Friday, June 11, 2010

House proud

I really should have put these pictures up sooner (sorry Mum!), but here they are now.

We wanted to redo the deck from the minute we bought this place. However, the fact that the interior needed a lot of love meant it kept being pushed back, then we fell pregnant, the outside needed to be painted, the baby was born meant that this has been a long time coming.

So, after much backbreaking work and many helping hands lent, we have a deck! It is amazing because it is 1/3 of the house (so you can imagine how small it is inside!). We ended up being able to recycle all of the wood from the old deck as well as the wood from the inlaw's deck when they had theirs redone. Once it was sanded and oiled it blended seamlessly with the new decking we had to buy because none of the recycle places had decking.

Now we are entertaining like we have never entertained before! All of our friends' kids love the sandpit. Fortunately David's parents kept all of his Tonka trucks, which makes for hours of fun. Every evening after work, David is in the sandpit with Bel playing with the trucks and making sandcastles. It's so sweet!

Our marvelous deck with Bel's sandpit (or 'sharbap' according to her!) at the end, which was probably more hassle than the rest of the deck!

This is Bel's princess tent. I saw one in a boutique shop and fell in love with it, but it was over $200. This was *much* less than that! Bel loves it too. She hides in it, especially when she doesn't want to eat dinner.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Small things

It has been a few weeks of discouragement. Obviously as a single income family, we were going to struggle, but the practical is always more difficult than the theory! I feel bad that David stresses so much about the finances that I decided to help. People always tell me I should sell my sewing, so I started there. I went online and googled all of the markets in our local area. I soon discovered that as well as paying for a stall (which I expected) I also had to have $20, 000, 000 of public liability insurance. Which was over $600 per year. So I went to plan B: selling online. I found a site that you can advertise on for free and they only charge you if you sell something. Awesome! If you live in the US, UK or Canada. So then, plan C: tutoring. I rang the school I worked at and asked if I could put an ad in the newsletter. I soon found out I cannot tutor anyone from the school or in short the diocese without being a bit shifty.

Needless to say I felt completely flat. Bel has decided to grow out of the shoes she has as well as all of her tights that I was relying on to keep her warm because she cannot abide being covered by a blanket at night because it restricts her tossing and turning. I went out an bought tights, I couldn't see a way around it. But shoes for kids are so expensive! Bel is also at one of those stages where she is not in baby shoes, but not in child shoes either. I had planned to make them, but the sole component is a bit tricky. Long story short, a friend had told me that a local thrift shop had truckloads of patterns, so I went to check it out. They did have loads of patterns - for 20c each! While I was there I checked out shoes, just in case there was something. There was! Designer label shoes, in Bel's size, for $1. I snapped them up and she has not taken them off since! We went to visit a friend's brand new bubba and Bel was more interested in having people notice her shoes than look at the baby!

Such a small blessing has made me feel better. We read in the 40 Days of Purpose the other day that life isn't meant to be comfortable or easy. We are definitely finding that, but want to do the right thing by Bel by raising her ourselves.

On a different note, my 10 year reunion is this weekend and I have made a new dress for me and a tie for David. We blend, not match ;)

Bel waving to the gardener in her new shoes (the complex gardener, not our own personal one!)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Angel wings

I knitted some angel wings for Bel when she was younger, but she grew out of the shirt I attached them too. So now I have made detachable wings...and some for boys (they are angels too, but these are more masculine)!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Babushka Doll

Not clothing, but I started making this last year for my daughter. It is inspired by a doll my relatives in Russia sent over to me while I was in high school. I love babushka dolls, but the logistics of giving a nest set to a toddler is too much. So now she has a soft one. Unfortunately it was overshadowed by a very cute doll her grandmother had bought for her this morning!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Beginning

When I had my baby, I was diagnosed with post natal depression. In order to pick myself up, I would shop - a lot. I thought about new clothes I wanted all the time. But being on a single wage of not a lot, we really couldn't afford it. I had started making my daughter's clothes and basic toys and was complimented on them. I decided to challenge myself and not buy clothes for 6 months. That was okay, considering the baby was in the 'nap all the time phase' and I couldn't get to the shops anyway. But now I've decided to extend the challenge indefinitely.

There are many reasons why I think this is important. Number 1: we are pretty broke. I appreciate my husband's boss for paying him, but it's not enough and he does deserve more. Number 2: I was the social justice coordinator at my previous job in a high school. I taught the kids about fairtrade, but my fashion habit demonstrates the opposite (but seeing as fairtrade clothes are obviously more expensive, I find myself in a bind). Number 3: I'm not sure who the author is, but someone said that if you own more than 1 jacket, you are richer than most of the people in the world. So technically I don't actually need as many clothes as I would like to have, it is just nice to have pretty new outfits.

So here is what I propose to do: I am only going to purchase items such as underwear and hosiery that I absolutely cannot make myself. Of course I cannot make shoes, so they will need to be purchased if necessary. We have 2 sponsor children and also give money to a home for refugee students in Thailand which is run by a not for profit organisation known as Connect. Any money that we have that is spare, we like to give to them. If you have the time (and are actually reading this) please check them out at and donate if you can. Also, please google 'The Story of Stuff' and have a look at the movie. It is so confronting learning about where our 'stuff' comes from and goes to.

This will be a challenge as I am a full-time mother of a very active toddler, a full-time masters student and a full-time wife (as opposed to part-time?). But there are so many reasons apart from those I have listed to do something like this. If more and more did it, maybe we could put a hold on the drive for material possessions and think more about our fellow man.

Have a good day!