Monday, August 29, 2011

Let's pretend

Let us pretend that today is Sunday, because with my husband working everyday I struggle to remember what day of the week it is. Last week on seeing our milkman my first thought was "But I canceled the Thursday delivery", followed by "Maybe it's Saturday. Can't be Saturday, feels more like Wednesday. However he doesn't deliver on Wednesday... Tuesday? Could it really be only Tuesday" It was Tuesday, tomorrow will be another and I need to remember to put the empty milk bottles out.
Milk

Getting the milk delivered was one of our better ideas to "simplify" our lives. We consume a lot of milk and one member of the family is particularly prone to meltdowns if there is no milk available in the morning to have with her breakfast cereal. This way we never run out, don't have to walk to the shops just to get a bottle of milk after we already did a lot of walking or to call my husband to pick one up on the way home from work. To tell you the truth the best part of it for me is that these glass milk bottles remind me of my childhood and I love opening them by squashing the foil top.

Anyway, back to the quote for the last week - it has to be this optimistic "I can overcome anything"-attitude song from the Russian cartoon, because I was singing it a lot in my head in the past few days.


Кручу педали, кручу

Кручу, кручу, кручу педали кручу
С горы, с горы, с горы как птица лечу,
Спешу, спешу, спешу, спешу налегке
На встречу радуге-дуге

Припев:
Пусть, пусть дорога вдаль бежит
Грусть пусть на сердце не лежит
Мне все на свете по плечу
И с песней этой качу по свету,
Качу качу куда хочу.

Терпи, терпи, терпи когда тяжело,
Скрипи, скрипи ты подо мною, седло.
Не смей, не смей, не смей на миг ослабеть
Умей себя преодолеть

Припев.

Лечу, лечу, лечу не знаю куда.
Хочу, хочу, чтоб это было всегда
Сильней, сильней, сильней лишь зубы сомкну,
Но я назад не поверну.

Припев.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Quotable Sunday

In the meantime the strike is over, with a remarkably low loss of life. All is quiet, they report, all is quiet.

In the deserted harbour there is yet water that laps against the quays. In the dark and silent forest there is a leaf that falls. Behind the polished panelling the white ant eats away the wood. Nothing is ever quiet, except for fools.
— Alan Paton (Cry, the Beloved Country)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Back to work

My husband went back to work on Wednesday. He worked today (Saturday), will be working tomorrow and the next two-three weekends (both Saturdays and Sundays). He may get one or two Wednesdays off instead. During the normal workdays he’ll be leaving home at 7am; if we are lucky, he’ll be back by 7:30pm, but anything between 8 and 10 is more likely. Getting through every day is relatively easy. The hard part is how little time the four of us get to spend together.

More Yarn

Few days after I wrote about my attempts to use up the yarn that I already have in my stash I received a swap package from Stagasaurus and as usual among many goodies it contained some yarn - four balls of Patons UK Mirage DK cotton and bamboo blend.

Swap Package


Luckily for my stash-busting plans I knew exactly what to make out of it - few days earlier I started to knit a simple summer top for my daughter, but the pattern didn't work well with the yarn I was using and I was happy to re-cast.

WIP summer top

Stagasaurus was kind enough to include a book and a drawstring embroidered bag for my daughter.

Bag


Don't you think that it is beautiful? However, wait until you see the one she made for me.

Bag


The message on it made me want to hide away in my studio space and create something special.

Bag


This is the third "February" swap we did together and I'm very eager to do another one next year as I keep on smiling for days after receiving a package from this talented and creative woman.

Anyway, back to the yarn stash. Few more days passed and my father-in-law arrived with a ball of gorgeous hand-dyed sock yarn from Nurturing Fibres. Poor man! He got it on the recommendation of my sister-in-law and felt a bit embarrassed of giving me such an unworthy present as he struggled to wrap his mind around the fact that someone may love a small ball of wool, so I had to do a lot of knitting in front of him to help him understand that it was a perfect present as my thanks didn't seem to convey the message.
Sock Yarn by Nurturing Fibres

What should I make out of it? I'm tempted to knit Citron shawlette, but am worried that it will be a very small one as there are only 330 meters of yarn. Of course if it is too small I can always give it to my daughter, who loves orange shades and was asking for a shawl of her own for ages, but I would rather make something for myself. Any knitters out there, who have any recommendations?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

First Bike

Stripeless

Gold Fish

Stripe lost his black stripe, so now his name doesn't make any sense to people, who never met him previously.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Useless jobs

"If you only do the easy and useless jobs, you'll never have to worry about the important ones which are so difficult. You just won't have the time. For there's always something to do to keep you from what you really should be doing, and if it weren't for that dreadful magic staff, you'd never know how much time you were wasting."
Norton Juster "The Phantom Tollbooth"

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Rolled over

Max rolled over today from his back to the tummy. He doesn't seem to have much clue about how to do it the other way, though I'm sure he'll figure it out soon enough. Better start baby-proofing the house.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Pottery

My husband has very fond childhood memories of being taken to the pottery lessons. Hence when faced with the dilemma of how to entertain our daughter on the weekends it was one of the activities that he looked into and found a local woman, who offers pottery lessons at her studio.

Trunkless Elephant
Trunkless Elephant by my husband

They went there few times now and brought home these creations. There are more items that are still being fired or waiting to be glazed. I’m so much looking forward to seeing their other creations.

Tea Set
Tea Set by Katya

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Do not worry

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
The Bible. Matthew 6:34

--
This quote popped into my head at the start of this week as the most fitting advice that finally made sense. Whenever I heard it previously there was always “but” in my mind; there isn’t now. I’m not attempting to analyze why and how it makes sense, I’m just glad that it does.

I wonder if kids laugh more often than adults, because they rarely worry about tomorrow and are instead enjoying the present. Would I get more pleasure from my life if all of today’s beauty, love and majesty were more present in my thoughts? Would I laugh and smile more? Would the feelings of love and gratitude infuse my mind leaving no space for worrisome and negative thoughts? Would concentrating on the problems and tasks of today allow me to accomplish more in the long run? I’m going to practice smiling and loving and holding today dear and trusting that I am and will be in the correct space, true state and on the right journey.

Home (almost) alone

As of 2 hours ago Max and I are at home by ourselves, because the other two members of the family and my father-in-law left in a car heading towards Wales. They are planning to spend one week riding the old trains, exploring the ancient castles, walking the nature trails and eating good food. I’m slightly jealous, but decided that I’ll get a more restful and enjoyable holiday by staying at home.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Working hard

Miss Tick sniffed. “You could say this advice is priceless,” she said, “Are you listening?”
“Yes,” said Tiffany.
“Good. Now...if you trust in yourself...”
“Yes?”
“...and believe in your dreams...”
“Yes?”
“...and follow your star...” Miss Tick went on.
“Yes?”
“...you’ll still be beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy. Goodbye."
Terry Pratchett "The Wee Free Men"

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Using up

Flower brooches

When I started knitting I used to find yarn at the charity shops (op-shops)and on sales and almost anything looked good enough. With a bit more experience I became pickier and also more aware of the gorgeous yarns available nowadays. Oh the temptation! I can almost hear them whispering: "Look at my amazing colour changes", "Feel how soft and light I am", "Imagine how warm I'll keep you in winter".

Flower brooches

Alas we somehow managed to accumulate the ridiculous amount of stuff in the last five years and I feel that a lot of time is taken up by sorting, re-sorting, tiding away and shifting items from one place to another. Even my book collection and craft stash are starting to be the source of stress instead of pleasure.

Green bracelet
Pretty twisted cuff - pattern by Cat Wong, button from Dottery Pottery

Therefore, as part of greater decluttering undertaking, I'm on the mission to use up whatever craft supplies I have. All of these items were made from Noro Silk Garden Sock and Noro Kureyon Sock yarn left-over from the Chameleon blanket. I still have about 60 grams of Noro Kureyon Sock left over and I plan to turn it into sev[en]circle necklace by Kirsten Johnstone.

60-g left

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Mysteries of Age

Katya: “Let’s play something! Pretend I’m a girl and my name is Isabella and I am seven. And pretend that you are my mummy and your name is Grace and you are eighty-eight."

***
Katya: “Are you a teenager?”
I: “No”
Katya: “Is Clive a teenager?”
I: “No”
K.: “Is M (older boy from kindergarten) a teenager?”
I: “No”
K.: “Is baba (grandma) a teenager?”
I: “No”
K: “Am I a teenager?”
I: “No”
K: “But when am I going to be a teenager? I want to be a teenager!”

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

No news is...

This year seems to be out to prove the accuracy of the “No news is a good news” saying. It started with the natural disasters and there were plenty of bad news since. Granted there were lots of good news so far as well, mostly of the “new baby” variety, however last few months were stressful due to various changes in our lives and I’m feeling more and more nostalgic about the previous unexciting, nothing-is-happening, everyday-is-ordinary-day year.

Today’s news is that I doN’T have thyroid cancer. This in itself is great news, but it came with the weeks of tension and worry. While she was here, my mum noticed a lump on my neck. My thyroid gland was slightly enlarged for years and I had blood tests done previously to check that it is functioning correctly. I wasn’t too concerned (most of the time, though occasional fearful thought would flutter through my mind), but made the earliest possible appointment to see our GP. In England one has to be registered with a GP/GP clinic and can’t see just any one. The one, we are registered with, is very oversubscribed so the earliest appointment was 1.5 weeks away. During it I was told to book a blood test and a referral was sent to the hospital for the ultrasound. Another week until I could see a nurse to get the blood tests done. They came back normal and I started getting a bit more worried. Another two and a half weeks wait for the ultrasound. Finally on Friday morning I went to the hospital hoping to hear that everything was fine and I had nothing to worry about; instead the doctor, after performing the ultrasound, told me that she had to do fine needle aspiration biopsy and since I had Max with me I had the option of giving him to the nurse to hold or coming back some other day. I didn’t want to wait even longer, so Max went to the nurse, the doctor performed the biopsy and told me that she’ll recommend the referral to thyroid specialist as my GP won’t have a clue of what the results mean.

What’s the first word that comes to your mind when you hear biopsy? Right. I walked home in total shock, trying not to burst into tears. At home I read a lot about thyroid cancer, cried a bit, went to pick up my daughter, made dinner constantly wondering what are the chances that I have cancer and hoping that I don’t. Probably thinking the same way as everyone does “I’m too young… I have two young children… One of them is not even 3-months old… etc… it can’t be cancer” I’m grateful that my husband is a positive, caring, loving person and talking to him puts me into more optimistic and peaceful state of mind. I altered my search parameters to something along the line of “neck lump without cancer” and all of the sudden the search results were creating a more positive picture of the possible outcomes of the tests. Both kids came down with a cold that evening, which was very helpful as it gave me something else to concentrate on.

On Tuesday I got a phone call from the GP to organize the appointment to discuss the results (they don’t call if the results are normal) – the earliest appointment Monday 7pm. I called back the next day to see if it was possible to see the doctor earlier as it was hard not to fret and imagine all sorts of unpleasant scenarios, and while the receptionist couldn’t tell me what the results meant (not being medically trained), she reassured me that if it was something serious they would see me the same or next day. So another week of waiting only to find out that the ultrasound doctor was right and my GP couldn’t interpret the results even with the help of a Google search. He requested an urgent referral to a specialist (urgent == to be seen within two weeks) and printed out the results for me. I knew that thanks to my previous work in IT I would be much better at finding out information using Google than he was, so more research was done that evening. It looked like I didn’t have cancer, though there was possibility that the test results could be inconclusive (I couldn’t tell for sure with all the various similar looking medical terms). The hospital called next day – they had available appointment in one weeks time on Wednesday. And today I went to the hospital, waited for extra 40 minutes trying to stay calm and got seen ahead of some other people, because Max was getting unhappy, and FINALLY found out for sure that there weren’t any cancerous cells and I had nothing to worry about. I was happy, relieved, grateful. I didn’t realise the full strength of the emotions until I noticed myself shaking after leaving the hospital.

If you want to find me I’ll be hiding under a nice woollen blanket trying to process all the emotions I went through in the last few weeks. Please, (for now) don’t bring any news with you.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

3(+)-months update

On Monday I took Max to the doctors for the second set of the immunisations and since we were already there asked the health visitor to weight him - 6.72 kg. Since I don't have any concerns about his development or questions for the health visitors I never go to the "baby clinic" for the recommended monthly checks as at least one of the kids is likely to pick up some virus there as hilariously illustrated with crappy pictures by another mum. Why would anyone think it is a good idea to do checks of healthy children (and pregnant women) at the GPs full of sick people?

Last Thursday Max laughed for the first time. I find the baby laughter totally adorable, uplifting and infections, so I was trying to get him to laugh again without much success.

He likes books! Well, he stops fussing when I read "Ten little fingers and ten little toes" to him. I am a big fan of Helen Oxenbury's illustrations and was very glad to finally have a good excuse to buy this one.

Grab

He can hold objects and tries to grab them with very mixed success.

He still haven't figured out how to suck on his thumb :-(.

He is already teething.

He sleeps very little during the day - usually under 3.5 hours, but sometimes, like today, it can be as little as 2. I think he needs more sleep, but so far he didn't have much chance to establish good sleeping patterns during the day due to the school-run being at the times when he appears to be most likely to sleep well. Only two more days until summer school holidays - I'm really looking forward to them.

Noticing

A knitted indigo dress, and her hair like fast water at night spilling one shoulder; he said, 'That doesn't really surprise us, Miss Wong.'
Surprise, he thought. She puts her hand on the bar, she leans back on the stool, hip moving in knitted blue, and with each movement, I am amazed, surprised, bewildered.
Samuel R. Delany Babel-17
--
I loved "Babel-17" by Samuel R. Delany. I would've loved it anyway, however the mention of a knitted dress worn by the main heroine made me like this book just a tiny bit more. Are there any insignificant details in the books that make them more special to you, while other people wouldn't even notice them?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mobile for son

I had some plain felted balls left-over from the winter experiments in felting, so my daughter and I decided to turn them into fish by wet-felting some colour onto them and adding organza tails.
Fish mobile

I also had few shells from the bag of broken jewelery I bought years ago at a charity shop. Quick trip to the hardware shop to get the last ingredient that we needed (wooden dowel rod) and the fish mobile was created to hang above the changing mat.

Fish mobile from below

Now I need to make a bird mobile for my daughter - the room she is moving into doesn't have much space, therefore I'll have to come up with something small, yet interesting.
Fish mobile

Friday, June 17, 2011

So hungry

On Wednesday by 3pm I felt ravenous. While snacking on nuts and such I was musing that even breastfeeding can’t explain feeling so hungry. An hour later, while preparing dinner, I suddenly realised that I didn’t have lunch that day. It’s not that I didn’t have time for lunch, but somehow my mind was so preoccupied with meeting the needs of my kids in the timely manner to minimize the crying and screaming that I forgot about having lunch myself. This isn’t something that I thought would ever happen to me as I like eating. On the upside I had a shower on that day by 10am. Showering was on my “To Do” list for that day, eating lunch wasn’t. – maybe that is the reason it got forgotten and I should start adding it to the list, at least I’ll have something else to cross off at the end of the day.

Mouse for daughter


I made a mouse for my daughter, exactly the same as I made for my sister, because Katya adores her aunt and wants to be like her in everything.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Staying in UK

Malander had an idea and was trying to work it out, but it would take him time. Sometimes people never saw things clearly until it was too late and they no longer had the strength to start again. Or else they forgot their idea along the way and didn't even realise that they forgotten.
Trove Jansson The Summer Book

--
Due to my husband's work commitments will be staying in UK for another 2.5-3 years. In the last few months (years?) I was trying to imagine how our lives would be on coming back to Australia. I guess now it is time to look at my life here and find that idea, which will make it more interesting, challenging, satisfying.

New in the kitchen


I lived without the microwave for about four years and didn’t miss it at all. However, at the moment the time difference between heating up my lunch by pressing few buttons on a microwave and actually having to stir it on a stove could mean the difference between having lunch at a reasonable time of the day or not.

I’m also planning to dye some white yarn that my mum left to me on her departure back to Australia and having a microwave will speed up the process.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Smile


It is incredibly hard to resist smiling back when a baby smiles at one. Therefore I hope that whenever you see this post, whatever your mood is (and maybe specially if it isn't so great) you'll smile, because many believe that smiling is good for your health and well-being.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Still can crochet


I discovered that I am able to crochet while breastfeeding and holding my sleeping son, which allowed me to finish the border around Chameleon Blanket.


This is probably the most time consuming crochet project I ever attempted. Details are on Ravelry

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Seven weeks!?

On Wednesday I couldn’t remember how many weeks old Max was, so maybe it is time for an update before all the details disappear from my memory.

In the first two weeks I would occasionally forget for a minute or two that I have two children, while at the same time feeling that Max fitted so well into our family making the life without him seem like a distant memory. (At times I wonder if I truly remember how life before kids feels like – is it really possible that I was able to sleep in until 10? Or stay up all night to finish reading a good book? Eat a bowl of ice-cream and an orange for dinner? Travel to a different country for a week with a tiny backpack? Go out on any night of the week at the spur of the moment? Think myself super-busy when I could choose how to spend huge chunks of time?)

Anyway, back to life with two kids. Unsurprisingly I found parenting a newborn much easier the second time around, though at times I still wish they would come with a precise user manual. First time was hard as both of us had close to zero experience of taking care of a child and had no-one around to help out; not only the learning curve was the steepest I have ever experienced in my personal or work life, but we also figured out a lot of things by trial and error. The great advantage was that we were able to find the parenting style that suited us without having to sift through the overloading input from others. Nevertheless the first weeks of Katya’s life were hard, truly hard work made worse by the greyness of the English winter. Inside my mind the days and nights of those weeks turned into the never-ending exhausting dusk. Looking back I can tell that I was very close to sliding into the postnatal depression. This time around there was hardly a cloudy day since Max was born making it easier to get out, to stay cheerful, to enjoy life.

Of course the easiness of the taking care of a tiny baby is offset by having to find time, energy and wisdom to meet the needs of the older child and my mum was (and is for another two weeks) a great help with Katya, who is experiencing so many conflicting emotions towards her little brother and us, her parents, and is slowly adjusting to the changes that his arrival brought into her life. She is very eager to interact with him, to hold him, to play with him. In the first few weeks she would in turn get frustrated at his unresponsiveness and overexcited about tiny things like him holding her finger. Luckily he is changing so fast and the longer he is able to stay awake and happy the more positive moments they are able to have together. He loves her singing and stares and coos at the painting she did, which is hanging next to the nappy changing mat. She is eager to show him the world and cheers any new thing that he learns to do.

Max is growing so fast. At the six-weeks check-up he was 5 kgs and 61 cm, which puts him into 98th percentile for length. He has outgrown many of the 0-3 months cloths. He tries to put his fingers/fists into his mouth. He knocks over and bats at toys. He loves tummy-time. He looks at the world in fascination, instead of being irritated by bright light. He smiles and his smiles make our world a much more joyful place.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Random

Petal Snow

I love spring, but I feel restless: I want to move, change my life, travel, discover new places, try something new. Feeling restless and taking care of a newborn doesn’t make for a great combination.

I used to laugh that my parents moved to a different side of the country from their families, I moved to a different side of the world from them and so my children will have to move to a different planet to keep up the tradition. Suddenly with all the talk about the private space flights and the new interest in the developing of the space technologies I’m starting to wonder if travelling (and living) beyond Earth will be a possibility for my children. And if they do move far away would I, who would happily run away from home to join the Starfleet if it existed, be able to understand and accept?

Speaking of Star Trek – forget about transporting to a surfaces of the different planets, wouldn’t it be cooler if you could beam a fresh clean nappy onto your newborn in the middle of the night? “Beam it on, Scotty”


On Wednesday morning the nappies seemed to fit just right, by Wednesday evening they were leaking and looked a bit small. Of course I just bought two packs on Tuesday morning, so now we have one pack of newborn size one nappies left over.

In the last few months my daughter started to preface her future dreams with “When we move to Australia and have a big house…” I suspect this is due to the combination of our friend going back to Sydney, my talk of homesickness for Australia and spending online time researching the property prices in Melbourne. So far we have
“When we move to Australia and have a big house, can we plant palm trees at the front?”
“When we move to Australia and have a big house with a big backyard; we can have 4, no 5, chickens”
“When we move to Australia and have a big house with a big backyard; we can plant an apple seed and see what will happen”
“When we move to Australia and have a big house with lots of big trees we can build a tree-house” (there is one in the local neighbourhood not too far from us, which must be the envy of all local kids.)
“When we move to Australia and have a big house, baby and I will be able to sleep in one room, so the baby doesn’t get scared at night”
“When we move to Australia and have a big house, we should also have some rabbits, so we can brush them and spin yarn from their hair” (She wanted to try spinning yarn out of our hair, but I had to tell her that we’ll need sheep fleece or angora rabbits hair. At least there is no talk of keeping sheep as yet)
Between her dreams and mine the definition of the perfect home is becoming very precise. In reality if we ever move back, based on the current property prices in Australia, we’ll be lucky to buy a shoebox.

Ironically eight months previously she was adamant that she doesn’t want to live anywhere else in the world as this is our home and we belong here.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My hood full

Eskimo Lullaby

It's my fat baby
I feel in my hood,
Oh, how heavy he is!

When I turn my head
He smiles at me, my baby,
Hidden in my hood,
Oh, how heavy he is!

How pretty he is when he smiles
With his two teeth, like a little walrus!
Oh I like my baby heavy
And my hood full!

From "A Spider Bought a Bicycle" collection of poems selected by Michael Rosen

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I forgot

I forgot how much I like the newborn smell and the softness of their skin and hair; how tiny and fragile looking the newborn babies are, and yet sturdy and full of life; how ugly they look and yet how easy it is to see the beauty in them and fall in love.

I haven’t forgotten how precious and fast fleeting the moments with them are, how quickly they grow and change – I have a walking talking example to remind me. And so while there are still two other adults in the household and plenty of peaceful slow-paced moments I allow myself to choose to lie next to my son during his awake and aware moments and stare at his face and constantly moving arms and legs, knowing full-well that no matter how much I look very little of the precious details of the way he looks today will be left in my memory.
Awake

Thursday, April 7, 2011

He is here


Maximilian - Maxim - Максим - Max

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring & Summer Wardrobe

Sewed items were made by me; knitted ones by my mum; socks are the newborn size ones, which were intended for the baby - he may loose few more to the doll before he is even born.
Spring outift

Cardigan

Strawberry dress

Thursday, March 31, 2011

10 days until the due date

Me

Pelmeni

Pelmeni

Yesterday a very good friend came over and all of us made (and afterward ate) pelmeni. Katya decided to "teach" us how to make all sorts of alternative shapes.
Pelmeni

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Finishing

Two weeks left until the due date, so I'm trying to finish few things before all the free time is eaten up by taking care of a newborn.

Last night I finished knitting my first item with the armholes and look it fits!
Milo Vest

Pattern: Milo by Georgie Hallam
Yarn: Rowan RYC Cashcotton DK
Details on Ravelry

And today I attached the final layer of hair to my first Waldorf limbed doll. Now I just need to make some cloths (preferably of the cute variety) for her as my daughter strictly highlighted that she wants a doll with LOTS of cloths.
Waldorf limbed doll

While attaching the hair I kept on thinking that it was very similar in colour to my sister's and when my husband saw the finished doll his first words were "Now we can pretend that you sister is still here". How I wish that she was here instead of on the other side of the planet.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

It's like a holiday, but better

My mum arrived on Tuesday the previous week, the renovations finished on Friday and this week felt like a very chilled out holiday. Last few days I felt more relaxed than during most of the holidays I had since I became a mother – it is so nice to know that I have an option of sitting on the couch all day doing nothing. I suspect if I choose that option I would be bored in the space of 10 minutes, so with all the extra free time available to me I’m trying to finish few crochet and knitting projects and make a Waldorf-style doll for my daughter for the birth of the baby. To me having time to make things is even more precious and more energizing than having time to laze about.

I don’t seem to be able to resist the urge of making toys despite knowing that I’ll get frustrated by fiddly sewing bits. At the moment my daughter doesn’t even play with the dolls, but maybe it will change when there is a baby in the house, otherwise I'll have to play with that doll myself.

To practice making heads I finally got around to replacing a head for the doll I made two years ago. The original head had two newbie mistakes: the neck wasn’t thick enough resulting in ugly folds on the face and the head was also too long. This one has a proper neck, but is still slightly too long.
Head re-done


I did few more practice heads before making the big one for the 16 inch doll and now I have to make the decision on which body pattern to use from the ones in the Maricristin Sealey's book "Making Waldorf Dolls".
Heads

These are the two of the best heads together with the big one.

P.S. The photos of the new new bathrooms can be found on Flickr, but I think only the people, who saw the original bathrooms in the last few weeks, will appreciate the improvements to their full extent. I regret not taking the pre-renovation photos, though at the time it felt embarrassing to photograph something so ugly and falling apart.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Light-switch cord

Light-switch cord

This is the cord from the top bathroom, which one is supposed to pull to turn on the light. (English bathroom are often strange: separate taps for cold & hot water, carpets, pull-cords. The most impractical one I saw was at B&B - not only it had carpet on the floor, but also wallpaper on the walls.) Anyway, the cord broke off last Sunday. Therefore for one week we had to use a little torch. Its blueish light made me feel like I'm in a teenage horror flick or a cheap sci-fi movie. Luckily the renovations of the main bathroom are now finished. It is such a pleasure to walk into a bathroom and use it without worrying about something coming off in one’s hands; without discovering afterwards that something else sprouted a leak and the water is dripping off the ceiling onto the recently painted walls or our beautiful bookshelf; without spending ages trying to get the toilet to flash. Tomorrow I’m planning to have a long soak in the bathtub, as I believe that lazing in a bath for a silly period of time should be one of the privileges of being pregnant.

P.S. And yes, now we have a normal light switch and mixer water tap.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

...

Signs of spring…what you can do is often simply a matter of what you will do.

…so many things are possible just as long as you don't know they're impossible.
Norton Juster "The Phantom Tollbooth"

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bathrooms

The bathroom renovations are going to start tomorrow. Not the best timing, but we can’t put it off any longer as we can only use the sink in the main bathroom – everything else is leaking/broken/about to disintegrate. The builder thinks that both bathrooms will be done by mid March. Fingers-crossed that there aren’t going to be any unexpected delays.

On Thursday it dawned on me that planning to wash baby cloths during the bathroom renovations is probably not such a brilliant idea and not wanting to leave it until the last minute I did silly number of laundry loads during the weekend. On the upside we all have plenty of clean cloths, bedding, etc and now I know that we don’t need to buy any baby cloths for at least first three months. Now I just need to figure out what we do need to buy. We aren’t exactly in denial that there are only seven weeks left until the due date, but somehow too busy with everything else to spend a lot of time thinking and preparing ourselves for labour/newborn. Maybe it is just how it is with the second (and subsequent) kids.

My mum is coming in two weeks time and before we put up the inflatable bed for her I decided to use the only big enough available floor space to block the shawl I finished knitting on the 1st of September (!). While blocking it I remembered why I procrastinated for so long – it is huge and there was hardly enough space and not enough pins to do the blocking properly. However, it is so soft and warm and the colours of Rowan Kidsilk Spray are lovely. I didn’t get around to taking any photos of it after blocking (weekend was gloomy and grey), but today I couldn’t resist snapping a quick shot of my own little matchstick girl or maybe babushka in training – love her miserable facial expression specially put on for the photo.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Jazzing up the window

A person in a rented apartment must be able to lean out of his window and scrape off the masonry within arm's reach. And he must be allowed to take a long brush and paint everything outside within arm's reach, so that it will be visible from afar to everyone in the street that someone lives there who is different from the imprisoned, enslaved, standardised man who lives next door.
Hundertwasser Window Dictatorship and Window Right

Window stars

One day I'll build my own little house or a studio and it will have grass roof, plenty of plants, odd shaped windows, curved benches and mosaic inserts, but for now I'm just changing the decorations attached to the kitchen window. Few weeks ago we took down the snowflakes and to add some colour to our greyish view my daughter and I made three stars from the kite paper.

Katya choose her favourite colours (red, yellow & orange) to make a star with some help from me and this detail tutorial. I made the other two and there are still three more variations that we can try making.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

To the Barrier

On Sunday morning a nostalgic South African, a jet-lagged Australian, a pregnant woman and a four-year-old decided to go to the Thames Barrier. Despite forgetting to bring any of the three maps we made it there and afterwards took a short stroll along the Green Chain Walk.

The Thames Barrier

My husband visited the Barrier at the age of 10 with his dad, so he got a bit nostalgic and during our coffee break at the visitors’ information center he reminiscenced about the good old times.

Slide

The four-year-old just wanted to go down the long slide over and over again, but after some diplomatic negotiations we were able to move to something I really wanted to do – walk the walk.

The sky was blue, the sun was out for the first time in many days and it was lovely to walk along the path surrounded by tall trees. Since Katya started attending Steiner/Waldorf kindergarten 4 days a week at the beginning of this year we don't go to the parks as often as we used to and looking at the houses, cars and asphalt roads all the time makes one yearn for the views full of trees, grasses and flowers.

Admiring

I would’ve loved to stop in many places to allow us to enjoy the beautiful details of our surroundings, but since the sunset was quickly approaching we had to hurry up a bit (as much as one can hurry with a 4 year old and a pregnant woman). As the name suggests, the Green Chain Walk goes through the green areas (parks, woodlands, meadows, etc) in the South-East of London and from the short stretch we managed to do it looks like one can learn a lot about local history, geography and nature, so I really want to do the rest of it this year.

There are few more photos on Flckr.