Thursday, December 29, 2011

the holiday tonic

The best part of a holiday, to my mind, is to not have very much of anything to do. Not having to be anywhere. Of being in your dressing gown until eleven.  Eating trifle for breakfast.  Or (leftover) ham sandwiches for dinner if you feel like it.

And though a family of five ensures that there is always something to do,  there is certainly a lot less to do. Many more moments of just being together. For it is the quieter times that allow us to reconnect with each other, don't you think?

I will be away from this space for at least a few days. So I will wish you all a happy new year now. Thank you all for your support, comments and reading over the past (not quite) year. I started this blog in March this year, not knowing if anyone would be interested in reading the day to day in our family life that is the inspiration for this blog. I have been blown away by so many kind comments, new friendships made and the support of the blogging community. Though I am often unable to answer all comments personally, please know that I do truly appreciate each and every comment. Next year I hope to keep up with my emails a little better, I promise!

See you all in 2012. Thank you!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

the other side

Well, here we are on the other side of christmas. Happy. Recuperating. Relaxing. A teeny bit heavier.

This year it was a small family gathering. There were presents (which I am making note of not to wrap the night before ever again). This year presents were mainly books and things to do. Such as a knitting kit or a guitar. We steered away from toys for the older two this year.

There was food. Quite a lot of it. Pork with crackling, gravy and apple sauce. Baked ham. Peas and prosciutto. All finished off with trifle and pavlova. We tend to go the traditional christmas dinner here.

I think every year of christmas can be a learning curve. Of finding and developing your own traditions. Though several christmas' have taken place in our house, I like to reflect on how different each one has been for us. The sights, sounds, food and company. All weaving together to create the future memories for our children.

Thank you all for your christmas wishes over the past few posts. Each and every one was appreciated. So sorry I did not get to thank you all personally. Wishing you all a restorative and relaxing week!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

a christmas video

... or, rather, what the kid's get up to when Mum's not around! Hoping that your day was a merry one indeed.

Friday, December 23, 2011

the holiday mode

School holidays have been in full force for a week now. I would be fibbing if I said it had been an easy, calm, relaxing week. But in between those moments, there has been a little present making, a little drawing and creating. I often find that first week can be one of adjustment. From the midst of decluttering (what crazy person declutters before christmas?) our holiday mode is beginning to emerge. The dreaded grocery shop is done and the cook within is reawakening (thank goodness). We have a full pantry and two fridges full. Of ham, pork, prawns and all those christmasy things.

Wishing you all a wonderful christmas full of family, food and friends. Taking a few days out with family to prepare for and celebrate the day. See you all next week!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

cards and envelopes

 In light of yesterdays post, I did manage to get the cards and envelopes done. Black cardboard, brown paper, old Frankie mags, glue and my new stamp kit. And I do admit, that it was a little fun.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

the handmade christmas dilemma

( I wrote this post last week but somehow didn't get around to posting it at the time.)

At this time of year I have lists. Many lists in my head. Things I want to make. Presents. Cake. Biscuits. Knitted coasters. There doesn't seem to be a beginning or end to this list. Where the time was supposed to come from I don't know. Some items have been duly ticked off the list. Advent calender done. Cards done. But the undone list is far greater. I have to confess that I've started avoiding christmas making blog posts. Kind of crazy when that is what I've been posting about too.  Don't get me wrong, I love christmas. But I think I'm suffering from a little case of christmas guilt. However, simple and guilt don't go too well in a sentence together.

I sit here typing at the end of a long day. Teachers gifts were baked. Wrapping paper stamped. Cupcakes for concert supper iced and wrapped. A rushed dinner and a school concert to attend. Dishes are piled in the sink and rice is all over the floor. I hear snoring in the next room and I'm tired. I haven't done tomorrows advent calender note. My mind is starting to feel numb despite the coffee.

Which makes me wonder if a handmade christmas is really making our lives simpler. Probably not. On one hand there is immense joy in seeing what a little time and creativity can produce.  For we didn't only give them stuff, but we gave them something made with our own hands, hopefully to be treasured by the recipient. On the other hand, these handmade items take time to make. Time that we may not have. Precious time that might have been spent with our family members.

I think what I'm looking for is a little balance. I need to know where to draw the line. Where to go the extra mile and make something, and when to fall back on something bought. In an ideal world we would have time to make all these handcrafted items. But we live in the real world where there is work to do, kids to take to school and houses to clean.

So I'm going to try to go easy on myself and do what I can do.  Knowing that time is precious, but should also not be rushed. Remembering to spend time on the things that really matter. Sometimes that doesn't mean making something. Sacrificing sanity for the sake of making everything is not worth it in the scheme of things.

This year the reality is that the handmade presents are a little few and far between. There were some, but time didn't allow me to do all I wanted. But what I did buy was from local small businesses, which I did feel good about. A little money injected into the local economy can't be a bad thing. With a few online purchases thrown into the mix, because you can't get everything in town.

I feel like a kind of load has been taken off. For now I can concentrate on getting a start on the christmas menu. Keep it simple, I keep reminding myself.

Does anyone else struggle with this handmade christmas dilemma?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

the snake

We had a little drama here over the weekend. I thought Julia's picture story would give you a rough idea (though please excuse Luca's added comment bubble) Daniel saw our younger dog Sootie with a snake. A brown snake. And right in out driveway next to the house where I unload the car. I know. How freaky. She had attacked the snake and then ran off to hide. After the snake was taken care of, we examined Sootie, and though she was running around like normal we could tell that something wasn't quite right.

Luckily the vet was available for such an emergency and he met Daniel and the kids at his surgery. After warning us of the high veterinary bill at the end of it all.  A blood test confirmed that she had indeed been bitten. Her blood was no longer clotting.

So she had her various sedation, anti-reaction and anti-venom shots. Thankfully she pulled through. We picked her up the next day. With a lighter bank balance, but knowing that we did the right thing. Grateful that it happened when Daniel was home.

There is always a danger of snakes in the bush. Our village is right in the bush, near a river. We live in their environment, so sightings are inevitable. But it is concerning and frightening to see a deadly snake right next to your house. Right where the kids often play. Where you unload the shopping.
The lesson we are learning in all this is to always be careful where you tread. To always wear shoes. And never leave doors open.

Have you had a snake experience?

Friday, December 16, 2011


  1. last years Etsy houses
  2. " "
  3. making cuppuccinos
  4. new wool
  5. chocolate fairy cakes with vanilla cream and icing
  6. a wonky heart
  7. from the garden
  8. last years stockings and yes I did accidentally make them them face the wrong way
  9. a start on the christmas cake
  10. her sisters dolly

Thursday, December 15, 2011

the portfolio tunic

 I recently took a little stroll in the local shops. Just to look. I spotted a very pretty, sheer top. Probably the only thing in the store to catch my eye. But the hefty price tag and country of origin prevented me from trying it on. I love clothes, but I could see that my only real option here was to start making some things on my own. Besides, the breastfeeding wardrobe was getting frustratingly limiting, with most pre-baby tops displaying a gaping button.

It has been a long, long time between sewing projects of the adult clothing sort around here. In fact, I've only ever made two things for myself in my whole sewing life.

I'd had the Portfolio Lisette pattern for some time. I chose the tunic length in the size 10, but in the end needed to take the upper sides in 1-2cm. This project was really a test run, to try and get the sizing right before cutting into bought fabric. And if I could wear it in the end - well, that would be a bonus.

The fabric was an op shopped rayon that I had sitting around. Though the tunic was detailed and with interesting features to the blouse, I found the pattern instructions very thorough. Though I wouldn't say it was easy,  re-reading and re-reading made it a do-able project for someone like me who is not what you would call "experienced". 

I didn't have any iron-on interfacing, so I used some scrap cotton, which did create a little more work and probably bulked up those seams a little bit more.

Please don't look to closely at the wonky stitching. But I made it and actually wore it which is an achievement in itself.

 It had it's first outing to our school concert last night. So here it is in a disheveled, wrinkled state, post concert. You can tell I've been sitting most of the night. Definitely not the greatest photo in the world, but I thought you might like to see it on.

I'm quite excited at the prospect of making some more items for a summer wardrobe. Does any one have any suggestions for good patterns?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

class cards

Every year the kid's usually bring a few christmas cards for a few classmates (actually I did forget last year, it seems I was too busy having a baby). This year I thought we would make them together. Perfect opportunity to use the new stamp set.

Firstly we tore a few christmas type pages out of a magazine. Using an envelope template (you can find a similar one here) we cut these into envelope shapes. Folded and with the ends glued we were ready to go.

A simple card was made from A4 paper folded into four. A simple stamp on the front and then the kid's wrote a greeting.

A strip of brown paper on the front for a name.

Closed with a piece of pretty tape.


Wishing you all a pleasant Wednesday.