Here’s what I’m making #wip

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Hello there! I’m joining along with the delightful Catherine of Saint Cardigan and sharing my current crafty project. If you love weaving, nail art and reading about creative people, you should definitely head on over and have a squiz at her lovely blog.

I’ve been hooking away at these beanies over the summer period. Most things I make are inspired by work I’ve seen by other bloggers. I first spied these woolly hats on The Messy Brunette and you can find the pattern here. I just have the crab stitch border to go on the black one. I’m tossing up between using the green or the turquoise. I’m thinking the turquoise. Thoughts?

I really like making these beanies. They are very quick and easy to make so are the perfect creative project to accompany TV viewing. This is when the vast majority of my creating takes place, after the daily chores and commitments have been completed. They don’t require large quantities of wool so are EXCELLENT for using up all the odd bits that accumulate in my wool basket. I love scrabbling through my leftovers and working out which colour combinations work well together and how to create an eye catching arrangement. I am making these to donate to kogo so I like to choose something that is a bit cheerful and quirky in the hope that whenever the recipient pops it on, it will brighten their day.

Do you have a project on the go? Would you like to share it too? If you pop over to Saint Cardigan, you can see what others have been up to.

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On being together

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imageimageimageNext week, it is our wedding anniversary. 24 years! It sounds very mature, and a bit old and crinkly. It sounds SETTLED and COMFORTABLE and ROUTINE.  And whilst I don’t feel old and crinkly, we are settled and comfortable and routine. We know who looks after what; we love it when an evening out is over by 9.30pm so we can change into daggy clothes or dressing gown (that’s me!) and settle in for TV viewing, tea or Milo in hand. With kids, life is necessarily routine as days and months arrange themselves around feeds and sleeps, short attention spans, kinder and school timetables and out of school activities. Holiday locations and durations fall into a pattern and employment decisions are made to achieve particular outcomes.

It’s both a long time and a short time raising kiddies. When they are born the years stretch out before you. The demands of parenthood suck out so much time and energy from your relationship as a couple. You are consumed by their physical, emotional and intellectual growth. Time together is limited. But little bit by little, moments to be a twosome return. Perhaps it is a date night whilst you leave them with a babysitter, then maybe a coffee together when they are old enough to stay at home unsupervised, and then as they grow older still and head out themselves, more windows of time open. And now, it seems, for us, that all of a sudden, those long days are gone. As our kiddies reach adulthood, we are, as my man eloquently puts it, almost “off the leash”! It’s kinda nice!

And so, taking advantage of our newfound independence, we headed up to Bendigo for a couple of nights away as an early anniversary present to ourselves. It was, at the risk of sounding OLD, quite lovely! The weather was perfect -sunny and warm with just the hint of a cooling breeze. We walked around Lake Weeroona, visited the gallery and read our books in the very beautiful Rosalind Park. We ate a delicious meal at The Depository and my man fell in love with the Pedro Ximenez he had with dessert. I heard its virtues mentioned many times over the weekend and a bottle now sits in our fridge! We drank coffee, read the papers and watched the tennis on TV. We didn’t have to worry about being anywhere for anyone at any particular time.

And we enjoyed being with each other. BONUS! It’s not always easy living with someone, is it? I know I haven’t always been a barrel of laughs to live with and there’s times I haven’t liked his thinking or decisions. There are stresses and strains as life unfolds  – it can throw in some pretty yucky times which you have to navigate together. But navigate them we have. We’ve both changed since we were newly weds but we’ve managed to change together. We still like each other. I think I’ll keep him!

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Taking Stock: January ’16

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Hello! Welcome to 2016 and the first ‘Taking Stock’ post of the year! How are you faring? Do you feel a bit battered after what has been a rather sad start to the year with the loss of some legendary figures in the world of entertainment? Perhaps you need to take stock as we near the end of the holidays and before the school year resumes? Hmm, I think I am needing to take a breath before I launch back into the world of school lunches and crisply ironed uniforms. So here we go!

Loving: my ‘new’ Moroccan stools from the local antiques market

Drinking: takeaway cappucinos

Eating: eggs -poached, scrambled, fried – anyway is good!

Making: banana bread to freeze for school lunches

Wearing: skirt, top, cardy

Reading: Hope Farm

Wondering: what to buy my girl for her birthday

Hearing: the ‘thwack thwack’ of tennis balls on the TV

Hoping: for health and happiness this year. Clichéd but true!

Wanting: to play with my FIMO

Looking: at the pile of laundry to fold

Waiting: to have the weekend away with my man. Should be nice!

Watching: Acquitted, a Norwegian drama on Stan

Laughing: at my man constantly exclaiming over the fjords whilst watching Acquitted!

Enjoying: crocheting

Missing: taking photos. Need to get observant again!

Taking Stock posts are the brainchild of the lovely Pip Lincolne. Maybe you’d like to have a go too.

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Hot

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It’s 41 degrees today. As a Melbourne girl, I’m not unused to this. We endure such scorchers every summer. I try not to be a complete ‘ anti-heatist’ so I like to remind (con?) myself about some of the sunnier (yep, I meant that pun!) aspects of obscenely hot days.

  • There’s a sense of solidarity in seeing people out and about early in the morning – walking dogs, watering gardens, playing with their kids at the playground, the postman out delivering mail – before heading indoors to quarantine themselves against the heat. It’s like ‘we can beat this heat thing if we’re all just a little bit proactive!’
  • No need to justify lying on the couch with a cool drink, book in hand, or movie on the telly
  • Watermelon and icy poles must be consumed frequently
  • A salad for dinner is completely acceptable

But for every ‘yay’ there is a ‘boo!!!’ that seeps into my consciousness.

  • It is not right that the mere act of sitting should be a sweat inducing activity. There’s something wrong when your body says ‘Okay, being stationary is too much. We need to cool ourselves down.’
  • Irritating news reports that people are ‘fleeing the heat’ by heading to the beach. How is that ‘fleeing’? They are flocking TO THE HEAT to sit under the scorching sun! WHY DO PEOPLE DO THIS??? I know there is water but the sun is still burning into your skin and you are only kidding yourself that you are not sweating because the beads are camouflaged by sea water. Heading to the movies to sit in an air conditioned cinema is ‘fleeing the heat’, not heading outdoors. Am I right?
  • Disingenous weather forecasts. ‘Fine and 41’ is not an accurate forecast. I want truth in forecasting ‘F****** hot and 41’. Who’s with me on that one?
  • To people who say ‘I love the heat!’, I just say WHY??? Sitting in my own liquid emissions and searing my skin with UV rays just ain’t my cup of tea. If you want heat, pop on a jumper, grab a blanket and crank up the heater.

Do you have extreme heat where you live? Lover or fighter? Am I being too harsh? Reform me!

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We’ve all been on a summer holiday…

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Hello! Happy New Year! I hope your Christmas was harmonious, delicious and generous of spirit and that the days following were enjoyed lazing in warmth or bundled up against the cold with lots of yummy leftovers and relaxing activities. We spent a week down at the beach. Nice! My man and I worked out that we have spent all bar two summer breaks down at Apollo Bay since 2001. That’s loyalty – or lack of adventurous spirit! But I love a no-brainer holiday – no need to wonder about where to shop, where to eat, how to fill the days. You just settle into an easy holiday routine. Here’s how we chilled.

  • morning walks on the beach with my man and afternoon ones with my girl
  • reading The Secret Chord and the latest edition of Uppercase looking out over the golf course and the bay
  • catching up on seasons 4 and 5 of Homeland
  • watching Nightcrawler
  • crocheting and sketching
  • drinking coffee at Bay Leaf
  • eating ice cream from Dooley’s (the lemon curd was DELICIOUS)
  • shopping at Hawkeye Homewares (yep, that’s my man transacting!)
  • listening to Serial

But you know what? I think we have reached the end of an era. I don’t think we’ll be back there for a family holiday again *sniffle*. As a couple, yes, we’ll be back but as a family? Probably not. This is our last year of being ruled by school holidays. We no longer need to take our summer holiday in January. And we can’t compel our adult offspring to come away with us ( my boy opted for a music festival with friends this year), can we? So, to Apollo Bay, I say ‘thank you!’ You have witnessed us grow up as a family, from the days when the kiddies were happy to go boogie boarding, build sandcastles and collect shells to the days when they just wanted to chill out in front of movies; from afternoons of Scrabble and Mastermind to playing on PSP and having BBC’s Pride and Prejudice on a seemingly continuous loop; from walks to rockpools and waterfalls as a family to walks with just my man and the kids by themselves. There were trips to the cinema, rides at the carnival (and the probably trademark infringing stuffed toy won by a big brother for his sister), and the strangely entertaining game of throwing stuffed toys down the stairwell! Aah, kids! What scenarios are they making up in their minds?  But every year there has been a family meal at the pub on our first night away, dinner at La Bimba, ice creams after tea and a lazy look through the newsagent. As we exchanged texts with our boy, he asked ‘how’s Apollo Bay?’ It is a treasure chest of family memories.

Do you have a regular holiday spot? Did you have one growing up?

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Have you read…? Thursday’s Child by Sonya Hartnett

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Sonya Hartnett is one of my favourite authors. Her words are beautifully chosen and she is able to create phrases that perfectly encapsulate an emotion or sentiment. She writes about ‘growing up’ with great empathy. She must have very vivid memories of her own childhood and adolescence! These qualities and themes are evident in Thursday’s Child and are combined with the mythic qualities with which Hartnett infuses a number of her novels.

Thursday’s Child tells the story of the Flute family: Mam, Da, Audrey, Devon, Harper, Tin and Caffy, and is narrated by Harper. The Flute family is not well off. Da has returned from The Great War and has settled his family in the country. He makes a meagre living by trapping rabbits, their land unable to provide the family with crops as it is ‘particularly exhausted or maybe simply sullen’. When Caffy is born, Tin  takes refuge beneath their crowded home, digging away a series a tunnels and underground caves in which he houses himself. As the years progress, the family is hit hard by the Depression: rabbit pelts are no longer no longer in demand, Da makes well-intended, but poor, decisions and the family’s poverty is exploited by an unscrupulous neighbour. Tin becomes estranged from his family as he continues his life underground. Over the years we see him bring his family both ill fortune and good. Harper witnesses her family’s struggle but through the naïveté of a child’s eyes. In Hartnett’s beautiful prose, she describes the illumination that comes as one moves from childhood to adulthood

I had that same feeling I was getting more and more as I grew older, a feeling like I was trying to see through a fog or reach for something my fingers could touch but not wrap around…I was starting to realise the world is not one place , but two, and that you move from one to the other only with the years. I was living mostly in the first world, but I had a toe dipped in the second. The tip of a toe doesn’t tell you much…

I enjoyed Thursday’s Child but I understand how some may find the fantastical character of Tin jarring against the very real story of a family’s struggles  in the Depression. I chose, however, to allow myself to be taken by Hartnett’s beautiful writing into the imaginatively constructed world of the Flute family. If straight realism is more your cup of tea, perhaps Of a Boy or Golden Boys may be a safer choice.

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