Saturday, July 31

Winter stash building

Its cold and drizzly days like today that I wish I had girls. All I could think about while I was standing outside at Auskick this morning was how nice it would be to be warm inside - an hour ballet lesson or the like. Not two hours standing outside on a windy and wet oval. Que sera sera!

A trip to spotlight today saw me pick up some black ponti de roma for a commissioned pair of black pants for a school mum.

I also got these two black checks which has a slight stretch to it. The large one I thought I would make an interesting skirt for me and the other one pants for the boys.

The tweedy one is really navy and beige and again I thought pants for the boys. These three were all only $6/metre which makes for cheap daks.

Finally I got a bit more polar fleece in black to add to the stash. I have big plans for this which I will share later.

Off to design and cut out this skirt which I can hopefully post tomorrow.

Poor form today - wore nothing at all homemade!!!

Friday, July 30

A woolen dress

Today's project even got an outing today. If I get something new, whether it is handmade or purchased - it has to go out. If it doesn't get an outing in its first week - it probably wont. There are very few things that I don't wear which is why it probably always looks like I am wearing something new!!

I started this dress back on our weekend away. It is a cheap knitted fabric that I can't actually remember where I got it - wither Darn Cheap or SuperCheap fabrics - from those names you can imagine that I didn't pay much for it!!

I altered a discarded McCalls Pattern by adding the arm bands and the cowl neck and am pretty happy with it. I wore it with a black base, a skivvy and my black slim pants. The mum who has the same dress as me actually had it on today so I was glad we didn't 'snap'. My secret seems to be slipping out as they were asking where the dress came from and I had to confess that I made it. I hope it doesn't travel too far on the school grapevine as I will be sewing school costumes before I know it!!!!

Thursday, July 29

Special Agent Zac

The twins are obsessed with Mickey Mouse (courtesy of Playhouse Disney). Mum bought some cheap tshirts and machine embroidered them with Mickeys and the boys love them however Alexander felt a bit left out. He would have happily had a matching tshirt but I felt he should have something that he likes. I decided to surprise him with a Zac Power shirt.

I traced the image from the front of the book onto freezer paper and cut the image out with a knife. Simply iron the image onto the tshirt and you have a stable stencil. A quick paint with some black acrylic paint mixed with some textile medium and oi la!
I actually painted onto white cotton homespun because I hadn't bought the tshirt yet. Then I stitched it onto the shirt.

I had some left over paint mixed up so I used the reverse transfer onto a white pillow case. I had planned to add some trim or decorative stitch (a masculine one) down the edges, but it is on his bed already and he loves it. He loves it and there is one less job to do!!

Tuesday, July 27

Lemonade Cake

For some reason I stumbled on this recipe for rainbow cake . I think I looked because I thought it was Jo's, but what caught my eye was not the colours but how it was made. It was a packet cake and lemonade. No egg, no dairy, no substitutes, just lemonade - 1.5 cups. I had to give this a go, and with a basic 75 cent vanilla cake and lemonade I made muffins with Spencer and they actually worked.
They probably need to be iced, and they don't rise a lot more than the mixture because all the rising happens when the lemonade mixes in. It kind of bubbles like an ice cream spider. They are cooked, and taste like and look like a sponge. I cook them as per the packets suggestion. My first batch were pretty sweet but the boys didn't complain. I have subsequently made another batch - this time in a loaf tin using ginger beer and it almost tastes like orange cake. Much better flavour. While this really isn't Master Chef or any fine dining experience, why I really like this concept is lots of the boys friends have severe allergies - anaphalaxis to eggs and dairy in particular. Assuming there was nothing ominous in the packet mix (which I need to investigate further) this could be a really cheap, quick and more importantly safe alternative for crappy celebration food for these kids. I don't think it is fattening, just really doesn't contain much 'food'

Sunday, July 25

Stripe Top

With Masterchef all done and dusted - how good did that snow egg look? I now need something else to do. I am resisting turning the TV on and get sucked into something else so the machine has been brought out to the family room.

I have set up a temporary evening space where I can sew and get creating. I bought this great double knit at Cutting Edge in Glenferrie Road on Saturday during our walk and it was begging to be made up. This is the pattern that I based my top on. I know it looks daggy, but it forms a good base.

I had to run the sleeves and alter the side for fit. The other alterations were decorative. I decided to double the cuff and use the reverse side to contrast the stripe. For the hem I simply overlocked it and turned it out rather than under to make a bit of a feature again out of the stripe. The neckline is just turned under. I had contemplated a band but with the corsage of flowers I thought it would just be too much.

The corsage is really a random freeform design with two leaves with decorative stitch and five 'flowers' in different sized. I am still thinking about putting some kind of button or similar in the centre of the flowers but I will wear it without for a while. It will go great with my new cocoon cardi from Kmart. A $5 find which I will blog about later......

Monday, July 19


I don't know why, but I feel a bit stale. It is hard to describe. I think I just need a bit of a change - in everything. I have got to a point where lots of things and people are making me angry. (No not you, other people) and I think I need a new attitude.
I have been thinking a bit about my clothes. I know it seems superficial but how you look can affect how you feel. My diet has been working and now I fit into my old clothes only now I realise I don't actually like most of them!
Prekids - seven years ago - I was all corporate, wearing an array of suits everyday. I think that was easier than stay at home casual. I used to make my suits so I had lots of choice and just put on pants or skirt and the matching jacket and off I went. Now I need to be practical and comfortable. I can't be in a short skirt and heels with a boy chucking a tanty in the supermarket and have all my bits out! There is a big bag with all my old suits which I packed away when I was pregnant and they have not been opened since.
I have been reading blogs and there are quite a few that focus on either sewing clothes or what they are wearing each day- particularly Sooz and Frocks and Frou Frou. (there are some others - a canadian girl who will wear nothing but things she's made for a year but I can't seem to find the site now) I make a lot of my own clothes, but I must say I do find the casual stuff a bit annoying to sew. It is often cheaper to buy fadish things than to get the fabric-. Having said that I bought this cheap little dress which I love, I wore it to school and one of the other mums said "I have the same dress". Obviously I can't wear it to school again!! I would like to and should make more then they will certainly be original! At present my wardrobe is very full, but very uninteresting and uninspiring.

So some of the things I have been thinking about doing - hopefully by writing them here they will become an action rather than thoughts are:
- trying to wear more home made clothes
- try to make more clothes, and be a bit interesting
- to get creative juices flowing, try to make one thing per day
- if I buy fabric, try to make it up before fabric needs to be put away
- dress for my age, size and shape- always easier when you make thing!

The other thing I will try to do is document what I am doing. Once I sort out this camera problem - ie find it, that should be a little easier.

These things only address my issue of new and interesting wardrobe. The other thought that has been dancing through my mind is hosting a clothes swapping party. I am not looking to make any money - infact may be an opportunity to raise for a charity, but I was thinking of opening my home to friends to come and take whatever clothes they wanted. Hang things up on racks and have a bit of a party and free for all. The could bring along their unwanted but good things and everybody swap. The leftovers would be donated to charity. What do you think about that. Obviously needs some work, but would anyone be interested in a clothes swap concept?

(by the way, today I have on a red dress and black leggings all made by me!)

Sunday, July 18

Culture Vulture

We were driving in the car today and Alexander said to me-

Alexander: " If a plus b equals 3, what are a and b?"

Me: . thinking this is complex equation for a 6 year old that doesn't even get multiplication but ok "well, 1 plus 2 equals three so 'a' was either a 1 or 2."

Alexander: "I'll give you a hint, a plus a equals b".

Me: "Well a must be 1 and b must be 2!"

Alexander: " Yeees"

Me: "Where did you learn that? Are you doing equations at school?"

Alexander: "No, not at school, on Neighbours"

So, my child is not an amazingly advanced mathamatician, he simply watches too much television. Which apparently also has some educational value!

Thursday, July 15

bl**&^&$y bureaucracy!

Just in case you didn't guess I am on for a rant! About kinder - yes the kinder that I have served as a VOLUNTEER on their committee for three years now, even a year when I didn't have any children attending as I wanted to secure them a place.

Guess what - no place or places as the case is. The council runs the central enrollment "have no record' of my previous enrollment and as such we will miss out on first round offers. Now I know that we may be lucky with second round offers but this is not the case. I am already being pressured to be president on the committee (which has only brought me angst this year) and even that does not guarantee the boys a spot.
Now I am planning on fighting the system, if I sent the forms and they have no record whose at fault. Maybe I should take photocopies of forms I submit or send them registered mail but these are only ideas I have had in hindsight and in reality I am lucky to get a form in on time in the first place.

So the afternoon was spent trying to find alternatives - a different council and looking at expensive ELC's and childcare as opposed to sessional kinder. Not what I wanted to spend my day doing but in reality it actually may be a better option (trying to find silver lining)
Oh, and since I am on a whinge, my arms hurt - bloody pilates!

Monday, July 12

to market, to market, to market!

I think almost everyone selling anything crafty or groovy was out in the city today. With lovely sunshine we wanted a walk, and rather than tackling Camberwell Market again, we headed into the city. (Yes twice in one week!) First we started at the tried and true Makers Market which has moved from under the bridge at southbank to all around the art centre and is actually better for it. There was space, nice lawn for the kids to have a run and play (albeit up a sculpture) we had a lovely wander. Sadly this is the only market where we bought anything - maybe because we could actually get to the stalls but we got a cute pair of leather shoes for my baby nephew.

Then we headed up to Federation Square for the Mark It which will be held again on 28 November. This was full of laser cut stuff and a few different things than usual. The place was absolutely packed and it was really difficult (especially with the kids in tow) to get in and look at too much - so I collected cards of some of my favourites.

  • The boys loved the giant hamburgers at third drawer down.

  • For the musician in yuor family these notebooks are so cute at Record Attempts

  • Cute brooches and necklaces by Love

  • Of course I am a bit partial to the laser cut squirrels at bride&wolfe

Finally we headed down to the car park under Fed Square. This, terribly groovy, market was The Melbourne Design Market. Again this market was pumping. It was dark, the DJ was mixing and there were heaps of hip people. We only managed a quick circuit as all the boys could see was very groovy bottoms of all the people. Again I collected some cards from where I could. I didn't manage to get the one from the shuttlecock seat which I thought was brilliant.

  • The funkiest bike bags and baskets - made me want to ride a bike just to have one.

  • I love these little gadgets - for creating moveable photogalleries of 6x4 pictures sans frames. I just couldn't work out how many. I think I should put these on my wish list.

  • Finally while not craft as much as clever design, I love this site and maybe will get to their shop in Little Lonsdale St, but that is another trip to the city!

Friday, July 9

Here I come to save the day!

In true superhero form today the day was saved. Saved from what I hear you eagerly ask - yes, saved from the dreaded horror of your favorite t-shirt being in the wash!
A travesty of justice occured when one treasured Astro Boy t-shirt was not immediately located and was found spinning, helpless, out of control, in the washing machine. What was a shirtless Spencer to do!!!
He managed a regular plain tshirt, but for how long. How long would it take to wear his poor mother down with whinging and complaining and irregular tantruming. Obviously not long, and thanks to the power of google image, an appropriate picture was soon locateed, flipped using powerpoint and printed onto tshirt transfer paper. The green shirt removed from his body and still warm was placed quickly onto the iron board and picture ironed on and returned quicker than evil goosepimples could appear. Then supermum had to rinse and repeat - no just replicate for other child who was feeling left out. Then the two little superheros could go back to their lair - yes bottom drawers of a filing unit I am looking to move out....

Thursday, July 8

Why I can't be a Mac

As I sit and empty units ready to move things out (via ebay) it seems to multiply exponentially on its way in. The big squirrel is a bit (!) like Steptoe - a collector, a horder, an opportunist that spots a bargain or a way to make cash. Don't take this the wrong way, it is actually a good trait, but not while I am trying to declutter!!! He cleaned out a job where a whole lot of IT stuff was moved out. There were PC's, laptops, accessories etc on their way to the tip, just a few of them made their way into our home!! I am certainly no expert and some of them will be handed on, but others I may be able to crack. Look, it is a good opportunity, but seems like another project pushing in where I wanted to get onto my things this now is another mess that needs to be cleaned up. Humph!

Wednesday, July 7

To infinity and beyond!

Still on my experience crusade this holidays, we packed up the car and took the kids off to the drive in at Coburg to see Toy Story 3. On a Tuesday night it only cost us all $21 to see the film which is far more reasonable, although we were in our car with the radio on. We were late (I know you're shocked) but there was also a massive queue to get in so we did miss the start. The kids liked it but they probably enjoyed the car more than the movie. We backed the station wagon in, put the back seat down and filled it with blankets and cushions which was nice and cosy. The best bit is with winter, the movie actually started at 6:50 - hence why we were late.
I am personally not a fan of the Toy Story movies, mainly because they seem to me to be about selling merchandise - more so than other similar shows. The characters are all toys - therefore you can easily replicate the movie at home. I had only seen the first one - at an old cinema in Gladstone Qld which seems like a million years ago - but the kids hadn't seen any of the previous movies. This situation I have since rectified and Benji in particular is loving being Buzz. This is his costume - orange stickers on his arms, an Ikea alien hat and his swimming backpack. There are skull gumboots that go with the ensemble but I don't have them pictured. At least he is using his imagination!!!

Tuesday, July 6


I have had the best day ever! I set myself a bit of a mission and it was truly lovely. I have been talking to the kids a bit about transport, and today we did it. I drove up to the station and caught the tram into the city. We played at Fed Square all afternoon, looking at the gallery, the gallery shop (one of my favourite places), the kids gallery which was about light play and reflections, had some lunch at a cafe which served the biggest fairy bread I have ever seen. Then we saw a FREE play by Poygot theatre which was based on Jack and the Beanstalk and used pupperty brilliantly. We could have made our own sock puppet, but that would have been pushing the friendship. We caught the train home. back into the car and they are all riding bikes in the back yard.
This was the first time the twins have been on public transport. I have always deemed it too hard - even the car has often been too much with all three on my own, but I am so proud of how they all managaged. Each had a backpack with their snacks and drinkbottle. There was no whinging or fighting, and we all looked after each other. I suppose it was how you imagine having kids to be - when the reality is SOOOOO not that. To top it all off the whole day cost significantly less than $50. If I had got up earlier, we could have had sandwiches and then it was only the cost of the tickets. Melbourne is so ace - all this free stuff just there waiting for you.

Monday, July 5

Turn a corner

I am feeling better now after tackling the lurgy and have to make the second week of the holidays a bit more memorable than the first and I also don't want to spend much money. It was decided this morning by group consensus that we would go to the pool.
I have not done this before- the twins had an aversion to swimming and the idea of three of them overwhelmed me. No longer. I tackled my fear head on and we did it. No one drowned - or even came close to it for that matter. We had great fun in the play area and also in the hydro pool. Makes me think we could actually do a whole lot of things that I have been putting off because they were too hard. Game on.

Saturday, July 3

I want to be......

Yes an apple. I had the joy of getting a Mac and how fabulous is that!! The computer is self is wonderfully easy especially compared to the PC I have only rececntly set up. The apple does everything for you, but I dont want to be a computer - we have computers for that. I want to be the box.
I know that sounds weird, but the Mac is packaged so beautifully that I want my life to be like tha. It is white with simple clear labeling in a soft grey. Minimallistic but not sterile and only the essentials. No extra bits - everything is essential, bare necessities, but each has its own special place. Even the instructions were in a little boxed compartment.
Anyone who knows me knows that this is not my natural state. I enjoy order, clean and tidy, and while I don't have a problem getting there - staying there is a major issue! So for now I will take baby steps and continue to learn from my lovely new computer - how to have all the grovy things you want and need wrapped up in a neat little parcel and try anyway I can to emulate it.

Friday, July 2

Friday Night - Movie Night

I have made a big bowl of popcorn and set the kids and the big squirrel up in front of the TV to watch Spy Kids tonight so I can blog! One week of the holidays down, and another to go. Just to make it harder on myself we have given the dummies to the fairies. The first day they didnt really notice, however today there have been a lot of tears. I must perservere!
Another craft today for Alexander. He did get out and play some indoor soccer with mates today but this afternoon more rain so we tried to make this desk caddy. I cannot believe the pitiful amount of glue they give you and expect the thing to stick together. Seriously. We had to get out the hammer and nails to get this little beauty to completion.
Speaking of little beauties, look who has been into the popcorn!

Thursday, July 1


We were off visiting today and when its cold and wet everyone can get a bit of cabin fever. I tucked these wooden bracelets in my bag with some wool - just in case and they were the perfect solution. Alexander and Miss E concentrated and did a great job simply winding the wool around. It wasn't too complicated and the results were instant which is always a good attraction. I had to do one too, although I may add some more............Oh and the best bit the bracelets were only 50 cents each!