Monday, April 29, 2013

B.M.W.B- Playground Participation

Going to the playground has been great for the whole family on those days where I just need to get out of the house but have nothing planned. Usually Adam will fall asleep, Lucas can let of some steam and I get some exercise. Quite often, I stand at the edge of the bark and watch, or sit with Adam on the benches.

Today, I decided to get into the playground action with Lucas. I chased him around, slid down the slide, went on the merry go round and also went on the see-saw with him.

I got to really see the playground through my son's eyes today, and Adam got a giggle out of watching us on the see-saw. It was nice to laugh with my children instead of watch from the sidelines. I want to make an effort to be more present in my childrens' play time, and I felt really close to my kids after this.

Linking up with Miriam:

Create Hope Inspire

Friday, April 26, 2013

Water Stamped Background

It is my mother in law's birthday today, and I wanted to make her a special card. I had seen a tutorial here for Water Stamping and I really wanted to give it a try.

The card background was made using two inks, which I sponged over white cardstock. I then took a stamp and dipped it in a water soaked napkin, and stamped it on to the inked cardstock. I ironed it to dry, and the background developed a tie dye look. The full details can be followed on the tutorial I linked above, I urge you to give it a try as it is really quite simple!

I used a border punch to frame the background, and mounted it on coral cardstock to match one of the ink colours I used. I also added a punched out flower and a sentiment, as well as some flowers cut out from a ribbon I have had in my stash since 2009.

I really love the look of the finished card, and am going to be trying this technique again soon. I would love to see your projects using this technique as well!

I am linking up with Just Add Ink- create a fun background and Use It Tuesday- flowers for Mom.

Supplies used:
Creative Memories: White cardstock, 12" Rotary Trimmer with Straight and Scoring Blades, Precision Point Adhesive.
Making Memories: Animal Crackers Trims.
Stampin' Up: Primrose Petals ink, Calypso Coral ink and cardstock, Itty Bitty Banners stamp set, Blossom Punch, Delicate Doilies stamp set, Mixed Bunch stamp set, Lace Ribbon Border punch.

Flowers for Mum

Another reminder that Mother's Day is coming up- my son told me I was getting a ladybug pillow pet and girl Duplo this year!

The theme over at Use It Tuesday is Flowers For Mom- or Mum as we spell it here in New Zealand.

I decided to use both themes and do something I have been meaning to do for a while, which is create a word card. Mum was an easier word to do than a name, but it was still a bit tricky and required a lot of patience!

I used some floral paper from a 2010 collection and embossed cardstock that I got given to me by my sister about three years ago, as well as some buttons from my stash that were from a sale in March 2011. The butterfly stamp and punch and the flower punch were both borrowed  from my sister's stash.

Here is the finished product!

And a close up of some of the details: The button on the flower punch:

The floral butterfly:

If you want to make a word card, the easiest way is to cut out a large font from your computer and use that as a template. Leave a slight gap around the words and make sure that the letters you use can be easily read.

Supplies used:
Creative Memories: Embossed cardstock, Simply Beautiful patterned paper, White cardstock. 12" Rotary Trimmer with Scoring Blade, Scissors.
Stampin' Up: Papillion Potpourri, Butterfly Punch, Layered Flower Punch, Itty Bitty Buttons, Melon Mambo Ink.

Photo Friday

Sleeping babies are always beautiful!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Traditional ANZAC biscuits

Today is ANZAC Day here in New Zealand, a day where we remember all New Zealanders and Australians killed in war and also honour returned servicemen and women. The date itself marks the anniversary of the landing of New Zealand and Australian soldiers – the Anzacs – on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915.

We even have a special biscuit for this occasion- what Americans would call a cookie. It has been claimed the biscuits were sent by wives to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation. They are also very yummy!

My son and I baked these together this morning, hence the messy bench in the pictures.

To make the biscuits, you will need:

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 125 grams butter
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees C (320 degrees F). Line trays with baking paper.

    Sift flour into a large bowl.

    Stir in oats, coconut and brown sugar.

    Melt butter, golden syrup and water over medium heat.

    Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. (This step always gets my preschooler excited as the ingredients froth up and it can become a great science lesson!)
    Combine butter mixture with flour mixture.

    Roll mixture into balls and place on the trays. Flatten slightly.

    Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

    Set aside to cool then enjoy.

    These biscuits will keep well in an airtight container, and are great with a cup of tea.

    Linking up with Real Family Fun!

    What makes you giggle?

    The cue word this week at CASology is:

    My sons both have great giggles, and I love to laugh with them at all the silly things they do. My oldest son likes to help me with my cardmaking, and one thing that we always giggle at is the funny owls we can make from the Stampin' Up Owl Punch.

    I paired the owl with this sentiment as I can just imagine the owl saying it in a funny voice. My son definitely got the giggles when he saw this card!

    Supplies used:
    Creative Memories: White cardstock, 12" Rotary Trimmer with Straight and Scoring blades, Precision Point Adhesive, CCS with Circle shapes, Circle Punch.
    Kaisercraft: Blae & Ivy patterned paper.
    Provocraft: Cuttlebug
    Stampin' Up: Owl Punch, Soft Suede cardstock and ink, Oh Hello stamp set, Woodgrain embossing folder.

    Monday, April 22, 2013

    B.M.W.B- Embracing Mess

    I am the first to admit I hate having a messy house. I am constantly picking up toys, wiping down tables, vacuuming up crumbs and folding washing. However, it seems like every time I turn around, there is a new mess to contend with.

    Part of my experience with motherhood is learning to embrace the mess. Lego on the floor, dirty socks on the couch and biscuit crumbs everywhere seem to appear no matter how often I ask my son to pick things up. I am slowly learning that toys are OK to leave out all day, and the world won't end if my mum turns up and I haven't vacuumed.

    With Adam entering the finger foods stage, I have been loathe to give him messy food, even after the purchase of a Messy Mat. However, I had some leftover baked beans and I decided to give him a sensory experience for lunch as well as filling his tummy. I gave him two piles of baked beans and some grated cheese, and left him to explore the food. Of course, I was sitting right beside him to make sure he didn't have any issues swallowing, but it was a big step to not spoon feed him or control where the mess went.

    He had a great time exploring the different textures, and some of it even ended up in his mouth!

    Saturday, April 20, 2013

    Good Luck card

    My mum is starting a new job next week, and I wanted to make her a card to let her know I wish her all the best. I saw the CASology cue card and literally ran for my Occasions Alphabet stamp set to see if there were any letters that would work for a good luck card.

    The letter "L" was just right, and I paired it with green to keep the theme going, as well as just a touch of bling and some floral dry embossing for a feminine touch. The sentiment was punched out then sponged to make the words stand out.

    Supplies used:
    Creative Memories: Jewel Tone on Tone Paper, White cardstock, Tearing Tool.
    Stampin' Up: Decorative Label Punch, Garden Green Ink, Sponges, Occasions Alphabet Stamp Set, Basic Rhinestones Jewels.
    Provocraft: Cuttlebug, Tiny Flowers Embossing Folder.

    Friday, April 19, 2013

    Mother's Day Giveaway

    Mother's Day is coming up, and if you are anything like me you want to give your Mum something to let her know how much she means to you. I definitely appreciate my mother more now that I am older, and am amazed at how she was able to bring me up with my three siblings without losing her sanity! She is the first person I call if I am having a bad day, and I can't count how many times she has been my babysitter when I have had to go to the doctor or just need a break. I find it hard to express to my mum how much I appreciate her, and this is where Creative Memories comes in. They have created a cute spiral bound book for you to fill with words and photos. It has journaling prompts and ideas on what to write- always useful when the words won't flow!

    Photo courtesy of Creative Memories.

    The Simply Said- Mum, Love You book is a great gift for Mother's Day, and luckily I have one here that you can win! Simply follow the giveaway instructions below and you are in to win.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Photo Friday

    My perplexed pedalling pirate!

    Linking up with Photo Friday.

    Thursday, April 18, 2013

    Dropper Painting

    My son loves to talk about colours and so one rainy day I tried to teach him about primary and secondary colours. Since Lucas is a very visual person, I decided to let him play with colours to see what would happen when they mix together.

    I put three tubs of water in front of him that were coloured with red, green and blue food colouring.

    He then was able to drop the coloured water onto a piece of paper to experiment with colours.

    He had a great time making it "rain colours" and experimenting with how far he could lift the dropper and squirt the coloured water onto the paper.

    The colours started to mix together after a while and Lucas was very excited to point out what was happening. This was a great way to spend some time together in the afternoon and also learn something at the same time!

    Linking up with Real Family Fun.

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013

    Conference Recap

    Wow, what a weekend I have had. Getting to know some bloggers, my city and my own sense of self even more was so exciting.

    The weekend started off on Friday night where we had a supper at Miriam's house and I was amazed to be in the same room as Stella, Simoney and Deb, to name a few of the bloggers. I was a bit star struck! In fact, I was a bit too shy to take to Simoney the whole conference, I hope she doesn't think I was avoiding her! I discovered some amazing chocolate chip biscuits too, if anyone knows who made them I would love the recipe. It was awesome to see so many women come together and chat, and I had fun getting to know people.

    Saturday morning I arrived at the seminar part of the conference. We were greeted by the effervescent Miriam, and met up with our swap partners. My swap partner was the lovely Katie and we swapped name badges and presents. I got some awesome clear stamps, cards and envelopes, which I can never have too many of!

    The Question and Answer panel gave me some great ideas, a lot of laughs and I also won a prize- a beautiful necklace made out of liquefaction suit by Gillian of Mudbird. I then did a workshop on making my blog more visually appealing (I'm still working on it!) and learnt a few great tricks and tips from Meghan and Talia.

    Saturday afternoon saw me teaching a Quilted Card Tutorial, which I will be posting on my blog later this week for those of you who want to make your own card at home.

    Saturday night was a yummy dinner at Winnie Bagoes in Ferrymead. The Photobooth was a hit for us extroverts! I had far too much pizza and discovered that mocktails can be delicious.

    Sunday had me up at the crack of dawn to do some scrapbooking, and then I arrived at C1Espresso for breakfast. The omelette I had was amazing! We had a great opportunity to go up to the rooftop to see the city from a high vantage point, but first I had to climb up these stairs:

    Photo thanks to Roz!

    We then walked around Christchurch. Even though I live here, I haven't been in the city since the earthquakes. I was shocked with how different everything looked, and completely blanked a few times as to where I was. I relied so heavily upon landmarks to get around Christchurch, and it was very sad to see some of them demolished or only half standing.

    The finale was an epic Dance Mat Blogger boogie!

    So what did I learn this weekend?
    • I am part of a great Kiwi Blogging community.
    • I can make this blog beautiful.
    • I am able to put myself out there and make new friends.
    • I love mocktails :)
    • I can be a better blogger if I am willing to put in some time and effort.
    • I am in awe of all the women who came together to make this weekend possible.
    I am looking forward to the next Bloggers Connecting event!

    B.M.W.B- Discovering Nature

    Yesterday, the sun was shining and my two sons were getting rather restless. Quite often I will go for a walk but this isn't super exciting for the boys (Adam usually falls asleep!) and I need to make more of an effort to include the boys in my daily activities as well.

    My three year old loves taking photos, and quite often when I put my memory card into the computer there are random pictures like this:

    I decided it would be a great idea to do a Photo Scavenger Hunt based on an autumn list I had found at The Freckled Homeschooler. That way I could get a walk in, Adam would have a nap, and Lucas wouldn't be bored. We set off with our list, a pen and our "looking eyes".

    The first thing on our list was a red leaf. Lucas was quite excited to find it!

    We then had to find a yellow leaf and Lucas took a photo of one on the ground.

    Next on the list was a brown acorn. Lucas was delighted to find an abundance of these on the ground and he was very quick to get out the camera and take this shot.

    We even chose one to take home with us and put in the treasure box.

    We then had to walk for quite a while before we found some leaves on the ground. We did walk past quite a few piles, but since this was Lucas' scavenger hunt I was content to walk and let him point out the things on the list, rather than showing him where everything was. He finally realised that I was not going to take over (something I usually do and am trying to let go of!) so he found some leaves and took another photo.

    The last thing on the list was a colourful fall tree. Lucas was very keen to take a photo of this tree and has decided that green is his favourite colour.

    This was such a fun way to get the boys to appreciate nature a bit more, and look at the world around them. We found some treasures, enjoyed the fresh air and also learnt a bit about how the weather changes our landscape each season. I also learnt that Lucas is a budding photographer and I was happy to let him take charge of the camera.

    This is my first link up with the wonderful Miriam's Becoming the Mama I Want to Be.

    Create Hope Inspire

    Sunday, April 14, 2013

    Reworking my blog.

    I have just spent the weekend at the Around The Table- Bloggers Connecting conference and I have gotten so many great ideas! This little blog is well due some time, a makeover and some structure to make it more readable and fun. I want this blog to be a place where I can share my day to day happenings, but also inspire others and maybe help someone to find a crafty project or recipe to try.

    I want my blog to be more Kiwi focused and more relevant to my own style, rather than me trying to fit in as many topics as possible. Because of this, I will be writing up a new schedule and also reworking my blog design.

    The new schedule I will try out will include:

    MONDAY: Becoming The Mama I want to be

    Create Hope Inspire

    THURSDAY: Real Family Fun

    FRIDAY: Photo Friday

    I also want to create my own challenge linky for scrapbooking and card making as I cannot find a blogger within New Zealand who does that, so this will be a work in progress over the coming month.

    I will be posting other musings about fitness and crafty things that I get up to, but a schedule too detailed is almost impossible with a baby and a toddler so it is small steps at a time!

    I am excited to try out some new projects, share some new aspects of my life, and link up with some wonderful Christchurch and New Zealand bloggers. These ladies made such a wonderful effort to hang out in Christchurch this weekend and even left some love for us in the central city!

    I hope you will stay with me while I tweak things and make this blog my own.

    Friday, April 12, 2013

    Giveaway Winner!

    Thanks to everyone who commented and visited my blog this week for the 0-5 Label pack giveaway.

    The winner is: Comment 5! From Katie: Thanks for the chance to win :-) Mr Mischief is a fan of dinosaurs at the moment so that would be the design I'd choose :-)

    Congratulations Katie, I will be in touch with you to organise your prize pack.


    Thursday, April 11, 2013

    Conference here I come!

    Tomorrow night marks the start of the Bloggers Connecting conference here in Christchurch. I am super excited (it was even in the paper!) and also quite nervous.

    I am going to be teaching a cardmaking tutorial, which I will post instructions for after the conference. I am also participating in the seminars and of course, all of the eating out options! Tomorrow night there is a supper and I hurriedly made a last minute eyebrow shape appointment today after catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

    I guess the thing I am most nervous about is being judged. After reading another blogger's experience with a blogging conference, I am worried that no-one will talk to me and that everyone will be sizing up how I look in my jeans. I only know one other blogger in real life and she is amazing, but I can't help but wonder what everyone else will think of me. I am surviving on 4 hours of sleep each night and have hardly any nice clothes that fit me, so I look like an unkempt zombie most days!

    I think I am my own worst critic, and I hope I can overcome my trepidation and have a blast. There are rumours of onesie parties, free coffee and fellow bake-a-holics, so fingers crossed I fit in. My blog may not be the biggest or brightest, but it's something that I love to do.

    Cranberry Lemon Slice

    My three year old son is so funny- he loves to bake with me but tries to make it more manly. When we were baking this slice, he turned to me and said, "Mum, you're the digger and I'm the dump truck" then he started making truck noises. I love how his mind works- I was scooping out the ingredients for him to dump into the mixing bowl so he made a truck game out of it.

    This slice is super yummy and really easy for the kids to make (with adult supervision) as it does not require the use of an oven and is fast to prepare.

    Cranberry Lemon Slice:
  • 1 packet plain sweet biscuits crushed
  • 250 grams dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 tin sweetened condensed milk
  • 125 grams butter 
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 drop yellow food colouring optional
  • desiccated coconut to sprinkle

  • Combine crushed biscuits, cranberries, brown sugar and coconut.
    Melt the butter and condensed milk in the microwave and then add the lemon juice. Combine thoroughly.
    Press into a sponge roll tin or oblong dish (about 20cm x 30cm), using the back of a dessert spoon.
    Make the icing by combining all icing ingredients except the coconut and mix until smooth. Ice the base immediately, sprinkle with coconut and place in the fridge until firm.

    Linking up with Real Family Fun.

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013

    Ombre Mother's Day Card

    I have seen the ombre effect on clothes, hair, handbags and even cards lately- it seems to be one of the trends that is staying around for a while! I have also seen a lot of paint chip craft ideas floating around on Pinterest, and thought a lot of them looked quite easy.

    We have been planning our new Master Bedroom colours so I had a lot of paint chips lying around, and I decided I wanted to try an ombre style card for Mother's Day. These two ideas combined were a lot of fun to play around with, and paint chip samples were an awesome way to get a variety of hues without cutting into a lot of different cardstock colours. Even my husband thought it was a clever idea!

    Can you tell what colour scheme we are looking at for our master bedroom from this card?

    I punched out two different butterfly shapes from a variety of purple shades, then played around with the placement until I was happy with the way they looked. I glued them down onto gray cardstock and then added rhinestones to the larger butterflies. The last thing was to stamp on a Mother's Day sentiment and then I adhered the gray panel to a purple card base.

    I think I will be experimenting with paint chip samples again in the future, and I hope my mum likes the card I have made for her.

    Supplies used:
    Creative Memories: Gray cardstock, Meadow Micro Maker, Butterfly Pocket Punch, Precision Point Adhesive.
    Stampin' Up: Elegant Eggplant ink and cardstock, Teeny Tiny Sentiments stamp set, Basic Rhinestones Jewels.
    Other: Paint chip samples form my hardware store.

    Tuesday, April 9, 2013

    Christmas Circle Card

    I felt very proud to receive an Honourable Mention for last week's Merry Monday challenge! This is the first time I have ever gotten recognition for a challenge, and so it made my day.

    This week's Merry Monday sketch was pretty straightforward and I knew exactly what I was going to do for it.

    I had some circle wreath embellishments so one of those went on a red scrap- my last piece of this beautiful red paper that I love. Then I added some blue lacy paper to the background and a strip of plain blue. I felt that the plain blue strip needed something else so I used a stamp wheel across it for an extra detail. With the words on the blue strip I didn't feel like it needed a sentiment so I have left it pretty simple.

    Supplies used:
    Creative Memories: Nordic Christmas Paper, Nordic Christmas Layered Stickers, Square Maker.
    Stampin' Up: Midnight Muse Ink, Island Indigo cardstock, Jolly Jingles Stampin' Wheel.

    Monday, April 8, 2013

    Stuck On You- A Preschooler's Pack and a Giveaway!

    My three year old boy has recently started Preschool and along with the tears (sad), the paintings (so many!) and the scuffed shoes (one of the sandpit hazards), one of the biggest issues has been labelling all of his items. Everything that goes to Preschool with him has to have his name on it, and I was finding that vivid would just come off his lunchbox and also leave a mark on his skin if I used it to label his clothes.

    Enter Stuck On You- a great web based company that does personalised labels and gifts. I have heard great things about the labels and was keen to use them. Lucas was pretty excited to get something in the mail for him!

    I was asked to review the 0-5 pack, which consists of name labels, shoe labels, clothing labels and a bag tag. I also received a very cute Personalised Bib for my younger son Adam.

    The first pack I opened was the shoe labels, as my son just got new shoes. I really like how each sheet has five different colour options, so you can match the sticker to the shoe if you are like me and want to be colour coordinated.

    The labels are still stuck down and look good a week and a half later, even with my son putting dirt, sand and rocks in his shoes and running around with them on. These labels are fantastic for Preschool, as shoes come on and off all day there and I always see signs about missing shoes. These labels ensure that teachers and parents know whose shoes are lying around!
    The name labels are another great item- Lucas' lunchbox and bag were labelled on the inside but that wasn't very helpful for the teachers and I also wanted Lucas' name to stand out so that he could recognise his lunchbox. Once again, the choice of colours for each label was really appreciated and I was able to match all of Lucas' lunch items together. The labels hold up to both hand washing and being put in the dishwasher, so I am not constantly rewriting his name.

    The bag tag got a thumbs up from both me and Lucas, who said it was "good" and then proceeded to be a frog for the rest of the morning! Yet another item to make life easier, and I can see both of these labels being great for households with multiple children.

    The clothing labels were pulled out before Preschool on Thursday morning, as Lucas needed a jersey to wear and I hadn't labelled any of his jerseys yet. However, I knew that it would come off during the course of the day as the weather warmed up, so on went a label. The instructions are so easy to follow- even my husband could do it!


    Once again, I was really impressed at the quality and the labels seem to be on there for good as despite numerous attempts by Lucas to unpeel it, it is still stuck on. The labels have gone on to hats, jerseys, pants and even a polarfleece jacket with no problems at all.

    Lastly, I tried out the bib this weekend when we were having a very messy lunch. The first thing I noticed about the bib was how stretchy it was, especially around the neck area. It has a lovely feel to it and is so soft. It held up really well to tomato puree, cheese and water. This would make a fantastic gift for a baby, as it is a great length and will stretch to fit. There are some great boy and girl designs. Adam really liked his bib as well!

    Overall, I am really impressed at how easy Stuck On You has made it to label my son's items and clothing. Lucas gets a real kick out of choosing a coloured label to use when we need to put his name on something, and the clothing labels are wonderful for those items of clothes that I know will be taken on and off at Preschool. The shoe labels impressed me the most, as shoes are not easy to label so this is a great way to make sure Lucas doesn't lose his shoes.

    Stuck On You has very nicely given me one 0-5 pack to give away for one lucky reader! To enter the draw, just leave a comment below telling me which design you would choose and why. A winner will be drawn on the 12th April.

    Be sure to follow Stuck On You for the latest products and specials.
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