Thursday, 26 August 2010

Quick Update

Hi there.
I haven't forgotten about you.
I just don't have time to blog right now.
Besides, my laptop is often buried under a pile of more pressing tasks, like the invitations for our party in a few weeks, which I have only just finished.
And for awhile there, we didn't have internet access anyway.

When I'm not at the new house letting tradesmen in, I'm packing, sorting, or just trying to deal with a little girl who has decided that life is not chaotic enough at the moment and needs an injection of toddler tantrums and silliness.

But I have still been taking photos every day.
And we are moving into our house over the next couple of days.
And Graeme, being the computer nerd he is, has already gone and organised a dongle thing so we can use the internet at the new house, even though we won't have a phone line for weeks.
So, I should be able to share something new with you soon.

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Thursday, 12 August 2010

12 - A full-on day


...we got the keys to our house. I took a cool photo of the actual keys then realised the background had more personal details than I'm willing to share on a public blog, so instead you get a shot of the hallway with the tiler's blue chalk line. By this afternoon, he'd done almost half the tiling (according to Graeme, not something I saw myself).

...we found out that Graeme's grandfather had passed away overnight. He had motor neurone disease and had lived longer than the doctor's anticipated, but yeah.

...I got my first birthday present from the lucky dip box at MOPS - a cute little pocket mirror. (My actual birthday is next Wednesday, so I have less than a week of my 20s left)

...I spent most of the afternoon on the couch, taking advantage of the fact that Graeme was also home, to try and kick the last of this cold. I think I also have a bit of hayfever (yay) especially since the antihistamine really seemed to help.

...Lily, not content with painting the 3 pictures we had painted, found the watercolours that I had left open to dry and decided to paint her piggy bank.

What did you do today?

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09, 10, 11

I had grand plans to catch up by doing 1 or 2 posts a day, but this week has been crazy and to top it off, I've been bogged down with a cold that makes me feel like rubbish. So, here's some photos:

09 - Hanging out at home with a walk to the shops to gather supplies for lunch.

10 - Music. I remembered to take my camera (thanks for the reminder, Sharon) but Lily decided to be silly and so I got very few photos and even fewer decent ones.

11 - Playing in the backyard in the afternoon.

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Monday, 9 August 2010

08 - Sunday BBQ

A couple of months ago, the weekend that I was down in Melbourne with my sister, back in Sydney my Dad decided he was going to cook a bbq for Sunday lunch. It was just after the family dog had been put down (he was a 14 year old cattle dog who I honestly did not expect to find alive when we moved back from the UK, so it wasn't a devastating experience, for me anyway) and meant that everyone, especially Lily, could finally hang out in the backyard worry-free (Sooty was pretty territorial). Dad decided it was such a success that every Sunday since then, when there hasn't been something else on, we've had a bbq lunch. Mum was saying yesterday that she'd really like to keep doing it even once we've moved out, which I think might be a nice way to make sure we catch up regularly.

This is Lily mid flight. Graeme throws her up in the air and she giggles uncontrollably and asks for more. Then, when he gives up, she wants me to do it too, but the kid is getting heavy...

(hey, sister, brother and sis-in-law that live too far away - see what you're missing out on? You should all move back closer, ok? ;D)

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07 - An unwilling model

So, I finished the jumper I was knitting for Lily.
First, I had to try and convince her to try it on. Once she had it on, I then had to convince her to take it back off so I could weave in the ends. She then wanted it back on, but didn't want to pose for photos. I believe the words she used were 'No Mummy, don't take photos of me' and then she made it as hard as possible for me to get a good shot of her:

It's a Weasley Sweater adjusted slightly to knit in the round. The yarn is Bendigo Woollen Mills Classic in Soft Plum. We originally used the colour in Lily's Circle of Friends blanket (check out how fat she was :D) and Graeme's Nana (so, Lily's Great-Nana) loved it so much she ordered enough to knit herself a jumper. She gave me the leftovers, just under 2 (200g) balls, and I also have leftovers.

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Friday, 6 August 2010

04, 05, 06

Writing the days like that made me think of years passed.
2004 was the year I did my teacher training.
2005 was the year I worked in my most rewarding job to date (teaching in a public high school in a notorious part of western Sydney).
2006 was the year we went to the UK and all the crazy changes that came with it.

It all seems so long ago. Especially considering the images I'm about to share with you of my life at 30 centre around my 2 year old daughter...

On Wednesday, we went to Playtime, as we have every Wednesday during school term since the start of the year. This week, Feature Creatures came along and spent an hour showing the kids snakes, lizards, frogs and bugs, plus a baby crocodile for good measure.

Some of the parents and kids were a bit anxious about some of them, but not Lily. She got a bit bored when they pulled out the insects, so went to play at the playdough table, but as soon as someone pointed out that they'd brought out the snakes, she was back over there in a flash, asking to hold the python.

After playtime, we had a lovely afternoon with my Mum, which included lunch, shopping (toyshop for Lily, op-shops for us) and a stop at the park on the way home.

Yesterday we went to Storytime at the library then spent the afternoon at home. I decided it was time to start packing, so I got Lily to help. She packed her toys into the box from within the box:

then tried to close herself in with them.

Mum had put candles on the dinner table that night and Lily insisted on blowing them out. When I opened the drawer to find a match to relight them, I found a box of sparklers. We all enjoyed watching Lily play with the sparkler so much that we gave her a second one to play with.

This morning was Lily's swimming lesson. She was so pleased with herself because she's just starting to actually swim without support. We came home and she watched some Playschool (she's obsessed, but I guess there are worse things she could want to watch several times a day) while I tried to finish a jumper I've been knitting for her. It'll probably be finished right as it's too warm to wear it. Actually, I should be able to finish it tonight. Then I might have something other than photos of Lily to show you tomorrow.
Anyway, we went out for lunch and the photo I'm about to show you is terrible, but I have to share it. Lily insisted on walking. And carrying her doll and backpack. Then we bought her a sandwich and she carried that too. While I was getting my lunch, she decided she was going to go and set herself up at a nearby table.

I guess if you have older kids, it's not unusual for them to do things like this. But she's only just turned 2. Surely she's too young to be so independent?

Late this afternoon we went out the front to play with the bubble blowers and were joined by the girl from next door. It is beautiful to see the mutual adoration between this 2 year old and 7 year old. Of course, I don't want to post photos of other people's kids on the web without their ok, so you just get a photo of Lily laughing at Jess.

Apologies for the Lily-spam and the three-days-in-one-makes-a-very-long-post. Now I better go finish that jumper.

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Tuesday, 3 August 2010

August 03

Since about September last year, I have been taking Lily to Forte School of Music for a weekly music lesson. I was worried that enrolling a 15 month old in music lessons would make me one of those pushy 'stage' parents but after talking to a family friend who teaches there, I took her along for a trial lesson and she loved it. I seriously think it's played a part in making her the way-too-clever 2 year old that she is.
Anyway, this morning I was planning on taking my DSLR (digital single lens reflex) with me to take some photos of music lesson, because I haven't actually done so yet. Of course, I forgot. And then only remembered my point-and-shoot during the last song. Add to that the fact that Lily was on the move and that I'm still not confident using the little camera to get the shots that I want and my photos came out horrible. I tried to fix one of them by adding a soft focus to it and it kind of worked, but still not something I want to put out there for the world to see. I'll try again next week (can someone remind me on Monday though? :D).

So instead, I'm going to give you a glimpse into the mess I live in. Annoyed by the photos I'd taken earlier, I spent the spare 5 minutes I had while Lily finished watching Playschool going through the little camera's settings and trying to get better results. This, my friends, is what sits directly next to the chair I am typing this post from:

Here we have a red tub that is meant to hold toys, but regularly gets emptied by Lily so she can climb in; a blue basket thing that actually does have the toys in it, but is meant to be kept in the other room; an overflowing dress-up box that never seems to have it's lid on it; the top left corner of Graeme's work/laptop bag. Now I feel like I need to spend my precious free evening cleaning up. Needless to say, we can't wait to have our own space again. Speaking of which, we get the keys to our house next Tuesday.

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Monday, 2 August 2010

August 02

Today was a bank holiday. Graeme currently works for a bank. Of course, he's a contractor, so he didn't get paid for the day, but it was nice for him to have a day off. Especially since there was nothing we needed to do. Well, there are always things we need to do at the moment, but somehow it felt like a good opportunity to forget about the to-do list and the house stuff and just go out for a day.

So that's what we did.

First stop was the aquarium, where Lily was fascinated by the fish and turtles, but a little scared by the sharks. I think it was the ominous music they play as you walk down into the tunnels.

After spending much less time than we expected at the aquarium, we had lunch at Harbourside. Then, with plenty of day left and a 4 attraction pass in our pockets, we walked up into the city and went up Sydney Tower.

Then across to Hyde Park, where Lily chased the birds until they all disappeared, then enjoyed the flowers so much that she accidentally picked one and couldn't work out how to make it stick back.

At the end of the day, as we loaded her into the car, we asked Lily what she'd liked the best. Her answer: the train rides there and back.

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Sunday, 1 August 2010

30 - Part 1

It's August. My birth month. Which means it is now officially the month in which I will celebrate my 30th birthday. I'm not all that fussed about the number since I don't think life should be dictated by your age, but it is a significant milestone and one worth taking some time to record, I think.

I decided it'd be nice to document it, in photos of course as that is generally my medium of choice. But not just the day - the stuff that happens around it. A record of what my life was like when I turned 30 in 2010. So I'm going to make sure I get my camera out and take some photos every day, because I've been slack about that. And I'll try to post at least one of them here every day, because even when I do take photos, I don't sort them and post them anywhere in a timely manner. We'll see how I go. This is going to be a busy month - we will get the keys to our house, finish everything off and hopefully move in before the month is out, so it should be interesting.

So, August 1.
First, the pretty photo.

It's so nice to see bees and flowers in the yard. Sydney winter is nowhere near as intense as London winter, but other than the birthdays, there's not a lot of good things about winter. I also saw my first daffodil of the year today, but didn't have my camera on me - that'll teach me.

This one is nothing special photography-wise, but is much more a glimpse into my life. Plus, I just had to show you what my 2 year old's sense of style is like:

She had to wear that summer dress, so we forced her into a long sleeve onesie underneath and told her she had to wear something on her legs. She chose pink leggings. Then topped it off with a purple 'tinklebell' jacket and the red shoes - nice.

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Thursday, 3 June 2010

This time a year ago...

...we were boarding a flight from Singapore to Sydney. The final leg of our big adventure. Lily was almost 1, only just walking and thankfully still willing to sit still for long periods of time. We were beyond happy that we'd upgraded to Business Class. Our family was eagerly anticipating our return, setting alarms for ridiculous hours of the morning that would prove unnecessary when we were delayed via Melbourne for 7 hours.

I can't believe it's been a year already. It certainly doesn't feel that long. But then you look at how far Lily has come. Or the fact that we're nearing the final stages of building a house. The new friends we've made. The fact that we now call Camden home. Has it only been a year?

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Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Playing catch up

Do you ever feel like you're constantly trying to catch up?

Graeme has been off work the last two days. He's sick, but not so sick that he had to stay in bed all day. So, I've taken advantage of the fact that he's around to help watch Lily and been quite productive. But my to-do list is still a mile long. It probably doesn't help that my computer had to be reformatted yesterday, so there are now tasks on the list that had already been partially completed, like sorting through my photos. Or that going through some of my massive list of unread blog posts just led me to more blogs and more things to make and do. Oh well, I'll just focus on the positives - the things I have achieved - and try not to let that list get me down.

Also positive - the roof went on our house before all this rain hit, so the build is still progressing. I feel bad for our neighbours, whose house looks like the roof was the next step - it might be awhile.

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Wednesday, 5 May 2010

When I have my house...

  • I won't keep starting every other sentence with 'When I/we have my/our house ...'
  • I'll be able to invite people over for meals, playdates, crafty get-togethers or just to show off my awesome new house.
  • there will be separate rooms for sleeping, playing, crafting, tv watching and computering, instead of them all being lumped together. This will make it easier to get things done, because I won't have to turn the sewing machine off because someone is watching tv, or have zero productive time on my computer because Lily immediately stops whatever was keeping her occupied and demands to play 'Night Garden'.
  • there will be a backyard that Lily can play in. We'll move in during Winter sometime, but she won't care and neither will I.
  • I might actually find the time and energy to blog regularly. Until then, I'm not going to feel any more guilt about not updating. For now, I'll just leave you with this (embarrassingly out of focus) photo of Lily in front of our house, wearing her clothkits dress that I made last week and remind you that I'm on twitter for regular mini-blogging.

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Saturday, 27 February 2010

I Made a Cardigan


Totally from scratch. My own design, my own maths to make the design work, inspired by the vague memory of a beautiful thing I saw in Galway in Ireland and wished I could have afforded to buy. Made Lily-sized to test out some of my ideas about construction.



The plan is to make something similar in my size with the gorgeous red British wool I bought just before we left London. Mine will have sleeves though, although I haven't decided how long, maybe three-quarters.

Ravelry page here (although it's pretty identical to this one :D)

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Monday, 8 February 2010

Crochet Placemats

A couple of months ago, I bought a bunch of Anchor Magicline cotton yarn on clearance. The pack came with 10 balls and a crochet pattern sheet for $9.95. I really liked the look of the placemat on the cover and so bought enough to make a set of placemats. Unfortunately, I have very little experience with crochet and kinda suck at it, so my attempt at following the pattern came out like this:

I guess, in the grand scheme of things, it's not horrendous. But I had envisioned a beautiful set of colourful placemats that will really fit in with the look of our new house (still not going up yet - trust me, you'll know when it is) and this just doesn't cut it. The main thing I disliked, other than the dodginess of my skills, was the way the colours didn't so much stripe as clump.

That one placemat sat incomplete for about 6 weeks, while I finished Christmas gifts and then worked on some other projects. I finally decided I needed to look at it again when I wanted a portable/brainless project that wasn't knitting (too hot to knit and my attempt at socks, the one thing that may be bearable to knit in the heat, is also a big fail). I tried a circle. It didn't lay flat. I tried another one. I thought my idea of making circular placemats was genius, afterall, plates are round. I don't have enough experience of crochet to make a flat circle, apparently, especially given I am anal about things like increases and they have to be uniform or my brain can't handle it. I needed a different approach. Here are my failed circles:

Meanwhile, I've been finding more Aussie crafty blogs to read (any suggestions much appreciated, especially if they're Sydney-based) and Pip over at Meet me at Mikes has been running a granny square intro course. I didn't want to make standard looking granny squares, but I did figure I could do something similar, starting in the centre and working my way out, increasing at the corners. The only problem was, the point where I was jumping up to the next row created a funny line thing. See:

There's probably a way to do this better, but I couldn't work it out. Then, another brainwave* occurs - I could do a spiral but make it like a granny square, increasing at the corners by stitching into the corner, making 2 chains and then stitching into the corner again. I didn't quite end up with a perfect square - one side has one more stitch than the other three - and I'm not confident I'll be able to recreate however I got it started, but I like it enough that I am now happy to pull out all the mistakes and attempt to make a matching set. I just have to decide what size to stop it at...

*probably not a new idea at all, but in case you hadn't worked it out, I'm very much winging this whole crochet thing. I don't even know if I am doing single or double crochet, to be honest. Apologies to any serious crocheters out there for any offence.

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Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Hi there

It may be the remaining effects of the cold I've had. Or the fact that I got a touch too much sun at the beach on Friday and again while out celebrating Australia Day today. Or the lack of energy to do anything productive that means I've actually spent time at the computer (see the first sentence).
Whatever caused it, the fact is this: I have been commenting, following and favouriting all over the place recently. I've been commenting on blogs that I know I never have before. I went through people's twitter lists and added a whole bunch who are on a forum I used to hang out on, but haven't in ages (although, with this new-found confidence, I might head over there later, though it'll have to be tomorrow now - in between writing this post and doing other things, it got late).

The fact that I mentioned a lack of confidence is probably funny to those of you who know me in real life, because face-to-face, I am plenty confident. I just get all anxious when I can't see how someone is reacting to what I am saying. That's also why I hate the phone. I need to see your face, read your body, adjust what I'm saying if I'm not getting my point across properly.

Anyway, the point of this post was to introduce myself to all the new people who may (or may not - I think I'm talking to dead space most the time anyway) be heading over here to work out who I am. If I'm now following you on twitter, I probably know you from g* (if you need to know what that means, you will) although, as I said above, I haven't been there for ages. I might've been reading your blog for ages, or I might've just discovered it. Either way, I think it's great and totally worth slotting into my limited reading time.

So, this is me:
I'm Kate.
I turn 30 this year.
I've been married almost 7 years and have a 19 month old daughter with whom I stay at home every day (well, we often go out, but you should know what I mean).
I love to create and can't wait until Lily is old enough to get into more full-on arts and crafts projects.
I've been a very sporadic blogger, but am determined to be better.
I grew up in various places around NSW, Australia.
I recently returned from 3.3 years living in London, UK.
I now live in south-western Sydney with my parents, while we wait for our house to get built (a pain-inducing process that is taking way too long and makes me very disgruntled, so don't ask how it's going).
I like parentheses because they help me explain my full thought process.
I don't know why I feel the need to explain the full process, probably relates to that issue I mentioned about needing to make sure I get my point across the way I intended and the fact that I have both studied and taught design.
If those last couple sentences haven't convinced you I'm crazy, or if you just like crazy, stick around and/or follow me on twitter (there's a link on my [currently-under-construction-slash-redesign] sidebar) and let me know if you have a blog I should be reading too.
Anything else you wanna know? Ask away.

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Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Christmas 2009: Part 1

The following was written on New Years Day. And now that I look back on it, I can't work out why I didn't post it then... So, I'm posting it now and will add more parts as I get more photos:

There's a reason I didn't post for the rest of December - every spare minute was spent making Christmas presents, which even if I had the time, I couldn't really have talked about here. We went totally handmade this (well, technically, last) year, other than a few things we'd already picked up for Lily before we actually made the decision to do so. We bought handmade for my brother-in-laws' girlfriends and my Mum, but everyone else got something crafted by our little family.
Mum (and Dad, since it was above our budget for one person, but then we added something else for Dad) got this kit printed by Prints Charming. My original plan was to embroider some of them and make them up for Dad and then give Mum the rest to stitch/decorate herself, but since we're living with them, it was tricky to find time and/or space to work on it, so only one got stitched...

Of course, by the time I finally finished everything on the 23rd, I was so relieved and exhausted, that I stupidly wrapped it all up without taking photos and then forgot to take photos as things were opened on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. So, I still need to get access to some of it again and take photos, but I can show you one thing, because I made it today. See, my sister actually just got some fabric in her gift, because I thought it was perfect for her, but couldn't decide what to make with it. So I waited until she'd seen it, talked to her about what she'd like made from it and today, I turned it into this skirt:

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The Blogging Conundrum

I really want to have a blog.
A good blog.
One that people want to read. And I'm not just talking about the people who read it because they are already my friend or are related to me.
A place where I can show off the things I've made.
Somewhere I could try out some of my designs to see if people would be interested in buying/making them.

I don't need a million followers or to make money by selling ads or anything like that.

But I feel like, in order to have the sort of blog I want, you need to participate in the 'blogosphere' and I just don't have the time.

Actually, this isn't just a blog issue, it's a whole internet issue.
I want to participate.
I want to get back involved in some of the communities that used to be a part of my daily life.
I want to discover like-minded people, and especially now that we're back in Sydney, some local ones.

But if I barely have time to check and reply to email; if the only reason I update my Facebook status is because it is taken direct from my Twitter feed; if I only manage to check either of those things because they're on my phone and I can do it in 5 spare minutes here or there; if my computer sits untouched for days at a time... How am I supposed to find the time to read, comment, participate?

And, of course, there's the fact that there's no point blogging if I haven't been doing anything to write about.

I need to make the effort in the evenings after Lily goes to bed and on the weekends when she can hang with Daddy. I need to make naptimes more efficient. I need to use moments like right now, when Lily is happily playing on the play equipment and I have access to free wifi. Or right now, when she is happily watching Monsters Inc (she loves Boo). I need to do things when I can, even if I have to come back and finish them some other time, or the time after that (this is my fourth attempt to get this post finished and up). I need to remember that my phone can do most anything I need to do. I need to stop blathering on about what I want to do and actually do it... right after I make some lunch for a hungry toddler.

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