Monday, November 14, 2016

November is the new December

Arghhh! That horrible feeling that comes with rush, rush, rushing to get so much done in so little time.  Transitions and change - big kindy kids moving to school, little kindy kids moving to kindy. My own children transitioning into new classes, new body shapes, new teeth..
Mostly, at the moment, I feel old (which is laughable given how many wonderful ladies I know turning 70 this year!) and I feel tired (full moon tonight - a super moon that hasn't looked so big since 1948, what do you reckon the chances of sleep are?) Most of all I feel like I need to stop the words, and the white noise, and just hunker down in a quiet space and knit.

That is exactly what I would do if I didn't feel the responsibility that comes with 2 jobs and a family of five.

Instead I will make the lunches, and defrost the scones for grandparent's day, and help DD pack for school camp, and make party bags and icecream cake for youngest DD's birthday sleepover.  I know that it will all get done.  One foot in front of the other. One step at a time.  For as busy as we are, we are blessed with a free, peaceful country, and a good life.

And in just 5 weeks time everything will slow down and then I will find a quiet space and knit..
p.s. how much does this photo make me happy? A happy snap on our way back from the kid's Photography exhibition.  That door and Maddie's jumper go exactly with our new Sea Glass paper.  There is another shot that I am saving for my Christmas cards this year - easiest photo shoot EVER.
Sorry to be a tired grump-alot. Hope you are finding some breathing space where ever you are!

Monday, October 31, 2016

SOTM: November Blog Hop

Well this is a first! I am hoping to post more CTMH ideas and thought I would like the challenge of a blog hop.  Little did I realise but sign up closed last night at midnight so at quarter to eleven I started fiddling!

If you are here for the first time you have probably found me after viewing Vandra's lovely party invite at http://vandractmh.blogspot.com.au/2016/11/new-years-cheer-november-sotm.html
Welcome and I hope that you might visit again!

For those who are used to being here this month's SOM is "New Year's Cheer"  As you know, Stamp of the Month is available for only $7.50 with a $75 dollar order so a great way to build up your collection of stamps.

I became an Auntie again yesterday so naturally my thoughts were baby related.  I know that this stamp is meant to be for New Years but it really is versatile enough for lots of other occasions - I always love banners because depending on your ink colours they work for birthdays, Christmas, New Years, Sports Days, Race Carnivals, Baby Showers and even Australia Day.

Anyhow, the minute I saw that cute little bow I was reminded of how I used to make torn-paper bears with sticker bows.  For a long time they were my "thing" and often given away as gifts for papercrafting friends.

A few scraps of desert sand and some pen work and voila!
My banner was made using Canary, Pixie and Crystal Blue inks and because I had just finished working with Swan Lake I used the "little moments" sentiment from the complements to finish it off.
I will probably add Liana's name with some stamping at a later date.

I cut my photo mats at 6 1/4 by 4 1/4 because I know that I will have to rely on my sister to send me down some pictures so they will be standard photos.


So there you have it! Thanks for stopping by. I hope that this works and that now you can head on over to Maz's to check out her work.  https://artymaz.wordpress.com/2016/11/01/ctmh-stamp-of-the-month-new-years-cheer-s1611-australasian-blog-hop/
Don't we have some clever Close To My Heart Consultants!
Until next time,
Keep smiling,
Nell


Monday, October 3, 2016

October taking Stock

This seems to have become a school holiday tradition.  Lucky for me I was thinking about doing a "taking stock" post this morning and then the lovely Pip at www.meetmeatmikes.com did hers today.
The weather here has been absolutely Wintery and foul.  I am totally over it and ready for Spring!

Making : an album for my new niece, a "Milo" vest for charity
Cooking : lamb roast
Drinking : Annie's Lane Shiraz
Reading: just finished "The House Between Tides" and about to start "The Historian" again for our Frankensocks reading group
Trawling: Ravelry looking for inspiration
Wanting: muted kettle-dyed looking colours in rustic 8ply wool - I think I have had variegated overload
Looking: at yarn on line and then at my out of control stash lol
Deciding: to cold sheep for a little while so that I have only one basket of wool in the loungeroom
Wishing: Spring would arrive and the rain and cold would rack off and that I would find a surprise stash of red merino/silk sock yarn to start some Christmas gifts
Enjoying: the start of a two week holiday
Waiting: for the wheels to really fall off - with all of us home and four out of the five of us addicted to tv and screen time it is bound to get ugly
Liking: the idea of my friend's "I belong here" Children's Photography exhibition
Wondering:whether I can motivate my children to enter (I really don't want to bribe them!)
Loving: our sweet bunny Marmalade and the joy she brings to our family
Pondering: How to go more sugar-free/healthy without becoming radical
Listening: to British accents and Scottish accents (current obsession with BBC first LOL)
Considering: our possibilities for sorting out crafting space..oh for just one extra room!
Buying: furniture to make upstairs more workable (I hope)
Watching: Call the Midwife, A Place to Call Home, Jamie Oliver's Sugar Rush
Hoping: for sunshine tomorrow
Marvelling: that Daniel is almost 10!!!
Cringing: At the amount of junk food my children have consumed recently
Needing: To find a balance, to declutter, to breathe
Questioning: How to find the said balance
Smelling: Lilac - just blooming!
Wearing: leggings and winter dresses and ugg slippers around the house
Noticing: That our house would be quite big if we had less stuff
Knowing: That I am the main hoarder of said stuff
Thinking: I need to change that
Admiring: My very clever daughter who sang solo at the school concert.  She sang a song she loved and blew us all away. It was a very proud Mummy moment
Bookmarking: quilts using scraps
Disliking: the constant mess and nagging that comes with having us all home and all reluctant to do jobs!
Opening: the fire to put another log in
Loving: my red tulips that came up spontaneously and braved the cold and now make a cheery statement on the kitchen table
Helping: knit for Kurdistan refugees
Hearing: the wind howling outside
Celebrating: Dan's birthday with 10 friends at bowling and laser squirmish
Embracing: having us all home and warm and hunkered down

I have such a long list of holiday things to do.  Some are crafty, like my test cardigan and starting Christmas presents.  Some are boring, like updating my Teacher registration and cleaning up my desk at kindy, and putting in my TRT application for next year.  Some are necessary but not nice like booking an annual check up and updating prescriptions and getting my grey hairs covered.  Some are fun, like catching up with good friends, and going to our Close to My Heart conference and taking a little family road trip.  I almost feel like I will need a holiday to get over the holiday!
I hope wherever you are you are warm and snug and waiting for sunshine!
xxx

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Spring is Springing!

Oh how I love Spring!
The garden is blossoming - daffodils and peach and nectarine blossom everywhere! I just love it.  I have been sharing quite a few spring photos over on instagram but I just had to show you my blossom in my favourite blue jug.
That cute little teacup candle was from my favourite op shop for a whole $2.  I also managed to get shiny red fake-Doc boots for $10 when I was there last week! I haven't op shopped for so long that it felt good to get a couple of bargains.

Spring has also sprung at Bushland Park - we were treated to a rare find of a frosted dragonfly.
The kids have been very interested in using my camera to take photos of the wildflowers.  Right after she snapped this photo my little friend took a photo of me!

As goofy as I look with my back pack, first aid bumbag and big red jacket seeing this photo did make me smile because this really is my happy place and a big reason for why I enjoy teaching so much.  This nature play journey we are on is by far the most inspirational and uplifting part of my teaching career.
Last week Bushland Park was being used for an Artist's Retreat so we had to head down to the Summer Track, which is where we began bush kindy a few years ago.  It was a lovely way to reminisce and remember and think about how far we've come but also some great views of our little town. I never get tired of the beauty of this place. I can see why they call it the "Valley of Praise"


Where ever you are this week, I hope you are finding some Spring loveliness to make you smile.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

It is supposed to be fun..right..?

Finally this weekend I got around to making Hannah's nightie.  I bought two lengths of cute flannel at Spotlight at the start of Winter, planning to make nighties for Maddie because she has worn her old one to shreds! Maddie's got made straight away (I was pretty proud of myself too!) I made it from Emma Hardy's "Making Children's Clothes" which is one little book I have used a lot.  The pattern only went up to size 5 so I fudged a bit for an almost 7 year old and it was all good. Maddie LOVED it. She loved it so much that the 12 year old decided I should use the other length of fabric to make one for her...um..problem..
I have always been envious of those talented individuals that can eye a piece of fabric and just know how to cut it, just so, to make whatever they damn well liked.  My grandmother was like that. I remember watching goggle-eyed as she hacked into fabric with that satisfying "snip, snip, snip" sound that dressmaking scissors make, not a pattern in sight.  I remember thinking that one day I wanted to grow up to be just like her.  I wish she had taught me more before Alzheimers claimed that clever mind.
Well, even with a smaller pattern, and a right-sized jammie top to modify the arms it was still tough going. No amount of clever fudging will deny the fact that my baby girl is growing up and has loooongggg legs and loooonnnngggg arms. We ended up with a fair bit of colourful language and 3/4 sleeves.  I did a bit of creative thinking with the sleeves and hemmed them with grosgrain ribbon (and now I am wondering about the few fancy coats I own that have ribbon hems? Was it a feature or are they just skimping an extra inch of fabric?)
Anyhow, to cut a long story short. It is done. And she has worn it three nights in a row so I think that means she likes it.  I am holding onto that for as long as I can as I had thought we were getting too grown-up for Mummy-made nighties. 

I like the way they are similar without being matchy matchy.  My Mum made flannel nighties for me when I was a girl and they were always so comfy and snuggly.  We also had full length flannel floral skirts for Winter (gotta love the 80s!) but I don't think I will be reviving that tradition anytime soon. Anyhow, now that I got through it, I think I may just go and buy an extra length of fabric and make a couple more nighties for the girls - without playing yardage chicken I can make full sleeved ones - and hopefully I can use these nighties as a workable pattern (maybe tweaking Hannah's to allow a slightly wider sleeve)

In other news, I hit the trifecta at the library this time around:
Three very different reads but all good.
"The Almond Tree" is kind of harrowing but also kind of uplifting.
"Euphoria" is very much about cultural anthropology and human relationships - kind of a bit disturbing but also fascinating.
"The Truth According to Us" made me happy because it is written by the co-author of one of my favourites "The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society"  This was a "first novel" and Annie Barrow's Aunt (the other co-author) passed away before it was finished.  I am so pleased to see Annie writing again - loved this one!

Now that the weather is warming and Winter Days are (hopefully) coming to an end my thoughts are turning less to porridge and more to muesli for breakfast. My children go through muesli like nobody's business so I made my own using my friend's granola recipe.  You mix everything in apple juice and coconut oil.  It really is yummy and moreish and because it is rich and toasted hopefully the children will eat slightly smaller servings!
I know it is insane but I get such a buzz out of making stuff like this from scratch. Channeling my inner Martha Stewart?
Till next time,
Keep smiling,
Nell
xxx

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Feeling the Fibre Love

Recently my friend Chris and I went to the Mt Pleasant Fibre Fair. The fair is always an opportunity to replenish my stash and my two very favourite fibre "dealers" are always there, as well as our local craft book supplier.  Quite a few things came home with me.

There is some possum/merino in two colourways, some smooshy 8 ply yarn to make a bush kindy hat or cowl for me, a skein of sock yarn I had to have, two beautiful merino braids that work so well together, rainbow wool to make more of my little baby knits, and that stunning shawl book, along with another pair of 5mm tips and a big bag of raw fleece so that I can spin copious quantities of grey wool.  I really did have fun and it was wonderful to catch up with so many rav friends too!
The very next day I got to have lunch and a crafty afternoon with my quilty friends, including Deb who is an ex-pat member (having moved to Cairns a few years ago) So good to see her again.
I love this fellowship of women.  They are an inspiration to me.  Spending time with them is so good for my well-being. Yvonne, Rhonda and I decided that we need to inspire each other to quilt more.  I love sewing but since moving into this house and losing my beloved craft studio I find myself not sewing as much because the space just doesn't work.  I have been thinking of ways around that and I think a re-model upstairs might soon be in order.  Watch this space!
This has been a big work week (three fabulous opportunities to share experiences with two amazing early childhood educators) so a lot less knitting time.
I am still working on my Art Palette test cardi, and my Igneous socks, and also a tunisian crochet cowl for Hannah. I love the way tunisian crochet looks woven.  It is fun and easy.
We had a gloriously sunny day (with a misty morning start) to bush kindy this week.


I feel incredibly blessed to be able to work in such a beautiful setting with amazing children.  The last two days we have had a touch of Spring in the air.  So lovely to know that it will be here properly before we know it!
Hope you are having a good week!
Keep smiling,
Nell

Friday, August 12, 2016

Sending Big Love

Sending Big Love to all who regularly do the sole parent thing and my few amazing friends who have tragically lost their spouses.
I don't often talk about my husband on here because he doesn't really like me to.  Suffice to say, he is my world. He is the person who has changed me most of all. I think of him as the person that saved me from myself at a time that I was most insecure and uncertain of who I was and where my life was going.  At this moment in time I have known him for more than half my life. He is my filter on the world. He is my rock. He is quite possibly the one person in the world that truly loves me for all my faults and imperfections.  Ours is not a perfect marriage, but he is pretty damn close to being my perfect love.

I am so very lucky that I married a homebody.  My Prince is more of a homebody than I am and could actually sometimes just become a hermit I think. He rarely goes anywhere unless it is with me.
I love being at home, but I also need people. I come from a long line of chatterboxes.
Anyhow, to cut a long story short, my homebody husband was away at a conference this week..in Phuket.. That is actually not really how I would like to spell it right now.
I had quite a terrifying day of it, knowing that the latest bombs happened right where he had tea the last two nights. He was supposed to be playing golf, but absolutely uncontactable.  Horrible thoughts filled my mind and gripped my heart.
I finally heard from him this afternoon, and we got to skype tonight. So good to see his face and hear his voice. Today broke my heart all over again for my dear friends who have lost love ones.  In those few terrible waiting hours I empathised with them in a way that I haven't before.
Hug your loved ones tight.
Tell them you love them.
And when they return from far away, do not let them go.