Friday, March 30, 2007

Autumn has arrived

It has suddenly turned quite chilly here in Canberra, almost overnight it has gone from blazing summer days to breezy autumn weather, so I'd better get a move on finishing this jumper for Thomas:

So far I've done the back and have moved onto the front. It is such a simple design that it has been quite fun to knit in front of the TV. I've been practising knitting without looking (kind of like touch typing) generally this works but I have dropped a few stitches - that crochet hook has come in handy for picking them up!

We have just got home from a very unsuccessful expedition to a local second hand baby clothes shop. For a few weeks I'd been walking past their sign which suggested that we should do our bit for the environment and recycle our baby clothes. However, when I took in a bundle of things Thomas has outgrown (all freshly washed and ironed), hoping to swap for some bigger clothes, they were almost all rejected - apparently they will only take things which are designer brands or which look brand new. I couldn't help feeling a bit affronted that they didn't think our clothes were good enough. Never mind, we will save them to pass on to friends or perhaps we might one day have another bub - certainly not thinking about that yet though!

We have been out in the garden lately, trying to find some plants which will grow in a tricky spot Warren calls the 'wall of death' , against a shady courtyard wall. Everything we plant there meets a sad end. We have now put in some red flowers (verbena and dianthus), but the new buds have turned white - that is surely a bit strange? Perhaps it's something in the soil.

Finally, a gratuitous photo of my two lovely boys. This was just a spontaneous shot in Thomas' room, but the lighting seems to be very nice and soft, almost like a studio.

Thomas is now letting me know in no uncertain terms that he is awake and wants milk immediately, so it looks like that is it for the time being. Hope you all have a good weekend.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Still waiting for the tooth fairy

Sorry for the lack of posting, it has been a tricky week here. Thomas has been very upset most evenings, and one night he screamed hysterically for twenty minutes when I tried to breastfeed him, and nothing we tried would calm him down. We were getting quite frantic, and were about to drive to the hospital , but then it subsided and he slept straight through till the next morning. It made me realise how lucky we are that he doesn't usually cry much, it is so upsetting being unable to help him. I don't know how parents cope with 'colicky' babies who are like that all the time.

I took him to the doctor the next day but she couldn't find anything wrong with him. On the bright side, he went to sleep without a fuss last night, and has been a happier chap today so perhaps whatever has been troubling him is easing up. Still no teeth to be seen though!

Thanks so much for the feedback on the quilt - it is really great to be able to get all your creative input. I am going to follow the popular consensus and go with the red sashing - I've cut up the pieces and made a start on the sewing. Kayla asked about the fabrics I used in the quilt - actually they mainly came from a local quilt shop in Canberra, in a rather touristy place called Gold Creek Village. They have an amazing range of Japanese quilt fabrics, the only downside is they are around $24 (AUD) per metre.

Although of course I should be concentrating on finishing the quilt, as often happens when I am in the midst of one project, I suddenly want to start another one. With the weather finally turning cooler here I had an urge to learn to crochet (it has been so popular in blogland lately). I thought it would be nice to have something I could do in the evening in front of the tv, when we collapse in a heap after getting Thomas to bed. So I bought a hook and some yarn, and after many unsuccesful attempts to follow drawn diagrams I found this website with videos of the stitches which was very helpful.

I still found it difficult to pick up though, and my ineptitude with the hook made me hanker for knitting needles, even though I haven't knitted for years, but at least I know how to knit and purl! That inspired me to start a little jumper/sweater for Thomas out of the red wool (this is just a tension square in the photo, it is not going to be that small!), but I would like to persevere with the crochet and might make some kind of chevron patterned cushion or bag.

I wish I had the patience to make a big blanket like this one we inherited. Lucy seems to have taken a fancy to it. I think she is pretending to be one of the toys. She is probably hiding, in case that annoying new little human starts screaming again.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Teething troubles

We haven't seen much of this little smile lately, as it seems that Thomas is teething. He is usually very sunny, but at the moment he is quite grizzly and chewing on everything. Not much to show for the sleepless nights yet, but I think I can see two tiny tooth buds in his bottom gum.

Meanwhile, I have finally finished all the quilt blocks, and am now wondering about how to put them together, and whether to put sashing between the blocks to outline them.

This is how the blocks look when put directly together

This is how it might look with red sashing between the blocks.

I can't quite decide which I like - the sashing makes the square frame block shapes clearer, without it the navy pieces blend together and creates stripes and other patterns.

I'd love to hear any thoughts on this.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Brain on holiday

As the quilt progress does not make exciting reading (another ten squares this week), I thought it might be good to break things up by making something quick and crafty. I stumbled across the Softie Awards 2007, and even though it was Wednesday, and the closing date was Friday, I decided that I could whip up something fun, just for a change.

I saw there was a category of 'Best Holiday Inspired' softie, which appealed to me. I must explain that in Australia, 'Holiday' generally refers to what Americans call 'vacations' - usually involving travel to somewhere more interesting. So I started thinking of soft toys inspired by our holiday travels.

I have a real soft spot for the cats in Turkey who lounge around on the carpets in shops and streets all over Istanbul,

So I had a go at making a Turkish carpet cat, painting a kilim design on a remnant of furnishing fabric.

I was making a pretty bodgy job of sewing him together - that fabric is a bugger to sew. Anyway I was just getting around to his face (I've drawn it in in Photoshop, just so you get the idea of what I was intending), when I thought I'd have a look at some of the other entries.

I looked at the Holiday category, expecting Arabian camels, exotic geishas and softies in Hawaian shirts. Instead I found lots of mice and owls inspired by Valentines day and Christmas, with a few Halloween creatures thrown in.

What on earth do Christmas, Valentines day and Halloween have to do with Holidays? I wondered. Then the penny dropped. Ahaa.. those Holidays, like "Happy Holidays". So a Turkish cat would not be so much what they were looking for...In fact he would look pretty damn silly in that crowd!

Thomas wondered why I was suddenly cracking up with laughter. To be honest it was a bit of a relief, as I wasn't very happy with this effort and it meant no more rushed embroidery today.

In other news, Warren officiated at a triathlon on the weekend, and took Thomas along to help direct the traffic

Nah, just kidding, don't call child protection, this is what he was really doing, lounging around at the picnic afterwards. The boys just thought it would be fun to dress him up.

Well, that's all from me in an exciting and productive week.
Happy Holidays to you all!

Friday, March 2, 2007

Baby Steps

Well, it's Friday, and I've sewn together ten blocks, only thirty to go! I think this project is growing beyond a playmat and into a proper quilt (it will be 5 by 8 rows of blocks, each will be about 7 inches when sewn up- I haven't really worked out how big that will make it).

Progress has been very slow, because Thomas has decided that sleep is boring, it is much more fun to be entertained all day. Initially I was getting quite frustrated, but I think it is easier to relax and just enjoy the time with him, and not to get too focused on getting things done.

Today we spent a fair bit of time in the garden, with Thomas rolling around on a blanket under a leafy tree. I noticed this spiderweb catching the light - I love that lacy pattern.

Happy weekend everyone.