The simple things

Yesterday was an absolute cracker of a day. We woke up to fog, and it was freezing, but once the day warmed up it was glorious.

The kids and I headed out for babycinos and a wander along our Main Street, walking past one of the big box stores which lured me in with its bare rooted trees in the front window. Two kids in tow I went in to look at the trees and realised that it was day 1 of their giant toy sale. I had a 3 and 4 year old with me. Big mistake.

So we wandered around aimlessly while the kids ‘I want’-ed at everything, past people with multiple trolleys full of toys, cranky kids, and long long lines at the lay-by counter, and then much to my children’s disgust, we walked out without buying a thing.

Without all the shiny coloured plastic in front of their faces, the moment we were home all the new toys they desperately wanted were forgotten, and they amused themselves in the backyard with some PVC pipe and an old tennis ball for over an hour.

The lesson was mostly lost on them, but I’m glad I paid attention.

The shiny, glitzy, magic stuff is all well and good, but it comes at a cost, and quickly becomes old. Happiness is made in the simple everyday things. Those shiny expensive dopamine hits sure are fun for a while there, but they don’t last.

And so, after a week of making myself miserable, looking at Facebook memories of our trip to New Zealand at this time last year, and Disneyworld the year before, I had to adjust my lens a little. Yes, those shiny exciting holidays were amazing, but it’s not realistic to lead that kind of life every day of the year. It may not be the ‘making your dreams come true’ kind of magic, but there’s little patches of magic in even the most ordinary of weeks.

Everyday magic moments this week:

1. I went to Bookclub on Sunday, feeling guilty because I had not made any attempt to read this months book. As everyone slowly rolled in we quickly discovered that in fact, none of us had read the book this month! So we ate cake, drank coffee and talked about what we had been reading instead. It was one of my favourite bookclub catch up’s to date.

2. After talking about dyeing yarn last week, I had another attempt over the weekend and managed to create one I love. Now I need to find a project I love just as much to work it in to!

3. I found our first little broccoli emerging in the veggie garden, and then after pretty much giving up on my cauliflowers, I spotted my first purple cauliflower popping out.

4. Penny left the Cinderella shoes on just long enough for us to get a photo.

5. The master baker of the house (read: not me) baked tiny loaves of bread, so we could have tiny pieces of toast, that made my avocado look giant and my breakfast taste delicious.

6. and miraculously, I got a mid week post in this week! If you missed it, check out my crocheted scarf pattern post here.

So whilst it wasn’t ‘Milford Sound’ or ‘taking the kids to Disneyworld for the first time’ levels of magic, there were sparks of magic in the everyday. I just needed a 3 and 4 year old to point it out for me.

Wishing you all magic everyday moments this weekend.

Abby x

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A Love Story

Happy Valentine’s Day!

We’re not great celebrators of Valentine’s Day here, never have been. So we’ll just be celebrating our run of the mill Saturday, swimming lessons, catching up with family and avoiding the forecasted 42 degree heat!

So here’s a little love story of a different kind. The love between a little girl and her Penny dog.

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When all goes quiet in the house, this is where I find them, watching the world go by, and possibly licking the window.

The best of friends.

Abby xx

A Picnic Rug

I’m very pleased with this little project.

I’ve spent a long time lusting over pretty picnic rugs, and finally decided to make my own for this Spring and Summer.

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It’s made from a vinyl topped table cloth (for waterproofing the back) and patchworked duck cloth.

This was an easy little project. The most time consuming part was hand stitching the binding. At a fairly slow pace, I knocked this project over in a week.

I bought this ‘beautiful’ tablecloth on ebay for $8. I figured it didn’t matter too much what it looked like, as you wouldn’t see it when the rug’s laid out anyway.

table clothOnce I’d quilted the patchwork top to the backing, I trimmed off the excess table cloth, and then added the binding. I made the binding myself, because I’m too cheap and fussy to buy bias tape.

Here’s a glimpse at how the back ended up looking.

IMG_5508Penny was insistent on helping me take photos.

IMG_5505I’ve been toying with the idea of adding some hand embroidery to my quilts lately, so I thought I’d try it out first on this rug.

IMG_5502It’s not perfect, but practice makes perfect!

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As per usual, I made far too much bias tape, so I sewed around the edges of the left overs, and then sewed the strip to the back of my picnic rug, to hold the rug together when it’s rolled up.

and here’s the finished product.

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IMG_5512I’m so happy with it, and can’t wait to have our first picnic with it!

Abby xx

 

 

 

 

 

August roundup

 

We celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary this month, as well as Miss Penny’s birthday, and the rest of the month was pretty cruisy. Just the way I like it.

IMG_4240Matt found some ricotta cheese going cheap and so decided to make spinach and ricotta ravioli. Somehow I got conned in to helping. See those little fork marks on the edges? I did those!

IMG_4339Miss E and I explored the kitchen cupboards for things to play with. A muffin tray full of duplo bricks makes a fantastic sound when you kick it! Or so Miss E thinks…

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Matt had my best interests in mind when hiding the chocolate, but I found it anyway.

He also had a bit of a funny mishap with chopping down a tree.

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Someone has discovered the TV cabinet drawers and cupboards.

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We’ve made a point of making our Sunday’s a family day, and usually end up in a park somewhere.

IMG_4660Penny and I have been putting our feet up and soaking up the sun whenever we get the chance.

Speaking of sun, I can take further advantage of it now with my new washing line! Woo!!!!

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I’ve been reading:

12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup.

This was a fascinating read. Northup was a free African American man, kidnapped and sold into slavery. This book was his account of his experiences as a slave for 12 years. It’s a heart wrenching and heart warming story about the best and worst of humanity. It took me a little while to get into this book, but once I’d sunk my teeth into it, I devoured the whole thing in a couple of days.

I’ve been making:

IMG_4236Some cute little bibs for a beautiful baby boy we met last week.

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I finished another triangle quilt top but haven’t gone any further with it yet.

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I then made another quilt as a gift which I can’t share just yet, but here’s the bias tape that I decided to make instead of buying pre-made. Everytime I make a quilt I tell myself to buy bias tape this time, then when I go to buy it I think it’s a waste of money and decide to make it. Then when I make it, I vow to buy it next time. Only to repeat it all over again.

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and the crochet blanket is so very nearly done.

I’ve been listening to:

I downloaded the ‘I Heart Radio’ app, and have been listening to some new music that’s similar to the stuff I already know and love. I tend to listen to the same CD’s and playlists over and over again, so some new tunes feels refreshing and helps makes boring housework a little more bearable.

August, you were swell, especially this last glorious sunshiny week!

Here’s to September, and Spring!

Abby xx

Always my baby

IMG_3973Look at this little puppy, cuddled up on Mum’s lap. Or not so little puppy!

In fact, as far as she’s concerned, not even a dog, just the hard done by eldest child.

One night last week I forgot to say goodnight to her when I put her out to bed. So she whined at the back door for twenty minutes until I went out there and said “Goodnight Penny. Sweet dreams” and gave her a kiss goodnight. It’s just not bedtime if you don’t get a bedtime kiss!

Another night last week, I got up more times in the middle of the night to resettle Penny the dog than I did Miss E the baby. There’s only so much whinging at the back door that you can put up with before you have to go out and remind the dog that it is ‘bedtime’.

I have two children in this house. One’s just a lot furrier than the other.

Abby xx

 

Potato Container Continued

You may recall me talking about the potato container Matt made back here.

Well, we’ve finally bought some straw and put some potatoes in it!

I must point out firstly that we’ve never grown potatoes before, so this is all an experiment and we’re not sure how well it will work. I’ll keep you updated as they grow (or don’t grow!)

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Firstly we separated the container Matt made into two parts, to make it easier to get to the bottom

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and put some mulch and manure in the bottom.

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We bought some seed potatoes, and cut them into pieces. Each piece with one eye on it.

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We then placed each seed potato piece, with the eye facing up, in the bottom of the potato container.

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and took some photos of Penny being cute…

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added a light layer of straw and mulch on top of our potatoes

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potato container mulchedand now we wait patiently for them to shoot up, before we add more layers to our container sides, and put more straw on top.

Hopefully we’re not waiting too long!

Abby xx

 

 

Teaching our dog boundaries

 

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For a few years before we had Miss E, Miss Penny the Labrador was our baby. She ruled the house. She was spoilt with our undivided attention.

We’ve often described her as an incredibly intelligent, but stupid dog. She can shake paws, and change paws when we say ‘other paw’, she can high five, wave, get her food cup and take us to her food container at dinner time. But she also eats duck poo…

For as long as we’ve lived in this house, she has never been allowed in our carpeted bedrooms. She knows these rules well and has always obeyed them (unless we’re not looking).

The exception to this rule, was the rug on the lounge room floor. No matter how much we told her off, she didn’t understand, and so we gave up and learned to live with a lounge room rug that had to be constantly vacuumed, or would otherwise be littered with blonde hair.

Once we were pregnant and knew that the rug on the lounge room floor would soon have a little person rolling around on it, we realised we had to get serious about teaching Penny to stay off of it.

So we took the rug away for three weeks. When we brought it back, we didn’t let her on it. We kept her off by telling the rug off each time she stepped foot on it. Yes you read that right, we told the rug off. Not Penny.

We would get down on hands and knees, slap the carpet, and say ‘No Carpet!’

Within a couple of days, she wouldn’t dare step foot on the rug.

When Miss E came home, this rule by extension, applied to everything that was on the carpet, including Miss E’s mat and her toys.

This has worked well ever since. Penny tiptoes around the edge of the rug to get to us, and tells visitors off if they sit where she can’t get to them without walking on the rug.

For a while she found the allure of Miss E’s toys a bit hard to handle. We had to tell her to keep away a few times and ended up with her sitting at the edge of Miss E’s mat with a line of her own toys.

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We’re pretty proud of our beautiful fur baby!

Abby xx

Building a Potato Container

In an effort to save some money and do our bit for the environment, we’re starting to grow our own fruit and vegetables.

We’ve had fruit trees for a few years, and recently planted strawberries, broccoli, capsicums, chills, carrots and a variety of herbs, but we’ve been holding out on the potatoes until we found the best (cheapest) method.

We finally got there, and all for the grand total of $0!

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Using some old pallets, Matt cut the wood down to size to make interlocking slats that would become the sides of our container.

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He then cut grooves in the tops and bottoms of the slats so that they would interlock.

Penny was keen to help out.

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The interlocking slats will make the container easy to pull apart when we’re trying to get our potatoes out later.

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Now that construction’s complete, we just need to move the container down to the veggie patch and get ourselves some straw so that we can start planting potatoes!

Abby xx