Sunday, January 31, 2010

January 2010 progress report

Well, that sounds official, doesn't it?
Just thought that I'd keep you posted on my progress,
both health-wise and craft-wise.
My head is still in the right space and I am finding it pretty easy
to exercise 4 times a week and maintain a healthy diet.
I have lost 4kg over 4 weeks
and that alone is motivating!
(For those of you who care after reading my first post about this health kick,
I am also poo-ing again
and yes, it is a necessary evil)
Craft-wise I am on the go, baby.
I have cut out 2 things to sew up,
have a dozen more patterns in my to do pile,
and have spent the last 2 days owning our dining room space.
Sewing 2009
I have been intending to redecorate a pine chest of drawers for over a year now.
I have been slowly accummulating bits and pieces
and I have finally, finally, finally
not only started but nearly finished.
It's been an intense 2 days but the results so far have been beyond what I had hoped.
Here is a sneak peak...
Sewing 2009
Sewing 2009
Can't wait to show it off but another night of stamping
then as many layers of sealer as I can manage is required
to Mae-proof it as much as possible.
My mojo is back and stuffed firmly head-first into a pillowcase
so I can keep the little bugger from going AWOL again.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Denim, tulips and a little owl

Cinderella*Zwergen*mode Tulip skirt
I cut this skirt out weeks ago and then moved the pile of pieces around the house and then around my sewing table till inspiration returned and I got it sewn up in just a couple of hours.
It is simple with a one or two laeer variation.
Open to a lot of embellishment options.
Pattern- Tulip skirt by cinderella*zwergen*mode
Fabric- denim and a light blue and white floral cotton
Embroidery- Hoot by
Little Boozle 2010
Little Boozle 2010
Little Boozle 2010
Little Boozle 2010
I embroidered the owls onto the poplin fabric then sewed them onto the denim,
leaving a margin to fray.
Lovely pattern and a gorgeous, flouncy skirt that little girls love!
(well, mine anyway)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Did you miss me?

I'm baaaaaack!
I thought that I should pop by,
pull back the curtains and open the windows.
Let some fresh air in.
Wipe away the cobwebs.
Do the dusting.
You know.
Blog housework.
Heck, how long has that ham sandwich been under there?...
On second thoughts, I don't want to know.
I seem to have been away a while.
And I seem to have lost my witty yet insightful writing ability
which provided my topical yet perceptive social commentaries
(yes, at this point, feel free, you can roll your eyes)
It went AWOL somewhere between going away for Christmas holidays
and starting my healthy lifestyle.
So I am not sure if it went into the bin with the Christmas wrapping paper
or if is in the back of the cupboard with my coffee gathering dust.
Anyhow, I keep hoping that it will show up again.
Where have I been and what have I been doing?
Just doing stuff, nothing important,
but too tired or apathetic or absorbed in the tennis to blog.
I've done a smidge of sewing,
a touch of embroidery, (see below)
but nothing else of consequence.
Well, the place is a bit tidier and fresher now.
Let's see if inspiration hits.
Little Boozle 2010
Little Boozle 2010
(Embroidery Library)
PS I did lose 4 kgs. Maybe my creative mojo went with it?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Quote of the Week

"One day your life will flash before your eyes.
Make sure that it's worth watching"

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Some Things are Worth the Wait...

...Or Worth the Weight.

OK, something odd is happening.
I am losing weight.
Like, serious weight.

Not as in "omg what is happening I am fading away what is wrong with my health?" weight loss.
But the "I have suddenly and apparently easily found the motivation and willpower to exercise and restrict my calories" kind of weight loss.

I have been wandering around in that hazy place where you just keep snacking and overeating and thinking "I must. I should. I will. But maybe tomorrow" for the past couple of years.
I promised myself that I would get fit and healthy (and lose weight) once I had finished
having kids for both our sakes.
But it didn't happen.

Suddenly my last "baby" is nearly 3 and I am still significantly overweight.
Even 6 months of Zumba-ing my little toosh off only achieved a kilogram of weight loss.
(though it certainly tones me up and improves my fitness)

So I decided that this year from day 1, 1st January, 2010,
I would improve my diet.
And I suddenly found myself "in the zone",
as the kids of today would say.

And it has been surprisingly easy.
I have no inclination for extra snacks.
No cravings.
I've even eaten pizza and cheesecake in moderation.
(one things years of uneducated dieting has taught me is that deprivation is not a basis for long term weight loss)
I can bake goodies without even licking my finger.
I've just gotten myself into the right head space.
And I've lost over 2 kg.

Having young kids I found that I didn't sit down for meals until dinner time.
But I'd eat while I was getting their meals and snacks
and I'd eat in between as well
and then I'd eat too much at dinner.

I will fess up- my one guilty secret is the meal replacement shake for lunch.
The restrictions help me as THAT is what I have for lunch and nothing else,
no matter what the kids are eating.
And I really enjoy the shakes.
(I just feel like a bit of a fraud.
I have been dieting and not dieting enough of my life to know that this is about
long term changes and I am doing that
but there is still something about the words "protein shake" that makes me feel sheepish)

Oddly my body is now completely ambivalent about coffee.
So last week was a tough one-
calorie deprivation (reduction- really not deprivation)

sleep deprivation (we are using the overnight wee alarm for one of our kids at the moment)

and caffeine deprivation...

This does not make for a happy mummy.

But I can say, thanks to the high protein shakes, I don't need to poo anymore.
(Over rated anyway from what I can tell)

My other little trick is keeping busy.
Food has been a focus my whole life and that probably wont change
but if I keep myself doing other things,
I have to say, feeling genuinely hungry is an awesome feeling to have.

It's been a long time since I have let my body dictate my eating needs.

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rainbows End Studios

Lookie, lookie at what I got!
The talented Crafty Mama Julie dyes and prints stunning fabric, available on-line at Rainbows End Studios.
Sewing 2009
Sewing 2009
simply beautiful,
Sewing 2009
and mine, alllllll mine!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Chilled Out and Relaxing...

A low key start to 2010.
OND 2009
A strange thing happened upon our return from our Christmas holidays with interstate family.
My "to do" lists, the daily ones, the weekly ones, the short term ones,
have all but disappeared in a puff of smoke.
No more mandatory family get togethers schedules (well, only two).
No running around meeting and greeting friends in the name of the Christmas spirit.
No Christmas presents to buy and wrap.
No decorations to put up or take down.
No special occasion cooking.
No school uniforms, lunches, deadlines.
No...well, anything!
Oh, what bliss!
The past few weeks have been filled with school holiday activities
(because we chose to for sanity's sake- kids' and mine)
sewing and embroidery or crocheting
(because I felt like it)
reading a book or two
(because it's been a while)
and just generally staying in my PJs as long as possible
(just because I can)
OND 2009
It is wonderful.
OND 2009
Soon life will fill up again with must do lists,
should do lists,
want to do lists
as school goes back, life in a new decade starts kicking in and our family chaos returns.
But at the moment, I can enjoy this time of a little self indulgence.
So, for now,
I'm that mum sitting in her baggy, daggy PJs on the outdoor lounge reading a trashy novel,
cuppa in hand, no bra or hairbrush in sight,
while the kids are in their PJs at 11am watching Wallace and Gromit.
(It is bliss when the world doesn't have to see you for a day, don't you think?)
(photos: Wineglass Bay, Coles Bay, Hazards Beach, December, 2010)

Thursday, January 14, 2010


A recently overused pun but oh, so appropriate!
Chaotic in spite of attempts to control the crowds visiting the pandas
but oh, so worth seeing Wang Wang and Funi,
our Adelaide zoo's newest residents.
JFM 2010
Note to self:
Do not visit pandas at the zoo within a month or so of their arrival
in the school holidays
on a lovely summer's day
or things could get ugly
in the name of self preservation.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Duck Soup and Embroidery

An addiction., not to duck soup.
I am addicted to embroidery in the same way that you get if you ever get a label maker.
You find yourself consumed by the need to label everything in sight.
Now, I just want to embroider, embroider, embroider...
But today I realised that I hadn't turned on my sewing machine or overlocker since
I started playing with my new baby.
So I sewed a skirt for my daughter...
Little Boozle 2010
(and then stuck an embroidery on it)
Little Boozle 2010
Pattern: Easy knit skirt from Duck Soup Originals at
Fabric: Raspberry and lime knit from Crafty Mamas
Embroidery: Matruschka Pimpinellskova from Huups

Monday, January 11, 2010

Caramel cheesecake

Rated FCH
(fat and cholesterol heaven)
JFM 2010
As in many other households, the tradition in our house is for the birthday boy/girl/mummy/daddy
to chose the birthday meal of their choice.
So after discussions from the males in the house,
our old faithful and reliable, throw everything into the mixing bowl staple
of chocolate cake which would have taken 20 minutes to get ready got thrown in favour of cheescake.
In itself, no problem.
I have never met a cheesecake I didn't like (as long as you don't consider "Sara Lee cheesecakes" actual cheesecakes...)
and I like to cook them.
But it is worth considering, when you offer up a caramel cheesecake because you know hubby (aka birthday boy) loves caramel as much as lemon,
reading the recipe in advance.
So you know that:
1 You need butterscotch biscuits...which you don't have
2 you need 900 grams of cream cheese...which you don't have
3 The base is cooked and the filling is then cooked in a bain marie...and it is 42 degrees outside
so preferable to avoid using the oven
4 It requires extended refrigeration over the course of the recipe...and you are serving it up in 6 hours.
But I must say it is worth it.
"Caramel cheesecake" doesn't really cut it.
And while "Really unhealthy Cheesecake containing mega amounts of calories and fat" may be apt,
it doesn't do it justice.
So might I introduce to you:
The Scrumdiddlyumptious Caramelicious Cheesecake
Proceed with caution
(and an antacid)
1 x 250 g packet of buttersnap biscuits (crushed finely)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (firmly packed)
100g unsalted, melted butter
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and grease a 23cm springform tin while hubby ducks up to the corner store to buy the biscuits that you don't have.
Mix base ingredients together and press firmly into base.
Wrap outside of tin in 3 layers of foil.
Bake 10-15 minutes and leave to cool.
JFM 2010
900g cream cheese
1 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
35 g melted butter
5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat cheese and sugar till smotth then beat in butter.
Add eggs singly until each is just blended.
Beat in vanilla.
Pour into tin and bake in a bain marie (in a container of boiling water halfway up the sides of the tin) 60-70 minutes (edges will have puffed up but centre is not completely set)
Chill in refrigerator overnight
Notes- funnily enough I did not have 900g cream cheese in my fridge. I did have 750g as my kids eat it a lot but I made the recipe with 500g and dropped the other ingredients in rough ratios (eg 3 eggs used)
I also did not have overnight so it got about 3 hours in the fridge before the topping was added.
1 and 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup cream
160g dark (or milk if you prefer) chocolate to grate over
Combine sugar and water in a sacuepan and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
Bring to the boil and boil without stirring for about 10 minutes until mixture is a rich golden colour.
Add cream and reduce heat and simmer about 8 minutes.
Chill till thickened but not set (about 15 minutes)
Pour caramel over the top of the cake, don't burn yourself when you lick the pot, and decorate your cheesecake with grated chocolate. Chill at least 2 hours (up to 6) before serving.
JFM 2010
This is one rich baby of a cheesecake.
I might say that I think the reduced filling quantities were the way to go as the base and caramel thickness were great with the filling quantity that I had made.
Close your eyes, blot Jenny Craig from your mind and enjoy!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Isn't it ironic..

Sex, babies and parents
Does anyone else find it ironic that discussing your sex life
with your parents, in-laws or immediate relative is socially taboo
(admittedly for both sides)
and yet those same people are more than willing to discuss
the fact that you are having a baby ad nauseum
and tell the whole world while they are at it?
(I mean, isn't that tantamount to saying to the whole world
"hey, guys, my kid is doing the horizontal samba!"
but what, if you say
"and having a baby" at the end,
well, that's all right then?...)
Disclaimer (before I have any more comments along those lines):
No, I am not pregnant.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The most fun you can have with your clothes on

(Not that I am heavily clothed in 41 degree heat)
Little Boozle 2010
I wasn't sure about the creativity involved with an embroidery machine.
As much as I really, really, really wanted one,
I really thought it was all a bit "colour by numbers"
But there is a lot of scope to be creative,
from the colour scheme that you chose
to the fabric choices if you are applique embroidering.
And I don't even know much about the whole thing yet.
I can't wait to learn more and experiment!
Little Boozle 2010
Smila's World- Sakura design
(For a bag)
Little Boozle 2010
Urban Threads- little monster design
(For mini softies for kids' backpacks)
Little Boozle 2010
Huups- Matruschka Pimpinellskova design
(Destined to decorate a skirt for me)
Lots to fiddle and improve with regard to tension and stabilisers
but having heaps of fun in the process.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Consumerism at its best

Easter is in April, right?
No sooner than the big man in the red suit has hauled his ample butt up our chimney
than that furry, long earred rabbit with a basket has visited our supermarkets
to drop off hot cross buns and Easter eggs...
I'm thinking that the bunny needs to get another interest to fill in the summer months
so that we can digest the candy canes before we start munching on creme filled eggs.
(and maybe visit the gym)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Embroidery for Dummies

Lesson number 27:
Winding bobbins for embroidery
I spent pretty much all of yesterday working out how to transfer designs from
my computer to my embroidery machine.
(I am still not sure if it was my openly admitted technical illiteracy
or distinct lack of information provided that was to blame)
The day before that, I spent learning how to get my flashcard to fit into my machine
(No brainer, that one- I know that was due to lack of information provided)
And so it goes on.
But then you turn around one day and find out that,
although there is still heaps to learn,
you are now familiar with and able to do something that you couldn't do a month ago.
I have a suspicion that some people call this learning...
..and my, it is good for the soul and the brain.
Embroidery patterns
Here is my first real attempt at embroidery.
What, you can't see it?
Oh, hold on, wait a sec...
Embroidery patterns
What? Closer still?
Um, er, OK, let me see...
Embroidery patterns
(Smila's World- Sakura embroidery design)
Today's lesson:
After spending an evening stockpiling bobbins with embroidery thread
so that you wont run out halfway through a design,
it is well worth checking the level of the bobbin thread in the machine before you start.
At this point in time you might look closely enough to notice a couple of blossoms lacking some central colour.
This was the point in time when the bobbin ran out and things locked up and I panicked and broke out in a sweat.
Then you may notice that the lime green highlights basically aren't where they should be.
Apparently when you remove the hoop to replace the empty bobbin, things can get out of kilter.
Luckily this was destined for a purse at best
and my inspiration pinboard at worse.
Now I just need to find a drawing pin.
Lots of fiddling to do with tension and sorting out exactly what stabilisers to use
but so far it is fun and the possibilities running through my head are endless.
Very, very cool!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Studio Tantrum El Porto

Oh boy.
Little Boozle 2010
This is one of those projects that I loved and hated at the same time
(and that was making it up only after the English translation became available)
It has taken me the best part of 2 days sewing,
a bit of modification,
a touch of backpedalling,
a lot of "oh, boys"
(and a few other words that can't be printed in a G rated blog)
and the complete and utter neglect of my family and household.
Luckily I adore the finished product.
Bear with me. Lots of photos.
Because it is such a detailed bag.
And just because I can.
(I worked damn hard and I want to show it off.
So there!)
Little Boozle 2010
Side of bag
Little Boozle 2010
Side of bag
Little Boozle 2010
Detail of side pockets
The pattern puts full pockets on each side but I don't own that much stuff
so I put external pockets on one side and ribbon/iron on velours on the other side.
Little Boozle 2010
Media pocket on strap
Not that I even know what an iPod is...
Little Boozle 2010
One end pocket (circular)
Little Boozle 2010
Other end pocket (zipper pocket and gathered pocket)
Little Boozle 2010
Inner lining with pocket
Little Boozle 2010
Inner bag seams enclosed with bias binding
Little Boozle 2010
Best I can do without a photographer older than 2 and 1/2!
So the verdict?
I adore the final result of this bag. I finally cut some of my treasured Stenzo and used a lot of Farbenmix ribbon that has been lovingly stashed for a couple of years. I have always looked at the Farbenmix outfits and wondered at the amount of decoration that comes together. But really, once you start you can't stop!
The online tute of words and pictures is invaluable if you aren't multilingual.
A couple of hardships were due to my vagueness. Like cutting the bag body out on a fold line when it wasn't a fold line. That would have been useful if I had wanted to carry the kitchen sink around.
I had a couple of issues that I am not sure if they were just me or not. I will modify this is I find that they seem to be a repeatable problem for those using the pattern.
The pattern calls for one short and one long zip. You actually need two short zips if you are going to do an internal zippered pocket (I didn't have the 2nd zip and didn't care so I snapped that pocket)
Nancy also designed this with a short strap so that the bag would sit under the arm for better security but I lengthened the straps as that is too short for me. Mine sits on the hip.
The tab on the end of the zip is funky but it would have been a lot easier if the zip had just been placed within the body of the bag and I certainly would have obtained a neater finish.
My big disappointment was the inside finish. No one's fault there. I was so ecstatic with the result of the external bag that when it came to sewing on the ends and enclosing the seams in bias binding I just couldn't get a perfect finish and that bugs me! Given the amount of stuff that can be piled into the bag, however, no one will ever see them so I can live with that.
All in all, it is an awesome bag. A great opportunity to mix and match fabrics and to modify the design to suit your needs. Takes time and is a challenge but well worth the final result!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

12 Sewing Challenges in 12 Months

Up for some sewing fun in 2010?

Caroline over at My Favourite has set up a challenge for 2010. Each month she has nominated a theme and if chose to participate, you make something that will challenge you and if you chose, blog about it.

I'm not good at long term commitment

(with the exception of my relationship with my husband)

but given that I can chose on a monthly basis,

(plus there are no rules and there are giveaways)

I thought that I'd sign up.

Head over there if you are interested.

I am blogging about this now because this month's challenge is to make something for myself...

which I am doing at this very moment...

and which is doing my head in at this very moment...

so I am taking some time out.

I am sure that there is some irony in there somewhere...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

My Favourite (Christmas) things

The Top Three.
I don't tend to dwell too much on what I will find under the tree at Christmas time.
My hubby and I are blessed to have most of what we want, let alone need.
I know that certain rellies will give me something totally not wanted or liked
so there is no anticipation there
(apart from just how bad it will be)
Christmas is about the kids and the innocence and pleasure that we get to enjoy in watching them.
But this year I have been spoiled.
I do not count the Nintendo DS that arrived under the tree to me from hubby
as this was a political manouver within the immediate family
to have some control over the use of said DS by our children.
"No, it's mummy's DS. Bite me"...
Well, not quite the way the conversation would go but you get the idea.
But I was kinda chuffed this year.
Here is some of my loot.
Sewing 2009
One of the kids gave me a set of Babushka doll measuring cups.
How cute are they?
OK So I had hinted that I wanted them to the point of putting them into hubby's
shopping bag (but I had my eyes closed so that it would be a surprise of course)
But they are cute and practical!
Sewing 2009
My 6 and 1/2 year old son shares my husband's talent for art and craft....
and my husband wouldn't know the useful end of a paintbrush.
But he (son, not hubby) presented me with this painting for Christmas
(that's me holding him as a baby...and yes, I do look that peaky until my first 3 coffees are downed)
I think it is fabulous.
Now the man in the big red suit dropped this off before Christmas
(he's with it- he hit the sales!)
Sewing 2009
An embroidery machine!
Yay for me.
I must have been a really good girl this year.
Thanks Santa.
(Oh, and to top it all off, I snavelled Santa's Baileys on Christmas Eve.
Shhhhhhhhhh! Don't tell him it was me!)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome to the new year

...with a touch of queasiness!
OND 2009
(Sunrise at the Hazards- 5:45am- Coles Bay, Tas- December, 2009)
(Let me just say,
that the nausea is due to a few too many bright blue and deep red cocktails last night,
not due to any fear of what the future holds)
I'm not big on New Year's Resolutions. (Hate failure and all that)
So no big Resolutions for 2010.
But I will want to try really hard for a few things.
I do want to get healthy and lose some weight.
I do want to learn to use my present from Santa (more on that later)
I do want to be more patient and tolerant with my kids
and spend more quality time with them.
I do want to get more sleep (which could well help me with all of the above)
Meanwhile I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to come and read my blog
(and really thank those who keep coming back for more. You are responsible for many a warm fuzzy in my chest)
Goodbye 2009 The Year of Blogging Virginity
Hello 2010 hopefully The Year of Blogging Self Confidence.
Wishing everyone a healthy, safe and happy 2010.