Monday, May 30, 2011

Prince of children's tales

I've been meaning to share one of my favourite children's authors- British author Michael Morpurgo- for a while now. I discovered his wonderful books when I was teaching in the UK- I was really surprised to learn how many books he had written and that, as an avid reader growing up, I had never came across any of his books before. When I came back from the UK to NZ I read about seven of his books to one of my classes (aged 8 and 9) and they absolutely loved them. One of the best things about his books is that the stories really appeal to boys as well as girls so they are great books to switch boys onto a love of reading.  I remember they used to beg me to read more when I had finished a chapter or two which was really neat. "Kensuke's Kingdom" was the first book of his I read and it is still my favourite-I even got my hubby to read it as it is a really great story. So if your child is just getting into reading 'chapter books' then try searching out a few Michael Morpurgo books-he's written over a hundred books so there's plenty to choose from! (Can you tell I'm a big fan!)
And you can click here to listen to Kim Hill's interview with Michael Morpurgo last weekend on RadioNZ National 
And just had to share this sunset pic I took yesterday evening at a local park - Amelie loves to talk about the children on the other side of the world waking up as our sun goes down :)
Would love to hear of any of your favourite Michael Morpurgo books or any other favourite children's novels/authors...
Megan x

Thursday, May 19, 2011

my creative space: a baby blanket/playmat

I made my first little baby blanket/playmat this week for Jack- he needed one as we only had one blanket that wasn't pink! I've been wanting to make a little quilt for ages after seeing this gorgeous one made by Joanna at Little Minx from this great tutorial from Cat Taylor.  I made my blanket smaller though so I could use it in the capsule or buggy or as a little playmat.
For the patchwork top I used some Michael Miller zoology fabric that I bought from Bernina before Jack was born and I got the other two fabrics and the printed flannel for the back of the blanket from the new Spotlight store that's opened here in Tauranga....definitely my new favourite store...I may have actually taken Jack there 4 times in the last week - he is getting well known as the baby with all the hair! 
For the blanket inner I used some 'needled cotton' (I'd never heard of that before but a lady at Spotlight recommended it and it's lovely and warm without being bulky which is good for taking out and about).
The best thing about this blanket is that it was surprisingly quick to make (seriously!!)  Cutting out the squares didn't take long at all (there's only 16 squares on my blanket) so I did that one evening once Jack was in bed, and then sewing the patchwork top and then the layers together only took about an hour all up. It was great using my walking foot too as it made it really easy to keep the layers together.
You know what it's like when you make something new and you just want to make heaps more! The girls want one each now too so I thought I'd make them little lap quilts a bit bigger than Jack's.

And check out these pants that my friend Rosie made for Jack in the same animal fabric- aren't they cute! She used a pattern from Anna Marie Horners "Handmade beginnings' book and lined them with flannel so they are super soft and snuggly. Thanks again Rosie :)
For more creative spaces check out the new Our Creative Spaces page that Kirsty from Kootoyoo has put together here.
Megan x

Sunday, May 15, 2011

sensory play dough recipe

I decided to have a go at making some play dough after using some Cream of Tartar to make Wendyl Nissen's peppermint paste the other week (the recipe is on the Cream of Tartar container). I haven't made playdough before as whenever I've used homemade playdough it seems really dry and crumbly and doesn't seem to last long. This recipe has me converted though- the playdough is so soft and it has lasted ages in an ice cream container...and it smells so good! This was a fun activity to do with my 4 year old as she got to learn about colour mixing to make different colours, and she really enjoyed choosing the essential oils for each colour (ok I may have influenced her choices just a bit!) 

Sensory Play dough recipe
For the playdough you will need...
1 and a half cups of salt
3 cups flour
6 tbsp Cream of Tartar
3 cups boiling water
3 tbsp oil
Mix all ingredients together...
...then divide equally into smaller bowls and add a couple of drops of different food colouring to each bowl to make the colours you want (red/blue=purple, red/yellow=orange, blue/yellow=green)
Then add about 5/10 drops of each of your chosen essential oils to each bowl.  I used lavender, lemon, peppermint, eucalyptus and sweet orange.
Yay for two busy children, well for a little while anyway!
Have a great week,
Megan x

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mothers Day giveaway winner and a tea-towel swap

Thank you for all the comments for my Mothers Day giveaway and a big congratulations to Alisa for winning the treats. I hope you all had a lovely Mothers Day.
I had a good day - my first as a mama of 3 :) Things are going well with Jack- he's a bit like our second baby Stella at the moment, pretty good for most of the day now (and sleeping in his bassinet finally!)  but much happier in our arms from about 7- 10 pm most nights, feeding and dozing for most of that time. Everyone told me with Stella to give it 12 weeks and then she would probably settle better at night times (which she did pretty much at exactly 12 weeks!)  so I'm guessing Jack will do that too. Funny how it was pretty stressful with Stella because we just kept trying to get her to sleep in her bassinet but this time we just take turns holding him or let him nap on the couch...hooray for a lot less crying!
Anyway, getting to the point....Have you heard about Leonie's tea towel swap?  Well, I'm getting pretty good at holding a baby and surfing the net with one hand in the evenings so I thought I'd share some tea towel links I've come across the last few nights.
Fern Bird Blue
Ingrid Anderson tea towel at Clever Bastards
Lynskey Lounge tea towel at Endemic World
Dishes Id Rather Be Doing - Tea Towel
Tea towel by Dear Colleen
Kitchen tea-cup set from Wallace Cotton
Marimekko tea-towels from Bolt of Cloth
Bon Bon
Darling Clementine teatowel from my favourite tea towel site 'To Dry For'
So head on over to Leonie's blog if you are keen to sign up (Sign ups close tomorrow 12th May)
And also, every Tuesday Juliet at 'Craft and Nappies' shares a cool crafty project using a tea towel- check them out here
Megan x

Monday, May 9, 2011

crafty colour

I haven't been doing much crafting lately (funny that!) but I thought I'd share a few colourful crafty things that other clever people have made that have made their way into my home lately. 
I bought this beautiful mobile in the Lil Magoolie Christchurch quake appeal auctions. It was kindly donated by Baby Jives- check out more of her amazing creations here or here.
Stella loves elephants so I bought her this gorgeous 'Evie the elephant' softie from  Rhiannon at Remarquable Junque.  It's already had lots of cuddles :)
I love my crochet apple from Mixing Ink on Felt. (I bought the cute egg cosies about a year ago from the shop 'Living and Giving')
While not exactly handmade as I bought them from a shop here in Tauranga, 'Cabbages and Kings', I love this circus- tent inspired door stop and hook rack. 
And if you are a bit of a Cath Kidston fan did you know you could get Cath Kidston crayons?! Amelie was given these by a lovely friend for her birthday...I was tempted to keep them for myself until Amelie kept asking where her new crayons were!!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and Mothers Day. I went for my first walk with Jack yesterday- was so nice to get out of the house and get a bit of fresh air after all the rain we've had here (and he slept in the buggy for most of the walk -bonus!) Thank you for all the lovely comments about Jack in my last post too :)
Megan x

Friday, May 6, 2011

Things I'm loving...

boy toys
boy fabrics
boy clothes
this little boy 

linking up to Paisley Jade's 'Things I'm loving' Fridays
Have a great weekend :)
Megan x

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

a mothers day giveaway

Hello all, well I've survived the first two weeks of life with a newborn (yay!) and seeing as it's Mothers Day on Sunday here in NZ I thought I'd have a little Mothers Day giveaway to celebrate.  I've made up a little pack of treats...a mousehouse waterproof make-up purse, lavender sachet and a lip balm, and some Fair Trade tea and mums deserve some treats don't we :)  To enter just leave a comment here or on my mousehouse facebook page telling me something you love about being a mum or what your ideal Mothers Day would be (a day without the kids perhaps ha!)

Giveaway open to all - I'll draw the winner next Tuesday the 10th May.
I chose the 'Scarborough Fair' Fair Trade tea and chocolate for the giveaway as next week is the start of the Fair Trade Fortnight  'Show off your Swap' competition- check it out here if you are keen to join in. My friend Jo put me onto the Scarborough Fair chocolate a while ago- it really is divine!

Happy Mother's day to all you amazing mums out there :)
Megan x

PS: I just came across this cute swap idea if you are keen to get a little crafty- the FlowerPress brooch swap, sounds like it'll be fun!

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