Sunday, November 15, 2009

Easy paper baubles

The other day i left my battery charger for my laptop at school. This was particuarly bad as it charges both our laptops, and the battery was low for both. However this predicament did have a very positive outcome, as i had to find a different way to amuse myself.

I must say that if i was a student in my own classroom I would be particuarly frustrating because have quite a short attention span. I loathe having NOTHING to do! My husband and I are often pleased when we havce a spare weekend with no plans, because we can then 'do nothing'. Except his do nothing is really, do nothing. Watch a movie or read a book and not move. My do nothing just means not leaving the house, but i must still find a way to occupy myself.

Faced with a do nothing weekend with no laptop I was in a predicament. What was i going to DO? Add to this the fact that i have no car at the moment (a minor prang!) I needed to find my amusement out of whatever i had at home. Luckily i had a plan.

The recent Better homes and Gardens magazine featured a variety of christmas decorations you could make out of scrapbooking paper. I just so happened to have a book full of beautiful paper that i have barely used, so i set to work.

Easy christmas baubles

Scrapbook paper (I used about 4 pieces and made loads of baubles)
Hole punch
Ribbon or wire (BHG used wire, i didn't have any but found ribbon did a great job!).

Cut strips of cardboard approx 1 cm in width. You can vary the length, so long as you have 8-10 pices the same length.

Hole punch the top and bottom of each strip. Cut a length of ribbon as long as the strips then a bit more for a loop. Tie a knot on the bottom (needs to be bigger than the hole punch hole).

Gather 8- 10 strips and slide them down the ribbon, printed side down. Loop the end of the ribbon through the other end.

Push the strips down until they bend over. Tie a knot with a loop on the end.

Fan the strips out to make a circular shape


I then gathered some vines that i had taken from my sisters place. Their new home had a beautiful wisteria tree, which we are all allergic to. So sadly down it came, however it has meant loads of beautiful bendy vines for me to play with. I bundled the vines together, took some florist tape and wrapped them together. Popped it in a vase with some stones and paper and added my baubles.

I am really quite pleased as this is one of my first crafting attempts. What do you think?

Give it a go yourself!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

My meaning of christmas

I will say this right now. I LOVE CHRISTMAS. I adore it, I revel in it and I think about it constantly. Christmas has always had a magical feeling for me. I love everything about it. I think part of it is that it appeals to my love of traditions. Christmas is a perfect time to establish traditions that can be followed.

My love of Christmas definitely starts from when i was a child. I think my parents did a fantastic job of creating the magic of Christmas.

It starts with the decorating of the tree. This is the definite signal of Christmas beginning. We would always buy a fresh tree, with us kids and Dad heading out to find the perfect one. We liked ours tall and full. We would allow for only one open spot in the tree.. that side could be turned to the back. As a matter a fact one year the tree farm made the mistake of mentioning that i did not have to take a pre cut tree, i was welcome to walk around the many hectares and choose one to be cut down. This was said to my Father's dismay as he was then dragged around for an hour while i went from tree to tree assessing it for height and fullness. I just so happened to find the one i wanted at the far corner of the farm. He He He. It was the best tree EVER!

We then would take said tree home, cut the end off and let it sit in water for a few hours. Later we would then fill a bucket with sand, and insert the tree. Then out would come the decorations. Mum would always start the pudding while we were tree decorating, so the smell of fruit mince and pine always invoke the 'scent of Christmas'. Each of us kids all had a special decoration to put up, a wooden Santa with a musical instrument (which coincidentally were the exact same special ornament that my husband and his siblings had, complete with the name written across the butt!).

Next would come the Christmas eve ritual of setting out the goodies for Santa after we got home from church (where i would sing loudly and off key to the Christmas carols at the end). Dad would always hover around leaving suggestions about what Santa did and did not want, usually a beer and Cherry Ripe Slice or Rocky Road. Just happened to be Dad's favourites. Ha!

As we headed off to bed we would take our mega large Santa sacks (lovingly illustrated my our mother) and lay them out on our bed. This was the really magical part that got me every time! It would be empty as i went to bed, and magically full and overflowing the next morning when i woke! As we dragged our sacks downstairs laden with goodies we would pass the empty beer bottle and one remaining piece of slice, complete with a bite mark in it.

After present sharing we would have a brekkie of a fruit platter and head off to our Nanna and Grandpa's. Here we would gather with our Aunties, Uncles and Cousins, swimming in the pool all day and only getting out for our huge Christmas spread of cold and hot meats, salad, trifle and Mum's afore mentioned pudding.

Boxing day we would head down to my Grandma and Grandfather's place in Vincentia, where we would spend a week with my other side of family, and going to the beach down the street.

Sigh... with all this is it any wonder that i adore Christmas?

Now I have my own home I too mark Christmas with the decorating of tree and house. I hope that once I have children I can also do some baking on this day, filling the house with the smells of Christmas. Except we have a large fake tree, as my Husbands clean freakness won't allow for nettles of tree falling on the floor. He He.

My tree is as below, a blend of silver, gold and copper/ burnt orange. I do have a few rules with Christmas decorating.
1) NO TINSEL as i think it drowns the tree - but i do use thin tinsel threads.
I do not associate Christmas with one speck of snow, so snow themed items are totally vetoed.

These pictures really don't do the tree justice. You can't see the sparkle!

Now that I am an adult Christmas has altered a bit. No more Santa sack. Sniff Sniff. Although now i have my own two families to celebrate with. Christmas can be a bit of a juggling act trying to fit in families, luckily the stars seemed to have aligned and my plans fit with that of my in laws. We do Christmas day with one side one year, and boxing with the other, then swap the next year. We only really see my brother and his family every second year on boxing day as they don't do anything Christmas day outside their little family, which is their own tradition.

This year i am hosting my own family's do. I am really excited about this, and am already thinking about decorating ideas and bookmarking magazines with food ideas. I am thinking less of a buffet and more of a simple 3 course meal, as we will all be having celebrations the day before.

For Mike's side we recently worked out the food, which will be a mainly cold spread, with cold meat (Pork, Turkey and Glazed Ham), Salads (Potato, Mango and Avocado, Garden and coleslaw) and desserts (Cookies and cream, Ice cream, Trifle and Pudding). I think i may need to stop eating a week in advance to make room for it all!

I really love watching my nieces and nephews, as in many ways Christmas is about kids. I love their excitement and squeals. This is what i look forward to when we have our own children to share Christmas with. Like my Mum I will save through the year so I can fill their magical Santa sacks. I want to have a bake day where we prepare and bag little goodies that we give out to family and friends. I want to have special decorations that get put on the tree for each child. I want to make Christmas eve a little special with a light Christmas dinner and listening to carols, maybe playing a few games.

I hope that i can also recreate the magic of Christmas, that my own children will sniff the air as i do when they detect the 'scent of Christmas', with and smile at the thought of whatever memories that smell invokes for them.

Monday, November 2, 2009

My dream home

I was initially very excited when i first saw the latest blog this topic - with the instructions of 'If time/location/ money/ the rest of the world didn't matter, where would you live? What would your home look like?

I set to work straight away and started researching.... and looking, browsing through blog and google images, following links to other sites. Increasingly i became overwhelmed. You see, making a decision really isn't one of my strong points. I umm and ahh over things, wanting to make the 'right' choice. I started thinking of bedroom decor, lounge rooms, outdoor area's, bathrooms, kitchens, kids rooms, studies, media rooms...

In the end i have reigned myself in and decided to just show a handful of images that represent some of my favourite parts of a home. I decided not to show bedroom or lounge room choices because i was just could not narrow them down! What i will show you are some dream images of a kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor entertaining areas.

As for location, i really don't mind. After all, if this is my 'dream home' i will have many acres so location does not matter so much because it will be my own little oasis! So long as i am with my husband, with family (and shops!) close by i will be content!

The exterior
I love cottage federation looking homes with wrap around verandahs and pretty arches. This exterior looks perfect, crisp white colours and a beautiful cottage garden. This will set the tone for the rest of my home.
This home will be filled with beautiful furnishings, a blend of modern pieces with vintage designs. Think whites, creams and browns accentuated with punches of colour from pillows, vases and other little nic nacs. Tables, chairs, buffet's will be a recycled timber or distressed white finish.

The Bathroom

Porchlight Interiors

I love love love this shower! I was browsing through images with claw feet tubs, and his and hers sinks, both of which i quite like. However when i came across this picture i just fell in love. I prefer showers over baths. Usually because in a bath the water goes cold, while a shower stays nice and hot! What i love here is the long bench in the shower! You could still lounge around a little, while under a steady stream on water (in my dream home there is no drought, nor water restrictions).

The Pool

Porchlight Interiors

As a child i longed for a pool, still do for that matter! I adore how this pool blends in with the surroundings. Some pools look a little like they have just been plonked into the backyard. This one looks like it has grown there! That spa/fountain on the end also adds to the appeal!

Outdoor Living

House & Garden

With such a beautiful pool ares i know i will need a lovely outdoor entertainment area. I really like bench seats and lounges, where guests could relax with a glass of wine and have a chat. Near here i would have an outdoor kitchen, with a barbeque, mini fridge and a wood fire oven! I would also have a lovely table, one that i could expand to fit as many or as little as i liked!

The Kitchen


I have a 'thing' for Ikea kitchens. I especially like this one as it has that blend of country and modern that i am going for. The marble bench and professional gas oven is a must for any serious baker. My tea cups would be displayed in those glass cabinets, adding a punch of colour to the room. I also like to have people around when i cook so i can have a chat, so those bar stools are fab!

In the same room, a little further away i would have an open plan dining room and lounge room. I like these as it provides a central gathering place.

So that is my dream home! It really centres around being a gathering place for friends and family. It has been lovely to dream a little and imagine the 'what if's'. Although i will say that i really love my little home, and for now i will count my blessings in what i do have!