Thursday, 30 April 2009

My creative space : bibs for a baby

A friend of mine had a baby yesterday and so I thought that I would make him (the munchkin) a couple of bibs. Because you can never have enough bibs, can you?

The bib fabric is cut out of some cute sheets that I found in an op shop.

(In the background is some new fabric that I got from Kelani. I love it so much that I may never be able to cut into it...)

Pop over to Kirsty's place to see other creative spaces.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009


1. Happiness!, 2. Richard & Ryan - III, 3. Happiness, 4. dont worry, be happy., 5. Free Happy Smiling Girl Holding Lucky Clover Creative Commons, 6. ººº The Pursuit of Happiness ººº, 7. Happiness, 8. Fun Happy Colorful Birthday Party Balloons, 9. Happiness way, 10. Ryan & Patrick - VI, 11. ekuverikamakee, gadha fadha baareh, 12. Children, full of happiness, 13. Door to the Happiness!, 14. Happy, 15. Happy Birthday Sandra!, 16. Take the plunge...!

Sources of happiness today : we finally found a good recipe for making soy milk : we are going on a family holiday to Darwin & Kakadu in two weeks : I am making good progress on my PhD : Lily has her first dance class tomorrow and is so excited (as am I) : this week is packed full of fun: Midnight is coming to stay with us next week : I went for a run on the weekend and survived (just) : I just booked myself a massage appointment : I am planning to have a second coffee and Anzac biscuit now.

What is making you happy today?

Sunday, 26 April 2009

25 months

Dear Lily

You turned 25 months old 11 days ago. Is this the latest that I have ever been with your letter? Sorry darling.

This last month was your first month of being two and I have decided that two rocks! You are a delicious combination of grown up independence, articulateness, and imagination, rolled up with some very lovely innocence, fragility and wonder. I love it. The other day you were planning to fly in a rocket, through the clouds, to the sun. A four year-old informed you that you couldn't because the sun was too hot, but you remained undeterred and continued planning your travel companions, picnic food, etc. It was awesome.

Another characteristic that I am loving is your amazing amount of compassion. I bumped my head on a cupboard door the other day and you were so concerned about me. "Oh sore," you exclaimed gently touching my head. "Here I kiss it better. Mmm... You need a cuddle. That will make you feel better." And you proceeded to kiss my head while giving me lots of cuddles, muttering, "poor Mama. So sore."

I'm also loving your increasing capacity to grasp complex ideas and to communicate them to us. You love explaining how things work and then adding imaginative embellishments of your own. These little monologues are endlessly entertaining. You are quite the performer.

The other week you also described your dream to us - immediately after opening your eyes in the morning. It was incredibly detailed. Midnight (Grandpa's dog) was a crocodile, and he was jumping up out of a tree, and Grandpa was feeding him paper, and he was eating it: "Chomp, chomp." etc. It was quite a lot to take in first thing in the morning.

Finally, I am really enjoying your increased attention span. I have started trying to cook something with you every day. You seem to love it and you are getting better and better at chopping up vegetables, stirring, tipping and helping me measure things. Your increased attention span has also meant that we can do longer, more elaborate craft projects, which has been really fun!



So far this weekend I have:

Shopped. Second failed attempt to buy jeans. But I did buy a potato masher and a round cake container, which are making me very happy.

Cooked. Moroccan tangine for a very dear friend.

Finished. Chapter two of my thesis (second draft)!

Ate. Breakfast at Satis. Scrambled tofu, with spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes on toast. Plus excellent company (and organic coffee).

Baked. Veggies for pasta sauce, spicy bean patties for burgers, Anzac biscuits, and granola.

Made. A 'treasure book' for Lily. Plus copious amounts of 'spaghetti' and 'hair' with playdough.

And there's still another day to go! How good are long weekends? What have you been doing with your weekend?

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Flickr mosaic fun

1. the secret garden, 2. Heirloom Tomatoes, 3. Canberra Balloon Fiesta / Canberra Festival Balloon Spectacular, 4. Blue Duck Eggs, 5. Nobody Home, 6. siphon coffee, Kaldi, Hongdae, Seoul, 7. Cape Tribulation Series (Australia) - From Headland Looking at Myall Beach, 8. Put Chocolate Pudding on the Top Shelf !!, 9. Mother and daughter, 10. Water Lily in Bold..., 11. Little Red Shoes, 12. 51/365: the glass palace, 13. Luang Prabang - Laos, 14. A Laos Kip for your thoughts?, 15. The second you sleep..., 16. sewing space

I thought that I would play Jumbleberry Jam's Flickr mosaic game. Here are the rules in case you want to join in:

Flickr mosaic game

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.

b. Using only the first page, pick an image.

c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into a mosaic maker.

1. Your blog name?
2. What is your favourite food?
3. Where were you born?
4. What is your favourite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favourite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favourite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Favourite novel?

I wanted my mosaic to be square and so I added four more questions:

13. Favourite city?
14. Favourite country?
15. Favourite activity?
16. Means of escape?

Feel free to make up your own.

Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, 24 April 2009

An update

We spent last weekend in Sydney staying with my father and his partner. In an attempt to be more active I joined them on one of their morning walks with Midnight (Dad's dog). It was hilarious to see just how similar Midnight and Lily actually are. They both ran around on the grass like mad fools and then proceeded to gnaw on sticks.

We also went to the beach and it was shockingly warm. I didn't swim, but I did sit on the sand eating hot chips and soaking up the sunshine. It is quite blissful.

I have been having fun in the kitchen lately. Yesterday we baked gingerbread people. The day before we made falafel, homous and tabouli for dinner for the first time in forever. While on Monday we made a delicious miso soup for dinner. I have been a lot better at including Lily in the cooking process, but really need to work on my tolerance for the mess and destruction that tends to accompany this process.

I am planning to got shopping for a new pair of jeans this evening after a failed attempt last week. Please wish me luck. I don't really enjoy shopping and shopping-for-jeans is possibly my least favourite kind of shopping.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Catching up

In the past we would slip easily into conversation even though months had passed since we last spoke. Within minutes it was as though the narrative had continued unbroken - she continued her story; I continued mine. We both knew the plots and characters intimately, even though they no longer overlapped as they once did.

Now, even though it has been years, our lives have fallen into amazing symmetry - married around the same time; daughters born within weeks of each other and raised in uncannily similar ways.

But Ithaca is a long way from Canberra... and I am not sure when we will be able to see each other again.

Sigh. It would be so nice to catch up again.

[Join in Pip's words and pictures over here].

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Ice cream

Lily was talking about 'mama milk' the other day and, out of curiosity, I asked her what it tastes like.

"Ice cream, ice blocks and... TV," she replied.

When she saw how much this had amused P and I, she decided to continue.

"Noses and..." (Lily has always loved noses) "stamping my feet." She concluded by vigorously stamping her feet and grinning contently.


Ah the joys of breastfeeding a toddler!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


We had a lovely Easter long weekend. My mother and her partner came down to stay with us and spent the weekend on 'operation front yard blitz' - clearing the burnt stuff out of the front garden in readiness for some new veggie patches. It looks a little bare now, but it's nice to have all the dead stuff gone and exciting to think of the future veggie beds.

We also had a picnic out at the Cotter with P's family (and I got to use my new favourite picnic food containers - aren't they cute?). Lily had a ball going on 'adventures' along the river with her cousins (and aunts, uncles & grandparents). She also got a new Easter book that she loves.

Lily barely consumed any chocolate over the weekend. This surprised me a little. I had expected her to be a little more interested (not that I'm sorry that she isn't!).

Mum and her partner may be moving back to Canberra in a few months. This would be great, except for the fact that we would have to move out of their house...

Lily turned 25 months old yesterday, which means that I am late with my letter.

Lily has started falling asleep earlier in the evenings (due to the end of daylight saving) and I'm loving the extra time for reading, doing and uninterrupted conversation. She is also getting up earlier and generally this has also been a good thing too. Mornings have become more relaxed and enjoyable.

Autumn is well and truly upon us and it is glorious. The light is beautiful. The weather is perfect for being outdoors in the day and snuggling up with blankets and tea at night. And the colours of all the deciduous trees are just stunning.

We are heading up to Sydney in the morning to spent time with my Dad and his partner, and to celebrate Dad's birthday. I plan to make him a very rich chocolate cake. Yum.

I hope that you had a lovely long weekend.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Hot cross buns

You know I had never even considered making my own hot cross buns until this year. But after my success with cinnamon rolls (which I am yet to blog, sorry), I thought that I would give them a go.

Oh yum. I will never buy them again. I like them so much better without the 'peel'. Plus the whole eating them fresh from the oven thing is pretty good too.

I am not sure that there will be any left by COB.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Lily's monster

Yesterday morning Lily asked to 'read' one of my sewing books - 'Softies'. (She calls it "Mama bear" because it has a big picture of a softie called Mama bear on the back cover and it resembles the mama bear that I made her last year before we went to Vanuatu - from the pattern in the book.) She took it over to the couch and began to flick through it. After a little while she paused on the picture of 'Lucy's Monster' and said:
"Mama, I want a monster. Can you make me a monster?"
As it happened, I could. We already had all the materials in the house and so I complied. Fortunately, it was a pretty easy pattern and didn't take too long.

Once it was finished, she gave it some very big cuddles and proceeded to carry it around everywhere.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

80s revival

Lily has been insisting on choosing her own clothes for quite some time now. I completely respect her right to do so, but it is funny how much I have to fight myself from trying to impose my ideas about clothing 'style' on her. When she chooses a pair of pants, for example, I already start to think about which of her tops 'match' them well and I sometimes find myself feeling disappointed when she decides to wear another one (especially when it clashes in my eyes).

Of course, I realise that I really have to reason to care what she is wearing (so long as she is warm, etc) and I am working on that. The other day, however, I was so very happy that she insists on dressing herself. The outfit that she chose - oversized woolen jumper, layered skirt & stripey leggings - is not something that I ever would have picked out, but the result was hilarious. She looked exactly like I used to look as a child in the 80s. As far as I can tell that also happens to make her quite fashionable in 2009 too...

Sunday, 5 April 2009

A long drive

My brother and I spent our childhood summers with my grandparents in their apartment on the Gold Coast (Surfers Paradise, to be precise). To get there we would drive up with them from Canberra - usually on Boxing Day. For some crazy reason Grandpa liked to do the 18-hour drive all in one go and so the day would start at around 2am. We would cram the boot full of our luggage - clothing, shoes, books, musical instruments, a rainbow of zinc cream (remember coloured zinc?), and, of course, our pink boogie board for riding the waves.

One year my brother and I were sitting in the car waiting to get going, when I noticed that Dad and Grandpa were having a very serious conspiratory discussion in the garage. It turns out that our boogie board wouldn't fit into the boot and they were trying to remove the large quantities of toilet paper that Grandma had packed in order to fit it in. You see, the toilet paper had been purchased on sale and Grandma, the Ultimate Bargain Hunter, was determined to take it up to Queensland with us rather than buy full priced toilet paper on arrival.

I don't know how the issue was settled, but I do know that our boogie board made it up to the beach that year.

Summers with my grandparents were bliss. I would get up ridiculously early and watch cartoons on television. I remember writing in my diary one year that "Jem" was my favourite, but that I wouldn't admit it to anyone. It wasn't much of a secret, but I knew that diaries were supposed to contain secrets and so I was fishing about for something meaningful to write (to go along with my daily lists of activities and food consumption that tended to fill the pages of my diary in those days). Naturally my brother then read my diary and teased me about this for ages.

After cartoons we would eat breakfast. At home we had Weetbix for breakfast or porridge in winter. But that was it. At the Gold Coast Grandma would buy those mix packs of cereal and we would get to try a different little box every day. Oh the joy! Naturally we fought over the coco pops. Chocolate at breakfast was just so exciting (even if I knew in my heart of hearts that there was something really not-quite-right about it).
Post-breakfast, our days would flow smoothly between the pool (downstairs), the beach (across the road), and a daily dosage of cricket or tennis on the television. For extra excitement Grandma and Grandpa would often take us down the road to the Paradise Centre. The Paradise Centre was home to the Grundies Amusement Parlour. Here we could play games to collect prize tickets. After a summer of collecting these tickets we would sometimes have enough to 'purchase' a small plastic toy. Somehow this was seriously enticing. Grundies also had waterslides and a ghost train. The first time I rode on the ghost train a "ghost" jumped on to the back of our car and I was so terrified that I punched him in the face. I feel kind of bad about that now.

Downstairs in the Paradise Centre was an ice cream shop. Grandpa loves ice cream. Seriously. He was always very keen to share this love and so we often stopped for ice cream during our holidays. I remember how proud he was the first time that I upgraded to a double scoop and finished it. When I upgraded again to the extra topping of cream and chocolate fudge, he was grinning from ear to ear.

We also went out to dinner a fair bit while we were up there. Grandma and Grandpa loved the All-You-Can-Eat style places. We would go and pile our plates high with all manner of food. I remember proudly announcing how many courses I had consumed. "Well done," Grandpa would say, smiling. "How many have you had?" he would then ask my brother (who always outdid me). On several occasions my brother even ran around block a few times in order to fit a bit more in.

At the end of our time at the Gold Coast we would pile back into the car and take the long drive home. We would arrive brown all over from 5 weeks of constant sunshine and full of so many happy memories.

On Thursday I took Lily out to my grandparents' place for a visit. She played in their garden with them - directing Grandpa to rake up the dirt and admiring Grandma's veggie plot. I sat back and watch them together and thought about all of those childhood summers during which they gave me so much. I hope that she gets the chance to spend some of that kind of time with them too.

[Play along with Pip's Words & Pictures - "A long drive" or check out the other contributions]

Saturday, 4 April 2009

A little goodness

How nice is it to receive a package in the mail? Especially when it is full of goodness.

I have been drooling over most of the stuff in Leslie's Etsy shop for months and months now and when she announced a 30% sale I decided that my time had come. First I got a little packet of stamps for Lily (& I) to play with and then I selected a modest little selection of cute fabric.

When it all arrived (this morning! Who knew they delivered on a Saturday?) I was so happy with what I had chosen. I just love the feel of the linen blends and those elephants are just so incredibly cute.

The only trouble that I face now is in deciding what to do with it...

P.S. Leslie is closing up her shop (to move home to Canada) and is now having a 40% off sale on most of her products. So pop over there for a look around if you like lovely fabric. (She also has a lovely blog).


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