Madeleine turns 7 on Thursday and preparations are in full swing - dinner on Thursday with our family and a party with 5 of her friends on Saturday. It is all going to be lovely, but I have to admit this year I am feeling a little confused when it comes to presents...
A take along art satchel made by me, filled with beautiful art supplies and a watercolour nature journal or some Littlest Pet Shop?
All my instincts about parenting would instantly tell me the Art satchel is perfect. It is a gift that I have made for her and making for me is a way to show my family that I love them. It is full of quality art materials that I hope will nurture her creativity, her interest in the environment and an appreciation for the beauty in the world around her.
And well Littlest Pet Shop is... Littlest Pet Shop - a huge collection of plastic stuff sitting on toyshop shelves waiting to be purchased and collected. Stuff that I would usually dismiss as rubbish, stuff that would annoy me if anyone else gave it to my children. But this stuff has another role that I am only just learning about. It is something that helps Madeleine connect with her peers. The two littlest Pet Shop characters Madeleine already has are highly treasured possessions. Madeleine would say that it's because they are cute, but I think it's got a lot more to do with her feeling like she belongs - she has something that her friends have and that makes her feel good. This is probably the first lesson they teach in Marketing 101, but I haven't really thought about it like this before!!!
So what do you think...
Should birthday gifts be virtuous or should you put your parenting philosophies aside and let your children have what they would truly love but you don't really approve of?
I'm going to sit on the fence this year...
On Thursday morning Madeleine will be unwrapping the Art satchel and a Littlest Pet Shop character to add to her collection.
If you're feeling virtuous or you're a fence sitter like me, I'll have a tutorial for the Art satchel later this week. It's quite nifty!! I'll show you how to measure up your art supplies and make a take anywhere satchel in any size you want.
On Saturday evening I experienced a major dose of mother guilt as I wrapped Will's birthday presents ready for his birthday on Sunday. You see, the only wrapping I could find in the house was of the Christmas variety and so, that is how they were wrapped. I find it so easy to get caught up in "perfect" - perfect hand made gifts wrapped perfectly, and a perfect birthday party completed by a perfectly decorated cake. I know I can never achieve perfect, I just pretend to aspire!!
In all the fun and rush of Project Run and Play, Will's 2nd birthday crept up on me. Rob and my Dad were very organised and made Will a fantastic gadget board full of locks and clips and black boards and mirrors. It justifies its own blog post - so watch this space!
My birthday crafting started on Saturday afternoon. Will has a new Teddy in a Tin which he loves. "Teddy sleeping" is heard often around here now! The squares in the quilt are 3/4 inches - a perfect contrast to the big picture of Project Run and Play.
I was inspired by this
.Our party was very much last minute as well - our family, grandparents, the cousins who were in town and our most wonderful friend and nanny, Romy
. Although last minute, the party really felt perfect.There was a cake decorated by big sisters:
For those wondering, it's a dog!!!
And most importantly lots of family with lots of love:
Who needs mother guilt when all your little 2 year old needs for a perfect birthday is a cake and lots of love?
Well yes, it may have been quieter around our blog lately...But it's all go at Sew Together
headquarters (also known as the local indoor playcentre) in preparation for the huge competition kicking off on April 9th at Project Run and Play
.I think we might be cheating though
. We have two extra team members...And these guys are good, really good.Think of them as the Handmade Ryan Gosling
s of the future:
Caroline and I are a bit nervous though...
There is already dissent in the ranks.
We are hoping these two will be a help rather than a hindrance.
Time will tell...
Lately, I have been sewing, sewing, sewing my little heart out. Up early in the morning, forgoing my daytime naps (yes, I am extraordinarily lucky to have a two year old and an almost four and a half year old that still sleep nearly every day!) and getting to bed late at night. I really feel like I've hit the peak sewing zone. I've made lots of goodies that I love (which is something that doesn't always happen round here.)
I can't show you any of it ... They're all gifts that are secrets (shhhhhhhhh!) There's something very frustrating about writing a sewing blog and not being able to share the sewing joy at this time of year. Argh! I guess I'll have to wait till after the 25th.
In the meantime we have been doing lots of non secret Christmas things too...
Making festive and super-easy napkin rings
Learning how to wear party hats in preparation for the big day....
Eating lots of delicious food...
and best of all? Spending lots of time with family and friends celebrating the season!
Merry Christmas - I hope you are all enjoying this time of year as much as I am!
I guess most crafters associate the term scrappy with fabric, but today I'm thinking a little laterally.
By the end of the year our crayon box is looking pretty tired - lots of stubby ends and broken pieces - quite a lot like this, actually!
We thought we'd give them a bit of seasonally themed make-over with the help of a couple of gingerbread shaped ice-cube trays.
There - don't they look happier?
There is a tonne of information out there on how to do it. Here's
an example. I don't think you're supposed to heat them, but I used ice cube moulds for mine and melted the crayons on a very low heat and they turned out just fine.
Packaged up for friends - they make a lovely scrappy gift!
Usually, we're pretty blessed with the weather in Sydney. I guess there's always an exception to the rule though- we don't seem to have seen the sun for days! I'm starting to crave some real spring weather and the sort of food that goes with it.
I came across this Jamie Oliver magazine the other day and couldn't stop thinking (and salivating) over the fruity frozen yoghurt cake on the front - yum. It's like so much of Jamie Oliver's cooking - easy, fresh and simple. Blend some fresh fruit with some yoghurt, freeze, layer and ...voila!
I decided to put my own spin on it for Mart's party - single serves of apricot, strawberry and vanilla yoghurt layered and frozen into a a summery treat (even if it is grey and rainy).
They were a bit icy, but if I hadn't been so lazy and churned them in the icecream maker first, I'm sure they would have been a whole lot creamier. They were delicious anyway... not too sweet and very fruity!
There were plenty of sticky hands and fingers to prove it, too!
I know it is a very cheesey title but I couldn't resist - I have two very proud girls.
While that cheeky little boy you can see in the back of this picture was fast asleep on Saturday afternoon, Madeleine, Pippa and I whipped up a sewing storm. Ever since Pippa gave up her day time sleep, Madeleine and I have struggled to find time to sew together. Well, this weekend we found a solution - Pippa joined our sewing circle and she loved it.We used the great book Sewing School
. It has a perfect selection of projects that Madeleine can do fairly independently and that Pippa can do with help from me. They picked out the hat pattern, traced off the pattern together and then we all cut and sewed. Pippa sat on my lap and was totally absorbed in ever stitch. Madeleine needed a little help tying the knots but the rest was her work.They had such a good time together and are so proud of their hats. They wore them to Grandma's birthday celebrations and Madeleine took hers for Show and Tell at school
.She even found the time to whip up a scarf to complete the outfit.
Here's to more Saturday afternoons sewing with my girls.
Saturday was a leisurely morning for us - stories in bed, pancakes for breakfast and pyjamas until 10am.But then there was a phone call...Olivia (Age 4): "Aunty Maryanne, when you are at work do you ever see dolly patients or do you only see human ones?"Maryanne: "Well, dolly patients aren't really my area of expertise
Olivia, but I have seen one or two over the years. Do you have a dolly that needs my help?"Dolly certainly needed some extra special care.Here is a copy of my clinical notes:Presentation:
- Large right axillary and lateral chest wall laceration, resulting in almost complete amputation of right upper limb.
- Large quantity of thoracic innards (aka as stuffing) have become outtards.
- Mechanism of injury vague. I presume from the injuries sustained that a major traction force had been applied to the upper and lower limbs by two children who both seemed to believe that Dolly was theirs. The children involved have remained tight lipped.
- Despite a significant life threatening injury Dolly seemed to be in good spirits
- Dolly was taken immediately to theatre (also known as the kitchen table).
- Outtards were returned to the thoracic cavity where they have become innards once again.
- Several reinforcing sutures were made to keep R arm intact.
- Laceration was closed with 10 large sutures using Gutterman thread
- Due to significant tension across the wound it was decided to reinforce the chest wall injury with a cream on pink polka dotted thoracic band. This was designed to coordinate nicely with the patient's pink gingham stockings.
- Despite a lack of anaesthesia, Dolly tolerated the procedure remarkably well - her smile never left her face.
- Dolly has recovered rapidly from her injury.
- She was discharged int the care of her owner with strict instructions to treat her more gently in the future.
- Some say she looks even better than before her accident!
All in a days work really...
Two little felt kisses and two little felt hearts - a tiny sewing project made late one night.
I was tired and rushed, so the workmanship is far from spectacular. Despite their imperfections, these tangible symbols of my love for Madeleine satisfied an important need for both of us.
Madeleine's world is rapidly expanding. There is a new school with the potential for lots of new friends and wonderful experiences.There is also a fair bit of anxiety about how it will all work, away from the protection of the classroom, teachers and friends she has known for half of her life. This handful of love and a reassuring letter from her Mum and Dad, tucked in her school bag helped ease the stress for her on her first day of orientation.
For me, I know that Madeleine's world is becoming more and more separate from mine. I will have to satisfy myself with hearing about her new school life rather than being there to share it with her. Each stitch in these hearts and kisses is filled with my love. I feel like a little bit of me will travel with her on her adventures at school. And if she is ever feeling lost and lonely I hope she will remember her handful of love and find some reassurance by holding it close.