Thursday, June 30, 2011

Yarn Along

Again, joining Ginny for the weekly Yarn Along.

I have been a bit distracted from my blanket squares this week (the tan wool) - I still have six left to go; so am on track with my goal of having the squares completed by next week. 

Instead of being focussed (a chronic problem for me with craft projects) I have been working on a cardigan for Ginger from Easy Baby Knits by Claire Montgomery; I picked up my copy from the library and just photo copied the pattern I wanted.  I already had the wool on hand as I had previously attempted the simple baby jumper from the book but my gauge was way out, so I unravelled it to start a new project.  From my first project, I know the sizes run big so I am knitting the 12 - 18 month size for Ginger with the expectation she will be at the upper end of that band by the time I finish.  It is a very simple knit, moss stitch edging and stocking stitch body.

I am reading John Banville's The Sea which won the Man Booker prize in 2005.  The language is beautiful and I am being carried along by the plot.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Home Making - Cleaning

How do you go about cleaning your house?

I ask this because a couple of days ago my husband came home and told me that one his soldiers sends her husband and children out for a couple of hours every Saturday morning and cleans the house.  Since then I have been thinking on the house cleaning arrangements for our own home; and how time efficient such a method would be with young children around.

When I was working I was an intermittent cleaner - an all or nothing kind of girl.  Every couple of weeks DH (provided he was at home) and I would blitz the house and then, pretty much, do nothing but the kitchen and bathroom between times. 

Now that I am home with Ginger all the time I seem to sort of chip away at home-keeping jobs - a la Fly Lady.  For instance, today I tackled a deep clean of the bathroom while yesterday I did our bedroom.  But in all honesty, that is about all I achieve in a day (on the domestic front) apart from day to day duties of dish washing and laundry.

It sometimes feels very time inefficient and I never have the satisfaction of having a completely clean house.  Also, jobs like mopping the floor just seem to get shoved from one day's to-do list to another.  And, a toddler home seven days a week creates a lot more mess and, for that matter, dirt than two adults only home evenings and weekends. 

The thing is, with Ginger underfoot or 'helping' I can't get more than 15 minutes or so of cleaning done before she wants me to play with her, or at least pick her up (I am a softy when it comes to grizzles).  Helping often includes walking off with the duster, Windex and newspaper or vacuum cleaner head to do her own cleaning or, indeed, emptying the entire basket of clean washing onto the floor or grass one item at a time.  Retrieving said cleaning objects usually results in a full toddler meltdown which then delays us another 15 or so minutes while we either try the distraction method (rarely successful - my daughter has a memory like an elephant) or the Mummy is ignoring your screaming and kicking and is going to pretend like nothing has happened method (which leaves Mummy partially deaf, Ginger unhappy and the whole household - I include the dogs here - perturbed).

So, to counterbalance this, shame on me I know, while I might make progress in one room I sort of allow her to go into full destruction (aka exploring) mode in another, or indeed sometimes even in the room I am working on.  Dusting her room and stripping the bed can involve a full 10-15 minutes extra time of picking up all the nappies she takes off the change-table shelves, picking the books and toys from her bookcase off the floor, oh, and resorting the contents of the wardrobe shelves she has decided to empty. 

Which is all a very long winded way of coming round to the question - how do you maintain (as Auntie Leila would call it) a reasonably clean home?  I'd personally particularly love any tips on doing so with a toddler around but cleaning experiences under all familial circumstances are welcome :)

Please share...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Unplugged Sunday

This weekend we joined Heather's family in having an unplugged Sunday.  For our family we set the disconnected (no technology) hours as between 6am (Ginger's waking) and 7pm (her bedtime).  It was so refreshing and we got so much done.

For the first time in  months we made it to church on time - usually we arrive with the first hymn.  We went straight from church to the local monthly country markets where we picked up some local fruit and vegetables, and a toy for Ginger.  I had seen something similar on Jennifer's blog and she had said it was the favourite toy for all her four children when they were toddlers.  Ginger was certainly impressed when she woke up from her nap and got to play.

During Ginger's nap DH and I got on with some hobbies - DH worked on his aeroplane model and I pieced another strip of my quilt. 

Ginger woke for a late lunch and we had some yummy avocado that has been ripening on the windowsill for weeks.  There is an avocado tree on base and DH climbed it and got us down quite a number - nothing like free produce!

Then, there was time for a walk.  Ginger loves walking, but her pace is more of a doddle than a walk.  We compromise now - she gets to walk some and then she gets pushed.  We found some holly and some interesting seedpods on our wander.

Home again in time for some of DH's wholemeal scones and a pot of tea.  He is becoming quite the man in the kitchen!

Friday, June 24, 2011

On My Mind...

Joining Rhonda in letting you know what is on my mind today....

I am thinking about planned and unplanned expenses.  No matter how careful you are with your money there are just some things you can't forsee.  Monty started limping Wednesday night.  Thursday morning I took him to the vet - he had torn his anterior cruciate ligament in one of his hind legs.  The Vet advised surgery; without it the problem would just get worse.  

Monty went under the knife this morning.  An unexpected $840 later, he has a prothesis in his leg and is lying in the portacot feeling miserable - we have put him in there to keep him away from Ginger while he recovers.  Turns out it can keep the baby in, or out!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Yarn Along

Joining Ginnie at Small Things

Knitting a garter stitch square for a blanket I started 3 years ago when I was learning to knit.  I am determined to finish it this winter.  Just 13 squares to go.  One a day and I should have it finished in two weeks.  In terms of reading, I am enjoying The Burry Man's Day, the second Dandy Gilver murder mystery story.  I picked it, and the first Dandy Gilver, up at last week's Lifeline Bookfair.

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life


Ginger has become obsessed with reading.  Here she is looking at my library copy of Australian Country Living.  Good taste, I say.  Its my favourite magazine - I love it even more now I get it free from the library. A child reading is pretty as a picture for a book loving Mum.


I love that Ginger loves her dogs.  She is very determined that she will walk Abby.  Poor Abby is not that keen on it but it does make Ginger very happy.


You can just hear Ginger - "Oh no, my dog has made her escape."  Feel like I should add a disclaimer - we are not just letting Ginger walk down any old road; its on base so there are very few cars on a weekend.


Paper and pen - what shall I write?  Ginger has decided she is a writer.  She needs a biro - a crayon or pencil is no longer accepted AND paper AND mummy needs to hold her hand and write as she directs!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lifeline Bookfest

Many people who come to our home comment on how many books we have.  The removalists regularly complain at pack-up and un-pack that we have too many books.  Frankly, to have too many books rather than too few is the condition I prefer.  Anyway, to this end as we have posted around the country we have tracked down secondhand book shops and Lifeline bookfairs.  Lifeline is a mental health charity that raises money by having huge secondhand bookfairs.

We have been to Lifeline fairs in Sydney and Toowoomba but this past long weekend we decided it was worth the drive down to Brisbane to visit the fair there - the summer one was cancelled because of the floods.  Sob.  The Brisbane fair is the biggest secondhand book fair in the Southern Hemisphere.  It is held over four days.  Because we had been up the coast for the long weekend to visit my best friend, DH decided to take the Tuesday off so we could go.

Oh my goodness.  Three convention hall rooms were taken up with books and this was the last day.  Because it was the last day the books had been rather picked over but gems could still be found for a song.  In the bargain hall it was fill a giant shopping bag for $5, the middle hall fill a plastic bag for $10 or 3 for $20, and the high end books were all half price (at most about $3 each).  Thankfully Ginger was feeling in a good mood because we were there for four hours.

Ginger did best of all, but my haul came a pretty close second.  Because we have access to these fairs I rarely buy any new books these days.  I did particularly well for children's books in the cheap hall because I tend towards older titles.  It seems most people are after the disneyesque.  DH was happy with his finds but he is fussy reading only classics and history so his choice is limited.

Here is all our loot as my husband calls it!

Here are some of the children's gems.

Just love Shirley Hughes' illustrations.

 I didn't have this as a child but I hear from blogland that it's a classic.

Some Little Grey Rabbit books to add to our collection for when Ginger is older.  Somehow between DH and I we ended up with two copies of this title and when we got home we already had it!  Good thing I have now started a children's books catalogue.

By Astrid Lindgren the author of Pippi Longstockings.

 The two boardbooks we were missing from the Martha B Rabbit series.  We found the other two in a charity shop back home and I wanted to get the rest of the series because one of the character's shares Ginger's real name - given her name is rather old fashioned this is unusual.  The only other children's book character with the same name we have found appears in Beatrix Potter.

 I got so excited about finding an Elsa Beskow I forgot to check its condition.  It is like this throughout with the exception of one or two pages.  So Sad.  I have decided to cut the good pages out and put them away for hanging in any future little boy's room.

Again, this series was brought to my attention the my blog wanderings.  So far I have managed to track down Winter and Autumn at charity shops and now Summer Story.  Just Spring to find!

Here are a few of my choice adult picks:

I read about this years ago in the New York Times book reviews and have wanted to read it ever since.

Teresa of Avila fascinates me.

I love Salley Vickers' writing and have read several of her books.  Her books marry the spiritual with the ordinary.

I read White Gardenia by Belinda Alexandra and it was fascinating - all about White Russians in China when the communist revolution began.  I look forward to Wild Lavender.

Just looked fun.

Now we just need shelving for them.  Luckily our neighbours are going back to the UK in a couple of weeks and since they are not being replaced are shedding their worldly goods - we are buying their bookcase:)  Meantime they are stacked on top of our current bookcases.

So, what are you currently reading or looking forward to reading?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Weekend Twitterings

We had a really lovely weekend with all its precious little moments ...

homemade pizza friday night ...

wanders in the backyard while Mummy hung the washing....

pancakes made on the camp stove (we discovered during a power outage a couple of weeks ago this works so much better for pancakes than our actual stove top; besides we need to use up all the propane before we post again and we are not planning on camping with a 14 month old)....

lime and orange marmalade made using this recipe (now if I could just get that last jar to seal) ...

sunny spots sought out and enjoyed...

fun times had with Daddy....

Market fresh produce enjoyed by all.  Ginger is eating yellow watermelon!  Green beans with all the trimmings must be fresh; seriously they smelt like grass cuttings.  Thanks to DH who volunteered to venture out in the freezing cold to said markets at 6am on Sunday so we could still make it to church on time 10 minutes late en masse.

moving slowly ever forward on my quilt.

Hope your weekend was full of special moments.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cath Kidstonesque Peg Bag

I love the vintage inspired look of Cath Kidston.  Fortunately my MIL knows this and most of my birthday and christmas presents for the last few years have been Cath Kidston inspired (they live in the UK so have more ready access than I do!).  Last year for my birthday my MIL sent the Cath Kidston Sew book.  I have already made the baby quilt out of it for Ginger and recently decided to make peg bags for both my best friend and our household.  The only thing I would comment on is that the instructions for both projects are vague at best, I think you would have to have a bit of sewing knowledge to complete them successfully.

Spotlight had some very Cath Kidstonesque fabric the other week month (it takes me that long to get around to things) so they turned out even better than I hoped.  It makes the washing line look sunny on these grey winter days.