Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cardigan Inspiration

Cardigan inspiration

L-R: White Pine, Shalom, 113-17,
Rivel, Gnarled Oak, Velynda,  
Larch, Acer, tea leaves  

The hot water bottle cozy is temporarily on hold. My cable needle slipped from my bag at Dave's Aunt's house and is waiting to be retrieved. In the meantime I'm making progress on the blanket, waiting on some wool for a shawl, and pouring over cardigan patterns on Ravelry. Such lovely cardigans, don't you agree? 

Friday, March 30, 2012

My first tomato season

AKA Tomatoes - heart breakers of the veggie patch


Tomato growers of the world concern yourself not. I shall not be removing tomatoes from my shopping list any time soon. My first season of growing tomatoes seems to have been quite a failure. My faith in my green thumb is shaken. Woe.

Dreams of organic vine ripened tomatoes and bottles of homemade preserve are not yet reality. Instead birds, mice or perhaps possums seem to have been making the most of the tomatoes with any blush of colour. After seeing Tania's post I rescued the remaining green tomatoes to ripen on the window sill. They looked lovely lined up like green soldiers on the ledge. I felt proud indeed. However, half of those tomatoes developed black spots that sunk into the fruit with time, consigning them to the compost bin. Insect, disease, wet weather, neglect in the late stages of my pregnancy? I'm not sure. I'll be doing some more research and some crop rotation for my next attempt.

Should those tomatoes remaining on the window sill ripen then I won't count it as a complete failure. A dozen homegrown tomatoes still counts as a small success, right? I'm hoping the ripening corn and watermelons will restore my green thumb faith. One day I will be sharing photos of my tomato success and beautiful bottles with you, I'm sure of it. In the meantime, I wonder if tomatoes are on sale?

Are you having more success in your garden? 
Any tomato tips?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Yarn Along

Yarn Along

I am attempting to knit a seamless hot water bottle cozy, using five double pointed needles and a cable needle. I was feeling very much like a 'real' knitter indeed, until I realised that I had misplaced a button hole... To frog or not to frog? As it is for me, I have chosen to forge on. I intend to stitch close those nuisance button holes once I'm finished and hide snaps on the inside instead, with a few decorative vintage buttons on the outside. Don't tell anyone.

Sadly, I've all but finished 'The Paper Garden.' There was another paragraph that I felt compelled to share with you. I feel sure other crafters and makers will be nodding along in smiling agreement just as I was.

"Craft is engaging. It results in a product. The mind works in a state of meditation in craft, almost the way we half-meditate in heavy physical exercise. There is a marvelously obsessive nature to craft that allows a person to dive down through the ocean of everyday life to a seafloor of meditative making. It is an antidote to what ails you. At about the age of thirty-six, my mother executed six paint-by-number paintings, three winter landscapes and three exotic jungle-scapes prominently featuring peacocks. She spread the work out on the kitchen table and, over several years, went at it. One can loose oneself, even in paint-by-numbers, and the loss of the self within safe confines nurtures the imagination. To ornament one's existence, even with six paint-by-numbers paintings, is a key to understanding one's personal weatlth - and acknowledging that wealth in others, too."

'The Paper Garden; Mrs Delany begins her life's work at 72,' Molly Peacock
page 288

Meditation, obsessive, antidote, wealth? I feel as if she were talking right to me.
Such a lovely book, so glad I spotted it on Alicia's blog.

I'm joining in today for the first time to Ginny's Yarn Along.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sponsorship for April


I am now accepting sponsors!

Are you a small business, crafter or blogger?
Interested in promoting yourself and supporting my blog in the process?
Prices start at $10 a month for an advertisement in the left column of the blog.
Medium and Large spots also feature the option of an interview and giveaway.

For more information visit my sponsor page or email me.

Monday, March 26, 2012

No cause for concern

gecko eggs


knitting basket

hot water bottle cover

homemade bread

I ran in the rain, down a hill, following Dave as he pushed the pram. I did not wish to be late, or drenched. Hospital parking is always a nightmare. I nervously pushed the lift buttons. 

We waited with a television as it played day time soapies. Just as the plot was beginning to draw us in we were lead into a small white room. Emerson, undressed and weighed, was given an ECG. Sharp waves printed onto paper. We went back to the soapie, the drama heightened, the characters were also in a hospital. Our name was called. 

In a dimmed room we lay Emerson down for an echo scan. She slept peacefully, her arms above her head and little fists clenched, as the specialist scanned her heart. He pointed out the make up of her heart, the chambers and the small hole between them which was signaled by the murmur. He calmly explained that it was quite common, around one in every two hundred and fifty births. I felt reassured, but still anxious. It's ok, but it's still a hole.

The hole lets blood from one chamber leak into another. Blood that has already been through the lungs is leaking into a chamber full of blood on it's way to the lungs, meaning her heart has to work a little bit harder than most. As the heart grows often the hole closes, generally between the ages of two and eight. However, one can live with such a hole ones entire life with no issue. Unless we notice a change in her breathing, were she to sweat profusely when feeding, or have an unexplained fever for several days which could be a sign of infection, there is really no cause for concern. It is simply a matter of letting nature take her course and having Emerson tested again at six months. 

I am relieved and grateful, though I still have a small pocket of concern that I think I share with most mothers. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Creative Space

'Autumn Leaves'
'Autumn Leaves'

'Autumn Leaves'

This sweet interview with Alicia Paulson lead me to an old CraftSanity podcast. I spent a relaxing hour listening, knitting and drinking tea while both children slept. It was such a lovely and inspiring way to spend my Mama time for the day that I repeated it yesterday with Amanda Blake Soule's interview

In this way I finished the 'Autumn Leaves' top for Emerson. My first ever girls knit. I really enjoyed working on this piece. It wasn't too difficult, though it challenged me a couple of times, since I am still learning. I'm glad to have picked up some new techniques and I'm really pleased with how it has turned out.

Do you listen to podcasts? Do you have any that you would recommend, crafty or otherwise?

Pattern: 'Autumn Leaves' by Nikki Van Der Car
Yarn: Bendigo Woolen Mills Luxury 8 ply in 'Purple Storm'
Buttons: Vintage from the stash


More Creative Spaces here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012



Relaxed into a nest of cushions on the couch, a sleepy baby in my arms, Cohen's voice floated up to me from the garden where he was digging with his father, "Mama, mama! Look!"
"I'm feeding the baby," I automatically replied.
"He's found something," called Dave.

The next minute I could hear small, muddy shoes quickly shuffling up the back stairs. (A sound that always makes me smile.) Cohen stood in the doorway announcing, "Get shoes yes." How could I resist? "Yes," I said. He led us to his little wheelbarrow full of dirt, pointing and whispering delightedly, "Worm. Look. There it is."

I oohed and ahhed, I pointed and asked questions. I explained to Emerson that worms eat the soil. I watched Cohen's face light up. And I remembered to think like a toddler. I remembered how exciting every new discovery is and I want to share in those discoveries. I remembered that saying yes shows him how much I value him, it encourages him to show me his next discovery and it's a way to lead by example for when I ask for something from him too.

I also wouldn't have seen a worm yesterday if not for Cohen.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A poet of the everyday



"In a market in Baltimore, Maryland, an elderly man stood in front of me in the cash-out line. We each had a basket of groceries. When it came time for the man to put his onto the conveyor belt, he acted quickly, efficiently, but with a sublimely conscious intent. He arranged his food on the moving belt, the oranges as a Cezanne still life, the cereal box as a Mondrian square against the black rubber, the yogurt containers as round, white, Miro-like punctuation marks on the damp background. In the space of seconds he made an entrancing composition, a pleasant sense of order to reflect the house of his mind. In a few minutes the items were plopped in bags and he was off. I never saw him again, but because of those oranges on the thick black rubber, I tried to stop myself before I tumbled my groceries, bruising the fruit, denting the cereal box, onto the belt in my usual haphazard externalization of my internal associative jumble.

In a manner of speaking, I had watched a poet of the everyday. One could be a poet of the everyday, and not even have to write that poem down, or worry about whether it was good, or try to publish it. I had witnessed a span of seconds of someone else's art of living, in a supermarket in Baltimore"

'The Paper Garden; Mrs Delany begins her life's work at 72,' Molly Peacock
page 164 - 165

A beautiful paragraph and a wonderful thought, which I have been musing upon today.
Oh to be a "poet of the everyday."
I called my parents. As a result a sort of resolution is forming. Little steps.
Emerson had a specialist appointment regarding her heart murmur. She is three weeks old today and it hasn't gone away, as is does in some cases. She has been referred to a cardiologist at another hospital. 
Despite other signs being positive, I can't help but feel tense about the whole thing.
Everyone at the hospital referred to her as a 'he', despite her pink onesie. I think of the word 'Emerson' as being feminine, while others must think of it as being masculine?
"Internal associative jumble" indeed.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Etsy love

Etsy love - latest favourites
L to R: Annoyed urban fox felt brooch, Novels text bookends, Stripe eared rabbit,
Tons of love, Alphabet poster,  Baby shoes ruffled Mary Jane,
1940's Novelty Print Dress, set of six film photo postcards, Garden District - warehouse sock.  

My recent Etsy favourites, found amid the sea of wonderful handmade and vintage pieces. Discovered through friends, link love, blog hopping and general browsing.

What's on your favourites list?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Good things





'Autumn leaves'

a freezer full of home made pesto
overflowing with oranges
the sweetest knitted dress from an absolute sweet heart
little yellow flowers dropping onto the table
off the needles and time to rummage through the button collection

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Creative Space



The 'Autumn Leaves' knit for Emerson is taking shape, while a few more rows have been added to the blanket. 

Bringing a bit of the season inside, and trying my best to go slowly and allow my body time to recover from the surgery.


More Creative Spaces here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012






New Mama tiredness. Cluster feeds. Tummy tenderness. Toddler crankiness/argumentativeness/over-tiredness. Housebound.
Dusty floors, dirty towels, mounting dishes.
Day two solo parenting, since Dave has returned to work.

Thank goodness for those little moments that make it all worthwhile.

Toddlers kissing babies. Long baby naps. Toddler naps.
A sink full of clean dishes. A basket full of clean clothes. Another bean harvest.
A book and some knitting.
And photos of my children.

Saturday, March 10, 2012






Feeling incredibly grateful for the warm welcome and wonderful gifts Emerson has received since her arrival. From a gorgeous parcel containing hand knits with the sweetest bunny buttons from a lovely friend, to her first piece of jewellery, engraved with her name and birth date, from her loving Grandpa Lowry. (I may have cried when he gave us this. I still have my own baby bracelet.) So too, vintage receiving blankets, soft toys, rattles, clothes, booties, bibs and cards. This generosity has been matched only by the thoughtfulness behind each gift.

Seeing all these special items in the nursery, each with a story, reminding us of all the people we love in our life, has made the room feel so much more finished and part of our home. And for that I am more than a little grateful too.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Around here



Purple bean harvest

Quiet days watching the four part BBC series 'Emma'
Reading the delightful 'The Paper Garden: Mrs Delaney Starts Her Life's Work at 72', found via Alicia's recommendation
Welcoming the new season with a new knit, Autumn Leaves (Ravelry.)
Dada and Cohen time outdoors, Mama and bubba time indoors
Feeding throughout the day and sleeping most of the night
Friends and family visiting to meet Emerson, while spoiling us with gifts and pastries
Adjusting to being surrounded by pink after so long surrounded by blue
My first purple bean harvest from the veggie patch (which has sadly filled with weeds during my confinement)
And of course, lots of baby gazing.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Creative Space

Knitting companion

A blanket for Emerson, like this one I made for a friends baby, when I first announced my pregnancy.


More Creative Spaces here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Emerson's birth story

Every journey to motherhood presents different challenges, and some much more difficult than my own. This is my attempt to document my story nonetheless, a record for myself and my children, to be shared with other woman and mothers in the tradition of birth stories.


I have learnt much since becoming a mother. Slowly discovering for myself experiences that have been repeated through the ages, connecting all mothers. I discovered a type of love which I'd not yet experienced. A powerful, connected, protective, nurturing love that is as intense as it is different for each child. I learnt that their births would be the single most important days of my life and that nothing could compare to them. I felt the passage of time change, marked forever by their growth and milestones. I found that part of loving so deeply meant feeling pain just as deeply, feeling their pain. And I'm still learning.


One thing I didn't realise was how difficult and winding our journey to having a family would be. Dave and I met, fell in love, brought a house and got married young and then went travelling. Our notions of having a family seemed distant and indistinct until I had to have an ovary and Fallopian tube removed due to an abscess, and my ability to ever conceive was brought into question. It was something we had taken for granted and it had been brought into sharp focus. The irony was that after trying so long not to fall pregnant, we would end up trying even harder and go through so much more in order to fall pregnant. It was a scary, emotional and difficult time which resulted in me suffering from anxiety.

After first suffering a miscarriage, we conceived Cohen and with his birth became a family, and I a mother. His 36 hour labor resulted in a third degree tear and abdominal muscle separation. Cohen was 9 pound 4, but had breathing difficulties and was taken to special care. The forceps used to deliver him strained a muscle in his neck that resulted in him needing physio. It was a traumatic experience for both of us. My birth plan resembled my birth in few ways. But I had my baby boy and all our efforts were rewarded.

+After twelve months and mindful of my missing ovary, we tried again to conceive and in time learnt instead of my diagnosis of Graves disease, which inhibited my ability to fall pregnant. After months of trying to control my thyroid levels with medication that I became allergic to, months of specialist appointments and blood tests, months feeling ill, we undertook the more extreme measure of having radio-iodine treatment and destroying my thyroid function forever. Another daunting undertaking. But one which allowed us, with the passage of time, the green light to once again try to conceive.

As soon as the specialist gave us their consent we decided to 'try without trying'. No calenders, no discussions, life would move on and time would tell. We sold our house, moved in with family, starting looking for a new nest to renovate and call our family home and one day two blue lines come up in the windows of a pregnancy test. We were ecstatic and continued with our plans with added meaning.


As in my previous pregnancy, the thought of miscarriage was a daily companion. Through days of lethargy, mornings and nights of nausea, I crossed each finger and counted down each day until we reached thirteen weeks. Next I counted the weeks until the baby would be viable to live outside the womb should it be born premature. In the meantime my thyroid astonished us, and the specialists, by recovering enough from the radio-iodine treatment to once again become over active. And thus the potential to cause problems with the pregnancy, (hinted at back here in December,) from which point baby and I were closely monitored for possible complications.

But each week the baby grew bigger and stronger. Each week I saw doctors, specialists, the high risk team at the hospital and underwent fortnightly scans. And at 35 weeks the doctors conferred and offered me an elective cesarean. The baby was continually measuring in the 98th percentile and could be expected to weigh 9 to 10 pounds at full term, which, given my birthing history, placed me high in the risk factor of having a fourth degree tear should I birth vaginally.


Until this point I hadn't realised what it meant to me to birth this baby naturally. For thirty five weeks I had unintentionally focused on this birth being a sort of saving grace for my first birth. That I would be more prepared, more relaxed, ride out the contractions instead of fighting them and this time my body would not fail me. I would have the birth I had so wanted the first time. I hadn't realised how much I had invested emotionally in a natural birth. But after discussing my options with midwives and specialists the decision was made, and I would not be birthing naturally. I felt informed and confidant about my decision, but also heartbroken. My cesarean was booked and I went home and awaited the days and wondered if my baby would wait the scheduled 39 weeks and 2 days or decide to come early.

The days wound down until my sister was installed in my house as babysitter, my bag was packed in the car and my preparations ready for the scheduled early morning surgery. I was equally anxious and excited. Fearful of the surgery, but oh so ready to meet our baby and find out the sex. It took me a long while to fall asleep that Sunday night and my dreams were filled with hospital rooms and babies.


The hours before the surgery were mercilessly few. The staff were warm but through during the preparations, doing their best to ease my nerves and keep me focused on how soon I would have my baby in my arms. Things moved quickly. Cap and gown, hospital bed, wheeled into theater, spinal block applied and preparations for surgery made. Dave rejoined me as the first incision was being made. Reflected in the angle of the theater light overhead, I was able to see the surgery as it took place. And I, who is not usually one for such things, was riveted to the reflection. I found I was not at all uneasy, but rather a strange disassociation occurred between my body and brain. While I felt pressure, there was no pain and my brain tried hard to reconcile the feelings and the image above and could not.

In this way I watched as my babies head appeared, before a shadow was cast over the reflection and moments later the surgeon was holding our baby up above the screen between us. Dave, seated beside me, saw what I could not and said, "You've got your girl, baby." Relief, joy, excitement, release - the tears flowed freely from my eyes, even as she was brought to me to hold for the first time. My beautiful girl. Our beautiful Emerson. Peering into her Mamas eyes. Love.


One thing, through all of this, that has been incredibly distressing for me has been that both of my parents have chosen not to have contact with me since my sisters wedding five months ago. My mothers absence during my pregnancy has been particularly noticeable, especially given that my pregnancy with Cohen brought us closer together. That relationship I missed no more so than on the third day after her birth when Emerson was diagnosed with jaundice and a heart murmur. Tired and hormonal, in pain and concerned for my baby, I felt strongly the need for my mother.

I don't know what I could have done for her to continue in this way or ignore the birth of her grand daughter. There are many things I have learnt as a mother, but this is not one of them. Surely there is nothing Cohen or Emerson could do or say that would make me turn my back on them indefinitely? Despite trying to make contact with her, she has not as yet attempted to make contact with me or my sister these past five months. I've been operating in limbo, unsure as to what is happening or how she feels. As a result I felt unable to even call her with the news of Emerson's birth. I've no idea what the future holds for this relationship.

Mama and Emerson day 2

Thankfully the jaundice is slowly clearing without needing intervention and the heart murmur is being monitored. It may be a result a valve not closing completely after her birth when she transitioned from breathing liquid to air, or as a hangover from my thyroid medication crossing the placenta. She will be monitored at our follow up appointments.

Emerson is otherwise healthy and happy. She loves her sleep, has had no trouble breastfeeding and has a doting big brother. Cohen is in awe of her and has adjusted beautifully. All our subtle efforts to prepare him these past several months seem to have been rewarded. He is now constantly patting her with his 'gentle hands', or staring at her and asking us questions. He sits down on the couch and asks for a cuddle in his toddler way, "Emcen sit here please." He helped give her her first bath, elbowing Daddy out of the way in order to wash her (and cover her head in bubbles.) Cohen has discovered my childhood doll and has taken to changing it's nappy and clothing when I'm with Emerson.

One thing that I have learnt as a mother is that you have to be adaptable. Things rarely seem to go to plan, for me at least. But the reward is always more meaningful for the struggles you undertook. As they say, 'nothing worth having comes easily.' Life goes on and we are enjoying our family of four.

Welcome, my darling Emerson. We've been waiting for you for such a long time and we are so glad you are finally here. I wouldn't change a thing.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


40 weeks

40 weeks and still in baby-moon mode, though looking forward to returning to this space soon with a giveaway.

Thursday, March 1, 2012





Savoring every beautiful, sleepy, milk filled moment.

Many thanks for your warm welcoming of Emerson. I hope to share her birth story with you soon.
And all my love to my twin Fiona, who has been sister, friend, Aunty, Grandmother and so much more to my little family. She is beyond compare, and our lives would be so much poorer without her love, support, joy and thoughtfulness. xx
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