Wednesday, December 24
We're off to the beach for Chrissie. Can't wait!
Lots and lots to do before we leave. That's my excuse for the lack of blogging this week.
I went to the Launceston Cycling Classic to lay my eyes on Robbie McEwan and I spent ages taking random photos of the blur of cyclists zooming past in the hope that one would include him. I did it too and the whole aim was to blog it but it'll have to wait. I'm sure you're all quite fine with that - it's just that I have a bit of a crush on him.
Other news - the Etsy shop will be closed until the 5th of January.
Monday, December 15
Thursday, December 11
We stayed near here in a B & B on a farm. The owners family had the property since the 1700s. He'd converted an outbuilding into a restaurant and a couple of guest rooms. Wonderful food. The lovely owner took Chloe for walks around the restaurant so we could enjoy our food fully. So if you're ever in the area look for Le Roi Carotte and go there! Feeling like King Carrot is a local term for the way you feel when little things, like a flower bud in your garden or the sun coming out after rain, make you happy.
St Cirq Lapopie, famously beautiful cliff-perched village.
Gardens at Le Manoir d'eyrignac.
I have been lazy and haven't checked spelling. Please forgive me if you spot glaring errors or if you're French!
Monday, December 1
Edited to add: Just realised how bad these photos are - I blame the hideous grey and windy weather we've been having here. Lots of rains which is great but it makes for dark and grainy photos.
Friday, November 14
I'm so sorry I've been neglecting you. It's been a long hard week and a half and I feel like we've only made it through because my Mum has been such a good help.
I promise that as soon as the snot, vomit, gunky eyes and achey bodies have left our house I'll pay more attention to you.
Lots of Love,
Monday, November 10
Chloe said "dat doe's house." How I wish it was her house - I'd live with her there anytime she asked.
Me devouring Breton crepe with goats cheese after putting my foot down and saying we need a hot meal now. Up until then the timing was always wrong with Chloe and we'd had an awful lot of baguettes. You wouldn't believe how good that crepe was. Washed down with some local cider - I'm normally a cider hater but it's amazing how easily I change when the situation requires it.
Chloe is still living off bits of baguette and apple juice at this stage and this is making mealtimes pretty stressful.
Artichoke paddocks look amazing - luscious and satisfyingly spiky.
This is me in my new Paris bought summer dress desperately hoping it will warm up a bit and that I don't look too much like I'm wearing a nannies uniform. This purchase may quietly sit in the cupboard and not be worn again.
You may not be able to see in this picture but these guys had the best faces.
We went for a long walk around the coast and got a bit lost making it a very long walk. Beautiful though.
Thursday, November 6
We had the first of Chloe's good friends' second birthday party on the weekend and I got some of Kristen Doran's great Matyroshka print linen to make a present. The largest of the dolls has a zipper in the back and is a little purse for carrying the other dolls. This is a blatant copy of Kristen's idea but I'm sure she wouldn't mind. To be honest the birthday girls wasn't as impressed as her mum - but that's OK. Mum's need something too!
We popped into the local Wood Design Centre market in the morning before the party and met Gemma of Loz and Dinny. I'd been meaning to make Chloe a new dress but hadn't had the inspiration or the will and so this little dress from Loz and Dinny was just perfect. It got so many compliments at the party that I started to feel just a tiny bit envious that I hadn't made it. Not a great photo, Chloe has it pulled down a bit and you can't see the wide polka dot hem which looks great.
Needless to say I've had to soak it to get the beautiful homemade ice cream out.
The party was a great success and Chloe has been talking about it all week.
Last week I was totally flattered to see that one of my designs was featured by Tiel on tsk tsk along with a bunch of other great Australian handmade items. Tiel does amazing stuff - I'm totally in awe - if you haven't seen it go take a look here.
Tuesday, November 4
I don't even know what it's called - my hubbie based it on a recipe from a bbq book and altered to suit what we wanted. Amounts vary - use what you like!
Nicoise inspired salad
Piece of hot smoked salmon
Pitted Kalamata olives
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Breaks up the smoked salmon into pieces.
Slice the boiled potatoes and fry in alittle olive oil (or just whack them on the barbie for a while).
Steam the green beans.
Half the boiled eggs.
Put all the salad ingredients in a big bowl and then whisk the dressing ingredients together. Pour over the salad and toss.
This tastes best if the spuds are still warm and we also use fresh salmon or tuna seared on the bbq instead of the hot smoked salmon.
I have no picture I'm sorry so you'll just have to trust me.
This is... is hosted by Three buttons and I'm late again. We had a busy weekend - more on that soon.
Oh, and if anyone can tell me why I have so many problems with spacing on my blog, please do!
Friday, October 31
I always have the backdoor open when the weather is nice and we're home. Twice this week a blackbird has come into the house, gone in the lounge room and then been unable to get out. I was having a nice little rest while Chloe was going to sleep and thinking isn't it strange the way every time Chloe kicks the cot (she has this habit just now) a blackbird starts singing. Needless to say, it wasn't Chloe kicking, it was the blackbird hitting the windows.
I tried everything I could to try and lure it out again both days but nothing worked for me. I had to wait for the male of the house to come home and deal with it. The poor things were so tired by then that it was easy for him to catch them.
There were so many things I wanted to do on these long afternoons but I didn't want to cause the birds even more stress and nothing much got done. In fact almost all I acheived was cleaning a lot of bird poop of the sofas and carpet two nights in a row.
I have the backdoor firmly shut today and am working on a little present for one of Chloe's best friends. We're off to her party tomorrow.
Tuesday, October 28
Living in Launceston.
I went to high school in a town in north west Tasmania and thought Launceston was a 'hole' (sorry Launnie readers!) I avoided any uni courses that might have me end up here.
So what happened? After uni and work for a year in Hobart I went to Western Australia for 3-4 years with my own personal geologist. We missed the Tassie bushwalking and the bush, left WA and went overseas for a year before returning to Tassie.
Getting work to suit your degree isn't that easy here and we were prepared to wait for a while and move back to the mainland if necessary. I worked in a deli for a while and Sam landed a job in baggae handling at the airport (really a great little job!). Then things worked out careerwise for both of us at almost the same time and both in or near Launceston. I still feel lucky because our careers had kept us in different towns in WA.
So, it took a little while, but I'm now completely over my previous predjudice and love living here. It's big enough but not too big, close to so many great places and we have some really wonderful friends here. There are a few top class restaurants (not that I get to eat out anymore) and a few great shops (not that I have any money post-holiday). There are beautiful parks that feed my need to see the greeness of European trees every now and then, there's a great new handmade chocolate shop and a wonderful patisserie. What more could you ask for? It's a great place to live!
Thanks three buttons for hosting and Earl and Cookie for the theme. It took me a while to decide what to write about!
Friday, October 24
I'm breaking the holiday into parts to blog. That way it won't seem like it was over in a flash for me.
Paris meant walking, walking and more walking. Chloe was waking at 4am (could have been worse, at least this meant she was halfway to being in the correct time zone). Hanging out in a tiny hotel room was't much fun so we got up and walked the streets. It was cold and nothing much opens until 9 or 10 so we got lots of exercise. It was great too, because I'd wanted to walk and walk in Paris - it's such a great way to soak up the city.
Paris highlights for me were a picnic in the sun on the steps down to the Seine when Chloe was napping, the Tuileries Gardens, a New Orleans style jazz band playing on the bridge between the Ile St Louis and the Ile de la cite, the Parc Andre Citroen ( a park with stunning contemporary garden design - it was busy but there were plenty of secret, quiet spots where you could feel like you were away from all the hustle and bustle), the food market near the Bastille on Sunday morning and the Tuileries again.
I surprised myself (and I'm even more amazed now I'm home) and didn't go fabric shopping. I'd booked a hotel just across the boulevard from Montmatre and it's clutch of fabric stores but, what with the jetlag on the first day, getting up so early and returning to the hotel late, it just didn't happen.
I had a little time to myself and joined the lengthy queue for the Musee des Arts Decoratif (I hope my spelling is reasonable!). I loved the recreated art nouveau and art deco apartments. There was also an exhibition of Valentino's creations from the 70s (possibly even 60s) through to today. Absolutely amazing dresses. Just so opluent and glamourous. It was packed full of very serious Parisiens examining the construction in detail.
This wonderful boat man gave Chloe a yacht to sale in the fountain at the Tuileries Garden and wouldn't charge her. Such a lovely peaceful activity - I wish we had them here.
Wednesday, October 22
Tuesday, October 21
Carousels became a firm favourite very rapidly.
Negotiating sudden warm weather and the onset of severe jetlag.
In other news, I had vowed not to spend any unnecessary money but I had to buy three of these (scroll down a little) great Kristen Doran Matryoshka fabric panels. Can't wait for them to arrive. I have justified them as birthday presents (to be sewn up) for a few little girls I know.
Sunday, October 19
We are also having a few issues with "Mummy's buttons (the sewing machine buttons and overlocker tension knobs)." I'll be having to do a lot of fiddling with the tensions when I get sewing again.
We went to a lovely friend's 30th birthday last night. So exciting to go to an adult party - I can't remember the last one! Happy Birthday Bec!
Friday, October 17
We had a wonderful time and I'm waiting for the post-holiday blues. They haven't set in yet and the weather is stunning here so maybe I'll be OK this time.
I'll be writing about the trip more in the days to come but am using my Chloe free day to get the rest of the unpacking out of the way, do the handwashing and to get the shops opened up. This is proving to be more difficult than I had thought because of the extreme change in the value of the Australian dollar - aagghh - I'm having to number crunch when I had hoped just to be able to hit "activate" on my listings.
Thanks so much for all the lovely holiday wishes. I had meant to blog occassionally but I seemed never to see internet cafes and never to feel like hunting for one!
Monday, September 8
The other thing is I bought a bunch of fabric for some summer clothes for Chloe and all I want to do is make them. I'm cutting it a bit tight timewise!
Edited to add: Note to self - not a good idea to try making new things when you are tired, excited and rushing. Some big stuff ups have occurred here this afternoon! Also, just remember, if you have secret plans to buy your daughter a summer wardrobe in Paris that you haven't mentioned to your husband but have been quietly researching where to buy it, you really don't need to decide to try to sew her an entire summer wardrobe two days before you leave.
Having said they're a favourite I can't remember the last time I listened to them.
At the moment Beck is a favourite but I don't think he qualifies as a band. Other bands who are up there on my list include The Chemical Brothers, Little Birdie, The Flaming Lips, The Presets and Franz Ferdinand. Oh, and Radiohead and The Cruel Sea (Have you ever seen Tex Perkins live? Wow!) and Portishead - I could go on and on and on.
I'm having an indecisive patch - it took me about ten minutes to choose between two sunhats for Chloe this morning. I'm blaming it on having to make so many decisions about the holiday but that's a lie. It's just me!
Curlypops chose the theme this week and This is is being hosted by Handmaiden while Three Buttons is away.
Saturday, September 6
We've rented a cottage for one week of our holiday in this village in Provence. I agonised for hours about which cottage, in which area to get! I have a vision of my head of strolling out in golden sunlight to the boulangerie every morning to get our breakfast.
Monday, September 1
This is my favourite place to rummage and I could spend hours - unfortunately I only ever get a few rushed minutes as the opening hours and our busy and infrequent visits to Kingston don't allow me anymore.
Other favourites are Reprodepot and Superbuzzy.
This weeks topic was chosen by Handmaiden and 'This is' is hosted by Three Buttons
Saturday, August 30
I'm very pleased with the results and can't wait to see Chloe running around in the sun in it.
I may put some in the shop when we return.
Friday, August 29
I've been to Paris twice - once when there was ice and inch thick on the fountains and once when I had to buy a new outfit because it was so warm. The first time we visited we were on a very strict budget and we cooked chick pea stew in the hostel. I was fairly ignorant anyway and didn't realise what we were missing foodwise. We did buy mulled wine and piping hot dishes of creamy scalloped potatoes (not sure what the proper name is) and baguettes with warm ham and mustard at the Christmas markets and wandered around happily scoffing them.
The second time we had a bit more cash and I was happy to spend it on fruit tarts, baguettes, short blacks and nougat. One thing I regret was not sampling any macaroons. This time I'm planning a visit to Laduree or Pierre Herme. It's a given that I'll be choosing chocolate but maybe I'll be allowed a second and that will be when it gets difficult. Framboise, orange, cafe, pistache, licorice, mandarin???. Not foie gras though - definitely not! I've just been cruising flikr for macaroon shots and saw several with foie gras. I think you'd have to be French to want those ones.
On that visit I remember thinking I wouldn't really get into French food (apart from the cakes of course). I was completely and utterly wrong. We were taken out for a meal in Paris by a friend of Sam's father and it was amazing. After that I wanted to try everything I could. Luckily we were cycling and some of the eating was offset by riding. This time I may well have to go on a serious diet when we get back.
Can you tell I'm getting excited?
I have a bunch of ideas for some clothes I want to make for Chloe for her first overseas trip. It's less than two weeks until we leave now - I think I may be being overly optimistic. I did make a sweet top for her that I'm thrilled with. I'll post a photo tomorrow.
Sunday, August 24
1. the hobbit, 2. The Hobbit Book
Or at least one of the many. I loved being taken away to another world. I loved the illustrations and the idea that there was so much history in middle earth. I loved the mysterious rune writing and the idea if setting off to travel on a big adventure.
Nowadays, the thing I read most is travel writing. I like Colin Thubron, William Dalrymple and Bruce Chatwin among others. People who write about places that are a bit mysterious to me and that I will most likely never visit - not that different to reading The Hobbit as a child.
Well, there you go! "This is" is a thing I signed up to a few weeks ago at Three Buttons and hadn't got around to doing until now. Quite fun really!
1. paris carousel, 2. Tuileries Garden, Paris (le bassin rond), 3. Village perché, 4. Simply Lapopie, 5. Dordogne river, 6. Confiserie-patisserie (Paris), 7. Paris: Palais Royal, 8. Paris: Montmartre steps
We're heading off for a month of warmth (hopefully), yummy food, relaxation and stunning sights.
I picture picnics in parks or by rivers. Fresh baguettes with a different cheese every day. Red wine. Many patisserie visits. Moving around the country slowly soaking up the warmth and atmosphere.
For Black Eyed Susie, I hope to manage a bit of fabric shopping along the way and to come back rejuvenated (at least after the jetlag!) and inspired, bursting to produce new designs.
I need to brush up on some French and not allow myself any cakes until we leave (to make up for all the ones I know I'll eat when we get there). We spent four weeks cycling in France about 4 years ago and, even then, I think I managed to put on weight.
I'll be shutting up shop next Monday (1st september). Any orders received before then will go out in the usual 3 business days.
If anyone has any tips for long haul flight with a toddler survival please, please, please tell me them!
Edited to add - You can tell I've finished my work backlog by the blog fiddling I've been doing. Is it better or worse? What do you think?
Thursday, August 21
This morning I found out that Black Eyed Susie has been nominated for an Australian handmade childrens' clothing challenge over at Aussie Kids Boutique.
The item that was nominated was my Katie Jump Rope Halter top and I have to say it's really one of my favourite items - perhaps because it looks so perfect on Chloe. I love the colour contrast too. Go take a look at the other nominations if you like and you can vote for a winner tomorrow.
Also, Jen left a comment a few days ago letting me know that if you look very closely in this months issue of Shop 4 Kids there are a couple of my items pictured! It's an article about the great things for kids at Made It and even though the pictures are very small and you'd only know they were mine if you were familiar with them I was very, very excited. My first glossy magazine appearance! (I'm still waiting to see the Studio Bambini picture in the flesh.) Thanks Jen!!
Wednesday, August 20
Tuesday, August 19
Sam gave me some great laptop speakers for my birthday (way back in early June). All this time I've been thinking that it's a shame they don't play very loud. The other day they suddenly got really quiet and I was telling Sam he'd have to take them back to the shop. Later we realised Chloe had found the volume control that we somehow couldn't find and turned them down. I'm so glad I didn't waltz into the shop saying "You've sold us a lemon!"
Now I'm having a great time playing loud music while I sew. At the moment I can't move past Beck's new album Modern Guilt and Jose Gonzalez' album Veneer. Beck makes me sew faster and Jose Gonzalez makes me relax - perfect combination.
Friday, August 15
If you guys could email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address I'll send them off on there way to you.
Wednesday, August 13
Chloe and I have been baking again. Or at least I've been baking and Chloe has been rubbing flour into the cracks between the floorboards. We made some cheese biscuits in little star shapes and they were a huge hit with Chloe. She normally refuses anything involving cheese (I do remember Sam and I having the somewhat deluded idea that we'd have a child who would even like olives - oh, how wrong we were she lives on peas, corn, beans, pasta, fish patties and chicken).
100g plain flour
50g cheddar grated
1 egg beaten
Preheat oven to 200 degreed C. Rub the butter into the flour then mix in the grated cheese. Mix in the beaten egg - you may have to use your hands for this. Roll out, using plenty of extra flour (all the better to make a mess with) and cut into shapes.
Our stars were very small and about 4mm thick and took just under 10 minutes to cook. So keep an eye on yours.
This is an incredibly simple recipe and whilst, not particularily healthy, I think we'll make them fairly often. Chloe enjoyed cutting out the stars and the finished product made me want to rush out and buy more cookie cutters. I may try using parmesan and cracked pepper for a grown up snack.
Tuesday, August 12
Sam and I spent our first night away from Chloe on Saturday. I must admit I felt very strange to be without her. We didn't go far. Just to a historic farmstead called Brickendon about half an hour (or less) away. We had a tiny one bedroom cottage with an open fire, we made ourselves a picnic for dinner and drank merlot in front of the fire then slept in until 9.30. Ah, remember the days when a 9.30 rise was fairly normal for the weekend!
Chloe had a great time with her grandparents but was very unhappy after we returned. She cried and cried and didn't want anybody near her but me. I felt terrible about how vulnerable she must have been feeling.
We went to see Playschool live this morning and Chloe was so, so excited it was amazing. I've never seen her like it before. She still wanted to be on me the whole time and I'm exhausted. I was pummelled, trodden on, shoved and bashed for the entire hour. Crazy. Nice to see her so happy though. She said "happy, happy, happy."
Friday, August 8
Tuesday, August 5
Monday, August 4
Friday, August 1
Monday, July 28
Sunday, July 27
Ten Sticky Fingers have some really cute things. They make some of their own items under the label Red Thread Designs too.
Saturday, July 26
For anyone who doesn't know, and if you're in Australis this is pretty unlikely, if Cadel Evans can make 1 min 35 secs on Carlos Sastre in the time trial tonight he will become the first Australian to win the Tour de France. He has had so much pressure on him so I really hope he manages.
I'm also daydreaming about another trip to France. It would be nice to go on a big adventure before we have to pay for a seat on the flights for Chloe. It would have to be minus the bikes this time and I'm not sure if it would live up to the last trip.
I did an impressive thing and managed to put on a small amount of weight whilst cycling for four weeks. Those patisseries were irresistable especially with the excuse of having to ride.