Saturday, July 30, 2011

Thirty Things in Thirty Days - Update 3...

So here we are already with update number 3... actually I'm a little bit late, since July ends on Sunday!!  But I wrote this post on Monday (just didn't get around to finishing and publishing it!) so I'll give you my update as of the Monday just gone!  This month is absolutely flying by….  Where does the time go?

We've just had a lovely visit from Poppy & Nanny (aka my Dad & Stepmum) which we all enjoyed very much - particularly Alex!  I know he will miss them a lot.  Fortunately they will be back in a months time (along with several other grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins and friends!) for his Baptism, so that is something to look forward to.

But back to my thirty things in thirty days list… here we go:

1. Go on a date night with Boofy
2. Cook something with an ingredient I've never used before
3. Use the massage/ pedi/ facial voucher Boofy bought me for Xmas
4. Write a letter to Alex about how funny he is at this age and put it away in his box of treasures
5. Spend a day totally unplugged from the internet
6. Organise the cupboard in the spare room
7. Cull Alex's toys (soooo overdue!)
8. Plant out the vege garden
9. Do something special with Alex, just the two of us
10. Complete some new sewing projects
11. Have a movie night at home with my 2 favourite boys
12. Read a book
13. Put on a BBQ brekky for our friends Julie & Tony and their kids
14. Go and see my Grandma
15. Go op-shopping in my local area
16. Revamp an op shop find
17. Clean up my desk at work and make it look a bit nicer (at the moment, it's just depressing!)
18. Look after Julie & Tony's kids for a day so they can have some kid-free time
19. Try a project I've seen in Blogland
20. Try a project I've seen on Pinterest
21. Organise and send out invites for Alex's Baptism (in August)
22. Redecorate the area where my random cupboards are
23. Finish off the cabinet of Nanna's treasures (as started in this post)
24. Go out for dinner as a family
25. Take Alex to mini golf
26. Write a long letter to Jo Jo
27. Hang painting in the laundry
28. Go and see the new Harry Potter movie
29. Bake some savoury muffins to take in for my work mates
30. Print and frame a free printable from the internet (there are so many to choose from)

So I haven't managed to cross too many off my list this week - because one of them was a really BIG one!!  But I crossed off another three, so that's better than a kick in the pants!  Here's what I've been up to:

4. Write a letter to Alex about how funny he is at this age and put it away in his box of treasures
This was an easy but also hard one to do!!  It's easy to recall what is fresh in my mind, but when I actually sit down and try to recall those funny things he's said over the last few months, its difficult to conjure examples of the hilarity!  Never mind, I decided half way through that it didn't have to be perfect - it just was what it was.  So I did it - he will know some funny things, in detail, about his 3.5 year old self in years to come…  I've got an idea for a way to remember more things, but I will cover that another day!

8. Plant out the vege garden
OK so if number 22 is the whale of the list (and trust me, it is!) then this was the baby whale for sure!  I may have mentioned before that we have an 11m x 1.2m garden bed at the side of our house.  When we moved in, it was a grassy, patchy, unimpressive mound of dirt about 60cm high.  I immediately spied a huge vege patch, and put my talented brother Mick to work on building me a mighty 1m tall chunky wood retaining wall.  Anyway, as I've previously explained, we had a great first winter crop, then the floods hit up here and our summer crop just laid down and rotted :(  We were so disheartened that we haven't planted anything since - until last Sunday!!  Heather (my stepmum) and I spent the afternoon toiling in the dirt - digging, turning things over, raking, planting, watering and mulching…. Until we were finally done!

So just to refresh your memory…. Here is how it looked after we pulled out the rotten plants and totally neglected it for the next 4 months:




And our poor little turtle buried in the weeds!



And this is what it looked like after we killed most of the weeds and were getting ready to start planting again:




And this is what it looked like at the end of Sunday - hooray!!





It's hard to see the plants amongst all that mulch…. But they're there!  I actually prefer the look of the garden with no mulch at all - but all the experts say its best to use it, so use it we did.  Here are all the things I have planted:

:: nasturtiums (white, edible)
:: cos lettuce
:: iceberg lettuce
:: snow peas
:: sugar snap peas
:: dwarf green beans
:: baby carrots
:: capsicums
:: broccoli
:: thyme
:: coriander
:: parsley
:: basil
:: aloe vera (been meaning to plant these for ages - there is an end that doesn't get much sun so nothing grows there well - this will be perfect here!)
:: lemongrass
:: strawberries
:: grape tomatoes
:: marigolds (to keep pests away)

So there you go, one baby whale down, one mamma whale to go! :)  (On that, I've decided the only way to eat an elephant is piece by piece - so I'm going to try to do little bits every other day to get through number 22 on my list…. Hey did you just see how my whale turned into an elephant?  No idea where all these animal comparisons are coming from!)

28. Go and see the new Harry Potter movie
Done and done! 



My friend Julie and I have had a date for some time to do this, and as it turned out, Dad & Heather were in town also, so we all trundled off to see it together.  I loved it, and cried in many places!  Julie clapped in many places (as did a lot of others).  I'm not much of a clapper, I'm a total sook!  It was quite different to the book in places, and I felt it left out quite a lot of the explanations, but it was fantastic nonetheless!  Made even better by the yum-cha lunch we had afterwards - very yummy!  So the last Harry Potter movie has been seen… the end of an era really…. Sniff sniff….  I can't wait until Alex is old enough to watch these and read the books, then I can enjoy it all over again with him :)

And that is the total update for this week....  not much progress i know, but the vege garden really was a massive effort (thanks Heather!!!!)  I will show updated pics next week, because I kid you not, some of the plants have doubled in size, the little peas have dutifully wound their little vines around the climbing structures and the beans are going crazy.

I'm linking this post (in honour of my new vege garden) up to the lovely A Beach Cottage blog's Good Life Wednesday :)

Bye for now :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Madeit This Month : July


If you've been reading for a while, or read my back posts, you'd know I'm a little bit obsessed with shopping!  Unfortunately, budget cutbacks will only afford me window shopping these days - enter Madeit This Month!  A collection of things I've stumbled upon on Madeit over the last month (and might possibly have bought if my cash flow wasn't so restricted!)  If you are looking for them, the last two editions of this were in April and June.  I didn't get a lot of feedback either way on this segment from last month, so it would be great to get your comments or suggestions please - good or bad :)
Okay… so here's the little collection of goodies I've found this month.  Let's start with jewellery (always a great place to start!)
These gorgeous silver earrings are so simple, but so lovely… They're silver ball earrings by Michvanetta.
  
http://www.madeit.com.au/detail.asp?id=319472
 I love this fossilised coral ring by Alainn.  It's quite big and would be a really lovely decorative ring to dress up a simple outfit.
http://www.madeit.com.au/detail.asp?id=286461
And I know I featured something similar last month with this 'My Love' bracelet, but I just can't get enough of these little personalised keepsakes.  This is the Circle of Love necklace by Love Stamp.

http://www.madeit.com.au/detail.asp?id=320024
Onto something a little different, I love the look of this custom wedding guest book by lorgie & me.  Its hand crafted from pine and totally customisable - so beautiful.

http://www.madeit.com.au/detail.asp?id=303371
This cute little hot water bottle cover from Whistlefish just makes me want to snuggle under the covers with a good book!  Too cute :)

http://www.madeit.com.au/detail.asp?id=316455

I have been eyeing off various incarnations of these egg shaped porcelain doily design jewellery holders for some time now….  These ones are made by And O Design.
http://www.madeit.com.au/detail.asp?id=271372
I'm absolutely loving this next one - I just think this is genius!  I'm not buying anything at the moment, but I'm totally going to have a crack at making one of these…  A lost sock holder!  How many times have you held onto a sock for ages, eventually thrown it out and then found it's mate?  And don't you hate all the odd socks cluttering up your drawers?  This is such a great idea - and I just can't fathom that I've never seen one of these before!  Consider this one firmly in the "now why didn't I think of that" category :)  This little gem (which is no doubt much prettier and better made than anything I could conjure up) is made by Zippy Zippy.

http://www.madeit.com.au/detail.asp?id=318372
This little card is so sweet - talk about cheap and cheerful!  It will cost you a whole $3.20 (including postage within Australia) to own it.  It's called the Nature Gives card (envelope included) and is by Pixel Adventures.
http://www.madeit.com.au/detail.asp?id=303527
I think these little treasures would look lovely in a kids room or play room.  They are Love Is All You Need hand painted canvases by Little Bug Art
http://www.madeit.com.au/detail.asp?id=303144
 And speaking of sweet little artworks, check out this She Climbs Mountains print by Sweet William.  Isn't she adorable?  I think I would like her for my bedroom - I might have to put her on my Christmas list :)
So there you have it - what do you think of my finds this month, friends?  Have you found something recently that you just couldn't go past?  Look forward to hearing from you.
Bye for now :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thirty Things in Thirty Days - Week 2 update...


As promised, here is my next update on my 'Thirty Things in Thirty Days' list….  albeit a little late!  Even though Alex did have a sleepover on the weekend, I still didn't manage to actually get a lot done in the house.  I had hoped to be able to cross off number 22 on the list, however Saturday was a rainy old day, and re purposing the area where the random cupboards sit will involve many many trips to the garage (not under cover) - so that little project was shelved! 

Anyway, I did get to a couple, so here's the updated list:

1. Go on a date night with Boofy
2. Cook something with an ingredient I've never used before
3. Use the massage/ pedi/ facial voucher Boofy bought me for Xmas
4. Write a letter to Alex about how funny he is at this age and put it away in his box of treasures
5. Spend a day totally unplugged from the internet

6. Organise the cupboard in the spare room
7. Cull Alex's toys (soooo overdue!)
8. Plant out the
vege garden
9. Do something special with Alex, just the two of us
10. Complete some new sewing projects

11. Have a movie night at home with my 2 favourite boys
12. Read a book

13. Put on a BBQ brekky for our friends Julie & Tony and their kids
14. Go and see my Grandma
15. Go op-shopping in my local area
16. Revamp an op shop find
17. Clean up my desk at work and make it look a bit nicer (at the moment, it's just depressing!)
18. Look after Julie & Tony's kids for a day so they can have some kid-free time
19. Try a project I've seen in Blogland

20. Try a project I've seen on Pinterest
21. Organise and send out invites for Alex's Baptism (in August)
22. Redecorate the area where my random cupboards are
23. Finish off the cabinet of Nanna's treasures (as started in
this post)
24. Go out for dinner as a family
25. Take Alex to mini golf
26. Write a long letter to Jo Jo (the beautiful grandmother of an old friend who has sadly been missing for several years)

27. Hang painting in the laundry
28. Go and see the new Harry Potter movie
29. Bake some savoury muffins to take in for my work mates
30. Print and frame a free printable from the internet (there are so many to choose from)
OK so here's the skinny on the things I've managed to cross off this week:

1. Go on a date night with Boofy
Well, this didn't exactly go to plan.... but never mind.  We thought about going to a restaurant we went to years ago that we liked, but with our limited budget decided instead to go closer to home to a more wallet-friendly restaurant.  We booked an early table at a local restaurant attached to a motel not far from here - we've eaten there before and always enjoyed it, so figured it was a safe bet..... WRONG!!  Let's see... ambivalent service staff who forgot we were there (although it might have something to do with the fact we were seated behind a pylon - how romantic, not!)  Chicken that was raw in the centre, allegedly pan fried atlantic salmon that tasted like (and had the consistency of) smoked cod, pork belly with soggy skin (sacrilege!!)....  On the positive, Boofy's calamari entree wasn't bad, and the wine was nice!  When we complained about the raw chicken, they took a beer off our bill... um, would've been happier if they'd taken the chicken off - hello!!!  Oh well, live and learn... we will never go back - never!  And they say word of mouth is the best advertisement (or otherwise)... well I have a very big mouth!  Anyway, moving on....

6. Organise the cupboard in the spare room
I have been meaning to get around to this for some time!  With the imminent arrival of Nanny & Poppy, I thought it best to get stuck in and get it done.  So you can appreciate the transformation, here is the before:





















As you can see, I did the same thing I did when I cleaned out the linen cupboard in this post - I pulled off the doors and just got stuck in.  I will spare you the chaos of the 'during' this time though!  There is not a lot that needs to stay in the cupboard - just some boxes and doona up top, and some bags down the bottom.  You can see on the top shelf there are a few clothes and toiletries - they belong to my Mum who comes to stay every couple of months.... she always says toiletries take up most of her luggage, so she leaves a stock here and can then get away with just carry-on when she comes.  Anyways, there is now plenty of room for guests to spread their stuff out in there - here's how it looks:






















You can see a little basket in the cupboard there - I like to leave this in the spare room stocked with some toiletries.  Don't you hate it when you go away and you forget something vital like cotton buds, toothbrush, etc. then you have to ask your hosts if they have spares...  Well not in our house!  I try to keep it as well stocked as possible... but I have been known to 'borrow' from it myself occasionally when we unexpectedly run out of something, so its not just our guests who benefit!  Here's a close up of this little stash:






















10. Complete some new sewing projects
I know I technically crossed this one off in my last update post, but I've been busy again.  You see, with a rainy old day on Saturday, and no Alex to distract me, I took the opportunity to whip out the sewing machine and work on some more little projects!

My Dad is very hard to buy, or even make things, for - when he wants something, he simply buys it himself, so I thought I would make him his very own mouse mat and mug rug.  It took me a long time to find a nice masculine fabric, but I think this one is pretty good (Alex helped me choose it).  I debated whether or not to sew the birdie on his mug rug, but he loves to feed the butcher birds from his balcony at home, so I decided to include it to remind him of his birdies at home.  I'm happy with how they turned out - only thing is I accidentally attached the interfacing to the back of the mug rug instead of the front, so the face of it is a bit 'ripply' (if that makes sense!)  I also got Dad a book - Look Me In The Eye by John Elder Robison - I read it years ago and it was such an interesting book.  I hope he enjoys it.  So here is his little parcel...




















A little while ago, I procured a bunch of calico bags pretty cheaply from an Australian company called Ecoshopper with the idea that I would tart them up for unique gifts.  My step-Mum, Heather, likes to paint so I recently made her a paint brush roll (similar to the kids pencil rolls I made here, but bigger).  I thought she could use a bag to put other art supplies and maybe a sketch book in - enter calico bag!  I had a look at a few online tutorials for making rosettes, but didn't really use any of them in the end - I suppose if I had to choose, this post on the Susie Harris blog would be the closest to the method I ended up using.  (Incidentally, it was her blog post here that gave me the idea in the first place - check it out, its a great blog).  Anyways so I made 3 rosettes in the same fabric I used on the paint brush roll, then hand sewed them onto the bag.  Here is how they turned out:

















I'm so pleased with it!!  Its an easy little hand sewing project I don't need to drag the sewing machine out for, and I just think it's so cute :)  I also knitted Heather a scarf - they go canal boating in England every year, and Heather is only little, so I just made her something not too long, that she can tuck into her coat, with lots of colours (so it goes with everything) and nice and warm.





















She loved them all :)

12. Read a book
Anyone who knows me will know that this one was no hardship - I love to read!  I hope you won't think this is cheating, but I've read this one before.  You see before I cross number 28 off my list (Go and see the new Harry Potter movie) I wanted to reacquaint myself with Harry... so I read (for the third time) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.





















I then followed it up with another viewing of the first movie, just to remind me where the first one stopped and the second one will pick up - I'm a bit of a Harry Potter nerd - I even have an owl on the shelf where I keep my Harry Potter books.  See in the middle there?  Hi Hedwig! :)















If you love Harry as much as I do, check out this recent post over at one of my fave blogs, Felafel & The Bee on how to make a Harry wand... so clever, and really cute!


17. Clean up my desk at work and make it look a bit nicer
So far I have only accomplished half of this one...  I'm afraid I have no photographic evidence, but in this past week I did clean up my desk and get rid of any useless things that were hanging around cluttering it up.  When I have time, I will make myself a new mouse mat and mug rug, and do a couple of other things to tart it up a bit... Hopefully by the next update!  It is much nicer to work at a clean desk though, I am enjoying that :)

20. Try a project I've seen on Pinterest
I'm quite excited about this one - I've been wanting to try it for a while now!  As I mentioned earlier, my Dad is impossible to buy for, so I thought this would be something he doesn't already have - and since I only did it in an 8 x 10" frame, it won't take up too much room in their home.
Some time ago, I found this image on Pinterest (the source of which is actually this Etsy shop) and pinned it to my board.  This one is actually of Missouri:

















It's a "home is where the heart is" artwork... but I think its also a nice way to mark the place where two people met and fell in love too.  Fortunately for me, both of those things spell Melbourne for my Dad, so his gift has the double meaning :)  I went rummaging in my never ending stash of scrapbooking paper and found two sheets that I thought went well together.  I printed out a map outline of Victoria from here, and then traced it (my gosh it's been years since I used tracing paper... it was quite the flash back!!) onto my selected paper and cut it out.  I then cut out a little heart and stuck it on the map where Melbourne is.  After that I just glued the map to the backing paper, put the frame together and voila!  And do you think I took a photo of it framed before I wrapped it?  No, I did not!  Lol...  But fortunately I did take a photo before I framed it, so that will have to do (not as impressive as it looks in the frame, but you get the idea anyway).

  














I'm loving it... I can't wait to make more of these.


21. Organise and send out invites for Alex's Baptism (in August)
I mentioned in my last update that I had ordered the Baptism invitations from Tambo Creations via Madeit, and that I couldn't be happier with the whole process - Tess was very accommodating and did a beautiful job - and only $14.99!  As planned I printed them all out in 5 x 7 " size at Big W on the weekend, and they came up great.  I had a bit of trouble getting envelopes that fit them, but I eventually found some at Kikki K that were perfect - I then just used a stamp I bought from Stampin' Up 100 years ago to decorate them a bit.  Here's how they turned out:



















There was a lot more text on the invite, but I have blanked it out for obvious reasons :)  I promise you the invite looks spectacular with all the info on it (looks pretty great even without it!)  I can't gush about Tambo Creations enough - what an easy process the whole thing was!  So much easier than all that cutting, sticking and fiddling that comes with doing invites myself, and the family get some photos of Alex for the fridge - bonus!  Its also a very economical way to do invites.  The only thing I would say if you are considering this - think about doing the invite 4 x 6" instead, as it will then fit in a standard envelope and will halve the postage cost.

30. Print and frame a free printable from the internet
This was so easy - I saw this printable (which can be found on the Ariel Rose Blog here) via a CSI Project post back in May, and just thought it was really cute.





















It is designed to be an 8 x 10" artwork.  I actually turned it around and printed it on landscape paper, then raided my scrapbooking stash (again!) for a background paper.  I mounted it on that and put it in an 8 x 10" frame, so you can see I printed quite a bit smaller than that.  I found this little nook where I have some CD drawers - it sits in a corner between the wall and where the bench ends.  I dropped a little lotus flower candle there too (can never have too many of those) and I think it looks really sweet.




















Boofy doesn't agree, so we'll see how long it lasts!  Lol...  Oh well, its crossed off anyway!

So that's it for this week.  How are your lists going?  Anyone going to join me?

Bye for now :)

I'm linking up to the CSI Project's "Projects you have Pinned and Done" Challenge

Visit thecsiproject.com

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pinterest Love...


I have a status update for my 'Thirty Things in Thirty Days' list, however there are several presents I've made for people that are thrown into the mix... They will not be receiving them until later in the week and I know they read, so I will post my update after that in order to include all the photos!  And speaking of photos - don't think you're being duped in the photo department on this post - I promise there are so many, they will probably take an hour to load (okay I hope not... but seriously, there are lots!)

In the mean time… I think I must be the last blogger on earth to blog about the latest and greatest thing ever, ever, ever….. Pinterest!  It is my new obsession, my happy place if you will.  I cannot get enough of all the wonderful things there are to find (and copy!) on Pinterest.  What starts as a quick look to see what is new rapidly evolves into several 'lost' hours - there is just so much to see.

If you are one of the few who have not come across Pinterest yet, you might be interested to know what it's actually about!  Here is their blurb on what Pinterest is….
"Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.
Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. To get started, request an invite"

Basically Pinterest is the online version of the folder full of torn out magazine pages I have at home!  How it works is that you find an image (anywhere in cyberspace) that you'd like to pin to one of your boards, and once pinned, its in a central spot for you to locate again, and others can see it too.  The best thing is that it doesn't just pin the image, but keeps the url for webpage you pinned it from - so you can always go back and get more info if you need it - genius!!!
Same as others can see your boards, you can also browse other people's - so there is just so much to find!  If you see something on another person's board that you like, you can repin it to your own boards so you can find it over and over (and again, find the source with all the info you need to copy it!)
The subjects you can pin about are endless… anything from home inspiration, renovations, DIY, crafts, sewing, scrapbooking, recipes, party foods, d├ęcor, weddings… the list goes on and on.  The only drawback I can see is that it does sometimes take a long time to load.... but it's worth the wait!  And you can follow those you like... I am following several - many in fact!  If you feel so inclined, you can follow me here.

And because I promised a tonne of pics, I am finishing this off some photos I've recently pinned on my boards…. I've tried to narrow it down to just a few faves :)




























































































































































































































































Hope you enjoyed it guys!
Bye for now :)