29 Jun 2010

Lavez les plats, séchez les plats, retournez les plats - { Wash the dishes, dry the dishes, turn the dishes over }

In order to add another little tick to my eco goals list and perhaps make washing up just that little bit more fun....(yeah, right!!!), I've started making my own washing up liquid. Packaged up in a glass bottle with a little pretty card label with the recipe on the back and tied with vintage ribbon it also makes a festive addition to the kitchen bench top.

It's seen us through quite a few weeks now and although it can make the glassware a little streaky at times I'm pretty happy with it (I just put a little hot water in the other sink to give glasses and cutlery a quick rinse...et voila!). The only unnerving quality is that it doesn't suds up! Word on the street (Random Scientific Facts Avenue to be precise) is that modern dishwashing liquids don't need to suds up in order to clean effectively but the manufacturers add a sudsing ingredient to keep us all happy! Apparently we'd all have conniptions if our soap wasn't putting on a razzle dazzle bubbly show. Are you sensing a flock of fluffy white sheep following each others' tails....baaaa!

The recipe for this understated performer (no frills, sequins, fripperies.....or bubbles required) is 3 tabs. liquid castille soap, 2 tsp. glycerine, 2 tabs. lemon juice/white vinegar (I prefer lemon juice), 10 drops of lemon essential oil and 2 cups of warm water.

Time will tell whether this recipe's a keeper ...have to weigh up if the sometimes slightly streaky glasses and scummy sink are too much of a bother...or am I simply a dishwashing liquid snob....or worse....a lazy bones! At the end of the day, it does do a fab job, smells scrummy and keeps the fishies and dolphins happy. C'est la vie!

28 Jun 2010

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

My passion for tea drinking began at the tender age of ten when my Mum and I made a train pilgrimage into the big smoke (all of a 30 minute journey) for a day of shopping. Morning tea or "Mornos" has and will always be a huge part of my Mum's day. Along with breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea (yes..."Arvos") and dinner. No she's not the size of a house, nor a hobbit...she just loves food and I thank her for passing this fabulous pastime onto me.

Morning tea in Brisbane City could only be at one place, the Shingle Inn (not the dodgy replicas popping up in shopping centres...but the first!). Picture original wooden booths, silver sugar bowls and tea pots, lemon meringue pie with a cloud of white mallowy heaven and a giant dollop of cream. Waitresses clad in "shower cap" hats and matching frocks seated you, took your order and presented your chosen morsels with every conceivable utensil (silver of course) needed to indulge. Mum told stories of past visits with her mother. A time when ladies wore gloves and hats....Mum, however, always ahead of her time was wearing hotpants and knee high boots and a bouffant bob with a kiss curl (stuck down with sticky tape the night before)!

As I grew up, and uni and work took me closer to the city, the Shingle Inn still remained a heavenly sanctuary to sip tea, munch on mini lemon curd tarts and crack open a newly purchased Vogue. But then.....a catastrophe so horrendous occurred.....they closed it!!! All the original fittings, the china, the silverware....even the uniforms were boxed up as the building was renovated. O.K. it was replaced with Louis Vuitton and Tiffany but oh how my heart ached for city trips with Bijou playing ladies one day. Followed by red patent leather sandal buying in David Jones for my girl just like my Mumma had done for me.

There has been a little dark place in my heart for the last five years or so where the Shingle Inn used to burn...that is until the wonderful news that it will again shine in a new home with all the original loveliness. City Hall will now be the proud governess of my beloved tea drinking spot and I simply can not wait!!!

In homage to this fabulous news I thought I'd share my ever growing collection of tea cups. I use them every day and never pay too much for them. Yes, tears are shed when a special favourite is broken but things this gorgeous should not be gathering dust in a display cabinet. Nothing is quite so lovely as a dishrack filled with sherbet coloured cups, saucers and plates. It also means I've had lots of cups of tea that day too...bliss!

Why not dig out your favourite cup and saucer and have a cuppa while you meander through all the loveliness at Sophie's. I might just join you.

24 Jun 2010

Mon Espace Créateur - Déja Vu - { My Creative Space - Déja Vu }

There doesn't seem to be an English equivalent of the French phrase Déja Vu, yet it's a feeling we've all experienced at some time. It's that eerie sensation that you've been here or seen that before. It's the feeling that often gives you goose bumps and causes you to turn around to check you're not being followed by a wispy figure muttering "woooo" under its breath.

Believe it or not but my creative space this week is enveloping me in that very same feeling. Some time ago (O.K. absolutely ages ago!!) I embarked on a knitting journey to conquer not only my deep seated fear of knitting but to overcome my inability to finish challenging projects. Well here it is....and no, it's not finished! Déja Vu again!!

It is my belief that déja vu is the universe's (insert whomever of whichever spiritual deity you subscribe to be it God, Buddha, Jehovah...or the mothership if you're a lounge jumping Tom Cruise type!) way of keeping us on track. Helping to remind us of promises made to ourselves, highlighting areas of our physche we may need to tweak a little...or just embrace and relish! It bids us to question, "I've been here before....when, why?".

This week I've rather uncomfortably been reminded of a creative and personal goal I set for myself...one which has been shelved as it was starting to feel a little raw and unnerving (kinda like pulling that straggly bit of cuticle too far!). But with a helping hand from Madam Déja Vu and the brilliant knitter extraordinaire, Kylie of Kylie's Crafts (as far as knitters go, they don't come any better....she is a marvel!!...and a gorgeous girl to boot) I have picked up the needles and am slowly clacking back on track. Off for a cup of tea now....mmmm, I'm sure I've been here before!

For more creative spaces please pop over to the lovely Kirsty's ever so inspiring blog.

23 Jun 2010

J'ai une affaire! - { I'm having an affair! }

It all started innocently enough. Sideways glances whilst out shopping in the city...shy smiles across a crowded shop, hesitantly moving just that little bit closer. Before I knew it, I was ogling every square inch of his perfectly formed body, caressing his smooth skin and longing for him to come home with me! Yes, my friends, I fell in love with a KitchenAid Mixer. Not just any old mixer...a PINK one!

One has been brought up to believe that a man should never buy presents for his wife of the domestic nature i.e. vacuum cleaners...no, no, no!, electric frypans....eeeek!, irons....Mon Dieu!! so when hubby presented me with such a present for Mothers' Day (I know...this post is a wee bit late!) I thought every feminist fibre of my being would revolt. But when I tore open the wrapping to behold "the new man in my life" I melted.

I hadn't even given one hint as it was one of those items you lust after but know you'll never own. Perhaps he'd heard me talk of it, or seen my flirtatious looks in the homewares shops...or perhaps he is just the most amazing hubby! I know he'll benefit well from this new liaison....lemon meringue pies, macarons and the like but I like to think that he bought it just because he loves me! And you know what.....I simply adore "the first man in my life" with all that I have and would live in a cardboard box with him if it made him smile. I love you my Darren! Mwah, mwah, mwah!

21 Jun 2010

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

I was an avid reader as a child! I started my literary journey with a mountain of Golden Books, then continued on the straight and narrow to Enid Blyton'sville where I spent many a glorious day skipping along with Fenella and all her circus pals, churning butter and collecting eggs with the children of Willow Farm, scolding Mr. Meddle and Mr. Twiddle for their inappropriate behaviour and sharing plum cake and jam sandwiches on the train with Elizabeth on the way to Whiteleafe School for another adventuresome term....all from the comfort of my bed. I'm sad to say my choice of fiction took a wrong turn somewhere in my tweens with The Babysitters' Club. I then completely lost my way with Sweet Valley High and those teenage romance books...remember the ones with the photos of a girl on the front cover...always with super long impossibly glossy hair!

You can only begin to imagine the absolute joy I felt when I opened my vintage swap package the other day. The very generous Mary of Sewhotmitmot had not only hunted out the most delectable vintage goodies but had found the last "Naughtiest Girl in the School" book of the series...the one I could never find and hence have never read!

Beautiful linens and gorgeous buttons....some from gay Paris!!

And a set of vintage playing cards with English birds...hubby quickly coveted these...birdo that he is! Thanks so much Mary!! And thank-you also to Kellie of Rice Babies for organising such a fun swap. I know I should be showing my flea market finds but Mary's were soooo good!

An early night is in order after the craziness of the weekend. I might just make a cup of tea and tuck myself in to bed with a good book. So Elizabeth what have you been up to my girl? Not being too naughty I hope!

To see what other treasures have been found please pop into Sophie's lovely blog.

Reculez à la terre - { Back down to Earth }

The eagle has landed my friends and this little black duck can finally take off her helmet and breath some oxygen again. What a brilliant weekend I had at Mathilda's market. Firstly a huge merçi to the wonderful team that put together this magnificent event. Everything was so brilliantly organised!

My Mum and I were some of the very first people through the door to set up....eager...moi? And I was all set up and ready about an hour before it all started. Just enough time to thoroughly chew off my thumb nails (and I'm not a nail biter!!), have a coffee, go to the loo...and then to the loo....and then to the loo etc. etc.

Experienced stall holders said that crowds were alot less than usual but I made quite a few sales and went home over the moon with all the wonderful comments and positive feedback I received. I even had a few wholesale enquiries!! Thanks SOOO much to all those lovelies who purchased some of my goodies and to those lovely bloggy friends who came and said hi! All in all it was a magic introduction to the world of marketeering. I shall be back! Today....Racecourse Road, Hamilton, Brisbane....tomorrow....Les Champs Élysées, Paris!!!

P.S. Sorry for the piccies....gorgeous Autumn sunlight pouring in behind us did not a good picture make!

18 Jun 2010

Le Marché de Mathilde - { Mathilda's Market }

Oh my!!! We're not in Kansas anymore Toto....we've entered the magical, exciting, delirious and all consuming land of Mathilda's Market preparation! What a naughty blogger I've been of late but rest assured I've thought of you lovelies often. But that nasty sewing machine keeps calling me (insert hoity toity voice here), "Only one more sleep, you're going to run out of time!" All right I hear ya!!! So with what is probably the most succinct and least rambly post you will ever see from me....I'd best go put my nose to the grind stone. SOOO excited about tomorrow but also a wee bit nervous! Can't wait to be part of such an amazing event and be amongst such talented people.

Would love to see there...please come and say hi! I'll be the nervous looking one talking too much and trying to keep her breakfast down.

10 Jun 2010

Mon Espace Créateur - { My Creative Space }

Oh what a mission I've been on! Over hill, over dale, in nook and in cranny, down the garden path ....to end, up a creek without a paddle! Such an adventure chasing not a pot of gold but a wee little dressing gown for my little honey bunny. That is, a dressing gown with a few requirements: buttons instead of a tie so that I don't have to spend all my time doing it up to keep her snug, no and I repeat NO leopard print in any shape or form (I mean really Kmart people, who would?!!!) nor glitter, nor "coz I'm cute" slogans. You get the picture.... a dressing gown for a little girl not a bouffant haired , black eye liner-ed strumpet!

Did I find one...no! Did I make one for about the cost of a coffee...YES! With a little under a metre of the least zany printed fleece from my beloved Spotlight (tongue pushed firmly against cheek), a rip off pattern from a Mr.P Patch jacket and a few hours and mon petit poppet is toast-y! Because it was so cinchy I thought I'd show you how.....

1) Find a suitable jacket with a collar to copy. Cut around sleeves leaving extra for seam allowances.
2) Do the same for the back. Make the dressing gown whatever length you need.
3) Fold the jacket sleeve out of the way and use the curve as a guide to cut the armhole (again leaving a seam allowance)

4) Fold the collar out of the way and cut straight across the neckline. Repeat on the other side.

5) Et voila! One back piece.

6) Do the same for your front piece.

7) When you reach the front armhole, remove the jacket and align your back piece over the top to ensure a perfect match on your armholes. Repeat for the other side.

Make sure you have a left and a right piece.

8) Do the same for your collar - cutting two pieces. With right sides facing, stitch them together along the curve. Turn the right way out.

9) With right sides facing, sew the fronts and backs together at the sides and shoulders.Sew sleeves together also.

10) Turn sleeves the right way out and put inside the jacket. Match the shoulder seams and side seams and pin. It should look like this. Stitch.

11) Turn jacket right way out. It should be starting to resemble a little wee dressing gown!

12) Pin and stitch the raw edge of your collar to the wrong side of the dressing gown.

Make sure to leave a hem allowance for the front pieces either side of the collar.

12) Inside the jacket, on the back piece, measure about 9 and a half cm in from the left side seam and pin an 11cm piece of 3/4 inch elastic. This is to pull in the back a little so place it roughly where the small of the back would be.

13) Measure about 9 and a half cm from the right hand side and make a mark.

14) Pulling towards the mark as you go, stitch the elastic in place. I did a row of stitching on each side of the elastic.

15) Hem the front edges so that they align with the collar join. Hem the bottom edge.

16) Turn the collar out so that it is facing the right way and top stitch close to the seam. Go slowly because it is quite thick.

17) Overlap the front pieces as they would sit when done up and pin where you would like the buttons to go. Make button holes and sew on buttons.

C'est Fini!!!

I'm off to have a bath, pop on my dressing gown and have a lovely trawl through all the delightful creative spaces at Kirsty's lovely blog.