24 August 2008

Christmas is coming! I can tell because the toy sales have been on and Aldi has started to put out little bits and pieces, ready for the holiday rush. I have been buying gifts all year and have finished the extended family and friend presents. Some of them are even wrapped and ready to post or deliver or give to someone else to carry which is a huge weight off my mind. I'm feeling pretty good because I have even done the birthday presents for extended family for next year. And the parcels to go to America are ready to send too. The one thing I haven't done this year is collect any stocking stuffers so I will be looking for those between now and the end of school for the kids.

Hannah has asked for a sewing machine for Christmas, something I am thrilled about. When I was 13 the last thing on my mind was a sewing machine! I am hoping that between Mrs. Allan (her Home Ec teacher) and I we can keep her enthusiasm going and teach her to sew properly. Its one thing I really wish I had paid more attention to when I was at school. It took the Disaster to really get me sewing and quite a long time after to get me to really enjoy it. These days I wish I had more time to sit at the machines. I love being able to make a garment that fits me properly. Clothes that fit well look great and they are worn more often, making them a really good investment for a Cheapskate like myself . Anyway I digress. I am now shopping for a good basic model that is easy to use and not too expensive and I am having a ball. Going into sewing shops and looking at everything, planning what I would do if I had this machine or that machine is a fun way to waste an hour or two.

Of course if she gets a sewing machine she will need her own sewing box, full of nick nacks and neat tools for her craft so I am picking up odds and ends when I see them on sale to stock the box. And the box won't really be a box. It will be a tackle box, with cantilever divided trays, so she has plenty of room for everything. They are sure to come on sale before Christmas so I will be keeping an eye open for one.

It has been so jolly cold here the last couple of days the heater has had a workout and a half. Wayne has been getting up in the middle night and putting more wood on the fire so the house would be warm for me when I climbed out of bed and I have really appreciated it. A bonus is that I can sit a pan of water on top of the heater in the morning and by lunchtime it is simmering away nicely, just right for a cup of soup or a hot drink. By tea time it's warm enough to wash the pots with, using less hot water from the tank and having enough for showers without someone (usually me) waiting.

Last winter Wayne put hooks in the ceiling, about 45cm from the heater flue, and they are great for hanging shirts and jumpers on to dry (I do put them on hangers first). We all know hot air rises and the washing dries in no time on hangers hung on hooks. Boy that's hard to say fast! That part of the family room may look like a laundry but at least the washing is drying and it's not taking any extra energy to do it.

Wayne and AJ have been at a train exhibition all weekend, leaving home at 7am and getting back around 9pm, full of anecdotes about layouts and models and who's done the best weathering and who has the best photos and so on, it's really quite cute. Can you tell I don't have much interest in model trains? I overheard one conversation about hot drinks and costing $2.80 each! Yikes, with such cold, wet weather and long, long days they are bound to have had at least two each! Lucky this exhibition is a once a year thing. They did tell me that they weren't paying for parking, the street parking at Caulfield Racecourse is free on weekends so that's a saving of around $20, perhaps it can balance out the cost of the hot drinks.

Hannah has been after a checked shirt ever since I delegated her original one to the rag bag. That shirt was a present for her 8th birthday, was so faded that it was hard to tell it had ever been checked and she could barely get her arms into the sleeves let alone do it up so it really did have to go. I saved the pearly buttons off it for her just in case. We have been looking at the checked shirts in the shops for a few weeks but they have been so expensive, anything from $29.95 up to on we saw in Myer for $59.99! Well on Thursday I found some pink, checked cotton, almost identical to the original fabric, for $4.99/metre. A shirt only takes 1.2 metres for her so I bought it for her. We went through the pattern box this morning and she picked a pattern she likes so I'll get it cut out tonight and hopefully sewn up tomorrow, just in time for her to wear it to a birthday dinner. She is one happy little girl at the moment and I'm a happy mum, this shirt has cost just $5.98 to make! I had thread and interfacing in the sewing cupboard and we will use the buttons off her original shirt so no cost there either.

With spring only a week away, my thoughts have turned to summer and veggie gardens and lots of lovely, fresh salad vegetables. If the weather is dry this week (and I'm praying for dry days and rainy nights) then my plan is to get out in the garden and get started for spring planting. There is a lovely collection of pots in the garage, waiting to be cleaned and filled and planted and I found some scraps of timber that will be ideal for a square foot garden bed. I can't wait to get my hands back into the soil and plant out the seedlings I've been nursing along. There are cabbages, zucchinis, tomatoes, snow peas, eggplant, cauliflowers, squash, lettuces, cucumbers and capsicums. I also want some strawberry plants to put in the bed nearest the fence too so I just might have to sacrifice some time on Tuesday and visit the nursery. The hardest part of that sacrifice will be not spending up big on all those lovely seeds and seedlings.

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