Monday, September 21, 2009

Day Jobs and Night Jobs

I only sew at two times - during afternoon nap time and after the girls are in bed. Occasionally I try to complete a task as the girls wake but this is the consequence.

Yes, I did leave her with the scissors while I went to collect the camera. Later she actually had the blade of my very sharp fabric scissors in her mouth!

PS the fabulous quilt Moonshine is sitting on was made for Rainbow by her Auntie Rosie. Moonshine has one too. They are such fun handy quilts to have around. I often go out with one draped over my handbag and Moonshine will often bring hers out to play Lego or do jigsaws on.

Day jobs

* tracing patterns

* pinning patterns

* cutting big pieces

* machine sewing

Night jobs - cosy in my armchair by the heater

* ironing seams

* cutting small pieces

* pinning big pieces

* hand sewing

At the moment I have more night jobs than day jobs as I have had a few early nights. I've also decided to put everything on hold and sew a pair of overalls for our cold trip south for the long weekend. I have to have it done by Thursday. Only thing is I haven't brought the pattern out (of Moonshine's sleeping study) so I can't start today. Not sure if that is realistic as it's not a fiddly project but it is lengthy.

I narrowly escaped a parking fine this morning. (VENT - I'm a rates payer but can only park for free from 9- 11 and 3 - 8. Which means to go in after Moonshine's morning sleep means I have to pay for parking. VENT finished!) Anyway I was 15 minutes late back to find an inspector writing a ticket. Thankfully he saw me, with Moonshine in the sling and pushing Rainbow in the pram with the other arm and felt sorry for me. I'm very very grateful as my not particularly successful op shopping trip would have been poorly offset by a $25 fine. So thank you, thank you thank you.

My not so successful op shopping trip.

My targets

* winter size 0 clothes for Moonshine - nothing. I did get her a couple of cute summer things.

* black embroidery cotton - nothing

* crappy toys to distract bored children in the car. I spent $7 and got some plastic little toys for Moonshine to explore. A magnetic book with magnets for Rainbow (and 1 for her cousin) and 3 Pinocchio jigsaws. Not sure if this is good value. It will eventually all end up back in a collection bin - kind of like a loan system.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Three posts in one day. I must have too much time on my hand. Thought I'd share Rainbow Girl's afternoon tea.
The one on the left is a tiger. The first two sultanas are eyes. The next two are sharp teeth sticking out of it's dried apple mouth.

The second animal is obviously an elephant complete with prune feet.
I love her flexibility. Dried Apricot could be stripes or a trunk. I also love that I suggested she make faces and she made it her own by making animals.

Holiday Home for Faries

I've been meaning to share this for a while but the mushroom disappeared before I could take photos. Rainbow Girl explained "The fairies have gone on holiday."

Remember in this post that I told you about Trixi's adorable little travelling doll's house at
Inspired by Trixi's design here is the fairy version - a little portable mushroom.

Here's a few hints.
1. Print out template and glue to thin card. I used a cereal box. My cereal box often has big holes in it.
2. Use PVA glue to stick the felt to the card as it gives a smoother finish. The front and back may be covered in felt before you start but add the edge felt last.
3. Use hot glue gun to join card to card for it's strength. Glue the edge piece in segments as the glue dries quickly.
4. Use a stanley night to make holes for ribbon.
5. Mine's very plain - make your your own - maybe embroider or sew on sequins, beads, buttons, ribbons...
As always I'd love to see if anyone wants to try it out.


I think I've got FAD (Fabric Attention Deficit). I haven't even got through my last list of UFOs - I'm stuck without matching buttons for the last project and already I have dived into another 5 projects and have more rumbling around in my brain.
1, last UFO
2,3,4 Firstly I've got 3 tops to make for Rainbow's spring wardrobe (6 if you count t-shirts to embellish). Here are the designs.

The Pants are complete though the stripey ones are the ones which now feature permanent marker - after a zillion coats of hairspray (and a much bigger hole in the ozone) the mark is still permanent so now I'm thinking do I patch somehow or convert to shorts.
5, I've started a felt pin cushion but have run out of black embroidery thread
6, 7 Just got out size 0 clothes for Moonshine and found two things that need repairing
8 Cool plan to restyle Rainbow's bathers into a fairy dress - not actually started
9. Been designing a play mat for the fairies - not actually started
10 Also thinking maybe I should make some clothes for Moonshine.
11. Also thinking about making some more fitted nappies for Rainbow's dolls (they all share one nappy and 3 wipes!)
12. Finally I have a spring nature table idea
Having so many projects causes a few problems.
* I have to be super organised to make sure I have the necessary bits from the study before putting Moonshine down for her sleep.
* I'm constantly changing thread on the machine
* I seem to have piles of cut fabric which wander (care of Rainbow's imaginative play)
* I have a list to remind me of where I'm up to and still I make mistakes (Yesterday I cut a piece from the wrong fabric - which happened to be an off cut I needed for another project so we've had a little change in plans)
* I've fallen terribly behind in my scrapbooks.
* Finally I get days like today where I'm too overwhelmed to do anything.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Observational Drawings

I've been reading which is written by a mother that home schools with a project based / reggio based approach. One crucial learning process they use is observational drawing. It's based on the idea that by drawing something you focus your observations and notice more. (As a side note: This is also the intention of our nature table)

With that in mind I found this picture Rainbow Girl drew very interesting. It was drawn on a Sunday evening after we encountered a blue tongue lizard in the bush. What she drew perfectly captures her experience.
1. The first thing she drew was the tongue (the line half way down the left side of the page). This was the lizards most outstanding feature as it spent the whole time Russell held it with it's mouth open and tongue sticking out (trying to appear intimidating). The tongue didn't end up being near the mouth and when sharing the paper she now points at the mouth when talking about the tongue.
2. The next thing she drew was it's back - the horizontal line on the right . This is interesting in that her pictures haven't evolved to include bodies yet but this is about where she stroked the lizard, if you imagine Russell standing behind the lizard.
3. Next was the sharp claws (the row of vertical lines at the bottom) and we did talk about the claws while we looked at it.
4. Finally she drew her standard face - complete with hair!
So after that awareness of watching her draw I packed crayons and paper for Wednesday's trip to a local fish and chip store that has about 15m of aquarium (including sharks, cuttlefish, starfish, anemones ...) Initially she just drew from memory then with encouragement went back a nd forth from the aquarium and paper to collect more detail. This resulted in some great discussions about whether starfish have eyes and how would they eat with a mouth underneath.
I like the idea of recording her questions alongside. I often record her titles and will sometimes do a little sketch so I can remember how to read her drawing.
I also feel that I have to tread carefully. I don't want to lead her drawing. I want her to represent things in ways that are meaningful to her and not to conform to an acceptable way of drawing. I'm also aware of the crisis of confidence that occurs later when they start to doubt their own ability to draw in a life like way. I also want drawing to be something enjoyable and a way she chooses to interact with the world.
Rainbow Girl was keen to take the drawing materials on today's outing to the fairy store but as friendly as the fairy staff are they haven't really got the space for us to draw! In the end she was so excited about seeing a real fairy and having her wish (for a cuddle with Dadda) granted (complete with fairy dust) that she forgot that she had planned to draw. By the way her wish came true as soon as Dadda got home and Dadda didn't even know about the wish!!! Magic.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy Dadda Day

Thought I'd share on behalf of Rainbow Girl's her present for her Dadda. Presented in her hand painted and embellished frame was
her picture

"Dadda having up with Sophie."

the photo
and the girls' thoughts

Dadda has up with Sophie.
Dadda has cuddles
Dadda brings me into Dadda’s bed.
I’m happy.
I love Dadda.
He looks like a lady because he has haircut hair.
Dadda likes playing lego.”
Rainbow Girl (2 ¾)

Dadda, you wonder why I look surprise but
what a surprise my Dadda is:
He comes home.
He does ninja bot bots.
He comes in the splashy bath.
He has exercise songs.
He can have up with two at once.
Moonshine (7m) as told telepathically to her Mama

Happy Father's Day to my own Dad. It was lovely spending Saturday with you.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Babies and Growing Up

Early Friday morning my nephew J entered the world. A planned ceaser brought forward by a baby who wanted to choose his own birthdate. A full moon baby like Little Moonshine. A second boy to balance our two girls.
Welcome Little One!

Rainbow girl was very excited and couldn't stop staring at baby J. She then got quite agitated when we left to go home. She couldn't understand why we weren't taking baby J with us. All the way home she asked about her birth "What happened after I was born?" "Why did I cry?" "Did Mama rock me to sleep?" Rainbow told us that she remembered being born. Later that night she told her Dadda that she wanted Mama to have another baby. When he pointed out that we already had a baby she said that she would have a baby but not until she was a lady.

Tonight she cried. She commented that she was looking forward until she was a baby again. When I gently pointed out that she was growing up and would never be a baby again, she cried. Pure devastation. I asked her what part she missed and she answered "I miss being born."

I miss her being born too.

I don't miss her labour or her delivery but would live the moment of each of my daughters' births over and over again.

Friday, September 4, 2009

How many fairies fit in a box? The creative process

Don't read this - it's a work in progress. I just needed to write and the camera is in the study which doubles as Moonshine's room. Once she wakes my time is gone.

The Background
I’ve been feeling down this week – over reacting to little things. Like I made Rainbow a new pair of spring pants. She tried them on – they fit perfectly and looked really cute and even better she really wanted to wear her “ice-cream pants”. So she did but then got permanent marker on them on the first wear. I’m not upset at her – as long as she’s clean at the start of each day - I’d rather she had fun then stay clean. But I felt down.
I also feel stuck over what to do with the tops to accompany Rainbow's new spring pants. (There's another two pairs cut waiting my attention - which is probably what I should be doing now.)
Finally I feel like maybe I'm not creative nor particularly good at it. This is kind of a realisation based on all the amazing stuff that's out there in blogland. Is anything I do ever original? Is anything really worth sharing? (This blog's purpose is two-fold - partly it's about keeping a record for me and my girls and partly it's about finding kindred spirits. Other than my Mum who quilts and Dad who paints, craft just isn't part of our friendship groups lives.)

Then it happened... (key dramatic music - lots of banging of piano keys)

The Start
Then on Wednesday morning I found at crafty crow the link to these ‘Tiny Travelling Doll’s House’. They were so enchanting and would be perfect for Rainbow Girl’s pocketful of fairies. (“Fairies with hoodies” says the Gangster Rainbow girl!) So I spent the day playing around with it in my head thinking do I make a dolls house or improvise and make a portable mushroom
So I decided to do both. On Thursday I drew up a template. (I'll scan it once I get the spare scanner from Mum. Fine tuning as I went - front opening and card inner frame mean I don't need a matchbox. Matchboxes in short supply.

The realisation
I then started thinking maybe I could do a blanket stitch around the edges with embroidery thread so it looked sewn together when it clicked. The whole thing could be felt. It didn’t need a card frame. That was a pretty big jump in my thinking - it seems so logical in hindsight. That’s part of the definition of lateral thinking (not that this is truly lateral) - it’s logical in hindsight. It’s also how humour works – the catchline isn’t what you expect but makes sense. Sorry I digress but I love it when my professional learning makes sense in my own life.
But that realisation – it didn’t need a card frame opened up my thinking.

It could be
1. as designed
2. as designed without the frame
3. without the inner box (the box restrict (Trixi at does cute little buttonhole openings - go and look at these) Though it would possibly need lining to look finished inside
4. without the sides – much simpler to sew.
5. More 3D maybe adapt my little mochi's mushroom tutorial
6. All in one piece – adapted from Moonshine’s Snuggy. The mushroom cap like Snuggy’s head then gather the fabric into the stem.

So now perhaps I'll make all of them. Rainbow doesn't need 6 portable mushrooms but maybe I need the buzz of creating. I love the feeling. I use to have that same feeling when solving work problems. I can't still. I just want to walk and get lost in my thoughts. Strangely after both my babies I suffered from a anxiety disorder and I responded in the same way - the same spiralling 'out of control' thinking. It's like hold on for the ride. It's like I've had too much coffee. I wonder if creativity is a drug!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Moonshine's Quilt

First off - how exciting I have a follower! How cool is that! Thanks Trixi!
I've finishing Moonshine's quilt. It's heavily based on a beautiful quilt called 'An Angel's Wish' that you can find at
The wonky stars really tested my sewing skills so I'm delighted it's complete.
The nocturnal quilt design was chosen well before Moonshine's birth but how fitting for my full moon baby!

Look how excited Moonshine is that it's finally complete and yes the tongue is always out.

Only one more UFO to go though I must admit that I've already started sewing a pair of spring pants for Rainbow girl - who is currently always 'starving' and has an inch of ankle showing in some of her winter pants. I'm also got another project on my mind but I'll tell you about that later.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

1st Day of Spring

Today's the first day of spring in Australia and in true spring form we had a beautiful warm day yesterday and then this afternoon it poured with rain forcing my mothers' group to huddle under a rotunda and make an 'exciting' sprint through the rain back to our cars. We all felt like we'd had quite an adventure.

Here's our winter nature table. I'm really pleased with how our first nature table turned out. It has a nice balance about it and has been a really interesting family activity. We head out into the bush nearly every Sunday from mid autumn through to spring and it really has had us focus on what is winter in Australia. I also like Rainbow Girl's ownership over the table. She will often say "Let's take this home for our nature table." and pieces are always missing as she takes them off to play with."
The flowers in the vase have changed to reflect what's in our garden. Pictured is the white wisteria that hangs around the letter box. Previously we had a branch from one of the flame trees that line our street (with red flowers and no leaves). After that we had a branch of wattle from the garden during it's brief but intense flowering period.
On the easel is Russell's visual diary with illustrations of Hairy stemmed and Short Sepalled Snail Orchids which flower in early winter. The mushroom (with it's fairy inhabitants) was a papier mache project that Rainbow Girl and I worked on. The collected treasures are a small rock with moss growing on it, a heart shape piece of kangaroo vertebrae, a bird skull (magpie or crow), a snail shell, 4 ringneck parrot feathers and a small stick with a seed pod on it.

So my mind now turns to spring. I'm thinking birds nesting, cabbage moth caterpillars invading our vegie patch and wildflowers. I'm also thinking we'll slowly change the display from winter to spring as we see change in the bush. Already last weekend we didn't see any mushrooms so we'll put the mushroom away.