Last night, me and my lovely lay in bed, watching the lightning storm, huddling closer as the hit of fierce thunder followed.   With Ezekiel Honig playing softly in the background…it was the perfect place to be.   Such a fitting full stop to a week of love and celebration, chats, music making and hanging out with our wee ones.

I recently came home from a weekend of playing tunes in Meleny, Queensland.  When not playing flutes and fiddles, we traipsed through rainforest and soaked in the smorgasbord of beautiful things to behold…thank you Mumma Nature!   I spent a lot of time looking up at the tree tops and the stars that are often hidden to those of us city slickers but reveal themselves willingly to those who dwell beyond the clutter of lights below.  I stared across the magnificent Glasshouse mountains and tried to take it all in.  It was time alone to wander and wonder and at the end of these few days, I felt an overwhelming sense that for me and my family, there are a period of change ahead…change of the good kind.

In a couple of weeks, we head to Italy on our first international adventure as a family of four.  Soon after, I’ll start my study to ultimately become a midwife.  Without a doubt, this return to student life will affect everyone in my nest and I feel so lucky to have their absolute support an encouragement.   Dan continues to make superb sounds within the studio walls of Tweak and Twang. His work here grows and grows, taking us towards a time when we can flip roles and Dan can work from home and I will head out for work into that big ol’ world.

For now, I am working with the Brunswick Women’s Theatre on a project called ‘Human as a First Language’ which brings together a diverse gathering of women to present a series of performances in November.  These women are extraordinary and we have had some amazing sessions in the studio, capturing their voices and stories.  Stay tuned for details of the performances….

Oh My….Some of Melbourne’s most sassy and crafty ladies are taking part in a Pop Up Studio Sale in the cities most charming of locations, the Nicholas Building from August 4-6, 2011.  I am terrified to be included amongst the line up which includes Peta Pledger, Betty Jo, Shara Lambeth, Emily Green, Dawn Tan, Madeleine Stamer and Helen McLean.

For the past few days, Mum and I have had our sewing machines in overdrive to finish off our new range of boy’s strides that are oh so adorable and especially made for the pop up studio sale.

There will be goodies galore for the small and tall…. so please drop in for a visit.

I have recently fallen hard for American string band ‘Crooked Still’.  The album has been my autumn soundtrack and although there are so many highlights on the album, it was their version of Henry Lee that got my imagination running rampant.  The subject is grim but in the final verses, the betrayed lover aims her bow and arrow at a bird (depicting her infidel lover) so as to silence his bird song.

My own little Henry loves the song also – though fortunately, he is blissfully unaware of the dark tale unfolding thanks to kooky folk speak.  He DID manage to make out the bow and arrow bit and was most intrigued.

It’s quite hard to find a children’s bow and arrow set that isn’t plastic fantastic, fluorescent or a ferocious cross bow type thing….so Henry and I started work on our own.  Selecting feathers, string and wood, we crafted this little set.  The finished result is purely for decoration and imagination time (for which the local animal kingdom are most grateful)….AND…for props when I get snap happy.

Here’s one of the pictures taken on my trusty Pentax K1000.

I just got home from a one week tour to New Caledonia.  It was my first time away from my little ones and although I had many a heart palpitation at the thought of being away, I was also in big need of some Nelly time.  The gigs were fantastic and we had plenty of adventures worthy of a tell all book.

On the final leg of the tour, we found ourselves whisked away into the sea by some of old friends on their oh so lovely boat.  In the middle of nowhere, the anchor was plunged and we soon followed, into the turquoise waters of utopia.  Soon after, beers were handed down to us as we perched on the ropes from the boat in the salty sea.  Our swim was shortly interrupted by some rather unfriendly sharks.    It was said that I ran on water back to the boat.  Seriously, I think I broke Thorpie’s  freestyle record on this occasion.   We stood on the boat and watched the 2 dark shadows dart from one boat to another, my heart pounding in my chest.  The shadows faded and when they could no longer been seen, we struck up the courage to re-enter the waters….this time with our instruments.  We treaded water (instruments held high above heads) and fortunately found this sand bar in the middle of the lagoon.  A beautiful French  family from a near by boat came and joined us when they heard the music.  They came to our gig that night and gave us this footage….

This all unfolded a mere stone’s throw from the island Ilot aux Goelands when we got the urge to play tunes in the sea.

It was an amazing week and the homecoming to my boys was oh so beautiful.  My darlin’ D held the fort back home and did a stellar job as I knew he would.  Home is where this girl’s heart is though, and I was so fortunate to have been given the chance to realise how so this is.  Here’s what i came home to…

It’s been a busy few weeks.  Mum and I have been cranking up the sewing for Crumb in the lead up to Christmas.  Cups of tea flow freely as do our chats, making the time we spend together all the more precious.

I just finished a class at the very lovely Thread Den.  My old friend Peta Pledger took the class and after 2 sessions, my fellow students and I graduated with our finished product, a gorgeous skirt.  Yay!

My adventures continued on the weekend when my lovely friend lent me her little girl to model the latest crumb wares.

Playing dress ups and taking photos of this little eskimo was sheer bliss.  The new pieces have now been listed on the crumb website so please drop by and check out the goodies here .

Here’s some of my favourite pictures from the day.

A few years ago, Dan, Henry and I stole away to the mountains of Valhalla in Eastern Victoria.   We wrote this song for Henry about our little adventure.   I’m pleased to say that Dan even joins me on vocals for this one.  It’s become a lullaby of sorts and sometimes we hear Henry singing it to himself when he’s playing.

Here it is…I hope you enjoy.

Hunting by Welcome Dear Friend

Ah Halloween…how I love thee.  My heart leapt with joy when Henry asked if he could have some of his little buddies from the street over for a night of spooky mischief making.   Henry was adamant that he wanted to dress up as a red back spider.   This was a job for Granny and she gladly succumbed to Henry’s pleading brown eyes.   We had a great night, the three of us gathered around the machine as we watched my fabulous mother work her magic.  Henry and I did some of the grunt work such as stuffing legs, cutting threads and cheering from the sidelines.  Working with no pattern, Mum turned out a fine rendition of one of Australia’s deadliest spiders.

Halloween eve arrived and the kids gathered in Henry’s darkened room.  During the week we had made shadow puppets from black cardboard attached to balsa wood sticks and we used a strong torch to shine onto the bedroom wall.  The stage was set.  I freestyled a horrific tale (well it was pretty G rated actually as the audience was made up of four year olds).  As you can imagine, there was no shortage of willing little helpers to hold the puppets as the story unfolded.  Dan played a live soundtrack on his laptop.  Actually that was probably the scariest part of all….If the makers of Saw are reading this blog (unlikely) you really should give Dan a call.   The little and big folk loved it and Halloween night passed without nightmares – in our house anyway.

Mountain Road

The other day Henry and I were sitting on the floor playing with a motley collection of matchbox cars.  It suddenly dawned on us that these cars had been cooped up for far too long.  What they really needed was to go for a trip on an open road, get of town, take a road trip, see the country and drive over some hills.  It was then that our next creations was born……

What you need: One big cardboard box, one cereal box, scissors, paint (black, green, white), glue, sticky tape, black pen/ marker

Step one: Flatten out the cardboard box and draw your mountain (ours is approx 20cm from the centre base to the mountain top and 38cm edge to edge at the base). Cut out this shape which will form the mountain side.  Trace and cut a second mountain side .  They should be the exactly the same in size.   With the remaining cardboard, cut out some road panels.  We used the lid/flaps of the box (approx 12cm in width and long enough to provide a little bit of road on either side of the mountain – our road is 100 cm long).

Step two: With all the bits cut out, it’s ready to paint and Henry doesn’t need to be asked twice!  He was there eagerly waiting with paint brush in hand and oodles of black paint.  He took off painting the road pieces.  We placed these out in the sun for a quick dry and then, using white paint, Henry added a white dotted line down the middle to make the lanes.  Then, using clear tape we pieced the sections together.  The road is now complete.

Step three: Paint the mountain side.  We didn’t have any green paint so we mixed blue and yellow and got ourselves a lovely mossy green.  We placed these pieces out in the sun to dry.

Step four: When all the pieces are dry, find the centre of the road (if the length of the road was folded in half) and attach it to the top middle of one mountain side, taping on the inside.  Attach the rest of the road to this side of the mountain.

Do the same for the other side – starting in the top centre then working down each side.

Some notes….

The finished product really looks fantastic and money can’t buy the quiet satisfaction you get from making your own toy, avoiding the toy shop isles and all that plastic.  Guaranteed, your little munchkin will love it just as much.

Fixing it all together was the most tricky part and you may think of a better way. Although it was finicky, it’s held together really well after weeks of play and Henry still enjoys taking his cars out on the open road after kindergarten.

As Father’s day approached, Henry and I started our annual scheming.  Our chatterings usually took place after story time, in hushed tones just loud enough so that Dan heard our mumbles, successfully planting the seeds that something sneaky was underway.

Our offering to Dan this year was a little song that we wrote and recorded (using glock, voice and mono synth) with accompanying video clip.   In the days leading up, you could find me snapping away as we danced in costumes, wrote melodies and words to describe our big, big love, made play dough hearts, built words with blocks and cut out paper letters to make a banner as colourful as a rainbow.

With the pictures from the story board, we made a panoramic frieze for Dan’s worker-bee station, machine sewing all the pictures from the story board together.

So here’s the finished product that made our grown man cry with happiness.  Stay tuned for 14 seconds of Otis’ chuckles at the end as they are truly contagious.

Why did we go to such lengths?  Because D is a such fine Dad, deserving of a marching band, dancing bears, sky writers and so much more…..maybe next year.

p.s   Writing lyrics with a four year old is hilarious.  I plan to use Henry’s lyrics for all my songs in the future…no more hunching over blank pages for me.


Oh my….I am in a haze today after seeing the wonderful Jonsi at The Palace in Melbourne last night.  The entire band was phenomenal and it was a tre romantic eve with my lovely.  I have spent the afternoon tinkering on the piano inspired by the melodies and harmonies of last night’s performance.

When I was pregnant with my first little munchkin, I used to play Sigur Ros to my growing belly.  Recently, we were listening to a Sigur album and the track Snefn-g-englar came on (I had to refer to the I-Pod for the track name – one of the challenges of not speaking Icelandic).  I told Henry that I used to play him this song when he was in my tummy.  Henry answered “I remember. I loved it so much and I would sing along so loudly, I’d be screaming.”

It seems everyone has a Sigur Ros moment and this is mine.

Here is a picture of Henry in feathers not unlike Jonsi’s.  This is from a series taken by my beautiful and oh so talented niece Hailey Moroney.  You can check out her blog here