Tuesday, December 13

my type of Christmas shopping

In my world, when I go Christmas shopping, it is peaceful, quiet and all is well.

There is nothing overpriced.  And I find everything I'm looking for.

I don't have to fight for a car park, or even pay for said car park and really, I can shop in my tracksuit because I don't care.

There is no havoc, no snotty salesperson to have ones eyes rolled at. Nope.  None. Of. That.

And my kids....well they are peaceful for the whole journey.

So. Where do I go?

Here are my favourite destinations....

Fishpond - for books, movies and dvd packs (free shipping!)
OO.com - for pretty much everything
Kikki K - oh surely everyone is just as in love with stationary as me....
Little shop of - delightful handmade goodies by Melbourne crafters (me included!)
Rudy and the dodo - delightful stuff for little people
Ebay - no explanation really
Asos - well, that might be for me!
Blurb - Oh just made a holiday photo book for the MIL - I'm so going to be the favourite now!
And of course, Etsy and Made It for more handmade and vintage goodness....

Have you embraced online shopping?

Love it or Loathe it? If you haven't guessed I love it.....

And if you love it, which sites do you love?

....do share and happy Christmas Shopping!


Monday, December 12

From rust bucket to shiny new {yes, another DIY}

I'm pretty sure I imaged these chairs into existence.  It's not often I go thrifted and think to myself "gee I really do want a pair of fold up chairs...comfy...bright in colour perhaps, and only needing a but of tlc."
Wham!  They appeared before I could even finish this sentence in my head.  And at the stellar price of $8 a pop....these little babies took no time to shine like new.   I quickly stashed them at my folks little hobby farm - perfect spot for a bit of DIY when sanding rust and spray paint was involved. 

I then moved them to my father-in-laws shed....where he kindly finished them off by giving the seats the clean of their life....nothing a bit of metho and some elbow grease!  

Not a speck of rust in sight!!! 

Take a seat why don't you??  

So from rust bucket to sparkly new....
the only cost was the rust proof aluminum spray can for $14!

Ever found just what you were looking for whilst thrifting? 
Do share...


Friday, December 9

the class gift (all for under $10)

I did a little "uh oh" when my son kept getting little Christmas cards and candy canes in his allocated Kinder pocket. 

The dreaded "class room gift" was fast approaching.

I'm not one for dishing out the confectionary.  My son started munching away on his his Candy Cane and announced that it tasted like toothpaste.  I agree.  Hmm.... my mind started thinking.....

So, without wanting to break the bank....and knowing I had 26 little kids to manufacture something for...we came up with a little Reindeer Magic Food.  A fun little crafty activity for the kids to prepare (with adult supervision with the glitter!!!)

Simple little mixture of oats, glittler and sequins and a cute little rhyme to go with it.  All in a little clear bag ready to scatter on the grass Christmas Eve.   And if you're like me and have some of this stuff lying around at home, it shouldn't cost too much either.  I just needed to purchase the bottle of glitter and print off the poem and bag label (which my son wrote the recipients name on) and I was done. 

Do you do Classroom Christmas Gifts? 

Whats your approach?


Wednesday, December 7

My creative space - Down on the farm

This project has been along time coming.  So long in fact that I've decided my kids aren't getting it until Christmas.  It will be my Christmas present to them.  Santa doesn't get all the glory.

And now that it's finished, I'm glad I let it take a while....because it meant that it grew, and evolved and I changed my plans a few times and have come up with a gift for children that is not only fun, but practical and has a functional element.

You see, I'd been wanting to make a little farm mat for some time.

I also wanted to make one of those snazzy toy mats/bags that just hang up on a hook when your done.

So I combined those two projects.

I used felt for the actual farm mat.  Added some rather random-ish items that kind of look like a barn, a lake, a house, and a flower patch with some scraps and roughly sewing them on.   The little barn roof even opens up!

The matt is backed with some lovely bright fabric (which I could also use that way facing up as a little picnic blanket...) and with some rope threaded through the many button holes....

The farm animals and farm machinery are proudly brought to you by IKEA.  They were just too good an opportunity not to snap them up, and they love their new hand made environment.  I'm pretty sure I did hear a conversation between the Mr Goat and Mrs Pig that they were so glad not to have to put together a flat packed barn!!! Yes those allen key's are a so difficult with hooves and trotters!

 It makes this mat a cinch to pack up.

Now before you pack up and go - head over to a load full of creativity....


Saturday, November 26

DIY overload

There has been an awful lot of DIYing going on at my house.

It seemed to all come to a head at once.  That, and the fact that we could no longer get into the small back shed, so it was now or never.  Just look at my backyard! 

This photo was taken a few weeks ago, when everthing got pulled out...I donned my work gear, floral scarf wrapped around my head and set to work.  I sanded, and filled, painted and scraped.  I traded visits to Spotlight for Bunnings and I felt like a warrior in the process.  I enjoy this fixer-up-ering journey.  I love watching items that were, perhaps destined for the rubbish heap or no longer wanted, brought to new life.

My kids watched eagerly too - and with a paintbrush in their hand, I quickly set them with a bucket of water to "paint the fence" (genuis dad!).  I hope I am teaching them the value of "make do and mend" and that new is not always necessary. 

Here is the latest finished item.  A salvaged narrow ladder that I collected during hard rubbish.  All she needed was a sand, stain and a little colour.

Do love fixing stuff up?  does it hang around in your shed or garage though? Or are you great at fixing it up as soon as you bring it home....


the rain in spain......

Do your kids make up words?  Or try really really hard to pronounce words and still don't quite get there.

Well, lately I've been catching myself out using my kids words instead of the Proper English.

Oh dear.  Not a good teacher am I?

I play along, as their little language can be so damn cute, funny and entertaining that sometimes I think I prefer their words to proper English.  That, and it makes them laugh.

Take my son - inventor of new words, and lately when it's "time to go"  I find myself yelling out "let's gok"  as that is what he made up! But it doesn't stop there.....

When it's time for "breakfast" - it so much cuter when my daughter asks for "bwekfrast"
Which is then followed up by a request for a "bay-chee" rather than the usual "baby cino"
There is "drunkfood" instead of "junkfood", which i think is just hilarious
or "wallpaper" vs "toilet paper" (but, it is on the wall mummy!)
Even the italian word for cheese "formagio" has been hijacked and re-arranged into "bobbagino" - dont even ask!
The "tee-pee" has been renamed the "tee-pit" as I can't be bothered correcting that one....
then there is "spell" for "smell"
and my favourite at the moment would be my daughters name for the humble "tracksuit"....."suit-jacks"

Do you correct your children's pronunciations?  What cute words have they come up with??

Or do you play along like I do?

Hmmm.... time to get into action and find my inner Mr Higgins......

   "The rain in spain falls mainly on the plane" (REPEAT!)

Tuesday, November 22

{red velvet cupcakes}

I was looking for a nice cupcake recipe to whip up to take to a function that required a "bring a plate" scenario.   Then I remembered that I had stashed this red velvet cupcake into my "must make" section a while back and thought it a good opportunity to test it out.  At first, I was a bit apprehensive about using a whole bottle of red food colouring, but low and behold I still took the plunge and made these vibrant red velvet beauties.

here is what you need....

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
50ml bottle red food coloring
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 17o degrees Celsius. Line two 12-cup muffin tins or silicone pans with cupcake liners or I did a mixture of normal and mini size muffins.
2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. In a smaller bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
4. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Be careful as it will fizz so don't do it in a shallow bowl. Add vinegar mixture to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Fill cupcake cups with cake batter until they are a little under 3/4 full.
Place muffin tins in your preheated oven. Bake the normal size muffins for 20 minutes and if you do the mini muffins, for 10 minutes. The cupcakes are done when you are able to pat the tops and the cake springs back up. If it sinks down they are not yet complete. Or you can insert a toothpick into the center of a cupcake in the center of the tin and if it comes out clean they are done!
5. Cool the cupcakes in their tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

50g butter
200g Cream Cheese
1 Cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

To make - beat the butter and the cream cheese together until nice and smooth, then slowly add the vanilla extract and lastly your icing sugar.  You can always add more or less icing sugar depending on our sweet or thick you would like you frosting.  Spread on with a flat knife, or if you're real fancy, use a piping bag. 


Tuesday, November 15

my creative space....{a little quilted notebook}

Inspiration finally struck, as I had been pondering for a while what to make as a gift for a dear friend.

This quilted notebook emerged, peice by peice and luckily turned out, just as I'd hoped.  With inspiration from this very clever crafter, I set out to achieve something a little different...

It was such a fun project, and great to hone those quilting skills...even if the stitching is a little wonky (it all adds character!)  

And when you open her up, she really comes alive.  Bright chevron fabric, with everything a note-taker needs..... a spot for a notebook, pen, and pocket for any other imperative bits of paper or even business cards?

I can imagine this little quilted notebook, being pride and place next the phone to jot down those all important messages, or perhaps just relaxing by the kitchen bench, waiting for the milk to be low, so it can be added to the shopping list.

And a little bit of fabric scrap utilisation!  You wont care which way she is facing!

For more crafty delights to fill any notebook