Monday, January 23, 2012

Three dolls for my three girls

Is it too late to share one of the gifts I made for my girls this Last Christmas?

I found this great pattern and tutorial from Emily Martin as seen on Martha Stewart. This is the pattern and tutorial. 

If you don't already know Emily Martin she is the creator of the Black Apple Paper doll primer an amazing paper doll book, check out what Beatrix made from this book last Father's Day here.
  Back to these dolls,  I had to make them in secret, well I snuck moments here and there, even around the kids as you do when elving away.  I loved figuring out who would like what fabric and which colour . I just loved making them.
Eliza is smitten with her Yellow haired and scarf wearing Polly. Beatrix Loves her black haired slightly older looking doll, she called her Eenie,  Circe loves her honey coloured still nameless dolly. 
I found the inspiration for the pigtails on flickr photo share, these were easy to make up and incorporate into the already too cute hair line, just cut the shapes separately and pin in place at the tuck in stage. 
The faces were embroidered, the pattern calls for the faces being drawn on in fabric pens, but I think my way worked just fine.
I am itching to make more.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Sometimes I find parenting a challenge.

Tonight I have walked my two year old back to her cot every minute or so for the past hour and a half. That's almost 100 times. I have been calm, consistent, blank-faced. 

This has been every sleep-time for the past few nights, and most of her day sleeps as well. I normally struggle with calm when evening go awry, but my husband has an amazing Zen like approach to sleep resistance, so I thought I'd give it a go.

We went overnight from having an easy sleeper to a monkey cot-climber, with stamina and incredible stubbornness.  When I got home the other day and Aaron told me he "found Circe standing in the kitchen after her nap," my past flashed before my eyes: I remembered the night Aaron walked Phoenix back to bed 55 times, the day Eliza smeared nappy zinc all over her timber venetians when she was meant to be sleeping, the time Beatrix made me cry when she begged for her cot after she graduated into a bed. 

As soon as he told me I felt the waves of  exhaustion, I am too old for this. Really too old for this. 

But one key word stuck in my head, consistency, yeah I remember that it fixes everything. But till an hour ago I had none of that, Circe in fact was proving to be the consistent one.  We'd put her down, she'd get up. At the 46th (or so!) tuck-in she told me "Mummy I am so annoyed at you.

I have been here three other times and I know this won't last. But she is my last baby. That is the reason I am still breastfeeding her, I was able to stop earlier with the others, not this time.  My last baby.  Bedtime stuggles like this are gut wrenching: you want to cuddle and nurture but at the same time you want to be firm and just have them doing what they were doing when things were good.

We are also going through major anxiety and fear issues at bedtime with our eight year old son. He shares a room with his two other sisters, of late we have to go in every five minutes at his bedtime to reassure him. We tried everything: charts, love, kindness, not-so-kindness, door open, light from the kitchen, man-we're-really-struggling-to-be-kind-here... there was always one more request. We were fed up, tired grumpy anyone would be at 11.30, three hours after tuck in. 

I hate myself for this, hate that he is so afraid and that we can't seem to help.

I just don't want to be in that boat with my two year old.  We got it right with the other two, eventually. Like I said, I am getting to the point where I want to hang in my tea towel at 8 pm have a wine or two, read, blog, sew, paint talk to my husband, whatever. 


After I wrote this I broke my own rule. I had a plan tonight, to remain blank, walk her back, tuck in leave, shut the door. 

After almost two hours she was so tired, she'd told me she was so angry at me, in a pleading way. I tucked her in and kept a gentle hand on her for a slightly longer time, her crying became deep sobs, her eyes were closed she said "Don't go." 

I knew then I was about to chuck it all in. It took almost no time for her to sleep. I let my hand off and just stood in darkness, hearing her breathing. I then realised my own shut- the-door rule meant I was now stuck in there for at least another five minutes until I dared its squeak. 

But I felt more human, less zombie and robotic. It will not save me later though when she wakes again at one in the morning, as she has been. 

What have you done in these instances, what is your approach?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

School holiday eating and a recipe Wednesday.

Ahh, school holidays... No rush means there are more raspberry ricotta pancakes being made.

I even made Pie. We love pie here. In fact it was a pie kind of night, I'd made a chicken pie for dinner  and then a sweet potato pie for dessert.

My eleven year old missed out because she was away on a holiday with her best friend, when she saw these pictures she almost wept. This is a sweet potato pie.

I had a baked pie crust leftover so 2 days later I made Banoffee pie. My golly gosh this is so good. This is my sons favorite pie. In fact we argue over who loves it more.

I owe Miss Beatrix one of these.

I have continued baking my own bread, Aaron makes about half of them now as well.  His contributions lead to an over-all loss, though, as he eats so much of it.

We are buying one loaf a week and the rest we do our own couple of  loaves every second day.

I made a batch of these yummy sausage rolls, these have been a lunchtime hit.

I baked about a third of what I had made and froze the rest uncooked. Today I defrosted another third this took an hour sitting at room temp. I love that these have rice and carrot in them as well, so much healtier than store bought.

 Sausage rolls.
1 large onion chopped
3 medium carrots grated
1 cup of white or brown cooked rice,cooled.
500g good quality sausage mince.
1 cup of homemade breadcrumbs
3 sage leaves finely chopped.
small handful of parsley finely chopped.
2 teaspoons of salt
few shakes of black pepper
1 pkt of puff pastry thawed.


Use a food processor to puree your onion you may add the parsley and sage here too, blitz it all. Remove and set aside.
Make the homemade breadcrumbs,( I always have a bit of stale bread in the freezer to make quick breadcrumbs, you can grate it really easily.)Or you can make your breadcrumbs in the food processor. 

In a large mixing bowl add the sausage mince,cooled rice and your blitzed ingredients including the salt and pepper. Wet your hands slightly and squish away, till well combined takes a couple of minutes.

Now take your sheet of thawed out puff pastry and halve them. With wet hands add a row of the mixture as seen in the picture, it help here to do a couple of sheets at a time. (Your hands get pretty messy!)

Now take your long edge and fold it over to meet the other edge. crimp the edges shut with your fingers. Fold the crimped edge under the roll so as to keep it from opening up.

Repeat this process till you are done. 

Next you need to cut to your desired portions, then lay baking paper on your tray and lay these little babes out! They should have space between them but not too much. You can brush the tops with beaten egg, I don't.

Bake at 180 deg for 15 min till the pastry is golden and all flaky.

Enjoy these with tomato sauce, chutney, or relish whatever you like. 

Coming up: I'll show you our school holiday crafting. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

January ten on ten

Another ten-on-ten, courtesy of Ten on Ten.
 I woke to find my kitchen table covered in these.  My husband was up till two a.m. making these, they are delicate and beautiful. I see our first collaborative artwork, maybe.

 The map missing for our destination check, coffee check, snacks check, ok lets go.

She's sleeping, get her

The classic saltwater shot, but have you seen the navy and yellow combination, these are my current love.

Classic beach food: Paddle Pop plus sand.

I saw this and my heart went a mush.

Purpose of trip: picking up homesick phoenix from the beach.
Our first stop on the way back home, fish and chips, seemed like a good idea at the time.

Home at last.  I spare you shots of any actual vomit, (hence "good idea at the time.") but that is why Circe has no top on and is wrapped in a towel.

I am glad I put her in the towel because there was more to come.  Ahh well, a colourful end to the day!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Made for older girl

I really want to make more clothes for my eleven year old, A because she loves me sewing her stuff and B because she actually will wear them, ( how long will that last I wonder)

 The type of clothing I have made for her include 

  • I have made her 2 tops from this pattern, Burda easy 9573, she loves them  I am going to attempt to simply lengthen it a little to make a mini dress for her.
  • I have also been stretching myself a little making my own pattern, following instructions of course. I made her a chemise top from Carefree clothes for girls, I love this book. Except the sizes range from  4 to 7 but if I can make my petite 11 year old clothes from here anyone can.

I added a cute button covered in the same fabric, because it's always hard to tell the back from the front.

  • I have found that the older children get the more difficult it becomes to sew them simple clothes. I found these knot shorts over on this brilliant site MADE, these were fun, I used a pants pattern I already had and just shortened them, I then followed the easy instructions and made the pattern. I would suggest that if you are going to make these, only leave about 7 or 8 cm from the crotch, they look better being quite short, as skimpy as that seems kids have short legs ( well mine do)  I made them a little longer but wish i hadn't.This pattern has a contrasting facing piece which is a little big if you ask me, next time I am going to alter this, next time. However as is works just fine. The knot is dead cute and for this age group I think they're quite funky. I just finished making these in time, she left for Tasmania that afternoon and wore them on her first solo plane trip to meet her best friend, that made me feel really good.
  • I also found this pattern just last night in the wee hours.
 What have you made for your older girl or boy, I'd love to know, if you can link a pattern or site for me, I will check them out.