A few things I've been sewing

Another busy week but at least I managed some sewing time! I found a cute monkey printed jersey at Spotlight on the clearance table and made some "non girly" pyjamas for the "non girly" girl. The good news is she loves the shorts and wants to wear them 24/7 - the bad news is she hates the top and refuses to wear it. Sigh.

I had dyed a mandala on some broadcloth that was just the right size to make a little dress for Half Pint. It's very cute but next time I need to make the straps longer and the dress less "boxy".

From the back.

I love these moments! I caught the boy teaching the little one some piano. These two may be 10 years apart in age but they are terrific friends.

It's pouring rain here today after yesterday being warm and windy, so the garden is drinking it in. I must show you some photos of the garden soon, it's such a wonderful place to be at the moment.

Happy weekend and God bless you all :)


I have things to show. I don't really like texty posts, I like to have something nice to look at too. Blogger won't let me upload images. Not yesterday. Not today. Is it me? Is it them? What if I can't fix it? Am I destined to become a text only blog?! Hmm, a little dramatic perhaps, but I want my image uploader back!!

My husband's Spoonflower fabric

My husband used to draw. A lot. Since the children came along and he became a "professional" anything artistic has taken a back seat and been almost non existent. I wanted to encourage him to start drawing again so I ordered some fabric from Spoonflower with some of his old designs as a surprise.

I'm so glad I did. He has become so inspired and it's so great to see him feeling more like his "old (young!) self" again. The best part is seeing him hunched over his sketch pad again and imagining all the applications for his designs. He says he has found a part of himself that had been "dumbed down" and forgotten.

Naturally, this is all a dream come true to Mrs. Artsy Crafty!

Regarding my last post - I've temporarily switched to the old editor in order to post pictures, hoping that it will somehow just fix itself and I can go back to the new editor. Old editor is, well, old!

My biggest musical influence

                                       No words necessary, just listen.

Buddha's Tears

My husband brought home some Buddha's Tears tea from T2 yesterday. He was actually buying Strawberries and Cream tisane (a family favourite) and asked for a sample of the very expensive Buddha's Tears (also known as Jasmine Dragon pearl). The obliging person gave a very generous sample.
It is the best jasmine tea I've tasted - no hint of the usual bitterness. This tea is very mild and suggestive and if it wasn't so expensive I could drink a lot of it!

Embroidery progress

If I'd known how long these projects would take to complete would I have started them in the first place?
Probably. Yes. Absolutely!

My crewel piece has come a long way since here. In fact, I'm not too far off finishing, hooray!

I've made a lot of progress with the ribbon work since here too.

Unfortunately most other things get priority over embroidery so my monthly stitching group is wonderful   . 
Have a marvellous Saturday that hopefully involves some stitching.

The 6 P's of homeschooling!

1. Prayer
For me it is essential to start my day with prayer. I feel that things go much more smoothly if I give my first moments of the day to God. I realise not everyone is religious, so some form of meditation or reflection at the beginning of the day may help you to collect your thoughts for the day ahead.

2. Preparation and planning
Each night after the evening meal and subsequent clean up I sit down at the table and plan and prepare homeschooling work for the next day. You may be more organised and plan a week ahead. I find it better to do it the night before so it's fresh in my mind, however some art, craft or science activities need more forward planning for extra materials etc.

3. Purpose
You don't need a mission statement as such, but knowing what you want to achieve in your homeschooling is important. What style of learning do you want to take, maybe it's a combination or a set style. What are you ultimate goals for your children? Think long term about this - you can always change your purpose but you need to have direction.

4. Play
For any age it is essential to incorporate fun into your homeschooling routine. This presents the teacher with many challenges in setting up activities and excursions, but don't forget fun is in the attitude as much as the activity.

5. Persistance
The year following the birth of our fourth child has been more challenging than any other. Many times I've felt discouraged but determined not to give up. Homeschooling is a lifestyle commitment and your children need to feel that you are committed to them and their education. You will have bad days but hopefully they will be outweighed by the good!

6. ComPromise
OK - not a "P" word but still very important. Flexibility in a learning situation is a key to success. If you can see your child becoming very interested in something, don't just cut off and leap into the next subject because it's "time" to. Some of the best homeschooling days are when I "go with the flow" instead of with the timetable.
If things are feeling stale or just not working, forget the book work and do something else. Whatever it is, you child will still be learning.
Remember - you are the teacher and your own boss! Do what suits you and your family best and enjoy the the privilege of teaching these young minds!

Fish, glorious fish!

Occasionally my husband buys fish from Conways as a treat. I don't know about your part of the world, but here fresh fish is really expensive. I can't fault Conway's for freshness though, better than you can get at the Queen Vic Market.

These are blue grenadier fillets, but use what you like (or what you can afford!) For this one I lay down a generous amount of foil and put the fillet on top. I sliced lemon grass and ginger and sprinkled over the top. Then I warmed about 2 tablespoons of soy sauce with 1 teaspoon of honey and a squeeze of lemon juice and drizzled over the fish. Salt and pepper, then wrap in the foil or pinch the foil together to make a pleat all the way along. Bake for about 20 minutes at 190 degrees celscius then test for doneness.

This one is really easy! Lay out fillet as above then dab some small pieces of butter along the fillet. Salt and pepper it. Lay on some fresh herbs (I used dill and parsley from the garden) then lay on thin slices of lemon. Bake as above and test for doneness.

Healthy and delicious!!

Pretty little wedding dresses

I finished the girl's dresses for my sister's wedding in a few weeks.
Note the pained "I don't feel like having my photo taken" expression.

I used some pretty quilting fabrics and satin to make the waistbands that tie at the back.

I used my trusty Miss Madeline pattern.
This pale blue fabric has pretty white patterns on it that you can't really see here.

I've almost finished my dress too.

An amusing tale. In my last letter to my Grandmother I mentioned I was making our dresses for the wedding. A couple of days later I received a letter back with a gift voucher for $50. She thought it was such a pity that I "had" to make our dresses she wanted me to go out and buy some for the girls. When she had young children she made all of their clothes out of necessity.
Haven't times changed? I don't think she'd be convinced that I sew for pleasure.

Got Goop?

                                  Goop is fun, safe, reusable and although messy, cleans up easily.

1 packet of cornflour (I use a cheap generic brand)
1 - 2  cups water
food colouring, tempura paint powder or acrylic paint (if you like)

Mix water into cornflour a little at a time until you have a gloopy consistency. Drop the colouring in (if using) to the depth of colour you like.
Put into a container or tray and play!

When the children are finished it can be stored in a container with a lid. If it dries out just add more water and stir again.

* A note about food colouring.
The children ended up with coloured hands, if this is undesirable go with the paint options.

This is my first post for kid's art and craft on the SHE team blog (Schooling at Home Etsians). My post will be there tomorrow. Head over and check it out!

A nice morning out

The Werribee Mansion now has free entry. For a family of 6 this is a real blessing and we go there quite a bit now. The grounds are really expansive and beautiful.

A great place to stretch out.

Or climb a tree. 

                          And a great place for little people to test out those running legs!
I think we'll be picinicing here quite a bit over summer, and the rose garden is right next door.

Happy swapping

I love a happy swap. You may recall I received some beautiful wool from Nell last week. She has her parcel from me now, so I can show you what I sent. I used a few different techniques for the fat quarters above.

The pink and purple playsilk was painted with stripes and then sprinkled with sea salt (in honour of Nell's pink and purple princess!)

Nell mentioned water play, so the idea for the blue playsilk was born. The silk was dyed using a shibori technique.

And last but not least - a little play doll for "the baby", knowing how much my "baby" loves her doll that is similar.

A few pictures from the march

There was a great turn out for the Freedom to be Born March and the sun dazzled down on us as we walked the streets of the city.

Up to the steps of the grand old Parliament House. 

There was the usual small (very small) slogan shouting individuals waiting for us on the steps but they were soon drowned out. And I swear I have never placed my rosaries on anyone's ovaries! That is also to imply that only Catholics stand against abortion which is completely untrue and was evident today.

A big thanks to the Victoria Police for the great job they do, it is really appreciated.

It's Saturday

And a glorious Saturday it is too.

I was the lucky recipient of these gorgeous hand dyed, hand spun yarns in a swap with Nell. Aren't they beautiful, especially the rainbow one. I feel like I did when I was a girl and received a special soap or something and was too afraid to use it. I'd just admire it for a long time!

Nell kindly included an embroidery book (here's a girl after my heart!) and even a pack of lollies for the children! I can't show you what I've sent her yet as it may not have arrived.

We're headed into the city today for the Freedom to be Born March, it should be a great turn out on such a nice day.

All the best for the weekend, God bless you all.

Silk mandala cape

Remember the mandala I dyed last week? Now it's a children's cape! It is really gorgeous, I'd love to make more of these.

I intend to make one for each of the girls but as my silk supplies have been somewhat depleted recently it will have to wait.

I used some of my son's handpainted fabric for the collar and added snaps for doing up.

This one is in my Etsy shop now, custom orders are available too.

Dream home?



All images from here

                                                                      Double sigh


The winner is...

Congratulations Tonya, you are the winner of my hand dyed fabric giveaway!

A big thanks to all who entered and a huge welcome to new followers, I hope you enjoy this space.

I'm making plans for my Christmas giveaway now, stay tuned.

I've listed a couple of dolls in my Etsy shop.

Mandala dress

I finished this dress/ long top for my 3 year old today, it was quite a process, but well worth it! First came the dyeing then the sewing, as I wanted separately coloured pieces. I used habotai silk and made up the design as I went along.

The back view is a beautiful turquoise. I love turquoise. The dress sits gorgeously on her and is light and flowing.

I'll be making these in various sizes for my Etsy shop once I do a little more tweaking. I think they would do well at a market too, which I hope to do eventually. If anyone is interested in pre ordering for Christmas you are most welcome to contact me.

Just a reminder

Today is your last chance to enter the giveaway, I'll be drawing the winner tomorrow.
Good luck!

My first mandala woohoo!!

                                                                              That's it!
I'm officially moving into my laundry and dedicating my life to making beautiful colours on fabric, you may never see me again except when I have some new colours to show off.
But then I guess someone has to cook, clean, care for the children.......

                                                Ah well, one can dream, can one not?

I love breastfeeding, but...

I guess it's part and parcel of breastfeeding that you receive the odd nip here and there, I've certainly received a few over the years.
This morning's "nip" however, was perpetrated by a 14 month old with plenty of teeth who didn't let go until she realised I was screeching because of her! I have the wound to prove it too! Trust me when I say the offended area was throbbing and burning for quite some time.
In her defence, I think she thought she was biting my nightie which I was trying to wrangle out of the way in the wee pre dawn hours. My husband's instant response was that I will now give up breastfeeding altogether - it not being worth the trouble.
But... but... I don't want to! I'm not ready! Each of my babes have been the ones to give up, not me.
It's such a special thing to be able to nourish a child in this way and to have close bonding time (not that chomping does much for the bonding!) Perhaps it's because I know she may be our last baby because of my medical problems, that I'm more determined to hang in there.
Whatever the case, I have big apprehensions about the impending bedtime feed tonight.
We shall see.....

In much brighter news it's a glorious sunny day today so I baked some fruit loaves. The girls had their hair washed and put on some pretty summery dresses.

We smothered the bread with jam and pure cream. Marvellous. We ate both loaves!

Our garden picnic. Happy times and treasured memories.

Happy weekend!


Yes it's that time again and I'm very pleased to be giving away some hand dyed fabric for the first time. The winner will receive a hand painted fat quarter and 2 hand dyed co-ordinating pieces measuring 16 x 16 inches from my skyscape series.

To enter:

1. You need to be a follower. New followers are welcome to enter.

2. Please leave a comment telling me why you like hand dyed fabric and what you think you would do with it if you won.

3. If you blog about this giveaway and link back to here you will receive an additional entry, please come back and leave an extra comment to say you've blogged.

The winner will be selected by random integer on Tuesday 5th October.

Thanks for entering, all the best!

Make do and make a start

I thought I'd share with you a little reality check today. It is easy for us to imagine that people we see on social media, on websites...