Thursday, January 31, 2013

31/365 Finally rain

Sunday, January 27, 2013

27/365 Dualing crafts sewing versus Project Life

I have been consumed by an old love. In 2010 I used Beckky Higgins Project Life to record my photo a day and decided to do both again this year, with PAD pics plus others in a weekly spread. However, I am also looking back to the missing years of '11 and 12 which were not scrapped much and I am working backward s as well as forwards from NY 2013.

I was hoping this would inspire me to return to scrapping and it has very much done so! I am finding I must tear myself away to get on with everything else. It is wonderful and I am very happy to see my mojo who has been MIA for some time. However, I want to be working on my other projects - sewing, knitting, crochet and get on with my reading! But, for now, they must all fight for my favour.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ten Years Ago

The death of a parent is right up there on the list of devastating life events.

My father passed away ten years ago today. January 15th 2003.

It was actually a relief, most especially for him. As a man whose whole being could be summed up in his intelligence, it was cruel that in the end, that was all he was really left with. In a mirror image of those with fit, healthy bodies whose minds are robbed by dementia, my father kept his wits and memory right up until the end, while his frail body packed it in around him.

In a complete shock to the medical system, my father left home for what was (unknown to him at the time) the last time, in the back of an ambulance on December 8th 2002. He was destined to see a doctor for the first time in about 30 years! I don't think he had ever used his Medicare card before! (He had asked me simply to make him a doctor's appointment. I rang the surgery and explained he was technically a patient of their practice but his records would have been archived. The speechless receptionist recommended a visit directly to hospital would be a more simple option.)

By January 15th, he was in a rehabilitation facility and plans were being made to look into nursing home facilities. In an ironic twist he would have much appreciated, about four hours after his doctor advised the gathered family that he wasn't going to die any time soon, Dad did precisely that. After a visit that included both his daughters, son-in-law and five of his six grandchildren, he was given his first shot of morphine and we all headed home, not knowing it was a final goodbye. It was actually just as he would have liked it.

Unfortunately, his affairs were not quite in order. His niece, a lawyer, was coming in the next day to prepare his Will. That simple error in timing was to be the family's greatest regret. My father died intestate.
My parents had divorced several years earlier, ending a marriage that had probably not been for the best. I am the eldest of two daughters, three years senior to my sister. Although I have happy memories of childhood, ours was not a happy home. 

Eventually, my mother settled on the other side of the country. Unusually - and with dire impact - my parents did not sell the family home. They each retained a 50% share in it. Even when my father moved into a house next door to our new home in the late 1990s, so we were able to better support him whilst maintaining his independence, that arrangement was unaltered: both parents sold the existing home and both parents purchased the new home.
Although my mother now lived interstate, we were still relatively close. So it was natural I turned to her when my father died and she arranged to come over only a couple of days later. Adding to an already devastated extended family, my father's cousin (whose family had been as close as siblings to he and his sister) died suddenly the day after his death. My father didn't believe in an after-life, but at least he would have company if it turned out to be after-all. Her funeral was to be held the day after his - his would be held on my husband's birthday a week after his death.

My mother arrived. You will forgive me if I don't go into complete detail here - the short story is that my father's presumption that his 50% ownership of his home would be inherited by his daughters was shown to be incorrect: in the transfer of home ownership - and seemingly unknown to my father but in the knowledge of my mother - the full ownership would go to my mother. It soon became apparent that this was her primary purpose for returning and that her intention was to move into the property and claim her rights as soon as possible. As in, before the funeral.

The obvious outcome was an emotional confrontation that ended in my walking away from the situation - and the relationship. Despite her moving permanently into the property soon after and living there the full twelve months before selling it, we have never spoken again. Furthermore, she has not communicated with her other child, any of her six grandchildren, any of her three siblings, any nieces, nephews or in-laws. A rough estimate of my large extended family? Easily more than 100 relationships completely and utterly severed.
Ten years is a long time. My three children have grown. There has been a wedding and will soon be a grandchild. My niece and two nephews have grown. Two cousins have sadly passed away. My two maternal aunts and uncle are octogenarians, as is my paternal aunt. I stay in touch with many of my cousins and their children. I am on speaking terms with every single person I am related to - with the exception of my mother. I love and treasure my extended family but every time I connect with any of them, invariably we have to discuss "Have you heard anything from your mother?" The answer is always no. None of us have any idea where she lives or with who (during her time living next door, she shared her home with man unknown to any of us.) She is the youngest of four, all her siblings are living, so presumably she is to. (She would have turned 84 last birthday). Unless she remarried, I would remain her legal next of kin.

Could I track her down? If I chose to. Do I chose to? No. My life is rich and filled with relationships I cherish. I miss her, but not her - I miss the mother I knew for almost 40 years of my life. I miss my children's grandmother, who loved and nurtured them, but I cannot forgive a grandmother who could walk out of their lives that way.

Could she track us down? Absolutely - we live in the same house. Apart from my daughter who took her husband's name on marriage, she could easily look us up in any directory. My Facebook account is public, as is my blog. If you Google me, you find only me. One has to presume she chooses to stay out of contact.

Ten years. This year, I turn fifty. I become a grandmother. My husband and I will achieve 30 years of marriage and 35 years as a couple. 

I am a motherless daughter. I may be an orphan. But I am a mother, a wife, a niece, a daughter-in-law, an aunt, a mother-in-law, a friend. I have no material inheritance. Not a cent - I even had to pay for my fathers funeral costs. But I have the richest inheritance possible. I have the people of my family - past, present and future. And that is worth more than any possession on earth.

15/365 My collection

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sew Much Easier

  • Digital music - check
  • Digital books - check
  • Digital magazines - check

There is no doubt at all that I am quite converted to the online world - I am rarely offline, between my tablet, my phone, my laptop and even my new Android camera! More and more I am turning to online shopping, online storage and online resources.

However, even I am surprised at how much even my crafting has become easier because of the internet. Of course, I have been part of the online scrapbooking community for a long time. Even my knitting and crochet has started to have a greater online presence - Ravelry is not only a great way to find project ideas and patterns, but also a way to record works in progress and completed and the yarns, patterns and tools used. I actually avoid patterns now that I can't have as a PDF and refer to on my tablet - the one exception being the Baby Surprise Jacket, circa 1968, the pattern of which is not available in that format.

But I never imagined my sewing could be revolutionised in the same way. I have discussed before the long break in my sewing passion, only reignited recently due to the impending granddaughter.But you would have thought not much could change - purchase paper pattern plus fabric at the shop, cut out tissue paper pattern, cut out fabric, try to refold pattern pieces without losing a crutial part and fit back into envelope for future use.

But now? Sorry Butterick, McCall, Simplicity and all the others - but you aren't in the loop for me anymore. Now I surf Pinterest for patterns and tutorials, which I either download free (thanks!) or buy for a small price from Etsy sellers (thanks again!). And I store these on a "board" for easy reference when planning projects.  I need only print out the pieces I need on my home printer, stick the pages together with tape and cut out the template. Far more robust than tissue, I can store them easily in a display book and use them over and over - and print a replacement or different size as often as I wish. And the instructions, usually with colour step-by-step photos, I don't print at all. I store them in Evernote and view them on my tablet, which takes up little room and plays me background music (via Spotify!) at the same time.

Then I found the answer to my quest for a Ravelry-like home for my sewing projects - My Sewing Circle! Now, I can keep a record of patterns, fabric, notions etc, just like my yarn projects. And so I remember what bits and pieces I might need to pick up when I do venture into Spotlight or Lincraft, I cut and paste the requirements directly into my shopping list app - Out of Milk! No more standing in the store trying to recall what sized elastic I needed!

I still buy some fabric in-store - Lincraft are currently having a 50% off sale - but I also buy it online, as I do with some yarn. And it isn't from some off-shore conglomerate: I shop at Australian small businesses who run online shops in addition to, or in place of, bricks and mortar stores. With efficient delivery, I often get my delivery the next day!

So, yet another hurdle has fallen. I still use paper and ink to print the pattern pieces, obviously, but until I can feed the fabric in one end of a machine and get cut pieces out the other, that is the only paper I am using!

12/365 Moving granddad's organ to Melissa's house.

Friday, January 4, 2013

4/365 Three parched magpies asked for a cold drink



You might have noticed a couple of YouTube clips have been posted on my blog. I have been playing with If This Then That. Basically it is a free application that allows you to automate different actions across various social media, by creating (or following) a "recipe"which works in the background without you even thinking about it.

So, using the YouTube clips as an example, I have set up my YouTube account to automatically post any video I add as a Favourite to my blog. All I have to do is mark it a favourite and you automatically get a post about it!

I have others in place - Instagram automatically adds pics to Dropbox. Google Reader automatically shares blog posts I star to Facebook and Facebook automatically adds them to Evernote! Etc, etc.

My camera already syncs photos with Dropbox but now IFTTT will automatically email those to Picasa! I am so backed up it isn't funny!!!

You can do almost anything between everything! Go have a look - If This Then That

Have fun!

Breastfeeding: Whip 'Em Out! by TheBumpTV

Breastfeeding: Whip 'Em Out!

Did you know August is National Breastfeeding Month? For such a great cause, we've whipped up some fabulous PSA videos packed with celebs (like Kelly Rutherford, Ali Landry, Lisa Loeb, Constance Marie and Ana Gasteyer) and real moms who all have one thing in common: They breastfed their babies and are proud of it! Go to to see more stories from moms just like you, and help us spread the word that breastfeeding doesn't suck!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Memory a Day - an old take on Project 365

Two days into the new year and I have decided I want to tackle this project in a slightly different was this year. As well as capturing new memoires along the way, I am now planning to revisit old memories as well. with more than 25 000 images in my collection, lifetimes of photography from behind my lens, that of my father, grandparents of photographers before them along the family lines, as well as new images through the lenses of my children.

So Memeory a Day - an image every day, posted to Facebook and here on my blog. Some from the day and some from the vault, all with a little tale to share.

Bringing in the new year with a Doctor Who marathon. Kieran, Melissa and their cousins Sarah and Rachael, as they ended 20 hours after they started.

The growing wardrobe for the growing granddaughter2be. The slogan says it all - Famous on Facebook!


The O'Dowd males, circa mid-late 80s. Enacting a tribal ritual where one - any one - grabs the whole trifile and/or pavlova and announces "Well, here's mine, don't know what the rest of you are having."To which they all laugh. Sadly, we lost Uncle John (far right) a few years ago but the new generation of males have learned at their father's knees and the cry can be heard at every family feast.

Luvs - Breastfeeding by luvsdiapers

Luvs - Breastfeeding

Second time moms know: When you've gotta feed, you've gotta feed, no matter your location. Do you relate? Live, Learn & Get Luvs Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter: