Children’s Art Bag

Many moons ago, Charlie was the recipient of a fantastic birthday present – a home sewn portable art bag.

That little green bag has been carted with us on holidays, to cafés and restaurants and is often stashed in the car in case of an unexpected stop. To be frank it has saved us from the brink of many I’m-bored-tantrums!

Outside of art bag

Loving this western train fabric!

So when we were invited to a second birthday party of the original art bag seamstress I knew just what to make.

So I scoured the web for the perfect pattern and settled on this tutorial from H is for Handmade.

It came together well, and would’ve been quick if it hadn’t sewn one of the inside pockets shut, despite the caution agianist exactly that on the tutorial (there’s an hour of my life of unpicking I’ll never get back!).

The only change I made was to insert a magnetic bag closure to help prevent accidental toddler emptying of the contents.

The outside fabric was quilting cotton from Lincraft Inside of art bagin Melbourne CBD as was the red contrast. The inside blue fabric (with trains) was a cotton flannel from Spotlight, with the rest of it ending up as PJs for Father’s Day.

Finally, Charlie spotted the western train fabric as I was sewing up this project and had to have some! “A shirt please Mum, with no buttons and a square of My Little Pony fabric”. A post for another time perhaps.


Brindille & Twig – Harem Romper

So my first pattern related blog is the Harem Romper from Brindille & Twig.

IMG_9718I made this up in a cotton jersey from Spotlight and a cotton/lycra from Rathdowne Remnants. Annabel had just turned 1 when I took this photo, and my chosen size, 12-18 months fit perfectly.

I’m hoping that the warmer weather we’ve been having here in Melbourne will finally stick around and we’ll get some more wear out of this before she has a growth spurt.

An easy sew, it come together quickly with my overlocker. I did get in trouble from the family for putting on the snaps with my hammer at midnight. Oops!

I love how this pattern turned out and it looks like Annabel agrees!IMG_9721


SO, I’m a terrible blogger. Life has definitely got in the way over the last couple of years and I’ve struggled to find the inspiration to write anything that could be of any interest!

But, I have a new passion, sewing. I’ve decided to make this blog, mostly dedicated to my projects, triumphs and failures.

If you have zero interest here’s your chance to take the first exit.

I’m going to restart this blog with a bit of a photo montage of some of my completed projects over the last couple of months. I hope you enjoy.

Toddler Party Madness

Charlie and my Dad, on his first birthday.

Charlie and my Dad, on his first birthday.

So, Charlie turns 3 in exactly a month and I’ve yet to plan anything for his celebration.

He’s got to the age where he understands about parties and calls them all birthday parties. In his toddler brain a party is only complete if it includes cake, blowing out candles and presents. He’s reasonably easy to please.

Last year we held it at our house, in our tiny little lounge room, while it rained outside. It was easy, not that stressful (people brought food to share) and involved some very fun puddle jumping later in proceedings. But it was squishy, super squishy.

This year I wanted to avoid the peak hour tram feeling and perhaps have the party somewhere else. Unfortunately it needs to be inside because in all likelihood it will cold and wet.

Completely lost for ideas, I turned to google and discovered Purple Party People Melbourne. Which is a blog devoted to ‘discovering unique kids party venues and ideas around Melbourne’. Within minutes I had discovered Fire Engine Rides and The Little Picnic, but darn, both of these awesome party ideas are outside.

I read on and found Apples & Jam, which is looks amazing, which means it might be a bit costly for a 3 year old’s birthday party.

So I think it is back to the drawing board, unless anyone else has some grand ideas?

My Valentine

My Valentine’s Day:

(#Electionvalentines is some fun on twitter started by Federal MP Andrew Leigh)


The traditional red roses

The traditional red roses

And how did I tell my gorgeous husband how much I care? With this:

Three tiled photos showing the messy process of making 'I Love You' cookies with a 2 year old.

Baked love

May your Valentine’s Day be loving and fun.

Quirky websites I love

I’m being quite crafty lately, but I’ve got to keep it quiet, (Christmas present recipients might be reading!) so just watch this space till after Christmas, perhaps make yourself a cup of tea while you wait.

In the meantime I’ve decided to share a few of the quirky websites that I love.

Angry people in local newspapers

This website has had me in hysterics since I first discovered it a couple of years ago. I’ve even submitted a photo or two. I’ve been known to do few set shots for my local paper (so no submitting my photo!), but these photos are taken to another level courtesy of Alistair Coleman’s captions.

Four images showing angry people in local newspapers

An assortment of my personal favourite angry people

Kim Jong-Il looking at things

The original (and the best!) ‘looking at things’ tumblr, this blog is almost unexplainable funny. Trust me, it is!

If you catch the ‘looking at things’ bug also checkout:

Croon shoes, spotted by Allira. Available here:

Emergency compliment

What it sounds like, for those days where you’re particularly down. Click refresh if the first compliment doesn’t quite hit the spot. Favourite so far: You’re not crazy, they’re 100% into you.

So on and so forth

The only non-humour site on the list, this is one of coolest of the design blogs going around, created/curated by the amazing Allira. This blog feature some great amazing finds from around the world. From vegetable inspired jewellery to the latest in stationary to the most amazing shoes I have ever seen (look right!), Allira never fails to deliver. Subscribe now!

No doubt I have forgotten a few, so I’m hoping to make a regular go of this. Now go forward and laugh and/or shop!

How I learnt the daggy mum dance

This post was written as a guest post for The Parents’ Jury and was first published here.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Parenting… the reality

When I had kids, I was confident that I would be in a super clean home with perfect children. I was only going to feed my children organic, home cooked food, the television would stay off, I would never give into pester power and my children would never nag…

Pre Charlie, I judged strangers. ‘Oh my god, did you see that toddler playing with the iPhone?’ I’d whisper to whoever was unfortunate to be near me at the time.

Then reality hit. I became a parent and, despite my best efforts, I have had to eat my…ahem…judgement. With a big slice of toast! So I’ve learnt to let go a bit, and you know what? I’m a better parent for it.

  1. Learnt how to dance without caring, and in the process, learnt the origin of the daggy mum dance
  2. Discovered that the toddler body is like a Tardis. ‘3 Weet-Bix, 2 slices of toast and a banana for breakfast, please Mum’ says the chipmunk posing as my two year old
  3. Found out that my son is better at navigating my iPad/iPod/iPhone/iEverything than I am
  4.  Marvelled at how he can find (and avoid!) anything green in his dinner, like a highly trained sniffer dog
  5. Felt like a secret agent when concocting  new ways to smuggle veggies into the above mentioned sniff dog (and the winner is Agent Vegetable Fritters)
  6. Watched Charlie fall in love with Thomas the Tank Engine, which lead to me taking him to see his first movie at age 2 years and 1 month. And oh how he loved it!
  7. Taught my child everything he knows… okay maybe my husband had a small roll here as well
  8. Experienced the agony of leaving him with someone else while I went to work
  9. Tried, and failed, to keep all our clothes stain free
  10. And above all, just melted when he said ‘Mumma, more kisses please’.

And that’s only the beginning…

See, even I failed to live up to my pre kids standards. You know what though, along the way I realised that my house may not be perfect and my child may not be reading the collected works of Shakespeare by two, but he’s happy, he’s healthy, he’s confident and he’s loved endlessly.

Charlie and the trains

Charlie goes to the park, Charlie plays with the trains instead

Sometimes I feel the ghost of the judgemental, no kids me take a sharp intake of breath as I ignore a tantrum in the supermarket, but the wiser, more experienced mother I have become can indulge in a knowing smile that life doesn’t always turn out as you imagine it. Kids have a way of messing with even the most perfect of plans!

Have your views on parenting changed since you had children? What’s on your list?


For 8 years I’ve been living in a dream. Every day I get up and I make a difference in my community.

Sometimes it’s small things, sometimes it’s big things, and most of the time the difference I’m making is positive.

But I’m writing this to say I’ve reached the end of the road, at least for now. I’m hanging up my iPad, putting down my mobile phone and I’m going back to Alice 1.0.

Serving the community of Brunswick has been an absolute privilege, and to say this has been a hard decision is like saying Miranda Kerr looks nice.

For 8 years, I’ve plugged away on the Brunswick Baths, kinders, the Brunswick Structure Plan, carbon neutrality, heritage, improved recycling collection, performing arts, libraries, maternal and child health care, economic development, the youth facility & so much more.

To those Councillors that I have served with for 8 years, thank you for putting in the hard yards with me; thanks for the disagreements, agreements, hugs, laughs and all round greatness.

To the hard working administration at Moreland, a simple thank you. You do amazing work.

To the residents of Moreland and Brunswick, my gratitude. Every week I meet passionate people, who work away to make change in our world. Keep up the good fight, and perhaps consider standing for Council yourself!

To my friends: yes, I am free for dinner/trivia/dancing/fun.

To my family, and especially my husband, Mike. You’ve put up with 8 years of the most boring dinner conversations (try me, I’m well versed in an assortment of ‘only interesting to those involved’ topics), 8 years of public events I’ve dragged you to, and frankly 8 years of barely seeing me at all.

And lastly, to my little Charlie. Snuggles make me happy too.

I’m very sad to be retiring but I look at the gorgeous face of my two year old and I know I’ve made the right call.

Thank you.

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