Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Year That Was...

As I'm madly thinking of everything we I need to pack for all six of us to jump on a jet plane tomorrow, I wisely thought I should sit down and reflect on 2011.  So, here are some highlights......

*  I muddled through a very tough situation with the ex-husband.  I managed to come to a peaceful resolution in terms of where my eldest son wanted to spend his time, and how he wanted to spend it, and was very relieved that I was savvy enough to do all of the legal paperwork myself and save thousands of dollars.  It was worth the stress - as we now have a very settled, happy and content 13 year old boy.

*  Five new babies were brought in to the world, through my very close circle of friends.  I have been lucky enough to spend time with them and come to grips with the fact that I will never bare any more children myself!  This is something I NEVER thought I would be at peace with......but I am more than happy to hand the little bundles of joy back now!  I get to meet the fifth baby tomorrow, when my god-daughter to be and I lay eyes on each other for the first time - can't wait.

*  This time last year I was still very much struggling with the loss of what I thought was a very important friendship.  I am happy to say that 2011 has brought me so much on the friendship front!  Women whom I knew and liked, from an acquaintance point of view, have now become much nearer and dearer, and I look forward to our friendships getting stronger and the laughs continuing.  I have also "almost" found closure with before-mentioned friend, and have realised how absolutely blessed I am to have the amazing long-term friendships I treasure.

*  I have watched my "little boy" aka 13 year old, develop and blossom in to a teenager.  I know it's only early days, but gee I'm proud!  His first year of high school has been trying, but he has done so well.  He still drives me bonkers, but I really do like him!!

*  We had a Japanese exchange student stay with us for two weeks......and managed not to kill him!  It was a super hard lesson in communication - but it paid off for all seven of us.  The kids learnt patience, and this painfully shy and quiet Japanese boy found his voice, and showed us his personality.  Memories that will last a lifetime!

*  My youngest son went the full circle this year - at the beginning, we were worried, really worried.  He was struggling to settle in to Grade one, and his behaviour was hideous.  Through lots of meetings with his wonderful teacher and the help of a child psychologist (aka The Worry Doctor), by the third term, he was a different child.  So very proud of how far he has come in all areas of his development.

*  My husband, my amazing rock, has scored himself THE MOST amazing job!  This opportunity will surely open so many doors for us, that we dare not close them.  I am looking forward to growing as a couple, and as a family.  Today, as it happens, is our eighth wedding anniversary, so the perfect time to shout to the world - I LOVE MY HUSBAND!

*  And last but not least - I've managed to grow my little business.  What started out being a little hobby to earn some extra dollars before Christmas last year, has now built into something I certainly had never ever dreamt of!  Ms Midge is very dear to me, and I have absolutely no vision of what I would like it to be in the coming year.  What I do want, is to continue to watch it grow.  Continue to be stunned by the amazing words of "strangers", now customers, who love what I do - and are paying me to do it!  I have loved every single moment that has passed through my sewing machine.  I have wrapped the orders lovingly, posting them to all sorts of destinations over this country of ours, and am thrilled to think that there are little ones out there wearing something that I have made!  It's a privilege.

I would also like to take a second to say HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Thank you to each and every one of you who has stopped on my bloggy page.  Although you don't all comment, I can tell you've been here!  For all of you who do take the time to leave me a comment - Thank You.  Your words are like gold!

My beautiful Melbourne - fireworks on NYE.

Have a safe and most of all FUN New Year's Eve!  I will most likely not have time to check in here for the next 8 days.......I will either be too exhausted from all the theme park hopping on the Gold Coast, and the ghastly fact that the sun rises oh so much earlier there!  Wish me luck. xxx

Monday, December 26, 2011

'Tis The Season to be.........

De-lousing......Yep, most people get to relax at the end of the school year.  Not here.  Nope, my lovely children decided my pre and post Christmas gift would be heads full of nits!  

It all started last Wednesday night when I went to wash Miss 8's hair....and she uttered those dreaded words - "Mum, my head has been itchy".............. I felt like running......but instead - got the biggest bottle of conditioner I could find, along with our handy dandy notebook nit comb, and spent the following 30 minutes combing, combing, combing.  A roll full of paper towel and a bath full of cold water and blue daughter later - no more nits.  Well so I thought.....

Following morning when Miss 3 woke up, I marched her to the bathroom......went through the same dreaded routine as the night prior, and was horrified to see that those disgusting little bastards had been breeding like rabbits in her mop of curls.  I was literally crying.  You see, you'd think someone would be going bat-shit if they had a head full wouldn't you?  Apparently not.

Three days later...and copius amounts of conditioner and red raw scalps - the girls got the all clear.  

Want to be repulsed?  Google images of head lice.......Urghhhhhh!

End of story?  Nope.....

Wonderful two days of Christmas cheer, fa-la-la-la-lahhhhhh.......Enter Master 7.  And the worst head full I have ever, ever seen.  Right......on.....queue.....ten minutes before I was due to leave for work.  More tears, horror and grossed out looks whilst the all too familiar routine was conducted.  "Surely your head has been itchy mate?"......."Nah Mum".  Great.  

So this morning's activities were all put on hold (read: I was late to work, Hubby was sent to shopping centre chemist - on Boxing Day bhahahahahaha), and sister-in-law arrived just in time to be told she would be finishing off de-lousing child whilst I went to work and Husband went to the cricket.  Such great parents.

Sooooooo........after spending almost a week combing hair, this evening has topped off the week with a huge dose of de-lousing treatment for the whole family!  The couple of times my eldest daughter has had them, I have been able to nip it in the butt just with conditioner and our super duper comb (it's about $18 from the chemist and squashes eggs and lice on its way through the follicles - tasty).  But this crop of decrepit little fockers needed some chemicals involved.

I know I'm not the only poor Mummy(or dare I say Daddy?) who has had to deal with the revolting sight of bugs in kids does everyone else deal with them???

Ps. Happy holidays!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Merry Christmas!

With Christmas Day 2011 almost coming to an end, I just wanted to take the opportunity to say Merry Christmas!  Thank you all for checking in every now and then, reading, sharing and taking an interest in my sometimes very mediocre life!

I wish you all much joy, stuffed bellies and over-loaded rubbish bins.  That's exactly what today has brought to my beautiful family.

It has also brought the priceless looks on my children's faces when they read their little letters (Dr Seuss style penned by Me) packed in their new bags, filled with Summer clothes, hats and thongs that they got as gifts....

We have managed to keep this holiday a secret from the three youngest children for approximately eight months!  My eldest son also kept the secret, so that is a feat in itself!  We are off to the Gold Coast this time next week......lots of fun in the sun, catching up with my childhood into adulthood friends and general family fun.  I cannot wait!

So as I publish this post, I am about to head out the door to visit some family, including my husband's 92 year old Nanna.  Once again, feeling very blessed to be able to share time with beautiful people.

Merry Christmas everyone xxx

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Jelly Belly

Given that I have absolutely no sewing to do at present, I have succumbed to cruising the bloggy world.  Well, succumbed probably isn't the correct term - as it is certainly not a pastime I loath!  I love reading other people's blogs - about their lives, their hobbies, their trials and tribulations.  And tonight was no different.  I have just read BigWordsBlog post.  And I must say, it has struck a cord.  Bianca, the blogger, bared her soul in that post.  Her soul, and her belly.  It is something that I can honestly say, I would never do.  So I am hi-fiving her for doing so!

I know that anyone who knows me - from the outside - would wonder why I would never show my belly?  They would probably be thinking "she's so thin, she doesn't have a belly".  Or something along those lines.  My closest friends, I would hope, would understand.  You see, a lot of the general public see a person who is thin, who does not generally struggle with weight issues as not having any body image issues.  "You're so skinny", "God, I wish I could have four kids and have your figure", "If I looked like you I would wear a bikini"........these are just some of the hundreds of things that have been said to me in recent history.  What these people saying these things do not know is that my body is NOT perfect.  My figure is NOT perfect.  I bare the scars of four pregnancies.  Most of them I got during my first pregnancy, 13 years ago.  My divine 9pound, 9ounce baby boy stretched my stomach way beyond its capacity, and as week 35 rolled around and I dared to hold a mirror under my belly, I was aghast at what I discovered!  The stretch marks went right over my belly button, and therefore half way up my belly.

I too, like Bianca, used the creams, the lotions that made promises of stretch marks never turning up.  I too, like Bianca, had gestational diabetes with my second, third and fourth pregnancies, so only gained a minimal (well if you call 9-12kilos minimal) amount of weight - but still suffered immensely with problems due to my little frame.  And yet, nothing I did changed the course of my body's destiny!

A personal trainer, many years ago, post first pregnancy, told me that it didn't matter how fit, how healthy, nor how thin I was - that bit of jelly belly that wobbled over the top of any muscle mass I had left there, would never go away.  I was devastated.  I was 25 years old, and was divorced.  How on earth was I ever going to meet a wonderful man who would accept my belly for what it was?  Well, first of all, I had to accept my belly for what it was.  And funnily enough, my acceptance came through my amazing husband's acceptance.

My belly is what it is.  My figure is what it is.  Yes, I am thin.  No, I do not have a problem with my weight.  But I do have my imperfections, and my issues with my belly.  I just choose to hide them.  I won't ever wear a bikini again, but I'm at peace with that.  I have four amazing kids to show for the scars I have, and I would never taken them back for a pancake flat tummy!

None of us are perfect, and the sooner we all realise that, maybe we will ease up on ourselves, and cut some slack?  I'm not on my own, am I?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Fabric chosen....

A few days ago, I sent out a request for HELP!  I would like to thank everyone who commented here on the blog, as well as on my Facebook Page.  A quick update to let you know I have finally (after much stressful thought) made a decision and have placed an order with my lovely fabric supplier!

So here is a little more close up action of what will be in store late January, early February....

Aren't they just beautiful?

I promised those who helped me out by giving me their opinions would be I have popped your names into and picked a recipient of said reward.....

8 lovelies in the draw, including Facebook comment.
Thanks Hayley!  You have the choice of a Notebook Cover or Crayon Roll - all yours for nothing!  Thanks again to everyone who took the time to have a look and comment!  I know I'm not going to please all the people, all the time - but I needed to make a choice! xx

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I need Dr Phil - Part Two

Last week I sort of went somewhere I didn't really plan on going.....but now that I have, I guess I have to continue...

Addiction, in my opinion, is genetic.  It doesn't have to be the same kind of addiction, for instance - just because I'm addicted to buying fabric - it doesn't mean my children will be addicted to fabric!  But I really think that if there is a long line of family members, through the generations, whom have struggled with an addiction, then you are going to be more likely to struggle with one too?  I could be wrong - but as I said - my opinion.

I didn't know my paternal grandparents, so I can't say that I know if they battled any kind of addiction.  I do know that my paternal grandmother was a kind and generous woman, whom my own Mother loved dearly.  My grandfather apparently was a different story.  Don't get me wrong - I think he may have been a nice enough man, but not someone who would make you all warm and fuzzy?  And the couple of stories I have heard about him from my Mum (I don't think I've ever heard my Dad speak of him?), do not make for a glowing report.  But you know when you just get that feeling?  The feeling that things just weren't "right"?  That's the feeling I get.

The line of addiction has unfortunately filtered down to my generation.  I may joke about my addiction to buying fabrics, but the other kinds in our family are not really a laughing matter.  This is why I was so upset the other week whilst watching Dr Phil.  It's like watching your own family, your own story.  A wide-screen HD view of your life.  And at times, I feel helpless.  Both of my siblings (whom I love dearly and do not want to tarnish their reputations) have battled on and off with varying addictions over the years.  And I have generally sat back and watched them flush their sanity down the toilet.

A couple of months ago, I was on the phone to my sister.  We got to talking about some of her struggles, and I was rather candid.  If I was given just one wish, from anyone - genie or not - it would be that my beautiful, artistic, whimsical and vivacious sister, could be given the opportunity (and take it) to get some really spot on help to battle her struggles and overcome them.  My wish is for her three beautiful daughters to see the amazing woman that she can be.  The woman who was so care-free, and so happy.  Instead, my nieces only know the battle-weary woman.  The one who sits and drinks coffee all day and does not enter the public arena.  She is a mere shadow of herself.  Unfortunately it is not only addictions she has battled, but mental illness also.

The phone conversation was wonderful.  We both cried.  Lots.  But I was wanting to convey to her that these beautiful, amazing children of hers deserved to know their Mother.  And she deserved to be known by them.  And if I had to ring Dr Phil for an intervention - by God - I would!

Although the threat of Dr Phil was almost laughable, it got the wheels turning.  And I'm hoping (and praying) that in the very near future - the help that is needed will be available and taken.

What about my brother?  Well, that really is another story.  One for yet another day.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I need Dr Phil - Part one....

**  I started writing this post two weeks ago....but it was all too hard, so I'm trying again today....

Not for me....well, I guess it is in a round about way for me.  I was watching yet another amazing Intervention on Dr Phil today, and I stood there crying and feeling the torture this poor family was going through, watching their family member literally killing themselves in front of their own eyes.  And there was nothing they could do about it.  Enter: Dr Phil.

Addiction is a nasty, evil and soul-killing thing.  It drains people, drains the people around them.  And unfortunately, too many members of my family have been afflicted with this evil, and I'm just about at my wit's end...

It all started with my Dad (well, I'm guessing his Dad, or his Dad's Dad, or someone prior to my Dad started it all?), who discovered the "joys" of gambling many many years ago.  Gambling pretty much ruined his life, not to mention his family's lives, which I guess in turn, means mine?  I don't see my life that way, i.e. ruined, but it was certainly altered.

Gambling led my family from a humungous house on the Gold Coast, a successful family plumbing business and what I would have considered, a pretty regular and happy family life, to smaller homes and businesses and a fairly dysfunctional family life.  Until we eventually had to sell everything and rent a house from a family friend.  The inevitable happened, and my parents divorced and we then lived in a caravan park for a couple of years.  This all happened in a matter of approximately seven years.  So it was a pretty swift fall from grace.  Some relief came in the form of my Step Dad and his job offer in Melbourne, so off we went.  But the damage had already been done, and I did not see or hear from my Father for the following 13 years.  I am however, pleased to say, he re-entered my life eight years ago, and we have a pretty good relationship.  I accept that he had/has a disease, and he is now a reasonably elderly man - so bygones are now bygones.

To say I have "issues" with and around gambling, would be a huge understatement!  I made it perfectly clear to my darling husband not long after we met, that the one thing that would be a deal-breaker, was gambling.  He and I now have an agreement that he is "allowed" (typing that sounds SO wrong) to gamble Melbourne Cup Day.  And it's a bit of family entertainment - the kids pick horses and put a dollar on them.  Win, win.

Needless to say - this first addiction was the first of many to emerge in my family, and I believe was the catalyst to all that would eventuate.....

Help required!

I wouldn't normally throw it out there like this.....but I truly cannot decide which fabric range to purchase next!  It will be used for my February collection of dresses and outfits.  So, I'm going to leave it open to you - my lovely customers!  Votes shall be tallied over the next couple of days, and one of the "voters" will receive a little somethin somethin for their efforts!  So - go on - Vote!

Option Number One - sigh....

Option Number Two - Something different for me, but maybe not so different for everyone else!

Option Number Three - A bit geometrical and floral!

Option Number Four - amazing colours together.....
Well, there are your options!  Please comment on this blog post to be included in my little gift giveaway!  Ps. Thanks in advance to Jewel for the use of her photos (sorry I haven't asked you!!!)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I'm on a Roll!

It took me 36 and a half (the half is important people!) years to make my first proper quilt.  And another two days to finish my second!  As Guiliana would say - Amaze-balls!  I'm so thrilled with the outcome of this second beauty, as the odds were against it turning out ok.....

But - it did!
I took some advice from a few friends in my sewing group and looked over a couple of tutorials - here and here.  They were sort of the same, but different.  So last night I took out my gorgeous little fat quarter bundle of Hoos In The Forest, which I bought a couple of months ago, in anticipation of this project.  Guesstimated that I would use them in 9" squares and cut them all out.  Ended up with 20 squares, so once again guesstimated that this would be the size of the quilt!  I'm guessing you have put two and two together and realised I'm not really one for following patterns to a tee?

Fast forward to this morning, when I decided I would brave the local shopping centre (well, I had no choice as my iPhone got wet last night and I had to go to the phone shop to hand it in for repair) and head in to Lincraft to get flannelette to continue with my quilt.

First problem - Lincraft had no flannelette.  Apparently flannelette is a Winter fabric??  Of course - why on earth would a fabric shop stock any fabric that did not fit a particular season?  Grrrr......  The Manager-type-looking-lady was rather taken a-back when I suggested that flannelette is in fact quilting fabric.  And the lovely employee concurred with me.

Anyway.....jumped over the no-flanellette hurdle and decided I would take a punt, and buy some Bamboo Batting for the middle and some gorgeous printed white quilting cotton for the back.  I had no idea if this would give me the "rag quilt effect" I was after, so a bit of a gamble.

Back home again with my purchases and trying to work out whether I have the batting showing or not?  Took yet another punt and decided to have it showing.  So cut the backing cotton and batting the same 9" squares, and proceeded to follow the directions in above tutorials.

To say this was easy, would be quite the understatement.  This quilt (I s*it you not!) literally took a couple of hours to whip up!  Yes, it was a little painful when you get to the cutting of the seams, but the fact that you can then go and throw it in the wash and dryer, and it comes out looking so beautiful - it's worth the pain!

Could it really be true - that quilting is rather addictive?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

My first Quilt - finished!

Well, it has taken me  a couple of months, but I have (literally) just finished my first "proper" quilt!  I say proper because I have made dodgy ones here and there over the years, but because I am such an impatient human being and do not gravitate towards anything fiddly, I have done rush jobs, and have not been proud of them.  But tonight - I'm overflowing with glee....

One cot-sized quilt for a very special baby girl.

I know it's not perfect - but it's close enough!  Ooh, and you can see the mistake I made....

The colours are stunning!
A big thank you to the lovely ladies who have helped me out and given me the confidence to get through this project!  You will be happy to know I already have another one ready to be started......

Saturday, December 3, 2011

What I did today...

It may not look very interesting to some....but I have been run off my feet these last few weeks - sewing orders for others.  So today, I finally got around to making some Christmas presents!  It was the first time I had ever made crayon rolls (or pencil rolls when you can't find the right size crayons!).  To say I was impressed with myself would be an understatement!  You can find the tutorial I used here. 

The other gorgeous numbers in the photo are notebook covers.  I tried with a different tutorial last week, and completely failed. So took a deep breath this morning and plunged head-first in to this one.  It was really fiddly at first.  But once I wrapped my head around the instructions, it all clicked and worked out fabulously!!  Once again, great Christmas gifts.  My primary school aged children will have them to give to their teachers, and I have made a couple for family and work mates.  I am hoping they love them!

Today is most of all proof that even if you really hate what you think is going to be fiddly and tricky stuff - give it a go.  You may just surprise yourself!

Now - what's next?
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