Monday, December 22, 2014

Monogram Napkins: Using a Sewing Machine

I've been on the lookout for a linen table cloth and napkin set to use at Christmas, but I couldn't find any for less than $90! I decided the next best thing would be to make my own. Ikea has an affordable linen fabric, Aina, for sale usually but it's been on backorder for a few months, so I ended up buying their Lenda 100% cotton fabric which is a good weight and has a slightly noticeable weave that looks similar to linen. I wanted to personalise the napkins but I didn't want to invest in taking them to a monogram shop so I came up with an easy and inexpensive way to do it myself. Click below for directions. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Santa Sampler

It's important to leave cookies and milk out for Santa on Christmas eve as he has a very busy night delivering presents to children across the world, which is hungry work. This at least, is what I tell the little bears, but really I just love any excuse to make cookies. This year for presents for our neighbours, friends and family I decided to make a Santa Cookie Sampler of four different delicious cookies. I'm sure Santa will appreciate them too! For recipes and more photos click below.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Advent Calendar

I loved advent calendars as a kid, especially the ones with chocolates behind each door, though I often couldn't wait to open each one, so they never lasted until Christmas day. I wanted to make the little bears an advent calendar that could be used over and over again each year, something they would remember from their childhood and look forward to. To make this sweet vintage advent calendar, click below for step by step directions.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

DIY Fresh Holiday Wreath

It's heading to that time of year again. The shops are already decorated with fake pine trees, tinsel, flashing lights and it's 30 degrees Celsius out! I don't think I will ever get used to having Christmas in summer. This year I wanted to make a festive wreath for our front door, but nothing overly Christmasy and something that actually reflects the native environment we live in. What better foliage than eucalyptus! It's affordable (e.g. free), smells amazing and dries beautifully. For a step by step on how to make your very own holiday wreath, read on.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween Treats: Creepy Crawly Cookies

I love Halloween. I've always loved Halloween. Yes I was one of those teenagers who shamelessly still went trick or treating with their friends even though they were definitely past the appropriate age. So given my affinity for the holiday I really miss it here in Australia. It is just not the same here. People don't decorate their houses with gusto, you don't see people wandering the streets during the day in full costume and you can not ring most door bells on October 31st without people wondering why on earth you're yelling "trick or treat" at them. Having said all this we have found a couple good streets near us that have trick or treating but if you get there past 5:30pm there are no lollies left! Trick or treating during daylight is just wrong. To combat the lacklustre Halloween festivities here I've taken it upon myself to show the kids how much fun Halloween can be. This year after ridiculously early trick or treating we're going to have a pizza party with friends. The little bears cannot wait. I was racking my brain for dessert ideas that had a nod to Halloween but also small portions, since I have a feeling a lot of sugar is going to be consumed before pizza time. Click below for the recipe for these creepy crawly cookies.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Treats: Jack O' Lantern Pops

Halloween is just around the corner and I needed something for the bears to handout to their classmates at preschool. I didn't want to make something I've seen before but I also wanted to make something that took little time, could be make in bulk and looked great. I had one of those light bulb moments and came up with these super easy and fun Jack O' lantern rice crispy treat pops. Read on for step by step directions and photos. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Layered Jelly Cups

This year for my littlest bear's superhero birthday party, I tried to focus on only making a few food treats that required minimal work but had big impact. These layered jelly cups certainly fit the bill. They're great because you can tailor the colours to your party's theme and kids love them. Read on for directions.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

DIY Superhero Mask

The long gap in posts was not intentional but with uni exams, assignments and a week of being sick, the blog had to take a back seat. Exams over, assignments petering out, and antibiotics taking affect, the blog is finally getting some attention again. Just because I've taken a little break from posting doesn't mean I haven't been creating up a storm, I just haven't had the time to sit and write about it. I promised to post a few more details from Charlie's birthday party, so here's a fun little craft that the kids got to do. Click below for directions and more pics.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Salted caramel. Delicious. Apple pie. Yummy. Together. Unbelievable! This is one of those combinations that was just meant to be. Reminiscent of autumn childhood fetes with caramel apples galore combined with grandma's famous apple pie, this is a recipe must! For directions and more photos head over to Sharon Wee's blog, where I've guest posted this week.

Bon app├ętit!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Free Boat Neck Top Pattern + Tutorial

I definitely wouldn't describe myself as trendy or even someone who notices trends. However, I do love a good floral print and I have been noticing floral prints everywhere lately. I even did a quick little online search here, here, here, here, and here and found that this does indeed seem to be a current trend and one I was happy to follow. Now as much as I love some of those pretty floral tops that are out there, I CANNOT spend over $100 for one! Lucky for me, I happened upon this really sweet Ikea fabric and the best part was it's only $8 per metre. Score! So every floral lover can hop on the trend band wagon with me, I've provided a free downloadable PDF pattern that I created. Perfect timing too with today being the first day of spring. Click below for the pattern and step by step tutorial. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Caramel & White Chocolate Covered Giant Marshmallows

This year's birthday party for my littlest bear was a lot more low key in terms catering and decorating than previous years. For the goodies bags I kept it simple and made these caramel and white chocolate covered giant marshmallows and giant chocolate chip cookies. These marshmallows are super yummy and decadent but the best part is they are easy to make. For recipe and more party details click below. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Tips for Throwing Children's Parties

I've been a bit slack lately with the blog, but not without reason. My midwifery classes started up again at the beginning of August and I was busy planning my littlest bear's 3rd birthday party. This year the party planning and actual party were a lot more relaxed and stress free compared to pervious years. I think after four years of kids birthday parties, I'm starting to get the hang of it. So, I thought I would write up the most useful tips I've discovered and hopefully they will help you for your next party.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bilpin Springs Apple Picking + Apple Chips Recipe

Before the brunt of winter hit we made a trip to the foothills of the blue mountains to Bilpin to go apple picking. We made the pilgrimage the previous year to the same orchard, Bilpin Springs which has granny smith and sundowner apples. Both varieties of apples are great for baking with, so of course a good proportion of the $35 worth of apples we came home with were used to make cakes, pies and apple chips. Click below to hear more about our apple picking adventure and for an apple chips recipe that is easy and tasty. Bonus, it will make your home smell amazing!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

DIY Flower Crown

There is something very ethereal and whimsical about a flower crown, especially on a child. While in Hawaii on vacation I wanted to take some portrait photos of the little bears since nothing beats a tropical beach backdrop. Also since in Hawaii I thought it would be fitting to make my own version of a Haku Lei for my little bear to wear. For a photo step by step click below.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Kahlua Colada

I decided not to put any demands on myself to post any blog updates while on vacation. I figured, if it happened it happened. I knew there was no way I was going to do any sewing tutorials (no sewing machine) or any baking recipes (way too hot here to have the oven on!) but a cocktail recipe, now that I could do! Click below for the recipe and a little look at our vacation thus far. Oh and you're allowed to be jealous, perfectly understandable ;) 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Salted Caramel Cookies

Well it is definitely winter now in Sydney, though I really can’t complain as we’re going to be blowing this popsicle stand soon for a more tropical location. In the meantime though, I needed a way to entertain the little bears one afternoon and baking was the way to go. We made these Salted Caramel Cookies and they were so good I had to share.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Stick Horse Pattern

We're trying to get back to simple pleasures with the kids, which means board games, puzzles, make believe, stories and timeless toys. Stick horses used to be a staple in any child's toy treasury and our kids do really love pretending to gallop around our apartment on their "horses". So when a friend's little boy was having a birthday and I knew he loved horses, I thought a stick horse would be the prefect gift. To find out how to make your very own stick horse with my free pattern and directions, click below.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

What Makes You Happy?

Ok, so right now I'm meant to be studying for a pathophysiology quiz I have tomorrow but to be honest I don't think my brain can take looking at another case study so instead I thought I'd distract myself with a blog post. I've actually had the Sheryl Crow song, "If It Makes You Happy" stuck in my head for the last couple of hours, so I thought I'd just go with it! 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Vanity Revamp

So I don't know about you, but the bathroom is the main thing I always make sure is super clean when we have people over. As strange as it sounds, I feel like you can tell a lot from a person's bathroom and how they keep it. Anyway, our bathroom was in need of a pick me up. We retiled it about 5 years ago and it's still in good shape (though we've always wished that we had gotten lighter tiles) but it definitely needed something to lighten it up a bit. I came up with the very simple idea of updating our vanity by adding panelling and painting it white. See how I transformed our vanity...

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dress to Skirt Refashion

There is just something about yellow that cheers me up. I love the colour and I seem to gravitate towards it not only when choosing clothing but also when decorating. We painted the kids room yellow when we first bought our apartment five years ago and I still love the colour and I will admit to sitting in there when I need a pick me up. So when I spotted a cute pale yellow dress in a thrift store a while ago for $7 I snapped it up. Sadly it really didn't fit me in the bust and I was constantly having to pull it up, plus the tie at the waist felt a bit dated, so I decided to turn it into a skirt! Click below for step by step instructions on how to refashion a dress into a skirt. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

I don't know if I fully understood or appreciated what my mum did for me growing up or what she sacrificed so that I could do the things I wanted to do, but since having children myself, I've really come to comprehend what she's done for me and how she's supported me through the years. Though living on different continents for the last nine years or so and being busy with our own lives I'm really lucky to know I can always count on her. 

My mum and grandma are super talented and creative women and I owe all my crafting, sewing and cooking knowledge to them. My mum is an amazing artist and she illustrated the mouse on a toadstool in the above picture, along with a series of other children's paintings for the kids' room. I wish I had even a fraction of my mum's ability to draw and paint, but I can barely draw stick figures. My daughter, Isla, however is a budding artist and frequently tells us she wants to be an artist, like grandma, when she goes up. 

I have very found memories of watching my grandma at her sewing machine when I was little. She always had a project going and would frequently be making things for friends, neighbours, the hair dresser, you name it and they would get a quillow or bunny, like the one in the photo, which she made me when I was little. I treasure that bunny, even though its dress has lost its elastic and its mouth is a bit more downturn after years of being played with, it reminds me of how much she loves me because I know what it's like to want to make something special for your kids and see their faces light up when you give it to them.

So I want to thank my mum and grandma for their love, support and inspiration to create.

Happy Mother's Day

Monday, May 5, 2014

Rail Trail Adventure Part 2: Red Velvet Cherry Ripe

Another bakery stop on our Rail Trail Adventure brought us to Goulburn Bakery. I couldn't resist trying their Red Velvet cake, which they called a Red Velvet Cheesecake (I'm guessing because of the cream cheese icing) but I wasn't expecting it to taste exactly like a Cherry Ripe! Eating it reminded me of childhood and I couldn't wait to try to make my own version at home.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Mother's Day Market Tote

Why not surprise mum this Mother's Day with fresh bread, fruit and flowers from the local farmers market in her very own market tote bag that you've made her! You can even make her brunch from your selection of market goodies. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

DIY Ikea Hack Bench Seat

Ok so I have to admit that when I suggested we build our own bench seat I didn't actually think Jeremy would agree to it, but he did! I was super excited and went searching right away for online inspiration, which I found here. After searching we decided the most cost effective and time efficient way to build the bench was to go with ikea kitchen cabinets. Keep reading for step by step instructions and photos. It was pretty easy and turned out great!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Rail Trail Adventure: Part 1

We recently went on a five day cycling holiday to the Victorian Alps and though I wouldn't call it a relaxing holiday, it was definitely enjoyable and beautiful! The plan was to cycle roughly 40 kilometres (25 miles) the second day, 70 kilometres (43 miles) the third day and then just peddle around one of the towns the fourth day. It sounded easy enough on paper...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Speckled Egg Chocolate Cake

I don't know about you but I love chocolate cake with thick rich buttercream frosting. I pretty much make this recipe whenever I have an excuse to make cake. I saw this really clever Easter cake here and thought I would try my hand at something similar but using my go to never fail chocolate cake recipe. Read on for the recipe and more pictures. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Almost Free Easter Garland

I'm not huge on decorating for the holidays, simply because we don't have the space to store decorations, but the one thing I do do each holiday is make a garland. Garlands are a fun, simple and festive way to decorate for the holidays plus they're small so easy to store! The garland I made for Easter this year uses some very thrifty supplies. For instructions and more pictures click on the link below. 

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I am so excited to share this recipe for Carrot Cake Cupcakes with you! Why? Well I love carrot cake and while it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I think this recipe may be able to convert some of those none carrot cake eaters. To check out the recipe and more photos, head over to Sharon Wee Creations where you can find my guest post. 

Happy Baking

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bunny Bags

I was recently asked by the amazingly talented Sharon Wee of Sharon Wee Creations to be a guest contributor on her blog. So over the next few months you'll be able to catch some new and fun crafts, recipes and sewing projects of mine on her blog. 

First up...Bunny Bags. These are so sweet and quick to make plus they give a really nice personal touch to your Easter treats. 

For step by step instructions and photos head over to Sharon's blog here

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bunny Food Potted Garden

Unbelievably Easter is not far off! I don't know where the year has gone so far, one minute it was New Year's and now it's halfway through March. Crazy. I know Easter is still a month away, but for this kids craft, you will need to get started early. 

A bunny food potted garden is a really fun way to get the kids interested in growing edible plants and it's an added incentive for the Easter Bunny to visit. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

How to Make Reusable Sandwich Wraps and Snack Bags

Ok so this isn't an original idea here, you can buy eco friendly reusable sandwich wraps and snack bags at health food stores and eco stores, which I did do during my pre-children pre-uni, working days when we actually had money, but really at this point in time I cannot justify paying $11 for one when I know I could make them for far less. I already had two for the kids that I bought from Todae, which is a great eco store but I really wanted to have one for myself and Jeremy. This is the simple way that I came up with to make them and they really took no time at all.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Kids Art Placemats + Delicious Black Bean Taco Recipe

I don't know about you, but keeping the kids busy while cooking dinner is a challenge pretty much every night! We try to use the television very sparingly and I have to admit that the time of day when they are most likely to get a "yes" when they ask for TV is right about the time I start chopping. Well, no more! Here is a tutorial on how to make fun placemats that the kids can colour and personalise every night while you're cooking and what's even better is that they can admire their work while they eat!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

DIY Doll's Wardrobe

I have been a little slack lately with the blog but I have a good excuse, my Midwifery classes have started back up again. Two years down, three years to go! At least it's part time, so still plenty of time to craft, sew and cook with the kids and I can sneak in the blog between studying for pathophysiology and writing hospital briefing reports!

I recently made Isla a doll's wardrobe as she's been playing with her American Girl Doll a lot lately. She needed a way to store her doll's clothes and shoes other than just shoving them into a box. So I got to thinking about an inexpensive and cute solution. Here's what I came up with.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

DIY Superhero Cape

It's a bird...
It's a plane...
It's Super Charlie and Super Isla!

Most little ones go through a superhero phase at some point and what better way to make their imagination come alive than with their very own personalised superhero cape! It's super simple to make and takes no time at all. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Watercolour Initial Art

We've been looking for a way to display the kids artwork for a while and with the renovation of their bedroom, suddenly we had a lot more wall space that could be utilised for just this purpose. After a trip to Ikea for their affordable Nyttja photo frames, we were ready to make some art! After the jump check out a simple but fun way to personalise your kids room with watercolour negative space initial art.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Girls' Dresses for Sale

-Lovingly hand made tiered girl's dresses 
-100% cotton 

-Bright, sunny and cheerful fabrics 
-Elastic empire waste to fit a wide range of sizes 
-Comes in two sizes: 1-2 & 3-4 
-Size 1-2 is 52cm long (measured from shoulder to hem) 
-Size 3-4 is 60cm long (measured from shoulder to hem) 
-Great style for a layered look in colder weather 
-Purchase includes TWO FREE matching button hair ties

$45.00 each plus s+h. 

You can purchase any of these dresses through my shop by clicking here

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Our Favourite Children's Picture Books

It's raining and blowing a gale here on what was meant to be a beautiful summer's day. Hmmm how to keep the kids occupied? We decided to pull out all our favourite books and cosy up under a blanket in our teepee tent. 

We have so many special books that we love to read time and time again and in case you're looking for some recommendations, we've compiled a list!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Day 5: Scavenger Hunt and Heart Balloon Bomb

I remember loving scavenger hunts when I was little, the excitement of getting a clue right and advancing to the next one. So much fun! If giving chocolates or flowers isn't your thing, why not create a tailor made scavenger hunt for the one(s) you love this Valentine's day.