Thursday, June 30

Birthday & Half Christmas

Yes - it seems like it is always someones birthday around here. This time celebrating my Dads. His is extra special though, because it is June 30 - end of our financial year. More than that though, he has designated it our half christmas. A tradition he hopes to continue long after he's gone (very morbid I know). The idea came about because the kids are all born close to christmas - either side, with the big squirrel in between all that. It makes a really long wait for anything that you want and then an overload at Christmas. Sometimes it is nice to get a little something during the year and this is our time for it.
Firstly we celebrate Popeye's birthday. With everyone helping him unwrap, the poor old chap didn't even know what he was getting! With presents out of the way, we sat down to a sumptuous dinner of roast turkey, sweet potato and ratatouille. With our bellies full like santa, we presented the kids with their gifts.

The loved toys were the interactive dinosaur train toys for Benji and Spencer, and Alexander got a Harry Potter Lego from Nan and Pop (yeah toy sales)
Of a more personal nature was the surprise Joey scouts top complete with all the badges sewn on - he was pleased as punch. And the little boys got their own quilts which Nanny has been obsessed with over the last 3 weeks. I say three weeks because that's when she started them knowing she had them booked in to be quilted!! They do look beautiful and I will post a better picture than this one below in the near future.
I don't qualify for presents, so I gave this one to the boys - but I love it anyway. It is from Lark and called Shapemaker by Miller Goodman. It is a lovely wooden blocks with different graphic paintings on each side. The idea is to make pictures with it, which is actually a bit of a challenge. I like the focus was hand eye coordination and matching, but also the creativity this lovely wooden toy brings out. Here is a link to an animation which makes it look easy - that it is not!

Tuesday, June 28


Alexander has joined Joeys. It is a junior level of the Scouts Movement, which starts with Joeys, Cubs and then Scouts. He really loves it. I mean really. It is the first time that he has found something that resinates with him. Usually he just 'goes along' rather than being an active participant.
I wasn't involved in guides or scouts when I was younger, so I can only go on what I have seen - and it is all good. It is really teaching the kids old-school skills and values. They have played games, learn about camping, compasses and nature. The first badge they have been earning is Caring and Sharing and over the term they have completed different elements which contribute to gaining the badge. A very pleased Alexander with his first badge.

Monday, June 27

Stop it

My lovely friend Joyce friend Joyce drove me up to Dalesford for the weekend - yet would not accept any petrol money. So rather than hide the money somewhere she may never find it, I thought I'd make her something she talked about over the weekend. A door stop. This is from a square remnant of upholstery silk filled with rice. It may yet get a tassel or something on the top but you get the idea.
Easy to make, I started with a square and simply sewed each side of the square in half until it formed a pyramid. It was looking a little fat, so I increased the seam at the base to reduce its size. I left a little gap in the middle of one seam - so that the points were ok - so that I could turn it the right way and fill it with rice, and then simply hand stitch it up. Actually I think I need some myself so there may be a proper picture tutorial....

Sunday, June 26


My kids have been obsessing over a camp fire - yet there aren't many places these days were fires are legal. Jo agreed to put one on in her backyard - obviously not just for us, but to celebrate solstice and we had a really lovely time.
We know each other through 'knitting' and blogging, and while this has been going on for a while, we don't usually include the families. We all get on well and it was just lovely that all the kids seemed to go about their business once they warmed up to each other. It made it a really easy and magical night.
The camp fire was crackling as we arrived and we set up. The kids started making their lanterns with tissue paper ready for the lantern walk when it got dark.

Damper wrapped around sticks and cooked over the fire followed closely behind by sausages.
The grown ups enjoyed mulled cider and delicious baked pototoes which I've not had for years. We had our walk which looked beautiful, and came back and cooked marshmellows over the fire and made smores. OMG - delicious but sweet is an understatement. We capped the night off with sparklers and took the tired kids home to bed at all of 8;30, but as it got dark so soon, it felt like 10:30.
It was a really lovely night and a big thank you to Jo and all the girls for making it so enjoyable. Sorry about the photos - the camera battery has gone astray and this little one is not up to the job. Jo's blog seems to do this night better justice.

Wednesday, June 22

Work it

The big Squirrel has his own business which I do the back end of. To say we have different styles is an understatement and is often the cause for raised voices in our house. I am constantly trying to come up with new ways to 'convert' him to make my life a little easier. The latest is these folders. Once for work to do, to invoice, to pay and to file. Simple little letters to (in facebook font) written in permie texta. Even if it doesn't work, it will make my piles look a little neater.

Monday, June 20

Hot stuff

When I should have been packing and getting everyone organised for my weekend away, I was hunched over the sewing machine creating this - a zip up bag for my straightener. I know - priorities!
This idea has been in my head for some time, and it was only now that I needed it that it got made. Essentially it is a bag to carry around my hot iron, but it has another feature ....
It opens out flat to provide protection to whatever surface from the heat of the straightener. This one always falls on its side and I don't want it burning down the house - or the Lark house for that matter! The secret is in the wadding.
And sadly at this point, it may need to stay a secret - from the girl who keeps everything, I seem to have thrown away the packaging for this stuff - which is wadding especially for heat. If you look closely you can see a silver layer in the middle. It is used to make oven mits and I have had it for ages. I will endeavour to find out what it is.

Oh - the other good thing is that it is reversible which is great because I adore the alice in wonderland fabric on the outside and now I can just sit and look at it in a big piece.

Sunday, June 19

Dalesford - Lark

I escaped for a relaxing weekend with a group of Mum's from Alexander's prep class. I was apprehensive as I didn't know the ones going very well, but of course it was all fine and actually enjoyable. (I sound surprised!)
I had absolutely nothing to do with the organisation, and to give away control is always difficult for me. I am not your go with the flow kind of girl - but I managed. We stayed at the Lark House and dined at Mercato (truly delicious) followed up by a relaxing session at Peppers. An extravagant weekend, so rather than skite I thought I would share some of the quirks and clever ideas at Lark House.
Pillows on my bed. The iron marks are not visible - just the enormous flash of this darn camera. I love the calico with the badges.
Wall paper birds flying over my bed. Can't say I am a bird fan but the concept is good.
The window treatment in my room. The room is cold so it was well worth the added insulation. See the rivets at the top. Clever idea.
In the back room - or retreat, is a table with these vintage cotton reels wrapped with ric-rac. Very cute.
Crochet rugs set up as art work. These are over the beds in the back room and give the room that splash of colour it needs.
This is the sewing room. This wasn't a crafting, or at all crafty group. I was sent out to have a look. I love the pressed metal walls with the chandelier. My mum and dad have one like this in their bedroom.
This lovely old unit is in the sewing room, with the drawers all labelled. What I couldn't believe was all the stuff left in there. This drawer is full of ribbons with another full of ric-rac. Not stuff I would be leaving around...
Finally the back bathroom. This is a big room with little storage. It has a massive shower head mounted in the ceiling which is lovely to get your whole body wet. The toilets are in the bathrooms which can be a bit of a bother when you are sharing, but that is beside the point. I liked this little unit. Looks like a school locker and I liked the juxtaposition by putting it in an uber stylish, minimalist bathroom.
If you would like to see more - like the lurid wallpaper mash up, have a look at their site linked above.

Friday, June 17

Theres a bear in there

It seems the reward, or maybe more accurately the punishment, for doing kinder duty is your child gets to bring home Edward Bear for the weekend. Then you put together your report for the class on all the fun things you did over your weekend. Trouble is I am going away so it is up to the support crew to not only do these fun activities with this very social bear, but also document it for me - or at least take some pics so I can do it when I get back from my 'relaxing' weekend. Benji is thrilled to have him home and I am glad its two down with two to go!

Tuesday, June 14

Go Fish

Benji's speechie gives us lots of opportunities to turn learning tasks into fun games. This set of cards is children's doing things that he needs to describe. I have printed two sets and put paperclips on them all. The object of the game:
Go fishing with the magnet on the string
Catch a card
Describe the drawing
Turn it face down on the table and see if there is a match
Take the pair if there is one.
It was a great way to include all the kids in his activity.
The cards are simply printed clip arts which I have laminated and cut out.

Sunday, June 12

Knitting - but not me

Mum has been busy on the needles whipping up this for me. I have already worn it a little and it has a tendancy to grow and to pill, but it is really light and really warm. Long enough to keep my bum warm and I love the colour.
Amazingly it is all from Lincraft - the wool(well yarn - it is 100% acrylic mohair!). The pattern is from Lincrafts pattern book and is made up exactly as in the picture - which is really rare for us. I love the colour and it is actually a really useful knit. Thanks Mum!!

Note: Lincraft winter warmth at $2.99 per ball. Large size used 7 balls and the pattern was free!

Saturday, June 11

Mr Potter

Xandy and I are engrossed in our third installment of Mr Potter. Reading the paper today I saw that they are replaying previous movies at the cinema in the lead up to the release of the final chapter last month so today we took the opportunity to go and see The Chamber of Secrets on the big screen.
We have read the book and seen the DVD (numerous times) however the big screen is certainly a different experience. Everything is bigger, louder and scarier. With a well timed toilet break during the spider scene Xandy was literally jumping out of his seat.
J.K. Rowling has certainly earned every cent from this creation because it is truly a wonderful different world. Our race is on to finish the third book in time for next weekends shows.

Thursday, June 9

Library Bag

While I was sewing my dress, I got the kids to be a little creative too. I set them up with Fabric pastels and a large piece of rubber backed curtain fabric (at one time I had a whole roll of this) to do me a drawing.

They each designed their own artpiece - Benji drawing fireman sam

and Spencer drawing an array of, yes, Dinosaurs.

I sewed it up into a quick bag and this is now our library bag to bring home an assortment of fire and dinosaur books. Loving the variety.
(Sorry there are no measurements nor instructions for this. I simply hacked into what I was using as a tablecloth at mothers day and whack it together - thats just how I roll.)

Wednesday, June 8

I thought dinosaurs were extinct

But lately we have seen an awful lot of them - on TV and in person. Yesterday after swimming, Dad and I took the twins to Scienceworks which has just opened an animatronics dinosaur exhibition.
Spencer put on his usual petrified performance, so much so that they reluctantly sold us the tickets, but again once we got in there he was in his element. Scienceworks is always worth the trip with all of their interactive displays, and this was great, with a number of life size moving dinosaurs and other experiments for the kids to discover.
We didn't overstay, getting back in time for school pick up, and could quite happily go back again.

Tuesday, June 7

Perfect for winter.

Yes - what every girl needs a summer dress - in yellow stripes no less. I got this fabric the other day on my crochet hook expedition, but rather than wallow in the stash, it is made!
In the current Burda 3/11 I saw this pattern.
What I liked was the pattern piece for the front and thought it may be interesting with stripes.This is my version - sans zip and shoulder gathers. I am pretty happy with it, it was easy to make and is comfy. It however is freezing here and I could have done more in terms of styling, but you get the idea.

Monday, June 6


Two things have moved me to make a change (yes another one!!) The first is all the motivational words I've been seeing (and pinning) on Pintrest. Most of the ones I like are about procrastinating and getting on with things. I see the pattern.
The other one was the radio- you know when you are half asleep and they are talking about something and it weaves its way in to create stupid dreams? Yeah, well that happened and starting today.........I am only drinking water!
Big call I know but that seems to be the only way I get things going, and one I get past 21 days, it gets better and becomes normal. At this point, well before today, I literally drank no water. Like none - unless you count the stuff that had a tea bag soaking in it, because I do have a lot of that stuff, but no clear, hydrating water. With winter upon us, and the heating on everywhere, I have started to feel the effects and feel a bit like a dried out sponge - on the inside.
I am sure there will be lapses, and I can feel a bit of a caffeine withdrawal coming on already, but as I nurse my mug of hot water at this point I resolve to flush out my body from the inside and try to grow a fondness for my new freshwater friend.

This may be more of a challenge.

Saturday, June 4

Copy Cat Cowl

Last week Jo was wearing an awesome crocheted cowl that she had whipped up. She explained the concept - and then I was off to spotlight to get myself a massive hook - size 19!
I had a scarf that I had started but ran out of wool- I decided to make that into the cowl.
Mine has 42 chain to start and then trebles throughout - basically until I had used up the two balls of wool I had which is 5 rows. Best of all it didn't take any time at all!
And it is long enough to go around twice.Only downside is a double twist that accidentally made its way into the cowl - but I am going to pretend it was there intentionally. Must go now and clean this mirror!