Friday, 29 July 2011

reality is...

So I've been promising all week and the time has come my dears to deliver. Deliver upon my promise.  Just in case you missed it, my promise was to show you my world in complete and utter reality. Raw. Unedited. Not styled. No photoshop. No Picnik.  No filters. No cropping out unsightly mess. This is my unsightly mess.  It is my space, my home, my place where I create, live and love.  And you know what?  It's NOT perfect.  And that's just reality.

How did this all come about?  Well, I read a lovely lady's blog post the other day talking about how she felt down and out.  I completely understand those feelings and I've experienced them myself.  When I started this blog I wanted people to visit knowing that they would find a piece of prettiness.  With prettiness comes a level of styling and photography that is necessary in order to achieve a certain desired look.  

We all read magazines and understand the appeal of looking at a styled interior.  It contains a certain level of aspiration and want-ability (is that even a word).  It engages the reader and inspires the soul. Even though most of the time our own spaces barely resemble any of these rooms, we all believe that the pics in the glossy magazines are achievable.  

Slowly, our online lives easily morph into whatever we want them to be.  We hide behind our avatars and the persona's we build through social media networks. It's hardly engaging nor is it interesting to share via Twitter that you've just finished cleaning the house.  However, turn that house into the latest fancy restaurant and the cleaning into a celebrity who you spotted at said restaurant and all of a sudden your life sounds all the more interesting.

Not that I'm saying that everyone who Tweets or writes a blog is lying.  Far from it.  What I'm leading to is that many of us only show the aspects of our lives that we feel are exciting and worth tweeting or posting about.  Multiply that by 10 million people and we have this extraordinary ripple effect of fabulousness resonating all over the interwebs.  All of this fabulousness can leave some people feeling rather, well, unfabulous.

So, in honour of all things real and in the hope of making someone feel like they're very normal and just like the rest of us, here is a snapshot into my very real life.  No fancy restaurants (you're lucky to get mac and cheese around here some days) and definitely no celebrities.  Just me and my mess. Just reality.

the kitchen or at least a bit of it

lounge complete with unfolded washing

my, ahem, sewing table. somewhere under there. I think.
No make-up, messy unstyled hair, no fancy filters
So, I've shared my unworthy-of-a-magazine-shoot life, now who's going to join me?  Play along and add your link below.  Or you can tweet your pics using the hashtag: #justreality. If you don't blog or have a twitter account, you can post them of Facebook instead. 

Go on, be game.  I dare you. You'll probably be making someones day you know. For real.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

my creative space: not so glam

This week my creative space is not as creative as it has been in the past.  I am up to my eyeballs in lists, creative collateral, registrations, attending seminars and conferences and dealing with government departments amongst other things, all in preparation for the shop.  

Staying on top of what needs to be done requires lists.  Many of them.  And if there’s anything I’m good at it’s lists.  And spreadsheets.  Yep, total nerd alert.

I wanted to show you the beautiful panels of various red fabric which I’d cut to make a sprocket cushion, however I can’t find them.  They’re probably lost under a pile of junk on my sewing table. More about that tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, tune in for the just reality reveal.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about you can check it out here.  There will be a few people playing along.  You can play along too by adding your link tomorrow.  If you’re a tweeter, use #justreality.

For far more creative spaces, jump over here.

And don't forget to come back tomorrow for a slice of my reality.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

the simple things

These are some snaps I took on my phone yesterday.  I've been going on lots of walks around the new 'hood lately. Exploring new surrounds can be much fun and really quite refreshing, not only for your lungs but more importantly for your soul.  And who wouldn't want to explore when there are so many beautiful things to see dotted around otherwise common streets - you just have to open your eyes and really see.  

It makes me realise just how lucky we are to be living in such a beautiful part of Melbourne.  We're close to some amazing restaurants, shops, schools and the beautiful and lively Melbourne city yet my immediate surrounds can make me feel like I'm in a quaint country town.  Best of both worlds if you ask me.

We may have downsized on our living space and sacrificed some luxuries in exchange for making my little dream of opening a shop a reality, but the neighbourhood certainly makes up for it in more ways than one.

P.S. Will you be playing along on Friday? 

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

easy chicken soup

Comforting chicken soup.  For me there's nothing more soothing.  Well, except for maybe a warm cuddle from my loved ones.  Because I'm in a comforting, sharing is caring kinda mood, I'm going to share my chicken soup recipe. It's best made in a large pot so that you have enough for a couple of days.  Trust me, you'll want enough for a couple of days.


  • 1 tbspn olive oil
  • 1 onion finely diced 
  • 6 medium button mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1 litre water
  • 3 chicken drumsticks
  • 3 chicken wings
  • 1 can chickpeas (drained)
  • 1 can corn (drained)
  • 1 can peas (drained)
  • salt and pepper


In a large heavy based pot heat some oil and gently fry onions, mushrooms and half the garlic for about 5 mins on a medium heat.  Pour in chicken stock and water and bring to a simmer.  Add chicken pieces and simmer for about 10 mins.  Then add chickpeas and simmer for another 10 mins.  Remove chicken pieces and set aside to cool.  Add corn, peas and remainder of garlic to the soup.  Once chicken has cooled a little (enough that you can stand to touch it without burning your digits), remove the meat from the bones and add it back to the pot and simmer for a further 5 mins.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir, pour into bowls and serve.

If you could be bothered, you can also add diced potato in with the chickpeas.  But only if you could be bothered.  Will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.


P.S. don't forget about the just reality challenge this Friday. It's not too late to play along. Watch this space on Friday and add your link. I dare you.

Monday, 25 July 2011

just reality

The cold hard reality is that some days life can just get you down.  

It might be the winter blues.
You might have too much on your plate.
It could be your shitty job. 
Or lack thereof.
The kids might be extra whiny.
You might be stressing over financial troubles.
Maybe it's been too long between holidays.
Or maybe you're stewing over how much better everyone else's lives seem to be.  At least through the window of others blogs.

I think that anyone who hasn't been down due to one of the above reasons is only kidding themselves or is very heavily medicated.  No offence intended if it's the latter. 

Inspired by a recent post I read by a lovely lady who I know only through Twitter and blogging, I have decided to post a photo this Friday showing an aspect of the very unglamorous and very real me.  And I encourage you to join me this Friday and do the same.

It could be a photo of your messy living room, dishes piling up in the sink, you in your trackies (velour walking suit) or if you're game like me - an unedited photo of you without make-up and bed-head.  Let it all hang out!

For just one day pluck-up the courage to feel completely liberated from your air-brushed life and let others see that you are in fact human and not a perfect specimen who moonlights as wonder woman.

Post a photo on your blog, Facebook or Twitter account showing an aspect of your real life and add your link back here so that others can check you out in full glory.  Loud and proud. No editing. No styling. No bullshit. Just reality.

So, the real question is... ARE YOU GAME?

Your post might just make someone feel a little more human and make their day

Feel free to leave a comment here or post about your commitment to this before D-day (this Friday) so that it's harder for you to back out.  And if you're Tweeting about it on Friday use the #justreality hashtag in your Tweet.

Friday, 22 July 2011

making my mark

the result of my first stamp carving attempt
Last night I attended a stamp carving class with fellow Southside Brown Owls run by the lovely Holly of Two Cheese Please which was graciously hosted by Kat at Windsor Deli.  Yep, that's a mouthful and a few links for you to check out too!

As per usual when lots of creative ladies meet up, there's lots of chatting, eating and drinking.  However last night there were many pauses of silence as each of us concentrated on not slicing our fingertips off with the very sharp scalpel-like tool.
Shannon's adorable owl
Each of us had to come up with a design, sketch it, transfer it onto the rubber and then carve away until we got a raised surface which would hold up to stamping with colourful inks.
Tess' impressive geometric formation
There were owls, geometric designs, and many earthy designs amongst last nights bunch of first-timers. And the majority of us managed to get two stamps completed by the end of the night.
yarn ball complete with knitting needles
I made a little house for me and then a skull for the boy-child, which he loves!
Lisa's very organic looking design
So, have I found a new craft you ask? Hell yeah! Loved it. To me it's kinda like embroidery... you really have to concentrate on what you're doing so that you're fairly precise with the channels or lines which you make.  Plus you have to try to keep all your fingers in tact. 
Cindy's happy rain clouds
Have you tried stamp carving before?  It's highly therapeutic and rewarding! If you haven't tried it, you should totally give it a try. You can buy a kit from here complete with rubber, carving tool and instructions.  

Thursday, 21 July 2011

my creative space: till death do us part

I've been working away (very slowly) on this piece of embroidery for the past few weeks.  When I get into it, I actually get a bit done, but it's the motivation to pick up the hoop, floss and needle and continue on with it each night that I seem to be lacking.

My husband imposed a technology ban on me the other night which meant that I wasn't allowed to use my phone (which he hid from me) or the laptop.  So I sat in my comfy armchair with feet in warm bath salts (care of my thoughtful man-friend) and embroidered whilst watching a movie.  I have to say, I definitely needed a night away from Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and Flickr.  Thank you darling husband.  You really are the best.
So when this work in progress is done, it will be a cushion (which I upcycled from a thrifted tablecloth) with De Los Muertos embroidery.

Hop along over here to check out a bunch of other creative peeps and their creative spaces.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

second life: wool

Maybe it's the current cold weather and the yearning for warmth, comfort and cosy textiles that's had me thinking about woollies and how to reuse, up-cycle or revamp old jumpers (that's sweaters for our US friends) and old balls of wool.  

I know one thing for sure, wool is certainly one of the most versatile textiles that's readily available and in a vast range of colours.

So here's this week's wrap up (get it, get it!) of my fave second life projects involving wool and woolly by-products.

Yarn Mobile
wool rug
felt flower brooch
felted sweater quilt
felted sweater fingerless mittens
snuggly felted softies
I was going to add pom-pom's to this wrap up but I thought some of you might have had enough of my talking about pom poms.  There are so many great ways to give old woollen clothing a new lease on life. Maybe you'll rethink getting rid of those warm woollens once they are of no use to you?

And to get you started, here's a quick tutorial on how to felt jumpers/sweaters for those who haven't tried it before.  Warning: highly addictive.

If you've missed the previous 'second life' posts, you can find them here.

Friday, 15 July 2011

brown owls: southside

Some of the lovely ladies from last night including Tess from Creative Women's Circle
Last month I attended the Southside chapter of Brown Owls*.  I had such a lovely time drinking tea, indulging in cake, meeting talented crafters and actually engaging in some craft that I wanted to do it all again.  And last night I did.

Thanks to Michelle from Leni and Rose, we all made some Liberty Hair Ties.

It's such a nurturing and friendly environment that if anyone was hesitant about attending before reading this, you should take my advice and totally go to the next one closest to you.  Everyone is lovely and most people started out not knowing anyone either!

And here's me today wearing a couple of my liberty hair ties which I made last night...
Thanks to all the lovely ladies for the great conversation and yummy treats.  And most of all, a huge thanks to Katrina for hosting us at the super cute Windsor Deli!

* If you haven't heard of it before, Brown Owls is a crafty group started by Pip from Meet Me at Mikes.  It was started to promote craft and encourage people who don't necessarily know each other to get together and bond over craft.  There are chapters all over the world and the best thing is that you can start your own chapter if there isn't one near you!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

my creative space: organisation

Having moved 2 months ago, I'm slightly embarrassed to say that we're still not completely organised in our new space.  The only space left to be organised, and quite possibly the most important space for me personally, is my sewing and crafting area.

"Shame on you" you say?  Yes well, good point. But it's a little tricky to organise a space when you have no actual space in which to carry out the organising.  It seems that in the move from one rental property to another I have in fact lost my craft room. Gasp, I know.  But it's all for a good cause.  One which includes a retail space attached to our dwelling.

So for the time being my craft space is in what will eventually be the shop.  Currently it's filled with various bits of furniture and shop fixtures, unpacked boxes from my old craft room, stacks of fabric, my sewing table which is even more embarrassingly piled high with all sorts of paraphernalia, pom-poms, half-finished bunting and goodness knows what else.

So my creative space this week is all about getting somewhat organised so that I can continue sewing for the time being. At least until the shop interior starts screaming for a clear-out.
I've started my organisational mission with my cigar boxes.  I've had a stack of them which I've been using for storing smaller type things such as business cards, felt scraps and my hot glue gun.  But I constantly faced the problem of never knowing what each one had in it until I opened it.
I found these free vintage pharmacy labels through the graphics fairy, downloaded the file, set it up as a repeating label in a word document and then typed text over the top of each label before printing, cutting out and attaching to the front of each cigar box with some paper gum.

I think they've come up well and they've certainly given me the inspiration to steam ahead with more organisational solutions.

Many more creative spaces over there.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

second life: fabric scraps

If you're an avid sewer like myself, you're probably all too familiar with the piles, boxes and bags of fabric scraps that are just "too good to throw out, because you never know when you're going to need the very last 2cm x 5cm scrap of vintage floral fabric".

If this sounds familiar, then read on my friends.  This post is a quick wrap up of some of the best ways to use up those beloved scraps of fabric.  No more hoarding, no more procrastinating, make some room in your craft space and "second-life" your scraps for a worthy outcome which will see your precious scraps being brought out in all their beauty.
framed fabric hoops
scrappy lamp shade
scrap map... too cool!
party garland or bunting
appliqué cushion
kids craft idea: fabric collage
Maybe you have some awesome projects to add to this list?  Feel free to leave a comment with a link for us to check out.  More second life projects here

Monday, 11 July 2011

dreaming of a camper getaway

Winter has given me the blues and I think I’m overdue for a getaway, so I’ve been looking at lots of pictures of campervans online, day-dreaming of a family camping adventure.  Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any retro campervans for hire (or “rentals” for those of you reading this in the US) which are as lovely as these...

Only the standard plaid-covered-seat-wood-grain-laminate-interior-box-shaped-body-ones seem to be available.  I am determined to find one with a little character and charm.  One which would make a road trip with two boys (one grown and one not) stuck in close proximity a little more bearable!  I’m thinking that if I can’t find what I’m looking for, I’m going to start stock-piling a heap of stuff to take with us to make the interior more eye-candy-esque.  Things such as some pretty crochet blankets, colourful bunting, delicious melamine, upcycled tea towel cushions and floral curtains.
I think I need to get a copy of this book for some more inspiration.  Oh, and if you send an email to these folks with the word "diddy" in the subject line, they'll email you a printable 'Make your own diddy' model campervan.  I can dream in mini-scale for the time being with this model.
So if you know anyone in Melbourne or Victoria who would like to rent out their pretty camper to our family of three, drop me a line.  We promise to look after it as though it were our own.  Thank you gifts will be supplied in return.


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