Friday, December 31, 2010

Today we will mostly be eating ....

Figs from our neighbours tree and peaches from our own.

2011 Goal 3 - General

Finally (and this is a big one for me) my general life goal of 2011.  Most of my ideas that didn't sit in either of the two previous areas were too small to become measurable or are dependent on things outside my control to come to fruition.  So I decided to lump most of my small goals under one heading and work towards them slowly and be degrees.  This goal is not attainable in 2011 as it is more of a long term goal but at least part of it is attainable.

So my General Goal is:

To live a more simple and frugal life.

Not very specific at all is it.  So I have some supporting goals which I am going to mention here (and a lot more that I will hold over to another year)

1) Limit Technology - I spend far too much time on the internet (browsing forums, facebook - the biggest time waster on the planet and playing games) and watching TV (I often find myself channel hopping because I can't think of anything else to do but there is nothing on I want to watch) so I am limiting both.  I currently do one or the other (or both) every day and I plan to reduce that to 4 days in 7.  So on 3 days/evenings I will have no internet or TV.  More time to sew, knit and read.

2) To Budget - To set a budget with a strict savings policy.  To buy second hand where possible.  To buy food in bulk and utilise various methods to preserve it for the rest of the year (this crosses over into my next supporting goal).  To save up for 'big ticket' items such as our new kitchen and bathroom.

3) Food - To grow as much of our vegetables and fruit as possible.  To buy in season and in bulk utilising R work suppliers where possible.  To eat less processed foods and less sugar.  To plan menus and eat with Jot.  To prepare meals in advance and freeze.  To create a 'recipe folder' of healthy recipes that can be used to plan menus.

As it is tough to set most of these into a time frame as life is ongoing I am going to give each of the three supporting goals a timeframe of 6 months and review my progress (or lack thereof) at the end of June 2011.

In wrapping up my three (well five really) 2011 goals I wish you luck in setting and attaining yours in 2011.

Happy New Year.

Jots Mum

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2011 Goal 2 - Me

I struggled to narrow this group down to one goal as I had loads of ideas and things I want to do for my 'development' doing things I love.  After much consideration I decided to focus on expanding my skills in my newest hobby - Quilting.  So my 'Me' goal for 2011 is:

To complete (piece, sash, quilt and bind) a 9 block sampler quilt

I was hoping to do this as part of a class but I don't think we can fit one in in 2011 so instead I am setting it as a challenge to myself.  To make it 'SMART' I am going to do it as a Block a Month from Jan to Sept with the remaining months for the sashing, backing, quilting and binding with the goal to have it completed in time for NYE 2011.

I think this will be a great way for me to develop my piecing and quilting knowledge and combined with the MMQG Quilting Bee I think I will end 2011 with more knowledge and confidence in this very satisfying art.

I am thinking about opening this up as a quilt-a-long challenge to anyone out there so if you are interested leave a comment and I will figure out how it is going to work.  It will be a fairly simple BOM as my skills are fairly limited at the moment but I hope to choose more complicated blocks towards the end of the quilt a long.

2011 Goal 1 - Family

I have used this goal to cover my extended family as I have been toying with this idea for the last couple of years.

My family Goal is:

To Hand make all Birthday and Christmas presents for all extended family in 2011 (this will include any special occasions that crop up births, marriages and the like).

So to make it Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely (SMART) I have decided to allocate 1 or 2 members of my family to focus on each month.  The month in brackets is their birthday month.

Jan - SIL (Mar)
Feb - BIL1 & Dad (June)
Mar - Big Sis & Niece (July)
Apr - BIL2 & FIL (Aug)
May -  R (Aug)
June -  MIL & Mum (Sept)
July -  Jot (Sept)
Aug  - Lil Sis & BIL3 (Nov)
Sept  - Nephew 1 (Nov)
Oct - Nephew 2 (Jan)
Nov & Dec - Xmas stocking fillers and Kris Kringle as well as CC gifts etc.

So my goal is to make 2 gifts for each person in their month.  One gift will be for their birthday and the other for Christmas.

The calendar above will be incorporated into my side bar once I have written up my Me goal (which is also split by month) and had a look at what extra quilts I want to make this year so I can allocate them as well.  I will then recap at the start of each month what my goals are and at the end of each month see how well I have done.  (It will also be pinned above my sewing machine so I don't get sidetracked which is far to easy these days)

So heres to a very productive 2011.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Day

We had a great day and Jot started the day perfectly by sleeping in till 7:30am so we all rose together well rested and ready for a busy yet calm day.
We first had to see if Santa had been.  As Jot is terrified of Santa it took a little coaxing to get her to go near the suddenly full stocking and tree surrounded by presents.  But she soon got the hang of it.
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We managed to distract her from the main presents until after Church (and her nap as she fell asleep on the way back from church) by making a big fuss of breakfast and showers and getting ready.
After Church we nipped into town to view the Myer windows.  I think Christmas day is the best day to go, yes there are not ropes to herd the crowds but then there are hardly any crowds either (and for future reference there are ice cream vans.)  Jot got to see all the windows by sitting on R shoulders, I think they were better this year than last (but that's because I feel the Nutcracker is a more Christmassy theme that Olivia the Pig).
We even managed to get our annual family picture taken before she got into the presents (you can see by her face we are pushing our luck here)
After presents we left Jot to entertain herself (not hard considering all her new toys) and got our Christmas meal ready.
My first attempt at Baked Ham (and yes it is huge for just the three of us and we will be eating it for weeks) but I am really happy with how it turned out and can see it becoming a bit of a Christmas tradition (I never did like Turkey much and Goose is too expensive over here).  We followed it with a Summer Pudding which as you can see was demolished before I could get the camera out.
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Jot was in bed as normal by 7pm which was great as R and I got to chat (it seems to be a rarity in this house with his new job).
So another Christmas over (is it right to heave a sigh of relief) and I wonder if I dare consider the next one yet or put it off and off and off till 1 Dec 2011.
I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday (regardless of your religion) and taking the opportunity to unwind and recharge ready for the year ahead.
Take care
Jots Mum

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More on goals

I thought I would let you in on some of my thinking regarding my 2011 goals.  I have been brainstorming this week (well where possible as Jot is quite busy at the moment) and have thrown literally hundreds of goals down on paper.  Most of them are probably going to end up as the smaller parts of a bigger goal.

If found I was not able to stay focused and all sorts of goals were popping out, the weight one, the work one, the pie in the sky one, the child one, the life one and they are all getting muddled up and confused.  So more work is needed and I think I am going to limit myself to Three major goals this year each backed by a number of smaller time linked goals.  Each of my Three goals will have a 12 month time frame with the smaller ones that work towards the larger one having much shorter timeframes.  Sort of stepping stones if you will.

I have decided that my three major goals need to be  in different areas of my life. 

ME - this one will be about developing myself as a person through something I enjoy doing and has been the easiest to decide on and easiest to figure out the mini goals for.

FAMILY - this one is rather dependent on others as well as myself so figuring out the mini goals is proving tough but I am getting there.

GENERAL - this one I only have the bare bones for so far as it is by far the largest this year and the mini goals could go on for ever as I get carried away so I will par it back quite tight and maybe use it again in 2012 for the remaining mini goals.

I am feeling really positive about this process this year as I have taken the opportunity to really think about my life and how I would like to change it.  All the ideas that flowed out through my brainstorm were fascinating and a lot were longer term goals that I don't have the time or the mental and emotional capacity for at this point in my life.

The way I am going I may even be able to post my 2011 goals before January but I don't think I will hold my breath as today is my last day at work for the year and I know how busy life gets at home when there is no work to break up the chaos.

I will be back over the next few days with details of our Christmas preparations as well as the last of my Christmas sewing.  I am determined to complete a dress for myself in time to wear on Christmas day as long as the weather cheers up a bit.

Take care

Jots Mum

Sunday, December 19, 2010


One of my friends became a grandmother last week.  Welcome baby Grace.  I really wanted to make Grace a quilt but as I have never met her mother or father I thought it might be a bit odd so instead I made something for Graces parents to use.

One of the things we ended up buying (while J was still in disposable nappies) was a nappy wallet.  A small folder that had room for a set of wipes and a few nappies.  It got a lot of use for the first 8 months and then got sidelined by the cloth nappies it has however resurfaced for all our travelling this year and once again has proved a lifesaver on many occasions.

So I decided to make one for Graces parents.  I found just the right material in my stash and got up the courage to cut into it - my only piece of Farmers Market by Sandi Henderson - and here it is:

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I have to say I really really like it and I hope it gets some use.

I have also been busy making gifts for Jots carers at childcare.  Last year I didn't know any of them very well so they just got a box of cherries to chare but this year Jot has been in the same room for nine months so I know them all a bit better.

I decided to make some little zip pouches for the three assistants and a bag for the room leader but really couldn't find a material I likes (I was being very particular) then while look through my stash in a panic as I realised that the room leader would not be around next week I stumbled across a couple of Ikea tea towels which are lovely and turned them into these:


I also really wanted to get Jot involved so decided to bake some Snowballs for them as well.  They are meant to look like this:


Any ours looked like this:


They are yummy though so I just dusted them with icing sugar and called the Hazelnut Crisps instead. 

They went down a treat on Friday so I can now relax and get on with some holiday clothes sewing for both Jot and myself.

Have a good week

Jots Mum

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

S.M.A.R.T Goals

So returning to my theme of a few days ago I a little closer to setting my 2011 goals.

At work we are required to set goals each year and this year we were informed all out goals had to be SMART goals. SMART stands for:

Specific - A general goal would be, "Get in shape." But a specific goal would say, "Join a health club and workout 3 days a week."

Measurable - Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward each goal you set.

Attainable - Plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps

Realistic - To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work.

Timely - A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there's no sense of urgency

So I am using this system to set my 2011 Personal Goals. It may take some time to get them right so I will post my 2011 goals at the start of January (unless the are finalised earlier). For each Goal I will have a set of mini goals and a timeframe. I might even make a couple into challenges for the year that you can join me in.


Monday, December 13, 2010

I have been creating

Before I show you what I have been up to I need to send out another Thank you to Nic who sent this lovely doll to Jot as part of my Secret Santa
She has been virtually everywhere with Jot today and in fact we nearly lost her at in the pond at Church.  Luckily a friend has very quick reflexes and saved the baby doll (Jot on the other hand got a little wet :) )
Now on to my creating.
Jot and I were invited to a 40th birthday yesterday and I realised on Friday night that Jot didn't have a clean party dress that fits her so I grabbed a new pattern to me (The Molly Peasant from Sis Boom) on Saturday morning and started sewing. I cut it out in the morning, put the bodice together while Jot was napping and finished it off once she was in bed.  All in it took about 3 hours to make from printing the pattern to ready to wear.  So simple and easy and I have already bought the adult version for myself.  She wore it today and it was great. 
The weather on the other hand wasn't good so she spent most of the day with a pair of leggings and a fleece in addition to the dress
The fabric is a voile I picked up from Spotlight on sale a couple of weeks ago for $4pm and it took just short of a metre to make the dress (but I fussy cut to make the skirt all the main pattern).  So the dress cost me (in materials) about $5 to make - bargin.
I have finished a quilt - but I am soo excited about that and it is getting its own post later in the week once I have been able to get good photos of it. 
And my last creation is my birthday cake.  We have a birthday tea at work each month and as my birthday falls in December I decided to take my cake in to work today.  I try to not go too traditional each year.  This year I am trying a new recipe for me a Lemon Sour Cream Cake.  I even enticed a non cake eater into trying it (and he went back fro seconds) so I am happy with the result.  It is kind of like a Madeira cake and very yummy.
So on that note I am off to eat cake and will wish you a good week ahead.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas time

Ok so I am starting to feel a bit Christmassy.  It always takes me forever to get into the spirit of Christmas but yesterday we did lots of Christmas stuff (mainly to keep Jot amused and not whining).

Firstly we attempted a visit to Santa.  I think I will forgo the one at her childcare on Wednesday as she screamed.  She even screamed when I put on the Santa hat at home later on.  Obviously not ready to enjoy that part of Christmas.

Then we came home and decorated the tree.  We usually do this en famille but with R working long hours at the moment I decided that he wouldn't mind missing it for one year.


Please ignore the empty bookshelf behind it (yes we have been in the house for nearly a year and no we are still not unpacked)

After a nap (for Jot not me) we had a go at decorating the Gingerbread house kit we purchases at K-mart a few weeks ago.  This is the start of a long tradition I think as we both had a lot of fun and I swear Jot ate more lollies than made it onto the house.


Today at Church (and this might have been what has made me feel more like Christmas) they sang 'O Come all ye faithful' with the descant and made me wonder who if anyone is attempting it back home as my sisters and I are not there this year.


I still have more stuff to show off so I will be back tomorrow but I hope you all have a great Sunday evening.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Its like buses

You wait ages for one and then three come along at once.  That is how I am feeling at the moment.  I have had nothing (or very little) to post about for so long and today I have loads so I think I will split it up over a couple of days so you don't get sick of me.

I am lucky enough to be part of a great online bunch of girls who are known on EB as the newbie quilters and we ran a secret Santa this year.  I have been truly spoilt by my ss who I swear must be able to read minds.

I received this package on Monday (or was it Tuesday) from the lovely Nic


We had been waiting till everyone received their package before opening so it has been sat unopened on my desk for the last 5 days.  Today I broke (but I don't feel too bad as others broke before me) and opened it.


I received loads. A recipe Journal (I will use this as I need a way to keep them organised), a clever little folder to carry sewing related stuff (which will be perfect for my MMQG meetings) and a pouch full of goodies (three bias makers, one magnetic guide, 5 freddo frogs (down to 4 already) and some really cute Heart pins).  The pouch is currently home to the lovely folder which contained some hand quilting needles (I wonder if that is a hint to try something new :) )

Thank you Nic.  It is all great and I will get a lot of use out of it all.

Nic even threw in a little something for Jot but she is tucked up in bed so the contents of that will need to wait for another day.

I sent to Belinda but I am not sure if she has opened yet so I will wait till I know before I post pictures of what I made for her.

Take care


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What a difference a day makes

I woke this morning with the start of a migraine so I did the only thing I could do.  I rang in sick, lined up R to do the childcare run, took the strongest migraine medication I have and went back to bed.

Four house later I woke up feeling a hundred times better but still not great so decided I couldn't face the computer but could face the sewing machine.  Until I walked into the sewing room/playroom and saw this:

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What a mess!  My beautiful daughter is a home wrecker! (ok so the mess on the sewing table is mine but the rest was created by my whirlwind)

So two hours later after much cleaning, tidying, sorting, sifting and chucking it looked like this:



Much more conducive to a little creative time.

I sat down to my sewing machine and have knocked another two Christmas presents off my list which means there is another parcel waiting to be sent and I am down to one (but I am not happy with it and trying to decide if I dismantle it and start again or finish it and send it as is).

I also took the opportunity of being Jot free to put the binding on her quilt (that I was planning to give her last Christmas) so now I just need to hand sew it down.  Wonder if I can finish it off in time for this Christmas.

After all that though I am exhausted (and think I may have pushed it too far) so going to take another pill and nip to bed for a bit before R and Jot return this evening.

Take care


Monday, December 6, 2010

2010 Goals - Review

It is that time of year again for me when I review the past year and set goals for the next.
Way back in January I set my 2010 goals and well see for yourselves how I did:

Me Time
12 sewing challenges in 12 months – 1 of 12 complete
12 knitting challenges in 12 months – not started

Create a family organiser (and Christmas organiser) – started but never finished
Set a budget and stick to it – Ongoing work but mostly finished and in use

Do Watch wait and wonder with Jot three times a week – not done
Have a monthly date night with R – I should be so lucky

As you can see I really didn’t do too well.

2011 needs a different approach I feel.