Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday's Treasure

Yes, I know it's cheating just a bit, and perhaps not entirely original, but today's Tuesday's Treasure is - drumroll please - Mate, Marv, Luce and Im.

They are the reason Squirt Baby began.

This shot was taken last week on holidays in not-so-sunny Queensland.  Mum took the kids and I away - so it was some special time for us all.  One night, Mum and I watched a show on SBS about miscarriage.  Yep, I have four children, but I have also 'lost' three others.  Mine are no more or less special than other kids, yet when I look at them I marvel at their existence.  In fact, as we stood in line to check in at Melbourne airport my obstetrician was immediately in front of us (small world, eh?).  She looked at my children, looked at me, and smiled.  We've been through so much together.

So - today's treasure - the Squirt Baby kidlets.

Monday, September 27, 2010

We're back!

We're back from our holiday.

Lots of fun was had by all!

Now I just have to wade through the emails, attend to all the things that dropped off the list at the last moment (not enough hours in the day!), catch up on some blog reading and get stuck into sewing.

Be back soon!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

In-car conversations

Anyone with children knows the delights of the in-car conversation.  It's the time for tricky questions, pronouncements and moments of "What the?"

I need to share today's little gem.

Im - Mum, are car washes machines?

Me - Why, yes, car washes are machines.

Im - What about hoses?  Are hoses machines?

Me - No, a hose is something you use, like a tool.

Im - Robots are machines.  They can help you to do stuff.

Me (pulling out of supermarket car park) - Yep.

Im - What about nose hair trimmers?  Are they machines?

Me - What?  Nose hair trimmers??  Where did you here about those??

Im - I think I saw them on Sesame Street.  So - are nose hair trimmers machines?

Do they really show nose hair trimmers on Sesame Street?  I thought ABC kids was safe for children to watch under loose supervision (interpret that as you will).  

Winners are Grinners!

Thanks for your helpful tips for last week's giveaway.

The incredibly lucky winners are: 

Fangirl Sings the Blues

We are now looking forward to much better health and have picked up some holiday tips!

You can expect some fabulous holiday shots once we're home.  I'm going to resist the urge to post while we're away - I think we will be too busy soaking up the sunshine and having FUN!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

wordless Wednesday

PS My first-ever giveaway closes at mid-night tonight.  Leave a comment here to be in the draw!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday's Treasure

Today's treasure is not a physical object, as such - it's a skill.


I don't remember not being able to knit.

My Nana was a fabulous knitter.  My Mum is an amazing knitter.  My sister's and I can all knit - very well (sorry for the touch of immodesty!).  For some reason, we knit well with an even tension, and produce some nice work.  My husband's family knit - but not very well. (I'm whispering in case they hear me).  My MIL,  his assorted aunts and cousins all give it a good go yet cannot follow a pattern and their tension is all over the shop.  

 I'm wondering if knitting skill is somehow genetic?  Can you actually teach someone how to knit with an even tension?  I tend to think it comes from within  - but I'm happy to be corrected!  Before children, I knitted elaborate jumpers for my husband and myself.  Post children, I don't have the patience for adult sizes!  Smaller projects are the go these days.

I loved being able to knit something special for each of my babies.  When Mate admired my hand-warmers I was able to whip him up a pair in an evening.  

The jacket below is one of my favourites.

It's looking a little worse for wear, and desperately needs de-pilling!  It was knitted three years ago for Im, and is now worn (constantly) by Luce.  Sadly, she won't fit into it next winter.  This one started me on my green-knitting fix, and led to these - 

So that's it - today's treasure is a skill, handed down, learned at my Mum's knee.  My kids all have their own needles and ball of wool, and when the moment is right they have a little go. 

Don't forget to enter the knitting-related giveaway - you have until Wednesday night!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A letter to my Dad

Dear Dad,

It's now five years since I kissed your forehead in the pre-dawn quiet as you took your last breath and slipped away from us.  I understand you were tired - you told us as much - but it doesn't necessarily make things any easier.  I have learned to live with your absence.  I have become accustomed to it, but that is not to say I accept it.  Sometimes I feel cross with you for for ignoring the signs of illness within your body.  But then, after a lifetime of good health you had no reason to suspect anything sinister.  Most of all, Dad, I miss you.  I wish my children knew you as I did.

Today I can't help thinking about you and feeling heartbroken all over again.  Unfortunately, all the happy memories have gone into storage today.  Anniversaries enable us to count the days and months and years and bring with them the realisation that the grief is still raw and the loss is so real.  You don't visit my dreams anymore like you did in the early months.  Perhaps you figure you've helped me as much as you should.  After all, I am a grown woman with a family of my own.   A family which is growing with little or no memory of you.  Oh dear, I am sounding bitter and twisted.  I'm not a good person today.  I have yelled at my children instead of holding them close.  They are children, they don't understand the depth of my grief.  It's not their fault.

So I'm writing you this little letter so you'll know your place in my heart and so I can continue on for the rest of the day showing others their place in my heart.

Your loving daughter,

Squirt Baby

Friday, September 10, 2010

A thank-you, some questions and a GIVEAWAY!

Thank - you 
- to Rosie for helping me with my disqus problem.  After being pointed in the right direction the problem was rather, um, simple to rectify.  Which makes me feel, um, simple!

 For the first week of the school holidays my Mum is whisking the kids and I to the Gold Coast.  Now, it's been a while since I was in the area (I think it was 1971 or thereabouts).  I'm supposed to do some research for places to go (since Mum has done everything else).  I haven't done that.  Instead, I'm going to ask you out there in the blogosphere to help me out.  Any great suggestions for the Gold Coast/Brisbane area (excluding theme parks!) that would suit a family consisting of one mother, one Nana with a dodgy knee, and four children (9,7,5 and 2) would be gratefully received!  We have our own hired transport light truck.  I'd like a nice spot in Brissie for lunch and window shopping.  Perhaps even a suggestion for a drive in the countryside taking in a nice little town/national park or two. 

Second question - any suggestions to boost the immune system of a weary young-at-heart mother and her four sickly chicks are going to be pounced upon with great enthusiasm.  Somehow, the MOTH keeps soldiering on, bless him!

In order to qualify, you need to have answered one of the questions above.  This giveaway is open until the close of business Wednesday (would that be the 15th of September??).  And the prize is not for kiddies (they get enough already) - it's for grown-ups.

I'm going to knit three of these rose brooches (pictured above is my much worn one).  Of course the colours will be different, and I may even give you a choice (you could include your favourite colour with your comment).  So, if you'd like to be in the running, or just plain helpful - leave your answer/s below.  The three answers that entertain/help/tickle my fancy the most will be deemed the winners!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fiddling with technology

With age I am beginning to understand my limitations and a lack of interest in doing anything about it.  This morning I have installed disqus to manage comments.  It enables me to leave a response to individual comments.  Love the idea!  Somehow, when I installed it, all comments disappeared from the posts!  They are still lurking in the background - not completely lost.  Just not on display. *starts sobbing at lack of technical know-how*

I'm not handling it well - I want things to be the way they were.  Then again, what happens if I uninstall it and the comments still don't reappear??  Okay, must forge ahead.  Today is the first day.  I'm sure tomorrow will be better.

PS Any helpful tips gratefully received!

PPS Thanks to all the lovely folk who commented on "Let them eat cake".  The cake is rather nice!  I guess you could leave out the Cointreau from the syrup.  And yes, we are all feeling a little better today - although last night was a little rough and has resulted in grumpy kiddos today.  Currently they are all snuggled on the couches with blankets and cushions and a selection of DVDs.  I know they are feeling a little better cos they are beginning to fight over who has the most space!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Let them eat cake!

#@%*!!!  Our family has another cold.  Mate kindly bought it home from camp and shared.  All six of us are at various stages of coughing, spluttering, aches and pains, fevers and snottiness.  Yes, Rosie, I know you're going to extol the virtues of olive leaf extract again!  And just maybe I'm willing to give it a try.  Anything to end our annus horribilis of winter viruses.

In the meantime - a recipe for you.  This was our Father's Day treat, which capped a Middle Eastern themed dinner.

Orange Cardamom Sour Cream Cake
source "Moorish" by Greg & Lucy Malouf

130g soft unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
225 g plain flour
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, finely ground and sieved
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
200ml sour cream

Preheat the oven to 170 oC.  Butter and line a 23cm springform cake tin.

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale, then add the citrus zest and vanilla extract.

Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Sift the flour with the cardamom, baking powder and salt.  Add the flour mixture to the batter, alternating with the sour cream.  Mix well on low speed after each addition.

Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50-60 minutes.

While the cake is cooking, prepare a syrup.

juice of 1 orange
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons Cointreau
3 tablespoons caster sugar
6 cardamom pods, cracked
1 cinnamon stick

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat gently so the sugar dissolves.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Strain and discard the cardamom and cinnamon.

As soon as the cake is cooked, pierce the top all over with a skewer.  Pour the syrup over evenly.  Place the tin on a wire rack and leave it to cool completely before releasing from the tin.


wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Today is all about waiting.

Waiting for Im's immune system to overwhelm the virus that has struck her down.

Waiting for our cat to appear - we haven't seen her yet today (if you see her please tell her to go home!).

Waiting for a government.

Waiting for spring.

Waiting for the rain to stop (are we allowed to say that??).

Tuesday's Treasure

Doily's featured quite prominently in the homes of my grandmothers and great aunts.  Mum made liberal use of them too!  Most of them were hand embroidered.  My maternal grandmother was also a fine "crocheter" - Mum is holding on tightly to a few examples of her amazing skill.

Today's treasure is a double whammy.  The first,  a doily stitched by my Nana.  Look closely and you'll see it's well used - the stitching is fraying and there are holes in the linen.  It's imperfection endears itself to me - made and used and laundered by Nana.  Now mine to use and love.  Sitting on top is an azalea that comes from a cutting struck by an aunt from a cutting from the MOTH's Nana's garden (bit of a mouthful there).

Do you ever wonder, when you make something, whether it will be passed down generations?  I expect my clothes to last well, and be well worn as everyday garments.  I really don't expect them to be used by multiple generations (except, perhaps for the Christening gown!).  However, there are some things I've made that better be treasured!

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Please ignore the last post ("I Heart the Postie")!  It's actually quite old.  I was fiddling, you see, and suddenly there it was with  a new date and everything.  Just like that. Ah, technology, sometimes you make me feel like a dinosaur!

So while I'm here, I'll find a pretty handsome picture to share...

This is Mate.  He's off on his very first school camp right now.  He's at that age where it's not cool to pose for a photo.  (Meanwhile, in the background, Luce is hanging upside-down.)  Mate will be home from camp tomorrow and I'm hoping he will have changed his underwear and brushed his teeth at some point.  I've been hearing stories that boys often come home from camp in exactly the same ensemble they left in.  Please let my son be the exception to the rule!

I Heart the Postie

I love the postie.  He doesn't know it, but I really love him.  Especially when he leaves a parcel in my letterbox, or a postcard from distant shores or the latest edition of a favourite magazine.  Yesterday he delivered a parcel from Holland Fabric House with some rather sweet bias binding with lace edging.  I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet - but I am enjoying looking at it in the meantime!

Sneak Peek

Just a couple of the new fabrics I'm working with at the moment.  Today has been my most productive day in months.  And I feel goooood!

Baby sundresses

Dresses for toddlers

Tomorrow I'll be spending some time at kinder making a scarecrow for their veggie patch.  These kids have green thumbs alright - their broccoli is enormous!