Christmas 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011

We celebrated Christmas at my mum's place when we got home from the in-law's place. More eating, more presents, more fun, more swimming. The kids could definitely get used to this.
 Aren't those teeny adirondacks cute? I need to make some cushions for them but keep forgetting. Perhaps now that I have typed it out here I will get around to it.
 We had bubbles and ate off the best china.
Oma and Sweetie wore coordinating outfits so we had to capture the moment on film. Aren't they adorable?

Christmas 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011

We celebrated Christmas up north at m y in-law's place this year. Mr Duyvken's family take their eating very seriously so it was 3-day food fest with some serious exercise thrown in to balance the calories in/calories out equation. We had a lovely time. I wore my red party dress and favourite shoes.
 Santa gave C the mama lamb and baby lamb that she wanted. Not very easy to find but well worth the trouble because C adores them. The big lamb is a Jellycat toy and the baby is a Russ. The Jellycat softies are just adorable, I could have bought everything.
 J got tap shoes and he hasn't stopped dancing. He's been stomping around the house for months telling us that he's tap dancing and marvelling at how good he is without even having a lesson. The sisters-in-law thought this gift was pure madness but I quite like the way tap shoes sound, it makes me think it's raining marbles. J is a very happy boy.
 Papa's pizza oven got quite a work out as Mr Duyvken baked a lot of bread and plotted ways to have a pizza oven of his own.
 We sat by the dam and looked out over the lake to the horizon enjoying Sweetie's first Christmas and arguing over things until the small hours. My Duyvken's family love heated discussions and can turn the smallest thing into a heated debate. This took me quite some time to get used to but I think I might have finally adjusted. Hallelujah!
 I took some plain baubles, glitter and glue and all the cousins decorated ornaments for Papa and Oma's Christmas tree.
I feel very lucky to be part of this wonderful family. Happy times indeed.

Gingerbread

Monday, December 19, 2011

Made with Oma on a wet summer's day. Ninja-bread men are on the menu for later this week and we are making white rocky road today. I am enjoying having the kids home from school earlier than they usually are and being able to enjoy a slightly less rushed lead up to Christmas.

Oh my

Thursday, December 15, 2011

From a quilting perspective 2011 has been a very unproductive year. I finished the family of seven quilt at the very start of the year before Sweetie's birth and was able to finish one charm square stroller quilt but that was it. I have been itching to get the sewing machine out and make something but space, renovations and children have conspired against. My predisposition towards neatness hasn't helped either. The upside of this is that I have been able to browse and enjoy other people's projects and patterns this year, mentally filing away things that I would like to do myself once time allows. This beautiful DS quilt is definitely among them. Half square triangles are so versatlie (and happily easy to make). Townmouse has just posted an amazing star she has made using triangles. In fact, similar to the ds quilt, she used triangles to create triangles but then she went an extra step and used the triangles to make a star.
What are your sewing plans for 2012?

Sweetie

Thursday, December 08, 2011

is much improved. Thanks for all your kind thoughts. See him wearing a jumper in that photo? I took that picture this afternoon. It's Kim's birthday - 8/12, and it is just insane that we are all feeling so chilly. It is very hard to get into the Christmas spirit with all these cold grey days.

Bits and pieces

Monday, December 05, 2011

Oh how I love the teeny tiny details that make up a baby. Translucent ears, soft hair, dimpled knuckles, tiny toes...
ASIDE: Ears look like caves that have been eroded by water or wind. Knuckles remind me of mountain ranges and lips of lakeside banks at lowtide. When looked at closely we are rather topographical. I would love to capture it well and present side-by-side diptychs but my skillz are lacking so you will have to imagine it with me.
Sweetie hasn't been well this weekend and he and I spent some time in hospital together. I cradled him, spoke soft nonsense and gazed at him for hour after hour. I gave him 10mls of rehydrating fluid every 10mins all through Saturday night and every time I marked something down on the observation chart I felt very grateful to have a very healthy child. This is just a little bump in the road for us but there are plenty of parents who do this every day, drawing on internal pools of strength and resolve. Hats off to you if are one of those parents. That I am deeply impressed won't make a jot of difference but deeply impressed I am. So there.

Oma's birthday

Saturday, December 03, 2011

This may be one of the very last duyvken patented donut stack cakes because soon (ish) I will have a new oven. An oven that works. An oven I can bake it. Cue the excitement!

Decisions

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I need some help, dear reader. We are choosing between these two lights from IKEA to hang over the kitchen counter and wer're having some trouble making a decision.

Foto pendant

Ottava pendant
They'll be hanging near the dining table pendant lights ( my beloved Nelson criss cross saucer lamps) so, whilst they don't need to match, they do need to sit well together.
Criss Cross saucer
 So, what do you think?

Today

Friday, November 11, 2011

That's the morning milo line-up. Bunnies for JW, orange dog for J, papercut on pink for G and stripes for C. C gave me that mug for mother's day but I am yet to drink from it. They made chocolate mousse, filled a mug each, wrapped it with cellophane and made a beautiful card at pre-school but before we had gotten home that day C had unwrapped the mug, eaten the mousse (with her fingers! Such a mess!) and declared that she loved her new stripey mug. Every time I make milo or hot chocolate she insists that it comes in 'her' mug and is happy for me to have my standard white china.
I am not usually a supporter of people having allocated items in a family. I know it works for a lot of people but it seems too regimented to me and too fraught with potential to cause arguments. I don't even let the children have a place at the dinner table that they can consider to be 'theirs'. Each meal is a free for all and wherever you end up sitting is your spot for that meal but not forever. I am either helping my children develop flexibility or creating children who will grow into people intent on possessing things. I guess only time will tell.
One of my best friends when I was growing up had 4 brothers and sisters and they each had a colour that defined their 'things' within the family. Their cups, towels, lunchboxes, sunhats, plates, etc were all colour-coded. Guests also had a specific colour. I can't remember what the guest colour was now but I do remember knowing never to use someone else's cup for fear of serious reprisals. I suspect that never happened but it seemed like a cultural imperative that was alien to me and for a child prone to anxiety it added a veneer of stress to otherwise delightful playdates and sleepovers.
However, despite all that the mug thing has crept up on me and I think I quite like it. Parenting is a constant balance of things, I often think that being flexibly consistent is what I am striving for. Being consistent and predictable in my actions and words, and flexible enough to realise when things need to change. What about you?

PS

Monday, November 07, 2011

At the baptism yesterday Sweetie enjoyed his first swim. The water was a little cold so he was happiest wrapped in the towel being cradled in his daddy's arms after the swim.

Pavlova

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Nobody makes pavlova like my mum. We ate ourselves to a standstill today celebrating my nephew's baptism and it was a very special day. I am pleased to say that my mum is recovering very well. Thanks for all your positive thoughts and kind words.

Operation Pinterest

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Project #4 Cloud Dough
First up - the pinterest version

And now for the Duyvken version.
Hm, not as white or fluffy as I was expecting but the kids had a ball. It smells fantastic but it makes an almighty mess. It doesn't really hold together like dough does but it is a good sensory play experience for the little ones. The verdict? I won't be doing this again until we have grass to play on. 

Carla Bruni - L'Amoureuse

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Current You Tube favourite. Cutting fabric while babies sleep and listening to this makes for a very relaxing Saturday night. Love to you and yours, Duyvken.

Making things Pozible

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I love MA, the first album is delightful and I want more but, because these things aren't easy to pull together, Drew and Victoria have found this fantastic site to help make the second album a big success. It's a great site offering plenty of opportunities to support creatives. The website takes a cut but that's no different to all those fundraisers that give you a hard time at the local shops.
ASIDE: Have I told you about the time Mr Duyvken asked one of them how much of the money he might give would actually end up in the hands of the organisation on the posters? The fellow wasn't happy about the line of the questioning but Mr Duyvken does so love poking a sore bear.
In this case the fees are all clearly stated in the faqs - Pozible takes 7.5% which is a reasonable return for the crowdfunding platform but not so high as to be unreasonable.
I knew Drew before he was cool (I am sure I can hear him talking over me here to claim that he has always been cool) and wish him every success. Who can resist a musician who labours over the trifle each Christmas and bakes sourdough in his spare time? Good luck kids!

Georgia Matilda's Quilt Finished

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I finally finished the little stroller quilt that I started for my friend's baby way back in April. It is a quick charm square project that I have done before but it took an age this time around, mostly because it spent so long sitting in the sewing pile waiting for me to grab a few moments to work on it. I am very happy with it, Kate Spain designs such pretty fabrics and everything, except the purple stripes, is from her Verna range.
 Thankfully, is has been a very cool spring so she should still be able to get some use out of it.
 Her name and birthdate are embroidered into it as well. Those stitches should feel very nice under her little fingers, hopefully they'll be well worn in a few months time.
C and Sweetie are both waiting patiently for fabric I have set aside for them to turn into something quilty. They won't be as patient as Georgia so I'll have to set aside some time for some serious stitching.

Farm Weekend - brown and grey

Sunday, October 09, 2011

We drove north to spend a few days with Mr Duyvken's parents at the end of last week. My mum came as well and we had a lovely time. All the cousins slept together in the bunk room and it is always a lot of fun but all of the cooking, cleaning, supervising children, talking about what to have for the next meal and then more cooking and cleaning wears me out. 10 children aged between 7mths and 11years (yes mine are the bookends) makes for quite a lot of work, but they adore it and I adore them so what's a girl to do?

Next time I hope to take more photos, time always slips through my fingers up there!

A for Effort

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Several months ago I signed up for the half marathon. Sweetie was only a couple of months old and September seemed like a distant destination, it was an entire season away! Life, of course gets busy but my training was going reasonably well, I wasn't doing as much as I would have liked to but I was chipping away at it slowly and was looking forward to completing the run. A half marathon is a long distance for me and I saw it as a personal milestone. I was using it as a place marker in my life. It was going to be testament to what can be achieved in a post-babies life. An example of something I had to work really hard for and could be really proud of achieving. Yes, I had rather built it up in my mind, don't you think?


There were a few hurdles to overcome in the last 6 weeks before the race, not least of which was mum's illness, but I decided to run anyway. It was a hard, hard run and I pulled out after around 11kms with a very sore back and carrying a huge feeling of disappointment. You know those motivational posters that declare that did not finish is better than did not start? I'm not sure I agree with them now. On paper I get it but it does not feel good to not finish (too many negatives?)and the experience has just made me very determined to finish next year. It will be 12mths later than planned but, hopefully, just as sweet. Mr Duyvken pointed out that if I had started intending to run 10kms I would be thrilled and he's right, of course. Half a half marathon isn't too bad when you think about it.
Doing hard things doesn't always work out the way we hope but they're always worth doing. Always.

Come to the park

Saturday, October 01, 2011

 
 
 
Come to the park with us this long weekend. We'll make rings out of twigs, lie in the sun, drink beautiful coffee made by one of the many baristas at one of the many coffee shops across the street. (I swear, if there is a coffee shortage the Australian economy may collapse.) (We picked the Dane's brew if you were wondering.) We'll watch the world go by, listen to all the little duyvkens and their crazy schemes and drag ourselves home sulkily when the time comes to leave.
I got a new camera bag for my birthday and I love it! Not as much room as I had in the large tote I've been using lately but I can take the camera, lenses, external flash, etc with me everywhere now and they're all well-protected between padded dividers. I'm a happy girl! It's the *emera classic canvas and it's not cheap and I thought about it for over a year before buying it because I really wasn't sure about buying a bag that I hadn't seen irl. I am glad I got it though - so far it's perfect for me.
We are lucky to live in an area where there are lots of parks within walking distance but this one is one of our favourites.

Recycled

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Made by J to meet the brief of creating a 3-d object using recycled materials. Isn't he lovely?

Monday

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Beautiful babies in brand new blue bedrooms.

Operation Pinterest

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Project #3 a '40 sucks' gift for one of my wonderful sisters-in-law. This is the pinterest version;
and this is the duyvken version;
Put together using glittery letter stickers, oasis floral foam, a small metal pail all from the craft shop and 40 chupa chups from a recent trip to Costco (I have 60 leftover). G and C helped me and it came together very quickly.
Pretty happy with this one!

Sew Generous

Friday, September 02, 2011

Suzanne from Quilt Sew Scrap has started a fantastic initiative called Sew Generous. It is an online charity quilting bee that will make quilts for children and teenagers who need treatment in the oncology department at Westmead Children's Hospital. I have had these blocks sitting unfinished for a while now, thinking that Sweetie might be a girl or that my sister might have a girl but we both ended up with bouncing baby boys so I have sent these blocks to Suzanne. She's a wonderful quilter - can't wait to see what it becomes!

Book Week

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Sweetie was one of Harry's dinosaurs. Irresistible, no?

Book Week

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

J went as the tall man from the Niland book, The Tall Man and the Babies. 1 roll of cardboard, some coloured paper curls, a red skivvy and jeans = Easiest costume ever!

Special days

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's been a very busy week here at the Duyvken House.
The day before Sweetie's half birthday I had a birthday too. Not as exciting as a half birthday, of course, but delightful nonetheless.
And on the day of Sweetie's half birthday Mr Duyvken and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. We got a babysitter, went to a little mexican restaurant by the beach and then sat on the sand looking at the ocean and the stars. It was a couple of days before I could bring myself to shake the sand off my party shoes. I had enjoyed walking past them and smiling to myself.
 And then tonight, G had her 11th birthday. We celebrated last night with Mr Duyvken's parents, this evening with my mum in the hospital and tonight with our little family. What did the birthday girl want for dinner? Cauliflower and pea soup with toasted turkish bread and, raspberry and custard teacake for dessert. And what did the birthday girl want as a gift? Pentominoes, books and a Westfield gift card. She's a very unique little thing. I'm so glad she's mine.

Operation Pinterest

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Turning 6 months old is a big deal around here, we always celebrate the 1/2 birthday with a cake and a little party. It helps to ease the pain of knowing that those wonderful newborn months are definitely behind us and that Sweetie is definitely enjoying babyhood. Things were a little different this time around with mum being in hospital and renovations continuing to require most of Mr Duyvken's time but I had seen a very cute cake on pinterest and decided to call Operation Pinterest into action once again. So here is,
Project #2 A beautifully decorated Cute as Button cake from Misobakes. Keep in mind that she has had a lot more practice than I have before you look at the photo of mine, OK?

 Isn't it adorable? And here is the Duyvken version;
just a single layer, with a cardboard sign made by G, baked with assistance from G and JW, we only used 3 colours for the buttons and didn't bother with royal icing at all. But it was very quick to make and, with a little finessing, could look really wonderful.
We took it up to the hospital and had a little half birthday celebration with mum and Aunty S. It wasn't the traditional half birthday celebration, and I know that mum would have much preferred to be celebrating at our house, but we had a lovely time. And the half birthday boy? Delighted!

Red Boots

Friday, August 26, 2011

Operation Pinterest

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I love Pinterest, but don't want to fall into the habit of collecting lots of wonderfully inspiring pictures and ideas but not using them.
That's where Operation Pinterest comes in - don't just pin it; do it, make it, try it, buy it!
Who's in?
Project #1
The aesthestically pleased pinterest photo - Things to Find on our Walk
and the Duyvken version, waxed cardboard cups anyone?
 

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