An Afternoon at Oma's

Monday, December 31, 2012

A lazy summer afternoon spent playing backyard cricket, eating food (both real and imaginary) cooked with love (all real), chatting about everything and nothing, making plans for the New Year and reminiscing about the year that has been.

Wishing you a happy New Year's Eve and only the best for 2013. From all the Duyvkens.
Breathe in.
Breathe out.
Heart full.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

C always has the most wonderful Christmas wishes. They are never influenced by things she has seen on tv or toys that other kids have but are, somehow, genuinely heartfelt desires. Last year she wanted a mama lamb and a baby lamb and this year she asked Santa for a red and pink fox and a snuggly robe. NB It is not easy to find a snuggly robe during an australian summer.

I am happy to say that, thanks to Fiona Dalton's wonderful book Hop Skip Jump Toys I was able to help Santa's elves make this sweet little fox. Al;though I do wish I hadn't used any cream fabric and had made him all pink and red. I also shouldn't have used red thread because that shows up quite a lot on the lower parts of his arms and legs but since this is my first ever soft toy I am pretty pleased how it turned out. 

C has named him foxy loxy and he has already been to the beach, had chocolate ice-cream dripped on him and been left out in the garden after dark. I'd call that a success!
He is sitting in C's quilt on her bed. I don't think I have posted about that finished quilt yet. I'll take some photos of it and do that soon.
PS Eleanor from the Comment Box is back!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas and the lead up to it is such a busy time of the year but it is so full of goodness that I have learned it is best to just take a deep breath and let myself be taken by the current. The current in this case being end of the school year busyness, G's graduation from primary school, the end of pre-school for JW, J's 8th birthday, Oma's birthday, my dad's anniversary, lots of Christmas parties for Mr Duyvken, carols and parties with friends and a nasty bout of gastro to round it all out. 

A huge storm rolled in on Christmas Eve and when we came out of mass heavy raindrops started to fall breaking the intense humidity of the evening and promising a cooler Christmas Day. We stayed up late watching the lightning, grateful for our leak-free home and for all the work that Mr Duyvken has done in the past year. This was our first Christmas in the new kitchen and living room and it was wonderful to feel that, even though it was pouring with rain, there was room for all of us. The little duyvkens did a kris kringle this year and they shared those gifts on Christmas Eve. They drew names out of a hat, did some chores to earn money for shopping and then we all went up to Kmart where they earnestly looked for things that their person would like. They picked some great gifts and, honestly, they are the things that have been played with the most. It is my new favourite Christmas tradition and I am looking forward to doing it every year.

We didn't go up north to spend Christmas with Mr Duyvken's folks this year so it was just the 7 of us celebrating with my mum and my sister. It was low-key, relaxing and very beautiful.

Feeling Festive

Sunday, December 09, 2012


Friday, December 07, 2012

I've been taking photos to try to slow things down a little. There is so much on at the moment and so many things that need attention. They are all worthwhile and wonderful and I am trying to soak it all up but if things could just slow down ever so slightly I would be very grateful. We duyvkens are getting very, very tired. 
 JW's end of year concert and lunch at pre-school was very sweet.

 G's 'not a little girl anymore' bedroom makeover was fun - out with babushkas and in with florals.

 Nativity sets are up.

 2012 yearbooks are all wrapped and ready to be presented to G's class next week at their graduation.

 The evenings are beautiful at the moment and the balcony is a lovely place to enjoy the sinking golden sun.

Rocket the Monkey from pre-school spent a week with us and spent most of it hanging out in the fruit bowl. Frankly, I was amazed we didn't lose him.
Advent activities are in full swing and we are counting down to Christmas.
Breathe in.
Breathe out.
Heart full.

That New Baby Ache

Friday, November 30, 2012

Sweetie has shifted and is no longer a baby. The last vestiges were shed sometime over the spring and today, after he insisted that he walk when we went to the supermarket and then proceeded to enthusiastically greet and farewell every person we passed, I had to admit to myself that he is a toddler. A truly beautiful and delightful toddler it must be said but, nevertheless his babyhood has been boxed up and added to the memories shelf. I'm a little wistful about that and I am hankering to do it all again. Baby photos of all my little duyvkens have been popping up on our digital photo frame and making me ache. It is a genuinely physical response to seeing them as they were when they were freshly in the world. Little packages of possibility who are now in the process of becoming the people they will be. I like that a lot but I miss the baby days. There's something very special about that newborn family cocoon.
Should we do it again? Will we do it again? I don't know but we're both very, very tempted in spite of age and commonsense. I do know that this You Tube clip I was sent during the week isn't helping. Is there anything better than this sweet sleepy drift?

Christmas Concert

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Using some of my favourite Christmas fabric to make an ornament t-shirt for JW to wear to the school Christmas concert tomorrow night. When the kids are in bed tonight I will stitch around the edges of the applique on the machine. Just a couple more shirts to do and we'll be ready to go!

On Kindness

Friday, November 16, 2012

A short list of a few of my favourite things.
1. Etsy and other sites that allow small artists, crafters, artisans and dabblers to share, showcase and sell their work. These 2 pictures below (a Tim Doyle screenprint and Matte Stephens print) were bought directly from the artists for a very small price and I love them. The emails back and forth about the Tom Doyle print were particularly delightful and, given that he kindly offered to let me buy one prior to the official release date as long as I kept it on the QT and the print is specifically about kindness, particularly apt. It took me a while to get around to framing them but here they are, ready to hang. The Matte Stephens print is for the boy's room and the Be Kind screenprint will be hanging in the living room. A shout out to blackbird who helped me track this down over a year ago. 

2. Knee socks. I mean, honestly, have you ever?

3. Jam slice. Although the jam layer in this one was very runny, should I try adding some cornstarch or a little flour to it next time?

4. Really good test results for my beautiful mum. 

For the neighbours

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

More carrot cake for a morning tea treat. (Recipe here).


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

We've got grass! I haven't written too much about the work we are doing on the house (and by 'we' I mean 'Mr Duyvken') but this particular milestone feels noteworthy so here it is.
 Green, green grass.
 Soft underfoot and great for playing on or reclining on to do some cloud-watching.
Just the thing for making this mama's favourite combination of feet like these and happy faces.
Breathe in.
Breathe out.
Heart full.

Work in Progress

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Paperwork has consumed the past few days. Dull, tedious paperwork. I have no photos to share of that, I am sure that most of you have a little guilt-inducing stack of it yourselves to look at, so let me share some stitching with you instead. This is C's quilt finally being finished. She loves it. Further proof that striped binding makes everything better. 

Hard to believe...

Monday, October 29, 2012

...that Sweetie's this big. My very own little Linus van Pelt.

Log Cabin Framed Birds for Delilah Rose

Friday, October 26, 2012

Once upon a time, let's call it the late '80s, Duyvken was a high school student with braces, fuzzy hair and a shy disposition which meant that she plenty of free-time on weekends. The couple across the street had a very busy social life and two lovely young children who needed a babysitter, and so a very happy arrangement began.
For $7.50 an hour I spent a lot of time and their house and loved every minute of it, even long, late nights watching dodgy music videos on MTV. L and G were pretty special kids with amazingly vivid imaginations and a really strong sibling bond. I loved watching them move from toddlerhood to primary school and then, even though I wasn't really babysitting them anymore, beyond that from across the street at mum and dad's place.
So, when I heard that L was going to become a father I knew I wanted to make something special for that sweet baby. L and his wife, although so much younger than I, have done some amazing things and I am sure there are many more amazing adventures ahead of them so this quilt had to be able to stand up to the possiblity of WOOFing through Europe, be a soft spot for Delilah to lie while mum and dad work in developing nations, fit snuggly in the cot at home in England and be a cosy comfort on long haul flights back to Sydney to visit the Gramps.

Some cotton fabrics, soft minky backing, some embroidery, my first ever quilt ties and several months later and I have finished a nice practical quilt for a much loved baby girl.

Welcome to the world, Delilah Rose and lots of love to L, who taught me that you really can grow up to join the circus, and N who gets to be a mum for the first time which is, HANDS DOWN, the best feeling ever.

With lots of love from your old babysitter, A.

Sewing for the Time Poor

Monday, October 22, 2012

This might be my fastest, and most satisfying project yet. In just a couple of hours I completed a snuggly, ruffly blanket for a sweet new baby girl. And if I hadn't spent so long making the ruffles it would have been even quicker. (Note to self: buy a ruffle foot). 

I used a tutorial from The Little Fabric Blog and the instructions were very easy to follow. She skips over the bit about how to join the two ends of the ruffle strip but I treated it as it if it was regular binding and it worked quite well.

This is their first baby and since they didn't know if they were having a boy or a girl the nursery is quite neutral. They have decorated the nursery beautifully and have put a big tree and owl decal on the wall so I searched my local fabric shop for something pink and owlish and came home with this forest life fabric.

I poured some extra love into this one because baby Emily's joyous birth comes at a very sad time in her family. Will she feel that? Probably not, but she will love playing with those soft minky dots and having those ruffles tickle her sweet little toes.

Welcome to the world, Emily Elize. It's a wonderful place.

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