Hugo turns two

Our little one has turned two and I can’t quite believe it!

What a year it has been. Hugo has turned from a wobbly baby into determined toddler. He loves anything with wheels – and his chickens, of course.

blockHugo and his bear looking for the chickens dribble bib for Hugo Hugo and Alex Hugo reading chicken love chick Hugo at stables Hugo with ducks and chickens

The baby years are well and truly leaving us and while it is a sad feeling, I’m also rather glad. We are looking forward to what the next few years will bring as the children grow older and we are free to do more together.

car cake

We had a little birthday celebration with island friends yesterday, complete with cake. We will have another get together with our Canberra friends when we get back.

car blowing candles

So, happy birthday, Hugo! We love you to the moon and back, and wish you a happy and healthy third year.

Posted in raising children | 4 Comments

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

It’s holiday time, so we’ve headed to Norfolk Island for our annual summer time holiday with my parents. We have been having a relaxing time, finally, which is nice. The children have been going nuts for grandma and granddad – which has been a little trying – but they’re having a good time. We’ve had a lot of rain, but have still managed to spend time at the beach. Elena hurt her knee on a friend’s trampoline, and we have our fingers crossed it’s nothing serious. I’ve been having a lovely social media holiday, too.

Long ago, Alex and I decided to use this fortnight with back-up to transition little Hugo into a bed. In the process we’ve also managed to lose the dummy and bottle habit too. It hasn’t been too tough, but Hugo’s certainly keener than his sister to get out of bed and run around. No surprises there, really.

We had a lovely Christmas day with a ton of good food and four generations of family together.

Christmas lunch 2014  guava glazed whole duckChristmas pudding

The children are so fortunate to still have their great-grandma visit, and I’m very thankful for that. I have memories of one of my great-grandmas but they are all fairly scary as she was very aged and a bit senile by the time I came along. I hope our two will have some fond memories to look back on when they’re older.

Photo bomb!

photo bomb

I managed to sew Christmas outfits for the kids again this year. I started in early December and managed to avoid any midnight sewing. Amazing. I must be growing up. As are our two.

Photo bomb revenge. A hug.

photo bomb revenge

Elena’s dress is a Boo! Designs Grace dress sewn in a Christmas cotton from Spotlight and coordinating homespun from my local fabric store. The flutters are a cotton lace. The pattern was pretty straightforward and easy to follow, and ranges in size from 12M to 6 years. I should get plenty of use out of it.

grace dress back

I sewed a mashup of sizes – 18mth size chest and size 3 length.

grace dress bodice grace christmas dress

Hugo’s shorts are basic KID shorts with boy length. I didn’t add pockets because they would have obscured our view of Santa.

Hugo Christmas KID shorts

The shorts fabric is from the same range as the fabric used to sew Elena’s dress. The bunting on the two fabrics made it fairly easy to pattern match, so I was pretty happy with that.

Christmas KID shorts

Pattern placement and matching is something I’d like to get much better at.

I’ve been sneaking some craft in here and there, knitting full steam ahead on Hugo’s baby vertebrae. I have just started on the second sleeve. Toddlers have such long arms – these sleeves feel like they are taking forever! In other knitting news, I was very spoiled and received a set of Addi interchangeable circulars for Christmas. I have some Madeline Tosh Light in Rose waiting to be cast on. I’m thinking of trying a Magrathea but am slightly intimidated. I am trying to finish the sleeves on this little cardi for Hugo first. Knit, knit, knit.

We hope you are all having a relaxing holiday season – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Learning a thing or two

I’ve been learning a few things about broody hens and day old chicks this week. Eileen has resisted all efforts to snap her out of broodiness.

Not entirely sure if it was a good idea or not, I purchased her six day-old chicks – three bantam Langshans and three bantam Araucanas – of mixed colours.


They are so very cute.

We snuck them under her at night and it all seemed to go well. By morning the chicks were still under her, but things went a bit pear-shaped during the day. I tried moving them to a safer location and Eileen was off the nest. We moved her back and she sat again.

Eileen spent the day sitting and ignoring the chicks. Alice decided to join the broody club. It was raining and miserable, so we ended up bringing the chicks inside and putting them under heat. We tried again that evening. Half for Elieen, half for Alice. Again, the chicks were fine overnight and abandoned during the day. The only difference being that I caught Alice pecking the chicks this afternoon.

So now I have the chicks inside and I’ll be spending my day off tomorrow constructing a broody box and trying to sort out a good light source.

After all of this, Eileen and Alice are still broody. Sigh. So I’ll continue trying to snap both of them out of it. Lucky they’re super sweet most of the time!

On the upside, our lovely neighbour has offered to look after the chooks (and the chicks) over Christmas while we’re away. We were chatting over the fence and he was insistent. When I asked him if he had had chooks before he laughed and assured me he grew up on a farm back in Greece. I think the chooks will be fine!

In the meantime, I’ll be learning a lot more about chicks. Any hints?

Posted in chickens | 2 Comments

A boy and a chook

I woke up yesterday morning with very little voice, a very chesty cough and an overwhelming desire to sleep. The doctor sent me home to rest on the couch, which is exactly what I’ve been doing.

And, just because my November required more complications, Eileen (the black chook) has decided now would be an excellent time to go broody.

I’ve been doing lots of chick-raising research online. I’m worried now is probably not the time to further complicate life by trying to raise chicks  – especially since we we’re going away over Christmas. I might change my mind yet. I’m not sure. I wish we could. I’d be more comfortable if I could find a chicken person to keep an eye on them.

At this point I’ve locked her out of the run in the hope she decides to snap out of it. I’m not popular, and it’s failing miserably anyway.

trying to get back to nest

Hugo’s home with conjunctivitis so he came out with Alex and I when I was taking Eileen off her nest. Gosh, he loves our girls. I think he’d live in the chicken coop with them, given half a chance.

chicken cuddle

Despite being in a foul mood, Eileen was happy enough to let him have a snuggle (see what I did there?).

chicken love pats

I love my boy, and he loves my chooks.

I let the girls back into the coop to roost tonight and, even though I’d blocked off the nesting boxes with wire, Eileen just snuggled right up to it. Unless I bring her inside, I don’t have anywhere safe to keep her overnight. It’s probably easier just to get her some chicks!

Anyway, so that’s my dilemma. To get chicks or not. Any sage advice?

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Cherry season and some pattern testing

It’s cherry time at our place. Our tree keeps on giving and giving. This was tonight’s haul. You can’t really tell from the photograph, but this bowl is a massive caterer’s bowl. I think I’ll be handing out cherries to everyone I see for the next week or so!

cherriesDespite my best neglect, the garden is holding itself together.

sweet pea

raspberries boysenberries blackberriesWe have raspberries, boysenberries and blackberries on their way.

I’ve been sewing a bit this week too.

bodice shirred dress coral long coral shirred dressKristie at Boo! Designs put out a call for people to re-test her new and improved shirred dress pattern. As a part of the testing process, I received a free copy of the new pattern (which is due for release in the next week or so).

smile face

I have enjoyed sewing this pattern. Elena loves it too.

It can be fiddly convincing your machine to shirr. I was worried because Brother sewing machines are notorious for problematic shirring. Luckily enough for me, my machine was compliant and I didn’t have too many problems.

boo shirred back view flutters tunic lengthSo far I’ve sewn the tunic and dress variations, with flutter and fixed straps.

boo shirred dress lined fluttersThere’s not a lot to say – an easy sew with great results! If I do say so myself. Apologies for the photo overload…

Posted in clothes for children, pattern testing, sewing | 1 Comment

Just when you think things are ordinary…

…sometimes they just get worse! I posted on Monday about my ear infection and the rubbish time we’ve been having. Then, on Monday night Elena, Alex and I all started vomiting. Food poisoning. For once, I was glad Hugo had refused to eat dinner!

Cue twenty four hours of misery. Unfortunately my gastritis from earlier in the year has come back, so it’s all very ordinary. Elena’s back to fighting fit, Alex and I will come good soon. Silver linings and first world problems and all that.

cherries 1

In the meantime, I’ve been watching our cherry trees from the couch. The cherries have been ripening fast in our warm weather, and I was worried we might have missed this year’s harvest. I turns out I needn’t have worried. We have a handsome crop.

cherries 2

I spent half an hour picking this evening – and there’s probably five times this amount left on the tree. Christmas must be getting close – that’s what cherries mean in my family, anyway!

cherry harvest

Although some might be a little high.

cherries up high

Somehow I think we’ll be needing some cherry recipes this year. Anyone got any good ones to share?



Posted in garden | 5 Comments

A twirly skirt for a twirly girl

Life has been a bit too much this week. I have a middle ear infection, which has been horrible.  No fun at all. Other complicated stuff has been going on as well. All I can say is that acquired brain injuries suck donkey balls!

boo! designs twirly skirt

That aside, Elena’s wardrobe of mamma-made skirts from last year seem to be getting shorter and shorter…and (way too) shorter. It was time to sew my troubles away – or at least try to, anyway.

Elena’s all about dancing and twirling at the moment, so I couldn’t go past the BOO! Designs twirly skirt. So much twirl!

great twirl

boo twirly skirtIt’s a straightforward pattern which covers sizes 2-10, so I should get plenty of use out of it.  I sewed the size three, even though Elena measured for the size two. I want it to last as long as possible!

drawing before child care

She’s in love….and it’s not pink so I’m pretty happy too.

I hope your week is treating you well, so far. x

Posted in clothes for children, sewing, stash | 2 Comments

KCW: first day dress by MADE

I’ve been eyeing MADE’s First Day Dress pattern since Dana first posted about it earlier in the year. I probably (definitely) didn’t need to add another pattern to my collection, but this one is so cute and – in the swing dress view – has excellent twirl factor. Elena’s all about twirling at the moment, so I knew this one would be right up her ally.

The pattern provides a number of variations – a-line dress and top, peplum top, swing dress, sleeves and no sleeves, lined and unlined. You can mix it up as you like. The pattern runs from size 2-10.

butterfly dress

As I usually do before committing to a pattern, I was reading reviews of the pattern and checking out what others had done with it and I noticed a few comments about the dresses being slim fitting and perhaps a bit on the small side. I had been planning to make Elena a lined swing dress first up – and then completely chickened out. It is a lot of work to get wrong.

sleeve lining detailI decided to make up an a-line version in a cotton fabric I am not particularly attached to – just to see how the fit worked out. I made a lined size 3 with sleeves. I used a coordinating hair elastic for the button loop instead of elastic cord. The lining is pink poplin. The whole thing’s pretty bright and happy.

button closure first day dress made

It was a challenging project with attaching the lining neatly giving me the most grief. Precision is the name of the game with this dress. I messed up more times than I can count. I’m going to try a different technique for the back opening next time – I feel like the one on this dress is too wide.

In the end it all worked out well though, and I learned a lot about the way the pattern comes together. Elena’s very happy with the dress and it fits her beautifully.

first day dress made

After all that, I’ve now got the courage to try a swing version!

Posted in clothes for children, Kid's Clothes Week, MADE, sewing, stash | 4 Comments

KCW: more shorts for Hugo

Hugo’s wardrobe gained another pair of shorts this morning. I used the Apple Jack by moda fabrics – I think the alphabet fabric is just too cute.

apple jack shorts

Once again, I sewed MADE KID shorts with flat front and pocket variations – size 2 with 18 month elastic. I decided to alter the front pattern piece a smidge and slightly widened the flat front. I creased the pattern piece as indicated rather than at the dotted line.


So far I’ve found them to be better for Hugo’s shape.

Did someone say ‘belly button’?

belly button

checking the chickensI hope you have a restful weekend – we hit a preschool fete this morning which was fun and followed that up with yum cha. Yum. More sewing for me this afternoon…perhaps some leggings for the kids – or a dress for Elena. Let’s see.


Posted in clothes for children, creating for boys, Kid's Clothes Week, MADE, sewing, stash | 2 Comments

KCW: the one where the hat was too big

I’ve come to the conclusion you can never have too many hats for a child. Now that the weather’s warming up and we’re spending (much) more time at the park, I think we might need a few more for everyone – one for each car and one for the house. And then maybe an extra for when those get lost!

oliver + s bucket hat

I’ve sewn the oliver + s bucket hat before (here and here…pattern available for free here). It’s an easy enough sew if you pay careful attention to keeping accurate seam allowances. For a neat finish you need the patience to edgestitch carefully and stitch the rows on the brim evenly.

The fabric is from the ‘Apple Jack by Tim and Beck for Moda’ range. Hugo’s head circumference is about 19″ – the exact size of the small size – so I decided to sew the medium. It’s way too big. Agh.

wide brim oliver and s bucket hat

One thing I don’t love about this pattern is that the brim is not very wide. I’m always mindful of the sun, so it doesn’t make much sense (to me) to have the kids wearing hat which don’t really protect their skin. As an experiment, I widened the brim pattern piece by 1.5″. On Hugo, with the medium being too big anyway, it’s definitely too wide. I think he needs a small size, with an extra inch on the brim.


He loves this hat, though, and has insisted on wearing it all morning. I think I might sew an identical one, do a switcheroo…and keep this one for next year!


Posted in clothes for children, creating for boys, Kid's Clothes Week, oliver + s, sewing, stash | 3 Comments