Friday, December 23, 2011

The end of 2011...

Well, it's almost here. The end of 2011. Has it gone quickly? I don't know. A lot has happened this year.

I was trying to do that math about how 'far along' I am in my head last night - I told someone 24 weeks this weekend, but is that right? Isn't 24 weeks 6 months? So I think I must be wrong because it's not until mid-Janurary that there will only be three months to go, but I have made the executive decision NOT to think about 'how many weeks' or 'how long to go' or 'what the hell is going on in there?!'

So officially, after an 11 o'clock meeting, I am on holidays!

Here's some things I've been doing in the last month, just cause I finally pulled them off the camera. Firstly, ginger bread stars! Yummy ones too. Franklin and I made them together and it was quite fun. I downloaded and printed the tags from Love vs Design which is a site I have only come across recently but have bookmarked because it is VERY cool.

 



I'm continuing working on gifts for friend's babies. I'm two babies born down from five between today and my d-day.




I finally got around to using some birthday money to frame up the Florence Broadhurst wallpaper I bought a couple of years ago now - doesn't it look lovely!? I am enjoying them above the bed everyday. So nice!

Finally, and most importantly really, I'm hoping for a lovely and blessed Christmas Day and New Year for everyone. There seems to have been so much calamity this year, and I saw on the new this morning that Darwin is expecting a cyclone for Christmas day, but my prayers are that even if just for a little while, a real sense of peace is felt.
Much love to you all.

Monday, December 12, 2011

They say I've got brains but they ain't doing me no good...

Ah life.

It's very exciting to be growing a baby, surreal and all sorts of things, but it is exciting. Our little girl is big enough now for me to feel her moving about which is kind of like a nice little secret reminder that things are still happening in there. I haven't been able to feel anything from the outside with my hands to let Franklin in on this recent change, but I'm sure we will soon enough.

Given what I have written above and comparing it to the weekend I have had and the way I've been feeling for the past few weeks, today I must be on an emotional 'upswing' of sorts. Up until now I have been thinking that emotionally I have been pretty stable, and mentally I've been coping with the busyness at work and at home. This week and weekend it has dawned on me (read: brought unavoidably and forcefully home to me) that this is no longer the case.

For example: I approved the new business cards run for all the people in our NSW office. All with the wrong logo tag line. Printed and delivered. As the resident logo nazi, and the only person whose job it is to make sure this kind of this is right, this is not a mistake I would usually make.

I find that not having either the mental dexterity or the emotional reserves or stability I'm used to having is actually hard to admit to and talk about with people, even with Franklin. Unsurprisingly it has been easiest to tell my Mum about it as I know she has been through all this pregnancy business (4 times) and she very rarely requires mental acuity or emotional support from me.

To my own ears it just sounds like whinging and like admitting to failing, and talking about it feels like inviting other people to have opinions about it.

But I have come to 'the crunch' where I need to admit to myself that I am not now who I was 6 months ago, and I need to slow down. And I need to ask for help.* I even feel like I need to send an email around at work asking people to triple check my work due to my pregnant brain's inability to function at it's normal rate, but I can't quite come at that.

This morning as Franklin programmed weekend 2-hourly reminders for me to stop and rest into his phone, it occurred to me that while the hormonal effects of pregnancy have stood the test of time, the way in which we plan to and deal with things has changed quite a lot.

So there you go, it's down in writing, only 4 months to survive through being stupider and emotional then I can expect for at least some of it to come back to me. Right?




* I know some of my friends follow this blog, so as a footnote can I ask (nicely of course) that if I don't ask you for some kind of help, please don't try and help anyway or bring this up to talk about. It's still pretty new for me and my pride hasn't quite been brought into line enough for me to be able to tell you I won't just blow you off, or react defensively. Besides which there's also the to-a-certain-extent uncontrollable hormone-factor for which you may need to make allowances.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Progress

So, appart from continued progress on the combined effort quilt, I have begun on the present for a friend.

Proof:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Getting Crafty

So no, I didn't get started on anything crafty this past weekend. However, starting on Monday night isn't too far after the weekend so I'm really not kicking myself.

Finally! It was a bit of an uphill mental push for me, but luckily Franklin was there and this project is our 'do it together' project. I made all the right noises like I wanted to do it, even though a big part of me wanted to flake out on the couch, so he got us going. And it was so fun, and it's so quick to quilt with someone else!

We split the tasks; Franklin cutting and me ruling and sewing. I finger pressed and Franklin ironed. He even let me do the funnest bit of laying out one whole block on the table so we could see what it is going to look like.

So, without further ado, tada!

Sorry for the bad mobile-phone-camera taken-at-night photography...

The pattern is call 'trailing star' and our blocks are quite large - you can see how it dwarfs the sewing machine. This, and a quite few more squares cut out, is as far as we got in about an hour. This was taken at 9pm, so with packing up and being Monday-night-tired we called it a night. I'm really excited about how nice it's going to be as a final (and pretty large) quilt. Having picked the fabric together, and the pattern together, it already has a really 'us' feel to it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Holy Crap and Bias Binding

Please excuse my momentary freak-out, but I just had a bit of a realisation (you can say 'about time Zoë' if you want) but:

There is someone alive inside me right now...

so weird...


In other news, I am finally getting around to facing that I need to start making things. I will start with the gift idea I have had sitting on my shelves for AGES for a friend who is pregnant also. I think I have been procrastinating because it involves me making bias binding. And I really think it looks hard to do.

I have found some detailed instructions online however and have it in my mind to start tonight, or this weekend...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tell me... or in fact, really, please don't...

Today during our lunch break, the 'new guy' at work told me he has decided I'm a very straight forward person, very direct, and that some people can find that confronting. He also compared me to someone I've met twice, a mutual acquaintance, saying I am quite like her. When asked if he finds me confronting, his answer was yes.

This, after having just described himself as 'soft' and 'gentle' and how he knows as soon as he uses those words, people interpret them to mean whatever they think they mean. A colleague said 'are you saying you're a pushover?' and he said no, and used that as an example of how different words mean different things to people.

Isn't it interesting when people you hardly know decide it's OK to tell you to your face what kind of person they've decided you are.

I keep wondering if I wasn't pregnant (and more emotional than usual) would I still be thinking about this?

Actually, as I think about all of his conversation over lunchtime, I'm quite annoyed. Grr.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Some thoughts during my early pregnancy... sorry to bore you all with this one

So today, 23.8.2011, I saw a heartbeat. It was so tiny. Franklin got to see it 'badoom, badoom' more than I did - but it was there. First time I've ever seen that.

Also - due to the miscarriage risk of such an early time (6/7 weeks) and due to two previous misfires - we're not telling anyone except his parents and mine, and Basil guessed (duh) 

So I thought I would start recording events, as I can't really talk about how I'm feeling with many people (Franklin and my Mum) and whinging about feeling sick isn't fun. So here's some thoughts:

I'm grateful for Basil's word, Psalm 23

Yesterday I nearly threw up in the back of a work colleague's car. I was desperately shouting internal 'no, no, no's and 'Please God, please God's and survived without embarrassing myself. Thank. God.

I'm not good at throwing up. I wonder if it would be better if I did, or not. The Dr seemed to think not throwing up is good, or at least ok.
...

Feeling nauseous and not being able to talk about it it quite tiring. Being at work and having to concentrate and be your normal self, while you feel sick, is also tiring.

Because of this, I am carrying feeling sick around like a tension across my shoulders expecting it to loom any time, and the mental battle to begin.

If I loved sleeping and my bed before, which I did, I love it even more at the moment due to it being the only place where I don't feel sick.

Before we even knew what a baby at 6.5 weeks looked like on a scan Franklin and I have been calling our babies chillies, like jalapeño. And actually, it does kind of look like a chilli pepper. Hilarious! I assume it looks like whatever you're associating with it - I hear Bean, or Pod as baby nicknames a lot.

It's amazing how much you can resent having to 'take' a progesterone pessiary at the same time every night, when it's really not a big deal and takes about 2 seconds. Falling asleep at 9.30 and having to wake up to take it is the worst. Maybe now I've seen a heartbeat it'll be easier.

Everyone says this, but it is very odd to think that inside you is a little alive thing, Living and relying on you. Please God, help me to be a good host.
...

Two weeks left until twelve weeks, how can it be that the days have passed?

My experience of morning sickness: Some days are ok (maintain the food in the stomach = don't feel sick much), some days are good (little` sickness) some days are bad from start to finish no matter what you do.

Don't wear fitted high waisted pants; indigestion. Thank you black jeans, I loved you, goodbye for now.

Before I became an adult (approximately 20ish), I didn't realise that every happy announcement always has a bitter edge. It seems there's always someone who's genuinely suffered or is hurting and on the opposite side of the coin when you're looking down the barrel of making your own happy announcement. How to be sensitive, yet (appropriately) enjoy the moment? How do you let people know you know what the hurt feels like, without spotlighting them in contrast to your happy news?
...

Vanilla Coke Zero is made of poison, seriously people don't drink it. Worst throwing up experience of my life.

Thankfully the Vanilla Coke Zero spewing incident seems to have been my last hurrah to morning sickness, I'm 13 weeks today.

I am not good at announcing things. Good things/bad things. If it's about me, I am not great at broaching the topic. I get stage fright, or ridiculously nervous. I need to learn to squeeze it into a response to 'hi, how are you?' ie. 'I'm good thanks, good, and pregnant'

Not being able to wait to announce things in one big swooping announcement to the world (I probably should put it on Facebook huh?) I keep thinking I have told everyone, this is not the case. Awkward.

I don't like mega Facebook announcements. I hardly even like Facebook these days. Has its uses though... dilemma.

Ebay has good things for babies, and some great bargains!

One week off the progesterone, I have been a bit nervous as it seems they made a big difference, but so far so good.

---

End of week 14, Saturday Oct 15, I'm feeling better and looking 'rounded.' At my appointment the doctor poked me a bit on the tummy and said 'beautiful!' which was very nice to hear. I assumed he knew what he was poking about for. I also managed to lose instead of gain some weight, so a plus on my score card!

Small things can make you cry.. small things and water balloons thrown at ones car...

Sales people in maternity stores think you have less issues about personal space and don't think that stretching out your jeans to show you how big you're going to be and showing the store your undies is a big deal. This little thing I took in my stride, I didn't cry.

I'm sure I'll add more to this over time, but not too much to be boring I hope :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

R U OK?

Today is R U OK? Day.

It's interesting we need a day to ask each other how we are going, but it's good to put ourselves out there and ask someone we normally wouldn't.

It seems like there is a shortage of quality communities out there, the kind where people ask each other how they're doing and understand each other well enough to know the answer before it's spoken. I am very grateful to be a part of a community that comes very close to this, but at the same time can see that it is very important to continue to share hard times, real feelings and what's 'going on inside' because even in a crowd you can be isolated. Even surrounded by people who love you, no one can see under your skin, or past your smile. You have to let people in.

So lovely people, just so you know, today I am ok. Are you?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Claustrophobia

I'm starting to feel a bit claustrophobic in my house. There's too many things everywhere and I think the bike being kept in the kitchen isn't helping. I keep seeing these beautiful clutter free houses on Pinterest and they are making me jealous.

In reality my house is semi neat, especially after Suada comes and cleans things, but this is a bit of a warning for those who live me with me (Franklin) even though you don't read my blog. It must be SPRING CLEANING (read clearing out) season... because we have too much STUFF and a BUNCH of it needs to GO!

Does anyone want to help?

This is not an actual question/request, as the risk of incurring The Wrath of Franklin is very great, and I wouldn't risk any one of your lives over the state of clutter in my house. Well wishes would be very welcome however! As would any ideas of how to get the bike out of the kitchen.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Quiet Happy Moments

They really need to either find a name for, or bottle the feeling of those quiet happy moments. You know the ones I'm talking about, I have posted about them before, but you experience them yourself. That moment, even if it's for a second, you somehow step out of your situation and realise 'this is a perfect moment,' 'I am perfectly content and happy in this moment.' You take a snapshot with your mind, and it goes on the list of 'things that make me happy.'

One of those rare Winter Sunday afternoons where the sun is shining and the air smells clean, I was at my parents in law's house making cupcakes for Monday (national cup cake day for the RSPCA) My Mom (in law) sticking liquorice whiskers on the kitty-cat cupcakes I was icing, my Franklin expertly cutting the liquorice into whiskers for her, my brother in law tinkering on the piano, 'tinkering' here means making up his own tune but as he's a musical genius it obviously sounded amazing. Bliss.

It made me think it would be nice to have a piano and someone who could (and would be willing to Franklin) play in my house, but we can't have everything, and I am definitely grateful for the lots I already have.

For proof, here's the cupcakes, which were fortunately a hit today and there are none left (except the special Franklin one in the fridge) A bit playschool, but cute and easy!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New beginnings

Recently we had a crafternoon in my lounge room, some lady friends and I. It was such a lovely Saturday afternoon thing to do, I wish I had been able to house everybody I know who likes crafty things. Gatherings with a shared purpose are so uplifting, I suppose that's the reason why team sports are so popular (although very differently paced). We really were designed to be community beings.

I'm not sure if it was a result of our crafternoon, to which he was not invited, or just a slowly growing seed of thought, but this weekend Franklin started his very first cross-stitch. A rainy Sunday afternoon spent in Spotlight finding ada cloth and needles and trailing about after me while I searched (vainly) for yellow velvet, and he's already powering through it.

Wanna see?




He hasn't quite got the knack of crossing all in the same direction, but I think he's got a flair for it. A bit street, and quite a bit cool, even if I am biased. More pics to come as last night he chose three more colours for the background.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Thinking thinking

So the other night, after Franklin and I went to bed (don't worry this is a C rated story) we were basically asleep when Franklin had to take a call. So instead of sleeping, which is hard to do with someone on the phone next to you talking business, I lay there and let my brain wander.

It's quite amazing the pace at which we can think. The way our mind contains many multiple facets of thought in just once instance. The creative thought, the analytic part weighing it's validity, the organisational part pulling out a list of materials needed, as just one personal example.

Spending half an hour in quiet and unregimented thought was quite refreshing and constructive, and I realised it's actually been ages since I sat still and let my brain wander. It's amazing how valuable taking time and space can be. I think
I'd forgotten lately that I could be creative and unique, and I'd lost touch with the 'thing' which energises that part of me. Do you do this? What's the word for the 'thing' - do you know?

So anyway, I thought of Things To Make, so I have another craft (hence the 'C' rating on the story) shortlist in my head and I'm quite excited.

Just possibly it will be worth watching this space.


- Done

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pin it up


I apologise to whoever inspired this idea but I cannot remember whose blog I saw it on.. however, it's a pretty neat idea. This is another person's example. Currently it's hanging in my kitchen :)




Finally a blog post! Sorry it's such a lame one, and with iPhone photos to go with it!

In other news, I have been offered ongoing employment at my current job, so it's 'another maternity leave contract comes good' for me - I think that's three now! I'm pretty happy to be staying, the security of not being on a contract is nice, although there's a part of me that liked the 'no obligations' side of it. I hope that it is helping Franklin feel good about stepping down to four days a week. I know I'll be jealous, like he was when I worked 4 days a week, but we'll get used to it I'm sure.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

. . . . . .

. . . radio silence . . .

Wow, I went crazy with updates there for a bit and then.

I suppose I've not been feeling particularly creatively motivated lately. Which I'm sad about.



Another thing I'm quite sad about is soy lattes, which don't taste good. I have grown used to the flavour, and can stand it when I need a coffee. But I used to enjoy coffee. I used to love milk too. But no can do anymore.

Sad.

Although, I suppose at least it inspired me to draw a picture to go with this post . . .

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Layering up for Winter

The 'other day' was my brother in law's birthday, otherwise known as Wall, he doesn't like birthday presents so I was going to make him a cake. Instead we watched Tohoshinki's (TVXQ) concert "4th Live Tour 2009 - The Secret Code - Final in Tokyo Dome" or was it JYJ's "Thanksgiving Live in Dome" concert? Either way, while Franklin snored, it was just as enjoyable as desert and lasted longer than cake would have.

The long version of this story is that I did Google a cake, and found a custard cake I thought looked worth trying. A mix of creme caramel and cake, surely the ultimate cake? It was certainly fun to make, which I did but don't tell Wall. 

Pretty much you'll find all the instructions and pictures you'd like to see here where I found the recipe, but I like taking pictures of the process for myself - so I'm putting them here.















This cake turned out exactly how the instructions said it would, but I found the custard too egg-y for me, I'm not sure if I made it wrong or if that's how custard when you don't make it with custard powder is? Either way, i wouldn't mind making one with custard powder custard another time and seeing if I can't get the texture more creamy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Melbourne Winter

This winter in Melbourne everyone is wearing duffle coats. And don't think I'm exaggerating when I say everyone. I blame the hipsters and their moustaches. I'm not sad though, I love duffle coats, they're warm and have hoods more often than not. They remind me of schools days and Paddington Bear and drinking scalding hot lattes in huddled groups under cover waiting for the rain to stop. All those who wore duffle coats last winter can give yourselves a cheer, or a sedately cool pat on the back for being fashion forward a season. Well done kids.

Boys are in desert boots, or leather boots of the same simplistic styling, jeans of course, beanies and scarves. There's plenty of checkered flannel shirts circulating, with chunky knit jumpers and cardigans to compliment. Navy, black, grey and hunter greens.

Girls are buying grey skirts in every corner, woolen and long if possible. Dresses have sleeves and I'm really enjoying this winter's colour pallette. Ankle boots and oxford styled heels tramp the pavements, along with the many poor footware choices so commonly seen in Melbourne. I'm not sure if this is an everywhere thing, or just a Melbourne thing - but there's so many ugly shoes out there! (sorry Melbourne, I do love you) Winter in Melbourne requires chunky jewellery and brightly coloured scarves to break up the blacks. I'm hoping for another well represented rainbow of umbrellas too this year Melbourne.


Monday, May 02, 2011

Handy for warm handsies

So, further to persisting and having it pay off, I have knitted three gloves. Yes, three. And in one long Easter weekend. Two for me:





and one for Franklin:





Now I know that it all looks very selfish of me to make only one glove for Franklin, while both my hands are toasty warm, but hear me out. Franklin now has two gloves, mine was the second. They are very similar except they were knitted three years apart and by two different people. Mine is to the pattern, except for my stuff ups and reinterpretations (no stripes) and the fact that I used the wrong wool (I love it when so many wrongs make a right, knitting can be so forgiving) and Sair's is longer (up to the elbow) and stripey and I forgot to get a photo of it. Sorry.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Persistence Pays Off

So, a few posts ago I vaguely mentioned I was having trouble knitting with 5 needles. Well, I persisted and the beanie is complete.

I got the pattern from Ravelry, it's the 'Lyon Hat' by Veronica O'Neil that features removable ear flaps. It's a tiny bit big, but this hopefully means it will last two winters.


I did eventually stop stabbing my fingers with the needles and figure out a method that I was comfortable with, literally. And once I had re-started twice, the beanie knit itself quite quickly. Making pom poms was as fun as I remember it being, but it's hard to make two exactly the same size, it was beyond me and one of my new catch phrases is 'it's hand made, there's supposed to be flaws.' We'll see how far that gets me.



 



All in all, I'm pretty happy with the final product. I'm thrilled that he put the hat on and wore it for a while, happy to have stuck with it and got the hang of the needles, glad it was a pretty quick project, glad that I learned some new things.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Strange flowers day

My Franklin bought me the strangest flowers he could find today. They're quite weird but a great colour!







Thanks P! Love ya!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Two worthwhile things I found today

Both thanks to ThreeThousand's 'Hot and Not' lists from this week:

1. Click to make some music. This sounds pretty and is addictive. If you're into layering sounds or Math Rock this will be fun for you. If you like pretty random sounds this is also for you. If you have no musical talent but would like to make music this is for you.



2. How to Steal Like an Artist (and 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me) - advice for writers and artists. Short, snappy and full of pictograms for designers like me who prefer to digest teaching/advice through imagery.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Why would people knit like this?

Am I doing this wrong? The needles keep poking me! My first time knitting with a set of 5 needles and I'm finding it's quite awkward..







I will persist.

Monday, April 11, 2011

'Tis the season again

The weather has started changing. My bonsai are turning their leaves orange and yellow. This means that it's basically knitting time of year. What do you think the below is going to be?


I've heard several theories, BaSiL, but it's actually going to be a beanie - the picture is of the removable earflaps in progress. Fun!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Working

Picasso knows what he is talking about.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Treasure Days

One of the lovely things about living are those little treasured days, those little pockets of time which allow us to rest and be renewed, often when we are least expecting it.


You know what I'm talking about? Sometimes it isn't even a whole day, but small golden moments that seem to sate a part of us that had been parched for weeks, months, maybe even years.

They are moments that are pivotal and empowering, yet fleeting and sometimes, in the noticing of them, they dissipate and are gone.

I think it's because part of the beauty of these moments is that we are fully 'in' them. We're caught up in the elements of the moment; the light, sound, taste, smell, joy or sadness, laughter, tears. We're so OK in these moments the voices of our demons are silenced. We're not distracted by insecurities, the voice of self-doubt, the bitterness or fears we carry around day to day.

Somehow, without even knowing how or why, we slip our 'comfortable chains' and experience momentary freedom. Freedom that gives us hope, that softens our hearts, that nourishes our souls and that whispers to our insides 'I'm OK!'

My treasured moments this weekend came while I was baking brownies, driving to a gig, catching up with 'long lost' friends, arranging leaves on a wall, talking and walking with Franklin (with whom every moment is precious), vacuuming an old house and exploring a new house, laughing uncontrollably with my sister, two balloons and my nephew.