Friday, September 4, 2015

The Truth About Peacock Blue

readers! I have been reading some more... oh yesy, yes I have, lots of reviews coming your way.

The Truth About Peacock Blue is a novel by Rosanne Hawke.

Hawke lives in rural South Australia but has spent 10 years as an aid worker in Pakistan so her setting rings true. The novel follows the life of Aster an almost 13 year old Christian living in a small village in Pakistan.

An opportunity to have an education at a girls school in the city seems like a wonderful chance for Aster, but being in a minority doesn't make things easy. From the beginning one of her teachers seems to have it in for her. When Aster is accused of blasphemy the real trouble begins.

In Pakistan blasphemy carries the death sentence and there is very little, if any, evidence required.

Inspired by the tragic true story of Asia Bibi and the assassinations of those who have tried to speak out against the blasphemy laws this story isn't about happy endings and hollywood fixes.

Despite it's sad narrative this book is a challenging read. I think these kinds of books are especially important for children who live in countries like NZ and Australia to develop both empathy and awareness of how life is around the world. This would make an excellent novel to study with intermediate and high school aged children.

As an adult I found this a very moving read, the relationships are beautiful and the joy and hope of the story manage to triumph even the bleakest turns.

Details - Allen & Unwin September 2015, RRP $15.99

love you more than a box of tissues at easy reach xxx

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Yeah I Made It 36/52.... Another Kimono Top - pledge part 2

Right it's time to hold onto your excitement about another Kimono style top.

Thing is, this style is so wearable and quick to make and basically requires 2 pieces of fabric. I've had this cut out since about February - I know! What was holding me back?

This fabric was bought on impulse at the last minute on trade me and I got metres of it. In the end I gifted it to my sister when we left NZ and she made this:

and gave me the scraps. She also made the bias binding I used on the neckline. (Okay so maybe this almost looks like exactly the same top - but it's a rare day when our dressing styles cross over! Check out her blog and you'll see for yourself.)

This top is cut on the bias so it floats and sweeps around the body, check me getting poetic!, more than fabric cut on the grain.

In the end I think it was a 20 minute job one evening when I was doing something else in the craft space.

Outfit details:
Top - stash, re-gifted fabric, self made pattern
Jeans - sportsgirl (I own a black pair the same and that is the sum total of my jeans)
Shoes - siera brand bought from a local op-shop $10
Necklace - beautiful origami paper on wood from Freedom Creative

Oh yes - it's done! 2/3 done - I am on track as we speak for getting into the 10th of Sept deadline.

do you have a project half started that just needs a bit of finishing time?

love you more than a wardrobe full of easy tops xxx

Friday, August 28, 2015

Yes... those are my kids

When you tuck your children into bed and as you leave you hear:

Bounce: Flip, Flip smell your armpits.

love you more than entertaining where that might have come from xxx

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Yeah I Made It 35/52... New Look 6000 and Part 1 of my pledge

Welcome, in case of emergencies you will find your exit button in the top left or right corner.

So I have until 10th of September to make 3 items from my stash to fulfil my pledge, and who am I to disappoint once I make a pledge??!

I have owned this fabric for 5 years it was anonymously donated to me in my first year of blogging. I love this fabric so much - I used a scrap of it in another project but then hesitated to jump with the rest if it. Fabric does this to me sometimes.

So I've made another NL 6000 dress - the simple version. I added a couple of tucks in the back neckline to work against the general 'humpback of notre dame' that seems to come as a free bonus with New Look patterns. I also did the pleats on the sleeves wrong but hey - we'll keep that between us shall we? The neckline pleats at the front were also necessary, probably I didn't take enough bulk out of the back.

I went for a shorter hemline than I usually do on this one. I blame The Atlas - he was home when I was hemming it. (Seriously hoping it doesn't shrink when I wash it!!)

I love this dress - I feel all sorts of airline stewardess in the 60s in it.

Outfit summary

Dress - NL 6000, donated fabric, items all from stash (free)
Tights - hand me down from my sister (free)
Boots - new, bought on sale recently ($170)

Overall awesome feeling - free.

So that is one down, 2 to go. I know we can hardly wait, right??
How about you - is there something you love that you just need to cut into/use/get out?

love you more than finally making something to enjoy from special fabric xxx

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

reading that distracts you from the TV - Palace of Tears

So, I opened this book one evening just after the boys had gone to bed and then 2 nights later I closed it all finished with a book hangover - which I'm pretty sure is an actual thing.

I only read it in the evenings and I didn't stay up late but I absolutely ate it up while I was reading.

Palace of Tears by Julian Leatherdale is a blissful read.

It follows the lives of several women and one Adam Fox, builder of the lavish clifftop hotel in the blue mountains, re-named Fox's Folly by the locals. The story opens in 1914 and jumps between different voices and different years.

As the narrative unfolds we are drawn into the worlds of the women who related most closely to Adam - Adelina - wife, Freya - lover and mother to Angie, around whom the story seems to spin and not spin, and Laura who enters later. As their narrative unfolds so does the narrative of Lisa, grandchild of Adam Fox, as she assists a local historian putting together information on the place that has become known as  'The Palace of Tears'.

I would happily re-read this book any time. The characters and the storyline are nuanced and well written. There is some shocking history covered as Australia journeys through 2 wars and locals react to those of foreign descent on their soil. There are lavish parties and love affairs - all covered tastefully.

So enjoyed this read the characters are really well developed and the narrative twists and turns in all the right ways unveiling itself little by little. The relationships between the characters also feel very real and have genuine emotional depth to them.

If you like strong storylines and accurate historical elements you will really enjoy this.

details - Allen and Unwin, May 2015, RRP $29.99, also available as an ebook

love you more than hydro-therapy xxx

Monday, August 24, 2015

Yes ... When - words that can change family dynamics

Parenting, not a job for the faint of heart - or for the proud - your kids will embarrass  that right out of you... fast. That is a promise.

(Don't worry though I'm pretty sure you get to give that gift right back to them during their teenage years, I'm quite looking forward to that!)

So it seems to me we ought to resource each other when we stumble onto something good that works. When The Atlas and I did a toolbox course one of the gems, and there were many, I took away was 'Yes... when'.

It would seem that semantics are in fact important. So instead of sticking the record on 'are you kidding me? Heck no' we change the record to 'of course my darling, when...'

Let me example you up on this.

Child: Mum can we go to the park?

Usual Mama: no we are not going to the park, your room is a mess and I have asked you to tidy it 40 times (mama is not above exaggeration to make a point)

instead we try this -

Child: Mum can we go to the park?

Mama: My darling, I would love to go to the park. Let's do that as soon as you have finished tidying your room. Come and get me as soon as it's done and I'll bring the soccer ball.

Do you see - those subtle little semantics?

Maybe I jest a little with my language, ;o)? But I am serious about it as a strategy. Most of the time there is a way to say yes... when. Instead of no...because. That simple word shift actually makes you feel more positive and your little one feel more like they are going to get what they want.

Of course I can't promise it will induce no whinging. I still whinge when I have to clean my room so somethings are kind of set.

So next time you are faced with

Child: Mum can I dye my hair green and get a minecraft tattoo?

You can say

Mama: Of course you can my darling when you have left home and you are paying all your own bills. At that stage I can only disapprove from afar.

See - yes... when. Try it out, it just might work a charm if you are feeling a little stuck in the 'no because' pattern.

Of course I always call my children darling and I am never less than perfect, despite what my son wrote about me on his descriptive writing activity.

love you more than still being humbled by your children after nine years in the job xxx

I would also like to add I don't actually yell, even if Flip tells the world I do. When we disagreed about this I almost said/yelled, I can show you yelling kid. (But I didn't, because I am very mature.)

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Power of Bloggers

Hi there philanthropist hopefuls,

It would seem maybe the internet does have some good qualities. Karen from Did You Make That has recently put together a challenge and a fundraising drive for the National Literacy Trust in the UK. Being a book lover and educator and wannabe-published children's author, this is a cause I can get behind.
Entirely unrelated photo of a small jug I recently acquired at an op-shop - for your viewing pleasure!

Karen also invited supporters to pledge to do something as well so I have promised to make 3 garments from my stash before the 10th of September - it can be done!

So whilst I go head-down bum-up into my stash I would also encourage anyone else who feels motivated to join the cause, or buy a book for a child that needs one, or read to a small child or teach the world to sing.... just because!

Until then my friends I should be cutting out. You can find out more here - should you be feeling a pledge coming on!

love you more than a zip that fits the project you started before you checked you had an appropriate zip, this is an actual, real problem xxxx