Sunday, September 28, 2014

38 again and 39 of 52

So I got a little out of sync with the weeks and I missed a week so here is actual week 38

eye test with dad and 'I want one of these birthday gifts for my birthday' session

and week 39 - piano with pop and zoo trip

now it's school holidays and grandies staying so it might be a little quiet again because we'll be out having fun.

love you more than keeping up, just xxx

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Make My Week - New Look 6143

See.... I did do something a bit more complex this week!

Apart from the very unappealing cover styling (what is with the 90s styling pattern companies???) I liked the sweet heart insert into the neckline on view E.

Because it is a New Look pattern I drafted (or rather just drew freestyle onto the pattern pieces) some darts in the back neckline. NL patterns seem to be fit for a very unusual figure type and all the reviews I ever read about their patterns make this same complaint - weird neckline gaping.

I also lined the bodice and did 2 layers in the skirt which I widened and did gathers instead of pleats. I also added pockets because - you know - pockets! The double layers are to combat the see-through-ness of the fabric. The birds are actually outlined in orange - here is a close up:

Aside from the fact that my neck darts needed some more taken out I was pretty pleased with this dress. The insert bit was a real pain and bits caught and I actually used a quick-unpick and I ended up hand basting it before I did the final sew. And exposed zipper - just for fun. (Shonky back view I realise, sorry, not really).

As part of the pattern you make bias binding to finish the arm and neck holes, which I rather like the effect of.

The orange band I have in my hair is for wearing as a sash but I quite liked it in my hair so there it stayed.

as it pretty much feels like summer weather here already I know this dress will get a lot of wear. It's made of poly-cotton and it doesn't seem to show sweat marks  or crease - win.

Joining in here with lovely clevers

 Show & Tell Thursday's

love you more than an origami duck xxxx

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Learning Together - picture word hunt

This was one of those crazy activities that sort of came from something random Flip said about hiding things for them to find around the house.

On afternoon about 10 minutes before I left to get the boys for school I scribbled down 12 different words I knew they could both read or figure out numbered each and stuck them in every room of the house including laundry, ensuite, toilets, my 'sewing room' (corner)....

When they got home I gave them both a piece of paper divided into 12 sections and numbered then I sent them off in different directions to find and draw each item.

Wee Bounce started by writing the first word (which could be a variation) but they soon got into it. They went at different speeds but because they started in different rooms it wasn't a race (which often takes the joy out of things here and means the little one doesn't want to play) and they were both super engaged.

They loved this so much and it was cute (and have me some time to prep tea). We'll be doing it again for sure.

  • Word recognition - they could check if they wanted to but only once they had their idea sorted. 
  • Fine motor skills - we don't do a lot of drawing and fine motor work so some simple speedy drawings that don't have to be perfect but do have to be small are a good work out for little hands.
  • Close reading/matching - they had to find the appropriate box for each picture which is good number recognition for the little one and careful checking for the big one - achievable but an extra thinking step.
In case you can't be bothered thinking of your own words ours were - ant, car, three, tree, family, hat, teddy, cat, rainbow, cow, angel, banana.

and we had lots of fun - result!

Learning Together a series for primary aged children and their parents - activities that break up homework monotony, promote skills and create positive experiences together.

love you more than a super cute picture xxx

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Chic Lit

I've decided that Chic Lit (as in fairly easy, sometimes 'frothy' reads aimed at a female audience) has a happy place in my bookshelves. It's not what I usually buy but there are times when I just need something that isn't too taxing or intense to read.

But I still have specific things I like and dislike. My general dislikes are:
  •  too much sex or sex with too much details - I do have an imagination if required, otherwise I'm just not interested in reading about it thanks.
  • story-lines that are driven by misunderstandings, assumptions characters make about other characters, lies or a general lack of honesty - this one does seem to feature a lot and it does in movies too. I suppose it's to build tension but a lot of the time I find it annoying, I start to think if you would just be honest or give the guy the benefit of the doubt and actually ask him things might get on, also those plot lines feel really unrealistic to me (I know because being a journalist who spends her life buying inordinately expensive shoes, shagging strangers she met last week and eating at nice places all the time but maintaining a size 6 figure is so realistic :o) I realise that!)
  • swearing - not a fan. I try not to do it too much in real life and I will excuse the odd word but when it's every page I get a little turned off - I sort of 'hear' the words while I am reading so it feels like a bit of an assault on me.
  • when characters are too obvious or shallow or you know the plot for the whole book before you've reached the end of chapter one
Whew, now that those gripes are off my chest I'm going to let you in on some chic lit I've been consuming lately.

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
This is a mother-daughter authored book which I find super sweet and kind of amazing, especially considering Van Leer is a junior in high school. Could you get through all the sweat of writing a novel with your mama and keep the relationship in tact? It's a teenage read and a romance but done nicely and a little quirky to boot. It's a better written less cheesy and shallow version of the sweet valley high books I used to read as a teenager (I know, don't think too little of me will you?!!) No sex, pretty sure no swearing and a protagonist who is not popular or self-confident. I think a lot of adolescent and teenage girls could enjoy this tale which is told by 2 different characters and has a fairy tale running through it. The novel which is a decent size and length is also interspersed with pencil drawings and silhouettes.
Details Allen and Unwin, August 2014, RRP $ 14.99 Aus.

Mothers and Daughters by Kylie Ladd
This novel is based on a week away for 4 mothers and their teenage daughters to a very remote dry (as in, alcohol free) community in the far, far north of Australia. Considerably more 'grown-up' than Between the Lines in my book this is an adult only read. Ladd is clearly a strong author and she manages to tell the story of the week from the perspectives of 8 different characters across 2 strong age bands. The narrative is pacey and the characters are well drawn. I can see this book getting a lot of positive reviews for the real and complex relationships it manages to portray. I didn't find it an easy read. There is a lot of swearing in the book (and not from the teenagers) and a lot of a way of living and perceiving life that I found hard to relate to. Mothers who are unfulfilled, unhappy and given to a lot of drinking, daughters who are risky and disrespectful (though these things aren't true of all the characters) and experiences I know happen but I'd probably rather not read about. I can imagine, however,  it will strike a chord for a lot of readers though and particularly women who are parenting through the transition of their daughter become teenagers and pushing them away. I did engage with the story though and shed a few tears, had some laughs and wanted to yell at a couple of characters loudly over the course of the novel. I'm sure there will be those who disagree with my reservations on this one and I am impressed by much of what Ladd has achieved. (She also has a PhD in neuropsychology which is pretty impressive!) I also loved the way Ladd confronts racism and challenges ways of thinking about 'cultural experiences'.
Details Allen & Unwin, August 2014, RRP $29.99 Aus, available as an ebook.

Tumbledown Manor by Helen Brown
This novel is a real chic-lit novel. I read it fast. I laughed aloud a couple of times (which happens a lot in real life but rarely when I am reading). The central character, who happens to be a novelist writing a trilogy on the Bronte sisters, has her life fall apart and she is destined to start anew. Against the odds and everyone's best advice she buys an old manor in rural-ish Victoria which has family connections and sets about refurbishing it. There are shocks, mysteries, a love interest, a controlling sister, a disapproving great-Aunt, well loved but sometimes misunderstood children  and an ex-husband and a floozy included in the cast of characters. It is clearly and Australian setting and I think will appeal to those who have the landscape of Australia in their bones and love it's wildness and native animals. It's upbeat and happy and it's an enjoyable read. Perfect for a hot summer with a cold drink. I think Brown has invested a lot of herself into the pages of the book and I really like the interiors aspect of the novel - doing up houses is fun when you don't have to invest any elbow grease!
Details Allen & Unwin, August 2014, RRP $29.99 Aus, available as an ebook.

Interestingly both Tumbledown Manor and Mothers and Daughters confront the issue of lingering racism towards Aboriginal people. And the attitudes that have kept peoples and cultures apart across generations. In the case of Mothers and Daughters I found these both shocking (to consider some attitudes that people may still hold) but also very encouraging - to see someone who has considerable talent use this to confront stereotypes and challenge assumed ways of thinking and doing things in the context of what will be a widely read novel is 'art' changing the world.

The Wedding Quilt by Jennifer Chiavereni
I grabbed this off the shelf on the 'recently acquired' section of the library (a great section to hang around in!) This is one in a series and I have read a few of them in the past. I love the characters in these books and I think Chiavereni does portray the relationships that women and men share as friends and lovers beautifully. This one centres around the gathering of all the Elm Creek Quilters to celebrate the wedding of Sarah's daughter Caroline. There are lots of quilts and reflecting how each person in the 'quilt family' came to play such an important role in their lives. I found the writing enjoyable and easy to read. My only critique of the book would be that it spends most of the book retelling all the story-lines of the other books in the series so you end up skipping a lot (really quite a lot) because you have already read what happened in those ones or, if it was the first one you picked up, quite a lot of the other novels would be spoiled. I'm not quite sure why the author does this except as a filler for not having enough to fill the novel with the current story. That said if you like quilting, thinking about 'blocks' and beautiful friendships you will really enjoy any of these novels but you won't need to read them all. Perfect for a winter's night wrapped up under a quilt. I'd certainly be happy to read other novels she has written.
Details Dutton, Nov 2011, RRP $16.00 US, available as an ebook. quite a range in there and definitely a lot of contrast between them and the memoirs I have been reading lately. I do like to change things up and each of these books have given me things to think about and enjoy. I like that there is such a diverse range of genres and weight in the 'chic-lit' family.

love you more than escaping into a different world for a few hours xxx

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Make My Week - tumbleweed blowing

my crafty space is neglected.... I can almost see the tumbleweed blowing through - but I do have 2 new projects in the pipeline after my final big event on Saturday.

So for this week - hold your breath this is pretty exciting!!

I made a baby taggy - all of 10minutes before a school pick up - I know you are incredibly impressed by me right now aren't you?

of course you are!

Everything was in the draws so essentially a 'free' make.

Joining in, totally unashamed, with much more technical makes here:

 Show & Tell Thursday's

love you more than holding your head high while  bringing a packet of 2 minute noodles to a share a plate event xxxx

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pimp My Ride

Hello, hello what have we here?

A new trolley... I outgrew my last one

and of course it wasn't truly mine without a little fake foliage!

love you more than a bloom that causes no hayfever xxx

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Learning Together - silly rhymes

Take a 'sight word', by which I mean a spelling word or a simple tricky word like - there, turn, or whatever words cause consternation at your place, or a word that you have on a list of words to recognise by sight.

Now have some fun thinking of all the rhyming words you can think of. Record them on a chart/ white board/ piece of paper

make sure you throw in a few ridiculous ones for good measure like 'zear' - you know the baby of a zebra and a deer - I can't believe you've never heard of them! What are those teachers teaching you?

Now try to write a short 4 line poem together using some of the rhyming words.

Perform it in silly voices if the mood so takes you.


  • spelling patterns when a word like 'there' also rhymes with bear, pier, and cheer you start to 'see' that there are different ways to make a long e sound. Of course in NZ (and probably Aus?) pear, peer, pair and pier all rhyme - they don't in England! Yes happy to ruin those vowels for you English colonialists.
  • playing with rhythm and language - when you try to write lines that rhyme you naturally have to adapt them to get the rhyme scheme to work properly 
  • word recognition - if this is a spelling or sight word or just a word they perpetually get wrong by the end of this activity they will have seen it written, they will have written it and they will have said it aloud several times - all without the dreaded 'write it out 5 times' ever being uttered.

Learning Together a series for primary aged children and their parents - activities that break up homework monotony, promote skills and create positive experiences together.

love you more than that fat cat who sat on the mat and crushed his hat xxx