Sunday, December 7, 2008

Why the anti-rat?

Someone asked me this the other day, thinking that I had a rodent phobia. Ha! (sorry B!)
By rat I basically mean the rat race. The whole work-work-work, buy more stuff, get into more debt, work-work-work little wheel that most people seem to run on. The cartoon above sums it up perfectly. The more you have the more you want, the more you earn the more you spend. I don't really get it. It seems so empty-we sort of did it for a couple of years but soon realised that stuff never made us feel happy, but plenty of time together as a family did. So we opted out, and in doing so have never been happier. And strangely enough we now have more spare money with a much lower income, plus a much better and more content lifestyle. Win-win really.
There's my little thought for the day anyway.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The lethargy has hit

Can't be bothered. CBB sewing, or going out, or cooking, or doing my NEIS work or doing anything much really. The baby has finally won! I've just been lounging around, letting D do everything, watching birth and breastfeeding DVDs that Claire (my midwife) brought over. The homebirth is definitely on now so I think she's trying to catch up on 8 months of visits in four weeks!

The only clash with the lethargy is that we've decided that we want to buy land. Now. I've had enough, we've been talking about an acreage for nearly eight years now, it's time to just do it. So we've also been trekking around the countryside, driving down every little dirt lane there is, traipsing up driveways that have more in common with goat tracks and having encounters with braying donkeys (hilarious! except Holli nearly wet herself in fear). Oh, and all this done in 30+ degree heat, at 37+ weeks pregnant. Yes, i'm stupid. But I figure it'll be easier now than with a newborn.

We're down to one favourite-i'll find out tomorrow if they'll give us the money for it (the shack doesn't have a certificate of occupancy so the bank could decide to factor rent+mortgage into their calculations, which we can't afford) and if we can we'll go back and look again, and D can go out and trek the boundaries. Who knows, we could be giving ourselves a nice little Christmas present of 60 acres and early next year the seven of us can move to a one bedroom shack with minimal solar power. Most people's nightmare, but I can't wait! No neighbours, privacy, fresh air and water, and total peace and quiet.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Teeny tiny things

Newborn stuff is so fun to make-it's all so miniscule. It'll be more fun when it's finally in use-36 weeks today!
A cotton outer/suedecloth inner pocket, made to the Shar's Newborn pattern.
A teeny weeny fitted, also to Shar's pattern. Some NB cotton outer PUL/suedecloth covers, home drafted pattern.
A fitted (froggy) and cotton PUL outer AIO, made to my pattern. These are S/M-in the first pic the rise is snapped down to newborn, in the second opened to medium. Two red minky/black fleece blankies. The theory is that these can act as nappy covers as well-after all, he'll be a December Queensland baby, nappy and singlet will probably be all he'll wear a lot of the time. So while he's kicking around on the floor, the grass, or in his rocker he can just have a fitted or flat on and be laying on one of these. That's the theory anyway, i'll have to test it-but even if it doesn't work he still has two lush blankies. Sling, to the Karma Baby pattern. I'm kicking myself that I ever bought slings, it literally took under half an hour to make and cost about $4 in fabric. And better yet, it fits-I have a somewhat small but not tiny build and most slings are too big for me. Asha (3.5 years, 13.5 kilos) was more than happy to hop in and try it out for me, it should be more comfortable once I get rid of this big belly! I want to try a mei tai next.
Front carry

And warning, ick factor for the faint hearted :P! More pads for me, i'm so happy I won't be wearing icky sweaty plastic next to my poor battered bits this time. They're topped with cotton velour, with a few layers of bamboo fleece, then the base is PUL and flannelette. The shape is from the 11inch pattern from shewhorunsintheforest, I meant to make them a bit differently but they had a mind of their own in the end. Not perfect, but hey, no-one will be looking at them :P

Plus i've made a pile of bamboo terry wipes and some bamboo terry/needlefelt prefolds-but they're pretty boring looking.

About time I displayed something productive here instead of just blathering on, eh?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My little genius

Tonight, the kids wanted a mint leaf each-the horrible things were still hanging around in the fridge from my birthday cake. So D pulled the bag out and there were three left. 'OK' he said to the kids, sitting them on the bench. 'There's two of us parents and four of you kids-how will we share three mint leaves?' With barely a second's hesitation Gabrielle replied 'Chop them in half and then there'll be six!' I am so impressed-she's two months shy of five years and this is about the fifth example she's given us of being able to work out fractions. She can do basic addition and subtraction, and even added up 8+4 the other day-in her head, no fingers or manipulatives required.

The bit that impresses me the most is that no-one has ever sat down with her and attempted to teach her maths. Never. We do a lot of cooking with all its half and quarter cups, and we talk about maths we encounter (like adding up all the bits of fruit we have, or dividing up items so everyone in the family gets some), but that's about it. But they just seem to absorb everything intuitively, process it all then apply it properly-they don't need to be 'taught' in the conventional way, simply exposing them to lots of different things really does do the trick.

I was so dismissive of unschooling to begin with. How on earth could simply being give you an education? Don't you need textbooks and tests, rote learning and spelling lists, and experts to tell you what you 'should' be learning at each stage? But since deciding to try unschooling (after all, they're so young that if it all fell apart it wasn't going to put them behind-they're still not supposed to be at school) i've gained a lot of confidence in it. Kids really do just learn massive amounts from being given quality items and experiences and some basic guidance and explanation-and what's better, it's all retained. They want to learn it so they do, and because they're applying the knowledge in a practical way it sticks with them. It's given me lots to think about in relation to my own education, but i'll save that one for another day. For now i'll just continue to wallow in pride at what my kids can do :D

Why I hate drunks

We encountered a moron on our walk tonight. As we walked past one house we could hear a domestic in full force, and a teenaged girl came running out of the house and down the road with an older guy appearing on the steps to scream and swear at her. As is usual in those situations, we ignored it all and carried on. Until he appeared behind me a few houses down, asking if we knew which way she'd gone. He stunk of booze and had a drink in his hand and couldn't speak nor stand properly (at 6pm on a Tuesday, not a bad effort), so I told him I didn't know. So did D-we both did know, but I didn't want to inflict him on her any more. We were very polite about it, and explained that we weren't paying attention to other people when he continued to badger us. So then we were the baddies-I really had to bite my tongue when he started telling me he hoped people looked out for my kids more when they were older. Um, hello, you're the one who lost your kid! Hopefully i'll be looking out for them more myself rather than relying on strangers out for a walk!

We walked off, so he turned around and spied her off on another street, then we copped more abuse-all the really inventive things along the lines of fuckwit and such, and all to do with how stupid we were for not knowing where she was.

Drunks are so entertaining. It reinforces my perception of alcohol as a generally bad thing-i'm always amazed at the attitude that regular drinking is quite acceptable. I know many people who see it as totally normal to drink a 6 pack every night and a slab over a weekend-it's just what blokes do. Not to mention women who down numerous bottles of wine a week. I've been pressured to drink both while pregnant and breastfeeding, and poor D gets nagged mercilessly if he refuses a drink while we're out. Now, neither of us are non-drinkers but neither do we do it on a regular basis. Both of us growing up with idiot alcoholic stepfathers is most likely responsible-when you see adults become blathering idiots who use their clothes drawers as toilets on a regular basis it tends to take the coolness away from it.

So i'll continue to be dumbfounded at the fact that whitegoods stores can run promotions giving away massive amounts of alcohol when you buy a fridge, that you can drink at some school fetes and that the supermarkets in Canberra sold alcohol. Because to me, it all helps to normalise and encourage the behaviour of the idiot above.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ethical Eating

Here I was thinking that pregnancy had just totally killed all brain and energy I had and I was doomed to a couple of months of doing not much and only being able to read moronic chick-lit type books-turned out I was just iron deficient. Once I worked that out and started treating it I felt great!

So when I came across the ethics section of the library I stocked up. The Ethics of What we Eat by Peter Singer and Jim Mason was first up. Many people hate Singer but I find his books quite interesting and thought provoking-the one about Bush's ethics and morals (The President of Good and Evil?) was very good. Ethics of eating is rather relevant to our situation now. Before I fell pregnant I was loving cooking, and we were eating mostly fresh and homegrown food with very little meat. However when morning sickness kicked in I lost all interest in food and cooking-moving interstate didn't help, and even now i'm not particularly into it. So our diet has slid somewhat-some convenience food crept in, meat consumption increased and junk increased. Reading this has given me enough of a guilt trip to pull my socks up.

So the goals now are

Animal cruelty-no more meat. We'll eat what we have and that'll be it. We don't have much, but I did turn to meat products to fix my iron deficiency. So once it's out it's out, and we won't be eating it when we go out anymore either, we've been dithering for years and I think it's time for total vegetarianism. In regards to other animal products, we're dairy fiends so milk, cheese and other dairy products will remain. I've started replacing some cows milk with soy and that'll do until we get settled back into non-meat eating again, reducing it can be my next goal. Eggs-I don't believe any supermarket eggs are ethical to eat. Even 'free-range' hens aren't kept in anywhere near optimal conditions. I put in a request weeks ago to get some chooks but our RE agent is absolutely useless and can't seem to return calls-i'm thinking of getting them anyway, screw them, it's not like i'm asking to get a rottweiler. Until then i'll use the vegan Orgran Egg Replacer for eggs in cooking-we don't eat egg meals anymore because I can't stand the rubbery tasteless things i've been buying after our completely free-range eggs from our chooks. I'd already cut out most other non-necessary animal products a while back (eg Massel vegan stocks) so that's easy to continue. I also need to do more research on the 'hidden' animal products, like rennet.

Environmental-Cutting back on animal products goes a long way towards minimising environmental harm-one thing i've never considered before was disposal of animal waste from factory farming which is hugely polluting. An intriguing part of the book investigated the newish fad of locavores which is basically eating as locally as possible in order to reduce food miles. Their conclusion was that a lot of the time eating locally will produce more pollution if you have to go out of your way to buy it, due to the food making smaller trips from the producer to stores/market then home to you. I'll keep getting vegies from the local markets because they're so much fresher and better quality and it's less than 2kms away. I used to walk there, and will do so again once i'm not so huge. We're getting more organised with the garden now as well and focussing on fast-growing, high yielding foods rather than all our whimsical things (really, I don't need to be growing giant gourds in a rental). Until we buy we're somewhat limited in growing, but producing some part of every meal is my current goal-we're about halfway there.

Health-i'm making much more of an effort to cook from scratch again, I got pretty lazy there for a while. This generally means we eat masses of grains, fruit and veg because that's what I know how to prepare the best. I'll stick to making loaves of bread from scratch but will stop beating myself up about buying other breads like rolls-it can be a future goal when I get a better oven. I also now have a pasta maker which is awesome-how did I live with that terrible bagged stuff?? The snack foods I do buy can generally be bought 'better' so i'm doing that-eg organic, low packaging rice and corn cakes.

Another interesting part was about freegans who obtain all their food for free, mainly by 'dumpster diving'. I've heard of this before and was revolted, I suppose picturing eating from my bin. But the way it was explained here made it look like a much better idea, bringing up how much food supermarkets turf which is still completely packaged and within date. It wouldn't really fit into my lifestyle now, being rather time-intensive (but less so than slaving away at work to pay the supermarket) but I think i'd be open to it if it was just me to feed-i'd definitely go along for a trip.

That's it for the food for now-but I still have the rest of the lifestyle to bring back in line. A book about waste is next on the shelf, should be interesting.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The garden

Is both very good and very bad.

I'll get the bad out of the way first. The zucchinis were all going fantastically after their early bout of mildew. Then, just before harvest, they all got end rot, then succumbed to yellow mosaic virus (I think anyway, it's all self-diagnosed). So did the pumpkins, bar one golden nugget, and the squash. So they all went in the bin. The tomatoes were taking ages to ripen for some reason I haven't yet determined, so all got infested with fruit fly. In the bin. I'm still not having much luck in the herb department, I really don't think i'm meant to grow them. And I ended up realising that our ladybugs are the plant eating type, but not before they decimated the potato plants.

In positives, we've got lots of corn and banana capsicums nearing readiness, and are eating quite a bit of silverbeet and shallots. We got a lot of potatoes even though they were attacked, and the garlic is nearly ready. Parsley, basil, stevia and apple mint can all be munched on infrequently. One pumpkin is still going, fingers crossed it'll remain healthy. I've also germinated fenugreek, marjoram, coriander and chives inside and hopefully continuing to have them under my nose will mean they'll survive. There's also a sweet potato on the kitchen bench in a tray of water in dire need of planting, there's tendrils up to the ceiling that are growing over a foot a day-but it's pretty fun to watch and I have nowhere to put it!

We're concentrating now on leafy, heat tolerant plants as the temperature is hovering around 30, so more silverbeet, some leaf lettuces, malabar spinach and shallots, plus some beetroot. I've got a couple of the quickest maturing cherry tomatoes in and plan to hurry them along to avoid more fruit fly. And I couldn't resist melons, but i'm sticking to one of each (water, rock and honey) for now. Plus just one straightneck zucchini, it did the best. Hopefully sticking to small and manageable for now will mean a better success rate!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

AWOL and hospital dumbfoundedness

AWOL-internet-free again for me, going back to a more anti-rat lifestyle again. So i'll be blogging offline and avalanching here with posts when I get the chance. I'm looking forward to it, I spend very little time online compared to what I used to do, but it's still too much for me. I don't have much spare time after all.

And the hospital...........well, suffice to say, they're morons. I went for the second part of my booking-in visit and it's just silly. I got into my 9am ob appointment at 9.45. Took in my blood test results which she looked at but didn't read, or if she did read them didn't think my low iron levels were worth talking to me about. She also didn't read the u/s report I took in, seeing as i'm sure she would have given me a referral for another u/s as recommended (it was only for clearer pics, not issues, so I wouldn't have gone anyway, but should have been picked up on.) She didn't ask me a single question about how I was feeling or how the pregnancy was, just became fixated on the fact that I haven't had a full blood screen done. After going and asking the consultant about it after I told her I didn't need it she came back and gave me my orders, told me that it's hospital policy, you MUST have it done, here's the referral, you HAVE to go and get it done now, it's VERY IMPORTANT. Go STRAIGHT to pathology. So we left, scrunched it up and chucked it in the nearest bin. Hey, I KNOW I don't have syphilis!

I did get an apology from D though. He's never come to many appointments before and was absolutely flabbergasted at how they treat us. Now at least he understands why I loathe the whole process. So that's it for appointments for me, i'll ring and cancel the next one and the next time they see me will be in labour!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Something more positive

Mostly anyway. I'd been brainstorming on how to fix a couple of things with my night nappies-not major issues, but the little niggly things. The best idea I had was to overlock them, rather than turn. Now, I was right-it means the front sits straight and flat, the sides have less bulk and the leg frills make the legs a little more secure in terms of containment. The problem? Well, I cut it and mostly made it yonks ago. But I didn't allow enough space around the snaps for the overlocker so just left it half-made. Plus my black wooly nylon was all odd and kept sticking for some reason-it was just one of those things that was a PITA from start to finish. So i'm almost offended that it worked so well when I finally got around to finishing it (overedging with the sewing machine-shamefully messy)-because it means I keep having to make them like this.
I'm sulking now-i've got six cut out and i'm deliberately ignoring them.
So here it is, pocket with 10 layers of heavyweight bamboo/cotton and 2 layers of 2.5mm needlefelt on my skinny little 13kg 3.5yo. My three still in night nappies have all had a shot at it and it fits them all beautifully-it's still the same pattern after all.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bounty Bags

Well, I had my first antenatal visit at the hospital today. I'm not going to go into details-suffice to say I am a child abuser according to hospital standards.

But I got a Bounty Bag. I thought they'd all been discontinued but obviously not. I thought of refusing it by telling her that I don't like disposable or petrochemical based products for babies, but thought i'd probably pissed her off enough by that stage. They have at least taken out the bottles and dummies.

The things I never knew I needed! Like a $790 baby bag. Or a $609 cradle and $1250 cot. Not to mention the $70 feeding set (fork and spoon). Something that rocks your baby to sleep for only $250 (go the arms-length parenting). No wonder there were also books advertised on 'how to afford baby'. Here's my advice for free-don't buy so much CRAP.

Now, some people would say 'But if people can afford it, why shouldn't they buy it? It's their right!' Well, why not buy something decent for a tenth of the price and donate the rest to a charity? Sponsor a child? Or save to buy yourself some solar panels, a fantastic investment in your child's future?

Apparently smearing your child's butt in a petrochemical derived product at every single nappy change is the best way to avoid nappy rash (from those disposables that are apparently clinically proven to reduce nappy rash?) And the hospital grade detergent I got will ensure #5 will never have his poor fragile immune system exposed to any nasties.

I will begrudgingly admit that they did have a one-page spread about cloth nappies-no info, just pictures. And quite a few slings advertised. There was also a token 'eco-mama' section-with organic needless stuff so you can satisfy your need to buy but assuage your conscience at the same time.

The terrible mood I was in when I got home was definitely NOT the best for me to go through this perfect example of rampant consumerism and wastefulness.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Breasts and such

OK OK, I know I said I wasn't going to buy anything for the new baby but i've slipped. I bought one of these t-shirts tonight. It is organic and ethically made though.I couldn't resist when I saw them on sale at Brindabella Baby on Ozebaby. Anyone who knows me knows that breastfeeding is not something that comes easily to me, but i'm determined this time will be different. After all, if I fail now I don't get another chance!
So this shirt can be one of my motivators. D is completely onside this time-he's never really cared how the babies were fed any other time, but i've pounded into his head how important this is to me (and how it means he can't do night feeds :P). I have to admit, I can see his previous stance though-making a bottle and taking over after seeing me sitting crying with bleeding nipples and a screaming newborn at 3am is an act of mercy, not undermining. However he knows this time that that a quick fix is not what is needed.

OK, i'm blathering now. But as penance for buying the shirt here are some hemp and needlefelt prefolds I made him this week. I also have a heap of PUL and FOE on the way to complete the baby stash. Not long to go now, if the scan's dates were right and I go a week early like I did with R that's only 7 weeks-eek!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Wool covers & pinny

Catch-up post here-I finished these last week. The two wooly covers, ready to go. They've given me motivation to recycle more fabric, I can't believe they were ratty old blankets.

They're a lot bigger than newborn, probably a medium. I haven't used FOE in yonks and forgot it doesn't have anywhere near as much stretch as swimwear elastic. I bound the front edges in suedecloth, eliminating the need to bugger around with overlapping FOE, which nearly always looks messy.
Holli's dress. Overall i'm pretty happy with it, but even though I narrowed it down more from the last time I used this pattern, it's still too wide across the shoulders! My skinny little clones swim in everything. It still fits adequately though, and she adores it-hence the dirty marks already, as trying it on involved going outside to show everyone and then having a shot on the swings.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A new obsession

Dyeing! I've wanted to do if for ages but it's one of those things that never got around to. I bought a Procion pack the other week from Fairy Fabrics (and also got excellent, prompt service and some freebie FOE) but as I haven't yet had the money to go get the rest of the gear needed it's still sitting on my desk. No, it won't cost much, but D has only been working for two weeks and before that we were stuck on the Centrelink studying lifestyle-not so good when we've moved interstate and since then had to pay our rates, insurances and rego.
However, someone suggested wool dyeing with food dye. I have old woolen blankets i've been felting up specifically for this, I have vinegar, I have food dye, so yesterday I got cracking on some newborn covers.

Method-soak wool in some water with vinegar for four hours. I used a large mixing bowl with 2 cups vinegar.

Mix up some food dye with water-I used a dash in about 3/4 of a cup.
Lay out some Glad Wrap on a surface you don't care too much about (mental note-not the cream laminex benches of my rental)

Squeeze out wool until it's fairly dry, then pour/drip on dye. I used a tablespoon and a medicine dropper and liked the dropper best, but one bigger than 5mL would have made life easier.
Wrap in Glad Wrap and microwave for two minutes, then rest for two minutes. Do this three times.
Let cool, remove from wrap, rinse with water and lay flat to dry.

The stripey one was first, and I don't think it was quite wet enough or the dye colour strong enough. I then overcompensated on the splotchy one and made it too wet, so my yellow and blue splotches mixed a bit too much! I also need to find something reusable to replace the Glad Wrap, I went through a disgusting amount to make these.

Now to stick some fold-over elastic around them and see whether i've drafted up a decent pattern! It's also inspired me to dye up some yarn in nice, strong boys day.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Who needs ornamentals?

I've borrowed Jenny Allen's Paradise in Your Garden-Smart Permaculture Design from the library again-I love it, and will buy it one day. I love how her whole property is lush and productive and looks fantastic and it makes me want to go out and buy a block (any block!) so that I can get cracking on a food forest. But for the moment we're stuck in this rental so I decided to potter around and see if I could get some nice pics of our rather woeful 'gardens', inspired by the ones in the book. I'm no photographer but I can try!

This one's obvious-scrummy strawberries.

Zucchini Nimba flower

Mmm, fresh peas-i've already eaten them. Rockmelon or honeydew flowers-I have two next to each other and can't remember which is which!
Macro wasn't good enough for me to get a clear close-up of any of the zillions of ladybugs on the potatoes, but you get the idea. Raspberries-in the subtropics! They don't taste as succulent and I doubt they'll fruit again-they got to chill in Tassie before coming here. We'll probably end up giving them to family the next time we go south.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

More nappies

I rue the day I ever got the cutting bug-because I never caught up with it and now i'm stuck finishing off a pile of stuff I don't want to do because I can't bear to see it sit there. But on the upside, other than a few newborn covers I need to make i'm pretty prepared for two in cloth again!

Every now and again I decide to made an overlocked nappy to see if I like them-I never do. They look so unfinished and I hate the frills sticking out everywhere. This one has an outer of quilters cotton, a body layer of hemp and an inner of microfleece, with a snap-in booster of two layers of bamboo wrapped in microfleece and matching cotton.

This one is a cotton/viscose outer, two bodies of flannelette with a hidden bamboo/needlefelt booster, plus a snap-in booster of two layers of bamboo shaped like the one above. Much better turned!
I have about four more to finish off then the cut pile is gone. And I won't be cutting anything out again without wanting to do it right now! The rest are girly though, i'm still pondering what to actually do with those.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I have reclaimed the mojo

I haven't crocheted anything for ages. I made a half-hearted attempt at a baby blanket when we arrived here but ditched it before i'd finished the first row. I couldn't find anything I actually wanted to make-hating following patterns doesn't help.
I started a pair of pants for #5 the other day though and I think I may stick with them. I had an idea a while back on how to make pants with minimal sewing (because I loathe extensive stitching pieces together). It's acrylic as I simply *don't* handwash so don't really use longies.

And after venturing to the shops to buy the girls more summer clothes the other day and swooning in shock (once they hit size 3 everything seems to double in price-$22 for a cotton dress with three needing at least two dresses each? I think not) I decided making is really the only option. So I bought this awesome Japanese print cotton to go with some brown cotton I already had for a pinny. I think it's Holli's turn to get something-they keep track for me anyway :P

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My pity party

I'm really not enjoying this pregnancy. I think that more than anything else makes me determined that this will be my last baby.

First up I copped nine weeks of horrible sickness and exhaustion, to the point where I was barely capable of supervising the kids, let alone doing things like cooking and housework. This was right at the time we were preparing to move as well, so poor D copped all the renos as well as a lot of the housework.

The next part was OK, I started feeling human again at about 14 weeks. My hips started to ache at about 12 weeks and the lurking varicose veins from the last pregnancies all started to swell again. But nothing too bad. People started asking me when I was due, assuming soon, but i'm used to that. I have no decent stomach muscles to hold my belly in firmly.

See what I mean? 26 weeks.


It took until about 23 weeks until my hips and pelvis really started playing up. Now at 27 weeks they hurt constantly, I can't sit/stand/walk or do anything for too long. I can't roll myself over in bed without waking up and doing it in a precise sequence. My pelvis hasn't started coming out of alignment yet, but i'm sure that excruciating little treat is only a few weeks away. That will then mean I can't roll myself over or get out of bed at all-welcome to interrupted sleep for D too as he becomes more like my carer than my husband. My stomach muscles have split apart again and I once again have the very freaky looking herniated belly button. No more stretch marks even though I look full term-then again, there's not much skin left for them to cover after the twins. And my feet are starting to puff up and look like pillows again. I feel so attractive.

The decision on where to give birth has also caused some stress-D wants me to go to the hospital although he's happy to support a homebirth, and I don't know what the hell I want. So apart from a visit to a doctor to get an ultrasound referral I haven't had any pregnancy care. Over the last week i've started to think it's really about time I started to see someone.

I feel sorry for the poor boy i'm carrying-all I do is complain about carting him around. I am looking forward to actually having him and holding him though-I can't wait for that bit. What I can't wait for the most is getting fit and healthy again though. I'm still only about 67 kilos so won't have much to worry about on the weight loss side, but i'm more interested in getting strong and able again. I feel like a useless, breathless lump ATM and i'm totally over it. I think after I have him it will be time to boot camp myself-as i'm the laziest person out it will be hard, but if it's not going to be wrecked by having more kids I think i'll have the motivation.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Booby pads

That's what the kids call them anyway :P

After all the nappies I was craving making something simple. I've always used reusable breastpads, just the Tommee Tippee ones you get from the supermarket-I didn't know about the rest then. They're not too bad actually, once my boobs have settled down.
Fairly simple-two pairs of 3 layers of bamboo fleece, and three pairs of two layers. These are mainly for later on, I leak like a tap for the first few weeks and usually resort to a flat nappy under a tight singlet (for home anyway, would be a bit interesting to go out like that!)

I thought of doing them fancy-putting minky or something on them. But I need the absorbency without bulk, so decided just bamboo will do just fine. Not sure how they'll go without any waterproofing but just figure i'll make more and change more often-can't bear the thought of plastic over leaky nipples in a Queensland summer. I'm planning on making some bigger ones too-these ones are only small.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Thankfully, i'm done

These have been my background project for a few weeks now-when I haven't had anything much else to do, or when i've wanted something that doesn't require much brainpower i've continued on. However, I got a bit sick of the stack sitting there and hammered away at them last weekend so I could shove them in the stock box and stop looking at them!


RIP Basic Fitteds! They're up on the site in bulk packs, however I need more stock. D starts work this week so i'll have less time, but some money to buy more fabric will be fantastic!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The g-string

We were at the park the other day and as Shorty was walking away from us D started laughing hysterically. "Look, he looks like he's wearing a g-string!" I had to admit he's right-it's a nappy I made him recently to experiment with making a cotton outer AIO with elastic casing. The combination of the two narrowed the pattern a lot, and Shorty's rather, erm, generous rump (the reason i've never bothered trying Itti Bittis) overflows.

Oh, and it wicks if left on beyond mild dampness. I was pretty sure it would, but you never really know until you try these things. I'll stick with rolled edges methinks.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

From the mouths of babes

Lols-Scuse me mummy
L-Are sausages made from sausage dogs?
Me(giggling) They're not made from sausage dogs matey.
L-What are they made from?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ugh, bureaucracy

Well, so much for the market idea. I'll still go, but it's definitely not worth the odd trip. The casual fees are astronomical, there's a novels worth of paperwork to fill out, you need ridiculous amounts of PLI and they don't supply shade or tables. So i'll wait until i'm not pregnant and slowly accumulate all I need by then-unless I hit the jackpot it'll take me weeks to recoup the setup costs.

So many ideas ditched simply because they're bad *sigh*

Monday, September 1, 2008

Scared, very scared.

People who know me will know i'm a hopeless perfectionist. Everything must be done just so. And when it comes to my business my perfectionist tendencies tend to go into overdrive. I had in my head that to start doing the 'serious' markets up here I needed to achieve about 1001 things first, and probably wouldn't go do my first until after the babe is born.

Well. D gave me a talking to tonight. Along the lines of 'you have stock, you know what you're doing, just bloody GO already!' And I had to admit he's right. I'm sure most people won't care that I don't have demos totally organised, or fancy advertising, or that there's still some things that irritate me about the site. Best just to go and wing it, especially after last weeks positive.

Last weeks positive-taking some nappies to show a stallholder at the market i'd been chatting to. She bought two and has requested at least two more. While going over it with her a random person stopped at her stall, saw the nappies and bought one. So three sold and two ordered in under five minutes.

After that, I think I just need to bite the bullet. But i'm still crapping myself-taking stuff you have spent endless hours designing and making is always nerve-wracking. Deep breaths...........argh!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Garden this week

Bought a Jaboticaba (yummy-black berries with bitter skin, but the flesh tastes a lot like a lychee)

Malabar chestnut

Star apple


Black passionfruit

Gotta love the $2.80 plants at the market.

The kids ate one not-quite-ready strawberry today! There's lots more becoming ready, i'm not a great fan by everyone else is.

Repotted the rather ill-looking medlar (oh alright, I stuck it in a juice container) and it's now rewarded me with green shoots. I didn't want it to die, at $24 it's the most expensive things we have! Also planted echinacea, comfrey and borage in a polystyrene box, and planted four zucchinis out in a trench garden. Trench garden=digging a trench, chucking half-rotted compost in, topping up with clover from the lawn, then dirt, then newspaper as weed mat, then lots of mulch raked up from under the mango. We left it to stew for a few days then poked a hole in the newspaper and stuck the seedlings in. I've never done it before, so i'll see how they fare. The Nimbas are doing far better than the Lebanese ATM, the transplant didn't worry them.

I think i'm definitely going to end up with a garden of things people have never heard of! I love odd foods, I want to start getting into Australian bush foods next. It really makes you realise supermarkets are woeful-there's so much more out there, most of it better tasting, more pest-resistant and more plentiful.

Nappy for Shorty

Not that he needs more-but i've had this concept in my head for months. What with sickness and moving it took forever to try it out.
I'm impressed so far-nice and trim but very absorbent, OSFM, easy to use and easy to make (very important to me after making lots of complicated things!) Even the husband likes it, and he's a terrible critic. It's had a few weeks wear now with no issues-I was smart enough this time to make a few mock-ups first!

Friday, August 22, 2008

00 Pants

A quick little pair of pants I made for Johhny 5 (go watch Short Circuit if you don't get it). Just plain red pinwale cord I picked up at an op-shop. Estimated cost about 50c! I drafted up this pattern ages ago to make flongies-it always makes me laugh when the legs are shorter than the rise, stumpy newborns!
And you can just see the bottom of Shorty's red pants I made him yonks ago-1.5 years ago to be exact. My boy is a slow grower!

We've decided that this baby will be our 'homemade baby'-we won't be buying anything new for him, it will all be homemade or secondhand. Being number 5 makes it a bit easier, we have truckloads of stuff. However, my nanna isn't in on the challenge, so sent us this package the other day. There's not really a nice way to ask relatives not to buy you presents, so we won't!


Saturday, August 16, 2008

I sewed!

Clap for me!

Pants for Gabrielle, all of her choice. She realised the other day that she'd outgrown everything i'd made and so had no 'good clothes'. Darling girl.



They're widewale cord with drill pockets. Cord was new, pockets were craps-total cost about $4. I'm pretty happy with them, I realised I have finally gotten to the point where I can make a professional looking pair of pants without having to think about it. Compared to the first pair of cords I made yonks ago with the nap running in different directions on each leg, it's an achievement! It's a four piece pattern, a modification of one I have from the seventies. The waist is fully elasticised but flatter at the front by stitching in the ditch down the side seams.

One small niggle-the top pockets should have been swapped. They're the same part of the print on one leg, with a different part of the print on the other leg. It'll irritate me, but no-one else will ever notice.

I want some for myself-once this baby is out i'm going to make some stuff for ME!

Our 'garden'

Rentals and pot gardening is challenging so far, to say the least. Especially from the POV of wanting to produce as much of our food as we can-I think most people who pot garden are happy to grow a few things, but I want it all! But nowhere near as challenging as heavy frosts from March-November, Tassie was rather discouraging.



Not very inspiring so far-but we've only had a few weeks and very limited cash. The list of things we have is more impressive, here goes. Numbers refer to varieties, not number of plants.

2 potatoes (chitting on the side there)

3 raspberries




strawberry and chilean guavas





apple mint

3 strawberries

4 garlics

2 peas

2 tomatoes








pak choi

2 spring onions

2 bulb onions


3 succhinis

broad beans



2 parsley



mustard spinach


Plus the masses of bulbs we can't seem to identify yet, the happy plant cuttings and the kids' cacti and succulents.

Most are seedlings, obviously. I'm getting D to dig a trench for the ramblers as advised by Jackie French in her pumpkin book. We're trying to get polystyrene boxes, but so far can't find anyone who doesn't charge for them-ludicrous! I also have piles more seeds to plant, and a list longer than this one of things to get. Note also that i'm only the brains behind all this-I have a black thumb, i'm too forgetful to be trusted with food production. Luckily D could potter around all day outside so I do the research and he's the grunt, it works extremely well. We're also keeping a detailed garden journal now so we can work out the best times and varieties to plant. The theory is we can get as much garden as possible set up here and do as much learning as possible (neither of us have gardened in sub-tropics before) so then when we do buy land we'll only have to concentrate on the other incidentals-like building ourselves somewhere to live :P

Next on the list-a tip trip to try and find stuff to build another chook tractor and a worm farm. I'm trying to find Australorps now but can only seem to find bantams, I may have to change my mind on the breed I want. Then a hive of native bees-they're stingless so we can get them in suburbia. And hopefully along the way a decent acreage will come up that we can afford-there seems to be a lot available around here so i'm positive.

Woohoo! We've talked about this for over seven years now, and can finally do it!

My Homeschooling Epiphany

Like most people, when first faced with homeschooling I thought eek! Why would you want to do that!? But after a few more years parenting and a lot of reading i'm sold on the idea.

The biggest thing so far has been the mindshift needed-and I think even a lot of homeschoolers don't make that mindshift. Namely, homeschool doesn't have to be anything like school, and that's the beauty of it. I like to be prepared, so even when my eldest was three I was looking around, trying to work out what people were doing with their kids, what curriculum to use, what they 'had' to learn by each age by going to the state education websites.

And one day it clicked-I want to homeschool to provide my children with a different education. I think most schools fall far short of what they could achieve in terms of depth and breadth of education, simply because they are limited by how they are set up. We don't have those limits, so why impose them on ourselves? Why give ourselves the same goals of say, Australian history in Grade 4? Homeschooling allows us the total freedom to introduce whatever concepts and areas we and the kids want at the time we want in the way we want. We don't have to work to a strict schedule, we can take advantage of times of interest and teachable moments and build on it. I can introduce things that schools just don't really-good quality literature is the best example.

We're not restricted to skimming over piles of subjects to give children a 'taste' of everything, with no time to stop and explore more-if they like it, they can immerse themselves in it. If they're loving something, they don't have to stop just because the bell rings, and if they're really hating something, we can put it aside for another day when the mood is better. On a larger scale, they're not limited to a few weeks of one area, the same as they're not forced to do anything they're not ready for. I do think this will avoid the typical 'hates'-'I hate maths' usually translates to 'I had a lot of trouble/needed more help/was behind so i've learnt maths is nothing but a chore'. And education isn't something that you just do at school-it's lifelong and fun.

It's working beautifully so far-we don't push anything but they have such a thirst for knowledge that we don't have to. They want to learn about everything, even at their young ages. Even after only about a year of making a conscious effort to provide a rich environment for them and put lots of educational things in their path for them to take up if they like, ignore if they like, they have learnt so much.

I'm convinced!

Friday, August 8, 2008

And done

After a night on the boat, three days in the car and 16 nights in a tent I am finally back in Queensland. In a highset Queenslander of course-I couldn't live in a soulless brick thing in the Heritage City! The house is mostly unpacked and life is back to a very good normal. The pot garden is rapidly multiplying and actually GROWING here-woohoo, i'll get to eat fully ripened homegrown pumpkins soon! And watermelon, mmm. Ironically, the strawberries grew more in the two weeks they spent in a plastic bag than they did in six months in Tassie.

The mass creation thing? Slack I know, the blog isn't living up to it's byline. But i've been sewing, getting something out of my head that i've been planning and unable to do for months due to sickness and moving. It's been a hectic year. And now I can start making things for this baby-no making any cutesy pink stuff dammit, there was definitely something swinging between the legs there!

Monday, June 23, 2008


Well. After being near-crippled by the most intense exhaustion and morning sickness i’ve had in four pregnancies i’m feeling slightly human again. And after much more debate and deliberation, and a near change of mind, we’re off to Queensland this week. Last week I had a hissy fit and decided we were not going, it was all too hard after the past few months of being sick while my house was turned upside-down to complete the painting and do the floors, not to mention hundreds of other little jobs. The husband agreed, being the one who actually had to do all the work meant he was feeling extremely burnt out and in need of a good rest. So we decided to stay here until next year-nice, easy and cheap but not really what we wanted.

It’s amazing what a night away can do. After staying away for a night, going out for dinner and generally having a good time, we thought screw this. Let’s go. So as soon as I got home I booked the tickets and i’m now doing the last of the packing.

We’re nothing if not fickle.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Moving again

Well, it's the time for announcements! Since I now have an on-campus requirement to my degree (they've changed it, the buggers) we're using that as an excellent excuse to move to Queensland again. Truth be told I can't really handle Tassie anymore, neither can the husband. I can't be bothered with all the extra effort the cold takes-heating, clothing, washing ad infinitum. I want sunlight and warmth, I want to be able to garden all year round without the massive frosts we get here from March-November. I want to be able to go to the beach and actually swim, enjoy myself at markets rather than shivering, and basically be WARM. I feel as if Tassie has slowly sucked the personality out of me, i'm so blah. Being cold makes me curl up on the couch and brood, yet in the heat we were always out and about, running around and being crazy. And I want to feel attractive, I feel like such bogan just wearing jeans and warm jackets day in day out. I never thought i'd say it, but I want to wear a dress! All I do here is hug the fire and mope.

So time for a change. We're renting the house out and taking off ASAP. The only time-critical thing is getting a bloody electrician, you'd never guess it was us paying them, it's like pulling bloody teeth. I'll get one in though, even if I have to do it at gunpoint.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rampant branding, bah!

Needed gumboots for the kids. Yes, it rains more than plenty here. But do you think I could easily find a pair without some idiotic character on them?

You can buy gumboots with Dora, Bratz, Fairies, Ninja Turtles, Wiggles and oodles of other brands on them. You wouldn’t think unbranded would be so damned hard to find. Kmart? In a whole rack there was one pair in an unbranded design, in the wrong size. Oh, and two pairs of camo ones, but we try to avoid camo, it’s a small doses only thing. Target? Snort, same again. Best & Less? They don’t believe in gumboots. Impractical shoes certainly, but not gumboots. I finally remembered where a Payless was and lo and behold! Tucked away with the Bob the Builder ones, Aussie Gumboots with no idiotic branding! One pink pair and one yellow pair later we exited the shop having paid less than we would have for one Dora the Explorer pair at Kmart.
Why on earth is it getting so hard to find anything for kids that isn’t licensed? We had the same problem with backpacks and ended up finding some at Anaconda. You really have to search to find anything targeted at children that isn’t merchandised. Most people don’t care but my children are not walking advertisements, nor are they mindless clones. Nor are they precocious little tarts, a la Bratz style, but that’s a whole ‘nother rant. Is there actually that much demand for it? Do parents really think it’s fantastic to have everything their child owns plastered with Dora the Explorer? Or do people just buy what’s available? Because of branding power are these products undercutting and eventually killing the unbranded items and getting them removed from stores?

And, on a tangent, do some parents let their kids do the bossing? I’ve heard a few parents say things along the lines of “He won’t brush his teeth without a Shrek toothbrush”, or “She throws a tantrum unless she has a Wiggles nappy”. Amazing, here I was thinking they did these things because that’s what’s expected of them. Whatever did our grandparents do with their plain white nappies and boring toothbrushes? There must have been soooo many tantrums :P

Enough ranting from me for now, I need to start planning my full days shopping adventure to find my kids some boring t-shirts.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Go girls!

The chooks are laying!

After threatening the chooks numerous times with the axe (which the kids were slavering to use on them, the little barbarians), they relented and began laying. Poor girls, the first few were all covered with blood and you could hear a mighty clucking from the nesting box, but the two that are laying seem to be used to it now. So we are now self-sufficient in eggs! Once the other two start laying we’ll have eggs galore, and I want to get another four chooks to make a decent chicken tractor, so we can start producing something to barter. Next door is always throwing us his excess vegetables from the garden, he loves that the kid will eat raw broad beans and carrots, so it’ll be great to give them something back.
Eggs, straight from the chooks' bum :P

And our girls