Friday, May 25, 2012

I want a Dora cake, with chocolate wheels...

Today was the Princess' birthday.   She has worked out what birthdays are all about - presents and cake - and put in her cake order early (on Little Soldier's birthday in January).  A Dora cake with chocolate wheels was in order.  To explain, Little Soldier's cake was a Thomas the Tank Engine with chocolate covered biscuits as the wheels, which were obviously a hit with the Princess.  So this afternoon I stretched my limited drawing skills to the limit and came up with this...
I found the picture on the Nickjr website here and belatedly thought when I was about to add Dora's eyes that it would have been much easier and more accurate to roll out fondant icing in the appropriate colour, trace the necessary shape onto it, cut it out and put it all together like a jigsaw.  Then I would only have to pipe on the black outline.  Next time...
It is beautiful here at the moment, a very cold 2℃ at night but fine and mid-20s during the day.  Just look how lovely it is...

I took these as Little Soldier and his cousin played in the river.  And then I made a conscious effort to put my phone away and enjoy the sunshine and their delightful little boy play (mainly chucking things into the water).   And a pair of dolphins came past - I'm glad I had stopped fiddling with my phone!
I haven't been getting to my WIPs at the moment as I just don't have the time but hopefully I will get to them over the weekend and get a couple of late baby gifts off of my conscience. And the I can get started on this
 which came from this

Slight problem in that the pattern is in French, but I'm sure I figure something out!

Have a lovely weekend! x

Friday, May 18, 2012

Busy autumn days

Such a beautiful autumn day today, which made the mad racing around I did much more pleasurable. Sneaking a look at the sky never fails to lift my spirits when I am doing chores.

Everything in my garden is what my mother calls survivors - old fashioned plants that survive or even thrive on neglect.   Not much attention has been paid to the garden since we moved back in, and indeed not much was paid in the five years before we built the new house, but some plants just seem to soldier on and provide pleasure regardless.  How kind! Here is a climbing rose that is in the backyard, next to the old outdoor toilet.

And a washing line full of clothes bathed in bright sunshine - a sight that fills my housewifely heart with joy.  It was a beautiful washing day today, bright and breezy, no need to race out to the line when showers threatened!

Part of today's list was to make a curry for Sunday night family dinner.   My favourite is a recipe from  Rick Steins Food Heroes called Mumrez Khan’s Lamb and Spinach Karahi. Delicious though like most curries a decidedly unattractive brown. There is a paprika in the recipe - I love a reason to get my paprika tin out (on the top left). Why a couple from the 70s is on a paprika tin is a mystery but they look so free and breezy, the paprika must be fabulous!

These are my mothers day flowers from last Sunday.  Don't they just look so bright and cheerful! 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Too many UFOs

I have had a long and tiring week this week with not too much movement on many of my WIPs. To get some perspective, I took photos of everything that I have on the go and was somewhat dismayed by the results...

Sweater Vest for The Dude.  This will be a long time before completion, seeing as he doesn't really want it.  Don't ask me the obvious question - why am I making it???

Retro Throw Rug for my friend Wendy as a housewarming present.  Wendy hasn't moved into her new house but it is going to a close run thing to get the throw ready.  I only have two sew two block in and then do the edging but it's the finishing that always takes the most time.

Stash Scarf.  I love doing stripes with variegated wool, watching the different colours come up next to each other.  This is very much a stash buster scarf that was small enough to take with me when I went out with the kids.  No need to finish it anytime soon but I am getting a bit sick of the sight of it, it will definitely be going into the present box.

Baby booties for the current crop of babies.  These shouldn't be too hard or take too long but I am personalising them with their initials in the soles, so I could be creating another monster for myself.

Stripey Scarf.  This is one for me (it's rare for me to make something for myself) so I want to get it finished to wear for the winter that is so rapidly approaching.

There is also a rug for Princess that is packed away and so many sewing tasks. It's all a bit disheartening at the moment, I'm sure I will be back to high levels of enthusiasm when I've finished the throw and the booties.  But I have ordered a knitting pattern from Canada that I desperately want to do for myself.  And the pattern is in French, which I speak not a word of beyond 'non parlais francaise'.  Oh dear.

Do you have a box of WIPs/UFOs - otherwise known as works in progress/unfinished objects.

What I have completed this week was a Peter Pan costume for the Little Soldier.

To explain, it is Mothers Day this Sunday in Australia and I was invited to a tea party at kindy today.  I was to dress as a fairy or princess and Little Solder had to dress up too, no superheroes allowed!  A call to the turn on sewing machine if ever there was one.  I found this lovely tutorial on Ashley's blog Make It and Love It.  Ashley has loads of fabulous tutorials, if you are a sewer sewist (have just seen how the word sewer looks in print and now understand where the strange word sewist comes from) I thoroughly recommend having a look. And yes, I am the type of mum who makes things big and says 'but you'll grow into it'.

For my own costume, I managed to borrow a flowery gown from a friend - it was a bit sad to look in wardrobe and find nothing, short of my wedding dress, remotely princess-like (ignoring all the smart work dresses which could pass off as Kate Middleton-esque).  I've never been much for pink and girly but wearing a proper frock was lots of fun, along with Princess' tiara and all the necklaces I could find.  Little Soldier thought I looked great and served me scones and cake.  It was lovely!

To all the mothers out there, Happy Mothers Day on Sunday.  No matter what you might think some days, you are doing a fabulous job!

To my own mum, who at nearly 70 has just embarked on a 10 day walking tour in the south of France, independent of any tour group and with just my dad for support and company, I love you, you are fantastic and I can't wait for you to come home. x

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Birthday Season

April and May is birthday season.  My adopted Mothers Group kids are all born in April or May and there are a couple of the mum's birthdays too, along with the family birthdays of Princess and her cousin.

I had a strange moment standing in my local KMart the other day, choosing all sorts of merchandise (Ben 10 pants and pencil case, Fairies knickers, Princesses tiara-making kit) - I remembered making a promise to myself before the Little Soldier was born that I would not participate in the merchandising of my kids or any one else's.  In previous years I have been able to stick to this pretty well (including a basket of crocheted insects and butterflies that I sat up until 1 am the night before finishing - I almost didn't want to give it away!) but it seems that 15 kids parties in four weeks grinds down the resolve to buy non-Disney gifts. And to be honest, the kids like it...

Party food is a strong childhood memory for me, a chance to get all sorts of treats that we wouldn't normally get, and sausage rolls were definitely a party requirement along with fairy bread and cupcakes.  Homemade of course - my mum was not one for shop bought when she could do it herself, a trait which has definitely been handed down to me.  Here is the platter I took to a party on the weekend, with the centre well filled with tomato sauce.

I didn't make it through the front door before the parents were helping themselves.  Apparently I'm not the only one who remembers homemade sausage rolls!

I have been furiously knitting up my scarf that I mentioned in my last post whenever I can find a few minutes - I am only mum at swimming lessons who knits as opposed to playing with her smartphone.  I started the scarf thinking that I would do a ripple pattern, using the fabulous one by the lovely Lucy at Attic 24 (here's the post).  But the rows were too thick for effect I was after.  So I went back to a 1x1 rib on circular needles so I can carry one yarn up each side of the scarf.  Fortunately I taught myself the continental way of knitting so ribbing is not too slow but I have noticed that my tension is definitely looser on my purls compared to knits, so I end up with a quite bumpy fabric.  Hopefully blocking the finished product will help.

It is definitely autumn here, the days alternate between absolutely gorgeous sunshine with moderate temperatures and days like today - blowing a gale with clouds scudding across the sky, occasional showers and a definite need to keep the ugg boots on! At least all the wind means the clothes on the line will dry as long as I make it out there before the showers hit.  Here is the view from the balcony today...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

At home alone

Poker night for The Dude means a quiet night at home for me.  Tonight I watched one of my favourite films, Bright Star by Jane Campion.  Not only is this the type of film I like to watch when I am on my own - slow, quiet, visually beautiful - but also because the main female character sews all her own clothes, by hand, beautifully.  If only I had days to while away, hand sewing and floating around Hampstead Heath...

I got this film out of my local library, which is the awesome City of Melville library, AH Bracks.  I don't go as often as would like, but I swear they get in at least two new crafting books every month.  Yum yum! Plus there is a huge kids section with jigsaws to keep the little ones amused I try to decide which eight books to take home.  If you have a local library, support it!

I've decided to start yet another knitting project, a stripey scarf using these two colours of Moda Vera Pure Wool 8 Ply yarn from Spotlight.  I want a nice flat reversible stitch for this but don't want to do K1P1.  Any suggestions? x