Tuesday, December 23, 2008

we wish you a Merry Christmas...

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.
Back in the New Year!

cb, jj and susieq xxx

Monday, December 22, 2008

vintage village...

Four years ago I came across a box at a market stall with a 50c price tag. Inside were hiding these gorgeous little vintage houses and soldiers that were just to cute to resist. I am still deciding how best to display them. Any ideas?

Friday, December 19, 2008

happy birthday cb...

Hello. JJ here, sabotaging the blog with a little poem to wish CB a very happy birthday for today!
A very cheesy photo of us! From left, JJ, Susieq and CB

Clare was born on December 19
The year was 1974,
There has never been one like her-
Neither after or before.
As a child CB excelled at school
She really was quite smart,
Topping class in science, maths
And of course in crafts and art.
I've always loved her company
The games we used to play,
But as the years go by I appreciate her
More and more each day.
As mum of five amazing kids
A true creative mind,
She's funny, sweet and loves to read
But most of all she's kind.
It totally amazes me
Just what she does each day,
Kids, design and work and house
With always time to play.
Your life is full with just so much
More than most could take,
So have the day off "mondo-ing"
And eat some birthday cake!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

white on white...

The Spring Collection Evening we held in October provided us with some wonderful feedback. A welcome sign that we had created using white textured paper with a white background received lots of comments and we decided to develop this idea to make some pure white and white artwork. We hand cut and folded each petal to create this three dimensional effect. Although we also create this petal design to fill a frame this size, we quite like the idea of this mass of blooms contained by a large mat. Once the Christmas rush is over we will stock our website (with it's new look coming then too) with a collection of these. In the meantime, please email us if you are interested!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

JJ's tree...

JJ has gone for the traditional colours of red, white and silver for her tree this year. As she has a crawling eleven month old and an inquisitive two and a half year, she decided not to use her collection of beautiful, but breakable, ornament birds. Instead, most of the decorations on her tree are made of felt, wood and tin - a little more child friendly. Other accents of red and white around her house help to tie her theme together.

Monday, December 15, 2008

wrapping part 2...

Printed home made wrapping is always fun to make. We have had lots of fun over the years doing potato printing with our kids and we have found this is a slightly less messy and more grown up version. We often use brown paper for wrapping as it always looks so stylish with just some grosgrain ribbon or some twine or string, but here we have dressed it up a bit using the rubber eraser on the end of a pencil and a white stamp pad  (white paint would do just as well).  

After some experimentation we discovered that the trick is to wrap your present first and then stamp the paper - it saves heaps of time and you are not printing bits of paper that you just end cutting off!

Simple spots with a matching tag...

Sometimes less is more...

It is also quite fun to create pictures and patterns. You are limited only by your imagination and, of course, the amount of time you want to spend.

This type of wrapping is absolutely addictive. We would love to try a large piece of spotty artwork one day.

Friday, December 12, 2008

my snowflake tree...

Here, as promised, are some photos of my snowflake tree which still looks a little lonely without a pile of presents underneath. (Isn't it difficult to get a great photo of a Christmas tree? Either the tree looks washed out and you can't see the lights, or it is all sparkly but very dark. I think I need to read my camera manuel again!) I have a large of collection of snowflakes which I only buy in silver and white, with the occasional hint of light blue. I purchase just one of each type so all of the snowflakes are unique, just like real ones. I love their shape and the way they sparkle with the fairy lights. They are made of so many different materials including beads, glass, crochet, paper, and metal. Friends and family have generously given me some very special ones from all over the world including Europe, Canada, Dubai and Singapore. I am completely unable to choose any favourites - even the less beautiful or the really cheap ones look stunning when displayed in a large group like this.

In order to have a tree entirely decorated with snowflakes, we have two more smaller trees, one for my sons and one for my daughters. They are allowed to decorate these any way they wish. One year when the boys were small, they insisted on hanging all their dress-up tails on their tree. This year they have all their small Lego figures hiding among the baubles. The girls tend to drape their tree with jewellery and other sparkly bits and pieces that they, like little magpies, collect from around the house. Both of these smaller trees also have all of the special ornaments that the children have made at school and Kindy, and other sentimental ornaments that we have.

Every now and then I get a bit sad that we have artificial trees as I love the smell of a real Christmas tree. I do find that it is so much easier with the children not to have to be cleaning up pine needles but I think the main reason is that I get to enjoy all my decorations for the whole month of December. Which one do you use?

Pop over to Swish and Swanky to read more about my Christmas traditions - she is doing a great series on Christmas interviews with various bloggers and she kindly asked me to join in.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

woodland Christmas...

We love the idea of having a few special pieces of art, to bring out during the Christmas season to tie together the decorations and home decor. It is no secret that we are all dreaming of a white Christmas and that inspired us to create this vintage style picture. It reminds us of an old fashioned Christmas card, and we feel like transporting ourselves into this little scene and after a walk in the snowy woods, warming our toes in front of the crackling fire that is sure to be in the cottage. We made this by using pieces of vintage illustrations, carefully pieced together to create a three dimensional effect. JJ and I were fighting over who got to keep it, so we have solved our problem and it is going on Etsy! We are hoping to get started on a few more in this series tonight.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas wrapping part 1..

There is definitely some friendly competition between us over the wrapping of Christmas presents. Every year the pressure is on to think up something just a little bit different - all in good fun of course! We thought we would share some of our ideas for wrapping, this time with tissue paper (because it is cheap and comes in lots of colours) and baking paper (because most people would have a  roll in their kitchen drawers). 

We love the look of the baking paper when it has been pleated and you can see the variations in the thickness and transparency (above left). It is also effective when cut and layered over another colour (top right). We used the fact that you can see through the baking paper in the wrapping of the snowflake present (below right), simply sticking some paper cutting in between the layer of tissue and baking paper. The present with the green ribbon (below left) has a tissue paper flower and baking paper leaves.  We used double sided sticky tape to make everything neat at the back. We have memories of horribly smelly and incredibly sticky double sided tape from years ago, but recently they have improved it dramatically and now we couldn't be without it!

Watch this spot for more wrapping ideas coming soon!

Friday, December 5, 2008

dreaming of snow...

We have had a few particularly hot and steamy days this week, and I am dreaming of snow! I love cold Christmases -  we had one the year we lived in Budapest and it was just magical with the snow falling as we woke up on Christmas morning. For those of us who won't be getting anywhere near the snow this year I thought I would share with you one of my favourite websites, Make-a-Flake. This site lets you cut a virtual paper snowflake without getting hundreds of little bits of paper all over the floor like we usually do at my place! Have a look at the gallery where you can see all the amazing snowflakes people have made - some by folk who definitely have too much time on their hands! The one above was cut by my ten year old. Have a go, but a warning... it is almost impossible to stop at one!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

we all scream for ice cream...

Today is officially the third day of summer here in Australia, and what better way to enjoy the hot, humid weather than with an ice cream. These laminated paper treats are the perfect solution for those of us who are yet to squeeze into our Christmas party dresses as they are calorie free. These ice creams were designed and made for Joy's former grade 2 class as part of a fun maths lesson, but we pulled them out yesterday for our little cherry pips (our children - thanks for the name Millie!) while we completed a couple of orders. They had a wonderful time playing ice cream shops. These ice creams are made from laminated paper and wallpaper scraps. The chocolate sprinkles, hundreds and thousands and flavoured toppings are made into laminated pockets which can be slipped over the different ice cream flavours. Our range also includes a rainbow paddle pop, a pine-lime splice and of course the choc heart!

This post is all about sharing with you the joys of laminating - all three of us are totally addicted! If you don't already own one put it on your Christmas list now as everything looks better shiny! As well as making these ice creams durable enough to survive the use of several classes of eager children, they are also fabulous for preserving special artwork and certificates, photos (great for keeping in your bag or wallet) and making interesting placemats using leaves, cut outs, glitter or whatever you can find. They are also a great way to protect well loved recipes torn from magazines and are indespensible for making labels for the pantry, toyroom, laundry, bag tags etc. Anything you might need to wipe clean. We love, love, love them!

Monday, December 1, 2008

let the countdown begin...

The countdown to Christmas has begun and we thought we would post a few very quick and easy advent calendar ideas that can be made in minutes. It is lovely to make something special that can be used every year but, if like me, you have run out of time or you are just after a change, here are a few advent calenders you can make in under half an hour.

All you need for this idea is some paper doilies, ribbon and pegs. We also used some circles cut from brown paper bags and some white number stickers. The doilies are cut in half and shaped into a flattened cone shape.

Here is a matchbox advent calendar. If you don't have piles of matchboxes lying around or can't be bothered covering the ones you have, these white matchboxes are available in craft stores everywhere. We bought ours in Riot where they were just a few dollars for a pack of ten. Tied up with ribbon and hung them on some branches with a little numbered tags they can easily fit a couple of lollies, a special note or a symbol of the Christmas story.

This one is definately the easiest of the three - takes a matter of minutes. These mini muffin trays have 24 holes, and filled with numbered cup cake cases and with our favourite mini Lindt balls, they create the perfect excuse to nibble your way to Christmas.