Friday, December 31, 2010

Good-bye 2010

I have to say, this is a year that I will be glad to say good bye to. I've had some of my lowest moments this year with an ectopic pregnancy earlier this year and then a subsequent miscarriage which I really struggled to come to terms with. I also lost my Grandad in October this year. So, not the best year but I am feeling positive about 2011 and all that it will bring. Already we have had something good come of everything that has happened but I'm not quite ready to share that on here yet.

I did have some positive things happen this year though. In February I completed my breastfeeding counsellor training with the Australian Breastfeeding Association. It marked over 18 months of hard work and committment from me. I'm very proud of my achievement. It means that I am able to counsel other mother's and the wider community on breastfeeding issues. Since I qualified I have doing a monthly shift on helpline as well as email counselling. I enjoy being able to help and support other mother's and always find it amazing just how much I know about breastfeeding these days! I have also taken over as co-group leader of our local ABA group and am enjoying the challenges and rewards this brings.

I've also been enjoying doing more sewing this year. Now that the kids are getting a little older it gives me a bit more freedom to get things done. I've toyed with the idea of selling some of my creations but in the end I just think it'll be too much work and stress on my part. I'll just enjoy making things for my kids and gifts for others in the meantime.

Jacob has enjoyed his first year of Kinder this year and is looking forward to attending more days next year. Steiner education really suits his personality and I think we have made the right choice in choosing this mode of education. He gets along so well with his teacher and we have seen him grown so much in terms of confidence and socialisation from his time at kinder this year. He is growing rapidly as well. Just this morning I realised his pants were getting too short, the same pants he's had for the past couple of years!

Esme is a real little girl now, cheeky as always! She loves to talk and can hold proper conversations with us these days. It's always funny listening to her and Jacob have conversations when they don't know we are listening. Next year I'm looking forward to spending more one on one time with her when Jacob goes to Kinder.

Chris continues to work at Swinburne. It seems that the University are a little ignorant of his abilities. Twice he has applied for a higher up job there and been refused despite the fact that he is more than capable to doing the work for the positions!

A happy and prosperous New Year to everyone! May it be better than the year that was!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I love applique!

I've been getting into a bit of machine applique lately and I'm really enjoying it! Last year I started appliqueing for the first time but I was a little scared to use the machine to do it so everything was hand sewn - which was quite time consuming. This Christmas I thought I'd try my hand at some machine applique and these t-shirts are the end result:

It's actually really easy and quick! All I do is draw or find an image online that I like, cut the pieces out, iron on the t-shirt and away I go. I'm starting to understand how the sewing machine works and can do slightly more complicated pieces now! Now I just need to find more hours in the day to do more...

Let's go fishing!

This is one of the projects I was working on for Christmas - it's a kid's fishing set. The fish are hand sewn with felt and have a strong magnet sewn into their nose. The rod is made from a piece of bamboo with a magnet attached to the end of the string. I'm quite happy with how they've turned out in the end. I am, however, a little sick of the sight of these fish at the moment seeing as I have now sewn three of these sets!

The bag that holds all the fish and the fishing rod (a piece of bamboo with a magnet tied onto the string at the end)

The bag opens up to make a pond for the fish

My kids absolutely love this set. I think I'll be making another one for Jacob's birthday!

I got the patterns for these fish from one of my favourite Etsy stores. This is where I purchased the patterns for my felt fruit and vegies too.

Memories of my Grandad

My Grandad passed away in early October this year. Although it was quite sudden, his passing was peaceful and all the family had a chance to say their good-byes before he died. I just wanted to share some of my special memories of my Grandad. This is the speech I gave at his funeral.

I remember…holidays spent on the farm with you and Nanna. They were special times. Going down to visit you in the raspberries and calling you in for morning or afternoon tea. It was always the same thing for morning and afternoon tea – bikkies and cheese! I remember walking down to the creek with you and visiting the vegetable garden. Kisses and cuddles with you before Nanna would put me to bed.

I remember…afternoons spent at your place playing backgammon and checkers. It used to be a little ritual playing with you and my Dad. I don’t think I won very often but I had lots of fun trying!

I remember…your talent for making things with your hands. Such beautiful wooden things you made. I still have that dollhouse you made me for my Sylvanian family. You made it specially so that it looked the same as the one from the shop. I hope that one day my children can enjoy it too, just like I did. And those special toys that you made for your great grandchildren. Little wooden puppies that the kids could pull along, penguins with feet that you pushed along the floor and wooden hobby horses. The kids have spent many hours playing with these special toys.

I remember…spending hours with you in your shed. Your shed was always a little treasure trove to me when I was a child and I used to love to visit you in there. You used to show me the toys you were working on, such clever little inventions, and how they worked. You never tired of explaining things to me and having me there watching you even though I’m sure I must have been a little annoying at times! I remember how you had a collection of little plastic toys that you’d collected from cereal boxes. Every so often you’d pull one of those out and we’d construct it together: little plastic camels and carriages and the like.

I remember…visits to the museum with you and Nanna when I was younger. We used to go in the school holidays. Mum and I and Stephen would meet you on the train at Lilydale and we’d travel in together. I always liked to visit all the different exhibits with you because you would spend time explaining things in detail to me and didn’t try to simplify things just because I was a kid.

I remember…your stubbornness. It used to annoy me so much having an argument with you because I knew I could never win! You would always just give that laugh that meant that the argument was over.

I remember…your passion for learning. You liked to read lots of books about lots of different topics and watched lots of documentaries. I always used to think you knew everything!

I remember… your love for all of us. How we knew how proud you were of us without even saying anything. You took an interest in all of our achievements and what we were doing.

I remember…what a wonderful great-grandad you were. You always loved to watch the great grand children play when we visited and delighted in making toys for them while you were still able to. On one of our last visits to you in the hospital when you were sick you smiled when you heard Jacob and Esme’s voices and felt them touching you. Always a proud great-grandad to the end.

Merry Christmas!

The kids were so excited about Christmas this year - especially Jacob who well and truly knew what Santa was about this year! We managed to wake up not too early on Christmas morning and the kids opened their presents. It was so lovely to see them both so excited about every little present they got. It just goes to show that you don't need to give kids a tonne of expensive presents to make them happy. Saying that though, we did splash out and get the kids a new bike each for Christmas this year.

The Christmas tree - finally decorated!

The Christmas tree on Christmas Eve - with all the kid's presents underneath.

Jacob opening a present

Esme very excited about the presents in her stocking!

Happy kids :)

We spent Christmas lunch with Chris' family and then in the evening we travelled up to see my Aunt and Uncle at the farm. The kids always love to visit the farm - they love playing on the swing and trampoline and going for a walk around the property. The day after Boxing day we shared dinner at Mum and Dad's place with more family. As fun as it's all been I have to say I am glad Christmas is over for another year!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Making your own Christmas wrapping paper

We love to make our own wrapping paper in this house. It makes for an easy, cheap and meaningful way of wrapping a present. A while ago I cut Christmas shapes into some sponges (just your everyday generic sponge from the supermarket). I cut a Christmas tree, star and a bell. Then I set out some green and red paint and let Jacob get busy. He really enjoys doing this and he gets so excited when we wrap and give presents using paper he has made.

Jacob gets busy with the painting - he likes to add his own artistic touches ;)

Some of the completed wrapping paper - yes, I admit, I did get in on the action!

Some other alternatives to wrapping paper we have used:

* Using old paintings/pictures that the kids have done - what better use for the surplus of paintings that are always lying around the house?!
* Using material and ribbon to wrap presents - especially good for people who like to craft and can use the material or alternatively you can reuse the material the following year!
* Using teatowels to wrap presents - multi purposable and functional!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Homemade Christmas Decorations

We have been busy making yummy stained glass biscuits lately. Stained glass biscuits are basically just a basic biscuit with crushed up lollies added as they cook so they have a stained glass look when they are cooled. It's been lots of fun. The first lot we made we used this recipe here. They were all eaten pretty quickly though.

We made another lot the other day using gingerbread (for some reason we seem to have quite a surplass of gingerbread - I can't understand why). These ones we made for hanging on the Christmas tree. All we had to do was add a hole at the top for the string before they were cooked. The kids had lots of fun making them (or in Esme's case, eating the dough!)

Jacob helps to roll the dough and cut out shapes

The finished product - I think they look quite good!

Then we hung them on the tree together. I think they look very pretty on the tree! Now, I wonder how long they will last before some little person decides they look too tasty ;)

Esme carefully hangs the biscuits on the tree

They make quite nice Christmas tree decorations!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gingerbread House

I couldn't resist sharing some photos of these gingerbread houses Chris has been making this Christmas. I think he's done such a great job! The recipe Chris used for making the gingerbread can be found here. We used copha in it instead of butter so that it lasts longer (butter will go bad after a while).

In other Christmas news, I am running very behind with my preparations this year! I like to make presents for people (or at least the kids) and I still have a lot of sewing to do that I am really hoping is done in time! I think it's going to be a busy week next week! I will post pictures of my projects as they get done as well as some crafty stuff that I am planning on doing with the kids next week.
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