Monday, February 28

Follow Me!

Its the theme of the school fair that we were advertising at the local festival today. Alexander was meant to be dancing at the festival but through circumstances and inclement weather (and they moved their dance forward in the schedule!!) we missed it. We got over it as he had the chance to hop under the dragon and chant follow me up and down high street.

While the weather was miserable, it wasn't too bad to be wandering the street. The local community was out and it was great to see so many people from kinder, school, basketball etc. The kids had a great time too. A lovely way to end our hectic weekend.

Sunday, February 27

Even I would hate me

Seriously. Sometimes it is a burden being able to sew. I now that sounds conceited, but it is. I am lucky enough to be able to see something and work out how to make it. I also have a large stash of fabric to pull from. What this means is that I know how 'easy' something is to make, and how cheaply I could do it- then I cant justify spending any money on it.
I had been brainstorming this morning what to get for the birthday people of the two parties Alexander was attending today. Yes, not one but two - a boy and a girl. I was planning to go out to the shops last night but the big squirrel got home late(!) and it wasn't an option. So, Saturday morning job it became - around basketball where the boys won their first match (however in this picture you would think it was the final!)
We were running late to basketball because I had decided to make a dress. 10:30 and I am making these decisions, and the party is at 2!! I had a random kids pattern that I had found in the sewing cabinet that was a singlet top and asymmetric skirt. Found it - perfect. Then came the the stripe which I had been carrying around wandering what to do with. I would have been lucky if there was a metre. Then I adjusted the pattern into a dress by matching the waist markings on the top and the skirt and running in the skirt width a bit.
After basketball and a lightning trip to Kmart (where we bought white leggings and a Guiness Book of Records Book for the boy) we whipped it up.
The skirt needed to be lifted up a bit to make it more flippy. The yo-yos were a bit of an afterthought, mainly because they were the feature of the top I was wearing. Out of the scrap bag and button tin came this customised look - all wrapped and ready for the party.

Saturday, February 26


The kids have all attended the local sessional kindergarten and this year I lucked out and am president of the committee. This means I am dragged out of my comfort zone and have to actually engage real people in conversation (as opposed to any invisible people here)
Tonight we had our kinder welcome picnic(sorry no pictures as I didn't remember the camera). The weather was lovely and we actually had the best turn out ever. Pretty fabulous really. Often those things can be daunting to new parents coming and picnicing with random families but it was busy, the kids were having fun and the adults all chatting. There is a really nice feeling of community and comradery that you get in local organisations. I wish you could bottle it.
The big squirrel was stuck at work (darn self-employment!) so I was incharge of three overtired monkeys, but I survived - as did they. Solo parenting did make the presidential job a little easier. As I was wearing two hats nobody minded if I ran off mid sentence to coax one of my children down from something precarious.
Not that I am counting down, but theres only 9 months to go...........but that means my little babies are growing up and thats a bit sad. Reminder to self - live in the moment

Tuesday, February 22

I wish somebody would build a bridge... I could get over myself. (from Thirsty Merc song)
I am really my own worst enemy. They say that you create your own destiny and I think I have added a few problem ingredients so it is not all going to plan.
Plan....there in essence is the problem. I like to plan. I have a vision and I see everything perfectly in my head. All laid out from top to bottom and I am forever trying to make that vision a reality - a perfect reality. When (of course) it doesn't happen, I get frustrated. It isn't only for special things such as a party or event but EVERY MORTAL MOMENT. My head is always buzzing about what I want to do, how I want it to be and to look that there is little time to actually DO any of it. My 'condition' has got worse since I had kids. My desire for them to have everything not only gets in the way of them having anything, but also of my happiness, so that they get an even worse experience than if I wasn't trying to do anything at all.
I want them to have an ideal childhood. I try to recreate the things that I really enjoyed and have carried from my childhood. Also I try to protect them from the things that I didn't like. Even that is draining. I now understand WHY I had the exact same ham and cheese sandwich for lunch every single day. I also remember not liking it every day for the 13 years at school, yet mum made it for me so it was easy to sit back and complain. The thought and effort it takes to create a variety in just one lunch box takes effort and I wonder if it would not be better that I just send him off with a standard lunch every day and gave him a little more attention would life be better??
The other challenge is my need to control every situation in line with my vision. This is tiring, but I also get frustrated that no one else knows what my vision is. Why aren't they on the same page as me and do what I see. This is particularly true of the poor big squirrel, who at times just cant seem to get anything right, and I understand his need to just stop trying because whatever he does it will be wrong. I would love to be able to 'plug him in' and show him the picture or plan - it would save so much angst.
Then throw into the mix three little boys that really don't care about the picture at all. They are free, carefree and should be free to have fun. I am already worrying about the future, forever trying to give them everything (in the metaphorical sense) so that they are prepared to face the world. But in doing that, I worry that they may not develop the skills to do it themselves....and all of this worrying about everybody else doesn't make me the best role model does it? I am not doing what makes me happy, fulfilling my dreams. If all that education comes down to deciding what to put in a lunchbox and I living up to my own expectations?
Life does not always go to plan, and I know I need to lighten up and just get on with things, and try to enjoy the little things. So, I am off to take my own advice and get over myself.

Sunday, February 20


We got in the car to go off adventuring. Just off, for random drive nowhere in particular. We were headed to the 'country' as the kids keep talking about camping (in a tent too - don't know where that came from). We got to Ballarat and had a little look around there. It is certainly somewhere we plan to go back to. On our list is Sovereign Hill and Kryall Castle. Maybe we can camp in one of the caravan parks for a weekend...

Saturday, February 19

Twirly Whirly Skirts

Kinder had some outside dress up that needed replacing. All tulle and netting was 20% off at Spotlight so I got a meter and a half of each (so it was a square as it was 150wide)
They were super easy with a full circle they only needed waist elastic.

Here is the fabric laid out (it was a soft net with sparkles)
Folded in half
Half again to have a quater
Cut a small circle from all the folds and then a large one from the open edges
Opens out to a full circle skirt with a large circle in the middle.
Then I stretched elastic into the centre circle to make the waist. The skirts are sheer to be worn over clothes and the kids need to be able to put them on themselves. And of course who can resist spinning around in a full circle twirly whirly skirt. Not me (and I did!)

In a bid to rid myself of scraps, I used the leftovers to make a completely no sew skirt. I literally tied the large left over pieces onto elastic and tied the elastic together. I did sew some decorative flowers on, but that is totally optional.

These are the larger pieces cut from the corners of the skirt with the point positioned at the top. There were four scraps from each skirt. I laid them out in a pattern.Then I literally tied the top point of the fabric to a piece of elastic. It was some underwear elastic and I just spaced them evenly around what I thought was waist size. (the boys weren't very interested in modelling.) Then I tied the elastic in a knot. Really a no sew skirt. To finish it off, and rid myself of any scraps, I gathered the centre circles cut from the other skirts into a sort of puffy flower and placed the four of these evenly around the skirt waistband. I sewed these on.

Friday, February 18

Finally - some sorting

Today was one of the first days that I was home without children. First time in like 4 years!! So I got in and did some tidying and sorting. It is amazing how much more one gets done without little helpers. Furniture was moved, learning zones established, floors vacuumed and moped. It is just so satisfying and it stayed like that for over an hour (just).

One thing I have been planning to do for ages was dealing with the prolific artwork. Each boy gets a tube for storing their artwork. I will use it later as wrapping or even cards. I also photographed each piece so that I can record their progression and also put them on display on our digital photo frame. So not only am I pleased with myself the boys are loving seeing their artwork on telly!

Thursday, February 17


I have had the pile of my old clothes in my room for some time now. I was going to host a clothes swap but that I feel takes more organisation than I can muster. Then Alexander and I thought about giving them to Queensland flood victims, and they don't want them - they actually want money as they don't have any storage. Fair enough. Then we thought a garage sale and sell them off, but again that has only been talk. What prompted my action was the phone man came to fix the phone and had to go into my room where there are piles of clothes stacked! He didn't know that they are clothes for donation and I didn't need to tell him. It looked awful and I have to do something about it.
So I sorted and folded all the clean clothes and they are only good clothes - all the stained or pilled stuff went in the bin. The car was loaded and I was off to the op shop.
I went when they were open because I was trying to help. I would have even put the things on hangers. I got there and found the appropriate person who didn't at all seem very interested. She (begrudgingly) came out to the car and had a cursory glance and said "No thanks". No THANKS! I am giving you nice clothes, not asking for any money, not dumped in a garbage bag on your doorstep and you say no thanks. I said I had some new pieces there, and she picked up an unworn beaded sussans top and said, "our customers are really looking for quality". Now I was getting shirty, because she lifted that top off an Alanah Hill, D&G and Witchery top. Also I have been IN to the op shop and if they were looking for quality they would still be looking 'cause it ain't in there! Our exchange finished with her quip, "Welcome to the world of Op Shopping".
So, I walked away, not feeling very welcome or helpful still with a bootload of old clothes. At least they are out of my room!!

Monday, February 14

Happy Valentines Day

I got a valentine - from my gorgeous little boy. It read:
To my Valentine
If apples were pears
and peaches were plums
and the rose had a different name
I would love you the same.


Sunday, February 13


Nothing notes the passing of time more that the growth of little children. Today was one of those days where I just felt old. We had a birthday party at a girlfriends house for both of her kids (1 & 6) and we were all gathered to celebrate.
In this photo is a group of girls I met at highschool and the fact we are celebrating a significant reunion this year means that I have actually known all of them more than half of my life. (Ugh - old)
Sadly this is the best photo I could muster, but it is interesting to see how far we have all come. There are lots of little babies, little children and it was a really lovely day. They all played so well together - like extended family which made the day much more enjoyable.

Thursday, February 10

Boys being boys

Nay came over to day to finish off her dress. As often happens round these parts, mum took over and we sat with the kids playing outside. They had a ball and it was really lovely to see.

Wednesday, February 9


Rain has devestated a lot of Australia lately. There have been numerous deaths in Queensland and the recent rain in Victoria brought the concept home for Alexander. The papers and the TV has been full of it and as an adult it is overwhelming, not to mention the effect it has on a 7 year old.
He was having nightmares and was constantly worried about rain and flooding, and unhappy to be without me. Initially I was trying to shield him from the coverage, but when this wasn't helping I decided we needed to talk about it.
We talked about how he was feeling - but he is a boy and I think they all struggle putting that into words, so we started to talk about what had happened. What people did and what they were doing now. We talked about it from his perspective. No bedroom, no toys, no books, clothes. All wet, muddied or literally washed away. It was only when we spoke like this did he really get it. The fear was subsiding and he really wanted to help.
We brainstormed different ways to help. We are not nearby so cant physically help- people were charging mobiles, putting people up, etc. We internet surfed- we had clothes we could donate but due to a number of reasons they are not wanted. We could donate money, but we wanted to do more than throw money at the government. He wanted to really help. As the school year had just begun there were sites where you could sponsor a family and pay for their school books etc. They were also taking donations of stationery and the like. We liked this option but had already missed out.
Alexander has now set aside some money to donate to the Premiers Flood Appeal, but he is also looking to rally his classmates together to see if they can do something together. His teacher is on board with this as they are currently learning area is community.
I am just so proud to have an opportunity to see this little boy in action and pure good coming from him. It seems to have helped the nightmares as he has something positive to focus on.

Tuesday, February 8

Dress ups

Naomi had a picture of a dress which she had seen on 13 Mimosa which she wanted to make. I said it was easy and would help her. In order to know what on earth I was doing, I had a bit of a go myself.
It turned out Ok. The fabric I used was grey cotton voile which was on special at Lincraft. I made two panels which were cut at length and gathered. I did twice my size which I found to be too poofy- we decided 1.5 times was much better.
The fabric is quite sheer and seems to grip to everything I think to put under it - bit of a bummer and as a rule it is not a style that particularly suits me.
Having said all that- I was really happy with the neckline (on my see through, fattening and unnaturally clingy dress) I simply cut circles and ovals out of four different shapes and stacked them in decreasing size on top of each other. Then I did a bit of a catch here and a pucker there to give them some texture, adding pearls and red coral beads as I went.
Who knows what is to become of this dress. Maybe it will be a top. I could possibly cut off the bottom and add it into a straighter skirt or as I have presently done hang it unworn (except for this fashion parade) in the wardrobe.
It served its purpose and Naomi's version looked great and even got an outing!!

Sunday, February 6


When we have a birthday invitation, my biggest concern is always the gift. I was working on the bracelet for my girlfriend, but it didn't seem right. Then I made this convertible leather and pearl necklace that can wrap around the neck 3 times with random largish pearls , or six times around the wrist. When I put the two together, it made them both look cheap (which they were not) Mum always says too much dilutes the effect. So the party was today and this morning I thought I would whip her up a dress. (groan I know)
Karma came to bite me because nothing would go right. It is a jersey dress with two seams and binding around the neck and arms. Fairly straightforward but the machine would not sew it. I changed machines and stitches kept skipping. Then the overlocker came unthreaded and I got a shine on it as I was pressing it. Not to mention all the trouble with the dress, I was stretching the necklace and the stupid thing snapped. Didn't put me in optimal party mode. Must remember this feeling. I did manage a gift in the box and off to the party at a reasonable time.
The card is a download from 74 Lime Lane. I wrote the insides on the way.
Lunch was lovely and she loved the gift.

Saturday, February 5


A lot more rain. On a hill the rain isn't so much of a problem - but it is all headed at speed down to the bottom - which has a large and I am sure very full drain. Hope you are dry where ever you are.

Friday, February 4

Back to normality

The little posers got packed off into the car today off to their school and kinder. For the first time in about 7 weeks there is peace in the house. The feeling of the morning rush came flooding back making the holidays seem like a distant memory. They were all ready to go back and as you can see, quite happy about it. (so was I)

Thursday, February 3

Happy (chinese) new year

We celebrated Chinese new year tonight with some yum cha style dinner finished off with fortune cookies. Sadly the fortunes were not as funny as this one - they were really just weird. Alexander got the same one twice which made him nervous.
Reminder to self - next year make own fortunes next year

Tuesday, February 1

Put a cork in it!

Does anyone know where to get a cork to plug a big financial drain? We are literally haemorrhaging! I know these things go in cycles, but this has gone on for too long and is too heavy and it HAS TO STOP!

First - the big squirrels car. It has spontaneously sprung a leak. Just sitting in the driveway a hole appears and water is squirting out of it. This spontaneous event is on top of the month where it has barely been driven, had 3 trips to various mechanics involving long stays and a rest in the car graveyard over christmas. The cooling systems was all replaced, then the head gasket and not another hose is squirting! I am no mechanic, but if we've had the car a week - shouldn't someone have seen this coming......

Then there was Benji's accident. I made a choice to go to a private hospital. I could have gone to the public ones, but on a hot Saturday afternoon with the two other kids in tow I made the choice to pay a bit and get seen quicker. It was the plastic surgeon who stung me - in the theatre prep, all of us all gowned up and getting final consent for the operations - he says to me, "Your health fund will cover my fee and I will send the bill directly to them" (Me in my head - YEAH!!) "but....(here it comes) there is a gap of $500, is that OK?" (WTF!!!- What a &*%$ time to tell me this. Like I can say no now!) Me- "Yes"
Again - no medical expert, but surely rather than holding a gun to my head, someone could have explained this earlier. Granted, I would not have changed anything, but we talked money at the front desk when we checked in, it wouldn't have left such a bad taste in my mouth if this had been mentioned then too.

Finally - and really lets hope this is the third and FINAL thing. I have gas..... Yes I know it is hard for me to actually admit it, but I do. Very expensive gas at that too. Our gas supply is being replaced - outside our property, in the street. So we had no gas while they did this work to the service. After two days of no cooker or hot water I was a bit over it, but it was done (and at no visible cost to me) The following day I was out watering my veggies and smelt....GAS. Since the work was only day the preceding day, I rang them and they came straight out. There is a gas leak and the gas needs to be turned off. Alright. The issue is it is on MY side so I need to get a plumber and get is sorted. UGH! (An aside, I don't understand how I had to find this leak when THEY were testing it the day before- anywho) Ring plumber who comes out on a hot Friday afternoon. Good News - there's not one gas leak. Bad News - there are lots and your system is corroded and it all needs to be replaced! The lack of hot water seems minor compared to the risk of the HOUSE BLOWING UP! The following day - all the gas pipes were replaced and we now have hot water.