‘Padcicles.’ like popsicles but for your postpartum lady bits! Oh, how fun the name sounds for such an unpleasant situation.

This simple padcicle recipe promotes healing, reduces inflammation and soothes sore bottoms after giving birth. All it takes are two ingredients, five steps and ten minutes.

Padcicles are essential to care for your perineum post birth. They help numb and heal the painful area with a simple mixture of (alcohol-free) witch hazel and aloe vera. If there is a chance you’ll give birth vaginally you need to stock your freezer with these before your due date.

Seriously though- these things saved my life (and nethers) with my first baby and now that my second bub is locked and loaded, I’ll be DIY’ing these frozen 'treats' today.

About the Ingredients:

Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel has been used as a natural skin toner and healer for hundreds of years. It’s anti-inflammatory and anti microbial. It’s also an astringent which helps heal and tighten skin proteins and stop bleeding.

Aloe Vera

Typically used to treat sunburns Aloe Vera is a skin soother. It promotes healing and reduces inflammation, itching and provides mild, natural pain relief. Aloe also acts as a non-greasy moisturiser and has vitamins and minerals that help feed and heal skin.

When the liquids are frozen on a maternity pad they provide a soothing, numbing sensation while the ingredients do their healing work.



  1. Take your pads out of their individual packaging and open fully and line them up.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of alcohol-free witch hazel to each pad
  3. Spread 2 tablespoons of aloe vera to each pad- creating an even layer
  4. Roll, or fold up the pads and stack them all in a large freezer bag
  5. Store bag in freezer and use them when you return from the hospital

Use as many as you need in the first few weeks. I would also recommend alternating this treatment with taking a shallow sitz bath (with Epsom salt) in the hottest water you can stand. This will help everything heal up nicely.

You’ll be able to sit down without pain in no time!

Want to learn to paint your own sugar skull art? I'll show you how to create this edgy, bohemian piece in six easy steps.

These are so rad and so easy. I'll show you how to DIY with or without a light-box.

Click here to download the free outline!

free sugar skull download

1. Download the pattern I made for you, it should fit nicely on an A4 size paper. If you want to try and draw your own sugar skull outline go for it! 

2. Tape the outline to the surface of your light-box or simply a glass window with painters tape. I usually tape mine on an angle because that’s how I learned to draw and write (with the paper on a 45 degree angle to the table).

trace without a light box
If you don't have a light box use a window. Too easy!

3. Take an old magazine or dictionary page and carefully position it over the outline, taking care to line it up using the paragraph columns as a guide. With small pieces of painters tape, position your page over the outline.

trace with a light box
In this image I'm using my light box.

Tip: I usually use tiny bits of tape on this page because the magazine paper I work with is over 100 years old and tears easily.

Note: Where can you get old books or magazines? At any op shop or antique store or perhaps a friend or relative. You can get creative with the dictionary pages and paint images that match the words on a page or use your favourite book or poem! Creates another layer of sentiment to your piece.

Trace with pencil so you can erase easily.

4. Trace the outline with a pencil so you can carefully erase if need be. This is the most important step so make sure to trace the foundation exactly where you will paint it.

5. Tape the magazine page to cardboard or a surface that you can manoeuvre and aren’t worried about getting paint drips on.

Paint your sugar skull outline
No need for fancy paint, student or children's craft paint works fine.

6. Get ready to paint! I use (student quality) acrylic black paint mixed with a few drops of water, I find this makes the paint a lot easier to control.

Tip: I usually try and do the skull outline first, because it’s the most intimidating part due to the long lines. Take them in small parts. I had a drawing teacher once who gave the best advice “Keep your eyes locked on where the brush or pen is going,” I feel like this applies to many things in life! Focus on where you want to go.

Once the outline is in place, I like to work from the inside out or from right to left- which ever way will decrease my odds of smudging the lines (this may vary depending on which is  your dominant hand).

Painted Sugar Skull Design

The great thing about acrylic is that it dries quickly so if you want to do it in sections you can totally do that too.

Don’t worry about perfect lines- I like how these skulls look with varying degrees of thickness. It gives them a hand-painted quality.

Framing Tip: These book paintings look great in black frames. If you don’t have black you can paint your own!

Have you tried this? How did it go?


Sponsored by Spotlight

Know how kids tend to make things for fun and then destroy them? Think sandcastles or if you grew up in a place like me, snow angels. Making stuff can be just as much fun as wrecking it for no other reason than it rocks our socks.

So why shouldn't adults have a crack at it? Even if our 'castle' ends up in the garbage can.

When we overthink things we tend to take less risks. We stop trying to make stuff. Joy gets dusty along with our creativity. I for one am guilty of worrying too much about the end result. Can we just collectively turn-off our brains and let our hands guide us for a while? Just for this month?

Did you know that April is National Craft Month here in Australia? I was recently invited to a launch party sponsored by Spotlight Craft Stores (American readers, think JoAnn Fabrics or Michaels). The afternoon was full of fabulous demos, creative peeps and plenty  of inspiration.

It's April! Like you needed an excuse to get some craft on! Or maybe you do...

Is something holding you back?

I know fear is a big reason many of us 'adults' keep the glue and sparkles close to our chest. Maybe we are afraid of judgement or even our own ability. But seriously guys! We don't want to show our kids this sort of negative thinking do we?

Kids don't sit in front of a blank canvas and say, "Hmm...I'm not sure I'm feeling this today because- pressure," OR "I'm not good enough," OR "Everyone is going to laugh at me." They just grab for the crayons and go nuts. You can too!

How about we make a deal? Try some of these little crafts with your kids and then...maybe take on a project you've always wanted to. So what if it ends up in the rubbish? Do it in the name of joy.

"Whats worth doing even if I fail?" Brene Brown

Here, I'll even hold your hand: Let's get messy. These are just a few little ideas off the top of my head. Google will have a million more should you like some more. 

I'm sorry I always want pasta

1. Pom-poms
Have you seen this website? It features apologies with Pom Poms. Think Post Secret but with colourful, fluffy balls instead of post cards and apologies instead of confessions (though sometimes the apologies are confessional too "I'm sorry I cheated on you." Juicy. I met the lovely redhead behind this clever campaign at the National Craft Month launch party. Here is a simple Pom Pom tutorial- try it! Kids can easily get in on the action too...Obviously G rated apologies only in their case! "Sorry I spilled my milk."

2. Photography Series
No fancy equipment required- all you need is a smart phone. There are tons of apps that can send daily photo prompts (with different themes, colours or ideas) to get the creative juices flowing. This article has the top 100 apps- I've personally used the 'Little Moments' by Fat Mum Slim app. This article talks specifically about iPhone photography and this article is a 30 day photography challenge that you can easily follow along with your iPhone or digital camera. Get the kids involved as subjects or photographers!

Only fingers and a fun attitude

3. Finger Painting
No brushes needed! Squish it, smear it, feel it. Just let your hands and digits guide you. It's actually a mental health tool being used by professionals to help adults release repressed emotions. Finger painting is pretty self explanatory but just in case you need a refresher- this article is an 8 step guide to finger painting. Prep is king to avoid a mess when you're getting into the zone. Pro tip: Make sure you get washable (water based) paints if you have real little tykes.

4. Colouring Books
Don't knock em till you try em. I mean, I definitely did. Adult colouring books? Pshaw, whatever! I despise staying within the lines. HOWEVER. I have to say that I 'accidentally' grabbed one my Mother left behind at our house to colour with Lavinia...and I'm not gonna lie- it was kinda relaxing. Colour me surprised!
Bonus: It's a great distraction for the kids on long afternoons when they are begging for TV.

Now get out into your life and make something! If the results aren't Pinterest-worthy at least you'll be crafting confidence in your kiddies. Besides, it's fun.

Don't forget to check out the FREE crafty party happening in all Spotlight Stores on 23 April. Click here for more information. Hope to see you there!


Melbourne’s Spring Carnival is galloping toward us with Derby Day on October 31st!

I adore The Races for fashionable reasons (American readers picture a week-long Kentucky Derby with Champagne instead of Mint Juleps) and look forward to getting dressed up for the racecourse (we don't call it 'the track' here, makes us feel more civilized).

This year I'm doing my fashion on a budget. I’ve already rented a dress online and I decided to make my own fascinator as well. The Milliners in this country are insanely talented (and expensive) someday when I’m a famous author/artist I will be able to afford to buy some of their incredible pieces.
Today I spent 50.00 at Spotlight (a craft store which does not hold a candle to JoAnn Fabric’s or Michaels but does the job) on fascinator supplies with some to spare after the finish.
They had a little millinery section which scared me a little bit- like, one feather costed around four dollars. They didn’t really have what I was looking for and it was all pretty basic (and overpriced) - until I finally found a neutral base attached to a headband- I didn’t want to mess with making one of those my first time around. My skill level right now= glue gun.
My advice: Stay far, far away from the ‘millinery’ area where the odds are worse (wink wink) and get creative with the other craft supplies you can find.
Onto the fake flowers section where I bought some white roses and two big lavender colored flowers. This hat is going to go with my Derby Day outfit where traditional dress code is black and white. I wanted to pull the white from my dress, the purple from my hair (yes, I have purple hair because I’m a rock’n’roll Mom) with some neutrals and black accents.
In the craft section, I bought a bag of black and white feathers for eight bucks and I have plenty of extra. Bargain.

When I got home, true to form, I didn’t really have a plan so I just went for it. The end result was really cute and I think it will look perfect with my outfit. This was so much fun I can definitely see myself making more.

What you need

1. Try on your headband/ hat/ base and decide in which position you will wear it. Make sure to take note of which will become the front, back and side view.
2. Start to play. Put a few flowers together, decide which area will be the highest and which will be the lowest or just glue a flower on as a jumping-off point.

Tip: The fake flowers should pull right off the stems easily. Trim any excess plastic or leaves with scissors.

Cut the crap- it will give you a flatter base to work with.
3. Before you add another element make sure to see how it’s looking as a whole and how it looks on your head.

Tip: Grab a little mirror to put in front of your workstation so you can occasionally check out your hat as you add to it. I think it should look nice from all angles- not just from the front or side.

Why hello, Craft Nerd.

4. Once all the flowers are in place and you are happy with them, start thinking about where you want your feathers to go. Stick them in- without gluing them to get a better idea of the configuration you like. Don’t be afraid to cut the feathers.

Tip: Less is more, or more is more it’s totally up to you. If you remember one thing about the races it’s that you can’t be too over the top!

5. Glue the feathers in one at a time, either to the base or to the petals of your flowers.

Thought I was finished at this point, but it was begging for some black feathers.

6. Cross the finish line!

Lesson Learned For Next time: I would probably try and position the little base differently and buy a sturdier headband- so maybe I’ll try to make one myself. Also I might play around a little with different configurations of flowers- I made it work with this one but I could have done things a little differently.

The final result

The total cost of materials used was easily less than 40.00 and considering the long odds with my novice skill set I'm more than pleased with the standings (just a few more racing puns then I'll stop, promise).

I’d bet money $ that you’ll look and feel amazing in your unique piece of wearable art! 
Good luck, punters. x


So I was at a cute little cafe, Miss Marie’s in Rosanna, and I saw this ‘Specials’ sign. The place is decked out super cute- kind of a modern industrial kind of way.

I did what lots of artists do and took (stole) this idea as my inspiration to make it my own.
My hubs was in charge of cutting some spare decking and wood that we had in our backyard into even-ish little rectangles I could use for my lettering. If you don't have a handy assistant who knows how to wield a saw, use a length of wood instead.

I laid out the different blocks to spell out “But first, Coffee,” because <3 coffee. Laying out the different colored chunks I could easily spread out the different greyish ones and the warmer colored ones- spreading them out in a way that draws the eye around (I’m always working on composition.)
Get some Stencils
Next came the easy part- not! I already had black and white acrylic paint and brushes- just needed some letter stencils. I dragged my daughter to three different stores before I found them. Spotlight and Bunnings don’t carry them and I eventually settled on cardboard letter cut outs I found at Lincraft. Not ideal but I was too impatient to go online and order some.
Side note: it’s one thing that constantly exasperates me about shopping in Australia. I never feel like I know where to look when I’m looking for something. One would think a craft store and a hardware store were logical places to start! Anyhow, I love living here but I can’t stand being ‘shopping-clueless.’
So with these cut out ‘stencils’- my painting time and precision got longer and tougher. I had to trace all my letters and painstakingly hand-paint each one (I’m not the most patient person so I had to take little breaks). 
I wanted to use a mix of black, white, and ‘wood’ for the backgrounds and letters. After three hours I was extremely pleased with the results.

I started out matching up the colors and letters randomly and it got to the point where I realised I needed to lay everything out and decide exactly what colors I wanted to fill in the gaps. Usually, my projects involve more of a random process full of ‘happy accidents’ however in this case planning was necessary.

You can line the blocks up on a shelf or mantel or fix them to a long strip of wood with wood glue or nails. We haven’t decided where this one will go in our house so the letters will likely remain loose for the time being.
What you Need:
14 wood blocks or panels cut to a similar size
Black and white acrylic paint
Brushes- any size you feel comfortable using (mine were pretty small)
Alphabet stencils
let's hang on the 'gram
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My website copywriting services amplify and communicate your message, call customers to action, establish cohesive branding, get you seen and remembered, reach your audience, step away from the pack, solve problems, gain exposure, foster loyalty and attract your troops. My experience with digital content writing, SEO-friendly content creation, and more, you can count on me for quality content that will help you level up and out of the pack. Website Content Writer Melbourne, at your service.

Dawn Rieniets is both a visual artist and brand copywriter. She uses her MA in English, journalism and sales background to craft engaging brand identity copy for small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) globally.

Dawn exhibits artwork independently and with groups; Thou Art Mum and Melbourne and Victorian Artists (MAVA). In her online store, you can find original pieces, wall art prints, and other home decor. A few times per year she accepted personalised and sentimental art commissions for clients.

Dawn creates out of her home studio in Wurundjeri country, the Northern Suburbs of Melbourne.
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