Saturday, March 31, 2012

For a special lady

Late last year my family faced a tough time when we nearly lost my grandmother. Aged 84, she suffered a ruptured aortic abdominal aneurism while interstate, and miraculously made it through surgery. Through prayer, rehab and a great fighting spirit she has recovered amazingly well. After many weeks of being cared for she has returned home, living alone, but with regular help from family and health carers. Praise be to Him.

A little welcome home gift was in order so late in the summer holidays I finished this lap quilt for her - with just the right amount of roses and prettiness. It's a quick, easy pattern - quilting pros may frown! - with no binding, but just front, back and lining sewn together then turned the right way through. The girls and I chose buttons from my maternal grandmother's button tin to quilt the layers together. Love special connections like these.

Grandma has 12 great grandchildren (my four being the only girls, and the only ones in Tassie!) and she does so love to see them, though not as often as we would like. Sadly, she's 3 and a half hours away but we love to visit every time we head north. The girls were so excited to see her after her having been so sick. It all actually happened in Melbourne, and all of her rehab, so the girls hadn't been able to see her till she got home to Tasmania. You can't mistake how special this visit was!

She's a gem, for sure. You would not believe the amount of knitting she's done for my girls alone over the years, never mind for my sisters and I. We are so blessed to have her. We love you Gaggy.

Friday, March 30, 2012

On the stage

Hello there, people. Wondered what happened to my good intentions over the summer? My plans to renew my blogging urge, to just get on and blog all those ideas in my head, to give back to the community just a little bit in return for the loads of inspiration I take from it.

Well, I don't really have an answer other than life ... busy-ness, a regular job, juggling of things at home on my days off and the battle to find the energy I had as the full time SAHM. I'm loving my two days a week on a 2/3 class just 8 minutes from home - it suits us so well. I'm where the kids are so I get to see them during the day. Each week is much more predictable, compared to relief work at any one of 6 schools last year. Given that hubby and I both taught full time for 3 years pre-kids, you'd think I'd remember the work done here at home. Oh my, to all those out there who are/live with a teacher you know what I mean.

But enough of an update. You would not believe the floating ideas for posts in my head! - there is so much I want to share with you. Even my girls have been on to me - 'Mummy, have you blogged that yet?' 'Mummy, will these photos end up on the blog?' 'Mummy, can you please take a photo of my craft? (to show who ever might be out there!)'

With Easter holidays nearly upon us, I thought this would be a good place to start. Alice made this little diaroma/theatre stage last holidays and was so proud of it. Many hours of painting, drawing, cutting and crafting went into this. Sarah and I helped with different bits. But it was Alice's creation - and the inaugural performance was something to behold!

It's all set and staged ready for Goldilocks, but with just some extra work, you could use it for umpteen other stories and productions. The idea was in one of her craft books and she carried it out so well. If you can't tell, it's a shoe box, the characters are on BBQ skewers, which are poked through slits in the side of the box. 

It's under her bed at the moment - I daresay the Easter weather normally means time for crafty, indoor things so it will probably be pulled out and maybe have a new production staged soon.

Certainly something worth running by the little people where you are. Not only plenty of craft, but oh the laughter and tears in eyes as she put on the show. The video will be one of those to be watched for years to come. So funny - especially when she inserted performers on the wrong side of the box and they were backwards!!!!! Watch for that.

I'll be back tomorrow - guarantee it.

And how's the Friday night feeling where you are??? Have to be one of my favourite parts of the week.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Just popping in to give you an update on my granny square progress. So here is the basket with the current square on top - just to the right of the photo below. But I'm afraid that progress has stalled. Why, you ask??? Run out of wool, time, crafting energy??? Um, no. None of the above.

What is all this stripy-ness, you ask? Well I could deny that it's mine. Refuse to acknowledge it, or speak of it. I could even hide it away and not share. But it's too exciting not to. Meet my first granny stripe blanket. Something I've been wanting to try for a while.

After mastering my little granny squares, I thought to myself: 'I wonder if I can now manage a foundation chain and hook into eeeevvvveerrrryyyy chain stitch to start a granny stripe?'. Something I'd been rather afraid of. Many others have spoken of the tiresome foundation chain. But, while watching a good night of tennis, I tried it. And managed to survive. Thanks only to Lucy at the very colourful attic24! And inspired by Mel at one crafty mumma - she finished her granny stripe for her son recently. Wonderfully big and beautiful.

And now I can't quite put it down. Not easily anyway. Certainly not to do any more squares. 'Just one more stripe', 'start the next colour', 'make it halfway along' -  it's very addictive. I think it's the repetition - soothing and requiring little thinking.

This hooky thing is proving just the thing to keep me in the holiday mood. I'm enjoying it while I can!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A blue iceberg

Having time to look through the non-fiction and craft books we've got has been a lot of fun these holidays. It's been nice to have the time and head-space to try some craft projects and even a little science.

Over the years I've been collecting DK books for the girls - science, dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases, cooking and 'my first' craft books. They're full of interesting info, great photos and step by step instructions for all sorts of projects. This science experiment caught our interest last week - turning a white flower blue with the use of food colouring.

One iceberg rose, one glass of water and a few drops of blue food colouring later and ........... one definitely tinged blue flower. This photo was taken about an hour after we began.

This photo below was taken a couple of days later - you may not be able to see but all the petals have blue patterns on them.

And this was taken a week later. One very blue iceberg! You can try the same thing with any coloured food colouring, or try it with different types of flowers to see if they vary at all in taking up the colour.

The experiment shows how much the stem of a flower is like a giant straw, taking up the water through the stem to the flower for nutrients and life.

It's turned out to be an easy, fun little experiment. The options are endless with how you could extend it too. Different amounts of food colouring, water - even mixing yellow and blue. Does the white flower turn green?

Maybe try it with the little people in your life. Fun at home!

Happy birthday, Maurice

This year's summer holiday has been all about family visiting, play dates, lots of reading, cooking and craft with Mummy and a post-building, backyard reconsruction/restoration project. We've also had many day trips and multiple 20/20 cricket matches at Bellerive. The weather has been wonderful so we've done lots of beach visits and swimming, picnics and time on the deck (which Daddy and I have just oiled over the past couple of days). It's been so nice to be at home to enjoy our new-look house. A bit like having a holiday at home, actually. 

The girls have had no TV during the day (except for watching cricket and tennis alongside mummy and daddy!) and maybe 3 movie nights. Their time at home has been taken up with lots of craft, the rehearsal of music and drama productions, the putting on of their 'shows', making up games, climbing the apricot tree and lots of playing in the cubby. 

On this particular day Alice woke up and announced it was her special teddy's birthday. Unbeknown to me, Maurice was turning 2. By the end of the day however, it was decided that he was actually turning 4. All this despite being given to Alice at birth 8 years ago. ))))))

Maurice, pictured above in the centre and named after his look-alike on Playschool, enjoyed a morning tea birthday party. All the beanie kids were invited. Wooden fruit laid out on a plate and presents from each of the girls unwrapped. Then after lunch Alice made her first chocolate cake with just a little help with the oven from me. We enjoyed a birthday dinner and the cake was served for dessert. Even with candles!!!

It was such a fun day and the girls loved that we made such a fuss. It's so great to see them come up with these ideas and let them get excited and wrapped up with all the planning and creativity. Their imaginations get carried away and it's priceless to watch!

We didn't ice the cake as it was close to bedtime and Maurice doesn't sleep well with too much sugar.

I truly hope this stage of childhood lasts as long as possible. We're trying to stretch it out as best we can. It seems there is so much pressure to have our little ones grow up so, so quickly. Here we are trying to put it off. Plenty of time for all that later.

Right now we're close to Sarah turning 10 and the twins to starting full time school.

Denial is a healthy, reasonable way to deal with it, is it not??? We aren't the only ones feeling this way, are we? Ideas for prolonging childhood gladly welcome!

Happy days for you, too.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Little grannies in a row

What is one to do when you have a lovely house guest in your spare/sewing room and it's time to sit back and enjoy the Australian Open tennis? If you're anything like me, you start a new sofa project so you can settle in for the evening and enjoy being productive in the lounge room. We won't comment on whether there were half-done sofa craft projects I could have pulled out of the cupboard. Fresh is best, is it not? - fruit, flowers, sheets and ..... craft?

You might remember my foray into the world of crochet 18 months ago - funny dolly hats that should have been hats for toddlers. I did however finish a big granny square blanket that is in constant use. So I thought it was time to maybe try doing some little granny squares - so many in blogland talk about how lovely it is to have piles of colourful squares stacked up. So I went to Attic 24 and Lucy helped me out with one of her straightforward tutorials. Her cute little Summer Garden Grannies looking like little flowers peeking out. Raided the 'Mummy wool draw' and came up with some pretty colour combos. I just have to go shopping for more now. )))))

I tend to worry a little for their slightly rounded shape but I've done my research and they often look like this when they're all on their own. Even from better crocheters than me. One day, in years to come, I'll learn how to crochet them together for a little dolly blanket. Or maybe it will be a bit bigger!

In the meantime, I'll begin another little flower and surround it with some rounds of prettiness. And I'll continue enjoying some tennis at the same time.

Happy days for you too.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

One string top

Well, the top is done. Wow, I'm almost feeling as good had I finished the whole thing! I decided, early one evening, to do another row of blocks, making it another 12 to get together. There were still oodles of strips cut at the ready so off I went. It worked better to begin 12 squares at the machine, have three strips sewn on each and then wander out to the iron. Much, much quicker working with a bulk batch than one or two strips at a time, backwards and forwards from the machine to the iron.

 Now, with our extensions last year (which I haven't forgotten to show you one day soon) we went from 3 small bedrooms to 5 good sized rooms. The girls are sharing in two new, double rooms, we have a new master, our old bedroom is now a big study, and the big girls' old room is now set up with a new double as a spare and ................ sewing room!!!! So nice to have somewhere to set up, leave set up and pop in just for a little while every now and then for a little sewing as I walk past. Feeling very spoilt. )))))

Once it was pieced together I put it over our coffee table for the girls to see it first thing in the morning. Nearly every strip is the result of me making something. They love remembering a skirt, friend's gift, or early quilt that I made as they look at all the strips. It didn't take them long though to get settled on the sofa with their books. This is a common part of the day over the holidays. No one was really interested in breakfast, can you tell? As I type, they're all in bed reading, not having given a thought to breakfast yet! Oh well, 8.30 is still early in the holidays. Feel so blessed to have such keen, able readers. The twins are 5 and a half and are reading so fluently it amazes us every day. And the tone, expression, understanding as they read aloud is truly wonderful.

Now, to get them out here for food.

PS Oh, and this photo taken yesterday morning wasn't staged. Found them all, straight out of bed, completely engrossed in their books. Can you spot four little girls? - one of them is hiding!