Friday, 3 July 2015

I'm gay. And that's ok.

*Disclaimer. Hi there, I'm GAY. Very happily so. This means that I would like the OPTION to get married, legally, and also I believe I have the right to not feel discriminated against, hated or vilified because I'm gay. If that offends you, then I'm fine with you leaving now. You might also like to stay, as my opinion is just as valid as yours. That's because it's ok for us all to have different opinions. Like, I like salted caramel ice cream, you might prefer rum and raisin. And that's ok.
What's NOT ok is when our differing opinions hurt, vilify and harm other people. 
ALSO, it is NEVER ok to threaten physically, verbally or emotionally another person. Online or in real life. Ever. Ok ?*

So, it has come to my attention, rather harshly, that I live in a bubble.

Oh, it's a nice bubble ! It's a bubble where people genuinely care about the rights of asylum seekers, victims of domestic violence, the rights of women and the right to love whom you choose without fear of discrimination or harm. Sure, it's a Green Party voting, craft beer drinking, supporting local business, inner city (kind of) living bubble. But it's really, really nice here.

Perhaps I was a little naive. I mean, I do read the papers, watch the news, and have  a twitter and facebook feed that sometimes horrifies me. However, I'd (very) inaccurately assumed that our politicians, lead by some misguided beliefs and policies, were out of step with the vast majority of my fellow Australians.

However, if you follow certain Australian blogging circles, you'll know that this week a blog post written by a fellow Australian female blogger caused a 'bit' of a stir. The post was written in response to the rainbowing of profile pictures that spread like a glorious sea of acceptance and pride and love over facebook in response to Pride celebrations across the USA and Europe.

This blogger as a Christian does not support my right to marry my female partner. That's fine. I don't begrudge her right to her opinion. Nor do I begrudge her right to post that opinion on her blog.
However, I do, very strongly believe that her opinion DOES NOT give her the right to spread a very hateful message of intolerance. I felt physically ill when I read this blog post.

Physically ill, like I'd been punched in the stomach. The words hurt. The following threads of comments in a blogging community hurt even more. The old arguments of the sanctity of marriage, the purpose of marriage to be purely for re-production and "but where will this all end ??" were raised and re-hashed. Sometimes not very eloquently. Always with rancour, fear, hatred and disgust.

I'm not going to defend these arguments because frankly I'm a bit bored by them. My happy, healthy and loving relationship does not in any way effect any one else's. At least, not negatively. I would argue that happy relationships, straight or gay, create a better society for ALL of us.

My overwhelming issue with the blog and ensuing hateful comments is the complete lack of empathy. So often in this 'debate' the PERSON is completely removed from the argument.

Gay people become some arbitrary threat to society. A random image of men in chaps and lesbians in sensible shoes kissing under rainbow flags aiming to destroy marriage and our society as a whole.

Where's the personal connection to your neighbour, friend, family member (I am looking directly at YOU Tony Abbott) or fellow blogger ? Where's the empathy ? Where's the understanding that we are all born differently. Created (oohhhh I went there) to love and be loved but just not necessarily in the same way that you are.

And, my grave concern with posts and opinions like this one, is for the young and vulnerable gay, bisexual, transgender and sexually curious or confused kids. There still growing up in a world and country where (to many people, including our PM and many aspects of the media) to be gay is BAD. A sin and you should be punished, ostracised and hated for it.

For being yourself. The way you were born.

From BeyondBlue :
"Lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and transgender and gender diverse people are much more likely to experience depression and anxiety than the broader population. They are also at a greater risk of suicide and self-harm. 
Among LGBTI populations, research clearly indicates that discrimination, abuse (both verbal and physical), exclusion and prejudice are key contributors to the increased rates of depression, anxiety and self-harm."
Blog posts like this week's only give weight to the fear and stigma that is held by a minority. 
But is heard very loudly. 
I come to this debate having had a relatively easy 'coming out' experience and generally have only been surrounded by love and acceptance. I am eternally grateful for that and do not take that acceptance lightly. But really, should I have to be grateful for that ??? 
I don't believe that my sexuality and my relationship define me. Certainly not as a blogger. Which I think partly explains why I found this blog and response so hurtful and alarming. This was a 'safe' space. I'm used to defending my rights at the poll booth, or choosing a LGBTI medical professional or checking the LGBTI friendliness of an organisation before I utilise them. I'm very accustomed  to choosing when or to whom I declare that my 'partner' ifs female. But not here. Not in a blogging sphere of like minded women. Surely ? 
Well I was wrong. And yet I wasn't, because amongst those voices of hate were louder voices of love and acceptance and with me, shock. The care was (as it should have been) shared equally for the original blogger and 'us' gays. That care wasn't an acknowledgement or validation of the blogger's opinion but rather care for her well being after being abused online for her post.  
I'm sure that's because we ALL know a neighbour, brother, cousin, sibling, for some of you, children, that are or maybe gay. And don't we want them to be free of discrimination, hate and fear ? 
For being themselves ? 
I'm sure this post is not particularly well written, but I'm going to hit publish anyway. It's been swirling around in my head and heart all week and needs to be out.(maybe I intended that pun!)
I'm going to walk the dogs, hold my lover's hand and go about my day. 
Thanks for reading. Yes, please comment (I may get someone else to monitor them) but please reread my disclaimer at the top of this post BEFORE you comment. 
Dee x

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Wild About Melbourne Etsy Craft Party

There are three things that are very high on my very favourite things list.

Crafting with friends
Chatting with friends, over craft and good food.

So, when the Etsy Worldwide Craft Party was announced and the call put out to host a local craft party......I couldn't resist. So, tomorrow night we will gather at the Thornbury Bowls Club for the Wild About Melbourne Craft Party.

Every year, Etsy join forces with local crafters to celebrate all things craft. This year the theme is Paper : Taking Shape

I asked my fellow blogger, friend and beautiful artist, Naomi if she could design a project for us to craft with. She did and it is amazing  !

A snail mail template that we can personalise, colour, create with and then send to someone to love.
Add in some tea, wine and good food and this is going to be a great event.

There are still a few tickets left. AND comment here for your chance to WIN two free tickets.

Friday, 29 May 2015

My Melbourne : Good Beer Week

One of the MANY things that I love about Melbourne is our love of a good festival.

And one of my favourite festivals, is Good Beer Week. The annual celebration of all that is good, nay, great about craft beer.

This year with trying to buy a house, we were restrained, no annual leave and big beer budgets, but that didn't stop us enjoying the week.

We started with a complete (market life) bucket list item. Yes, it was a Northern Regards Artisan Market  GOOD BEER WEEK market !
Celebrating all that is upcycling, handmade, local and delicious craft beer.

The fabulous chaps from 3 Ravens Brewery were on hand with samples, tasting and beer talk and our fabulous makers made craft beer inspired wares.
I spent, quite a lot, of money and drank delicious beer.

Each year a number of venues celebrate POO, the unfortunate or just plain cheeky acronym for   Point of Origin. This year, one of our favourite venues, The Terminus Hotel celebrated all things Victorian. 
I very happily tasted the Women Of Beer United Red Ale.............brewed in Melbourne, by women and delicious. 

Feral vs Nail Brewery tap takeover at Royston Hotel. I love the Royston and I love WA's Feral Brewing. Which is a good thing because this is one of the trickiest venue's to get to on public transport, hiding away in industrial Richmond.
However, the food, vibe and beer is worth the two trams and a train ! 
Some of our favourite feral brews, plus a few new ones to sample. Happy days !   

And then, the lovely Royston Hotel gifted us two tickets to the Two Birds/Rockwell and Sons Brewer vs chef event.  It was our first visit to the Two Birds Nest, brewery, restaurant and bar in Spotswood. A fantastic venue with amazing beer, and the Rhubarb Saison brewed just for this event was amazing and one of my favourite beers of the festival.

And then, there was GABS - The Great Australiasian Beer SpecTAPular. 
Over 300 beers on offer, many brewed just for the event.
Beer and bunting in one of my favourite Melbourne buildings, The Exhibition Building in Carlton.
We tasted some great beer. Enjoyed delicious burgers and I finally got to try the Bright Brewery MIA IPA. This event is so well run, attracting a larger and more diverse crowd every year.

And so that was Good Beer Week. 

Writing this post has made me thirsty for a good beer, like a 3 Ravens APA. Do you know where they serve said beer......?

Thornbury Bowls Club. And you know what is happening at Thornbury Bowls Club next week,
the Wild About Melbourne Etsy Craft Party ! To WIN two FREE tickets to the event, comment below and I will award two tickets to my favourite comment on Tuesday. 

Happy crafting - be that beer or handmade arts ! 


Saturday, 2 May 2015

Closing a handmade chapter......

It's market day at Made 'n Thornbury and for the first time in five years, I'm not there.

It was a bitterly cold July Melbourne evening. We'd just moved back to Melbourne and as is always the case, getting to know our new neighbourhood....mostly through trial and error and happy misadventures.

I was walking Wogan in what I thought was our closest dog park (turns out there was at least 3 closer) when an unmistakable buzz caught my attention....

It was the buzz of months of planning, making, women chatting, friends greeting and neighbours meeting. Within the buzz was a trusty whir of a coffee machine and the click clack of knitting needles. The scent of anticipation and something delicious and tangy were in the air.

Yes, I'd stumbled upon my very own local handmade market !

The sweet and tangy scent was the delicious aroma of Melbourne Epicure's lemon tarts. The anticipation and chatter was coming from a group of local women who gathered in a hall to sell their wares, share their skills and form a community. 

I wanted in ! 

I wandered in and marvelled. At the handmade creations, the quaint hall, the community and (did I mention) the lemon tarts. I learnt it was a quarterly market, I could apply to have a stall and best of all, the neighbourhood house responsible ran a handmade business course - Make Craft Your Business.

The market even had a blog ! (This was over FIVE years ago and a VERY big deal) When I got home from that first market/dog walk, I spent hours jumping from the Made 'n Thornbury blog to local Melbourne crafters and a whole world of handmade ready for me to explore.

I enrolled in the course and prepared for my first Melbourne market. I met women who are friends to this day. I learnt an incredible amount of important info.
Most of all, I learnt that you can't run a community market without just that, community. 

Not content with just being a Stallholder and knowing that I needed to up skill, get out of the house and DO something, I volunteered to help promote the market.

Well, I'm sure you know the story from here....

For the past five years I have volunteered promoting and coordinating Made 'n Thornbury Craft Market. And I have loved it.
Quite often hard work, always surrounded by talented, vocal, passionate and creative women. I have met truly amazing women. Many of whom I call friends, close friends.

As with everything, it hasn't all been smooth sailing and at times I've been frustrated and exhausted. But. There's always been the next market, the next new Stallholder making their debut, the next mention in one of my favourite blogs/magazines.....the next lemon tart. 

Made 'n Thornbury has taught me so much and allowed me to create new markets and new ventures. With clever, creative and beautiful women.

The time has come to move on though....a decision I did not take lightly or make easily. I haven't left Made 'n Thornbury due to new opportunities, but I am excited to see what happens next. 

I wish everyone at TWNH and Made 'n Thornbury the very best and look forward to venturing to Leinster Grove for a visit. Soon, but not just yet.

In the meantime....I need to get that lemon tart recipe....! 

Friday, 10 April 2015

Wild About Melbourne Pop Up Makers Market : Reservoir April 2nd

Currently, Miss Ruby's new favourite thing is to exclaim "We Made It" whenever any destination is reached. And last Thursday, I felt like exclaiming the exact same thing !

Why ? Because my new market successfully launched in Reservoir.

It was windy and there was a high chance of rain, but we were not deterred.

Thankfully neither were shoppers.

Edwardes street was a buzz with musicians, craft, face painting, high vis wearing market organisers AND the Easter Bunny !

It was such a great day and I am so pleased that everyone had a great day. 

I have to say a HUGE thankyou to my own personal support crew. I had my mum, G and my market buddies on hand offering all manner of support. My bestie, even drove ALL NIGHT from Sydney to wear rabbit ears and help out. Thanks team. 

And, the good news is, we're Popping Up again soon. 

We're bringing the best of local Art, Design and Handmade as part of Darebin's True North Arts Festival on Saturday April 18th. 

And, we'll definitely be back in Reservoir......soon.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

My happy March

Oh my goodness.....after a fairly crappy February, 
my March was a very good, very happy month indeed. 

And yes, mostly because of three things,

1. PUPPY ! I forgot how much cute and fluffy (and early morning wake ups) a puppy was. She's settling in well and is  A LOT of fun. And naughtiness. 

2. We did indeed sail away. This holiday was everything I needed. 
8 days of no-internet, sun, time with my bestie and my favourite almost 3 year old. 
Amazing food and fantastic wine. Only thing missing was my G, but hey, someone had to look after the new puppy. 

3. New opportunities and saying goodbye to old roles. It feels good. 

And now it's April. And April is going to be great. 

All photos aboard the fabulous Celebrity Solstice - South Pacific cruise.
Big smiles credited to sunshine, laughs and daily gin and tonics.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Pop the kettle on....I have some BIG news !

Pop the kettle on........ 

Pop the Champagne bottle......

Pop the ART ! 

Pop goes the toast in the toaster..... 

I'm very excited to be launching a series of Pop Up Markets throughout Melbourne's Northern Suburbs, showcasing the best of local handmade, art and design. 

You'll find Melbourne's newest market POPping UP in a variety of places and spaces. 

I'm working on upcoming dates and locations, but can very happily announce my first POP UP market is coming to Reservoir : 

Thursday April 2nd 10am - 2pm Edwardes and Spring St, Reservoir. 

I'm VERY excited about bringing handmade, art and design to new locations and audiences. 

Come visit on April 2nd, whilst getting your Easter supplies from the eclectic Reservoir shopping strip. 

And.....stay tuned for more POP UP Makers Market dates. 

Salted Caramel Upside Down Apple Cake

Oh my ! I don't mind saying it.....this cake was quite delicious !

We hosted a lunch for Mum's birthday and I wanted something a bit different. Part cake, part pudding. All deliciousness.  A quick Pinterest search, and I found this recipe

Nothing bad can come from fresh apples, butter and brown sugar ! 

The brown sugar gives the whole cake a delicious caramel flavour and colour. 

Thinly sliced apples and delicious salted caramel sauce in pan and the most amazing cake batter on top. Obviously quality control was required at this point....

Turned out upside down, it actually worked! The crust was amazing, with a slight crunch. Moist cake and delicious salted caramel.

The table was silent and seconds we're had, which I'll take as a positive review ! 

And because we could, an updated family photo. 

So, baked anything delicious lately ??

See you on the other side of my holiday (YAY) 


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Five reasons March is going to be FABULOUS

Oh hello March. You bright, shiny, fabulous month you. 

February sucked and I'm glad to see the end of it.

March is going to be amazing.......and here's why : 

1. PUPPY. There is nothing quite like a puppy is there ? So full of energy one second and sleeping the next. So, very, very fluffy. And cuddly.
Yes, there's toilet training, sibling arguments and 3 am wake ups, but truly she's a joy. 

2.  This beautiful artwork. Every time I walk into our bedroom, I smile.
tinniegirl you are an amazing talent and friend. 

I've taken to having my naps 'wrong way round' so I can admire it longer. 

(I am  VERY aware that these two welcome additions occurred in February, but it's only in March that I am enjoying and appreciating them. 

3.  Market season is back !
I love my markets and my first (baby) is back THIS FRIDAY March 6th 4-8pm.

4. New opportunities. It's funny how the universe works sometimes. The past week has unexpectedly brought several new opportunities that will completely alter the way I work this year. 
I'm incredibly excited about these new directions ! 

This has nothing to do with new opportunities, but it was for dessert tonight. 
And it was delicious ! 

5."Sail away, sail away, sail away."
Yes, I am off on holiday....with Ruby and her mum and dad.
Eight days of cruising into the sunset with a cocktail in hand.
Eight days of exceptionally good food.
Eight days of no cooking, cleaning, working.
Eight days of zero internet connection.
Eight days of chats with my best friend and Ruby cuddles.
I can't wait !

So, let's do this March. 

How are you ? Having a good month ? 
Off on holiday ? 
Forgive me for the self indulgent cryptic blog post ????

Here's another puppy photo.....just because.....CUTE !