Paper and pages


There's been a fair bit of scrapping happening lately, and here are a few I have to share this week. First up is a layout of my sweet niece Alannah (though the photo is a couple of years old now) for Aussie Scrap Source's colour theory series. This layout uses an analagous colour scheme, click over to the Aussie blog for more detail :)

This next layout is also for Aussie Scrap Source and was for the Hambly Screen Prints weekend inspiration last Friday, I really loved making this layout. To find out how... yep, you guessed it, check the blog! The photo is of Sienna and her Uncle Matt fishing in Nan & Pop's goldfish pond. Big goldfish. Just FYI.


'Just One Autumn Day' was a layout that was kind of just for fun, and prompted last fortnight's regular challenge at Scrapboxx. The picture of Ash and Sienna collecting Autumn leaves was taken in the Fitzroy Gardens after visiting Melbourne Museum just before the April school holidays... I love Autumn and was a little bit jealous reading the Artsy Ants' beautiful post about my favourite season hitting the northern hemisphere! Well, seriously, Spring is pretty nice too...

With the school holidays comes play dates, and two weekdays down we've had two playdates already. I've had fun taking photos along the way, in between preparations for the weekend's photography workshop and other plans. Here's just one favourite from yesterday's play, Sienna and Alannah in Kell's backyard.

All quiet (or is it?)

When things are all quiet on here, you can be pretty certain that they are anything but quiet in real life! The last week of term 3 was pretty hectic, including preparations for today's Mulgrave Maker's Market, and to-do lists abound.

I'll have some photos and scrapbook pages to share soon, but in the meantime, here are the details for my second workshop. This one will be held in a local reserve in Upper Gully in 6 weeks time... First in, blah blah. Email me with any queries :)

Melbourne Etsy Labs @etsyau #etsyau

 On Thursday night I headed out to Fitzroy for the first etsy labs australia. It was really interesting, happily filling up Salvage + Selvedge's funky retail space on Johnstone St. I'm more the observer type, and watched people interact in between the talks on wholesaling (Liz from Betty Jo Designs), interstate markets (Anna from Able and Game) and part of a video of Jenny Hart (Sublime Stitching).


This is Kirsteene, Etsy's Australian Community Manager, trying to get everyone's attention ;) She was really lovely and enthusiasm just radiated from her, which was lovely! Apparently there will be future etsy lab thingies, and if you follow @etsyau on twitter you can keep up with it all.

Wedding Gawking

Check out this gorgeous website - Wedding Gawker. A Curiouser photo was featured on there the other day, which I am pretty happy about! They have a submission process for inspiring wedding-related images. I adore weddings and it is one of my favourite types of photography to do... I've kept it pretty low key since launching Curiouser but it is one item on my business-plan that I'll be reviewing at the end of the year. I was *almost* a part of this year's Portobello Bride Market but decided against it in the end. Maybe 2012 though :)

I found out about it through an article on, there is so much interesting info on that website. I don't have enough time to read it regularly, but catch a good article by accident (via twitter or FB) every now and then. If you're interested in the marketing and technical aspects of blogging, it is an awesome resource!

The toys the toys!

It's so easy to be taken over by toys... between those rubbishy plastic bits of... um... rubbish that you get from kids meals, nostalgic collections of every soft toy they've ever owned and a range of hit and miss gifts that kind of miss the spot, there ends up being a lot of stuff. I get brutal every now and then and just take stuff out of the house and pop it away, to eventually be sorted through and given away or whatever. But there are some toys that are definite wins...

Wooden blocks, musical instruments (preferably not beeping plastic things, but that's just me) and lego have all been worth their weight around here. Dinosaurs are easily pulled into various make believe games, even infreqently, so I'm glad we have a few of them. Dress ups are always always a win at our place, and we have many. Princesses, fairies, pirates, pirates, pirates, knights, olden days, a superhero or two. That stuff covers all three kids, so that is from 2 to 8 (well, almost 8).

Something Sienna, at 7 (and 3/4) really likes is her Lalaloopsy dolls. She HAD all of the mini lalaloopsy dolls that were available (10) back in May or so, all safe with their accessories in a white suitcase. Now that suitcase has been missing for a few months, I'm still hopeful that it is at the home of some relative or other. She still has the Pillow Featherbed set and a Crumbs Sugar Cookie mini doll, as the doll wasn't in the suitcase when it went missing and she got the bed set later on. She has one large Lalaloopsy, which is Blossom Flowerpot. Sienna likes to dress up in a similar dress and prance around the garden with the doll every now and then.

Ash, at 6, probably spends more time dressing up or drawing than playing anything else, but he does enjoy playing with his Playmobil and Lego. In particular, Playmobil pirates. Here's a selection of what he has, this is a bit more than half the amount of characters he has. He has some knights as well. They are good for his pretend play, he has a well established line of pirate character voices to utilise ;)

 Cedar, at 2, is currently obsessed with Thomas (we have a lot of the wooden vehicles) and this tunnel from one of the IKEA train sets. 'Momas? Tunnel?' is a regular catch-cry around these parts. He also loves loves loves The Little Einsteins. He got given a little plastic trumpet toy, which has been broken multiple times and fixed with masking tape, which is similar to the one Quincy has in the show. He loves it. The other thing he spends a lot of time doing is switching on the keyboard and playing "songs, mummy?" at random. So, it's trains and music for him.

Mr Ash and a piece of chalk

He runs in to my bedroom at 6:30 yesterday morning: "Mummy can I draw on the chalkboard?" "Yes, of course, Ash"

When I get up I see this drawing on one of our blackboard kitchen doors:

A swirly version of a pirate ship, pretty funky :) He has a pretty cool style for a 6 year old. Here are some more drawings he has done in the last couple of weeks...

Drawing is an awesome activity for my older two, it keeps them both occupied for long stretches of time. Ash didn't draw AT ALL until he was 4, and then he started with pirate ships. He hasn't stopped those, of course, and tends to stick to pirate themes but has been branching out more and more. We go through a lot of paper and sketch books around here!

Just feeling chuffed, and sharing

I felt pretty happy to get this email featuring my photo of Sienna that I entered into last year's Smile competition. It didn't win anything at all, but was featured in their top 12 calendar, and now on the website homepage and in this email campaign. It would be even better if my name was linked with the photo somehow, LOL, but it is just nice for me to know it is well-thought-of. I emailed it to a few friends and family because I feel like it is some sort of achievement. Is that sharing, or is it bragging?

Really I think it depends on the intent and emotion, which means that I know that I am not trying to brag, that in fact I still doubt the quality of my photography and the accuracy of considering myself a photographer of any kind... so any kind of validation is like an argument against my own low self-esteem. I try and celebrate any achievement like this as proof that I don't actually suck. Which is always a nice idea ;)

Being a 'photographer' is tricky. I began photographing for others about ten years ago I guess. I've done a short course, which quite frankly bored the pants off me because it was very basic and very slow, but I got to help other attendees get their head around aperture and stuff. So it was worthwhile. Not any kind of qualification though. So sometimes I think maybe I should get something like that, and then I think that I don't really need that. And only a handful of the many photographers I admire have completed photography studies of any consequence. So I trust their confidence in themselves more than my own.

I am learning to trust clients and friends and family more and more. It sounds weird but it works quite well for me, when doubting myself (which happens all too frequently) to decide that it doesn't matter what I think anyway. It matters what they think. The other people. I'm sure it's very unprofessional of me to admit that after years of working in the field I still tread warily. I know in my mind that I know stuff and I know what I can do. It's the belief from the heart that is always the tricky bit. Never mind.

I woke up sick this morning. Well, actually at 2-something this morning, and again at 6, for the day. Not even woken by kids, but by feeling too much in need of tissues and ventolin to sleep properly. The kids were really helpful, making their own and Cedar's breakfast, getting dressed, helping with their own lunches. Talked through it all step by step, with a few disagreements sorted out along the way, but generally really helpful. I was really proud of them for being considerate of me. It was a good start to the day, all things considering.

I had a really lovely chat to my mum for almost 80 minutes, which made me happy. Today is R U Ok day so I have sent a couple of low-pressure emails. I over-shared about R U Ok earlier in the week. I have taken some photos of Ash's drawing to share here later, he's got an awesome style and is really quite good. And now my hands are a bit shaky for typing (blergh! being sick is so boring!) so I will try and pack for the weekend. Sitting down, perhaps. LOL. Have a good one, all :)

P.S. Oh, almost forgot, as Sylvia pointed out in my last post comments, I have changed out of using disqus for commenting, I want to test it out this way again as I had a few people say that they couldn't comment anymore. Let me know your thoughts either way!

Turkey Sausage-y Rolls

Today I'm sharing a recipe from my other blog Season with Saltbush. This is an easy, tasty and family-friendly version of an old fave. They also have a lot of healthy goodness that the kids don't notice ;) You can customise them for yourself depending on what flavours you'd like to try out!


500gm turkey mince

1 can lentils

1 zucchini, grated

1 medium onion, grated

2 eggs (1 for glazing)

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 cup Quandong and Chilli Sauce

2 tsp Native Pepper Seasoning

5 sheets low fat puff pastry, thawed

1 tsp salt

Step One

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Combine the turkey, lentils, zucchini, onion, 1 egg, Quandong & Chilli Sauce, Native Pepper Seasoning and salt in a bowl. Mix well.

Step Two

Cut each puff pastry sheet in half, making two long pieces. Spoon the turkey mixture along the pastry in the centre, and then fold the pastry over from either side and moisten to seal.

Step Three

Now you should have five sausage roll logs. Cut each log into 3 pieces. Glaze with beaten egg and place on a tray (I usually put baking paper down first). Cook for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top and cooked through. Serve with extra sauce.

Pretty postcards

My latest addition to Curiouser market and etsy stock is a set of 6 glossy postcards... professionally printed, they look really good and I got quite excited opening my box from the printers today :) I'll have a giveaway ticking away in my mind to celebrate their arrival, so stay tuned ;)

I've listed a few sets on etsy - click here to have a look - and am working on photos of my latest cards and magnets as well. Getting ready for some upcoming markets has me excited to add to my etsy shop while I'm at it. I'm booked in for Mulgrave Maker's Market on the 25th September... it's always nice to set up shop alongside the farmer's market, and hopefully manage to snatch a naughty almond croissant, spinach and cheese pancake-y thing and hot coffee.

Then I have the craft market at Anglesea Music Festival coming up mid-October, plus another Mulgrave Maker's Market or two before the end of the year, at least one Grassroots (in November) and possibly another one or two things happening. I'm doing a bit of a 3-month burst of activity, and then will take a step back and see how it's going. That's the plan, anyway. I'm putting myself out there a bit with an application in for Finders Keepers Market in Sydney... and am thinking about Mark.It Fed Square as well. Kind of testing a theory about displaying much more confidence than I actually feel and hoping it rubs off on people.

I was actually rejected for Daylesford Maker's Market earlier in the year so I'm trying not to get *too* invested in the ideas. As for the Daylesford market, their selection guidelines were either vintage-inspired or modern streamlined, and I don't fit in either of those categories. I would never have known that, however, if I hadn't asked for more information after I received the generic rejection email. If you want to know why, it can be nerve-racking (especially following rejection, we all hate that) but it's handy to ask. You tend to get answers. Answers are good :)

I'm not forgetting the actual photography side of things, of course! I have a couple of commercial shoots in the works for friends + family, a mini-workshop booked for Adelaide and tentatively listed for Melbourne as well, a family session, a girly friends session... most of all I want to keep having fun taking photos, and loving the light of this time of year.

Also, on the weekend we are going to Mt Buller to spend a couple of nights at the snow, first time ever for our kidlets :) Sienna and Ash are very excited about snow-man making and general snowy happiness.

Linking with Our Creative Spaces this week.

The latest pages

Quite a bit of scrapbooking has been going on lately, here is my latest work up on the Aussie Scrap Source blog (complete with close ups, click over to check them out!). First is Hi Doggy, from Cosmo Cricket Weekend Inspiration. I love the shots of the kids from last Winter at Reedy Creek, the grassy background and clear light, this one is of Cedar with Peanuts the dog. I used Cosmo Cricket Odds & Ends range with a few chipboard bits from the Nutmeg range thrown in.

The lovely Lauren features in this page about shades / tones / hues etc for the Colour Theory series. We spent the day pottering around Brunswick St when she flew over from Adelaide for Blogopolis at the end of July.

Generation Gap is a series about 'back in the day' and the things we or our kids do now, comparing and contrasting to previous generations, that sort of thing. 'Walk This Way' was about the difference in walking to school. I remember quite happily walking to and from school, either with my sisters or on my own, through primary school. For various reasons, I either accompany my kids or take them in the car.
 And these last two pages use the August Boxx of Scraps from Scrapboxx! Also, Scrapboxx now has a blog with regular updates and inspiration and stuff - check it out here :)

This thing called 'R U Ok?' Day #ruOK

What is R U OK? Day?
Thursday 15 September, 2011 is R U OK?Day. It’s a national day of action which aims to prevent suicide by encouraging Australians to connect with someone they care about and help stop little problems turning into big ones.

On that day we want everyone across the country, from all backgrounds and walks of life, to ask family, friends and colleagues: "Are you OK?".

Staying connected with others is crucial to our general health and wellbeing. Feeling isolated or hopeless can contribute to depression and other mental illnesses, which can ultimately result in suicide. Regular, meaningful conversations can protect those we know and love.

It's so simple. In the time it takes to have a coffee, you can start a conversation that could change a life.

Sometimes I'm ok and sometimes I'm not quite that. At the moment I'm fine but, the truth is, I don't want to be asked. I do think it's important to ask. And I'm happy to ask other people, and am genuinely interested in what they will have to say in response. But I'd rather not be asked personally, thanks very much. I control things very much internally, and bringing them all out can be the difference between being 'ok right now' and 'not so much'.

Regardless, I think it's important to realise that admitting to struggles with mental health doesn't mean you need to be carted away by men in white coats (so to speak). If we can help normalise depression and other types of mental illness, including the thought processes that might contribute to them, perhaps it will help more people to speak up when they need to?

When I was 14, depression hit big time and I really didn't know what to do with myself. Everything seemed meaningless, and it wasn't just about self-esteem either (which was a big issue from time to time) - everything just seemed kind of stupid. And I didn't feel liked I belonged, not in my home, not in my skin, not in my head, not in my world, but not anywhere else either. I wrote poems, all the time. I played the cello rather loudly, channelling whatever I could get out. I painted sometimes. Took photos sometimes.

Anyway, at some point my mum pretty much asked me "are you ok?" in a "clearly you're not so what are we going to do about it" kind of way. So, at 15 I changed schools, and in the environment of much fewer people, more challenging school work (moving to year 11) and a nurturing, peaceful garden in the school grounds, I came to a better place. I still found life challenging a lot of the time, internally at least, but I wrote A LOT to explore that process and generally found life interesting again.

Since then it has come and gone... and come... and gone... as depression tends to do. I have a few distinct memories of times when it was bad for me - one of the times at 18 / 19, another at 22, a few other times. I've had a few times when I felt quite manic, like I was walking around with ants under my skin and my brain whirring at a million miles an hour, for weeks. I've had a panic attack or two, but anxiety hasn't taken a firm hold at any time, thankfully. I had a year where I felt like I was constantly visualising trauma that was about to happen, except that it wasn't actually about to happen at all, it was just me imagining the worst in constant graphic detail. That still happens but it was only really extreme for a short time.

This poem is from 2002

I am adrift
within my consciousness

lost in thought,
random and
seeming only temporary

unbidden desires,
toward me
I want to tear out
my thoughts from
the consciousness
of me

wear the blood of
this destruction
as a badge,
identifying the pain
of the lost,
the who
of who I am

these lives so secret
these secrets
inside of me

As far as mental illness goes, I get it. I've had a couple of friends over the years say to me that they don't like to say out loud what they think in their head, things like "I could walk in front of that bus", but they do say that to me and I'm like "I know what you mean". It's important to be able to talk to people, to express your feelings, and not have them over-react with drama and freaking out, disappointment or platitudes. Remember, there is a strong sense of not wanting to worry people, as well as not wanting to be judged or for some people there is a feeling of shame. I think it depends on your background a lot. In any case, a calm, genuine listening ear (and sometimes a gentle but firm push towards other types of help available) is far more helpful and reassuring than an "oh my god!" response*.

It's important to be able to say that stuff out loud, to be able to get a hold of your perspective, to tell someone that those thoughts are a symptom of how you're feeling inside, desperate and uncertain, disconnected or overwhelmed, or whatever it is - those thoughts are a symptom of how intense your feelings are. They are not an answer, that is vital to understand, but telling someone how you feel is part of the journey. It is also important to know this about yourself. And then things get better. They will, because they do. It might take some time, it will very likely require some help. And the darkness might come back again, but then it will go away again too.

So it will be a day to ask someone 'R U Ok?' on September 15th. Or maybe, for you, it will be a day to answer honestly when someone asks you.

*It's important not to be offended, as well, when a loved one doesn't want to talk about their struggle with you. If you know they will talk to someone, and will be getting help if they need it (that is important), keep in mind that perhaps what they need from you is time off from their feelings of depression and anxiety. Light relief, or just quiet companionship, or general support, or maybe a babysitter while they go and see a professional if that is what they need to do. All of that is incredibly valuable too. But if you are seriously worried, listen to your instincts too. R U OK website has some great advice here.

There have been some honest, insightful and inspiring blog posts in relation to R U Ok? Day - here are a few I've been reading:

The following are some recommended help and information contacts:

* beyondblue info line (National) - 1300 22 4636
* Lifeline (National) - 13 11 14
* Just Ask Rural Mental Health Information & Referral Line (National) - 1300 13 11 14
* SANE Australia Helpline (National) - 1800 187 263
* Suicide Helpline - 1300 651 251
* Mensline (National) - 1300 789 978
* Australian Psychological Society Referral Line (National) 1800 333 497
* Mental Health Information Service (NSW) - 1300 794 991
* Kids Helpline (National) - 1800 551 800