Sunday, April 30, 2006

6 quirky things

I've been tagged by Judy to tell you 6 quirky things about myself. Thanks Judy! Well you may or may not consider these weird, but I think they're a tad unusual.

1. I chipped my front tooth with a skipping rope when I was little. My brother and I were playing with the old leather skipping rope, which was tied off on the lawnmower handle. My brother was spinning it round too fast for me to jump through and he kept spinning it faster and faster. (You can see that this is going to end in tears) He was spinning it so fast I was laughing my head off. Fortunately, I was laughing with my mouth wide open, as the shackle that held the handle to the rope separated. The handle stayed in my brother's hand while the shackled end of the rope went sailing through the air, swiping the tip of my front left tooth. Fragments of tooth sprinkled my tongue and it felt like my whole tooth had been pulverised. I ran inside crying to my mum, who looked at me like I was mad. Then she had a closer look and said, 'oh yes, you do have a small chip'. I always felt self-conscious about that chip.

2. I was in the army. Yep. The Australian Army. For 3 1/2 years as a public relations officer. I was deployed to East Timor and Bougainville on peacekeeping operations and worked on the operations in support of the Sydney 2000 Olympics (I went to the judo, the athletics and the closing ceremony) and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2002. I loved being in the army, but when they wanted to post me to northern Australia and I wanted to go to Canberra (on the south central eastern seaboard) the army and I went our separate ways. I am still in the army reserve, but as an inactive member.

3. The army fixed my tooth! Yes, my chipped tooth was no more after one of the very gorgeous air force dentists convinced me that as a public relations officer I couldn't very well walk around representing the Australian Defence Force with a broken smile. Ah, he could probably have convinced me to have all of my teeth out he was so cute.

4. I met my husband while on an expedition to Mt Everest. Yes, I had to go all the way to Tibet to meet my soul mate. I guess that's as good a place as any!

5. I eat mushrooms. So what? Well, until I had Romily I hated funghi. Detested the stuff. Gagged if I tried to eat mushies. Now? No problem! Very strange indeedy.

6. I drive like an Italian (according to my husband). We had a delayed honeymoon in Europe at the end of 2004 and I drove 9000 out of the 9500 kilometres we covered in nine weeks. (My husband navigated - a much safer option than me doing the honours!) Everyone had warned us to watch out for the dreadful traffic in Rome. What dreadful traffic I ask you? I had no problem at all and got the hang of driving in Europe very quickly. I may not have shaken that dodge and weave mentality however!

Well, that was pretty boring! I guess I'm not as quirky as I'd like to think I am!

If you want to play, I tag:

And thanks Judy for your suggestion about a runner for the top of our buffet now it has its dustcover on. Will have to put my creative hat on after my patchwork course (which starts the week after next - I am so excited!!).

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Boring but done

This has got to be the most boring sewing project imaginable! With Romily bound to start crawling one day soon (or one month soon), we decided that we needed a dust cover (read Romy cover) for our buffet/ sideboard/ credenza/ whateveryouwanttocallit. It is handmade from myrtle and is precious to us, so we need to protect it and its contents from wandering fingers. So I set myself the challenge of making a cover from calico that would fit snugly.

I did it! It is even (almost) square. I was so careful with my measurements and managed to sew in relatively straight lines and it fits perfectly. There is one dodgy corner (the not quite square part), which is nicely hidden at the back. I am proud of myself for a) finishing this project before Romily starts crawling and b) not mucking it up. Elephant stamp for me!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

All aboard!

Romy and I had the best fun yesterday! Our playgroup meeting was not at our usual venue - a preschool - but at the Kingston Miniature Railway. I had no idea what to expect, as I'd never heard of it before, but it was just fabulous!

They have a miniature train, the Bunyip Railway, which tootles around a 900-metre track adjacent to the railway museum. The trains are run by volunteer engineers - they are a bunch of lovely gents who just love steam trains. They were excellent and let us go round and around again. Romily just loved the whole thing and was bopping up and down on the seat, which is her sign to go faster!

It was a beautiful autumn day and just the thing to do in the sunshine with a bunch of excited under-2s. Bliss.

(I may have enjoyed the ride more than Romily!)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A wonderful holiday

As some of you have noticed, we're back! We arrived back in Canberra on Monday night after a 10-hour drive from Melbourne. My mum decided at the last minute to join us for the drive - she was worried about me driving so far with a potentially feral 8 and a 1/2 month old baby. I'm glad she did, as she shared the driving and, more important, entertained Romily for the last hour when it got all too much for the poor thing. I think she hated being stuck in her carseat for so long. We had four stops, but it's not much fun as an adult, let alone a baby. (Mum flew home the next morning.)

Anyway, we're back, after having a lovely Easter in Bendigo with Romily's paternal grandfather and then a week in Melbourne with my parents, culminating in my twin nephews' baptism. It was so lovely to see family and friends again - especially to catch up with my friend Amanda who I'd missed at Christmas. Her beautiful daughter Olivia has grown so much since I saw her last it's incredible.

Romily had a fantastic time - there were other babies and young children galore and she was quite the social butterfly! She has started smiling at strangers, and was even kissing the other babies! Oh it was so cute :) You can see in the pictures above that she was telling her 2nd cousin Lucas a long and apparently boring story!!

And in the car on the tedious trip home she started saying 'mumumumumumum' and 'adadadadadad'. What a joy to hear them trying to say your name! Not such a joy at 4am, but hey!

My mum also insisted that I do no housework while I was in Melbourne - she gave me a break from all of that, so it did actually feel like a holiday. I even bought jars of baby food for Romily instead of cooking it all. Woohoo. It's amazing what gets you excited when you have a baby :)

Of course it's back to the salt mines now. But I am feeling refreshed and not so daunted by the whole 'homemaker' thing. I'm just taking it as it comes and enjoying the last few months at home with the bubba before I go back to work (in August yuk).

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Today is ANZAC Day - April 25 - a day where Australians and other nations of the Allied Forces remember the fallen soldiers of World War I. It's not a celebration but a commemoration. As a currently non-active member of the Australian Defence Force, this day has special meaning for me. I've served on two peace-keeping operations and can only imagine how terrifying it must have been to be involved in a war of the scale and brutal nature of the two world wars. I don't like war, don't want war and hope one day war will become a relic, a long-forgotten memory. But until that day, I will pay my respects to past, current and future men and women of the Australian Defence Force who do such an important and often thankless job on our behalves.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Happy Easter!

Does one say Happy Easter? I do! I'm not religious, so for me it's another time of the year, like Christmas, to focus on family and those close to you. I'm really looking forward to spending four days with my beautiful husband - we haven't seen a lot of each other lately - I wonder why?

We're heading off to spend Easter with his Dad, who hasn't seen Romily since Christmas. He'll be surprised at how much she's grown and how noisy she is!! Then I'll be off the radar for another week, as I'm continuing down the highway with Romily to spend a week with my parents and catch up with my brothers, sister-in-law, nephews, and other friends and family. My twin nephews, who are four weeks younger than Romy, are being Christened while we're down in Melbourne, so it'll be a big family trip for us. I wonder how my husband will go with a quiet house for a week? It's been so long since he was here on his own :) I think he'll enjoy the solitude for the first few days, but I think he'll be missing us, and particularly Romy, after that. Well he'd better be!


Given our track record with unreliable tradesmen and contractors, I don't know why I was surprised yesterday when our landscapers failed to arrive. Not on time, but at all! We didn't hear from them all day. A knock on the door this morning brought an apology and news that they'd be starting the day after we get back from our trip. I was secretly pleased that they're not here today, as I have soooooo much packing to do!

Speaking of which, I had better get cracking.

So, all that's left to say is HAPPY EASTER!! I'll be back in late April and I hope in the meantime you are spending some happy time with loved ones.

I'll leave you with a photo of our very bright young daughter - see, she already knows how to use a computer!!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Groovy pants

I am so pleased with how well Romily's overalls turned out. While a supposedly *easy* pattern, I did find it a little tricky around the bib. But we got there and they fit, with plenty of growing room. I've sewn on three rows of buttons on the straps, so she'll be wearing these through to next summer.

I'm glad I made these before I start my beginner patchwork class in May - my sewing skills were very rusty, and this project combined with the cushion are getting rid of the cobwebs! I think I'm going to make a snuggle bunny comforter for Romy next. It's a hopeful replacement for her nighttime dummies, which she seems to lose on a regular basis. Most of the bunny will be hand-sewn, which is, again, good practice for the quilt I'll be making!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Backyard blitz

In Australia, home renovation and garden makeovers are very popular right now. There are a bunch of TV shows around this theme (one of which, and my favourite, is called Backyard Blitz), which have inspired us to get our back courtyard 'done'.

Well, our landscapers arrive tomorrow! 7am oh my goodness. Oh well, we are up at that time anyway courtesy of our little human alarm clock!

We are quite excited about having the courtyard done. As you can see from the photos, it's been a bit of a wasteland. We've never used it, as it was a very slapdash design and constructed at the last minute by the contractors who built the development we live in. Its layout was not conducive to lazy Sunday afternoons. We now have a design based on my ideas that we think will work very well. It should only take a couple of weeks to complete, but with Easter and other public holidays upon us, it will take a little longer. It should all be finished by early May. Just in time for winter. D'oh!

I thought I'd also post a photo of the view off our balcony. We look over the rooftop of the neighbouring development across the valley to the hills. I should have taken this photo at the end of the day when the light is much softer and the valley takes on that beautiful golden glow - but I'm usually too busy with Romily at that time of day to remember!

Speaking of Romily, her gums must have settled down, as she's having much better nighttime and daytime sleeps. Thank the gods!

Uninvited house guest has left the building

Hooray! The possum, by all appearances, has left the building! We have heard no noises in our roof since my husband last ushered our uninvited house guest out the front door, and the possum man came today to take away the most unattractive excluder cage from our fan vent and replaced it with a barely visible screen. So, hopefully, that means no more possums!

Monday, April 10, 2006

When I grow up...

...I'm going to be a heartbreaker

It's Monday again

How did this happen? It's Monday again. Already. Never mind - it's a short week this week with Easter upon us.

We had a wonderful weekend. Well I did at any rate. My darling husband took Romily out of the house both mornings. This meant that on Saturday I managed to vaccuum and mop upstairs. Our floorboards had been looking decidedly dull (read: dirty). And with Romy scooting around (backwards and in circles only), it's not optimum. I felt so great after I'd finished. It felt like a real accomplishment! I was, of course, very tired afterwards (all that physical exertion), but it was worth it.

We went out to our friends' place on Saturday night. Mike was named a Member in the Order of Australia in this year's Australia Day honours and was invested on Friday. It was a celebration of his achievement and the award, but also a farewell, as he has been posted to the United States for one year to go to 'Generals school'. He and his family are leaving in about a month. It was a lovely evening - he was roasted royally by his brothers and sisters - made more so by the fact that Romily went to sleep when she was supposed to!

On Sunday, Romy disappeared with my other half, allowing me to go back to bed after her breakfast and have a ... drum roll ... sleep in! It was wonderful. It was luxurious. It was heaven. Boy did I need that! In the afternoon I just about finished the overalls I am making for Romily. I have only to sew on the buttons and stitch around the applique and it's done! I'll post some photos of Romily modeling it when finished.

In the afternoon we went on a picnic by Lake Burley Griffin. It was a gorgeous autumn day and we made the most of it. We caught up with some friends we hadn't seen in a long time and met their youngest for the first time. They have a lovely couple of boys.

Then to top off our wonderful weekend we had a lovely tandoori lamb roast. Yum! I do love my weekends, but this one was particularly great!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Paw prints

Well a possum update is due. After much prompting the possum control people finally came to inspect the roof and try to find the access point being used by our resident brushtail possum. Only to tell us that they couldn't work out where it was getting in! Fabulous. I suggested strongly that it was the bathroom fan vent, so he put a one-way (exit) cage over the vent and told us to monitor any possum noises over the next couple of days. The idea being that once the possum goes out, it can't get back in.

That very night, as I was heading off to bed, I heard scritching and scratching around above the bathroom ceiling. I went to bed and half an hour later was woken by a crashing noise. Five minutes later my husband came in to tell me that the possum had fallen through the vent again and was now ensconced in the bathroom. 15 minutes later my husband shepherded our dumb, fat possum out the front door for the second time in two weeks. He then spent the next 15 minutes cleaning up the wee and paw prints our possum had so kindly left behind.

To our delight last night, there were no possum noises. So we'll be waiting with baited breath tonight to see if it's found its way back in again or whether we've cracked the problem! If we have, the possum guy will put a permanent screen around the vent to prevent the possum from making its home in our roof again. I'll keep you posted!!

So that's what feet are for

We love to stand. Hanging onto the back of the couch. Holding onto the fence out the front. In our highchair. In fact just about anywhere. Our love of standing is so great that we now hate being put on our bellies for 'tummy time' by our mums. It's just too bad that we can't crawl yet and have no clue about balance. But hey! Why crawl when you could WALK!!!!

Our little Romily has decided that she's not interested in learning to crawl. She now does everything in her power to get us to pick her up and let her stand up. She takes steps when we hold her hands and laughs and laughs. So how do we now convince her that in order to learn balance, how to sit up by herself and eventually how to pull herself up on furniture, she needs to learn to crawl first? Her intent is far outstripping her abilities at the moment!

Here are some photos of our Romily hanging onto the front fence. She really is very cute when she's so focused!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Thrifty score

Bubba and I took a walk on Saturday morning to get some newspapers and bacon for our fry-up special breakfast (well my breakfast, not hers!). I forgot to take my hat. This was not a major catastrophe, as my bed hair wasn't as outrageous as it usually is and I never see anyone I know.

Well, we didn't see anyone I know, but we did see lots and lots of people! The Anglican retirement village nearby had its famous annual 'garage sale' on. We had to go! Despite my freaky Friday appearance we went in and I found that it didn't matter a bit, as all eyes were on the cute baby in my arms! A bunch of old dears + gorgeous baby = invisible mother!!!

We had a poke around and decided old people's clothing didn't really offer much in the way of fabric scouting potential (all greys, fawns and gaberdine!), so we headed for the very impressive book piles. Old people must receive a lot of books! There was even a largish children's books section, so I sorted through that and found some absolute classics. Green Eggs and Ham, Spot, bears and an old Enid Blyton favourite of mine. Four books for $2!! (And that's $2 Australian!)

I also found two cooking for toddlers recipe books for only $2 each. So we got six books for $6. Now that's my kind of shopping!

And our breakfast of scrambled eggs, fat-free bacon, tomatoes and field mushrooms was just yummy!

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Oh yay! I finished my first ever quilting project. Okay, let's not get too excited, it's just a small cushion, but it's a start! I'm just so pleased that I stuck to it and finished it. It looks great. Not perfect, but great.

I hit a few snags along the way! When it came time to stitch the piping and back to the quilted top, I realised the piping was way too fat to fit next to the sewing foot on my machine, so I had to hand stitch the entire cushion cover! After several false starts (which I unpicked), I eventually worked out that I needed to stitch the piping to the cushion top and then to stitch that to the back. Once I had this licked, it was easy!

The cushion is for Romily and has her initials and birthdate stitched onto the heart, which you can see in the detail photo.

Originally I thought I'd have the heart in the centre of the cushion, but after I'd patched the pieces together I realised it looked much better in the bottom left panel. I left the backing on the applique webbing so the heart 'crinkles' when you touch it. Perfect for a baby to play with :)