Yellow Gumdrop Hat

hat and cream yarn

hat and coloured yarn

Do you remember this dilemma?  I was not sure if I should go all understated and grown-up with the cream yarn, when really all I wanted to do was get my hands on that rainbow wool and play.  Can you guess which one won?Finished Hat

Of course!  It had to be the rainbow wool!  And it was just so delicious!  Usually I try to use block colours and avoid too much variegated busy-ness, but in this case I just couldn’t resist.  I even put some on the top of the hat, look:

top of hatHmmm.  It’s upside-down.  But that’s OK.  I just did a little experimental hooky and came up with this.  It’s just one round and put together with double crochet (US single) and picot stitches.  Happy to share if anyone’s interested (ooooh! my first original pattern online!)

baby with hat

And here’s my friend’s son, looking decidedly unimpressed with his trendy new acquisition.

I should have made it bigger!  It was a little on the snug side, but my friend loyally protested that it was the perfect size.  At any rate, he makes a very cute little gumnut baby!

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Odd Socks

Epiphany

It’s easy to whine when you’re a full-time mum.  Our job often seems a relentless onslaught of menial tasks: wiping noses and bottoms, trying to catch disasters before they become catastrophes, and patiently explaining the necessity of trousers (again).

I probably should stop here and mention I don’t buy into that whole debate of stay-at-home versus working motherhood and who works harder/ loves their kids more/ has the most valid existence/ is the best variety of human being.  I think we all try to do what is best for our family according to our specific circumstances and anyone who suggests otherwise is generally trying to sell you something.  I say “full-time mum” sometimes because I don’t like the passive sound of “stay-at-home mum”, but I’m in no way suggesting that working mothers are “part-time mums”!  OK, end of disclaimer, back to the point.

I used to put a lot of energy into justifying my full-time occupation:  my job is so HARD, nobody underSTANDS, I work and work all day and yet have nothing to SHOW for it.  I was a victim of motherhood.  Somebody needed to call me a waaahhmbulance.

Anyway, one morning I had a bit of an epiphany (it was one of those magic mornings when I actually had time to pray)  It went like this:

  1. I chose motherhood, and if David Tennant offered me a ride in his Tardis (back in time, I mean, for those of you who are not also tragic Doctor Who nerds), I would choose it again.
  2. I need to own this choice, and put the same amount of work into mothering as I would a “legitimate” job.
  3. So many couples I know are struggling with infertility and would give anything to be knee-deep in nappies every day.
  4. Those who “get it” (how mothering is a tough gig, I mean) already get it and those who don’t “get it” aren’t going to be convinced by my ranting, so I might as well save my energy for better things.

I reckon I came back from my morning walk looking all beatific and saint-like.  Since then, I’ve tried to make a point of focussing on the positives of my job and not be so defensive (though I still manage to forget this and regularly host a local whine festival)

So now, when some well-meaning lady in the supermarket gushes about how lucky I am to be able to stay at home and play with my children all day, I smile and agree with her.  I am lucky.  I am so blessed.  My job is intense and it’s hard work and my basic needs for sleep and privacy in the toilet aren’t always met, but it does come with plenty of perks.

All of which has been a convoluted introduction to my next post (which I’ve posted first, so that people like my mum can read the posts in the right order)

Perks

Being a “stay at home” mum can be tough sometimes.  But it’s not without its perks.  Here’s what’s making me smile this week:

Pea Sprouts

Pea sprouts growing on my kitchen windowsill;

Waitress

Eating delicious imaginary cakes at Cafe Matilda

menu

Everything is gluten-free!

Mmmmm...Magazines

Two shiny magazines awaiting my perusal (they’ve been sitting patiently in their wrappers for almost a week now, but their moment will come!)

You might be thinking that last one doesn’t count as a perk – mums don’t get much time to read magazines, nor does the family budget always stretch to such indulgences (though I maintain one should always make room for small, sanity-saving treats) – but the perk comes from the amount of relish with which this particular indulgence is enjoyed when the moment arrives.  There are certain luxuries one just doesn’t appreciate before becoming a parent!  Showering in private is another such example…

So there you go.  I have it pretty good here and I’m so grateful that I have a husband who supports  me and is willing to be the sole breadwinner so I can endeavour to embrace all things domestic.   If you could see the state of my kitchen floor at the moment, you might think it less an embrace and more an awkward hug that you give your work associate at his retirement party, but, still, the intention is there…

Kate Is Special

Just thought I’d share:

In the ‘recently deceased’ section of the parish notices last week, I read that longstanding parishioner Karen Appleby had died and there was a big funeral for her this week.  I didn’t know Karen at all but I knew Bill Appleby to be a tall, older fellow who I’d often see about the place.  I would nod at him and say “Bill.”  and he would nod back rather aloofly and this was the full extent of our relationship.

When I spoke to another parishioner about Karen and Bill, she said that they had lost a child many years ago and did a lot of ministry for parents who had lost children.  My heart went out to Bill and I realised why he sometimes seemed rather distant.

At Mass this morning, I saw him.  I always feel awkward in this kind of situation, but I know Mum’s always said it’s better to say something than to avoid the person and make them feel even worse.  I also knew from experience that it’s better to say something sooner rather than later because it will only get more awkward.

At the morning tea after Mass I found myself side by side with the man in question so I seized my opportunity.  I turned to him, gave him a little hug and said “Bill, I’m so sorry about Karen”

In the moments that followed, I discovered the following useful facts:

  • Karen wasn’t actually his wife
  • His wife is still alive and at home at the moment
  • This man was not Bill Appleby
  • This man’s name was Brian

I also discovered:

  • There may be another reason why this man was so unresponsive when I called him ‘Bill’ all these years
  • Sometimes ‘sooner rather than later’ does not avoid an awkward situation if soon is too soon to confirm a positive ID

He was really quite gentle and lovely about it.  It was like he wished he could be Bill for my sake but he could not escape the fact that he was in fact Brian and he did indeed have a live wife.

Whatever.  Just tell Bill I said hi.

Roast Fail – The Sequel

An update:

The house still smells like roast beef

Harry did it again to the meatloaf tonight but I discovered it before things got too bad (still burnt, though).

While out with my Mum today, Christopher Robin commented that he and Harry had put a wash on, but hadn’t yet set it off and that he would remember to “press start” when we got back home.  It being 9:30 in the morning, I responded to this with “was that a dream you had, darling?”  Christopher Robin assured me that this was no dream, he and his brother had quietly achieved it whilst I was breastfeeding Annie that morning and that “Harry put too much powder in”.  I made a mental note to try to fix the situation when I got home, gently admonished Christopher Robin for putting a wash on without Mummy (“Harry started it.”) and got on with my day.

Later this afternoon, whilst preparing dinner (the ill-fated meatloaf) it struck me that I could hear the washing machine running.  True to his word, Christopher had turned on the washing machine.  Just as he said, Harry had indeed put too much powder in, on and around the machine – almost the entire box, scoop by wobbly scoop (it has always been their favourite part of the process).  There were a few items of clothing in there, too, but I think the powder proved to be more fun.

Just so you know yesterday wasn’t a one-off…

Roast Fail.

Once a fortnight, I’ve started this thing where we try to have a Sunday Roast.  Every time I open the freezer, I see the meat ready for roasting and I wink at it and whisper “soon!”.  Today was Roast Day.  I’ve been known in the past to let the day get away from me before getting the roast on and thus have a late dinner with psycho children too tired to eat, but not so today!  At 1:30pm I lovingly salted and oiled the meat, placed it on a bed of onions and surrounded it with garlic.  I chopped and parboiled the veggies and put them in the oven too.  I then turned the oven right down low, put on the exhaust fan and got the kids ready to go see my grandma. When we got home we would have roast!

On the way home from the hospital it was bitter cold and pouring down rain.  As we drove along with headlights on, we all shared one smug thought:  Roast.  Put children in warm pyjamas, fill their bellies with roast beef and they’ll be in bed asleep faster than you can say “Downton Abbey”!

As we pulled into the driveway, I said in my most important voice, “Mr Knightley, you unload the kids.  I must go in and check on The Roast!”

My first sign that something might have gone wrong was the smell of smoke.  It would seem the roast had ‘caught’.  Then I got to the kitchen.

My delightful two-year-old son, who loves to help Mummy in the kitchen, had turned the oven up to maximum before we left the house.  The kitchen was rather smoky (would have been much more so, had the fan not been on).  And the Roast was a blackened crisp.

Many things happened then:  I stormed about the house yelling to no one in particular about how hard my life is;  Matlida burst into very loud, impassioned sobs to which Mr Knightley and I (I’m very ashamed to say) growled in unison “Don’t YOU start!”;  Harry, confused as to why everyone seemed so cross at him, set to destroying the house with a kitchen whisk; Christopher Robin asked “what’s for dinner?” and Annie gurgled and kicked in amusement.

Mr Knightley, with an air of grim determination, retrieved the smoking, shrunken black mass from the oven and tried to carve it.  Beneath the thick black crust there was a little bit of good meat to pick at (Mr Knightley gave me the nicest piece).  It felt like Tiny Tim’s family from A Christmas Carol.

We had tinned soup and toasted muffins for dinner.

Afterwards, as we were cleaning up, Mr Knightley did a bit of wistful poking around the charred remains of what were once vegetables and presented me with a small morsel of onion.  “Taste this” he said in a kind voice “It’s perfectly caramelised”

On My Hook

One of the things I will be writing about in this blog is my Adventures in Crochet and this is one such post.  I thought I’d share some hooky decisions I had to make today – perhaps you could give me some advice?

Yellow Gumdrop Hat

So here’s a hat I’m making for my friend’s baby.  I found the pattern for free on Ravelry, called the Elfin Baby Set (see here).  I was very disciplined and used yarn from my ever-growing stash to make it.  I think it needs edging in a contrasting colour to make it more interesting, but not much goes with pale yellow (in my mind at least).  Here’s what I’ve come up with:

Should I choose the cream?

So this is cream coloured yarn, very classic, but a little blah.

or the rainbow?

And this is a lovely rich rainbow yarn – too overpowering?  Do you think I can get away with it?
I’m leaning towards this one, I think.

Now on to problem number two.  And it’s another baby hat.  I’m making this one for a bigger baby – I made her booties initially but made them too small and kept forgetting to give them so now it’s just embarrassing, which is why it’s so super-important that I get this hat right.  In the meantime, I hope the baby’s head doesn’t have some freak growth spurt because that would just make me cry.
This one is called Shell Stitch Beanie and the pattern is by Betsy at The Dainty Daisy.  I made this one with some gorgeous wool I got for a bargain from the Bendigo Wool Mills.  It wasn’t until I started making it, though, that I realised why I got the wool so cheap – and why it was in a bag.  Ladies and Gentlemen, the hat you see before you is the hat that remnants made:

Shell Stitch Beanie

I hope it holds together!  It has that many different bits!  Now here’s my problem.  I want to sew on a cream-coloured flower with a button in the middle and my plan was to use a wooden button (mmm…).  But it turns out there is NO wooden button in my extensive button collection (grrr…).  So here are my other options:

Which Button?

Or I suppose I could drag four children into the not-so-local haberdashery superstore to purchase a single wooden button…

What do you think?