Thursday, December 30, 2010

Summer Holidays!

We had a great Christmas - lots of practice on the Rip Stik (renamed the Swizzle Stick by us)!

There was also some post lunch, pre-dessert cricket in the backyard too.

We headed up to Devonport for a night to catch up with my family and I forget what a beautiful part of the world my hometown is.

Running around my great-aunts amazing back garden.

Rock-hopping at The Bluff and poking sea anemone in the rock pools.

And then a night camping in the backyard at my brothers new home in Launceston and loving his indoor in-ground swimming pool.  My boy is definitely a waterbaby!!

Wishing you all the best for a Happy New Year - look forward to reading all about it in a few days!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Peek-a-boo Bags For All!

So I'm totally addicted to making these peek-a-boo bags!  Toni has a great tutorial over on her blog if you want to make a little bag to store all those Mr Potatohead pieces or the Duplo blocks or your Barbie and her gear (I'm going to be making another stack of these for my kids - but not before Christmas)!

Here's one for a friends little boy (old mattress cover for the lining and "Truck Stop" for the outer).
One for D who is going to be a train driver (if he's unable to find work as a cowboy).  Again, an old mattress cover for the lining and the outer has concentric trains on it!
 This would be my favourite!  For R, made from retro pillowcase (my brother had the same sheet set growing up) and the mattress cover for lining.
 For little A, outer fabric from Spotlight and the lining was an oppie find.
For Z, outer is Freebird by MoMo and the lining is an old pillowcase.
 Another of my favourites, for G with bubushkas for the outer and a retro sheet cut up for lining.
 For R, random red bird quilting cotton and an old pillowcase for lining.
 And for J, robot quilting cotton and retro pillowcase for lining.
 And for little G, some chambray from my stash and more "Truck Stop" for the outer but in a different colourway!
I have also made two others for the bigger cousins!  So that makes 11 to date and I have a few more cut out for sewing at my leisure after Christmas - including a couple in Christmas fabrics to help store the decorations when they eventually come down.

I love how great this project is for using all those odd bits of fabric you buy but have no plans for.  I also love how great the retro sheeting looks as lining but have been chuckling to myself that I'm cutting up perfectly good pillowcases to make something that is essentially a lined pillowcase with a window on it!

Merry Christmas to anyone who's read this far!  I hope that you get all your making done at a reasonable hour, manage a good few hours of sleep and enjoy the delight of having family around you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

DIY Santa Snacks in a Jar

Look what I've been making!

gif animation maker
Gif animation maker

I used a recipe from Bakerella for Cowboy Cookies in a jar and bought the Crispy Peppermint M&M's so they look rather festive.  I also made some labels which I'm happy to share with anyone who might be interested (just email me)!  And then I made about 15 of these for various childcarers and teachers in our lives.

I also had one of those lovely moments when I went to buy these 1 litre jars.  The wholesale jar shop would only sell orders of over $50 but there was another guy there wanting to buy some beer bottles so we combined our order and everyone was happy!  I love a happy coincident.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Flower Sugar Giveaway @ Retromummy

So I'm posting about this giveaway so that you can have a chance to enter too.

Corrie over at Retromummy is giving two people the chance to win a fat quarter bundle of the new Flower Sugar fabrics - click on over to have a chance to win yourself!
And this will be my 196th post so I will be having a giveaway of my own in the New Year - keep an eye out!!

I have been busy beavering away at my sewing machine for the last few weeks but can't reveal anything just yet for fear of spoiling the surprise!!  Hope all your Christmas preparations are coming along - only 5 sleeps to go!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Are you the Lenah Valley Yarn Bomber?

Because we'd like to say thanks for the joy you bring us every day. For the ladybirds, and rainbows, and flowers and for our monster postbox!

We'd especially like the thank you for the little surprise we woke up to this morning.

We love having our own little ladybird, sitting next to our letter box, right outside our front door!

How did you know?

My Happy List

Kate has written her Happy List and then Sarah wrote hers and I've been thinking about mine all weekend! So here it is!

My silly family!
Kelvin's giggles when he's tickled or scared/excited or just plain funny.
Matilda's singing all day and night (with vibrato and all).
"All the Sing-a-lets, all the sing-a-lets, take out you're lets!" (sung to the tune of "All the Single Ladies"), picked up from childcare!
Having lovely friends we can hang out with, rely on, have fun with, plan our futures together, miss when we don't see them.
The wind down of activities ready for relaxed summer.
Sewing things that magically have all their seams hidden and look great.
Having time and space to spread out and sew (and a husband who tolerates the mess whilst it happens).
My placid, gentle, happy dog who spreads her affections far and wide, and a sister-in-law and mum who let her sleep on their bed when they stay!
The delight that comes when you make a wonderful op-shop discovery (and the horror on the faces around you when you say you're going to cut it up to make something else!).
Nice non-work related surprises on my desk when I get to work.
A great hair cut!
Nutting something out - like what to do my thesis on next year!
Our new Christmas lights.
Jokes with my collegues.
Turning off the TV and listening to music instead (and dancing around like silly duffers when the right song comes on)!
Singing with a great bunch of women, every week, without the kids, in my own head space, and coming away feeling lighter and recharged because of it.
Giving a handmade gift and people not believing you made it yourself!!
An unexpected sleep in.
Pottering in the garden.
The few moments of peace I get when I'm hanging out my washing.
Knowing that there is a world full of people who I can connect with and relate to because of blogging.
The fact we call farts "noisy bottoms" at our house and that Kelvin thinks pretend farts are hilarious.
The Amazing Race.
Having so many things to be ahppy about that I don't really know where to stop!

If you want to have a go of this yourself then please head over to Kate's blog and join her linky list!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Last Minute Advent Calendar

So I've done it again. I seriously need to remember that November DOES NOT have 31 days in it! And I shouldn't leave my advent calendar making until the late night of November 30.

I think I've managed to make a pretty cool calendar this year - thanks to some inspiration from the Kids Craft Weekly newsletter.

First I dragged out all my freebie Christmas paper from years of subscribing to Better Homes & Gardens magazines. I cut them into 6" squares and made origami cups using an online tutorial. They're very easy to make once you get into the swing of things. And then I wrote on the numbers and used a hole punch and some curling ribbon to make handles.
The I grabbed some pegs off the clothes line and hang these up along one of the steel beams in our living area. I was debating hanging them on the Christmas tree but that would be too easy!!
And the kids seemed pretty happy with it when they woke up this morning (although Kelvin thought they were boats, but that's OK)!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Cover your Guitar Strap

Well Christmas is very quickly sneaking up on us. All our regular classes are finishing and I haven't really had a chance to make any "thank you" presents for the teachers (which is what I had planned to do). However, I saw a great tutorial via the Sew Mama Sew! blog for a guitar strap cover which would be perfect for the front woman of the choir I sing in.
So I made one - in the choir colours of pink and black. I think it's great - I hope she does too!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Things I'm Loving!

- Fresh white bread from the bakery, sliced thick at home and toasted with scrapings of vegemite!

- Lior's new album, Tumbling Into the Dawn. The whole family are espcially loving the second track "I thought I coud sing on my own" when driving around in the car!!

- Being called clever and cool by my 4 year old. I'm enjoying it while it lasts because I'm sure once she starts school she'll realise that I'm certainly not cool and not as clever as her!!

- Brown paper packages tied up with string (thanks to the sharing of interesting fact that involved stinky vulture legs)! And the contents of the package are devine - head over to Myrtle & Eunice to get your hands on your own amazing tea towel and beautiful cards!



- And I'm especially loving some of the giveaways out there in blogland! Corrie at Retromummy and Judy at Green Fairy Quilts are both having generous fabric giveaways - hop over there and enter yourself (or not, improvem my chances of winning)!! Both these superwomen have newborns and are still managing to host giveaways - amazing!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mister Maker Inspiration

I'm not sure about your kids but mine adore Mister Maker on ABC Kids. And the last few episodes I've seen he's been using "sticky backed plastic" (aka Contact) to make stuff!

So I have been trying to organise my fabric scraps using and found a method which makes sense to me - over here! And as a result there were lots of useless offcuts in a pile on the table, some sticky-backed plastic in the spare room and a pre-schooler to entertain. As they say, the plan came together!!

You put the Contact sticky-side up and stick fabric, paper, cellophane, glitter, stars, etc onto the paper in a random fashion.

Then you cover it over with a second piece of Contact for a stained glass effect.

I think these might be a great basis for our handmade Christmas cards this year - either stitched onto cardstock or maybe stick inside a card frame.

I think Matilda enjoyed herself (and I did as well because I've achieved a lot of scrap management) - WIN WIN!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What are you knitting?

I don't know!!

I've joined in Georgie's Mystery Knitalong and am loving it and can't wait until the next clue is released on Saturday! I'm knitting Fratello for Kelvin (in the blue) and Sorello for Matilda (in the pink) and really enjoying my first attempt at seamless knitting - this could be my saviour since I detest sewing my knitting together!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Photos by the Kids

Matilda has a kids camera and I've just downloaded the pictures and there were a few that I thought would make some prefect animations (now that I know how, and it's slightly addictive)!

gif animation creator
You can join in here!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ham & Zucchini Risotto

We made this risotto for the first time the other night and it was yummy and very easy! The recipe has been cut from a magazine but I'm not sure which one!!
You need...
1 leek (white part only), sliced
1 tsp minced garlic
2 celery sticks sliced
200g ham, chopped
2 cups aborio rice
3.5 cups water
3.5 tsp chicken stock powder
375ml evaporated milk
3 small zucchini, sliced
1 cup frozen peas (we omitted these)
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

You do...
- Heat a little oil in a large saucepan and cook leek, garlic, celery and ham over medium heat for 3 to 5 mintues or until leek is soft. Add rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until rice is coated.
- Add stock powder, water and evaporated milk and bring to the boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minnutes or until the rice is soft. Add the zucchini (and peas if you're using them) and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir through parsley, cheese and some black ground pepper (to taste).
- Eat it (with 5 of your friends because it serves 6)!
Go check out other Easy Peasy Dinner Winners over here.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Blogtoberfest is over (and there is a winner)!

Blogtoberfest has made me realise I'm never really going to have something new and exciting to say here everyday! I'm never going to be a daily blogger. But I have enjoyed trying to find something exciting and interesting to say (and I think I only missed one day) - so that's 30 posts in 31 days which is a pretty good result I think!

Anyway, without further ado - I did the random generator thingo and came up with comment 43 which belongs to Naomi at Beeshebags. Naomi had a pair of white ankle boots that she wore to death and still wishes she had!
Everyone seems to have some fabulous memories of clothing from childhood - many of you had boy-short haircuts like me in the 80's, or fabulous outfits handmade for you by your mum or grandma. Some of you liked the matching outfits - others of you didn't! So funny reading all your responses.

And to prove that I have actually been doing stuff other than blogging this month - here's my latest bee block. It's the most complicated quilt block I've ever attempted! I call it Geese Flying through a Spotted Technicolour Sky!!
Anyway, here's to the end of another Blogtoberfest. Cheers!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lazy Saturday

It's your last chance to enter my Blogtoberfest giveaway (being drawn tomorrow) - click over here!

This is the penultimate post for Blogtober and I've really run out of things to say. I think a lot of others have gone through the same thing, and I've been too busy blogging to have anything new to blog about!!

Although today has been one of those days - a busy morning with swimming, soccor and a birthday party but this afternoon seemed to be free! Matilda went next door to play and Kelvin went into the garden with Trev so I've been pottering at the sewing machine. Sewing together blocks for a baby quilt, finishing off some dresses and measuring some massive muslin wraps to hem for some soon to arrive babies.

And then dinner was fish and chips with the neighbours! Easy.

So I hope you haven't run out of things to say (like I have)! I have been enjoying the challenge of trying to find something to blog about everyday but short of ditching my day job and my kids I don't think I'm ever going to find the time (and the day-to-day of my life really isn't that interesting!!).

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bandana Day (and Animation Friday)

So CurlyPops has been doing Animation Friday for quite a while now and I've been wondering how to create these and thanks to The Textured Leaf I have discovered my next time waster!!

animated gif maker
Animated gif maker

So click here to waste so time (and have fun animating your family)!
And Trev bought a couple of Canteen Bandana's today and the kids decided they looked like pirates! What do you think?
To see more animations go to My Poppet!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kids on the Computer

Just before Kelvin was born Trev decided to show Matilda how to use the computer. I wasn't that keen on the computer lessons at the time (she was barely 2 years old) but it seems to be something she enjoys. She can learn new games and new things at her own pace. Games like Memory, dot-to-dots and jigsaws are all things that she likes on paper but also enjoys on the computer. She has also found some great drawing, colouring and music games that she enjoys.

Now, two years on she's a real wizz and seems keen to pass on her knowledge to her little brother!

We started out on the ABC Kids website and she particularly loved the games and videos on the Play School site and the Five Minutes More site and they were always very easy to navigate.

So what makes a good kids website? It has to be easy to navigate - not too much reading required (although there are still some words on the page), easy to click around (no clicking, holding down and dragging). The whole game should fit onto one screen (so there's no need to scroll up and down). If all these boxes are ticked then Matilda can be pretty independent playing on the computer whilst I'm pottering around her. She oftens plays whilst I'm cooking dinner and we keep the laptop on the breakfast bar so I'm right there to make sure she doesn't accidentally stray from the "safe" site.

Anyway, over the last couple of years we have started to explore other kids games sites apart from ABC. Matilda went through a masive Peppa Pig phase so we checked out that site and it's good fun - especially the mazes.

Much more recently we got into Poko and discovered the joys (and ease) of the C(anadian)BC kids website. Many of the programs are shown here in Australian and the site is so straight forward that Matilda is able to click from one game to another when she gets bored playing the games she's on.

We have tried playing Thomas the Tank Engine but I need to be hovering the whole time and everyone know how frustrating it is watching someone else drive the computer! This is the same issue we have with Angelina Ballerina and even The Wiggles sites.

So I'm interested to know if other people have computer savvy pre-schoolers (or is it just me)? Do your kids play on the computer?

The State Cinema

This is a Blogtoberfest catch up post from yesterday. Instead of blogging I went to the cinema - for the first time in at least 6 months!!

The State Cinema in North Hobart is a fabulous independent cinema. There is a great cafe in the foyer so we got down there early and grabbed a slice of berry cheesecake (for Trev) and a slice of jaffa mousse cake (for me) as well as a cup of tea! Normally we'd get a glass of wine to take into the movie but it was a school night so we decided against it.

We went to see Eat, Pray, Love. It was alright, if not a bit of a self-absorbed movie (but it was based on a biography so I suppose that was what it was supposed to be). We both enoyed the "eat" part of the film, but the "pray" part seemed to go on a bit, and the "love" bit was OK (we were just hoping that the finale didn't involve a return to New York)! It was great to go to the pictures and this film was OK, with some great scenery and an enjoyable enough story.

What did I learn from the movie? If I was going to run away from my life I'd go to Italy!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I scheduled a post for today but it's ended up going up dated last Thursday - it's here if you're really keen!! It's also delicious!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hawaii Photos - Only 6 months late!

Can anyone remember the dress that I made for Matilda? Well I promised photos from the wedding and some from our Hawaiian holiday - I'm only 6 months late in sharing!!

We spent nearly 3 weeks in Hawaii - prompted by the last of my 3 sister's-in-law getting married.

We flew into Honolulu and stayed at Waikiki for a few nights - we wished we'd stayed a bit longer. The hotel was right on the waterfront, near the toddler beach and had good eating and entertainment within walking distance. It was the only time we didn't really need a car to get around which is nice when you have kids!

We then headed to Kauai where the wedding was taking place.

The Hen's Night was an afternoon whale watching. The bride-to-be and her sister enjoyed their time and I'm banned from sharing photos from latter in the evening - it involved blue feather boas, blue knickers and a mullety blue wig too!
And the wedding was perfect, on the beach and the sunset was perfect too. The bride wore a gorgeous English gown with some amazing shell-like beading on the top and a floaty overskirt and train. Matilda thought it was great hanging out with her aunty in the white frock and sat on her lap during most of the reception!!
And our family don't scrub up too badly either!!

And the few days after the wedding were spent on the beaches and swimming lots in the pool too.
And lastly we headed to The Big Island for nearly a week. We saw volcanos, more beaches and did lots of swimming.

It was a challenge taking two young kids to Hawaii and with travel there are always things thrown at you to mess up the best laid plans! We missed an internal flight and ended up on a standby list for half the day, and we also ended up having to spend a night in Sydney because of a missed connection back to Hobart which was very challenging after a 10+ hour flight!
The wedding was fabulous. Hawaii is pretty kid friendly. It's a great beach holiday location (although a bit on the pricey side when compared to Fiji, Bali etc). We had fun!!