Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Yarn Along

Yarn Along

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion." Henry David Thoreau

It's quite interesting, picking up a book like 'Walden,' as an Australian reader. Unfamiliar with it's place in early American literature and quietly ignorant of transcendentalism also, I feel I am only able to bring to the reading pop culture references. Be it, John Keating encouraging his students to challenge conventional thinking while quoting Thoreau, among other writers, in the film 'Dead Poets Society,' or books and blogs making mention of the beauty of nature and referencing 'Walden.' Most recently, a suggestion of further reading in the closing pages of 'Down to Earth' encouraged me to seek out a copy at the library. Have you read 'Walden'? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

In terms of knitting, only a couple of inches of ribbing and the addition of buttons, are separating my cozy from my hot water bottle. Replacement needles have been brought for the 'Larch' cardigan after snapping one. However, I decided to quickly cast on and knit the ribbing for a baby knit with those needles before resuming the 'Larch' and knitting the rest of the baby knit in needles the next size up.


Joining in with Ginny's Yarn Along.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Baby knits Inspiration

Baby knits Inspiration

L-R: Playful Stripes, Seamless Yoked Baby Sweater, Camilla Babe,
Ella Funt, Immie Tee, In threes,
Maile, Speckle, Drops Design.

So many sweet baby knits, so little time. Knitters, I know you understand. 
And a baby in a hand knit sweater? Perfect indeed.
So, I just had to buy some more wool yesterday...


'Yardage Design' Giveaway Winner!


Many thanks again to the lovely Nic from 'Yardage Design' and to everyone who entered.

Stay tuned for another giveaway next week.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Three months old

Emerson 3 months

Emerson 3 months


Emerson 3 months

Emerson 3 months

Emerson 3 months

Emerson 3 months

Emerson 3 months

My sweet and lovely Emerson is three months old today. My how she has changed in a month. Last month Cohen joined us as I pointed the camera at our girl. Today our dear old cat, Seth, was present; determined not to miss the lime light or the sunlight. 

This past month those little hands have attracted more and more of her attention, and gained a little more precision in their actions. She often surprises herself when she manages to grasp something with those little fingers. And those feet! Kicking and pushing as often as possible, with smiles of delight to accompany their movement. If she isn't laying down kicking, Emerson wants to be sitting up watching the world, be it on someones lap, or propped up on the couch. She is certainly inquisitive about the world around her. 

The happy sounds of gurgling and cooing are surely my favourite development this month though.


One and two months old.


June sponsorship

Many thanks to my lovely sponsors this month! If you haven't had a chance yet, please click over and meet the ladies behind the scenes of inHomewares, Ivy Loves Jack and Yardage Design - and don't forget to enter the giveaway.

I'm now accepting sponsors for June. Three positions have already been filled, as has one giveaway spot, but there are still options left, starting at $10 a month. For more information please visit my Sponsor page or email me at

Thanks once more for all your support, advertisers and readers alike!

Friday, May 25, 2012

This moment

This moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - SouleMama 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Yarn along

Yarn along

It's raining for the first time this month. Grey clouds rolled over, and with that the light and smell of the day changed and softened. I took in two loads of washing and staked the tomatoes just as the first drops fell and Cohen called excitedly from the balcony, "It's raining!"

Now that the rest of the chores are done and the children are napping, it is time for some reading and knitting. I am thoroughly enjoying Rhonda's book, 'Down to Earth,' and am reminded of her gentle words of advice throughout the day as I knead bread dough, hand wash woolens, or weed the veggie patch. I'm making progress on the hot water bottle cozy too. It was relegated to the knitting basket when I cast on for the 'Larch' cardigan. However, since accidentally breaking the circulars, I've picked up the cozy once more. Perhaps I should refrain from buying replacement needles until the cozy is finished...

Joining in with Ginny's Yarn Along.


Don't forget to enter the 'Yardage Design' fabric pack giveaway.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

'Yardage Design' Giveaway

This week I am pleased to bring you a giveaway from the lovely Nicole James, founder and creative designer behind 'Yardage Design.' 

Yardage Design is an independent design business specialising in hand printed fabrics. These beautiful collections of fabrics are hand screen printed using water based inks on natural fiber fabrics and are available online, as well as at selected stockists.

I first discovered Nicole's creative pursuits by way of her blog, Yardage Girl, where I fell in love with her vintage tram roll menu tea towels and her clever bunting panels. More recently I have been jealously admiring her travel photos from Paris to Wales, Portugal to Spain, Scotland to Seville.

Today, one lucky reader has the opportunity to win their choice of fabric packs from Nicole's online store. To enter, simply leave a comment below. For extra entries, 'like' Yardage Design on Facebook or follow Nicole's blog and leave an extra comment. The winner will be drawn randomly on the Tuesday, 29th May 2012. The giveaway is open to Australian and international readers. (You don't need to have a blog to be able to enter, just make sure you leave an email address so that I can contact you if you win.)

Thank you Nicole!

'Ivy Loves Jack' Winner!


Many thanks again to Bianca for the 'Ivy Loves Jack' Giveaway and to everyone who entered.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Friday, May 18, 2012

Book signing

Rhonda Hetzel
Rhonda Hetzel

Emerson at the book signing
Emerson, sleeping throughout the talk in her Aunts welcoming arms. (Though she was awoken by the applause at the end.) 

Noni and Emmy
Aunty Fiona and Emerson

'Down to Earth' book signing

Last night Fiona, Emerson and I attended a book signing at Avid Reader in West End, where we were able to meet the lovely Rhonda Hetzel. I have only ever been to one other book signing previously, for Alain De Botton's book 'Status Anxiety.' Another author whom I admire greatly. I recall I was in such a quandary at the time as to what one says to a philosopher, without sounding like a dill, that when my time came I merely muttered my name as he good-naturedly inscribed my book. I still have the book and I still haven't thought of the perfect thing I could have said. And I probably looked like a dill. Last night though, I actually managed to introduce myself, Fiona and Emerson to Rhonda and thank her for linking to my blog recently.

Rhonda's successful blog, 'Down to Earth,' has been a source of inspiration for me ever since a friend first emailed me the address, knowing it was something I would be interested in. From homemaking to growing veggies, Rhonda's blog provides a nurturing example of a simpler life in modern times. An example that is difficult not to want to emulate. Her recent book release is a beautifully presented reference for all that information, which I know I shall continue to return to. 

I was so pleased to be able to listen to Rhonda talk about her journey and have her sign my copy of her book. Now I'm looking forward to some quiet reading time.


If you have little ones in your life and you are fond of vintage clothing, don't forget to enter the 'Ivy loves Jack' giveaway.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

From the mouths of babes

There were two in the bed

"You make me happy Mama," said Cohen, aged three and a half.
"Thank you darling. You make me happy too," I replied.
"Sometimes," he added quickly.
"Nearly always," I laughed.
"Thank you Mama."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Larch start

Vintage childrens books



Emmy's top


Garden bed before

Garden bed progress

Seeds sprouting

KnittingAfter some issues in the gauge swatching department, of which we shall never speak of again, I have cast on for the Larch cardigan. 235 stitches. (Note to self - if the swatch has fewer stitches per inch than the pattern gauge, your stitches are larger than the pattern gauge, so try smaller sized needles...)

Finding: Children's books that belonged to my Father as a child

Finishing: The second Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief

Unpacking: The woolen blankets, as the sun sets earlier and the nights get colder

Loving: Babies in Mama made knits and Cohen's drawings of an "apple tree"

Gardening: Taming the weeds, vines and basil that grew up through the watermelon vine, turning over the garden and planting out the strawberry runners

Dreaming: About all our plans for the back yard, but making do with the existing garden beds (and fencing) in the meantime

Noticing: Tiny seedlings

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Thrifting sisters

I am finding that thrifting with two children presents more challenges. (Mothers who have been here before me will no doubt be nodding their heads, or perhaps laughing a little.) Navigating the nap, feeding and snack schedule's, as well as buckling and unbuckling two children from the car, makes any kind of shopping more of a mission than it was previously. 

Wearing one in a sling and chasing after the other, I've noticed that I am scanning the shelves, answering Cohen's running list of questions, juggling my finds and rocking the baby, simultaneously. This is where op-shopping with ones twin sister becomes an especially attractive invitation. Two sets of hands are indeed better than one. Thank you dear Fiona.

Vintage hangers

So it is with thanks to my sister that my romance with old coat hangers continues. No longer shall our woollen clothing be slipping from plastic hangers and be found at the bottom of the closet. And, at a dollar a bundle at the op-shop, they are cheaper as well as cuter than their plastic counterparts.

Without her second set of toddler watching eyes, I may have missed this sweet $3 vintage baby tunic. Judging from the tag I'm guessing it is from the late 70's or early 80's? I find 'Orlon' sounds more appealing than 'acrylic,' don't you?

It's a shame however that Fiona is only available weekends...

'Ivy Loves Jack' Giveaway

I first discovered Bianca's 'Ivy loves Jack' store on Etsy when I was expecting Emerson. I had a Mama-feeling that this baby was a girl and made some 'just in case' purchases, in the way of three beautiful vintage baby dresses. A wonderful way to cheer myself during those nauseous days! Today the lovely Bianca is offering one lucky reader their choice of an item from her store. Be it a pair of vintage bloomers, a hand knitted sweater, or a sweet dress for your own little one. 

To enter the giveaway please leave a comment below telling us which item you would choose. For extra entries follow Bianca's blog or 'like' her facebook page and leave an extra comment. The winner will be drawn randomly on 16th May.

Tell us a little about yourself?
I am a full-time mum, part-time vintage shop owner, sewer and blogger.  It is certainly my most busy and fulfilling role to date!  Prior to becoming a mum, I was a snowboard instructor and prior to that, I worked within the education and foster care fields, specialising in child psychology.

Where can we find you?
What is the story behind your shop name, 'Ivy loves Jack'?
Ivy and Jack are both special names in our family history.  Ivy loves Jack for me, conjures up the picture of two lovely oldies, who have lived the beauty of eras gone by and have lasted the test of time.  Just like the things that I sell now and hope to sell in the future.

What inspired to you open a vintage children's clothing store?
It is another step towards opening the ‘brick and mortar’ shop that I have dreamed of for years.  I just can’t wait to have my own space, full of vintage and handmade treasures.
What first attracted you to vintage items?
I have always loved vintage and pre-loved items, even as a child.  Our closest neighbour, my ‘Poppy Bill’, would bring me bits and pieces home from his fossicking in the local tip.  I thought my presents were such treasures even then! 
I really love the uniqueness of vintage items and think that they are just so much nicer to own than things that everyone else has, or could have.  I love the excitement of finding amazing pieces and creating a beautiful look with it.
Do you have collections of vintage pieces, like teacups, alarm clocks or knitting needles?
I have all of the above, although I don’t collect anything in particular.  Vintage for my home has always been my greatest love and I suppose I have ‘collected’ some pretty cool things over the years.  Since having my little girl, I have developed a love of old children’s things; books, toys, educational products, furniture and, of course, clothing.
Do you find yourself wanting to keep more than you sell?
I do keep much more then I sell.  I find it very hard to part with beautiful things that I know I will never find again.  I hope that people who buy my things will love them and think that they are as special as I do.
Thanks so much Bianca!

inHomewares winner!


Many thanks again to Nicole for the lovely inHomewares giveaway and to everyone who entered.

Monday, May 14, 2012

From the weekend


Feeding the animals


Playing cars

Playing cars

Strawberry runners

Nice things from the weekend

- breakfast in bed
- Autumn leaves on the mountain
- county markets 
- handmade soap
- animal petting for Mama and the little man
- ducks with cute fluffy heads
- car rides with steering help from Dada
- ten strawberry runners for $5
- cake and a cuppa with family

How was your weekend? 
Care to share a nice thing or two with us?


Last day to enter the inHomewares $50 gift voucher giveaway today! 
The winner will be announced tomorrow, along with another sweet giveaway.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Test swatches
Knitting swatches in preparation

Mulberry plant
Planted out Mulberry

Home grown watermelon
Bringing the total to five large homegrown watermelons

The sun is out, the birds are singing and I'm feeling much better. There is a day of op-shopping and gardening planned today, with a little more knitting this evening. Thank you for your lovely comments on my anniversary post yesterday. It's good to know I am on common ground.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend and, if I don't get back to this space tomorrow, a happy Mother's Day too. 
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