Monday, May 11, 2009

Making Mondays: Sunprints

Hello! I have just put a new post up over at my new blog: I hope you make the trip over!

Friday, May 1, 2009

A present for me?!

I have just posted over at my new address...hope you make the journey over:

Monday, April 27, 2009

Making Mondays: Fabric Bread Bag

Hi everyone!

I have just put a new post up on the blog at my new address:

Hope you make the trip over!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Moving to a new address ... my new blog!

Can you believe I have been posting for over a year here at a pink canary's nest?!

It has been wonderful. I have made some fantastic friends, been inspired by some amazing people and I have been able to show my family and friends (and anyone else that is interested!) what our life is like here, what Yashar has been getting up to and how he is growing. Thank you all so much for reading, looking, commenting and for all your support. It really has made such a difference to my life here.

I am hoping this will all continue over at my new blog:
I would love to see you all over there.

p.s this change is all part of the exciting leap I am about to take of opening an online shop. Aaahhhh! Exciting but also a little scary! More on that very soon!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The World According to Mom: Around the World in 80 Clicks

As today is Children's day here in Turkey I thought it was an appropriate time to post this.

I was recently asked to be part of 'The World According to Mom: Around the World in 80 Clicks'. Basically it is about finding at least 80 bloggers in 80 countries to describe 5 things they love about being a mother. It all started with this candid post at Her Bad Mother.

And like 'Her Bad Mother' I do not love everything about being a mother. Sometimes it is hard, sometimes things don't go according to plan, sometimes I just want a break. But it is all part of a package, a life changing, all consuming package that I don't regret opening.

So, apart from the obvious...the love I have for Yashar, the strong bond we have developed and that basically I think that he is the most amazing and wonderful being on is the top 5 things I love about being a mother (in no particular order):

1. A rediscovery of the simple joys in life. The pure, untainted emotions. Stopping to look at a flower, or a rock, or a piece of grass. Taking things slower and being forced to live in the moment.

2. A connection with my community. Turkey is a very special place where children are truly adored. Because of Yashar I have been able to feel connected to a place so different from my home. Because of him I know our neighbours, local shop keepers and baristas. Whenever we leave the house we are stopped by numerous people wanting to say hello to Yashar, to have a quick chat, to ask how we are. Because of him I have been able to build new relationships with so many people, people that I can meet with if I'm having a hard day, or if Yashar needs a playmate, that help us when we need it, people to enjoy our life with.

3. Having Yashar has allowed me to live a more creative life, to give me time to explore what it is that I really enjoy. Of course, at times it is hard to be creative when so much time is taken up looking after him. But for the most part he drives my creativity, both in my limited spare time and through being creative and playing creatively together. I no longer work for the man and that is something I love!

4. I love that, because of Yashar, getting outside every day is mandatory. We go to the park, go for walks and soak up the sun every day we can. I'm not in an office, in artificial light, that I don't leave until after the sun goes down. We notice the seasons, breathe the fresh air and listen to the birds.

5. The smiles, the love, the hugs and the laughter.

I was also asked to nominate other mothers to participate so I have picked three women who have given me inspiration and support as a mother:

Keryn from eightydaysdesign
Simple Answer
Tanya from forty-two

if you have time (and I understand if you don't!), I would love to hear what you enjoy most about being mothers.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tulip time at Emirgan Park

It is tulip festival time here in Istanbul. Although tulips are mostly associated with the Netherlands, they are actually indigenous to Turkey and central Asia. And so tulip season here is celebrated, especially at Emirgan Park.

It is so gorgeous there! If you ever have the chance to visit Istanbul at this time of year don't miss it. We always take our guests there and when we took my mother in law there she cried!

The park and the three restaurants within it (I have posted about one of them -Sarı Köşk- and some of its history before) are all run by the council and they have spent a lot of money recently improving the park, building new playgrounds and preparing for the tulip festival.

The amount of tulips alone is amazing. What a gorgeous way to spend a morning!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Yashar weekly photo: amongst the tulips

More on this amazing park soon!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Little Lamb Cards

Some little Spring lambs! I know, I know - a little late for Easter, but these are fun to make for any little Spring lambs you might know! Yashar and I made these – last minute of course – for his friends from our wonderful Saturday playgroup. Yashar actually really got in to this activity- I think it was because the cotton wool was so tactile and because he knows what sheep are he could make little ‘maa’ noises at them – very cute!

I’m sure you can work out how these was made pretty easily, but I have put it down step-by-step for your easy crafting pleasure! For the non crafty types, please look away!

1. Firstly, while Yashar was having a nap I quickly drew a little lamb and then traced a few of them on to some thick paper (I used watercolour paper). If you would like to make some of these cards and don’t feel like dreaming up the lamb yourself, please feel free to copy my one.

2. Now get the glue stick out! This is a favourite activity of Yashar’s! With some guidance from me he put some glue on each of the lambs’ backs very nicely. Then I had to sneakily tempt him away from the glue stick and give his hands a quick clean so that the cotton wool didn’t stick to his hands instead of the cards.

3. Yashar loves pulling things apart so we then spent some time breaking up the cotton wool.

4. And then I showed Yashar how to put the cotton wool on the lambs’ backs and away he went. For some reason, saying ‘pat-pat-pat’ as we went really gets him into doing this activity.

Yashar also liked ‘patting’ the lambs afterwards hence the slightly bent card in the photos!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Yashar Weekly Photo: Party Time!

Yashar had such a wonderful time at a little friend's birthday party on the weekend, which included an Easter egg hunt! I couldn't believe how quickly those little kiddies were at picking up all those eggs!

I just realised that I tend to pick the calm, peaceful photos of Yashar as my favourites (I wonder why!)...I mean I could have picked one like this where he looks like he's about to go have a slug of some red cordial, shove some cake all over his face and go rip some dolls heads off... ;)
ps. since there is no Easter holiday here I have claimed one for myself! So I will be posting 'Making Mondays' on Wednesday this week - yep, I'm really shaking it up around here ;)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What it means to be a good mother...

First of all, thank you so much for your emails and comments about what it means to be a good mama. They really meant so much and for me, they articulated many of the thoughts swimming around in my head. I loved how it was put in this comment:

"I think that deep down, a good mother is one who makes her children feel loved completely and their biggest fan."

Also the importance of patience, encouragement and living in the moment were mentioned. I plan to remind myself daily of all these things. For most of us, I think, parenthood is an amazing learning experience, a time when life is shaken up and changed forever. Patience, support and finding joy and peace in small things every day is so important.Looking back, some of things I really appreciated (and still do appreciate) about my mother is that she was always there for my sisters and I, to encourage us, support us and love us, no matter what. I liked that she had a life outside of parenting and a strong independence (a good example for us I think), but no matter how busy she was, or what else she had happening in her life, we knew we could count on her and that we were her first priority. She gave us so much love and such a strong foundation for us to go ahead and live happy lives. So thank you Mum and well done to all the wonderful mothers out there.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Pebble Vest for Spring

I decided Yashar really needed a little woollen vest for Spring. I found the free pattern for the Pebble Vest at The Thrifty Knitter (via Soule Mama). I really liked this pattern. It was so quick and easy to knit up. I'm a pretty slow knitter and this was complete in less than a week -I just worked on it most evenings while watching a movie or a couple of shows.

The pattern is sized for a baby, but I just used a thicker wool and larger needle size (5mm), added two extra stitches to the front and back (so CO 84 instead of 80) and it worked out perfectly. The finished vest measures 33cm lengthwise and 30cm across.

There is something about the vest that makes Yashar's little round tummy look so cute!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Yashar weekly photo: Still loving bath time!

I'm bringing back the 'Yashar weekly photo'. Yay! that the weather is warming up Yashar is enjoying his long bath times again -(remember this?). Only now he gets to control the shower head (a very important job) Oh and he can splash waaay bigger now!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

On being a mother...

Sometimes I find it hard to believe - not only did I have a baby, but now he's not a baby anymore, he's a little boy! This is him at 3 weeks old. So small, so fragile. At sixteen months, he has really started to become so much more independent, running around at the park, throwing himself face first down the slide, learning new words everyday, wanting to be able to put his shoes on himself...

Something that is often in the back of my mind is whether I am doing a good job as a mother...and what on earth does that mean? I think that people are often quick to judge mothers (and fathers), to jump to the conclusion that if a child is behaving in a certain way that then the mother must being doing something wrong, that if a child is crying then the mother must be doing something wrong and so on.

I also know that mothers can be so hard on themselves. I know I can be. I often feel guilty for wanting time to myself even though part of me knows that this is important. And then there are those times when Yashar starts screaming in the supermarket, or tries to hit me in the head with a toy or snatches pencils away from other kids at playgroup and, even though I know these things are 'normal' for this age, I wonder, am I doing something wrong, could I be doing something better?

So what is a 'good' mother?? Of course there are the basics - Yashar is fed, safe and generally healthy. But then more difficult questions emerge. Am I providing him with enough opportunities to develop and learn, and is he learning the right things, does he get enough attention from me and his Baba, am I strict enough, am I too strict, does he need more structure and organisation to his days, am I too 'go with the flow', is he having enough fun!? When is enough enough? And what about me?!

Everyone has their own way of dealing with it, there own style of parenting. But it's also so valuable to learn from other people's experiences. So, for you, where is the right balance? What do you think makes a good mother? What was it about your own mother that you are thankful for?

I would love to hear from you all.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Making a Kusudama

As soon as I saw this on Folding Trees I knew it was my next project! You can find the tutorial on how to make the kusudama here (part 1)and here (part 2).

I used this pretty wrapping paper that you might remember from my little paper hand project. It worked really well for the kusudama because the back of the paper is a darker blue colour which you can see in the centre of each flower.

The tutorial doesn't specify what type of glue to use but you need something fast drying because you need to hold the paper in place until the glue dries. I used superglue, which was great because it dried so quickly but not so great for breathing in fumes :( and then there was the time I stuck my fingers together, um, make that three times. Argh!

In the tutorial beads are used to tie on the bottom. Instead I used some wooden buttons - you can see how I tied them on -just threaded the string through two of the holes and tied a knot above and below each button.

This project took a little while but was perfect for doing on the way to and from my mother-in-law's (much safer than knitting in the car!) and while we were sitting around there on Sunday (because just sitting around doing nothing much tends to drive me slightly insane!).

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Got a spare 3.3 million?

Last night we went out for a quick walk just as the light was fading. We headed to a little parcel of vacant land that we spied about a month ago. It's in a quiet little area close to where we live at the moment.

The light at this time is so beautiful.

We talked to a couple of locals and found out that the land belongs to the government but the land adjoining with four rundown (and badly built in the first place) houses on it is for sale...a cool 3.3 million Turkish Lira (very roughly 3 Million Australian dollars or 2 million US dollars).

Sure the places look pretty ramshackle (and apparently there is a condition on the land that you are only allowed to 'restore' them)

But the views!
At the moment we're just going to keep on dreaming!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

In the spirit of 'free-ness'...

I thought I would continue the theme of free things with a link to this great project called 'Feed Your Soul: the free art project'. The project is being organised by IndieFixx and has some cute little prints ready to download and many more in the works.

My favourites so far are this one by Mandy Sutcliff (from Belle and Boo)

And this one by Jessica Rose

I had a look at the upcoming schedule and am also looking forward to the contribution by Ryan Berkley (Berkley Illustration).

Yay! Free art!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Notepaper: A download for you

Yesterday morning I made some mini note cards - not too big, not too small. They are about 10cm high and 9cm wide. Just the right amount of space to tell someone you miss them, or you love them or to thank them very much.
I thought you might like to send some little notes too, or leave a list of jobs for your partner (hint, hint!) or put a note in your little one's lunch box. So here is a download for you. They print six to a page. Just click on the link below, click on download and print away!

Click here for the mini notes download.

This is the very first pdf download I am posting - so fingers crossed and let me know if you have any problems.
**edit: reposted now and you should now be able to print without having to deal with setting up an account or anything like that. Yay!**

Monday, March 23, 2009

Technical difficulties...

Due to technical difficulties Making Mondays will be 'Making Tuesdays' this week. (technical difficulties = a little boy who does not want to go to sleep!) See you tomorrow!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

It don't mean a thing...

...if it ain't got that swing!
I got inspired while at my local coffee place when they were playing a track that sampled this classic jazz piece.

This was the result - some cool little cats playing some swinging tunes on the roof top.

I am having a little trouble getting these pics for the net to look crisp and clear like the actual work (it's all a learning process I guess), but I wanted to give you a peek in the meantime.
What have you all been up to? Making anything at the moment? Spring cleaning? Having fun on the weekend? I would love to hear from you...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Minestrone for Spring

I love having a fresh tasting Minestrone in early spring, when the sun is starting to shine through but there is still a chill in the air. Minestrone comes from the part of Italian cooking called 'cucina povera' - the poor kitchen and it can vary a lot depending on the chef and what vegetables are in season. This is my Spring version.

Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 leek, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 potatoes, chopped
3 ripe tomatoes chopped (you could use a can of tomatoes, but I use fresh tomatoes to keep the flavour a little lighter)
1 1/2 cups of water
2 1/2 cups of vegetable stock (I prefer the kind bought in liquid form, it is so much tastier, but here I am stuck with cubes)
1 cup of pasta
Spring onions, chopped -about a handful for soup and extra to serve.
Grated Parmesan (to serve)
It is also delicious and fresh tasting with basil stirred through it just before serving - I just couldn't get my hands on any.

Cook onion and garlic in large saucepan until onion softens. Add leek and carrot, cook for 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, potatoes, water and stock and bring to the boil. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Cook pasta. Stir pasta through soup. A few minutes before serving stir through spring onions. Serve with spring onions, parmesan and pepper on top. And of course some delicious thick pieces of bread.

Perfect after a morning working in the garden or running after a certain 16 month old at the park!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Making paper flowers for Spring

OK, so I am crazy in love (with the emphasis on crazy) with this weeks project - paper flowers in blossom branches made using the tutorial from Dozi Design. I knew that I had fallen head over heels when Senol caught me staring lovingly at it. Lol!

This little crafty project would be great to make with kids -it is so easy. It just involves drawing a swirl on some paper, cutting it out and then rolling up the swirl of paper.

Yashar is a little young to be wielding scissors just yet but he had a great time collecting the branches with us. The blossom petals were falling down on us like little snowflakes. It made my heart all tingly.

And Yashar loved being held up in the branches to give the blossom a closer inspection.
After making the flowers I just arranged them on little twiggy bits on the branches with a sneaky bit of blue tac when needed (not often). I think a long thin vase would be great for this but the jug (which I love) was all we had. I used paper that was slightly thicker than standard printer paper and that had a little bit of texture to it which I think this worked well. Once the blossom falls off I will put some smaller paper blossoms closer to the ends of the branches. Hello Spring!