Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Here's to 2011....let it bring sanity back into my life! Enough said...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My first vintage...

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago in my search for the perfect Advent Candle holder I began frequenting some establishments that I had hitherto never entered before, namely the second-hand store.....and then be still my aching heart for a mere 20cents each I found these!

Two of them I purchased because I think I may actually sew something from them, the others well - I couldn't leave them there with images like that! Now can you guess which ones I'm referring to?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oven dress code

What's the dress code in your oven?

I require cakes to wear a collar at all times. A burnt top will never do.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Childproof Christmas decoration

This year I crocheted some of these.

Childproof, unbreakable and cute Christmas decorations.

I think I will be gifting some next year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gift wrap big bows - tutorial

Whilst everyone is in the wrapping mood I thought I would do a quick how-to for these easy big bows.

1. Find yourself some poly ribbon. I got mine from the $2 shop. I suggest not using a wide ribbon when you start learning to do these.

2. Make a circle and join the ribbon together with stick tape.

3. Wind the ribbon around until you have about 8 continous circles. Cut the ribbon and join the cut end with stick tape.

4. Cut two notches into each side of the ribbon in the centre as pictured below. Do not cut the notches too close to each other.

5. Cut a narrow piece of your ribbon and tie it on the notched piece with a knot.

6. This is the hardest part to explain, but I will try. Holding the thin knotted piece that you made in step #5 tightly in one hand, and separate out each of the "petals" of the bow and twist about 180 degrees. You may have to do this to each of the "petals" more than once to achieve the full bow look. It is worth perservering and learning this part as this is what makes the bow look professional and perfect each time.

7. And then voila you have your bow.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Advent candle detail

This is what greets me every night as I come through the door, 'tis the perfect antidote to very trying days in the office I can tell you. So without further ado and as promised a couple of weeks ago here are the how-to's for my skippy version of a Scandinavian Advent Calendar....yes and before you ask there are only three candles not four. One candle is supposed to be lit in each of the four weeks leading up until Christmas, but we started ours a week late and the pot was a bit small so bla bla bla....this is how we did it.

Firstly I must attribute inspiration, or absolute rip off from, my favourite blog Chez larsson.

I searched high and low, in top end shops and the $2 shop for a long white planter to put both the plants and the candle in. Eventually I came across this beauty in a second-hand shop, a bit of Rust-oleum and voila.

The plants are Aquilegia Cameo White which are low growing and give the kind of forest floor look that I was after.

As for my little fungus friends on the forest floor, these were made from fimo polymer clay, using this tutorial (or sort of) and baked for 20 mins complete with wire sticks. I have never used this clay before and I've got to tell I was impressed.

Monday, December 20, 2010

What do you do the weekend before Christmas?

An Ikea run of course.

Grab a mate, drive for three hours, Ikea breakfast, shop, shop, shop, meatballs for lunch and then drive three hours home....totally sensible behaviour if you ask me!

Friday, December 17, 2010

What does mama ask Santa for?

My favourite house in the whole wide world is in Palm Springs, California and was designed by Richard Neutra for Edgar Kaufmann Snr. When I say it is my favourite, I love love love this house and the International Style of Architecture. This love is by no means a passing fancy, it has endured for nigh on twenty years now!

Mr Kaufmann must have been a visionary client and/or he gave his architect full reign, because 10 years prior to the Neutra house he commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design Fallingwater (below), which is one of the most significant houses of last century.

So it would seem that I am asking Santa for a stake in either of these houses....I wish but no.

Dear Santa,

Mama would like some lego of her very own under the tree this year.
Could you please see your way to providing her with the Lego Architecture set of Fallingwater.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Let the decorating begin!

This year I've decided to give the whole Christmas decorating thing an overhaul. You see I'm a sucker for a co-ordinated Christmas affair. In the 90s I did the whole rich red, forest green and gold look....most recently I had a tilt at a pastel pink and blue theme, but now I've truly embraced my inner Scandinavian (ha! I'm 4th generation Australian!) and gone with red and white.

This actually isn't much of a stretch for me as these are my favourite colours and I've been stockpiling.

So today the boy-child and I made these little toadstools out of polymer clay (I"ll post details in the next few days) as the beginning of our preparations for our Scandinavian Advent Candle thingo! Can't wait to finish it tomorrow and show you guys some more of my "new" Chrissy gear!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Spit and polish

I collected these pine cones from our garden a while back and am still contemplating various craft options for Christmas...but what of the receptacle?

I found it in my godfather's shed after he died and have neither restored nor used it for any purpose in the house for the last 15 years or so. I think I finally have enough confidence to say that I like it tarnished and as is, what do you think?

I probably have way to many Copperart flashbacks from the 70s to ever allow me to polish it up!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Look mummy...

"I've got something for you!"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Encouraging creativity

I've written before about the boy-child's love of drawing and his emerging creative streak. It has been an interesting journey to be sure. For as parents we were totally surprised by this, dare I say it "talent". As he is our eldest child we had no good reference point for what type of pictures a child of his age would or could draw...and to be honest he went from scratching on a page one week to drawing well formed pictures the next when he was about 3. He is turning 5 on Sunday.

This brings us to some important decisions though as parents. Firstly and most importantly how do we encourage him to keep his love of drawing? He draws ALL the time and uses it as a way of consolidating his learning and capturing extraordinary detail that he is able to take in all around him. His eyes are continually open to the detail of life, and in particular the colour of life.

Secondly, how as parents do we facilitate a creative life for him and for us as a family? By this I mean in part making it safe and OK to chose a creative career option in life. This one is close to my heart because as a child (and from a very young age) I designed houses over and over, to the point of near obsession....but did I become an architect - must to my frustration, NO! I chose the "safe" path, determined by what I was "good" at, rather than what I "loved". The man of the house is one of the lucky ones, his work and his passion are the same thing.

I've been doing some research in this area and will post more about this next week, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.

BTW- that picture above is of a church inspired by the one that they moved on the SBS show "Monster Moves" ...made equally incredible by the fact that it was drawn about three weeks after he saw the show and also that he has never been inside a church!

Waiting for baby

We've ordered a beautiful Waldorf Doll from Poppy, Bean and Bloss for the girl-child's second birthday, and I'm like an expectant mother preparing for its arrival.

She (the doll) comes with a change of clothes, but a girl's gotta have more than a couple of outfits so I've knitted this little cardigan and have started on some granny squares for a blanket for the cradle. The cardigan was also a test run as I'm hoping to cast on the 2yr old version of this same pattern for the girl-child this evening. This was just as well because I stuffed up the garter stitch border, but I don't think the doll will mind.

Don't worry she's not getting all of this for her birthday, the cradle/blanket/sheets and the new outfit will be under the tree for Christmas. Now for the rest of the outfit skirt, pants, dress...what do we think?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Putting up

With the warmer weather I'm starting to turn my mind to planning my preserving for the summer. I've kept myself occupied with the odd bit of jam or boozy fruit here or there throughout winter, but it's the anticipation of summer's bounty and "putting up" for the long dark winter that I enjoy the most about preserving.

So, I've been playing blog skippidy do da and found three new gems that I've added to my side bar. The lovely Pickle and Preserve the guys that taught me what "putting up" is at Saving the Season and the oh so simply named, but choc full of great ideas Food in Jars .

Oh - and I know that it's an old photo that I've used before, but it's still my favourite!

Monday, October 11, 2010

One Saturday in Spring.

Last Saturday was a little bit of this,

some of that,

and a start to finish project in the afternoon....perfect.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rust-oleum LOVE!

Trust me when I say that I am getting NO payment to endorse this magic spray, it is simple a case of true love.

I first read about this wonderful spray paint on the Door Sixteen blog, and since then I've used it to........turn hideous lanterns into something special for our spring porch;

...turn some also hideous pots into beautiful spring porch adornments; organise the boy childs' art supplies;

...and so many many more projects that I've yet to share.

Our local Bunnings doesn't stock this magical mist, so I've had to make a few trips across town to stock up on my supplies. Why is it magic you ask? ...because it goes onto ANYTHING - wood, plastic, paper, metal and sticks like glue, but most of all it doesn't drip and gives a smooth-AS-finish...and as I said before it really is true Rust-oleum love!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

This month I'm reading...

ALL of the books that my new bestie delivered to me at 6PM on Friday night!

You gotta love an Aussie post fella that delivers a parcel that late on the last day of the week and gives a crafty girl her weekend, if not her October fix!

I'll post details about each of the books in due course, but let me tell you Amazon UK absolutely ROCKS! Ordered on Monday (Australian time), delivered Friday afternoon (also Australian time) - standard/cheapest delivery option. Amazon US takes approximately 3 wks to do the same!

Happy reading fellow bloggers...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Crochet class

One of my favourite blogs on my reading list is Yvestown. Yvonne from Yvestown and her friend Ingrid from Wood Wool and Stool are running crochet classes - and this picture, well this picture would sell me! Unfortunately though the classes are little too far away for me, like a 24 hours plane ride at least -The Netherlands!

But this doesn't stop me from posting about it because I just adore this picture!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A bug's life

I just love, love, love buying the fabric for the little bibs in my etsy shop. My local fabric shop sells 30cm offcuts from bolts which are perfect for the job.

My current two favourites are these two buggliest of bug versions!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Back on the etsy wagon...

I think these two new owls that sit on my kitchen window sill have given me the courage to re-open my little etsy store and stock it with some new infant bibs.

Here are three packages with orders waiting to be posted sitting under the watchful eyes of these two wise friends.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Crabapple delight!

I can't stop staring at these beautiful flowers. I've never even seen a crabapple tree before, and here I am with three of these most beautiful trees in the garden....I can feel some crabapple jelly coming on!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Maisie baby cardigan - done!

I started the "Maisie" cardigan by Alicia Paulson in the winter of last year, before the girl-child was even one! I made the 12-24 month size and increased the length in the bodice so we can get the rest of this year and hopefully next year's wear out of it.

The pattern is from Vintage Crochet and I used the recommended yarn, Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. I didn't mean for it to take so long, but sometimes, you know, you put it down, pick it up, put it down, bla bla...

But I'm so happy with how it has turned out, and so is the little one I think!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A wintry sewing project - door snakes

In Canberra people talk about the "Labour Day long weekend" as being the last of the frosts that we can expect for the year, and this happens to be this weekend. So I must post about a very wintery sewing project that I made some weeks ago before this last frost is to appear.

The need for a little protection from drafts became a bit more important after our move in May to a much older house. One of our solutions was to use a few door snakes around the place to trap the heat and keep out the cold, cold, cold. Yes I know I could have gone to the local hardware store and bought some cheapo crappo door snakes....but I was after a bit more style you see, and being the mother of two small widgets I thought a sturdy version could perhaps be a bit more practical.

So here is my door snake sewing "method":
1. I decided to make an inner snake out of calico. I laid out the calico as per the picture below, then folded the fabric again in half to create a double layer of calico snake.

2. I then overlocked around three sides.

3. Before filling with sand and sealing the calico snake, I cut out the outer fabric for the snake. For this I found some Ikea fabric in my stash which was just the perfect weight, nice and thick and sturdy! I cut it out around the calico snake piece like this;

4. Fill the inner snake with sand, overlock/sew and reinforce with top stiching.
5. Sew/overlock up the sides of the side and bottom seams of the outer snake. I used my overlocker to finish the top of this snake as well.
6. Finally I added some snaps to the top of the outer snake, so that I could remove the inner one and wash the cover, because I was sure that at some point these door snakes would be seconded off for an alternative use by some small child and dragged around the house....and I was right!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Book Review

As promised a couple of weeks ago I would review Bright Young Things by MillaMia. Now if you read this blog regularly you would spot that I am a total knitting novice.

Did this deter me from purchasing this book? No
Did this deter me from starting to knit a jumper as my first EVER project? No

...and I think that is testimony almost enough for this book, but I will continue.

I have been desperate to knit since I took over the crafting obsession from my late mama 3 years ago. Crocheting came easy as I did do a little bit of that as a child, but I struggled with knitting and it was primarly because I steadfastly refused to knit a scarf as my first project.

After several attempts at other knitting patterns, this one has come really easy. I have made great progress and it should be finished within the week and ready for show and tell, which will be 3 weeks from start to finish for a beginner knitter!

So apart, from being able to satisfy the skills of beginner to more advanced knitters, this book is full of beautiful and quirky patterns...and the colours of the yarn and suggested pairings, be still my aching heart.

Have you gathered by now that I LOVE this book, and will be purchasing the second one toot-sweet!

Monday, September 27, 2010

This month I'm reading...

I just read the post at Kuka again and realised that I'm supposed to do this in the first week of the month...oh well, lucky I'm a fast reader so that I can have another book up and ready for the first week of October! Happy Reading!!!!!!!

Spring porch sneak peak

All winter I've been dreaming about our spring porch. Now don't get me wrong I really LOVE winter in someone who was born in the tropics it is an absolute treat to me every year to HAVE to wear tights, gloves, scarves and of course own several proper coats.

But since our move in May I've been scheming, plotting and planning what our "porch" should look like, and for the last few months we've been steadily working towards it. Fingers crossed with another long weekend looming we'll have it done and all will be revealed.


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