Monday, 27 August 2012

Have you smiled today?

Have you ever wondered why happy people always seem to be surrounded by other happy people?
It seems that smiling is contagious. If you smile at someone, 9 out of 10 tens they will smile back at you. I want to teach my kids to smile and I want to be the one that sets the example and the one that starts the smiling 'flu'.
But how on earth am I supposed to do that when everyday is a battle for me to even find some sort of happiness let alone smile. My darling husband read out an interesting fact to me the other day and of course I had to try it.
Sit up straight, shoulders back, feet flat on the floor, chin up to the sky, and smile. Through out the next bit you have to stay smiling. Now think sad/depressing thoughts. I found this almost impossible!!
Wearing a smile is not just a physical thing, its also a mindset. When you smile it almost does something to your mind, something that makes it hard to think on depressive thoughts. You know this could well be the key for me. I need to smile. If someone smiles at me I always smile back. I need to keep the smile on my face. So too do I need to smile at the people around me.
So I going to smile more, create a happy mind and cause people around me to smile too.


Monday, 6 August 2012

Out for a while

Hello again.....

I know I've been gone for a while. So much has been going on. I have a new position at work and got my nose pretty squashed by the books when I was burying it in them.
Goodness me! My brain feels a little fried at times with the amount of study I'm doing and this is just the beginning. I am just about to enrol in the next course. But enough said about the boring stuff.

I have managed to fit in a little crafting. This has been such a release from the grind of work and study. My little man even told me one night, "You deserve a night off from study mummy". From the mouths of babes!!
Miss Niece's new little hat. Shh.. She hasn't seen it yet!

I have managed to whip up a couple of crocheted hats for my little niece to keep her head warm. Having 2 boys of my own makes it really special to be able to crochet something in pink or to make something pretty. I am also in the process of putting together a costume or such, for my works mid year staff party.

So yeah I have been out for a while but I would like to come back more often, if that would be ok with you. So it shall be Tut ta for now.


Monday, 11 June 2012

Mmm... Yum!

I took a break from my reasonably strict eaten rituals today.

As tradition in my little family goes, On Queen's Birthday weekend, we make olibollen and appelflappen. Well this time we went a little further and made croquettes as well. And Yum Yum they all were.

What on earth? I hear you asking. Olibollen is a traditional Dutch kind of donut (minus the hole) which some currents added and are sprinkled with icing sugar. Best eaten while still hot. Then they have a crisp outside. Appelflappen are similar but have apple and some cinnamon added instead of currents. These would have to be my favourite.

I wish I had taken some photos so I could show you all how well they turned out but alas I don't even have left to take a photo of. Yep they were all gobbled up. But believe me they were really yummy.


Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Oh my poor tile...

My poor tiles on my kitchen floor may not last as long as I first considered they would.
In a spot of screaming and with a stomp of my beautiful boots, I managed to crack a tile on the kitchen floor. See that, I am human and do crazy things like scream. The new broken tile is next to an old broken tile so hopefully it will not be noticed as quickly.
What did I learn from all this screaming and stomping?  To not to!! That's what. I did end up a little hoarse afterward with my boys looking at me in absolute astonishment.
It has been a long time since I "lost it" but I am not superhuman. It wasn't good that it happened and I am not very proud that it did.
But it's not the end of the world. I am on the upside now and feeling heaps better. At least now I am able to sleep properly and wake up refreshed.
I need to look at the positive things and those funny little things that your kids says at the most bizarre times. I must laugh at the things that would normally make me cry for sheer frustration. I must cherish the moment when my littlest boy says "Can I have just one more hug 'cause you're so warm and snuggy, mummy. I love you the bestest."
Tomorrow the sun will rise on a whole new day.


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Hitting the books

I have hit the books again. I know some of you may think I'm crazy for doing it but to tell you the truth, I'm a busy mind. If I'm not studying something I tend to get bored. I think by the time I'm 60 I'll probably have a fair bit under my belt.

I have not started a new course but rather attempting to finish one that I started approximately 18 months ago. And when I say attempting I mean that. My dad Skypes me in the middle of reading some finer points of the Aged Care Act!! Its not easy to jump start into things, however it shouldn't take me too long at all to get settled back into the rhythm of studying.

I didn't get to finish this course when I first started it due to a couple of unfortunate life events. This time around I am determined to get it done. And in true Bernie fashion I have set an unbelievable date to finish by. It is unbelievable but definitely not unachievable. It does however mean I will have a little less time to craft. But you know, that is ok because this is only for a time and sometimes our priorities need to change.

I have 10 weeks to complete 9 units of study. Crazy, I know but I have completed one already. The next one I'm working on is one of the harder units and considering it has taken me all night to research and answer one question out of eleven, I think I have my work cut out for me.

On the bright side of all of this. I am not spending any of my pocket money on craft while studying so I will most likely have a reasonable kitty to go spend when I am all done!! And I get to buy a funky notebook too.


Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Pear is finished!!

Well I have finished the Pear!!
There is not much more to say except my Mum and Dad love it. So here it is....Enjoy!!


Monday, 14 May 2012

The Pear continues

The pear is certainly coming together and starting to look rather pretty, if I do say so myself.

I have had an extension on my deadline. I now have until next Sunday!!

So here is a little sneak peak for you. But now I must continue to stitch.:)


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Pear 2

Oh dear!!
I'm not really sure what happened but I certainly do know where I went wrong.

To me it does not really resemble a pear. So back to the paper and pencil to make another template. One that's a little less "big bum" looking.

And yes I have recycled the stuffing but I decided to use new fabric for the next pear. :)


Monday, 30 April 2012

The Pear

Wow talk about busy over the last few weeks!!
I have been extremely busy at work and at the same time preparing to say goodbye to my parents while they travel.
For this I decided to make them a little gift. A rather ambitious gift I think as I only have 2 weeks to get it done. Well 1 1/2 now.
I can picture just the way I want things to look in my minds eye but getting it to be like that in reality is somewhat harder. And so began the pear.


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

No, I didn’t fall off the edge of the earth

I almost feel like I have been in isolation or something. Well from the internet that is. This hasn’t been an altogether bad thing but it has meant I have not been able to write here or read what other friends are up to via their blogs. Feels weird!!
Internet at home is still giving us grief after 2 weeks but I am able to get this up by other means. J
So what have I been up to instead of surfing the net? Where do I start!!  I had some annual leave from work (believe me no leave from life) and have managed to get away over Easter. I drew up a task list and I am very pleased to say I got all but one thing done and some little extras too. And what would holidays be without a trip to at least one craft shop.

Over the Easter weekend we did some camping and our eldest son decided it was time he had a tent of his own. Our younger son followed suit but I really think he did it just for a bit of excitement. By the third night he was back in the caravan with us. Which is more than ok with me, he is only 6. The Easter bunny still managed to find us and Oma organised a big treasure hunt, including clues and directions, instead of just handing the grandkids the eggs. Even after all the chocolate and toasted marshmallows the children were always completely exhausted in the evening and dropped off to sleep before we could even zip up the tents. I suppose running all over 5 acres of scrub will do that.

What a task list I created for myself for over my time off. It still involved being a mum and definitely did not exclude washing all the dirty clothes from our weekend away. One of my projects was to repair and paint a wardrobe for my youngest son. I must admit I love to paint but not pictures or landscapes. I love to paint walls and furniture. It always feels so good to give a room or a piece of furniture that fresh lease of life. Now all I’m waiting on is a little muscle to help me move it into the bedroom.

What else? I have almost finished doing the hand stitching on a queen size quilt I have been working on for a couple of years. Getting to go and buy the batting and the backing fabric for the quilt makes me feel as though I’m almost on the home stretch. That gives me the extra drive and determination I need to get a long running project finished. I’m normally the kind of person who likes short practical length projects so big projects take me even longer. But now I can’t wait to get this one done.

For now though I need to get some rest as I need to go to work tomorrow to earn the cash to finance all my projects, long and short term ones.


Sunday, 25 March 2012

A little time to get away and relax

Relax. Yes ok, I will.
I have just returned from a relaxing weekend away with my man. This would be the first time in a long time the two of us have been away together without the kids.
We ended up in Bright, Victoria instead of Wilson's Promontory National Park as was first planned. I think we would have got blown away and ended up with icicles hanging off our noses if we had of gone to Wilson's Prom.

Bright was beautiful, as it always is. The weather didn't cooperate until we were looking at going home. But you know I'm always going to nosey through the shops no matter what the weather is like. And guess what, in Bright it self there are two gorgeous little shops full of all sorts of quilting things and notions and embellishments. Ah yes, I was in my element.

Sew Bright Alpine Quilting
Sew Bright Alpine Quilting is a gorgeous little shop that sells fabric and a heap of embellishments. What I loved the most was all the quilts they had hanging around the store. It was such an inspiration to see all of them and all so beautifully finished. You can view Angela's store here. However I think being in the store just has a specialness about it.

I also had the rare opportunity to show my man what a machine quilting set up looked like and how much room it takes. Finally I think he has agreed to let me get one in the future (something I have always wanted) and will allow me to take over one of the rooms in the house. However as much as I would like it to be the lounge, I think it will be a bedroom when one of the boys move out.

Country at Heart
I also popped into Country at Heart, also in Bright. It has everything you could ever need for Christmas in the way of statues and quaint little ornaments for the tree. But it was the back of the store the I loved the most!!

I loved it so much I just had to share
This whole area of the shop was devoted to the autumn colours that Bright is so well known for. All the fabrics were rich rustic colours and woven wool fabris abounded. They had patterns to match with all the autumn colours and highlight the season so well. Once again browsing through the website does not come close to meandering through the corners of the shop and feeling the fabrics. But for those who can't get there in person you can visit it here.

I got back to our little cottage for afternoon tea and all that could be done after seeing all I did today, was stitch. So with a nice cuppa and the sunshine poking through before it set, I settled down to stitch for a little while.

It was inspiring to look at what others have created and to dream about what could be and purely relaxing to sit in the sunshine and stitch. Overall the weekend was great and I find that my love for crafting has had some rejuvenation along the way.


Saturday, 17 March 2012

Discovering a new kind of yum!

Just recently my GP has asked me to cut a few things from my diet. These are the kind of things that I suppose we all take for granted until we are told that we need to stop consuming them. I have been asked to cut grains, specifically wheat to start with, dairy and processed sugar.
So off I am on a journey of discovering some new tastes and ones that I was no longer tasting because of the amount of sugar in my day to day life. It means that I will be getting all my sugar from my fruit and vegetables. A couple of days in and Wow! I can't remember fruit tasting this good!!
Even better my fantastic husband had let the strawberries from the previous owners of our house, run wild in the vegie patch and had planted some vegies too. Tonight we had fresh corn. I don't think I have ever had corn this fresh in my life. It was so good. And then for dessert, fresh strawberries.
Fresh corn and strawberries from our garden
So wish me luck in a battle to get my body and health right and here's to discovering new recipes and foods.


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

All put together, well sort of !!

I have had a rather busy time over the last week.
My husband has been building a retaining wall behind the garage and I have been piecing together a quilt top. Guess what. . . .   I won!! (Not that it was a race)
I have finished putting together my quilt top and minus a small patch of appliqué, I am ready to start quilting.
My darling husband has not been quite so successful. Even with my continuous help there is still a fair amount to be done before it is finished. But believe me when its finished it will be a fantastic achievement. However right now we are both exhausted! Who would have thought a retaining wall could be such hard work.


Thursday, 8 March 2012

I love Craft Night

Last night was "Craft Night", as so affectionately called by a rather crazy group of us who get together once a month to craft. There are all sorts of handcrafts brought along by the ladies and all sorts of conversations had. (Sorry what's said a craft night stays at craft night.) I must admit that its something I look forward to for the whole month. Getting to get together with like minded people, chilling out and doing what we all love - craft.
So what do we do? Well there was knitting, crocheting, patchwork, cross stitch and sewing and lets not forget the cutting out for the next project. The mix always seems to differ and the amount done always varies based on the conversation being had. 
Last night, we were in for a treat. We got to see Mrs S's newly finished house. It is gorgeous!! But what had some of us really excited, was the craft room. Mrs S has a purpose built craft room with space for everything and more. What caught my eye first was her gorgeous glass jars with buttons in them.(pictured) 
They were perfect sitting along side jars of ribbons and pins and buckets of markers and brushes. Everything is visible and the room is well lit. A good size work bench for the sewing machine and all the cutting that needs doing is easily accessible. Mrs S you have done it. You have created a fantastic space for craft. 
However there was only one chair in there and I don't think even dragging other chairs into the room would have allowed the 8 or so of us to sit and craft. So around the big kitchen table we gathered.
We talked quietly serious and then laughed loud and at the end of the night, I wondered if I would have a voice at all in the morning. I love that there is no agenda, no rules and no kids. Just us ladies and our craft. 
What great friends are made when craft is the common thread.


Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Happy Leap Year Day!!

Happy Leap Year Day!!
I'm not really sure why this is something that needs to be celebrated but the powers at be at work decided to ask everyone to wear rainbow colours today. As long as I could wear black pants, I was happy with that. Some went all out, coloured wigs, very bright clothes and even Hawaiian lays. But for some it proved to be obviously harder. Black or beige was their colour of choice. At least their mood was colourful and bright.
Last week we had friendship day, where we all needed to wear red. This I forgot completely as I had been ill a few days before. As I am the first and last port of call for most people that come to my work, it seemed to draw a reasonable amount of comments. However by the end of the day people had stopped commenting. I think I got out of the wrong side of bed that day.
As much as I was in a horribly bad mood that day, in the end I ended up in a very good mood as I stopped to enjoy those little things we take for granted, like the smell of a rose or the gentle whisper from our children telling us they loves us.
When was the last time we truly stopped for a moment and thought about something or someone that is special to you, something that we may easily take for granted. It can make your day so much better.
I just have to remember to do this a little earlier in the day so not as many people get the raw end of my grumpiness. :)


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The cricket is on

I have been having the most amazing time lately. I haven't been to any exotic places or purchased anything extravagant. I am just in a really good place at the moment.
The cricket has been on TV (boring!!). However this has created a rare chance for both my man and I to sit down and chill. He loves watching the cricket and I have taken the chance to crochet and chat to him at the same time. This is so special and I love discussing the silliest things to more serious questions. I know I sound like a silly newly wed but we are far from that. In just over a month we will be celebrating our 12th anniversary and to be truly honest, he is my best friend and my soul mate.

I still find cricket boring but this is a little something I got finished the other day, thanks to cricket! :)


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Out at the park

Loving the sunshine at the park with the boys. Yep made sure we all have sunscreen on.
The boys have met a bunch of kids from school who are fishing but a think they may have caught some tadpoles and frogs. It makes me think that maybe I should have bought with me some stitching to do.
I can't remember the last time I caught a frog or tadpole. Such funny childhood memories. I was more likely to be the one trying to catch grasshoppers.
As kids my mum & dad used to take us camping multiple times during the year. Mum would always make sure there was a container that I could use as their temporary house. They were my pets until the holiday was over.


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Where to from here?

What do I do now?
When something burns in your heart yet you find yourself up against a brick wall.
I refuse to bang my head upon that brick wall.
I chose to lay this at the feet of the one I trust for what I need.
I chose to give with the joy, excitement and expectation that can only come from giving.
As my heart burns, I will do this with what I have until you pour out your grace and love to overwhelm so much that any wall could not bear to stand.
This is me and this is all I have to give.


Saturday, 4 February 2012

I don't want to go through that again

This past week I have found myself in situations that were rather stressful to say the least. I didn't need someone to tell me that I was experiencing stress or a professional to diagnose it. I knew it by the way I felt and the way it altered my ability to think clearly and make the right decisions.
It took a lot of self talk and a couple of supportive people, which included my man and some ladies from Craftaholics, to get me back on track. However I don't think the Craftaholics ladies would even realise how fantastic they were on Wednesday night and how they helped. Love you ladies.

It got me thinking though. What are these times of extreme stress doing to me?  It is amazing how bad it is for our minds and bodies whether it is long term or just short periods of it.
Apart from the common signs of stress; headaches, sleeplessness, irritability, loss of appetite; did you know that it can also cause the following: nightmares, excessive burping and flatulence (Oh that wouldn't be fun), muscle spasms, hives and unexplained allergy attacks, forgetfulness, disorganisation and even confusion. 

Breaking it down, it makes me want to be more in control of how I handle the situations that cause my stress. How on earth do we do that when ultimately none of us are in control. I suppose we need to limit the amount of effect the stress has on us.
For me its the self talk. The words and phrases that I use to bring things back into perspective are so very important at the time when the stress is most prevalent. Then its the support of the people around me, not to let me cry on their shoulder. They are there to say "Hey come on, you're better than this situation. You have dealt with bigger problems than this." And they are there to stop me replaying the situations in my mind. Hindsight can be great but not if we are looking back at what we would have done differently and bashing ourselves up for it. Use the hindsight to work out what you can learn from the experience and what you would do different Next Time. Once I have run these things through my head, I must move on and be ready for what life throws at me next. Journal your feelings, thoughts and actions for next time. I find it so benefical to get things out on paper and stop them circling around in my mind. Just take a slow deep breath and move on.

Yep it is always easier said than done!! If you can do it, Well Done. Pat yourself on the back and reward yourself with some me time! For me, it will be crochet this time, on my comfy recliner with a little yummy too. Right now my only stress is which yummy will I eat first. :)


Sunday, 29 January 2012

Would you give up?

How often do we give up when things are just too hard?

I'm sure we can all relate to this feeling at some stage or another through out our lives. But sometimes giving up is the worst thing that can be done. Babies don't give up when they are trying to walk. So much so that we call this stage "Learning" to walk. This goes for so many things in childhood like talking, writing, reading and even riding a bike. For me it was even sewing. Oh how many times I found it so hard to sew when I young but I kept at it and now I would say I'm pretty good at it.

Imagine if he quit!!

But what about those things that go on for years. Yep raising children. Would you give up on that when its too hard like at age 2 or at the end of the holidays when they really need to get back to school because they are climbing the walls. I suppose we have to turn the tables a little and think of it a little different. They are learning how to cope with the changes in their routine and lifestyle and the lack of mentally stimulating activities. Believe me I'm not going to give you any solid solutions for all of us going a little nuts over the 6 to 7 weeks off that the kids have. Maybe we just need to give them a good dose of mental stimulation and some firm routine.

I just think it is really not the best option to give up on things that just need us to have a couple tries. (With the exception of things that are addictive of course.) So will you give something you're having trouble with a couple more tries? I know that I'm going to keep trying with my quilting. I'm going to learn to machine quilt and not quit at it. My first attempt was a bit tricky but I'm not going to give up. Thankfully this is fun and therefore enjoyable to learn. If I give up on this I will never "Learn" new skills.

What are you going to continue to learn?


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Perfect time for crafting

You know there is one really great thing I love about an Australian summer and that's the tennis.
Watching the Australian Open is the perfect chance to get crafting done. It offers the perfect excuse to take time out for me and kick back with some hand stitching or quilting. 
I mean really it is more fun to watch others run around playing tennis! Especially when I can do the things I love at the same time. 
So Happy Stitching!!


Saturday, 21 January 2012

Maybe not just another Saturday

I have had a fantasticly (is that a word?) creative day today. I woke up feeling rather inspired to create. And create I did.

Ok, I didn't get a great pile of garments or quilts made. To tell you the truth I couldn't actually start with my sewing until about lunch time because of swimming lessons with the boys and other domestic duties. But I got lots of sewing in and just about finished 1 top from a pattern that I purchased in 2007 and never got around to using. I'll show you all when I'm finished.

I was creative in a slightly different way as well before a broke out the sewing machine. I have discovered some pretty funky paper designs recently, care of Amy J at Delightful Distractions. However I really do not want to move into scrapbooking. The designs are the kind you would expect to see on the pages of note pads. The challenge was how to turn them into funky little note pads.

Now I must admit that a have a bit of a weakness when it comes to notepads and and little notebooks. I just can't resist them!!

After a little research I have found a method that is working. So I have raided my darling husband's garage for a couple of simple supplies and created a couple of notepads too. All that was needed was some protective cardboard, two small pieces of wood and two small quick clamps. Oh and the most important thing, silicone!
Yep, Silicone. You must take extra care not to get the silicone on your husband's little quick clamps. You have to be pretty quick to get it off before he realises.

Now this little note pad I did get finished. Well sort of finished. I must be patient and wait for the silicone to totally cure. 
Ahh....   Patience is not really something I have an abundance of.


Monday, 16 January 2012

Excuse me Google street view!

I wish that Google street view had previous photos on view in an archive of some sort. I would really like to know what the front garden of my house looked like before the current landscaping had been done. What on earth has got me thinking this.

Over the weekend I took the opportunity to get into the garden especially after I acquired a pile of free plants. Best to get them in the ground before they die.
I had it all planned out. I knew exactly where I was going to put them. It would be easy. I wouldn't have to take out any other plants, just dig holes and in they go. How naive was I!

Right where I wanted to plant I discovered a set of slate steps. They are beautiful. A morning in the garden turned out to be a bit more than "pottering" in the garden.
I had a decision to make: Dig the whole garden up and remodel it completely or bury them for another time and put the plants elsewhere.......

I went with the later. The soil got put back over the steps to preserve the them until I am tired of the current design and the plants went into another area of the garden.

It left me thinking though. Why would someone want to cover these beautiful steps? What else lays beneath the soil of my front yard? How many more times am I going to jar my wrists on some form of hidden rock? If only I could go back in time just to get a glimpse of what this garden used to look like. Somehow I don't think Google street view would have photos from 20 years ago even if we did have the ability to look in their archives. 

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Ok, ok, I love buttons!!

What could be more fun than rummaging through my stash of buttons after a long day at work. I love buttons and every time a see the opportunity to get some buttons, I generally take it. Although I must admit, the free are always the best. Yes, I do admit, I have even purchased second hand clothing just so I could have the buttons.

Mmm. . . .   buttons! 

Every time I go through my button stash the ideas of what I could do with them just seem to pour out, however tonight was different. The buttons had to be the right sort of shades to fit the project. This is where it got a little tricky and not to mention hilariously frustrating. You see a button and go to grab it and end up with a button avalanche burying it again because you moved your hand. So you dig again in earnest hoping that you will be able to find that button, knowing that you may not see it again tonight.

All is good though. I resisted the urge to tip out my big tin full and just rummaged until I got the desired result. But that you will have to wait to see.
Better pack them all away before bed lest the boys get into them in the morning and take a liking to some of the good ones.


Sunday, 8 January 2012

This is Me!!

Welcome to my busy little world!!
Welcome to my positive space!
This is me. I am a rather busy bee.

I am a mother of 2 gorgeous boys. JJ, 9 years old and Dan, 6 years old. I am married to the most amazing man in the world, Ryan. I’m sure some would like me to be a stay at home mum and there are days when I dearly wish I was but alas I am not. I work full time in administration at a nursing home. There are days when I absolutely love what I do but there are those odd days that I don’t and I would rather be home stitching and chilling out with my boys.

I love to create, most of the time following somebody else’s design/pattern. My sewing machine was the greatest gift I have ever been given and the ability to sew the greatest skill I have been taught. I dabble in crochet but it will always come second to my patchwork.

Chilling out with some stitching is a favourite thing to do. It becomes so much more enjoyable when I can do this sitting in the shade of a tree on a warm day or wrapped in a quilt on the back deck. I love being outdoors and I love the smell of sunshine. This is a bonus considering it is not good to keep my boys indoors all day long even if it is raining.

There will always be something to be done around the house but I have had to come to terms with the fact that it doesn’t matter if the washing doesn’t get folded tonight or the floor has not been washed this week. The most important thing is to take care of me. Every evening the boys go to bed at 7:30 and at 8:30 I put all my housework tasks aside. From that time on it’s my time. My time to do whatever I choose. Be it sewing, stitching, crocheting, calling a friend or playing a board game with my man, it’s my time. Time to look after me. I suppose that’s what this is all about.

This is time for me. Time to reflect, dream and get inspired.
I hope you can join me. I’m not really sure where we are going but it’s going to be a positive thing.