Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sure, come & wipe your feet

Today I'm feeling a little fragile.  My greatest support in life, the MOTH, is in Brisvegas for a conference.  No sounding board for my inner turmoils at a time when there are so many they have to take a ticket.

I grew up under a constant barrage of criticism.  It seems I just wasn't good enough, whatever that means.  It turned me into a person who sought approval at every turn, and engaged in behaviours which had the opposite effect to the one I sought.  I lost the sense of "me", had no value for "me".  "Me" was clearly not enough.  Friendships were not encouraged, barriers were firmly in place for any number of dreams.  As a dutiful child I studied the subjects I was told to, played the sports I was allowed to, pursued interests deemed acceptable.  Self confidence and self esteem were luxuries I couldn't afford.  For most of my life I've just hung in there, grateful for crumbs from the table.

Apparently I seem to have my shit together.  Facades are wonderful for hiding the truth behind - the angst, the inner turmoil, the daily struggle.  Apparently I come across as calm, organised and on top of my game.  I've been described variously as aloof, intimidating, capable.   Aloof - far from it.  Sure I keep my distance, but that's usually because I don't know where I fit in.  Intimidating?  What the??  Capable, yes (even if I do say so myself).  I don't ask for help because help was never forthcoming when I was a kid.  I don't expect it, even though there have been times when I desperately needed it.  I'm accustomed to going without.

At great personal cost I put myself out there, make myself available, offer myself on a plate.  And then, just when I think I'm making headway, I'm a doormat.  Scuff marks all over me.  So I retreat, lick my wounds and wonder where the hell I went wrong.  After a while I start the cycle all over again, with the same people, because I really really need them to see me, and understand how great I could be, if given the chance.  Will I ever learn??

I generally don't speak up for myself.  History has told me it doesn't change much.  Safer to keep my trap shut really.  The down side is people don't see when they've upset me.  I let them get away with it.  I can't bring myself to utter those critical words because I've been on the receiving end of so many. Today I'm having a dummy spit, at no-one in particular.  I just need to out my feelings, and this is the perfect forum.  No hurt feelings, the possibility of a couple of sympathetic responses, no confrontations.  So I'm sorry, dear readers.  No offence intended.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Bay and Beyond Market

Any excuse for a road trip and I'm up and off.  This weekend I'm heading down to Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Road to take part in -

The creative genii behind this market are Jo of Frankie and Ray and jeweller Sally Forrester.  They've pulled together a hall brim full of the best handmade deliciousness about.  You can check out the market's blog and facebook page thingie.

I'm busy busy busy making things right now for this market (well, as soon as I get off the computer I will be!).  So if you want to see the first of the new season's boy gear and more additions to the girl gear come along this Sunday.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Snap it - fresh

Today I'm joining with Faith Hope and a whole lotta Love to play {Snap It}.  I've been enjoying playing with Instagram, and this recent snap of the first baby tomato for the season fits today's theme of "fresh".  This particular variety grows in a hanging basket and produces a prolific quantity of intensely flavoured fruit.  I can't wait for the bounty to come!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I do try and come up with catchy post titles, but sometimes my imagination fails me! So here we have the easiest muffin recipe in the world.  I can't remember where it came from, but it's been in my hand-written recipe book for years.   Today's version is pear and vanilla.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.

Prepare a 12-hole muffin tray.

Into a mixing bowl pop 2 cups self-raising flour and 3/4 cup brown sugar.  Mix with a spoon.

Add 1 cup of fruit - you choose!  My favourites are blueberry and the zest of a lemon, pear and a teaspoon of vanilla extract and apple and cinnamon.

Add the wet ingredients - 1 egg (lightly beaten), 1/2 cup veg oil, 3/4 cup of milk.

Mix with a spoon until just combined.  Then spoon the mixture into your muffin tray.

I like to get a bit fancy here and sprinkle the top with rolled oats or demerara sugar for a bit of crunch.

Then the tray goes into the oven for approximately 18 minutes.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

One, Two, Three


 You'll find a rack of seriously discounted Squirt Baby goods at Yarraville on Saturday.  Hair accessories from $1, singlets from $5 and clothing from $10.  As the sign says below, discontinued designs, samples and seconds, clearance stock.  I might also have some fabric going cheap by the piece.  You just never know what treasures you'll find!


The Sister's Market is back at Northcote Town Hall.  I'll be there with new gear I'm finishing off this week.  So you can be sure to find something fresh for the warmer weather.  Yes, I am absolutely convinced summer is on it's way!


Sunday sees the return of Squirt Baby to the Shirt and Skirt Market at the lovely Abbotsford Convent. The market runs from 10-4.   I'll be setting up shop outside the bakery.   Food, coffee, live music, plenty of space for the kids to run around PLUS fabulous handmade wares from some of my favourite makers.  

So that's my weekend in a nutshell.  What will you be up to?


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hello sunshine!

It's been a long long long winter. Today the sun shone and it was glorious. Thank you Mother Nature.

That's my brood up there.  Seeing whether they're able to hold hands around the girth of this old tree at Werribee Park.   Nothing like a  group tree hug.  

Oh, and have I mentioned yet you can find me on Instagram?? I'm desperate for a couple of followers (because we're all needy deep down aren't we?) - check me out @squirtbaby.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Yarraville Markets - it's on tomorrow!

It seems like forever since I last did a market.  I'm really looking forward to heading to the quaint Yarraville Village tomorrow to hang out with my market buddies at Yarraville Markets.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The best days of their lives

The effort of being an uber school holiday mama is taking it's toll. It isn't a role that comes naturally to me.  I've been trying really hard to be there for my kiddos.  My usual style is to throw a box of Coco Pops in their general direction and run for my sewing room. 

Sometimes the financial burden of four offspring weighs more heavily.  Day one of the holidays saw us prancing into the city to catch a film - in 3D - have a bite to eat and lick on an ice-cream after.  That little outing set us back $205 (and the MOTH and I didn't even have ice-cream!), and got me thinking about how to entertain children without taking out a second mortgage or two.  

Here's a little list of things high on the satisfaction scale but low on the expense scale (and I've increased the font size to make it easier to read without my new friends) - 

  • enrol your children in a free school holiday activity.  I managed to score big time thanks to the Elaine and John Wolfensohn gift.  All four kids were able to attend a workshop at the Incinerator Gallery - to view and handle the contents of this travelling exhibition before creating some sculptures of their own.  Happy children, happy parents.
  • spend a miserable wintery day cooking.  Each child chose a recipe and had one on one time as we worked together.  At the end of the day we had peanut and cherry biscuits (sounds odd perhaps, but go really well with a cup of tea), gingerbread biscuits in a variety of shapes, monte carlos and eclairs complete with chocolate icing.  All of them packed with unnecessary calories, just the way it should be!
  • swallow your own introverted needs and let them fill the house with their friends for days on end.  It can get a bit expensive feeding all those extra mouths though...
  • swallow your need to have a neat and tidy house and let them convert their bedrooms into one enormous linked cubby.  From time to time deliver trays of food.  But just for a little while, mind.
  • send them outside to play on the trampoline.
  • gardening.  We spent the best part of a day ripping out roses to plant the garden bed with tomatoes, basil and beans.  We moved plants, dug the ground, watered, mulched and felt pretty satisfied at the end of it all.  Now we're waiting impatiently for the summer's bounty.
  • fire up the hot glue gun and have them bring all those annoyingly broken, snapped, falling apart precious things to be repaired.  Give them a ten minute window, then shut it hard on their grubby little fingers.
  • check with your local bookstore to see if they've organised a children's author to pop in (that's what we're doing tomorrow.  Off to see Sally Rippin - author of the Billie B Brown series.  Mrs Albertines is a big fan, so she'll be lining up for the book signing (gee, I hope there is one!).
  • for those in Melbourne, the Fringe Festival is in full swing.  This weekend we're off to check out some of the free events, and might even pay to see one of the kids' events.  On our list is Artland, MoreArt, and Squishface Comic Studio for starters.  In addition we have a pal with a show of her own, so we'll be heading to The Dance of Life too.
  • it's a good opportunity to use one's membership to visit zoos & museums.  We're running out of time for that these holidays.

Well, that list is quite extensive, I've come up with a lot more than I thought possible.  Of course, I don't have all the answers and would welcome input from you all.  Because, quite frankly, other people's ideas are always more interesting!

In the meantime, the reorganisation of my creative space is almost complete.  Not perfect, mind.  But I've nearly finished sorting through the piles of fabric, trim, half-finished projects and button collection. I can nearly see my sewing machine again (it fell victim to the "I'll just pop these scraps/labels/cut-out-bits/old phone/pins/spools of cotton there syndrome).  I'm ready to throw myself headlong into a frenzy of making and doing.  Monday can't come soon enough!