Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Best Songs I’ve Borrowed from my Grandmother and Mum


One of the delightful things about being grown up now, is that people love it when I sing ‘old timey’ songs, even on a karaoke night when everyone else sings the same old hit songs (whether they should or not)… and these songs they are loving me for now, are the songs they would have mercilessly teased me for liking when we were teenagers!

I whip out these songs, because I like them, and they suit my voice, and they make me a bit different and quirky and in demand, but also because my love of music started with my mother and grandmother.

To be honest, apart from my Mum singing You Are My Sunshine to me every night at bedtime, I was originally a reluctant audience… in fact, I do recall many occasions when as a child, I would say to my Mum, “stop singing, Mummy”. And, when I was taking music lessons (organ, piano) my much older music teacher would select old songs that I thought were a bit daggy, only to have Mum say, “my Mum loved that song. Nanna loved that song”… and I started to sing them and like them. We are talking Scarlet Ribbons, Carolina Moon, and Goodnight Sweetheart amongst others. I also remember Mum and I singing together Que Sera Sera, Moon River, and I Could Have Danced All Night (from My Fair Lady).

Obviously our feelings for certain people can lead us to enjoy and appreciate certain songs, and I bet right now you are thinking of songs from your childhood (whether they were current hits or not), and let’s not forget how couples have a song they refer to as “our song”. Sometimes its possible for the way someone you care for loves a song, to cause you to love it.

I remember being in a choir competition when I was in primary school, our teacher had us sing Sally Gardens, I thought it was quite old fashioned and embarrassing (especially with the posh pronunciation of all the words she made us do)… we all had plums in our mouths! But my Mum, bless her, travelled all the way to the city to watch us in the competition and has the dearest memories of it, she loved it so much, that if I’m ever in trouble now, I just start singing Sally Gardens till her eyes mist over. “Down by the Sally Gardens, my true love did wait for me” fortunately is adequate since I don’t remember any of the other lyrics.

But here are the Top 10 Songs I borrowed from my Mother and Grandmother, that I truly enjoy singing today:

1. They Were You. This is great, very romantic, and if you aren’t familiar with it, check out Yvonne Williams on itunes.

2. Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree (with anyone else but me) another WWII song that I adore. This is one of the best songs for my voice. I sometimes tease my Mum with it, she is in a weightwatchers group that has an apple tree competition, the names of the members are put on the tree, and removed one by one as they fail to lose weight (it sounds mean, I know) and sometimes Mum is doing well on the tree and doesn’t want to blow it, but we might be wanting a tasty snack together while out and I sing “don’t fall off the apple tree with anyone else but me”.

3. Java Jive. I often sing this in a medley with song number two and a couple of others. “I love coffee, I love tea, I love the java jive and it loves me” (although I love tea, I detest coffee… but the song is just too good!). I especially love “waiter waiter percolator”.

4. Buffalo Girl. Fell in love with the song the first time I watched It’s A Wonderful Life with my family.

5. Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone. Love it! I would even love it as a cheeky finish to my own funeral… if I can get anyone to agree to it.

6. Call Me Irresponsible. coz basically I am!

7. Baby It’s Cold Outside. A great duet… don’t get to sing this much because you can’t sing both sides of the argument on your own!

8. Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps. She might be on the brink of being jilted, but she’s saucy and pert.

9. Something Stupid. I am often heard singing this in the shower.

10. Dankachoen (okay probably spelt that wrong… you know what I mean, the Wayne Newton hit). Oh Ferris Bueller you naughty schoolboy, sing this to me in the shower, or in the big parade. Yes, I first heard this in the movie, but then as always, my relies say “I love that song”.

So are you going to tell me what your favourite songs from other generations are? I’d love to know, because I am a total audiophile!


Introducing Marg, from Itchykoo Kids Clothing, featured etsy seller


Lovely Marg, from Itchykoo

I’m very happy to introduce my newest creative profile, for Marg from Itchykoo, please enjoy her interview, and her wonderful handmade creations…


Hi I’m the person behind itchykoo kids clothing – variously known as Margie, Maggie, Margaret, Mrs C, Mum (and very recently Grandma). I’m a happily retired primary school teacher. I loved teaching – was passionate about it – but knew without a doubt when it was time to change, that there were other ways to live my life. My husband and I regularly take off in our trusty Prado exploring this beautiful country. We have an off road camper which allows us to get a bit off the beaten track.

When at home I do a limited amount of relief teaching, I do a couple of days of voluntary work with St Vincent De Paul and of course get to create fun kid’s clothes. Times that I really look forward to are family get-togethers with my daughter, my two sons, their wives, and my baby granddaughter.

I’m an avid reader and enjoy spirited conversations (especially when sharing a nice shiraz!)


behold, this is how the magic happens


Where did your creative journey begin?

Aunty Marj was a dress designer who had worked in Paris pre WW2. My sister and I were lucky kids having a childless aunt who loved to dress us! She was the best sewing teacher. I scrounged fabric off cuts to create doll’s clothing. I progressed to making my own clothing and then sewed for my sister and mother.

When I was at teacher’s college, my flatmate was a fashion design student. We had lots of fun making our own clothes then (there wasn’t the brand name obsession of these days). Over the years though life became very busy and I didn’t have much time for this special creative outlet.

I got back into sewing when I couldn’t find a suitable lightweight handbag (my shoulder was giving me a lot of pain at that time). I ended up making a few handbags. To encourage me in this, a lovely lady gave me a huge box of Moda fabric samples and off-cuts. Well most of those fabrics were not suitable for handbags, but little dresses – most definitely!

My niece who has a web design business, saw what I was doing and told me that I just had to start selling on etsy. So she helped set me up and before I knew it itchykoo was launched.

Daisy Days Dress by Itchykoo


What kind of things inspire and excite you?

I’m a fabric junkie! I’m drawn to strong, vibrant colours and love running beautiful textures through my hands. Childhood is the perfect time to enjoy being able to wear fun colours (so parents, allow them that joy before your children turn into inhibited adults!).

I rarely design an item of clothing and then decide upon the fabric. It’s almost always the fabric (or trims) that inspire the creation. I dress fairly plainly so my family have speculated about why I love to create girlie outfits with lace and ribbons etc.

the Flowers & Bees Dress

What is the most difficult creative challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it? (or are you currently tackling it?)

My most daunting creative challenge is an ongoing one, and it’s one of validity or worthiness. I look at other people’s work and think it looks so much better than mine. I know the finished quality of my work is of a high standard, but worry about the design elements. Having immediate feedback at markets is always very affirming.

Cowboy Shorts


What dreams do you have for the future of your creative business?

I love that I can create one-of- a- kind outfits and am not at all interested in the idea of mass production. I could happily sew every day and would love itchykoo‘s sales to boom (allowing me to give up those few days of relief teaching). To make this happen I will need to do a lot more marketing, both online and weekend markets.

I’m interested in learning more about working with modern stretch fabrics in order to do more in baby wear. We’ll see what happens with that train of thought.

Baby Booties


If you’d like to view the complete range of beautifully handmade creations by Itchykoo, here is the link to Marg’s etsy store itchykoo

I hope you have enjoyed meeting Marg, a wonderful Australian member of the etsy community.


Overcoming the Creative ‘Snooze Button’


Tree of Life Necklace, flowering rose quartz


I’m waking up from having my creative life put on hold, something like hitting the snooze button in the mornings if you ask me. First I was caring for my parents, Mum is recovering extremely well from having her thyroid removed and none of the many nodules they removed were cancerous. Second, my new Kindle 3G arrived exactly a week ago, and I have been avidly reading with it. Thirdly, supplies I ordered in July have still not arrived, because the US customs service is something like 56 000 parcels behind schedule… I say something like, because in the time since that bulletin came out, it could possibly have gotten worse!

However, earlier this week I received a question about making a celtic design as a custom order, and here is something I came up with (by the way, this one is actually available as the buyer wanted a necklace)…

Celtic Knot Earrings, 925 silver

I have also been playing with dragonflies, as you can see

Spring Dragonflies

And this afternoon I made the Tree of Life necklace seen at the top of the post… not a bad awakening given the limitations of what I have on hand. I feel like I am returning to my normal activities and I even dared order some more supplies from the US and hopefully they will arrive before Christmas, lol.

What have you been up to?