Thursday, July 31, 2008

Serenity Now!

I have found myself muttering this phrase to myself over and over in the last few days.

Much is going on for our family at the moment which is making life feel more like hard work than I like. You know how when things happen on their own they feel easy enough to deal with but when a number of things come to a head at the same time, as they invariably do, it is easy to feel overwhelmed?

Emailing, blogging and reading blogs have all had to take a bit of a back seat. So to Three Buttons and Kirsty I am sorry I did not get to This is... and On my desk this week.

Time away from the computer has not been such a bad thing.

It took an insomnia induced 4.00am sewing session for me to attempt topstitching those bibs and I was so pleased with the results! Whilst not perfect they have turned out so much better than I expected.

Hopefully I will be back on all blogging fours soon! Enjoy your weekend!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Late Love Friday...

Running late again!

This week I LURVED Friday as I got out in the glorious winter sunshine and participated in a women's golf clinic.

Mr B managed to swing a work from home day so my neighbour Christine and I could have some child free time! We were guests of the professional at a gorgeous private golf club.

It was a lot of fun. Also very confronting. I am still so out of shape! The ole' bod creaked and groaned at almost every pitch, putt and drive.

I have decided however that I could, in time, get used to being a lady who luncheons at the "club" after a round every week! Not that it is likely to happen any time soon! I don't think golf memberships at exclusive clubs are likely to come up on Freecycle too often!

One of the best parts was getting home, being greeted by Mr B and Little B (all still one piece no less!), putting the trackies on and the feet up.

I do love Fridays.

Thanks to Big Cat for coming up with this positive meme! Just the way to start the weekend!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What is the world coming to?

Warning - this post is likely to end up as a rant of mammoth proportions.

I make concerted efforts to be frugal and to recycle for a number of reasons.

Financially being on one income we as a family, can no longer afford to be as cavalier with our funds as we once (perhaps stupidly) were. I am now frankly, a tight a**e. And I like it. I don't know that Mr B always likes it. But I like it.

I no longer spend my time in super shopping centres aimlessly wandering and randomly purchasing. If I have to go there, I shop with a purpose. I consider my purchase carefully before I make it. Do I really need that? Could I buy handmade? Could I get this on freecycle or at an op shop? Can I swap or borrow?

Environmentally I am trying to minimise our footprint on this earth so that my children and their children will too enjoy the world as we have and will continue to do so.

As you have no doubt ascertained I also get a real kick out of finding the right recycled goods. At the minute I have the time and inclination to op shop, freecyle and survey hard rubbish! I find it to be a lot of fun.

In light of all of the above I am rather annoyed right now. Not one but 2 of our fairly new electronic goods have given up the ghost in the last 24 hours.

Firstly our printer. It is less than 2 years old. Perfectly good. Print scan copy. Just out of warranty, it is going to cost about $150 to fix and about $90 for new ink cartridges. A new one with better features costs $250 at the moment.

Secondly my Iriver mp3 player. A bit over 2 years old. Used to hold its battery charge for 8 hours. Now no more than 30 minutes. Not even half a walk/workout session or a full train ride home. The batteries cannot be fixed or replaced.

Probably obviously, I feel rather annoyed for a number of reasons.

Neither of these items were cheap to buy in the first place. Their lives should have been far longer given what I invested in them at the time that I purchased each of them. For heaven's sake, I still have my sony walkman which I purchased um...16 or 17 years ago! It still works! If only I could buy a stereo with a tape recorder in it today I would probably go back to using it.

Environmentally, the impact of throwing these items away is not good. Batteries, ink cartridges, plastic, electronic parts. I don't like it one bit.

I feel frustrated that there is no easy answer here.

I suppose neither of these items is an absolute necessity.

I do not have to replace either of them. I could go without the music when I exercise and catch public transport. I could copy out my recipes from the screen and print letters and patterns at my local library or newsagent.

But I like the music. It motivates me and enhances my enjoyment of exercise immeasurably. Rightly or wrongly I need the music to keep me motivated. It also keeps me sane on public transport.

The cost of driving to print things as often as I do would probably soon overtake the cost of the printer. Not to mention the environmental impact of jumping in the car that often.

I guess that they just don't make things like they used to. It is sad. And frustrating. What is going to become of us and our families if we do not change the way we think?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

On my desk

To use a phrase coined by Argy and/or Bargy of Hoppo Bumpo fame my desk is showing the progress of my Bib-o-rama!

All bibs are now sewn together by machine and hand and ready for ironing, topstitching (eek!) and velcroing. It has taken me a bit longer than I thought it would.

I really love the 3 floral prints which are right next to the army men bib.

Also on my desk is a pretty cool Freecycle find, the first 39 issues of Golden Hands magazine. I have been intrigued about said magazines since reading this post by the lovely Thornberry in late May. To date I had not find any at my local oppies.

Yet the Golden Hands gods were smiling on me earlier in the week when I snaffled them via my friend Freecycle. The trip to collect was traumatic to say the least - reading the Melways has never been my forte - but very worth it. I have flicked through, there are some lovely sewing projects and importantly they are described in a great instructional style. Makes me think I need to take up knitting and crocheting to get the full benefit of them.

Do head over to Kirsty's blog to see who else might be playing along.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

This is..

I am running terribly late on this week's this is.

The things that make me happy include what might be the obvious:

1. Belly laughs from my little man

2. Feeling the wind on my face whilst wizzing along on my bicycle (this pic is moi riding along the streets of gais Paris!)

3. The sound of Barry whirring along (definitely the best part of sewing, the actual sewing).

4. Securing a great Freecycle find!

5. The "kerthunk" I hear when my number 1 driver hits the dimpled white ball in the sweet spot!

6. Seeing Mr B when I wake up and when he gets home!

And the not so obvious:

- A good antipasto, proscuitto, cheese, sundried tomatoes. Yum.

- Great music - at the moment old school Neil Diamond (GOOD LORD!!!) and KD Lang are amongst my well played faves


Alone time on the toilet. Seriously. Even if my now usual company is doing their darnedest to crack me up by sharing their best ever Elvis inspired curled lip impersonation with me. **

Thanks to One Little Acorn for coming up with this week's subject matter and to Angela for coming up with the This is concept!

** This picture is a mere representation only.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A new meme - Love Fridays

because Mr B and I share the ritual of sitting down for a quiet drink and debrief together.

Drink of choice on a cold winter's night - Kahlua on ice.

Join in by signing up with Big Cat!

Ready to Launch

This cold wet Melbourne weather makes it easy to stay inside and do some sewing.

11 bibs ready for a meeting with Barry.

Why 11 rather than 10 you might ask? Well, you probably didn't! But I am going to tell you anyway.

I have been using Sew Funky's bib tutorial but have been too scared to finally top stitch the bibs I have made to date.

Top stitching is well, so, exposed.

Today I am determined to give it a go.

So 10 bibs, 5 for each lovely newborn recipient. Little B will be the proud wearer of the top stitched bib whatever the result!

Hope you are enjoying your Friday!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Freecycle finds

Yesterday an Elna Lotus in working order was offered and taken in Melbourne!

What a pickup for the lucky recipient!

Last weekend we picked up a hills swing set for our backyard.

I love Freecycle. I really do.

On my desk

I was out and about yesterday but early before departure my desk contained an apron which I made for my 4 year old friend Georgia whose favorite colours are red and pink. Little B and I were having lunch there yesterday and the apron was a gift for Georgia whose birthday has recently past.

As I did not have a model to make the pattern for on hand, I had a go at being a bit more scientific about my design and sizing this time using the measurements from a popular children's clothing store website.

For Georgia's sister Mac, aged 2, I made another dotty and pink reversible apron.

I felt very apprehensive about giving the gifts to the girls. My first handmade gift. They were by no means perfect. My straight lines were not so straight in places.

The girls' mum, a lovely lady I met and became friends with through work, previously expressed a great deal of surprise when I told her I had been filling my spare time with teaching myself to sew (amongst other non work related things). To be fair, she has only ever seen me in action in my cut and thrust fast moving adversarial job and only observed me enjoying outdoor pursuits outside of work.

Of course I needn't have worried. Both girls loved their gifts and happily for me the aprons fitted very well with a bit of room for growth. I forgot my camera so did not get a photo of the girls running around playing kitchen and putting their (many!) babies to sleep in their new attire!

My friend was still very suprised about it all. These are so great. I can't believe YOU made these. She said it over and over again. It was hard to decipher what she really meant by these statements.

So I left with mixed feelings. Elated that I had given my first sewn hand made gift and that the recipients were happy with them.

But also philosophical about it all. Why do I sew? Am I enjoying it? Does it matter that it is so different from what I previously filled my time with?

So far I am enjoying it. It is a slow process learning anything new. It's been a while since I have really tried something new and at times I have been discouraged by the bumps along the road.

Does it come naturally to me? My feeling at this stage is no, it doesn't. It does feel like work at the moment. Some days I force myself to get started. Probably because the projects I am working on are gifty projects. I am not sure whether it will become easier once my skill base becomes more solid and I become quicker and defter at it all.

I am still learning Barry's quirks too. Each project so far has made me face something about the machine I have been afraid of - changing a broken needle, having to undo and clean out a jammed shuttle race, changing feet, winding a bobbin. All things which were overwhelming when I first opened the manual.

Will I continue? Yes. I suspect the key is that I have been putting alot of pressure on myself about producing a perfect item each time, first time. Something which I have to stop.

Is it as a hobby what I hoped it would be? Yes and no. Yes because it is satisfying making something which is useful practical and fun. It;s been great learning this new skill and opening up to the world of handmade.

No because I hoped that taking up a hobby like this one would help fill the void which remains following my finishing up paid employment. Nearly 14 months have passed since I commenced maternity leave and every day I have missed my job and almost everything about working terribly. Despite my really loving being at home with little B and watching him grow my feelings of missing work have worsened in the last couple of months as our routine has become more settled (and I have become rather housebound due to Little B still needing 2 2 hour sleeps a day).

Yesterday had me realise that I have been misguided in my high expectations a new hobby would make my feelings go away. Nothing that I have come across to date has given me the thrill and buzz that my paid job gave me on a daily basis. The social interaction I experienced was ongoing and whilst at times very confronting, very satisfying.

I miss that. Alot. Almost overwhelmingly so at the moment. And I suppose that is ok!

Monday, July 14, 2008

One man's trash is this lady's treasure

I had to run some errands today and in doing so stumbled across the fact that hard rubbish collection is on in one of the leafier suburbs near my home. On this warm sunny day helpfully Little B fell asleep in the car which gave me time to have a drive around to see what was on offer and I was not disappointed...

The following items leaped into my car on the way home:

2 directors chairs nearly new

2 little persons outdoor chairs (those plastic ones, I usually strongly dislike anything like them but I felt ok about taking them as I was recycling after all)

A little table to go with the chairs.

2 plastic containers on wheels with lids which will do beautifully to store my sewing bits and pieces.

1 outdoor blind with all fittings in mint condition which we will be using to shield the heat from the back door of the shed (which is north facing into our backyard and which may become a studio space in the nearish future if my next hairbrained scheme gets off the ground!)

I have decided I must carry some tools in my car so that I can be ready at a moment's notice to dismantle things!

I'm just achin...

yup yup yup..for some bacon.

In particular, some of Not Martha's Bacon Cups.

If you could make these puppies watertight I would be drinking my coffee out of one every morning!

Some people are just natural born geniuses. Really. They are.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

This is... what gives me goosebumps

Today's topic is well, pertinent.

By way of background, it is fair to say that I am, a teeny weeny bit, under the weather. Entirely self inflicted. Those delicious and enlivening espresso martinis got the better of me again last night. This time at my lovely neighbour Christine's 30th birthday celebration. A great night. But I have enjoyed merely one hours' sleep in the last 24 hours. The buzz is the gift that those espresso martinis keep on giving. Even at 5.00am. Note to self. Remember this for next time.

Anyhoo, this morning Little B, Mr B and I dragged ourselves out of bed for a 7.30am breakfast date - that's right - hungover and sleep deprived - on a Sunday - with our former neighbours, who are now living in PNG but here for a holiday and staying with family just down the street.

As we walked in the door I spied one of these babies on the wall. And promptly broke out in those goosebumps. And not in a warm fuzzy way!

Moreso our hosts were most jovial about their arachnid houseguest. "She's been here over a week" they proudly declared.

I momentarily pondered exactly how they ascertained that said spider is in fact a she but promptly moved on when met with the exclamation "She saves me having to the cobwebs as she eats little spiders and bugs!" And then started to shiver involuntarily upon hearing "I can't wait until she has babies - then we can build up our natural pest control measures"!

I am all for supporting the circle of life and all that jazz. I just prefer that the (I know harmless) huntsman spiders keep their hairy legs and beady eyes outside when I am inside and vice versa.

Needless to say it was a quickish visit. I could not get the possibility of the babies' existence out of my mind!

Thanks to Juddie for coming up with this week's topic!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Friday, July 11, 2008


Despite having a lovely day on Tuesday I am ready for the weekend!

Little B has been sick with a hacking cough which Mr B and I have both inherited in the last few days. I have become reacquainted with the middle of the night get up. I look back and wonder how did I ever manage it earlier on when Little B was really little? We have been camped out inside the house only breaking out to visit my friendly local chemist for supplies. Sadly we have had to cancel a heap of social engagements which has left me feeling a little like climbing the walls! At least it's the weather for being inside!

Being inside has given me the chance to catch up on some blog reading.

I have fallen in love with the works of Tiffany Scola at Chez Sucre Chez.

And enjoyed reading the inspirational comments following Lisa Leonard's post Bloom (there is a jewellry giveaway here too people!).

And taken such joy from Larisa's post The Trilodie an ode to her much wanted and loved 6 month old daughter Elodie!

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A good day

Very much like Cam I have had a lovely day today.

I too received flowers, from my good girlfriend Lyn for whom I hosted a baby shower this weekend just gone. They were the best kind of flowers - home delivered - entirely unexpected, uncalled for and welcomed unashamedly when I needed a real pick me up this morning!

The postman also delivered a little something out of the ordinary - a gorgeous pincushion made by the very clever Liesl of Hoppo Bumpo. My first ever blog prize - hurrah!! I love it Liesl, especially the gorgeous jewel in the middle - very luxurious!

I put it to use post haste whilst creating my first bib (yes that spotty fabric again - I have a few metres of the stuff to go!). Pretty happy with the bib although I had wanted to use some terry towelling as the absorbant middle layer but could not for the life of me sew it "straight". I feel like I am missing something major with my stretch stitching but I don't know what it is. I suspect I am going to need to get lessons in order to conquer the stretch fabric mountain.

Now if only the wet washing would hang itself and dinner cook itself - then the day would be perfecto!!!

I hope you too are having a happy Tuesday!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Here comes the rain again!

The rain falling is such a lovely sound isn't it?

After a busy few days I decided that Little B and I would have an at home day today which gave me the opportunity to actually finish a project.

You may recall I was working on a smock for my little friend Emily. Well I ran into some trouble on a number of fronts - Barry and the stretch fabric stopped co-operating and worse still I actually tried the elmo smock on Little B only to find it did not fit over his head! Which would then have required me to amend the pattern a task about which I did not feel at all confident.

Not deterred, after a bit of research I decided I would make little Em an apron. Inspired and helped along by Sew Funky's Bib Tutorial I thought I would attempt to be extra tricky and make a reversible apron.

Overall, I am pretty happy with the result. I suspect it might be a little big for 2 and a bit year old Em but she will grow into it!

Everything worked out relatively well except for the front pockets. I had initially planned to do curved U shaped pockets. In the end I could not for the life of me get the bias binding to go around the pocket smoothly. I suspect I did not cut it properly. Whilst initially I had sewed the pockets on the front before I sewed anything else, in the end I handsewed them on when the rest of the apron was done.

I am glad that I managed to get this finished as my friend Amanda has just had her baby - a little girl - Amy - so I am off to try and make some bibs! Wish me luck!

Happy Monday!

This most treasured childhood possession

I have not kept many of my childhood wares. Like Reenie-Su I did not have a blankie or a special toy.

I did have a cabbage patch kid, her name Mandy Leila. I wanted to be this doll. Blonde hair blue eyes and dimple. Sunniness and Light. But I never really bonded with her. Partly, I think due to her signed butt. I suspect that it was she and her large but hidden bald patches that introduced me to the world of scepticism and cynicism!

I still however treasure this very kitsch lamp I received from my paternal grandmother's estate. She was a flamboyant larger than life old broad who passed away when I was about 8 years of age. My paternal family is very large and my grandma did not have very much. I was very lucky to receive anything at all. It literally and in many ways figuratively shed a very positive light at a sad time. When on it sheds a very warm, cosy and magical light on the room at night. It is very comforting and lovely. It does not match the decor of my home but there is no way I can part with it.

Do head over to Tea Cups on Treetops and Threebuttons to check out some more prized childhood possessions.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

On my desk....(more than mildly disturbing)

We got some junkmail today. It's about all that is on my desk at the minute.

I casually flicked open the happy exciting fun looking Big W toy catalogue only to be confronted by this sobering picture.

Is it just me or are these masks demented and scary looking???

They remind me of the presidents' masks that the armed robbers wore in the film Point Break. ( ...Ahh Keanu - how I loved you in that film. Your first mature film role post Bill and Ted's excellent handsome and grown up....)

Happy Wednesday!