Sunday, January 26, 2014

{pinning in real life} little boats

virtù - little boats (2) virtù - little boats

Today being Australia Day I thought I’d share these little jelly & peach  boats. I actually made them some time ago, for O’s second birthday in fact – there was a bit of a “Row Row Row Your Boat” theme going on. Having been sick on his actual birthday my energy levels were pretty low so rather than getting toothpicks and paper to make my little  sails I just used these Australia flags that had been hanging around the kitchen since who knows when.

row row your boat jelly cups

I got the inspiration from here. Clearly the original is more flash, the little glasses rather than the plastic cups really make it – but hey I just used what I had on hand and the kiddos really loved them. I think the original has mandarin segments, I used canned peaches – again just because they were around.

Hope you’re enjoying the long weekend. Happy Australian (& India) Day.


mae - feeding the animalsode - holding my hand in the wavesebe - a waterfallace - his toes playing in the sand for the first time

a portrait of my children, once a week in 2014

1. animal lover – she holds her hand out to feed the animals again and again and again

2. hand holder - “Mama hand”; he asks to hold my hand as we play in the ocean, my heart swells with delight

3. jubilant  – his dream of seeing a waterfall coming true, so excited

4. sandy toes – his first time playing in the sand, bemused


Joining in with Jodi.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


birthday boy at elephant rocksMy eldest boy turned seven today. Seven!

When he turned six he rode a bike with training wheels, he didn’t read at all and he certainly couldn’t spell.  At seven he is reading small novels* or putting away two to three Dr Seuss books of a night. No more spelling out messages to his Dada for me, there is a decoder in the house. And that bike?  Well it is all two wheels at a rapid pace and stunts these days.

cake decorating

We had a great day celebrating him. We picked up a cake from the local (& award winning) bakery and the boy was determined to further decorate the cake with the berries that he’d picked the day before. He wanted the cake to be extra special – just like he is. We lost the battle to light those candles and I can tell you there were no lollies left on the cake by the time it came to cutting it – but no one seemed to mind, least of all him.

We took the day slow so that he could play with his gifts and soak it all in. Even so we made it to elephant cove for a swim. Heaven on earth I tell you, such a pity it was overcast but I can imagine the vibrant colours on a clear day.

To finish the day off we headed to the fish and chips shop, still in our bathers and covered in sand. We had another picnic by the river and raced around shooing away the seagulls. Good times I tell you, the best of times indeed.

Happy Birthday my darling boy. It is one of my greatest privileges to know you, and a true blessing of my life to be your Mama.

* Paul Jennings Don’t Look Now are his favourite books just now.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

{bedside} on holidays

bedside holiday edition - all on my tablebedside holiday edition - a stack of books

My bedside table in the holiday cabin we’re currently residing in. I am so absolutely besotted with my lamp. So gorgeous. So lovely for it to be mine… if only for a handful of nights.

There is a bag of knitting – but not much happening with it; an on the go sewing case – again not a lot of action except for using the seam ripper to unpick breast pockets from a new top (I don’t get pockets on boobs!); my Diana mini-camera, a Christmas gift that I finally found some time to play with and a stack of books.

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest is finished. Loved it. So terribly disappointed that the author has passed on from this life – I could just tell he was setting up another novel, my guess something to do with the protagonists’ twin sister, but I am never to know. This is both frustrating and saddening. Sure I can use my own imagination, sure there is a chance that another author will take up the series… but I want to know what Larsson was planning. I want so badly to know what was in HIS mind.

Going to move on to Family Acts next. It too is the third novel of a trilogy. Not one so good as Larsson’s but a catchy and engaging one with a few good characters and plot twists to keep me reading on. I’m expecting “nice” holiday reading – and I don’t mean to condemn it with faint praise. Nice is a good way, but not earth shatteringly different or awesome. As the Yo Gabba Gabba mob sing, “it’s nice to be nice”.

There is Quilting on the Go  and Simply Retro too. At this time they’re just a bit of crafty eye candy to flick through. A couple of interesting projects but I’ve not shown either text any close attention… yet!

I’m in holiday love. Exploring and beaching during the days – collapsing with a book of an evening. Can summer get any  better than this? #goodtimes  indeedy.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

{bedside} what day is it?

These summer days are slipping away from me. There is no routine. Much to do. Fun being had. I’ve very little idea what day of the week it is – they all seem one in the same.

another MJF, the girl and an elephat that is a wee bit bigger

One, of so many, things I love about summer with its lost routine and out of rating season television offerings is the increased chance and desire to read. The only downside – not so much crafting going on. Unlike watching tele my hands are occupied holding the pages. So the wee little knitted elephant is much bigger than the last time you saw him.

After reading Michael J. Fox’s Lucky Man I was intrigued to read his second book, written some eight (from memory) years later Always Looking Up: The adventures of an incurable optimist.  I suppose it was as good as his first autobiography, if not a bit repetitive. There were times where I felt he lost his thesis and just seemed to be telling tales rather than making his point but nevertheless it was interesting. Reading parts where he sang Lance Armstrong’s praises as a charitable all-round good bloke hero were uncomfortable, pretty much unbearable, to read in hindsight -  I wish I knew what MJF thought of him now. My favourite part of the text was his discussion and comparison of how he and his father dealt with the road trip question of “Are we there yet?”, his father essentially adopting a no tolerance approach as opposed to MJF’s more post-modern, perhaps surrealist, handling. Food for thought as my own family and I are taking our own road trip adventures in Western Australia’s south.

… and on that point – it was Ms. M who was the first to crack as we left for down south. Making it to just past the international airport on the Roe Hwy until she asked the question. Nope … we hadn’t even made it out of Perth! Still I suppose we had at least crossed the river.

The last of Steig Larsson’s novels, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest  is next on the list…

What about you? Been reading anything good this summer?


ebe - observationace - playingmae - laughterode - cleanliness   

a portrait of my children, once a week in 2014


1. observation – carefully watching creatures in the garden, the boy has a fascination with the natural world

2. playing – already our babe shares his amusement in a good joke

3. laughter – the girl having so much fun at the park, she truly loves running amuck with her brothers

4. cleanliness – obsessed with washing his hands, and all things soap and bubble related


Joining in (late) with Jodi.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

contradictions of stash busting

virtù - the contradictions of stash busting

I’m yet to really elaborate on any specific goals for the 2014. I’ve been giving it some thought and nothing really specific comes to mind – there isn’t a really a new skill such as knitting that I’d like to learn – I’m all good with the skill bank …for now. I’ve really narrowed down my goals to two broad areas #finishit2014 and stash busting.

“Use it or lose it” is an attitude I’m endeavouring to adopt this year. I want to own and store less stuff. I’m usually a less is more kind of person, it is time I started applying that to my fabric and yarn stashes.

The problem with stash busting is however, that sometimes one finds themself in the contradictory predicament of actually having to buy more material(s) in order to use stash up. It’s a quandary for sure. Take this dress above, which Ms. M only just tolerated me taking a photo of – fair enough there were better things to do, a fat quarter of the pink material with the little yellow turtles has been in my stash for many years but in order to use it up I needed resorted to buying a metre of the lovely teal love heart fabric.

virtù - pink with yellow turtles

So, can you really call it stash busting if a metre of material is required to get rid of one fat quarter?

Monday, January 13, 2014

locked out

Locked out

Rushing out the door as usual I slammed the door shut behind me as I carried the woken-from-his-nap O to the car. Baby Ace, also woken, was already waiting in the vehicle as were his two older, and at that very moment, whinging siblings. The clock was on our side and if I kept the momentum up we would make it to O’s doctor’s appointment on time.

It wasn’t until I closed the car’s back door, having wrestled to get O. strapped in, that I felt for the back pocket of my jeans and realised that I had locked the car and house keys inside our home. Desperately I tipped the contents of my handbag onto the drivers seat, I back around to where O sits to check I hadn’t put the keys down next to his car seat and then back to the other side to check Ace’s capsule, but I knew the keys weren’t there. I knew too that all the doors to the house were locked because I had checked them twice before leaving, even so I checked once more – this time from outside.

Definitely locked out. Locked out with four children, two of whom I’d woken specially. Thankfully I had my mobile phone on the outer so it wasn’t too dramatic a situation. I called the doctor and cancelled the appointment and then phoned my partner and explained that he had to come home from work to let us back in.

The eldest child really showed his true colours. Clearly assessing the situation and the need for him to take “survival” leadership. Immediately he was offering solutions to the problem - “it’s okay Mum we can live in the car”; “why don’t we smash a window”; “I know lets buy a new house”. Repeatedly I explained that all was good, their father was on his way home we just had to wait it out.  “Everyone out of the car and lets wait around the back”.

Once in the backyard the eldest child continued to display his ‘leadership in a crisis’ skills. Disregarding my advice that a shelter was not really required this early in the afternoon he set about organising a tent, buckets of water, and make shift bedding from the beach towels hanging on the pool fence. Gallantly he removed the long sleeve tee he was wearing so that his shivering younger sister in a strappy dress could warm up. He assessed the backyard for possible food sources and was in the midst of planning our evening meal when his father finally showed up. Needless to say he was pretty disappointed to see him.

I, on the other hand, was thankful to be heading in doors – having nursed my two tired younger boys on my lap through the entire waiting period. Wrapping them in towels to keep them warm in the cool and breezy afternoon and jiggling them on my knees. Even so I had had fun. Who knew that locking yourself out would lead to such a good time? It was so heart warming to observe E. busy at work caring for the family. Super duper proud of him.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


ode - seeing comfort in his Daddy's arms as he suffers Scarlet Fevermae - vac swim ace - twilight tummy time at the beach - a bit spewy due to the 44 degree heatebe - entering his beach side hideaway

a portrait of my children, once a week in 2014

1. Scarlet Fever – seeking comfort in his dada’s arms

2. hiding – shy at first but gave it her all at vac-swim

3. a tiny bit spewy – enjoying twilight tummy time at the beach after a 44°C day

4. joy of discovery – hiding away in his rock cave at the beach


Joining in with Jodi.

Monday, January 6, 2014

my girl

virtù - my girlvirtù - my girl (1)virtù - my girl (2)

My girl. She’s some kind of out of this world special. The toughest princess I know. Her legs covered in bruises because she is off her bike as much as she is on, that happens when you’re looking everywhere but the place you’re going. A scar above her eye from when she training to be a bathroom stunt person at the protégé age of one. You can be standing right next to her hollering her name and she won’t hear you if she is absorbed with the magical place inside her mind… that is until you whisper a barely audible “chocolate”.

My girl is all into princesses and fairies and jewellery and writing with fancy pens and stickers and make-up. There are not enough words to describe just how much she loves Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom, it is some kind of addiction for her.

My girl wore a dress I made her for her birthday today. She really really wanted you to see her fancy hands and the great bracelet she got for Christmas. I was pleased to get a shot of the buttons that came from my Nana’s stash. I always loved these buttons – they remind me of life savers.

virtù - my girl - in a dress I made for her birthday

My girl in her Mama made dress.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


ebe - climbermae - dancing fingersode - meme and bottle tightly grippedace - in his pram 

a portrait of my children, once a week in 2014

1. the climber – fearless he always reaches the top in seconds (and then on other days tells me he’s scared of heights… has a funny way of showing it!)

2. dancing fingers – sticker mad, her fingers dance across the page as she chooses. If I’m a good Mama I get sticker rewards.

3. “Meme” (aka dummy) and bottle tightly gripped – seeking comfort even as he plays, it hasn’t been an easy weekend

4. under cover – shielded from the sun’s rays in his pram as his older siblings play at the park


Joining in with Jodi.

Friday, January 3, 2014

thank goodness the little hat was too big

‘Twas windy in these parts today. It has been noted that this mob can be a tad erratic on a windy day. If you’re a mother then you’d understand that I’m feeling a little frazzled tonight, exhausted and drained. I’ve been putting out fires all day. In the midst of it all, the metaphoric fire fighting that it is, I cleaned out my little Ace’s drawers. I’ve been putting off the task for more than a week now… not so much because it is a difficult job to do, more that I don’t want to recognise, concede even, that the boy is growing – graduating from 000 to 00. Plain and simple it makes me sad. This is all going too fast. I know what is happening here, I’ve been here before – except unlike with my first born where I celebrated and cooed over every milestone, this time round I dread it, grieve it and reluctantly acknowledge it.

virtù - a summer hat 1virtù - a summer hat 2 virtù - a summer hat - but his hands are more interesting

I sewed my sweet growing babe a little hat for the summer. All part of my stash busting regime that I’m going to dedicate myself to in 2014. Also because it is summer and I love to make things for my darlings. I used a boaty fat quarter from my stash and some starry scraps. It’s a bit big for him. YAY! This, my sole positive thought, I clung to with all my mental might as I  emptied drawers and restocked them, “at least the little hat was too big!”.

As for the babe? Well he could care less that I sewed him a little hat. There are more interesting things for him in this life. Like those things that he has just discovered at the end of his arms...

virtù - a summer hat - but his hands are a lot more interesting


Thursday, January 2, 2014

{bedside} a wee incomplete elephant and MJF

MJF & a wee elephant

I was hoping to knit my little Ace a wee elephant for Christmas. I didn’t finish it in time. I still haven’t finished it. The Christmas deadline marked the end of all creative mojo for 2013… like a crashing of symbols at the end of a symphony. I haven’t really been doing much of the creative kind since then (I’m not counting painting parts of the backyard fence as creative, nor is laying three cubic square metres of mulch). It will be finished. With any luck soon. He doesn’t strike me as the sort of fella who will mind. He is quite a laid back dude.

On Boxing Day I picked up Michael J. Fox’s Lucky Man – sat in my newly gifted banana lounge (thankyou my little Ace for such a thoughtful gift) and was so engrossed that the text was finished early the following day. It was a good read. A flash back to the 1980s, an insight behind the scenes of Hollywood, into a marriage, into choices, into universal insecurities. I enjoyed it. I’m not sure what I expected, I wasn’t surprised and yet it wasn’t predictable either. Having read it I am now yearning to watch some of his lesser known flops – no doubt I will when I find myself some time.

Do you have a favourite Michael J. Fox film? Or were you more of a Kirk Cameron fan?

I’m still considering the question myself… but I’m thinking that The Secret of My Success (1987) was my favourite.

Joining in with Ginny.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


virtù - breathing controls

A long time ago, sometime in 2002 in fact, I created this mind map. I was mucking around at work using “new” software (trust me – it was fancy stuff for it’s time) figuring out how it worked. The mind map I created is about breathing. That same year we had a Hindi monk come to our house in inner city Perth every Tuesday night – he would guide us through yoga and mediation and then teach us different things about energy, chakras and awareness – so I was probably thinking about one of his lessons as I was teaching myself about the software. It was a brilliant situation, he would just turn up every Tuesday. I can’t remember how it started – what I do remember is that he didn’t have a phone so there was no way we could contact him to cancel if we didn’t feel like it… so every Tuesday – no matter what – we did our yoga practice. So many kinds of wonderful. Pity he moved to Hawaii to live in a monastery.

I wish I could remember all that he, Narnda, had taught me.

I’m not one for setting a “word” for a year. I like to set myself goals but tonight, the first night of 2014, I still haven’t really figured out what I want to achieve this year. I’m thinking about it… well trying to anyway – I think my mind has gone on holidays. The thinking is hard and forced so I might just take a more organic approach and wait for the light bulbs to flicker on when the time is right. Even so, tonight, as I did try to think of something, anything to just have a thought, the word “breathe” came to me and I recalled this mind map.

So there you have it. Breathe. Not my word for 2014. A word though to think about just now as the year starts. A word that some how encapsulates so many kinds of good advice. A word that describes the most essential and necessary verb there is. Breathe.

Wishing you a most wonderful, most delightful, happy and healthy New Year.