The quilt.

You guys. I have finished my crochet cross quilt. I know, I know. photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

photo 4

Mum taught me to crochet years ago but I kind of forgot it during the too-cool teenage years. I picked it up again by following Pip's instructions on her blog, and have been a crocheting demon since. I make lots of little toys and hats and failed things, but never something really big.

I saw a picture of this quilt on pinterest ages ago and loved it, and was determined to make something similar. It was 150 squares and many, many hours of hooking and sewing in, but last weekend I finally sewed in the last threads. Technically I still need to wet block it, but I'm calling it as done.

Despite a few holes and accidentally changing shades of white halfway through (don't look too closely)I am pretty rapt with the results. It is snuggly without being too heavy. I think it will go on Archie's bed when he graduates out of a cot.


2014 thusly.

photo 3 So 2014 has been weird/awesome so far. I have been a bit mopey due to apparently getting every single freaking symptom of pregnancy (Epic blood noses! Cracking hips! Weird peeling fingertips! Inability to bend!) coupled with exhaustion and a toddler who has only two settings: LOUD and FAST. Also I am lacking in inspiration for the old blogaroo so when I read this 'Taking Stock' list on Pip's blog ... JACKPOT.

Making: MY CROCHETED BLANKET IS FINISHED! This is worthy of a whole other post, which I will be boring you with shortly.

Cooking: Cakes. It was my brother's birthday on Monday so I made a baked lemon cheesecake and a good old Chocolate Ripple Cake. Ain't nothing like a two ingredient dessert to excite this time-poor lady.

Drinking: Water and tea.

Reading: The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. It is pretty dense, but I'm reading it on the Kobo so I don't have to hold a giant brick of a book awkwardly in one hand. I have read a few of his other books and find them super-interesting. It raises lots of questions about industrial farming and Big Organic. The biggest lesson is how screwed up America is food-wise and how a lot of their problems stem from the reliance on cheap, subsidised corn. My dad has a 6000 acre pig, sheep and crop farm and it is really interesting comparing how his genetic breeding practices, land management and animal welfare issues stack up against the big American ag-industrial complex.

Wanting: To feel 100%. A constantly sore pelvis, lack of sleep and general malaise is making for a grumpy mama. I am currently wearing a girdle to hold my pelvis together. Hot. Pregnancy FTW!

Looking: Forward to a hair appointment next week. I get my hair done approximately twice a year and cut my own fringe (badly) so like to make it worth my while. I am thinking of going a bit lighter... maybe something like this?

Playing: So. Much. Cricket. Who would have thought that two extremely unsporty people could produce a child obsessed with cricket. What Archie lacks in skill he makes up for in enthusiasm. He has his own version which involves throwing the ball, running with the bat towards the ball, hitting the ball, clapping himself, throwing the bat, frantically running in the opposite direction, clapping himself for scoring a run, then starting again. I have to play all the fielding positions and am not EVER allowed to bat.

Deciding: On dinner. I think I'll pick some sushi up on the way home.

Wishing: That the coffee machine at home was not so freaking loud. I get that freshly-ground beans are important, but waking up every day to one of my four coffee-addicted housemates grinding, brewing and steaming is getting tedious.

Enjoying: My new king size bed. There is room for me, Lee, Archie and the seven pillows required to keep me comfortable.

Waiting: This dress.

Liking: Using my new Kikki K diary properly. I know it is only the third week of January but I am feeling super-organised having all my stuff in one place instead of scattered over fifteen different apps and notebooks and Post-Its. I am fully aware that any sense of organisation will all go to shit once the new bubba arrives, however.

Loving: Girls Season 3. So, so good. I loved Hannah's 25th birthday party and how horribly awkward and earnest Marnie is.

Pondering: The meaning of it all. Also, how to get inside the mind of a retail stockist and give them what they want, without going bankrupt. The wholesale furniture business is HARD, yo.

Considering: Paint colours for my brother's house. Because I am the Official Clark Family Paint Colour Consultant for all our various properties.

Watching: Archie grow bigger before my eyes. He tends to get really chubby, then have a huge growth spurt and get leaner, then get  chubby again. He is definitely in a growth phase now.

Hoping: That the weather will stay nice and mild like this for, oh, ever.

Marvelling: At how much the baby moves around. Archie was never still when he was inside, and this little bug is the same.

Needing: A massage. Also, a finished house.

Wearing: A Marimekko dress that is pushing the boundaries of appropriate maternity wear. I keep forgetting that my bump makes non-maternity dresses shorter at the front. Awkward.

Noticing: How much crap I eat. My sugarfree experiment starts next Thursday GOD HELP ME.

Knowing: Everything will work out in the end.

Feeling: Weary.

Admiring: Mothers who work fulltime and have lots of kids. And the daycare ladies at Archie's daycare. They are rad.

Buying: Groceries, presents for my new niece (!), ingredients for a lasagne for a new mum, maternity underwear.

Getting: Older. Ben's birthday made me realise that I will be 28 soon. Obviously I am channeling all my efforts into planning my 30th party in two years.

Disliking: People getting grumpy while waiting to turn right without a green arrow. I have right of way, dude!

Opening: Bills, Bills, Bills.


Best laid plans.

photo (1) For these upcoming holidays, the boys (ha, I love saying that) and I will be schlepping from my parent's house on Christmas Day to Lee's mum's place on Boxing Day, staying there for a few days, then coming home for New Years, and then heading down to Torquay for a couple of weeks. Ohhhh yeah. Archie is going to have to become reacquainted with the mesh cage/Portacot and sleeping in cupboards and driving long distances while stopping every 20 minutes so his pregnant mother can pee on the side of Eastlink. Poor kid will love it.

Because I have an inability to relax and slow down and do nothing, I have made a list of stuff I want to do on the holidays. All fun, family-friendly stuff that does not tax the pregnant brain or body, but will stop the kid and the husband being driven mad by my angry forced relaxing.

Feel free to steal this list if you want some activities for your staycation/weekends.

  • Go berry picking. I don't know if Archie will be into this, but I do know that he picked and tried to eat two of the four green tomatoes that I lovingly coaxed  out of my fledgling tomato plant.
  • Do touristy stuff in the city. I want to go back to Melbourne Now, have a picnic in the Botanic Gardens, buy all the things on my Christmas list that Santa didn't bring, and visit the Museum again.
  • Turn off my damn phone. Or at least the wi-fi. The amount of time I spend aimlessly scrolling through Facebook/Instagram/random wikipedia shit is approaching addiction, and I think a break would do everyone good.
  • Make some stuff. These holidays I WILL finish the cross quilt that has taken me YEARS. I only have 17 squares to go, then blocking, joining, sewing in ends and I'm done! That will be a good day. I also want to make a few crocheted hanging pot holders with colourful rope to hang over the kitchen in our new place, a really detailed embroidered peacock, some sort of 'Archie's Room' sign thing and these crocheted balls.
  • See a movie outside. Either Moonlight Cinema or Rooftop Cinema. This is a no-toddlers-allowed date night, so might take a bit of planning. But worth it.
  • Eat less shit. I am at risk of giving birth to a raspberry-flavoured Jelly Baby instead of a real life skin and bones baby if I don't ditch the junk soon. I try to eat heaps of protein and veggies, but am still eating way too much crap as well. I am going to make a big effort to make big salads and 'healthy desserts' and snacks and cut out the crap. I am even considering doing this, but that be crazy talk.
  • Go on a big-ish bike ride. I love riding bikes, as does Lee and Archie. Before I get hugely pregnant, I want to fit in a leisurely, flat, slow, flat ride somewhere scenic and green. Also, flat.
  • Go to the beach. All the time. I am lucky to have parents with an awesome beach house literally on the beach at Torquay. I think the baby monitor might even reach to the sand. There will be early morning swims, epic all-day beach sessions, late afternoon sandcastle sessions, evening walks and night beach dinners. Archie is old enough to appreciate it and not need me within arm's reach the whole time, so fun times will be had. Also, I plan on getting very, very, very brown.

Quilt-a-long Week Five

Finished quilt  


Finished quilt

Finished quilt


YOU GUYS. My quilt is totally done. I got jazzy and added some ric rac to make it more interesting as the slabs of white were looking a bit boring. I managed to get enough strips out of the spotty fabric to bind it all BY HAND. That was fairly painful and my mum was horrified by the dodgy puckered corners. But I am rapt with the outcome.

It only took me fifteen months to get around to making a quilt for my son, so I should probably start on his leaving-home quilt now.

Two thumbs up to Aunty Cookie for the opportunity and all the hot tips.

Quilt-A-Long Week Four

IMG_2715 The quilt is SO CLOSE to being done. Like Chief Quilt Lady Shannon said, it is at the boring stage where all the fun part is over and now it's just heaps of sewing and annoying pinning. And this is why I have three completed quilt tops in a drawer that I have never finished.

So I have stuck it together with glue spray (this is an actual technique called basting, not just some random trick I decided to pull when I couldn't work the sewing machine) and now need to do the actual quilting. I planned on doing a contrasting colour but I don't think my sewing is up to it, God knows the last thing I need is something to draw attention to my wonky stitches. So I'm just leaving it plain old white. I'm thinking I might add a bit of a ribbon or something afterwards, so it looks like actual bunting and breaks up the white a bit.

I'm already planning the next one, think I'm going to try a bit of ombre chevron action. Two trends with one, um, stone.

Quilt-a-long, Week 2

IMG_2558 IMG_2559



I upped my game and decided to applique Archie's name onto the triangle bunting bits of the quilt. I imagined that this would involve just sticking the letters on, but my quilt Nazi mother said I had to do it properly with fusible something-something and stitching. And because I will invariably have to wash this quilt one day ( it is mostly white and I have a son who randomly emits bodily fluids at opportune moments) I don't want it to fall apart in the wash.

Then I ripped up the backing strips and pinned it ready for sewing. The actual sewing is the frustrating part. I am not a calm crafter who can happily stitch away, meditating whilst clicking knitting needles or sewing dainty doilies. I am still at the angry, frustrated stage which means lots of unfinished projects and half-assed stitching. But I am loving this quilt, mainly because it is deceptively easy and looks impressive. Can't wait to hang it on Archie's wall in his new room.

I am loving checking out what everyone else is doing for their quilt. There are some seriously good sewers doing it which is a tad intimidating, but I'm having a crack. And I think it is going to look pretty rad once it's all done.

Quilt-a-long, Week 1

photo 4 photo 1

photo 2

So I got a bit overexcited and rushed ahead with the quiltalong. This week I'm supposed to just pick my fabrics, but I went a bit nuts and chose the fabrics, then cut out the triangles, sewed them and pressed them. I have totally caught the quilting bug and am addicted.

I also made a quilt top for another quilt too - I was planning on giving this to a friend but am totally going to keep it for myself. Because I am greedy like that.

photo 3

I really want to start sewing more dresses and stuff like that. I used to be really into making clothes when I was a wannabe hippie teenager but my enthusiasm waned once I grew up and realised that my homemade fake-fur bags and rhinestones-hot-glued-to-denim ensembles actually just looked really shithouse.


The little red chair that could.

photo 2  

My mum's best mate Shaz found this stool on hard rubbish. Archie LOVES it and has all his snacks sitting on it. However, it had seen better days and was all grubby and falling apart.


photo 3

Because I am lucky enough to share a bed with someone who has a whole woodworking workshop, I got bits of plywood cut out in the same shape as the existing base and seat back. I painted them with three coats of water-based sealant that dries hard and protects the wood from water damage. That is my little driver drill in the photo, how cute is it?

photo 4

Lee had a can of red spray paint hanging around the workshop, so I pinched that and sprayed the metal base. I did it outside in the dark so the finish is a bit crap, but hey, I'm all about getting it done and not worrying about perfection.


photo 1

Ta da! One awesome, retro kid chair that would cost a million bucks in some schmancy kid's shop. ALL FOR FREE. Arch loves it, and it looks good in my living room, so everyone's a winner.

Flying the flag

flag2-auntycookie You guys. I am a fairly average sewer, but can make basic things like pencil cases and cushion covers. I've always wanted to make a rad quilt for Archie, and so when Shannon posted about a Quilt-A-Long she is doing, I was like YES.  I'm so in. I have no real idea wtf a quilt-a-long is, but I think we just make the awesome quilt above along with some other people, then compete in some sort of quilt Olympics and the best one gets a prize. And god knows, I love a competition.

Anyway, as some of you know, my mother, however, is an incredible quilter who can pump out an awesome patchwork creation in a few days, and has a fancy pants machine and all that. So while I may be tempted to call in reinforcements if necessary, I am determined to come out from beneath her shadow and do it all myself.

First up is choosing the fabric. I'll take some pics of the stuff I choose and chuck them up here this week sometime. Fingers crossed this doesn't end in total disaster.