Wednesday, July 27, 2011

some dogs have all the luck

and some dogs are also not supposed to be on the bed, but what can you do.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

washi tape wizard wand

As mother to a junior wizard and dragon slayer I'm always having to pull wands out of my well,  let's just say 'sleeve'. Chop sticks have long been a favourite so I thought I might try and pretty one up with a bit of washi tape and some mummy magic of my own. The slightly transparent tapes are great for building up colours and overlapping patterns. I just started by wrapping the plain and darker coloured tapes around a bamboo chopstick (at a slight angle) and then layered with different tapes from there. I love the mix of colour and pattern, Merlin thinks it's rather fabulous as well.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mantelpiece Monday

Something a bit different today. I have a few of mantelpieces in the house and this one is in the back dinning room. It's really just two nooks on either side of a chimney but it's a nice spot to display a bit of Euro pottery and folk art. This collection is a mix of West German and Italian. The small folk art plates are Russian and the big ones off to the side are Rosemaling. I tried to take some snaps of the other half of the mantel but the little light I had made it almost impossible to get anything that wasn't fuzzy. Feel like playing along? Why not show us your mantelpeice (or mantel substitute). Just take a pic and leave your link.

Friday, July 22, 2011

mini quilt-o-rama

This is my first ever quilt, it is very small but it is finished and I have it on good authority that the occupant's Ada's dolls house love it. I used a bunch of left over fabric strips from a rag wreath I made last year. I sewed the strips together and then cut them back into strips and then sewed those strips together again. Straighten it up, cut a piece of material for the back, give it an iron, pin it, sew your bias tape and viola! quilty goodness.

Next up is nice little tapestry rug for the living room.

early morning stitch session

Sleep was a bit hard to come by last night, not sure what was up with Fred but he was super unsettled and kept crying out. I pretty much gave up on trying to go back to sleep after 4 and went and played in my studio, sewing mini doll house quilts and mucking around. Two things struck me in the early morning silence, the back room is freezing and I really need to clean the widows.

I'll show you some pics of the mini quilt later.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

because pants are for boyzez

Ada announced as she was getting dressed the other morning before Kinder that she will no longer wear pants because as she puts it 'pants are for boyzez'. The wee thing has never expressed the slightest interest in what she wears unless it's a costume (junior nerdburger). I've loved being able to dress her however I please and for the last four years there has not been so much as a murmur of mutiny, apparently the honeymoon is over.

So, given that pants are out of the equation and skirts and tights are in, I've been using it as an excuse to get in a bit of sewing time. Three skirts down and four more cut out and in various stages of completion. I've also started a couple of pinafores and a vest, very industrious yes? This should keep a particular pickle happy...I hope.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mantelpiece Monday

Morning Citizens! Today's Mantelpiece Monday is all about green and brown, with lot's of wood , glass and ceramics. I have quite a collection of antique glass bottles collected from old bottle dumps. I have a bit of a thing for brown glass in particular, it reminds me of burnt toffee. The Ginseng vases are a favourite, the one at the top sitting next to the ink wells was pulled out of a 120 year old mine works on the West Coast of Tasmania. My folks were involved in a local history group and we would spend our weekends working off old maps and lease documents trying to find old mining settlements. I dug that vase out of the dirt around the foundations of an old fireplace. Both of the inkwells Also came from old mining works, the ceramic one is Indian and would have to be the prettiest thing I've ever found.
 In the centre of the mantel is a green uranium glass protea vase, a gift from my Aunty. The ceramic pot with the gum tree relief is one of my mums, I used to go to her pottery classes and remember helping put one of the handles on that pot. At the end of the mantel, sitting underneath the rather old bunch of kangaroo paw is my strangest hard rubbish find ever. This weird, pineapple-esque pot was found chipped and left on the footpath outside a mansion in Toorak. The whole piece is incredible and has been made from hand, normally these types of pots would be made from a slip and poured into a mould, but this is a formed piece with each of the little spikes being put on by hand. I have NO idea how old it is, but I can not believe it was sent to the pavement for a couple of chips. 

What's sitting on your Mantelpiece (or mantelpiece substitute) today? Feel like showing off? take a pic and leave your link.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

flea market finds

Here's the pick of my thrifty booty this week. Some Australian pottery vases and an Avon glass 'vase'. A complete ceramic and teak serving set (how ace is the mustard pot), some cute retro glasses (polk-a-dot heaven) and a really lovely enameled necklace (my favourite find of the week).

I'm only popping in to show off for a wee bit today, I appear to have sustained a mild head injury from a certain boisterous lad and require a Bex and a lie down. I'll be back for some more show and tell tomorrow for Mantelpiece Monday. For more thrift magic pop over to Her Library Adventures and Apron Thrift Girl.

Heart you later!


Friday, July 15, 2011

Cooking with Perla beads

I have a bit of a soft spot for brightly coloured plastic  so when I came across this hacked Perla bead bowl on Pinterest I was keen to give it a go. There are few few varying instructions across the internet, the ones on Pinterest were in Danish (I think) and so were not much help but I managed to get the basics together from a couple of sources.

Perla beads are normally pegged out on a little plastic grid or board into pretty pictures, shapes or patterns,  then you cover your picture with greaseproof paper and an iron it to melt the beads together For these large projects you need the oven set at 250 degrees Celsius, some grease proof paper, cooking oil spray and your moulds. 

You can basically melt this stuff into anything you like, here Ada and I started with something easy like coasters. I used some small pie tins I in the cupboard that were the right size as the moulds. We preheated our oven and sprayed the moulds lightly with oil. I had to play around a bit and it took a couple of tries, but we finally worked out that for best results you need to fill you moulds about two bead layers thick. Once our moulds were filled we popped them in the oven for roughly 4 minutes, you have to watch them very closely so they don't over melt or burn. When the beads had melted enough to be soft but still hold their shape a little we took them out of the oven. I used a sixth pie tin to gently press the surface of each coaster so it was nice and even. Once they were cool enough to handle we popped them out of their tins using a butter knife, gave them a wash in hot soapy water and viola! Perla bead coasters. Next up we're going to try and make a bangle and some little buttons to stick on hair clips, Fun Times!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


and the winner is 

Congratulations Shannon! I'll drop you an email so I can arrange postage, happy quilting!

Thanks to everyone who entered, I'd give you all an unfinished quilt if I could. If your wondering why the number looks a little wet it's because I'm trialling a new 'random' number picker. The kids were in bed so I put the numbers in a bowl, added a dog biscuit and let Norman our trusty Lab do his best, effective if a little moist.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mantelpiece Monday

This ones from the vault.....

I had actually prepared this weeks mantelpiece day's ago on account of the fact that flowers above a gas space heater don't tend to fare so well, (who knew?) BUT.......Melbourne has been doing what Melbourne does best (grey, endless grey) and there has been not a sceric of sun to take a picture. Throw in dinner parties, markets and house guests and, well you get the picture (or not). So, with a list of excuses as long as my arm to set the scene I bring you this weeks mantel, I like to call it 'around the world in 5 pieces of pottery'. 

From left to right - West German vase, Italian Bitossi candle stick, Unknown Australian vase, Japanese Urn and Danish/Dansk mustard pot. This picture must be at least a year old because the only time my mantel get's that much light is in the dead of winter. Got a mantel (or mantel substitute) you want to show off? Take a pic and add you link!

On a side note the Fortune Favours Great Patchwork Giveaway is closing this wednesday so if you haven't already entered and you would like the opportunity to make an amazing quilt then pop over here to leave a comment.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

flea market finds

pyrex apple cup

little red clogs

tapestry pin cushion

retro wastepaper bin

wee pig plaque

Lot's of cute little things this week mostly from the local St Vinnies. The Pyrex apple cup is definitely a favourite and the waste paper basket matches some curtain fabric I've had sitting in my suitcases full of market goodies for ages so I'm hoping to try and flog them together. The pin cushion and clogs are destined for Ada's room, you can never have too many red clogs and the cushion will make a sweet addition to her dolls house. Lastly, the sweet little fishing pig will surely find a nice home in someone bedroom, he's off to market because that's what little pigs do.

Speaking of markets, Camberwell was freakishly cold this morning. I managed to coax one of my 'Besties' to come along and play shop assistant and keep me company but I have a feeling the 5.30am start and the freezing cold will probably mean any further invitations will be politely declined until either the weather warms up or I buy her some ski gear.

What's everybody else been up too this chilly weekend?

For more flea market finds pop over to see Sophie at  Her Library Adventures and Apron thrift Girl.

Friday, July 8, 2011

packet mix cake hack

hacked packet coconut bundt cake

I'm not much of a food photographer, and I know packet cake mixes are tres uncool BUT you need to trust me when I tell you that this hacked packet mix is supremely tasty.

Frankly, I'm quite a shonky hostess. While I like to 'appear' to be channelling the love child of Nigella and Martha (the science might be dodgy but it will happen one day) I truthfully cannot be arsed baking cakes from scratch if there's a five minute alternative that tastes just as good, makes half the mess and costs half the price. 

Now this love of the packet mix does not extend to ALL packet mixes but one in particular, The humble Tea Cake, perfect in its simplicity and un-matched in it's endless versatility. Packet Tea Cakes lend themselves to all sorts of hacking possibilities because they are simple, with few ingredients and generally fool proof. I've played with altering the ingredients to make a light orange and poppyseed, a raspberry and coconut and my favourite pear and cinnamon , I've even tried a lemon and lavender variation that was met with much lip smacking and tasty applause.

This coconut hack is simple, make the packet mix as per the instructions, substituting the milk for coconut cream and adding an additional 50 mls (of the coconut milk). I then add a cup of shredded coconut and mix well. Pour the batter into your prepared bundt tin and bake as per the instructions. I let my cake cool fully in the tin before turning it out and decorating with a simple lemon icing and more shredded coconut.

bon appetit!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Mantelpiece Monday In Bloom

Five minutes of sunshine, fifteen dollars on flowers at the market and half an hour alone without the kids.....

I'm a bit under the weather today, hubby has stayed home to look after the kids and I'm off to bed. Do your bit for an invalid and amuse me with pictures of your stuff looking pretty.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

flea market finds

I'm not a fan of busy Sundays. I always feel cheated if I finish the week in a flap and there's nothing I hate more than a list full of 'shit to do's' with none of those mothers ticked off! So, since it's 9 o'clock at night on a Sunday, and I'm only just sitting down to write this now instead downing a glass of wine and watching my 'stories' on the laptop in the bath, you would be correct in assuming that I've had a fairly craptacular day.

I was going to start this post with something like' I don't like to whinge' and follow it up with something about not wanting to complain on my blog and how there are people out there who have it so much harder than I do, but bugger that! My day has been shit.  The kids have driven me to the point of insanity, Freddy has been possessed by bogans, Ada got carried away playing house and accidentally peed in a box and then 'someone' gave them a box of crayons while I was out at the market, and then promptly left them unsupervised while they coloured in the seats of my two remaining Spade back dinning chairs, Feck! 

It's not like any of this is out of the ordinary. I have a fairly 'creative' household and these sorts of things happen regularly, it's just that Sundays are the kind of days you always have such high hopes for and in this house at least, they rarely seem to work out.

At least I've manage to get this post written, not a complete loss then.

Flea market finds from left to right, top to bottom are, hand sculpted, earthenware kitties (possibly by Ellis), Murano-ish glass ashtrays, pair of small copper and enamel plates, large copper and enamel plate.

Most of these finds came from the one little Oppy in Clayton, it's hard as hell to get parking and the bounty is often hit and miss, but last week it was all hits.

for more Flea Market Finds pop over to see Sophie at  Her Library Adventures and Apron Thrift Girl.

Don't forget tomorrow is Mantelpiece Monday (or bookshelf, dressing table etc.) to play along just pretty your display up, take a picture and add it to the link. 

* fingers crossed for a bit of sunlight.

Friday, July 1, 2011

spoon flowers

What is it with Blogger at the moment? I've been trying to post for the last two days and have run into problem after problem, insufferable I say! You'd think with that complaining I might actually have something interesting to go on about but sadly, no. The husband had his birthday on Wednesday and try as I might I still couldn't manage a birthday gift that either worked (hello dodgy vintage Atari video game) or fit (I ordered the wrong sized t-shirt from the US) or tasted good (too much seasoning the Shepards pie). If this was a one off I'd have a bit of a laugh and be done with it, but I've gotten it wrong every year since the kids came along....... I did get in some good thrifting onWednesday though. Freddy and I headed east for a bit of outer suburbs thrifting while Ada was in Creche. As usual in those small suburbs the bargains rained like manna from heaven or more realistically, like crap from an over flowing box above. Loads of fabric, sheets, knitwear and homewares, all waiting patiently to be plundered by some greedy thrift Viking.  None were spared, we were merciless and returned victorious. 

I'll share most of my finds on the weekend, but this collection of spoons was looking so pretty I thought I would get in early with a bit of gloating. Accidental collections are the best, especially when they're '5 for a dollar' and while I don't really need any more salad servers they looked to good to pass up and have made a cheerful addition to the kitchen. Not that I can actually photograph them in my kitchen. My kitchen is so ugly it like the 90's threw up all over a crack den and then they slapped an oven in it (illegally wired of course), still the 'Spoonflowers' are nice.