Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Much Better Day and more Page a Day Layouts

Today was a much better day.  I think it always helps to have Daddy around to put things in perspective LOL
My big girl made meat pie with a pea floater for tea - so proud of her, she is becoming so competent in the kitchen now and I am even starting to let her stir things on the stove and cut onions with a proper knife.  She is showing that she is up to the task and really shines under all the praise and the "master chef" scores that her family give her.  I love that my kids love to cook.

I have enlisted Hubby's help with the bath/teeth/bed routine and tonight seemed much calmer.  It is funny, we had a big storm here tonight and I realised that I had felt exactly like that - a big build up of stormy skies and rain clouds and negative energy and now I feel just like the calm after the storm, all washed new.  I think I need to remember an old favourite quote that says "Life isn't an all out tug of war between misery and bliss, sometimes it is not the end of the earth, it is just one bad day"

I managed to get the 2nd coat of white paint onto the remaining walls in my craft space today and then realised that unfortunately it is going to need ANOTHER coat before it is done (Grrr!)  I also did a bit of pottering around my sewing table and threw out a lot of junk and recycled other bits and pieces for Dan's classroom and the kindy.  It felt liberating to throw some stuff that I know I will never finish and I found a few bits and pieces that really don't need much work at all to finish and then put in the present box.  I also found a few half finished softies that really should be done and saved for Pip's Softies For Mirabel drive as I felt bad that I didn't get any finished for them in 2011.

Late last night I did a few more pages for my page a day layouts.  I used mostly paper scraps.  I love it when I can just use up bits and pieces and still be happy with the results.

So how about you?  Are you having a productive weekend?
Scrap lifted from an old Scrapbooking Memories Magazine - I love the freehand /doodling look.  Might have to do some  more like this!
Using scraps that were left on my table
Very quick 2 minute page
Another scraplifted idea from Scrapbooking Memories
Scrap lifted from a Bo Bunny advert and modified to use CM  products  (the line through it is because I was too lazy to take it off the everyday display!)

Happy weekend,
keep smiling,

Friday, January 27, 2012


This feels like it has been the longest holidays.   We have had SOOOO much fun.  There have been playdates, trips to several playgrounds, beach days, family days, lots of baking, licking of spoons and bowls, lots of "making" - sewing and scrapping and papercrafts.  There have been tea parties, water fights, sprinklers, wading pools and picnics.   Yet as I write this my daughter is sobbing in her room because I won't put up the 7 person tent so that she can sleep in it tonight.  My littlest has fallen asleep on the floor of her room after crying herself to sleep because mean, mean Mummy said that 3 days of no nap was 3 days too many.  My son has just grudgingly put back a huge box of hand-me-downs that he emptied and threw about the room in a fit of rage.  Despite a puppet show, a visit from a lovely friend, and a whole pack of chocolate biscuits, it has been a TOUGH day.

I thought long and hard about whether I wanted to write this here but you see, I don't keep a diary anymore, I blog instead and I like to hope that maybe there are others out there who know and understand my frustrations.

I adore my kids.  I would do anything for them (well, almost anything, putting up a tent on a whim on the one night of the week that I selfishly reserve as my own is not one of them - wink) but I want to say this PARENTING IS A TOUGH GIG.
In lots of ways I find my paid job (teaching preschoolers) far easier than the 24/7 kid wrangling.  Most of the time I have great kids, but put all 3 at loggerheads with each other and me and it can be hellish, and at the end of the day you rarely get any thanks or appreciation.  I look around at the crumbs, and the sticky patch of I'm-not-sure-what near the fridge, and the shoes left wherever they were taken off and I am just a bit bewildered by it all.  I have been a parent for 7 and a half years and somedays I still feel as powerless and as clueless as when they first placed that tiny newborn in my arms.

Please don't get me wrong.  This is not a wallowing in self-pity or a woe-is-me lament, this is me saying "Is this normal?" Is there anyone else out there who sometimes feels like it is all too much, and like it might never get easier?  Is anyone else fervently looking forward to Monday?  It makes me so sad that I feel like this.  I am hoping that the insane sibling rivalry stuff and the throwing/destructive stuff and the temper tantrums are all just a passing phase.  Please tell me that you have been there too.  Please tell me that you understand? Please tell me that this is a temporary gliche in an otherwise happy house.

Yours from the crumbs and chaos,

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Simple Living Pledge

I've been thinking about this coming year a lot.  Thinking about how I want our home to feel.  Thinking about how much I love reading to my kids but hate the nagging and whining and meltdowns that precede our bedtime stories.  Thinking about how much t.v. my kids watch and whether it is worthwhile.  Thinking about how I will cope later this year, working 3 days a week.  Thinking about how I tend to overcomplicate even the simple things.  Thinking about how much joy we get from our garden, from eating things we have grown or made from scratch.  Thinking LOTS.

When I saw thisKanelstrandI knew that I should get involved.  I think taking the Simple Living Pledge can mean different things for different people.  It certainly doesn't mean that I am planning on spending 3 weeks in the forest eating berries and foraging for edible weeds (not that I would judge you for that)  but it does mean that for 3 weeks I might have an everyday reminder to consume less, to live more, to dream more, to turn off the telly and play with my kids, to blow the dust off the pasta maker, to maybe "make do and mend" more often.  Hopefully it will be a reminder to declutter and simplify.

Bring it on.

p.s. to all you fellow Aussies, happy Australia Day!  We had an awesome day eating woodfire pizzas and chocolate pav with great friends!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chorizo and Spinach Fettucine

Isn't it funny how blogging actually changes your life?  This was a thrown together tea but I had to stop eating half-way through to take a photo to go with the recipe because it was just so yummy!!!

This is basically like our usual fettucine recipe I just mixed it up a little.  Just chop one largish onion and some bacon and fry it up in a glug of olive oil with a couple of chopped chorizos.  Add in a couple of handfuls of baby spinach and some sundried tomatoes towards the end.

Mix together about a cup of grated parmesan, some cream, and an egg yolk.  Stir through the rest of the ingredients and add to some cooked spinach fettucine.

YUMMO (oh, and I cooked the onion, bacon and spinach first and reserved some for the purists in our house before adding the chorizo and tomatoes - that kept everyone happy!)

And lastly I just had to share this photo because I love that children learn in so many different ways.  This sweet boy is about to head off  to Primary School.  He has very set ideas of what he wants to learn, and of what he needs to know before he gets there.  He asked Hannah to teach him to count by 2s, 4s and 10s because he thought it might be useful to know that before next Monday!  We are doing lots of reassuring that he doesn't need to know it all - just to be willing to learn, and "have a go"

Zippo happening on the craft front.  Hoping to finally get the craft room painting finished this weekend.
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Monday-itis or February Funk?

Yesterday I had the worse case of Monday-itis.  I just couldn't start anything, or finish anything, or stick to anything!  I have to make a Very Hungry Caterpillar Quilt for one of my dearest friends.  I know that it is the perfect choice for the first child of 2 librarians but everytime I get the fabrics out I sigh, and shuffle, and rearrange, and scratch my head, and then put them away again.  I just cannot seem to make a start. I even went to my friend Nic for help and inspiration!

I started so well with my January WIPs and now I seem to have just fallen into a hole.  I seem to do this every year.  Craft up a storm for a few weeks and then crash and burn in February.  Maybe my February Funk has come early this year?  Maybe I need to find a few smaller (more instantly gratifying) projects?

And in keeping with the attitude of gratitude stuff today I am grateful for quiet time, and hand-me-downs, and chocolate!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Making Me Happy This Week

School holiday fun - these are pieces of corn packaging.  If you wet them they  stick together and you can make all sorts of things! Oh, and yes that dress is one from here

More fun - tea parties on the lawn!

Trying out shades of aqua for my new crafting space (my scrappers are calling it the Scrap Studio, my quilty friends are calling it the Quilting Wing, I am privately thinking of calling it My Happy Place!)

First coat on my wall - I have worked out I am not a painter.  I am far too clumsy to do an elegant job of it!

And tonight, my sweet cherubs are having a sleepover at Granny's and my boy and I are having takeaway Indian (from our local ) and watching a movie and just enjoying some kid-free time.  There will probably also be red wine, and some more knitting on my Shalom.
Happy, happy Friday!

Monday, January 9, 2012

YAY! Another Finish!

Okay, whilst strictly not part of the 12 Projects Challenge (see my last post) at least I finally have this one off my WIP list.  These are my first ever socks knitted on 2 circular needles.  There was a little bit of chaos in our house this week when the small cherub wore the one finished sock around the house and lost it before I even had a chance to finish the pair.  Thankfully, order has now been restored and today while the cherub was sleeping and the other two were having "Quiet Time" in Hannah's room (which I believe involved a fashion parade and lots of repeat renditions of Taylah Swift's Love Story LOL) I was able to do the toe decreases and say TA DAHHHH!

When I was binding Hannah's quilt I took the easy option and did it the way my friend Jill does a lot of her charity quilts (stitched the binding from the back and then used a small zigzag stitch to secure around the front)  I was surprised by how easy and quick it was.  It was so easy that then I decided to have a little play making a pot-mitt.  I have seen similar in Amanda Blake Soule's book and also the Marla Dubrowsky book but this was my super-fast, not too precious take on it.  With my walking foot still on the machine I took a bit of scrap batting, some leftover fabric for the backing and my box of strips.  I just laid the strips out and stitched right through all 3 layers.  I used my big scrapbooking circle as a template to cut it into a circle but you could easily use a plate.  I used leftover binding from Hannah's cherry dress and bound it using the zigzag method described above.  This little project took less than 15 minutes from start to finish and it felt good to just create using scraps!  I'm thinking that these could make cute gifts with cooking equipment or even just a batch of muffins/scones?

There are lots of scrappy projects happening over at

Hope you are having a wonderful Monday.  I'm off to purge and declutter in pig pen corner!
Oh, and today I am grateful for Quiet Time, and for children that don't complain about swimming even when the water is freezing!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

WIP Challenge and 3 scraplifted pages

So it appears that others are also needing to finish WIP so AJ has a Project Challenge going over on her blog
The idea is to finish a quilty project each month.

I know I have already written a UFO post but I actually need to add to it.  Some of these projects also have to have an end date so I am including that in brackets.

January - Nessie's baby quilt, Hannah's first quilt project, already finished the Katie Jean "ticker" dolls quilt
February- Very Hungry Caterpillar quilt
March (or before) Owl panel
March/April - Rabbit stitchery/wallhanging

Patchwork Apple BOM (started first 2 blocks)
Dr Seuss Quilt
Needleturn Applique Quilt (just needs borders)
Emmie Lou's Braids (started)
Bliss Quilt
Momo Charm Pack Quilt
Patchwork Apple Cot Quilt
Patchwork Apple Single Bed Quilt Kit
Lill and Will/Moda Bakeshop Quilt
French General Quilt
Jelly Roll in case quilt
Leanne's House BOM
Merry and Bright Stitchery Wallhanging (3/4 done)
Reindeer panel
Rosalie Quinlan Rebekah Amy quilt (started a very long time ago!)
A4 string piecing experiment (almost finished)
Bugs and Blossoms - do I just throw this out?
1 inch log cabins - ongoing project to use up scraps

Not quilts but still needing to be finished:
Union Jack table runner
Socks #1
Socks #2
Maddie's cardigan
Cait's cardigan
Smocked dress
Suzanne's scarf
Hannah's school scarf
Crocheted motif blanket

Whew! It looks scary like that!  I guess the challenge is to NOT BUY ANYTHING ELSE until I get these WIP under control!!!
Only 3 pages to show today and 2 of them have been "scraplifted".  I think it is okay to scraplift if you are feeling a bit blah/lacking motivation but you do need to acknowledge your original inspiration!
The first one comes straight from the cover of our Creative Memories Scraps Magazine.
This one is from an old Scrapbooking Memories Magazine by Belinda Venables (who incidently is also a fellow South Australian) and then the third one is using the leftovers from the above page.
Now I'm off to put binding on Nessie's quilt so that I can take it for our Apple Piecers Get together this weekend!
Oh, and today I am grateful for good red wine (Scarpantoni School Block - one of my favourites) and the cooler weather!
Keep smiling,

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Page a Day Layouts and Learning New Tricks

I think as a teacher I am very into the idea of life long learning, but I also think that sometimes I make things seem much bigger/more difficult than they actually are.  I am particularly bad with technology.  Which is why I find it quite amusing that after I wrote my to do list I went browsing on Pinterest and after reading the help tutorial learned how to "pin" things.  Yes, two days into my to do list I can tick that one off!

I have also been wanting to learn how to Navaho ply for ages.  My friend Kathy from does the most exquisite handpainted rovings that are just a delight to spin but often when I ply them I end up with "striping" or "barber pole" effect.  Navaho plying gives you longer gradations of colour without as much barber poling.  Anyway, I watched a few tutorials on You Tube and then this morning gave it a go...and it is easy...and fun...and now I can't wait to ply some more!!!  Tick another new trick off the list!

This colourway is "Ivy" and it has a bit of nummy silk in it (which you can't see in the photo but it gives it such a nice sheen!)

Sorry, I just couldn't crop this one - look at those chubby little fingers and toes - she is growing so quickly that I have to hold on to any shred of babyness while I can!

I haven't counted how many pages I have done so far but I do know that I am going through page protectors at a rapid rate so my guess would be about 35?
Hubby goes back to work tomorrow after a four day break so I think that I will be slowing down somewhat.

I managed to get some nice wool at Spotlight on clearance for $1.50 a ball so hoping I might be able to begin a Shalom cardigan for myself once I finish the socks.  The rule around here is always that you must finish two things before starting something new LOL.  The kids are about to start Vac Swim so I will need something to knit as I sit beside the pool!

Happy Tuesday,
Keep smiling,
p.s. My friend Jac has started a Gratitude Journal on her blog - today I am grateful for fresh, sun-ripened, 100% organic nectarines from our tree, and for the joy of Navaho Plying, and for the squeals of laughter and delight that a paddling pool produces around here!

Monday, January 2, 2012

UFO Progress and Page a Day Layouts

Another productive day here!  First off: She Quilts!  Hannah has finished her first quilt top (and I am just a little proud..wipes a tear from her eye..)

Then I finally cut and put together and quilted Nessie's quilt.  Just simple cross hatching but my quilting is definitely improving and I find that I actually enjoy machine quilting now (not even any swearing and tearing of hair anymore LOL)

I think I like this little quilt a bit better now that it is together - it is a bit of a walk down memory lane as some of the squares are from Maddie's quilt, and Nessie's first baby quilt, and the blue spot I loved and used for everything, and the fabric I used for my niece's rag doll dress, and the fabric that became kangaroos to send to the UK cousins....

So there will need to be a trip to find some binding for both of these as nothing from the stash works.

Last night I found time to finish this one:
and as luck would have it, it fits Maddie's new doll bed perfectly (but first it needed a snuggle with a grumpy Dan and Teddy!)  The binding on this is green on the short sides and pink on the long sides.  We ran out and late last night I just couldn't be bothered.

You would think I would be feeling really good about all this progress but on the way to completing these I found a BOM that is no where near finished!!!

Sock number two (of the first pair) is now past the tricky heel turn and I have smooth sailing for the next 4 inches before the toe decreases.

Onto the layout a day challenges:  The focus has been on simple, easy, get-it-done pages!

My favourite from this lot.  I like the angle, and the use of old Wish paper with new Love paper!

Hope you are having a productive New Year too!
I'm off to take potato bake out of the oven and put the schnitzels on.
Keep smiling,

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Julie over at threw down the challenge to share UFOs in the hope that it might provide the motivation to finish them.  So while it feels a little scary to do so, here are my biggest UFOs:

 Nessie's baby quilt which is in need of just a few squares stitched and then a border.  The sweet little stitcheries are from Alicia Paulson's lovely book.  I've decided to change the original quilt a bit and put a border - only problem is that I can't decide on what border and nothing in my stash seems to suit and a border is going to necessitate a pieced back.  This little quilt is also suffering from second child syndrome in that I am feeling guilty that it is made from my scrap pile when Nessie's first quilt was one of my all time favourites and part of my obsession with red and white and the Feathered Friends stitcheries.  Any suggestions welcome.
 This was a Katie Jean knockoff and just a bit of fun on some old sheeting.  Really should just spend a couple of hours playing and then give it to Maddie for her doll's bed (the whole thing only measures about 25x35cm)
 Aarggghh! This began as a gift of someone else's half started applique project (all of the pieces were lovingly cut and basted)  I took it on as a challenge as I had not really done hand applique before.  It was a labour of love but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The friendship braids were orphans that seemed to match.  The scrappy blocks are made up of some really old and ugly fabrics.  The problem I have now is that I know it would look best with a wide border of the cream (in the bottom left corner) with some appliqued birds and vines/leaves in opposite corners.  This is where it has just stalled because I need to learn how to use my bias maker, and mess around with arranging all the bits and I get to the point where I seriously can't be bothered!
Emmy Lou's Braids - started as a class to learn machine applique.  I LOVE the fabrics in this quilt and to be honest, in my brain, this quilt was much further along than I thought.  I was quite disappointed when I dragged the box out and found that I still had so much to do!!!

Not photographed are the 2 pairs of socks (each still missing a mate), a cardigan that Maddie will have outgrown by the time it is finished, a fluffy hot pink baby jumper that was started for my 11 year old niece when she was a baby, a smocked dress also started for the same niece when she was a toddler - if I finished it Maddie could wear it now, a Christmas wall hanging that was purchased at a craft fair when I lived in Melbourne a decade ago, a Leanne Beasely "Merry and Bright" stitchery, and my MIL's scarf which just needs the tassels.

On the "to do" list is a Very Hungry Caterpillar cot quilt for my other bestie, an owl panel for my soon to be new niece (her mother doesn't really appreciate quilting so I am quite happy to just quilt a panel) and I really want to make some more root babies (one rabbit for Maddie for next Easter and half a dozen as little pressies    for when I need them!)

It really is scary when you list it all like that (and no doubt I've missed some out too!)
This year I am not writing formal resolutions because I never keep them anyway LOL.  I heard on TV that over 80% of New Years Resolutions are broken within the first month and less than 2% actually see out the year!

Thinking about a "to do" list for 2012 I do want to spend more quality time with my small son (he really is suffering being squeezed between the bossy big sister and the adorable and charming baby sister)
I do want to worry less about inconsequential things and prioritize my life so that the things that are important get the most attention.
I want to continue to declutter and simplify.
I want to write more letters.
I want to teach myself to knit 2 socks on 1 circular needle (I have a book that was bought but not yet used)
I want to learn how to "pin" on pinterest
I want to use social media more for my Creative Memories business
I want to have an attitude of gratitude for the small things every day
I want to spend less time trawling crafty things on the computer and more time actually crafting

I'm sure there is more but I want to go play with my sewing machine before it gets too hot to be in the one room without air con (going to be another scorcher here today!)
Happy New Year!
Keep smiling,