Saturday, March 31, 2012

Harvest Festival

Little Pickle and I headed off to preschool on Thursday with the last of the pom pom bunnies ready to give the teacher. These went into the Easter baskets for the older children.
Such simple little things that were excellent company for me through a week when I needed something simple and calming to occupy my hands and calm my mind.

The table was set and ready beneath our beautiful tree for the Harvest Festival morning tea.

After outside play time and our morning circle with Autumn songs it was time to sit together and enjoy the food each family had brought with them. My favourite was this delicious carrot cake with its leaf and floral garland. It reminded me how much I love carrot cake and that it may be time to try it out with the Pickles as Mr Pickle has never been a fan.

Friday, March 30, 2012

A last hoorah to summer.........

Oh Summer how did we miss you sneaking away? We were ready for you so early this year with our Spring visits to the beach to prepare. Then, suddenly we just looked the other way for the minute and in blew Autumn.

Friday is our one day free of activities now so when my favourite website let us know that today would be 29 degrees we knew we had to head to the beach perhaps for our last Summer-like visit until Summer comes calling again at the end of the year.

All our 'friends' decided to come too since they have been hearing so much about this special place and hadn't yet come to see.

How did we forget how much fun we have here? Splashing and jumping (I promise he didn't actually dive that close to those rocks)

Just looking in the water, spotting little fish, searching for starfish, crabs and anemones.


 The calm of just wading and wandering.... Doing nothing much and all that matters at the same time..

 Enjoying morning tea with a beautiful view that makes everything taste so much better...

Playing at being tigers....elephants....sea creatures....crawling to Tasmania....


Convincing me to allow a treat and getting two as the Eftpos minimum meant we had to get icecreams and chips....such a shame!!

Two brothers just enjoying time together.

I had very big plans for this Summer - remember?
I finally borrowed these pictures from my mum to scan. It was this picture that inspired my plan for a beach shelter to match our beach quilt.......

 That's my father and three eldest siblings sitting in the beach shelter mum and dad designed and made themselves. Next summer we will sit resplendent in ours. 

 Perhaps not quite as resplendent as my dad in those spectacular shorts!

The quilt has been patiently waiting in this basket untouched for many weeks now...... I promise myself to do more work on it very soon and to have it ready for Spring beach jaunts.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

He Draws............

Last Friday Big Pickle decided to draw. Not really a big deal for most nearly five year olds but this one has never really spent time on this activity. The odd drawing..... like three and they were a few strokes swiftly drawn and quickly moved on from. Play dough, paper mache, potato stamping, a spot of colour mixing on paper (his version of painting).......these were the artistic endeavours that previously interested him but drawing not so much.
The loveliest, best quality wax crayons, lovely wooden coloured pencils, short and long.....none of these drawing materials held his attention.
It simply wasn't his time.
However, straight out of bed on Friday morning, having come across some textas just before bed the night before, he began...

The car series came first.  Wheels, windows with passengers inside, an exhaust pipe in the second drawing...... the first one is a four wheel drive, see the spare wheel? Picture number three is a car you sleep in hence the sidelong passengers.
He drew, and he drew and he drew. From seven in the morning until half past three that afternoon. Twenty minutes off to listen to a story with me....breakfast and lunch both eaten whilst drawing.
Roughly 50 A4 pages and then he requested "bigger sheets now please mummy" and he then produced another twenty odd large format drawings.

By now monsters had become a common theme too but the vehicular theme held for this one of a busload of people with cars travelling down either side. Sadly, the blue texta he was using was a bit tired so this one is very lightly rendered.


There was a story to go with this next drawing and he took time drawing it. The four characters at the top are hairy trolls and they are sitting on a bridge above a "spidery winged creature". The trolls are thinking they might go down and have lunch with the spidery guy but they night just battle him instead.... The blue troll is in charge and he is probably just going to kill the spider...
Despite the prevalent themes of violence and killing I love this one, mostly because of the beaming smile on his face when he finished it and called me over to see and hear the story.

On Saturday he continued, now drawing in a drawing book and with his new textas that I sourced for him on Friday afternoon as I saw that this eight and a half hour drawing marathon was filling him with such joy that he was undoubtedly going to continue.


The first is a duck and the other wondrous drawings are sea monsters. 

All throughout Friday I kept gazing at my beautiful boy in awe and wonder. A little boy who is usually a constant whirlwind of movement and noise was quietly sitting, drawing picture after amazing picture and was so totally focused on his endeavour and beaming each time he completed his next work.
It was truly the most incredible, uplifting, remarkable thing I have ever witnessed and another opportunity for me to remember the blessing and privilege it is to be able to be home with my two boys and therefore to have a whole day like this to watch a whole new world open to him.

This morning before kinder he decided he needed to draw something for two new friends and so he occupied himself right to the moment of leaving creating a fully coloured in version of one of his snail drawings - note the amazing spiral shell below and the snails head protruding. The little picture next to the snail is a snail shell that's closed.
The colouring in process is meticulous, like a rainbow patchwork of perfectly matched coloured patches of irregular shape and size...... I continue to watch entranced.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sniffle Craft

There's always a reason to craft and of late I've been relishing the opportunity to craft things for our everyday doings. The cold goblin is still visiting our house and Big Pickle in particular has had quite a rough trot being now nearly a week into his cold and still heavily afflicted.

Tissues are not my favourite thing at the best of times but they are rendered quite useless in the face of true need I find and dissolve into useless pulpy mess when called upon to deal with a steady stream of snot (a disgusting and brilliant word that one).
I gave him one of Mr Pickle's hankies to use and he was converted. 'Mummy, I think I will always use hankies. They are much better than tissues'. Indeed he's right they are much easier and better for a young man to handle.

 I remembered seeing children's hankies at Spotlight so made a little dash (any excuse will do!!) The retro looking colourful children's hankies turned out to be made with a horrible coarse fabric and the 'boys' ones were the same size as men's.
I happened to spot a range of fantastic fabrics along the bottom shelf of my wonderful Spotlights quilting section. Light weight, quite soft, linen look cottons with children's story and rhyme themes.
They are the same weight and style as a range of country themed ones they did recently, showcased in some gorgeous pants made by a lovely and clever friend here.
Just a little strip of each was really no more expensive than the ready made hankies (by my way of calculating value of remaining fabric, nicer result etc).

A hunt through the stash turned up a wealth of quirky hankie fabrics and before long we had a couple of dozen lovely 'kerchiefs. I chose to make them the size of a woman's one after seeing both boys handle that size easily.
It was also the size recommended by SouleMama in her wonderful book The Rhythm of Family. I didn't use two layers as she suggested just seemed it would be too thick and sort of seemed a waste of fabric to me.

Taking a further leaf out of SouleMamas book and with the memory of a long ago post that had stayed with me waiting to find its moment in my life. I made a 'Hanky Dispenser'.
I'm sure I won't keep to it but at this stage I think I will iron and fold them so I made up my own design/pattern based on the size of a hanky folded into a small square.
A zipper at the back for easy loading, hook at the top and all was complete.

That left just the right amount of time to whip up a household favourite comfort food - meatball soup.
This recipe was a gift from a clever friend and is quick to make and so bursting with flavour and goodness that it always leaves you with a contented smile at the end of the meal. Today we made it with a 50/50 pork and beef combo and it was superb.

Here's to a healthier week to come or at least looking stylish whilst we tend our dripping noses.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy Paddy's Day

Stopping by late for Creative Friday to say thanks to Linda again for her wonderful Shamrock pattern.
Our tree was adorned ready to say 'Top of the morning to you' and to start a new tradition to honour Little Pickle's namesakes day.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Soup for the Soul

First it was me and now Big Pickle has succumbed to a nasty cold. Stories and sleep have been the order of the day for him and staying home from both kinder and swimming for the past few days.
Whilst he has dealt with it all quite calmly it has left this mama ready to savour that brief section of the day when boys are resting and the house is quiet.

A pot of Chicken and Sweetcorn soup was quickly made. A steaming bowl topped with coriander, spring onions and some white pepper with a good book on the side and a spot of knitting created the perfect oasis of calm.

The knitting is a Pebble vest project that I started at the end of winter last year and would like to get completed before the autumn is through.

As I lay on the couch recuperating on the weekend I spotted this book patiently waiting on the bookcase. A brilliantly written, completely compelling tale of one man's quest to find a life for his family in the early days of New South Wales. Sent to Australia as a convict after a childhood riddled with poverty and all that led to, he strives to claim a piece of land, a livelihood and a future in the midst of a savage, unknown wilderness.

My humble little Pebble vest seems a very small project compared to Ginny's February Lady sweater and the many other projects on offer at this week's Yarn Along.

Monday, March 12, 2012

There are benefits to doing as you're told......

It's a cruel irony really to have a long weekend to enjoy and be struck by a dreaded cold. As the week drew to a close and I started to relish the idea of three days with no specific plans to catch up on projects around the house and enjoy family time, I also started to feel the symptoms of  a nasty cold creep over me.
In denial on Saturday I got up and headed into the garden for some heavy duty gardening. A quest to reclaim the bed down one side of our yard from the noxious vines and running grass that constantly try to overtake it. It was a successful mission, the highlight of which was finding that actually some of our rhubarb plants are still alive and doing quite well.
Unfortunately, this little gardening session was not what my cold had in mind and left me feeling majorly depleted....and somewhat defeated.

Mr Pickle had been against the plan, which I put into action while he and the Pickles were out shopping. He restrained himself from using an I told you so voice and gently firmly requested....I spend sometime on the couch on Sunday to recuperate.
Though reluctant at first I then realised this was a brilliant opportunity to work on a little project for St Patrick's Day. I spotted a quirky shamrock pattern over at Natural Suburbia and thought it would be the perfect way to create something for us to explore and appreciate our heritage and Little Pickle's namesake's day. Linda has so many beautiful patterns and sells some amazing ones through her Etsy store but I am constantly inspired by both her handiwork and her generosity in offering so many free patterns like this one.
I'm hoping to get a few more of these done and then to rework the Valentine's tree with them.

I was also able to do some work on the pom pom bunnies I'm helping our preschool teacher with. She is busily producing pom poms at the moment and I'm then joining heads and bodies and adding ears so that the older group children can all get a rabbit in their Easter baskets.
The felt rabbit is for our Easter table and to inspire the other mothers in my Thursday morning playgroup. I think I'll be making a few more of these before we get to Easter and also trying the Bilby variation of the pattern too.