Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mat leave craft round-up

I didn't have big plans when I went on maternity leave this time around but I wanted to achieve at least a little bit of crafty stuff.

So, in the past year this is what I made. I'm pretty pleased that I was able to accomplish as much as I did. Not a spectacular amount, not as much as some others out there, but not bad for an amateur, a beginner, and a major procrastinator!

Quilts completed: 0
Quilts almost completed: 1 (Christian's quilt - awaiting binding)
Quilts started and in progress: 2 (The two other boys' quilts)

Objects completed: 1 (Elora's wrap cardigan)
Objects started and in progress: 2 (another wrap cardigan and a jumper for me)

1 skirt successfully altered
3 pairs pants/shorts for Elora
Numerous pants taken up (for Dante and Dan)
2 dresses made for Elora (polar fleece one and the cookie bag dress)
1 bag made for me!(Tiny Happy tutorial)
4 aprons for child care teachers
In progress: Atti's child care bed sheets (bag embroidered, assembly needed)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Aussie Day long weekend

What's that blur? You might ask.
Well, it is Billy Bragg live on stage at the Metro Theatre in Sydney. It was taken with Dan's mobile phone camera, and a lot better than the ones I took with my phone!
Yep, we had a night out. Got Dan's sister to come and baby sit (with help from my mother and Dan's mother, too). And we had a most delightful evening out seeing my most favourite singer/songwriter in the world. We even got to catch some of the support act, kept secret as a surprise who turned out to be The Nightwatchman (Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine doing his folk solo stuff). So great!

It did make me feel old, though. Billy's been around for many years, well before I even knew what folk/rock music was. I've liked him since 1991*. His audience is fairly varied but I reckon the median age would have been 35-ish. I always enjoy watching the crowds at gigs. (And I love this new law which bans smoking inside venues and pubs. Clear air! Not coming home stinking of smoke!) Billy Bragg gigs certainly do have an interesting and varied audience. But anyway, it felt absolutely wonderful to get out to a gig. Happy, happy, joy, joy.

[* I remember the first time I heard of him. I was at Circular Quay with some friends and we were chatting to a cute British busker (as teenage girls in a pack do, right?) and he was really keen for us to request Billy Bragg. We didn't. We requested REM. But then he played his song anyway.]

The following day we had "just a small family lunch" to celebrate Atti's birthday. Three years old! I didn't want to do anything big. Was actually thinking of just having a cake for afternoon tea. But then, you know how things go...

Small family lunch = huge roast dinner for 20 people. That's the way we do things over here.

Atti was absolutely delighted! When the cake was set down in front of him with three candles he grinned ecstatically, so pleased with everything. We had a paddling pool in the back yard and the kids had a grand time. Ice-creams were et and fun was had. It was a very pleasant afternoon. His best present was a kitchen set and toy food from Grandma. The kids (mine and their cousins) had to be dragged away from it at the end of the day. So perfect for him at the moment. I bought some of those wooden "cutting" food items (stuck together with velcro) and they were a great hit, too. I have to say that the cutting simulation is very satisfying. :) (Elora was asleep at the time so missed out on being in the photo.)

The cake. Blueberry butter cake (I try to avoid chocolate cakes for kids this age) from a Bill Granger recipe. Doesn't look like much, but tasted divine hot out of the oven with a good dollop of King Island Cream. Yum. I made it all by myself. It almost ended in disaster because I didn't have the oven hot enough, but it worked out in the end!

Friday, January 25, 2008

What's happening with the tennis?

Of all the sports out there, one which I follow a little is the tennis. More specifically the Australian Open. I don't really play the sport but my family does and my father and brothers are always well into it, talking about it, watching it on TV. It also reminds me of the final days of my pregnancy with Atticus... sitting on the couch feeling large and uncomfortable in the summer heat.

Anyway, this year's tournament has really astonished me. It seems that all the top players are being kicked out early, by relatively unknown opponents! I just don't know what's going on with the world.

Tonight was another prime example. Unbelievably, Roger Federer lost the semi-final to Djokovic, whom I'd never heard of before this tournament. Roger Federer. World number 1 for about a billion years who barely loses sets, let alone matches! Last night, Nadal (no. 2) was beaten by an unseeded player, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (also new to me). He was quite a spunk and elicitied a tonne of media attention. Wow.

Perhaps this is indicative of the current world atmosphere. We just got a new Prime Minister. America will get a new President this year. A new tennis number one, too? Heh.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tonight's dilemma

I've got one child standing at the top of the stairs whimpering, another screaming his head off like someone's chopping off his arm and the third has finally just stopped crying and fallen asleep. And Dan's off seeing a movie.

So, my dilemma is, do I spend the evening delving into the lives of craft bloggers out there on the world wide web, watch Stardust while knitting or tying threads on a quilt, or curl up in the foetal position in bed with a pillow over my head?

Ah, the joys of parenting.

Me, stressed? Who'd have guessed?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Dan sent me the URL of Thing-a-day, where you commit to creating something, anything each day in February.

I went to the site and registered, but am not sure if that means I've signed up for it. I'm not sure that I want to commit to such an effort... what with returning to work full time after 11 months off, and dealing with kids in child care and the start of the school year. Hmm..

But having said that, I love the idea of it. Making something every day. 29 days, 29 things (Did you remember it's a leap year?). I could make a cake. Sew a pair of pants for Elora. Crochet a granny square or two. Try drawing a picture. Write a tune.... Hmm. That's all I can think of for now. Okay, well, maybe it will be harder than it sounds. And it sounds HARD!

Well, I've got a little over a week to think about it and prepare. I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, January 21, 2008

E-lair-wa's in the nursery

(Atti doesn't call her "Baby Law-a" anymore... he's progressed!)

Today Elora had her first day at child care. A momentous occasion. I spent most of the time there with her, though, so does it count? I reckon so - we still had to pay the fees!

She did pretty well, all told. Didn't sleep much (only half an hour!) but went to sleep fairly quickly with the carer patting her. I didn't have to go into the cot room at all. Atti was incredibly excited and pleased to have her at his "school" (as we call it). He happily accompanied her into the Nursery and gave her tonnes of great hugs (but he sure wasn't happy when it was time to go back to his own room).

How do I feel? Actually, a great sense of relief that the first day wasn't a complete disaster. I'm hoping tomorrow will be better. The teacher, Vanessa, said that she wants to concentrate on getting Elora to sleep for longer. That's the key, you know. Once a kid can sleep at child care you know they will be okay. Eating is the other main thing. And Elora's brilliant at that.

I'm also exhausted! I was so tired that I crashed on the couch as soon as we got home. Dan was off sick from work today but thankfully was feeling much better by the afternoon so was able to take over feeding duties. I'm going to make sure I get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight since tomorrow's going to be just as tiring.

Speaking of tomorrow, Dante's gone camping tonight and tomorrow with my parents and two of my brothers (and their families) down on the South Coast. It was a bit of a last minute decision on my parents' part, firstly to go and secondly to take D with them! It's amazing what a quiet night Dan and I have had without him around. His presence is certainly missed. I hope they have a nice time. I heard on the news tonight that today was the coldest January day in several years and tomorrow is going to be somewhat similar. Ack! Bad time for camping by the beach.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I want!

Things have been tough here the past week. Atti's been having major melt downs at any time... Dan had to bring him home early from child care on Wednesday and he had to stay on home on Thursday because he was just so difficult. It has been stressful. Add to that Elora's impending start at the child care centre on Monday and my return to work soon after. :(

However, to add some joy to the world I have discovered what I want for the flooring when we redo the kitchen/dining area of this house (one day). Puzzle Floor! I love the look of it, and the idea is nifty. It's like parquetry, but neater:

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cable knitting

By the way, tonight I sat down and finally learned how to knit cables. It's not hard at all. There's a great tutorial here. I can't believe I was so intimidated for so long by these buggers.

The feeling of accomplishment is only reduced by the stress caused by my new desire to knit one of these beanies for Dante (or myself - is it too girly for a boy?) for winter. But with nice wool. I am itching to get to the textiles store in town. Of course, time will be the killer here. (See my last post.)

50 years to fill

I'm going through a bit of a mild period of blah at the moment. It's school holidays for Dante and the poor kid is bored out of his brain. Well, actually he entertains himself well enough by watching TV, playing on the playstation or flash games on the computer but I would really prefer that he do something more imaginative, creative and/or active with his time!

It's my fault. I haven't spent much time with him or organised any activities for him. He'll go to vacation care for a few days in the couple of weeks. That's it. I can't even contemplate doing anything else. It's slack of me, I know. But I'm in this mood, you see. Procrastination due to frustration. Not enough time, too much to do.

The reason?

There is ONE week left until Elora starts child care. That means I'm returning to work in less than two weeks. After 11 months off on maternity leave, it's a blink of an eye.

I'm not ready. I'm still breastfeeding Elora - what will we do? Noone can put her to bed anymore except for me. My father used to be able to rock her but lately she has refused to be hypnotised by him. But I guess otherwise she'll be okay. I hope! I just don't want to think about it (which is why, I'm sure, that I've put off weaning her).

Ack. And then there's the crafting. I've been buying more and more fabric - it's an illness, I tells ya. Today I managed to scoot out while Elora was sleeping (my mother kept an ear out for her) and bought some more. I also bought a couple of skirt patterns since I bought some lovely fabric with that purpose in mind. I want to make more clothes for myself to wear to work! I'm sick of all the old clothes that I had and want to start this year afresh. (But don't want to pay $70+ for a skirt from a retail store.)

So I've been staying up super late each night trying to do stuff, finish things before I go back to work (like making skirts, finishing quilts, starting on winter knitting). I'm starting to feel a little panicked about the lack of time and all the projects I want to do. There is a huge long list, including posting more on this blog! I still need to show you what I made in the last month or so! When the "Oh my god I'm going back to work soon and won't have any time to do anything because I'll be so tired and stressed and will need to go to bed at stupidly early times" realisation hit midway through December.

Anyway, I was lamenting to Dan, or perhaps he could just feel my anxiety, and he told me to calm down. I've got an entire life ahead of me to do all this stuff. I've got "fifty years to fill". What a nice sentiment, and a great blog post title! If only I could take it to heart. Because at the moment I'm still just thinking about all there is to do and wishing I could do it.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

He's shorn!

I'm sure you're all familiar with this gorgeous wonder and his fabulous locks.

As you can see, he was having issues with hair and eyes. Some people thought it was a problem and that it should be rectified. They told me often. The recent summer weather made him hot and sweaty. Plus, it was getting quite long. You can tell when it is wet. (By the way, you can see his scars from that nasty bout shingles he had a year ago.)

So today, after much procrastination and reluctance, we took him to the hairdresser. He was so excited!

Dante got his hair cut at the same time. It was a very nice cut, but not as exciting since he's had many of these before. Atticus was incredibly well behaved. He didn't mind having the cape around him. He happily looked up or down as the hairdresser required. He watched the portable DVD player on the bench in front of him. He sat still and didn't squirm. Amazing. So wonderful!

I didn't want it too short. I think the shock would be too much for me. Plus I was worried about losing his delightful curls. We kept several locks in an envelope.

And here he is at the dinner table. Doesn't he look completely different? I'm astonished at what difference a hair cut makes. Is it too girly? Perhaps. I'm not sure what to think of it. He's cute, of course. That goes without saying. Do I love the hair cut? Well, I'm too sad about having to get it done in the first place. It was time, though. I'm sure it will grow on me. If not, it will just grow!!