Thursday, December 24, 2009

preparations

The last few days have been a real trial for my husband and I, our two children have been suffering from the worst stomach bug I've ever seen. It's been 5 days of many loads of washing, cleaning, not sleeping and sitting holding small children who seem a mere shadow of their former selves. I had a big list of things I had planned to do over that time, but I quickly realised I never would be able to achieve them, especially when the baby came down with it too. But all is not lost, so the gingerbread house didn't get made, the matching PJ's also didn't come off the sewing machine, but we did make it to a local Christmas display with the most amazing display of Santa decorations. We also made it around a few friends and family delivering cakes (some wrapped in recycled cereal bags, washed and sewn together) and other baking done before the children got sick ( so we weren't passing on anything nasty). A special apple cozy was made for Miss E for her stocking, my mum always put a apple in my stocking each Christmas and I have carried on that tradition to my children. I managed to made some snobe unit decorations to place on the tree filled with special little treats.

Other preparations included putting out some food for Santa and his reindeer and sprinkling the lawn with our magical reindeer food I had a very willing helper to help in those preparations. Now our little ones are tucked up in bed and all that is left to do is fill the stockings and pop my weary mummy body into bed and let the magic of Christmas take over.

I wish you and your family a very merry festive season! Meri Kirihimete! (merry Christmas in Maori)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

a little deer

I love this time of year, you never know what will greet you at the letterbox. This week we have received many treasures via the letterbox. A dear friend from Germany sent me the wooden candle holder above, it will be treasured for many years to come and I think it will be on display all year round. I love it! I think that I live in the wrong hemisphere as I love the idea of a winter Christmas where you gather around candle light in the dark. Today miss E received a card from a friend with some magic reindeer food in it and it has caused much excitement. I've never seen this little rhyme before and already I'm thinking to next year and the little ones I could send some to. I'm thinking, red gingham little bags tied with some rustic string and the handwritten rhyme. Not to give away the magic recipe to any little ones who might be reading, but I think it's rolled oats and some glitter. Oh how I love the magic of this time of year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

angelic

The last day of preschool for the year came and went last Thursday, which was celebrated with a Christmas concert and shared morning tea. My little angel looked very angelic in her angel costume and was so loved that she wore it for the rest of the day ( be still my heart). The children had practised a number of songs to preform for many weeks and they sung them beautifully especially considering their ages range from just over three to nearly five years. Part of my contribution to the morning tea was the little teddy biscuits above, they were a big hit and not at all difficult to make. Basically any white dough recipe could be adapted with half the mixture made darker with some cocoa powder added, and then the teddy bears are made by rolling different sized balls together. A little bit of melted chocolate make up the faces with M&M minis for the eyes. Had I not been so busy the faces would have perhaps been a little better formed, but they disappeared too quickly for anyone to notice.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

looking back

This time last year I was heavily pregnant and all my Christmas presents were bought/made and wrapped by the end of November just in case my baby made and early arrival (I was due on the 31st 0f December). I needn't have worried as my little bundle of joy was 10 days overdue. It was at the beginning of December that I won tickets to visit Lynda Hallinan's garden, what a thrill. Lynda is the editor of the wonderful New Zealand gardener magazine, she's a guru in urban vegetable gardening. She has transformed her garden into a edible oasis, it's an inner city garden on a quarter acre site (with two dwellings) and all sorts of exotic and not so exotic things grow in it. I love the New Zealand Gardener magazine and Lynda's column about her home gardening efforts are an inspiration to me. I may not have as much land as her to put to planting use but a scaled down version is I think achievable, I might not dig up the little lawn that we have however to plant barley or have the room to plant an olive grove.

This year is in stark contrast to last, I am still making presents, not much is wrapped and my to do list before Christmas seems to somehow be growing not shrinking. As a consequence not much blogging has been taking place lately. I had so many ideas to share, they will have to be put into action next year. I do love this time of year however and all the making involved, very little is store bought on my Christmas list ( the Lego on Miss E's list is the big exception) and that's the way I like it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

weekend

I love this time of year, berries ripen, everything looks so green and healthy and it's a lovely feeling to be outside in the warm weather. I managed to make this little mosaic this weekend as a Christmas present (for someone who won't be reading this, so it still will be a surprise) but it seems quite at home in my garden, I might have to make one for myself too. It's made from broken ceramics, the wings were a beautiful vintage bud vase that sadly got broken recently.

We are chemical free as much as possible in our garden and that means that sometimes things don't look so picture perfect as the season progresses, but I'm sure it means that it all tastes better!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

dear santa

I started writing to Santa in 1984 when I was five years old. Over the years I wrote many more letters, each year saving the replies that he sent (thanks NZ post). Miss E has also been writing to Santa and this year all the post offices have special "Santa mail" boxes to post the special letters in. So what was on her list, Lego and a fairy. I was just glad she wasn't asking for a horse! I'm looking forward to her reply from Santa arriving in our letterbox.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

advent


A work in progress, it was the last day of November when I decided to make an advent calendar for miss E. I was given a beautiful felt table runner a few years ago, it never made it to the table but I've had it decorating one of our doors ever since. It seemed like the perfect backdrop for 24 little bags of treats. I made the bags out of some festive looking tea towels, they are without numbers this year but hopefully by the time Christmas rolls around next year I'll have some numbers on them. I popped some natural sweets in them and a few little notes with special treats written down, like making play dough, going to the park, feeding the ducks and other things I know she loves to do. The patience of a three year old is limited and while I wasn't looking a few extra bags got opened up this morning, Christmas is getting closer!

Monday, December 7, 2009

hooked

Be still my heart, I snapped this shot on the way to preschool this morning. That's miss E walking along with crochet hook in hand and some yarn, trying her hand at some crochet like mummy. I'm left handed and she is right, so I'm finding it hard to show her how to crochet. She is very keen to learn so I'll have to find a right handed crocheter to teach her. I taught myself to crochet when I was twenty using a mirror held up to a book to reverse the image, that was 10 years ago now. Now there are some great books out there for left handed people learning to crochet with excellent diagrams. I felt such a connection to crochet once I mastered the basics (and many scarves later!) and I really hope that she will continue to have an interest in the craft. Maybe she has given me the perfect idea for a stocking filler, a special hook and some yarn.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

button up

I got this lovely card in the mail from the Moriah College, thanking me for the buttons I sent for their Holocaust Button Collection that I posted about here. They aren't too far off their aim of 1.5 million buttons which is pretty amazing considering this is a school of only 30 odd pupils. So search those drawers and send some buttons in.

There is still time to enter my little Christmas giveaway, just leave a comment here, I'll draw a name on Friday evening.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

getting cozy

I've been making quite a few of these apple cozys (is the plural of cozy, cozys?) as part of a present for the teachers at miss E's preschool. The pattern is generously provided free at Ravelry and is by Theresa Grant. A quick internet search revealed a knit version here . Although they seem more of a novelty than anything really useful, I've found the one I made myself really handy. I often pop an apple into my handbag when I'm heading out with the kids so I have a healthy snack at hand for them but I had found that it was often a bit battered against all the things in my bag by the time I would get it out for them. Now with my adorable apple cosy I find it in perfect condition! The best part is how fast they are to make, mine are made with a soy and cotton blend and a bamboo and cotton blend yarns finished off with vintage mother of pearl buttons.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

quick gift idea #1

I'd really like to share a few quick gift ideas over the next few weeks, OK that's the aim, the reality could be a bit different, this might be the only one.

Cards can be expensive to buy so most people welcome a gift of pretty cards. This idea is super simple, cut a picture out, could be from a thrifted book, old calendar, magazine page etc and stitch it on to the card using a sewing machine. The stitching really makes the difference, it transforms the card into something a little bit special, rather than just a page from a magazine stuck on.

A few tips;
Put a little bit of double sided sellotape on the back of the picture to stop it moving when you stitch.
A jeans or a denim needle for your machine is a must, easy and inexpensive to buy at your local fabric store.
Adjust the tension on your machine as stitching on card is quite different to stitching fabric, do some testing first.

Tie a few cards together with a pretty ribbon and matching envelopes and you have yourself a quick handmade present that is also a form of recycling! Great for school teachers and other hard to buy for people.

Happy stitching