Sunday, July 31, 2011

things I'm loving...

My first crochet pear- great advice on doing a single crochet stitch thank you ladies!
These gorgeous vests from Clare at Greenvalley crafts. Stella has worn hers nearly every day since getting it- so practical for these cold days!
Heart pasta! 
My mum found it at a cafe in Napier- I've also seen it at Bel Mondo, a shop here in Tauranga.
This lovely cupcake applique tea towel from Alex for the tea towel swap.
These Sophie Gray recipe books from the library.
Very cute wheaties for the girls from Jessica at Felt Good.
My new rotary cutter from the very generous Roz of Squiltz. Roz's plans to use a studio in Lyttleton for her quilting were very unfortunately thwarted by the February earthquakes and so, with a lot of quilting supplies taking up room in her home, she very kindly sent me the rotary cutter and a lovely package of fabric and other crafty notions.  Thank you so much again Roz!
Jack starting to use the jolly jumper, with much excitement from his big sisters..(and me saying "Don't bounce him.....don't bounce him!!!!!")
Hope you are all having a great weekend- thank you again for all the lovely comments and feedback about my dollshouse too and a big hello to all my new follower and likers :)

Megan x

Monday, July 25, 2011

a mousehouse dollshouse

About a year and a half ago I saw this post on Lil Magoolie about a Barbie dolls house inspired by the interior designer Johnathan Adler and created by photographer Michael Williams. It really stuck in my head as a brilliant project as it combines all of the things I love- interior design, crafting, and making fun things for my girls to play with. I searched on Trade Me for a suitable 'do-up' wooden dolls house and was lucky enough to find a renovators dream one- it had a brown roof, painted blue walls with fake leaves stuck all over it, dark blue felt covered staircases, grey carpet and green felt all around the front but it was perfect as I was after a nice big one with lots of rooms.  I'd show you some 'before' pics but I lost them when my computer crashed last year!
We gave it to Amelie for her 3rd birthday just as it was- it came with a little bit of furniture so the girls had fun playing with it. Then I got stuck into phase one- removing all the felt using two whole tins of acetone, ripping up the carpet and painting the exterior and interior. I matched the exterior to our real house with Dulux 'Mt Eden' on the roof and Dulux 'Lake Whakarewarewa' on the sides and painted the whole interior Resene 'Bianca'. Then.... I stuck it in the shed, ready and waiting for me to begin Phase 2- choosing colours and  themes for each room.......and there it stayed for at least 6 months- Amelie would see it in there and ask when she was getting her dolls house to play with- not much of a birthday present!! I got a bit distracted with other projects and I couldn't decide on how I was going to decorate it- wallpaper or paint, which rooms where, and the whole colour scheme (very important of course!) Finally I nailed it down to mostly yellows, turquoise and pinks which I chose for my 'real' house too so with that decided I was finally away. I went to a scrapbooking shop here in Tauranga (now closed unfortunately) and chose most of the 'wallpapers' and then it was just a case of deciding on the rooms and finding all the furniture and other bits and bobs for each one. Most pieces were from TradeMe or Lundby with some pieces gifts for the girls for their birthdays and Christmas.
So do you want to see the rooms? and yes I did go completely OTT with this project...
Amelie's room- butterfly wallpaper, bunting sticker and wooden 'A' from scrapbooking shop, bed, side table and wardrobe from TradeMe, set of drawers came with the dollshouse (I painted them all white),  Lundby mirror, photo frame, lamp and books, chair and 'rug' (and also couch in entrance way) from this MoMA set from the Museum of Modern Art, New York,  Lundby frames with mini art works - a mini version of the personalised photo art I made for Amelie and mini version of the pink bird artwork by Belinda of Moon Mum that I won in a giveaway from On Top of a Lily Pad blog.  I made the little quilt and cushion on the bed.
** For each of the art works I used in my dolls house I contacted the artists first to check that it was okay to put a mini version of their art in the dolls house and I only used art works that I had already bought for my real house or won as in the case above!**
Stella's room- Cot, change table and circle rug from Lundby, wooden cupboard, red trolley and toy from Trademe, rocking chair came with the dollhouse, wallpaper, rocking horse and wooden 'S' from scrapbooking shop ( I painted them in Resene 'Sargent Pepper'),  Lundby lightshade, frames from Lundby with a mini version of this art work from Belle and Boo, a mini version of the photo art I made for Stella and a mini version of this art work from Petit Collage. I made the cot quilt and cushion using a ballet girls fabric from Stitchbird Fabrics.
Here are the real sized art works along with a few more on our kitchen wall.
Lounge: Lundby couch and arm chairs that I re-covered in Amy Butler's 'Optic Blossom' fabric- yes I was even reupholstering for this project!! (once again my hubby thought I had gone slightly crazy), Lundby book case, books, coffee table and lamp, wooden beads for vases, wallpaper and Eiffel Tower from scrapbooking shop and mini binoculars from TradeMe. I made the circle artworks by gluing scrapbooking card circles to play- money coins.
Entrance Way: wallpaper and flowers from scrapbooking shop, hall table came with the dollshouse (I painted it and modpodged some craft paper to the top) Lundby vase, cuckoo clock sticker from the MoMA set and frame from TradeMe. Mini version of "Love" art work from Jen at Made By Girl.
Here's the real version of this art in our home...
Are you still with me, there's lots more...!!
Kitchen: Orla Kiely wallpaper-I don't actually have this in my home but I would sooooo love to! I scanned and printed an Orla Kiely address book from Small Acorns I had to make the wallpaper. You can buy the actual wallpaper here in NZ from Small Acorns as well. Mini version of "Home is where the HeART is" print from Dear Colleen, table, chairs and side board came with the dolls house (I painted them), Lundby oven and sink units, wooden stool and bowl, clock from this free printable from How About Orange blog
Master bedroom: wallpaper and flowers from scrapbooking shop, dressing table came with the dollshouse, wooden bead for vase, bed, bedside tables, armchair, ottomon and frames from Lundby, art in frames from scrapbooking card, I made the bed cover.
The craft room: desk, chair, shelf unit, sewing machine, scissors, basket with knitting, radio and pink sewing box from TradeMe, ironing board and iron came with the dolls house (I put a new fabric on top), heart wall decorations from scrapbooking shop, sewing badges from Angela. I made the noticeboard and chair cushion, "Get Excited and Make Things" print from here, wooden bead for pencil holder and toothpicks for coloured pencils.
Bathroom: MissPrint wallpaper sample from The Paper Room. Bath, shower, toilet, mirror, vanity and duck from Lundby, toothbrush and toothpaste from TradeMe, shelf and bottles came with the dollshouse- I added a Stitchbird Katie Rose fabric hand-towel.

So you can see why this project took a very long time to finish! It was so much fun designing each room and the girls love playing with the house, although of course it doesn't look anything like this at the moment- the girls just don't have quite the same appreciation for design and layout that I do....
And if you want to see more of my real house you'll just have to get your hands on a copy of the latest issue of Homestyle magazine out today :)
So do you have a favourite room?
Megan x
31/7/11 Thank you to Carrie at Ohdeedoh, Kellie at Minimusthave, Maddie at LilMagoolie, CoolMomPicks and Aimee at Baby Bites for posting about my dollshouse and to all the lovely bloggers and twitterers sharing it too!
The dolls house now has electricity! Check out this post to see more....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kylie's Chocolate Button Biscuit recipe

Hello all, thought I'd share my favourite biscuit recipe- it's my friend Kylie's recipe for choc button biscuits and they are delicious!

(Makes around 25 to 30 biscuits)

200 grams butter
half cup sugar
4 tablespoons condensed milk
2 cups flour
half cup chocolate buttons
2 tsp baking powder
half teaspoon vanilla essence

1. Cream softened butter (I microwave for 20 seconds), sugar and condensed milk
2. Add all other ingredients, mix together to a dough -like consistency.( If the mixture still seems really crumbly after mixing don't worry- it will firm up when you roll the mixture together to make the balls)
3. Roll into small balls
4. Place balls on a greased oven tray, press lightly with fork (if the fork is sticking to the balls when doing this dip the fork in flour every few bikkies before pressing)
5. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 180 degrees
6. Place on wire racks to cool

Thanks for the comments on my Bastille Day post- the winner of the brooch is Max. Please email me your address to

I've been having fun gathering up a few goodies for a big giveaway soon as I've got nearly 400 followers on Facebook and 450 blog followers too so I'm going to have two giveaways to say thank you all!

Have a good week!
Megan x

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Happy Bastille Day!

Bonjour tout le monde! It's Bastille day today so I thought I'd share a few french things around my house, and a few french inspired goodies too. We're going to have some french onion soup for dinner after seeing the recipe in last month's 'Your Home and Garden' magazine.

 I'd love to try a macaron but I'm not sure where to find them in Tauranga- if I lived in Christchurch I'd be heading here today!  Maybe I'll settle for a nice pain au chocolat and a coffee- my hubby has just told me about this cafe Yellow Place French Cafe in Tauranga- am I brave enough to go there with 3 little ones though...?!

Here are a few french books from my bookshelves...
and the Amelie CD and DVD-going to watch the DVD tonight- for about the 6th time :)
In Stella's room- an ABC francais poster my sister bought us from Passion for Paper
'Amelie' movie poster in our hallway- I ordered it from about 7 years ago and got it block mounted at a framers.  Can you tell I like the movie 'Amelie?!'
Brooches from Sophie Isobel Designs and a 'Fragonard' Eiffel Tower cream perfume my hubby bought me last year after seeing it in the Viva magazine- it smells divine.
If you like the look of that little perfume World Beauty in Vulcan Lane stocks the range- RRP $20.  I am coveting them all for the cute colours alone! 
And here are some more french goodies I found online....

Passport Cover - Paris - red & blue
Mini Paris - Eiffel Tower, Vintage Locket and Red Rose Necklace
Click to enlarge
Image of PARIS GIFT CARDS by Darling Clementine

And a few more links...

Au revoir mes amis (Goodbye my friends!)
Megan x
PS: Leave a comment and the Eiffel Tower brooch could be winging its way to you :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

one pot slow baked tomato and olive chicken

I don't know what has come over me lately but I am really getting into cooking. I'm reading cook books, asking friends for recipes and even found myself looking at the cooking magazines in the library the other day. And normally in the magazines I read I flick right past the cooking pages but I'm now looking at them too and even cutting a few recipes out to try, very unlike me!  My hubby is a really good cook but it's time for me to make a much better effort and do more of the cooking- I'm even realising that it doesn't take that long, especially if I do most of it at lunchtime while the girls are eating their lunch.  It's still a bit too full on in the evenings to cook then as Jack usually needs feeding around 5/5:30 so meals that can be prepared earlier are the way to go for now. In the last two weeks I've cooked every meal except two and that is unheard of in our house. Wonder how long this burst of enthusiasm will last....!
This chicken recipe (from one of the Herald's Canvas magazines last year) is such a good one - all done in one pot, really budget friendly especially if you use chicken drumsticks and it literally took 5 minutes to throw everything into the pot and put it in the oven.

4 chicken marylands (the thigh and the leg attached together and on the bone) or 6 drumsticks
small bunch of thyme
4 bay leaves
5 cloves of garlic, unpeeled yay!
1 tbsp lemon zest
250 g cherry tomatoes (I bought a tin of Delmaine cherry tomatoes from the supermarket)
1 cup tomatoe puree
half cup red wine
half a cup mixed olives (I just used kalamata olives)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Place all the above ingredients in in a large, heavy based saucepan or a casserole dish with a lid. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and bake for one hour. Remove the lid, increase the heat to 200 degrees and bake for a further 30 minutes or until skin in golden.
Serve with mash and vegetables.

I've added a little list (yes another one!) down the side of my blog with our meals for the week- it's been really helpful doing a little meal plan so when I do the groceries I can get everything we need for each meal and it's good going through a few recipe books and choosing one or two new meals along with our usual ones. Things don't always go to plan though- ended up with fish and chips one night after a crazy day!

For more meal ideas and some lunch box ideas too, read Widge's post here...
Megan x

Sunday, July 10, 2011

a few things I'm loving....

* reading crochet books and making my first apple...bit confused as to why my stitches look different to the apple in the book though...I am doing US SC/UK DC like the book says but I end up with lines like stripes around my apple which I don't mind but just still wondering why mine looks different- anyone know?!
* these 'Sipah' straws you pop in a glass of milk for a flavoured treat (from the supermarket)
* cute little knitted booties given to Jack
* these stamps I found at the Teacher Resource Shop here in Tauranga the other day- one end has the animal stamp and the other end has a little stamp that you roll along to make the animal's footprints!
* this drawing my 4 year old did the other day of our table and chairs outside- Stella scribbled all over it though so I had to twink out her scribbles and photocopy it before Amelie saw it and lost the plot!!!
Picking some wild jasmine- I love the smell of jasmine so much!
Linking up (a few days late!) to Paisley Jade's "Things I'm loving"
Megan x
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