Monday, 14 April 2014


Pjs teaching me thing? Who would have thought purple chevron flannelette could show me things?

With Autumn weather cooling down the nights I knew it was time to make everyone their new set of winter pyjamas. Spotlight had flannelette on sale, so Tamika came over, shoved my sore knee into the car, and we drove the one minute drive.

As soon as we got there, Jarvis went straight to the florals, sighing and saying "zizzie!". His word for most things pretty, flowers, butterflies and so on. Then he went to the chevrons. When Tamika and I asked what colour he wanted he keep pointing at the purple. Teak and I asked if he would prefer the yellow or blue. But no, he shock his head saying no and kept pointing at the purple.

As we were standing in line, both Tamika and I questioned ourselves. Why did we not let him have his first colour choice? Why did we feel the need to point to the so called "boy colours"?

As an informed person, I thought I questioned cultural practices. I didn't think I blindly followed cultural habits like gender-colour associations. I normally question how society's gender associations, yet ignorantly I questioned Jarvis's choice of purple.

I get annoyed when people question Jarvis's love of nail polish, yet I was being just as ignorant.

Instead of sewing Jarvis 'standard' PJ bottoms, I thought his choice deserved something more. So he got MC hammer pj pants.

Oh, and look at them next to last year's pjs, look how tall Jarvis has gotten!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

15/52 2014

The last two weeks there has been a lot of this, while my knee heals. With my little man snuggles who would not heal quickly?

Last year Jodi inspired me to pick up my camera and turn the focus inward. This year I have opted to continue with the series as I feel there are still so many family stories to be told through photos. So I will continue to Link up with Jodi  (the artist formerly known as Che & Fidel now Practising Simplicity) for the 52 Project.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014


Growth & Appearance:
I realised just how tall you have gotten. When the nights turned cool recently, not a single pair of your PJ pants fit your long legs, even though I made them extra long last winter. Tall and skinny with big feet. Sounds just like your sister.
I think you are a beautiful child, your inner happiness shines through.

Food must be separated on your plate. Ice must be added, by yourself to a drink first. Crusts must be cut off. You have a list of strange habits when it comes to your food. Though lucky for me, besides these habits you will eat pretty much anything.

This month you are a little chatterbox, from the moment you wake, to when you go to sleep you like to talk to us. Often, you will get a line on repeat, and like a record stuck in a grove you will say it again and again. Everyday you try new words, some times with great success, and sometimes even Justin and I cannot understand you. Just today you told me you saw a "Bin Tuck" (garbage truck) when you went for a walk with Justin. It is interesting watching you put words together and forming sentences.

Your afternoon nap can last from an hour to three hours. At night, we try to get you asleep by 8:30, and you will sleep in to anywhere between 7am and 8am. Yes I am lucky you like to sleep in. But you need to either hold my arm or my hair at night to get you to sleep through the night. I will lay beside you as you fall asleep, when you get into bed you tell me "Book Mummum". So I will read you a few books, and then you will shimmy over to your cot and happily settle down. But not before telling me "book Mummum" again. This time you are telling me to lay there and read while you go to sleep.

You have the ability to figure out technology so quickly. You know how to unlock all of our phones and go to, and use apps that you want. Your mind is a little sponge and you observe us in the everyday and then copy. This is good and bad. Justin will do something silly (read scary and dangerous) and you will mimic him.
With your improved language skill, has come an improved communication.

This month I want to talk about how you have favourite people in your life. You idolise your Daddy. When you ready to get up in the morning, you slap your Dad in the face for him to wake up. You tell Justin "up Daddy" and you want Justin to get up and play with you. Some days I think I hear " Daddy, Daaaaaddddy" over a thousand times a day.
"Dick home", is also said on repeat throughout the day. Meaning you want Tamika to come here to our home. You have also taken it upon yourself to unlock my phone and call Tamika, unfortunately Tamika is often at work when she gets calls from you.  
You also ask after "Di". Guy, you think, is your playmate, rather than Tamika's partner. At dinner on Saturday night you only wanted to sit on Guy's lap and hold Guy's hand.
Your uncle Ken is another firm favourite in your life. You only see him a few times a year when he comes to Brisbane, however straight away you are clamouring for his attention and wanting Ken to play on the motorbike or skateboard with you. Also if walking you will reach up of your own accord and hold Ken's hand.
With all other people, you do not like to hold hands, or give kisses to. You will actively turn your body away from people who try to touch or kiss you.

How I am thinking/Feeling:
For two weeks now, I have been very immobile, which means we have not being able to play and do lots of our normal activities together. I feel guilty, plus worried on how quickly time passes and how easy it is to miss out on things.

May sound odd, but I like to watch you when you are unaware I am there. Your face is so full of emotion. But then you spot me and your face breaks out into this incredible smile and I almost burst with love. 

This is your sad face... melts my heart when you get this upset. 



Sunday, 6 April 2014

14/52 2014

This week's images may not be technically the best. But emotionally for me they show how loving my little man is. Jarvis has told everyone about "Mummum's ouch". Plus he has taken it upon himself to play doctor on my knee. He will adjust the straps then give me kisses. Best, and cutest doctor I have ever had. Oh, and he had to have a band-aid on his matching ouchy. Yes, of course Jarvis has a 'cars' band-aid.

Last year Jodi inspired me to pick up my camera and turn the focus inward. This year I have opted to continue with the series as I feel there are still so many family stories to be told through photos. So I will continue to Link up with Jodi  (the artist formerly known as Che & Fidel now Practising Simplicity) for the 52 Project.

Thursday, 3 April 2014


Because I cannot get out in to my garden to show you what else I grow, I thought I would share some information on my favourite vegetables to grow in raised garden beds.

Also looks like I grow crazy old red haired ladies in my garden

Raised beds are a favourite among gardeners for many reasons. But for me being a renter, the soil can be altered to my needs, as I filled the beds rather than using what’s already available. The soil in these beds is not stepped on as much, which means it never becomes compacted. This allows it to drain excess water out quickly. The soil in these beds also warms more quickly in the spring, giving you a longer growing season.

In a raised beds you can grow almost anything, but there are some that I have had much better luck with than others. My three best types of vegetables for raised beds are:

1. Leafy greens
Greens such as lettuce, spinach and bok choy grwo like crazy in raised beds. These cool weather crops need to be planted just as soon as you can get a trowel into your soil. The fact that soil in raised beds warms more quickly than the ground means you can get started earlier with these crops and get several great harvests before summer hits. Another reason that leafy greens are perfect for raised beds is they despise soggy roots. The quick draining soil in your beds means lettuces will never have to stand in the water for too long.

2. Tomatoes
Tomatoes are heavy feeders that need nutrient-dense soil to thrive. With a raised bed you can easily customize your soil to your needs, adding in extra compost as you fill the beds. The only downside to growing tomatoes in raised beds is it’s harder for tomato cages and stakes to stand up in the loose soil. So I use long wooden stakes and ribbon from my sewing stash.

I also use a combination of the dirty hay filled with chicken poo, from the chicken coup, around the base of the tomato plant to stop it drying out too quickly and to prevent and weeds growing.

3. Beans. Beans are some of the easiest vegies to grow, which makes them ideal for beginners such as me.

But the best bit is, beans get the perfect start if they’re grown from seed, so this provides a great opportunity to teach Jarvis about sowing, germination and how seeds play their vital role as the starting blocks for our food. He loves to dig little holes and put the seeds in and cover them up. Not sure if he is old enough yet to get that all of the seeds he puts in the soil grow into the plants he loves to water. 

Wednesday, 2 April 2014


The English idiom "don't judge a book by its cover" is a metaphorical phrase which means "you shouldn't prejudge the worth or value of something by its outward appearance alone". I think we have all been guilty of this at one point or more in our lives, and I know people have judged me on my outward appearance.

But what would happen if you were not only judged on your appearance and your occupation, but so was your ten year old son?

Below is an article, copied in it's entirety from the Common Ground webpage. Milly is my cousin, as a little girl I use to baby-sit her. She was the sweetest girl who would spend the night colouring in, and then go to sleep with cuddles and me curling her hair in my fingers.

As an adult, Milly is still one of the sweetest people I know. Yet now, she is also an extremely talented artist, a successful business woman, plus a women of great consciousness when it comes to the environment and her fellow man. Milly is a woman of empowerment, who is an inspiration to others on just how successful women can be. She is also the tattooist who has done all of my work (bar for one piece).

At a really low point in my life (after a miscarriage) Milly gave Justin and I similar, tattoos. I call it my magic fertility tattoo. The week-end Milly gave us our peonies I conceived Jarvis! Who needs IVF when you can get a beautiful tattoo instead?!! Hmm maybe I should go back for more tattoos?

Milly free hand drawing Justin's peony tattoo

The finished tattoo

My matching peony

There was a time when tattoos were for sailors and criminals. Ink in the skin meant travels to far-off lands, an anti-establishment attitude or gang memberships. A beautifully ornate sleeve of koi carp, dragons and abstract swirls struck fear into the hearts of many, a signature of the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia, and a warning of trouble at best.
Even today, there are certain tattoos that bare criminal connotations. Tears on the cheek supposedly symbolise the number of people the barer has killed and Latino groups and bikie gangs sport the colours of their clans.
But this is the 21st Century – minds have been opened, culture has expanded and lines have been blurred, if not entirely erased. A tattoo today has no more relevance than our choice of underwear or our hair style.
And yet needle-wielding artists and those baring their subcutaneous sketchings are still being victimised and tarred with that same, centuries-old brush.

Camilla Zavattaro was born into an artistic family. Her grandfather and his father before him were painters and she was immersed in the art world from a very young age.
“From my childhood I watched my grandfather paint with great interest, and he watched his father paint,” Camilla recalls of her youth. “Art was celebrated in my mothers family. They immigrated from France after WW2 with these incredible art pieces, centuries old, that I had connected with. This is when I knew I would be an artist of some sort.”
But, as Camilla entered her teens, a chain of events would transform her perspective of art dramatically. When she was 13 years old, her older brother arrived home with a fresh tattoo covering his entire back and the introduction into the art form was made. Several years later, living in Brisbane, she began tattooing friends just for kicks. Her heart still very much in the art world, she enrolled in college, studying art and refining her natural talents, and it was here that her ‘serious’ tattooing would begin. In a self-confessed “right place at the right time” situation, Camilla befriended a tattooist and her transformation was complete – Camilla Zavattaro was no more, Milly Loveknuckles was born. “It was always definitely something I was always going to do.”

Camilla, Milly, began her professional career in Brisbane, completing her apprenticeship, finding her niche and continually advancing her skills. But five years ago, with the wellbeing of her then five-year-old son at heart, she decided it was time for a change of scene.
“After 10 years of tattooing I decided I didn’t want to raise my son in a city,” she reasons. “I was visiting Lennox Head frequently, it was the right thing to do.”
Milly established Rock of Ages Tattoo Parlour five years ago, launching the business as a solo venture, but expanding rapidly, now with a family of six artists.
“It’s an incredible work environment where everyone is really a part of an individual art movement and the professionalism of the studio,” Milly says of her business. “Our happy place is in the chair, machines in hands!”

Each artist has their own distinct style, favouring particular techniques inspiration and imagery for their individual work. Milly’s personal speciality is in highly illustrative work incorporating flora and fauna. This creates a more proficient studio offering a diverse range of styles, whether they be chosen from a catalogue or brought in by the client.
In Rock of Ages, Milly’s dream and her journey are complete. But outdated prejudice and archaic opinion are continual, and strengthening, adversaries.
In 2012, the Tattoo Parlours Act was updated. The licensing policy now required each individual to be scrutinised, with background checks, criminal records and even the personal opinion of the police commissioner coming into play to grant the $700, three-year license. And this was just for an individual to practice in an already registered, and similarly scrutinised, parlour.
These laws are in place for good reason. They aim to ensure hygienic, high quality services and restrict criminal activity, known to have been associated with tattoo studios in years gone by. But are these policies squeezing way too tight on an industry that caters just as much to lawyers, bank managers, respectable mums and doctors as it does to bikies and bank robbers? I have known of chefs, builders and other tradespeople involved in criminal activities and using the business as a gateway to those exploits, but there’s no such licensing required in those industries.

“The government are directly taking Australian citizens human rights away, through the disguise of misnamed laws such as the ‘anti- biker’ laws,” States Milly. “It has given the police the power to incriminate or incarcerate people as they choose, be it for protesting, misguided actions, having an organised group (of any kind they see unfit), or recently incarcerating a librarian, mother and community worker for wearing her boyfriend’s bike vest in public. She was jailed, not realising the implications of simply wearing a piece of clothing.”
Tattooing is an industry in which laws are required, that could not be disputed. But the levels to which tattooists need to comply, the false implications they receive simply because of their choice in career and a ‘guilty until proven innocent, and even then carefully watched with suspicion’ mentality are making it harder and harder to ink someone’s skin.
“Tattooists were recently ostracised by similar ‘anti biker’ misguided laws,” says Milly. “New South Wales and Queensland have new laws of licensing to weed out the gang related tattoo shops by incriminating every single tattooist. It is a licensing which YES we need, I completely agree, but to fingerprint myself, a positively active person in the community, member of the business Chamber of Commerce, who has never worked in a criminals shop is a farce.”
With the individual tattooing licenses and over $2,000 paid out every three years by each and every studio, one has to wonder where funds from this governmental cash-cow are going. But, however the collected license fees are being collected, it is near impossible to see how they are benefiting the industry they are trying to ‘protect’. It would seem, at least at first glance, that these policies are victimising an industry that, yes, has had a less-than-rosy history, but has come a long way since shady, port side parlours and mementos from time served in ‘the Big House’.
Surely this implementation of laws and regulations should be benefiting this now widely accepted industry. But, as Milly shares, the reality is far from a business protected and supported by governmental policy:
“Where is the NSW work, health and safety courses that come with the millions of dollars we are paying for our license?, where is the policing of home tattooing that spreads hepatitis, mutilation of under aged people and so on?”

The injustice and imbalance doesn’t even end at the point of a needle. The individual, the business, even the family members of a legally sanctioned artist. With a total disregard to human rights, personal history or, it would seem plain common sense, these laws are indiscriminately placing black marks against the names of entirely innocent citizens.
This extends beyond the bounds of rationality, even Milly’s 10-year-old son having his name recorded as, quote-unquote, a potential criminal or gang member, simply for being a trustee in his (also entirely innocent) mum’s business.
“This is devastating,” admits Milly. “My son doesn’t even get the chance to make a mistake in life, being already recorded as a potential criminal.”
Not that deviant behaviour is likely to come to Milly’s progeny, but even the virtually innocent act of accidental speeding, a crime of which, grandmothers, charity workers or nuns may fall prey to, will result in significantly more severe repercussions, simply because his mum is an artist.
Public opinion of tattooing, for all but those backward-thinking conservative types, has totally changed. There is no longer anything disrespectful or underclass, let alone criminal about permanently adorning your skin. It is often a beautiful personal expression of love, spirituality and creativity. But, as is a familiar story, the government refuses to change with the times.
“This fear mongering in the media is 10 years too late,” Milly iterates. “Tattoo studios have been a place of creativity and personal connections for a long time – it is intimate and an honouring of our bodies, now more than ever. The outcome needs to be a union of the people of this entire country to dissolve our government’s ‘smoke and mirrors.’
“Times are changing. We need to unite to make sure we are honoured individually as people of Australia.”

You can find out more about Rock of Ages Tattoo Parlour or contact Milly and her team through their website,