Friday 29 May 2015


It seems we can't stop making crowns. The other week it was from craft feathers. This week from glitter paper, which the three-year-old loves. This was another super quick project. Steps below.

Glitter paper (or paper and sprinkle glitter onto pasted glue)
Black paper (we chopped up a paper shopping bag!)

1. Draw an outline of a feather on the back of the glitter paper and cut. 
2. Cut a strip of black paper that fits the circumference of the child's head.
3. Staple feathers onto black paper. Easy!

images the indigo crew

Thursday 28 May 2015


While Kate Pearson worked in the fashion industry for many years, she didn’t really have a firm plan for her childrenswear label Bella and Lace. Rather, it evolved after she had twin girls Mila and Ezara. However, since launching only a few seasons ago, the label has already started to gain a lot of traction. “The momentum and drive of it just keeps me going,” Kate says. This year, in particular, has been a big one for the brand. There are more stockists and more orders in general. Kate has added a few homewares pieces into the mix too and hopes to continue to grow this side of the business.

Born and raised in Sydney, Kate has been based in Brisbane for the past 13 years. She now has her sight set on a womenswear collection then homewares. “Then I think I have covered all the things I love,” she says.

What was behind the decision to start Bella and Lace? I had always wanted to start my own label and after having my girls it really forced me and gave me the confidence to do it. 

What had you been doing previously? I have always been in the fashion industry and I’ve worked in design, manufacturing and production. I have always enjoyed where I have worked and I have made some really beautiful lifelong friends along the way. In Sydney I worked at a really beautiful company, my boss was a lovely man and I often think back and take on board a lot of his work ethic - he worked really hard and was a very kind and giving man.  

What is important to you when designing children's clothes? It’s about having fun. I love putting together those “OMG, I would have loved that when I was a kid” styles. Although we are a kids clothing business our main target market is really the parents and grandparents. For me it’s that they are fun, not too pretty and a bit earthy.  

How do you try to differentiate your products from others on the market? Australia has amazing designers and I really don’t think we give ourselves enough credit. When starting Bella & Lace I never really thought I was filling a gap in the marketplace, I was really just putting together styles I loved, but as time has gone on we can see that we are filling a big gap in market. Every season we change styles very few items are ever repeated, we hand draw our own prints, we change colours we look at what trends are happening overseas, if something sells out we very rarely repeat it. Every season we add in a few special pieces like out vintage wonder women, and people are really taking to them. 

What has been completely unexpected since starting your business? All of the amazing people you get to meet along the way. I love supporting other labels and store owners, I love meeting other women in business. I always do a little "yeah, rock on sista” to myself.

What is something that people often don’t realise about your wares? Where they are made; that we make styles ethically. It’s a part of the business that is very close to my heart and I do get somewhat emotional about it. It’s a big behind the seasons part of Bella & Lace. The factory is owned and run by a woman who was brought up in a very poor family. She wanted more for her life and started her factory with just two machines. Now she manufactures for many labels and her staff love her and she truly loves them. I love going there and being apart of it.

Where do you look to for design inspiration? I look at all sorts of things. I love looking at fashion trends. I also take inspiration from styles my mum kept from when I was a little one.

What do consider when dressing or styling children? I’m not into neat. Kids are messy so when we do a shoot we let them be them. We never do their hair, we don’t tell them to pose, we just let them be kids.

What role do you want your products to play in a childhood? I want them to be memorable. I want them to think back and remember how much they loved that tutu or leotard. I know I have pieces that I loved when I was a child. But I can tell you those skivvies weren’t one of them!

What was the last great children's book that you read? Little Cat and the Big Red Bus, my girls and I love this book and its beautiful illustrations by Anna Walker.

images courtesy of kate pearson from bella & lace

Wednesday 27 May 2015


Every day so far this week the three-year-old has climbed into bed with this book. We rediscovered Iggy Peck, Architect after it had been languishing a little on school boy's bookshelf. It had been a Christmas present and while he enjoyed it and picked it up from time to time, it does seem more suited for a slightly younger age group. 

However, it was when we read it all together about a week ago that the preschooler's interest in it was ignited. She enjoyed the illustrations, and making comments about the buildings and what was happening on each page.

It's been a pleasant surprise as other than Dr Seuss, she does steer more towards female-centric books - from Little Red Riding Hood to Sippy and Sunny. So to see her choose something with a male central character has been interesting, and quite rewarding.

It's a clever book on many levels. The words rhyme and so she enjoys finishing off the sentences, and it's quite an engaging narrative, about what happens on a school excursion. Both children enjoy looking at Iggy's ingenious inventions. And there's much talk about how he created his final masterpiece. 

As an added surprise, when the toddler climbed into bed she insisted on taking off the book jacket, and we discovered the best illustration yet.

There are two other books by this author that have been recommended many times: Rosie Revere, Engineer and Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau.  

images the indigo crew

Tuesday 26 May 2015


"Taken in my kitchen, the room I'm always drawn to the most. There are old whitewashed beams, windows looking onto open green hills, and an AGA - an old-fashioned cast-iron range cooker - that's like the warm beating heart of our whole home. I have a desk upstairs, but most often I find myself working at the kitchen table, for the light, the warmth, and the way the ideas seem to flow. Plus also, I'm nearer to any cake."

Sara Tasker grew up in Manchester, England and had only ever lived a city life until she moved to the countryside last northern hemisphere summer. “It was a change driven by a lot of things, but mostly the need for space, physically and mentally,” she says. “All three of us needed to escape.” She chronicles her family life in the blog Me and Orla, and the Instagram account of the same name. “Photography has always been a hobby, something like a tangible form of daydreaming for me, and I never considered that it could be anything else,” Sara says. “Then I discovered Instagram, and everything grew - now suddenly it's a viable option, and I’m feeling unsure about how to bring it all together.” 

Words were her first real love and she studied linguistics at university and worked in the field of speech and language therapy for a decade. “I’m passionate about people with learning disabilities and special needs - I've met so many amazing young people, and learned so much from them.” Since motherhood life has changed, though. “I feel like a line was drawn the day she came; before then, I saw the world in black and white. She came along and now it's in glorious, dazzling technicolour.” Now Sara says she is at a cross-roads of deciding between her work with children with special needs and taking a leap to follow different, older dreams.

1 As a child I used to wear... whatever my mother told me to wear. It was totally non-negotiable - one time I pleaded to wear a favourite dress, and she tore it to shreds. It continued right into my early teens, and I found it suffocating.

2 My bedroom was... inhabited by little people who would come out of the skirting boards at night in their cars. I didn’t make it up; I definitely remember seeing him!

3 When I was a teenager I used to... spend all of my available time overthinking and analysing. It’s a brilliant skill, but also paralsying - if we could read minds, I think we’d probably never leave the house.

4 After high school I wanted to be... a writer. I just assumed this would happen; I'd raised myself on Enid Blyton books where every girl has a talent that turns into a career. I never really thought about the “how”.

5 A seminal moment was... meeting my other half, Rory. I don’t believe that anyone requires a partner to complete them, but when we sat down together on our first date, I felt so many things fall into place. I picture him as the stake supporting little sapling-tree-me - the roots are still mine, and they’re growing stronger, but he helps me stay upright when the strong winds blow.

6 I never thought I would... be breastfeeding and co-sleeping with a toddler! She’s decided how she wants to be parented, and I’m just following her lead and learning as I go.

7 I’ve learnt to... sit on the fence a bit more and not see the world so black and white. Or I’m trying, at least.

8 I know... all the words to every Tori Amos song ever written. Why aren’t we best friends already?

9 I share because... I love feeling connected. It has been so healing and inspiring to discover other people all over the world with the same values and ideals, seeing things the same way. I spent such a long time feeling strange and isolated when I was younger; through sharing online, I’ve found my “tribe”.

10 If I had an unexpected morning to myself I would... As much as I’d love to give a glamourous answer like “read in the bath with a margarita”, in truth, I’d probably just sleep. Go back to bed, let the sun stream in, listen to the birdsong and dream. What could be better?

image courtesy of sara tasker

Monday 25 May 2015


This weekend we decided to head south of Sydney to visit the Southern Highlands, which is known to be particularly beautiful in Autumn. While we did manage to see some trees changing colour, we actually became too distracted with the area's other natural attractions.

It's about a 1.5-hour drive from Sydney to Mittagong, and that's where we stopped for a picnic lunch. We went to Lake Alexandra, where you can feed ducks and walk around a track around the lake. (It was popular with local children riding scooters and small bikes. There are also some moderate bush-walking tracks that link back to the main circuit and quite pleasant to do with children as there's a beautiful wooden bridge with a babbling creek about half-way along. 

After lunch we wanted to head to Fitzroy Falls, however, when the littlest fell asleep in the car we kept driving until we reached Kangaroo Valley. After afternoon tea we checked out some antique stores and second-hand book shops. The children also had a lot of fun playing with fallen autumn leaves.

We headed back towards Fitzroy Falls, which is a short walk from the parking area and visitor centre. The main falls are accessible from a boardwalk but to see some of the lookouts you can venture along other paths that are carved into the bushland. The falls are quite stunning, as is the view.

Because the visit was a day trip we met up with some friends for an early pub dinner in Bowral and headed back home to Sydney that evening. 

While it was something of a whirlwind trip, it didn't feel rushed. And it gave us all a break from our everyday routine. A refresh in nature turned out to be a perfect weekend activity.

images the indigo crew

Friday 22 May 2015


Sometimes we bake not for the result but for the activity. Of course, it's good to educate how food is made, and the role of the different ingredients, but there's also a lot to be said for just letting children get their hands dirty and experience what it's like to feel butter rubbed against flour, and see a bunch of dry ingredients take shape and make something.

For a while I've wanted to make scones. I remember that they were one of the first things that I learnt to make as a child. I have clear memories of being in primary school and regularly making scones - not even needing to look at the recipe because I could remember all the quantities off the top of my head. Unfortunately, I don't remember that recipe now. But I did find a super quick and easy recipe to make these scones. The girls made them mostly on their own so it's a little tricky to judge whether this is the best recipe out there for taste. I'd say, it isn't. But it does only use three ingredients, which is a big bonus when you're trying to make something on the fly - you're likely to have everything to hand, and the whole process doesn't take a long time.

Plain flour, for dusting
3 cups self-raising flour
80g butter, cubed
1-1 1/4 cups milk
Stewed apple and rhubarb (or jam), to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
2. Place flour in bowl, add butter and rub until resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Pour 1 cup of milk and mix until dough forms. (Add  more milk if needed.) Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth.
4. Pat or roll dough into 2cm round. Cut out scone shapes and place on baking tray, about 1cm apart. Bake for 20 to 25 mins until golden and risen. Transfer to a wire rack.

Thursday 21 May 2015


After living in London for 10 years, where she worked in the fashion industry Anna Jones was ready for a change of scene and career when she returned to Australia. But she didn’t head back to Melbourne, where she studied at RMIT, or to country Victoria where she grew up. Instead she unpacked her bags in Sydney, alongside her husband, who works in television. They settled in Bondi Beach and after becoming a mother to two boys Anna decided she wanted a creative role that allowed her spend time with her children but also make something with her hands. She started Twentyone Fifteen, a children’s decor business, initially making personalised kids cushions and bunting. Now she is becoming known for her wire decor pieces, which she sculpts and wraps with Liberty print fabrics, vintage denim or fleece. They are designed to hang in children’s bedrooms and be just as appropriate for a toddler as a teenager.

What was behind the decision to start Twentyone Fifteen? I wanted to start a small business that I could manage around looking after my two boys. I wanted to be doing something creative but didn't want to be stuck at a sewing machine or a computer. By creating my own decor pieces it has given me the freedom to work around my children’s routines as well as hopefully offering something different and fresh to the children’s decor market. 

What had you been doing previously? I studied fashion marketing at RMIT and after graduating I moved overseas to travel and work. I lived in London for 10 years firstly working in communication/PR and trend forecasting before a dream job in a sourcing and account management role for luxury fashion retailers Lane Crawford, Pedder Group and Holt Renfrew. After moving to Sydney I managed and bought for a mid-century furniture store before starting my family and Twentyone Fifteen. 

What is important to you when designing children's decor? For me it’s important that my pieces appeal to both the children and the parents. I like the designs to be simple, timeless but also have a handmade and tactile quality.

How do you try to differentiate your products from others on the market? I try and stay true to myself and both my own personal taste and design instincts, and by working this way hopefully I will be offering something unique.  

What has been completely unexpected since starting your business? How many lovely people I have connected with and how much support and encouragement I have received.

What is something that people often don't realise about your wares? I think people don’t often realise the process behind each piece and that they are all completely handmade and unique. For example, to make the denim pieces I mould the wire, then source vintage denim, wash, dry, cut, wrap and to finish trim the excess thread. They really are a little labour of love.

Where do you look to for design inspiration? I’m always trying to keep up with my favourite blogs, and Instagram/Pinterest accounts, so these sources keep me both inspired and distracted!  

What do consider when decorating kids rooms? I think it’s important to invest in good timeless pieces - my love of Scadinavian design always draws me to white for walls and furniture. I like the idea of adding colour and texture through children’s own artwork, prints and handmade crafts such as blankets and my own decor pieces, of course! 

What role do you want your products to play in a childhood? I would love my work to be keepsakes for children to have in their room for many years from newborn through to pre-teen years. 

What was the last great children's book that you read? I’m a big fan of the children's author Julia Donaldson. My currently favourite is Monkey Puzzle, but she has so many brilliant books - I never tire of reading The Gruffalo, Room on a Broom, A Squish and A Squeeze, Tiddler, What The Ladybird Heard, they are all classics in my opinion.  

images courtesy of twentyone fifteen

Wednesday 20 May 2015


I have to admit that this is a book that I really wish I had as a child. It is so helpful in such a simple way. The way that I learnt art at school was basically to look at something and draw it the best that I could. However, 20 Ways to Draw a Tree and 44 Other Nifty Things from Nature by Eloise Renouf provides different groupings and shows different patterns and outlines on how to draw a particular object. It is all quite simple, yet clever and beautiful. 

When the six-year-old received this book as a gift recently, he was excited to put it to use straight away. We both were! And while it's not a step-by-step guide, it's quite a fun book to pick up and choose a page at random to begin learning new ways to draw.

images the indigo crew

Tuesday 19 May 2015


“My favourite place would have to be the kid’s room. Most of the items in there are made by the hubby and I, which gives it its quirky feel. We can spend hours in this room! And it’s where most of my project ideas spring to life.”

While Linzi Macdonald has always been creative, it wasn’t until she had children and started to create things for them that she hit her stride. The renovation of her daughter’s dollhouse has caused quite a sensation on Instagram - you can find it through the hashtag #maddiesdollhousereno And now she is creating car mats. But teepees were one of her first creations that she started to sell through Little Linzi.

Linzi grew up in Whangarei, New Zealand, about two hours north of Auckland. She studied a Bachelor of Media Arts and afterwards left New Zealand for Australia. After arriving in Sydney she worked in various retail jobs and took some courses in visual merchandising and floristry. She says it wasn’t until she became a stay-at-home mum with two children that she realised how much she enjoyed creating things for them. That’s when her toddler teepee business started. And now that Linzi’s completed Maddie’s Dollhouse Reno, she has started needlepoint. “Anyone that knows me well, knows I like to be doing something creative all the time,” she says.

1 As a child I used to wear... overalls. I was such a tom boy growing up, everything was covered in dirt! Not a tutu or dress in sight.

2 My bedroom was...
full of drawings, paintings or creations I had made. I had to share with my sister until I was in my teens, and she really didn’t appreciate my need to change the room around every week.

3 When I was a teenager I used to...
spend a lot of time doing paintings for people and selling them in the local cafe. It was great pocket money and was a great creative outlet.

4 After high school I wanted to be...
Honestly, I had no idea. I went to art school, which was following in the direction I loved. But I knew deep down I couldn’t stay focused in one area. After realising that I didn’t have to do what school drilled into me, I was quite happy to hop from one interest to another until I came across the job that made me the happiest.

5 A seminal moment was...
definitely meeting my husband. I met him two months after arriving in Australia, and he has treated me like a queen every day since.

6 I never thought I would... create a dollhouse that has sparked so much interest! It was such a fun project to work on and to have people wanting to join in on the fun.

7 I've learnt to... keep positive.  After spending most of my teens unhappy, my mum has helped me focus on the positive in life rather than the negative. There is always someone worse off than myself, sadly, so it’s just about rolling with the punches and taking them in my stride.

8 I know...
I’m a good mum. It took a while to figure this out, but I give them all I can and they are happy, so that’s what counts!

9 I share because...
I have met so many wonderful people, who are a huge support and inspiration to me. A few have turned into real-life friends - that live just down the road! If it wasn’t for Instagram I would have never met these wonderful ladies.

10 If I had an unexpected morning to myself I would
... still get up early - I’m a morning person - work on teepees, then go out to breakfast with a friend and enjoy it without chasing or cleaning up after a toddler!

image courtesy of linzi macdonald

Monday 18 May 2015


In the past year or so I've noticed a big shift in my parenting style. In general I feel more confident in my skills as a mother. I don't say this as a brag, but rather as a revelation to myself. Part of it seems to be from having more children - and experience, and another part is to do with surrendering myself to motherhood - in a good way. Going with the flow, a little more. And through this process I feel that I have become more spontaneous, adaptable and able to immerse myself in the moment. I've noticed this mainly through our impromptu craft projects and play sessions. I say this because I wanted to emphasise that much of what is published on this site and on the Instagram feed has happened in the spare of the moment. While images might be cropped, there's not a whole lot of curating or choreographing going on. In other words, most of the projects are quick and easy - and a lot of fun to do with the kids. That's why I share them.

The best fun usually relates to when we surrender to our imagination and sense of play. It is not when we use a board game or employ some third-party device. It is all about us, and what we can make of the moment.

Having said that, sometimes whatever is to hand can help, and trigger the imagination. The other day the three-year-old and I were playing with some blocks. The idea came to create a pattern around her using the blocks. I asked her to lie down and started to make the arrangement. She thought this was the funniest thing ever, and kept on laughing. We both did. When she wriggled out of the space, the idea struck to create a flower. A mandala of blocks. When she saw what I was creating, she said, "It's a lotus, mama." I didn't realise that she knew what that was. Through our play, I learnt that she had done some yoga at preschool. She then showed me some poses and raised her hands in prayer to her face. It was a precious moment and one that was only possible from steering off our usual course that day.

I share this story because a year or so ago I would have found it harder to surrender to play. But it is good for both of us. All of us.

images the indigo crew

Friday 15 May 2015


We were hoping to make a leaf crown while the youngest had her nap but when we went to collect leaves from outside many of them were cracked and not in great condition. So instead we made an impromptu feather crown from the materials we already had in our craft box. I have been wanting to make one for some time - partly inspired by the one in Sippy and Sunny - and even have feathers and a beautiful ribbon to go. But when the three-year-old spotted these pastel ones (for a styling shoot), it had to be them! Also, I wanted to add that while I enjoy getting crafty I am far from an expert sewer. But I like that I can do it while others play with my stash of buttons, for instance. It's an activity that's easy to pick up and put down - multiple times, as the case was while I made this during the afternoon. 

Needle and thread

1. Cut ribbon to size and arrange feathers for quantities and colour sequencing.
2. Pierce the end of the feather with the needle and thread before starting your first stitch so that it stays in place. Loop stitch until you reach the end of the feather stem. Repeat.
3. Stitch the two ends together. Wear!

images the indigo crew

Thursday 14 May 2015


Corn fritters are a regular on our menu for a couple of reasons. Firstly, everyone likes them every now and then on the weekend for lunch in lieu of (school) sandwiches. And they're also something that can be made quickly from what's in the pantry - providing you have corn, which we often do.

The recipe I use is an adaptation.

1 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
2 cobs of corn, sides cut of corn and separated into kernels
Olive oil cooking spray

1. Season flour with a little salt and pepper (optional). 
2. In a separate bowl, whisk milk and eggs. Add to flour and stir in corn kernels. Mix ingredients until combined.
3. Spray frying pan with oil and spoon a large heaped tablespoon onto the pan. Flatten slightly and cook for about 2 minutes each side. Serve with salad.