Just One Piece

I’m playing along with Hellowl’s My Place and Yours this week and the theme is to choose one piece of furniture from your house that you would take if you could only take one piece across t

he country.  I thought about my desk

first which is a


recycled white wooden kitchen table with a green and white laminex top.  I do spend a lot of time here but there probably are better des


ks out there.

I’m such a dag.  I couldn’t live anywhere now without my Ikea storage unit inherited from my boys who used it for their trains and now has been re-purposed as my craft centre.  It is not particularly beautiful but is extremely functional and it makes me happy to sink into the recliner beside it and choose something to play with.


School Holidays – Staying in the Groove

The boys are on holidays and I am not, but we are dealing with it.  I did flex off from work today so I could take Eric and his cousin Emma to a “Softie” workshop at Threads and More.  It was really Emma’s 8th birthday present but we sent Eric along for company.  I know children should learn to make their own fun and be able to amuse themselves in the holidays.  But I think it is good to have some structured activity in there especially if it involves learning something new and producing something you are really proud of.

As for the rest of the holidays we’re farming out the boys to various different places and dh will have some time off.  But to keep our sanity we will still be going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time, trying to eat regular meals, trying to keep up with the laundry and the house.  Because we didn’t have sporting commitments last weekend I took the boys and two friends to work so that they could experience the event that I’ve been working so hard on and that took up most of Saturday.  It was  just marvelous to be able to stroll around after them and interact with all the different elements that I had been working on.  As it is a “Great Train Robbery” Daniel spent a total of two hours (in two different sessions) in the police station going through evidence and was thoroughly absorbed.  I’m going to have to make sure I keep his investigation sheet which was filled with wonderful Daniel hieroglyphics probably known only to him.  Eric was just as enthusiastic but was also keen to do the Blacksmiths tours and a few other things so I think I could safely take them up there during a non-event period and they would still be well occupied.

I’m planning another trip to the city museum on the weekend but we’ll have to fit it in with Eric’s sleepover plans.  I’d also like to see a movie or two with the boys.  I’m just getting used to the fact that we don’t have to do everything during the day and that they can handle some late nights if necessary.  Our holidays are going to be very different from now on but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun.

Getting My Act Together

I officially love long weekends and I loved the one that we’ve just had (for ANZAC Day).  Somehow or other I found my organising mojo and went to town!  What really helped was that I acquired a piece of furniture to store my stitching and knitting supplies.  You’ll see from the “before” photo that I had an old table and collection of paper bags and boxes clustered around it with a project in each.  Not only did I have to search through 5-6 paper bags to find what I wanted to work on but it had also been suggested that it was a fire hazard.  I think the fire hazard notion was bit of an exaggeration!

The boys have recently packed away their Thomas trains now that several years of obsession have finally come to an end.  At the height of their train obsession we bought a storage unit from Ikea with blue and green pull out tubs.  Dh had originally put the whole thing under the house with the trains still in its tubs but I recognised its potential as a craft centre for myself and asked him to pack the trains into something else and bring it upstairs for me.  I went to a Tupperware party on Sunday morning and when I got home it was there in place for me.  I spent a very happy afternoon sorting out my stitching and knitting stuff.  Unfortunately I can’t say “all” of my stitching stuff because some still resides in a drawer in the bedroom but another drawer has been freed up entirely.  I’ve also got one knitting project that needs to be sewn up in a shopping bag and my knitting bag which I take with me when I am out and about.  But in the unit itself I have:

  • small tub for current knitting project, patterns and needles
  • large tub for yarn
  • small tub for thread – DMC and speciality threads
  • small tub for thread and trims
  • small tub for stitching equipment – no more digging to find scissors!
  • large tub for fabrics and Q-snaps
  • small tub for patterns and kits
  • small tub for felt projects (shared with Eric)

For years I have just stashed my craft stuff wherever I could in various places in the bedroom and living area and it was really hard to keep track of it all.  Now it is at my fingertips in an easily accessible place and I’m really looking forward to getting into some projects that have laid dormant for too long.

The organising didn’t stop there.  Getting all my craft stuff in order seemed to get me onto a roll but having that extra day on the weekend really helped.  We organised all the homework gear into a tub that can be taken anywhere and has the really important things ready to hand – like lead pencils.  I sharpened  heaps of these so everyone should be able to find on when they need it.  Then I planned the meals for the week, updated I-Calendar, my paper diary and the family calendar.   I also did a few hours of ironing – no where near finished but I’ve made dent in it.  It feels so good to have a handle on things.

Now if I can just process the paperwork on my desk…

Learning Is Taking Risks

This isn’t shameless self -promotion but a big “pat on the back” for my first born.  One of the jobs I’ve applied for in the past few weeks is at an “independent school ” that is run on democratic principles.  This has caused me to put a lot of thought into different learning styles and what the optimum learning environment is for a range of different learners.  A huge factor in successful learning is having an environment that is so supportive and structured in a way that students feel confident enough to take risks, make mistakes and learn from their mistakes.  I’ve certainly been doing that with my own learning over the past few months and now Eric has been able to do the same.  He attended a holiday workshop at Threads and More this week in which he had the opportunity to design and create his own soft toy from felt.  Firstly he was the only boy there and it hasn’t occurred to him that sewing and knitting and the sorts of things one does at Threads and More are not necessarily male pursuits so he is entirely non self-conscious.  He was also very comfortable there because he’s accompanied me there a few times to work on his beginner cross stitch piece while I am knitting and the staff there have always given him a really good reception.  He knows that people there are interested in what he is doing and he knows that Adam (the 6 foot chef with dreads in the attached cafe) makes a seriously good strawberry milkshake.

However, I wasn’t prepared for how well he would go in this workshop.  He’s done a small amount of cross stitch and probably some sewing in his pre-school days but that would be it.  He cannot yet tie up his shoelaces tightly enough for them to stay done up.  So I thought he’d blunder through and produce something with intensive support from the lovely Anissa.  The other members of the class as far as I could see copied the examples that Anissa had out on the table or in one case made a friend for the doll she’d made at Christmas.  This is fine and no doubt they did learn a bit more by doing this but copying something was not for Eric.  He got busy with pen and paper and drew a “Turtwig” (a pokemon character whose name I do not know how to spell) and then proceeded to create a 3-D rendering of the creature.  It’s got four legs that stick out from the bottom, a body and embroidered shell.  There are plans for a head and some sort of antenna that sticks out from that.  Annissa asked if I could possible come and knit on Sunday afternoon so that he could come with me and do some more work on it.  I was so proud of him for thinking outside the square and creating something of his own rather than going for the easier option and just copying something that was in front of him even though it was a task he had never attempted before.  Once again the learning environment at Threads and More was just right for him to have confidence and take risks with his learning.

He is bubbling over with enthusiasm since this workshop and has had a big talk to Anthony about how he will continue to accompany me to Threads and More when this Pokemon is finished so that he can make another Pokemon character for Daniel’s 7th birthday.  There is even talk of making something for Grandma to keep on her bed but I can’t imagine what that might be although I suppose we could remind him that Grandma Maureen has a thing for elephants.

In other news, I’ve completed the Lion Stripe Sweater I was knitting for Eric <insert very happy dance here>.  I finished it by about 10:00pm on Wednesday so he could show it off at the shop on Thursday and Daniel modelled it so I could take some photos to upload to Ravelry.  I’m really happy with it and pleased that I was able to stick with it even when the going got tough.  Contrary to Daniel’s wishes I didn’t start his Cowboy Cardigan that night but I did make a start on it the next day while Eric was doing his workshop.  I’m also working on some cotton face cloths to sell on the school Mothers Day stall so there is plenty to do with my knitting sticks!