Friday, 28 November 2008

And then it all washed away...



So I feel much better today. I'm not entirely sure why, but it could be due to one or all of the following:

I cleaned the bathroom
She slept for 3 hours this afternoon
I re-arranged my study and sewing space
She woke up asking for food, not milk
It rained
Actually, it bucketed down
We went outside and put our hands in the fragrant wet soil



Have a lovely weekend!

A space to sew

OK, next up is my sewing space.



This is still a bit of a work in progress. I found this great sewing organiser thing-y at the secondhand shop some time back and it was previously holding a good portion of my sewing stuff. However, it sits on the ground and it far too attractive to a certain little person - and so my thread etc ends up all over the floor and in a big tangled mess. For the moment, therefore, I have decided to remove all the tempting things from this little cabinet and to take the opportunity to fix it up a little.



In the meantime I borrowed one of Lily's little bookshelves and put it up on a chest-of-draws (out of little person reach) and arranged my stuff in there. The nice thing about this is that I have also been able to fit in some of my favourite bits of fabric (the rest of which live in the linen closet) and some of my growing collection of craft books. The 'inspiration board' was hanging on the wall behind this little shelf and so now it needs to a new home next-door...

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Night weaning

So I night-weaned Lily.

She was feeding every hour or so and I was feeling utterly exhausted and so I decided that things just had to change. The weird thing is that it really wasn't a terrible experience. She did wake up a lot on the first night and she did tearfully ask for milk, but she also settled very quickly in my arms and went back to sleep once I rocked her and sang to her. What seemed to matter was that she could chose the song.

The second night was a little harder - only in that she was awake from 12:00-2:30am. She wasn't crying or upset for most of that time mind you. She was mostly trying to go to sleep, but she was finding it really difficult and kept asking me to sing "Hush Little Baby" over and over and over again. I thought that my voice was going to give out and every time she asked I kept thinking "this is the last time that I'll physically be able to sing, after that I am going to have to do something else." But the strange thing was that each and every time I found that I was able to sing and then, finally, she was able to go to sleep.

On the third night she woke at 2am and 4am. She did ask for milk, but quickly changed her mind and asked for a "mama cuddle" when I reminded her that there was "no milk until the morning". Both times she was awake for a total of about 2 minutes. She didn't need me to rock her or even sing. It was amazing.

The next few nights were pretty much the same - 2am and 4am, asked for milk, settled quickly for a cuddle and then back to sleep.

Last night was night eleven and for the last few nights she has either slept through or woken only once and gone back to sleep without anything more than a stroke of the head or a side-by-side snuggle. She isn't waking up desperate for milk in the morning either. She seems quite happy to chat about other things first and then will say (calmly) "other side" as though she is just continuing her evening feed with no interruption.

I am just so proud of her.

Sadly I must admit that I am not feeling any better for this shockingly successful process. If anything I feel worse.

I am not sure why this is. I think that part of it is because my body is using the extra sleep to tell me just how exhausted I am and to have a little bit of a collapse on me. Another part of it may be that Lily has picked up several more feeds during the day to make up for the ones that she is missing out on at night (AKA she is feeding constantly) and so I am feel quite drained and a little suffocated. For this part I found this Kellymom article quite helpful. I also just ordered myself a copy of "Mothering your nursing toddler".

Now I think that I need to get a bit more creative about the snacks that I offer Lily during the day in order to encourage her to eat a little bit more food. I am going to try Dr Sear's nibble tray idea, but I may need to expand my repertoire a little.

Any suggestions?

A space to play

Lately we have been rearranging our home a little - creating better spaces for stuff and our activities. As things settle in, I thought that I would share some of our new spaces with you.

First up are a couple of Lily's spaces:

A space for crafting

A space for dressing-up

A quiet space

A space for toys

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Felt makin'

I have finally kicked back into gear and started work on making Lily and her cousin's felt food for Christmas. You might remember that I made a tomato some time back. Well, now I have finished a carrot (and another one is almost done) and I am close to finishing a corn (which is currently serving nicely as a pin cushion...).



The thing is that I simply cannot believe how much work these little things are. There is so much detail to sew and it is taking me forever. Perhaps I just need a little more practice...

Of course it doesn't help that I have become completely obsessed with the idea of making toadstools in the meantime. There are some great free tutorials available online! I just had to start making one of them to satisfy my new-found obsession. I'll post some picture when I've got a nice little group of them growing on my desk.

Fortunately Lily is quite fond of hanging out in my sewing room/study while I do all this makin'. To facilitate this I made her a felt board to play with on a low table.




Though, of course, she would rather be sewing on my machine!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

20 months

Dear Lily

You are now 20 months old. In fact, you have been 20 months old for a grand total of 11 days now. Sorry that I am so late with your letter. Fortunately for me you are still telling everyone that you are "18 months", so clearly you're not on to me yet.



The last month with you has been so much fun. I am just loving how articulate you are now. Not only are you able to clearly communicate with us, but you also come out with the most classic lines that give us a great insight into your mind and, often, make us laugh for hours.

Currently some of your favourite phrases are:
"I don't think so."
"Let's do something."
"Actually, it's red [or whatever fact you want to correct...]"
"My/Your hair/dress/car/hammock/ is lovely/pretty/beautiful."

You have also started to realise that you can use this language-thing to negotiate with us. For example, if we tell you that it is time to change your nappy, you will say:
"Go outside, first. Nappy change after." Or you will try to downplay the size of your request, by saying things like: "Watch a little bit of Playschool?"



You also like to anticipate what is going to be said to you in any given situation and it has made me realise just how predictable I am. When you hand me something these days, you say: "Thanks sweetie" and when you go to leave the house with papa you say to me: "Bye Lily. Have fun." You will also change the words to suit different people. So, for example, when you are about to see my dad (grandpa David), you say: "Hello love" but when you are about to see papa you will say: "Hello gorgeous girl." I guess you just like to know what is coming up next.

Being able to anticipate what will come next has actually really helped you to become a lot more independent from me. If you are with someone that you know well and, particularly if you are familiar with the idea of spending time alone with them then you are now usually pretty happy for me to leave you. This has made it a little easier to get my PhD done, which has been nice.



Your capacity to communicate has also allowed you to request your favourite activities (at all hours of the day and night). These particularly include anything creative. You just love making things. You are always asking to paint, draw, paste or play with your playdough. You have also recently started to create specific things - like your painting of a big red crocodile or your playdough animal creations. You also like to pretend to sew and have started asking for fabric and thread to "sew a party dress" - which you started by drawing on some paper to "make a pattern" before trying to shove the fabric under the sewing machine while holding the thread up against it (don't worry, I lowered the needle into the machine). I was very impressed.



Another favourite activity of yours is to play dress ups. We have filled a large wooden chests with some dress up clothes and props for you. You love to layer them on - and then to pick out some fabulous outfits for me ("Mama, put it on"). We had to move our full-length mirror into your 'room' because you always wanted to admire your new outfits in the mirror. You are often declaring them to be "beautiful" and you are quite right.



You have always loved songs and books and that hasn't changed. However, recently you have been keen on 'reading' your books and singing your favourite songs by yourself. You know enough of them off-by-heart now that you can do this and it is so lovely to listen to you. Sadly you clam up when we get out the video camera and so we haven't been able to record anything for you to watch when you get older. Maybe we just need to be a little more subtle.

Finally, you have a new special activity that you like to do with your papa. "I want to have a frothy in a cafe," you will declare (AKA baby-chino). And so the two of you will wander down the hill to Tilleys while I have a bit of time to study or sew. I am quite fond of this new activity too!

It is such a privilege to watch you grow up into such a lovely, inquisitive, creative little person. I am having so much fun. Thank you sweetie.

love
mama
xoxo

Monday, 24 November 2008

7 things - a trip down my memory lane

Al from This Little Piggy Had Tofu (don't you just love that name?) has tagged me in a meme and, since I have been feeling like a slack blogger, I thought that I would jump to it and immediately play. I started with a little childhood memory and suddenly that became the theme. I'm afraid that I also found myself being very wordy. I hope you don't mind taking a little trip down my memory lane...



Rules: Link the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links. Let each person know that they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. I have kept a journal, in various forms, since I was around 7 years old. My early entries are hilarious - they generally consist of a detailed list of what I ate that day and a short description of my various activities. Generally I wrote the most over the summer and so they would read like this:
"Woke up at 6am. Watched cartoons - Jem, He-man, Smurfs, Baby muppits (etc). Had breakfast of corn flakes. Went to pool. Went to beach. Had lunch - sandwiches. Went to beach again. Went to Grundies and had an ice cream."
(We spent our summers with Grandparents on the Gold Coast).
Every now and then I would make a dramatic confession like the fact that Jem was my favourite cartoon. Occasionally I would also vow to never again speak to my father, brother, mother, or best-friend if I had just had an argument with them. This would quickly be amended to reflect the fact that we had made up minutes later.

2. When I was a child I had quite a few pets. I had a collie dog called Ralphie, two guinea pigs (Ernie and Bert), four dwarf bunnies; a (slightly evil) black cat called Beelzebub (Beezie for short); several goldfish and tropical fish; and a bordie-collie/kelpie-cross named Chockie. Chockie was the best, cutest, smartest dog that ever existed (in my humble opinion).

3. My parents separated when I was 5 years old. I remember the night that they told me quite vividly. My brother was crying and when I asked why my Mum said "We're having pizza for dinner." I was still on a high about this fact when she actually broke the news...
I remember that my Dad took the following day off work because he was so sad, but that I had to go to school. I wasn't sad (I didn't really get it), but I was annoyed that I had to go to school. My parents shared custody (as it was called back then) and my brother and I spent a week at each parent's house - moving every Sunday. I remember believing that this arrangement came about because neither of them could bear to be away from me for too long.



4. I had a small red duffle bag that I used to move between my parent's houses. I would pack it on Sunday mornings, before Sunday school and church, with my basic essentials for the week - school uniform, shoes, homework & treasured items. I must have had two of everything else, but I can't remember. Every week, almost without fail, I would forget something that I had intended to bring with me. I was constantly being told that I needed to be more organised, but now I wonder whether any 5 year-old would have been particularly organised under such an arrangement?

5. When I was about 7 or 8 years old I couldn't make up my mind in the shoe shop when we were buying my school shoes and so my Dad bought me a pair of desert boots. I hated them. One day I had left my only other winter shoes (sneakers) at my Mum's house and so on the Monday I had to wear the desert boots to school. I still remember sitting in the playground with my feet inside my school bag, crying.

6. My dad's house was a passive solar house in Narrabundah that my parents had helped design before the divorce. We lived in it with various other people that my father knew from our church and community, and later with my father's partner and her three children. It had an attic that was a playroom for my brother and I while we were still sharing a room (until it became my brother's bedroom and, later still, my step-brother's bedroom). My room was the only south-west facing room. It was quite large with built-in cupboards. Above the cupboards my father had built a loft that held a single mattress (my bed) and a small bookcase. On the bookcase I stored my treasures (including the costume jewellery that I inherited from my great-grandmother). It was about 3 or 4 metres off the ground and could be accessed only my a small wooden bridge that was too small to comfortably fit an adult. It was my special place and I loved it.

7. My mum's house was in O'Connor. We lived in it with various other people from the peace movement (and some others who had responded to a 'for-rent' ad in the paper). It had a granny flat on the back that Mum used as her room (until my brother was 16 and it became his little zone). We used to redecorate this house all the time. Mum would let us chose paints in any colour we liked and we would paint all the rooms ourselves. My brother selected an amazing combination of turquoise green walls with rose skirting boards. You could see it glowing from the other end of the house. My room was on the north-east corner of the house and it was bright and airy. I painted it sky blue - walls and ceiling - and put glow-in-the-dark stars all over the ceiling. I also had a white dresser and a white hat stand for my clothes. I loved this room too.

OK. Seven people huh? Alright, well here I go (but no pressure, of course. Only play if you feel like it and haven't already):
  1. Laura
  2. Adelaide Writer
  3. Pavlov's Cat
  4. Karen
  5. Chelle
  6. &Duck
  7. Cat

Veg*n Meal Plan Monday


This week I thought that we should try a few recipes from my new cookbook - Eat, Drink & Be Vegan (ED&BV). We started this process out by trying her Chocolate Sin-ammon cake over the weekend - well, actually I forced P. to bake it while I sewed...

I quite liked it, but P. found the spices a little too strong and thought that it didn't taste enough like cake. I must admit, I also thought that it was the very first cake that I have ever thought could do with a little more sweetness... So we covered it with a thick chocolate icing and suddenly it was delicious.

Other than cake, for the rest of the week we plan to eat:

M: Moyashi soba
T: Walnut, white bean & spinach phyllo rolls (ED&BV p.150)
W: Cocoa-coconut chili (ED&BV p.94)
T: Chickpea sensation patties with salad (ED&BV p.125)
F: Pizza

I also plan to bake some Berry Goodness Muffins (ED&BV p.26) for my mother's group on Wednesday.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

On my desk...


On my desk this Wednesday: Three new books (received for my birthday) - Printing by hand (So inspiring! I just want to go out and stock up on printing supplies and get started NOW), Drawing from Life (Haven't really gotten into this one yet) & Eat, Drink & Be Vegan (Oh So Good. Must cook everything that I have seen so far and probably will); A pocket for another 'vintage' apron (I am thinking of putting it on a chocolate brown apron with a cream waistband & tie - what do you think?); some fabric and patterns laid out to make a couple of mini tote bags for Christmas; the beginnings of an 'artsy clutch' also for Christmas (yes, it is from the same fabrics as my last apron - I really like the combination and I had just a little of each left over); and poor Mamma bear's apron still waiting to be completed (sorry little bear!).

More desks here.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Veg*n Meal Plan Monday

Here is my recipe plan for the week. I am getting a little bored of this. Are you? I'll keep it short this week, but I am thinking about changing it or dropping it... not sure which.



M: Vegetarian soy 'fish' with mushrooms, greens with a tamarind & ginger sauce
T: Spinach pie
W: Chickpea & eggplant curry & rice
T: Moroccan tangine & couscous
F: Pizza

Friday, 14 November 2008

Why she belongs in Neverland




My wild child is 20 months old today. I will write her letter after I've got this progress review over and done with. It is at 3pm today. We will be driving up to Sydney once Lily and P. get back from seeing Playschool Live. I am a bit sad that I am missing out...

I hope that you all have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

On my desk... apron


On my desk this week is a "vintage" apron that I am making for myself. Yes, I know that it is very "Suzy Homemaker" as my friend Brooke would say. However, what exactly is wrong with being a homemaker? Any negative connotations are purely the result of us totally disrespecting jobs that are typically done by women.

Anyway... the pattern is from Bend the rules sewing. I want to make almost every one of the 30 projects in this book. If only I had the time. It is driving me crazy...

More desks here.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Veg*n Meal Plan Monday

Running a bit late today... The weekend was a bit of a write-off. Here is our (short) mealplan for the week:

Monday
L: Veggie buns & rice paper rolls
D: Mushroom, spinach and pumpkin risotto

Tuesday
L: Tempeh salad
D: Salt & pepper tofu, stir fried greens and soba noodles



Wednesday
L: Risotto leftovers
D: Dahl & silverbeet soup



Thursday
L: Dahl leftovers with rice
D: Pseudo-Friday night pizza



Friday
L: Pizza leftovers
D:We will be in Sydney... so who knows?

Sunday, 9 November 2008

30

I turned 30 today.

It doesn't really feel any different... Should it?

Pistachio & rosewater cupcakes (and little hand)

I had a lovely afternoon with friends and was thoroughly spoiled with gifts - including: some new CDs; Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol; a self-healing cutting mat, rotary cutter and quilting ruler; a very fancy (and comfy) camping mat; a beautiful handmade wallet; a beautiful handmade iPod pouch (P. has discovered Etsy to my never-ending delight); a budget to go on a book-buying spree; many bunches of beautiful flowers; a gorgeous new bookbag from here; a book from there too; some yummy pantry items; a very pretty latte mug; a candle holder; and a bunch of pretty bangles...

Off to bed for me now. I hope that you had a lovely weekend.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

A garden story


The snow peas in our garden have finally started producing. I was beginning to think that they would never arrive, but I guess they were just waiting for the weather to warm up.


I was an extremely negligent gardener this year. I bought a bunch of wintery seeds from the Diggers' Club and sowed them in the garden and then, well, I kind of ignored them. I didn't water them. I let enormous weeds grow over them. I was bad. Anyway, then I tried to pull my act together and P helped and things got a little better. Our snowpeas suddenly sprouted, climbed and flowered. Our Asian greens flourished and things seemed to be going very well. Of course, then I was slack again and, sadly, most of our tatsoi came and went to flower before I bothered to pick and eat them (I am planning to eat the one in photo below).


The broccoli was looking great, but now looks like this:


(Any thoughts? I am guessing that lack of water is the most likely culprit).


Fortunately the strawberries are thriving and will be ready to pick soon.


Our rhubarb is also ready and I really should pick it ASAP or it may go the way of our asparagus...



Oh I am so bad.

I have decided to garden on the deck (which comes off our kitchen) for the summer. That way I am more like to be nice to the plants. In preparation I went and picked up some tomato and basil seedlings from our local garden shop today. I was excited to see that they were stocking some from the Diggers' Club. I have been meaning to plant my Diggers' Club tomato seeds for ages now and was feeling a little guilty about resorting to commercial seedlings. Now this seems like a nice compromise.


I also bought a little Christmas tree while I was there. (Yes, it is that little - it is going to sit up nice and high out of little person reach). With all the family function hosting that we will be doing this year I thought that we should make a bit of an effort on the decorating front. I would also like Lily to start enjoying some little traditions and rituals around these family holidays.


I guess this means that I should really be thinking about making some decorations that will last us for at least the duration of her childhood. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

phew

Not that I really believe Obama will make a significant difference (or that the US will re-sign - and ratify - Kyoto) but it could have been a hell of a lot worse.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

On my desk... buttons

A big jar of buttons for just $7

OK, so they aren't actually on my desk, but they would be if it wasn't still covered in mess... Over the last couple of weeks I have been to a few op-shops (thrift-stores) around town and have been very excited to unearth a few great deals. You have already been introduced to my favourite of these finds - our new pasta maker - but I thought that I would share a few more with you.





Some cute fabric; a cutting board; and a Tigger beanie for Lily. In actual fact, it was Lily who found the beanie, but since it was only $3 I bought it for her. I think that it suits her quite well.

More on my deskers here.

Kitchen poetry: 1

Simple Sparrow is hosting a week of kitchen poetry and I thought that I would join in.*



I could get used to this...


P. is home for a few days so that I can find more time to do my PhD before my annual progress review. In addition to getting more study time, this also means that there are more hands around the house for us to get nice house-y stuff done (well, more specifically, for P. to do lots of nice house-y stuff and for me to benefit). Yesterday that meant yummy oat & raisin cookies (yes, I did suggest choc-chip, but P. decided to set a good example for Lily) and handmade pasta!

Naturally I was forced to join in the fun, because it looked so cool. Here is P. (master pasta maker) in action:




The pasta machine was a very lucky op-shop (thrift-store) find last week. It was only $20, despite being shiny-brand-new-never-opened-still-containing-instructions. I was rather pleased with myself when I stumbled across it.

The results were very yummy too, particularly when coupled with some tofu ricotta, tomatoes & olives.


*Stumbled across on Pea Soup - thank you Suse!

Tripp Trapp

Until recently Lily was using a very cool high chair that was loaned to us by P's sister. However, her gorgeous little one was ready to start eating big-people food and so we gave it back.

We thought for a little while that we might just graduate Lily to the normal chairs at our table and Lily thought that this was a great idea. However, we have quite a high dining table and it really didn't work too well. Lily wasn't up high enough to really eat her food properly and when we tried to use a cushion the result was too unstable and awkward.

And so P went shopping for a new high chair.

He came home with this (well, more acurately, he came home having placed an order for it and then picked it up a couple of days later):



It is the Tripp Trapp - "The chair that grows with the child". It is made by STOKKE and it is very cool. I love the fact that Lily can get in and out of it so easily; that it is so easy to adjust; that she will probably be using it for many years to come; and that it is so good looking.



In fact, it is so good looking that it has inspired P to start painting a bunch of our other furniture in the same red colour. More pictures to follow...

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