Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I transformed two juice bottles into planters, using some acrylic yarn (fears better outside than 100% wool) and fishing nylon (to hold the planter together if the acrylic yarn does fall apart).

A new home for my parsley and chives. Do you want/need a tutorial? first I might need to find a juice loving family to get some more empty bottles from - any at your house?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


I often find miscellaneous empty food packets in miss E's lunch box, when questioned the answer is always the same, she's bought them home so I know what to buy for her school lunch.Hmm can't knock a girl for trying. It's just I really don't want to buy those reconstituted fruit gummy things that I'm assured "everybody" has except her.They seem more like a party treat, than an everyday in the lunchbox type food (if you could even call them a "food"), not to mention the price and excess packaging right?

 So when I saw this recipe I thought maybe I had the answer. A fruit gummy with no added sugars (just a wee bit of honey), just a few ingredients and homemade, not supplied in excess packaging! As a bonus I had everything I needed to try it. It makes a surprising amount of wee gummy things and they smell like a warm summer's day in the berry patch! I used a mixture of frozen raspberries and strawberries left over from our summer harvest. The texture is a bit firmer than I'd like  (that doesn't seem to worry the children though!) so next time I'll try making it with less gelatine. It's definitely a winner recipe and I'll have to hide the rest of them in the fridge as they are disappearing fast.

You can find the recipe for healthy fruit snacks here. Let me know if you try it!

Friday, August 23, 2013

this is why .......

If I haven't replied to an email you sent me, or a lovely comment you left on this blog, this is why .........

If you pop in for a cuppa and find there are no cups to drink from, this is why ..............

If my kids are struggling to find clean clothes and made beds, this is why ....................

If I haven't done something I should have this week, this is why ................

I was put forward to help organise some mosaic pavers for a memorial garden at mr A's preschool, seems I was the most qualified, being a person who had actually done some mosaics before. I'm no expert however.

We had a working bee last weekend where children joined in with adults to create the pavers, it was amazing how much we achieved in a short space of time. But that was only the first part. This week I spent several days at preschool preparing the pavers for grouting, which seemed to take longer than the actual grouting. Then the grouting, all with an audience of littles, asking lots of the same questions over and over again. All of them so excited and enthusiastic and as the pavers progressed, they all were so encouraging too!

I must admit after several days of non stop mosaic making, I'm a bit over it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

step 1 - planning

Welcome back to the handmade Christmas series. Before we can even begin to start creating handmade goodies for lucky friends and family, we need to do a bit of paperwork - making a list. Planning/list making is something that is hard to avoid when it comes to Christmas don't you think? A few years ago I bought a small hard cover notebook, just for Christmas list making, presents to buy make, cards to send (although at nearly $1 per card I don't think I'll be sending too many of those this year). It seems to make everything more manageable once it's written down.

The totally amazing Stella from the golden adventures of a very dark horse has designed these great lists/planners for you to download and print to use for your Christmas planning! I know! SO cool! If this doesn't encourage you to find a few minutes this week to sit down and work out a present making/buying plan for the next few months - I don't know what will!

When I sit down to plan, I like to think what the person not only would like, but what they might need too. I don't like to gift something without a use, most people have plenty of ornamental type things, especially grandparents. Gardeners, for example always need gloves, but perhaps team them with a hand made kneeler (ok I may have just spoiled the surprise, it's true a kneeler tutorial is coming up) and some good soap or hand cream.

All you need to do is click on the list that you like and you'll be taken to a website where you can download it for printing. Then find a few quiet minutes to plan away! If you are uninspired for gift ideas, well I'm really hoping that I can help you out with that over the coming weeks.

I want to give Stella a HUGE thank you for taking the time to design the lists for us to use! Generous right? She's a gem.

I'm also setting up a linky so you can link up presents that you've made to encourage us all to make this Christmas a handmade one.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

a handmade Christmas

For as long as I can remember I have made gifts for Christmas presents, when I say "for as long as I can remember", I seriously mean it. When I was a small child I delighted in pouring over craft books deciding what I was going to make for relatives for Christmas. It was so exciting, creating gifts for friends and family. I spotted this book on my bookcase the other day and lots of memories came flooding back, my sister and I made nearly every project in it. No wonder it's falling apart at the spine.

Over the past few years I've left things to the last minute, I haven't felt the enthusiasm that I had in years past, tending to buy more gifts than I make. This year I'm determined to start out early and turn things around and I hope that you might join me too!

I've asked a number of blogging friends to share a few ideas, traditions and gift ideas to help us along. It should be inspiring! I know a few of you might be ready to stop reading, I mean talking about Christmas in August! (would it help you to know that I had planned on sharing this series in July! Even worse huh!). But I think the earlier we start the easier December will be. This December I'm hoping to spend plenty of time with my kids, crafting and baking and hopefully enjoying some Summer rays, enjoying all those fun festive moments (staying out of those busy shops too!).

I'm not asking for a big commitment, just perhaps an hour a week, knocking one present off the list at a time. Doable right? Handmade doesn't have to mean hours and hours spent on a gift/project, it could also be buying something made by another pair of hands.

Tomorrow I'll be back, bringing you an essential tool to help with all this Handmade Christmas planning, courtesy Stella from The golden adventures of a very dark horse. Stay tuned, I'm excited!

Friday, August 16, 2013

two for tea

 Recently I was super lucky to win a giveaway over on Sarah's blog, sew love tea do. My prize was a packet of "it's chai" organic tea from the informal tea company. I hadn't heard of the company before the giveaway and I don't want you to be without such knowledge so I'm spreading the word!

First up, this tea smells divine! I find myself just opening up the packet for a sniff. Yip I'm weird, I'm ok with that. I'm a big time coffee drinker and I do want to cut back, I think this tea might just be the coffee replacement I've been looking for. Did I mention it's organic? Also no added flavours, give it a big tick!

Today I teamed a cup of chai with some flourless chickpea blondie, recipe via Pinterest. My version was a white chocolate one (due to the fact I had no other chocolate) and it was good. Are you thinking I've got a lot of tea strainers for someone who doesn't drink tea? Yeah my husband is thinking the same, ahem. That's not all of them either.

I'm quite keen to try some of the other blends. They offer free shipping in NZ too!

Have you discovered a great NZ company lately? I'd love to hear about any great places/shops you have discovered.

*This is not a sponsored post, I just love this tea and want you to know about it too! 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

notes on totes

Earlier this year I decided that I wouldn't be applying for the Auckland Art and Craft Fair this year. I've decided (although I secretly already knew) that a production line of crafts or crafting just wasn't/isn't for me. I enjoy the process of making, coming up with an idea, seeing if I can do it and of course the actual making. I don't enjoy then making the same thing over and over again. No fun.

To be honest all the things I make take too long to actually make any money from them anyway, if I was to charge out an hourly rate, it would be cents not dollars. So why would I put myself and to be honest my family through all that market build up at such a busy time of year?

 I do however love making the connection with my customers, meeting blog readers, but there are other ways of doing that.

I have started to list some of my stock in my Felt shop, I'll list more over the coming months too. Once it's gone, it's gone and I have no plans to make any more. So with that in mind, if you've been after one of my embroidered linen notebooks, now is your chance!

Today I listed a couple of tote bags I made over the Summer. The bleach technique I used to make these totes, I tried to replicate on some more denim and it just didn't work. Reinforcing  my belief that the "production line" is not the crafting life for me.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

for notes

My Felt shop has been stocked with a bunch of my embroidered linen notebooks. Made using pre-loved vintage linens, working around the stains and holes. I particularly love how the front and back covers form a little pocket that you can tuck notes and receipts etc, very handy. The notebooks are a standard size so the cover can be used over and over again, I love that too, reduce, reuse, recycle and all that. I always keep one in my bag, perfect for jotting down all sorts of notes, but if I'm honest it's mainly used for the kids to draw pictures if we ever have to wait anywhere. The make a great gift too - not too bulky for sending overseas or locally for that matter.

Monday, August 12, 2013

the winner is .......

Thank you to all the lovely comments on my Stuck on You giveaway. has chosen # 14 - which is Justine from Redflax! I'll be in touch soon Justine.

A Big thanks again to Stuck on You for the prize and letting me try out their cool products!

Friday, August 9, 2013

this week

A few snippets from this week:
-Amazing weather! It's still Winter right?? It's been shorts and T-shirt weather already!
-A crochet project that had me scratching my head - till I remembered that I'm left handed and there are a handful of crochet patterns where that actually makes a difference! Once that was sorted I was away!
- My boy got a scooter and I've loved watching him gain confidence over the week, he's also "away" now!
- My lovely bloggy friend Clare is hosting a giveaway for me, go check it out if you haven't already!
- My Stuck on You giveaway is still open, check it out too. A $25 Stuck on You voucher is up for grabs!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

mini world

I remember when terrariums were big way back in the 80's. Being a small child way back then, I was fascinated by them. Mini plants and little stones, they were like a mini world that I wanted to shrink down to fit in. I desperately wanted some of those mini plants too to make my own mini world. Fast forward a couple of decades (and a resurgence in terrarium popularity) and miss E and I had a go at making our own, on a small scale.

We used shells for drainage and moss we gathered from a "mossy" spot on our walk to school (lots of fun!). We quickly filled up our old preserving jars, popping in a thrifted "friend" in each of them, and planting a small mondo grass plant too.

I wish we had bigger jars to make our mini worlds in, if I was living in Christchurch I'd be buying this trademe listing in a flash! Maybe a glass terrarium should be top of my thrifting list to find?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

for the longest time

For the longest time I've been searching for a sewing box. I've been outbid on many such boxes on Trademe, and never seen one in an op shop. Till now! I spotted one in the window of my local Salvation Army store, it was so cute with long legs and little casters. Only problem was it was part of the "window display" and it was being used as a prop. The lovely lady informed me that "no, it wasn't for sale". A bit despondent I wandered around the store browsing. A little while later she must have taken pity on me and said that if I wanted I could put my name down and sometime in the future if it came up for sale, she would ring me. She also added that they might not want to sell it at all.

But OBVIOUSLY the story has a happy outcome! I got a call last week to say if I wanted it, I could buy it! Luckily the price they had put on it wasn't too high, much less than what sewing boxes have been selling for on Trademe.I was the first of a long list of people hoping to add it to their collection.

It's top was in quite a bad way, but a good rub with my wood butter and it looked a million times better, I'm not that interested in giving it a complete overhaul, I like that it's got a bit of history. A closer inspection revealed that it's made of Rimu too, something I hadn't noticed through the window.

I love it's little caster wheels, I only wish it was sitting on some polished floorboards and not carpet! - The long wait is over! What should I start searching for next?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

tutorial Tuesday!

I had a whole bunch of wee scraps of woollen blanket scraps left over from the Hottie Project. They seemed too good to throw away, so I came up with a way to use them up and brighten up a vase at the same time! No scraps of woollen blankets? Well run of the mill felt will work just as well! 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Stuck on You! - A Giveaway!!

I was contacted recently by the lovely people at Stuck on You to see if I was interested in trying some of their new personalised party products. The answer was yes! But then I realised our "birthday season" was over for the year and it would be a long wait till I got a chance to try out their exciting personalised kids party products. I couldn't wait that long! I had to come up with another use for them, lucky for me their products are so flexible!

Christmas sprung to mind! I am all for encouraging my children to make their friends small Christmas gifts, learning that giving is just as good (if not better) than receiving, and these products seemed to be the perfect helper to our Christmas giving rituals.

Party dots card   -   Party bag toppers

The kids and I had lots of fun over the holidays, baking some shortbread and decorating it with coloured cachous. We talked about how we will do this again in December and how excited their friends would be to receive little bags of biscuits. Both children LOVED seeing their names in print! 

we used the party straw flags on coloured twist ties.

We also had fun recycling some crayons, with the help of some Lego moulds. I love how we could personalise the words on each party product, even using some Maori! ( I really hope google gave me the right translation!) The Maori ones we will use to send to some little friends living in other countries. 

I was really impressed with the quality of each of the products, especially the party dots (in the pic above). The sticker quality is amazing, and I could reposition it a few times (ahem) with out it losing any stick. They could be used on so many surfaces, plates, cups, little packages the list goes on! Love them! 

I tried some Thank you cards too, I love the matching envelopes and there is space on the reverse for us to write an extra handwritten message. The only downside (my one complaint from all the products I tried) is the small strip of printing on the reverse where it has our order details, only a slight detraction.

You'll have to believe me when I say the Slimline address labels are great too, I didn't want to show off my address! - I might have you all over begging for a bag of Lego crayons! I wouldn't blame you, they are super cool!

Party cupcake toppers dressing up a chocolate cake. 
We had so much fun doing up little parcels and getting into the Christmas mood, we can't wait to do it all again in December! 

Would you like to try some personalised kids party products? Or perhaps another personalised product from the Stuck on You website? Well you are in luck! The great team at Stuck on You have will give one of my lucky readers a $25 voucher! 

How can you win? Just leave a comment on this post, tell me which product you would love to try. Extra entries can be gained by: Following this blog, via GFC or Bloglovin, following Stuck on You on Facebook, and sharing this giveaway by whatever means you would like! Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

I'll draw the winner next Sunday the 11th of August - Good luck!

All the products used in this review were generously supplied by Stuck on You, but all the opinions expressed are mine and mine alone! 

Friday, August 2, 2013

to infinity

After some recent project failures, I desperately needed a project that was confidence building, also quick and easy. Enter the infinity scarf! Possibly my favourite accessory to wear, just pop it on and it always seems to look like you've spent ages stying it. The added for me bonus is that an infinity scarf won't fall off either, something that happens lots with my other scarves/wraps.

On a recent fabric shopping trip I spotted this little remnant, it felt lovely and soft but a wee bit small to do anything much with, but the mustard in the design won me over and at just a few dollars I couldn't leave it behind. 

It was too short for the infinity scarf I had in mind, but as it turned out - I had some yarn in my stash that solved that problem! I few rows of crochet and I was done. The perfect length and a great contrast to the busy print! It was so quick and easy, I've got plans for more!