Posted by: Fern | April 4, 2009

Breaking His Mother’s Heart One Day At A Time

Caterpillar Softie

I was hit by a shot of inspiration this morning, doing something completely unrelated to sewing, caterpillars and Eric Carle, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the urge to make a Hungry Caterpillar softie.

I would have probably got it finished within Declan’s nap if I hadn’t have messed up my first one. I tend to be more of a “draw a rough outline on some fabric, close your eyes and cut” kind of pattern maker and my first attempt wasn’t too successful, so I had only just finished sewing up the stuffing gap on my second caterpillar when Declan woke up from his nap.

“Oooo, snake!”
“Try again, who does he look like?”
“A snake.”
“One morning the warm..”
“sun!”
“the warm sun came up and…”
“POP!”
“Yep, and out of the egg came a very tiny and very hungry…”
“Caterpillar!”
“That’s right, so who does this look like?”
“A snake!”

Head meet brick wall. I was completely disheartened, convinced that my caterpillar was so terrible that even the child who can recite the entire book from beginning to end couldn’t recognise it, the boy who probably hears me read that book to him about ten times a week, he didn’t have a clue. I did the embroidery to add the segments and he was still convinced it was a snake, not even the antennae were helping. Right up until I added the eyes, it was like a brick hit him and he clicked who it was. as soon as those bright yellow bits of felt were on it. Nutty child.

If you’d like to take a look at some basic instructions on making your own caterpillar softie, I have posted them over on CraftBlog: Caterpillar Softie Tutorial.

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Posted by: Fern | April 3, 2009

Boys Really Will Be Boys

My brain is still struggling to come up with full sentences, so instead have a video of yesterday’s toddler amusement. Taking all the back cushions off my sofa, all the blankets and all the cushions he can find – he would have brought in the duvet from our bedroom if it hadn’t have been such hard work for him to lug through the house. Covering the floor of my entire computer/sewing room in them, then leaping off the sofa. In the video it’s one of his less extreme “steps”, but yesterday morning he did a full on belly flop onto them. I vaugely remember doing something similar with a pile of cushions at the bottom of the stairs, guess I’m grateful with live in a bungalow because who knows what schemes he would come up with if there were stairs involved!

I kind of want to say to him, we have hundreds of dollars worth of toys and a telly that seemingly streams 24 hour Dora and Sesame Street, so why the cushions? I know I would much rather him doing this than stuck in front of the telly, but sometimes I just really want to tell him to go and do a jigsaw or any other task where I don’t have the phone in my hand with 000 on speed-dial.

Whilst I’m at it, have another video of Declan tickling Connor, and then showing off his battlewounds from a recent fight with a door. Oddly enough caused by just walking along and tripping as opposed to climbing it or doing anything else than may go through his over-active toddler mind.

Posted by: Fern | March 29, 2009

Sleep Is For The Weak

Declan's Favourite Game Declan’s current favourite game to play with his brother involves the two of them laying on the sofa in the spare room, Declan giving Connor his dummy and tucking him in under the piece of fabric (the fabric that’s meant to cover my beautiful sofa to stop it being abused by my kids, hah!), giving him a kiss and saying “night, night, Connor” and then grabbing his own dummy and, of course, the ever present “Lion” and then cuddling up to his brother and pretending to fall asleep.

Cue thirty seconds of over dramatic fake snoring while Connor laughs his head off and tries to work out what is actually going on. As far as he’s concerned this is high level comedy.

Declan's Favourite Game Declan will then leap up, announce “WAKEY WAKEY DECLAN!! WAKEY WAKEY CONNOR!!!” as loud as he possibly can, pull the blanket off his brother and run around like a nutter for a couple of minutes until he returns to the sofa, covers his brother up with the fabric… lather, rinse, repeat.

Oh to be a toddler.

Unfortunately, getting Connor to sleep right now isn’t quite that easy.

It all started going down hill when we went up to visit my inlaws. He wasn’t keen on the porta-cot up there, which I can understand with it being unusual to him, and so he slept for the five nights or so in his bouncer. Then we got home and he didn’t want to go back to the crib. Fair enough, I started putting the bouncer in the crib to try and get him used to it again and make the transition back a little easier.

Then he decided he wanted the light on, he would calm immediately when we flicked it on, so I did.

Then he decided that he needed some white noise, because of the heat he’s always had a fan going near him, and now it was cooling and needed to be switched off, he was having a tantrum again. So we left the fan on, just facing away from him.

Then he would freak out when we walked away from the crib, one of us would have to sit next to the crib to get him to fall asleep, and you can see where this ended up, a week of cold dinners and we brought him into the lounge to fall asleep. In the bouncer, with the lights on, with the telly or computer going and with us right next to him.

Then he decided he wanted some appropriate viewing to fall asleep to, so we put on In The Night Garden for him, figuring it was all about falling asleep etc. We’ve watched Makka Pakka lose his sponge for the last four nights whilst we eat dinner and Connor dozes off to sleep.

I’ve just gone through this all again, starting him off in the crib, then the lights, then in the lounge etc etc hoping that tonight he’ll settle just one step earlier. Hah, never! Why on earth would he want to make my life easier? I eventually end up having everything perfect for him, exactly how it wants it, the planets are aligned, I’ve slaughtered several local virgins (and don’t forget, I live in the Western Suburbs, making it a harder task than most 😉 ) and maybe, just maybe, he’ll go to sleep.

Screaming. I try feeding him.

More screaming. Give him a cuddle and try some gripe water.

Yet more screaming. Remember that yesterday he developed a new fixation with a half finished crochet toy that I made years and years ago, a grey pirate with only two limbs. I spend five minutes trying to find it, mentally threatening to injure Declan if he’s taken it into his room. I finally find it, put it next to his face, walk into the family room to get another dose of gripe water. I wasn’t halfway down the hall when I hear the noise, the room is filled with the sound of an overweight asthmatic rhino after a mini triatholon, with just the slightest hint of a dodgy car exhaust thrown in there, that sweet sound, my beautiful six month old babe snoring in a deep sleep.

Where does this all lead you ask?

Tonight I made a breakthrough in a question that has been on the minds of the greatest philosophers, scholars and drunks.

Pirates really are better than Ninjas! Assuming one of the skill sets you’re judging is their ability to soothe a baby to sleep.

Pirates – 1, Ninjas – 0

Posted by: Fern | March 27, 2009

Magic Fonty Magicalness

I think the lack of blogging lately has been a combination of two things – twitter has left me unable to write more than 140 characters on any one subject, and I have lost the ability to actually create relevent and SEO worthy post titles.

I am working out a new design and new direction for Not Nigella at the moment – it’s all very exciting, I’m even thinking about video blogging, but as that would involve setting up a camera, cleaning up a 5 foot area of room behind me and wearing clothes that aren’t accesorised with vomit or toddler snot… I’m still a little in the air about it. So instead I’m concentrating on the important things, like developing a theme with a photo of me right in the middle of the header, because I know that really that’s what the internet is missing, humongous photos of me.

I was hunting around for a nice handwriting font to use in the new layout, I love typography, browsing through fonts, picking just the right one for a project and avoiding Comic-Sans as best as I can (I used it for some applique last week and I’m still not happy about it!). But I’ve never made my own font, never even looked into it to see what it would entail, that is until today. I found a link to YourFont via PeeHaa Blog (I use one of her papercut PS patterns in my new header) to make your own font using your handwriting. I will admit, I printed out and filled in the template sheet with some sceptism, but after seeing it typed up I am well chuffed with how it looks. (I did have to play a little with the kerning to get it just right (or write, hahaha, I crack me up!), but other than that it’s a perfect copy of my handwriting.

The sheet (signature removed to avoid any nutters doing whatever nutters may do with my signature.):
Font Sheet

The resulting font:
Handwriting Font Sample

Very awesome. I’m already thinking what doodly fonts I could make up with the site. It would also be an awesome tool for keeping track of your school age kid’s changing handwriting as they learn and develop it, doing it every six months or so and then saving the resulting font to your computer would be a sweet little keepsake.

I of course will be using it to save time handwriting out all those thank you notes for the flowers, gifts and nudes that internet stalkers (the likes of Rhys) send me!

Posted by: Fern | March 18, 2009

Stat!

I could so easily turn this entire blog into “Stuff My Slightly Nutty Toddler Said” , today’s gem came whilst Declan was playing with our old house phone that now lives in his toy box.

“Hello?? Uh huh…. yep… polar bears… yeah, green and blue… yep.. no wombats! Okay… Get set… GOOOO! Yep. Bye Puppy!”

Conclusion? My son is heading a covert operation to bring down those lesser known multicoloured polar bears, he’s confirming the details of the next ambush with Secret Agent Puppy and reminding him not to trust those damn wombats after the last fiasco when they relied on intelligence from them and it turned out to be a diversion tactic to allow the polar bears to steal a tank and invade France.

Same son is now walking around the lounge with Connor’s bucket hat balanced on his head, waving his arm around and yelling “Yeehaa Cowboys!”. This is probably the second week of the completely out of the blue cowboy obsession, so far pans, boxes and saucepan lids have all become cowboy hats whilst he waves his imaginary lassoo in the air. It;s very cute, but I’m completely stumped as to where it came from, we have no cowboy books, no shows that he watches have anything to do with them and he doesn’t have any toys relating to them. I also kind of miss the pirate obsession that this replaced, watching your toddler limp around squinting with one eye and saying “YARRR!!” is a special kind of awesome.

We’re just about to head out to the Doctors, Dan’s fairly convinced that he’s got whooping cough (and to his credit, he does sound pretty rough!)  and I just noticed yesterday that Connor is starting to develop thrush so I need to grab some antibiotics for him.

Sleeping Babe

I have been slaughtering virgins and worshiping every deity that I’m aware of in the hope that my big sister has a baby girl, I have accepted the fact that I am predisposed to having little boys, so I’m going to have to live vicariously through Kate. I think Connor will be happy if Kate’s babe does turn out to be a girl,as much as he rocks that bow, I’m not sure that pink is entirely his colour.
Real Men Wear Pink

Busy week this week, I have a paid focus group tomorrow (LOVE them!), Friday Dan’s got the kids for the night whilst I go out drinking with Charm and Morgan, then Saturday is my neighbours son’s first birthday party. It’s like a months worth of activity for me packed into three days!

Dan watched Declan and his little friend from next door for the morning whilst my neighbour and I went to Spotlight and did some grocery shopping. Dan, by the sounds of it, did very well with the two boys. He had threatened to put up the playpen, throw a toy in there and then stream the ensuing fight over the internet, insisting that by the time we returned he would have enough money to buy his own island and a gold plated pony, but somehow managed to resist.

Today as Connor and I returned with the shopping, Declan was helping me unpack, which basicly consists of him emptying all the bags item by item to make sure he approves of what I bought “Ohh, cheese! okay… CEREAL! yes!… “mushrum”… oh no… “Strawferberry”! Toast! “Peabutter”! JUICE!!!” his little brain goes into overload and he ends up requesting a plate of nutrigrain, strawberry fruit bars, cheese and raisins with a side of peanut butter on toast.

Halfway through this gargantuan meal he looked up at me with a chin smothered in peanut butter, realising that his Dad not in the room (he was outside battling with a redback that has made our bin his home) and says “Hey, where’s Dan?”.

I seriously want my little baby back, not this being knows what he wants, has opinions and think it’s hilarious to call us by our actual names. I’m still not ready for him to be a little boy yet. Time to shrink wrap him and keep him under the sink to stop him growing I think.

The world is his oyster

Posted by: Fern | March 9, 2009

No, Really, I Am Alive

Long story short: Two months of hell, my sewing machine exploded leaving me with only my laptop to make me happy, my laptop then exploded. Then, just to rub things in, we got evicted. Lets just say the last couple of months haven’t been so sweet.

I am focusing on the positives, we are all mostly in a state of good health (my mental health not withstanding), I have a bodgied up desktop now that I can get online with, despite it not having photoshop and not being able to find our installation discs, the move to a new home will allow us to have a fresh start, and my sewing machine being taken back to the dealer has allowed me to reconnect with my old, tired and abused Brother machine, Bessie.

DSCF2311
Declan is now officially two, growing like a weed and eating like a rhino, assuming rhinos are obsessed with peanut butter and “tiny teddies”. He counts to 20, says the alphabet, recognises most colours and is still fixated with Thomas The Tank Engine and Roary The Racing Car. The first words out of his mouth every morning when he calls out from his bedroom are “Muuuuuuummy, where are you? Oh Daaaaaddy?”, I’m not one for smiling in the mornings, but that gets me close. He is absolutely in love with his little brother and has just taken to “reading” to him, sitting next to him with a book in his lap and telling him the story from memory.

DSCF2332

Connor is just about to turn six months old (holy crap, where did that go?!) and just started eating solids less than a week ago.  He’s very similar to Declan in that he doesn’t want anything to do with blended or mushed food, but wants chunks he can feed himself with, what did I do wrong to end up with two stubbornly independent children? He’s not really interested in getting around, but he’s quietly calculating and seems more interested in just letting it all sink in before he dives into the whole mobility thing. Declan has always been very out there with everything he’s feeling and everything he’s taking in, Connor likes to just sit back, watch and then make his move. He is also completely in love with his brother, I’m curious to see whether their good relationship will keep up once he can move and Declan can’t pick and chose what toys he’s given or when they interact with each other.

DSCF2111 Not too much to report on Dan, he’s still a bit mental, doesn’t shave often enough and smells kinda funny. On the upside though, I gave him a buzz cut a couple of weeks back and finally god rid of that bloody hair, he’s still getting used to it, but I think it looks great. This does mean that he needs to keep his beard trim though as there are rules about having longer hair on your face that on your head.

Declan and Connor are still obsessed with Dan and worship him in everyway, whereas I’m the grumpy one that feeds them, changers the nappies and puts Declan in time out when he’s feral. On the plus side of this, when Declan does get a telling off from Daddy, he knows it’s pretty bad.

DSCF2305 And me… lets say that no sewing machine and no computer makes Fern a dull girl, I have taught myself to knit, read a couple of books and boxed up lots of baby clothes. I’m not really coping with having to move, so I am just completely ignoring it and trying to pretend it’s not happening. Denial is my friend in this instance.

I joined a playgroup at the start of the new school term and have made some new friends (as has Declan) so that’s been fun. I’ve also been bashing around some ideas of starting to sell stuff I make again, possibly more so at markets than online. So that should get me out and about with people, but we need to decide where we’re living before I get too involved in that.

I finally have a referral to see a surgeon to get the lump on my head removed (which this photo illustrates so beautifully), part of me is chuffed about it, another part of me is wondering whether that’s actually my brain just growing in the wrong spot, or a conjoined twin or something. I also have a recomendation to an audiologist to get my hearing looked at, and I’m looking at going onto either a more effective med or a higher dose of the zoloft, I’m currently doing my best at running up enough medical bills for the whole family, go me!

So that’s it for me… did I miss anything in the last two months?

Posted by: Fern | January 5, 2009

I Promise I’m Still Alive

Barely 😉 If this heat keeps up then I won’t be much longer, I feel like I’ve been put on slow roast.

Christmas was fun but exhausting, I’m glad it only comes once a year. Declan was very into it this year, but more for the excitement of opening presents rather than the excitement of decorations, Father Christmas etc. There are photos on my flickr page if anyone is interested.

Mum has returned to blighty, which is probably a good thing as I’m fairly certain she wouldn’t have survived a summer down under. But it also means without her help I am exhausted, between the kids, working on the sites and producing content and marketing them I am shattered, I need a holiday… and some UGC 😉

In unrelated news, my child is a freakin genius, click the picture for more information and note, but yesterday he decided to show off his skills and draw his number, 1-10 and a smiley face, no prompting at all from me, I just looked over and he was counting out loud as he drew each one, exactly as I do when I draw numbers for him. He is an absolute star 🙂
Declan's drawings
Connor is lovely, just full of giggles and coos, he’s looking more like Declan, but their temperaments are still chalk and cheese, I don’t think Connor is going to be quite as high maintenance as Declan. Second child syndrome probably.

Colours
We’re working on colours today, so far Declan has got Yellow (yoyo) down perfectly, but the other two he’s not quite so certain of. I love seeing collections of colours, the arty type inside me just squees.

Right, time for lunch.

Posted by: Fern | December 31, 2008

I Give You Peeeeeeeee!!!

Declan just used the potty for the first ever time! I am a proud Mummy 😀

Posted by: Fern | December 20, 2008

The Story Of Colin The Spider

Colin The SpiderFor all those naysayers that said I would never publish a book, I would like to present my first novel, written and illustrated by yours truly. My apologies for the poor quality photos instead of scans, but please be aware that I have to protect quality work like this from people who may wish to plagiarise my wonderfulness. Such people are rife in the highly artistic circles with which I mingle.

The book is based on the true tale of Colin The Spider who resides on the fence outside our lounge window, unfortunately I can’t take any photos of the real life Colin as he only dashes out of his little hideaway when he has something in his web, and there’s no way I’m getting close enough to an arachnid to trigger the threads and make him think that there is something in there.

Colin The Spider

Colin The Spider

Colin The Spider

Colin The Spider Publishers, if you could please direct all enquiries and cheques to me via my contact page that would be wonderful, please be aware that as a very busy author I may have to PICT8304rely on my young intern to read and respond to any emails.

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Of course, that’s assuming I can get him off facebook.

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