Monday, August 31, 2009

Finally doing the tag thing

OK. I have a spare 10 minutes while G watches Playschool so here's my random facts about myself courtesy of being tagged by CT: First....the rules of the game.

1. link to the person who tagged you
2. post the rules on your blog
3. post the six random things about you
4. tag six people at the end of the post and link to them
5. let each person know that they've been tagged

Part of the reason I have not managed to do this yet is I'm having trouble finding 5 random things about myself that are vaguely interesting but that I haven't already blabbed about on my blog. But here goes:

1. My favourite thing to cook is pavlova. I love the magical way that egg white and sugar turns into a big glossy bowlful of yummy meringue mixture. Makes me think maybe there is a god and that she has a sweet tooth.

2. I used to be a nurse. I stopped because it was bad for my health.

3. I'm Australian born and bred (well Dad was English but born in India) but my spiritual home is the west country of England - down in Dorset where my Nana grew up and the beautiful countryside of Devon and lots of other beautiful places. Something about the place makes my soul say "Ahhh...I'm home".

4. I always wanted to have a baby and used to wish on those floaty flower things we called "Santa Clauses" every chance I got for my own little bundle. I was 37 before I got one.

5.My ultimate fantasy would be a day off on my own involving a good movie, lots of chocolate and followed by a 12 hour sleep in a big comfortable bed with nobody else within cooee.

OK...I now pass the baton to the following bloggers (with no obligation whatsoever if you aren't in the mood to play). I can actually only think of three people to pass this on to (and Le is probably too busy settling into Woop Woop and her new job. But feel free to go random on us, Le, if you are in the mood). Yes...I have a very small circle of bloggers!



Friday, August 28, 2009

First sewing project

Hello fellow bloggers - I have now joined the ranks of bloggers who sew. Very exciting! E was my co-creator and decided what colours went where. I'm not a big orange fan but there was quite a bit of it in the stash my big sis kindly donated to me with her old machine (that I traded in as it was past it). There was also a bunch of brightly coloured squares already cut so I decided to practice on them rather than risk ruining any pretty material that I had spent precious pocket money on. After all, it was the first time I threaded up the machine and wound the bobbin. E did the pedal work and did a great job following instructions of "stop", "go" and "a little bit more". Thankfully, G was out of the house at the time or the whole thing would have been a complete shemozzle. As it was, I forgot to put the cover on my new rotary cutter and brushed my hand against it. Nothing a quick bandaid couldn't fix though.
Now we just have to master adding the quilt back, batting or whatever it's called and sewing the binding on. In case you haven't guessed - it's a dolly quilt. I'm saving up to buy some gorgeous material for a mummy quilt. Many thanks to the lovely Claudia at Quilt Essentials for lending me a cutting mat and giving me lots of handy hints while I wait to do the next quilting course.
CT - I am going to do that tagging thing when I get some time. As you can see...I've been busy... plus working from home so my right arm has almost fallen off. It's a bit different to working in the office where I get up every so often and walk to the photocopier or have a chat to a colleague.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Let the sewing begin

Finally....I have my own sewing machine. I put a deposit on a secondhand one yesterday and the lovely man said "You can take your machine home and pay the rest later". What a guy! So far, the machine is just sitting on the playroom table where I can admire it.

Haven't been able to blog as Em is sick with a nasty bout of tonsilits and asleep on the living room floor. Refuses to take ANY panadol etc which is very very frustrating.

See you soon.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I've been tagged

Thanks to the beautiful CT in Mexico, I've been tagged...not once but twice. I'll have to do them one at a time as my girls are tired and having sharing issues and I may need to dash off. This is already my second attempt. Here's what I have to do for the first one before passing it on .

1.Collect the book you have most handy.
2. Turn to page 161.
3. Find the 5th complete sentence.
4. Cite the sentence on your blog.
5. Pass it on to five other blog friends

The book I have been reading is "Shooting Balibo" by journalist, Tony Maniaty. It is a memoir of his experiences in East Timor just prior to the invasion by the Indonesians in 1975. He narrowly escaped death but the journalists who have become known as the "Balibo Five" and a sixth Australian journalist, all of whom were warned of the dangers by Tony, were brutally killed by the Indonesians. It is also about his experiences some thirty years later when he returned to East Timor with the film crew and actors who made the recently released film about the 1975 dramas - "Balibo". We saw the movie on the weekend (thanks Mum and Dad for babysitting). I was on the edge of my seat and the book by Tony Maniaty was just unputdownable. Given that the movie has just come out (and the book too, I think) and my brother has just married his beautiful East Timorese girl, my family are slightly obsessed with East Timor at the moment - both its sad history and its challenging present. I hope there are happier times ahead for this tiny, fledgling nation.

So, here's the 5th sentence from the book. It's actually from one of the most dramatic moments when Tony and his cameraman and sound guy are being shot at by the Indonesians and he risks his life to run back and collect his passport.

"I could see the chopper in the sky over Batugade, and I could see my passport sitting there, the loneliest passport in the world at that moment, on the wall where I'd left it".

I don't know if I have five bloggy friends that I can tag with this - I have a small audience! So I think I'll pass the baton to CGDK. at Wind Screamers.

Monday, August 17, 2009

a ride in the bush

We decided to avoid the annual "Show" this year as we are being cautious about the swine flu. It's in a lot of schools anyway, but with E being asthmatic we don't want to be milling around with thousands of people. Also last year we spent a ridiculous amount of money on entry, rides for the children, sample bags etc. So....this year we went for a horse ride instead. I think, officially, they were ponies actually. E got to ride her favourite pony called Patch. (Scott doesn't always wear that ridiculous hat - he was minding it for E). We went with our lovely neighbours so it was a good chance to chat and catch up.

After the ride, we like to give the horses an apple. Here's what happened.

Eventually, the poor horse got to eat the apple, with a bit of added dirt for extra flavour.
The weather was gorgeous and we had a lovely relaxed time being out in the bush. I led one of the ponies which required slight concentration so that I didn't get stepped on.
Afterwards, we all drove towards home and stopped in a creekside park to eat our picnic, enjoy the sunshine and let the children play in the playground. It was SO good to have a lazy day (and be out of our messy house)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Not Wordsworth but Blake

After feeling philosophical upon seeing my first nasturtium seedling come up, I consulted my trusty Norton Anthology of English Literature for the poetry quote I was thinking of. I couldn't find it. A google search did find it, and it is William Blake, not William Wordsworth. (Sorry - I did them in the same semester at Uni and it was a long time ago). It is from Auguries of Innocence:

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

Monday, August 10, 2009

News Flash - baby nasturtiums!

Just after I wrote the last post, I went out to bring in the washing and water the garden. Guess what I found? One tiny little nasturtium seedling has popped its head up. I'm sure it wasn't there yesterday. Not a huge thing in the scheme of things to some people, but as a lazy gardener who usually buys seedlings, I get such a thrill from seeing something grow from a seed. As Wordsworth said, sometimes you can see the universe in a flower, or words to that effect. I'll have to dig out my big fat book of English Literature from my uni days for the exact quote. So here it is....nestled under its neighbour - a nice fat pansy.

Garden update

As my quilting/patchwork/sewing plans are on hold until I get my hands on my sister's machine and can afford to have it serviced, I am trying to enjoy being in the garden now that the weather is warmer. It actually felt like spring today - gentle sunshine, no wind, about 24 degrees (C) and just about perfect for being outside. G and I have pulled some weeds and washed the car which was actually more enjoyable than I thought. Funny how some chores aren't so bad if you relax and take your time. And you have a little helper. are some photos from the garden. My lavender flowers are bringing me so much joy. Today, I showed G how to run her hands over the leaves and flowers and then smell the beautiful fragrance. She loved it and said "Kipper can't do it". She likes to feel superior to the dog, being the baby of the house.

My Mum gave me this pretty pink geranium a year or more ago and I stuck in the front garden when it was completely bare. I have pretty much neglected it ever since and is now looking nice and colourful against the carport boards. I like flowers that thrive on neglect like geraniums and nasturtiums. We have planted some nasturtium seeds but they haven't sprouted because G and/or Kipper keep digging them up.

Speaking of Kipper, here he is watching me take a picture of the revamped no dig vege patch. This was taken over by the pumpkin vine last year and I have finally pulled the damn thing out. The girls helped put the pavers/stones around the edge and put some extra ones down the middle to use as stepping stones. I've moved them to the back to make room for the veges when they eventually go in. My dad is taking me to the garden shop tomorrow to buy some flasher garden edge pavers that hopefully will do a better job of keeping the weeds out. I've put a layer of compost and grass clippings on top but it probably needs a few more layers of good stuff before I start planting.

We took advantage of the gorgeous weather yesterday and went to a park with a lovely big timber playground. Although the playground is great, E's favourite part of this particular park is the duck pond across a big grassy area. It used to be part of a creek (Kedron Brook) but like many of the city's small creeks ("streams" for those not familiar with the Australian vernacular - or do you say "creeks" as well in the US?), they have been enclosed in concrete channels and now look more like drains. Anyway... the duck pond was quite picturesque (apart from the shopping trolley someone had dumped in it). The day before when we discovered it, it was full of nice ducks, with the added excitement of five evil looking eels, swimming about underneath the ducks and popping their heads up in search of food. This time, there was not an eel or duck in sight, just a couple of black moorhead looking things.

We had taken a neighbour's child with us and I was in "let the children have some freedom and feel the grass under their feet" mode so of course someone took their shoes off and stepped on something sharp and ended up with a cut foot. Of course, it was the neighbour's child - not one of mine and I thought the cut might need a stitch or two. So...we packed up and headed home to do some first aid before delivering the child home with an offer to drive to the nearest medical centre (a two hour wait on a Sunday) and pay the doctor's fee. Happily the cut was fairly minor and holding together and the little girl's mum was happy with her tetanus status so we went back home and watched a dvd together. I guess the moral of the story was to let the children enjoy the grass under their feet when we are in the backyard and not traipsing around a creek in a park. I'll have to find other ways to let the children experience the freedom I had as a child, growing up in the country and allowed to wander near and far on my bike with a friend and a picnic lunch we had made ourselves, as long as we were home by dark.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A bit of me time

I found myself with some precious childfree time yesterday prior to going to the dentist for my fifth (and hopefully final) filling. So I visited my favourite quilting shop where the ladies are friendly and helpful and bought my first sewing supplies - a rotary cutter and two fat quarters to start my fabric stash. My Mum also donated some old pink gingham which I know will come in handy. Plus, the quilt shop has a huge bookcase of quilting/sewing magazines which customers can borrow and return or replace at leisure so I took two home to feast my eyes upon. Now I just need to get my hands on my sister's sewing machine (and have it serviced) and I can embark upon some sewing. I think I might start with a dolly quilt before I move up to something more tricky.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Photos to go with the previous post

Hurray! I found the camera. So here are some photos to accompany the last couple of posts.
First of all... the girls with the fruits of our labours doing craft instead of watching TV. (The rainbow collage we saw on Tammie's blog but can't find the specific link to).

Then the chatterbox thing which has little sayings inside eg "I love you", "Tickle me" etc. E just loves making these with me. I should try and do some step by step pictures in case anyone didn't do them as a child. Basically, you fold in the four corners of a square piece of paper so that the outside corners end up all touching in the middle. Then flip the piece of paper over and do the same on the other side. Then fold the whole thing in half so that you have two squares on one side and two squares on the other side. Slide your pointer fingers and thumbs into the pockets under the four squares and wiggle your fingers to make the chatterbox talk and reveal the pictures you have drawn on the inside. Write the funny sayings underneath the pictures on the inside flaps. When I was a child, the favourite naughty saying to write was "You stink!" for if your brother chose it. I'm sure kids these days could come up with a whole heap worse.

Then....we have some photos of the new garden we made last weekend. It was a windy day and we had colds so the hour or two we spent outside probably contributed to my chest infection and G's middle ear infection but it was still worth it. We had so much fun and because we planted seedlings as well as nasturtium seeds, we already have picked a posy of pansies and snapdragons to give E'g grade one teacher.

Poor Kipper was chained up during proceedings and looked on woefully as we fenced off his favourite flower bed for sleeping in the sun. He had completely flattened the lovely sun jewels that my mother-in-law gave me.

Re G's middle ear infection, I have held off on the antibiotics for the first time (when a doctor has said they are needed - must be the brainwashing of my nursing training) and tried putting warm garlic oil in her ears instead, plus some panadol at night. It's only 4 weeks since the poor child had a course of antibiotics for her ears and I just hated the idea of another lot so soon. So.....we've had two nights of no ear pain which is great and I'm hoping she can avoid the antibiotics and fight the infection herself. I need her to be well by Thursday as I took both my work days off last week when I was sick and have stuff I really need to do in the office this week (like upset the owners of about-to-be-heritage listed buildings).

The end of breastfeeding and other stuff

(Picture of G breastfeeding at a few months of age - doing the perfect "special K" mouth that you read about in breastfeeding brochures. I reckon there should be more photos of breastfeeding babies plastered about the place so that new mothers have some idea of what the whole "latching on" thing looks like. So....I have thrown shyness to the winds and posted my one and only blogging breastfeeding photo)

Just a quick hello. Life goes on here much the same but definitely more fun since we cut down on computer and tv hours. We've done the rainbow collage that Tammie showed on her blog a few months ago which was great fun. (Sorry, Tammie - I tried but failed to find that post and put the link here). We've also made those "chatterboxes" out of folded up paper that you write little sayings on inside. My friends and I loved them when we were little and I'm trying to remember the fun things I did as a kid so I can do them with my girls. When I was in primary school, fads came and went every few weeks and everyone would be skipping, yo-yo-ing, making string patterns on their fingers, playing "elastics", playing knuckles, playing "sevens" (bouncing a tennis ball on the ground and doing clapping etc before catching the ball). And good old hand clapping games like "Under the Rainbow" and "When Suzie was a Baby". Of course, if I was a more organised blogger, I would have taken photos of the rainbow collage and the chatterboxes. Never mind. (I just tried to find the camera and it seems to be missing. Oops)

Big news (for me) is that I gave G her last breastfeed a few nights ago. I'm hoping I feel less tired and grumpy VERY soon. (Is it rude to type in capitals when blogging? Does it imply yelling like in emails? I mean only to add feeling). We've been talking about it for ages. I feel I have well and truly followed the World Health Organisation recommendation of breastfeeding until 2 years of age and then as long as mother and child want to. She, of course, still wants to but I have had enough. I do feel a bit guilty as I am taking away something she loves but it's probably more important for her to have a happy, less tired mother (with a libido). Anyway.....we had discussed getting a special present for giving up "bee bee" and she was thinking of a "pink and yellow poodle". I'm not sure if the toy shop stocks those. But we saw a great toy cash register this week and she just loved it. It was a bit expensive but I thought "What the heck". Also, I know the big sister and all visiting children would also love playing with it and I thought it would inspire lots of imaginative play, so I bought it. I offered a last breastfeed during the day but she said "No thanks. I a big girl. I have a cash reger". But we had one last bedtime drink for Mummy's benefit and I treasured every moment.

The first bedtime with no breastfeed went fine. I was amazed. Just a half hour of snuggling and chit chat and she went to sleep. But the next night when she asked for "beebee" and I said "No...bee bee is finished" she was quite disappointed. "Take that cash reger back to the shop and give me some bee bee" she demanded. But I stayed strong and there has been no "bee bee". I apologise if this is all too much information for some people (that would be you, Christopher) but it's nice to jot it down for posterity.

Yes...there are photos of the last day of breastfeeding but I shan't be posting them!

PS I know I was talking about taking a blogging sabbatical, but then I found out that two friends have been dropping in and I would miss everyone too much and I have been enjoying finding lovely new blogs like Beck's blog and What Makes You Happy so I am still here, blogging. Yes...the TV is on and Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses is playing but G is playing with the box of wooden blocks and E is drawing with crayons next to me, so I don't feel quite as guilty as usual.

PPS My big brother was married to his beautiful girl in Dili on the weekend. If you read this, you two, Congratulations!!!!!! We were with you in spirit.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Fabric giveaway at Krafty Kash

OK. With perfect timing for me (as I am about to embark on my sewing career and am currently obsessed with looking at quilting books and sites and the "lazy days" easy girl's skirt on Tammie's blog), I hear that one of Tammie's mates, Krafty Kash, is giving away some lovely material to celebrate her 100th blog. It looks perfect for making a little quilt so I have my fingers crossed. Now all I need is my sister's sewing machine and I'm almost ready to go.

Here's the link to Krafty Kash if you want to check it out.