28 Apr 2013

little things

Little things that make our world. Things I want to capture, tuck away and peek at another day....and smile.

Mr. Pancake.
New gum boots for my boy.
Road side fossicking for olives.
A vintage sifter makes baking all the more delicious.
Playing in Mumma's old pointe shoes.
Toast and tea on a frosty morning. Our tea cosy "Peckachelli" * keeps things warm.

Steph x

* Gorgeous Peckachelli was knitted by my sister-in-law's clever Mum and gifted to us for our  wedding anniversary.
Joining in with the beautiful Em and the lovely Lou.

27 Apr 2013


"A portrait of my babies, once a week, every week."

Bijou -  The many faces of bubbler drinking by herself. Needless to say she was soaking wet.
Remy - His eyes are still blue as the sky but his hair is turning delicious shades of copper.

Joining in with the beautiful Jodi.

Steph x

23 Apr 2013

bigger little boats


Afternoon wanders. Cardigans wrapped around shoulders as the sun dips.
Fossicked seed pods.
Nimble digits poke and prod. Sunburst orange dough yields to the touch.
Rainbow masts and paper sails.
A whisker of glue. A flourish of hand.
Bigger little boats to join this fleet.
Dreams of far off ports.
Gentle times to bathe weary limbs in, to tame runaway thoughts.
Embracing a simple life.

Steph x

21 Apr 2013

little things

Little things that make our world. Things I want to capture, tuck away and peek at another day....and smile.

Late afternoon tea. A cardi was required.
She is in colouring in heaven!
I always love me an old fence post.
Show tunes on the wall of a quirky cafe.
The joys of pulling funny faces.
Hot chocolate beard.

Steph x

 .Joining in with the beautiful Em and the lovely Lou.

20 Apr 2013



"A portrait of my babies, once a week, every week."

Bijou -  She found my red lipstick.
Remy - His first pair of jeans.
Joining in with the beautiful Jodi.

Steph x

19 Apr 2013


Oh Friday evening and all the promise of restorative pottering that comes with the weekend dawn. Perhaps we'll bunker down and fill the kitchen with smells of spice and stewing fruit. I've got my sights set on bubbling a pot of this on the stove and then slathering it on market fresh sourdough. My knitting basket may well be emptied of my honey girl's first knit of the season as a gentle afternoon to-ing and fro-ing along silvery needles will complete it. And then there's delicious vintage fabrics longing to be conjured into frocks for wee ladies. The vacuuming can wait another day.

Or will this weekend bring adventure. A slow amble amongst time worn pretties; precious trifles from yesteryear.  The hiss of a coffee machine and cheerful banter with laid back, funky dressed folk. Books would be perused, some purchased and brought home in brown paper bags. Later with fingers curled around china tea cups they would be slowly and ceremoniously opened to let the wondrous feeling of a new collection of verse linger. I would love to bring India Flint's ethereal and utterly inspiring text home and perhaps the next chapter of Sarah Napthali's gentle Buddhism for Mothers series for Mumma soul nourishing.

Time to slink about in marle grey leggings and his socks. Taking turns to ask, "Shall I put the kettle on?". Lazy, rejuvenating stillness and no plans. Block play and harvesting ruby red tomatoes. A road trip to plan. Fossicking out new little nooks of our lady city. A new skirt perhaps. I wonder where the Autumn breeze will take us.

What are your plans for this precious new weekend? May it be grand lovely friends.

Steph x

18 Apr 2013


Upon reflection of my days teaching small children I recollected the many whole group lessons I created on basic tasks such as how to hang up your painting and how to remove your lunch box from your bag and re-zip it so all and sundry wouldn't cascade on the floor below. We sat in small groups and practised cleaning up our paint spills with a damp cloth and tried every manner of stuffing the blocks into the shelf until we realised that an ordered approach worked best. My goal was to foster a certain independence in my class by providing them with step by step instructions on how to do everyday things. Success was inevitable when tasks where broken down into smaller increments and pride was palpable.

Yes there was mess, yes many lessons were repeated over and over in the early days eating into an already crammed curriculum but giving my charges the necessary tools to do things for themselves not only gave them great pleasure but made day to day learning so much easier and richer in the long term. My time could be spent facilitating deep learning as opposed to putting out spot fires on the clean up front. Maria Montessori's philosophy that children are capable and competent beings was (and still is) something I believed in very strongly. Our little people rise far beyond our expectations when given the ladder to do so.

In the hustle and bustle of family domesticity however, I found myself straying from these ideals.
I had morphed into a human cyclone wiping the table with one hand whilst stooping to pick up stray blocks with the other. Convenience reigned as completing tasks by myself was easier and quicker and shamefully indulged my perfectionist tendencies. I stood back and realised my little buddy was at my side throughout it all. Bijou was already a very eager and equally competent helper in the kitchen so I dusted off my teaching philosophies and went about increasing more opportunities for her to contribute to our daily world. These are some of the changes we are making:

  •  A cupboard rearrange made way for a thrifted basket filled with a set of cutlery, napkins       and coasters for our dinner. Placemats are kept nearby. I spent many early evenings demonstrating putting one placemat for each person in our family and retrieving the basket from the cupboard. Glasses were moved down low and Bijou was shown time and time again how to carry them one at a time to the table. This simple task is now labelled as her job and although somewhat time consuming in the beginning I am grateful for her help in that often crazy pre-dinner dash.
  • Perfection is not paramount. Her lopsided bed making is greeted with cheers of triumph and I give myself a sharp slap on the hand during the day if the desire to straighten it starts to overwhelm.
  • An old potato "chipper" has become the perfect knife for her and she now cuts fruit for our morning tea and vegetables for dinner in her Hi-Tot using her very own chopping board.  The haphazard shapes make me smile as I stir the soup pot and think of her growing independence. Similar tools can be found online at Michael Olaf.  We will soon add a masher, a safety vegetable peeler and egg slicer to her kitchen tools.
  • A small dustpan and brush was also purchased and we spent gentle time together practising holding the dustpan on an angle and sweeping slowly and carefully. The challenge was keeping the dustpan straight whilst navigating her way to the bin but over time she has mastered this and now comes from far and wide if there is a spill in house such is her eagerness to help.
  • Slowing down our days further to allow time to "teach" basic skills and explain why we do things a certain way has become the way we operate lately. We've learnt the hard way why we need to screw the lid on the milk not just place it there.
  • The mirror from an old baby toy was removed and adhered to a low bathroom cupboard door with blu-tak and many (oh yes many) lessons were had on squeezing just the right amount of toothpaste onto the toothbrush and brushing her teeth. She, like most children adores watching herself in the mirror. This simple addition to the bathroom has made the dreaded teeth brushing saga far more enjoyable. We always give them a quick going over also but I can really see how competent she is getting at this essential life skill.
  • A washer is always laid over the bath and we have practised turning on the tap gently, dampening the washer and squeezing it out using the sides of the basin to help. After meals we send her in to check her face in her mirror and tidy herself up if needed.
  • With the aid of a small step Bijou now helps with simple hand washing. She is responsible for hanging out the "smalls" on her little wooden washing line. (A piece of thin rope tied between two points would do the job). We chat merrily as I peg out the bigger garments and she takes care of all the little things. We invested in good quality pegs to give her the best chance of success I am ever on the hunt for a perfect Bijou sized washing basket for her to place her dry and folded washing in.
  • Morning tea has become a simple and predictable snack of peeled mandarin, chopped apple, grapes and a few cracker's with nut butter with a drink of milk sweetened with a whisker of honey and raw cacao powder. With all the ingredients and tools laid out for her my baby bird can make our mid morning nourishment almost entirely on her own.
Not only have these small changes begun to foster such wonderful independence in our girl but selfishly her help , even as small as it is has eased the day to day load. Her tasks have also added often much needed channelling of energy at peak times in the day. She views these roles as play and eagerly and excitedly cooperates with all manner of tasks while  revel in the understanding that a certain pride in completing the mundane is growing within in. Our daily rhythm is evolving around her contributions and I look forward to finding other ways for her to share in our adventures. These spaces provide never ending inspiration: how we montessori and an everyday story.

Do you involve your babies in your day to day world? What tasks do you have them help with and have you found any tools that have helped? I'd love for you to share.

Steph x

17 Apr 2013

autumn leaves

We talk of the natural world often, her and I. She sucks in knowledge to her core like the roots of a vast fig tree . On walks here and there I watch her crouch on crumpled leaves to inspect an ant colony busy at work. Her eyes flashing from one jet creature to the next marvelling at their industry.  I note her quizzical brow and am warned of the barrage of questions that will soon descend upon me. She turns her eyes towards me, "Mumma?....". And so the next discussion evolves. Often I know the answer, more often I don't. Books are consulted and fossicked specimens are scrutinised. Always there is learning... for us both.

Steph x

Our seasonal chats have turned to the subject of leaves. On our fossicking adventures we have collected many varieties and have been inspired to use them in all sorts of creating. Using air dry clay we made a garland of leaves to add some Autumnal warmth to our home. We rolled it with a rolling pin until it was about 1/2 a centimetre thick and then carefully rolled leaves into it. (We found bean and eggplant leaves from the garden worked beautifully but any leaves with obvious veins would be perfect). Using a knife we carefully cut around the edges and placed the leaves on a plate to dry. By draping them over tea spoons and the edges of the plate we created furls and curls akin to crumpled, drying leaves.  Dishes of watery colour were made by mixing browns and greens from a watercolour paint palette with  water. The leaves were painted  paying particular attention to the veins often returning to theses again and again to deepen the colour. Bijou loved watching the pigmented water spread through the veins and a wonderful chat followed. When they were dry we sprayed them with matt varnish and threaded them onto some string tying a knot either side to keep each leaf in place. 

15 Apr 2013

maxi skirt - vintage fashion

Take one slightly scary floor length, sack like dress from the 70s.
Resist the urge to screw up your nose and walk away.
Rub the silky fabric between your fingers like your Mumma taught you and watch it's lovely drape.
Fall in love with the vibrant print.
Pay a pittance for it on a whim hoping you can cajole it into something wearable.
Stuff it into your "to do one day" pile.
Notice those pink flowers peak out at you often. Seize the moment.
Aggressively hack off the top section and add to the babies' dress up suitcase.
Make an elasticised waist band.
Go on a road trip. Twirl along wooden bridges and sip chai.
Matching lipstick optional.

Steph x

P.S. Thank-you so much for all your beautiful comments about Tim's images. It was a remarkable day with Tim and his beautiful family and our pictures are beyond treasured.

Hunt out a long flowy vintage dress. Holding the dress up against you with the bottom hem where you would want it to sit,  mark your waist line. Lying the dress flat  cut the top section off about 2 1/2 centimetres above this mark (to leave enough fabric to make the waistband). Fold over about half a centimetre and stitch (I used a ziz zag stitch because my fabric had some stretch in it). Fold over again (just under 2 centimetres this time and stitch leaving a 3 centimetre opening for your elastic. Measure 2cm width elastic around your waist and add another few centimetres. Attach a safety pin and thread your elastic through the casing. Join the two ends together and sew backwards and forwards with a zig zag stitch quite a few times (seam allowance of about 2 centimetres). Try the skirt on and adjust the elastic if needed. Trim the end of the elastic and thread inside. Sew up the last of the casing.

Vintage fashion series -
tablecloth top

14 Apr 2013

little things


Little things that make our world. Things I want to capture, tuck away and peek at another day....and smile.

Rainy afternoon play while all my loves slept. *
An impromptu bush walk. The very best kind.
Rusty tin roof. Sky alight.
We have raspberries!
He made me hot chips. 

Steph x

 .Joining in with the beautiful Em and the lovely Lou.
* My beautiful pin cushion is from Moose and Bird.