Wednesday, 30 May 2012


Our Mandarine tree is positively groaning under the strain of the enormous crop this year. The birds are having a party because we didn't get to put a net over it but there are still more than enough to go around for the next few weeks.

Miss M's class have bags of mandies, daycare has bags of mandies, friends have been given mandies - mandies mandies, mandies!!

Mandies, anyone?

Monday, 28 May 2012

Friends, “friends” and FRIENDS!!!

I am lucky. I have six Very Good Friends and have known them en masse for over 20 years. Two of them I have known for over 30, since Year 8. These fabulous women are not just my friends, they are my FRIENDS!!

Last year we decided we needed a weekend away together. This year, we decided we needed another. Because, while we still manage to organise ourselves to meet every couple of months, that just wasn’t enough. Because we were missing things in each other’s lives. Because our own lives were so busy. Because we needed to!
So, we went away.
And we talked.
We talked about our families, we talked about our children. We talked about mothering, home management, food, recipes, time-saving strategies, husbands, marriage, friends, fears, schools, other mothers, books, news, extended families. We also talked about 'paid work'; the paid work which was ours, that we wanted, that some needed, and the reasons for that need. We talked about whether it was ‘worth it’; is there enough balance? No balance? Two of my friends decided to quit their paid work because there wasn’t any balance anymore. And we decided that, whoever is responsible for the saying was right – that you can have everything; you just can’t have it all at the same time!* And then we ate a LOT OF CHOCOLATE!
And we also recognised and acknowledged how lucky we were that we had the support around us, whether other friends, family or husbands, who helped to look after our families while we were away looking after ourselves. Thank you!
And then we went to lunch** and, funnily enough, talked some more!

Sam xx

* Was it Oprah who said that?!
**We had a fantastic lunch at the Aravina Estate, Yallingup - the photo above is the view from our table on the verandah. Yum!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Schoolhouse tunic #3

Last Monday I posted a photo of my next sewing project in cutting out mode, and one kind reader suggested that it looked rather intriguing.

Really?? Well, I suppose it could have been had it not been for my dodgy cutting - I didn't place the back bodice piece on the fold!

I have made this pattern before. I know that the bodice is one piece, but I forgot, and on Tuesday I realised I had two halves for the back rather than one whole piece. So, I packed it away for the day I could get back to the not-so-local fabric shop from where the fabric came in order to purchase some more, and instead, set off to the not-so-distant Spotlight to buy some different new fabric.

I managed to find some beautiful grey linen but was then distracted by a rich, neutral plummy/grey cotton sateen - perhaps not quite the drapey fabric recommended in the pattern but it was such a gorgeous colour, I couldn't resist!

Wednesday, I cut it out. I sewed that night and finished the garment on Thursday. The sateen is a bit stiff but still workable. It just happens to look a bit....fuller...than other softer fabrics.

And here it is*.....Ta-dah!

Surprise, surprise - it's another Schoolhouse Tunic! Not necessarily very exciting, not very original, but at least I now have something new to wear!

And there are more to come.......

Sam xx

*Sorry about the light and colour in the photo - it certainly doesn't look very exciting - more brown than anything, but trust me, there is plum in there!

Friday, 25 May 2012


Yesterday I.....

Made lunches
Got the girls dressed
Did the school run
Took the twins to swimming
Tidied the kitchen
Loaded dishwasher
Washed two loads of clothes and hung them out
Brought the washing in
Folded three other loads of washing
Put it all away
Made lunch for the twins
Cleaned up
Unloaded the dishwasher
Made bread
Took some photos
Finished sewing my new tunic
Rang the shops to see if Miss J's lost toy was there (it wasn't)
Ironed a shirt for G
Picked Up Miss M from school
Chopped wood
Lit the fire
Brought in more washing
Fed the chooks
Collected eggs
Cooked dinner
Looked for and found beach house keys
Bathed the girls
Put them to bed
Wrote my blog posts
Ordered a book online
Paid bills online
Packed an afternoon bag for the girls
Packed my bag
Organised uniforms for tomorrow
Laid out clothes for the twins that Today I can go away for the weekend with five of my very best friends - child free, husband free, and hopefully care free!

We will enjoy!

Sam xx

Thursday, 24 May 2012

My Creative Space - hexagon update

The progress of my crochet hexagon blanket so far........

Sam xx

An amazing variety of other Creative Spaces here.

Edited to add: In response to one lovely comment, Yes! I love the join-as-you-go method because you can see it grow-as-you-go! Very motivating and rather exciting. Plus, it keeps you warm and toasty while you are attaching them. It is a winning technique, all in all.

Monday, 21 May 2012

The eyes have it

"I've been expecting you to call," said my Optometrist, earlier this year, as she peered closely at my records. 

Excuse me?

"You are a '68/'69 baby, right?"


"Well, then, I've been expecting you. You are either one of the ladies who can't thread a needle anymore or someone who loves to read but can't because you can't read the print as easily as you used to. Which one is it?"



No, it seems I can't! In fact, it seems I need reading glasses. I mean, wasn't it bad enough realising that I am no longer in my 'early forties'? Obviously not! But wait. There's more. Bifocals. Excuse me???

No. Not yet. Reading glasses will do for now. I'll get bifocals/multifocals when I really need them.

And this week, not three months since this initial exchange with my Optometrist, I do.


But it's not all bad. Maybe having reading glasses and being able to see close up is the reason why I have been knitting again, sewing again, painting again.

"Life begins at forty"? Not for our eyes, it doesn't!

And for those who like to see things.......a sneaky peek** at my new sewing project.....

Looking*** forward to my new glasses,

Sam xx

* Optometrist's pun, not mine!
** My pun, this time. Sorry.
*** Sorry, again. I couldn't help myself!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Bush Barbecue

Today, we took the girls for a barbecue in the bush. Not far, just to a small nature reserve about 40 minutes or so from where we live. Close to York. We haven't been there before but it was on the map, winking at us, so it seemed as good as any place for us to go.

Of course, it would have been perhaps a bit more organised of us if we had brought gas bottles for the barbecue that actually had, well, you know... gas! But, G took up the challenge and we built a wood fire instead, with the girls helping to collect rocks. Brilliant! And definitely more of an adventure that using the gas barbie from home!
Mountains of cooked sausages, homemade bread to wrap them in and also my yummo homemade tomato sauce..... bliss! The latter part of our visit involved a short walk, punctuated by frequent stops to collect bush bits with which to make patterns and pictures.

And, even better, we were pleased to see that the local authorities had fenced off the reserve so that trail motorbikes couldn't access the area and rip the paths to pieces.

Great day!

Sam xx

Thursday, 17 May 2012

My Creative Space - Knitting WIP

Hello! This is the cardigan I almost finished while sitting with Miss M in hospital earlier this week. Today she is, once again, the Kid On The Couch. It seems that this nasty pastie virus was meaner than we originally thought, poor little love. But it has also meant that I have been getting some serious knitting in!

The pattern is Olearia (my second time knitting this), I'm knitting size 2 on 4.5mm needles, and the yarn is Madelinetosh DK Butter. Do I like the Madelinetosh? Do I ever!!

And just in case you were curious, the hexagon blanket is still going strong - I just wanted to put up something different this week!

More interesting Creative Spaces here.

Sam xx

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Baking Banana Bread

I have been baking banana bread* for today's Kid On The Couch.

The trouble is, the only person who seems to be eating it is the big kid in the kitchen!


I always bake when the children are recovering from illness - I've got some bread on the go at the moment as well. Mmmmmmmmmm!!!

And did you see the book on the table behind the banana bread? The recipe for the banana bread didn't come from that (see * below) but hopefully my future bread making attempts will. The girls (and G!) gave me the book for Mother's Day.

Miss M is well and truly on the mend - she's just VERY tired!

When do you like to bake?

Having lots of baking fun!

Sam xx

* Easy Banana Bread recipe from Donna Hay's 'No Time To Cook' recipe book.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Being a Mother on Mother's Day

Hellooooo and Happy Mother's Day!

Okay, okay! I know I am a day late, but I have a good reason - I was being a Mother!

Miss M, sick since Thursday evening, woke up crying with a sore tummy and very high temperature at 3.45am. Warning bells! We quickly bundled her up, and I drove her straight to the hospital where she was quickly assessed and sorted out. Phew! Not appendicitis, but a rather nasty virus, perhaps?

And so, while Miss M was hooked up to the drip in the children's ward and settled into a long sleep of recovery, I settled into knitting Miss J's cardigan, which had just happened to throw itself into my bag as I was leaving the house. It, too, must have known how long those hours of waiting in Mummy Fear Land can be!

You'll be pleased to know that Miss M had a remarkable late afternoon bounce-back today, Monday. Her cheeky grin and comments to the nurses about rhyming words gave her away! So now we are home, Miss M tucked up in bed, and Mummy and Daddy very happy that our family are all together again.

Goodbye, virus!

Oh, and by the way, it didn't escape my notice that one of life's great ironies has to be watching back to back episodes of Masterchef while eating hospital food!!!

How did you spend your Mother's Day?
What other 'essentials' would you fling in to your hospital bag?

Very happy to have my girl home,

Sam xx

Friday, 11 May 2012

Inspiring Artist - Anna Walker

Another Artist who inspires me is Anna Walker who describes herself as an Illustrator and Story Teller - I love that - 'Storyteller', not 'Author'. Anna writes and illustrates childrens' books.

I enjoy Anna's deceptively simple and elegant artwork. I am intrigued by her palette of neutral colours and inks, and she also often includes the use of fabric collage in her illustrations; little leaves of fabric dotted through her plants and trees.  All in all, I find her work quite beautiful!

Anna's latest post is an introduction to a new short film on her life and work. It is a delight!! So, I have included it here. But, by all means, check out her blog and website as well. She is another very talented lady.

Sam xx

Thursday, 10 May 2012

My Creative Space - Hexagon WIP

When I set out to use all my 8ply wool leftovers in my 'Every Day in May'* hexagon blanket, I certainly didn't expect that I had quite so many bright colours. And bright they are! But I have to be honest - I'm not using all the leftovers; for some yarns there is just not enough for a whole hexi, while I didn't feel that some of the others suited the look I was vying for. Maybe they are just a bit too neutral and stood out too much? Too many middle tones?? Too many purple hues???

But my biggest questions is "Where did they all come from??"

Sam xx

View more Creative Spaces here.

*Every Day in May challenge instigated by Kate at

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

'The Art of Silence'

Oh me, oh my! I saw a beautiful painting exhibition, The Art of Silence, at Linton and Kay gallery when I was down the Hill on Monday; exquisite still life paintings by the Melbourne (?*) artist, Julie Davidson. Ms Davidson is truly a talented and skillful artist. Her abilities continue to develop, and so does her market - this show is almost sold out, with most sales taking place before the official opening!

I'm not sure if I am allowed to do this but, because it is promoting the artist and her work anyway, I just have to show you my favourite artwork from this show:

Still Life with Loquats and Drapery II, Oil on Linen, 153 x 122cm

If you live in Perth and have a weakness for Still Life painting as I do, Go. And. See. It!! But make sure you end up at the right place - Linton and Kay have a few premises. This exhibition is in the gallery on the corner of the Nicholson Road traffic lights, right next to the Subiaco subway. Given that the gallery puts artworks in the huge windows that front on to this intersection, I don't know how they haven't had more car accidents!!

Sam xx

* I think she is from Melbourne but she is somewhat elusive, dealing exclusively through her galleries.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Buyer's remorse - online

*Reader beware: ranting ahead!”

Have you ever had buyer’s remorse when shopping online? I have.
I was searching for some beautiful yellow wool with which to knit a cardigan for Miss J. Yellow is her favourite colour, and has been for about 2 years now - a surprising consistency from a little person! And I found the perfect wool and colour online – ‘Butter’ in Tosh DK by Madelinetosh. But no one seemed to have it in stock.
My search continued for a few days, and then, one night, tired and just a little bit grumpy, I settled for another yarn and placed my order. I also added in an order for Miss E’s next cardi at the same time. May as well save on postage, right? Done! Yay!! All sorted.
I realised, three hours later, that I had ordered yarn with the wrong ply. Argh!!
So I dutifully contacted customer service. “Sorry”, was their reply.  “I am afraid that your order has already been packed and scanned ready for sending out” - which means that I had to wait until the order arrives here and then send it back again, even if it is coming from the other side of the world....and using all those air miles....and adding to the greenhouse gases.
Wouldn’t it have been much easier and less costly to just pull the parcel before it left the warehouse? Oh, of course.  Silly me. They make their money on the handling fee, not to mention the possibility that I might just think it was all too hard and not bother to send it all back.
But I will, along with a pleasantly toned letter expressing how unimpressed I am.
And then...... the very next day after placing the doomed order, I discovered one of my favourite blogs/online shops, Purl Soho, has the Madelinetosh I wanted, both colours for both projects. Oh, hooray!!
And guess what arrived today??

Lovely, lovely! Is it as gorgeous and soft and colourful as I expected? It most certainly is! So, no prizes for guessing what I will be casting on tonight!

And the moral of this story? Don't impulse buy online, Samantha! It won't work out. It never does.

Lesson learnt - I hope!

Sam xx

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Knitting Ta-dah!

Miss M's Olearia cardigan is finished! Ta-dah!! I am impressed with the design - the bodice is well shaped and I really like the top-down construction. I do love not having to sew the garment together at the end!

Pattern:  Olearia by Georgie Hallam (found on - cardigan version 2

Yarn:     Cleckheaton Country 8 ply

Colour:  #2294

Size:      According to chest measurements, Miss M is a size 4 so that's the one I knitted but rather than the 4mm needles recommended, I used 4.5mm and added about 8cm to the length, given that she will be 6 years old later this year.

Buttons: Miss M chose the buttons from my (very) small stash. I think I bought them 6 years go from one of the quilting shows in Perth.

I love this garment and I will be using the pattern again!  I am, however, a bit sad that it is finished - I was rather enjoying this one. But, it does mean that I can now concentrate on my 'Every day in May' challenge - I'll update with my progress soon.

Sam xx

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Garlic in the Garden

This morning, G helped Miss M to plant her own patch in the vegie garden - her own idea - and then we spent this afternoon organising the vegie patch for its Winter plantings. Yes, we are a bit late, especially with the garlic, but it is all now well on the way.


My first mosaic - it has taken me a bit of time to work out how to make this! I am now officially pooped!!

Sweet dreams.

Sam xx

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Every Day in May

I like Kate's blog, Foxslane. Yes I do. And on Tuesday, Kate set herself the challenge of creating something Every day in May. She will crochet a motif a day. Brilliant!! So, yesterday I committed to playing along as well.


I have always loved the hexagon blanket made by Attic24 Lucy. And Kate at Greedy for Colour made this version of Lucy's pattern (just scroll to the end of the post), so her blanket ended up looking spotty. And then I saw this version in solids, made by Cocorose Diaries.

But which one shall I make?

Miss M decided - solid colours. "Can I have it when it's finished?"

And so I have started. See?

Crochet, accompanied by Scrabble, Lemon Cake and three good buddies.
Not to mention the wine, laughter and the late hour I finally got home!

Having more fun!

Sam xx

My first Follower!

Look! There in the side bar! I have my very first Follower, the lovely Felicity who writes her blog here. And Felicity's 'following' comes with the added bonus of Knowledge about how blogging and Blogger work. So, thanks for being persistent, Felicity. I look forward to any further links and ideas you fling my way!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Painting Day

Another Painting Day! Hooray!!

"Little Blue Dress"

This time I made sure to stretch the watercolour paper - anyone who says that 300gsm paper does not need to be stretched is telling porkies! It was all soooo much easier to work with. Washes went where they were meant to go and behaved!! Hooray!

Definitely having fun!

Sam xx