This week I stumbled upon this blog meme things I am afraid to tell you, usually I don’t do memes – well never really. But this one caught my attention and spoke to me. Mainly because I too think that the presentation of perfection on blogs gets a bit much sometimes. While I don’t think I present a perfect front – I do of course gloss over the grisly bits. So here are a few things – some truths about me. Feel free to comment.

ps. This is my craft room in flux – I am not suggesting this is a messy space – rather a space in transition – I am in the throes of an organisational flurry.

I do indeed have a messy house — and it does annoy me even though I try to let it slide, I find myself yelling about dirty socks and cups of tea left all over the place — I don’t want it to annoy me, but it does. I have found some ways to compromise — family cleaning day, kids being responsible for their own room and bathroom — and me trying my hardest to not help them and not pick up their dirty clothes for them, husband cleaning our bathroom and me not being too anally retentive about it, I still keep control over the laundry though — whites turning grey is one of my bugbears. The biggest truth here though is that I am an inherently messy person — I probably needed to marry a tidy person, but instead he is messier and vaguer than me and so are the kids and I hate to have to be the tidy one.

I have moments when I crash and cannot be motivated to do more than the minimum to keep everything together. I had a few months like that recently, post-deadline depression, but not really depression, more like needing down time to recover from a period of high stress, high work load, high creativity — which I thrive on by the way, I love and need that adrenaline that comes with a deadline. And when it is gone I suddenly feel bereft, and all I want to do is read trashy novels and sit on the couch and drink cups of tea. I have to force myself to start a new crafty project, to make lists and do some work. I feel like I am in limbo until the next major deadline (which by the way is coming).

Motherhood did not come naturally to me. I love my kids and love my family — they are my whole life. But I struggled in the early years (and now those years are just a blur), I think I was afraid to follow my instincts, instead of sitting on the couch cuddling my baby to sleep I fretted about why she wouldn’t sleep, instead of enjoying the the oh so precious and short time of babyhood I struggled with losing ground on career and creativity. Looking back — if I could do those early years again, I think I would revel in being a stay-at-home mother instead of fighting it all the time. I am making up for it now — but the years are passing way too quickly, and I just want to spend all my time with my babies (pre-teen and early teen terrors) while they still want to spend time with me.

I struggle with my weight. And lately I have put on a little — which I will have to do something about soon. I love food and hate exercise — that’s the truth of it. And I have been awfully lazy lately. But the struggle has been a lifetime of self consciousness — I admit to having body issues. And at 40 I really don’t want to any more — I want to be happy in this body I have been given (short and round) — I am making a conscious decision to let go of body issues and take back control.

That’s probably enough for now — nothing earth shattering or gobsmackingly shocking — I am a (40 year old — yikes!) woman who lives in a nice house in the suburbs, works from home, struggles and tries hard to live an authentic life and loves her family — pretty ordinary! Not perfect, not glossy magazine stuff at all! Ha! Now what about you?!

Fun stuff and news

  • Latest Australian Quilters Companion magazine has an article in it by me!
  • Check out the Molo Wool Project by ClothRoads.
  • Did you know that Interweave was bought out by F&W Media — lots of staff have moved on and there no doubt will be more big changes over there. “The immediate plans for Interweave include increasing the number of digital magazine / content launches through the Interweave digital newsstand; expanding the e-commerce, e-book, and digital pattern business; and expanding the live and online education and event business.” [Source]

 My Pinterest boards

Craft and inspiration

At Whipup

More wonderful knitting posts in our designer knitting series

Don’t forget to grab your copy of the latest Action Pack magazine for kids (Go Tribal Issue)


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by kath_red on 23/09/2012

in Newsletter

My house is a mess — yes it’s true – I am not just saying that to make you feel better or to garner sympathy. In fact I don’t mind that it is a mess (well not entirely true perhaps), but I know that Saturday it will be refreshed. We clean the house together as a family – no illusions and no attitude – we all made the mess and we all have a hand in cleaning it up. But I admit that we often have entitlement issues.

There is a slight attitude of entitlement – does this exist in your house too? We are gradually getting rid of this by making sure everyone has a hand in helping and doing their fair share of chores — including the ugly and the dirty jobs. And after months of a regular saturday morning cleaning routine everyone knows what is expected and gets to work right after a leisurely saturday morning breakfast (not without grumbles — we are not saints after all ;). Two hours of music on loud, vacuum rumbling, bathrooms getting scrubbed and clothing all folded, before being able to put up our feet for a cuppa.

Right now I am …

  • Spending time in the garden – Winter has ended and the garden is green and fresh, but there is old growth to be cleared away, new mulch to put down, pruning and weeding to get onto it.
  • Missing my kids — one has been packed off for over a week to spend time with cousins, the other is hanging out with friends for the day.
  • Listening to the sounds of a gate being built in our driveway – go Rob!
  • Nursing a bit of a headache.
  • Thinking about Apple pie for dinner — possibly this one, this or this one. Nah – this one!
  • Hanging sheets and towels on the line to dry.
  • Enjoying a bit of sunshine.

Action Pack – Magazine for kids NEWS:

  • Discontinuing $30 bargain bundle: Next week I am changing prices and discontinuing ourbargain $30 bundle (7 issues for $30). It will be replaced with other special offers, however this bargain bundle will be available for 7 more days only.
  • Now accepting submissions for 2013 – see our submission page for themes and more information.

Whipup NEWS

  • More wonderful knitting posts in our designer knitting series: And essay by Alison Brookbanks from sixandahalfstitches about her philosophy behind knitting pattern writing and Hilary Smith Callis from theyarniad describes her knitting pattern and design process.

New at my Pinterest boards


oh and one more thing – do you know of anyone looking for a house in Canberra (Australia) next year – academics on sabbatical for example? Our listing is here.

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What with the celebratory week I have just had: birthday parties and mother’s day, I have been baking just a little.

But on the flip side we have been quite overdoing the green smoothie (frozen peas, pineapple, ginger and spinach – trust me — it’s good!) and the homemade muesli thing too – just to add some balance to all that cake.

For my 12 year old’s (second) birthday party this year, I was commissioned to make a double layer marble cake filled with vanilla cream. It was actually incredibly delicious and light (I adapted a sponge cake recipe instead of making a butter cake). And for a different kind of treat bag I made giant chocolate chip cookies. I don’t know about you but I am so sick of the treat bags full of junk – so I decided to take a stand and the giant cookies were much loved and admired by all.

Recipes: For the cake and cookies I adapted recipes from two of my fave cook books: Milk & Cookies and Gran’s Kitchen. But I did a little online search and found a few recipes that might fit the bill if you don’t have these two fantastic I-don’t-know-how-I-would-cope-without-them books. Giant chewy choc chip cookies :: Marble butter cake :: Victoria sponge cake :: Kale and pear smoothie :: Monster smoothie :: Homemade muesli

Quilt market: for those non-quilters and others who live in a different universe – Quilt market is on and reports have started to filter in: Spoonflower :: Uhandbag. If you can’t make it – you can join the Blogger’s quilt festival.

At whipup this week the creativity series continues: A failed attempt to control the chaos :: Healing through craft :: The stream of inspiration runs both ways :: Crafting brings the joy :: I’m mostly a self taught creative type. Please share your stories by commenting at these posts.

Fun online tutes: dino hoodie :: Fun sandals :: Fly with me quilt block :: Project run and play.

On my book pile:

Sunday Morning Quilts by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison. Published by Stash April 2012. Favourite quilt bloggers + favourite quilt book publisher = great quilt book! Super ideas for using up your scraps and some really fun quilt designs too. Beginner quilters will love the sections on sorting your scraps and quilting techniques, while others will want to just get stuck into the quilts themselves. The quilts are mostly simple in design and constructions and take advantage of the ad-hoc nature of scraps to create quilts that are a little bit improv and a little bit structured. And of course the best thing about scraps is that they don’t rely on any particular fabric line — they are about playing with colour, which I love.

Making Mini Books with various contributors and published by Lark Crafts April 2012. Oh the wonderfulness. The variety. The inventiveness. This book contains a whole bunch of diy mini book book projects from the sweet and simple to the complex and artistic. Using different materials, paper, leather, recycled junk, wire and twine — to teach you how to make traditionally bound books, or more unusual books. You’ll be inspired.

The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids By Whitney Cohen and John Fisher (from life lab). Published by Timber Press May 2012. A bunch of gardeners, educators and parents got together to create Life Lab, a nonprofit organisation in Santa Cruz, California in 1979. Life Lab’s mission is to teach people to care for the world and them selves and each other through garden based programs. They have camps and internships and classes where they not only teach kids but also parents and teachers. So now Life Lab has written a book about their philosophy along with practical stuff from years of experience and classes – such a fantastic resource. With projects from designing play friendly gardens to getting creative with your planting pots, learning about what to plant where and when and how to test your soil. These activities are all aimed at families working with their kids and would make for some great homeschooling projects too. There is too much in here for this short review – so I urge you to go and grab a copy for yourself.

[Thanks to publishers and distributors for sending me books to review, I don’t get paid to post reviews but I am an amazon affiliate] (Australians can purchase craft books online through can do books or booktopia or else browse booko for the best prices.)

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It has been a couple of weeks since the last newsy letter and so I thought I better catch you up on what I have been up to.

We have been busy with birthday celebrations, and cooking and school break. The kids and I are working on a recipe book for families (more about that later – it is very exciting – sneak peak below) and I have also been spending a bit of time in the sewing room too.

Because of silly too-tight self-imposed deadlines and lots of sewing as well as the recipe book, I have asked some lovely fellow bloggers to join me here at Whipup over the next couple of months to post about their creative process and already I have been blown away by the essays and and images that have been flowing in to my inbox. I know that these creative essays will encourage and inspire you too. I’ll introduce these more fully next week – but just for starters – we have essays on the topics of creativity and … blogging, business, parenting, health and process – it is going to be a fabulous series.

This past couple of weeks at whipup have been about online communities – instagram and Flickr and Pinterest – go and check them out and join in too. I also posted a few fun links and did you see the guest post by Megan Reilly on music and motherhood?

Books on my review pile: Some treasures…

Make Hey While the Sun Shines: 25 Crafty Projects and Recipes by Pip Lincolne is published by Hardie Grant Books (Australia) and will be out in the USA later in the year. Another eclectic jumble of fabulousness from one of Australia’s much loved crafty gals. This collection of projects comes on the heels of Sew La Tea Do, which is packed with cute sewing projects perfect for beginners. Make Hey has a bunch of different summer crafts that are a little bit retro, a little bit eclectic, and a lot of fun. There seems to be a triangle theme running through the book (which I enjoyed very much), and a definite homage to nana crafts too. Once again the photography is sweet and artistic and Hardie Grant have done a great job with the styling too. The projects themselves range from papery crafts like the paper wall quilt, sewing crafts like the wall organiser and crochet crafts like the tortoise – as well as stamping, embroidery and beading too – a bunch of stuff perfect for dabbling.

Hat Shop: 25 Projects to Sew, from Practical to Fascinating Compiled by Susanne Woods and published by C&T Publishing (Stash books May 2012). A compilation of hat designs that range from milliner confections worthy of the races, to everyday basics for the whole family. Patterns and templates are included and the illustrations are clear enough – although many of the designs are better suited to those with sewing experience. There are some glorious hats in here – my faves would have to be the quirkier everyday hats – like the Rain bonnet made from clear vinyl and the Winter flap – aviator style hat – made from woolly tartan. Lots more fun though – fascinators and felt riding hats for stylish ladies, chicken and monster hats for kiddos and retro caps for retro guys and gals. This book is a keeper.

Stitch London: 20 kooky ways to knit the city and more By Lauren O’Farrell of Stitch London and published by David & Charles (August 2011). I was in London once, years ago, a lifetime ago, before kiddos and mortgage and career. I have fond memories of London – it is a beautiful city, full of history, tradition and architecture, but it is also where punk started and still has that exciting underground music and art scene. This book pays a knitted (cheeky) homage to all things London-y. From knitted Bobbies (police) and the Queen’s guard, to those iconic red phone boxes and the Tower bridge. There are some punkish laptop covers and book cosies to keep you snug while riding the tube (the underground), and there are pidgeons and rats to remind you that London is a big old city. My fave might be the knitted plastic bag picnic blanket, perfect for the Londoners who like to lie on the grass, in their lunch break, in the many city parks no matter what the weather.

[Thanks to publishers and distributors for sending me books to review, I don’t get paid to post reviews but I am an amazon affiliate] (Australians can purchase craft books online through can do books or booktopia or else browse booko for the best prices.)

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I getting emails with interesting links and also love to trawl through my rss feeds for cool things – so here i give to you some of my finds and some things that landed in my inbox this week.

If you would like to send press releases or submit your own project please send to submit[at]