31 May 2012

my creative space . . . 'fancy frock fixes'

Greetings all,
I learned to sew via osmosis from my mother, specialising in alterations & how to fix things.  I've always been able to snatch a bargain dress with a tiny flaw i can repair, so when i found this Alannah Hill frock (i'm wearing to a wedding in a few days) on a rack marked down from $569 to "$80 broken zip" i was thrilled.  
 Look at the detail, so so pretty.  It's knee length with matching sequins around the bottom, soft & floaty.  I had an invisible zip in my stock so fixed it, carefully.  I did get new shoes, on sale, which will go with a gazillion frocks too.
 I've also decided to carry my silver sequin heart clutch/ handbag (it has a strap) as it will go perfectly with this headband, also an Alannah Hill 'broken' bargain, for $19.  It's not even a missing bead or snapped sequin issue, simple fabric stitching undo at the bottom of the headband, glee!!  Took a minute to fix & of course, loving the 80% discount??!!
You don't even have to be an experienced seamstress to fix many fancy frock flaws, i hand stitched these, for tiny detail accuracy.  Don't by shy . . . or find someone who can sew - cook them a lasagne or bring a bunch of flowers, swap skills.  Must admit i did feel like a couture designer working with such delicate fabric, invisible thread & fine stitching.  For more creative spaces, check out village voices, love Posie

30 May 2012

snap it 'red'

Greetings all,
Red is by far my favourite accessory colour for decor, kitchen appliances & fashion.  Scrolling through photos for red inspiration rather than take a new photograph, i found these beauties from family travels . . . 
a Murano glass chandelier in Venice - very difficult to photograph the glass in stores as most have 'no photo' signs, so i took shots on the move, much to my husband's horror.  They make red glass with gold, which explains why red glass is the most pricey . . . 
 yay, Disneyland, better yet, the Disneyland Hotel in Hong Kong where Minnie Mouse visits your table while you dine, it was the BEST family holiday of all time . . . 
 living in Canberra is fantastically close to the ski fields, so we throw the children on toboggans & push them down hills at Mt Selwyn for a wild time (our children have no fear, they even build jumps.) FYI best thigh work out EVER going back up the hills . . .   
 one year we had friends getting married in Sydney & we were about to move from Darwin, so i sent my husband & preschool aged son on a trip together while i packed up the house (they went for a week, the girls were in school, it was 6 hours of silent packing each day, ahhh.)  Here is our boy on a ferry from Taronga Zoo across Sydney Harbour with his much loved fearsome tiger 'Bella' . . . 
 Oh look at this, our now enormous German Shepherd was once a little puppy with a sweet red collar.  I nursed him on my lap the whole way home from the breeders, 300km away.  Yes, he grew into those massive paws & is the most loyal & loving family dog.
Playing with Faith Hope & a Whole Lotta Love Photography Snap It series today, love Posie

28 May 2012

10 ways i'm feeling my age . . .

Greetings all,
Yay . . . we have a wedding this weekend, finally a wedding to attend with my beloved husband (& not be put on the 'singles' table, first time in 9 years!!)  I'm so looking forward to it, however, i am facing up to my age at every turn or perhaps my 'stage' in life, as i wonder where my care-free-natural-youthful-effortless-preparation-for-big-events has gone??  I don't like to put makeup on with a trowel, but i might have to start learning, eeek!!  
1. my hair is no longer naturally blonde, it's now mousey & needs to be coloured
2. i question my choice of sparkly Alannah Hill frock - it looks like Chanel, buttery cream with black sequins: fun & flirty.  Can i pull off this look, mother of a high schooler??   
 3. i've gained weight & running around the block for a week ain't going to fix the jiggles, so i've purchased a suck-you-in-at-all-the-right-places stretchy thing i tug on around my body
4. eating salads to avoid any bloating is not an option, it's a must this week 
5. hair colour will zap my new shoes budget, i've actually let these words slip out of my mouth . . . "i could always wear shoes i already have". . . i don't know who i am anymore - to skip a husband-approved-new-shoes-opportunity??  
6. i really want to carry my cute little silver heart sequin purse, it's from the Seed children's section, i've seen similar in glossy magazines for quadruple the price . . . it's charming yet doesn't match anything i'm wearing, will anyone notice??  I don't judge the person but i do admire a well put together ensemble & i haven't given up trying . . . yet
7. my first reaction to the wedding invitation was to consult a babysitter 
8. i barely wear makeup, to the point where my makeup essentials are stale & need updating.  Add to that a facial & eye brow wax - i didn't put this much effort into my own wedding day (15 years ago) sigh, i didn't have to!!
9. there is a 3 hour gap between wedding ceremony & reception, it's in a vineyard, with soldiers just back from deployment, there is wine tasting, i predict disaster come speech time.  I'll have a camera & will remember the next day, i don't drink alcohol.  Meanwhile, i need to brush up on small talk & seek out the pregnant wives for coherent company
10. this is the weirdest feeling of all, my husband is the boss, like those 60's & 70's television sitcoms where everyone panics as the boss is going to be at an event - that still happens in the Army, as there is rank & my handsome soldier took many wedding guests to war.  My husband is a soldier's soldier, one of the boys, he shared a room with the groom in Afghanistan, but still . . . he's the boss & i'm the boss's wife, that makes me feel old - especially as i'm still the first wife!!  Most wives don't care so much about rank but some do, i've never met anyone going to this wedding, so i'm hoping to mingle title free.  Either that i'll pick out the competitive career wives - those who make nice to elevate their husband's prospects of promotion, i've seen that happen, it's alarming to think it would ever make a difference, compared to just being nice for nice sake??  
Am i alone in this effort & strategy filled preparation for a big event??  Call it a full dress rehearsal for my 20 year school reunion later this year. 
In the meantime, my fuss-free husband cruised straight into Hugo Boss for a new suit off the rack with minor sleeve & trouser length adjustments = absolute perfection, add coordinating shirt (on pre-sale special) + Turnbull & Asser tie from Bloomingdales in Dubai . . . boom, he looks like a freaking cat walk model!!  Model wears own shoes.  Humph, love Posie

26 May 2012

i'm grateful for . . . 'nurture'

Greetings all,
Following Maxabella Loves lead with being grateful for 'nurture' this week.  We were offered a challenge - to raise a bullied chick, being pecked to death by its 9 siblings - it was the chance to exude nurture in buckets.  I knew how beautiful, loving, caring our first chick was when her sibling failed to thrive . . . she would be an amazing nurture powerhouse to this brand new chick, albeit, only 25 days older.
 So i gingerly placed this day old 25gm chicken with our Viola (she has to be a hen, or a very nurturing gay rooster) & just look at them.  Yes, i had tears in my eyes & a swollen heart watching this.
 Not sure how many heat packs you need when you have a feather doona hugging you.  The expression 'taking you under my wing' comes to mind.
 We have named this new chick is Piccolo.  To think Viola does not find Piccolo annoying is incredible, as she darts under Viola, while she eats, sleeps, moves . . . 
 or just leans on her.  They are inseparable & absolutely meant to be together.
 You know the best thing??  We have since taken 2 of her siblings (3 days later) & guess what, Piccolo is stronger, heavier & higher up the pecking order.  Nurture wins!!
 The children of course are loving more baby chicks to play with.  To make way for them in the coop, we're investigating some adult chicken recipes (sorry adult hens & potential roosters.)  
 We also picked up 2 baby Pekin bantams, who are the cutest things on earth . . . pom poms on fluffy match sticks!!  They like to snuggle into ear muffs & scoot under their 4 Hamburg room mates.  
Special mention to my son who let me chop up his favourite robot blanket.  Thank you readers for not groaning about another chicken post, they are truly melting our hearts, even handsome soldier's . . . i've caught him picking them up for a cuddle too.  Love Posie

24 May 2012

my creative space . . . 'Amy Butler fabric crush'

Greetings all,
In preparation for some sewing over Winter with my new hands (finally feeling creative & inspired, 3 months after bilateral carpal tunnel decompression surgery) i went a bit nuts last week ordering fabric.  I purchased the re-release range of Amy Butler's Gypsy Caravan fabrics - total flash back to what i was doing 10 years ago, at the beginning of my business, now i'm at the end.  
I discovered a passion for patchwork when i was 23, pregnant with my first baby & desperate for a whimsical patchwork quilt for the nursery - i couldn't find anything, so taught myself how to quilt.  Only in 1998 'patchwork' = spinster/ grandmother/ Amish - with dull fabrics to match.  I plodded along, then the vintage/ retro reproduction fabric print explosion started in the USA, i would beg for them to accept my Australian credit card & send me fabrics, slowly building up my product range . . . then Amy Butler launched onto the scene with the most stunning colours, patterns, styles, ideas - a fresh modern twist on traditional patchwork & i've had a crush on her ever since!!
 There is barely a fabric of hers in any colour way, i have not purchased over the last decade.  I want to create a huge patchwork quilt for Spring, in a decade's worth of her fabrics!!  That is some hard core collecting in my stash.
 What i also love about her, along with her excellent attitude, is that she works full time with her husband.  I'm about to spend the next 2 WHOLE months with my husband, i can't wait!!  He's on leave, i'm a housewife, only thing on the to-do-list is . . . purchase a property in the country.  I will not get sick of him for one moment, he's impossible to be annoyed with & this isn't just post-war-honeymoon giddiness talking!!  I will squeal out all my dreams & plans, he will nod & work out the reality, we work well together.  
 What a day - husband home (from post-war-decompression) just in time for the high school cross country at Yarralumla (among the kangaroos) & huge parcels in the mail (gear my husband sent himself from Afghanistan, fabric & goodies) + the first anniversary issue of Mollie Makes Magazine.
 It rained all afternoon, so we ducked into a cafe for a delicious lunch (quality time with the teen) then headed for primary school, all the while i flicked through my fabric & magazine.  You see, when your husband is away for months & months, you literally NEVER sit in the passenger seat, so i take full advantage when i can. 
Check out more Creative Spaces here, love Posie

22 May 2012

a photo-a-day challenge with FatMumSlim May #2

Greetings all,
Welcome to the second 12 days of the photo-a-day challenge with FatMumSlim for May.
11. kitchen - i think it's fair to say i love red accessories in my kitchen.
 12. something that makes you happy - finally finding a vintage desk i've been searching for, only the lady in front of me put it on hold (literally, 5 seconds ahead of me) but she didn't come back for it, so it was mine the following day!!  Meant to be baby, $40 happy bargain too.  
 13. mum - i posted about my Mum on Mother's day, so i chose this image for this post, remembering the words my Mummy said to me when expecting twins "Jennie, of course you're having twins, you needed a challenge" as our first child was so text book eat-drink-sleep-healthy easy.  FYI twins were easier, they ate-drank-slept-healthy & had each other for company!!
 14. grass - how cool is this spongey grass our neighbours are growing slowly in clumps in their front manicured garden.  My children stroke it gently & update me daily on growth patterns.  Our patient childless groovy young couple neighbours are so kind, they'll say "let the children run, jump & pound the landscaping, it will test how good a job we've done."   
 15. love - i adore hearts & love this sparkly purse.  I want to take it to a wedding, it doesn't really go with my buttery yellow Alannah Hill dress with black sequins, but i adore it anyway.  Is there ever more love on display than at a wedding??  
 16. what you're reading - slowly eyeballing my collection of mother's-day-gift-to-me books, the French Cross Stitch Sampler is a must for the car trip to the Brisbane wedding, now i can use my hands again.
 17. snack - not every lunchtime in this household = a sandwich; nothing beats an avocado dip with Turkish bread, fresh from the markets, feeds 4 hungry children for $7 & is a one plate wonder.
18. something you made - this is a tough one for a designer & housewife, as i've made & created thousands of things . . . so i'm going with . . . i've made a wonderful life with this handsome soldier who i love & adore.  He would say "right back at you Jen."  He is doing what he does best - providing for his family, cooking us eye fillet steaks (something he missed while in Afghanistan) with a feast of salads.  He also needs his jeans repaired, i wonder who could fix them??  Can you spy the spotlight he ended up replacing himself??
 19. a favourite place - around the house, i love this shelf filled with Babushkas
 20. something you can't live without - a clear kitchen counter, simple.
 21. where i stand - no earth shattering political view here, i stand in boots: ankle, long, buckled, zip, heeled, flat . . . i love boots in Winter, they are essential, comfortable, warm & always on trend.
 22. pink - just head towards my middle girl's room & look up.  Took me a long time to embrace the colour pink, however, 3 daughters will push you over the edge, they're not pink pink girls, just casual pink users.  My son's favourite colour was pink, until the boys at school told him that was 'gay' (nice) so now it's his second favourite colour (hang in there boy, takes a real man to love pink!!)
 Thanks folks, i'll wrap up May on the 31st.  Love Posie

20 May 2012

social commentary Sunday . . . 'quirky marriages'

Greetings all,
Handsome soldier is back from war so why am i blogging when i should be ravishing him??  Because he's gone.  Just like that, home to Canberra for a couple of days to buy a brand new family car & a dapper new suit for an upcoming wedding, blink & he's off again . . . for a week of 'decompression' at his unit in Brisbane.  If you saw the homecoming parades & soldiers in Townsville on the weekend news, he was in Afghanistan with them. 
You read a lot of about marriages in blog land . . . intense, loving, romantic, turbulent, violent, lost . . . but most often, quirky.  There are celebrity marriages where famous couples live apart - for the considerably creative genius, sharing their life full time with someone might never work . . . & then there is my marriage, filled with quirks & living apart for 4 years as Army life suddenly clashed with our eldest starting high school - our 9th school, it was time for educational stability.  The situation is functional, we miss each other like crazy, raising children solo is no picnic & they miss Daddy + he's deployed to Afghanistan twice during this posting to Brisbane so he's not even in Australia, however, we've decided to settle here in Canberra where my husband can afford to semi retire in his mid 40s & raise those teenagers with me (we consider that the business end of parenting.)  Our eyes are firmly on the prize, the bigger picture.  
I know we're not alone - there are zillions of couples living apart, most often the husband for his work & i believe it's the quirks in the relationship which keep it alive & thriving.  We rarely argue - people either don't believe us or consider it incredibly boring; i'm feisty & he's a man of integrity; basically i'm no door mat & he's not an arsehole, we just get along really well.  He's my best friend in the world, very easy to stay in love with.  We compliment each other.  On all the big life decisions . . . like him joining the Army, us getting married, when to have babies, what to name the babies, how to raise the babies, buying properties/ cars/ holidays, deaths in the family, moving interstate, which family to have Christmas with - we come to natural agreements.  We talk, actually i talk, he listens, his few words to my 100 are meaningful & worthwhile, however, if we really don't agree on something, even early on in our relationship, i let things go, agree to disagree - we fight fair, stay on point, it's clean.  
Sometimes i think it's because my husband has a dangerous job, i like home to be calm, no petty debate on insignificant things.  I don't do drama.  We laugh a lot.  We have history; private jokes; silly ways of doing things; ridiculous names & pronunciations for regular things; we stress about different things & support each other during those times.  We do not compete & know our roles - while cooking, i'm his kitchen hand; while shopping, he carries the bags; working on the car, i'm his apprentice; while decorating, he is the tall person who hang things where i point to.  He tricks me & jumps out at me in the dark (i scream, the children yell "go to sleep") & he eats half of my dessert without me noticing; then he does kind things, like making a heat pack & hot chocolate when i have cramps.  Heart of gold that boy.  He convinces me to watch action movies under the guise "it's a love story" & i'll find a way to cry.     
The Army sends out pamphlets on 'awkward sex' & other 'issues' which can occur after separation . . . i say 'forget it, why waste time with weird'.  I just giggle & say "OMG, i've forgotten how to have sex" & make it fun, rather than intense romantic pressure from the get go.  My trick is that i have an amnesty, where he cannot complain about anything i might have changed/ purchased/ damaged or moved around the house/ car/ garden/ lifestyle, for the first 3 days he's home.  If he starts to say something like "Jesus is that a new scratch on the car" . . . i get an extra day of amnesty.  In that time, he might glare longingly at something like an antique trunk & i have time to fix the situation (read: shove trunk in the garage & disguise as storage) before it's an issue.  It works brilliantly, like a mind game, no feelings harmed.  This is why he's being so good about the chickens, i'm still on my amnesty!! 
Now along with the i-love-you groceries, he also came home to gifts, new pyjamas, ugg boots & cook books.  Neat distraction from the fact he no longer has any shelf or hanging space in the walk-in-robe (because he hasn't lived here for so long) or any Winter clothes.  The first morning home, he drove us around town in pyjama pants as i'd washed his only decent jeans which he wore off the plane.  That's another quirk, my love for cleaning, even the children call the washing machine 'my boyfriend' & i constantly wash up utensils while my husband is still cooking with them.  Drives him nuts, but it annoys me how he wears a tea towel over his shoulder instead of just using the one hanging, as it's never there when i go to use it.  Do i get angry, never, i'm just thrilled he's home.   
What are the quirky habits which keep your relationship alive??  We have resisted pet names for each other & i can't call him at work with silly messages, so our quirks are all at home, with the side benefit of embarrassing our children.  Love Posie 

19 May 2012

Autumn rustic & feathery goodness

Greetings all,
What a busy wrap up to the week . . . with handsome soldier coming home (flight delayed) so when i saw the lights of his plane coming in, i sat back in the arrivals lounge, closed my eyes, let my head flop back & thought "i've done it, another deployment is over."  I thanked the children, then let them run down the gangway (the QANTAS gate attendant smiled awkwardly at the massive security breech) & i said "he has come from Afghanistan" & she said "oh you're going to me cry" as my husband appeared with 4 children clinging to him.  It solved the questions she must have had with our 8 year old son asking his sisters "is that Dad, is that Daddy??" as he craned his neck to see each man walk off the plane in the dark, like i was meeting a mail-order-father-for-hire!!  
Thank you all for your excitement about my soldier coming home & the i-love-you grocery shop, you are all so sweet.  He appreciated the goodies & will enjoy them for ages + you know he reads every single comment while he's away, this blog & your comments are a happy distraction for both of us.  
Earlier in the week, i had taken receipt of 6 hens (from my now-farmless-friend in the school car park, as you do in our 'bush capital city') & the words 'no more chickens' in my husband's voice ran through my head.  I'm not keeping all of these, some are just being babysat . . . meet the flock.  
 I took time out to photograph & soak up the beauty of the new hens. 
 These chickens all came from the same farm, yet the Hamburgs arrived first & certainly have more confidence - with me, the camera & their new surroundings.  They're sharing the coop, nesting box & living area at night very happily, the Hamburgs tend to stay outside on the perches, like watchful security!!
 This combination Silky is so pretty when the light catches her patterned feathers.
 I encourage anyone with a side passage to consider fencing off one end & creating a chicken run.  Ours is enormous, finally put to wonderful use.  Yes we rent people, anything is possible, even in Army housing!!
 One afternoon we stopped & filled 4 garbage bags with leaves to spread in the chicken run.  In just a couple of days, they were mulching them naturally.  This will be one beautifully fertile strip come Summer, compared to the hard compacted dirt it once was.  We'll do that again, collecting leaves is so much fun & free mulch, yay!!
  Look at the plumage, just stunning in the glorious Autumn sunshine.  I'll get all the breed details from my friend shortly, i find it all so fascinating - learning about their origins, behaviour & broodiness.   
My very patient husband met them all this morning while nursing a heart melting 6 day old chick & said "didn't i say 'no more chickens'??" but smiled, he knows these chickens are making us all very happy, our farm dream is a tiny step closer, a young boy running free & catching his favourite-chicken-of-the-day with our girls stroking the hens gently.  Sure, he's delirious & exhausted from war, just happy to be home . . . talk of which-one-to-eat-first will happen soon enough (these hens are for egg laying thank you.)  I love everything about keeping chickens, from watching them eat our salad scraps & munch away all the weeds, raking up the poo & spreading it over other parts of the garden.  Dare i say i take such good care of the coop, it doesn't even smell bad, just country fresh!!  
Totally loving Autumn, the colours, crunchy leaves, chickens gabbling, frosty mornings, wearing scarves & pristine sunshiny days ending with soul warming dinners, it's a beautiful time of year.  My husband brought home an amazing large Persian rug, in stunning golds, creams & browns - i just mentioned to him how fantastic the chickens would look on it, that was not met with laughter.  Tee hee.  Enjoy & have beautiful weekends folks, love Posie

18 May 2012

these are a few of my (soldier's) favourite things . . .

Greetings all,
Phew, my handsome soldier is almost home, yahoo!!  I did the grocery run to collect all the things he misses while away in the desert.  He's super healthy so this junk will last him a while (he's the kind of fit & lean person who will eat 2 Smarties a day, rather than pour the packet into his mouth) & appreciates treats, especially after 9 months at war.
He likes freshly squeezed orange juice & fancy vanilla ice cream (we may have been very poor at times in our marriage, but he never stooped so low as to buy generic icecream.)  
Sure soldiers are sent care packages with Tim Tams, Tic Tacs, chips & chocolates while they are deployed, they can even get coca cola on some bases!!  But i know he likes real ginger beer, proper whole egg mayonnaise, ripe avocados & my mum's caramel slice (still trying to replicate it, even the dog had a tough time chewing the last batch i ruined & the children refused to eat.)  FYI he never asks for anything!!  I also stock the fridge so he can cook - cooking is his happy place & i'm very happy for him to go there.  So i make sure we have every possible type of cream for whatever might take his fancy & he loves camembert on French bread (he can never remember if he likes camembert or brie, so he always buys both) . . . it's camembert darling!!
A sweet friend of mine Tina said "oh you did the 'i love you' shop, buying his favourite things", what an adorable way to put it.  Have to say, i had a big smile on my face while popping these things into the trolley.  
You might spy a box of light globes.  Gawd, every time he is about to come home, i kid you not, at least 6 lights will blow . . . table lamps, down lights, outdoor spot lights, bathroom heat lights (just to increase the degree of difficulty) . . . freaking annoying but you have to replace them as these guys come home & literally forget where things are & bump, trip, fall over things in the night, so you need to replace those globes!!  I spent the day craning my neck, balancing on a stool & changing those globes, when i really should have been shaving my legs, ooppss!!  Love Posie

16 May 2012

snap it 'inside'

Greetings all,
What am i doing inside??  Hand raising new chicks.  Meet Piccolo, she's 1 day old.
Direct from chick to egg cup, we love soft boiled eggs & 'daddies' (my children call the strips of toast 'daddies' instead of 'soldiers',)  OMG, my handsome soldier is home this month, i'm truly out of my mind with excitement!!
For more sweet images, check out Faith Hope & a Whole Lotta Love Photography.
Love Posie

15 May 2012

AEIOU link party May 2012

Greetings all,
Welcome to this month's AEIOU: a mid-month-link-party of self-belief, improvement, acceptance, love & learning!!  It's a get together to celebrate life's highlights.  Your AEIOU might go a little something like this . . . 

Awesome – something you baked/ created/ photographed/ a bargain you found
Exciting – share your news/ event/ holiday/ a gorgeous butterflies-in-tummy moment
Interesting – teach us information/ discovery/ facts/ a chance to show off your quirky side
Opportunity – embrace the unknown/ put yourself out there/ show off a new experience
Understanding – learning to appreciate/ forgive/ love/ unleash what helps you grow
. . . you might like to do a full AEIOU or just one or two particular themes . . .

To kick things off, here is my AEIOU list for May.  
Awesome - how stunning is simple Winter produce??  Such beautiful shapes, colours & super fresh taste, from Farmer's Market.  My children seek out the fruit with leaves attached -  more authentic.
 Exciting - thrilled to add a new recipe to my repertoire . . . the Ragu!!  It's a simple &  delicious belly warming Winter dinner.
 Interesting - as i flick through the pages of magazines like Peppermint, Mollie Makes & Frankie, i feel like i'm reading about my handcrafted industry from the outside.  It's very competitive & i'm comfortable that i've stepped down, after a successful decade consumed by sewing at home.  Lately i've bumped into many designers who are shocked i'm closing down my business, they say the most lovely things about my craftsmanship, passion, attitude & presence at markets.  Nice to know you're missed!!  But also very happy under my pom pom blanket on the freezing weekends, reading magazines rather than manning a stall.
 Opportunity - a school mum had to sell her farm & move closer to the city, which meant leaving, relocating & giving away many of her animals.  These friendly Silver Spangled Hamburgs found their way to our place.  They're very happy in the coop outside, but the cold snap has halted egg laying.  Baby chicks are still living indoors, under lights.    
 Understanding - i like technology served up to me on a platter, need to know only, just tell me how to send emails & blog, thank you.  I'm pretty pleased with how i'm getting around my first ever Mac computer & loving it's new location in the living area, with all the children's laptops (such is education these days) - research homework is very efficient.  The children love the mysterious black apple (where the in fared wireless gadgets connect) spooky.

Now it's your turn . . . do join in . . . links go live on the 15th of each month, this is a party to celebrate you!!  Love Posie