Saturday, November 17, 2012


It was one of those things you expect not to deal with in your fiftieth year, yet strangely, still do!

When visiting Melissa's house on Sunday, I had to park behind her car, rather than in the visitor's car park for her units (which was full) and, Murphy's Law being as it is, of course I was parked just that little too far over when her neighbour wanted to back out of his garage.

As we realised the situation and the elderly man was walking over to her door, I sprang to my feet and raced to the door to say I would quickly move my car (not wanting to get my daughter in trouble with the body corporate). And then, several key things all happened at once.

As I got to the door, my dog Molly (bored with visiting) assumed I had made a sudden decision to go home without her and decided not to let me. As I opened the screen door, she bolted toward my car. Unleashed, she is an unknown quantity, so I pushed the unlock button on my keys and bolted after her to open the car door, so she could jump in and not make other arrangements - like run off!

It was as I ran barefoot over the two metres or so to my car, I realised a) I hadn't put my shoes on and b) Melissa's front lawn is a mass of Bindiis!!

Now, growing up in Australia, kids have cast-iron feet,only two things bring us down in summer - the walk across the hot sand from towel to water at the beach and bindiis in the lawn. These claw-like seeds of weedy lawn invader dry as summer approaches to become treacherous to bare feet.

And I had just run across them with two bare feet!

I had to move the car, so teeth clenched, I did as quickly as i could, then - keeping the dog from leaping out of the open car door, I screamed to the girls to help me. They were only a little behind me, rushing out with my thongs (you may know these as flip-flops) but were stopped in their tracks by two out-stretched maternal feet studded with evil cling-ons! Kaitlyn held back her laughter when she realised just how bad it was and plucked them all out for me. They drew blood! I hastily put my thongs on before returning inside, with my inner-child having a bit of a tantrum at being caught this way for the first time in decades!

Oh, there is one more Aussie reason our parents used to scream "Well, put your bloody shoes on!" - Bull Ants! I still run the gauntlet with these, even though our front yard is the perfect living environment for them. Last time I lost the battle on a bare-foot dash to the letter box, I came back inside with one of the blasted things attached to my little toe and doing its best to inflict maximum pain.

You might hear all about our sharks and the venomous snakes and spiders, but the real dangers in Australia in summer are these - bindiis,  bull ants and hot sand! That's why we must wear our things, you see!!

This is what the bottom of my feet looked like!
A Bull Ant

Friday, November 16, 2012

And sew on ...

A impending baby is a wonderful opportunity for many ... crafts!

I have been enjoying the chance to reignite my sewing passion, dormant since my skills ceased to be required  to produce costumes for the children in their school days. Fashions over the years didn't really incorporate hand-made styles, life got busy and my ancient, but reliable, machine stopped being so reliable. (Hard to deny it retirement, being a wonderful Husqvana purchased by my mother in the mid 70s!) But then I received another hand-me-down machine - my third: firstly I had my mother-in-law's cast-off, then my mother's and now - my daughter's!

But I really needed motivating to get back into things. Most of my sewing tools had gone to a new life with my daughter, a seamstress of some repute, who creates costumes for cos-play and more, mostly self-taught, the latest in a long line of women who sew in both families. When I did turn to sew, I didn't even own a bobbin!

The announcement that my other daughter is expecting our first grandchild, combined with the stiumlus of Pinterest, my passion to avoid disposable products, the allure of new fabrics such as bamboo and my wish to help off-set the cost of preparing for a baby all led me to pick up the "good scissors", get hold of everything from pins to a tape measure and buy fabric!

Here is what has so far been created:

Reusable breastfeeding pads - organic flannel, bamboo/cotton toweling and bamboo velour
Burp cloths - organic cotton backed with bamboo/cotton towelling

Taggy toy

Big Butt Baby Pants - Very Hungry Caterpillar (rear view, awaiting elastic!)
Having discovered the wonderful fabrics available with the resurgence of sewing (as with knitting and crochet, 20- and 30-somethings have caught the bug and want funky and interesting materials) there are more projects on the to do list!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

And here's a picture boys and girls

Endless hours of my life have been spent reading - and re-reading - picture books to my children. Especially when I sat breastfeeding, the older ones would haul a pile from the shelf over beside me and demand stories.

But children grow up and shelf space becomes tight. A few years back, I consigned what remained of our picture book collection into storage. Last summer, during a family clean out at our storage unit, I asked the now-adult children to cull them a bit and I think they may have donated a few but the rest went back into storage.

With the impending grandchild nearly halfway through gestation, I am starting to look forward to a new generation of story telling, so on the weekend, I got all the books out again and gathered my daughters to go through them - my son is not so sentimental, but does have hoarding tendencies, so I admitted defeat with him! But I thought the girls might like to take out their favourites and keep them in their own homes, with the remainder returning to the family shelves to share with the new generation. And maybe we could cull it down to just the most important?

Well, it turns out, while each had a couple of personal favourites they wanted to keep close by, they agreed that most were shared favourites that could go back home with me! And not only that, but those titles deemed too damaged to rescue, we Googled and ordered replacement copies!

25 and 28!
So I guess I am not the only one with those fond memories and we have proven that shared stories are one of life's treasures.

Here is the donate pile:

And this is the keep pile!:

Meanwhile, I have been busy Pinning those titles I have already flagged as being necessary in the life of the grandchild-to-be (nicknamed Jelly Bean by his/her parents) and the list includes many of those above! You can see it at Jelly Bean's Bookshelf and my browsing led me to this wonderful list, which includes not only most of my children's favourites but also many from my own childhood! It has become part catalogue, part shopping list in my quest!!

I think I had better order one of these in every size!  :)

Looking Back - way back!

Part of my library of books includes a small collection of vintage pregnancy and parenting manuals, dating back over last century.

My greatest treasure is a two-volume set passed onto me from my husband's paternal grandmother, Mary.

SAFER MOTHERHOOD and the HYGIENE of LIFE a 1934 edition of special health problems of and love in woman's life..the expectant mother..medicines in common use..photographs in monochome

I dusted this off the other day, seeing that Mary's great-granddaughter, my daughter Kaitlyn, is now pregnant. I thought it would be interesting to see the contrast between what these two women would be told about preparing for motherhood.

Here are a few favourites I captured to share.

I imagine the depression-era definition of "light housework"would be quite different from today's

I am quite alarmed that I could have written this section almost word for word and could almost publish as-is today!

This advice about scrubbing nipples with brushes still pops up today , nearly a 100 years later, passed inappropriately from mothers to daughters still.

Just like our Breastfeeding Education Classes, only NOT!

The pride is evident but the reality is these babies would be shuffled out to their mothers for four-hourly feeds and then whisked back to the nursery to be topped up by bottle by the nurses, who enjoyed the bond they developed with the babies during the two weeks or so their mothers were confined to bed on the ward. And continued you so until rooming-in was conceived - still optional when I had my first baby in 1984!