Friday, April 29, 2011

Dressed in Blanket

The smallest went through all of last winter fairly close to nudey. There was a mobile back-up wardrobe in the car but the kid has a stubborn streak (no notion from whence that comes) and rarely gave in to warm cladding. This fazed me for a while, until I realised it was one of those Choose Your Battle parenting scenarios. I’m not even sure if the kid caught a sniffle last winter.

This year I thought I’d have another whirl at coaxing her over to the Dark Side; reintroducing the concept of warm and toasty. This hot water bottle cover was crafted from a thrifted blanket and is still cosy-cosy and still going strong. And the super-snuggly blanket with the hot water bottle shape cut out, is occasionally thrown over a bed. Only now the blanket has a hole the shape of a tunic dress.

The kid was only mildly won over by the overwhelming orangeness and general lack of pink and puce-ness but signed on the dotted line, after I pulled that old doily trick out of the hat. (Love that old doily trick).

Then the weather forgot all about Autumn and turned really rather warm and the small was sweltering in her dress...

but still smiling, because let’s face it, the kid’s thermostat is entirely out of whack.


The dress was cobbled together on a wing, prayer and a vague glance at a real piece of small kid clothing. This is why there is that slot thing at the back which was going to fasten with a button and a loop. Except it fits more comfortably without a button and loop. So really it’s only a test dress and while I know I should care about such matters, I’m afraid I really don’t. Talk to me after it’s been properly cold-weather-tested.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Great Mid-Life Crisis Giveaway

On Monday night we pretended we were camping and sparked a (contained) fire in our backyard.

There was twirling action.

There was another dodgily nutritious dinner of baked beans on toast, followed by popcorn. There was a firelight story and then I went to bed in my thirties and woke up the next morning and just like that...


Startlingly, this means I’m officially, (sort-of) growed-up.

I decided that it was high time for one of those giveaway whatsits and have thunk long and hard as to what that giveaway might be – inbetween all the angsting over the mid-life crisis stuff. Then it was all entirely obvious.

I could throw myself out of a plane with a parachute attached (still haven’t entirely given up on this notion), or buy myself a little red corvette number – complete with co-ordinating blonde, or I could ‘do’ a tattoo. TATTOO...


Should you wish to be in the running to win an embroidered, mid-life crisis tattoo,

which may be worn on your ankle, like so:

or on your upper arm, like so:

or on your derrière, like so:

(or you could morph it into a pincushion or do whatever you like, really)

then it’s time to leave a comment.

But wait! There’s more! Your commenty entry makes you simultaneously eligible for the remainder of the giveaway which includes more me-made stuff:

Two rare-as-hens-teeth (can’t believe I even had them), screenprinted, 100% linen tea towels:

Two packs of cards printed on Italian cotton paper, which cater for everything from apologies to thank yous to birthdays to blankety blanks:

A four pack of gift tags:

And your choice of this book of last-minute-knitted treasures:

OR this must-have (if you don’t already) quilty book:

OR this book containing the sweetest of softies:

And that’s it (there are no steak knives).

Entries are open to one and all. There is no requirement for climbing through hoops and I am happy to post to faraway lands. Please do ensure there is some way for me to contact you via your comment. Entries close the strike of midnight (Melbourne time), this Sunday, May 1st. I’ll post the winner sometime Monday.

But wait! There IS more!

Because I can’t embroider a mid-life crisis for you all, I have made the tattoo pattern design available for you HERE. Just on the off chance anyone else hits forty and would like to craft their way through therapy...



PS. If anyone has the chutzpah to actually, seriously tattoo the thing – like on real skin – I’M TALKIN’ TO YOU JODIE, please may I have a pic for my blog header.

PPS. One day in and I confess – I’m already getting used to this aged thing.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Good Friday is usually very much a potter-about-the-place day, between the rituals of hot cross bun making and egg decorating and whatnot. But then on an unexpected whim, we ended up playing mini golf and it was more about the dodgy putting.

By the time we arrived home, the hot cross buns were ready for the baking

and in lieu of fish, seemed an appropriate(?) sort of Good Friday dinner

and then, er, breakfast.

In a pottering about fashion, I did manage to decorate



(Spot the easter bunnies)...

Happy Easter/Happy holidays, lovelies!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Post in Point Form (Can.Barely.String.Sentence.Together)

Point One
It’s all school holiday, fly-by-seat-of-pants, sibling fractiousness around here. So much so, that when we went to the beach on the weekend I saw this shell and contemplated for three entire minutes how (relatively) quiet is the life of a shell.

Then I snapped a pic or two of Esme the Dog and Her Flying Ears

And braved crispy, autumnal ‘wave’ jumping.

(not my legs).

Point Two
The kids and I have been planting seeds. We used Susie’s clever newspaper pot notion.

We planted seven different vegie seed types but these became horribly mixed up. I have a theory this represents a moment of cleverly kid co-ordinated, sleight-of-hand planning – aimed at avoiding future ingestion of parsnip.

I tracked down some icy pole stick things for seed identification. The three year old was exuberant with this part of seed identification.

In fact, all the kids were enthusiastic about the distribution of icy pole sticks but no one wanted to write anything identifying on them. (Refer previous theory involving parsnip).

The Middle did, most definitely, wish to plant peas. This was hard to refuse. It’s not quite the season for dwarf peas but given the kid has had to wait since July 19th last year, we planted a few. These pea seeds were inside the palaeontological party bags his guests took home last birthday.

Post party, his mother was too exhausted to do anything but stare blankly at the wall for a good hour or two and channel the quiet existence of a shell.

I noted the planting of at least three pea seeds directly on top of parsnip seeds.

Point Three
At times the kids have been amazing. There were, for example, a good, few, non-conflict hours building a Camouflaged Fairy House, complete with Welcome sign.

Camouflaged Fairy Houses are incredibly difficult to photograph, due to their camouflaged-ness. This is the relatively un-camouflaged living room:

Point Four
Yesterday we put together our Easter tree. This year it is made up entirely of strung felty woollen balls and the Thriller chicks. This is because I have stored our Easter decoration collection in a Very Safe Place. (???)

The Middle asked why I perched the nest on the letter ‘N’. I asked him what he thought the ‘N’ might stand for. Nearly Easter? he correctly guessed.

Point Five
A clever school Mum recently gave me a top tip. She has a post-it note stuck to her fridge with a scrawled Put Music On reminder and now I have a tatty, back-of-envelope version.

Every time there is the hint of a kid squabble, or the remotest sign of unrest, on goes the classical or the bust-a-move or the whatever music.

I’m right with her on the theory that music seems to diffuse potentially explosive situations. We’re currently singing through a Eurythmics revival but I have also discovered the PERFECT SONG for fending off fractious-kid situations. J’adore Camille. With the volume up LOUD. Because it’s all acapella and weirdly fabulous blurting/popping/everything sounds, you can blow raspberries at your kids while innocently singing along.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Bereavement, a Light Bulb Moment and a Bit of Autumn Warm

This kid, my middle kid, is a maker and a dreamer. He is a kid who creates somethings out of nothings, a kid with a dry, quick wit, a big imagination and a heck of a heart. Last week the kid’s leafy stick insects died.

I’m still not sure what caused the spontaneous and simultaneous deaths of Spiky and Camouflaged Twig. Chatting to them over an afternoon cuppa, it was an awful moment of discovery – they weren’t just hanging around, shooting the breeze, pretending to be (living) sticks.

When the news was broken to the middle, he howled his grief. There was a discussion of funeral logistics and a call to Grandma to schedule the memorial service. It was very sad. Until a small light bulb went off in the kid’s head and there was a negotiation concerning methods of mummification and preservation.

Spiky and Camouflaged Twig are still (somewhat unnervingly), sort-of with us.

Drying out in a salt pool, they are apparently destined for a framed spot on the kid’s wall. All of this prompted the Mr to tell the unfortunate story of his bereaved friend who taxidermied his dog and converted him into a standing-dog-coffee-table. Which could be a story-telling step too far.

While the sticks are busy lying about in their salt bath, the kid is back to his outdoor explorings and makings and I crafted him up a cowl to keep at least a bit of him warm in this crispy autumn weather. Happily we have a thumbs up, because it doesn’t get in his way like a scarf does, working loose and flapping about or getting too bulky...

I’m informed it’s sort of adaptable

depending on which bit

is the frostiest.

The kid calls it his Where-is-the-Rest-of-My-Jumper? Cowl.


PS. Spiky and Camouflaged Twig are remembered by all the Myrtleandeunices (including Grandma) and their 347 (give or take), as yet unhatched eggs.

PPS. The Where-is-the-Rest-of-My-Jumper? Cowl is based on this. Full details over at Ravelry.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Follicularly-Challenged Princess and A Mighty Good Book

All of my children were born with a dodgy hair-growing gene. They start out with the finest fairy fuzz atop their otherwise baldy heads, then they sprout into toddlers at the rate of knots – except for the hair follicles which subscribe to ‘glacial speed’. Hence the smallest has a fixation on little girls with ‘princess’ hair and there is quivering lower lip questioning, over the estimated time of arrival for her own flowing locks.

Last week I received the best-ever kind of mail from Nikki.

Inside the Best-Ever Kind of Mail, is a tute perfect for little girls in need of princess hair. This afternoon we all watched The Fox and The Child (all kinds of wonderful, even for the seventeenth screening) and I crafted some sweet hair rosette thingummies from a zip. My little princess is chuffed to the very roots.

While she’s busying herself with princess business, I have been losing myself in the rest of Nikki’s book. On a recent craft weekend, I sewed next to Nikki and she talked me through an a-line skirt. Please understand, there’s my kind of a-line skirt and there’s Nikki’s kind of a-line skirt. Nikki’s kind is the sort that fits beautifully and sits comfortably and is an all round pleasure to wear. My version is the kind that requires tweaking and adjustment whenever one exhales.

I reckon this is exactly why Nikki’s book works. Although the projects are accessible for beginners, (BECAUSE SHE HOLDS YOUR HAND EVERY STEP OF THE WAY), the pages are positively heaving with top tips, helpful hints – even the unveiling of the mystery that is interfacing.

So it’s a book to help everyone sew better: to make garments that fit, to make bags with perfect finish and to do everything else with convincingly professional edge. There are pattern-free instructions for garments that do not scare the bejesus out of me. This says more than you can possibly know.

That there is the eldest kid, who helped to model Nikki’s Twirly-Whirly Girly skirts. It took nine years to craft that shoulder length hair.


You Sew, Girl! Your Ultimate Guide to Sewing with Confidence and Style will be available from here on May 1st, for pre-order here, or you can find yourself a copy at AQC (possibly even signed by the author herself!) until Friday...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Counting Down

Count Down #3
An almost-ready, boy-flavoured, small one is soon to arrive. The Pebble vest provided the most excellent of knitty therapies this weekend. The yarn is a soft and tweedy Jo Sharp and in an unprecedented planetary alignment there were precisely enough matching buttons in the button jar.

Count Down #2
Today is the official start to the school holidays and after this last weekend, WOW – they’re looming large. All kid-wrangling talents were stretched to outer limits. While I successfully channelled my inner Yoda and remained uber-parent throughout, I now feel an urgent need to plant my head in the (nearest) sand(pit). Best let’s look at that planetarily aligned vest...

Count Down #1
On the very last day of these school holidays I shall be taking leave of those thirties and ticking the box next to a whole other age bracket. Crikey. Excuse me while I connipt wildly. I am always appalling at birthdays and am once again opting for the highly evolved, hand-over-ears, ‘la la la la’ approach. So here’s that vest again...

I did think a good, hearty, birthday giveaway should be the order of the day. Any requests?