Tuesday, November 30, 2010

just a minute … in november

Listening… to some classical music this month.

Watching… Entourage (season 3) and Weeds (season 4).

Tasting… success. E. was awarded his first medallion – which he subsequently wore for weeks. He and his kindy mates won first prize in a children’s week art competition. Bravo!

the taste of success

Playing… in the pool. E becomes more and more confident swimming without his floaties, Ms. M on the other hand is so cautious around the pool – so completely different to her brother at the same age. Makes hanging out pool side a much more relaxing experience. Indoors Ms. M is obsessed with the playing shopping, one of her favourite phrases is “pay money”.

Developing… big brother skills. E is really developing into a lovely, caring and protective big brother. It is so gorgeous to watch and I am so proud of him, particularly at this time as Ms. M approaches the challenging age of two.

siblings 

Meeting… Lara from Create for Life for coffee. It was the first time that I’ve met up with a friend from blogland and we had such a fantastic time chatting about creating, blogging and so much more. Marvellous.

Freaking out about… unexpected expenses: the oven doesn’t work and the car’s gear box is being rebuilt. One of the shelves in the fridge just “fell off” and the washing machine is occasionally making strange sounds that make my stomach lurch. Living without an oven is one thing, existing without the washing machine is a whole other story. 

Gardening… some hot November days have taken their toll on the garden. We’ve harvested lots of artichokes, beetroot and English spinach …and finally the children have learnt to let the strawberries ripen before gobbling them all up!

strawberries

november sewing challenge :: christmas craft

12monthsewingchallenge

November’s sewing challenge has been to get started on making things for Christmas. I am so thankful that Carolyn set this as the monthly challenge because otherwise I don’t think I’d have thought much about it. Ms. M’s second birthday is a fortnight away so most of my thoughts are focused on that special occasion.

In between getting organised for her birthday I’ve been making some quick coffee-cozy-cup-holder things. Initially I was going to give them to the teachers and assistants at my son’s kindy but since I have also made some for the grandfathers and uncle… all of whom have everything and are incredibly difficult giftees.

coffee cozy

I’ve used insulated batting to protect hands and keep the coffee warm. I hope the gifts are well received… I was really struggling coming up with ideas of what to make.

The coffee cozy pictured above is the grandfather/uncle version using fabric that the boy chose earlier in the year. The versions for the kindy teachers are more feminine… but currently cannot be located for photography due to the “bomb” of frantic activity that has exploded in my creative space.

To be inspired with Christmas crafty goodness head on over to Carolyn’s.

… and there it is – a year of sewing challenges completed. December’s challenge is to sharpen skills… which I try to do as part of every project and no doubt sharpening my “survival” and “sewing in the wee hours of the morning” skills will be put to the test most next month. I’ve really enjoyed participating in this sewing challenge, it has encouraged me to try things that ordinarily I wouldn’t. Thanks Carolyn.

Monday, November 29, 2010

@ my place

… it is time for a cup of tea*.

time for a cup of tea

I had a busy weekend. There was the usual shopping, the not so usual shopping, then the last sewing guild meeting for the year and a regional show too!

1. the show2. the show

We had a fantastic time at the show. It was the first time the children had been to a show like that in the night time, and really the first time that they’d been to a show at all. Mr. E went to a Royal Perth Show with his grandparents when he was about nine months old – but I doubt he’d remember any or it.

3. the show4. the show

They were both totally mesmerised by all the lights, rides, merchandise and people. They both took it in their strides very well, particularly when we explained that we couldn’t afford to participate in any of the extras. It cost $24 admission and then it was $6/ride. That translated to $12 for both children to jump on the jumping castle… I think not! (especially when you see them at so many of the summer festival events for free) I was really proud of them for being so understanding.

6. the show

The big finale was of course the fireworks. It was both of their first times. Such a magical experience to share with them. E. was beside himself – so many exclamations of “wow” and there was even an “its so beautiful!”. Ms. M was a bit scared at first but relaxed and enjoyed then once she was sitting in my lap having a big hug.

Yesterday we all slept in… something that just doesn’t happen here at this place at all. The we ate a late and lazy big breakfast, gardened and then splashed about in the pool. It was pretty restful.

This morning we’ve been doing all the jobs that we let slip on the weekend… it’s washing day but we’ve also been sweeping and vacuuming floors. Nothing too over the top but the place is so much nicer cause we did. Then we watched play school and were inspired to build a rocket ship.

off to the moon

I think there are some moon adventures going on while I have this cuppa. While the little ones are in outer space I’m hoping to cut the fabric to go with these little faces.

little faces 

… and then later in the afternoon friends are coming to play and splash with us in the pool. Good times.

Wishing you lots of good times at your place too.

* I usually drink Lipton’s tea but I just found this fancy-pancy twinnings tea bag and thought I’d give it a go. It was nice.

Friday, November 26, 2010

silver

silver

I’m loving silver… although most in the collage about is actually stainless steel (and why may I ask do they call it stainless when every little finger print shows???). When I was a young girl I preferred gold but as I’ve got older I prefer silver and white gold much more.

Featuring this week is my collection of fifty cent coins – I just can’t bring myself to spend them if they have a pretty picture on them, my grater that is very much worse for wear – no handle and rather bent out of shape in places, a lock and key I acquired in India many many moons ago, my new down light in the living room, the necklace my partner gifted me to celebrate the completion of my graduate certificate in community development, some silver thread that I have had for sometime but not yet used, the ever so useful clip on the fridge, the cigarette rolling machine that my partner gifted to me when we first started going out (how romantic? … NOT – and yet still it is very treasured despite not smoking anymore) and the light next to my sewing machine that guides me into the wee hours of the morning.

you look like gold to me

This week’s feature shot is again stainless steel rather than silver, but is all silver-y and shiny. This shot was again taken as part of my 365 project as I sort for something inspiration on a day when I was trapped indoors with two small children on a cold and miserable winter’s day. It has since become one of my favourite shots of the year:

tongs

You’ll find lots of shiny silver-y bits and bobs here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

my creative space :: red cars go faster

… but it is unlikely that an old VW beetle or combine van will make it onto any of Top Gear’s fastest cars list. These little red VWs aren’t going any where – but I love them all the same.

red beetlered combi van

Cath inspired me to stitch the little beetle, the pattern is from here. And the combi van is the letter “S” (for Sally) from the cars front @ Dafont.

I’ve always wanted a VW. Never had one … yet! But now I am a little closer.

These little broom brooms are now ready to travel with me on my daily adventures…nappy wallet

The little beetle is on the front of a nappy wallet that I again made using Karen’s fab. tutorial, and the combi van is on yet another zipped case (complete with dirt stain from muddy puddle) …

craft caseinside craft case

… this one to keep my in-the-car crafting supplies – scissors, needles, thread, crochet hook… and probably in time more bits and bobs.

Both the nappy wallet and craft case are destined to live in the car. That way there are a couple of less things I have to think about packing as we venture out using the car because I know they’re just there. BUT … none of it will be used today as I am without car - it is at the mechanic’s for what looks like will be a very expensive service. *Boo hoo*

So today I am starting the process of filling the empty WIP box. I have an anxious feeling in my tummy – frankly I am a bit overwhelmed. Where to start? Where to start? Ms. M’s second birthday is in a little over a fortnight and then it will be Christmas time. I need to take a deep breath and get a grip … and then just start. Putting off projects that I hope to complete any longer is just counter-productive and I’ll kick myself for it later… but oh sometimes when I feel this way I’d rather just have a lie down and bury my head under a pillow.

…maybe I’ll just put it all off for another half-hour and go check out all the inspirational creativity @ Kirsty’s place. See you there.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

thinking of you :: indira @ saucy onion

nasturtium

Hanging in baskets from the small patio that provides shelter at our laundry door are nasturtiums. I was inspired to grow them by Indira @ Saucy Onion. At the beginning of the year she wrote a fascinating post about the benefits of nasturtiums. I had always been a bit apprehensive about growing nasturtiums fearing that they’d overtake the garden – hanging baskets has been an ideal solution.

nasturtiums

Nasturtiums are quite the impressive plant: a flavoursome snack food, multi-vitamin and pest repellent all in the one gorgeous package.

little nasturtiums

I nearly always think of Indira when I see them or have a go at snacking on them. If it hadn’t been for her I wouldn’t find myself munching on their leaves as I watered the garden on a summer’s morning… and like Indira just looking at them makes me happy.

Thank you Indira.

Monday, November 22, 2010

washing day

Monday is washing day at my place. Don’t get me wrong there will the need to do a load or two of washing through the week, but mostly I save it up for Mondays.

the granny basket

In an attempt to make doing the washing just a little bit more exciting I hooked up this granny square basket using Jute. I used a large hook, which was good because the jute could at times be rather difficult to work with so the large hook meant that I made quicker progress through the project.

the granny basket up close

As I hooked my mind was full of possibilities using jute… but I think they might need to wait until next year. I love the rustic look the jute creates, the natural colouring and the earthy vibe.

in use 

Doing the washing today has been that little bit more fun with this basket’s presence… a little bit more fun!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

on the weekend

We didn’t do much. No much at all. Those kinds of weekends can be fabulous can’t they? I only left the house once and that was to head on up to Spotlight on Saturday afternoon to look at insulated batting. I purchased some but didn’t get a chance to use it.

Despite not doing much the weekend was rather eventful. Master E. has started swimming without any floaties and his little sister Ms. M is going great guns using the potty. Bravo to both of them!

And remember this? Look at the very same late this afternoon:

the wip box 

It is empty.

Here is the run down on how the former contents faired:

  • 2 x pillow cases to make two pillowcase dresses for Ms. M – decided just to make one. The other pillowcase I’m not sure about – it has an embroidered Peter Rabbit on it and I am wondering if she is perhaps getting a bit old for it.

  • 1 x pants cut out & ready to sew for Ms. M – finished today.

  • 1 x pants cut out & ready to sew for Master E – finished yesterday.

  • 1 x hat cut out & ready to sew for Master E – ooops… it wasn’t in the box so goodness knows where it is?!?!

  • 1 x pinafore dress half sewn just waiting to change colour of thread in overlocker (? I think that is why I’ve stopped … this project has sunk towards the bottom of the box) – finished yesterday.

  • 1 x pants half sewn for me – finished yesterday.

  • 1 x pant to re-fashion/re-hem for me – finished yesterday and worn today. Super pants Moa – thanks!

  • 1 x summer dress to shorten for me – I butchered this project beyond belief and in the end surrendered it to the garbage bin. Horrific and shameful but really the only thing that could be done with it.

  • 1 x apron to patch up (after ‘play’ karate kicking partner in kitchen with rotary cutter in apron – oops!) – finished weeks ago – why I didn’t just repair it at the time I’ll never know.

Here are the pants that I finished sewing for myself:

my pants

In general I’m pleased with them… but I doubt that I will ever wear them. I made them using material that I picked up for $2/meter at Spotlight ages ago. I bought two meters at the time and still have loads left over. It is a weird polyester-ish material and frankly it was hell to sew with. Slipped and slid all over the place. Couldn’t iron a crease in it at all. And to wear … well I love cotton or linen. The learning opportunity was fantastic though – so you’ve got to be happy with that, and if for some unforseen reason I was about to go travelling anytime soon I’d pack them in a jiffy… these pants will never ever ever crease!

Aside from tackling projects in the WIP box I also did lots of other repair works, in particular replacing and repairing buttons and mending some over-loved softies.

I used four colours in the overlocker this weekend – white, black, claret and navy. There were a few moments there where the blasted thing took ages to get threaded correctly… and I wonder how much more I could have achieved it had played nice?

Wanna know the secret to my productivity. Our aerial is broken and we can no longer receive any of the ABC channels. Ahhhh!!! The mister when up on the roof in a desperate endeavour to mend said aerial with some brown packaging tape… but it just wasn’t to be.

on the roof

“I don’t like relaxing I just like sitting down and watching TV” – Master E.

I am so excited about what tomorrow will bring. Starting lots of new projects is high on the agenda.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

handprints on my wall

hand prints on my wall

These special prints – ten fingers on 10/10/10 made by each of my little treasures -  has now been framed. So that is a step in the right direction to finally hanging things on my bare walls. At this time they’re hanging on the walls too… but on hooks left by the house’s former owners. Other, currently empty, frames are destined for these hooks, but in the mean time these prints can stay.

Be sure to peep at other people’s wall over at Wendy’s place... and play along too if you like!

Friday, November 19, 2010

perfect weather for…

finishing my scarf.

grey scarf

After all it is currently 37.8° here, forecast to reach 39°. What better weather to finish weaving in the last end?

grey scarf end 

… maybe it would be better if the temperatures weren’t measured in Celsius!

brown

brown

Brown. Brown. Brown. Oh how I detest thee!

Mmm… well maybe not, but I certainly do in terms of home interiors. I live in what started out as ‘the brown’ house and is slowly slowly being painted into other colours with lots of white trim. There is a long way to go, so lots of brown taps, brown skirting board, brown tiles to be found in this home. There is a “vintage” brown oven too! It doesn’t work anymore – it died an inconvenient death a couple of months back. 

Still there are some beautiful brown things in my life. My brown Louis Vutton hand bag that I never ever use because really it just isn’t me but is nice to have, my brown wooden treasure box, my grandfather’s brown case, and the brown teddy bear that my grandmother gave my son not long after he was born. Who can go past brown packaging tape as one of the most useful things ever, and Master E. said that I should take a photo of his brown monkey backpack to show everyone too.

As for the brown feature shot for this week, well it is a brown donkey doe eye. I like how you can see the reflection of the sky in this shot, and I definitely have eye-lash envy!

donkey eye 

More brown here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

my creative space :: some stitching going on

stitching going on 

There is some stitching going on in my creative space today. I’m still working on my stem stitch, trying to improve and develop my technique. I’m really enjoying the stitching lately … with the one exception that I think the time has come for me to get glasses. I used to wear glasses when I was a child and then grew out of them, but now I think I’ve grown right back into them. Blasted old age.

Creativity abounds over at Kirsty’s place. Be sure to go check it out!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

paid it forward

Twelve months ago today I decided to join in with ‘pay it forward’.

A couple of months back I gifted my dearest friend Moa her surprise, which left two more surprises to send on their merry way. Earlier in the month I sent these packages.

One covered moleskin notebook to Lyn in Adelaide (it should have got there by now – I hope she hasn’t moved!). I hope she like dandelions. I hope she can tell that it is an embroidered dandelion!

notebook to Adelaideinsider notebook to Adelaide

… and another covered moleskin notebook for Jes in Canada (who knows how long it will take to get there but it must be close by now). I was inspired by Jes’s jewellery for the embroidered motif on the front.

notebook cover to Canada inside notebook to Canada

I hope they both like them. I hope they both get them… perhaps I should have checked with them that their addresses were unchanged – but I wanted these little packages to come as a complete surprise.  So at my end it is fingers crossed they get them and fingers crossed they like them.

Monday, November 15, 2010

octo-man

Okay okay… so I’ll admit that I have been over doing it with the matchy-matchy stuff. First the shark outfit and now this, but the boy turns four early in the new year and I wanted to use these materials up before he grew out of them. Don’t feel too sorry for the kid. He dresses himself so it is unlikely that the outfits will be seen as a complete ensemble again.

octo outfit

I made the hat using Nicole’s pattern again, but this time made the brim extra wide. Little red-heads need lots of protection at the beach. I hand stitched the appliqué, going around all eight of those legs with the machine without stuffing up seemed like too big a challenge.

octo hat & shirt

The boy seemed pretty thrilled with his new beach threads, and loves his new hat. The shark version has been ‘adopted’ by his little sister… no worries I’ll be making her one soon. We lose hats all the time in this family – we’re the visitors that always leave something behind – so I am sure that I’ll get lots and lots of practice making hats over the summer.

octo hat

My boy loves the beach so much. Always has. He hadn’t even celebrated his first birthday when we took him to Cottesloe and he raced into the ocean. He was dunked within seconds and I thought that perhaps he’d be taught a lesson and come toddling back onto dry sand. No – he just picked himself up and kept moving out to sea. I grasped him up into my arms and the poor baby was so distraught that his solo sea adventure was over.

octo man 1octo man 2octo man 3octo man 4

Nothing has changed in the three years that have past. Who was I kidding that I’d take the kid to the beach for a ‘walk’ and he wouldn’t get wet???

who was I kidding

Sunday, November 14, 2010

on my walls

Not a lot. I take a photo almost every day and yet there is not one, not a single one, printed and framed and hung on a wall. There isn’t even one printed and sticky taped to the wall. Nothing. Narda. Zip. Zilch.

Instead on my walls you will find quite a bit of this:

la little artist

Perhaps my little artist is protesting the blankness that surrounds. Her old room*, which at the moment is empty because she and her brother have decided to share a room, is the only room in the house with any adornments.

peter rabbit
Peter rabbit and his friends decorate the walls.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not because I don’t want to hang pictures, prints and photos on my walls. Nor is it because I don’t have any. There are frames with prints wrapped in bubble wrap and sitting in corners of rooms and cupboards. I have frames sitting on shelves empty waiting for a photo and then to be hung.

I think the issue is commitment. Committing to a place. Committing to a photo. Committing to a frame. Let’s face it, we’ve been in this house for two years now and it is time I just got over it!

So I’ll be playing along with Wendy’s new meme each week, hopefully showing you something new that I have decided to hang on one of our many many blank walls. Thanks Wendy – this meme couldn’t have come at a better time for me.

See what other's have on their wall over here.

* oh no! You can even see half an empty frame in that picture too!