pinknits recommends…

February 18, 2015

untitledGone Girl. You’ve possibly heard the hype? I had never heard of it when, somehow, I stumbled across the book some time ago now. I was blown away. Such a clever story and so well written. It had me sucked in from the first page and was one of those books where you are so keen to go to bed so you can read the next bit (it’s the only time I have to read nowadays). Then I started to hear about it everywhere and so it seemed that I was not the only one who had loved it.

When I heard that they were making a movie I wasn’t quite sure how to feel about it. Sometimes that transition from book to screen just doesn’t work (for me anyway) – obviously there are some exceptions “Harry Potter” and the “Hunger Games” spring to mind.

Then I heard that Ben Affleck was cast as Nick and I was like ‘yeah baby’ – it was starting to sound promising. Fast forward past cinema release, every man and his dog going to see it on the big screen, and finally we get to DVD release day! Finally I had Ben the DVD in my hot little hands.

untitled

Ben It did not disappoint! The screenplay was also written by Gillian Flynn and I think that’s why, to me, it seamlessly translated from page to screen. So clever! Loved, loved, loved it!

So, that is my recommendation for both reading and watching. Gone Girl! Get your hands on Ben it as soon as you can.

Chat soon

xxP

Inspiration wherefore art thou?

February 1, 2015

I am in a creative slump.

It sucks.

Lots of ideas rolling around in my addled brain but neither the motivation nor the energy to bring them to life.

Perhaps our ‘Handmade Christmas’ sucked me dry?

Whatever the reason it is doing.my.head.in.

I never quite know how to deal with the ‘creative block’ – it has happened to me before I know but I can never remember how I get myself out of it.

I should probably do this course (I know from experience that all of Pip’s courses are great) but unfortunately I just can’t run to it at the moment – I am both financially and time poor right now.

So, I have been doing quite a bit of this

image

Consuming far, far too much of this

image

And doing absolutely none of this

image

…and I feel like shit.

Tell me, please, how do you get out of your creative slump?

Chat soon

Pxx

Our ‘handmade’ Christmas

January 20, 2015

So, 2014 presented our family with quite a few challenges. Early in the year both my husband and I started new jobs – which has been great, as we are a lot happier and more satisfied than we were in our previous roles. The downside? Well the new jobs meant a 50% reduction in our household income. To say it has been a bit of a juggle is a slight understatement – but we have tightened our belts and so far have managed to keep our heads above water – but we knew that Christmas was going to be bit of a problem – we have six children and they all needed to be catered for. Now, as I am an avid crafter people often assume that everything we have is handmade – not so. I liken it to the plumbers with the worst plumbing and the builders with the unfinished houses – you are so busy making for paying customers that it is often hard to find time to create for the family. So, I set myself a challenge. In order to fill those six Santa Sacks I was going to have to get busy on the making front – buying as little as possible and making use of my *ahem* rather full craft cupboard. Three boys (23,18,15), three girls (21, 19, 13) and two weeks to get it done (yep, I left it pretty late – hoping to win lotto! Note to self: must.buy.ticket.). Children were forewarned, thinking cap was planted firmly on head and iPad was nearby, permanently open on Pinterest – I got planning. Now I generally find that making for girls is pretty easy – but boys, well that is a whole other thing, especially teenage boys and young men.

I started with clothes. Traditionally Christmas means new socks and undies for all – well obviously I wasn’t going to have time to make enough for everyone so I did go out and buy some white cotton socks and white singlets (I really wanted undies but couldn’t easily locate plain tighty whities). I then got twisting and tying…and dyeing! Yep, tie dyed socks and singlets for all. Everyone in our house always needs socks and I thought the singlets were fun – gym clothes or sleep wear – they could choose the best use. Happy with how they turned out really – I used a tie dye kit from Spotlight which was the most economical way to get a variety of colours – I have saved the bits and bobs from this for future dyeing projects.

imageClothes for the girls was a reasonable ‘no brainer’. I delved into my stash and found some pretty fabrics and whipped up three simple shirts/dresses – or, as my girls call them, “shresses”! Nice and cool – great swimmer cover-ups, as a dress or over some leggings.

imageThe boys got boxer shorts. My oldest boy (Mr 23) is a keen Dr Who fan, so it was the Tardis fabric for him. He was over the moon and put them on straight away. Mr’s 18 and 15 were the lucky recipients of this cool Ikea fabric I have had for ages. The lips were strategically placed to be ‘kissing their butts’ – for two boys who do pretty much nothing other than walk around with their hands down their pants and talk about ‘boy parts’ (you get where I’m going here I think) I thought this fabric very appropriate.

image

Our two youngest (Mr 15 and Ms 13) love their bucket hats. Mr 15 is on a mission to ‘bring back the bucket hat’ (I argue that it never left but there you go) and so two bucket hats were added to my list. I have never made hats so all in all I was pretty happy with how these turned out. Mr 15’s hat was made from some fabric my sister gifted me – a heavy linen/hemp? fabric that had been hand dyed and free machine embroidered over in parts. Ms 13’s hat was made from a skirt I had bought for myself and had, ummm ‘grown’ out of!

image

So that had the clothing component sorted, now onto some fun stuff.

Mr 18 has recently moved into his own room – his cave. I thought he needed something to hang on his wall so I got busy with some chalk cloth, some nails, some cotton yarn and an old frame (all this stuff was already in my stash), opened up good old pinterest and came up with this:

image

I love this guy!

People who know my children will know that they are pretty competitive and love a bit of a physical challenge, so some of the presents needed to reflect this. Balance boards! Now, these could prove a little dangerous – a slight design flaw was the short board, should be longer – we narrowly avoided a broken limb or two, but they had fun!

image

Some oilcloth and washi tape were used to decorate what was a plain piece of ply and some PVC pipe.

I’m not sure how it works today but our children, especially our older ones, all loved to play with Lego and we have a huge tub of it (saving it for the grandchildren maybe?). Some searching on Pinterest revealed that there is actually a squillion things you can make out of Lego. Due to my time constraints, I had to keep it pretty simple, so it was a couple of key holders for my oldies and the youngie got a necklace.

image

Also scattered through the Santa Sacks were the following: we had a Jumbo Jenga, some candle holders, a bit more string art, some bedside clocks, some re-usable make-up remover pads And some hacky sacks.

image

The hit of the day though I think, was the Marshmallow gun. Again, I found the idea on Pinterest – there are several tutorials out there on the interwebs, and I took inspiration from all of them and came up with these beauties. You take some pieces of PVC pipe and join them together using the elbows and T-joints. I had some spray paint lying around so I gave mine a quick spray – the boy guns were painted black – but you could leave them unpainted if you want. Then I dressed them up a bit more with some washi tape because, well, you know, you can never have too much washi tape! I love these things!! I think the guys liked them too. You use the small baking marshmallows in them and they really work – even around corners!

image

So that is pretty much it – our handmade Christmas. I have to say, I loved it and I think the guys were genuinely surprised with what I came up with. I plan on having handmade Christmases from now on – I will just be more prepared and make through the year rather than cramming it all into the last two weeks before Christmas!

How about you? Ever had a handmade Christmas?

Chat soon

xxP

Questions FOUR You

December 12, 2014

Hi there. I have been absent for some time from this little place of mine. The last few months have been difficult, to say the least. I lost my mum at the end of September and while you think “I’m a grown-up, I should be able to handle it better” – the fact remains that I no longer have my mummy to call and to visit, to seek advice from, to seek comfort from – and that makes me very sad indeed. I am now an orphan, and that’s a really weird concept for me to grasp. So I have been quiet across most of my social media and have sat quietly, creating for my Christmas Market which I held in our garden last weekend. I really enjoyed preparing for my little market and happily, it was well received by the good folk of Armidale, so I am hoping that 2015 will be the ‘Year of the Market’ with lots more goodies to come.

image

I have been waiting for inspiration to strike to get my blogging mojo back and today that happened thanks to Karen over at Leaf and Petal (check her out – she’s lovely!) with the ‘Questions FOUR You’ prompt – a list of questions that need FOUR answers FOR you – perhaps you will learn something about me that you didn’t know before…here goes.

Four names that people call me, other than my real name.

Cill, Cilla, Linus, Dilbury

Four jobs I have had (not counting current jobs)

Live-in nanny, bank teller, assistant in nursing, motel cleaner

Four movies I have watched more than once

Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, St Elmo’s Fire, Circle of Friends

Four books I’d recommend

Circle of Friends, We Need to Talk about Kevin, Mr Wigg, The Time Traveller’s Wife

Four places I’ve lived.

Wee Waa, Tamworth, Canberra, Sydney

Four places I have been

Melbourne, Alice Springs, Venice, Rome

Four places I would rather be right now.

Home, Melbourne, Venice, Rome

Four things I don’t eat

Liver, paw paw, ummm can’t think of anymore – I pretty much eat anything!

Four of my favourite foods

Bread (my downfall), chocolate, rainbow cake, steak

Four TV shows that I watch

Dexter (please, please, please Santa bring me Season 5!), Project Runway, Offspring, Gilmore Girls

Four things I am looking forward to this next year

Trip with Pip (I have my fingers xx’d that this goes ahead), more money to ‘play’ with, a new craft room, good health and happiness

Four things I am always saying

For fuck sake, stop it, whatever, no – all of these generally at quite a high volume.

So. There you have it. You may, or may not have learned a few things about me.

I have included a list for you to use as well if you want…you know, whatever.

Have a great day.

Chat soon

xxP

 Four names that people call me, other than my real name.

Four jobs I have had (not counting current jobs)

Four movies I have watched more than once

Four books I’d recommend

Four places I’ve lived.

Four places I have been

Four places I would rather be right now.

Four things I don’t eat

Four of my favourite foods

Four TV shows that I watch

Four things I am looking forward to this year

Four things I am always saying

Taking Stock – September

September 30, 2014

Yep, it’s that time again. Time to look back on the month that was. I first did this exercise during my Blog with Pip course which I participated in earlier this year. I have done it a couple of times since and I always find it very useful in getting my often erratic brain to focus on one thing at a time – well, one list anyway! I have included a copy of the list at the bottom of this post so feel free to use it to create your own stocktake, but please, link it back to Pip ok? Ok.

Making : right at this minute I am knitting, but I also have some stitching and some crochet on the go.
Cooking : Caesar Salad…out of a bag…don’t judge
Drinking : water – trying to drink a whole lot more
Reading: ‘Delicious’ – not the magazine (although I do love that) but a novel, a light easy read so far
Wanting: a beach holiday
Looking: forward to Spring/Summer
Playing: tennis! and Candy Crush and Cupcake Mania…again, no judging!
Deciding: to (try) and stop eating so much sugar
Wishing: not eating sugar was a little bit easier
Enjoying: the lighter mornings and longer days
Waiting: for the Lotto ball to drop on our house
Liking: the school holidays
Wondering: what will happen with my dear old mummy
Loving: my life – all things considered it’s pretty damn good
Pondering: how to get my crafting to make me a little extra $$
Considering: buying a Lotto ticket
Watching: Dexter Season 1 and Parenthood Season 1
Hoping: I get back to Wee Waa in time
Marvelling: at the craziness in the world
Needing: a good night sleep
Smelling: the freesias in my mummy’s hospital room
Wearing: my daughter’s cast offs
Following: my hunches
Noticing: the new growth in my garden
Knowing: things will be ok
Thinking: about all the things I want (need) to make
Admiring: people who can ‘do it all’
Sorting: out projects to make
Buying: fabric
Getting: excited for my market day plans
Bookmarking: some great blogs on Bloglovin
Disliking: all the crap that is going on in the world
Opening: parcels
Giggling: at the Aldi ads…so stupid they are hilarious!
Feeling: tired
Snacking: sweet, always sweet!
Coveting: a really good sleep
Wishing: we could all just get along
Helping: the nurses with my mummy
Hearing: the nurses going about their day

image

 So, there you have it. A whole month wrapped up in a list and a photo collage. I hope your September was all you wanted it to be and that by ‘Taking Stock’ it gives you reason to stop and think – about all you did, how it made you feel and maybe make some exciting plans for the months ahead.

chat soon

xxP

Making :
Cooking :
Drinking :
Reading:
Wanting:
Looking:
Playing:
Deciding:
Wishing:
Enjoying:
Waiting:
Liking:
Wondering:
Loving:
Pondering:
Considering:
Watching:
Hoping:
Marvelling:
Needing:
Smelling:
Wearing:
Following:
Noticing:
Knowing:
Thinking:
Admiring:
Sorting:
Buying:
Getting:
Bookmarking:
Disliking:
Opening:
Giggling:
Feeling:
Snacking:
Coveting:
Wishing:
Helping:
Hearing:

 

Honey, I shrunk the toilet paper… (or Size does Matter)

August 31, 2014

They say the world is getting smaller, well, so is our toilet paper.

We use a lot of toilet paper in our house. Seven people equals lots of flushing so I am ALWAYS stocking up on the soft and quilted stuff. I happily buy a variety of generic brand products to try and keep grocery costs down, but I refuse to skimp on TP. I go by the unit price and when it is less than 45c a roll I am a happy camper as I buy the big packs – we are talking 18 rolls minimum…a week! A couple of weeks ago I was very extravagant and bought the ‘Extra Long’. Obviously a weak moment. We used it all as we do and so it was back to Coles to re-stock. Just went with my usual pack this time and boy, did we notice a difference. Even my 12 yr old has noticed! I seem to be forever putting a new roll on the holder and telling my family to “remind me to buy more toilet paper”. It was getting quite ridiculous which was when the lightbulb went off and I realised that I wasn’t imagining it, they really were smaller.

It would appear that toilet paper has fallen victim to the ‘let’s make our product smaller to fool the consumer into thinking prices are staying down’ conspiracy. It is everywhere and done so cleverly that you would be forgiven for not noticing.

Let’s take a look shall we at just what other products have fallen foul of consumers expectations.

According to this article, in 2006 a 250g block of Cadbury Dairy Milk would have cost you $3.62. In 2011 the size had reduced to 220g and would set you back $3.76 – see what they did there? Glass and a half? More like a glass and a quarter! I think the price has skyrocketed since then but hey, it’s chocolate.

image

Baby food is another one. In 2006 the jars were 120g in size and cost about .80c. In 2011, the size had reduced to 110g but the price had gone up to $1.20. I have not needed to purchase baby food for some time so this one had gone unnoticed. But, rude much?

The cheeky fellows at Smiths Chips got a bit tricky when they went from 200g bags to 175g packets, just increasing the price by a few cents.

image

Canned vegetables went from 420g to 410g with little increase in price.

image

Another trick is to re-brand products so a shiny new box appears on the shelf citing ‘new and improved’ or similar and we the consumer tend not to notice that the box is slightly narrower and/or weighs just a little bit less.

So, what ends up happening is that we are ‘fooled’ into thinking that prices aren’t increasing any more than we would normally expect, however, we are actually getting less product and paying more for it.

Clever right?

So, back to my TP issue. A little investigating here and I discovered that back in 2009 the number of sheets per roll had reduced. Not only that though, they had made the cardboard tubes BIGGER, so visually they looked exactly the same. Well, they certainly got me. Had I not bought the ‘Extra Long’ rolls (which, on reflection, are probably the same as the regular ones were prior to 2009) and gone back to my usual ones I certainly would never had noticed. I feel so duped.

Mess with my canned vegies all you like, but don’t mess with my toilet paper!

Have you noticed any changes in products you buy regularly?

Chat soon

xxP

*the opinions expressed in this post are mine and are not meant to influence anyone in anyway

I’m bored…

August 17, 2014

“I’m bored…” she said to me one day in the last school holidays.

“What would you like to do?” was my response.

“Mmmmmmmm, can I make a Fuseball table?”

A few minutes later we had it all worked out in our head. She, of course, wanted to go to Bunnings and buy everything we thought we would need. However, I am currently on a ‘use what we have’ stint so I pretty quickly nixed that idea. She thought all was lost. I knew better.

We had an old timber box, a few bits of dowel, some wooden pegs, some paint and our trusty power tools – we were off and racing in the ‘Make a Fuseball Table’ Stakes.

 

www.pinknits.com/wooden box

our trusty wooden box

She set about marking the sides of the box where she would drill the holes to house the dowels.

 

www.pinknits.com/marking for holes

marking the places where the dowels will go

 

www.pinknits.com/marking

measuring and marking

 

Ok. So, now it was time to pull out the power tools. She lined it up and drilled away (while I held my breath!)

 

 

www.pinknits.com/drilling

lining up and drilling away

After holes were drilled on both sides of the box, it was time to measure and cut the dowels that would become the players.

 

www.pinknits.com/players

hand tools required for this bit

There then followed a bit of discussion around what she should use for players. I suggested the wooden pegs as we had heaps of them and they didn’t require any modification. 

She agreed.

 

www.pinknits.com/pegs

pegs for players

She created her teams. The Blues and The Reds.

www.pinknits.com/pegplayers

Blues v Reds

 She painted on the field markings. The peg players were inserted onto their dowels and entered the field.

www.pinknits.com/done

Fuseball Table complete

 This child, our baby, never ceases to amaze me with her creativity and her ability to entertain herself . This was her idea completely. I helped a little just refining some of her ideas but on the whole it was all her.

Our clever little girl.

What do you do when someone in your house says “I’m bored…”?

Chat soon

xxP

Sometimes motherhood sucks

August 11, 2014

Sometimes, just sometimes, I wonder what my life would have been like had I not had children. The following would go without saying:

  • I would have a lot more money than I do now.
  • My house would be clean most of the time instead of hardly ever.
  • I would have plenty of ‘me’ time.
  • Plenty of time to travel.
  • I would spend a lot less time at Coles.
  • I would have a lot less grey hair and wrinkles.

Let’s face it though, it doesn’t even really bear thinking about, after all, we have six of them.

But man oh man there are days when I think ‘whose great idea was this?’ Because being a parent is really, really hard.

There is a quote I throw around periodically (I think I heard it on Oprah!) that goes something like:

“as a mother (parent) you are only ever as happy as your unhappiest child”

This rings true for me most days. We can be cruising along with not a care in the world, everyone is happy and content and where they want to be in the world, then WHAM, seemingly out of nowhere it all goes to s**t.

The last few weeks have been like this.

We have been dealing with job losses, exam failings, broken bones, loss of driving licence – all this from just one child!

Another one is suffering at school – high school has not lived up to its promise and she is struggling to make friends and find a way to fit in without giving ‘herself’ up.

That covers two out of the six. The other four seem to be going ok (touch wood) but with new boyfriends and girlfriends on the scene I won’t hold my breath – someone’s heart is sure to be broken.

As Mr Pinknits said last night when he heard about the latest drama “it just never stops does it”.

The ups and downs can be exhausting. As a parent, what do you do when you have nothing left to give? How do I protect my heart so that I can protect theirs.

image

Chat soon

xxP

Taking Stock – July

July 31, 2014

Well, another month has gone by – hard to believe that tomorrow is August! It’s true what they say, the older you get, the faster the years go by. Iknorite, I’m a walking cliche! So, the last day of the month is a great time to take stock. I first did this as a challenge when I did the ‘Blog with Pip’ course earlier in the year and I had all good intentions of making it a regular thing but, alas, alack I am a not a very good blogging student and thus this is the first ‘Taking Stock’ post since graduating!

So, here goes – ‘Taking Stock – July’

Making : a bit of a crochet folly – I have a vision, just not sure on how to implement

Cooking : weekly cakes for the #sundaybakingsunday

Drinking : Rooibos vanilla tea

Reading: just finished ‘Summer House with Swimming Pool’ by Herman Koch and just started Liane Moriarty’s new one ‘Big little lies’

Wanting: dessert

Looking: forward to tomorrow

Playing: whatever shuffle decides!

Deciding: whether or not to get up and do Yoga in the morning.

Wishing: it was easier for me to get up and do Yoga in the mornings

Enjoying: creating a garden

Waiting: for Spring

Liking: that I have a three day weekend this weekend

Wondering: what I should give my sister for her birthday

Loving: the Little Moments app and the #fmsphotaday challenge

Pondering: what colour I should dye my hair

Considering: what I should cook for a dinner guest next week

Watching: ‘The Block Unlocked’ waiting for ‘The Time of Our Lives’ to start

Hoping: that I have the right night for ‘The Time of Our Lives’…

Marvelling: at how I have suddenly become a gardener

Needing: a new hose connector so I can water the new garden down the back

Smelling: sweaty socks following hockey training – not mine and not pleasant!

Wearing: my pjs , dressing gown and uggs

Following:  lots of creatives on Instagram – am pretty new to insta, lovin’ it!

Noticing: my legs need shaving

Knowing: they won’t get shaved anytime soon

Thinking: about what I am going to plant in my new garden

Feeling: a bit cold now that I have finished my ice cream

Admiring: organised people

Sorting: through papers trying to find No. 2 sons RoSA

Buying: not a lot

Getting: my own dessert…ahh well, lucky it was yummy!

Bookmarking: lots of great blogs

Disliking: all the madness in the world

Opening: my mind to the infinite possibilities

Giggling: at the ad for ‘Utopia’

Feeling: like a holiday

Snacking: on anything with ‘salted caramel’ in the name

Coveting: see above!

Wishing: someone would bring me dessert

Helping: our No. 2 son apply to join the Navy

Hearing: our No. 3 son clean up after making his milkshake (and trying not to express my shock out loud!)

So. There we have it. That’s July done and dusted.

Why not take stock yourself – here’s a blank list for you to use however you choose.

Making :
Cooking :
Drinking :
Reading:
Wanting:
Looking:
Playing:
Deciding:
Wishing:
Enjoying:
Waiting:
Liking:
Wondering:
Loving:
Pondering:
Considering:
Watching:
Hoping:
Marvelling:
Needing:
Smelling:
Wearing:
Following:
Noticing:
Knowing:
Thinking:
Feeling:
Admiring:
Sorting:
Buying:
Getting:
Bookmarking:
Disliking:
Opening:
Giggling:
Feeling:
Snacking:
Coveting:
Wishing:
Helping:
Hearing:

Chat soon

xxP