Rainbow Twirling Skirt – Tutorial

It has been a very long time between sewing projects for me and I’ve had this idea in my head (and all the fabrics ready) for at least six months. It was so lovely today to have the house to myself for an hour or two to get it done.

And the best part for me is that all materials I needed were bought from the op shop – hooray! The rainbow silk was found first and it made me think how it would make a beautiful skirt for Miss 5 who loves rainbows. I’d also been wanting to make her a fairy dress, but wanted something nice and simple to make. So when I saw the purple singlet the idea popped into my head to put them together.
Here’s a bit of how-to if you’d like to try it yourself:

  • Stretchy singlet or t-shirt in your child’s size
  • floaty fabric for the skirt, I used squares pieces that were 85cm in length.
  • sewing machine (though it could be hand stitched), scissors, measuring tape, pins.


I followed this tutorial on making a circle skirt…

I made a few changes though.

Instead of attaching it to an elastic waist band, I attached the skirt to the bottom of the singlet.

I also left my fabric square at the bottom as the rainbow silk was already beautifully hemmed by hand. I offset it with the jade fabric, firstly because the silk was see through. And also because I like the draped, flowy effect of the points the squares make at the bottom of the dress.
Here are some photos of the process and a few extra pointers…


  Take your child’s waist measurements and make a paper pattern as per the instructions in the circle skirt tutorial (link mentioned above).
Cut the corner off.

Repeat  for the 2nd square of fabric if you are using one.

Lay them on top of each other to make a star shape as shown in the photo above.

Pin the two together around the inner circle.

With right sides facing pin the skirt to the singlet top.

Using an over locker stitch all three layers together. I also add an extra straight stitch on my regular machine for extra strength.

Hem the bottom of the skirt to the required length.

And you’re done!

Happy twirling !!




On The Edge

Here I stand. My feet have shuffled up to the edge of the board, my cold white toes gripping. It’s the 10m diving board at the pool and I’ve been here before. The last four times I jumped I hit the water. Hard. And it hurt.

The very last time I wasn’t sure I’d make it out of the water. I sank to the bottom like a stone, all the air escaping out of my lungs. My vision blurred, the world slowed. Eventually I made it to the surface and struggled to the edge of the pool.

And there I lay for a long time, half in, half out. Cold. Shivering.

For a while I wasn’t sure I’d have another go, maybe it’s time to leave the pool. For how much can a soul bear? And not any soul, but my soul. But I made it up the ladder and here I am again.

I will jump, I just need a minute…

A minute to stay the icy cold fingers of fear gripping my heart, a minute to breathe and a minute to gather the light around me. Here, on the edge.

Make it, Bake it, Move it: Handy Hints for the Housebound.

Recently my daughter and I have gotten into a daily routine, which I realised made this neat little mantra: make it, bake it, move it.
As she has gotten older (she’s just turned three) I’m finding the days easier and more enjoyable as we are able to do a bigger variety of activities together. Also the imaginative play has well and truly settled in which is just wonderful.
I don’t have the difficulty of juggling a toddler and a baby, but even if you do I hope you can find some of these suggestions useful.

Make it.
We love craft! Here are a few of the simple activities we’ve done recently:
Dinosaur fossils. All you need is some air dry clay, a rolling pin, biscuit cutter and a plastic dinosaur. The fossils can be hidden in the sandpit for a fossil hunt, or give them as gifts to friends.

dinosaur fossils
Wax painting. For this picture we just used some tea-light candles and painted over the top with water colour paints.

wax painting
Papier mache animal. We had lots of balloons left over from a recent party and I got inspired to make a papier mache animal. The only items required are newspapers, craft glue (watered down), a balloon and paint. It’s a great one too because it becomes an ongoing project, that you can pick up anytime without much preparation.

balloon animal
Bake it.
My daughter loves to be involved with any kind of cooking activity, even if it’s just to watch. We have a couple of simple recipes we make each week. Her favourite ways of helping are stirring the flour, grating anything and cutting out biscuits.
The easiest thing to make would have to be popcorn, our proportions are 1tbs coconut oil to 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels over a medium heat.

Another great bake it activity is making playdough, which then covers points number one and two. We follow the recipe on the cream of tartar jar, which is:
2 cups plain flour
4 tbs cream of tartar
2tbs cooking oil
1 cup salt (I reduce this a bit)
2 cups of water
Mix the ingredients in a saucepan, stir over medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until the mixture congeals. Add dye.

Move it.
It really helps if you can get out of the house. Talk a walk to the park, go to the library, visit friends. We are without a car during the day and sometimes the thought of public transport is very unappealing, especially in winter. So for us sometimes it’s just a scoot round the block. Other days we only get as far as the mailbox or the compost bin, but it all helps.

puddlesautumn walk

And don’t forget music! Put on some of your favourite 80s hits (showing my age here!), The Beatles or Bob Marley or whatever floats your boat, kids just love ‘em.

In an emergency…
A meltdown is coming and you’re at the end of your tether, here are 3 instant fixes.

Something noisy: Grab 3 pots and a couple of wooden spoons and voila! Instant drum kit! Yep it’s noisy, but it’s kinda good for getting all the frustration out.

Something quiet: Ask your child to choose their three favourite books and get comfy on the couch. I find by the third book, things have calmed down. It’s a bit like pushing the reset button.

Something active: Choose your child’s favourite music and have a boogie in the lounge room together. Sometimes you just gotta ‘shake your sillies out’.

Now you are exhausted and just need a break?

Whip up some popcorn, grab a dvd and curl up on the couch together. You may even get a sneaky 40 winks…

Hints and Tips…

Balloons and bubbles: Always keep these in your third drawer. A hit with kids from the under ones up to Pre schoolers.

Keep a list: On your fridge is a good spot to keep a list of activities when you just can’t think of what to do next.

Get organised: Spend an evening researching ideas online. I find Pinterest wonderful for this (and a tad addictive!).

Have a craft box: We have a large plastic storage box filled with all sorts of bits and pieces, from loo rolls, to wrapping paper and plastic lids. Sometimes you don’t even have to think of something to make, you can just pull out the box and let your child have a rummage through.

There are so many ideas once you start looking, here are a few more:

Cloud gazing:

cloud gazingInstant race track:

race trackCreate with cardboard boxes:


Start a circus!

circusGood luck and stay sane…

Dinosaur Party Ideas

Miss 3 requested a dinosaur party this year and they’re pretty popular at the moment so I thought I’d share some of the things we did.

To set the scene we had dinosaur foots prints leading up to the front door…

dinosaur footprints

Activities including making a dinosaur party hat…





here is the link to the hat on the right.

and a dinosaur dig…we found dinosaur eggs and dinosaur fossils!

Dinosaur dig   dinosaur-egg2


dinosaur fossils

To make the dinosaur fossils all you need is some air dry clay, a round cookie cutter, rolling pin and some plastic dinosaur toys.
Once dry they can be painted or left as they are. Have fun burying them in the sandpit and then the kids can ‘discover’ them on a fossil hunt.

Here is the link to making dinosaur eggs.

I also made some dinosaur party boxes for the kids to take home.

dinosaur party boxes

On the front I stuck a glow in the dark dinosaur and inside I included a little bag of popcorn, a bottle of bubbles, a dinosaur rubber and some homemade rainbow crayons.

IMG_1669These were made by breaking up some old crayons, poppoing the pieces in a muffin tin and popping it on the outdoor BBQ on a low heat until they had just melted.


And not to forget the pièce de résistance – the cake!IMG_1748Here is a great video link on how to make it!

The kids had a roaring good time 😉

There are a few more ideas that I didn’t get round to doing that can be found on my Pinterest page here.


Sharing Stories – Longing for a Child

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
Maya Angelou

In the beginning I wasn’t going to write this story. Then I began to write it but stopped and started to move on. But I want to write it because I’m really starting to see and feel the benefit of sharing stories.

Sharing a story is firstly very therapeutic for me. Somehow releasing it into the world lightens the load and gives me perspective. Secondly I feel that sharing your story can be so beneficial to others. I’m writing this one because somewhere out there in the world there is a woman who has had a similar experience to me and who is feeling lost, alone or unheard. We can take such comfort from knowing we are not alone, that other women have travelled our path and survived.

On the 12th March this year I sat with my husband in a waiting room feeling a little excited and a little anxious. I was 12 weeks pregnant and waiting to be called in for my scan. This was my fourth pregnancy since my daughter was born almost 3 years ago. Finally we are called in, I get up on the table, the Dr gets ready and I stare at the roof. I’m too nervous to stare at the giant screen on my right. A matter of seconds after the Dr starts his examination he says “I have to let you know that things aren’t going as they should be“. I shift my gaze to look at him. “I’m sorry, but I think it’s best just to tell you straight away‘.




It takes a moment to click into my head that the baby has died. I finally look aver at the screen and see the perfect silhouette of a baby at 8 weeks gestation. A perfect round head, a perfect arm, a little round belly, a little leg and then that pointy little bottom.

The Doctor is empathetic, quickly takes some measurements and makes arrangements for me to see my GP immediately. My husband and I are taken into a private room while we wait. I am in shock, I really thought this time might be different. I threw up just two hours ago for goodness sake! I have been sick and tired for weeks on end, day and night. There is an awkward moment in reception while we pay for the appointment and I’m standing next to a heavily pregnant woman and I have to force myself to look away.

We go to the GP and discuss options for the future. Previously I’ve miscarried at home but I opt for a D&C this time. The baby has been dead for about 4 weeks and I’m showing no signs at all of miscarrying naturally. Added to this is that in four days we are heading off on a family holiday that has been planned for months. It will also be the first holiday we’ve had in two years.

Two days later at 8am I arrive at the local hospital. The plan is to be admitted and take some medication at around 9.30am that will basically help to get the process starting. It initiates uterine contractions and bleeding. It takes two hours to work, so the procedure is planned for midday. The day turns out to be a series of delays and I don’t get into theatre until 4pm. It’s an emotional day but thankfully there is a woman in the bed beside me waiting for a D&C as well. We strike up a conversation and pass the time telling stories about our children and grieving our lost babies.

At 4.30pm I wake from the deepest and most relaxed slumber I can ever remember. Amongst the sadness I feel some relief that it’s all over with. It has felt strange and disturbing walking around for two days knowing I’m carrying a baby inside me that is no longer alive.

Having had previous miscarriages I’ve gotten to know my emotional ‘timetable’. I know that the first day I’ll be in shock. The following 3-4 days I’ll feeling surprisingly at peace and accepting of the situation. The hard part comes later. I’ll get to the depression and the anger. I swing wildly between them. It’s hard not to compare yourself with other women and families. Hearing pregnancy and birth announcements are particularly difficult. Seeing a mother and her children at the park and imagining how old your babies would be now. And I get angry, so angry. And I don’t know what to do with that. The ‘good girl’ is so heavily ingrained in me that even admitting to myself that I’m angry and jealous is hard work, let alone admitting it to anyone else. It just feels so UNFAIR! But sometimes we travel down a path in life that we didn’t think we would. Sometimes we don’t find the man of our dreams, sometimes having children isn’t as easy as we thought it would be and sometimes relationships fail when we thought they’d last forever.

Those have been my biggest lessons. Learning first of all to acknowledge my thoughts and emotions and secondly to accept them without judgment. This is how it is and this is how I feel and that’s ok. My instincts have been to either avoid and ignore those feelings or to grip them tightly and hold them so close that I feel like I’m drowning. That I just want to curl up into a big deep dark hole and never see the outside world.

If this is you, just know that it’s ok. The best thing a friend ever said to me was “Go gently and with love“. Be kind to yourself, give yourself time and space and do whatever you need to do to make this time easier. I found I needed to back away from some lovely friends who are pregnant because it was so hard for me to see them. I wrote to them and explained why and they’ve been very understanding. It’s not forever, but for now it helps me get through the tough bit. You may have a few days where you start to feel like your old self and then the depression comes down again. It’s just a rollercoaster of a ride.

I highly recommend reading this post about infertility. And also this one about losing a child. They helped me to feel that what I’m feeling is ok, that I’m not the only one.

Go gently and with love…


This Easter I’m making my own chocolate – sugar fee, dairy free and fair trade (not to mention delicious!). My ingredients are sourced from Loving Earth who have a healthy, sustainable and fair trade philosophy. This recipe is taken from Chocchick – thanks girls!


  • 100g Raw Cacao Butter
  • 6 Tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Agave Syrup
  • Paste from 2 Vanilla bean pods (optional)
  • 1 Small pinch of rock salt (optional – use good quality sea salt to lift the chocolate flavour)

Ensure all utensils and the bowl are dry before the ingredients are added as water can cause the mix to separate.


Place the raw cacao butter in a bowl over a pan of water on a low heat and melt gently (Bain Marie or Baño Maria in Spanish).

Once melted add 6 tbsp raw cacao powder and mix well using a metal whisk (wooden spoons…

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The Red Tent – Book Review

My blog has been all but silent for six months, for personal reasons and also because I haven’t felt inspired to write. But suddenly this week, only two-thirds of the way through my book club book I felt the need to share.

I joined my local library book club about 12 months ago because I’m not very adventurous in my reading. I tend to find an author I like, read everything I can find and then it may be years before I stumble upon another I like. My recent reading list includes re-reading all the Terry Pratchett on my bookshelf, old hardbacked editions of kids books that I find in op shops and generally anything in the Murder Mystery genre.

The book club reads so far had ranged from really quite good (The Book Thief) to disappointing (Dawn French’s A Tiny Bit Marvellous). The Red Tent by Anita Diamant however, put them all in the shadow. I’d already decided to give it 5 stars only two-thirds of the way through!


This book tells the story of Dinah from the Old Testament. The author takes Dinah’s story from Genesis 34 and chooses to re-imagine what may have happened…

I was drawn to retell the biblical story of Dinah in large part because of her silence.  In Genesis 34, Dinah’s experience is described and characterized by the men in her family, who treat her as a rape victim, which in that historical setting meant that she was irredeemably ruined and degraded.  Because she does not say a word (and because of the extraordinary loving actions taken by her accused assailant), I found it easy to imagine an alternative telling to the story, in which Dinah is not a passive victim but a young woman who makes choices and acts on her own initiative.  Not only did I find it easy, I found it necessary.”

-Anita Diamant (September, 2007)

I am drawn to this story for many reasons. Firstly, I love books set in a different time and place, particularly if it’s a woman’s story being told. The book begins with the meeting of Dinah’s mother Leah and father Jacob. You get a clear insight into their everyday lives, the culture and traditions and politics of the time. The Red Tent is introduced, a place where women go during their monthly cycle together, where the women birth their children. Here they are supported by each other, connected through songs and stories (and probably a lot of gossip!). This was the reason the title grabbed me in the first place. Not long ago I read of a tribe in Africa (I think) where the women all sit together in ‘The Red Tent’ and bleed back into the earth. I’ve wanted to learn more about it.

The story continues as Dinah’s mother and ‘mother-aunties’ pair with her father Jacob and produce many sons and finally after many boys, Dinah arrives. As the only daughter in the large family she is probably given more privilege than was custom at the time. She continues to enter the Red Tent even after weaning. It’s her experience as a witness to events inside the Red Tent that I find most fascinating, the descriptions of many births, both difficult and easy. The way the women all supported each other during birth. I could picture it all in my mind. A circle of women, chanting, singing, encouraging. A skilled midwife, with extensive knowledge of birth and herbs. A month afterwards of complete rest and love. I got such a strong sense of ‘this is how birth should be’.

The story moves on to Dinah’s adult life and to the events described in Genesis 34. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it, but you follow Dinah right up until her death. I like that too. I don’t like it when I finish a book only to think “But what happens next?”.

The Red Tent is just so well-written. I never got bored, or had to skip over descriptive text. Every page held me. Every night after I turned the light out I would lie awake for an hour just thinking back over the story. Although this is the author’s interpretation of the culture and customs of the time, I believe it to be a very plausible version.

My mind would always go back to the early part of the book and imagine these women’s lives together. They were skilled in cooking, weaving, farming and midwifery. They respected the earth and followed the seasons. How I would love to travel in time to see these women. I realise I’m focusing on the positive aspects of their lives. They faced huge hardships that we in the western world know nothing of. Their lives were ruled by men, who may have been violent, foolish or otherwise.

As much as we have moved on in the present time, when I think of these women I can’t help but think we’ve lost something really important. As I sit here in my home, surrounded by walls and fences, I feel the stark contrast of living in a physically close community as they did. Eating, sleeping, working together everyday, looking after each other’s children. Sharing skills and supporting each other in difficult times. The majority of us give birth in hospital, attended by a midwife we’ve never met, who changes shift with another one before the baby has been birthed. Random medical people pop their heads in and watch to see how things are going. We take a support person/s, but if they are not medically trained or very well-informed, we can just feel lost. Swept up in the current of procedure, in an unfamiliar, stark room. And now imagine that tent… A place you sit every month with your sisters, nieces, friends. And it is here you give birth, supported by those same people who love you, who know who you are. I know where I’d rather be.

But this wasn’t meant to be a debate on hospital/home birth, just a rave about a book I really love. I hope you read it too.

Happy reading everyone.

A Mother’s Grief

If you’ve read my previous posts (about miscarriage and grieving) you’ll know that my journey to have a second child has been a rocky one. It’s certainly not the journey I expected to have.

However up until this point I’d been able to explain and see possible reasons for my miscarriages and was feeling very positive that the third time would be successful. But unfortunately that has not been the case.

I had a miscarriage again last night…it was early, I’d only known I was pregnant for a week. But a week can be a long time. The due date was calculated, my mind had been wandering, hoping and imagining for the future. And I met up with a group of close friends yesterday only to discover 3 out of 4 of us were pregnant – all 4 weeks apart – how incredible! How exciting it was going to be!

And now what? Really? This had to happen to me, again? Me, who eats well and looks after myself and desperately, desperately longs for a child.

Why? That’s all I can think. Why?

And now I’ve just got to remember to breathe again…

Make Your Own Clutch Purse

My latest project has been clutch purses. A while back I found this great website Noodlehead that has fantastic sewing tutorials and patterns available to buy. This is one of Anna’s patterns and I just love it, it’s pretty easy to make once you get the hang of it. All purses have been made using upcycled fabrics, here’s a few of my favourites…

This beautiful blue fabric was left over from a dress my sister made for me to wear to our mother’s wedding a couple of years ago. I found the yellow silk in an op shop and it has a beautifully subtle flower print on top.

A little bit of punk! This one was made from a denim skirt that I never got round to altering and a stretch knit singlet, both sourced from op shops.

This very retro looking purse was made using a donated scrap of floral (probably upholstery fabric) and a vintage mens tie.

The daisy fabric was scavanged from my aunty’s sewing box, as she was having a big clean out and I’ve used the lovely yellow silk again. I’m also making coin purses and I think they make a lovely set. The pattern was made up but I have basically copied this tutorial.

If you’re a sewer give it a go, they’ll make great Christmas gifts. If you’re interested in purchasing any from me, new ones are regularly being added to my facebook page.

Happy sewing 🙂

Grease Is No Longer The Word – Going Shampoo Free!

In my mid-20s I was trying out various ‘alternative’ lifestyle choices – I stopped shaving, used crystal deodorant, made my own clothes etc., but I never got around to going shampoo free. I tried using baby shampoo figuring it wasn’t loaded with as many chemicals. Or buying eco-friendly brands for the same reason – but that was way too expensive on a student budget. I have fine hair that tends to get greasy quickly and I end up having to wash my hair every second day and I just had this mental picture of me looking like John Travolta in Grease or like a grunge chick stuck in the 90s.

Now in my mid-30s I find I’m travelling back down that road again. It feels long over due but I decided today was the day – no more shampoo! The usual shampoo and conditioner can be replaced with bi-carb soda and apple cider vinegar.

So here’s the recipes:

Bi-carb Soda ‘Shampoo’ 1 tablespoon of bi-carb mixed into 1 cup of water.

Apple Cider Vinegar ‘Conditioner’ 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed into 1 cup of water.

You just pour through your hair, massage in and then rinse well. Easy.

I’ll admit that with my hair type I was a bit skeptical that it would work for me, I really thought it would take several weeks of greasy hair before I saw results, but you know what? My hair looks and feels just like it normally does, all day I keep running my fingers through it and checking in the mirror because I just can’t believe how well it has worked.

There is a great website for general info and troubleshooting and plenty of other info on the web.

Next step? Homemade deodorant!

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