Sunday, January 31, 2010

February Sew-Sew

Plans are afoot at the Mogantosh ranch.

Keith starts writing his textbook tomorrow. It's going to be about current voltage characterisation of silicon solar cells. Say that four times while drunk! (I've tried and it's very challenging.)

I've got my own projects on the boil. I have so many things I want to make and sort out around the house, and in the whirl of toddler-management and constant housework, they keep getting derailed. I'm going to have a crack at giving them a month each, and then moving on.

So February is going to be my month of sewing.

I'm such a bad, bodgy sewer. I'm unsuited to it. Pins? Pointless! Patterns? I'll just cut out the picture in my head. Ironing?? Come on! I'll just hold the edges down, nice and tight... I hope that, over this month, I can rise above the limitations of my unfortunate personality and become somebody else. A calm, pressing, pattern-cutting, putting-the-bits-away somebody.

First off, I've started working on fabric sandwich bags and snack packs for Ivy and Ted's forays into pre-school and child-care. Oh, so much love goes into lunch when you can't be there.

I got the sandwich bag idea from Towards Sustainability. It's a very simple square with velcro tabs at all four corners. On the fabric I've laid out a cut-up sandwich bag and sewn it together. (Unfortunately, the camera is busted so I can't take a better series of photos.) It's food-grade plastic, and they just wash out in the sink and hang up on the kitchen curtain, dry the next day. Since making this bag, though, Julie's figured out how to use beeswax to seal the fabric instead - a better idea I think. But dagnammit, I just figured out the last method! I think you could also use PUL fabric too.

The snack pack is my own work, sort of an envelope shape with a velcro strip that closes the lid. The plastic is sewn in again...badly. But it works. I've packed this with grapes, blueberries, cheese and biscuits, carrot sticks, sultanas - haven't had any problems washing it.

The little labels are made with calico and a fabric pen, but alphabet stamps would be lovely, I think. The sandwich bag is from an old sarong of Keith's, and I love the yellow flowers on the snack pack- they look like pants the Brady Bunch might have worn when performing as the Silver Platters.

If you would like me to make you a sandwich wrap for your small person, just leave a comment below and tell me their name. I'll put it on my February list and post it to you.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Another Day, Another Toddler.

It's been one of those days. Inside, I feel like this.

Keith's been away for a couple of days and I'm living in a world of these conversations:

Ivy: The skulls in my kidneys are a bit tired. They have gone to bed. If you press on my shoulders you can hear my skulls talking.

Me: What are they saying?

Ivy: They are singing 'chitty chitty bang bang.'

I'm desperate for a little space. At one stage today I persisted in reading a book on the toilet even though Teddy was poking bits of toilet paper into the loo behind me and Ivy was bouncing Dodo the stuffed dog on my knee.

When all else fails, head outside. We spent a long time drawing with chalk on the concrete this afternoon. It was a grey day, and something about the light was so pretty.

Currently Ivy will only answer to the name Bindi. When I put her on the phone to say hello to her Dad she said 'Hi, Steve Irwin, how are you?'

She's a lunatic. But she's my lunatic.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Summer of the Tiffin Box.

We're so lucky to have the beach as a backyard. This tiffin box (courtesy of Great-Aunty Maggles) has been a wonderful picnic-friend for late afternoon beach frolics.

I really love this tiffin box, even more since Keith told me that it reminded him of me. (Unusual, strangely practical, and made him smile.)

Also, I love surfboards found at the side of the road. And so does Ivy, the new surf-dog of the family.

I love watching Keith pass on his love of the ocean to the kids.

Teddy loves dogs. He calls them 'go-go's and he'll chase them for miles. Lucky for him, Sharkey's is a dog beach.

Most of all I love watching the I kids get bare-nekkid, cuddle their Dad and go crazy-bananas on the sand.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dream Bedroom for the Baby Bears.

So beautiful! I found this image at Leigh from Marvellous Kiddo's new blog.

I can't wait to put Ivy and Ted in a room together - when he turns two, I hope. (I'm nothing if not an optimist.)

He went so well at day-care! I arrived at lunchtime, nervy and sickish, to find him sitting happily chomping on his cheeses and vegemite sanger. Not a tear! (Such a contrast to the high, high drama of Ivy's first days at care.) For the first time in forever, Ivy and I had a date morning, just the two of us. We swam at the pool and the beach, shared a bacon and egg roll and made funny faces at each other.

I love tiny people in gangs, so I pretended Teddy's lunchtime buddies were hiding their food. 'Emma! What's your sandwich doing in your pocket! Have you got any apples down your shirt, Zane?' Etc.. Then, spurred on by approval (pathetic? moi?), I started finding sultanas behind ears. So funny! Until... 'Look! I have a sultana in my ear! Look!' 'I can put one in there too!' 'Me too! Tana's in my ears! Look! Look!'

'No, ' I backtracked desperately, 'Putting sultanas in your ears is naughty! Naughty! Just eat them. Yum, yum, yum.'

Wayne gave me a look. 'Teddy's welcome back anytime,' he said, 'but you're banned.'

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Big Ted

I'm nervous and fitchety.

I can't relax.

Teddy starts day-care tomorrow!

He's going to a wonderful place, I know and trust his carer, I'm really looking forward to Friday's free for writing (especially considering I just got such a great gig as the new columnist for Practical Parenting Magazine!)


...he's so leetle!

Just five minutes ago he looked like this.

And now this!

The Bear is hilarious. When anybody laughs in his earshot, he hoots along, like a nervous loner at a cocktail party. He's dog-obsessed. He can blow man-sized raspberries and he is a total yea-sayer - he has a hundred ways of shouting 'Yes!' and he never says no.

He's still at least half baby but he's taking on all the characteristic craziness of the toddler. For instance, he loves to wear a pair of Ivy's green Dorothy the Dinosaur knickers on his head. He'll bring them to me, waving them wildly and jibber-jabbering in his nonsense language. 'Do you want me to put your hat on, Teddy?' I'll ask, and ''Yeah!' he shouts. So I put on his pants-hat and he toddles off, delighted. I love him so much.

Every Friday, from now on, I'll miss those moments.

Sad, sad, sad.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Scruffiness: It's a Blessing and a Curse.

I went to the op-shop yesterday to drop off a pile of stuff. Ivy was at day-care, so armed with only one tiny destroyer, I was able to have an excellent little wander. A bag of books for $3 including gems like 'Can I be a Christian Without Being Weird?' (perfect for the gift box), some gorgeous vintage childrens books and a 70's sewing book for me, with some spectacularly crotch-hugging knit pants (how to sew a camel-toe!)

I've had felting on my mind so I checked out the blankies and found a beautiful cream Onkaparinka in excellent condition. At the counter, the woman gave me what seemed a huge discount and a sympathetic look.

Oh, the guilt!

Teddy was not looking his finest. He took a big stack running down the driveway yesterday and scraped his eye. We'd arrived at Vinnies after a good dirty play in the park and half a rockmelon. I was in my normal state of disarray.

Obviously we looked like we were in real need of welfare, and while I appreciate my great bargain, I do feel terrible that, just because I am a slattern, some actual needy person might have missed out.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I saw the ShelterBox demonstrated a few weeks ago at a local fete. It's a Rotary initiative and really an amazing invention. It's a tent, and all equipment necessary to house and feed 10 people, packed in a a box ready to deliver to disaster areas. According to the website:

A ShelterBox usually consists of:

10 thermal blankets
A rugged 10 person dome tent
Tools and other survival equipment
It provides:

dry shelter
a warm bed
light and heat
clean water
cooking aids

It also includes toys for children, privacy (and dignity) shields, and each one costs about $1200. You can donate here: ShelterBox.

It's hard to imagine the depth of despair and confusion that so many Haitians are experiencing right now, as i sit in my solid house, with healthy children and a full pantry. I feel blessed, and I recognise the fickle nature of luck.

Friday, January 15, 2010

2010, lets make out.

Sometimes if I get out of the swing of bloggery, it is hard to find a graceful moment to jump back on the horse, so I just have to grab its mane and haul myself arkwardly on, my skirt tucked into my undies, accidentally giving myself a painful and intimate horse-rash.

And here I am!

2010, I have plans for you. I'm making myself purty for you and everything.

Ted is starting family day-care one day a week from next week, and Ivy starts going to pre-school for two days from early February. I feel a little tear of heartbreak at the thought, but it's swiftly erased by the excitement of a DAY TO MYSELF.



Ladies! Can I get a witness! I am determined to use my time to write, and ignore the housework.

And it's definitely been a long time since I was working, becuase I'm full of ideas for features and proposals; not limp at the prospect of the pitch-rejection freelance dance... There are a few interesting work prospects on the horizon too.

When I'm not writing, I've got lots of fun plans. This year I want to learn how to make soap, ginger beer, jam and chutney. I'm determined to master my sewing machine to make the kids clothes this year (my hand-sewing is worse than bodgy) and this winter, I'm knitting: dishcloths, for starters. A year for domestic skills, and trying to pay the bills.