31 January 2011

wrapping up January & we're still on school holidays . . .

Greetings all,
January is over, pow, that was quick!!  I've been reading blogs where mummies aren't really enjoying their school holidays . . . i think it's the best time of your life!!  I blasted into motherhood with 4 children in 4.5 years - back then it was a non stop 24/7 children's holiday dotted with preschool & i loved it!!  Motherhood suits my personality & i didn't try to fight it or keep up my old life.  I resigned/ changed my thinking to the fact i'm a full time mummy with a husband away, it's ALL up to me - cooking, cleaning, gardening, bins, mowing, family gifts, parties, in-laws . . . no one else is going to do it so i'll do it well & enjoy it!!  I could see the happy stay at home mummy light & devote my days to family fun (yes i was running a small business on the side, that just fitted in nicely sewing as a hobby & business at nighttime).  Now my eldest is starting high school next week, school holidays are the same blast of fun, action, craft, activities & happy memories, just with older children & it has a time limit - they go back to school.  Enjoy school holidays, your children grow up so quickly!!    
I'm a homebody, i love being at home & we embrace the free entertainment.  We don't have the cash to go shopping or buying sushi, Boost juices, ice creams, movies (times 6) just for something to do, so we go on bushwalks, swimming free at the military pool & enjoy all the wonderful tax deductible craft activities at home.  Plus my children have awesome bedrooms to hang out in & we have play dates too.  Every other day as a quiet home day, they get to . . . rest!!  They are allowed to get to the brink of boredom & find something else to do - use their imagination, play games & with each other.  I'll just make you all hate me now, my children rarely fight, they are easy to love.  If the sun is shining, there is no television either, yep, it's the 1950s at our place!!
Early in January we took a short trip to Sydney & visited family who were house sitting in Balmoral . . . eating & laughing from this balcony watching children & their cousins play.
 My niece had a little family birthday party with a pinata.  All was going well until my 3rd daughter smashed the broom.  My trauma surgeon brother was on stand by, there were some near misses i can assure you with all those big teenagers. 
 I possibly overstayed my welcome, i didn't want to leave this view & return to landlocked Canberra.
 The gardening in Summer has been a blast, the lettuce has grown like wildfire.
 We caught up with Corrie from RetroMummy & her family, my son is pretty keen on Keira!!
 Ever passing through Goulburn??  Stop at the multi award winning Trapper's Bakery, reference the big concrete Merino out the window.  It's clean, fresh & fantastic!!  Don't go the extra 20m to McDonalds drive through, stretch your legs & enjoy real food.
 Don't be fooled by the Australiana, they do amazing French patisseries.
 Up & down the Hume & Barton Highways we drove. 
 I planted sugar snaps (Donna Hay uses these in recipes), pumpkins, onions & celery.  Pumpkin seeds have already germinated, so i'm relocating them to a large box to grow in Autumn!!
 We finally took all the children to Poacher's Pantry for lunch on the weekend.  Yes 'we', my husband's surprise trip home was just wonderful.
 They chased butterflies & took photos while we waited for lunch.
 The grounds are glorious, perfect for a wedding.
 Gorgeous scented flowers . . .
 & we brought home some giant cookies for afternoon tea.
 So enjoy your school terms mummies out there . . . we still don't go back until next week, so we're maintaining the fun & games, fresh & ready for a new school year.  Yes, i'm the family cheer leader, i have to be!! 
Thanks for all the love on the weekend about my husband coming home, it was so fantastic yet bittersweet with a time limit of like 40 hours, ahhhh, holding my breath for the next visit in 3 weeks.  He's out bush training until then, so he'll enjoy the comforts of home even more.  Love Posie

28 January 2011

i'm grateful for . . . 'surprises'

Greetings all,
Another Saturday & another 'I'm grateful' celebration over at Maxabella Loves blog.
Short & sweet this week, to be honest, i still have the murmurs of my migraine, such is life when you can't really rest & recover with school holidays, children to feed & a business to run.
I've been a lucky girl to have surprises in my letter box this week . . .
 a pretty handmade heart from the gorgeous Elaine at Exquisite Acessories, she emailed to ask if she could send me one to say an extra special thanks for my contribution to her home state of Qld, for helping raise money for their flood relief.  Ah, thank you Elaine, i'm not alone either, she made & posted out a few of these delightful keepsakes. 
 Ever heard of the caution 'don't drink & dial/ text/ type' late at night & have no idea what you've done until the next day??  Well i don't drink but i do order fabric on line, late at night & then forget about it, until a parcel arrives a week later.  Glee, genuine surprise, fabric heart flutters!!  I've been making fabric & ribbon coin purses, in my simple-sewing-migraine-haze. 
 This gorgeous family member was a big surprise for the children at Easter 2008.  They grew up with a big German Shepherd named Jakob, this is our second.  It's Khan's 3rd birthday today.  If you happened to catch Bondi Vet & saw that German Shepherd puppy 'Honey' well, you can see why we will always have a German Shepherd in our lives.  He keeps us safe, patrolling the hallway at night, but loves a bit of comfort like 'sitting' on the back step!!  
Best surprise ever, my husband is coming home this weekend!!  Just for Saturday & Sunday, the children don't know, he only decided yesterday.  I can't wait, then we have a weekend together in February, then Easter!!  So you can imagine my excitement (like can't eat dinner i'm bursting with butterflies) so if i'm a bit blog-absent this weekend, forgive me.  Love Posie

27 January 2011

my creative space 'from the factory floor'

Greetings all,
Ah, Thursday again, i lost 3 days this week to a migraine & actually in the heat, i felt extra dizzy even though i was drinking water like a fish.  Somehow i managed to make 18 pairs of pants for the Shop so i actually have stock to sell. 
 So live from the factory floor (which is what it's like during mass production in the studio) this is what you'll find . . . disgruntled & non compliant models . . . 
 a pile of trousers which need pressing . . .
 oh, i grabbed a passing 9y.o. girl as a suitable model for boy's size 4 pants . . . no she wouldn't put down the rhino & lift up the pink Tshirt . . .
 i am so in love with these fabrics, i'm going to make myself some skirts . . .
 i'd even like this print in a dress!!
 Australia Day is over for another year, we enjoyed this Lamington Swiss Roll, yumbo!!
 Special mention to Toni from Make it Perfect, who put on this amazing effort to band together handmade raffles, auctions & donations . . .

big pats on your backs everyone who created or entered or just donated!!  Pretty excited that this little blog raised $775 from the auction & raffle, i was part of the whopping The Red Thread mega raffle prize (by donation of fabric, not winning, sigh) which raised $3260!!  I entered dozens of auctions & raffles, i won some hair clips, yippee, my girls will be wrapped.  Who says blogging is daggy or weird, NOT Queenslanders who are going to benefit. 
Happy Creative Spaces everyone, thanks Kirsty for hosting, love Posie

26 January 2011

Happy Australia Day & the Qld Flood Raffles end at midday

Raffle WINNER:  Congratulations # 96 . . . Anna from TillyTom Designs & Sew!Busy!Mama blog, you have an autographed copy of Handmade Living, a pencil roll, fabric & more crafty goodness coming to you!! 
Giveaway WINNER: Congratulations #45 . . . Bronwyn from Whippet Good blog, you have 4 Japanese printed FQ of fabric coming your way!!
Sorry for the delay in the annoucement & to leave 138 very generous entries hanging, my middle girl cut her foot open getting into the shower, i know, safer in the pool, bathrooms are the danger zone!!  Thanks for your patience!!

Greetings all,
Happy Australia Day everyone.  Still flat from my migraine but up for taking the children swimming & having a fun day.  In Canberra we have all sorts of free concerts to celebrate but i find them a bit of a mosh pit & with 4 children on my own, someone always needs the bathroom (um, me)!!  I think swimming, a BBQ, ANZAC biscuits & lamingtons is more our scene this year. 
Like the chalk flag my middle girl drew on the back of the house??  I'm sure Defence Housing will enjoy it too!!  She did it last week while they were playing cricket in the back garden, she was meant to be fielding at silly mid off.
 A happy shot of my 4 with some of their cousins in Balmoral (Mosman) 10 days ago.  Cousins are the best people in the world, my children have 19 of them, aged 4 to 21, all living in NSW.  We have a combination of cousins with Italian, Austrian, Hungarian, English, Irish, Scottish & French heritage, how typically Australian is that??!! 
Wondered why 3 of my children have olive skin??  Paternal northern Italian great grandparents - the genes are strong!!  My husband is very olive, with blue eyes, dimples, oh & his smile . . . sorry, got a bit carried away there . . . i miss him . . . anyway, in Italy everyone speaks Italian to him, he's just a tall sporty style Italian.  
 The iconic kangaroo, we have gazillions around our place & chat to them on our family bush walks.  They are pretty timid & some are enormous!!
 Thanks for a wonderful response to the auctions & raffles run by Make it Perfect (check out the master list!!) we're raising a whole tonne of money for the flood victims in Qld.  Today the raffles end at midday.  The grand total of money raised will be announced late this afternoon, what a wonderful way to show off our Australian spirit, helping our neighbours, on Australia Day!!
 I can't wait to draw my lucky raffle winner after lunch (for an autographed copy of Handmade Living, a pencil roll & fabric + craft goodies) & a runner up for 4 Japanese FQ fabrics.  Good luck everyone, over 100 125 entries & counting!!
ALSO, can't wait to see if i've won any raffles too??  Have you seen the competition over at Jodie's Ric Rac raffle for softies or Lisa's The Red Thread raffle for a sewing machine, fabric & patterns . . . i've entered both, several times, fingers crossed!!
Want more ways to support the Qld Flood Appeal??  Lots of designers at Shop Handmade in Canberra are donating 10% of January sales & . . . the amazing Rachel & Julie who own Shop Handmade are matching them dollar for dollar!!  Yahoo, imagine that mega donation??  When my children resume school, i go back to Shop Handmade - come & visit the most beautiful Shop in Canberra!!  Support Australian handmade, small business, local produce with excellent customer service (if i do say so myself). 

Thank you everyone for participating in any raffle, auction, donation, prizes, giveaways, shopping, baking, sandwich making & every other little thing you've done to support the Qld Flood Appeal, victims & volunteers.
Have yourself a wonderful Australia Day, love Posie

25 January 2011

migraine & the medicinal power of Lego

Greetings all,
Many of you woke up fresh yesterday & commenced the 2011 school year. Me, i woke up with a migraine & 2 more weeks of school holidays. I get about a dozen migraines a year, they wipe me out for a couple of days. Have to say, my children are excellent when i'm down, even when they were babies they sensed i was ill & they were especially quiet, but i was prepared & I pulled this ace out of my hat.  Surprise Lego!!
 A local toy shop had 30% off Lego so i stocked up.
 My boy trying to cheer me up.
 My 3rd daughter got a box of family style Lego, cute puppy.
 Daughter 2 got a sea plane, with all sorts of things to open & spin.
 The big Atlantis box had this whole under sea space ship thing.
 I think the Legoman in the middle has gone crazy.
 How cute are the flippers??
 After slaying aliens, they had a cup of coffee (FYI my eldest daughter built this with my son & staged these little scenes, then took the photos over 2 hours, while i dozed off on the lounge!!)
Oh no, an escaped alien . . . she looks angry!!  Yep, i got a haircut today . . . dragged myself through the shower & into a bra, i figured if i felt ill & couldn't cook or sew, i could sit in a chair & have someone pamper me & cut my hair.  Also bought the children sushi for lunch, no sandwich duty today.  Yet another 'no appointment necessary' scenario for you . . . walked in at 11a.m., "we can't see you now, but you can have an appointment at 1p.m."  I said "could i have one later say 3p.m." & let's just say the words "no you can't make an appointment" came out of her mouth 5 more times!! 
My husband called from Brisbane between hair salon events to see how i was feeling & begged to pay for me to get a real hair cut at a real salon with real service from a real appointment, no, i'm determined for them to get it right!! 
So this is what i got for my $26, a hair dresser who told me she smoked through her pregnancies "but i had big babies, so it didn't harm them" & a new look fringe.  It is straight, i've had ice on that side of my head all day.  Look at my colouring, could i look more drained or headachey??  'tis me, i'm real, some days this is as good as it gets.  Love Posie

24 January 2011

last chance to bid on the Qld Flood Appeal auctions . . .

Greetings all,
So . . . until 9p.m. tonight, this pretty handmade patchwork quilt is up for auction on my blog.  Please bid over at this original post NOW or leave a supportive comment for the people in Qld for your chance to win 4 Japanese FQ of fabric as a g i v e a w a y
AUCTION CLOSED:  Congratulations to my lovely gal pal Sheridan from Chalet Girl & Sew it Together fame, for winning this quilt at $120!! 
GIVEAWAY WINNER: Congratulations sweet Cathie from m.e (Melbourne Epicure) who has won 4 Japanese FQ fabrics.
 Combination of flower sugar & sweet broiderie fabrics, ahhh.
 My $5 donation raffle is live until midday Wednesday 26th January (Australia Day) so check it out here, for your chance to win an autographed copy of Handmade Living, pencil roll, fabric & more + runner up prize of 4 Japanese printed FQ fabrics.    
 Now for some cooking entertainment . . . from the post on Poh's recipe for Pumpkin & Red Capsicum soup, i did it, i chopped, i simmered, i processed, i seasoned, i did the squeeze of lemon to taste & tastey it was . . . da dah, mine is JUST LIKE THE PICTURE only i must love chives more than Poh . . . like Tupperware reheatable container??
Finally, a little hooray for a very brave soldier (not my husband) over in Perth with the Special Air Service (they're the best soldiers in the world) who won the highest honour, the Victoria Cross medal for Valour, in Afghanistan.  It's the 2nd one since the Vietnam War.  Extra special that he's the father of beautiful twin girls too!!  I wonder if he can make Poh's pumpkin soup too, probably. 
Have a fantastic week everyone, love Posie

23 January 2011

why i never complain about muddy footprints

Greetings all,
Ever have comments & thoughts which play on your mind & stick in your memory??  I want to share some wisdom from my late teens & early 20s. 
One incredibly important facet of part time jobs when you're in your teens, is learning to work with different people, from all walks of life, at a variety of ages & stages in their lives.  While i was at Uni & about to take on the world . . . 
I worked in retail with an immaculate, well travelled lady in her 40s.  She talked of state dinners in Washington, her children's nanny in London & exotic holidays in the Pacific.  Alas, she was serving behind the same counter as me.  Her husband's high flying international business went bankrupt & the only property the bank couldn't take, was an apartment in Sydney.  The only job either of them could get, was her working at a department store.  She was humble, positive & grateful for everything, above all, she still had her marriage & her children. 
She filled me with all sorts of incredible advice on non material things like relationships . . . 'address the petty issues before they fill you with resentment' & maintain the romance, 'even with children, show them you love each other, light candles every night & kiss often'.  It made me notice it was exactly how my parents were with each other & how i wanted to be.  It's how my marriage started & continues!!  The word 'resentment' is incredibly powerful & . . . a waste of time.
Another memorable influence was the wife of the Family Circle magazine Husband of the Year 2001 (my husband, Mr NT was a runner up, the winner, Mr Qld was hard to beat, already a father of 4 & a fireman, say no more!!)  Anyway, his beautiful wife & i were talking about motherhood.  She said, 'i never complain about muddy footprints, my friend just lost a child & the last thing she can remember saying was "don't run through the house leaving muddy footprints" & then, he was gone . . . she wishes she still had muddy footprints to mop up'.  That has haunted me & ruled my ethos that yes, children can be messy, but nothing a mop can't fix at the end of the day. 
Last night my twins were invited to a 9y.o. birthday party.  I had 3 hours with the other children, 25km from home.  Rather than driving back & forth, i took them swimming then out for an early dinner of calamari & chips, which we ate at the Mt Pleasant Look Out.  It's fabulous up there, views of Canberra from the airport to Parliament House to the Telstra Tower.  A storm rolled in & it started to rain, my children were in swim suits & towels anyway, so . . .   
 they jumped in puddles . . .
 over & over . . .
 ran around the walls . . .
 & pointed out the rainbows!!  So glad we stayed out to experience this.  The laughter was deafening & i was out in the rain enjoying it too.
 We came home, late & exhausted (the party girl's mummy wanted to chat, i was available to listen!!)  I had children to run through showers to clean off chlorine & face paint + we had a guest, so the lounge room is a sleep-over make-over & guess what, the floor is covered in muddy footprints!!  Do i care, no, i love it, they tell a story . . . 'we're free, we have friends, we've had fun & our mum let's us jump in puddles in the rain'.  The floors can be mopped later, AFTER our guest has gone, everyone is in bed & i can walk around spotless floors on a Sunday night, kiss my happy able bodied children tucked up in their beds, then look forward to another week of active children & their muddy footprints. 
 I often hear mothers talk of obsessive cleaning "i have OCD" & perfect homes "it's the perfectionist in me, i can't help it".  Could you possibly put more pressure on yourselves??  Trying to make your surrounds perfect is because you're not happy with something inside you.  You're also teaching your children these behaviours.  They are your audience, they notice, they'll copy, they'll stress.   
My children are taught respect for property & to be tidy, our house is always squared away, we keep things simple & uncluttered.  Sometimes you still get muddy footprints.  I'm house proud but don't kill myself cleaning daily, we don't use antibacterial hand wash & my children never get sick.  Guess what people notice when they visit . . . clean floors or fun, relaxed, interesting, enjoyable children??!!  Who are we really trying to impress??  Our husbands, our girlfriends, ourselves, or our children??
Have lovely Sundays everyone, i hope they're filled with muddy footprints.  I'm sewing, baking, playing with children all day so i can spend my evening, you guessed it, mopping & steaming those floors, i'll love it!!  Love Posie

UPDATE: auctions now ending at 9p.m. on Monday 24th January & raffles
now ending at midday on Wednesday 26th January.  Thanks for your support in raising over $600 at this little Posie blog so far, keep those generous donations coming!!  For more auctions & raffles, go to Make it Perfect, Queenslanders are feeling the love.  Oprah has told you to support it too.  Did you know during the few hours after her first Oprah Australia Adventure show went to air, the public donations increased from $100M to $120M??  Did you also notice she has weather perfection everywhere she went??  Her amazing positive power is out of this world!!