31 October 2013


A spell that makes a toilet apear when you deperately need to go but you are in an unconvenite place. do this spell it will make a toilet apear in a convenitent spot so you can go. don't worry it will have walls and a sink so you can go in private and wash you hands.

Happy Halloween!

29 October 2013

Scenes from the Fete

The weather held! A few drops of rain late in the afternoon was the worst it got. We even had sunshine break through whilst we were setting up early in the morning. This year's fete was particularly special.

My personal highlight was probably the donation of ALL these hand carved swords, made by Pip, a grade 3 boy, and carefully priced (way too modestly) at 50c  - $1.99.  We re-priced them to a more reasonable $3 and $4 and sold out in about an hour.

You can't really see the adorable little mice tucked away there, but here is proof that there were moments of sun.

Gotta love a wooden version of minecraft.....

Baby goodies were popular.

My lunch: 'chilli con kanga'.  An aussie take on chilli using kangeroo meat.  Delicious and healthy.

I'm not sure what gives away the fact that this is an inner northern school fete most - the skinny jeans, the predominance of dark colours, the baby carrier, the beanies or the fact that this stall is selling vinyl records.  What do you think?

A new activity at this year's fete - fairy terrariums, or dinosaur terrariums if you prefer.  A big hit.

Flower garlands were popular as always.

The pizza ran hot all day.

The crazy hair booth did a roaring trade, as did snow cones, despite the cooler weather.

I'm always blown away by the guys who run the woodwork.

And simple pleasures like the Box Maze still get kids tossing their shoes and waiting for ages for their turn.  The Spooky Forrest was welcomed back, after a year away, by queues all the way down the stairs.

Gayle and her husband made boxes (and boxes) of wooden cut outs - shields, animals, shapes, to decorate.  Just lovely.

So simple, so popular  - toss keys and 'treasure' into the sandpit and let the kids dig for hours to see if they can find the key that unlocks the treasure box.

This is just a tiny section of the always-amazing plant stall.

And finally a cameo appearance by Harvey, the school's unofficial mascot.  Harvey lives in the same street as the school and sometimes wanders into class uninvited, or visits more formally with his owner who talks to the kids about multiple sclerosis.

If you've read this blog for a while, you've probably gathered that the school fete is a very big part of my crafting.  Partly it is because I really like making little projects which are ideal for fetes, partly it's because I enjoy crafting with others a lot and partly it's because I want to contribute to the school community.  Each year I am so impressed by and proud of our fete and feel so pleased and lucky that this is the community I get to be a part of.  The kids just love it and I love that the day is devoted to creative, interesting, funny and unusual ways to entertain, unite and (not unimportant) raise money.  This year I hardly bought anything myself, as we are in the process of packing up before heading off for 3 months.  I did win an item in the silent auction though, that I am extremely happy about - flea treatment, worm tablets, dental care food, a new leash and collar.  Our poor old terrier Pablo had his eye out last week (I'd post a photo but it is a bit gruesome), so I thought he deserved a treat.

25 October 2013

A Plea to Melbourne

Please please please don't rain tomorrow.  I'm just not up for another fete of freezing rain, wind and hail.  I'm resigned to the cold and cloudy that have been consistently predicted all week, but just hold off the rain till after 4pm.   Go on Melbourne, be a sport.

School's Out (Nearly)

School is nearly out for summer.  In just 6 more school days, the girls will finish up for the year and we will head overseas, whilst their classmates battle on for another 6 weeks.  My girls can barely begin to imagine how lucky they are; no school, a long airplane trip during which they have been promised they can watch as much TV as they want, a white Christmas.  I think I'm most looking forward to having time to just be a family together, corny as that sounds.  I'm sure it won't be stressfree, but it will be much closer to it than the past 12 months have been.

Craig thinks it is very strange that, after spending 5 days a week at school, the kids come home and play school for hours. Their games are very involved, and there may be work books written, home work assigned, spelling and maths tests and strict (much stricter than in real life) teachers.  Leaf Cottage, at top, is obviously a very able student.  I like this line; 'With her social problems though, maybe you could help her find a friend at the orphanage'.

22 October 2013

Hannah's Baby

Nina's classroom teacher of the last three years, Hannah, is expecting her first baby. I've made her something, but Nina also wanted to sew for the baby and so she made this set of bibs. I love this fabric (PB&J by BasicGrey), and thought it particularly appropriate for a teacher. Nina is getting to be an accomplished little sewer. She took the curves like a champ and did a very neat job.

21 October 2013


It might not appear so from this blog, but I'm a fairly harsh critic of my children. It's something I would like to change, I'd like to let go of my fear that if I don't constantly point out their shortcomings they'll somehow be ruined. I showcase their creations, which give me endless pleasure, here on this blog and I don't use this space to explore the darker side of their personalities, but darker sides exist, of course, and sometimes it can feel like I focus a lot on what they don't do, what they do badly, or the ways in which they could improve, rather than looking at the lovely people they mostly are. So it does give me special pleasure when I see them all work together, totally self-initiated and without any adult involvement at all. On this occasion they didn't even ask me if it was okay to set up a stall to sell the finger puppets they'd made, but they've done this sort of thing a few times so I guess they were on pretty safe ground. I especially like the packing tape they used and left on display on the pretty table cloth.

19 October 2013


One of the parents at school, a woman with her finger far more firmly on the pulse of popular culture than me, suggested we make bow ties for our craft stall. They are, apparently, popular with hipsters. My photoshoot was hampered by the fact that Craig is not a jumper/cardigan kind of guy but I thought they needed to be paired with more than just a plain shirt. His mother knitted his father the yellow vest more than 50 years ago, when they were still courting. The jumpers are mine and a little girly if you look closely. Next Saturday is the big day and I'm crossing my fingers that the current Melbourne weather lottery throws up a decent day for us.

18 October 2013

The Beat Goes On

Nina and Grace have started tap classes. I find I am very keen on tap. It's the first time any of them have done dance classes, apart from the ubiquitous 'creative dance' that all children under 5 seem to be required to attend. Not that I have anything against creative dance. It's very cute to see 3 year olds run around and 'make a shape' and play with pretty stones and pretend to be a wind. But I find something about these tap classes really appeals to me as I sit and watch each Saturday morning while Craig takes Ruby to netball. It's the rhythm, the discipline, the coordination within the group. When Nina's class do their warm up and they are all in sync it is just really cool to watch (and hear). It's interesting too, seeing how kids do it - some all small and compact and precise in their movements, some all arms and gangly legs.

On Sunday they were to perform their rhythms at the Collingwood Toy Library Fair. The top picture was what greeted us as we arrived. It got steadily worse. Decisions were made to cancel, but in the end they moved under the old bleachers and performed on the concrete, for their damp and cold parents. I was so pleased that they got to do it, and that both girls remembered their routines. Grace concentrated so hard that, if you didn't know her, you'd think she was having a miserable time. She was actually having a ball and was terribly thrilled with herself. Ever since, I've woken to hear her thumping out her steps down the hallway.

15 October 2013

Button Button

This button fabric makes me smile, especially on a cold miserable Melbourne day.  Saturday was gorgeous, followed by a bitter and wet Sunday.  We went to friends for lunch, to see their new renovation and their baby who is now nearly two.  Two!  They only live about 5 minutes away and there is just no good reason that the last time we saw them, their baby was newborn.  I always vow to be better at keeping up with those friends whose lives do not naturally intersect with mine by reason of work or school or similar aged children.    This year has reminded me time and again, sometimes in painful ways, that what really matters is friends and family, sharing things, making time, being present in the lives of those we love.  But somehow everything else always gets in the way.

This quilt is my first attempt at machine binding.  I think it went pretty well and was certainly quicker than hand binding.  I do like hand binding though, and I do think it looks a bit nicer than what I can achieve with machine binding.

I bought the fabric intending to make a couple of smaller cot-sized quilts, but the pattern sort of demanded one larger one.  It's not quite big enough for a single bed.  Is there such a thing as a 'king cot'?  Maybe it's just a large throw for the couch.  Anyway, it's going into the auction for the fete and I hope it tickles someone's fancy.

14 October 2013

Finger Puppets

I've been trying to think of quick and easy things to make for the fete that we can sell for 50c or so. Lots of kids come up clutching a handful of silver coins hoping to get something for their money and we hate to disappoint. Even tiny things often take hours of work, but I'll be happy to part with these little monsters for shrapnel.

11 October 2013

Tutus with in-built Corporate Sponsorship

I had a pile of bright pink donated bemsilk. The shade is my least favourite pink but likely to delight children of a certain age. Simple tutus adorned with rosettes seemed a simple way to use up large quantities of material. I based them on this one.

Years ago I bought a skirt at the op shop to make a pair of trousers for a toy monkey. I had never noticed, til now, that the lining was embossed with the logo of the National Australia Bank. I'm guessing the skirt was an official uniform circa 1990. I wonder if the NAB still ensures that the lining of its corporate outfits is watermarked with the bank brand. It's a strange extravagence isn't it? Afterall, no one is going to see the lining of the employees skirts (presumably...)

The recipients of these fairy dresses will, unbeknownst to them, have a tiny slice of Australian history sewn into their dress-ups. Hope they like them.

10 October 2013

The Lesbian Wedding

Ruby started out drawing a conventional wedding but the groom looked a bit feminine, so she decided to make it a lesbian wedding. Ten-year-olds get it.

09 October 2013


The girls spent two nights at the end of the school holidays with Nana and Pa. I squeezed in two movies (one on my own while Craig went to a band - he's just always that much cooler than me), dinner out, a cocktail party, brunch at a cafe, a book, a lot of quilting and a bit of sewing. I even found time to miss the girls. And I lost an hour due to day-light-saving.

08 October 2013

Things to Do When You are Bored in the School Holidays (Pt 6)

Line up your collection of mentos wrappers and take a lot of photos of them;

Make a billion pompoms;

Then teach your friend how to make them;

Have someone over for a play who is also the youngest of four and as sweet and stubborn as you;

Beg your mum to take you out for pho;

Take iPhone photos to compare eyes with your siblings.