Finn Blogs!

My first ever *guest post*! From a boy of very few words. (Except of course when he’s talking about HTML. Or CSS. Or Java. Or pretty much anything computer related 🙂 ) Enjoy!


Hi, this is Finn. On the weekend Mum taught me how to knit. I learned garter stitch. I made a blanket for my sister’s baby doll. While I was making it Rohan pulled the needles out. Mum put them back in.


Do you like it? 🙂

Off Kilter

It’s been a funny old week. I’m feeling a bit off-kilter. I’m not 100% certain what a kilter is, nor do I know whether I’d like to be on one, but for the moment, I’m definitely off.


I did fully intend to write up a review of my lovely Sling bag made at Sewjourn, for Nikki’s Review Round-Up Competition. Somehow that deadline slid out the window while I was distracted by kilters, but get yourself over there and vote for a winner anyway, won’t you?

In lieu of that, and of anything else of substance for the blog this week – please accept an offering from last week:



Sandpit is Go!:

My Dad built, and then he and Dermot installed, this long-anticipated addition to the backyard.
The weather even came to the party with a couple of brilliant days earlier this week (I love this Winter-with-a-promise-of-Spring time of year so much). So the kids got to hang out and build sandcastles as much as they liked.

Well. Two of them liked. Mr Fifteen-and-a-half-months-and-I can-climb-out-of-my-cot-now seems to have some kind of bizarre sand-phobia! We’re working on it.

Creative Space – Refashioning

A lovely mum at Niamh’s pre-school the other day offered me some of her son’s old shoes for Rohan. She was careful to add in the disclaimer – “that is, if you don’t mind hand-me-down stuff. I know some people do…”. I had to smile – that day in particular, Niamh was wearing op-shopped pants, and Rohan was in an op-shopped top and pants I made from an old pair of my own. I most certainly do not have a problem with hand-me-down. I can’t quite believe anyone would turn down a well-kept pair of (originally quite expensive) kid’s shoes. Would they?!

Anyway. In my creative space at the moment, I’m contemplating the future of some more Op Shop* finds. A bit of refashioning is in order for a few skirts I picked up a while back. The first has already undergone the chop:


It started out looking like this:


Meh. Not really my cup of tea. But perfect for cutting up and making more doll clothes!

The other two are much kinder to the eyeballs. The brown one is a few sizes too big for Niamh – I’m not sure whether I’ll try making this one into a top or just stick with something simple and do a downsized skirt.


The pink one is going to become a light summer dress – it has shirring at the top, so I’m planning to cut it down to size and use the excess fabric for straps.


Actually, I’m not sure how any of this will happen today. Thursday is crazy with ballet-piano-swimming attendance, and later tonight I’ll be popping in to Cathy’s exhibition 🙂 But possibly I’ll carve out a little bit of time in there somewhere.

See what other creative folks are up to today, over at Kirsty’s place.

*Op Shop = Thrift Store

Keeping Busy

Could it be the little trip away that has restored my crafting mojo? Or could it be the recent acquisition of a reliable overlocker? Either way, I have been studiously ignoring the housework for the past several days, in order to craft more. Oh, and bake macarons. As you do.

Nothing especially groundbreaking. The kids were in need of some more winter PJs – darn small people and their incessant growing! I had intended to just make pants and pick up some cheap plain colour Tshirts to go with them, but while I was flicking through some old issues of Ottobre I came across a Tshirt pattern, recalled some many meters of a green cotton knit fabric* hiding in the bottom of my stash, and thought, well, why the heck not. I do now have a suitable-for-polite-company-overlocker, after all!

The result:

This is the Slim Fit Tshirt from Ottobre 3/2007. And he doesn’t like it! Well, he does, but I agree he could go up a size or two (the fit is… well, slim!) So I agreed to make another (not done yet), and instead earmarked this one as a coming-up-soon-birthday gift, and decided to give it a little extra character:


The deer(?) critter is also from Ottobre – the 4/2007 issue has a bunch of cute characters adorning the pages, so I just blew one up about 300% on the copier and stencilled it on using the freezer paper technique*. Perfect!

I got a bit cocky with the next T. Consequently? Not as good. But still good enough for a jarmie top:


(Yes, I know I said winter PJs, but my kids go light or nothing on top for bed all year round.)

The pants I made are from New Look pattern 6932. I didn’t end up finding a nice simple pants pattern for all three kids in any of my Ottobre back issues, so I picked this one up. I think it was a good value buy – including pattern sizes from 6 months – 8 years, and several pant/top options.

Here are the first of Rohan’s pants finished:


I have another two pair cut out for him, and another pair for Niamh, and some more Tshirts waiting as well.

Oh, and while I am slowing down your internetz with my pic heavy post, here’s a couple more. These pants were not made recently (actually they were the pants I was making when Niamh tried to knock her front teeth out), but Ro finally fits into them:


The denim in these is from a discarded pair of my jeans, and the robot print, which I love, and will salvage once he outgrows the pants, is from GJs. (Who are on the brink of another 25%-off sale. Oh dear.)

So. That’s what I’ve been up to. Now has anybody seen my house, it seems to have disappeared under a mountain of laundry. 🙁


*The green fabric is leftover from when I made myself a Moby Wrap style baby carrier, back when Niamh was a smidge of a thing. I don’t think I ever blogged it. When I went looking for a photo, the best I could come up with was this one. (That’s Rohan in the wrap there, not Niamh). I miss slinging my babes around!

**I first learned about freezer paper stencilling on Craftster many a year ago, but the original post seems to be missing half its images. Amy Karol has a simple little tute on it here. I’m impatient and never let mine dry overnight though, I always blast it with the hairdryer!


Started on Tuesday…


Finished on Thursday…


Ripped on Monday?


I prefer it as a neck warmer, actually. Ah well. Can’t win them all, I say. Despite Lara’s reassurances, I can’t quite get over the feeling that I’m wearing a tea-cozy on my head! I’m just not a natural hat-or-other-headwear person. (Speaking of hats, and me wearing them, did you see Gypsy’s post about Liesl’s beret? I may not be a natural hat person, but that cracks me up!)

Anyway. I’m ripping. Calorimetry didn’t use as much of this beautiful skein of Fibreworks Silk/Merino as I had hoped anyway. I plan to start again and just knit it as a simple 2×2 ribbed cowl, since I prefer the way it looks around my neck (the tapered shape of it means it isn’t quite right as-is, or I wouldn’t bother to start again). That way I can use up the whole skein, which was a birthday gift from Dermot last year 🙂

I’ve been feeling like a bit of a knitting fraud lately. (As in “how long until the real knitters evict me, because anyone can tell I don’t really know what I’m doing?”) But the fact that it doesn’t bother me to rip it all out and start over makes me feel a bit more… I don’t know, authentic, somehow? I enjoyed knitting this beautiful yarn the first time around, and I’ll enjoy it again. The knitting process has gone from completely frustrating, to (almost) relaxing.

Meanwhile, I also broke my ‘no more than one knitting project on the go at a time’ rule. (Well, technically this was finished when I started the next thing!) I’m having a go at double knitting. S.l.o.w.l.y. (I take back what I said about knitting no longer being completely frustrating. Check back much later!)

Calorimetry ravelised here.

So About Last Weekend (Finally)

Five minutes after I left the house last Friday, guess what I remembered? The camera bag… left sitting on the change table at home. D’oh!


I didn’t go back. I was already running half an hour late for a rendezvous with my dad to hand over a couple of kids (the smallest stayed at home with his dad, not ready to venture farther afield just yet). And besides… Sewjourn awaited 🙂 I did not want to miss one minute.

Many have waxed lyrical about the marvel that is Sewjourn. Even if I was capable of waxing lyrical at this hour (I am not), I could hardly do it justice.

It was ace.

There, how’s that?!



Seriously? I had a wonderful weekend, with a great bunch of crafty girls. We ate, drank and made merry into the small hours (well, some of us!), and I sewed a lot. Never mind the knitting, crochet, cross-stitch and some other bits and pieces that came along for the ride – they never got a look-in! It was all about the unencumbered sewing, and all about the GREEN, as you can probably tell. (Unplanned, that, though I should probably just accept that I do have a favourite colour after all).

In approximate running order, my crafty weekend went like this:

:love: Oven Mitts, this time for me. As before, made roughly to Sooz’s Slack Arse Oven Mitts tutorial.

:love: A greener grocery bag. A tute for this one can be found here on Craftster. These bags are really strong, I love ’em. This one is for Mum. I am still making good on her Christmas present. The shame!


:love: My first ever Nikki bag – the Sling. Love love love.


(More on this later, as I do plan to write up a review of the pattern for Nikki’s July competition).




:love: My first finished quilt top! Well. Finished-ish 😉 At 3.30 Sunday afternoon, with flagging energy, and us due to vacate by 4, I decided that was as far as I was getting, so technically I still have to sew on the outermost rows of sashing. (And, you know, piece the back, sandwich it together and quilt the darn thing. I’m not sure this quilting malarkey is going to catch on with me you know – I’m all about the instant gratification.)

So big huge thank-yous to Cathy, Gypsy, Liesl, Caitlin, Bec, and day-trippin’ Cam for having me along and being such excellent camp buddies. You girls rock!

(Liesl has some location shots over on her blog, btw, if you’re more interested in what I didn’t take photographs of!)

Hmmm. Perhaps next year I’ll bring a quilt to finish.

Useful Swap (Part 2)

Wow. Sewjourn, hey? It was so good. (Musn’t pun, musn’t pun). I’ll get to that later, promise.

But first to make good on my other promise – would you like a gander at the goodies which turned up in my mailbox from Suzie’s Useful Swap? Alrighty then…

From Suzie herself I received this oilcloth zippered cosmetics pouch, and from Alison, a screenprinted linen teatowel:


From Sonya, a fragrant home-blend of garam masala and some hand-made chocolate soap:


From Nikki, a beautiful hand-stitched bookmark – the cashmere blend fabric Nikki has used for this is so divine. I can’t stop rubbing it on my cheek. Mmmmm.


And from Ellen, a giraffe-y wheat bag (ok, she said wheat bag, but technically, I’ve filled mine with lentils!)


It’s so nice to accept a little bit more handmade into my home. I loved the philosophy behind the swap – to exchange practical handmade items which will reduce or eliminate the need for shop-bought and disposable alternatives. It has inspired me to go ahead with a few of the things which have been on my to-craft list for ever. Like some eco-friendly produce bags. I think they might be up next. Thank you all, ladies, for a terrific swap.

Oh, and here’s what happens when I get down to floor level to snap a few photographs. Eventually, I get climbed. I’m pretty sure the message here was ‘Start paying attention to me, mother. Oh, and make me a snack!’


Finally… here’s a little teaser… a tiny glimpse of what I got up to at Sewjourn on the weekend:


I’ll be back with more… soon 🙂

Useful Swap (Part 1)

After the ickiness of last week, once Dermot got back from Sydney, we took off for the mountains and spent a few days doing blissfully little. There was a little bushwalking, and a bit of scenic driving (with ulterior motive), but otherwise we stayed in, kept warm, watched movies, and enjoyed the view (a bit more sleep was had too… although not on night three, that was dreadful).


On Monday, I came home to my package of goodies from Susie’s very Useful Swap. I hoped to blog those today, but the day has got away from me (again), so I’ll just have to give you the what I sent version, and leave the what I got part for later. Dreary old Melbourne weather has made photo taking a bit of a pain of late, so please overlook that and marvel at the fantabulous oven gloves and fingertip mitts I made for my swap recipients (I’m not quite sure who got which yet, though I know Suzie has the fruity ones. I love that fabric – I picked it up from Earthgirl fabrics at the Stitches & Craft show). I checked out a bunch of oven mitt tutorials online, and ended up basically using Suzie’s method – simple and effective. ‘Nuff said.


My personal favourite is in the top left, that cream and green flowery print. I’m making a set of gloves for our kitchen in the same fabric this weekend. This weekend, when I go away to Sewjourn with some other crafty peeps. Yes, that’s right… kid free for two whole days and nights! Sewjourn! Yippee yay! I am loading up the boot of my car with far too many projects, and it won’t matter whether I achieve a lot or a little, it will be nice just to be able to leave the (good) scissors out with no danger of someone chopping off a finger 😀

(And to finish a whole cup of coffee before it goes cold.)

Oh, by the way, if there happens to be anyone (a cross-stitcher type anyone) out there who owns the Dimples Designs Wee Beasties part 6 design (Blue-eyed Darner dragonfly), I would be forever in your debt if I could get a copy of the key… mine has gone awol, and I kind of need it if I’m ever going to finish the darn thing!

While I Was Gone

Parenting has been kicking my butt lately. You might have guessed, based on my absence. Every time I think about breaking the blog-drought, I’m either too exhausted, or I can’t seem to form two sentences, or I get a bad case of ‘if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything’.

There’s nothing special about tonight, except perhaps all of the above apply. This week is kicking my butt even more spectacularly. Husband in Sydney, School holidays, and kids all sick. Monday night I had a miserable Niamh in bed with me with a suspected ear infection (though she did seem okay by morning, after medication and a night with Mum). Last night was Ro’s turn in with me, and tonight, well… he’s currently napping fitfully on my lap (one-handed blogging, y’all!) and won’t go down in any bed. This is after the excitement of a few hours ago when his big brother coughed until he vomited. Awesome times.

Blah. Let’s have a little recap on some of the good stuff that’s happened since I was last here, shall we? Good then. Point form ahoy:

:love: We moved the babe out of our bedroom and in with his sister. This was monumental. And, of course, led to him finally, finally sleeping through the night. I should have remembered that from last time, really. Ok, so I did remember. I was just really reluctant to boot my baby out. So the sleepless nights – all my fault. Obviously. Next!

:love: My blog turned five. FIVE! That’s a really long time to be saying nothing much at all. Less than 400 posts total… gosh, I really am a crap blogger! (But really… I have got to say, blogging was way less pressure back in the days. Now… I don’t know. Every now and then, I see a favourite blog go ‘pro’. Or ‘pro-ish’. Suddenly there’s Sponsorship. And Product Placement. Cash for Comment. Or competitions to enter, but only if you ‘Follow’, and Twitter and Facebook about it. Often, the original, entertaining, unique voice of said blogger is lost amongst it all. At which point I mercilessly drop them from my feed.) Ok, sorry. Rant over.

:love: My best girl turned four. Way, way more exciting than the blog turning five. Niamh is such a party girl, she always has been. We had pretend party play for weeks around these parts. Culminating in a totally fun, but also totally soggy pink-and-green party at the Bundoora Children’s Farm. Kids don’t care. Rug ’em up, they’ll have fun no matter what. And we did.

:love: I am quite bad at point form-ing my thoughts!

:love: Someone introduced me to the Sookie Stackhouse series. Thanks, Someone 😛 I read the books almost without coming up for air (don’t worry, I still managed to clothe and feed my children. Just.) Then I went out and bought Series One of True Blood on DVD, and we watched that over a week, then rinse and repeat with Series Two. Totally loving it. Series Three, of course, isn’t on in Australia yet, so we’ll be (cough, cough) waiting for that for a while. 😉

:love: After 44 months of breastfeeding, I finally closed up shop. (That’s non-consecutive months, obviously. I meant the total for all three children). I truly thought that would be harder for both Rohan and I than it was, but I just knew time was up, and we just… stopped. Now he goes to bed with cuddles and a few sips of water, and even (sometimes) for Dad, not me. Another monumental step. (And I just realised I can burn my maternity bras now. Or, you know, just bin them. Probably more environmentally friendly that way.)

There’s probably more good stuff. Just can’t quite drag it out of the brain cells right now. Between up there ^^^ and here, I managed to get Ro back into his bed, and the clock ticked over to Thursday… Must. Go. To. Bed.

Oh, but before I do, I also managed to get a few crafty bits and pieces in:

I finally finished off the doll stroller seat for my friend’s little girl:


Seen being test-driven here by our recently arrived good friend Gracie, another Bamboletta sweetheart to keep Molly company.


Also, I joined in with Sooz’s Useful swap. My original plan involved crochet, but then I stupidly managed to sprain my crucial-for-crochet-right-index-finger. So since yarny stuff was out, I broke out the fabric instead. This is only a peek, mind you, but I’m hoping the recipients love these – I certainly do, and I intend to make myself one or two now.


Once my finger began to recuperate, I started back on those tricksy DPNs (to help the recovery, you understand!):


And emerged victorious, with a smashing pair of red fingerless mitts to bring some happy to the coldcoldcold mornings we’ve been having.


Ravelry details over here if you are so inclined. I love my mitts 🙂

And, folks, as Peter Cundall used to say, that’s yer bloomin’ lot.

Stitches & Craft


She turned out rather well, don’t you think? The head was much trickier than I anticipated, and I’m not 100% happy with it, but I’ll know for next time. This one is being put aside for a certain little girl’s birthday (three short weeks away!)

I know it was a week ago, and you’re probably already sick of Stitches & Craft recap posts (which can be found all over crafty blogland, if you’re not sick of them!), but bear with me for just one last ‘stuff I bought’ recap, won’t you?

From the perspective of a mum with a crafty 3-nearly-4-year-old in tow, there was lots of fun to be had for not much money (even if I didn’t get to any or the workshops, which also looked like lots of fun). I took Niamh along, and our first stop was at one of the free craft bars, to sew this little butterfly brooch together (the project was for a bookmark, but Niamh insisted on it being a brooch, and who am I to argue?)


We also stopped by the MakeDo area to make this cute owl – which reminds me of Wall-E!


I let her pick out a scrap pack at Amitie for me to make her a little purse from. And beads were a mandatory purchase, of course. Plus the lucky girl scored a few freebies – the wee owl badge came from a friend of Holly’s while we were stopped at the twocheeseplease stall (don’t try telling Niamh that owls are out of fashion!) , the pinwheel came from Whirly Windmills, and Jodie’s mum even gave her a mini Cherry Ripe (not pictured, obviously!)

I came home with a few pieces of fabric from Earthgirl fabrics


A sample pack of Cheeky Beaks fabric; and a kit to make a needle felted terrarium from Holly at twocheeseplease:


And this lot from Ric Rac. (I think I might need a Ric Rac frequent flyer’s card, actually):


I thought I was remarkably restrained, considering how much more caught my eye. But I am supposed to be on a stash diet, so you know… it wasn’t fantastic from that angle!

Now I’m off to get us all packed – we’re off to my father-in-law’s place to chill out for a couple of days and celebrate Dermot’s birthday. Have a wonderful weekend everybody!


PS. Speaking of green-eyed-monsters, as I was yesterday, I am insanely envious of everyone attending the Sew It Together events this weekend. I was in hiatus from the blogging world (both writing and reading) while it was all being put together, so I completely missed the boat. Hope everyone has heaps of fun, and perhaps it will happen again next year. (To be completely honest, I probably would have been in a bit of trouble had I spent my husband’s birthday at a crafty-day-out anyway :giggle: )