Websites I Am Always Talking About

I probably don’t frequent as many websites as most people, sticking to Facebook and Google Reader for the blogs that I enjoy.  However when I am talking to people about the things I love I often mention certain websites and am not always ina position to write them down.  The goal of writing this post is for people to refer to my blog for my favourite sites!

The Book Depository – There is a UK site as well as others in other countries.  It is a place to buy lots of different books at greatly reduced prices and there are no shipping costs.  They seem to send the books as soon as they have them available so when I made my first order a few months ago I actually received three separate parcels in the mail – good fun all in itself!  As an example of the possible savings, I bought two knitting books which sell for $45 each here and by using Book Depository I paid about $22 each.

Strawberry.net – I was put on to this site quite recently by a good friend when my skin was suffering from the cold and dryness and I was finding that my products froma rather cheap direct sales company were irritating my skin and not being very effective at all.  Back in the day, before children, mortgages and financial strife I used to use Clinique products and loved them.  I had given them up because they were simply too expensive and I was finding that I used them too sparingly to do any good.  Now I am back to using Clinique, having paid very low prices to get some items and my skin is really showing the benefits and feeling fantastic.  There is no shipping coast and extremely fast service.  Just as an aside, the same friend put me onto Blinc mascara. It is seriously the best mascara ever and lasts through absolutely everything because it actaully puts little “tubes” of mascara around each lash which stay there until rubbed gently with a wet washcloth.  When you rub them off you can actually see the little tubes on the washcloth and there is no residue smudged around the eyes.  Obviously they are very fine tubes and there is no ill-effect on the lashes. To quote Molly Meldrum, if you are a mascara wearer, “do yourself a favour” and try some of this stuff because it really is wodnerful!

CafePress – I am very happy to be the owner of two knitting t-shirts and one teaching t-shirt from this fantastic site.  There are shirts, sweaters and a range of other products with slogans and graphics for almost any occupation or hobby you could dream of.  It is worth a browse just for the entertainment value of what sayings they have on offer. My knitting shirts are “I knit so I don’t kill people” and “Keep calm and carry yarn”.  My teaching shirt is “I teach, what’s your superpower?”  There is some shipping cost but the service is faultless and they are a very good quality product.

Ravelry – Whenever I am talking to someone who is beginning to knit or crochet I invariably ask them if they have been on Ravelry.  It is a networking site for knitting, crochet and spinning and has thousands of members who share patterns, yarns and finished projects.  You can sign up for free and either browse through what’s on offer or start your own Ravelry “notebook” with pictures of your projects and links to the patterns and yarns used as well as where you obtained them.  because of all these notebooks you can search for a type of project or yarn and find almost countless results.  It is very useful for when you want ideas for a particular item like beanies or tea cosies or if you are deciding on whether to use a particular yarn or pattern.  Just make sure you have a spare 4-5 hours to spend browsing if you decide to have a look.

FlyLady – As I get back on my feet quite literally I am using and will continue to use FlyLady.  It is all about organising yourself and your house to take the best possible care of yourself and your loved ones.  I could write pages about how good her system is but it would be far better to just pay the FlyLady a visit and check her out for yourself.

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To be fair…

I’ve got two little “minders” home for their Easter holiday as of today and I am determined to make it as good a holiday as possible given that they have done an awful lot of running around after me in the past three weeks.  We’ve brainstormed a list of “places to go” and “things to do at home” today and will do some more work on our list tomorrow.  Eric seems to think they should rank their ideas in order of preference next – I don’t know where he gets this from!

We’ll have to wait until after Monday afternoon to determine what will really be manageable because that’s when I’m seeing my specialist for the verdict on my ankles thus far.  I’m not too worried about the right ankle because it is doing well (for a sprained ankle) but the left (fractured one) is causing some grief.  It is still very painful, the splints rubbed against my skin when they first went on without socks so there is some major skin irritation gone on and worst of all my foot keeps cramping up.  According to the physio I saw today it is sort of seizing up (she called it a type of “dystrophy” but we won’t go there).  Apparently it doesn’t like being not used so the foot and calf are all very tight and uncomfortable which all helps to make me a bit more miserable.  The GP suggested a magnesium supplement which the chemist said would take 3 weeks to work (!!!) and a non-stick dressing for my wounded bit.  The physio massaged it all very carefully with me watching her every move.  I’m sure my howls would have given it away if she did something that hurt too much.

So it is lucky I have my Dan around.  After my post about Eric’s breakfast preparation efforts which could be used to, er, embarrass him in years to come I thought I had better share some of Daniel’s quirks.  He is insatiable in his quest for knowledge.  This leads to some quite startling questions ate any time at all.  The most recent I can remember is a few nights ago when he was eating dinner just with dh and I and he came out with, “What’s sexual assault?”  The boys and I watched about the last third of the Titanic movie this evening or rather Eric and I tried to watch it amongst the barrage of questions from Daniel.

Why are the kids on the life boats? What was wrong with this ship?  How many people on the lifeboats? How many fell in the water? How many got stuck on the ship?  Is this a horror movie? Why is it all slanting?  What is the captain going to do? Are those the other captains? (referring to ship’s officers)  Is Jack going to die?  They should look out for all that broken glass in the water because they could cut themselves couldn’t they Mum? Will that bad guy die? I think that bad guy should die! Why did the bad guy pick up that kid? Who’s the old lady? (referring to Rose at the end of the movie) And then to top it all off as the credits start rolling: “Do you think that if they made solar panels about 5c each that everyone would have them?”

He then announced that he and Harry (the stuffed toy horse) would be joining me in my bed because he might be thinking about the Titanic all night. Oh dear, parent of the year again – not!


M.I.A

I have been quiet on here and almost everywhere else.  So quiet in fact that some of my on-line friends had started sending messages to ask if I was ok. (Thanks F!)  I am ok mostly but struggling with the juggle of work and home which is even more complicated now that the boys are on their long school holiday.

The other thing that has occupied my time quite a bit is the new improved Weight Watchers program.  I’ve been tracking my food and exercise, blogging on the Weight Watchers Site, taking part in challenges and in the first week on the program I even lost weight! Then I put it on again in the next week because I was supposed to work 12 days straight, I was running my first museum event and life got very crazy!  But that is ok.  I know it is a good program and I know that people are getting stunning results from it.  if I put my head down and focus on it a bit more I will also get stunning results and I am not exaggerating here.  It really will work if done properly.

In light of our financial issues and to use up some beautiful yarn that I had knitted into something I was never going to wear I embarked on a little project of selling coffee cup cosies on e-bay.  Or should I say, tried to embark – haven’t sold one yet.  But it is early days, I’m investigating the best ways of getting them out there because I have enough beautiful yarn to make lots and lots of them and now thanks to a lovely friend I have a good assortment of vintage buttons to use on them.  Please DO NOT feel that you must buy one just because you’ve read this but if you can help with any sales advice I would be grateful.  (I won’t be grateful if you are a spammer however!)  I’m not planning to go into business or start a market stall or anything grandiose like that but if I can make a little trickle of money flow in that is associated with something I love to do it will be a positive thing all round.

To make things “work for me” over the holidays I’ve made a list of suggestions on our kitchen whiteboard for the boys and they are earning stars (which actually turned out to be spots because I thought I had stars but I really had spots).  These will be converted into family oriented awards throughout the holidays and hopefully keep them practicing some of their skills which need work – think sentence construction, handwriting, reading, piano practice and you’ll get the idea.  But that can be the topic of another post at another time.

I’m here. I’m busy. But I need to be blogging so I’ll try and check in more often.


On Being a Better Blogger

I haven’t been the best of bloggers this year but I’m aiming to change that so I’ve embarked on Problogger Darren Rowse’s 31 Days to a Better Blog I certainly can’t guarantee that I will get through his program in 31 days but so far I’ve done day 1 which is writing an elevator post or a pitch saying what my blog is all about.  You will find it if you look over at my sidebar.  Tonight I’m going to do a list post and another little project I have in the pipeline is a “knitted” blog header.  I don’t know if blog headers are in the 31 days project but it is an idea I have had for a while.

The fundamental way in which I will getting better at this blogging business is by blogging more often.  I’m also going to try to link to more posts and join in with a few memes that come along from time to time.


In Stitches – Giveaway Announcement

I am getting things somewhat more organised around here in anticipation of starting the new job Monday week but I’ve come to realize that I won’t get everything organised – I mean do we ever? – and that I should do a few things that I maybe won’t be able to do for a while.  I’m certainly not going to give up my crafting but it could be a while before I have the luxury of spending most of a day at Threads and More as I did on Tuesday.  The event was Apron In An Hour – Return of the Housewife and while I certainly am not going to be a housewife at any time soon I do have a pretty groovy apron to inspire me for when I do.  Louise Stuart was the teacher and much to my delight she is into ironing rather than pinning and lots of little tricks and tips to make the whole sewing process easier and quicker.  She sells the kits for these aprons from her site and they are also available at Threads and More.  They are $25 for the kit which comes with the instructions and 2-3 pieces of coordinating fabric already cut.  That in itself immediately reduces stress because it renders a trip to Spotlight unnecessary.  I had the boys choose my fabric for the first apron I made after perusing what they had a Threads and More and deciding that I could happily live with any of their delicious combinations.  Then when I’d completed the first one in Japanese Ninja type fabric I decided to choose a more “girly” feel for my second apron.  Anissa challenged me to se if I could actually produce an apron in an hour and I did it is exactly that time.  If I hadn’t stopped to chat to a few people I probably could have done it under the hour.

Perhaps the real star of the show however was the machine I was using.  Mum bought her Husqvarna in 1975 to make me clothes for pre-school and has had it ever since, getting it serviced every few years, so that it still runs like a champion.  This picture isn’t Mum’s machine but is very similar.  There is not an on-board computer or digital display to be seen but it does everything we need it too and sounds just divine – much less “clattery” than some of it’s more modern cousins that were present on Tuesday.  Lynda was very excited and would have made Mum an offer on the spot for it (except it isn’t for sale!) and a number of shop customers who weren’t in the class came along and looked it over during the time I was there.

Now did I say “Giveaway”? I did! June 25 is my 1st “blog-a-versary” and I thought I might use my second apron (the girly one) as a giveaway to one of my readers to celebrate this event.  If you would like to become the proud owner of this apron hand made by me please leave a comment on this post and I will draw a winner at random on June 25.


52 to Fabulous – Week 1

I’m joining in this project here because I want to achieve good things this year. I’ve had a break from just about everything and now is the time to step up and start getting things done again. The categories for each month are follow with my wants for each category.

January – Fabulous Beginnings – getting into good routines and being really well prepared for relief teaching
February – Fabulous Organization – getting routines fine tuned and getting the family more involved
March – Fabulous Fitness – build up my stamina and lose weight
April – Fabulous Food – cooking more meals, baking more things for school lunches, making more interesting things for my own lunches
May – Fabulous Style – hair and make-up
June – Fabulous Fun – planning birthday parties for the boys
July – Fabulous Hobbies – knitting up a storm
August – Fabulous Finances – making a budget
September – Fabulous Food – more of what was done in April
October – Fabulous Health – stress management and sleep
November – Fabulous Home – making the bedroom a sanctuary
December – Fabulous Blogging – building up my readership

The big three of these?

Fabulous beginnings

Fabulous Food

Fabulous Fitness


Giving Thanks

A while back I wrote about blessings and it was good topic.  I’ve since found someone who likes to make it a regular habit. Ann Voskamp of the Holy Experience blog started a Gratitude community and she makes a habit of “counting her blessings” every Monday.  I’ve decided to join in because I believe a lot of good can come from it.  She initially set a target of finding 1000 things to be thankful for and she has gone past that number.  I wonder how long it would take me to get to 1000 things? 6 months? 3 months? I’m going to try it and see.  So this is my first Multitude Monday Post.  I’m not going to completely abandon Menu Plan Monday but I’ll try to do both whenever I can.

So, for the beginning of my list

  1. My family – who are all “unwinding” as we spend a lazy two weeks at the beach.
  2. Rainbow Bay.  I’m biased but I think it is one of the most beautiful spots in Australia.
  3. A new hair colour, foils and haircut.  I was pampered today and feel much better for it.
  4. A solitary swim in a saltwater pool this afternoon.  The boys didn’t follow me as expected so I got to float around in the balmy water for an hour on my own.
  5. Dinner with extended family and friends.  This was at the Rainbow Bay Surf Club and I must share what I had – Grilled Snapper on a salad of rocket, olives and Parmesan, on a crispy fried cheesy risotto.  It was superb!
  6. Walking on cool, soft sand looking for the tiny crabs that scuttle toward the light.
  7. My “puter” and being able to stay in touch with all those who give me strength and support.

And so it begins.  I’m going to keep this list in hard copy once I am at home or when I can but a special little book because I think it will be wonderful to look back on in days, weeks and years to come.