Wednesday 29 September 2010

Holiday sewing project.

Yesterday I went out for lunch with my mum to a little cafe called Hubble's Yard. It was nice to spend some time with her on my own. As I walked back to my car I went into a little 'eco' gift ware shop and was inspired to make some skirts for myself, there were these nifty step in wrap skirts, that were too small and definitely too short (Read point number 4.1 of Anki's list 'seven signs of aging')

I bought this Indonesian inspired print some time ago and I knew I had it tucked away so I bought a length of  plain brown fabric to create a wrap around layered skirt. As I thought about it I decided it would benefit from some embroidery on the front to lift the plainness of the top layer. 

So I sketched a design in chalk to reflect the design in the print that will be on the inside of the skirt and embroidered it using a blue/grey to match the floral fabric. I used very simple stitches- running stitch and stem stitch.
P.S. Actually this skirt can be reversed so the pattern is on the outside.
Now I just have to sew it together and if it works I'll make another in black or navy.
Then I've got some new cushions to make too. - I'll post pictures when I'm done.

Monday 27 September 2010

Hooray for the Holidays!

Over the last couple of days apart from the time I took to make these costumes for Chicky Babe and Bek. They loved them! (oops! the way I've cropped these makes it look like the text has decapitated them! But they like to remain a little anonymous in this forum at least! )

I've spent a lot of time sifting through my computer bookmarks and linked posts etc to try and figure  out why I bookmarked them in the first place. Some of them are a complete mystery, I don't know what I was thinking others gave me a glimmer of inspiration and some complete envy! Anyway I've been sorting and 'Pinning" the photos of the ones that I want to keep as a reference. I am so totally enamoured with this sharing function BUT enough is enough! So very, very late last night I started drawing and decided that I needed to do some things rather than just think about them.

So today I've made a slip cover for a very comfortable but ugly chair that had scratchy acrylic fabric cover on it. Now it is comfortable and makes a bit of a statement in the hallway 'office' area where it currently resides. (Usually it lives in Bantam Boy's room but I'm sure he wont mind the new cover when he gets home again next week-Yay! He misses home too much. Awwwhhh. Anyway he painted one of his walls navy blue so it will fit nicely with his decor.)

My next job is to shorten the new curtains I bought for spring. And maybe continue with the drawing / painting that I started last night. I was considering abandoning it but Chicky Babe thinks it is ok as it is. I get very frustrated at my lack of drawing skills - I really need to do more! (Mental note: draw every day, practice makes perfect.) But as you know I don't like anything I do but I am trying to 'get over it' and just 'get on with it'. Because I am certainly not as hard on others as I am with myself.

I drew most of it with my left hand although I'm right handed generally I think I might be left handed when I am an artist???? I actually like the things I do with my left hand much more than those I do with my right! I'm tempted to keep playing with the face, but Chicky Babe said it looks Ok and that she look Spanish, let's just pretend I wanted it exactly that way.

Right! Back to it!!!!

Friday 24 September 2010

Butterfly garden.

I love this art activity I've just finished with 4 of my junior classes (2 year 1 classes, a yr 1/2 and a year 2/3)
The kids all worked in small groups to paint the background of two large canvases. Then I gave them some small pieces (About 20cm by 15cm) on which they drew and painted butterflies or imaginary flowers using acrylic paint. I cut them out and then we arranged them and I used PVA to glue them in place (trying to rearrange them as little as possible- but you know how I am with random sometimes its just too unbalanced!)

The principal wants more of these! They look great in the office. 
So I have a plan for some beach scenes next.

Monday 20 September 2010

Surprise garden make over.

My sister came to visit on Sunday afternoon while I was revelling in my organisation success, (see previous post) her kids and husband were going to the movies and as she has developed a tendency to motion sickness at the movies she was at a loose end and was looking for some relaxation time.

As I made her a cup of tea she started to pull an old shirt and a pair of gardening gloves.
"What are you doing?" I enquired.
"I'm going to do your garden."
"You don't have to do that."
"But I need to relax and gardening is how I do that."
So we spent the afternoon in the garden, we did one half and I told her that if she was free next weekend she could come and relax some more in my garden.

She even convinced me to throw away some old cane chairs that really had seen better days onto the verge for the collection next week- being a collector it was hard to do. I notice they were not there this morning. But I have decided that she was indeed right and now I can finish off my Adirondack chairs that are in the back shed.

Doesn't it look much better! I have paving again not weeds!

I have a set of old metal chairs that really need a good sand down and a paint. I happened to mention to Tim that I need a set of legs to make a table to go with it - maybe another mosaic project.

Today when I got home from work Tim had found a set of legs on the verge side trow out that are perfect for what I need. A karmic swap for the cane chairs.
 The legs need some work but while I'm doing the chairs I'll do them at the same time! I got an email from my sister asking if I have a wire brush attachment for my drill and was I free on the 3rd of October. I guess that's when we are transforming them.

Sunday 19 September 2010


This weekend I have devoted to organising my kitchen. Tim, bless him is an avid collector of lovely things and as a result the things I have to store in my shelves are growing in number and they had been put away all higgledy piggledy and as they are in plain view from the lounge this has been annoying me. So I've straightened them all up - I'm thinking of printing this picture for future reference so people can check to see where things go should they be unsure.
I went to Ikea yesterday - I wrongly assumed that it might be a little quieter because my walking friend said there was a football grand final on yesterday afternoon and I assumed that there might have been a lot of people there instead of at the shops- Boy was I wrong! There were people everywhere, I felt like a salmon going against the tide of people flowing along the designated viewing pathways. I was struck by how rude people are though. People run into you and just look at you in disgust or worse look through you when you smile and say sorry despite the fact that they had actually run into you!!!! Anyhoo...I went to Ikea to get some pull out wire baskets for my pantry. I realised that I've been in this house for 5 years and when I put the kitchen in I couldn't afford to buy all the baskets right at that time so I thought I'd put it off for a few weeks until I had the money to get some more. So about 250 weeks later I've bought some.
I popped in to visit Anki on the way home- they are making great progress on their home and I feel a little shamed that I still haven't finished my place and I've had 5 years!!!! I'm getting to the stage where things need redoing and updating and I'm not finished yet! I've got some new plans for my garden which I didn't plan so well in the beginning- I followed someone elses ideas and ended up creating a heat trap in my front yard- nice on a fine winters day but unbearable in summer!
When I got home I organised my pantry and my fridge! Everything is sorted according to type or use.

I'm seriously considering making labels for each shelf to ensure that the system can be followed by all of us!

The fridge now has trays for jams and spreads, sauces and chutney etc, cheese and dairy, dried fruit and nuts etc. I was alarmed to find several jars of the same type of thing all opened and hiding behind other things. It has been bothering me how wasteful my lack of organisation is. I found 5 jars of my favourite Thai yellow curry paste ( it is preservative free and tastes pretty authentic although it is cheating I know!
Maybe I'll make labels for these too!
I feel pretty satisfied with my efforts...I should have taken before shots but honestly I was too embarrassed!
Now what's next? The lounge room? the book shelf? my bedroom?

Saturday 18 September 2010


I discovered this new web sharing site and joined up about a week and a half ago. I am totally in love with it. It functions in a way that is perfect for me. It's like having a virtual mood board or journal. If you come across something you like you "Pin It" to your boards. As you pin your image it automatically adds the link back to the website you were on when you found it, at the same time you add tags and notes and can sort them onto different boards according to your interests. I've added a link in my side bar so I can find it easily and with firefox you can add a pinning tool to your toolbar, ingenious!
Now it means I have pictures to remind me of the lovely things I've seen and links back. I have a favourites list on my computer a mile long and then I forget which one is which and it takes me an age to find it or the computer gets a virus and needs wiping and you lose everything. Now I have access to my inspiration board from any computer anywhere. I think yo can set them to private or shared too. It is still new to me but I am hooked!
PS, You can tell I'm on a diet because there are a LOT of cakes and sweet things pinned on there!

Wednesday 15 September 2010

slimmer's fast food.

After a week of feeling very flat and depressed I carried on none the less, counting points and being good. Tonight was weigh in night. I lost 1.6kg again. Phew! I don't think my family could survive two weeks in a row of my tears!!!! Anyway that's 2.4kg so far so I'm feeling a little optimistic again, but very aware that I may have more inexplicable gains along the way. I keep Anki's advice in my head- focus on my monthly loss not the weekly fluctuations.
I came home from work and pretty much had to fly out again for the meeting then as I knew I had no fresh low point veggies in the house I went to 'fresh provisions' (our late night fresh veggie and gourmet supplies shop) I didn't get in again until about 7.30. by which time I was starving!
I needed something FAST or I would be susceptible to making a bad choice. So I made a  Couscous dish with salad. YUM. I bought a couple of packets of good quality organic couscous to keep in the cupboard as an emergency fast food.  The organic wholemeal brand was nice and light and fluffy not at all gluggy as some of the cheaper brands can be.
The recipe follows -not because it is particularly interesting or nifty just to illustrate how quick it is!
Super Quick Nutty  Couscous
Dissolve 1 massel veggie stock cube (Oops! this should have been 1/2 a stock cube- one is a tad too salty.) in 1 cup of boiling water,  stir in 1 cup wholemeal couscous. Cover and set aside while you make the salad. and chop up 8 pecan nuts.  Stir through the chopped pecans with a couple of teaspoons of pumpkin seeds, (some sultanas would be ok too if you had them, I didn't.) I added a good handful of chopped parsley to my portion-Chicky Babe doesn't like parsley. Sit down and eat. This quantity will serve 2-3

Thursday 9 September 2010

Goodness Gracious Great Balls of Fire!

Bantam Boy returned to join his mate in the Northern Territory with plans to make their way down to Sydney over the next few weeks at which point BB plans to come home some time between then and Christmas depending on how long his savings (and my support) lasts - the phone bill has meant this is less than it might have been.
Anyway a few minutes ago Chicky Babe announces that "oh yeah BB was in a car that caught on fire today"
"Yes Dinie (my mum) rang earlier while you were out"
(Thanks for letting me know earlier when it was not too late to call Dinie)

Anyway all I know is that the boys were driving along and noticed that the car was running hot. They stopped to look but couldn't see anything wrong so continued on, thinking what could really happen.
Well a little later they noticed some white steam or smoke.
It was smoke followed by some flames!
They leaped out of the car leaving everything inside (as you would!) Only to realise that their money, cards and entire possessions were in the car!
Fortunately the car behind them had a fire extinguisher and put the flames out before it took hold.
Thank the Gods! No one is injured in any way.
That's all I know at this point.
Perhaps they will be home sooner not later!

Wednesday 8 September 2010

I hate my body...

This week I counted points, tracked what I ate the same as I did last week. Both weeks were pretty much exactly alike, except that this week I was a bit better than last week. Last week I lost 1.6 kg every one was very excited at the meeting. I was cautious. This week I stepped on the dreaded scales. I have gained 0.8kg
To compound my misery I cried at the weight watchers meeting, I just couldn't stop myself.
Weight Watcher's lady"Tell me two things that worked this week"
Me under my breath "nothing"
WWL"Tell me two things that didn't work this week."
Me(under my breath "weight watchers."
Having Thyroid disease sucks.
So I will continue to count points and try not to lose heart, and I will try not to rant and rave here too often.

Saturday 4 September 2010

Bantam Boy's Birthday.

It was Bantam Boy's birthday on Thursday a pizza night was requested. Originally we planned to go out for dinner at a local cafe but I decided that I'd do it myself. I took a day of short leave in order to take BB to some appointments that he had - including one to change his phone plan so that he will be able to live to see his next birthday after the last bill- see previous post.
Having the afternoon free I was able to make pizza dough from scratch using spelt flour - for Tim's allergies and made sure I had a low point vegie option for me. I rolled the crust as thin as I could, no one was any the wiser (I've not told my wider family or friends that I'm doing weight watchers as I know it will be a long haul and if I decide to splurge here and there I want to be able to do it without any judgment) And splurge is exactly what I did on Thursday.
I made 4 pizzas. Potato and rosemary pizza is a long standing family favourite especially for Chicky babe.A plain basil and bocconcini one and another with prosciutto and roasted eggplant.  
My low point option was actually a hit with everyone and by the time the photo was taken it was almost all gone! I roasted small cubes of pumpkin and slices of capsicum in a hot oven and put heaps of them on the pizza base lightly spread with tomato paste added asparagus spears and sprinkled it with reduced fat fetta. Yum! I'll make that one again.
As you can see from the photo it was a very relaxed occasion - we ate straight from the pizza trays - no fancy platters and enjoyed some good red wine. Mum has booked me to cook when her new house is built and she has a house warming party and deemed that my cooking actually surpasses that of her favourite grandmother. A high compliment indeed!

Spelt flour Pizza dough (very easy)
Makes 2 30cm thin crust pizzas
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 8g sachet yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Put flour in a bowl make a well. Sprinkle in yeast and sugar. Pour in water and oil and mix with a large metal spoon. Knead gently for a minute or two until dough is well combined and smooth.
Cut dough in half and roll out on a well floured board.(Spelt flour tends to be a tad stickier than regular flour I have noticed but not too hard to manage, I had to be a bit careful when rolling it out and found that sometimes thin spots or tears happened in my first couple of bases I just pulled a little off the edge and patted it over the hole once the topping went on no one was any the wiser! )

Wednesday 1 September 2010

2000 reasons to use pre paid credit with a mobile phone.

Bantam Boy has been back for a week, he's having a holiday from his holiday! He has returned quite changed but in fairly subtle ways. He is definitely thinner - much less drinking and more working, he had been spending much time slothing about during the day and drinking too much by night, he has had a change in attitude towards drinking since he has been away, thank goodness. Yes he is a little more mature and the adult /child barrier has dissolved even more and although he is still very much my boy we have had some deep conversation and interact on a more adult to adult level. I think the drinking and slothing had set up a wall between us and a certain way of interacting that I am not sorry to see the end of! It is very nice to know he has missed home so much he had to come back for a bit before he travels on again.
It has been quite an education for him, he is learning more about the value of money and how hard it is to earn and how easily it slips through your fingers on general day to day needs. Unfortunately this has not extended fully to his understanding of mobile phones on the post pay options. While he was particularly homesick and broke he sent 1680 text messages home - mostly to his new girlfriend. I was quite alarmed and kept some of the money I have been using to support him on his holiday ( I pay him some money each month into his bank account) in order to pay off half of the amount he had racked up on the bill.
"Actually mum," he said at the time," the next one might be a bit high too."
A BIT high!!!!!! I got my monthly phone bill and with the $400 I have carried over from the last one it came to $2000! He had used $1300 in one billing period. He was contrite and sorry for what he had done but he said "I did ask you to increase my plan." all well and good but even had I increased his plan it would have been $1200 as the extra would have only increased it by $100!
Tomorrow he goes onto pre paid credit and he will just have to hope he doesn't get stuck anywhere without credit or access to a pay phone! He can call reverse charges from now on.
Thanks for all the well wishes with regard to me attempting to locate my waist again. Well it is one week down and I go in tonight for the dreaded weigh in. I've counted points all week and added some exercise points and ate frugally on some days so that I could splurge on Sunday when we had a family dinner for Bantam Boy. The weigh in is making me feel anxious, I actually cried last night I was so worried about how I am going and how I will feel if I've not lost weight. Today I feel a little better and have decided not to worry about it until I step on the scale and get the result. Last night I watched one born every minute a documentary in a British  maternity hospital. I was reminded of the birth of both my children, BB was 10lb5oz he was posterior, my cervix did not want to fully dilate and I was in labor for over 18 hours with Chicky Babe I was induced and at one point I thought the cervix thing was happening again, the nurse reassured me that each birth is different, just because my first went one way it did not mean the second would do the same. She was right CB was born quickly - It had taken 4 hours to get to 4cm and at that point I was despondent then I went from 4cm to her in my arms within half an hour. My point is that this mad me think- weight loss is my second hardest task to achieve after child birth (I'm not counting going to the dentist in that the is a whole 'nother story!!!!) Anyway my point is that I have decided to try not to think that this time at weight watchers will be the same as last time. Last time I didn't know I had thyroid disease and i wasn't taking any medication. This time my expectations will be of slow weight loss and I try not to feel like such a failure if I have a weight gain despite doing the right thing. It is not my fault, I am not weak or cheating secretly as I was accused of last time, this time I will know the reason why.
Still I have my fingers crossed that I get a positive result for my first week!
Now has anyone got any suggestions to help me make $2000 quickly to pay off my phone bill?

P.S. Back from weigh in. I lost 1.6kg