preparing for an espirational time

2 crochet amigurumi donkeys standing beside a manger.

Around this time of year over 2000 years ago, the stage of life was getting set to welcome the birth of the most loved and talked about baby ever born.  A tiny baby who grew up to give the world two things it needed very much. Love and hope. In the spirit of giving, I give you these two sweet donkeys.  The pattern is available here, on my free pattern page and of course at my ravelry store.

I am guest blogging at today and I invite you to take a peek at this site.   Espirational is about “ the things we do to stay positive and remember who we are.”  I get sidetracked easily and I find a visit to Espirational gets me focused and back where I want to be.


What can you make with a….polka dot sunfrock?

This post is inspired by my blogging friend Katherine who has a “what can you make with a?” series in her blog PILLOWS A-LA-MODE. Katherine takes a piece of fabric or a item of clothing and turns it into something else. When I first started following this series I thought the articles made interesting reading but I soon realized there was more to it than that. It is about rethinking, using imagination and upcycling at it’s finest. I have been taking Katherine’s lead for some time now and my other post using her idea is here.

This lovely piece of red and white polka dot was once a sunfrock.

items made with recycled polka dot sunfrock

Crochet detail of phone cover and dog Tricky

Now it is a smarty pants mobile phone holder with a waist band suitable for listening to downloadable audio library books while one does chores or walking. Note the cotton crochet ruffle around the top for extra decoration. It has also become several bookmarks, one is in the photo and because we are talking about Katherine, a small doll’s pillow.   but wait, there’s more!

sock monkeys

sock monkey Ella


Ella the sock monkey’s lovely frock, also came from this material.      

The young people and I have been promising ourselves we will make a baby sock monkey. I have kept aside a tiny piece of this material in case it is a girl and needs a polka dot sunfrock!

Pass the Parcel.

pass the parcel

I felt a bit like I was playing the old children’s game ” Pass the Parcel” as I opened this package from England.

Not a big shopper, I find I can make most of what I need, I nevertheless fell in love with this and just knew we had to be together. go faster snail

I love it! It is far too nice to be used as a pincushion so I am just going to put it with my work materials and enjoy the inspiration.


Monkeys at the beach.

Sock monkey and the baby socks destined to become his little  brother. We are in Barwon Heads enjoying the sun and surf. The children get to escape the “helicopter parent” (me) and bike ride, climb trees and walk about on their own.  OK I admit it, I still fret but I leave them to it. When they return it is time to make things and sometimes they put on a play for us. This holidays we are making baby sock monkeys using what else? Baby socks. I will post the end result but meanwhile enjoy these originals.            sock monkeys

 What do you do when you go on holidays with children at the beach? You finish your craft projects of course and start new ones

The children are seen here working on their sock monkeys. How adorable is the pink monkey with red hair? If you want to know more about how to make a sock monkey click here.                                                                          The first stop is to Ocean Grove sewing centre. Shop 2, Park Lane, Ocean Grove. Victoria. It is a small shop with a lot to offer. I was directed to this shop by a friend and from someone who lives in inner Melbourne, I was amazed at the variety of goods on offer. Another really interesting thing about this shop is that you can purchase items one at a time and not a bag of 20 when you only wanted 3. Ocean Grove Sewing Centre gets a big gentlestitchetick of approval for this example of sustainability . 
The children finished the monkeys.


and then dressed them with items from the Barwon Heads All Saints opp shop before sending them outside to play.   


Wow! The view from here is amazing!

Then time for a rest!




Time to finish it all off with tea and homemade rock cakes. Yum! Love holidays.

Bollards of Barwon Heads

We were lucky to be able to spend the second half of the Melbourne school holidays at Barwon Heads. The Bollards which were painted by local Artist Jan Mitchell (1940  2008) greeted us and made us feel welcome.

They were originally used to help local school children find their way along bike paths and parks to school. They are lovely and stand cheerfully and quite unobtrusively all over Barwon Heads.  They were the first Bollards Jan Mitchell painted and although all her  bollards are wonderful, I like the Barwon Heads ones best.

As my son and I were the first to arrive at the beach house, we hurried about getting everything set up. We turned on the power and water and began airing the house out. The house was unusually musty because it had been shut up for some time and I had the idea of burning a small vanilla centered candle to make the house smell nice. The only problem was the candle had been a Christmas gift and was in the shape of a tiny white dove. It seemed too good to burn.





After some discussion we decided to use the candle. It was a very peaceful welcome for the others.

Our timing in using it was just right because candles are not made to keep well for a long time.

Considering this is buy nothing new month I decided that when I returned home I would  look around for any unused gifts such as soaps, lotions or perfumes and either use them or gather them up and give them to my favorite charity while they could still be of use to someone.  I hate to point it out but the end of the year is approaching and good bath and shower products are always very much in demand.  Will you join me? Grab your recycling bag and gather up some items.  Take them to your local opp shop, charity or women’s shelter.

Next stop was to my favorite opp shop.  All Saints Anglican Church Opp shop.  61 to 63 Hitchcock Avenue, Barwon Heads.  This shop has the most diverse and interesting array of goods imaginable including a whole room devoted to books. The staff are lovely and helpful and this year the children stocked up with things necessary for their sock monkeys and I got this beautiful linen skirt for 5 dollars.

October is buy nothing new month!

The Sacred Heart Mission encourages us to purchase some things from their opp shops but it’s just as much an opening for us to mend something rather than to replace it.

Before leaving for your local thrift shop dont forget to pack a bag of somethings you no longer use. Feel really good about yourself that you have helped people out who are less fortunate than yourself and you are less cluttered. Wow, you are amazing!

So in the spirit of this concept I have personally had a go at two of my favorite ways of avoiding adding more “stuff” to my home. I was in need of a new steering wheel cover. I live in the inner city and rely more and more on my bicycle and public transport to get around.  I am a firm advocate of “burn fat not oil”  which I always think of when I am riding my bike. I love public transport because I can catch up on some sewing, knitting or crochet. Many of the people I know in the inner city are getting rid of their cars or like some younger people I know, not bothering with a car in the first place. When I visited some friends who went to New York years ago I was initially surprised they didn’t have a car. I soon worked out why though as we walked every where or got public transport or cabs. Back in my world, the steering wheel of my old car was getting tacky and sticky. I think those words mean they same thing, ick! So I went into my stash cupboard, got some wool and yarn bombed the steering wheel   Not only did I keep out of the shops but I also used some of the stuff already in the house. What do you think?
Do you have a car? Could you imaging your life without owning one?

Home repairs

Today as part of our repair,reuse and recycle plan we are going to choose a tool box to hold our tools. We have been talking about choosing a tool box that is the right fit and we already have our two spools of thread ready for it.  No doubt your Great Grandmother had a tool box.  What it was called, what it held and what it was made of would have depended  where she originally came from.  It could have been made of paper, straw, wood or a woven material.  It might have been called a mending kit or a sewing basket.  Below is the type used my Grandmother.

This is a very smart box which appears to hold everything

You can use a paper bag or box

shoebox and paper bag as tool box

We have been duped into believing it was acceptable to use something for a short time and then discard it. It isnt acceptable. It is depleting the planet of resources making a few very wealthy and taking away our power. From now on you decide what you want to keep. If you want to get rid of something, give it to the charity of your choice or sell it. If you love it but it needs repair, repair it(I will show you how in the coming weeks).  It is important to be prepared and having the tool box handy and ready to go is the first step.  This way there is no time-wasting or frustration with searching for the right tool.  

Look around you, choose a container to use just for your 3’Rs and check back here to find out the best way to stock it. Remember the future is in our hands.  Humans have had many challenges and always risen to the. Never give up. You can make a difference. Now go and chose that tool box!