23 September 2014

Toilet Roll Craft: Binoculars

Here's something we made at playgroup recently which I'm actually quite proud of. Now I can't take full credit for this one because we have done it before (B's idea last year), but this year I was able to jazz it up a little, thanks to some cheap scrapbooking paper from Aldi (not sponsored, but if they want to supply me with cheap scrapbooking paper in future, I'm happy to oblige with blog posts!).

Looks pretty good, eh? And the best bit is that it's so easy!

  1. Measure the length of the toilet roll along some nice paper and cut enough to wrap around the roll.
  2. Glue the paper onto the roll (glue sticks are great and the kids can do this bit easily themselves).
  3. Do steps 1 and 2 again for the second toilet roll.
  4. Staple the toilet rolls together on the inside (one on each end should do it)
  5. Poke a hole on each side (single hole hole-punch or just a sharp pencil)
  6. Tie the ribbon around each hole - adjust the length to however low the child wants the "binoculars" to hand when they carry them around.
Not only did the making of these little beauties occupy the kiddies, but afterwards, they used them in their play during the rest of the morning's playgroup session.

21 September 2014

House Update: Getting Closer

Things have continued to move ahead with the house since my last post.

The driveway is now done.

Formwork for the driveway done

Cement poured

The day the cement for the driveway was poured was a little stressful. It had rained for almost a week beforehand, but the day before had been a fine day, so the area had dried off. The day of the concreting, I got in the car to go to work thinking that it wouldn't be happening that day because it was so cloudy and looked like rain. As I drove past, the cement truck was already there. The rain held off until the afternoon when a massive storm tore through the area. The rain was pelting down sideways at work and I think it was similar at home. I was a little stressed! But when I drove past that night on my way home, I saw that it had been covered. All good.

The down-pipes have now been painted (same colour as the garage door). All the internal painting and tiling is complete (looks amazing!) and the range-hood is in. The TV aerial is also on.

Tomorrow, Hubby and I get a really good look at the place, as we'll be doing our "practical completion" inspection. It isn't completely completed yet though, so I don't know how that works. The carpets aren't in yet, the screens aren't on the doors or windows and the driveway hasn't been painted. But we'll look really closely at what is there and hopefully get a good idea of when we can move in after tomorrow's appointment.

Watch this space!

19 September 2014

The Household Guide to Dying - Debra Adelaide

Image source

Delia writes household guide books - laundry, kitchens, home organisation ... dying...

This is a book where you know the ending before you start, but it's where Adelaide takes readers along the way which is really moving. The book weaves accounts of Delia's past in with her present. It has a few surprises and a few light-hearted moments to balance the deep, raw emotional themes and scenes.

I was moved to tears more than once while reading this book, which I struggled to put down when real-life responsibilities called.

Book: Paperback. Borrowed from my local library.
Rating: I gave this 5 stars on Goodreads.
One-liner: Such a moving book - it had me crying. Well written and a great story.

17 September 2014

A Little Prayer to Start the Day

Here's something which popped into my head recently. I think I made it up, that is, I don't think it's something I've memorised from someone else.

I hope to apply it to my life and teach it to the MissyMoos to help to guide them.

15 September 2014

Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There - Lewis Carroll

Image source

This is a book MissyMoo1 (7) brought back from her most recent trip to Gran & Soots' house and I just had to read it too. As this is apparently the second of the Alice books, my logical side would have preferred it if I had read the first one before reading this, but my inner child and my impulsive streak ganged up on logic and read it anyway.

Aside from alluding to having multiple personalities (which I neither confirm nor deny!), the main purpose of this blog post is to convey the joy I feel when reading fun children's literature. Allowing my mind to indulge in escapism and more than a little silliness is just the tonic for a tired adult mind which has lost touch a little with fun.

Book: Hardcover. Borrowed from Gran & Soot.
Rating: I gave this 4 stars on Goodreads.
One-liner: What a great collection of smile-inducing nonsense!

13 September 2014


I love stationery.

When I was in high school, my friend and I would sometimes go "into town" after school or on weekends and just wander the (two) aisles of the newsagency, admiring.

Fast forward a few years to when my parents bought a newsagency business of their own and I was in heaven. I got to look at it all the time then and, knowing the fondness I had for stationery, my parents allowed me to order it for the shop as part of my work there. It was wonderful. When I wasn't serving customers, I would flick through the supplier's latest catalogue, professionally taking notes, of course.

At the time of my newsagency days, I was also a uni student, so my main focus for stationery needs revolved around things like pens, highlighters, sticky notes and folders.

Nowadays, I have less reliance on sticky notes - an unsupervised pad of sticky notes doesn't last 5 seconds in this house, as the stationery vultures MissyMoos adopt them for their latest "library" or "shop" game. Highlighters are only used in secret because when they see the light of day, they generally like to party and leave their mark on MissyMoo arms and legs (I never knew parenting would affect my stationery use - there's a topic for the guidebooks!).

These days, I continue to keep a paper diary - it fills a place in my heart which an iPhone calendar could never replace. Cool pens are a constant - you can't have a stationery equation without them.

Recently, notebooks have become my "thing". I've really noticed, even more particularly in the past few months, that the words flow much more easily for me when I am writing them down on paper. Even this blog post was first written in a notebook. It would not have been nearly as easy or enjoyable to write if I had been sitting at the computer. That's just the way I write.

So, notebooks. I have a few.

The two big floral ones at the back were a congratulations gift from a friend for my book launch. The big one in the middle at the back is the current home for my first draft of Returning's sequel. The Paris book holds blog post ideas and scribbles. The black with pink corners has the chapter plan for Returning's sequel. The rainbow one at the front was a Mother's Day present from MissyMoo1 (7) and is where I write draft blog posts (including this one).

After taking this photo, I discovered a couple more.

I love the promise of opening a blank book (or even just a blank page) and beginning to write. I love seeing words forming and coming alive on a page. I love the flow of words reflected and enhanced by the flow of running writing in a book: from my mind through my hand, one letter joined to the next, forming word after word, sentence after sentence until, at last, the creation is complete.

11 September 2014

Oh! To Be Five!

The MissyMoos each have allocated jobs to do around the house.

MissyMoo2 (5) takes the rubbish out ... sometimes.

Me: "Can you go and do the rubbish now please?"
MM2: "Hang on a minute, I'm playing snap."

Oh, to be five again!

07 September 2014

A Talk in the Library

Last week, I put my adolescent public speaking training back into operation with an "author appearance" (man, it sounds weird saying that).
Lake Macquarie libraries, after kindly hosting my launch, asked if I would be interested in talking about my experiences of self-publishing my novel, Returning.

I went along to a different library branch this time - Cardiff in Lake Macquarie. It is a recently opened library - very nice and modern.

I absolutely loved it.

The audience was very attentive, but relaxed and they asked some really insightful questions. I hope they each got something out of it and that in sharing my experiences I have been able to help them in some small way on whatever path their writing may take. The hour flew by and I think we could all have stayed there a while longer, except that it was the library's closing time, so we had to scoot.

Did I mention that I loved it?

Public speaking is something I have always enjoyed. Writing is something I have always enjoyed. This appearance gave me the opportunity to put them both together.

We had a section of the library to ourselves

I put a few books on display


As if appearing wasn't fun enough, I walked away with chocolate! What a great evening:-)

Yes, I loved it :-)

If you want to find out more about my book, go to www.francescasuters.weebly.com. The website also has a "Contact Me" form, which you can use to drop me a line if you would like to.

05 September 2014

Francesca's Festa of Favourites: September 2014

Winter is over.

The optimism that comes with that hint of warmth in the air and the blossoming of flowers is upon us (in the southern hemisphere anyway - northern hemisphere readers are probably lamenting summer's end).

So let's Spring (get it?) into...
Francesca Writes Here

for September 2014.

"Festa" in Italian means "party" (and, if you look around this blog long enough, you'll see that I'm a fan of throwing Italian words around). This is a place where you can add links to your favourite posts for a given month (this time, it's September 2014), but here's the difference: they don't have to be posts you've written, although they can be. You can link to any post from September 2014, written by you or anybody else.
Have you read or written something moving, funny, informative or otherwise awesome? Then let us know about it.

There are no rules here - it's pretty laid back. There is no obligation to read and comment on all the posts if you link up, but of course you can if you want to.

If you've linked a post or had one of your blog posts linked by someone else, feel free to add the Festa button to your blog and help spread the word :-)

August 2014 Festa Recap

Also, each month I like to choose a post from the previous month's linky party to showcase. I think it's a great way of showing off other bloggers in my own little corner of blogland. Here goes:

Drumroll for the .... Pick of the August bunch (in my humble opinion)

The August Festa Favourite is:
Arrival by Caitlin at Mother Down Under.

Caitlin wrote a touching piece to her unborn child, who she is longing to meet. Reading her pregnancy posts warms my heart.
Now, lets get the first Spring festa for the year happening. Over to you, linkers! 

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