Tuesday, 26 March 2013

making @ koskela

Yep, I'm a maker. There is nothing like the feeling of crafting a creation out of your own two hands, even if it's just a simple card for a loved one. When I was younger, I can remember making personalised singlets and undies for girlfriends, colourful artworks for my bedroom and a thousand and one beaded necklaces. For our engagement party last year, I insisted on DIY lanterns made from recycled tin cans, with thousands of tiny holes hammered into them in different patterns. The more time-consuming projects like granny blankets are even more rewarding, and I love  the process of making 'a little bit each day'. 

For something a bit different (and because we heart Koskela), my girlfriend Fiona and I attended a class at the Koskela Workshop on the weekend, where we learnt a new creative skill. And with  recycled plastic bags and wool sprawled out in front of us, we started to make a basket.  

The super talented artist Michele Morcos so generously took us through her basket weaving process, with friendliness, clear instructions, repeated demonstrations, honest advice and lots of genuine encouragement. Her beautiful baskets sat as pieces of art in front of us, with such intricate detail only achieved through  hours and hours (and weeks and weeks) of dedicated weaving. 

Sitting, making and chatting among a mixture of ladies of all ages was so lovely on this Saturday morning, especially in the colourful and inspiring surrounds of the Koskela Workshop.

A trip to Koskela isn't complete without an excited wander around  the warehouse, oohing and ahhing at the gorgeous furniture, artworks, books, homewares and the colourful collection of other delightful bits and pieces. 

While we didn't join the queue for lunch at Kitchen By Mike, I have been lucky enough to try those canteen-style plates of deliciousness before and highly recommend indulging in the whole Koskela experience - it's a treat! 

We finished off our morning appropriately admiring the HUGE woven light pendants and baskets made by the Tjanpi Desert Weavers.

I'm now in the process of making my first ever woven basket, 'a little bit each day'. It's an exciting project, and I'm in no rush to finish. I love the 'no knots' rule and the idea of weaving in found objects to create a story. I started with a recycled Lebanese bread bag, and then moved onto raffia. I'm keen to dig through my wardrobe for a once-loved pretty pattern, and weave that in too. 

Friday, 22 March 2013

la lupita

Date nights are important. So is spontaneity. And Mexican food.

After reading this review in the SMH this week, I decided to surprise Chris with an unexpected date night. No details were revealed except for a text "taking you out tonight - be ready at 6.30pm." 

I had him stumped and it drove him nuts, but it was so worth it. As frustrated as he was, I could tell that he appreciated my spontaneity. It was fun - especially for a Tuesday night. Having moved to Marrickville recently, the look on his face when I started to drive in the direction of Canterbury, a place we hadn't really discovered yet, was priceless. When we got to 325 Canterbury Road, I pointed to the shop front with black windows and no signage and told him we were going there. 

When we walked through the door, the smell of charcoaled meats instantly made us smile, and from that point on, La Lupita blew us away. It felt like we had stepped into another world, and by the end of the night we didn't want to leave! A huge light box with a beautiful black and white photograph set the atmosphere perfectly, as did the industrial light fittings swept across the roof. There were candles in huge glass jars, long industrial tables, a street cart serving drinks and an open kitchen inviting all to see. 

The staff were extremely friendly and helpful in explaining the process of ordering (which is like yum cha - you want, they stamp) It was also great to meet the owner, and let him know how much we loved it.

The food - indescribably good. The best. The habanero chili sauce on our tacos ($6 each) was perfectly complimented by the sweet cinnamony sangria ($6 a glass). The charcoaled hot wings ($10) were insane. 

We had very happy bellies and we're craving more already. We'll be back and we're bringing our friends.

As much of a surprise as it was for Chris, I was just as excited and amazed to had discovered this little treasure. We had a fantastic date night in a truly awesome venue, and hopefully many  more to come! 

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

this girl

Miss Evie Joan 

Oh how you've grown! 

For the past six weeks

You've melted our hearts with those cheeks X

Thursday, 7 March 2013

tea + wool

It's only mid March, but I'm so excited to snuggle up in the new apartment, start a new crochet project and sip endless cups of tea!

New colours to choose, new flavours to discover.


There's also the chunky scarves, warm long socks, ugg boots, beanies & flannelette pj's to look forward to. 

A million soup recipes to be cooked. 

Endless warm cuddles to be shared. 

Winter adventures to be had.  

Friday, 1 March 2013

pho friday

It's raining, there's a new Autumn chill in the air and my belly is now perfectly content with the warm, flavour-bursting goodness that is pho! 

Pho Friday is back! 
The best way to end the working week.  

I'll definitely be living off this deliciousness through the coming cooler months, with some of the best pho in Sydney in Marrickville.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

we now own a little home

We always wanted a big backyard, a bbq and dogs.

Saving for our first home last year, we had exactly that in mind. We day-dreamed, fantasised and spent hours scrolling through thousands of houses for sale online. Even building became an option when house+land packages surprisingly fell into our budget. When that deposit was just in reach, we went and looked at a few old houses in Camden, NSW. Both growing up in South West Sydney, we loved Camden for its little cafes, produce markets and community culture. It was still close to where we grew up, to our families and friends. It was familiar; it felt like 'us' and the obvious way to go. But we both worked in the city and it meant traveling an extra hour every day. We were pretty sure that it would be worth it.

Last September, we bought our very first home - a little apartment in Marrickville, NSW. We completely changed our minds, changed our paths and changed our lives. I've always believed that things have a way of just falling into place when they are supposed to happen, and this is a perfect example. We didn't really know the area, but liked what we had seen of neighbouring suburbs and loved the idea of being closer to the city. So we just did it. We took a bit of a leap. We didn't over think it or weigh up the pros and cons. We decided to go on an adventure. It payed off.

Our ground floor 2-bedroom apartment is home. Older in style with gorgeous wooden floorboards, high ceilings and huge white walls, it's small but just big enough for two. It houses our little nick-knacks perfectly, with the kitchen window sill my favourite place to display plants, teapots and spices. The paint peeling off the window frames adds to its character, as do the daddy long legs' living in the corners. We shower in the bath tub and friends crash on our couch. We don't have a clock, matching sheets, a dishwasher, a microwave or a vacuum cleaner - but we're perfectly content with the imperfectness. We're enjoying simple, smart living. There's no lawns to mow, and not a lot of house work to do at all. It's so, so quiet and we often think we're the only ones in the entire block. We are surrounded by green trees, and  hear the birds in the morning, the rain drops as they fall and the crunch of leaves is now the sound of home. It is so nice when we do see the neighbours though, and the smell the multicultural meals being prepared reminds us of our little community.

Marrickville (what we've discovered so far) is an absolute treasure, and we're so lucky to have stumbled upon it. There is just so much to look at - vegetable gardens, mosaic tiles, federation homes, fruit trees, Nonna's in nighties, old men having conversations on corners, art, graffiti, tattoos, recycling, FOOD, hipsters, planes as they fly by and the city skyline not so far away. There's still so much to see, so many places to explore and so many memories to create.

We're getting fatter though. There's not much time for exercise with all the food there is to eat. There's the pork rolls which never fail to satisfy any hunger type, craving or snack decision (just can't describe their goodness), the Greek bakeries selling ridiculously cheap cakes (and breads and biscuits and macarons and pastries), the Vietnamese restaurants serving flavour-bursting pho and fresh rice paper rolls (currently working our way through the 8 or so we have within walking distance), the best pizza ever (an important staple), Portuguese around the corner at Petersham, our favourite Turkish over at Newtown (+ all the other amazing eats along Enmore Rd) and then there's the coffee! A Sunday breakfast cafe venture with friends is our favourite - there's Vesbar serving huge Italian doughnuts with a knife and fork on rustic breadboards, and Beejay's which turns into an awesome little bar at night. For more baked goods, there's Bourke St Bakery and we are still yet to try Double Roasters and Cornersmith! The local markets are insane. While a bit hesitant at the beginning, Chris is all on board for our Sunday market veggie-stock-up-sessions now that he has discovered THE BEST BACON & EGG ROLLS (yep, indescribably good!). The local grocer Bananna Joes is great for pistachios and spanish salami, while the outdoor Asian grocers have fresh herbs for 50c a bunch, bananna leaves (must make pad thai & get these for serving), fresh rice noodles and mangoes the size of my head. Then there's our Turkish grocer down the road selling fresh roasted nuts, buckets of cheese and spices by weight. So our pants are tighter but our bellies are happier. We did buy bikes though, and the plan for this year is to find the perfect balance between eating and still being able to fit into our clothes.

The hardest, hardest part and only downfall to this little adventure, is that my Oscer Boy cannot be part of it. I could never leave a dog alone all day in an apartment - no way. I know he has a very, very happy life with my Mum and his brother Ollie, with a big backyard to run around and cats to chase. But I do miss him - oh so much and everyday. Of course he visits us in Marrickville and we visit him, and the time we now spend together is very special. There was one day though not too long ago when we just had to doggy-nap him for a sleepover.

We won't be here in the little Marrickville apartment forever. The feeling of discovering a new place is just too good. We do want a house, with a backyard, a BBQ and dogs, but it will come.  Stories of "that little apartment in Marrickville" have already started, including the beaded necklace which broke on the day we moved in (will be finding tiny green beads forever!), the birth of one of my girlfriend's drunk alter egos (Phil!), and the Christmas Eve nerf gun war by candlelight. We know these stories will be remembered and cherished. It's a special time in our lives - and we love it.


Absolutely more Marrickville photos to come!

Friday, 1 February 2013


I haven't written in forever, but something happened this week and I just have to share my proudness - it's bursting out!

Bec became a Mum and Troy became a Dad.
Chris became an Uncle and I became an Aunty.

Welcome to the world little Evie Joan!

She is just a delight. 
A tiny person full of wonder. 
The perfect addition to our family.

This is true happiness. What an adventure!

I snapped a few pics of the beautiful Mum-to-be with her belly a week and a half  before the birth.

 So proud of you Bec & Troy.

Thank you for the motivation little Evie X