Sunday, May 31, 2015

Week 23

On Friday nights we go to free music lessons at church

one on keys and a little one who has just started in the singing group.

It's such a lovely thing for them. Yes they do both have bear feet on a late autumnal evening.

love you more than a chord played on time xxx

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Recent Reads - for the smaller and medium types

Whilst life can feel like there is barely room to breath and I may be supposed to be cleaning our house for an inspection this week (blurgh!) I thought I'd shine a light on some recent reads for younger than adult people in your life, or yourself - I'm not judging!

At the moment I have about 7, I kid not!, books on the go - some serious and others less so.

These are the books I've been reading recently that fall into the younger category.

Hop Up! Wriggle Over! by Elizabeth Honey

This is a beautiful little book perfect for the under 3 bracket. The whole book is simply a collection of action words with gorgeous Australian animals participating. Essentially it is a record of a days adventure and activities with the odd whoops-a-daisy along the way. Sweet, engaging and a perfect introduction to doing words. I could imagine acting this one out with kindy kids to great delight. A lovely addition to your books to buy as a present if you have small people who want to be read to.
Details - Allen & Unwin, April 2015, RRP$19.99 HB. Also available as an ebook.

Teddy Took the Train by Nicki Greenberg

This is a delightful rhyming book about Dot and Teddy. Teddy and Dot end up separated when Teddy is left on the train. The conductor comforts Dot by suggesting that the train didn't take Teddy, Teddy took the train. There begins the whimsical imaginings of Dot about all the things Teddy might be up to. Just before bed there is a wonderful reunion! The illustrations have a graphic quality to them and use some collage features which I like. There are also some nice additions in the illustration like the fact that mum is in a wheelchair and there is a punk-male knitting on the train. Simple ways of challenging stereotypes through image.
Details - Allen &Unwin, April 2015 RRP $19.99 HB. Also available as an ebook

Ten by Shamini Flint

Set in Malaysia and following 10 year old Maya Ten is a perfect read for any soccer loving kid boy or girl. Maya lives through the world cup and dreams of when she will be able to play professionally. Of course one problem she faces is that she has never kicked a soccer ball and there are no girls teams she knows of. Child of an English father and Indian mother living in Malaysia Maya faces other discriminations too. I like that Flint has woven a story of family dysfunction, cultural exclusion and sibling rivalry and support into the story. The story doesn't feel contrived and I think it would be a great jumping off point to have discussions with children about their own thoughts on these issues. I like that it is also a book that casts minorities in major roles. I think this is a really important issue for emerging readers, particularly those who are in a minority. It is a read alone or read aloud book and I would recommend it for any interested reader from about 8+.
Details - Allen & Unwin, 22 April, RRP $12.99. Also available as an ebook.

Prince of Afghanistan by Louis Nowra

This book follows Mark dropped into Afghanistan at 18 for a mission that goes very wrong. Stranded with military dog Prince so begins their adventure to try and get home - back to rural Australia. This is an action book and an easy read. At times I found the solutions a little too convenient to feel realistic but I think it would appeal to readers who are engaged by adventure, dogs and war stories. The relationship that develops between Mark and Prince is a lovely story and there are some poignant moments between the too. There is drug use in the book, not by the character, but descriptions of drugs and people on drugs. The narrative in no way glamourises drug use, quite the opposite in fact. The book does give insight into the terrible realities of war, drugs and destitution as a result of the continued and continuing cross fire in Afghanistan. It manages to do this without becoming too explicit.
Details - Allen & Unwin, March 2015 RRP $16.99. Also available as an ebook.

Pieces of Sky by Trinity Doyle

This is probably my favourite of these reads. It really hits the young adult genre well and deals with death, depression, relationships, identity and family in ways that I think are realistic and thought provoking. The narrative follows Lucy - champion swimmer, focussed student and the aftermath of her older brother's unexpected death. As her family spirals one way Lucy struggles to get back into the water, struggles to answer the questions she has about her brother's death and struggles to hold on to her own identity. As a warning there are some intimate scenes - no sex but not far off. For that reason I'd recommend it at an older teen level. This is a debut novel for Trinity Doyle and I think she will do well. I read this book fast and have thought about the characters since which is the hallmark of a good novel for me.
Details - Allen & Unwin, May 2015 RRP $16.99. Also available as an ebook (released this week)

Many thanks to Allen & Unwin for keeping me reading even when the world is spinning fast!

love you more than 2 hours of reading with no interruptions xxx

Monday, May 25, 2015

21/52 and 22/52 - big weekends

Someone little and someone big (me) spent last Friday night sleeping under the bright lights of the womens&childrens hospital.

Someone little may have banged his head and then started vomiting about a half hour later.

Someone little is totally fine.

Someone bigger wrote someone littler a note to have by his bed that said, "waaaa, it's not the same without you. love Flip xox"

So that was the start of last weekend but other than that it was rather lovely - autumnal sunshine and games in the city square.

Then this weekend we had a someone 9s birthday party and he received a tent he was saving up for from all the extended family going in together.

We had a 'wheely mysterious' party which involved a cycling treasure hunt.

love you more than a sofa bed xxx

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Yeah I Made It 21/52 - Apron

Birthday gift for a little lady

limitied time

using the stash

modelled by Bounce.

love you more than a present completed half an hour before the party starts xxx

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Now You Are Nine

And just like that nine years have passed.

It's amazing to have watched our baby grow into a toddler and then into a boy... being a teenager is just around the corner.

Dear Flip,

I am so pleased to be your mama - to have the delight of you saying every night, when you are supposed to be going up to bed, I could hug you forever. I so admire your perseverance and your willingness to have a go at everything.

We have always been delighted by you. We love the way you see the world. We love that you march to the beat of your own drum without wanting to, or considering imposing that beat on anyone else. We think you are totally awesome.

You are such a delightful person you still hold my hand and I love how you wink right back at me when we catch each other's eye across the playground or the classroom or any space. You are friendly and inclusive and you genuinely believe that everyone is your friend - may you always be such.

You are a fantastic, patient, caring and including brother to Bounce and it makes us so delighted the way you 2 find all sorts of crazy games to play together. You still love numbers and technology, when we give you the chance, you also think wolves are the best.

You have a vivid imagination and you love being silly and making us laugh. Flip we are very proud of you and the way you have continued to grow with grace and faith into the boy you are. We are so blessed that you are in our family and we hope this new year will bring you exciting new challenges, a deeper faith and much joy.

You are nine and we think that is wonderful.

Love you, always and forever

M+D+Bounce xxxx

Friday, May 15, 2015

My Place

In a rental you are sometimes stuck with things - like awful floral curtains and peach cabinetry but anywhere there are still opportunities to make a place feel like home.

This is one of my favourite places in our house - it makes me smile every time I look at it.

The 2 chairs are projects I have completed here.

The hoops we brought with us.

The unit is someone's road trash that I covered with tape.

Filled with quilts - handmade and gifted, crocheted and knitted blankets. Topped with little houses made from broken houses in Christchurch and a craved angel made in Bethlehem from olive wood.

Precious little corner. Do you have favourite spots at your place?

love you more than a little corner of happy xxx

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Yeah I Made It 20/52 - House Pants

A little person saw this fabric as we were shopping and he looked at me with pleading eyes and it was on special....

So I said 'house pants' that means for wearing at home but not pyjamas.

And he said something happy with very sparkly eyes.

I cut a pattern off his jammie pants.

Now he can wear his house pants with comfort and pride - The Atlas hasn't asked for a pair yet but I'm sure it's just a matter of time!

love you more than foxy polar fleece xxx

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Today's question for pondering - why is it impossible to keep a full deck of cards?

and why did I just find the 5 of spades under a pile of dirty socks (ahem) in my room?

These are the big questions that challenge my mind.

love you more than a pack of cards that have stayed together through the storms of family life xxx

Monday, May 11, 2015

Yeah I Made It 19/52 - Where I Totally Surprise Myself

If you know me well you will have heard me saying I'm no artist. Creative yes, artist no. So when it comes to drawing I always feel a bit on the back foot.

However, I recently attended a wonderful stencil making class with Simone. (Definitely recommend one if you are wanting some fun and creative inspiration).

and I drew this awesome lion - freehand from my own imagination! Then I hand cut it into a stencil and printed it.

Then I stencilled it onto 2 little t-shirts and one piece of calico. Now I have 2 Christmas presents sorted and I have the stencilling bug.

Maybe I might find an artist in me after all if I scrape away the excuses and do some more practising.

love you more than surprising yourself xxx

Sunday, May 10, 2015

20/52 Soccer Season Starts

Back on the field as the wind whips the supporters into a frozen frenzy.

The Atlas is coaching Bounce's team.

They are so cute on the field - one more serious now, reading the game, getting in position - the other leaping for joy more than anything else.

love you more than an attempt on goal xxx

Friday, May 8, 2015

When You Absolutely Must Part Ways

Bounce is a little like me in his tendency to form a special attachment with things - clothes, books, toys, second copies of the same book.... you know.

Recently I said to him I think those shark shorts are bit small for you love - maybe we should give them away.

He was not in agreement.

A week later as I folded the washing I looked at the label. This is it:

Bounce is 6. Sometimes a mama has to put her foot down - I'm sure he'll thank me when he wants to have kids some day.

love you more than a surprising discovery xxx

Thursday, May 7, 2015

18/52 - creative in residence

As part of the fringe festival I had a lovely school day (hours) crafting at E for Ethel as part of their 'creative in residence'.

I spent the day creating about 20 seahorse taggies.

It was nice to be out crafting in public - now I need to work out what to do with the excess taggies. For now they stay at E for Ethel in case any of their customers want to buy one.

love you more than taking craft to the streets xxx

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

In The End

Epitaph ... you know that thing written on your headstone.

Those final pithy words that sum you up entirely. The Atlas and I sometimes joke about what we will put on them.

Currently he will have, 'Never let the facts get in the way of a good story'

and he has decided I should have, 'Add drama here'

I could probably add- words, colour, noise, or mess quite easily in place of drama.

How about you - what statement would you want to rest your bones under?

(clearly I do have some other more significant words I'd rather rest under but for now add drama is pretty apt!)

love you more than a little fun xxx

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

18/52 and 19/52 the way you play

I love the times I get to glimpse into the world of my boys as they play.

I love the way they find ways to make their own fun.

I love that they have such a great Dad.

I love that they are my boys.

love you more than limbo under the washing racks on a skateboard xxx

Monday, May 4, 2015

Dear Anonymous

Whilst I never read your comments I do appreciate the fact that though my blogging has become sporadic, at best, you still faithfully visit and comment.

It warms the cockles of my stats

Keep up the wonderful work

Friday, May 1, 2015

Books That Make My Eyes Happy

Okay y'all here are three books that make my eyes and my heart feel good. They are housey books.

Do you ever have that treat-y moment where you decide to buy yourself a magazine and then you stand in the magazine shop for about half and hour tossing up between house, craft, fashion or food (usually food gets knocked off my list pretty quick)... then you narrow it down to a genre (or virgin, as I like to say!) and then you still feel too overwhelmed so you leave.

or you buy one and then wish you'd gone for another?

stand with me here magazine ditherers of the world.

So, that rather random introduction brings me to 3 books I have recently read and delighted in of the house genre/virgin.

Absolutely Beautiful Things by Anna Spiro

This one was given to me by my sister for my birthday and it has some really good designy advice as well as a plethora of beautiful, inspiring images. Anna is a maximalist rather than a minimalist so we were already going to be great friends! I read every word - and now it sits by my bed incase I ever get to lie in and read - which will never happen because I actually sleep every morning moment I get (I think I may still be a teenager!). This is a true coffee table style book large, hard cover, great images.
Published by Penguin books Australia. Her website is here.

The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith

Now I did put this on my book wishlist a while ago but then I saw it in the library and grabbed it. I read every.single.word of this book. The premise of the book is to push people past their fear of taking risks, their commitment to perfection and to give them some sound advice about taking a leap with their home even, or especially, if they are renting. Although the author has a name I'm not sure how to say and a design style that is very different from mine I loved the way she wrote and I agree with her approach. She is a thrifty, make-overy, love what you have and enjoy your home kind of gal and I love that.
Published by Zondervan. Her blog is here.

Homespun Style by Selina Lake

I think I have seen photos from this book before and so I was pretty stoked to see it on the shelves of my library too. A quick browse in the home/crafty/new books section always comes up trumps! I started reading every single word of this book but then the pictures were so pretty, SO pretty that I couldn't read the words anymore. This whole book is full of a very Miriam kind of design aesthetic - it is a riot of colour and mis-match and hand made and all of it.
Published by Ryland, Peters and Small. Her blog is here.

All of these books have inspired and challenged me to make the most of anywhere I call home and to take even more risks to decorate the house in a way that makes me feel joyful. One of the questions Myquillyn poses is to come up with some words that you would like to describe your home. Here are 5 I'd like to think people would use about my place

colourful, joyful, welcoming, interesting (in a way that wants you to stop and look), creative

Do tell, what words would you want to describe your home?

love you more than a colourful cushion, imperfectly styled xxxx