Sunday, June 30

Team work

 Our boys played one of their own. Another schools tackers team within the same club. The battle was hard fought on the field but off field, all boys linked arms to sing the team song.

Happy Birthday Poppy

Thursday, June 27


Today a girlfriend is celebrating her 40th birthday - well celebrating isn't exactly how she sees it. Dreading is a better description and I think I know how she feels!

With thanks to pinterest for the inspiration, I actually made something I pinned! 

I had seen variaions on this theme - 40 sucks or 40 blows and went with the sucks:

 And I decided to combine it with this roses version - this is done with chocolates and crepe paper but  i thought I could make it work. is the link to the original post.
 I had plenty of time (!) a whole hour between pilates and lunch to make this creation and then at the supermarket found that crepe paper is harder to come by than I thought. I had to make do and chose serviettes as they are a bit more flexible than tissue paper. Really would work better in crepe paper though.
 So with my supplies i literally hacked into them. I cut circles for the petals and wrapped each with three. I found that a circle around the size of a 1/4 of the serviette worked well. They were swiftly attached with sticky tape.
 I tried the heart shape but didn't have time to make it work and adjust the size. The green needed to add to make it look more like a flower. A zig zag shape worked best and this was wrapped and used sticky tape again.
 Then I found a bucket in the present cupboard and these clear marbles were also lying around. Turns out if you do save something just in case it can be useful. I thought I had some florist foam but I couldnt find it - so this was me making do!
 Once all forty lollipop flowers were in the jar, attached a little card with some ribbon.
and she loved it! 

Monday, June 24


Hi five Benji! Benji got a smile award at school today for the improvement in his handwriting. The teacher had spoken to me prior that he wanted to give him an award - because he had earned it. They also wanted to check that it was ok for Spencer not to get one at the same time and I said that it was my preference that they deserved it rather than getting them at the same time.

He was very pleased with himself and has been doing much better since our meeting. One of the follow ups to the meeting was me meeting the school psychologist, which of course I was happy to do. While we talked about a number of things, Benji was our main concern. He has settled down a lot and is getting more attention in the class but we were looking at the root of the problems and how to resolve or at least assist.  His teacher had talked about confidence, but I was concerned that wasn't giving him the skills and the clever psychologist explained that it was not Confidence but Resilience.

Lightbulb moment. Of course it is. I knew it wasn't confidence, but I didn't know what it was. So we talked about some strategies and some I already do, some are new. She was so great in helping me clear out some of my thoughts and reasoning and I hope I can help Benji in the same way. At this stage, he doesn't need formal meetings and we will keep in touch to monitor progress but I did come home and make a suggested purchase. She recommended the Happiness Trap book which is not purely about resilience, but has a whole lot of strategies to help generally deal with life. Will let you know when it arrives!

Saturday, June 22

The best day ever! said the 6 year old

 Cold and early start but it was off to Auskick again. This week both Benji and Spencer got their best listener awards. i missed the presentation as I had to take Xandy to basketball where they came back from 16 to 4 down, to be 18 all, and lose it with a last minute goal. It was an exciting game.

Then a quick lunch of hotdogs and it was off to another game of footy. The twins were playing in the half time match at a local under 18s game. We watched the match and while I watched it for a bit, my mind wandered off to the future - looking at the big boys who were all still under 18 and imagining three big smelly boys lying on my couches and just eating! Quick - out from that nightmare and back to current reality -
 were they are still cute! They had a lovely time out there with their mates.

Then it was back in the car and down to Merricks where we were treated to a divine Solstice celebration! Inside the fires were crackling and dinner was being prepared. We were spoiled with beef on the spit with potatoesbeans and corn. The kids dragged themselves away from playing to eat a sausage and then it was on.

The fire was all stacked ready and with a little help from the petrol (!) it was alight. The kids are happily calling it a Bomb Fire! It was big and lit up the dark night is a soft firey glow.

When the fire is being stocked with a tractor, we felt it was a little big to cook marshmellows at, so the smores were made inside and we enjoyed delicious self saucing pudding! Thanks to the Demspter girls for a lovely night!

Friday, June 21

Baby visiting

 I got a chance to visit Baxter today. The big squirrel dropped me off as parking is very expensive, and Benji decided he would like to come (apparently Spencer also wanted to come but didn't tell me in time so spent the next half hour in tears in the car).
 While a little apprehensive about the little baby, Benji was intreguied and wanted a cuddle. His darling big brother Archie is so incredibly in love and protective of his newest sibling. He is so good it just melts your heart. Here he is explaining to Benji about the fontanel and also that when you hold them you have to protect his neck because there are no muscles there yet. Just gorgeous. Both big brothers were just divine with him (That will only last til he nicks their stuff Nay!) and of course Mum is cruising round the room looking fabulous and like nothing major had happened! Made it look easy.
 Benji was very proud that he got his cuddle and we said our goodbyes and headed out for dinner in Richmond.
We had Thai and the boys were all very adventurous.

Wednesday, June 19

Elephant Silhouette Picture frame

A new little baby entered the world today - a third little boy for my dear friend. (The boys say a new Faux Cousin) and now that he is here I can share his gift.

Thanks to pinterest, I had a good idea what her theme was. No surprise about the grey and white, but elephants was a constant thread, so I went with that. I had seen some voile at Spotlight some time ago and grabbed it for wraps. Even though my boys were summer babies, I loved a voile wrap for everything from shade on the pram or in the carseat, or putting over your shoulder when you feed. The fabric is nice and wide - 160 so I made a simple square - overlocked it and double folded the hem. The only problem was all the colour ran when I prewashed it - particularly on the red so I hope i got it all out otherwise everything will have a pink tinge.

The other was this picture frame which I was so happy how it turned out.
I used my silhouette machine for this. I found an elephant image online and scanned it into the program and repeated. The white paper has a sheen and a texture to it. The grey is more matte with a little sparkle.
 The frame is a deep set one from Ikea. The elephants are stuck on with small double sided sticky raised dots so that they sit away from the grey and when the little guy finally got his name I wrote that on the bottom elephant.
Welcome little Baxter!

Monday, June 17

Basic Bags

 On Monday nights, I teach three girls how to sew. They are now in grade 6 and I actually really enjoy our lessons. They are keen and I like them to make practical things to build their skills and repertoire. Sew far they have made PJs, elastic waisted skirts, a frill front tshirt and a little aline skirt. Today I was at a bit of a loss what to do - until it struck me - a market bag!

I make and use these all the time and for them it could be something they could make as gifts. I gave them each some canvas - which was lined curtain fabric. Lined curtain fabric is great for these bags as it is sturdy but also waterproof - so great for the beach etc.  In the class they made the plain bag and decorated it using fabric sharpies. They looked great and were useful!

I also took the opportunity to whip one up. I had this drill from Spotlight that I love. I would love to have a skirt out of it - but even for me it is too much so a bag it was. The handles are from the canvas of the girls bags and the straps are folded in half for a feature but it actually makes it much easier to use!
Speaking of use - here it is in use - see why it wasn't a skirt!

Saturday, June 15

Footy & TV

 What a surprise that with 3 boys my life has become so incredibly blokey. No barbie dolls here! No today was photo day at football and then off to basketball for a winning match.
We finished our blokey sporty day in front of the box - thankfully not watching sport but the lovely old favourite - the Fox and Hound. This fold out bed has been in this room for years, but the boys have only just discovered it - so it was all set up as a bed and they enjoyed a sleepover in the lounge!

Friday, June 14

TMNT Tshirt

Spencer did a great drawing. It is of the Ninja turtles that he wants to buy. Rather than just put it on the fridge, or even in a frame I decided this one could be immortalized on a tshirt. It seriously was so easy, I even surprised myself!

This is how I did it.

  1. Scanned his picture
  2. Printed it on Dark tshirt  printer paper. This paper is white and the image doesn't need to be reversed.
  3. Cut it out with scissors
  4. Peeled image off backing paper and placed it onto t shirt
  5. Ironed on to tshirt. 
  6. Spencer was thrilled to find it waiting for him when he got home from school!

Thursday, June 13

One of those magic moments

I had this picture in my head 7 years ago when designing the kitchen bench and tonight for the first time it happened. All three boys sitting happily at the bench working on their homework. No tears and lovely interactions with each other and with me. I was on the other side, peeling potatoes for their dinner. Moments like these are pure bliss.

Monday, June 10

Dress - purple

Okay - so even I don't know what I was thinking when I bought this fabric. Pretty full on, isn't it. It is a stretch cotton so has a fairly good weight to it. It was in my pile of current fabric, so I decided it was now or never. 
This dress is a new look pattern and I have made it in a 12 top with 14 bottom and I need every bit of that. Having said that, the fit is really good and I will be going back to it to make it again - next time in a much more subdued fabric.

 This is the neck detail which is sweet. A small cross over at the neck. I decided to soften the fabric a little by making the sleeves black - which is a faux ostrich leathery thing I had. Doesn't soften it much but the less of this fabric you see the better I say.

Here is an unstyled shot of the dress on- obviously I need to tidy up behind me before snapping but you get the idea of the fit. I on such a mission to get the dress done it has a beige zip in the back but I covered the top with a bit of black nailpolish and you can't tell.

I figure styled with some black it will look better - not that I have any where to wear it. All these new clothes make me think I need a job outside home!

Sunday, June 9

On a roll

With the machine out and a little inspiration, I am a sewing machine - pun intended.
Last night I spread out my 'current' fabrics. These are the ones that I intend to sew rather than the bargains I pick up just to add to the stash. Big difference. As I was saying, I spread them out and let them talk to me. Sometimes the picture of what they need to be is clear from the time of purchase. This was true for the gold brocade that at $7 (bargain) was always going to be a short skirt. Lucky because I only had 70cm of it.

Others can change. This pink and red floral is a stretch cotton and I had initially thought it would be a dress. However the success of my recent balloon style skirt made me want to do another version of that.  So the design changed.

I also had some scrap ponte that I whipped up into a little straight skirt to wear over leggings when I walk to school. Nothing too fancy just a little fabric for a little dignity. Fair exchange.

I saw the gold fabric earlier in the year at Spotlight on special and one of the groovy mums has this awesome gold skirt that she had worn to school that I had to have. Don't think I could pull it off at school like she does - but inspirational none the less. I also saw this post on the Handmakers Factory. I hadn't looked at this since March and it is funny how your mind changes things. I was certain these were pleated tulip skirts but they are very a-line. Something that would have suited me much better but its done now!

I used a skirt pattern with a waist band and front pleat. I made the bottom a 16 with the waist a 12 so there was extra fullness in the pleat and the dart. I also sewed it on the wrong side so that the gold was richer. The other way looked a little beige. I lLove the pockets and properly styled think it is really cute. At least the fabric is sewn up now!

I love the fabric of this skirt and I love the style. On it looks a bit balloony - with the fullness around the knee and then coming in a little lower. It isn't a classic balloon skirt - just has a bit of that look. Sorry about the truly tragic photo here - it can only look better on! The yolk is fitted and it is slim down to my saddlebags and keeps going on that angle.  I have no idea what I will wear with it - but I love it. Not sure of its seasonality - may have to wait until summer, but none the less - its a beauty. It is similar to my tree skirt from the other day - I say similar because I am reworking a base pattern and I make it a little different each time. I freestyle the pattern.

Saturday, June 8

The Runner Incident.

I got some much needed one on one time with my fashionista Spencer today. He can sometimes let the bustle of the family competition hold him back - and today he was like a different child. My realisation that he needed this became evident last night.

We went out as a family to the shops after school last night. There was no sporting activities on and we had to pick up the big squirrels car from the mechanic. (!) We hit Chaddy with no specific goal in mind, but maybe some runners for Benji.

We browsed happily. Spencer was happy to look at things and be aspirational about clothes and toys. However, when we got to Benji getting runners and Spencer not getting anything, the stuff really hit the fan. It didn't help that they are really cool runners - his previous ones had a hole in them. Spencer thought them to be much cooler than his recently acquired runners. Benji really wasn't helping the situation by tap dancing in exuberation though the store. The harder Spence cried, the more extreme the dancing got. I get it - he was happy with the shoes, but in a way he was happier that Spencer didn't have any and it was certainly driving that message home.

In some consolation, Spencer got a notebook and a pencil. Hardly runners, but I didn't need a big spend just to make it through some food and to the car.

The next day we set off - just Spence and I (with his notebook and pencil) to purchase the Fox Sweater which was on the top of his list. 
Apparently easier said than done. We ended up travelling to Brighton to get it in his size as it was a May release. While we did manage to get the jumper, and he was very happy and looks really good it in - we had a lovely time together- both shopping and driving. It was a real opportunity for him to talk - if he wanted and me to take the time to listen. We did some of our school stuff, but it was really nice to wander hand in hand and just be.

Thursday, June 6

Tree Skirt

With the machine out to do the bags, I was inspired to do a little more. Spotlight recently had 30% off and when I was getting the plastic for the bags, I also picked up this drill. I wanted a skirt but something a bit different than the standard A line which I always have. One of the ladies in B Inspired had an interesting cut on her skirt and with that in my head I saw a burda pattern discard which I could adapt.

It has a yolk with a v front but when its on you cannot tell. There are four pieces to the front and back with a centre seam. Each seam goes out like an aline, but then returns back in - giving some puffiness to the skirt at this point. The pattern I had (which I now cant even find) was very short. It finished mid thigh. I added a good four or so inches to the length and also changed the volume point to be at the end of the pattern. Really happy with how it came out. It is modern and graphic without being too much.

Styled up - this is how I wore it and got comments in a number of shops - which is always flattering. Love my grey boots- they are extra long and go right up behind my knee.

Wednesday, June 5


For Mums birthday we decided to take her into the National Gallery to see Monet's Garden. 

She is still well enough to do this kind of thing and art is something that we all love so Mr P, Mum and I went there today. Together we wandered the large exhibition. It was magical to be able to see these much published works in the flesh - both up close to examine the movement of the brush stokes and the visible canvas and then to step back and see his true magic at work. The way the eye mixes the paint and illuminates the work is amazing.

The other thing that was lovely to see was the scale of the works. That is something that you don't appreciate from books. As he aged the works got bigger. There were also some studies so you could see his base painting and how quickly he worked. Up close these seemed out of place but from a distance, these basic paint sketches had a magical quality.

I really enjoyed the later works - bigger, bolder and much more expressive. Painted in France during World War 1 after the loss of his second wife, one can only imagine that his painting became a form of escape from the horrors of life and he built his beautiful garden for solitude.

If you are in Melbourne, I highly recommend it. There are no haystacks - it is really about his garden. There are a few landscapes and early works, but a really good exhibition and Mum, Mr P and I all really enjoyed it. So much so that I will take the boys to see it too.

Tuesday, June 4

Fine Motor

We are on a home education kick at the moment and part of that is building up strength in the boys fingers. Finger strength helps with handwriting. (It is a shame that that doesn't come with the swipe ipad movement because they are really good at that!) I decided that today we would cook.

I found some cookbooks that the twins could read -  very picture based simple recipes. We worked on everything - reading, numbers, measuring, more and less and also temperature. We also worked their fingers. The "Monkey Bread" which is Banana and Sultana Loaf had the butter rubbed into the flour. That got the fingers working. The shortbread cookies were the same and then they needed to be made into balls. All good stuff - and yummy at the end.

In retrospect, I probably should have left it there - but of course on a roll took it one step further and we made bread rolls but by this stage everyone was kind of over it.