Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wet paper bag

It's been a shit of a year, really, when it comes to our children and their health.

Luce has been in the Royal Children's Hospital with pneumonia.  She's recovering well, as kids do.  It's an almost forgotten episode for her.  But once again the MOTH and I feel as though we've been hit from behind, and are still reeling from the blow.  I keep asking myself how we make ourselves and our lives more resilient, so that an incident like this doesn't completely throw us off course.  I'm tired.  I can't think straight anymore.

By nature I am a list maker and an organiser.  I like to tick tasks off, and feel productive and clever. Sometimes I call myself Resources Manager, since I'm always trying to track down plastic containers and bits of school attire.  But right now, it's all too much.  Nothing is happening.  The washing is piling up, dust is gathering at an alarming rate.  I put uninteresting food on the table at night to fill empty tummies.  I am incapable of caring enough to do anything about anything.  So I'm just heading for the couch with a cuppa and my knitting and a child to cuddle.  Tomorrow I'll find a way out of that wet paper bag.  Until then...

Friday, May 20, 2011

little clicks

I'm playing along with Natasha at little love

Marv (then aged 7)

Mate (then aged 9)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Making in May - the impatient experimenter

I was never destined to become a research scientist - I'm way too impatient.  I'm not too keen on repetition (although titrations are my secret skill - but perhaps that's more about precision!) and I want to be free to go where the mood takes me.  When an idea pops into my head, it must be easily translated into an instant success.  I hate fiddling around with no end in sight.  Time wasting is irritating.  It is possibly related to the Presbyterian work ethic (thanks for the reminder Jo).  A new skirt idea has come to me.  Straight skirts are my favourites because they're so easy to care for (that Presbyterian work ethic only goes so far!) and they sit nicely.  But my girls demand flouncy feminine ones.  So I'm compromising.  A straight skirt with flounces, in pre-wrinkled fabric that shouldn't need ironing.  Here it is so far.

I plan on adding the other three tiers tonight, and finish off the experimental pink woollen jacket too.  Then, if Melbourne graces us with some sunshine tomorrow afternoon, a little photo shoot.I had to add my lovely scissors to the pic - they've changed my life :)

I forgot to mention last week that Sunday was a market day - Shirt and Skirt at the lovely Abbotsford Convent.  It was chilly, but no rain - thank goodness!  Cottage Nerd and I won't be at Shirt and Skirt for the winter months, but we'll be back in the spring.  When it's warm.  And not raining...hopefully!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

How's the Weather?

This unseasonal weather is a little hard to take.  We are so unaccustomed to rain in quantity.  This week I've fallen off my making bandwagon for a number of good reasons, all of them child related.

On Thursday I accompanied Marv and 60 or so other kidlets on an excursion to Point Lonsdale and the Queenscliff Marine Discovery Centre.  It's a trip I've done numerous times in both a professional and personal capacity.  I love seeing children take a closer look at their environment and being amazed at what they find.  We were rather lucky with the weather - I think there was  protective shield around us as we explored the rock platforms and had outdoor time at the MDC.

Looking across the heads from Point Lonsdale to Point Nepean.  Real time webcam images available here.

And here's what it looks like from above, on a clear night, during a romantic Valentine's Day dinner flight -

Point Lonsdale on the left, Point Nepean on the right, the entrance to Port Phillip Bay in between.  Oh, and wing and engine of the beautiful old bird hogging the limelight.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Making in May - peasant dresses

In the malaise that is, so far, dogging 2011 I had forgotten that I am actually capable of making garments in a timely fashion.  When I give myself the chance.

In an effort to slow down and seek some sort of equilibrium, I've found myself languishing in a messy heap of nothingness.  I think every one of our children has had at least one significant illness this year, requiring me to downtools for days on end.  I have all these amazing ideas swirling around in my grey matter that never make it into the real world.  The past three months have seen me walk into my sewing room countless times, only to walk out again, nothing achieved.

When the idea of the beautifully named Making in May came to me, I was sceptical that it would actually work.  For the first few days I forced myself to do something, anything.  I delved into my basket of long-ago-started-and-probably-never-to-be-finished work, and I've come up trumps!  Chuffed is how I feel, reinvigorated.

Now I'm on a roll, and have even made some new dresses.  Not just finished them off, or cut them out or sewn a few seems here and there.  Actual complete garments.  Here are three frocks on their way to Kids in Berlin.  And I'm off to pat myself on the back (cos if I don't, no-one will!).  Bravo me!

Peasant dresses

Monday, May 9, 2011

Making in May - progressing nicely

This Making in May idea has been fantastic for finishing long-discarded projects and getting new ones started.  I've had a really productive weekend, which is possible when your family decides a low-key approach to Mother's Day is a good idea.  I'm sure they won't be making that mistake in 2012.  The camera battery is flat, so no pictures today.

In addition to the making, I have to give myself a big thumbs up to my de-cluttering efforts.  Now, I'm not a candidate for Hoarders, but there's a bit of stuff around, filling up corners, bursting on shelves, sheltering in the garage.  As with all undesirable habits, I blame my mother.  She keeps all sorts of crap.  And now that we've all long left home, our old wardrobes are full of her stuff.  So, at first glance, her house looks neat and tidy - just don't open the wardrobes!  I find it hard to throw away or pass on artwork, little notes, toys, books, clothes.  Just about anything that might have sentimental attachment.  But now we're at the point where I don't want to manage all this stuff anymore.  Suddenly it's easier to make decisions about what to keep and what stays.  Our house and garage are being emptied at an astonishing rate.

It's too big a task to complete in one go, so I've been breaking it up into small achievable chunks - like the kitchen drawers, or the bookshelf in the lounge.   Today, as I was flicking through a magazine, I found an article about combatting clutter.  It's interesting to read the reasons why people hang on to things - memories, emotional ties, avoiding waste, feeling deprived, needing to see your life represented in your belongings.  The availability of inexpensive goods contributes to the problem, as does buying things because you think you should be the kind of person who does x, y and z - only to find these items gathering dust.

My big tip (aside from breaking down the task into smaller, achievable goals) is to take two plastic bags with you.  One is for donating, the other is for rubbish/recycling.  When they're full, pat yourself on the back!  Well done!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Grateful for...making and loving

Today I'm continuing with my Making in May challenge to myself, and joining in with Maxabella Loves...

Yesterday afternoon was Mother's Pampering Hour at school.  Each class spent the last hour of the day pampering mums, nanas, aunties and special people.  I've had my nails painted, a bit of a shoulder massage,  a drink and some tasty treats.  I've been entertained by 8 year olds learning the violin and ukelele.  I've been pampered by little girls who needed to pamper someone.  I've seen the look on the faces of children whose mother's surprised them by taking the afternoon off work to be with their children.

I'm grateful for the love of my children - something I strive to deserve every day.

I'm grateful for my making time, and having the resources and ability to choose to do it.  A simple statement perhaps, yet heartfelt.

Friday, May 6, 2011

little clicks

Today I'm joining in with Natasha of little love and her little clicks.

Last Christmas Mate and Marv were given their own cameras.  When I was a kid there was this thing called "film".  It cost money, and had to be "processed".  It was a slow process and full of surprises when the prints finally turned up.  Nowadays it's all so instant - as soon as you've taken a snap it's there for all to see.  Initially I wasn't happy about the notion of digital, but I've come around to like the idea.  Mate and Marv love their cameras.  They actually look after them rather well, for kids raised in a disposable age, and use them a lot.  It's funny to see the results when we download them - lots of self portraits, pictures of one another posing in creative ways, close-ups of insects, flowers and rocks.  Photos taken through the car window, when the car is moving, of parents feeling tired and emotional.  Observing the world around them, and capturing that moment in time.

Marv, aged 7 (at the time)

Mate, aged 9 (at the time)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Making in May - it's in the bag

You can imagine how much stuff a family of six has.  And you might also be able to imagine the effort required to manage all that stuff.  It is not always a task I enjoy - managing other people's stuff.

The MOTH and I have worked out how to travel long distances successfully with our tribe. And perhaps I'll share the whole plan with you one day, but not today.  I've made quite a few draw-string bags to keep things together.  Personalised ones, made from calico (easy to wash, not too precious, nice 'n' sturdy).  Bags for in-car snacks, bags for underwear, bags for bits and bobs.  You name it, I have a bag for it.

Prior to our latest holiday I made a couple of bags for my knitting, reading material and miscellaneous stuff.  As we travelled around I found my knitting getting tangled with the spare wool, scissors and measuring tape.  So today I made a bag to go inside a bag.  And I'm feeling happy.  A small project for a day with limited making time.  Perfect!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Making in May - crossing the start/finish line

Early this year I bought this lovely little French Knitting dolly.  Sure, she was way more expensive than a toilet roll, some icy pole sticks and sticky tape, but she's also prettier and sturdier.

I had planned for her to become a communal dolly, but I just can't hand her over!  I want to keep her safely, in her little box, with her little instructions.

Today's Making in May is a combination of old and new.  

The little blouse was started way back in December (again - there was a lot happening back then!) and just needed casings, elastic and hemming.  Don't know what took me so long, really!

The "necklace" is some French knitting I whipped up today.  Satisfying in a mindless kind of way!  From time to time I knit simple flowers and put them aside in a special glass canister on my work bench.  Here I've sewn two of them onto the French knitting with a lemon button.   Kind of happy with the result.  And, most importantly, another half-finished garment (well, three of them actually) is now finished, pressed, hanging, ready to go.  Yay!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

De-cluttering Gold

Look at this gem.  It makes the de-cluttering effort worthwhile.  It also tells you how important it is to flick through your finds rather than immediately discarding them.

From The Australian Women's Weekly "Best Ever Knitting Book", passed on to me by my MIL.  What a manly man, and the scarf is a nice touch.  I can see she's eyeing off his chest hair, or is she avoiding eye contact?  De-cluttering Gold and the winner is me!  The question is - can I knit it for the MOTH in time for Father's Day?? 

Making in May - finishing off

Is it cheating to finish off a project and present it as "Making in May" when it was, in fact, largely made in December??  Part of me thinks it is a little naughty, but then again the whole "Making in May" had to start somewhere.  And, it got this bundle of a not-quite-finished project off the pile and into my wardrobe.  I'm patting myself on the back.

So for the details - it's a reversible wrap skirt (striped denim on the reverse).  Luckily it is a wrap skirt, or it would never have stayed on the size 8 (child) mannequin!  The great thing about a wrap skirt is that it can see you through all sorts of times.  That's all I'm saying about that!  I've teamed it with a flouncy scarf (not made in May) in a soft interlock.  I'm so relieved to have actually met my own challenge (even if it's only the first day, well second if you count yesterday...), but now I need to go and finish off something else!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Making in May - seriously

Oh my stars I have struggled this year.  I'm really not sure why.  I just can't seem to get my act together.  Time seems to evaporate.  Stuff is happening, just not sure what kind of stuff...

So I've set myself a challenge.  The month of May is going to be Making in May.  Catchy title, eh?  I'm going to make stuff and show it to you.  On a daily basis, except weekends.  So that would be a weekdaily basis.   Don't laugh!  I need to be accountable to someone.  And, you're it.  It's an attempt to rediscover my creative mojo, to jump-start my fickle blogging habit and perhaps develop some new skills.  Yes, this is my very own make-over show.  I wonder if I can shed kilos while I'm at it?

This morning (after taking Mate to the doctor for his tonsillitis - again) I decided to make myself a pin-board.  All I needed to complete my project were some shiny little brads.  So off I went to the garage, and spent an hour throwing things away.  Still haven't found the brads.  No wonder I'm not getting anything done!

Fingers crossed - by the end of the day I'll have something to show you.