Sunday, October 31, 2010

An important day

Today is my Mum's birthday.  So my post (and the last for blogtober) is simply to say what a wonderful mother she is, and how I aspire to be as good a mother as she is.  Affectionately known as Nana Noosa by P, she's a wonderful Nana to both my girls

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The good, the bad, and the ugly

I can't believe that blogtober is over already.  This last week has really crept up on me.  So what has blogertoberfest meant for me?

The good: I have new followers and visitors (which is always nice), and I found a blog solely through blogtoberfest that I am now following and really enjoying.

The bad: I had intended to post about a couple of things that just didn't happen.  My knitting pattern remains unpublished (although at least finished).  And I did slip up on the posting everyday - extra points if you know which day it was.

The ugly: Blogging every day is actually quite hard and time consuming.  Deciding to take on blogtober a week after starting work, while still trying to keep up with my one project a week was, in retrospect, a mistake.  Why then did I not give up on blogging every day? I'm an all or nothing kind of woman.  If I decide to do something, then I will do it, regardless of how difficult it turns out to be.  Failure is simply not something I do.  (If you only needed to know one thing about me, this is it).

Friday, October 29, 2010

Chasing cheerios

I have rediscovered this blog recently, and it is so inspiring.  The activities that she has for her two children are really interesting and clever.  Her youngest is almost the same age as J, so its great to see the kinds of activities she's into.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My creative space

I'm knitting a singlet for P for her birthday.  DH complained that everything I knitted was verigated, so I decided to use a rich solid blue.  I really like the colour, hopefully she does too. The pattern is Mission Tank.

You can find more creative spaces here

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Something a little different

This ain't no 'Toto' song is a blog by one of my previous co workers (back in the deep dark past before I had children).  He got to do the cool operational policy stuff, while I worked on the front lines.  He's spending a year in Tanzania as a volunteer, and his blog is a fantastic read of his experiences in Africa.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

4 things

4 things that I always carry:

• a coat or bag

• keys

• wallet

• phone

Actually, these are things that I carry most of the time - there isn't anything that I 'always' carry.
4 things that are in my bedroom:

• a little greenstone statue from Vancouver 

• a pile of children's books

• my fabric stash

• too many dirty clothes

4 things that I would like to do but haven't done yet:

• go to Vegas

• bike the Otago rail trail

• run a marathon (although this is very unlikely)

• buy a piano

4 things that you don’t know about me:

• Grapefruit give me hives (but I love them anyway)

• I've never dyed my hair

• I've worn the same perfume since I was a teenager

 I worked as a summer camp instructor in Italy

4 things I often wonder:

• if parenting ever gets any easier

• why we have a television

• why my house can't clean itself

• how I ended up with such wonderful children

I got these questions from Mahka Crafts, a blog I found through blogtoberfest.  Check her out, the blog is pretty fantastic.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My project this week is photos.  More specifically, I need to put the photos of P and J into some albums, and get some picture frames to put a few more photos of the family on the walls (and if I happen to put up some art as well, all the better).

Sunday, October 24, 2010


So this week was all about Art, and in terms of actually getting art on the walls, it can only be described as a failure.  My prints from my parents, and my llama picture remain stubbornly unframed.  And as mentioned, the making of bird prints from vinyl records requires some specialist equipment.  Apparently I need a hot knife, which I gather is some kind of soldering iron.  DH has found one on the internet, so that project is on hold until I get one (although if anyone knows where I can get one in NZ, please let me know).

But since I am not one to let go of an idea once I have it, I decided to use my bird templates for another project.  I had a calendar from several years ago that I couldn't bear to throw out because the art was so beautiful - lets call it forward thinking rather than hoarding.  So I cut out my bird templates, and painted a canvas blue to stick them onto.

You will notice that there is no picture of the completed artwork.  This is because I have no craft glue, and the  supermarket failed me.  In fact, the supermarket failed me completely, it didn't even have picture hooks for the cute felt canvasses to go into P's room.

So no art on the walls this week.  But I did get the chance to do some 'arty' things, including some sketching so I actually feel quite pleased about how this week went.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Kitchen sand

DH got a book before P was born with all sorts of activities for babies, and one of them was kitchen sand.  Essentially its a sandpit in a dish.  The book suggested using cornmeal, but that is really expensive so I thought I would be able to substitute wheat semolina, which is much cheaper.

It was such a nice day today that I took the sand outside and let P and J go wild with it.  It kept them busy for minutes, and it also kept them from digging up the garden.  The semolina worked really well, although it did get a bit gluggy when I tried to wash it out for J's hair (P quite happily admitted to pouring it onto her head in the first place).
 And sometimes when you leave a 2 year old alone, they impress you.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bib and Tucker

If you're interested in cloth nappies, you should definitely check out Bib and Tucker.  The nappies are designed and made by the lovely Kate.  She has a fantastic range of One of a kind nappies, as well as other gorgeous prints.  I was lucky enough to get one for J from a recent swap, and its just such a nice fit.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My creative space

I thought it was about time I joined in with this, so here we are:

I tried to cut out my records today, but I think I will have to invest in a hot knife.

So then P and I made some paper instead.

You can find more creative spaces here

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Art in progress

So it turns out that cutting up vinyl records is moderately more difficult that I expected.  Actually that’s not true, I always expected that it would be a little hard, and it is.  Apparantly the key is to heat it, which also releases toxic fumes.  So not the kind of activity that can be done with little ones around.  I will have to leave it in DH’s capable hands as to what kind of heating implement I should use.

Blogtober #19

I have hit the wall.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blogtober #18

There are so many wonderful knitting blogs out there.  I've previously mentioned Sheryl's, but there is also Tikki, and Julia's blog Just One WIP (or work in progress).  All of these women are talented designers in their own rights, so check out the patterns for sale on their blogs.  

Sunday, October 17, 2010

More Art!

My project this week is art.  My parents bought me a couple of lovely prints of native birds that I am going to frame, and I thought this week would be a good opportunity to finally get my llama picture mounted as well.  While I was out looking with my parents, I saw some really cool cut outs that were made of vinyl records.  It looked like something that I could do, so I thought I might give it a go this week.  I know somewhere I can pick up old records really cheaply! Of course, like many things that look easy, it might in fact be very difficult to produce something that looks any good, but I'm happy to give it a go.  I am super excited to be doing art again this week, especially after a week of tidying, where its hard to feel like I've actually accomplished anything.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


We had a great day today catching up with friends, and I got to talk 'shop' with several about babies and cloth nappies etc.  Its great being able to tell people that its okay that their baby doesn't sleep, and that eventually things will settle down (settle, not necessarily get easier.)  Its been a long but happy celebration, and all the preparation was worthwhile as the house was not a complete tip.

And because I feel obliged, and since its a guilty pleasure kind of day, check out my favourite (well only) fashion blog - Go Fug Yourself.

Friday, October 15, 2010


It seemed appropriate to talk about housework since this week I have been frantically tidying everything I can find for my BBQ.  I think we (as a society) are obsessed with having a 'clean and tidy' house.  I guess its because we don't (generally) have to worry about freezing to death, or starving, or dying from disease.  What a luxury to be able to worry about vacuuming the floor, or making sure the toilet is clean.  I try really hard to rise above some of the housework worry - not least because I am not very good at it, and then I get all stressed out because I 'should' have a tidy house.

However, it would be remiss of me not to mention FlyLady in my blog post about housework, and I have to say that this website is a fantastic tool when you get too mired down in housework issues to know where to begin.  I especially like the way she breaks down housework into manageable chunks.  My favourite technique is 5 minute tidy up.  I often find myself overwhelmed by the seemingly insurmountable mountain of toys etc that need to be put away.  I set the alarm on my cellphone and run around the house trying to put as much away as I can in that 5 mins.  You would be amazed by how much you can get done in this timeframe.  P often likes to run around behind me yelling at the top of her lungs.  She doesn't actually want to help, just to be part of the action.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I thought it was about time to mention blogtoberfest (and put the button on my blog).  There is a list of bloggers who are taking part at tinniegirl.  Its been fantastic to see all these other blogs, many of which I didn't know about.  Its a great chance to browse through a whole lot of different kinds of blogs, and possibly find one or two that you just have to follow.

Actually, tinniegirl's blog is worth a visit for its own sake.  Her art is breathtaking.  Its the kind of stuff I wish I could do.  Perhaps if I had more time, money and talent.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

And the winners are:

Seaside siblings for the comments, and Verity Hewitt for the followers! - I'll be messaging you shortly.

(Yes I know I said I would announce on Tuesday, but given the late flurry of interest it seemed only fair to leave it another day).  I have to confess that although I used to chose from my followers, I did scroll up and down the page with my eyes closed and then click on someone when choosing the winner from the comments.  I highly recommend this.

While we are (tangentially) on the subject of babywearing, you should definitely check out slingbabies for heaps of fantastic information about babywearing, including some great how to instructions.  I especially love the wrap back carry, so comfortable to wear J - all 10kgs of her.  Even P has had a go on my back in it, and I was uncrippled from the experience.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Well my week of Christmas presents was an almost success.  Despite my best efforts, I didn’t make a start on shoes for J.  Unfortunately I have already cut them out so I do need to sew them sooner rather than later.  But I did make a hat for P for Christmas, as well as the “hugs” for my parents.  The hat was an interesting experience.  I made one for J’s birthday a little while ago, and P saw it and declared that she had to have one as well.  However, the hat I made for J was already at the largest size on the pattern.  I thought about getting a different pattern for P, but decided that I would try to upsize the one I already had.  There are only three pattern pieces, and they all increase in standard increments, so I just increased the sizes by one more and then cut it out of newspaper.  It all went well until I came to attach the brim to the crown of the hat.

 It turns out that the brim needs to be increased in size a little more than the other two pieces.  I managed to make it work, but it did involve some hardcore pinning, and a little bit of sneaky gathering at the back.  You can’t really tell in the finished product though so I’m sure P will be very pleased.

I also picked up some books for J for Christmas from the Hospice Shop.  I feel so well organised, all wrapped and waiting.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Birthday organisation

My project for this week is preparation for my birthday BBQ.  While this sounds like it will be a weeks worth of looking through recipe books, and stocking up on luxury party items, in fact this week is dedicated to cleaning my house before my guests arrive.  Far more practical, but also significantly less exciting.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

"Hug" Tutorial

One of my friends suggested a great idea for Christmas presents for my parents.  She gave her parents in law two "hugs" from her children.  They were two lengths of material with hands at the end, the same length as their arms, so that the Grandparents could have a hug from them whenever they wanted.  What a special and unique present.  So I decided that I would do this for my parents, and here is my tutorial:

Materials: You will need some felt for the hands, and some soft, stretchy material for the arms.  I found a couple of arms from some woollen jerseys that I hadn't been able to find a purpose for, but hadn't wanted to throw out.  We'll pretend that I was forward thinking rather than just hoarding.

First, measure the length of your child's arms and back from wrist to wrist across the shoulders.  This proved easier for P than for J.

Next, pin the sleeves at the appropriate length, and cut the sleeves.

Next, place one of the sleeves inside the other, with the wrong side out, and right sides together.  Pin the two sleeves together in a circle.
Note: You could omit the above steps and just cut the sleeves once they are inside one another, but I found it quite difficult to get the two sleeves even with one inside the other.

Sew the two sleeves together (you'll have to turn your head because I haven't managed to rotate it around).

You should now be able to turn the sleeves right side out and have one long tube of material.
Note: You could of course simply sew a tube of material rather than using the sleeves.

Next, trace around your child's hands on the felt.  Again this proved much easier with P than with J.  I had to guesstimate a little with J's hands.

Cut out the hands

Pin the hands to the end of the sleeves

Sew the hands onto the end of the sleeves.  You could hand sew this, or do some kind of fancy stitching if it took your fancy.  I just straight sewed the hands on with my sewing machine.

And there you have it, "hugs" from your children for their loving grandparents.  I know my parents are going to adore them.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I came across the baby bump by accident, but what made me want to share it are the breastfeeding stories here.  Breastfeeding is one of those things that end up quite different in reality than you think they will be.  I thought it would be easy.  But for me it was most definitely not.  If I had only one word to describe my first few weeks of breastfeeding (with both P and J), it would be excruciating.  That's a pretty strong word for something that is generally portrayed as a loving, wonderful bond between Mother and baby.  For me breastfeeding was initially like shoving needles through an incredibly sensitive part of your body, and then doing it again and again and again.

But, the excruciating pain decreased as the weeks went by, and then I could feed without pain at all, and enjoy that magical connection that does exist when you breastfeed your baby.  I am so glad that I continued with it, and although it sounds trite, it really was worth the pain.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday giveaway

I wasn't going to do any giveaways for blogtoberfest.  But then I remembered my slings, so here we go.
I have two pouch slings to give away.  Both are reversible and are lightweight cotton.

TO ENTER: Either leave a comment, or become a follower - I will draw one name from each of these.  So if you leave a comment and become a follower, you'll have two chances to win.

I'll announce a winner Tuesday next week.

Please note: These slings were made to my measurements, so they will fit someone tallish (5'8 or so) and slim.  If you are on the shorter or plumper side, I can't guarantee that they will fit you.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mini books

My friend Kate shared this link with me.  Its a website where you can print out mini books for your kids.  I think this is an awesome idea.  I'm sure that P will love a couple of these little colouring in books for Christmas, as inexpensive stocking stuffers.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fairy tale yarn swap

My knitting group had our yarn swap last night, which was a fantastic evening.  I didn't take part this time because I have so much yarn already in my stash that I couldn't really justify joining.  At this point I would normally link to Sheryl's blog here because she often takes photos of our yarn swaps.  Unfortunately there was a camera malfunction, and there are no photos.  All the yarns were really well dyed and the gifts that went with them were lovely and really well thought out for the fairy tales.

In fact, Sheryl's blog shortly stitches is definitely worth a visit, lack of yarn swap photos notwithstanding.  She has some really nice patterns for sale, and lots of interesting posts, mostly about knitting (she's a bit of a knitting guru) and she's also involved with Blogtober.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Blogtober #5

My project this week is to finish off Christmas presents.  I only have a couple of things to buy and make for P and J and my Christmas presents will be all sorted.  I feel virtuous already.  However, one of the things I am making is a pair of shoes for J.  I've got the leather, the needle for my machine and the pattern.  But somehow I just can't seem to bring myself to start them.  I think the pattern is the problem.  I just can't see how to follow the instructions and its given me sewer's block.  We shall see if I work up the courage to make them.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Wee weka nappies

My week of nappies was a success.  I re elasticated three of my smallest (and oldest) nappies and made a new fitted nappy for J.  I had to explain to P that these nappies were for a very small baby, smaller than our baby and that I would use them when we had more babies.  P was very taken with this idea and declared that we would have four babies (to be fair she can only say 2, 4 and 8).

I used the wee weka small nappy pattern, which you can find here.  Its my favourite small pocket nappy pattern, nice and straightforward, and a good fit.  I prefer to use velcro because I find it gives a much more versatile fit for when babies are smaller.

I also made a fitted nappy with the larger wee weka pattern for J to use at night.  I like fitteds for night nappies because they are a much better fit for the absorbency than pockets, which have the absorbency all in the middle.  I find that pockets tend to sit strangely on J and leak when stuffed, whereas fitteds don't have the same problems with bulk.  I didn't take a picture of it though because it is a bit ugly.  I recycled some bamboo from a previous nappy that just didn't really work.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dinosaur comics

Okay, so this one is a little obscure (and not strictly a blog) but I do love Ryan North's dinosaur comics.  My favourite ones are the ones with the raccoons and cephalopods (you can search his archives).

Saturday, October 2, 2010


I thought I would use blogtober to blog about blogs.  The ones I like, the ones I can't live without, and the ones that everyone really should know about.  So to start off with:

Sew mama sew.  If there is only one craft blog you should be aware of, this is it.  Its fantastic, with tutorials, free patterns, fabric giveaways and themed months with lots of different ideas (and we all know I love a theme).  You can also search their archives.  I love their Christmas holiday ideas, they're exactly what you need to create a handmade holiday.


I had grand plans of taking part in blogtober, but I have fallen at the first hurdle.  Oh well, please pretend I am on the other side of the world, in which case this post is perfectly within time.
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