Wednesday, December 22

The merriest of Christmas....

To YOU!! 

As Mira Narnie blog takes a little bloggy holiday - I'm sending you all lots of festive cheer in my last post for the year... to say that blogging has been a blast is a complete understatement.  I blogged for most of the year and was completely overwhelmed at the blogging community I find myself in.  I started half-heartedly thinking it really wasn't for me - that i wouldn't get enjoyment out of it - oh how i was wrong! 

It's been a pleasure to visit so many wonderful blogs, to have lovely folks come visit and leave gorgeous comments that brighten my day.  I finally found a creative outlet, somewhere to share ideas, to gain them, to read about others' points of view, to get inspiration, hopefully to inspire, make new friends and a love for all things crafty and handmade. 

I'm looking forward to having a nice break with my loved ones.... enjoying summer days, gelato and playing with the kids. 

May the Christmas season fill your home with joy, your heart with love and your life with laughter! 

I look forward to seeing you all on the flip side - 2011!  wow!  


Tuesday, December 21

spiced Christmas cookies

I promised a few posts back that I would share a great spiced Christmas cookie recipe that I have adapted from an English cookbook....

We made another batch yesterday morning -  and just as I was about to bake them, I realised that the sugar packet was on the bench - unopened!! Oh dear!  Roll all that mixture back up and somehow I incorporated the sugar and started again!  Oh well, the kids got the use the cookie cutters AGAIN!

Here's what you'll need;

350g plain flour
2 tsp mixed spice (or use a tsp cinnamon and a tsp of nutmeg)
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda
100g butter, softened
175g light or brown sugar
1 egg
4 tbs maple syryp

1. sift flour, spices and soda into a bowl.  rub in the butter until mixture in like breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar (don't forget the sugar!!!)
2. Add the egg, syrup and mix all together to make the dough.
3.  Roll out on a floured surface until 1cm thick.
4. cut out using cookie cutters and place on a baking tray and refrigerate for 1 hour
5. bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown - allow to cool then transfer onto a wire rack.

Biscuits will keep for 5 days in an air tight container!!  Perfect to make if you'll be having visitors streaming in in the next few days!

Monday, December 20

A custom custom made to order....

...I love it when people come up with good, no great ideas.  And I love it more when I can be apart of a great idea!  A while back, my good friend Simone whose daughter goes to the same Kinder as my son purchased a skirt that I had listed on Made It.  She asked if I could make a matching t-shirt,  and some matching hair accessories, oh, and could I stitch or somehow incorporate the girls initial on the t-shirt - yes, that would be great!

I thought this was a fabulous idea - and set to making up the outfit.  It turned out really sweet and wonderful, that Simone has ordered four more sets for upcoming Christmas gifts for four sweet little girls in her life (one being her own daughter).

So I set to work making some skirts....

Then some tops (all with their initial in coordinating fabric)

And then some hair accessories....

Oh what a good idea it was.  Imagine these four little girls wearing their own little 'custom custom made to order' outfit!!!  Adorable! 


Saturday, December 18

I'm grateful for.....

Oh, it is a joy to feel Grateful.  I'm even grateful that I recognise when I am feeling grateful...does that make sense....anyhoo - grateful that Maxabella Loves decided to create this linky on a Saturday makes me grateful too - so join in and feel the love...

What am I grateful for -

1.  Books - I love books!  I love buying them, i love reading them, i love going to bookshops and i love buying books online (and having them delivered straight to my door without a car parking problem in the world!).   I have a little confession!  I love to read trashy Chick Lit - yep, girl meets boy, love story, twist but happy ending, bargin bin type!  No sad stuff, gory, death, murder, or sci-fi for me.  I love that sometimes I just churn through a book in a few days....such satisfaction!

2. Music - oh what the world would be without music.  If you stopped past this time last week, I was excited about going to the Bon Jovi concert!  Well, he did not disappoint and I can officially say it was the best concert I have ever been to and that Jon Bon Jovi himself is the second* sexiest man on the planet!!  We love music in this house, and it is on far more that the box (which I am also grateful for!)

3.  Trust - On an expedition last weekend to get the kids a real Christmas tree, this mumma bear was without cash at a "cash only" tree buying place.  We had been to several others of this variety and I felt deflated.  The owner told me of an ATM at a near by restaurant, but it was out of order.  I was frustrated, hungry and feed up. I told the owner to take the tree out of the car - I couldn't pay him.
"No problem - you take the tree home, and come back later with the money!"
"huh" was all i could manage.  I didn't think shop owners did Apro anymore (well not in the city!)
Needless to say, I took the tree home feeling elated that there is still complete and utter trust of strangers! Oh and of course I went back and paid him a few ours later!


*I married the sexiest man!

Oh please stop by and check out some other grateful bloggers today!

Happy Grateful Day!

Thursday, December 16

Getting into the Christmas Spirit here....

I purchased some plain t-shirts a while ago, and decided now would be a great time to create something unique and festive. 

My daughter loves her "new one" as she calls it and these ones have been posted to my two nieces in Country Victoria, so they can enjoy wearing them in the lead up to Christmas!

Not many sleeps to go now!!!  Hope you are getting into the spirit!!!

Tuesday, December 14

Such a luscious giveaway

....Have you heard?

Heard what....

Maxabella Loves is hosting the Lusciously Lush Fabulously Fab Gorgeous Giveaway!

And Mira Narnie is joining her with Posie Patchwork, Ivy Designs, Paper Scissors Rock and Loved with a stack of gorgeous crafty treats!  What a way to celebrate 500 followers!!!

If you only enter one Giveaway this year, let it be this one!!  You will not be dissapointed!  I wish I could enter - all those yummy, amazing handmade delights!  Imagine all that goodness just before Christmas!  Heaven.

well, what are you waiting for?  Get over there now and ENTER!!!

Monday, December 13

Shop Update.....

It's been a while since I paid my little shop some attention.  I've taken a little break from my Etsy shop, but I still love to spend time nuturing my Made It Shop (and doing some shopping there too!)...

So...if you have a spare few minutes and you still need some Christmas pressies, or stocking fillers do pop over to Made It.  I love admiring so many crafty folk we have in Aus!  I'll show you some great purchases I've made soon.

My store can be found here - I have added some new items, as well as reducing some of my others!

oh so handy key fob
flower power dress
hair accessory pack
blue summer time dress

Saturday, December 11

I'm grateful for.....{firsts}

Joining in today with ever delightful Maxabella Loves Grateful Link.

So, what am I grateful for....well, firsts - there has been a few this week...

1. First Concert - yep, my son has his first "concert" at Kinder on Friday.  I was the mother with the video camera* and a HUGE grin on my face, proud as punch that my conservative, reserved boy, sang carols and clapped and rang jingle bells on cue. That's a photo of him, up there, and he had quite a few wardrobe malfunctions with the reindeer headband, but he sailed through it!  So proud I could have burst!

2.  Going to a rock concert with my man - yep, tonight we are going to our first rock concert (together!)  we've been to several concerts separately, but tonight the in laws are taking care of the kiddies, we are dining out and heading off to see Bon Jovi - we are excited!!

3. Winning - yep, coming first is a good feeling!  my father-in-law and I won at a game of italian cards (scoopa) against my hubby and mother-in-law the other night.  I consider myself a novice at this game, so winning against my hubby is a good feeling!**

Grateful?  Of course you are for something - join in here...

*Seems like if you didn't have a video camera you were the odd one out, so i didn't feel so nerdy!
**During this card game, italian swear words are quite frequent and is really the only time I get boisterous and feisty in front of the in-laws - especially when one is competing against a very competitive husband!

Wednesday, December 8

made with love....

As a young girl, i was forever working away tirelessly at some crafty project or other.  I had a small box under my bed - I remember it well.  A large cardboard box that I convinced my mother needed to be covered in lovely floral fabric with ribbon ties.   It was very pretty and it held my small but decent crafty necessities.

 I may have started out with macaroni threaded necklaces as youngster, and worked my way to buying old necklaces from thrift and junk shops with my pocket money, cutting them up and re-creating masterpieces.

I beaded, I sewed, I stitched and I stuffed.  I would try anything!   When I older I was allowed to use the sewing machine with supervision, and then whenever my need arose once I had mastered the technique.    This was all in the name of giving handmade.  My main recipient was mostly my dear Mother and at random or for a special event I would thrust a parcel from my wee hand into hers standing with shoulders back, big grin on my face - proud of my accomplishment.

No matter how weird, strange, tacky or just plain wrong, my Mother wrapped those warm arms around me claiming it the best ever and how amazed she was at my talent.   I think of mr. goobie (the clay figurine) that sits proudly on her desk, the beaded necklace she wore to my brothers debut ball, the numerous cards, poems, pictures and finally get that it's not all about the item.  It's about who made it, and that each handmade item is made with love...

A few months ago, my mother celebrated a birthday.  These are the handmade goodies I made for her;
- Some floral gardening gloves (from Weekend Sewing book)
- Silk covered beaded necklace (from Crafty Minx book) - made by me and the kids
- Heat pack - made with brown rice and a big scoop of loose French Earl Grey inside (inspired by Sew Mama Sew)

I also found some Espresso Lip Balm on Etsy which was also perfect for my coffee lovin' mother!

 Did you ever make things for your loved ones?  Do you cringe now and have a good laugh at some of your creations?  I know i do!


Monday, December 6

At my house {birds and stars...}

Playing along with Lou what's going at my house?  I'm seeing lots of birds and stars at the moment.  A lot.

The lovely Jade from The Clothes Line store in picturesque Beechworth ordered sixty Christmas ornaments from me...

 so I've been having lots of fun cutting, preparing, sewing and packaging up these birds and stars to send off to her store.  Mixing great festive prints, with some neutral tones and adding some thrifted doilies to mark a bird wing, this group of birds and stars make great decorations....

Before saying goodbye to such a large stash, I wanted to get an idea of how they would look en masse as a decoration.

Armed with a tree branch and vase, I set to work decking the bare branches - I couldn't fit all 60 on, but even with a third of the amount of there, it began to look very festive.

Luckily I have made a few extras for present toppers, gifts and perhaps even a giveaway soon....

What's going on at your house??  Has the festive season bug hit you too??  Visit what others are up to here....

Sunday, December 5

This is where i'll be today....

The North Melbourne Market!!  

The Lithuanian Hall
Errol St, North Melbourne

Do come and say hello if you're there.


Saturday, December 4

I'm grateful for.....

Joining in with Maxabella today on this sunny day making it feel easy to be Grateful.

1. Handcream - never in my life did imagine that I would need to wash my hands so much as a stay at home mother.  It seems that there is always a toilet visit, food preparation, craft expedition, dirty face, chore, mess or dishes to be washed, which inevitably means hand washing for me at every turn.  Hand cream is my saviour!

2. Cookies - Christmas cookies to be exact!  Found a quick awesome festive cookie dough recipe* during the week.  Made a double batch and took it along to Playgroup for all the kids to roll and cut and make cookies.  We baked them at playgroup and the little people just loved having a little something for morning tea (i know mine did!)

3. My little translator - my 4 year old son has become quite the little translator for my 2 year old daughters growing vocabulary (some of which is perfect and new words are just a mumble jumble of vowels and consonants all in a bit of mess).  Some of his helpful translations include;

"I waaa my shhhhh on" - "She wants her shoes on mum"
" Some shhhhooo" - She wants food (which sounds very much like she wants her shoes on!)
"baaaawaaaa"  - "She can see a van."
"I ne baaaawaaa" - "She needs a band-aid (yes baawaa means both Van and Bandaid - see my confusion!)
"I wa do paaa do" - "She wants to play playdough"

It has gotten to the point some days when I listen to my daughter, shrug and turn to my son and say "What did she say?"

Happy grateful day!  Do be sure to visit some other grateful bloggers too

*recipe will be posted at later stage!

Wednesday, December 1

Countdown begins.....

So i know that we all learn a lot around here in blogland, and it was only the other day at Seaside Siblings, that I learnt that advent actually begun last Sunday (ooops!).  Lou has made a gorgeous nativity scene for her girls.

 I was all prepared to get making an advent calender for the kids, and took inspiration from Maya Made.

Somehow November just seemed to flash past and yesterday I was in the bit of a flurry getting all things sorted.  I had my son do some painting, and then some number placing, and last night I spent the last few wee hours of the night arranging it all together and planning the first advent surprise.  This is our Advent Calender.  It is supposed to look a little like a Christmas Tree (missing a star at the top I think!)...

This advent calender is made with toilet rolls stapled closed at one end, painted and numbered.  I'd been saving them for a few weeks, but didn't quite reach the magic number of 24, so lucky I had some craft boxes (which worked nicely for the tree trunk).  I placed them on a spare piece of timber that was a shelf in my daughters little wardrobe that is no longer needed.  I just used adhesive tape for the rolls and velcro dots for the boxes, so we can remove them.

 My intention was to spend as little as possible in the creation, so I could buy a few little bits and pieces to put in there.  I only had to spend $2 on the stickers, but really you could just write them on, or print them out.  Not all my items will fit in the little rolls, and today's little surprise was two books (one each), so last night hubby and I drew a little treasure map of where we hid them and placed the map in box number 1.

This morning, it was lovely watching them find their first surprise which enjoyment.

Some of my other items I plan to include will be;
- tokens that will have little drawings to symbol an activity (like a visit to the park, baking Christmas cookies, outing for ice-cream etc)
- little matchbox cars
- hair clips (for daughter)
- game of uno
- some money to walk to the milkbar and choose some treats
- wooden animals and craft to make a nativity scene

Happy first day of summer (oh were are you sun, please show us your shiny self soon xx)

Let the count down begin!

Saturday, November 27

I'm grateful for.....{flowers and more...}

Joining in with Maxabella today as we celebrate a day to be grateful...

1.  Flowers - Hubby came home the other day with a gorgeous simple bunch of tulips (my favourite) with a cute card stating 'just because i love you'.

2. The right to vote - it's state election day here is Victoria, and as much as it's a bit of an effort to work out who will get my vote, I'm grateful I live in a country that we can all vote with safety.

3. Going child-free - got to share a lovely dinner out with my bestie the other night.  We were both child free and loved just having an opportunity to enjoy uninterrupted conversation and each others company!

Happy grateful day to you all - come take a look at others' grateful list here

Friday, November 26

spud-licious stamping...

The little people in my life woke before the sun this morning, which makes for a very slow start to the day as you glance to the clock thinking it's surely time for morning tea - nope - it's only 7.30am!!

So, on a whim I thought a spot of potato stamping could be a fun projects to keep us all amused and also be the start of our Christmas Crafting! I decided this stamping could have a dual purpose, and we could use this artwork as wrapping paper for our Christmas gifts....

This is how it was done...

What you'll need!

At least 2 spuds
Some knives
large roll of craft paper (I got mine from officeworks last year)
damp cloth
art smocks

1. First work out what shapes you will like.  We settled on a tree, star, rectangle and bell.  Cut each potato in half length wise and with your smaller knife start to indent your design and then cut it out.

2.  Prepare your paper out on a bench or table and some pots of paint (lucky for me all I could find was red, white and green!)

3.  Get the children decked out in their art smocks (mums - you should put one on too - this can get messy) - and have a damp cloth to wipe stray paint or wipe the spuds before dipping into the next colour.

4.  Give them their spud stamps and let them dip and stamp all over the paper in a random fashion.

I think the tip is to use a paint brush to apply the paint on, so you avoid that splodgy affect - however, with my two, dipping was half the fun.  I did convince them at the end to have a go at this method and we made some cards - which will be great for family, friends and teachers!
Have fun and happy friday xx