Archive for June, 2012

Introducing our ladies

What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, are two Frizzles, one ISA Brown and a Black Australorp. We’re thrilled to welcome them home. The wonderful Ingrid at CityChicks (whose services I highly recommend) helped me to pack my tiny car with two children, four chooks, a bale of hay, a bag of mash, a double nesting box and sundry chook treatments.

We’ve already had one escape; when the door of the ‘house’ happened to be shut at roosting time, our Australorp went in search of a dignified perch. Fortunately, Tony found her in the garage sitting on the mower. Being on the adorable side, the Frizzles (‘Cribbles’, ‘Fiddles’ or ‘Squiggles’ as they are known here) have endured a good deal of cuddling on their first day. But they don’t seem to mind.

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Ready and Waiting

Was I little hard on suburbia? Perhaps. Along with our 1950s timber house we’ve inherited a garden. This garden boasts a large frangipane tree, a small lawn and rampant weeds. On the Eastern side of the house are three large concrete beds. One can only imagine what they were originally intended for, but they do seem rather serendipitous to us. So far, they’ve been aggressively weeded, mulched, fenced and otherwise prepped for serious suburban bliss. First thing on the list? Backyard poultry.

Our chook house was bought on Gumtree and cheerfully delivered by the seller. It is, in fact, a decommissioned children’s cubby house and came with a sandpit, gratis. With help from Uncle Ollie and Aunty Sarah it is sporting a new paint job, a perch fashioned from an old rake handle and a hinged roof for ease of egg-collecting. The colour scheme was inspired by our travels through England.

All it needs now are some residents!

Reverse culture shock, or rockin’ the suburbs

I’m struggling quite a bit with the new life lately. To quote a blogging friend of mine, I have a Leipzig-shaped “hole in my heart”. I know I complained quite a bit about the language barrier, the climate, the homesickness and the lack of Tim Tams, but in truth there was much about life in Germany that has spoiled me. I’ve been doing lots of thinking and I’ve decided my maladjustment has less to do with moving from Germany to Australia and more with moving from city to suburbs. 

Leipzig is a city in the truest sense. Apart from the lovely streets lined with Gründerzeit buildings, the first thing I noticed was how compact it is. One can drive across the city in a matter of minutes, no suburbs clamoring around it, no feeling of endless sprawl. Living in a proper city was a whole new experience for me. I could walk to the city center, enjoy its markets, museums and wonderfully inexpensive cafes. Living in a small flat (like everyone else), we by necessity had less stuff. A car was unnecessary thanks to public transport that would make any Sydneysider sigh, but whether you’re eight weeks or eighty years old, the way to travel in Leipzig is by bike. Another aspect of city life I loved was parks. Not CBD parks, where joggers and businessmen mingle, or suburban parks where a few kids play on the Astroturf. I mean parks that are the garden of the city. On a warm day in summer, everyone is there. Communal spaces are necessary when everyone lives in a flat.

Coming back to suburban Australia has been just a little deflating. It seems a strange, unnatural life. Firstly, there’s the temptation to have stuff. Suburbia is perfectly designed to turn us all into little consumers. We don’t share things. Instead, we all buy our own. We are left to imagine what life is like on the other side of the fence and we try to keep up with the Jones’. We drive to get around. We commute to work.  We love the idea of farmers’ markets and local economies, but the capitalist system drives us towards the cheapest option: the shopping centers and supermarkets.

Suburbia can be a very lonely place for full time mum in a new town. While I do love the freedom of a patch of grass to play on and a Hills Hoist in the sun, the price can seem quite high, sometimes. Of course, the answer lies in finding ways around the isolating, consumer-oriented ways of the suburbs. Stay tuned.

Pyjamas

More than one reader noticed that poor Rose was wearing a rather small pair of pyjamas in recent posts. I feel a little sheepish. I’ve been proudly holding on to two pairs of handmade pyjamas for a very long time now. I made them from my first purchase of vintage patterns, from two old flannelette sheets given to me by the lovely Pauline Vidler. These pyjamas were the beginning of more adventurous sewing for me; my first experiments with set-in sleeves, bias-bound edges and french seams. As months have passed and arms have grown longer, more than one worried onlooker has offered to replace them. I stubbornly refused, knowing all I needed was time to make her a new pair. Only the time seemed never to arrive.

Not one but two individuals decided to finally take action. During Grandma’s recent visit she grew determined to see her granddaughter put to bed in more comfortable nightware. Obligingly, she made a pair herself, from the same pattern with the sizing carefully adjusted. The fabric was another old flannelette sheet, from a pile found at my beloved flea market in Germany.

That same week a parcel arrived for Rose. Our lovely friend Anne had noticed Rose’s plight from the other side of the world and ordered her a new pair. For my sake, she chose a handmade pair by a local Brisbane crafter. For Rose’s, she chose pink and purple. I don’t know which of us was more pleased.

And the old pairs? Well, they’ve been enthusiastically received by a little friend of ours, ready for a new life of snuggling and sleep.

Something old

The fruits of some late night Etsying, dedicated to a recently engaged sister. Congratulations darling!

Vintage 1950s Wedding Dress - Something Old - Fifties Ivory Tulle and Lace Tea Length Wedding Dress

by WildHoneyPieVintage

Vintage 1950s Tulle WEDDING Dress with FLORAL LACE xs

by TrueValueVintage

Antique French wedding Veil. Breathtakingly Beautiful,hand worked,embroidered net.Exquisite Bridal Mantilla.

by AgnesHart

Make me an Offer  with Free Shipping Vintage 1960s Ivory/Antique White/Cream Lace and Satin Empire Wedding Gown Complete with Veil and Train

 by KKsCandles

Edwardian Lace Dress - Antique 1910s Cream Cotton Tea Dress

by Bunny’sVintageCloset

Gorgeous Vintage Wedding Hat

by UptownVintage

Antique Lace Wedding Gown . Two Piece Chemise and Outer Dress . Early 1900s

by VeraVague

Vintage 1920s Wedding Dress - Great Gatsby - Flapper Ecru Lace Shift Over-Dress

also by WildHoneyPieVintage

1950s Vintage Recycled Wedding Dress, Satin and Lace

by Courtney McLaughlin

old world flapper wedding dress . decadent beaded ivory .small.medium.large.extra large .sale

by DOTTO

Vintage Veil Beaded Bridal Veil Antique White Veil Wedding Veil Fingertip Length 1940s Veil

by VintageEyeFashion

The Queen, my Mum

A recent delivery of lovely organic flour from Kialla foods had me searching for a recipe to try it out on. According to my delivery man, Queensland grains are renowned in the baking industry for producing an unexceptionable flour. A sponge cake seemed like the way to put it to the test. A Victoria Sponge. Very royal, and perfect for celebrating the birthday of…

Mum.

Here she is as a girl. Isn’t she sweet?

 As far as mums go, she is herself unexceptionable. Endless patience, gentle reassurance, and liberal doses of humour. Sometimes I wonder how I ever became a mother myself when I so badly need my own still.

Happy birthday Mum.

29 today

With much, much love to Aunty Carol today. We’ll miss him very much.


About Me

A girl with a camera, a toddler and a sewing machine. Making sense of Germany... and life in general.

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Handmade Baby Shorts in Liberty's 'Cordelia'

Handmade Necklace in 'Fairford' $21

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