Wednesday, March 16, 2011

the animal play mat (another finished object)

One day ,about a year ago, I sat watching my kids play with their animal figurines and I thought to myself, "wouldn't it be great if they had a playmat to play with them on?" 

Then, as I do, I got carried away with the idea and decided it would be really great if they had a playmat to go with their box of toy cars too..... 

After a trip to Spotlight, where I purchased some felt in just about every colour they had, I got to work with my scissors and cut and pinned and cut and pinned some more until I came up with two fantastically fabulous play mats that the kids couldn't wait to play with.

I finished off the car playmat back in April last year. 

Remember that one?  It was a beauty.

Well, after finishing that one I lost enthusiasm for the project and the animal playmat has hung around, being moved back and forth, from here to there, with all the other UFO's cluttering up my space. 

Recently, while it was sitting on my bed, Miss B noticed it there and asked me when I was going to finish it like I had promised to do. 
Boy did I get an attack of the guilts! 

Needless to say, it was the next project on the machine and in next to no time at all it was done. 

I remembered seeing this fantastic Snailblazer Bean Bag Toss game made by Cass and decided to finish the mat in the same way.  I made the holes using my button hole foot and thick piping cord for the string.

It makes packing and unpacking a breeze and if we want to take it with us on holidays or on a play date it's soooo easy peasy!

I suppose you can buy similar things at toy stores or on-line; I really don't know, I've never looked. 
I know you can get mats with roads and things on them anyway. 

I tried to make my versions a bit unique by adding things like the caves, which the girls love. 

 And I love the grass which you can make stand up by brushing it to one side.

I also love the way Miss A and Miss B arrange all the toys so neatly, grouping similar animals together. 

They always do it this way.

But I especially loved this little bit

I'm lovin' it! 

And you know that tight feeling you get in your chest everytime you see the mountain of stuff sitting on your sewing table waiting to be done (or is that just me?!), well it's slowly abaiting.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

revisiting hobbies of old...........

Yesterday I spent the best part of the day out in the garden, tidying up what has over the last few months, become overgrown, burnt (after Sydney's heatwave) and badly in need of some TLC. 

I find gardening very satisfying, enjoyable and therapeutic. 
I love it.
I started gardening with a passion more than a decade ago when my husband and I bought our first house together.  I would spend every free moment out in the garden.  Tending, transforming, nurturing and watering.

When we bought our current house I took it upon myself to landscape our front yard,
taking it from this, in the November of 2007

to this by February 2008.

I spent the next few months scrounging around our property, looking for bricks to use for my piece de rĂ©sistance, the circular path.  

By June it looked like this
   Yes, I did manage to find that many bricks lying around!

I did all this predominantly on my own, with two small children often pottering along beside me. 
To say I was proud when I had it all done is an understatement. 

Gardening during those early days in this home was all I had to help me hold onto my sanity. 
A little bit of me, the old me, before I had two children.  Before the ups and downs of being a stay at home mother, with children who often needed visits to and overnight stays in hospital. 

But as always, times change, things change. 
Stresses and health improved and I learned to be comfortable in my skin again.  I discovered blogs/blogging and reaquainted myself with some crafty persuits. 

The garden continued to grow
nov 2008
and flourish 
November 2009

with only the occassional day here or there spent weeding, pruning, planting out some annuals or bulbs.........

Today it looks like this.

In need of an overhaul I think.

For me, half the fun is in the planning. 
Pouring over my gardening books and magazines.  Selecting plants and colour schemes.  And while I love the rambling cottage garden look I was trying to achieve with this garden, my tastes now seem to be veering more towards the more formal, clipped hedge look.  But can I maintain this type of garden? 
It will call for more frequent tending than I have been giving it of late.  Hmmm so much to contemplate.

Excuse me, I have some books to dust off...........................