Saturday, December 21, 2013

Where to start

My Journey

It’s been a difficult year for me.  By all appearances, this year should not have been so difficult.  I should have been able handle the curve balls that life had thrown my way.  I mean, I did handle them, but I should have handled them with less angst and more determination, more fortitude, more me. 

But I was off.  Something in me was off.  When I find that I cannot manage various circumstances that I find myself in without feeling overwhelmed and victimized, then I know that the problem is with me and not the circumstances.

And so, I’ve been searching.  What is wrong?  What is wrong with me?  Why can I not manage myself the way that I used to, regardless of what comes my way.  I felt lost.  I had lost something.  I had lost faith in myself.

Now we’re getting somewhere.  So, I lost faith in myself.  How did that happen and why?  How do I get it back?

I looked around…  I love my husband; I love my kids; I love my family.  My life is fine – there are bits that I’m working on and there are bits that I love.  So, what was it?  Well… it was me.  I didn’t love me.

It sounds so dramatic, eh?  Oh my goodness, Agmay!  Get over yourself!  You’re so full of it!  Do you have nothing else to think about?!? 

Ok, so it is a tad dramatic.  I do love myself, I just wasn’t happy with me. 

Here’s what I think happened.  I got so involved with the stay-at-home mom in me.  I was making headroads into managing our lives, our finances, our goals.  That was all going good.  And I was managing this in my pyjamas, with unbrushed hair, and bad skin, and extra weight that I couldn’t get rid of.  Which was all fine, because everything else was fine.  It was my choice to manage our lives while I was in this state… or so I thought.

And then stuff started happening.  Our living situation deteriorated.  Our finances were getting tight.  I was not managing our lives as simply and efficiently as I could and things were building up – the mess, the laundry, the dirty dishes, the sleepless nights.  And because I was in my pyjamas, with unbrushed hair, and bad skin and extra weight, I found it really difficult to make myself connect with other people to get some help.  My shoulders were sagging; I couldn’t look anyone in the eye; I stopped answering my phone.  I put on more weight, my skin got worse, I couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror.

Until, one day, my husband put this documentary on for me to watch.  It was about this diet and something about the philosophy behind the diet spoke to me.   Giving your body time to recover from day-to-day stresses; time to correct blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin sensitivity.  I was hooked.  And so together, my Dear Husband and I tried it.  And the side benefit of the diet (for us anyway) was that we started losing weight.  Significantly.  Steadily.   And I could look at myself in the mirror again. 

Knowing that I was starting to get my weight back under control, I started looking at other parts of me that I was not happy with.  And it was not overwhelming to list them.  Actually, it was liberating.  And so my journey started…. And it continues.

Subtle differences, it's still me

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Teething problems

We've moved a lot over the years, both with kids and without.  I don't mind it, really.  However, I always feel the tension when the first Summer and Winter rolls around.  I just don't know what these seasons will bring to our new abode.

And in this new place, Winter brought a corker!  Mould and condensation!  I have never had to deal with this before.  Mould now ranks up there with bugs - I can't stand it and it makes me crazy.  I don't know, I think it makes me feel dirty.

Anyway, it hasn't been all fertiliser.  There's been a few roses along the way.

A spot of knitting anyone?

My year long project - meant for the older cousin but finished in time to fit the younger one

Woollen jumper getting its second lease in life

A little something to keep the little one warm

How do you find settling into a new home?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A wee bit wonka

It's been a little bit about me lately (yeah!).  In the wee hours of the morning, it's amazing what can seem important at that time.  Early one morning, my new obsession took flight - makeup.

Now, I am pretty much a makeup virgin.  Really, honestly, I have never really gone the whole way with makeup.  I've been a bit of a tease.  A token application of foundation.  A swipe of mascara which would then wipe off onto my glasses and under my eyes.  A coloured lip that looked like I had raided my mothers makeup bag.

But, no more... I have decided to make the commitment.  And so I did, starting with foundation.

I've clued up on primers, stippling, flat-paddled brushes.  I researched mineral powders, illuminators and concealers.  I know it, baby.  But theory versus application - what a joke!

It's been over five years since I was colour matched for foundation.  Five years is pretty much a lifetime, especially considering that the last time I was colour matched was when I was young, no kids, and living the vida loca.  I was out and about, baby.

Over five years have passed and I've become a homebody.  I worry about extreme weather with my kids.  Basically, I am no longer the sun-lovin' outdoor nymph, but an anaemic homebody.

And so I was colour-matched.  And here's the difference between what I was wearing and what I was colour-matched with at this point in my life.

In comes my Dear (poor, suffering) Husband...

Prior to being colour-matched, he was hit with this... "what do you think of my makeup today?"  "do I look like I've got makeup on or have just got gorgeous skin?" "can you see the makeup on my face?"  "describe my face today".

After weeks of this, I finally make it into a cosmetics shop and get colour-matched.  I come home, and true to form, I ask my Dear Husband.  And his response..."yeah good.  Not so oompa-loompa ish!"

What?!?  Oompa-loompa ish?!? Huh?

Hmmm... maybe he's got a point...  Did he really let me leave the house thinking that I look like an oompa loompa?  Aaarrrggghhh!

Here is the after shot (complete with the cheesy grin) - fully made up by the lovely Georgia in store.

The most telling thing... I actually felt comfortable showing a little d├ęcolletage (flat as it may be) without wearing a scarf.  It would seem that, unconsciously, I was aware of the huge colour difference between my oompa-loompa face and my Snow White neck/decollete.

What do you think?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Ham Sanger, anyone?

Well, you'll have to go to someone else's house for that!  One of the best things about being a stay-at-home mom is that I get to experiment and indulge in the kitchen especially at lunch time when kinder is on.  During this time I don't have to worry about appeasing anybody's taste but mine.  And I do appease it often... and a lot...

If it's a success, it might see the dinner table that night (if there is enough of it left!).  Or it might make it's way into the family menu rotation.  Otherwise, it's just for me!!!

A mixed berry cobbler for one (with ice-cream, of course!)
Banana bread and Carrot Cake

Cranberry Bliss Bars - a white chocolate brownie with a white chocolate and cream cheese frosting

 Apple Kuchen with hot cream sauce

Self saucing Chocolate Pudding

Oh right - I did say lunch, didn't I?  Here are some stuff that most people would say is more suitable for lunch.

Creamy cheesy garlic pasta

Loaded baked potatoes
How and when do you indulge yourself?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Happy Birthday Little Miss M

My gorgeous Little Miss M is another year older.  Happy birthday my little one!  And I am another year into this whole parenting thing.  Sometimes I wonder if I am regressing; sometimes I look at Little Miss M and wonder how awesome she is (yes awesome) despite having a drama for a mama; sometimes I wonder who is more mature.  But I am always captivated by Little Miss M's gorgeous smile, always so full of joy.  These little ones sure can teach us how to enjoy life!

So with limited energy but lots of love; and a non-operational oven - here's our creative birthday celebrations (yep - Little Miss M had 4 mini birthday parties!).

Please enjoy this snippet in our life!

24 Superhero capes disguised as aprons for the Kinder kids

A play dough cake at Kindy

A homemade "pin the face on the girl" - including various methods of stopping Baby Mac from "cheating"

A "Captain Barnacles" cake - baked at my sis' house and decorated at ours.

Steamed mini cakes with chocolate frosting (obviously!)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Just another bored mommy blogger...

I was researching a book where it's origins was a blog that had become popular.  This seems to be a common path these days amongst the blogs that specifically focus on a certain topic.

I was reading the review of a book where it's origins had been an-obscure-blog-turned-popular and came across a scathing remark.  It was along the lines of ... another book and another blog from another bored mommy blogger.  And I thought - geez, that's me.  I might not have a book out (yet! :) hahaha) but my blog is just another in a long line of (bored, maybe) mommy bloggers.  And so I had yet another excuse to step away from the computer and from my blog.

But this is the thing about blogging, including bored mommy blogging.  It's a connection.  By frequenting other blogs, I get to connect with other people out there.  And I get to connect in a most efficient manner.  I don't need the small talk.  I don't need the oops-that-was-a-taboo-subject moments.  I don't need to be polite about delving deeper or walking away.  If I like your blog, I will read it and, if I don't then I move on.  So efficient!  And I soooo love efficiency!

And if you like my blog and we're connecting, then I'm happy that you're here reading away.  But if you don't and you just walk away, then I'm none the wiser.  But I want to continue to blog on the off chance that there will be a connection.  Because connections are important no matter how you come about them.

Face-to-face contact does have a place in my life, but, at this point in my life, I am really struggling with this medium.  Too much that I want to do on my own and not enough me to do it... hehe, juggling 3 kids and I still manage to be selfish.

Anyway, enough blithering with random thoughts.

Here's something that's no so random... and which I have fallen in love with again.  Print Gocco!

Print Gocco!  Print Gocco!  Go go go Print Gocco!  (As she dances around in her spotty slippers and pjs).  Booty time!  (Onto the Cameron Diaz booty move from Charlie's Angels as she answers the door with the postman on the other side).

When I went on a holiday in Japan with my Dear Husband (then Dear Boyfriend), my sneaky suggestive sis asked me if I had heard of Print Gocco.  After a few internet searches I was hooked on the concept and bought one in Japan and then lugged it around for the rest of the trip.    On coming home, I used it ONCE - to trial it and I made 10 cards.

My sis (you know, the sneaky suggestive one) managed to use it for her wedding.

And now, 6 years on, and I've finally really "got it" and I love it.

This was part of a birthday present... personalised paper.

And I was so excited about it, I convinced Little Miss M that she needed some too.

It's so easy, that I even let her do the printing herself!


More on the rest of the present later.  

That's it for now.  (Hmmm... quite abruptly) I've run out of things to write.  If this was a face-to-face social situation, my eyes would be glazing over and my mind onto the next ten things that I want to do. See, I told you, selfish!

Print Gocco supplies are now being hoarded around the world as the parent company has disbanded this line of printing.  So, I'll be experimenting more in the near future on how to keep using my Print Gocco.  Stay tuned.

Print Gocco!  Print Gocco!  Go go go Print Gocco! 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Where there's a will there's a way

No oven?  No problem.
No egg?  Never mind.

Want scones!  Ok!

Stovetop scones are the bomb.  Originating from the Scottish poor lands, apparently as only the rich had ovens, these can be found in google under the search Stovetop Scones.  Awesome, I say.  A real contender for weekend scones.  And for anytime scones.

Just served fresh and hot with a pat of butter and a cup of tea - delish.
Warm with lightly whipped cream and homemade jam - divine.
Cooled with another pat of butter and jam and a cup of tea - noice.

It may have started as such, but this is no longer a recipe just because I don't have an oven.  This one is a keeper.

On another note... five years ago, as a thoughtful-new-mommy present from a thoughtful friend (how many people think of the mommy (or even the daddy) on the birth of a new baby?!?), I got this... a set of pj's.

I lived in these for the first five months of Little Miss M's life (well, this and the other two sets that my dear sis bought for me... another thoughtful person right there!).  Seriously.  I didn't leave the apartment save for travelling to my mother's house.  First time bfing mom and I needed some soft stuff next to my skin as well as "easy access".  These sets of pjs were the best!  

Sadly, I've had to retire one of them.  Too long a pant leg + lazy clothes sewer = ripped pants.  Yeah - I love to sew stuff; I just don't like to mend or fix stuff.  I have been known to send away my jeans to be hemmed even though I have a kick-ass sewing machine!

Anyway, back on topic...  have no fear.  These lovely pjs have found a new lease on life...

Yo!  C-lo!  Five years later, man!  Thanks for the gift that keeps on giving!  And thanks for the birthday wishes.  Catch up soon!  xoxo.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Confession Time

Thieves + chocoholics = terrible and horrible parents.

This is us... my Dear Husband and I.  Terrible and horrible parents.

Between the two of us, together and separately, we managed to clear out most of our children's Easter chocolate stash.  At one stage in Dear Husband's life, this sort of stash would have lasted almost a year.

I suppose the disturbed nights and the strict set-a-good-example-eating-habit-thing have led to us to this shameful point...

... Sneaking in chocolate treats behind pantry doors while supposedly looking for something healthy for the girls to eat.

... Breaking up a chocolate egg in front of the girls and giving them only a part of it.  And then shamefully finishing it off at night and breaking another egg so that they would not know that we had finished off the original egg.

... Catching a glimpse of a shiny glittery wrapper in the bin and accusing Dear Husband of indulging, when I was putting my own shiny glittery shameful wrapper in the bin.

... Dear Husband offering to drive to the not-so-nearby open-24-hours Kmart after the girls had gone to bed to see if there were any 70% off Easter eggs left to buy for us to indulge in and to replenish the accusingly small stash of eggs left after a not-so-late-night binge.  Well, we did need bread and milk for the next day and there was a 24hour Coles there as well.

Shame shame - know thy name.

Here's another thing that was shameful.  I had bought a dress on a shopping spree about 3 years ago.  Three years later (and three house moves later) and the said dress still had the tag on it!  Shameful, huh?    I half liked it and half hated it.  So I kept the half that I liked and half redeemed myself.  What do you think? (Sorry - no before shot!)

It was originally a shapeless dress that ended around the knees.  In a frill.  I'm a shorty with a lot of junk in my trunk.  I'm not sure what possessed me to buy a shapeless dress that ended around the knees.  In a frill.

So I cut off the knees (of the dress, not mine).  And I cut off the frill.  Ta-da!

Now, let's remix this business!  Show off the junk, baby!

The half-tuck
The low belt
The high belt

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Let's talk irony

So, you know that I have given birth to three kids now, right?  Well, in my books, the first priority during pregnancies and immediately after-birth is comfort.  More specifically, underwear comfort.  I mean, bloated bellies, expanding girths and extra-cushy buttocks all in the name of delivering healthy babies is the norm and is expected and should be celebrated.  Why should I punish myself during this glorious time with tight, ill-fitting, impractical, wedgie-inducing underwear?  No way, baby.  I'm going the full-bottomed cotton tails in practical white and black.

And ok... fair enough, it's been six months since I gave birth to my latest princess and I'm moving towards my pre-pregnancy weight.  So maybe I no longer need the belly-supporting, up-to-my-chest underwear.  But who has time to shop for underwear with 3 kids under 5?!?  Well, I don't! But apparently my Dear Husband has some time...

To be fair, while I'm the one that has to wear the underwear, he does have to look at me in them.

So... I don't have time and he has an opinion... and he has decided that he no longer wants to keep seeing those granny pants covering his bea-uuu-tiful wife from neck to crotch.  (Is this too much information?  Never mind, I'm getting to the punch line).  So, unbeknownst to me, my Dear Husband set out to rid me of those humungous (yet comfortable) monstrosities and went underwear shopping for me.

To his credit, he bought me lovely colours, practical styles and in comfortable materials.  But (wait for it; wait for it because here it is... the punch line....), he bought them TWO SIZES BIGGER than what I wore before getting pregnant!!!

TWO SIZES BIGGER!!!  TWO (as in not one, but two) SIZES BIGGER!  

Oh the drama... the wailing... the gorgeous looking, new undies, but two sizes bigger than my norm.  I refused to try them on.  I absolutely refused, I tell you.  No way!

Until, in a fit of petulance, I decided to prove just how ridiculous that sizing was for a petite girl such as me.  Ridiculous, I say!  I am telling you now that, even though I don't even reach 5 feet in my highest heels, I am not short but petite.  As in everything shrunk but proportionally shrunk. Petite, as in my ass is in proportion to my height.

Uh oh.... they're not as big as I thought they would be.  I don't swim in them as much as I thought I would.  "On my way to my pre-pregnancy weight" meaning I am still a continent and a half away and riding a scooter to get there.  They kinda fit.  Sadly.  But comfortably.  The irony.

Well... I'm not about to show you pictures of my underwear, so I'll show you some pictures of some other things that I've been up to.  Mainly, a spot of sewing.

Firstly, our dining stools.  I was thinking that I would wait until my girls were older (and not as messy with food) before recovering our stools.  But seriously, this was the condition they were in... 

I cringed everytime I looked at them.  And, being a stay-at-home mom, I looked at them a lot!

So, here is the latest version.  And I'm pretty chuffed with them.

Also, after being inspired by my big sis around up-cycling, we found this on one of our neighbourhood walks....

Not bad... just a bit battered.  So I thought I would give it a go...  And came up with this...

*jumping up and down clapping my hands*  Not bad, eh?  Eh?  Eh?

Geez Ag, how do you manage all this with three kids?  Hmmm... I don't really manage to do it all....

Monday, April 1, 2013

How to sew a box (for my mommy)

Hey y'all ... this is a post mainly for my mom, but you may find it handy as well.

This is a tutorial on how to make a fabric box to cover another box.

1.)  Measure the box dimensions
Here - 9"wide(W) x 4.75"deep(D) x 4.25"high(H)

2.)  Add your seam allowances to the measurements.  I am using 1/4" seam allowances, so add 1/2" to all measurements (ie. 1/4" on both sides is 1/2" in total).  Get it?  Got it?  Good!
Here - 9.5"W x 5.25"D x 4.75"H

3.)  Iron your fabric and then cut your pieces.
Here -
Top (1 piece)  => 9.5W x 5.25D  (the beige colour)
Long Side (2 pieces) => 9.5W x 4.75H (the blue coloured ones)
Short Side (2 pieces) => 5.25D x 4.75W (the purple coloured ones)

4.)  Sew the 4 side pieces to the top.  So that it looks like the cross above but all sewn together.  This is where you need to really pay attention....
When you sew the side pieces to the top, do not sew in the seam allowances.  In other words, as my seam allowance is 1/4", start sewing the two pieces together 1/4" into the fabric and stop sewing 1/4" before the end of the fabric.
I personally like to use the markings on my sewing machine (or better yet, use a 1/4" foot!), but I've used some post-it notes here to show you what I mean and to show you how to use post-it notes as a guide.

Setting up the post-it notes

Sew the top to the side using your guides.  Do not sew into the seam allowances.

Sew the next side to the top (the purple to the beige).  Move the previously sewn side (the blue one) out of the seam allowance.

Make sure the previously sewn side (the blue) is out of the way

Sew the side to the top again avoiding sewing in the seam allowance.
Notice how the blue side has not been touched on the right seam allowance?

Both sides (blue and purple) sewn to the top fabric (beige) but are not sewn to each other.

The starting point for the seam is 1/4" down into the fabric
Do this for all 4 sides, making sure that you do not catch the previously sewn fabric in the next seam.

Still with me?  Let's keep going because you're nearly there!

5.)  Now, sew the sides together.  Put the two side seams together (blue and purple) and move the top fabric out of the way (the beige one).  To move it out of the way you end up folding it into a triangle.  Again, start sewing 1/4" into the fabric.  Better yet, try to find the start of the sewn seam (top-to-side seam) and start your side-to-side seam there.  Sew all the way to through the bottom.

Repeat for all 4 sides.

Until your sides look like this...

I'm going to send this to my mom for the first cut and see if she can understand it.  And then I'll make amendments after testing is out on her.  Hold tight for now!!!