Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Something Simple

While the windows have been an arduous and extended work in progress, I've been passing the nights away with a little bit of simple hand sewing. My older sister is due to have a baby any day now, and I had a sudden inspiration to make her a mobile for the bub's room.

I just used some left over felt I had lying around, so at first, the only colours were the pink, white and caramel. Given that we've no idea what the baby will be, I added a blue moon among the stars to help balance things out a little. Each star, and the moon, was hand stitched with blanket stich around the edge and then stuffed a little before finishing.

I really like the finished result (though I haven't trimmed the strings yet, just in case the lengths need a bit more adjusting). It was seriously hard to get a good photo of, because there was no way I could hang it against a plain back ground (and the wind was blowing through the doors as I tried to photograph as well, which I could fix by closing them, only to have my only source of natural light be taken away completely).

I finished it up last Thursday, rather than cleaning the bathroom. Somehow it was just a little bit more important.

Monday, October 20, 2014


I could never live in a cave. Steve assures me that had I grown up in a cave, I could certainly survive there, but I disagree. There is such little light, no air flow and everything feels depressing in a cave. How could I possibly know this? I hear you asking. Well for the last four weeks, I've been living in a cave.

Steve and I knew that the windows of our house needed to be repainted and puttied when we bought the house and moved in four years ago, but after painting the walls, painting the trims, renovating the bathroom, having the kitchen re-done, and painting and knocking out a wall, we were a little done with renovations for a while (not to mention all the backyard stuff we've done). Then we had kids.

Then we had last summer, which was unbelievably hot. And when Bob the Wasp made his usual home in the kitchen again, it was really time for us to begin facing the facts that to survive summer, we needed the windows open, but for child safety, we also needed some way of keeping friendly insects like Bob the Wasp out. Thus began Operation Windows.

We decided we'd do magnetic fly screens, because they seemed easy enough, and would work well with our old school swing out windows. But there is no point sticking magnetic fly screens on windows that need to be repainted, just to have to take them off again when the painting happens. So before the fly screens, we needed to fix the windows.

I had a stack of tradies give me quotes about these windows early in the year. Like in March. Re-painting them in, and out of the frames, weather it was lead paint or not. Then we realised that all our spare single-income-family money was currently tied up in having a second child and the whole thing got put on hold for a while. Thankfully, Centerlink came through with some payments at Tax Return time, and we realised we had the cash.

In the end, we found a guy who would strip the paint off, sand and re-putty the windows for a good amount. We just had to take them out and give them to him. No problems (except for the old screws that kept breaking, or being impossible to get out. So thankful for the help we had to do this!). While they were gone, the plan was to sand and repaint the frames. Steve took a week off work to help out (this means we are officially old). Lots of people babysat Sophie. Everything was in full swing.

Then, the windows didn't come back as we expected them to. They took longer. And when they did come back, the hinges didn't. (Granted, I did need to paint the windows anyway, but it was certainly an inconvenience.) On top of this, when we had gone to Bunnings to get the ply which would cover our window openings for the duration of Operation Windows, the guy (after checking with us three times how we wanted them cut) cut them 4cm too short, and so we have a slight gap a the edge of each window.

This created a nice draft in Sophie's room predominately, and has given her several colds over the last four weeks. Which she has shared with most of us at various point. Including Rachel. The latest cold has come with a nasty cough, and it has been pretty sad to lie awake at night listening to two little girls (one of whom is only four months old) cough. Not to mention that I'm feeling too tired to paint the last eight windows that are sitting under the house waiting for me. It's hard work to look after two sick girls.

Saturday, two days ago, we managed to put the first set of windows back in. The dining room is now flooded with light. Oh, what a difference it makes. Not only can we open the windows at will (without the aid of a drill and a second set of hands to hold the ply steady), the breeze comes in, the light shines through. Everything is that much better and that much brighter.

I have stopped and gazed in admiration at these windows several times in the last two days. They are shiny and white. They let in the outside. They function as they are supposed to. Hooray! Windows! I could never live in a cave. It's just too dark when God has given us such wonderful light.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Birthday Present Revealed!

I know I have yet to post about just what has consumed our lives over the last four weeks, but I'm still getting to that. Honestly I feel like it will never be done, and that I've got a stack of other things that I should be doing as well, though they really should wait until after the big thing I'm supposed to be doing, because that's more important. Steve tells me I've overcommitted myself with the number of "on the go" projects I've got. Maybe, but I still say I might have gotten them all done had we not had some unforeseen delays with the biggest one, and associated sickness.

The sickness that now plagues our house has meant that I'm staying home from church tonight with the girls and thus have time to post this. Steve leaves telling me to rest. Pish! Today is my Dad's birthday, and back in February I posted about working on his birthday present. At last I can now show you just what it is!

My parents love to entertain, and use their outdoor area to great effect when doing so. They have a trolley that Mum usually puts the drinks on, though Dad is in charge of seeing everyone has one. Hence why Dad gets this present. It's a towel/cover thing for the top of the drinks trolley.

I actually used an old towel on the back for condensation and spill absorption purposes. The top, which is quilted over, is made from off cuts from my Dad's pants. My Dad is not the tallest person in the world and Mum took up about six pairs of pants in January, handing me the off cuts. I also used two dress shirts Dad passed onto me for a crafty purpose.

I was really happy with how it all turned out. The way that it actually fit on the top of the trolley was very satisfying (unlike Mum's birthday present, but we won't go there). It was also really nice to be able to give it to Dad after it being in the cupboard for so long. That's what happens when you get a little carried away though I guess. :)

Thursday, October 09, 2014

A Week of Bento

Well what was happening at our house for the last two weeks meant that Sophie spent a lot of time not at our house. And I mean a lot. She was babysat a stack of fabulous people, some of whom gave up their time twice to look after her for long periods. I can not thank these people enough.

Anyway, while Sophie has been out and about, I decided I'd use the times to make her great lunches and practice some bento making. Sadly, because we have been so busy some of them are particularly boring or repetitive, but I still think they made her feel very loved by me in my absence because most of them came home eaten. Hooray!

I don't want the hard work that went into these to be missed, so I thought I'd share them with the internet for safe keeping. Sorry for some of the bad quality photos. I was taking these either in a rush, the night before, or in bad cluttered situations. Bear with me.

Bento one is the most boring looking. Pear, crackers, Vegemite sandwich and cheese. Eaten though, and that's the goal here.

Bento two is much more fun. Frog lunch box, apple and strawberry fruit salad, cheese (two types!), dip, rice crackers and more rice crackers. There are sultanas in the little "Tasty!" box.

This bento was also really fun. Crackers, avocado, dip, a heart shaped egg, yogurt and strawberries. I was really impressed at the way that Sophie didn't come home with the yogurt all over her. Well done to the baby sitters for their diligent efforts. :)

Here's a photo just so you can see how the heart shaped egg came to be. I've got a star shaped mold too. One day I dream of having a car, or a fish mold as well, though there are lots of others out there. 

This lunch was in the frog box again. Ham and cheese sandwich with avocado and tomato (that sadly didn't get eaten), strawberries, rice crackers and yogurt. Sultanas again in the "Tasty!" box.

I feel like this lunch is very gluten free. Rice crackers, star egg, cheese and yogurt. Strawberry and apple fruit salad and sultanas in the "Hello!" box. Are you seeing the repetition yet? Thankfully I've used a different colored spoon each time, so Sophie probably didn't notice.

And finally, yogurt and strawberries. A star egg, cheese and Vegemite sandwiches cut into little flower shapes. I would have put in little animal picks to eat the cheese but Sophie might have been too distracted or choked on it, so I'll wait until she's older to unleash that awesome on her.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Creative Moment

A while ago, I saw this creative idea on the internet somewhere and decided I'd give it a go. I feel bad that I don't know where it was that I saw this, because the idea was not mine at all. All you need is a stack of the snap lids from baby-wipes packs and some photos. 

I glued the photos behind the snap lids and then stuck them to a big bit of cardboard I had lying around. They looked pretty ordinary so I stuck some scrap material on top. Sadly the glue that I used didn't really hold the material too well, but that's ok.

Sophie has a great time looking for different family members and can now recognize all of them, even the family she doesn't see too often, which is really good when they come to visit. From a teaching perspective, it's also great for her gross/fine motor skills too, as she snaps the lids open and shut. Sometimes I have to remember that not everything is teaching. :P

Heck yeah for another great toy that cost about $2.50, which was the expensive price of printing those photos.

Sunday, October 05, 2014


The last two and a half weeks have been pretty chaotic and really exhausting. What has made them so is still on-going, so I can't say I'm back for regular blogging yet. I do have lots of posts lined up though, albeit only in my head at the moment, so I imagine I'll be back soon. 

In the mean time, here is my first ever attempt at a pavlova, which was my brother-in-law's 30th birthday cake last week. 

It was delicious. I can't believe that pav is so easy to make and yet I've never done so before. I'll be making this again soon. Maybe for Steve's 29th birthday in a months time. :)