Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Another sampler done.

I am feeling very pleased to be finishing off some projects lately. A lot of them seem to be cross - stitch samplers but seeing as this is one of my favourite things to stitch I just have to go with it - they are so much fun.
I have just discovered Blue Ribbon Designs which has got so many wonderful sampler patterns I literally don't know where to start!
 I do also really enjoy Alicia's designs and the style and feeling of her blog. I have just finished the Midsummer Spigs ABC Sampler. Alicia designed this pattern to be done on black Aida but Black is a tricky colour to stitch on to. I found I could only stitch during the day as light at night wasn't good enough to see where I was going.So I did mine on Rustic Aida and I did change the colours of some of the flowers so that they would stand out better on the light fabric.

.Now I really need to get some of these finished projects on to the wall. Trouble is...framing isn't nearly so interesting as stitching.

Monday, 11 February 2013

I grew something!

Sadly I am not the best at the whole gardening thing. This is what happened when I tried to grow stuff with green leaves last year and I had no luck with carrots. They just ended up being little orange lumps - not something that I could throw in with the Sunday roast.
However, out by the clothes line where my "vegie garden" lives something rather fantestic is happening.

Tomatoes are growing!! Little ones and big ones. And they taste great.
Now I have to add right here and now that just about everyone in Canberra grows tomatoes in the summer. And I mean everyone. Supermarket sales of tomatoes must nosedive because we all can get them from the garden however.... I am pretty pleased with myself that I have finally manged to join the crowd and grow some of those red beauties for myself.

All I need to do now is convince my children that tomatoes really are delicious even it they aren't   purreed and put on top of a pizza base!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Thankful Thursday

I'm staying with the school theme for thankful Thursday this week.
I'm certainly thankful that my three school-aged children all started school reasonably happily. That they are happy to be with their friends again, have great teachers etc.
However, what I am really thankful for this week is that here in Australia we have a school system that is so entrenched in our community as a wonderful institution that really.... most of the time.... I just take it for granted!
This week my husband drew my attention to this situation. In Mali it seems that going to school is not taken for granted. That, in fact, going to school can be taken away from you very quickly and it can take a really long time before you are able to go and sit in a classroom again.
Here in Australia, I ride my child to and from school every day on uncluttered, well organised roads. There are no guns pointed at us, no soldiers in tanks. I have more than enough to feed my family and a democracy is established to determine a government  to rule the land. This is not the case in Mali and it is not the case in lots of other countries.
Because of their age differences my three school aged children go to three different schools, three different, excellent schools. I could have chosen from half a dozen such schools just in my neighbourhood.
I am so very thankful for our wonderful education system because really without education, life is so very hard.
Thanks again, Leigh for giving me the opportunity to focus on this today.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Cross stitch for a 17 year old

Is it possible to do a cross-stitch picture that a 17 year old boy won't have to feel embarressed about displaying in his bedroom?? Or perhaps more realistically, a cross-stitch that he won't hide in a drawer and only pull out when he knows I am verturing in to give him the vacuum cleaner??
 I seemed to have hit the mark, however, a short while ago when my second son had a birthday. This son is tall, lanky, thoughtful, very funny and into "retro" computer games. So, once again, I got inspiration from my Cross Stitcher magazine. I highly recommend this magazine if you are looking for bright, contemporary cross stitch patterns. lots of colour, lots of variety.

Anyway, I saw a pattern incorporating PacMen and I took a punt that it would be appreciated by the birthday boy. And it seemed to be. Even more rewarding is that it seems to have taken up residence on his desk. in the middle against his lamp...not hidden away at all!


I do love a young man who is not ashamed of his cross-stitching mother :)

Friday, 1 February 2013

It rained...and the boys cooked!

It has been super hot this summer. Canberra has been baking beneath the sun everyday and it has felt a bit relentless, this heat. Canberra is known for it's cold winters which I actually really like. The downside of liking the cold is that you don't cope quite so well when it is hot! But...as they say...there is nothing you can do about the weather!
The other day thunderstorms were predicted and as the afternoon wore on it got cloudier and more oppressive until about dinnertime when it poured and it blew and it was very noisy.

Rain swept into the back room through the wire doors, our parched trees were pummelled with water and I stood at the door and let the smell of rain and the breeze blow straight into my face - it was so good.

And behind me, my husband and oldest son "cooked"dinner. There was much jostling, mucking around, heated discussion and mess but a delicious dinner was produced.

As we sat down for dinner that night in a darkened, cooler room I felt my life was pretty darned good. Rain and not having to cook dinner - it doesn't get much better than that!

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Grateful Thursday - can it really be Thursday again....so quick!

This past week seems to have gone soooo quickly and my biggest fear is that once school goes back next week time will just rocket past me without me even noticing!
All the more reason to link up with Six by the Bay again because it is Thankful Thursday.
 I think, for me, as the school return approaches and my youngest child goes off to Kindy I am just incredibly grateful that I have had the opportunity to stay at home (with just a little part-time work) for almost 20 years and look after my children. I'm grateful that financially this was viable, I'm grateful that my husband shared the same child care vision that I had and mostly I'm just grateful that my 4 children have kept me company so beautifully for all these years.
All that craft at the table,all those stories read, trips to the library, standing at the ends of shopping trolleys, Playgroups, licking of mixing bowls, playgrounds and everything else that has been my life for such a long time. I would not have done one thing differently.
Not every day was great and some nights I went to bed thinking that maybe I had made the wrong life decisions. But I always woke up the next morning ready to tackle motherhood again.
So when the littlest one puts on her uniform and heads off into the classroom next week it is the end of an era for me but how lucky I have been to have spent so much time with them all for so many years.

Thanks again for hosting, Leigh

Surely the hugs have got to be one of the best bits in this motherhood game.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

A sampler finished!

Like many people in Blogland I am a big devotee of Soulemama. I love her style of writing and I love reading about her projects.
So I was quite excited to read that she and I were stitching the same sampler by the wonderful Alicia.

This was such a gorgeous project to do. I just love a sampler - all those little pictures to complete that end up creating something lovely overall. My cross-stitch obsession is continuing with avengance!
The colours in this sampler are more subdued than I would normally use but it is a winter sampler and it is done on a really gorgeous blue linen. So much nicer than a cream colour in this situation.

So...not only have I finished something (alway satisfying, and there is sometimes a big gap between completed projects) but it is something that Amanda and I did "together".
Well....sort of.
Off to finish off yet another sampler - wonder if I could devote a whole wall to embroidery samplers??

Monday, 28 January 2013

Early morning

I'm a bit of an early riser.
This attribute (if that's the right word) has stood me in good stead throughout my years of parenthood. When the babies woke up early I have always been...on the whole... pretty happy to get up with them. This has worked well for my husband too - he isn't an early riser!
My daughter is at an age where she regularly sleeps through the night but she and I usually have a quality hour or two together early on in the day before the male members of the family stagger down to throw some cereal in a bowl and start their day.
This morning, after many, many hot, hot days...it was cool in our kitchen. The oven could be switched on without me feeling as though I was in a sauna whilst wearing too many clothes!
I pulled out an old reciepe given to me by a wonderful friend who really introduced me to cooking and how much fun it could be. She brought this cake to Playgroup one day and everyone loved it. The following week she brough copies of the recipe for all of us in the group - she was just that kind of girl - sharing the baking love.
It's super easy and super effective.

Apple Cake

125g Butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup SR flour
2 granny smith apples, peeled and sliced
cinnamon to sprinkle

Blend tog melted butter, sugar, eggs and flour.
Place in prepared cake tin and cover with sliced apples
Sprinkle cinnamon on top
Cook in mod oven for about 40 mns
Serve with dusted icing sugar, cram or just plain.
If you are feeding teenage boys - watch it go!

So if you find yourself up early, with or without a helper, you could try baking a cake. You end up feeling like you've acheived quite a bit ...and it's only 7:30 in the morning!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Thankful Thursday - Gratitude is an Attitude

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago I am engrossed in my own happiness project this year and it, so far, has been quite life changing.
After a very difficult 2012 I felt I needed an overhaul in my attitude to life, to lift my game and get all I could out of my life and my relationships with the people I love and the people I love to spend time with. I guess I felt that if my sister had to die then I  needed to appreciate and live the very best life I could. It's not a tricky thing to do - I have a pretty damn good life! I read Gretchen's book and was gripped by it.
Then today I came across this post from the lovely Leigh at Six by the Bay. She writes a really honest, down to earth blog that I read regularly. Anyway, she is hosting Thankful Thursday and I'm joining in.

Today is special day to be thankful because as I sit here typing I can hear my three beautiful, healthy boys playing Playstation with their cousin...my sister's 16 year old son who as I have just said lost his mum to cancer last July. My wonderful, brave nephew who I always love to see. I love to see him because he is funny and interesting and always kind to his 5 year old cousin, my very admiring little girl. But I also love to see him because he brings a little bit of Jane back into my life. It might be a look, it might be a gesture, sometimes it's an opinion because God knows, my sister had strong opinions. But whatever it is, he brings it to me and I love that he is in my life.
I am truly grateful that he is who he is.

Thank you, Leigh - here's to Thankful Thursday...may it spread to Thankful Everyday!!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Back from the beach

It has been a difficult summer for Australia already and we are only halfway through January. Bushfires are everywhere which is scary enough. However, what really worries me is the long term implications of an  arid country getting hotter and how this will afftect our children and their children. It can all look very bleak and I guess the only way to be positive is to recommit to doing your own bit towards reducing your own earth footprint and maybe slowing these frightening changes down a little bit.
Although we found ourselves holidaying in a "catastrophic" fire area we didn't see any fires and only a very small amount of smoke. As a consequence, we were blissfully unaware of all that was going on and felt very content in our bubble of holiday making. Because it was hot inland, it was wonderful to be by the sea. We swam, we played beach soccer, we ate (a little too much), we drank (a little too much), we relaxed and recharged and readied ourselves for the year ahead. It was truly one of the best holidays we have had.
It looked a bit like this,

Riding the non existent waves 
Let's bury him!

Father and daughter swimming.
Lighting up the beach.   

 Now it's time to settle back into life away from the beach.....sigh!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Just back but now going again!

January is the main "going way" time here in Australia and our family is no exception.
Because Canberra is nowhere near the sea most Canberrans relocate for a week or two to "the coast" "The coast" can mean pretty much mean anywhere along the eastern seaboard of Australia but in our case it is a sleepy little village in the township of Jervis Bay.
We go there every year and I love it, as does my 13 year old son. As the time draws nearer to leave I can see him getting happier and happier and that is lovely thing to see in a 13 year old boy.
So we are packing, cooking, shopping and preparing to load two cars to get ourselves there. I plan to swim, walk on the beach, drink a few galsses of wine with good friends and enjoy watching my family as they relax before my eyes.

How many boxes of cereal does one family need for holidays?? Lots!

I will be back....I promise. I have a New Year's resolution to uphold, after all!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

It's been a while.

Well, the last few months have slipped away and now I find myself in 2013. The first day, to be precise. I do like the possiblilities of a new year and I feel especially strongly this year about the newness because 2012 was not a great year for me.
With the death of my sister, Jane came so many emotions, so many ups and downs I may as well have been riding a see-saw for the latter part of 2012. But now 2012 is over and although I will never be the same person I was before Jane's ridiculously early death I am ready to resume my life and perhaps to tweak it in certain directions that now seem more important than they did 12 months ago.
 I have become very interested in the idea of happiness and how to attain and retain it. I read The Happiness Project and felt as though Gretchen was talking directly to me so I am on a bit of a happiness project myself which in it's early stages seems to be making quite a change in my life....will let you know how it all progresses.
I have also decided to return to my "career" of nursing. I start my refresher course in early March and feel pretty excited about this development in my life too. I think this blog may expand to include a little happimess stuff and maybe a little nursing stuff. I am beginning to realise that there is not a lot written about nursing and boy, there is a lot of stories banked in the memories of most long term nurses! Another book completed over the last few weeks is this book. For a nurse, this book is pretty funny and very relevant. For someone who is just about to return to nursing it was a bit off-putting, a little too honest. But still....I enjoyed it and hope to add a little of my own nursing experiences here in my notebook.

In the meantime you can still find me doing quite a bit of this,

Another gorgeous Alicia Paulson sampler. I do love her designs!
My New Year's resolutions? Well, one of them would be to be a bit more presnt in this space. Let's see how I go!