Tuesday, March 30, 2010

a lovely package

Take a peek at this package I received in the mail last week from the lovely Jennie from A Little Vintage, who makes gorgeous custom made dolls.  I won a prize in her recent giveaway and was absolutely gobsmacked when I opened up my package to see a beautiful purse with "Simple Pleasures" stitched on it and even my name on the back! A cute little purse made out of measuring tapes (clever!) and some delightful cards were in there as well. It really made my day thanks Jennie :)
Speaking of Simple Pleasures, in last week's Viva magazine there was a great article from Zoe Walker called 'The Enrich List' about people following their passions as well as a list of simple pleasures we can all enjoy. Here they are....

*Let go of the edge, you'll be amazed how you float
*Change your routine
*Bask in the sunshine
*Read the book before the movie
*Surround yourself with things that carry good memories
*Spend an afternoon cooking
*Spend time with people that make you laugh

And some crafty goodness in the Viva as well..
Crafty crochet design from Paul Smith and (inset) NZ label Lou and Ash

Well, time to finish off my pin cushion for the pin cushion swap now...

Monday, March 29, 2010

'Boy' the movie

We went to this fantastic movie "Boy" last night. It's written and directed by Taiki Waititi and he even has a main acting role in the film too. Incredible acting....sad.. funny... just brilliant.
"The year is 1984, and on the rural East Coast of New Zealand "Thriller" is changing kids' lives. Inspired by the Oscar nominated Two Cars, One Night, BOY is the hilarious and heartfelt coming-of-age tale about heroes, magic and Michael Jackson."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

my creative space: peg dolls

I have entered my toddler into this cute little peg doll competition that the gorgeous shop Small Acorns is running. I got my package today and can't wait to show Amelie who is going to create a little doll with Absolutely no help from me at all, well except maybe if she needs to use the glue gun ha! Will be interesting seeing her try to draw a face on the peg...
It's such a cute idea for a comp- click here to enter your own little fashion designer
PS: Stella liked her softie phew (thank you for the birthday messages for her)- she is having a little snooze with it now:)
We went down to the Mount this morning so I took a pic of this cool bright yellow combie van- cute isn't it. Great advertising for the surf school -you can't miss it!
for more creative spaces head over to Kootoyoo

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

a softie for Stella

It's Stella's first birthday tomorrow so I have just finished making her a little present - a cute softie from the Softies book.  I used the 'Polly' pattern by Carly Schwerdt of Nest Studio (what a gorgeous blog she has), and I just love it. I bought a tag a while back from a craft shop that says "Made with love by Mummy" so I sewed that on the side and I stitched Stella's name on the back too.  Still can't do ladder stitch so my stuffing seams are really obvious- need to work on that!

I think she will really like this- she hasn't been that rapt with some of my sewing efforts so far- everytime I give her the taggie to play with she throws it on the floor and likewise with the patchwork gonk so here's hoping I'm onto a winner with this one!
I also got her a little outfit from Cotton On Kids today- I love the apple tree print on the t-shirt and its nice to see her in an outfit that isn't her sister's hand me downs. As you can see it's a bit tricky trying to photograph a one year old hence some of the blurry pics!

And my bag arrived from France yesterday- j'adore le spotty bag! The bracelet was at Cotton On kids too and freakishly matches the bag- funny how I get drawn to childrens jewellery for myself.

and finally... some cute spotty mugs from ....Countdown Supermarket ($3 something each).... who would have thought!

Time for a cuppa now,

Monday, March 22, 2010

baking: one pot slices for the busy mum

When I do get around to doing some baking (my baby has just dropped her morning sleep booo!) I usually choose a slice as they are generally quite quick and easy to make and any recipe that uses only one pot is a good one with me!

Crunchy Flapjacks by Adele Collins
I found this recipe in an issue of Homestyle magazine- very quick to make and the oats are great for filling hungry tummies. This is also a good one as the ingredients can generally be found in the pantry.

200g butter
2 tbls golden syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour
2 cups crushed Weetbix (about 6 Weetbix)
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 190∘. Spray a 20 x 30cm slice tin with non stick baking spray and line with non stick baking paper.
In a large pot, melt butter and golden syrup. Remove from heat and beat in the remaining ingredients. Press into tin and bake for 15-18 mins. Remove from oven and cool in the tin. Cut into pieces when cold.

Joan's Peanut Slice 

I found this recipe in either the Herald Canvas magazine or the Sunday Star Times Sunday magazine.  This recipe is really great for busy mums because you can freeze it after baking and it doesn't even need defrosting-just grab out how ever many pieces you think you'll need.

150g butter
½ cup sugar
1desert spoon golden syrup
1 cup flour
1 cup whole or chopped raw peanuts
½tsp baking powder
1 cup rice bubbles

60g butter
1 tbls golden syrup
120 g (a little over half a cup) icing sugar

Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a large pot.  Add the flour, peanuts, baking powder and rice bubbles and mix. Place in a well greased 3- x 25 x 5cm slice tin and press down.  Bake at 180 ∘for 15-20 mins, keeping an eye on it so it doesn't over colour on top.
Make the icing- heat the icing butter in another pot, add the syrup and then the icing sugar and blend well.
Ice and cut into squares while the slice is hot. You can then place it in the freezer when it has cooled a bit- some cooks even store it uncovered in the freezer in the tin it was baked in! You can vary the nuts if you like- pistachios or walnuts are good options.

And for a yummy chocolate fudge slice read Clare's post and comments here at Greenvalley Crafts

Happy baking!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

my creative space-fabric

My creative space is overflowing with piles of gorgeous fabric- I have developed a serious fabric addiction in the last few months! I am about to begin a softie for my baby girl's first birthday present and I also need to get started on a present for a new baby boy Thomas- maybe an applique bodysuit, a taggie and a soft toy. I just need about another four hours in the day!

For some creative inspiration I got this book from the library yesterday so I will try and sit down for a little bit today and have a look through it.
I got this book as well as I would love to sell some crafty things one day soon...just need another couple or 10 hours a day for that too!
And I have to show this gorgeous bag I've just bought from 'Ikabags' on Etsy-isn't it just the cutest bag- I love the spotty fabric.  I have been looking for a nice big bag with a shoulder strap as they are so much easier to carry around with a baby and also for hanging over the buggy handle. I should be getting it in a few weeks as it's coming all the way from Paris- can't wait!
For more creative spaces head over to Kirsty's here


PS:  if you've got a man about the house who's feeling a bit left out from all the blogging you're doing then here's a really cool blog for them :)
The Art of Manliness

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

my place and yours: pretty in pink

 I came across this lovely blog via Deb at Works in Progress and Jennie at A Little Vintage so I thought I would join in and post some pink pics too- not too difficult in a house of 3 girls!

Some cute little pink shoes
A collection of pink books
A card I bought (I love this pic!)
Some kitchen things- I got the pink salad servers for 50c from a secondhand shop in Raglan :)
A pink and white tea set from Nina Campbell  in London
(Rita Konig who wrote 'Domestic Bliss' is her daughter) 
A special bottle of bubbles - I don't really like wine but I love bubbles!
And for more pink themed pics click here

I also saw that over on Sew Funky there is another 'Toss Out Tuesday' so here's a pic of my 10 things off to the op shop :)


Monday, March 15, 2010

bits and bobs

I've made a few things for little gifts lately so I thought I'd post some pics now that they have been all been given, just in case there was any peeking on here before they got them!

I made another little zip purse and appliqued a bodysuit for a friend having a baby in August
These lavender sachets were a little housewarming gift

A little satchel bag and a zip purse for a friend's two year old

Another plastic covered zip purse to use as a mini nappy bag for a friend

A birdie picture for my toddler (I used it as my twitter pic on my blog too)
And a cute little feltie, Babushka, sitting under the Eiffel Tower. 

I also sent two pieces of (very beginner) knitting to Knitty Graffity last week for this project

Yep, I'm crafting obsessed. My hubby is liking it though as he gets to watch more sport on TV while I work away in the evenings!
Have a great week :)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

a book bag

I've been wanting a library bag for a while now as I'm visiting the library quite regularly for crafty and sewing books as well as for my usual fiction and books for the kids. I found this Cath Kidston apron the other day that I had actually forgotten I had (doesn't get used much obviously!) so I thought I would make a book bag out of it.
 I just cut off the main part of the apron and the 2 side straps, used the hem that was already there for the top of the bag, sewed around the sides and bottom of the bag, boxed the corners and then sewed on the straps- very quick and easy! And there's some fabric left over for some other little projects too.
Here is a pic of the bag next to a bag I got made when I lived in London- it's a photo of me and my friend when we were toddlers. I'm the one with the lego girl haircut on the right :)


Thursday, March 11, 2010

my creative space: a flower invitation

Our baby girl is turning one in a couple of weeks so I have just made some cute invitations for a little family party we are having.  I got the idea from Maddie at LilMagoolie who has a gorgeous free flower card pdf  on her blog- isn't she kind! I downloaded it and played around with it in 'Pages' on my mac and printed it on some Christina Re scrapbooking paper.  Isn't it neat how to folds out into a little flower :)
I made up a little envelope for them too. I just folded a piece of A4 paper and stitched up the sides on the sewing machine, then decorated the back.

To see what other people are up to in their creative spaces click here

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

change of season

I spotted this lovely looking picture book in the Herald's 'Viva' magazine today- "Seasons" by Blexbolex.  
Here is a description of the book from Amazon

"Blexbolex explores the cyclical nature of time by looking at the seasons. Using objects, landscapes, activities, and different types of people that are associated with each season (such as a skier, a swimmer, a roasted chestnut seller), Blexbolex evokes the sense of permanency given to life by its cyclical nature, despite the fact that time is always passing. The purpose of this book is to encourage observation of the world around us and lead the reader to form all sorts of logical and imaginative associations having to do with the seasons, the cycles of life, and time."

Doesn't it sound divine? 
I really love the change of seasons, especially autumn- the cooler mornings and evenings and the way the light changes from the intensity of summer to a much softer, dappled light.  It's a great season to get into some gardening too. We have been pruning back our trees and doing lots of general tidy up work ready for some autumn planting. I bought some daffodil bulbs today as apparently this is the time to plant them- I read somewhere that you should throw them up and plant them where they fall so I am going to do that. I bought a little Alyssum plant as well- a good hardy plant that looks great hanging over the edges of pots. I read a lovely post about Alyssum here too.

And isn't this a cute autumn artwork by one of my favourite illustrator's, Mandy Sutcliffe, of Belle and Boo.  She has the most gorgeous prints, cards, cushions and more here at www.belleandboo.com 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"First the oven, then the tin, wash your hands then begin"

Isn't that a good thing to remember when you start baking- I think it was Alison Holst or Jo Seagar who said it on a cooking show on TV once so I always try and remember it before I start some baking (which doesn't happen much in our house to be honest!)
Anyway, it is my hubby's birthday tomorrow so I made this yummy banana cake for him to share at work. This is such a quick and easy recipe from Simon Holst that I came across in a 'Little Treasures' magazine.

For a 21cm round cake tin or loaf tin

1-1¼ cups ripe mashed banana (3 bananas approx)
½ cup Canola (or other light vegetable oil)
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 large eggs
½ cup milk
2 cups self raising flour

1. Turn oven to 180∘, or 170∘ if using a fan oven
2. Mash the bananas with a fork
3. Combine the oil sugars, salt, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl and whisk until everything is well blended, then stir in the banana and milk, mix well, then add the flour. Beat with the whisk or stirrer until evenly mixed, then pour into a well non stick sprayed 21cm ring pan or loaf tin.
4. Bake for 40-50 mins, until top is golden brown, the centre springs back when pressed, and a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean. (Don't worry if the top cracks slightly.) Leave to stand in the tin for 5 mins, then place on rack to cool
5. Serve warm with icecream and fresh fruit for dessert, or allow to cool completely then ice with lemon or chocolate icing.
6. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

plastic covered zip purses

I have become utterly addicted to making these now that I've got the hang of it- they are so cute and so handy for all your bits and pieces. I wanted to try making some with a clear plastic outer and they have worked out really well- perfect for spills and other mess in the nappy bag! I followed the same instructions for zip purses from Cat Taylor's blog as my other zip purses but I just placed the plastic on top of the outer fabric and sewed as per Cat's instructions.
I made this little one for me to carry all my things like panadol, mints, lip stuff etc. 
I made the big one to hold my baby's nappy stuff so I can just grab it and put it in whatever bag I am taking out rather than lugging around a huge nappy bag. I put some of the neat waterproof lining I mentioned in my last post on the inside of this one and made a few pockets too.
(I use my Honeychild cloth nappies and homemade baby wipes when I'm at home mostly but if I get caught out when I'm out and about I just use a disposable nappy and wipes.)

Well, both kids are having a nice afternoon nap so it's time to make some more!
Hope your Sunday is going well :)

This project was featured on 'Saturday Link Love' on the Prudent Baby website -hello to visitors from the Prudent Baby site :)

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