Wednesday, December 29, 2010

sensitive? me???

Over the past few days I've considered a few different ways to write about the Christmas that was...

but even though I'm not always the nicest person in real life (a couple of moments on Christmas day revealed that rather clearly), I like having a nice blog... so I have belatedly learned to hold my tongue.

Then I read this book again (it's by Tony Wilson, a Melbourne based author who writes about people who like their pants pulled up high, brave flowers, and mauve traffic lights, among other things)...

Usually when I read this, I think about some people I know...

we all know that kind of person, don't we?

except today I realised that sometimes I'm that kind of person.

A person who can't bear to sleep in polyester sheets, who takes offence at tiny slights, and, well, feels a bit like I'm walking around with a stone in my shoe (or a pea or three in my mattress)...

So, perhaps this year when (if?) I write my resolutions, a little less sensitivity and a little more resilience should be on the list...

By the way, I'm not usually a resolutions list kind of person - are you? Do you have any tricks for keeping them achievable, and, well, keeping them?

PS: find this awesome book here (among other places, I'm sure!). I love teaching my daughter subverted fairy tales before she's had a chance to learn the "official" ones!

Friday, December 24, 2010

nearly there...

We are about to jump in a car and head off for Christmas with my husband's family (to be honest, we should already be on our way and I definitely shouldn't be dilly-dallying over a computer right now...), so I just wanted to pop in and wish you all a happy and safe Christmas and festive season.

(the closest we could get to a Santa photo this year - she's terrified of him, so a photo with a reindeer's distant relative will have to do...)

Thank you so much for your friendship, encouragement and inspiration over this year, and I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Catherine xo

Saturday, December 11, 2010

positive and negative (my happy list)

It's fair to say that I've been a "glass half empty" person for most of my life, from my school days when I'd get 19/20 in a test, and focus on the one mistake I made...

These days, I sometimes find it hard to see beyond the never-conquered laundry pile, or the cracks in the concrete occupying most of our little backyard...

Then I read this post by Kate, who, in spite of some very real and frustrating challenges facing her family and their farm, chose to focus on what makes her happy... and has inspired many others to do the same.

So, inspired by Kate's happy list challenge, this is what makes me happy right now...

Living in a home where creativity and imagination is valued more highly than neatness and perfection...

a place filled with "magical fabrical houses" and teapot toasties

a place where just a cup of water can create a wonderful puddle (not that we've needed to supply the water lately...)

a place where my lack of pruning has led to a safe place for a bird to nest (right outside our loungeroom window! I'm trying to keep my distance and give them some privacy, and have managed to keep this a secret from our girl)

More happy list inspiration over here (thanks Kate!)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Made by other hands

I love the idea of making presents for people - especially those closest to me. The problem is, I'm a slow maker - slow to decide what to make, what colours or fabrics to choose, whether to use a pattern or make up my own (I generally choose the latter, then wonder what I was thinking halfway through)...

A little while ago, I wisely came to the realisation that if I wanted to give handmade this Christmas, I would need to at least partly outsource the making to others more productive than me.

These are two of my favourite gifts so far...

The cushion is for my dad - who has always stood up in his quiet way for justice and peace and all round kindness in the world. Made by the awesome Cath (who has also made some amazing map cushions, that are selling like hotcakes, by the looks of things!).

Quincy, a sweet bear who loves cranberry sauce, lawn bowls and playing the accordion, is made by Jess, a lovely person who I've been lucky enough to meet, and I'm pretty sure I was her first customer / groupie at her market stall a month or so ago. Quincy is going to my mum, who absolutely loves and treasures all teddy bears, and has a history of "rescuing" damaged and discarded bears and giving them a new home... I reckon Jess and my mum would have a bit in common!

I made another special purchase at Jess's market... ssshhh, don't tell my daughter...

She fell in love with Enid, the lamb after seeing "Enids" all over blogland in buttons for Softies for Mirabel. Just a few weeks ago (and after I'd brought Enid home), she said, "Mum, can you please make me an Enid? I want to stroke her and care for her and she can live in my flowery garden bedroom..." (Enid likes picking flowers, you see...)

I told her I couldn't, but that I would ask Jess... I think someone will be happy on Christmas morning!

Even though the gifts are made by others, we're adding a bit of our own handmade to the wrapping... nowhere as neat and stylish as Nic's, but still pretty good, I think!

I'll have a few more "made by others" gifts arriving soon... and if I don't pick up my work rate soon, I might be making some more quick orders in a few days time!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

a very cardboard christmas

For a good few years now, we haven't put up a christmas tree in our home. Partly because I have a bit of an allergy to pine trees (not major, just enough to be annoying), partly because we have a little place without much space for a tree, and partly because every Christmas we wake up somewhere other than home, with family who live too far away.

We managed to keep up this tree-free existence until this year. Thursday December 2 was the day we suddenly realised that our daughter really gets Christmas now... and that we can no longer avoid the tree.

The issues of space still exist, so a regular tree remains an option I'd like to avoid for as long as possible...

I researched some space saving ideas - I'd love a 2D version of this tree (thanks MMMC! and I'm impressed by Becclebee's DIY version too!), or this lovely little tree (down at the bottom of the post, past some gorgeous leather decorations), or maybe this bookshelf tree... the perfect tree for a family of bibliophiles, don't you think?

Then I saw an empty cardboard box, and after a bit of time convincing my sceptical daughter (well, cardboard is made out of trees...), the cardboard tree was drawn, coloured in, and cut out.

Adding to the complete laziness of this tree, I decided to make it a Christmas count-up calendar too - adding a paper "ornament" every day, instead of having to decorate it straight away!

(yes, we are up to date with ornaments - this photo is from a couple of days ago!)

Next year, I think we will need a "proper" tree - but at least this one will create no storage issues whatsoever come January!

Friday, December 3, 2010

job accomplished

Yesterday, we successfully delivered our softies to Meet me at Mikes for Softies for Mirabel. I was a bit worried about bringing a 3 and 1/2 year old child to a store with a window full of toys she couldn't have - feeling sure I'd face a constant barrage of "I want..."

In fact, she was great - handing over the softies package relatively happily (with her extra little gift for Pip, her craft hero - I'm trying to be cool about the fact she's chosen someone she's never met, who's not her mum, as her craft hero... at least she has good taste!), and saying good bye to the window full of toys, wishing them happiness in their new homes.

OK, so I did bribe her a little, with the purchase of a tiny pretty piece of fabric - but fabric bribes aren't so bad, are they?

If you are in Melbourne, you still have a few days to visit the window of Softies - or even add to it!

PS: by the way, "job accomplished" is her current favourite phrase, used after rescuing toys from pretend emergencies...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

my creative space

Guess where we are going today? With two softies finished just in time (well, actually, a day late for the window opening, but at least this way we get to drop off and window swoon at the same time...).

A big special mention to Susan, for the fabric for Bunny's "dress" (I won it, with some other vintage sheet fat quarters a while back), and for giving me a little bag full of toy stuffing as well! It was exactly the right amount to finish both softies - thank you Susan!

If you are a fast softie maker and want to join in, you still can - read Pip's latest Softies for Mirabel post here.

For more creative spaces, visit Kootoyoo.

Edited to add: there has been some conjecture regarding whether the brown softie is a dog or a pig... well... he was supposed to be a dog, but as soon as I turned him right way out, he looked a bit like a pig - so lets call him a dog/pig shall we?