{pincushions} fingers and houses in tea cups

Just a little bit of pincushion inspiration, for those of you part of my swap - and for those of you just wanting some sweet little inspiration this morning. these little pieces are so intricate and lovingly made - almost too good to use as a pincushion; but then again - isn't it just.so.good to use  and see beautiful things in your everyday life.

{cloudy and coldish on this last day of September. the sun was here this morning, shinning in my bedroom window, but has now disappeared behind a sky of mottled grey and dense and dark white}.

Finger pincushions from Victoria & Albert Museum shop. Found on Lobster and Swan.
A whole Town tea cup pincushions from Mimi K (flickr). Thanks Holly for sending me the link. 
*all images used with thanks from original source.

pin cushion swap details {and sunshine smile photos}

I'm listing the details of my little pincushion swap, so that I can keep everyone's details in one place.

Golly - having nine people in the swap was more than enough for me to organise. Super glad that I didn't have more sign up, or I'd have been organising emails and addresses for longer than my mind could figure. {It's a bit distracting having the 3 1/2 yr old asking me about, and chatting incessantly about, fairies and princesses and mermaids and things. "I only know about mermaids and princesses and fairies. Mum how do you write Snow White, is it an 'S'." (except she doesn't say "snow", she says "no white"). "What colour is Rapunzal's hair? I haven't seen the show or movie or book, have I mummy." and..........}.

So - the swap details are:
+ Everyone has two swap partners (except for Holly who has one partner - due to being the only realist in life and acknowledging that she shouldn't take on too much extra workload! If you've received two partners, and only want one - let me know so I can reallocate the names).
+ Make one pincushion to send each of your swap partners. You may include other little bits and pieces in with your swap, but you are not obliged at all. I trust all of you to make and send something beautiful.
+ Your partner doesn't know who you are - it's a secret swap. So you can blog about what you're making and sending, but please don't say who you're sending to..... You don't need to blog until you've posted your swaps, if you don't want, or you can show progress as you go.
+ You have one month to get your swap made and sent. I'm setting 25th Oct as the date to (try and) have your parcel posted off. But please, don't stress about it - if you feel that you can't get your swap posted in time, let me know, so I can let your partner know.

The swappers are:
and me.

Holly suggested the fun idea of  these shrinky dink pins (from Wee Wonderfuls), if anyone wants to have a go at doing that (looks like good kid fun as well). And Diana sent me this link for some super cute vegetable pin cushions, that double as little table decorations -
There's also some tutorials and links that I listed on my original posting about the swap, here. Do send any more you find and I'll put them up for all to look at. 

Okay - go off and have pin cushion making fun. I know it's school holidays for some of you (or coming up soon anyway), so perhaps you can get the little ones designing pin cushions and helping with the fabric selections. 

*These images are making me smile with happiness. The top one taken with my computer camera; Ari + me sitting in the afternoon sun on the front steps. (look at that glow in my newly-hennaed hair!). The other two taken of me (by Mishi) and Mishi (by me) with her flower fairy mask on. And big smiles. Sweet sweet little babes.

housekeeping {swap details + giveaway winner}

Just a bit of bloggy house-keeping I need to finalise. {You didn't think I meant real housekeeping, did you! Last week I cleaned up my desktop - my computer desktop, not my actual real office.... all those kids drawings and important documents are still sitting there waiting to be filed}.

I've sent an email out to everyone who requested to be part of my pin cushion swap. You still have time to join (until Wednesday) if you want. Just send me an email {redseedstudio@gmail.com}. If you have already contacted me about joining, but haven't yet received an email - please let me know, perhaps I had your details wrong.

It seems everyone is happy to go for two pincushion swappers - more fun packages in the post (come and going) I say! I'll have all the swap details emailed out to you by Thursday afternoon (depending on how the day goes).

Also, I've picked the winner for the Craft Hope book giveaway. There's so many wonderful ideas out there in the community about how to help our fellow human beings. It's so just amazing to be part of a group of thoughtful, sharing, generous and talented crafters / bloggers / people.

The winner is of the Craft Hope book is ...............

......... (is that enough anticipation...............)..................................................................................Allison!

{Allison, please email me your details so I can get the book + extra little things in the post to you. I know you'll have lots of fun with this great crafting-for-a-cause book.}

*just a few more of the out-take kid images from the photo shoot. 

pin+cushion swap

Do you know that I don't actually have a really suitable pincushion. That's a crime, isn't it! For a sewer, crafter, maker sort-of-person. I should have enough pincushions for every crafting space in my life. {downstairs studio, upstairs room, that draw in the front room, my go-places-sewing-stuff, and now at my new studio}.
But I have only two teeny little pretend pincushions. Just little bits of stuffed things (one's a pear, the other's a cone thing, based on those cone tree things that were very popular a few whiles ago -can't remember the link, sorry). Neither of them are big enough to actually properly accomodate the pins I have strewn around.

I love these apples from boxsqaure. Here's a tutorial.
{Mishi + I saw some of these at Sooki, made of the most beautiful silk 
Kimono scraps. She wanted, but I resisted......}

So, here's my thoughts. Because I don't want to just go the boring route and make myself one; I'm suggesting a little (big?) pincushion swap. I know one happened a bit ago somewhere in blogland, and I missed out on being part of that. It did look like fun. Did you miss out too, and now want to be part of something.......

Oh yum! Love this juicy pyramid from The Purl Bee. 

So - if you're in need of a new pincushion, or want to be part of some swapping fun; then just leave a comment and send me an email {redseedstudio@gmail.com}. I'll see how many people are interested and then organise partner swaps and things like that.
There's not going to be any rules about what sort of pincushion - I think most all bloggers out there are pretty decent about sending beautiful swaps (from what I've seen over the years). You can send just a pincushion, or send some other little things (but aren't obliged to). I think perhaps lets make it a secret swap - so you won't know who is sending you a pincushion, and you'll send yours as a surprise. {You'll get to do some blog lurking, so you know their favourite colours, fabrics, etc....}.

These Very Easy Pincushions, from Purl Bee, would look so cute en masse.

There's a friendly looking mouse here - who would look a bit like an echidna, hedgehog or porcupine when filled with pins. Cute!
And I can't get over this bee hive. What detail and dedicated for some pins. How fun. 
I've seen this lovely shape of pincushion around a lot - but, as usual, the fabrics really make it pop, don't they. Dear Fii makes the sweetest piles of pincushions.
Anna Maria makes some spectacular cushions for the pins. 
And this pretty little flower one.
{I could go on and on and on...... show me where your favourites are.}

So - are you up for it?
{Include your details in the email: Name, Blog name or flickr or whatever you online thing is, Fav colours (or anything you don't like - eg no felt or pink or something like that....).}

Swap from a French friend {Cozy Homemaking}

When I arrived home on Monday evening {after my weekend away at my dad's (with no kids!) for the Environment Day faire}, there was a parcel waiting for me. Not just any parcel - a lovely big box. I knew straight away what it was.

Recently Sonia and I decided to do a little swap, and she was so prompt with her end of bargain that I've already got the beautiful.delicious.thoughtful.warm.handmade.loveliness in my hands. And some in my tummy too!
Look at this sweet little fabric coaster. With my name custom stamped, and those lovely little stitches. I've been meaning for such a long time to make myself a little coaster to put my cup on while I'm sitting at my desk, at my computer. Did you read my mind, Sonia? This is so pretty - I'm going to love looking at it every day under my cup of tea or dandelion.
And a little note book, brightened up with floral fabric and stitching details. I'll be carrying this around with me every day, in my handbag, to jot down all those things that pop into my head. I'm learning more and more in life to use the beautiful things and not keep them for a special occasion. Everyday's a special occasion, no?
I've already decided to make myself a skirt out of the fabric. It's the soft sweet green + pink floral print seen in the background above. Perfect Summer skirt - which means that I do have a few months before I have to make it (being realistic here, knowing I won't need it for Winter, so I'll put it in my fabric stack for a little while to enjoy). Of course, Mishi already suggested a dress for herself....
And the kids love their new books. We've been making up the story each time we read it, as it's all written in French. It's so nice to see some words that I can work out. But it's nicer still for the kids to have to make the story up, rather than relying on me to tell it to them. They're both very interested and curious about le tour Eiffel. It's also giving me a chance to tell them little bits about my visit to Paris many many lifetimes ago.

And thank you Sonia for the Marie Claire Idees magazine. I can barely believe that you didn't even open it up and read it. I've long seen this magazine around the web, and thought it looked interesting. Even though I can't read it, I'm loving looking at the fashion, the projects and bright fun French magazine. I think I'll be able to work out how to make some of the sewing projects in here, which is good. It's a great magazine, with a mix of things that I really like. 

You're wondering about them tummy bit.... well... Ummmm... I guess I could take a photo of a half eaten box of galettes or sucettes.

Thank you thank you thank you so much Sonia for your beautiful, thoughtful, generous and inspiring gifts. My whole family appreciates it. The kids love their books and cookie cutters (I'll do some baking with them today to use them), and I am so touched by all that you have made and sent me. 
I do promise that I'll get your swap sent off this week. Fingers crossed, promise.

*Please visit Sonia's beautiful blog Cozy Homemaking, and also her very inspiring Naturally Dyeing blog. Check out her Etsy shop, where she has some very special pieces made with love, care, and attention. (She currently has free shipping worldwide).

stamping love

This afternoon the lovely Holly, came up to me with two sweet little bags for my kids. I peeked inside with excitement and anticipation, and WOW! Inside the cutest, funkiest, funnest, sweetest, coolest, best little creatures I've seen. The girl who declared (yesterday in our printing class) that she can't draw! (those are her cute penguin-looking, chicken fish prints from yesterday's class).Holly hand carves these glorious little treasures. You read that right; she hand carves them. Such intricate details, such attention and love and care and dedication and talent.
And, boy did my kids LOVE love love them! They peeked at them in the car on the way home, and chatted and looked and swapped to look at each other's, and talked about the little bag they were in. And chatted some more, about Holly, who has the giant ice-cream at the craft market (you know the things kids remember!).And, as soon as we got home from the necessary supermarket shopping, they pulled them out, grabbed newspaper and paper (well, Sam set up the "keep table clean" precautions). And they started printing. And printing. And printing. And Ashey was here too. And the three of them could have spent a whole day making pictures out of 6 different stamps, and drawing little designs and stories and writing around them.
I just want to say that Holly, and her mum, are two of the loveliest and most caring and genuine and loving people I have met and been able to hang out with. We had such fun next to each other at the Melbourne show, and while we're not next to them this time around, we've been visiting each other's stalls often. These are two people who we would never have met in any other situation (even apart from the fact they live so far away in Melbourne). They have such a fantastic mother-daughter relationship; that mutual respect and total deep care for each other. That thing that perfect mother-daughters have together. That wonderful relationship I enjoy being a part of, lucky to be in their presence together.
Holly sells her hand carved stamps on Etsy, along with some other little pieces she sews and makes in her spare time. And look at her newest (and most dedicated!!!!!) venture; handstamping fabric. I love love love those acorns. What would you make with your own acorn fabric?

I'd best get onto finishing my swap things for Holly, hey!

PS - I'm eating chocolate for dinner now at 9pm, after I ate lunch at 5.30pm. That's the craziness of Craft Show. I'll take some photos of our stall tomorrow, and some other crafty loveliness.

Good night xxx

list of things

Time is squashed up, in my head I can't see or think. I've got tunnel vision, and things are slipping off the edges of my earth / viewpoint. I have lots to tell you, so I'm going to try and condense into short points.
:: I have (finally) randomly chosen two winners for my magazine giveaway. Anna and Elizabeth, please send me your address details. (ellieabeck AT hotmail DOT com). We'll see how long it takes me to get to the post office.
:: Recently I joined in with this children's giveaway, sort of as a stand against the CPSIA that has been threatening the livelihood of a lot of handcrafters and small businesses. I think things have sorted out, for the meantime at least there's a bit of relief in the emergency of the issue. My swap partner is Bean.I have until Tuesday to finish and post my item. I *think* I will get it finished tonight (okay... umm tomorrow), as all I have to do is iron and then top stitch the last little bit. Photos so far haven't proven to be too successful (hopefully tomorrow they'll work out better). It's a fairly biggish doll blanket / wrap thing. I knew straight away that I wouldn't be able to make a softie or anything similar that I'd be happy with. I'm really happy with the way this has turned out. Saccharine pinks and blues and lavenders, and very pretty, but hopefully something that will be loved for a long time.
I am also making one for Mishi's 2nd birthday, which is on Thursday. I just know that she'll love to have a special piece to wrap her babies, or picnic with them, or put them to bed.
:: A dear blogland friend has started a very special project called Craft Hope. The current project is to sew pillowcase dresses for some children who don't get to have pretty and handcrafted items in their lives. Children from the Pan de Vita shelter in Mexico.:: This is a small stack of the first cards I've been sewing for the Stitches & Craft Show (S&C). Many many many more cards are needed to be cut and sewn, and then enveloped and packaged before the month is up. This is just the start.:: This afternoon I really loved walking home from work, wearing my own skirt. Designed and sewn by me, in a rush on Christmas morning, a frantic stress that I wanted something new to wear. I had this fabric, which my sister found for me at the second hand shop - a structured cotton, but like an upholstery fabric in a way. Very textured and ornate. The first time I washed it to red ran onto the white, but upon the second wash it came out, and I soaked it in some pre-coloured water, which gave the white this glorious redish brown sheen.This morning I was complimented for my skirt by my friend - magazine editor and her husband/stylist/designer. We were at a fashion shoot for the next issue. I wasn't modelling or anything, but .... you know, like, well my husband was! A skate board shoot - with my man showing off his board tricks. I'll show you when the issue has been published. Bit exciting, hey. (Think it's about time I got myself a full length mirror, this photo is taken from up on Ari's top bunk bed).
:: I want to write a whole post about this, but will mention it here (in case I run out of *time* to do the whole big thing). It's been almost two weeks now since Mishi has had any mummy milk. Yes, that means she's been weaned. I think I would possibly be sadder if I wasn't so pleased to have that extra bit of sleep it brings (occassionally). At the same time she's finished with nappies - though we still have some accidents with bed wetting.
:: I haven't had much time to check out all my regular bloggy reads as often as I would love. So, if any of you notice anything you think I really need to know in blogland please do tell me.
:: At work today I made a really long and quite unrealistic list of what I need to achieve in the next two weeks, at least, for getting ready for S & C. Tomorrow I think I'll rewrite it, and actually add things like have a shower, play with my kids, do the shopping, cook some dinner, wash the dinners, take the kids to the park, return the overdue library books, say hello/goodbye to my husband (as he races off to work, or I race off to work), talk to my family, plan a birthday party, make a birthday cake (or two), sew a new birthday dress, drink my tea even if it is cold, blog...... Busy month ahead.Okay. That's enough for now, hey. Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this epic update (written on my very slow 10yr-old borrowed computer).


My head is stuffed up with too many emotional thoughts at the moment. I cannot quite get things into perspective. Hopefully a night of sleeping on it will put things back into a better peace. Or maybe I'll have to let go, and accept that some things are lost.
All is okay, don't worry. Just some more of those friendship things I've been feeling of late, come to a bit of head. Have to get over the hump of talking things out and see if we can still be friends. I hope so, but am not sure.

Other things are filling my head, squeezing things out of my eyes and ears. Giving me crazy headaches and hot heads. Ari tells me that I should just tell the headache to, well in his words "shoot itself away". He's quite into shooting things at the moment, only in words. He really doesn't have much idea what he's saying, but it gets reaction from us all!

This is Ari's daily to-do list. "clean house; play; visit grandma; robot machine music; aoolqaom ooimorinim ooaaiom" .
I wish I could take Lori's advice and increase my personal white space . Just not happening at the moment. This week particularly has been so busy with different things. Working more hours than usual (two days for me and two days for Sam), and a new small business course two days a week for me.
We did have a wonderful morning meeting some new friends at a lovely park. So so so good to meet someone and be able to chat and have so much in common, and your children get on well. A sweet little boy, with such lovely manners, who takes in so much around him and talks to us all. Ahhhh, I can see many many fun moments spent with this mama and little one. And also many mama only outings for us grown ups. Sounds fun, hey!

Talking about Mama only outings. I have been getting out a bit more without the kids dragging off me. Apart form working where I finish at 8pm, and then bus home to (hopefully) in bed kids, I went out for dinner with some friends last weekend. Just me and them. Glorious. I can't wait to do it again.

So, a few other things are: I have joined this little swap, on a newly discovered blog. Go and have a look, sure to be fun. Even though I have so much work to be doing over the next 2-3 months, this is something that I want to be part of. It's a kid focused swap - and I know my two little ones will love to receive something for themselves. They are always complaining that they don't get anything. And believe me, the junk mail catalogues aren't good enough for discerning Ari. Though Mishi is quite happy with them.

I am still trying to compose my New Year's thoughts/resolutions. Starting to think it won't quite happen, so not stressing too much. A few little things I'm wanting are to do some more writing. I found this the other day, while I was cleaning up some old papers. Written in my diary while I as on my backpacking trip on my own. So, I'll let you know when I add more writings to my other blog :: lines on a page.
I really like Jade's idea of authenticity. And Anna's word of change. Apart from stop-procrastination, I also would like to try and be more conscious, more in the moment. Not always planning and thinking the next thing. very hard for me, and this year especially when I know that I want to achieve so much professionally with Red Seed Studio, and personally especially working towards a new house.
What are your new year thoughts and resolutions and words??

I have some exciting news, but I'll leave that for a post all of it's own. It's the reason I have so much work ahead of me in the next many months.
Also, I have a giveaway planned, maybe this weekend or next week sometime. So check back.
Good night friends. Take care.

crashing waves and other dreams

Last night I dreamt that I was being washed over by a big crashing wave. We had all been sitting quietly, happily playing on the sand - looking at shells and digging and exploring in our own thoughts. And then suddenly a massive wave - over our heads. I couldn't keep afloat easily, I was holding both kids in my arms and struggling. People were around me; family members - Sam, Dad, other people; all trying to keep their heads above the water and away from the rocks. For some strange reason (okay, it as a dream - lots of strange things happen!); there were knives flashing through the water, and that was something else we had to be weary of.
When I got up this morning, with the dream still in my mind, I knew that I was about how I'm feeling with things :: life :: at the moment. The knives I'm not so sure about, little bit scared to delve into what they could mean. But the water over my head - trying to stay afloat, well that's pretty obvious.
There are lots of things I feel so waterlogged about, that I'm constantly playing chase with, trying to achieve and getting done. So many things I have promised - to myself or other people - that I'm very behind in. I think the most important person I feel I'm letting down is my little Ari.
I promised him a bunny a long time ago, and have run into a few issues with that. Then we talked about a turtle - a red one; as red is his favourite and turtles are his favourite. I keep promising that tomorrow it will be ready. Yet, somehow, I don't quit know where to start.
And the 100th Post prizes are still "in the works". Sorry everyone, but they will happen. I know it for sure, just not sure when. And I still haven't finished or posted these two swaps that are now more than a month overdue - I feel really bad about that.
And then, for myself. All those sewing things I keep planning and dreaming (and talking) about are happening much too slowly. The market I am hoping to have a stall at is next weekend and I don't have very much stock at all for it.
BUT :: in the past two weeks we have had some lovely days. And I have made a few things, for some special people. And my mind is still ticking over, and planning and dreaming................

A gift for a special friend's birthday.

Hand embroidered, zippered purse and

a hand stitched ribbon, button and yoyo bookmark. With some lovely soap.

With beads from the collection my Mum gave me years and years ago. That I have been too scared or tentative to delve into until now - slowly slowly.
Bread rolls for my family's dinner. LSA (linseed, sunflower and almond meal) makes a lovely addition to the plain organic white flour. Kneaded and rolled with love.

A new dress for my Mishi. Based on a dress that my Mum made for Sylvia when she was a little girl (25 years ago); and that I discovered when visiting my Dad a few months ago. I made another that was a little too big, but will be wonderful in Summer time! Alexander Henry Yellow Birdseed, with a green gosgrain ribbon - though it still needs a button at the back.

And beautiful sunlight and views and smiles and laughs and happiness at home and out and about with our loved ones.

And lots of treasures from Mother Earth.

swap photos

I just wanted to put these images up here, so that I can keep seeing them!
This is just a part of the swap items I posted to Sarah and her family for our Valentine's Swap. I forgot to photograph everything. I think I go through the thing of feeling silly about taking photos of everything (combined with the lack of time, and generally a Being hanging off my arm during the good photography light hours). Yet, if I don't take photos then I wish that I had - and sometimes it's too late. Oh well, not everything needs to be recorded - does it!
I really like this card. I love the upside-down geisha lady, and the orange heart is fabric from a lamp shade Sylve gave us years ago that never opened properly. And the other orange-red pieces we tie-dyed quite a few months ago. As a family we sat in our backyard and tied and dipped and laughed and drew. Little memories for me.
Ari's writing of the first letters of their names. And his little hands. So small, so inquisitive, so creative.

The fabric for the bags is something that I've had for a long time - waiting for the right project. Simple little bags, with ribbon handles. And, of course, those special drawings of Ari's. Giving him calico and a fabric pen - and (trying to) letting him do whatever he wants. Of course, I go through the thing of wanting his drawings to be 'perfect' when they are to be given, or shown, to someone else. I have to let go of this need for his drawings to be something - rather than some scribbles.

The pink one for Annika is a person - I think maybe it was a girl, maybe even her. I told Ari about who we were sending these to, and he was very excited for that to be happening. The green/yellow bag for Gunnar is a lady beetle (I think?), with lots and lots of legs. Ari really likes drawing lots of legs for all his creatures. He counts them as he's drawing, and keeps adding more.

I forgot to photograph the little wardrobe pouch that I made for Sarah. It was my first real attempt at 'quilting'. None of it was cut out straight or square, so wasn't sewn straight. It really showed me that I did need to buy the rotary cutter - which I now love using! I had wanted to fill it with lavendar, but couldn't find out from customs if that would be okay or not. I know things coming into Australia are very strictly searched.
Also I stitched together a heap of paper hearts, in a long string to hang up. At the bottom I threaded some beads that my Mum gave me a long time ago. Two whole boxes of assorted beads, just waiting for me to stop feeling so precious about them, and start using them for something, anything.
I have lots more hearts that I cut out at the same time. Sitting, waiting for me to stitch them - easy job, just procrastination, and excuses. Story of my life.....
Arhhh well, trying to stop feeling the guilt about not achieving it all. Trying to realise that I can just sit and enjoy the quiet moment when Mishi is asleep, and Ari drawing, and the washing up done, the nappies folded....
We are still watching the mail box, waiting for the mail man to deliver our swap package. Probably looked so lovely that he wanted to keep it!

swaps :: new projects

Well, I finally managed to get my swap posted to Sarah for the Valentines Swap. It seemed to take me so long to get it completed and then extra days to get to the post office than necessary - but finally it's headed off to her home.
I really enjoyed this swap, for so many reasons. This was my second swap, and I'm loving the friendship and community that has been developing for me lately, mainly through blog-land. While making my Valentines swap I was thinking of Sarah and her family - of how I have so enjoyed reading her blog over the last .... has it been a year, I'm not sure? Not just the reading of her blog - but the feeling like I was being welcomed in. And the inspiration of her projects, her days, her children, her words and photographs (and the photographs of her son, as well!).
I also really enjoyed this swap because it gave me a heap of ideas and motivation to make sure I send some Valentines to my loved ones - friends and family. I have projects started that I will be attempting to finish over the next few nights (though I have busy days ahead).

I also just jumped into some of my projects, and didn't over-think them. I feel that I may make this my year of just doing, and experimenting, and trying things. To not worry about the mistakes or the end result so much as the fun of the making. While I do want to try (when I have a few spare moments) to start some form of business from my sewing / craft, I want it to be something I enjoy doing for me - not for the end salable product. I think that so many things happen from just doing, and learning how to use basic plans, but being flexible about it.

For now, I'll only show snippets of what I sent - I do want it to be a surprise! But hopefully next week I will have more finished projects to show you.

Next weekend I am going to a fabric manipulation workshop. I am so looking forward to this - to learning heaps of new techniques, to hopefully learning how to put a zip in (once and for all!!), and having a whole day of sewing sewing sewing with fabric scraps. And, also, to spending the whole day with my sister (who is also doing the workshop). We both have young children, and while we visit each other often, we rarely have long moments of time for just being, or chatting, or creating together and for ourselves.

On other topics :: Today we went to look at a kindy for the possibilty of Ari (and me) moving into that next phase. We went along with Momo and Oliver - both the boys are very close in age, and I feel that Momo and I have similar wants for our child care aspirations. It was a lovely centre, with a great outside and inside play space - lots of nurturing wooden blocks, an amazing amount of books, cubby houses, chooks and guinea pigs, an excellent craft corner....... Our boys loved it - playing and looking and touching :: while we were within their sight. We had to stand and watch them, or sit beside them.

For quite a while I have been asking Ari if he wants to go to kindy (he was in daycare before Mishi was born, while I worked part-time, but he's not anymore). He keeps telling me that he wants to be with me and Mishi. And that he'll go to kindy and then school "when I'm bigger". If I ask him how much bigger, he points to some random height above his head. Today was no different, with the added comment (to his uncle) that we had just been looking at Oliver's kindy. I feel that that really said it all - his feeling about going at this point. While I know that there would be so much for him there, I am not going to push him into anything he doesn't feel happy about. At daycare, in the past, the carers have told me that he stops the separation crying after a few minutes - sure, I belive that - but I also know that he did cry when we left him, and maybe he only stopped because he knew there was nothing he could do about it.

So much guilt, so many steps and milestones and things to know and learn along this parenting road. Through it all, I can trust only my own base instinct and the words, feelings, (imploring) eyes of my children. They know their role of being Child so much better / stronger than I know mine of being Mother.


I have just added my name to the list of two swaps that will be happening soon. Very exciting. I have been involved in one 'blog swap', and I really enjoyed it. I loved the making of my swap, thinking about the person I was sending it to, what her family was like, and also thinking about the possibilities of what I would receive in return. I never imagined the beautiful wreath that arrived on Christmas Eve. Thank you Tonya - I still have it hanging inside, as I'm not ready to pack it up yet.

Sarah's Valentine Exchange will be lovely, sweet, fun. Making and receiving a card of love from someone unknown - how perfectly Valentine. I made some simple little New Year cards for my family :: friend list. They were a bit late - which is why they were New Year and not Christmas cards! Little fabric scraps cut into a dove shape (my sister said it looked more like a duck, oh well), glued onto cardstock. On the back I wrote messages of peace, contentment, fulfillment, love and joy for the coming year. Maybe this year I'll manage to get them sent in time for Christmas. Wouldn't it be lovely to have the inspiration from this swap and make Valentine cards for all my family. Maybe I'll talk to Ari about it.
Stefani's book swap is such an unusual, fantastic idea. I was only thinking the other day that I haven't properly read a book for a few years now (hmmm, almost since Ari was about six months old or so :: lost some part of my reading and retaining paragraphs brain). This will be a perfect jump for me to start my beloved reading again. It has also inspired my to finally send the book that I bought (a few years ago) with my friend in mind. I read and loved it, possibly a few times, and now I can finally send it on to her. Of course this swap involves some new learned craft, what an added bonus!

I wish I had been able to add my name to the Mid-Winter Gocco Swap, but seeing as how I have practically no idea of what Gocco is (apart from all the amazing images I keep seeing in blogland), I'll just have to check out all the final results.

I keep thinking about a swap I'd like to start of my own. There are a few I have in mind. But for now, I have things at home that need starting and organising and prioritising. But I do have a giveaway planned, coming up soon (ish) for a special event :: celebration. So, keep a lookout!

swapping traditions

Well my Holiday Traditions Swap has arrived safe and well, with it's recipient Tonya. I had to wait until she received it for me to 'show off'. At first I was a bit scared that I wouldn't send off a good enough parcel, and then I wondered if I'd actually get it made in time to post off to USA, for it to arrive in time for Christmas. But :: it all seemed to work out, it got there in time, and more importantly I actually like it and am quite happy with it!

I sent some handmade (machine stitched - I hand stitched the ones for our tree, and they are quite wonky, plus took me ages!) stuffed felt stars, with ribbon to hang on the tree. They are quite bright colours - lovely for after Christmas possibly in a child's bedroom.
And some Steiner-inspired dolls made from fabric scraps. This is something that we used to have when we were young. I remember making beautiful white ones with my Mum and sister, and hanging them on our little tree. Or stringing them along our roof. These are really easy to make, and something you can do with children. They can be as simple or elaborate as you like. If anyone wants a basic tutorial, let me know :: I'd love to write one for you.
The recipe that I included was for some yummy biscuits that Sam's Mum often makes. They are an Italian almond biscuit - Amaretti. I made a recipe card for it - did a little styled photo-shoot, which was really fun. (Sam did the logistics of actually 'making' the recipe card, as he's the designer with the computer programs and know-how and the amazing skills and visual eye!). Of course, the biscuits weren't perfect when we baked them the day of the 'photo-shoot', but they still looked lovely and tasted delicious. I've been wanting to make some recipe cards for a while now, so this is the start - I plan on making more in the New Year.

And then I wrote a whole bit blurb about our family traditions :: past ones and new ones I want to implement. I'll tell you a bit more about it after Christmas.

What a received from Tonya was lovely and tasty. She sent me some of her Grandma's chocolate and sultana cookies - they arrived very crumbled, but so tasty. Also a fun CD of her favourite Christmas songs - we have only listened to it once, as most music has to compete with Playschool's 'The Wobbly Walk'. The Mickey Mouse decoration looks right at home on our tree, with all our red angels and stars. She also sent us a beautiful looking (I've seen photos) wreath, but customs snatched it away due to the pine cones. They have cut these off, and are now posting the wreath to us. I have optimistically high hopes of it arriving in time for Christmas!

Pink Amaretti
3 egg whites
200g / 1 cup / 7oz castor sugar
250g / 2 1/2 cups / 8oz almond meal
4 Tablespoons icing sugar
A few drops pink colouring (you can leave this out for white amaretti, or add it only half/half. This isn't in the recipe, just something that Ari + I wanted to add when we were making these).

Pre-heat oven to 160C / 325F / Gas 3

Beat egg whites in a mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add castor sugar, until thick and glossy. Fold almond meal in, by hand and 2 tablespoons of icing sugar. Add a few drops of foor colouring, until you like the intensity. Leave half the mixture white.

Using two tablespoons, form shapes like quinelles - small round shapes, almost with a swirl on top. Place on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Dust with remaining icing sugar and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on try, then remove from paper and store in an airtight container. Yummo!

our little tree

This is our first Christmas tree we've had - in this house or as a family. We decided to have a real, living tree for a few reasons. It was something we did in my family, when we were children. I remember seeing it get bigger each year :: a wonderful way to notice the changing of the cycles and the growing of our lives/selves. Also, we wanted something that could be special to care for, look after, tend to. Every day it is Ari's special job to remember to water the tree. We have to clear up the dropped needles and seedpods. And then, to have this wonderful real tree in our house feels immensely special for me. Growing up in the bush we didn't have trees inside our house so much (except bonsai trees), seeing as how we lived in a very outside-in house. Nature always came in, if we wanted it to or not. And now, while we have flowers and seedpods and sticks and things, we don't often have real trees growing in our house. Sometimes we may have an orchid plant - which in a way is like a growing flower arrangement.

We choose a Daintree pine (Gymnostoma australianum). It's so pretty, with such lovely shaped seedpods (almost like many-armed star-shaped atoms) and furry little 'flowers'. The tree is almost classic Christmas tree shape. It will grow healthily and happily in a pot.

Our decorations are simple, and all handmade. Steiner-style angels, and stitched felt stars. It is my wish / aim to make something new each year to add to the tree, or collect things that are special to us. Rather than just buying a heap of plastic decorations and throwing them at the tree. It's quite an understated look. Actually, I really like it. I think this year Ari was maybe a bit too young to assist so much, or he didn't want to, so mainly Sam and I did it. We tried some lights, but they didn't really match. We do have one 'not-handmade' decoration :: this lovely little one that came from my holiday traditions swap from Tonya. (She also made us a beautiful looking wreath, which we are waiting to receive from Australian Quarantine).