Friday, 12 November 2010

6 months

Louis is 6 months. Well now 6 months and 4 days to be exact.

He is crawling now in his own special way. It's much like a caterpillar. A very cute caterpillar.

He has started eating some purees and isn't really that interested. He will have a little avocado or mango or some veggies or as is the photo, some raspberries and pear. But not much yet as its early days. He still drinks what seems like gallons of my milk a day.

Louis will not sit still. Always on the move. He is an exact replica of his sister Minnie, who is still on the go most of the day. His little legs are moving constantly and they go faster, the more excited he is.

He will sleep at night as long as he is our bed, snuggled close to me and the smell of milk.

I must admit I had forgotten how much work a 6 month old baby is. I am his full time entertainer and at the end of the day I am exhausted. But my singing is really improving.

He is a delight. A heart melting delight. With his big sister Minnie, he has helped put the smile back in our lives.

Happy 6 months to our happy little chappy.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

my milk

I am very lucky. I know that some women find breastfeeding incredibly difficult to establish and for some, they are never able to get it right. For some women this inability to feed their babies must be devastating. I know that I am lucky.

But it wasn't easy for me with Minnie or Louis. I had attachment problems, cracked nipples, thrush, mastitis, pain and discomfort. But I am pig headed. I kept on going until it was right. I got help and kept on trying. Yes, there were nights that I cried throughout entire feeds but I kept on going. For about 6 weeks I was in terrible pain every time I fed Louis. But I just kept going. I am not after any accolades - it's just something that I really needed to get right.

I fed Minnie until she was 2 1/2 and I am so pleased I did. I know that some people think it's odd to feed a walking, talking, all-singing and all-dancing child. I guess before I had Minnie I thought it was perhaps 'unnecessary.' But of course once I had her that all changed. It didn't seem odd or strange at all. On one occasion I had to argue the benefits of extended breastfeeding to a (female) doctor. I don't think she got it.

Insurmountable feeding problems aside, I find it sad when I hear of women that go straight to formula, that don't try or don't ask for help. I am most definitely not having a go at women that are unable to breastfeed - I just wish the women that were able to feed would give it a go. And I won't get started on what I think about the clever brainwashing tactics of large companies that make artificial milk...

So I am lucky and pleased. So pleased that I can do this for my babies. So pleased that I get to share that special time, watching them fall asleep, little chubby fingers resting on my breast.

Friday, 15 October 2010

by candle light

Tonight at 7.00pm there will people be going about their evening. Starting dinner, reading bed time stories, pouring a glass of wine or waiting for their friends at the bar. People will be tidying up, washing up, putting out the rubbish or taking the dog for a walk. People will be surfing the web, ironing their shirts, or nervously waiting for their date to arrive.

But at 7.00pm in some houses, in towns and cities all over the world, people will be lighting a candle. Or lots of candles. Today, 15th October, is the day that we light candles to remember all our babies that have died during pregnancy or infancy.

Every day in Australia 6 babies are still born. Every day in Australia many more babies are born early and die or are lost to miscarriage or die in the early days after birth. Every day in Australia people go about their days not knowing how devastating this day has become for someone else.

So on this day, while you go about your evening, perhaps you too could pause to honour these babies by lighting a candle.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

5 months

This strange spring. Some days are sunny and warm and perfect for toes in the sand. Others, are grey and cloudy and just right for a cosy hat and a cuddle with Daddy at the beach.

Louis is 5 months now. Well 5 and a bit months. He is trying to crawl and loves rolling around the room. He laughs and giggles and thinks that the dog catching the ball is wonderful. But not as wonderful as his sister Minnie - she is his real star around here. He has tried a little lick of mango and a tinsy bit of avocado and we think that when the time comes, he will love his food.

Where did the time go?

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

food: tea cake

Some of you may disagree but we think that cake represents a necessary food group so it rightfully has taken a place on this weeks menu at the Blue House.

I always use the recipe from 'Central Cookery Book.' Every true Tasmanian will know about his book written by the wonderful Miss A.C. Irvine, the late former Mistress of Domestic Sciences with the Education Department in Tasmania. Miss Irvine included many wonderful recipes in this book including like Tripe Fricassee and Fish and Pineapple Loaf. The book was used as a text at high school and then at home. I don't think you really Tasmanian until you own and cook from the 'Central.'

Minnie and I whipped this one up yesterday and enjoyed a small warm slice for morning tea.

Tea Cake
  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 60 butter

  • 1 egg

  • 1 1 2/ cup Self Raising flour

  • 3/4 cup milk


  • 2 tsp butter
  • 2 tsp caster sugar

  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Prepare oven to 190'c. Grease and paper base of 2 x 16 1/2 cm cake pans or a slab tin 27cm x 18cm.

  2. Sift flour.

  3. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and beat well. Fold in flour and milk alternatively, blending all carefully.

  4. Pour into cake pans or slab tin. Bake 25-30 minutes or until done.

  5. Cool in tin for a few minutes, then turn onto cake cooler and reverse so top of the cake is uppermost.

  6. While still hot 'spread' top with butter and sprinkle with mixed sugar and cinnamon
  7. Serve sliced hot or cold

Friday, 24 September 2010

thank you...

I didn't mean to be gone from here for so long. The 11th and 12th came and went. We had a happy/sad weekend - playing in the sun and the sand, eating great food and enjoying every second of what we have while being very much aware of what was missing. We were sent some beautiful balloons from a lovely friend and we released the great big butterfly balloon. We watched it float away and we kept watching until we could see it no more. We tried to find it in the big sky, searching and scanning until our eyes hurt. Then there was such an overwhelming sense of loss - no matter how hard we searched, we would never find it again. I often wondered why people released balloons. Now I know.

I wanted to thank you for all for your kindness and your lovely words about our Alice. I think that Jodi encapsulated what all baby lost mothers feel - we just want acknowledgment of the baby or babies we have lost. We don't want to necessarily talk about it every day but when we do, we just want some acknowledgement of the great big awful thing that has happened. So I thank you all for acknowledging Alice and our loss.

I feel a bit like 2 people sometimes, here and in real life. The baby lost mama and then the sewing crafting cooking mama. People must find it odd that I can mix the two parts of my life here. I know how you feel as sometimes I do too. But there are days that I need to write about Alice and there are days that I need to write about danish furniture, pretty fabric, roast carrot soup or the perfect pair of pants.

So I will be back with more recipes and photos of the family and sewing projects and tales of the dog and her ongoing vet bills. And sometimes with posts about how unfair life can be.

Thank you again for your kind words and for being here to 'listen.'

Saturday, 11 September 2010


It is 2 years today since our sweet Alice Buttons was born. Tomorrow it will be 2 years since she died.

2 years.

After 2 years I have nothing profound to say about life and about death. Nothing insightful or all that meaningful. Life can be short. Death can be unexpected and unfair and at the wrong time. I have learned that people don't like talk about death. And when you say you had a baby that died, it is as if they didn't hear you. They move on in the conversation. They leave those words hanging. I imagine that if you could see these conversations, you would see those little-big words, 'dead baby,' just hovering there, waiting for the person to let them into their ears and into their brains. Most people don't. They don't want to think about what that means.

Some very special people do let those words in. They ask you about her and they talk about other babies that have died. They send beautiful balloons on her birthday and messages of love. They are the people that say her name, that say how shitty it is and they talk about her like she was here.

Because for us, she was here. She will always be here. What I have learned about life and death is that every day of every week of 2 whole years you can think about someone and you can desperately miss someone that you never knew. What I have learned about life and death is that I am sure for every day for every year for the rest of my life, I will miss someone that I never got the chance to know. What I have learned is that you can fill up your heart with a new life but a bit of you will always be missing.

Someone will always be missing. Alice will always be missing. Missing and missed.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


A big cloth nappy bum. So cute on a tiny little person. Little legs sticking out from the layers and layers of cotton, bamboo and soft velvety fabrics.

Now that the weather is getting warmer and the sun is shinning a little more, I am finally going to start using washable nappies more often. When I was pregnant with Louis I posted about my plans to use modern cloth nappies as I was (and still am) lost with the many types and brands available. I have been so lucky to receive some cloth nappies as gifts from lovely, lovely people so I have been able to try out a variety of styles. When I first had Louis there was no way his little bottom was going to fit in the cloth nappies I had (mediums and OSFA) and I didn't really want to buy the smallest sizes given how expensive they are. And given the vast number of poo's in the early weeks, disposable nappies are just far more convenient for us in these early, wintery months.

Louis is getting bigger (in a very petite way) and his cloth nappies are finally starting to fit. I have used them a dozen or so times now and amazingly they wash so well without soaking or bleach. I was dubious at first as to whether they would clean so well as Louis is quite fond of pooping once he has one on. But they wash up like brand new. So now I will slowly add a few more to the collection.

In all honesty, I don't think I will be able to be organised enough to use cloth nappies full time but if I can use them part time, I think it's a start. If I can cut down the disposable nappies we buy, it's better for my wallet and for the planet and that has to be a good thing.

Friday, 3 September 2010


Even with a few tears she looks gorgeous. They all are.


Even when some of them don't sleep, when one of them snores and when the fluffy yellow one barks. Even when they drive me banana's, when they don't eat their dinner or when the fluffy yellow one eats the babies toys.

They are perfect.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

food: from our weekly menu- roast carrot soup

Every Saturday morning I sit down with a pile of cook books and food magazines and work out our menu for the week. I pour over the pages fantasising about long and involved dishes with time consuming sauces or desserts that take hours and many pints of cream to prepare. Then I make the list of practical, fast(ish) and varied meals that we will actually be having. Some meals will be 'Minnie Friendly' and others we will have once the babies are in bed. I try to include dishes that use in-season fruits and vegetables and also meat and pantry items that are on sale at the major supermarkets and stores. From this I write out our shopping list and also write up the menu on the big chalkboard in our kitchen. This way we all know what we are having. Of course there is the flexibility to switch it around or for some nights to resort to a cheese toasty because we are too tired to do anymore.

So I thought I would share some of our menu with you. This week we will be having this Roast Carrot Soup, with some toasted afghan bread on the side. Both carrots and stock are currently on sale at this supermarket.*

Roast Carrot Soup

  • 1.5kg carrots, chopped into small chunks
  • 120ml olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 litres vegetable or chicken stock
  • Finely grated rind and the juice of 1 lemon
  • Fresh coriander, Greek style yoghurt, toasted pita or afghan flat bread to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 220'c. Put chopped carrot in large bowl and drizzle with 1/3 of the olive oil - mix around so all bits of carrot are covered. Scatter the oiled carrot onto large baking trays (lined with baking paper), season to taste. Roast until golden and cooked through (about 25-30 mins but keep an eye on them).
  2. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in large saucepan over low/medium heat, add onion and galic and saute until tender (8 or so minutes). Add cumin and ground coriander and stir until fragrant (1-2 mins). Add stock. Bring to the simmer. Add roasted carrots. Blend with stick blender until smooth, season to taste with craked pepper and sea salt, add lemon juice.
  3. Serve soup scattered with a little lemon rind, coriander leaves, a dollop of natural yoghurt and toasted bread on the side.

original photo and recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller, pg 42, June 2010

* Please note that I am not promoting the supermarket - I am just letting you know where the items are on sale this week.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

my creative space: hats

As the sun begins to shine here after what feels like months of rain and grey skies it became quite apparent that the boy needed a hat. The winter beanies were not going to protect those sweet cheeks from the harsh sun. So I found this Purl Bee pattern online and rushed one up. When I say rushed, I mean it. The stitching is all over the place, the bias tape I made is very odd, and I had to trim the rim as I went because I did something odd cutting out the pattern. Minnie could have done a better job. But it fits. I have started some more better, neater ones.

It keeps the sun off his cheeks.

But it doesn't keep the dog off them...

Thursday, 19 August 2010

my creative space: more simple

I stole enough minutes this week to make a very simple appliqued top for baby Louis. It's a profile of our great big golden retriever Molly made using some cotton fabric fit for a boy. I used a straight stitch for the applique this time, rather than my usual zig-zag.

Simple. Fast. But not as cute as the boy in it.

More creative spaces found here.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

minnie and louis...

Minnie dotes on her little brother and her adjustment to his arrival has been fairly smooth sailing. I guess that given the age difference, Minnie is old enough to understand why much of my time has been consumed by caring for the baby. Generally she has been OK with this but of course there are days when she really demands time that I just don't have. There have been a few meltdowns but given she is the meltdown queen, it has not been a shock to our systems. I made sure that before Louis' arrival I had put in place some things to occupy Minnie when Louis was occupying me. We have craft baskets in almost every room, we have a new playroom that is 'craft central,' we have lots of new books and by bringing out some toys that had been packed away, we have new toys! If she has sticky tape and paper, she is a happy girl.

We have included Minnie as much as we can in the daily care of Louis by asking her to pick out his clothes and help with lots of the nappy changing. She loves to 'read' to him and tell him stories. She is teaching him to 'talk' so we often overhear her reeling off lists of words, all the while he listens so intently.

I can't imagine life without Louis and some days find it hard to remember that he has not always been here. But I guess that some days Minnie does remember those days in which we were able to dote on her 100%. So I think I will take a lead from the gorgeous Rachel and arrange a little outing just for the girls. I am sure the boys will enjoy some time together too.

PS - getting a decent photo of them can be really hard...

Thursday, 12 August 2010

my creative space: withdrawal symptoms

I am starting to get some major withdrawal symptoms as a result of my lack of sewing. Sewing with an attached 13 week old baby is not that easy. Since Louis' arrival I have literally sewn half a seahorse softie and mended 2 holes. That's it. Only today have I started to unpack my fabric stash. Before Louis was born we did some minor renovations in which I gave up a large sewing room in exchange for a tiny 'store room.' Selfishly our growing family demanded a larger playroom...

So my creative space is a very small room that, like some freaky tardis, houses a piano, a large IKEA bookshelf, a computer, a sewing machine, an over locker, a chest of draws, chairs, and so much crapola that you can hardly move. But in time (one day when Louis learns that he can sleep on his own) this is where I will get creative again. Where I may finish that enormous pile of WIPs and where I may actually get some stuff in the shop.

The photos are of the last thing I sewed before having Louis. I didn't know if he was a boy or a girl but I guess I had an inkling. You can not get much simpler that this applique. Cut a circle, fuse it on, sew around it, sew in and tie off your ends. Done. But sometimes simple is good.

More creative spaces found by visiting here.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

chocolate chip biscuits

I know they are called 'cookies' these days but when I was growing up we ate biscuits. We ate homemade ANZAC's, jam drops, afghans, and melting moments. And we ate cornflake and sultana biscuits, kiss biscuits and my mothers outstanding shortbread. Although I loved them all, sometimes I got a little envious of the girls at school with their perfect looking machine made biscuits. In primary school my brother used to sell his homemade cakes and biscuits to fund his mixed lolly addiction. Some days I swapped mine for a store bought biscuit. I would never do that now.

We made these chocolate chip biscuits a while back from here and although I thought they were OK, they didn't knock my socks off. So I am calling out for your help in the search for the perfect chocolate chip biscuit (or if you insist, 'cookie') recipe.

My tummy thanks you in advance.

Friday, 30 July 2010

listening and reading

Time seems to be going so quickly. I want to stop it, slow it down, bottle it and keep it forever. Louis is growing so quickly and Minnie is about to commence a pre-kinder programme at her future school. I can't believe that Minnie will be at school 5 days a week. It makes me cry thinking that after all this time, we will be apart every day between 9 and 3. She is ready, I am not...

I haven't had much time for sewing or for cooking elaborate meals in the last 11 weeks. Not much time for finishing unpainted walls or for weeding the forest of weeds that is our garden. But over these cool winter days, we have had time for listening and reading and these are some of the things we have been turning our attention too;

This is a hilarious musical by Sandra Boynton, the children's author, with lots of famous actors singing funny and very catchy tunes. This was a gift for Minnie and Louis from a lovely friend who lives in Philadelphia, without any chickens.

We read this every day, without fail. A great book as the reader chooses their own adventure.

An old school friend wrote this and we are all very proud of her! Honey has a second novel out (Good Daughter) and I understand that a film is in the works.

We all love it when this comes in the mail. Hours spent planning meals and talking about food. Minnie hardley eats (well she eats but precious little variety in her diet of hummus and pasta and cherry tomatoes) but she loves 'reading' the recipes.

I love this album but wish they had bleeped the rude words out of Little Lion Man so Minnie would have learned a more appropriate version...

We also love this one on a lazy Sunday morning, when I am still in my pj's until mid morning and my hair is very unkempt.

Of course I had to post at least one photo of my babies, here with their Poppy and Gaddy on my father's birthday. Happy Birthday Daddy/Poppy!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Look what happens...

10 days...

And now 10 weeks...

A smiling face and those sweet gurgling sounds of a baby talking are perfect days.

Watching the big sister and the baby brother together is no doubt some of the most wonderful time of my life.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010


I hope your day, your week, and your year is full of smiles. I think ours will be.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

one month old

Scenes from the past month...

Wednesday, 19 May 2010


Louis at 10 days old - double digits already... I have so much to write about his birth and the past 10 days but all I can muster is a sentance or two. Some feeding problems are starting to settle down, which is great news for my nipples. Sleeping, well sleeping comes easy in our arms and snuggled next to me at night. For now that is fine. Who would want to be anywhere else?

And a heartfelt thank you for your comments and warm wishes.