31 August, 2010

The next stage

Now that B is not only up on two legs, but can do this

(can you hear her at your place?!!!) and this

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and every meal needs at least two spoons (and sometimes two outfits)

it does make it pretty difficult to package these (lovely new colours, in the shop soon)

and send off these 
(thanks to all those who've already ordered Hanky Drive hankies - seen here with their smart, new labels)

but luckily, she's also incredibly good at doing this.

It may not be a real word, but it's a real talent.

30 August, 2010

A little interlude with Marcel

I saw this on my poppet who saw it on Li'l Magoolie and OH IT'S TERRIFIC! If you haven't already, I hope you've got 3 mins and 20 seconds to spare to watch it!

27 August, 2010

I've been interviewed by Thea, here!

It's wierd, seeing my words on someone else's blog (and realising that it didn't even cross my mind that I wasn't wearing shoes when she took that photo of me! Probably too busy trying to position the child in my arms to make me look slimmer...) but the lovely Thea from Thea & Sami has interviewed me for her "Friday Follower" feature today.

I did a screenprinting day with Thea a couple of years ago and we have kept in touch. Do check out her lovely, eco-friendly fabrics and homewares while you're there. She has a fretwork design that I've loved for ages. And her new soap range smells amazing.

Think I'll go put some shoes on now.

26 August, 2010

It's on now

I have a plan to sell 1000 hankies by Christmas!

Why? To give 50 cents per hanky to the Scarlett Kisses project - gifting small photo frames to mothers in hospital who have just lost their baby to stillbirth or neonatal death. The frame is wrapped with a SANDS brochure and tied with a sweet tag. My second baby, Caitlin, was stillborn so it's a cause close to my heart.

My friend Jen, who I met through SANDS, thought up and started the project herself, saving up and buying frames when they were on sale, in memory of her stillborn baby, Scarlett.

It's just a little project now, but I'd love to support it and help it grow. When your baby dies it's a very lonely grief. The hospital staff will usually take photos for you, and maybe hand and foot prints ... whatever they can. This frame gives the mother somewhere special to put that first photo, honouring that little soul.

Now, on to happier things! I've done a number of designs, some of which you've already seen here, and they come singly or in packs of 3. Singles are $6 each, and 3 packs are $16. They're available in my madeit store now. If you've already bought one or more, your donation has been counted, so thank you so much.

I've got more designs in the pipeline, but for now there are two versions of Gesundheit! (which I happily learned actually means "Good health to you" in German - that's lovely, isn't it?) And look Lisa, you can blow your nose in the middle with this one! (Actually the screenprint is still quite soft, so you're able to blow your nose over the print if you really want to.)

This one reads "For your lovely nose" in Finnish. See, handy AND educational.

And these ones quite obviously say 'Lovely', 'Bless You' and the just a little frisky 'Hanky Panky'. Which mean just that. No surprises there.

So please help me hit the 1000 and place a little (or big!) order. They're great to pop in a card to a friend or send to someone who's sad. They'll wipe hands, clean glasses, dust computer screens, mop brows and start conversations - you can even blow your nose on them if you need to. And once you've got one in your bag, you'll wonder how you managed without it. Hankies are just great.

Thanks so much for all the encouraging comments so far. It's seems like a daunting goal, but I really think we can get there. I've loaded them in batches of 4 or 5 in the store, and will reprint as they are sold, so just email me if the one you want seems to be missing.

And please pass on "THE GREAT HANKY DRIVE" details to anyone else you know who'd like to help.

You're all quite lovely, you know.

24 August, 2010

SAHM Guilt Overload

In a fit of what I can only think of as 'Stay At Home Mother Guilt' (as opposed to 'Working Mother Guilt' beautifully described by Maxabella recently), I got it into my head to help my kids have really good costumes for the bookweek character parade at school today. (That and my now-Year 7-er proclaiming a year ago that as it's his last year at primary school he really wanted to have a 'decent' costume for bookweek this year - looking back, we've cobbled together costumes from things in the house each year, and he doesn't have much to complain about, really. Must have caught me at a weak moment.)

I present to you Fantastic Mr Fox and The Mad Hatter.

So in the last 3 days I've made my first ever foam costume hat (a learning curve, I tell you), fur ears and a tail, and a suit jacket and pants out of half-priced mustard coloured faux-suede. Yum. Thank God for dear Annette stopping by and mentioning that her daughter had dressed up as the Mad Hatter just last week, so the rest of the outfit was borrowed from her (she has a doctorate in op-shopping, that girl!).

I blame all the lovely, encouraging comments on this blog, for raising my levels of self esteem and self-perceived-skill-levels ... I was actually at the stage of thinking I could pretty much sew anything! It was just a pattern after all... cut it out and sew it up!

But no, that jacket looks ok in this photo, and yes, it's only a costume - but dear God, how do you sew sleeves in well? These were a total mess. Ah, but the ears and tail, they were fun to make!

The kids were suitably appreciative (very sweet actually), had a great day, and now it's over I'm going to bed.

If you could see the massive pile of folding due to my sewing bender you'd be pretty impressed too. Oh yes you would! Guinness world records material.

21 August, 2010

The Nursery Mural is finished

Yesterday I finished the mural I started earlier this week, (updated animation here) and because I actually recharged my camera, I now have some pics to share. Pictured above is what will be a little reading corner, so the bunny will be peeking over the beanbag that will eventually go there. I think this bunny is my favourite bit. I love how he turned out on the coloured wall. Of course, most things with the Hungry Caterpillar on them look good to me.

And, as animation is my flavour of the moment, here's a little look at the other extra special bits. (I've linked up to the new "Animation Friday" on My Poppet's blog too. Don't let on that it's Saturday, ok.)

Thanks for coming to my show and tell!

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20 August, 2010

Believe it or not, I'm baking again

Number 1 son requested 'Peaches and Cream Cupcakes' when he was browsing through this cookbook I bought in a past-my-bedtime Book Depository frenzy a few weeks ago -

The fact that he was reading a cookbook at all surely demonstrates how Masterchef has changed our lives. Anyway, I made them for him yesterday.

What can I say - they're fabulous!

A combo of light vanilla cake, topped with vanilla cream icing and a sweet peach surprise in the middle... delish.

Would you like to try? You'll have to be here quick smart because they're going in lunchboxes now, otherwise you could make your own.

The recipe says it makes 12, but I doubled it and it made 23 - it's an English book, so no huge American cupcakes for them! Make sure you fill your papers about 2/3 full, because then you'll probably make 24, no probs.

Hummingbird Bakery’s Peaches and Cream Cupcakes
(my paraphrasing)

Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius.
Put all of these into your mixer bowl -
120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter, at room temp.
And beat on slow speed until a sandy consistency and all combined.
Gradually pour in
60ml milk
And beat until just mixed in.
In a separate bowl, whisk
1 egg
¼ tsp vanilla extract
And another 60ml milk
Then pour into the flour mixture, beating until just incorporated (scrape the bowl with a spatula though).
Slice 400g tinned peaches (or fresh peaches, or other fruit - be adventurous!)
And divide between the paper cases to cover their bases (I just put a piece of tinned peach in each case, but covering the base would be even juicier!).

Spoon the cake mix on top until 2/3 full and bake 20-25 mins until light golden colour.  Cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire rack.
When cold, spoon vanilla buttercream frosting on top and finish with a sprinkling of light brown sugar if you wish (I didn’t – I think buttercream icing is sweet enough).

YUM YUM. But not good for my 'dream body' plans! Will be strong.

Happy weekend to you!

19 August, 2010

My Creative Space - mural progress

Here's the progress of a nursery mural I painted this week -

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It's not finished yet - and my camera battery was flat before I finished, but I was so keen to try this animation thing! I've got another two hours or so to do to finish it tomorrow, so I'll update the animation when it's done.
NOTE: it's now done and I've replaced the original animation with the finished one.

The lovely client is having a baby boy in October, and wanted a big autumn tree. Through the progress of the day we added quantities of things that will hopefully be a nice distraction during nappy changes - one dog, two frogs, three rabbits, ... ten bees, twelve ladybugs, etc...

Lots to do today, so I'll post again about the special bits of the mural after I go back with my recharged camera.

This weekend the boys and I are working on Mad Hatter and Fantastic Mr Fox costumes for bookweek. If you have any suggestions for either of those two, please let me know!

For more lovely creative spaces, head over to kootooyoo!

18 August, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

(shhh ... Byron Bay. Lovely.)

More lovely pics here.

13 August, 2010

Totally Armless

For my birthday earlier this year, a lovely and talented friend Annie made me this totally original and handsewn totem - "Armless Anna". It features current Prints Charming and 'vintage' Art Park fabric, and she even made the felt balls on the pockets as she knows my violent aversion to buttons.

The thought behind it is that the only way I could have a true relax, is if I could take my arms off and just stop.

Annie didn't know that having 'removable arms' has been an appealing thought to me for as long as I can remember. To be able to take your arm off and lie on your side, without having to figure out how to stick it under the pillow, or under your head... just imagine the possibilities... It does get confusing though, because if you took both arms off, how could you put them back on again? A serious conundrum. (I didn't set out to sound like such a wierdo when I started writing this post...)

This is where 'Armless Anna' lives at the moment. Above my super desk in the living room. Where I spend most of my creative time these days. She was in my office near the paints, but I was missing her. So here she is now.

Reminding me to stop occasionally - so I think I'll do that now! Have a lovely weekend. I'm off to Byron Bay for the first time in about 12 years. Can't wait!

12 August, 2010

Creative Space - hanky panky

 This week I've been sewing a gift for a sweet one-year-old nephew - 

Making delicious lemon cake with a mysterious hole through the middle (how does THAT happen???!) -

And gaily screenprinting new hankies for my upcoming project - due for a spectacular launch soon! (Some hankies are for sale already here, now.)

Just in case you thought I was dead. Because I haven't been posting. That's all. Thanks for worrying!

For more creative spaces, head over to Kirsty's at kootooyoo!

05 August, 2010

My Creative Space - painterly

This is my favourite painting that I've done for the Downlands Art Show this year. It's a little one, just 30cm square, and was the last one I did. Of course now I'm in 'the zone' I've got no more time (or babysitting) so hopefully I'll be able to find 'it' again to do some more art for the upcoming Carnival of Flowers exhibition, and a Pinktober charity event after that.

Here is a pic of my beautiful studio assistants (although perhaps 'assist' shouldn't have been in their titles)

and the other paintings I finished just in time (these were all 30cm square also) -

and of course, this one which was 60cm square -

There's a bit of shine there, from the light hitting the canvas.

All in all I'm so glad to have submitted something. It was probably the most difficult it has ever been to find the time and inclination to paint, but now that B has turned one, I've definitely felt something shift and a few more things are becoming possible again.

Now I just hope something sells!

For more creative spaces, head over to kootooyoo.

04 August, 2010

Strike a pose

I have to confess that pettiskirt kit has not yet been made - I ended up getting this gorgeous one from here (online shopping in the middle of the night) - and S wore it to Steffi's birthday party yesterday...

that kid's got personality.

So's this kid -

and she's walking now - leading to my favourite parenting moment -

What's yours?

03 August, 2010

A baby the size of a bus

... it was amazing... beautiful... awesome... we loved it!

The Ron Mueck exhibition at Brisbane's Gallery of Modern Art has just finished, and we made it there on Friday - just in time. After the initial 'shock' of the nudity (it's surprising how quickly the kids and I got used to it), I loved looking at the amazing details this artist notices and manages to replicate... the translucency of the skin, the shine of the eyeball, the teeny tiny toenails... the boys were seriously impressed.

And as it was a pupil free day, I took all four kids, and found myself recommending having four to a complete stranger in the lift. They were that well behaved. Fantastic.

After the main exhibit we went down to the 'Ghost World' exhibit for kids. And as usual, the gallery team have done a great job to make a fabulous interactive activity space for kids and they all loved it.

The day ended up costing quite a lot (by the time you add up petrol, parking, food etc - next time we'll definitely take our own lunch), and after a lovely visit to my brother in his new house, we didn't get back home til 9.30pm... but it was a great day that we all enjoyed. I used to look at people with four kids and wonder how on earth they could leave the house - and now I know it's not easy to plan it, but on a good day it's like a roving party.
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