Monday, December 17, 2012

busy busy busy

The past week and a bit has been hectic. Oh my! So much to do, so little time to stop. breathe. reflect. blog. It has just been go, go, go.

There has been special Secret Santa making for a very lovely purple loving colleague at work.

a purple striped scarf purple crocheted flowers a purple snowflake

I knitted a purple scarf, in simple wonky garter stitch, in three days!!! I was a knitting maniac! I crocheted some purple flowers and hooked a purple snowflake too. In my making frenzy it must be said that I was cursing the organisers for not providing very much time for those people who wish to make their gifts!!! It was all worth it though, because I just loving giving things that I know people are really going to love. And she did. The recipient was overwhelmed and it made my heart (in secret) swell with pride and joy.

After the secret Santa making it was time to finish off (and start) some birthday making for my darling and very precious Ms. M.

Ms. M. loves Spot

Ms. M. loves Spot. Knowing that she was a tad envious of her older brother who has a library bag for school it was a real thrill to make this bag for her. I was also stoked when I found the title “Spot Goes To School” at a local book shop because after these coming holidays Ms. M will be starting kindy. She is so very focussed at the moment on making sure she will be ready, practising her independent behaviours as best she can.

cup cake makingbirthday cake making

In the past week there has been cup cake making for family day care, birthday cake making for her special day, and mini-cup cake making for long day care.

Throw into the mix a little bit of (last minute) pink stitching to make my beautiful girl a softie for her special day. (Note to self: do start earlier next year – say September!)

with her new softie

More recent making has included gingerbread man baking and then early morning decorating and afternoon Christmas tree pizza creating. There was the wise decision en route to collect E. from school this afternoon, after a very unproductive day with a very clingy O., not to hand make the teachers gifts tonight, instead driving through a passing bottle-o and buying bottles of wine.

PC178257 PC178327

Oh yeah and there has been making for a special new baby too.

for kara collage

I’m not so sure what my life-long friend and childhood neighbour will think of the handmade gifts for her baby daughter. I explained in the card that whilst they were wonky and imperfect I had put love in every stitch and as I made dreamt of her most wonderful future. I do so hope she likes them, but I also worry that perhaps she’ll think I’m being “cheap” by making gifts rather than buying them.

*exhale*

So there you have it. Busy busy busy. The last week has also included the school Carols by Candelight event, end of year night time cricket event and a twenty four hour bug for E. which left me three couch covers, two doonas, and lots and lots of towels and sheets to wash.

I almost forgot to tell you that on the 15.12.12 the tooth fairy made his/her very first visit to our home. “Best day of [E’s] life”. His tooth fell out as we were driving down Hepburn Avenue and he, Ms. M and I were all screaming for joy in the car. It was a magical and thrilling moment indeed. …and then I burst into tears. My baby boy is starting to lose the last remnants of his baby-hood.

In the coming week I’m hoping to make two more baby outfits, as there is an apparent baby boom at my work and then I’ll be starting the Christmas making. Yep. Starting the Christmas making for my little tribe… but if I don’t finish it I’m not going to be hard on myself. Nope. If I don’t make the deadline then they can help me finish off on Boxing Day while we watch the cricket on the tele and generally relax. I’d rather they remembered a Mama who was late than a Mama who was stressed out tired and grumpy!!!

So how you doing at this silly time of year? Keeping your head above water?

Friday, December 7, 2012

this moment

first swim of the summer

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.    A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.

Playing along with soule mama.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

arty aprons

creating gifts

My cherubs have been busy creating gifts for their grandparents using fabric markers. They had a fabulous time creating pictures to use on apron pockets and they’ve drawn pictures to use on home-made baubles too.  I’ve used duck cloth to sew the aprons using pattern pieces and instructions from Home Sewn Home which I borrowed from my local library. It’s a really useful book full of great ideas and simple instructions for things to make around the home. Me thinks I might borrow it again!

aprons for christmas

Not to be left out Toddler O. (formerly known as Baby O.) sat on my lap at the machine for much of the sewing action, and when he wasn’t on my lap he was under the sewing table playing with buttons and pins… and generally creating chaos.

Thanks to Dada Dave who helped out by modelling the finished aprons.

Today I hope to finish sewing the baubles and then it is off to the post office to get these gifts in the post, and with that there’ll be a great sense of relief that one more task is ticked off the list.

Linking up with other creative folk.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

yarn along

yarn along 5.12.12

The little blue jacket has been put aside this week. I’ve been spending sometime with my sewing machine and so have wanted some ‘no thought required' yarny distractions.

On the needles I’ve started knitting a very plain woolly garter stitch scarf. I’m in no rush to complete this project, with summer only just starting I won’t need any extra help keeping warm! This project is all about having something easy to turn too when I’m otherwise overwhelmed or exhausted.

On the hook is some cotton being transformed into some secret Santa goodness. Can you guess what I’m making?

And in the post today? This Patons Woolcraft booklet that used to belong to my Nan. Her name is written on the front cover. I wonder why she wrote her name on it? Perhaps she used to lend it to friends. I’m not sure when the booklet was published but it must have been sometime ago. It is filled with instructions on how to knit and crochet and different kinds of stitches. There is also a pattern for a v-neck jumper that I think is the one Nan knitted me when I was a teenager. I’d like to have a go at making one, although perhaps in a larger size these twenty-five  years and three babies later.

Joining in with Ginny.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

a birthday dress

a birthday dressa birthday dress (2)a birthday dress (3)

The making is getting pretty hectic around here. No time to iron the dress for a photo, especially when it is about to be folded and wrapped. This dress is finished and ready to gift to Ms M. for her birthday which is a little over a week away. I adore the large scale of the flowers in the fabric and the bold colours. Ms. M is always adorable but she is really going to rock this dress. It is so her.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

i for me, less is more

iPod

After returning to work following baby O’s birth I decided that it was time to treat myself to a little something. I’ve been wanting an iPod for sometime, not long after I inherited Dave’s iPod Nano and realised just how good it was to have so much music on something so small.

iPod (2)

It’s fabulous! Slowly slowly I’ve been moving my music collection from CD to the iPod. The aim is to eventually have no CDs stored under my bed. Just the idea makes me feel lighter. I find lots of possession weighty, like an anchor.

iPod (3)

Mostly I’m a less is more kinda person. Smaller size is less storage, and yet more music and more podcasts. There is just so much to love. One of my favourite reasons for going to work is sitting at my desk, headset on listening to my tunes.
chillaxing listening to tunes




I love sitting out in the garden chillaxing listening to music too. Better still with some crochet or some knitting. A dose of vitamin D for the bones and a vibrant blue sky to uplift the soul. Really – does life get better than that?




















One of the few draw backs of transferring my music collection to iPod is the covers. Sure you can store the artwork on the iPod itself but people can’t write messages – and that is a bit of a loss. I’m a fan of people writing messages, on CD sleeves or on the inside cover of a book. That’s what can turn something ordinary into something really really special.

with love from Dad

What about you?
Are you transferring your music to MP3s or similar?
Or perhaps your still hanging on to your LPs and CDs?
Do you listen to podcasts? What’s your favourite?
Are you a fan of written messages on CD sleeves or in the covers of books?

Thinking about a significant spend in 2012 and joining in with #reverb12

how does my garden grow?

Frankly it has seen better starts to the summer, but it isn’t all bad. Sure the lawn is patchy and brown, weeds abound and the orange tree is infested with aphids, yet there are glimpses of beauty and productivity.

blooming at the end of 2012

The lavender is thriving and the scent of the gardenias is heavenly. Gardenias, oh how I love them, leaning into their blooms and inhaling deeply. One of the greatest pleasures of my garden. The hydrangeas are still pink, I’ve given up on them ever being blue.

frangipani

The brown frangipani stumps are now sprouting leaves – a certain sign that summer is here. Not long until these beautiful fragrant flowers bloom too.

artichokes

Artichokes continue to grow, and this plant in many ways is like a dear friend. Neglect it I may and it still just keeps giving.

tomatoes lemons grape vine

The tomatoes Ms. M and I planted are growing, almost ready to be tied to stakes. There are lots of tomato plants sprouting up around the compost bin too. They’re already fruiting. Have you ever noticed that tomato plants that just pop up and are neglected tend to thrive whilst those that are planted and tended to don’t do as well in comparison? I wonder if there is a metaphor for something in that.

The small lemon tree is burdened with green fruit. This morning I cut most of them off so that the plant could stand tall again. I wonder, will they ripen yellow now that they’re off the plant? Time will tell I guess. The plant has remained small for a couple of years now. I remember when I bought the plant the lady exclaimed how it would be taller than E. in a couple of years… but frankly that hasn’t happened.

This autumn just past I planted a grape vine. Dave was doubtful that it would survive the winter, but I had faith. I just knew that come spring its sticky frame would sprout green lush leaves. It has not disappointed. Almost on cue it burst into life, shot up a bit … and then it has just stopped. It is still green and certainly living but for one reason or another it seems to be stubbornly refusing to grow any taller. I have grand plans and expectations of it growing over an arched trellis. At this rate it will be decades!

olives spider web water droplets on jasmine leaves

The olive plants are standing tall and now conceal our neighbours roof. A much nicer outlook from our kitchen and family room. My ambivalent relationship with spiders continues. I love most of them, their webs catch flies and bees and other creatures… but those nasty red back spiders that persist in nesting in children’s toys make me cranky.

bolted lettuce

We’ve let the lettuce bolt again. Loving the way that it and the coriander come to seed and then just grow new plants all over again without us doing a thing. More friends in the garden. 

So how does your garden grow? Who are your friends in the garden?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

first day of summer

Awake at the crack of dawn, the sun’s warm summer rays beam through our eastern bedroom window. If it wasn’t for the little people in my bed I would no doubt sleep on, but the body slams to the face and body make this tricky.

The day started ordinarily enough. The strong gusty winds have passed on so the days first job was to get on a load of laundry.

a picture of Santa who has lost his hat in the wind

E. and his father headed off to cricket before eight. Prior to their departure E. had protested that he didn’t want to play cricket anymore, there were tears and angry proclamations that he wanted to quit. It is parenting moments like these that I find so challenging. My heart screams “Quit! Don’t go. Stay home with me and we’ll cuddle”. Thankfully his father is stronger and wiser, explaining the importance of commitment to team mates, persistence and having fun.

While we waited for the load of washing to finish I managed to sew a few seams and trim a few edges in the grey room. Ms. M and baby O. sat on the floor sorting buttons. Well M. sorted buttons and O. tipped them out much to his older sister’s frustration. M. handles the situation well, she isn’t quick to get angry and she tries to teach him about sharing, tries to distract him and then eventually just lets him get his own way.

After hanging out the laundry and getting another load on we headed on to watch E. play cricket (and to pick up a take-away coffee from the back of a van at the ground). Just as we got the coffees the boys approached us, the game already over. They were all smiles. E. had won an award and had hit his first ever “4”. Such a thrill, and a mighty relief too. The antics from earlier in the morning now ancient history.

strawberry smoothies

To celebrate his success E. made the family strawberry smoothies, with fancy glasses and bendy straws. The kids also cracked open their first chocolates from the cheap and uber-commercial advent calendars that I bought on a whim. This is the first year we’ve had advent calendars, and despite the nasty cheap chocolate were a big thrill. Ms. M impressed me with her numeracy skills – identifying most of the numbers on her calendar.

After lunch I sneaked back into the grey room to finish off a summer frock for Ms. M. …

a finished dress

… and then it was time for a quick rest and a bit of crochet.

unstuck

Finally I’m “unstuck”, the brain freeze over. It took me so much mucking around to eventually figure it out, and when I eventually did it was certainly a d’oh moment.

at the Astor

In the afternoon the family rocked, rolled and roared with Justine Clark.  We all had so much fun. Ms. M danced the entire concert, well those moments when she wasn’t completely star-struck. Her little brother was right up front with all the big kids stomping and dancing too, as was her older brother after he warmed up a bit.

everybody roar

Check out Justine’s dress. Isn’t it fabulous? This still photo really doesn’t do it justice. It was amazing.

After the show we headed out for pizza and pasta for dinner and much anticipated ice cream. I’ve been telling the kids that they can’t have ice cream until summer for months now. Dave had pistachio, E. & O. shared choc-chip (because E. was busy making friends and playing with other children in the restaurant) M. had chocolate and I had ferrero. Delicious. A wonderful way to celebrate summer’s long awaited arrival.

December has started well.

Friday, November 30, 2012

this moment

little gardener

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.    A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.

Playing along with soule mama.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

yarn along

a gusty windy kind of day

It is a grey, gusty, windy day here in my part of the world. The perfect kind of day to stay in one’s PJs and curl up in bed with a book and/or some yarn and a hook and/or needles. It was not to be though, one child needed to be taken to a specialist appointment, two children needed to be dropped off and picked up from different locations and the youngest wee babe decided that today was not going to be a nap day! So there was no sneaking back into bed with a book and/or some yarn related activity – not even for a quick half hour.yarn along 28.11.12     The pieces of the jacket are completed. There is a back, two front pieces and now two sleeves. The time has come to start joining it all together and knitting the collar. One ball of yarn remains. I’m hopeful that this project is going to work out. A tad optimistic even.

See my very cheap bamboo needles. They’ve bowed, no longer straight at all. Is it from holding the needles too tight? Emparting my daily stress into the bamboo’s particles? Or is it because I shove them ungraciously into my handbag, bedside table draw, the car’s glove box? Maybe it’s just because they’re cheap? Your thoughts? Does this happen to you?

I’ve started the text, but am yet to finish it. I had expected that I would have read this short novel in a couple of days, a night even. The opening chapter however is set at a funeral. I’ve not progressed any further. I will. Just not really been in the mood for reading something that at this point suggests it might be a bit dark and heavy.

And speaking of not progressing any further…

just can't work it out

… for a  while there I was participating in a crochet-along. All was going swimmingly until I encountered round 4 of the SmoothFox’s Starburst Flower Square. I just can’t work it out. The brain is not computing what I’m reading on the page. No comprend-ay. Narda. Zilch. I’ve tried this, and that … I’m stuck. Absolutely stuck.

So what about you? Did you manage a sneaky half hour or so in bed with a book or some yarn today? Are you straight or bent when it comes to knitting needles? Ever had a brain freeze reading what should be an easy pattern?

Do tell.

Joining in with Ginny’s Yarn Along.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

a natural pair

the naturalimage via 

This afternoon, by chance, I came across one of my favourite films on the tele. Better still the Mr. was taking the kids up to the hardware store while I had a rest and did a bit of knitting. The Natural is a film that I don’t think is possible to watch too many times. As a kid I’d recorded it off the T.V. one night, staying up late to carefully pause out the ads. That VHS video was watched over and over many a lazy Sunday afternoon, gradually becoming more and more stretched as the years went on. Often my father would watch with me. He loved the film, the character of Roy Hobbs, just as much as I did – perhaps even more. Oh my, that final scene where Roy Hobbs (Redford) hits the baseball into the electric lights and they explode like fireworks, coupled with the triumphant music, it is still exhilarating these twenty-five years later.

baseball PJs
I played t-ball for a season or two when I was kid. Unlike Roy Hobbs I was no natural. I enjoyed the game well enough, but being prone to day dreaming and distraction I was often placed in the out field where I was free to chew my mitt and cloud gaze. There was one particular game though where I was placed on the third base. I remember it clearly. I was tired. I was off with the fairies once again and I vividly recall yawning, stretching my arms out straight above my head. Slap. The baseball landed squarely in my mitt, and somehow I managed not to drop it. Needless to say I was pretty shocked to have caught it. My coach, a family friend and neighbour, was beside himself with joy. A coaching highlight for him, unbeknown to him the accidental nature of my achievement, it seemed to me he felt like all his hard work and afternoons of training had been worthwhile. To this day I’ve never confessed the true account of that magical catch.

baseball PJs (2)

I’m not sure if it was my fondness for The Natural or recollections of that glorious childhood sporting moment that led me to buy baseball printed fabric. I’ve a niggling suspicion that the ultimate persuasion was a heavily discounted price. Regardless I’m on de-stashing mission these days (which incidentally is not going very well at all) so last week I  sewed up my boys some more matchy-mis-matchy pyjamas. Serendipity? Me thinks so.
brothers in baseball PJs

Have you had any serendipitous moments lately?
Or perhaps watched a film for the 100th time?
Maybe you’ve had a glorious childhood sporting moment too?

Do share.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

intentions

So that I don’t forget what I was planning when I went fabric shopping online last night:

Angelica Zinc - Cameo

sorbetto top by collette patterns

I was thinking that this fabric would look lovely in the Collette Patterns Sorbetto Tank Top. Just now though I’m not so sure. I’m wondering how the offset circles will work with the box pleat down the centre.

In case you’re unaware this is a free pattern available here.

This Church Flowers fabric is intended for the yoke and hem band on this frock. I’ve sewn this dress once before and it is one of my favourites. So comfy. So cool and comfortable on the hottest of summer days.

Not sure what my plans are in regards to the central colour of the dress… would yellow be to much do you think? Maybe red would be better?

Church Flowers Green - Nicey Jane

stitch and save M5832

 new look 6674

 

Not sure which version of this dress I’m going to sew. Either way this beautiful floral fabric is going to look great as a wrap around dress.

Your thoughts?

Marilyn Blue - Dolce

There you have it. My intention is to sew myself three very much needed items. My summer wardrobe is very scant and that that I do have is in pretty poor condition.

And on the subject of fabric look what arrived in the post today. Yes today – a Saturday!

send maybelle to ellen auction

I “won” this stack of fat quarters in the Let’s Get Maybelle to Ellen Auction. I suppose it’s time that I stopped dreaming about making quilts and actually gave them ago. 2012 has been the year of learning to knit, me thinks that 2013 is going to be the year of learning to quilt. There you have it folks, another intention!