Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tread Softly, Love

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light.
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet;
But I being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W.B. Yeats

This is just how I see love. Loving someone is the ultimate act of vulnerability, is it not? To lay your very hopes and dreams under the feet of another in order that they may tread on the softest cloth, to save their feet. This is the love of a child to its mother and of a mother to a child, and every other true love.

Tread softly then children, even though a mother's love-and-dreamcloth can withstand some childish trampling. Tread softly mother, ever softly, as I fear the childrens' dreams cannot.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Conversations with children

No 2 Son: Mum, is there a boob shed?
Mrs S. : A boob shed? No, I don't think so.
No 2 Son: Mum, when I grow up I'm going to have a boob shed. No, actually a bra shed.

A career as a bargain basement plastic surgeon may be on the cards? Each new set gets a free set of lingerie included? He could be on to something there ...

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Boeuf or fun with French

Me and the rest of the Smith family can create tear-jerking hilarity amongst ourselves for quite a significantly long time trying to pronounce the French word for 'beef'.

This is how you really do it. We think it requires more and varied vowel sounds.

Simple pleasures, huh ...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Markets, eh?

Well, that certainly was a bit of fun, the ol' Niche market.

Apologies for the pics, they are a bit messy as they were taken during set up and the crowds surged in before I had a chance to take some of the final display.

Organisers think they had 6000 people through and it certainly felt like it. It was packed! How great was it too see so many people out and about on a sunny weekend in Launceston, supporting St Giles and handmade?

Thanks Liz for doing such a great job in organising such a big event for such a great organisation. Thanks to my suppliers (Auntie Cookie, The Rabbit and The Duck, Allypops, Write to Me and Ric Rac) for being part of an island market. Thanks too to my family for taking it in turns to herd the mini-beasts all weekend.

And it was my birthday. What a grouse way to turn 38!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Write to me hand printed stationery. It's nice. Really nice.
This little stack of it will be on my market stall this weekend.

Now I am off to get my eyebrows and lip waxed so nobody at the market thinks I am a freak show exhibit. Left to their own devices my eyebrows would rapidly take over my entire face. This morning I observed to the luthier that my nose hairs were oddly growing underneath my nose. He replied " That's your mo'. " Which is nice.

It might be Movember but this mo' is about to go.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Baddies with Goodies

Market goodies are arriving and taking over the Luthier's workshop.

I'm not sure what this baddie and his buddies where up to in the bow box.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Niche Teaser

A little taste of the lovely things that will be on the stall with Mrs Smith at Niche:

Auntie Cookie

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Parcels of Loveliness

Remember I won a giveaway from The Warp And The Weft? Well, you can only imagine my delight when the parcel of divine, Frenchy loveliness arrived in the post. My little tin of notions is full of tiny treasures. Merci!

Speaking of parcels of loveliness, I am expecting quite a few more to arrive in the next couple of weeks. I am embarking on a wee venture, setting up a stall at the Niche Market in November, here in ol' Launny town. " A market stall!" I hear you cry in disbelief, " Mrs Smith doesn't actually make enough stuff to stock a whole stall!" and you would be quite right. I don't. I like a little crafting and have knocked up a couple of blankies and dolls quilts, but for the stall stocking, Mrs Smith is receiving a little help from her friends.

I am very lucky to be stocking some of the delicious products from several extremely talented handmakers and designers from the island as well as the mainland ( pronounced 'moyneland' in Tasmanian). I'll feature them all over the next few weeks to give you preview of what Mrs Smith will have to offer on the day, but to give you a taste, there'll be cushions, pattern kits, prints, mirrors, purses, cards, journals, and much more.

Hope you can come along!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Aaaah ...

After a hard day in the playroom, Veronique recovers from the unpleasant incident with her Mama and the scissors by cosying under her Mrs Smith handquilted coverlet and resting her new 'hairdo' on the matching pillowslip. Aaah, if only she had a gin and tonic, her sanity would be completely restored.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Better than Prozac

Photo from

Two weeks of school holidays made me very depressed. Really sad, to the bone.

School holidays always sneak up on me, and catch me with no plans or means for lovely family trips to the beach and the like. The Luthier's one-man, small business means not much in the way of Smith family holidays.On our big adventure, he had about 10 days off work in seven weeks, leaving the kid-wrangling to moi. Anyhoo, one mustn't whine about an overseas adventure because it was unreal, child-challenges and all.

The fact is I don't cope well with prolonged periods with no time to myself. No time to do any old thing that takes my fancy does not work for me.

So on Saturday, the Luthier took the kids and I took a long walk in the sunshine. Just me and my iPod going GaGa. Destination fancy caf by the river, a glass of Jansz, some truly sublime lime cheesecake with a blood orange gel on the top and a good old chatfest with a lovely friend. No kids talk, no housework talk, we did not even slag off our husbands. We talked big, fanciful, outlandish ideas and she made me laugh so hard that I spat. On her cake. Terrible form.

Two hours did the trick.

I gotta remember that the it is, sometimes, that easy. Sunshine. A little time. A little walk. A little laugh. A little being nice to myself and now I feel more like being nice to everyone else.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cyndi Lauper - True Colors

Our latest bedtime song. It gets me every time.

True Colours - Cindy Lauper

You with the sad eyes
Don't be discouraged
Oh I realize
It's hard to take courage
In a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all
And the darkness inside you
Can make you feel so small

But I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that's why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful,
Like a rainbow

Show me a smile then,
Don't be unhappy, can't remember
When I last saw you laughing
If this world makes you crazy
And you've taken all you can bear
You call me up
Because you know I'll be there

And I'll see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that's why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful,
Like a rainbow

Friday, September 03, 2010

Mon petit coeur

Photograph from

The bug that has plagued my J all week has jumped host and is having a party in both my system and the luthiers. Oh, snotty misery! Scanning my blog list for a little flu-forgetting inspiration, I saw this title 'Mrs Smith's Velvet Heart'. I thought to myself, "I would love for my heart to be velvet. Hang on a minute, I am Mrs Smith". My whiney flu-infested self has won a giveaway from The Warp and The Weft, a truly beautiful blog by the ladies of French General in the USA. Its a kit for a beautiful antique velvet heart used to keep treasures and trinkets. How lush!

Thank you so much. Merci Beaucoup. My day has been made.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

More Inspiration

The latest Country Style magazine has a truly beautiful piece by Hilary Burden from Hilbarn about her journey from London to Karoola. Receiving, hand delivered, my Hilbarn box each week, containing wonders like this mignonette lettuce, is inspiring enough, but now to have the story behind the box ... inspiration in spades.

The latest Adult Ed guide details a course being given by Hilary on writing about place. More food for thought.

Inspiration and Education

Someone recently suggested that blogs should be about inspiration. It inspired me. In that spirit, this is what else has inspired me this week.

I don't know about you, but as a mother of school-age children, I am anxious about my children's education. I fear for my lads in the overcrowded, behaviourally-challenged state system and private school is not possible. Do I regret not having my children baptized, as now I can't get them into a Catholic school? No, I don't think so. Being an atheist converted from catholicism, my hypocrisy will only go so far. Mind you, I have been wrong about most other things that I have ever formed a strong opinion about. Like craft, for example. I used to be very anti-craft. I thought it was Fine Art's bogan cousin on a scholarship from a rural and regional area. I thought it was all Fimo earrings and appliqued wattles on windcheaters. And how wrong was I? So part of me is prepared to meet Jesus on the other side, shaking his head with a hint of a smirk that says 'I told you so' as he points me in the direction of the Inferno.

My concern had reached a peak last weekend after a very ordinary school report and being told by his teacher that my son "struggled with reading, but it was nothing to worry about" had inflamed a feeling of helplessness for my two boys. My boys are not your ordinary boy-sy lads, and I fear they could skate through a system in which, if you are not a high achiever or a naughty boy, you could potentially coast through, relatively education free.

Then a friend said "There is this video on the Internet, a speech by Ken Robinson, you HAVE to watch it." And I did. The speech is entitled " Why education kills creativity." Rather than furthering my despair, this speech gave me hope and clarity. A simple message 'play to their strengths'. Don't focus on their flaws, focus on their strengths. I dig it.

This philosophy is quite at odds with my childhood memories of education and family support. Being one of 7 children meant a rigid, nun-based education and in my belle famille mistakes were rarely left to pass unnoticed and the opportunity to take the piss was never left wanting. My mother recently joked about how I never wanted to go to ballet classes because I wouldn't get out of bed on Saturday morning. The way I remember it was being a 4 year old, all dressed up in my ballet pinks, loving myself sick, only to have the piss taken out of me so ruthlessly that I didn't ever want to don them again. My brother once kindly said that " a bikini on me would look like two rubber bands on an egg". But I'm not bitter ... much.

Any road, what I have taken from the witty Ken Robinson is this - observe your kids, see what makes them truly happy and facilitate their opportunity to revel in it as much as possible. All talents are equally important. Obvious stuff, I know, but my anxiety needed to be kicked to the curb.

I have also been reading Andrew Fuller's "Tricky Kids" which could alternatively be entitled "Out-of-Control Parents" but probably wouldn't sell as well. It is really a guide for changing parent's behaviour for better outcomes for your kids. I am inspired. Fuller promotes a simple mantra - 'Be positive and optimistic and be a fierce friend to your kids".

Note to self - Be positive and optimistic and play to your strengths. Life is more than your capacity to be 'successful' as defined by any one standardised test, institution, system or social expectation.

What's inspired you this week?

P.S. This post was not intended as a criticism of the education system or of teachers. The education this week has been all mine. What I have learned is that anxiety, my parental anxiety has clouded my judgement and has negatively effected the way I parent my children. Anxiety encourages me to focus on flaws. The problems I imagine and project onto the education system stem mostly from my fearsthat my children will not measure up within the system. The inspiration from Ken Robinson has begun to help dispense with this anxiety. The thing I hope for most for my children's education is that they find an adult or adults other than me and the luthier, a teacher or mentor who invests in them and their talents. Good teachers are the bees knees!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

There is life in the ol'town yet

Who says there is nothing to do in this one-horse town? Next week she is going to heat up to steaming point and her whistle is going to blow! This ol' town is the site for the Junction 2010 Regional Arts conference and the city is coming alive with the arts.

Niche All Wrapped up market will be superb over, not one, but two locations this time. Loz and Dinny (Mrs Burns you are a new-mother-of-three marvel!) and the wondrous Black Eyed Susie will be peddling their wares, amongst many other unreal hand makers about town.

I am lucky enough to have been providing the Stompin' cats with a little admin help in preparation for their wicked "WeTube Live" extravaganza show. Don't miss it! Next Thursday and Friday at 1 and 6pm at the Albert Hall.

There is graffiti knitting, shop window performances, public gatherings and the Junc Room in Civic Square is bringing us the gift of Barry Morgan and his world of organs.

Get down here mainlanders! For the next week we are artsy and HOT! (After that I can't guarantee much more than some fine food and a lovely walk, if its not raining!)

Islanders, no more complaints that there is nothing to do. We have one week of entertainment overload. Soak it up!

** All photos have been unceremoniously ripped off the Junction 2010 site but I hope they don't mind as I am advertising their stuff shamelessly. If they do, someone let me know and I shall remove them forthwith.

Monday, August 16, 2010

By hook

Mrs Smith has experienced a long post-adventure malaise. There has been a very long crafting hiatus but I am clawing my way back with a little help from my crochet hook.

There has been much going on chez Smith. The mission list went up on the fridge and so it is written, so it shall be done. The luthier found the DIY god within and rooms have been painted, furniture has been moved, boxes have been ticked. Our Antique White USA has been replaced with Orange Flame in one room and Lead in the other. Rooms have changed jobs and now the J is installed in his own 'pad' and we have more living space. Its a revolution! We have entertained on no less than 3 separate occasions since the rearrangement, with enough room for grown ups and children and all. Making space for great people makes me very happy.

And I made this Orange and Rhubarb Upside down cake and I recommend it for your repertoire. It is bloody delicious!

The luthier turned 40 and great friends joined us for dinner at Black Cow. Grown up and Lush! Cape Grim beef and Holm Oak pinot followed by the ubiquitous and delicious chocolate fondant. The evening proffered great company and conversation. In fact, I learnt that ombudsman and smorgasbord are the only two Swedish words in common English usage! Fun and educational! Life on the Island is good.

So what now?
As my previous post may have foreshadowed, on return from our travels, I determined that my days as a full-time stay-at-home mum were numbered. 7 weeks of 24-7 with the little whatsits had done me in. The little lady was off to childcare. and I couldn't wait. Except for one small problem ... the good child care centres have no places and the others aren't good. We went to check one out, but the sea of snot-covered faces pressed up to glass doors and the frightening proximity of the tiny toilets to their dining tables, left me a little nonplussed.

So here we are. The Smith ladies together. All day. Every day.

I have resigned myself to it, almost. She can go when she is three and the early learning choices are a little more palatable. I can't say I am not disappointed. For a few minutes I had the whiff of freedom ( you know, that free-for-two-days-a-week-between-the-hours-of-9-and-2.30 kind of freedom) in my nostrils, and I liked what I sniffed.

For now though, I'll jump into these last months as a full-time homemaker with both feet, but I am keeping my eyes on the future.
Mrs Smith has plans.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Les Enfants Terribles

I'm not sure at which point I knew that the lack of discipline and overindulgence on our travels had gone too far.

Perhaps we should have known from the start, when Sophie screamed blue murder as the plane landed in France, not because of "a pain in her ears, le pauvre petite" as the lovely French steward suggested, but because she simply refused to put her seat belt on. Screaming in confined spaces became quite a talent of hers. Her best work reserved for taxis, trains and, of course supermarkets.

Perhaps it was when we walked into the Benetton shop in Bayonne, with another lovely French man coming to help us and Sophie responded by hitting the floor and screaming " I want a pink t-shirt- WITH SPARKLES ON IT!" - and walked out wearing one.

I definitely knew we were losing the battle when the kids were no longer allowed to accompany me into the St Julien supermarket, as my humiliation at reaching the counter with two small children screaming for toys had peaked.

In desperation, one afternoon, I locked the kids in the car in the supermarket car park to run in for our baguette and jambon Bayonne. The lovely ladies at the counter looked as relieved as I was not to be having the Smith tantrum spectacular again showing at a venue near them. I gave my "Merci's" breathed a sigh of relief and walked out to see my youngest son executing a very fine 'pressed ham'* up against the car window.

Mon Dieu!

*For those of you unfamiliar with this technical terminology the 'pressed ham' is the pressing of one's bare buttocks up against a glass pane for the shock/amusements of others. A very popular activity amongst drunk, exhibitionist undergraduates in the early '90s and possibly popular still today.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Random Snaps

Cap L'Homy Plage

San Sebastian


Ready for Dinner

Nice legs ...

Mimizan - More baguette anyone?

and again

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


Mezos was a very sweet little village with a honkin' boulangerie and a tip-top second-hand shop, conveniently located on the drive from our little villa Landaise to Onesse, where the luthier was learning how to be an archetier. Every time I saw the hotel with the car parked out the front I beamed. A constant little snapshot of France in the 50's. Perfect!