Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013 ...

Can you believe it's that time already, time to say goodbye to one year in readiness for the next.  What will it bring?  More adventure and challenge I'm sure :)

It's been a busy few weeks this last part of the year.  We've hardly stopped, having to move my husband's business from one premises to the new has taken up much of our time - fitting in children and school in between busy times!  And Christmas is always so rushed - why is that? I'm sure it's a matter of choice when it comes down to it, I wonder if I can make it any better, any less rushed for Christmas 2014.  Watch this space!

Reflected light dancing on the table top makes me happy too ...
There have been a few highlights to 2013, visiting South Australia for the first time and seeing the Barossa Valley - where all our favourite wines come from; watching my two eldest children growing up and gaining independence; seeing Little Man flourish at school and becoming a Lego building force to be reckoned with; being a part of a weekly craft get together with two other talented friends; getting down and dirty in my first mud obstacle run; not to mention my first ever triathlon which has sparked a desire to run more in 2014.

Happy 18th birthday ice cream cake and sparklers ...
Mostly I'm happy that my family are still thriving and are quite content to be around mum and dad for a while yet.  Having got my eldest 2 to the ripe old age of 18, that's a milestone to be proud of too.  I'm happy too to be spending New Year with my favourite people, sitting outside with my hubby whilst typing this and musing about what 2014 will bring for our family.  Not a bad way to end the year hey?

Thanks for all your support and following of my blog, which has been a bit up and down this year, but I'm planning to change that for the year ahead.  I wish you all a fabulous New Year!!!  All the very best for 2014 xxx

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Here are my little bunny slippers all felted and finished!

Just a sneak peek as they are someone's Christmas present.

But ... I can tell you they are a pattern from Tiny Owl Knits, and I used Panda Woolbale 8 ply (DK)which is fabulous for felting.  They are a lovely easy project, with lots of potential for making as whimsical as you wish! 

Today they started their long journey to the other side of the world :)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

work, work, busy, busy, bang, bang!!

I know, I know, I've been away for quite a time.  It's silly season and I'm even busier than usual for this time of year as I'm helping my hubby to move from current business premises to a new store.  What a time to do it hey?  So I've spent the past few days scraping paint off shop windows and putting more paint on walls.  Somehow I will find the time to organize Christmas.  Thank goodness I made the Christmas pud, cake and mincemeat in November.

Thankfully it's not all been all work and no play.  Here's a peek at some rabbit slippers I'm making - here they are in ginormous mode.  They look much better after 2 goes in the washing machine, but I will have to save finished product pics for after Christmas Day as they're a pressie for my sis.

I've also made some gorgeous plushies for my niece and nephews.  As they are not yet fans of my blog I feel I can safely post pics here :)  The pattern is called 'Acute' from Melly and Me, and it's fairly easy to make, apart from those antennae!  Follow the tip about fray stop - I used Mod Podge for fabric and it definitely stopped a lot of frayed fabric and tempers!

I really enjoyed the embroidery, and added the felt hearts for lots of love from Aunty Lara!  The tummies are made from some fabric I used to make pjs for the kids last Christmas.

There's also been a lot of thinking going on, and I have plans for my blog.  Time for a new look I think, but all that creative stuff will have to wait for New Year.  How are your Christmas preparations going?

Monday, November 18, 2013

A grumpy mum's doodles ... and more kangaroos

We had 9 kangaroos in our garden last night, plus a baby in it's mum's pouch.  They are so gorgeous!  Apart from the ticks, which aren't so great ...

Anyhoo ... isn't it peculiar how protective one can become of one's offspring?  Big B is learning to drive and I am supervising driver for the moment as he completes his 25 hours pre-test driving practise.  It's a nerve wracking enough experience without silly numpty young drivers being aggressive because of some imagined slight!  We had pulled out of someone's drive with plenty of room and time between the car behind us, who proceeded to drive at warp factor 10 and drove up our bottom!  My driver was serene and contained as he negotiated the hill and intersection up towards our house, whilst I sat quietly fuming and wanting to hang out of the passenger window telling the impatient little twerp behind that we were learners, although probably not that politely.

Big B just drove me home ... good boy, at least one of us acts our age :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Christmas creativity

Today we made our Christmas cake.

I had my very own trade assistant who dutifully chopped up cherries and cracked eggs to mix with the brandy.

action shot ...
He even took it upon himself to cart the completed bowl of Christmas goodness around the house for everyone in the family to taste and have a stir whilst making their Christmas wish.  No mean feat as that stoneware bowl filled with cake mix was not light!

The bowl was an early Christmas gift.  I've seen this style of bowl on many a cooking programme and admired it, until I finally gave in and got one for myself.  I'm sure there will be many more cakes made in it!

Now we just have to wait 6 weeks before we can taste it properly ...

Monday, November 11, 2013

Will somebody please slow it all down!!

Every year the same thing happens - as soon as the end of October hits, it's a mad, downhill rush to Christmas.  This year we've had visitors from the UK (lovely to catch up), we went on a short holiday/business trip to Adelaide (fantastic and pics to share soon); and to add to all of that, I have two of my children turning 18 just before Christmas (did the time really pass that fast?) and a pile of lovely things to make for my favourite people in my life.

But the thing I really want to share with you is that - I COMPLETED MY VERY FIRST TRIATHLON last Sunday!!!!!  Yay!  On the morning our guests left for the airport, before our flight to Adelaide in the afternoon.  Contrary to all my whinging it would appear I do like rushing about and being hectic - not!

Anyway,  this triathlon was part of the Triathlon Pink series, which occurs all over Australia in aid of Breast Cancer research.  My friend and I decided to take part in the short run as it was our first time, which consisted of a 100 m swim, 3 km bike ride and finishing with a 1 km run.  I surpassed my own expectations in the swim, as although I love swimming I am terrified of water (go figure) and can't stand putting my head under water or being splashed.  The bike ride was, if I'm being honest, bloody terrible!  I couldn't even get my bike to coast downhill and had to pedal to make it faster down the hills.  Plus I hadn't really got the hang of the gears, and my friend noticed that the gears weren't engaging properly when I did change.  So that really slowed me down and made the ride very hard work.  Lastly, have you ever tried to complete a run after a bike ride?  It's not easy - my legs felt like lead, and didn't want to move and at one point I told my very long suffering tri partner to just carry on by herself as I was too stuffed to continue!  But she had told me she would not leave me and that we had to cross the finish line together.  So we did, holding hands, arms in the air and yelling at the top of our voices!  I may have been one of the slowest, but I finished, and I worked towards something very much out of my comfort zone and didn't talk myself out of it.  To say I'm extremely pleased and proud of myself is an understatement - and I can say I'm a tri-athlete.  :)

And it's the first in a long line of triathlons and running races I think - I've got the bug!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My first Anna dress

Much excitement!  I have finally finished my first Anna dress, and I love it!  It's so simple, yet so pretty and it's relatively easy to make up.

My dress is made from some Indian sari fabric I had in my stash.  As I didn't have quite enough fabric to make the dress entirely spotty, I used the 'blouse' section which is found at the end of the sari for the back bodice.  I'm really impressed with myself that I managed to match up the stripes on the back, which with hand printed fabric is no easy task!

I really learned a lot about pattern alteration using this pattern - I had to do a full bust adjustment, which of course impacted on the waistline, but it was worth all the extra time to make a dress that fits perfectly to my idiosyncracies - it is just so comfy!  I'm intending to write a post explaining how I did my fba and other little mistakes I made  things I learned which should help both you and I avoid such pitfalls in future projects.  Watch this space ...

But I was excited to share my photos first ...

... and I've cut out 2 more dresses ... and nearly finished one already ... I love this pattern!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

This time last week ....

At the top of a lighthouse - dad will appreciate this one!
... we were on our way to Yallingup near Margaret River for a small break.  Seems like a lifetime ago, we have been so busy since then!  We are expecting visitors from the UK at the weekend and our house is being given a very overdue spring clean ...

Thought it might be relaxing to stop for a few minutes and look at what we got up to on our trip; it might help me feel slightly less harassed about my present tidying task!

Visiting an op shop in Busselton ... lots of little treasures ... not at Perth prices!

Collecting shells ...
 and coral ...

found on the beach at Dunsborough.  A favourite past-time of mine, and one which the children have happily adopted as well.  Little Man found some great specimens.

Psychedelic cave ...
Our favourite outing on this trip, a look inside the Ngilgi Caves - AWESOME!  Lots of pretty coloured lights to help us on our way, lovely and cool and damp, stalagmites and stalactites galore.  Wonderful how nature creates beneath our feet without us even noticing ...

Side note: this was supposed to have been posted at the end of last week, with some other lovely photos of our adventures, but I'm having mega technical problems with my usual computer and can't find another that lets me download my photos - still the cave photos are pretty groovy!  I'll try and solve the problem asap.  Update - fixed!  More pics :)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Camping fun

We are having an adventure tonight!

When I say 'we' I mean Little Man and his big sister, who although she will be 18 very soon, is almost as giddy with excitement as her younger brother!  

Happiness is ...

But I can't lie, I've been looking forward to snuggling up in a sleeping bag in a tent outdoors.

Though outdoors in this case is our very sheltered and safe backyard :)  We unpacked our igloo tent this morning, and I must say Little Man and I did a splendid job on putting it up and making beds from a bedroll, yoga mat and fluffy blanket.  Batteries were found and lanterns hung from the centre strings on the 'roof'.  Then as the sun shone through our camouflage net covering the tent, the two kiddies sat inside it for hours, reading books, playing on their DS and generally having a great time together.

Now the real fun begins, and as I type this I have a very enthusiastic Little Man looking over my shoulder, asking when I'm going to change into my pj's because it really is time to go to bed now.

More magical moments being created to be remembered with fondness in the future.

Yup, it's magic :)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Kanga and Roo

I never get tired of this.  Kangaroos in our front garden, how awesome is that.  And if you look closely you can see a baby eating grass with its mum - from inside its pouch!

I lay down on Little Man's bedroom floor and peeked through his window to get these shots.  I had to be very quiet and still - a rare enough experience these days :)  Very pleasant.

When I experience moments like this I feel like everything is well with the world xx

Thursday, October 3, 2013

I want to make this .... I want to make that ...

The Darling Ranges dress that goes on and on ...

Grrrr ... sometimes I get soooo distracted by things.  Duncan often tells me if I was a Transformer, my name would be 'Distractor-tron'.  Ok - that's going off on another tangent now!

Why am I distracted?  Well, I'm trying to get on and make my Anna dress as blogged about the other day.  But when I was trying on the dress toile, and looking at the fabric I'm using which is quite sheer, I began wondering what on earth I could wear underneath it, and hit upon the idea of making a bra top. 

Which in turn led me to search for something I'd downloaded and printed from the net about drafting and making my own bra. 

Whilst rummaging for old patterns, I found a Darling Ranges dress I've been going back to on several occasions, in an attempt to make adjustments to make the darn thing fit (the problem is not with the pattern, rather what I have been doing with it).  So now I want to make the dress fit properly, and I did read on a blog the other day that to succeed in sewing one should always finish projects before moving onto another ... distractions, distractions ...

Pretty vintage fabric purchased online
But ... today I did trace out the remaining pattern pieces of the Anna dress and hope to start cutting out fabric tomorrow ...

In an attempt to keep focussed (ha ha!) I'm making a little list for myself:

1.   Cut out fabric and construct my Anna dress
2.   Unpick the Darling Ranges dress and reconstruct bodice (for the third time!)
3.   Take accurate measurements and draft a bra pattern - might leave the bra-making for another time, I'm just interested in making the pattern!
4.   Make another Anna dress
5.   Make another Darling Ranges dress with fabric that drapes more than the cotton I used the first time around :)

That should keep me going for a bit! 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Anna Dress - an obsession

I love indie patterns - and I've recently discovered By Hand London and in turn the Anna dress, which is so simple yet truly flattering, it would seem, for just about any body shape.

So, I bought a pattern from Sew Squirrel (stockists in Australia) and have joined the sew-a-long that BHL are currently hosting via their blog.  I have spent a good part of today doing an FBA (full bust alteration) on the pattern, as there's quite a lot to fit into that beautiful kimono style bodice!  In my next Anna post I'll share details of what I did myself plus a couple of links to other FBA tutorials that I found helpful - I read in detail then ignored them and did my own thing basically!  Ha, ha - but the tutes certainly did help in all honesty.  They also made me realize how different we all are in build, and that no one way is the right way. 

If you look closely you can see marks I've made and pleats I've moved slightly ... now's the time to do that!
Consequently here comes lesson number one - it REALLY is ultra important to play around and experiment with your pattern alterations.  It will take more that one fitting, I can guarantee it, but the resulting perfect fit you will get from this is well, just perfect, and deliciously comfortable, because it will be made just for you.  So don't skimp on time in this area when making your toile (i.e. practise mock up of the pattern) - I'm planning to make 2 or 3 of these dresses, so time spent here will definitely be worth the effort.  Plus I'm finding that I actually enjoy making these patterns fit and using a (very small) smattering of maths to accomplish it before re-drawing on pattern paper - strange I know, don't tell everyone).

Lesson number two - do not cut into your original pattern!  Make one, if not two copies on tracing paper and cut those up instead.  I made the mistake on a different dress and found myself having to stick the original back together like a jigsaw, I was just thankful I'd saved all the pieces I'd cut out!  Not a relaxing way to sew that's for sure.

Here's one of the fabrics I want to use - thrilled to say it was found in an op shop, the correct length for the amazing price of $2 - result!!!

I promise to give continued updates on this lovely make - it's rude not to share such a delightful pattern.  In the meantime, follow the links above and see what all the fuss is about :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

I Ran Amuck!!

I had to leave the blog writing until today, I was so exhausted yesterday - but ecstatic - that I completed the Run Amuck 5km mud and obstacle course.  And I survived the pipes and mudbath!!  My only injury was when I tripped as I jumped off the trampoline and hit my shins - ouch! 

My highlights would be the huge bouncy castle, coming out of the dreaded pipes, the scary rope ladder A-frame, making it through the super squashy mudbath with my shoes still on my feet and watching Superman negotiate a mud slope whilst his friends Iron Man and Spiderman tried to haul him up the slope whilst sliding all over the place themselves!

L-R: Shirley, Me, Sonya, Tash - my lovely team, thanks for a great day!
It was a super day, for those of you who may be tempted to do the mud run in 2014 here's the link to follow and I'll see you there!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Best day ever ...

Looking even more spectacular lit in the evening ... for the second time :)
Yesterday was a special day for the Little Man of the house.  We didn't have a party this year, but a very special friend shared the day - plenty of Lego action as you can see from the photos - we couldn't actually cross the lounge floor at one point!  The lovely thing was that Big B sat down with the boys and helped build the 'six legged walker', what a dude!

It was pointed out by Little Man's dad that the cake had a few creases in the top that looked like a man jumping so I followed the lines to make a stick man from butter icing.  Then the kids had a decorating session this morning at our post-birthday brekkie and candle-lighting session - it's rather creative don't you think?

Chocolate cake featured heavily this year - after a wonderful meal cooked by Big B as requested by Little Man - we had gooey choccie pudding and the cake was made from the world's greatest chocolate cake, both recipes from my Birthday Buddy.  And totally yummy.  Cholesterol city ahoy!  Never mind I'll run it all off in the mud run tomorrow ....

I've promised a big party for next year, but to be honest I think this year's celebrations comes close to being perfect!