28 December 2013
Our little (big) girl turned six yesterday. I can not believe that we now have a six year old!
I've never been one to get too emotional on birthdays.. I usually don't find them any more sentimental than any other day but for some reason I felt very emotional yesterday as I watched Sophie blow out the candles on her cake.
Six is such a big age. I am constantly surprised at how independent and grown-up Sophie already is.
She is no longer a little girl. Sob.
Happy birthday Sophie!
04 December 2013
For the past few weeks I have been very busy working on an exciting little project.
My gorgeous friends Rosie and Jo and I have started a little business called 'Hubble + Duke'.
We started with the idea of making screen printed baby leggings but it very quickly expanded into a whole range of products including gorgeous little leather baby moccasins and many other products that we plan to launch in early 2014.
Everything is handmade by the three of us and with 8 kids between us there is no shortage of little ones to test the designs of everything we make. It's been such a whirlwind few weeks as we only came up with the idea about a month ago and within that time we have registered the business name, designed prototypes, had labels made, sourced suppliers and created a web site! Sleep is well and truly a thing of the past!
For those who have been reading my blog for a while you will know that starting a handmade business has always been a dream of mine and I can't believe that it is finally becoming a reality. Of course I wouldn't be able to do it on my own and I am so grateful for my amazing, talented friends who I can now call my business partners.
Although we plan to officially launch early next year we have made a limited amount of our little leather baby moccasins in tan and chocolate brown that are up on the website now.
You can also follow us on Instagram (@hubbleandduke) and on Facebook.
02 December 2013
29 November 2013
So I have decided to giveaway one copy of the gorgeous 'girls style book'! All you have to do is leave a comment below and I'll draw the winner on Monday 9th December!
There are no conditions to enter this giveaway but if you would like to follow Grow. Cook. Sew. on facebook or instagram that would be lovely!
EDIT: The winner of the giveaway (according to the random number generator) is number 3! Congratulations Imogen Eve!!
28 November 2013
I have been doing an online blogging course called 'blog with Pip' with Pip Lincoln of Meet me at mikes fame. It has been so awesome and I finally feel like I am getting my blogging mojo back. Not to mention all the awesome people I have (virtually) met during the course. (Hello!)
This week we had a little assignment which was to take 5 photos of our weekend. Our weekend was pretty lazy as I have been getting over a horrid virus that left me in bed for 4 days straight last week. Ugh! I have never been so sick in my life!
It did, however, give me a bit of time to catch up on lots of bloggity blogs (as my husband always calls them). Here are a few great posts I read this week:
+ 12 eco-friendly gift ideas -just in time for Christmas!
+ These beetroot, quinoa and chocolate muffins look amazing!
+ Check out Anna's awesome Brooklyn abode!
+ Excellent tips for getting a better nights sleep, and
+ A fabulous Christmas giveaway (if you are good at writing poetry!)
Would you like to share a link to something great you read this week?
P.s Look at the roses in our courtyard!
27 November 2013
I have a bit of an obsession with books. The way that some women collect bags or shoes, I collect books! I can easily hang out all day in the local bookstore and I constantly have a new book (or ten) at the top of my want list.
I have so many books about craft, sewing, interiors, gardening, eco-living, etc. that I thought I should start sharing some of my collection with you. First up.. the best books about sewing for baby and child!
1. Oliver + S 'Little things to sew' by Liesl Gibson.
This book is full of awesome things to sew for kids.. not so much clothing but more accessories like hats, bags, art smocks, scarves and the most adorable tutu you have ever seen. The book is perfect for someone who has quite good sewing skills and most importantly.. it's just a damn good looking book!
2. 'Making children's clothes' by Emma Hardy.
This book has 25 sewing patterns for ages 0-5. It contains lots of very wearable items that are easy to make (dresses, tops, pants, hats, etc.) so it's perfect for someone who is learning to sew. I used it a lot when Sophie was young but I always left all the bells and whistles off the patterns (I'm not a fan of too much poof, if that makes sense? I like to keep things simple) but a great book all the same.
3. 'Simple sewing for baby' by Lotta Jansdotter.
This book is awesome, as is everything Lotta Jansdotter does. I've taken to stalking her on Instragram.. she probably thinks I am crazy (and I probably am.. I do have every single book she has ever written!)
This book is filled with very cool, very easy to make projects that are perfect for little bubbas. So many of the patterns would make excellent gifts and the baby yoga pants are awesome. Ten out of ten!
4. 'Girls style book' by Yoshiko Tsukiori.
Anyone who has come across these Japanese sewing books and fallen in love with them will be over the moon, as I am, that they have finally started to print them in english! The girls style book is just adorable. Even if you never make a thing in it, it is worth having just to look at the stunning photography and styling that these beautiful Japanese sewing books have become famous for.
This book contains patterns for girls aged 2-10 and is best for a fairly advanced sewer.
5. 'Happy Homemade Vol. 2' by Ruriko Yamanda.
I bought this book in Japanese years before they released the english version and I was probably seen jumping for joy when I saw they had released the english version, although strangely the instructions are still a little difficult to understand. This book contains patterns for boys and girls aged 2-8 and they are probably the nicest patterns I have ever seen (think simple, elegant designs).
6. 'Carefree clothes for girls' by Junko Okawa.
Okay, I have to admit that I have never actually made anything from this book yet but it looks awfully nice on the bookshelf. If Little House on the Prairie released a sewing book this is what is would look like! Lots of linen and unbleached cotton in rustic, down to earth patterns. I get the feeling you should disconnect your electricity and spend your morning milking a cow before you attempt to sew anything from this book!
So that's my pick of sewing for kids books. Stay tuned next week for the best general sewing books (there are a lot of them!) and in the next few days I will be giving away one of the books above! Yay!
(P.s Sophie took the top photo above.. just in case you were wondering).
What's your favourite book about sewing for kids?
25 November 2013
The number of times I found myself leafing through cookbooks with nothing jumping out at me or standing in the supermarket with two cranky kids at 4.30pm thinking "Umm..." was getting ridiculous. The monotony of having to think about what to cook every night was also sucking away my passion for cooking.. So I decided to give dinner twist a go.
I'll be honest, when I first mentioned to Tom that I wanted to try dinner twist he though it was a silly idea. He said "we have so many cookbooks (we do.. more than anyone I know actually.. they are my weakness) .. why don't you just choose 4 recipes and order the groceries online and it will be exactly like getting dinner twist but much cheaper". He had a point, but I really wanted to try it. I also really liked the fact that it was run by a local couple who lived in the next suburb.. I love it when people have an awesome idea and then actually do it. (As opposed to people like me who have lots of ideas but never do anything about it). I think it's great to support small, local businesses.
When the first box arrived I was so impressed with the quality of the produce. The bread was from a local artisan bakery, the quinoa was from the local wholefood shop, the meat from a local butcher.. Everything was fresh, local and looked delicious.
The recipes were easy to make, healthy and unbelievably yummy! But best of all, they were interesting meals that (often) I hadn't cooked before.. I was hooked!
We have been getting dinner twist for the last few months now and I am not joking when I say that Tom has often come home exclaiming "Dinner twist is the best thing ever!". It's hard to believe that the simple act of having someone plan your dinners for the week and then drop off all the ingredients you need could make such a huge difference, but it has honestly changed my life.
My cooking skills have improved ten fold, we eat much healthier and far more interesting food (even though I always thought we ate quite well before), we waste far less food because we only get what we need delivered and most importantly.. I don't have to think about what to cook for dinner anymore!
The recipes never take more than 1/2 an hour to cook and we always have enough left-over for lunch the next day. It's awesome!
Dinner twist provide two types of boxes: the family box and the foodie box. We get the foodie box as we like trying new and interesting dishes and so far my kids have been happy to eat almost everything I have made. (The jerusalem artichoke soup was possibly the best thing I have ever eaten in my life!)
At the moment dinner twist is only available in Perth.. so if you live in Perth.. Click here! You will be so glad you did!
(This post was not sponsored at all.. just something that I absolutely love and wanted to share!)
24 November 2013
17 November 2013
"A portrait of my children once a week, every week"
Sophie: Playing in the sprinkler on a hot afternoon up at the farm. I can't believe she will turn six in just over a month.
Henry: Baby's favourite game? Peek-a-boo!
Playing along with Jodi's '52' project.
14 November 2013
Every second weekend or so we like to head up to the farm where Tom's parents live. Only it's not really a farm.. there are grape vines at the front of the property and horse paddocks at the back but saying "we are just heading up to the vineyard darh-ling" always sounded a bit hoity-toity so we just call it 'the farm'.
The farm is in the swan valley, about 45 minutes from Perth. Tom's parents (well, mum and step-dad) moved up here about 6 years ago when the sold their house in the city and were looking for a more relaxed way of life. We feel so lucky that we have this little get away so close to us.. we drive for less than an hour yet once we get there we feel like we are a million miles away from the city.
Tom's mum has the most amazing veggie patch. Her veggie patch alone could take up a whole post!
There are 4 horses on the property (at one point they had 12!) including a little two week old foal. We collect eggs from the chickens, which is always lots of fun for Sophie and her cousin Ella as the chooks are allowed to wonder around the farm during the day so they always lay their eggs in strange places (this time on a bale of hay in the stables). We make lunch from the food harvested from the garden.. potatoes, lettuce, broad beans, beetroot, corn.. whatever is ready to eat!
Sometimes when I'm having one of those horrible evenings -when two kids are screaming and the house is a mess and you're trying to cook dinner and the washing machine decides to explode all over the floor when I think 'I wish Tom's mum lived around the corner!' but then we drive up to the farm on the weekend and I am so glad they live out here and we get to visit.
Are you lucky enough to have a home away from home?
11 November 2013
"a portrait of my children once a week, every week"
Sophie: Her personality is so much like mine it's scary. Apparently not being a morning person is genetic.
Henry: His words now include; muma, dada, dog, book, door, hi, bye and yum. He makes us smile every day.
Playing along with Jodi's 52 project.
08 November 2013
I've been thinking lately about having another baby. Well, not so much about having another baby, but if we will have another baby.. or not.
I always thought we would have another baby one day. Even though after Henry was born I said "I am never doing that again!" I quickly changed my mind once the memory of the birth faded away. But in the last few weeks, I have found myself for the first time, wondering if maybe two is enough for us.
It's funny because during the last year Henry has been a terrible sleeper.. I have barely managed to make it though each day, yet throughout all that time I was still sure that we would do it all again one day.
It was about a month ago that Henry finally started sleeping a bit better and around the same time I wondered, for the first time, if we could actually do it all again. The idea of having another baby became a "maybe" not a "definitely" when people asked. It's almost like things finally started to get a bit easier.. I could see the light at the end of the sleep-deprivation tunnel and I thought.. "I'm not sure if I could do that again".
Some people (like my mum) are shocked that we would even consider having another child. You see.. it's not quite as simple for us as it is for other people (I would need another cervical suture and would possibly be on bed-rest again) not to mention the trouble we have had even falling pregnant.
The other consideration is that I'm just not sure if I could do it all again.. Physically or mentally!
Having babies (the pregnancy, birth, sleepless nights and breastfeeding) seem to leave me feeling like a shell of my former self.. I'm becoming more bedraggled by the day I think!
There is also the environmental point of view that the world is becoming overpopulated and we all need to have less kids not more. My mum is a big believer of this view (even though she popped out half a football team herself! But I guess things were different back then).
I always thought that it was better to have three kids who were brought up to be environmentally conscious than one kids brought up as a thoughtless consumer with no consideration for the environment but I don't know.. maybe my mum is right? (They usually are aren't they?!)
But of course, the amount of joy that babies bring is incomparable and kids really do fill the house with joy (most of the time). Luckily, Tom is happy either way.. he would be happy if we stopped at two and equally happy to have another.. so the ball is really in my court.
I guess that I'm lucky I have time on my side and I don't have to make the decision right this moment.. I can wait and see how I feel in a year or so.
So tell me.. How many kids do you have? How did you know when your family was complete? I'd love to know!
04 November 2013
01 November 2013
I think that some people have a natural talent for taking beautiful photographs. They just seem to pick up a camera and capture an image with the perfect amount of light and at exactly the right angle. Their photographs capture what they see so beautifully.
I, unfortunately, am not one of those people.
So a few months ago I attended 'The Nursery' with photographer Tim Coulson.
I arrived at 10am with my Canon DSLR that I had never taken off the 'automatic' setting. I was feeling pretty nervous (I always am walking into a room full of people that I don't know) but really looking forward to the day ahead.
Tim and Kesh made everyone feel relaxed straight away (they are such lovely people) and as we went around the room and introduced ourselves I realised that most people were in the same boat as me.. they had bought this fancy camera but didn't really know how to use it.
We spent the morning running through the basics of photography, learning how to take the camera off auto and learning a bit about connecting with our subject. After lunch we put our new skills to the test with a little photo shoot outside.
Photography is really an incredible skill to have. Not just as a blogger but as a parent as well and I am so glad I have taken the time to try and learn a little about photography and improve my skills.
I am proud to say that since attending The Nursery I have not taken my camera off manual. Not even once.
Every shot now takes a little more time and sometimes I don't get it right (the photo is almost all white or all black) but I'm slowly learning and I like the fact that I have to think a little more before taking a shot.
Have you attended 'The Nursery'? Do you shoot on 'auto' or 'manual'?
All photos above were taken by me.
27 October 2013
"A portrait of my children once a week, every week"
Sophie: She seems so grown up most of the time, but every so often I catch a glimpse of her still looking like a little girl.
Henry: The only thing cuter than a baby in a wondersuit? A baby in a wondersuit who keeps sitting in a basket!
Playing along with Jodi's '52' project.. Do you play along too?
24 October 2013
I would only be slightly exaggerating if I said that Tom made this banana bread at least once a week.
We always seem to have a pile of brown bananas in the fruit bowl that need using and this recipe is the perfect way to get rid of them. (And I have to admit that having a loaf of banana bread on hand is pretty handy for when people drop in for a cup of tea.)
The first time Tom made this banana bread he said "It's not really banana bread is it? It's more like banana cake" and seemed slightly disappointed at the amount of sugar and butter that went into it (I think he was hoping to convince himself that it was a healthy afternoon tea option) but this recipe is a winner and much better for you than any banana bread you buy at the supermarket.
This recipe is from 'Apples for jam' by Tessa Kiros (one of our favourite cookbooks).
180g dark brown sugar
350g (about 4 medium) very ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
250g (2 cups) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp warm milk
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Butter a 30 x 11cm loaf tin.
Cream the butter and sugar till smooth and whisk in the mashed bananas.
Add the eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and a pinch of salt and whisk in well.
Sieve in the flour and baking powder and beat until smooth.
Mix the baking soda into the milk and stir into the batter.
Scrape the mixture into the tin and bake for about 50 minutes until the bread is crusty on top and a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean.
Turn out onto a rack to cool.
Enjoy with a cup of tea!
Also.. Banana bread freezes really well! Cut it into slices and freeze in a zip-lock bag. When someone pops in unexpectedly for tea just toast it for a minute (until defrosted and warm) and serve! Yum!
21 October 2013
I have decided to play along with Em over at The Beetle Shack in her weekly 'stills' collection.
(I only just discovered her gorgeous blog and very glad I did!)
I take so many photos each week as I am still trying to master my DSLR camera, although I am very proud to say that since I attended 'The Nursery' with Tim Coulson a few months ago (more on that another day) I take all my photos on manual (as opposed to just leaving the camera on automatic) which is much more complicated than just switching a button over!
So here are a collection of photos from this week..
1. The rug in front of the couch is surrounded by toys.. most days you can't actually see the rug under all the toys and puzzles! But it's a happy mess.
2. Our dining table is right in the middle of the house. It's where we eat, play, draw and work. It's where I put my bag down when I walk in the door. It's covered in coloured pencil and splatters of last nights spaghetti sauce. It always has a big bowl of fruit in the middle and flowers in a vase.. these ones are picked from our garden!
3. This teapot was given to Tom and I as a wedding present. It says "for life" on the top which I think is nice. Every single morning this teapot gets filled with 2 spoons of loose leaf english breakfast tea and boiling water and two cups of tea get poured a few minutes later. If I make myself a cup and forget about Tom he will say "Are you making divorce tea?" because apparently making tea for yourself and not your husband is behaving like you want a divorce.
4. Poor Henry. I am constantly saying to Sophie "Don't pick him up, please", "Just let him walk on his own", "Be gentle", "He just wants to do this himself.. just let him be!"
Oh it's tough having an adoring big sister!
5. Beetroot bolognese.. It's a winner!
6. When he entertains himself I should take the opportunity to get things done (that pile of dishes, a load of washing) but most of the time I just sit back and watch him adoringly. Sigh.
7. Charlie. The weirdest cat who ever did live.
20 October 2013
I remember when I first discovered the world of blogs. It was an experience that was similar to falling down the rabbit hole.. the discovery of one led to the discover of another and before I knew it it was 2am and I had been introduced to a whole new world of clever, cool and crafty people.
Back then (just after Sophie was born, almost 6 years ago now) there seemed to be only a handful of really popular blogs that everyone knew about and followed. I can remember putting Sophie down to sleep, making a cup of tea and easily scrolling through my favourite blogs in about 10 minutes.
At the time, I was a new mum, I had just taught myself how to sew and I was slowly (really slowly) learning how to manage this whole mummy/ wife role that I had (happily) landed myself in. It was so nice to read about other mums out there in the same situation as me.. trying their best to live simple, happy lives but still burning dinners, unpicking sewing projects gone wrong at two in the morning and still finding themselves in their pyjamas at 4pm some days.
They were my kindred spirits.
Fast forward 6 years (and after a year or so break from the blogging world) I'm finding myself a little lost. My old favourites are still there but there are SO many new blogs and most of them are so, so good!
The bar has been raised while I have been gone!
Soo.. I want to know.. What are your favourite blogs? The ones you love and read most often?
Feel free to leave your own link too (if you have one) so I can pop over and say hello!