Friday, April 29, 2011

where I'll be spending a lot of time today...

...on the couch with Jack
watching this...
and maybe making another one of these- my latest crafting addiction...a crochet baby ball with a little bell inside. 
I made a few of these in the days leading up to Jack's birth from another great tutorial from  Kate here. I put my rusty maths brain on and played around with the pattern to make a bigger ball- I'm thinking they will make a neat little baby gift.  Might be wishful thinking though- Jack still is not very keen on being put down at all...if he's in someone's arms he's the easiest baby ever however try to put him down even on his playmat for a minute or two and he won't have a bar of it! He's had a big sleep this morning but only because he was awake half the night!!!
Thank you so much for all the kind wishes and comments about Jack- it has been so lovely reading them all, I really appreciate it! 
Enjoy the wedding today :)
Megan x

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's a boy!

Some baby news finally! Baby Jack was born last Tuesday- still can't believe I have a baby boy :) He was 12 days overdue but the labour/birth ended up being pretty quick after all the waiting! I had a drug- free birth which was an 'interesting' experience after having epidurals for my first two babies, glad I had it with my third and not my first!! Feeding is going well but Jack has not been too keen on sleeping in his bassinet- he spent the whole time in the hospital and the first 6 days pretty much sleeping in my arms (at least he slept I guess!) He has had some good sleeps in his bassinet the last 2 nights though so maybe we have turned a corner...my friend called it 'one step forward and 2 steps back' with a newborn which is so true!   He is a little cutie and has heaps of hair like my other two so I think it's true what they say about heart burn and hairy babies!  
Well, hope you all had a lovely Easter holiday. Looking forward to watching the royal wedding on Friday... if ever there was an excuse to sit on the couch all day then having a newborn is a good one!
Megan x

Sunday, April 17, 2011

easter egg craftiness

Well you thought you'd seen the last of me for a while but no I am still sans baby and instead have spent most of the weekend making things to take my mind off still being sans baby!  I saw this decoupage egg project in the latest issue of Woman's Day magazine this week so we made them today. Well, Amelie started making them with me but sticking all the little bits of paper on the eggs proved a little tricky for her little hands so I finished the eggs while she made her own eggs on paper instead. So if you've got older children you can do this all together and if you've got younger ones you can have fun making the 3D eggs while your little ones can help rip the paper into little pieces and stick to their hearts content to make their own paper egg decorations- great projects for the school holidays which have just started here in NZ.
I got the polystyrene eggs from a shop called AJ's Emporium here in Tauranga- it's a sort of 'craft/ costume/ handyman/ random stuff' shop. They have pretty much everything you need for crafty projects- even the teeny cup hooks I used to stick into the top of the eggs to hang them on the branches.
 
I saw the fab idea for making these paper eggs from Clare's Craft Room last week too so it tied in really well with the decoupage eggs. Amelie just used the bits of paper already ripped up but stuck them on a piece of paper instead and we drew an egg shape on the back and cut it out. See Clare's tutorial here
I made some more crochet eggs too from Kate's tutorial here- they are very addictive to make!
Hope you all had a great weekend :)
Megan x

Friday, April 15, 2011

still waiting...

...so I'm having a go at these...
to take my mind off the waiting game...my first time actually following a crochet pattern (other than granny squares) so I was quite surprised to actually see an egg shape form! Thanks for a fab tutorial Kate :)
Megan x

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

a bit of pampering

Well, I'm 6 days overdue now so I'm treating myself to a few of Wendyl's Green Goddess  beauty recipes instead of cleaning ones now - it's soooo much fun making your own beauty products (and it helps to take my mind off the waiting and wondering game!) 

I decided to have a go at making the lip balm recipe first the other day (the recipe is on Wendyls' website here). I bought some of the ingredients from this seller on TradeMe (the sweet almond oil, beeswax pellets and cocoa butter) which added up to about $35 but if you take a look at the bag of pellets - you only use 3 pellets to make 2 lip balms so there's a lot of lip balm to be made with that bag of pellets! 
I found that Wendyl's recipe makes 2 lip balms so I worked out that the actual cost of ingredients to make one lip balm was 90 cents, and then you just need to find some containers. I found mine at Payless Plastics for $2.00 but they did have cheaper ones too. So a lovely homemade lip balm for $2.90 is not bad going is it!
I decided to make peppermint lip balm first so I bought some peppermint essential oil from the chemist- I used the oil to make the peppermint paste as well and I'm sure it'll come in handy for other things too.
I had no luck finding a double boiler from The Warehouse or Brisoces (and they would have probably been too expensive anyway for what I am using it for.)  But a search on Trade Me came up with this little cutie so I was lucky enough to win the auction for it as there were no other bidders! 
They were so easy to make, well they were after I put all of the ingredients in the bottom pot first (whoops, can tell I'm not much of a cook!) 
You just melt the beeswax, cocoa butter and oil in the pot (the top one!!) then add the icing sugar, the vitamin e from one capsule (Wendyl also recommends using the oil from one capsule as a night time skin treat as well so you're getting two uses out of the jar at least!) and 6 drops of your chosen essential oil (I just used 3 drops of the peppermint as it is quite a strong oil). Then you just carefully pour the mixture into the containers. The lip balm hardens really quickly, probably in about half an hour at the most so you get to use it pretty much straight away! You know how sometimes making homemade things is a lot of fun but the finished product still isn't really like a bought one- well, this lip balm really is lovely, a friend I gave one too even asked for another for a friend of hers!
 
I've had these alphabet stickers from Warehouse Stationery for ages now so I used them to decorate the top of the containers- a cute personalised gift :) And if you like the look of the little box I made in the top  photo to put the lip balm in for a gift I've got a little tutorial coming on how to make them soon, just depends on when baby decided to arrive!
I also made up the body scrub today which was really lovely. Just be careful if you use it in the shower as it can make the bottom of the shower a bit slippery! 
Nice to do a bit of pampering today, I'd love to hear if you have any 'natural beauty' recipes to share :)
Megan x

Monday, April 11, 2011

pom pom easter chicks

I saw these pom pom easter chicks a few years ago in an issue of Littlies magazine. I searched on their website for the tutorial (they have heaps of great tutorials here) but couldn't find it so here's a quick pom pom tutorial if you're keen to make an easter chick or two for your little ones, or a crafty easter activity to do in the school holidays for older children.
1. Draw a big circle with a smaller circle inside x 2 (I used a can and a spice jar). Next time I would use a smaller circle for the inner circle so it's a bit easier to keep the pom pom wool pieces together when cutting it.
2.  Cut around the outer circle and then cut out the inner circle x 2.
3. Cut lengths of wool into manageable lengths - a metre or two at a time. Place the two circles together and start winding wool around the circles as pictured.  Keep cutting lengths of wool and winding around the circles until completely covered.
5. (Above) and 6. Wedge your scissors between the two circles and cut through the wool, going right around the whole circle. Hold the circles together reasonably firmly as you do this to keep all the bits of wool together!
7. Cut a piece of wool (say 20 cms) and slide it between the two cardboard circles,  pull tightly, tie and knot. 
8. Slide cardboard circles off and fluff out pom pom, trimming it up if needed.
9. Cut out a circle and feet from a piece of card.
10.  Glue pom pom chick to the piece of card, cut out eyes and beak from felt and glue onto chick. Craft googly eyes would look great on the chick too instead of the felt ones (I need to get some!)

If you're in the mood for a bit of shopping instead of crafting though, here are some cute 'chick' easter treats...
(I came across this shop via this crafty Easter post from Monkeemoomoo)

Rabbit nesting toy from Cherish Child.
Well, no sign of baby yet- hopefully not too far away now!
Megan x

Thursday, April 7, 2011

my creative space: two more 'busy book' pages

It was so neat to read all the lovely comments about the first few pages of my busy book the other week, thank you! I've finished a couple more pages so here are some pics.  Both of these pages were inspired by some fabric I already had- a lovely flower corduroy and a babushka print.
I've seen lots of examples of the 'button on flower' page on other busy books- such a great idea for little hands to practice their buttoning skills! For my page I appliqued on some 'grass' and stitched some flower stems and leaves, then sewed on some buttons...
...then I made some flowers out of Felt and cut the button holes. 
I used two layers of felt to make the flowers as I knew they would get plenty of wear so I wanted them to be nice and strong!

With the babushka page I wanted to do something similar to the nesting dolls idea so I decided to make little pockets on two of the babushka's so they fit inside each other from smallest to biggest. 
I also sewed on a dome to keep the babushka's on the page (and to practice using a dome too!) 
I wanted to have some threading practice in my book too so I sewed on some little rings around the babushka's and tied some cord onto one of the rings.  A little bit random but the more to do on the page the better I think!
 
I've made a page on my blog with all of my busy book pages so I'll add each new page there too. There's a link to a site I found with a list of ways to develop fine motor skills on there too :)

And Rochelle from "Through a Focussed Lenz" has come up with a great idea if you are keen to make a busy book for your little ones - a 'busy book page swap where "someone might take zips, some one clips, a person for threading etc. Each participant makes a number of pages in their "theme" and we post off to each other."She'll be posting about it soon so stay tuned!

For more creative spaces, head over to Kootoyoo here

It's my due date today but no sign of baby yet, I was overdue 8 days and 6 days with my first two so maybe 4 this time!
Megan x

Monday, April 4, 2011

more cleaning...

 
I made up a few more cleaners from Wendyl Nissen's recipes in the weekend- her gorgeous peppermint paste and some lavender laundry powder.  The recipes for these two products aren't on her website yet but I checked with her and she said it was fine to share them here, thanks Wendyl :)
The peppermint paste recipe was made up as a green equivalent to a cleaning paste for baths and sinks-a Jif alternative. I love Jif but after using this paste I might just be a convert- the smell alone was just lovely while cleaning and check out my gleaming tap and sink above- the things I get excited about!

Wendyl's Peppermint Paste
1 cup baking soda
1 tbsp cream of tartar
10 ml liquid castile soap - you can buy Dr Bronner's castile soap in bar and liquid form from Wendyl's website-it is used in a lot of her recipe's so you will get your money's worth!
5 ml water
1ml peppermint essential oil ( I found online that 1 ml is approximately 20 drops so my 10 mls of peppermint oil I bought for $13 should net me around 200 drops). 

1. In a bowl mix together baking soda with the cream of tartar.
2. In a small jug mix liquid castile soap and water. Slowly pour into the powders and mix with a fork until you have a paste. Add more water if you need to.
3.  Add peppermint essential oil and stir to combine.
4. Store in an airtight container and use to clean kitchen and bathroom sinks, baths and toilets.
Wendyl's Lavender Laundry Powder/Clay concentrate
1 cup washing soda (from supermarket or Bin Inn) or Soda Ash
1 cup baking soda
20 drops of lavender essential oil

1. Mix the baking soda and washing soda together in your food processor
2. Mix together the liquid castile soap and the essential oils in a jug. While pulsing the food processor, slowly pour in the liquid until you have a powder or clay formed. This should only take a few seconds. Do not over-mix.
3. Store in an airtight container and use about 1 tablespoon per wash. This is fine in front loaders, great for people with skin allergies and won't leave powder marks on dark clothes.
Wendyl says using washing soda will make more of a clay than using Soda Ash which will make more of a powder but I found that even using the washing soda it was still quite powdery, not as fine as bought laundry powder but not clumpy at all which was good. I tested it on a load of washing and it worked brilliantly too!

Next up is the laundry liquid- my friend made some last week and said it made heaps and worked a treat on her clothes so that's good! The recipe for the laundry liquid/detergent is here if you are keen to give it a go too.  Would love to hear if you have been making any eco-cleaners too :)
Happy cleaning!
Megan x

Sunday, April 3, 2011

thrifty finds for the week

I finally made it into an op-shop I've been wanting to visit for ages now. It's on the way to my midwife appointments and there always seems to be a lot of cool stuff in the windows when I drive past. And I wasn't disappointed- there were heaps of great things in there!
A little mug for morning tea "milky milo's (50c)
 
A cute bunny/chick kaleidoscope for an easter treat (20c)
A little glass bowl I'm going to use to put dried lavender in ($3)
My favourite find- this beautiful crochet granny square blanket ($10)
 
This lovely woolen single blanket ($3). I don't know if you can even buy woolen blankets like this anymore but if you can I can guess they would be a lot more than $3!
 
To see more thrifty finds, visit Sophie's beautiful blog and 'Flea Market Finds' here

And thanks for the comments on the Bakers Delight hot cross bun giveaway promotion
The voucher winners are 
* Clare *Catherine *Rosie * Vicki  *Rochelle
Email me your postal address to megan@mousehouse.co.nz and I'll send them out to you!

Hope you're all having a great weekend :)
Megan x

Friday, April 1, 2011

Hairy Maclary at the Art Gallery

The art gallery here in Tauranga has a great exhibition on at the moment "Lynley Dodd- A Retrospective" so we took the girls along in the weekend to see it.   Lynley Dodd's books are very popular in our house so it was really neat to see some of her original drawings and drafts of her stories. They even had a couple of ipads there with the Hairy MacLary app which the kids were loving. (How cool are ipads??!!)
Lynley Dodd actually lives here in Tauranga and she's going to be at the Art Gallery on Sunday 10th April to sign copies of her books... http://www.artgallery.org.nz/events/lynley-dodd-book-signing-session

And have you seen this cute Hairy Maclary cross stitch kit?  There are kits with all the characters on this site here.
Hairy Maclary's Bone - Kit
Megan x
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