Tuesday, August 31, 2010

just a minute … in august

Listening… to The Roots ‘How I got over’. It is an awesome album. Mr. 3 and I just couldn’t get enough of it. Listening to it over and over again. My favourite… track eight (but track six, Mr. 3’s fave was a close second).

Watching… lots and lots of news programs, my favourite for pre and post election analysis The Insiders on ABC of a Sunday morning. It gets my brain switched on. Also enjoyed watching Yes We Canberraalthough I think the Chaser boys might be losing their touch. On DVD this month I watch the second series of Mad Men – brilliant viewing. I just can’t get enough.

mad-men-2 image via

Sewing… not very much. An interstate visitor meant that my sewing space resumed it’s original purpose as a guest room. It was great to see an ol’ friend from way back – even if it did mean no chance to sew.meeting at the airport for the very first time

Crocheting… lots. A scarf, a baby blanket and beanie and continuing to work on the granny square blanket for Master E. Crocheting is so wonderfully portable – and social too – easy to keep hooking away while chatty away with friends.

Playing… not as much as we’d like as winter illnesses continue to plague us. We are a sickly bunch. Still we did manage to make it to some favourite parks to play with friends.

at the park

Saying… “sometimes we know nothing” and “accidents happen – especially in this family”. Oh my boy – he really does have great insight into this crazy world.

little angel

Developing…  Ms. M decided that it was time for her to use the potty for the first time. She has also decided to start testing all kinds of boundaries. She is a cheeky little angel.

august sewing challenge :: smocking or hand embroidery


August’s sewing challenge was to smock or hand embroider something. I had every intention of learning to smock, but unfortunately it just wasn’t to be. There just wasn’t the time to learn something so new to me, especially with sick children and an interstate visitor. I’m pretty disappointed about it actually, I was up for the challenge but at some point I had to face the reality that it just wasn’t going to happen this month. Not to worry I suppose… it is something that I certainly intend to pursue. It might not have happened this month but it will happen.

The month has not been a complete loss though. Having realised that smocking just wasn’t going to happen I sat down last night and stitched up this letter ‘M’ in shadow stitch. I identified that I wanted to master shadow stitch at the start of the year so I’m pretty chuffed that I can now list this as one of my accomplishments for 2010.

shadow stitchshadow stitch backshadow stitch up close

For more smocked and/or hand embroidered projects head on over to Carolyn’s.

Monday, August 30, 2010

organising the floss

Before…messy floss 

After…organised floss


…and then I saw these. D’oh.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

my little footy fan

little freo fan

E. has decided that he is a Freemantle Dockers supporter. His dada is a die-hard North Melbourne fan and I barrack for the Sydney Swans so where exactly this decision has come from is anyone’s guess.  Last week’s interstate visitor is also a Kangaroos man and was putting the heavy word on my three year old to change teams… but nope E. was adamant he is a Dockers man. I was so proud of him standing up to adult pressure like that, knowing his own mind and sticking to his guns. Bravo to him I say.

His dada works with some mad Dockers supporters and one of them sent home some freo goodies… including this inflatable hand. We gave them to E. this afternoon as there was a good behaviour opportunity (the past couple of evenings he hasn’t been at his best and I don’t feel it is appropriate to pass on gifts at such bratty times). He was thrilled… so much so that I just noticed that he is wearing it to bed and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take a photo.

tree surgeon

Mother, partner, friend, sewer, crocheter, photographer, printer, gardener, laundry technician, cleaner, cook, driver … and now tree surgeon! That’s me.

what was my favourite mandarin tree

I posted this photo to my other blog and Melissa  commented that I should give sticky taping it back together ago.

So that is what I have done…


Fingers crossed it works because this little mandarin tree has been in my care for some time, and is so special to me that it made the move with us to our current home. At one point it was essentially a lanky stick with only four leaves on it. Just last weekend I was standing in the garden, hand on hips leaning back with admiration, and I commented to my partner Dave how wonderful it had grown, observing its’ gorgeous standard shape and all the white budding blossoms. “Perhaps we’ll even get mandarins this year” I commented. Just three days later and Mr. 3 snaps it trying to feed his toy horse! Oh my. I’d jinxed it good.

post-op tree

It is leaning over a bit now… but maybe, just maybe, sticky tape can fix it! Time will tell.

Friday, August 27, 2010

on my bedside table

… is a pile of granny squares.

on my bedside table

I’ve lost some of my momentum with ‘a granny a day’ and haven’t hooked up a new square for a month now. I have been adding rounds to the squares I’d already made and I’ve weaved in the ends – crocheting granny squares has been a perfect crafty pursuit while we had an interstate visitor, and great too for watching the election night and the consequent fall out. I hook away on automatic pilot mostly and don’t need to think about what I’m doing much at all. Brilliant to have some free brain space to try and fathom what will happen with the formation of a federal government. I am finding this time in Australian politics very fascinating… much more so than the election campaign itself.

Time to start hooking some new squares me thinks.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

my creative space :: pram blanket

a pram blanket

I’ve just finished hooking this little pram blanket for a sweet little girl.

I used acrylic yarn after reading that it was better to use for items that will be repeatedly washed… and if there is one thing that I know about babies, having had a puker first time round, it is that everything needs to wash well in the machine.  Hand washing is a big no no!

pram blankie

I’m loving the colour yellow at the moment. Yellow – so fresh, chirpy, and happy – reminds me of spring. I find it so strange that in our culture yellow symbolically represents cowardice.

little beanie

I’ve also hooked up a little beanie… but I’m worried that it may be too small. So I’m thinking that I might quickly hook up another one tonight in case I need to make a quick swap.

Now why not take a little hyperlink-walk on sunshine over to Kirsty’s to check out all the creative bliss that abounds.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

paying it forward :: a swedish autumn

autumn scarf

In November last year I joined in with pay it forward. My dear friend Moa signed up to play too. Sadly for me, but great for her and her family, she is moving back home to Sweden in a couple of weeks. The motivation and inspiration to get a move on with finishing my pay it forward projects. It will be autumn in Sweden when she arrives home and the yarn that I used to make this scarf is ‘autumn’ 10 ply luxury wool yarn from BWM.

I’m really going to miss Moa and her mob. We met in ante-natal classes prior to the birth of our first children, and we laboured in the same birthing centre at the same time. Our first born children arrived in this world only hours apart, we have been a part of the same mother’s group and then playgroup. Our children shared their third birthday party together this year.

Moa really liked the scarf. It was so lovely to make a surprise for her, hand deliver it and have the opportunity to see her expression as she opened it. My other pay if forward projects will be travelling via the postal service, one across a desert and the other across a huge ocean as well.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

little blue

blue velvet dressAs part of my endeavours to sew using a variety of fabrics I made Ms. M this little blue velvet dress. It is so gorgeous. Velvet has always been one of my favourite fabrics – the way the material absorbs light, it’s softness, it’s warmth.

It was a pain to sew with though. Fuzzy fluff everywhere.

fuzzy fuzzy overlocker

The overlocker was covered in a blue fuzzy fluff, as was the sewing table and the surrounding floor. Even so, this lush blue velvet was a dream to sew with.

little blue

I used a pattern from the 1980s that I scored for 50c at one of the local op shops. The style of the dress reminds me of my childhood.  The velvet is so warm that Ms. M didn’t need a jumper or coat and the free flowing style meant that it was easy to run in…

blue velvet dress and orange flower three photos

…perfect for exploring a cemetery on a cold winter’s day reliving the 1980s with her Dada.

bon scott grave @ freo

Sunday, August 22, 2010

a walk in the forest

34-confusionimage via 

The day after the election and Australia really isn’t sure which party will govern the country. It is a confusing and yet enthralling situation. It has left me feeling so very ambivalent. Excited, disappointed and worried.

Thank goodness Bob will be holding the map as the country takes a walk in the forest.

Saturday, August 21, 2010



I’ve had my say.

Now I sit back to watch the count unfold.

I am nervous and worried about the outcome, but I am so thankful to live in a country where friendly people of all political persuasions handed my children balloons as we walked into the poll rather than bullets. Not everyone on this planet is so lucky.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

my creative space :: ch-ch-ch-changes

I’m off to the airport this evening to meet a friend who is flying in from Melbourne. It will be the first time that I have seen him in ten years. Ten long years. We went to uni and worked together up in the NT. Wow – so long ago. I’ve had two children since then… and aged a decade. I hope he doesn’t gasp or looked too shocked when he sees how much I have degenerated – the extra 15kg, the breasts that hang almost to my knees, my wrinkly face and dried out crinkly hands.

Lots has changed since I last saw him. I wonder what he’ll say when he sees the text Heirloom Smocking hanging around on the side board – waiting to be quickly glanced over when there is that rare chance for a quiet cup of tea. The other changes can be anticipated – anyone that isn’t pumped full of plastic is going to degenerate over time. But that I have transformed from the party girl of old into a woman that is about to attempt her first ever go at smocking… well that might just be too shocking and out of left field for him.

heirloom smocking

I’m not sure myself that I would be smocking if it wasn’t for this month’s sewing challenge. The name of the game is learning something new… and new this certainly is. I’ve glanced at this text a couple of times but am still no closer to really understanding smocking. I googled and pocked around youtube a bit too… that just scared me. So so so overwhelming. Not to worry I have a little over ten days to figure it out and get it done.  Any tips or tricks of the trade … or even advice on how to get started will be truly appreciated.

On a different creative front I better get my butt into gear and finish making a vegetarian lasagne for dinner tonight. That is something that hasn’t changed. I’ve been making the same veggie lasagne for almost twenty years now.

Now be sure to go and check out all the creativity that belongs in this century over at Kirsty’s place.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

butter bean korma curry

butter bean korma curry

Butter bean korma curry is one of my favourite home made curries. Even though I usually prefer curries with stronger flavours, this mild korma curry is great for all the family to share. Packed full of protein and all round goodness too. D-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s.

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

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


tea and sew

Drinking cups of tea as I sew makes me incredibly nervous.  I can be a bit of a clutz at times so drinking tea and sewing at the same time has hazardous potential. Yet, there are so few hours in the day to sew and to drink tea that sometimes, out of sheer desperation, I marry the two. This is my idea of extreme sewing. Living on the edge, upping the anti. throwing caution to the wind.

What about you? Do you part-take in some extreme sewing from time to time?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

mr. 3 goes to the movies

screening at the movies

I took E. to his first movie at the cinema this afternoon. We saw Toy Story 3. I had my reservations about going to see the film due to all the marketing that hit everywhere when the film was released. At the time it felt like we couldn’t leave the house without running into a Toy Story 3 promotion somewhere. Talk about mass marketing and saturation! E., at three years of age, was wanting Toy Story 3 merchandise before he even knew what Toy Story 3 was. Nonetheless I thought that I would take him to see the film but pass on all the other merchandising. We were unable to go when we’d originally planned because Ms. M was sick and we hadn’t had a chance to go until this afternoon.a choc top

It was such an exciting afternoon, such a precious milestone to share with my little man. We had a great time. Movie, fizzy drink, pop corn and a choc top. He loved it… even though there were moments in the film that he found so scary he sat on the floor and every time the boy Andy was mentioned by one of the characters he would say at the top of his voice “Who’s Andy?”. Special times indeed. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

in my new native garden

Over the past fortnight or so I’ve been digging up my front lawn and planting a native garden. Planting a native garden is one of my goals for 2010, and it is a great feeling to be able to tick it off the list. The plan was to reduce the amount of lawn we have to maintain (we now have a small patch of lawn just large enough for a picnic rug) and have a water wise bird attracting garden that increased our privacy at the front of the house.

This post is mostly for my benefit – a log of all the plants that I have put into my garden that I am unlikely to loose. A visual record of what they look like at the time they were planted. I wonder how long it will take before I notice the plants thriving and blooming.


kangaroo pawKangaroo Paw - Anigozanthos hybrid 'Amber Velvet'up to 50cm high; flowering spring and early summer; bird attracting; full sun; trim back after flowering.

I’ve planted seven of this variety of kangaroo paw down the southern edge of our driveway. They should look spectacular over the summer when they’re in flower. I’m planning to plant some more kangaroo paw for this area of the garden. Umming and arghing about yellow or red or yellow and red. Decided that I don’t want black even though they’re stunning because I panted the fence charcoal.



winter flowering bottle brushWinter flowering bottlebrush - kunzea-baxteri  – shrub 2m high  x 3m across, red bottlebrush flowers in the winter, attracting honey eaters; full sun; trim to desired shape.

I’ve planted four of these bottlebrush down the southern fence line hoping that they grow to form a small screening hedge. The red flowers should look so stunning and dramatic against the charcoal fence. In this picture the foliage of the plant looks a bit yellowish – that’s because I bought the super special $2 root bound pots. With some tender love and care these bottlebrush should be just fine (touch wood!). You’ll also note that you can see the old colour of the fence – the mulch should conceal this.







everlastingsPink & White Everlastingrhodanthe chlorocephala subsp. Roseaerect annual herb 20 – 60cm; flowers pink and white from August to November, full sun/part shade; prefers well drained sandy soil; responds well to any fertiliser and regular watering

I’ve planted these at the front of our letter box. Apparently Everlastings will self-seed for the following year – fingers crossed!




little smokie Little Smokie – Olearia – compact silver shrub 50cm high x 1m across with soft grey foliage; full sun; trim to keep compact; limestone tolerant.

I’ve planted eight little smokies – four in the garden bed on the northern side of the driveway and four in front on the splendid wattles as a border plant to the lawn on the verge. This little plant is tricky to photograph against the Perth sandy soil, but the foliage will look stunning against mulch once it is laid and amongst the green foliage of the surrounding plants.



spring mistSpring Misteremophila niveasmall shrub to 1.5m; lilac tubular flowers spring and summer; soft silver foliage; full sun/part shade; trim to desired shape.

Five Spring Mist plants have been planted parallel yet offset to the splendid wattles on the side closest to the house.










badgingarra BadgingarraCalothamnus villosusdense shrub to 1 metre; red flowers in spring/summer, honey eater attracting; full sun; trim to desired shape after flowering excellent for hedging.

I’ve planted three badgingarra at the top of the driveway, one on the northern side of the driveway and two on the other. Fingers crossed I won’t run over one whilst backing out – the one on the northern side is most at risk but to date has stayed safe.




hairy lechenaultia Hairy Lechenaultia Lechenaultia hirsutus – small shrub 30cm x 50cm; deep red flowers

I planted three of these little plants – the bright red flowers are spectacular – but already one has died and the other looks a bit dodgy. I might need to put some stakes near this little plant as the children seem to be stomping them to death.





swan river myrtleSwan River MyrtleHypoclymma robustum - shrub to 1m; rich pink flowers during winter and spring; full sun/part shade; trim after flowering to keep compact

I’ve planted three of these wispy and. whimsical shrubs in the garden bed north of the driveway. This photo does not do the plant justice. Its sweet pink blooms are delightful. Truly lovely.




orthrosanthos polystachyusMorning Iris - Orthrosanthus Polystachyus – clumping grass to 60cm, blue flower spikes in spring, full sun/part shade.

Oh these are gorgeous, particularly when they’re flowering. I’ve put in ten of these clumping grasses down the northern edge of the driveway. I’m so looking forward to seeing them bloom. It is going to look fantastic.









melaleuca incana nana Dwarf Grey Honey Myrtle -Melaleuca incana nanasmall shrub, weeping habit 1m high x 1.5m across, white flowers in spring, full sun/ part shade.

I’ve planted three dwarf myrtle under the existing trees on the northern edge of the front garden. I’m a little bit worried that perhaps they won’t get enough sun – only time will tell. The sweet little white flower is simply splendid.




ivory pearl Ivory Pearl Chamelaucium medium shrub 2m high x 1m across; cream flowers late winter/spring; full sun; trim to desired shape and size after flowering.

Just one of these beautiful shrubs has been planted. Hoping that it will grown into a point of interest in the corner of the garden behind the letterbox.  The plan is to let it grow taller than the spring mist and splendid wattle to draw the eye towards it. 









dampiera linearis Dampiera linearis - Dampiera linearis – small suckering shrub to 30cm; blue flowers winter and spring; full sun/part shade.

There are eleven of these sweet little plants. I’ve planted them on the embankment of the existing garden bed to stabilise the garden soils. This little plant will grow to a metre wide will over time grow into a magnificent and colourful ground cover.




Grevillea Ellabella Grevillea Ellabella - Grevillea Ellabellaground covering shrub 50cm high x 2-3m across; small red flowers autumn, winter and spring, honey eater attracting; full sun/part shade; trim to desired shape.

Four of the grevillea ellabella have been planted at the edge of the existing retaining wall. The plan is that they will grow over the edge of the wall. Their weeping foliage and blooms should look much better than the log retaining wall that can be currently seen.




dianella longifolia Smooth Flax Lily - Dianella longifoliaclumping plant with strappy leaves to 1m; blue flowers on tall stems in summer; semi shade/full sun

Four of the dianella have been planted at the base of the log retaining wall. I love clumping grasses and these are particularly beautiful. Over time there’ll be many more dianella planted in the garden as part of phase two.




acacia splendensSplendid Wattle - Acacia splendensspreading shrub 1.5m high x 2m wide; grey foliage; yellow flowers scented Autumn/Winter; trim to desired shape

This wattle is an endangered species so I’m pretty chuffed to have five along the front of my garden. The description for this plant is that the foliage is grey… but it looks pretty green to me. Perhaps it will change over time?!?! Looking forward to all the wattle blooms – all the yellow will help keep me cheerful next winter.









Yellow Feather Flower Yellow Feather FlowerVerticoria chrysanthasmall shrub to 1m; yellow flowers spring and summer with scented foliage; full sun/part shade; trim to desired shape.

Mr. 3 choose this plant. Initially I was a bit reluctant but he was quite persistent so I’ve planted two in the garden bed under the existing trees. After some reflection I think he has made a lovely choice. 










This is just the beginning. There is still plenty of space for plants closer to the house – but that has to be painted first which is an epic job that we hope to start soon but we are yet to make some final decisions about colours.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

my creative space :: blah!

grey skiesThe sky is no longer cobalt blue in my little corner of the world today – grey and overcast with enough rain to stop the washing from drying but not really enough to give my new native garden a decent drink.

native garden

The lawn has been dug up and the plants planted – the garden has been started but there is still a lot more work ahead. I’m hoping for heavier rains soon just to ensure that everything gets established and well watered before we lay mulch.

Inside my creative space is finally looking much better than it did at the beginning of July. What started as a project I thought I’d finish in a day turned into an epic crusade in establishing organisational systems… nothing as fancy as that sounds – really just trying to do the job properly so that it doesn’t get so out of control again. All neat and tidy the room has a beautiful energy. Known by all in the house as “the grey room” it is my special place to hide away and create.


Two achievements, kick starting the native garden and finishing organising the grey room,  I thought would have motivated me onwards and upwards to higher echelons of creativity and yet here I find myself today feeling all blah! I’ve been feeling blah since Sunday. Cranky, whingey, teary … blah! I haven’t really felt much in the mood to create much at all. So today I have given myself permission to do nothing. To achieve nothing… a goal free day. Absolutely nothing on the list. Doing nothing isn’t even on the list because the list doesn’t exist. There are no goals. If I accidentally do something it doesn’t matter – I won’t have failed at doing nothing because I’m not even setting the goal of doing nothing. Does that make sense?

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll be beyond blah and if I am re-charged and motivated then that box on the floor near the ironing board is filled with my works in progress. It looks like there is a lot there – but really there isn’t. There are some repair jobs in that box including a jacket that just needs one button resewn. I’m not planning to do it today because there is no plan. There is only nothing.

To actually be inspired by some creativity head on over to Kirsty’s place… you’ll find lots of something there!