Thursday, September 29, 2011

scallop admiration

Are you loving the scalloped edges popping up everywhere at the moment? I am, especially after seeing my friend Anna's gorgeous homemade scallop shaped bunting for her daughters bedroom. And then on Facebook later that day I saw these cute scallop treat boxes from the lovely new party product store Dots and Spots which gave me the idea to do a little scallop admiration post.
Bicycle scallop pendant
Scalloped hem t-shirt dress - made to order

and here are a few tutorials as well...

crochet scalloped bunting :: free pattern
Home5
After all that inspiration I just had to do some scallop crafting of my own so I made a little purse to hold craft supplies and a pin cushion and needle book for a friend's birthday. Think I may have gilded the lily a bit with my decoration but I guess that's what happens when you are making it up as you go along!
(If you like the look of the blue 'vintage threads' fabric I bought it from Stitchbird Fabrics.)
Megan x
Last day to sign up for the Rugby World Cup country swap tomorrow! Have had lots of overseas people sign ups this week thank you so hopefully will be able to match up nearly all the kiwi swappers with an overseas swapper :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rugby World Cup Party

Bakers delight contacted me a few weeks ago asking if I would like to host a 'scrum-ptious' Rugby World Cup party- they would provide some delicious treats from their bakery as well as face paint, colouring in sheets and other goodies. Woo hoo -this blogging thing sure has a lot of perks to it! The kids were so excited about the party which was really neat and it was a great way to get them into the Rugby World Cup spirit- well more than they are already! Here are some pics of our morning...
Black and white food- lollies, oreo biscuits, popcorn, black grapes and blackcurrant juice
Delicious iced buns and Pane di Casa loaves from Bakers Delight Gate Pa- how cool are the stencil decorations! Spot the little hand already grabbing hers...
Go the All Blacks! Dressed in black and white with some facepaint and All Blacks tattoo's as well.
Even Jack got into the spirit of the party in his t-shirt and woolly rugby booties thanks Katy and Kirst :)
Treats to take home- a soft toy, ruler and stickers
Thank you so much Bakers Delight- the kids had a ball and as my friend Rosie put it- it's all about making memories and turning a normal morning tea into something special. If you want to have a little party like this visit your local Bakers Delight as they are selling these rugby themed treats for a limited time.  If you follow them on Facebook they often have vouchers and specials on their page just for Facebook likers.

And check out these cute All Blacks gingerbread men (and a giveaway!) in this post here 

A few more days to sign up for my RWC country swap too- check out this post... http://domesticblissnz.blogspot.com/2011/09/kids-rugby-world-cup-swap.html

Megan x

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Things I'm loving...

♥ A gift for Jack-this gorgeous Silver Circus merino top
♥ The dolls house in the Dom Post, Waikato Times and The Press last weekend- world famous in NZ!
♥ Looks like a restaurant meal doesn't it-homemade calamari and aioli yum!!
♥ An afternoon tea of banana and blueberry smoothies and banana and blueberry muffins
♥ A very easy and popular desert with the small ones- Hansels packet chocolate mousse mixed with mini marshmellows, frozen berries and choc chips and decorated with these cool writing icing pens from the supermarket. 
♥ Weekend reading- the latest Good magazine. This is such a fantastic magazine- the design, the photography, the articles- I just love it.  A sign of a great mag for me is how many pages I turn over to go back to and there were lots turned over in this issue! Check out this article on their website for tips on building a capsule wardrobe.
My hubby enjoyed this article 
♥ The birds going crazy eating our bird cake from this recipe in one of Wendyl Nissen's newsletters. And loving being able to name some of the birds from this poster via this awesome blog thanks Dee.
Reading this new book- it really is a fantastic little manual and full of Wendyl's trademark humour and common sense. Highly recommend!
People signing up for my Rugby World Cup Country Swap- would love some more!  All you have to do is send a little parcel of treats from your country and you'll get a parcel of treats from New Zealand in return- read this post to find out more.

Hope you had a great weekend :)
Megan x

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kids Rugby World Cup Swap

** Friday 30th Sep- Sign Up's are now closed ** 
Thanks everyone for signing up, details heading your way shortly!

The Rugby World Cup has been going for a few weeks now here in New Zealand and the excitement and support for not just the All Blacks but for all the teams playing has been amazing. It's also been really neat to see my 4 year old interested in and learning about the countries in the tournament at her pre-school. In her class each child has been given a country to represent and hers is Canada- here is a pic of the flag she made (love that maple leaf!!) and a pic of her waving it madly during the Canada v Tonga game the other night.
So I had an idea...I love how having a blog is such a great way to connect with people from all over the world.  With Amelie being so into learning about other countries I thought it would be fun to do a swap with some of you overseas readers so your little ones can learn a bit about NZ and my little ones can learn about your countries. And then I thought that maybe some other kiwi bloggers would like to take part too. 
So is there anyone from Canada and any other countries that would like to receive a little box of treats to learn about NZ? Like this...
...and send us a few goodies from your country in return?  I am wanting to swap with a few people from other countries but I thought if I get more than one person wanting to do a swap from Canada for example I could match up some other NZ bloggers to do a swap.
If you're keen here are some ideas for things to put in your swap parcel- I found most things from 'Dollar Value' and the supermarket.  I'm not suggesting putting all of these things in, just whatever you feel would be a neat parcel of things to receive yourself.
  • cookie cutter in the shape of an animal from your country or another icon
  • picture book (I'm sure we'd all be happy with a second-hand book from your country! I found this cloth book and puzzle at a second hand shop)
  • coins- kids love money from other countries don't they :)
  • postcards
  • stickers
  • stamps
Found these cool All Blacks stamps at the Post Shop
  • travel brochures from your home town/city/country
  • toiletries eg: soap
  • Sweets/lollies- probably the most popular thing to send!!
  • Colouring in book or pages printed from internet- just search google for colouring in pages
  • Stationery
  • bookmark
  • Magnet
  • Key ring
  • Brooch
  • Flag
  • If your children are old enough they could write a letter or draw a picture 
  • Handmade or store bought softie animal
  • A handmade bag, purse, wallet, apron etc using some fabric printed with icons/images from your country
I'm going to have to organise the swap on a 'first in first matched up basis' as I'm guessing I'll get more kiwi's interested than people from other countries just based on who reads my blog. If I end up with a lot of New Zealand swappers and not enough from other countries to swap with would you still be keen to swap with another New Zealander?  I know that it would still be fun for my girls to learn about New Zealand even if it isn't quite as exciting as a package from overseas. If you would still like to swap with a kiwi if all the other swappers are taken let me know in your email message.

I'm sorry in advance if I am unable to pair up a swap partner with you- here's hoping we get a nice even number of swappers and lots from other countries! If I can't pair you up you could try contacting a blogger friend personally and seeing if they would like to do a swap with you maybe :)

So if you're interested could you please copy and paste this into an email messaage 

Name:
Country you are from:
How many children you have and their names and ages (if you don't want to put this that's fine, just your name will do:
Address: 
Blog website if you have one (you don't have to be a blogger though): 
For kiwi swappers -are you still keen to swap with another kiwi if all the other overseas swappers are taken? yes please/no thanks

and send to to megan (at) mousehouse (dot) co (dot) nz

Sign ups will close next Friday the 30th September and it would be great if you could send your parcel by the middle to end of October. Sorry I haven't given much time to send the parcel (should have written this post ages ago!) but I really want to do the swap while the buzz of the World Cup is happening.  Also I would feel really bad if someone didn't receive their swap package so please make sure you are able to commit and send your parcel by then before you sign up thank you :)

Thanks heaps and really looking forward to hopefully getting a few emails soon. And hope my rather long winded explanation makes sense!
Megan x

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rainbows

I made up this busy book page a while ago now for Stella who loves rainbows but wasn't too good at naming any colours except blue. I think it's my favourite page so far- I love watching her move each bead across after she's put each colour down, and she has remarkably improved her colour recognition so I put it all down to this of course ;) We were actually thinking she was colour blind for a while there! I used this colouring in page for the template but had to add another band of colour to do the ROY G BIV rainbow. 
Went a bit wonky with my sewing- should have used pins....
And here are a few more rainbow things if you have a rainbow fan in your house too...
rainbow types - Signed Print
(I came across this artist via the fab design blog Alex Fulton Design)


 

Tinch rainbow magnetic wallscape
And my friend Rosie told me about this lovely gingham rainbow dress from Made by Ray today- cute isn't it!
Megan x

Thursday, September 15, 2011

mini ABC drawers for kids

Well, you voted for it so here it is! I ran a little poll on my mousehouse facebook page to find out what you wanted to see next on my blog and this project won. It was close though, 4 votes for this and 3 for an 'organised home challenge' post - although I haven't actually done that yet so it was lucky this activity won as with the week I'm having it'll be a good while before I can get an organised home project done!
I saw this cute project on the awesome blog Itty Bitty Love and loved it straight away-I love making 'teach-ery' type things and this project also appealed to my filing and organising tendancies hehe.  I think some of my teacher friends might like this in their classroom too- would be great as a reading activity or a choosing activity on a Friday afternoon maybe.
I found my mini drawers from Mitre 10 Mega for $20.  Places like Payless Plastics, Plastic Box, Bunnings or maybe even Supercheap Auto or Repco have them too- any hardware type store probably. I had to get a 25 drawer one in the end as the 30 drawer one was quite a lot more $$ so I just combined X and Y in one drawer. I got the ABC stickers and the picture stickers from The Warehouse. I didn't actually have to go and buy any of the things to go in the drawers as I had heaps of stuff in my craft stash (I'd bought a few things a while ago to make a i-spy bag that I haven't got around to yet from a shop here in Tauranga -'AJ's emporium'.)
Amelie had heaps of fun too going around the house finding things too- it was pretty funny hearing her walking around the house going d d d dice!! b b b bead!! She was very excited to say the least :) It's a really neat way to teach letter sounds and a great activity for those 'kinesthetic learners" - there's some teacher-speak for you ;) And it took ages for her to put all of the things into each drawer- always a good thing! 
With Jack already rolling a bit and managing to wiggle himself around a full 180 on his back we are having to be super careful with little things lying around now so I'm keeping this in a cupboard and Amelie just plays with it when Stella and Jack are asleep.  Some of the things she does is take everything out, mix them all up and put them all back again (love that one!), sorts the objects into colours, goes outside and finds things for the drawers like shells, stones, leaves etc, and just general playing.  
Thanks Anne for a great idea!
Megan x
PS: Amelie drew the winner of the Katherine Mansfield book just now- the winner is 'Time for a Little Something'.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sewing for beginners: Lesson one- A Pin Cushion

Now I know I said in my first 'Sewing for beginners' post that I have an aversion to pinning so it seems funny to be writing up how to make a pin cushion for my first lesson! But I do use my pin cushion all the time- just maybe not as much as other sewers. If you're going to get into some sewing a pin cushion is a great first project. I have kept this tutorial as the most basic pin cushion you could make but have added an 'extra for experts' pin cushion too -it's based on the first one I made after seeing Joanna's lovely one here.  She has some lovely pin cushions and needle books for sale here too. (And Joanna has kindly agreed to share her pattern for the extra for experts tutorial)
My pin cushion- one of the first things I made last year
One of the first crafty swaps I took part in was a pin cushion swap hosted by Kate at Fox's Lane (Kate is an incredibly talented crafter and is on a fantastic journey around Australia with her family in a renovated caravan- you can check out her crafting and adventures here).   I made this pin cushion for the swap after googling 'pin cushion tutorial'. Unfortunately the tutorial is no longer there so it sometimes pays to print out a tutorial if you really love it!
 
For more pin cushion inspiration you can check out all of the pin cushions made for the swap here.

How to sew a pin cushion
You will need
  • sewing machine 
  • sharp scissors- I use Korbond scissors from the supermarket for all my crafting 
  • fabric - you could use the same for the front and the back pieces or two different fabrics
  • piece of card for the template
  • stuffing- a huge bag of this is about $7 from craft stores- mine has lasted about a year!
  • needle and thread 
Instructions
1. I use cardboard templates for a lot of my projects. Cut out a piece of cardboard the size you would like your pin cushion to be plus a bit bigger - after sewing, things are always a bit smaller as you have to leave room for the seams. I didn't measure my template for this pin cushion but the measurements are 18 cm wide by 11 cm high.
Draw around the template on your front and back pieces of fabric and cut them out.
2. Place right sides together  and sew around the outside about 1cm from the edge of the fabrics. Start in the middle of one of the longer sides - roughly where the purple dot down the bottom on the left is in the pic below. Sew around and stop when you get to roughly where the other purple dot is- this leaves you a gap to stuff the pin cushion. Don't leave your gap too small or you'll find it tricky to turn your pin cushion right sides out and stuff if the gap is too small.
Clip across the four corners, taking care not to cut your stitching. You do this so that when you turn your pin cushion right sides out you will have nice sharp corners.
3. Turn your pin cushion right sides out by pushing your fabric through the gap. You can then use a chop stick to push out the four corners if needed.
4. Stuff your pin cushion quite firmly. Use a needle and thread and hand stitch the gap closed. 
Finished!
Now for the 'extra for experts' one... with no measuring!
1. Use the same template and cut out a piece of fabric for the back of your pin cushion. Choose two fabrics for the front of your pin cushion (the sewing notions fabric is from here)- use the template and cut out your two pieces but make one a bit shorter than the template and the other one a bit shorter still- see pic below. So both pieces are the same height as the template but shorter widths.  Cut  a piece of ribbon the same height as the template.

2. Place the two pieces right sides together and line them up along one edge. Sew 1 cm in from the edge to join the two fabrics together. Open up your seam on the back and iron flat like this. Now you can do patchwork!
3. Lay your back piece on top of your patchworked front piece. You can see where I needed to trim the patchworked piece to make it the same size as the back piece.
4. Trim off the edges so both pieces are now the same size.  If you used measurements to follow a pattern like this you wouldn't need to do the trimming but this way is a lot quicker I think!
5. Place your ribbon along the seam and sew onto your fabric
6. Place your two pieces right sides together and sew around just like the first pin cushion. Clip the corners.
7. Turn right sides out, stuff and hand stitch gap closed. Finished!
8. Now for an extra -extra for experts... you could make a little needle book to go with your pin cushion! I will write a little tutorial to make one of these too as I just made it up using my pin cushion template but if you want to make one now try googling 'needle book tutorial'.
Would love to hear if you have made your own pin cushion or if you have any questions. Feel a bit nervous writing a proper sewing tutorial! Post a pic of your pin cushion to my mousehouse facebook page if you would like to- would love to see them!
Happy sewing!
Megan x
And thank you for the comments on my dolls house lights-  I'll draw the winner of the book tomorrow :)
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