August // noveltybroochfriday

August's Novelty Brooch Friday is kindly donated by Janine Middlemost. Janine's company, Middlemost Designs creates a range of products, just one of them being brooches. Janine has kindly answered five questions for us which gives a great understanding of her ethos and approach to her creative process. 

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Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your shop Middlemost Design?

I provide handmade clothing, jewellery and accessories made using vintage and recycled fabrics and found objects. Each piece is made by hand in my home studio, surrounded by vintage fabrics and other inspirational vintage pieces.

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You work with a lot of different materials, in particular the brooch you are offering as a giveaway is cross-stitch, is this technique something find appealing? 

The brooch featured in this giveaway is made from a vintage embroidered table cloth. 

What materials do you like working with?

I enjoy working with vintage fabrics, sheeting, table cloths and tea towels.  All fabric scraps from my clothing are kept and used for smaller items like jewellery, purses and labels.

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Where do you get your inspiration from and do you have any creative ethics?

I am inspired by fabric prints and textures, colour and vintage children’s books.

Are there other jewellers/artists you admire and inspire you?

Tractorgirl (Julie Gibbons) Betty Jo Designs (Liz Jones) Liana Kabel who all work with up cycled materials and found objects. Melanie from Textile Allsorts, Gay abandon body parts and Kurt Saggers from The Cats Pyjamas.

We are so pleased to be showcasing Middlemost Design’s brooch for August’s Novelty Brooch Friday so for your chance to win this cute brooch just post a picture of yourself on Instagram with your favourite brooch, entries can be submitted on any Friday from now up to and including 23rd August with the hash tag #noveltybroochfriday and we will announce the winner (randomly chosen) on Monday 26th August. Open to everyone, you can enter as many times as you like, either new or vintage brooches.

Each month Claire (@tunabake) and I will take it in turns to showcase those sellers of vintage brooches and designers we admire and love to wear ourselves.

*If you are a designer or sell vintage brooches (worldwide) and wish to donate a brooch for an upcoming month and have your shop showcased, please contact me at eaenglish@gmail.com

Peace and corn cobs

E. x

winner // winner

Claire and I are so overwhelmed with all the entries in our #noveltybroochfriday competition. For the second month now, we have a beautiful brooch to give away and another beautiful winner.

We had 189 unique, quirky, handmade, vintage and some other totally bizarre brooches flashed around on the Fridays in July. We just love that there are people all around the world participating in this simple little idea.

My colleagues are always ready to see my brooch come Friday and some of them even wear theirs as well, even without having Instagram. It’s cute.

Claire and I both agree that it brightens our Fridays, the whole reason it started, really and we hope that it does the same for you. Now… drum roll please……

ImageCONGRATULATIONS TO….

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@sarifleuri!

Thank you for sharing your darling little cupcake and we hope you enjoy your specially made, sewing machine brooch from Miss Betty Jo Designs. Please email me eaenglish(at)gmail(dot)com to claim your special gift.

Stay tuned for an announcement about our fabulous August Brooch. Thank you to everyone for entering, we just adore seeing all the amazing brooches out there. Keep them coming!

Peace and cupcakes.

E. x

currently // a love list

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Minestrone, chunky knits, op-shop thrifts, getting into bed with a hot water bottle, green, multiple-coffee days, crisp air and blue skies, completing lists, road trips, baking, slow days, the ‘I want you NOW’ look from Lover, cider, open fires, pumpkin, my garden and getting my nails dirty, walking through my town and falling more and more in love with it every season, the way OB can now annunciate the ‘L’ sound in words, icing, sushi, a change in my style that sits just right, Almost Famous, dancing and baking at the same time, snoozing on the picnic rug even though the neighbours can see us, Daft Punk, sourdough bread, the fact that Seb started using the term ‘Step Dad’ (pretty huge), everyone else’s babies and vegan pizza.

Peace and love lists.

E. x

Get Loafed

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I recently ran a wee little craft night at my favourite local hang, dbl Ristretto. I decided to treat the lovely people who came out that night with a piece of slice to accompany their evening coffee. Afterall, it’s winter and they came out after dark. POINTS!
Anyway…. I had a few requests for the recipe of the zucchini and walnut loaf I made that evening. I have been making this recipe for a few years now and my favourite adaptation is the vegan one I currently use. The original calls for white flour and HEAPS of caster sugar but I have found a happy and healthier compromise that still tastes divine and is a little lighter on the nasties. 
 
Please give this loaf a try. You can serve it warm or cool and it’s freezer friendly, but I bet it doesn’t stay in there long. 🙂 Enjoy, Poppets.
 
Get this stuff out of the cupboard:
 
  • 2 2/3 cups wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 large over ripe bananas, mooshed  
  • 200ml sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or agave syrup
  • 3 large zucchini, grated
  • 3/4 cup (75g) walnuts, toasted, chopped, plus 6 whole walnuts to garnish
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (craisins)

Now follow this simple method:

Preheat oven to 150°C. Grease and line a 2-litre loaf pan.

Sift flour, soda, baking powder and spices into a large bowl.

Stir in sugar, then add mooshy banana, oil, vanilla (or agave), zucchini, nuts, cranberries and a pinch of salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined, then spread into the prepared pan. Top with extra nuts.

Bake for 1-1 1/4 hours or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool slightly in pan, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

 VOILA! Now grab the kids and/or the lover, a picnic rug and a sunny spot. Morning tea is served. 
 
Peace and (a big, fat slice of) loaf.
E. x

update

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I’m in one of my silly ‘can’t sleep, too many things filling my head’ kind of moods so I thought I’d use it to give you an update on a few areas of my little world.

I think the biggest thing occupying my mind recently is the reality of starting to look for a house. A proper, buy it, start our ives together kind of home. As mentioned in my previous post, we have been talking about it for a while but the fact that we’ve begun to go to open houses is pretty freakin’ exciting. We stayed up until all hours last night talking about all of our home dreams. FYI that is an awful topic to discuss when you need to go to sleep. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be creating mood boards in your mind of all the loveliness you envisage for your future home and it will stop you from sleeping. It’s hard to stop that shit. 

Dragging myself away from that, I have been crazy busy at work but feel as if I’m making strides. My project was a little neglected before I started so there’s a lot of catching up to do in terms of branding, procedures, training, communications, etc etc. I am enjoying taking a huge bite and seeing if I can manage to chew it. So far, so good. 

I am running a craft night at my local cafe this coming Wednesday and I can’t wait! It has sold out and I’m thrilled with the response. We will be making simple dream catchers whilst enjoying being able to meet like minded people from the community, sipping gorgeous coffee and munching through a selection of vegan slices. It is set to be a very pleasant evening and I’m looking forward to seeing peoples different interpretations on the (very loose) guide on how to make a dreamcatcher. I really enjoy the creative process and truly love seeing how others go about it, too.

On top of this, actually, it’s more like squashed between all this is my uni work that I am really into. The topic, Educational Psychology, is really interesting and makes quite a lot of sense to me. However, I will admit that I am struggling a little with the correspondence side of this situation. I miss face to face contact and being able to have a free flowing conversation about the topics and the assessment tasks. That aspect, the human interaction and feedback, has always been a huge part of how I learn. Needless to say, sometimes just reading a text book and writing to an online forum just doesn’t cut it for me.

I watched a great film last night, though, about the importance of quality, accessible education for everyone. It’s called Never Back Down and it was remarkable. I actually fist pumped the air at one stage because I was so emotionally invested in the characters. I strongly recommend the movie, especially if you’re a preservice teacher or feeling a little less than satisfied with an aspect of your life. This will inspire you to do something about it. 

My kitchen has been getting a super work out as usual. I have recently tried lemon cookies, deep apple tart, chocolate brownies as well as a selection of savoury dishes, many being hearty soups to ward off the winter chill. I am in love with cooking at the moment and hope it hangs around for a while as my friends and family love me for it and it’s just so satisfying.

This time of the year is always busy as Seb’s birthday is only days away and then OB and I both celebrate our birthday in August, with many family and friends also clocking up another year in the few weeks around our dates. It’s a fun time of the year and I can’t wait to turn 26 and to see my little one turn into a four year old, two weeks later. I love celebrating and what better excuse than a birthday, right?!

So there you have a little snapshot of what I’m thinking about recently. Some other and very random topics I’ve mulled over recently include getting a second veggie garden started, finally choosing a bed frame, new ways of being more environmentally accountable in my everyday, all the books I want to buy and also the general ‘where can I get some extra time from?’. I think many people feel this from time to time.

Thanks for stopping in. 

Peace and a clear mind.

E. x

the land I love

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Seb and I have been talking more seriously about the type of property we want to buy as our first home. We have been talking about it for a number of months now but the more discussion we have, the more photos we excitedly send one another, it’s becoming more and more clear to us that what is really important for us is the land first, then the house. Originally it was Seb who was really keen on all things ‘land-like’ and my focus was always on the house. This has shifted a little for me recently as I have come to realise just how important a large area for my family really is.

I have had the pleasure of visiting some truly spectacular properties of late and it hardly even registers to me what the house is like as my focus and attention is on the block that it sits on. I want to walk around, see what their veggie patches are like, ask what kind of trees do they have and so on and so forth.

I was reflecting on this whilst on the long drive from Seb’s place to mine this afternoon and it struck my just how important time and little dose of ‘woosah’ can be for big decisions. Lately I have been appreciating the value in considered decision making and I really think that now I respect the fact that good things take time and effort. This was something I struggled to get my head around when I was a bit younger.

It is an exciting time for Seb and I and our little family right now as we search through real estate catalogues and online search engines waiting for the prefect place to pop up.  There have been a couple of stand out properties of late that have really had us swooning. We are such geeks sometimes and we sit with our phones on loud speaker so we can look at the same property profile and discuss pros and cons over the phone.

We have very similar taste when it comes to the house side of things, which makes it easier. Some priorities for the house include fire place, large-ish kitchen, lots of natural light and character. Now, the last quality is subjective for sure and I have been known for striking a home off the list for being too modern and lacking in, what I consider to be character. Give me an original sixties kitchen with wood floors over any fancy new cupboards and tiles any day. Oh and the old bathrooms that are often mentioned with expressions such as ‘easy fix’ or ‘perfect rental’, I LOVE them! Old bathrooms with the aqua basins or the purple tiles around the bathtub just make me squeal in delight.

When I see particular properties with large backyards all I see is the potential. I envisage a big, walk through style vegetable patch and a swing set on one side and a big shed for Seb’s steam toys on the other. I love to be outside in the yard as much as possible and can’t wait to be able to really make a place our own and spend time outside as a family, in one house. What a relief that will be.

I feel confident that we have figured out what our priorities are for our family and for the lifestyle that we want to create for ourselves. That direction is clear to us both and bloody hell, it’s a great feeling, to have such a strong vision and to share that with your favourite person in the whole world. I’m a lucky gal, that’s for sure.

I am so grateful for this exciting journey in my life right now and who knows, it may take another twelve months before we find ‘the one’ and are ready to commit to a mortgage, but gosh darn it’s fun to be on the look out!

Peace and realestate.com.au 😉

E. xx