Ten Dollars well spent...

We visited our local Op Shop this morning. I love this place because there is nothing hip or cool about it. Just some very sweet ladies and gents from the local church volunteering there time and selling whatever the locals bring in. No jacked up prices as soon as anything looks slightly "vintage."

Todays for ten bucks we found...

Shoes for the kids

A shirt for me

Quite a few meters of this seriously cute Holly Hobby material

a nice plate

And topped it off with a jar of homemade Apricot Jam, made by one of the locals.

I'm looking forward to getting creative with the material and enjoying some of that jam on toast with butter..mmmmmmmmmm........



Christmas Time all year round...

January is such a funny month. I love it and I don't all at the same time. We are full of optimism and great hope for the new year, symbolised by the making of resolutions, plans and lists. But as we pull the Christmas tree and tinsel down, we also say goodbye to another year, and recognise that the festive season is well and truly over. It's back to business.

Well, no! No, I say. Life is short, I've been reminded again of that in this past week. And good times, sad times, stress, love, pain, suffering....these are all experiences of the human condition. And that's ok. In fact, I think these ups and downs are what make up the fabric of our lives, and keep us grounded.

But I admit that pulling down the decorations this year was making me a bit sad. The bright colours, the love put into our homemade creations, the symbols of joy, hope and peace. I was missing being surrounded by all that.

So you know what? I figure, stuff it! Life can be dark, life can get sad. And while I don't intend to ignore the darkness and not so good times in my life and the lives around me, if something as small as a string of paper angels can make us smile, then surely that can only be a GOOD THING!

So this year, i resolve to decorate. Maybe the Christmas tree is down, but why should I remove all the colour and loveliness from our home? Perhaps this year we'll celebrate the changing of the seasons, or simply growing another year older. With homemade decorations like pretty strings of bunting, paper chains, kids pictures, or just some flowers from the garden, we will live our year with things around us that cause a smile.

These things aren't going to make the world a better place, but perhaps they'll make my world a bit brighter as I get back into the grind of another year.

A few simple steps....



Four good things

Four reasons why I'm excited about music again:

1. My brother, Pete Carr, just released his first album, "Mistaken and Misplaced." And it's good, seriously. I'm not just being a proud big sister here. I was lucky enough to record some backing vocals on a few tracks, and Pete included a lot of clever family and friends on the album, so its very homemade and DIY which is a GOOD THING! He designed the cover too, I like. I might rave about the album later in a different post, but you can hear his music here.

2. My brothers and I recorded a live track and clip for my song "North, South, East or West" last week. It was my first visit to the studio in ages, so I was a bit nervous about how we'd go. It went well, though. Once we've mixed the sound and edited the clip I'll let you all know!

3. I have recently started writing some new tunes. It's been a while.

4. Our Back Yard and Lounge Room Tour is shaping up to be fun!! I'll be sitting down next week to organise the dates and deets. If you're interested in hosting a show (and are in or near Melbourne), please contact me by emailing mezzcoleman@hotmail.com or leave a comment below by Friday the 27th Jan.




Coleman Jnr loves cheese and bacon rolls and often requests them on a trip to (or even just near) a bakery. In desperate need of some holiday activities (because boy, does that kid need to start school!) I thought we could make our own.

Now I'm not a mum who loves cooking with the kids. I know, I know...how terrible. The fact is I'm always quite idealistic about it and can't wait to apron up the boy and get going, but once we start its all fingers in the cake mixture, sneaky sneaky with the sugar, licking everything in sight........ (and thats just me, you should see him!) I noticed recently that every time I include kids with cooking its always , ALWAYS sweet treats..cakes, cookies, etc. So I thought it was time to show Coleman Jnr that baking can be fun, yummy, and not include huge anounts of sugar and fat.

These cheese and bacon rolls were great. The dough needs to sit for a few hours, so if you're trying this with your little ones, I'd recommend going out for a play while you wait. The bread recipe I used was very easy and stolen straight from the blog page of one of my lovely and clever sister in laws, Ash. Go visit her and grab the recipe by clicking here.

Adapted to make these rolls, we rolled the dough into small balls (roughly the size of a tennis ball) topped them with greated cheese and some diced bacon. I'm not a huge bacon fan, so made myself a cheese and tomato roll. We baked them for 15 minutes.

They were a winner!!


Simple Sewing

I had a car accident yesterday. No, no don't worry. Mum, if you're reading this don't panic!! It was nothing too bad, a driver just happened to not see my car and a red light, go figure. The boot is a bit damaged, but other then that everyone and everything is ok.

I had both my little Coleman's with me in the back seat though, and that kind of freaked me out. They are both so precious, and I guess I felt a bit mother lion-ish and protective. When I got home I was a bit of mess.

In need of calming down, I turned to my lovely new sewing desk and sat down to make something. It had to be simple: nothing fiddly that was going to frustrate me and keep me up all night. Remembering that ages ago I had wanted to make a bag for my friends to keep their soccer bibs in I set to work, making this simple drawstring bag.

Materials used: stripy t shirt type material from the op shop, felt bought on last years trip to Taiwain, and Mr Coleman's old shoelace.

If you are new to sewing (which I certainly am), try a drawstring bag. They are super simple to make, easy to use, and with cool material look really cute. We have drawstring bags made out of recycled materials all over house: They hold everything from nappies to bibs, marbles, hairties, library books, and more. You can make little one's as gift bags or huge ones to hold your washing. Try popping a child's name or initial on a bag and filling it with goodies as a gift.

For simple directions on how to make your own, click here. I'm sorry, still too frazzled to write my own instructions!


My Friend the Chocolate Cake

My Friend the Chocolate Cake are a great band. You should check them out here. This post is not about them though. This is about my friend, the chocolate cake.

I'm not a fancy artist. I write pop music, not post modern jazz. I sew A-line frocks, not wedding gowns. I knit booties, not cardigans. And I bake cakes. This is one of my favourite, simplest recipes. Called "Simplicity Chocolate Cake" and found in the 1975 Edition "Recipes For Busy Mothers" compiled by the Nursing Mothers' Association of Australia, I like to whip this one up every once in a while and throw it down with a nice pot of tea. What better way to enjoy the last few hours of the weekend on a Sunday night!




My secret weapon: Amazing. Rich. Organic. Fairtrade. Cocoa.


One man's trash....

Thought I'd do a bit of showing off and let you in on my most recent secondhand finds. We did a spot of op shopping (by the way, since when did we start referring to this passtime as "thrifting", peoples!!? Op shopping, all the way!! Anyway, I digress...) over the weekend, mostly in the outer Western suburbs of Melbourne (the further from town you go, the better the op shop!) I have loved all things old and/or recycled for years and years, and we as a family are all pretty dedicated to sourcing most of what we need second hand. In recent years as I've become a bit more handy, I find I'm not just looking for clothes and furniture, but am also able to source most of the fabric and craft supplies I use from op shops too. Somtimes we buy important and useful things such as school unifoms, nappies, books, and kitchen items etc. Sometimes I just find little treasures that make me happy. This is what we found this past weekend:

Vinal. Two wonderful ladies from the 80's, Kate Bush and Cindy Lauper. (For those of you interested in my music, Kate Bush was a huge inspiration and influence when i was a teenager.)

Toy Sewing Book. Check out some of the amazing ideas (and amazing vintage material!)

Sewing Cabinet. Yes, I'm particularly excited about this, as I currently have to set up and pack up Mr. Janome at the kitchen table every time I feel inspired which IS A PAIN! This cute desk was generously handed down to me via friends of my parents and I can't wait to pick it up later this week.

I thought i'd save the sweetest till last. This little handmade sewing thingamejiggy which cost the whole sum of 50 cents and came with a poem handwritten and attached in the pocket!! If you can't read it, it says (in very sweet Grandma handwriting):
Hang me over the arm of a chair
Your pins and needles will always be there
Scissors and thread in the pockets will fit
So you can sew, wherever you sit

It's the simple things in life that make me happy. This little find was definatly one of them.

What little treasures have you come across recently?



Could this be YOUR backyard?

It seems many of us are getting a bit sick of late nights, dirty toilets, sticky floors and insane levels of loud. I am getting less punk rock by the day...(or perhaps I'm becoming more punk rock as I embrace a more DIY attitude to all things art!?) That's why i've decided to relaunch my live shows in an environment that's heaps more family friendly, sociable and relaxed. What better way to enjoy live music then with the kids free to play, some natural light so that you can work on a bit of knitting, and your friends and neighbours over for a picnic, BBQ or even just a cup of tea?

I am currently looking for back yards and lounge rooms to perform in as part of my March/April Acoustic Tour (slash "comeback!") Rather then expect everyone to come out to the pubs and clubs to hear us play, we're keen to come to you!

The show would be "invite only" (don't worry we won't be advertising your house address in Beat magazine!) and you could host it however/whenever you like..ie, a Friday night, a Sunday afternoon. Leave a reply as a comment or email mezzcoleman@hotmail.com if you're based in or around the Melbourne area and you're interested in hosting an acoustic performance at your place!

Looking forward to it..



Happy New Year

Happy New Year! I hope your celebrations were relaxed, fun, and shared with your loved ones. Ours was certainly very chilled. We welcomed the New Year in enjoying a quiet weekend pottering around and doing a bit of this and a bit of that. I thought I'd quickly share a few little moments of creativity that were had in our house over the weekend. No big projects, just simple tasks that kept me humming.

Saving my shirt from the opp shop pile! I haven't worn this in a long time, as I'm feeling a little too mature (really!!??) for boob tubes these days. In a moment of inspiration I decided to give this old favourite of mine one last chance with some simple tied up straps in a contrasting fabric. I just made my own wide bias binding for the straps, and attached (sloppily...don't look too carefully.)

Our old change table, which we bought second hand 6 years ago for Coleman Jnr and has been used for both kids nearly got chucked this week as well. The fabric cover was totally falling apart, although the frame is still fine. Luckily I'm married to a very clever guy who's incredibly in touch with his inner craftiness and he whipped up this new cover for our little Miss using a waterproof tablecloth, velcro and his brains.

Chickpea burgers! A very yummy recipe which would suit vegos/vegans/meat eaters alike. I cooked up nearly 30 of these guys today and will freeze most of them which we will then use during the summer for BBQ's etc. I will share the recipe with you in a seperate post soon. Definatly give them a go!

Reading. I'm currently enjoying Ian McEwan's "Atonement", set mostly in London during the 2nd World War. This novel is also a movie, so I may need to check it out at our local DVD shop over the summer! Check out my cute book case by the way, made lovingly for me this Christmas by the wonderful Mr. Coleman and Coleman Jnr.

In the spirit of New Years, i can't help but want to make a million resolutions. I know I won't keep them all, but I think there's no better way to start the year than with a few dreams and hopes, no matter how large or small. A few hopes for my creative life this year are:

More Crafternoons with my lovely friends.
Play more family friendly live shows.
Play an acoustic suburban lounge room/backyard tour.
Record a few new tunes.
Figure out how to use youtube.
Learn to crochet Granny squares.
Overcome my fear of sewing in zips.
Bake bread more often then once a year.
Post here regularly.

That's it for me. Perhaps you've made some resolutions too? Feel free to share!