There are sick days, like yesterday, where all a kid wants to do is cuddle on the couch. There was a little light lego making, but basically I made stuff and he watched. He clearly felt like crap.

Today he’s a little better. Not well enough to go to kinder (and oh the wailing that inspired) but well enough to get bored with lying around. Well enough to want a little novely, not well enough to think it up by himself. I’ve been googling “1930s homemade toys” and youtubing “kid science experiments” and referring to Geek Dad.

So, for the next time I run out of ideas I thought I’d record for posterity what we did today before turning on the dvd player (which we have, because he’s completely run out of puff now).

1. Inspired by this guy in a white coat we blew up a balloon using nothing by bicarb and vinegar. Is there nothing bicarb and vinegar can’t do? When you’re done experimenting you can clean the toilet!

2. Looked at Museum Victoria and made a newspaper footy, which we kicked around a bit outside to see how it compared to his real one. We talked about how kids can make their own toys, and they don’t have to wait for grownups to buy them things. He has not mentioned his lust for the yellow lego train in several hours, perhaps the idea has sunk in a little. Or perhaps he’s just thinking up the next bit of plastic to moan about.

3. Also inspired by the Museum, we made a little slingshot. He had a few goes at flinging a clothespeg before declaring it all too hard. We’ll probably give it another go when he’s in a better mood for learning new skills. I don’t think he’ll be out hunting birds for dinner any time soon.

4. Threading and tying string through his wooden pegboard.

5. Made a colouring picture from one of our photos. He enjoyed watching me turn the photo into a line drawing in photoshop, but ran out of enthusiasm pretty quickly on the actual colouring.

He’s happy enough to keep pretending and playing this community role-playing “Santa” thing, but he’s adament he doesn’t believe it really. But he’s still not sure where the presents come from.

It doesn’t seem to have occurred to him for a second that it might be his tightarse parents who actually shell out for lego.

Why no, I don’t know why he’s talking about it in May.

He writes his letters with serifs. Pointy serifs that could take someone’s eye out.

F with serifs

He writes and writes and writes, copying everything he can lay his hands on, he picks out letters he recognises. He delivers the mail to us and knows who the letters are for. All these words make my heart sing. What is motherhood if not a licence to use and abuse a corny cliche?

Copying letters from the Aunty Cookie ABC panel

That’s parsley in the foreground shade, coriander to the left, tomatoes staked and not so staked, hiding the bed now devoid of potatoes and home to broccoli, onions and lettuce seeds. Behind all that (along the fence) are the olive trees, oregano, thyme and sage.

We’ve been tidying and reorganising inside and out. Pulling out pumpkins, digging up potatoes, tackling the enormous number of weeds that grew when we we turned our backs for a few months, and rearranging the living room. The lounge furniture has been turned clockwise, the dining table and toys have been swapped, and a book nest has been created.

We’ve sorted books, cleared shelves of crap and bought more baskets. The secret to a happy toy collection and art supplies is always more baskets. I’ve even sharpened the pencils and thrown out textas that don’t work.

We’re so freakin’ happy to be home for the whole day doing only things we fancy doing. I got excited. I ignored the list of “basic mainenance level housework” (vacuuming, for example) and did several things on the “once a year level” list. I oiled the wooden bowl collection. I even dusted.

Last Sunday and today. Our first Sundays at home for what feels like an eternity.

Our pumpkin harvest

Driveway sunflowers

My battered Globe Artichoke in the tricky spot down the side. The kid wanted to help with weeding and nearly removed the poor artihcoke in the process.

But then I asked the Bloke to give me a quick opinion on a website and before I knew it he’d spent an hour talking about javascript.

Wednesday List of Doom

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.

Stash busting by baby hat
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.

Cotton bird mobile in progress

Grandpa cardi with leather buttons

Lace cardi

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

Make bread


Make soap



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.

Blue baby quilt

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.

Decorating the Christmas Tree

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.

Garlic harvest

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).

Christmas morning with lego

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).

Lily the pink in grey Baby Cashmerino

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.


Literary Hot Tips



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.