Last Sunday and today. Our first Sundays at home for what feels like an eternity.
I haven’t blogged much lately. Recent lists have also included “dentist”, “tax return 09/10″ & “pap smear”. I suppose I could have blogged those lists, but frankly, I’m sure you’ve all got your own lists of doom and don’t need to devote any more energy to mine. I hope to emerge from these lists before “tax return 10/11″ goes on the list.
I have been thriftily knitting my way through my stash since November and today I’ve actually taken photos. My friends are finished their PhDs, now they’re having babies. Some of the ones who didn’t do PhDs are having second (and third) babies. There are a lot of babies to knit for, many of them are due in winter, this is excellent. They’ll all get out and about in a Friends of Innercitygarden uniform.
I made a promise to myself that if I knitted up useful things (presents are useful, I would buy something for these babies if I wasn’t knitting for them) from my stash then I would earn some Habu yarn with which I can knit Kirsten’s paper crane top. I’m nearly there. The paper crane has been in my ravelry queue for quite a while.
Details are on ravelry for the interested. I took that last cardigan to craft camp this weekend – I sewed on the buttons and seamed the sleeves and declared it a Craft Camp Finished Object. So what if I did all the knitting part over several months? I worked through a pile of almost finished objects and made them finished finished – I replaced elastic in my fire engine red skirt ready to wear for winter (it’s an 80s wool number, apparently it originally came with a matching batwing sleeve top), attached velcro to the kid’s cape so he can be a superhero (or wizard, it’s black with a star) and warmed up on the craft camp sewing by making a wheat bag for the kid. I can’t photograph it, it’s in his bed. It’s a hand-me-down light brown cordoroy, a very basic rectangle. He loves it. He has low expectations. Anyone who shows him Tania’s wheat bags will have me to answer to. I pieced a doona cover top, I ran out of fabric to do the back of the doona cover. The Bloke had threatened to leave me Craft Camp until I finished finished the doona cover. I was prepared to wait him out. I haven’t photographed it.
I made myself a wrap dress. I’m pretty happy with it. As usual, there are things I’d do differently if I was doing it again, but that’s to be expected with a make it up as you go along type pattern. This is the only photo that’s not totally out of focus. Do you like the stripey sock on the floor? I must have words with Teddy about putting his laundry away.
Now, the photo above of my list was taken this morning. This evening the list looks like this:
[Buy] caustic soda
Put washing away
Pay childcare bills
Nobody say anything. So long as no one speaks I might be safe from thinking of anything else that is on the list but not currently written down.
At the last craft camp Suse and Janet and I sat up late making and talking, as you do. Suse had cut out a million blue and green squares for her gorgeous quilt for her couch and there were more than she needed, what to do with the leftovers? Well there were enough for a baby quilt. None of us needed a baby quilt, but we thought of someone who might appreciate it and got sewing in a flurry of uninterrupted enthusiasm. Craft camp is all about the uninterrupted flurry.
After Suse finished the top I took it home and got to work on the quilting. Home is not so much about the uninterrupted flurry. Summer is not a great season for sitting under a quilt. Not even a little baby quilt. The quilting has been slow and intermittent. The kid wanted to help, which slowed things down even more but was otherwise pretty cool. Maybe his stitching will get faster for the next co-production.
Bluemilk has been posting some photos of Christmas where she lives. Here are a couple of mine.
You may recall last year we compromised on the Christmas Tree by purchasing an olive sapling. The kid was happy with it at the time. This year when I reminded him that the scrawny little olive tree we were in the process of repotting was in fact our Christmas Tree he gave me a Look. It’s a look we get often, a look that says “how the fuck did I get stuck with these half-arsed parents?”. But then he threw himself into making the best of it.
We’ve harvested the garlic and left it to dry out under cover. I’ve also pruned the oregano and hung the prunings from the rafters in the Bloke’s office. There are jokes about getting in touch with our mediterranean ancestors (we have none).
While the shorts and singlet may be strictly a southern hemisphere Christmas tradition, the acquisition of lego is pretty common across wealthy nations. Note the crate of lego (some new, some vintage) behind the kid.
Sometimes, when one is a craft-inclined person, one finds it quite easy to end up with a room full of fabric and yarn (and paint, ink, pencils, textas, brushes, woodblocks, musical instruments and camping gear). Periodically it becomes necessary to put a temporary halt to the acquisition of any further raw materials and get on with matching patterns to the existing stash.
Sometimes one finds the amount of yarn, for example, that is leftover only matches up with a pattern for which one has no immediate recipient in mind. But the thing about babies is they tend to keep turning up. So, in the present stash waiting on the next baby girl who arrives in our part of the world, Lily the Pink (in grey).
It’s tiny, a newborn to three months size, because that’s all you get with two balls of yarn. Everyone in my house (including the Nearly Four) looked at it finished and said “It’s so tiny“. Our memory of newborn sizing is completely shot.
I bought many of them. Some for other people’s children (now wrapped and tagged ready for Christmas baby, I am ORGANISED) and some for my kid. Some wrapped up for birthday and Christmas, some for immediate enjoyment.
So far I can tell you that The Boy Who Cried Fabulous by Leslea Newman and King and King by Linda De Haan and Stern Nijland have been very popular.
The boy is particuarly tickled by the wedding cake topper concept, introduced via King and King (“there are little people on the cake!”). He’s asked for both books quite a lot.
We ate this cauliflower “pasta” with peas and ricotta last night. It was excellent, and not only because all I had to do was email the recipe to the Bloke, go to work, come home, sit down, eat. I ate the leftovers cold for morning tea, it was still good. I’m going to go out on a limb and say best thing ever to do with cauliflower.
Did I ever mention we bought and have been using bamboo toothbrushes? Well they’re good too. Buy them online in a box, and then forget about buying any more toothbrushes for months. If there is more than one person in your house you will need to invest in a quality texta though, because they don’t come in different colours.
We’ve eaten the first few peas of the season, the broad beans are twice as big as we’ve ever grown them (it turns out they like rain! Who knew?) and the parsley and coriander are going to seed. There are self-sown tomatoes popping up, the garlic is nearly ready to harvest and I’ve bought replacement Vietnamese mint.
We’ve even eaten a few dinners outside this week.
Of course, a fortnight ago it snowed just down the road, so we’re not quite out of the frosty woods.
Ok, most of the suggestions people made were for books we already have (and love). Here is my final list of new purchases. In the end I decided not to get the picture book classics – they’re easy to get in libraries and they’re likely to get a run at kinder and school – I tend to favour books that fill some thematic gaps in my kid’s collection or will give my neices and nephews something new to think about. That said, both of the older kids will be getting classics. The books about festivals are for us to get out at appropriate times of year with the kid.
Suki’s Kimono, By Chieri Uegaki
Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year, By Joan Holub
Ramadan, By Jonny Zucker
Lighting a Lamp, By Jonny Zucker
Dr. Dog, By Babette Cole
Monkey and Me, By Emily Gravett
Cleversticks, By Bernard Ashley
The Secret Garden, By Frances Hodgson Burnett
Eight Candles to Light, By Jonny Zucker
Huck Finn – audio book
Princess Smartypants, By Babette Cole
Once There Was a Boy …, By Oliver Jeffers
Princess Smartypants Breaks the Rules!, By Babette Cole
April Underhill, Tooth Fairy, By Bob Graham
Iggy Peck, Architect, By Andrea Beaty
Lost Thing, By Shaun Tan
What else have I been looking at? Well I’d like some books with a greater diversity of family types, I’d like to see books that represent families with two mums or two dads or Mum and Granny or parents living apart or whatever without it being the main focus of the story. I’d like my kid to see a wide variety of families represented in the context of a story that’s interesting or fun, not Now Son It’s Time To Talk About Diversity. Because kids don’t want to read stories in title case. Nor do they particularly want to be the topic of a Social Issues special feature. One of the things I love about Bob Graham books is the scruffiness of the families. There are parents in ill-fitting op shop clothes, they have mess, they have trouble putting up the tent, they have an old couch on the porch. It’s nice to see ourselves represented sympathetically. I’d like some books that do the same sort of thing for other families. I’ve made a few suggestions for my local library and added a few more things to my shopping list for the future. Sick days are so productive.
Mommy, Mama and Me (Board book)
by Leslea Newman
King and King (Hardback)
by Linda De Haan
The Boy Who Cried Fabulous (Paperback)
by Leslea Newman
And Tango Makes Three (Paperback)
by Justin Richardson
It’s been a cold winter. I’ve been working during the week, it’s been dark when I leave home and almost dark when I get back, we’ve had lots of family events that keep us away from home on weekends, and one way and another I’ve seen very little of the garden. This weekend we stayed home, we did a bit of pruning and weeding, surveyed the frost damaged plants and acknowledged that a few probably wont re-sprout this Spring. The camellia I thought had died during the heatwave of 2009 has rewarded patience though – two thirds of it was dead, dead, dead but the other third started flowering last week. I’ve cut out all the dead stuff, I’ve pulled out armfulls of weeds, and I’ve tried to focus on the stuff that is growing well and not a weed. It’s less overwhelming that way.