Sunday, June 29, 2008

"I've got chilllllllllllllllllllllls and they're multiplyin......"

Now try getting that song out of your head.
Ok so it has been a while.
Something to do with Little B, two more little teeth and another fever in the last 3 days!
Whilst I thought I had escaped the bug I find me own timbers shiverin' at the present time. Bugger!
Especially as I had to cancel the bib sewing extravaganza booked with my lovely friend Amanda A this afternoon.
Double Bugger.
As I head back to my bed sans cold and flu tablets (how I miss you my friends, it has been almost 2 years) I bring you some footage of Bill O'Reilly a Fox news presenter who needless to say has some anger management issues. It's apparently old news in the states.
It does contain some profanity but I found it somewhat amusing. Who behaves like this??

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

On my desk...

I cannot believe it is Wednesday again!

A few things happening on my desk today, I started another smock this one for my little friend Emily. Emily's mum Amanda is due to give birth to Emily's new sibling to be any day now and I like the idea of having a pressie to take for Emily as well as mum and bub so she does not feel left out! I am lining the smock with terry towelling to increase absorbancy, Barry and his stretchy stitching have been very kind to me so far. Although I am sure it also has something to do with the song swilling in my head, Silverchair's Straight Lines of which I have adapted the chorus lyrics to " Come on Barry make it easier, sewing in a straight line, slow and steady through the feeder, everything will be fine..." Sad I know.

In a fit of madness late last week I signed up to ride the 100km leg of Around the Bay in a Day on 19 October. A nice ride for a good cause - the Smith Family. Fear has motivated me to start some serious training so the heart rate monitor and drink bottle have been my companions during my early morning jaunts to the gym.

The elephant pic is actually a leather carving which Mr B and I picked up in Thailand in 2003, it had been hiding in a cupboard which I rearranged to fit in my growing fabric stash - I think it will be nice to have him framed and hung somewhere as a reminder of our travels.

Oh and yes, the half eaten cheese and tomato sauce toasty on Finding Nemo plate. Comfort food at its best when the larder is otherwise empty. Little B has endured his first serious fever over the last 24 hours- whilst the worst is over for him (yay) I am feeling a bit worse for wear! I did not even realise I had served the sandwich up on Nemo's head until I uploaded the photo!

Finally for those sewers out there check out Krista's brainchild site Zigzaggers, a site set up for reviewing sewing machines by sewers. Sadly I only came to this site after acquiring Barry but think it is a great idea. If you have a machine that you love, hate or feel indifferent about please contact Krista with your review - your contribution will help us newbie sewers try and get a machine to suit our purposes. If nothing else check out McKenna Linn's review of the funky greenElna model number 1 aka the Grasshopper. Very cool machine. Always makes me think of the old Kung Fu series - "ahhh grasshopper..." Every time. Happy Wednesday!

Monday, June 23, 2008

This is......

Kitty selected this week's "This is". She asks us to name our favorite outfit that expresses our personal style!

Personal style in the more traditional sense eludes me I suspect. At the moment I feel the most comfy in my trackies and pullovers. If going out I might graduate to jeans and sneakers! Exciting huh.

So I thought I would share with you a general few faves from my wardrobe.

The first is, love em, or hate em, my army green crocs.

I acquired these babies in the final throes of my pregnancy. They were the only shoes into which I could fit my godawful swollen boat like feet and cankles.

They are comfy as all get out. Easy to pop on to throw out the rubbish or the recycling. And practical too, as in you can hose them down if you step in dog poop in the back yard!

The second item is my camo peaked cap..

Mr B and I each purchased one in the Cinque Terra before our 15 km 5 town hike. We selected these hats after being "inspired" by a bunch of very gregarious American tourists and the movie "Team America".

Each time I pop this hat on I am a woman on a mission. Think Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin (although I am not blonde nor too perky most of the time) Walk around the block - yes Sir! Washing out on the line - Yes sir! Weed that garden or give me 20 push ups! Yes Sirrrrrrrrrrrreeeee!

And finally, my favourite accessory is my watch.

I was lucky enough to receive one of these beauties for my 30th birthday. I am told by Mr B that it also qualified as a good luck with "pushing a head the size of a watermelon out of the hole the size of an orange" present. I am hoping that I will look after it well enough that my grandchildren will battle to inherit it for their own (as Nanna only otherwise had those crocs and that horrific camo hat to offer!)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Elmo wishes you a happy weekend!

Thank you for those who provided me with their pep talks and empathy following my last post. I love the blogging community I really do.

I decided to do a trial run of the smock pattern to see how it might all turn out. Here is the result...

Mr B bought this fabric home from Spotlight a while ago. As an aside just quietly I think he is developing a thing for going there too...

The elmo fabric is a curtain fabric I think and the arms are a silky polyester turned inside out. The arms not all that practical but that was the only fabric I had which would match one of the colours in the elmo fabric.

I am relatively happy with the result, the arms did not end up matching up to the sleeve holes as well as I might have hoped, I think this is due to my imprecise cutting.

I also made the bias binding around the neck with a bias binding maker. How nifty are they? I was too scared to go around the neckline with bias binding by machine so did it by hand, the stitching ended up being a bit blurgh but it is covered up by the fact that the binding contains the elastic around the neck and is scrunched together.

All in all it did not take too long so I am feeling positive that I will definitely be able to make these for my little girlie friends. I am thinking a pocket might be nice on the front as a finishing touch.

Have a happy weekend!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Am I facing off a spider? Stuck in the dark? In a confined space?

No. I am sitting here staring down a children's smock pattern.

I have 3 little girlfriends each under 5. I have for some time been thinking I might make each of them a smock or apron as a birthday gift (all birthdays are coming up in the next month).

I have read the pattern and get the construction part of it (or so I think!). It is primarily straight line sewing. A bit fiddly on the sleeves perhaps. I am relatively confident I can handle the actual sewing.

I recently purchased a selection of girlie fabrics at the Spotlight stocktake sale.

So theoretically I am ready to rock and roll.

But feeling scared to go any further.

This creating thing does not come naturally to me.

Sounds silly but I am worried about making a wrong decision. Mis matching fabrics. Sewing a wonky line. Not producing a perfect end result.

Being exposed. Anxious about "going public" with my new hobby and very new skills. A new persona. Am I still in any way the old (perfectionist, hard ar*sed, cynical, overtly assertive, long hours working, dogged, loud laughing) me? Who is the new me?

Eekk! Whoa! I did not see that coming! I did not realise I was even looking in the direction of my navel! Apologies for the (unexpected) heaviness of this post!

I think it is time for a bath and bed. And a new start in the morning.

Just out of interest - how do you feel when you start your new projects? How do you get your inspiration, your mojo flowing?

My name is Belinda and I am a....


At this stage I have not been able to find a 12 step programme or any other kind of remedy for my addiction to participating in our local Freecycle group.

I joined a few months ago. All it took was registering with my local groups and then having emails sent to me containing information about goods on offer and goods sought.

If you are after something on offer you merely reply to the email offering the goods in question. Also reply if you have something somebody wants. Then wait to see if you have been the successful emailer! If you succeed you go and get the item in question.

It sort of like op shopping from your own home. With an auction feeling thrown in. Think battling the old lady in the op shop for that china cup and saucer. By email. I suppose it is a little bit more random in that you can't be sure exactly what you are getting until you pick the item you win up.

So far I have acquired some electrical cords, stationary, a sewing machine, some champagne glasses ,a toy electric car set, a tent and a huge bundle of queen sized and king sized bed linen.

All things (with the exception of the car set which I have gifted onto a neighbour) which I had been on the hunt for but had not had the funds to buy. So far I have not been disappointed.

Each day I scour my emails to see what is on offer. It actually is quite a useful way of reality testing - do I really need/want that?

I have also offered some things we don't use anymore and it has been great to receive
positive feedback from people who have really enjoyed the things they have received.

It is great to be part of a collective of people who are aiming to reduce the throwing out of perfectly good stuff around the world.

So if you have not already I do encourage you to go and join your local Freecycle group today! You never know what you might find.

Monday, June 16, 2008

This is...

my little newly creative space...

The room used to be 2 small bedrooms but the people who owned the house before us knocked the wall down.

I love this room. It is north facing so on days like today, crisp cold but sunny, the light streams in. We painted it a happy yellow colour which I find warm and stimulating. The window overlooks our back garden. This year for the first year ever I really had time to notice the change in the seasons, the leaves falling off the trees in autumn, the leafy bulbs now peering through the soil.

It is also Mr B's workspace. His desk is to the right. He is a web designer, works in the city by day and on freelance projects by night. His other passion is making electronic music on the computer hence the keyboard on the desk!

When I am in here using Barry the sewing machine I have to pop up a barrier to stop little B from getting underneath my desk and playing with the foot pedal!

Don't forget to head over to Quilting Mick who picked this week's theme!


For the first time in ages I felt almost too tired to get out of bed this morning. But in a good way. My body is just tired after the Eastlink ride.

The ride yesterday was fantastic. Very very busy. But great. The weather good. The company fun. All in all it is estimated that close to 50,000 cyclists took part in the day.

It felt good to be part of a collective.

It was also nice just to have a little bit of child free time!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ta dahhhhhhhhh....(subtitle - the war and peace of the construction of aprons)

Many coffees and cans of diet coke later (Jogirl how do you manage to drink the latter it tastes so well um... blurgh) I finally finished these cotton picken god darn Domo aprons.

Overall I am pretty happy with them. In particular Little B's apron. I think it looks a lot like the little guy. I feel a real sense of accomplishment. Like I have banished the demons who lurked and taunted me during my year 10 sewing class (well until next time anyway).

Admittedly I have not photographed the back of either of the aprons. The backs are extremely messy. I would have liked the torso of Mr B's apron to be longer and the legs shorter.

As a gal who is no stranger to drama finishing them turned into a teeny weeny ordeal.

Despite my best laid plans I only managed to finish up these babies this morning. After going to bed at 1.00am and then getting up at 5.00am I finished them at about 9.30am. (Which is just as well as I had a haircut booked for 10.00am, in laws to see for lunch, a bike to collect at 2.00pm, coffee to have with girlfriends at 2.30 and a party to be at by 4.00pm)

I worked hard all week to leave myself all day yesterday (Friday)to finish up sewing them. The weather forecast was cold and wet. I thought a perfect day to hibernate with my mate the sewing machine. (I think I need to name him, at least I think it is a him.....maybe I could call him Barry in honour of the sewing machine man..although it would probably be weird when I take Barry to be serviced by Barry.. "here Barry, take care of my dear old Barry" I would have to say. Barry (the man) would probably think I was most strange... or ask me out on a date..eeek.... sorry sorry sorry... I digress).

Yesterday morning came, I got up and dyed my hair. For some reason it was really important to me that I sit at the machine with my hair all nice and shiny and coloured. Hair colour everywhere in the bathroom. In the white grout of the tiles. On the sink. On the toilet seat. So I had to clean the mess up before I could do anything further.

I then headed off to my local spotlight with the intention of just dropping in to purchase some appropriate buttons for the eyes on Mr B's apron as we had not been able to find anything big enough anywhere else. Second mistake of the day. One never goes to spotlight "just" for one thing! I arrived at 9.00am got in there when it was dead quiet but still an hour later I emerged with metres and metres of fabric and plans to make bibs, aprons, pram muffs, a replica of the Eiffel tower.....oh and yes some buttons which could be covered in fabric for the eyes.

(To be fair it is sale time and I only bought fabrics which were marked down to $2 a metre).

So I lost most of the morning in the black hole of spotlight, got home, sat down, checked my email and saw that a lady was offering fabric and linen for nothing on freecycle. I put my hand up for that lot, lucky enough to "win it" so next thing you know I was back in the car heading out in the pouring rain to collect. It was well worth it she handed over some lovely stuff including a brand new King sized doona cover and very nice Laura Ashley doona cover too.

When we got home Little B started his daily misery crawl, which generally occurs between the hours of 3 and 6 whereby Little B literally cannot be comforted and if put down crawls around wailing mumumumumumumum for no apparent reason. So 10 stories, an orange, a playschool video, dinner and bath later I still had not started.

I was poised at the machine at 7.00pm when Mr B called to request a chauffeur ride from the train station. So off Little B and I went to get him. In the cold pouring rain again.

I got started at about 8.00pm.

To be honest I am not really sure what happened. Things were going along swimmingly until about 9.00pm. I was feeling really good about everything. The machine and I were working well together. A bit after 9 I finished up the machine sewing and I slowed considerably.

First issue arose when Mr B asked me if I could stuff the arms on his apron. I really did not want to as I was worried it would weigh it down and ruin the line of it. We had a bit of a tiff about it. Eventually I relented. After all it is his apron. Then we argued about what to stuff the darn things with. Eventually we compromised on newspaper.

Second issue arose when we came to cover the buttons. Mr B kept proclaiming they were a bit tough. We got there in the end after I read the blooming instructions to him. What is it about men and instructions???

Precious time kept wasting away.

Final issue of the night was the legs on Mr B's apron. I had not cut a pattern for them. By the time I got to the legs it was about midnight and that stage I was thinking "all I need to do is cut the legs and sew them and then I am finished this one". I fleetingly reasoned with myself. "Leave it to the morning, cut it when you are fresh." Then promptly ignored myself. Without measuring I cut the apron. And it was a cut which has probably limited Domo's ability to father children. That's right people, I cut Domo too far up in the crotch which in my view at that time totally stuffed up the look of the whole thing.

A major meltdown ensued. All I could see was that horrible pair of shorts I buggered up in year 10 sewing class. I could not be placated. Despite many assurances from Mr B I was ready to post my sewing machine on freecycle right there and then.

Eventually I got to bed. Slept fitfully and got up at 5.00am. Mr B very thoughtfully (as in I think my wife will leave me by 6.00am if I don't get up now) got up with me, and again reassured me he was happy with it as is. So I kept on trucking and finished both aprons up.

The final seam sewing was very fiddly. I had sewed everything inside out and then turned him the right way in. I found it rather hard to make my hand stitching look like it had been machine stitched inside out.

Little B's apron is a bit too big for him. I have however used velcro as the fastener on the neck and waist bands so I can adjust it. At the moment it doubles as a nice warm blankie for him.

So there you have it.

You are very observant in noticing that I am sitting here posting and am not at the party.

You see, the housewarming was scheduled to start at 4.oopm. Our host who is a good friend of Mr B's lives on the other side of town which is conservatively about an hour's drive away. The deal was Mr B, Little B and I would get there at 4.00, have a couple of hours there then I would bring Little B home so he could get into bed by 7.30 which is his normal bedtime. Mr B was going to stay the night.

Just as we were about to leave we received a call from our host who advised he was going to be...drumroll........

.... late ... for .... his .... own

Which meant that by the time I got there I would have fed Little B and come straight home to put him to bed. So only Mr B and Big Domo have gone to the party tonight. A bit of a bummer.

But mostly ok as I am pooped and want to get to bed at a reasonable hour so I will be fresh for the Eastlink ride in the morning - yay!

And it meant I got lots of cuddles from little B and little domo.

I hope your weekend has been at least as good as mine so far!! Pray for sunshine over Eastlink between 9am and 12 midday tomorrow and otherwise enjoy your Sunday!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

On my desk...

Ok ok I know its only Tuesday but I am going to be out and about tomorrow so I thought I would post today.

Yesterday was cold and quiet and presented me the opportunity to sit down with the sewing machine for the first time since Barry serviced it (he was very impressed by the machine which for some reason made me even more excited!).

Mr B, Little B and I are invited and going to an apron party on Saturday. Mr B asked me to make an apron for him inspired by the character Domo who is apparently a very popular Japanese cartoon type character. Methinks Mr B (who is a tres creative arty crafty graphicy designy kinda guy) is way more cooler than I am as I had not ever heard of Domo before. You can read a bit more about the little angry weirdo here.

Anyhoo I had some brown polar fleece in my fabric stash ($1 for 3 metres of the stuff, op shop bargain yay) so I got to work in making a Domo apron for Mr B and also a mini one for Little B. So far I have come to the following realisations:

1. I need to acquire a quick unpick fast.
2. Ditto re marking chalk.
3. Make a pattern up before starting.
4. Polar fleece is not as hard to sew as first thought.
5. These things don't take as long as you think they will once you get going.

Anyway the work in progress is pictured in my on my desk photo.

The mouth is made of felt. I have to go and get some eyes from a crafty shop. And sort out some arms. The arms on Little B's apron will probably be the tie around his waist. Mr B's apron is going to be a half apron so I just need to attach some arms (this is where think first sew second really applies, I should have really left a hole in each side seam to sew in the arms but I am probably not going to unpick it now as I finally got my lines straight!).

I also received an exciting package in the mail today - my Eastlink fun ride information. This Sunday Fifi and I are going to ride a leisurely 30km down Eastlink with (apparently) 10000 other riders. I am pretty excited as this is my first time back on the bike since having Little B 10 months ago. I only got excited late yesterday after heading to the gym and riding 30km on the stationary bike to satisfy myself I would make it. It will be the one and only time I will grace this god foresaken piece of road with my presence as I refuse to pay tolls to drive on a road in circumstances where the government of the day initially promised there would be none, but in the words of Marjorie (the fat fighters champion) from Little Britain "that's not for here!"

I am so not excited about the prospect of wearing lycra - my legs are sooooo white and my bum ALOT bigger than it was 18 months ago. I am hoping there will be lots worse out there. And that the weather will sort of be reasonable.

I also stopped by my local oppie (Lions Club, way more reasonable than my local Salvos) and picked up a bag of zips and clips for $5 and this framed Leunig print. I don't love the picture but the framing and mounting has been professionally done so I am going to use it to hang one of our European pics or a new family photo when I finally get around to printing some.

I hope your short week has started well!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Happy Birthday Mr B

It is my darling hubby's 32nd birthday today.

We have now known each other for more than half of his life. A pretty scary exciting and warming thought. I could not imagine life without him. He is patient, kind, strong, creative and a great provider for our family. He loves me unconditionally and puts up with almost all of my sh*te!

So in honour of him today was his birthday festival! Which meant no work for him. I resolved he would only eat what he wanted to eat, see who he wanted to see and do what he wanted to do today.

The festival of Mr B began early when I rose to cook pancakes from Stephanie Alexander's Cook Companion for his breakfast after he declared that was his desire.

His luncheon request was conceptually simple - Lebanese feast with his parents, sister, brother in law and niece. As funds are tight I resolved to cook up a feast here at home. Lebanese cuisine is a family favourite as his mum was born in Lebanon to an Australian mother and Lebanese father.

So yesterday with the assistance of google and some of my cookbooks we settled on a menu fit for a middle eastern king:

Eggplant dip
Garlic Prawns
Lemony chicken ribs
Grilled Lamb
Baked Tahini fish
Spicy Rice
Rosewater custard

We arose yesterday and shopped at the Victoria Market. So much busier on the weekends! But so much more fun shopping with a mate too!

Last night I made the dips, the custard and marinated all of the meat.

This morning after cooking the pancakes I got to work and made the salad and prepared everything else. I sent Mr B and Little B off on a red herring - to Bunnings to get some picture hooks - so I could clean and cook up a storm uninterrupted!

I find the hardest part of cooking any meal is getting the timing right, that is, everything cooked and hot at the same time. Today, with the assistance of my brother in law and the bbq, I was delighted to have everything ready to go simultaneously.

Whilst by definition the birthday is not about me I have to say I am pretty pleased with my efforts.

We feasted like royalty and enjoyed some family time together.

This afternoon Mr B enjoyed a massage and then a hot bath. He and Little B are presently watching tv together.

Time for a dinner of leftovers and dvds in bed.

And the best part - its a long weekend - one more day of Mr B at home! Bliss!

If you are reading this honey - I am pretty sure you are now - Happy Birthday! I hope you have had a great day!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Return from the simple life...

I neglected to mention during my self indulgent tantrum filled musings of last week that Mr B, Little B and I were booked to share our first ever proper family holiday adventure! There was some speculation that we would not get away as Mr B has been under the pump big time with a big project at work. But it all worked out in the end!

First thing Monday morning we set on our journey to our chosen destination, a self contained farm stay in the Wimmera,Mountain Duck Cottage on the South Mokanger Farm.

Why did we choose to go there? Well, a few reasons really. Mr B and I had never been to the Grampians. The idea of retiring with a wine before the open fire was most appealing. A roadtrip was supposed to be cheaper than a fly away getaway. Our little poochies could come too! We would have the use of our car. We could visit my nanna and pa on the way home.

We were not disappointed. Our accomodation was fantastic. Beautifully appointed with everything one could want on a holiday. As we both really needed a break from everything the lack of internet and mobile phone coverage was not a problem.

The air was fresh and cool. The sunrises and sunsets beautiful. The quiet deafening in a good kind of way. Each day we set off to see something different. It turned into the thrift store tour of 2008. Even Mr B got into the action. We scoured every op shop in Hamilton, Horsham, Stawell and Ararat! In the end I netted some tuppaware, a jacket for Little B and some thread.

It was most apparent to us that the drought is really starting to take its toll on the land. We had never seen anything like it before. Creeks and riverbeds dry. Farming ground dusty and dry at the start of winter. It suprised us. It was easy to imagine the despair families who have had these farms for generations could feel.

We could also see the appeal of living in surrounds. No close neighbours. Lots of room for kiddies to run around. Fresh produce. A sense of community. All differences to the suburban lives we choose to live now.

We had a couple of attempts at really seeing the grampians. Unfortunately the weather was not so kind to us. The mist was thick and soupy making the Grampians cold and difficult to see even when driving through. We eventually did get the opportunity to hike and take a look at Mackenzie's falls, which were stunning. My thighs are still burning after climbing what I am guessing were nearly 100 stairs to get there!

Every evening we had a refreshing beverage or two before the fire, watched a dvd or two and chit chatted.

If someone said to me 2 years ago that this would be the kind of holiday I would have taken I would have laughed in their faces. But it was perfect for us.

We got back late last night and have vowed to return in a few years time. It will be a great place for young kiddies to experience the farm!

It is good to be home!