Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hooroo and Merry Christmas

We're going away and will be back before Christmas but only for long enough to re-stock the esky before we head off again.

Enjoy the festivities!

XX Gillybean

santa painting by Abby

Monday, December 14, 2009

5 minutes peace

The normally find me out here. But it takes them a bit longer so it is the one place I can go for five minutes peace. And when they find me they're happy exploring outside which means I can sneak back inside for a few more minutes peace.

The princess and the pea

Here is Abby's present before I wrap it and put it under the tree. Inspired by the one Soulemama made for her daughter.

I took a few shortcuts - I used a green glass bead for the pea and I didn't make the doll. I did make her nightie though and plan to upgrade her to a proper princess at some stage (post-Christmas definitely).

In other news, tragedy has befallen the gingerbread house. It collapsed under the weight of its own roof. Abby is refusing to believe that sometimes less is more - especially when it comes to lollies.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Amateur hour

Obviously I've never done this before. Obviously I put the 4 year old in charge of decorating.

Sugar-induced coma, anyone?

The gingerbread house kit was $10 from IKEA and the lollies were leftover from birthday cakes past.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pulling my thumb out

There's nothing like a looming Christmas deadline to cure my creative slump. Last year I took the handmade pledge and made gifts for everyone (except Uncle Jamie who is still waiting for his boxer shorts) but I'm feeling somewhat less ambitious this year.

After failing to find any suitable board short fabric (whales or pirates, honey?), I decided to make Chris the Backgammon board from the Meet Me at Mikes book. The stitching is on hold until our camping trip next week. I figure I might actually get some peace and quiet if I have a pointy needle in my hand.

The Walrus was getting a quilt for his big boy bed but that is destined to become a birthday present instead. I'm going to make him a cape like this one because he loves to dress up.

And Babs is finally getting her Princess and the Pea set. 4 mattresses down, 8 to go. I am also making her this memory game and maybe some clothes for her Cabbage Patch Kid. Maybe.

Minimalism is really working for me this year and I'm enjoying the no-fuss, no-stress build up to Christmas (and bookmarking lots of things for next year when I'm feeling more inspired!)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The flower girl

I can take full credit for the cute dress but not the cute flower girl - she was a team effort.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My place and yours - A collection

A casual observer in our home might think we collect messy noisy children. Not so. We only have two of them.

There is something else that is threatening to take over our home.

The lounge room...

the kitchen...

my bedside table....

the artiste's residence...

her little brother's room....

my sewing room...

and every available door knob.

And that's not all! I also have 2 huge tubs filled with pictures I have saved and a kitchen bench covered in pictures I haven't edited (recycled) yet. Little Rory (not yet 2) has also started presenting me with masterpieces of his very own several times a day (today's effort was a car that looked like spaghetti). We might need to buy a bigger house. Or rent an art gallery.

More collections over at Mike's.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What's hot and what's not


* Walking through purple snow to pick up Babs from kindy. The jacaranda trees are in bloom!

* Evening beach visits

* Booking a holiday complete with 5 star beachside accommodation, pool, chef, babysitter, chauffeur and housekeeper (a holiday visiting my parents means mummy gets a holiday too - that is very hot).

* Growing potatoes - there's nothing easier (and they don't need much water). And harvesting them is like digging for treasure!

* The Adelaide Brown Owls who helped me master the art of crochet. And for my next trick maybe one of these (aiming for completion by Winter 2010).

* The Stitches & Craft Show is coming to Adelaide (about time!)

* The world map wallpaper we have planned for Rory's room .

* Mango season

* The book I am reading at the moment.

* These parents. They say parenting their 7 year old schizophrenic daughter is like caring for 100 children at a time. I can only imagine.

Not hot

* What's happening to homebirth in our country.

* Handsewing. I find it quite tedious.

* Wedding rehearsal in 40 degree heat in the afternoon sun. Not hot for little flowergirls-to-be.

* Wedding dress shopping with 40,000 other Adelaideans. Queueing for hours for a changeroom. Trying on 30+ dresses and coming home with nothing.

* Having a brainwave that I should just make the dress, stopping at Spotlight on the way home to buy the fabric, spending 3 hours sewing it and trying it on only to discover I look like a sack of potatoes. Again.

* Gastro. Not hot. But a mummy with gastro is better than kids with gastro. I think. Touch wood.

That was a long list. More hot and nots over here.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Through the front door

Shelly picked a great theme this week - through the front door.

Chris hates the (ikea rainbow) rug. I love the rug. I win.

This is our front door. Only people collecting money and the postie come to the front door. Everyone we know and love comes right on in through the back door. We get so excited when someone actually rings the doorbell because it means an 'official' visitor.

Visit more lovely homes over here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Headaches and heart palpitations

Headaches and heart palpitations in my creative space this week.

...heart palpitations as I cut into some fancy fabric (I finally started the dress and have even completed the bodice!)

...and i'm not blaming this little boy entirely for the
headaches but he is the reason I haven't been in my creative space much this week.
The headaches are the other reason.


It's feast or famine in our veggie patch and at the moment we're feasting on beetroot, broccoli, celery you need razor sharp teeth to eat, potatoes, lettuce and rocket. So. Much. Rocket. Here is my trusty repertoire of rocket recipes so your veggie patch doesn't end up looking like mine -

Risoni, Chickpea and Sweet Potato Salad (a Delicious recipe from a few years ago)

800g sweet potato (or pumpkin)
1 tbs honey
1 cup risoni pasta
400g can chickpeas, rinsed + drained
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 cups rocket
2 tbs lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 200 and lightly oil a baking dish. Peel the sweet potato and cut into small cubes. Toss with honey and a little olive oil and roast until tender (about 40 mins in my dodgy oven). Meanwhile, cook the risoni then toss everything together. You can serve it warm or wait for everything to cool before assembling and eating.

it looks like the picture so I must've done something right

Spaghetti with uncooked tomato, rocket and olive sauce (easiest recipe ever, thanks Jamie Oliver)

500g pasta
5 ripe tomatoes
2 handfuls of fresh basil
a good handful of black or green olives
2 handfuls of rocket
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (is there a J.O recipe that doesn't have balsamic vinegar in it?)
6 tbsp olive oil

Cook the pasta. Chop everything. Add one spoonful of the water from the pasta and toss everything together in a large bowl. The heat from the pasta will cook the tomatoes.

The rocket pesto I made wasn't so yummy so I won't share the recipe. To be fair, the recipe called for 1/3 basil, 1/3 watercress, 1/3 rocket and I just used rocket (so much rocket so little basil!). Had I followed the recipe it might've been edible. Luckily we had bread to fill up on instead.

Monday, November 9, 2009

4589 and other sewing related news

Here is version 8.0 of the Simplicity 4589 pattern I love so much. I saw a top very similar to this in Witchery and was tempted to buy it before remembering my pledge and gasping when I looked at the $99 price tag. So I made my own. And saved myself $97 (the fabric is from an op shop) which I invested in a new skirt instead (see picture). I'm proud to say this is the first new item of clothing I have bought since the 1st of July.

I have also been wearing it with the spring ruffle top I made a few weeks ago.

This folks is called procrastination. Remember that flowergirl dress I'm supposed to be sewing for that wedding in less than 3 weeks? Yeah. Still not started.

My motivation for finishing the flowergirl dress is that when I'm done I can start on a quilt for Rory's big boy bed. That, and I don't want to be responsible for bridezilla showing up at the wedding instead of my lovely sister-in-law-to-be.

Armed with these two Kokka fabrics I hit the Quilt + Craft Fair yesterday and bought all this. Boys are hard. Spots. Stripes. That's it. Still, I did have some success (so much so I had to ring Chris mid-shop to put more money into my account!)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

My secret weapon

Here he is in the stripey top.

Initially I was thinking it would be Oprah or a glass of wine or my favourite blogs or a good book or my sewing room or a deep bubble bath from time to time or my daily walks but ultimately this bloke is the one who keeps me sane through this whole raising young kids shenanigan. My secret weapon. Mr Reliable, Mr Dependable, Mr Conservative. And yes, all those traits I love about him are also the ones that drive me crazy (he is also Mr 100-no's- before-saying-yes and Mr Reluctant-to-try-anything-new).

Shhh he doesn't read my blog so we'll just keep this moment of lovey-dovey-ness between us, shall we?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Creative Space

I've been sitting on the couch of an evening watching movies with Chris and sewing the binding on some place mats (the wedding present). 3 place mats down and 3 to go (geez hand sewing takes forever). So far this week we've watched Angela's Ashes (oh! depressing!) and some documentary about 9/11 (also depressing!). It might be time for something a bit happier tonight.

Abby has been busy in her creative space too. It looks like this by the end of most days. I think she was making love hearts here...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Clever stain removal

Most of my clothes are a patchwork of baby vomit, greasy finger, playgroup paint, red wine and cooking splatter stains. And sadly for the clothes it means they get automatically downgraded to workout wear (hey, I'm moving so fast people can't see the stains).

We use a garden-friendly 'eco' washing powder (I forget the name and I'm not getting off the couch to look) and the sun to clean our clothes but these methods seem to be failing me so I've invented a new stain removal technique. It is environmentally-friendly and is guaranteed to remove any kind of stain.

This is what you need to do -

* First, rescue your former favourite t-shirt from the workout wear pile.
* Then locate the stains on your garment. How big are the stains and how many are there?
* Next, go to your nearest op-shop and find the 'assorted random vintage lace, napkin and doily basket.' You may need to hunt for it as it is often in an obscure place.
* Pick out your favourites and pay the lady for your doilies and all the other things you didn't come for but are going home with you anyway.
* Take your lovely doilies home and wash them. Then iron some interfacing onto the reverse side (this step is optional but probably makes them easier to sew on).
* Next, play around with the doilies until you find an arrangement which hides all the stains and is also aesthetically pleasing.
* Then pin them on your t-shirt and sew away. I just go around and around in circles.
* Ta da! No more stains. It's like you're wearing a brand new top.

Now don't try and get fancy here and add any buttons because yikes! you will look like this.

Quick remove the buttons.

That's better. So pretty!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

That's more like it

My knitting seems to be improving. Here is my latest dishcloth. Moss stitch. Probably shoulda used it to clean the sink before I took the photo.

If only my knitting had reached this level of impressiveness before I participated in the washcloth swap. The one I sent to Mands was, I'm afraid, rather ordinary. But the deadline was looming and I was already onto attempt #368 (or thereabouts). The pattern I used required some counting and concentration - something I have trouble with because I am very rarely in an environment where I can knit without distractions (this is why).

The ones I received from Liz were far from ordinary. They are lovely and even match our bathroom (she did some research!) Lucky me.

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