Saturday, June 27, 2009


Nana, Nana, Nana...clever Nana, clever and generous. After a few days looking curiously at a postal slip on our fridge wondering what the parcel awaiting us held in store, we got to the post office yesterday morning to collect a package from Mum/Nana containing a treasure chest equivalent of knitted wonders for the baby/Dot #2! A cardigan, two pairs of booties, and a matching jumper and booties set.

When I called Mum to thank her, she apologised for not having finished/sent the pram set she's been working on for the baby. This pram set / layette is a bit of a tradition as Mum's knitted it over the years for a good number of her 27 grandchildren. When my great aunt "Auntie" was alive, she and Mum would divide the knitting of the set between them; Mum would knit, say, the cardigan and bonnet and Auntie would knit the pants and mittens. Now Mum knits it all, along with other things for the new baby.


Conversation with Elsa yesterday morning:
Dada: "let's go to Footscray Market"
Elsa: "it's not Footsday, it's Monday"

Thereby followed a conversation about Footscray being a place, not a day of the week. We didn't even bother also explaining that it was Saturday not Monday because, really it's not important! But it got us to thinking (and laughing about) what 'Footsday' would be like if it existed. Would the name have derived from the pagan ritual of the feet (not that one exists to our knowledge) or was it the original name for Sunday - a day to rest one's feet?

Anyhow, the Market was bustling and we enjoyed a reprieve at a small two-table cafe inside the market where a group of regulars chatted over coffee. We ended up in conversation with them, initiated by good-natured laughter at Elsa as she covered her face in the chocolate from the baby chino froth. As we left we reflected on how grateful we are to be able to sit with a table of people such a range of cultural backgrounds: Serbia, Macedonia, Italy, Greece, Canada and China.

We popped across the road for some more input from Italy in the form of Cavallaro and Sons where the canolli is wonderful and apparently has been for more than a few decades. We've refrained from splurging on a tray of canolli for a while but when in the neighbourhood....


Home for some sewing time for Mama and a nap and bike ride for Dada and Elsa.

Sunday brought with it another round of birthday celebrations. It was my brother-in-laws birthday and we gathered to enjoy a brunch of Spanish Omelette cooked by my sister and Klafutti by Dada Dino. I can't find a link to a Klafutti recipe in English so will type on in here soon. It's basically like and upside down pancake with fruit on the top/bottom. He usually makes it with stone fruit but today, used raspberries and apple to good effect!

In the afternoon, we moved onto a combined 2nd birthday party for all the kids in our local Mum's and babies group.

We do a 'Kris Kringle' of sorts for the birthday gift exchange. Elsa recieved a great big stamp pad and six fun big stamps, which she enjoyed using as soon as we got home!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Today, a friend and I set out on a sewing-related shopping adventure with our 2 years old in-toe. Slightly ambitious? Yes. Crazy at times? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely!

We started at The Craft Circle gathering felt, blank-paged drawing books, a sewing needle for Elsa and a few other bits and pieces.

We then moved onto GJ Discount Fabrics and that was a tad 'dangerous'. I've wanted to get there for so long and now I truely know why! I made most of my purchases on the top floor where all the quilting materials are kept but, also found some hessian for Elsa to begin 'sewing' on and some green, cottin chenille. I also grabbed some single-sided iron on interfacing for a good price. At home this afternoon, I cut out an Oliver and S jacket from one of the fabrics.

Home for some rhubarb ricotta pastries (reipe taken from The Cooks Companion). These could be our new favourite last-minute dessert / sweet treat. Soooo easy...puff pastry cut into circles, almond meal sprinkled on pastry, a mixture of rhubarb, ricotta, cinammon and sugar plopping on top and the 'circle' closed ravioli style, sealed with a fork, brushed with egg and a sprinkle of sugar on top and there you have it....and there are no quantities given in the recipe so I really just went with what looked right...Steph does suggest equal potions rhubarb to ricotta and that's about easy, so quick.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


What a glorious winters day! It seemed that wherever Elsa played in the house today, a little ray of sunlight found her.
Her felt fruit has been making it into her playdough box more and more often;
not much fun to clean but she loves to combine the two
Sunshine makes us all smile
In the courtyard using her new sidewalk chalk
Lunch outdoors with Gnocchi & Mama
A break from crafting to hug Gnocchi
And what would the day be without some cooking. Elsa begged me all day to make a cake but ended up settling for rice pudding in the late afternoon.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


No, not me though (off to Vancouver that is) though, that would be great! But I did finish this bag today and will send it off tomorrow to our god-son in Vancouver who will celebrate his 3rd birthday next week. I hope it gets there in time. I'm completely addicted to this pattern but haven't used it since Christmas time when I adapted it to beach bag size and made one each for a niece and nephew...with matching shorts. This time I tried to make the bag large enough for Thomas (the birthday boy) to use as a library bag but, if that doesn't work, I hope he finds some other use for it.
Here's one that my sister made for Elsa last year. She loves it and finds all sorts of uses for it. Confessing another addiction - this material...I have quite the stash of it now in a range of colours...slowing making my way through it. It's a Japanese print from Spotlight!
A friend recently asked how I get sewing done with Elsa around...well, sometimes she just likes to watch! She even sends advice my way like "a bit slower Mama, I'm watching" or "use that pretty colour Mama"...

Nothing like some carrot coconut cookies to provide stamina to the sewers! This book is getting a workout in our house this's an old favourite from our days on the island.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Dada finally decided to part with one of his favourite business shirts that simply didn't fit anymore and I couldn't bare to part with it completely so it now has a new life as something we're calling Elsa's "baby business skirt". There's still some material left over that I hope to convert to shorts for the new baby. The sleeves and collar came off, I narrowed the front with seams on either side, put casing around the top for an elastic waist and sewed some bias-binding around the bottom (well, not before these photos were taken!) and, there you have it. I like the way the small pleat from the back of the shirt sits in the middle of the front - or is that the back? I'm undecided....guess it can change from wear to wear.


Winter Solstice celebrations for us tonight (with the playgroup/kindergarten Elsa attends). I rushed to make a lantern after a busy day and was glad I did. She so enjoyed carrying it around during the lantern walk and is sure to ask for us to light it again soon. Just as she might request hot chocolate by the fire but that will be tougher to provide. Perhaps she'll settle for hot chocolate by the lantern.


We started experimenting with water colour (wet-on-wet style) painting this week and Dot is loving it. She's also taken to playing hide and seek so it's a daily occurence to find her hiding under a blanket in her bedroom. From the hallway you can just hear a muffled giggle...and later there's a squeal when she's 'discovered' of course.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Elsa and I made it to Williamstown today for a gathering with friends. It was so cold and wintery that we cut short our park time to plonk ourselves in Breizoz French Crepery for lunch. Gosh I love that place; fresh apple cider, buckwheat galettes, chocolate crepes for dessert and smiles all round. And plenty of space to run (for Elsa that is; I was too busy eating). You see, all the other customers were sitting outside in the sun. That's right, the sun. You didn't expect it to stay bitterly cold for too long did you? We do live in Melbourne afterall and it was a whole 2 hours before the weather completely changed!
A friend treats us with some home preserves!

Remember the thrill of new chalk? Elsa was pretty impressed, and then proceeded to break most of the pieces in two! We'll wait until she's a bit older before buying more!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Happy Birthday Dad. You would've been 76 today - over 3/4 of a century! No doubt your day would've gone something like church with Mum, home via a newsagency to collect the newspaper, cup of coffee with Mum at home, perhaps a lie down followed by the arrival of loads of visitors (your 10 children, their partners and your 27 grandchildren! - probably minus the few that live in Melbourne) - yes, I am one of 10 kids and yes, Dad would've been worn out by the end of the day! He might have gone to tinker in "the shed" for a break but he wouldn't have been alone for long. There would no doubt have been some directing of children/grandchildren to carry out jobs for him around the house and yard/paddocks and some bellowing at grandchildren or children to drive slower down the drive or "help your mother" with lunch...unfortunately, none of it will happen this year. It's been 15 months since Dad died so this is our second birthday without him. Last year Mum held a bonfire in the front paddock to celebrate the 75th that almost was but would never be and this year, I'm not sure what she's doing. I'll call her but not until I pull myself together!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


After Elsa had considered my ballooning belly for some time at breakfast this morning, the following conversation ensued.
Elsa: (without taking her eyes off my belly): "okay, baby out now".
(It was although she was saying "okay, enough's enough, I've been patient and all but this is getting ridiculous).
Mama: "It will be a long time before the baby is ready to be born".
Elsa: "yeah, not today, TOMORROW!".
At two, 'Tomorrow' is a long time away for Elsa! Three or so months is sure to feel like an eternity!


I made these fingerless gloves from Last Minute Knitted Gifts for Dino for his birthday (at the end of May) but had some final stitching to do before I could truly call them 'complete'. I couldn't bring myself to make them matching but close enough. I used a combination of Jo Sharp 8 ply (the red) and some yarn that a friend brought back for me from Argentina. Now they're ready to keep his hands warm on the train platform in the morning (on the days he doesn't ride to work) while still allowing him finger movement to dig into his pockets for change for a morning coffee or flick the pages of his book.


We've been planning a shopping trip to the Mediterranean Wholesalers for weeks now and finally got there today. It's something we do every 4 or so months to replenish our stock of all things Mediterranean, especially cheeses, cans of tomatoes, olives, legumes and pasta. And we always try to combine the visit with a catch-up with friends in the cafe within the store, where hot chocolate is still $1.50 and the array of fresh-baked cakes ad biscuits makes choosing a treat oh so tough...easily fixed by ordering a wide selection to share with friends! We all enjoyed today's selection made by Dino.

After coffee/hot chocolate and baked treats, I left Dino and Elsa to do the shopping (she loves chatting about the wide variety of pasta as we make our way down the aisles) while I popped across to the Spotlight across the road, where I picked out some fabric (thanks to Mum for the birthday voucher!).
The fabrics are all from a range called 'Antique Treasures' (in the quilting section). I already had some of the range at home but all the prints I grabbed today are new to the stash. I'm planning on making some maternity tops for myself, summer skirts for Elsa and a few kid's library bags for upcoming birthdays.

Off to enjoy the paella Dino cooked for dinner; ah, the benefits of a trip to the Medditeranean Wholesalers are never-ending!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


A birthday gift arrives from Elsa's Nana in Sydney - a set of classic Golden Books. Gosh, we lived on these as kids! So far, Elsa likes 'I can fly' the best.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Everyone needs a pair of brown cords at some stage in their lives. Don't they? At uni. all the engineering students seemed to own at least a few pair and we (the oh so classy town planning students - uh-hum..) teased them no end because of it. So, what so ever possessed me to make Elsa a pair today?! Guess I think she can carry them off; amazing what a trim of Japanese mushroom print (Spotlight) can do! And they should fit her for a few winters. I've used this Simplicity Sewing Pattern for Dummies around 6 times now for kids from ages 1 to 10 and am always happy with the outcome; add a bit of trim here and there, change the pocket a bit and they look and feel different every time.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


It was Elsa's birthday last Friday and we can't believe she's two! It's a cliche I know but I'm going to say it anyway, where has the time gone?!?

Her actual birth-day was relatively calm, except for the early morning gift opening session in our bed when gave her a (toy) guitar and she played it and sung at the top of her voice! Noisy and lovely all at once. We spent the early the morning hanging out with Dada at home while he tried to balance meeting a work-related deadline and sharing the birthday-related activities such as sharing her birth story (in a way she could comprehend!) and gift opening.
I was so happy with her response to the gifts I made her...she cuddled the cat, had it chase the mouse and rocked the baby all while wearing her new hat. The birthday crown taken from Soulemama was also much enjoyed. I used hand-dyed felt from Winterwood and lined it with the same. The beads are from a stash I've had forever. I'm always amazed by how much she seems to appreciate the hand-made. I guess they mostly do but still, the difference astounds me (and was very satisfying after all those late nights knitting and sewing away!).

Birthday 'stash'; gifts made by Mama, carrot slices made by her cousin and a wooden cow (Winterwood) and beaver (for a touch of Canadian)

By mid-morning we were at the "big park" with Gnocchi (the dog) in-toe enjoying the last of Autumn, in the village chosing lollies for the birthday cake and racing around trying to find the nicest Lamingtons on offer. Elsa chose a train cake and this was the quick and easy, which was important at the end of a busy birthday month! I will have to make her a cake for play group on Thursday, which made me feel better about buying the Lamingtons for this one! (slacker!).

She was sooo very tired from the morning activities that her day time 'nap' extended to 4pm (!) and missed a call from her Yiayia who is travelling in Greece (from Canada where she lives). But her late sleep did allow us to venture out for fish and chips for her birthday dinner and come home for cake afterwards. She was so patient to wait all day for some cake; we did have to succumb to some lollie eating to get us there but hey, that's what birthdays are for!

Yesterday we went to Healesville Sanctuary with two of her cousins and they all seemed to have a fantastic day. The animals were truely 'performing' for us; at least it felt that way. One Koala was actually runnning around on the ground, jumping between branches and even wee-ed on the ground in front of us (have you ever seen a Koala awake let alone moving? let alone weeing!), a kangaroo came right up to the kids and the platypus swam up to us repeatedly (never had much luck seeing one before!). We felt very privelaged.
the weeing koala! Poor koala, nothing's sacred

Checking out the kangaroo wearing another birthday gift made by Mama
(there are other ways to use Opal sock wool than for socks!)
It was back to her cousins where she got to blow out her candles again and we ate the remainder of the train cake. And she received such amazing gifts from her aunt, uncle and cousins. The Corolle doll was a particular hit. I used to go into West of the Moon when we lived on Salt Spring Island, Canada long before Elsa was with us and hope that one day I'd get a chance to buy one of these dolls for a child of mine; I didn't have to, her aunt took care of that! While she is loving the doll, who she's named 'Maxie', she enjoyed every little bit of the gift and is sure to for some time to come. Check out the wonderful pram that 'Maxie' came in.
She sung "happy birthday dear Elfa" all the way home...and that was at 9pm so she was still very tired today! Ahhh birthdays.
I shouldn't forget the fun paper-mache aminals that her Dada brought home from Burma for her last time round and stored away for her birthday...nice to have a Dada who plans ahead! Or the books we've collected for her throughout the year to give to her on her birthday by the likes of Pat Hutchins, Shirley Hughes, Gerda Muller and Loek Kloomps

And then there were the stickers and dress that arrived from yiayia and her aunt, uncle and cousins in Toronto! And there's still more to come from Nana in Sydney!!! Lucky, lucky Elsa!