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 ! 


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

My Melbourne : Strictly Ballroom the Musical

Ok, so there are 3 things you need to know.

1. I was gifted tickets to a Melbourne performance of Baz Lurhmann's Strictly Ballroom The Musical by NuffnangAU

2. I LOVED, Strictly Ballroom The Movie. Actually, I've loved EVERY Baz Lurhmann movie. 

3. I have been known to wear sequins. A dazzling array of sequins.....whilst dancing on stage. 

Me - in all my sequinned and tap dancing glory. 
Maybe 1984.... ahhh the smell of cheap hairspray, bright red lipstick and lycra. 
It's just like Kendall's dance studio isn't it ? 

As I said, I was lucky enough to be gifted tickets to this performance 
by NuffnangAU and I was very excited.
 Seeing Strictly Ballroom The Musical was high on my wish list. 

Mum and I all dressed for the theatre.
Apparently, not everyone does get dressed up for the theatre these days ! 

Ok, all that sparkles aside, here are my thoughts on this adaptation of Strictly Ballroom. 

The dialogue is completely true to the movie (and I imagine, orginal play).
The costumes and set are amazing. Even the chairs are decked in sparkly material.
I laughed and did a fair bit of toe tapping, but I wasn't quite inspired to dance in the aisles or on stage.
However, I loved that the cast did dance with the audience on stage after interval and final curtain.

The Paso Doble scene is fantastic and I loved it. Quite often the stage felt too small, but not in this scene that was filled with passion and the beautiful dancing. 

This is not the most sophisticated musical or performance you'll see.

But it may just be the most sparkly, Australian, and FUN performance you'll see. 
Oh, it also most definitely the most unashamedly and fabulous CAMP performance you'll see. 

And for that I loved every sequiny shimmery moment. 

Have you seen Strictly Ballroom ?
Were you a dancing queen in your youth ? 
Thoughts on sequins ? 

Monday, 23 February 2015

Taking Stock.......seeya February- you sucked.

Oh February. Why you so mean ?? I'm not going to be sorry to see you the back of you !

So, let's take stock and look forward to March.....shall we ? 

Making : Coffee Pod Earrings. I love them and really happy that the idea worked !
Cooking : In this crazy weather....everything from salads to hearty pastas.
Drinking : Smoothies. Coffee and plenty of water. #febfast is on ! 
Reading: market stall applications. So many talented locals. 
Wanting: some decisions to be made and implemented by others.
Looking: forward to March. Has to be better than February ! 
Playing: with fabrics and buttons and trims as part of a new series of workshops I am leading.
Deciding: to hit SEND or not. I hit send. And then felt nauseous. 
Wishing: it had worked. 
Enjoying: not enjoying February. 
Waiting: For a resolution. Either way. Just get on with it !
Liking: Lady Gaga at the Oscars AND Julie Andrews !!! goosebumps ! 
Wondering: If we roll the dice, just one more time, will it work that time ?

Loving: my G. 
Pondering: selling a house. Buying a house.
Considering: all the options for the above.

Watching: The Oscars. I love Neil Patrick Harris and Patricia Arquette's speech was amazing. (actually, I've just re-read Patricia's speech and her press conference - I think equality for EVERYONE is required. Let's end the us/them attitude shall we?)
Hoping: we find another way.
Marvelling: at the beautiful, amazing and stunning artwork that my dear friend made just for us. 
Needing: a break.

Smelling: beautiful lillies. 
Wearing: saltwater sandals. Best thing my feet have worn in a long time.
Following: #qanda on twitter. 
Noticing: I think I've lost some weight during #febfast
Knowing: that all will be well.
Thinking: it might just take a while to get there ! 
Admiring: the strength of my G. 
Sorting: market stall applications.
Buying: A PUPPY ! She arrives tomorrow ! 
Getting: cranky. 
Bookmarking: craft tutorials on Pinterest. 
Disliking: the feelings of grief and helplessness and sadness.
Opening: ticket wallets. The good news is that a holiday is happening next month.
Giggling: at videos and photos of Ruby Rose.
Feeling: grief. 
Snacking: I was really good until 2 days ago. Then I bought chocolate. 
Coveting: that which we've lost.
Wishing:  well..............
Helping: a friend design a new logo. 
Hearing: meditation podcasts, actually many a podcast at 3am. 

So, yes, we rolled the dice once more and it didn't work.

But tomorrow our new puppy arrives.

Work your magic March, I don't want this year to be defined by February.

Monday, 26 January 2015

My Melbourne : International Street Food Festival

So yesterday we headed to the first Melbourne International Street Food Festival.

We'd seen the posters, got excited and then bought the tickets for cheaper than the regular admission price on Living Social.

Ok, so two things I want to say before I share my thoughts on yesterday's event.

The first is that running events is HARD work and expensive to do.  And new and exciting events should be encouraged and supported.
The second thing is that Melbourne is a city that fully embraced the street food, food truck, market going food vendors trend.
Which is why, despite my first point, I was a little disappointed upon our arrival.

The problem is that on many a Melbourne street  these food trucks can be found. There are endless cultural festivals with a vast array of food from the food. There's a permanent food truck park set up in one of Melbourne's hippest suburbs. And what do all of these have in common ?
NO entry fee !

Yes, there were probably around 100 street food vendors with a wide range of food on offer, almost all from $7-$14 per serve. Again, my issue was, it felt like we'd seen and tasted most of them before.
With NO entry fee !

However, re-name this festival as Melbourne International MUSIC Festival or Australia Day Cultural Festival or even a concert by The Cat Empire and I am not at all disappointed !

Great venue with plenty of seating and grassy picnic spots, bunting fluttering in the breeze, AMAZING live music by one of Australia's great bands AND a plethora of food options. Throw in a craft brewery or two and you have my ideal afternoon and great value at around $30 per person entry.

The pork belly and utterly delicious black sesame with salted caramel ice cream boas from Wonderbao were by far our fave food picks at the festival.

So, that's my two cents worth. We had a great time.
Would be go back.....? Depends entirely on music or entertainment line up.

What about you ? Festival lover ? Fan of The Cat Empire. Eaten a great food truck snack recently ?

Happy Long Weekend,