28 Feb 2014

quiet times

I really took for granted the quiet times I had with my girl.  Before school started it was just her and me whiling sunlit afternoons as our baby boy slept.  A gentle connectedness that comes from predictability; knowing someone wholly.  A compatibility, an easiness.  Our wooden table would spill over with cloth and twine, chatter and imagination and time would move a little slower. These were everyday moments that unfolded naturally and fused us with creativity, conversation and time.  I miss the certainty of those afternoons together; their everyday-ness.

Now these are times I must gather carefully. A library book may spark an idea, then a conversation, and I file away plans for togetherness when the time is right.  In the "all in together this fine weather" way of family life I strive to snatch time just with her. Nothing grand or indulgent, just simple and quiet time. Just me and my girl.

It's quite the juggle so tell me, how do you carve out little slices of one-on-one time with your babies?

Steph x

25 Feb 2014

second hand clothes

Slowly and mindfully we have begun to pare back our ways and live more simply; treading more carefully on the earth.  We have gently transformed our home, the way we nourish and care for our bodies, and what we consume to encompass our beliefs on sustainability and to honour our fellow man. It was inevitable then that our eyes would one day cast a scrutinous gaze over the clothes we wear.

Ethical fashion is a veritable quagmire of ideals. It's one I'm yet to wade through successfully what with conflicting viewpoints, inaccessibility to facts and downright dishonesty leading me up the garden path. Ignorant and false claims of fair trade origins lurk in dark corners and ridiculously cheap and disposable clothing lures anyone with little cash to spare. But to clothe myself and my family ethically and with an environmental conscious is a philosophy that has seeped into my everyday.

Thankfully, timeless and beautiful handcrafted pieces that live up to our ideals are fast becoming more available. Often the price point deters me though, not because these garments aren't worth every cent with their ethics, environmental philosophies and simple beauty but simply the constraints of a one wage budget. Such timeless pieces are chosen for their durability and ability to transcend seasons. They are then mindfully saved for and finally splurged on.

So for now we balance treasured items with some Mumma made pieces and much thoughtful thrifting. Trawling through racks of second hand clothes has become second nature to me and these are some tips I've picked up along the way:
  • Choose natural fibres - check for the tags for fabric types. 
  • Think a season or two ahead especially with things like childrens' tracksuits and long sleeved t-shirts. These can easily be rolled up if they are a whisker too big when needed. Adjustable waists are always a winner too.
  • Don't purchase things that have sweat stains or smells - they are near impossible to remove.The same goes for black mould spots.
  • Light coloured fabrics with small stains can often be revived with a soak in washing soda* and then hung directly on the line without rinsing. When dry, wash as normal.
  • If the fabric appeals but the cut isn't something you can work with consider if it can be re purposed perhaps like this skirt. I have a torn black silk skirt waiting to be turned into a simple tank. 
  • Inspect items carefully for missing buttons, stiff zippers, tears etc. Somethings might just need a little bit of mending but others are best left behind.
  • Check washing instructions to make sure it fits in with your way of life.
  • Let go of your prejudices and embrace a new way of recycling. Most op shops these days offer exceptional quality in a clean and friendly environment. Hunt out a few favourites and make a point o visiting regularly.
  • Have a list of items you're searching for so you don't double up. I like to think of what might be needed for the next season and keep my eyes out for these things.
  • Check out your local flea market from time to time. Mummas on a simplifying mission turn up in droves to pass on clothing that has been outgrown. Last Winter I dressed Remy almost entirely in secondhand clothes from one stall at a flea market. The lady had a huge selection of beautiful  boys' clothing from Fred Bare, Seed and Old Navy and I took most of it. I have even squirrelled away checkered shirts for the next few years! 
  • Ebay can also yield some fabulous finds. I recently picked up a pair of new with tags grey suede leather boots (last season from The Horse) for $14.44 including postage and a gently worn wool dress from Gorman for pittance.
  • Be wary you don't over consume just because things are cheap. The "fill a bag" rack might cost next to nothing but you can often end up with a cupboard full of clothing that nobody needs or will wear. I have been particular guilty of this and have found myself drowning in children's clothes. A few weeks and a good decluttering later sees me returning it all back to the op shop I purchased it from. 
Do you have any secondhand clothing tips? Have you unearthed any treasures?

* washing soda is an eco friendly solvent that we use as a soaker and as an ingredient in our homemade washing liquid. We purchase ours in the laundry aisle of the supermarket.

Steph x

23 Feb 2014


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

Bijou - Singing her heart out at the top of the climbing frame.
Remy - He wore his fireman hat everywhere this week.

Steph x

Joining in with the beautiful Jodi.

21 Feb 2014

dandelion dye

Each morning as we walk the slow, gentle path to school they smile at us. At our feet, little bursts of yellow drinking in sunlight and proudly opening themselves up in display.  Come the afternoon they have closed up shop for the day and only little shards of colour pop out amidst the endless green stems.  Dandelions.

Every day the babies pick handfuls for Mumma and every day I come home and wash the deep yellow stain from my fingers.  Rich and highly pigmented, infused with Summer and morning chatter. They got me thinking.....

Steph  x

I made a natural dye with the abundance of dandelions. I used a vinegar * mordant (fixative) to prepare my cotton yarn and help it drink in the yellow hue. I used this method to dye the yarn. I'm now spying colour in my garden and on our walks; fallen rose petals, marigolds and earthy eucalyptus leaves. And my pantry yields more inspiration still with beetroot, leafy greens and turmeric. I think this should read...to be continued...

19 Feb 2014


The school year has begun and this time my girl joined the throng - white sock and black leather shoe clad with a school bag dwarfing her tiny frame.  With much excitement and a few moments of overwhelm I'm thankful to say she's settled beautifully. Ah the relief. But what with all this worry and preparation hinged on her transition I gave no thought to me; my feelings, my adjustment.  It crept up on my somewhere in the middle of the second week when the dust had settled.  The flurry of newness gave way to the reality of school and it's day in day out nature.  My role has shifted and I'm feeling lost.  I'm longing for our gentle days where domestic rhythms guided our way rather than school bells and constant food preparation. I'm resenting the uniformity of it all, the structure...the clock. And I'm missing my girl.

Hyper organisation seems to be a trait I've inherited from Mum and while it aids in a certain calmness and routine it doesn't come without its payoffs. My daily movements have become all robotic and regimented and I am forever watching the clock.  I'm catching myself with with scrunched up shoulders flitting from task to task with hurried movements and a certain level of pressure (self inflicted of course).

My head tells me that all change comes hand in hand with some anxiety and that time is the greatest healer. So I'm treading gently until my heart catches on to the notion.  Early bed times are being mandated not only for weary poppets but for myself also. And small treats of a few lovely magazines, lunch time naps on the lounge and milkshakes out with my little man to bolster me as I adjust.  Cleaning has been pared back to basics and meals have been nourishing yet simple - lots of soups, salads and graze plates.

I'm not going to view this as wallowing or even self indulgence but rather accepting that this chapter will take some time to embrace. And it's going to hurt a little.  I really believe that a calm and positive Mumma infuses a home with peace so I'm going to do whatever is needed to find my happy place.  I need to find my feet in this altered role and see where I fit in this new world. I need to allow time for new rhythms to unfold. I need to be kind to myself. I need to go gently.

Steph x

17 Feb 2014

the nappy collective

The world's tapestry is one of beauty, colour and life but also of hardship, injustice and neglect.  To fathom the suffering of others and offer assistance is often too much; the enormity is overwhelming and renders us still and useless.  Where do we start? Who do we help, and in what way? We question whether our minute contribution makes even the smallest dent in the healing and quite frankly in our despair, we are sometimes known to pass the buck to bigger corporations to bolster campaigns to make a "real" difference. Yes, large juggernauts have a serious role to play in helping their fellow man but it is also the duty of each individual to lend a hand. One person's empathy without action is no more than a passing kind thought.

Much like the pond ripple that ever expands and grows across the water's surface, a collective of souls contributing in the smallest of ways can create momentous change. The Nappy Collective was founded on such a philosophy. When a group of Mum's pondered the few stray disposable nappies floating about their homes after little people had out grown them, an idea was launched. - to collect all the leftover unused nappies and distribute them to families in crisis or in need. The Nappy Collective states "there are thousands of families in crisis and mothers in shelters who struggle to cover basic needs for their young children, causing stress, financial difficulty and health challenges for babies. Donating unused nappies assists these families to focus on longer term, deeper care of their children by relieving them of short term challenges and stress.".

Nappies are collected three times a year at various locations and each and every one adds up to provide relief for those in need. There is a collection running from today until the March 2nd and the website details drop off stations. Go rifle through those drawers and see if you can unearth some stray nappies no longer needed by you...but incredibly needed by others. 

Steph x

16 Feb 2014


connecting -  Stepping out of my comfort zone and introducing  myself to fellow Mums at school. We are all as new and anxious as each other so gentle conversations before the school bell rings have been reassuring and inspiring.

nourishing -  making batch after batch of delicious and super easy banana blender pancakes. We make ours small for a healthy lunch box treat.

reading -  Revisiting Buddhism for Mothers and going gently on myself as I adjust to the role of "school mum"  (this one is waiting nearby for when I'm finished).

playing - Guess Who with my girl ....Is you person David?

creating -  Casting on tiny, squishy knits for little souls almost ready to enter this world.

nurturing -  The little man is missing his girl so quiet walks in places of green, trips to the library and plenty of Mumma snuggles and train play are called for. 

growing -  We're planning a little frog pond in homage to our wandering lady (who has since wandered off) and exploring beautiful water plants.

listening -  Old school jazz.

Steph x

15 Feb 2014


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

Bijou - Oh she's relished a slow and quiet weekend at home.
Remy - Morning chats with Papa.

Steph x

Joining in with the beautiful Jodi.

8 Feb 2014


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

Bijou - Always exploring.
Remy - Those eyes.

Steph x

Joining in with the beautiful Jodi.

7 Feb 2014


connecting - Last night I rang my Grandma and asked her how she met my Grandfather. The joy that rang in her voice as she told the tale of the handsome soldier in the doorway of the Paddington Town Hall on Thursday dance night was so very beautiful. Sadly she has been a widow for forty years but her heartfelt words affirmed that true love never dies.

nourishing -  Our table has been laden with simple dinners of soup and salad. Easy on the digestive system and easy on tired little souls. This one is heavenly with little nuggets of good Italian sausage.

reading -  The tales of childhood woven in the pages of Apples for Jam are enchanting and uplifting. This is one of my all time favourite cook books and is inspiring a new rhythm in our home now that one baby has flown the nest for a time.

playing - Little people have been weary and early baths filled with bubbles and sea creature friends have been a welcome salve. They splash about while I sit nearby and knit a few rows.  My quiet presence seems to be all that is needed.

creating -  I completed my tea leaves cardi and sewed delicate painted buttons onto it. Although the weather is warm I can't help but wish for a cold, grey afternoon to wear it.

nurturing -  Water. I must drink more water.

growing -  I've discovered my herbs have "wet feet". There are yellowing due to over watering and not enough drainage. This weekend calls for some repotting and perhaps a treat of worm juice. To think I've over watered something is quite unbelievable!

listening -  The giant gum trees near honey girl's school are filled with Sulphur Crested Cockatoos in the morning. The cacophony of sounds can't help but make us all laugh. This moment of happiness is enough to reboot a day that got off to the wrong start and send us off into the world a little more positively. 

I hope this weekend you find a beautiful feather, scrunch herbs in your fingers and inhale their scent or snatch a quiet moment to flick through an old photo album. May it be a beautiful one.

Steph x

5 Feb 2014

drawing with charcoal

Busy days, slow afternoons.
Structure and routine followed by gentle rhythms; simple play.
Black shoes and white socks, then bare feet on grass.
Baby bird flying from the nest for a time, Mumma bird waiting patiently.
Charcoal, glue and wisps of nature.
Mumma and Bijou.

Steph x

1 Feb 2014


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

Bijou - Big days at school have tuckered this little lady out.
Remy - A haircut and two new teeth and our smiley boy is returning.

Steph x

Joining in with the beautiful Jodi.