30 Aug 2012
It has been a subtle shift yet one that has taken over the way we live. In what seems like a past life my beloved and I were spenders. Yes there was the obligatory "save for our house" fund that always consumed the majority of our pays. But the rest, the fun money, soon filled the pockets of others as we drank coffee, bought shoes, dined on the water's edge, saw the world.
Caught in a consumerist trap we nodded our heads in agreement to advertisements spruiking the latest must have. We purchased with greed and the thrill of the hunt was not in the quality of the things we bought but the amount that could be stuffed into bulging plastic bags. Throw away fashion and the like.
With the incredible blessings of our little people came a drop in wage. My wage. And with this a tightening of purse strings. Treading water in this new world of think before we spend I did what I do best, I threw myself in boots and all. I've sewed, I've knitted, I've read books about how to squeeze every last drop out of our weekly groceries, we've planted vegetables, I've op-shopped, we've gone without.
But is there a feeling of wanting? Well actually no. I feel an incredible sense of pride as I cast my gaze around our home and struggle to find one room, one corner, that hasn't been touched by my hands. Everywhere there are reminders that making do not only solves the immediate problem at hand but also enriches our space...our world. And our purchases? We now favour a less is more philosophy and only part with our hard earned dollars for things of quality, often artisan or handmade.
When she was a wee one my baby girl chewed her cot good and proper as she teethed leaving a rather grizzly sight of gnawed timber and white paint flecked teeth. At the time we bought the latest and greatest plastic snap on device that Bijou managed to remove faster than we could attach it. Her chomping phase soon passed and with it the plastic teether..quite likely in the bin.
Fast forward a few years and the little man now slumbers in this cot. Faced with the task of not only hiding these unsightly marks but more importantly, protecting his emerging teeth I didn't head to the nearest baby store but opened my sewing cupboard and hunted about. A vintage cot sheet, a strip of leftover cotton quilt wadding and an hour or two of measuring, pinning and sewing and I had a lovely little solution. Just some fabric. some time and my two hands.
In the background is Remy's most adored Bruno handmade by the gorgeous girls of Quill and Ink Handmade.
28 Aug 2012
The weather has turned here and the sun strips our outer layers of clothing off quickly now. Thick hoodies and Mumma knitted cardigans have been washed and packed away with smiles and sighs and dreams. But this one, it stays in his cupboard. He has only worn it a handful of times and each time I swoon. I know that with each passing day his tummy will swell and grow too big for it. My boy.
Knit with as soft as down baby alpaca yarn and every ounce of love for him. Remy's Milo vest Ravelled here.
23 Aug 2012
Swathed in rainbow coloured silk she flits about the backyard. The morning sun highlights the copper in her hair. She is a butterfly, a bat, a bird. With pegs and a length of rope she has created a cave. A green dragon's tail hangs behind her. I watch her lips move in hushed conversation as she immerses deeper into her magic world.
Box loads of plastic have been bundled up and passed on to those less fortunate. In their place a humble basket of play silks. A treasure chest spilling over with stories to be told, scenes to be set, gowns to be worn. She returns to them time and time again and each day she views them with fresh eyes. Imagination is glorious.
22 Aug 2012
Family Favourites. Ours is spaghetti and meatballs. For as long as I can remember the meal made for special occasions was, and still is, spaghetti and meatballs. A recipe that was found on the side of a Rosella soup tin many years ago. It was sticky taped into Mum's recipe journal and has two faded words across the top in her lovely swirly writing. Very Good. The sticky tape has long lost it's stick and yellowed the pages beneath it. The sentiment is the same.
The ricey meatballs so hot they have to be sliced open to cool unveiling the hidden treasure of a cube of cheese inside. The sauce; a blend of tomato soup, red wine and Masterfoods Italian Herbs. Sitting atop angel hair pasta and sprinkled with a snowfall of Parmesan this meal has connected my family time and time again.
A dear friend of ours waxes lyrical about his family favourite; cheerio casserole. His Mum dishing out helpings of this to her 4 boys no doubt in an effort to not only fill their cavernous pits of stomachs but also to lighten the budget's load. And it is in his honour that I write this post.
This remarkable father of three beautiful little girls is embarking on a journey of such self sacrifice and kindness pushing his endurance and strength to the highest level. Along with 49 other brilliant souls he is riding the 1600km from Brisbane to Townsville in only 8 days to raise money for cancer research. My eyes well at the amazing human spirit.
Please visit his blog and donate even a few dollars to the 2012 Bottlesmart Smiddy Challenge to help answer questions, ease pain and hopefully find a cure to such a devastating and cruel disease.
And for those who want to make all their children's Christmases come at once....the recipe for cheerio casserole. Hats off to you lovely Steve! A champion you most certainly are.
Butter or margarine
2 onions, chopped
4 tomatoes, skinned and chopped
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 cup chopped capsicum, celery, peas or beans
2 cups beef stock
1/2 cup uncooked rice or noodles
1 dozen cheerios cut in half lengthwise
1/2 cup grated tasty cheese
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
Melt butter and fry onion. Add tomatoes , seasonings and capsicum (or peas, beans etc.) and cook gently until ingredients blend into a thick soft mixture. Add stock. When boiling add rice or noodles and simmer for 15 minutes stirring occasionally uncovered. Remove from heat and add cheerios. Turn into a greased oven proof dish, top with cheese and breadcrumbs mixed. Put in the oven for 30 minutes.
What's your family favourite? I'd love to hear.
20 Aug 2012
Today our feet tread on grass for the first time in ages. We cast open all the windows and doors and beckoned Spring in. The morning sun's sting whispers that she's nearly here. It's time to think about the vegetable garden and dust off forgotten plans and dreams for it. Ideas that seem wasted in the dark of Winter with too much rain and not enough sun now start percolating. They start to grow.
Some soil, some egg shells and some seeds. Fingers pressing new life ever so carefully into its new nutrient rich home. Last year she cracked most of the shells with her chubby toddler fingers but now her dexterity makes my heart flutter. I can see my baby girl is growing too.
17 Aug 2012
With lolly pink wool, wonky aluminium needles and a good dose of concentration tongue poking I embarked on my knitting journey. Mum at my side no doubt trying desperately to control the urge to snatch the needles from my grasp and do it for me. She never, ever did.
Over and over she watched me slowly wrap the yarn and slip each loopy stitch off the needle. She unravelled countless Houdini knots and tangles. She soothed my impatience and gently steered me toward projects far more suited to my blossoming ability than that stripey blazer in the latest issue of Dolly magazine. All the while she knit.
She knit jumpers for my tiny adolescent frame when all those around swum on me. Special trips to the local haberdashery were made to peruse the wall of buttons and carefully select just the right ones from their little cylinder. Tortoiseshell, wood and pearl.
And still I while away many moments wrapping yarn and slipping stitches off the needle. Still the journey continues albeit much faster these days. Such pleasure it gives me to make fabric with my hands. Fabric that warms my neck, my toes...my poppet's heads.
A million thank-yous Mum for sharing your knowledge in your ever serene and gentle way.
Berets for my loves ravelled here and here.
14 Aug 2012
She is ever a picture of industry. With lips pouted in concentration and head cocked to the side as she surveys her creations...just like her Mumma. There is paper everywhere. Snipped paper, ripped paper, coloured paper, drawn on paper, small circles of paper from the hole punch. It spills from the dining table and at times feels as if I will drown in all it's colourful chaos. With her insatiable imagination comes much desired creativity yet much less desired mess.
Each day her volcano of creativity explodes spewing forth all manner of stationary across every empty surface and pathway. And every evening we tidy it away. Our children burst into our worlds and bring with them a cornucopia of stuff not always in tune with our own aesthetic and although we love them til our hearts ache it is all too easy to "tidy them away".
But this her day's play...is her work. And such important and sacred work it is.
While she slept the other day, weary from her many adventures with her every cell trying its darnedest to shoo away Winter lurgies, I pottered. Some wee pieces of furniture were hauled upstairs from the garage. Some vintage sheeting was torn and plaited. A Mumma made letter writing caddy was hung. Pretty china plates became vessels for art making supplies. A work space was created. Her space.