Thursday, August 18, 2011

How to Make Everything Better

Sometimes I feel sad.......

But then I lie down on the lounge room floor....., and all is right with the world again.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Car Booting

As you know, visiting the local Sunday morning car boot sales, is a Verri family staple. Considering that there is never a sleep in when you have kids aged 3 and 20 months, it's actually a great start to the day.... even on the really cold winter mornings, when you trudge around and don't uncover anything exciting.

This week it wasn't cold though, and there were plenty of fantastic finds begging to come home with us.

I have been wanting a vintage globe for ages, so this one was a great find for $10.

The vintage sewing basket is filled with lots of goodies and is now comfortably resting amoung my growing collection.

The art deco drinks trolley was a must have for $30.... loved that Delilah insisted that it must go in her room as her new bedside table (complete with globe atop.... that's her's too apparently).... I don't know how she's going to react when we move it out into the outdoor room we are renovating.....

One of the things I love most about our treasure troving is Delilah's enthusiasm for it. Every weekend she asks if we are going to the carboot sale, and is sad if we can't. Lately we have been giving her a little money to spend while we are there... this week she decided she was on the look out for a computer.... she found one.

I wonder if our children will contiue to love bargain hunting as they get older, or will be repelled by it and need everything to be new and shiny.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Heartfelt Bouquet.

It hasn't been the easiest few weeks here in the Verri household, the girls and I have been sick with this long lingering virus, and because my girls are prone to ear infections both of the girls have had flare ups.... flare ups which have come with (and understandably so) very bad moods, particularly from Delilah.

As I said, I've been sick and run down too, and with the market on the weekend just generally tired. So needless to say the three of us have gotten on each others nerves a bit this week... as you do.

Last night I was a bit exhausted and over it all, it had been one of those days where as a mum you feel a bit battered and bruised from being constantly yelled at, and my patience had worn thin on more than one occassion, and then as I was getting into bed I noticed this:

Delilah had picked them from our yard earlier in the day (yes we need to do some gardening!) and after bringing them inside and putting them in some water I did notice at some stage that they had gone missing from the kitchen table, but I didn't think anymore of it.... she'd put them on my bedside table for me..... I cried. How lucky am I? Despite being a cranky pants, I am loved.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Market Recovery

Never done a market? Ever wondered what it's like for a stall holder? Here's a little run down of my day yesterday.....

Up at 6am to shower and try and get myself looking half decent to greet customers. My gorgeous husband packed the car for me while I slammed down a coffee and some raisin toast knowing it was likely that thould be the only chance I had to eat all day.

We bundled the still pj clad girls into Luke's car just after 7am and he drove them to my parents while I headed on to AAMI stadium in the pouring rain.

I pulled up at the venue just after 7.30, the rain having miraculously stopped though I still clung to my umbrella and began the process of the stair climb laiden with as much as I could carry.... thankfully I only had to do this twice because Luke showed up shortly after and continued the back and forth while I began the set up.

I am the kind of person who never bothers to pracise the market set up because I know I'd just waste hours rearranging to get the perfect "look" and then find that on the day I changed my mind and did something completely different..... so needless to say the set up is not a fast process for me.

During this time I got to have a chat with the lovely Jodie from Zahley Rose which is always a pleasure and I also met the gorgeous ladies behind Pink Poppet and Shizam Designs it's always wonderful meeting other stall holders, most people really are very friendly.... we are all in the same boat afterall.

9.30 and the coffee man finally arrives so Luke went and got me the biggest one he could... and then hugged me good luck and left to pick up the girls and take them home. This is when the nerves really start to kick in....

10am the doors open and this time the customers trickled in slowly as it was such a large space and my stall was right in the middle.... this was quite nice as other times it has been a full on assault (in the nicest possible way) and it can just add to the surreal atmosphere of it all.

By now the coffee had really kicked in and I had gotten all jittery...... and this is when it started to get busy...... busy that did not let up for the duration of the market...... The women behind the Lollipop Markets really do, do the most amazing job, the market is filled with people from start to finish, a testament to the fantastic advertising, and all round brilliant market that it is.

Any friend who came to visit was dispatched to buy me more coffee, and occassionally installed in my position so I could take a flying bathroom break, I even managed to buy cupcakes to refuel on at one stage..... I talked and talked and sold and sold.... I often think I must come across as a crazy bag of nuts, I am always so fuelled by caffine and adrenilline that I talk a mile a minute, plus I am really quite shy and my fall back when I am nervous is to make jokes at my own expense.... so I tend to laugh hysterically at myself too. Yes, I am that weirdo.

3pm.... the odd customer is still wondering the isles, so when Luke reappeared (having dropped the girls off with his parents this time) we hung out for a bit longer and then started the pack up process...... By this time I am so knackered that I tend to forget to say good bye to those around me and just leave.... realising much later how rude I must seem.

I drive home in what really can only be described as a drunken state.... I really need to learn not to drive myself to these things because I honestly feel quite impared on the drive home..... My beautiful husband then ran me a bath... and thankfully dinner was already cooked. Any noise at this point is absolutely shattering and the energy radiating from my girls is quite exhausting..... but being a mum, I hold it together until their bed time and Then put my feet up with a glass of wine and basically crash.

So that's the day..... the crazy manic day..... but guess what, I LOVE every minute of it, the euphoric feeling a sucessful day can give you is so very hard to describe, in fact I just don't think I can.... the recovery takes days after a BIG market day, but the experience of it is just amazing, so many lovely people to meet and talk to.... putting faces to names you know from on line, chatting to customers like they are old friends..... absolutely fantastic, I hope to do it again and again.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Closet Baker

I have always adored baking, it began in high school, in truth stemming from an eating disorder (hey, I like to be honest)I'd bake anything and everything, but usually wouldn't eat it. Bread was one of my favourite things to make, but as I gradually shook off the food demons it progressed to all things sweet.

I don't proclaim to be the greatest cook in the world.... but I will say I'm not bad, and my forte is definitely the sweet stuff. So today I thought I'd share a few of my baking do's and don'ts.

- Do follow a recipe, quanties are very important in baking, a slight err can cause a disaster.
- Do sift your flour, it's tempting not too, but it seriously does make your bake goods lighter and fluffier.
- Don't substitute butter for margarine, it's just silly.
- Do use a mix master, they just make life so much easier. I LOVE my pink kenwood, one of my best birthday presents ever from my two besties.... though unfortunately at the time I was vomity with morning sickness and I couldn't open the box until Delilah was born..... but that's another story all together.

- Do use Donna Hay recipes, she is the baking queen.
- Don't take cooking times to literally, all ovens are different, I find that when your kitchen is filled with the aroma of what ever you are baking you are usually pretty close to the end.
- Don't wait until your knife comes out clean as a "is it cooked yet?" test, you want your knife to come out with a little cakey goodness stuck to it, your cake will be sooooo moist.

- Don't leave your cake on the bench to cool and then take pity on your enourmous labradoodle and let him in out of the rain, he will share the cake with his smaller lab/kelpie cross brother as soon as your back is turned (I didn't get a photo of this , I was too cross at the time.
- Do decorate liberally, it just makes it even yummier.

- Do eat and enjoy your baked goods, if you make it yourself it can only be good for you right?

- Do plenty of excercise, it means that every now and then you can have several pieces of cake in one day.

That's all I have in my head right now, but I'd love to hear your baking tips!

Sam x

Monday, August 1, 2011

Embelishing Controversy

After the last market I set up shop at I came across an interesting Facebook post the following day from a market goer expressing their disappointment at there being so many appliqued T's at what they felt was supposed to be a handmade only market. It created a firestorm of responses, mostly from those who were pro appliqued tops and a few who agreed that there was no place for them in the handmade market, and there was some outrage at the prices charged for what was descibed as "a little bit of fabric stitched on to a top".

Needless to say this all got me thinking, and being the self doubter that I am for a while there I wondered if I should stop making my embelished T's..... but then I realised they are one of the things I get the most joy from making.

Embelishing a T-shirt is not a short process for me, each can take more than an hour of careful fabric choice, appliquing and stiching followed by matching hand dyed (by me!)crochet, vintage buttons and lace, fabric ruffles, ribbons and charms carefully to each appliqued image and then painstakingly sewing them on, usually by hand. The result being a one of a kind T-shirt (I very rarely repeat a design). But it is a labour of love, the results always make me smile.

I am happy to say that I choose to use tops from Target to work with because they are a great style, have a fantastic colour range, and most importantly the quality is outstanding, and if a customer asks I will always tell them this, though I have now decided not to remove the labels as I really do have nothing to hide.

I write all of this not just to champion my own work, but to express support to all those, and yes there are many, that like me, embelish items of clothing bought elsewhere and not made by hand. I have never seen another business claim an appliqued top to be "handmade", rather "hand-embelished", which is an honest

You can buy an appliqued or embelished top just about anywhere, indeed Cotton On Kids is a big favourite in this house for such things, but I have also bought this style of top from other lovely Work At Home Mum's many at time, because at the end of the day, who doesn't love a quality, limited or one-of-a-kind product?

I would love to hear the thoughts of others on this topic:) xx