Project Pool: Rope Therapy

 The freestyle balustrade is ready!
Sander hard at work
Just the last finishing touches and Project Pool is finished!


Out of the trenches

I’ve noticed that after many years on survival mode, at last I’ve started to crawl out of the trenches and reintroducing myself to society.
Hello there!

Making an effort to be more social, getting in touch with friends, having friends over. 
It’s been so long, it almost feels like a novelty!

First step was getting rid of all my maternity clothes, we’re not having any more kids and David has waved nursing a year ago. Time to invest in some real bras and clothes that actually fit and that make me feel nice just wearing them. You know something other then those yoga pants and stretchy shirts that have felt many babies grow. They’ll be great for the garden, which has come back to life again. Spring is definitely in the air! I’m doing some serious planting with the kids to make the most of these new beginnings. They’re completely fascinated by putting in all kinds of little seeds in the ground that turn into plants and flowers. It won’t be a neat garden, with tidy rows, but the fruits will be all the sweeter.
The last couple of weeks have had their ups and downs. 
I’ve been very busy keeping the household on track, I still miss my cleaners, but have made a schedule with all the tasks sprinkled throughout the week into doable jobs. With being sick for a week I’m still catching up on many things that have accumulated while I slept. Sewing has been on hold, which I hope to pick up again next week.

We’ve had our first brush with nits, just thinking of it makes me itchy again. We’ve been mouse hunting in the pantry where that cute little mouse had a large nest of babies. The mess they make is all but cute, a good thing just about all my goods are in containers. Safe from harm, they did manage to get all the paper of the emergency cans. It has made for some very interesting meals this week...

Alex’ climbing keeps getting him into all kinds of trouble. A quick dash to the clinic when he burns his arm with hot tea, a foot stuck in barb wire. But also into places he shouldn’t be, like the top shelve of the pantry feasting on honey. Or into my handbag doing a runner with my car keys and locking himself in the car, refusing to open it, his siblings were a little later at school that morning...
One of the many highlights was seeing my sister Lisa at the opening ceremony at the Olympics where she was on a rowing holiday (reserve for womens quadruple sculls that took home silver).
 Making “I love farmers markets” wraps for hungry swimmers
Having friends over for lunch, 11 kids behaving themselves beautifully and having lots of fun in the water holes.
David with his highly treasured minions beanie, send by grandma, waving and smiling on our grocery run.
Sophie wanting piggy tail plaits for school to tame her mad halo of curls. This is a steep learning curve for me, I’m so not good with the girly stuff!
 Friday night cooking with Tim
For me a highlight, for Tim & Alex not as much. Only one more training and game to go and the soccer season will be finished. It’s been a lot of fun to see the teams grow and develop, they have really loved their first year of soccer. But I’ll be happy to have my Saturday mornings back!
Sander has started the balustrade, going with a nautical team.
500 meters of rope therapy, but it looks stunning.


Baby quilt #4

Casper, the second baby for my sister-in-law, Nienke was born over the weekend.
Nienke asked for something small, for the bassinet, green, blue, fresh, not gender specific.

For me this was also the first quilt with my new sewing machine.
I’ve chosen an Irish chain pattern, which is fun to make and looks very effective.
It was also a great way utilising the scraps I had laying around. Can we say it has become my trademark?
The quilting is “stitch-in-the-ditch”, 
my new machine even has a special foot for it!
 The white looks so very fresh, combined with the green and blue, with a very subtle butterfly print.
 The border is a mix of widths, not wanting to get too serious.
It’s so nice to see all these old favourite fabrics back out to play!
 More butterflies on the backing, bringing out the rich chocolate colour of the binding.


Magic Forrest Quilt

This quilt started out with a piece of calico, an old woollen jumper, a ripped tea towel, an old sheet, a dress shirt beyond repair and a drawer full of scraps of fabric. It all got turned into a quilt for my little niece Vera, the second child for my sister Tineke.
Since my sister also runs a family daycare from home, I hoped to make it into something she could use once Vera outgrows her crib.
The old, red and honey jumper, felted in the washing machine, used as the top of the mushroom. The ripped tea towel makes a perfect home, with the old shirt just perfect for a door (and tree branch).
It opens up into the gnomes house, with a quilted chimney.
The sun, utilising little scraps, free motion quilting over it to keep it together.
A little soft pocket for hands and teddies to hide
Adam, the 2year old brother, with creative colour changing thread in brown (stones) and green (grass) giving the quilting a more natural look. Our kids love finding letters of their own name.
Using leftover bits from the backing of our picnic rug, turning them into stones. Inside there are ladybugs hiding (the lizard that I planned here was deemed too scary for babies by my oldest)
A pocket for little friends.
I’m planning on making a similar quilt for our own kids, turning it into a wallhanging where they can keep their favourite teddies in, once they outgrow them. Like this little mouse, that used to keep me company as a baby in my crib.
Flowers and a fairy for Vera. Using metallic thread for the flowers and her name. Which gives it a very subtle shimmer of magic.

The branch, with the leaves all moveable.
Hiding these little lovebirds.
A preloved flannel sheet for the backing, which worked out well with the colour scheme, but is also so very nice and soft.

This was my first go with free motion quilting. I’ve tried to use it not only to keep the top, wadding and back together, but also to bring the quilt alive. And string all the separate elements together as a whole. For in between these elements, my daughter gave me inspiration with her favourite song:

Somewhere over the rainbow
Blue birds fly
And the dreams that you dreamed of
Dreams really do come true

This quilt goes very well with the baby quilt I made for Adam, an other appliqué quilt: Owls In The Tree. I just love the freedom and creativity that goes with these types of quilts! And how I love my new sewing machine, it has made it so much more fun.


This week...

This week...
Saw the kids going back to school and me back to business. We started slowly but steadily, next week is full again with swimming lessons, music, sports and who know what else. 
I’m hoping to make it through this term a bit better, settling in for a marathon instead of a sprint. 
While hoping that David’s last molars come through quickly so we’re back at full nights of sleep. Days get so very long when you start the day at 3am...

A night out at a friends place made us realise how much we love to be out and social and should really make more of an effort to do just that.
At last, I’m back in the kitchen garden. It might be slow, it might not be to the standards I would like it to see, but even a little bit is more then nothing. So this morning, I planted out some herbs, flowers and a minimal of veggies. Although is getting better, the chooks are escape artists and just love kids visiting them, all those veggie seedlings to plow, eat and uproot! We’ll see if the new door works before I get my heart broken again and see two garden beds with veggies destroyed. Although there is still plenty growing, I would love to see the garden thriving again.
In the meantime I’m enjoying all the natives shrubs that I’ve planted throughout the years and keep adding to. It always brings a smile to my face seeing all vibrant colours attracting even more in the form of birds, butterflies and bees. How I love to see bees. Inspired by a fellow blogger, I’ve started asking around if there is a local beekeeper interested in keeping a hive or two on our property. Because of the large diversity of native trees and shrubs in combination on with the kitchen garden, there is always plenty of flowers and blossoms around. 
 The kids (and birds) are anticipating the harvest of the mulberry tree.
 Lots of limes, I anticipate cake this afternoon...
The pool deck keeps progressing, it’s looking awesome!
A Winter heatwave gave us 28 degrees and 4 kids in the pool making the most of it.
Only a day later and we’re back to a wintery 18 degrees and an overnight wood fire.
Two finished baby quilts, I’m absolutely stoked with both of them. They’re on their way to The Netherlands to my sister and sister-in-law. I’ll do a seperate post with some photo’s of the fronts on here, once they arrive there.
While looking for a specific fabric online, I came across this one, Sophie just happened to look over my shoulder and was instantly in love. Frozen blue and unicorns, this one just had her name on it she said. If I could pretty please make a pillow case out of it. 
The funny thing is that a couple of weeks ago, Alex found some fabric with foxes in my stash and wanted the exact same thing: a pillow case. And maybe a quilt to match it, please???? (insert puppy eyes). So the curtains just have to wait another week or so... ;-)


David 2

Celebrations: 10 years

This week, we celebrated ten years of marriage. Wow, that went so quick!
We managed to have a day together, just the two of us. Going out for lunch, a bush walk, a coffee in the hammock and a yoga session. A very special day.

 New bling!
Going out for dinner with the kids was fun and delicious, not exactly a quiet affair though...  ;-)
Bring on the next ten!


This week

This week:
Brought us our first niece.
A bit earlier, so my sewing machine is picking up speed, the Magic Forrest Quilt is going towards the finish!
Super speed, my youngest sister Lisa is rowing at Henley this weekend. Having a very good chance on bringing home the prestigious Princess Royal Challenge Cup. We’re looking forward to the final tonight, watch her on: http://www.hrr.co.uk
(For those that have been asking after the end result....)
David finding new friends
Tim being “glued” to his guitar, making his grandfathers proud with “Smoke on the water”.
Alex scoring food and smiles at the Farmers Markets.
 Sander hard at work with the deck and the stairs.
that are multifunctional!
Winning a pack of play-doh, the perfect way to entertain the kids for the rest of the day.

We’ve started the Winter holidays, for me a two week break from being a “taxi driver”, for the eldest two a well earned break from school. We’re not going away, too cold for camping! But we’ve made a can-do-list with activities with the kids. Cinema, cupcakes, playground, pasta making, BMX-track, painting, library, walks,... And two major celebrations coming up this week.
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