Saturday, December 27, 2008

See you next year

I've been such a slack blogger lately and I promise when I get back I'll do the birthday / christmas posts but right now I'm getting ready to pack the car and head off on another adventure. The kidlets and I are going on a road trip up the east coast to Brissie to catch up with some friends and family and to really make the most of the school holidays.

We'll be back in about a fortnight or so! Will lots of piccies and stories to share I'm sure!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Long & lacy rainbow lights




Pattern - Northern Lights

Yarn - Kanui EQ

Needles - KP Harmony - 5mm tips


I can now tick off 'triangle shawl' on my list of things to try but I'm not sure how much I'm actually going to wear this?

Yarn was OK - the colour changes are lovely but as other knitters have experienced, I had a knot joining a yellow with a flame red. Not happy. I did end up doing some juggling to get the yarn colours in the right spots but it's finished now.

Blocking has made it grow a fair bit but it's still smaller than the pattern as I only had one ball of yarn.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's been a while.....

I've been a bad blogger this month but there has just been alot going on. The highlight of the month would have to be our camping trip which was fantastic! Starting at Murramarang National Park we camped at pretty beach for a few days before heading off to the Kangaroo Valley which was gorgeous - we camped by the water which was great for the kids. Headed off from there to Kiama where we spent a few days including a day trip to Jamberoo water park. The entry fee was quite steep but it was definitely worth it - as well as all the water attractions they have bobsleds, chair lift, mini golf and loads of other stuff. We arrived at 10:30 and I thought we'd be back by 2pm at the lastest given that Charlotte still needs a day nap and Izaak's attention span is fairly short. I dragged the kids out of the park at 4:30!! Charlotte really surprised me as well by going on lots of rides that I really didn't think she would go on including the Taipan. So.... a look at the week that was....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Conspiracy?

I seriously think that the world is conspiring against me.... well against me and my tent. For a good two months now I've had the camping itch and it seems every weekend I plan to go something happens and of course this weekend was no different. It's wet - almost 15mm of rain has fallen today with predictions of more coming. Not happy. Nor are the children so to attempt to please the younger members of the clan our tent is currently erected in the back yard at my parents house. Seriously not happy now as that's part of what I was trying to get away from.

Results came out today. Very very seriously not happy.

Onto bigger and brighter things I have been super efficient and organised in the past few weeks getting lots of stuff in my life sorted out. Much christmas crafting has been occuring and I am actually feeling well prepared for the event. I did have a slight brain snap last night and invited both of my biological parents to lunch. At the same time. On christmas day. I think I've gone mad. Certifiably mad. Anyway, I'm now off to trawl the mags to put together a christmas day feast. Wish me luck because I'm bloody well going to need it!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More christmas crafting....

So tonight I've started on my Mums table ware - I'm planning a set of placemats, coasters and depending on the time frame and my motivation perhaps a table runner. I saw this fabric at Spotties a while ago and liked it but resisted. Recently it was 20% off and resistance was futile. I'm really happy with this though - it's the first top....
Now I'm trying to decide if these will be turned and topstitched or if I will put them together with a bias binding edge. Will ponder that a bit longer as I get the house clean for the plumber who will be knocking on my door at 8am tomorrow - yep - that's 8 am on a Friday morning! Argh!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Christmas crafting.....

So with only five weeks today (yes - FIVE) to go until the big day I've finally gotten myself organised and started making gifts. I've taken the handmade pledge as you can see in my sidebar but to be honest I'm struggling with this for a few reasons. Firstly, I'm out of ideas for SUPER hard people to buy for - my parents, sister and nephews - because they have everything. I mean everything that anyone could ever want for and so I'm stuck. Last year my sister and I got mum a digital photo frame. It's never been used. I knitted a bathroom set for her. It's never been used. For Mums 50th I knitted her a stole and not just any stole but one that really pushed my buttons. It's never been out of the drawer. You get the picture so I'm reluctant to spend much time crafting for those who don't seem to appreciate it. So my new pledge is that I will give at least *one* thing which is handmade to each peson on my gift list.

This fabric was once the liner of a magazine rack and I'm bummed that I didn't remember to take a piccie of it before I pulled it apart. Anyway, it was chopped up, added some black lining from the fabric stash and turned it into a satchel style bag for her....

I'm also knitting her perhaps one of my very favourite knitting patterns - Fetching. I have made quite a few pairs of these now but they have always been for gifts or swaps - eventually I'll make myself a pair! The yarn is Vera Moda Cupcake and although the meterage for one ball is lots more than the pattern I quickly realised (after I'd almost finished the first one!) that I was going to run out of yarn. Never fear I thought - Ravelry is here! And it came through with two lovely knitters sending me a ball of the same yarn so I can finish her gift. This yarn suits the pattern beautifully - the stitch definition is fantastic, they knit up to be quite a thick fabric which I like and they are so snuggly soft! I've added a cable repeat at the finger end because I think the original pattern is quite short. Given that this one took me two evenings to complete I'm fine about spending a short amount of time on something that will be lost/damaged/in the bin before next winter comes around....

I had planned on making her boys sock monkeys but due to an unexpected visit they have already got them! Bugger! In saying that, 'Fred', the monkey for Mr A has been to bed with him every night since he got it and has been going to kindy as well. Seems the little guy is attached to the little guy. They are 2 1/2 and 1 1/2 respectively so I've decided to make them little drawstring backpacks so they can carry things around for themselves. They both love the green bags from the supermarket so hopefully these will be just that bit nicer. Oh and a pair of PJs - I'm going to do a reverse applique singlet with a star on it to match as well.
The other nephew will get the same set but the fabric for his bag is lime green spiders and turtle fabric for the PJ set. There are plans for coasters, place mats, shopping bags and quite a bit of baking but - strangely - I'm feeling prepared and excited about this christmas! Anyway, off to sew another backpack...

FO - Long Lacy Summer

This is my first completed object for the long lacy summer being held over at Bells







Yarn - The Yarn Cafe sock in Evoke colourway
Needles - KP Harmony Tips 3.5mm on 60cm circ

This yarn is just adorable. I'm so in love with the colourway - it goes with just about everything I wear and although the weather is warming up I'm still getting quite a bit of wear out of it. Being a 4ply it isn't very warm so it's more of a 'pretty' accessory than a warmth thing.
I can't believe how much difference blocking can make although this yarn is a superwash so it has bounced back a little bit. Apologies about the state of my bathroom mirror too - I didn't notice how bad it was until I took these piccies! I've started a few other lacy projects but promptly frogged them - can't seem to find the right combination of yarn & pattern ;-(

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fitting in?

Do you feel like you fit in?

Sometimes I feel like I'm on a crazy roller coaster ride - a confident, strong, independent, capable woman who knows her place in the world one moment but then things happen and the seeds of doubt creep in and I feel like a scared and worried little girl. I think part of this is that I do not know any other single parents - actually I don't know any single people, parents or otherwise and I wish I did. I wish I could talk to someone about the doubts, the lonely feelings, the empty parts because I did have it once. The happiness, the laughter, the warm body next to me at night time, the shoulder to cry on, the strength of a man who took care of me, loved me and was my rock. Now though I'm plauged by the 'what ifs'. What if what happened hadn't?

Would I have a life? Would we not think twice about calling friends to do things on the weekends without worrying about interrupting their 'family' time? Would I hear the quietness of the house at night and every creak and crackle without worrying how I might be able to protect my family? Would I have someone to do the RTA furniture? Would I have someone to change the tyres, check the oil and all that blokey stuff? Would I be invited to things that seem to be 'coupled' friends only events? Would I be a better, happier, less resentful mother? Would I be me? Who knows... but I know that it hurts. It really hurts to have known the happiness that another person can bring to your life but have it taken away. It hurts to go to bed at night, watch something funny on telly and not have anyone to share it with. It feels so empty to watch your child do something for the first time or have them say and/or do something funny, turn around and have no-one to share it with. This sucks.

and George - it's not about the washing.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Did you know....

... that this week is national recycling week


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

FO - 100gr challenge swap parcel

This has been finished for ages but I didn't want to post until my swapee had received her parcel. The challenge was to use 100gr of yarn and I had some Yarn Cafe gradient in the sunset colourway which was just delicious and perfect but I couldn't find a pattern that I liked. My swapee is going away to agricultural college next year so I thought a neckwarmer would be warm, snuggly, stylish and less likely to get in the way compared with a scarf so I set to work. Loosly based on the Beechwood pattern this is what I came up with....

So it got packed with a few other little goodies and went on it's merry way...




Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Party time!






The gifts are safely packed away, cards hanging on the wall, all the gorgeous sausage rolls have been devoured and my little lady is now officially three years old! Where has the time gone? We had a small get together morning tea on Monday which was lots of fun. Strangely, out of the six families we invited only two had their children home on Mondays so it turned into more of a mummy's meeting than anything else but it was still fun!

Charlotte was totally spoilt with some crafty gifts including a kit to make spoon people from our friends Sarah, Sophie & Lily, the most gorgeous handmade hat with matching bag and twirling sticks (every 3 year old needs twirling sticks I've decided - for their mums to run around twirling if nothing else!) from Georgie, puzzles, books, Barbies and a special beanie friend that Charlotte has really taken to.

The girls played, laughed and giggled their way through morning tea with some yummy treats and cupcakes for the birthday girl - in a 3 shape of course. The cupcakes were chocolate which went down well with some of the younger guests...


By lunch time everyone was getting tired and cranky so we called it a day and what a great day it was. In other 'big girl' news - Charlotte has been dry overnight for a week now - I can't believe how much is happening for her at the moment. I've lost my toddler now ;-( and gained a little girl ;-)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Long, lacy summer

I still consider myself a somewhat novice knitter. I haven't been knitting for all that long but I do feel like I've learnt alot of knitting techniques in the short amount of time that I've been knitting - cables, knitting in the round, stranded work, socks, DPNs, magic loop - but lace has scared me somewhat. The concept of very very fine yarn, smallish needles and the complete untinkability of the whole thing puts me off but with some convincing from some SnB friends and some unbelieveably gorgeous yarn from Elissa I've decided to give it a go. Bells is hosting a long lacy summer thingie over at her blog and some of the work is just amazing - check out RoseReds Forest Canopy shawl, Bells Adamas shawl , Caffeine Faieries shawl or Kiss My Frogs Gust - all of which I may one day aspire to achieving. But for now this is my contribution to the long lacy summer Not sure that this really classifies as lace because the yarn is a 4py but I'm enjoying it none the less and I'm totally in love with the yarn both for workability and for the colours - definitely "me" and while I can't quite 'see' the pattern yet I have faith that with a fair amount of blocking she'll come out OK....

Happy Birthday Charlotte v1.0

In total Charlotte will have three birthday celebrations, one today with her friends at FDC, one on the weekend with the family and a little morning tea on Monday with some other friends. I have been sick this week with a revolting hayfever/allergy lurgy, Izaak has got larangytis and Charlotte has been feeling awful as well so while I did know and realise that I needed to get a cake ready for today the actual planning/baking bit had been forgotten. I woke up suddenly at 12:30 am this morning in a panic - went through the possibilities which were a) no cake - celebrate with FDC on Tuesday next week instead b) drop her off and have an afternoon cake giving me the day to bake c) go to the cheesecake shop on the way to care and pick up a cake d) get up at 1am and bake.....

2am fall into bed and leave the decorating for the morning. Given the handmade/consumption challenge I'm trying to achieve I decided we would make do with what was around the house to decorate her cake. I had lots of pink icing left over and was feeling too lazy to make anything else to glue eyes on so the bug does look slightly drugged but otherwise not too bad I think.....




Monday, October 27, 2008

Christmas Monkeys

I've been struggling with christmas ideas for my two nephews given that they have absolutey everything. Too many clothes, toys, books, puzzles - too much of everything really and I know that my sister doesn't understand/appreciate the time, effort and energy that goes into handmade gifts so I was reluctant to knit anything for them.

Then I came across this tutorial for sock monkeys and thought this would be a quick and easy gift that won't upset me when, in a month after christmas, I find them in the bottom of the toy box or under the bed - forgotten. So today (my first day without children or uni!!) I sat down with these
and created this
As a prototype I think this will be Charlotte's after she gets a smile and some eyes - the monkey that is, as far as I'm aware Charlotte's smile and eyes are present and accounted for!. I made a complete mess of the ears so this one is ear-less but not bad for 4 hours work. Economical too given that I used about a quarter of a bag of hobbyfill ($5 for the whole 200gr bag) and $4 for 2 pairs of socks so it meets all the requirements - handmade, cheap, unique. Will definitely be making more of these!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

This is.... something I'm surprised I like...

I've been inspired to share after reading what some friends like



I love her but it has taken some time.

Charlotte was a very much wanted, very much planned pregnancy and apart from some revolting morning (all day!) sickness I was well and happy during the pregnancy. I had a plan and this was my initial downfall. We were living in Brisbane at the time and at 30 weeks I went down to Canberra to my parents to work for my mum for 4 weeks then I was planning on coming home and spending a good six weeks at home relaxing, preparing and spending one on one time with Izaak before the new arrival. It wasn't to be.

Three days after I flew home I woke up feeling really off and then started having contractions. I was starting to stress when we called the hospital and they told us to come in - I hadn't packed a hospital bag, Izaak wasn't ready for daycare and ex-partner was at work. Some quick calls, dropped the boy off and headed into hospital where I was sure they would give me some drugs to stop my contractions and send me home - after all, I was only 35 weeks pregnant!
3:20pm and born by emergency c-section my daughter was born into the world.

She was taken to the NICU and I was sewn up. One of my most outstanding memories of the time was laying in recovery after the operation had finished. Charlotte's dad was with her (at my request - I didn't want her to be alone!) and I was laying in recovery crying because it was all so wrong. I had just had a baby but she wasn't with me, she was here too early. It was all just so surreal. Hospital wasn't nice for me - the lady in the bed next to me was really lovely but she had her baby there with her and I didn't. I had to walk all the way to the NICU to see her which wasn't nice post-c-section anyway but I didn't get to have the snuggles, crying, nappies or any of it. We did get her home much earlier than anyone had expected so in the end it all worked out. Or so I had thought.
Fast forward to Charlotte being around 10 months and things weren't going well. I hadn't bonded with her and felt awful. She had interrupted my life and disrupted my plan. She was a great breastfeeder, great sleeper and an all around good baby - for everyone else. I will always remember a particular day when we were at the shops and her dad was feeding her some puree veges while we were eating lunch. He went to get a coffee and handed it all over to me - she refused to eat and when I got 1 spoon into her mouth she blew raspberries all over me. He came back and she scoffed the rest. At that point we realised that I needed some help and I saw a lovely lady from NSW Mental Health. I didn't fit the criteria for PND but was diagnosed with an adjustment disorder - I had so much riding on my 'plan' that went it all went pear shaped I just wasn't able to cope.
Charlotte is about to turn 3 and our relationship has come along in leaps and bounds. I still have days when I find it hard to cope with her but on the whole I think we have a more 'normal' mother-daughter relationship. Thankfully! Love you Cha!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

FO - Radiating Star Blanket

This is the first of the christmas list that I can cross off! This blankie is for my nanna who, as a fellow knitter, will actually appreciate and use it!
It's the first time I've had to wet block anything and after spending more than an hour with it I know it's not a perfect circle but CBA changing it - again! Any hints for blocking in a circle?


Pattern - Radiating Star Blanket


Yarn - Bendy Rustic 12 ply - Colour 'Red Tweed'


Needles - 7mm


The yarn usage is rather deceptive - I got to round 59 on the first ball and then ran out of yarn so it's actually 10 rows smaller than it should have been. I'm happy with this though and it was only 4 nights of work so it went by really quickly.


Oh and because I'm such a mean mum.....

Charlotte with a head cold. Not a happy chappy!


Productivity...

on a few fronts.

I was at Spotty's and found some half decent fabric for boys and needed some for some christmas sewing but I couldn't resist a rainbow skull fabric for Izaak. I'm normally not really into skulls but the rainbow colours had me! Of course as soon as the hem was finished Charlotte started asking for her own 'pirate pants' but I didn't have enough fabric. Some 'creative' moments and they were off to pirate a ship to a far far far far far away (according to Izaak!) island to find some treasure.

The garden is looking relatively good with flowers on the lemon tree and for the first time tonight I'm eating burritos with home grown lettuce! Yay for me :-)
and finally....
My 1st ever HD ;-)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Perspective

It's all about perspective really isn't it....

When you're a teenager complaining about having a cannula put in your hand to get drugs that will fix a very treatable disease it seems disasterous but just down the hallway there is a baby who has already had more than five operations and will endure a lifetime of complicated medical problems and will never live a 'normal' life yet smiles at the staff who are come to give him more painful procedures. Perspective.

I think my life is tough sometimes and juggling uni, kids, housework, study etc is draining but another student doing the same course as me has five children and home and works a part time job as well. Again - it's all about perspective.

This too is all about perspective and sometimes I think we should take a step back, look at the life we have rather than what we don't have and be thankful for it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

'Something new'

There was a swap recently over at Woolaholics where we had to try a new technique for a swapee. Deb (aka Mooska) and I were both too late on the sign ups so we decided to have a private swap and now that she has her parcel I can post about it!!

Firstly I did some dyeing which you've seen before...



For the first time ever I knitted socks! It was really exciting and I was challenged quite a few times and the socks did get thrown against the wall but I did finish them. They are 8ply Lincraft Cosy Wool and it's the Brigid pattern which I really like. I'm now about to start another pair for my nanna for christmas...

Hope you enjoyed your parcel Deb!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Birthday anxiety

Many a time I've talked about my blog being my therapist and lately I've been feeling anxious and need a therapy session...

Izaak was developmentally normal up to around his third birthday when he lost his social skills, stopped talking and generally started developing all his autistic traits. I love my son, I absolutely adore every single day that I wake up and have him in my life but I am also realistic enough to know that he will struggle to operate in 'normal' society and he will face many challenges throughout his life.

Charlotte turns 3 in less than a fortnight. I'm scared. and anxious and worried. Of course sharing this with my family is useless because, as usual, they don't understand me - the alcohol thing is exactly the same! grrr! - and can't see why I would be worried. I know that the chances are smaller because she is a girl and she is ahead of her milestones and blah blah blah blah blah but what if all that changes? What if suddenly I become the full time studying while single parenting two autistic children. How on earth am I going to manage? What will become of my sanity? My life? My future?

I know I'm getting a little ahead of myself here but I can't help it. It is causing me a fair deal of anxiety lately. Now I'm at a point where I just have to accept that things will be what they will be and life will go on no matter what happens. Now knowing that I have to accept it and getting to that point of acceptance is two entirely different things!

Friday, October 17, 2008

I know all little people do it.... but.....

I was hoping mine never would.
This morning I woke up and could hear my two little lovelies talking to each other and for a split second thought 'oh this is nice... they aren't fighting...'. They both came in for a cuddle and then I noticed that Charlotte's hair looked a bit strange. Further investigation revealed...

So at 9am we'll be heading off to the hairdresser to see if it is at all possible to some how sort out the crazy mess that her head is now in. Today I'll be moving all the scissors to a higher shelf where she can't reach them although I'm reluctant too because it means that Izaak, who hasn't done anything wrong, can't access them either.

Funnny thing? She's just had her 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 year checks done and the only thing that she isn't doing well at? Yep - scissor skills!

Scary Santa Season....

is fast approaching! It's just less than 10 weeks until the fat man in the red suit decends although the retail market is certainly flourishing with christmas merchandise as my lunch partner and I discovered today.


So tonight I've sat down and made a few lists of things that need to get organised and made before school finishes. Uni comes to an end in the next fortnight so I'll have a few (5 I worked out!!) weeks of kid-free time before the end of uni and the end of school during. So I will have 5 weeks to create masterpieces of craftiness for the family/friends.


I'm planning on some oven mitts for my dad, possibly a beer cozy for my mum, socks for my sister to wear under her work shoes, shorts for nephews x 2, possibly a cape or two for my little treasures (I really like this pattern too because it moves away from the licensed character stuff), some house/bed socks for my nanna and a beanie for my other dad. There are a few other baked goodies and little nick nack sorts of thingies. I want to get the kids to paint onto some canvas bags as well this year and give those as well. I'm really trying to avoid buying new as much as possible.

So... what are you planning for your loved ones this festive season? I'd love to hear!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The story of stuff

Since I was pregnant with Charlotte and probably a bit before that I, along with a growing number of people, became interested and concerned about the planet, what we're doing to it and where it will all end. Soon after we moved to Canberra a met a wonderful woman who is one of the most amazing examples of anti-consumerism who motivated me to make changes in my life but more importantly in my thinking. It worries me though that while the kids are getting these messages at home, society around them is saying very different things, ads on TV, kids in the playground at school, even my own family is driving me nuts!!

Thinking about the things that we do in our home...
- We are clothed from the op-shop around 90% of the time (underwear and shoes are my must-have-new items though)
- Changed from paper napkins and tissues to hankies and proper cloth napkins
- Cloth nappied Charlotte (and it's been rubbing off!)
- We are trying to have one day (Sat/Sun) where we don't use the car. I'm definitely finding this one the hardest! We're close enough to walk to town but if we want to see mum or dad we have to drive over to see them.
- Limiting the use of cling wraps etc and trying to use plastic containers more for storage
- Buying in bulk for things like rice/flour/potatoes to try and cut down on the packaging - same thing with yoghurt. I used to buy the 6 little tubs but we're now getting the 1kg pack and decanting this into little containers.
- Making my own cleaning products - I use the kitchen one and have been using the concentrated laundry soap recipe for a few months now

Then I think about what the kids are exposed to while they're away from me
- For Izaak - the ads on TV are a killer. Every toy, every take away - he has to have. I'm not sure if it's an age thing or an autistic thing but he can't see/understand that things aren't literal - i.e an ad for KFC uses the tage "keeps the family happy" so recently when something was bothering me he told me we had to have KFC for dinner because it will make us as a family happy. I hate the exploitation of children through messages like these and am contemplating getting rid of the TV again for a while.
- My family - As a household with 3 adults and 2 children under the age of 3, they generate around 480 litres of garbage - A WEEK!. Yep - 2 big bin fulls. They do have 2 children in disposables full time but the food wastage in their house is unreal.

I have to admit though that while in the past I've been able to stick to my anti-buying stance, recently I've been caught up in the need-to-have-it or it's-a-bargain lures of yarn. I really don't need it and while some good fortunes have meant I've been able to afford it I'm now feeling terribly guilty about the ridiculous amount of yarn I have compared to the amount of knitting that I actually get done. So I've got an order in for some Bendy cotton with a friend and another fellow knitter was nice enough to get me some yarn on her recent holiday but I am pledging that there will not be any more yarn coming into this house until next year. I don't need any more and I've just let myself get caught up in the excitement/rush of buying and having stuff which is what I have been trying to avoid! Interesting thought really.... why does buying make me feel so good? Even when it's stuff I don't really need. Anyway, if you're interested in the issues around stuff, consumerism, consumption and the like this video is worth a look.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Look what I made....

I started yesterday morning with 200 gr of white spotlight basics 8ply yarn. Today, it was wound into a cake and looks like this - not bad I reckon!

Serious fashionista!

What happens when you let an almost 3 year old (and wow does it scare her mother to think that in 3 weeks her little baby will be turning three!) dress herself....
Yep - a stunner! That's a shirred sundress on back to front, legwarmers on the arms and her brothers beanie.
That's my girl :-)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Foggy

Just a quick note to say sorry to the friends who I've been slack in returning emails, phone calls, texts etc over the past week or so.
Life is getting in the way and things are feeling a little foggy.
Be back soon....

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Stash enhancement




From the top....
1) The Yarn Cafe - Bluefaced Leicester 4ply Superwash Sock. Colourway - "Evoke"
Plan - Forest Canopy Shawl
2) The Yarn Cafe - Shetland Chunky 14ply gradient dye. Colourway - "Sunset"
Plan - Neckwarmer?
3) Waratah Fibres - Laceweight 2 ply. Colourway - "Tranquil waters"
Plan - Summer lace knitting project
4) The Yarn Cafe - Single Ply Merino Worsted. Colourway - "Rocky Creek"
Plan - ?????