Sunday, 8 November 2009


My obsession with applique on children's tops (ie. fast easy projects) continues. But now, I have a very special helper. Two-and-a-half year old Olive has progressed from random scribbles to drawing things. In order to preserve (and show off!) her best efforts I have been tracing then reproducing the drawings as applique. I give you ...


person (with eyes and legs)

Baby Bear - He's sad. Who has broken my chair?

Goldilocks "asleeping in the bed". I'm not sure why she has pink hair, but the designer insisted.

We are so proud :)

Thursday, 15 October 2009

choc-orange self-saucing pudding recipe

Yummmmm. I was craving jaffas this week but as a vegan who doesn't eat chocolate, I can't have them. So instead I invented a jaffa pudding. I have shown you the mainstream ingredients but my vegan carob version is given in brackets.

3/4 cup soft brown sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons cocoa (or carob) powder
1 cup boiling water
juice of 1 orange

Place all ingredients in a greased, high-sided casserole dish and stir until the sugar is melted.

1 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa (or carob) powder
a pinch of salt
grated rind of 1 orange
2 Tablspoons melted butter (or dairy-free margarine)
1/2 cup milk ( or soy/rice milk)

Sift dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.
Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
Pour pudding mixture into casserole dish on top of sauce.
Bake for 45 mins at 180C (350F).
Serve warm or cool with icecream.

build a fort

To celebrate the upcoming release of the Where the Wild Things Are movie, Booooooom recently hosted a contest asking people to build and photograph their own Wild Things' Fort. The results were so beautiful, and the day was so rainy, that I decided to give it a try. The result was a very fun morning and a cosy place to play.

Would you care for a cup of invisible tea in a plastic eggshell?

These are some of my favourite official entries:

Happy fort building to you :)

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

apron dress tutorial

How to make a cute dress for a toddler in less than an hour.
Step 1: Purchase a half apron from your local op shop.
Step 2: Remove the ties from the sides.
Step 3
: Re-sew the ties on as shoulder straps, removing any excess.
Step 4: Add a button and button hole at the back.

I even managed to do this while my toddler was awake. Amazing!

I'm sure there's a child somewhere under all that hair ...

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Microscopic beauty

It's taken me 35 years to find it, but I am now i rapture over the images from Nikon's "small world" microscope photography competition.

doxorubin by Lars Bech

quantum dot nanocrystals by Seth A. Coe-Sullivan

rat retinal artery by Dr Rong Wen

thin nematic film (liquid crystals) by Dr Oleg D Lavrentovich

Sunday, 10 May 2009

happy mothers day

Today is Mothers Day in Australia.

As a daughter, it is a day for letting my mum know how much she means to me, and for reminding me to treasure her the whole year through. I hope she likes her present - a hat made using this pattern by Rachel of i dream of knitting. The bone coloured wool was inherited from my mother's sister, who died in a car accident six years ago, and the blue soy/cotton was left over from a dress that I made for her youngest granddaughter.

As a mother, it is a day to appreciate my children and give myself a day off. I love the fact that within Olive's playgroup, every single one of us mums has bought our own Mothers Day present. My gift to myself is this gorgeous print by Tollipop.

I am in love with this painting, which has helped me to do so much more than just make the house look pretty. Immediately after Aggie was born (six weeks ago already!), I became haunted by the number three. I have three children, three daughters, but only two of them are living. Having a new baby is a stark reminder of all that I missed out on when Millie died, and yet there is so little in the material world to reflect her huge presence in my heart. So this simple painting has helped me enormously, serving as a visible and permanent acknowledgement that we have three girls. Later today, we will take some flowers to the cemetery and my family will be together for the first time.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


This makes me happy :)
Sound of Music: belgian Train Station

unfortunately ...

I picked this game up from The Lark's blog. Just type "unfortunately, [your first name]" into Google (including the quotation marks) and see what comes up.

Unfortunately, Leona is not going to make it as a singer.

Unfortunately, Leona's uncompromising nature ultimately landed her a long-term stay at a federal facility.

Unfortunately, Leona is required to remain in Verdandi form when using this spell.

Unfortunately, Leona, ticked off many people in her lifetime; she was rather unkind to people.

Our elephant was a little greedy guts, and unfortunately Leona and I had forgotten to bring money to buy bananas for him.

So unfortunately, Leona always misses the office Christmas parties. But why does Leona have to do what her family tells her? Because she still lives at home ...

I can add a few of my own:

Unfortunately, Leona's 3-4 hourly breastfeeding regime with her newborn daughter means that she has plenty of time to browse other people's blogs but none to create anything to post about on her own, leaving her feeling decidedly craft-deficient.

Unfortunately, Leona was too short of time (and hands!) to take any photos when preparing for and participating in her two-year-old's birthday party. All I have is one photo of the cake:

It is supposed to be a teddy bear's picnic, in keeping with the theme of the party, which we held in a park. I decided to go for simple with the cake this year, after viewing all the disasters on the very funny Cake Wrecks blog and thinking about last year's mess.

It was supposed to be Wa Wa, the dog from Japanese kids show Inai Inai Ba. Check out his most famous song here - it's crazy fun!

Sunday, 29 March 2009

free knitted newborn beehive hat pattern

I made this hat for my daughter while I was in hospital after her birth, using her head as a guide. She is on the smallish side - weighing just under 3kg. It is a very quick and easy knit - great as a last minute project.

small amount DK/8 ply yarn
US size 4 (3.5mm) straight needles
stitch holder
darning needle

hat front
CO 34 stitches
row 1: P
row 2: K
row 3: P
rows 4-9: repeat rows 1-3 two more times
row 10: P
row 11: K
repeat rows 10-11 until you have 27 rows of straight stitch
cut yarn and transfer to a stitch holder

hat back
as per front

With right sides together, use three needle bind-off technique to attach the hat front and back at the top.
Sew sides together.
Place atop the head of the nearest new baby!

Saturday, 28 March 2009


So there I was, posting a blog about absurdity on Tuesday when I was already in pre-labour. Contractions were worth noticing by 6pm that night and baby Agnes Reid was born at 9.37pm. I didn't use any drugs but did question my decision a couple of times there ;)

So without further ado, I would like to introduce Miss Agnes Reid, born at 38 weeks gestation and weighing in at 2.9kg or 6 pound 6 ounces.

We're all pretty happy to have her home :)

Tuesday, 24 March 2009


As with any pregnancy, I have been offered a lot of unprompted advice lately. Some of it less reliable than others. Take these pearls of wisdom, for example:
* Don't blow up balloons because the baby will run out of oxygen.
* Don't lift your arms above your head because the baby could get strangled by the umbilical cord
* To get the baby to move head down, either do handstands in the swimming pool or ask your partner to shine a torch and talk to the base of your belly.

Meanwhile, Olive found and adopted a rubber chicken that she takes for walks in the pusher, feeds and puts to bed.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

the logic behind the egg obsession

You may be wondering why I bothered to knit 6 eggs. Here's why ...

We have chickens.

They range freely in the back yard and lay their eggs in the garden. Which was working well until the very hot weather, when we couldn't find any of the eggs and assumed that they were off the lay. Until one day a couple of weeks later when we heard a chicken crooning deep inside an overgrown garden bed.

So I sent Olive off investigating ...

and she found ...


Understandably, Olive gets a little excited about eggs nowadays.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

knitted fruit and vegetables

In preparation for Olive's birthday (it's not until the 12th of April but the plan is to induce her little sister around the 31st of May, so I'm guessing I won't have much time closer to the date), I have been busily knitting. She always plays with the plastic play food at playgroup and childcare but I couldn't bring myself to buy any of that plastic crap so I have been making knitted versions instead. The best thing is, with thanks to Ravelry, I was able to find all of the patterns for free.

So, with an excited little drum roll, here are the results!

Pear, apple and lemon patterns were from Peachcake Knits. And the orange was made by adjusting the apple pattern.

The banana was made using Allison Judge's Baby Fruit & Veggie Rattle patterns. The shape is great but it is remarkably small compared with Australian bananas.

The three strawberries are from PezDiva. So very, very quick to make!

Corn and mushroom patterns are by Kimberly Chapman.

The carrot, cucumber and eggplant were all made using Allison Judge's Baby Fruit & Veggie Rattle patterns. I love the cucumber and eggplant but the carrot is in definite need of a bit more tapering.

Pumpkin pattern is available as a Ravelry download by Jan Lewis.

The cute (but giant!) pea pod is courtesy of Hannah Kaminsky. Although I did lengthen the pod by an extra 10 rows so that I could fit in an extra pea.

The teeny tiny summer squash is by Gerwerken. Don't miss the correction, too.

The avocado is just a dark green pear as above but wihout the stem and leaf.

And lastly, the tomato was my own pattern.

Perhaps I am a little crazy for having knitted so many of these, but I am sane by comparison with the contributors to the fabulously funny Why would you knit that? My pick for the craziest knit is the placenta, but I have to admit that I find the knitted dissected lab rat and frog strangely beautiful ...

Friday, 6 February 2009

free knitted egg pattern

This pattern was originally based on curlypurly's colourful egg but I had trouble understanding the instructions so I made my own then adjusted them, adjusted, and adjusted until finally by my sixth egg I had something that I'm happy with.

Yarn: I used 8 ply (DK). Only a very small amount is required.
Needles: 4.0mm (US size 6) dpn's
Darning needle

Gauge: Doesn't matter, just make it tight

CO = cast on
K = knit
K2tog = knit 2 together
Kfb = knit into front and back of next stitch
st = stitches

CO 6
Tuck tail upwards so that it will be hidden inside the egg.
round 1: [K1, Kfb] to end of round (9 st)
round 2: [K2, Kfb] (12 st)
round 3: [K1, Kfb] (18 st)
round 4: [K1, Kfb] (27 st)
round 5: K
round 6: [K8, Kfb] (30 st)
rounds 7-12: K 6 rounds
round 13: [K8, K2tog] (27 st)
round 14: [K7, K2tog] (24 st)
round 15: [K6, K2tog] (21 st)
round 16: [K5, K2tog] (18 st)
round 17: K
round 18: [K4, K2tog] (15 st)
round 19: K
round 21: [K3, K2tog] (12 st)
round 22: K (12 st)
round 23: [K2tog] (6st)
Cut off and run thread through stitches, pulling tightly. Hide tail inside egg.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

free knitted tomato pattern

Yay!! My first ever knitting pattern!

Yarn: I used 8 ply (DK) in red and green. Only a very small amount is required.
Needles: 4.0mm (US size 6) dpn's & crochet hook
Darning needle

Gauge: Doesn't matter, just make it tight

CO = cast on
dpn = double pointed needle
k = knit
k2tog = knit 2 together
kfb = knit into front and back of next stitch
st = stitches

CO 6 stitches onto a single dpn
round 1: without turning (as if making an i-cord), kfb every st onto 3 needles (12 st)
Tuck tail into centre.
round 2: k
round 3: k1, kfb (18 st)
round 4: k
round 5: k2, kfb (24 st)
round 6: k
round 7: k3, kfb (30 st)
round 8: k
round 9: k5, kfb (35 st)
rounds 10-16: k 7 rounds
round 17: k5, k2tog (30 st)
round 18: k
round 20: k3, k2tog (24 st)
round 21: k
round 22: k2, k2tog (18 st)
round 23: k
round 24: k1, k2tog (12 st)
round 25: k1 in green, k1 in red
Cut and tie off red yarn and tuck into centre.
round 26: k2tog in green (6 st)
Cut off green yarn, leaving long tail.
Using darning needle, thread tail through remaining stitches and tie off.
Thread yarn through centre of tomato to base and back again to give an indentation at the top. Knot again.
Crochet a chain of about 5 stitches to make a stalk.
Using darning needle, thread yarn back down stalk and into tomoto. Cut off.
You're done!

Monday, 2 February 2009

nesting tree

So here it is: The first thing I have made to give to the new baby.

I used this pattern from Knitty but changed the colours and pocket design to make it less girly and more forest kawaii.

I have started nesting in proper, getting up in the middle of the night to craft.
I have another reason for crafting like crazy too - it keeps my mind off the fact that I've hit the scary 30-week mark of the pregnancy. There is a peak danger period for stillbirth between 30 and 34 weeks and Millie died at 33 weeks. There is no particular reason why it would happen to us again but then again, there is no reason why it wouldn't. Please be okay, baby.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

new softies and dresses for sale

At long last, it is time for an obligatory shop update announcement.

I have re-stocked my etsy store with new corduroy baby dresses and softie rattle friends. Won't you please take a look?

Saturday, 17 January 2009

sewing up a storm

I'm in the midst of a crafting overload at the moment. Perhaps the nesting instinct has hit me?

I've also been trying to improve on Christmas, when only about half the gifts I gave were handmade. Birthdays will be better!

So here are the latest toddler gifts I have made.

Pencil rolls.

Why do I have the urge to put names on everything I make? Is it the wanna-be librarian in me, putting labels on everyone?

Appliqued t-shirts.

And a matching hair clip.

Happy birthday, kids.

knitting back on track

Well. Sort of.

I'd like to introduce you to Mr Dangly.
He was made using a free pattern by Hannah Simpson of Cakeyvoice.

And he's very cute!

He will serve as a present to be given from the new baby to Olive.
So while I still haven't made anything for new bubs, at least I have started preparing for her arrival.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

off-track knitting

I haven't mentioned that I'm pregnant yet, have I? I'm over 6 months through already! After a first pregnancy that ended tragically at 33 weeks, and a second pregnancy fraught with 2 or 3 panic attacks a week, my tactic this time has been to largely pretend that I'm not pregnant. But I thought it was about time that I started bonding so I cast on to make daughter number three a special cable knit cardigan. Then ran out of wool and got completely distracted on Ravelry. The result? Two new knitted gifts to be given at the next first birthday parties we are invited to.

First up, a green lambie made out of the waste cardigan wool using Barbara Prime's free Fuzzy Mitten Lamb pattern. My plan is to accompany it with a board book copy of Mem Fox's "Where is the Green Sheep".

Next up, a sweet cupcake hat. I used another free pattern, this time from Living Creatively. Be warned though, the decrease row instructions are partially missing and faulty so a little interpretation is required.

Maybe I'll make something for the new baby next ...

Friday, 9 January 2009

proud daughter

I am VERY EXCITED to be able to announce the launch of my oh-so talented mother's new blog/website where you can see some of her amazing botanical art. Originally a potter, Margaret started the transition to botanical illustration in the early nineties and in addition to creating her own works also coordinates the Botanic Illustrators group at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne. Won't you take a look?

We will be adding more paintings to the site soon, along with some other products such as a birthday book, note cards and postcard packs. How would you like to see her work featured?

Monday, 5 January 2009

alphabet street

Okay, so I admit it. I have a slight tendency towards obsession. So when I noticed a letter "B" on a telephone pole some months ago, I developed a new mission: To find all of the letters of the alphabet.

The self-imposed (why?) rules were:
1. All letters must be found by the side of the road
2. All letters must stand alone, ie. not form part of a larger word or code.

Some letters were easy but others demanded a little more creative viewing. Can you spot the photo that I had to turn upside down?

Sunday, 4 January 2009

vegan apple cinnamon drops recipe

More baking. I have been sick for the last few days and still can't stomach anything fancier than toast but couldn't stop myself from baking all the same. Crazy.

These Apple Cinnamon Drops are my own invention, designed to use up some of the apple sauce left behind by the meat eaters who came for Christmas.

1/2 cup non-dairy margarine
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons egg replacer
120ml soy or rice milk
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
apple sauce

Preheat oven to moderate.
Cream the margarine and sugar.
Gradually add the milk.
Add the sifted dry ingredients, mixing well.
Roll into small balls and place onto a greased tray.
Press an indentation in the centre of each biscuit and spoon in a little apple sauce.
Bake for 15 minutes.