Monday, October 31, 2011

The trick of too many treats

I think I've told you all before about the amazing street that we live in. There are lots of young kids and several families who love an excuse to party. Since we moved here a little over a year ago we have been invited to a welcome to the street party, a lets get together after the floods party, a Christmas party, a boys camp out and several impromptu summer evening barbecues. Last year we missed Halloween as we were at the beach that particular weekend, but boy did we hear all about it when we came back.

The kids have all been talking about it for weeks, costumes have been planned and compared, the sausage sizzle arranged for someone's front yard and invitations delivered. Our street and a few others within walking distance are all in. Even the pets are involved.

Before we knew it, our street seemed to have formed a gang. With a few parents to negotiate road crossings. Liongirl was the youngest by a few years, but as she thinks she is a  5 year old boy, it's no issue really. That's my two, far right.

Many many neighbours had decorated their houses and gardens so it was obvious who was participating and who was keen to be left in peace.  We had to leave signage at our place.

We had no idea how big an event it was until we were caught in a swirling mass of noisy excited children in one of the nearby streets. One neighbour told me she had given out well over 100 treats already. Word has it that one particular house always really gets into the spirit of frightening everyone witless and that it also is probably haunted. Of course we had to check it our for ourselves. It used to be a military hospital and does look like it has great haunting potential.

Yes there are two bodies hanging from trees in the foreground, several people trapped and shrieking on the lower level, a ghoul that runs out of a hole in the hedge front right and a  pitch black dungeon underneath the house which had the ultimate lolly stash and a resident ghost. Aside from the ghoul which made Liongirl forget she was a brave 5 year old boy and cause her to burst into tears and then comfort eat half her lolly bucket, this house was a complete highlight. Even the smoke machine in the neighbouring yard  had nothing on this spectacle.

And the funniest moment? Hearing from another mother how she had to help Roboboy pick up his food after watching him unsuccessful groping a donut for a full 2 minutes due to his extreme costume dedication and refusal to remove his lizard paws.

One of Roboboy's many quirks has been a complete refusal to embrace costumes of any sort so when he excitedly decided he wanted to wear this lizard costume designed for 2-3 year olds, I was just relieved that all those years of allowing my children to squeeze into clothing that is too small for them was finally going to pay off. I just wish I had a side view photo with tail. I have years to catch up on you see. And the best part, is that tomorrow, when they are coming down off the sugar high, I get to go to work.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Milk glass magic

A few weeks back, Legoman and I were lucky enough to have some time to explore the seaside suburb of Redcliffe, sans children. We had a long ocean view lunch and then took our time exploring some of the second hand stores and all the op shops we could find. I found a few bits and bobs, but nothing amazing. And then in very last oppie on the list, the Sandgate Salvos, I stumbled onto not one but two gorgeous pieces of milkglass. The bowl was $8 and the vase was $6. I was grinning from ear to ear all the way home to my corella pears.

I already showed you this other piece I also found recently, so it really was milk glass month for me. I am working my way towards a lovely little collection and  when my MIL  saw it the other day it got her thinking.  She might have a cake plate squirrelled away somewhere in her very crowded cupboards. I can't even begin to think about it.

And then at our local weekend markets, this pyrex just popped up. And when I casually asked if it had a lid, she dropped the price to $6. Straight into the trolley dolly, yep move those eggs right over.

In thanks to the op shop gods I have been vigorously decluttering and readying bags of clothes for friends with younger children and toys for our local childcare. Who knows what will show up next?

Linking up with Sophie to share the thrifted joy.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

How to not make a ten dollar owl softie

A few months ago, we were at our regular weekend markets when Roboboy spotted a lady selling owl softies for $10. He saw one, a teal coloured one with fringed wings and he fell in love. The only way I could pry that creature out of his little paws was to promise that we would make our own owl, all his own design. I probably should have just handed over my ten dollars.

But no, ever since then, the unfinished owl project has been hanging over my head. Complete with the Spotlight receipt for about $37 for all the bits and pieces. Together we designed a pattern and Roboboy diligently snipped it all out himself. He even helped with the pinning.

And finally, just in time for my Blogtoberfest pledge to complete a sewing task by the end of the month, we did it. Meet our very own Hoot. He is tucked up in bed at night with Roboboy and our cat, and has been trotted out to the lounge to watch the favourite TV shows as well. He is just the right size to tuck under an arm and snuggle or  to use as a pillow.

Now I can't wait to make another one for miss Liongirl, pink of course, with some vintage sheet highlights.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hide and seek

It was Legomans's birthday the other day so we thought that was a good excuse to get out and about for a family picnic. The Mt Cootha Botanical gardens had the most spectacular display of cannas and of course we had to get up close and really explore. The looked like rows of lollipops all standing on end, red, yellow, orange and peach. And just look at this vibrant Jacaranda in bloom. Betsy has three in her garden but none of ours are looking quite this spectacular. Liongirl was given these clear plastic shoes by a relative, of course because I loathe them, they are her favourite and her best.

The Upside down pear cake did not last long, this was about 2 minutes in.

Meanwhile I was coveting my MIL's thermos that is about the same vintage as me.

And Roboboy was singing into his agapanthus microphone " I've got the moves like Dada" while doing some sort of funky bottom wiggle. (He thinks his version is better than the original "moves like Jagger").

And check out this rainbow chard, in yellow, red and pink.

And these gingers, almost resin like, but real.

And look what came home from the oppie with me this week. A vintage Australian animal themed eiderdown that can be zipped up into a sleeping bag.

I just love all the colours, and the animals of course.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pinwheeling with crafty pals

Well I might have wigged out on daily blog posts, but look, true to my word I have managed to sew something to completion before the end of the month. Woohoo! It is a little wonky and the hand stitching could definitely be better but I love it. Op shop spotties fabric on one side, and favourite vintage sheet on the other and  an hour or two later you have a pinwheel pincushion.

And that gorgeous much less wonky blue one is from one of the gals in my new crafty gang. I had been spouting off to practically anyone I ran into that I really wanted to be part of a craft group and lo and behold a few mums from my very special playgroup were also keen. Discussed, organized and brought to fruition in just one week. I am vacillating between calling it a "Stitch n bitch"  or "The Sewing for Sanity Circle". It was so good for the sanity though.

 Not only was a sewing project started and completed in one sitting, there were cups of tea, consumption of muffins, ogling of Heather Bailey  fabrics at her online store and plenty of great chatting. And best of all we are making it a regular installation every fortnight. A big thanks to Tea for Evie for sharing her tutorial for this very simple and super cute pinwheel pincushion.

While we are sharing, I just read an entire book (thanks to the girls weekend away) and was very inspired. Feng Shui Nonna often turns up with random books for me, I'm not entirely sure if she was giving me a hint with this one.

For anyone who wants to lose weight ( and frankly, that would be just about every woman I know) this book is about eating the way the French do, and losing weight in the process. A lot of common sense but lots of little things that have resonated with me including undoing the habits of our childhood, taking the time to enjoy our meals and enjoying everything, just in teeny tiny portions.

And lastly, look what the oppie delivered this week. Yep, it's the "Powderpuff Playhouse" circa 1980, complete with working elevator. This one even flushed Roboboy out for  a play, he is an expert on outdoor furniture placement and finds parking cars inside bathrooms quite thrilling.

And the best bit of watching miss Liongirl play with this house is when she calls it a "Holly- heart" house- her version of " love heart" for some unknown reason.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Buttony bits and bobs

Today I had a little revelation about Blogtoberfest. Basically, someone who is always late with her tax, takes a week to reply to an email, decides what to wear on the morning of and never puts the vegemite back in the same spot in the fridge, should not ever think that she can commit to daily blog posts.

 Rather than feel like a failure, I have decided to embrace the gesture of Blogtoberfest and aim to blog more than I ever have before in a given month, reducing the requirements down from 31 to 17 which feels remotely achievable. I would much rather do my usual wordier post every few days than conform and do something that is just not me.

The sewing project is on track, thanks to a lucky button find at the $2 shop. All I wanted were plain red buttons ( Spotlight was not coming to the party),  but isn't this a lovely little collection? Oh, yes in an ode to vintage sheet of the day (which also went by the wayside) they are displayed on a lovely tablecloth from the motherload stash.

This little crochet cushion number is coming along slowly but surely.

And this was a little pile from a few weeks ago before the farm jaunt. I just love the lilacs and greens in that blankie.

And lastly, in an exciting turn of events, miss Liongirl has suddenly progressed from producing meaningless scribble that  she talks up as the next Monet, to elaborate  family portraits. She seemed a little unsure as to whether the additional members are pets or grandparents.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Crochet by the sea

I know I committed to Blogtoberfest and then just disappeared without blogging for three whole days in a row. But I was otherwise occupied doing something amazingly worthwhile. My first girls weekend away in five years. Two whole nights at the beach at Noosa while Legoman stayed home and managed the kidlets. Aside from the sleep ins, the late cafe breakfasts reading the paper, slow walks, shopping in Hastings Street and gelati on the beach, there was a lot of this......

and this.....

And of course a lot of chatting, laughing, soaking up of sunshine and serenity. So now I'm home to enjoy my children  and catch up on all your lovely blogs.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hello Yellow

This little friend came home with me the other day. My grandmother had a pair of the same cats in orange and seeing this one brought back a flood of memories of my Gram. She also had a big bowl of plastic fruits, would make me bologne and tomato sauce sandwiches served with a strawberry Quick milkshake. Oh and the best pikelets in the world in an old electric frypan. Details girl that I am, I can still remember the entire layout of her house and the peach tree in the backyard.

 When she died a few years ago, I was in another state with a toddler who was a terrible traveller. It wasn't until months later that I found myself wandering around her deserted house, most items having already been sold or given away. I was under instructions from my dad, to take anything that I felt belonged with me.  And there in a box in the spare room was an old old vintage book on sewing. It felt as though she had left it out for me as if to say, here, this is all you need to remember me. I think I closed the door on her house with this book under one arm and some teatowels under the other.

I have fond memories of visiting my Gram as a little girl, she was a fantastic knitter and made me many things on request. I am looking forward to learning a thing or two from this little book.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mulberry magic

I have a very dear friend who has known me since we were in grade 8 together and she has has this incredible   knack of being able to choose gifts that are always spot on perfect. I cannot think of a single gift she has bought me that I did not love and this is quite amazing as my tastes are quite eclectic. I would not want to buy gifts for me. Partly as I also am a terrible liar and if I don't like something it's unfortunately usually written all over my face. So when she bought me this tree for a housewarming present, she exceeded all my expectations. Not only a tree, but a dwarf mulberry tree at that.  This is what it looked like about 12 months ago when we planted it.

Back then it didn't even reach the top of the fence and Roboboy was the taller one. Amazing what a year and lots of rain can do. We certainly we not expecting this bumper crop to greet us when we arrived back from our farm jaunt.

Even more amazing was the fact that the possums appear to not have a taste for them. Same could not be said for us.

Our lovely little housewarming tree came from Daley's Fruit Farm who specialize in tropical and subtropical fruit trees, and they even deliver from Northern NSW. Pop over here for a spot of internet tree shopping, my personal favourite kind of shop.

Needless to say, the little tree has already been picked clean but that has not stopped me from dreaming about next years crop. I am thinking mulberries and cream, mulberry jam and warm mulberry mash on pancakes.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Spelunking in the suburbs

Firstly, if you are like me you will be wanting to know what the heck spelunking is.  Legoman, while often unable find the salt directly in front of him in the pantry, is a wealth of information about all things trivial, particularly with interesting names. I am informed that spelunking is a much more interesting word than caving or cave exploration.

Secondly, if you are like me you will be wondering where on earth are there caves in suburban Brisbane? Well, let me fill you in on our adventure filled Sunday. Last weekend, while scoping out the lookout at Mt Gravatt mountain, Legoman discovered a geocache nearby. The cache description stated to never look for this one at night, and that it was not safe for children. We figured in broad daylight we would press on and I would turn back with the kids if it became too rugged.

We easily found the cache and then turned around and saw this huge hole. About 3 m deep we of course had to climb down and have a look. Unfortunately, being a cave and all it was too dark to see much. So an expedition was planned with our neighbours the Menace brothers  for the following weekend. Backpacks were stocked with provisions, torches, rescue rope and maps. The Menace brothers being the oldest were straight in.

Liongirl, who had dressed for caving with boots, fairy skirt and pet lamb, was given the coveted job of winding up the battery free Ikea torch.

When we got to the bottom this time, we were prepared for some serious exploration.

I had felt a breeze down there last week and suspected a connection to a larger cave we had found. Sure enough, there was a tunnel and the boys were off.

A few minutes later and we stepped out into a massive cavern with several light well holes filled with ferns. Hence the suggestion not to go geocaching around these parts in the dark. Yep, the tiny figures at the bottom are the dads.

And we found the other bigger cave entrance, no warning signs, no barricades, no theme park entrance ticket booth.  Just pure unadulterated boy's own adventure stuff with the possibility of spiders, bats,  a cave in, skeletons and treasure. For the record we only saw some dead huntsmen spiders and a small frog.

But it was so super exciting, we had to go all the way back through and up our original rope.

And then we packed up all our gear and talked about caving, and talked some more and then we were all so hyped up we thought we had best find some more geocaches. The caves must be known to locals as there was evidence of a fire within the large one and they are quite close to some houses that back onto the forest, but I am still amazed that they were not closed to the public for safety reasons.

 We were thankful for the opportunity to take a risk and sail unchartered waters so to speak. I think that opportunities like these  are particularly important to boys who thrive on quests and adventure and whose everyday lives are often so safe and sanitized that they can only obtain this kind of adventure in a computer generated world.

After all this we were pretty worn out so it was straight up to the cafe for Lemonade icypoles.

There is nothing better than  adventuring in your own backyard with neighbourhood mates. We feel so lucky to live where we do and have a neighbourhood of like minded kids and parents. And we are getting really excited about Halloween as our whole street gets right into this celebration as well.