This is my very first post, so I thought I might introduce myself. My name is Rachel and I have been fortunate enough to take a few years off work to spend time with my daughter Lily-Méabh who turned two last March. My partner and I were not keen on putting Lily into daycare when she was very young and missing out on all her ‘first times’, so for her first 18 months I spent a lot of time with her in playgrounds and at playgroups which was fun. Since August last year Lily has been going to daycare two days a week for the much needed social interaction and to allow Mummy (i.e. me) to get a few things done around the house. Like all other stay-at-home mums I do the laundry, cleaning, cooking… and trying to get anything accomplished with a toddler around is a challenge.
When I’m not playing, doing the laundry, cleaning or cooking (or catching up on sleep!), I have many interests and hobbies to fill in my time.
I have been practicing Iyengar Yoga at the Marrickville Yoga Centre since May 2008. Before Lily-Méabh was born I attended 4-5 classes a week; I now try to attend 2-3 classes a week but that’s not always possible and developing my own practice at home has been difficult due to lack of space and the “there is always something that needs to be done” syndrome. So I’m now at a stage where I’m just trying to keep my yoga going with at least a class a week (if not two or three) until I can get back into it again and go on to do the teacher training.
Photography has been a passion for a long time (since my days at university) and I have done various short courses over the years in black and white darkroom development. I went one step further and completed a Certificate IV in Photoimaging at TAFE in 2006. After that I decided to do it professionally and briefly got into product and wedding photography but didn’t really enjoy it. I much prefer just doing photography for myself.
More recently I have taken up sewing. Both my mother and my grandmother used to sew, mostly clothes (dresses, skirts, blouses), but also curtains, cushion covers etc… My mother made most of my clothes when I was very little, back in the day when it was still cheaper to buy fabric and ‘make-your-own’. When I was little I made a few dresses for my dollies; I even made myself a skirt once!
I’ve never been big into sewing but I have always known how to use a sewing machine and how to measure and cut fabric. I grew up watching my mother and grandmother design and make all sorts of things. My grandmother was very much into making ‘things’ herself rather than going out and buying them; I think because, firstly she couldn’t easily find what she wanted, as she was very particular about how she wanted things to be; secondly, I think she did really enjoy coming up with ideas and designs, and more importantly, solutions to improve or fix things, making them just the way she wanted them; and finally, I suppose she was a proud housewife and enjoyed making her home her own.
When I started preparing for Lily-Méabh’s arrival (and at that time we didn’t know if we were going to be having a boy or a girl), I discovered three things about nursery bed linen: 1) it is often expensive 2) it’s either pink with flowers and butterflies or blue with cars and dinosaurs and 3) the design is so simple I could easily make it myself!
I didn’t end up making my own nursery bed linen. I only really started preparing for the birth a few weeks before the due date and at that stage the last thing on my mind was sewing. In fact, the only thing I wanted to do was sleep! I bought cotton sheet sets from Target which are extremely basic in design (all one colour) but reasonably priced.
When we started preparing Lily-Méabh’s room (Lily didn’t have her own room until she was well over a year old), I tried to find some nice curtains for her room but the ones in the shops were either too short or too long, or I didn’t like the design. In the end I bought my some fabric and made the curtains myself.
Since then I have accumulated quite a collection of fabric as I went through a phase of going into fabric shops for a ‘quick look’. Well… this was somewhat of a disaster as I couldn’t stop buying fabric! There are so many wonderful patterns and beautiful colours and textures…
I don’t go near fabric shops anymore!
I think I have developed an obsession for fabric and making my own ‘things’. It’s amazing how easy one can change the look and feel of a room with just a bit of fabric.
I love all types of crafts really and I’m finding that having Lily around has given me an excuse to ‘make things’.
Thrift shopping is another activity I’m into these days. There are so many good quality second hand goods available now, particularly around Marrickville where I live as we are surrounded by charity shops. I visit a charity shop at least twice a week. Thrift shopping has replaced some of the shopping I would normally do in supermarkets and department stores particularly for children’s clothes/books and toys. Some of my other finds include Lego Duplo (particularly vintage Duplo), interesting and/or retro style kitchen ware (Tupperware, Rosti Design, Hollywood Tamco), good quality oven dishes (including Pillivuyt, Corning Ware, Pyrex), beautiful vintage woollen blankets and occasionally nice bed linen and vintage fabrics. I love retro style pottery, Denby especially, which I often find at op shops. And occasionally I come across interesting pieces of china.
Just as fabric is, thrift shopping is a bit on an obsession. I love a bargain and finding unusual things. Sometimes I even come across real little treasures. If I need something I will always try to find it second hand first before I decide to buy it new.
Anyway, this was supposed to be a quick introduction… I think I might publish this post before it gets any longer!
Until next time…