Saturday, July 31, 2010

just a minute … in july

Listening…  to Ali Farka Toure’s albums ‘Ali & Toumani’ and ‘In The Heart of the Moon’ since my partner can’t stop raving about how good he is… and when my partner isn’t around the Jackson 5 have been getting a decent bit of air time in the car while we’ve been busting a groove to Fergie at home.

Watching… The United States of Tara’ and ‘Gruen Transfer’ on the tele. Also been watching lots of people sewing pleats on YouTube. Mostly very informative… but geez there are some funny people out there!

Sewing… with corduroy. I’ve been absolutely in love with corduroy this month.

at the park

Playing…  in the garden and at local parks whenever the weather permits.  Also went to an indoor play centre for the first time. Amazingly fascinating place. Great toys and Mr. 3 had an amazing time… but my goodness the noise level was LOUD! Climbing trees continues to be a popular past time with both children, despite getting stuck every now and then.

up a tree

Practicing… eating at the dinner table in a manner that wouldn’t put our family to shame if we were to venture out for a restaurant dining experience. I’m pleased to say that by the end of the month we’ve made some good progress. Also trying to encourage Mr. 3 to sleep in beyond 0630hrs. Regrettably the progress hasn’t been as significant. Maybe next month *fingers crossed*.

playing with sticks

Developing… every day. Mr.3 now gets his own breakfast most mornings and helps himself to whatever he likes in the fridge and the cupboard. There is no stopping him. He makes me cups of tea or coffee in the morning too… with some assistance from his dada. This month we also received the first report card home from Mr. 3’s kindy. OMG he is growing up so fast and is such a caring, sweet and considerate person so much of the time.  Ms. M talks more and more and has even started using the word ‘please’… but at this time only when she wants a mint in the car. She has started saying “no” and when the answer to a question is yes she nods her head in the sweetest way. So very endearing and cute.  I am so bless to have two such beautiful children – whatever did I do to deserve such joy?

july sewing challenge :: pleats


July’s sewing challenge is to make something with pleats. I started earlier with this challenge hoping to avoid last minute sewing to meet the deadline… but it wasn’t to be. I was hemming away madly this afternoon to get the my pleated garment finished. I did have doubts regarding my fabric choice and to date this Enid Gilchrist garment has been the strangest I’ve made but in the end it has turned out okay.

the pleated dress

The pleats weren’t so tricky after all. I machined sewed them - no hand sewing pleats for me. I followed Enid’s pattern and as such the pleats change direction in the centre at the back but as the dress is a wrap around dress I think the knife pleats would work better following the one direction all the way around.

the finished pleats

the finished pleats side on 

Regardless the pleats made a nice swishy effect as Ms. M moved about.

the swishy effect

swishy pleats 

Much to my surprise I really enjoyed sewing the pleats themselves. I hadn’t foreseen this at all. As I sewed my imagination went wild with pleating opportunities. I fell in love with pleats for sure.

For more pleated projects head on over to Carolyn’s.


… but before you go one more super sweet shot of my darling girl.ah so cute

Thursday, July 29, 2010

my creative space :: polka dot tragic?

I’m  making slow progress with this month’s pleated sewing challenge. Not because it is especially tricky rather life has been feeling a tad hectic over the past week and when I wasn’t rushing around in a tailspin I could be found reclined* on the couch in recovery mode. Not the best sewing conditions. I’m also making slow progress because I’ve been having serious second thoughts about my fabric choice. I must have been in one of those aforementioned tailspins when I bought the fabric for this project.

pleated skirt

Really! What was I thinking??? Polka dots and knife pleats!

I’m forcing myself to “get through” this project hoping that by some sheer miracle it will all just come together in the end… chances? Me thinks slim to none.

Now don’t get yourself into tailspin peeping at polka dot tragic here in this creativity space, rather cruise on over to Kirsty’s place to check out some tasteful creative spaces.


* euphemism for totally crashed out exhausted

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

mountain pine ridge stew with tortillas

stew with tortillas

We recently enjoyed a family dinner eating yummy vegetarian tortillas. It is a great family dish – flavour and fun for all. Wrapping food into parcels and eating with fingers is always good for a laugh especially with two smalls.

Interested in the recipe – download it, print it or save it to your favourites here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

vintage goodness

vintage goodnessThis gorgeous package arrived on my door step this morning.

A heart felt thanks to Ange for hosting the 2010 Vintage Sheet Swap.

Oh so much loveliness.

Friday, July 23, 2010

little red ms. m

After the recent overall success I was motivated to make a little pinafore dress for Ms. M using the same pattern – burda 9772. Again I used corduroy my favourite fabric of the moment– ousting my ol’ fave denim.

black cord dress

For this little cord pinafore I covered the buttons… covered button 

… and sewed a rolled hem …rolled hem 

… and made a red honcho to complete the ensemble.

red ponchoThe poncho is made from polar fleece. Last year I made a similar poncho for Ms. M and it was a great top layer without being too bulky and restricting her movement too much.  Polar fleece is so easy to wash and get dry quickly making it a popular choice for the little residents of this home.

Ms. M really enjoyed wearing her new ensemble…

litte red m

little red ms m  exploring 

… but perhaps she is still more of a pants girl? not so good for climbing 

After all dresses are tricky to climb in.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

my creative space :: sewing pleats

This month’s sewing challenge is to sew pleats, so this morning I am drafting a pattern ready to start sewing over the weekend. All the best intentions here not to leave this month’s challenge to the last minute.

drafting a kilt

… and speaking of best intentions. There is still no ‘after’ shot to follow this ‘before’ shot. It certainly didn’t happen that day, or overnight but I am still plugging away at it so maybe that too will be finished by the end of the month.

To relish in the world of creativity dance a jig over to Kirsty’s place

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

overalls fit for the farm

I’m continuing to sew with corduroy. This time I’ve made Ms. M some overalls.corduroy overalls      Perfect for a trip to our local farm to see the animals…at the farm

on the run

… and enjoy a favourite snack.eating a banana 

Good too for climbing all over and through play equipment…at the end of the tunnel

I need to adjust the straps so that the buttons are a little higher making the straps shorter. There is plenty of length in the pants so these overalls should last at least the season if not longer. I love overalls but don’t have any myself these days. Such a comfy outfit to explore in and easy to layer up for warmth or just wear with a t-shirt when it does eventually get warmer. Ms. M seemed to lover her new overalls too.

Monday, July 19, 2010

200 in 200



Two hundred days have now past for 2010. Wowza … we’re past the half way mark. The days are cool and the nights are freezing – perfect crochet weather.

another 100 squares

In this box is another 100 squares, that makes 200 granny squares for blankets this year. These squares are not even close to being ready for a blanket yet though, I need many many more. I am weaving in the ends as I go which is slowing down the process… but will make for a much happier ending.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

taking it to the cleaners

My partner loves North Melbourne footy team. At the beginning of the year I suggested to him that I would crochet him a scarf for his birthday. There were a few initial problems. Firstly that I couldn’t crochet in rows to save my life and secondly that, in spite of my best intentions, I didn’t actually start the project until after his birthday had passed. Ooops.

I solved the not being able to crochet in rows hurdle by crocheting in granny stripes, inspired by my then new book 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets Throws and Afghans. But then another problem hit… I ran out of the blue yarn that I had bought the year before heavily discounted as it was discontinued stock. Ooops again. I did try to find a blue to match but without much luck. At one point I thought I had found myself a match and resumed hooking away his precious scarf but in better light it was clearly not a match. Of course my man didn’t notice at all, being colour blind and all, and I must confess that it did cross my mind to just keep hooking away but eventually thought better of it. So I was left with a very short scarf with lots of scraggly ends of yarn hanging off waiting to be weaved in… and it stayed like that until last night. I had actually intended to weave the ends in last week. My motivation had been purely selfish. You see our teams played each other last weekend, North Melbourne v. The Mighty Sydney Swans, and as a matter of karma I had thought I’d better get it finished and gift it to him… but failed here too. Still I must have had some karma points in reserve because my team still won. Phew.

Victories over his team aren’t that much fun though. The poor man tries to keep his chin up but he can barely crack a fake smile when his team loses. So after watching him mope at the hand of my team I thought I’d cheer him up before his team played the resurgent Richmond Tigers.

a nth melb mini scarf

I weaved in all the ends Saturday night, but it was still a mini-scarf. Better suited for a child than a grown man. If I’d finished it months ago like I should have then I could have given it to Mr. 3 but since then he has declared that he is a strong supporter of the Fremantle Dockers.

In a moment of pure genius it occurred to me to re-brand my mini-scarf into a dashboard cover…dashboard cover (geez! that windscreen needs a bit of a wash)

… but feeling a little guilty that it had taken me so long to get his birthday present to him (his birthday is before the footy season starts) I thought that perhaps I should crochet him a little something else. So, using the blue that didn’t match, I crocheted him a …

a nth melb dishcloth

North Melbourne dish cloth!!!

How thoughtful – now he can think of his team whenever he is doing the dishes. He, however, wasn’t quite so impressed this morning when I gifted him the dishcloth. In fact he took it as a slight to his team. I spun it that it was good luck – that his team was going to take Richmond to the cleaners, wipe them up etc etc. He reluctantly came round. Thank goodness his team won this afternoon! The dishcloth is now a lucky charm.

I’m pretty chuffed too. A project completed. Evident improvement to my crocheting in rows ability

… and I can now tick dishcloth off my list.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

our creative space :: first stitches

first stitches 

I’m sharing my creative space with Mr. 3 again this week. We’d planned to go to see his first movie at the cinema today but unfortunately his little sister is sick and miserable and at home with us. He took the news that we’d have to cancel our plans quite gallantly, disappointed sure, but all in all ready to move on with the day.

Mr. 3 has been at me for a while now to teach him how to crochet. Frankly I don’t think I am up to the task, so instead today I showed him how to make stitches with a needle and thread. He was very good at listening and very careful when he held the needle. Indeed he was quite proud of himself for being so careful.

We held the needle together for the first stitch and then he did the second one on his own. I don’t think the photo above really does justice to all the hard work that was put into that second stitch. Keep in mind the boy is yet to colour within the line – getting that stitch on the blue line took a lot of concentration.

After fifteen minutes to create our two stitches we decided on a break. We’ll do some more stitching later in the day perhaps.

For more creative endeavours and hard work head on over to Kirsty’s place.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

ticked off the list

crocheted baskets

At the start of the year I wrote a list of things that I wanted to achieve this year.

Crocheting baskets can now be ticked off the list.

Monday, July 12, 2010

… and then I found out

broken blind

Mr. 3 and his little sister Ms. M are partial to a bit of rough play. Wrestling, jumping from furniture to body slam each other, hitting, screaming, tackling – they’re into it. All in all they both give as good as they get, although Ms. M is starting to out muscle her older brother as her boundaries aren’t very defined.

On Tuesday afternoon an episode of rough play resulted in a blind being broken. To their credit I made this discovery as they quietly tried to “fix it” … but nonetheless I was pretty mad. Mr. 3 knows it is bad when I sit and say not much. The expression on my face undoubtedly says it all. There was an extended period of icy silence before I started ranting, raving, and repeating myself about time and place. The lecture, and yes it was a lecture, also touched on not being so rough to start with, strongly advocating the virtues of playing “nicely”.

So there I was on Tuesday night, sitting in bed listening to Life Matters on Radio National and wouldn’t you know it there was an interview with an expert in play, Dr Stuart Brown. Now imagine the expression on my face when Dr. Brown exposes rough and tumble play as vital, “a very significant part of learning who you are and how to engage others in a way that is significant and yet isn’t crucially critical at the moment … if you have read some of the work that I have done I worked originally with some very violent and anti-social men, homicidal and otherwise, and found in their life histories rough and tumble play was absent…”

It turns out that rough and tumble play is essential for humans and other animals as part of their social development. It is an important part in learning optimism, empathy, and resilience - “a powerful social learning tool”. Well, well… just hours earlier I had been promoting abstaining from this “vital” form of play, unbeknown to me steering my children closer to becoming psychopaths as adults.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

a pile of oranges

pile of orangesThis is the pile of oranges sitting on my kitchen counter.

Not so many weeks ago we had three washing baskets full to the brim with oranges. Needless to say we’ve been drinking a lot of freshly squeezed orange juice.

Today Mr. 3 made orange cup cakes with his Dadda. I was surprised to learn that the whole orange, skin and all, is just thrown into the food processor with some other key ingredients and BAM! – orange cup cakes. They made it look so easy.

orange cup cake 


Saturday, July 10, 2010

veg about

veg about

Annabel @ Bellgirl has had the wonderful idea of all the veggie gardeners linking up so that we can watch each other’s gardens grow. Perhaps you try to grow veggies in your urban backyard or maybe you have a balcony garden. Perhaps you have a farm or a single parsley plant growing in a pot on the window sill. Whatever the scale sign up so that we can see how your garden grows.

As for my own garden… well lets just say it’s in the midst of its own winter doldrums, a shadow of its former summer glory.

The basil is no longer a lush green and has for the most part gone to seed…basil july 10 seeded basil july 10 

…the only remnants of the thriving pumpkin vines are decaying fruit… decaying pumpkin july 10 another decaying pumpkin july 10

…and so extreme is the neglect that chillies have been left to rot on the bush. neglected chilli july 10

Not to worry too much though – there are some signs of life. The mint is as hardy and reliable as ever… mint

…the parsley continues on, although it has seen better days… parsley 

… the thyme seems to be surviving the living burial by sand conducted by Mr. 3…thyme

… and the rosemary is as fragrant as ever.rosemary

Promising the strawberries are hanging in there, sitting in pots so that they can be moved around the garden waiting to be re-planted into a wheelbarrow (that is needing better drainage holes)… strawberries

…there are some chillies ready to ripen for picking…  a chilli another chilli

…the broccoli is still blooming…broccoli

… radishes are bursting up through the soil… radish

…artichokes are reaching for the sun… globe artichoke artichoke leaf 

… and whilst all the oranges have been harvested and the tree pruned right back (I may have got a bit “happy” with the saw whilst up the ladder) there are first signs of blossoms on the lemon tree.lemon blossoms 

Neighbourly relations are at their best too with this passionfruit vine overhanging the fence and sporting impressive fruit.passionfruit

There are plans to get out in the garden to start getting the soils ready for the spring… but not this weekend. It is cold and wet and I’d rather be inside rugged up sitting by the heater.

So … how does your garden grow?