Thursday, July 31, 2008

On the 'to do' list.

Make Missy Moo a pillowcase dress as seen here.

I've got the pillowcase from the set I bought at the op shop the other day (70's yellow/orange stripes) and a very tempting bed linen outlet down the road which I'm sure will have some gorgeous pillow cases worthing of making into summer dresses..... I'm thinking pretty embroidery, crispy white or summery florals or gingham... I'd love to make some for Christmas presents but the problem is I only have nephews and all my closest friends have boy-childrens. SIL is due in October so let's hope it's a niece!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How to entertain a toddler #2.....

The other day Missy Moo was looking through some old magazines and leaving them open on pictures of animals. She loved the pictures so much that I decided to cut them out for her. BUT I thought they were going to get trashed pretty quick so I got some 'contact' (plastic sticky book covering stuff) and sandwiched the pictures in between plastic - kind of like laminating without the nifty machine. Then we cut around the edges, leaving about 5mm (1/4") to keep it all together. Then we stuck them on the fridge and much delight was had sticking and unsticking the animals. Missy Moo even took each one off and gave it a kiss. So cute! We then practiced making animal noises and Auslan signs - she knows all her animals!
And here is the little surprise she left me in the pantry - it made me smile a big Mummy smile! Labrador in a glass jar.....

The Op shop Gods are smiling on me

I visited one of the other op shops in town today. To my absolute joy there was a box of patterns. I started to flick through and found a baby layette pattern. Yay! Kept flicking. Children's clothes. And then they just kept on coming! I bought 20 patterns for $8 - most of them from the mid 70's but one from 1960 and one from 1982. Here are my favourites......

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Chair sling

Okay, I sewed this tonight after Missy Moo was asleep so I wasn't able to model with a real live wiggling toddler. The bear below is not my daughter. She's not that furry.

Thank you to Jan Andrea for the FREE pattern and instructions. You can find them here. I varied mine slightly by using a double thickness of fabric which negates the need for bias binding along the edges of the seat.

This cost me about $3 to make. All materials were 'freed' from the opshop/thrift store. Sewing machine is Mum's old one (30+ years old), cotton, bias binding, sheet and table cloth all reclaimed! And to think I could have gone to 'insert Chain Baby Store here' and bought one for $30.

Mike's ABC radio interview podcast

For those of you who missed Kathy Bowlen and Jill Singer interviewing Mike on the ABC radio Conversation Hour on 10th July it is now online. It can also be downloaded from the ABC podcast site.

Michael Peck 2006, Oil on canvas

Monday, July 28, 2008

Op shop awesome! Thrift shop terrific!

Went to 'the local' this morning on the way to the supermarket - didn't make it to the supermarket because I found so much at the op shop that I couldn't possibly carry the shopping as well so I had to go home again and venture out in the afternoon for the groceries.

Here is what I got (photos to come as my camera had flat batteries):

  1. Wide striped yellow/orange/red double sheet set from (I am guessing) the 70's. Made in America. Brand is Martex. BIL hates it. I love it.
  2. Bright yellow table cloth in similar shade to sheet set
  3. 10m of elastic
  4. 5m of forest green bias binding
  5. 5 cute red buttons
  6. Original (STILL IN THE PACKET!!!!!!) Japanese felt animal craft kit (including everything but the stuffing) circa 1960s.
  7. 4m length of fire engine red fleece
  8. 'Hit the pegs into the wood with a hammer' set for Missy Moo. (What do you call that anyway?)
  9. Wooden stacking/counting set for Missy Moo.
How much would you expect to pay for all this? $10!

I bought the yellow table cloth and bed sheets to make this tie on baby-seat/chair sling and I have so much material that I think I will make a few more and give them to friends who are nice to me. (Who also happen to have babies otherwise it would be weird.....)
I want to make pants/sleeping bag/stroller foot muff for Missy Moo with this lovely red fleece.
Was so excited when I got home that I had to call my Mum and tell her about my loot. Hubby is not quite so appreciative of my quest for the perfect op-shop treasure.....

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Thanks to Bollewangenhaptoet for this meme.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?

10 years ago I was 23 and living in Sokcho on the far north-east coast of Korea - a hop skip and jump (literally!) from the DPRK (North Korea). I’d finished my grad. Dip. In Korean and decided to live in the countryside to escape people who wanted to speak English to me while riding on the bus. It worked! People in the country don’t speak English like they do in the big cities. I was teaching English to University and mature age students, learning how to make Korean chilli paste and kimchi in the traditional manner from the Grandma who lived downstairs.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today- not in any particular order?

3. Snacks I enjoy.
Fruit. Especially pineapple and berries.

4. Places I’ve lived
The Mornington Peninsula, Preston, Clayton, Mitcham, Kew, Hawthorn – all suburbs of Melbourne. Forshaga and Tystberga in Sweden. Seoul, Pusan, Ilsan and Sokcho in Korea.

5. Things I would do if I were a billionaire
Have a heartattack! After I’d done that I would buy nice houses for my immediate family members. Start a charity of some kind and start my own business.

6. What are some jobs you’ve had
Tour guide, television presenter, TV extra, teacher, insurance underwriter, translator, Telstra slave, lolly shop worker (awesome!), Mum.

I love...... Kelpamare

Kelpamare is a distinctive seasoning sauce that contains concentrated kelp (among other things!). Kelp contains iodine which is an essential micro nutrient during childhood for growth and brain development. In adults iodine plays an important role in thyroid function and for pregnant women it is critical for the normal development of the growing fetus. A deficiency of iodine can lead to weight gain, lethargy, intolerance to cold, increased blood cholesterol, mental slowness and reduced heart function. Iodine deficiency is re-emerging in Australia and New Zealand and you can read about it here and here.
BUT, the real reason I love it is that it tastes great! I use it anywhere I would use stock or soy sauce - in soups, stews, casserole, savoury pies, salad dressing, dipping sauce, stir fries and noodle dishes. YUM! My 'famous' organic chicken pie uses this as it's secret ingredient but more about that later.......

This is..... photos I haven't looked at for a while

In 2004, before we were married, my husband and I went on our 'before we have responsibilities' trip to Europe. We spent 6 weeks travelling from London to Vienna through central Europe.

I took the photo above in Zurich and the one below in the infamous Berchtesgaden. The water in the lake was so crystal clear....

On top of the Jungfrau!

The Roman baths in Bath - I didn't know it then, but on researching my family history my Mum's family actually hails from Bath originally. No wonder I felt at home here!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Swedish Meatballs - Köttbullar

So many people have asked me for it so..... here it is.... my now not so 'secret' recipe.

Photo by Slice.

250g minced beef
250g minced pork
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 egg
1 stock cube dissolved in 1 cup of milk or water
1 very finely diced brown onion, lightly fried and left to cool

Place the bread crumbs in a large bowl and pour the stock cube milk/water over it. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Roll into meatballs and place on a greased oven tray. Cook at 180 for 30 mins. You can also use a fry pan which is the traditional way but I prefer the lazy oven way which browns the meatballs nicely all over without them falling apart.
Serve with lingonberries (you can buy them at IKEA or at some large department stores) and gräddsås. Don't forget boiled potatoes or mashed potato and perhaps some dill pickles.

This recipe is also nice if you swap out the breadcrumbs and stock water for mashed potato. Just remember that as there is no stock cube you will need to add salt - I prefer to use Herbamare.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sheer luxury.

Haircut: $25
Shoulder massage: $15
Coffee: $2.70
Sanity: priceless

Every Wednesday Missy Moo and her cousin go to Grandad and Granny's house for the day. I like to do the housework, sew or catch up on sleep but I decided on the spur of the moment this morning to venture to Box Hill to my favourite cheap but nice hair salon. It's been four months since my last haircut which is a new record for me - I usually only get my hair cut about twice a year. Generally, I have long natural hair which doesn't require coloring or styling and I just can't justify spending the money on something as ridiculous as that - $50 for a haircut - get out of town! Anyhoo, enjoyed the haircut and on the way back to the train station I walked past one of those Chinese acupressure torture massage places and stopped for a shoulder massage. Wonderfully painful yet somehow relaxing at the same time.
Thanks to Granny I am now ready to face another week with Missy Moo.
I think I'm bruised though.....

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I love....... Baby's 1st Toothbrush

I have been trying to brush Missy Moo's teeth since they erupted with little success. Like most young children she has no idea what I am trying to do and no amount of demonstration or just 'getting in there' does the job. What I hate most is that it usually deteriorates into something that neither of us look forward to.
While in Kmart yesterday I came across 'Baby's First Toothbrush' (Ryco Corporation PTY LTD) and it is fantastic. Missy Moo bites on it and voila - clean teeth! $9.99 from Kmart - expensive for a toothbrush but cheaper than a trip to the dentist!

(I tried to find a link to this company and was unsuccessful. )

This is....... what makes me happy.

On Wednesday afternoon I eagerly went to One Little Acorn's blog to check what this weeks 'This is' would be. That evening as I was walking into the kitchen I saw our shoes sitting on the floor randomly where I had left them when tidying in the afternoon. They only made it to the kitchen (they should have been put away!) I remembered the 'This is' challenge and decided that this was exactly the thing that makes me happy.
My family.
My wonderful husband and my darling Missy Moo.

Thanks 'One Little Acorn' for this weeks 'This is.'

Friday, July 18, 2008

Background TV can damage small children

An article I translated from the Swedish newspaper 'Aftonbladet.' You can read the full article here (in Swedish of course!) Please forgive me for any weird grammar....... I just did it for practice and without the use of a dictionary.....

Foto: Katrin Jakobsen

New study: TV Can damage children’s development
When small children play with a TV on in the room it interrupts their concentration. Interrupted play can lead to children not developing to their full potential. This is the result of a new American study.
Showing adult programs in the same room that small children play can be a threat to the children’s development. Earlier, it was believed that TV didn’t affect children unless they watched it. But now researchers from the University of Massachusetts have actually studied how very small children react when they play in a room that has a TV on, writes Dagens Nyheter (another Swedish newspaper).
The sound and lights cause interruptions
The children, aged between one and three, were studied as they played in a room with a TV showing the program Jeopardy. They were also studied playing in the same room but with the TV off. When the TV was on, the sound and light flicker made the children stop their play more often to glance at the TV even though they were not watching the program. Interruption of play can lead to children developing concentration problems, say the researchers, as the ability to concentrate is developed in the early years. This research has led them to warn against the dangers of leaving a TV on in the background at home when there are small children around.
On the other hand the researches point out that the study applies only when the TV program shown is meant for a mature audience. To let children see appropriate children’s programming may have a different effect.

(This is me...) Either way - having the TV on can't be good! I'm currently limiting Missy Moo to about 30 mins a day - Playschool on the ABC as she loves it, it is educational and I can have a shower etc without having to worry about her climbing the couch, playing superman and breaking her neck while unsupervised! It is the only TV program that she will actually sit and watch. She dances and claps to the songs and laughs when they show footage of animals. (Yep, I spy on her when I've finished my shower : )

Thursday, July 17, 2008

1950's Medical film - labour and childbirth"

"Leave the decision in your doctor's hands." I won't comment on this one.

How to keep a toddler occupied.......

My little one (14 mths) has the attention span of a gnat.
But, give her a loooonnng piece of sticky tape/cellotape and she's amused for at least 3 mins. Longer if you are lucky. When she gets bored with the piece she has I let her have a new piece.
Voila! 20 mins of peace! (Oh, and 20 mins of creative sticky play for Missy Moo! You'd be amazed at what one little girl can do with a piece of tape.)

If only someone could do this here in Melbourne....

... or perhaps they do. If you know about it please share and leave me a comment!

This Belgian restaurant in Canada provides a babysitting service at the restaurant. You eat your meal in peace while the kids get spaghetti and waffles and play with cool toys in a space next door under the supervision of professional nannies.

The restaurant is of course also a regular dining location and only offers the service one night a week. But what a night that would be.........

1. waffle with syrup, 2. Shovelin that spaghetti

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Beautiful illustrations by Swedish author Elsa Beskow

Mors lilla Olle i skogen gick.

Årets saga

Ur Tomtebobarnen .


You can read about Elsa Beskow in English here or in Swedish here (with many more beautiful illustrations).

What the!? High heels for babies aged 0-6 months

"Heelarious" or heinous?

Two American mothers invented these soft 'crib shoes.' There is a warning on the box, 'May cause extreme smiling and hysterical laughter when in use (this is completely normal).

Well, I don't know if I am taking this way too seriously but I think it's the grossest thing I've seen for a while. Right up there with Bratz and the sexy Santa outfit seen in last years 'Reject Shop' catalogue (worn by a 3-4 year old little girl wearing plastic high heels).

Do you want to tell me to have a laugh and get over it or do you agree with me?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Twinkle Twinkle

Missy Moo is learning some Auslan. She's already mastered several words and seeing as her favorite song is Twinkle Twinkle I have been teaching myself to sign it so I can teach it to her. I must look hilarious sitting with my laptop singing TTLS slowly and fumbling about with my arms/hands/fingers. Quite funny really. I keep thinking I have it mastered and then it just goes out of my head! I'm seriously considering taking an Auslan course at the local community house so we can learn more. Annie is desperate to talk but her little 14 month old mouth won't have any of it.
It's really interesting watching Moo verbally babble and then finger babble. She babbles with her fingers a lot as she's singing away so we should have her singing and signing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in no time......

Saturday, July 12, 2008


A little project for a Saturday afternoon.
I took photos of things around the house that are green. Will do a different colour each week.
If you would like to make a photo mosaic head over here.

This is.....

Thanks to Flightless Boyds for this weeks 'This is.'

I couldn't bring myself to put a photo of the thing which gives me goosebumps because I would have a heart attack every time I opened my blog so I have chosen something abstract.....

I REALLY hate spiders! The word arachnophobia comes to mind. You should see my spider dance! I've also been known to throw a book or magazine across the room because I turned the page and there was a photo of a spider on it.
My poor husband has to deal with any spiders that are stupid enough to enter the house and once my 70 year old bent over Grandma chased down a huntsman with a broom because I was too scared to go to bed - I was 19.......

Friday, July 11, 2008

More on the cargo bicycle

I found some info here and here for anyone who is interested.......

$1295 for one made in China or $3500 for a Dutch made original Bakfiets......

Don't think I'll be getting one anytime soon but it's a nice dream. We don't even own our own car a the moment! (We have a lender.) I don't have a driver's license so I walk with Missy Moo in her Podaegi or in the pusher and we take public transport if we need to go more than 5km. A cargo bike sounds wonderful for doing the grocery shopping. *sigh* However, riding on the road is definitely not safe around here and it's illegal to ride on the footpath in Victoria. So, until the government gets it's act together and puts in a safe place for us to cycle we will be contributing to pollution by driving our car when it would be perfectly fine to ride a bicycle.

So, I hereby challenge Tim Pallas (Minister for Roads and Ports in Victoria) to ride his bicycle down Maroondah Highway with a baby on the back/front.

Highway robbery

What makes banks and utilities companies think it's OK to charge someone money as a late payment fee/overdrawn fee? If someone doesn't pay their bill doesn't that create an assumption that they are short on cash and therefore charging a late fee means they are even less able to pay the bill?
We forgot to pay a bill with a certain telco (Foxtel. Oh, did I mention their name...?) and the next bill had a FIFTEEN dollar late payment fee. We literally misplaced the bill and it wasn't paid on time. Now, I know that these companies will defend themselves by saying there are costs involved with unpaid bills but having worked for one of these large companies I can tell you that it only involves the computer adding the charge and spitting out a letter. Surely that doesn't cost $15. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Angry!
We are going to quit once our contract is up. It was nice having something to watch in the middle of night when Missy Moo was first born but now it's time to turn it off and get a life.
Die Foxtel. Die.
: )

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Welcome, Archer.

My cousin had a bouncing baby boy a couple of days ago. This afternoon I am going to visit Mum and bub in the hospital and get a whiff of newborn deliciousness. If only you could bottle it - eau de bebe. Mmmmmmm

I really need to get some better lighting....

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tune in to Mike's radio interview on ABC radio

My brother in law (and artist!) Michael Peck will be starring in a talk/interview segment with Kathy Bowlen tomorrow morning at 11. (Thursday 10th July). Tune in to 774 ABC Melbourne - on the AM dial!

Here are a couple of tasters from Mike's last exhibition at Metro 5 in Armadale.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I love.....

artist Lindsay Brackeen's blog.

Paper. Stitching. Appliqué on paper. I had an idea to do this kind of work a few weeks ago but hadn't got around to it. Now I'm even more inspired! Must get to it......

Monday, July 7, 2008

I want one!

While blog surfing this evening I came across someone talking about this bicycle. It is by a company called Bakfiets from the Nederlands. Imagine if we all decided to ride bicycles instead of driving cars where practical. We'd all loose weight, be healthier and put out less carbon emissions. This bicycle is supposed to be easy to ride and steer due to its low centre of gravity. I bet it almost costs as much as a small car to buy though...... *sigh*

This is......

This is.... my most treasured childhood possession(s). I found it hard to choose...........

A bluebird necklace. I also have a bracelet with my name engraved into it from my Dad but it's too little for my wrist. When my daughter was born the first thing my Dad did was get the same bracelet with my daughter's name engraved on it. So sweet.

My dear dear teddy bear who was always known as 'Teddy.' All of my other toys had 'proper' names but my teddy bear was always 'Teddy.' Here he is enjoying some winter sunshine.

Just the two of us!

My set of 72 Derwent Pencils. I begged and begged for these and finally got them one Christmas. It was the best Christmas ever! Almost as good as when I got the Pretty n Pink Barbie......

Been away!

On Friday night we went to the airport to pick up Missy Moo's Grandparents who have been back in the UK for the past 6 weeks. We had planned to go to Phillip Island with the rest of the young ones on Saturday afternoon but after driving home we decided on the spur of the moment to pack the car and leave straight away. We left home at 10.45pm but thanks to the new freeway (Eastlink) we were there in no time. So, we have only just got back so my this is post will have to wait until later. There are cars and bags to unpack, dinner to be made and a babe to be washed and dressed in jim jams. That's the boring part of having taken a holiday..... : (

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Dream shoes

Hand made leather shoes from Chook Leaf in Mornington. Unfortunately they are children's shoes and they don't make them in my size! I'm sure Missy Moo would love a pair though. Perhaps the design below in red might be nice......

If you are looking for some lovely children's shoes check out Chook Leaf's website here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Foux da fa fa

I've been watching Flight of the Concords and this just made me laugh sooo hard! I love it!

My 'new' favourite top

I bought this jumper/jersey/sweater (let's be international here!) when I lived in Korea. I've had it about 7 years but haven't worn it much at all. Mostly it's just been sitting in the back of my closet because I am too tight to throw anything out. Well, I went through all my clothes the other day in one of my crazy 'get rid of this mess!' attacks and it went straight into the bag for charity. This morning I saw it sitting there, all lonely in it's charity bag and I thought about what it was that I didn't like about it. I love blue and I love grey. I love anything made out of fleece (comfy!) and anything that I don't have to iron. What I didn't like was the tight banding around the sleeves, waist and neck. Problem solved with a pair of scissors! I cut the banding off and it is THE most comfortable piece of clothing and I am going to wear it until it falls apart.

(Don't mind the baby stains on the front of the shirt....)

I like how it looks with my favorite wrist warmers...... kind of reminds me Flashdance.... ha ha ha
So 1983.

On the table

Winter sunshine
Daffodils in a drinking glass
Klässbols linen table cloth in 'asp' (Tack ska du har Syster Yster!)
French knitting

Confession. I can't knit. I've tried several times and I'm just hopeless. I wish with all my heart that I was a fantastic knitter because I love knitted gloves, hats and socks etc. So, I have picked up the 'Knitting Nancy' and am attempting to make husband a winter hat that he is not too embarrassed to wear in public. We'll see. Stay tuned for the finished product......

Note to self....

Since travelling overseas when I was 16 I have tried to live by the 'carpe diem' philosophy. I think my parents instilled this idea long before this trip but it was visiting Russia only a few weeks after the collapse of communism that really brought it home to me. In my sheltered little world I had never seen abject poverty or really realised that people went hungry or without shelter. My eyes were opened and I returned to high school with a new outlook in life. My classmates seemed so trivial with their worries about clothes and possessions. Complaining that the lunch their mothers made was disgusting and throwing it in the bin. I felt isolated by this experience. It's hard to explain to someone with no first hand experience of how terrible life can be and how we often take things for granted. It helped shape the person that I am. OK, in no way am I saying that I am always grateful. What I am saying is that I make it a point to try to remember that life is precious and so many things we take for granted are a gift.
So I am reminding myself: Be grateful. Enjoy the moment. Smile. Savour the warmth of your bed, the taste of your food. Enjoy good health when you have it. Love your family and friends. Tell them what they mean to you. Life is too short.

x x x