Friday, July 29, 2011

Foot painting

This afternoon, Minty was enjoying the sunshine in the backyard, while I did a spot of sewing inside.  I was just beginning to make some real progress when there was a knock at the door.  It was Minty, 'muum, can you get me some paper?  I'm going to do some footprint painting!'

My first instinct was to say no.  I wasn't really in the mood to have to clean up a painting project.  But then I stopped myself.  This is exactly the kind of creativity I've been hoping to inspire in Minty.  I don't want to be the kind of parent who is always deflating the fun out of her ideas with my adult abhorrence for mess.  And I had to admit, footprint painting sounded like awesome fun (why hadn't I thought of it?!)

So I dropped what I was doing and found her the supplies for her art project.  She spent the next hour squelching around making paintings with her feet and dotting intricate polka dot patterns on the page with her fingers.  I didn't take any photos, I just tried to be present with her in the moment.

Today's photos are from my mum's birthday last weekend.  They've been trapped on my flash card since the computer I use for downloading decided to show me it's blue screen of death last week.  So a belated happy birthday to my wonderful mum!  And just in case you're wondering, no I didn't secretly pop out another baby, that is my cutie niece Lily! 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

In which silence is golden...

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If there's one thing I've learned in my three and a half years of parenting, it's that if the children are quiet for any length of time something fishy is going on.  

After a wonderful afternoon exploring the rockpools with Minty's best friend Aerin, the kids were playing quietly in the bedroom.  We were in the kitchen having a cup of tea and remarking on how lovely it was that the girls were including Turi in their game and congratulating ourselves on their burgeoning maturity.

Then Turi emerged from the room looking like a cross between Eden Wood and this…
It turns out that during the period of apparent peace and quiet the girls had helped themselves to the bathroom cabinets and mixed a slurry of contact lens fluid and foundation.  Turi was elected as the test subject for their new cosmetic creation and they had applied it liberally to his face and caked it into his hair.

Somewhere after the third lather of shampoo I began to realise it wasn't shifting.  His hair had the texture of stiff carpet pile and there was an uncanny lack of tonal variation between his face and hair.  I momentarily considered giving him a buzz cut until Aerin's mum, in a flash of brilliance, suggested we try sorbolene cream.  It took around half an hour of massaging the hair mask until his hair began to return to its normal texture.  So no permanent damage done, but I think it goes without saying I now have a renewed distrust of silence!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

move over coke, there's a new drug in town...

As promised, here are the nutella cookies we baked yesterday.  I feel a little bit guilty about sharing this recipe because they are seriously addictive.  DO NOT bake these when you are home alone.  You will eat them all and get a pain in your stomach.  You have been warned.  Do not blame me if you rot your teeth and develop type 2 diabetes from ingesting way too much sugar.

And before anyone comments I realise nutella is not made from walnuts, but I didn't have any hazelnuts in the pantry for this photo shoot and walnuts happen to be very attractive!

The recipe was originally found here.


Friday, July 22, 2011

In which we hoola our troubles away...

This week was a bit of a fail.  I didn't get any work done, I've been on a short fuse with the kids, I had a series of interactions with various people that whilst not serious left me bemused and feeling like I'd rather throw on my pyjamas and avoid further human contact.  So this afternoon I was determined not to let the week end on a sour note.   My recipe for salvaging the week: Minty and I baked a batch of nutella cookies (more on those tomorrow), I grabbed my camera and we headed outside for cookies and hoola-hooping.  When we were all hoolaed out and Turi was up from his nap, we all went to the beach.  The tide was on it's way out and the sand was littered with hundreds of shells.  The kids took off their shoes and paddled in the rock pools, soaking up the winter sun.  On the way home they stopped at every driveway so Turi could sing a little tune, 'tap, tap, tap', and they did their best dancing impressions of Gene Kelly and Shirley Temple.  'Stop' signs became maypoles to be circled and their joviality was infectious.  Then into a hot bath to wash the sand and salt away, followed by home-made okonomiyaki for dinner.  So after today, I think on balance this week wasn't so bad after all.


Monday, July 18, 2011

In which there is spillage of cake batter and bodily fluids...

Turi dresses up

Today was one of those days.  

Whilst bouncing on the couch, clutching a little maraca, Turi gained a bit too much momentum and flew across the room striking his head on the window frame.  He is now sporting a blue, bloody, golf ball sized lump in the centre of his forehead.

Shortly afterwards, in a fight for my affections, both children simultaneously dove in to give me a hug, cracking their heads together like a pair of human cymbals.  More blood, more tears.

In an effort to salve the tears I tried to make a chocolate cake but it leaked through the removable base of the cake tin, flooding sticky cake batter not only into the oven, but through the oven door and onto my freshly washed kitchen floor.  Since this has never happened before I can only assume I inadvertently walked under a ladder, recently blasphemed or someone, somewhere has fashioned a small voodoo doll of me that is clutching a tiny leaking cake tin.

To top it off, across the course of the day, Turi urinated on the floor twice and knocked over roughly ten cups of water.  Despite all evidence to the contrary he has decided that he is mature enough to drink unassisted from a regular cup and to use the toilet like a big boy (though thankfully not at the same time).  If he is denied either of these requests he wails inconsolably and pounds his head on the floor.  Needless to say my patience is wearing thin.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to scour burnt cake batter from the insides of my oven.  Motherhood is bliss.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In which I show you our drawings...

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After yet another redesign last night I'm finally going to share the plans for the house.  For those of you who are interested, you can click the link above and see our floor plan and elevations.  There are still likely to be a few changes to the detailing but this will give you a pretty good idea of how it will be.

The kids and I spent today exploring the countryside around the new block, while the Mr. dug more drainage. It's such a beautiful area.  I can't wait to move in!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

In which Minty goes postal...

Writing a letter
Letter writing is loads of fun… even when you're too little to actually write any of the words.  Watch out for the postman Aunty Kate!

Writing a letter Sending a letter
Posting a letter Posting a letter

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


The time has come to make one of the most important decisions for the new house.  I need to choose an oven.  The trouble is I have no idea what I want.  I have been cooking with a seriously old (1970s?) freestanding oven for as long as I can remember.  You have to light it with a match and it only appears to have two temperatures - burning hot and inferno.  The grill doesn't work, there is no timer or temperature gauge.  But over the years I have become so used to all it's quirks and eccentricities that I'm not sure I'm going to know how to cook on anything else. 

Sure, if I had an endless budget I could probably bring myself to endure a fancy Lanache stove, in my choice of 20 colours or perhaps if I really tried I could tolerate an Aga!  But since neither of these are a realistic option on my budget I'm a bit stumped.  Does anyone have any advice?  Do you love your oven or hate it?  Help!  I'm lost in a wilderness of fan-forced, fan-assisted, triple-glazed, induction cooktops, wok burners and rotisseries!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Conversations with Minty...

moody minty

Minty: Turi I'm going to live in the zoo with the zebras.  Do you want to live with me?

Turi: 'kay

Minty [calls out]: Muuuum can you drop us off at the zoo?


Minty: do you want to come and see my dinosaur?

Me: Sure.  What's his name?

Minty: pinkus-animal-saurus-zebra-big-neck


Minty enters the room cradling a Tigger soft toy

Minty: uh oh!

Me: what's wrong?

Minty: baby Jesus got a bit of a cold.  Maybe baby Jesus needs a bit of a panadol… [looking in the toy box] panadol where are you?

Friday, July 8, 2011

In which we tell the children white lies on 'snow day'...

reversible baby bib
I just wanted to share a few quick sewing projects from this week.  The first is a reversible baby bib I whipped up as a last minute gift for a friend.  The fabric is from Joelle Hoverson's cake rock beach line.  I just love the seaweed prints and brown tones - perfect for a little baby boy!
reversible baby bib

The second project was a super quick pair of mittens for Turi.  Earlier this week we took the kids to a 'snow day' on Churchill Island, and on the morning of the big event I realised I didn't have anything to keep Turi's hands warm.  Luckily I remembered there is a very easy pattern for mittens in Leisl Gibson's Little Things to Sew.  I used an old worn out fleece baby blanket for fabric and threw these together in an hour.  Sadly when we actually got to 'snow day' it was a bit of a bust.  It was bucketing down rain, and the line to get to the very small patch of snow was about an hour long.  Rather than pay $22 so that we could subject ourselves to this ordeal we just put the kids back in the car and went home.  

It's a good thing the kids are still so young (and gullible) because had they been a bit older I think there may have been a major protest at having to miss out.  Instead, the Mr and I engaged in an overly enthusiastic charade on the way back to the car, saying things like, 'Wasn't that so exciting?' and, 'Snow day was so much fun!'.  Since the kids really had no expectation of what 'snow day' would entail they were relatively content at having only viewed the snow through a fence 100 meters away.  Minty was slightly suspicious but in the end found it hard to repudiate our enthusiasm.  I do feel a little guilty but I think we'll just have to take them to the real snow next year!!

liesl gibson little things to sew mittens
kids mittens liesl gibson little things to sew mittens
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Minty all rugged up for snow day (bottom two photos taken by the Mr)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

disappearing act...

a peek at our neighbour's house

Things have been insanely busy around here lately.  Since we bought our block of land I've had a few casual acquaintances ask me if we've hired a builder or if we are planning to put a spec home on the block.  It occurred to me that those readers who don't actually know us in 'real life' wouldn't realise that for us that isn't even an option.  The Mr. is a building designer by trade and when I first finished school I studied architecture for a couple of years, before giving it away (which is a story in itself), so designing the house ourselves was a bit of a no brainer.  

If you're a regular reader here you have probably realised that, if it is at all possible, I like to make things myself - whether it be baking from scratch, sewing our own clothes, making my own glue… I'll give anything a go.  The Mr. has a similar approach to life.  When we first moved in together I used to find it frustrating because if I ever suggested we buy a piece of furniture he would reply 'but I could make that!'.  So as you've probably guessed, we're planning on physically building the house ourselves too.  We're working on a very tight budget and relatively short time frame, which means we've been busily trying to nut out plans and get everything organised.  To lay it all out in dot points:

  • We spent $125,000 on the land
  • We'd like to build the house for $80,000
  • We plan to move in this summer
  • The house will have three bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, walk in pantry, laundry, study, dining, lounge and a reading nook

Some may call this ambitious, others insane.  I will say that working to these extreme constraints is really pushing us to think creatively.

So forgive me if I disappear from this space periodically.  I'm probably searching on ebay for a cheap toilet or vintage pendant light.  Or I might be nutting out the details of our concrete vanity.  Or searching on pinterest for interior design inspiration (feel free to follow me if you'd like to see where my head is at).  Or I could be trying to push out another web design job to pay our credit card bill.  Either that or just the usual stuff like cooking dinner, changing a nappy or making play dough!

I do intend to share some pictures of our house plans when things are 100% finalised (not sure if that will ever happen!!) but there have already been over 40 redesigns so I don't want to get ahead of myself.  Stay tuned!

getting stuck into some serious drainage on our super wet site

bored kids being dragged around to search for a reclaimed pantry door