Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A-R-T-I-S-T atc's

Just wanted to share some ATC's that I received yesterday from Carolyn in the UK . It's always nice to see how people interpret subjects and the techniques they use.

I have to send out some ATC's in a few days time, but I haven't even created them yet, it's in my head though.

One of the things I love about atc's is that they are free works of art!

Have a Great Day Everyone!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Feeling Urgh

You know that feeling...when you are sitting at your computer and you can hear the busyness of the world whirl by and you're just so sick of living this fast-paced city life? That's how I'm feeling now. I'll be going back to Uni on Monday. Back to driving in traffic in the morning, Uni politics, stressful assignments and not to mention the everyday duties of being a mom...

I received a package from Elke in Germany and she sent me a beautiful 3-dimensional paper snowflakes, 2 smaller ones and a delicate glass one. It's been so hot in Sydney and they reminded me of the cool weather that I love - I can't wait until Winter (even though we don't get any snow!). The paper ones were hard to photograph because there was a slight breeze.

I just sent off a set of ATC's that I completed. It was one of those spell-it-out swaps and the word was ARTIST. These were the letters A, R & S. It was pretty fun, but I had to pull out of some other ATC swaps I joined because of looming Uni comittments.
My knitting is still in progress, maybe I'm holding the needles the wrong way or something!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Creepy Crawlies

DH noticed this bug (as he called it) on Sunday afternoon. Within an hour it had totally enclosed itself in its home, and it was still sticking onto the back wall of our home. The next couple of days saw heavy rain, and this little critter was still stuck to the wall by Wednesday.
Here it is climbing up the wall. Can you see the sticks? How in the world did this creature make it's home? Looking at it sends those tingles down my spine - you know when something is unbelievable or gross?
Kinda "ewww" kinda "wowww" but more "ewwww" in this case.

When DH discovered it on Sunday it was about 20cm from the ground. Yesterday afternoon, I asked Alex where it was and she said, "Climbing up the wall" And there it was. I couldn't believe it.
And here it is hiding away because it sensed me as I came in close to take this shot. It fell to the ground last night and we put it into the window sill, but he's gone now. I'm kind of relieved but kinda sad, but more relieved.
Also yesterday, I spotted this creepy critter as I went to take Cami out of the car. It's probably the same kind of creature as the one in my back yard, can you see the sticks? Ewww...

Ending on a crafty note, here's a work in progress, using Katia Arc En Ciel.

knitting takes so long (for me anyway!)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

"Mommy can we eat this RIGHT NOW?"

The post man paid us a visit this morning!!

After the tape was torn open, little hands dug through the foam nuggets to find bright packets of sweets, chocolates, biscuits and nuts, bagdes and shiny booklets filled with colourful stickers and tattoos.
I really struggled to take photos of everything because whenever I piled all the goodies together, a chubby arm would pop into the picture and snatch a packet or two away!

We loved everything (there's just too much to list) that Sima included, from the Sweet tart chews to the Cracker Jack popcorn and peanuts to the Pecans and Chocolate from Trader Joe's (absolutely
de·lec·ta·ble I tell you!) and everything (handmade books and the stickers and cute gnome badges) in between.

Thank you so much

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Valentines Day ATCs

Yay! I've received all three of the ATC's that I was expecting for this swap. The one on the left is from Stacey, the middle one is from Raesha and the one on the right is by Carie. They are all great and the only problem now is how to store them, any ideas?

Yesterday, after looking through what must be a gazillion pharmacies, I finally found a support for my thumb. It's called a Thumb Stabilizer by Futuro and it is fantastic, my hand is feeling much better, moreover, it doesn't allow my thumb to make any painful movements, so I can still crochet and write a little. It was one of those moments where you wanted to run into the street and yell at the top of your lungs! Honestly the best $29.95 I've spent in my whole life!

Anyway, I much happier today,
and I hope that you are too!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

WIP: Granny Squares On Hold!

We stopped by Spotlight on Saturday morning and in the discontinued yarn bin I found some beautiful crochet cotton. From $7.00 each they became $1.50, and I bought 8 balls. I'm kicking myself now because I should have scooped them all up. With the cotton, I've been making some granny squares, which in the end will combine to form a throw.

In the middle of last year my wrist and thumb began to hurt, the Dr ordered an X-ray and ruled out any problem with the bone, saying it was the tendon. A physio that my Mom works with said that it was de Quervain's Tenosynovitis. All I needed to do was rest it and if I wanted, I would have a cortisone injection to relieve the pain. Well, it is months later and it still hurts, I have limited movement in my thumb and whenever it is bumped, a sharp, ripping pain travels through my thumb and up my forearm, it's really terrible. I haven't been able to rest it because I have so much to do around the house and since DH works 6 full days a week, I have little help. It seems unfair that I have to sacrifice my hand just because he expects things to be perfectly in order and spick and span. It doesn't help that I have a little one (the physio said that the condition is common among mothers because of the lifting they do) and that I have to carry most of the shopping bags etc because DH has a back problem (self-inflicted because he started lifting weights at 13 - craziness). Last night, DH accidentally bent my thumb by knocking it (which I demonstated to him the day before, is impossible for me to do) and the pain was like no other, I honestly thought that I had torn the tendon. I'm back at square one, not having any movement at all. So I can't do anything, not even crochet. Argh, I guess I just have to take care, wear a support and hope that it gets better without the need for surgery. I have the healthiest lifestyle of any one I know and I have so many things wrong with me.

foam letters
soft hands

help get me through the day...

Friday, February 2, 2007

First GYS Swap

My first GYS swap is boxed and ready to be sent over to Sima in California. This is the second bag that I sewed up for her, I just wasn't feeling the first one. I really hope that she enjoys the snacks that I included, and I'm looking forward to receiving one of her handmade books - they're so beautiful. I was going to post a full picture of the bag but I didn't want to ruin the surprise just in case she visits my blog before receiving my parcel.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

ATC's, Vases & Peaches

I've just completed 3 ATC's for a Valentine's Day swap that I am particpating in. It is the first time that I've made these cards and it was a lot of fun. And being the impatient person that I am, the tiny size was just perfect, very satisfying. I'm looking forward to checking my mailbox next week!

On the way home from the bank yesterday, we stopped by at my favourite op-shop. It's one of those stores that no one really knows about, I mean they're no longer accepting any donations because they are over stocked! Alexia brought along her wallet (containing $1.50 that she had saved) to buy a toy for her little sister. She was so excited, going through the books and little knick knacks. A baby rattle, knitted teddy bear and toy hammer were some of the things that she was going to buy (but she changed her mind when I explained that her sister was either too big for or did not need those things). In the end, she settled for (with a little bit of persuasion on my behalf) a set of flash cards for 50cents.

So there they are, forming a colourful mosiac all over the living room floor. The only thing that I bought were three small glasses that were 75% the orginal prices. The price for all three? A whole 25cents! I am going to use them as bud vases or for storing buttons...

As I was photographing them, I noticed that Cami had climbed up and grabbed some peaches. That girl just loves fruit. My dad calls her "The Fruiterer" hehe...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Revisiting Crochet

My Lola (Filipino for grandmother) taught me how to crochet back in elementary school. I used to sit beside her on her bed watching her nimble fingers handle the hook so smoothly and transform the yarn into cushion covers and blankets. One day, I asked her to teach me. I still remember the grey hook and bright yellow ball of yarn she gave me. She taught me how to weave the yarn through my fingers and how to hold the hook. So for a week or so I was occupied with making a giant chain. It was about 3 meters long and I was so proud of it and so was my Lola. I didn't pursue the hobby after I was unsuccessful at learning new stitches. I was impatient and couldn't be bothered doing the counting.

In the middle of my pregnancy to Alex, I had an urge to make something for the baby. Off I went to Spotlight and bought some white balls of baby yarn and a yellow one. With the help of my mom, I was able to complete a small baby blanket. Alex did use it for about a month, until it got caught onto something and stated to unravel. I was so proud of that blanket, it was so soft.

After what happened to the blanket, I couldn't be bothered with crochet again. Until I discovered (through the internet) the many things that you could crochet. Motivated to pick up the hook again, I searched for the easiest pattern. My grandmother never consulted patterns, she would just wing it. At the moment, I am completing the edging on this scarf. I was surprised at how quickly it took form.

It's not the prettiest yarn but I am determined to use up what I have before I go out and buy more stuff. Doing this simple project has given me the confidence to continue this craft. Even though my Lola is no longer here to teach me, I am able to learn more about crochet through this wonderful medium which is the internet. And more importantly, I will be able to teach my children a craft that their great-grandmother loved. My Lola would be proud of me.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Meet Patty's friend, Kitty

I know, I know, the names of the stuffies I've made are so unoriginal. It's easier for Cami to identify with the animals, I don't want her confused. After I made the duck, Alex requested that I make the "Patty" stuffie just for her, so here she is:

I don't know what they use to make the eyes but as with the duck, I've used felt. It just seems so thick though. Unlike Ducky (who nearly had it's head ripped off because of a tug-o-war between the Alex & Cami), Kitty has been sitting quietly on the shelf in the sitting room. But why do I have a feeling that one day, I'll find her with a limb torn off?

ISBN 4-8347-6317-X

Photos from a Japanese craftbook that I picked up in the city last weekend. I picked it up specifically to give to someone in a swap that I'm doing. It's full of easy felt projects, from rabbits to penguins, pencil toppers and clips, even halloween and Christmas ornaments.
^Very easy to make bookmarks

^ Mermaid and adorable sea-creatures

^ Rather funky duo (I love the bouquet!)

^My favourite: Retro Monkey (doesn't he remind you of the 60's? Especially with the beret and guitar)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Ducky and the Bill-Biting Monster

Why is it that toddlers can be so excited by something new one minute then bored of it the next. Ducky is the first felt creature that I have made and at first Cami loved to touch her nose to its bill but now all she wants to do is bite it off!

Kinokuniya finally had this book (ISBN483476348X) in stock. I have been itching to try my hand at some toy making and I highly recommend this book because the stuffies are so cute and the instructions are clear. I paid only AU$8.70 so it's way cheaper than most other Japanese craft books.

The handstitching was a bit of a pain, but once you get into the groove you hardly notice the time. I want to try out the other patterns but I'm having a hard time finding the right furry fabric and eyes for the bears.

Don't you just love the bright yellow felt?

It's so sunny!

Have a happy day everyone.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Gimme Your Stuff!

Gimme Your Stuff

What a fabulous site this is! It makes the world a smaller place for people like me who aren't able to travel because of financial and family issues. It is such a great, great idea.

I would like to swap books and magazines, stationary, notebooks and maybe some snacks too! I am only interested in small swaps at the moment.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Click click click

No, I'm not referring to the clicking of the mouse, but to knitting needles! My grandmother taught me how to crochet back in primary school but no one in my family knew how to knit. I'm just one of those people who likes to know how things are made. I like to be able to have the skills to do something if inspiration strikes.

So after seeing so many beautiful knitted projects in various blogs I really wanted to try it! I borrowed a couple of knitting books from my local library and bought a cheap ball of acrylic wool to practice with. That wool was so nasty, and never again, I vowed to myself, would I knit with cheapo wool, unless the project calls for it. Self striping yarn looks so good, and often it's used for making socks, I asked for any kind of sock yarn at local craft stores but they all told me to go into the city. Luckily, I decided to try and look for some sort of colourful yarn at Lincraft and alas! Hidden in a tub of only-one-left balls of yarn I scored a ball of Paton's Patonyle sock yarn! For only au$3.99! I later saw it online for au$7.60.

Being the easiest project, I decided to use the yarn to make a scarf for Alex. I go a bit over excited and started off with some rows of garter stitch before breaking into a rib pattern. Needless to say, the scarf flares out at the ends because I didn't consider the fact that the rib would gather together. It took me about 2 weeks to complete, some days I was only able to knit one row, others I would find myself in a twilight zone and suddenly have completed 50. I have to admit though, it was fun, tiring and time consuming compared to crochet, but fun.

Cami was supposed to model it for me but as I put it on she squealed with a mischievous delight and ran away.

Here it is on Alex. As you can see, the rib has made it curl up and it wasn't my intention to make a skinny scarf. Ah well, at least it's cozy. Alex is also wearing one of her own creations. I bought her a set of children's beads for Christmas and she made quite a few bracelets and necklaces. Only 2 have survived the jewellery stretching monster that is Cami.

I'll end with a detail of our hedge in the front garden. It's finally Summer in Sydney, with temps of 35Celsius.

I hope it's also beautiful where you are today.

Monday, January 1, 2007

It's a New Year

The sands of Shoal Bay, with the entrance to Port Stephens in the background, Yaccaba on the left and Tomaree on the right.

We returned safely from our holiday on New Years Eve. It was the first time in 3 years that DH had a week off. The girls had such a blast and we were at the beach everyday. DH found a coupon in their local newspaper for dolphin watching at the kids fare of $9.90. Kids under 5 were free, so we only paid $19.80 for the both of us, which is the normal full fare. It was lucky that we caught the earliest trip as there were only about 20 of us on board so we were able to scuttle about according to where the dolphins would pop up.

Nelson Head and the beginning of Shoal Bay. We had private access to this side of the beach.

Alex is very fearful of the water, It's very frustrating! I was trying to teach her how to float and she kept on screaming, I can't blame her though because I remember when my dad used to take me into the water and I used to cling on for dear life. I think I'll have to look up some learn to swim classes for both the girls while it's summer.

Fingal Bay at low tide. Can you see the strip of sand linking the beach to the island? That's Fingal spit, and you could walk across it at low tide. We didn't do it because there was no way that I could carry Cami all the was along the beach AND across the water. Besides, all I could think about was that scene from The Ten Commandments where Moses parts the sea and then it tumbles on all of the Pharoh's men.

It was our first family holiday, and even the first time DH and I went away together. It was a positive experience and it was soooo good to get away from the stress of city life. We're already starting to plan our next trip up to the Gold Coast. Alex will be starting school next year. I'm feeling a little nervous about this since here in Sydney it seems we only have a choice between Public or Catholic school. It's like I'm going to lose control over her and her mind will be corrupted with what her teachers and peers say. I've read that some bloggers home-school their children, I have no idea how that would work but it sounds appealing to me.

r e s o l u t i o n s

1. Be more PATIENT

2. Eat more wholesome organic food, start a vege patch.

3. Make more of an effort to keep in touch

4. As DH said last night, "Time doesn't stop". Make the most of everyday.

Monday, December 25, 2006

So this is Christmas

My older cousin dressed in a santa suit.
Sack races which I despised because I would always fall over and come last.

Comforting hugs from my mom.
Exchange gifts.
Nervously performing “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” on stage.
Surrounded by family.
Waiting up for santa.

Things have really changed.

A trickle of relatives come over and drop off gifts.
Everyone sighs. It’s not the same anymore.
A husband who doesn’t celebrate Christmas.
People are getting older, harder of hearing.
Empty homes.
But still a feast on the table… for lunch with my husbands family.

A silent celebration for me.

Merry Christmas & Keep Safe

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

11:45pm Hallway Photos

It's the only time the house is peaceful. I use this time to tidy up because I'm one of those people who can't get to sleep without knowing the dishes are done, the laundry put away and the toys picked up.
Alexia's bedroom door, she still sleeps in our room, so we put all of the wardrobes into her room and now it's our 'dressing room'

Shade that I picked up at Freedom a couple of years back, I collected a lot of homewares before we got a place of our own. Visitors always comment on how good it looks, I guess it is because our walls are a pale gray and your eye is drawn to it as soon as you enter our home.

A portion of my Year 12 major artwork. The 5th frame fell down a few days ago, taking a chip of paint with it!

Our bedroom door, 26 is the date of our anniversary.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Reverse Garbage

I first learnt about Reverse Garbage in high school, my art teacher recommended that I visit since my artworks were mainly mixed media. It's a treasure trove. It is divided into 2 sections, a marketplace for individually priced items and a bagging section. They have things ranging from huge rolls of plain paper (great for kids) to paint, tiles, clean and unused bottles, perspex, baskets, tin film cannisters...the list is long. With fingers crossed, my mom and I bundled the kids into the car and made our way to Marrickville. Sometimes you can be lucky and other times you can leave disappointed, it's a bit like thrift shopping. Mom was looking for small gifts to give to her group of friends. Last year they had a whole tub of shopping totes and she bought 15 of them. I made a beeline for the fabrics.

Unlike the other times I have visited the fabric bins were full to the brim. I was able to score these beautiful pieces which were not even scrappy but full rectangle and square shapes. I should have stuffed more into my bag, at least 4 more pieces could have fit, but being the first time I have bought stuff in the 'bagging area' I was scared that they might say that it was too full iykwim (I later discovered that they encourage bags to be full to the point of no air space! doh!). The grey fabric on the left is a heavy cotton and it is huge, the next 4 are sheer and perfect for curtains the grey/green one with white stripes is beautiful and soft, I will made cushion covers out of them (might go back tomorrow or monday to scoop up the rest) and the last is a delicious green vinyl. I've never seen fabrics like this at spotlight or local craft stores, I think they would be pricey.

I picked up these three cones I'm not sure if it's wool but I'm planning to use them for gift wrapping and other crafts, unfortunately I am not a knitter!

I also stuffed in some small pieces to embellish some of my projects. Not bad for $5.00 a bag.

It's such a nice day in Sydney town. We will be having breakfast with Santa tomorrow it should be fun for the kids. Speaking of which I captured this moment today:

Cami is finally a year old and they are starting to play and share. My mom was right, the more the kids the happier the home. But I think I'll stop at 2 kids, it's just enough for me :o).