my top tips for getting out the door in the morning!

brought to you by Nissan

This year my school run involves 3 schools every morning and if I’m not out the door and in the car by a certain time then it’s all over. Well, no not really, it just means that someone is going to be late for school. So I’m running on a tight schedule and getting 7 people (including myself) out the door every single morning, dressed, fed and on time can be a challenge.

Here is how I do it!

1.Clothes out the night before including my own

Yes, every night I lay out everyone’s clothes including my own. That doesn’t mean that I spend hours planning my outfit for the day or what we will all wear, I just do a quick grab of what everyone needs. The big kids are responsible for gathering most of their uniforms together, I just place an ironed shirt on top. The baby of the family will have a nappy and packet of wipes next to his clothes. It’s a time saver so that if you are running late or short of time at least you have your clothes sorted. I started doing it when the twins came along and haven’t stopped. 

2. Get up with the birds

As much as I’d love an extra 10 minutes in bed, I need to be up and at ’em at 6am. Or everything goes downhill. So I’ve learned to love seeing the sun come up and embrace the early morning, even if it means early to bed the night before. I use the first half hour of the day to make coffee, pack lunches into bags and enjoy my breakfast in some peace and quiet before the craziness begins.

3. The big clock in the kitchen is 5 minutes fast

Everyone in our house looks at the wall clock in the kitchen to see how they are going for time. So by having it 5 minutes faster we always have enough time to get to the car with a few minutes to spare. Because no matter how organised you are there will always be someone who forgot their library bag/hat/sports bag/lunchbox and needs to go back inside.

4. Warm showers when necessary

Now this might sound like it is making work for you but just as us mums like a nice warm shower to start our day so do some of the little ones. If I have someone who is not so happy about going to school, a quick shower seems to do the trick especially in winter. They seem to get moving a bit faster and be in a better mood. I don’t do this every day or every week (only when needed) and it’s a good little trick to have up your sleeve.

5. Keep a shoe basket by the front door

I only started the shoe basket last year when I got sick of the shoes piled by the front door. Each week I give the basket a quick clear-out and put extra shoes back in bedrooms. The golden rule is that each child needs at least 1 pair of shoes in the shoe basket. That way if we have to duck out to do something there are no excuses or time wasted trying to find someone’s shoe or a pair of shoes so we can leave the house. I can’t tell you how many times we’d be ready to leave the house and someone would announce that they couldn’t find a pair of shoes or their other shoe. Problem solved!

6. Lunches in the fridge and always have bread in your freezer

I do most of the lunchboxes the night before and when I’m feeling super organised might do sandwiches the night before too. I always have at least 1 or 2 loaves of bread in my freezer so I always have something for lunchboxes, and also because it’s nearly impossible for me just to run up to the shops for a loaf of bread with my entourage. So that extra loaf in the freezer saves me, and everyone gets vegemite sandwiches in their lunchbox on those days.

7. Breakfast on the go

When I do the sandwiches I make a few extra and put them on the kitchen counter with bananas and a muesli bar or two. My not so early birds can grab breakfast to eat in the car. And if you’re one of my 3 big kids then you can make toast for the little ones while you are making your own. It’s something that is such a big help to me and even the little ones can get a plate to help out. Would you look at that sweet little face?

8. Always top up your nappy bag and check your hand bag when you get in the door

When I was pregnant with my twins I read every book there was on expecting twins and read some of them more than once. I thought that way I’d be fully prepared and able to handle everything. Ha ha! The best piece of advice that I took from those books was having the nappy bag always packed and ready by the door. And to do that you top it up when you get in rather than leave it to when you are getting ready to go. Make sure you’ve got the spare clothes, nappies, wipes and other baby stuff. That means whenever you need to run out the door or make a last minute trip you just grab the bag and you know everything is in there. Same goes with the handbag; always check it has everything in it when you get into the house, rather than just before you want to leave the house.

9. You are responsible for getting your school bag to the car

This starts early and even the pre-schoolers of the house know to take their bag to the car and put it in. If the kids see my handbag outside the front door then they know to bring it out to the car too so I don’t forget it. Because sometimes in all the rush of getting 6 little people out the door my bag makes it outside the house but not always to the car. Now, as you can see there is plenty of room in the Nissan Pathfinder for all the school bags. The automatic boot opener makes the school car line a dream as you don’t need to get out, because I can just press a button and the boot opens all the way up for them. This means kids don’t slam the boot down as you just press a button and down it goes. I never need to worry about little fingers getting caught because it has a sensor function that prevents this! Very civilised and not a feature on my big van.

10. No one is allowed outside while a car is moving in the driveway

We don’t start the engine until everyone is in the car. And in our family, you need to either be in the car or inside the house. It’s a rule we set up when we had only little ones because I was terrified that with 3 little ones something could happen and someone could end behind a car, with tragic consequences. It’s a good idea to start these things when children are young even if you think it’s a bit OTT. But with 6 children under the age of 10 it’s something I’m glad we started. Whilst our van has sensors, it doesn’t have a reversing camera and certainly nothing like the camera that the Pathfinder has. It gives you great visibility (360 degrees around the vehicle!) and an extra level of protection and comfort when reversing.  

 

My time with the Nissan Pathfinder has come to an end and I’m definitely sad to give it back. We’ve enjoyed it for our everyday driving as well as special trips out. And that entertainment system. Oh boy, it’s back to just the radio and CD’s again in our van. That’s going to be a tough adjustment as we’ve been loving the DVD’s playing in the back of the Pathfinder.

 

Now I know that you’ll be wondering how we got everyone in, and as mums you’ll love to know how many car seats can you fit in a car and how many anchor points does it come with? Well we have 3 in baby car seats/booster seats and 3 who don’t require a car seat. We set up the Pathfinder with our car seats so we had 2 in the middle row and a 3rd car seat in the back row. The middle row of the Pathfinder has a great feature whereby the left and right seats both fold down and slide forward easily to access the back. Sometimes if we didn’t have one of the children with us then my twins would climb into the boot and sit in the back row.

You could also fit 3 slimline car seats into the middle row of the Pathfinder or you could do what we did, which is have 1 car seat in the back row and 2 in the middle row.  Either way, there is plenty of legroom for everyone.  And as you can see when we took a trip to Grandma’s on a school day with just 2 in the back it was practically palatial.

If all my tips for getting you out the door in the morning with kids fail, you could always try what this mum did.

starting small

I have a few things up in my etsy store here if you live in Australia and love bonnie & camille fabric. All prices include postage in Australia and GST. I have a few more fabric packs to add during the week. I decided that etsy was an easier way to manage everything rather than a standalone online store. I have a few Moda pre-releases coming in June which I’m excited about, a bit more of the lil’ red to list and also will be making some fabric packs using older japanese fabrics. The craft room needs to make room for me to set up one of my sewing machines so that my girls can learn to sew this year.

So bear with me and hopefully I can have a few more things listed. It’s just been a crazy few days with my big girl turning 10, my little girl’s first excursion, my big girl needing a pair of white shoes for her Eucharistic procession that didn’t cost the earth and me losing my wedding ring. I thought I’d clean out the Nissan before handing it back (very sad about that) and gave the car mats a good shake out into the garden. Seemed easy enough until my 4 piece wedding ring flung off my finger and went in all directions. I’m blaming the GAPS diet that I just started again for the rings being a bit loose. I managed to find the first 2 pieces easily, the 3rd piece took me a while but I just couldn’t find the 4th piece. Anyway, I spent 2 hours out there with the kids raking through leaves and trying to find it. And then someone almost hit the car with the end of the rake and everyone was fighting over the torch or shining it in each other’s eyes. Yes, you can imagine. I was having THE best time out on my driveway with 6 helpers. So we kept going for a bit longer before I called it a night. I should have been baking my big girl’s birthday cake. I found a metal detector guy who finds jewellery and he got back to me so quickly but he couldn’t get there till monday and I was just so upset about the one lost piece we couldn’t find. Hubby drives down the driveaway on Friday night with his lights on and sees something shiny on the driveway. My ring!!!! I was so happy.

Moral of the story is don’t go on diets if your rings fit perfectly or don’t clean your car mats with your wedding ring on. I’m definitely not doing any crazy shaking of car mats again anytime soon.

 

I finally made a pencil roll project!

How many pencil roll photos have I shared before I finally got around to writing up a pattern! Well here it is. You will find the pattern the new Brother Inspires website here. I loved making this pattern and it’s perfect for a present (in fact it’s so popular that I usually get told by my daughters that’s the present we are taking to a party) and craft stalls and fetes. They are just so sweet and I sold out of them at my own craft stall last year.

The fabric I used for this roll was some Kokka (the ballerina fabric) and some Lecien Flower Sugar for the inside and you can use flannelette or quilt batting on the inside.

You don’t need to be the world’s best sewer to make them and the instructions are easy to follow! Mind you I’ve just started using the LED light and sensor pen on my machine which means a nice red straight line appears to keep me on the straight and narrow and is going to make whipping these up easier as I won’t need to draw my lines on! Can’t wait to test it out. I actually sat down with my manual (I’m using a Brother DreamWeaver thanks to Brother) and read it. That’s a bit of a first as I’m not really a manual person.

Happy pencil roll making!

I knitted a big girl cardigan

You’ve probably figured out that I love baby knits and I’ve gone a bit bigger on this one knitting a size 4.

I know it’s not an adult size but its definitely bigger than what I usually knit.

The pattern is granny’s favourite by tikki and I love it. Ravelry tells me it’s my 4th granny’s favourite.

I used Bendigo luxury in 8 ply and the colour is bubblegum and a very pretty pink. In some lights it looks like a dusty rose and in other it’s a bright pink. Either way it’s very pretty and made for a girly girl project to wear this winter. The buttons are Cath Kidston that I picked up from the online store a few years ago. They are fabric covered and I only had 3 on the card so they were definitely meant to be used on this little project.

You can find the project on ravelry here and the dog tried to eat my camera card so I took all of these on my phone. I will get around to getting a new camera card soon as I miss using my camera.

school holiday fun (or how to get through them in one piece!)

Brought to you by Nissan

I’m one of those mums who loves the school holidays and more relaxed days. Except somehow I filled up the first week of our holidays with school holiday camps and swimming lessons, so there were no lazy mornings for the first week. But lots of fun to be had by little ones.

We also had 2 trips to the doctors, one trip to the chemist (but just to get ears pierced so not all bad) and 50 million trips to the supermarket. The triple pack of cabanossi sticks lasted 24 hours, which is saying something. We go through a lot of food and especially when everyone is home, and a quick trip to the shops for a top up will end up with 3 or 4 bags of groceries.

my top tips for school holiday survival and enjoyment are

Spread out the movies and special outings

All the best movies come out in time for the school holidays but it costs us almost $100 for a trip to the movies so we space it out somewhere in the middle of the break. It helps a little if you can go to the movies on the cheap day, or buy your tickets through NRMA or using discount vouchers. A family ticket is usually $50 which is great if you have 2 or 3 children but not so great for bigger families. Taking your own food and drink saves money and temptation at the candy bar. 

These holidays we were lucky enough to receive tickets to the Ice Age live show which was a huge treat for the family and smack bang in the middle of the holidays too. The kids loved taking the ‘new car’ as they call it, and we liked it because we could take 5 kids in our Nissan Pathfinder and park in the multi storey next to the arena, rather than taking our van and parking further away because of the height restrictions. Meanwhile, the kids were happy to have their friend come in the car and watch movies on the Pathfinder’s entertainment system the kids are loving.

School holiday camps are fun but expensive.

Look for camps that offer good value, see if your child’s friend can go with them, and if you are being pestered then tell them they’ll have to trade off something else like a movie etc. My little girl’s special school run a wonderful week long camp where you can pick and choose the days and activities. We did art, dance and music and she had a ball. 

The kids all do swimming lessons, and if they are almost ready for the next class, or if they need some extra help, then a swimming school holiday program (5 days a week of swimming!) is a great way to get some exercise. Intensive lessons are also great for families who can’t commit to weekly lessons.

You could put all the kids in lessons at the same time and relax, or try and keep younger kids out of the pool, which is how it works for me.

You can’t beat the park

Text another mum and meet her at the park for an afternoon to tire everyone out. No one needs to clean their house or worry about having people over, plus you’ve got two sets of eyes to watch the kids.

De-clutter the house

Get some of those bigger jobs done like kids wardrobes, the playroom and kitchen cupboards. We are having a big clear out because every year we seem to get more stuff and this house was built for a family of 4 and not a family of 8. See if there are any local fetes that are collecting donations, or take them to your nearest charity collection centre. Top tip though is not to come home with things. I de-clutter with a bag to throw out, a bag for friends/ family and a bag for charity. Only good things I am happy to pass on go in the charity bag. In one afternoon I did my craft room and magazines and got all these bags out of the house, with some helpers. Luckily the Pathfinder has enough boot room to fit it all!

Put movies on in the car

When the Nissan Pathfinder arrived we put about 12 DVDs in the car. The kids are always excited to go anywhere so they can watch a movie. I have to tell you a funny story about this.

We were at a Saturday morning rugby game and my big boy was asked to stay on and play the next game. I was on my own with most of the kids, it was boiling hot, I’d already spent all of my money on the sausage sizzle and canteen so said to everyone let’s go sit in the car and out of the of the sun and watch a movie as daddy is on his way. Everyone walked with me nicely to the car. It was a pretty crazy morning and a mum later commented on how well behaved everyone was as she walked past. Ahhh, that’s because the kids knew Kung Fu Panda was going to be on in the car for the next 15 minutes.

Tip out the Lego tub.

Lay out a blanket and tip out the lego tub or every bit of lego that you own. Hours of fun there, but the deal is that everyone has to help you put the lego away. That’s the deal. $2 lego building competitions are also popular in this house.

Play shops

My girls love to play florists. They set up shop and collect flowers and greenery from around the garden and then make little bouquets.

The library or new books

Back in the early days of family life we’d always visit the local library. Unfortunately as the family grew and the number of books being borrowed grew, so did the missing books. They always turn up but when we moved I just decided to postpone joining the library. It’s just one child that always seems to lose books and we turn the house upside down, pay the fine and then it turns up again. The kids borrow at school each week and preschool has a library too. I never finished books in enough time so I choose to look for the best price online or at my favourite bookshop. Check out the library story time and any school holiday activities too. 

Get Baking

Baking serves two purposes in our house because it’s entertainment and it’s also making something to eat and fill tummies. Win win. Just remember that the kids’ idea of cleaning up isn’t yours, so teach them how to clean up as you’re showing them. If they haven’t done it right, call them back and encourage them to do it again.

Sleep ins and pj days 

One of the best things about holidays is not getting up and dressed for school. So plan a PJ day and make the most of it. And hopefully you don’t have a delivery or surprise guest come to the door.

Arts and Crafts 

Pick up some cheap packs of watercolour paints and butchers paper or pack of printer paper. Let the kids paint portraits of each other, what they can see, flowers, leaves or something else. I get hours of peace and quiet when the kids are painting and having fun on the back balcony. One day we had rain coming in and the girls weren’t bothered at all. The water paints wash out of everything easily and are fun to use as well. I stay clear of other paints that seem to go everywhere and don’t come out of clothes easily.

We also love beads, buttons and other crafts and they don’t have to cost a lot of money.

Chores

When all else fails and someone says they are bored tell them the dishwasher needs unpacking or the floors need to be washed. Works every time.

Oh and the fights. Look in every family there are quarrels and arguments over who sits where, someone is annoying someone else, someone wanted quiet time, someone hurt me (on purpose; never an accident apparently!) and so on. Time out, hug it out, attention to someone who needs it, quiet time reading, no screen time for an hour; whatever works. Sometimes, a little heart to heart that everyone needs to get along and love each other doesn’t go astray.

What’s your number 1 tip for school holiday fun?

 

 

 

a little bonnie & camille fabric giveaway

I’ve got a few fabric deliveries coming in as I sell a little bit of fabric (I’ll let you know when I do) and also hope to raise $1,000 for my little girl’s school. We love the place so much and the miracles they are working with our little girl and I know everyone loves fabric. Anyway, this is just a fun giveaway since May this year marks 10 years of blogging. That’s a long time. Next week it will have been 10 years of blogging since I started my first blog when I was nearing the end of my pregnancy with my eldest girl who turns 10 in 2 weeks.

Up for grabs I’ve got a metre of bonnie & camille vintage picnic, 1/2 metre of moda dottie, 1 charm square of little ruby by bonnie & camille and 2 mini charm packs of little ruby. The mini charm packs are adorable and I’ve been using them to make some blocks for a quilt. They are so cute and will be great for quilt blocks, little patchwork projects, borders and more. Just leave a comment what you were doing 10 years ago – 2006 to be exact – and I’ll pick a winner. I’ll also pop 1m of white homespun in there so you can make something special.

You can enter wherever you live in the world, one entry per person, I’ll pick the comment I love the most and I’ll close off entries on the 26th May. Thank you!

2 copies of Care Packages to giveaway

This is one of the cutest books I’ve read in a long time. It arrived and then the girls took off with it to read and I was left wondering where I had put it. And they keep taking it. They love it. I think you’ll love it too. And you don’t need to be crafty to appreciate this one.

Care Packages by Michelle Mackintosh has just been released and I was lucky enough to be sent a copy.  The book details the history of care packages and includes lots of great little facts, hints and tips but it is the photos that really make this book and its just full of them. So many gorgeous photos all beautifully styled.

Lots of ideas, there are recipes, packaging options, supplies to have on hand and lots of instructions too. I love making up gifts for new babies or dropping off a meal when someone is in hospital or sick. This book takes that to a whole new level of beautiful. And you’re going to love it. I’m thinking for school mums, people at your church, neighbours, family, friends and if you have children then they’re going to be inspired as well.

This weekend one of my twins has a party to go and usually I’ll do my own wrapping or sew up a quick bag. But we have a crazy weekend and so I just picked up a simple gift bag at the supermarket, $7.50 when I checked my receipt. For a gift bag!!!!! I nearly died. Back to making my own wrapping from now on.

And that’s why you need this book, you’ll get lots of ideas and can start making care packages for everyone you know. The boys will be out at the rugby from saturday afternoon so I’m looking forward to sitting down and having a really good read of this book. When my girls let me.

Thanks to Hardie Grant I have 2 copies of this gorgeous book to giveaway. Just leave a comment on why you need a copy, please make sure you live in australia so it can be posted out to you and I’ll close off entries next Friday 21st May 2016.

Good luck……..

 

autumn is finally here

Finally we’ve started to get some cooler weather here. I love the change to cooler weather but it’s been a bit slow this year. One day I’d get excited about wearing some wintery clothes and then the next day was almost 30 degrees. I had a relaxing Mother’s Day and hope you did too. I was spoilt with an assortment of goodies from the mother’s day stalls and craft time as well as some little surprises from l’occitane.  I wanted a few hours sewing in my craft room and got an hour or two and one quilt block to show for it.

We did have a bit of a drama with ordering flowers. I ordered the sydney ones for grandma all fine and knew they’d be wonderful but decided I’d try somewhere local to my mother in law who lives interstate. Ordered them online, received my receipt and just assumed they’d all be fine. As we finished up our call on Sunday night I thought she hadn’t mentioned the flowers. Well that’s because no flowers arrived. I couldn’t believe it and emailed the store but the emails came back in error. Rang the store and phone disconnected. So after some research we discovered that the flower shop closed and it looks like the website was hacked and redirected to someone’s paypal account. And they aren’t responding. Thanks to consumer affairs in victoria who rang the neighbours of the store and found out a few things and I’m chasing my refund through paypal. Moral of the story just because a store has a website and looks professional and comes up first in your google search doesn’t actually mean it’s a real store! And just pay that bit extra and order through interflora or a florist near you that you trust. Lesson learnt.

We’ve had some great fruit picking here with all of our citrus trees looking full and lovely. Still need to find some grapefruit fans and thinking I really need to box them up and take them off to someone this year so they don’t all end up on the ground. The mandarins are the last of the fruit to ripen and the kids are most excited about them. I just love the lemons but my oven is still out of action (the downside of having a microwave/wall oven/grill all in one 1980’s combo) but let me tell you that as soon as it’s working I’ll be making a few lemon delicious. Can’t wait.

And this year we’ve finally got organised and started buying our firewood in bulk. I hope this lasts us a while. The kids helped unload the car and dad stacked it and it’s looking great.

And you can find me in front of the fire once all my jobs for the day are done. I’m almost finished granny’s favourite but can’t believe I mucked up the sleeve. I even shared a photo of the finished sleeve and it was only when I went back to the pattern to start the 2nd sleeve that I saw my big boo boo. I’ve missed an important row of garter stitch before the lace pattern. Couldn’t believe it. I’ll have to leave it and get over it. I hope to finish it this weekend and start a smaller project as quick knits are always my favourite. So I can start my next one.

stay warm if it’s chilly where you are……….

Could you make a quilt block or two?

This week my heart just broke when I heard that a sweet little boy who I’d see photos of on Instagram sadly passed away. I loved his cheeky smile and that blonde mop of hair and his mum’s positive attitude for everything. When you become a mum you just become so emotional when anything happens to a child and when you’re a special needs mum well it’s a whole new level of emotion and empathy. We love those little ones so much and invest all of our time and love into them. And the love that they give back is so innocent and unconditional. They are a treasure and we want the best for them in every way.

Now I don’t know the family but I just thought  a quilt for the family would be something lovely. Little Nicholas leaves behind two brothers and I thought a quilt each might be nice if we get enough blocks. I’m thinking blues (any shade), white, red, teal, bit of green and keeping it classic. I’ll do white borders and a bright binding. If you have any blocks (10 inches would be wonderful) or would like to make one and send it to me just message me or leave a comment and I’ll get back to you with the PO box. Someone offered money for postage but that isn’t necessary and if you wanted to make a donation to the family that can be done here (organised by Friends of Zara).

I just about lose my breath and get into a panic at the thought of losing a child and can’t imagine the loss to a family and community. A quilt is made with love and care and something that makes you feel like you have helped in some small way. I know the quilters know that. Thank you xx

The Life Giving home – a must read

If I get time to put my feet up then I either knit or read a book. That means it takes me a while to actually get through a book. I’ve been going on this one for less a month and so in love with it. It’s for the Christian mums out there or mums who are wanting to create more of a warm family home. It’s not about the paint colours or decorating but more about the feeling, the rituals and traditions that you can make in your family over the years.

It is such a comforting book. Every time I picked it up I felt like making a cup of tea (because they talk about having cups of tea and cosy moments) and relaxing on the couch to enjoy the book. Even if I was in car line waiting for the kids to pile in.

The authors Sally and Sarah Clarkson are mother and daughter and have very different writing styles. I found Sally has the warmer and more experienced tone in her writing and is very poetic but Sarah who is also a wonderful author offers such great advice and experience about social media, current lifestyles and so on. Their chapters are divided throughout the book so you might be reading one of Sally’s chapters and the next one is Sarah’s and you will know without even having to see who wrote it. And Sally homeschooled her children but you would never know from the book and the reason I say that is sometimes a book can be really geared towards the homeschooling family and lifestyle but this book isn’t.

Do I think everyone will love it? I’m not sure on this one but I do know a lot of my readers will enjoy it. It’s a book that had so many beautiful quotes and things that I wanted to share and keep somewhere. The book covers everything from celebrations, seasons, structuring your day with children around, planning your year, hosting guests, entertaining kids, listening to kids and more. There is so much to get out of the book and I want to read it again and also pass it on to so many of my friends.

Here is a lovely excerpt that I think you will relate to

‘How easy it is to miss the beauty woven into this work. We three there in the kitchen were the makers of all that our family most loved at Christmas – the good food, the gifts, the well-set table, the camaraderie. My moment of insight began then, the realisation that in the work I joined with my mother and sister I was the keeper of life’s riches. That my oh – so – ordinary work helped weave the extraordinary celebration of Christmas’ (p.230)

This book is also perfect for where I am in life right now. As everyone is growing up and getting busier my responsibilities are increasing and I can also see with the older children how much they still need me. There is so much to be done at home and not just in the getting everyone where they need to be but listening to them, planning with them, comforting them as well as making sure everyone has clean clothes, food to eat (it’s like a non stop cafeteria), a house in some order, their hair done and everyone trying to get along. It’s becoming clearer and clearer to me that the work side of things will need to give way so that family can continue to come first. You can also see with your older children how all the years of being there are paying off in the beautiful people they are becoming. I think this is why I loved the book so much because there is advice for parenting babies and little ones and starting the traditions and home culture when they are young right up to when they are adults and you are welcoming them back into the home.

family

So after all of that it’s just a wonderful book. It will make you feel valued for the work you do and also inspire you to plan more for your family. Definitely worth buying a copy and I see that some of my readers have already been reading it. Its the kind of book that you will read and keep and go back to, mark down things that you want to refer back to or read again. And then you might share it but you’ll want it back again.

One of the nicest reads I’ve had in a long time and so much so that I didn’t want it to end. And so when I finished reading it I bought the journal which I thought would just be a bit of the book and lots of blank pages but is so much more. I’ll be back to review it soon. It arrived in the post but I’ve been so busy trying to knit for the cooler weather there has been no reading time the last 2 weeks.

Taking a drive on Sunday

 

Brought to you by Nissan

I love going out for day trips and getting out of the house. Nissan kindly lent me the latest Nissan Pathfinder which is a 7-seater SUV that we are loving. With a new car in the driveway I knew we would have fun taking it out for the day. We decided to head to Wiseman’s Ferry for lunch and it turned out to be the most beautiful day. You wouldn’t know it was autumn with the sun shining and temperature reaching 29º.

Wiseman’s Ferry is just over an hour from the city. Once you get on to Old Northern Road you just keep heading north and keep following the signs for lemons, figs, fresh flowers and stone fruit. The road gets windy as you approach with some hairpin bends. Make sure you stop at Hawkins lookout on the way there.

Then you arrive in the very cute little Wiseman’s Ferry and you feel like you are millions of miles away from the suburbs. It definitely feels like a little village far far away.

I thought we’d have lunch at the Wisemans Inn , which has a big outside garden and a jumping castle, but then I saw the picturesque view from Busby’s and decided we’d treat ourselves to a lovely lunch there. Even the view from the car park is something special.

It was so quiet and peaceful on the balcony….until we got there. Just kidding. We were on our best behaviour and there was another family with a child….as we sat down with our 6. I’m used to people counting heads but menus, lemonades and iPhones kept little ones quiet until lunch arrived. The kids’ meals were huge and so delicious and I was very old school with my quiche and salad and coffee. The servings were generous and it was such a great little lunch. I love when you have a change of plans and it turns out perfectly.

And how is the view? Million dollar views from our table! We definitely were made to feel welcome with our big crowd and seating us all was no problem.

After lunch we had a little walk around and look at the shops.

Then if you take a short drive further you hit the water and kiosk and fun playgrounds for the kids.  

I had to remind myself where we were because now I felt like I was in Northern NSW with all the sun, water and trees everywhere. If you need to escape for the day then this is the place to do it.

Back in the car and time to head home with a pit stop for some afternoon tea at Glenorie Bakery, which I’d read about in a few itineraries for day trips to Wiseman’s Ferry.

These tarts were delicious and there was quite a crowd for  a Sunday afternoon but plenty of seating inside and out. Also a cute gift shop in the same complex if you have time and like to browse. And shop. I left my wallet in the car which was probably a good thing. That and the girls wanted to get back in the car and watch the rest of Tangled. The Pathfinder has its own entertainment system so the kids were really excited to get back in to watch the rest of the DVD from their seats. Truth be told they are excited to go anywhere in the car because they can watch DVDs in the back. We watched Kung Fu Panda on the way there and Tangled on the way home.

All in all we had the nicest day out. If you haven’t been to Wiseman’s Ferry yet then you need to get there. I can’t believe I’ve never been before. And I think while we have the car we might need to do a day trip down to the Southern Highlands as it’s been too long since I’ve been down there too. The Pathfinder is roomy and comfortable inside so it definitely made driving with the family easy and enjoyable. Don’t you just love day trips and making memories. We do!

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing more of our adventures in the Nissan Pathfinder. 

there has been lots of knitting

Sometimes I am on a real go slow with my knitting or a particular project. And then there are times when I’m so motivated to finish a project. That is how I’ve been with this little cardy for my littlest miss. I have just been so motivated to get it finished and she’s been coming over and taking the first page of the pattern to show everyone what I’m knitting. That’s a good sign. Because I did make her a kina and it’s still unworn because she didn’t like wearing it. So we’re feeling positive about this one. I’ve been knitting in the backyard, while getting a pedicure, in the car to the blue mountains, watching tv, in front of the fire, while listening to little people read to me. This has taken me one week so far which is pretty good in my books.

I’m using granny’s favourite by tikki which is a favourite of mine. If you look up #grannysfavourite on instagram you’ll see lots for inspiration with a few real life grannies in there too. And I’ve used Bendigo Luxury 8 ply in bubblegum which I’m just loving. I was using it for the garter stitch blanket square but switched it to this project and it’s such a great pink. But of course I needed more so I’ll be waiting for the mailman to arrive with my order of Bendigo.

And that free  shipping if you spend $50 meant I had to get another couple of balls to avoid postage. The things we do. But with the cooler weather here I picked up some 10 ply in pale pink to make this cardigan for a few baby girls that have been born or are being born. I was having a big clearout and nearly threw out the magazine and then saw how perfect this little cardigan looked. You can also find the pattern online as a download here (US$2.99).

image source

Most of the family are back to school and work tomorrow so I probably won’t get much knitting done but at least I’ve been productive so far…………I hope you’ve been squeezing in a bit of craft time too. I have just started my next project..while I wait for that delivery. It’s another old favourite of mine from last minute knitted gifts, here is the last time I made one.

how to sew a shopping bag holder

For years I’d been saying I must make myself one of these and then I made one and wondered why I’d waited so long. I then made about 12 for my school fete last year. They all sold that afternoon. These are quick, easy, fun and so practical. They sell out at any fete and make a great Mother’s Day gift or just an essential item for your kitchen

 

What you’ll need

1 fat quarter (about 50x55cm) fabric (I used Amy Butler for this project

50cm Elastic (any width)

Scrap of ribbon/tape for hanging loop

Sewing machine

Iron

Pencil, scissors, pins, safety pin or bobkin, thread

 

How to make it

Take your fat quarter and cut off any selvages. With right sides of your fabric together fold lengthways and pin the long sides together (this gives us longer carrier to fit more plastic bags in).

Sew a straight line from the top to the bottom of your long edge that you have pinned together and then zig zag/overlock edges

Now you are going to make elastic casings for the top and bottom of the carrier. Take your fabric to the iron and fold over a few mm’s around one end and press well. Fold over again by a width wider than your elastic and press well again. I like to put the elastic against the folded over section and check that it’s bigger.

Repeat with the other end of the carrier and take to your sewing machine

We are going to sew close to the folded down edge but we are going to leave about a 1inch gap between our first and last stitches so that we can thread through our elastic. Repeat with the other end of the carrier.

Now cut your elastic length to the width of your carrier. Cut 2 pieces

Take a large safety pin and place it in the end of the elastic with a pin at the other end. The safety pin is used to push through your elastic and the pin prevents the end of the elastic getting lost in the casing. Thread through the safety pin first and push through. Taking care not to twist the elastic remove the safety pin and pin and sew elastic closed. I do this with a zig zag stitch and go back and forth a few times

Repeat with the other end of the casing.

Now work out which is the top of the carrier (important if you have a fabric with an obvious design) and you are going to cut about 5cms of ribbon/tape for our hanging loop. I like to have the loop inside the bag but you might like it on the outside. It’s up to you. Using the line of the stitches that you sewed around the bag and with a pin on the loop sew up the casing closed making sure you sew through the layers of the loop as well as the fabric.

Sew closed the elastic casing at the other end of the carrier. Trim all threads and you are done.

These are very addictive.

uberkate giveaway on Instagram

If you pop over to my Instagram page you’ll find a lovely giveaway in time for Mother’s Day. I love wearing my extra small ubercircle and thanks to Uberkate am giving one away. Entries close 30th April and all you need to do is go to the photo on Instagram, leave a comment with the name (or initials) that you’d like engraved on the circle and I’ll pick one winner. It also comes with the sterling silver necklace too.

Good luck!

why I love crochet

This is one of the main reasons I love crochet. Exhibit A. Two crocheted squares (one finished, one almost finished) measuring 10 inches for our schools Wrap with Love project. Each square took one night on the couch while I watched Barbie, Toy Story and so on cuddled up with the kids. Piece of Cake. I’m using this pattern.

And now I present Exhibit B. One garter stitch square that is coming out slightly larger than 10 inches and is taking FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve done this for 3 nights, 2 stints in car line, some morning knitting and I’m still going! About 3 more inches to go. It is nice and squishy though.

So moral of the story is that for the school blankets I’ll be doing crocheted squares from here onwards. Well once I finish the garter stitch square. Wool all came from the stash and mostly Bendigo in a range of colours. I really am loving the grey and pink combo which are the latest colours in Luxury and just gorgeous.