27 November, 2012

country crafts


Our new country home town has more events, festivals, shows than we would ever have thought possible for a town of less than two thousand people. One event recently saw the local crafters - the "needles and natter" group - coming out to present some of their works.

Lots of "standard" country wares - face washers with crocheted edging, knitted baby booties, crocheted toys. Also among them was a tablecloth work-in-progress by Diane Workman - a collection of doileys that she is handsewing together to make a tablecloth. I have had things like this pinned for some time, with a plan to eventually doing something similar, but never had I considered handsewing! This is truly a labour of love, and even as a work in progress, on its oversized quilting hoop, looked just gorgeous. Makes my fingers itchy! Must get crafting... xo 

12 November, 2012

feeding baby pickle* (warning: a long post!)

It's not all shiny happy - sometimes babies are just hard.

You see, our Baby Pickle had a rough ol' start. That involved his losing more than twenty percent of his birthweight and giving us all one very big scare.

When he was born, Baby Pickle lost his standard ten percent of his birthweight, as his brothers had before him. (In fact Little Pickle took ten weeks to return to his birthweight). Once home, he kept losing weight. We had weekly, sometimes twice weekly home visits from early childhood nurses and lactation consultants, all very closely "supervised", weighing at each visit - quite intrusive - quite an unexpected thing for a mum of three. Baby Pickle attached at the breast well, fed nicely but then promptly fell asleep, only to cry if we tried to place him in his cot, or take him off the breast at all, really. For someone who seemed to be feeding so well, he was a bit of a mystery.

He kept losing more and more weight (very slowly), until, at three weeks we rushed him to the doctor when we thought things were looking a bit awful, frightening). He had had a sudden weight loss over the weekend, thought later to be due to an extreme cold snap and his not having any available fat stores to rely on.

baby pickle at his lightest

We were admitted to the local hospital.

The hospital staff were unclear what had caused the weight loss - from my expressing efforts it didn't seem to be supply, and his feeding technique looked okay... in the end they agreed that due to his initial weight loss he did not have the resources to complete a feed, so we got stuck in a terrible cycle of terrible feed, terrible sleep, terrible feed...

Their response was to pump the little guy full of formula.

Needless to say, by the end of the five day stay, my milk supply had all but disappeared, Baby Pickle had forgotten how to breastfeed, but he had put on weight for the first time in his life.  We were relieved, but I was distressed. I love breastfeeding my babes. But of course, I also love my babes to grow and develop and be healthy and with us - much more important than a feeding preference.

Even with this knowledge, I felt this loss immensely. I was a mess! I went home and was crying at each and every feed. There is literature describing "chronic grief" experienced by women who want to breastfeed and are unable to.

back at home - getting stronger
Long story short. I cried for about a week and a half. Then I found one article on relactation. And another. And another. And so I started a private project, to try to get my milk supply back. I spoke to beautiful naturopaths. And supportive breastfeeding counsellors. A few weeks later, after I had been working hard on my milk supply I spoke to my early childhood nurse. She gave me a referral to a residential mother and baby unit.

I wasn't sure how this would work out. I break textbook parenting rules. I wear my babies as much as I possibly can. I demand feed. I cuddle them to sleep. I have been known to (more often than not in the case of Little Pickle) feed my babes to sleep.

The staff at the mother and baby unit were fantastic. They listened to what I wanted to achieve and they supported it. They gave us a plan and a safety net. By the time we left, we were breastfeeding again, and providing small extra "top ups" of expressed breast milk or formula after each feed. They hoped for us that we might be fully breastfeeding by Christmas.

So, forgive me for not posting much these past twelve weeks. It has been a bumpy ride. Babes can be all consuming.

our beautiful baby pickle
My sewing table piles up with fabric, sewing ideas, works in progress. Soon. Soon I will get back in there. Until then, I'll probably just be hanging out on pinterest, watching online episodes of new girl, or reading some of my favourite blogs while I feed / express / settle a beautiful and thriving baby boy. Oh! and continue to play with and relish the other two gorgeous boys, too.

Chat soon xo

* I am going to try not to get all political on this one. Ugh. Who needs to read another blog post on breast is best or power to the formula mummies or anything else along those lines.

27 October, 2012

since last i dropped by...

Boys have had countless cuddles,

opshops have been visited, three boys in tow,

a babe has slowly adjusted to his home in the outside world,
spring has sprung,
cuddles have been shared,

sleep has been savoured.
it's hard to believe it has been only eleven weeks that we have known our precious baby boy.
chat again soon xo

20 August, 2012

flashback to the belly days

Okay, so I am chronologically all over the place, but these photos were such fun to take with my two beautiful big boys, and taken just the day before Charlie arrived. To get things back into order, here is a more recent photo of my gorgeous wee one - trying to show off his "over-baked" peeling hands and smoochy, smoochy lips.

17 August, 2012

shhh... he's here

charlie20, originally uploaded by summer pickles.

He has arrived. Charlie Francis has come into the world a calm, peaceful and content baby (with a very healthy appetite).

Born 9th August at 8.47am, weighing 4.04kg and 54cm long.

He is a delight and being smothered in kisses by his two older brothers.

We are thrilled to be a party of five.

Hope you are well and happy, have fun,

16 July, 2012

pinned it, did it

Hi again

I often wonder if I am spending too much of my life pinning bits and pieces on Pinterest. That is, until we have some time for quiet play, boys who don't want a bath, or a few hard boiled egg sandwiches to make!
Here are some of the things we have pinned, and done at our place over the past two weeks:

printmaking with blocks, cans and wool

easy hard-boiled egg peeling (how did I not know about this before)

nope, not an alien invasion, but a bath + glow sticks
(a great way to get tired and cranky boys into the bath, by the way)

Do you have a favourite Pinterest find that has worked wonders for you recently? I would love to hear about what has and hasn't worked out at your place.

On another note, we have just four weeks now til baby three is due to arrive. The boys are getting excited, and whilst the house is not ready, I am. Ready to meet another wee, warm little person, and the times they bring. Not long to go now!

Have fun, and take care,

28 June, 2012

Ah, the serenity

Hi there!

Hope you are well and happy. We're all fantastic, loving the new life in the country.

Country living though, isn't quite so serene when you have to go on a chook hunt in the early evening. No chooks to be found tonight - not in the chookhouse, the backyard... nope, they were out the front, roosting up in a tree at about 2 metres high. Picture one very pregnant woman, trying to gather said chooks from tree and carrying them one at a time to the chookhouse in the backyard. And meanwhile, hoping that the two small men inside were playing nice...

Ah, the serenity.

12 June, 2012

crafty crocheted owl show and tell

crafty owl, originally uploaded by summer pickles.

Hello there! Back already with some crafty goodness! 
This is a freshly crafted crocheted owl.

He is very much inspired by this lovely owl by peanutbutterdynamite on etsy.

He is my first stuffed crochet project ever!
He is intended to be for gracing a chair in a nursery, for resting a head when reading, or just being cuddled.
Sadly, as my first ever, his stitching is way too loose around his centre, so you can see the wadding through the wool. Anyone who knows much about crochet could probably have warned me of this, but, a beginning crocheter, I just made up the pattern and gave it a go.

Next time I may even line the front or use a smaller hook, or different stitches, or use double strands of yarn. Next time.
Any advice from you seasoned crocheters out there who know what you are doing?

home-grown fruit is the very best

Okay, so I have been missing for ages. And ages. Sorry! I am trying to finish up this uni degree, work part-time, be a reasonably decent mummy and make it through pregnancy number three (whew!).

Not a lot has been going on at the pickles ranch - we have been eating a lot of home-grown citrus (our limes were beautiful, mandarins are soooo sweet, and the oranges and lemons are getting ready to eat). We've been playing in the autumn leaves, puddle-jumping and climbing trees. Autumn is just the best season, isn't it?

And I have been using my evenings for crafty adventures - making some things for Sprocket (pickles baby in progress), some for the boys, and some for me. I promise to pop back in here with crafty photos!

I hope you have been able to get some outdoorsy time in too.

Have fun, chat soon xx

08 April, 2012

happy easter

Well, hello! Hoping you are enjoying the loooong weekend for Easter. We are, and whilst having some lovely family time, the boys have also been crafting...

Wishing you and yours a lovely and safe Easter xx

01 April, 2012

a shocking surprise

Well, helloo!

It is a terrible thing that I haven't posted for ages. But when one has a burning secret, it is hard to post anything at all. You see, we are expecting another Pickle.

Quite the shock really! Those of you who have been visiting for some time would know that I am, according to all modern medicine, completely, 100% infertile. Our two beautiful Pickles boys were the result of years of hard work and fertility treatment with a brilliant and gorgeous team in Melbourne (Drs Cate and Stan we will love you forever).

So, there we were, minding our own business, when I started feeling quite ill, for quite some time. It was a few weeks in before I finally did a home pregnancy test (because it is not a natural progression for me to think, "hmmm, I have been feeling horribly nauseous and exhausted for weeks, perhaps I am pregnant?") and then went to my local doctor to see if it was a false positive. It wasn't.

So, um, we're having another baby! A bit shocking at first, but now exciting as Sprocket wriggles around and as the belly grows bigger and bigger... (we're at 21 weeks already).

On other news, country life is suiting us beautifully, we have some new members to the family (chooks!), the boys are so happy here and James Brown The Pug is loving sniffing around and yes, occasionally eating wombat poo (!).

Chat soon xx

21 February, 2012

Crafty goodness - I have been sewing!

Hellooooo! Some crafty goodness today - I have been sewing!

This dress was simple, just a few rectangles sewn together, strapless, and then some casing for the elastic in the back, whip a belt around the middle, voila! Popped this together a few weeks ago for a surpringly hot day, but haven't had the opportunity to photograph it. I wish I had a better photo of this dress (a full length one may have been helpful, right?), but I don't. So instead, I'll ask you to imagine the dress that then just falls to just below my knees and has the same trim on the bottom as it has on the top.

Oh, I did take another photo with my tripod one day at the park, but as I am behind my two boys, it just looks as though I am completely naked. Bother.

On other news I am attempting to make a wee cot quilt for Little Pickle. I have no idea how it's done, having only made one for the Gherkin, some years ago, but am giving it a bash anyway. Given that the boys have only just started going to sleep on their own (perhaps a very happy and unanticipated consequence of sharing a bedroom?) we have decided to delay Little Pickle's shift from a cot to a big boy bed for as long as we can. My little man is definitely not going to outgrow the cot anytime soon! So, it's time I made him some special bedding for his cot, at least. I am determined to use fabric from my stash only, but we'll see how that turns out. Photos of the work in progress next time.
Life in the country seems to suit us so far - we are catching (and returning safely) tadpoles, picking flowers, finding bugs, splashing in puddles, admiring the local birdlife, getting up close and personal with moss and mushrooms, watching storms (yes, we have had a bit of rain) and we are slowly starting to recognise some local faces.
I hope you are well and happy? Until next time, have fun xx

14 February, 2012

ps. for mr pickles

Dear Mr Pickles,

Happy Valentines Day, my Very Favourite Man. (I know we don't usually celebrate this, but, there you have it).

What a road we have travelled together! (I would travel it with you all over again).

I hear there is even more of the good stuff - loving, cuteness, cuddles and kisses still to come.

I love you (and not just because you are an amazing daddy).

Wifey Pickles xoxo

(raindrops on roses... and from our very own garden)  

Happy valentines day to you!

I thought I would celebrate all things hearty today by sharing some of my pinterest favourites of the moment. Enjoy xx

Oh! and a little tribute to some of my other little favourites, too, on a day all about love love love...

(the gherkin, printing with banksia pods from the garden)

(little pickle, inspecting a lily)

(the boys, belting out so long, farewell from sound of music)

Chat soon xx

09 February, 2012

thrifting thursday returns!

It seems I have moved to a land of plentiful opshops and garage sales, filled to the brim with gorgeous vintage fabrics, doileys and, yes, japanese ceramics. I love my new little donkey, who only cost me 50 cents. Hooray!

Chat soon xx

07 February, 2012

A Big Move.

Hello hello!

So, I have Big News. We Have Moved! To The Country! And loving it.

We have space to breathe, the boys can run amok, the pug has been running (I know, hard to believe), and it is green green green from every window. It is cold in the middle of summer (yes, the boys are wearing at least two shirts each in this photo!), but lovely. Just lovely.

And there is room for my dear friend (yet to be named - any suggestions?), excitingly, inside the house (unlike at our last place where all things crafty were banished to the shed, just because of lack of space).

I have been busy on the crafty front too, with some pieces I can't reveal as yet (becase they are horribly overdue gifts), but will reveal soon. Oh! And am thinking of doing some markets shortly, so I will have to share all my crafted goodies for sale. Perhaps I might also pop some in the etsy shop again...?

Or perhaps I could stop my random chatter and instead share some photos of our new home.
Chat soon, and have fun xx


to my other half who puts up with the mess, makes me happy and keeps me sane.
to my beautiful boys who give me so much i want to remember and make the everyday something to treasure.
to my mum who alway let me play with fabric and the good scissors, and who knows a lot of songs.
to my dad who was always happy for us to make a mess and who laughs at us when we deserve it.
to both parents for making sure i still got the work done.
to my dear friends for listening and for sharing the laughs.
and, to you for visiting!