Saturday, February 21, 2015

Time to chat.

In any season of life, there are many demands on our time and attention. And, for me these past two and a half years have been one of the most demanding seasons of my life as I take responsibility for raising little ones.

But, my time to think and process the world around me is greater than ever. I often find myself waiting and watching, for a little one to attempt to put on a shoe or another quiet moment of stillness as I sit and breastfeed. And, as I think there is much that I want to discuss and engage with more intentionally.

So, here I am. I need to write.

If ever I wished I had more than one set of hands, this would be the season of my life they would come in incredibly helpful. But, I am just one woman, and I love the feeling of being stretched, to fit everything I long for, inside my tent pegs.

Right now, for Been & Done, I am working on a range of Nappy/Diaper Stackers made from my newest collection of Wax Print fabrics I have recently collected. Wow, such bold and beautiful fabrics. I am enjoying the diversity of my collection, and have been searching out new local and international sources for African Wax Print to enable me to make more stock, and bigger items.

I have combined the high quality cotton Wax Print with some strong, solid coloured duck cloth. I realise that not everyone loves a chaotic, crazy combination of colours and I'd love to help more of these vibrant handmade items go to new homes, and to find a balance to showcase colours, designs and themes.

I love how versatile these Nappy/Diaper Stackers are, you can hang them in a cupboard, from a coat hanger or even from the side of a cot. I especially love the fabric ribbons at the top for tying them on. Inside each of the nappy/diaper stackers is a piece of upcycled plastic coated cardboard, reclaimed from a used lever-arch folder. I love incorporating as much pre-loved resources into my handmade items as possible. 

I have been keen to restock my Etsy shop for the new year, with fresh products, vibrant new fabrics and a range of sizes in Slouch Storage Baskets and Baby & Toddler Harem Pants. Slowly slowly, new ranges are coming together and are being added to my shop. And, now that I have so many new fabrics I want to continue to add new items to extend my range in each product. 

And, now to find a sunny corner for a photo shoot.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Just use it.

Are you someone who holds onto precious resources and ideas and puts off using them? I am, sometimes.

When I look at my fabric stash I automatically work out in my mind which fabric is too special to be used just yet. I want to keep fabrics for projects for myself, or some of it I know is irreplaceable and I use it sparingly or often not at all.

But, I am determined not to have so many precious things that I never use. I think that approach is backwards living. We need to mix up the ordinary and the extraordinary. Life is precious, and we don't know what the future holds. We need to make good use of the amazing resources, talents and ideas we have got right now.

What makes you hold yourself back from conquering those ideas?... self doubt? lack of confidence? unsure how to move forward with it? The longer you hold onto an idea, the older it gets. An idea is great, but it is just an idea. Use it, expand it, make it yours. Or you might find yourself forever feeling sad that someone else took your idea, acted on your idea, or just somehow ruined the idea for you because they did something with an idea that you held onto for too long. Remember everyone else is on the same journey of self discovery and wrestling with ideas.

Reality is with so much online idea sharing that your ideas will cross over with a many others... Have you checked out Pinterest lately! Wowee.  But you can still make it yours. Put your own flair on it. Use you own hand to make it. Think of ways to be original. Be courageous and have a go. Run the race instead of being a spectator critiquing everyone else. Envy is ugly and it undermines relationships. Celebrate those who do what you admire and long for.

Life is enriched when we live wholeheartedly, intentionally and with great love. Plant the seeds of your ideas and dreams and work to help them to grow and flourish. Don't spend all your time looking at your neighbours yard and envying their progress, while holding onto you packet of seeds. They are on their own unique and precious journey too, and they need you to cheer them on.

I think it's time you had a go at making some of your dreams a reality. Yes? Yes!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Shopping Tote.

It amazes me that I never get tired of making and creating. In fact it feels quite the opposite, like I have so much to make and do that I never seem to make a dent on the list in my head.

I have just completed my second Upcycled Coffee sack and African wax print shopping tote for the week. These are one of my favorite, and most practical, items I make. I love the stories woven into the fibres of the coffee sack, and I am excited to bring life back into an otherwise now useless jute sack.

Tonight I will complete a third upcycled shopping tote, and then I will move onto other stock for my Etsy shop. I have ideas for new products, perhaps if I have enough oomph left in me today I might play and bring to life the ideas and designs I see in my head.

Dream. Create. Make.
Love it!

Sunday, August 11, 2013


We have recently moved house, from a one bedroom to a two bedroom apartment.

Our new apartment has just been completed! It is spacious and sunny, modern and fresh. It is the most amazing place we have ever lived in.

We moved because we needed more floor space for our active baby, and an extra bedroom as she had outgrown sharing our room. As much as the apartment is impressive and new, we made some gains like a dishwasher at the expense of useful features like a bath.

For me, it is the perfect space to call my own. I love being home. I enjoy my creative workspace and the quiet, sunny location. It is a wonderful place to spend time with the wee one, and big enough to be hospitable and social.

This week we are changing rooms, the initial layout was a good idea but we soon realised it wasn't working very well. The baby was too close to the front door and stairwell, and it was disruptive for her sleep at times. And our room had a poor design flaw of the bathroom/laundry/toilet exhaust fan running noisily in the inbuilt cupboard. But, this noisy fan is the perfect baby whisperer! The babe sleeps even better as is conceals household noises and chatter, and she is less likely to wake and feel she is missing out on the party. Change is perfect for all of us!

And, this week I was fast approaching the end of my year of maternity leave from the African Women's Sewing Enterprise with Green Collect. This was my dream job, working locally to combine Community and International Development with cottage industry income generating projects. It was a dynamic, creative, inspiring role which I embraced wholeheartedly. And this week I resigned to embrace wholeheartedly my new dream job of being a mum. I choose not to return to the workplace, but to invest my heart, passion and creativity into my little sidekick. I will continue to expand and develop my own handmade enterprise, Been & Done, from home.

I love change and work to embrace it wholeheartedly. I celebrate the season to come: setting up house, embracing the time I have with our wee one, and the approach of Spring and a first birthday.

Change is perfect for all of us!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Have you ever met someone who you feel changed your life somehow?

This is my special someone.
Let me introduce you to him, his name is Derek (on the left) with his sister Berlin and little brother Raffines, and he lives in Western Kenya.

While we lived in Western Kenya, we would see these children every day as we went to work. They were great fun, and we would often chat with them, play together and share food with them. But my time with them was most profound because it confronted me on my own wealth and resource. 

One thing Derek asked of me during our times together, was bread. I have never met a child who asked for bread. It was so confronting.

The reason I am thinking about this so much today, it because I hear myself and so many that I know in Australia saying we don't have much money. Actually, we do. We have so much money. Perhaps we are overcommitted or we are wanting more things. But if you have electricity and heating, a toilet and fresh running hot and cold water, a healthy diverse diet and medication and affordable healthcare, employment or Government assistance, a car, a computer, clothes for all seasons and hobbies and entertainment then you are so wealthy it is incredible.

Life in Australia is incredible. Yes, buying a house is expensive or a new car. Yes, a supermarket shop can be expensive. Yes, raising children is expensive. But if you have money for a mobile phone and internet, coffee and lunch out, petrol in your car and a shopping trip, and spare change in your pocket then you are one of the wealthiest people in the world. 

I think we need to acknowledge our wealth. We need to take ownership of our choices of how we spend our money. We have so much opportunity at our feet. Look around you. Look at all your stuff and remember that you bought it with your money. I have walked in houses that were bare. And felt sick at the idea of bringing these people home to my house. They would have never seen a house like mine, full of resource and luxury.

Before you say you don't have enough, I urge you to remember you have an abundance of resource, wealth and education. We have so much that we really do have an amazing capacity to make a huge difference in the world for others. 

Let us listen to the little voices, of the most vulnerable - like Derek - and invest in them. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Books I'm keen on.

A few books which caught my eye on

Short Description for Compact LivingCompact Living opens our eyes to the possibilities of living a compact and low impact urban life. It is about learning how to live happily with less clutter and to embrace the joys in life. Most of our society is struggling to pay the bills, whilst chasing the ideal of a 'bigger' lifestyle. Compact Living is the perfect antidote to this; teaching us how to make the most of what we already have...

Short Description for Wild FoodWild Food reveals the secrets of how to identify, pick, preserve and cook the wild foods that grow in our hedgerows, woodlands, hillsides or seashore...

Short Description for Dancing in the Glory of MonstersPresents a portrait of Africa's Great War. This title shows how Congo became a failed state that, rocked by violence arising from the aftermath of the genocide in neighboring Rwanda, collapsed into a war of retaliatory massacres of extraordinary brutality.

Short Description for Wee WonderfulsA modern sewers' guide to creating cute, lovable fabric toys for children and children at heart from Wee Wonderfuls, a company known for its irresistible blending of vintage and modern, homey and hip.

Short Description for The Edible BalconyJust because you don't have any soil doesn't mean you can't eat delicious fruit and vegetables every day of the year. This book mixes inspirational ideas with practical advice on how to achieve beautiful, flourishing outdoor areas however many floors up you maybe and however small your space.

Short Description for The Sustainable Fashion HandbookPacked with facts, images and ideas, this title is divided into five thematic chapters covering every aspect of contemporary fashion from fashion cultures (from high street to blogosphere to couture), to the eco-footprint of the resource-hungry and wasteful system, to the fashion business, employer of up to 40 million people worldwide.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Becoming a Mum has meant that I think a lot more about tiredness then I ever have before! And as I think about tiredness, I also think about ensuring I take care of myself and recharging.

I think a lot about the things that make me tired, and together with broken sleep it is the energy it takes to connect with people. I love meaningful relationship and quality time, I love connection and dialogue. I value and invest in so many relationships but each time I do I know that it really takes it out of me.

So, to enable me to stay connected - with my little one, and everyone else - I find I need to take time each day to recharge my supply of people-energy. The best way I feel recharged it to immerse myself in something of great value to me. Sometimes this is done by a big walk, where I am able to be quiet and think, and take in the world around with with my baby by my side, fresh crisp air to breath in and the sun shining down on my head.

Another way I feel recharged it to be creative. At the moment I am most passionate about sewing. It is quite handy that I have a hobby that is so refreshing and productive. Lots of people have been commenting to me about how busy I am all the time, and how much sewing I do. But I would say that I am extremely intentional with my time to ensure that I find a healthy life balance: time for God and my faith, time for me, time with my husband and baby, time for my responsibilities and time to refresh, renew, create, grow, learn, love, live the adventure, take risks and to just be.

I have no interest in just being busy, but I love to be intentional and make the most of my opportunities, my passions and talents, and it is exciting to see my dreams become real before my eyes. More than anything I am thankful that I have the opportunity to stay home and care for our baby, thankful that my husband has a job and for the support of the Australian Government as our family grows. I think of the mothers who don't have the freedom to take time off work, who suffer for their children's wellbeing. I pray that I can be a support to other Mum's. It is wonderful to have practical skills that I can share.

Life is definitely richer when in lived in community.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Lactation Cookies.

Date and Dark Chocolate Lactation Cookies.

1 cup butter/margarine or coconut oil
1 and a half cups brown sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons linseed meal (from health food store)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups oats
1 cup or more of chocolate pieces/dried fruit/nuts
3 or 4 tablespoons brewers yeast (very important ingredient, from health food store)

Preheat oven to 180C.

Mix linseed meal and water together in a small bowl and set aside.
Cream butter/margarine/coconut oil and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time and mix well.
Stir in linseed, add vanilla and mix well.
Sift flour, bicarb soda, salt and brewers yeast and stir into wet mixture.
Stir in oats, and add in chocolate/nuts/dried fruit.
Line a baking tray with baking paper, and make 5cm flat cookie shapes with the dough (be mindful the mixture will spread when baked)
Cook for 10min, rotating from top to bottom of oven at 5min. 
Move cookies carefully from hot tray with a flip to a cooling rack. 

Lactation cookies help to build and maintain your breast milk supply. It is recommended to eat them regularly while breast feeding, and remember to keep your fluids up too. More info here about this recipe and the benefits of lactation cookies.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Bali. Day Five.

After a busy day of travelling the day before, today we made the most of 'local' day. 

And the best way to enjoy the gorgeous tropical weather is to swim in the pool! Our friends came over to our hotel and we happily splashed about in the pool, and shared lunch together as we overlooked the ocean.

When we're not swimming we have been making the most of spending some time in our wonderful air conditioned room and Eden has been happily sleeping the day away on our king sized bed!

And while Eden enjoys sleeping in the cool, and Ben works on updating his phone, I have begun working on Eden's cross stitch birth sampler. This cross stitch was such a wonderful gift from Ben's parents, received in hospital on the day they came to meet Eden. I am keen to work on it each evening and get it finished soon I hope.

I love cross stitch!

I first got the chance to learn to cross stitch when I was in grade 4 and I went to classes with the lady who ran the local craft store. This was such an incredible opportunity since I grew up on the East Coast of Tasmania, and there wasn't much for children to do and especially regarding tutoring and training. But growing up with a creative mother meant that I have enjoyed being creative alongside my mum for as long as I can remember, and I love that she has helped me to learn and develop my skills. The chance to learn new crafts while young has really been a wonderful gift. I think I might dig out some photo's of the cross stitches I have made over time and share them here soon. 

Gosh, I love holidays and am thankful for time with my little family, friends, and for the chance to be creative!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Bali. Day Four.

Big day out, with a long road trip to Pura Besakih. 
The actual distance wasn't that far, but travelling at an average of 40km an hour made for a big car trip. Incredibly Eden snoozed her way through most of the car travel, which helped make a peaceful journey for all of us!

A bit of info about Pura Besakih from Trip Advisor:
Over a thousand years old, Besakih Temple is known as the "Mother Temple of Bali". Perched on the slopes of Mount Agung, at a lofty 1000 metres (3000 feet)Pura Besakih is the paramount Hindu temple on Bali. Located high on the slopes of the volcano Mt. Agung, it has developed over more than a thousand years into a great complex of 22 separate temples, the largest and central being Pura Penataran Agung. The annual cycle of more than 70 rituals, which symbolically link the temples into a whole, culminates in the centenary ceremony called Ekadasa Rudra, last held in 1979. The temple complex, state-supported since the 15th century, has undergone a series of architectural and ritual changes

Highlights of the day included the chance to see more of the Balinese countryside through the bus window as we wound our way up to the temple, and the cooler mountain air.  

What amazes me about the temple, is to think that though it was built over 1000 years ago, it has stood the test of time. It is huge, and breathtakingly detailed. The location is incredible, and the temple has been well preserved. I love the thought that what we do today, can have an impact on the future generations.

A good reminder that we must never underestimate our moment in time.