Friday, July 31, 2009

a ballet exam and some special little girls...

My eldest daughter, Hannah, had her Grade 2 ballet exam yesterday afternoon. While we were working this morning, JJ and I were chatting about our exams and how nervous we used to get. The main problem were the examiners, who came across as exceedingly gruff and critical, although they were probably really lovely people. There was Mr Rubenstein, whom all the ballet students nicknamed Mr Frankenstein, who once terrified JJ by shouting at her midway through an exam "Do you not know how to count, child" Another examiner who stands out in our memory was Miss Morgan, who appeared to us teenage girls to be ninety if she was a day. She wore her grey hair in a very severe bun, spoke in an extremely posh English accent, and spent the whole exam with her nose in the air peering at you through her half-glasses. I believe they are a lot more friendly and approachable now. Hannah certainly didn't show as many nerves as we used to.

While we were talking we decided to experiment with a new vintage paper design for our range of cards, and in honour of the occasion came up with this little ballerina. After experimenting with different colours and hairstyles, they all developed their own little personalities, and some of them are now donning party dresses and day wear!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

how does your garden grow?...

Out of the three of us mondo cherry girls, Susieq is the keenest gardener. While I struggle to remember to even water my poor old pot plants, she is a mean hand at taking cuttings, pruning and has even managed to propagate 4 leaf clovers. (On a slight tangent, you can put Susieq in front of almost any patch of grass, anywhere in the world, and she will find a 4 leaf clover within minutes, if not seconds. I have no idea how she does it. Neither JJ and I have inherited this ability, although my children are showing definite signs of following in their Grandma's footsteps.)

JJ's mother-in-law, who is a very keen and talented gardener, has decided to give JJ a bit of a head start, and when babysitting one day planted some lettuces in pots. So far Harvey (3) has loved watering the lettuces and inspecting them for bugs and they have been growing well even with all the attention! The plan is that they are just the start of a thriving vege garden.

I am keen to get busy in my garden as well. Can anyone tell me the foolproof method for keeping lavender alive as I would love to grow it around my deck?

By the way, the mondo cherry technical director (my husband) would like to let you know that the website will be down for a day or so while we try to resolve the problems we have been having. If you have sent us an email, and we have not replied, please try again - strange things have been happening in our in-box. Got to love technology!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

nautical napkins...

JJ bought these lovely beachy napkins at Bed Bath 'n Table, each embroidered with a different seaside motif. Her intention was to give them to Susieq for the unit at the coast. However, after trialing them for a lunch, JJ is now a bit attached and another set may need to be sourced! Shame they only came in six different designs as eight would have been ideal. Our favourite is the red coral, which one do you like?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

not just a straight line...

If you own a sewing machine, and are anything like us, you probably use the straight stitch, zig zag and maybe the button hole stitch (at a push!), but that is about all. With my machine sitting on the dining table yesterday, I had an urge to experiment with some of the decorative stitches that even my basic model comes with. I practiced a few on some thickish paper that I had handy and, voila, original wrapping paper. There are so many different ways you could experiment with this idea - black stitching would look classy on white paper, while lines of beautiful pastel colours would be pretty for a little girl's present. You could stitch in grids, lines, randomly across the paper (as I did in the smaller present above) or even spirals if you were feeling brave. Cutting out a few lines of stitching and wrapping them round a plain coloured present would work well for a larger pressie and makes a change from ribbon. Send me a photo if you have a go!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

spots of colour...

It is a beautiful sunny 25 degrees here in Brisbane today and, along with the sunshine, these spots of colour are brightening up our day. We have been baking, painting (well, our little cherry pips have), stitching, and chilling out in the sunshine with some old magazines while eating Jelly Tots which remind us of staying with our Grandma in England. Hope your day is cheery too.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

vintage bedspread...

I was so pleased when I found this old crocheted bedspread in a second hand shop for a bargain price. I love having an all white bed - I think it is because it is a little place of tranquility in the chaos of my 5 child household! We bought this bed a few years ago from Laura Ashley and the curvy shapes really appealed. The beauty of the bedspread (apart from its good looks) is that it hides all the dust that accumulates underneath! The blue peeling walls were bequeathed to us by the previous owner - we are painting them slowly.... very slowly.

I have a slightly smaller crocheted piece that I use as a tablecloth and I love the contrast of the white against the wood. I have seen photos of these tablecloths/bedspreads dyed in a beautiful French grey colour and am on the search for another one to experiment on!

Sorry Mum (susieq), I know the pillowcases aren't ironed, I need you to come home and look after me!

Monday, July 20, 2009

a team effort...

JJ's husband, Lucas, spent his weekend hiking through rugged terrain on the Gold Coast hinterland. He participated in the Kokoda Challenge, an annual event in which teams of four raise money for less privileged Aussie kids who are at a crossroads in their lives, and also to support descendants of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels who were so valuable to Australian troops at Kokoda in Papua New Guniea.

The Kokoda Challenge began very early on Saturday morning with participants having to trek 96km (the length of the actual Kokoda trail) within a 39 hour time limit (symbolising the 39th Militia who were the first Australian troops to arrive at Kokoda on 15th July 1942). No time for sleep. Lucas' team made it in just 26 and a half hours, coming out pretty unscathed compared to others who suffered from blisters, broken toes, dehydration and delirium. We were able to track his team's progress via Google Earth - from the comfort of our warm homes and comfy pjs!

No stranger to mountain bike riding, triathlons and other competitive events, Lucas still found this to be the most difficult endeavor he has ever taken on, and he felt very emotional to finish. Mal Meninga, a former Australian rugby league captain, called it the "toughest metal challenge I have ever endured".

We so proud of you Lucas, Ron, Jerry and Lisa!

Friday, July 17, 2009

hooray, it is Friday!...

We love Fridays! We have been extra busy this week, and have had a few too many sleepless nights watching Le Tour de France and the Ashes too, so a couple of days to recover sounds fantastic.

This is something new we will be working on if we manage to sneak a few hours over the weekend of child-free time. Hope you have a very relaxing and enjoyable couple of days.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

just pretty...

One of my lovely sister-in-laws (I am very spoilt with my wonderful extended family) gave me this beautiful little votive holder for my birthday a couple of years ago. I have it on my bedside table where it makes me smile every time I look at it. The funny thing was that I was just about to buy a very similar one for her Christmas present! You can purchase them from the Venucci online store in white, silver and black, along with lots of other goodies - have a look at their gorgeous range of felt tableware and pretty Christmas decorations too!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

a new lease of life...

It is great when you can reuse and recycle furniture that you already have lying around the house. When JJ turned her guest bedroom into a playroom, these cheap IKEA bedside tables were no longer needed for their original purpose. So she came up with the idea of putting them together with a tailored cushion, creating a little bench seat with room for books underneath. They now make a perfect spot to sit with a magazine and a cup of tea while the little ones play, and a great place to read a story.
In both of our 'dream' houses we would have enormous built-in window seats with loads of comfy cushions and heaps of hidden storage... until our grand plans materialise, it is always fun (and much more economical!) to make do!

Monday, July 13, 2009

the sun was shining...

Thought we would share some photos of our stall at the Boutique Markets yesterday. We had a fabulous day with perfect weather and were thrilled to meet lots of lovely people, hear valuable feedback and enjoy the atmosphere. The plan was to take more photos of other retailers and all the yummy chocolate dipped strawberries we consumed, but the latter disappeared too fast, and once trading started, time whizzed by so quickly we forgot all about the camera. We were in awe of the amazing Brisbane talent and look forward to buying ourselves some pressies at next month's markets.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

getting ready for market...

We are very excited to announce that mondocherry will be a part of the Boutique Markets at Portside Wharf, Brisbane this coming Sunday, from 8am to 4pm, and then on the second Sunday of every month. This first market (for us) runs concurrently with Portside's Annual Coffee and Chocolate Affair which is going to be a huge test of will-power for someone who loves both as much as I do!

In between cuddling hot water bottles, drinking lots of cups of tea and wiping noses (gotta love these winter bugs!) we have been madly cutting, sewing and framing new stock and are anticipating a great day. There are many great retailers involved, with stalls ranging from clothing and accessories to home decor and stationery, and you can visit the Boutique Markets website and blog for lots more information. Make sure you come and introduce yourself, we'd love to meet you!

Friday, July 3, 2009

clip art...

I bought these clip boards to hang above a low bookcase in a downstairs hallway with the intention of using them for the children's artwork. However, after JJ came round and we started experimenting with these beautiful botanical prints, I may just have to get a few more for upstairs to display my own favourite pictures.

These exquisite watercolour drawings are from a 1906 book called The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden. I found a republished version from 1976 in a worse-for-wear condition and therfore didn't mind tearing some pages out like this. Luckily I also have another edition which will remian intact!

We posted not long ago about some more clipboards that we covered for bills etc - we don't have an obsession, honestly! For people like us who love to change and update our interiors as the mood takes us, they are a wonderfully easy way to add a new display in an instant, without having to change the hooks on the wall every time.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

almost ready for a picnic...

When JJ and I were very young, our Mum, Susieq made a patchwork picnic blanket using a crazy patch technique that she sewed by hand. That picnic blanket lasted and lasted, and 30 odd years later is still going strong (although I'm not sure how much use it gets in Dubai!) When JJ was going through her fabric stash recently, she found quite a few remnants in some beautiful greens and blues (some you may recognise from Amy Butler's lovely range) and decided to do a bit of patchwork herself. Opting for a simple square and machine stitching meant almost instant gratification as it all came together very quickly. As this will also become a picnic blanket she is not going to quilt it properly and instead will just sew it to a thick backing and stitch through in a few places. I wonder if her children will have as many memories of using this picnic blanket as I do of Mum's?