Thursday, March 29, 2012

The one where I sound like my Nanna.....

Today was parent/teacher interview day at Lachlan's high school.  He rang me from his Father's last week and said that his Dad thinks because his test scores etc were so good, he didn't have to go to the interviews.  I did not agree with this.  Lochie went forward and arranged for the interviews.

For those not familiar with high school - at this school, your child goes to each teacher and fills in a form with a ten minute slot for your interview.  He gained four slots for me, one after the other - good boy!  This meant the process would be done and dusted in 40 minutes.  Fab.

So the time arrives and we head off to school.  Get there right on time for Japanese teacher.  Now, I wrote last year of Lachlan's eagerness to learn Japanese.  And how I was astounded that he "got it".  This year - a little different.  He told me a few weeks ago that he was finding it boring.  And not doing so well.  So this was crunch time.  Same teacher as last year greeted me with a familiar smile and got straight to the point.  "Lachlan's working a little differently to last year".  I like a teacher who doesn't pull any punches!  Our interview progressed well, I told her Lachlan's thoughts, whilst he sat prostate in his chair, embarrassed that I had told his teacher he thought it was boring.  But she was very honest and shared some interesting points.....

"Do I have your permission to confiscate his iPod and laptop in class?"   PARDON????  My response to her was one of raised eyebrows, a WTF? look on my face and me sitting forward in my chair.  This is when I went all Nanna......

"What is he doing with his iPod in class?" I ask.  Mrs Japanese enlightens me.  Apparently the school policy on having iPods and phones in class is up to the discretion of the teacher.  PARDON????  Mrs Japanese gathers I am rather entertained by this fact.  I am actually surprised, shocked and disgusted.  She proceeds to fill in the blanks by telling me that whilst she is teaching, children (I will call them children opposed to students, because I want to bang home my Nanna-ness by stating they are bloody CHILDREN!!!) use their laptops to watch movies.  They ignore her directions to hand in their iPods and will question her authority to do so.

By this stage I am rather aghast at the fact that this is all going on in my son's learning environment.  Whilst I'm peeling my jaw off the ground, Lachlan tells Mrs Japanese that he has stopped listening to his iPod in class after she last requested he do so.  He then says "lucky I don't have a bra" and laughs at his little joke.  PARDON????  Another pearler.  The year 8 girls will put their iPods in their bras so the teachers have no choice and cannot confiscate them........  Oh Dear.

I look at this lovely and charming 50-something woman, who must have the patience of a Saint, and give her these words:

"Can you imagine us doing that when we were at school?"

Just as the words were escaping my mouth, I realised I was now old.

Although I left Mrs Japanese feeling disheartened about THE YOUTH OF TODAY, (Yep, old old old old old) I was happy that she assured me Lochie is a great kid who is still doing well.  But clearly his boring thoughts were getting in the way of him excelling.  

The other three interviews were fabulous and made me a very proud Nanna Mum!  

Tell me - are you shocked by what kids are getting away with these days?  And are you a Nanna too?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Being Blonde AND Brainy

I'm really amused and annoyed at myself right now!  I've just returned home from dropping Lochie off at basketball training.  And whilst that in itself was enough to have me in tears - I mean, really, when did my little boy turn in to a tallish, lankyish version of his old self?  I jumped in the car to return home to be greeted with a little red light, a beeping noise and my the car's temperature gauge almost bursting out of the dashboard!  Hmmmmm.  Whilst panic was setting in, I rang my husband.  Why? Not because I thought he could fix it (we are both mechanically challenged) but because I was worried I would konk out somewhere.  He was still at work on the other side of the city, and the two middle kids were at home whilst I made the ten minute return trip to the basketball stadium!!

About that time I had to make a choice.  Do I continue home in the hope I make it?  Or do I pull in to the service station to see what the problem was scratch my head and vacantly look under my bonnet?  I chose the second option.

Now I know this much about cars - they have a radiator.  Said radiator should be full of water.  Said car should be serviced at regular intervals so that mechanically minded employee can ensure it has water.  Let's just was not full, because it hasn't been serviced in quite some time.  Whoops.

Whilst I stood there looking at empty radiator water container thingy, I remembered you should not open a radiator cap thing whilst they are hot.  So I stared a bit longer before a fellow who looked like he may vaguely know what he is doing pulled up next to me.  And I did what any blonde woman with a small child in their car would do, when they have no idea what to do.  I said:

"Excuse me?  I have a dumb blonde question: If the light is flashing and beeping and the temperature is super hot does that mean my radiator is empty?"

As I started speaking, I wanted to slap myself!  This lovely gentleman made light of my dumb blonde reference and was actually impressed amused that I even knew what a radiator was.

Thankfully, he took over the situation.  Got some big piece of rag type fabric from his van (do all middle aged men carry rags in their cars!?!) and calmly opened the radiator cap which was by this time a steaming furnace.  TWO BIG WATERING CANS later - and my radiator was full again!  She was bone dry.  Again - whoops.

Sooooo........the next dilemma.  Do I take my delightful 1999 Ford Station Wagon to be serviced and pay what will probably be a small fortune?  Or do I take the small fortune and trade her in for a later model baby?  Decisions, decisions.

Do you make jokes on your own behalf when you're feeling a bit silly and awkward?  

Guest Posting

Hi all!  Just quickly popping in to tell you the lovely gals over at The Oz Material Girls asked me to a regular contributor!  Hoorah!  So that's where I am today!

Up-sizing! is another little tutorial.  Hope it's of interest and/or help to someone!

I'll be back soon xx

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Weekend's End

 We have had a HUGE weekend here!  Cadyn has been sick for a few days, so in between doctor visits and cleaning up vomit, we've fit a fair bit in.  I worked yesterday then enjoyed a fabulous evening with friends to celebrate a 40th birthday.  And today started with Cadyn's first footy game of the year, a Purple Day Fundraiser at a friend's home where this gorgeous dress was auctioned off

Then, straight from the fundraiser to my gorgeous workmate's 40th birthday celebrations......which we could only stay at for 40 minutes before heading off to look at a house.   Yes, you heard correctly.  We went and looked at a house for sale......

You see, things are looking up in the world!  After ten years of just cruising by and making ends meet, we are finally getting somewhere in the finance department, and are coming to the point where we can start to realistically dream of buying our own house!  So today's journey was to a five bedroom house with a pool.  Kids were pumped.  But after wandering around the property (which was clearly owned by a family of smoking, over-excited decorators) we figured there was just too much to do.  Too much that we didn't rate.  But it was a good experience.  Tiny steps.....

The other thing that was exciting this weekend, was getting my hand on these beautiful prints

One of my gorgeous girlfriends has just started sewing again, for the first time since high school, and a few weeks ago she asked me where I buy my fabrics from.  I mentioned a few sites overseas she may be interested in, and a week or so later she told me she was placing an order - "Did I want anything?" Ummmmmmm - YEH!!  So these darling prints were delivered to her on Friday.  I have some more prints in the range arriving soon, from my lovely friend Jewel at The Intrepid Thread.  You should go and check out Jewel's gorgeous new website!

So now it's time to pack of our over-tired children - who clearly do not deal so well with SUPER late nights - and then I'm going to sit on the lounge and watch some tv.  Lovely.

What did your weekend treat you to?

Friday, March 23, 2012

I'm not Game

I have Cadyn home sick today, again.  Just like yesterday. And it's hard because although he's sick on the "inside" (he has crackly lungs) he's fine on the outside - so has continued with his usual routines.......

Putting his brand new footy boots on, and running up and down the hallway - on the floorboards.
Getting his cricket bat and swinging it like he's facing Shane Warne.
Asking me relentlessly to play games with him.

It took me an hour of "No, I'm  not playing games with you", to come up with a compromise.  I told him after lunch I would play A game with him.  BUT NOT MONOPOLY!  So I've spent the morning sewing,  then took him back to the Doctors.  He confidently said to me that when we returned home I was to make him lunch and then we were playing a game - of Guess Who?   So I confidently replied that "after lunch" meant some time between Midday and 6pm......

I don't know what it is.  Growing up, we didn't have board games.  We had Backgammon.  Not so popular amongst the kids.  My sister and I laugh about how much we wanted board games when we were kids, and now that we have kids ourselves - we are both "non-gamers".

My husband is a HUGE gamer.  He spends hours on various different on-line games, as well as PS3 and a variety of other mind-numbing activities.  I, on the other hand, have killed my Farmville plants, sent my Cityville town broke and ravaged with crime, and no doubt could never return to Yoville from fear of retribution from all of the virtual people I have left hanging in there.

My children know that puzzles are for Nanna to do with them.  My husband spent a couple of hours playing Monopoly with them a few weeks ago.  I sewed.

So it is with great pride I announce to you - 

I played ONE game of Guess Who? with Cadyn today!  

And he only had to wait until 1pm.....

Am I a bad Mother (again) or are there lots more of you non-gamers out there?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

STOP....and think!

Do you ever get mid-sentence with your children and think "STOP"....but you can't.....and then once you're finished you kick yourself??  Here are some beauties I have recently let slip....

Your Dad is on his way home - so you better behave!   Ummmmm.......der.......they should be behaving for ME anyway?

If you do that one more time I'm going to lose it!  
Too late - by the time I've yelled this, I've already lost "it"!

Put that back where it belongs/Pick up your stuff/If I trip over your crap one more time, I'll throw it out!   
Well, this one has backfired many times on me, so I don't know why I still whip it out?  Only last night I asked Chloe to put her plastic kitchen back in her room or I would throw it out.  She got half way to her bedroom, put it down and said "Actually, I don't want it"........Fail.

I also (way too regularly for my liking) swear like a trooper whilst losing it......and once again, whilst in the midst of it, would like to press PAUSE, then REWIND and START again.  But I'm coming to grips with the fact that I am not perfect.  I am not the perfect Mother.  I am ME.  And my kids seem to LOVE me unequivocally...... I do always manage to tell them I love them at the end of the day.  Regardless of whether they have behaved for me OR their Dad, whether I have lost it and whether they have been left toy-less due to my losing it!

I'm sure there's a million more of these that have been used on a daily basis at some stage, by some Mother, somewhere in the world!  Feel free to share.....

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Today's post is brought to you by the letter C.  For CAT.  The same cat that just opened the bathroom door whilst I was sitting on the toilet.  Not only do I have to contend with children invading my privacy, I also have a cat who doesn't care..... It made me think of all the randomness I have come across today, whilst going about the million other things I accomplished.  Have you ever thought of all the things you have managed to get done in one day?  Write a list - it can be pretty impressive.

*  Whoever it was that invented the recorder....should have it shoved somewhere the sun doesn't shine.  Seriously.  Chelsea has waited oh so patiently to get to Grade 3, so that 1. She can join the choir and 2. She can play the recorder.  The singing I can deal with - she actually has a lovely voice and can belt out a tune no worries.  The recorder on the other hand has become one of the many banes of my existence.  If I hear "Hot Cross Buns" one more time, I could be put away for recorder snapping......and I don't mean taking a photo of it!

*  In keeping with family entertainment, apparently we have a tribe of show ponies.  This last week has brought many a show for our thorough enjoyment.  The build up to these "shows" is intense.  Andrew and I are given handmade tickets, and told to hold on to them for safe-keeping.  The rehearsals go for all of 20 minutes, and then it's SHOW TIME....

Watching 3 children bounce around a trampoline is highly entertaining, especially when the old "double bounce" comes in to play, and the 3 year old goes flying...

*  When Lochie was nine, he decided he wanted to move to Darwin with his Dad.  After much soul-searching, I let him go.  It was the longest two years of my life, and the months between school holidays would go so slowly, and the week he would fly in to spend with us would go ever so fast.  One of those visits, he took some chalk and did this, on the side of our garage....

Admittedly, I was a tad annoyed when I saw what he had done, but was smart enough not to wash it away.  Years later, it brings a smile to my face.  Especially now that he is a teenager and will probably never admit publicly to loving us all again.....

*  We have lived for the past few years with our hot and cold water tap backwards.  Everyone in this household is used to them.  It's only when we get visitors that we remember how backwards we are.  What is funnier is when it's your retired plumber Dad points it out......but doesn't change it over for you!

*  I live with a fanatical Hawks supporter.  Oh, and my husband.  I never thought anyone could be more sports mad than Andrew, but Cadyn has overtaken him, in leaps and bounds.  I have kept the walls in our back room in check for a few years.  But I know he's itching to fill all of them with paraphernalia.  Cadyn's bedroom walls - and windows - are plastered in posters, and given that when he can't find any footy or cricket on the television, he will watch (and commentate) darts - I don't think there's any hope for his future wife.....


*  This is something I've been working on for a special showcase over at Handmade Love.  Handmade Showcase is full of super talented people and the challenge is to all use the same collections of fabrics to come up with creations that the public can then go in to a ballot to purchase!  This gorgeous Vivienne skirt is now just waiting on a top half to compliment it.  I love it.

*  This used to be an office/dining room.  Now it's not.  Whoops.

*  I just overheard Cadyn ask Chelsea if she knew what a porn was?  Ummmmm........I froze and waited for the rest of the conversation.....turns out he was talking about chess club - PHEW!

What randomness have you come across lately?  Do you want to snap a recorder when you hear one?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Fresh Photos

Eden's lightening things up today!  And using one of my all-time favourite things to do so - photos!!  I've written before about my infamy with the camera.....when your friends start leaving their camera at home, because they know you will have one - you either 
a) Have a problem
b) You just like to have fun, showing the world through photos!

So here are some of my latest favourite pics....

My youngest Chloe looking SUPER cute trying rollerskating for the first time!

BOTH of my parents with all of their grandkids (except my nephew in NSW) - this is a photo that I would never would have imagined being taken when they divorced!  So nice that they get along and can spend time in the same space together....

The AMAZING cake that I made for my AMAZING sister!  She turned 40 a couple of weeks ago, and I threw a bit of an impromptu party for her and made this masterpiece over two gruelling days!  The WOW factor was worth it!

My delightful daughter's attempt at cutting her own hair......I had to stop myself from laughing....and go and grab my phone to take a photo of course....

I met up with this lovely lady last weekend, after not seeing one another for approximately 19 years!  We were BFF's at high school on the Gold Coast, and the two hours we spent catching up was lovely.  OF COURSE I had my camera in my bag to catch the occasion!  

Edenland's Fresh Horses Brigade

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tutorial - Facing the Fear of Facing

Last week, I Guest Blogged over at The Oz Material Girls!  I was wrapt to contribute with my first ever tutorial.  If you sew clothing you may just find it helpful!

A few weeks ago, I bought the "Scientific Seamstress Aline Dress" pattern.  I was after a basic pinafore pattern to get started on some Winter garments and this was perfect!  I received the pattern straight away and began reading the instructions to plan my attack.  I then realised that the reversible version of the pattern required quite a bit of hand sewing, something I steer clear of due to my lack of ability.  So I thought "No worries, I'll just make it one sided".   The e-book did have some instructions on doing so, however, it did not have instructions how to assemble a facing and sew it in.  Right then and there, I gave myself the challenge of working it out.....  And to my excitement - I did!  So here is how I did it....

I started out by following the directions and drawing out my pattern as per instructions.

Then using the template for the bodice of the dress, I cut out another pattern piece, but only a few inches long in the body part.  As indicated on this line on the pattern.

Once all cut out, you should have four pieces.

Next, put your front bodice and facing piece right sides together, then your back bodice and facing piece right sides together, and pin from the armholes around.

Now it's time to start sewing.  Using the seam allowance as recommended in the pattern, start sewing from one armhole, all the way around to the other one, remembering to backstitch 
at each end.

Bodices and facings sewn together.

At this point, you can either overlock the edge of the facing, or if you prefer do a regular
 small seam to neaten.

Clip the seam allowances around the curved parts of the garment, being sure not to cut the stitching.  This will help when turning the pieces right side out.

Then turn both your front and back pieces right side out.  You can use any blunt instrument to help get the corners out beautifully.  Chopsticks work wonders! 
You can also add size and/or care labels if you choose.

Once you have it right side out, lay your front and back together, right sides facing each other.  You will pull the facing pieces upwards, opening them up and pinning together also.  

Make sure your seams match up at the armholes.

Sew your front and back together using recommended seam allowance.  You will start at the edge of the facing and follow all the way down to the hem of the dress.  

If you have an overlocker/serger, go over the same seams to neaten or use a zigzag stitch

Pull the facing back down so it covers the stitching.  

It looks nice and neat on both the inside and outside!

Topstitch around the entire top half of the dress, starting just behind one of the armholes and following all the way until the stitches meet again.

You have now successfully sewn a facing into the dress!  
Follow the remaining instructions on the pattern to complete the garment.  
These instructions could be used for most dresses and tops that require a facing.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful - I certainly had a "lightbulb moment" when I realised it had worked!  You can purchase this pattern from Patterns Only, as well as hundreds of other great patterns!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Market Night Meltdown

I'm putting myself out there again.  It may not be at a "real market", but it's as close as I'm able to get to one these days!

The last delivery of fabric I received was so divine, and I didn't order much, so I wanted to make the most of it.  I decided to hold a Market Night at Ms Midge.  The limited yardage of fabrics have surprisingly gone quite far, and I'm super happy with the little collection of garments I have come up with. 

But now the hard part begins.  At 8.30 tonight (Melbourne time), I will open the "Fly A Kite Collection" for SALE.  And hold my breath.  Of course I 'm hoping it will be a raging success!  But in the pit of my stomach I'm fearing it will be the opposite!  I have been reassured by others who have done market nights that this is a very NORMAL feeling!  So I'm just going with it!

So by all means - pop in tonight and grab yourself a one-of-a-kind outfit.  
I would love to see you there!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Eden has me thinking again - she wants WORDS.....

When I first read Eden's post this morning, the first word that came to me was CYNICAL.  Strange?  Well, back in 1990, my amazing English Literature teacher - Mrs Proctor - told me I was CYNICAL.  I was 15.  I can't even remember the context it was used in, but I do remember laughing it off....and then looking it up in the dictionary!

It also means one is sarcastic and mocking.  I'm guessing that was the point she was making? She was right.  But in saying that, she also helped to change me.  Because once I knew what CYNICAL meant, I made a conscious effort not to be so.  It's still one of my favourite words.  And I can pick a CYNIC a mile away.  It has paid off!  But I am still a work in progress.  I'm one of the most sarcastic biatches around!  But I'm also one of the most sentimental, soppy human beings you will meet.

So Eden - if it was open mic at a birthday party - I would more than likely get on stage and take the piss out of myself and anyone else I thought I could get away with, basically to mask the fact that I would be getting sentimental and trying not to cry (Yes, I know this, from first hand experience!).

And in my best CYNIC'S impersonation, I would think that all of the other speeches were bullshit!  Neigh.

Edenland's Fresh Horses Brigade

Friday, March 9, 2012

Forgiveness.....and other stuff

This post has been swimming around in my head for a week now.  Exactly one week.  For it has been one week since my Dad arrived to stay.  He lives in Queensland, in a caravan park, in a van he oh so proudly owns.  Ask him, he'll tell you about it.

I did not know my Dad for a 15 year gap.  Not long after we (My Mum, Step Dad, Brother and miniature chihuaha - in a powder blue datsun - remember datsuns?) packed up our belongings, leaving our own shit-heap caravan/home behind, and headed to Victoria - we lost touch.  Well, more to the truth.....he kind of disappeared.  The kind of disappearing that happens on purpose?  To avoid paying money.  Nice. TRULY didn't bother me, most of those 15 years.  In fact, I quite preferred it that way.  It was uncomplicated.  One less person I had to deal with.  It simplified my teenage years, to a degree.

Fast forward to circa 2002.  The phone rings.  Some random is on the other end.  And I have NO IDEA who it is.  Turns out it was my Dad.  Turns out he had a minor stroke and a pretty decent car accident.  Turns out he remembered he had children.

I can't even remember how that conversation went.  Needless to say, it must have gone well - given he's been staying here this week.  What happened after that phone call wasn't overly mind-blowing.  It was quite simple.  I had a choice.  I could hold a grudge against him and never let him in, or I could let it go.  The fact that he pissed away my family's security, all that we owned, and gave in to the gambling demons that haunted him?   We went from being a relatively "normal" suburban family with a very successful business owning Father....... to a Fatherless family who had to gather all of their possessions and live in a caravan for a couple of years.  Fun?  Not.

But I did it.  I forgave him.

Life is short.  

When I picked him up from the airport, over a decade after last seeing him, what I did see was an old man.  With next to nothing.  And he got in the car like nothing had ever happened.  So I went along with it.  And still do.

The strangest part about this story?  That he has been here for most of the seven days he's been in Melbourne, and I can honestly say I have not had a decent conversation with him.  Of course, that's not counting the stories he has told me about his kidney stones, constipation, sore shoulder and the strangers I knew nothing about until he told me!  Each day he has been here has been the same.  I go about my usual routines, and he hovers between watching television and popping outside for cigarettes.  
We are still strangers.

I feel like this should sadden me?  But it doesn't.  It just is what it is.  In essence, I am thankful that I have a Father.  One who has, over the past ten years, taken the time to get on a plane every couple of years to come and watch television at my house.  Taken the time and made an effort to send my children, his grandchildren, birthday cards.  And always calls me a week beforehand to let me know he has sent them something.  He has also taken the time to try to be a part of my life.  Even though I think I haven't really let him in.  I don't think he really knows me.  And probably never will.  

For all his faults, I love him.  And I know he loves me - unconditionally.   He never asks me for anything.  Nor do I ever expect anything of him.  So for now, it's working.  This Father/daughter thing.  It may be unconventional in some eyes, but that's my family.  Unconventionally conventional.

I want to end this with one of my all-time favourite quotes. 
 From one of my all-time favourite quoters - Oprah....

Are you a forgiver?  Or a grudger?

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