Friday, July 4, 2014

Time to get back on the blog

I think I fell off my blog. I think I started slipping off sometime last year  and while I continued for a while out of some sense of duty, this year the words whittled away and then eventually just dried up completely. The reason for my lack of words is complicated, boring and probably better left unsaid. Sometimes there are just not the words to be found.  Sometimes finding the colour and magic in the everyday no longer becomes an everyday reality. Sometimes the great unsaid becomes too great and there is nothing left to be said at all.

Around the same time that I fell off this blog I noticed many other blogs  appeared to be drifting away. Sadly, while the big commercial blogs endure, many of my favourite  bloggers (real people who love to create/craft/renovate/op shop/share the joy of their families) have been blogging much less or not at all.

I suspect many of them have defected to Instagram. I avoided Instagram for as long as it took me to realise that if I wanted to find out what was happening on West End Cottage's renovation I needed to get myself over there (totally understandable Caroline, given that your primary job is raising those four gorgeous boys not providing reno updates for me). Having dabbled there for a few months (partly due to a dodgy internet connection at home) I have come to the conclusion that Instagram unsettles me on several levels and I really need to start blogging again.

I wondered if anyone else had felt like this about Instagram so I want to share what I have noticed.
Firstly, with horror and surprise I have roughly the same number of followers after four months on Instagram as took me almost four years blogging. Despite that, I only feel like I have genuinely connected to a handful of new people. (Many of the followers are old bloggy buddies and it is so nice to find you all again). I am spending bigger chunks of my precious time looking at pretty pictures from people I do not know and will never really know because there are not enough words, there is no story and heck that picture of a cat/rabbit/vase of peonies/gorgeous vintage fabric- who did that belong to again? Because I have just seen 357 like that today and I can't keep track of who is who because there are not enough words, no story and no layers.

I love knowing that Zara has chickens, sews her own vintage fabric frocks  (and is possibly the only person with more milk glass than me),  and Kylie has a finished laundry renovation and Brismod has moved into the Midcentury house of her dreams and Elaina is teaching herself to sew and Christina knits her own socks and  Gillian is now posh cause her house is in a magazine ( and I like knew her, before she was all famous) and Ada has just painted her lounge room the most glorious shade of blue and Mel is having tea with the 94 year old lady who used to own her house and Deb (who I have never met) just knitted my daughter the most beautiful rainbow beanie because she knows she would love it.
I also feel that Instagram has a more addictive quality, there are simply so many images to keep up with, it is easy to just pop on there ALL THE TIME.
Lastly, I have noticed that since joining Instagram I am simply wanting more stuff. Having never been an internet shopper this is noticeable as I have made several purchases and am coveting more clothes/shoes/bags/vintage goodies/pet rabbits* than I ever did while blogging. The proportion of stores and stylists and people just flogging their stuff on Instagram is massive and to me feels oppressive. Maybe I just haven't stumbled onto enough creative Instagrammers but instead of feeling inspired I feel wanting and I don't remember feeling like this blogging.

So, if anyone still actually reads blogs, I would love to know if anyone else wants a bloggy revival? Anyone else not feeling the Instagram love? And if no one is reading, woohoo, I'll just get back to writing like no one is reading and keepsake all these precious memories for my kids.

Before I forget, if my bloggy mojo can be successfully resuscitated, there are significant reno updates to be shared. I should add I'm not totally jumping ship off Instagram, but plan to be on there a lot less and on here a lot more. Lastly, I credit the existence of this post  to Mel from Coal Valley View  as she is simply the best writer out here in blog world. Rant over.

*actually this is not quite true as I just remembered coveting pet rabbits while blogging but they were much less covetable than the current rabbits (rabbits are illegal as pets where I live unless you are a magician- tis a cruel world).

Saturday, June 7, 2014


a portrait of my children, once a week. every week in 2014 inspired by Jodi

He : always easy to spot in that favourite colour. He tells me he is completely off bright colours and wants me to only buy blue and green but still the old yellow gets chosen.

She : marching in the conga line at the school fete

Friday, May 30, 2014


a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014 inspired by Jodi

He : we had a cold snap. "Mama, can you please wrap me up like a sausage roll?"

She : modelling my fruity headpiece for the school fete.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014 (inspired by Jodi )
She : admiring her handiwork with our easter tree and dressing up for the day in her tutu togs ( as you do)
He : white chocolate bunny love.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


a portrait of my children, once a week, every week inspired by Jodi

He : we paint and he reads. Poaching my scaffolding and setting up it with all his treasures.

She : she still likes to help me with the washing, not sure how much longer this will be appealing.


a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014 inspired by Jodi

He : it was only a matter of time before that loom band was reconfigured into a sling shot.

She : practising her acrobatics on the plushest grass I have seen in years. I love her little wise, confident face. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Welcome to Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry - a Harry Potter party for a boy turning eight

Back in March my boy turned eight. He had just read his way through all seven Harry Potter books over the Christmas holidays and most of his mates were reading too so this party theme was set. Like all our parties this one needed to be created mostly from what we had around the house and after stumbling across a few awesome HarryPotter party ideas on Pinterest we had a plan.

Invitations were sent out to his mates inviting them back to a new term at Hogwarts. He has one friend with red hair, one friend who is a girl, one who loves frogs, two who are pranksters and one who is happy to be the bad guy so welcome Ron, Hermione, Neville, Fred and George Weasley and Draco Malfoy. Little sister was keen to be Dobbie the house elf but refused to garb up in a pillowcase so came in her Christmas elf suit with embellishments.

First up we had a sorting hat ceremony. I quickly sewed some felt onto a witches hat from our dress up box. We poked a mobile phone into the mouth hole and lo and behold as each hat passed from head to head it told everyone which house they would be in. Lots of Gryffindors obviously!

Then it was off to Ollivanders to choose a wand. We made the wands out of tightly rolled paper, spray painted and embellished with hot glue ( I found a tutorial somewhere on Youtube). Phoenix feathers optional.

Then it was straight into our first class, Care of Magical creatures. I rounded up all appropriate creatures from the toy boxes and hid them around the garden. When all creatures were located we had a quiz that determined the security code for Gringotts bank. Once the code had been cracked each wizard received their stash of Galleons to spend later at Honeydukes.

The wizard who located Neville's toad also received the first Golden Snitch of the party. As packs of Ferrero Rochers come in five's, we only had this many so they were highly coveted and an incentive to win games.

Next up was what turned out to be the absolute highlight of the entire party. Potions class. Basically lots of bottles full of vinegar with different food colourings and lots of gruesome names. Add that to bicarb of soda powder aka powdered unicorn horn and lots of sludgy, sloppy, foul slurries in various colours and a selection of beans and seeds and a mortar and pestle or two. My personal favourite was pearl tapioca cooked up with a dash of pink colouring which made spectacular pufferfish eyes.

We had a few lessons in particular potions from Professor Snape (Legoman in a wig) and then we left them to it to concoct the most disgusting foul potion. Another golden snitch for the winner of the most foul and as everything was edible they all had to try their concoctions as well- this led to hysteria interspersed with gagging.

So for the next hour there was much grinding,

 mixing and sloshing. I had stuck a massive black tarp down on the lounge room floor but of course it was nowhere near big enough.

Lets not forget the tasting,

and the collaborative creating. They used up every last Ashwinder egg, rat tail, unicorn horn and pufferfish egg available.

 It was essentially every eight year old's idea of awesome ( that's Legoman's old Harry Potter set in the background, this is the first birthday in years where the birthday boy did not receive Lego).

The cleanup was also interesting.

Then it was time for some Quidditch. I had nabbed the cardboard rolls from leftover fabric rolls at Spotlight, the staff were happy to let me take a few home and they made great broomsticks without concern of broken limbs if anyone got too enthusiastic.

With seven kids it is the perfect number for Muggle Quidditch. Two beaters, two chasers, two blockers and one seeker. Poor Legoman had to run fast as he was the snitch.

And then we staggered home to spend those hard earned galleons at Honeydukes. I had written a full list with prices for each item and the kids took it all very seriously as they calculated which treats they could afford.

And only Legoman could cope with the tedious job of cutting out and assembling those Bertie Bots ever flavour beans packets that I found as a free printable.

And then finally a slab of the fastest cake I have ever slapped together at the last possible minute.

And that is how we do a Harry Potter party. Thank goodness I now have nine months to recover before the next one rolls around. I am wondering though if this may be then end of the road for parties for my boy, in which case it is good to go out with a bang. And this was all he wanted, this eight year old of mine.

Cookie and Jet, welcome to the menagerie.