31 December 2010

Happy New Year & bring it on 2011 . . .

Greetings all,
it’s another year over & a new one just begun” . . . Happy New Year!! 
This week marks 1 year into 3 years of living interstate from my husband.  Yes, shock horror, me, who loves her husband more than anything on earth . . . chose Canberra schools, Handmade & stability over moving to Brisbane with handsome soldier.  If we were actually living in Brisbane, we wouldn’t see him for about 22-24 months anyway due to deployments, exercises, courses & training.  Now we're going to buy a farm & build, we're never leaving Canberra!!   
This brings my solo parenting of 4 smart, sporty & social children into a new focus as we venture to high school – a whole new set of fun, fees & fashion.  Our sweet twin girls start year 4 & the boy goes into year 2.  After 3 long years in the junior corridor changing readers, canteen duty & helping with class craft, I’m out of there!!  I will still help with creative clubs & costumes for performances + P&C.
How do I get through a whole year without a husband??  That little business I started back in 1999 has grown beyond a full time job & welcome distraction so I’m streamlining, focusing on Shop Handmade where I absolutely love working giggling supporting small businesses + the Handmade Market.  I’m going to take time while the children do homework to focus on fitness (Yoga & running), plan my hand sewing for relaxing evening lounge craft & treat myself with foot spas & candles. 
I have to be 
hyper organised, a dedicated housewife, present at both schools & if/ when my husband calls/ turns up on the doorstep – i'm able to drop everything & pretend he’s the only person in my world.  Pressure & stress don’t agree with me (migraines) so i wander around in a bubble that is free of worry.   

Some family highlights in 2010 . . .
 This amazing brainiac made it to state level in sports, was house captain & won the school's sports prize.  She met the prime minister, governor general & more at special events she was nominated for.  She's starting at a lovely private girl's high school & continue Japanese.
 This gorgeous girl made it to state level for athletics, continues to excel in every aspect of academics & her wonderful teacher taught her to Zumba.  She wants to grow up & join the Air Force as a doctor.  She made it through a whole year without a concussion!!
 This quirky one, not so lucky in the trip & graze department!!  She excels in all arts, crafts & sports, making it to state for cross country.  She loves her friends & plans to move to Italy for University (in 9 years).  She also wants to be a chef, a model, a vet, a mummy & a farmer.
 This little fellow was lucky not to be kidnapped by his teacher this year, she loved him & his dimples!!  He blew us away with an amazing school report of academics, behaviour, sports & extra credits for caring about his class mates.  What more can i say, he's my only son!! 
C'est moi!!  Biggest highlight of the year . . . personally - meeting up with my husband on war leave & going on a 2nd European honeymoon, including a Greek Island cruise, glorious!!  Professionally, anything & everything to do with Handmade CanberraFamily - no broken bones, happy healthy children who did not have a single sick day between them all year!!
Back to reality . . .
so while being organised sounds as boring as a night in on NYE, it honestly leads to the most stress free happy family life.  I never fail to get the children to school on time if I’ve been up exercising before they wake up, we always have all the ingredients for dinner when I plan & write them on a shopping list, I’m always prepared for markets when I pace myself making stock & I just know I’ll sleep better, be healthier.  It’s time to stop sabotaging myself & my success by letting my studio get messy, pretending the clock is mysteriously 10 minutes fast & thinking that skipping a meal will make me lose weight!!  Now you can see the trained psychologist in me, I know my demons!!  I’m turning 36 this year which sounds very grown up & sensible age to start taking serious accountability. 
I start the new year with a tidy studio, organised laundry & storage for things like Christmas decorations, a new collection of recipes, the best intentions to do my tax, my only credit card at a $0 balance, even a new dog lead!!  I have to be my own cheer leader for 2 more years, so here goes nothing, bring it on 2011, I’m ready!!
Thanks for reading/ following/ stalking/ supporting my blog - if you're up for some freebies, check out these two giveaways, both open for a few more days.  Just follow this blog & comment at the post here for an IKEA lifestyle book &/ or here for chance to win Tangled movie tickets!!  Good luck & Happy 2011 everyone, love Posie

30 December 2010

surf's up

Greetings all,
After a nice way to wrap up the year & an unseasonably cold Summer . . . head to the beach on a glorious day, Coogee (Sydney Eastern Suburbs) to be precise. 
I really wanted a nice photo of our 4 children together, i thought the beach would be a perfect backdrop for 'a keeper' - the kind of photo you put on the 'mantle' of happy childhood memories (especially when you're raising them 3 hours inland!!)  I was clearly asking too much.  They were too cold, too tired, so this was as good as it got (trust me, this is the best of ten shots!!)  I haven't given up, i'll try again & again, i'm a tenacious mother & i want a fantastic photo of 4 children.  
 Walking from our $4 per hour car space to the beach, our son who has always stopped to read signs, was fascinated by all the things listed here that you can't do at the beach.  He said to me "Mum, it's just like all the things you can kill with fly spray".  Sure is matey.
 Coogee is a great beach for children, especially at 9.30a.m.
 I had uninterupted views of my children from my beach towel.
 Two of our girls getting confident in the water.
 When my husband was posted to Randwick Barracks years ago, he used to run along this beach for physical training.  Life is tough, to be paid to run on the beach, ahhhhh . . .
 This girl is a bit more of a land lubber & had a ball in the wet sand.
 The boy would warm up then go back for another dip!!
 It's all fun & games until someone gets dumped!!  Our eldest daughter was quite the lifesaver & it fills me with pride when my children are kind and loving to each other.
 They kept going back into the water & wore themselves out in an action packed hour of surf fun!!
 Why anyone goes to Bondi is beyond me - sure it's iconic & famous, but really, the day we were at Coogee . . . around the corner they had 40 000 people on Bondi Beach.  It's too scary, especially with tourists who can't handle our surf, or, you know, SWIM??!! 
My husband is a strong swimmer (he's a water polo player, thus the shoulders) & is very keen for our children to know how to handle themselves in the surf.  He teaches them about rips, currents, gusts - the lot!!  He's not bad for an Inner City boy. 
Today, back in Canberra, was spent at the pool (more my pace) & relaxing.  Love Posie

29 December 2010

every time i go to Sydney i swing by Retro Mummy . . .

Greetings all,
Well sometimes it IS who you know & i know Corrie from Retro Mummy.  We've been great pals for 'babies' (when you're a mum you don't necessarily measure friendship in years, but babies!!)  It's an easy friendship with all the basics in common, love for our husbands, 4 children with twins in the middle, sewing, baking & a healthy fabric obsession . . . so when i go to visit my parents, i always politely excuse myself & run off to see the latest & greatest fabrics at Corrie's house.  
 Come on, as if i could resist . . . entire collections of stunning florals . . . 
 & every coordinating style to match - all in my studio waiting to be made into beautiful handmade goodness!!
 Seeing it was getting late we gossiped while we measured, cut & coo'd with this little one.
 Then bright & early this morning we took the children to Coogee Beach for a swim, before the long drive back to Canberra.  More shots on this fun adventure later (i took 2 shots & the camera battery died) so the rest are on my husband's iPhone. 
So a lovely little getaway up to Sydney - a huge family lunch, fabric mania (thanks Corrie), car craft & a swim in the ocean.  Must stop making these trips so short & be more touristy around my home town!!  Love Posie

27 December 2010

welcome 300 followers

Greetings all,
I’m thrilled to find 300+ bloggers out there follow this little blog, welcome & thank you. I only got back into regular blogging & added a follow button this year to keep my nights occupied while my husband was away for 9 months, so glad I did!! I did an ‘about-me’ style post when I hit 200 followers, so to bring the next 100 of you up to date on who I am & what I’m about, here’s a new egocentric babble. I invite you to do a similar post, we all love interviews & sharing, especially in a new year, ‘tis a friendly blog world.
Who Am I?? I’m a housewife; married to my teenage love who is a soldier; we have 4 fabulous children – our eldest daughter is about to start high school, twin girls who are 9 & a boy who is nearly 7. I also work at Shop Handmade Canberra (a dedicated handmade shop front in the city) & do handmade markets. I’m also in the Handmade Living book, with a dozen projects!!

Where Was I 5 Years Ago (2005)?? Just moved from Sydney to live in Darwin (again) on an Army posting; a few years into my patchwork & design business; loving being a mum at home with 4 children (1 in school, 2 in preschool, 1 at home) & sewing around them. We took the children to Singapore, Kakadu & Sydney on holidays that year. I also did my first market stall.

Where Was I 10 Years Ago (2000)?? I was 25, married 3 years, living in Darwin on an Army posting; I was a pharmacologist working full time in the oil industry; our first born had a nanny. We bought our first property & I made my first proper patchwork quilt for my sister who said I should find a way of turning it into a small business. Oprah would call it an “aha moment”. I love Oprah.

Where Will I be in 5 Years (2015)?? Our future is really exciting, we’re looking at land outside Canberra to buy & build a big homestead, start a farm & let our children run free. My husband will probably be in a different job, I’ll be turning 40 & our 4th child will be starting High School!! Our simple life plan is fully solar & wind powered, living off our land & animals.

What’s the 2011 Plan?? Give our eldest space to develop her personality & be there when she needs us; daily Yoga; cut back on carbs & lose weight; keep up stock at Shop Handmade; keep my studio tidy; make patchwork quilts for my children; improve my cooking; be thoroughly prepared for my markets; balance my volunteer work better; use up my fabric & save more $$.

Random Things About Me?? I’ve been bitten by a Funnel Web Spider; I’m terrified of clowns; I love housework; I ran in the Sydney Olympic Torch Relay; I studied 3 years of psychology at Sydney Uni with no desire to be a psychologist; I love maths; I loathe reality television (I’ll watch diet, cooking & decorating though); I always wanted 4 children; I’m a great runner but terrible swimmer!!

Good & Bad of 2010?? We were burgled; we discovered where we want to live; I had my purse & mobile phone stolen in Venice; we went on a second European honeymoon; my mother’s Alzheimer’s is getting ugly; I visited my parents in Sydney a couple of extra trips this year; handsome soldier spent 9 months away; he came home safe from war; we’re not getting a new car; we saved $$!!

So that’s me in words, I love my husband & our children, we have a simple life with big plans. I'm lucky to have a lot of love in my world & don't take it for granted!!  Love Posie

PS if you want to enter some great holiday giveaways, check out the previous posts - an IKEA lifestyle book & Tangled movie tickets - all you have to do is follow this blog, leave comments at each of THOSE posts to enter each of THOSE competitions, good luck!!

26 December 2010

Christmas wrap up, gosh i love the festive puns!!

Greetings all,
Christmas Day has been & gone again.  The house is ship shape & i'm already home from the Boxing Day Sales.  The children are in their rooms happily playing with new gifts & my husband is flicking between Ashes Cricket, Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race & some fantastic documentaries on the television.  As my Grandfather Christian always said "Christmas is as far away as it will ever be".  Sigh.
We had p
the most peaceful & relaxing day of the year here, at home, just the 6 of us.  Sure there was the “oh no, someone chipped the Nigella platter” moment when pulling out the large bowls from the cupboard; handsome soldier melted my counter spray bottle while baking pancakes for breakfast; & we calculated that we wouldn’t be eating oven roasted pork until early afternoon . . . lucky i'm not one to panic or worry!!  Just gave me more time to take snaps of the children having fun . . . 
 The ultimate girlie girl gift, a tutu, shame Santa got the credit!!
  I can't imagine what it's like to be a twin, other than admire from the outside that it's something incredibly special!!
 Perfect gifts for boys . . . a bed of nails & a GiggleSpotDesigns robot, our son is pretty chuffed!!
 Note books & pjamas never fail as stocking fillers for children of all ages.  The Ivy Designs cushion was a gift which i'm thrilled our eldest loves as much i do.  It's perfect on her red Arne Jacobsen egg chair.
 . . . tut tut, those reindeer . . .

Check out the Mediterranean & Euro styled Christmas Day menu . . .
anti pasto & olives
cheese & crackers
beetroot, hummus & eggplant dips
smoked leg of ham & mustards
zesty herb & lemon marinade octopus
green garden salad
smoked turkey breast & cranberry
BBQ roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, snowpeas & mushrooms
roast pork with homemade apple sauce
gelato panettone & fresh berries
 . . . free up space in your oven, BBQ the vegetables & cheat on the dishes with disposable trays (shhh but i was & reuse them a couple of times) . . .
 Our 3rd daughter was so excited that we were having dessert at lunch time, she called it 'lussert'!!
 What else can I say other than full belly, lots of phone calls to our siblings & extended families, gorgeous handmade gifts & a couple of Wii games (Lego Star Wars & Harry Potter) to see out the evening.  I spent the afternoon lounging about with a child drawing & naming her dream farm animals, names like Lavender, Ginger & Daisy . . . while I was engrossed with Lisa Johnson’s ‘Covetables’ book filled with snippets of her ‘sabatical’ in the South of France with her husband.  She has a range of gift cards too, I can imagine them framed in my homestead kitchen in sets of 4.  This Christmas, at home, I can almost taste our farm life, the barn, the animals, the produce – I’m so carried away with the idea of some olive trees & patient enough to plant avocado too!!   
My in-laws got together at my husband’s childhood home for Christmas, one nephew started off the school holidays like many – with a broken arm!!  My siblings all did the solo thing like us & all sounded extremely relaxed too.  We’re meeting up in Sydney in January while my country doctor brother & family house sit in Balmoral, pool & beachfront.  We’ll trip between Summer Hill & St Ives, ticking off all the parents for various events + catch up with old friends from Seaforth to Rozelle. 
Wishing everyone a delicious festive time of year, I’m stealing one of the children’s gifts now – The MasterChef Junior Official Cookbook – it’s pitched at my level of cooking & like my fondess & success with The Silver Spoon for Children . . . my cooking the evening meal can only get better from here!!  Love Posie

24 December 2010

getting into the spirit . . .

Greetings all,
It's really time to get festive & if i've forgotten anything, i don't care, i'm not going anywhere today!!  That said my husband is at the Fresh Food Markets in Belconnen getting vegetables as not ALL  our favourite vendors did last night's Farmer's Market, like the potato bloke, so he's allowed to do some potato shopping!!
Just because i'm not religious, i don't skip the superficial fun of this time of year.  For us it really is about family & presents.  I look at Christmas as an opportunity to stop & reflect on the year, how lucky we are & extra fun ways to show each other how much we love one another. 
So i've lit the frankincense & myrrh candles from Erica, thanks honey!!
 Hung the last of the handmade ornaments (this is from Kim from A Little Bird Told Me) & her gorgeous felt brooches were a hit with the teachers at school as gifts!! 
 Kitchen counter is 'a go' for food preparation, gosh i love wanky organic counter sprays, they make cleaning the kitchen counter over & over & over again a little less torture & smell delicious.
 What's not to love about a random birdie garland??
 What's all this about then, hmmmm??  No kidding, not staged, this is ACTUALLY how i found the reindeer today.  Those 'softie' bullies really didn't like the wooden imposter & well, broken antler, left on the ground & they're all pretending not to notice??  Damn, not the hot glue gun again??
 Yippee, my collection of Babushkas has grown, a couple of extras thanks to Bord & Butik in Alaska, love you Heidi!!
 The children have made their name place cards for the dining table.
 I'm in a 'nothing is going to spoil my joy' kind of mood.
 What is with this Santa, is he under arrest??
 While the children play with their gifts tomorrow, my husband & i can plant some lavender. 
 Let's not forget tomorrow is a big day for these two blokes!!
Merry Christmas to you all, 'tis the season for happiness whatever you believe.  I just believe in family, fun, friends & stopping to appreciate what you have or how you can make things better in your world. 
RightyO, best sign off, husband is home with potatoes & some surprises for our feast.  Just we 6 here in Canberra tomorrow, will be peaceful & fun, i love it.  We'll see our extended million family members in the next week, but this is all about us, lucky to have our handsome soldier home & relaxing this year.  Tomorrow we're having a bit of an Italian spin on our Christmas feast, i can't wait, will be so delicious!!  Love Posie

PS if you're new to this blog, welcome & hello . . . if you want to enjoy some giveaways while i take a little break, both current giveaways are open until the new year so good luck, follow & comment to enter!!

23 December 2010

wrapping up Christmas . . . on 'Christmas Eve' Eve

Greetings all,
Today was another super busy day at Shop Handmade & now it's closed for the year.  Big shout out to Rachel & Julie who i love & run the most beautiful Shop in Canberra, no THE WORLD!! 
Last night, in my spare time, i threw a party for a dozen 9 year olds, just a movie kind of thing - we watched Goonies & Gremlins, ah, the 80's!!  Lots of fun, food & Christmas themed party favours, like reindeer food!!  Just to confirm i'm completely nuts, i collected 6 of the party goers on my way home from Shop.  It was actually really lovely, i'm used to having a car load of children & the road kill (mainly kangaroos) on the 25km trip from the city kept them entertained!!
So now it's time to put my feet up (or into a soak) & cruise into Christmas, everything wrapped/ posted/ delivered & purchased, with tonight's Farmer's Market putting the finishing touches on our Christmas long weekend menu.
My last patchwork quilt for the year was collected yesterday, another bohemian style one, truly a favourite colour combination of mine now.
 . . . bad lighting, sorry, i finished at 2a.m. . . .
 clash of colours, patterns & styles in 196 squares of patchworky goodness!!
 Last minute deliveries include a donation of pashimas to HeadsUp, a Breast Cancer charity . . .
 Sue from HeadsUp at Calvery Hospital in Canberra teaches ladies how to style pashminas & silk scarves while dealing with hair loss during chemotherapy.  Love you Sue, you're awesome!!
 Now it's 'Christmas Eve' Eve . . . we might start nibbling on our Handmade Sweet Delights GingerBreadHouse (number 2) . . .
 & decide where to spread the Reindeer Food??
 I have visions of a big family platter of Christmas lunch leftovers on Christmas Night . . .
 so i can enjoy it as much as i do at Poacher's Pantry.
 Tomorrow i'll repot our plants in the Terrariums . . .
 before i collapse on the floor with these reindeer.
So there you have it, we're rolling down the hill into Christmas now.  I'm cracking open the Highland Habitat foot soak now & taking half an hour to myself in the bathroom. 
Hey, don't forget my giveaways - movie tickets to see Tangled & lifestyle books from IKEA.  Love Posie