Friday, April 25, 2014

Shades of Magnolia

She-Who-Worships-Pink is going to be a designer of some sort, I'm sure.  I just hope it's not fashion; she's WAY too fond of frills, flounces and florals for my taste.

Our girl loves flowers, she picks them everywhere she finds them (except from people's gardens - we've talked about that!), she gets me to buy her fake ones whenever we come across them and she even asked me to turn her bedroom light into a giant flower.

Since the local council planted a magnolia tree outside our house we've both become quite partial to that particular bloom. 

So this was the challenge:  to transform an ugly ball-globe light fitting (which we inherited with our home) into a gorgeous crimson magnolia.

I started out with some heavy pattern making paper and just chopped, shaped and measured until I  came up with something I thought would work.

I cut out around seven or eight petals from fabric and iron-on stiffening. I re-used some plastic meat-trays (well washed) cut into strips to make 'bones' for each petal's center.

I sewed the petal seams up, clipped the curves and turned them right side out then top-stitched the edges.

After that I inserted a bone into each one and sewed that in place on the outside.

Measuring the base of the light fitting, I then overlapped my petals leaving a hole in the centre to sit nicely around the fitting, before basting a line of stitching to hold everything in place.

The only thing left to do was bind the top edge with Bias-tape and hang it up.

My only design issue with this light shade is that it shades too much of the light. Next time I think I'd use a lighter more transparent fabric and hang it over the original globe/ ball fitting so it wouldn't get too hot. I thought it would make a really nice cover for an ordinary lamp-shade - but that will be another project later down the track.

But Pinkster loves her magnolia bedroom light and that's the main thing with our craft sessions; to keep our resident art-director engaged in creating and coming up with ideas.

Friday, April 18, 2014


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


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'?


 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.

Linking with Multitasking Mummy

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... 

Linking with Multitasking Mummy