Friday, June 21, 2013

frost, fog and fires

Our house, usually so warm, actually felt a little cold this morning. Outside was a white blanket of frost and fog, which always lends a certain cosiness to staying inside by the fire. A chilly minus 7 on the temperature gauge, which is probably the coldest we've seen yet this year.

With the weather braved (to think I used to fear the cold weather!) and school drop-offs and outdoor assemblies done, I'm happily ready for a morning of a few hot drinks, pottering around cleaning up and weaving in the last ends of my just finished Tea Leaves cardigan.

The fire is slowly burning, and I don't think there is any other place I would rather be right now.

May your Friday be a pleasant (and hopefully warm) one.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

finding time for crafting

There are times, many times, where I wonder if I will ever have the time, or even the inclination to want to do any kind of crafting again. Projects can sit on the backburner for quite some time while life and all it's daily list of things to do seem to mount up. Between all the daily jobs to do, the dishes to wash, the meals to make and the demands of being a mother, it can be so hard to find even just a little time to set aside. I have gone through many a day planning a crafting hour for the afternoon. Only to discover that other, supposedly more pressing matters end up taking it's place. Things do come up, and days don't often go to plan. So crafting goes by the wayside.

Lately I have begun to revolve my day a little more around the crafting side of things. Funnily enough the other things are still getting done. I think the difference has been to prioritise it just a little a bit more. So I have managed to set aside a half hour here and there to do a little knitting, a half hour to trace and cut out a pattern. It's often not a lot that gets done, but a little everyday (everyday being the key word here) can add up to something substantial over the course of a week. It's not only the crafty achievement at hand here, but the act of doing something just a little creative, and the satisfaction that that brings. It not only feels good to be partway to ticking something off the list, but also to have just that little chunk of time to yourself (which makes toddler napping time a good time to devote to a little crafting, no one to jump on the knitting!).

Days may be busy and time may be tight at times, but I know that I will not magically have that time if I don't find the time for it. It hasn't been easy to change my way of thinking, and moving crafting up in the list of priorities, because there is that old guilt of crafting. It can feel like an indulgent way to spend time. No matter how practical the project may be, I have found it hard to shake that guilt of doing craft when there might be floors needing to be swept or washing to fold.

So I am learning to take Rhonda's (of Down to Earth) advice on viewing sewing and knitting as a part of housework and not a just a hobby. By seeing crafting as a necessity for myself, I no longer feel bound to my old attitude of housework. Craft can most certainly be a daily part of (busy) life.

Do you get crafting guilt too?
How do you find the time?

Monday, June 17, 2013

sniffle season

The season of sniffles has well and truly arrived in these parts. With two out of three kids succumbing to it during the past week, we had a house full of hankies, steam and a variety of concoctions on the kitchen bench. Not that it has totally passed, but now only the littlest member is still sniffly and grumpy. Such is life with kids though, and colds and the flu tend to come and go quite easily at this time of year. Night time coughs can certainly wear the whole family down, and we've had some of that this week too.

Our usual treatment for coughs and colds is to tend to let nature run it's course. Helped along by the occasional honey and lemon drink (preferably raw honey, lemon juice and just boiled water, somehow easier to drink with a spoon), an immune booster (I had Astro Plex on hand this time, which contains echinacea and olive leaf extract) and Comvita Children's Manuka Honey Elixer. Crushed garlic in honey is also a remedy I've used in the past.

We've always found steam vaporisers to be quite handy for croupy or dry coughs, or even a pot on top of the combustion stove. Sometimes we add a few drops of eucalyptus oil. A chest rub is a good idea too, especially just before bed. I quite like Tinderbox Breathe Easy Chest Rub.

For coughs it is always handy to have something natural on hand to treat it. The best we have found is Nin Jiom, a traditional Chinese herbal cough medicine (I find this mixture quite addictive when I've been sick!). Of course the propped up pillow is not to underestimated either.

Meat broths made from chicken or beef bones are also excellent for the immune system. We went through quite a bit of that this week. It's always useful to have some put away in the freezer. For once I had some on hand. I am not usually so organized.

The traditional Chinese medicine lady that we went for for several years recommended special herbal powders, a plain rice diet, warm socks, herbal tea with sour plum, oil rubs and often a few acupuncture needles. I do remember that it was quite effective.

Most viruses tend to run their course, do their bit at boosting the immune system, and go away on their own. There are times though, where painkillers such as Panadol have been resorted to, or a visit to the doctor has been necessary. Thankfully though this is not very often.

Of course it is always helpful to remember that saying "this too shall pass".

Books I refer to often:
The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care
The Green Pharmacy
The Herbal for Mother and Child (though you might need a comprehensive herb garden for this one)

How do you treat coughs, colds etc?
What treatments do you find to be effective?
Do you have any interesting concoctions to share?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

big skirt little skirt

I think it was the pieces of lace and velvet ribbon that hatched the idea for these little winter skirts. A recent op shop visit had revealed a rather large stash of old cottons and haberdashery pieces, and so of course I had to come home with some (but not all, I am slowly teaching myself to share the op shop love around).

Sometimes the most enjoyable projects are centred around the smallest of details, and I think that was the case here.

A rummage through the stash of fabrics I had revealed a possibly suitable fabric, a vintage plaid, a mixture of which I believe to be wool and cotton. It was just a touch too thin for our cold wintery conditions, and I really did want this to be a winter skirt.  I luckily found a complementary cotton print, an Anna Maria Horner one that I had been waiting to use for the right time. I used this as the underskirt.

It all sewed up quite quickly with the two pieces of skirt being attached within the elastic casing. Carefully pinning this part was a must. I used one selvedge piece for Violet's skirt, while Julia's was about one and a half pieces. I originally used two selvedge pieces for Julia's, but I had to change that because it became way too thick and bunched up. So there was some unpicking and cutting involved.

But all is well that ends well, and I think the girls are both happy to have matching little skirts for winter. I was never one much for the matching thing, but it is sweet to see every now and then, and certainly one that the girls seem to enjoy, for now, anyway.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

on a tuesday morning

Hello! It's been a little time, hasn't it? I'm sorry if you came back here last week and there were no new posts past Monday. Last week consisted of winter bugs, an uncharged camera, and getting ready for long weekend family visitors. But I have missed this little space, and regularly updating it, so let us hope that life is a little more blog friendly this week. I think it will be.

Meanwhile I have been working on my Tea Leaves cardigan every chance I get. I made a mistake with the sleeve decreases and had to unravel most of the sleeve. It was not as painful as it sounds. Perhaps I am gaining a little knitting patience. I have a big line up of projects this season, so the sooner this is finished the sooner I can get stuck into those others. A long list can be quite motivational.

It's been pretty freezing here, with white, white frosts and the fire on around the clock. Which probably makes it no surprise that we've got a few sniffly kids, and so it will be an at home day today. It is feeling like not such a bad thing to be sitting here still in my daggy dressing gown and sipping rather than gulping that morning coffee down.

Hoping that you all had a pleasant long weekend.

Monday, June 3, 2013

crafty plans

This past weekend we travelled to our nearest Spotlight store and I had a few enjoyable hours of checking out yarn and fabric rolls and flicking through a few crafty books. Thankfully, both the dress fabric and yarn were on sale. Always a good thing to point out to the patient husband. I felt a little extra organized this time around because I brought a notebook in which I had written down yarn and fabric requirements for the projects I'd like to attempt this winter. Of course it was only a few patterns in the end that I managed to find suitable fabric and yarn for, not the least because I did have a budget to stick to. Not to mention the tired toddler that only wanted to be held by me.

I thought you might like to see what I came back with. First on my list to make now is the Wiksten Tova, and I thought the raspberry plaid cotton would be perfect. The olive paisley cotton poplin I can see being made into a Darling Ranges dress, which should be good for layering. The grey floral with tiny strawberries will likely become a Sunki for Julia. Of course I am only hoping that I will have more time for sewing than I've had lately. My corner of the sewing room has been sadly neglected of late.

As for the yarn, I came home with some lovely Cleckheaton mustard yellow and I am hoping to turn it into a Fisherman's Pullover for Violet. The blue ModaVera will hopefully become a My Honey cardigan for Julia. Goodness, I am going to be busy. That is a lot of yarn.

Do you have any winter crafty plans?