Sunday, November 24, 2013

On Motherhood ....


when they hand you your child...
(unless you were blessed enough to pull life out yourself)

they do not have any advice that suits
because they are not us and we are not them...

and this is not theirs ... and nor is it ours

National Geographic

what did Gibran say?

... something about ...

"They come through you but not from you
and they are with you yet they belong not to you"

but then why did I have them?

Dorothea Lange 

what love is this?
that robs me of my selfish senses
that guilts me into stifling tears of hellish exhaustion
that rips my heart out with every smile and hands it back bigger than before

Frederick Warren Freer

that confuses my career with things that matter
that draws from me a lullaby and reads to me of monkeys
and faeries and dinosaurs 
that halves me and then makes me whole again ...

Fine Art America
..... what love is this?


I've been reading a lot about motherhood on blogs lately
It would seem a topic that raises many an eyebrow, an opinion 
and, more often than not, a passionate response

I found the above piece of writing in amongst my scribblings a few weeks ago.
I wrote it when my son was about two years old (14 years ago now!!)
(I dragged it out to use as a comment on Pia's heartwarming post about Motherhood, 
blogging and telling it like it is - it made me laugh to read just how overwhelmed I seemed)


There are no facts. Parenting is just too subjective. It's human. It's diverse. It's fickle.
With the exception of love (immense, fierce and frightening love) there are simply
no hard and fast rules... just good intentions)


You'll feel the same way about parenting in three, seven, sixteen years - as you do now


I became a mother 16 years ago ... 
(I consider the very second I saw the "second blue line" the start of the journey)

I had already miscarried once ... quite late in term...
I was ecstatic, petrified and very hormonal

Upon giving birth I stared at this little bundle, with great trepidation, 
wondering if I was up to the task 
(I prayed that mothers instinct was NOT a myth)

We were a one income (small income) family
We were renting a closet
We were very young
We were exhausted almost all of the first two years
I was often filled with a longing to go back to work....
... that vaporised every time I thought about daycare

My dear mother ensured that Hubby and I were able to have a reasonable
(albeit diminished) social life and of course immeasurable support and love

We were happy. So very happy.
Ours was a healthy, content, chubby cheeked boy who lit up our hearts

I have stumbled along the way
I have made some hilarious mistakes*
I have doffed my hat to those who have more than one 
I made A LOT of it up as I went along and I have loved 93% of the task
(7% = sickness, sleepless nights, arguing with a teenager &
losing my child in Piccadilly Circus)

Although I'm not a new mum I truly love reading all about the adventures, emotions, opinions, misgivings and fiesty viewpoints of mothers the world around...

Artemis writes about her feelings on mama-hood ....
Hannah writes about her views on gender stereotyping as a parent...
Lisa writes about loving barefoot boys  .....

And I just love it all

To all the mums out there... whether today is a triumph or a struggle, 
 I salute you all with such immense respect and admiration.... 

... what love this is indeed.

* when our son was but a wee 8 year old he asked what a condom was... surprised and slightly taken aback, Hubby and I proceeded to stumble our way through a haphazard explanation that left him with the most confused and befuddled expression on his face. 

When we asked him what was troubling him he replied:

That makes no sense at all because on the tv show The Nanny,  
Fran says  "Oh Mr Sheffield can we live in a condo by the sea"

... yep we had heard wrong and confused condo with condom.

Happy days.... ♥

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Oh I do love to be beside the seaside...

A book should serve as the ax for the frozen sea within us.
Franz Kafka 

On life's vast ocean diversely we sail. Reasons the card, but passion the gale.
Alexander Pope

There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; 
there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.
Victor Hugo

The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, 
the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.
Henry Beston

A woman knows the face of the man she loves as a sailor knows the open sea.
Honore de Balzac

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean;
 if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
Mahatma Gandhi

Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.
Ambrose Bierce

I pray to be like the ocean, with soft currents, maybe waves at times. 
More and more, I want the consistency rather than the highs and the lows.
Drew Barrymore


Packed in a hurry
Audiobook on the drive down - The Fry Chronicles
Gin & Tonics at Sunset
Midnight stroll in the moonlight
Holding hands with your soul mate
Big (mahoosive) bowls of pasta
Sand in my shoes

Life is wonderful

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Vintage Paper Christmas Wreath

Inspired by these projects on Pinterest I had a go at making my own vintage paper Christmas Wreath.
(Well technically it's a more of a round starburst than a traditional circle with a hole in the middle)
I used pages from a set of old encyclopaedias that I thrifted at the local Vinnies. ($20 for 15 books!)
It's really quite a simple project and there are no rules so you can should let your imagination run wild

I used double sided tape to roll the pages into funnel shaped cylinders
It took me a few tries to get a good shape and the paper was quite aged so I recommend the wider size tape if you can  - for better grip
You then attach the paper rolls to a circular piece of polystyrene or even strong cardboard in a fan shape ... I used tacky craft glue and it worked really well ... 

In the middle of mine I glued a fabric flower and some black feathers from my chicken run
I also used some glitter glue to add a touch of bling
I really do apologise for not taking more photos of the process itself but there are clear instructions on the pinterest link above ... as well as many more great Christmas DIY ideas I might add...

On the back I used ribbon, glue AND thumb tacks to make sure that it wont come crashing to the ground - I fear that would tear or break the aged paper so I urge you to do the same.

... and there you have it... 
An unpcycled, recycled vintage paper wreath
Full of character and completely unique.
I plan on making some bunting (of course) with the same paper and then mixing in some linen, burlap, botanicals and bling... as you do.... for an Aussiefied Christmas

What do you think? 
If you love a homemade Christmas then check out Melissa's blog for her "Get Your Christmas Craft On" posts that ALWAYS inspire me
In the meantime ... only 40 sleeps peeps .... (squeal) 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ginger, Walnut, Date cake... with a twist...

Hubby is learning to bake.  
He's an amazing cook but baking is his next Everest.

Over the weekend he treated me to a Walnut, Ginger and Date cake that was so delicious I asked him if I was allowed to share the recipe with blogland. You see even though he used (and improved) a basic Date Loaf recipe from he added a little magic.....

Lemon Thyme ... in the icing!
And oh boy does it work. 
Melted couverture/ quality organic white chocolate and fresh lemon thyme buds.
Crushed and sprinkled on top before the chocolate hardens.

Here's the recipe if you'd like to try it....


1 cup chopped dates
1/4 Cup chopped 'Naked' Buderim Ginger - (Glace Ginger will work, though)
1/4 Cup Chopped walnuts - Chunky is great!
1- 1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda 1 cup boiling water
1 x tsp cinnamon
1 x tsp ground ginger
2 tablespoons soft butter
3⁄4 cup sugar (I like to use brown sugar)
1 beaten egg
1 cup self-raising flour
1⁄2 cup plain flour

  1. Grease a loaf tin. or use baking paper
  2. Place dates, cinnamon, ground Ginger, Naked Ginger, walnuts, soda and hot water in a bowl and stir - allow to thicken and cool  slightly.
  3. In another bowl,mix butter & sugar,  add egg and mix until creamy.
  4. Add date mix to butter mix, then add flours and mix well.
  5.  Bake at 180°C for about 45 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
  6. Melt some good quality white chocolate to spread in a thin layer on top
  7. Sprinkle with fresh thyme buds before chocolate hardens

Friday, November 8, 2013

Chicken update....

Hi there peoples! How ya been? Me? Great!!!
Thanks to being utterly spoilt by these two and cheered up the two 
above them...

.... I've also been cooked for....
(crispy Salmon on a bed of Spicy Cranberry Couscous)

(creamy poached eggs from our girls - check out that happy yellow yolk dudes!)

... treated like a queen on a couch...

... spoilt by friends and family....

... utterly spoilt!...

Little Ed had to go and get his annual shots at the vet and I went 
for acupuncture ... which. was. AMAZING.

So with all this bubbling energy and healing happiness I thought I'd give you 
a quick update on how my chicks are going...

We are sure that Fay is a Wellsummer but not too sure whether 
Cassandra will be a Barnevelder, a Rhode Island Red or a New Hampshire.
So kinda lucky dip there. Either way though they're all from a brilliant chicken farm called
Henley Brook Chook Farm in the Swan Valley - aka Gallus Gallus Domesticus HEAVEN.

Roz is still proving to be an amazing Mama Hen. Allowing the chicks to eat first,
summon her to bed well before sunset and even ride on her back!? 
(I've been trying to get a shot of that... hilarious)

We are so proud of her because she sacrifices all the best 
bits of scrap - no matter what the treat
and she watches over them like a hawk....

... Justin jokes that these two are our "veloceraptors" because they're keen 
to get in and make a meal of the chicks (gruseome but true) and we still have to wait
at least another week or two before we can introduce them all together.

I know this is a blurred photo but it cracks me up everytime I look at it.
They really are such curious critters.

So there you have it.
A quick catch up before I head into the garden to give 
orders to my boys since I'm still under strict instructions...
NO lifting, 
NO driving, 
NO straining, 
NO vacuuming 
(meh that one I can live with)
Ironically I'm still allowed to do the ironing....booo.

We may be off to the chook farm tomorrow to pick up a 
a Light Sussex or two (Yay!!) ... but if I'm going to be truthful
that's my idea and I have yet to convince Hubby.

So I wish you all THE BEST weekend ever.
Next post is about my handmade Christmas wreath using vintage book pages.

PS - Apologies for the redundant use of exclamation marks
peoples but when your health returns after such a long struggle
you cannot help but be just! so! darn! happy!!!!!!! :-) 

Saturday, November 2, 2013


I'm over emotional and shaky on my legs. Although I expect a fair bit of that has to do with the drugs they've given me to handle the pain. 

Pain which now takes on a whole new meaning ... it's cause determined and it's end in sight. 

The pain I was experiencing has been "taken care of" and thanks to the miracle that is modern medicine, the sacred skill that is surgery, the logic that is homeopathy and the mystique that is rest .... 

I. am. getting. better.

I've received cards, flowers, phone calls, foot rubs, dvd box sets, blog comments, chocolate, tea, favours and even letters. I feel so loved, so cared for. So proud.

Proud of myself. I am literally behaving like Cleopatra and getting my boys to do it all for me. Not an easy task for a control freak but I do not want to end up back at square one so rest it must be.

Proud of my boys for banding together to share the duties, the daily tasks, the foot rubs and the love.

Proud of my family for showing me (and each other) every day the transformative powers of love and patience.

I think this whole rest and recuperation thing needs to be viewed from all perspectives don't you?

How else do we value health unless it eludes for a while? How else do we empathise with full time carers of persons whose physical needs far exceed those that we are accustomed to?

The old cliche of "you don't know what you've got til it's gone" .... it's the truth. It's a fact.

Practising gratitude can be a way that we connect with this deeper sense of self - but even then it does not always reveal the full magnitude of something quite as important as our health and our loved ones. 

No,  I can honestly say that "losing certain capabilities" - even for only a short while - has really taught me the value of a body that "just does what you want it to do"

To all of you who are facing a health challenge I send you love, patience and angelic cherubs to help you through. Keep the faith. Never lose hope and trust in the metamorphic power of love.

Big love from me on my couch... with my remote... my heat bags and my pooch.

♥♥♥         ♥♥♥        ♥♥♥       ♥♥♥        ♥♥♥       ♥♥♥       ♥♥♥        ♥♥♥      ♥♥♥

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Chai loving....

Do you like Chai? It seems quite the in-thing now and yet I still feel pretentious and awkward when I whisper my order to the barista ...

"Excuse me do you make your Chai with real leaves or syrup?.... Real leaves? Great in that case I'll have a (voice drops down a few decibels) large Soy Chai Latte with honey thanks"

I cant abide the syrup stuff... Eew

The reason for soy? I think it tastes creamier and richer

Now that the weather is warming up I'm experimenting with a chilled version

I'd like to have a go at mixing my own brew and you can be sure I'll go a little over the top with ginger

Gorgeous Jo shares a recipe here and if you love the flavours you may even try making a Chai cake

I buy my brew for the tea heaven that is T2 (my home away from home) - some say it's a little heavy with the cardamon pods but I think that's why I like it so much

I even purchased a vintage copper tea strainer to add to the magic of my Chai ritual

Teamed with a few fresh Medjool dates and you have a sweet treat that is actually good for you

So to Chai or not to Chai? What are your thoughts peoples?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Paper love... six ways.

and of course .. my personal favourite ... 

A few facts ... a few tips ... and a quick catch up...


I love paper. I love all kinds of paper.... however the heart races for delicate tissue thin writing paper (and if there's a water mark within it.... swoon) anything handmade, linen finish card stock and of course - as is evidenced in this post... pages from just about any vintage reference book I can find. 

There are an abundant number of abandoned books filling the shelves of thrift stores world wide. This fact simultaneously saddens and excites me. The digital era brings with it great convenience and many an environmentalist would argue the decrease of forestry pillaging, yet it also leads to the orphaning of thousands of truly stunning encyclopedia sets and reference books.

There are innumerable ways to recycle these exquisite pages and I'm on a mission to try them all. 

Christmas is around the corner... I won't give you a minor cardiac episode with an accurate day count, however I will add that little compares to the pleasure of knowing your festive plots and plans are progressing along at a stress free pace.... she says smugly whilst scribbling a foreboding list longer than her arm.


You need very few tools to transform paper into handmade loveliness. I find double sided tape, fancy edged scissors and stamps are the only "luxury purchases" required to go from basic cut and paste to... hmmmm ... how can I humbly state this... unique brilliance?? Might I add that all the brilliance lies in the delightful typography, alluring illustrations (think Websters pictorial peoples) and yellowing ageing of these parchment treasures.

Handmade is just hands down (see what I did there) a superior touch when it comes to gift giving. 
(even if the gift is store bought, the effort put into personalising ones wrapping rarely goes unnoticed)

You need not be a crafty bod to have a bit of fun with paper and you don't even have to tear out the pages (sacrilege I hear many of you scream) since the magic of scanning and/or photocopying allows you to duplicate as many of those captivating medical journal images (a gory personal favourite of mine) as you please. 

For those of you who do not have any thrifted books on hand fear not - The Graphics Fairy  is a modern day super heroine whose efforts to share vintage images in convenient down-loadable clip art form truly renders her Nobel peace prize worthy. Her website is a cornucopia of visual pleasure and well worth a visit. Obsessed with foxes and rabbits peoples ??? 

I cannot even bear to part with the corners and scraps of the paper I'm using so as you can see I sew them together (the music paper bunting) and/or turn them into mini cake flags. I'm always trying to come up with new ideas so if you can think of any other uses for these leftover bits do let me know.

I made the Monopoly money bunting for my son's room  - a token of visual abundance for all his lofty plans and dreams. Usually I turn vintage children's story books into bunting (and gift it to new mums for their nurseries and kiddies for their rooms & cubbies) yet I have found that just about any paper treasure can be turned into bunting and as for shape/size, uniformity etc ... well they're all silly rules that must be abandoned.

Even if the word "craft" has you running a mile I still think adding a personal touch to gifts and cards goes a long way to making someones day. Hand made cards are especially sacred and too easy when all you've really done is "steal" a page from an old dictionary and hand stamped the message - quick but completely unique.


Again thank you for your lovely comments and emails on my last post. I am still pretty inactive however it's only ten more sleeps and I'll have an operation that will put and end to all of this nonsense.
I am enthusiastic, optimistic and ever so grateful. Not only for the kindness and care of loved ones but also for the ability to distract myself by making and creating... twas very cathartic! 

We are back to school and Young Prince will be tackling exams pretty soon. He's at that bold and brassy age where he doggedly believes that study is for the birds and I'm trying (unsuccessfully I might add) to school him in the benefits of regular revision. Hmmm.... we shall see.

My hero of a Hubby made THIS and THIS yesterday (adapted with lemons) so I have no reason to complain about being couch bound with a couple of magazines, a pooch and a new period drama to enjoy. 

We have grandiose veggie plot and garden plans which will swing into action AS SOON as I am able to wield an axe and dig a hole. I. CANNOT. WAIT. In the meantime I swoon whilst looking at these.

How has your weekend been peoples? Have you been crafting lately? What about Christmas? (I know, I know... too early some might say) but have you begun preparations? Stocking stuffers, gift purchases, jam making? (a dream I have yet to tackle) Are you excited about summer days at the beach or are you stoking fires and donning socks? Are you out and about on a jaunt or home bound with cosier activities at hand? Do you have teenagers emptying the fridge and filling the washing machine or are yours of the littler persuasion... nappies, teething, racing around in dress-ups?? Will you be vacationing soon or will your festive season be a local one with family and friends? 

Do tell. 


PS - The chicks are doing really well. Roz is still fiercely protective but hopefully we'll be able to move them into the bigger run soon so that the other gals can get used to them.