Friday, April 18, 2014

Frozen

O

She-Who-Worships-Pink now worships blue too, thanks to the movie 'Frozen'.

I had to order the DVD on Amazon because Miss Pink couldn't wait a month for it to be released in Australia. We've watched it on loop for longer than I care to think about and even I have "Let It Go" playing over and over in my head 24/7.

It was even the feature song of our school's recent Grand-friends Day concert. Then it was the performance piece at a recent birthday party. 

I have been tasked now with finding an 'Elsa doll' which is proving to be more difficult than locating a four-leaf-clover.


Well, that one's more up my alley. Ebay has loads of hideous Elsa dresses that bear no resemblance at all to the original:


Which just offends my designer origins...

So off we went to our favorite fabric store (Remnant Warehouse -Alexandria) where Pinkster went mad as usual. Fabric retailers in Sydney are few and far between, good ones.. Well it's almost easier to find an Elsa doll quite frankly. But this one is special; a huge range of dance/ costume fabrics and the staff really know their stuff. 

Still I couldn't get exactly the pale blues I wanted and Pinkster's like a bunny in the headlights when confronted with sequins.


This is what we came up with - not perfect, but not bad.

So two hours later, one pattern and seven fabric pieces cut, I got to sewing...until the sewing machine broke down. To name and shame: it's a relatively new Toyota. DON'T touch them with a barge pole.

So I would like to show you the final result, but even after dragging my 20-something-year-old Janome out of the attic to finish off, my house model had to go to bed before completion of the finishing touches.

Now it's also the seamstress's bed time so I'll have to finish hemming and the photo-shoot in the morning....




I really need to film Pinkster performing in this costume- way too cute, especially as her wig slips :0)


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Crush


What do you do when you overhear your six-year-old daughter telling someone in the school yard that;  she's not in love with [Popular-boy' in school]  because she's already 'seeing someone'?

Panic?

 I got the giggles. 



 
Just like the night we 'broke her heart' over a couple of lamb-chops, I  tried not to laugh out loud.  I just made those funny noises you do when you try to keep a really big laugh inside your mouth and you end up sort of blowing snorty raspberries through your nose.

You see it all started way back in the Christmas break after a trip to the mall with a friend. She kept talking about this boy she'd seen: "I think he was about ten years old" she says. She talked more and more about this boy, who was "so handsome' with dark brown hair. And how she would marry him one day. Thanks a bunch, Walt Disney for all those fairy tales that end with 'the kiss' sheesh.

Some months later with several mentions of the ten-year-old-boy with his dark brown hair, Mr Frenchie takes her and a friend to our favorite French Creperie. low and behold who is there? The "ten years old boy with dark brown hair"!!

So the Daddy person tells me, after positive identification from Miss Pink, he approaches the parents and tells them that somehow our daughter saw him in a mall months back and has been crushing on him ever since! Miss Pink is all shy and mortified so introductions cannot be made although his parents think the whole deal is impossibly cute.

But as lunch is finished and Mr Frenchie drives past where 'Ten' is waiting for a table with his parents, he lowers Pinkster's window so she can wave. Ten, waves back grinning and calls to her 'Salut!' in a perfect French accent.

Our little Miss Pink is equal parts; thrilled and mortified.

After hearing the story I  asked Mr Frenchie what he looked like; "He's a seriously good looking kid of about ten years old." he says nodding; "Our girl has very good taste!"

We now have the pleasure of 'seeing' 'Ten' on a semi regular basis at the local French Creperie, he's usually waiting for a table with his sister, Father and dog, as we are finishing lunch. Pinkster is always too shy to speak to him, but at least, as far as she's concerned, she' still seeing him. Literally.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Lack of Charm


Two weeks ago I was cursing Leggo Friends for the teeny tiny little people and there microscopic accessories that needed rescuing from the floor in the path of the vacuum cleaner. 

Well now we have tiny little elastic bands littering every surface in the house. There are elastic bands, embedded in the sofa cushions, in the bathroom sink, twisted around toothbrushes, in bedclothes, in school uniform pockets, lunchboxes.. Barbie dolls are being strangled with them...

The Rainbow Loom Bands craze has hit down-under with a vengeance, and I for one have another storage, not to mention vacuuming nightmare on my hands. The schools are writing a whole new set of rules around wearing and sharing them to put a lid on the playground loom band squabbles.

She-Who-Worships-Pink-and-Now-also-Blue (thanks to the Frozen movie) got a set from her father and the little pet is truly addicted. But in the actual kit there are only six charms to approximately one million elastic bands (OK, maybe a slight exaggeration). 

So Pinkster decided we had to make some DIY charms from Play Doh.
I went one better (knowing Play Doh wouldn't cut the mustard) and bought her some air drying clay at our local craft store. 

It was another messy exercise first shaping our charms. Then we had tiny little charms drying on the kitchen bench and later a production line of charms in various stages of being painted and lacquered with either 'glitter glue' or nail varnish. They are still there a week later.

But this is a sample the finished few...



We're also working on smiley faces (with mixed results ) and butterflies. I think a nice simple idea, and with Easter around the corner, we might also try some Easter egg shaped charms; they could make a nice gift alternative to chocolate.

I use a toothpick to make holes before the clay dries, but I noticed you need to make those pretty close to the edge if you're using very small jewelery rings to connect them to the bracelets.

Now that school is over for the term, and we don't have homework and school runs to deal with I'm looking forward to making some more with Pinkster over the holidays. But I am also looking forward to a clear bench again so maybe not too many more.

Are your kids hooked on making loom bands too? 

Just wondering how far reaching this craze is..

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sleepless in Sydney




image credit


My OCCD episode is long gone - I no longer enjoy the visual delights of a pristine abode. Domestic standards have dropped dramatically in response to the sharp surge in my sleep debt.

I don't remember when I last slept blissfully through the night - it's been a while.

I just cant seem to get the knack of sleeping through loud talking or shouting (or yelping for that matter).
Everyone in our household (except me) talks and/or shouts in their sleep (including the four-legged family member) On top of that, our lovely neighbor's two daughters have moved back home and they're very shouty.

All this shouting happens in relays; when one person is done another takes up the baton the next night. 

Mr Frenchie has been on back to back business trips so I've been single parenting - badly. Meanwhile  the rest of the team have upped-the-ante to make sure the nocturnal disruptions continue:

We had the three-night-incessant -ear-flapping episode that resulted in a vet visit, very expensive ear drops and further sleep deprivation for yours truly.

Several night wakings from She-Who-Worships-Pink-and-needs-to-do-poo at 2am. I've since installed a night-light in the bathroom but it doesn't make her any quieter going about her business. It takes pure talent to successfully use a toilet seat to emulate the sounds of a five-car-freeway pile-up.

Our neighbor's daughters are avid entertainers (on school nights) and they prefer their tiny back patio to their living room. This sits directly under our bedroom window. Since our gardens are only six meters wide so you can pretty much hear each others toilets flush, but 4am does seem to be the official shouting arguments with boyfriends hour.

Last night there was an electrical storm so the orange dog, locked out of our room so I could sleep, decided not to be thwarted by a mere bedroom closure and he banged, scratched and cried at the door - at 1am then again at 2:30.

So this week I've turned up to the school run late every time sporting a range of luggage under my eyes. Surprisingly I only once forgot Pinkster's school bag but three times I forgot where I'd parked and wandered aimlessly down streets I had not parked on looking for the car.  I probably should avoid driving, but I'm so low on energy I cant make the uphill walk to school. 

So here I sit writing, trying to lighten my mood but all I can contemplate as my early evening is punctuated with loud drunken guffaws, is how in my diminished mental state, I will likely react in the wee small hours of tomorrow as it hits shouting-at-boyfriends hour. Usually I crawl out of bed and flash the living room and deck lights on and off until they take the hint.  I might just get as creative as my Mum:

Years ago Mum got even with our rude neighbors and their 8-y-o Satan's child who'd told her to "p*ss-off" when she asked politely if they would turn down their music a bit.  It was legendary watching my tiny mum drag my brothers home-made electric guitar amplifier into the garden. Then she ran leads and cables inside to the stereo where she threw on one of Dad's worst recordings of bagpipe-marches.  She let-em have it for two more hours after they turned off their music.  Perfect score of 10 for both technical difficulty and creative merit.

There's a cab honking away out front which they've all just piled into. Great, looks like they're going out clubbing tonight..

This does not bode well;  might check iTunes before I hit the sack and see what they have in the way of  bagpipes... 



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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ghosts of Boyfriends Past.





I was trundling along to the deli, walking and talking with my renovation-wing-man Miss M, about the worst most toxic boyfriends we ever had... and OH MY LORD there's my worst nightmare covering an entire the wall inside the ANZ bank.  I stop dead and point "that's him" and it wasn't Simon Baker. Then I couldn't help to notice; "oh my! The years have not been kind" I grinned at M gleefully; "How come I'm still a bit cute and he's a fat old fart?" 

A man walking behind us for a block - whose ears you could hear crackling with flames such was the fervor of his eavesdropping, stopped briefly to look at the mural then quickly, self consciously moved away sniggering.

Well I gotta say, there's something tantalizingly satisfying in seeing someone who caused you so much grief in your youth still clinging to a modeling career but now posing for retirement financial products.  When I knew him he was cute, yes a model, and a singer, songwriter, base guitarist and a self absorbed drunken lunatic.

This is the guy who I left after several sessions of unprovoked drunken and sober tantrums and several counts of cheating with a cheap blonde who had a perpetually red face because she was a drunk too. We called her Tomato.

He was "so devastated" when I left him; he wrote and recorded two songs about just how devastated he was. 
He even used to call in the middle of the night and "sing his pain" to me. Often he had his friends sing it to me as well until I changed my number.

I found out that he took the Tomato to the recording studios and she no doubt giggled and bounced and applauded while he sang about his heartache and sorrowful loss of me. She was a stupid tomato too.

He turned up at my work's reception one day with the released CD in his hand and a sheepish expression. 

After I accepted it he asked me for $20.  

Apparently it hadn't done so well and they were trying to recover studio costs. I gave him $20 and sent him on his sorry way.

Do I feel smug now?

Just a little bit. 










Friday, March 21, 2014

Honest



How many dogs do you know could be left locked in the house with an open 10 kilo bag of dog biscuits?
The usual scenario: dog is prostrate with a seriously swollen stomach, there's vomit stains on the carpet and a tipped over bag with what's left of the biscuits scattered around the floor.

I didn't even think about the huge bag I left out with every intention of packing it away later. Or that it was so heavy I broke the re-sealable top carrying it to the car.  I just propped it up against the wall behind the dining table, a meter from Buddy's bed, open and inviting. No consideration to the temptation of an underweight animal who's just had painfully abscessed teeth removed, and is once again eager to chew.

I fed Bud tonight while She-Who-Worships-Pink-and-now-also-Blue was in the bath.
After his meal he wandered over to said bag, gave me a pointed look, nudged the bag with his big black golf ball nose and looked at me again. I shook my head and I swear he shrugged before he went to lay on his bed. Then it hit me. I have actually left a giant bag of food next to him all day and he not only hasn't touched it but, he asked nicely if he could have a bit more after dinner.

I was shocked and I told Pinkster what normal dogs do when left alone with unattended food. She reveled in his awesomeness to the point where he got to eat most of her ham, some of her noodles and half a packet of liver treats. Maybe this is his strategy.
After all, he is a combination of two highly intelligent breeds...

Buddy's mother was a red Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle dog "..a brave, loyal, physically strong and highly intelligent dog. He possesses a  rugged nobility, but is equally the ‘Aussie larrikin’ with a terrific sense of humour. He asks for activity, affection and lifelong commitment and will repay these tenfold throughout his life."

Buddy's father was a breed with an undeserved bad rap: Doberman Pincer:
"Dobes like to be with their people and are not suited to kennel or backyard life; they need human interaction and leadership. Loyal, tolerant, dedicated and affectionate with the family."

So as much as he stakes a claim every now and again on a piece of furniture, I'm reminded today that this is an unusually honest dog.

Why should I be surprised about today though, when at 12 months old he was left alone with an accessible platter of prosciutto (on the coffee table) which was also untouched an hour later.  In the nine years we have enjoyed his company we have not had one sock or croc chewed, never lost a sausage from the barbeque. 

With a baby in the house since he was going on three-years-old not one toy of hers was stolen or chewed; on the contrary, she's still repossessing his more interesting chew toys.

So today after peeling the children off him at the school run  to come home to this reminder of what an unusually noble and honest animal he is - I've decided to dedicate another post to him.  Buddy deserves celebrating.

My lovely friend, and remarkable, award winning author Jaclyn Moriarty also had a bit to say about our lovely Bud on Inside a Dog. 

Jacklyn also deserves celebrating for her talent and her inspiration and her general loveliness. One of her recent blog posts inspired me to walk Bud across the harbour bridge this week which he was very pleased about - it's been three years. As expected, he wasn't keen at all on the ferry ride home despite the lovely American tourists who cuddled him silly. :0)

But I need to say here; my God, Jaclyn Moriarty can write! This weekend I'm going loose myself in her latest book "The Cracks In The Kingdom" the second part of' The Colours of Madeleine Trilogy'.

Have a great weekend and may it be filled with great books and a plethora of puppy cuddles. 


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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Obsessive Compulsive Cleaning Disorder

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I have developed OCCD (Obsessive Compulsive Cleaning Disorder). 

It's a recurring affliction I have, this time triggered by play-date with my bestie and her gorgeous little girl. 
My friend and her husband are major perfectionists, I am too just quietly, but they're way better at it than I am P.C.(post child).  But maybe it takes two perfectionists per household to make it really work well; though Mister Frenchie experiences random acts of tidiness, the clean thing pretty much eludes him. I always notice there's so much dog hair coating our wood floors that we could make a whole other dog, whereas he doesn't at all. He doesn't seem to feel the crunch under his shoes after mealtimes like I do.

Any way after traveling to 'The Mall' in my friends pristine-could eat off the carpet BMW, not to mention having had coffee in the showrooms they call home-looking out onto manicured perfection of their garden....I felt the vague murmurings of another attack coming on. 

My darling humble friend doesn't see it, but take it from me and other visitors, her home is a credit to her and something we all dream of but cannot emulate without gargantuan effort, hired help and the sending off of our husbands on long business trips. And maybe sending off the kids too.

Her home is wall to wall serene functionality and perfected designer beauty. (I can actually hear her gagging from two suburbs away now) And as I mentioned,  the floor in her car is cleaner than our dining table. Needless to say she doesn't have a shedding dog in the back shaking himself silly or slobber-coated frizzbees, sandy shoes, random packaging or remnants of several car-picnics either. 

So instead of writing after our playdate, I washed, and polished the Toyota, blitzed the garden, attacked cobwebs, swept the trampoline, I filled cracks in the bathroom, took the wall lights apart and washed those too. I even ran around the laundry skirting boards with a nail-brush.

Historically I have been prone to irregular bouts of OCCD. I remember a time long ago when the moment mine or even my flat-mate's visitors finished a cup of coffee, the cup would instantly disappear only to reappear seconds later washed dried and back in the cupboard like a magician's trick. Sometimes I would even hover if I knew they were almost finished.

I had a problem then and I knew it. Eventually I had to put dirty cups around the room and leave rings on the coffee table for days as a kind of tolerance therapy.

You want another scary confession? For the first few years we had Pinkster, I used to rub the poor Orange Dog down everyday with a microfiber-mitten and a spray bottle of water and vinegar . My excuse was allergies...

Well I don't know if I should be making such a blog-fession about this but I figure if I can’t be cured at least I should be laughed at...

Ooh that reminds me I haven't given the dog a sponge-bath since, what? Yesterday!

image credit



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Monday, March 10, 2014

Excess Baggage


Retro post...

Oh my god, I cant believe I just shouted 'grow a penis" at some random looser revving his decrepit Torana like a Ferrari down Ackland street. It is official  I am a cranky mummy.

I might have admired the car's restoration if the driver hadn't been such a tool and I wasn't completely stressed out after a noisy circus visit followed by a crawl down one of Melbourne's busiest streets with a pram, cranky child, emotionally and physically exhausted husband and a two-meter tall 'Dora the Explorer'   balloon, smacking everyone in the face. 

The damned thing was full of helium, so why couldn't it stay 'up' instead of swiping through table settings and knocking over glasses, bouncing off startled faces? Then there was the added stress of wondering how large a meltdown She-Who-Worships-Pink would have when her beloved Dora, was confiscated by Airport Security...

With a slight sense of déjà vu I'm in 'The George' a fashionable Melbourne Bar (and late night pick-up joint). I'm not looking for lerve, having ticked that box, I'm just scrubbing at my beige suede jacket, with Huggies wipes, where it was spattered with an extra-oily-air-borne olive launched by my husband. 

As a self imposed penance he's taking the enormous risk of grocery shopping with our 3-year-old daughter and two-meter balloon.  She's mildly happy with having accomplished the art of eating olives without swallowing the pips despite her general discontent with  the  earlier in-flight-peanut-allergy-discovery  experience and the ensuing vomit-over-the-airport-toilet-basin episode.

What stupid airline caterer decided mixed nut biscuits were a good idea to serve in flight?

We discovered the hard way that Lucie has a reaction to peanuts (although neither of us do). She had the tiniest taste and 30 mins later her face was all blotchy and she kept begging to "washy hands" (which after the last week's bout of gastro, has become code for 'hold me over a basin- I'm gonna puke".)

And puke she did. Daddy collected the luggage while I helped my poor lamb loose her breakfast in the loos. Bloody Qantas. What happens if some poor passenger has a nasty dose of anaphylaxis at 30,000 feet, that's what I want to know?

OK so I find myself alone in a bar I used to haunt in my single days, wishing I had KFC wipes instead of Huggies, cos those suckers - soaked with enough alcohol for pre-surgical use - know how to shift grease.

I'm not done up to the nines, just presentable and no longer clutching a teeny tiny handbag.  My latest gargantuan tote almost needs its own zip code, but for now has to settle for its own seat, so it's lucky the place is almost empty and it can make itself comfortable.

I"m a bit squiffy, but my bag is loaded; packing both savoury and sweet snacks, deflated balloons, wads of balled up tissues in various states of freshness, a thankfully small elephant (my child's latest obsession), a half-drunk juice bottle and the latest addition to the survival kit: a folding portable toilet seat.

Rummaging for my wallet I put the elephant, among other paraphernalia, on the table and promptly two smart-mouthed guys start to give me a ribbing about it.
"Hey that chick's got a bloody elephant in her bag!"
I give them a sly smile and reply;  "You think that's strange wait till you see what else I've got.."
They take the bait and by the looks on their faces they're expecting something kinky.. I start humming that old circus theme as I pull out the drawstring pouch, and the guys wriggle onto the edge of their barstools..

I slowly and seductively unwrap, then unfold ...
the 'Cushie Traveller'.

Everything goes quite for a few seconds until someone asks quietly; "Geeez is that a f**king toilet seat?"






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Saturday, March 8, 2014

French Knitting


Don't ask me why it's called French Knitting; firstly that term is new to me, and secondly Google has left me wanting (an unusual occurrence) with my research.   I did find out that Mary McCormack wrote a book on it in 1909 so it's been around a long time.

In my last post Mister P (our resident Sight Words Post Box) received some long awaited limbs, knitted on a spool or French knitter that I've had since I was Pinker's age. I managed to find  a bigger one at Spotlight for a whopping $5 and it came in PINK!

Unfortunately the packaging sported a plethora of images-things to make. I find that you just don't want to give our girl any more ideas than she has popping into her head at an already staggering rate.

So on a crazy week while I was single parenting (Mr Frenchie off in another state being busy and important with clients) in between homework we managed to make some stuff.

With my help, Pinkster made a worm and a couple of caterpillars to start with;

I wasn't prepared for a make-stuff-marathon so we had to improvise on materials. This Caterpillar is stuffed with cotton balls and luckily we had some googly eye buttons left over from Pink's last craft blitz (she likes to string them together and make googly eye necklaces). We used scraps of wool and Pinkster kindly gave away the 'other coloured' caterpillars to a friend. There are two colour spectrums as far as She-Who-Worships-Pink is concerned: Pink is one and then there are "other colours" not pink.

She saw a cat on the packaging and that had to be made too, despite the fact it required pipe-cleaners and tiny pompoms both of which got used up in her last craft blitz.

After that it was a halter dress for her doll (formerly my doll) Blythe - in Pink of course. Fortunately we have more scraps of Pink fabric and yarn than we could ever use in one lifetime.

It's not obvious from this photo, but the little cat is made of very fluffy angora type yarn which is kind of  perfect for a cat. The ears gave me grief because my little art-director demanded they be pointy and it's sort of a challenge to make tiny triangles out or two tiny sausages.

Spool knitters are easy to use and a great way to introduce children to knitting. I'm glad I found it in the attic when I did as I think 6-years-old  is just about the right age to use these things. It also helps to have a few different size spools and  a bit of imagination, of course.




Monday, March 3, 2014

Dolch & Kabana revisited




This is a revisit of my previous ‘so not a fashion post’. As with the previous post it is still doesn’t have much to do with Dolce or Gabbana but is a little more on the designer side none the less..

If your child started Kindergarten this year you probably know that Dolch is a word list, compiled by Edward William Dolch, PhD.  Kabana is all I have in the fridge to sustain me while I add limbs to our original Sight Words posting box.

Yes limbs; Mister P as we now call him has slowly become a funny little person.
Sight Words are high frequently words and the foundation of Dolch's "whole-word" method of beginning reading instruction. There are 100 of them (!) just to begin with, so you’d better be prepared to get creative with what might be your first experience of ‘homework’.

During our first 'big school' year, I volunteered to assist with reading groups in the classroom (longest 30 minutes of my life each week) and let me tell you, you need to be creative or the natives get truly restless – many kids find learning these words particularly un-fun.

There are a lot of elaborate games online but She Who Worships Pink came up with the idea of posting her word-cards into a letter box. Her own class ended up with three of our custom-made post boxes and they were a huge hit in the classroom.

Making the boxes is the easy part and you can download a PDF file of the words in envelope format here. I've also included postal service stickers to print and glue on for the US, UK and Australia. 
So our own Post Box has become a little character; from the addition of googly eyes, the accessories just kept coming.

My Art Director, Miss Pink, decided he should have hair, then she talked about a nose, then teeth, glasses… When she began spending more time discussing what Mr P needed next than learning her words, I decided to make it a bit of a rewards system. Every two levels of sight words she completed she got more body parts and the makeover became more extreme.


From her successful completion of Purple and Aqua words she has earned her little red friend some ears (carved from two slices of champagne cork).  She finaly got through Lime and Lemon so I needed to come good on my promise of arms too.
I was about to sew some arms until I found my old Knitting Nancy in the attic with my old toys.



I’d forgotten how to use this so I went online and found this wonderful tutorial.

I’ve cheated a bit and pinched some of Mr Potato-Head’s hands I’m afraid. But you know how it is when you’re time poor and there’s a spare pair of hands on offer..


So here he is: Mr P with his extreme makeover and this week's project finished.

Or not...

I’m fresh out of ideas but I know how someone else's  little brain works.

If anyone has any ideas how best to make him some feet, I’m all ears..