Tag Archives: art folder

Finding time

The week has flown by!  I am convinced that it is the shorter daylight hours that make things fly past so quickly – or it could be our busy timetable.  It has just occurred to me that with the children’s winter sports activities there are only two days a week where I have no commitment involving delivering a child to some activity or another.  This could explain a lot!  I am trying to be disciplined about using my time efficiently to fit around the timetable, otherwise my little bits of ‘me’ time, those precious moments when I get to make things, will disappear completely.  I didn’t do too badly this week, although housework and making the children eat vegetables everyday may have been the sacrifices….

In a roundup of the week I have finished my first ‘giveaway’ on my facebook page, with a lovely winner from a farm in Western Australia the recipient of the art folder.  I have made 10 pencil rolls and listed them in my Etsy shop (my first new listing in quite a while!), made an art folder as a gift for a special little boy who turned 5 this week, crocheted a beret for the artist-in-residence (so fitting!) and prepared to make some more art folders.  So with a bit of juggling,  ‘crafting’ didn’t miss out this week!

          OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The artist-in-residence’s chosen photo of her new black beret!

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A Star Wars art folder for “Cha Cha”. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I also created with sugar this week, for my team at work.  Part of it was a promise to bring in my Thermomix and show them how it works, and part was an excuse to have a bit of a break for the team, talking about things that aren’t related to our jobs.  I made vanilla bean icecream and chocolate supreme icecream in advance, along with salted caramel fudge and coconut ice.  Then I took the Thermomix in and made warm chocolate custard, fruity dream (which is like soft-serve icecream but made completely from frozen fruit whipped with an eggwhite), and an orange sorbet on the day.  Sugar, sugar, sugar!  My kids were happy as they got some of the leftovers!     I was happy as I was ‘making stuff’, and those of my team who were able to attend were happy as they had sweet treats to sample.  Next time I am needing to do some ‘creating’ I will have to remember this trick – I might do a savoury sample for them next time.

On Saturday night I went out to dinner with friends at a lovely, trendy local restaurant.  I have had to admit that I have become a bit of a recluse over the last year or so.  I don’t go to the movies, rarely go out to dinner, never have an after-work drink, and rarely invite friends over for a meal.  I am not complaining – this is how life is at the moment – but it was nice to get out with adults, nice food, wine, conversation and enjoy their company.  I really should try to do it more often…….

I am sitting here contemplating the week in front of me and wondering if I will get the time to make some of the things that I want to make….  I hope so!  My head is buzzing with ideas – I just need more time (as always!).  Short of giving up sleep altogether, or quitting my job (which would have some fairly dire consequences like losing the house and not being able to feed the children) I think I have to find a way to be content with the small pockets of time I can find and savour them.  I suspect this is another one of life’s lessons – appreciating what I have and enjoying the moment instead of looking for the next moment.  Hmmmmm…..although I have improved in my ability to do this over the last few years, I am probably about due a reminder on this lesson!

I hope that you too are able to remember  to simply enjoy the moment this week.

A productive weekend – and a facebook giveaway!

Winter has arrived early here in Canberra – the dog’ water bowl, and the chicken’s water dispenser were both frozen this morning for the first time this year. Of course this didn’t stop the children running around the yard in short sleeved shirts and pants. Each time they got cold they would each have a complete change of wardrobe, then return to playing, get hot, and have another new outfit. My washing basket is overflowing!

We have had a lovely quiet weekend. Having finally returned to full strength after my head cold, we have restocked the pantry, cleaned out some cupboards, folded the ever present large pile of clean laundry, had some lovely visitors, attended the children’s sporting fixtures, and I have, finally (it feels like) managed to sew!!

I have finished three custom orders this weekend. The first for a lady who breeds and shows Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (and my first truly new customer – we don’t have a previous direct relationship of any sort.) She requested a bag and an ipad cover.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The second order was for a Dr Who hot water bottle cover. I actually made one last week – but it was about a centimetre (roughly half an inch) too small all round. This week I took a different approach and used polar fleece as the inner lining, as it works so well as insulation. It is still not perfect – but is much better – and has a hot water bottle in it, so I know that it fits! My lesson from all of this? Next time use calico for a mock up before cutting into good Spoonflower fabric!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The final order was for two art folders. I took a box with my current (quite small) stash of ready made items to my office last week for one of my team to look at as he wanted a bag for his mother. I didn’t want to make too big a deal of it, as I don’t want my team to feel obliged to ooh and aah over what is essentially my hobby, nor to feel obliged to buy anything. But one of the guys saw the art folders and decided that his daughter, who is turning 8 next weekend, would love one as she is a budding artist. Then he decided that his younger daughter needs one to avoid fights, so I made two! I even went back to making the pencil pockets pleated – although it is quite fiddly they really do work better…..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As I was updating my facebook page tonight I realised that I have hit 100 ‘likes’. So I am having my first giveaway through facebook. If you ‘like’ my page and comment on the relevant post, you will be in the draw to win this art folder.  I need to thank everyone for supporting me in my crafty adventure this year!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I hope that you had a great weekend!

Working out what works

Life is busy, and happy and full in the nest at the moment – even the quiet moments are things to be enjoyed.  Which is just as well, as the year feels like it is rushing past very quickly!!    We had a patch like this last year, where everything worked, and life was good, and it went for a few months!  I have learnt to enjoy these moments – sometimes they will be just a day or so, but they are little drops of peace that make the hard times easier.

My beautiful mother left us this morning to fly home to spend some time with Dad and in her normal life.  If all goes well at home she will return to us in about 11 days to look after the children while I travel to Byron Bay for Bluesfest (yes it is completely self-indulgent on my part).  Having her in the house for the last couple of weeks has provided that lift that we all needed – she has introduced a new routine for the kids with unpacking their school bags, and putting their own clothes away that sounds simple, but has made a big difference already to the smoother running of the house!

After we dropped her at the airport this morning we negotiated our way through traffic much quicker than I expected, so had enough time to ride our bikes to school and work.  I had already been to work earlier so was dressed in the black dress, heels and necklace – so stuck leggings underneath and off we went – mother duck and three little ducklings all in a row.  It was great!  The kids enjoyed it, and I was at work quicker than I would have been in the car!  The ride home was also good – although slightly warmer (not as good in a black long-sleeved work dress……) so we all had to lie on the floorboards to cool down!  Simple things.

Stopping to reflect on why we are happier is important (as is acknowledging that we aren’t necessarily unhappier normally – this just appears to be a sweet patch of life).  I have reintroduced our screen time rules – no screens between 9am and 5pm.  Despite the non-stop requests for the rules to be changed, it is working.  The children have boundaries, and have to work to find things to fill in the gaps.  All rules are flexible and this afternoon we have negotiated that they can watch some TV a bit earlier because they have ridden their bikes, and are going to martial arts classes tonight.  But overall, sticking to the rules seems to lift everyone’s behaviour and mood – including mine!

They have also all been exercising more – riding their bikes, walking the dog, bouncing on the trampoline – and all at their own request.  Once again, as life rushes along, it is the simple things of exercise, good food, and reduced time on screens that make the difference – exactly what happened last year when we had our ‘good patch’.  I am taking lots of mental notes as I write this and work through it in my mind.  There are little lightbulbs popping all over the place!

On the same vein, I have started participation in a mentoring program through my work.  I flew to Sydney for the day yesterday to participate the launch and to spend time with my mentor (who kindly also flew to Sydney despite the inconvenience it caused her).  I think that I am going to get a lot out of the program and the relationship, and have already paused to think about the importance of striking a balance with exercise.  A few things she said had me thinking about my approach to my fitness.  I tend to put it way down the list of what it is important.  I will find something new like running, or going to the gym, and enjoy it and stick at it for about 6 months.  Then as life gets complex it starts to be the first thing to get dropped – as if things for me aren’t as important as everyone else’s needs.  Hmmmmm.  So my personal goal for the next few weeks is to work out how I can prioritise time for myself to work on fitness back into the equation.  Bike riding is a good start.  Next will be how to find time for gym sessions a few times a week.  That one will take some thinking and planning, so stand by!

The other thing that I need to continue to work on is making time for my crafting  – because it does mean so much to me.  I have been slow and steady this week – I made an art folder for a friend to give her daughter for her birthday, and made a rainbow cape for my niece’s birthday.  I finished it in time to pack it in mum’s suitcase last night – and forgot to photograph it!  So I will have to ask my sister to send me a photo of the birthday girl wearing it instead!  I am itching to start some pillowcases for another friend so might try to get them started this afternoon/evening.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Having used this as a chance to work through what is working for us right now, I am off to play a game with my kids and then do some sewing.  I hope that your week is working for you!

The February “to-do” list moving into March!

The end of February slipped by in a rush here in the nest, and I have only just turned the page on the calendar and realised that I need to think about March! So first things first – to report on my progress on my list as part of the link up from Pigtales and Quilts .

1. Make up 4 art wallets or children’s pillowcases that I am proud of. Yes (4 pillowcases and one art folder.)

2. Make an iPod cover for the eldest chick’s birthday. Yes

3. Complete 4 more blocks for the boys quilt. Yes (more than 4!)

4. Make a bag and folder cover set for a birthday girl. Yes

5. Make 4 bags for the Etsy shop. Sort of – I made one for the shop, then two shoulder bag orders and three library bag orders…  I am going to give myself a “yes” for this too!

Hey!  I didn’t too badly!  I also made a number of pencil rolls as gifts for parties that the boy attended, returned to work and started a new routine, and kept all the balls in the air most of the time!

So – the list for this month.  Three days in I have sort of started already with one art folder and two bags – to be discussed soon.  But here goes:

1.  6 more block for the boys quilt.

2.  4 bags for the Etsy shop or for orders.

3.  6 rows on the rippled afghan.

4.  2 pillowcases or art folders that I am proud of.

5.  An overnight (weekender) bag.

Given that this month is busy – and I will be away for three nights this week, and the last four days of the month, I need to keep the list realistic!  So let’s see how it goes.

Other news in the nest – my mum has arrived to visit and help out!  After her earlier visit had to be cancelled we had agreed that I didn’t need her to come at the moment and we would just see how things went.  Then on Thursday I found out that I have to travel to New Zealand for work for a couple of days this week, so I emailed her to see if she could fly over (from New Zealand – yes it is ironic) to look after the chicks.  And less than 48 hours after sending that email, she was here!  My parents are truly amazing and supportive – I am very blessed.  The children are thrilled to have her here – the boy sees her as his personal entertainer, so has been building starships on her bed with pillows and blankets, teaching her to play his Wii game, insisting that she be the one to read his bedtime stories, and talking to her non-stop.  The girls have both managed to fit some time in with her though, which is lovely to see.  She took them both to church this morning while I took the boy to a birthday party, and they were so proud to be with her when they saw their friends – it was just delightful.

Of course, the boy attending a party meant that a present was required and as this is his “BFF” – his description (!!!!!) he wanted a special present, so requested an art folder.  When I asked what should be on the cover he said “Super D” (which makes sense when you know that the friend’s name begins with D!).  So I whipped this up last night.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The birthday boy’s mother sent me a message to tell me that he was delighted to receive it, so that made my day!

I also decided that, although I am enjoying making up orders for people, that it was time to have a bit of a play with fabric, just for fun.  So I made two bags for the Etsy shop this weekend.  The first one I am very happy with.  I love this Kaffe Fasset fabric – it makes me think of opals and deserts and all things Australian.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The second one I am also happy with, but the photos aren’t as stunning as I finished the bag tonight and took the photos with the flash.  The first lot of photos turned out almost flourescent and I couldn’t work out why until I realised that one of the children had changed the settings on the camera to “Magic”.      Of course.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This week will be a whirlwind with me travelling, the children’s commitments in and out of school, and being very busy at work.  Thank heavens that Nana is here to help out!

I hope that you all have a great week, and that you have someone to help you out when you need it.