Tuesday, 15 September 2015

My Melbourne.......A ride on a magical beer bus.

Where are we ?

This was the incredulous question asked by the young couple sitting in front of us on the bus. Where indeed.....well for us, we were headed home. Or two blocks further North from home.
To Hawkers Brewery Reservoir, where we were going to be treated to an exclusive brewery tour and TASTING of this very local brew.

What sort of magical bus were you on ? I hear you ask.

A magical beer bus driven by Ben of Ben's Brew Tours.

With the rise (and rise) of popularity of Melbourne's craft beer scene, it was time for a plucky pair to create a very uniquely Melbourne brewery tour. G and I were lucky enough to be invited along on the Northern Stars Brewery Tour in the first weeks of Ben's Brew Tours. 

The tour kicks off at Little Creatures for a quick intro and then onto the bus. Heading North, further and further til what was zone 2, Reservoir and the incredible operation that is Hawkers.
Tucked away in an industrial estate is an operation that has to be seen to believed and a story that I could hear over and over.
Here's a tip, if you ever get a chance to sample some of the Hawkers range while listening to Mazen talk (about anything) do.

Both are a delightful treat/surprise/shock to the systems.
The Hawkers Saison is one of my very favourite beers at the moment.

It was about this time that lunch was required.  The magic beer bus (!) took us to one of our favourite haunts, The Terminus Hotel.
The Terminus does great food and has a constantly changing and interesting beer list. Once we'd selected our food, we were on to the more difficult choice of deciding which beers to go onto our tasting paddle. Beers chosen and promptly delivered we settled in and got to know our tour leaders and fellow beer drinkers.

Ben started Ben's Brew Tours to as a way of sharing his love and passion for craft beer with others. "I'm really keen to spread the word about drinking better beer."

It's a great approach and one that works really well. Our tour was a mix of craft beer aficionados to the more novice craft beer drinkers.

The behind the scenes nature of the tour means that even if you know and appreciate your craft beer, there's still a great deal to learn and experience. Including tasting some beers not (yet) released to the public. Plus, there is nothing quite like having a tasting with the brewer.

After lunch, from Clifton Hill to Thornbury and we arrived at 3 Ravens.  Now, you know how I feel about the 3 Ravens team and their brews.........

Nathan and Murray were on hand to tell us the 3 Ravens tale, show us through the Pleasure Palace (the old bar that will soon become the new bar open to the public) and give us a comprehensive tasting.

I feel like, in this little pocket of industrial Thornbury, 3 Ravens is the 'little' brewery that could.
And does.
Award winning beers, excellent classics and then some kooky out there beers that the brewers get to have lots of fun with.
Like the DELICIOUS Turkish Delight (I have one in my fridge and no you can't have it)

Back to the bus and we headed to the heartland of Melbourne brewing. Did you know (fun fact alert) that beer has always been brewed in Abbotsford, Richmond and surrounds. Indeed every pub used to have it's own brewery and unique artisanal beer.
The times they are repeating....

Moon Dog Brewery is based in Abbotsford and is about as far away from the technical sophistication of Hawkers that a commercial brewery can get.
Again, a bearded man passionate about his beer, Matthias, lead us through a colourful history and tasting of Moon Dog Brewing.
The contrast of brewing styles together with incredible quality of Melbourne's beer scene is so apparent by the time you've reached this part of the tour.....through a secret hidden door I might add !

Look it's fair to say at this point that quite a lot of delicious beer has been consumed and enjoyed.
But we're not finished yet......oh no.

Our final stop is Forester's Hall  in Collingwood. This place is serious about their beer with a staggering 32 taps of carefully selected beer. Obviously the challenge for the modern brewer is once you've made a delicious beer is to get it to drinkers retaining all that fresh hoppy goodness without the preservatives and over filtration of mass produced beer.

Somehow, the kegs and taps and things are really important in this process (details are a little hazy, or I'm just keeping it a secret so you will go on the tour and learn for yourself !) The keg room at Forester's is an impressive exercise in logistics. But let's be honest, it's also a tease seeing exactly what is being poured downstairs while you stand, chilled, in the cool room.

Luckily, our fearless leaders (who have reached some sort god and goddess status in our eyes by now) have organised a tasting here as well. The Forester's Team carefully selected some of their more unique and tasty brews for us to sample.

At this point, it was time to head home. With our goodie bag !

A custom made Ben's Brew Tour Craft'd glass and a beer from each brewery we visited.

G and I had such a fantastic day. This is a brilliant way to explore Melbourne's vibrant craft beer scene, get a behind the scenes look and actually just a really great way to spend a day out.

It is perfectly suited to both the craft beer fanatic and sometime beer drinker. By the end of the tour, we'd happily made friends with everyone, however it would be great as a group tour with 9 of your favourite people.

I'm really excited to see Ben and Natasha succeed, as I'm sure they will and excited to see more people enjoying the craft beer experience.

Ben's Brew Tours : Tour bookings  : Facebook : Instagram

*G and I were VIP guests on this tour, however the choice to write this blog post was completely my own and opinions expressed are based on a great experience (and much craft beer).

Change of Season

The season has changed (ok, 14 days ago, but coherent sentences have been hard to come by), to my favourite season, Spring.

It's been an incredibly tough six weeks.

I miss my friend. The grief is a roller coaster of emotions.

We've moved house. Not to the house we've bought, but a very temporary move to a house I don't like very much.
Almost everything is in storage. And I know it shouldn't be, but it's unsettling. I miss my 'things' my photos, books.....

My pain level and not surprisingly, my anxiety has increased. Significantly.


But........ there are days of sunshine. Today was a spectacular Spring day.

There are coffee dates with friends. In sunny cafes. 

There are beers and cheese platters to be enjoyed with my very favourite person. 

There are plans being made for new markets and plans for weekends away.


There are new projects to start and adult colouring in books to become absorbed in. 

There is a new house just waiting to be decorated for Christmas. Which clearly requires MANY hours on Pinterest. 

There is another new season just around the corner. 

***And a late edit, there's a NEW Prime Minster ! I am not sorry to see you go Mr Abbott. 
Your policies and personal opinions created a climate of fear and hatred. That's your legacy. 
Mr Turnbull, we'd like, no, actually we demand a woman as Minister for Women, Marriage Equality, a humane Immigration Policy, action on climate change and you can undo those cuts to ABC, health and education.***

Thursday, 10 September 2015

My thoughts today.......

I'm still struggling for words. 
I light your candle.
I feel guilty.
I strive to be better. 
And I miss you. 

Today is R U Ok Day. A day to ask the question. But for me it rang hallow. It's World Suicide Prevention Day and I couldn't stop my friend from feeling there was no other way out. 

It was also a day where our incessant 24 hour new cycle relayed horrific news that at least two women died as a result of domestic violence. 

We need to change the conversation in this country. Our greatest threats are in our own very suburban and ordinary homes. 

Mental illness and domestic violence. The two biggest killers of women under 50 in this country. Both hidden. Both so utterly insidious. And unnecessary. Both with far reaching ripples of pain. 

Thankfully I have never encountered domestic violence. For that I am eternally grateful. I also need to say that in no way am I saying my friend suffered domestic violence. I'm simplying saying that I am sick and tired of brilliant, strong, fragile and vibrant women dying. Daily. 

I do know mental illness tho. I know it well. Too well for comfort. Inside my own head and the effect it has on many of my family and friends.

Mental illness, the disease, robbed me off my friend. And two beautiful boys of their mum. And an entire community of a much loved and talented woman.

And yet finding the good. Coffee with a friend, sunshine, a well cooked meal shared with someone you love, a glass of wine, a cuddle from a toddler or dog, a ridiculous joke that makes you laugh with your whole body, clean sheet day, bacon and eggs, making something, wearing a new dress and love. 

These are things we need to celebrate.

I hope you're ok. And if you're not, that's ok too. But please, please talk to someone.
A mate. A partner. A family member.  A doctor. A professional.

I'm ok.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Dear Kate....

This post has been sitting in drafts for over a week, because there doesn't ever seem to ever be the right words. The words that convey my sense of loss. My grief. But here it is. My wholly inadequate tribute to a woman I loved. A friend. A most talented and complex soul. Kate Campbell. 
Here's a post from Northern Regards
Thank you to everyone who has reached out over the past couple of weeks. This handmade and local community of ours is a strong and beautiful one. 

Dear Kate,

It's been four weeks since you left us. 

I still can't believe you're gone. I keep checking my phone and emails and messages to find a message from you.  And then I realise that they're not coming. That you're gone.

We first met at a local craft course, instantly I saw that you were full of the energy and passion that I came to know and love so very well. You were a force. 

So talented. Opinionated, passionate, loyal, generous, determined, complex and strong. 

Your taught me so much. We worked  well as a team, even we didn't agree (which was often). 
I think that's how we achieved so much and managed to work together. 

You forced me to view the world in a different way. A way that challenged me. 

At the same time you gave your friendship, love and support so freely. 

I will never forget the twilight market at which we forgot to eat.....just one pack of jelly beans between us. We were delirious. EVERYTHING was immensely funny. Yet, tears streaming down our faces you still managed a complex discussion of the commercialisation of Christmas. At a Christmas market. 

At the markets we'd have the most outrageous, deep, meaningful and mundane conversations. About everything. And we'd laugh.  If things that got really intense, and you didn't think I was taking in what you wanted to tell me,  you would grab my arm, demanding my full attention. All the while people were trying to buy your beautiful jewellery. 

Kate, you struggled. You struggled with an invisible but undeniable illness. An illness that took you away from us.

Rest now sweet friend, your struggle is over. 

Be our guardian angel and ensure that we never take talent, beauty and friendship for granted. 

I  miss you. I'll always be proud to have been your friend. 

Travel well my friend. 

Dee x 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Launching Spacecrafts. From Thornbury....with beer !

***Update - we're launching CoBrew and the new 3 Ravens Bar with a Twilight Market THIS FRIDAY 25th September 5-9pm, 1 Theobald St, Thornbury. Keen to see the CoBrew space in action....come along during the day from 9am. *****

Recently when we were house hunting, I was VERY adamant that we remain in Darebin.

Size of house, style and just how hideous the kitchen was, were all out weighed by location.

As my good friend (oh, I wish) Kirstie Allsopp says, it's all about Location, Location, Location.

Sure, Darebin has it's frustrations, but no where is perfect.  For me Darebin is about the importance and the value, placed on the entrepreneur, the maker, the designer, the crafter and the artist.
And the food. And craftbeer.

Did you know that Darebin has one of the highest numbers of working from home small creative businesses in Melbourne ?

Yet at the same time, property prices are going up. So where does that small creative business go ?

My LOVE CRAFT BEER brooch by FTLOV just works so well for these type of events 

Do you permanently give up the spare bedroom/garage/dining room  to your creative pursuits...............or do you find a space, close to home, affordable, surrounded by like minded people that can allow your creative business to grow ? 

I'll take the latter thank you. Did I mention very good craft beer as well ?

My good friends at 3 Ravens Brewery, located in industrial Thornbury  have transformed the space about the brewery to create CoBrew.

A SpaceCraft. A space with craft beer and designers, makers and entrepreneurs crafting their own businesses ideas and dreams.

"Now I'm full grown, and I've a spacecraft of my own...."

As Nathan from 3 Ravens explains, the word brew was used very deliberately.
Not just to link the space to the brewery below, but to suggest  the collaborative nature that they hope  the space will inspire.

Last Thursday, myself and other locals were treated to a few brews and a sneak peek at the new CoBrew space. 

Office space, studio space, permanent desk space, floating desks and workshop space.
In my humble opinion, the space also lends itself to a fantastic exhibition space.

The space, which will be launched with a crowd funding campaign at 9am July 21st, will offer permanent members 24 hour access to the space, shared board room facilities as well as the office/studio spaces and desks. The team at Co-Brew are very keen to hear what works for local creatives in the design of the space from here on.

And it's not just all work. The 3 Ravens bar or "Pleasure Palace" as it's known is going to have an upgrade and be open to the public on a regular basis. Business meetings and knock off drinks just got a whole lot better.

For more details, especially on early bird offers and the crowd funding campaign, please email Lauren@cobrew.com.au

So, bloggers, makers, small businesses are you ready to blast off  ?

(I apologise about that one, I have edited out a great deal of space, astronaunt and launch pad references......allow me just this one?)

*Please note, I wasn't paid to promote 3 Ravens and CoBrew, I just really dig the space. I also  have a project coming up that I think will be perfect in this space*

**Also, if you would like me to review/promote your brand or space.....let's talk  !**

Monday, 13 July 2015

"by the power vested in me by my fake Elvis costume.....I declareyou....."

Firstly,  THANK YOU so much for all the views and positive, lovely comments on my last post.
You completely and  absolutely reassured me that hitting publish was the right thing and that we (almost all of us) are  ready for same-sex marriage, gay marriage, marriage equality and any other positive term you choose to use.

Somewhat unintentionally, this post is also about same sex marriage. Very specifically OURS.

Back in the day, the photos were sent to us, you know in the post.....covered with PROOF written on them.
Even tho we ordered copies and they're great- I LOVE these ones.
It's PROOF that we actually did it ! 

You see after 3 1/2 years together, G and I repeatedly teased each other about 'getting married'.

We loved each other. We'd travelled well together. We'd bought a house together. Perhaps more impressively, we were living together well. Traditionally, it was the obvious next step.

Of course, tradition had no part to play. 10 years ago, I wasn't officially "out" to my family.
Of course, they knew. We just didn't talk about it. There was also no blue print (or for that matter, pressure) for us to follow.

Cue the international wedding tour. Our very, very good friends were getting married in BC Canada and then G's sister was getting married in England. All within two weeks.

And then we decided to travel and holiday via Las Vegas. A city we'd had lots of fun in previously.

A city also very well known for couples randomly getting married in.

So, it was decided. We were getting 'married'. The ' are because, despite almost EVERYTHING being legal in Las Vegas, until recently, same sex marriages were not legal 10 years ago.

We had a few very amusing conversations with hotel concierges capable of procuring ANYTHING, but blushed when we asked about the logistics of getting married. I have a clear and vivid memory of a lovely Concierge of a very well known and expensive hotel looking at us aghast. You could see her wishing that instead we had asked for 7 strippers, 12 illegal drugs, a case of Champagne and a tonne of caviar to be delivered to our suite instead of directions to the nearest gay-friendly wedding chapel !

We were close to giving up (seriously, it was proving IMPOSSIBLE) til we met a gorgeous, unflappable, genuinely kind soul. A lovely gay gentleman working at an information desk booth  in a shopping mall on the Vegas strip. He was BEYOND excited to book us our wedding.

Which might have explained the miss up that happened next.

We'd moved to New York New York hotel and casino, dressed in our best lesbian chic and headed to the bar !
Reinforcements were required ! Shots at the piano bar and then to the lobby to meet our limo.

Oh yes ! Travellers cheques (it was TEN years ago) go along way in Vegas.

At this point I should mention that Las Vegas was experiencing a heat wave. The kind of heat wave where outside work is cancelled and breakfast TV segments fry an egg on a car bonnet.

The limo picked us up and we headed down the strip to the decidedly dodgy, chapel lined part of town.

We arrived. Fabulous gay proprietors of Viva Las Vegas Chapel greeted us.
I mean this place was something else !
Close your eyes........ picture a Las Vegas wedding chapel, and......yep. You have it !

Fake green foliage. Elvis Presley officiating. 7 minute ceremonies. Celebrity photos on the wall (Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob if you don't mind).

This was the bulk billing of weddings. With a fee.

We opted for Elvis (well, obviously) gender neutral vows and 3 songs. (Middle range price tag my friends, there was also a no song option and 5 song option)

We arrived just before our 2.30 appointment.

This conversation happened.....
Us : Hi Glass/Wild, we're here for our 2.30 'wedding'
Viva Las Vegas : Yeah, we have you booked in for '4.30'
Us : no 2.30.
Viva Las Vegas : no 4.30.
Us : Ok, can you fit us in now, at 2.30,
Viva Las Vegas : No, we're fully booked. But you can come back at 4.30

Cue getting back into the limo and G declaring, "it's a sign ! It's a sign. We shouldn't be doing this!"
To which I replied,  "It's NOT a sign ! It's fine, we'll just go to Hooters first, cool down and get married at 4.30. All good !"

Instructed the limo driver to head straight to Hooters. If you've been to Las Vegas in the last 7 years, you'll know there this a huge Hooters Casino, bar and restaurant ON THE STRIP. Back in the day, you had to go to downtown to seedy-ville  to get to Hooters.

Did I mention the heat ? About 7 minutes into the journey, the limo made some strange guttural noises. Unhealthy noises.
The limo over heated.

Once again G chimed in with "it's a sign ! It's a sign. We shouldn't be doing this!"
And once again I countered with "It's NOT a sign ! It's fine, we'll just go to Hooters via another limo, cool down and get married at 4.30. All good !

Surely enough, Las Vegas is not short of limos and another limo and driver were soon were whisking us to Hooters. Where,  we intended to order the ultimate Hooters menu item.
A bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne and a bucket of wings. This was a classy day !

"Oh, I'm so sorry, you have to order the Champagne three weeks in advance" the scantily clad, gum cracking waitress announced.

To which G, predictably declared "it's a sign ! It's a sign. We shouldn't be doing this!"
And once again I countered with "It's NOT a sign ! It's not a sign. LOOK ! It's happy hour ! Cheap beer and wings! Perfect. Order up"

So, replenished and a limo driver who spent that hour chatting up the entire restaurant, we headed back to Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel.

The affable and entirely lovely gay gentlemen greeted us warmly and confirmed our details. G piped up ensuring that we weren't about to commit to forever and ever were we ?
And no mention of wives or obey thank you very much !

I'll be honest. I don't remember a whole lot from our ceremony.

I remember Elvis was quite thin. He definitely sang Love Me Tender. And we definitely promised, among other things, not to step on each other's blue suede shoes.

I mostly remember looking into G's eyes and knowing. Knowing that I was meant to be with her. Knowing that, yes, there would be hard times, but we'd work through them. That this wasn't the wedding I'd dreamt of as a little girl. But this love. This commitment, this undeniable strength and passion and belief and friendship and LOVE. This was actually what that childhood dream was about.

She was my person. I wanted to cement that. Even if it was just for her and I to know about.
A foundation to build on. A future I couldn't wait to experience. The love of my life and the one I wanted to grow old with.

Of course, G had made the aforementioned gay gentlemen promise that the words FOREVER, LIFE LONG, NEVER TO BE SEPARATED were not to be mentioned in our ceremony.

My funniest memory is them laughing as they explained, instead of "Best Wishes Georgina and Deanne" they desperately wanted to type,
"Committed Forever and Ever With no Escape" as we happily posed underneath said sign.

And then we were married ! Limo back to the hotel and the trotting out of marriage certificate (signed by Elvis) to procure every free dessert and drink that we could !

With rings on our wedding fingers, we boarded flights to Canada and celebrated two very different weddings as our friends and G's sister were married.

A couple of things that strike me today, 10 years to the day (plus one)....

I'm not sure we had any idea of the trials that were ahead of us
I tend to think that a wedding is MORE than the vows. It is about the hoopla, party, surrounded by family and friends, the planning, the event.
And yet, despite that, I love that we had that day, with all it's hiccoughs, just the two of us.
We don't tend to celebrate this day, we celebrate our actual anniversary in January.
It was SO hot.
I wouldn't change a thing.

I love G more today than I ever thought possible ten years ago.

Friday, 3 July 2015

I'm gay. And that's ok.

*Disclaimer. Hi there, I'm GAY. Very happily so. This means that I would like the OPTION to get married, legally, and also I believe I have the right to not feel discriminated against, hated or vilified because I'm gay. If that offends you, then I'm fine with you leaving now. You might also like to stay, as my opinion is just as valid as yours. That's because it's ok for us all to have different opinions. Like, I like salted caramel ice cream, you might prefer rum and raisin. And that's ok.
What's NOT ok is when our differing opinions hurt, vilify and harm other people. 
ALSO, it is NEVER ok to threaten physically, verbally or emotionally another person. Online or in real life. Ever. Ok ?*

So, it has come to my attention, rather harshly, that I live in a bubble.

Oh, it's a nice bubble ! It's a bubble where people genuinely care about the rights of asylum seekers, victims of domestic violence, the rights of women and the right to love whom you choose without fear of discrimination or harm. Sure, it's a Green Party voting, craft beer drinking, supporting local business, inner city (kind of) living bubble. But it's really, really nice here.

Perhaps I was a little naive. I mean, I do read the papers, watch the news, and have  a twitter and facebook feed that sometimes horrifies me. However, I'd (very) inaccurately assumed that our politicians, lead by some misguided beliefs and policies, were out of step with the vast majority of my fellow Australians.

However, if you follow certain Australian blogging circles, you'll know that this week a blog post written by a fellow Australian female blogger caused a 'bit' of a stir. The post was written in response to the rainbowing of profile pictures that spread like a glorious sea of acceptance and pride and love over facebook in response to Pride celebrations across the USA and Europe.

This blogger as a Christian does not support my right to marry my female partner. That's fine. I don't begrudge her right to her opinion. Nor do I begrudge her right to post that opinion on her blog.
However, I do, very strongly believe that her opinion DOES NOT give her the right to spread a very hateful message of intolerance. I felt physically ill when I read this blog post.

Physically ill, like I'd been punched in the stomach. The words hurt. The following threads of comments in a blogging community hurt even more. The old arguments of the sanctity of marriage, the purpose of marriage to be purely for re-production and "but where will this all end ??" were raised and re-hashed. Sometimes not very eloquently. Always with rancour, fear, hatred and disgust.

I'm not going to defend these arguments because frankly I'm a bit bored by them. My happy, healthy and loving relationship does not in any way effect any one else's. At least, not negatively. I would argue that happy relationships, straight or gay, create a better society for ALL of us.

My overwhelming issue with the blog and ensuing hateful comments is the complete lack of empathy. So often in this 'debate' the PERSON is completely removed from the argument.

Gay people become some arbitrary threat to society. A random image of men in chaps and lesbians in sensible shoes kissing under rainbow flags aiming to destroy marriage and our society as a whole.

Where's the personal connection to your neighbour, friend, family member (I am looking directly at YOU Tony Abbott) or fellow blogger ? Where's the empathy ? Where's the understanding that we are all born differently. Created (oohhhh I went there) to love and be loved but just not necessarily in the same way that you are.

And, my grave concern with posts and opinions like this one, is for the young and vulnerable gay, bisexual, transgender and sexually curious or confused kids. There still growing up in a world and country where (to many people, including our PM and many aspects of the media) to be gay is BAD. A sin and you should be punished, ostracised and hated for it.

For being yourself. The way you were born.

From BeyondBlue :
"Lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and transgender and gender diverse people are much more likely to experience depression and anxiety than the broader population. They are also at a greater risk of suicide and self-harm. 
Among LGBTI populations, research clearly indicates that discrimination, abuse (both verbal and physical), exclusion and prejudice are key contributors to the increased rates of depression, anxiety and self-harm."
Blog posts like this week's only give weight to the fear and stigma that is held by a minority. 
But is heard very loudly. 
I come to this debate having had a relatively easy 'coming out' experience and generally have only been surrounded by love and acceptance. I am eternally grateful for that and do not take that acceptance lightly. But really, should I have to be grateful for that ??? 
I don't believe that my sexuality and my relationship define me. Certainly not as a blogger. Which I think partly explains why I found this blog and response so hurtful and alarming. This was a 'safe' space. I'm used to defending my rights at the poll booth, or choosing a LGBTI medical professional or checking the LGBTI friendliness of an organisation before I utilise them. I'm very accustomed  to choosing when or to whom I declare that my 'partner' ifs female. But not here. Not in a blogging sphere of like minded women. Surely ? 
Well I was wrong. And yet I wasn't, because amongst those voices of hate were louder voices of love and acceptance and with me, shock. The care was (as it should have been) shared equally for the original blogger and 'us' gays. That care wasn't an acknowledgement or validation of the blogger's opinion but rather care for her well being after being abused online for her post.  
I'm sure that's because we ALL know a neighbour, brother, cousin, sibling, for some of you, children, that are or maybe gay. And don't we want them to be free of discrimination, hate and fear ? 
For being themselves ? 
I'm sure this post is not particularly well written, but I'm going to hit publish anyway. It's been swirling around in my head and heart all week and needs to be out.(maybe I intended that pun!)
I'm going to walk the dogs, hold my lover's hand and go about my day. 
Thanks for reading. Yes, please comment (I may get someone else to monitor them) but please reread my disclaimer at the top of this post BEFORE you comment. 
Dee x

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Wild About Melbourne Etsy Craft Party

There are three things that are very high on my very favourite things list.

Crafting with friends
Chatting with friends, over craft and good food.

So, when the Etsy Worldwide Craft Party was announced and the call put out to host a local craft party......I couldn't resist. So, tomorrow night we will gather at the Thornbury Bowls Club for the Wild About Melbourne Craft Party.

Every year, Etsy join forces with local crafters to celebrate all things craft. This year the theme is Paper : Taking Shape

I asked my fellow blogger, friend and beautiful artist, Naomi if she could design a project for us to craft with. She did and it is amazing  !

A snail mail template that we can personalise, colour, create with and then send to someone to love.
Add in some tea, wine and good food and this is going to be a great event.

There are still a few tickets left. AND comment here for your chance to WIN two free tickets.

Friday, 29 May 2015

My Melbourne : Good Beer Week

One of the MANY things that I love about Melbourne is our love of a good festival.

And one of my favourite festivals, is Good Beer Week. The annual celebration of all that is good, nay, great about craft beer.

This year with trying to buy a house, we were restrained, no annual leave and big beer budgets, but that didn't stop us enjoying the week.

We started with a complete (market life) bucket list item. Yes, it was a Northern Regards Artisan Market  GOOD BEER WEEK market !
Celebrating all that is upcycling, handmade, local and delicious craft beer.

The fabulous chaps from 3 Ravens Brewery were on hand with samples, tasting and beer talk and our fabulous makers made craft beer inspired wares.
I spent, quite a lot, of money and drank delicious beer.

Each year a number of venues celebrate POO, the unfortunate or just plain cheeky acronym for   Point of Origin. This year, one of our favourite venues, The Terminus Hotel celebrated all things Victorian. 
I very happily tasted the Women Of Beer United Red Ale.............brewed in Melbourne, by women and delicious. 

Feral vs Nail Brewery tap takeover at Royston Hotel. I love the Royston and I love WA's Feral Brewing. Which is a good thing because this is one of the trickiest venue's to get to on public transport, hiding away in industrial Richmond.
However, the food, vibe and beer is worth the two trams and a train ! 
Some of our favourite feral brews, plus a few new ones to sample. Happy days !   

And then, the lovely Royston Hotel gifted us two tickets to the Two Birds/Rockwell and Sons Brewer vs chef event.  It was our first visit to the Two Birds Nest, brewery, restaurant and bar in Spotswood. A fantastic venue with amazing beer, and the Rhubarb Saison brewed just for this event was amazing and one of my favourite beers of the festival.

And then, there was GABS - The Great Australiasian Beer SpecTAPular. 
Over 300 beers on offer, many brewed just for the event.
Beer and bunting in one of my favourite Melbourne buildings, The Exhibition Building in Carlton.
We tasted some great beer. Enjoyed delicious burgers and I finally got to try the Bright Brewery MIA IPA. This event is so well run, attracting a larger and more diverse crowd every year.

And so that was Good Beer Week. 

Writing this post has made me thirsty for a good beer, like a 3 Ravens APA. Do you know where they serve said beer......?

Thornbury Bowls Club. And you know what is happening at Thornbury Bowls Club next week,
the Wild About Melbourne Etsy Craft Party ! To WIN two FREE tickets to the event, comment below and I will award two tickets to my favourite comment on Tuesday. 

Happy crafting - be that beer or handmade arts ! 


Saturday, 2 May 2015

Closing a handmade chapter......

It's market day at Made 'n Thornbury and for the first time in five years, I'm not there.

It was a bitterly cold July Melbourne evening. We'd just moved back to Melbourne and as is always the case, getting to know our new neighbourhood....mostly through trial and error and happy misadventures.

I was walking Wogan in what I thought was our closest dog park (turns out there was at least 3 closer) when an unmistakable buzz caught my attention....

It was the buzz of months of planning, making, women chatting, friends greeting and neighbours meeting. Within the buzz was a trusty whir of a coffee machine and the click clack of knitting needles. The scent of anticipation and something delicious and tangy were in the air.

Yes, I'd stumbled upon my very own local handmade market !

The sweet and tangy scent was the delicious aroma of Melbourne Epicure's lemon tarts. The anticipation and chatter was coming from a group of local women who gathered in a hall to sell their wares, share their skills and form a community. 

I wanted in ! 

I wandered in and marvelled. At the handmade creations, the quaint hall, the community and (did I mention) the lemon tarts. I learnt it was a quarterly market, I could apply to have a stall and best of all, the neighbourhood house responsible ran a handmade business course - Make Craft Your Business.

The market even had a blog ! (This was over FIVE years ago and a VERY big deal) When I got home from that first market/dog walk, I spent hours jumping from the Made 'n Thornbury blog to local Melbourne crafters and a whole world of handmade ready for me to explore.

I enrolled in the course and prepared for my first Melbourne market. I met women who are friends to this day. I learnt an incredible amount of important info.
Most of all, I learnt that you can't run a community market without just that, community. 

Not content with just being a Stallholder and knowing that I needed to up skill, get out of the house and DO something, I volunteered to help promote the market.

Well, I'm sure you know the story from here....

For the past five years I have volunteered promoting and coordinating Made 'n Thornbury Craft Market. And I have loved it.
Quite often hard work, always surrounded by talented, vocal, passionate and creative women. I have met truly amazing women. Many of whom I call friends, close friends.

As with everything, it hasn't all been smooth sailing and at times I've been frustrated and exhausted. But. There's always been the next market, the next new Stallholder making their debut, the next mention in one of my favourite blogs/magazines.....the next lemon tart. 

Made 'n Thornbury has taught me so much and allowed me to create new markets and new ventures. With clever, creative and beautiful women.

The time has come to move on though....a decision I did not take lightly or make easily. I haven't left Made 'n Thornbury due to new opportunities, but I am excited to see what happens next. 

I wish everyone at TWNH and Made 'n Thornbury the very best and look forward to venturing to Leinster Grove for a visit. Soon, but not just yet.

In the meantime....I need to get that lemon tart recipe....!