Sunday, 24 December 2006

oh heck oh heck I'm up to my neck up to my neck

in home made christmas crackers,
left overs from last night's birthday dinner for my gorgeous sister (happy birthday Margie!),gingerbread,brown sugar shortbread,chocolate scary men,last minute crochet projects (why wouldn't I?),delicious fruit and garden tomatoes,lists.

On boxing day we head out for a couple of weeks at the beach. I am so excited! But it will all be very quiet round here till I get back so I hope you will all be having a fantastic time in my absence. Eat, drink, be merry.

And not that I'm trying to start a thing against Santa, but I ask you - in which photo would you rather be?

Tuesday, 19 December 2006

long time coming

The ever thoughtful Jane did a post a while back about gestation that I really loved. Perhaps in part it is because I am nearing the end of this second and momentous pregnancy that I am thinking so clearly in these terms, but Jane's post really chrystallised for me some of the stuff about process that offsets my usual focus on outcomes.

My life is full to the brim with projects not yet fully developed, teetering on the edge of life outside the womb. Sometimes they are flawed from the inception and you need to find a way to let them go with honour and reverence and acceptance, like we did last March when our second pregnancy ended in miscarriage.

And like real life and birth, you just can't hurry the gestation along or you end with the equivalent of my mother's first birthing experience - a premature induction that saw her spend 36 hours in stirrups. Ouch. Or a project doomed by the visitation of the mozz. It's not my forte to be patient, I tend to want to rush to outcomes, but I'm getting better at it as I get older.

But letting things take their time can be painful too, as anyone who has waited out an overdue baby can tell you. My little sewing space is so overcrowded with fabulous ideas that sometimes I can't even move, let alone find the space to create. There are days when in my haste I'll embark on something I know is bound for disaster, just to take it off the books and get it out of the way.

The whole thing is so much worse because, to be frank, I'm very good at conception. I'm a first time every time kind of girl. When it comes to sewing and craft I can spot materials with potential from a mile away - I can draw you a map of the fabric districts of several major cities right down to the placement of the serving counters in dozens of my favourite shops. I store patterns and books and projects by the hundred, I have sketch books and tools at the ready.

I'm not quite so good on the follow through. I'm not being self-depreciating here, I know I produce a fair volume of work and a good deal of it meets my standards, but believe me when I say it isn't close to the scale of projects lined up and waiting. It is very crowded in here let me tell. And as I get closer and closer to the arrival of this baby I am wresting a rather compelling desire to wipe the slate and make way in that birth canal.

When we were in Thailand one of the many projects I conceived was this muslin blanket. I kept spying these wonderful soft light cottons made from double layer muslin that I imagined in a very simple pojagi style patchwork as a little blanket for wrapping a summer baby or draping over the pusher to keep the sun off a sleeper. And although blue is not my favourite colour, these ones were all so Thai and well coordinated that I started to collect them.

So yesterday I finally got my shit together and put them all together for my about to arrive summer babe. While the gestation period for this project can be recorded as close to 18 months, it was a very quick and painless birth. I did traditional closed Pojagi seams, so there is no right or wrong side and bound the entire blanket with straight cut binding made from another piece of two layer muslin. It has that slightly wonky home made look I always get when I work with muslin, but I'm very pleased. I suspect it will wear out before it loses it's charm, but I'm OK with that too.

Saturday, 16 December 2006

crochet and the world asks, what the heck is that?

So far I've had one fascinated participant observer for every crocheting tram trip I've taken. That's got to be a record isn't it?

Not one single person has ever engaged me about knitting, but I seem to have seriously rocked a few people's worlds simply by hooking my way to work.

And each conversation starts the same - what are you doing?

Like crochet was some kind of secret underground thing. Not a blink for knitting but total astonishment for crochet.

I've had backpackers, a couple of young women who sat in stunned silence for a good 30 seconds before regaining enough composure to ask what it was I was doing, older women who confide they feel bad that the family domestic arts stopped short at them.

I'm getting through two flowers per commute (if I get a seat) and finding I have almost reached the auto pilot stage. Very gratifying. All the neices are getting flower hairbands and clips for christmas and all my little wool scraps are disappearing. Heaven.

The little frog is another Roxycraft creation. Loving those patterns!!

And here's Amy scoring at kinder lame Santa fest. I won't repeat myself here, but if you want to read my views on Santa come over here and read away.

I was intensely happy when Amy came out to me later and whispered that it wasn't really Santa, just some guy dressed up as Santa and she knew because she's seen the costume in the office. She seemed pretty happy with herself too.

At least her kinder has a books only policy so there's no sugar and plastic, and the parents are a pretty good bunch so we hang around for a few hours after the concert and have a barbeque and a chat. And a couple of beers when we aren't pregnant (and one light when we are).

Amy's room sang Rudolph the red nosed raindeer this year and I must say I thought the face painting was pretty cool.

We were also thrilled to discover two other kinder families will be holidaying at beaches very close to where we are staying after christmas, so we have a safety valve in place for when the collage, DVD, beading projects are all passe.

And here's an overdue shot of the Apricot crop. In what must be one of my more bizarre home growing experiences, the entire tree ripened in a single weekend. We were thus overrun with ripe apricots which we've duly scoffed with abandon. With a shelf life of only a couple of days we had to force our way through apricot tart as well as half a dozen whole fruits per day. Hard work I tell you.

And for those that asked - beta blogger is fine, a seamless and automatic transition if you don't mess with your template. Which of course I did and now I can't seem to load my lovely felt photo banner in the header and no one so far has stepped up to tell me how, which is pretty unusual for the increadibly helpful folk in the blogger google groups.

So you know, if you have answers, please. Please.

I'm feeling right naked here.

Thursday, 14 December 2006

patience please

I've switched to Beta and you know how it is, everything has gone ape. Regular programing with return momentarily!

Monday, 11 December 2006

the view

What I see from my desk. For the next two weeks anyway. That's actually the sea out there on the horizon. I think the blue tinge comes from the window tinting.
I'm not looking forward to saying goodbye to this view. I love the urban landscape from up here. Such a privilege to look at this every day and still get to go home to my lovely grounded earthy garden.
Christmas trees and fairies (links to patterns in previous post). Amy loved making these with me - handing me stuffing and a selection of beads and sequins for the trees, then choosing dress and hair colours for the fairies.

Saturday, 9 December 2006

rushing by

:: Amy's much improved - pretty much as good as new - though I am most definitely not forgiven for failing to stay by her side through her hospital ordeal. She asks me daily why I wasn't there and doesn't really listen to my answers. We all know it's not something I can explain to her satisfaction. She's not letting the world off the hook either for the way it let her down too. She's surly as hell and I can't blame her even if I have to discipline her. Thanks everyone who wished her well. Let's just hope she forgives us all soon.

:: It's really really hot and it seems like half of the state of Victoria is being chewed up by one of the worst bushfires we've had since the 80s. The air smells of smoke and you can barely see the horizon through an eerie orange glow. Already a few of our favourite bush camp sites are nothing but ash.

:: I'm over the 30 week mark and it's all getting a bit serious. There isn't a moment of the day that I'm not aware of what's coming over the horizon. Those kicks are starting to smart and that ain't the half of it. Ain't nothing I can do to resolve my schizophrenic joy and terror.

:: I'm going to a fancy party tonight and what do you wear when you're as big as a house and it's stinking hot and you know every other person in the room will be looking like fashion models?

:: I crocheted my first flower today. I can only encourage those who think they aren't crochet people. It grows on you. There'll be pics soon. When me and my camera aren't partly melted.

:: We've started on the Christmas decorating. Some of this and this. Thank you so much Simmy and Stephanie, you generous bloggers who share your patterns and instructions. You've saved me.

:: Did I mention it's really really hot?

Wednesday, 6 December 2006

home again

Because sometimes there isn't anything else to do while you wait but try and weave a little magic. To Amy's mind there's nothing so good as some pink winged magic.
Back home again and passed out in bed. Still wearing her hospital ID tag. She looks like hell but she'll surprise us all like kids do by recovering with lightening speed.

Thanks for all the wonderful wishes you guys, they help.

waiting helplessly

It's 7.45am and I am waiting to hear.

After another afternoon of ceaseless vomiting and terrifying lethargy D took Amy back to the hospital at 5pm yesterday.

At 9.30 he rang to say even the anti nausea medication that worked like a dream yesterday had failed, and now with all the vomiting her throat was bleeding. They had decided to put a naso-gastric tube in and keep her overnight.

What I wouldn't give to be with her, my poor poor baby.

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

this sucks

Day 4 on the vomit train.The 7th load of washing.

Even 5 hours in the hospital rehydrating yesterday hasn't stopped Amy chucking and squirting today.Poor kid.

Poor D who rolled home from an international flight and was promptly pressed into service playing nurse and ambulance driver.

Poor me who spent all night sweating and shivering with fever and wicked stomach cramps and the kind of bum action we'd rather not talk about.

Not to mention how crushing it was to wave D and Amy off to the hospital, after being banned by my doctor from going near the house of germs. I lay at home on the couch holding the phone, feeling like hell and an abstent mother.

I have nothing good to report.

Saturday, 2 December 2006

tis the season

It's the time of year when I walk around the garden just anticipating what's going to ripen next. Although these apricots are a relatively late season variety (moorepark for the interested) I'm guessing they will be coming in before the apples, plums, passionfruit and maybe even strawberries. It is one of our younger fruit trees and although it did have some fruit last year, it wasn't much, it was all up high and a lot of it was badly marked by rain (I think). Our unusually hot spells in early spring, followed by unusually cold spells in late spring seem to have been perfect for setting fruit.

Despite advice that apricots are terribly vulnerable to fungal infections in pruning wounds, we attacked it savagely last winter because it was shaped badly and was leaning to the point of toppling. I tell you, if you want to grow in my yard you gotta be tough and productive. So a terrible drought combined with our laziness means it almost never gets a drink, but it's making what looks like fabulous friut.

But it isn't yet big enough to make me think we'll be overwhelmed with fruit, and as one of the sweeter varieties it isn't the best jam crop to my taste. So when I walked past the local greengrocer and saw the tart early season apricots going cheap I impulsively jumped into action. Of course like a total idiot I made all the classic jamming errors of judgetment and poor planning.

#I bought tonnes of fruit, but forgot to any buy sugar. I was forced to use every scrap of every type of sugar we had in the house so there wasn't so much as spoonful for tea this morning

#I bought fruit on a really hot day, at the end of a long and exhausting week and started to cut the fruit at 8.30pm

#I opened the cupboard to find I only had two empty jars and litres of boiling jam

#I didn't have any shellite to get all the sticky label remnants off the the jars I scabbed from the neighbours and by emptying the fridge of all the stuff past it's use-by date

#I left the bottled jam on the bench to cool overnight without cleaning up the spills (it was sooo past my bedtime) so this morning I had several ant super highways to deal with

#I spent so much time worrying it wasn't set enough that I let it cook too long

I had the very good fortune to meet up with a couple of lovely bloggers this afternoon. Unfortunately as the afternoon progressed I was increasingly distracted by Amy, who was complaining of tummy pains. Towards the end I had that sinking feeling, as you do when you are stupidly pregnant, playing single parent and feeling thinly stretched, that things were about to go down hill fast. Sure enough the two lady visitors were not two paces from the front door before the bathroom was awash with vomit.

Now I'm feeling queasy which might be from watching Amy hurl, from dread that although fast asleep now she won't be that way for long, or from unrelated pregnancy wobbles. Maybe I'm also thinking about the fact that at 10am tomorrow morning something in the vicinity of 20 people (half of whom are in the 2-4 year old age group) will be arriving at the door ready to raise hell. Or maybe whatever pestilence has gotten the girl has headed my way. Let's hope we both sleep it off.