29 Apr 2010

Mon Espace Créateur - { My Creative Space }

With all the lovely rain we have been having in Brisbane over the last few weeks, my Mum's garden has been sprouting all manner of mushrooms! And where there's mushrooms...there's fairies. In some hidden, secretive part of my soul I long for all those exquisite Shirley Barber artworks to be real. I imagine a tiny world where gossamer wings flit to firefly lit balls. And tea parties where honeysuckle tea drunk from teeny jonquil cups and saucers are laid upon dewy spiderweb tablecloths. Where a furled leaf propels one sleepily down an inky stream. Oh imagination...it may just be the most potent and magically uplifting drug known to man.

When I spied a delightful mushroom tent in a boutique baby shop I decided that Bijou simply had to have one. I gingerly turned over the price tag....you know the way, when you want to appear like you could afford everything in the shop but barely have enough change for a coffee. Cue music from Psycho!! This tent was not coming home with me. But never to be one to be told "you can't do that Stephanie!" I set about constructing my own version. A crab pot, some PVC pipe, oodles of fabric and a whole lotta patience ét voila!! The mushroom tent!

Mon petit poppet thinks it's magic! She doesn't notice the wonky seams, the odd few fraying edges peeking out here and there, nor the rather un-circular circles. And you know what....when I see my little fairy flit in and out of it in that magical play land of her imagination...I don't either.

To feed your imagination please pop over to Kirsty's lovely blog for other creative spaces.

28 Apr 2010

Le Petit Jean Prend Le Capuchon - { Little Denim Riding Hood }

Capes are my newest obsession!! I have a few myself and they always look so theatrical. That is, in a chic "leaving through the stage door" kinda way...not a "curly moustached magician" kinda way! So with a few days to spare to complete my "something lined" project for the lovely Carolyn's 12 Months - 12 Sewing Challenges I decided to play dress ups with my own Little Denim Riding Hood. Using a yummy soft denim and some Sevenberry spots I had a play around and came up with this little reversible number. It was going to have a little rosette pinned to one side but who am I to come between a girl and her fungi fossiking!

Bijou has a real affinity with nature...a trait passed on to her from her gorgeous Daddy. Aren't genes wonderful! She not the least bit frightened of animals either. Me on the other hand am the actual person they based the saying "stop acting like a girl"on. I love nature, don't get me wrong, but as long as I can admire it from a comfortable distance.

What with Hubby being a former wildlife ranger and all, I've been privy to all manner of wildlife rescues from koalas and possums to snakes, birds and lizards. Bless his beautiful heart... he even stopped traffic once to rescue a green tree frog from the middle of the road...in the pouring rain!! So one would assume that all this "desensitisation" would make for one brave animal girl...no sir! If they get too close, block your ears...there will be screaming! I blame my brother and a very unfortunate incident with a tray of sloppy bird food and a flock of Rainbow Lorikeets and the Currumbin Bird Sanctuary. You put two and two together...I'm too scarred to talk about it.

I am trying very hard though so I don't pass any fears onto my poppet...and plus, I can't be the scaredy cat while Daddy gets to be all cool!

I'm off to try some affirmations to help prepare me for future encounters with the scaled, furred and feathered kinds as I'm sure there will come a day when poppet runs inside from the backyard yelling, "Mumma!! There's a BIG lizard and he's hurt...get a box like Daddy does and come and save him!!!

Animals are my friends...animals are my friends...animals are my friends.

27 Apr 2010

La Lime et la Gingembre Baisers - { Lime and Ginger Kisses }

I simply adore the French way of greeting..."la bise" ...the cheek to cheek peck. Or...."les grosses bises" ....BIG cheek to cheek kisses! It doesn't seem to matter the gender, the age, whether you like the person or not...when you greet...you kiss! It is a common joke in France that you can tell where a person is from by the number of kisses they give as it varies all over the country. Young men...and I dare say women have been known to exagerate their kiss numbers claiming it's a "region thing"! Cheeky monkeys! (Oh, cringe worthy pun!!)

As a rather "touchy" individual this sort of method of saying hello and goodbye suits me perfectly. I was truly blessed to be raised in a very affectionate household and endeavour to pass on the gift of touch to my own little family. My poppet loves her cuddles and will ask for them regularly throughout the day. She gives the most gorgeous sloppy kisses and her eyes light up when I tell her I love her. Can she be old enough to understand what I am saying....or is it that love is such an intrinsic part of being a human being that we feel it from birth. Whatever is going on in her little mind I go to bed each night knowing I have done all I can to show her that she is loved...to the moon and back a gazillion times!!

I'm off to have a cup of tea and one or two of these yummy bikkies. But before that...I'm going to tiptoe in and kiss my sleeping babe and drink in her yummy baby smell. Grosses bises!!

26 Apr 2010

Le Sac Á Provisions - { The Shopping Bag }

Another day...another trip to Spotlight. I don't know about you but I have a love-hate relationship with that sewing and craft mecca! They have boring crafty things I need like iron in interfacing, threads and calico but the shop itself is akin to an abyss where I often find myself lost in some sort of trance for hours on end. I seem to wander aimlessly from elastic to buttons to fabrics and back again. And much to Hubby's horror, a "just have to get cotton," trip ends with nothing but small change from a green back ($100 note to those not from Australia).

But at least today I would not have another tell tale blue and red plastic bag to prove my guilt. Today I proudly marched out with my "few" purchases tucked into my new linen shopping bag.

Using the fold-up eco bag pattern from I ♥ Patchwork by Rashida Coleman-Hale I made myself a bag for small shopping trips from some gorgeous Japanese linens from Retro Mummy .

I used a few vintage doilies to make it pretty (sorry Mel, a few less for you!) and some fabric scraps for appliqué. The best part is that with a few quick folds it transforms into a little pouch small enough to fit in your handbag without it bulging (the wipes, nappy, morning tea, water bottle...etc. do that job nicely thank-you very much). I can now tick that off my eco goals list too!

And as if it were perfectly natural to use a flowery doily bag instead of their plastic version, the girl at Spotlight even sticky taped the docket to it...just like they always do. Priceless!!

25 Apr 2010

Les Marchés au Puces - { The Market of the Fleas }

The long wispy tendrils of winter are slowly starting to creep in. Mornings are just that little bit chillier, having slippers on all day doesn't seem quite so slovenly, and there's talk of flannelette sheets (we don't need them yet by any stretch of the imagination...but oh, we do like to talk about them lovingly). Our morning play outside now stretches closer to morning tea as the shade in the yard lingers longer. Only just a few short months ago we would be pushed back inside much earlier as the heat of the sun started to bite our skin. Thongs have now been replaced by little wee joggers....boots are in the cupboard all ready. A cardie is called for on most mornings.

Now if my poppet has to wait for her Mumma to finish the little Debbie Bliss cardigan she is likely to get hypothermia on winter mornings or alternatively, be toasty snug at her Year 12 formal! Yes, I am still plugging away but for me it is definitely not a quick craft. I'm thoroughly enjoying it but poor Bijou needs something tout de suite. A chance thrift-a-thon with my beloved Mum reaped perfect knitted cardigans for crisp mornings. I am particularly in love with the cream crocheted beauty. Not sure if this is because it is lovely or because it is crocheted...oh to be able to crochet...sigh!

Delicate glass buttons were also discovered....yes, I squealed!! Are you one of those mad souls that could play with buttons for hours? Sort them into sets, sort them into colours, run your fingers through the whole container....turn your head on its side as you carefully examine each one as if it were a rare artifact....smile. Yes, I thought you were.

Little blossoms and lambies...oh my!

For more treasure hunting please pop over to Sophie's delightful blog .

And to all those service men and women past and present who have showed great courage and sacrifice in order to keep this great land free we thank you. Lest we forget.

23 Apr 2010

Jour de Terre - { Earth Day }

Happy Belated Earth Day!! What a wonderful day to celebrate this phenomenal planet and come together as one in the fight that has begun to save her.

Lately, I have been pondering the world that my baby girl will grow up in and the knowledge she will need to endeavour to save it. As an ex teacher (shouldn't really say "ex" for the art never dies in one) I'm ashamed to have had the same thoughts that most parents I'm sure have had, "They'll learn that at school." And yes, she will but the learning which happens in the home is by far the stronger.

We have always lived rather "greenly" but from now on we will lead by example and rather than contentedly sitting back resting on our laurels safe in the assumption that this next generation will fix everything....we will empower her with the tools to do her darnedest to do so. Under my kindred spirits over on the right I have made a list of my goals for living a more eco friendly life. Those with hearts next to them are already chugging along nicely. The rest are to be tackled over the coming weeks and months. I'd love you to join me on my little quest!

Please raise your glasses and be upstanding to toast this amazing whirling ball of rock and water and gas. May her rivers always run, may her seas be full of life, may her air be clean and pure, may her forests grow strong and deep...may her people come to learn the many errors of their ways....may she forgive them!

22 Apr 2010

Mon Espace Créateur - { My Creative Space }

This week my creative space is filled with truimphant sighs and maybe the odd few smug grins. Le Caravan is finished!! When it finally came down to it I'm embarrassed to say it only took an hour or two of hand stitching to complete whilst tucked up on the lounge watching Pride and Predjudice for the one hundredth time. All the blog love encouraged me to finish this project first, so folks, here she is.

Who wouldn't want to head off into the wild blue yonder in a little floral car and polka dot caravan complete with window box and vine covered door? I bet there'd even be lemon butter for toast in the morning! And don't forget the billy tea!

I again delved into my beloved Softies books (this time from More Softies) to use a Louise Hatchard pattern from Prairie Mouse and it was so beautifully easy to make.

With every stitch I recalled family holidays in a rickety old mustard coloured campervan. Ones where I would sing Whitney Houston at the top of my lungs in the back seat while plugged into my walkman (and I thought I was sooo cool!) . I'd like to say I was unaware of my impromtu concerts but alas, I'm a show pony at heart and secretly delighted in belting out "The Greatest Love of All" with every subtle nuance and high note. My family must have gritted their teeth for many a road trip!

And just to add my own little touch...a personlised number plate for my girl. I wish for her many fun filled holidays in polka dot caravans eating fish and chips straight from the packet using a piece of the torn paper as a little plate, drinking Golden Pash from coloured anodised cups and wondering at all that magic that is our planet Earth. Enjoy my bébé!!

For more delightful creative spaces, please pop into Kirsty's blog for a little wee holiday.

19 Apr 2010

Brownies á la Lavande - { Lavender Brownies }

Lavender has the most amazing properties. It is antiseptic and antibacterial so is a perfect chemical free alternative to most household scratches and scrapes. It has the ability to soothe a weary body and calm a troubled mind. But most wondrous of all is that lavender tastes exactly as it smells!! With each mouthful of a lavender infused treat I challenge you to keep the words, "Oh my goodness it's like I can smell it with my mouth!" from bubbling out.

I first tried culinary lavender in ice cream in a gorgeous little town in France called Vitré. We arrived around 7:30pm to a deserted restaurant made in an old boot factory. Softies that we are, we chose this one because it was new (an utterly romantic looking), chef owned and operated and seemed to be lacking custom. Full of virtuous pride we sat down to what was one of the best meals of my life. Beautiful food, wine and service followed by a bright purple concoction that first introduced me to the magic of lavender in food. And yes, with every mouthful...."oh my goodness, it's like I can smell it with my mouth!". Upon finishing our meal and preparing to leave, "L'addition s'il vous plâit" we noticed table after table load of people arriving. Newbies to the French way of dining we were embarrassed to discover we were unfashionably early....even earlier than the purple rinse set. Rest assured by the time we reached Paris after a few months driving (and eating) our way around France, we were dining with the toffs. Sleepy, ravenous but oh so chic!

I'm feeling a wee bit stressed today. I might just need a cup of tea and another lavender brownie to calm me....it's medicinal you know! Munch, munch, munch..."Oh my goodness, it's like I can smell it with my mouth!"

18 Apr 2010

Les Marchés au Puces - { The Market of the Fleas }

Hubby be scared...be very, very scared!! Our poppet is now the official owner of her first shopping trolley! Today's flea market find was a gorgeous miniature shopping trolley just like Nana had. And Bijou already knows how to use it...pulling it along, filling it with useful objects, editing her choices, putting some back and then carrying on to find new "must haves". A born shopper if ever I saw one! This kind of expertise takes years to perfect but here is my wee little babe "shopping" our house like a pro.

Much to her Grandfather's dismay, she already has a penchant for shoes. She has gumboots, joggers, open toed sandals, closed toe sandals, butterfly sandals, boots, slippers and wee little havaianas. (he is one of those men who say such nonsense as "You need a pair for Summer and a pair for Winter!"). Love him dearly but I do question his sense at times. Poppet also delights in trying on my shoes...a yummy pair of studded black suede ankle boots are her particular favourite. The girl's got taste. Shame they nearly kill me to wear. I used to be able to run in stilletos á la Carrie Bradshaw but lack of practice makes one's feet grow back normal! Believe it not but when you stop wearing ridiculous (yet fabulous) shoes your feet actually get better looking as you age. Who woulda thought.

So prepare yourself, my beloved. Your girl (sorry, girls - I'm not giving up shopping any time soon!) may very well cost you as she grows. So practice the following in the mirror until you can say it without a facial twitch....."Of course you can have them honey, a girl can never have too many shoes!" (substitute handbags, accessories, dresses...craft books, do I need to go on?).

To see what other savvy vintage shoppers (see Hubby, we are everywhere!!) please pop over to the lovely Sophie's blog, Her Library Adventures .

And lastly, a dear friend of mine is probably as we speak embarking on her very first sewing adventure. She has had a rather tumultuous year (that's putting it mildly) and she has handled it with such strength and grace. As she has always wanted to learn to sew I gave her my little old Janome My Lock as a going away present. Please can you all send her happy and positive sewing vibes so that she too may join this wonderful crafty world. I believe a little draw string bag is on the cards. May the force be with you!!!

17 Apr 2010

La Magique de Mathilde - { Mathilda's Magic }

A glorious Autumn morning and a little jaunt to the fabulous Mathilda's Market . Who could ask for anything more. O.K. maybe a chocolate eclair or two! Even with driving unchaperoned along the inner city bypass fearing that with one wrong lane change I could end up on the Clem 7. For those of you not from Brisbane, the Clem 7 is a tunnel which links two sides of the city....underwater! I am simply NOT going through a tunnel that goes under water...call me silly but if Sylvester Stallone struggled to escape one then I've got Buckley's.

Enough with the utterly irrational fear of drowning in an underwater tunnel....breathe Steph breathe....and on with the show!

Poppet now has a gorgeous little red metal wagon to pull all her prized possessions around in. I have been searching for a vintage one for ages but couldn't pass up this little beauty from Moochie-Moo .

A "Saggy Baggy Elephant" cube puzzle from Style Aficionado. How much do I love this little fellow!

This beautiful little birdy brooch and.....

...these lovely vintage inspired cards from Treeparty design . The brooch is for my poppet. She loves brooches....or is that just me loving them on her? And the cards might be framed and put up on her wall.

And my absolute favourite!!! A new cloth doll. I always buy a new little doll each time I'm at a market and see the gorgeous Melinda of Retro Bird. Poppet already has three so now the aptly named Mathilda (on the left) just has to get to know Grace, Libby and Alice. The aren't cliquey though...tea parties all round.
Plus, she has a cat to help break the ice.

Hubby took our poppet down for a wee little milkshake and a mini muffin. I had a lovely morning with a dear friend soaking in creative delights. All is well in the world :)

16 Apr 2010

Jolis Petits Boutons - { Pretty Little Buttons }

Today I was greeted at the mailbox by these little lovelies. The very clever Katia of Plushka's Craft made me two little birdy buttons (her listing was for one...but I'm a greedy guts!). And just because she is a gorgeous generous soul, she popped a little appliqué of Mr. Panda into my parcel. If you haven't had a look before, please pop into her Made It shop and be amazed by her creative genius.

Oh the patience, Katia!

15 Apr 2010

Mon Espace Créateur - { My Creative Space }

My creative space is filled with affaires inachevées i.e.unfinished business! Many a work in progress gets eagerly unpacked onto the dining table each morning, then sadly packed away each night. A predicament caused entirely by my own doing. I have a tendency to almost finish a project and then flit to the newer and shinier one waiting on the sidelines. Hence, here is my rather embarrassing list of "things to finish" that are written in my daily diary, then crossed out and transferred to the next day's page....over and over again. The reason I am airing my dirty crafting laundry is so that you, my fellow bloggers, may take me to task over it and demand some finished products. Please excuse me while I hang my head in shame. Task Number 1 : a gorgeous little caravan softie I started making for my Poppet about 2 months ago. Tsk Tsk Tsk I hear you say.

Task Number 2 : Some gorgeous fabric waiting to be turned into some new sleep shorts so I can toss these ratty old ones into the rag bag (I think the rags will even snub this pair!). Yes, I know it's almost Winter.

Task Number 3 : Poppet's Debbie Bliss cardigan. Now I refuse to be scolded over this one because I'm working as fast as my incompetent knitting hands can go. I do some (not always a lot) every night I promise.

Task Number 4: A little crochet hook cosy from my new book, Sew Darn Cute. A thank-you present that is well overdue! Booooo! Hiss!

And then, just to rub salt into my wounds. My lovely postie delivers this into my mailbox!

Into the cupboard until all the other projects are finished.....not likely!
To have a pleasant look through some more virtuous crafters' creative spaces, pop over to lovely Kirsty's blog.