Thursday, September 11, 2014


'a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014'

Star babes and a messy room. 

Pop over to Practising Simplicity for lots of lovely photos and tidy rooms.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Adrift - endings

Remember way back in February I shared our experiments with natural dyeing and shibori. Well.... finally here's what it was all about:

Those big lengths of dyed silk were fashioned into a skin for a 3 x 3m aluminium cube resting on a pontoon in the middle of the Bremer River for the length of the Ipswich Festival.

The project was a collaboration between a group of local artists, the Men's Shed at Bundamba and the Moreton Region Scouts. It was commissioned by Ipswich Events Corp and funded by the Regional Arts Development Fund.

We had perfect weather for launch day and after a wee incident during transportation (read - the cube fell off the trailer, shattering the plastic joints between the tubing), emergency trips to the hardware and the speediest zip tying ever we just managed to get everything in on time for the tide (the Bremer gets very shallow up here at low tide)

During daylight hours the natural dyes blended with the colours of the river and surrounds and as the tide came in and out, it bobbed up and down and swung around on it's moorings - it became part of the landscape rather than apart from it.

By night the piece was transformed into a light installation. Shadowy trees and bats became visible as the solar powered led's cycled through a rainbow of colour. It gave the piece a whole new life.

The final piece of the collaboration was a downloadable soundtrack of original music by Christian Sargeant and Eva Fritz, along with traditional, historic and contemporary stories about the river read by local residents.

It was an exciting and challenging project to be involved in with some unexpected converts to the arts, new friendships and strengthened connections between the core creative group.

Here's hoping we get to do it again next year.

Sunday, August 31, 2014


'a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014'* 

watching these two grow together

*Apologies - I'll just admit that I am utterly crap at doing these things regularly. I'm trying to be better at it.

Joining in with Practising Simplicity

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

DIY Macrame chair back (or wall hanging)

I've been involved in some behind the scenes work for a local fibre festival which is coming up very soon (check out The Knot Fibre Festival for all the details) and I've become a little obsessed with covering chairs in fibre of all kinds and particularly with the ancient art of macrame (yes tongue is firmly in cheek here). I still have a couple of my Mum's fab macrame wall hangings and remember making a macrame owl with her when I was a kid (if only I could find it now).

I've been sharing some of my knotting adventures on Instagram and a few lovely ladies have expressed a desire to give it a go themselves. So.... I am going to have a bash at writing and photographing a few macrame tutorials showing a couple of different techniques whilst also decorating my new (old) dining chairs. Whilst my projects will be demonstrated on chairs they could also be used to make wall hangings - just replace the chair back with a piece of dowel or a stick. All my macrame bits have been found in op shops but you could also use cotton cord from the hardware or have a look on Etsy (there's nearly 10 000 listings under macrame cord YIKES!).

1 wooden chair, dowel or stick (if you are using a stick you will need somewhere to hang it while you work)
10 lengths of 5mm thick macrame cord cut to 160cm lengths
5 large wooden beads

This project is worked in alternating square knots and you will also use a larks head to start and a rolling hitch to finish. So lets get started.....

1. the larks head
Possibly the easiest macrame technique ever and the one you will use most often when starting a project.
Fold your cord in half.
Put the loop end behind the chair from above.
Put ends through the loop and pull tight.
Repeat for the remaining nine cords.

2. Square knots
A square knot is worked with a group of four cords. You knot with the two outer cords over the middle two filler cords.

STEP 1 - put the left-hand knotting cord (1) over the two filler cords (2 & 3) and the right-hand knotting cord (4) over the leg of the left-hand knotting cord making the shape of a 4.

STEP 2 - bring the right-hand knotting cord (4) under the filler cords (2 & 3) and up through the loop made by the left-hand knotting cord (1) - pull up the two knotting cords

STEP 3 - put the right-hand knotting cord (4) over the top of the filler cords (2 & 3) and the left-hand knotting cord (1) over the leg of the right-hand knotting cord (4) to make a backward 4.

STEP 4 - bring the left-hand knotting cord (1) under the filler cords (2 & 3) and up through the loop made by the right-hand knotting cord (4) - pull up the two knotting cords and you've made one square knot HURRAH!!
STEP 5 - work four more square knots across the cords on the chair back so you have five square knots as your top line.

3. Alternating square knots

This technique looks most effective if you work your next row about five cm below the first - use a couple of finger widths as your ruler.

To make alternating square knots - drop the first two cords (1 & 2) and work your first square knot using the last two cords from knot one above (3 & 4) and the first two cords from knot two above (5 & 6). Continue across the row - you will work four square knots in total - dropping two cords at the end. 

The third row is worked the same as the first - five cm below the second row. Then if you fancy add some beads - threading them onto the filler cords, then tie another square knot under each bead.

Then work two more alternating rows - you will have six rows in total and finish with five square knots.

4. finishing off - half hitches (kinda)
Take the longest cord you have left beneath the square knot, bring it in front of the three remaining cords and make a loop, pass the end around the filler cords and through the loop, tighten and repeat.

Finish off under each square knot and if you're so inclined trim the ends so they are even. I've also pinned each of mine to the underneath of the chair to give it a really clean finish (and stop the wee boy from grabbing hold of it and hanging off it).

5. put your feet up
Make a cuppa and sit down on your newly macrame bedazzled chair or admire your fab new wall hanging.

Happy knotting
x Bec

P.S. I hope that made sense, if not please don't hesitate to ask me any questions.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Fashion Revolution Heroes - Jane Milburn

This week (Thursday to be exact) marked one year since the Rana Plaza disaster and the start of a Fashion Revolution. It was Jane who first alerted me to this incredible global movement so I thought what better way to mark the day than with a tour of Jane's Brisbane studio.

Just over a month ago my lovely friend Carissa and I took a little drive to Brisbane town to visit the studio of Upcycling advocate Jane Milburn. This year Jane is on a mission to educate and encourage home sewers to take a look in their own wardrobes and consider rethinking and reworking their existing garments rather than buying new.

Jane modelling her signature 'jumper skirt' made from her own oversized hand knitted jumper
As Jane puts it:  "Constantly seeking new clothes can be time-consuming, expensive and overwhelming. The alternative is to become more inventive and refashion, repurpose, and recreate existing pieces in your wardrobe."

signature piece the 'history skirt' made from thrifted silk dresses and skirts
Jane's studio is a treasure trove of texture and colour. Boxes and wardrobes overflow with thrifted garments, shelves are filled with bottles and tins of buttons, buckles and ribbon, and the racks of UPcycled clothing are steadily growing as Jane creates a garment a day from her considerable stash of op-shopped goodies.

Jane considers this her vocation for 2014 and over on her blog 'Sew it Again' she is chronicling her daily UPcycling adventures along with simple instructions for those wishing to have a go themselves. I love her no nonsense approach to it all:  'to do this, cut confidently'

Jane also shares personal stories behind her mission, imparts distressing information about our current clothing consumption and its social and environmental impacts, as well as linking in with the work of upcyclers and fashion forward thinkers around the world. It's a rabbit warren of conscientious creativity. 

UPcycle 63 and 52 - both constructed from woolen jumpers 
camouflage for stain
nothing is wasted - Jane uses the sleeve off cuts to create matching neckware
If you've ever wondered why we should be UPcycling or you've wanted to have a go but you've not been sure where to start then Jane's blog is a fantastic resource for you to explore. I hope you pop on over and have a look and get started or inspired on your own creative reuse adventure. 


Tuesday, April 1, 2014


'a portait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014'

Bella the best things you've come out with this week:
'if you don't do that for me dad, I will feed you to the hyenas'
'it's as hot as a hot cheese burger'

Seren - almost sitting, wanting to stand, slow down little guy!!

As always joining in with Jodi at Practising Simplicity.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Make a personalised dancing bag

Miss Bella has started back at dancing and after the last three dance mornings spent running frantically round the house ten minutes before we're supposed to leave trying to find shoes, tights, leotard, tutu and other assorted paraphernalia I decided to make her a personalised dance bag to keep it all in and save us the Saturday morning rush. 

Here's what we used:
  • an iPad 
  • a blank calico bag 
  • tracing paper
  • a stanley knife
  • a felt tip pen
  • a coloured pencil
  • scissors
  • screen printing bits and bobs including:
    • screen printing paper 
    • ink
    • squeegee
    • silk screen
    • an old spoon
    • masking tape
    • a sheet of old newspaper
  • sewing bits and bobs including:
    • shiny fabric scraps
    • needle and thread
    • an odd button

And here's what we did:

1. Photo Shoot
First of all we staged a little photo shoot. I slung an old white sheet over the record shelves and Bella wore her favourite dancing outfit. I snapped off a few shots while Bella posed her little heart out and the dog photo bombed. I took the photos on my iPad and edited it using PixlrExpress+ I wanted a high contrast image to make step two easier.

2. Trace the image
To do this I placed some tracing paper over the iPad* (which acts a little like a light box) and using a felt tip pen (so as not to damage the screen) I traced around the outline of Bella and Chacha. 
* you could simply take your photo with a camera, print off the image and trace over that. 

3. Transfer the image onto the screen print paper
I used a coloured pencil and scribbled heavily on the wrong side of the tracing paper along the lines of the outline. I then placed the tracing paper on top of the screen printing paper and re-drew the outline to transfer the image.

4. Cut out the silhouette
Using a nice sharp stanley knife I cut out the silhouette. I couldn't find my self healing cutting mat so just used a piece of cardboard underneath.

5. Get ready to print
I took the cut out image down to my printing table* and got together all the screen printing bits and bobs. I trimmed the paper to fit one of my screens then attached it using masking tape and put a piece of old newspaper inside the bag to prevent any bleed through to the other side.
* you can print on any firm surface e.g. your kitchen table but to create a good print surface first put down an old wool blanket with a scrap of fabric or old sheet over the top

6. Print the silhouette
Using the old spoon I splodged a generous amount of ink onto the screen then ran off a couple of test prints onto fabric scraps. I always do this first to check I'm happy with the design and make sure I'm getting my squeegee pressure just right. When I was happy with all this I printed the design onto a couple of bags.

7. Add some sparkle
I found a few strips of shiny fabric and tulle and used these to make tutus for the Bella and Chacha silhouettes. First I cut three pieces of each, folded them in half lengthways and lay them on top of each other. I used matching thread to gather the pieces together to the right width for the teensy tutus and hand stitched them onto the bag. I finished it off with by sewing on a button which Bella chose from the button box.

Now all I have to do is find all the flipping dance gear to pop in the bag and keep it somewhere out of missies reach so she doesn't raid it before dancing on Saturday. And I also have a few of the test prints left that I might make into a little wall hanging.

Why not have a go making your own silhouette screen print.

xx Bec


'a portait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014'

Seren - in constant motion

Bella - entertaining us with a puppet show

So I've missed a week, I didn't mean too. I had pictures taken and was ready to go but then I didn't turn on the computer for five days and the week was gone. Last week was one of THOSE weeks, you know the ones? A two day headache, a cold sneaking in and a bunch of stuff I should have been dealing with and frankly wasn't. Too much sinking into self pity, thinking 'what if', 'if only' and 'I wish I had....'.  But after waking up at one o'clock one morning and deciding to get up and do something instead of lying in the dark and wallowing in hindsight and wishing, things started to clear. I ticked some things off the 'to deal with' list, I reached out to friends and I took time to be present with and enjoy these little people. I sat and observed my little boy as he rolled and wriggled, trying to master his limbs and I know it won't be long until he's up and going and this time will have passed in the blink of an eye. And whilst he slept and recharged Bella and I sat together and made paper snowflakes. I loved watching the excitement on her face as each one was unfolded. We pasted the snowflakes onto the back of an empty cereal packet - it was intended to be an art folder to keep her drawings in, but instead she decided to host a puppet show and sat on the couch with it on her lap and made up stories and songs - I love how her creative little mind ticks over. 

As always I'm linking up with Practising Simplicity where you'll find plenty of beautiful photos and inspiration.

x Bec

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A cup of tea with me....

It's graduation time for the February 2014 class of Blog with Pip and we've all been invited to have a cuppa and share a little about ourselves. It's almost time for elevenses here so I'm having a rooibos and a couple of arrowroot biccies.

I thought the easiest way to get to know me would be by sharing ten random things about me:
  1. I've been cutting my own hair since 2006 and so far this has worked out ok (no major disasters and very forgiving straight hair that mostly does what I want it too).
  2. I love to rug up but don't get much chance in Queensland so as soon as there's a chill in the air I will put on a scarf, even if I only get to wear it for ten minutes (bring on winter).
  3. I love British comedies and historical dramas and anything by David Attenborough.
  4. Sewing and making is my therapy, I start to twitch if I haven't done something creative for a couple of days.
  5. The pile of books and craft magazines next to my bed is getting a bit out of control.
  6. I'm not a morning person so I LOVE that the hubs makes me a cup of tea every morning so I can stay in bed and snuggle with our small folk.
  7. I'm thinking about going back to Uni next year to study primary teaching.
  8. There is an entire wall in our house taken up by records.
  9. I am an ISFP.
  10. I've nabbed an early bird ticket to Unleash Creative Brisbane Woohoo!!! 

I've really enjoyed the course and would recommend it to anyone wanting some inspiration, great techy knowledge and incredible support and encouragement from Pip and fellow students. It's wonderful becoming part of a new virtual community and I've enjoyed finding new blogs and following new journeys. I'm in awe of Cat at That Bettie Thing who finds time to blog amongst the activities and needs of four kids under seven and have her to thank for signing up to the 52 Project. I'm loving reading the adventures of Hieke Herrling as she and her hubby travel round oz in their caravan. I've felt enlivened by the creative generosity of Karen at Leaf and Petal and been inspired by the beautiful images and stories of Clare at Cats Eat Dogs.

I'm feeling reinvigorated to blog more regularly, to believe it what I'm doing and to share our upcycling and family adventures and  welcome you to come along for the ride.

x Bec

Sunday, March 9, 2014


'a portait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014'

Bella - what a gorgeous way to spend our afternoon, out doors, running about, having adventures and building a cubby in the paddock with Nanna. How lucky we are to have this time with them and share this precious part of your journey.

Seren - six months this week, I feel like I've blinked and that time zipped past. You are seriously the most smiling and captivating little fellow. An old lady was compelled to stop and talk to us after you had given her a big smile 'he's been here before' she said, and I can't help feeling that you have. 

As always joining in with Jodi at Practising Simplicity