Friday, December 16, 2011
I love the preparation for Christmas. I (generally) love baking, making and thinking of people I love as I think of gifts for them.
I don't love trying to think of presents when I am uninspired... the "I'm only getting you this because I am expected to get you a present" present. I don't love creating handmade things and gifting them to unappreciative people who think I have taken the 'cheap' option by 'doing the homemade thing'.
For anyone who doesn't know- many crafters don't necessarily craft for thrift now- my mum always made our clothes because it was cheaper (and I assume, for personal satisfaction!)- that isn't true these days. If I make myself a shirt, say, it will cost more that I could pick one up at a chainstore or op shop for, for sure. The pattern, the fabric, the time, the energy...it's not about thrift (it can be and that's pretty fun too)- it's about creativity and my spirit, as I have said here before.
I digress. What I don't love, is when gift has turned to expectation. Joy and celebration turns to stress and busy-ness. Thoughtfulness has turned to obligation.
We don't get junk mail but I do see the piles that arrive at my work at this time of year- it's nuts. Really. And when did gifts for children get so massively out of proportion? In my opinion. I don't intend to judge other peoples practice, just expose the tension in my mind.
I could go on, this churns me up abit, but I wont.
I don't love so many people encouraging consumerism in my children- I don't like 'what do you want for Christmas?' but I dislike 'what are you getting for Christmas' even more. I have an 11 year old son and a 9 year old daughter. If you have hung around here abit you may realise we live relatively simply.
I don't want to drown my children in stuff (there bedrooms get messy enough as it is!). But I also don't want them to feel like they are (and we are) total freaks because they haven't got their own laptop, iphone, ipod touch, playstation, tv in their room... whatever. There's plenty of time for those things, isn't there?
Sigh, I really struggle with this. I read an article about a bloke who is a professional 'declutterer'- or something like that- he said children's rooms are interesting, it's often the parents who want to hang on to the toys but as he encouraged them to get rid of some of the stuff in the kids bedrooms every single time he would witness a child come in to their clearer room and dance!
I don't really want to teach my children to value their possessions above their relationships, but I have never heard some random stranger ask 'who are you going to spend time with this Christmas'. I also want to demonstrate generosity and thoughtfulness to my children; my discomfort with all the 'stuff' isn't just about the huge drain on financial resources (although- I don't think there's any need to go into further debt over your kids Christmas presents, just quietly!) I hope they see and value the time I spend making jam and understand that that is part of the gift.
At 9 and 11 I reckon my children are now at a more 'peer influenced' age, so how do we parent so they are not excluded from there peers whilst upholding our values and what we think is important. I don't know what gifts our children will be getting from us for Christmas. Our family present from the 'in law' side of the family is a family ticket to Puffing Billy. Great present, we are going to have our 'big day out' in January probably.
I find the comparisons hard too. What are your kids getting? What did you get? My kids get home grown fruit and vegies, parents who hang out with them a decent amount, meals around the table, family games...I can't wrap any of that and put it under a tree but they are some of the things we have decided are important.
Another article I read recently was by a Palliative Care nurse who said that many peoples dying 'regrets' are remarkably similar- they wish they had spend time with their friends more, maintained a bit of silliness (!), gone abit slower... and the one that challenges me- had the courage to live according to their convictions- be who they are- rather than live according to how they thought other people expected them to live.
What a big rant, I didn't intend to rave on, there's alot banging around up in my head today and no other adults around- so I chose to 'chat' to you!
I'd be really happy to have a conversation about this stuff- does anyone else on the planet find the excess difficult? Wonder how to 'do' balance? Or do you all love the Christmas spend up? Am I just over thinking it all?
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
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Monday, December 5, 2011
Of course it's my next project from "You Sew Girl" for my Tanya and Nicole Challenge.
I wish you could feel it- it's 'crisp', not crunchy or stiff, or flimsy but suitably substantial...guess what...that would be the interfacing, I may be at risk of becoming a bit of an interfacing nerd! But I think it really does give it a wonderful finish.
Lots of people who I have showed it off to have picked it up and felt it and commented about how smart it felt (I didn't bore them with too much about interfacing!).
I found the pattern easy to understand and I am less daunted by zips than I used to be (the method of putting this one makes it accessible for anyone who can sew a straight line). I was thankful my machine doesn't tend to mind a bit of bulk at times and I found sewing the binding on was not problematic, but I am familiar with binding from my quilting- not that I have all those angles and turns when quilting. I machine sewed both sides, and while I wasn't 100% happy with some bits I was happy to acknowledge that the 'overall effect' is what counts and don't think the dodgy bits were too noticeable- this is something that will improve with practice and I will get some more practice because I have three more on the go. Surprisingly both my children have put their orders in for one which was rather flattering- they are generally not overly forthcoming with praise or affection for some of my crafty projects!
Don't you love it when you have a gift that you reckon the giftee is going to love. These are some things I photographed while at her house on the weekend- see where I got my colour inspiration?
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
And then I remember that the fruit I have soaking in (3 different types of) grog is ready to mince and go on to the next step of my fruit mince tarts for Christmas. So I have made the pastry and minced the fruit...and walked outside and realised it's really hot (and look up the forecast and it's going to be 36 degrees). So that's as much of that as I am going to do today because I am NOT putting my oven on in this weather.
The natural thought progression then moves onto hot weather, inside, creative pursuits and I think, yep, today I will make progress on my list of things to make before Christmas. That might involve; a library bag, 3 more toiletry bags, 3 nighties,, and a few other things. There has been action in the sewing room, not of which I am ready to show because they are all presents and I forget which relatives read or know about my blog and don't want to pre-empt the gift giving.
What I can show you though, is the 'was going to be a gift' dress, I saw the intended recipient on the weekend and I think it will be too small. This is the second Oliver and S 'Ice Cream Social' dress I have made.
I vaguely remember a few years ago there was an ice cream dress bloggy sew along, well, not out of character for me I am a late comer to this pattern. I really enjoyed sewing it, it was the first Oliver and S pattern I have made and I have just bought two more I liked it so much.
I liked that I understood what it was telling me to do (sometimes took a few reads, or me to clarify it with my sewing 'help desk', but, for example once Karen cleverly advised me that I was looking at the wrong page and a good trick she finds is to follow the instructions in order!). When I had to match up notches, there they were, in the right spot.
I enjoyed the detail of the 'v' on the pocket, not too tricky at all (amazing what following instructions can do for you!). I hadn't done that before.
These are not my preferred choice of fabrics and colours, but that's okay, because I wont be wearing it. I did it with the intended recipient in mind she likes butterflies, pink, yellow, girly, pretty things. I do find it much easier to sew with fabric I love though, colours I love. I mean, this was okay but wasn't my favourite.
On that note, I might go and get on with all the days 'making'...I possibly should include- make the dinner, make the clothes clean and dry and folded, make the place abit more presentable generally- but I don't find that making half as much fun!
Monday, November 21, 2011
I love those particularly abundant times of year when the garden is offering plenty. Especially when the plenty has a relatively short season (eg. asparagus) so we never feel the weight of 'what are we going to do with all these...insert name of vegie'. The short season means the produce isn't taken for granted. Berries and cherries are always pretty special too.
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Sunday, November 20, 2011
At this time of year, the garden starts to burst..in a good way. The garlic harvest has commenced, this lots has been hung out to dry...kind of literally. It's in a room in our old shearing shed which has a slatted floor so air can circulate as the garlic 'cures'. So it will dry without going mouldy. I love garlic.
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Oh, how I have missed my blog, and your blog. I have been skimming on my clever phone, but that tiny screen is hardly satisfactory when we are talking about crafty blogs- I want to be able to see your photos, and the prettiness of your whole page, all at once. And I want to be able to write comments...I am not really 'down with' writing 'UR pix A1' (that's my attempt at text message language,which I find really hard, because I like spelling). Not just the text message language, I tend to be slightly verbose generally (sorry!).
Anyway, that was last week, we are into a new week and separating the two is Sewjourn.
|The fabric scramble- what to do when you can't pack everything!|
In many ways my life is quite isolated, we live on a farm, out of town, we do have close and wonderful neighbours, but on my 'home days' the only people I see all day, besides my family, could be the other children (and sometimes adults) at the bus stop. I do enjoy the space, but I really like people too.
I like what can happen when people come together- when 'the whole becomes greater than the sum of it's parts'. The engaging in conversation and building on ideas, sharing of knowledge (in all directions), the inspiration, encouragement, compassion, wisdom, acceptance. I like different people, different personalities, different styles, different ways of doing things coming together with a mutual respect.
There was crocheting, patchworking, quilting, bag making, hat making, sewing for small people and sewing for ourselves, there was bathers, party dresses, shorts, knits and wovens.
Does that sound overwhelming? I wanted to do everything- watch people, chat to people, sew with people. There are quite alot of photos floating around and I have yet to see one of me sitting down at my sewing machine (can't quite understand that!) while Lara has her big dot point list of completed projects, I am happy to report back that this is coming along quite nicely, thanks!
Thank you Nikki, Lara, Annie, Karen, Rachel, Kathryn, Megan for a really fun initiation into craft camp. You're all ace.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
The pig. Hmmm, I am not sure where it's going to live now!
The appliqué- patient Grandma taught Jack how to do blanket stitch. Bless her! These were two of my favourite things that Jack entered...and possibly two of the easiest to photograph.
And here's a photo of my 'token entry' (I like to enter at least one thing in each year, if I am around, to support the local show)...the prize winning 'lemon butter'
The dodgy thing was, that the certificate didn't have my name on it, it had another local gal's name on it- she's a Tanya too, but totally different last name. I saw her at the show and she told me she didn't enter anything (so strange mix up to make), she was abit disappointed to hear the winning loot was a grand total of 50 cents!
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
I haven't got the list on me, but it was fairly ambitious!
"An article made from paper mache" was on the list...
This turned into a prize winning paper mache pig! He also put in a stitchery, applique, article made from recycled material, a card, hand painted article...and a few others. He worked really hard to finish his entries, getting abit disillusioned at the persistence required at times! He was so self-driven, I was impressed.
I did warn him that a win wasn't guaranteed, pointing out that he might be up against kids doing textiles in Year 7 who had more experience than him, but he was pretty confident telling me "even if that's true Mum, I am pretty happy with the quality of the things I have put up". He wavered once on the day it came to delivering the entries into the show for judging..."Will these things have my name on them?"- I explained that if he won or came second they would, but otherwise no "Why?"..."Oh, just cause if my mates see them with my name on them, they might tease me for doing girly things".
Happily for him he 'scooped the pool", came home with a $15.00 voucher and $8 in prizes ($1 a win)- technically minus $5 for the entry fees- 50c x 10)- and I wonder if he will be keen next year to head back and defend his title!
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
The lost mobile phone was never found and I eventually bought a new one. I wasn't sure, I was umming and ahhing about whether I needed one. I think I said that before here.
I got one that does tricks (it's smart apparently). I have used the phone a couple of times and realise I like the extra bit of security of having it there, especially if I am driving. I also like texting and email access...not that that is necessarily a good thing! The 11 year old also doesn't mind the odd phone call to the mobile to find out when I might be home from work, whether I can please buy some gluten free cereal on the way home- important things like that. Sadly for him (sometimes) I am not a great phone answerer at the best of times and I still haven't learnt my way around mobile phone etiquette.
If my phone rings and I am at work, do I answer it? and what about if I am in a parent teacher interview at school?- I am embarrassed to admit that I did answer my phone during the parent teacher interview, mainly because my phone never rings and it was a local friend so thought it may have been an 'emergency'- no, she just wanted to know if I wanted her to bring me a 'real' coffee home from town! I am still not great at ringing mobiles either- what if I am interrupting someone? Some of my friends only have a mobile now, so I have to get over that, you know, get with the times!
More about the wristlet...I am sad to report that it's "old sewing", I did have my machine out the other day but not much got done. I think I have a bit of a mental block about what to sew, hasn't really happened to me before, or at least, for ages. My crafty friends came out on Sunday night and while both of them nearly whipped up a whole quilt top, I, umm, sorted stuff out...which was good to do but not very creative!
I do love this little wristlet, and I do love how in Nikki's book she builds on projects, so when I show you my next project from the book (which is soooo close to finished I should just do it!), you will recognise some aspects of this little wristlet- she steps you into techniques gradually, I like that.
In fact, I have recently heard Nikki being called a genius
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Hexagon quilts are really hard to photograph...
This quilt was made for a very special baby, long awaited and much loved...and very very cute xx
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Ages ago, I got a bit inspired to make marmalade
and this lot of mandarins, tangelos, lemons, and oranges turned into quite a few of these
there are considerably less jars now than when I first made them, two people in this household are particularly fond of marmalade, it would seem!
I like making jam and preserves, I like that the abundance of the season can be spread over the year. I still have quite a few blackberries in the freezer from Summer, I have been adding them to cakes, muffins and smoothies throughout the year. This year we didn't bottle enough tomatoes to last us the whole year and now we've run out. I don't like having to buy tinned tomatoes, doesn't feel quite right.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Thanks to those of you who have emailed me to ask how I am getting on, it's very lovely and thoughtful. I didn't mean to stop hanging around, it just happened. (Ha, that reminds me of my daughter at the moment 'it's not my fault, I didn't do it!')
Guess what? This time 11 years ago, I had just become a mother. Jack was born, after a few years of trying to get pregnant, and a pregnancy where I had trouble believing that I actually would be 'get' a baby at the end of it...that sounds odd as I type it.
I remember not wanting to get my hopes up- my 'getting pregnant' hopes had been battered and bruised and maybe this translated to my 'being a mum/ having a baby' hopes generally. It meant I was rather under prepared in the 'stuff' department and my children never had a beautiful nursery... they did alright!
I really can't believe that was 11 years ago. I wish I could work out how to get a photo from my new phone to this blog so I could show you the ace birthday cake I made for him- 'designed' by Jack (a Hawthorn footy club jumper!).
Our Internet is annoyingly unreliable, just changed modems, but I don't think this is going to be much better. I can't upload any photos at the moment, so can't show you my latest 'Nikki project' or my marmalade, or my great gluten free chicken nuggets. Odd for me to do an all words post.
Nice to be here, I will try not leave it so long next time...but I suspect I have said that before.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Reinhild was knitting for months and months before she got here, she bought with her 11 pairs of socks that she had knitted in various sizes and colours. One pair each for my mum and dad, a pair for me, and my crew (4 altogether) , a pair for my brother and his crew (also 4 altogether) and a pair for my Aunty.
She used that wool that as you knit it up, it makes it's own pattern, it may have a name, being 'not a knitter', I am not sure. What an effort- the wool is really fine, would have taken hours. They are beautiful and warm and toasty.
I was slightly surprised when the 10 year old boy tried his on and exclaimed 'at last, some decent socks'...(like- "I am so glad you've visited and made me these socks, my mum makes me wear dreadful socks that are not warm and have holes in them"- that was kind of the implication! Poor neglected child...)
Sunday, July 24, 2011
I was surprised to see 'last post on June 19th' though. Have I been busy trying to keep my head above water since then? I don't think I wanted to know that!
I have finished a few crafty things in that time though- a little cardigan (yes, knitting!)- given to it's new recipient without taking a photo first (because I was still sewing the buttons on moments before handing it over), the hexagon quilt- I love it, also, handed over to its new owner without a photo (still hand sewing the binding moments before handing that one over!)...I will get a photo next time I visit. Such a fun and pretty easy quilt to do.
The wristlet has been found- left it at my friends house- she lives around the corner but I haven't picked it up again yet, will take a photo when I get it back. It now has a big sister, which I also can't wait to show you.
The mobile phone hasn't been found though. Do I really need one? I think the other one has gone for good and it's time to think about replacement. I am not like 'the young people' who do alot of their communicating via text messages, but I do enjoy abit of 'extra' communication with friends via text, and I have missed that. I don't actually use the phone much. I travel 100km (round trip, country driving) to work two days a week, so it's comforting having a mobile for 'just in case'...most probably 'just in case I run out of petrol!'
The noise makers are still here. It's been hard. I complained. I said earthworking noise, 10 metres from our house (at times, sometimes further away but still loud) from 7am- 5.30pm, 7 days a week (yes, really, and even on public holidays) is unreasonable. We are hoping they are nearly finished. Our channel has plastic lining so I think they must be nearly finished. Dodgy project.
Trees have been sent, markets attended and that will slow down soonish. I still think it's great to see so many people keen on growing their own fruit.
|A visit to the Healesville Sanctuary|
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Last year we got a mobile butcher to come and do the butchery type things.
This year Mr. Apple and the 2 neighbours decided they could handle it...
This year I teamed up with some books, google and Pete (the Italian friend) to learn how to make bacon (pancetta, apparently).
It's been salted, now it's hanging and next week it's going to be smoked (above mentioned neighbour has a home made smoker, I wonder how that will go!).
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Our 'season'. That is, the bare rooted fruit tree season. The trees are dug and now orders are being collated and sent.
Our first market was on Saturday, in Violet Town (who does markets only in Winter?!). It was a good 'ease in' because it was gorgeous and sunny.
It was exciting to get a little mention in the 'Organic Gardener' magazine (page 19 if you read it).
My craft room is no longer my own, I am sharing it with the overflow of parcels being packaged!
The last of our apples are on the trees, persimmons and pomegranates are fruiting.
It is great to grow your own fruit.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
I am making a quilt out of Anna Maria Horner's 'Handmade Beginnings' book...I am just not sure whether I will crop the triangles on the sides to make in a rectangle...I might be more inclined leave it as a hexagon, or add bits (technical term) to the corners to make it a square. I will re-evaluate as I go I think.
I am still abit narky that my wristlet hasn't turned up and now my mobile phone has gone to join it, where the lost things are.
Anyway, the most exciting thing is who this quilt is going to be for...I'll tell you soon, but at the moment, it's not my news.
Loads of other creativity going on- have a look over here.
Monday, May 30, 2011
It came all the way from New Zealand.
Leonie made it, for me. Actually this is the cushion living at her place, I haven't taken a photo of it living at my place yet. She worked out that I am in love with apple fabrics- and introduced me to that white and red one, I hadn't seen that before.
What a bright, fun and happy cushion. I really like how cheerful it is. It's practically yelling- take me outside, sit on a seat in the sun with me, grab a cup of tea and the newspaper, some stitching or a jolly good book- don't you think?
Thanks Vic for organising a fun swap, I have been coasting around looking at other peoples cushions and it seems to me that people have put a lot of thought and love into their creations, which makes me smile and enjoy some goodwill in the world.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
So mine has been sent off to it's new owner, and my fingers are crossed that she likes it. It's always a bit of a gamble! Surely she has it by now- I did send it off on Monday at 4.30pm but was informed I had already missed the post (I think it's a country thing!).
I wanted it to be a surprise and thought she might guess it's for her (I am hoping there are a couple of favourite things in this cushion), but I think it will be in her mailbox before she reads this, if she ever does!
and the back...
I was umming and ahhing about whether to add a zipper closer or pillowcase closure. I ended up going with pillow case because, if she really doesn't like it, it's reversible (with more rounded corners)...this is the back, the front is the purple all over.
It's quite a heavy cushion cover because I added batting and lightly 'stipple' quilted it, but that's hard to see in the photos.
I wish I had better photography skills...or maybe I should blame my equipment?!
Cross your fingers with me that my cushionee likes it, wont you. It's kind of nerve wracking.
Oh, OOPS, I nearly forgot to say, the patchwork block is out of Elizabeth Hartman's book The Practical Guide to Patchwork, it's a pretty nice book! This is the first thing I have done out of it- and only one block, not the whole quilt...hmm, I'll just add it to the want to do list.
Speaking of which, the Tanya and Nicole project is boiling along and I have a wristlet to show you...but, well, it's kind of a long story, and well, I have misplaced it. There, I have said it.
I took it to Melbourne to show a friend (and forgot to show her!) and haven't seen it since. I have the strap. So, if I don't find it before to much longer I will be grumpily showing you my wristlet strap!
Does anyone else lose things? Drives me crazy!
Friday, May 20, 2011
This is my front yard...
Front deck (poor puzzled Pippi dog- they are not scared of her!)
And my front door!
Usually they have a generous piece of paddock fenced off by a solar powered electric fence...but it hasn't been that sunny and well, obviously the battery backup is rather ineffective.
I am abit scared of them (they are pretty big!), Mr. Apple is away today (he's bringing home fence adjustments).
So I have shut the gates and am trying to remain 'alert but not alarmed' while the 3 little pigs have a jolly good forage in my space.
Note to dear friend Tan- do you still want to abandon your city life for a week on the farm- playing in the garden, enjoying the quiet and drinking cups of tea? The reality is not all sunshine and may involve some pig wrangling! On the other hand, if you were wanting to practice your circus skills this may just be the place for you!
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Oh- wait, did I say welcome? I must have been mistaken...
As I sit here there is a lot of noise around me.
Chainsaws, trucks and other nasty loud things.
'They' are chopping my trees down.
Someone 'just doing his job' is chopping our trees down.
And creating a lot of noise pollution in my usually quiet neck of the woods.
I don't like it.
A neighbour had 8 over 50 year old eucalypts cut down by the same people last week...no permit required.
next post...the therapeutic benefits of having a blog?!