Friday, December 17, 2010

I've been busy

Well, I thought I'd been busy. That was up until 5 days ago when our new baby boy arrived. Now I realise that life before that date was not so busy after all.  Sure, the nights were long.  Trying to sleep when you're 9 months pregnant is not fun. But I guess in a way it prepares us for what's coming.

But the biggest challenge of all has come from left of field.  My biggest worry has been trying to show a 2 year old girl that her mama and papa have enough love for a whole extra person in their family.  I had thought that her excitement about her new baby brother was going to be enough to get us through this period - but I think I'd underestimated the power of a 2 year old's emotions.  She's definitely excited he's here, and she loves her new baby brother to pieces.  But since his arrival, she's been what I like to call 'emotionally volatile'.. Having said that - she's probably only mirroring my own emotions :) Filled with love one moment, crying with unabandon the next.  I really thought I'd escaped the emotions this time, but they creep up on me when I least expect it.  The wierd thing is - I was weepy for weeks after her birth - but that was more of a 'I don't know what I'm doing and I can't believe they've trusted me to bring this little, helpless, beautiful baby girl home'. But this time, the weepiness comes when I feel like she's missing out on something that we all took for granted before our baby boy arrived. Or when I rouse on her for being too rough when she tries to kiss her brother. Luckily we have Daddy home with us for the next 4 weeks, and so far he's been there to meet her every need. Although I feel guilty that I get to snuggle and nurse a beautiful, trusting new baby boy - and he has to endure the painful cries of "I want Mummy to do it" when he tries to help Lola with things.

But still being in the middle of this ride - it's hard to see whether it's been bumpy all the time - or whether I'm only focussing on the bumps right now.  But rather than feel guilty at turning her life upside down, I'm going to hope that this time is character building for her. She's learning to love a new person, she's learning to share her Mum and Dad's time, and she's learning that her parents aren't perfect, and are really just doing the best that they can do.  I tell her every day that I'm trying to be the best Mum I can be, and she says 'ok mummy'. She's a beautiful girl and we're all looking forward to a wonderful Christmas together as a family of 4.   

Monday, November 8, 2010

A little bit quiet..

Things have been a little bit quiet on the blog front and in our household lately. I'm starting to feel the true meaning of the term 'heavily' pregnant, and with only 6 weeks to go - it's starting to feel very real all of a sudden.

There has been a lot of transitioning going on for our little 2 year old lately as well. She's out of nappies and doing really well on the potty (not quite happy about using the 'big' toilet yet :)) and she's also started to sleep in her own room, in a big girls bed. Getting her out of our bed was something we felt we needed to do if we wanted to co-sleep with the new baby, and I think the change has been harder on us than her! She doesn't even want to come into our bed through the night anymore - but instead she wants Mummy to come sleep in her bed :) It's early days still though, and we're all learning together.

So there hasn't been a lot of sewing of late - but there has been some gift making and ideas going around..

Here's a dress from Heather Ross's "Weekend Sewing" book that I made sometime ago but has only just started to fit 'twirly' Lola..

And here's what the kids in my Mums group will be getting for Christmas:

Image from The Happy Home blog
I loved this blog post from Belinda last week - and went out to Spotlight yesterday to get my shapes to stick the magnets to. I'm going to let Lola loose with the paints on these. I think they'll be gorgeous little gifts.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Who doesn't love the Australian Women's weekly birthday cakes cookbook?

I swear this book has bought more joy into people's lives than many other 'joy-promising books' out on the market.  And even though it has moved with the times a little bit - there are still so many of the old favourites in the new editions.  I remember when I was a kid, it would be months before our birthday that we'd start flicking through it trying to decide which cake we'd ask for that year.. And to Mum's credit - she never said 'No way - too hard' to any of them? I don't know that I'll be that obliging when my child/ren start putting their orders in :) But seeing as Lola is still only 2, this year I got to choose for her as she is not quite at the stage of picking something out of many options (even chooosing between a red dress and a yellow dress - she wants both)..

So I chose the Bunny Rabbit cake for her this year, and here's a shot of the bunny, in all her glory
(actually, this was taken 'after' Lola blew out her candles, and she appears to have blown off part of the bunny's paw as well - oops)..

And of course, I had to include a pic of the birthday girl enjoying it at her party (Here Lola is saying 'I want the nose Daddy!!'

I also plan on writing in my book which child had what cake for what year (eg. Julie - 2nd Birthday). That's what Mum did in her book, and it's fun flicking back through it and remembering each party.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Happy Birthday number 2 to you Miss Lola!

Our little girl turned 2 yesterday. And Simon and  I also celebrated our first 2 years as parents. There has been way more laughter than tears and definitely more health than sickness. For that we are very grateful. Lola is showing us more and more of her personality as every day passes, and she has so much spirit and humour that we just love.  And in less than 10 weeks, we're sure she'll take on her new role as a big sister with as much enthusiasm as she seems to tackle everything.

Happy Birthday gorgeous girl.

Chronicle of Birthday day activities:
Top left: Afternoon swim with Daddy at the Council pool
Top right: Birthday cupcakes
Bottom right: Free face painting in New Farm park
Bottom left: Her favourite meal for lunch - Sushi!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Drooly babies

So, while I don't currently have a drooly baby to take care of at the moment - this tutorial by Lu Bird Baby really caught my eye.  Maybe it's because I have a good friend who I know loves her Ergo baby carrier - and maybe too because I think I want to trade up my Baby Bjorn for an Ergo when our little boy arrives in 10 weeks time..

But I decided to make a set of these 'drool catchers' for a couple of my Ergo-loving-baby-carrying-friends..

Here's one set ready to be gifted:

And here's the other set already in action:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Welcome baby Lucy...

A very special friend of mine has just had her second daughter, and I felt the occassion had to be celebrated with a quilt.. She and I recently made our first quilts together, and I knew she'd appreciate the work that went into it.  But the time between finding out she was having a girl - and our first visit - was only 2 days, so I knew I needed a quilt that was fairly quick to whip up.  I did some googling, and in the end I went with the ticker tape quilt from crazymomsquilts blog.

I have to say, I was a bit disappointed with the end result. Whether it's just my inexperience as a sewer - combined with my inability to forsee the end result of a quilt before I start it - but I had no idea that the end result of the quilt would be so messy!  I should have realised the edges of each piece would fray - and obviously that was the 'look', but I didn't see that from the original pics of the quilt? I washed it before I gave it to her and de-frayed it as much as I could, but I'd say it will continue to fray for a while.

So after umm'ing and ahhh'ing about whether to give it to baby Lucy, I decided in the end I would. And the new mama loved it - which made it all worthwhile.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

2 new skirts

Following on from my blog post last week, I finished my first attempts at maternity clothing.

Skirt 1 was made by tracing a pattern off an existing skirt I had. It was a $20 K-Mart skirt which I wore to death while I was pregnant with Lola - and I didn't expect it to last a second pregnancy.  It was a simple 8 panel skirt (long, triangle shaped panels) with a band around the top. Turned out it was super easy to make - and I got to use the grey striped fabric I bought a few weeks back. I'm not sure yet whether it's maybe a "just around the house" skirt (the fabric is fairly thin and it's necessary to choose the right knickers to wear under it!) but we'll see how my standards drop the further through this pregnancy that I progress :)

Here are some bad self-timer photographs I took today (Lola was so funny - she kept following me and smiling but I'm sure she couldn't work out what was going on)..

And skirt 2 was something I had been thinking about doing for a while. You see, I bought a dress a year or so ago from Myer. I was looking for a light, summer dressing gown/robe, and this wrap around dress was perfect (it was on sale - and it was about 3 sizes too big).  So I started wearing it as a dressing gown - and after a while I decided that I quite liked the fabric and wanted to wear it out as a dress (which is what it was designed as) - but everytime I did - Simon would ask me 'why are you wearing a dressing gown out to the shops?'.. Not sure if this story is as funny to everyone else as it was to me, but needless to say - the dress/dressing gown had an identity crisis and needed a new life.  So today I decided to cut it in half and use the bottom half to make a skirt.  

Here are some before, during and after photo's:

Hope you also like the 27 week pregnant tummy included in this skirt photo :)

I'm fairly happy with my efforts over the last few days of sewing. I now have a few maternity skirts that should get me through the hot Queensland summer that's coming up. And I've never been all that confident with making things for myself - so I'm starting to think I'm working towards overcoming that fear.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

This weekend

It's late Sunday afternoon, and I felt like writing about what a nice weekend we'd had.. Saturday Lola and I took a trip to Brisbane Markets to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables. I was a bit anxious about whether I'd be able to maneouvre the pram around enough to actually be able to buy anything - but I was stoked when I got there.  The aisles were super wide and even though it was packed with people (which is enough to put  me off most times) - everyone was super friendly and everyone had either a trolley (for their stash of fruit and veges) or a pram, so we were all in the same boat.

Not only did we pick up some bargain seasonal fruit and veg (250g strawberry punnets for $1) but I also found an old school original Tupperware beetroot dispenser for $10 (they now sell new for $42). It's just like Mum has, and I've always wanted one (I found some awesome retro tupperware photo's on flickr but this one below shows it the best - although this one is green - and mine's dark brown!). Back in the day it was called a 'pickle dispenser' but I've always known it to be full of beetroot :)

Image from here
Anyway, we also found some great Columbian coffee, delicious pink cupcakes and I also picked up some strawberry plants for our garden. So all in all, it was a successful trip.

And today we celebrated my Dad's 60th birthday with a family bbq down at Fingal Head (northern NSW). It was an overcast day, but the rain held off and it was so nice to sit back and let others run around after Lola while I caught up with Aunties and Uncles..

Lola and Kel made a cool sand turtle on the beach, and after lunch we watched Poppy blow out his 90th birthday candles (My Aunty had picked up a 9 candle instead of a 6 and Dad never even noticed)

Oh and I wore my new grey and white striped skirt (which I made on Friday) and will blog about once I photograph it :)

So Happy 60th/90th birthday to the best Dad, and I hope everyone's weekend was as nice as mine.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Maternity skirt.. maybe

I have this lovely grey striped knit fabric that I bought about a month ago at Spotlight.. It was on a clearance rack and I bought a metre and a half with no particular project in mind..

Well wouldn't you know it - now I have a project in mind, but not enough fabric. I have a very well worn maternity skirt that I wore a lot when I was pregnant with Lola - and it's still ok for round the house - but not so nice anymore for when we go out.  But it's such an easy style to wear, and I 'think' (possibly this could be where I make my big mistake) that it also looks easy to sew?

So I traced a panel of the skirt (there are 8 panels all in a triangle shape) and also traced the band around the top of the skirt.  But before I start - I need to see if I can get 1 more metre of the fabric (I can do 6 panels and the band- but I need two more!)..

Anyway, I'll keep you posted if I can find more fabric - and also how the project progresses (hopefully it will).


Friday, September 10, 2010

Please start to grow Fruit trees?

I'm in a sewing 'lull' at the moment (I blame it on burn out after the 'frenzy' that created Lola's quilt) but I have spent a bit of time in the garden.

Our tomato plants are producing loads of awesome tomatoes and I love this photo that shows how busy things are underneath all the foliage (is it just us, or do all home gardeners use whatever they can find to support their tomato plants? in our case it was a broken clothes line)..

But I really wanted to use this blog post to keep a record of how our fruit trees are going. It feels like they've been planted for ages (when really, it was only the beginning of April that we planted them - which is 5 months ago).. but with Winter just ending - I feel like the 'growing' is about to begin..

So I have photographed them and measured them for record keeping purposes :) and now I'm going to record their specifications on this blog post (click away now if other people's citrus trees bore you..)

Lemon Tree
Details: Citrus x limon "Eurekea"
Rootstock Swingle (East Coast Citrus, NSW)
Plant height as at Sept 2010: 1mtr 3cm

Lime Tree
Details: Lime Tahitian
Rootstock Trifoliata
Plant height as at Sept 2010: 1mtr 17cm

Lychee Tree
Details: Litchi chinesis (Bowsworth 3)
Plant height as at Sept 2010: 1mtr

Mandarin Tree
Details: Mandarin Emporor
Rootstock: Trifoliata
Plant height as at Sept 2010: 1mtr 3cms

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Fathers day to everyone. I love Fathers day. It feels nice to make a special day for Dads (and my husbands idea of the perfect fathers day is to spend this day at home with no particular plans, and just with his family). This Loudon Wainright III song always makes me think of the special bond between Fathers and their daughters.. So thought I'd share it today.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The 'finished' quilt

The eagerly anticipated 'folded' quilt shot..

The showing off of the 'hand stitching' of the binding (It really wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be?) and it was nice to have something to do with my hands while I was watching Play School and other ABC2 entertainment each day

and the final shot has to be of the 'additional colour' Lola thought needed to be added to one of the squares..

Stick out your tongue and look 'shifty' if you're guilty of drawing on mama's Lola quilt with red crayon? Anyone?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The first day of Spring..

Beautiful image borrowed from Dave Ingram's Natural History blog

Today was the first day of Spring, and we spent all afternoon in the garden planting sunflowers (how very 'spring-y' of us!) and preparing the vegetable garden for Round 2 of planting.

For some great pictures of sunflowers at different stages of opening, head on over to the All Things Quilty blog

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My most recent gift idea

Recently I've made a few handmade gifts with the same theme.. I think a hat is a great present for a little person (considering they can cost upward from $10 new) and I love this hat pattern from Etsy.  And I think when teamed with a little applique on a bonds singlet - they make a cute gift. And the part I like the best is that they're fun to make!  These gifts will be given out in the next few days to two little boys turning 2, and a new baby girl (I looove polkadot fabrics!).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How is the quilt progressing you ask?

The quilt top has been sewn together and pinned (with a lot of help from Hsuyin, and a little help from my daughter)..

The quilting has been finished (I'll admit - it wasn't my favourite part of the process, but it wasn't as bad as I was expecting either :) The new walking foot sure helped I bet)

And the final steps to complete - are attaching the binding and sewing my little message of love on it to Lola.. I was thinking "Dear Lola, Every stitch a stitch of love. Happy 2nd Birthday. Love your mama"

My Nana always puts a note inside anything she makes for us and it always says "Every stitch a stitch of love" so I'm happy to carry on that tradition. Although I will admit that some stitches included a small amount of frustration.

But my favourite part is yet to come. I am so keen to post the final picture of the 'folded quilt'... Everyone knows what picture I mean - it's the one where the quilt is finished and folded neatly and it looks just perfect. I've been surfing pictures of folded quilts on flickr and think this one looks the most like the picture I'd like to take:

image courtesy of crazymomquilts (flickr)

So stand by for my final picture of the finished 'folded' quilt.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fathers Day 2010

It's my husband's 2nd fathers day ever this year, and I love to try and make it special for him. He is an awesome Dad to our daughter, and I know he's just bursting with excitement about having a son later this year (I know he's secretly always wanted a little boy :) ). 

But last year I wanted to make his first Fathers day special, so I sewed him up a treat, and I made him a Snapfish album as a momento of all the Daddy moments with Lola in their first year (sewing project blogged about here). I know he loved it - and I was delighted that I'd managed to capture so many fun moments between the two of them (not sure how he'd go making an album of lola and Mummy photo's though - as Dad's just aren't as good at taking photo's as we sentimental mums are! - sorry for the generalisation!)

But I decided that I would make him another album this year. It's the best way of getting our photo's off the hard drive and also of reminding him of what a wonderful Dad he is (oh, and of course how cute our daughter is too :))

Here are just a few of the photo's I've found to use in the book:

Monday, August 16, 2010

The neglected one's...

I find it really difficult to rationalise time spent crafting.. I say to myself that it's 'me time', and anything that makes me happy makes me a nicer mama. I make things for my daughter, and say to myself that she will have special things that I've made for her with love. But it's the times that she's hanging onto my arm while I try to finish one last seam, or screaming at me for a cuddle while I finish cutting one more pattern - that I find the most difficult.  She's not yet 2 and can't understand the irrational logic that I cling to..  All she knows is that her mama isn't paying her the attention that she wants right at that moment.

One of the ways that help me rationalise things, is to spend time crafting with friends. Again - they're the friends I choose for me - but I will admit she does love her friendships as much as I love mine. And with a whole new set of toys and experiences at each house we go to - the visits bring many happy memories, cups of tea, and sugary treats for both mama and daughter.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lover Carrots

Do these carrots look lovers?  I like to think that they grew together and developed a mutual love and respect for one another. It's easier than accepting that I overplanted and they were forced together. I'd feel awful if they didn't even like each other? I think they love each other - whiskers and all.

Monday, August 9, 2010

ok, so i'm both proud, and not so proud...

things i'm proud of:

1. sewing 42 squares for Lola's quilt on the weekend
2. ironing after sewing each piece on (I'm not an ironer)
3. being precise and careful with my seam allowances and measurements
4. laying the squares all out on the spare bed last night and jigging around with the pattern
5. choosing a combination of fabrics that I think look great together (Amy Butler - midwestern range)
6. achieving this much sewing over 2 and a half days

things I'm not so proud of:
1. letting Lola watch a ridiculous amount of television over the weekend
2. letting my sick husband look after himself
3. letting my house become a bomb site
4. thinking while I was sewing that I would NEVER make a quilt for someone I didn't love (you have to love someone a lot to be that meticulous I think :))

So the squares are all done but they're not sewn together. I changed the pattern a little bit (the squares are each meant to be 12.5 inches, but I didn't sew the last row around the outside of each so they're only about 10 inches). Basically I was worried I was going to run out of fabric.

The next step is sewing the top pieces together, then starts the quilting. I feel like I've done the hard part already, but I suspect I'm probably wrong.