Art & Craft

Day 365…

Wow, New Year ’s Eve is here, and I know I say it every year, and in fact every month, but time seems to be going faster and faster.  What say you? Do you feel the same way?

Like any year, 2013 has had ups and downs, but I have high hopes for 2014!

In a quick review, the big thing for us was finding out that Max has Dyslexia and Dyscalculia.  This has changed our whole approach to Max’s education, and has made a huge difference to Max.  We appreciate his strengths and gifts so much more now and are constantly thinking about and trying to be creative with helping him with the whole reading, writing and ‘rithmatic side of things.

For the first few months of the year I really struggled with full time work and home and family and felt that I wasn’t doing anything well and all people and areas of my life were missing out.  I kept wishing and praying for big change that would take the need for action out of my hands!  As they say, be careful, you might get what you wish for! Change came, but I don’t think it was what I was after! My work went through a merger, whilst not disastrous, it was a really difficult time with lots of uncertainty and questioning if this is what I want to choose to do (and I do get a bit narky when choice is taken away from me!).  Change is a bit like parenting – you can offer all the advice you want and think you know what people are going through, but until you go through it yourself you really don’t know what you are talking about!! After a long 6 months, we are coming through the other end of it, but I am still questioning what it is that I want to do with my life!  I am sure that answer will come one day…

Just before we went through the merger at work I had dropped work to 4 days a week and that has been fantastic.  It has made such a difference to me and our little household.  It has given me time to breathe, time to research, time to clean and wash clothes, and time to focus on our family.

I have plenty to be thankful for in 2013.  I am so thankful for our discoveries with Max (or should I say…dys-coveries…boom tish!). I talk about this a lot with other parents at school and in our general community and there are so many parents desperate for help with their children that are experiencing learning difficulties.  I could go on for hours, but whilst our school is good and we are happy with it, you really need to put in so much help as and initiate so much action as parents. So that is my band wagon for the moment.

I am also grateful that we have put all parts in place to finally renovate our house in the coming year (albeit on a shoe string budget).

I am grateful for a wonderful friends and family that have shared our 2013 and been part of our lives.

 

I am looking forward to so much in 2014.

  • I am looking forward to finally making our house much more liveable and really improving our lifestyle.
  • I am looking forward to a good year at school for Max which will involve LOTS of maths tutoring.
  • I am looking forward to an exciting start to high school for Ed and hope he has a great year (because year 6 was quite average for him).
  • I am looking forward to a great year 4 for Arch where he will actually try and stretch himself at school (hmmm).
  • I am looking forward to a new baby joining our broader family.
  • I am looking forward to an art class I have booked into for Feb and other creative plans that I have for the year.
  • I am looking forward to living more in the moment and being mindful and appreciating what I have.

So that is my quick year in review and hopes and dreams for 2014.

What about you?

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My Wednesdays…

A couple of months ago I changed from working full time to having Wednesdays off.  Oh, I love it!  In preparation for all of the extra time I would have, I bought canvasses to paint, fabrics to sew, and glass to mould in my kiln. I had dreams of spending the day taking photos, having a tidy and calm house, and feeling refreshed for the rest of the week. The projects I had in mind, oh the projects! Did I mention my vegie patch? And the exercise, all the exercise I was going to get. The possibilities…

The reality?

Well, I still adore Wednesday. Love it, LOVE it.

I do vaguely clean the house and do the washing (must go and put another load in right now).  And I do re-establish a sense of calm and order to our home and family. I generally get dinner organised early, and make a nice after school snack for the kids.

I try to work on my blog, and research ways of taking it further, as well as continuing my ongoing research into dyslexia and dyscalculia for our Max.

I even bought some great exercise gear from Geometry Active Wear (it is brilliant – really holds everything in!).

BUT…I haven’t taken any photos for ages, my fabric is untouched (and I have some great orange fabric for cushions in there!), my glass has not been taken out of the box, my kiln is cold, and my canvass is still stashed behind the chair in my bedroom. Vegie patch? Non-existent.

And today Arch is sick, so no school for him.  Instead I am sharing my day off with him, and taking him to the Doctor.

But I am patient.  I know my time will come. And when that time does come, I will be ready!

 

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^^^We are hanging out for warm days again…^^^

Passions…

In my last blog I prattled on about how great I felt that I had found my children’s passions. And I still do feel pretty good about that.

But what about our passion as adults?

I was talking with a girl friend who wants to make some sort of change in her life (& income earning ability).  I asked her what her passion was, and she didn’t know.

Many of us don’t know what our passion is, but I think that deep down we all have passions. This is over and above the passion that we have for our family of course.

I have many passions.  I have core passions that are always there. These are writing, photography, and creative pursuits. Then I have fluctuating passions that come and depending upon which stage of my life I am in.  At the moment, I am passionate about researching dyslexia and dyscalculia and promoting research and knowledge in the areas that can effect and help us in our pursuit of ensuring Max will have the same educational and career opportunities as anyone else.

But lately, I have been led to explore my passions further.  At a time of increasing and inevitable instability with my job as we go through a merger, I am exploring my passions further and trying to identify income earning opportunities with them.

I was inspired that other night talking with a talented artist friend (check out her blog here).  Several years ago, when our kids were little, she said “I want to illustrate books”.  Though she was already a skilled artist and qualified art teacher, she went and did an Illustration course through TAFE that took several years.  And guess what? She is now illustrating books as a career. This is her job, and she is busy with it, and she is loving it!

She followed her passion.

So, coming back to working out what your passion is.  Do you have a passion?  Is it something you do full time, when you have time, or you just dream about doing?

If you have trouble working out what your passion is, ask yourself this question….if you had a day to yourself with no other commitments and heaps of energy, what would you choose to do with your day?

I picture myself in a space of my own, working on editing photos, writing articles, blogs or whatever, with a painting I am working on sitting on an easel, and perhaps working on education projects for teachers shaped around dyslexia and dyscalculia where I can use my current career based skills, knowledge and abilities and huge HECS investment.

What about you?  What would you do with a day to yourself? Would you cook, write, visit friends, do charity work, take a meal to a sick friend or neighbour, play on the computer, renovate your house, work in the garden, plan family activities, spend time with your animals, do crosswords and sudoku puzzles, read books about science, research medical break throughs….what would you do?

When you really answer this question, you are on the path to finding your passion…

 

Oh, as a side note, I am now a mother of a 14 year old…scary!!

And yes Mum, I checked my spelling.  If there are errors, consider them to be typos. x

STOP. Slow down. More time please…

Easter was lovely.  And now I have this whole week off work, which has been really nice so far.

But the problem is that it is Wednesday already and I haven’t done anything!!  I wanted to do sewing and writing, painting (as in walls) and painting (as in canvases).

But I have done none of that.

I really want to.  But I just can’t be bothered.

Today I have done….well….I took one of the boys for a haircut and I did some washing.  Then I had a snooze on the couch.

And now, before I know it, it is time to put dinner on.

Where did the time go?

So, tomorrow I need to get some motivation and some energy to do some little projects to kick start me.

Maybe I just need to get off the computer…off Facebook…off Pinterest…off blogs…off craft sites…off Ebay….off my arse…and actually do something.

Hmmm, I’ll just wait and see….

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^^^ Enjoy your sunset wherever you are….

Words and pictures…

I don’t really have new year resolutions.  But I do have goals. But sometimes there are so many things that I want to achieve, that I get caught up and stressed about it, that I am not really enjoying the process, or what it is that I want to achieve. Oh well.  Will have to work on keeping that one in check.

Like most people, I want to do more exercise.  I want to increase my fitness, energy levels and health. Then hopefully the by-product will be a bit of weight loss!!

I would like to be more creative and take time to enjoy the creative process.  I want to produce more words and pictures.

I would like a more simple life and relaxed approach to life.

I would like to work less and spend more time with our children doing simple things like helping them with their homework, going for walks and cooking dinner together.  And also spend more time with my husband rather than just passing ships in the night (or day!)

So, my words for the year are:

Simplicity

Stability

Creativity

I don’t really know how I will achieve those things, but I will work on it.

And since it is not all about me, my thoughts early in this new year are with my nephew and his fiancé.  They became engaged a couple of days before Christmas, which is very exciting, but his fiancé very sadly last her mother 2 days ago after a lengthy battle with cancer. Thinking of you. x

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I impress even myself!….

I just have to quickly toot my own horn here…I am very impressed with myself!

As per usual, not much in the pantry for the school lunchboxes. So what did I do? I made pancake muffins, fruit pastries and cheese and promite scrolls.  All before I left for work at 7:15am!  See?  That is why I am impressed with myself!

For the pastries, I bought Borg’s organic pastry.  It is expensive but I do have to say it is nicer than the homebrand stuff.  For fruit pastries, cut a defrosted sheet into 6 pieces, slice up some strawberries or apples (I also use frozen berries), lay them on top, sprinkle with sugar.  Bake.

Cheese and Promite scrolls.  Scrape some promite (or vegemite) onto a piece of pastry, sprinkle with cheese (I use tasty cheese), roll up and cut into 3 pieces (makes decent sized one) or cut up smaller for bite sized.  Bake.

It’s that easy.

Now for the pancake muffins….

Mix 1 cup self raising flour, 1 egg, 1 cup of milk and some sugar if you wish.  Whisk.  Grease some muffin pans.  Half fill with pancake batter.  Top with slices of apple, or frozen berries, or anything else you want.  I put on a sprinkle of sugar. Bake.

And I just baked them while I was in the shower.  And then baked another batch whilst I did my hair and makeup.

I am so good…

It started with such promise…

Ahh, spring time!  It was so lovely and sunny last weekend.  Spring held such promise.  I bought everything to setup new vegie patches.  I planned on clearing out the chook shed for some new chooks and even some ducks.  I was all motivated and inspired.

What happened?

In true Melbourne fashion the weather changed and we are back to cold, dreary, wet weather! Oh well, I can’t always use the weather as an excuse to sit inside and do not much!  And I have been a bit inspired lately, so I must grab that and make the most of it before it all leaks out like sweat….

So what is my inspiration at the moment…

Simple living, vegie patches, creativity, writing, photography, sewing, and after talking to other Mums from school this morning (yes, I blame you Caroline Bailey!) also whole foods and making foods from scratch, how it can affect learning and health…..too much!

What will I focus on?

Simple living and slowing down…cutting back on kids’ activities.  Thankfully we don’t do too much, so a big ‘tick’ on that one.  I will do the vegie patch and chooks next week.  I promise.

Creativity…will focus on writing and photography. Make my blog more regular, and am working on photography pieces for an upcoming exhibition.

Whole foods…will start at the health food shop this morning and get some spelt flour and see what my bread maker can do with it.  I will pay more attention to ingredients and try and make more food from scratch.

So this is my spring time focus.  Now all I need is the sun to come out give some warmth….

Here is a bit of sunny warmth…a photo taken by my 11 year old son, Ed…

OK, I admit it…

I have a confession to make. A confession about an obsession. A compulsion. An addiction….

I am addicted to…COOK BOOKS. Yes, that’s right.  Cook books!

Now, I know I am not alone.  There are many of us out there.  People who can’t help but buy a cook book from the sale table at the book shop.  From the stacked display at Target.  From the books on sale at work or kinder.

I just can’t help it.

I sneak them in. I hide them under my growing collection of craft and sewing books. I have even cooked from some of them! I stick them in with the kids’ books.  I have them upstairs. Downstairs.  In the playroom.  In the study. They’re popping out everywhere.

 

I have some amazing cook books.  I like to just sit on the couch and read them like a novel.

I have every soup cook book you can imagine.  Every quick meal for the busy person cook book. Every Stephanie Alexander.  Every Jamie Oliver.  Every Maggie Beer.  (I even have The Cook and the Chef DVD’S. And I am sure I will watch them one day.).  I have Japanese, French, Italian, Mexican, Spanish, Moroccan. Indian.  Even a traditional family Jewish cook book gifted to me by a Jewish client.

Richard wasn’t too happy when I pointed out my new Weight Watcher’s cook book and all the meals I planned to cook from it.  I must do those meals this week…

I have “Mrs Beaton’s Family Cookery” that was my Grandmother’s.  I am guessing it is from the 1930’s. I love the advertisements in this one. Oh to be a housewife in the 1930’s.

 

My prized possession is a cook book of my Great Aunt’s, which must be from the 1940s. It is a recipe index book that has hand written recipes and newspaper clippings.  My Great Aunt was a single woman living in England.  She moved there from Australia.  She was engaged to be married, but her fiancé was tragically killed during the war (maybe a result of the war – I don’t know!). She never married.  Sad…She worked in the newsroom of BBC, and was secretary to Basil Dean, an English actor, playwright and producer.  What an interesting life she must have led, especially for a single woman in post war England.  In her recipe journal, there are recipes by Elizabeth David and many newspaper clippings by a woman named Claire Butler. There is even a recipe written on a serviette and tucked into the pages. I wonder where she was when she decided to jot that one down?

     

I have never cooked from this book. But I love to sit down and carefully go through the pages imagining the dinner parties that this cook book created.  The conversations it started.  And the stories that the collection of recipes tells about her life. The dinner parties.  The cocktails. A whole different world…

   

I wonder, in many years when I am long gone, what stories my recipe books will tell about me.  Which books are in pristine condition, which recipes have food all over them and pages stuck together, which recipes will be passed down, and what the stories of favourite meals will be.

What a dreary dull old day…..it was BRILLIANT!!

It was such a dull, cold, wet, grey day on Sunday.  And it was FANTASTIC!  I finally got to do a few of the things I had been wanting to do for ages.

It started off with soccer, which perhaps wasn’t so great on a freezing wet day.  We had to be there by 8:30am – eeek!  It was wet, cold and windy.  We parents were all huddled together sharing umbrellas, water dripping down our noses and the back of our necks.  The kids were freezing on the soccer field slipping around.  I know boys are meant to love running around in the rain and mud, but my boys hate it.  So, whilst that bit of the day wasn’t that much fun, the boys did win the game, so that was good!

The good bit came after that….sewing!  I finally got to do some sewing.  I did projects I had been thinking of for so long. I am not a fancy sewer, so I am not whipping up amazing stuff.  It was really all just totes and chooks, but it made me happy.

I made this tote for my work files and diary that I drag around everywhere…

 

 

 

I also got to make Ed & Arch a tote for their school sports gear.  I normally run around a find a recycled shapping bag each week when they have PE and sport.  This is a bit groovier.  Now I just need to find some fabric that is cool enough for a secondary school boy and make one for Max.

 

And I even played around with making a couple of chooks. The boys love them.  They now want a whole flock! And the are so super easy.

 

And having a dull old day even gave me time to play around with some photos.

     

I wish I had Sunday back again!  Oh well, there is always next weekend, and it is a long one…yay!!

Newbie…

Tomorrow I start a new full time job!  A bit scary.  I was working 4 days a week before, so will 5 days be so different?  I think so.  I had a lot of say in how and where I worked in my old job.  I could work from home at the drop of a hat, and Fridays off were sooo good.  When you are a newbie you can’t do those things.  Time will tell I guess.

So, in preparation for the week, and in an effort to be super duper organised:

  • 3 x schools uniforms folded and ready for the morning.
  • 3 x lunch boxes ready and waiting to be filled in the morning.
  • Envelopes with money for school, and notices signed and in school bags.
  • The boys have cooked a big batch of anzac biscuits for lunch boxes. Am on a bit of a home made food kick and am trying to have more foods made from scratch, as well as using whole foods.  Whilst this is great for us, it does make more work for myself!
  • I have made a slice – I have NEVER made a slice before, and it was so easy!  Who knew? Just to put the icing on now.
  • I have done a week’s worth of food shopping on Coles Online, which will be delivered tomorrow afternoon – yippee.
  • I have done a meal planner for the week – ugh, I hate doing a meal planner.
  • I have worked out the activity and school pickup schedule for the week.
  • Car filled with petrol.
  • I have my outfit sorted. Look’s not bad, but has highlighted my need for new shoes.  Isn’t there always a need for new shoes?
  • Since the outfit was a bit black and grey, I have whipped up a cute red muslin scarf with a bit of black sewing detail on it.

What have a missed?

Wish me luck!  Now for a glass of wine…

Oh, and here’s my cute little scarf I made.