Monday, November 30, 2009

bird love

'puurrr, i love birds...a lot...'

...which is why the only cat around my place is stuffed!

As I dropped off my kids at school this morning three stunning yellow tailed black cockatoos flew down to munch their way through banksia seeds.

Perhaps this xmas if you want to encourage these stunning birds to visit you, buy a coastal banksia in a pot, decorate it with hand made or fair trade decorations and use this instead of a pine tree...which I doubt you'd want in your yard. But if you don't want this kind of tree this idea applies to any variety, whatever you want, could be a fruit tree. Once Christmas is over, plant it out into your garden, a little extra present for yourself.

My thoughts drift onto antidotes to the problematic things about Christmas.
Nobody wants to feel guilty on Christmas day-but gobbling up factory farmed meats, veggies and fruit that have a bigger carbon footprint than your car, then opening up sweat shop produced products, maybe containing various hazardous ingredients, then disposing of loads of rubbish doesn't seem so jolly...

I am all for peace and harmony and joy without compromising the environment, peoples rights or animals welfare-basically maintaining mindfulness and conscience.
Feel free to add you own-please do;

-Buy fair trade or hand made locally items, buy your gifts from op shops or antique centres or opt out of the system altogether and swap pre owned gifts-books or dvds and cds might work really well there. Write out your best recipes, give someone a massage, read a child their favourite story, take them to their favourite place, lend a hand in someones garden, cook a meal, give veggies/herbs from your garden.

-Buy organic sheets or towels for presents. They can be bought online or also at Target/Aldi.

-Make xmas meals organic, free range or vegetarian. Try and get your things as close to home as possible, and have lots of salads with each meal and less hot meals. In this climate it makes no sense cooking up roasts and puddings, heats up the house and uses a lot of energy. Buy those fantastic seasonal fruits and enjoy them.

-Try to donate unwanted items right now to charities-toys, books, things in good nick.

-Make your own wrapping paper/cards from materials you already have-newsprint or old magazines, or buy some organic tea towels to use, tied up in a little knot this works great for wrapping.

-Go on retreat! Duck it altogether! Chenrezig is beautiful, in the sunshine coast hinterland.

-Give inspiring books or dvds, bought from independent bookstores, like Avid Reader in West end or your local abc shop...these are wonderful books

my favourite book on gardening, its perfect for Australian gardeners.

and this is a random bunch of other books which will inspire and uplift while gently suggesting an alternative to chemicals and consumerism....


Sunday, November 29, 2009

so hotttttt

The air feels like it is sitting on my skin tonight, muggy, humid, heavy. I picked my last tomatoes as the plants were really looking terrible, getting stressed from not enough water and nutrients...

I yanked them out and then stripped off all the cherry tomatoes and there was more, much more than expected, hidden under the grass and so on. I am going to dedicate a bit of time this week to replanting the bed they were in, trying to work out what. Sorrel is always useful but will it cope with the summer?

I would love to say I whipped up a big batch of something impressive.But I have no inclination to cook at all in this weather. So salad was dinner tonight, with some crunchy lettuce, some of those tommys, cucumber and red capsicum, all served up some cold soba noodles and dolmades, so refreshing and filling.
I have been really getting into fabric selection the past few days, cutting up the pieces for 21 bags. I am building up some new stock, hoping the markets will go well over December. It takes a lot of time, not the actual cutting, it's the pairing up of fabrics with each other and then extra little things like making a button cos I can't find the right one to match it. I love making buttons, the kit has different pieces which are sort of squished together, with a selected small piece of fabric in between, it is so easy and results in a lovely neat button.

Here's an interesting blog link, about how to be green, if you are living in a rental property. They have a big focus at present on veganism which I am not even close to being, despite my understanding of its benefits. However, there is also some interesting ideas about Christmas, specifically about how to celebrate it without leaving a whopping great big carbon footprint all over town. My thought on this topic is for people to leave their Christmas lights OFF until Christmas is very jolly and cheery looking and can be something really cool to look forward too. It loses its joy though when night after night huge house sized displays are switched on. Considering whole suburbs with their large light shows and the energy used, it all adds up.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

stocking up

I ventured into my favourite fabric store, Russell's in Sandgate yesterday morning on an impulse.(They have a great range, it is a small family owned store and I am always treated to lovely service by charming, lovely people.) Anyhoo, after wandering in a bit of a happy daze I came out with yards of bright red rickrack. I LOVE rickrack. I mean I bloody love it.
I didn't really have a clear picture in my mind of why I needed to buy it, but once home I whipped up these little baby sized Christmas stockings. I used remnant and recycled felts and off cuts of super festive am I getting? Its not even December yet! This is not really like me, but my gosh they are cute.

I also finished off this bag with some handles a lovely friend of mine gave me. I had begun it about a year ago and left it because I could not work out how to complete it, but these handles were just right. The fabulously groovy material is the bottom part of an a-line 70's dress my mum gave me. I have altered it, chopping off about 45 cms from the bottom of it, to wear it occasionally as a skirt.
you might just be able to see the detail of the crochet straps I made to attach the handle? I am beginning to use some of the huge load of crochet cottons the same friend gave me, having never really worked with fine yarns before and I am loving how soft and supple it is to use. I was very pleased with the results and think it was worth waiting to finish this one.

and this messy bear was made in bed, with my son bouncing about beside me singing me songs and making me laugh, so while its not the most perfectly finished piece hopefully some of the joy of the moment has crept into it? I will be bringing these things along with me to the markets ahead so if you like what you see, let me know!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"I made this all by myself, it's going to be soooo good!"
Its amazing to think my kids are now at the stage where they can actually make their own meals! How convenient, this parenting is such a breeze! All I have to do now is stop them cutting into the bench tops, cutting off their fingers, squashing my tomato plant as they pick the tomato, encourage them kindly and do and cut all the things that are too hard for them to...actually, hmmm, it's not any easier. But it is sweet and lovely to see this beginning independence. Small steps...

Recently I was introduced to the newest participants of the biz babes course. I was asked to introduce myself and say something and all I could think to say was,
"keep plugging away'....urhhhh...public speaking is not my forte.

But in essence its true for business or any pursuit you want in life. Don't give up, keep on getting up to it each day, keep it going, check up on yourself, on what you are doing and why and whether or not it seems to be working. But yeah, even if its tiny steps, keep on doing it.

This is one of my latest hand dyed pieces. I loved making it, colouring the wool, creating the shape which is kind of a cross between coral and a flower and adding the buttons and beads. Sometimes I get so busy I lose the moment, the actual joy of it, and frankly, life is fleeting and I don't want to waste it being stressed or cranky. I am trying to remember and practice being very conscious of what I am holding in my hands, crafting instead of churning it out.

And speaking of making things I made my own bathroom cleaner this week And its so good!
I thought I'd share it because as we head into the summer season this may prove useful in humid areas; it is a great non toxic mould and bathroom cleaner spray.
All you need is -vinegar, clove oil (ask for it at your chemist) and a small spray bottle (you can buy one from your local shops -about 250-500mls should be easy to lay your hands on.)
Fill your bottle almost to the top with vinegar and add about 10-15 drops of clove oil. Give it a vigorous shake. Its made. So spray a light mist on the mouldy bits in your bathroom. It's pretty strong smelling so open up your windows but the smell and spray will evaporate quickly. Leave it a while, over night if you want. Next give it a bit of a wipe over with a damp cloth and hey presto, no more mould. This actually stops the mould, kills its 'roots' so you will notice you don't have to keep repeating this process again and again like you do with bleach.
This works so wonderfully you will wonder why anyone ever thought to use fume-y environmentally awful bleach.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

storm season

Last night I felt like I was driving one of these...

as I made my way home from a city appointment with my two beloved sons in the FULL ON storm that was passing over. Did you know you have better chances of being struck by lightning and killed, than of winning lotto? I have to say I felt my chances were very high last night, but thankfully my fears came to nothing and we made it safe and sound if somewhat shaky!It normally takes me about 45 minutes to get home, last night was about an hour and a half!

Today seemed like a really good day to practice the art of relaxation.

Anyhow, the question I asked myself, after dropping off the 2 lads to school, was 'how do I best relax?' You guessed it, of course, op shopping...and in just 2 shops I managed to get some amazing and rare bargains! A bag of gorgeous vintage buttons, a 50's apron, stunning tablecloth, 2 linen tea towels, about a metre of sweet old floral print cotton, a cute house oven mitt, a fat quarter of japanese cotton and an iris crockery collection blue bowl...$7 for all of it!

The tablecloth was especially ridiculously cheap-it is quite large and was all hand embroidered featuring cut lace work very was 1 dollar!?!

Afterwards my lovely friend Jo came over for lunch...she reminded me about the value of giving my kids excellent nutrition (she knows her stuff, working at Northey street community farm with the children who visit.) And her gentle encouragement to think about healthier snacks was a great excuse to go buy some mango's. YUM...
I can't wait 'til the cheap tray deals start appearing! How very 'Queenslander' of me!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

same fabrics, different forms

The basis of this skirt was a 60's or 70's dress with extrordanary collar pieces, almost wings....which then also became this flower brooch and a set of place mats....
And a small square of lovely linen became this...

and this...and this...
and the best bit for me is? I still have leetle teeny bits hmmm, I do love the creative challenge of being resourceful!

Monday, November 16, 2009

bleeding heart cafe display

This is the face which greets me in the mornings...sometimes perhaps a bit earlier in the morning than is strictly necessary. Me, I like to rise after the sun does...but there was good reason to get up early and be excited today. I had a job to do! Bags, toys and brooches were at the ready and are now all set up and looking just right.

So, now, I want you(yes, you) to go check it out, in person, at the Bleeding Heart cafe and gallery, Ann Street, Brisbane, I love this space, I love what I made and can't think why you wouldn't too!

Friday, November 13, 2009

early morning stroll

I went for a lovely early morning stroll today, around a local lagoon, a place of such beauty these photos don't even begin to do it justice. I love living where I do, the trees and birds and the expanses of water creates such lovely images.

'I'm watching you watching me, crow.' Crows are like little dogs, they make a lot of noise but startle easy!

Christmas colours?

Australian 'snow'? Casuarina tree needles piled up around the bark of an old tree?
I made this yesterday
...I wonder where all these materials which come to me already 2nd hand have come from? This piece of moss green velvet was a cushion, unfinished and marked by pins...who left it un finished? Would they like what I did with it?

Monday, November 9, 2009

evening stroll

A drop or two of rain has fallen around here and the frangipani and gardenia trees flowers are blooming, drifting their lovely perfumes into the atmosphere. As my life gets busier I value even the smallest stroll around my neighbourhood, the moonlit sky and the sweet croaking of the makes up for the cane toads which are out and about, unfortunately they are night lovers too.

I have been working all hours on some new bags, made from some gorgeous vintage pieces from my recent gift bags of bits and from my own stash. I am making serious inroads into my materials, however there still seems to be way too much to store in a very orderly way. And there is always more to source, it's a tricky business, not wanting too much but needing a wide variety to match up all those vintage colours and patterns! I can't seem to get enough distressed denim though, so if anyone has a bunch of old unwanted jeans, let me know!I also tried my hand at some computer design...with this result? Time to hire a graphic designer?

Whilst I worked away yesterday I listened in on a really interesting(make that freaky)abc radio interview with the authors of a new book called 'slow death by rubber duck.' The book details a before and after experiment undertaken by a couple of Canadian environmental workers who used and ate known potentially risky products in everyday shop bought household foods, cleaners and personal care items. It seems strange but known carcinogens are allowed in food packaging linings, cleaning , heath care products and even as treatments on the clothes and textiles we wear and sleep on...yikes.

I guess on the upside information is power and most of us are lucky enough to have choice about what we buy and use. I do pity cleaners though, I was one part time for many years, using volatile chemicals and substances. Now, I use vinegar, salt, bicarb soda, clove oil and eco friendly dish washing liquid for all my cleaning and hope this will detox me from those years of exposure.
Anyway, check it out at and let me know what you think...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


My cool friend, Sam!

This lovely friend, gave me a couple of HUMONGOUS bags of craft materials-yarns and fabrics and handles and more! And the timing is brilliant because I borrowed this book

and had been looking through it and yearning to make things, but feeling abit curtailed by how much yarn some of the projects required. OOOH-EEEE, now I have enough yarn to sink a ship and I am so excited!
I am considering going without sleep I am so keen to use it all...
The book is lovely, Vintage Crochet, by Susan Cropper, there are patterns for pretty vintage projects from head scarfs to picnic rugs and for beginners right through to Nana's. The colours and photos are so charming even without the patterns it would be inspiring to browse though.

and this might be a good image to represent how I am feeling as I gear up and get ready for the new markets which are a big unknown to's wonderful to have these events and occasions which get me out of the sewing room and meeting people. I also feel under the spotlight and that's daunting for a crafty homey type like me...

Luckilly I have treasured friends and these two munchkins who run circles around me and keep me busy and fill my tanks of love and support up.
Apart from recieiving the big bags of goodies, this weeks best moments so far have been -my littlest fella deciding to keep a diary.So, at the ripe old age of 7 he is recording things like what he had for lunch and afternoon tea, etc. And oldest fella proudly wrote down in his diary that he is 'brilliant at drawing pictures.' Warm fuzzies...

Monday, November 2, 2009

pretty spring

I spent yesterday outdoors with my boys and some friends, visited Northey Street and West end and went for a swim at southbank, I completely neglected my washing, etc because the weather was so lovely for being out of the house. The clouds rolled over but no rain fell, a classic spring day.

The Northey street city farm is at the peak of its fertility, things going to seed and seedlings springing up. This kale, so curly and green and crinkly and sweet. It's curly, grassy green leaves are saying hello, collecting drops of dew on their wrinkly surfaces.

The sunflowers appear as if to warn summer is on its way.They 'loom' at you. 'Look at how big and yellow we are, look at how we watch the sun, following it around the sky with our big bold bee attracting head.' Its going to be a hot one, I think.

I am already making icy poles, into the blender goes a mixture of frozen or fresh berries, vanilla yoghurt and a splash of milk, then this thickish mixture is poured into moulds. It's good stuff.
I work on my sewing with my fan on me, and enjoy the late afternoon sea breeze when it sweeps through my house.
A sweet woman at the market on Friday night(who bought the little rabbity-plush above) was asking me if I had any fish for sale, as in plush fish. I didn't but its a cute idea, a softy fish...and she also suggested whales, which might be a great thing to make when the weather is warming up, out of lovely to handle cotton. I apreciate it hugely how visitors to my stall are so very encouraging and positive and full of good ideas and suggestions, it's very welcomed.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

the weekend of loveliness

please let us out!
Into my favourite old suitcase I packed these up, and headed into West end.
To meet with my lovely new friends, to share a glass of wine and a conversation and to chuckle over cute children and smile warmly til my cheeks ached. I love the little market folk, such a sweet and interesting and talented group of women. Oh, and we hold a little market too!

Beautiful Olivias' lovely creations at Avid Reader, next market night is the first Friday of December so pop it in your calenders!

Reading on the grass on Saturday, surrounded by a purple carpet of Jacaranda flowers-bright blue above, for fleeting moments in my fragile heart and mind it really sinks in that life is sweet.
the only flag I will ever be caught flying...a crocheted picnic rug