Tag Archives: freecycle

Little steps

I have christened the new sewing space quite successfully! Two fold up baby change mats, on order from a friend. The space works well – not just a lovely view in the day, but good table space for cutting and piecing, so I am giving it a big tick! I do have photos to share with you as long as you promise to ignore the piles of plastic bags under the table! I have collected free fabrics through the freecycle network recently and haven’t had a chance to sort them into keepers/trash/pass-it-on, so the bags form a messy mini-mountain at the moment.

Night time (maybe the shadows hide the mess!)


Daylight (with my lovely big window view to distract from the mess!)

The change mats are an adaptation from the tutorial I used for the last one. I decided that the Velcro that I put on last time, and then had to create a flap to cover to the baby’s head wouldn’t be scratched, could be improved by a different method of closure – Velcro on a flap which highlights the fabric used to line it. So here they are!


The situation with the boy has not been good this week. I have had to do a lot of soul searching, research and analysis to think about why/what/how – why he is the way he is, what is best for him, what is needed, how best to support him, why he flies into these vicious rages, how to avoid them, why he is worse at school than at home, etc, etc, etc….. I think I have worked out some answers. Yesterday I took him to a naturopath who ‘tested’ him and diagnosed that he shouldn’t have any additives, preservatives, colours, or tomatoes. Now while there is not a strong science behind the ‘testing’ I am prepared to try this as it can’t hurt, and may help. Luckily our diet is pretty good due to the girl’s coeliac condition, so it won’t take a radical change to our lifestyle.

I also attended a meeting with Education office and school officials today to discuss a strategy for him. For the first time I think that the school is going to be given the right support to be able to support him. I hope it isn’t a case of too little, too late, as the stress of supporting him has taken it’s toll on school staff. I am just quietly holding my breath and crossing my fingers that the plan will work, and he will be happier, safer, and calmer at school, which will allow him to learn and succeed. Little steps. Little steps.

Finding more sewing projects to keep my mind busy is not hard. Today I have been continuing to cut out and piece together the fabrics to make up an order of 8, yes, 8 super hero capes. One of the capes has a request for a minecraft pick axe as the superhero emblem. I am trying to work out if I can patchwork/pixelate it! Between that and a unicorn head, an old fashioned candy and various other requests I am having fun! Photos will, of course, follow!

I hope that your week is going well, and that there are bright things to balance the need for any little steps.


The last few days have been delightful. The children returned from their holiday full of stories, and very happy. To listen to them the highlight appears to have been a smorgasbord at a flash hotel in Jakarta, which included a room full of desserts, a chocolate fountain as big as the eldest chick, and sushi that was ‘ruined’ by ‘crazy people who put fish eggs on it – why would they do that?’. I suspect that this only became the highlight as it was the last thing they did before heading home. Judicious cross examination by their mother elicited further details of snorkelling adventures, seeing exotic animals, and watching Balinese dancing. They were so tired on the first night that the boy fell asleep in my arms on the couch – something he hasn’t done for years.

We have spent the days since their return preparing for the return to school and the start of the winter terms (shopping trips for underwear, shoes, warm clothes, etc.) I took the three of them to the hairdresser and it was interesting to watch them negotiate with her on their chosen styles. The eldest went for a shorter version of her previous cut (a bob with the fringe grown out) ‘but with more shape to the back’. The artist-in-residence was quite specific about wanting a bob that was longer at the front than the back, and then longer on one side and shorter on the other. Very chic – especially for 10 and 8 year olds who are surrounded at school by girls with long hair. The boy just wanted ‘something cool’ (i.e. something with product that sticks up a bit!) So interesting to watch their style develop, and their individuality shine through, without any prompting by me.

I then had a moment of serendipity. I have been planning for a few weeks to move the eldest chick into her own bedroom. I have also been exploring some better fabric storage and had thought about a chest of drawers for my bedroom – thinking I could decoupage or paint it to fix it up a bit. Then I had changed my mind and was thinking that one of those boring white melamine cupboards would be better for the fabric. I had settled on the bed that I was going to buy for the eldest, and then on some cupboards from the same shop. I borrowed a trailer from a friend to move the queen size bed that was in the spare room back to its owners, with the intention of buying the single bed etc and transporting it home. However, just before we started the bed move I checked my email and looked at my emails from ‘freecycle’ and saw someone offering a 6 drawer pine chest of drawers, and a trio bunk – one with a double on the bottom, and a single on top. So my plans changed and I picked up free drawers and a free bed – so now the eldest chick feels very sophisticated having a double (which also gives me more options for accommodating guests now that there isn’t a spare room), the middle chick finally has a desk in her room for her drawing and writing, and I have a lovely piece of furniture, that matches my existing bedroom furniture, to store my fabric in. And no money was spent. The gods were smiling on me!


The new bed, midway through the move.  Some lessons in bed-making appear to be in  order!


New fabric storage!

Of course, this meant that the rest of the weekend has been spent moving, cleaning, sorting, rearranging, and then cleaning again. So we are starting the week, and the school term, all set up in the new arrangement (and almost de-cluttered…..almost).

Another delight of the weekend was the boy deciding to build a tree house in the backyard. He loves to climb a particular tree that he discovered when his grandmother was visiting. She did that thing that grandmothers do and spent time with him, patiently, which gave him time to find out how to get up, what to do when he was up, etc. Now he shimmies up like a monkey – and has moved various pieces of timber up there, from which he has hung a bag of toys, his binoculars, a torch and his Frankenstein mask (of course!) So much fun to be had with such simple things. It reminded me of my own childhood and the dreams I had while climbing in our peach trees and how many times I hauled bits of wood up, with plans to build a tree house (which – given the size of peach trees, was never going to work!).



In amongst all of this busy-ness, I managed to sew! I have been enjoying making more pencil rolls – 10 so far this week, with more to come. I haven’t managed to list any in my Etsy shop yet – they are all spoken for already.  So my aim is to make more this week, and to list some in the shop.


I also wanted to make something for my niece who has a birthday in the next couple of weeks. She is turning 9 and is beyond ‘toys’, and has enough gadgets. So I decided to appliqué two tops for her. I am quite happy with the way they have turned out. Combined with a pencil roll (because I really am enjoying the perfect blend of fabric and function) her present will be in the mail in the next day or so, to (hopefully) arrive in time for her birthday.


The other delight of the weekend was that realisation that as the children get older, I don’t have to do everything on my own. The girls helped to carry the pieces of the new bed, the chest of drawers and mattress inside from the trailer. The middle chick helped me to dismantle and remove the loft bed that had formed bunks in her room. The boy washed the very dirty car, and the eldest chick did the baking for their school morning teas for the week. The boy sorted through his dress up box and made a pile of the costumes he wants to give away, and the girls both (after some nagging by their mother) sorted through their bookshelves and buckets of toys and identified what they are ready to give away. The end of this little bird having to do it all might actually be in sight!

Of course, as I have been writing this post, the middle chick, and artist-in-residence, has announced that she has chosen her costume for this year’s Book Week parade (normally some time in August) and that we need to buy some silk fabric to make it, and it will be a nice dress that she can wear when it isn’t a costume.  While tucking her into bed I found her plans for the costume on her desk.  Guess there is more work for this little bird yet!


I hope that you have had a lovely weekend, wherever you are, and that the week ahead holds joy for you.


A gift is defined as something given willingly to someone without payment.  Over the last few days I have received gifts of different sorts, all given willingly and without payment, and am feeling very blessed.

My children have returned!   (A gift itself).  My house has been so quiet in their absence.  Now they are back, and the usual chorus of demands, complaints about their siblings, inability to find their own possessions, and arguments over what they are watching on TV in the late afternoon has returned.  With that has also come many, many, spontaneous long hugs from all three, tales of their adventures while they were away, and joy at reuniting with their friends (one friend rang an hour after she returned from her family holiday to invite the middle chick over for a sleepover that night!)  We have had a Uno tournament (I am the least successful participant so far – yes I am trying to avoid calling myself a loser), Lego building, and fort building using the kit that the boy received from his aunt for Christmas (sheets, ropes, clamps – brilliant).  So many gifts captured in that one paragraph – hugs, time, joy, love.

The artist in residence has been working her way through the book of papercraft that she received for Christmas.  (I bought it online from the Book Depository (one of my favourite sites) and didn’t realise until it arrived that it contained patterns from several of my favourite craft bloggers!  Bonus! )   She and the eldest chick helped me to choose fabric from Hawthorne Threads yesterday (another of my favourite sites), and are planning sewing time and projects for themselves.  The boy has learnt to use a hammer to nail in loose nails on the deck, and today washed the deck with his water pistol.


Of course the return to the household and our usual chaos is not without hiccups –kids and mother all getting a bit irritable as we readjust to being in the same space again.  So today I rounded them up, plus a visiting friend, and the dog, and we went for a walk to find a geocache in our neighbourhood.


We haven’t been geocaching for a few months, so once the kids remembered the joy in finding caches (including the eldest willingly climbing a gum tree covered in giant bull ants to retrieve the cache) we then had to find more!  A trip in the car around the nearby area saw us find four in total, including one very tiny micro-cache, hidden in plain sight, that impressed us all.  So with rediscovered enthusiasm we are planning a day of geocaching later in the week.  For those unaware of geocaching, it is a form of outdoor treasure hunting – a free pastime that involves us finding caches that others have left simply for the joy of having people find them and log them.  You can learn more, or register here. True gift giving!

I managed to complete a custom sewing order for a friend last night, and achieve two new firsts – I used bamboo wadding, rather than fusible fleece, and quilted the cover of the art wallet in a form of free motion quilting.  While I have a long way to go, it was a good experience and I am keen to keep practising and experimenting with the technique.  That came about through the gift of support from my friends in my new venture, and the ability to use advice generously and freely shared on the internet.


One of the consequences of the children returning is that I need to get more organised, and tidy up my sewing projects rather than leaving them lying around as I work on them.  I have been sewing at one end of the house and ironing at the other (as a result of a built in ironing board) and kept thinking that a smaller, portable, or table top ironing board would be a good addition, and might reduce the trail of scraps and threads from spreading quite so quickly through the house.  Then last night I saw one come up on Freecycle, asked for it, and was able to pick it up this morning – and it is like new!   A physical gift!  Next up is some more fabric storage.  Might have to look at freecycle for that too.

After days of very high temperatures and a couple of days of extreme fire danger, today we didn’t reach 30˚C, we have had some light rain, and the whole day was overcast.  Just the relief we (and our fire fighters) needed before we head into another week of high temperatures.

The final gift to be mentioned in this post is food related.  A friend dropped in on her way home from the shops last night to leave me with a beautiful fresh piece of salmon, announcing that she had bought too much for her family to eat.  Seared on the barbeque, and eaten for dinner last night with potato and salad (while the heathen children had sausages after refusing the fish) it was a gift to the taste buds!  As I know she reads the blog I can say thank you here as well as in person!  (I have to add that the boy announced that his “favourite fish is flake.  I know it is shark Mum.  I like eating sharks”. Insert the image of a mother rolling her eyes here.)

Of course, just taking and not giving myself would be a good way to ruin the karmic balance, so as a small gesture towards redressing that balance can I encourage you to look at the facebook page of a friend, set up to assist people to understand the benefits of hypnosis. I have never tried this, but after reading her information have a much better idea of the benefits offered. She lives in country Queensland, but is able to provide her services through the wonders of skype, so you can contact her from anywhere in the world! You can find all the details here – https://www.facebook.com/#!/JessieHodgsonHypnosis

So – what gifts did you receive this week?