my in three's baby cardigan

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

This little sweater has been a long time coming. A look at my email records tells me that I bought the pattern in July, and ordered the yarn a few weeks later. But the story starts even before then, because I had been saving knitting patterns and longing to make something more complicated than a scarf for many years. I was so intimidated though, by the patterns themselves with all of their k's and p's (and don't even get me started on knitting charts…) and by the beautiful things I saw other people create.

I'm not sure what changed, but this year I decided to just go for it. When I first had a good look at this pattern, and then saw my friend's toddler wearing the cardigan, I was hopelessly discouraged. And then I gave myself a pep talk that went something like this: For crying out loud Gaby, just do it. One. Row. At. A. Time.

So I started, and I repeated my mantra, 'one row at a time,' to myself many, many times. My mother in law helped me out with one little bit (the sleeves, I think) but mostly, I was able to follow the pattern without too much trouble. The funniest thing is that after holding on to the pattern and the yarn for over 3 months, from start to finish it only took me 10 days to knit this up and put it on my girl. I was so proud, and a bit surprised too, when it was done and it really was a cardigan. With buttons and sleeves and everything.

As happy as I am with the end product, I have to say that I absolutely loved knitting it too. I found so much comfort in picking up my needles each day, and paired with an episode of Downton Abbey, it was the perfect way to spend an hour.

A few details: the pattern is in three's: a baby cardigan. I used Bendigo's Luxury 10-ply yarn in the colour blue denim. I made the 18 month size, which is a bit big on Clementine so I'm planning to cast on soon for one size down. This knitting this, it really is addictive...

p.s. I'm on ravelry, and you can find me here.


when your toddler takes a 4 hour nap

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Every day, around 11am, Clementine goes down for her one nap of the day. She falls asleep quickly and easily (thankfully), but as to how long she'll sleep for… Well, that one's a mystery. Without rhyme or reason, she will sleep anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours. Until yesterday, that is, when she broke all nap records and snoozed for four. Hours. Straight. It was crazy! I debated waking her up, but thought better of it,  deciding that she obviously needed the sleep. She still went to bed at the same time as usual later that night, and didn't wake until the morning so I know that I made the right decision (not always the case).

So what is a mom to do when her toddler naps for 4 hours? There was some laundry and tidying, but that didn't last for long. The couch was calling and so I curled up with some knitting, my current book, a stack of Taproot magazines and quite a few cups of tea. I also managed to whip up a pair of pyjama pants for my girl, once I determined that my sewing machine wasn't loud enough to wake her up. I used this tutorial, and they were super fast and easy to whip up. They ended up on the small size, but luckily I have lots of that flannel left over so I'm going to try again.

In other news, there was a crazy storm in Sydney last night and when we woke up this morning, we found that our roof had leaked. Our new couch is drenched (in parts), as is a big patch of our carpet. So once again, our living room is in disarray. But we had to laugh because as annoyed and frustrated as we were, once the couch was without its cushions and things were hung up to dry all throughout the apartment, Clementine was in heaven. She's treating the couches like her own personal trampoline park, and having a ball. Leave it to a toddler to always, always, find the fun in any given situation.


pretty as a picture dress

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I have been wanting to make this dress for Clementine forever. Probably since the very first time I saw it in the book Handmade Beginnings, which was, in fact, before I even had a baby to sew for. But I knew that if I ever had a girl, she'd be in this dress sooner or later.

So I had the fabric (the exact fabric that's used for this dress in the book), I had the pattern, I had the baby girl but I didn't have the gumption to give it a shot. Enter my mother in law. Over three afternoons, she showed me everything from how to painstakingly transfer the right sized pattern onto paper to how to use a padded ham to press every seam perfectly. She even did some of the trickier bits herself to make sure the end result was flawless.

And it really is. When we finished it yesterday we both kept looking at it and sighing. It's just so beautiful. The buttery voile, the colours and prints, and the little one who really isn't into modelling these days.

p.s. on a completely unrelated note, the husband and I are off to see Alt-J tonight and I'm so excited it feels like Christmas!


LIFE: CAPTURED masterclass with Ronnie

Friday, October 3, 2014

Ever since I heard about their new venture, I've been so excited for Ronnie and Trish. These two women are seriously motivated and it's inspiring to see. After running several LIFE CAPTURED workshops they've just launched a beautiful website, LIFE: CAPTURED Inc. I love their mission and their tagline, 'The modern school of memory keeping.' On October 17th, I will be attending Ronnie's masterclass, Photo Organisation with Lightroom, and I cannot wait!

In her own words:

This masterclass is perfect for anybody who feels overwhelmed by all the photos and other media files that they have. Together, you will learn how to consolidate, re-name, organise, manage, and keyword every one of your photo files - from the past, present and the future. "No file left behind" will become your mantra. You will leave this masterclass feeling confident in your own ability to keep your photo library well-organised.
- Ronnie

I'm looking forward to learning from Ronnie; she is the most organised and efficient person I have ever met, and if even a little bit of that rubs off I will be grateful! As I take on professional photography work, I find that I'm documenting our lives less, and I'm not very happy about it. I'm hoping that establishing a really solid system will help me in my own memory keeping efforts. And I have to say that I'm also quite keen to catch up with Ronnie (it's been a while) and have a day on my own in the beautiful Northern Beaches…

If you're interested, they're offering a $75 discount for this first round of masterclass. You can sign up here or email ronnie@lifecapturedinc.com

I hope to meet some of you there!


one thing at a time

Friday, September 26, 2014

oh how I would love to drink my coffee and do nothing else! this is a shot from my session with Stella

I have this terrible habit of trying to do 10 things at once, and not succeeding at any of them. It's multi-tasking at its worst. Let me give you a concrete example from this week…

I struggle through the door and up the stairs with a baby on my hip and shopping bags on my arms. I dump everything outside the kitchen and think, "I really need to put a load of nappies on to wash." I get the washing machine started and then walk back to the kitchen to start putting away the shopping. I notice the mess on the counters and start trying to wash dishes as I put fresh food in the fridge. I'm hungry so I'm also shovelling bites of food into my mouth as I go. Then I notice that the floor is disgusting and I start sweeping up the remnants of lunch. It's at this point that I realise that I've forgotten about the washing machine, which is now halfway through its cycle with no nappies in it. Awesome. The kitchen is still a mess, the laundry pile is as high as ever and Clementine is whining for my attention. Utter fail.

I was recently re-reading Sara Avant Stover's book (as I tend to do at the beginning of each season) when this passage jumped out at me:

"Knowing the reality of these women's lives as wives and mothers, Dipa Ma offered the most practical advice she could: Practice mindfulness. Feel the cloth as you fold your laundry and hang it on the line. Notice the temperature of the water on your skin as you wash the dishes. Sense your baby's lips on your breast as she feeds. Turn away from your thoughts and become present to moment-to-moment sensations as you do your chores."
                    - Sara Avant Stover

It was just the advice I needed to hear. Instead of trying to do five things at once, do one, but do it mindfully. 'One thing at a time' has been the mantra I repeat to myself many times a day. I still find myself trying to multi-task but when I do, I pause, take a breath and commit myself to just one task. And when I do, I no longer feel like I'm running around like a headless chicken and I get more done.


for the love of tv

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

completely unrelated photo because my TV is not at all photogenic

Lest you came away from this post thinking I'm a book snob who only ever reads, I'm here to tell you that I love TV. For so many reasons (here's a good list), I enjoy watching TV shows and found that I watched more after having a baby. Blame it on all that time spent at home nursing and watching the baby nap. Broken down into a few categories, here are some of my favourites:

Shows that are cancelled: Big Love, Sex and the City, Gilmore Girls, Flight of the Conchords, The Vicar of Dibley, Black Books and 30 Rock. I had been telling my husband about 30 Rock for years, but he only just got into it a few months ago. Re-watching it was just as good as watching it the first time; it is quite possibly my favourite show ever made. I love Tina Fey. And if you've never heard of The Vicar of Dibley, do yourself a favour and go watch it! I wouldn't necessarily call myself an Anglophile, but I do have a weakness for British film and TV. The English sense of humour just kills me. Speaking of which, Black Books would also have to be in my top 3, and if you're a Black Books fan, click here.

Shows I watch with my husband: Homeland, The Newsroom, Game of Thrones, Elementary, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Seinfeld. To be honest, all the violence and gore in Game of Thrones finally got to me (hello red wedding) and I didn't watch the whole last season. I still can't decide if I'll go back to it. I'm bummed that The Newsroom is only getting one more season, but I am eagerly awaiting it. And as for Homeland, not sure how I feel about Brody being gone, but I'll give it a shot.

Guilty pleasures: Arctic Air, Hart of Dixie, The Bachelor. Oh man, I can't believe I just admitted to watching these. For the first time ever, I'm watching The Bachelor. I have to say that my favourite thing about it is reading these recaps the day after and also rehashing last night's episodes with a good friend of mine. I really hope that no one is ever listening in on our conversations because we sound ridiculous! As for Hart of Dixie, yeah, that one just keeps getting worse and worse but I can't stop watching. And I'm team George, in case you were wondering…

A few others: Downton Abbey, Girls, Orange is the New Black, Offspring. I think you all know by now that I can't get enough of Offspring. It's most definitely my favourite Australian show, and just as much as the show, I love obsessing over Nina's wardrobe and home. Oh, and I cannot wait for Downton Abbey to come back!

And because I'm a hypocrite, I've been thinking a lot about Clementine's TV consumption. Katrina Kenison has a really good chapter in this book about going TV free, and while I agree with everything she says, I just can't seem to survive without it. Clementine doesn't watch a lot of TV, but I do find myself using it to distract her most days. My husband doesn't usually get home until 6, and in the period from 4 to 5pm when I'm trying to make her dinner, make our dinner and tidy up, she's grumpy. She will whine unless I'm holding her, which makes all of those tasks impossible. Inevitably I find myself turning on ABC for kids just so I can cook. I'd love to hear your thoughts on kids and TV, especially if any of you are a no-TV-household.


a crappy week

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I didn't intend to be absent from here for so long, but the truth is that last week was crap and I didn't feel like blogging. Parenting can be so humbling. You think you have it all together, and then you have a week from hell and you're left scratching your head. Last week, for reasons we couldn't figure out, it seriously seemed as though Clementine was possessed. She screamed for days on end, and was only happy ('happy' being a relative term) if I was holding her. The one upside was that I got lots of cuddles, which is unusual for my normally very independent toddler. But it was utterly exhausting, physically and emotionally. I spent all week wondering, "what am I doing wrong?"

On Sunday morning Clementine woke up, and just like that, all was well again. She went back to being her normal happy self. Later that day I noticed that one of her molars had popped through (her first), so I'm blaming week-of-hell on that. I have to admit that this scares me, because if that's what we have to go through with each molar…

This week has been much better already. I'm busy chasing Clementine and trying to keep up with my photography work. This weekend I got to shoot two newborns, one of whom was only a few hours old. Such a privilege.

On the home front, we're in the middle of a big furniture swap and re-arrange and it's all a bit chaotic. You can hardly move in our living room for all of the couches and chairs, most of which to be re-homed asap. One of our bookshelves fell apart (thank you Ikea), which means there are now books scattered all over the floor. I refuse to buy furniture from Ikea, so I'm hoping to find a new to us bookshelf on freecycle, or perhaps the side of the road... I hate when our home is this messy and disorganised, but I know that when it's all done, our place will look better than ever before. I can't wait.


away: to the central coast

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Last week we spent a few days up the coast, just for fun. Theresa had generously told us that we were welcome to stay at their place while they're off globe trotting, and I had been dying to take her up on the offer. Their home is so nice, and it honestly felt like arriving at a hotel. Not to mention the fact that Mason's room is set up identically to Clementine's (with the same crib, same bumpers, same books and even the same artwork hanging), so she felt right at home! For the first night, my friend and her toddler joined us and then we had a day on our own.

The weather was terrible the first day and we didn't do much, but on day 2 we visited Jodi and Poet, then headed to Avoca to check out Like Minds. It came highly recommended and it didn't disappoint. They were even nice about our two crazy toddlers running around! If you go, please have a chai and a brownie for me. 

Before heading back home, we took a quick pitstop at Bohemian Traders HQ so I could pick up a top I haven't taken off since… We then headed to East Gosford where we stopped at the divine Piccolo Pear, grabbed coffee at Oomph and then walked over to a lovely playground. After a short walk we found ourselves at the Gosford Art Gallery, where the Japanese Gardens kept Clementine entertained for ages.

I'm already planning our next trip up. There are quite a few more places I want to visit, and if my husband comes next time, I might actually be able to sit and have lunch in peace! If you're planning a visit, this post from Jodi is great.

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