest to please make one for her! how can I not when she is so appreciative of all my handiwork.

I hope you are feeling warm and cosy or cool and relaxed wherever you are in this here world.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

drawing my thrifted finds

These are my weekend finds, I only popped into two thrift stores, goodness me but I couldn't resist. The wardrobe is my favorite, but alas I have built-in-robes. How often does someone wish they didn't have those? It's living in the sun-room, perhaps my sewing things will find a home instead of spilling all over the kitchen.
wardrobe find

And oh look at those red shoes, too sweet.
red shoes

I was one happy girl, and I thought it couldn't end there... so I drew them all.
one days finds
See I have been keeping my promise and I have been drawing away a little obsessively I might add. I have a few things going simultaneously some drawing projects, some sewing and some ideas brewing. It's nice.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

tinfoil hearts on the kitchen floor

After making promises I realized I had not kept up my own regular postings. Oops!

I started this week with a big project last Saturday night. Six cushions in one night for my sisters' birthdays. I had a lot of silks and linens which were perfect for them, thanks as always to my seamstress neighbor's cast-offs. I called in my other neighbor, funkbunny, for some company and help. We are birds-of-a-feather and sewing together just works for us. We took only 3 1/2 hours, it was great.

I was a little sorry these had to be split; they looked great as a whole.

The next morning was Mother's day, it was lovely, three breakfasts in bed and lots of cuddles and a sleep in. Which was much appreciated after the late-night sewing!
Mothers DayMorning 1retro
My highlight was Beatrix's first attempt at mushrooms on toast, these were amazingly good. My little heart skips a beat now when she says "Mum I am ready to cook more." That's my girl, she was along time coming in the culinary area, but here she is, Yeahhh.

I couldn't ask for more.

Later that day I had eight children on my kitchen floor picnicking with some deliciously good (if slightly ragged) three-colour marble cake.
marble cake
I was content. Feeding cake to this herd of small children, I felt eight little memories being made right there.
eight is enough
Later that day I went to a family gathering for Mother's day, pillows to give and food to share, children bundled into car we set off.

My plan had been that the sister would get two pillows each. My sisters decided instead to split them between two, and I offered to make another three more for the one who went home empty handed. It was easy to agree as two liked the same ones, besides three together looked better than two together and I was feeling a little generous seeing as it was Mother's Day.

It could not have made me happier. I was having a pass-the-love-on kind of day, and just like they say it came back to me...

I'd left a little earlier than my husband on Friday morning. We bundled the kids into the car, he waved goodbye (looking very cute in his shirt and tie, may I add). When I returned later that day my husband surprised me with tinfoil hearts on my kitchen floor.

I could see them when I opened the door sparkling and glistening in the rainy mornings filtered light. My first thought was that he'd eaten an Easter egg and left the wrappings all over the floor! As I drew a little closer, I noticed they were cut out tiny hearts, about fifty. My heart went all gooey. And then I thought how silly of me to think such a thing of him, I felt a little bad.

Friday, May 6, 2011

promises, promises

Good studio practice was something I never had.

At uni, at home when I had no children and even now when I have four, I still struggle to keep up the practice. I wish I were more disciplined I imagine I'd be somewhere by now. I know I am somewhere,It's just all those years back I imagined that I'd be in a studio, in with the galleries, having shows, blah-blahing about my work.

But I hated all that blah blah, It's not me.

I thought I'd blog out some goals, my husband always says when you write it down it makes it more real, well if I tell the world then surely I have to meet my goals right?

I want to draw every night, even just a thumbnail sketch.

I want to follow a theme and exhaust all it's possibilities.

I want to gather up research material

I will photograph daily

I am going to print, that's right print my photos so I can have tangible material.

I am going to find some exhibitions I want to see and actually go along.

I want to get out there.

Here are some snippets of how I am going, It's easier to share your sewing and cooking stuff I find it harder to share my drawings. But hey that will help me get out there.
chairmy feeti love my bogvarious small and round

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

milking apron

With this ye olde talk going on in my house (and in the last post!) I just had to get out my sewing machine.

I'd gotten enough inspiration to take my "Carefree Clothes for Girls" book down and try my hand at some of the gorgeous patterns in it. It is classically styled clothing: dresses, aprons and all manner of beautiful french provincial looking things. I think that this book is a must-have if your house has girls from three to seven.

In my case I have three girls, but one is ten so I needed to up-size the pattern. Oh, and adapt it to look 1850's-like, for the school's 125th anniversary

I don't really know how to do this. Lucky I waited until the night before the morning of the event to get started.

But when I see the frayed edges and unsewn hems in this book I kinda think, hey you can bend the rules here and all will be fine. It looks good in the book, it will be fine. Right?

Looking at the pictures, and before I opened the pattern envelope, I thought I would take the an apron and a dress and mish-mashed the two. They were all printed on the same page anyway, it turned out, the various pattern pieces parts, in different colours and overlapping. I stood and looked at this for a long time. Aaron was no help. I can never tell if that means he can't figure it out or just doesn't want to.

End the end I just threw my hands up and tried for "pretty close." I used the apron design, adding the sleeves and a thrift-shop doilie from the dress pattern, as well as adding a tie up for the back. I used linen which I think gives this apron/top a french feel. Milk and smelly cheese, green grass.
I'd shown Beatrix the apron before I started mish-mashing, and the next morning when she saw the finished product she said just the right things. "I love the sleeves, mum. Nice touch." Better than fine, you betcha.

She now plans to wear this "anytime." I am so glad. I also made a babushka scarf just to tie in the whole 1880's thing. My son's outfit was mostly thrifted, I love his cap he so looked the part.

close enough

When we go to the school (on time!) it was amazing to see. Almost two hundred children dressed in 1880's attire, the teachers as well. After the (pleasantly short) speeches, there were activities: ink writing with quills, paper doll making, hopscotch, and the lunches were all wrapped in paper, or cloth, glass for other stuff, it was great.

There were also displays from the school's whole history, too. Some were really interesting, like the really old letter asking for the hole in the girl's fence to be fixed along with the bill for fixing it, four pounds eighty. Also some more modern stuff, including some readers I think I remember having!

john and bettyholidays

It's been nice, all this thinking about the past. Those 1850's people, they were living in exciting times, and while it sounds a bit strange to say it, to them it was "now." We're part of someone's past right now. Right?

Monday, May 2, 2011

anachronism (2 of 2)

After the last post on my visit to Sovereign Hill, I still wanted to show you more!

The Drapery store I am sure I hadn't taken a good look in there my last visit, well before I was all into sewing and all. The quilts, the the bundles of fabric probably all shipped from London and America, the baskets of thread and the amazing gowns, purses, shawls and masks.
drapery department
Then there was the gentleman's section, top hats, waist coats, my husband nearly purchasing a real top hat but settling for an imitation, still wearing it round the place and almost wearing it out to see Michelle Shocked the other night. Now he's put a long, colorful band on it and is wearing it everywhere.

Our other favorite place on the day was the tiny school building, we sat in this classroom and saw what school was like back then. This was a fantastic experience, we all learned so much, without really noticing it. There were pens and pots of ink at all the little desks, and the kids got to practice writing with a quill pen.

The teacher was in part even when she spoke to the children as they presented their work to be marked. She's chat to them about what they wanted to do or be, and then tell them something about how it was there at that time. One boy said he wanted to be a doctor, and she told him how in "her time" they thought smells caused diseases, and that people would drink from the river that had rotting carcasses in it but would just hold their nose!
Gg Vv Bea

Bea was asked how old she was, whether she could sew, knit,cook and look after a baby, because at her age she'd have been doing all those things. She nodded and walked away pretty quiet, I hope thinking I'd better stay in school considering back then a husband was being found and a baby would be on the way by age fourteen.
"Could you look after a baby?"  ahhh yeh
Eliza waited so patiently with her little square of paper and her letters, I thought she was too cute. When she came away she told us how she would have looked after chickens, and how she would have collected their eggs, and how she'd lock them away at night so the foxes wouldn't get them. I love asking her again and again what her little three year old self would have done in the 1850's, I just want to hear it over and over.

I also was taken by the letters and the alphabet cards hanging from string, funny this could be in a magazine today, how stylishly simple. I am going to take this idea and make some for home I loved it so much.
one to tenGg to Zz
The signs that hung about the place were absolute gold, like the ones I photographed of No school today, my kids thought that was awesome.
No school today

Then there was the simple, soft rounded look to the benches, stools and tables, even the little chalk boards were lovely. I could only think of the philosophy of Steiner, the Shakers and their furniture and the modern local furniture designer Mark Tuckey and of how timeless and beautiful and how thankfully we look to the past for inspiration.


I came away from Sovereign Hill inspired to make my children's outfits for the schools 125th anniversary, and took so much away from our visit there. We have talked all week about life back in the day, that was worth the hefty price of admission. It's really brought us together as a family all through the week. Even if just by seeing Aaron raking leaves in his top hat.

I am a little excited about showing you some pictures of my children and what I came up with for tomorrow!