Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Winter escape to the Blue Mountains

We had the most lovely weekend away in the mountains and in the little cottage that we had rented for the weekend. Quaint is the word that comes to mind - the decor was interesting but it was warm, cosy and we had lots of fun.

Cottage in Leura
small but very cosy lounge room
some of the 'interesting' decor

I have the title of fire builder and Sophie got over her initial fear of the fire and very quickly wanted a fire built all the time and I happily obliged her. Olivia and Sophie even went outside in the dark with a torch each to see the smoke coming out of the chimney and Sophie did not freak out and want to call the fireman so I think she is over her anxiety there. They felt like explorers going out in the cold and dark to see it. Where we were there was no street lights either so it was really dark, there were so many stars that you just dont seem to see here in suburbia as it is too light. The wood fire along with the gas fires had us so warm and toasty inside. On Sunday evening I was so hot I was sitting watching the tennis in short sleeves and no socks. Outside it was about 1degree C though.

When we arrived on Friday afternoon we headed into Leura and had hot chocolates at the Wayzgoose. We love this little cafe and their hot chocolate is gorgeous and Todd loves the traditional lemonade that they sell too. Then in the eve we headed out into Leura and into Katoomba to see if there were any places we could go for dinner and thought why not, we got to Echo Point just at dusk and saw the 3 sisters as the sun was going down. It was gorgeous and the girls loved running around and Todd and I chasing them and they squealed with delight. It got cold as soon as the sun went down.

Todd and our hot chocs
Echo Point as the sun goes down

Olivia loved going out and it being cold enough to see your breath when you breathed out. It was the coldest that the girls had ever experienced.

Saturday we went to Leura Cascades after Jenny and Lisa had both said to go there and the walk was child friendly. I absolutely love waterfalls and had never been to these little falls and so was more than happy to head there.

Top of Leura cascades
view from bottom of Leura Cascades

It was a lovely walk and Todd and I said to each other as we were going down and down' 'what goes down must come up' in reference to the stairs that we would have to climb as we headed back up. I must get fitter. Poor Todd actually carried Soph for a little way too. She was being a bit of a lazy lump.  At the top near the car park was some swings and grass area. Afterwards the girls had a swing and started to play 'it' or 'tip' as it is called here and we said don't run it's slippy and literally the next minute Sophie slipped and fell and skidded along the grass.

One good as gold, one puling faces
My favourite picture of Leura Cascades

We headed home to clean little ones up and then went to the 3 sisters in the daytime to get some good shots. We certainly did that.

The 3 Sisters at Echo Point
Megalong Valley from Echo Point

Then into Leura for some shopping at the little boutique shops in the centre of town, with names like Moontree, The Cats Meow, The Christmas Cottage and of course the Toy Shop.

On Sunday we decided to have brunch and then headed into Leura for a wander, some more and then head up to Clarence where the zigzag railway goes from. We got there at 12.45pm and the train left at 1pm. Todd got the tickets and we piled into a carriage. I think I was more excited than the girls. Literally as a whistle was being blown Sophie said she was not feeling well and Todd jumped up with her and off the train with no hesitation. Liv and I followed. Thank goodness we did. Not 2 minutes later I took her to the toilets and the poor little thing was poorly. She had been complaining of a sore tummy and we just thought she had eaten too much. We said it over and over thank goodness we got off that train as there were no toilets on it. It would have been dreadful. We got our money back and on the way home I saw the sign for Govetts Leap and said lets go there. It was a beautiful bright sunny day but unlike Friday and Saturday that didn't feel too cold, oooh it was cold, the wind was biting. We got rather rugged up just to get out of the car and take some photos.

Me, Olivia and Sophie, cold
Govetts Leap waterfall

We had a relaxing, fun, beautiful time in Leura and feel so relaxed even after just a couple of days. Monday, sadly, we packed up and left our little cottage and before we started the descent down the Great Western Highway back to Sydney we took the girls to a park to just play. On the way home we stopped one more time at Wentworth Falls and looked at the spectacular view one more time this trip. We talked about the walks we would like to do, but they are for when little legs are a bit bigger. Another beautiful Winters day in the mountains and the cold biting wind of the day before had dropped again, thank goodness. So final pictures of my picture heavy post are of girls squealing whilst twizzling on swings, Wentworth Falls and the surrounding valley.

Wentworth Falls

View of valley from Wentworth Falls Lookout

What a wonderful weekend. We must do it again soon.

Friday, June 24, 2011

In the early hours

I got myself organised and sewed the night away last night after I had watched some of my favourite programs on tv.  Not the best way to do things I can assure you, but I finished the promised pyjamas. In the early hours all was done.

Again I used the oliver + s Bedtime stories pyjama pattern. I made the size 8 which is just slightly long in the leg for her which is just what I wanted so that they will last a bit, as she is growing so much lately and perhaps a bit tight getting them over her bottom but nothing major. She is a good size 8 here.

Look how bright and fun they are

Lucky Olivia, do you think she loves them? I'm so glad she does.

I love them mummy 

She chose the fabric from my stash, a fun, bright, soft flannel from Spotlight and a t-shirt top from Target with applique that I cut out and fused to the t-shirt using heat and bond, and then a stitch all around the edge. I am really happy with how they turned out.

We are heading to the Blue Mountains at lunchtime today to a little town called Leura. Gosh it is going to be cold (it snowed a few mornings ago) but clear skies so we have walks planned and the cottage we are staying in has an open fire which will be lovely and heat us through nicely. Coats, hats, gloves and scarves are all ready to go. Olivia is so excited about our little long weekend away and started to pack her toys, cuddly friends and dvd's on Wednesday and her new pyjamas are top of the pile ready to go.

Sophie has become petrified of smoke. We have a new firestation that has been built in our suburb and we saw the firemen heading into the engine and she saw smoke from an open fire coming out of someone's chimney as we drove by. She has put 2 and 2 together and made 20 and so if smoke comes out of a chimney then the firemen have to come and "that would be scary coz there is fire!" It certainly is going to make a weekend away in a cottage that has an open fire interesting. We have told her there is no chimney - I know, a lie - to calm the anxiety as she was getting really worked up about it, as she won't see the smoke coming out of the chimney as we will be inside. We will see how we go...

So have a wonderful weekend where ever you are, I will be trying to keep warm.

ps.  I went to the Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair yesterday with a couple of friends whilst all our 3 year olds were at pre-school together.  If you are in Sydney go check it out. It was so fun and I spent way too much money (oopps) but oh my, the gorgeous fabrics and patterns and books that I didn't buy. I will take some pictures of things that I did buy and give you a quick run down of my favourite stalls/designers probably after the weekend.

pps oooppss forgot to add you can find me linking here. Enjoy

Monday, June 20, 2011

Our Weekend - keeping it real, its not all sewing ...

I am quite aware that this is supposed to be a journal for me but it is also in the public domain and so some things are just not going to make it into type on here. However in the spirit of keeping things 'real' and not in the 'oh she spends her whole time sewing world' I thought I would write what our very normal weekend was like.

This weekend just flew by and when talking to mum and dad last night as it was Father's Day in the UK not here in Aus until Sept, and they asked what we had been up to I had to say not very much at all really, we didn't go anywhere, we didn't have people over for dinner, we didn't go away or anything either. So very ordinary in deed.

I had my usual Friday night craft at Katie's house and off I went with a couple of things to do, a Lazy Days Skirt for Olivia and some pyjama's also for Olivia. The skirt was coming along wonderfully then I realised that I was unsure of her waist size and so I guessed and it looks tiny and then I realised that the ribbon I had chosen to match the skirt really didn't match at all. So my lack of preparation really backfired on me and meant I couldn't get any further. So I decided to cut out the fabric for the pyjamas. Olivia had chosen. She had chosen the very colourful flowers and little bugs one and I had already popped to Target to get a long sleeve t-shirt to act as the pyjama top and will applique a shape onto the top just as I did for Lilia's. I really love my Friday night craft and chatting and laughing and getting a little work done. One minute it was half past nine then suddenly it was midnight. Such fun.

Saturday mornings now that Olivia has started to do jazz dancing lessons are a bit of a juggle especially as we were supposed to be at our church at the same time as Liv was dancing to help clean and tidy the building. So rather than one of us doing the jazz run and the other going to church to clean we decided to all do it together, I was sure we could get our cleaning assignment done in the time we have between drop off and pick up, sure enough we did, Todd did skirting boards, I did windows and any marks on the walls and Sophie even dusted pictures and then a good vacuum and the room we were allocated looked great and back to get Liv we zoomed. She wanted her friend Amelia to come and play so that was organised and Milly was with us for the day. She is such a lovely little girl and I honestly hardly heard a peep out of them except for food and drink all day. They played wonderfully and also included Sophie some of the time too.

Todd started to clean out a cupboard that has all of Olivia's colouring books and pens etc in it. He was ruthless and now it looks empty in comparison but it was so necessary, she can find the things she uses all the time and loves. So I did the same with Sophie's cupboard, old dried playdough gone, used up colouring books gone, dried out felt tip pens (textas) gone, and the cleaning went on, washing load after load, Todd ironed for ages and the kitchen got a really good clean too. What productive day. Not very exciting, but such a good day none the less. Some delicious Thai food was ordered for dinner for Todd and I and we settled into the evening. I had every intention of doing some more ironing to really get rid of it all but I sat down on the sofa and somehow I did not move again. We decided that a light film was the way to go and Todd chose this film. It was totally hilarious, I laughed and cried laughing for 2 hours, I would still be sniggering about something and then another thing would set me off. It has an MA rating here in Australia and I understand why, but gosh I havn't laughed like that in an age. 

Sunday was church and Olivia had to give a little talk in Primary. She was a bit nervous as she spoke really fast but she was clear and did it all on her own without any assistance.  I am so proud of her and she is growing up to be such a beautiful girl. I can't believe that she is nearly 8. Where has the time gone. The afternoon seemed to hold snoozes for Todd and I and the girls were happy watching a film themselves and relaxing. What a lazy day, but perhaps needed by all of us. It was finished with a quick chat with Dad and Mum to say Happy Fathers Day and see how everyone was. Gosh I miss them so much sometimes but only 5 months until they are here with us for the whole summer, I can't wait.

Monday rolls round oh so quickly some times and today was one of them. Mondayitis is well entrenched here and I have struggled big time to get anything done.

I hope your Monday has been far more productive than mine.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Thank you, Hello

Thank you all for the lovely comments about the pillow/cushion, it certainly made my day getting beeps on my phone with all the lovely comments.

I started this little blog as a type of journal and seeing as I am quite a visual, touchy person this medium seems to be so much easier for me to keep track rather than just writing in a book. I linked at another site to show off a bit (is it ok to admit that? I hope so) and suddenly, wow, lots more people all over the world reading my blog, and enjoying it, and liking the things that I have been making. It is incredible to me that this can happen and so I wanted to say "hi", and a big welcome to See Sam Sew, and thank you for the comments and support and if you see something that I make that inspires you to have a go at trying something new then fantastic, and that makes me happy too.

I again procrastinated cleaning up my lounge room and doing the ironing yesterday, and made a trip to one of my totally favourite places in Sydney, Country Pickin's at the Corner, which is at Dural, Sydney. I love this shop and the fantastic ladies there who happily let me walk around and touch all the incedible fabric and slowly move up and down the aisles for ages without hassling me except to say hello and chat. I'm not wierd, (well I don't think I am but others may disagree) I just love the colours, and feel of the fabric. I had a voucher to spend and I felt like spending it. This is what I treated myself too.

It is a beautiful book and even though I have no plans to start screen printing my own fabric I am still excited to make some of the lovely projects like the apron, picnic blanket, boys quilts, girls covered books and even the girls kimono dressing gown. Fabulous inspiration inside.

The cleaning can always wait until tomorrow right?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Snow Mum Pillow

Here is the finished pillow/cushion. I really really wanted to have it done this weekend just gone but no, so as little Sophie wanted to watch some Charlie and Lola and Peppa Pig this morning I took the opportunity to sit and focus and finish it.

Flower completed cushion form to do yet

Finished pillow

Do you like it? I love it, it is so soft and I think will look great on a bed for instance and I really hope that the recipient will love it too. 

It is made from a wool blend felt and is just so soft. I bought some felt cushions last winter and they were acrylic and the difference in the texture is amazing. Making the cushion itself was quite a bit of work, especially as I didn't read and understand the instructions properly, cut the leaves out and then realised what I had done and had to do the cutting of all the leaves all over again. What a pain in the behind! So my review of the pattern is fiddly but once all the leaves are cut and sewn in the centre to make them look like leaves it comes together really quite quickly and is definately worth the trouble, and I cut myself on my rotary cutter which isn't good when the material you are using is white. I know dramas, dramas.

The pattern is an Amy Butler free pattern that I downloaded ages ago and even with the dramas will make again. It is called the Snow Mum Pillow pattern and can be found here along with all the other free Amy Butler patterns. Happy pattern finding.

Also along with the pillow being finished I added a little pocket to the Popover Dress that I made last week. All the comments left on the post said to add a pocket and I must admit that that is where I was leaning to aswell. So voila, one little dress for a 4 yr old with a bound pocket added. 

Again I am really liking it. So Lilia's birthday presents are all finished and ready to be posted next month. I really hope she loves this dress as much as the last one and getting some clothes is not too boring a present.

Next up is the skirt that I showed you the material for the other day and I think Olivia needs some new pyjamas as she really only has one pair that fit her so some new flannel 'jamas are on their way there. 

It really amazes me sometimes how much I enjoy creating something that looks great from a piece of flat material. I grew up seeing mum sewing and her making a lot of our clothes and at times sewing for other people from home. I never wanted to learn or was interested at all. It is funny/interesting to me now though, that 2 of my sisters and I have all started to sew since being in our 30's, and we are actually replicating what our mother did at about the same time period in her life too.

p.s. you can find me linking here, here and here. There are always lots of other fabulous things to see that others have made too.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Long Weekend and a Queens Birthday

Long weekend yay. Love them.

Queen Elizabeth is still Australia's monarch and so we get a holiday in June, the Queen's birthday long weekend, even though her birthday is in April but it is celebrated in June traditionally as the weather is better in England then. Trooping the colour happens which is such a wonderful spectacle and is such a tradition. This military ceremony dates back to the early eighteenth century or earlier, when the colours (flags) of the battalion were carried (or 'trooped') down the ranks so that they could be seen and recognised by the soldiers. During the ceremony, The Queen is greeted by a Royal salute and carries out an inspection of the troops. Her Majesty then joins other members of the Royal Family on the palace balcony for a fly-past by the Royal Air Force. If you want to know more about it then go here. After the Royal wedding there is certainly royal fever so I thought I would share a picture or 2.

However, here in Australia it is Winter, cold and usually raining so nothing different this year. Todd was really tired after his launch tour and did request that we don't do anything this weekend as he just wanted to chill out and relax. I was totally happy to oblige his wishes and when a family birthday party that was scheduled for Saturday lunch got postponed due to headlice (eeekkk don't want to go back there) we settled in and ended up having a movie marathon. We watched 3 films, Little Fockers, Morning Glory and then later in the evening when the girls were in bed we watched The Next 3 Days. 

Little Fockers was funny and a good follow on in the series. Morning Glory had me crying with laughter in one point, the poor weather man Ernie. Then, I am a huge Russell Crowe fan, I usually love his films but I was disappointed this time. 

Not in his performance, I just was thinking throughout the film of the other things that I needed to do, it just didn't hold my attention.  I wanted it to speed up a bit more in the progression of the story. Lots of people will probably love this film. 

Sunday was church and then we had friends over. The plan was to have an early dinner and then head into the city to see the Vivid Festival lights at the Opera House and Circular Quay and Campbell Cove but at 7pm we decided it was too cold, too rainy and we should stay put. The kids were having a great time and playing brilliantly together so we parents kept chatting and laughing and chatting and laughing. When Sophie came into the lounge a bit upset and we realised it was 11pm, it was time to whisk little ones home and into bed. Wow where did 7 hours go. How wonderful to have friends that you can spend 7 hours with and have fun and laugh together. 

Thankfully the girls slept in really late Monday morning and so Todd and I enjoyed the morning together without kids. The postponed family birthday lunch happened and so happy birthdays were sung and everyone had a good time. What a great relaxing long weekend. 

I hope your long weekend was a good relaxing one too.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pockets it is.

The decision has been made, pockets it is. As it is Thursday and all little ones are at school I will take some time this morning to pop a pocket or two on. To be honest I think just one will look really cute, sorry Jem, I know it is for your daughter but ... lets call it creative license :) ok. Naturally photos when finished will be shared.

I also have some gorgeous felt for a cushion but can't share any more details than that at the moment as I know the recipient reads this blog and I need to finish it and get it to her first ok. That is todays main project besides tackling the mountain of washing up, vacuming the house, washing and getting to the gym to get this body moving.

Phhhew I am worn out just reading this, maybe I should just curl up on the sofa in front of a film. Now that is a good idea.

We are having a seriously cold blast at the moment even though it is Winter, but it is really cold right now for the SE part of Australia, a massive trough is bringing Antarctic air to us and it is cold. I don't own a coat, I havn't needed one for years here, until now, yesterday whilst watching Olivia swim I was totally freezing. In the Blue mountains this morning it was -1 and there is snow already on the Snowy Mountains (I know, original name right?!) just as the ski season starts this coming weekend. Lots of people don't know that along with sun, desert, crocodiles, rainforests, coral reefs, beaches, major cities, there are also snowy places here in Winter too. That was one of the reasons that I came to Australia in the first place as a backpacker after University, was so I could see everything I had ever wanted to see all in the one place.

I just thought I would share a few photos (I can not take credit for any of the shots, all from the wonderful world wide web) to show the diversity, power and beauty of nature here in Australia. It is an amazing place.

Blue Mountains NSW
Snow season starting - Perisher June 2011
Whitehaven Beach, Qld
Rainforests - both tropical and temperate

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pockets or not?

At my usual Friday craft night I did some more of the little popover dress and after the girls left I finished the sleeve binding off and the hem. I really love it and am so happy with how the Prints Charming fabric has turned out. I am rather sad that I don't have anymore of this fabric pattern to do a summer dress for Sophie. Perhaps I will just have to add a little to my fabric stash.

Now I have a little dilemma. The dress according to the pattern is finished, but should I add a bound pocket or two on the front? I'm not sure. What shall I do? What do you think, I would love to hear, leave me a comment.

I wanted Sophie to model for me, and she really was not into it at all. So that is why the dress is just on a hanger. I think I need to get some bribes happening so she will help mummy out.

Now onto a skirt for Olivia for church. She is seriously lacking in Winter clothes, and even though this fabric is cotton I think it will look fine with some wool tights and her lovely new Winter shoes.

I'm using another oliver + s pattern for this one called Lazy Days skirt. I have used this pattern before and made Sophie, Olivia and Lilia all the same skirt but in different colour runs of the same material.

I think I am having a bit of a love affair with oliver + s patterns at the moment. :) 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The best or worst place in the world?

Today Todd came home after his launch tour. 

His flight got in right in the middle of church time so we skipped church and took a trip to the airport to pick him up. The girls have been counting down the sleeps until daddy comes home and as he usually comes in really early in the morning, when he travels, we always pick him up and then head to McDonalds for hotcakes and orange juice and hash browns. Today's flight was a lunchtime one so once I had explained why there would be no hotcakes today all was well and we headed on to the domestic terminal.

Have you seen the film Love Actually? There is a thought that is talked about at the beginning and the end of the film, and without fail I tear up a bit as I totally agree, that the airport to me is both one of the best and one of the worst places on our planet. Let me explain. As someone who lives on the other side of the world to her family the airport is generally a place where tears flow for me. I know I am a far too emotional person anyway, but when my family arrives or we arrive over there after 21 hours on a plane, I am usually lost for words, and when we hug, and say hello that is about all I can get out without dissolving into 'ugly' crying. I need a minute to pull it together and collect our stuff and then I am good to go, I am just so happy to see them. Then there is the airport at the end of a trip when either we are leaving to come home or loved ones are leaving after the most wonderful time together. I always feel like my heart is being ripped out a bit, then the airport is the worst place in the world and sunglasses are a must have accessory along with a tissue or 2.

Thankfully today the airport was being a great place to be, and Sophie and Olivia's faces as they saw their daddy was just, well, lump in the throat inducing for me.

Welcome home Daddy/ Todd. We missed you...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Animal Man

Yesterday at Sophie's pre-school they had a visitor. His name was Bob Turner and he has a wonderful wildlife show that had the children enthralled. He has been coming to the school for many many years and Olivia loved him when she was attending pre-school and so we had been looking forward to Bob coming this week and seeing what animals he brought with him this time. The show was funny, entertaining and just delightful seeing their faces and how they all reacted to the animals. There were blue tongue lizards, a frill neck lizard and one other type of lizard, 2 green tree frogs, grubs, a giant burrowing cockroach, stick insect, 3 snakes and a long neck turtle.

I managed to get a few photos (again on my phone, I am so sorry, the camera is back on Sunday yay) showing Sophie with some of the differing emotions that she went through in the hour that Bob Turner was at school.

Oooh a blue tongue lizard

I just touched the turtle

Get it away from me!

So fun

Scared, oh my goodness, another lizard

I also thought it would be fun to compare some old pics of Olivia with Sophie. As school finished after the show Sophie walked out saying "bye Bob Turner" over and over. He certainly made an impression.

Olivia at 1st Bob Turner show - no touching too scared

I think the next pictures speak for themselves. The green outfit was Liv's 2nd time seeing the show and she was much more keen to join in as you will see.

Scared but fun


Big and brave with the daddy snake

Liking the mouse

I thought how fun and fulfilling it must be to have a job where you teach little kids some facts and give them knowledge and also bring so much joy and fun into their lives.

The animal man came, saw and totally won these children over and they had a great time. If you would like to get in contact with Bob Turner for yourself go here. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Finished - at last you cry

Yep, can you believe it? I have finally finished the many times afore mentioned pyjamas. Can I just say I love them. I am rather proud of how they have turned out and I learned new skills too which is always a bonus like the bound hems. I had never bound anything before and I love how they have turned out.

Sophie was not thrilled to say the least about modeling today so sorry for the funny face and lack of smiles.

Bound hems

However I am assured that they are good for dancing in. Great to know! Again photos were taken with my phone, without a flash and in my dark lounge room as it is raining cats and dogs outside.

Dancing but trying to avoid Liv's finished puzzle

Sophie, who has been my size model as she is a bit bigger than Lilia, each time she has put them on has said, "mummy my jamas?" and each time I tell her, "no baby they are for your cousin Lilia". Each time she asks for some of her own so we shall see. I do have lots of cool flannel in my box so I think her and big sister Miss O will get their own set of new 'jamas.' Dinosaur flannel is already in the cupboard waiting for Christmas to roll around so I can make new 'jamas' for Isaac. I think Noah will still be a little small for them. What do you think of them?

Also this is how the Popover Dress is coming along.

Front and back yokes - Prints Charming fabric
Yokes on, sides sewn together but still inside out.

Again such an easy make. The patterns from oliver + s are so easy to follow and come together quickly. I really enjoy a project that gets sewn together quickly as I have a terrible habit of wanting to finish something pretty much as soon as I start it. Then, I sew until I am too tired and do silly things like picking holes in pyjama tops like I did in my last post. A bit of a problem I know and something I have to work on. Anyone else do that or is it just me?

I found some pictures of some things that I had made on my phone so I thought I would also share these things that I made for Christmas last year that I was really quite proud of. Hope you like them too.

Summer Shorts

Piglet modeling - Boys cap

Shorts and Leila and Ben Cap Pattern