Tuesday, August 25, 2015

This is Life

I feel I've finally gotten the hang of having four kids. They all nap at the same time! This must mean I've got it right? Either that, or something terrible is waiting just around the corner to spring on me now that I'm finally getting ahead. Whatever.

Steve and I have spent the last few weekends being handy. We planned, measured, cut, drilled, and even chiselled! I painted. And also hammered. Now we have a sandpit. Words can not describe just how great it is to have this. The amount of hours that my girls alone spend it in make it worth it. Not to mention Hugo and Penelope, and the visitors with kids. So great. 

I've been reading a bit more in my down time. Little things that are easy and make me feel that all is right with the world. Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George, An Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye and more recently a collection of short stories by Garth Nix. These make me want to write more, because he's so fabulous, and at the same time, not, because I could never be quite so good.

There is a furniture place down the road from us that Steve noticed was having a sale, so we wandered on down one morning for a look, thinking we would suss out the price of bunk beds. There were no bunk beds there, but we got a wardrobe for cheep. Then I had to spend a week reorganising all of the rooms, because no one had the furniture they were supposed to end up with. It was fun to go through stuff and organise furniture, but also time consuming. 

In our room, we ended up with an extra set of drawers that we didn't really need, but Steve said he'd prefer my material to be stored in the drawers, rather than as it currently was on a bookshelf. (I did protest because I can fit more on a bookshelf, than in drawers, but not for long, because even I had to concede that I probably had too much material stashed away.)

The good news I have to share is that Sally has magically fixed herself. Not two nights after I was sure she was broken for real this time, I opened her up to demonstrate to Steve just how broken she was and she started working again. I can not explain it, but I'm happy that my sewing machine is back in action. 

Subsequently I dug through the material that was now stored in drawers and found the sheet sets that Steve's mum kept from his child hood. I cut out seven capes and matching pairs of shorts. I don't want to give too much away yet, but they are going to look awesome and I still have stacks of that material left (Steve's mum kept two full sheet sets and two doona covers too - material heaven!).

We've been studying Hosea in bible study on a Wednesday night. Though I have done this study before and Hosea is somewhat repetitive, it's been refreshing. God is an amazing balance of love and justice, and the way he always wants his people to come back to him is phenomenal. That's what make him amazing I guess.

Anyway, Sophie has just awoken, so I suppose we will go and do some cooking together now. It's a rather delightful way to pass the afternoon. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Denim Skirt

The church bush dance was coming up. Every year it's a fashion dilemma. Bush means jeans and boots. Dance means spinning and twirling, which means skirt! Somehow for the last four years I've failed to come up with a suitable solution for this conundrum. No more is this the case!

I was actually thinking about making denim vest that I could wear along with a cool dancing skirt so that I'd have my token bush denim and still be dancing pretty. I looked online for vest patterns and ideas, but they all seemed fairly complicated. I also knew I was going to try to make it out of the plethora of old jeans I had stashed up (just in case I wanted to make a jeans quilt, or a painting apron in the near future you know?) so it wasn't necessarily going to be easy to cut out to start with. I was also running out of time. Two days to go.

Then I hit upon the idea of making a skirt using the jeans. As in, using the pre made and fitted top part of the jeans, slashing off the legs, making a new skirt bottom and then sewing that on. Volia! A skirt that I didn't have to sew zips or button holes for. Not a loose wrap skirt. It sounded good in theory, and I had so many jeans stored (I think twelve pairs (not all mine!)) that there was really no worry about getting it wrong the first time because I had plenty of material (even if I didn't have much time).

So I did it. And I love it.

I didn't get around to hemming it, given the time constraints, and it was just going to be part of the look anyway. Frayed is in right? I think it's fabulous. It could be the most perfectly fitting skirt I've ever made. So comfortable, and warm. Though the bush dance is now over, I'm still wearing it. Fashion be dammed, this is the best skirt ever.

Ok ok, maybe not, I'm sure it's got it's flaws, but I love it, and that's what counts. I mean functioning pockets on a skirt that didn't take three hours to put in!! YES!! What I saw in my head is pretty much what happened when I sewed. At first I made the skirt part too long (because I didn't really measure where I thought it would go on me, I just guessed it), but I just slashed off six inches and resewed it. Perfect! The length is great. Because it's heavy denim, I don't fear it flying up at the smallest gust of wind. It's twirly enough for a dance but modest enough to be worn whenever.

I found that cute lacy bit in a stash from my mum (I've got loads of it, it turns out). I think it helps with the bush dance feel, though maybe not the everyday fashion feel. Oh well. Functioning pockets remember!

Sophie helped me to sew the (re-cut) skirt bit onto the top, while the other three kids slept on Friday morning, which was very nice. She was excited to help me make a skirt. On the down side, as I was cutting the last threads off post sewing with her, she decided to show me that she knew how my sewing machine worked and proceeded to push the presser foot.

I know it's my fault that I didn't switch it off sooner, but now Sally seems to be broken thanks to this enthusiastic demonstration from Sophie. The joy at making this fabulous skirt is diminished by the sadness I feel when I think that I may not make another on Sally.

Maybe that's a bit melodramatic, but I was trying to put a quilt together last night and Sally won't even sew a stitch. I took things apart, and blew out dust, and rethreaded, and looked for possible reasons, but I can't see anything. She's just not sewing. Something is getting stuck and she just won't go. Sigh.

Today I will wear my lovely denim skirt and use it's awesome functioning pockets and twirl and dance with my girls. Maybe tomorrow I'll address the sewing machine issue.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Finger Painting

Now that Sophie is older, she wants to paint loads more, and now actually has the fine motor skills to give it a good go. Last year I gave her some really basic home made finger paints to play with, but I'd seen this recipe online that I wanted to give a go. It was a little more effort, but made some really great finger paints. Sophie helped, of course, so it was like two activities in one. Bonus!

The consistency is a great balance of thick and smooth. The colours turned out really well too. I was a little unsure how much food colouring to add, but they turned out really nicely. I probably added a little too much, but that's ok, lesson learnt. They live in some hand sanitizer bottles I'd been saving for this very purpose. It makes dishing out the paint really easy. Though, when washing out said hand sanitizer bottles, make sure you don't get any leftover sanitizer on your fingers and then rub your eye by mistake. That burns. 

I think come summer, we will all be finger painting just a little bit more. 

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Mail Call

I've been pretty run off my feet the last few weeks so much so that I haven't really had a chance to do much sewing at all. I sit and look longingly at Sally the Sewing Machine some days. Soon, I promise her, soon I'll take you out again.

We had a really busy last week because our niece, Matilda, was baptised and we had a sudden influx of family members hanging around for food and staying the night. Not the least was Steve's Nana who came up from Sydney and stayed a week to spend time with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. It was really lovely, but meant that we had not much free time for ourselves.

The other news that I've yet to share with you is that I've started looking after another baby part time. I wasn't keen when the mum asked me to look after her six month old, but she was really unhappy with the childcare they had and I felt for her. I wouldn't want to leave my girls anywhere I wasn't happy with. Thoughts like "It's only three days a week. You said you'd do term three while they are looking for another place, that's only ten weeks." also crept in to help me rationalise it.

Really, a six month old is so young and pretty care intensive (even when they are as chilled as this one is) because they can't do anything for themselves. Not my ideal situation, looking after four kids under three, but it's for a season.

Anyway, even with all my complaining and excuses about not being able to do anything with my time, I did get a small project done on the weekend which I'm pretty pleased about. It has taken me this long to post because I had to get action photos, which I couldn't do till I visited my parents place today.

Without further ado, I give you a mail bag.

Last Wednesday at my parents, the Sophie saw the postman delivering the mail in the street, which isn't particularly new or ground breaking, but it was the first time that it stuck with her and she proceeded to hop on the little toy bike they have there and deliver imaginary mail all afternoon. "This will not do," I thought to myself. "I can make a mail bag easily, it won't take long."

It really didn't. It took slightly longer because I got a bit fancy and stuck and Australia Post logo on the front and then the Japan Post logo on the other side and made it reversible. But even that didn't take long.

When I took it over today and put it on the bike, I was so glad that it fit, because I made it without taking measurements at all. The thing is prefect and made from scraps. It uses loops to hang off the handle bars that just slip on (sorry Dad, no velcro here). The whole thing is reversible and well made. I hope the kids use it for years to come. Actually, I'm sure they will.

That mail they are all enthusiastically delivering is cardboard that I cut out and wrote on. There are blank ones there for the girls to fill in themselves too. One day. Cardboard yo. It's the best.