Sunday, August 25, 2013

Book Week - the result

Since I wrote about the fun I had with making Juniordwarf's Book Week costume, I thought I should post a picture of the result.

So here it is.

Hat by Spotlight. Makeup by Slabs. Cat-like outfit by me.

Unfortunately the photos don't show the tail. The skill, imagination and improvisation used to create the final part of the costume should put me fairly and squarely in the running for Crafty Mama of the Year.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


This week is Book Week. Juniordwarf’s school is having a Book Week Parade and the kids are all encouraged to dress up as a character from their favourite book.
Two years ago he wanted to be The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and I did this.

Last year he was a pirate, which was easy because he already had a pirate costume.

This year he said he wanted to be The Cat In The Hat. 

I figured this wouldn’t be too hard, and set about planning how I was going to do this

I always thought one of he fun things about primary school-age kids would be doing stuff like making costumes. You know, in all that spare time I have. Yeah.

I can remember my mother making me a Wild Thing costume in primary school for something our class was doing around the book Where The Wild Things Are.

(It looked like this:)

I assume I could actually breathe in this outfit
I figured if my mother could create such a thing out of an old blanket, I could come up with a cat costume pretty easily. Black pants, a black and white top, a tail and OH MY GOODNESS HOW THE HELL DO YOU MAKE HATS?

(Luckily a nearby craft supply store just happened to stock red and white striped hats exactly like the one the Cat in the Hat wears, which I discovered when I went in to get my supplies for this crafty endeavour. Enormous relief.)

I got out the sewing machine. Yes the very same sewing machine I got for Xmas two years ago and had not actually used. The same sewing machine listed at Number 24 on my 100 things to do in 2013 list (24. Sew something. Anything. Just use the damn sewing machine!).

Once I worked out how to thread it (which could be a whole post in itself – my mother’s old basic Bernina it is not), it was time for action.

The black pants were going to be easy. I based them on the same pattern I used for the caterpillar costume. 

OK, not quite so easy. Fluffy polar fleece isn’t quite as easy to sew as I thought it would be. I mean, it moves when you sew it. What kind of sorcery is this?

Anyway, I got there eventually. The pants were done. I’m totally rocking this crafty mama thing.

I didn’t have any sweatshirt patterns. No drama. How hard can it be? It’s just four pieces right? A front, a back and two sleeves. So I can just trace one of his sweatshirts and copy that.

Seam allowance? Pfft, who needs that? It’s a cat outfit. It’s meant to be tight.
See, it fits him.

Oh, you know what? You should have sewed the sleeves into the shoulders before you sewed up the side seams.

Well I’ll just trace the top of the sleeve using the arm hole as a guide, extend it to the length of his arm, and narrow it in at the bottom. Then I can just sew the sleeve in to the arm hole. No worries.


True. In most garments the sleeves actually join up under the arm. 


By this time I was getting somewhat frustrated at this whole exercise. Who said the crafty mama thing was fun? I actually wanted to do this? What was I thinking?

Juniordwarf was watching me. “So I don’t think this is going to be a very good costume,” I said to him.

He looked at me.

Then said, “I don’t mind. It doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, I don’t want it to be perfect.”

I thought back to where I’d heard this before. It had come from Juniordwarf’s teacher. His class is doing Art this term, and the teacher has been stressing the point very strongly that their art doesn’t have to be perfect and it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t look exactly like what they’re drawing and painting or if it doesn’t look the same as anyone else’s work. The idea is to capture what they see and reproduce it the way they see it themselves – so how one child sees something and draws it will be different to how any other child sees it.

The displays around the classroom are testament to this, and it’s fascinating to see each child’s style in their work.

While I was thinking about this, Juniordwarf then proceeded to quote what I’ve often said to him, right back at me. “It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake. We all make mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn.”
And you know what struck me most? That while I’m encouraging him not to be hard on himself and not set himself impossible standards, I continue to expect myself to be perfect and to never make a mistake.

It’s not going to be enough for him to hear these messages is it? I can’t really tell him not to seek perfection if I continue to expect it of myself. He’ll catch on to that one day, and how am I going to explain that? 

“Well . . . it’s OK for you not to do things perfectly, but I’m different. I have to.” 

Not really convincing is it? I’m not different. 

So for him to truly embrace these messages, he has to see them in action. That means he has to see me make mistakes and see how I learn from them. He has to see me accept less than perfect. He has to know that I believe what I’m saying. And therefore, I have to believe it.

Maybe I should go back to Grade 1. 

(P.S. Costume is not quite finished . . . but it will fit him and I expect it will hold together for a day. So all is well.)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

12 of 12 August 2013

This is my first 12 of 12 post. I heard about 12 of 12 from my friend Snuva, who has been doing it for several years. 

Basically what you do is on the 12th day of each month you take 12 photos of your day.

Snuva says, "Sometimes the 12th falls on a special day; sometimes the 12th falls on just a normal day you wouldn't otherwise document.  However, even ‘just a normal’ day can be interesting to other people or to yourself later on."

It’s like a snapshot of your life, but much simpler than the 365 Project I did in 2011 because you only do it on one day.

And that’s it.


Sort of. I kind of forgot to take any photos in the middle of the day, so there was much cramming to be done towards the end of the day.

Monday the 12th of August was a pretty normal day for me. Catch the bus, take Juniordwarf to school, go to work, follow Juniordwarf's routine on the way back to the bus, come home, and that's about it.

I've been trying out some of the new "Hollywood" filters on the Camera+ app. They looked good on the phone, but I'm not so sure now I see the pictures a bit bigger. It will be interesting to see how they print.

Anyway, here we go . . .

1 of 12 – This person hasn’t had enough sleep and needs coffee.

2 of 12 – This tree still thinks it’s winter (it is).


3 of 12 – I love the contrast between the leafless trees and the blossoms just starting to show up all over the place.


4 of 12 – I decided not to post this one because work-related.

5 of 12 – A streetscape that won’t be around much longer. The two buildings towards the right of the picture will be demolished.


6 of 12 – More blossoms.


7 of 12 – Very excited to receive this diary today for a cool project I’m planning.

8 of 12 – Monday is a day of much walking. I need to be properly equipped.

9 of 12 – On our way to the bus Juniordwarf and I stop off at the hot nut bar (in the “mall” as he calls Centrepoint) to get some nuts.

10 of 12 – We also stop into the ABC Shop so he can check out his favourite characters and DVDs – including Zoe.

11 of 12 – His latest obsession is the TV show Eggheads, which he now acts out with his teddies. Billy at the front is the quizmaster. Juniordwarf is always on the challengers team. Unlike the real show, the challengers always beat the Eggheads.

12 of 12 – I totally want this for my desk at work! 


Monday, August 12, 2013

missing in action

Yes I'm still here.

Look! I'm working very hard:

I have a couple of posts in my mind. They just have to be translated into something that vaguely makes sense. I'm rethinking what I want the blog to be about. I hope I get my thoughts in order soon so I can start posting more regularly.