Sunday, 29 April 2012

Easy baby clothes tutorials

So, I know there are like billions of gorgeous baby clothes tutorials out there, because I have seeeeen them.  But seeing as I know no babies I never bother saving them or remembering where I saw them.  And now I've just been invited to my cousins wedding (this weekend coming!) and they have a new baby so I thought it might be nice to make their baby something too. 

This is where you guys come in...

I need help!!

I have pinterested and googled and all sorts and not found anything particularly exciting.  I would love to make a cute little outfit but keeping in mind it's starting to get cold and I have never sewn baby clothes before.

I mean, I could just go for a basic skirt and buy a little top and applique it, which I'm thinking might be the easiest option.  But I can't find a good skirt tutorial for a cute skirt, I want it to be a bit exciting, not just a circle of fabric.  Apparently she is wearing size 0 at the moment so I thought I should make something in a size 1? I really have Absolutely No Idea. 

Please send links and advice my way!!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Bounciness and first impresssions


Ever since I can remember I have had slightly erratic emotions.  I call them bouncy.  They are a bit all over the place.  One moment they are up and the next they are down.  I'm sure this is not a strange thing for many of you to read about.  In fact I'm sure it's actually more common than everyone thinks.

It's funny how we put on a facade.  The private you and the public you can be such very very different people.  I recently found out a girl I know (and would like to become good friends with but haven't quite got there yet (in the three years since I met her...)) is having some issues with depression and has done on and off since high school.  I met her at MR's 21st.  She is the girlfriend of one of his friends and we had a drunkenly awesome time together and really hit it off.  Anyhow, I wasn't sure if she would want to be 'friends-friends' with someone like me or not so I never really pushed it too much.  She is one of the bubbliest and friendliest, outgoing-est types of people I have ever met.  Like full on.  Which is great for me really, I like those sort of people because when I hang with people like me sometimes the conversation gets a bit stuck and I feel all anxious.  Apparently however, this is all her facade.  I was amazed.  She is awesome, really, I am in awe of her.  But MR was chatting with her boyfriend and it turns out she is actually a lot like me, just with a much more amped up facade than mine.

First impressions are essentially defunct, especially if you are meeting people who are any good at putting on a show.  That person you think is super bubbly may be really quiet without that glass of dutch courage in their hand.  And that person who you think is a bit of a snob may just be really shy and not have great small talk skills. And yet we all still judge people on our first meetings and often don't give them a second chance.

An old uni friend told me at her wedding a few years ago that she had seated a cousin of hers next to me because she knew I'd be good at chatting to her and making her feel comfortable.  I felt like snorting.  I'm sure I raised an eyebrow and looked at her in 'wtf' expression.  Me? Good at chatting? Hell no.  But then I realised she knew me enough to see past my social anxiety and see that when I see people like me feeling all awkward and shy I do try to get past my own issues and attempt put them at ease by trying to chat to them and include them in conversation.  Because I know how it feels.
So I'm trying to make an unlike me effort and put myself out there and invite her out to do something, completely out of the blue.  I'm a bit nervous.  Isn't it ridiculous how hard it is to make friends as an adult?  Or is that just me?  One of my main goals in moving back to Perth at the end of 2010 was to make more friends because at the time I had a grand total of two proper friends, and one of them was MR.  I have a few more now because I have been putting myself out there, doing things like starting up a Brown Owls group with Sarah, where I have met a few very lovely ladies, and starting a new job last year, although it's been hard being off work for 7 months to keep up with everything with those girls, and I've met someone who is probably the closest person I'm ever going to find who has been through something similar to me.  I had a liver transplant because of leukaemia and she has lymphoma because of a liver transplant (the immunosuppressant drugs).  In fact she has had two liver transplants and is going through her second lot of lymphoma.  And she's two years younger than me.  You think I've had it hard! It is nice to have someone close in age who understands what it's like though.  

I've come a long way in the last year and a half.  I used to break down in tears at the thought of going out and having to socialise where I used to live.  There were no 'me type people', or if there were, they were in the 'mummy group' which was out of bounds for non mummies. It's amazing what a bit of sheer determination to turn something around can do.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.  And I apologise for the sheer volume of dribble, it is 3.30am and I've been up since 4.40am because I took MR to the airport.  Procrastination, plain and simple.  I hate going to bed the first night home alone.

ps. Did you totally love those bouncers (in the image) as a child? God, they were awesome! I keep trying to use the kindy kids ones at school but I am just a tad too big for them.  I need an adult sized one.  Maybe we could put handles on pilates blow up fit balls? New trend? Anyone with me??

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Left hand, right brain

I went to an Art Therapy class this week at the hospital and had a great time.  We worked with chalk pastels, (which are now on my list of things to add to my crafty supplies) which I hadn't really used a lot before so it was fun to experiment.

The rule was we had to use our left hand, as that clicks into the right side of our brains, the side related to colour and creativity.  It was actually really liberating as I felt a lot less judgemental about my (lack of) skills in the drawing department.  Instead of thinking 'eugh, that's not what I wanted it to look like' I was like 'wow, look what I can create with my left hand', simply because you (well, I at least) don't have such high expectations of my left hand in producing what my brain wants done.

We had to draw something we wanted to happen this week, whether it be something that will possibly happen or wishful thinking about what we would like to happen.  I have some poppy seeds to plant, tomorrow hopefully, and so I drew a picture of my poppies in flower.  Wouldn't it be nice if seeds sprouted overnight and you had flowers by the end of the week? Everyone would always have lovely colourful gardens.  I haven't planted poppies before and I am going to plant them in the garden bed down the side of our driveway so it should look super pretty when they are in bloom!  I've got no idea what poppy leaves look like so I decided they look like this.  Because that's what my left hand wanted to draw.

 Until they do bloom, I'll have my pretty picture to look at.  MR gave it the approval to hang it on the wall, I felt pretty proud of that, even if he is just humouring me a little, which he assured me he was not.

Linking up (when we get to Thursday)

Sunday, 22 April 2012

On scars and healing

One of the first things I googled about liver transplants after having mine was scars.  I wanted to know how long it would take to heal and fade and not look so dreadfully hideous and bright red and gross.

The photos were very few and far between.  Possibly because most people who have a liver transplant are somewhat older and either not blogging or not all that keen on flashing photos of their stomaches for the world to see.  Luckily, I have no such qualms.  Which is odd, because I certainly can't picture walking around in a bikini any time soon.  Here however, it has a more medical aim.  I want to have a photo up for someone like me, who is still at the bikini point of their lives and who ends up with a big scar and is completely vain and googles it straight away.  Just to show them that it does heal relatively quickly.

I've certainly helped it along with Bio Oil, Vitamin E oil and Dermatix, especially to begin with but over the last month or so I've been a bit slack with applying it.  To begin with I was applying it twice a day most days.  Then after a few months I went to once a day, in the evening and just moisturising it in the morning with Aveeno moisturiser which I use on my whole body after showering anyhow.

I found the vitamin E oil and the dermatix really really sticky and they didn't dry for ages, which was fine if you are just sitting around at home and it's Summer so you can just sit around in your knickers but if it's Winter or you have to go out, it was ruining my clothes.  The bio oil is a lot lighter and soaks in faster but you still need to leave your top off for a while as it soaks into the fabric very quickly.  Which is why I went to just night time applications and have been wearing old daggy pyjammie tops which now all have a very lovely oil stripe down the middle.

It's hard to tell you the effectivitity of each of the three products I applied because I interchanged them all.  The dermatix is quite expensive, $60 for a tube that is about the size of your little finger.  The vitamin E oil I bought was in a little bottle about the same size and only $15 or so.  Bio oil is not too badly priced, I got a big bottle and I'm not even a third of the way through it.  The big bottle was about $40 or $50.

Now obviously everyone scars differently, but it is still nice to know that six months down the track, your scar could look like this.  In fact it could even look better than this, as I've seen one guy in my liver gym class who is one month ahead of me and his scar looked like mine does now at the four month mark. And he is not the type who would have been applying expensive creams and oils to it twice a day.

My scar now, at 6 months and 1 week old.

My belly button has almost returned to normal shape, although it is still a bit squashed at the top and oval-ish when it used to be completely round.  I also have very little feeling around my top half of my belly button and around the cross point of the scar.  I have no sensation of hot or cold there at all.  Quite strange.  My two drain hole scars haven't popped out and become all ropey like it was suspected they would, in fact they are a bit sunken which is just fine by me.  Overall I'm fairly happy with the healing, apart from that ropey part up the top near my boobs.  I hate that part.  The rest of it, well I think I've almost reached the 'proud' point I was aiming for.  To me it is now more of a war wound and a mark of what I have got through and survived rather than a stupid ugly thing. Finally.  MR is still awesome about it, it does not bother him at all.  I think that has helped a lot.  Although, as I mentioned above, I'm still not comfortable with the idea of walking around in a bikini.

My scar at 3 weeks and 4 days old.  The staples had only just come out a few days ago.

So, there you have it.  I'm interested to see what it looks like at the nine month point and the one year mark.  I'm glad I've taken photos along the way because I can't see the difference without looking at the photos.  Before taking this one and looking at the old one I knew it had faded a bit but had forgotten just how red it used to look.  I have hope though.  In that photo above of the scar in its new form, you can see my appendix scar.  It is on the left side of the photo, about 3/4 of a centimetre above my knickers.  It starts about in line with the drain hole mark and goes across about two or three centimetres in the photo, on a slight angle following my knicker line.  Can you see it? I can, just, but only because I know where to look.  Admittedly, that scar is 11 years old, but it's a good sign for the future!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Giveaway alert!

Amanda is having an awesomely generous giveaway over at Homely One.  Not just one thing, but four! Wow.

Just look at the pretty selection of things up on offer...

You've got until the 25th of April to enter so head on over and check out Amanda's blog.

Autumn planting

What to do on a delightful rainy day? Gardening of course!

Yesterday, MR and I spent a lovely two hours of the afternoon, gardening in the drizzly rainy weather.  It was so lovely, I wanted to stay outside all night.

I did the front part of the garden, planting tulip bulbs in amongst my roses as well as some ground cover annuals that I would love to tell you the name of except the seed packets got all soggy in the rain so I threw them out and now I can't remember what they are called. 

 I also planted these two Mona Lavendar bushes.  Apparently they spread to 60cm so they should line that wall under the window nicely.

They have beautiful dark foresty green leaves and the underside is a deep purple.

MR looked after the back yard, having more fun with his chainsaw, chopping down another tree (one more to chop down in the back yard plus two in the front) and putting in the white peach tree we got as a housewarming present from a lady I worked with last year as well as the nectarine tree we bought at bunnings yesterday.

This is what it looked like when we moved in

And this is what it looks like now!

 Loquat and apricot

White peach and nectarine

I even managed to get in a bit of crochet in front of the tv last night, finishing off this little dude.

Meet Kevin the koala.  Seeing as we have no eucalyptus trees he's chowing down on nectarine leaves.  Surely they are super sweet and juicy too?  He's going to be jetting off to America for an amigurumi swap.

 Linking up

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Goodbye ugly tree stump

 MR quite liked my stepping stone tree stump path idea for the veggie patch. 
Any excuse to buy a new power tool!

 One stepping stone and lots of firewood!

 And while he's at it, goodbye stupid palm tree as well. Excuse the dreadful photo quality!

I do love a productive man xx

Friday, 13 April 2012

More dates of note

Today is mine and MR's fifth anniversary.  For our anniversaries we have the tradition of 'doing something special'.  Most of the time this has been a holiday but last year we went to Cirque du Soleil.  This year we are thinking it will be a holiday as well, perhaps in May.  Definitely down south because that is our favourite place.

I am absolutely dying to go on a holiday.  I would love to just get on a plane and forget about silly blood tests for a week or two.  But I will settle for a few days in Dunsborough quite happily, especially if I get to have a hot chocolate from Hot Chocolatte every day.  Best hot chocolate in the world. 

Each year we give each other a card as well.  Nothing like a bit of love written down.  I feel so lucky to have him in my life.  I really got the jackpot in best ever partners. 

Tomorrow is my six month liversary! Already! My, how time has flown.  I must bake it something.  I'm thinking sticky date pudding.  Livers like sticky date pudding. With yummy butterscotch sauce and ice cream and cream.  Oh yes, they do! 

Brown Owls

I've been a bit lazy with advertising our Brown Owls classes lately, in fact, really doing anything about them at all. Luckily Sarah has been picking up the slack. So I thought I'd let you know we have a Brown Owls class this Sunday, from 2 -4 at the Bayswater Family Centre, corner of Murray and Crowther Sts in Bayswater.

All you need to bring is yourself, something to craft while you're there and a gold coin towards room hire and tea and coffee. 

We'd love to see you there!

I'm going to be working on this, if I can find the right colour floss which I have somehow misplaced...

Our Brown Owls facebook page

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Crafting galore

The creative space thing has been happening big time over at my place, in my standards anyhow.  There has been sewing, as well as building, painting, hooking and stitching.  It's all been a bit exciting to have been getting so much done, even if there are still are humungous stack of wip's lying around and it seems a bit ridiculous to start anymore!

Ahh well, after I have finished off these, I think it is time to delve into the wip box, right down the bottom to something I started probably about 3 or 4 years ago now.  These sort of things are all over the place now but at the time there wasn't anything like it that I had found!

But onto the stuff I'm doing right now...

 Check out this awesome little mini lego kitty I got from a friend when I was in hospital last, I keep forgetting to show you! It was quite fiddly to build, what with the mild shakes I have from the medication but it was good fun.

 I also stitched this little snowflake ornament using this pattern that I bought ages ago meaning to make some for Christmas and never got around to.  Nothing like starting the Christmas crafting early!  And I do have to ask, does anyone have any tips on sewing with metallic threads? It was such a pain, they kept untwisting and getting caught and knotted.  But pretty once it's done.

I mentioned a while ago I was having a go at my first ATC - well here it is, complete with fluffy painted cloud (which I'm very proud of) and lacy raindrops.

 I've been using this very lovely book from the library to whip up some assorted body parts for a few cute little amigurumi critters.  Can you guess what I'm making?

I've also been hooking up a little pattern for a pencil/hook case, I'm going for a scallopped edge look...

And finally, I made up this little flower pouch for a swap.  I lined it with the same fabric I used for the flowers.  Mitred cornered are getting closer to being aligned!

What have you been up to in the creative world lately?

Monday, 9 April 2012

Tied with a bow

I made a top! I pinned it a while ago and then Sarah pinned and made it which got me motivated. 

I finished it today when Sally and Sarah came over for a day of sewing but it was a bit gapey and baggy at the front, so I added some darts. 
I'm pretty happy with how it ended up!

It's 2am...

... and I'm making mini crustless quiches.  Of course I am!!

excuse the glarey flash photo - it is 2am after all!
I roasted the pumpkin earlier and was going to put them together tomorrow for when Sally and Sarah come over for a sewing day and lunch, but I exercised again today and I'm not tired. Even after getting up at 9.45. *sigh*

So instead, I started putting the quiches together.  Roast pumpkin, leek, english spinach, cherry tomato, spring onion and parmesan.  All I need to do tomorrow is whip up the egg mix and pour it over them, dollop on a bit of ricotta and bang them in the oven.  Lovely lunch ahead!

Goal change

So, I'm giving up (for now) on the recording and aiming of being in bed by 11pm.  It's just Really Not Working.  And that really is the understatement of the year.  I was getting so annoying at myself for not being tired on time even when I'm getting up a bit earlier and doing exercise to help wear me out.  Unfortunately, the exercise is just giving me more energy! Argh!

So,  the focus has changed.  Instead of stressing about not getting to bed on time, I am going to focus on getting up before 10 every day.  Once I can get up before 10 for more than a week, I am going to try getting up before 9.30 and so on until I get to somewhere between 8.30 and 9.  Along with that I am going to focus on doing regular exercise.  As I said a few posts ago, I have done 3 lots of exercise a week for two weeks now, a big deal for super slack me, so I am going to keep that up.  I went for a walk today as my first lot of exercise for the third week.  I managed to jog for 100m or so, my longest stretch of jogging ever (since transplant).  I was proud.  Much more positive goal.  And I'm much more certain I can achieve this goal and so MR is very kindly letting me out of my bed by 11 (although, I'll still try that when he is home - much easier to go to bed earlier when he is in bed waiting for me!) and instead, if I manage 3 lots of exercise a week for a month then he will treat me to a spa pedicure.  To be honest, he is entirely wonderful and he did say he would just send me to get one anyhow, but I really want to feel like I've earnt it.  (Being poor really sucks.  I feel like I am back in uni!!) And being a total Star Chart/Reward type of girl, well, this will work for me and make me not feel like a total freeloader.  And even if my sleeping is shit at least the rest of my body is getting healthier and fit.  And hopefulllllllly, all that exercise combined with the earlier mornings will just get me heading to bed earlier without stressing over it.

So here's to the new me driven by exercise.  I'm even toying up with the idea of whether or not I would be ready to start back with netball?  Maybe just a quarter per game... too soon?  Probably.  I'm thinking I might be a bit too scared of elbows and balls to the tummy yet.  But it would be a nice way to meet new people and make some more friends!  Perhaps next season..

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Garden dreams

Happy Easter Bunny Day!

I've been trying to get back out into the garden a bit more now that it's starting to cool off and I'm looking forward to planting my Easter Bulbs (instead of eggs) so the other day I cleared out some plants I didn't like from the little garden next to our front door in preparation for that to be my bulb garden.


I'm a bit concerned about the dry patches in the back two corners so I'm gonna very nicely ask MR to have a look at the reticulation when he gets home to see how easy or difficult it would be to put some more in. 

And then after that I'm going to see if I can convince him to chainsaw down this terrible stumps so it is at least ground height and then I can use it as a stepping stone, slice off a few more pieces to make a couple more and plant veggies all around my little wooden stump path.. that's the idea growing in my head at the moment anyhow!  We'll see what he thinks of that tonight when he calls...

Saturday, 7 April 2012


I finally, recently, joined the local library and it has been a bit exciting!  I have this list of books I want to read but don't know if I'd like them so didn't want to buy them.  And I went a bit overboard looking them all up and reserving the ones that I found. And then they all arrived at once!  I usually tend to go only for fantasy when I'm buying because I'm almost guaranteed to enjoy it.  But I've got a nice selection here, some fantasy, historical fiction, family drama, real life stories, australian romance and a bit of word etymology with Filthy English - not sure what genre that would get classified under.

I started the Fiona Palmer book last night, The Family Farm.  It's the Aussie romance, in case you hadn't guessed.  Fiona is doing a talk at my local library next week and I've booked to go and listen so I thought I had better read one of her books first! I quite enjoyed the story once I got into it, which did take quite a while.  The first third of the book was a bit too long winded and description-ey and it felt a bit like she was showing off how much she knew about farming, it went on about it so much.  Sure that's the books title and it is about a girl fighting her father to let her help run the farm but it just seemed to go on a bit.  There are a few moments that are a bit too ocker (although there are many moments in the country in real life that seem a bit too ocker as well, going by my memories) and I wonder how well it would go in a foreign market.  It's set in WA and I knew all but one of the land marks and all of the towns mentioned. Once the story started going and getting into the good bits (I don't mind me a bit of a romance novel!) I got quite into it and I finished it off today. I'd give it a 3.5 stars.

I'm trying to decide what to read next, I need something that is not going to encourage me to stay up til all hours keeping on reading to find out what happens next so I'm thinking I might read Filthy English.  I find word origins so fascinating and I'm sure it will be broken up nicely chapter by chapter and not too hard to put down.

What are your favourite genres?  Do you stick to just one type or read across the range?

Friday, 6 April 2012

This is me.

I may have posted this before.  But it is just so relevant at the moment (I refound it going through and sorting out my photos) that I just had to post it (possibly again).
Take out 'party' and add 'craft/blog/read/tidy/watch tv'

I've been trying to get up earlier, most days I am up before 10 now instead of rolling out of bed somewhere around 11 - 12.  I am tired, but then I start to wake up in the evening and then I am not tired and the cycle repeats and this little cartoon illustrates it Exactly.

I've even been doing exercise in an attempt to 1) tire me out and 2) get fit.  Last week I went for a walk, went to the gym and went to yoga.  I was so proud of myself!  So far this week I have done the same again and I'm hoping to encourage myself to go for another walk tomorrow.  This would probably be the first time ever in my life that I have done exercise 3 times in a week for two weeks in a row.  In fact, this is probably the first time in my life I have done exercise 3 times in a week period.  I am le slack but I am trying so hard to turn it all around.  The exercise has only given me more energy in the mornings to stay up until truly ridiculous hours. 

I'm sure it will turn around soon, it is just frustrating.  I am frustrating myself by my bad habits.

Habits are so hard to break!


This morning...

... I started my day a little bit differently.  Instead of sitting on the couch with my laptop and my breakfast checking emails and blogs I decided to go sit outside with a book.  It has been cool enough for trackie dacks today - first time this year! - so I was a bit excited.  I even needed a cardi.  It was so peaceful sitting there with a fresh hot cross bun slathered with butter and a banana smoothie that I ended up staying outside for a few hours until I had finished my book.

I love Autumn...


A while ago, I posted about beginning this project which I couldn't show you in it's finished form because it was for a private swap I was doing with a very lovely girl I met on blogland, Christie of Describe Happy.  Well, it arrived at her place the other day so it has got me out of my blogging funk and got me posting!

 I saw this pattern on Ravelry for the mushroom (although mine turned out a bit more toadstool-ish), which I recently joined (you can find me here) and thought it was just so adorable.  Christie and I originally bonded over our love of all things forest and mushroomy so I thought this would be perfect.

I started off doing a square base for the pot rest part but it really wasn't working for me so I unravelled and found a pattern for a circle done in spirals.  Much neater looking!  Unfortunately I didn't do an especially good job of centring my mushroom on the base and some of my french knots are a little bit iffy but overall I was really pleased with the result.  Pleased enough that I plan to make another one for my kitchen but with a blue background. 

I attached some brown felt to the back with possibly the neatest blanket stitching I've ever managed to do and it was all finished.  Lovely!

Our swap started off with Christie seeing these pincushions I had made on my blog and commenting that she thought they were cute so I offered to make one for her.  They are only itsy bitsy pin cushions so I sent her two.