31 May 2013

this morning

It's just you and me today. Grass, gumboots and apple pieces; no plans. I peg out your nappies and you water the weeds peppering our easy silence with your melodious nattering.  The plane overhead catches your particular attention and you scrunch your nose at the sun's glare to catch a glimpse of it. The lawn needs mowing.

We share a milky cup of tea and I watch your hand on my knee. The dimples less defined now as the baby becomes a boy. Tethered by an invisible thread of knowing and love you never stray too far from my side returning often to "cuddle Mumma". Your tiny hands bear gifts of flowers, unripened tomatoes and stones. A butterfly dries it's wings on the stairs nearby and I breathe deeply to still my body and quell the riot in my mind.

There are swirling dreams to follow and mountains to conquer and  at times the responsibility of this role can stifle and hem me in. This simple path I tread squirms against societal expectations....it challenges my own. The yearning to do more, to be more. But when I wade through the sludge of to-do's and should-do's I find a calm. For now, I am all I need to be; your Mumma.

We make a cake for our honey girl and you eat the flour from the bowl. I smile at the lessen you have learnt and reward your curiosity with the battery spoon. A muddled day of porridge, one lost kindy shoe and washing up. An inward reflecting day. A slow and gentle day - just you and me.

Steph x

28 May 2013

tablecloth top 2 - vintage fashion

I watch her. With my eyes cast down and my fingers deep in busy work I study the deftness of her hand. Time and the cruelness of arthritis have gnarled her joints and aches replace their suppleness. The thread refuses to pass through the eye of the needle.

She yearns for mobility free of thought or pain. She remembers a time when the needle flew in and out of fragile lawn. It, her paintbrush and the fabric a blank canvas spread out before her. Tiny stitches joined hands to create wreaths and vines. Exact crosses stitched rhythmically and with purpose grew over cream spaces like moss over rocks; jet night skies, green pastures and animal fur. Each stitch imbued with patience, perseverance and love.

To view her magnificent work is to peek into her world - the children, the grandchildren, the great grandchildren. The time spent diligently tending ailing husbands, the quiet hours in the afternoon sun watching the world amble by.  Her craft is a window to the slow and gentle parts of her world, a peace amidst all the beauty and tragedy that makes a life whole.

She joins us now more for companionship than fine arts; shared tea and reminiscing. She watches with pride as a new generation of women explore age old crafts  and shares tales to delight and inspire. Still she works intricate stitches and creates pieces of beauty to pass onto to her loved ones. I loathe the thought that one day they may languish in the bottom of an op shop odds and sods basket. "Such is the way of the world" I'm sure she would say with neither bitterness nor regret. A gentle, inspiring soul - I am blessed to know her.

Steph x

Inspired by a gentle soul whose fingers have quite likely embroidered as many stitches than there are stars in the sky I brought this thrifted supper cloth back to life. Stained in places it would have deterred most but a good soak in borax and then the sun followed by a few snips and stitches and it shines again. I folded the tablecloth (79cm x 79cm, you could use a more rectangular one for a less midriff top or a larger one for longer sleeves) in half and then half again and going slowly cut a small curved piece from the folded corner for the head. Cut it smaller than you think so as to allow for a small hem. Try it over your head and if you're happy with the sizing fold over a small hem and pin. Fold over the same amount again and sew in place. You could do this by hand if you wanted using a whip stitch. Try it on again and roughly pin the back and front together +-where you want it to sit (mine was about 10cm from the side). Lay it flat again and measure the same amount on both sides. Ensuring the back and front bottoms are matching, stitch for about 15 cms to create the arm holes (again you could do this by hand with a small back stitch). Marvel at the intricate stitchery often.

Vintage fashion series:
tablecloth top
maxi skirt

27 May 2013

guest post - the wholefood mama

The beautiful Nikki of the wholefood mama invited me to share some of our wholefood budget ideas as part of a series on feeding you family wholesome food on a budget.  Nikki has a wonderful and inspiring blog where she shares delicious wholefood recipes and generous links. She is a gentle, kind soul and I'm delighted to have met her (if only in a virtual sense).

Wishing you a calm and bright Monday afternoon.

Steph x

26 May 2013

little things

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

Woodland waterhole.
Grassy wanderings with pretties at the end.
Watching a blacksmith weave magic with heat and hammer.
A serendipitous find of bush lemons. Just perfect to fill our new basket.
The bounty. I think it's high time we stocked up our pantry with golden lemon butter.

Steph x

Joining in with the beautiful Em and the lovely Lou.

25 May 2013


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

Bijou -  Her hair will darken just like her Mumma's. Those lashes and eyebrows are a dead giveaway.
Remy - The timeless appeal of the Hills Hoist.

I was smitten with Bo in her bonnet, Rylee and her inquisitive eyes and Hugo framed by trees.
Joining in with the beautiful Jodi.

Steph x

22 May 2013

honey and lavender

Damask billows and falls softly to hug the corners of our well worn table. China in pastel hues finds its place with filigreed silver and cut glass. A freshly iced honey and lavender cake takes pride of place amidst all the splendour and I pause to drink it in.

An afternoon like any other bathed in the mundane of folding washing, windowpanes smeared with "who knows what" and tsking at the growing collection of crumbs and oddments on the timber floorboards. No visitors to be welcomed nor grand occasions to be celebrated. An everyday kind of day.

I call the babies and from down the hall I hear sock clad feet clomp their way towards me. Eyes sparkle and melodic oohs and ahhs fill the air. A tea party for us alone.

The bed still lays unmade and damp washing clings to the sides of the machine - a musty presence no doubt permeating the fibres, but for now I will drink tea with my babies. Together we will celebrate our little everyday story in all it's nothing special-ness and yet magnificence. We will avert our eyes from the grimy, the grating and the downright boring and cast them upon the multitude of little moments that we are so very blessed to experience. This is a time to laugh at silly knock-knock jokes and tousle copper locks. To hold up all that is plain and simple and beautiful in our day to day world and take our hats off to it. Time to exhale and revel in the everyday.

We made a beautiful honey and lavender cake for afternoon tea (a slight variation on a recipe from a most beloved book - Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros)

Honey and Lavender Cake

150g butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (I used rapadura)
1/2 cup honey
1 2/3 cups plain flour (I used spelt)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon of finely chopped lavender leaves (the recipe called for rosemary)
2 eggs, beaten

Lemon Icing
2 cups icing sugar
100g butter, softened
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Grease and line the base of a 22cm springform tin. Put the butter, brown sugar and honey in a small saucepan and add I tablespoon of water. Heat gently, stirring once or twice, until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Leave to cool for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Sift the flour , baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl and add the lavender. Add the honey mixture and eggs and beat until smooth.
Pour into the tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when you poke it into the centre. Leave it in the tin to cool completely.
To make the lemon icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the butter, lemon zest and juice and I tablespoon of water and beat until smooth. Spread over the top and side of the cake.

19 May 2013

little things

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

A morning menagerie.
Piggy tails and magnificent trees.
Buttery delights and effortless conversation with beautiful friends.
Stepping into the most enchanting of spaces.
Windswept hair and belly laughs at a kite festival.

I'll be drawing my little giveaway tomorrow night and I'd love you to enter.

Steph x

Joining in with the beautiful Em and the lovely Lou.

18 May 2013


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

Bijou -  There is a dimple on her chin that quite simply captivates me.
Remy - A boy in his box with his unripe tomato.

This week I wondered what Adair was thinking surrounded by all that loveliness and delighted in Ewan's gigantic smile.

Joining in with the beautiful Jodi.

Steph x

17 May 2013

shibori journal cover

A cup of tea draws in a duck egg blue china cup beside me. I have filled it to the brim and watching the steam tango with the air around it warms me already. Fine wool is draped about my shoulders and the house in unusually quiet. The paper page beckons me.

It has been too long since I opened a pure new notebook and inscribed it with my whims. I've hidden myself in the virtual jungle, a safe world of backspace and delete that hems my thoughts in and keeps them from bolting like a spooked horse. The paper page scares me.

Staring at the blank canvas until the whiteness blurs into shapes and then thoughts. I pick up my pencil and this act momentarily quells the riot. With each scratch of lead on parchment feelings and dreams tumble out spewing haphazardly and barely legibly across the page. I pause to cross out words too crass, too harsh, too raw. I leave them for the rawness is the feeling. The paper page exposes me.

These thoughts, my thoughts are not for sharing and each one whether gentle and timid of vile and frightening have their place in my growth as a woman; as a human being. I sip tea and let the words wash over the page. A catharsis of sorts. The paper page nourishes me.

Steph x

And don't forget to enter my dry body brushing giveaway x

I created a set of shibori journal covers to share with the kindred spirits I was honoured to meet at The Creatives. I roughly cut pieces of cotton duckcloth larger than an A5 journal and concertina folded them. Rubber bands secured the folds and then I twisted it upon itself and folded it in half again securing with rubber bands. The rubber bands leave the white areas so you can decide whether you want to tie your bands tightly on top of each other or space them out. The concertina folds can also be quite exact or more of a scrunched up affair. Following the instructions of the dye and using an old saucepan (I purchased one from the op shop that is saved for all dying projects) each piece was submerged and left to soak for half an hour. Using tongs I removed them into the sink and removed the rubber bands. Each piece was then rinsed in warm then cool water and hung out to dry. When dry I used pinking shears to cut the pieces 2cm (3/4in) bigger than an A5 spiral book at the top and bottom and 5 1/2 cm (2 1/4in) larger on either side. Using the covers as a rough guide the top and bottom were folded over and ironed allowing some movement for the book (about 1/2 centimetre at each edge). The piece was turned over and the same thing was done on the sides folding about a centimetre before each of the edges of the book. These folds were pinned and then sewn (You can check you have left enough room for opening and closing of the journal by sliding it into the cover before you sew). The cover was turned the right way out and a chop stick was used to push out the corners. A length of leather was tied to the top spiral and small wooden beads were attached to the bottom, finishing off with a knot to secure them.

13 May 2013

sling diaries - inspiration


There are children of this land that have never known rain. They watch golden crops plead to the heavens for a drop of nourishment. Thunder clouds roll in and out to tease the hopeful, the hardened barely notice their presence and just get on with it. The children, freckled faced and rowdy kick balls on dusty ground and grow despite it all. They smile often.

Surfers bide their time. Legs dangle in sapphires and hair gnarls and tints under the strong hands of the sun and sea. Luminous barrels heave to life and feet snap to attention.  Above the roar of surging water there is a silence; an ethereal existence. The endless tide laps every shore of this island and calls all to its majesty. I am not above its powers.

Ancient trees creak and groan towards the sun. A canopy of jade. Jewelled frogs burrow beneath the leaf litter and all is cool. A whip bird calls and its sound echos over limb and branch and shards of sunlight catch minutiae in suspension in the air above. This breathing, dancing organism in perfect harmony with sun and rain and soil.

This is the only home I have ever known and although my boots have carried me all around this sphere of rock my heart is tethered here.  I will show my babies its magic, its menace, its raw beauty. Together we will walk in dappled light under proud trees, stoop and enquire on golden sands and immerse our bodies in streams as clear as glass. We will eat at lopsided pubs and dance with raggle taggle new friends. I will show them endangered turtle rookeries, coral reefs and cavernous gorges eroded by wind and time. Our bodies will smell of salt and sea air and our fingers will be ruddied with crimson earth. We will cloak our skin from the searing sun but it will burnish nonetheless. Our feather collection will outgrow it's vessel.

This land - harsh and intriguing , raw and magnificent. Its people - light hearted do-ers full of uncrushable spirit and laughter. Men and women overflowing with story and spark who've conquered fire and drought and flood. A closeness in kinship.

Australia - my home, my inspiration.

Steph x

Remy is snuggled in his linen Sakura Bloom Pure Baby sling in wheat.
Photos taken by my beloved.