Monday, September 29, 2008

So much pleasure in a packet

My mum doesn't wear a lot of make up, neither do I. My mum always made her own bread, so do I. Most things she and I cook we make from scratch. When I grew up whenever there were biscuits in the house, they were homemade, ditto for cakes and other treats. I remember we would occasionally have a packet of Tim Tams and being allowed to have one as a treat. It's not that weren't allowed that sort of thing, just that we didn't have them.

I can therefore well understand the appeal of a packet cake mix. When everything is made from scratch a packet mix seems like some kind of wonder - everything in a box! Ella mentioned to me a few times last week that there were cakes in boxes that came with the icing in them, ready to eat! So, today at my parents we made cake in a box, covered it with premixed icing and topped with baby m&m's. You know what, I'm not so fond of chocolate desserts or treats, but I do love a piece of packet chocolate cake.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Budding Marvellous

Are you fond of the try hard pun? For me it depends on how vulnerable I'm feeling at the time - if I'm a little tired and weak then I will giggle contagiously at anything remotely humorous.

This particular variety of clematis, montana rubens, has been an absolute star for us. It grows so fast, flowers beautifully, covers magnificently and needs little attention. I love the way the buds are so round and raise their heads to open. This one is on our front verandah which is about 9 months old - the clematis about the same age - I think it took about 3 months to run up the poles and along the whole length of a 5 metre verandah.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

So good

The weather is warming and it is so good to be spending more time outside than in.

We did some more summer garden planting today and although we still have beets and cabbages going great guns, we also have made some progress to getting other guys settled in.
We live in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne in a 1950's weatherboard house. We live on the corner of a court so have extra space at the front of our house, but our block was subdivided about 18 years ago so we don't have a full block at the back. When planting vegies, therefore, not everything can go in the ground, we have to take advantage of all the space we have.

Out the back only the zuchinnis are along the side of the house near our shed. They're fairly self sufficient and as it's an area I don't automatically see every day, they'll have to be. The danger - monster zuchs rather than delish baby ones.

Out the front beside the gas meter there's an awkward space that has been the storage area for the council's bi annual hard garbage collections. Feeling frustrated with not being able to fit all the produce in I'd like, my dear dad helped stack all the out of commision pavers and now we have a cool garden "bench" for nuturing seeds and seedlings - so cool!

Potatoes are in two big garbage bins - one of kipflers, the other of desirees.

French beans are also in two pots.

Lettuces and basil will be on the garden "bench" once the seeds are all strong and able to manage on their own.

Broad beans have all set and are now just fattening up.

Strawberry patch is currently only half a dozen plants, but will increase to three times as many this coming week and will be heavily mulched to keep the fruit from turning.

Tomatoes - this year Black Zebra, Amish Paste, Tommy Toes and Roma will go in within the next month.

Corn - two varieties (Early Breakthrough and Sweet White) have been sewn today.

Carrots - that's what Leila was attempting to do, get their bed ready, two Diggers Club varieties there as the girls love the pulling so much.

What else - eggplants and fennel, they still have to find somewhere to live. I think it's probably too much for the space, sure it is, but what the heck, it's so much fun!

Final Chapter

I finished the last page last night and I loved this book. It surprised me with some of the turns it took, I wasn't expecting it to end up where it did.

Lindsay told me she'd cried buckets when she read it so I must say I was worried as I'm particularly weak these days when it comes to sad stories. It was heart breaking, but it moved me so much that I couldn't stop reading. The passages about loss were so real to me - perhaps because the character speaking had so much in common with Ella - the way that he spoke, the questions he asked, it was so her it was eerie.

I don't know if it's just my reaction, but I always find it so fascinating when I read a book where the main character or voice is the opposite sex to the author, as was the case here. At the very beginning I find it quite disconcerting and am constantly reminding myself that she is a he or vice versa. Ultimately however, I feel I have so much more admiration for believing the character, for I wonder how a she could become a he - the voice, the everything. I wonder about authors who do this well, about their personality that I imagine to be so very rich.

I also marvelled at the art references in this book. At the very end in the acknowledgements Siri referenced a lot to studies that the character Violet referred to, but not to the art references, which leads me to assume that they were completely fictional. If that's the case, I'm amazed again. If I were at all painterly (is that a word?), I would so want to produce the works that Siri potentially imagined in this book. I personally think they would be the most amazing series of works if they could be brought to life as she wrote them - I was enthralled.

As I think I've mentioned before - I'm a loyal reader, I find an author I like and I devour their works - I'll have to resist to move straight to another of hers.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Love Plus One

I loved that song when it came out, haven't heard it for ages but am sure I'd still love it now. I wonder if you'll get the connection to this post ....

Of course I forgot the camera, which is a real shame because Leila's like her big sister, she LOVES the hairdresser. She literally bounded into the chair and revelled in the attention, looking down when requested, loved the drying of her hair and the pooofing of it. She really only had a trim across the front to get it out of her eyes - but another milestone all the same. In this photo, taken during dinner last night, Leila's fluffing her hair saying "hair, hair - cut, cut mama".

Steak & Frites

Geoff and I had a child free 24 hours on the weekend. My parents are so supportive of our little family, helping with the children and being so involved in their lives, but also giving Geoff and I some space to stay a couple. Every time we have time without the girls, the hours seem to pass even faster. I can no longer imagine being childless, the freedom to just do as you please each and every day - read a book for hours - sure; go to the movies on a whim - why not.

These days I'm more a casual dining girl, loud Italian or Asian more often than not, but there was something I fancied about Bistro Guillaume probably the gorgeous look of the place. Not sure on my feelings about Crown - can't really say I see the appeal of it, although plenty seem to. Really nice bistro in a gorgeous looking restaurant setting - oysters and duck confit for him, salad and steak and frites for me. Chocolate dessert and coffee for him, petit fours and tea for me.
So nice going out, had time to get ready for a change, put on a fancy dress, but that didn't translate to Geoff getting a good photo of me. I even tried the self portrait but honestly, this shot of a brooch I wore was the best of the bunch! One more thing on my list to practice - learn to be a better photographic subject.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Amy's now looking for a home in my shop.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Loving the ease of this book, and the art too

I really want to see the paintings she's describing - I really believe they exist somewhere, do I admire the work more thinking they do or they don't?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


the sheep is pretty big with Ella. She and her Pa watch it together and almost wet themselves laughing. In a dvd that Pa gave Ella it had instructions on how to make one of the pigs.

Plastercine, I used it a lot when I was younger, I wanted to make models at one stage - there were quite a few stop motion kids programs I remember, I loved them. This photo was to show nan and pa what we made. I made Shaun, but the pig and Timmy are all Ella.

Monday, September 15, 2008


They're so smart, it's like they know when I'm feeling weak and vulnerable. They're always good, my girls, but some days are harder than others and it always seems those are the days they're running on ever ready batteries.

I think the main cause of most of my angst, frustration and stress is that I simply can't accept less is best. I find it hard to accept that I can't do everything and just live with it. I wake up setting a list of tasks for myself, a list so long that I can wind myself into knots as I wake stressing about all I HAVE to do. I don't HAVE to do most of it. I HAVE to get food into the house and cook it. I HAVE to feed the girls with said food, but aside from that, there isn't a lot I HAVE to do, just a lot I WANT to do. I find it hard to accept that I can't do it all.

We made these lemon yoghurt cupcakes, very messy - they disappeared after the beaters were licked clean. How old do your children need to be before they start sticking around for the cleaning up part?

I need to accept that I can't do it all, prioritise more and hopefully, relax along with it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


is ready to go to her new home.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Down on the farm

Pre getting married we lived only a 5 minute bike ride away from this farm. It's in the very centre of Melbourne, a completely urban setting, but you'd never know it from these shots. I wish we could still afford to live around here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Potatoes .... tick

The scent of Spring

Three loads today, blowing gently in the glorious Spring weather. There is nothing like the scent of clean, air dried cotton sheets surrounding you as you climb into your bed at night. We never sleep as well as we do when we have clean sheets on the bed. If I were rich, I would have clean sheets (with the scent of Spring on them) every night.

Monday, September 08, 2008


this as I've gotten my devouring books bug back. It's actually Three Novels - Big Sleep, Farewell my Lovely and The Long Good-bye, all in one volume. I don't like this cover, mine is the more traditional Penguin cover, early 90's style I guess with the black and white photo of a car in wet weather, night, blurred lights, somewhere in Hollywood. Must go, gotta read.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Our family

on Father's Day 2008.

He's a very patient father, a great playmate to the girls, reliable and giving partner and husband and an all around nice guy. Happy Father's Day to all the nice guys out there.

PS I had my haircut yesterday, same salon different hairdresser, supposedly their Principal Stylist. I don't know what it is but I simply cannot make myself understood - I ended up with a haircut that is just a little Louise Brooks-like. Anyone in Melbourne who has shorter hair which is styled versus all one length PLEASE send me your recommendations....

Invitations ..... tick

Friday, September 05, 2008

"For you a thousand times".......

I stayed up hours longer than I normally do last night and only closed my eyes minutes before midnight. I lay in the dark finishing The Kite Runner, or more devouring its remaining half, for more than two hours.

I cried with anger at the hurt of it all. I read on despite being able to tell where it was leading me. I went and kissed my own babes one more time last night and thanked something, although I don't believe in religious power, for where geography and perhaps just good fortune had found my own parents making a life for us.

I loved this book. I have rediscovered my love of reading, of words, of the escape and pleasure they give me.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Make room for the new kids

Forming tonight's dinner. Nearing the end of these guys, those remaining will soon have to make way for an earthy makeover and the arrival of the new kids on the plot.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Thank goodness

I AM the most honest person I know.
I WANT to achieve so much.
I HAVE the hair from my first haircut in a paper bag in my bedside drawer.
I KEEP cards from special occasion restaurants in my favourite handbag that we bought in Rome on our honeymoon.
I WISH I COULD play the guitar.
I HATE that I'm not as positive as I could be.
I FEAR reaching the end of my life and not having achieved all I wanted to.
I DON'T THINK there is ever enough time.
I REGRET very little of my life's decisions.
I LOVE quiet moments alone with my thoughts.
I AM NOT ungenerous with my time or my emotions.
I DANCE every day but know I wouldn't win any competitions.
I SING in tune, although I'm not tuneful.
I NEVER experimented with any drug stronger than alcohol, despite having had many opportunities.
I REALLY struggled with some of these statements.
I CRY WHEN I WATCH the news.
I AM NOT ALWAYS sure when I've said too much.
I HATE THAT I don't believe in myself and my abilities more than I do.
I AM CONFUSED ABOUT exactly which plastics can go into the recycle bin.
I NEED coffee to keep me going.
I SHOULD start making the girls dinner.....
Thanks Leslie, for the idea.

Monday, September 01, 2008

The Shop has been restocked

The shop has been restocked with more lovely girls.

Little Joy

I went shopping alone for a few hours on Saturday with very little success. I went with a very open mind, looking for everything from underwear to everyday wear to special clothes for our anniversary trip in a couple of months. I managed to buy clothes for both girls, a couple of Christmas presents and five el cheapo tshirts for everyday home wear. I did manage to buy one quality item, but I'd seen them in a mag and only had to go into the shop and buy my size. Cool though no?
I came home so disillusioned. I just don't see anything I like. I've never been a very enthusiastic shopping, but now it's not a matter of seeing things I can't afford, I just don't see anything I like. I am excited about Seed Femme coming online in October, as I love their clothes for the girls and have high hopes they'll stock things I love. So, trying another direction yesterday, I went online and bought these two patterns. I haven't sewn for myself since high school although do so regularly for the girls. I love aline skirts and find them hard to find, and I thought the top looked cute. If anyone's made from these patterns, let me know if there are any quirks.