Monday, December 19, 2016

Peter Pan

My girls have been slowly introduced to some of the Disney classics, including the animated version of Peter Pan. Rachel took to Peter Pan more than Sophie, and last week, after she insisted her ordinary green hat was her Peter Pan hat, I thought I'd make her an actual Peter Pan hat. 

Image from
There are a plethora of Peter Pan/Robin Hood style hat DIY's floating around, but I used this tutorial as my base. It said it was toddler sized, and given Rachel is two and a half, I thought it would be perfect.

It was rather enormous for my little Rachel, so I did some adjustments and then it fit perfectly. Made it with just green felt and red felt for the feather. It's a little bit like Christmas actually.

Rachel loved it. I did some stitching on the feather to give it a bit more style and I really like it. It also made it curl a little which was nice. I didn't originally sew the feather in, but have had to recently, because otherwise it gets lost in all of the adventures to Neverland.

I thought Sophie would be able to use her Tinkerbell costume to play with Rachel-Peter Pan, but Tinkerbell is not really a main/nice character in the movie, so she usually plays Wendy. Time for another costume, right? 

While I was away in Melbourne (before I made the Peter Pan hat), the girls played Peter Pan and Wendy quite a bit, and Steve was delegated the character of Captain Hook. Sometimes the girls even refer to him as "Captain" which he is quite ok with.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Ricey Bento

Finally, I give you: bento with rice!

Honestly, just had some leftover rice in the fridge and gave it a zap in the microwave in the morning. The girls really liked their onigiri, though Sophie took all of the seaweed off first (and ate it) before eating the rice. A little unorthodox I'll admit, but if she's eating it then it's a win.

Now that the girls are older, I'm going a bit crazier with cute picks and forks for them, which they love. These bento (pictured on my not-clean stove top), include onigiri (rice balls), apples, mango, pretzels, cucumber, capsicum and tomato and olives.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Updates on Life & Commissioned Work

Well, what is life but a crazy roller coaster of busyness? I can't believe how the last few weeks have flown, and finally today I've had the chance to sit down for a minute. What can I say? Things are busy. 

I'm officially on holidays from working full time, though not on holidays from looking after my two little girls. I did get a break last week when my sisters and I had four days in Melbourne together. This was amazing kid-free time, and wonderful sister time. We did loads of stuff together, including shopping, which is never my favourite or choice past time, but it was necessary and bearable (even, at times, fun!) with my sisters. They are ruthless shoppers, so I learn a lot with them. 

Since I've been back in Brisbane, I've continued neglecting my Cert 3 studies, though I know it can't last and enjoying free time. Before I went to Melbourne, so pretty much the end of November, Steve was super busy with work. He had a retreat and then a conference, which he was a speaker at! 

Exciting times for Steve, though it pretty much meant that all his spare time was spent working on that and there was a big crash after it was over. So much exhaustion for everyone. Steve did get to work on a game for the Hololens for the conference which was a big highlight. You can see a demo of the game here!

I'm giving myself this week to enjoy being on holidays and get my head back into gear doing things around the house and then I'll get studying again next week. I've been working on a few things around the place too, mostly sewing related and also Christmas present related which is therapeutic and wonderful. Hopefully I'll be organised enough to post about them with relative efficiency. 

I was organised enough to finish the commissioned sewing I had before the end of November. Small victories! That is a faded-out-photo-preview so that I don't spoil any Christmas excitement accidentally (small chance, but you can never be too careful). I'll write more about it after Christmas. Just know that it was done and looked very swish.

In other news, our church is going through some changes at the moment, and doing some serious thinking about the evening service. Steve and I have always gone to the evening service and have generally loved it, but they are really looking at changing things up next year. We've had lots of discussion with people in our bible study who are pretty worried about things.

I don't really know where we stand, but I'm surprisingly calm about the whole thing. I mean, things change. This world that we live in is always changing, people are doing different things. I think seeing the girls growing every day is a really good reminder of that - they are always changing, developing, grappling with new ideas and concepts. So am I. Every day there is something new to deal with, some new fine line to walk.

So, though change can be upsetting and painful, it's also ok. And no matter if we end up changing churches, or our church changes, God is the same. How I feel about Jesus is the same. At the end of the day, weather we worship in the evening, morning, with people or without, Jesus is still the life-changing miracle worker he will always be.

Ironically, last week I taught the girls a bible verse which is so accurate for this situation.

"Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever." Hebrews 13:8


Friday, November 18, 2016

All's Quiet on the Blogging Front

Things have been slow around here for a few reasons.

Firstly, I'm supposed to be doing my Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care. I say "supposed to be" because I'm studying full time while also still working full time, which means I don't do much of it until crunch time (or my travelling parents make an appearance and take the children from me which leaves me with no excuses).

Secondly, I've just been sick for two and a half weeks with a killer cold. And now Steve has it. Talk about low energy levels.

Thirdly, I've been commissioned to sew something. For money! So I am spending some time on that (especially since my friend who asked me to do it wants it to be Christmas presents, which is pretty soon). That's pretty exciting. I might even post about it. :)

And that is why all is quiet here.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Gardening Growth

I'm so delighted with how the garden is growing! It's gone from this:

To this:

So much green! I'm joyous when I look at it. Such growth! Such abundance! I sigh satisfied sighs of contentment when I look at it.

Let me walk you through what is there. Bottom right of the garden and going clockwise around, oregano (the dark green), Italian parsley, basil, tomatoes (probably cherry tomatoes, can't be sure because they grew themselves from the compost) and corn. Then (left to right in the middle) there are strawberries hiding under the tomato/basil, capsicum, a row of spring onions and a little rosemary cutting that I am hoping will grow.

I love those spring onions because I recently discovered you could re-grow such things from the base of the ones you buy in the store. Revelation! I've also got a lettuce (still inside) that is doing just that. I'm hoping to plant it soon.

Hiding at the other end of the garden bed is (left to right) thyme (too small to see but definitely alive and well), parsley and some lavender. You can't see it in these photos, but you can in the top one, there is a pumpkin vine and some more corn in the yellow pot, and in the big round pot we have a blueberry tree. Yay! The little green pot in the middle has some flower seedlings that I'm not sure will survive because a kid at mothers group got excited and tipped the entire pot over. We scooped it all back in, but still not sure what survived.

And that is my garden update. I hope you have some small amount of green in your life that brings you as much joy as this green brings me.

Thursday, November 03, 2016


Recognise those bricks now? They have a new life, as lions that guard the girls' rooms. And also stop the doors from slamming closed with the wind. 

I realise you can't really see it now, but they have tails as well as faces. I was thinking about embroidering on some legs on the front, to make it look like they were sitting a bit more, but then couldn't be bothered. I used really small bricks and the faces were really big, so there isn't much room for it anyway.

I have to work hard at getting the girls to leave them at their doors, rather than playing with them, but thankfully the heaviness of the bricks helps to deter them. I hand sewed everything, used scrap material (the spots match the curtains in Rachel's room (see here), and the red is leftover denim from this dress that Sophie wears), and leftover quilting batting to pad out the bricks.

I think the bricks like their new life.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Bento Break

Making bento for a picnic lunch with friends. Lots of cutting up. I'd like to do more rice, but that seems to take more thought than I can manage in the mornings. Oh well!

Tomato, ham, strawberries, blueberries, cheese, capsicum, carrot and cucumber. They also had honey sandwiches on the side.

It's healthy and fresh and delicious. It will do.

Friday, October 28, 2016


Working on something new.

With bricks!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Quiet Time

So encouraged by Hebrews this morning. God is good.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Bunny for Rachel

I've noticed that there are lots of bunnies in our house. Bunnies in abundance. I think we have more bunnies than bears actually. They all have descriptive names like Big Bunny, Little Bunny, Average Size Bunny, and Fairy Bunny. Sophie has one that has her name embroidered on the front that we refer to as Sophie Bunny. Creative right?

Anyway, Rachel was lacking in a special bunny, so I made one for her. Now there are even more bunnies in the house! I had seen this tutorial on Sew Mama Sew, which was done by my favourite blogger, who's other stuffed animals I've also made (see a tiger here, and a ladybug here). 

I had thought about doing it a few months ago actually, but the thing that tipped me over the edge last week was a pillow case for a pillow for ants. We were never going to use it. It came with a cot sheet set. It was white and flannel-y, with little silver and yellow stars, so I cut it up and made a bunny. 

The bunny has pink felt ears and a white felt tail, but otherwise is made of pillow case. I stuffed him with rice and stuffing, so he can't get wet, and I hand sewed him over two nights watching movies. I wouldn't really recommend hand sewing soft toys, because kids can be pretty brutal on their toys and they could really use the strength of machine stitching, but I wanted the change of pace. 

And he was so fun to make, that I ended up making two. One for Rachel and the other for a friend who has a bub on the way. I'm kind of glad I had Rachel's to practice on, because one of her bunnies' ears is on backwards for some reason. She doesn't mind though.

Hugo gave the gift bunny a good looking over before I confiscated it and gave him Fairy Bunny instead. Then Sophie got Sophie Bunny out and the three of them had a picnic with their bunnies. Party on bunnies!

I keep asking Rachel what name she wants to give her bunny, and suggesting real names, like Bertha, but nothing's taking. Right now, we call her bunny; Rachel Bunny.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Learning Activity

I see these activities online all the time. They come with labels like "Quick activity to entertain your toddler!" and "No fuss task while you cook dinner!" In my experience, it's all lies. Never has my toddler sat and colour sorted pompoms or put things into different boxes. But I try these activities anyway, just in case they might work.

This was another such activity. Write the name in pen, give the child spot stickers to put over the lines. It's practising fine motor skills. And it's all well and good, until your child starts putting stickers all over themselves.

At least she was having fun.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Sophie helped me to make pavlova for dessert two weeks ago. When I told her we could, she was ecstatic. I think this is what she expected making pavlova was going to be like:

Image from Wombat's Birthday Surprise by Lachlan Creagh
This is what it was like:

Yep, she's licking sugar off the bench. I let her measure the sugar by spooning it into the bowl on the scales while I beat the egg whites. Of course, some missed the bowl.

It wasn't exactly as fun as she was hoping for, and when it came to fruit, she only wanted strawberries for hers, but it was fun none the less.

And the pavlova was delicious.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Garden Makeover!

I love growing things. It has been one of the best things about growing up and owning a house; that I can plant things and they grow! For a long time my growing attempts have been mostly confined to a number of pots that looked a bit like this (as seen here):

But the trouble with pots is that they dry out rather quickly in this hot Brisbane weather and you are limited as to what you can plant in them. I had talked with Steve a few times about getting a real herb garden, but he usually met my requests with a reminder of the fact that I had lots of garden beds around the yard that were in serious disrepair. Why did I deserve a nice shiny new garden bed when I wasn't taking care of the ones we had? 

He was right, but it's really hard to make over an entire garden bed that has been taken over by weeds and grass. Last time he mowed however, he had time to think about the garden situation, and came up with this solution: we get a nice herb garden set up, put everything from the current gardens that we want to save in it, and then completely redo the entire garden. 

It seems a little extreme, but it was a sound plan, and as it turned out - it worked! 

We talked about what kind of herb garden we wanted to set up, but just ended up with a pre-made all you have to do is bolt it together type from Bunnings. It was the most fuss free way to to go and worked out to be only a little more expensive anyway. We were lucky enough to have enough compost (from our two bins) and some of the dirt we dug out of the ground when we put the sandpit in, that it pretty much filled the garden. Hooray!

We filled it with that and then covered it and left it for about four weeks to try to kill the weeds. Lots of pumpkin seeds grew during that time (ambitious things), but they were easy to pull out. Then we tipped a little extra dirt in, a layer of newspaper and cardboard as an extra weed-prevention measure and finally some nice organic dirt to get things going.

We put in lots of things from the back garden bed, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and strawberries (I put the mint in a pot for safe keeping), and also some things from the pots, the capsicums, basil, oregano and thyme.  I think everything we transplanted into it has survived, though one of the capsicums looks like it might not and the thyme has only just started showing signs of life again.

Meanwhile the back garden bed languished for a while. Then we had a long weekend and nothing planned: game on! I pulled out things we wanted saving, (agapanthus, some succulents and ground covers) and then got to work just ripping everything else out. Steve was a machine with the mattock and did most of the heavy work. We weren't going to pull out a couple of the hibiscus bushes that we had, but after we had to cut them back to get at other things we were ripping out, it didn't seem worth keeping them.

Such a shame that I don't have before photos, because it was a real mess and now it looks amazing.

After everything was pulled out, and we had put in the edging (just sleepers from Bunnings), we laid out some cardboard (my precious, precious cardboard!) a bit of extra dirt and then planted the things we wanted to keep. Agapanthus went back in, and the Moses bushes that will hopefully multiply and be good cover. A trip to Bunnings for some extra plants, a few trees that will grow up and make nice privacy along the fence line, as well as things with pretty flowers.

It's hard to see in that top photo of the whole garden bed (which, I have to say, gives no credit to how fantastic the garden actually looks), but on the far right (behind the slide), there is a gap between the two trees and in the fence line, where we talk to the chickens who live next door. We had an old table top down for the kids to stand/sit on while they do that, but it was a little bit dangerous with spiders and snakes, so I had the idea of putting down some pavers for them to use instead.

Luckily for us, our friends decided to reno their back garden, which had previously been paved, and put down turf. Hello free pavers! You can read about that over at Working on It Dad, where my friend Wade writes about being a dad. I think it turned out rather nicely, though maybe not as level as it should be.


Finally, we covered everything with sugar cane mulch, which really gave it that professional finished look, if I do say so myself. The whole thing took three days of hard work, a rather large amount of daughter neglect, and we are so happy with the result. Can't wait for things to grow out a bit and fill the spaces.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Crib Companions Dress

A friend of mine from teaching days (woah, that seems like a lifetime ago now!) had recently released some artwork that you could buy as fabric or cards or paper. I, of course, wanting to support her, bought some fabric with her lovely print on it. It came in the mail last week and, being on holidays, I was able to sew up a quick dress in an afternoon. Yay!

My only regret is that I didn't get more, because both of my girls love the print, but there was only enough material for one dress. There are leftovers however, so maybe I'll be able to work something out with that later.

The lining is leftover fabric from somewhere else. It's simple dress to show off the fun print. If you like it, feel free to check out my friend's work at Crib Companions. You can order fabric with her prints from Spoonflower.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Denim Quilt

Notice I'm not calling it a Jeans Quilt? Because that would say it's similar to the other Jeans Quilts that have come before (see here and here). When in fact, it is not. It's still made of jeans, but also other stuff. And made in a different way. Thus, a different name.

Anyway. So you notice you have a pile of jeans like this lying around the house (or, more accurately, stashed in a cupboard, growing at an increasingly rapid rate). What to do, what to do!?

What else, but make a quilt! (Actually, there is loads of other things you can do with denim (see?), but quilts use lots of jeans in one go, which was the goal here.)

Anyway, I wish (as always) I'd taken more photos of the progress, but pretty much, you cut loads of circles out of denim and lots of squares of scrap fabric. You sew the circles together first and then put the squares of fabric in the middle. The way it all works out, the good side of the denim is the back of the quilt and the fabric side is the top. 

For this reason, this is a really cheep quilt to make. Because you don't need to buy batting (the stuff in the middle of the quilt), or binding, or backing fabric (which tends to be quite expensive because it's generally got to be quite large). Obviously it's not as warm as a quilt with batting in it, but because of the denim, it's still heavy and thus warm. 

This was the moment when I realised that even though I'd cut 120 circles and squares, I still needed twenty more of each, because the quilt just looked too short. Sigh. On the plus side, this is what the girls looked like at that point:

Which meant that getting the final bits cut and sewn wasn't actually that painful. Rachel did rouse herself to help me with the pins and sew parts as well. Sewing the squares in involves folding the flaps of the circles onto the squares and sewing around them. It gives the back of the quilt this fun floral circle pattern, which is nice.

It was hard to get a photo of this, not only because it is big, but also because when the girls saw what I was doing this happened:

I was running short on time and lighting (it was 4:45pm!) but I hope you get the idea.

I love looking at all the different scrap fabrics, again so much given to me by others! And some with long history - there is a scrap of fabric from the boxer shorts I made in grade eight Home Ec class! Yikes!

Ah fabric. From my mum, my friends, random strangers even! Fabric that I've seen the girls wear in dresses, or have used for their books, or bunting. Fabric that mum has in table cloths, or made me dresses when I was little.

Ok, I'll stop being nostalgic now and move on with life. Quilt made. Hope you like it.