Sunday, March 31, 2013

Stills: A Weekly Collection {the crafty edition}

1. One snap from a shoot with a fancy food stylist. I'll share some details asap.
2. Give this boy an empty box and he will whip it into a treasure chest in no time at all.
3. Oh the glory
4. Zeph and Pip spent many an hour in the Rainy Day Room over the weekend.
5. Mum and Dad had the kids on Friday so Dave and I could empty the junk out of the office- we have a baby arriving in a few weeks and it needs a place to sleep. There is still so much to do, like scrub that filthy floor!
6. They came home with easter cup cakes that they made with their nanny.
7. Reflection
8. Autumn light on the dragon palm

Did you get much crafting done this weekend? We did much less than I expected, preferring to spend our time outdoors.... umm.. okay, I preferred to spend most of mine in bed- helloooo 2 hour nap each day, you are awesome.

Either way, If you have craft focused posts in your archives, feel free to link them in addition to your Stills Collection. It's all in the name of World Kids Colouring Day, a warm up for the event in Early May.

In other exciting news, tomorrow is the 1st of April- time for a new artist in the Artist Series- it's a good one, I promise!

Saturday, March 30, 2013



Zeph: Deep in crafting thought with the afternoon Autumn sun on his skin.

  Pip: "Dadda? dadda, what choo doin'? Me? I'm on da phooneeeee"

 Bump: Seems to have dropped, no longer do I have kicks in the ribs- but you know what that means   don't you- the jabbing has moved further down. At times I have no choice but to stop and cripple at the knees.

See you on Sunday evening for the Stills Collection Linky and on Monday for a new Artist in the Artist Series (it's a good one).

p.s If you feel like voting for The Beetle Shack in the Best Australian Blogs 2013 Competition, you can do so here- Just go to T, it'll be there amongst the thousands of others!

Linking up with Che and Fidel, as always.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Colouring With Kids (dorky video included)

As a Visual Arts teacher there are few things in the classroom that give me more pleasure than seeing kids create and watching their eyes widen as they learn.

Tell a class of high school kids that Van Gogh chopped off a section of his own ear to send to his lover and you can literally hear their jaws hit the table. Art is like that, it's exciting, rebellious, rule breaking stuff. There are no wrongs and nothing is too outrageous.

The thought of engaging my own children in any kid of art making is equally exciting. I love to see their lines unfold on the paper. To watch a rugged circle become a portrait or witness the blending of primary colours until they form that classic shade of brown.

Children are blessed with a glorious, uninhibited creativity.

Recently my kids, Lauren Merrick and I sat down and committed some time to creating an artwork for World Kids Colouring Day. Together we made outrageous lines on great quality paper, we dipped brushes in liquid and watched the water colour pencils work their magic, we let textas overflow and added waterproof fine liner as a finishing touch.

I'd love to encourage you to do the same. World Kids Colouring Day is on the 6th May and is such a wonderful opportunity to get your kids colouring to help disadvantaged kids in Australia. If you're a parent, teacher or colouring in enthusiast, head over here for details.

Why not get out the crafty cuts over the long weekend? If you do, This weeks Stills Collection will be all about kids creativity so you can link up your colourful posts there!

If you're stuck for ideas, check out some of The Infinite Possibilities?

Have a truly beautiful Easter long weekend :)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wearing @ 35 Weeks

On my way out the door for what was likely to be my last ladies night for quite some time. Jo and I went out for dinner and ice cream to celebrate my 30th. Jo arrived in size 8 black skinny jeans, a black tank, perky breasts and a top knot. Her skin was glowing- the woman has just had her third baby for goodness sakes, why must she still be so hot? As we walked to our restaurant I saw men crane their necks to look at her. I'm no saint, I was jealous. The next time we'll manage to get out of the house sans kids will be for her 30th in August, it's safe to say we're both looking forward to it.

Wearing at 35 Weeks

Zita Dress | Little Tienda
Tights | Country Road
Earrings | MesaDreams

5 weeks to go, friends! Betta find this kid a place to sleep!

p.s Em from Little Tienda is currently running a little promo. Simply make a purchase and go in the draw to win a Senora Las Flors.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


In light of my current exhaustion, sleep depravation, ratty children and general physical discomfort, I'm having to make some choices. Choices about my thoughts and actions.

I'll be honest; when I'm tired and grumpy I have a general default position- to be tired and grumpy*. Snappy and lethargic. Moody and lazy- call it what you will.

This morning when I was awoken by the typical 4:45 'mumma' shout out followed by the 5:30 'let's start this day' summons I found myself uttering curse words under my breath.

The day was difficult. There were tears and tantrums a plenty. Voices were raised and no one was proud of their behaviour, least of all me.

This evening I'm taking a moment to reflect and gather my thoughts. I know life requires balance and that balance is a beautiful thing. But sometimes it's elusive.

Right now, it totally escapes me.

But I still have choices. I still have the power to control my own cognition. So i'm making a choice- a big, fat adult decision to CHOOSE happy. Tired, swollen, uncomfortable and happy.

The kind of happy that comes from sacrifice. The kind of happy that a stay at home parent sometimes has to force themselves to feel.

Lets call it content.

Tomorrow at 4:45 i'm going to let my brain control my emotions.

*beautiful, sexy nesting bug, where have you gone?

In other news, the winner of this giveaway has now been announced- you can see if it was you back here. Also, it's almost time for a new blog header as part of the Artist Series, it's a good one too :)

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Infinite Possibilities


If you don't already read 'Milk Please Mum', you really should. It's the personal blog of Mother, Photographer and creative Tahnee. Filled with truly breathtaking captures of her family, home, life and interests. Vivid colour, crispy lines and faces filled with laughter will be there to greet you, I promise.

One of the things that always floors me about Tahnee's blog (in addition to the woman's skills with the camera) is the crafting she undertakes with her children. We're not just talking pencils on paper here- we're talking full on ART and CRAFTS movement stuff.

I was absolutely thrilled when she agreed to prepare a post on Kids Art for us, just in time for the Easter long weekend too.

Read on to discover a range of ways that you can turn your children's art work into amazing keepsakes.


Hello there! Its so lovely to be here at The Beetle Shack. Nice digs, Em.

 Shes the good hostess sort and shes put the kettle on, so while we wait, in celebration of all things kid like here at the Beetle Shack this month, lets have a chit chat about the infinite possibilities that can be created from your little people’s never ending avalanche of artwork.


Most kids love to create - mine certainly do. Whether it’s with pencils, crayons, textas, chalk, glue, sticky tape, play dough, clay, paint, baking, useful box, glitter (Dear God, the glitter!).. the list is endless. Most of the time, so is the mess. But every now and then they come up with an absolute cracker that deserves pride of place in the home and makes you instantly forget about the glue you have to scrape off the dining table once you’re done admiring your little Picasso’s masterpiece. But then - where to put it? Add it to the crap pile (yes, we all have one) on the end of the kitchen bench? Absolutely not. Try prime position on the art wall, inspiration wire, pin board, mantlepiece, back of the toilet door. Or maybe the couch?

I often buy craft supplies when I see them on sale, whether they are necessary purchases or not. The fabric crayons and textas were such a purchase. I do love to give a thoughtful, unique gift. And the kids love to draw. Mash the two together and this is what you get! Not to go unnoticed, this also ticks my cheap box, which unfortunately is a factor for many families, especially those like mine living on a single income. In saying that, I believe the thoughtful, unique part totally cancels out the cheap part. This stuff is priceless.

My eldest, Ruby, created her Uncle Ash and Aunty Bree, with baby Rome in her tummy (who was just baby at the time of commission). The red building in the background is the hospital, close by and ready for delivery! My middle, Cole, his art skills (and enthusiasm) come and go. His rainbow started out beautifully until he decided he’d had enough and started scribbling all over it.. let’s just call it expressively creative, shall we?

Some quick points to remember when you try this at home ::

:: use a light coloured fabric so that your colours show up clearly and vibrantly;
:: tape your desired size of fabric to something firm to minimise movement - we used the back of their large sketch books;
:: remind your smalls to go slowly - drawing on fabric is different from drawing on paper, especially if your fabric has a little stretch in it. If you move too quickly the textas can become faint and you will then need to retrace to make them bolder;
:: if your child is a little too small to handle the fabric and instruction of SLOW drawing, simply trace their original paper artwork onto the fabric and bring their fabric masterpiece to life yourself;
:: let the kids know they need to keep their creations a few centimetres from the edge of the fabric to allow for your seam allowance when you are ready to sew your cushion cover together;
:: to cure their beautiful drawings, so that your cushion cover can go through the wash and come out again the same way, simply iron the fabric with a scrap piece of fabric/thin tea towel between the iron and the artwork (follow the instructions on your fabric markers box).

In years passed, I have also recreated Ruby’s drawings with embroidery, turning them into pillowcases, clothing, handkerchiefs or simply framing the embroidered fabric. Children do SO many drawings in these early years, and I find it so hard to throw away the good stuff (even the not-so-good-stuff for that matter), even when there’s mountains of it. Something like this makes the art useable, useful and enjoyable for all who see it, rather than piles of pretty pictures stashed in a box in the cupboard that you just can’t bear to part with.

Some more simple ideas to get your kids’ beautiful artwork out of the cupboard/crap pile and up on display around your home ::

:: just stick it up! It doesn’t need to be framed beautifully as if it’s heading to the museum, just grab the washi tape and get it on the wall, or install an inspiration wire* where the kids, parents, grandparents and visitors can admire their creative genius;
:: let them try embroidery. Hoops are cheap as chips and you can buy large, plastic, kid safe needles, or for your older kids, use a large needle with a blunter tip. Cut the excess fabric from the perimeter, leaving a few centimetres that can be glued inside the frame - hang it on the wall;
:: use their paintings as backing sheets for framed photos, rather than a plain white background;

:: make a magnetic task board for morning school/kindy prep.

:: put those creations that you treasure most in a simple frame and hang them.

:: put your creative skills together with theirs to highlight the creations that mean the most to you.

Em’s here with the tea (and cake!), so I’ll leave you to ponder which activity you’re going to put at the top of your craft list. Enjoy!

Oh - and thanks so much for having me Em!

*This is an idea created by uber talent, Soulemama [], as shown in her book The Creative Family []. We have two - one is a curtain line from Ikea [] which is one of my most favourite things in our home, and the other is in our playroom - a simple piece of string attached to the wall with pins.

Original post of The Pillow can be found here. []

Visit Milk Please Mum

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Stills: A Weekly Collection

1. The nesting bug has got me bad. Each and every day I find myself contentedly moving things around the house to ensure everything looks fresh. Rug from Kith and Co, Otomi from The Toucan Shop.
2. Pa's birthday celebrations. Contagious joy.
3. Native blooms in a hand spun terracota vase. A gift from my children.
4. See, it's the nesting- I'm fluffing pillow like a mad woman. Armed with some birthday cash i added a few more from here to my collection. They are addictive, I tell you... and yes, they do end up on the floor :)
5. She requested to sleep in my bed while Zeph was at pre school. I tucked her in expecting to check back and find her swinging from the ceiling fan- instead I found this.
6. The large majority of my evenings have been spent editing images from my Little Tienda shoot. I'll be sharing the results (and a fruitalicious giveaway) with you next moth.
7. The entrance.

The Beetle Shack

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Zephie: Since the Great Toy Reduction we have spent more time cooking, creating and talking. This week when I asked you if you thought you were getting a brother or a sister you responded with 'a bush turkey'.

Pippi: Check one two, check, check. Your microphone is ready, darling.

Bumpie: Getting bigger by the day with big movements to boot. I simply can't believe there are less than 6 weeks to go! (see the maternity series)

See you soon for the stills collection and please feel free to pop over and enter the Playful Kids Bedroom Giveaway (valued at over $1300)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Consequences and the Great Toy Reduction

All kids need the boundaries firmed up sometimes and mine are no exception. In fact, lets just be honest, my kids need the boundaries firmed up often. They need daily reminders of our expectations and consistent encouragement to make wise choices.

A recent bout of particularly outrageous behaviour from our young man had us searching for strategies to keep him focused, calm and more manageable. We found that there were always toys scattered from room to room, the pace was always fast and energy at absolute fever pitch. Keeping on top of things was almost impossible, especially for this pregnant mumma.

In light of the impending birth of baby Beetlehshack #3 something had to be done, and fast.

I simply could not continue to spend the majority of every day with my voice raised and my temper dictating my responses.

While we have always discussed consequences and actioned them when necessary, a simple time out (or dare I confess it, the odd smack) was no longer achieving the results we were yearning for.

In my recent readings of this book, I have re-learned the importance of conscious, positive parenting and realised that for me to stay in control, things in the home needed to move a bit more slowly and with a touch more method in the madness.

We identified one main issues that we wanted to address - the amount of toys that our kids had immediate access to and the way in which they played with them.

Our first step was to confiscate all inside toys. Together Dave and I packed up the train sets, the lego and the duplo while large trucks and diggers were put in the sandpit.

That left craft supplies (safely packed away in a cupboard), the play kitchen and books at their disposal.

We decided that we would use a 'tick chart' for the kids to earn back their toy privileges. At the end of the each day, if they had received 5 ticks on their chart they could choose one toy to play with for a set period. After that time, the toys would be packed up and put back out of reach.

To be honest, I was dubious about this plan of attack, we've tried similar things in the past without positive results. But my desire to increase the calm won me over and we stuck to our guns.

The toys remained out of reach, the positive interactions increased and the ticks quickly added up.

Each day for the first week we would stretch up to the top of the wardrobe and carefully pull down the toy of their choosing. Together we would sit on the mat and built and train track, a duplo tower or a lego car. We would talk about the day and all of the wonderful things they had done to earn their ticks. Zeph's little face would truly beam with joy and I could tell that the rewards far surpassed the 'toy time'.

He could choose to listen, he could choose not to unstrap his seat belt, he could choose not to tantrum when he didn't get his way and he really can use his manners without the need to be reminded!

All of a sudden this boy has grown up.

We've been using the 'tick chart' for three weeks now and I can't tell you what a difference it has made to our home life. There are no longer toys scattered all over the floor at the end of every day, there are much less frequent squabbles over possessions and our kids are actually happier and more calm.

It feels good to have a parenting success and it feels great to be able to consciously reward my kids for their improved behaviour.

 Hi, I'm Emily- The One With The Rough Kid.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


It's official, I've lost my chin. If I were purple I'd be a living replica of that large MacDonald's character, you know the one that follows Ronald around smiling and wobbling?

With only six weeks to go I'm attempting to spend the time I have left before this baby is born enjoying having only two delicious children. Yes, they may be naughty at the park and leave their milk cups on the floor but they give amazing cuddles and tonight, little Pippi sang 'Rock a Bye, Baby' to my belly button.

While each day brings it's own challenges, it also lavishes it's rewards in the form of sweet muddled sentences, sporadic kisses applied liberally and hilarious child- styled outfits.

I might look like a human, lady version of Grimace, but I'm one happy woman.


Wearing @ 34 weeks

Top | Country Road
Jeans | Jeans West Maternity
Necklace c|o Beautiful Life Industries
Bag c|o Beautiful Life Industries

While you're here, please do head over and go in the draw to win your very own neon necklace, bag and other goodies from Beautiful Life Industries.

View the full maternity series

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I've been quietly sitting on this giveaway for a few weeks now. When I decided to give the lady baby's room a makeover and share it on the blog, I knew that something great had to go to you too. Many of the gorgeous items featured in Pippi's big girl room are included right here, in this giveaway. You've got textiles, toys, furniture and artwork- the full kit- ready to go for your boy or girl. Each and every item has been sourced by a company or individual right here in Australia. Many of them are the work of independent artists and crafts people which makes me endlessly happy.

Quite the treasure trove, no?

One lucky reader will be receiving the following, valued at over $1300

1. Mandala pillow hand printed in Melbourne by Lumiere $35
2. Mandala scatter cushion hand printed in Melbourne by Lumiere $142
3. Stunning one off vintage kantha from the exclusive collection at Fossik $180
4. Beautifully handmade cloud mobile by Milbot and Chooky  $85
5. Geometric Felt artwork by Empire Lane $70
6. Circle felt artwork by Empire Lane $70
7. Moroccan leather ottoman by Kith and Co $180
8. Adorable paper animals by Little Frenchy $30
9. Neon green Bonnieman by Lucky Boy Sunday from Little Pie Street $63
10. Set of three scandinavian prints from Supertrooper Studio $90
11. Drink bottle and lunch box by Jimmy Cricket $50
12. Polka dot pillow slip by Beneath the Sun $40
13. Papercraft scatter cushion by Beneath the Sun $90
14. Stool by Family Love Tree $79
15. Diamond mat (best mat ever, i need one for every room in the house) by Kith and Co $90

Do you love it? Would you like it?


Here's the deal.

For your entry to be valid you need to be a follower of The Beetle Shack via google friend connect (the blue button on the right).

You can enter this giveaway 3 times by doing the following;

  1. Be a follower of The Beetle Shack via Google Friend Connect
  2. Like The Beetle Shack on Facebook
  3. Share this give away on any social media platform (instagram/facebook/twitter/pinterest)

Simply leave a comment for each.

EDIT: THE WINNER IS COMMENTER #608 Maddison W "loving this giveaway it will be perfect for my little boy. that kantha is amazing."  If this is you, please hit me on the email with your postal address so we can get the goodies off to you :)

Of course you can still enter if you aren't on facebook, you just need to leave a comment below and make sure I can contact you via email.

Winner will be announced on this post one week from today and contacted via email. Please make sure you are contactable via social media or email.

terms: this giveaway is open to all followers of The Beetle Shack world wide. All entrants must provide a first name along with your comment entry and ensure I can contact you via your blog/social media or email  (you can subscribe via email if you don't want to list your contact details publicly) . Once the giveaway has ended and winner is chosen they will be contacted via email and put in touch with the sponsor. Giveaway items are not distributed by The Beetle Shack, they are directly distributed to the winners by the sponsors themselves. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pippi's Big Girl Room Tour

 I've been waiting for weeks to pull this room together. The intention was to create a fun and flamboyant sleep and play space for our outrageous Pippi. With the help of Hide and Sleep, I think we've done it.

I'd been dreaming of polka dotted walls for a while, so naturally, they were first thing to go up- after we'd repainted over the stripes from the lady baby's last room of course.

Filled with fruity colour, toys and soft textiles, it's a space the kids have already delighted in playing. Whether it be hiding under the bed, making each other cups of tea, whipping up a cake or tucking teddies in for the night - they can often be heard giggling behind the closed door.

The recycled plastic mat provides the perfect 'shake clean' soft fall while the wooden mixer and vegetables are the perfect accessories for the $5 kitchen I picked up at a garage sale. Dave put the little wooden shelves up a 'child' height to encourage imaginative play.

Now that it's all done and dusted, I think Pippi can sleep in Zeph's room and i'll take over the Yellow bed, good idea, no?

Tomorrow, I'll be sharing a super exciting giveaway that includes many of the treasures you can see here. In the mean time, you can see product details below.

felt artworks by Empire Lane // paper animals by Little Frenchy //  printed tins and drink bottle  by Jimmy Cricket// pom pom scatter cushion by Lumiere// bed by Incy Interiors // floor mat  by Kith and Co // ottoman by Kith and Co // knitted stanley  by Little Pie Street// side table by Family Love Tree // kantha by Fossik// mandala pillow slip by Lumiere// polka dot pillow slip by Beneath the Sun// wooden geometric sculptures by Beneath the Sun// polka dot wall stickers by Look Sugar// cloud mobile by Milbot and Chooky// honey comb hanging balls by Poppies for Grace// white quilt cover by Sheridan// raw sugar kitchen pillow (speceri) by Supertrooper Studio // knitted apple pillow by Studio Meez // memory card game by Supertrooper Studio// lamp made by me// play kitchen from a garage sale// wooden kitchen accessories from Oliver's Twisty Tales// little wooden shelves from urban outfitters