Posts from — April 2013

Circus Circus 1

April 28, 2013

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April is a busy month in our family. Both babies have their birthdays in April, only four days apart (plus two years), so it’s a month for celebrating. It’s also a month for reflecting, in that way you do as a parent, on how quickly the time has flown by. Has it really been a year since she was born? A whole year?! I spend most of April and a good part of May in complete disbelief. The fun part though, is the partying. I love a party. Putting on a party for both girls at once gave me an excuse to make it twice as bright and fun and feast-y. [In truth I’ll use any excuse].

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I’m also kind of obsessed with a theme. Love a party, love a theme. Don’t you?

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This year, our first combined birthday hoop-la, we went for a circus theme. There’s something wonderful about big tops and popcorn and choc-top icecreams and circus lions. My husband wouldn’t let me get a circus lion. Party pooper.

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Dress-up was optional but we had some fantastic costumes. A magician, a trapeze artist, a panther and a leopard. My favourite was the strong man, complete with moustache and “muscles” (socks stuffed under a beige, long sleeved t-shirt – clever!). B1 came as an acrobat, donning her cousin’s hand-me-down dance costume – leotard and tutu the colour of buttercups and decorated with yellow feathers. B2 was a magician’s assistant: I sewed a cheap, sparkly bowtie on a white onesie and added braces by stitching red ribbon onto the shoulders [I kinda thought I was a crafting genius after this achievement]. And, of course, a special friend gave us a fabulous black and starry skirt to complete the look… thanks, Aunty Ria!

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As for food, well, I’m a fan of “Keep it simple”. Lots of a few things suits my style. We did hotdogs so there were buns and sausages, mustards, ketchups and relishes, plus a big potato bake and a salad. I did a big platter of cut fruit and bowls of lollies (marshmallows, chocolate freckles etc) and animal cookies. I’d like to say I made the cake myself but no, I bought it. A ginormous sponge with layers of vanilla and chocolate custard. Covered all over in hundreds-and-thousands. The slice I had the next day, with a cup of tea, in front of telly watching Downton Abbey…..hmmm…bliss…..

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After lunch we had a treasure hunt which led to a bucket of tiny ice-creams in the freezer and I put mask-making supplies in the kids sized circus tent which kept the little ones occupied for a while. Cardboard moustaches on elastic strings were available for wearing, and Italian animal biscuits dotted with chocolate chips were the party favours. B2 “smashed” her cake (that means she ate it with serious gusto), the kids all got wired on sugar and the sun shone on and on and on, as it does in Sydney town.

Of course hosting a party feels like a whirlwind, don’t you agree? It seems as though you are cleaning up just after you set up. The hours whiz by and you only have time to grab pieces of conversation before racing on to the next thing to prepare. Especially with kids parties – miniature magicians and trapeze artists and acrobats racing around your legs, hair and laughter streaming; dropped ice-creams to be picked up, bumps to be kissed, masks to be admired. The time disappears in the same way it seems to in general these days – too damn quickly.

All I can say is thank goodness for photographs. Pinning a wriggling, restless moment down and capturing it forever. A slice of time to look back on and savour, when the real moment passed far too fast.

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In: Food, From Hannah, Kids and Parenting

Sweet Little Something 14

April 26, 2013

An end of week ritual – a wordless post, a personal photograph that captures a moment to be savoured, relished and preserved for looking back on. One photograph from Hannah, in the Southern Hemisphere and one from Ria, in the Northern Hemisphere. Feel free to post your questions, thoughts and comments.

Don’t forget to leave a “Haikument” in comments inspired by one of these photos. Last week’s were completely amazing!

From Hannah:

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From Ria:

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In: From Hannah, From Ria, Sweet Little Something

In Search of Stories 6

April 24, 2013

I’ve just gotten back from a mini road trip. DH went into the backcountry with a ski buddy and Little e and I took a drive to Victoria to visit friends. Given the horrific events in the news over the past week, I thought it would be good to do something restorative.  On the drive down, as my wee sidekick slept in her car seat and Raffi sang about getting together, I thought about what makes road trips fun. For me, it’s several things. Good times with friends, of course, and seeing new places, but beyond that, it’s the little narratives. Little stories that happen instantaneously on the side of the road, or in a sign or restaurant window, that give a sense of the macrocosm I live in and sometimes forget about. The thing that connects us, but that we often ignore for the finer details of our own lives.

Oh, and also good food. What’s a road trip without good food?

Our first stop was Cowichan Bay, and steps from the car was this tangle of driftwood and flowers with a political message. Every piece arranged by hand and with purpose. The kind of art that some people find a big mess, others naturally stunning. Was this a group project, or the work of a single artist? Thousands of people walk by this every year; I wonder what varied reactions it gets, whether it starts discussions between the onlookers. The best art does.

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Then Little e and I walked around Cowichan Bay together, me snapping photos and her smelling flowers by exhaling on them. We met Molly by the museum. She was gracious enough to be in one of the photographs. She’s still a pup and earning her sea legs by living on a boat. This was her first trip to dry land in a few days. I love the interactions between dogs, dog owners and kids. Little e is enamoured with dogs and I’m so grateful when people take the time to  stop and let her love their pets. There’s always a story–name, breed, quirks, favourite place to be scratched. Sometimes it feels like our days are going from one dog encounter to the next, and that’s okay with me.

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Next, I had to duck into True Grain Bakery, which mills its own grains, of course, and also makes excellent Eccles cakes. I’ll admit, Eccles cakes have never before inspired me. I guess I was always entranced by more flashy, icing- or fruit-covered things. This time I bought one. Little e and I shared it. We are sold. Bonus: I looked it up, and this pastry has a nice little history. I love it when food has history.

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Later, in Victoria, in an area where the city surrounds farm land on all sides like it’s protecting it (which sometimes it isn’t), my friend told us the story of the hobby farm five minutes from her house, which has been there forever, now run by a friendly old couple who likely get up at about the same early hour as me, except they’re tending sheep and chickens (I’m just making sure the toddler has some kind of supervision). You can buy a dozen fresh eggs by ringing the farmer’s “egg selling” doorbell and handing them four dollars (petting the cat while you wait for them to answer). And on Easter Sunday, my friend walked her dog beside the farm’s sheep field and saw a minutes-old lamb stagger up from under its mother, umbilical cord still attached. Here is the same lamb a few weeks fluffier. Don’t lambs look so fresh? Maybe it’s the contrast with the older, um, woolier adults.

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And finally. I don’t know why a lost duck mattered more to me than a lost dog or cat, but at that moment, I really wanted to look for him. Maybe because it was unexpected, maybe because I have a soft spot for Muscovies. This is my favourite story of the trip, and I think that’s because it requires the observer to finish the story, and how they do so says a lot about them. The glint in his eye makes me think he knows his way home, but wants to have an adventure first. He may also have some ninja moves up his…wing. I’m going to go with that.

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Hope you come across some good stories this week.

XO

Ria

 

In: Food, From Ria, Markets & Food Stores, Writing

How She Does It: Tabitha Emma 2

April 21, 2013

Thrilled to bring you another “How She Does it” interview with a very talented lady we have had the pleasure of working with directly : Tabitha Emma. Tabitha designed the Fork and Fiction website, from logo to illustrations to the nifty ‘postcards’ contact form (you haven’t checked out our contact forms yet? Hurry up then, take a look!). We found Tabitha, graphic designer / web goddess / artist through the wonderful Beth MacDonald of BabyMac fame. It’s turned out to be the prefect match for us.

Tabitha lives in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia with her husband and has what looks like a pretty enviable work space. We’ve never actually met in person or even spoken over the phone but I just know she is awesome. She put up with our woolly explanations, our constant questions and lots of changing of minds. I’m guessing it’s hard enough to satisfy one client, let alone two, but she managed it.  And to top it all off, she’s got some stunning illustrations in her portfolio…

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So, without further ado, here is Tabitha, and here is How She Does It.

When did you know you wanted to do the work you do?

I knew I wanted my own business from about 15 years old. But didn’t discover graphic design until my early 20’s. [Tabitha originally started in the fashion industry]

What is your proudest career moment so far?

Getting my artwork into the Curvy book. I heard about the book while I was studying, and it became a goal of mine to get published in it. In 2011, I successfully got published in the book.

What quality do you think is the most important for a person to be successful in your field?

Passion! There are plenty of talented people out there. If you want to succeed you need passion and drive. If your heart isn’t in it, you won’t get far.

What do you have to sacrifice or compromise in order to do the work you do?

Weekends! I do have the odd weekend off, but its not like a 9-5 job, where when you get home, its your time, and you don’t have to think about work. My business never closes, so its always there, and there is always something that needs to be done.

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What do you still hope to achieve in your field? Secret dreams!

I would like to publish a book of my own one day. Not sure what sort of book it would be, craft, recipes, children’s story, not sure. But it’s something I would love to be able to do.

Who is your biggest supporter / cheerleader?

My husband. He gets so proud when I work on something exciting, wants to show all his friends my work, or when I get something published.

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Digital reader or paper? Why?

Paper! You can’t beat the smell and feel of a book. It’s irreplaceable. I sometimes buy books just because they are pretty or have nice paper! I think that’s part of being a graphic designer.

Who was your favourite author as a child?

I had quite few, as I read heaps as a child. I think Paul Jennings and R.L. Stine where two of my most favourites.

What is always in your fridge and pantry?

Other than the basics, I always have peanut butter. I am a bit of an addict!!

If we could “beam you up” anywhere in the world for a meal, where would it be, what would it be and with whom?

Italy with my husband for dinner. I love Italian food, and since we have never traveled overseas together before, it would be a truly wonderful meal and evening!

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? 

Do the things you enjoy. Don’t just chase good marks, success or money.

Sum up your life right now in three words

Change, knits, creative

Thank you, Tabitha, for being part of our How She Does It series and creating such a beautiful design for Fork and Fiction. I have to say – that advice you received resonates with us too. You absolutely must do what you enjoy, it’s amazing what happens after that. 

HUGS, Hannah x

PS. Seriously?! How gorgeous are these illustrations? I had to post another…

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In: From Hannah, Interviews

Sweet Little Something 14

April 18, 2013

An end of week ritual – a wordless post (today is an exception; see below!), a personal photograph that captures a moment to be savoured, relished and preserved for looking back on. One photograph from Hannah, in the Southern Hemisphere and one from Ria, in the Northern Hemisphere. Feel free to post your questions, thoughts and comments.

If you’d like to poem it up with a Haiku (and who wouldn’t?), chose the pic that moves you and post a Haiku inspired by it in comments. All you have to do is remember that there are three lines; the first line contains 5 syllables, the second line contains 7 syllables and the third line contains 5 syllables. That might sound complicated, but it’s not, and it’s actually really fun. Below is an example–from this awesome  t-shirt!

Haiku are easy        (5)

but sometimes they don’t make sense          (7)

refrigerator             (5)

 

We look forward to reading your Haiku! Have a great weekend.

From Hannah:

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From Ria:

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In: From Hannah, From Ria, Sweet Little Something