Friday, July 31, 2009


I'm 32 today. Yes, it's an unremarkable milestone, but as is my birthday tradition in recent times I have allowed myself some reflection on the year behind me. And it occurs to me that this past year has been one of the most significant in my life. To celebrate, I'm holding a giveaway. As a child I used to love assembling the party bags to give to my birthday guests - essentially, this is my Big Girl's Party Bag equivalent.

I would have liked to preface this giveaway by indulging in some public navel-gazing and a retrospective of the paradigm-shifts and growth that has occurred since my last birthday. Navel-gazing in the areas of ethical consumption, sustainable living, contented and generous living, and other soap-boxes! But, as usual, life with two small insomniacs has rudely interrupted, and so you are spared my rantings. But just you wait, dear reader... just you wait...

Meanwhile, A GIVEAWAY. OK, so there are three party bags up for grabs.

The first is a one-year subscription to Mixtape Zine.

Most of you are probably already familiar, if not already subscribed, to this great little zine about making time for the small things. In its creators' own words, mixtape is 'a collision of craft, eco-cool and pop culture kitsch'. If you're not, then put your hand up for this one! I love it, and I want you to love it too.

The other two 'party bags' will receive a share of the following loot, and a few other little crafty bits and pieces that I didn't have time to photograph...

Some great vintage patterns:

This felt brooch:
This KeepCup - an eco-friendly reusable coffee cup, to keep your coffee hot and your planet cool!

A set of fabric 'envelopes' in lovely vintage fabrics:

Some thrifted serviettes and a vintage French scarf:
To enter, leave me a comment and tell me something YOU'D like to get on your soap-box about. It can be anything, really - I'm interested to know what makes you all tick.
OOPS, forgot to add that this giveaway is open for a week - will pick the winners next Friday Aug 7th, at random :-)


  1. I love to make things, nearly everyday i make or in the process of making a project. especially dolls and toys. My soap box thing in my house is the boys socks! I have my nephew aged 23, my youngest son aged 22 my middle son aged 24 All wear black socks!!! I refuse to pair them up, i cannot tell whose sock is whose and so after being washed they get put into a basket. No matter how many times i ask them to take their socks they just stay there, then one of them complains that they cannot find his own socks. He says everyone else is wearing his. that is my soap box moment. There, now i feel better! the problem is not solved, but it is not my problem anymore. By the way!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
    If i win and i could choose i would Love the MIXTAPE

  2. I want to get on my soapbox about disposable fashion. I think it's appalling that along every high street there's shops packed full of cheap clothing made from crappy fabrics, sewn by sweatshop workers in terrible conditions for little pay, worn a few times and then thrown away.

    I read an argument that if everyone bought half as many items of clothing and paid twice as much for each of them, it would cost us no more to have a high-quality wardrobe made by fairly paid workers. Even people who aren't into op shops or sewing can easily get into ethical fashion this way.

  3. Wow! Happy Birthday Gina!! What a lovely way to celebrate. I hope you've had a fabulous day. Actually, we have a tradition in this family of having a 'birth week'.. so, I hope you have a wonderful birth WEEK! :)
    I shamefully admit I haven't got around to subscribing to Mixtape yet, so I put my hand up for that one... though the other bundle is calling me! Whichever is fine ;) just wishing you a long restful night's sleep! K x

  4. Happy Birthday to you! I am 32 as well. I think. Yes, that's right.

    I have a soap box in construction about the same issue as Cravings Frocks. I am sick of buying clothes that fall apart, the term "disposable fashion" is a good one... but worse than that wondering about the conditions under which my cheapie clothes are made. I don't know that much about it yet, blogland has really opened my eyes to this issue. Is there "Fair trade clothing" like chocolate/tea/coffee?

    I would love a look at Mixtape too. What a generous giveaway.

  5. Happy Birthday Gina! Wow another Leo - you guys are everywhere! And this is a very very generous giveaway (I hope you are receiving lots of goodies as well as giving them out!). I will also shamefully admit to not getting on the mixtape bandwagon yet - just too many computer related things to do in a short space of time ... oh and that is going to be my soap box - just because I am at home all day with the kids doesn't mean I languish about on the computer all day, therefore, dear husband, I think I deserve at least a little bit of screen time without you looking over my shoulder and sighing loudly! Phew - I feel better now!

  6. Happy birthday, dear Gina! I wish you many more wonderful years, filled with creativity!

    I wouldn't give me time on a soapbox, if I were you. I can be way too chatty as it is already. About the way people get caught up in hurry and materialism, for example, and forget to be still and enjoy all the beauty around them. Or about how so many people seem to completely lose contact with eachother and themselves. Such a shame. You see, there I go ;-)

    I hope you'll have a great day and that you will get as spoiled as you deserve to be. And goodluck with your giveaway (at least you get comments. I think I should re-think my giveaway items, 'cause I didn't get any comment on that yet *shock*). Have fun!

    x Karin

  7. Gotta be in it to win it! Happy Birthday Gina. Looking forward to hearing what you have to say up there on your soap box.

    I have a couple of soap box worthy topics - I've alluded to one regarding motherhood and women, and women having it all etc etc. Read more here if you're interested:

    My other one is probably one of those best not to get on my soap box about. It's very personal (ie.individual rather than private) and has to do with faith - not losing it, more like an evolution of it, and considering eternity in that context.

    Good question to throw out there Gina - thanks for asking and being interested BABY :P


  8. Woohoo Happy 32nd Birthday Gina.
    I hope you've had a magnificently happy day full of love and laughter and birthday cake.

    I would like to win any pressie at all!

    My soapbox item is people who park in disabled parking bays when they don't have disabled parking permits.... grrrr makes me very angry indeed!

  9. HI, Happy birthday.
    My soapbox is irresponsible dog owners- why such big dogs in such little spaces, why jumpy dogs that bite at children adn give them a phobia for life, if you want the dog, you should spend time training it to at least not lunge at people...ahh, I could go on but I wont! And I am not subscribed to Mixtape, either.

  10. Happy Birthday wishes to you, Gina!

    The soapbox issue that I'm most passionate about is bicarb and vinegar. Yep, that's it. You see I think more people should rid their homes of nasty chemicals and unecessary stuff and start using more of the basic stuff. I've used it to wash my hair with for 3 years now and I'm telling you that (can hear that, I just stepped up onto my soapbox) my hair and scalp has never been healthier and shinier, not to mention all the packaging and money that I haven't wasted by buying the countless shampoo/condition/curl it/straighten it/soften it/etc, etc products that I used to buy in the past. Whew. There you go, I'll step down now :)

    Hope you have a fabulous celebration!!


  11. Oh stop waving that soap box red rag in front of a bull! (and I am a Taurus).

    Branded toys (etcetera) linked to advertising, fast food, crappy, plastic, horrible trinkets aimed at kids, magazines aimed at teens...ooh it all makes my blood boil. I'm stopping now. It's 12.02 am and I'll never manage to sleep if I start the ranting.

    Happy birthday lovely Mrs. Hope it was a most excellent day with a sleep-filled night ahead...

  12. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Hope you have a good one!!

  13. Happy Birthday Gina! I too am 32, so welcome to the club! I'd like to get on the soapbox about packaging. Everyone should have a laptop lunch! :-) to go with your keepcup. They are so cool! :-)

  14. Happy Birthday Lovie :). Hope you had a lovely day.

    Are you free for a coffee next week? I'd love to catch up. It feels like ages. xx

  15. Road ragers--why can't they cool off? Do they need that anger? It's seriously hurt some people of late in Colorado with some entirely unnecessary accidents. Get some therapy, take a pill, but do what to have to do to let it all roll off your back!

    Whew! Thanks for that! And the chance to win!

  16. happy 32! i have enjoyed my 30s so much more than my 20s. i hope that's true for you, too!

    my soap box right now is this trend of it not being okay to dissent against public opinion. i'm okay with people disagreeing with my opinion, but to imply that i'm uneducated or otherwise lacking in brain power because i don't agree with them really chaps my hide.

    by the way, i just found your blog this week and i'm really enjoying your creativity...esp. your sweater re-makes.

  17. yay for a giveaway! I have been looking at mixtape for a while ...hmmmm would be lovely... hope you had a good birthday!
    My soap box is the communiites lack of wanting to get involved when it comes to protecting children... people turning a blind eye to little ones being neglected or abused... not wanting to get invloved... it makes me wild... i see what happend 10-70 years later when these little ones grow up sometimes so distressed and broken - and they tell me - people new and no one did anything... it is the whole communiities responsibility to protect children... sometimes from their own parents...
    phew... i feel better getting that off my chest for today!
    Cath x

  18. Happy Birthday! :-) As you well know, I have more soapboxes that I would care to admit, and once you get me started.... well, you might want to tell me to shut up! Here's a sample: materialism, excessive consumerism, wasting money on *stuff*, keeping up with the joneses, etc, etc (not that I'm good at avoiding these myself, it just gets under my skin!?!). BUT, today's soapbox is disposable swim nappies. Grrr. How ridiculous.

    ANYWAY.....I have the next Mixtape on order but don't have a subscription, so that sounds good, but so does the other stuff!!

    Hope you're having a lovely weekend and that you've been spoilt rotten over the last few days ;-)

    x Anna

  19. Hi Gina,
    Thanks for visiting my blog! Happy Birthday!
    Cheers, Karen :-)

  20. Hmmm. I tried to post a comment earlier but it disappeared. Anyway... it went along these lines:

    Happy Birthday for yesterday! Is there cake left over for today? I have the odd soapbox topic or two, but today's one is... movie merchandise/toys. Cannot. Stand. It. Apparently my nephew, turning 4 next week, is now "into" Star Wars, so for his birthday, Star Wars "stuff" has been requested. I'm not completely against the idea of a plastic toy here and there, but all this movie bullsh*t is *so* tacky and crappy, and costs THREE TIMES AS MUCH as anything else. And that's before you even consider the fact that I don't think Star Wars is age appropriate material for a 4 year old anyway. Grrrr.

    (Simmer simmer! Off to buy something *not* Star Wars-y, and continue to be not-the-favourite-aunt!)

  21. Happy Birthday Gina, what a generous way to celebrate your birthday. My soap box at the moment is wasteful consumerism, buying just for the sake of it and without considering the impact this type of buying has on the poverty in developing nations and on the environment. Our family are far from perfect with this, but we are trying to think before buying.

    Would love to win some of your grooving loot!

  22. Hope you had a very happy birthday, with nice presents and lots of love!

    I have been meaning to check out Mixtape but haven't yet. I really like the felt brooch... how very kind of you to giveaway all these lovely things!

    I been getting on my soapbox lately about a feeling of societal pressure to spend more hours at work...sometimes in jobs that smother creativity, or perhaps in a job that is enjoyed but at the expense of time with loved ones :sigh:

  23. Happy birthday Gina. I get on my high horse when people write in books. coulour places on maps, underline words and sentences in novels, doodle pictures, circle rude words in the dictionary, you know. Oh and I hate it when they fold the pages of the book to mark their place.... grr should have been a librarian!!!!
    P.s love that you give away the presents on your birthday xxx

  24. hi gina, happy birthday
    my soap box rant is about people not bothering to pick up their rubbish when they leave the park or beach or where ever they are.
    thanks for all the birthday presents!

  25. Happy Birthday!!

    My soap box topic would be about people who just don't have any manners at the moment.. old person gets on a bus - give them your seat! It's not that difficult! *Frustrated*

  26. "Licensed/branded toys" plastic and age specific that end up as landfill 5 minutes post the child getting it. The sexualisation of children through "fashion" and toys (bratz, etc) well before their wee bodies and minds can grasp what it all means. People not taking responsibility for themselves and the consequences for their actions or inaction as the case may be. Poor manners. People who grumble about something but dont deal with the problem/person etc directly! Have a great day, thank you for the venting session, it has been quite cathartic. Peta

  27. Happy birth day to you! As i'm a dutch girl i don't understand the meaning of "the soap box". I guess it's something that upsets you?
    Well in my case, at this moment, its people not being polite to other people. Like holding the door, saying thank you or even smile.
    I try to do so and hope thet people follow........

    XO Heidi

  28. big happy (and slightly late) birthday! i love the idea of spending some time reflecting on the year past - i am big on reflection at the moment. and like so many others, i have many things i could soapbox about. but the one thing that to my mind ties together so many of my soapbox issues is that so many people seem to live thoughtless lives. they just do whatever, without a thought about the impacts their actions make on the world around them. this goes to so many of the issues - throwaway fashion / excess packaging / endless consumerism / i could go on and on and on. that is why i think sometime for reflection is really important - thinking about you life and the choices you make and the importance of trying to live a thoughful life.

    i shan't rant any more, but great idea for giving us all a soapbox and for hosting a such an enjoyable giveaway for your birthday. (by the way, i only heard of keepcups last week and i think they are great! - and i am also one of those confessors who are not yet mix-taped up...)

  29. Hi Gina, Guess what! You won my Give away. Email me with your details so I can get you your buttony package.
    Now I'll enter your fab giveaway.
    I have dozens of soapbox worthy items to raise, but one that irks me muchly is idiot drivers.
    After yelling at a speeding car Hooning down my street putting my kids at risk because they think it's cool drive at 80km in a residential area,I reckon take their cars away, cancel their licenses and show them some accident victims in hospital.Or we could always get out the sharp scissors.....mmmm.

  30. Happy Birthday Darling! I look forward to keeping up with your blog... and I came at just the right time!! Your give away is perfect and If I won just one of any of your items I would be super happy. My Soap box... hmm I am tired of parents getting stuck in a routine!! Take your kids out and enjoy them, play a game of snap, go to the park, make a bloody mess... just don't say NO or leave them on the comp, DS, Foxtel or alone!! That felt good!! I also read some other comments about ethically made clothing... I second all those comments... hence I do what I do...

    xo Steph

  31. ooh happy belated! Hope it was wonderful! My soapbox issue today is people who complain about things ad nauseum and proclaim 'someone should do something' without ever actually being the person that writes a letter, makes a complaint, takes things further than the comfort of their living room....

  32. happy birthday, and what an awesome giveaway!
    i'd have a soapbox rant which is probably a bit odd, its reporters who 'interview' people by making statements, check it out its true! they'll say 'you had a good game and all the team played well' or 'you grew up in a small house under a mushroom and learnt to knit when you were 3' and then shove the mic' in the persons face for an answer but they didn't ask a question!!! it drives me nuts, and my hubby too coz i constantly say 'she didn't ask a question', 'that's not a question'

  33. happy birthday to you and thank you for my lovely response today.

    my soapbox.. i hate the injustice that goes on within the medical system in caring for people with mental illness! This has been magnified today by a very sad death in the family.

    what a lovely giveaway you are having... thanks for the chance to win! You are being very generous!


  34. they are all such wonderful prizes Gina my Mixtape is due to run out after the next issue so I would love that goodie but the others look fab too. My soapbox rant is petshops. I feel disgusted with cats and dogs in tiny glass cages with nothing to do and the fact they are often bred at horrible places just to be sold to petshops then the bitches are dumped or killed once they are of no breeding use anymore. Also I want to know what happens to all the rats and mice that don't sell then suddenly disappear, I am currently on my soapbox about this at the moment trying to get answers from petshops and the RSPCA

  35. A very belated happy birthday!!! Hope that you did have a good time and that your little one is now on the mend! What a very generous giveaway - I'd love to win any of it!!!! (In fact I'd like to win ALL of it but that would be just plain greedy!)

    OK for my soapbox - something that's really, really important for me and one that makes my blood boil when I see it and it's the sexualisation (is that a word?) of little children. I was trying to find some simple trackpants for Maia a while back and in every shop we went into they were all emblazoned with some logo or other - the worst one being "Does my bum look bog in this?" - now is that really appropriate for a 4 year old?!!! At Christmas Maia received a top from a family member that had Rock Star Chick on the front with a huge slash over where the boobs would be, but oh yes 4 year olds don't have them, and then it was practically backless, but not backless in a pretty sundress kind of way but in very grown up slutty way. From the same person we have since received Bratz merchandise and then a little notebook which had cartoon figures of the most age inappropriate things on it. So not only do big business think it's OK but someone very close to Maia also thinks it's OK to buy this type of thing for a child. Actually my temper's rising whilst I type this ....... Just for your information all of the aforementioned items found their way to the local op shop immediately! There rant over!! x

  36. Happy birthday Gina!

    What a fabulous party bag, filled with goodness.

    My soapbox is only a little one but it sort of goes with the theme of is:


    or actually the fact that some parents feel compelled to buy so much for their kids. Even more annoying is when people feel obliged to buy gifts (often cheap rubbish) when they go to a birthday party, even when you ask (beg) them not to. My way around it so far is to only give hand-made presents or home-cooked presents.

    For my sons last party we made it optional to bring along some thrifted dress-up gear to add to the dress-up box. It worked well as those who really felt the need could buy something and the kids got some new fun stuff to play with (the rest went back to the op shop!)

  37. Happy Birthday Gina (a little belated)and how kind of you to give away presents on your birthday. I don't have a mixtape subscription so I am very excited about the prospect of winning the prize! I did leave a comment over the weekend but it disappeared into the ether so I am back again after much cursing and a good nights sleep. Asking me to get on a soapbox is an interesting thing to do. I am quite a passionate person and have a number of issues I could go on about for quite some time but I will try and limit this as much as possible.

    I'd like to see Ang Suu Kyi freed, Mugabe gone, peace in Israel/Palestine, Tibet free, Shirin Ebadi's free Iran, female oppression and circumcision a thing of the past, poverty eradicated,world wide united front on climate change, Obama to make a serious difference, more people leaving their cars at home, religious tolerance, racial tolerance, bugger it - more tolerance overall, more compassion, more equality and the couch grass in my garden die off so that maintaining my vegie patch is no longer a depressing lost cause.

  38. Well, cheers to you. 32 is a great birthday to be had! And you've given a hint or two about how much has changed, even sans soap box. I mean, can you imagine life pre-Clutterpunk? Impossible, methinks.

    Hmm... I would normally say, move over and hand me the mic. But today I'm a little more reflective in my rant and would like to talk about the art of communication, most importantly the listening and understanding part of it. I'm worried that the speed of today has forsaken the act of listening, and I'm quite attracted to blogging because when you read something, you don't get the chance to butt in, you really have to read it, absorb it, think on it, without interruption... and then if you feel moved by what you've read, you can respond... except if you are shy or worried about so many people reading your comment (then there's email!).

    So my rant is more about interaction and the need to keep it going, especially through times of great change. We must raise our voices and be heard, but we must also remember to show courtesy to others when it's their turn to speak. And then we can all go have a nice cup of tea and mint slice biscuit!

    Oh yes - and if I'm lucky enough to win a prize, I'll gladly pop my hand up for a sub to the best zine EVER! They don't sell them in these parts so I'm inclined to sign up very soon in any case :)

    Hip Hip, Gina!! Happy 32nd.

  39. Happy birthday from someone u don't know! I've only just started a blog a couple of days ago. Been so inspired by so many beautiful blogs (including yours) that I thought I'd start my own.
    And wow what a lovely giveaway you're having; I've never seen mixtape - looks right up my alley; the other stuff is gorgeous too.
    My soapbox issue is people who don't teach their children morals / values / manners and who just expect them to figure it out themselves. Those poor kids just have to muddle though without any guidance or example from anyone.
    Anyway better stop before I get up on the high horse!
    Thanks for your inspiring thoughts x

  40. Happy Birthday Gina!!! 32? You're a spring chicken.

    My soapbox issue? Public transport. Everyone wants to drive less, the government bangs on about commitment to the environment and yet public transport is rubbish.


“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
~Albert Einstein