Monday, May 25, 2009

Blue, blue, blue monday!

Today as i was driving to work i got rear ended by a seventy three year old granny! Needless to say i dont feel that positive about old drivers right now. My feelings were made worse by the repair quote of R55 000. Thank heavens i am insured but that is a lot to pay for other people's stupidity. I will make sure to claim my excess back from her.

Otherwise i had a good day yesterday. Had lunch with Justin and Dani and a lovely quiet evening at home. In a spurt of inspiration i managed to do seven pages of my Mpumalanga album. They look great and i will post some pics soon. I am also cruising on my crochet blanket. This is a picture of the pattern. It is for me! I have done one for each of my boys for winter and hubby wants one but for once i decided to make something for myself. I am almost done with this one and have promised him that he will have his by mid June. I love the pattern on this one. I love the colours and the chevron effect came out great. Of course i am running out of wool AGAIN! I never seem to buy enough for my blankets but that is because i always make them much bigger then i planned. Dont get me started on the cot blanket that turned into a double bed blanket. Thankfully i have got a bit better then that over the year.

This is my blanket in lovely pink, white and purple:

These are the two that i finished last month for the the boys. Gabby's is blue and white and the cream and beige one belongs to Seth. They are such a pleasure to craft for as they love everything that is handmade and are at an age when anything made my mom is considered "awesome!".

And this is the beautiful adored older Wainwright. He loves to pose for me and when i was taking this picture he told me: "Just wait while i make myself look cool!". Oh you look so cool my baby bear! I just love this picture and had to share it...

Hope you are having a better Monday then i am .....

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sweet saturday afternoon........

Finally able to put my feet up after a busy morning. Megan, Cindy and I went thrifting this morning and i got a great haul. For the princely sum of R247 i got:
  • One metre of beautiful linen which i can stitch on. It is a warm cream colour.
  • Half a meter of blue denim for jeans for the kids.
  • Four Huge vintage cookbooks. Each of them are tomes! They were all printed in the 1940's and 1950's. They have unexciting names like: "Woman's home companion cook book" and "Culinary arts institute Enclyclopedic cookbook". They all have lots of recipes that contain gelatine - you know the food i am talking about! My favourite is one called "The American peoples cookbook". It is a book that collects recipes from different individuals and the recipes have the contributors name at the top. They also give information like little snippets about the history of the recipes. I am excited by all the cookie recipes. The one book alone has over 300 recipes in them. These are perfect for a sunny spot on the couch, with a cup of coffee.
  • Two books on music for hubby.
  • One CD
  • 6 other assorted craft books - all hard covered and in great condition. There are two on quilting, two on general sewing and two other embroidery ones.
  • 7 kids videos
So all together that was a great haul... We went to the oyster festival but it was just too crazy with the kids. I had some more photos printed and cannot wait to scrap which i hope to do this afternoon.

I did promise you photos of the quilting fabric that i bought.

These are the real country ones that i bought. I love the prints, especially the apples....

These are the christmas fabrics that i bought for the mini quilt:

I really fell in love with the bottom two. I also thought that as the bottom one was striped it would make for easy cutting - i have not even started yet and i am looking for short cuts!

Have a good quiet family filled saturday, with just some creative expression i hope.....

Friday, May 22, 2009

The simple life

Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things. ~Elise Boulding

I am becoming more and more away of the truth of these words...... Tomorrow i will be going thrifting with my baby cousin and hope to find some new pre loved treasures. I will let you know what we unearth.....

I had a crazy busy week and had an unexpected visit from my MEC, which went really well. I am hoping that this means more funding for the project.....

But now it is weekend and i am looking forward to:
  • Time with my family and friends.
  • The oyster festival tomorrow.
  • Shopping - books, books, books,
  • Watching fight club again with my hubby tonight and doing some more work on the blanket i am making.
  • Soaking up the emotional connections in my home this weekend... little hands, kisses, craziness, talking, coffee, still spousal moments once kids are sleeping....
Embrace the simple life, my friends!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

One of THOSE mothering days.......

Yes today is one of THOSE mothering days. One of those days where my sons have way too much energy, when i am exhausted and my sons are beyond demanding. Where everyone is fixated on the same toy, the one they have not touched in six months. The kind of day where my younger son bit my older son not once, but twice. The kind of day where i found myself saying things like: "Dont touch", "Dont hit your brother.", "Go and play, please." The kind of day where i was totally ignored when i said the aforementioned things. The kind of days when we had tears in the bath and fighting at supper time. Yes I have had ONE of those days where you are counting the hours, even the minutes on the clock till bed time. Come on my mom friends, you know EXACTLY what kind of day i have had. You have had one yourself occasionally. Fortunantly these days are fleeting and tomorrow they may very well be little angels (Hence the hinting picture.....). But today the horns are firmly attached.

So I am looking forward to some time to work on the afghan that i am making. It is perfect work after a day like today. It is brainless and the pattern is engraved into my brain after the many rows i have done. I love it when the work gets to that stage. It is the one thing that puts me off the big cross stitch item that is 2/3rds done in my sewing bag. I just dont have the cognitive strength to face that huge chart and all the counting.

I am thinking of my little cousin and her miserable week. I think that some shopping, coffee and cake on saturday is absoluely necessary.

Hang in all......

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I think I can, I think i can.....

Survive this week, that is. I am currently sitting in a sexual offences workshop. Does this mean i have an addiction that i post on my blog during a meeting? Probably but it is also an indication of how boring this really is.

I need to share my exciting finds yesterday:
I stopped at a my local needlecraft shop on the way home and "adopted" the following items:
  • I found some great christmas quilting cottons. I bought 1/2 metre of each. One has snowmen on it and the other has cute little christmas lights. I will post a pic. I then bought some 100% white cotton. I intend to do christmas pictures in redwork on the white cotton, block it and quilt the other fabric around it. This is going to be my first mini quilt for my fireplace. I was hoping to get a summer one done by the 1st Sept but decided to cut myself some slack. December is better!
  • I also found some really country quilting fabric on sale - half price. It is all in browns, greens, blues and reds. Its has teapots, chickens, flowers, quilts on it. It is fab! I got some plain matching cotton so will try something in patchwork just to get myself going. I am undecided what - a mini quilt for my kitchen table - a sewing bag or a patchwork cushion?
  • I also found some lovely buttons for my summer and spring quilts - butterflies, flowers and birds....
I made amazing pasta last night and so quick: Brown mushrooms, fresh spinach (picked 5mins before from my garden) and rosa tomatoes fried in glugs, glorious glugs of olive oil and LOTS of feta chucked in. It melted into an amazing sauce into which i tossed the pasta. It took the whole of 10 mins!

The Wainwrights are all well thankfully. We have defeated the germs!

Have a safe Tuesday...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Quilts and cookies

I am searching for some inspiration to feed my current obsession with quilts and cookies. I REALLY need to make a quilt. Why? Because i just dont have enough hobbies, thats why! What kind of question is that? Anyway quilts speak of country life, simpler times, frugality, warmth, etc and Cookies? Well they just taste good.

In terms of cookies, i have just discovered a new blog that i love! If you are a cookie fan, check out and be prepared to drool. Peabody notes that cookies and milk make the world go round and I have to agree! The cookies we made on the weekend were dangerously good. I really should not be thinking about making any more!

I have some traditional African fabric that i have been collecting over the last couple of years that is 100% cotton and i am tempted to cut it into strips to make a log cabin design. I found some really simple instructions on a site called "The Quilting bug" where i was inspired by the quilts displayed. The picture above is off this site and is almost exactly what i want to do, but in softer colours - blues, reds and whites.

But enough dreaming on this cold Autumn day.......

Sunday, May 17, 2009

End of the weekend

So we put another weekend to bed. They just seem to go to fast. I start every weekend with huge plans but there just never seems to be enough time to do it all. I had a crazy busy weekend this time around. We did bake yesterday and settled on chocolate chip (a favourite recipe that i will post) and some anzac biscuits. Anzac biscuits are basically crunchies, oat and coconut biscuits. I chucked in a handful of chocolate peanuts and they were great. As they were about to come out of the oven, the power went out. Fortunantly when we opened the oven they were ready. I also cooked a great pot of butternut and barley soup, which was fantastic and went down a treat on a cold winter day. We squeezed in some scrapbooking and i was happy with my two pages. They werent "ifffy" i you know what i mean. When you just put them in the album and think "oh, well, its done now..."

Our evening got a bit chaotic when some people (I wont mention names in fear of offending some of my followers :) drank too much red wine but that's life..... The poster on this post is especially for them. I am sure that they think that they offering angel was a devil this morning!

Today i got to laugh at my husband's hangover (he was one of the guilty parties!!!) and went off to my best friend's son birthday party. I enjoyed the party although felt the absence of the abovementioned hubby when i had to juggle the two kids in the restaurant. How does one watch two at the same time? We had a bit of excitement when Seth got stuck at the top of one of those funky modular jungle gyms. I was just trying to figure out how to get my butt up to the top to rescue him when i was saved by my oldest son, who heroically climbed up and dragged his brother, kicking, wailing but safe down!

Well life isnt supposed to be boring! I wish you all a good week, free of germs (thankfully Seth is fully recovered), free of stress, full of unexpected gifts of life......

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cold autumn days

Ode to Autumn

by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

We had a wonderful day at the open day for Gabriels' school for next year. I cant believe he is starting school next year - my baby! The school is lovely and the teachers very kind. I am now waiting for my two cousins to arrive for a day of baking and scrapbooking. I know we are baking biscuits - a joint effort that we can split up. Have you noticed how much fun baking can be with friends? I am not sure which biscuits we are making but i stocked up on lots of chocolate and chocolate coated nuts. I have my pile of trusted recipe books ready and have a couple in mind. Such choices - chocolate chip, cornflake cookies, peanut butter, orange, ginger... how does one chose? I will let you know which ones made the communal cut.......... and how they taste of course!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Summer dreaming

Its cold, everyone is ill and i am dreaming of summer. Where it is warm, the sun is shining and i feel alive! I mean look at this picture, doesnt it inspire you to stomp grapes, pick olives and do suitably other sun soaked things? I am working from home today with a sick child. As if that was bad enough, in a moment of madness i agreed that the other non sick child stay at home today. Now, despite the purchase of expensive Lego as a means of trying to buy some peace and quiet, i am taking strain. There seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel with Seth's illness and it has been two feverish days now. This has all equated to a rough ride generally. Now Seth is finally sleeping and Gabby is occupied in front of the TV and i have 5 minutes in front of the computer. So i have lost some of my loving winter, nesting blah-blah! Right now give me sun!

So right now i would like to just wallow quietly, thank you :(

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What a week!

Its Thursday and it has been a real humdinger of a week as you can tell from my silence. I got the news that my MEC is leaving and we are still on the edge of seats about the possibility of losing our Head of Department. Strangely they drove me both crazy at times but now that i have to think about the amount of energy that i will need to put into building new relationships i get exhausted. However, i am a civil servant and not a political appointee so my life will invariably go on after all the hullaballoo has died down. I have been through this thrice before.

On the home front we are in the midst of a war and the germs are winning. So i have sick kids, spent my evening at the doctor yesterday, have more medication in my home then a drug dealer and got up at the ungodly hour of 4am. On the bright side it is almost friday and i desperately need so creative time this weekend. I did manage to squeeze in some scrapbooking this week after the medicated kids were sleeping. I have a busy weekend. On Saturday the school that we are sending Gabriel to next year has an open day and then on Sunday we will be going to a beloved little boy's birthday party (Connor!). I do love kids parties though, so that is no chore (especially when i am no the mom in charge!!!). I hope to see my baby cousin this weekend as well. (Cindy if you read this i am keen to scrap on Sat afternoon so let me know!)

Once again what a week. But on weeks like this you need to carve out some comfort space and that is my sole aim this weekend. So my goals are:
* Sleep late at least one morning (that is 7am in my life!)
* Bake at least one thing delicious and eat it with friends and family.
* Create at least one thing that makes me want to go back and look at it.
* Read the papers in my Pj's and over cappucinnos on Sunday morning.

Have a stress free Thursday........

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday blues

Monday is really not my most favourite day. Monday when you have a sick, green nosed toddler who you have to leave at home with the nanny is even lower on my must do list. However, this was a good weekend and that helps to make this monday a little bit more palatable. I was thoroughly spoilt for mother's day and enjoyed seeing my niece, sister-in-law and mother-in-law on the weekend. Family certainly makes the good times great and the bad times better.

I found a little bit of time to do some scrapbooking on Sunday night and did three pages which helped to scratch this crazy i must do something now, must make something itch i have right now. I love the vintage childhood paper that i have. I also loved brainstorming with my mom-in-law about all the wonderful stuff that i just NEED to make. I admire her ability to make just about anything and wished that she lived closer so that i could learn from her. I am still frightened of my sewing machine, although i am working on (It can be pretty mean). She helped me think of a great idea for a seasonal mini wall quilt for above my fire place. I wish i didnt have four other projects going right now so that i could start it.

Anyway, wishing a managable and not maniac monday..... And dont you just love this vintage post card... man i wish i had a lassie to help me get out of bed in the morning!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday, wonderful friday....

Its friday again, thankfully and this friday is greatly appreciated.

This is a special weekend as its mothers day (Its wonderful that i get to celebrate that!) and we will have my mother-in-law with us on the Sunday. We will be having a family breakfast to celebrate. I have many roles, many hats i wear but of all of these i cherish the role of mother most. Its my most creative role, my leading role, my star role, my most fulfilling role and the role that means most to me. Its the role that has psychologically filled me out, grounded me, allowed me to know me most. So to all the moms I know, the moms of the future, have a wonderful mother's day.

On this crazy friday (I just discovered that i have a new political head), i am grateful for the following things:
  • Winter, which is racing down on us madly. Especially winter with a whole weekend of hibernating attached.
  • The seasonal confetti of autumn hued leaves that are sprinkled around my city right now.
  • The promise of all the glorious new cosmic cricket scrapbooking supplies that i bought yesterday (on 50% off!!!!) and the beautiful photos that are calling out to be used.
  • The sense of accomplishment that comes from a week of hard work that actually rendered results.
  • So very, very grateful that i was blessed with the care of the wise beautiful souls that are my sons and that through them that i was able to carry this, my most cherished title of mom.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend and remember dont forget your mom. We all have one.....

"We bear the world and we make it .... There was never a great man who had not a great mother." Olive Schreiner.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Anniversaries of the heart....

One of my favourite books is by Sarah Ban Breathnach, called Simple abundance. It focuses on how to create a life of joy, not through grand notions but through an awareness and appreciation of day to day life. Whilst reading it, i was struck by what she calls "anniversaries of the heart". All of us have our days of rememberance. The days we mark by death, new life, marriage etc. But what are your secret anniversaries. What evokes your private days of marking. When spring dances through the month of November, i always remember being pregnant, strongly recalling the emotions and experiences of a time passed. This time of the year i remember my mother strongly, with Mother's day and the date of her death intertwining in my mind. July is tied up with winter memories and its own rituals. I like to think of my life as a tapestry or a sampler that i am working on. When i embroider i start with a blank canvas and by the time i have ended i have worked hundreds, thousands of tiny stitches that come together magically to make an image. Life is similiar, every day you are having experiences, stitches are being painted into the image that is you. So in that way i have no crisis about getting older. I feel my life is richer, warmer, more colourful then it was at 21.

I awoke to the howling of the wind and crashing of thunder and lightening this morning. Which is all good and well when you are lying three in a bed under warm blankets but not so great when you have to venture out into the cold. But the one thing that i like about this time of the year is the symbolic closing of your home each night. I like closing the doors and windows, drawing the curtains as night falls, i like filling the house with warm cooking smells, i like hot bathed children and random blanket nests. Its cold out there, but its warm in here.

Keep warm, heart and body!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

books and children....

Last night i decided to tidy some of my books shelves as i needed to pack away the books that i bought on Monday. For those who have not been to my home i have a entire wall of wall to floor shelves and numerous other shelves around the place. Does this mean that all my books are neatly ordered, lined up alphabetically on the shelf? Not at all. I still have piles (mounds in some instances!) of books all over the house. So i guess what i am trying to say is that I, Allison, have an addiction, a literary addiction! Since a child, nothing enthralls me, excites me, comforts me, like a good book. I read them all... fiction, biography, history, psychology, crafts, cooking. I have a special passion for cooking books. Who can resist the promise of taste, the fantastic meals of the mind, represented by a soft couch and a pile of cook books. (All completely kilojoule free! The best kind of meal!) So last night i was diligently packing these books away when suddenly i wondered how many books i owned. I did a rough count and with my kids books i have an estimated 1600 books in my house! Is this normal? I fear not! Can i rectify it? Absolutely not! I cannot bring myself to sell my books, discard the stories that have become part of my consciousness. Instead i will happily drown in paper.

As i mentioned yesterday i love the fact that this addiction seems to be hereditary. I love that my kids beg me to read to them. I love the experience of having the middle seat (or bed space) while two little heads crane their necks in wonderful silence while we have word adventures. I cant wait for them to be able to read to themselves, only so that we can read together alone. Nothing speaks to me of domestic bliss more then mutual but alone reading. Everyone in their own spot, book in hand, only speaking occasionally to offer items from the kitchen or to share something from their text that is just to sad, funny or unbelievable to be kept to yourself.

So friends, my paper addiction seems to have no end in sight. Perhaps i should see if there is a book on that?

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Books are not made for furniture,
but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house.
~ Henry Ward Beecher ~

Monday, May 4, 2009

Things that i am loving right now.......

  • The very kitsch glow in the dark stars that G and I plastered all over his bedroom. It is great to lie in the darkness and stare at the neon green solar system.
  • My son hugging his new famous five books with a look of absolute rapture yesterday (Oh, yes this is my kid.... Books!!!!)
  • The fact that i did not have to cook yesterday and yet everyone got a home cooked meal!
  • Reading 150 pages last night of a book that i love, not wanting it to be done but also wanting it to be done so that i can read the 4 new books that are crying for attention on my night stand.
  • The lovely glass jug that i bought for R10 yesterday. I love pre - owned (pre-loved) things!
  • That last night was the first night for hot water bottles AND that the boys water bottles are ninja turtles!
  • That i got to drive to work with my heater on.
  • The beautiful autumn leaves that are falling everywhere....
Wishing you a survivable Tuesday!

Monday, Monday......

Hello Monday, i am glad that my first working shift is over. My second one begins when i get home of course. I had a good day, going off at lunch time to buy some great second hand books and discount hair products (What is about women that makes us want to shop, especially bargain shopping - it really is a thrill!)

I also face a breeze of a week in terms of meals. One of the ladies that i work with has a catering business on the side and i have purchased 12 ready meals for the family, frozen and 30 frozen Roti (Indian breads). The best thing is that it was so reasonably priced that it didnt even hurt to be lazy. So all in all a good week so far.

At least i have found out that the R4000 that i spent on the plane ticket that never happened last week is not totally lost. I can still use the ticket for up to 6 months, so perhaps it can be salvaged.

On another note i welcome my baby cousin into the world of blogging and am excited to join her journey, with comments along the way of course! I hope that for all of you, this monday was as kind!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday night

Sunday nights have always been one of my favourite times. We have had a lovely three day weekend and although it started off shaky, it got much better as it went along. Yesterday i enjoyed a wonderful outing with my cousin to the Zoo, which the children loved, followed by an old friend's stork party. I had the opportunity to see two old dear girl friends, who are both pregnant, expecting girls and due in September. It was wonderful to catch up and took me back to a whole different time in my life. Sometimes when i am busy with my little beloved terrors it is hard to believe that once upon a time they were innocent new borns. Did i really do midnight feeds, deal with colic, not know what i was doing. The great thing about motherhood is that after a few years it becomes a habit and you forget that once i didnt know anything. I mean the other day i roughly calculated that i had changed about 9200 nappies, made about the same amount of bottles, done at least three hospital visits, done two sets of stitches after spectacular injuries, teethed two full sets of teeth and survived about 50 minor colds and flus. The fact that i survived all of that is a miracle, but in the process of it all you forget what it was like in the beginning when you knew nothing, when everything was hard, when you could not make bottles in your sleep or had an automatic dummy radar.

Dont get me wrong, not knowing what to do is not all that it is cracked up to be, but lets face it, it is pretty exciting! I wish them well and cant wait to welcome some new bambinos into my circle of friends. I am enjoyed a quiet day at home where i cooked two meals , one to freeze for the week. One was a pot of homemade soup that went down well on this cold day.

I am going to wrap this day up now and get ready for a new week.....

Friday, May 1, 2009

In the still of the night....

What a day! It is only as this day is closing that i am able to truly reflect on what a crazy day i have had, commencing at 5:05am. Our expected guest did not arrive but let us down when he missed his flight for unacceptable reasons. Lots of drama ensued and generally ruined the mood. Momentarily. One thing i love about my family (immediate and extended, friends included!) is the amount of support i get from those around me. I am also grateful for the space of my relationship where crisis turns us inwards and not outwards. All of this enables me to keep my sense of humour. How can i not when i have so much to be grateful for. So today, despite all, i am grateful for:
  • The support that i received from friends and family today. I am also grateful for family who are friends and friends who are like family.
  • I am happy for the peace that resides in my home and that this really is my safe space.
  • I am grateful for the creative space that i shared with my cousin this afternoon (and the great pants that we crafted together!)
  • I am grateful for the carrot cake that was brought as a consolation (it hit the spot!).
  • I am grateful that my children are the souls that they are and that i married to such a delicously caring, kind man.
  • The opportunity to see some old friends tomorow.
And with that i will leave you. The kettle calls.