Friday, June 27, 2014

FFS Friday - Wintery Whining & Customer Service

Wintery Whining

  • It's cold. I know I live 43 degrees south. My freezing temperature is not helped by the load of wood I've currently got, which requires a Very Hot Fire for it to actually burn. OH, the logic. FFS.
  • My house resembles Mt Washmore. I'm into load 2 of 4 or 5 for the day. FFS.
  • I hate folding washing. FFS.
  • It's deceptively sunny outside, which means Millie asks me approximately 5 times per day 'Now it's warmer, can we fill up my little blue pool?' and my answer of 'No, it's winter.' is not met with happiness. FFS.
  • Can I get a weary 'what what?' from my parental colleagues about Threenagers. FFS.
  • In the interest of my personal ethics, I responded to an email about a paid but undisclosed post for the blog with the request of higher payment and disclosure. The client does not do disclosed sponsored posts. FFS.
  • I used to work in newspapers, and that sort of thing HAD to be labelled 'ADVERTORIAL'. FFS.

Customer Service

  • I am huge on customer service. When I worked in retail I was always shocked at how surprised my shop's customers were about the high level of service we displayed. FFS.
  • It shits me that good service is a rarity. FFS.
  • I am the annoying person that rings a business to say what good customer service I had today. NO FFS.
  • I ring Coles Online all the time because their drivers are consistently AWESOME and Coles need to know this. They are doing it right. NO FFS.
  • My driver thanked me and said that he'd been given a box of nice chocolates from his boss for a job well done. NO FFS.
  • I've been trying to source some clear vinyl for a sewing project. It appears to be available in the states, or not at all. Perhaps Spotlight? I haven't tried there yet. I avoid The Big City where possible. FFS.
  • I've been ringing a few small online sewing supply businesses to source said vinyl. One had not returned my call, five days later. FFS.
  • Another did, and was thankfully very helpful. NO FFS.
  • Guess where my business goes next? 

You Like to Laugh at Me (it's ok, I do too)

  • Sometimes Facebook Page schematics do my head in. FFS.
  • I know that I have a loving attentive husband, however it seems that when I bake he is blinded by the delightful scent of freshly baked goods. FFS.

You all on Facebook seemed to like the Ridiculous Spousal Conversation (tm) that ensued this week.
Ridiculous Spousal Conversation of the Day (tm): Mr S: 'Can you please bear in mind that I need food for work when you do the shopping?'Me: 'What do you mean? There's a freezer full of muffins in the laundry.'Mr S: 'You did not tell me.'
Later... I rang him.
Me: 'When I baked you twenty four delicious muffins I SAID 'I will put these in the outside freezer for you. You said 'Okay'. OKAY?'Mr S: 'Okay...'
Never let it be said that I hold a grudge about baked goods.

I'm glad my baked goods, pre coffee frustration is a great source of amusement for everyone.

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bean Bags: A Scrap-Busting Tutorial

My kids are hands on, tactile kids. They love to kick balls, throw stuff and investigate the consequences of each and every action.

I decided to make them some beanbags, in the hopes that perhaps I could make a felt target for the floor and they could amuse themselves for a few minutes with it. I didn't expect the extent of their imagination. The beanbags have been in use for about a week and in that time they've been building blocks, hats, Pip had made them into a bed for her cars and then one was a blanket on top of the cars. In short, we love open ended toys. Gross motor skills, sensory experiences and so on and so forth. Or: they feel really cool in your hands. You can heat one up to fix an ouchie, throw one in the freezer for an ouchie, pile them on top of each other and knock them down. They also look pretty snazzy.

Gather materials

Fabric either 7 inches x 14 inches OR 2 x 7 inches
Wheat to fill the beanbags
Coffee to fill your tired brain
Scissors/Rotary cutter (I rotary cut mine)
Pins/ Safety Pins

Notes: I got my wheat from a local animal supply shop. I got my coffee from my kitchen pantry. I have also heard of people making calico beanbags for their inner beanbags. I didn't do this. The wheat I have used isn't particularly pointy and I used a small stitch to make the seams as durable as possible. If you were making these for very young children or to sell, I would be more inclined to overlock/serge seams as well as perhaps making an inner bag. I think this is a great way to use up odd shapes of material you have kicking around. You could also make a giant patchwork piece of fabric and cut it into the rectangles. Have fun!


1. Cut fabric for your beanbags. I used one piece of fabric per beanbag and cut it 7 inches wide by 14 inches tall. This is going to give me a square beanbag.

I meant to cut just a few... 
2. Wrong sides together, sew around the edges using a small stitch length (2.2mm) and a 1/2 inch seam allowance leaving a gap at the top. Trim your corners as demonstrated to make a crisp corner.

It took me 10 minutes to put the red lines on the picture.
I got Pippa a drink, broke up a toddler fight, got everyone
an apricot ball, explained that when you clean up the toys
we can watch ABC and thought about coffee.
3. Turn your beanbag inside out and press the top gap seam allowance to the inside.

I deliberately took these pics the day after I'd painted my nails.
Take heart that they no longer look like this.

Prepare your beanbag filling area. Take note of the important items.

5. Scoop some wheat into your jug from the bag and holding the beanbag open over the bowl, carefully pour the wheat into the beanbag. Pin the opening closed with one or two pins. This step can be done with toddlers underfoot but is exponentially faster without. That is why there are no pictures of this step.

A visual of how much I filled my bean bags.

6. Sip your coffee and ensure that you drink it before it's cold. Priorities, please.

7. Stitch your opening closed, going back and forth at the ends a few times.

8. Oh my goodness children, stop yelling at the cat. Pip, here's your dummy.


I initially meant to sew just a few up and when I began sewing the fabric I'd cut I noted that it was taking an extraordinarily long time. When I counted the cut fabric I'd cut 34 beanbags out. We have a plentiful supply now and I have given some away as a gift. Which brings me to:


I can hear the refrain of 'Humpty Dumpty' coming from my bedroom. Will I be putting a pre-emptive beanbag in the freezer?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mrs Smyth Made This

I stopped writing about craft, and well, everything for a time. My life just didn't seem interesting enough to devote the time to sitting down and collating posts. I was tired and blogging was on the wane for me.

This has started to shift again. I suppose everything has it's seasons and now it's time to write a little bit more. This shift began when I realised that in the past 5 days I have made...

Deer and Doe Plantain with long sleeves

Deer and Doe Plantain with 3/4 sleeves

Bolster cushion for my bed

And I have continued quilting my Marmalade quilt but have run out of thread until I can make another trip to buy some more. I have also begun a charm square mini quilt with M, who asked oh so politely if I could teach her to use my sewing machine. So far she's sewed together three rows of squares, I pressed and joined the rows for her. She's very good at sitting on my lap and patiently guiding her fabric through the machine, keeping her hands well clear of the needle. She knows how to raise and lower the needle and put the foot down. I control the foot pedal and she guides. I'd never leave her alone with my machine, but I'm so proud that she wants to learn to sew.

The Juniper pants by Colette are next. I've had the pattern and the fabric for almost twelve months, but I kept waiting for the next 5kg, or to feel brave enough to try. The time has come where I feel confident, and my only pair of jeans have developed a second hole. It is time. 

What have you been making? Tell me everything.

Friday, June 13, 2014

FFS Friday - Mother, Mediator, Jaw Clencher.

Dear My Dentist,

It's been awhile since I'd visited one of your ilk. In fact, I was unmarried the last time I saw you. In that time I had two babies, which roughly translates to:
3 years of no dental attendance FFS.
3 years of eating after I'd brushed my teeth at night FFS.
3 years of eating high sugary foods, usually in the night FFS.
Drinking far too much coffee FFS.
Not flossing regularly FFS.
However, I do religiously brush twice per day. No FFS.

I'm sorry. I don't know that you are sorry. Perhaps you are sorry on a human level, but I hear your internal cash register ringing loudly.

At our visit this week you were the bearer of bad news. There are four wisdom teeth, three of which need to be removed. FFS.
Two of my molars touch at the top but not at the bottom, making a nice pocket for germs to multiply and cause a cavity. FFS.
Indeed, I do clench my teeth. I suspect it's the stress of mediating two headstrong toddlers all day. FFS.
Yes, I do have TMJ syndrome and yes I have a splint to assist my jaw. FFS.
I do not know where my splint is. It's also about 10 years old. FFS.
You kindly suggested I purchase a Waterpik to assist in the cleaning of said tooth. It costs $160. I was not at all surprised to discover that you conveniently sell them. FFS.
I do not own a Waterpik at this point in time. FFS.
You inspected my teeth, told me all the problems and told me to book back in for a thorough cleaning. I imagined that was WHY I WAS THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE. FFS.

We did however get a branded welcome pack. I now own two toothbrushes, mini dental floss, mini mouth wash and two mini toothpastes, for the cost of $250. FFS.

However, my new health insurance saw your inflated bill and came to the party bringing balloons, streamers and a bottle of champers. NO FFS.
So really, it was only a $50 pack of toothbrushes. NO FFS.

My dentist, I will see you in a few weeks time once I've had a Medicare funded 3D jaw xray to assist in the location of my facial nerves before we proceed with talking to surgeon about the removal of my wisdom teeth.

With the money that you extract (PUNTASTICO) from your patients may I make a suggestion?
PLEASE heat your surgery. It's freezing.

Yours in regular flossing,

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

All runs bright and beautiful, all major muscles sore.

All runs bright and beautiful,
All major muscles sore.
Tennis balls and foam rollers,
My lounge room has them all.
Nurofen and frozen peas,
I'm stretching on the floor.
Running shoes gathering dust,
Forlornly at the door.
My friends are running marathons,
and I can't run at all.
My shins ache, my arches burn,
No runner's high at all.

To the tune of 'All Things Bright And Beautiful'. I know, I missed my calling as a jingle writer.

You may recall I 'came out' of the running closet and confessed that I was training for a half marathon, with plans to go to the Sydney Blackmores Running Festival with Sarah.

My BRFAABF (Best Running Friend All Around Best Friend) Louise and I were running 3-4 times per week and all was noodling along nicely. I mean, my shins hurt but if I wore my calf sleeves it seemed manageable. My chiropractor, GP and Physio all muttered about resting and stretching and icing and I was doing most of those things. They also mentioned cutting down mileage, and perhaps not doing a half marathon.

Say what?

Mummy needs endorphins.

I mentioned to my chiro (also a trail long distance runner) that my shins hurt a lot, a lot of the time. As in, I couldn't rest on my shins on the floor and if anyone touched them I felt punchy and stabby. This is apparently indicative of a bigger problem than basic shin splints.

I've had biomechanical issues for quite a few years, lots of iTB problems and hiking injuries. Mostly I put it down to a lack of basic fitness and kept on rolling. I fell in and out of love with regular exercise for years, but this time something clicked. It became important for me to be fit and healthy to keep up with two loose cannons moving toddlers in my life. I realised one day how important it was to me when I jumped up off a chair and sprinted to the top of a park up a steep hill to rescue M from a gigantic slide. It was a great feeling to be able to BE THERE, pronto. I can also chase them endlessly despite it being endlessly boring and bounce up off the floor when needed. I'm active, damnit.

The Mother's Day Classic arrived and despite having been 'on rest' for a week I ran it anyway. At 4km I had a mini-meltdown because it was SO hard, and I've run further than that before. It was a horrible feeling. Louise fed me jellybeans, we put some music on my phone and powered through the last 4km. We clocked in at 1:02 and I promptly came home after lunch and iced, rested, snoozed and took lots of ibuprofen.

My name is Amy and I have shin splints, plantar fasciitis, tight calves, tight iTB and in the words of my (female) chiro, a nasty ass. Read: tight glutes that don't 'fire' properly. I prefer nasty ass.

As of last week I had a good conversation with my chiro and made a decision about my running health.

There will be no half marathon this year, or next year. There will be no running until I can walk 16km per week with no shin pain.

I bought The Five Minute Shin Splint Cure which sounds like a total crock but has diagrams of how to foam roll your shins and legs properly, which was very useful. I also bought Tennis Ball Self Massage which was really quite amazing for me. My chiro looked at me like I was an idiot, but I truly didn't know anything about trigger points for major muscle groups, so for a few dollars these two Kindle books were eye opening for me.

At present my routine goes:

  1. Foam roll shins (front, right, left)
  2. Foam roll calves
  3. Foam roll hamstrings
  4. Foam roll iTB 
  5. Tennis ball anterior shin
  6. Tennis ball interior shin
  7. Tennis ball quads (helps with my knee pain)
  8. Tennis ball arches
  9. Tennis ball calves
  10. Tennis ball any other tight spots
  11. Stretch calves
  12. Stretch hip flexor
  13. Stretch glutes
It's so boring that I watch trashy television or text with Sarah whilst I'm doing it. It seems to be helping.

Once I can walk 16km without pain I'll begin with the Galloway run/walk/run program for tiny amounts, increasing my mileage slowly and steadily.

I'll work up to a 5km run, then a 7km run, then a 10km run. I'll continue that for 12 months so I have a solid running base together, then I'll think about other races. 

I've currently got a pair of these Asics GT-20002 running shoes, and I bought them when my knees were bad. They've got perhaps 100km of running on them, so I'm not looking to replace them any time soon. I know that replacing shoes is usually the first step in dealing with shin splints, but I really want to try everything else before laying down another $200 on shoes.

So there you have it. That's my plan at the moment.

Are you injured? How are you rehabilitating yourself?

Friday, June 6, 2014

FFS Friday - Hidden Vegies and Cider

My fortnight has been a perfect mix of light and dark. In plainer speak, a great mixture of FFS Material and Shiny Things.

Let's go way way back...

  • Last Tuesday morning I was on my way back to bed after resettling Lady Pippa when my iPad and iPhone started binging loudly. And continuing to bing loudly. I couldn't find the blessed iPad and my iPhone was on the dock, next to Mr S's head. I went in to the bedroom to find him staring bleary eyed and very confusedly at the phone. 'Make it stop! What's going on?' I HAVE NO IDEA.
F**k you.

  • I spent the next hour working out how to unlock my iPad. My iPhone was unaffected because it has a passcode. Rest assured that the iPad now has a passcode. FFS.
  • My children are on a dinner strike. FFS.
  • Pippa's vocabulary is skyrocketing daily. Her response to dinner is 'Yuck'. FFS.
  • I wonder where she learned that, Millie? FFS.
  • I mean, it's fine. NO FFS.
  • Nope, I lied. IT IS NOT FINE. I spent an hour blitzing vegies and making a pasta bake with spaghetti in it because last night's dinner soundtrack was a toddler screaming because the spaghetti 'WAS NOT BIG SPAGHETTI I WANT BIG SPAGHETTI'. So a pasta bake with spaghetti instead. Sure thing. The response: "It's ingusting. So ingusting. I WANT SPAGHETTI.' FFS.
  • Guess who will eat a big breakfast tomorrow because there's no other food anymore. You can get out of bed and EAT YOUR DINNER. FFS.
  • I have started drinking after dinner due to the stress of dinner. Cider is my BFF. NO FFS.
  • Millie is big on sounds at the moment. She spends all day making SOUNDS. Just, SOUNDS. Usually some variation on a raspberry. ALL DAY. FFS.
  • I am still suffering with shin splints and ITB injuries, plantar fasciitis and various upper back issues related to carrying heavy toddlers around and being tall. FFS.
  • My girls lie down on the floor with me, do their 'strachies', steal my tennis balls (plantar fasciitis) and my foam roller (ITB and shin splints) and try to eat my frozen peas (ice pack for shins). FFS.
  • They won't eat cooked peas so I'll take what I can get. NO FFS.
  • Pip's new favourite sound is her version of a siren, which is somewhat both ear splittingly loud in volume and quite an... unusual sound. FFS.

  • Millie's favourite song is "Roar" by Katy Perry. In case you're not sure of what is is, here you go.
  • We listen to it at least a few times per day. Pip was standing behind me when I was putting music on Spotify this week saying 'Oh oh oh oh-oh OH OH OH' and I wasn't sure what she was saying... then I realised she wanted to listen to "Roar". Child musical genius. NO FFS.
  • There are far worse songs with far worse messages that my children could want to listen to. NO FFS.
  • My third toddler (THE FREAKING CAT) refuses to sleep in past 5.30am if one of the two occurs: 1) Her food bowl is empty or 2) She has food in her bowl but wants you to show it to her. I'm getting well trained at sleeping with my fingers in my ears. FFS.

  • It's now three hours later than when I started writing this. I have now been fed, watered and cuddled by my family and feeling decidedly less stabby... this does not make for good writing. FFS.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...