Tag Archives: weekend

Nurturing the muse (or just attempting sanity)

Sunday night in the nest is always a little chaotic. I try to hold on to the freedom of the weekend as long as possible, and then reality sets in at about 6pm and I remember that I need to clean up from that very ‘freedom’, prepare for the week ahead, load my photos, list any new items, write this blog entry, put clean sheets on the stripped beds, sign notes for school, feed the dog, and tackle Mount Washmore (which is really Mount Foldmore but is still referred to as Washmore – a teetering pile of clean clothes, sheets, towels, school uniforms, sports uniforms, and generally everything that will be needed urgently first thing tomorrow morning if I don’t fold and sort it tonight.)

In case I haven’t said this before, I LOVE weekends. After years of being a busy social butterfly I am now the complete opposite and work very hard to keep weekends as free from commitments as possible. Sports fixtures and birthday parties are about the extent of it. When I find myself with a day with no ‘bookings’, instead of rushing off to ring my friends to see who is free to go off on some wild adventure with multiple children in tow, these days I stay very quiet about it and inwardly breathe out at the thought of a day where I don’t have to be anywhere at any time.  Which means that I have time to sit, have a cup of coffee and take in the sight of hot air balloons drifting past the back of my porch, looking like musical notes against the electric wires.  (I was feeling a bit poetic this morning!)

Of course I love it when I do catch up with my friends, and think ‘we should do this more often’ – there is just no pleasing some people – but the reason for keeping weekends as simple as possible is that it is part of my plan to keep myself sane (or on bad days – to attempt for sanity!) I suspect that it also contributes to nurturing my creative muse, mojo, or whatever you want to call it! Between a busy office during the week, lots of after school commitments with the children, and all the other busy ‘stuff’ that just comes from being a family, if I don’t carve out some hours for myself on the weekend, then I start to disappear.

Luckily this weekend had a good balance of sports and parties – only one of each – and great weather, so I was able to do lots of thinking, planning and some sewing. I felt rotten on Saturday and thought I was getting another cold, but a bit of resting seemed to do the trick. I used the resting time to make lists. Lists of the things I want to make, lists of the things I want to make right now, lists of the things I could make if I suddenly had a time-turner and could be in two places at once, and then, lists of the supplies I ‘need’ to buy. It was a long list of lists. The inability to do everything I want, all at the same time, can be a little overwhelming, so I chunked it down. The end result? Two overnight bags from the great pattern I bought at the beginning of the year from Gingercake.  One with some lovely fabric I received from Spoonflower earlier this week…

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And the other with some divine retro fabric I bought a few weeks ago….

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I am quite happy with them.  I also intend to make a travel pack to go with them – a zip up pouch and a draw-string bag, but the reality of life means that that might not happen for a day or two….

During the week I made the bag to go with the pouch I posted on Wednesday – a custom order for a colleague at work.  Again I included an adjustable strap – will definitely be making more of those!

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Some of the other ideas I am itching to start on?  A series of appliqued t-shirts, some travel bag sets, some cushion covers, some hats, hot water bottle covers, skirts, pillowcases, ipad covers…..  sheesh!  You can see why my brain is buzzing!

Taking one thing at a time…… have a look at this delightful offering from Spoonflower….

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one of my friends, immediately upon seeing it on Facebook, asked for scatter cushions.  She has a fantastic eye!  I had just been sitting there admiring it and wondering how best to use it….. and cushions are perfect!  (As are travel bag sets I suspect….)   So at some point, that is what will happen.

I often write here about my ongoing struggle to ‘maintain the balance’.  I read an online article today where it said “Balance is a myth. Parenting isn’t a tight-rope walk; it’s a dance. Strive for rhythm instead of balance, and trust yourself to move to the ever-changing beat.”

I think I like this concept.  Balancing always feels a little precarious.  Dancing, however, has moments of fun, of pure joy, and of fumbled steps.  I might adopt this.

I had two random moments of joy today at the hands of my children.  The boy was playing with an electronic world globe that they got for Christmas (from grandparents who don’t have to hear it all day long…….) and started singing the national anthem.  I was quite proud of his patriotism, and knowledge of the song, until I listened a little closer and heard him singing “Avast Australia Fair”……. apparently we live in a land of pirates.  (For the non-Australian readers amongst you the correct phrase is “Advance Australia Fair”.

Then some hours later the two girls were talking about something on the computer and the eldest chick said to the middle chick “You are one little world of weird”.  Her sister (fortunately)took it as a compliment, while I sat and marvelled at the imagery one phrase from a 10 year old can elicit.

As I head off to tackle the mountain of clean laundry, and face the working and school week, I can reflect that I am still one of the lucky ones.  My sanity is reasonably present, my muse and mojo seem to be in the vicinity and my children are delightful.  Especially now that they are all asleep.

Have a great week as you work towards another fabulous weekend.

Friday Finds – 20 beach or weekend bag free tutorials

As we settle into winter here in Canberra I thought that a reminder of the warmth and colour of summer was timely.

I love beach bags.  The ability to carry towels, hats, sunscreen, dry clothes, books, water bottles, snacks and all the others things that we need at the beach is essential.  They also need to look great.  Some of these patterns will make a giant bag to carry everything in, while others can be adapted to be a personal beach bag for the discerning and stylish beach goer (who isn’t carrying beach gear for a family of 15!)

I also love a good overnight bag – or weekender bag.  Packing up a change of clothes, a good book, and a sense of adventure and heading off for a day and night away is always special.  Some of these bags will suit both purposes.  Either way they will see you through many expeditions.  The best thing about them?  They are all free, supplied through the generosity of bloggers (and on a couple of occasions, commercial websites.)

IMG_3131             Pleated beach bag – Thimble

   Mesh bag – Martha Stewart

    Beach bag duffle – Reanna Lily Designs

  Big Weekend Bag – Guthri and Ghani

  Insulated, Laminated Summer Tote – Sewplicity

  Big Mommy Beach Bag – Put Up Your Dukes

Summertime Beach Bag Tutorial by CrazyLittleProjects.com  Summertime Beach Bag – Crazy Little Projects

  Oversize Beach Bag – Favecrafts

  Large patchwork bag – All People Quilt

Big Bucket Tote – Pellon Projects

  Carpetbagger – Weekend Designer

Charm pack tote bag – Teresa Downunder

  Large cinched tote – This Big Oak Tree

  Large Tote with Rounded Opening – Make it and Love it

  I am not your typical Jane Bag – Riley Blake Designs

Duffle bagDuffle bag – Westminster fibres

Patchy Boho Sling Bag  Boho Sling Bag – The destashification project

  Vintage Market Bag  – Sew Homegrown
Life's a Beach Tote Life’s a Beach Tote Bag – Fabric.com
And for while you are on your camping holiday
  Camping Shower Bag – Our Busy Little Bunch
I hope you find something you love in this collection!

The Friday flop

Ah, the weekend.  There is something quite special about a Friday night.  All the pressure of having to be on top of housework, homework, school lunches, laundry, etc, for the next day is removed and all the rules are relaxed.  In my house the kids refer to Friday night as “Pizza Night”.  I make them homemade pizza – one gluten-free with ham and cheese, one gluten-free with ham, olives and cheese and one gluten with ham olives and cheese.  (Yes – adventurous gourmands my children are not).  They pick a movie and are allowed to eat in front of the TV, with their pizza, while I sip a glass of wine, check messages on-line, talk to friends on the phone, and let them run a bit loose.  We all just let go a bit, and breathe out a bit and generally flop.  I love it!

Of course every now and then I think of the Friday nights of a decade ago, or two decades ago, where the image of this sort of Friday night would have been depressing, and think that I am glad that I did my partying when I was younger, because now I don’t think that this is depressing at all.

The look back at the week takes place as part of the Friday night ritual.  This Friday marks the end of my second week back at work, and my first week of my new routine of starting early, and leaving early to pick up the kids.  By Wednesday I was feeling exhausted and that this approach wasn’t working, as my son was having some of his old issues again, and I was back at the school having meetings again.  But fast forward just two days and we seem to all be settling into the new routine much better, and I am able to have perspective on giving us all time to adjust before I panic and come up with a new strategy!  I am hoping that as we settle, I will be able to find a bit of a routine for my own time – that small window after everyone is in bed – so that I can blog regularly, sew regularly and have time for keeping in contact with my family and friends without feeling like I am dropping the ball somewhere.

I suspect that part of the reason that I feel so good tonight is that I have had wonderful news from my mother that some test results we have been waiting on for over a week have returned and that we don’t have bad news from them.  Many prayers have been answered and we are so grateful.  All of this has meant that her visit to us has been postponed, but we are making our way through this transition to school and work on our own quite well, so I have told her to not rush over here, and to take some time at home until we see how things are going.  A huge weight has lifted off my shoulders (although probably not as big as the one she was carrying quietly!)

So all of this means that I had a slow sewing week to start with, but that my momentum has picked up as the week has gone on.  I photographed the pillowcases and listed them on Etsy, then the next day posted them on Facebook, and they sold straight away – to the same lovely friend who bought the first set.  It is such lovely encouragement to have that kind of feedback, it spurred me on to do a bit more.  I de-constructed and then re-constructed a bag I was making for a woman I work with.  It just wasn’t sitting right and I wasn’t happy with it, even though I had ‘finished’ it and photographed it two weeks ago.  But with a clear mind I was able to see where I needed to change it, so I did, then took it to her yesterday.  I am much happier with the end product now and she is happy with the bag, so I feel good about that too.

I then received three orders in the space of half an hour or so, through my Facebook page – two library bags and a hand bag.  I feel so privileged to be able to make things for people who I know, and I have had the fun of suggesting colours, designs and fabrics through the internet – learning all the time!  Two women I work with have requested bags with specific Spoonflower fabrics, so that order went in last night.  A good friend also reminded me that she wanted three of my iPod pillowcases…..and all of a sudden I need to prioritise projects!  I am so excited at the chance to keep making great things.  Although our weekend looks a bit busy I can see packets of time for sewing, so let’s hope that the outcome is better than last weekend.  I did start one library bag last night, but as I picked it up tonight I realised that my decision to stop sewing last night due to the hour was a good one – I had sewed the front and back panels together with the front panel on upside down!  So the unpicking will occur before anything else happens.  Luckily the applique went on the right way.

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My other piece of creativity last night was another batch of salted caramel fudge……. I wanted to make something to take to a morning tea with my team today….. and any excuse will do!  The kids were thrilled that I had slipped a little piece in their lunches today alongside the healthy options, and everyone at work enjoyed it.  Now to remember to make the bit that has not yet been cut last more than a day….

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This weekend is the Royal Canberra Agricultural Show – which the children had planned to enter the cooking competition.  Unfortunately their busy mother forgot the put the entry in on time…..  but we have decided that attending and scoping out the competition for next year is a good excuse to attend this year anyway.  I have made it clear that we are not going on rides and they were all very focussed on seeing the animals and exhibitions, until tonight when they discovered the list of show bags available……. and have spent the evening examining the very long list to identify what they want to buy.  I haven’t yet determined how much money I am going to give them to use to budget for their visit, but it will be interesting to see how it all goes.

Then on Sunday I have a concert to attend – Neil Finn and Paul Kelly – two of my favourite Australian and New Zealand musicians.  I am very excited about it.  It starts the warm up to get me excited about my Easter trip to Byron Bay for Bluesfest.  Expect to be bored with the details of that over the next few weeks…..because the headliners are big – Paul Simon, Robert Plant (you know – the Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin), Ben Harper, Chris Isaac, the Steve Miller Band (even just saying the name makes me think of space cowboys), Counting Crows, Santana…….  oh look – I have already started getting excited!  I just have to get my head around the logistics of where the children will be, what camping gear I will be packing, doing the drive on my own, etc…..

The Friday flop is kicking in – the house is a bit messy, no sewing has been done, the kids are asleep and I am about to head to bed to read for a while.  I hope that your week has been good and that you have great weekend plans to be excited about.