Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Christmas (and giveaway winner)

Hello all, well I've got time for one last post for 2012 and to share a few things I've been up to crafting wise in the last few weeks...
I made these key rings for Jack and Stella's lovely teachers- I got the heart shaped key rings from a bead shop close by- Uncle Black Beetles Beads. I got the idea after seeing this project via pinterest
I also made a couple of my waterproof make-up purses for Amelie's awesome school teachers but forgot to get a photo of them!

I made a Christmas cracker for Lindsay at her blog Arohanui Vegan Love as part of Katie's fun Christmas Cracker Swap.  Lindsay is going to open hers on Christmas Day so I won't share what I put it in yet but lets just say this shop is very cool if you are wanting vegan or ethical and eco friendly products- I was pretty relieved when I found it!
I bought a new Christmas tea towel from one of my favourite gift shops in Tauranga- Mainly Gifts in Cherrywood.
And the girls had a nice surprise for one of their advent pockets one morning- the dollhouse had a little Christmas tree and one of the dolls even dressed up as Santa! After umming and ahhing for a while over this Lundby Christmas tree I finally bought it, shame I could only get one of the lights on it going though!
And the winner of my christmas giveaway is comment number 97...
Dianna Townsend- congratulations Dianna, please email me your postal adress to megan(at)mouse house (dot)co(dot)nz. I'm sorry I didn't do the draw in time for a Christmas delivery!
Thank you so much everyone for reading mousehouse this year- I truly appreciate your comments and feedback and really love writing this blog -my 'happy place' I call it :) Hopefully in 2013 I will have a bit more time to write and share even more! It's pretty funny seeing how many half finished posts I have written this year including at least 5 'organised home' posts so hopefully next year I'll be more organised and will be able to finish writing them! Merry Christmas to my fellow bloggers and all of you blog readers and a Happy New Year to you and your families.
Megan x

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas ornament swap 2012

I came across this pin via Clare of Green Valley Crafts a while ago (go and check out Clare's blog as it is just lovely) and thought it would be a great one to make for this years Kiwi christmas ornament swap hosted by Sew Funky.  I love using fabric and I love doing a little bit of stitching on felt too so it was win win (and they wouldn't take too long to make which is another win this year!) I kept the ornament simple with the stitching thread, ribbon and felt all being the same colour so the fabric would really stand out (I used the same fabrics that I used for my christmas advent bunting).

Here is the tutorial if you'd like to have a go yourself...

And here are a couple of ornaments I have received as part of the swap...
A beautiful cross stitched ornament from Kimberley...
...and a lovely tree decoration and cute card from Tammy the pocket made out of a recycled magazine page to pop the ornament in too!
Megan x
PS: Don't forget to enter my Christmas giveaway!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mousehouse Christmas Giveaway 2012

Once again I've had lots of fun making and gathering up a few goodies to say a big thank you for reading 'mousehouse' this year- I really appreciate you all! It's been a really busy year with Amelie starting school which dramatically reduced my crafting time (and I thought I'd have more time when she was at school...) and Jack becoming a very busy toddler so my blog posts aren't quite as prolific as they used to be so thank you for still reading! Also a big thank you to all of you that like and comment on my facebook page- I have really enjoyed using my facebook page this year to connect with readers and share ideas.  So here are my Christmas treats for one lucky reader...
* a fat quarter of Riley Blake's Santa's Workshop "White Santa Snowflake" fabric
* an Owl topper pencil
* a Birdy notepad
* A mousehouse waterproof make-up purse
* 4 sheets of Cath Kidston stickers and labels
* a roll of green/white striped washi tape
* a toadstool eraser and pencil sharpener
* 5 metres of christmas coloured bakers twine
* a Babushka christmas decoration
The giveaway is open internationally so anyone can enter- entries will close Wed 12th Dec. To enter all you have to do is leave a comment telling me where you are from. If you would like to you could tell me something you like doing in your hometown/city in the lead up to Christmas - maybe it's going berry picking at a favourite orchard, ice skating at a local rink, going to an annual Christmas market... I'm just really interested in where you're from, how you celebrate christmas in your part of the world or something fun to do in your hometown! (I have a bit of the travelling bug at the moment so can live vicariously through your comments ;) Anyone can comment (and I've taken that word verification thing off) and if you don't have a blog you can comment as an anonymous user- just make sure you leave your email address in the comment. 
I would love to be able to use my Facebook page for you to enter the giveaway by leaving a comment on there but after reading their huge list of rules I can't see how I can (if you know how to let me know!) However if you share this giveaway post on Facebook and let me know in the comment section here you'll get another entry! (I'm pretty sure that's allowed!)
So leave a comment to enter - if you're a Facebook liker as well leave another comment for another chance to win, and if you share the giveaway on your blog, facebook or pinterest leave another comment to let me know. 
Thank you so much again for reading mousehouse and I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas.
Megan x

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Christmas advent bunting

Well I've finally finished pocket advent bunting all ready for Christmas! If you follow my mousehouse page on Facebook you'll have seen a few pics already of the process, and some details of where I got the numbers and fabric but I'll share again on here for any of you that haven't seen my FB posts.
I got the idea to make advent bunting after seeing this gorgeous bunting on pinterest made by the very clever Jooles of Sew Sweet Violet. I'd already bought the screenprinted numbers over a year ago from Maze and Vale  (which you just cut out and applique on to your chosen fabric) but I was still thinking of how I was going to make the calendar- there are a lot of great ideas out there! Once I saw the pocket bunting idea though I knew it would be a great project as I love bunting and it wouldn't take too long to make compared to some of the beautiful but more time consuming pocket quilt style advent calendars I've seen.
For the white fabric I used 'cotton duck' in off white- I love this fabric and used it for the christmas stockings I made a few years ago (here and here) as well- it's quite a heavy fabric, has a linen look and also looks quite 'vintagy' so works really well for lots of projects. (I buy it from Bernina here in Tauranga- I think it is about $14 a metre). For the back of the pockets I used fabrics from the Riley Blake 'Santa's Workshop' collection- I bought them from Bernina and Sew Pretty  plus the aqua spot fabric from Spotlight. You can also find the range on Etsy. I used bias binding to join all the pockets together. I'm really happy with how it's turned out, especially the colours of all the fabrics together- it looks Christmassy but still bright and fun as well which suits our summer Christmas here in NZ.
I think I'm going to do something similar to what Vanessa wrote on my Facebook page about her advent calendar last year...she put notes in each pocket with things like "tomorrow we can bake gingerbread cookies" or "we will go and see the Christmas lights tomorrow night" or "you can stay up an hour later tonight to watch a Santa DVD" and then put a chocolate Santa or a candy cane every third day or so. Lots of great idea thanks Vanessa- I like the idea of mixing activities with treats! Here are some more ideas below…

I also loved Claire's idea on my FB page- she put notes in some of her advent pockets saying things like "Look in the washing basket" or she wrote clues to put in the pockets and they had to guess where she hid the treats!

Here is my list of Christmassy things I would like to do most years (time and energy willing!!) They are in no particular order and I doubt I'll get them all done but it'll be good to have a list here for ideas...

1. Unwrap some new summer PJ's- one year I might actually make these but for now I'll be buying them
2. Read a Christmas story (every year I want to buy a new Christmas book for each kiddo- this year I bought Mog's Christmas for Amelie, The Lighthouse Keeper's Christmas for Jack (both $11 on Fishpond with free delivery FYI) and Dora's Starry Christmas  for Stella my little Dora fan :)
3. Go to the Christmas tree farm and pick out a Christmas tree
4. Hang the Christmas wreath and stockings and other decorations around the house
5. Decorate the Christmas tree
6. In one pocket I'll put 3 Christmas decorations with a note to hang them on the tree (I like the idea of making or buying a special Christmas decoration each year so they'll have a nice little collection by the time they have their own tree's!)

7. Go berry picking- list of places in NZ here...
8. Write a letter to Santa
9. Watch Santa's message on  
10. Make/write Christmas cards
11. Do some Christmas baking (gingerbread, shortbread...lots of ideas on pinterest)
12. Do some Christmas drawing and crafting ( a few years ago I made a little craft kit with stickers, red and green card, crayons and some other bits and pieces from Dollar value so will try and do this again for Amelie and Stella). 
There are also lots of christmas activity books like this one from Book Depository or FishPond so I might get one of them ...
Christmas Pocket Doodling and Colouring Book
or I'll find some Christmas colouring in pages and other simple kids craft ideas online  (like this one I made a few years ago with Stella
13. Take a parcel of food to the local Foodbank and donate some old toys to an Op Shop
14. Go for a drive to see the Christmas lights-luckily there were quite a few houses that got into it last year in our neighbourhood! 
15. Decorate a gingerbread house- I like the look of this one from Ezibuy as I can't imagine ever making my own gingerbread pieces!
16. Go to a Carols by Candlight performance (I think Te Puna Quarry here in Tauranga had one last year but the kids were a bit young..maybe this year we will give it a go)
17. Go to a Christmas church service that tells the Christmas story so the kids learn something about the meaning/history behind Christmas
18. Watch a Christmas movie (hoping to get a Muppets Christmas movie like 'The Muppet Christmas Carol' this year to watch among others like The Polar Express, How the Grinch stole Christmas, Santa Claus, A Charlie Brown Christmas...if you have a favourite Christmas movie would love to hear! More ideas here
19. Buy some Christmas lilies.
20. Make up a lolly jar of red/ green/ christmas themed lollies.
21. Make a christmas pillowcase with pocket
22. Have a kids christmas morning tea or lunch
23. Have Christmas drinks and nibbles (Christmas eve if here)
24. Have an adults 'end of year' dinner out
25. Elf on the Shelf- buy this year
26. Buy a new candle for the mantelpiece- christmassy scent...
27. Make some reindeer food using oats and glitter + carrots- put out letter, cookies and milk for Santa (jingle bells, chewed up carrot, note from Santa next morning)
28 New toothbrushes
29. Get a new christmas outfit and take a photo underneath the Christmas tree (christmas cards)
30. Decorate the dollshouse for Christmas
31. Go to a Santa parade

Phew this has turned into a very big blog post, no wonder its taken me about a week to finish it! If you want any more advent ideas if you are wanting to make your own one check out my Christmas pinterest board or search Etsy to buy a handmade one- there are thousands of beautiful ones on there!

And a big thanks to Jooles of Sew Sweet Violet for the fab idea to make advent pocket bunting- check out her store as she makes some really lovely things. 

Please share any photo's of your DIY advent calendar or ideas on my Facebook page- would love to see them!

Megan x

PS: The winner of the edible ink pen from my Muppets blog post is comment number 4- CC of Sevendog blog. Please email me your address to megan (at) mouse house dot co dot nz and I'll send the pen out to you :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

DIY shadow puppet theatre

I saw a great idea on the Seedling Facebook page a couple of weeks ago- making a shadow puppet theatre. They were running some workshops for the school holidays and the pic showed a scene from the Gruffalo. (Here's the pic on their page. )  I thought it would be fun to make our own one so I had a go- the girls loved it and played with it for ages..always a good thing!  

Here's how I made my one...

You will need
white A4 paper
black card
wooden skewers or lollipop sticks (I bought mine from a cake supplies store a while ago with grand plans of making lollipop cookies which hasn't eventuated yet!)
cereal box
glue stick
cake board (optional)

1. Print out these Gruffalo colouring sheets and reduce them to about 25% of their original size. Cut around each picture like above and stick onto some black card.
 2. Cut out each picture and stick onto a wooden skewer or lollipop stick

3. Take apart a cereal box so it lies flat. On the two largest rectangles of the box measure about 1.5 cms in from each side (see below) and cut out (see below 2nd pic)
4. Tape the box back together so the outside of the cereal box becomes the inside.
5. Now trim a piece of A4 white paper to fit inside the box. Cut a piece of black card the same size.
6. Cut out two trees from the black card (nice and easy because the black card is the same height as the white paper) and stick onto the white paper
7. Stick the white paper to the inside of the box like below
8. Cut a slit out of the bottom of the box closest to the white paper for your puppets to go.
9. I sellotaped the theatre to the edge of a cake board so it was easy to keep the theatre stable- make sure the slit is just over the edge of the board if you do this (see above)
10. Set up a lamp behind the theatre on a stool so it is roughly the same height as the theatre. Warn children to be careful of hot light bulbs (learnt that lesson!)
11. Have fun acting out your story!
 And here are some more pics from the Seedling workshop for more great story ideas as well as ideas for decorating your puppet theatre-  thanks for the idea Seedling and Tweet Design!
Megan x

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A travel themed party

A lovely family I have got to know through my daughter's class are about to head off on a year long overseas trip, basing themselves in the UK and doing lots of travelling during the year.  Their daughter Edie has become a great friend of Amelie so I offered to help Edie's mum with a little farewell party for Edie and her brother George. I'm a big fan of simple, low cost parties, especially as most children seem happy as long as they have their friends there and there is plenty of treats and a cake! So I thought I'd share some of the things we did for the party- some of the ideas would be great for a Flight themed party as well.
Invitations- I made these on the computer, used a large circle punch to cut out the circle and put a jet plane lolly in a little cellophane bag and taped it onto the back of the invitation.
Decorations-  paper map bunting made by colour photocopying a world map, then stitching the triangles together using the sewing machine. Edie's mum also found this awesome bus and beefeater fabric at Spotlight to use as tablecloths. Some blue and green balloons were hung as well.
I made these placemats using clip art images - they were also a colouring in activity to keep them busy before and after food time.
Earth Day Cupcakes
Food- I saw these cute 'earth' cupcakes on pinterest so I had a go at making some and added some toppers using clip art images. I divided my cupcake mixture into two bowls, coloured one bowl green and one blue using the gel icing colours you can get from cake decorating shops. I then just put a tablespoon of blue in first and then a tablespoon of green but it ended up looking more layered than swirly like the ones above so next time I would add teaspoon blue, teaspoon green x 2 and swirl it a teeny bit before baking to get the look like the one above.
These 'In Flight Meal's' were my favourite thing- I came across the idea in this amazing blog post I made one up with some ideas to show you as I didn't take any photo's at the party...
I got the containers and lids from Payless Plastics (they were less than a dollar for both the lid and container). (I added a little container for the popcorn and jellybeans in the photo above but you could use cupcake cases so you don't need to buy lots of little containers too!) The mums at the party loved the idea of everyone having their own little 'lunchbox' - no need to use lots of serving platters, easy clean up and no fuss- the kids loved them too. Also probably same price or cheaper than some paper party plates and reusable too!

And we couldn't find these in NZ but I came across these 'Earth' chocolates online so thought I'd share them with you - these would be very cute for a world/travel themed party if you can get your hands on some!

Cake- Edie's mum made a delicious chocolate cake and decorated it with jet plane lollies and sprinkles- the kids loved it.
Games/Activities-we were just going to have two activities- colouring in the placemat and making and decorating paper planes (I googled paper plane instructions) but in the end they were happy with just colouring the placemats and then playing fairies so that was easy!!
We are going to really miss you guys- safe travels and we look forward to reading all about your adventures :)

Megan x
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