Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Belated baby news

I'm typing this left handed at the moment as my ten week old baby snoozes in my right arm - hopefully for long enough to write this post! Yes, ten whole weeks already.  He was born on the 11th August at1.57pm weighing 3.17kgs and 50cm long.  He was induced 3 weeks early because he had stopped growing so he wasn't the big fat baby I was expecting but he's certainly making up for it now.   He was 5.8kg and 59cm at his 8 week check up and going on how quickly clothes are being moved to the 'doesn't fit' pile, he's more than 6kg now.

We named him Dominic Theo and MR and I are loving being parents.  We're very lucky, he's a very good baby - doesn't cry much, self soothes at bed time, usually gives us at least one block of 4-5 hours of sleep at night. I'm slowly starting to feel like I've got the hang of this (most days) and MR is a bit of a natural.

I'm sure I'll be back to tell you more another time in the hopefully not too far distant future but for now its feeding time again so I'll leave you with some photos.

On his due date

P.S. I knitted that blanket he's lying on in that last photo!


Thursday, 9 July 2015


Today has been one of those beautiful Winter days we get here in WA.  It's been cold - it didn't quite reach 14 degrees - but there hasn't been any wind or clouds so it is just glorious outside in the sun.

:: Self sown pumpkins creeping across my pavers :: The Meow soaking up the warmth :: 
:: Early jonquils starting to flower ::  Lemons ready for picking :: 
:: New towels and linens for the baby washed and on the line :: My favourite gum tree in flower ::

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

On normality

I've been wanting to write this post for a while now but I've been too busy. Busy being normal.

From about Week 18 of my pregnancy, once the morning sickness finished and I could eat enough to get some energy and my blood pressure came up enough that I didn't feel like passing out after 10 steps, life has been resoundingly normal. And it is fucking awesome. 

I had forgotten what normal was like. Normal is going to work and not coming home exhausted. 
Normal is not needing two rest days to get through the week. 
Normal is being able to go out both days on the weekend and not feel shattered. 
Normal is feeling happy pretty much every day, instead of just when I've had enough rest. 
Normal is amazing. 

Being off my leukaemia drugs because they're unsafe to the baby has shown me just how much I've had to change my lifestyle and that what I thought of as normal really truly isn't. The 'new normal' is often talked about amongst the dealing with CML or liver transplant circles and it's taken this medication break to realise just how true that is. You feel pretty shit when you first start the medication. Lots of side effects and thing to make you feel awful. Then when that wears off after a month or half a year or however long it takes you start to think you're getting back to almost, but not quite, normal. It's amazing how quickly the brain can adjust to the new energy levels and while you know you used to be able to do more with your days you just accept it as a change. 

I've embraced every minute of normality while it's returned to me. It's so precious. I know MR enjoys having the true old me back as well. I joke about staying pregnant forever. Just second trimester though. 

Normal is beginning to come to end. A few weeks ago my feet started to swell, then my ankles and calves. Then my fingers and hands. And while I'm still enjoying the energy, I'm starting to get a bit more tired and a lot more uncomfortable, mainly in my feet and hands. My blood pressure is fine so that's good but I'm on close monitoring now due to the higher risk of pre eclampsia in someone who's had a liver transplant. Close monitoring involves lots of trips to Perth and back which are starting to get wearying and it's likely I'll have to stay down there soon, even though I'm only 31 weeks. 

My leukaemia cell levels have started to rise too, which of course is expected when I'm not on the medication. I've never actually reached 0, only getting down to about 0.027 (which is nothing you say but while there's a trace its risky to go off the meds) and it's now back up to 0.8. It needs to stay under 1 while off meds to keep the risk of it getting serious as low as possible. So I'll be back on the medication sooner rather than later. 

I've started to grieve a little bit in advance of losing myself again, it's been so nice to be back to normal. There's always that lingering hope for the miracle that it might just disappear. 

I'm also a bit worried about how I'll cope with recovering physically from birth, dealing with the sleep deprivation of having a newborn and having to go through all the side effects of the meds again and the fatigue it causes. It's not that I didn't know I'd have to go back on it after giving birth, it was that I'd forgotten what it was like to have regular energy levels. 

Regular energy levels are amazing people. Never take them for granted. 

And just so you're not feeling depressed by my post, here's a photo of my big fat baby at 29 weeks who is measuring on the 90th percentile and looking very healthy. It's all worth it. 

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Quiet Days

I'm really savouring my quiet days at the moment, knowing they are finally limited and quickly coming to an end.  

Every other Thursday I don't work so an hour of my morning is spent at pregnancy yoga which I find just leaves me feeling so calm and centred for the rest of the day.  So the TV is left off, the washing machine too if I can get away with it, and I spent the day in quiet pursuits.


There's usually a bit of knitting happening and the cooler weather means the meow might hang out on my lap for half an hour or so if I'm lucky.  Today I also made some soy candles for my yoga instructor.  I'm still the only one in town doing it, although apparently next week (on the week I can't make it of course) a few of the other pregnant ladies in town are planning on attending.  And because I'm the only one she hasn't accepted any money, saying I'm her guinea pig.  Lucky me! So I thought I'd make her some candles in thanks.

I don't have a book on the go at the moment which is sometimes a good thing because it means I get a lot more done.  If I have a good book it doesn't last very long but on the days I'm reading it a whole lot of not much else happens!

I spent a bit of time out in the veggie garden, giving it a good watering and enjoying the sunshine until the flies were beginning to ruin my calm and I headed back inside.  Hopefully I'll head out in half an hour or so once the flies have left for the evening and before the mozzies come out to spend a bit of time doing some light weeding.  It's a bit of a juggling act to do gardening in between bugs out here.  

Our mulberry tree is having a little spate of out of season mulberries as well.  We had a couple of weeks with a lot of glorious rain and now some lovely low to mid 20's sunny days means that I'm getting a small handful off the tree every few days.

I think knowing these sorts of days will be very much ended for a while in approximately 18 weeks is making them all the more sweet but I am really feeling so recharged after a day of quietness.

Friday, 17 April 2015

The Last Day of the School Holidays

The last official day of the school holidays and I had planned to go into school to continue on from all the work I left strewn out as I tidied and rearranged the furniture yesterday.  But instead I decided to spent it at home, just pottering about.

History says that the last day of school holidays is generally a good day for getting stuff done around the house because I am procrastinating from all the school work I should have done over the break.  Once again it proved true, which was handy because the poor house has been a bit neglected of late.  Yes, one of those items on the to do list is unpack more boxes, because I still haven't finished unpacking everything.  Feeling so sick with morning sickness as I moved out to the country and having problems with dizziness and low blood pressure meant not a lot got done.

Note the school work still isn't done...

I did manage to sneak in a short amount of time doing a bit more knitting though.  This is the beginnings of a baby beanie with ear flaps for my best friend who is due in June.  The pattern is from Patons booklet 8000 and looks very sweet in the picture but I have decided I'm never doing moss stitch in 4ply again, it seems to be taking forever and growing at a very slow rate.  Fingers crossed it actually fits! I'm making it in the 3 month old size so it should do.

I'll head into school tomorrow to finish getting ready for Monday while MR is at work.  It's seeding time out here which means everyone needs/wants tyres changed on their farm equipment and of course, his tyre fitter has just quit.  

No relaxing pottering weekend for him.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

I made some things

I can't claim all the credit for this but I am very pleased to share that I'm making this little human inside me right now.  20 weeks on Monday! 

So of course, I have been getting knitting.  With stash yarn no less! 

And I've also made us a little veggie garden.  Peas, celery, capsicum, parsley and cherry tomatoes so far.  This is only taking up about a quarter of our veggie garden patch so there plenty of room for more veggies to go in.  Mum came up to help me get this put in, she has a bit of a magic touch with gardening so I'm hoping it will rub off onto my veggies.

In other news, I'm no longer living in Perth.  I moved back out to the wheatbelt town MR lives in at the beginning of the year and it is so good to be spending more time with him on a very regular basis.  It's going really well so far.  A lady in town is doing pregnancy yoga classes so I'm not missing out on keeping my strength up and while I've only done two classes so far (she just had a baby at the beginning of the year also so has only just started them up again) I'm feeling so good afterwards.  And, even better, there's a Monday night craft group too.  Every week! 

Hopefully I'll be back on a bit more of a regular basis from now on but for now, what news have I missed out on from you? I've been keeping up with my regular blogs sporadically but I'm sure I'm a bit behind on the news.


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Learning new skills

Not happy enough with my current list of crafty creative skills I've signed up for both an Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop online course.  I did actually mean to just sign up for the Illustrator one but accidentally enrolled for the Photoshop one by not reading the title properly so then I had to sign up for the Illustrator one as well.  They are only 6 weeks each and I've set the Illustrator one for a start of about half way through the Photoshop one so I don't get too overwhelmed with lessons.

I'm enjoying it so far, I've learnt some basic skills and how to use the brushes on an image to make it look more like a painting.

And, not happy with those two things, I also asked my family for the gift of a painting workshop for my birthday back in August.  It was on last weekend, for six hours on Sunday.  The idea, and title, of the workshop was to paint a large scale painting in a day.  My canvas is a metre squared and whilst this was a bit daunting to begin with for someone with no formal knowledge of painting it was a lot of fun once I got started.

Unfortunately I didn't quite finish so hopefully I'll get it done soon and then perhaps it can make its way to my bedroom in the country house, providing MR approves and I still like it as much as I do now.

 I love learning new things but it really isn't very helpful for getting projects I've already started finished!  I'm also working on a Christmas present and a crochet cushion cover for myself, although with Christmas sneaking up so fast I might have to leave off on the cushion cover and focus on the present if I want to get it finished in time in between doing my photoshop course!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Water intake

Since having a liver transplant almost three years ago, I've started to have some problems with my kidneys.  My anti-rejection medication is known to give kidneys a hard time and mine seem to be easily annoyed, along with the rest of my organs, by medication.  There's not a lot that can be done about it, just monitor them and keep my medication levels as low as possible.

One thing I do have to do is drink plenty of water.  Luckily, I already was a water girl and I don't drink tea or coffee and rarely drink soft drinks or juice.  I always have a water bottle with me, wherever I go.  If I forget it I always feel overwhelmed by thoughts of thirstiness until I get somewhere I can get a drink or buy a bottle of water from.  Other days, I just really feel sick of water.  On those days I might have a glass of juice or put a bit of cordial or lemon juice in my water. 

Even still though, sometimes I struggle to drink my two litre target.  I get busy at school or sleep in late or just completely forget to have a drink.  I'm not one to knock back half a bottle in one sitting, I'm more of a small mouthful and often girl.  So if I get busy or forget to have my regular small mouthful some days I only drink about 1400 - 1600mL.  It's a bad day if I drink less than two 750mL bottles.  And I can tell when I haven't had enough to drink.

One thing I'm loving about my fitbit is there is a function on the app that you can track your water intake.  I try to remember how much I've drunk during the day to add that in each evening and then I can graph my results, very interesting to look at (and doesn't that sound nerdy).

I know that people should aim for eight glasses or two litres of water per day but what I'm interested in is how much water do you actually drink?  Do you regularly drink two litres or do you drink much less?  What do you think your average water intake would be?  

Monday, 15 September 2014

Here's one I prepared earlier. Much earlier.

When I was going through all my old posts looking for creative pictures to add to my tour through blogland post I realised there was a very cool project I made at the end of last year the year before (!!) as a Christmas present for my sister.  I think it was for Christmas.  Maybe it was her birthday.  It was that long ago I don't even remember.

I made this little button heart for myself at the beginning of 2012 and my sister commented on it and asked me to make her one in pink.  It was the height of ombre love so I thought, how cool would it be to make it in shades of pale pink through to a dark red.  So off I went.  As mentioned in my last post, on the floor.  I thought this one through a bit more because I wasn't 100% happy with how my version turned out, the buttons weren't quite close enough.  There was actually planning and testing in this version.

First on paper...

and then slowly and carefully transferring it to fabric. 
I moved to the table for this, no accidental bumping allowed!

And finished.

I was so pleased with how this turned out and being a bit of a puzzle lover, I really enjoyed moving the buttons around and getting them all into that just perfect place.  I really should remake mine with the buttons closer together.  And maybe a bit bigger, the pink one is more than twice as large as mine.


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Tour Through Blogland

I've been invited on a Tour through Blogland by Michelle from Jarrah Jungle.

I have been following Michelle's blog right back from the beginning, she was one of the first Western Australian bloggers I found and I have been enjoying reading about her home renovations ever since.  Her posts have lots of details and tips about renovating so if you are thinking of doing anything to your house I'd definitely recommend checking it out, as her and her partner have almost finished renovating their entire house and the improvements are amazing!

There are some questions I need to answer for my stop in the tour...

What am I working on?

Currently I am focusing on developing my knitting skills.  My mum tells a story of when I was about three and a half I asked her if I could learn to knit (Mum did a lot of knitting and spinning her own wool when I was young).  Mum told me I could learn when I was four, more as a putting me off tactic I think.  So on my fourth birthday apparently one of the first things I asked was if I could now learn to knit.  I believe I was successful in learning to knit a square.  I probably knitted scarves for my barbie dolls.  But then I forgot.  So I relearned to knit about ten years ago.  And then forgot again.  And then I got into crochet and picked that up so easily.  Knitting is so much trickier for me.  I'm finally on track with it, I have learnt to use circular needles and now I'm learning about using double point needles (dpns).  It's all a bit exciting, I really enjoy learning new things.

At the moment, I'm sticking with beanies.  Yes, it is the beginning of Spring.  A terrible time for beanie knitting.  But it's two weeks until we fly out to Europe so these beanies are going to come in handy for the predicted 15-20 degree maximum forecast weather we'll be experiencing.  

The one above is for me.  My first attempt at dpns and at moss stitch as well.  The one below is for MR, knit up with the possum/merino blend I bought on our holiday to New Zealand last year.

And after finishing the above one last night, I've already cast on the next. A slouchy one this time.  And I'm having a go at casting on with dpns, another new thing for me.

How does my work differ from others?

To be honest, I don't think my work differs greatly from others.  I'm not cutting edge, I'm only trying things that are new to me, not new to anyone else.  

Sashiko on the left, embroidered fabric print on the right which I later turned into a clock

I'll try anything once.  As I mentioned, I love learning new things.  There's been candle making and mosaics, clock creating, drawing with pastels, painting, embroidery, sashiko, amigurumi crochet, occasional sewing, crochet blankets, button creations.  Seriously, the list goes on.  If I'm creating, I'm happy.

Mosaic trivet

My blog is a bit of a mish mash of everything.  The only thing different on my blog to most crafty/lifestyle blogs you'll find out there is that I've had a liver transplant and occasionally you'll come across posts about that and gory scar photos!  Something different but I'm trying to move away from my health ruling my life and my health has been pretty good of late.

Koala amigurumi

How does my writing/creating process work?

I'm a couch creator.  I blog on the couch, I knit on the couch, I embroider and crochet on the couch.  I love my couch.  It is such a comfortable space.  I find typing at a desk leaves me hunched up and slouched and lop-shouldered.  If I'm doing something that I can't do on the couch, like painting, I'll often do it on the floor rather than at the table.  My day job is an early childhood teacher so I'm often on the floor and I'm naturally most comfortable sitting with my legs crossed.

The Pink Blanket

Apart from where you can find me, everything else is up in the air.  I'm a huge fly by the seat of your pants / wing it sort of girl.  Whether it is creating or writing this comes into play.  There are a lot of last minute decisions, spontaneous crafting with not quite the right tools or materials, late night posting or two posts in a day and then none for two weeks.  That's me in a nutshell.  I'd love to say I was organised and had plans and those sorts of things but I've never managed that in my life so far and I think I'm still a while away from getting there!  One day.  We always need goals right?

So I'm a bit different from most of the other high organised bloggers out there on this blog tour.  Not to worry!  Thanks so much for inviting me on the tour Michelle, I've had fun looking back through my creative photos to decide which photos to post.

My two nominees are....

Sally from Virtù

Sally and I met online, soon after we both started blogging.  We learnt to crochet together, by which I mean we emailed back and forth about all the difficulties we were having and we both attempted the same pattern so that we could help each other through reading the confusing terminology!  Nowadays, Sally and I usually see each other once a month at our Brown Owls craft meetup.  She's a pretty awesome lady and my mama inspiration (when I eventually become a mum).

Hiya! I'm Sally from virtù. I began my blog on a whim one night  back when I first started to learn about sewing. It was a way of recording my achievements and a means of connecting with other people. I still remember the absolute elation I experienced when someone commented on my blog for the very first time.  At the time I had two small children and was still getting the hang of being "isolated" at home. 


Nicole from dabbling all day 

I initially got to know Nicole through instagram after following her because she was a friend of someone else I followed.  Eventually, I stopped being lazy and clicked on the link to her blog in her instagram profile and low and behold, here was someone a bit like me.  A one fur baby family, a crafter, a much more successful gardener and someone who loves spending time in the kitchen just as much as I do.  She's much more productive and organised than I am though!

I'm Nicole and I blog at dabbling all day. I'm from Melbourne, Australia and live with my partner, BB, and our kitty, Sampson.   I write about all the things I'm dabbling in at any one time, whether it be gardening, crafting, photography, cooking or baking! I'm always up to something.

 I look forward to reading your posts next Monday ladies.  

Thank you everyone for coming to visit my little corner of blogland, I hope you come back soon. x