Wednesday, December 7, 2016

12 weeks.

view at kilcunda beach while breastfeeding the little man putting up some decorations with my little helper fresh baby calf, with it's mumma

i'm kind of at a loss how it's only been 6 weeks since my last post. and again, completely surprised. so much has changed, but 6 weeks seems like a lifetime!

little ag is coming along in leaps and bounds, growing and changing before our very eyes and gaining a little more personality every day. his smiles never fail to absolutely warm my heart with joy!

in saying that, it's been a tough ol' 6 weeks for me personally. i feel like the first 6 weeks, i got through on adrenalin alone... there wasn't too much sleeping on my part, and i somehow managed to feel like i could still get all of the things done. in hindsight, this was a wee bit silly... i needed to be resting my poor weary body, it had been through the wars and needed a whole lot of go-slow time!

naturally, when the 6 week mark came and went and i hadn't bounced back to my usual pre-baby self, physically or mentally, i was a little bit crushed.
i just wanted to feel back to normal, well as normal as i was going to get, the new normal, like me before, but with a baby in tow now.
i somehow thought i would be done all of the physical healing by then, but my body had other plans. now at 12 weeks, i'm finally feeling a bit better physically, small amounts of slow exercise, walking, yoga and those all important pelvic floor exercises.

the mental stuff is an ongoing process though, that's for sure. feeling physically broken, and being completely unsure of my physical capabilities was weighing on me heavily for a while. not getting enough rest and feeling completely and utterly exhausted was too. and both plagued me with indecision, my brain too fried to make particularly rational decisions about a single thing.
the baby is sleeping, what would you like to do? blank. the baby is crying, how are you going to soothe him? blank.

being a person who was used to running at peak efficiency, i was completely lost! which in turn had me questioning who even am i anymore? who was i before? what is important to me? what makes me happy?
yep, completely lost.

i had a few really terrible days, keeping all these things in, letting worry run my days, before i fell apart and lost my shit. since then, i've realised there's no point keeping stuff in, so i talk about it... with bb, with my mum, with bb's mum, with the maternal child health nurse and with a counsellor too.

this time (and life in general) goes way too fast, with way too many precious moments you don't want to miss, to be feeling the way i was.

it's going to continue to be an ongoing balancing act, striking the compromise between soaking up all of the time with ag i possibly can, spending time doing the things that are important to me, that make me feel like myself, and getting the things done that i know should be done...

oh and let's not start on the minefield that is advice... so many conflicting opinions about every possible aspect of raising a baby, and living life in general! for now, we'll keep muddling through, picking and choosing what will work for us, and letting the rest flow off our backs. phew!

hopefully i'll be back with a few more posts in the coming weeks... i've got things i want to share, and tapping out stories and posting them here is something that is important to me so if i've got the time, i'll be back!

Monday, October 31, 2016

6 weeks.

wee little fingers, in his stripy wondersuit

over the years, i've understood the concept of the days are long but the weeks are short... but not to quite the extent i do now.

the past 6 weeks have absolutely flown. my babe is no longer considered a newborn and that thought brings tears to my eyes.

but holy moly have there been some tough moments.
i've come to the realization though, that the tough moments haven't been caused by the little guy, but us grown-ups questioning everything we do! why is he crying? why isn't he sleeping? why isn't he feeding?
he's a baby! he doesn't care what time he last fed, or when he last slept. if he's hungry, he wants to eat, if he's tired, he'll sleep.
and sometimes, he'll just want a hug. and no matter what needs doing, what outstanding jobs are on the to-do list, i'll oblige. because he'll never be this little again.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

slow fashion october - long-worn maintenance.

as i mentioned tuesday, i had a bit more to write on the subject of "long-worn" the second prompt for slow fashion october... so without further ado, here it is!

a big part of what keeps my wardrobe going is looking after, and giving love to the garments i own, whether they be beautiful handmade garments, or fast fashion ones i've foolishly indulged in over the years. either way, they're both incredibly important as keeping garments out of landfill is a high priority of mine.

the first step in looking after them, is obviously washing them appropriately.
since seriously getting back into knitting, i’ve been a big advocate for hand washing handknits, and i’ve always separated my light coloured clothes, from my darker coloured ones when putting them through the machine… though since reading this post by elle, i'll be taking a little more care with how and how often i wash things in the machine.

fabric shaving has become quite a fun pastime of mine...

using the fabric shaver on bb's blue jumperone purple sock after fabric shaving, and one before. the difference is very visible!

there's no quicker and better way to bring a hand knitted garment back to it's former glory than with a quick fabric shave!
come to think of it, it's a pretty great way to freshen up some of those nylon-filled, fast fashion pieces too. there are more than a few cheap and cheerful cardigans and dresses that i've breathed a bit more life into with a quick fabric shave!

my third solution for keeping everything functional is mending.

grey cardigan with several skeins of embroidery floss and an embroidery hoop

i've posted here before about mending, with this post being a particularly successful to-do list for me, and this one, being not quite as successful... i never quite managed to get everything fixed 100%. those jean pockets of bb's, they have all new holes despite my repair attempts, and the cardigan i talked about? well it's one of my slow fashion october goals and is pictured above.
i never actually stated any goals in my first post, but they've been percolating in my head a little he he. a dottieangel inspired, woolly tattoo bit of visible mending is what awaits this.
it will definitely be a slow old fix, but hopefully i can pull it off and it will breathe a whole new bit of life into this sad looking cardigan!

wish me luck!

what are your thoughts on maintaining your wardrobe? are you a mender?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

slow fashion october - long-worn wardrobe.

once again, i'm joining in with slow fashion october, expanding on my instagram post on this week's prompt 'long-worn'.
in truth, it was last week's prompt, i'm running a wee bit behind with them... i think i lost my ability to manage time effectively when little ag came along. i'm getting there slowly though he he.

three long-worn dresses from my wardrobe, a white wedding dress, a blue and black floral button up dress and a purple, orange and white cotton shift dress

thinking of the articles of clothing in my wardrobe that are long-worn... dresses were the things that came to mind as the longest wearing. the three dresses pictured above are just a selection of the dozen or so that i own, few of which were bought new.
some are homemade (owning it!) and some are second hand, and what is bought new, is fairly carefully selected to be able to be worn time and time again. not only in summer, but across the seasons with the addition of tights and long sleeved woollens underneath.
the three dresses above, encompass the whole breadth of the cycle; new, second-hand and homemade.

white, a-line, 50's style wedding dress

the new, my wedding dress, is, truthfully, the least worn thing in my wardrobe.
it was worn for the two events that made up our wedding celebrations in december and hasn't been worn since... not because it's a wedding dress and won't see the light of day again until my kids pull it out for fancy dress... but because, kids! well kid specifically.
it's one of few dresses that i own that is highly fitted through the waist, and even at 2-3 weeks pregnant (which was only 3-4 weeks out from our wedding, #honeymoonbaby) it was too uncomfortable!
it fits me again now though, and i'm already scheming plans for its first outing.
when i chose it, i specifically picked a style that i could wear time and time again, as i didn't want it to be a once in a lifetime wear. i'm really looking forward to dressing it up, for special occasions, and keeping it a bit more casual too for more everyday wear too.

long-ish 50's style button up dress made from black based material with a blue floral print

the second-hand, is a dress I inherited when my nanna passed away, six years ago now...
it doesn't get a huge amount of wear either, it's not one i reach for daily or weekly (unlike the final one i'll talk about), however, whenever i'm feeling fancy, it comes out!
it's been worn to weddings, funerals, nice dinners, interviews, and even to work a few times.
it's exceptionally comfortable, surprising when my nanna was quite a bit smaller than i was... thankfully she liked a relaxed fit!
it got a few wears during my pregnancy, and come to think of it, with it's buttoned front, will probably get a few wears in the next year or so as it's the dress i own that's most suitable for breastfeeding in!

simple drop-waisted cotton shift dress in tribal like patterned fabric in purple, orange and white colours.

the final dress is a homemade one, as well as being second-hand. it was made by a very talented and prolific dress making friend, who passed it on when it no longer fit her and it's not the first time you've seen it on this here blog!
i've altered it to fit me a little better by raising the waistline and eliminating a little of the length of the skirt but i love the relaxed fit of it!
i wore this at least once a week my entire pregnancy, and a lot before that too as i love the colour palate and design of the fabric, which i'm pretty sure is a pretty high cotton content. very nice to wear when it's warm out!
i love this dress so much, i'm truly contemplating altering it a little more, to make it breastfeeding friendly. a few buttons on each side of the sleeve and voila! now can I find the time to make it happen?

i've got plans for another little 'long-worn' post too, detailing what i do and use, to get and keep my clothing items looking ship shape. we'll see if i can find the time for that too i guess he he!

what are the longest worn items in your wardrobe? are you a dress fiend too?

Saturday, October 8, 2016

slow fashion october - introductions.

selfie wearing handknit alcomar top and whorl cowl

i've decided to join in on the slow fashion october fun over on the fringe association blog and instagram.
this first week's prompt is about introductions and this post started out as an instagram post, but i found once i started writing, i couldn't stop! i thought it best to expand on my thoughts here, rather than clogging up instagram he he.

hey there, i'm nicole. i live in country victoria, australia with my husband, bb and newborn son, ag. we live on acreage with my parents which is such a blessing, having both our own space, and support incredibly close by through these tricksy first few weeks, navigating life with a newborn.

as a teenager, i used to be quite the fast fashion tragic. i would head to melbourne on road trips with girlfriends to pick up mountains of clothes that were far cheaper and more exciting than anything we could get in our rural hometown.
the trips were exhausting and the piles of clothes that came home with me, overwhelming and sometimes never worn.
growing up since then, and spending a LOT of years post-university working in retail, i realize the allure that shops and shopping centers once had is completely gone.
in fact, if there's one thing likely to make me break out in hives, it's entering a shopping center. the constant thrum of being marketed to, coupled with the artificial lighting and air is migraine inducing!

nowadays i try and be more conscious with my purchases, if something is so cheap you couldn't possibly make it yourself for the price, it's not something i want to be purchasing. the implications of this price cascade down the supply chain, the person/people making the garment couldn't have been paid a fair wage, nor could the person/people providing the raw materials.
though this stance is tested constantly with the arrival of our babe, as he will grow through things so quickly. hard to justify spending a decent amount of money on something that will only fit him for a few weeks perhaps... particularly with our current financial situation (bb having taken the year off from working)
we've been very lucky to receive a multitude of hand-me-downs for him though, which i'm thrilled to be reusing, keeping them out of landfill and saving us some coin as well.

i'm an infrequent thrifter, with quite a few pieces in my wardrobe coming from there, as well as an infrequent sewer, simple, mostly shapeless dresses being my go-to's.
oh and then there's knitting... which i've been trying to be a little more responsible about too. looking for holes in my wardrobe to fill with beautiful knitted items, rather than just making for the sake of making. as much as knitting is my therapy, having a garment or accessory that actually works in with my wardrobe at the end of the process is a big plus!
i feel like my biggest slow fashion skill however, is mending. i try not to have anything in my wardrobe that i don't love to wear, so when something is no longer wearable, i'm more than happy to go to great lengths to make it wearable once more! this goes part and parcel with my thrifty nature too. why buy something new, when you could spend a little bit of time and get more use out of something you already have?

thanks to slow fashion october, i'm really starting to think about and ask questions of the supply lines and back stories of the clothing that i intend to purchase and am getting my research on before handing over any money!
for example, post-birth, i've realised that all of my underwear really needs replacing... my current baggy and saggy, ill-fitting underwear is driving me crazy! rather than just popping down to the local big box store and stocking up on some multipacks of underwear to replace what i have, i started researching...
i've found a company that is fair trade certified, uses organic materials and is based in melbourne too! happy days!

i still feel like i have a ways to go, in many aspects of my life, rather than just my wardrobe, in living a slower and more sustainable life. but reading and following along with initiatives such as slow fashion october, listening to podcasts about slow living and crafting, reading books and other blogs as well as just embracing the country life we are now living... well they're all getting me inspired and motivated to keep things slow!

phew, i'm feeling very well introduced now, and need to get myself through the shower before our little man is awake and after food once more.

are you joining in with slow fashion october too? what are your thoughts on slow fashion?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

green love.

i took an opportunity to snap these pictures last week, while the sun was shining and the babe was sleeping, but this is the first chance i've had to put the words together. the garden has no doubt changed a bit, but it's more updated than my last post he he!

first up, the broad beans!

super tall patch of broad beans, ready to harvest close up shot of several, almost ready to harvest broad bean pods, still on the stalk

these have been growing like mad, and then flowering like mad, and now, fruiting like mad!
since taking this snap, we've had a couple of little harvests... and boy were they delicious! sadly though, again, since taking this snap, we had some crazy wind come through and despite the fact that these plants are super densely planted, some of them were broken. the chooks haven't minded though, they've gotten their fix of greenery on the leaves!

next up, the wee raised bed next to the wood shed...

long shot of a rough hewn timber planter box with rocket plants gone to seed with yellow flowers close up of several seedlings that have popped up around and beyond the rocket

the rocket i was harvesting last post has well and truly gone to seed. i tried to stop it by picking off and pruning back flower heads, but alas, no luck! i'll leave a few of the plants in, to go to seed good and proper, before drying them and collecting them for next time.
a closer look at the far end of the bed shows some slow growing bits and pieces though... some kale, rainbow spinach (a much appreciated belated birthday gift), a single butter lettuce and what i think is a cauliflower...
this end doesn't get as much sun due to the angles of the surrounding buildings keeping it in shade. until now that is! thank you spring sunshine!

the big veggie patch is really kicking on now that spring is here...

long, raised vegetable patch full of happy greenery

the rainbow chard is super happy, and again, looking a little different now after a few harvests... the onions and garlic are doing just fine. and the broccoli has had a couple of harvests too!
i didn't realise when i bought the seedlings, but it's a variety of bunching broccoli, rather than just the single head like i was expecting. the little bunches are also purple! though once lightly steamed, they were nice and green he he!
the coriander is going so well, i actually picked a bunch of it to take as a swap to the local produce store with a whole big tub of lemons. so nice to be able to share and support a local business!

a few months ago now, i put together some more potato bags.

re-purposed animal food bag, with a shallow layer of soil and some potato sprouts poking their heads out the top

now to keep on top of topping them up with soil to keep those little seedlings covered. wish me luck he he!

my little asparagus pot sprouted and went to fern in no time!

small black pot with asparagus ferns coming out

one day i'll find the perfect place to plant these on the farm. finding somewhere where they won't be too disturbed is the key...

and finally, some new additions!

three metal bucket pots planted out with a fig tree, a finger lime tree and an australian native, pink kangaroo paw

bb and i gratefully received some vouchers for our wedding in december, and decided to make use of some of them before wee ag came along... as well as a few bits and pieces we needed around the house, for ourselves, and for the bub, i splashed out on a few new plants too! as well as a nice pot set to keep them in.
above is a finger lime tree, a fig tree and a beautiful pink kangaroo paw-type native. also planted in with the native, is a whole bunch of hyacinth bulbs that i was gifted by my work colleagues as i was heading off on maternity leave. hopefully they'll be happy there and will surprise us with a beautiful display at the end of winter next year!

so that's just about a full catch up... no doubt i'll be back again soon with more changes, and hopefully, some spring seedlings sprouting!

Friday, September 30, 2016

and then he arrived...

and nothing else was quite the same again.

close up of baby hand and nails, with mouth and chin in background

our little bundle came into the world, wednesday the 14th of september at 2137. his arrival was a wee bit traumatic, but a couple of weeks on now, we're well on the road to recovery and getting settled into life as parents and as a family of three.

keeping up with the abbreviations, this little guy will be ag, joining his dad, bb, he he!