Thursday, September 30, 2010

Recycled crafts: toilet paper rolls.

Over the last few weeks we had requested friends and family collect their toilet rolls for us and we had amassed quite the collection. I'll admit that Nick Cave's 'Red Right Hand' was playing continuously in my head as Elli and I covered ourselves in paint got crafting.

We decided to roll with the 'royal' theme (are you sick of hearing about this party yet? Because I'm nowhere near sick of crafting for it!) and create some activities for the kids to do at the actual event.

These little guys are destined to become mini royalty, with customisable faces and fancy garb to boot.

I shall share some photos after the part (which is still over a month away... I fear I may be going a touch overboard on this one.) But in the interim, here are some of the wonderful toot-roll inspired arts and crafts I found while searching for inspiration.

Heavily influenced by these angels by Alisa Burke
Yuken Teruya - aren't these cutouts AMAZING?!
Anastassia Elias - also incredible!
And this 'family portrait' over at Attic 24 is just too cute for words.
I'd love to hear how you've seen 'rubbish' used creatively!

Monday, September 27, 2010

HallowEats: Candy and Pumpkin Recipes from Barclay Prime, Osteria and Cochon

HallowEats: Candy and Pumpkin Recipes from Barclay Prime, Osteria and Cochon

I've been hunting for a recipe for these candy dots for a while now, but had no idea where to start as I didn't even know what they were called - these are definitely on the 'to make' list!


Sorry for the unexpected absence - my computer went into a coma last week and my darling brother fixed it only yesterday. Now I'm terribly behind on computer related things, so keep your eyes out for a longer post when I have the chance to catch my breath.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sometimes life gets in the way (a lot)

Life has a tendency towards disorder over at my house - hectic, hectic disorder. I struggle to say 'no' to requests and quite often end up pulled in 20 different directions attempting to get everything done.

I could change this, but I won't. I like being available to my friends and family whenever they may need me, but I do think it's time to start being more intelligent about it.

The point of this tiny post is to ensure I keep up with the routine of blogging, to tell you I have made some pretty things (I just need to get my camera situation sorted before I can share) and to offer some quick, pretty links of things I'm hoping to try over the next few weeks:

easy peasy snowstorm
How to make a snowstorm - over at CraftStylish
wallpapered dressing table
Wallpapered dressing table - I have the PERFECT roll of wallpaper for this, I picked it up at an op shop for 50c!
lighted paper pennant garland - so so very clever!

Ok, I really must dash... What do you do when times get hectic?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The lowdown on housing.

Now, I said I'd explain my house/storage woes...

I have an amazing family. There is no other way to succinctly describe us (yes, I include myself... I am amazing too!). When I found out I was pregnant with Elliotte (quite young and quite separated from her father) I got nothing but support and love from all of them.What does this have to do with housing? Everything!

My dad offered to build myself and his first born grandbaby a house to rent from him until we decided not to. Ever the handyman, it was going to be his own personal project - he would build that baby a house with his own bare hands! We started drawing up plans and sourcing materials as the due date grew ever closer. I started purchasing furniture and decorating magazines in preparation for our new home..
the creek at the bottom of the property
It turns out banks don't particularly like loaning money to owner/builders and in the struggle to get finance work was delayed. All of my lovely home goods were packed away, the baby was born and the stalling of construction turned into a blessing - I needed to move back home to take care of my siblings while my mother worked away. Dad worked every weekend and day off he could spare to continue momentum where he could, as we had to purchase everything bit by bit with very little help from the bank.

My dad pointing out some wildlife to Elliotte in front of THE house.
We are now approaching the 4th anniversary of when the house should have been built - it has been a struggle, and my respect for my dad's ability to stick at it, battling for FOUR years to finish the house, has increased every weekend he spends there.

My siblings are all but grown up, my daughter is about to turn four in November and the house looks to be finished in time to hold her birthday party there. Such a fitting way to celebrate the end of the build - a party for the reason it was being built in the first place.

Even though it's taken four years longer than expected, I wouldn't change the delays. My daughter got to bond with her uncle and aunties by living with them for the first few years of her life and I am closer to my brother and sisters than ever. My stuff has been in and out of boxes for the last four years but it has been worth it to surround myself with loved ones instead.

Wow... that post really didn't end up being about my craft gear in storage at all!

And just because she's cute - a photo of Elliotte 'helping' me weed, she was disgusted that I would consider anything with flowers a weed!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Crafty Happenings

I have been doing a little crafting here, a little crafting there over the last few days - Something made entirely more difficult than it needs to be by 90% of my craft stash being in storage. First I'll fill you in on the craft I've managed to take photos of (with my camera, so sorry about the poor quality) and then I will explain the living out of boxes saga...

So I have been trying to fit in some solid birthday party crafting around my everyday activities - this has included cupcake wrapper flower garlands while watching 'trueblood' (anyone else disappointed with the season 3 finale?!) There is over 20 of these and I shall be making more as I watch more trashy television (I'm thinking I really need to get a copy of the second season of 'Pushing Daisies')
cupcake wrapper flower garland

I also made some cupcake/food flags out of the 'E' circle graphic and more cupcake wrappers.

food flags

cupcake flags

And I've made a start on some party favors - well, these are actually just the party favor box labels, they will have each child's name on them so there is no 'awww but I wanted THAT one' (or at least, there is less..)

I will use much less glue on the next batch, so much excess!
I think I shall explain the house shenanigans in a second post, as it could get long winded...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Things I want to make... 2

Tanya over at Trey and Lucy has created a wonderful tutorial for this ribbon embellished tee - I will be making a few of these and they may just show up as christmas presents, friends... You've been warned!

I've just stumbled on this blog and I love love love this falling leaf mobile tutorial. I am thinking of adapting it to use felt leaves in pinks and purples to hang up in the little lady's room.

I may be on a bit of a nature kick from the look of things - I also want to make this adorable flower wreath that I spied over at a little lovely.

These Lucious Lavender Cupcakes from Beat Until Fluffy look amazing and may just have to make an appearance at Elliotte's birthday party - they are the perfect shade of purple!

The list is much longer than this, but I shall leave it at that for the moment as we are about to embark on an adventure to purchase what will (hopefully) be the last of the party supplies required for Elli's birthday until closer to the day.

Sewing Cards

Check out Mini-Eco for the tutorial and printable image
I love this idea as another craft station for the kids at Elli's party - the designs don't fit with our party theme, so I will be creating my own (I love being a perfectionist and making myself more work!). If you're not quite as pedantic as me and want some fun crafts for your little people to enjoy head over to Mini-Eco for this cute tutorial!

Charity: Water

Live Drill - No water for our birthday in Central African Republic from charity: water on Vimeo.

This is another beautiful charity - their determination to bring clean water to those poor souls who have none is incredible. They could have easily ditched this video for fear it would disillusion the public and stop people supporting their cause. But, for me, showing this has must cemented my belief in their integrity and passion to the cause.

Go check it out, moving stuff!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

'Find It' and Christmas preparations

I was going to start this post with a picture, but the FindIt website is down at the moment.

I recently saw a review of this game over at Chasing Cheerios. It looks like the PERFECT travel/waiting game for Elliotte. She would find hours of entertainment hunting for all the different objects (and I'm sure I'd become totally addicted too). I found a great Australian supplier who I shall be ordering a few products from in the lead up to Christmas.

I'm thinking of making a temporary one with a clear plastic bottle, some small figurines and some rice to see if she'd enjoy it before ordering one. I'm trying to get on top of Christmas early this year and have been trying to get/make a gift every few weeks to lighten the load when the festive season rolls around. I have a ridiculously large circle of people to gift, so it's the only way to feasibly afford the holidays.

I'm a danger to my own best laid plans though, as I'm just as likely to give the gift to the recipient before Christmas as a 'just because' gift. I've done that twice this week already with books I purchased for two of my very close friends - I just couldn't wait the couple of months!

Are you getting geared up for the holidays?

Healthy Party Food

When it comes to children's party food it seems you either fall into two categories: 'delicious sweets and treats laden with sugar, fat, artificial flavours and colours' or 'yucky healthy snacks that nobody wants to eat'. Is there an in between? Can something appeal to kids AND be nutritionally sound?

I've started on my quest for party foods that tick both boxes - don't get me wrong, there will be good old fashioned lollies and cake on hand, but I am going to try and create a more balanced spread that the kids will enjoy.

So far I have found a few hints and tips online:

I'll definitely be making some of these 'Sushi Sandwiches'
I love that 'Fresh for Kids' has 'funked up' fruit!
  I am not going to be serving 15 different variations of fruit platters for the kids, that's not how I roll. I know processed foods aren't fantastic but I have an 'everything in moderation' philosophy to those sometimes foods... And I think a birthday party is definitely one of those 'sometimes'

Where do you stand on the 'sometimes foods' issue? Do you have any healthy recipes that kids go nuts for?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Things I want to make...

Poppies at Play Tutorial
I think Elliotte's birthday present this year will involve lots of little handmade gifts, if I have time around the monster birthday party I seem to be planning! High on the list of 'gifts to make' is a bunch of cute accessories for the little miss, like this measuring tape headband I saw over at Poppies at Play.

The struggle I used to have to convince her to wear pretty things on her head has decreased and I want to capitalise on it with this gifting opportunity!

I am sure she will adore a pretty basket full of pretty things to decorate herself with, so this could be a sure bet for a winning present for the little lady. Throw in a few purses and a lip balm or two and she'll be in girlie heaven!

What are some of your favourite easy, handmade gifts for little people?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Just call me Captain Underpants!

I have been drumming up support among my facebook friends for this worthy cause (PLUS - there's some awesome giveaways on offer this month for pledging). Everyone should jump on board and send this great charity a pair of jocks for the kids!

Backpacks 4 Aussie Kids is a charity set up to help provide some comfort to kids in care - their mission is 1000 backpacks with all the essentials a child may need when unexpectedly taken into care (a toothbrush, a change of clothes etc). With 472 bags (as of today) packed - they are well on their way!

While they are currently asking for pledges of underpants, there are so many ways you can help:
Don't forget you can also buy items online and put their postal address in the 'ship to' section!

So throw a pair of children's knickers into the trolley when you are doing your shopping this month - you won't even notice the cost but it will mean the world to a little kid out there who could really use your help!

I'd love to hear about what charities you support and how you try to 'make a difference'

Cardboard Castles

With this image (if it's yours please let me know so I can link you where appropriate!) and this site as my guides I think I will have to build a cardboard castle for the kids to enjoy at Elli's birthday. A visit to a few whitegoods stores for some refrigerator boxes should provide me with enough cardboard to create an amazing fort - just add a few textas and the kids will LOVE it!

Castle Craft

I've been searching for some royal themed, kid friendly craft to do for the party and I stumbled across these castle printables at DLTK. You can print them out in colour, but I will be printing them in black and white so the kids can decorate them on the day. I'm sure they will be a massive hit!

Inspirations: Sugar Cookie Cone

This is AMAZING! It looks too good to eat and incredibly edible at the same time. I don't know if my craft/baking skills are up to the challenge for Elliotte's birthday, but I simply had to post it as an inspiration for some future event!

Let them eat castle cake!

Chocolate Ripple Castle Cake
I may have found the perfect cake recipe for the 'royal themed' birthday celebrations! I had seen 'castle cake kits' for sale - but at around $60 for some plastic turrets that you added to a square shaped cake, I was unimpressed. Couple this with the fact that my darling daughter generally only eats the icing off a cake and I was getting disheartened by the idea of creating a masterpiece that would be more for looks than eating.

A little search online quickly solved my dilemma - this recipe doesn't involve any actual 'cake' - it is made from cream and biscuits - Elliotte will eat the whole thing, it looks great and it won't cost $60!

Party Decorations - Cupcake toppers

I've got a 1.25 inch badge maker that I don't use anywhere near as often as I should. With this lovely piece of machinery came a fabulous circular hole punch, which you use to cut out the badge graphic easily.

she's a little cute.
'crowned E'
This isn't a post about how industrious I have been with the badge maker lately, but the graphic punch has been delightfully helpful! I've been using this wonderful tutorial over at button makers (I got my machine from them, they are rad) to create a page full of cupcake topper images. I will be gluing these to toothpicks and standing them up like flags in the cupcakes for the little lady's birthday party.

Here are some I've made with her photo and I have made some using the 'crowned E' motif I created for her invitations.

The party is shaping up quite nicely - we have settled on a purple, red white and gold theme, which is less girly than Elli would like but will suit some of the male guests a little better than her original request of 'pinkpinkpinkpink'!

I have been rather proud of my productivity - with a party date of late November I'm sure to be ready in time with all the decorations and preparations at the rate I am going. My only concern is that the house (we are building currently) may not be finished in time! The party is being held outside so it will go ahead regardless, but it could make for some interesting last minute logistical planning.

DIY printables, how I love thee!

Due to the party planning I have a new found crush on DIY printables! Where I would normally spend hours in photoshop trying to remember how to make text curved/shadowed/not black, I can now google 'DIY printables' and I have over a million links to help make my life that little bit easier! nonpareilmag have some really cute stuff, like these Amelie inspired escort cards and menus - so very pretty!

Another fantastic resource for DIY printables is the iDIY downloads section, they have links to some fantastic printables they have sourced from all over the internet! Saving you and I some extra legwork, aren't they lovely!

parties excite me

The little lady is fast approaching her 4th year on this planet. This is both amazing and disgusting in equal measure, soon she will start kinder and then it is a steady onwards march to adulthood! Yes, I am being slightly melodramatic, but it has all gone so quickly thus far!

I didn't start this post to lament the speed with which Elliotte is growing, I wanted to share some of my design ideas for her 'royal themed' birthday party! Now I must preface these pictures with an apology to all copyright owners - these aren't mine and I am sorry if I haven't credited you, if they are your pictures please contact me and I will rectify asap.

I adore the colour coordinated sweets!
The perfect place for kids to take a rest.
 It wasn't until I started hunting online for inspiration that I realised just how much planning goes into little kid's birthday parties these days.The attention to detail is amazing, I was in awe and knew I wanted to recreate something special for Elliotte's birthday celebrations. What started as a modest idea has quickly snowballed, only moderated when I started contemplating purchasing a jumping castle! So stay tuned as I try to walk the fine line between 'very special birthday for a very special girl' and 'ridiculous mother goes overboard for her daughter's birthday'!
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