31 October 2012

Capes and radios

Grace bought a tiny radio for 50c at the fete. Since then we just have to listen for the grainy sounds of 'hits of the 70's, 80's and 90's' to know where she is. She can be seen grooving her way down the hall, or sitting in the magnolia tree listening to the news in arabic, or the races, or sometimes just the white noise between stations.

At five and a half Grace is an uncomplicated force for good in the world.

29 October 2012

Selected Highlights

A few highlights from the fete (and then I'll stop banging on about it):
The dad who donned a homemade yeti suit to run the snow cone stall; the woman at the bric a brac stall who took the donated corningware casserole home to scrub it so I could buy it (for ten bucks) looking like new; the kilt (vintage, made in Australia by Marfex, with suspenders) I scored for Nina to go with this one I got for Grace last year; the men stretching pizza dough like professionals; the queue of kids waiting for a shot at The Anne Can; the breathtaking plants and veggies and the gorgeous garlands; the delicious Albanian borek made and served by someone's generous grandma.

Tempting Fete (again)

We had our school fete on Saturday.  After a couple of rain soaked years, and a Friday which showed Melbourne at its squally worst, we were pretty nervous about what the day would bring.  But the weather held.  The sun even made a few brief appearances.  The whole fete was wonderful, but, surprisingly, I'm particularly partial to the craft stall....

Pencil rolls by Lou W and Martina

Pirate bears by Margie and little dolls by Caroline

Owls by Andy

Gnomes by Lou W

Soft toys by Gayle, Rachel, and many others

Knitted teddy bears

Buttterfly clips by Mary

Amazing Atlas and Melways bunting by Andy

Dresses and pinafores by Lou K, capes and tutus by Lou K, Margie, Gayle and others 

It was BIG
There were aprons, (some made by kids from the school and kindly donated for sale), cats, kittens, cards, hair-ties, brooches, bibs, beanies, backpacks, bunting, bags of all sizes and shapes, hot water bottle covers, juggling balls, clothes, puppets, pencil cases, owls, elephants, monsters, thumb wrestlers, pirate sets, crafty showbags, kits to make your own bell bats, peg dolls, mexican god's eyes and much else besides.   If you judge an event by items sold, money raised, enjoyment had, community bonded with, friendships cemented, compliments garnered, skills learned, inspiration obtained, quantity of produce or quality of work, it was a success on all counts.  Thanks to the many people who knitted and sewed and stuffed and glued and tied and cut and packaged and labelled and donated and especially to those who bought.  It was a truly lovely day.

26 October 2012

Something is Happening

When I was a student I got a job as a paralegal with a large commercial law firm which was acting for one of the parties in the Tricontinental Royal Commission. My job largely consisted of ferrying documents and files to and fro, and lots and lots of photocopying. Occasionally I had to go up to the Royal Commission and hand a brief to one of the barristers there. One day, after being in the Royal Commission, I got in the lift with a very senior male member of counsel. The lift stopped at a floor and a woman got in, realised that the lift was going down and not up, and in a slightly flustered way exited the lift at the next stop. It's the sort of thing I have done many many times. This esteemed barrister, probably then in his 50's, turned to me and said 'That's why we keep them barefoot and pregnant.'
The smile froze on my face. I had expected a genial comment of the sort that you share with strangers in a lift - 'Don't you hate it when that happens?', or 'She's not having a good day'. He obviously registered my shock and said, in a frankly vicious tone 'Oh, she doesn't find that comment amusing' talking to me about me in the third person. I hurriedly got out of the lift, still shocked that he would make that comment, but too gutless, too intimidated by his 'standing' and too vulnerable to say anything to him.

It has stayed with me, that incident, for more than 20 years. It represented a tiny little window into a world in which I would always be excluded by virtue of my gender. A world in which such a comment was perfectly acceptable.

Much has been written about Julia Gillard's misogyny speech and everything I would say has been said better by others. Today I read Tracy Spicer's open letter in The Age and felt that perhaps something is happening here. Perhaps what Gillard's speech did was open the door to a conversation that needs to happen, to start a public dialogue. The comments on Spicer's piece are depressing and predictable and yet still I have hope. If women, all women, but especially women in public life and in positions of authority, talk honestly about their experiences then perhaps we will really see change. As a young woman I didn't want misogyny to exist. I thought it was something from another era. But it's alive and well and it thrives on our silence. Let's keep talking.

23 October 2012

Sneak Peak

Monster pencil cases

Cats and kittens

Hot water bottle covers

Hand puppets

A peak at some of the things I have been making for the school fete. If my camera hadn't broken I'd also show some of the beautiful work done by the rest of our group of talented, creative and funny crafters. Almost everything was made from donated items, repurposed denim skirts, off cuts of wool suiting and the seemingly neverending button collection of Rachel. We had a long but enjoyable evening pricing everything. Most things are under $10, nothing is over $30. Bargains I tell you, absolute bargains. Come along if you are in the neighbourhood.

17 October 2012


Elephants from angora jumpers, for the fete. It's nearly here. More photos to come.

16 October 2012

Wedding of the Century

 The wedding of Mr M Brown to Ms Harriet Bear.

The bride was resplendent in an original creation by Nina.

The groom had a smart outfit and new spectacles.

The best man, Mr T Tigey, cut a dashing figure in polka dot tie and rosebud buttonhole.

Floral arrangements courtesy of 'back garden' designs.

Delicious homemade pizza and artisan icecreams were provided by society caterer Grace.

A stunning wedding cake by baker Ruby topped off a memorable day.

All staff at the Small Matters blog wish Mr and Ms Brown Bear the very best in their new lives together.

nb: iPhone photos. Camera still in shop. I'm starting to think that Mousie Brown could have his own blog.

13 October 2012


First my camera went. Four to six weeks to fix I've been told. I'll take that as eight to ten weeks. Then my computer died. Notoriously buggy automatic update of Adobe Flash caused corruption according to my IT guru. Then last night the oven finally gave up the ghost. Plans for roast dinner aborted. If I was a paranoid person I might start to feel that technology was against me.

On a different note, Grace told me that her breakfast porridge looked like a graveyard.

Feels wrong to post without photos so things might be quiet around these parts for a while.

07 October 2012

Time; passing.

I'm feeling nostalgic tonight. My camera is broken and I haven't had the chance to get it fixed. There has been so much crafting happening here, not to mention a wedding that I couldn't photograph. Yep, Mousie Brown tied the knot. We were all so proud.

Anyway, not having a camera sent me browsing through old photos. This one is Lily at four weeks. In a month she will be three.  Years. Unbelievable.

01 October 2012

Thrill Seeker

Inconveniently my camera died part-way through our NZ trip, but I couldn't really do justice to the place anyway. Our apartment was alongside Lake Wakatipu, overlooking The Remarkables. It just isn't like anything we get in Australia and yet much of NZ is familiar - a kind of parallel universe where just enough is different to remind you that you are not at home. I was surprised by what a delightful place Queenstown is, truly spectacular. I am not one for thrill seeking, and I don't ski, but tubing with Lily on giant inner tire tubes down snow 'alleys' was exciting enough for me. Lily initially loved it and then declared it 'too freaky' and refused to participate any more, which suited me fine. Trying to keep her clothed in the snow was a challenge, she's a girl who's spent most of this Melbourne winter in a nightie (during the day I mean) and bare feet.

I can hardly believe that I now have three children who can ski, after three days of lessons. It was definitely the highlight of the trip to see them swooshing down the beginner slopes like old hands. I can also hardly believe that, after watching the bungy jumping from Kawarau Bridge I decided it would be a good idea to do it myself. At the very edge of the platform I could feel a rising panic, but by then it was too late and over I went. I thought perhaps that bungy jumping might feel like flying, or freedom. Actually, and unsurprisingly, it felt like falling. It wasn't scary (other than the moment before the jump). I remembered why I've never particularly liked roller coaster rides, it's not a sensation I find thrilling. Still, I'm glad I did it, not least to show my daughters that, contrary to their expectations, sometimes I am a mum who 'does that sort of thing.' I thought I would feel that falling sensation as I went to sleep, or that I might relive it, but I haven't. In all the photos I am smiling hugely.

It wasn't, as far as holidays go, very restful.  No holiday with small children is though, is it?  But as always, there is something about travel, even just a fleeting week away, that replenishes the soul a little.