Monday, 3 December 2012

you're never to young to start...

At 5months old, little-miss-e makes her first attempt at gluten free bread

 (sorry for the unintentional product placement in the background)

And given how December looks for us (a 20hr trip home, followed by jet lag, a long drive, a family wedding then Christmas), this may well be my last post for the year. So Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

the race is on...

14 days til we head home...15 squares to do...

Do you think I'll make it?

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

baby proof necklaces part 2

I was so excited about this idea that I posted the beginnings of this necklace last week. So I thought I'd show you it all finished...

And here is the next on that I am working on - it's going to be circles of various sizes (single colour), joined together (rather than on a chain). I am really liking the way it is turning out...  

Oh, and I meant to ask - how did/are you managing to baby proof your jewelry? Have you bothered or have you just stopped wearing it? And do you have any tips or suggestions for me (little-miss-e is definately at the grabbing stage)? (and how many of these necklaces do you think I can get away with making!?)

Sunday, 18 November 2012

my unsuccessful blog or blogging good enough

I read a post from Maxabella today that made me annoyed. Which was odd, seeing I usually find Maxabella enjoyable. But this post is titled "How to give good blog." It appears to be the first installment of a series on blog improvement. There was nothing in it that was intended to offend - she talks quite clearly about the steps one should be taking to blog successfully. So it wasn't so much the content of the post but the concept. (Ok so there is a bit of the content I will rant about too, but more on that later).

Blog improvement seems to be in fashion - Pip from Meet me at Mike's is currently running a blog school and there are thousands of posts out there on how to make you blog bigger and better and get more followers and more traffic or how to turn your blog into you job. And I'm ok with people who are keen to improve their blogs.

The issue for me is about they way most of these posts define blogging success, for by most of the criteria marjoryjane is unsuccessful. I am yet to hit 20 followers despite blogging at marjoryjane for years. I still frequently have posts that no one comments on. And when I didn't post much in 2011, I didn't receive a flood of email from my virtual community asking me if I was ok. In fact I don't think I received even one. I am a blogging failure.

Maxabella in her post advises against "just" blogging about your life. Apparently "blogging about yourself and your life" isn't enough to have a successful blog. It won't result in the much wanted traffic that will make you a success. "You have to have a hook"

Well, I blog about myself and my ordinary everyday life. I can't blog about anything else. I don't have an "interesting lifestyle". I'm not interested in "starting a business" and I certainly don't have the time to "curate stuff from around the Internet".

I crochet. I live in inner-city Melbourne. I wear black with splashes of colour. I like to op-shop. I have a lovely husband and now have a baby girl. I like to create stuff. I like to blog about the stuff that I make. I am aware that none of this makes me unique or necessarily all that interesting.

But you know what - I decided long ago that I blog good enough. I am content in my blogging. I am content with what I do and how I do it. I blog as regularly as I can about the stuff I am interested in. marjoryjane is where I record the things I make and it is where I connect with other ordinary everyday life bloggers. And I hope to blog unsuccessfully here at marjoryjane for years to come.

So here's to blogging good enough!

Flea market finds

So we went a-flea-marketing-today. It was so hot and sunshiney here today, that in the end we didn't stay long. Little-miss-e needed a sleep and there was no shade to be seen, so a-home-we-went again.

But not too soon, not before we got what we had gone for. See we wanted to get some handmade Christmas decorations as pressies for my family (as we will arrive back home shortly before Christmas). And we found these - aren't they lovely.

They were hanging from a wire baobab tree, and so we bought the tree too! Its going to be our African Christmas tree.

There is now just the small matter of working out how on earth we get it home...

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

baby proof necklaces

Ok ok, so even though it isn't finished yet, I thought I'd post about the fun I had today. But first some background. We are currently thousands of miles from home. We have been for a month now, and have about another month until we head home and for reasons I can't quite explain (except for due to baby-brain) I forgot to bring any jewelry. Which is weird because I used to wear necklaces every day. Well, before Little Miss E I did. Since having her, I pretty much stopped wearing any jewelery. Thinking about it, I have realised that part of the issue is that I didn't have any baby proof necklaces - things that aren't hard on her head when I'm holding her, or sharp, or small that she might break and then swallow...

So then yesterday I had some inspiration whilst wool shopping after seeing some lovely coloured cottons. And so today in between feeding and playing and nappy changing I whipped up a crochet square necklace (or I almost did - I've just got to sew the squares on, and do the ends)...

I bought a few other colours and have plans for a few more and I'm sure they'll look even better. And they will be pretty much baby-proof - nothing to pull off, nothing to break, nothing hard and completely washable.

Friday, 12 October 2012

hippos for flights

I'm not sure if I mentioned - by my lovely husband is not from Australia. He hails from far across the seas. So with little Miss E in tow, we packed up and prepared to travel to far away lands to introduce her to the family. But before we left, I was a little nervous about how a 3 month old baby would go on long haul flights.

So being it being the Internet age, I googled and unsurprisingly there was a lot of very useful stuff out there. I won't link it all up, if you are interested you can search for yourself I'm sure. I also won't do a list of tips for travelling with babies - there are already heaps out there (for example: check out this list by my lovely friend Lisa). What I will do it show you what I almost made (my lovely step-mother provided the actual crafty hands for this one).

One of the suggestions I read about was to pack each change of baby clothes in an individual zip lock bag - thus enabling you to take a quick change to the plane toilets. I thought more about this, and decided it would be more useful to have a small bag in which I could put all I needed for a nappy change, so I wouldn't have to wrestle the full nappy bag along with baby in the confined space. Seeing I was staying with my step-mother at the time, I asked her about her fabrics and she came up with this:

So perfect!
We then designed the bag together - with button closings at the top and a little wrist strap (leaving both hands free to wrestle baby / hold onto seats as I headed to the toilets). And ta da:

My step-mother did the sewing, whilst I fed little Miss E. And there you have it - hippos for flights.

NB:  I confess, I have it on good authority that the bag was very useful - it turned out that it was my lovely husband not me who did all the airborne nappy changes!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


So much to do and say and tell, but with little Miss E stirring in the background, we may have to make do with a photo and the words:
 "exciting new project"

Seriously, how cool is this granny square! Its a test run for my new project (and no, I haven't quite finished my mobile, more on that later - if she stays asleep). See, my good friend is having another baby, and seeing I made her first this rug, I thought I'd make something for this bub as well. But what to make for a March baby? My usual rug or booties seemed too hot for a babe born in early Autumn. But then I found this pattern, and decided why not! A rug is always useful! Now to pick some colours and get going.

And, well, I also thought why not - gratuitous photo of the now awake litte Miss E, gotta fly...

Sunday, 15 July 2012

a break in transmission...

With the somewhat early arrival of Little Miss E - I'll be out of the blogging loop for a little while. Just until we get the hang of how to look after her and do everyday things (like finishing her mobile!).

I'll be back sometime, I'm sure...

Thursday, 28 June 2012

my creative space

My creative space this week has a finished starfish (mostly I followed this pattern)

and a half done hermit crab!

(sorry the pic of the crab shell isn't great - because of the colours and textures in the shell it hasn't photographed well). I sort of followed medium seashell 4 from  this pattern. Well, I followed it a bit, and then decided that I needed the shell to be bigger, so I went off on my own a bit too...

The issue for me is now whether or not the mobile will be finished before the baby is! I'm having a bit of trouble with making the crab itself now that the shell is pretty much done. Probably I should work on following patterns a bit more before I try to make it up myself - but I just couldn't find a (free) pattern that I was happy with.

I've left the sea horse until last, as I am thinking that will be hardest one to make up as it has much less regular shapes. Still, I do have a pattern to base that one on, so hopefully it will go quickly.

How about you? Are you pressed for time in your creative space today?

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

my creative space

My creative space has been mobile this week: this is me making the starfish for my mobile whilst waiting for hospital appointments. (at least they were only an hour late today - it did give me time to get all the points done and begin the sewing together).

And in other creative news - I finished the clown fish! Woohoo...

So now I've got a seahorse and a hermit crab to go (once I finish the starfish). And maybe a seagull and some seaweed... My big question at the moment though is - what colour to do the seahorse? The hermit crab will have a creamy/brown shell and a red crabby body, the clown fish colour is mostly accurate, the starfish is a mix of purple and blue, the jelly fish is grey with white tentacles... The seahorse? brown and cream (somewhat accurate)? or brightly coloured (given there are already some neutral-y colours in the others)? I just don't know...

Where has your creative space been this week?

Monday, 18 June 2012

what i've been up to...

Its a bit baby-central 'round these parts. I'm currently on maternity leave and one would think that would leave me nicely swanning around with lots of time up my sleeve for creating and blogging. But alas - it is not so! Instead I've actually been surprisingly busy (and I am counting the mandatory afternoon nap as 'busy'). Still there has been some creating 'round these parts.

Mostly I've been working on my crocheted mobile:

the clown fish is almost finished. It is kinda a bit from this pattern, but I wanted it a little bigger, so I've adapted a little along the way.And I also couldn't work out the fins from the pattern (the fault is with me, I'm sure, not the pattern itself), so I based the fins on this pic:

What do you think? Is it looking like the photo it's based on?

And to those who guessed: I am attempting to make a sleeping bag! It is nearly there too, just another couple of rows, I think and it'll be done.

How 'bout you - have you been up to creating things lately?

Saturday, 9 June 2012

crafting disappointment

Today I tackled a pretty simple job - making a draught stopper for our hallway door. A lovely project for a cold and wet winter afternoon. So having completed it, I should be full of that warm creative glow - right?


Realistically, I've got that feeling of crafting disappointment. See, I should have measured the door (and the gap under it) much more carefully. I should have thought a bit more about adding in seam allowance. I should have measured my fabric more carefully and then stopped and added in another piece fabric when I thought I needed to (rather than taking the I'm-sure-it'll-be-fine road). I should have taken a bit more time for this quick project, and then I would have ended up with a draught stopper that will actually stop the draughts.

Instead I've got a not-quite-draught stopper, that doesn't quite cover the whole width of the doorway and it doesn't quite cover the whole of the gap under the door. On the plus side, it does look pretty while it is not-quite-doing-it's-job...

When I went to post about this not-quite-draught stopper, I confess, I was tempted to tell you all how great it is and how happy I am with it. But realistically, I am not always happy with the stuff I make. Things don't always turn out right, or like what I had planned in my head. At times that has to do with my skill level, at times to do with my tendency to just have-a-go and at times to do with my pride (and my stubborn assurance that I am sure I am doing it right, rather than stopping and re-thinking things through).

How about you? Do you have a tendency to assume you've got it right rather than stopping to check? And do you try to blog a positive spin, rather than admitting your disappointment in a project?

Thursday, 7 June 2012

my creative space with a suprise and an opps...

So again I am so thankful to everyone who helped me out and suggested ideas for my mobile! I have settled on making a fish, a seahorse, a hermit crab and a star fish to go with my jellyfish. With some seaweed hanging down and a seagull sitting right at the top. Now I only have to get going on the next one - I think I'll do the fish...

And that is where the opps comes in - with all these great ideas I had another look through my wool selection and decided I could make do with what I had, except that I needed some orange for the clown fish and some green for the seaweed. A trip to spotlight later and opps...

Oh well - about half of it was on sale, and as I am really getting into amigurumi, I'm sure I'll find more projects for this lot.

And whilst I have been figuring that out, I've started another surprise project for the baby - can you guess what it is...

What's going on in your creative spaces today?

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

can you call this nesting?

I made a cake.

A lemony-almond-yoghurt cake.

It's about my fourth cake in the last four weeks. Not counting the two lots of slices, four lots of puddings...

Does baking count as nesting???

Monday, 4 June 2012

unexpected op shop delights

I just had one of those moments while op-shopping today. One of those is-that-what-I-think-it-is?! moments. An unexpected op-shop delight.

See, I was op-shopping while on holiday in January about 100km from home. And I stumbled across the cutest fitted cot sheet.

I loved it and seeing we didn't have any cot sheets at all, felt completed justified in my purchase.

Fast forward to today and op-shopping unsuccessfully for a couple of things a few kms from home, as I am heading to the door I wander past this

it's the flat sheet - same print, same size! I couldn't quite believe it! And so, even though it was $4 (a bit expensive I thought for a cot sheet), I couldn't leave it behind. How delightful - I now have the set!

And it got me thinking about the slightly amazingly/slightly crazy experience that op-shopping can be. The best example that I know of actually happened to my mum and Nan when my Nan was in her 70s. They were op shopping close to my Nan's home and while looking through the doilies, came across a doily that my Nan had actually made as a teenager! She recognised her own work straight away, including the mistakes she had made and how she thought the reverse wasn't neat enough! Needless to say they bought it, and it now sits pride of place on my mum's sideboard...

How 'bout you? What's your best unexpected op-shop delight?

Linking in today with flea market finds over at her library adventures.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

my creative space - with thanks and a question


After complaining last week that my creative space was full and empty, I'd like to say a big thanks to those who encouraged me.

See, I finally sat down and started my next project. I thought I'd have another go at amigurumi and make a mobile for the bub. So I sat down with this jellyfish pattern and some good advice from a friend and, well, things didn't go so well. About a third of the way through, I realised it was way too small for what I wanted. So I unpulled it all and started out alone. Patternless...
 Scary, but I am so happy with the results!

Now, my question is: what else to make for this mobile? I want 3d things that are interesting from the underneath. My idea was to make the jellyfish, a fish, a bird and something else. But should I try to stay with an underwater theme instead? decisions decisions....

What's in your creative space this week?

Thursday, 24 May 2012

my creative space

My creative space this week both empty and full (and a little bit late)...

It feels empty as I've finally finished my baby blanket. I am very pleased with it, even the scalloped edges turned out pretty well! Although the corners are a little stretched and it does need a bit of a press. The problem there is that we currently don't own an iron... If you have a suggestion of how to press a blanket without an iron - I'd love to hear!
 But rather than leaving me with a feeling of satisfaction at completion, I have instead that empty feeling. My itchy fingers no longer have this blanket to work on. See, I've been working on the blanket for as long as I've been growing this baby - over 7 months now... And with the blanket finished I am at a bit of a loss on what to create now... 

And that's the other side of things. See at the same time my creative space feels full. I have a number of ideas and projects that I would like to start, and more things I'd like to make for the baby. but with projects swirling around my head and less than 2 months to go til the little one arrives, I can't seem to settle on starting any of them.

I want to make an animal arigurumi mobile - I even started a fish while on the tram last night. But I don't quite have the right wool, and I have so much wool that I'd prefer not to go out and buy more, so I'm trying to decide between making do or just splurging out...

I could finish off my elephant, who is still sitting in pieces. But I have to admit, I am a little disappointed in it. I messed up the American/Aussie terminology and made the elephant in too big a stitch, with too big a needle and too thick wool. So instead of a compact little elephant -I have a large softie, with gaps between the stitches where you can see the stuffing... So my enthusiasm for finishing it off isn't that high...

I also want to make a sleeping bag/cocoon for bubs - something like this. But again, which wool? do I have enough? Should I just suck it up and go out an buy some specific wool for this project?

I also have other grand ideas of stuff I'd like to make for the bub - baby wipes (from an old towel), a picture for the baby's room, a fabric baby quilt (although we already have plenty of baby blankets), cutting up some old towels into baby sized ones, making some cot sheets, even making curtains for the baby's room and and and...

with less than 2 months left (and 2 more weeks of work) - all my plans may just not be possible. So with such a full head space of plans, I can't seem to decide where to start!

What is happening in your creative space? Is it full or empty?

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

feeling blessed...

... by the generosity of good friends...


a dozen homelaid eggs

a fruit basket full of limes and feijoas

an afternoon of food and chat and friends who are more like family...

Sunday, 20 May 2012

sour cherry pudding (converted to gluten free)

 mmm, this is one of our go-to desserts. I always keep a jar of sour cherries in the cupboard for "emergencies." We had one such "emergency" this week - dinner with a friend we hadn't seen in such a long time.

The original recipe is from here.I make a few changes, the main one being using a jar of morello (sour) cherries rather than the tinned cherries the recipe states. Since it already has the almond meal in it, it is easily converted to gluten free - I simply replace the SR flour with GF SR flour. Oh, and obviously, I leave it the right way up...

The one this about it though, is that in our house it tends to be called "shower cherry pudding." Why are the words "sour" and "cherry" so had to say? Go on, say "sour cherry" three times fast - see if you don't end up with a shower cherry too!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

my creative space (with gluten free nutty chocolate slice)

It feels a bit like it has been one of those weeks. It's been really busy, and thinking about posting today in "my creative space" I wasn't sure I had anything creative to talk about. It's been a week of work, and washing and breastfeeding classes, and dinners with friends. All of which have meant I've felt like I've had limited time to create.

 But then again... I did finally finish sewing together the strips of squares for my baby blanket. And after avoiding dealing with the ends deliberating, I decided to edge the blanket before I finish off the ends. I was inspired by a lovely blogger from last week's creative spaces (I'm so sorry, I can't remember who it was - I've looked, but if I find you this in week's spaces, I'll link you up!) and have decided to try doing a scalloped edge. This is a first for me, as previously, I have always simply chained around the edges. Wish me luck.

I've also been creative in the kitchen. See, I get home from work pretty exhausted these days, so my lovely husband does pretty much all the cooking in our place at the moment. Although I have been stretching my baking fingers this week and make some Nutty Chocolate Slice - partly for a work colleague, who was having a bad week, and the rest has gone in the freezer to serve to our visitors when our little one is born.

I thought I'd share the recipe (given to me from a friend), as it is incredibly simple, fantastically tasty and gluten free (but without any fancy ingredients).

Nutty Chocolate Slice

1 cup chopped nuts (I use almonds, but any nuts will work)
1 cup choc chips
1 cup currants (or sultanas - whatever you've got)
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 tin sweetened condensed milk

Mix all ingredients together.
Put in a greased, lined lamington (slice) tin.
Bake covered @ 190 deg Celsius for 20min
Uncover and bake @ 170 deg for 15-20.
Cool in fridge and cut when cold.

So it seems I've had a creative week after all! How 'bout you - are you joining in with the creativity?
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