Monday, January 31, 2011

Matching Pairs

Haven't seen much of these two around these parts lately so I thought a few pics were in order. Cute? Not 'alf!

Sunday, January 30, 2011


I would consider myself one who bakes, and yet I've never made scones. Cakes by the zillion, biscuits, slices, quiches and tarts, but no scones. Until today.

Easy as could be, even with the three-and-a-half-year-old's less than feather-light touch, we managed a delicious and homely batch of tiny buttermilk sultana scones (recipe courtesy of Belinda Jeffery). They were tiny because the only decent cutter we could find was in the playdough tool basket. Never mind. Bite-size is fine. 

And while I love a good Devonshire tea, we kept it decent and omitted the whipped cream. We went with a big slab of butter and some strawberry jam instead. Much healthier.

Friday, January 28, 2011


I have seen in my 37th year in a gale of laughter and song watching Mr Perfect perform his new show Misanthropology in The Famous Spiegeltent as part of the Sydney Festival. It was bloody fantastic, and he held nothing back, singing about footballers who rape and "self-righteous cyclists in inappropriate pants", among many other things. It was a midnight show with grown-up content to suit - makes a nice change from Playschool and Lah-Lah - and after a beautiful meal of tapas (and several glasses of lovely wine) with my dear friend Sophia, it was the perfect start to my birthday.

And if that's not cause to leap about in front of a prettily lit fountain, I don't know what is.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


There once was a puppy...

..who needed a blanket.

And now he has one. His name is Woofy, by the way.

The pattern's from Itty-Bitty Toys and it's a Wrap-Me-Up Puppy. He is knit in Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, and the blanket is some leftover Cascade 220. That's a crochet border, in case you were wondering. (And I know you were).

And with that project completed, I allowed myself to start a new one - a slow start given I had to wind a huge hank of yarn. I know there are machines that can do this for me, but I figure, for the cost of one of them, I could afford another four or five hanks of this lovely stuff. It's Cascade Ecological Wool and it comes in a massive 250g skein - that's five times the size of a normal one. This enormous ball is nearly half a kilometre of wool!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Baby, it's hot out there. The three monkeys and I hit the beach this morning, then back home for a lazy afternoon and a bit of airconditioning!

There's been a little project under way here - baking, styling AND photographing - for my friend who works at the Cancer Council. She thinks I'm helping her out, but little does she know what a kick I get out of it. More about it, and a recipe or two, soon.

Monday, January 24, 2011


I've been noticing strange red marks on S's skin, like a broken circle - dash, space, dot, space, dash - about the size of a 20-cent piece. It's happened three or four times, and usually shows up on a forearm or lower leg. I wondered if it was some strange insect bite, or an odd type of ringworm. I even toyed for about three seconds with the idea of stigmata. The marks don't seem to bother her and I haven't been aware of any peculiar or distressing incidents that could explain it. The skin is never broken and the mark is always gone soon after.

Then tonight, as my three girls played in the bath, an idea occurred to me and I decided to test it out. So I asked L to bite me - selfless, I know. She looked quizzical but didn't hesitate before sinking her fangs into my wrist. And there it was, the same circular dot-dash mark. Please, L, try not to bite your sister too often.

I might have to muzzle her.

(DISCLAIMER: It wasn't a hard bite. She knows biting is wrong. We have borrowed 'Teeth Are Not For Biting' from the library several times, along with other fine titles in the series such as 'Germs Are Not For Sharing' and 'Pacifiers Are Not Forever'.)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bedtime stories

We've always tried to encourage her to love books. We've read to her since she was tiny. And I think it's great that she wants to read in bed...

..but this is ridiculous!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Parking Police

Oh, my, I think having all these children has turned me a bit righteous. I am, for obvious reasons, a bit of a fan of the 'Parents with Prams' parking spaces at most shopping centres these days. They're usually much wider than the regular spaces, which makes baby retrieval easier, and they're close to the entrance, handy when you're wrangling a daydreaming preschooler with one hand while pushing the super-duper-mega-double-pram with the other. And I had thought most people left them for us bedraggled kid-bearers the way they leave the disabled spots for disabled people. But apparently not. A few weeks ago I was pulling out of my lovely wide berth, groceries tucked away on top of the pram in the boot, when a couple of teenage boys in their P-plated car zoomed into the spot after me. Behind them were a line of cars with little people in the back seats, so I got cranky and honked my horn. The driver looked at me as if to say, "What?" and then said, "What?" I stated the obvious - "That's a pram spot." "Who gives a sh*t?" he replied, smirking. I flushed with rage and found myself muttering about youth these days like a right little 35-year-old granny.

Then today I was lucky to score a 'Parents with Prams' spot as soon as I entered the car park. It was being vacated as I approached by a little old lady with a blue rinse trying to manoeuvre her very small car out of the spot. It was obvious there were no grandkids in the back seat. I let that one go. After all, it was my parking space now.

Then, returning to my car, twins and shopping in tow, what should I see but a middle-aged man, clearly alone, packing his groceries into the back of a very shiny four-wheel drive in the space next to mine. I started to extricate my girls from the pram for the long process of loading up us and our stuff and couldn't help but peer into the back seat of my neighbour's car. Pristinely clean, none of the telltale signs of kids - squished up rice cakes on the upholstery or Fisher-Price-phernalia on the floor or - and this was the giveaway - child seats. And before I knew it, I'd opened my mouth.

"That's a 'Parents with Prams' space."
"It's for people with kids."
"My wife is still inside," he said, indicating the entrance to the shops.
"But where's the baby seat?" said I, looking into his car.
"The baby is with my wife," he said, obviously flustered. "It's with my wife."

He finished packing his car, got in and started the engine. And as he drove away, I called out, " What about your wife? You forgot your wife!"

DISCLAIMER: I admit I regularly use the disabled toilet facilities when I'm out. They're one of the few places I can go to the loo without leaving the super-duper-mega-double-pram and its passengers unattended in a corridor somewhere. Just so you know. Rant over.

By the way, I got my new keyboard. Is it weird that I've been sniffing it since it arrived? Smells are so evocative. The scent of jasmine in springtime takes me straight back to my childhood home. Every time I pour hot water on my Weet-Bix (I like them soft, not crunchy), it reminds me of my time in Edinburgh where the smell from the brewery filled the air on those chilly mornings. And the aroma of this swishy new keyboard transports me back to my single, inner-city-studio-apartment-dwelling days and the thrill of my first Mac - a laptop. They keep getting bigger (or smaller) and faster and fancier and iPad-ier, but they still smell the same.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011




Friday, January 14, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mess Prevention 101

Do you think we look cute in our new mama-made bibs she whipped up the other day with a piece of colourful cotton, some flannelette for the back and the all-important press stud so we can't pull them off during breakfast/lunch/dinner?

Mum didn't bother with any sort of fancy binding or finishing. She just pinned the cotton and flannelette together and zigzagged around the edges. She was so pleased with the results, she made a couple more today.

We're a really messy pair, you see, and we like to spread our food all around the place. No point just keeping it in our mouths, is there? It's funny if it gets in our hair and ears and nostrils and all up under our chins, and it's really funny if we put a bit in each other's eyes for good measure. Yep, we're a messy pair. Good thing we're cute, huh?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Farewell :: Hello

Seven and a half years ago, when the Garbageman and I moved in together, his pair of stylish blue Fantastic Furniture two-seater couches moved in too. They were a bit less grubby then, and did the job adequately for a while - a couch each to stretch out on and watch some telly. But for about seven and a quarter of those seven and a half years, I've been dreaming about a new couch. 

I have been less than polite about the couches over the years, yet I have used them tirelessly. I've sat on them, leaned against them, laid upon them with my legs sticking over the edges and even fallen asleep on them and woken up crooked and bent. And besides, the couch I brought into the relationship, long since gone, was a revolting pink floral number that was so uncomfortable in both its sofa and bed manifestations that I tended to use the floor. The blue couches were luxurious in comparison.

It's been seven and a half years of cohabiting with the Garbageman and his couches. Two rentals, a mortgage and another rental later; a big overseas trip, a wedding, three babies later; countless spilt drinks, crushed biscuits, melted chocolate, baby spews, nappy overflows and potty-training accidents later; with the stuffing coming out of the arms, the frame sticking up through the fading, threadbare upholstery, parts of it tacky to the touch with any number of unidentifiable substances; a gazillion attempts at vacuuming, sponging, laundering covers, throwing throw cushions, draping fabric to try and hide some of the above...finally, finally it's time to say goodbye. In my imagination, I am lighting a bonfire, throwing them atop the flames and dancing around whooping and cheering.

And now, like a streamlined, scotchguarded oasis in the chaos that is our loungeroom sits the 'Opera'. Colour: 'Pear'. Comfortable. Long. So, so clean. 

Hello, new friend. May you remain pristine and stain-free for at least a week.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Dream :: Love

It only took a month (!) but  they're finished and two walls in two rooms finally have something pretty on them. The idea and, let's face it, most of the technique and fabric choices, came from this book by Amanda Blake Soule - in fact, it's the cover project. I used a soft blue woollen blanket found at an op-shop (which actually turned out to be two wrapped together - bargain!) and lots of different fabric scraps in reds and pinks and greens and blues. And I sewed it all onto some lovely twill ribbon purchased on a recent shopping splurge at this amazing ribbon and button shop owned by my friend Nicole.

As for the words, I thought about this a lot. It had to be something I wished for my girls, but also something that is appropriate to float above them as they sleep - so 'DANCE' was out, as was 'PLAY'. Admittedly, I considered 'BEHAVE' for Lola's room, and even toyed with 'SLEEP, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, JUST SLEEP' above Stella's bed - but too many letters and not enough wall space...

In the end, for Lola, I chose the same word Amanda chose for her girl - 'DREAM'. Because that's what I wish for her. To dream big and wide and long and colourful and whimsical and impossible and beautiful.

And for the littlies, I chose 'LOVE'. It's what I want them to share as they grow together, what I want them to do with ease and abundance, and it's also pretty much the first word that pops into my head every time I lay eyes on them. That and 'SMOOSHY-SMOOSH'.

{Today I drilled holes in the walls. A couple of days ago we finger-painted the floorboards. Man, I hope the landlord isn't reading this...}

Thursday, January 6, 2011

XFP - Xtreme Finger Painting

 Miss L begged to do some painting today. What started out as some innocent hand and footprint making fast turned into something far more chaotic; things quickly spiralled out of control as the clothes came off and the footprints merged together then spilled off the paper and onto the floorboards.  This wasn't anything you'd find at playgroup - it was extreme nudie painting! 

The baby sisters joined in from the safety of their high chairs, making dainty hand prints - one for the paper, one for the mouth. Mmm, tasty. I ran around in the background with a cloth, hoping the 'washable' on the label actually meant 'washable'. And eventually, inevitably, because she's human, she attempted...the bum print.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Baby Vest #645

The vest obsession continues. This is one of the two Tikki patterns I bought a while ago and have finally completed. It's the Milo, knit completely seamlessly from top to bottom. This is a pretty new type of knitting for me - I'm used to doing a front then a back then a sleeve or two, if called for, then sewing the whole thing together. It has to be said, to finish a vest like this and have only two threads to weave in was fab. I'll often let something sit there almost finished for weeks and months to avoid the boring finishing jobs.

I knit this in Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in a colour called Sedona Red. It's kind of the colour of a dachshund, I reckon. It actually looked a lot more red and a lot less brown when I ordered it, and there's absolutely nothing girly about it. Still, my Stella looks pretty cute in it, don't you think? She's shaping up to be quite the little model, when I can get her to sit still.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Country Cousins

 Cousin Hen

 The Toowoombians with Miss L

Dear Aunty Wolly and her favourite twins

We were lucky to catch up with so many dear old friends this festive season. There were country cousins by the bucket load, and a couple of cosmopolitan ones too. Before Christmas we spent a few days with the Hong Kong contingent for some lively fun. Lola and Hugo's reunion after 10 months apart could only be described as fiery.

On Boxing Day we had a lovely time at home with the Toowoomba mob - my oldest buddy 'Aunty' Wol, her hub, Kerry, and three little ones. Annabelle, glorious goddaughter Eloise and Angus had such fun in Lola's paddling pool, despite the fact they're used to playing in their huge in-ground pool back home. And none of them seemed to mind me serving up Christmas Day leftovers for lunch! 

Then there was cousin Henry and his baby brother Oscar up in the country, and their mum and dad too, as well as 'Aunty' Bri and Leo, and 'Aunty' Fazz.  

And last but not least, a very special trip to the Opera House to see Charlie and Lola's Best Bestest Play with lovely Theo.

Good times. If only they all lived nearer.

(Afterthought: I patted three pregnant bellies in amidst that bunch. Better stop typing and start knitting.)


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