Home Haircuts

I’m not sure if I’m being really tight, or incredibly resourceful here?! I cut my kids hair.  I can hear the comments now “You can tell!”. But can you? I can’t say I know what I’m doing, or am particularly skilled in the art… and Josh’s wavy locks must hide some of my sins… but my dear friend and hairdresser tells me (when on the odd occasion she has trimmed their locks whilst doing mine), that my sins are few!  Tomas’ fringe has had the odd bad month or two … but at 2 he really doesn’t mind… as long as he gets his frozen yoghurt whilst mummy snips away he’s happy. Oh yes, bribery is alive and well in this hair salon!

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A gift from Grandma

Normally when you have a birthday you receive gifts… but it seems when you’re 84 you are the giver. Recently I spent a wonderful few precious days with three amazing women… my grandma (it was her 84th birthday), my mum and my sister. There was much love, laughter and…. knitting… yup… knitting. I’m actually a little embarrassed to say that I didn’t know how to knit! The last time I remember anyone trying to teach me was my lovely Nanna when I was about 6 and I knitted three stripes of a Parramatta scarf (Sorry Dad, I mustn’t have had my heart in the team)…. and that’s it!  Grandma is the most amazing knitter…. she should be, she’s been doing it constantly since she was 6 and has clothed three generations of our family in her lovely creations.

And Grandma’s gift… is the gift of knitting, something she assures me will keep me company and give me comfort throughout my life. Gee… my gift to her of some beads that the boys moulded and painted themselves seems a little wanting!! So off we went to buy some wool and needles for my new venture.  It was nice to know you can buy bamboo needles and 100% wool or bamboo yarn. Of course I chose chunky needles and chunky wool for the chunky throw rug I want to make. Apparently not the easiest for a beginner, but I think it was a stroke of genius! For an impatient novice and time poor mum it’s so exciting to see my little creation take shape so quickly. Very excited that MAYBE by winter 2014 I’ll have my very own handmade throw / blanket…. complete with wool tied together at random intervals and rows that somehow leap from 40 to 44 stitches???!!!  (Apologies to any future grandchildren of mine… you’ll be getting hand-me-down booties and beanies from your great, great grandma’s needles… not these chunky babies!).


How to give, without giving the earth.

I love giving gifts, but it is easy to get caught up in the commercial world of spending without thinking. Not only do I think it important that I think about what the person might actually want, but also what impact that gift will have on the environment.
I try, I don’t always succeed, sometimes lured by something gorgeous or something easily accessible…. but I’m getting stronger because I know there are so many wonderful GREEN options out there.

Here are some gifts I wrapped up this week for two special people in my life. For one gift  I purchased a $1 frame from a secondhand shop and created my own bit of art on recycled paper…  a 100% recycled notebook … an eco cloth bag.  I usually make my own cards, but have a stash of recycled / eco friendly bought cards if I run out of time and a birthday is looming. I then get to the really exciting bit, wrapping. I love making gifts look beautiful, and through using recycled paper, natural hemp and cotton twines and scrap paper etc, I hope I show my recipient that I care about them, but I also care that their gift will be kind to the planet too.


As for kids toys / gifts, there are SO many educational, beautiful, earth friendly and child friendly products out there.

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DIY herb tags

A little craftiness of the “three R” (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) variety.

This project is a cheap/free way of beautifying your veggie patch or herb pots, and also saves some plastic from the recycling bin!


Chop up some plastic containers into flat sections  – whatever size /shape takes your fancy.


Give one side of the flat section two coats of blackboard paint (wear gloves… it’s is REALLY hard to get off your hands!!!)


Once paint is dry you can glue (use a wood glue or the like) sticks (I used old ice-block sticks) to the back.

Now you can write / draw on your mini signs…. you can use normal chalk, or a chalkboard pen if you’re wanting it to be a bit more permanent.


You’ll see these little gems pop up in a project I’m working on at the moment – post to come soon. You could also use these as name tags for dinner parties (perhaps without the sticks), for labeling gifts…. LOTS of possibilities.

Recycling / Upcycling Styling

The brief – “Create an inviting space for brides, grooms and families to meet, discuss wedding plans and to have their portraits taken. It must also reflect the photographer’s (my lovely husband Darryn) relaxed and down to earth style”.

The outcome – For furnishings I re-used the couch and timber slatted room divider from the previous studio and teamed them with some secondhand treasures! A rustic, paint splattered trestle table, rusty metal and timber stools, white stand (that was looking very sorry for itself after suffering at the hands of a very bad restoration job. We stripped it back at the top to uncover a gorgeously weathered patina and then painted the base!), coffee table (rescued from a scratched french polish disaster) and as for the main timber desk and chairs… these funky retro secondhand finds were absolutely fine as found.

The accessories were also up-cycled! Many of the small frames around the studio I  picked up for $1 or 50c at various secondhand haunts. I then gave them a spruce up and they look fabulous. In the process of restoring one we managed to smash the glass… no matter, now a perfect frame for one of my homemade ceramic chalkboard hearts (Go to www.madebykirst.com to order your own!).  The vintage cameras are gifts to my hubby from myself and his dad over the years. The tea-light holders I rustled up quickly by raiding my preserving jar stash and tied a strip of twine around each one. In some I placed a cylinder of paper taken from a French novel in which I’d cut out two heart shapes. GORGEOUS! Darryn had lots of interest in those  from brides at a recent bridal expo, might have to add those to www.madebykirst.com!

And… voi la. A welcoming, creative and recycled space for the new home of McKay Photography.

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