30 June 2011

our creative space 'the new generation' & paper packaging giveaway winners

Greetings all,
So many of we crafty types learned from our mummies, such is the age old way of passing on skills to the next generation.  My grandmothers Edna & Alice were amazing seamstresses making ball gowns for the rich & famous, ditto for my mummy Barbie (only with an awkward Von Trapp family twist).  We'd have matchy matchy ensembles . . . end-of-bolt-sale-fabric for a family of 6 or my brothers in cloned knitted jumpers with Dad, my sister & i in matching dresses with Mum . . . classic 60s & 70s handmade horror, technically carried through into the 80s too, i was 5 ok??!!.   
My children have been surrounded by craft, stood on pins & slept to the hum of the sewing machine since i got into nesting while pregnant with my first baby in 1998.
 Now my eldest is in high school, she has proper sewing teachers who studied textiles & design (not pharmacology) & she gets graded on her work!!
 So excited, she chose all the fabrics, applique ideas, ribbon & did all the sewing at school (no professional mummy sewing allowed) & da dah, only two As were awarded . . . 
 proud mumma moment . . . she got an A!!  Her beautiful pillow slip now sits on her bed & as she finished so quickly, she's making boxer shorts. 
 This week is Creative Clubs at primary school.  My son chose drama, age 7 he's "directing plays".  I think he picked drama as the teacher is one of those gorgeous first-year-out-of-uni enthusiastic types who can sing, dance, act & teach.  I know, taking a class because of a pretty girl out of his reach is in it, he's such a boy!!   
Anyway, daughter 3 is learning French Knitting with the professional ice hockey teacher & loving it, it's clearly addictive.  Last night she called from her room to say "can you tell me when it's 10 so i can change wool colours??"  Um no, GO TO SLEEP!!  No idea where she'd get that bad habit of crafting into the wee hours from??
 She's French knitting a rastafarian wig - only way to describe the awful dreadies coming out of her handmade toilet roll/ paddle pop stick device!!
 I showed the middle girl how to crochet chain stitch (limit to my skills so far) in the car park at school, by bed time she'd crocheted like 3m of the stuff!! 
Totally loving passing on the skills & learning new ones with them!!  Have i mentioned that Kylie from Mealy&i blog is patiently teaching me how to crochet in the holidays??
NOW for the paper packaging, twine & stickers giveaway WINNERS . . . who knew over 100 individual bloggers would enter so enthusiastically to win paper bags??  Yay, thanks so much!!  Bugger - two of the winning numbers weren't followers??  DQ to you.  Come on guys, not such a hard thing to ask is it - follow for your chance to win, my blog's nice right??  So sucks to them & yay to these faithful followers & WINNERS!! 
Randomly selected number (big time winner) . . .
69 Thea from 
Thea & Sami
blog, congratulations!!
Randomly selected
supplementary numbers, as witnessed by the official Posie Lotto panel (itty bitty winners) . . .
2 Bron from
Taylor Made blog,
23 KerryAnne from
Shabby Art Boutique blog,
86 Rhi from
Flour Child,
79 Trish from My Little Drummer Boys blog &
24 Felicity from Gifts Of Serendipity blog!! 
Congratulations everyone, please email me your postal addresses for your parcel of fun.  For more creativity, check out Thursday's Our Creative Spaces.  Love Posie

28 June 2011

why my home won't be winning any style & design awards this Winter

Greetings all,
A lovely mummy fresh from the gym breezed into Shop Handmade & purchased a couple of dozen ceramic dishes in all sorts of sizes & colours for her dining table - which was ready for a Housing Design Awards photo shoot.  I wish.  While i have amazing plans for the homestead we're going to build, i have a vision of organisation, storage & casual, comfortable styling . . . reality is, i live in Army housing, our house is too small for our big family & the laundry is too tiny to even house an airer for Winter washing.
 So as my eyes rest peacefully at this part of the lounge room . . .
 this is the reality . . . i'm sure the Italians who designed these dining chairs & the Stokke folk planned them to double as flannette-sheet-dryers . . .
 or the Biggest Loser trainers would like to see a treadmill acting as a giant clothes line!!
 It's not often i lounge about in my knitted booties, but i'm letting the last of my head cold leave . . .
 & enjoy OffSpring, i ponder about life like Nina (now on twice a week, loving that) . . .
 pretending my cushions are styled nicely, not where the children let them land . . .
& like i cared that our puppy had helped himself to a blanket!!
I do love a neat & tidy home, at least one where the laundry is in . . . the laundry & puppies aren't lounging on human blankets, i also don't mind a bit of honesty in stylish blog world.  Keeping house . . . sometimes i throw up arms & consider watching the likes of OffSpring as a much better headspace than primping & preening a home which a stampede of children will dishevel again in the morning.  No, i will straighten the cushions, wash that blanket & fold the blankets, i have to wake up to a tidy house, but the washing, well, it's -1C when i drop the children at school, those sheets are only going to dry indoors.  Love Posie

27 June 2011

Posie & the Chocolate Factory

Greetings all,
Some one has to do it . . . i've suffered taste testing, hot chocolate rating & behind the scenes watching-the-magic-happen . . . at a boutique organic chocolate factory.
Mmmm, truffles, to be eaten slowly, on their own/ on your own & savour every nibble.  In this beautiful world of handmade i live dreamily in, it's true, when you eat the best chocolate, you need only a small amount to be satisfied.  We are certainly moving towards the European appreciation of quality & smaller doses of chocolate, buying boutique & making the dollars you spend make a difference to small business.  Conscious consumerism.
 When Peter Edmunds, of the famous Canberra based Lindsay & Edmunds organic chocolate factory invited my family to afternoon tea, we ran!!  Situated near the VIP Prime Minister's aeroplane hangar on the other side of Canberra International Airport in Fairbairn ACT, it's a little slice of paradise in a hub of public service & RAAF buildings. 
 My children are very familiar with Peter from his chocolate stall at the Handmade & Farmer's Market - his presentation is always immaculate, just like his shop front & factory.  As he says "people buy with their eyes as much as they do their stomachs". 
 At the counter, where you can order amazing coffee & hot chocolate, you'll find chocolate by the gram.  Queues are out the door with the morning coffee rush.
 Lindsay & Edmunds have the most amazing selection of handmade original recipe individual chocolates too.  Peter is a chef, but chocolate stole his heart & spending time in France only enhanced his passion & quality!!
 They close around 4p.m. but we were just in time for a round of hot chocolates after school, with an extra dollop of whipped cream & sprinkle of flakes.  Two ordered white hot chocolate, two for dark hot chocolate - i was good & just had a sip of each (my eyes were on a different prize).
 They stirred the hot chocolate sticks & watched them melt into the steamed milk.
 Did i mention it was 5C & 120km/h winds this day??
 While the 4 children warmed up with their hot chocolate drinks, i did some shopping.  This is eye candy to the extreme & the smell, oh, delicious.
 Something has to be said for simple, product themed packaging . . . uncomplicated & doesn't distract from the actual goodies inside - good products don't need bells & whistles.
 Just look at the variety - let me take you on a taste bud tour of the 'slabs' available in milk, white & dark chocolate . . . organic tropical, semi dried strawberries, organic praline, chilli macadamia, organic raisin almond, organic fig & hazelnut, organic orange & almond, brandied figs & many more!!
 We didn't leave empty handed, the children had to patiently wait for this bag of goodies to be photographed first, then have their teddy lolly pops for after dinner (the next night!!)
In the exciting anticipation of my husband coming home in a fortnight, the hot chocolate stirrers & praline slab are just for him to share with his favourite wife. 
 Just a sample of the delicious treats from the 'individual' selection, which includes . . . cointreau, organic coffee kahlua, framboise, calvados, fraise, organic truffle, organic mont blanc, organic orange, organic nut cluster, organic ginger, organic vanilla bean, organic cassis & cranberry, amaretto . . . no doubt you can see the European influence. 
 I went back the next day, sans children, to soak up the atmosphere of a boutique chocolate factory in action.  Have i mentioned the delicious smell?? 
 Since i came across this gorgeous brand, i've been buying my eldest brother (rocket scientist come chef & chocolate ginger lover) bags of these every birthday & Christmas.
 Peter in action at the chocolate machine, it's fascinating to watch.
 Peter's lovely & friendly staff are as dedicated to the craft as he is.
 Attention to detail is evident everywhere, it's one impressive set up.
I must have asked a million questions on climate, storage, quality control, experience, influences, favourites & disaster stories - like his super duper machine breaking down the fortnight before Mother's Day!!  Peter remains positive, informative & confident his brand is supreme (he's too modest to say that - but imagine the customer feedback when you're dishing up the best chocolate in the business??!!)  
Thank you to Peter & his wonderful team for inviting me to experience the beautiful world of chocolate, it was my pleasure.  Feel free to ply my children with hot chocolate anytime!!
You can find Lindsay & Edmunds organic handmade chocolates at high end markets including Floriade Flower Festival, specialty grocers & fancy providores, fabulous Shop Handmade & ON LINE!! 

My TOP 5 include: milk chocolate honey almond praline slab; dark hot chocolate stirrer sticks; mixed chocolate heart pillow; petit sampler; & sweet tooth selection.  Mmmm.  Love Posie

26 June 2011

social commentary Sunday . . . 'do you have child-naming regret??'

Greetings all,
How important is your name to you??  My parents named me Jennie, not Jennifer as that would be shortened to Jenny/ Jenni/ Jennie anyway, i'm quite happy with the name my parents gave me.  My middle name is after my mother's sister.  My sister & brothers all have regular names too, as do our collective 14 children.
I remember my best gal pal saying "wouldn't it be fun to be named Daisy, but have a back up sensible name for job interviews & legal paperwork".  Ok, so she grew up to be a lawyer but i get it.  Do you want to be Dr Pixie Smith??  Nowadays anything goes i guess, i try not to judge people by their names, but when i won a free photography session for my first born & the photographer was named Bambi, i kept thinking 'it's her parent's fault'.

On our first date, my husband & i agreed on a baby boy's name (he started the conversation, i wasn't some desperate crazy OMG-marry-me & this-is-our-whole-future-together after one dinner).  Anyway, we adjusted it to suit a girl as after 3 daughters we were wondering if we'd ever get to use a boy's name??  
Every new school year i scan the class lists for names, doing little fist pumps in the air that no one has the same names as my guys.  They don't have whacky or made up combination names, they have traditional Celtic & Gaelic names to suit our heritage, they're old fashioned, you've heard them before, but they are still the only children in their schools with the names.  I do feel quite chuffed with our choices & i really believe the names suit our children.  They like their names too.  We also skipped choosing names with same first initial as ours & double checked their initials didn't spell out anything silly like BUM.
Growing up, if there was a crazy name on the news like Zipperty DoDah Jones, my conservative anglo parents would say "oh that's a made up American name".  Class rooms are filled with unisex names like Jordan, Taylor & Bailey, all lovely names, but if they're new & you have birthday invitations from them, you might not know if they are a boy or a girl.  I don't have to read the list of most-popular-names to know they are Jack, Ella, Henry, Emma, Lachlan, Grace, William, Ruby, Ethan, Harry & Ava - they're all friends with my children. 
I just wonder, do parents ever think "oh i wish i didn't name my child Chrystal-Sherrilyn & combine our surnames of Worthington-Barringhausenwaite as it takes so long to fill in forms" or "naming my twins Amie & Jamie now sounds a bit dumb".  Oh hello mums with multiples - do we have some bad twin duo names out there??!!  Have you met my twins "Samson & Delilah", "Elvis & Priscilla", Romeo & Juliet" . . . not kidding.  I think people should get silly names out of their system on their pets - or God help us, they'd be an over supply of children named after Star Wars & comic book characters.
Did you go for fail safe names with regular spelling, the popular names of the time, or the totally awesome names you dreamt up when you were a teenager, like Ripley, Fallon & Blaze??  Are your children named after your favourite movie stars, sports heroes & appliance brands?? 
I'd LOVE to know if you told your girlfriends your future-children-dream-names & . . . they stole them!!  You remember that episode of Sex&theCity when their pregnant friend stole Charlotte's dream name of "Sheila" & Samantha screamed "you bitch" across the Baby Shower?? 
I know 3 cousins, ALL with the same name, born in the same year, as their parents all said the name was theirs.  Poor grandparents - 3 grandchildren with the same name & age??  Then again, doesn't world champion boxer George Foreman have 8 children called George, Georgina, Georgia, Georgie & Georges 2, 3, 4 & 5??  In his defence, his brain has been knocked around, but what were the mother's agreeing to?? 
Did you give in to a traditional family name??  Did your husband insist on a name & you couldn't say "noooo, it's my exboyfriend's name"??  Do you know anyone who changed their name as it was just too awful to keep??  I remember one baby name book i read while pregnant with my first baby in 1998 recommending not to call your child Adolph, Sadam or Gay.
Have fabulous week's everyone, i'm doing creative clubs/ class craft - i scored French Knitting with my son's professional ice hockey teacher - should be interesting.  Love Posie
. . . last day to enter my paper packaging, sticker & twine giveaway today, 6 prizes, good luck, will announce mid week . . .

25 June 2011

i'm grateful for 'bargains'

Greetings all,
Thanks for asking Maxabella, this week I'm Grateful for BARGAINS, SALES, CLEARANCES & "70% off already reduced ticket prices".  I know it's harsh on big retailers & department stores but i think they're kind of being slapped with a turn away from mass consumerism/ made in China & thoughtless spending, instead, we're watching our pennies & choosing to spend our precious money where it counts . . . small business, local handmade, Farmer's Markets & the like.  I love designer gear & quirky things, but can't afford them at full price, so this is my big chance to buy things beyond my financial reach!!
I needed more of those wooden crates from Provincial, thanks to friends seeing them on my blog & saying "hey, next time you're there, pick me up . . . six", even the sales assistant said "we've had ladies in here saying they saw our baskets on your blog".  Yay!!  Anyway, between Provincial & the car park, i had to walk past TYPO.  Oh dear, how many $5 clearance tables can a store have?? 
 Keep Calm canvas, giant ampersand, wooden toadstool, bird peg stand - all $5 each; washi tape dispenser 50c (i got a few) + more $5 peg sets.
 Love Rules Without Rules canvas $5, mushroom pillow $10.
 Embroidery hoop picture $5 (i got a couple) + some $5 lanterns, 50c pencils, $2 note pads, $1 Mexican paper garlands.
 This Eiffel Tower print is HUGE, so great to find something for my son's bedroom . . . now he has this canvas, yep, $5.  You could cover over them - the frame alone is worth more!!
 Committing to 2 trips to the car, as i had a French washing basket, 6 crates, 4 canvases, a magnetic board (wooden frame had a crack so it was reduced to $25) & 3 wooden trees (er, um, $5 each reduced from $50) my arms were breaking.  On the way back to TYPO i spied Country Road - their outlet was closing down with "70% off already reduced ticket prices".  My bounty . .  . oatmeal track pants, grey track shorts, 4 scarves, 3 tops, a grey wool wrap, a peach cardigan + a black dress reduced from $249 to $27 & a few things for the children (skirt, tank, dress) including this purple kaftan . . . i just knew if i didn't buy it, i'd regret it, even though the ONLY one left was a size 4 & it was for an almost 10y.o. it was a $60 reduced to $12.50 risk.  Sure enough she loved it & it fits beautifully, this child can wear any style/ colour/ pattern - such is her amazing complexion. 
 I picked up these desert books from the regular Country Road store sale last week, my boy's feet are growing so fast!!  Love the laces.
After all that shopping, a girl's got to rest.  I was suffering the last of my head cold, i think it's gone now, it's really hard to blow your nose with arms full of bargain shopping & eyes streaming.  I really looked after myself with the right drugs, rest & healthy food.  Ok, so my Friday wasn't too tough, i caught up with a school mummy & we saw Bridesmaids at the cinema, loved it - quite a different movie to what i expected, very funny, with heart.  Then a sushi lunch & a tour of a local organic chocolate factory (stay tuned for that post on Monday) then an after school P&C party.  Now i'm curled up on the lounge in my woollie boots with some choice magazines, Skype'ing my husband & sipping hot chocolate.  
Have gorgeous weekends, i really should do some sewing!!  Love Posie

24 June 2011

things i'm loving 'the most awesomest idea'

Greetings all,
I am SO impressed with my high schooler this week, ok, more impressed than normal.  She emailed me from her bedroom & asked me to print out a few copies of this poster she created.  She has been putting them up around school for fun . . . no one knows it's her & everyone is talking about it!!  Each morning she finds all the "i'm awesome" tags pulled off & girls giggling about how cool it is.  Who's Awesome - my daughter!!
It's kind of sneaky & cheeky, a whole lot of fun & makes people feel . . . awesome.  It was her own clever idea & i'm pretty confident she will be one happy teenager in this world.  So Paisley Jade, that is what i'm loving this Friday, love Posie
PS like a copy of the poster - leave a comment, i'll email you one & have your own fun!!
. . . last few days to enter my paper packaging giveaway, oh yes, goodie bags, itty bitty paper bags, stickers, twine & why not, i'll toss in your very own awesome poster too, 6 prizes to win . . .

23 June 2011

our creative space 'i like it hot hot hot' my entry for the Hottie Challenge

Greetings all,
Have you been following the show & tell talent display of hot water bottle covers over at the CurlyPops blog??  Cam alone has coordinated 60+ designers to create amazing hot water bottle covers for The Hottie Challenge which is a fundraiser for The Margaret Pratt Foundation (lungs).  All the gorgeous hot water bottle covers will be on display at the Open Drawer Centre, 1-24 July, there will be 100s of them, all donated & available for sale.     
Voila - my entry to challenge, here's hoping it will raise some much needed funds.
 I thought i'd go with pink, red, pink, white & some more pink??
 The only rule was that they had an open top, for display hanging purposes, which is not my regular hot water bottle pattern, so i created a draw string design.
 I put together a hexagon feature, which i applique to pretty Cath Kidston gingham, rose & lace fabric (could not be girlier) which was quilted to organic batting.  The red & white Donna Hay thick-baker's-twine-inspired-draw-string is under pink & white stripe bias, with red & white narrow stripe bias around the top. 
 With random quilting in zig zag stiching across the back, with the Cath Kidston fabric going in the opposite direction - it's all about contrast & details - how a filled hot water bottle looks from every angle.
 I hope this brings some rosey toasty nights to someone very soon, knowing it was made with love & purchased from a very good cause.  Do go along to the event if you're in Melbourne!!  Check out our creative spaces for a long list of clever craft on Thursday, you might discover more hot water bottle cover goodness??  Love Posie

21 June 2011

our trip to Australia Zoo

Greetings all,
When we went to Queensland at Easter we went to Australia Zoo.  My last big road trip was 6 years ago, when we were living in Sydney & i drove my 4 babies to visit handsome soldier, who was on course in Brisbane (see how repetitive my life is??)  That fateful trip to the newly opened Austarlia Zoo saw one of our twins climb INTO a crocodile pen (OMG!!)  My husband found her, in the empty pen & she had climbed between seats from the viewing platform & her Nikes were covered in green crocodile slime.  This child is going to age me like no other, total heart attack situation.  I guess, being born in Darwin & all, she's at one with the crocodile species??  Anyway, this time, she could read the signs . . .  
 signs like this only seem to attract my children, trouble finds them!!
 We saw Dingoes (did you know about 4% are black??) . . .
 posing on the giant Crocodile - why can't i ever get 4 children in the one 'memory' shot . . .
 a sweet sleeping Tasmanian Devil . . .
 scary Cassowary, i would not wish to meet one in the wild, they have big caveman-axe-shaped bones on top of their heads, which are always dented - proving they will head bang anything, sorry it's a bad photo of these prehistoric looking birds . . .
 we took this shot for our puppy, also named Khan . . .
 Iguanas, if they are your thing, they are not mine . . .
 our 4 went down this giant inflatable slide over & over . . .
 my husband's dislikes Camels, too many desert war zones . . . i kind of like them, they're so bizarre & almost girlie pretty, like giraffes.
 There was a school holiday class going on - they were with the Echidnas . . .
 Bear Cats, something i didn't know existed, they are like one of those made up animals . . .
 ah, my husband, doing his bit for friendly Australian tourism & PR, especially when pretty young Americans are involved!!
 Then onto the Crocosseum, where the Irwins hosted the show . . . they're ok in small doses & this is their habitat, but i could have done without their attempt at impromptu comedy - even our children were rolling their eyes at Bindi & Bob!! 
 Re-thinking the decision to sit in the front row, way too close to the snake handlers??!!
 All the animal handlers were very attractive . . .
 The elephants made a grand entrance . . .
 then it was time to head back to the carpark, via the Animal Hospital . . .
 well worth the $2 per head entry . . .
 it's an amazing set up & we got to see the koala ward, through the glass, along with the operating theatre - they were working on a koala who had been hit by a car.
There you have it, a great day out, no children in crocodile pens this time & we spent the afternoon at the beach, it was fantastic.  If you are ever in the Brisbane/ SunShine Coast region, Australia Zoo is a must & guess what, military get in free (which meant i got in with one family pass for the rest of us - about $200).  For a dedicated post on koalas, kangaroos & the fabulous petting zoo . . . go here
If you want to see serious crocodiles & crocodile feeding - go straight to the Northern Territory, Crocodylus Park in Berrimah & the famous Adelaide River Jumping Crocodile Tours - they are FULL ON.  Love Posie
. . . last few days for my paper packaging giveaway . . .