Wednesday, 31 October 2012

October Roundup


Even though it had 31 days - and I blogged on every one - October went FAST! Too fast for me to achieve all of my sewing goals.
House block for Jane
6 Halloween pillowcases
Gingerbread embroidery (Duncan)
Polaroid blocks
Low volume 'wonky cross' blocks for Kate
Embroidery pouch for Duncan
Empire State Building Needle Case for Duncan
Snowglobe embroidery 
Hot air balloon embriodery 
Repurposing a zip pouch

Not Achieved
Mystery Quilt back
Baste 'Katie Jump Kites'
Start 'Sherbert Dreams' quilt
Craftsy BOMs from June, August, September and October

Home Organisation 101

I think I achieved far more with Home Organisation 101 though.


Sorting and Tidying
Purging - off the the dump
Giving Away - toys
baby items and clothes
and, even though the last 5 days I had to write in advance and schedule, I managed to BLOG everyday of October! 

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Changes for Aspergers and Atypical Autism Diagnosis

I don't pretend to know all there is to know about autism. My experience is limited to New South Wales and Australia when it comes to services and funding.

My eldest, Duncan, was diagnosed at 5 1/2 with Aspergers (no surprise there!). My other son, Tristan aged 4, was diagnosed with Atypical autism the same day (a relief not a surprise). It is also called Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified or PDD-NOS. They are both a part of the Spectrum of Autism Disorders.

These diagnoses enabled funding to be unlocked for Early Intervention equipment and services. I am very grateful for that. It meant $12 000 until they turned 7. We used up a lot more EI services for Tristan (Speech, OT, and EI) and mostly equipment for Duncan (sensory tools, slope boards, tripp trapp chairs, ipad). Both the boys are THRIVING NOT JUST SURVIVING in mainstream schooling because of this help.

But now the mechanism for that diagnosis, the DSM - IV is undergoing some serious changes to become the DSM-V, changes that could see that funding denied to many families in our situation with young children. I will not elaborate any more other than pointing you to some terrific commentaries on these changes. 

 DSM-V et al in 'The Conversation' by Andrew Whitehouse 

DSM-5 in 'Australian Doctor' by David Brill

Proposed DSM-5 Changes in 'Autism Support Network' by Michelle Winner

I am not quite sure how these revisions will affect me and the boys personally but it is concerning enough to read up on the topic.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Mudroom and Hallway Tweak

The concept of a Mudroom is clever. A place to hang up your outer clothing and baggage. But Australians don't build Mudrooms in their houses (it does not snow in many places). So this is my pared down version.

It's a bag rack given to me by Fran's old Family Day Carer. 

Around the corner, is a bench to pop their shoes into. It is an ideal place to dump washing baskets and anything else really. But it is better for sitting on. It's from IKEA.
I had to sort thought the shoes in each basket though. Crocs are big in our house.
We have hallways that gather all sorts of things. Usually baskets of washing. At this time I was doing a spring clean up so there were bags for doonas, sheets to put away, toys to donate and my three sorting baskets.
I was sorting through some of the kids' old toys and managed to give away a few boxes of them.

It did take some time to wash, fold and vacuum seal the doonas and sheets away into zipper bags and stow under our queen bed.
But a clutter free hallway was a great reward.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Sunday Stash #37

Castle Peeps by Lizzy House

It's no secret that I have a love affair with Castle Peeps thesedays. But when it first came out I was new to quilting and only purchased two of the prints in the blue colourway for my nephew's I-Spy quilt.

So this year I have been buying up fat quarters from Big W and swapping anyone who is willing to part with their fat quarters too.

When I actually found a few of the red colourway fabrics at Ballina Spotlight, I was so surprised.

But I have never seen the green colourway fabrics anywhere. A quick Google search a few weeks ago revealed a US seller with a yard each of three fabrics in stock. Donna from Konahonu was willing to post internationally and make me a custom listing to save on postage costs. Only $5.49 per yard and $13.50 for postage!

I also found some of the green/brown and red people print at the Australian-based Fabric-alicious through the Sew You're Destashing page on Facebook.

I still have to find the flags, circles and waves in the blue colourway. Let me know if you see them about.

Do you have a fabric collection that you are trying to retro-buy? What did you miss?

Feel free to link up your Stash below...

Saturday, 27 October 2012

A Vintage Drover

A Visit from a Drover

This week my last Travelling Stash arrived. It was created by Kiera with a slight twist - this is the first 'male' one. He is called 'Drover'. A 'Drover' is an Australian version of the wandering cowboy. Someone who works driving cattle/sheep from one place to another. Hugh Jackman played a drover in that Baz Luhrman 'Australia' film?

Kiera wanted us to choose from her many 'drovers' and photograph our choices with them. The envelope was full of many 'Manpower' images. I was thinking that my dream drover from the late 80s - the Ampol Man from the back of my Street Directory - would be there. He wasn't. Nor could I find a Google image of him. But I did find the 'noughties version of the ad'. hehehe

Then I was thinking that my drover would probably look a bit more like this...
A vintage version - far more realistic and a LOT more substance. I love this photograph.

In the end I chose the only 'drover' in the bunch that had not shaved off his chest hair. 

More Vintage

It's also time to show what I received back from the Vintage Sheet Fat Quater Swap organised by 'Where Jane Creates'.

It looks like cool colours are 'so hot right now!'

Friday, 26 October 2012

All in one Place Pouch

If you read my post yesterday you would know that tomorrow our family is heading off on a south Pacific cruise for a week.

Duncan, myself and his grandmother are all bringing hand stitching. The trouble is Duncan needed a place to put all his embroidery items.

So, on Sunday we sat down and he chose some fabric for the outside and inside and I modified my own tutorial to make him an embroidery pouch.

At 10" x 11", it fits his embroidery hoop, floss and his new needle book.

Empire State Building Needle Book

After I had finished packing yesterday, I was able to reward myself with some time to sew. I was able to make Duncan's ESB embroidery into a snazzy needle book. We stuck with the USA theme as I had a few RW&B fabrics.

This is a project from the book 'Little Stitches'. Aneela Hooey's instructions were very thorough. This is a lovely quick project. 
She has alternate patterns for the embroidery if the ESB is not your taste. There is a cute sleeping cat.
It was interesting sewing this whilst watching the 3rd Election debate between Senator Romney and President Obama. At least in this one they were polite to the moderator - poor Candy from Debate #2. 

I know who I would vote for if I were an American.

Linking up with...(if someone kind can link me up this Friday and the next Friday - as we are heading off for 10 days - some of the linkys are on US time and are only open for a short time) 

and Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya Quilts
and Sew and Tell Friday at Amy Lou Who Sews 
and Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts (if someone else can link me up please).
sadly the Handmade Parade is no longer at There and Back (hopefully it will find a new home)

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Passport Frustration

We are off on our first ever cruise THIS Saturday. It is for our whole family as a treat to celebrate 10 years of marriage. We have been saving for a year and a half. None of us have ever experienced cruising but many folks highly recommended it for families - as the kids have their own program and mum and dad get a rest from the usual 'playground duty' marking all other holidays.

We are also taking my mum. She wants to cruise but my father refuses. We needed an extra cabin (the curse of being a 5 person family) and so she is sharing with my eldest son.

We are off from Brisbane to Noumea, Lifou and Vila for 7 nights. We have been growing excited each month, week and now we are down to single digit days. 

But on Monday I hit a HUGE snag! 

My job this week was to fill out the online cruise personaliser for everyone. That means emergency contacts and passport information. Everyone else's information was entered in successfully.  The problem arose with mine. I was given a 'small' message telling me that my passport did not meet the 6 month valid period after returning from an overseas destination. 
I thought I had done the calculations correctly back in August when I sorted out passports for the kids. It does not expire until April 15th 2013. It turns out I will be 15 days SHORT! Nooooooooo!

I panicked. Of course I would. This was Monday. We were 5 working days out from boarding and my passport was not meeting the requirements for disembarking at the 3 overseas ports. I am meeting Gemma my 'Pretty Bobbins' quilting blog buddy in Noumea on Monday.  Our families are meeting. I get to see her fabulous quilts in the raw. She's promised us all delicious French pastries. I have a jar of golden syrup for her.  To say nothing of the other 2 destinations where we plan to snorkle and frolic. In short, I have to be able to get OFF the SHIP!

I should have called the cruise company (who subsequently told me that it would be ok to travel under the circumstances - grrrr!), but they specifically state that all passport matters are my responsibility. The little message at the bottom of the page did not ask me to call the cruise company. It should.

So I rang the Australian Passport office. They were very helpful. Apparently LOTS of people make this mistake. Many who are at the airport and cannot board their flights. 
BUT my issue was TIME. It takes 2 days to post it to Sydney and 2 days to process and 2 days to post back! So we came up with an alternate plan.

I filled out an online renewal form. Took it to the local Post Office who took my new photo and processed the forms before popping them in a FAST delivery envelope to the BRISBANE office. Hopefully it will be processed on WEDNESDAY and I will have to pick it up in PERSON from the city on FRIDAY. 

The day BEFORE we depart!

I am cutting it VERY FINE!

As it turns out that I need not have worried about this whole renewal. I could have saved some $344 on a Priority Renewal, $40  for photos and an express envelope. I was sooooooo cranky. And it can't be undone because the Post Office lady (as her procedures page rightly told her and btw she was VERY nice) cut the bottom section OFF my old passport making it INVALID

I'll need a good stiff drink when I finally board that ship with a valid passport.

UPDATE: I rang the Passport Office yesterday and they assured me that it will be processed and ready for collection in person on Friday. Yay!

Onto more pleasant passport matters.

Passport Holder

I did buy a pattern from online Etsy seller, One Shabby Chic. And I was going to make the 6 pocket version about a week ago. But as I was thinking about the pattern I was toying with the idea of a zipper instead of a clasp. So I got out my Zakka Style book and looked at the pattern for the Zip Organiser.

Then I got out the zip organiser and admired its construction and wondered how on earth I could redesign both patterns to get what I wanted. I looked at the measurements and requirements. Rats! I had no zip long enough for the Passport pattern.

Then I had a brainwave! I took all the passports out of their plastic covers just to see if they would fit in my Rapunzel Zip Organiser - and voila - they fit in perfectly! The zip closes. 

I have found a better use for my Zakka Project and I saved time not making a new Passport Holder.

Do you have a Passport story? A good one? A bad one? Let me know and I won't feel so alone in my stupidity. Feel free to berate me.