Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Autumn crocheting :: Fingerless gloves

I get so cold so easily in winter. But I don't like having the central heating blasting like the husband does, it makes me feel more tired and uncomfortable.  So I tend to wear scarves and fingerless gloves around the house throughout the 'cosy' months.  In the past I have LOVED and still covet these cuties from a favourite local store run by our friends Joel, Rach and Jane.  But after the big reno we are still paying Tom, Dick and Harry for various unexpected necessities (blinds, painting etc) SO I decided to get to making my own!
I tentatively used this pattern and was very happy with the result! They are different from my F&D faves but short of quickly re-learning to knit or asking my mum to knit me some this was my best option.
 As usual I got myself a bit addicted and am about to start my 5th pair.  I was worried that they wouldn't be very warm with the gaps in the pattern but I've been wearing them heaps and they are super warm and perfect for all day wear (although mine smell faintly of onion after cooking dinner with them on tonight).


I think I might sell them for some extra cash :) Thats if I get beyond making them for gifts first!

Next project: A warm and snuggly crocheted scarf.....


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Things I'm loving

 The Autumn sun :: my favourite time of year and the best place to be is right here at Barwon Valley, a 2 minute drive from my house. We are having plenty of beautiful sunny days lately and the sun brings out the vivid autumn colors to perfection. I'll bring the girls here or a crochet project, a devotion book or just a notebook and pen and drink in the beauty.

The great outdoors :: We went camping in the Otways National Park last weekend. I expected bush and gumtrees and koalas and cold air. There were all of those things but I didn't expect the green hills and young cows, bunny's tail weeds, amazing views and even the sunshine we found too.


 The easy company of family friends :: No pretending, quality company, happy children, good laughs, life-long relationships.

Beautiful snippets of Autumn :: In Forrest on our way home from camping adventures, our own little piece of Autumn in the front yard, and my favourite tree next door to our home that I can't stop taking photos of.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Tea with me {a long overdue catchup}


Hasn't it been ages since we've had tea together?

I've been so busy with life and extra little things that are important to us and I have been thinking of you and wanting to say hello but have just had to be patient and wait for time, energy and inspiration to come my way.

But come in, its beautiful and sunny inside as well as outside of our home today. I can seen all the colors of autumn from where I'm sitting at the dining table. Do mind the hydrangeas on your way in. Actually they are not in the way, I just want you to notice them as I adore them and am just a bit proud. You'll smell my vegetables and quinoa lunch cooking away on the stovetop (there is plenty if you'd like some). I'll turn it down and pop the kettle on instead for now and we'll have tea out on the deck in the sun.

I've been sipping peppermint, lemongrass and ginger or rose hip lately, no caffeine for me for reasons I may explain, if you can stomach it! But you have chai or green or black tea if you like, whatever you fancy.

So we've had an eighth birthday since we spoke last and on the same weekend we had church at our place with dinner afterwards as usual.  It was wonderful to open up our home to new and old friends and learn and pray and sing and share a meal together and have so many helping hands to serve and clean up afterwards.  It is a challenge for me and I hope to be continually challenged to have our home, our family space open to others in this way. I find large groups of people intimidating and extremely tiring. I would rather keep 'my space' private and calm and under my control.  But being willing and excited to join this church plant where living as missional communities is key to knowing Jesus and making him known means being stretched and nudged out of my comfort zone. Eeeek. So preparing for and recovering from that weekend was intense but absolutely worth it.

We set off camping again last Friday, this time with friends, two other families but I have to admit that we hired a cabin this time and I'm so glad we did. It was cold in the Otways National Park and having a real bed and a little heater made all the difference.  I hate to say it out loud or put it in writing but honestly, I MAY be nearing the end of my tenting escapades, many and varied as they've been!

I've been reading some lovely books lately. The Enchanted April and Madame Bovary most recently, the language and setting of both books was just dreamy I think, though don't read the latter if you don't like tragic and depressing tales. I'm now reading Anna Karenina again. I've been following along with 1 and 2 Peter podcasts from our established sister church in Melbourne, and in our small group on mondays we've started 1 Kings which is totally different to Peter, the former being a narative style and the latter personal instruction and encouragement but both have so much relevance to our lives. Its exciting to be able to see how two books from the bible that are so different and so far apart in history tell the same message of love and grace and hope.

I've given up sugar again. I've been pretty much sugarless for 2 - 3 years now. But then came Easter and adventures in Melbourne and eventually poor diet and doing too much caused a sharp decline a my health. Blah! My reliance on dark chocolate blew out a fair bit after Easter and the caffeine and sugar addiction began to mess with my sleep and blood sugar levels and I was just feeling wound up all the time.  Soooooo I gave it up three weeks ago and grudgingly took up the coffee enemas again. Yeeeeees, I take organic coffee beans, grind them up and boil them with filtered water in a saucepan. I then get to enjoy a fresh brew most mornings through the opposite end from where you'd normally enjoy a quality cuppa (if you were a coffee person). All I can say is it helps. You may research into it further if you'd like to. :)

I've still been crocheting and baking cakes (though less frequently). We've started lighting the fire again and gathering around it to read before bed - its the oldest and best place in the house to be in these colder months. We finally got Blake's old piano back from storage and he plays and the girls practice or pretend and I'm so glad we kept it for so long waiting for the day when we'd have room for it.

Have I gone on too long? Of course if you were here I'd have been asking you where you've been lately, what you've been reading or doing and what you are enjoying most right now.  Do you enjoy camping? have a piano? Feel free to tell me if you like. Or have 'tea with me' through Em's linkup. How gorgeous was her video post!?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Thoughts on turning 8

Eight years ago today I held a teeny tiny angel in my arms. Our first. She was perfect

Today she is tall and mature and cheeky and resilient and too much like me.

Unlike with her little sister, I've never had a problem with her getting older. We sent her to school at the age of four because apparently 'she was ready'. She is always after a challenge, she likes to know everything and analyse everything. She is as intense in personality as her eyes are blue. She is passionate and extroverted. She is polite, particular and 'perfect' (in public at least). Her love language is quality AND quantity time. She craves, needs. wants it all. A whole day playing games with her would fill her cup nicely, until tomorrow.

She loves animals and her grandparents.  She can sing and she is clever. She loves to make things and to have pretty things.

She is eight today and wishes she was nine. I'd quite like her to slow down now, to keep her innocence for longer.  She has already begun to pay too much attention to her hair or clothes in the morning. It must be about now that they become all too aware of themselves, their bodies, their face and how it feels to be 'in their skin'. It's scary.

Sometimes she turns into someone who is not my little angel. For 30 minutes or an hour she is uncontrollable, angry, bursting with the insufferable unfairness of life. She yells and cries and can't let it go, can't be reasoned with. Sometimes she knows she is being unreasonable but can't help herself and she is becoming aware of the pain it is to have one of these over anxious complicated female minds. She's not perfect, she is like the rest of us.  She can no more be perfect than I can love her perfectly( although I try) We both need Someone other to love us and accept us perfectly.

She's just started talking to me about sex, telling me she knows what it is and sounding smug when she describes it to me as 'married people cuddling with no clothes on.' Blake and I may have to close our door from now on. *blush*  She can stop now I think, stop at age eight. I tell both our girls that growing is a punishable act in this house and they'll be sent to their rooms if I catch them at it. Lucky for them they seem to grow while sleeping.

And they won't stop. Sigh. Next year they'll walk together to school and that thought makes me not want to think anymore today.....

Happy Birthday to our beautiful Malya Hope.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Little Golden Books {in every Nook and cranny}

Do you collect things? Little treasures that mean something to you from childhood or from places you've been or things you simply find pretty?

I collect vintage teacups and linen and pretty, old or useful things. I have a small collection of seaglass.  I collect crocheted cup cosies and classic novels.  But by far my largest collection is my 'stash' of vintage Little Golden Books. I have over 300 in my keeping, some battered or coverless, perfect for preserving through crafty skill, some extra old and precious, and some we just love to read and admire.  Harper has her own collection of twenty odd 'first little golden books', the small ones, and we have a decent pile of giant ones now too.  The earliest copies are from the early 1940's and the earlier they are dated the more beautiful and saturated the pictures are.

Its no wonder you can find a Little Golden Book or a salvaged picture from one in nearly every nook and cranny in my home.

You'll notice I particularly love the Little Golden Books that are illustrated by Eloise Wilkin and I'd like to think I own 85% of these.  I fell in love with her illustrations as a child and when the girls were born I found them comforting in a way.  But there are so many others I love just as much.

Some other favourites:

Outside my window
Susie's new stove
My little golden book about God
Good-bye Tonsils
The Lively Little Rabbit
Snow White and Rose Red
The Christmas Story
The kitten who thought he was a mouse
The wait for me kitten.........

Do you have a favourite Little Golden Book? What do you collect?


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Those forgettable days

You know those days when everything goes wrong. When you wake up and have to fight back the sinking feeling that its going to be a bad one, to fight the negative emotions and the strongest wish for it to be over already.....

Yesterday I woke around 5am with the dreaded feeling of a bad day ahead. I've always loathed the time changes for day light savings as I'm a bad sleeper. I loved living in Cairns for those two blissful years of no winding clocks back and forward and having sleep-confused babies and a cranky body clock!  After my big weekend in melbourne I knew I'd take a while to recover from the walking and talking and shopping and bag carrying but I'm never prepared for how horrible the recovery is.  The day after a huge event I usually feel hungover and sore but there is still that lingering adrenalin to keep me from despairing and feeling the all consuming malaise that inevitably lands upon me the next day an lingers for two or often three days.

So the forgettable day began and always one to make the best of things, I kept our play date with my gorgeous friend Neesha and her adorable children because we rarely see eachother and threw a cake in the oven for the occasion. FAIL! My gluten free banana cake was a miserable fail and the usual success I achieve from throwing in a bit of this and that and changing a recipe to suit my mood let me down, thanks very much!

Feeling nauseous and puffy eyed we welcomed our friends and for a while they took my mind off my sleep-deprived malaise and this gorgeous 'tea time' print, a house warming gift from Neesh warmed my heart and continues to cheer me.

(photo from Etsy, I haven't taken one of mine yet)

I blundered through the afternoon in a mostly horizontal manner until Harper went upstairs on the balcony and got her knee stuck in between the balustrade slats and it was stubbornly and painfully wedged there for half an hour! I called Blake who rushed home from his worksite twenty minutes away and just as he arrived, Sarah and Amelie popped in and saved the day in Sarah's calm can-do manner which was wonderful but made me feel even more useless and annoyed that Blake now had to work late to make up time. Aaarh.

Today I've slept better but the aches and pains are worse, the girls both have colds and I'm frustrated that another day is all but written off. Wow this is just one big whinge isn't it!? Please forgive me, I just feel like writing it all down.

My lovely hot soothing bath this morning got gate crashed by two little nude bodies who were clamouring for a dip in mummy's big bath. I'd started to listen to the first and latest podcast in the new series on 1 & 2 Peter for our church called  'More than Gold' which I'm sure will be just what I need when I get some time today. It was worth the lack of peace and extra headache to have my not-so-small girls still want to have a bath with me. The old 'they grow so fast' cliche is far too true and I'm grasping on desperately to any time with them that resembles the closeness that we have with our little ones.

I'm nearly at the end of this forgettable day. At the end of each tough day I do come to the conclusion that they are never altogether forgettable. I can always find something to be grateful for, always. I'm going to bed now, to curl up with my audiobook and crochet project. And I promise not whinge again any time soon....


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Things I'm loving

 AUTUMN:: My friend Sarah and I wondered through the beautiful Carlton Gardens to get to the Finders Keepers Market yesterday. There aren't as many autumn leaves about as is normal this time of year but this hardly limited the beauty with the morning sun shining through the trees. Autumn is simply beautiful.

 TEA:: and strawberries with cream surrounded by three gorgeous friends at Belinda's charming cottage. Vintage china and precious company:: things I'm always loving!

A COSY CAFE :: the sight of good coffee usually means I'm with my lovely (crazy) friend Sarah. At Kinfolk cafe on Friday her coffee was instagram-worthy and my peppermint tea was extra aromatic and served in a vintage teapot so with the easy comfort of old friends and the pleasure of people watching we were completely satisfied.

 THOUGHTS TO MAKE YOUR HEART SING:: I'm reading this with my almost 8yr-old and we are loving it! It does exactly what it says, it makes your heart sing :) Malya is really responding to it too and is eager to look up the corresponding bible verses afterwards in our adventure bible.

I DID IT! :: I am loving that I have started (or even finished) the plate display wall in our cubby that I planned aaaages ago, and the vintage hankie curtain I finally sewed together with the window in mind fits nicely across the green cabinet for now. I am loving being back in our home and being able to slowly tick off my half completed crochet, craft and sewing projects. It is really one of the best feelings.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter in the 'Forrest'

I've come home from two nights camping in the bush with my little family feeling all spiritually ignited. Just being away with the barest of necessities and focussing each day on His sacrifice whilst exploring and playing and eating was enough to fill me to the brim with gratitude and amazement afresh.

I love the coming home part of holidays, the feeling of relief at the thought of my own bed and our own space and belongings. We chat about our favourite parts of our time away and laugh again at the quirky, silly bits. The girls will have their first bathe in a few days and everything will be washed and put away and we'll appreciate our home again.

Forrest was beautiful.  I didn't make it all the way to the picturesque Lake Elizabeth but little Harper made it and her Dad and sister did the walk plus some twice.

My favourite little cottage (below) with its little red gate and blue hydrangeas down the side no longer boasted the blackberry bush bulging with fruit as it was on my last visit, but we found berries nonetheless on another bush walk. They were sweet and so delicious!  The ray of sunlight in the picture proves we did have fine weather  but it was chilly and wet sometimes too.  We snuggled in our little caravan at nights and were very cosy indeed.

While the two fitter ones hiked the morning away, little miss and I went on our own adventure, wandering along the quiet country road to the Brewery for tea. We stopped to talk to alpacas and a little pony and we collected leaves and tiptoed into someones sprawling backyard for a quick photo under a beautiful maple tree who's branches spread out to create the perfect canopy under which to lie and dream away the day. (bottom)

We ate too much chocolate, mostly in the mornings. (detox this week- maybe..) We played board games and went to a country market where I bought fresh tomatoes and figs, bread and goats cheese dip for nibbling on around the fire pot with my parents who popped down for an afternoon.

Blake is back at work tomorrow. School holidays will officially begin. Life moves forward again after a brief and delicious pause.

I still have some of my big Green & Black's organic chocolate egg left so maybe the detox will begin next week.....


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hope that does not disappoint

Tomorrow is the last day of school for our Malya Hope (for the term).  Its also my last CRE class and it is the day before Good Friday when everyone heads off for a long weekend, lots of chocolate, hot cross buns and usually family time.  

When I was pregnant with Malya (pronounced May-ah, silent 'l') I was extremely unwell and spent a good deal of the nine months in bed or in a wheelchair. It was, at times a dark time for me. It ended in such joy of course when our darling was born, but it was really tough even for months after the birth.  The entire time I held solely on to the hope I have in my Saviour, the hope I have for now and for ever and I had a constant feeling of joy amidst my suffering because of it. So Hope is her middle name and hope continues to fuel my faith and my life as she is about to turn 8!

According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, 1 Peter 1:3

Tomorrow I'l recap the historical story of Jesus, the Creator, suffering and dying on a cross 2000 odd year ago and being raised to life for the grade 3's at Malya's school. I'll have 30 minutes to share the reason we have an Easter holiday with each class which for most of them will be the only mention of Jesus in their lives until the next RE class.  I realise this is a huge privilege and that many do not agree with CRE in schools and the weight of this responsibility feels heavy at times. My greatest responsibility is to God, to show up and to teach well and to share the hope found only in Him.  But I also have a responsibility to the school and the parents to be respectful of the differing backgrounds of each student. Of course I make it fun and simplify the concepts of Sin and Propitiation and Forgiveness to help the eager listeners understand. And there just might be some eggs hidden in my bag for the end of class for all of them (including the small handful who don't take part in CRE).

In our family we spend Easter focusing more than usual on the saving grace of Jesus and in the hope that does not disappoint. We eat hot cross buns on Friday and lots of chocolate on Sunday and we spend time together and laugh a lot. We go to church at least once, not because we have to or to feel better about ourselves, but to gather together with our extended family, our friends and likeminded believers to give thanks and give our hearts to Him who is and was and is to come.  He who loved us as imperfect and helpless as we are enough to take all of it and die miserably so that we can live!

This is a great article to read on the history of Easter bunnies (what have they got to do with Jesus?)

A friend wrote  this on her facebook page an hour ago and I 'LIKE' it very much -

'Here's the thing: it's nearly Easter, and the story is not about a bunny. Today I read the following quote, and am compelled to share it. As is the chronic shortcoming of text, my tone here is not apparent, so let me tell you before you read it, it is earnest desperate beseeching longing imploring with heart brimful with love:

"If Jesus is Lord of the universe, and his resurrection proves that he is, and he is not Lord of your life, who do you think will win in the end?"



Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tea with me {with 'teacups too'}

What better time to enjoy a cup of tea than in bed while feeling a tad unwell, mildly hungover, or just deliciously relaxed.
Will you take tea with me on my bed? If you would we'd share cake too of course and this week you'd choose from banana coconut or vanilla-ry polenta loaf. Or if you come this very day it'd be classic chocolate cake we'd munch on (all gluten free of course).  My 'cake-a-week' thing has blown out to three cakes this week but I'm hoping to save some of the chocolate one for Tony's 3rd birthday party on wednesday.*

If you were here this morning sipping with me I would tell you how sleep deprived and sore I am after a crazy busy day yesterday. My sisters Birth House had its grand opening yesterday and it was a big day for her after so much prayer and work and dreaming had gone into it. She'll be a busy home and natural birthing midwife from now on I think even with her three most gorgeous little ones in tow.  It was a proud moment for me seeing such a beautiful space open and all ready for each and every new miracle and to give support for new, old and hopeful Geelong mums.

We dropped the girls to their friend Nate's party and rushed off to my friend Justine's wedding.  Its an understatement to say it was a big day and night for me and now (after drinking no alcohol at all) I'm one hungover little lady!
I'd be sipping lemon and ginger tea. No caffeine for me today after overdosing yesterday just to keep me upright.  What about you? Frothy chai brewed from scratch on the stovetop? Or a simple English Breakfast? I know I know, those of you who have already come for tea are nervously wondering if I've finally stocked some cows milk instead of just the lovely fresh goats, or the creamy bonsoy... Well, actually..... do you mind black tea? But truly I promise that next time I'll have milk for you. :)

Another week has flown by hasn't it? Its nearly Easter and school holidays and autumn leaves against cool blue skies.... More tea drinking, a little bit of boot wearing, windy afternoons and shorter days.  
Autumn brings with it an 8 year old birthday for us and Blake and I will turn ten in late May (Eek, still not organised for the long awaited he-and-me time).
What about you? What are you looking forward to in Autumn?

I've just made a big creamy potato and leek soup to send with Blake to church this afternoon. Of course I had a mug full myself and it was so yummy and warm I am now officially ready for the soup-season.  I may have to switch to a-pot-of-soup-a-week instead of cakes, a much healthier option and far handier as easy meal substitutes than baked goodies!

So yes count me in for soup and crusty bread at your house Em and thanks again for the tea date (link) :)

*Tony is Harper's much loved teddy bear. We decided he was indeed due for a birthday soon and she insisted he was to turn 3.  We have planned his party, sent out invitations to his three lala loopsy friends, and will be playing birthday celebrations on our day off together this week. Of course she is super duper excited!


Sunday, March 17, 2013

My {little golden nook} and some weekday creating

Can you hear my big Sunday night sigh?

The week is done and a fresh one begins tomorrow. I can't even remember why its been such a busy week. Harper has been sick and I now suspect a UTI, the poor poppit. Our 'Maisy' had her first ever sleepover party. We've all gone from forever hot and sleepless, to cold and just a little crazy.

And we ticked a few things off our 'finishing touches' (long) list...

:: Our little reading/cuddling nook is almost complete

:: My current favourite homey book 'Granny Chic' by Tif and Rachelle, best read IN the nook

:: I finally sewed together my vintage hankie curtain for the cubby shelf (there was such joy all around when we found my 'lost in transition' sewing machine this weekend)

:: A fun lamp upcycle project for Miss M's room

:: Every day is a crafty day for little H plus evidence that all is far from perfect here with boxes still to unpack

:: A 'tea and cake date' in the cubby was a big event for the stay-at-home two