Sunday, November 22, 2009

Checkin' Out

Hello and apologies to all my followers and passerbys for my slack posting record lately.

I have been, and am currently dealing with some personal stuff from the past and present and feeling like I should be updating my blog just adds to my stress. And I don't want to say "look at these pretty banners I made" etc. and pretend everything's hunky-dory. That sounds very alarming but it's not, so don't worry.

I will be back and in the meantime, here's a picture of Minni to make up for all that doom and gloom.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Look what they got me!

Last week the girls had their netball break-up and as a gesture of thanks for my coaching and managing the team, the other Mums put together and bought me this gorgeous apron in shabby pink and green fabric...

which they had embroidered. (The Elmos was the team name.) I was very touched.

They also gave me a gift voucher for Apron, one of my favourite kitchen shops on the main street.

 So I bought this plate stand

and these fluted blue and cream pie dishes. Not that I need two but they looked so pretty.

Next year the girls are moving up to B-grade and want to change their name. BUT half the girls want something cute and fun like the Elmos or the Big Birds and the other half want something sporty like the Bullets or the Rockets. So far the tentative name is the Redbacks (6 votes out of 9) but we're trying for something better. Please, help with suggestions.
I've thought maybe the Fireflys or the Hot Peppers? Maybe not!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Going green in a pretty way

I found some pretty floral curtains in Vinnies the other day for $2 that came straight home with me. No, I didn't need new curtains but the material was great for a little project that had been stewing away in my mind.

Like most people I try to use green bags shopping but don't have anywhere handy to store them, except for chucked in a corner of the laundry area. Let's face it, they're ugly, I don't want them where I can see of course I always forget to take them with me because out of sight,out of mind.

But I thought to myself, "What if they were so pretty that I'd be looking for an excuse to take them out?"

Are you making the connection?  Nice, strong curtain material with a lovely vintage-esque print (when does something really become vintage? Does being second-hand and not obviously new make it vintage? I wanted to put vintage in the post title but wouldn't want to mislead anyone. I could just hear them say, "Vintage? Scoff! My mum has those curtains in her kitchen etc.")

Anyway...Nice, strong curtain material with a lovely vintage-esque print becomes trial bag number 1. I made it to the same dimensions of my current green bags so I could use their removable stiff bottom and I purposely made the seams on the outside for a bit of frayed goodness.

The only drawback that I can see is, unlike the original, the sides are all floppy, hence the posing with the fake groceries. But I can live with that. Now to make bag number 2 with the leftover fabric. And if you listen carefully you'll hear Rosie's horrified cry of, "Oh, no, Mum, not more granny fabric. Please don't take that out in public."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thank God she's okay!

Imagine this.

I'm in the kitchen. Mitch and I hear a scraping noise from outside and think "What on earth is that?"

Then we hear a scream. We bolt to the windows to see.....

our car rolling backwards down our driveway with Ella, terrified, inside.

We dash outside to see Ella dive from the car and to watch helplessly as our car just cruises out of our yard, across the road, through the park, perfectly between these two trees

 and come to rest with an almighty bang in the shallow creek.

She was in the car getting a CD. We don't know how it happened because afterwards when we checked, the gear was in park and the hand brake was on.

The front door was open and scraped along our other car and hit our open gate. The front of the car was ruined, the back of the car was ruined, there was a huge bulge underneath where the exhaust was dragged along and stuck.

But it could have been so much worse.

It was Sunday and the traffic was light so no one else was involved.

When Ella jumped she also had to avoid the open door rolling towards her. She could have gotten crushed between the two cars, she could have been crushed on the fence. She could have stayed in the car longer and jumped out on the road. She could have stayed in the car, and injured herself in the impact of falling in the creek. She could have fallen UNDER the car while trying to get out.

All she got was a small cut on the finger and one HELL of a fright. The poor thing was firstly terrified because she thought she was going to get into trouble. Then she wouldn't stop shaking from the shock.

It's just a car and insurance is taking care of it, but even if we had no's just a car. Replaceable!

We could NEVER replace our daughter. Someone was certainly looking after her that day.

P.S. If you see someone waiting with their car ready to be towed, by all means stop if you genuinely want to help (we had lots of angels all eager to help and concerned for my daughters safety) but do NOT just slow down and stare. We are not putting on a show.
Do not come over with your saggy pants and missing front teeth and go "Oh wow, look at that. Cool! What did ya do?"
And do not drive past cheering and yelling. How do you know that someone wasn't badly hurt and the person with the car isn't traumatised? Show a bit of respect.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Time for a change

I've never really been one of high ambition and a desire to be a career woman. While friends from high school were mapping out their lives in terms of occupations and studies, the extent of my future planning was to get married and have kids. FAMILY and all that it entailed was my ambition and one that I succeeded at, getting married and having my first child at 21.

Since we moved to our new town 5 years ago, a change has been slowly happening. The thought crossed my mind that maybe it was time to get out there and do something, someone mentioned Teacher Aide which suited me...I get to work with kids but not have the responsiblity and planning of a teacher. And so that's what I've been working as full-time for the last 3 1/2 years and loving it.

Over my time, I've realised, without wanting to be big-headed, that I have a talent for it and this has blossomed into a desire to be a teacher, to relate to these kids in a way that they don't always get at home and to try to nurture a curiosity of life and a love of learning in them. The time frame was in about 5- 10 years though, when my kids were bigger. But with a bit of encouragement from a work collegue, that was moved ahead to NEXT YEAR. Why not? I could drop back my working hours and replace it with part-time study. I COULD DO THIS! YES!

But reading Leila's post here stirred something in me, something I couldn't quite pinpoint. Was it just my reoccurring desire to add another one to the family. This has been something that pops up with regularity although Mitch is quite adamant that he doesn't want any more children. Which is fair enough...this is his life and family too! And although mine is a legitimate desire, part of it is tangled up with dreams of being home again, of nurturing my own child and pottering around my own house and garden.

And having a child gives me an excuse to do that. I know working women say they feel guilty for working...when I was a SAHM, I felt guilty for not I was being lazy, a sponge off my husband, a let-down to the sisterhood. I couldn't stay home home without a "legitimate" reason. (Although the money helps too.)

And then I went to a uni information night and just came home feeling weighed down and pressured.

A talk and a cry with Mitch later and it all became clear.

I needed to get my priorities right. I wanted to mother again. I wanted to look after my husband. I was sick of the house being in chaos all the time, of being busy all the time, of trying to find the right balance, of thinking if I could just tweak it right, it would all fall into place and blaming myself when it didn't. I wanted to gift my family with a peaceful home, I wanted to nurture them again as my MAIN priority, not something that I would get to when I had the time and energy.

So, I would still reduce my hours next year BUT not replace them with anything. That extra time would be for me and my family. And what a wonderful sense of peace and rightness I have now. I'll still make enough money to cover our mortgage, things will just be a little tighter. But that's okay. I can still study in the future when the kids are older. I'll only be 41 when Ella turns 18. There's plenty of time to do that extra stuff, but the time with my kids will pass in a flash and I'll never get it back.

And even Rosie (who is more obsessed with money and material things than I'd like) is excited at the thought of  me "being a mummy again" as she put it, even if it means less money. She's even pushing for me to be at home all the time, so she can come home to a tidy house and the small of fresh baking. I've always known how important these things are, but am only just realising how much.

P.S. I'm proud to say that the girls won their netball finals on Monday. It was a nail-biting game that was yo-yoing back and forth, but they emerged victorious by 3 points. You should have heard the cheering and celebrations.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Don't mess with the netballers!

I love reading and writing about decorating and thrifting finds and crafty ideas, but sports don't get touched on much. Until now.

Like most girls I played netball as a girl but it wasn't until I moved here that I picked it up again, as a way to get exercise and meet new people. It started as a vague interest, one that I'd reluctantly drag myself to at times, but this year something started to change.

I don't know if it was volunteering to coach my girls' netball team (the Elmos) and watching them transform from a mismatched bunch of girls, including two who'd never played before, to a team that were slowly but surely improving out of sight...not only winning but thrashing the opposition.

From there I found myself watching netball on the TV, practising for my social games (my own team isn't very good so we just make it fun) and then coaching a school team for a Queensland competition. I read books, trawled the internet for training activities and got together the cutest uniform any team had. (No ugly netball skirts for us.) I even started umpiring and that can be pretty daunting.

Well, today was the girls' quarter finals. They'd hauled their way to the top of the list and were playing their arch rivals, The Black Cats, who they'd beaten lately but were always a bit tough. We'd had a few upsets to start the game. Two of our players were sick, another only turned up at the last minute and in the first 5 mins of the game, our centre injured herself leaving us without a full team. You know when you have that sort of stress, it can be hard to pull yourself together.

Well, to cut a long story short, the game was neck to neck the whole way. They'd lead, then we'd catch up, then we'd pull ahead slightly. By the last quarter we were trailing by one but scored goal after goal after goal while they didn't get many at all. It was clear we were winning. So the final hooter goes and imagine our surprise when the other team starts cheering and yelling out "We won." I went over and checked the scoreboard (it was our quarter to score) and on it we won 20-19. I showed the board to the other team and said very awkwardly, "Uh, we actually won."

They were outraged. According to them, they'd being keeping score on a notebook and they 'apparently' beat us 22-17. Not a chance. I know it was neck to neck, and it could have been a little confusing and could have been out 1or 2, but them trying to convince us that they beat us by 5 was just ridiculous. And you could tell that they thought we were trying to cheat. I felt really insulted.

Ooh, there was muttering under the breath and dagger looks. I explained the problem to the netball conveners and they said that they go by the official scoreboard, which said we won (even though the other team wrote "their" scores on it before handing it back).

The animosity was thick in the air, and if looks could kill, we'd all be dead. I can't handle that sort of stuff very well, so I've just been trying to tell myself that they can hate me all they want and that's their problem. I know we didn't cheat, and we are at the top of the list which goes to show that we can play.

We'll be playing them again for the finals which will be a killer with both teams trying to prove that they are the better team. I just don't know why some parents have to be like that. (It reflects in the kids because most of them are the sort of players that will yell out critisism rather than encouragement "Why'd you have to drop the ball" whereas, even though we're competitive and like to win, I try to promote good sportsmanship and teamwork.)

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I don't like strawberries...

No, I don't. Call me crazy but I find them too sour,

they're fresh from the field,

warm from the sun,

so sweet and soft the juice runs down your chin.
It's a good place to break the journey from our home to Brisbane,

a nice tradition I share with my daughters,

and a good alternative to junk food to eat on the way.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Drumroll please...... my lovely assistant draws a name out of the hat...I mean, tin.
(If she looks a bit, well, underwhelmed, it's because she finds it hard to smile on cue, and she'd just had a bout of "I'm tired/it's the end of the holidays" tears. But she insisted on being in the photo.)

And the winner is....

Kristen of Shabby Vintage Mom.
Just contact me with your details and the handbag will be on its way.

Thanks to everyone who joined in. It was exciting to get that many comments, a nice, ego-boosting  improvement on my usual 2 or 3 comments.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Oh-so-sweet handbag giveaway

Well, it's very overdue as my one year blogging anniversary was back in August, but I'm finally doing my first giveaway.
Up for grabs is one of these two cute, little handbags. They're just the right size for when you don't want to take much, maybe your purse, keys, lippie and sometimes a camera. Well, that's what I keep in mine, anyway.
I'd like to credit the designer but I got the pattern out of a library book last year and for the life of me can't find it again, so I don't know who it is. I can't even remember the name of the book. But anyway, I DID NOT DESIGN THESE, I just made them, with a few extra touches.

Each bag is lined with a contrasting fabric, but I went a step further and made them so if you desire, you can turn it inside out for a different look.
So you can have one with this blue vintage fabric
(which I just love so much, I had to make another one for myself)...

or in pink with a spotty ribbon.
Or you can have black....

or white.

Each bag has a bow detail

and is able to be buttoned up.

So you know the usual drill. Leave a comment stating which bag you prefer, the blue/pink or the black/white.
So this means all you lurkers out there who I see on my sitemeter, but never comment, can now hopefully leave me some love. LOL.

If you link to my post on your blog, you will get two entries. If you link AND post a photo (we all know a picture is worth 1000 words), you get 3 entries.

If you don't have a blog, you are still welcome to enter....just leave your name with your comment.

The giveaway will be open until next Saturday 3rd Oct. so make me feel special and get those comments rolling in.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Welcome to the sleepout

I reorganised my sleepout this week and made it somewhere that is pleasurable to now be. I didn't take any before shots but imagine a junk room, where everything I didn't really have a place for went. I already had the below table in that corner, supposedly to do my sewing etc on, but it was so covered with material and scrapbooking supplies and other assorted stuff that there was no room to do any actual sewing. (The only other place to sew was at the dining table but that wasn't practical as I couldn't leave anything out.)
As well, our front door leads directly into this room, and so many times I'd be embarrassed about people coming to the front door, that I'd try to block the view inside with my body.

My craft supplies were in various containers and cupboards throughout the house, but of course I rarely remembered where things were.
Well no longer, because now the room is like this. (Bear in mind that this was an organisational makeover. The walls are desperately crying out for a paint because at the moment they're this really bad mottled brown...primitive without meaning to be.... and the carpet is foul but that's all for another day.)
In the far right corner beside the doors I put up these shelves that I picked up secondhand for only $2 or $3. I've tried to store as much of my supplies as possible in jars, so I can locate things easily and I also cos it looks pretty.

I'm really happy with the way it turned out. This tin holds my spools of thread and I love these scrabble letters.

My pretty ribbons and button collection.

This tin was bought several years ago for Christmas and never got put away. It was holding my record collection (and various junk)

but with a bit of spray paint it's now doing a better job holding my unfinished projects. The wicker hamper holds the girls' dress-up clothes.

I needed more storage so I made a shelf to go above the window. I keep things up here that I don't use much. I'm not totally happy yet with the arrangement but with a bit of tweaking, I'll get there. (You can see where I started cleaning and bleaching the walls prior to this.)

I am happy with this though. Barn star before (not bad but too primitive)

and after (thanks to some toile-esque scrapbooking paper).

This is my now-tidy craft table. Also a nice place to sit in the morning and read the paper. These two chairs belonged to the lady we bought the house off, but they were peeling and chipped and dirty. I gave them a good scrub and painted one blue and one green.

A close-up.
You can see more jars of goodies sitting on my lovely wide window sills.

I bought another suitcase to hold more sewing supplies but I'm undecided about whether to keep it the way it is or paint it. Blue, maybe? And on the wall above is some "3D art-work" that I'm really proud of the way it turned out. Remember these pictures with the green frames,

They now look like this....

and this......

and this.
(These are my Grandmother's button and quick-unpick.
I got all her sewing supplies when she died.)
And this is our little computer nook in the corner when you first come in through the front door. Nothing fancy, just simple and adequate to the job.

There's still a few more things I'd like to do.
Valance curtains? What colour do you think? White sheeting? Red or blue gingham?
And I'd like to make some bunting to hang below the shelf
and I've got a picture in the making to go above the shelf.
But at least I'm not ashamed of people coming to the front door now.

Get to know me

  • I love the smell of cinnamon and vanilla.
  • My favourite flowers are daisies.
  • My favourite trees are pine trees.
  • I always like to have the bickie jar full and a cake on the cake stand. I know...not that healthy, but so good to look at.
  • Autumn is my favourite month, although I do wish we had more of a change of colours up here in Queensland.
  • I love Anne of Green Gables and Laura Ingalls Wilder. They started my love affair with "old-fashioned" stuff.
  • I'm a boots and jeans kind of girl, but also love vintage skirts and dresses.
  • I like sewing and am in love with quilts at the moment.
  • I love reading. (I have a weakness for archeological thrillers and historical romances, but not Mills and Boon-type ones.)
  • I love old houses with character. No new estate houses for me. (Sorry Rosie.)
  • I love vintage/cottage/farmhouse decorating and pretty pinks and blues, with a splash of red for colour.
  • Polka dots can make me sigh with delight.
  • I have 4 chooks. They are MY pets. Another tick on my dream-come-true chart.
  • I don't eat dessert much any more. I'm not dieting, I just don't want it. (Does that mean I'm growing up if I say no to an icecream cone?)
  • I'll still always say yes to chocolate though!
  • I like to sit on the front stairs in the sun, to drink my morning cup of tea, while I contemplate what to do in the garden.
  • I've got the gardening bug again recently. It comes and goes with the weather. I'm envisioning cottage flowers in pink, blue and white to go with my green picket fence.