Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas!

What a busy and exciting time of year!


Thomas was only a couple of months old last Christmas, and didn't have a clue what was going on, but this year he is really getting into the Christmas spirit. He loves the decorations, the tree, and even the Christmas carols.

We are heading off for Christmas with family at the coast, and I know Thomas will love seeing all his relatives and being generally spoilt for a few days.

As always, I had great intentions to make lots of handmade gifts, but time got away from me, and apart from the secret blurb books all I managed to do was to make some homemade peach and apricot jam with cointreau - an adaption of Maggie Beer's lovely recipe from the Cook and the Chef - my first jam making experience, and pretty fun except when it took forever to reach setting point. Next time I'm going to buy pectin rather than just adding lemon peel.

It was a nice way to recycle some of those baby food jars (yes I confess we do sometimes rely on them!)

I think they look better with their little party hats on.

Well, that's it from me - better go wrap some presents- wishing everyone a very lovely Christmas break and a safe and happy new year.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cloth book for Thomas

Sorry for the blogging break, but I have been busy, and for once actually have something crafty for show and tell. I made Thomas a cloth book with photos of us, and flaps that he can lift to see who is underneath. Thanks to Suzy for reminding me about SouleMama's cloth book for Adelaide it was very inspiring. I got some fabric sheets that you run through the inkjet printer, and the photos came out pretty well. The fabric is quite stiff, so good for this kind of thing. My book has heaps of handmade charm, aka wonky stitching and mistakes, but Thomas seems not to mind.

The text is very simple - just about who loves Thomas:



Grandma and Grandpa,


And our cat Lucy
(actually it is not quite true that the cat loves Thomas, but he sure loves her - I'm sure one day the feeling will be reciprocated!)

I've also been busy doing a Blurb book - my copies just arrived in the mail, and I'm pretty darned happy with them. Can't show them here yet though because they are for Christmas presents.

We have just had an election here in Australia, and a change of government after almost 12 long years. We lefties here were pretty thrilled with the Labor victory. We had a few friends over and drank a lot and ate lots of veggie pizzas. A very good night indeed!

PS - thanks so much for all the concern and good wishes about the breast lump scare - I'm very glad that it is all ok.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Book love

Hooray, finally sent off the first draft chapter I've been writing for work, so I can relax for a little while before the next deadline. I've been missing the blogging world (although I have been peeking a bit!) We have had various dramas here, with Thomas getting an awful tummy bug, and I had a breast cancer scare, but luckily after an anxious wait for a scan it turned out to be nothing serious.

Meanwhile Thomas has suddenly developed a huge passion for books, I think inspired by some gorgeous picture books he recieved for his birthday.

He particularly loves simple 'lift the flap' picture books, and books with detailed scenes with lots to point at. After showing no interest at all for the first year of his life, Thomas now wants story after story, and then over and over again. I have to say that it beats his other favourite entertainment which is to throw things on the floor and get mum and dad to retrieve them.

This immersion in lovely children's books has inspired me to think about making my own special books for Thomas, perhaps in cloth, or something I could print out on heavy card. I would like to make a book with pictures of his favourite people and of course our cat Lucy (whom Thomas just ADORES), maybe hidden under flaps.

I have been doing some web searching on making books, and have come across some interesting things. This is probably old news to most people but I was a bit thrilled to find this site which allows you to publish your own real books (text and photos) for what seem quite reasonable prices. It would be lovely later on when Thomas starts drawing and painting to collect his artworks in a real book like that.

For making your own cloth books, this site has some quite nice appliqued and embroidered examples :

This one has some very simple instructions, although no pictures:

Well, now I've said all this, I'd better get on and try some of these ideas out.

Back soon!

PS - While hanging around in the city, waiting for my scan I found these little pouches at our local $2 shop (Hotdollar in the Canberra Centre), they were only $2.50 each, so I decided to treat myself and got two!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Busy, Busy...

Since I've started back at work, I really haven't been as productive as I'd like. Even though Thomas has settled in so well to childcare, it has been more difficult than I'd imagined for me to switch back into work mode, and I find my thoughts often wandering back to him, worrying about him or just missing him.

That cheeky smile - how could I not miss him?

My current position involves a lot of research and writing (I'm supposed to be writing a book). I've been doing the research: lots and lots of reading, but it has been a real struggle to force myself to start writing.

Anyway, since I've been procrastinating rather badly, I now have several deadlines looming and I really need to get into gear and do some work from home, as well as at my office. It is almost a relief that the adrenalin has finally kicked in, and I'm starting to panic a little - at least that should give me the motivation I need to sit down and write.

So I really shouldn't be blogging or crafting for a couple of weeks (and if you see me here, tell me to get back to work!)

See you soon...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Happy 1st Birthday - twice!

Thomas has just turned one, and managed to score two birthday parties. I had a busy time making the cakes.

First we had a pre-birthday party at Thomas' childcare centre.

All his Gumnut friends sat around in highchairs while we sang happy birthday many times.

Thomas didn't know what the fuss was for, but at least he enjoyed the cake!

Then we had his actual first birthday party in Sydney - a picnic in the park.

We were having such a nice time catching up with friends and family that we didn't do too well taking photos. Luckily we remembered to take a photo of the cake just before it got cut up.

Thomas wasn't very smiley, but did pretty well being passed around all afternoon.

Happy Birthday Thomas!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Long weekend

It has been a busy long weekend - and a sociable one for us - we had friends over for drinks, and the next day we learnt to play poker, and all wore silly hats. Thomas sat on my lap and checked out my cards. I don't think he has a very good poker face - that must be why I kept losing. I'm glad I convinced everyone to indulge me in a game of Pictionary, I'm much better at that (if I do say so myself).

On Sunday night we went out for dinner for Warren's birthday, just the two of us, alone and unaccompanied by our little one, for the first time since his birth - two other dear friends volunteered to babysit . It went really well, and Thomas didn't even stir while we were gone.

Then we went to Floriade yesterday afternoon - its a Canberra flower show thing. I thought Thomas might appreciate the flowers.

I think he appreciated this one a little too hard.

But look at that innocent face - no it couldn't have been him.

Not the most flattering photo, but a happy one nevertheless.

The flowers were very beautiful, especially backlit by the sun.

Today I did a five minute sewing project, to cover the awful cushion of our cane garden chair. We found the chair on the street years ago, and it is quite nice to sit on outside, but it is now looking very disreputable.

I had been meaning to make a proper cushion cover, but settled for just a drawstring circle. This is the underside. It literally took less than five minutes to cut a dodgy circle and turn under and stitch a casing for the cord. Elastic would have been better if we'd had any - I'd use that next time.

And the finished cushion. Lucy gave it her stamp of approval.


PS Thanks so much for the lovely comments on the wedding photos, I still love looking at them. (To answer Rachel's daughter's question, I didn't wear sensible shoes - and my feet did get a little cold in the snow. Boots would have been a better idea, but white boots might have been a bit too ABBA for me!)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Happy Anniversary

Its been three years since Warren and I got married. It was such a perfect blissful day, one of the happiest in my life so far.

Our family and best friends came all the way to Thredbo in the Snowy Mountains for the wedding, and even though it was spring, it began to snow just before the ceremony, which turned the landscape into a winter wonderland. Of course Warren got out his cross country skis for this photo - I just love it.

We decided to do a lot of things ourselves, so I had fun learning how to make bouquets and centrepieces, and we got up early to buy our native flowers at the markets the day before (I think I 'd love to be a florist, if it wasn't for the early morning starts!)

Warren planned out all the music, and we made the decorations together, and I iced a mini wedding cake for each guest. We were rushing to get it all done the day before, but it all came together at the last moment, and I think the handmade touches added to the special feel of the day.

Our lovely friends also helped out in so many ways - I think I had the best bridesmaids in the world, and John took the most beautiful photos for us. We walked down the aisle as Cathy and Lamorna played clarinet and flute, and Anne came all the way from London to be Warren's best 'mate'.

Although it was such a cold day, I felt completely warm, I think with love and excitement, and the warmth and generosity of all our friends and relatives who shared the day with us.

It feels like just yesterday, but also like a lifetime ago, as we have moved to Canberra, made more friends, taken on new jobs, and have become a family with the birth of Thomas. Life with a baby has taken on a whole new dimension, lots of ups and downs, but mostly ups, and I have seen a new side of Warren as he has become a wonderful caring father to our little boy.

Looking forward to many happy anniversaries to come.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A wonderful week away

We have just got back from our trip to Great Keppel Island. We had a few mishaps getting there and back (the ferry to the island didn't go out when we arrived because of a storm, and then we managed to miss the first one the next day - don't ask), but once we actually got there the weather cleared and we had a fabulous time.

Thomas was remarkably obliging, and was very happy to go for long bushwalks in the backpack. He really loved looking around, and laughed every time he managed to grasp passing leaves and flowers.

We took him to the beach, and Warren and I each took turns snorkling in the clear (but still a bit chilly) water while the other played with Thomas in the sand. He also loved hanging out in the spa, and it had the helpful effect of making him very sleepy too. I wish we had one at home.

On our last day we managed to get a babysitter for a couple of blissful hours while Thomas slept, and we went snorkling together at the coral reef at Shelving beach. The fish were quite incredible - such variety and colours, and there was some pretty coral out there. I even saw a huge turtle swimming right in front of me, but when I turned to show Warren it disappeared, and he keeps teasing me that I imagined it.

There were lots of starfish about. This one had just been washed ashore - I took it back out to the sea, and hope it might still be alive and well, doing whatever it is that starfish do.

Our room was pretty basic, but it was hard to beat the view from the porch, especially at sunset, with a glass of wine in hand, and Thomas napping peacefully inside.

I have to confess that I got no knitting done at all, because I discovered that I'd taken the wrong needles, but I wasn't too sad about that really - it was refreshing to have a complete break from the works in progress, and to soak up the natural beauty, and enjoy the family time.

My mum and dad picked us up from the airport, and Thomas basked in an evening of doting grandparents' attention and lots of cuddles and toys, and also finally got to meet my brother Steve who was staying over too.

All in all, a wonderful week indeed.