Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

Around Here

These past six months I’ve been studying graphic design as well as juggling parenting and work. It’s been intense. However it’s also been wonderful learning new skills and being around other creative like-minded people. I love being in a place where we can have in depth discussions about the finer points of printing on gloss v semi-gloss paper. I guess you could call it crack for crafty people.

In other news, we have been growing beetroot and kale in our garden. Kale is robust and plentiful but quickly takes over the garden. Beetroot are low-maintenance, well behaved vegetables that sit nicely in the soil until you’re ready to eat them. We tried growing cabbage, but it didn’t fare so well as it seemed to attract the entire insect population of our neighbourhood.BeetrootWe had our first visit from the tooth fairy, twice in two days in fact. Surely there’s nothing more gorgeous than a gap toothed smile. Our tooth fairy gives $2 a tooth. I’m not sure what the going rate is, but I’ve tried to factor in inflation since I was a child.Gappy TeethMy children are now suddenly big, independent creatures that are quite good company. To all the parents out there struggling with babies and toddlers…IT GETS EASIER. They seem to spend much of their days swimming, fighting, lego-making, snacking, fighting, crafting, cycling and fighting.Cheeky ChopsI’m really looking forward to the Christmas break and to celebrate the upcoming festivities, have some Christmas posts coming your way.

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Meet the GirlsA few months ago I welcomed three lovely ladies into my home….Shirley, Dot and Betty. These pink feathered creatures reside serenely over our mantlepiece and were handcrafted only 5 hours away in Wagga Wagga, NSW by Studio Australia. Galahs are native to Australia and I’m especially fond of them as they can be seen everywhere in my home state of South Australia.

After ordering online, I was worried that the dainty ceramic birds would not survive the transit, but it turns out I needn’t be.

This organisation takes its packaging seriously.

And so do my kids.

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Blanket I discovered this crocheted blanket at a little church run op-shop. It’s one of those op-shops that’s only open one morning a week and only the locals know about it. I was told that the lady who made this blanket passed away peacefully at home two weeks ago at the age of 83. She had kept active with her crochet and was quite renowned for her handiwork in her church community. It’s nice to know the story behind a blanket. Lego My son keeps producing the most extraordinary lego creations. For some time he followed the instructions meticulously…but like every great artist has kept his style evolving. The past few months have been an era of unbridled creativity. His vehicular creations have extraordinary names like “The Flying Audiologist” in a homage to a recent medical check-up. MintOur mint plant was on death’s door so I gave it a generous scoop from our compost and a good watering. There’s obviously something magical in our compost, because here it is a few days later completely reinvented with a new lease on life. Kitty My daughter has become quite attached to this stuffed cat and sleeps with it every night. It’s called “Kitty” and is getting pretty worn and smelly…but I love this thing.Homemade Golden Rough

This is a wholefood version of a Golden Rough. It’s completely natural, raw, organic and vegan. But don’t let that put you off…it tastes amazing. I will be posting the recipe soon. BooksThese past few weeks I have been quietly amassing a little stash of books and get a ridiculous amount of pleasure at the thought of reading these. There’s nothing more decadent than ignoring the 1001 things that need to be done and reading a novel in bed.

Vintage sheets

And finally…watching vintage sheets hanging on the line in the sunlight. And how do you know that a gorgeous little floral number is vintage?

Vintage Sheet Tag

Check the tag. Made in Australia’s the giveaway.

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May the force be with youAnd Happy Fathers Day to my husband, who spends way too much time deliberating on the perfect age for our son to first watch Star Wars.

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August Babies

August is a special month for me as I celebrate both my babies’ birthdays. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since we celebrated their last birthdays. It’s been an unexpectedly sad time thinking about my mum who is not with us this year. So we kept it low key, with the exception of a little bit of kitchen bling in the form of my new beverage dispenser. I saw one of these (with watermelon punch) featured on Like Giants and have loved the idea since. I did the lazy mum’s version with Nudie Juice and some sliced fresh fruit.

Beverage Dispenser

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I’ve previously blogged about the side effects of being married to an ecologist. It turns out that creepy crawlies are not just a ‘boy’ thing. Our daughter is equally enthusiastic about the 6 and 8 legged members of the animal kingdom. It continues to be a challenge for me as I clearly have some deep-rooted issues with invertebrates. A couple months shy of 2 and 4, my children already have a growing collection of field guides. On the weekend we were having a strangely quiet car journey across town. I looked over my shoulder and this was what my two were up to.

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Ten Things

  1. Why those pelvic floor muscle exercises might have come in handy.
  2. Of all the toys you can tread on barefoot in the night, the small die-cast airplane is the most painful.
  3. The extraordinary capacity of a human being to function without sleep.
  4. Supervising small children is a lot like herding cats.
  5. How to hide carrots in anything.
  6. To read the books, but parent with intuition.
  7. Time-out is not just for kids.
  8. Cuddles are like crack for mummies.
  9. Sometimes your kids do strange things. Don’t sweat it, just photograph it.
  10. Parenting is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, but also the most joyful.

Happy Mothers Day xo

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On Strength


You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have. Unknown

In many years time I might look back on this year as one of the most intense periods of my life. I returned to work part time after my second child, my husband began commuting interstate weekly for a work project and at times I was struggling to manage the children and the household. I was grateful to have my mum fly over from South Australia to help me child-wrangle for a little while. We had some joyful times starting a vegetable garden and have been ironing out all the little creases from moving house, including dealing with a horrible pre-existing cockroach problem.

Then in March the unspeakable happened. My beautiful mum, a healthy and active 56 year old, was diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma, an aggressive cancer of the bile duct that had spread to many other organs.

Within two weeks she had passed away.

Through mum’s diagnosis and her passing and funeral service, we have been living out of a suitcase interstate in hospital corridors and cafeterias. I’m grateful that between her six children, she didn’t have to spend a night alone in the hospital. I was able to spend two nights with her sleeping on a chair next to her bedside, and we were all with her, holding her and loving her as she passed away from us.

We have now returned to Sydney and back to our ‘normal life’. It is like I have been reborn seeing the world anew wearing ‘cancer goggles’. Most people I speak to seem to know someone dear to them that has been affected by or is affected by this wretched disease. My GP said 30% of people die from cancer. I have also found that losing someone gives you membership to a strange club where you find yourself connected to other people who have experienced loss. I know there’s supposed to be five stages of grief but my stages seem to be flying around all over the place like clothes in a tumble dryer. Flying in and out of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

In such a time of loss I have been grateful for my two beautiful children. Kids have a way of making you get up in the morning. They just keep dragging you into the present when you want to hide in the past. They are big electromagnetic bundles of energy that keep you rooted in the moment. There’s nothing like bathing a wilful 20-month old or wiping Weet-bix from the walls to help keep your perspective.

I truly thought my mum would live to 86.  She was at the birth of my children, the first person I rang in any dilemma or crisis, the person I compared op-shop finds with and got excited about crafting pursuits with. She was the matriarch of the family, a mother of six and grandmother of 11. It’s hard to imagine another Christmas without her mediating the chaos and doting on our children.  I miss her fiercely and it’s near impossible to imagine a future without her. She lived an extraordinary life.

Rest in peace beautiful mother.

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On the weekend we went bush walking…our first bush walk together as a family. The Wolli Creek Regional Park is one of the inner west’s best kept secrets. A little pocket of native vegetation in the middle of suburbia. It’s a special place to us, because it’s where we got married several years ago (in the time I recall fondly as “the before”). It was strange being back with two small children in tow…the incessant chatter and rumble of little toddler feet sending nervous Eastern Water Skinks scurrying for cover. We were amazed at how excited the children were to be in the bush. It’s nature’s playground…with so much to see, hear, smell and touch. Whisper thin dragon flies floating in the air, cockatoos squawking over head, interesting rocks and tree branches to navigate and scented wild flowers fragrancing the air. It was a great afternoon…and much more fun without a white frock on.

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