Friday, August 10, 2012

Lucy turns 3!

I'm having a little trouble accepting the idea that my baby girl has just turned 3!! Time is a strange beast - although so much has happened since Lucy was born and it feels like she's always been with us, it also feels like she is still my little baby who can't possibly have reached 3 years of age!

As often seems to be the case with birthdays, Lucy's 3 years have been celebrated over a number of days with lots of family and friends. It was special to be able to celebrate with our church family on the day of her birthday - and we took the opportunity to praise God for her life, and especially that she has now been in remission from leukaemia for over 19 months!

She has recently had grommets put in her ears, and in the week since the procedure it has been exciting to see her general responsiveness and attempts at talking take off. She seems much more willing to give repeating words a go, and I was excited to hear her completely independently give a rendition of "Roly Poly, (ever so slowly)" - complete with perfect roly poly arms, which is a new song to her. I'm also especially loving the new clarity and regularity with which she is saying "Mama", rather than the usual "Bup". We're looking forward to hearing lots more from this little girl soon - well she's always had a lot to say, and we're looking forward to being able to understand more of it!

Yep, still more interested in the paper....

Pancakes for birthday breakfast

Cake at church

More cakes at Early Ed - as ever an opportunity to learn.... counting practise all round!

Yet more cake at morning tea with special friends

Friends on the trampoline

Lucy has become quite the pro at cakes, and is really keen on blowing out candles - well trying to blow them out! Even when people just sing happy birthday without any cake in view, at the end of the song she gives a blow. Ah my gorgeous girl. And I love that she's not really interested in presents at all - much more in the people who bring them (and any cake they might have).

But many thanks to all those who sent birthday wishes and cards, and bought lovely presents AND helped us eat more cake than we've seen around here for months! She is one special and loved little lady.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Winter holidays in Gundaroo!

It's school holidays again, and this time we had the wonderful opportunity to visit our lovely old friends the Davis' who live in Gundaroo, which is about half an hour outside of Canberra. It was a bit chilly (a cool -3 degrees overnight!) but the days were fine and we had a fabulous time having adventures with our 8 children! I think Rach and I surprised even ourselves with what we pulled off - especially as Rach had only had her little Hannah a mere 8 or so weeks ago!

Undaunted by the hordes of children, we packed them up into the cars with plenty of food, bikes, helmets, gloves and jackets and set off for adventures most days and generally had a great time. We rode around several different sections of the bike track that circles Lake Burley Griffin and took in attractions like Questacon and the National Museum of Australia.

Our crowning glory was a day trip to the snow! Without much of a clue as to what we were doing, we bundled everyone up and headed south to Cooma where we hired all the bits we couldn't borrow, and then onto Perisher for some snow play and tobogganing. Other than Lucy and Hannah who weren't at all impressed with the snow, it was a hit with the other kids who spent a couple of hours zooming down the slopes and playing around. And then we drove home again!

It was wonderful to finally see where our friends live and what life is like in Gundaroo. The girls enjoyed caring for chickens and collecting eggs at the boys' school, playing on hammocks, doing lots of 'beado's', riding bikes and hanging out with the Davis clan. We were all very sad to leave (but have promised to return soon!), and the next morning I was awoken by Madeline who came to tell me that Jasmine was crying and that she wanted to go back to Gundaroo. And I'm really over Sydney traffic, already.

Emma and Madeline with the Davis boys, Parliament House in the background

Lucy really not enjoying the snow.....

Collecting eggs at school

Bike ride around the lake on the way to Questacon

Screen Printing for Asher

A project that has been lots of fun in recent times has been to help my lovely friend Anna to make a wall hanging for her new baby son's room. Inspired by a picture in the great book Prints Charming which I've mentioned before, we set to work to make our own artwork. It's printed on fabric that we then stretched over a canvas. And we are mighty impressed with our results:

And here is their lovely little man Asher, at 5 days old having a lie about on his quilt made with panels screen printed in the same style as the wall hanging. I printed the panels around the time we made the wall hanging (about 2 months ago!) but of course only actually made the quilt once Asher was born. Why does it always happen like this?? I seem to have some wierd psychological issue with making things for babies I know are coming (and I even knew he would be a boy) until after they are born. Maybe I just like working under pressure. Anyway, it's done, and I think he likes it.....

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mosaic Coffee Table

Well here it is - Emma's class mosaic coffee table ready to be sold at the school fundraiser!!

My friend Tracy and I had such fun helping the kids to complete this project, and I think the kids really enjoyed it too. It was lovely to be able to sit with just a couple of kids at a time to potter away sticking on tiles and have a chat. The best response was when the class teacher held up the finished table for everyone to see, and the cries of "wow" and "awesome" were plainly heard. I think they were a bit freaked out when we plopped the dark grey grout on the top of the tiles and spread it all over their picture, but as the picture was gradually revealed when we cleaned the grout away their fears were relieved!

The picture was inspired by another artwork that I came across, combined with the kids' own ideas about what is important to our little - the symbols between each of the people representing these things - moving from left to right the first one is mathematical symbols, then a tree representing the school's commitment to caring for the environment, the heart showing the caring community of our school, musical notes for the important place of music at our school, and lastly a book (maybe this one should be in the centre!) as reading and learning are of course central to school life. "60 years together" is in recognition of the 60th anniversary of our little school, inspired by our school motto "Together is Better".

Anyway, well done 3R, it was great working with you!
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Friday, April 27, 2012

New things...

Inspired by our success with making our stepping stones last year, I have been keen to do some more mosaic work - especially more traditional mosaic. At school I've been helping Emma's class with a mosaic tabletop for the school's 60th anniversary art auction. Lots of fun - photos will come. IN the meantime at home I've had a little go myself - here is my effort so far - not quite finished with the tiles yet, and obviously not grouted, but I was pretty pleased with the result so far! I think it will end up being a heat pad for the table.

The girls also had fun making some more stepping stones featuring shells that they found on our holiday down south. As above, photos will come - they haven't found homes in the garden yet!

Some time ago I cut out fabric to make a jacket for Miss Lucy - and now that the weather has suddenly turned cold realised I really needed to make it up!  And so i did just that - I'm really pleased with the result, and so, it would appear, is Lucy. I saw the lining fabric which is a fabulous thing called "Lolouthi velveteen" on another blog and thought that I just had to have some. Combined with a fine corduroy I think it makes for one very cute little jacket - that Lucy is going to live in this winter!

It is proving very difficult to get a good picture of Lucy at the moment - she's not much into smiling at the camera, and is much more keen to look at the pictures on the screen than pose for any. Besides that, she's fast these days!
But oh so cute!

I've also been quite intrigued lately by Polish paper cuts with their intricate patterns like this -

 I found some instructions for making them myself  here and gave it a go the other day - the results were amazingly good, and amazingly simple to do. Obviously mine aren't a patch on the professionals, but I like them nonetheless, and am keen to give them a go with the girls.

Well I must get myself off to bed - I have more to say and show, but it will have to wait.... Soccer is far too early tomorrow morning and I have had far too many late nights of late! And I have to locate the field we need to be at before going to sleep otherwise it could get very ugly in the morning!

Easter Holidays

Oh my goodness - I am not doing very well at keeping up to date am I??!! I think I even said that last time I posted. Oh well. Here I am now.

So we've just finished school holidays, so I might put on a few pictures about that first...

We had a lovely break from school and the hectic routine of term time. This year it feels like things have really ramped up with school, pre-school, Early Ed and things that the girls are doing. I've always resisted being really busy with scheduled stuff, but with 4 little ones, I've realised that even without lots of extra stuff just getting through the days and weeks is busy!

The girls and I enjoyed a lovely couple of days down the South Coast at Orient Point with my brother Dave and his family. We had fun bike riding, playing at the beach and even fishing. Jasmine and Madeline caught squid in Jervis Bay which they were particularly pleased about!

Early morning ride

View from the house we stayed in!

Group bike ride!

Honeymoon Bay

Look who caught a squid

2 year old pottering at Currarong Beach
The second week of the holidays was quite wet, but Emma and Jasmine had fun at an Early Ed sibling day where they got to visit the Imax theatre at Darling Harbour. While they were there, Madeline, Lucy and I went to the Aquarium - my first visit! Madeline was obsessed with seeing the sharks, and wasn't interested in looking at much else. There were lots of great lego sculptures around the Aquarium, and even if Maddie didn't appreciate all the other fish (and Lucy was much more interested in eating lunch and then falling asleep in the pram!) I had a great time!

One of the other highlights of the holidays for the girls was being able to stay in their pj's until after lunch - and only then having to get dressed as they were going out. Love that in the holidays!

We've launched back into term 2 - a funny week this week with Anzac Day (aka my birthday!) in the middle - I had a great day - breakfast with friends from church, lunch with my family and dinner with 3 beautiful old friends. Needless to say I was very full of LOTS of yummy food by the end of the day.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Summer Art

Well there has certainly been a lot of plaster painting around here this summer. I received a huge bucket of plaster and so I thought I'd launch in and make lots of little figurines for the kids to paint, and they proved a huge hit  - with the girls on their own, when friends came over, and as I mentioned before, on holidays with lots of kids of all different ages. It's my plan that this year I will make up kits of plaster things with paint and brushes etc for birthday presents for all the parties my girls go to. With 4 now on the party circuit (does it slow down as they get older???) I will be sent broke financing all the presents so I'm hoping this plan will be a winner all round.

Just recently I've been looking around the web for some arty inspiration. There are so many great sites and blogs where people have uploaded whole lesson plans for art projects with kids. A new  favourite of mine is Millions of great ideas which I'm busting to use with the girls. Sadly the routine of school and all that has overtaken for the moment. Need to carve out some art time soon!

We recently had a go at some cow portraits - inspired by this. I did a directed drawing of the cow with Jasmine and Madeline - they are a little wonky, but I think it adds to the charm. Upon finishing her basic drawing Jasmine promptly asked if she could make hers a bull - and added horns and a ring. I just love her creative little brain - always just has to be a little bit different.

Anyway, here are their end results -

Jasmine's bull

Madeline's cow

They kind of forgot the bottom of the cows face and tongue, but I love them just the same. Emma did one too, but I failed to take a picture and they were given away for a gift. The best part of it all was that they were very proud of their pictures.

I haven't been doing much sewing of late, but 2 weeks ago I pulled out the machine and spent a quiet Sunday afternoon putting together a quilt top for Miss Lucy, who will no doubt want to be in a big girls bed before the year is out, and I'm hoping to be prepared. I've had the bubbles fabric probably since she was born (it's a Prints Charming one!) and I just love it. Now I've just got to work out how I want to quilt it.

And all this happened just in time as I recently bought some absolutely scrumptious fabric to make pj's and a little jacket for Lucy for winter. Not that we've really been out of winter pj's much this summer, but Madeline and Lucy especially are growing like weeds and need new jarmies.

Anyway, here's the quilt top - the question - do I machine quilt (ie quickly finished) or hand quilt (possibly never finish but potentially better results if I do).

And my gorgeous tribe going back to school/pre-school/early ed!

I'm on a blogging roll tonight!