Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Download dilemma

Somehow we have managed to use 80% of our total downloads for the month in the first 7 days. I suspect it may have something to do with music and TV programme downloads on I-tunes and face book new year party invites to my house and hasty retractions and other plans made. (Thank you to Bantam boys friend!!!) I suspect that playing online poker and a weird fish rearing game may also be at the bottom of it.
So If I should suddenly go completely quiet it is because I am not able to use my computer any more. We have 20 gigabytes then if we go over the company don't slow us down they just charge outrageous excess fees and then once we reach $300 excess then they slow us down.
So I have slowed us all down...making it necessary use only!
This is necessary right! I have to wish everyone a happy new year, and see how everyone in blog land is going!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Christmas crafting.

Having had my main christmas event and having no money at present (The ex is not paying any maintenance at the moment, but will in late january) I am spending time hanging about making stuff. I will have to do some very last minute present shopping for my chicks when I get paid again on thursday- not looking forward to that one bit, the shopping on christmas eve part not the present buying part!
Oh no! I'll also have to do food shopping for christmas dinner too (Just a simple re-run of last week, me kids, Tim, Mum and Ron- but I will need to get some food to make dinner with!) but the supermarket/food shops will be hellish!
But right now I'm enjoying flicking through magazines and doing a bit of crochet for no particular reason other than just the fun of it.

My friend 'A' saw these lovely potholders by Annepaalandet on Ravelry. There was no pattern for it so we both spent time trying to figure out just how she created the triangular pattern. I think I came pretty close in the end.

Then 'A' distracted me with this particularly pretty potholder (which I had saved the pattern for 6months ago and forgotten completely about.)

The next little distraction came in the form of this little birdie from Attic24. There is a pattern but I didn't actually follow it. I made up my own wing shape and crocheted the beak directly onto the circle after it had been sewn together.
Not exactly sure what I'll do with it now...put it on the christmas tree?

Sunday, 20 December 2009

I'm completely stuck for a title...

Now I feel like I'm on holidays! I plan to sit on my couch, crocheting and reading a magazine or two today. Last night my sister and her family, my mum and step dad came over for our Christmas dinner. (My sister lives in Northam and doesn't like to drive here on christmas day. Then my kids have to fit in seeing their dad and his family so we decided to have christmas early. At my place! Which has been looking like a bomb had gone off in it up until yesterday afternoon (Don't look in my bedroom, and be careful if you open the linen cupboard!!!!!) I had to move classrooms on friday too so I'm over dealing with mess! so the bedroom and cupboard will just have to wait.

I should have taken a photo when the table was set, not post party with sauce spots! I used a simple stencil that I cut from card and some ordinary acrylic paint with a fabric medium additive to print this tablecloth, 4 meters long to cover the two tables to accommodate everyone . We'll see if the additive works, because it really will need to be washed before I use it again on Christmas day.

But for now I intend to spend my time crocheting or relaxing on my hammock which now has a net to stop those pesky flies, bugs and a very occasional bird calling card from interrupting my slumber! $14 at Ikea well spent I think.
The view from my hammock.
It is so hot here right now. The lawn has suddenly gone brown and alot of my plants have been singed out the front. Tim managed to buy me an enormous shade sail cheaply to protect my garden from the radiant heat from the paving out the front. I might be able to sit out her this summer to do my crochet, now that we have some shade. And with a little TLC over the holidays it might be a nice place to sit.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009


A few weeks ago I took the kids on an excursion to the fremanle Literature Center. We met Narelle Oliver who has written several books for children. Many have an environmental theme. But there was also one called The Very Blue Thingamijig that the children really enjoyed.
They were intrigued to see that she had one made up as a toy from felt.

So I had them come up with their own strange thigamijigs. They drew them, wrote about them and then made their very own thingamijig.

It was a great pleasure to see these year three children (8&9 year olds) chuffed at their creations. Totally surprised that they had these toys hiding inside them!

Yummmm... A going away cake for a colleague.
Vanilla and blueberry cake with coconut icing.
Just the basic vanilla cake recipe from my vanilla and rose water cake with a tub of blueberries and a handful of slivered almonds mixed through. Then topped with pure icing sugar and water mixed to a pouring consistency and sprinkled with coconut and almonds. Then one more punnet of blueberries to fill up the hole in the center.

A little after dinner crochet. Trying to figure out a particular stitch used in a pot mitt seen here on ravelry.

Monday, 14 December 2009

A new job and a question.

I went into a local boutique/indie craft type shop not too far from where I live. It is called Red Feathers and a Hula Hoop. They sell hand crafted stuff by local artists alongside vintage crochet rugs and bric-a-brac and recycled, refashioned items. They also run workshops for both adults and children.

I showed them my necklaces and a couple of HANDbags. They loved them and have taken the lot on consignment. One of the ladies said "these are lovely but it is you that I really want, to teach workshops. You are just the type of person we need."

So now I have a new job. Well she has booked me in for a definite spot in the October holidays but is keen to have me take some Saturday workshops before then. She was very persuasive and before I knew it I had said yes. Mind you I quite like working with small groups, plus they would be kids that actually want to be there. I'm going to think on it a bit before I commit to more teaching work, plus I didn't even think to ask how much they pay. Maybe it would be good to get some extra cash before my Thailand trip.

So now I need to make up some more little name tags with my little red hen picture on them (Like the one in my side bar.)

But the problem is I don't know if I should go just 'Red Hen' at the bottom of the picture or have 'dette's designs' (someone said I should have my name on them so people get to know it.) I did one that had both 'dette's designs' small at the top then the picture then 'Red Hen' in larger font at the bottom.

What do you think I should put? dette's designs and let the picture say 'little red hen'
Just Red Hen or both????

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Playing with fire and reinventing the wheel...(post two today!)

I found a couple of yo-yo's or suffolk puffs in my sewing basket. I made a couple of tiny little green ones and sewed them together added beads and sewed them onto some chord.

playing with fire...

I'm using a technique I saw somewhere - but god knows where on one of my report avoiding blog/craft site rambles, that involves melting the edges of synthetic fabrics using a candle flame. It's quite exciting really because until you get the hang of how the flame affects the different types of fabrics they can burst into flames at any minute!

But those bits that survive make quite pretty flowers. They are quite quick to put together and therefore a good one to do for this market coming up suddenly where I don't have a lot of time to put things together.

As necklaces.

I've decided to do these and some crocheted toys to top up what I have left over from previous ventures. As I don't want to spend much money for this event as it is the first time the school has had stalls at the christmas carols and it may not attract a large crowd- then again it could be good (fingers crossed) Plus I think it is a good thing for the kids at school to see me there selling my craft work - a good example of the Arts in Society outcome!!!

PS: an afternoon's work. (I had the circles pre cut, that was an evening in front of the T.V)

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Crochet creations/celebrations.

Reports done! Made these two little girls last night for my stall at the 'christmas carol comunity event' at my school. I stayed up a bit too late finishing off the mermaid.
Reports are done (just have to hold my breath and hope there aren't too many edits to be fixed.) but I'm not on holiday yet so I will have to refrain from working into the wee small hours, 1:30 is a little late on a school night. Luckily I have a late start this morning. I have to go to Jacksons in my DOTT time before my first class and they aren't open yet.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Progress Report.

Two cute little felt birds made last night and almost complete (just a few tiny glass beads to add I think)...

1 walk and breakfast at a cafe with my friend across the street this morning,
1 movie to see and dinner out with friends tonight.
260 or so art marks entered Friday afternoon...
26 classroom reports to finish.
Well a girl has got to have some fun!
I'll do them tomorrow.

Sunday, 22 November 2009


If you see me around in blog land tell me to go and write my reports! They were due in on friday!

Saturday, 21 November 2009

too cross...

I just found out that although my ex has been unable to pay more than half the correct amount of child support, or pay for driving lessons, cars or car repairs or school fees or anything or take the kids to lunch anywhere but KFC or Maccas, he did in fact earn over $450 000 in 2008 and $250 000 in 2009.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Kawaii Kokeshi Dolls

I found this pattern on Ravelry, Very cute ,very easy. It would be a good one to use for a first project. I am using up some of the yarn that Tim bought for me at a garage sale. I have no idea who they are for. I might sell them or maybe they would be good for a Toy Society christmas toy drop.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

I love Totoro

This little fellow has inspired Chicky Babe to want to learn how to crochet!
I made him using the pattern mentioned in my last post, with some modifications (smaller ears, skinnier arms and bigger white belly) to make him look more like the big grey guy rather than the medium sized blue fellow.
I still have to embroider on the features and invent a pattern for the legs.

PS: (Later in the afternoon.)
Embroidered features...

Still no legs!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Reaching across the crochet divide

Oh so delicious but a bit too expensive!

Silk Yarn

And wonders will never cease. While chatting with Chicky Babe today I was browsing Ravelry looking at toys to make for Christmas time. I came across some Japanese manga style toys Chicky babe suddenly exclaimed. Oh Totoro!
Totoro is a totally cute creature from a Japanese Manga film. So now crochet is good and I am making a set of little Totoro toys.

My Neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988)”

I can't upload a picture of the one I'm making but click here if you want to see it or if you are on Ravelry try this link.

Here's her blog of cute crocheted critters.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

I really should never complain.

I had a girlfriend visit this morning with her little one. So, so cute. We had a lovely chat and coffee and cake (oh my own new yummy recipe- which I will post when I get a photo of the half demolished remnants of it.)

Here it is.
Ricotta and apple cake (Easily adapted to wheat free/gluten free version)

After she left I thought I'd pop on the telly and see what was on Oprah- my guilty holiday pleasure, I love the weepy ones not the celebrity interview ones and today was indeed a weepy one. About a woman who had grown up in poverty in Africa desperate to go to school but not allowed to. So she did her brothers home work on a stone "desk". Her father refused to let her go to school and she was married off at 11. By the time she was 18 she was a mother of three with a husband who beat her daily. One day a woman from an aide organisation came to her village and planted a seed in her mind that it was possible for a woman to get an education. She now has her masters in agricultural studies is living and studying in America and is remarried. They then went on to show again the atrocities that happen in the Congo with the poor women who are victims of rape. Tears were flowing in my house by this stage. Chicky babe who was going to make fun of her teary mother did not when I told her why I was crying.
It fascinates me how dedicated these women are to education- as a teacher who deals with children of various backgrounds I am struck by the difference in general by the poorer people in Africa and India and their keen desire to attend school and the general reluctance of many kids here to take hold of the opportunities education holds.
Another thing that is interesting is the success of programmes that educate and empower women. Money loaned to men in these communities is often used to show off to others in the community whereas small business loans give directly to women will enhance the whole family and also the wider community who are often employed by these women as their businesses grow. This money is usually always repaid and the profits are often used to educate the children. I of course-did as instructed by Oprah and went straight to her website and found the link list page to find avenues to help. Often I will go to Oxfam and buy a business for a woman in a developing country but now I have found on line links where I can do this with my new pay pal account. I've added it to my sidebar so I can find it easily again perhaps you might like to take a look too.
One day when I win lotto I would love to build a school for women - I guess I am quite passionate about it because along with the social security assistance I initially received, being educated has given me the chance to escape an abusive relationship and to support my family independently and to a comfortable standard, we may not have had everything our hearts desire and we have a modest house and don't have the latest gadgets and flat screen TV's but in comparison to many people in the world we enjoy a standard of extreme luxury.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

not quite right.

I've started a new crochet project (although I promised myself I would not as this time was supposed to be devoted to the kids and the house.) But I could not resist this lovely cardi/shawl that can be worn several different ways.
the endless cardi/shawl pattern from stitch diva studios
I like that this one piece can be worn different ways and am planning to make one to take to thailand my thinking is it will be versatile and I can have it folded/scrunched in my bag to be worn in temples or thrown over a singlet top to go out for dinner. However this presents a problem because it will be HOT! So I thought I will have to make it from a natural fiber. like bamboo or cotton. So far I have tried 5 different swatches. Then I discovered I would need about 30 balls of yarn! That then meant I had to consider the cost of the yarn on top of colour and composition. To make it in silk yarn as shown would cost over $300!!!!
I found a bamboo/wool blend that I thought would be ok. It was on special at spotlight so that was good. But it is too chunky!
Then I tried a cream cotton. It was ok but too stiff.
Then I found this sage green cotton,
which is nice and soft and drapes quite well.
But they don't have quite enough balls of yarn! They do however have enough of this soft type of cotton yarn in off white and another in a cream, so perhaps that is the universe saying make it in cream!
I've also discovered a local designer who makes beautiful clothes that all mix and match together to create a range of outfits. I found it on line, but I am afraid to go into town to find out if they do larger sizes as I may be tempted to buy a whole set! I was going to try to make some as they would be simple enough to make but sourcing the fabrics is getting harder and harder. I remember the day when there was three fabric stores in fremantle, including those in the major department stores and several at local shopping centers dotted around the suburbs. Sigh!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

So glad..

I am so glad I have been fortunate enough to take some time of work to support Bantam Boy through his TEE exams. I have been making a cooked breakfast for him, preparing his favourite meals at a reasonable hour and making cups of tea ,lunches and snacks. I've been able to drive here and there and run lunch into school for Chicky Babe. All without any stress. It is my job at the moment, just being a mum and I am enjoying it thoroughly. I have time to pay attention to the little things I enjoy, like the shadows on the wall in the hallway in the late afternoon sun. I have two of these little dolls given to me by a friend.

I've had time to create a Halloween costume for Chicky Babe, who is in her own words "So Cute"
I made the tail she did the hat. I love that I am still making 'dress ups" for her even though she is 16 and a half. When they were tiny I made them dinosaur costumes- little hooded t-shirts with spikes, teeth and tails. I often took my little dinosaurs shopping and could hear other children begging for a similar costume. I used to whip them up when friends came over to play. This led to the belief my children held for quite some time that Mum was capable of whipping up anything that was required on short notice, especially for West Aussie Day at school. I want a frilled neck lizard costume, I want to be a black swan, ...a jar of Vegemite, a tropical butterfly, Captain Stirling. At one stage I gave up buying normal clothes because they spent most of their time dressing up.

And I've been exploring the net, planning my Thailand trip, booking hotels and finding things to do and places to see. Also I've been trying without immediate success to set up a paypal account and try to purchase crochet patterns and pay for hotel booking deposits online.

Very Frustrating....but I'll get there.

Friday, 23 October 2009

This chair is too wobbly...

(image found at this website)

Yesterday one of the little year one kids fell off a stool in the art room because it's legs were wobbly and unstable. So I asked her to put it under the table so no one else would fall off it. I promptly forgot all about it until this morning when I sat on it an landed on my bum as it broke under my weight- a la Goldilocks style- apparently my head missed the table behind me by mere centimeters! Of course the kids thought it was hysterically funny. So now I have a sore bum, ankle, wrist, knee, back, neck and ego!
I also fear my fall was not as graceful as that of Goldilocks in this image!

PS: The web site: Iconic fairy tales has some very cute vintage style stories on it worth a look if you like that kind of thing.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

It's a Blast!

It's that time of the year again. 32 schools from across our district are displaying children's art works in a huge combined exhibition.
It all began with a fashion parade of wearable art on Monday.

I love these puppet's made by the year 1 and 2 kids. They have so much personality!

This display board features pictures made from sticks, leaves and seed pods. They look great in shadow box frames. We have eco bags appliqued by year 3 and "upcycled jewelery and refashioned T shirts by yr 6/7's.

More upcycled jewelery and some fairly rustic ceramic trinket boxes.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Where has the time gone?

I spent most of my holidays unwell and this last week at school has been a blur. The low point included an abusive, graphically rude note put in my letterbox by a student I had growled at at school on the last day of last term. I don't expect that all kid will like me but I don't expect to be bothered at home by them. The mother was informed and she was beside herself with embarrassment so hopefully it wont happen again.

At least one little girl was so pleased to be back at school, in her words she missed me so much she wished there were no holidays. Everyone told me not to take it to heart but it isn't nice to be on the receiving end of something like that and when it follows you home it is a little unpleasant.
Bantam Boy's mocks are done, only a couple of weeks to the real thing. I am not convinced that there is anywhere near enough study being done. We are all a little grumpy and stressed around here at present so I have tried to stay away from here so as not to bore you all silly with my whinging! My posts my be few and far between until the end of this TEE caper. Although if I am not working (I was at school till 8pm on Friday getting stuff ready for art blast- a huge cross district display of children's art work.) I may have more time just to potter, organise my house and myself and maybe take some photos of what I've been doing.

My friend D and I went into the travel agent today to book our flights and organize our elephant trekking trip to Thailand. We plan to spend a night in Phuket, from there the elephant hills people will pick us up and take us into the national forest. Where we will do these things. (Photo's from the Elephant hills luxury tented camping tours website.)

This is D's 50th birthday wish - to trek on an elephant.

This is included...

if she can do it I'm sure I can!

I've started walking this week to help improve my fitness to make sure I can. I also bought one of those weekly tablet containers with the days marked on them to make sure I take my thyroid medication every day as I am supposed to... it might help me loose weight so that I am not mistaken for an elephant!!!!

One of the tents...
inside the tent. My kind of camping!

We will stay at the campsite in the middle of one of the oldest tropical rain forests in the world for a few nights then instead of returning to Phuket we are going to Krabi for a night or two. From there we will take the train to Hua Hin where we will spend a couple of nights before heading to Bangkok. We decided that the train trip would be an interesting way to see a bit of the countryside rather than seeing the inside of an airplane! We also thought that the contrast between the forest in a tent and such a huge city like Bangkok would be fascinating.

I have to admit I am a bit nervous, mostly as I will be leaving Chicky Babe here. But she will be 17 by then and is looking forward to spending 10-12 days on her own! I am worried that she might follow through on her threat to get rid of some of my junk-or tea cups and fabric as I call them. I'm sure she wouldn't....yeah I'm pretty sure she wouldn't ...would she?!?!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

leaving the clothes neatly...

Reading the comments that followed this post by fifi reminded me of my dad. He was not renowned for his neatness- I am much like him. One day I came home from uni to find him smoothing his work clothes down all over the floor as he took them off to change into his casual clothes.
"What on earth are you doing?" I asked as I looked at the arrangement of clothing all strewn neatly about the floor, like some kind of art installation.
"Well your mum always complains that I leave my clothes on the floor messily!"
He must have been a bugger to live with! (But a funny bugger)

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Beginning to see the daisies not the weeds.

Things are looking up. Bantam Boy has had his extra reading time for his TEE approved. My principal has given the ok for me to have the time off to support BB which is great because we will have to travel to an external examination place to do his exams. His school is about a 5 minute drive but the college we have to go to is about half an hours drive. And we have to go in peak hour traffic. So having time off means all I have to do is focus on him and getting him there on time and as stress free as is humanly possible for these things!

I am on holidays for 2 weeks. Again! You have to love teaching for that.

But something else I love is when a project goes well. I just had to share with you the work of a couple of my year 3 kids. These two did a particularly good job. We have been learning about "the world". We've been reading and writing about it. For T&E(technology and enterprise) I told them they had to select one type of habitat to create a diorama showing what it was like. To do that they had to use their Society and Environment research skills to find out as much as they could about their chosen part of the world. All around the outside they have added information and interesting facts about their region. I love it when one project goes across a number of learning areas.

The one above is a Northern Forrest complete with a bear and salmon in the river. The one below is a tropical rain forest.

What I love most about this one is that the little girl has crammed it full of vegetation and created labels for her diorama just like the ones she has seen in diagrams in her reading.

And my final piece of good news is that I have finally been able to install my bath! It has only been sitting in the car port for 2 or 3 years. But every time I got close to having the money another thing happened to take priority.

Now don't look TOO closely as you will see that the old stained sealant that held the glass shower screens in place has not yet been scraped of the walls and floor. There is also a fair amount of building rubble and dust on the floor from where the plumber went through the wall and Tim drilled to put up a shower curtain. I could have dealt with that first but I went and bought bubble bath and relaxed a bit instead. When I closed my eyes I couldn't see the mess.
So the bathroom is up there on my list of holiday projects. Hopefully I'll resist the temptation to get in it and just close my eyes.
I have a tin of paint to freshen the whole room up. I have plans to sew some new clothes -if I can get BB to move his oil paint covered art work off the dining table(that stuff goes EVERYWHERE!!!) I'm halfway through my zig-zag rug which BB wants very big so it will cover his double bed, at least he likes my crochet unlike Chicky Babe! I laughed when I saw Cate Blanchett wearing a crocheted dress (a granny square one at that!) and the appearance of crochet in the local fashion awards in the Sunday paper. What will she do if the stuff her weird mother is doing becomes fashionable! She will face a dilemma then!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Chicken and egg.

I used to be able to fit time for my own art work into my life but lately I just haven't got the head space for it. I would have thought that having the kids get older was easier, but right at this minute they seem to require more attention-not in the same way as when they were babies but pretty much the same intensity. I have reflected that late teen children seem to be like 3 year olds again in terms of parenting because they are moving from child/teen to adult and they feel ready to do all sorts of things yet they are not fully independent yet so they rely on you for your help but they reject it at the same time. Rather like when they wanted to dress themselves at three but could not quite manage the buttons.
I have decided not to do the George St Market this year as I am going to focus on getting Bantam Boy through his TEE. It looks like he won't get to keep his extra reading time (for his mild processing disorder) so I need to make sure the home is as stress free as possible. (In human biol. they took their blood pressure everyone else was normal and his was 150 over 80, the doctor thinks it is stress related, i worry because my father had outrageously high blood pressure- he had an over active adrenal gland and this made him stress more or feel stress more rather, so I worry about my boy.) I have applied for leave during this time and it has been approved. So I am going to dedicate myself to being a full time at home mum for the two and a bit weeks of his exams.
So I am tired and out of sorts and have not ideas of what to make/paint/do and don't have the energy to do it anyway. But I know it revives me so it is kind of chicken and egg stuff, I don't know if I'm blocked because I am tired or if I'm tired because I'm not doing any art work! May be it's a bit of both.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Catch up.

100 balloons!
For the party last week. This image and the next three have been waiting to be uploaded to be used since then!
I've just spent the afternoon trying to find a way to download them after finally finding how to get them off the internal memory of the camera. (Now I'm not exactly sure what I did but it worked! Let's hope it behaves from now on!) Then I discovered that my computer which had to be wiped and re programmed all over again due to some strange computer problem/ virus/something strange involving programmes being wiped off regularly...Does everyone have these problems often or is it just me because I have teens who go to strange and dodgie places on the net??? anyway I digress....I have now found that the camera software/programme that I use to down load photo's with is not on there and I can't find the disc to load it on again!!!!
So I had to put them on the laptop locate a thumb drive and transfer them across.
They really aren't worth all the effort!

Although I did think this was a bit amusing!

And this is my "Trim" that I had at just cuts where she trimmed about 5inches off the back!
But all the kids at school think I look much younger (even some of the year 6/7 boys had positive comments to make about it) and I've had lots of compliments so I've decided I like it after all. Plus I'm getting the hang of what I have to do with it now- which is actually not much! Another bonus!

I finished the floral rug I started a few weeks ago in time for Bantam Boy's party and made a cushion cover to match.

This is my current project. I love the colours and the wool is really nice. Light but warm, merino again but thinner than the 8 ply I used in the last rug.
Bantam Boy thinks the place is beginning to look a little like "The Burrow" and I am a bit like Mrs Weasley (A Harry Potter reference for those of you who don't have kids.) He actually meant it as a compliment. Because Mrs Weasley is homely, as in warm and maternal and a bit potty but she can kick arse when needed.