Sunday, 11 December 2011

quick little catch-up

Yes, right, so I know it's been a few weeks since I last posted. Sorry 'bout that. I have not forgotten to write, no no. I have just had many other things taking priority of late. Hope you didn't miss me too much.  Here's a quick catch-up on what's been going on.

  • I had my shop (Betty's Place) opening. You can read about it here and here and I will be posting some photos also this week.
  • We put up our Christmas tree (the three of us) and had family movie night - Christmas themed of course
  • Two blood tests, a wee test, two GP appointments and a specialist appointment later and I found out I have a thyroid issue
  • Been doing a load of washing every day the past week as Jaxon has 2 weeks of intensive water-safety classes through school. Ergh, wet boardies and towel every day.
  • I travelled to Sydney to attend a really important and grand celebration at the Sydney Opera House for my work's 250th anniversary
  • I got a viral infection of the throat kind and had some time off work
  • I caught up with some dear old friends from interstate over dinner at the delectable Chin Chin 
  • I have considered starting my Christmas shopping

Betty's Place housewarming launch party
Chin Chin on Flinders Lane, Melbourne
our humble Christmas tree
watching fireworks on Sydney Harbour
I'm back to writing more regularly now, so expect to hear from me consistently again!  I also have some other news that I'm dying to tell you, but that will have to wait for the moment.

Monday, 14 November 2011

christmas on a shoestring

I've been wanting to make a paper chandelier for some time now and on the weekend I finally got the necessary supplies and got to it.

Yes, it does take some time to make one of these beauties, but it is well worth it when you're finished.

I'm thinking about teaching classes on how to make these traditional Polish paper chandeliers called Pajaki (pronounced pa-yon-kee) - translated it means "spiders of straw".

Originally used as Christmas decorations, these elaborate creations were made by families out of straw, scraps of paper and fabric to bring some cheer, colour and festivity to poorer households.

If you think you'd be interested in learning how to make pajaki, do leave me a note. If I get enough interest, I will consider running a class next year.

And if you're interested, check out this article I found on Polish Christmas traditions. You could do some of these with kidlets (yours or someone elses) or even on your own, to bring some festive cheer to your home for the upcoming Christmas holidays.

Friday, 11 November 2011


Feelings. We've all got them. Sometimes we don't know what to do with them or how to change them. And sometimes we shouldn't (change them). But we should all talk about them. And we should definitely teach our kids about feelings. I do with my son all the time. Talk about them that is.

Watch this little video (it only goes for 1:57) with littlies. Or just watch it on your own. It's a super cute stop motion animation by Hine Mizushima.  He's a super talented Japanese dude living in Canada.

And while you're at it, check out some of his other work

via here
via here
via here
Have a happy Friday and enjoy the weekend lovelies.  I'll be doing more work in the shop and going to my son's 6th birthday party. Yes I said GOING to. No clean-up for me!

Monday, 31 October 2011

the simple life (aka pink lemonade)

via Pinterest
On Friday I was handed a lovely big shopping-bag of farm-fresh lemons from a gentleman whom I work with. He's fortunate enough to own a farm with cows, lemon trees and dozens of different types of roses (amongst other things).

Immediately my head started to conjure up images of lemon tarts, lemon curd and home made lemonade. So when I got home with said lemons, I googled pink lemonade recipes

Frankly I wasn't happy with the results of the search as I was quite specific in the ingredients which I wanted to use. So I made up my own recipe and thought you might like to try it for yourself. I've since emailed the recipe to B-Fab and she's made it and tweeted me to say she's glad she'd made a double batch!

Pink Lemonade Cordial

It should be noted that the following measurements will make a cordial which you should then mix at a ratio of 1:1 with sparkling mineral water or just plain old still water. Good luck to you if you attempt to drink it un-mixed!

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 8-10 fresh strawberries
In a saucepan pour in the water and heat until boiling. When it reaches boiling point, add the sugar and stir until all dissolved. Set aside to cool.  Crush your strawberries with a potato masher or in a small food processor (you may add some lemon juice if using a food processor). If so desired, strain the strawberry mixture through a sieve to remove any large chunks. I left mine in because I don't have a problem with small delicious pieces of strawberry floating in my drink.

Add the lemon juice and strawberry mix to the cooled sugar water, pour the entire mixture into a sterilised glass bottle, give it a good shake (after popping the lid on of course), and chill for a few hours.  

Delicious and refreshing. And full of sugary goodness.

P.S. it would also be nice with vodka.
P.P.S. I had all good intentions of styling a beautiful shot of my home made pink lemonade, but with everything that I've got to do over the next few weeks, I'm trying to eliminate any non-essentials. In times like these it's fortunate that we have Pinterest to turn to. Upon entering my search term of 'pink lemonade' I was instantly presented with the cream of the crop of pink lemonade shots.

P.P.P.S. I didn't get to making any lemon tarts or lemon curd. But I still have about 20 lemons left, so it might even happen in between the great big shop tasks list. Which is where I'll be today. And tomorrow.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Make Hey!

Last night I went along to Pip’s book launch at Readings in St Kilda with my dear pal Katie. That’s her down there. Katie. Not Pip.  There were lamingtons, melting moments and ginger beer, lots of crafty folks and of course it was all centred around Pip’s new book Make Hey!
Katie = cute-face
the lovely spread of sweet treats
Pip welcomed us all and during her Q&A I asked her how she comes up with the ideas in her books.  Pip said that she thinks about things that she’d like to give to friends and family and gifts and then she figures out how to make them. While she’s out on a walk, she might see an interesting building and will think to herself that would make a beautiful quilt pattern. And that’s it my friends. It’s that simple.
lovely folks gushing over Pip's book
If you are a crafty type like me, then I’m sure you’re already familiar with Pip’s work. She runs the Meet Me at Mikes blog, has written not 1, not 2, but 3 books AND a crafty journal, runs Softies for Mirabel (now in its 5th year), writes for Frankie magazine and is a general all-round handmade and craft advocate.  I feel really lucky to live in the same city as Pip because it means there’s an increased awareness of handmade in Melbourne.
Brianna, Pip and Ari
I can honestly say that I have never before met someone as inspirational as Pip.  She has so much enthusiasm and positivity to share with anyone willing to listen it’s truly a breath of inspiration listening to her speak.
lovely photography and styling inside
Pip's books are easy to follow and made for practically a beginner right through to more experienced crafters. Make Hey! is shot and styled beautifully and the projects within it are things you could easily make for yourself or to give as gifts.  Such as the first project I'm tackling out of Pip's book: I heart you necklace.
the first project I'll be attempting out of Make Hey!
I am also very lucky to have such a lovely friend. Because my dear friend surprised me and bought me Make Hey! last night AND got Pip to sign it for me. We all need friends like that. We do.
Katie getting Pip to sign my surprise!
Following the book launch a bunch of us went and had a picnic in a nearby park right next to St Kilda’s Luna Park. And what a perfect evening for a picnic in the park. It was balmy and full of good food. Unfortunately I didn’t snap any photos of the picnic because it was already getting dark.

Thanks again to my lovely pal Katie, but this time for allowing me to use some of her photos from last night.  You’re a true pal xx
evidence that Pip is truly ace
P.S. if you head over to Katie’s blog she has a wrap up of last night’s event along with more pics. I believe she is sharing a photo of me from last night too. Oh dear.

P.P.S. if you haven't had the pleasure of owning one of Pip's books, I highly recommend you go and get yourself at least one of them. It's the perfect time with Christmas just around the corner. You could be making all your gifts instead of spending oodles of cash on mass-produced ones! It's so much more personal and meaningful.

Monday, 24 October 2011

good kitty, bad kitty, pretty knitted kitty

Let it be known that I’m not really a cat person.  We had a cat or two when I was growing up, but they were rare cats in that they acted and though they were dogs, not cats.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t despise them.  If I see a cat at a friend’s place I will give it a nice little pat.  I just think they are evil and vicious little critters. That look on their face when they’re slowly fluffing their tail against the ground in a half-reclined state; you can tell they're scheming. And those claws just prove that they’re up to no good.

But when I stumbled upon this furry little kitty I must say my softie-loving-heart melted.  And how could you resist. It’s knitted AND it’s a two in one softie. Inside the good kitty lives a dormant bad kitty just waiting to strike.  A lot like the slow-tail-fluffing-kitty which I mentioned earlier.

via Flickr

via Flickr

via Flickr
This clever lady is responsible for the bad kitty creation and if you (like me) have fallen head over claws for this knitted softie, you can purchase the pattern for a mere $6 (US) over on etsy. Now I just wish I could knit.

For the record, I am an animal lover.  I’m just more of a rough-and-tumble-cuddly-dog-person than a claw-your-eyes-out-and-world-domination-cat-person.

Friday, 21 October 2011


If you’ve been reading my blog for the last couple of months, you might have picked up that I’m opening a shop. “A shop”, you say? “Whaa? How did I miss this news?”

Well, never fear because there’s two simple things you can do:  
  1. Click on the shop link which will take you to the posts where I’ve mentioned the shop
  2. Click on Betty’s Place blog to be magically teleported to where you can now find all things related to the shop.

I will no longer be posting about the shop here. Ok, maybe that’s a small white lie, but the majority of updates on shop progress (which is opening in a matter of weeks) will take place on Betty’s very own blog over there.

So if you’re remotely interested in shop shenanigans I suggest you consider subscribing to keep informed.

Ta-ta for now dears.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

my creative space: quiet book

A few months ago I completed an ordered which I was commissioned to do for a friends god-son. I took lots of photos with the intent of sharing them, but unfortunately, something possessed me to erase them all by hitting the format button on my DSLR.  

Fortunately I've since received the quiet book back because my friend had gotten the DOB wrong, so I offered to fix the embroidery to the correct date. So I can finally share the photos of the project I completed some months ago.

Plenty more creative spaces to check out over here

Friday, 14 October 2011

1987 flashback

I don't usually share videos on my blog, but this one was too much of a pearler not to share around.  If I were 10 years younger I would be saying "ROFL" but I'm sure there's many of you that wouldn't understand what the heck that means (FYI: rolling on floor laughing).

It's Friday, I'm wearing jeans at work, had a good giggle at this video and I'm considering instigating slippers to work Fridays.  Life is good.

Have a great weekend lovelies.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

betty needs you

It's true.  Betty needs you.  Betty's Place is the name of my shop which is opening in November.  I say November because that feels comfortingly a long time away. I'm definitely not going to say next month. No, I'm not.  That would just freak me out.

So back to Betty.  She needs your help.  She's filled her place with lots of lovely wares which she's been accumulating, but she's in the mood for more unique, quirky, upcycled and handmade wares to fill her space.  

So this is where you come in.  Do you make lovely wares that would fit in a studio apartment themed shop?  Think quilts, clothing, illustrations, prints, jewellery and general gifts... basically anything that you'd expect to find if you walked into a stylish, environmentally conscientious, 30-something gals place. Betty is looking for consignment rather than wholesale.

Betty would prefer to support Australian designers (due to carbon footprint incurred with posting things around the world), but will consider items made or sourced in other countries, as long as they are truly unique and super special.

So if you're interested in submitting your treasures for consideration, you can drop Betty an email at betty [at] thecraftrevival [dot] com [dot] au.  Oh, and if you want to follow the progress of Betty's Place, you can jump over here and sign up to receive news and updates via email.

So go on, spread the word. Betty needs you!

Monday, 10 October 2011

things to do on the school holidays

We were lucky enough to send Jaxon to Brisbane for school holidays.  I say lucky enough because with the way things are financially these days, you're lucky to fork out enough money to do anything remotely entertaining with kids during school holidays.  

We have family who live in the sunshine state and they don't get to spend nearly enough time with their only grandchild, so he's always spoilt rotten whenever they're together.

So I'm not going to tell you about what to do with kids on the school holidays.  Oh no.  This is a rather different story about how to spend your holidays if you're lucky enough to be child-free.  Maybe use it as a things to do and things NOT to do kind of guide.

WARNING: the following post includes some photos of food which may offend some readers. If you find food offensive, we ask that you look away.

ladybirds in jar (none were harmed)
IKEA ball pit
chicken roti at Queen Victoria Market
making polish pierogi
pierogi up close
zines at space invaders exhibition
space invaders exhibition
mixed berry, white chocolate and almond torte
Lindt cafe hot chocolate
Europa cakes through window on Acland Street, St Kilda

  • Travel interstate with five year old whilst you're sick with bronchitis and the flu (I had a photo to share, but it's not pretty so I left it out).
  • Wonder whether you're actually going to make it onto the flight or if you'll be stopped by quarantine or border patrol.
  • Cancel ALL plans in your home state because you're so sick you feel as though you're going to cough up a lung.
  • Attend your mothers' birthday party periodically wearing a surgical mask to protect innocent bystanders from catching a horrible deathly sickness. Watch for strange side glances from party guests.
  • Eat home made Polish Pączki for breakfast
  • Spend four days on your mother's couch wishing you were back at home in the comforts of your own surrounds.
  • Catch a large pickle-sized-jar full of ladybirds. Ladybugs. Lady-beetles. Whatever they're called. Lots of them. Last count = 36.
  • Travel back home and go back to work for four days whilst preparing your home for the arrival of your mother and safe return of your child.
  • Watch a movie with your husband or significant life partner while indulging in some quiet, blissful and uninterrupted couple time.
  • Paint. A wall, a canvas or a piece of furniture. Whatever tickles your fancy. In my case, I painted a wall (in le shop).
  • Eat something strange and not child friendly for dinner, such as 5 bean mix and tuna. Because you can. And because you don't have to satisfy fussy little taste buds.
  • Don't do four loads of washing a day. I dare you.
  • Explore the new mega IKEA at Springvale and do something completely out of character like taking the child to the kids playground and watch them enjoy themselves in the ball pit without turning a thought to the possible disasters which line the floor of the ball pit.
  • Make pierogi with your mum. Or just let her do most of the pierogi-making while you go to the Space Invaders exhibit with your significant life partner (read: cash in on some free baby-sitting while you still can).
  • Take many awesome photos at the Space Invaders exhibit before being told that "you're not allowed to take photos in here". Oops. Sorry.
  • Check out the Queen Vic Market and peruse the many Ugg Boot, cheap plastic knock-off licensed toys, even cheaper looking clothes, fresh produce and bric-a-brac galore. Eat lots of yummy things including a chicken roti.
  • Get up really early and hit the Camberwell Rotary Market (read: the best flea market in Melbourne and possibly Australia). Pick up a brand new dusty blue mohair top with black velvet buttons for $5 with the added bonus of it's previous owner never actually wearing it since its original purchase.
  • Scenic drive to Tyabb to indulge in vintage wares, antiques and food including a splendid mixed berry, white chocolate and almond torte, buttery, crusty, ham and cheese croissant and english breakfast tea (not in that order). Yep. I said torte.
  • Introduce your mum to the delights of the Lindt Cafe
  • Visit the Europa Cake Shop in St Kilda and take in the scrumptious scents of sugary goodness.
And that my friends is how you spend two weeks of school holidays. I may not be in school, but school holidays are very much a part of my life now that I have a school-aged child in my company.

And today, the end of the school holidays, I have one more little luxury. A new modem arrived today which means connectivity to the outside world again. At high speed. So you'll be seeing lots more of me.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

my creative space: handbag organiser

I'm short on words today... or is that time?!

Here's the handbag organiser which I sketched a few weeks ago... now in real living fabric!

Lots more creative spaces over here


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