pottering

goodness me!  Sometimes these days just hurry by, don’t they.  Here we are and it’s Tuesday night already.

Mum has been and gone – she’s in Brisbane now, visiting with old Nanny and Grandad who are relishing every moment of having their eldest child at their beck and call :-)

Lucy is having her holiday here with us … well, a combination of holiday and convalescing – she had a paralysis tick a couple of weeks ago and being an old lady, she really suffered and is still getting her strength back – it was very touch and go for a while there, nerve wracking stuff.

Abby is off to Year 10 camp tomorrow – with a streaming cold.  After a day of resting under the quilts on the sofa with plenty of vitamin c, hot lemon and honey tea, hot water bottles, chicken soup, and paracetamol she’s still sounding/looking/feeling awful.  Oh dear.

Mother’s Day came and went – lovely stuff.  Croissants with jam (so decadent!) and cheese for breakfast.  Woodwork in the shed with Abby and Jules.  Shoppings with Mum.  Cosy hours of knitting with the Nan, the Mum and the girlie, whilst Julian prepared a marvellous Mother’s Day Feast.   Oh yes :-)

And me … well pottering around as usual.

knitting

We visited Wondoflex on Friday – ostensibly to choose wool for baby knitting – my cousin Clara is expecting her first babe in August.  Oh!  So many lovely things to knit for little ones born into cold climates – wee dresses, cardies, snuggly stockings, tiny booties.  And yet somehow, along with the baby wool, 20 balls of heavily discounted 12 ply tumbled into my basket and somehow they wound up on my needles where they are miraculously turning into this.  Such a sweet and easy pattern – knits up wonderfully quick and has nifty little inset pockets for keeping hands cosy.  I have one and a half sleeves left to go – and a bit of finishing on the pockets.  Yum!  But where’s the baby knitting?  you ask.  Oh she’s not coming ’til August … heaps of time ;-)

knitting booi

Found this treasure trove of a book at our local post office.  Yep, the post office.  You know the deal … standing in a long queue waiting to collect a parcel, surrounded by shelves spruiking all manner of goods that a post office has no right to sell :-) But dang!  I’m glad they had this one … it is sooooooooo good!  A real how-to bible of knitting, full of so many wonderful techniques I don’t know where to start.  Makes my heart beat faster just looking at it.

scraps quilted chess board

Dusted the old chess board that came with these dear little hand painted sweeties and had a flash of brilliance.  It would look so much better quilted!  And I’ve always wanted to make a quilted chess board.  So I made the wee quilt this morning, and after being interrupted by the girl child and her sneezing, came to the perfect realisation of how to finish it off.  There’s nothing quite as good as a forced break.  I do find it allows me to ponder where I’m heading and how best to get there.  Wait til you see.  Oh yes!  It’s going to be so cool.  Hopefully tomorrow.

little sickie lucy

I know she’s sick and all and feeling crummy, but oh, how I love it when my girlie is home with me and I can fuss over her.  The house is so much lovelier when she is in the next room.  And sweet little Lucy – she loves it too.  A snoozing teenager provides the perfect cosy spot to warm her old bones, specially since the vet had to shave all her fur (her winter coat!) so as to find that wretched tick.

ultimate toy lottie man trees wooden toys

The current favourite toy in Bootville – the scroll saw.  It is the BEST fun.  It’s almost like free motion quilting – but easier!  On Saturday, Abby and I made some trees and birds (still to be painted).   And on Sunday, I made a funny little replica of Green Cape Lighthouse (bit obsessed really) for old Grandad to remind him of his wonderful adventure last summer, and Lottie and her Gentleman for old Nanny.  Every time I see these two quirky folk, I expect to be able to pick them up and shake out the salt and pepper!  Such fun.

Days filled with family and love and handmade.  My favourite things.  And yours too, I bet :-) 

friends

at her feet

reading

Abby and Sacha have been friends since they were wee little cuties in Mary Janes and striped school dresses.  From the moment they met, they were kindred spirits.   When we moved to Melbourne, Sacha came too to help Abby settle in.  And she’s been back again and again and again.  We call her our other daughter.

Sometimes, school and teenage busyness takes over and there may be a few weeks between skype sessions and endless texting.  But that never matters.  When the holidays roll around, Sacha is on that plane in a flash and they pick up where they left off.

They spent the first hours of Easter Sunday sprawled out in the front room, a huge pile of picture books between them, reading and sharing and giggling and going goosey all over (Tomie De Paola will do that to you … have you read Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs … oh my!  I’ve gone tingly all over and hot tears have welled up in my eyes just typing the title).  Listening to them was all the pleasure I needed for the day.

Then the scroll saw called from the shed … an environment that strikes me as terribly gloomy, especially on a cool grey day.  But they went prepared with chocolate, blankets, quilts and music …

behind the door

added cosiness

soundtrack

… Abby gave Sacha a crash course in how it all worked.  She picked it up quickly – she’d done woodwork at school in Year 8 – so cool!  And they set to designing and cutting out their toys … in their pyjamas.  Real friends don’t need to get dressed.

concentraing

pyjamas

their toys

Then, armed with advice from the internet about using food colouring for their wood stains – why didn’t I think of this ?!?!?!? – they moved into the laundry where they spent a riotous few hours making watery colours and experimenting.  The results were sweet. Even lovelier – the way these two find so much joy in everything around them.  They are my own little Anne and Diana :-)

testing the food colouring

abby's graeme

sacha kitty

Our lovely week with Nan followed.  Sacha was delighted with everything we did and loved every place we visited.  And having her friend to share it with not only made Abby so happy, but gave her a new appreciation of the beautiful south coast.  Isn’t it funny how things become so much more magical when there’s someone to show it all too.  They swam and played and drew and read and explored and picnicked and watched films with us and ooohed and ahhhed over all the dear little animals.  Bliss!

The drive home from Canberra was an absolute riot.  We left so late – after 8pm – which meant the three hour drive was in the pitch black.  And when you’re driving across the Monaro and down Brown Mountain, it is PITCH BLACK.  But the two in the back kept us in stitches all the way, thanks to “Numbugga”.  Yes, that really is a small village on the South Coast.  Numbugga.  We now have Numbugga tribal chants (with dance steps) and Numbugga Buddhist meditations to add to the family song book.  And a new record for the number of times you can say Numbugga quickly.  Abby can make it to 27.  You try it.  It’s very tricksy :-)

Add to that the diminutive male petrol station attendant in Fyshwick who admired my braids, the two very large men that had crashed their little car into the cliff face on Brown Mountain and were standing forlornly beside it, the Bemboka publican, the copper from Bega, and the helicopter that we swear was circling us on the Princes Highway, and it was a night we will always remember with tears of laughter.  We felt as if we were in a Cohen brothers film.

Now we are only one sleep away from dropping Sacha back at the airport.  How does the last day come so quickly?  :: sigh ::  It’s a shame we can’t keep her!

cream bun sacha and the bun

at blue pool together

But I know that when she returns, they will simply pick up where they left off and wonderful times will be created all over again.

Oh they are such lucky ducks, these two girlies, and how I love them both!

p.s. Sacha wants her own “owl sweater” – ooooooh, how exciting!  I can’t wait to knit it again!

amazing abby and her new toy

Oh my!  This is Abby’s new toy – a scroll saw.  She saved her pocket money for weeks and weeks, and on Saturday morning headed off to Hare and Forbes Machinery with Julian to make the grand purchase.  Even Fu was enamoured with this marvellous toy!  And the best way to spend my birthday Sunday – why it was watching, helping, encouraging and celebrating Abby’s amazing persistence and skill as she set about carving her own wooden toys.

There I sat, in the shade, her Owl sweater on my needles, watching with sheer delight as she and Julian worked it out.  First they drew straight lines … then curved lines … then angles … Abby doggedly cut and adjusted and improved her technique for over three hours.  Yes, my wee perfectionist was determined to get it right, but also, there was a lovely and gracious acceptance – possibly for the first time in her life! – that when we try new things, skills will come slowly and only after much practice and patience.  It was the perfect birthday present for this mama.

Eventually she felt confident enough to explore the possibilities of the cookie cutter collection (see Jules!  I told you that collecting in excess of 100 cookie cutters was not a waste! ).  First a simple duck, then a pig, then a rabbit …

By mid afternoon, she was ready to try her own designs … along with much thicker wood and different styles of blades!  She wants to make characters that emulate the design of Ostheimer – profile shapes with bevelled edges (my use of the word bevelled is completely amateur so just insert the right one should you know what I mean ;-) – so Julian also showed her how to use the Dremel for adding extra dimension.

She drew her doll, traced it onto the wood, and slowly, slowly cut – Julian by her side, offering encouragement.  It was AMAZING!  Look at the detail of the hair!  In and out, in and out she went.

There was only a brief halt to activities for dinner, and then it was back to the painting. Unlike me, who whacked the paint on my simplistic little farm girl as quickly as I could – making a few messes along the way – Abby waited patiently for each coat to dry before adding the next colour or detail.

And now she has this gorgeous doll!  As well as a long list of other characters, animals, objects and dreams she would like to draw out of wood.  I’m in awe of my fifteen year old girlchild-woodworker.  Awe!  Who knows where this new skill and passion will take her!? It will be such a delight to see.

As I said, best birthday present ever.

loveliness found ~ 9/52

~ my mummy coming to visit – with an icebox full of pouring cream! ~

~ the soda stream – Julian’s Christmas present – adored by the whole family
– soda water on tap is just the best ~

~ following Alicia’s advice to try this technique – and loving it so much
we’re on to our third loaf for the week ~

~ a new to us, gorgeous vintage chess set … enticing us to plonk down
at the kitchen table and share yet another game ~

~ knitting, knitting and more knitting – yum! yum! yum!
hoping to reach the owls by the end of the week ~

~ the sweetest daughter – sharing her time and talents ~

~ family … learning / fun / exploring / teaching
… the perfect back garden Sunday ~

~ my wonky – but fabulously fun! – first attempt ~

~ her extraordinary, first time marvel – oh my! ~

~ another birthday – 43! – and the candles are no longer lit because of
the huge chunk of long, streaked-with-grey hair that caught fire
whilst the birthday girl (moron) leaned across the birthday wreath
to blow out her candles – ahem! – age would appear to be dulling her brain ~

p.s. there are no photos of the fiery spectacle – Abby and Mum were too busy gasping with horror whilst Julian was grabbing the dog quilt with which to smother me.  I, however, upon seeing the flames out of the corner of my eye, simply clapped my hands over and over the flames, putting most of them out, whilst turning to the sink where I doused the remaining singed bits in water … the stinky burnt mess fell into the sink and Abby trimmed up the remaining hair with the dressmaking scissors.
An almost fitting end to the week.