Sunday, July 31, 2011

Good Morning Sunshine


Finally, the sun has come out!! Wahhh-hoooey! 
Now what to do?
Oh the possibilities are endless : go for a walk, set up a comfy chair and read in the
sun, knit in the sun, drink tea in the sun. Garden, plant some colour - spring colour!
Walk the kids, the mutt, go to a market, visit the botanical gardens, walk in the 
bush, sit in the sun - back here again you see, I think that says something!

One thing for sure, I won't be wasting the sun by being on my Mac - no offensive
lovely bloggers!  So get up, go out and B. R.E.A.T.H.E the fresh clean air, T.A.K.E. in 
the rays of sunshine and top up your vitamin D levels. Be in that moment of sunshine and 
know that we are worthy.

Monday, July 25, 2011

 I - just - can't - stand - the - rain 


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hello Sunday

It is Sunday, I blog from my warm soft bed. Out of the window is wet, overcast, outside all the ground is boggy and muddy. I am really longing for some dry hot weather, this is compounded by reading summer time posts by US bloggers.  I wonder how uncomfortable my big boy is out there on the footy field - mental note to have bathroom ready for hot shower and a hearty lunch waiting for him : downside to this I must get up to perform this nurturing act.  Visitors enter my room and they have brought me tea!   Leaving this comfort  is becoming a harder decision hmmm.  The tea is good. My visitors reminisce about last night with particular reference to the cupcakes I made / took - they were pretty good. We went to a party last night - it wasn't a birthday or special occassion,  our friend just decided to have a party. Have you noticed no one seems to have parties anymore? 

Everyone at the party last night noticed too,  plans for the next one [party for no reason] were seeded.  Summer will be the time for ours - we love pool parties and have an old pool that has seen a lot of splashing in.  It was a great night last night and i think everyone was really appreciative to be out on a Saturday night. The kids, about 15, had a  ball and did what kids do at a grown ups party : played hide and seek using huddles of politics, popular culture talking adults as hiding spots. It was a great night.

I reflect on the week, that is a good Sunday thing to do - just prior to planning the week ahead.  Some good things that happened

1. We enjoyed a visit from family

2. I won a give away! Yes I did! From Ragged Blossom - beautiful eye shadows. I feel so lucky

3. Middle child won a book in a contest - he feels lucky too

4. I piped cupcakes icing and it worked! 

5. I got accepted into a grad dip course 

6.  Miss M had a really happy time last night after having some very sad times earlier in the week

7.  Being crazy in the kitchen with kids : doing "frosting lay backs" - hysterical!

8. Having a very satisfying week at work

9. Miss M presenting me with a card to say "i love you"

10. Joining up with my book club buddies twice this week.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The bigger picture of family

This week has seen me blog less and this is because we have had very special guests at our home. Mr G's Mum and Dad have travelled over from Perth and we have had a lovely, easy going week together.

Because there is so much space between Perth and Melbourne, travelling between the two cities is expensive and therefore occurs only once every couple of years.  We do talk on the phone a lot and email and send photos but it is not the same.

Yes I made that scarf MIL is wearing.

My MIL is a pretty active lady and is always doing something interesting, a true dedicated nurse she has yet to retire and is in her late sixties and still nursing. She is also always up to something be it travel or hiking or camping.  In terms of aging she has set the bar high!

Our kids loved having their Grandparents staying with us and boy did they get around town and show them the sights of Melbourne!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Times are a changin'

The school holidays are now coming to an end - in 24 hours I will be packing lunches, checking bags for all required items, laying out uniforms, writing cheques for school fees, up coming excursions and after school care.  I didn't get to do all the things I wished to do with them, nor did I spend the time I had hoped with them.  You see, times are a changing in my family, my kids - they are growing, growing older.

I have found with this holiday that they needed down time, that crafty arty pursuits were ok, but only once or twice. I discovered that my kids are more and more seeking the company of peers rather than parents, that electronic devices are my greatest challenge these days.  My kids are showing more independence too, they now want to and actually can cook cakes with little direction -  we cooked thogether rather than them cooking with me.

These holidays showed me that my kids are developing nicely and are slowly and surely getting the picture that a bigger world exists out there.  At the beginning of the holidays I gave each child a paper gift bag with : 1 Smiggle voucher (for those outside Australia - Smiggle is a very hip stationery shop that kids go mad for!) for $20, $20 cash, some lollies and a movie ticket.  This was their "stash" for the holidays I explained, I would not be spending vast sums of cash of wims and fancies.  My plan was to get them understanding that money was something that did run out, things cost money and hopefully get them to consider their purchases.

And you know what? It has worked! Eldest child has all of his cash in his piggy bank, has seen a movie and used his Smiggle voucher on some snazzy bits and bobs for school.  Middle child blew his cash in the first 24 hours, seen a movie and yes used his voucher too - but he certainly hasn't bugged either of us for anything else.   Miss Moo today went to the markets and thoroughly enjoyed buying rings, cake and necklaces.  She has really considered what she could do with her money and held on to it, she too has used her voucher but not seen a movie.
All in all they have really spent some time thinking about what they could do with their cash and seemed to really get it that once it was gone it was gone.

What has also been different these holidays is the way we are all communicating. I have had some pretty interesting conversations with these three lately, conversations that have not necessarily been started or guided by me.  Recently we had an issue at our home that involved a neighbour visiting with some DVD's, somehow one of these DVD's sustained some damage - OK it happens, taking personal belongings to another's home comes with a risk I feel. Anyway, no one knows how it became damaged, but it did.  Now our neighbours became most upset and it became an issue about "property" and "compensation" and during this "exchange" we were very taken back with the aggressive way this compensation was demanded . The upshot was that we happily handed over $10 and were left astounded that our neighbours sanctioned their child displaying such an appalling lack of manners to us.   Later over dinner, it was amazing the insight our children displayed to us - not having aired our feelings (which weren't particularly charitable by that stage but because we are the grown ups we had kept ourselves to be shared later when the kids were in bed!)...Not only did our kids hit the mark about courtesy and manners - they could not believe how out of hand the neighbours reaction was to something we would of probably offered to deal with in the first place! They expressed sympathy to us that we had to be spoken to in such a way and offered us their ideas on valuing people and managing conflict.

Man they rocked!! So much wisdom and insight! I certainly don't recall being switched on like that when I was a child, they must get it from their Dad - Mr G is very level headed and according to his Mum always has been.

So these holidays have been very different, not what I had planned or hoped for but better than I could of imagined.  They are growing up and I think I will be ok.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Leila Howard Challenge

I haven't blogged much about my own challenge  "The Leila Howard" test kitchen challenge, of cooking through the old Women's Weekly cook book. I must say some recipes have been 1970's awful, but some are pretty good.

Meat Loaf, key ingredient would be mustard powder - man did Leila LOVE mustard powder and I have to say it works! I did add a few things such as spinach and I used a mixture of veal and beef mince. A big win with the creatures!

Next winner was the good old Bread and Butter pud.  

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Pranktser Eggspress

We have a resident prankster in our home at the moment. It's " a phase" that many kids go through and I must admit I am getting a kick out of it although that cannot be said for Mr M and Miss M.  Miss M and Mr G have been the main recipients or should I say target of the many pranks / jokes that have been conducted around here.

Last night the Prankster handed Miss M a pair of binoculars to look through, Miss M looked through them demanding "what am I supposed to be looking at" - the Prankster shrugged and took them back with Miss M handing him a verbal berating of "wasting her time".....whilst everyone cracked up at the two big black circles the binoculars had left around her eyes. Pretty funny actually.

Less laughter when Mr G was woken up by Miss M at 5.30 to help her turn of the "emergency siren" in her room. You guessed it, the Prankster had set an alarm to sound like a siren, and go off at 5:30am in Miss M's room, it took a while to find and to add further insult the Prankster did not wake up through the "caffuffel".

Fortunately to date the extent of pranks played on me was to sabotage my baking attempts. It is a bit hard to use ingredients with such eggs-pressions!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fairies, tinkers and sprinting thistles

Disney On Ice | Worlds Of Fantasy

Miss M and I went into the city today, we saw Disney on Ice.
Now I would like to be a cool, non commercial type and say "yeah, 
it was an appalling rip off, cash grab yaddah yaddah, independent children's theatre is far more 
stimmulating and ethically right, blah blah" 
BUT I can't! 
I loved this show! Minnie and Mickey, the Lion King, Ariel the mermaid!
I was in Disney heaven, yeah!
It was fantastic! I was really expecting it to be as irritating as most talking animal movies, but how wrong I was!
It was $90.00 for two tickets but totally worth it and when you put it into
context of going to the movies, it wasn't that bad.
I heard that many of the skaters are ex olympians, which would explain the amazing abilities
of the cast. The costumes and choreography was brillIant and mesmerising. The finale with tinkerbell
was just wonderful. We truly enjoyed ourselves and I think this will be a day we will always remember.

So if you are in Melbourne, consider taking your kids to this wonderful event, you'll enjoy it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

And so the crafting bender continues...

Yesterday my children all went their separate ways (in the house) and apparently
I was not to be included - such is life when your kids are finding independence.
So what to do? Sew of course! 
After my reasonable success at making a market skirt for myself,  dug out
this wonderful piece of embroided charcoal wool - I had some red lining (giving my mediocre
sewing skills, purchasing lining is pretty amusing!).  So I made Miss Moo one BUT with lining!!!

I rock! It took about 2 hours including the ruffle (I am soooo getting a ruffle foot).
I just need to thread the elastic into the waist and voila! 

Then last night I cleaned out my sewing box and sorted various 
haberdasheries out. I found a handful of embroidery silks and realised 
I hadn't done any fancy work in AGES, like years. 
In my family, we use the 1940's or earlier term "fancy work" - I don't know
if that is a recognised term, but it has been in my family for generations and given 
the amazing talent of my fore mothers I won't argue the term. 

In fact I love it.  My mum, Nan, Great Nana, Aunts, Great AUnts and the gals before them
were AMAZING fancy workers -truly you can't tell the back from the front it is so neat and perfect, 
I am so glad some of their work is still held in the family today.

Anyhow, I picked up some fabric ticking and thread and just did some "free" fancy work,
didn't draw a pattern just sewed to see where I would end up.

It seems to reflect my current train of thought lately I think!

Thanks for dropping by, make sure you take just a few minutes at least to 
savour today and feel good to be in the make a difference you know!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Some making making

I actually did some sewing yesterday, but that is not all. No bloggers I wake up today a more accomplished sewer than ever, yes I do. Do you remember mr G gave me an overlocker for Christmas? Well I was a little overwhelmed at the idea of threading it and I misplaced the instructional DVD (me lose something? Never LOL!) Good ol you tube to the rescue and voila! Overlocker threaded AND it worked! Ok so I need to tweak it more, but it does the basic functions.

So yesterday I made myself a skirt using the betsy kingston market skirt pattern - I used up some old cord and put a contrasting frill on it, a 50c doily for bling and done! There is a pattern for a Martha size skirt too so  she will get a market skirt today as well.

Next I solved a messy storage problem. Miss Moo has a cut IKEA bookcase in her room that is packed with LOTS of treasure and looks something like this

Hey it is school holidays so yup there is junk on the floor - she likes to play! So I figured a pretty curtain might provide a cover up.

I was going to go nuts with ric rac and braids, full on embellishments - but 
I didn't have any in pinks - well that needs to be rectified!

So I added a few ruffles and voila again (I was feeling very french yesterday hence all the voilaS!)  It looks pretty cute huh? But add to my must have list : ruffle foot.

Then last night I joined some lovely ladies at  SAY (stitch and yarn) group.
I was a bit sewn out so I packed up my Licorice All sort granny stripe rug 
inspired by Paisley Jade. My middle boy AKA Rainbow Boy went a little mad for one - so here is my version thus far which will eventually be his.
Had a wonderful evening meeting and chatting to some amazing crafters and sewers. 
Thanks girls - see you in a fortnight!

My Vintage Treasures

It's Tuesday and time for a Vintage Treasure.

This Lady is a wall vase, she has a polka dot kerchief in black and white, the flowers in her basket have been gathered from the field during a windy spring walk.
She once belonged to my Nana, my other Nana, Vera. As a child I used to love looking at all the china treasures in a buffet unit above her bench (very 60's arrangement style living). This lovely lady shared a space with some more expensive ladies, but I loved her the best, there was also a little white and black spotty dog who very obediently sat on a little china Louis V chair - my Aunt reclaimed him.

This lady now sits on my tall boy in my boudoir. Not particularly valuable in term on monetary terms but valuable to me.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Decorating delight

I recently made a huge decision around window dressing in my home.
Some of you might recall my recent frenzy of redecorating, I sent much of my 
home from green to white. Our lounge room has always been a turquoise-ish, vibrant duck egg-ish,
tealy kind of colour calle Merman. We have had this colour in our lives since early in our marriage
and it has kind of become an "us"  kind of hue.

My lounge room is a vintage tribute - pretty much everything 
is vintage from the 1920's lounge, to the 1950's Ventian glass piece 
that I got from my Nan's home (which actually began as a one of my parents's wedding
presents) *see coffee table.  Everything is old and special.

This is the "good room" - I really can't believe I ended up having a 
good room, but I did and it is a marker of sanity. When the house is a wreck
the "good room" is a haven of order and calm.
There is no TV or stereo in this room.
It is comfy, a tranquil. I love to chill in this room.

But it really lacked in window coverings, so with trepidation I went with 
plantation shutters.  I agonised over this, whether it would look too stark,
or whether I should stick with my regular Bo- ho look which worked with the
art deco feel to the room.  So, months of worrying I ordered them, and 
a kidney later ( they were shockingly pricey) I placed the order.
Six weeks of worry and a feel sleepless nights ( I know, stupid) my shutters 
were finally installed and I am very relieved and happy.

The room has a new look, light and airy and the green doesn't look so stark against
the new white look that is now flowing through the house.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A week down the track

I have spent the previous week "over hauling" myself, I called it project Me Change

I exercised like a woman possessed.
I cooked things that interested me. I tried new styles, new looks, new topics.
But there was more to it than that. The objective of my project was to refresh myself and check in with me, do a personal stock take kind of.
 I was feeling a bit disconnected from myself
I felt uninspired. Old. Out of "it", meaning I felt like I didn't know what was happeningin popular culture. I was feeling like I wasn't living the life I wanted to live.I felt out of touch with things. Fat, old, uninspired.
I needed to check what needed upgrading, changing, keeping and so on.

So upon evaluation of said project what results have I to report?
Well, I watched heaps of movies that I have been meaning to see in 
the last few years, I been reading papers, newspapers, investigating current issues.
I have made a few things, tidied a few things. I have followed up on some outstanding stuff too.
I have put my current "look" under the microscope and guess what?

I have discovered that....
Social issues really are what inspire me, all the movies and books that I saw just tightened my core beliefs and I know that I was born to do the work that I do- it is not a job it is what I believe in.  I just naturally gravitate to the human struggle.
I found that
Exercise gives me LOTS of energy and that even though I don't love it, it works well for me
I have discovered that my metabolism is in dire straits because no matter what I do I can't shift my extra kilos. 
My extra kilos should not make me feel bad, they do not define who I am BUT have been a source of my sadness over the years (oh I have known that for ever) BUT I feel that it is time to stop dwelling on this as it really has never achieved anything - I have kids that need to have confident role models. I just need to be healthy, being happy about being me is healthy.
Oh, and I can always be cheered up with news shoes.

I have also given thought to my future and have come up with some good directions.
I am a pretty lucky duck with a lot going for me.

In evaluation of my week, well I am feeling ok, good, refreshed.
I think that is pretty key, recognising when we need a break. So I had a
good break and I feel renewed, ready for the second half of the year.
So many choices lay ahead, pretty exciting huh?
The old adage apply: " if it meant to be it is up to me"....I can certainly source some assistance, resources outside of me, but ultimately I drive the bus- it is who I am, always been. 
So I will fight "the good fight", I will work true to my beliefs. I will not put myself down. I will be proudof who I am, can be.  I will accept only reasonable barriers, I will love me and all those around me. 

In doing so I get to promote authenticity to my children, my husband, my friends and who ever else crosses my path and that I know is catchy....

Thank you all for supporting me in the past week, I have had wonderful comments and feedback from many bloggers.  You all  mean so much to me and I truly value your kindness, your disclosures and your genorosity as this WAS pretty indulgent and egotistical.  I don't usually put pictures of myself up but I felt that if I was going to bang on about me, you should see me!

PS I set a goal of trying a new hairstyle - ended up going back to my 1993 look that happens to be in (thanks Adele!)...

For those facing school holidays, enjoy relax and be you, for those working- take time for you, but all of you dear friends, be true to you xxx

Friday, July 1, 2011

things I am loving.....

Joining in with Paisley Jade for things I am Loving....

I am loving my daughter's natural inclination to make people feel better about themselves.  I am loving what I had the good fortune to witness in my home.   Her friend is being bullied at school and is, understandably very emotional - during an outburst of emotion this little girl blurted out some very negative things about herself.  I was so impressed with my girl in the nurturing,generous and genuine way she responded to her friend. Amongst the hugs, she reinforced the friend's wonderful attributes and then changed the tone of the moment by instigating an "afternoon tea" with the ever healing Cupcakes and popcorn!  I was completely blown away as she made her friend take the lead and actively learn from her friend,  telling her friend who is older, that she " wanted to be just like her", trying to pump up her friend's self esteem. I  lurked in the background and let them make cupcakes and pop popcorn ( for safety purposes), and listened to their exchange.  It was so beautiful to witness  trust, love and friendship bloom in my kitchen.  My privilege indeed as this day I remember how blessed I am to have children in my home  not just mine but sharing others'  children  as well.

I am loving making curries - warm and spicy, with colours that glow warmth and hint at the exotic. This baby is a beef korma, I threw in a handful of red lentil, egg plants and capsicums. I cooked it slow, real slow on the stove and then we ate the next day. We were loving the flavours, the deep seated flavours....served with nutty brown rice and microwaved pappadums (why bother frying them)...Winter warming yummy.