Friday, August 31, 2012

a day in the life

I really had forgotten just what interesting little people toddlers were. Interesting as in their constant curiosity, patience testing,  their understanding of far more than they can say, the tantrum throwing and above all, how endearing they can be.

We don't really have a routine as such in the formal sense, as I was never a fan of routines. But our days do generally have a similar flow to them. The majority are spent at home, which tends to suit this little one. Breakfast with the kids before school, a midday nap, which may or may not be before lunch. School pick up and a slightly more hectic afternoon after that. In between all that there is play, but not usually with toys. It is much more fun to play with Mum's purse, try on Mum's jewelry or dance to music. We get outside to hang out the washing in the afternoon sunshine, and there is often a bike ride or two around the yard. And as much as I thought I would not, I will admit that there has been an old Dora dvd making an appearance lately. Sometimes you just need that 10 minutes to sit down and have a coffee to feel like yourself again.

Squirting herself and the windows with water, washing windows with a sock and tucking herself into bed to read my book are all in a days work for this busy little girl.

Wishing you all a very good weekend.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

mend it

I never thought it would be possible to be so inspired by a book on, of all things, mending. I'm sure most of us mend from time to time, even if it's just replacing a button. I mend sporadically. In that I let a huge pile of mending build up and then finally, after much procrastination, I start to make my way through it.  I can't say that I've ever really enjoyed it.

But to be creatively inspired to mend, and to actually look forward to getting stuck into that pile? Mend it Better is full of little projects and tips to turn mended patches into works of art, to lengthen hems with a patchwork effect or to cover stains with pretty applique. All with a certain charm.

Though my mending is pretty basic so far, and certainly not of the highest standard, I'm embracing that simple, homespun look.  Holes in the knees are often an issue around here, and though I have patched in the past, like way back here, I'm enjoying adding hand stitching to that process. Sitting down and slowly handstitching can be likened to the experience of knitting.

And although not from this book, but reflecting a similar essence of frugal creativity, I took a holey hand knitted jumper, originally op shopped, chopped it up a bit, and added some Liberty print bias binding. I had seen similar from Tiny Happy, and always wanted to try it. Though my work is hardly as neat and suffice to say, it was not my finest bias binding moment. I may have done better to use a felted jumper in the first place, but it is amazing what a hot iron can do.

It does feel good to have an empty basket in my sewing room once again.  Just as good as returning these items back into their rightful cupboard. That with a little effort they will live to see at least another season.

Wishing you all a pleasant Thursday.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

eight little things

  1. The new dress (New Look 6805) I've been working on. Lot's of unpicking and re-sewing to get the right fit. Still without zipper. I spent the good part of an afternoon carefully basting and sewing in an zipper, only to discover it had a fault in the middle teeth.  I've decided to take the plunge with an invisible zipper.
  2. Cheery mustard yellow wool from the op shop.
  3. Amused that I just can't seem to keep this one out of the crystal cabinet.  I'm finding odd little collections stashed in there. Still meaning to implement the rod system a few of you suggested.
  4. Orange yoghurt and polenta cake from this book.
  5. The golden glow of the afternoon light.
  6. Napkins kept out in a basket make for easy access.
  7. We've been enjoying lots of salads from the garden of late. Rocket and Russian kale are the only things growing like crazy in the garden right now. Particularly good when topped with egg, either poached or boiled, and a mustardy dressing.
  8. A little applique to brighten up some plain tops for Violet. I like to use that adhesive paper when using knit fabric as it just holds it all together nicely.

What little things have you been enjoying this week?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Picnics used to fill me with secret dread. Not the picnic itself. But the preparation, the thought of making food the night before, when you really didn't feel like spending Saturday night cooking up a storm. Our picnics, when we lived in Wollongong, used to be big (Italian) family affairs, so a full hamper of cooked food was pretty much standard. Schnitzels, zuppli and savoury tarts were typical picnic food.

Our picnics these days tend to be much simpler affairs. I like to cook extra the night before so we usually take leftovers with us. If not, much can be done with some homemade bread, fresh salad from the garden, cheese and preserves. On this picnic I'd made a big batch of last minute pizza (no yeast, just plain flour, olive oil, salt and water, rolled ultra thin) the night before. Topped with a tomato base, then sparsely topped with chorizo sausage, mushrooms, onion and then cheese. Cooked at the hottest temperature possible.

So on this Sunday we headed out, where we'd gone before. It was the first Sunday in a long time that we'd actually felt like going out into the mountains. Proof of a subtle shift in our long, cold Winter.  After passing the 4WD only sign (which always fills me with a nervous, point of no return feeling) it was a long, steep, narrow winding drive, and I tried my best not to look over the edge at the huge drop offs.  The road was far worse than we remembered, a result of the rains a few months back. But Daniel quite enjoyed the challenge.

From way up on the mountain we saw that the valley was framed with golden trees. And when we drove in we saw flowering Wattle everywhere. I'd never fully appreciated just how beautiful these trees can be in their natural habitat. Being a different season, we'd missed this display last year.

So we ate our pizza, we ate scones and we drank some coffee from the thermos. The older kids ran off, and almost made contact with a black snake, obviously fresh out of hibernation, but just as keen as them to get away. We skimmed rocks on the river. But mostly we ran after Violet, who was having an absolute ball.

It was one bumpy start of casting on for my Tea Leaves cardigan. I'd call it extreme knitting, and would not recommend it if you were prone to car sickness. Luckily I'm not.

We're hoping it was the first of many picnics this Spring.

Friday, August 24, 2012

the wimpy kid and pippi longstocking

 As a kid I loved those dress up book weeks. I remember all the various dress ups, such as Little Red Riding Hood. Or the embarrassing year I had to go as a robot, in a hand-me-down outfit from last year (which one kid recognized and pointed out). But I think the biggest secret (or not so secret) aspect of Book Week is the huge stress on the parents that is putting together an outfit of the chosen book character.

I bumped into several mums in town also hunting high and low for white shirts, stripey socks, brown hats or whatever the case may be.

I had a sewing pattern all ordered for Julia, but it didn't arrive in time, and so one day before the event we were back to the drawing board. Not without a sense of relief, as I had envisioned an entire night of sewing for Snow White and her voluminous dress. Flicking through Julia's books, I thought we could pull off a last minute Pippi Longstocking. In the end we did manage using what we had on hand.

Our Wimpy Kid was easy enough once we found a white shirt in the op shop. With Dad playing hair stylist that morning.

Thank goodness for black texta. Wimpy kid logos and striped socks were drawn in that morning.

Of course it all tends to come together on the day.

The parade was full of colourful characters. The Man From Snowy River,  a boy as Mrs Trunchbull from Matilda, another Pippi Longstocking and Paddington Bear, to name a few.

There was morning tea to eat and drink and then books to look at. I believe I'm guilty of having just as much fun as the kids searching through this years titles. 

I guess you never really grow out of the joy that is a beautifully written and illustrated children's book.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

autumn leaves

Autumn Leaves for Violet was finished just in time for a fleeting glimpse of Spring like weather this morning. Knitted from a variegated wool and alpaca blend, it came out beautifully soft. Most versions I'd seen of this were knitted in up in a much smaller size, so I was quite surprised to see such a very pronounced A-Line shape develop. Almost like a cardigan dress. Unlike the fully buttoned pattern I only utilised the top two buttons, as it was a little snug in the chest. But I think the length will tie it over for quite some time.

I have to admit that it was a bit of a challenging project with it's leaf pattern. I hadn't really attempted anything like that before and in the end I gave up following the exact stitches (I believe I was a few stitches short or over, I'm not quite sure) and attempted to follow the pattern in a more instinctive way.  Which kind of worked out in the end.

Violet put her arms out to try it on when I brought it to her. Which makes me quite happy to have my hand knitting so well received. She wanted her hair done in a pony tail just like her big sister this morning. She also loves to run away.

Details from Ravelry here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

it whistles

Our kettle broke down over a month ago now. Like the one before that, and the one before that, and the one before that, it just stopped working. It's one of those appliances I've never had much luck with. You could add toasters and washing machines to that list too. Please don't start me on washing machines.

So I went online and began researching different kettles. I read pages of reviews. Most seemed to point to the same conclusion. That you could buy a cheap plastic kettle, or a more attractive, rather expensive one, but basically they both had the same reliability.

In my searches I stumbled across Simplex kettles, still manufactured in the UK. Of course I had to investigate further. It turned out to be the one kettle I found with constantly glowing reviews.

Of course the very big difference is that she sits on the stovetop and is not electric. And she whistles. Just like the ones you might remember when you were a kid. Maybe you still have one. But it is quite a new thing around here, and is still quite a novelty. She does take a little longer to boil, but I don't mind that. I like to think it's another way of slowing down in this faster paced world.

I ordered the chrome, as opposed to the higher maintenance copper. A quick wipe down and she is shiny as new.

She did cost a pretty penny, but I have a feeling she will outlast her disposable counterparts. Likely several times over.

I've started drinking tea again.

By the way, this is not a sponsored post, I just really like my kettle. Do you remember the old whistling kettles? Do you have one? Do you have luck with kettles?