Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Party is (Almost) Over

So...it's been a month since I showed my face round here and it's high time to get back into some semblance of a routine, both online and in my actual life. The break has been lovely though, since we've celebrated Christmas, ushered in a New Year and Mr. P and I have enjoyed an overseas holiday in my rather prolonged absence. So what's been going on here at Maison Pyjamas?

A few days before Christmas I managed to play nice with some gingerbread and put together this Christmas Tree under the watchful tutelage of the Gingerbread Ninja, Ms. Tazzie. And while it looks a little like the Leaning Tower of Pisa - it is still holding together even now and has given me hope that perhaps I can do an annual Gingerbread Christmas Tree or even cookies since my interest in icing cookies was definitely piqued by this project and Tazz's +++ confidence in me. It was like having my own personal gingerbread cheerleader (but without the pom poms)




Christmas Day itself was a very relaxed affair. We had lunch at a local hotel, and then headed off to my brother and sister in laws for the afternoon where we played a spirited game of pictionary, which served to reinforce my belief  that nobody in my husbands family can draw for sh**. This was my sister in laws rendition of Darth Vader (which nobody guessed correctly although one bright spark did suggest "Bondage Hamburglar" ) 


Then it was off to my parents house to spend time with my family where the only game we played was drinking cocktails and taking incriminating up to the minute videos to put on Facebook for perpetuity. My sister and I were being really silly and the family photo album inherited some more really bad pictures like this one, in which I can't appear to make up my mind whether I'm going to mimic a chipmunk or a pirate. I think Sister of Pyjamas was going for a demented Jack Sparrow look which she nailed perfectly.


I  made huge amounts of  jam from apricots that were hanging over our side of the fence from the neighbours house and since it was unlikely that 20 year old male uni students were about to go Nigella and make their own jam I gave them a few jars as payment for providing me with the apricots. Everyone was happy.



Very little sewing has taken place since I finished work 6 weeks ago.  I'm mid way through quilting two tops and am hoping to finish at least one this week, and then we'll see about the other. I've taken laziness to a whole new level during this break! Normally this would have me feeling like a slacker but I'm too relaxed to feel any guilt. 

I saved the best stuff for last - Mr. P and I have just come back from Langkawi, Malaysia which is seriously one of the most magical places on earth. Rather than wax lyrical about the beauty of this island , I'm going to let my pictures mostly do the talking. We saw in New Year on Pantai Kok beach, did a fish spa, went on a terrifying cable car ride, and I have decided that while wild monkeys look cute in theory , when they are up close and personal (with the possibility they might jump at you to bite you) they are decidedly less so. 


Plenty of cocktails, retail therapy,( I added to my extensive shoe and handbag collections big time) relaxing and eating also took place. I have noticed that in previous holiday snaps I tend to take about a bajillion pictures of food so I deliberately concentrated on scenery this time around. And yes- thats really me up there on that horse. 


This week is all about getting ready to start my new job next week, catching up on the washing from our holiday and getting some sewing done.  After spending the last 13 years slapping around in casual clothes for work I need to organise some sort of decent wardrobe of clothes that doesn't focus on jeans and cargo pants as a staple for workwear. Shoot me now.



Friday, December 12, 2014

Being A Lady of Leisure

I've been on holidays for 12 days and have spent it doing pretty much whatever I wanted, which so far has involved a fair amount of sweet stuff all. Usually I'm trying to pack 30 hours of stuff into a 24 hour day so being able to move at a snails pace if I choose has been seriously refreshing. This being (temporarily) unemployed thing is working out pretty well.

The first thing I did was go on holidays for a week. And drink cocktails with Little Miss Sunshine. In Queensland. That's really far away from where I live. 


Dessert and cocktails in one glass is very special (or a sign of alcoholism..or laziness - I'm not sure which) so this one gets its own photo. Citron vodka and a pine-lime ice cream combo. I highly recommend it. 

I had high hopes that LMS would have given up on the idea of trying to get me to eat vegetables and salads and my first meal was very heartening in this regard ....yes..chocolate is a meal. And there's fruit in there so this is actually healthy. 


However it was all downhill from there . I was force fed REAL healthy food. Every time this occured I had a (not so) subtle whinge about how my body was going into shock from lack of Maccas...




And eventually I turned my captors over to the dark side. 


Stockholm syndrome in reverse. Those psychology classes really paid off...

I had the amazing pleasure of meeting one of my long time blog friends, Michelle from Rag-Tag Stitchin' for brunch and she is about ten times as awesome in person as she is in emails and on her blog. This was one of my favourite parts of the week because it was just so much fun. 



See that gingerbread house? That's living at my house now. Hand made by Michelle herself. Look at those little gingerbread man buttons! That pattern is for quilt labels and is one of Michelle's too. And the hanging plaque was made by one of Michelle's super talented friends. I was thrilled and blown away by this little parcel of goodies. Thankyou Michelle. 


We went to the farmers market on Sunday at o'dark o'clock - seriously who leaves the house at this time of the morning for FUN? Freaking crazy people - that's who. 


And since I was still half asleep I can't recall much of what we saw but I'd woken sufficiently by the time we got round to these so I took a picture...


Queensland is an awesome place - or it would be if not for the sucky humidity which made my hair look like this for my entire stay ...


So once I got home I decided the time was right for a bit of a change. I've left the purple behind and gone for something more grown up. 

  
And finally - Drumroll please ....a couple of you suggested that my big exciting news might be that I was pregnant. Come on people - I'm 48 - that's not very likely and if I was I certainly wouldn't be celebrating it. So without further ado or stuffing around,  the second thing I've done since being on holidays was to buy my dream car, which screams mid life crisis but I don't care. I was too busy being a sensible sole parent when I should have been buying one of these and now I don't have to be sensible anymore.  




That is all -  you can go back to doing what you were doing now. I'm going for a drive....


Monday, December 01, 2014

Saying Goodbye

Last week was a week of fluctuating emotions , an inevitable dash to the finish line to wrap up work related matters ( I failed because some things were left undone)and a week where I think I cornered the world market on tissue use. I burst into tears at the most inopportune times (pretty much every time someone looked at me- woe betide if they also got teary - the resultant flood threatened to engulf us both). A number of people refused to actually say the G-word , which means there was a healthy dose of denial going on from both sides of the fence. 

I started the week by taking a picture of the space where I've sat my butt for the last 13 years. Walking out of here for the last time on Friday felt very surreal. My office was completely bare and devoid of any sort of personality. This little office has been very good to me. I've worked hard and occasionally played here , had serious and not so serious conversations here , and solved some big problems while sitting at that desk.  


People kept popping in to my office doorway and bursting into tears (I'm looking at you Nerida , Netta and kind of looking at you Bronwyn although you beat a hasty exit when your eyes welled up) To Maria , who hugged me tight every single time she saw me all week, which felt like it was far more often than usual (are you sure you weren't stalking me ?) - thank you . I'm not a huggy person but it was actually not too bad in that I didn't want to punch you when you did it. To Rachel who couldn't trust herself to actually speak to me one last time and tell me what she thought - girl it was a good choice to email because by the time you sent that through I was pretty much gone emotionally and if you had come and said those nice things in person I would have probably gone and immediately withdrawn my resignation.

The work crew threw me a high tea on Thursday to say goodbye. 


Some of the crew. Many thanks to Kathy, our office manager , who did most of the organising for this spectacular event . 


I think the fact that I was given a salad bowl as a gift must have been some sort of joke. These people have eaten lunch with me every day for umpteen years and know I don't eat salad. But no matter- this bowl will look excellent filled with salt and vinegar chips. Or chocolate. 


Redemption for the great salad bowl incident of 2014 came in the form of a cash card which I used to buy these to remind me of the wonderful people I've just spent the last 13 years with. 


My last job on Friday was an email to my immediate team which they will open today telling them how much I have appreciated working with them. Since I balled like a baby writing it - there might be a few tears in the office this morning. (possibly of relief that I'm actually gone....)

And as for me ? I'm now on holidays between jobs and am going to be packing today to head off for a week visiting Little Miss Sunshine. I may also have some other big news to share when I get back. 

Highlights of the week
  • Feeling a lot of love from everyone ( a lot!) 
  • Super E telling me that he was worried because he didn't know all the letters of the alphabet and that he's "going to school next year you know" but then proceeding to verbally recite them perfectly. He also expressed disgust that they aren't teaching him how to write them at kindy "because you know Bella, kids won't be quiet when they tell us about the alphabet". I bought you a book Super E and we can practice the alphabet together. You'll be ready to write all those letters when school starts- don't worry. 







Sunday, November 23, 2014

I went to Costco and Lived to Tell the Tale

I spent the week counting down to Friday because Costco finally opened in Adelaide this week. Friday was my first chance to get there and I went with the lovely Taz from Tazzie Quilts and her gorgeous daughter, Amy.  Taz is the most awesome shopping buddy ever because she turns her judgement filter off , and doesn't ask pesky questions like " Do you really need that?" and "What are you going to do with 12 kilos of chocolate chips?" which is what would have happened if I'd gone with Mr. P. I hate it when my husband harshes my shopping buzz and insists on a dose of reality. I'll use 12 kilos of chocolate chips...eventually. 

I had heard horror stories about people going to Costco and never being seen again, and of others who went and only made it out after filling 11 trolleys with stuff and having to sell a kidney to pay for it all. (The organ removal section of the store is at the back near the bakery, proving they really DO have everything) So, I was smart and went with a list , vowing not to get sucked in by the cheapness and awesomeness of it all. And all I have to say after having been there is OH. MY.GOSH. I failed epically.


One of the first things to go in my trolley was the biggest jar of peanut butter I have ever seen. Naturally this wasn't for me because eating a teaspoon of this has the capacity to kill me. But I knew if I brought this home for Mr. P he'd just about crap his pants, because the way to keep your husband happy is to buy him a 44 gallon drum ( OK a slight exaggeration there) of peanut butter. I also procured him a sack of Reese's Peanut Butter cups, as extra insurance against future potential divorce. 


Here is Amy , who wanted to bring home some Peanut M&M's. I heard her muttering "I want ALL the M&M's" somewhat maniacally to herself , and Taz had to distract her by yelling "Look, 8 litre bottles of shampoo and conditioner!" and pointing in the opposite direction. 


Lots of things were cheap...so, so cheap. Outside of Costco a bakery would want you to pay at least 3 bucks each for these cupcakes, but at Costco the whole tray was just 9 freaking dollars. I didn't bring any of these home but I wanted to ..so so bad. I'm not really all that fond of cake but I do like frosting and these are cheap enough that you can buy them, lick off the frosting and give the cake to your husband telling him its Madeira cake. 


Taz couldn't resist pointing these out to me while laughing loudly. She comes across like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth but honestly ? She's kind of a bitch. 


For those of you that can't understand why a stack of gingerbread house kits would instill fear in a grown woman go and have a look here . And don't think for one moment Taz that I've forgotten you promised to be my gingerbread house pimp this year.  And thanks to other hilariously funny people, with a warped sense of humour, I already have a foam gingerbread house kit and a Christmas tree kit waiting in the wings for me this year . I'm looking at you, Cardygirl , and you Little Miss Sunshine. 


This was my trolley as I was standing at the checkout line.  I'm totally making S'mores with those jumbo marshmallows. They're the size of pillows. Bear in mind that these trolleys are twice the size of regular trolleys. And they are American trolleys so only the front two wheels move in every direction. The back wheels are fixed, which is a little disconcerting when you're used to doing a rapid 360 turn with Aussie trolleys. I may or may not have taken a couple of people out trying to use them like a normal trolley. But its all good. Costco has a trauma hospital on site too and I'm sure they did a bang up job of fixing the people I injured.  


This was part of the lineup for checkouts. That lady in the stripey pants wasn't really a serious shopper. She hardly has anything in her trolley at all. Jeez Love, put some effort into it. If  you're coming to Costco its kind of mandatory to buy one of everything. By this stage people were getting kind of feral and rude. Except for me- I was standing waiting my turn and dreaming of what I could make with 10,000 fluid oz of maple syrup and 12 pounds of American cheese. Preferably in the same recipe. Taz kept telling me we had a butt-load of cheese, which is where all the fat from the aforementioned cheese is going to end up ...


Look! Frozen cranberries-unheard of here !!!!Until now its been really disappointing when about this time of year Pinterest and other people's blogs are full of cranberry this and cranberry that and you cant get cranberries here. Now I can make cranberry everything.  And look! Maccas cheese . I was so excited it was almost sinful.  I love Maccas cheese and the only place you can get that here is on Maccas burgers. Its the most fluorescent  looking cheese I've ever seen. Mmmm...I love it's orangey processed goodness. 


Ranch dressing! Chipotle Sauce!!! I did the happy dance. For those prices you can drink it like a cocktail if you feel like it. A 12 kilo box of brownie mix? I'm in - gimme some of that. It doesn't matter that I'm not a big fan of brownies. It was too cheap not to buy it. By the time I chucked Hershey's cocoa in my trolley for 7 bucks I was giddy with the amazingness of it all. And I defy you to tell me who doesn't need 3/4 of a kilo of Maldon salt flakes for $14.99? Aside from my arteries and blood pressure. 

A lot of the prices were seriously awesome, some weren't, and I bought stuff for the sheer novelty factor of Chicken Pad Thai, Buffalo Wings and Waffle Fries. 

The Verdict: I almost had a panic attack when they rung up my total. I swear I hyperventilated. Excessive consumerism at its finest. Thank goodness we have disposable income because I managed to use a reasonable amount of this weeks buying stuff with it. But I wont have to buy glad wrap , hand wash or or tea bags for the next year so there is a definite up side.  Was it worth it? As a once off or occasional thing - definitely. If I shopped there every couple of weeks I'd probably go broke. 




Saturday, November 15, 2014

Saying it Out Loud

Once upon a time, there was very young and naive Princess, who like most Princesses was pondering her grown up future while studying in her last year of high school. She wanted to be more than just a Princess.  This was the 1980's after all , and feminists everywhere had spent the 1970's fighting and burning  bras and enduring saggy breasts to ensure that every woman had the right to a career. Solidarity sisters! But what to do? Decisions. Decisions. 

While the Princess was pondering these major life decisions, her Sociology teacher was handing out the major class assignment for the final year of high school and Ms. Middaugh decided her students would be doing their final paper about alternative /minority lifestyles.  To increase the degree of difficulty, it was announced (among much groaning from the class population) that she was going to assign different topics to each student and she decreed there would be no swapping of topics because some teachers are actually reincarnated medieval torturers who haven't quite let go of their ability to think of unusual ways to torment the people over whom they have ultimate power.

The Princess drew the topic of disability.  

She duly researched, (this was in the days before the internet when research involved consulting other books and resources and actually getting your arse off a chair and making trips to the real library not a virtual one) and wrote and turned in her paper, with footnotes and a bibliography, and everything properly sourced, that as history recalls, she got an A for, and then moved on with her life.  

Fast forward to about 9 months later. The Princess is 18, and has moderately successfully finished high school. As is somewhat common Down Under she was taking a year off between high school and uni /starting an actual proper job, primarily to faff around delaying entry into the adult world. The fancy schmancy term for that now is to call it a "gap" year but everyone knows that's just a thinly veiled term for semi-legitimate slacking off. The Princess was slacking off having a "gap year", and selling cutlery at a department store to little old ladies who thought gold plated cutlery and spork sets were the very height of style. Still looking at her options , she had some irons in the fire career wise, but was still deciding exactly she wanted to do with her life. Hey - you can't rush these things and when you're 18 you seem to have forever.

In retrospect, the universe probably knows what it's about because what happened next set the Princess off on a path that she could never really have foreseen and that was going to influence her life for the next 30 years.

The scene: A Saturday morning in March 1985. The Princess is reading the daily newspaper. She's finished all the good bits and is getting ready to do whatever 18 year old girls did on Saturdays back then. That was so long ago she was probably planning to go and catch a dinosaur or discover fire.  Boyfriend Du Jour ends up driving a chisel through his hand so a trip to the local emergency department is in order. The Princess spend hours in emergency and Boyfriend Du Jour is eventually admitted overnight and the Princess has the dubious honour of staying by his bedside to cheer him up and show her love and support. To alleviate boredom, both from the insufferable ennui that is endemic in hospitals and from the actual boyfriend himself - what was she thinking there- the Princess is going through the paper again, this time from end to end, including the employment section. The Princess spies a job advert calling for applicants to undertake a registered nursing degree specialising in disability which sounded pretty darn interesting, given she already has a basic knowledge of disability thanks to Torturer Teacher.  So she wrote an application, sent it off and the rest my friends, is history. 

From a snot nosed kid who knew nothing ,(but in all honesty probably thought back then she had ALL the answers) the Princess passed her nursing exams and has developed her career and stayed with the same organisation for the last 30 years doing all sorts of different disability related work. She finally landed in paediatrics 13 years ago and felt like she had found her niche. What's not to love about working with kids and some of the best therapy clinicians in the country? And the organisation and most of the people in it have seen her through so many life changes and been so supportive both personally and professionally that the thought of leaving it had never really entered her head (except when she had a really bad day and entertained all those lovely thoughts we all sometimes have about winning lotto and staying home and sewing all day) 

But lately, the Princess has been getting itchy feet.....so she got that checked out at the doctor and he ruled out tinea which left her with the realisation that maybe , just possibly , she wanted to do something different. That maybe, as scary as it was, it was time to extend herself , trust her skills and use that professional knowledge and take a giant leap of faith. 

Do you recall this stack of papers the Princess showed a month or so ago when she talked about having to wade through them (on a weekend no less ) for a work related presentation? 


What she didn't say is that the presentation was actually a job interview. An interview, that in hindsight, seems to have gone rather well since they have offered her a job. 

She is currently hoping that the time she spent in a Turkish prison for littering doesn't turn up on her pre-employment checks....





Sunday, November 09, 2014

Progress of the Quilty Kind

This weekend has been all about R & R, after a pretty big week. I pottered and slept and sewed and haven't cooked a single meal. Mr. P has taken charge of the washing so we don't have to go to work naked this week, and it's been pretty much a case of every (wo)man for him/herself with everything else. 

I've been valiantly trying to make some sort of discernible progress on my unfinished projects the last couple of weeks. With 53 days until the end of the year I'm going to have to pull several rabbits out of hats to finish the three quilts that I set myself as goals for this quarter. That's a finish every 17 days...which makes me want to involuntarily pee in my own pants every time I think about that kind of pressure. So you know what? I'm not going to think about it. I'm going to just plod along and hope that yields results. 

I finished my Sampler blocks for October/November in Amanda's Sampler Along so Im feeling pretty chuffed about that. Yes- I made rather obvious errors putting them together and didn't notice until after I had IG'ed them. I don't care - they're staying that way. This is an exercise in technique and colour for me. It doesn't have to be perfect. 


I made a fair bit of progress since I last showed off my Miss Elizabeth project which included sewing lots of hexies together and basting some for the next few of rows. Maybe this won't take me years to finish after all? 


I started my Charming Stars Quilt and got 6 out of the 16 blocks that I need finished. I had a last minute change of heart about the fabric for this quilt. I was originally going to use my Bliss Stash but went with Curio instead and now I'm wondering if those colours will really work for this layout. No matter - if I don't love it I think I know someone who will, so it won't go to waste and I can always make the Bliss one up another time for myself. Speaking of which, I have already started my tentative quilt list for 2015. It's looking quite full already. 


Marrakesh is all basted and now I have to make some sort of decision about the quilting...and translate that into action. It would be nice to do something other than meandering. 


This week is all about putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward. Hope your week treats you well.