Monday, August 31, 2009

Knock knock

Who's there?


Boo who?

Why are you so sad?

Repeat. Again. Again. Again. Again...

My 4 year old has discovered knock knock jokes. Well, I should say joke. It's been wearing thin for a while now and mummy and daddy don't know many knock knock jokes.

But we appear to have moved on...

So how do you know that an elephant is hiding in your fridge?

And why did the chicken cross the road?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Farbenmix Olivia hoodie

12 months in the making.

This time last year I hadn't sewn with knits. They frightened and intimidated me. I'm sure that they didn't mean to; they just did. I have been sewing for nearly 30 years and it is only since hanging around with the Crafty Mamas that I have discovered this amazing previously hidden world of Euro fabrics, boutique patterns and of course knits. It has been amazing (and expensive)

So a year ago when I announced "I'm Tas and I'm afraid of knit fabrics", the gals rallied and offered huge amounts of help and wisdom. The Farbenmix Olivia pattern was generally recommended as a good beginner's knit pattern. So I bought it, traced it out, then promptly sat it aside and went on to make knit PJs, tees, even an Antonia.

Last night someone posted in a year old thread where I had announced my intent to sew an Olivia so I ignored my sewing "to do" list today and whipped one up. Super fast, super easy and oh, so super cute!

Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009
The hood is so gorgeous!

Little Boozle 2009

Miss Maisy Mae refused to try it on (true to form) So I told her that she could have her milk once she had tried it on and showed daddy. So the PJs came off, on went the top and off she went. Daddy got a 2 second look then she was peeling it off. At least she met her end of the bargain...

Little Boozle 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I love rainy days

But not as much as I used to...

Mainly because most days I have to actually have get out of my piggy-piggy-jam-jams, put on a bra and make myself presentable to the world. That's what comes of having just 1 of your kids start school.

I'd much prefer to stay in my jammies with an everlasting cup of coffee in my hand pottering while the rain hammered down outside and I knew that I didn't have to walk 3 kids to and from school under threat of complete saturation in spite of a Dorothy raincoat, Thomas raincoat and a Spiderman umbrella.

So today's forecast was cold and rainy weather, possibly progressing to thunderstorms. On a Saturday. With no commitments. At all. Yeah, baby!

So I decided to have a cooking day. Vegetable soup for dinner. With freshly made bread. Cooking a cheesecake with the kids for dessert. Strawberry icecream cos we, like, need a 2nd dessert. And, just because I was on a roll and hadn't quite used every utensil in the house, I'll try some jam wheels as well for the freezer.

JAS 2009
The smell of the strawberry syrup for the icecream was absolutely divine!

Which reminds me, hands up everyone who has one of what I call "the local ladies cookbooks"? For me, a Tassie girl, I have the Central cookery book and the Esk Valley cookbook. And I have a Country Women's Association one too. My mother-in-law also gave my the Breastfeeding Association one. I may have it completely wrong but I just feel that these books have decades of recipes shared by family and friends that are tried and true. One of those old-fashioned traditions that I hope may long continue so that I get to buy those books or hand mine down to my daughter and/or sons.

Add to that some washing and puppet plays by the kids and the only shortfall is that my daily exercise regime demands a bra. For the comfort and safety of me, the furniture and any family members that are within a 10 metre radius. Having breast fed 3 babies, I can't be sure of which direction my boobs might go if left unsupervised

But then I had a shower and got straight back into my jammies at 3pm, made another cup of coffee and watched the rain out of the window.

Now if I can just get some sewing done, my day will be complete. Oh, and given that the tooth fairy has been here for a visit this week, I wouldn't mind if the "washing up and cleaning up the kitchen" fairy could drop by on her way past too...

JAS 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Keyka Lou patterns- Belted Tote bag

No bias binding in sight!

Ah! Today I feel much better. This lovely bag was easy to whip up, I didn't have to unpick ANYTHING and there was no bias binding necessary.

Keyka Lou on etsy has some great little bag patterns. I have made her Pixie bag previously and have her Garden Party Wristlet bag in my sights. Fun, fun, fun!

Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009
It was made with a button which a replaced with a cute little buckle from my odds and sods stash.

Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009

While I appreciate that such a professional, photoshopped photo may have you in awe, I feel that I should also post the "real" shot...See, in real life, I don't look like a super model...and I wear my slippers everywhere that I can without embarrassing my kids!..

Little Boozle 2009

I aim to have a bag to match every pair of tracky daks that I own!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wired Up designs- the Jenny bag

Putting my sewing "L" plates back on...

Don't get me wrong- this is a really cute reversible little bag and a great pattern. Comprehensive with lots of photos and really it is the simplest of why did it take me more than 2 days (not real time "2 days"; I mean "the sewing that you fit in around 3 kids and domestic necessities type of 2 days"; but still significant amount of time given the simplicity of the bag)

I have a new enemy and it goes by the name of bias binding.

I loved making the Mod Kids Kyoko even with all that bias binding but there were few and gentle curves involved with that. This involves putting bias around the bag edge evenly; encompassing 4 layers of fabric plus interfacing. And expecting a neat result. First time. Well, OK , second time will do. Please on the third time...maybe the saying is "The 4th time's the charm"?...and so it went on. Even my dear husband who tends not to notice any specifics of my sewing said last night "Are you unpicking that AGAIN?"

I am a bit of a neat freak with regards to my sewing. So I feel frustrated when I can't get a good result. The result I finally got will do as it is for personal use and I wont let anyone look at it too closely (tee, hee).

But don't you hate it, when after so much experience sewing (in my case nearly 30 years) you just can't get something right and it makes you feel like a complete beginner? It wasn't even like I was learning something really new or challenging.

So, anyhow, Mr (or Ms) Bias Binding. We shall meet again. Be afraid. Be very afraid!

Meanwhile, she tucks her tail firmly between her legs and slinks off to find something really easy to sew...

Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009

Very carefully selected close up shot where the bias binding looks pretty darn good!

Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

And my husband thinks that I am a hoarder!

Everything but the kitchen sink.

I went to check in on my daughter (aged 2) tonight and was confronted by this:

JAS 2009

I think that she was in there somewhere.

She has always had a need to hoard things in her bed ever since we moved her into it about 6 months ago.

But this was the biggest pile of "valuables" yet.

And, of course, I just had to write them all down.

Yes, I'm anal like that. Sorry!

So just for the record, this is what was in her bed this evening:

1 regular pillow
2 small pillows
1 doona
1 cot blanket
1 muslin wrap
1 fleecy blanket
2 inflatable dolphins (of course. What 2 year old could sleep without an inflatable dolphin of each colourway in her bed?)
1 crocodile xylophone
1 ball toy
1 tee shirt
1 fairy dress
8 books
1 girl's baby carrier
1 bag (containing 4 more books)
2 more bags
1 roll of masking tape (oh, go on; you know you want to-ask me!...This is the tape we use to tape her nappies on as she still tries to pull them off every night)
1 music box
1 yoyo toy
handful of wipes (you never know when you'll need them in the middle of the night; usually she snavels the whole box)
1 teddy bear
1 doll
2 doll's blankets
6 soft toys
(ta daaaaaa!)
1 hair clip
oh, and you can count
1 two year old child, sound asleep, dreaming happy dreams secure in the knowledge that her most valued material possessions are within reach.

Sleep well, bubbaloo!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Holidays, the tooth fairy and corneal ulcers

Our 1st official family "holiday"...

And I say "holiday" in inverted commas because, seriously, travelling interstate with 3 children aged 2, 4 and 6 is no walk in the park, is it? The only reason that I even used the term "holiday" is because my folks who live in Tassie met us in Queensland and gave us a survivable ratio of adults to children 4:3. Otherwise it would have been our 1st -and probably last-official family "exhausting, frustrating and almost intolerable trip travelling interstate".

Sorry. Got a bit distracted there.

So after years of saying that we should start having proper family holidays every 1 to 2 years, we suddenly looked up and realised that our eldest son was 6 and we hadn't even started. So off to Queensland we went. We went off-peak season for cheaper airfares, cheaper accommodation and shorter queues and it was well worth it. We stayed well away from the Gold Coast strip and spent a lot of time at the "worlds" particularly the water ones. The kids loved them. Even mummy finally got up the nerve to go up a few of the moderate sized water slides. We had to deal with one child who was little, one who was afraid of open stairwells and one who doesn't like the dark or loud noises so there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing for slides, rides and the like.

We also made a day trip north to the Australia Zoo which is a very family friendly place and highly recommended. Al and I snuck off with Mae for a day trip to the Eumundi markets near the Sunshine Coast and lunch in the nearby hinterland. We also got to the Gold Coast markets and took a mandatory walk along the Gold Coast beach (2 year old fell in and got saturated within 2 minutes) We went to Mount Tambourine for lunch as well on yet another brilliant sunny day.

The Eumundi markets were fantastic; lots of great quality locally made products but I was surprised by the amount of imported goods being sold. The Gold Coast markets move around each Sunday but they had lots of locally made crafts and I was surprised at how reasonably things were priced, given that it is located in the tourist mecca of the Gold Coast!

Kids and adults alike were worn out after long, active days. Add to that a trip to the doc for Al for a possible deep vein thrombosis, a visit from the tooth fairy as our 6 year old son discovered a wobbly tooth one day and it came out the next (luckily not lost given that he was coming down a waterslide at the time) and another visit to the doc for our 4 year old's corneal scratches due to him and his brother having a sword fight with their toothbrushes, and I don't think that we could have fitted much more in!

So where are the happy snaps I hear you plead? Oh, well, if you insist...

GoldCoast Aug 2009
Elephant feeding at the Australia Zoo was a definate highlight.

GoldCoast Aug 2009
The Australia Zoo was a really feel good place, brilliant for families. Our kids had a ball (exept our 4 year old son wouldn't pose with the scary crocodile...even though he was just a weeny one)

GoldCoast Holiday Aug 2009
And of course there were a few crocs around!

GoldCoast Holiday Aug 2009
Australia Zoo horse riding.

GoldCoast Holiday Aug 2009
Lots of characters around for the kids (big and little) to have their photo with.

GoldCoast Holiday Aug 2009
You can't imagine how many little kids we had to push out of the way to get our photo with Dorothy!

GoldCoast Holiday Aug 2009
The scariest ride on the Gold Coast- Dorothy's tea cup ride! Al wouldn't go on it as it spins and he hates spinning. Mae absolutely loved it so I kept turning us round and round faster and faster and faster... Then wanted to throw up when we got off...Next time I'll stick to the safety and comfort of the huge rollercoasters.

GoldCoast Holiday Aug 2009
Seaworld = awesome!

GoldCoast Holiday Aug 2009
Just awesome!

GoldCoast Holiday Aug 2009
My 2 year old has less fear than me. I was amazed at how high and fast some of the little kids' rides were. Grooming them for the big ones when they get older I guess. Me? Big time woose!

GoldCoast Holiday Aug 2009
Had to buy the kids some snow cones. Loved them growing up. But I'm not sure that they had blue ones 35 years ago...

GoldCoast Holiday Aug 2009
And finally, look who I found! My namesake! Tas and Taz! Sadly didn't get a photo with the real Taz. He must have been on holidays. Sniff.

So it was a great trip really. Apparently at the water worlds, you can wait and hour and a half in summer to go down a slide. We rarely had to wait and one day had to wait maybe 5 minutes. The lines for the rides were more than bearable. I packed jumpers and trousers that stayed in the suitcase as it was 22-28 degrees for our whole visit. We could not have asked for more.

I am a homebody so glad to be home sleeping in my own bed but it was fun and made some brilliant memories for us and our children to look back on in the future.

Thanks for sitting through the holiday snaps and not snoring!

Friday, August 21, 2009

A crocheting mother's nightmare.

Daughter = drama queen = diva

As I return from a 2 week family holiday, I can produce my crafting effort while I was swanning around Queensland doing the touristy things. (Another post to follow about that)

A couple of day trips and evenings of being absoloutely worn out from going up and down water slides all day allowed me to get a bit of crocheting done. Sadly my daughter does not seem to appreciate the time, love, patience, and effort that such crafting entails.

This is a crocheted peasant dress by Lisa van Klaveren (etsy holland designs) The original pattern has a contrasting colour for the sleeves and a pattern through the main body of the dress but I kept the dress one rose coloured pink. I also added the frill to the bottom.

I have crocheted American patterns in the past and found them small so made this in a larger size but my daughter will be able to wear it now with layers underneath and next year in warmer weather as a summer dress.

Crocheted peasant dress

Crocheted peasant dress

I must add the reason for the title:

Crocheted peasant dress

Mae seems to have an aversion to wearing all of my crocheting endeavours and a few of my sewing endeavours, at least initially. You can see the snake lolly in her right hand that was the bribe for her compliance to model for one photo. Just one. One teensy, weensy, little photo. One.

Apparently I'm not paying her enough.


(Diva who managed to eat the lolly before finishing her tantrum I might add)

Only consolation is that after a certain amount of time, she will tend to wear most of what I make for her. That's the only reason my sons aren't getting a crocheted wardrobe!

Monday, August 3, 2009

A flea bag!

No, not the dog.

Violet, Staffy extraordinaire, would be miffed at being called a flea bag. Well, OK , no, actually she wouldn't care as long as you fed her and gave her a pat at the same time.

But this post isn't about Violet.

It's about the Grand Revival Flea Market bag (messenger version) that I have just made up for our impending family holiday. I wanted a bag that would leave me hands-free as I figure 3 kids on a family holiday will keep those 2 hands that I have full enough. And I didn't want it to be too big, just to hold the necessities. No, not the real necessities like nappies and the sip cup; I mean the superfluous ones like wallet , keys and camera.

This is a cute bag and easy to put together. It is reversible and has a few variations but I used an outer open weave cotton and a soft cotton lining so will not be turning it inside out. There is an inside pocket which I put a snap closure on for some added security.

Somehow in cutting it out I managed to do something really bizarre- I cut out 2 outer fabric pieces for the 2 halves of the strap at the same time from a folded piece of fabric. Yet when I was sewing, one was 4-5cm longer than the other (cue theme music from "The Twilight Zone") If anyone has any rational explanation for this, I am all ears. Usually I know damn well where I stuffed up but this has me stumped! No worries after some backtracking and tweaking but it slowed it down somewhat. I think that I will have to make up another one just to prove to myself that I am not going mad!

Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009 outer fabric

Little Boozle 2009 lining fabric


Odd Sock Tally

Yes, you heard....26! 26!!!!

That is enough socks to make my children a sock puppet once every 2 weeks for a WHOLE year.

Not that I want to do that. I want to pair them up so that my family can wear the socks on their feet as is the natural intention of a sock.

And it was only a few weeks ago that I turfed the ones that had been odd for so long that I thought I should put the surviving sock out of its misery.

I always used to think that the washing machine simply pulverised a random sock in a load of washing to keep life interesting. Now that I add 3 children who leave them in the sand pit, in their shoes, under the fridge, in the video recorder plus a hubby who drops 1 sock in transit and then they never seem to get matched up again...and this makes for more odd socks than is reasonable.

And 2 of them are mine. But I know where the other half to each pair is and some day will re-unite them so mine don't count as a sin.


Well, if it doesn't improve, my children and hubby will be wearing odd socks out in public. So there! I am a domestic goddess but I am not a domestic miracle worker.