31 December 2011

This is Summer

Happy New Year.

23 December 2011

No Knives Allowed.

Nina's present for Ruby.
The battle

Starting the battle, all in there places and teams

Fork team  - cut up sausage.  Spoon team - soup

Fork captain, Spoon captain

This is them with hair

"darn, she loves sausage.  This soup smells yuk" "Sausage! Yummy"

the battle goes on for ten weeks and they don't get much rest
...they get to go back to they're draws they flop on to the bed.

Sometimes it does feel that all that we've achieved is a bit of sausage throwing and soup hurling. Here's hoping we all get to go back to our drawers and flop onto our beds these holidays.  Sounds like paradise.

21 December 2011

Reality Bites

Lest I ever mistakenly give the impression that it is all Christmas bunting and gingerbread around here, this is a snap of our dining room right now.
There has been a lot of sewing. Turns out I wasn't quite finished with my chenille phase and sewed up 5 more dresses and a pair of shorts for friend's children. Then circle skirts for my nieces. So easy and adorable, from here.

Christmas dresses for my girls. It's become a bit of a tradition but these were quick and easy, unlike last years.
I like to make stuff and encourage the kids to make stuff, but I don't want it to become a burden for any of us.  Grace woke up early the other morning and sleepily, but worriedly said "I've got so many Christmas presents to make".  Oh sweetie, you're only four.  Still, she found time to have a tea party.

18 December 2011

Tis the season and all that

Carols in the park


Grace in my Christmas present to myself

Next year we'll make a gingerbread bush hut.
Making the crackers

Last week at work we sang carols and raised $1020.00 for medicins sans frontieres. A lot of that came from people who earn a decent whack but just as much came in from the legal assistants, the mail room clerks and the office juniors who don't have a lot to spare. One young man had already set aside a substantial amount of money to donate to MSF, but he gave it to us to give instead, to push us over the $1000. Hooray for Gen Y.

14 December 2011

Run Run Run

As fast as you can

You can't catch me

I'm the gingerbreadman.

(I warned you that I love Christmas)

08 December 2011


Ruby and Nina worked together all Sunday morning making this tiny little house. You can see the scale by the blades of grass.
Hours and hours of happy collaboration. It's not always this way.
I overheard: 

'how will we make a laundry basket?', 'what else did old fashioned people wear apart from overalls, aprons, dresses, pants and shirts?', 'can we make a rocking chair?', 'what can we use for pegs?', 'how can we stick up the poles?'.

They figured it out themselves and showed me at the end. I took the photos.

01 December 2011

It's beginning

to feel a lot like Christmas.
And I admit it, I love it.
Carols, cards, decorations, gingerbread.
Not mince tarts though.

29 November 2011

Send in the Clown

Luckily we have one available. When I got the fabric I had a skirt in mind which wouldn't have been quite so - loud. Nevertheless, I adore these outrageous pants on this hilarious girl of mine. I followed this excellent tutorial.

27 November 2011

Miss Australia

Ruby's writing journal

Written and illistarted by: Ruby

When I was little I always would go to the backery with mama or darty and bye bread and the lady at the counter was very nice and she would give me a free roll every time, and say "you really are little Miss Australia". Or something like that.

But you see, her boss did not like to give away those lovely rolls so when she served I did not get one.

Now the lady had had good talkings to, and was worried that her boss would fire her. Now mama was pregnent with Nina at the time.

Soon mama had Nina and I wasnt the only one for anything anymore.  Mama and Dada were mine! But they were Ninas as well.  When we went to the boat park Mama and darty played with me!  But they played with Nina as well.  But worst off all, I wasn't the only one who was beautiful Miss Australia anymore, and I wasn't the only one who got a lovely roll.  And she didn't say "now would my little Miss Australia like another little lettuce and chicken roll". She would say "would my 2 little Miss Australias both like another little lettuce and chicken roll."

Any way, she had babys and went to look after them and we didn't get rolls any more and I suppose thats just the consaquense of being so selfish.  But now I'm not 2, now I'm 8 and I'm not selfish over those things anymore.
by Ruby
the End

25 November 2011

Eight Hours

Supreme Court from hot air balloon - photo by Craig

I never liked rollercoasters.  The first time I went on the Big Dipper at Luna Park I thought I was going to die.  I reassured my sister that "God would save us". She found this hilarious and promptly told my other siblings who used it as the family phrase for extreme over-reaction and hideous piety for years after.

I also don't like conflict. Everyone would say that - I suppose no one likes conflict. But I, I am a chronic conflict avoider. I am not the person who speaks up in a restaurant if the service is bad or the food diabolical. I'll likely stew over something rather than bring it up. I'm even more likely to rationalise it so that there is nothing to bring up (I'm totally fine about that appalling transgression of yours, don't mention it).

As I don't like rollercoasters and I don't like conflict, it has frequently given me pause that I have spent more than 15 years as a litigation lawyer, involving, as it does, constant conflict and an upsetting number of highs and lows.

Sometimes I would like to withdraw to a place that is a little more, something,(comfortable?) and a little less something (full on?). So why don't I?

Maybe it's because:
there is intellectual stimulation aplenty;
sometimes it is thrillingly exciting;
there are smart smart smart people to work with;
there are inspiring people;
there is a sense that taking this case or that case is the right thing;
there is a sense that I am helping someone;
there are lovely clients;
there is a certain status to which I am not immune;
there is an easy answer to the question 'what do you do?';
there is decent money;
there is the ego boost of being right and winning;
there is a sense of being at the cutting edge;
there is a lot of being outside my comfort zone;
there is a sense of satisfaction in managing, even way outside my comfort zone;
there is time away from home and the kids;
there is security, familiarity, safety.

But then again there's:
stress that I don't enjoy;
sometimes it is unspeakably boring;
there is a terrible crap feeling when we lose;
there is anxiety about whether I am really any good at this or whether I've just fooled the people around me all these years;
there are sometimes long hours and hard days;
there is a desk and an office that are bland and not creative;
there is a lot of sitting down and a lot of reading and a lot of looking at a computer;
there is nothing tangible as a result of my labour;
there is sometimes nothing that I can do to help, even though I want to;
there is disillusionment with the legal system;
there are not-so-lovely clients;
there is sometimes too much time away from home and the kids;
there is fear of change;
there is fear of the unknown.

Also playing into the mix is my own desire to model something to my daughters, and I'm not exactly sure what that is.  I don't want them to equate a working mother with a grumpy stressed mother which is probably what they see more often that the empowered, enthused, energised-from-her-work mother I aim to be. I think that a mother who does not work outside the home can be an awesome feminist role model to her children. But I am pretty sure that for me, for my family, outside work is right.

Every day I cycle past the monument to the eight hour day outside Trade's Hall.  A golden orb tops the plinth  with "888" and the words Rest, Labour, Recreation, banded around it.  Imagine if we really did eight hours work (whether paid or not) each day. Imagine if we got eight hours sleep each night. Imagine if we each had eight hours to play with in every twenty-four. Imagine if this ideal could be realised for everyone, across the world. It was something worth fighting for, once.

Anyway it's way too late to be up when I've work tomorrow. My theoretical eight hours sleep are constantly eroded by my play on this blog... More thinking to be done on this.

17 November 2011

Taking Care of Business

If your job requires you to wear shirts and suits, eventually you end up with a lot of worn out collars and seats.

My skills are not up to replacing collars on business shirts and when the second saddle wears out on the pants, it's time to give up.  Lucky that a man's shirt yields enough gorgeous fabric for a longish girl's nightie.

I used the button hole placket (is that what it is called?) for the straps.

The back of the shirt became the front of the nightie (with the addition of some box pleats).

And, partly because I liked it, but mostly because I couldn't actually unpick the pocket (it was sewn on with such perfect tiny stitches), I left the pocket on what is now the back of the nightie.  How very deconstructionist of me.

Our smocks are all ex-shirts. I like to think that these shirts are happy to have broken out of their stuffy lives in chambers and court rooms and are living it up amongst the paint and clay.

I usually make a casing at the sleeves for elastic and sometimes for the neck, otherwise I stitch on a bit of velcro.  Although there are the shirt buttons already in place, it's a pain to have to button up smocks.

Even the best suits wear out.

Unpicking the legs and joining the fabric together meant these old pants could become this new skirt.
The fact that I had to stitch pieces together to get enough fabric meant that the seam is not quite centre. But, you know, when it's on a six year old, no one notices and, if they do, I don't care.

This fabric is the softest, loveliest wool.  The photo doesn't do it justice, but it is really gorgeous. I topped it with a piece of double gauze from Japan. The pattern is from here.