Sunday, 30 December 2012

This Week's Project: Canvas Button Art

 This Week’s Project:
Canvas Button Art
(Week Ending 23/12/12)

I had a brief period of making button jewellery and as a result have a ridiculous amount of buttons.  I thought I'd try and start a project that used as many buttons as I could.  I decided to use a canvas my mum passed onto me and make a colourful piece of button art.  I love spirals and rainbows so joined them both together.. and voila!

It was a lot harder to get this piece done in the lounge room with the girls playing - they were constantly coming over and trying to touch the canvas during the painting process and the gluing of the buttons; so I had to resort to an adjacent room.  It was stressful working from the other room because both Marika and Remi were high maintenance in different degrees..
Remi would come and just yell at the gate like a siren..
Marika would come and ask for a drink... every... 20... minutes..
Marika would go up and push Remi over.. or sit on her.. or take a toy off Remi.. and then run away.
Remi would try and climb up on baskets upturned..
Remi would go over and try and reach for buttons on the tv and get frustrated at not being able to reach them anymore..
LOL solve one frustration then up sprung another issue..*sigh*

It was interesting though... as the project progressed the girls would tag team coming to the gate but every now and then it felt like I could see a glimmer in their eyes "we need to work it out between us and give mum a break" and then walk away.. It dissipated quickly.. but gave me hope lol 

Doing the art project from the other room meant I could watch the girls while doing it.. even though there was still on-going stress... but I again decided it is important to persevere and:

1. have the girls see me doing my own thing;
2. to do my own thing, for me.

The Processes Involved:

1. Free Hand drawing of the pattern

I started this project ages ago without having any idea where it was going; I drew a spiral on the canvas and just left it in the craft room (which was used for the jewellery making ...but once Marika became mobile I stopped crafts in there and it pretty quickly became a storage room for crap that didn't belong in any other room or put there so it was out of the girls' reach).

The spiral was drawn free hand and other than "a spiral" I didn't have any other specifics in mind before drawing.. or even that I was going to put buttons on it lol

2. Painting the spiral: acrylic paints

I decided to paint the spiral with the foresight that the buttons wouldn't cover the whole face of the canvas; I wanted the colours of paint to fill in the blanks between buttons.  I also wanted the paint to guide me with which coloured buttons to use. I thought it would be easier to blend paint from one colour/shade into the next and then start matching the buttons to the paint - It was VERY handy.  It's pretty hard getting an idea of the bigger picture when you have a heap of buttons and shades.

While painting, I found the thickness of the paintbrush tip made it hard to paint the thinner spiral parts.. I then realised that if it was hard to paint then I was going to find it tricky to fit buttons in between lines... so I expanded some sections as I painted.  This will be a deciding factor in any future button canvas art I plan on doing.  I wasn't super worried about the craftsmanship of the paint job given it was going to be mostly covered.

3. Gluing on the buttons

It didn't really matter, but I decided to glue on buttons from the centre and work outwards from there.  I chose 2 really thick, hole-less buttons (apparently they are still buttons.. there's also buttons with one hole, three holes, even some with 6 holes.. crazy buttons! lol) and I glued them in the middle of the canvas; I thought it would be good to have some strong pinnacle in the centre of the spiral - it looks ok lol

I used the normal, white craft glue that we have in bulk.  I didn't use any hot glue or superglue.. I'm thinking buttons will slowly but surely flick and fall off over time - oh well :P

After I finished gluing the buttons on the front of the canvas face I thought I was finished and felt happy I completed something again \o/ But over the next 24 hours I decided it didn't feel finished without gluing buttons onto the sides (where I had also painted)... soooo I kept going.  I almost regretted starting that step, feeling it was too much..

At the end of the week we went up north to Gympie for Christmas to see Danny's parents, so one edge of the canvas wasn't buttoned up... it technically was finished in the second week of "production". :)

ALL DONE! yaaaaaay \o/

I was going to give it away to someone, wasn't sure who.. asked Danny (DH) and he wanted us to keep it; he thought it was similar to those pictures that are made up of tiny little pictures - pictures within a big picture :D ... That was so nice to hear... good enough to keep! :D


Have you done any canvas button art before?  Did you use normal white craft glue - did it hold? :)  How have you used buttons? (other than on clothes ;))

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Little Miss Trouble & Mr. Men

Little Miss Trouble & Mr. Men

I thought I'd post this entry early on and in light of my experiences of late.

What am I going to write about?
- What makes us special?
- Emotional expression..
- Santa Clause coming to town..
- Time outs/walking away from a child/re-directing...

- Cyber judgement ...

How do all these relate to me?... well, it's all how increasingly concerned I've become with society and parents' impact on the self-esteem, confidence and respect of a child.

I have been seeing a psychologist most of this year now in order to organise my thoughts  with suspected depression, anxiety, post-natal depression (PND).  What has come to light is my unrelenting high standards and extreme levels of self sacrifice.  My childhood, schooling and home life influences have in totality encouraged me to believe that I am special not because of who I am, but because of what I do.  In order to feel special, valuable in this life, I feel I NEED to do things for everyone else.  

We have all read the thoooousands of affirmations and mantras about giving to others.. what you give you get... what you sow you reap... what you send out will come back..

Well.. I'd like to also add that there needs to be a level of self respect and selfishness.. self love... Give to yourself as well.  ... that it is also important to have 
Equal Energy Exchange.  

I would like to extend this to raising our children!
There is another soul in that tiny body... another being thinking and feeling in that still developing skull.  Our children are not inferior to us as adults.

(In fact I'd like to controversially say that we as adults are inferior to those beautiful, loving, unconditional souls..
Anyway, moving on..)

To the kids: Behave, Behave, Behave.

Our children don't get off the ipad straight away when we ask them to go to the table; they want to spend a little more time playing with cars or playdough before getting in the car to go shopping; we want them to move along in the shopping centre instead of window shopping; ...
High expectations on behaving after we tell our children what we want them to do.  We highly praise them, smile, give them cuddles when they are quiet, behaving 'correctly'... we indirectly tell them that we are happy with them and love them when they are doing/behaving the way we want them to.

We tell them Santa only gives presents to girls and boys who have been nice - you behave well, you get gifts and love.
Our love is over and over and over taught to our kids as conditional on their behaviour - when they are upset, crying, 'tantruming' we will not show them love.  

Yes, you can say we are just letting them know the behaviour is unacceptable.. but that's not how it translates to a child... you are teaching them that the child themselves is not acceptable, not enough to be loved in that way.

To the title of this post... I was reading a Mr. Men book to Marika and her cousin.. I bought some of these books before Marika was born as I saw such cuteness in all the qualities of a littly - the cheekiness, the battling, the physical explorations.. Different story now.  I've read up... I've experienced my words and they're effects in such a short time already (having a 3 year old and a 1 year old)...
These book characters are all materialised on their behaviour (or in fact their appearance) - Mr. Clumsy, Miss Trouble, Mr. Small.  They are summarised, judged, expected upon, name-called on the one attribute.
My eyes widened.. characters punching each other, nasty talking behind their back... the solution?? get other characters of the book to do the SAME thing to the main character and conclude:

"Doctor Makeyouwell looked at her.
'Cheer up', he said.
'You know what you've just had, don't you?'
Little Miss Trouble shook her head.
'A taste of your own medicine', he chuckled.
And went home.
For supper.

Actually, lovely little person.. you know what you just had?
A terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE lesson about how inconsiderate, nasty, unforgiving, malicious, un-empathetic an adult has been towards you while teaching other characters how to bully.  This Dr. "Makeyouwell" did not make you well, he patronised you... did not try to understand what brought you to express yourself in that way and to help you express yourself in a more healthy way for everyone.  

In all honesty, that's what happens... we try to shut a child up when they are upset... try to get them to smile straight away... to stick food, a drink, a toy, a breast in their mouth every time they cry.  We try to FIX them.  Or, even worse we shun them for tantruming and dismiss their cry for help to process the emotional frustrations that they are having and don't understand.  A child falls over, "Hop up; you're alright!  Stop crying.. shake it off.. it's just a scratch."
Child A takes a toy off Child B, so Child B hits Child A.. Child A hits Child B back." Both children are crying.  It's not uncommon (rather, it's COMMON) to hear "Welllll, you hit Child A!.. *looks at the kid "so what do you want me to do about it?"*"

"Well you took the toy away from the other child, so you got what was coming."

We give a time out for a behaviour instead of a time-in for the emotional plea.  We walk away from a tantrum or aggressive nature instead of staying close/nearby and allowing them to feel safe and loved themselves.. to have someone touch them in love via a hug or holding hands despite their "body's natural fear reaction gone awry." (See "Feelings, Behaviors, and Relationships" link below)

How about, consider the emotional needs of your child in that moment.  Any lessons you have for them, or actions they could take next time - bring them up when it all calms down and the child can cognitively process what you're saying!...

I read an article based off the book "Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control", called "Feelings, Behaviors, and Relationships" at who succinctly and briefly discusses the emotional needs of children and the physical, desperate pleas for help to process emotional confusion: "If we see the kicking and screaming child as one who is having difficulty regulating due to an overflow of feelings, we can learn to stay present with the child in order to help him modulate these feelings and thus, help him to build his emotional regulatory system."

Let the kids FEEL the emotions and PROCESS the emotions.. Allow them to feel accepted to feel like they need to.  To feel safe to express all their emotions... Children are not those feelings and emotions.  Seperate your view of the child as how they behave and see them for who they are.    

Then, add to all THAT... more authoritarian, aggressive/passive parenting - there's scheduled feeding from the start, controlled crying, forced bedtimes, forced clothing, forced hugs with relatives, no snacks until one of 3 meal times or you'll wreck your dinner, finish your meal or no dessert
... we teach them not to trust their hunger cues, their body's messages, their own rights to personal space.  

By having faith in our children to know their own bodies and to help them through each lesson and emotion does not make for "those bloody selfish, resenting, younger generation who shows no gratitude for others or their possessions"
... in fact, I hazzard a guess it would make for a very self-respecting, confident, respectful, caring, emotionally stable, independent adult.. who can especially come to me to discuss the "negative" experiences/anything in their life no matter what.  (As a side note, NO I don't have to put my foot down to THAT behaviour now with a 2/3 year old because it's easier now than later... it just doesn't make sense in the bigger picture!... putting my foot down and working through the emotional frustration BEHIND the behaviour is where I'll focus thank you so very muchly).

To the adults: STFU

I read a blog entry where a lady poured her heart out of her traumatising breastfeeding experience - she was mad, angry, hurt, disgusted, fuming, swearing and cursing, blaming .. and just all out snapped.  I came across it as a link from a facebook page who are (supposed) supporters to and devoted to breastfeeding.

WELL...  The comments that came... they wanted to SHAME the blog author, called her names, patronized her, criticizing the language, laughed at her, stating that no matter how bad the author had it THEY had it worse...

Wow!  I was disturbed.  Finally, someone came on asking where all "the loony lactavist people these articals keep going on about?" are.
I'm flabbergasted.  It's not obvious that a lot of those judgmental, criticizing, angry "breastfeeding nazis" (I HHHAAAATE that term) are right there... in that thread...???

This lady needed the right help support for her when she was breastfeeding.. she asked for help and still couldn't get the right help... she is now still hurt from it all and just as much needs help now as she would have back then...
Yet instead of empathising (which I soooo so so so can), she is hypocritically judged, for judging!

Now with adults, we don't stick food/ drinks/ breast in their mouth... although we are teaching our kids to feed those emotions away.. with emotional eating... or numb the feelings with alcohol... bottle those feelings up because they are just NOT ON.  With adults, we are just downright rude and open about telling each other to take that emotional turmoil elsewhere.  We are happy to share all those fluffy affirmations about understanding each other, to put yourself in another's shoes... but there's apparently a line when it comes to swear words... or.. or .. or.

Ironically, writing this post carries its own judgment.. but there's always subjectivity and sensitivities when it comes to parenting and I'm not writing my PhD on this at 6pm on a loooong damn hot day lol

Additionally, I am far, far, far, FAAAAR from practising what I preach.  I have spent the last few months having daily battles with Marika (3 year old).  I fight and fight to ensure we aren't talking about her behaviour... I take us to the "How are you feeling..." wall and try to help her express her happy/ angry/ sad/ scared feelings... I remove myself from the room... I remove Marika from the room.. I scream... I confiscate... I witness myself contradicting all the above advice over and over... failing my own advice...
... but I re-take the oath every night... to be more understanding of my daughters and myself the next day.. I always kiss the girls goodnight, let them know I love them...
I don't always do this with my husband, family members and other adults ... but that's a work in progress.

It is for all of the above reasons to why I have started blogging:

- I will let out/ vent/ purge all my emotions because they are all healthy to feel... I will experiment with how I express them... I will stand and boast I see a psychologist and get professional help to do this... especially for the good of my girls as they see a healthier mother and a role model.. I will advocate to support any other person trying to use this medium for the same reason as we are all trying to learn our own different lessons perspectively.

- I will advocate to be there for our kids unconditionally to be free agents and loved by at least one person on this planet who will pledge to understand EVERY moment they have. and not give-in to the strong programming from the majority of parenting/mainstreaming we received to "Put kids in their place and submit.".. Our children are who they are because of who they ARE, not what they DO.

- I am not perfect.  In fact.. I am a real mother who hoards, yells, doesn't clean the kitchen every day (or every 2nd or 3rd day).. who yesterday bought Mcdonalds for the toddler after her exercise class because I was too tired and could use the excuse of having a bad headache.. who is still trying to wean the 3 year old off the bottle filled with juice (albeit heavily diluted juice.. ..bottled juice.. not home juiced) that she uses as a comfort... who gave chocolate to the 1 year old before she was 1... who watches shows from time to time like "Sons of Anarchy" or movies like "Ted" with the toddler in the room but will still pause/ fast forward/ etc. thinking that that's okay I need my "Me time"... I judge myself.. then accept myself... I cringe at my actions... then I learn from them... I read and educate myself then grow and change... but I will regress like any other human being.
I was told that some people just need to read that there are other REAL women, mothers, wives out there that are nowhere near the Stepford variety, but still thriving against the overwhelming expectations and pressure of society.  

Blogging is my oyster!

Lots of love,

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Arts/Crafts Ideas Book - The search to support independence in learning.

Arts/Crafts Ideas Book
The search to support independence in Learning

I struggle in different intensities when it comes to the bigger picture of "education" and kids.  Marika is still nowhere near the age where a definite decision has to be registered with the government but I've fondled (hehe) with ideas in homeschooling/ natural learning/unschooling Vs highly planned and structured home activities/ participation in exercise, baking classes and future public/private/ Steiner/ Montessori schooling.

There is a world of what one calls de-schooling happening, where I'm rewinding my own experiences and trying to really understand the world in which we learn- It happens with us all, kids especially, without the aide (or force/coercion) of another.  The thing is, kids WANT to learn and they just need help to ACCESS

I love scanning other blogs of process-oriented play and sensorial exploration... And as a result have inundated Marika in many activities (I will slowly blog activities we have done and will do)..
But I wanted there to be more ownership and choice for Marika

Marika can not yet read and manipulate her iPad/a computer and surf the 'net to investigate her moment of interest to any extensive degree.. We have waaaay too many toys for her to role play with, dress up outfits, books to read.. But I love to browse the 'net for projects as inspiration and for springboards of momentum..
and I wanted something that Marika could use in the same fashion.

Additionally, I felt our continuous activities had no or little direction or organisation, so the stress was on my shoulders..

That's where the first Arts/Crafts Ideas Book was (had to be) born.

This book is separated into sections:

- Finger/ hand/ foot print arts/crafts (I love anything that helps contribute to developing a sense of self, inclusion, interdependent mediums, manipulating lateral thought processing)
- Christmas Themed: I feel it important to encourage magic, fantasy and imagination.. I choose not to force the reality of Santa onto Marika (although she thinks he is just a fancy snowman lol) but I love that if we believe in something, anything, it is real in that moment..
- Face painting
- Paper, Cardboard, Clay
- Felt, Wool
- Crayon
- Sand
- Paint
- More Natural Materials
- Plates
- Egg Cartons
- Ball Circuits/Play
- Toilet Rolls
- Pegs
- Spoons
- Buttons
- Animals
- Physical
- Capes/ Dress ups
- Books
- Miscellaneous
- Body Sculpting
- Clothes
- Changing the learning environment

Marika is able to flick and select whatever tickles her fancy, and she is more likely to enjoy the activity and participate for longer- rather than resulting in my yelling and frustration when she loses interest and/or does something different with the materials.

This week Marika found a "handmade" (har har) spider within the first few pages with googly eyes.. She may have chosen it merely on the eyes lol

I had to search google images so I could reference ... First sited here:

I do footprints and handprints with the girls every 3 months so thought it fitting to do her 39 months prints while she had paint all over her hands and feet :)

These were the first prints out of all 13 times where I didn't end up yelling and chuck a tantrum of my own (because of paint getting on clothes, air blowing prints over and sticking to the floor, Marika sliding her hands/feet around or telling me no,.. Or.. Or..)... 

How terrible is that!  It's this type of activity that brings out the aggressive/passive parent in me, while other blog authors/SAHPs seem to find that happy dynamic with their kid and boast "a print to savour this beautiful moment" or the like..

Here I am every 3 months struggling to take literal prints of a stressful moment .. As I look back on each moment I remember the days surrounding each print though - so they do their job.. And now 39 months down the track it seemed to be a breeze of an activity..
(Let's not mention the jealous 1 year old on the other side of the gate increasing in volume, intensity and tear build up.. So!.. It wasn't all stress free and lovely lol).

.. Marika loved the spider print.. Well, so I realised when she came running to the lounge room "Mummy!!! The spider is DRYYYYY!!!" lol

In addition to the prints and double sided taped on googly eyes, Marika wanted to cut around the spider..  I have her the scissors and had to keep biting my tongue to keep me from shouting "you're starting to cut off a spider 's leg!!"... She noticed the look of anxiety on my face and said "cut very very slowly.. I be careful".. Urgh!

I have done mountains of activities with her and seemed to have done a fine job at stirring her inner voice of caution.  I backed away and said out loud "I love watching you cut by yourself sweetheart."  Yep, said that for me - reassuring myself but also to tone it down.. It's Marika's spider, not mine lol

Marika, smiled... Dropped her shoulders and opened and closed her mouth in sync with the scissors opening and closing lol 

We swapped her scissors with a smaller pair because her hand was struggling with opening the bigger pair.

Spider finished :)

So we had a win with the book and I feel a little less burdened with taking the lead in Marika's learning ;).  I will no doubt be making many more books and most of their content won't ever be looked at twice, let alone done, but that's okay :) I'm slowly relaxing, relinquishing the anxiety and passing on the reigns so Marika can have ownership of her life and choices - the more unschooled, natural learning way :)

How much control does your kids have over their learning? :)

Love always,
- Bri!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

This Week's Project: Felted Bag for Marika

 This Week’s Project:
Felted Bag for Marika

I have a 3.25 year old (going on 13 – just to do the cliché thing) Marika and a brand spanking new 1 year old, Remi; they are absolutely beautiful, intelligent and buuuuusy beings!  I can’t help but invest every inch of my soul into spending the day with them..

Well, I’ve lost a little balance in looking after others Vs. looking after myself..

This week I decided to experiment and start projects that I do just by myself.

Well, I enjoyed it but it didn’t happen without plenty of frustrations lol
– yep, can laugh now ;)
  … but you know in those moments, you’re doing something (in this case, trying to thread the damn sewing needle) and the 1 yr old has her siren yell starting, the 3 yr old is asking for juice or wants the gate open to go wee or she’s rolling the fit ball around trying to hit the 1 yr old with it – whatever it is, action is needed soon with them both..

The anxiety builds, ... you stay calm on the outside and try to ignore it a little… then the inner voice picks up its volume:
“Come on kids!
  Please!  I just want some time to myself for a little bit!”… then my guilt rivals up..
“What am I doing?
  I need to be there for my kids!  They are more important than this bag!  If I do something for them now I could have some time later.. who am I kidding, I won’t have time later!”… then words from my psychologist hop on in…
“It’s important for the girls to see you spending time on yourself, doing your own thing.”

You get the point :)

Well I finished it!
I have a laundry with a pile of dirty clothes so high I can't reach the top; 3 piles of cleaned clothes/nappies/linen in the playroom (which no longer looks like a playroom) to fold; and a fly infested kitchen..
But hey, I made a bag lol

Ahem.. so let's get onto it, shall we ;)

Please note: I'm an extreme amateur sewer, so I lack the appropriate jargon and professionalism involved with such projects!

Materials Used
(I didn’t use anything to measure; felt can be manipulated a little with it’s fibrous composition)
- 3 sheets of brown felt (front and back of bag, handles)
- 1 sheet of beige felt (sides and bottom of bag)
- ½ sheet of felt (I used grey, because it’s a darker colour, to put another layer of felt on the inside bottom of the bag)
- 20 x  1” by ¾” felt rectangles (I used red, dark and mid-road green, lime green, yellow, beige, mid-road brown)
- 7 buttons for decorations
- 1 button for buttoning the bag shut
- Cotton thread (I used yellow to sew on the rectangles because I like the look of seeing stitches; I used maroon on the brown, because I didn’t have brown lol; I used orange and white on the buttons); I used about 7 strands of thread to keep the felt ball strap together, but it would be much better to use thicker thread/yarn if you have a bigger needle
- Materials for Felt balls: Wool roving/tops and a felt needle: I used these to make the felted balls on the strap.
You can wet felt the balls but it was just easier in the lounge room with the girls to needle (albeit, still a little nervous that they’d reach over fast and find a needle through their little hand)
I also recently learnt you could possibly source already made felt balls from spotlight :)

I hand sewed the WHOLE bag.. but I suspect if you’re handy with a sewing machine than this bag would be whipped up in ½ the time ;)

So, here we go…

1.   I grabbed the coloured felt and cut up all the little rectangles.
2. I started laying them out on the brown felt sheets (the back has 5 x 4 and the front has 5 x 3).

3. I sewed them on with a simple straight stitch and cutting some rectangles to fit better.. I wasn’t concerned with lining the rectangles up on the inside rows/columns but kept an eye on making sure the outside edges were roughly lined up.  The rectangles all had different thicknesses and stretch, which made me consider which felt to use for the sides/bottom of the bag for wear and tear.
I put the thread knots on the inside and was making sure I put the knots closer to the middle rather than the outside, but in the end it didn’t matter.
At this point I still wasn’t sure what I was making lol
4.  I cut along the edges of the biggest side (the back) leaving ~1cm edge.

5. I laid the back piece over the front piece and cut around it so the front and back pieces (roughly) matched in size.

6. I used the beige coloured felt for the bottom and sides because it was thicker than the other sheets of felt. 
I cut a rectangle into the beige felt so it lined up with the bottom edge measurement of the bag, then roughly cut the width that I wanted the bag;

7.  I then cut 2 more rectangles into the beige felt for the sides, using the height measurement of the bag and the width of the base piece.

8. I then laid the beige sides of the bag on the bottom beige piece and straight stitched them.  The contents of the bag would stress those stitches so I did put a lot of extra stitches there.

9. I stitched the beige bottom piece up with the brown front and back pieces using straight stitch.

10. I wasn't completely confident that one layer of felt would hold the weight of contents that could be put in the bag (if it was going to be that); so I cut a rectangle piece of grey fabric and sewed it on the bottom inside of the bag.

11. From here I could hold the sides, front and back of the back up and together to see what it would look like and chose buttons that I thought would be suitable.  I didn’t put buttons on every rectangle because I thought it would be too heavy for the felt. 
I then laid buttons out and re-arranged them until I was happy with the balance.. then sewed the buttons on.

12. I then sewed up the sides of the bag with straight stitch.

13. I didn’t like the ruffled, weak edge at the top of the bag, so I folded the edge over ~1cm (as with it all, no measuring was done) and straight stitched it all around.

14. I wanted more strength in sides of the bag rather than it ballooning out, so I decided to pinch and sew the sides.  It was tricky sewing through 7 layers of felt at times so I used professional things like my phone to push the needle through from behind lol This is how I pinched it together:

 I did sew the brown felt together about ~1cm down from this pinched side just to strengthen it all a little more.  
I used very rough stitching.. and stitched in and out of the felt folds in all directions.
theorized that this section would be the most roughed up with play and would have the weakest stitches.

15. I wanted to then have a way that the bag could stay together.  I contemplated sticking a zipper in somehow but I was either too lazy at the thought of working that out, or I didn't feel it could hold up to the weight of a zipper.. I think it was the laziness lol... I decided that I was going to use a button somehow.
I thought about having a flap that folded over the top but couldn't work out a neat way that didn't change the look of the bag..

I decided to sew a button on the inside of the bag and cut a button hole on the front of the bag.

Marika chose a button; I sewed it on and then cut a horizontal hole at the front then did lots of loops around the edge of the hole to support the hole.  In hindsight the hole is a little too big but I suppose it's easier to fix a bigger hole by sewing it tighter together than it is to make a smaller hole bigger after sewing around the hole.

16. I then pondered straps and handles.  I decided (for the meantime) on both.  
I first worked on the handles:
I cut 2 strips of brown felt ~ 6 inches long.
I folded them in half and straight stitched around the edges to keep it together.

17. I then sewed them onto the bag (sewing the same sides of the strap onto the bag).  I decided that the handles were too wide for Marika's hands so I then folded the straps in half again and sewed along the edge for about 3 inches of the straps.

18.  I moved onto the strap... and thought "urgh, can I be bothered?" lol... but felt, STUFF IT!  It's my project... I need to commit to this "me time" business!... even if it meant carrying on doing something that I couldn't be stuffed doing lol
I actually enjoyed the different manipulating of the needle felting... I was sick of using the sewing needle :P
I rolled up the wool tops into oval shaped balls (I thought it suited the rectangular shapes rather than perfect round balls.. anyways, I would've struggled needle felting perfect balls lol)
I worked out after 4 balls that I was roughly 1/4 of the length I wanted.. so I set out on making 16 of them.  

19. I then sewed with a needle and thread a few times through the centre of each ball to string them together, tying a knot at the end and then re threading the left over string into the balls.

20. I sewed the end balls onto the top of the pinched edges of the bag.. as with all my other professional sewing, I just stitched all over the shop over and over and over to make sure the ball was well stuck to the bag. :P

Baaaaaag finished! :D

Marika loved the bag ... for about 10 minutes lol... 
Long enough to take some pictures :P

I'm pretty happy with it - the fact that I finished it... that I committed to something that could be called MY project.. and it looks pretty :))
Maybe the girls will come to accept "mum's me time"...
I wonder how many projects it will take :P
I suppose we'll see ;)

I would LOVE to hear from you all about this project - questions, comments, advice... and your experiences with "me time" around a couple of toddlers ;)
Lots of love,

A Note to Self...

There is so much excitement, anxiety, tummy butterflies and contemplation I feel as I write my very first blog post.  I am a huge thinker, a notorious "disease to please" personality .. and question:

"who will read this is and criticize how interesting (or not) my words are?", "Will I be able to keep this up and have the energy to find meaningful-enough things to post about?", "Am I over-exposing myself to be criticized? - the hardest thing for me to swallow", "Do I have to the right to talk about each day to day happening that involves my daughters, husband and whoever else crosses my path?".

*changes font*

I wonder when I type will I be judged on the style of writing - will it portray me to be someone different than if I type like this.

Then I notice... there are only 5 font types.  Is that enough for my rounds of emotional purging and expression of self?

But the range of colour choices seems adequate enough to compensate.

I am me in this moment... I expect to change from day to day and moment to moment.  I will irritate you sometimes.. I am sure to rub some the wrong way one day but reconnect with you another.  
I am now me in THIS moment and feel uneasy with my last paragraph lol  

So, this post, the first one, I'm going to use as a reminder to me - Trust each moment, that it is how it is meant to be and is deserving.. then let it go.. do not edit a post for better presentation or another's opinion.  It is all perspective.
I please ask of you all reading my posts - please be honest, but kind :)
(no idea how to remove the background colour once I've selected one... lots of blogging lessons to learn :))

Ok, I'm now more excited than anything else. :)

Bit of a bland post, but I do like to build and learn ;)

OH!This is important!  Thank you Kirsty over at for the gentle nudge and assistance in starting this up!  Please drop by and say hi ;)

Lots of love to you and your families! <3