Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year!

image found here
May 2013 be bursting with fun times, happiness, fulfilment and creativity!
I had such a great New Years Eve spent with some of my favourite people, lovely beverages, delicious nibbles and so much gut-busting, rolling-on-the-floor, eyes-streaming laughter, that my face hurts now.
You couldn't ask for a better start to 2013!
Here is a little glimpse at my night.
It was all so healthy until......
the baked brie made its entrance.
There may have been some illegal fireworks hi-jinks that were very, very entertaining but perhaps not so safe, so best not to incriminate myself any further.
I'm loathe to set myself New Years resolutions because, lets face it, I have zero will power and am just setting myself up to fail. Don't get me wrong, I don't have loads of terrible habits or issues that I need to rectify or resolve. I don't do crack, beat my children, spit on old people or spend all my money at the pokies. "You sound practically perfect" I hear you say. OK, so maybe not.
So even though I don't have resolutions, I have created a list of things I'd love to do in 2013.
1. Create more - I want to be inspired and hone my knitting and sewing skills and learn how to crochet. I want to feel confident following patterns and making clothes and not freaked out when I have no idea what the instructions are telling me to do.
image found here
2. Learn how to use my camera - Santa was good enough to leave a new DSLR camera under our tree
and although I love taking photo's I simply don't know what the hell I am doing.
image found here
3. Get healthy - I know it sounds so cliched, but there is a lot of room for improvement in my eating and exercise regime. (Not consuming my own body weight in Christmas pudding would be a start!)
I adore riding my bike, so I'd love to go cycling with my clan, having fun together in the great outdoors.
image found here
4. Take more risks - I am riddled with insecurities. Absolutely riddled! I second guess every decision I make and am so worried about not making the right decision that I don't end up making any decision and miss out on opportunities. I understand that that is part of my character but I am going to try really hard to just jump in, take risks, say yes and do it!
Gil Elvgren - Time for decision - found here
5. Enjoy the little moments in life - Aren't we all so busy, and I usually have an endless mental list of jobs that just have to be done. Right now!  I'd like to take a deep breath, push the task list away for a little while and just enjoy the precious moments that happen every day. Playing with my kids, talking with my husband, spending quality time with my important people, sitting quietly with a cup of tea and a book. These special moments are so fleeting that I want to snatch at them and embrace them.
image found here
I could probably go on and on with all the things I'd like to do in 2013, but I might leave some aspirations for 2014.
How did you celebrate the New Year?
Do you have any resolutions?


Sunday, 30 December 2012

Basking in the favour of the gods.

The op-shopping gods have been smiling on me lately, with me unearthing so many treasures lately. Bountiful, wonderful places like Vinnie's, Salvo's and Savers have been laden with dress shaped goodies. A veritable deluge of frocks has rained down upon me, and I have been basking in the bounty.
When I discover a pretty dress, a lovely handbag or an amazing curio, I feel that if I didn't buy it I would be terribly rude and ungrateful. The op-shopping gods have carefully placed it there in front of me to find because they in their infinite wisdom, knew that I somehow needed it. Even if I wasn't aware that I needed it. And who am I to deny or refuse fate.
So even if I am always on the hunt for the rare, unusual and vintage, I'm not going to spit in the face of the op-shop gift horse and not buy a cool dress just because it's not exactly original. I'm not a purist. I'm no vintage Nazi. I'm a bit of a frock tart - I'm up for anything as long as I think it's purty. I'm very happy to wear vintage inspired and try to achieve a feel of years gone by. You can always pull together a look inspired by a certain era, using very modern clothing pieces. Just take a gander at the divine Ulrika at The Freelancers Fashionblog. She has the most amazing style and very often uses reproduction clothing and divine hairstyles and make-up to achieve her look.
So here are a few of my recent discoveries; lovelies that have the feel of vintage but aren't.

I am smitten with this dress with its sexy bust detail, and very full skirt that is just made for twirling.
And at $7 I would have been crazy to say no.
The panels and bust are a cute black polka dot. I am such a sucker for dots.
The dress is labelled Chicstar and I'm guessing it is a European brand.
 I found this sweet day dress at  Savers for less than a tenner. I'm calling it my Susie Home-maker because I feel like a 50's housewife in it.
And how well do my new hasbeens from Lotta from Stockholm go with both dresses.
I am loving these shoes now that the Melbourne summer is letting me wear them. I think they may be the shoes that go with everything. Although I am planning on getting the black. And then maybe the nude...
How do you feel about vintage inspired clothing?
What vintage reproduction brands do you love?

Friday, 28 December 2012

And the zombie's shall inherit the earth.

I love motivational prints - found on pinterest here.

Wasn't the earth supposed to end on the 21st of December?
Those doomsday tricksters gave me a right scare. Not only did I have to prepare for the mammoth undertaking of Christmas, then the bloody end of the world had to be thrown in the mix aswell.
So I prepared for, what I could only assume, was going to be the zombie apocalypse. I hoarded chocolate and biscuits (enough for atleast 3 hours if we rationed them), educated myself with all of the zombie movies and TV shows I could gather (actually quite a vast collection as I loooove watching  a good bit of undead zombie hijinks) and made an inventory of all the zombie killing tools at my disposal( knitting needles? Bic razor? Large french bread stick?). I have even taken part in the Melbourne zombie shuffle to become one with my enemy and learn their weaknesses.
Its not wrong to expose my 6 year old to blood and gore is it? Nah, I didn't think so either.
When the world didn't implode or suddenly turn in to a crazy blood orgy of flesh eaters it wasn't that I wasn't happy and delighted to live another day, it was just that I was, well, a bit disappointed that I couldn't utilise the expansive set of skills that I had acquired.
Oh well, I'm sure that my zombie knowledge will hold me in good stead one day, and until that day comes I will further my studies with such excellent learning material as Zombie Strippers and Sean of the Dead. Because, as we all know, the zombies shall one day rise......
Image found via pinterest or here

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

It was the day after Christmas.....

It is over! I can breath a sigh of relief now that Christmas is officially over, but strangely I kind of wanted the day to keep going, to somehow fit more fun in. Yesterday afternoon as we were all travelling home, all exhausted from love, laughter and lots of fantastic food, I had that empty pang that you get when something great is coming to an end, like the Sunday 4pm blues or the misery you feel on the last day of your holidays.
I always wonder how everyone else celebrates Christmas. Does everyone else play with all of the kids toys? Is there an impromptu cricket or footy game in the backyard. Is there a tipsy Aunt telling embarrassing stories from years gone. Are there multiple groans of bursting, fat tummies from way too much pudding.  I'd love to know how your Christmas went, warts and all! (Maybe then my families little quirks and traditions might seem normal.)
I thought I would show you a glimpse of what my Christmas was like.
This is before cyclone" Christmas Morning" hits....
and this is after.
So much time spent wrapping presents, and so little time to rip them all to shreds!
Because opening presents is soooo exhausting french toast smothered in maple syrup and strawberries seemed wise to keep our energy up. I was inspired by A Beautiful Mess and Emma's Crispy french toast and let me tell you, it was incredible.
Ahh, the childish joy to be found in jumping up and down on the new trampoline.
New wheels for the lady.
New wheels for the fella.
Happy kids, happy family, happy day!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!



Friday, 21 December 2012

Trying not to get my grinch on.

I have a confession to make.
 Sometimes during the festive Christmas period I don't feel exactly festive and I just want all the tinsel, all the presents, all the happy shining faces to go the hell away!
I feel so horrible even writing this because as the matriarch of my little family ( you know "the -getting- everything- done person") I'm meant to be baking up a delicious storm of biscuits and cakes, shopping for tasteful and thoughtful gifts for everyone including Joe Blow and his Great Aunt Gladys. I'm meant to sprinkle good cheer and goodwill around like fairy dust. My house is meant to look this this.
I found this on Christmas Decor Online and wonder if the people who live here can adopt me.
 And I'm meant to do all this whilst look like a kindly but still attractive Christmas goddess. Aren't I?
I'm sure I'm meant to be doing so much but I usually feel like I've come up short.
I have realised that I am not a terrible person, bitter and twisted, I just suffer from Yuletide fatigue.
It is a horrific condition that seems to afflict me every year at this time.
You see I have been soooooo busy at work. Like, crazy busy - dreaming about work- shopping for work - staying up late for work - consumed by work. Yep, just a normal Christmas for a diversional therapist  in aged care. Most years I get myself so burnt out over Christmas . I have turned up my good cheer meter (which usually sits on an upbeat 8) to  a mind melting 1100 on the cheerful scale and for all of November and December ensured that all of my residents are feeling the holiday happies. I feel that I am lucky to be travelling with them on the last leg of their life journey and am always aware that this Christmas could be their last. I want to make each moment special, each celebration meaningful. So I try really, really, really hard to convert all the grinches and the scrooges and make Christmas bloody fantastic. Which is often really hard work and usually leaves me so sick of Christmas and so over it all.
My poor family!
But this year, my kids have been so excited, so in the Christmas spirit that I have been infected by their energy and cheer. They have spread the Xmas bug to me. We have been watching "Elf", making Xmas goodies and I even had carols playing so Ruby and I could dance.
This is Coopers Christmas,  ummm, "thing". Lets call it a Christmas creature.
Fancy headwear is always a necessity at Christmas.
Unfortunately these pudding truffles tasted really great and I had to eat a lot of them. Then I had to make more. And then I had to eat them aswell. The things you do at Christmas!
 I haven't been infected to an unhealthy level yet - I'm not wearing knitted reindeer jumpers or mainlining egg-nog so that's OK.
Hopefully my enthusiasm continues to Christmas. It's looking good and I think it might even be possible to do the last of my Christmas shopping and preparations without wanting to stab someone in the neck with a candy cane.
How do you handle the mayhem of Christmas?
I'd love to know your ideas on how to survive, and dare I say it, enjoy Christmas!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Let there be light.....

Many an hour have I frittered away pondering all the pretties out there in the wondrous world of the web. And many a list have I compiled of all the home lovelies that would be mine if someone happened to dump a bag of cash in my lap. (I mean when that happens - think positive, right?)
Now, often, what happens is I see something bright, shiny and gorgeous in some cool and hip shop/ site/ magazine, and after berating myself for not being a super star that can afford such a wonder, I then become inspired and decide to have a go at making it myself.
A thousand dollar TV cabinet - Can't be that hard to make, right?
Designer cushions - I'm up for a bit of that.
A mirror that takes my breath away because of its beauty and its price tag -  Duh! Of course I'm capable.
Now usually with the combination of op-shop treasures, slatherings of spray paint, elbow grease and some imagination I can usually achieve a creation that I'm pretty happy with at a fraction of the price.
My shed may also hide some of the poor unfortunates that didn't make the grade, but hey, the spiders are enjoying them.
So, back in the bygones of 2010 I made myself a Christmas wreath constructed from a coat hanger, scraps of old fabric from my stash and some holiday cheer.

 I was so happy with it that I built all of my Christmas decoration colours around it. At the start of December I happily unpacked my festive wreath when I was struck by inspiration.(That's what I call it when I may have inadvertently ripped off someone elses ideas - "inspiration"). I had seen a lovely light on apartment therapy but lacking in wads of cash and 10ft high ceilings, I had to improvise. How could I get a colourful and fun light without breaking the bank? Hey presto! Let there be light and there was a rag covered light!

In case anyone else feels like having a go, you will need LOTS of strips of various fabrics. I used complementary colours and used up bits and pieces of vintage clothing and rags. I used about 20 different types of fabric and tried to have a selection of textures to add interest. The strips were about 2.5cm  wide and  20 cm long, but you don't need to fret about exact measurements and making each strip exactly the same because the variations add charm and you will trim the ends of the strips anyway. Cut lots and lots and lots.

After all that snip snip action you will need to find metal rings (available in any craft shop) in the size you want your chandelier to be. You can choose rings in the same size or varying sizes depending on the look you are after. I happened to have an old lamp shade and so ripped out the metal insides, but alas, disaster struck in the form of my Ruby and so I had to buy another ring.

If you have beautiful high ceilings or want a long drop chandelier you could use more than two rings.
Now, find something good on TV and start knotting each fabric strip around a ring so you have the knot fastened on the ring and the two ends of fabric hanging loose. Try and push each knot tight against the last so you can get a full effect and remember to be random with the fabric. I put all of my fabric in a bag and let the craft gods decide as I pulled each piece out. After watching  a couple of episodes of the "The Walking Dead" (I am such a sucker for a good zombie tale), I had discovered that I had finished knotting both of my rings. Huzzah! Almost done people. OK, so a bit more snip snip while you trimmed the strips so that they are to your desired length. I went with ends that are about 3 to 4 inches. Again, I can't stress enough that you don't want each strip to look even with its neighbour. Slightly varying lengths and varying angles of cut add to the chandeliers loveliness.
Connect each ring to the other by using ribbons, or as I did, some jewellery chain. I just measured out six even lengths of chain, attached three to a fabric ring (evenly spaced) with jewellery jump rings and then attached both rings to each other using the same method. The three bits of chain at the top can be hung from your ceiling, but I was happy to hang mine from an existing light fixture.
Now, admire your handiwork! Ain't she purty!

* A Warning! I don't tend to use our lounge room overhead light and so chose that one to hang my chandelier from as, even though I'm no fireman, I'm pretty sure that heat and fabric are not good friends and could lead to FIRE. The light hanging is a decorative piece and should not come in contact with a bare bulb.
I looooove my new chandelier and am so happy with how it has brightened up my living room. It is bright, cheerful, inexpensive and uses up old fabric. So go get snipping!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Retro Sunday

About a week ago I went back in time. No, really. Well, kinda.
I went to Gumbuya Park to celebrate an early Christmas with my side of the clan. It truly was like going back in time; like going back to the mid 80's without all of the fluro lycra, leg warmers, big teased and bleached hair and acid wash. (actually I think I did see some fluro lycra and my hair is always pretty big, bit I digress).
 For anyone not up on Victorian retro landmarks let me fill you in on the wonders of Gumbuya Park. It has a giant pheasant ( not a rooster people, a pheasant!)

 to greet you at the gate and acres of bushland to roam and picnic in. There are cool animals; rock star emu's, albino peacocks, pythons, wallabies, koalas - you name the  Australian native fauna and I bet they have some hanging about in a shed somewhere.
Is it just me or does this Emu look just like Prince?
Not only are there awesome animals, but there are some pretty exciting rides like a concrete toboggan, go carts and water slide. All fun stuff - especially if you are a kid. (We all are arent' we?)
And going back to Gumbuya Park makes me feel like a child again. I can vividly remember going with my parents and brothers when I was about 10 and being yelled at by the toboggan attendant ( or toboggan nazi as I prefer) because I "forgot" to slow down on the toboggan and ran into my brother at the end. What a rebel. Actually it's more because I'm mechanically challenged and the whole concept
of "pull on this lever to slow down"was way too much for me at that tender age. So revisiting Gumbuya Park was great, especially as I got to enjoy it from my children's fresh perspective and was infected by their wonder and energy.
But what really struck me about the day wasn't the retro rides or cool animals, but how lucky I am to have wonderful people to share the good times with. Whenever my family all gets together, it's all so easy, so chilled, so warm and loving. I know! How weird!. Almost unheard of  in this age of lecherous Uncles, drunk Aunties and delinquent children all fighting and bickering at Christmas time. We all can't get together much these days, but when we do we always manage to have a bloody good time.
Sharing food, sharing big news, sharing out presents for the kids, sharing baby cuddles - just all sharing in great moments. And right now, with the tragedy in Connecticut so fresh in my mind, and whilst my heart is in tatters thinking about so many young lives taken forever from their loved ones, I can't help but feel so blessed that I have all my wonderful people to share the good and the bad times with.
 And that is what it is all about isn't it.

Loving your people whilst you have them is what it is all about.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Dear Santa....


Dearest Santa,
                      How are you? I hope that you, Mrs C and all the elves are doing well and coping well what with all the crazy busy-ness of the season. Has Rudolph had his nose sorted out or is it still flickering?
I have been a very, very good girl this year (we won't even mention those terrible thoughts I sometimes harbour about my boss - that's normal, right?) I have tried really hard to be happy, happy nice, nice to people that don't usually deserve it, and I have made a real effort to eat my greens.
For Christmas I'd really like world peace, good health for all of my loved ones, a cure for cancer, Alzheimer's and the terrible things people do to each other. And... well, if there is any room in your sleigh then I may have picked out a few teeny tiny pieces that I think would like to come live at my house. Like these.....
Vintage 1950's green prom dress from Bohemian Bisoux on Etsy.
Vintage blue grey fascinator from Flatiron Vintage on Etsy.
Vintage tilt dolls hat from Flatiron Vintage on Etsy.
Amazing art deco ring from Art Deco Diamonds on Etsy.
Vintage fuchsia tilt hat from Coveted Castoffs on Etsy.
Vintage coral and pink celluloid brooch from Coveted Castoffs on Etsy.
Cotton voile 1950's party dress from Voila Vintage Clothing on Etsy.
And because I'm a giver, Santa, I'd like this  groovy getaway tent from Modcloth because my kids would go cuckoo- crazy over it. (You may have to get the elves working over-time because apparently the tent is out of stock)
Cheers Santa! Love to you and yours.
PS - We have left a key for you under the mat after that embarrassing and unfortunate incident involving our chimney of last year.
PPS - Hope Weight Watchers is going well.