Thursday, 18 December 2008

all good things...

come to those who spend too many hours on eBay searching for that 'perfect' piece of furniture. This is our big Christmas present this year. Isn't it lovely?

The photo is from the eBay man - that's not our house. The gorgeous piece is in our bedroom and looks (or will look) wonderful. As it only arrived last night (thank you darling husband for going out of your way to collect it) I can't show it off in situ as our bedroom looks like something has exploded - not so Danish, a bit more dumpster...

I have these chairs (I wanted to show them off again after seeing these gorgeous finds today) and I am now on the hunt for a new dinning table. And one day, the perfect sideboard for our dinning room/kitchen will be there on eBay, waiting for only me. Or perhaps beside the road on hard rubbish night? Or left at my door in a moses basket with a little note...
My work here is not done. eBay for me is like porn is for many men. I need it everyday. And sometimes I hide it from my husband.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

stretched... (and a little giveaway)

Christmas Destination...

The calender days seem to be flicking quickly over. With it comes that urgent need to get things done before the end of the year. I am not sure why this becomes such a battle, such a rush and at times, such a stressful time. I know we put this pressure on ourselves but does it really matter if some tasks flow over to the New Year?

So I am feeling a little stretched. Trying to get a million things done before Saturday 19th December - that's the cut off you see. My sweet, sweet biggest brother is arriving from London (where he lives) with his new wife, whom I have not yet met! We are all spending a few days here and then travelling to Tasmania to spend a family Christmas in the country. Sadly my sister who lives in Hong Kong has chosen warm sunny Thailand over the possibly freezing cold Midlands...

So I am trying to get some sewing finished for presents for new babies, friends and family, send out Christmas cards, swap the contents of 2 full rooms while painting them, get the garden under control and get ready for our holiday. I am sure there are more things on this list...

What are you trying to get done? And more importantly, how are you keeping sane?

And as a reward for your efforts, someone will get a little pack with some plastic sewing needles featured in the previous post and some hessian squares for your minnie sewers. Just leave a comment before now and Wednesday 17th December.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

it must be craft week...

Minnie thanks you all for your lovely comments about her printing. She did want to point out that she didn't cut the design out herself - its one of her Mummy's applique designs. Just in case you thought she was some kind of scissor snipping prodigy...

Today we had a trip to a great big fabric store (Shyster-Light) in search of some plastic needles for Miss Minnie's sewing. I have let her use great big metal darning needles but have to watch her like a hawk - I have horrible flashes of what could happen if that needle made contact with, for example, a toddlers eye, temple, nasal passage...

So we went to the store, spent 55.00AUS on fabric and 'stuff', even after pointing out that they overcharged me 20.00AUS. Every time I go to Shyster-Light they 'accidentally overcharge' - some 'computer error' that for the last few months seems to have gone un-fixed. I almost offered up the services of my brother-in -aw, who as an IT manager-person for a BIG computer company, may be able to whip up a fix for this 'computer error.' I am starting to think they may like this little 'computer error'... This computer error was matched by the other little issue today - 'sorry we charged you for 3 cottons, I didn't realise there were only 2...' Mmm, computer problems and an apparent visual impairment epidemic in the staff. Poor loves, how can they cope with it all?

Anyway, back to the story. We got the plastic needles - they are darning needles, to be found in the knitting section (if you can climb over all the crap on the floor) and the brand we got are Arbee.

I got some hessian (about 4.99AUS a meter at Shyster-Light), cut it into squares (about 20x20cm) and over locked the edges of little squares. I threaded the needles with embroidery thread (floss) and started the first stitch - as the weave is open on the hessian, I sewed over the start a couple of times so the knot doesn't pull through.

Then leave it to professionals...

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

the print makers assitant...

Afternoon at the blue house. Minnie asked yesterday to do some printing but given it was about 7.30pm, I promised that we would print our little hearts out today. So this afternoon out came the screen, the paint, the stand-in squeegee (no idea what happened to the real one), and lots of paper.

As you can see from the photos Minnie knows her stuff. Yes, the paint may have bled a little (not really printing ink you see) but she hasn't got her prints listed in an Etsy shop yet so I think its OK...

But like all activities with a toddler, they can be over in 1/50th of the time they take to set up.

Oh and I forgot to tell you all that Minnie has been out of nappies for about 2 1/2 months. We thought it was never going to happen and with the move and Alice dying we didn't push it. Then it just happened. 2 weeks after the move to no nappies in the day, she wanted to stop wearing nappies at night. No accidents yet. We get very cute little wake up calls at 5.00am 'potty please' - can't be cross about that. I was a little sad actually - no nappies, weaned in May - no longer a baby....

So its big girl nickers now. But as Minnie is a very little big girl, the smallest sizes fall down if there are no clothes holding them up.
Sadly, her mother doesn't share this problem...

Monday, 1 December 2008

shameless plugging...

I know, switch off now if you don't want to read a post of shamless plugging... But you see I have some very clever friends and I am actually helping you out. I imagine that some of you are like me and have not perhaps done very much shopping for Christmas or the holidays or Hanukkah... So I thought I would help you out by showing you some creations from some super clever and super lovely people I know. All handmade, all based in Australia.

Harriet and Tim (from Hobart) from Dick and Dora make the most gorgeous acrylic and wooden jewellery - I have this brooch and a bird necklace. Lovely! Get it here.

Selina makes very cute pants for very cute bottoms (obviously not mine...) and hats for sweet little heads. Selina has a shop here.

Looking for cards? Look no further my friends. Check out Wendy's range here.

And a new comer - my darling friend Tania from MYlittleFERRETS is making tote bags for boys and girls. She is getting ready to add her beautiful creations to her shop so check back often to have a look. You can get them in person here at the moment...

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

hip hip hooray

Minnie getting ready to crack open the peach nectar and whip up her mummy a Bellini...
Another year older today. Minnie has spent most of the morning claiming it is her birthday and not mine. Apparently I am not allowed to have a birthday (which some days I like the sound of).

I started the day at 5.15am with a trip to the gym. All done with the intention of negating any guilt I might feel for drinking that bottle of bubbles that is in the fridge. Bubbles and peach nectar. Mmm, the Bellini.

Mum and Dad sent me money to buy this book. On you M and D - they know what I like! I think I am getting a bike from Steve and Minnie - I need to try it out so it's not going to be a surprise. Unless they blind fold me and tell me that I am trying out a new chair (I have a bit of a chair thing and would fill the house with them if I could). Still, I may wonder why the chair has handle bars...

An early dinner out with Steve and Minnie. Nothing fancy pants as Minnie is not into sommeliers or degustation menus or $40.00 entrĂ©es. Give her a prawn and pork bun and she’s happy. But she does want us to wear dresses. We may look a little out of place at the bistro with our frocks on. Especially Steve…

It’s been a less than joyous year. Moving into the blue house has been wonderful. Loosing Alice has been shit. Hoping that this next year of my very mid 30’s will be a lot better. Perhaps it will be a most excellent year.

Clink, clink - here's to excellent years.

Friday, 21 November 2008

work harder, little mice...

I have been getting a lot of spam emails in my yahoo account. You know the kind, 'You have won the Spanish lottery' and 'Please help me transfer 7 gazillion dollars out of Nigeria.' Sometimes I get spam emails advertising certain pharmaceuticals for certain 'men's problems' and sometimes I get spam from 'my' bank asking for all my account details. I don't open them, I flag them as spam and delete them immediately.

Over the past few months I have been getting spam from a 'naughty' magazine. I am not going to say the 'P' word that rhymes with 'torn' as I don't want a million pimply teenager boys heading to my blog on the promise of some 'P' that rhymes with 'fawn.' So I have been deleting the 'offensive' emails and complaining loudly to my husband.

Until one day...

One day I read the title of the offending email not just the name of the sender. Strangely the title of this 'P' word that rhymes with 'fawn' included the word 'Craft.' Craft. Craft? I could hear the tiny mice on the treadmills inside my brain and the little cogs started whirring. From way deep inside my what can now be only referred to the useless grey mass inside my head, a flicker of recognition. Something familiar about the email. Something familiar about the sender. The little flicker of recognition became a thought that became a huge 'ohhhh.'

You see I have been complaining and deleting and complaining about all the emails from BUST. Not a naughty magazine for pimply boys but BUST the super cool women's magazine. I had been deleting the emails that I had signed up for.

Some days the tiny mice are not working hard enough...

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

tagging along...

The lovely Emma tagged me (ages ago) in the 'quirky yet boring facts.' This is light on the quirky and heavy on the boring...

1. I hate tight underpants.

2. I prefer to sleep on the side of the bed that is closest to the door.

3. I don't like rats tails. Rat bodies are OK but they have the tail of a reptile and that is just not right.

4. Sometimes I take sugar in my coffee and tea then sometimes I don't. I like to keep people guessing.

5. I swear like a trooper in the car. I try not to swear like a trooper in the car because my little co-pilot can also swear like a trooper. Not such a good thing.

6. I do not own any yellow clothes but I love my yellow handbag and my yellow shoes (but not at the same time).

7. I dream of finding small country towns that have wonderful bakery's and rambling junk stores. That's all I need.

I am not going to tag anyone on this one as I know everyone in the blogging world has done it already. But feel free to leave a quirky fact in the comments section.

And one of the sweetest people I know, Mary-Beth, awarded me this sometime back - thank you for thinking of me.

Monday, 17 November 2008

PS - the being green compromise...

So I have decided to continue to use the green friendly washing powder. And the the not so green washing powder. The white clothes and the particularly grotty clothes get the hard core not-so-good for the planet powder and the less dirty clothes get the happy-earth-loving one. I think that its a good compromise.

On other earthly matters, the snakes have not made a further appearance. Must be waiting to scare the pants off me another day. I have my very own snake specialist friend now - Beverley calls to check on the snake sitings and provides an overview of snake comings and goings in the Shire. Makes me feel safer knowing we have Beverley on call.

And a final green report, I have resisted buying snail pellets for our garden. I have lost 3 pumpkin seedlings, 12 lettuce seedlings, 1 eggplant, a mass of sorrel leaves and part of the cucumber plant. I have built barricades and enclosures out of bird netting and I am trying to lure the snails to the 'pit of death' with good German beer. Have they fallen for the 'pit of death'? No, they have not. I can only surmise that we are in wine country...

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Being Green

Minnie carrying out some scientific analysis on the washing powder...

I try to be green. I recycle, I compost, I shop at op shops (the re-use box ticked there) and I have voted for people like this lovely man. As a child I remember our whole family loudly protesting against this bit of Tasmanian history. We were in tree planting groups and helped saved wildlife and monitored the platypus population in our river. I went to hippie festivals and I sometimes eat tofu. I buy the 'greener, safer' options for some household products and I have been known to use a little vinegar and baking powder around the place. So I decided to try a new washing powder out on the market. I had such high hopes, I really did. I was willing it to work. Wishing that it would end my relationship with our current washing powder.

My husband got the washing off the line. He wondered what had happened because some grime/dirt was on his shorts and his trousers and his tee-shirt. Mmm, I said and inspected the clothes. Mmm, they still had some grime on them. Mmm, they were not as clean as they should have been. I was deflated. I so wanted to fall in love with this new, nicely packaged, happy and earth loving powder.

Do you live with slightly less clean clothes and the warm feeling of being good to the plant? Or do you use the powder that may be slowly killing off the waterways but by golly, you look great in that clean, white tee-shirt?

Mmm, but I do look good in white...

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

now my nerves are shot!

Snakes Alive!

We have snakes!

I just found a snake on the veranda, long and slinky and rearing up at me. I grabbed Minnie and moved faster than the speed of light, I kid you not. Faster than any woman has ever moved before. I went and found Daisy, shut all the doors, put on Playschool (to district Minnie and the cat), called Steve and panicked.

You see I am a country girl from a place in Australia where all the snakes want to kill you. Dead. They take no prisoners. Growing up we didn't see the kind, friendly snakes so I have a fear of them. Worse than my fear of rats...

I stopped shaking and then called some people who know about these things. They gave me the details of other calm, snake friendly people who are going to come and find my uninvited guests.

The good news is that they are most likely harmless. However, 'most likely harmless' ain't quite good enough for me.

If anyone comes looking for us, we are barricaded in the sitting room with 'Playschool' on the TV, coffee for me and pfeffernusse for Minnie. Daisy is keeping watch at the french doors. I am not sure how her nerves will cope if the 1.5mt slithering reptile returns...

I know it will be too much for mine.
(painting: 'Lilith with a Snake,'(1892), John Collier)

Monday, 10 November 2008

her nerves are shot...

Daisy is our fluffy, lovable companion animal (apparently its not PC to call them 'pets').

But Daisy has some issues. Daisy is neurotic. She suffers from recurrent episodes that can only be described as nervous brake downs. Or the vapors. Or a total skitz out.

We adopted Daisy from the RSPCA in 2005. She was about 1 or 2 years old and had been brought in as a injured stray. We have no idea of what her previous life was like but given no-one came looking for her, I imagine it was crappy. She was at the shelter for 5 months before we adopted her. Poor love.

Daisy is terribly flighty and a complete wreck at the moment. I think its a combination of the move, being outside sometimes (she was a full time inside cat at our last house) and just picking up on the stress and sadness in the house.

I wriggled my toe on Saturday and she jumped 2 feet in the air. She does not handle a metatarsal movement well. All this stress has resulted in oral blisters, ulcers and inflamed gums. She over grooms and then gets fur balls. She vomits and goes off her food.

Last time this happened it was just her tummy (my grandfather suffered from 'nervous dyspepsia' - perhaps its genetic) and she was given an injection and seemed to calm down. This time she has been on antibiotics for the infection in her mouth and on special food for invalids. And we had to put Bonjella on her gums... You can imagine how easy that was.

But the best part is that I have purchased my very own bottle of cat pheromones! Yes, I am ditching the Channel 'Chance' and the 'Armani Mania' in favour of eau de Feline.

I don't actually have to spray it on myself but I do have to spray it all over the house.

I am not sure if it will make Daisy any happier but 'they' say it is effective. And although 'they' say it has no effect on humans, you never know.

If you come to tea, I'll be watching that you don't scratch the sofa or pee on the carpet...

Friday, 7 November 2008

like an egg...

If you leave me in the box, I am fine. Safe and warm and protected.

If you take me out and leave me teetering on the bench, then I could fall and crack.

My Dr thinks I am a bit fragile at the moment. I guess she is right. I saw her yesterday and she was, as always, lovely. We talked about Alice and about some of the results we are still waiting for. She asked how I was coping. How my husband is coping. She asked THE questions to see if there was any sign of PND. She offered counselling, if we ever feel we need it. And she talked about all the things we are doing right. Like visiting sites like this and this and this and reading the stories of people who have been through similar experiences.

I told her about a friend I have never met that has helped me more than she will ever know just by being on the other end of an email and letting me open the floodgates. Sadly this friend knows more than me about the pain of loss. Thank you Tiff, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

In January this year I had a miscarriage. It was early in the pregnancy. It was all straightforward. I didn't need to go to the hospital. We were sad, disappointed and I felt miserable for quite a while. A few months passed and I was pregnant again. I was nervous from the start. I counted every week, just aching to get to 12 weeks. Then all was fine. All was OK. It looks great.

But it wasn't.

You know the rest.

No more babies this year.

Its been 8 weeks since Alice was born. Since Alice died. We have the birth certificate now. The death certificate has not returned. Good. They can keep that for as long as they like.

I know she is dead.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

a super day

What a wonderful outcome in the big election. Watched the very moving acceptance speech live this afternoon and felt all goose-bumpy and a bit teary. Super fantastic.

Minnie has had a 3 day obsession with Spiderman. She had never seen him or heard of him until Monday. At her bestest friend's house it all started. I don't think he has ever seen him but he has the costume. Oh how she fell in love with the blue and red spandex. Oh how she screamed when she left. Oh how I folded like a pack of cards/bent like a willow and said she could have her very own costume. So over the past 2 days we have visited 5 stores in search of a Spiderman costume in a size 2-3. Do you think we could find one?

I can hear you all saying 'but you could just make one!' Yes you are right there but you have not seen the cat costume I made out of a DKNY top. Donna would die if she saw what happened. So the one time when I decide just to buy the blooming thing that cost 2 cents to make we can't find one. In the 5th store we found some red and blue spandex but its Superman. Minnie had no idea who or what Superman is but she told me in the store 'I love Superman.' How could I refuse? In the panic to get out of the Big store before any more love affairs began I didn't get the cape that goes with the suit. Oops. Double oops. But the ever resourceful Minnie decided it is was OK to wear her 'brown elephant cape' (it matches her elephant softie) with the new outfit. Add the pink boots. Lovely combination.

Maybe Donna would forgive the cat costume when she sees this ensemble?

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Go, you good thing...

I am of course referring to the Reserve Bank! You little beauty!

I am not sure who won the Melbourne Cup. Gone are the days of wearing a strange thing on my head and drinking bubbles in the afternoon. I am also a little squirmy about gambling. Once upon a time a worked in community welfare and got to see some of the results of gambling. And no, it wasn't commonly a big fancy house and a car and lots of gold jewellery. I understand that a little flutter is fun and all but for some people it ain't that easy.

(This is fast becoming a rather random post...)

We had a builder here today to supply quotes for skylights. As he was looking at the kitchen, Minnie ran in and announced very loudly 'I want to wee in the garden like Daisy-Cat.' Priceless. So was the look on his face.

I will be back soon with some photos of the sewing room - new storage solutions are in place. But it still looks like a squat in there... Give me a few days. My dear friend and I both spend a lot of our sleeping and waking hours dreaming/thinking of storage solutions. Hours spent at Ikea, at and in the Ikea catalogue. Does this happen to all women when they become adults/parents/WAHM's?

Maurice Monster is a new lad in the shop. More to come...

Monday, 3 November 2008

I am not actually allowed to..

vote tomorrow but if I could, I would vote for the man who's surname rhymes with Llama.

I spent quite a lot of time in the US in another life, in another time, with another man so I feel a little bit connected to the country. The man spent some time in the Middle East, on behalf of Mr G Bush. He didn't mind but I didn't think it was such a good idea. It seems now that millions of other people agree that perhaps it was not such a good idea.
I wish the US well and hope that after Tuesday, things get a little better for everyone.

And don't forget to vote, my American friends.

Oh and I know that some people think that crafty blogs about families and cooking shouldn't delve into the murky world of politics. Naughty me, pushing the boundaries of blogging... If only my Political Science lecturers could see me now...

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Twas brillig and the slithy toves...

did gyre and gimble in the wabe...

Minnie has a growing collection of toys in her cot and quite a few of them have been made by me. She has Miss Polly (from the first 'Softies'book), and multiple bunnies (from creating this little lass), an Owl and an Elephant (who escaped from the photo) just to name a few. As Minnie can sometimes be a little difficult to get to sleep (!), she was lucky enough to receive some of these softies as special night time gifts (or bribes depending on how you look at it).

One night when was carrying on a bit at bedtime she asked for mummy to make her a new toy - of course I said, what would you like? A Jabberwocky was the answer. Not another bunny or a cat or a doll or a bear. A Jabberwocky. Not a cute little squirrel or a dog. A great big scary creature that burbles in the tulgey wood and looses its head in a battle with the beamish boy.

'The Jabberwocky' by Lewis Carrol has been a favourite books in our house for sometime and Minnie has 2 great versions (this one and this one). Yes, it is a little gruesome for an under 3 year old but as we don't overly focus on the beheading, Minnie doesn't seem to get too troubled by it.

So the next day, between orders, I made the requested toy. I based it on the illustrations in this version of the book using only what I had on hand. I re purposed a few things for the Jabberworky - the hat is from a jumper I felted, the face and whiskers are vintage fabric, the body is from an old pair of PJ's, the tail is from a some quilt squares that never just much further than squares sewn together.

He is a little wonky and a more than a little odd. But the absolute best part of all of this is that Minnie loves him.

That evening Steve found Minnie in her room, sitting in the rocking chair 'reading' 'The Jabberwocky' to the Jabberwocky. Perfect.

Monday, 27 October 2008

the blue house - painting...

We have started the big job of repainting a number of rooms in the blue house. Starting with the most important - the playroom. The previous owners of the house, who I am sure are very lovely, had somewhat limited skills when it came to painting. Overall the paint work is a bit messy, with lots of hairs and brush bristles left in the paint work, drips and splotches on wood work and terrible colour choices. The 'blue house' blue colour is fine and as is the 'off white' in the main part of the house (still badly applied) but the orange/buttercup shades used in the back section of the house are not our cup of tea. Plus for some insane reason they painted the ceiling the same colour as the walls. The playroom is a dark room anyway so having the ceiling and walls the same light sucking colour makes it feel like a gloomy box. So we are painting it all - there will be a new white ceiling and some 'Whisper White' walls and a skylight to brighten things up.

I am a bit obsessive when it comes to brushes - buy the absolute best you can afford is my mantra. Go without chocolate or wine if you have to... And what ever you do, don't buy the cheap bulk pack because you will regret it when you spend 7 hours removing all the bristles from your walls.

I am planning to paint my sewing room at some stage and feel drawn to the gorgeous colour used by my friend and by the Mama herself. But the real priority in the sewing room is some cupboards or shelves. At the moment the room is far from calming and inspiring -on going in there one is not sure if they will ever get out.

The list of jobs around here is long and seemingly endless. The biggest job is an extension/rebuild at the rear of the house but this will have to wait until interest rates are 1%... So until then lots of new paint, new loo's, new curtains...

And of course, it wouldn't be fun if you didn't have a helper...

Thursday, 23 October 2008

6 weeks...

Todayit will be 6 weeks since Alice was born. 6 long weeks, 6 short weeks, 6 sometimes unbearable weeks. So much has happened and sometimes it feels like yesterday and other days it feels like last year.

For the most part I am fine and can talk about Alice without crying. But then there are times when I have no control over the tears or the quivering voice. Like at the gym when I was having my assessment 'have you been in hospital lately?' or yesterday at the review with the OB. Yesterday I think yesterday I was flipping between the controlled, sensible woman asking detailed medical questions and the distraught mother unable to speak.

The OB review was not all we had hoped. We were waiting on more test results that would ultimately answer some more questions about Alice. There were no answers. It doesn't look like they actually asked the questions. So we left sad and disappointed and admittedly a little cross.

The doctor said some things that perhaps he shouldn't have. He realised that and seemed to overly clarify his comments once my husband returned to the room. Nothing to kick up a din about but enough to confirm in my mind that many doctors have very poor communication and people skills. I have good friends that are doctors and my ex is a specialist now. My best friend and housemates from Uni are doctors. I am admire doctors in the same way I admire nurses and ambulance officers and judges and teachers and police officers. I respect them all because they have important, stressful and at times very difficult jobs. I appreciate that doctors are busy and that they have to remember a lot of things and have the awful job of telling people that they are dying or that their babies are dead. But I do not sit in awe of their position or their perceived status or take on their every, single word as being right.

Sometimes they are not right, sometimes they say the wrong things and sometimes they forget to ask the questions.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

And I am very lucky...

After my whiny post yesterday about not getting enough sleep, we all had a lovely sleep last night! Yippie. Of course I love her to the ends of the earth regardless of her trying sleeping patterns. Minnie also had an afternoon nap yesterday (admittedly I had to cuddle her and rock her to sleep). So we are all happy and full of the joys of life today.

I joined a gym last week. Its a new shinny gym full of lovely equipment and smiling people. I use to go to the gym, back before babies, but I was never a 'gym junkie.' I enjoyed working out and feeling strong and fit but I still drank lots and ate too much cream and cheese and did other things I shouldn't have. I have carried far too many extra kilos for far too long and after years of complaining, I have jumped back into it. Now there will not be any crazy dieting going on as I do not believe in it and ultimately don't thinks its healthy. All is moderation is the key.

We are very conscious of setting a good example for Minnie as exercise is so important and if it becomes a normal part of life, then it will be easy to keep up and enjoy. There have been numerous programmes here on ABC examining the new health problems of the future - obesity, diabetes, and stress. Given we have some clear genetic markers for all three, we decided it was time to do what we could to ensure we are here for as long as we can and to try and ward off some of these health problems.

So I have been getting up just after 5.00AM and heading to the gym, which is about 10-15 minutes away. Yep, its early but I enjoy that part of the day. I have always found it easy to get up early - to study or to start a long commute to work. There is something special about being up while most of the city is sleeping (or perhaps not, if they have a baby/toddler).

My time in the gym is really relaxing, under the sweating and grunting. Its the only time I have to myself. Of course I get to go supermarket shopping sometimes or to run errands but that's not my personal time. At the gym I can think about stuff and listen to my iPod and just be 'a person at the gym' for an hour. Not a mum. Or a wife. Or a grieving woman. Just a person at the gym.

Sometimes I think we all need to be just 'a person at the gym.'

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

sleep is for the very lucky...

evidence that Minnie can in fact sleep... Hong Kong

We have just had one of the worlds worst nights of non sleep.

Minnie started out as a terrible sleeper and some nights, she takes us back to that time to re-live it all over again. She didn't sleep for more than 5 hours in a row until 4 days shy of her 2nd birthday. Most nights she would wake every hour or two for a feed, a cuddle or something. She slept with us so as at least I could doze while she emptied my breasts every night. We were all permanently tired and given she was difficult to get to sleep in the day, we never seemed to catch up on our rest. At times I thought I was going to go completely doo-lally from lack of sleep.

So last night she was awake at 10.00pm and in our bed. She cried and carried on and I made regular threats of returning her to her cot (yes, she still sleeps in her cot as she is so small she fits in there happily). I spent hours awake holding her, moving her, patting her back. In these dark cold hours I think of Alice and find it hard to sleep anyway.

Finally Minnie dozed off but awoke a million times, perhaps because she is still a little unwell. She demanded to sleep on my 'boobies' so I was either flat on back and apparently woke everyone with my snoring, or on my side with Minnie lying over me. She was weaned in May after 2 years and 4 months of feeding but obviously still finds comfort in the 'boobies.' We were up and down as every now and then she would wake, scream and head to the lounge room. Steve just got kicked in the head and back most of the night. To add to this the cat was going mental and knocked glasses of water over on the bedside tables. Plus both Steve and I had similar disturbing dreams about the economy...

Ripper. Bloody ripper. Whinge, whinge, whine...

Sunday, 19 October 2008

ramblings from the veranda...

The blue house has a huge veranda that wraps around most of the house. We think the veranda floorspace may be in fact larger than the house itself. The veranda's were the one of the things we fell in love with when we first saw the house. We spend a lot of time out there, rain or shine. The orange chair lives out there, as does the piano that came with the house. Lots of chairs and cushions and mats for sitting on. Its where the painting and printing takes place as does a great deal of research from my gardening books.

As the weather is now really warming up, I don't think we will spend much time in doors at all.

Unless it has been too cool, we eat our dinners and lunches outside too. This salad, with Thai style dressing (I use oil, lemon or lime juice, palm sugar, fish sauce and chili), went with the chili lemongrass chicken that is being cooked by the master bbq'er. Sadly none of the salad leaves are from our garden as we have only had the garden in for 2 weeks...

Since moving in we have had two lovely Sunday lunches with wonderful friends and family. Long afternoons of eating and drinking and sometimes loosing the odd toddler (he was fine - just busy in the garden...)

Today our niece, The Little Bear, came for lunch. What a hoot she is. We had some delicious salads from this great book and a lovely afternoon. Minnie has a cold and was not feeling too grand - she feel asleep on the couch after lunch. Minnie loves The Little Bear and was very miserable when she awoke to find that she had gone home. Lots of tears... But Minnie was happy to look at photos of The Little Bear in action.

And after a few weeks away, I am back in the sewing saddle with a few orders to complete. My sewing room is a nightmare but I can manage to squeeze past the mess to the sewing machine. I have a few new designs to list this week and lots more in my head waiting to get out!

I hope you all had a lovely week.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

alice's quilt...

After Alice was born and died I came home from hospital lost, sad and panicked. I didn't know whether to sit or stand or to run or scream. Amongst the million thoughts going through my mind I knew that I had to make something for our baby girl. Alice missed out on the handmade clothes, the bibs, the appliqued tee-shirts and the little blankets for her dolls and bears. She missed out on my terrible knitting, my printing and my not so neat embroidery.

The need to make her a quilt was overwhelming - I had to make her something. So I came home and did just that. I went up to my sewing room, carefully picking out fabric that meant something to me and to us and carefully cut my squares. I am generally a speed sewer but this time I was careful and pressed all my seams and lined up all my joins and was as neat as I could be.

I chose the Japanese double gauze for the inside as it felt like a babies muslin. Something that should be close to her skin.

I appliqued some mementos on the inside - some things that would be close to her, some things that had been close to us.

I worked on the quilt, hand binding it the next morning and finishing it throughout the day. I took it back to the hospital. I went to see our baby again to wrap her in this gift that I made. I wrapped Alice in the quilt with a small bear my mother made for me many years ago.

In some unexplainable way I felt calmer. I wanted her to be safe and warm and not to be alone.

Some of the fabric was new, some was vintage and some was recycled. There were stories in the fabric and they would keep her safe.

Monday, 13 October 2008

scenes from our sunny days...

Some photos of Minnie painting. What started as leaf printing moved onto hand printing and then onto big hand prints on my trousers...

We have more weeds than grass in our lawn. On the weekend we bought a lawnmower. A house and now a lawnmower - no mistaking that we have reached middle age.

The chair was a roadside rubbish find from a house just around the corner. Well actually 2 wooden chairs were. I was 'caught' taking the chairs by the owner, Jan. After chatting to me for a few minutes she took me into the house to see if I would like to have this orange chair. Jan's mother had just entered a care home and she was cleaning out 50 years of her parents life from the house. Jan knew our new house well as she played here as a child 50 years ago. 'Shame you weren't here yesterday, she said, as I had an art deco sideboard and some cupboards that you would have loved.'

Another day, another roadside rubbish pile perhaps...

Thursday, 9 October 2008

4 weeks...

This time 4 weeks ago I was in hospital, in labour. It was all wrong, the wrong year, the wrong month and the wrong thoughts in my mind. I should have been there in late January. I should have been there with a huge tummy and a huge smile. Not this time.

We collected Alice's ashes this week. A little urn in a little velvet box.

I wonder who makes these little urns? And the little white coffins?

I know people who had lost babies during their pregnancy and I know people who have lost their newborn babies. What I didn't know was that there are so many people who have lost babies. Work colleagues, friends of friends, friends of people I have recently met and a frightening number of women who I have found on blogs and websites all over the world.

I wonder how many women that I pass in the street carry this sadness inside? How women have this hole that they can never fill?

I guess it is a lot more than I could ever imagine.

Friday, 3 October 2008

3 weeks...

Its been 3 weeks since Alice Buttons died. 3 weeks and 1 day since she was born.

Today I received the death certificate. The birth certificate hasn't arrived. Death is a priority at the records office.

It arrived registered post. We thought it may have been a gift for Minnie from a grandparent or a forgotten order from Amazon or a returned-to-sender item from my etsy store. As soon as I saw the envelope I knew it was one of two things. Birth or Death - one of the two.

I opened it outside the post office. It was the certificate telling me that she had died. Telling me that she was never married, had no children, had no occupation, lived all her life at the same address, that she had two parents and why she died.

In their haste to get the certificate out, they made a mistake. It has to go back. They have to fix it.

Her birth certificate should arrive next week. I hope it does. For a few days I can look at that one and part of me can ignore the other certificate. I know that it doesn't change anything but it would be nice for them to tell me that she was here with us, a part of our lives, our community and our world before they tell us that she has died and will never be here again.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

from the blue house

The first morning at the blue house. I have only just found the camera again amongst the chaos. Breakfast outside for Minnie. Yes, that is paint all over the table and jam. A whole (tiny) jar of French jam was emptied. 'I can do it all by my self...'

I sat and looked at these flowers in our garden for the longest time. 'Birds of Paradise.' And as we roll into the middle of the second week here it is beginning to feel a little more like paradise. Long afternoons digging in the garden. Neglecting things like unpacking in favour of trips to the garden centre. Hours pouring over our new gardening books and old design magazines. Minnie starting the day by announcing 'I must do my gardening forever' as she heads our the back with her gardening tools.

But there is a big hole. I catch my reflection in the french doors. The roundness of my tummy is long gone. Just an empty place where someone belongs.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

packing, moving and saying goodbye

Before and after loosing Alice Buttons I packed cartons, arranged removalists, lawyers and utilities. On the day Alice died I had a discussion with our lawyer that ended in me being very rude and hanging up. Discussing monies owed on a day like that was not such a good idea. Wanting to punch the man in the truck at the gate the next day was also not such a good idea. Flipping the bird to the annoying new neighbour was a great idea.

So after Alice died I came home from the hospital and I filled cartons with our lives and squeezed remnants of the things we had lost into suitcases and shoe boxes and old bags. I still had on my hospital wrist bands and I couldn't change out of the clothes I wore when Alice was alive and when she died. I didn't want to wash her from me and waited until the next day before I could do this.

I drove many times between the old house and the new house. The road took me past the funeral home where Alice laid waiting. Waiting for me to change out of my dirty clothes covered in cleaning fluid and dust and to put on 'something nice.' They were waiting for me to come to the room with the lace doilies on the table and the tissue box covers and the reproduction furniture. The room where I was treated with kindness, perhaps with a little too much familiarity, and given the folder containing the invoice. In this room I was brave and almost stoic until I read the first line of the invoice;

1. Infants coffin lined with white satin.

Then I sat crying realising perhaps for the first time what I was actually doing in the room with the potted ferns and the blackwood sideboard and the soft tissues. I was here to arrange the cremation of our tiny baby. The baby that would never lay on my chest, feed at my breast, feel her fathers strong hands or see the smiling face of her sister. Our baby that would not dig in the dirt searching for worms or laugh at the songs and stories we would tell her.

Alice Buttons was cremated on Tuesday 23rd September. We were not there. We held no ceremony. Not because it is not important but because we want to choose our own way to remember Alice.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

the blue house

So we have finally moved. The blue house is now ours and is bursting at the seams with cartons and mess and complete chaos. We had been so excited about this day coming - moving into our very own house. Our very own old blue house on the hill, looking out to the ocean and the lake. We received the keys after settlement and came straight here. I wasn't excited. I felt like vomiting. I wasn't happy and I didn't want to be here. Not like this. Not with so much sadness inside us.

But the next day we returned and the sun was shinning and we felt a little happier to be here. Happier to be here but not happy. Far from happy. Perhaps the furthest I have been.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

the saddest of times and the sweetest friends...

Although she will always be 'Buttons,' we named our little girl Alice. Alice Buttons in fact.

I am still in a blur, packing boxes and crying and feeling like it didn't really happen. Often I think that Alice is warm and safe inside me. And then I realise she is not. Then I remember that she is dead.

Family and friends have been wonderful. People I have never met and perhaps never will have sent their best wishes. Flowers have arrived from dear old friends and darling friends close by have taken such wonderful care of us and our darling Minnie. Friends have written such beautiful words.

Our lives will never be the same again.

Monday, 15 September 2008

please help, a search for some fabric...

I need to find some more of this fabric. Its Japanese. Its double sided muslin? I made a quilt for our baby and lined it in this muslin. I need to make another one for us. Its very important, especially at the moment. Does anyone know where I could find it? I fear that its no longer available.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

‘…we also know that we shall remain inconsolable and will never find a substitute, no matter what may fill the gap, even if it be filled completely, it nevertheless remains something else. And actually, this is how it should be…it is the only way of perpetuating that love that we do not want to relinquish.’

Sigmund Freud, in a letter to a friend after the death of his daughter.

[Freud, S (1929) Letter to Binswanger in EL Freud (ed.) Letters of Sigmund Freud, New York, Basic Books]

Saturday, 13 September 2008

the saddest days...

our tiny baby was born. our baby was so small and precious and beautiful.

our gorgeous little baby died.

I held Buttons all night and day. we wanted to hold Buttons for a life time.

I have never felt so sad before in my life.

Friday, 12 September 2008

grandy and baa available at

Enchanted ClosestShop 5-6, 93 High Street
Woodend VIC 3442

OUCH Ink148a Pakington Street
Geelong West VIC 3218

Made590590 King StreetSydney NSW 2042

Boutique Bambini

Monday, 8 September 2008

A little update...

My husband thinks I have completely lost my mind but between all the packing, the lawyers, the million phone calls with utilities and removalists and insurance companies, I have finished some new designs for the shop. They will be added later today and tomorrow. At this stage the designs are only available in the size and style shown but come October, they will be available for custom orders along with my old favourites.

Some of my range is now being stocked by Made590 - a very cool shop in Newtown, Sydney. 590 King Street for any locals... As some of you know, I never just wrap my orders - they all come in handmade bag. The bag pictured features Mervin the Slightly Mad Dog and is for the order for the lovely Christine at Made590.

Off for my 19-20week scan tomorrow. I think we are the only people in the world who are not finding out what they are having. It seems that people can no longer wait for the lovely surprise.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Its a small world after all...

Just a quick hello amidst the house of disorder - perhaps a calm few minutes before I have to look up from my laptop and see the chaos that surrounds us. This moving lark is not much fun. Of course the end result will be loads of fun but this packing, sorting, recycling, taking things to the op shop, to the dump, and to friends is a bit much. I am a bit frustrated that I cannot lift and move bigger, heavy things. But there is always time for painting...
I am still here alone - if QANTAS is behaving, my darling should be back at about 8.30am tomorrow after 2 weeks working in Indonesia. We are counting down the seconds.

As you know I am on etsy (most of the time) and this week I decided to search the shop local function for some of towns around where I live. I nearly fell over when I found some! Yep, right here on my door step are some crafty etsy mothers (here and here) ! It made me so happy as I have long thought I was alone here, in the crafting wilderness. Yes, there is a huge fabric store up the road but most of the customers I see appear to be the more traditional 'country' crafters. Don't get me wrong, I admire the talent of all these crafters but their focus is just a bit more traditional than mine (apologies for using the word traditional twice there - I am struggling for the right description and after 2 weeks alone with a toddler, I am amazed that I can actually type).

So finding these few etsy crafters has led me to their blogs which has led people to me - all living in the area. They thrift (op-shop), craft, write and take photos. The bit that really amazes me is that they visit blogs that I do (from around the world) and that we have not bumped into each other before (like this lovely girl who is just down the road, in the beachside 'burb where I once lived).

The world is a smaller place when you blog.

Friday, 22 August 2008

No crafty goodness but

some photos from time spent with our guests. I am feeling increasingly guilty for not blogging about applique or sewing or printing or any interesting things. I am feeling a bit guilty for not having finished the tutorial and not having shown you the 'Jabberwocky'... Oh dear.

I can tell you that cooking for 9 is very different to cooking for 2 and a toddler. I can also tell you that if I have to make another cup of tea, I may implode.

Even if I have not been commenting, I am lurking around the blogging world. Hello to you all.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Still here....

I have been an absent blogger, not delivering on my promises of finished tutorials and photo's of re purposed softies. Its just been very hectic and not showing an signs of slowing down. Guests here from overseas and interstate. House purchase is moving along and mid September looks like the end of settlement! Then comes the big move. Moving tips will be greatly appreciated - we have moved a lot as a singles and as a childless couple but this will be the first move with Minnie and her 7 million books and 37 thousand toys. Help, please...

Starting to feel little flutters so I think all is well with little Buttons. Definitely looking pregnant these days.

I will be back with more, one fine day...

Sunday, 27 July 2008

babies, sewing, and a sale...

Thank you all for your lovely comments about our wonderful news. I have a permanent smile on my face. Minnie is happily telling people about the baby in mummy's tummy. She likes to pretend that she has different animals growing in her tummy!

I WILL complete the applique tutorial soon. I am just madly finishing some orders as I have closed the shop to all new orders for a while as I will be spending every spare second packing - the vendor has finally agreed to accept our amended offer on the house! However, I am having a little sale over at the shop, just to lighten the packing load... I will be adding a hoodie and some other tops (tee-shirts and long sleeved tops) that are all on sale and ready to ship.
I will be back with that tutorial soon and some photos of my softie that I made as a part of the repurposing challenge over at Linaloo. Its a rather interesting little fellow and some how I don't think I will have any requests to have him in my etsy store...
I hope you are having a lovely weekend.