31 Aug 2010

Fortuné moi! - { Lucky me! }

The last few weeks have been a wonderfully lucky time for me as I shuffled things about in the nest to make room for these new goodies I won thanks to the lovely generous natures of gorgeous bloggers out there. Firstly, I was the winning bidder on this amazing knitted dress by the one and only "knitter extraordinaire", Kylie of Kylie's Crafts. Not only is she a superb knitter but a beautiful soul (and a lovely new friend who lives just down the road!). After reading about a little one with severe cerebral palsy in her local newspaper she set about making this exquisite dress and set up a little auction on her blog with all proceeds going to the family for much needed medical assistance. What an absolute gem!!

And then this brilliant i-pad sleeve from Hannah of Chicken Willow. Her sewing is sooooo neat! And it is made of the loveliest fabric. What a great product. Don't have an i-pad.....yet ;) but thanks so much.

And just when I thought I couldn't get any luckier...these delicious cards came my way. My dear friend Kathy from Sweet Simplicitee (actually, she's the lovely soul who inspired me to start this blog in the first place!) makes the most beautiful paper crafts...so clean and simple. C'est parfait!

And to the lovely Ms. Posie...a huge merçi! Not only did she stuff my parcel full of loveliness from her shop but also brought home a gorgeous necklace and bracelet all the way from overseas just because it said Bijoux!! (the plural of Bijou...meaning gems/jewels). What a treasure! She is counting down the days until her hubby returns and I wish them every happiness.

I'm utterly overwhelmed with all the generosity out there in the blogosphere. So to all my followers and readers I want to say a giant thank-you and wish you joy of every description! Grosses Bises a million times!

29 Aug 2010

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

This weekend has been a delightful whirlwind of markets, renovating and gorgeous family time. Saturday morning took me away from my nest for a while as I set up shop at the Bardon Market. And the evening called for an impromptu dinner out at our local Swiss Restaurant! With poppet dressed in her finest we took the senior citizen seating (6:00 o'clock) and indulged in country terrine, amuse bouches i.e. little wee prawn quiches, and a cheese fondue. Bliss!

And Sunday...ah Sunday! A sleep in (thank-you our honey girl!), bacon and eggs for brekkie á la Hubby and pottering/renovating in the backyard. The retaining wall is now complete, there is a gate at the top of the deck, most of the slats are undercoated and we eagerly await stairs from my Papa Bear so I can actually carry washing down stairs rather than schlepping a basket up and down a ladder. A ladder I might add, we found Bijou at the very top of this afternoon!! Mon dieu!

But look what we found amidst all the rubble of a backyard wall we had to knock down. As this house was built in the fifties and the wall was built at the same time (thanks neighbour for that important snippet of info.) then this perfume bottle must be from the fifties. And imagine my delight when I took off the dirt encrusted lid and could still smell the perfume! My guess is L'Air du Temps by Nina Ricci but I'm not certain. Can anyone remember this bottle adorning their Mum or Grand Mum's dresser?

For other vintage treasures please have a gander here. Hope your week is full of light and laughter.

27 Aug 2010

Le Marché Bardon { The Bardon Market }

I have been a little market magnet of late. But when my lovely neighbour Christene of Mr. Frog's Toybox, at the last Mathilda's Market asked me to be a part of a little boutique market she organises in Bardon I jumped at the chance. And there will be macarons...that is enough of a reason for me to go! I'd love to see you there to share a coffee and one ....or ten!

26 Aug 2010

Mon Espace Créateur - { My Creative Space }

With trumpeters trumpeting and choirs heralding its arrival...the cardigan is finally finished!! Bijou will have approximately 3 days to wear it before the weather turns too warm but alas..it is done! And whoa what a ride!!

I undertook this "challenge" (insert "epic marathon", "gargantuan task" or "stupid, stupid idea" as you see fit) in order to re-connect with a past craft and hopefully push myself to actually finish something woolly. I pottered on rather happily for some time but as it came time to pick up stitches, sew together seams and the scary like my confidence (and ability) abandoned me and I quite frankly...stuffed it up! The wonky, knubbly seams due to dodgy casting off (in fact I contemplated pulling out the overlocker on several occasions whilst stitching it together), the holes where stitches should be around the neckline, one armhole higher than the other, etc etc. And yes, tears were shed!

Then the real tears came! The ones signifying that no matter how hard I try, how much I want to get it right, how much I follow the pattern to the letter there are going to be times when I, as Bijou's Mumma am going to stuff it up. There will be times when I make a wrong judgement, times when she won't like me, times when I let her down, times when I embarrass her, times when I lose my temper.

I'm not perfect nor is this world (and certainly nor is her jumper!) but I can hold true to the one thing that I am absolutely certain off...I love that girl with all that is in me. And even though I'm bound to "tangle my yarn" as a Mumma, I will be doing absolutely every stitch of it with love....just like I knitted her jumper.

For other (probably far less gushy) creative spaces pop over here. I'm going to google some simple dishcloth patterns to knit to practice my skills...something I should have done from the beginning!!

25 Aug 2010

Le Bébé Essuie - { Baby Wipes }

Today you'll find a little baby wipes tutorial of mine over at ecoMILF. The gorgeous Meaghan has just had a brand new squidgy baby daughter, Indigo (heavenly name isn't it?) and needed some guest posts while she got acquainted with her newest love. Hope you find them useful!

24 Aug 2010

Escargots - { Snails }

I love how the French make a ceremony out of eating snails! There is the special little plate with divots in it to hold the wee snail snug, the eyelash curler looking utensil to grasp your slippery friend (not because of any slime but because of the garlic butter waterfall dripping off them) and then the slender fork just pointy enough to snag that morsel of mollusc and pop it into your eagerly salivating mouth.

When Hubby and I were last in France (Oh my, could I sound a bit more hoity toity!? We've been two times but with that kind of talk it sounds like I pop over twice yearly for the collections!!) we were delighted to discover a B and B attached to a snail farm. Unfortunately as it was winter, the snails were bundled up in sacks hibernating and hence we didn't visit. Instead we took a perilious Tour de France pilgrimage halfway up L'Alpe d'Huez in our little Peugeot and amazed at the stength and courage of the people that do it...on bicyles!

When next we visit with our little miss we hope to spend some time there watching the thousands of baby snails feasting all day on luscious grass. Imagine the conversations, "Look Bijou! There's a paddock of sheep...a paddock of cows...a paddock of snails!!) The owners then prepare a delicious feast of snails in their vast country kitchen complete with copper pots and pans before tucking you into bed. And croissants in the morning...bien sur!

When our dearest friends' beautiful daughter (our god-daughter) turned one I took along these little meringue snails to add something to the festive spread. It was quite apparent that meringue is something we're never too old for as most of them were scoffed by the adults. The rest made a few kidlets loopy with sugary pleasure...and their parents eye ball me across the yard. Oopsie!

22 Aug 2010

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

As this little black duck hasn't been on any thrifting adventures for a wee while I thought I'd share with you the "after" photos of some teeny tiny chairs I shared with you some time ago (o.k. absolutely ages ago!)

After playing about with sherbet coloured paints with names befitting a lolly shop I came back to where I usually always do...white paint. We joke in our house that if you stand still long enough I'll paint you white and these chairs were no exception.

I spent many an hour (not always happy ones!) scraping them back to bare wood and sanding them smooth. Then coat upon coat of white gloss to bring them back to their former glory. And Bijou's wonderful Daddy whipped up a little matching table with some scrap wood...that also got the white treatment.

The chairs and table have long been finished and enjoyed daily. Mon petit poppet spends a lot of time perched on them either playing with playdough, drawing whilst exclaiming..."nooooo!" and pointing to the table and then "pa-pa" and pointing to the paper (an idea that finally clicked after most of the surfaces in our home have been defaced by a rogue felt pen), or enjoying a little snack such as a Lark donut or bikkie and a cuppa. Of course I've been perched beside her and let's just say you may see a cushion post in the not too distant future.

I'm going to hop on my bike and go and see what all the other hunters have found over here...come join me!

18 Aug 2010

Mon Espace Créateur - { My Creative Space }

When Hubby and I decided to take the plunge and invest in real estate we held pie in the sky dreams of a rambling (read: huge!) Queenslander with a gazillion rooms, ornate arches and breezeways, coloured glass casement windows thrown open onto a divine wrap around veranda luring sea breezes in to swirl throughout from the polished floorboards to the high ceilings. However, upon opening our wallets and finding barely two coins to rub together...yes we had a GORGEOUS wedding, amazing travels and more meals out than in (pre Bijou of course!)...our plans changed!

I was a woman possessed on my mission to track down "the renovator". The house that makes women weep and grown men (especially builders) run in fear. Hideous carpet...check, wallpaper of every hue (on every flat surface!)....check, lime green kitchen...check, bathroom still smelling of the previous owner....check (and eeww!!!). And I found it in a little timber post war number!

The house Hubby and I have (not so proudly) called home for the last 2 and a half years fulfilled all our requirements. It cost an absolute song...and took some loony couple to see its potential (that's us!). Before we had our poppet we spent many (and I mean many) hours plugging away at the gigantic list of home improvements with me often ending up with the dodgy jobs i.e removing all the wall paper only to have Hubby decide we should re sheet most of the walls anyway...cheers love!, removing all the layers of lino in the kitchen and the glorious black tar that I unearthed like buried treasure underneath.

But the things I enjoyed most involved my "gorilla bar junior"! A mini version of a crow bar that packs some serious punch. After a stressful day with 27 or so zany kidlets I could come home and rip something down...ah, the satisfaction! Can't wait to dust the old girl off again for the next house....a Queenslander I hope! Crossing my fingers, toes and eyes as I write.

As my brother is renovating at the moment too I thought it fitting to make a wee little tool set for my gorgeous nephew's first birthday. For a plethora of creative spaces pop over here and be amazed!

For the record...yes, I have my own tool belt and yes I have my own pink hammer! And as you can see, I wasn't exaggerating about the lime green kitchen. Gorgeous dahling!

17 Aug 2010

Préférés d'Enfance - { Childhood Favourites }

After one of the craziest weekends in the history of this little domain, what with Mathilda's mayhem and all, today called for some much needed domesticity in the form of baking...and oodles of loads of washing! And to continue on my journey along the yellow brick road of childhood favourites Bijou and I made hundreds and thousands bikkies!

I just used a basic biscuit recipe and we then had a whale of a time cutting them into all manner of fabulous shapes. A quick stint in the oven to bronze up, a generous lashing of lurid pink icing and a sunshiney sprinkling of "millions and trillions" (as I liked to call them as a lass) and these bikkies left Mr.Arnotts' for dead!

Suffice to say, not too many made it into the biscuit tin!

Or was that because there was hardly any bikkie dough to begin with? I hope your week puts a spring in your step!

11 Aug 2010

Mon Espace Créateur - { My Creative Space }

I have made no secret of the fact that I love tea! A love affair (yes, quite possibly an addiction) my heart became tangled in when I was a wee snippet of a thing and my chosen vessel was a bunnykins mug. Cups of milky tea and cruskits with peanut butter were thrust into eager hands upon arrival home from school on wet days when the wheel of your bike caused muddy water to spray up leaving a giant dirty line up your back.

Then there were lunches at my Mum's grandfather's house, Pa. A morning spent outside exploring the little white wooden laundry shelves laden with treasure filled jars, squeezing the plump Impatiens seed pods and in an instance watching the seeds burst everywhere and the pod transform itself into a gorgeous green curl. And then a lunch of white bread sandwiches spread thickly with proper butter and vegemite and topped with fresh slices of tomato from Pa's extensive vegie garden. Loose leaf tea from a tea pot with a snugly, woolen tea cosy topped off this delectable feast.

And I can't forget watching my own Papa Bear grasp the handle of the billy can on camping adventures and whirl it around in an steaming arc. Such a display to rival any Barnum and Bailey Circus performer! And then staring into the glowing coals and sipping the tea from grey melamine mugs and munching on some yummy slice Mum had packed. I however always forgot about the tea leaves and ended up with a mouthful of grit!!

And although I don't remember waking after an endoscopy such is the wonder of a twilight anaesthetic. Hubby has told me with not a hint of fib in his eye that when asked by the nurse if I wanted a cup of tea I replied enthusiastically, "Oh, yes please!!". She then asked if I wanted a bikkie and my response was, "Can I have two?" Some things will never change.

But the cups of tea I enjoy most nowadays are those make believe ones supped with my gorgeous Bijou and it doesn't take much effort from this Mumma Bear to convince her to play along with this little set I made from a Ric Rac pattern. Tea parties are simply magic!

To marvel at the workings of the creative mind please pop into Kirsty's lovely blog and immerse yourself in glorious craftiness.

8 Aug 2010

Neuf Têtes - { Nine Heads }

Oh the joy of finding a vintage treasure tucked away in your wardrobe! Long covered over by everyday essentials (read: boring with a capital b!) such a gem hides in anticipation waiting for its day in the sun.

And yesterday was my old friend's time to shine again. Flitting about in a "we're running late!" for brekkie reservations panic (yes, one has to reserve a table when a petit poppet is added to the equation). Freezing my little pa-tooty off in nought but my under garments I flicked through black, grey, black, grey...and then...♪ a little ray of sunshine..came into the world ♪.

Re purposed from a GIGANTIC vintage caftan I thrifted many moons ago, this little folky smock is one of my faves. Add a vintage tooled leather belt...."coming, Honey!", some black leggings and a skivvy and some slouchy tan boots from Scooter...."I know we're late...will be out in a jiffy"... and pull crazy hair into even crazier bun like concoction et voila! Eggs Benedict, I can taste you!!!

Note: 9 Heads is a method of drawing fashion figures using the head as a measurement.

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

My last "shopping trip" at my Mumma Bear's yielded not only this amazing artifact from my childhood but also the accompanying and equally cherished sewing basket. Still in lovely condition considering its home for the past 20 or so years I brought it home and happily stuffed it full of my needles, pins and other sewing paraphernalia.

Graffitied with my name and adorned with a whimsical drawing of a little girl and her duck I romantically believed that all my clutter...oh, I mean useful, couldn't be without sewing implements would be housed snugly inside. But alas, this gal has hoarded far more sewing accoutrements than one little basket can bear.

And so with mixed emotions I passed this beloved keepsake onto my heavenly Bijou. Sadness that I couldn't hold onto this relic and hence keep those beautiful childhood memories safe in my mind and stop them from slipping away into the land where lovely dreams go. But mostly joy! Joy at seeing my own little girl delighting at the colourful drawing, examining the workings of the cord hinge and finally filling it with her own sewing treasures.

And just as my baby basket was merrily carried off into the distance, I found the Mumma one! Tucked away in a local oppie, this regal old lady perched herself. She is so much bigger and more fitting to a seamstress of my age. And frankly, she is divine. With a quiet evening in order after a crazy retaining wall finishing off weekend (Yay my Hubby...you are a brilliant, brilliant man!!!) I think my new gal and I should get acquainted. And what better way than to fill her up with sewing loveliness. Hope your week is grand!!

Please pop into Sophie's ever inspiring blog and have a sneaky peak at all the other goodies uncovered and brought back to life by other thrifty folk.