Monday, June 17, 2013

Old Books.

Something else ruthlessly sorted during the Great Household Purge of May 2013 were the family room bookshelves.  When the boys were young we'd been fortunate to receive a lot of hand-me-down books from my cousins and my half-brothers, and I held on to them for a long time, in grim denial of how quickly kids grow up.  But it was time to face facts - the boys have grown too old for picture books, and we didn't have enough room for the books they actually do read.

I wanted to send those old and beloved books to a good home, so I contacted some other cousins with very young children and offered them up.  Then I set to work.  Obviously some books needed to stay with us:  Dr Seuss, Harry the Dirty Dog, Charlie and Lola, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Q Pootle 5 stand out amongst a small selection of sentimental favourites. But the rest were put in boxes. And more boxes.  And then a few bags as well.  The cat supervised.

2013 9:30 PM

I think my cousins were a little bit surprised when Mister Fixit arrived in Woodend with the booty.  I may have glossed over just how many books I'd be sending their way, and we threw in some beloved and hard-to-part-with baby toys and puzzles as well.  But a couple of days after the treasure arrived, I received a text from the cousin with the 2-year-old.
"Just thought you should know that over the past few days we've hardly been able to leave the house.  This is because all B wants to do is read  story after story, first in his room, then on the couch, then at the table, then in the big bed.  After he's finished stories he wants to do all his new puzzles.  This really has been going on for several days.  Thanks for the great hand me downs.  We are all really enjoying them."
Meanwhile, I was able to display all the remaining books in a horizontal or vertical position, which means the kids are now game to pull out books to read.  No more danger of being crushed by an avalanche of books, I'm happy to say. The cat agreed it looked much better as well.

2013 9:26 PM

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What do cows eat for breakfast?

2013 9:02 PM

In the end there were only 6 of us at Craft Camp this weekend, and the gap left by the last minute withdrawal of our two organisers, Suse and Janet, was tangible; felt in the two empty chairs or the gaps in conversation.  But the six of us soldiered on, in the spirit of Crarf Camp: buoyed by fine food, an abundance of wine and  sugar, and the often hilarious company of each other, as well as the beautiful (but cold!) surroundings and the absorbing-ness of crafting our wares.

2013 8:23 AM

It was Eleanor's turn for the Princess Room - the one with the double bed and no room-mates - and to properly honour her, Kate knitted her a royal crown.

2013 5:27 PM

The other double bed went unused, because it's intended owner - Sue - didn't read her emails properly.  Sue also provided the quote of Craft Camp this year - in response to a facebook thread we'd been looking at - with the sage pronouncement I don't see anything wrong with a fish shirt.  Well, exactly.

2013 10:56 AM

Poor Jenny was struck down by a cold for the first few days, for which she blamed her youngest daughter.

2013 8:33 AM

She felt so blah she even refused the magnificent lamb with rhubarb and pomegranate molasses prepared by newcomer Terri because there was no point if she couldn't taste it, but we forced her to have some of Sue's walnut and butterscotch pudding on the grounds that it would probably cure her straight away to have it.  Gee, we ate well, but then, we always do.  Eleanor's corn fritters, Kate's delicious soup (which I got to take home in the leftovers divvy-up at the end, and am still enjoying for lunch) Jenny's deluxe shepherd pie. Scrum.

2013 6:25 PM

The girls prepared a birthday treat for me, which sat in secret for all of Friday evening and a big chunk of Saturday morning because I was the cook and then I slept in; but when I finally walked in I found the studio, and my chair and sewing machine, gloriously bedecked in purple.  They also all chipped in for a present, my very own pie dish.  Thank you girls, can't wait to fill it with apple pie for you at the next Craft Camp.

2013 10:33 AM

As for what I made - well.  I recently bought some vintage patterns in my search for a simple A-line dress, so I elected to first tackle an overall/jumper dress, circa 1980.   Sue, who knows about patterns and fancy sewing, looked through and said it was a proper tailored pattern and that it would make a really great garment and give me some great technique, and she was right.  It took me 2-and-a-bit days to make. I'm so slow at sewing, sigh.  I'm not sure how I feel about the finished project yet.  I think I need to wash it to see if it hangs better.  To make the dress look symmetrical in the fabric-matching of the front buttonholes, I had to sacrifice a bit of symmetry in the cut, so I wasn't happy with how it sat.

2013 6:54 PM

I may be able to adjust it via the buckle at the back, but after working on it for so long, I was a bit over it.

2013 6:54 PM

So then I made three more things : 

1. A little dress for a rock-n-roll baby, made from my old t-shirt from the baby's dad's band that I used to work for.  I think it looks so ace, except for some bad overlocking at the shoulders.  But maybe that will settle in the wash too?

2013 2:34 PM

2. A pair of fleecy pants for the Cherub with pockets cut from the same t-shirt.

2013 6:46 PM

3. A film for Suse and Janet.  This was actually a joint effort from all the girls, and was enormously good fun to do. There were mutterings at one stage about my - alleged - bossiness when the instructions to rise up slowly with dead cold eyes were not being followed, but those creative differences aside it was the most hilarious and easy project ever.

Nobody wanted to burst the balloons when we left on Monday.

2013 3:34 PM

Friday, June 07, 2013

More purple than you can poke a stick at

2013 9:03 AM

I was very spoiled for my birthday. I have such nice family and friends.  Mister Fixit did very well with my suggestion that I'd like a new, less maroon, dressing gown and found me a right royal one, complete with white fur collar. I shall be Queen Stomper when I wear it, my purple sheepskin boot slippers will of course add to the regal effect.

2013 8:21 PM

If you give Climber some lead time he quite often produces a very thoughtful and personal present. After watching his younger brother sew himself a hand puppet...

2013 7:41 PM

...he suddenly took himself off to my sewing room and secretly worked on this little gift. It's even stuffed with some wheat, so I can pop it in the microwave and use it as a hand warmer.

2013 10:49 AM

And he also rallied the troupes and made me the most lovely and hilarious birthday video. Made my day, it did.

I'm taking all my purpleness off to Crarf Camp for the weekend now. The cat tried to stow away but I spotted him.

 2013 9:59 AM

Sunday, June 02, 2013

In May from June

In May, Climber went off to camp twice.

2013 8:29 AM

The first one was music camp. Climber and most of the music kids he knows are 'novice' musicians, and as such weren't eligible for Music Camp yet, but Climber attended because of being in the choir. This meant he didn't really know the other kids at camp well enough to feel comfortable, and although he had a bearable time, he was I think a bit lonely and came home looking and feeling fragile.  If he didn't like his choir teacher so much he might have ditched choir by now, but I hope he stays with it because he has a nice singing voice.

2013 8:31 AM

The other camp was the Year 7 camp, which had been postponed due to the industrial action in Term One.  Owing to this and availabilities of theatres and camp locations, the rescheduled camp clashed with the Music Concerts, so on his second night of camp, Climber was bussed back to perform with the choir in the Strings and Choir Concert, and then went back to camp that same night, had his last day at camp, and then came home and performed flute that night with the Bands concert.  I missed the Strings and Choir concert because I was teaching, but man, the Bands concert was excellent.  The kids in the Intermediate and Senior bands were so impressive and inspiring.  I feel very happy that Climber is getting to do music in such a great school program.

2013 8:33 PM

All of these camp/concert shenanigans involved a fair bit of organisational gymnastics from Mister Fixit and me (who both work nights), not just to get a parent there to watch with Cherub, but to make sure Climber got to the theatre in a clean and sweet-smelling state with the things he needed, like his flute and shiny shoes. We were all exhausted by the Thursday, and I gave the kids the day off to recover.

2013 1:42 PM

In May, Cherub's class was asked to reprise their rendition of Thriller for the school's AGM, which was exciting BUT clashed with Climber's Band Concert/Return from Camp.  I explained to Cherub's school about the clash and asked if Thriller could be scheduled as first item so that Cherub and I could race to watch Climber's show straight afterwards. The teacher's initial response was that if not, maybe another child could take over the role of Michael Jackson? Obviously I am far too much of a Stage Mother for that to be an option, I mean surely there is only one Michael Jackson as far as 4A is concerned. So I set about organising a babysitter who could take care of Cherub, just in case.  As it turned out, the Principal, very kindly, did rejig the running order to accommodate me, and Thriller was the opening act, done and dusted by 6:50pm, leaving Cherub and I plenty of time to make it to  Climber's concert in Moonee Ponds by 7:30pm.  Cherub was very good again, and managed a creditable moonwalk despite performing on carpet which is not slidy enough for really optimal moonwalking.

2013 10:33 PM

In May I celebrated National Tap Dancing Day on the 25th by teaching heaps of gorgeous children tap dance. (It was Saturday, we were there anyway, but we did celebrate - I made them pose for photos with me.)

2013 10:46 AM

In May we received our school photographs. The High School went the bog-standard school photographer and we got bog-standards pictures.  But the Primary School went with a local woman and I just love the beautiful shots she took of Cherub and his class.

School photo Cherub

See the difference?

2013 6:20 PM

In May, we did a lot of throwing out.  Old tellies and computers, old clothes, old potties and strollers.  We were holding on to a lot of crap, stuff we felt we needed to keep "just in case", because our finances had been so tight for so long. (I don't know why we were hanging on to the potties though.  Maybe we were waiting for a poor friend to have a kid so we could pass them on? Or maybe they were just in a cupboard I didn't open very often.) Anyway, Fixit is a qualified mechanic now, and it won't break us to buy new stuff where required.  So out it all went, and it felt really good. Clothes drawers are in good order and clothing that was never worn has been passed on to the opshop. Shelf space has magically become available.  Somehow all this virtue resulted in me going out and rewarding myself with not one but two brand new pairs of winter boots at the 25-percent-off boot sale at Myer.  I haven't owned winter boots for nearly 20 years. Here are the workaday, standing around at soccer games pair. Very comfortable, and a zip at the side so I don't have to undo all those laces. The other pair is more posh.  I may wear them to the theatre.

2013 8:10 PM