Happy as a clam

It has been a long time between posts – over a month in fact! But in that month we have moved house and I have to say that we are so happy to finally be in our house. It is like a dream that we are finally here! The move in day was long and arduous but we made it through and finished our day with pizza sitting in camp chairs surrounded by boxes! So many boxes!!! I have to say it was quite amazing to finally unpack them all and find homes for all the stuff that we have had hidden away for the last 13 months. Yep it was 13 months for this build and we waited patiently through two winters in that freezing rental property, now it is all behind us!

I have been busy as when we moved it was school holidays so I had no work which meant 100% focus on getting the house ready before work and school went back – so the multitude of lists were complete with hanging all the artwork in our gallery space. We have also celebrated two birthdays – my hubby and my son, baked bread and biscuits in our amazing oven, enjoyed cooking everyday in our kitchen and admired the sky from the skylights in the bathroom and the stairwell. That ugly stairway above is from our rental property and I wanted to include it here as the cleaners did an amazing job!! We also got rid of boxes from IKEA and heaps of other stuff that we wanted to donate but could not because we have been in lockdown for over 100 days.

Back at work I’ve bought coffee for my workmates including a golden milk latte for me – so good to have matcha latte as a treat every so often too! It is so fun to be back with the children and playing outside when the sun shines or not!

Apricot is loving the sunshine and all the light this house brings and with that my passion for gardening is cruising along and I have been repotting all my plants as they adjust to new surroundings as well. My indoor plant collection is growing and now I have taken up a new craft macrame so I am pretty excited about making little nets for my plants to hang from. Time to get to work, it is amazing how your environment can change your whole being it still feels unreal that we are here and everyday I am thankful that we have this beautiful purpose built house to we call home.

All over the shop!

The days have been dragging on and life has been such a struggle as we play the waiting time to move into our house. We are so fed up with living in this freezing cold rental with its broken ceiling and terrible design. There is awful light in this house and my poor plants have suffered under cold conditions, they will be so happy when they are moved into our new house. We will be too, sure I have a roof over my head and have food in the fridge but there is something about when you are ready to go – it is time! Trying to focus on my study has been problem number one! As I sit at the dining table in a room with two massive windows and no heating (its super expensive and useless to heat this place) it is difficult to concentrate as I suddenly feel cold – so off I go to find a blanket, coat and a beanie. This is how I dress to feel comfortable inside this house. You can see above the cat is even done with living here too.

This is what the outside of our house looks like at the moment as I have called the real estate agent to fix this broken ceiling two months ago. It was certainly lucky that no one was out there the night when it collapsed, as it ruined a couple of my pot plants! Then the wire has been hanging there for ages until I emailed them to see when it could be fixed and they said not for another 10 weeks!! Good bye and good riddance to you all, this is a ridiculous scenario for $2700 in rent per month. Thank goodness we do not have to pay these guys one more cent. This place looks insane with its bubble wrap on the windows and ruined facade.

I have to be thankful for the location we are living near with the amazing, overflowing Merri Creek close by. A couple of weeks ago I went for a walk and a chat to my friend after a weekend of heavy rain. You can see the trees underwater due to the amount of rain – it was scary with the rushing flow of water but exciting at the same time to see all the rain that had fallen. Now it is September and spring is here and we are a bit happier to go outside in the sunshine in the morning to feel the warm sun on our faces.

Winter is in the background but the chill is still here, on a walk to the shops to get fathers day goodies we have found beauty in the flowering birds of paradise and a fresh little leaf on a plane tree. So much to look forward to when the warmth returns to our hemisphere soon.

Today I went for a walk to see our house and here it is, nearly there with its beautiful fence in place. We only have 11 days to go until we get the moving truck in the driveway to fill it with boxes and our stuff to take to our home. I am so looking forward to moving, as are the rest of the fam as we are trying not to complain about our living conditions but we all are done with living in an uninsulated house with hardly any natural sunlight. This is due to being a south facing house and it is a terrace house with windows on the front and back – there are prominent windows but not in the right place to capture the warmth. See our new kitchen below for the afternoon sunlight that we will enjoy through the big windows.

Well the countdown is on and it is the small wins and we celebrate next Wednesday only 7 days until we are outta here!

Our beautiful kitchen island minus the stone top

Spring in my step

When the sun is shining it is a time to go outside! After all the time I have been inside working from home and doing my Uni work I thought I had better grab that sunshine and get some vitamin D. Man I am happy that I did that Saturday morning as it was just beautiful! While I was walking I was listening to hope and all the inspiration from the Michelle Obama podcast on Spotify – seriously I love this so much!! As I wandered around the streets I even took off my winter coat discovering remnants of spring at every turn.

I went walking to our house to check out how our concrete project turned out and I was pretty impressed with the gum leaves on the left and the conifer trees on the right that remind me of the beloved Redwoods in California.

Garden inspiration at the Royal Melbourne Hospital at Parkville. This garden is absolutely stunning with the waterfall in the centre. Its strange I felt I had been there before but maybe it has featured in films, who knows?

This was my work project last week as I created a Spoonville community for our kindergarten, hopefully this little fella survived the crappy weather this weekend and did not get washed away! I am sure the afro is looking a bit damp now. I love this idea as there are little communities popping up everywhere where the kids decorate an old wooden spoon to give it a new life. A perfect project for the children in lockdown and our kindergarten community.

Oh and can 2020 get even worse! My yoga teacher friend posted the above picture of the visitor centre at Big Basin State Park in California after a lightning fire engulfed the park. It is so sad to see this as we spent a lot of time under the redwoods camping, hiking and enjoying nature. California is where I really got to appreciate the environment (I love banana slugs) to become who I am as an environmentalist. Seeing these fires year after year, not only in California but here in Australia has brought me to the realisation that government is doing f…k all! We all need to get busy, so I am now listening to The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis because if we don’t get a start soon we are all gonna be screwed. After time in lockdown with this pandemic we now have an opportunity to turn our future around and this needs to begin ASAP.

These are strange times…

It has been a while since I wrote anything here but the weeks have flown by as I managed to fall behind in my University studies and everything else has been unpredictable with coronavirus. I had work meetings, professional development for work, webinars for my high schooler, online doctors appointments and my last hair appointment for a long time! Lists of readings for uni to do, where it is so hard to focus with the whole household at home as the new normal. There is zero opportunity to disappear to a cafe for timeout with my computer and a coffee. Thank goodness for headphones I say! Exercise has been inside with body combat or some other Les Mills class every day if I can fit it in. Plus I have managed to make dates for drinks online with a couple of friends which gives me something to look forward to!

Times sure are strange but it is something we have to get used to here in Melbourne with our stage 4 lockdown restrictions of no work unless you are a permitted or essential worker, 1 hour of exercise outside per day, 1 person designated to go to the shops per day and 8pm to 5am curfew plus no moving outside of our 5km radius unless we need to go to a medical appointment. It feels intense to write this, but it has to be like this as it is important to curb the spread of this nasty virus. I am really missing so much now, but I feel once we are allowed to live “normally” again we will appreciate everything a lot more.

This is where I spend most of my time these days in my little study zone which is the converted lounge room with its massive windows covered in bubble wrap to keep the warmth inside. I am sitting here covered in blankets and wearing a beanie. I just keep saying not long now but every day is so uncomfortable living in a house that is uninsulated in a city that gets very cold in winter and really hot in summer. For these pics, I had to do a clear out of my desk to do a presentation for Health and Physical Education for Uni which is why the area looks void of anything as everything was put on the floor so I could film my 5 minute presentation. It looks very fancy and neat but I like to have my bits and pieces surrounding me so it is back to the way it was in the pic on the left now – cos sometimes I just feel like playing around with some craft – as most of the time I am studying. Last week I wrote a 2000 word report for the value of science in early childhood education, which I loved as I am a huge fan of science. Here is a little chemistry experiment I made for the little ones for work. I was on the tail end of my report and then stage 4 happened and we had to get into remote learning mode for the kiddos at kinder. Just breathe, I said and I got there in the end with a 48 hour extension!

Each day is another day closer to living in our new home, here are the pics before they get to sanding the floors tomorrow. The kitchen is looking amazing and I am so looking forward to cooking up some delicious dinners there. Not long now as it is wonderful to see things moving along – the construction fence is down and we will have a new fence in place soon. I am so happy to see this and it is definitely something to look forward to, just in time at the end of lockdown but who knows? The coronavirus numbers have been up and down for the last week and a half so we will see. We will have to have a zoom house warming party, until we can be together again!

Lockdown 2.0 in Melbourne

So as you can see from the centre picture we are in lockdown again as multiple community clusters of COVID were appearing so Melbourne went on a massive testing blitz. There has been a huge amount of tests and the numbers are pretty high still and we have been in lockdown for 2 weeks now. The night lockdown 2.0 was announced I was meeting a friend for wine and pizza, so we made the most of our time out and drank an extra glass of wine! I have been at work and I am also back at Uni balancing my time so I can write my assignments, do my readings and get other things done, like making and creating! Above is a dress I made the other day ready for spring and the window decoration is what I created for the lockdown 2.0 to bring some rainbow love to the community. But now I have covered the windows in bubble wrap to keep the warmth inside – who knew the bubblewrap creates double glazing on the cheap!

So with lockdown 2.0, we all gotta do our bit with mandatory mask wearing when we are out and about. My masks were made with a great pattern and tutorial by a lovely lady on the Good Karma Network. In the classroom we are allowed to take the mask off when we are teaching and working with the groups of children. Still I would rather wear the mask and stay well. I will be spraying all the masks I made with a non toxic fabric protector to keep the micro droplets at bay.

I have not been out much but I did find the super cool toilet block designed in conjunction with a local artist and our local school art captains. I love it and it brings some beautiful colour into our streets.

And finally some progress on our house…

Our house is getting there we are now on the countdown to moving in at the beginning of September, so fingers crossed all goes well and we can be in for the spring! Whoo hoo!

Getting creative on holiday

What has been happening over the last couple of weeks. For one, I worked crazy hours on my last week of work before the winter break. So over the first week of break it was time to get down and get busy with crafts and projects that have been waiting to be bought to life. It has been so good as I got out the craft boxes that need to be dealt with and began making starting with needle felting and knitting then it was working with clay and making jewellery to add to my winter clothes. The fun part was getting out my knitting machine for a couple of weeks and knitting up some layers of wool for the rest of winter – it has been ages since I got out my Brother chunky knitting machine so some online tutorials came to the rescue and I got to work with a plan of knitting and felting pieces to create layering vests. Then came the brilliant idea of cutting up an old cardigan that is annoying to wear and sew and felt the pieces together – it is so good to create again! Next week will be minimal creating as I am back at Uni so my study comes first.

And yes we have all been keeping our distance – this is from the tram trip I took to the city today for my first aid course for work.

In the background our house has been moving along and I went to meet a landscaper there the other day. There is joinery in place and the painting has been done to a point and the move in date is still another couple of months away. I was imagining myself working in the kitchen with our NEFF oven and gas cooktop with the island for prep space – so much fun to be had when we finally move, the countdown is on!!

Here are some of my creations that I have been making over the last few weeks while I have been away from Uni and had time to clear out and make. The two vests I made with my knitting machine are layering pieces for winter using an old jumper sewing together felted yarn pieces. This was yarn that was donated to me ages ago so I am happy to see it in action.

My rainbow needle felted cardi is a project that has been on my list forever and I finally built up the courage to start and it was quite rewarding and meditating sitting there at night needle felting away – I had no idea it was so addictive. So now all my holey jumpers have been fixed with needle felting πŸ˜€

I have been making with oven baked clay and I first started with making beads to jazz up my winter outfits for work. I also made some dangling earrings and now I am making stud earrings which I love as they do not get stuck in my with high scarves and jackets. I wore a pair out to the city today and they were so comfortable so I will add them to the Etsy shop in the future. Plus I have crocheted a lovely little lap blanket that doubles as a cape or a place for our rescue kitty Apricot to sleep.

It has been so good to be free to work away at my crafts over the last few weeks and make and create. I am layered in warm wool and can accessorise with colour. I had no idea how much fun it would be to work with oven bake clay and add signature crochet strands of colour from yarn I found in Portland, Oregon. Next week it is back to reality and studying again and then I will be back at work, so I gotta enjoy this free time while I can.

Crafting away on my holiday

I am pretty inconsistent with these posts of late but I am now on holidays from University so it is time to be free and not think about anything too much and watch some Netflix such as Next in Fashion and for a bit of a break from the usual routine! Here is my picnic rug size t-shirt quilt I made for a keepsake for the kiddos and our time at our amazing elementary school in California. It was the first time I have made a quilt by myself, so do not look too closely at the binding as that was pretty tricky to get those mitre corners just right. Finally, I have my sewing machine from the USA working with a transformer and it has been pretty amazing, all I have wanted to do was to hang out with it and catch up on my sewing projects! I tried free motion quilting for the first time, so some of my stitching could have been less experimental, but hey how else do we learn unless it through practice. I am very happy with this t-shirt quilt and I am looking forward to making another quilt real soon – after I make a pair of overalls for the farm from a cool vintage pattern I found in my collection.

Speaking of the farm I have been going weekly to Joes Garden at CERES which is just a 5 minute bike ride away from my house and I have a new appreciation for kale after picking multiple bunches of them. Today as a crew of volunteer farmers we had to pick 50 bunches – I am a bit tired after searching for the right leaves and using different muscles to what I would use at the gym. The weather here has been very humid and today was overcast so it was a perfect day to be out and about listening to the magpies and the pied currawong high in the trees while chatting and picking springys (spring onions), basil and kale.

As I am on break from Uni, it has been the perfect weather to take the kids out on a bike ride. We went out for a ride along the Merri Creek trail up towards the Main Yarra trail in the hope of getting to Yarra Bend Park to see the flying foxes. Unfortunately, the children were complaining way too much so we had to abandon that plan and stop at Dights Falls for our picnic lunch. I am so impressed with the incredible bike trails of Melbourne that are hidden within the inner city. We rode by the creek, through some beautiful bushland and rode up this hill to some incredible views of the city. I will have to fulfil my dream of riding to the bats as a solo rider. This ride was 20 kilometres return and the kids did not like to ride so long as they constantly asked me why I take them on long rides all the time, I had no idea a 15 min ride to the cafe was long?!?

We are at the lockup stage of our house build and it is getting pretty exciting to see this stage completed, the exterior looks amazing – the charred cladding is my fave! Here is the view from the upstairs onto the master bedroom and study below. I have also made a walkthrough to get an idea of what the inside is like before all the carpentry and interior is put in place. We are only 6 months away until we can move in and we are very happy about leaving our rental property and counting the days on the calendar.

Wishing you a very merry Chrissy

Finally, I have some time to write what have been going on for the last couple of weeks. It seems like a while ago, so here goes! There has been a lot of awesome Chrissy celebrations with my work friends and then I got a cold from late nights studying writing an essay, going to work early, hanging out with kids and their germs and feeling run down. So last weekend was pretty quiet, which gave me time to catch up on wrapping prezzos and all that jazz. Then came the last week of my teaching placement, which was intense as it was all about wrapping up so all the kids work, placing their crafts in their goodie bags, getting the kids ready for the singing presentation to their families with a fabulous spread of food and saying goodbye to the kids who were transitioning to school. I have to say it was full on!

I have enjoyed my time in early childhood hanging out with the 3 to 5 year olds. The educators I worked with planned a tie dye afternoon so that the children could wear them for their performance, the one on the left is the one we all tied together with rubber bands for the kids and used the tie dye kit and the one on the right is using a food dye which worked just as well. It was very well executed where we used lids of big plastic boxes and the kids used the bottles of dye and just spread it on their t-shirts. You would think 3 year olds this is gonna be crazy but we managed to do it in a good amount of time and not much dye was on the kids, as for me I had blue hands for days!

The other fun project I managed to make with the kids was vegan gingerbread – this was a tricky one, as the dough was a bit dry as we could have messed up the ratio of flour to wet ingredients which was nut butter and golden syrup. This cooking project was with very enthusiastic 5 year old children who were eating the dough scraps that even fell on the floor. Their biscuits are cut out here and they were cooked but were quite dry when they came out of the oven, so it was certainly an interesting experience! Next time, I would consider smaller groups and doing the project multiple times.

The gingerbread house on the right is made by my daughter who loves to bake, she did this one over a weekend with making the gingerbread one day and the next day we researched the royal icing which would be the mortar to hold the house together. It was an very delicious recipe which is even better as we could snack on it after we took some pics.

I also finished my tree skirt for our makeshift tree this year! I managed to wrangle a bunch of leftover yarn to make this very colourful crochet tree skirt which is sitting underneath our stash of pressies this year. For a family who was pretty disorganised about Chrissy I feel we managed to get it together reusing the paper from our move gift wrap!

And our house is looking amazing, we can imagine checking out James working in his study, checking out who is coming to visit down our hallway, looking through windows while doing the dishes and looking up we have a roof! It is so exciting to see the progress since our initial deep dig in the ground and now the house is framed and ready for its details of the windows and doors, the black charred timber, weatherboard and brick for the exterior. The beautiful recycled timber Tasmanian Oak floors and the kitchen and bathroom with their terrazzo floors. We even went shopping for the kitchen yesterday and trying to find a stovetop and oven that will serve our cooking adventures, so good though so overwhelming!

Its time for a break now, so our builders will have time off and be back into it after New Years where we will see much more unfold. I am so happy to be back home and to be able to wish my friends a very merry Chrissy at long last πŸ˜€

Teaching Practicum and lots of crafting

So far over the last three weeks I have come home covered in glitter, glue, fabric dye, food dye and flour. I have certainly had a blast at this kindergarten teaching practicum and I have been lucky enough to be working with an amazing mentor teacher and co-educators. Life has been full on this week with completing an essay for a fourth year uni subject and having to go to work plus keep up with my other two subjects – I have to say I am feeling pretty tired. But tomorrow night I get to go out and have a drink or two with my work mates – yay!!

Oh and the cute bear on the glitter chair is one of the completed bears from the Year 5/6 cohort at my daughters school that I volunteer for, it came out so well.

So the kids have been so busy crafting and the windows are covered in so many Chrissy themed items, I am a bit of a fan of these stained cellophane windows which I had to cut out the other day with a scalpel, one of the joys of teaching! There has been so much glitter everywhere I go that I have had to dust it up and recycle it for another project, the kids go crazy with it!

Also the time we have in the arvo together to reset the class has been fun too. Recently we have been putting on music and getting everything prepped for the next class! I cannot believe I have been on my prac for 3 weeks already and it is nearly over. We were very lucky to have a dragonfly visit our classroom the other day when we were prepping the class, there are so many critters that come be as the creek surrounds the kinder. Across the road from my work, at the lake, is this amazing tree in bloom. It is a Silky Oak and I just love the flowers it produces as the colour is incredible. I had to look it up as I had no idea what it was and the flower reminded me of a grevillea so I did a internet search and finally found its name. Going for lunch by the lake, it is full of life with so many water birds and a perfect place to recharge when I am at the kinder for a full day.

Last Friday I met my friend in the city for a couple of drinks at an old favourite water hole in the city – Hells Kitchen. We used to head over there every week, when we worked in publishing and hang out and drink the night away before heading on the train – feeling quite happy! After our drinks we went across the way to have some delicious dumplings before checking out Federation Square and the Xmas tree and all the cool decorations. Its so good to be back in Australia for a hot Chrissy, though it is not feeling like summer at all with 18 degree celsius days.

And an update on our house, the carpenters have been super busy and have framed most of the house and now the scaffolding is up for the roof. Also there are a couple of windows in place with the curved walls downstairs, it is so close yet so far!! We are so keen to move in πŸ˜€