Tag Archives: family life

New directions

I was going to start this post with a lovely poetic piece about the rain.  But while I was writing it I had a phone call from the boy’s school.  Again.  His father is handling the situation, but the very fact of the call is enough to make me change my direction.  For the post, and for my/our life.

I have been on leave from work for some months now for a combination of reasons.  Trying to support a child with special needs, getting more and more worn down myself from constantly keeping all the balls in the air – working full time at a high level, being a full time single parent, the boy’s need for extra everything, the fact that the girls miss out on so much when the boy needs so much, keeping everyone fed, clothed, alive……  It all got too much at the end of last year and I fell apart.  So my leave (thank goodness I have worked as a public servant for so long) was needed to get me back to ‘normal’ (whatever that is) so that I could go back to juggling the balls again.

Except that I have realised that, as a wise woman I know says, ‘If nothing changes, then nothing changes.’  If I go back to juggling, I will fall again.  And next time I might not get back up.  Something needs to change.  The boy and his sisters won’t change.  They will always be my top priority.  Whether we live in this house or another, the same basic level of housework, maintenance, and general ‘home-ness’ will not change.  Although my ex-husband is back living in the same country, so I am not a full time single parent anymore, that change is not enough to balance it all out.  That leaves work – my paid employment and my creative business.  I am not yet sure what the answer is about which of these will need to change the most in order to build a new direction for me/us but it is obvious that one or both will need to.

I have applied for some further leave (of the long service type – again – so glad that I have worked for so many years!) so that I can work this question out.  Because life as a parent of a child with a disability can’t follow the plan that I previously had.  We have to find a new path, and a new approach, and a new plan.  This plan has to put my health near the top of the list of priorities, to allow flexibility so that the boy can have the support he needs when he needs it, to produce enough income to pay for the necessities in life, and to be manageable.  Expect to see a lot of idea bubbles floating around above my head, growing or popping as I work through all of them, weighing up, assessing and looking at how to build a new life for the chicks and I.  Although it is daunting, it is also exciting.  The possibilities are endless!

Meanwhile, back in the sewing studio (sounds posh doesn’t it?!) in between periods of intense chaos, some goods have been produced!  I have completed some custom orders, delivered a pile of bibs to restock the Handmade Shop (the first lot almost all sold out in under a month!!), and am ticking things off the list I made on the weekend.  This custom order was delivered today, in time for the birthday of a girl who loves Dr Who, and who loves the willow pattern.  I can’t wait to hear how she reacts to it on her birthday!

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And, after all my protests about bibs not being ‘in scope’ they are selling well, I like making them, and I have some plans to expand my ‘range’ for older children and teens.  Stand by for that development (once my new fabric order arrives!!).  In the meantime how gorgeous are these fabrics?

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Another thing that I ticked off my list this week was listing my new stock in my Etsy shop.  I was so busy making things in the lead up to the Markets at the beginning of the month that I didn’t stop and photograph many of them – a good lesson for the future!  Here is a small selection of the newly listed bags.

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And finally, my big news of the day is that I have been accepted to sell my bags through Shop Handmade!  This was part of the plan that I created last year, so I am proud that I have followed my plan, and that I have been accepted to sell in such a wonderful shop.  The biggest danger is that each time I deliver stock I will have to be careful not to leave with just as many pieces of other people’s work!

This week’s plan is to finish more custom orders, sew up some new designs, and get some planning happening!  I hope that your week goes well (and that you get the rain that is so badly needed if you are in Australia!)

For now I am off to think about new directions over a cup of tea.

 

Testing, testing, testing

Although I am still focussed on making the bags that I listed in my last post, and have in fact been able to sew a couple in between wrangling children in the midst of a heatwave, I have also been designing and developing a completely different type of product from my norm, in response to a request from a friend.  I have learnt to sew through plastic, to insert plastic snaps, and tonight am walking around the house with wet pieces of bamboo terry towelling sitting on my linen top so that I can see how much moisture wicks away!  The things we do!! (Don’t worry, all will be revealed when I have finished my testing!) It is perhaps fortunate that we are experiencing the heatwave – doing this in winter would be dreadful, whereas now it is quite pleasant!

I have finished the blue canvas satchel, adorned with blue police boxes, that I gave you a sneak peak of earlier in the week and will take proper photos of that, and the other bag I am working on tomorrow, using my new light tent, but for now, as you have already seen at the top of the page – ta da!

My other news is that I received my photographs from the delightful Grace Costa, a wonderful and very talented photographer here in Canberra, who gathered a group of creative souls together last Sunday and took photos of us so that we could update our websites etc.  I have updated my ‘About’ page, but thought that you might like to see the shot that I selected to use.  (So glad that I went to the hairdresser that day!)

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I hope that you have had a good weekend.  Ours has been a combination of cleaning out and driving a trailer to the rubbish and recycling depot (where I demonstrated quite successfully that my ability to reverse a trailer has deteriorated) and organising the complex school holiday social lives of my chicks.  This week has temperature predictions reaching 39 C (102F) so I am aiming for lots of cool indoor activities to help keep tempers and temperatures under control.  Wish me luck!

I hope that you have a great week!

The birthday decisions

The middle chick’s birthday has arrived, which means that I can report on the gift making and decisions! Of course the most important thing to report is that the chicks are home again, safe in the nest. It is delightful to have them back, but very noisy!! I was woken several times in the night by different ones at different times, and then woken very early yesterday morning by the birthday girl who wanted to remind me that we needed to ring her cousin, who she shares a birthday with. I mumbled something suitable (which, I regret to say, was not “Happy Birthday darling”) and went back to sleep. However by 7.30 they had all been woken and presents were presented and admired and enjoyed. (The return to ‘normal hours’ tomorrow is going to be a shock for their mother!)

After my list making last week I decided to make her a kindle cover,

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and to make her a space of her own. She is currently occupying the top bunk, so a curtain,

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a shelf for her treasures and a fabric bucket (that can be hung) to assist in the collation of those treasures (well – to attempt to keep things tidy really),

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and a pin board (not covered in fabric I regret to say) were the contributions to her own space. She is thrilled! Unfortunately the kindle cover is too small (that will teach me to rely on measurements online instead of measuring the device before she left!!) but I have my technique sorted so will make another one with no problem, and she assures me that she will find things to use it for!

Other gifts she received that had the big tick of approval, that might prove useful ideas for anyone else looking for 9 year old girl present suggestions included a gift voucher to do a cooking class, tapestry and cross-stitch kits, and a Science kit – equipped to grow micro-organisms, isolate DNA, and various other experiments. Oh – and her father bought her a camping chair of her own – a Moon chair – that she is delighted with!

Because her father was in town for one more day he was able to take her, the other chicks, and her best friend, bowling for the afternoon, and then in the evening we all went out for dinner, with another family who are great friends of ours, for Teppenyaki – the birthday girl’s request. We very rarely go out for dinner because once we factor in the dietary restrictions, the boy’s excess energy, my usual state of exhaustion, and the expense, it isn’t worth the effort. However it was such a successful outing that we will do it again! The entertainment factor of Teppenyaki helped, with speedy quick chopping, flames, food catching, and general hilarity.

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Their father stayed the night with us before flying out early this morning.  I had one of those delightful reminders about the advantages of not being married to him anymore when his snoring from the boy’s room, where he was sleeping on the trundle (the boy was soooo excited) kept me awake!!  Ah well, you have to laugh!

I can also report that my birthday, after my initial ambivalence, was just delightful! I ended up having impromptu wine with a dear friend at the pub down the road and as the weather was perfect we were able to sit outside and enjoy it. Then dinner out was with another beautiful friend, at a very trendy restaurant called Eighty Six where we let the waiter pick the food for us, with the instruction that we needed room for dessert! He did a superb job and we had a smoked ocean trout salad with poached egg, followed by a lamb ragout with gnocchi. That left room for my dessert of crème brulee with drunken prunes and pistachio biscotti, and hers of lemon curd with elderberry jelly, yoghurt gel and something else that I can’t remember!! Combine that with some wine, a hard lemonade (in other words lemonade with booze in it) and I was in seventh heaven! Didn’t take any photos (was being cool after all) and had a lovely time enumerating the good things about our advanced ages. We both decided that our decidedly reduced care factors were one of the best things about getting older!

Of course what would one of my random blog posts be without an update on my ‘to-do’ list? I can report that the boy’s room was returned to a sensible state, including some sorting of the toy boxes. His wardrobe was cleaned out and changed over for summer. The presents for the middle chick were completed (without me going overboard for once!). The other things? Not yet. But the weekend is not finished yet!

I hope that your weekend is going well.  The weather here is delightful – hopefully you have the same!

Small bits of creativity

The weekend was full of birthday parties.  Other people’s parties and our barbeque to celebrate the double-digit birthday.  That meant that it was also full of shopping, cooking, cleaning, driving, and organising.  Not a lot of time for crafting.  Well – not by me anyway!

After a week in which I did very little sewing I was keen to get back into it on the weekend.  When I realised that this was unlikely to happen I looked at all I had made without sewing and wasn’t too disappointed.  Marinated chicken skewers, a Pavlova (the gluten-free dessert of choice!), salted caramel fudge (our all time favourite – made in the Thermomix using this recipe – mmmm mmmmm…..) and I experimented with making a satay sauce that used pureed sunflower seeds instead of peanuts, to accommodate one of the guests who has a nut allergy.  It worked surprisingly well for a recipe that I made up based on what was in the cupboard.  Although the child in question of course wasn’t interested in the sauce the adults all enjoyed it!  It was a great night with a lovely group of friends – there was a bunch of boys in the yard with light sabers, a bunch of girls hanging out on the trampoline, and a bunch of adults on the deck enjoying the sunset, the cheese platter and the wine.  A delightful way to celebrate 10 years as a parent!

Although I didn’t manage my own sewing, the girls did some sewing and are justifiably proud of their efforts.  It is their school swimming carnival tomorrow, and they were both keen to make mascots for their house, which wears green in support of the house members.  So these are the results – based on templates that we drew ourselves.

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The middle chick wanted a green owl, so whipped this one up.  (I can also confirm that removing fingerprints from the camera lens does make a difference to your photos!)

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Made of an upcycled cushion cover, with scraps from my collection, the green monster is quite cute.  I was particularly taken with the tail that the eldest chick designed – and her chosen pose for the photo!

I also managed to finish the library bag and get it in the mail.  I am happy with the way it turned out and hope that the little person it is intended for enjoys it, and the books it will carry, for many years to come.  It is such a privilege to be asked to make special gifts for little people.

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Oh look – the fingerprint was obviously there last week too….

So the weekend finished with the house in order, the week planned out and me ready to start my week of early starts with the babysitter lined up to be at the house by 7am to prepare the kids for school and get them there.    Hmmmmm……. the best laid plans.  All was going well this morning – I woke up to find 2 children snuggled in with me, and managed to get up, get dressed, tend to the chickens, have my breakfast and prepare my lunch without them waking.  When the babysitter arrived, however, all hell broke loose!  The dog was going berserk with excitement at seeing the babysitter (who is also our house and dog sitter) which obviously woke the boy.  He had snuggled over next to his sister after I got up, which had pushed her to the edge of the bed.  So when he started to stir and stretch he pushed her out of bed, and she hit her head on the bedside table, so woke with a fright, in pain and screaming.  So between the screaming, the dog, and the other two children waking and attacking the babysitter with hugs and non-stop stream of consciousness stories it was complete chaos!  Looney Tunes could learn a thing or two from our house.

The good news is that the middle chick got the all clear from the doctor and had a lovely day quietly drawing and colouring and playing on her iPod in my office.  The other two got off to school with no drama and we had a calm afternoon after school.

After all of that I decided that I needed to at least start sewing something tonight – my creativity bug was itching away, floating ideas around in my head.  So I went with pillowcases – and managed to make two!  I can of course tell anyone who asks what I will do differently/better next time, but I am trying to learn to just enjoy them as they are, so will iron them and photograph them properly and put them up in my shop soon.

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I am hopeful of a week of sewing after so little over the last couple of weeks, so stand by for a burst of colourful creativity, or alternatively a stream of colourful language if my plans have to change again!

Wishing you all a colourful creative week.