Tuesday, May 29, 2012

paper dolls from Mr Printables...

While catching up on some favourite blogs last night, I stumbled across the wonderful blog Maxabella loves.."  How had I not discovered this lovely blog before?  One of Bronwyn's posts mentioned how she adores "Mr Printables" - a site which provides the cutest free printables for crafting, parties, stationery needs etc.  Of course I had to pop on over immediately and print myself some of these cute paper cone dolls with interchangeable dresses.   Thankfully I have a great excuse in my four year old daughter who loves imaginary play and making up stories, although I think I would have made some for myself anyway as they are just so adorable!   Much nicer than plastic toys, don't you think?  My little girl has been playing happily with them since she came home from kindergarten and spotted them on my desk.

Check out the other gorgeous free printables from Mr Printables too. Clare tells me she printed out the French flashcards a little while ago  and they kept her kids entertained in the car for ages. What will you print first?

Monday, May 28, 2012

my dream vs. reality...

A hallway or entrance room should be welcoming and tidy, giving you a taste of the rest of the house and the personality of the inhabitants while remaining uncluttered and serene...hmmmmm....not always the case in my house! The rental home we are living has a fantastically large entrance and while there are some things I would change if it were mine (lighting and floors come to mind, although the ugly grey vinyl is very practical!) it is still a great space. However, although it is the main entrance for our busy family of 8 and for visitors, it does not always live up to the welcoming, serene ideal.

Here is what our hall looks like on a good day...

And here is not such a good day (I couldn't bear to post an image or even take a photo of a really bad day!)...

and here's the breakdown...

1. bag of stuff for Joy.
2. large pile of paperwork (waiting to be signed and sent back to school or transferred to the diary) and drawings kids have put there. No pretty flowers.
3. jumpers and jackets hanging from stair post and piles of stuff on the stairs waiting to go up to kids' bedrooms.
4. ballet bag with contents spilling out. Books. Tiny little toys that hurt when you stand on them with bare feet.
5. the smelly zone - school bags, sports bags etc, dumped on arrival even though they have a specific place to live, often with week-old squashed bananas and socks that haven't made it to the wash in ages.
6. coat rack piled with jackets - all on the same hook for some strange reason.
7. boots left where they were taken off and a pile of sand from the feet of child who played in sandpit at kindy.
8. tissue box with tissues pulled out - I was too scared to look if they have been used or not!
9. my handbag and shoes - not all the kids' fault...
10. balloons tied to a pair of scissors. Why???

Do you have the same struggles as I do with your hall or entrance? Any tips?

Friday, May 25, 2012


It has been a cold and rainy day here in Melbourne, with more rain forecast for the weekend. Perfect weather for curling up in bed with a cuppa and a good book. However, we've got lots of work to do so there will be no napping for us... luckily we'll be creating with some bright and cheery colours which will distract us from the dreary weather!

Hope your weekend is wonderful :) If you live in Sydney, be sure to pop into the city's biggest community artshow, ViEW Exhibits, at St Ignatius College to see a selection of our artworks.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

a surprising use for stylish socks...

You know you are just a little crazy when you spend an afternoon cutting up brand new socks, which is what we did today! There was method behind our madness though.... You see, we have been big fans of the knitted cups, vases and beakers that have been around the design scene for a while now, but since we can't knit to save our lives we thought we would try a cheats version using socks. It couldn't be easier to simply stretch a sock over a vase, cut off the excess and gather the bottom together. We loved these pretty socks from Cotton On Kids, but there is a sock out there to match almost any decor - Spots would be cute or you could go for a selection of chunky neutrals.

We simply gathered the cut socks roughly with a needle and thread which helped it the vase to stand straight.

 nb. for clean socks only! Let us know if you have a try!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

fabulous felt...

I popped over the road on Friday to visit a lovely friend who has recently had a baby girl. It was so wonderful to have a cuddle of a newborn again - I just love it when babies are so 'freshly cooked' that they are all sniffly and snuffly and nestle into your neck! I thought I would take over a gift for adorable Madeline who is finding out just what it is like to be a new big sister, and so I took a box of some felt food for tea parties, shops or cooking play. I find hand stitching these little felt treats so relaxing, felt is such an undemanding material to work with.

What craft do you find most relaxing?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

colour makes us happy...

We have had such a productive working day in our studio room creating an extra large artwork for our bouquet range. Made from recycled vintage children's books, this piece has been such a pleasure to work with because of the beautiful colours involved. Yellow certainly makes us happy!

Some last minute tweaking before framing!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

a colourful trip of a lifetime...

A few weeks ago we went trekking in Nepal. My husband was beside himself with excitement because to him the word 'holiday' is synonymous with 'walking steeply uphill' and he has wanted to see Everest forever. Living in Dubai is not the best training ground for walking at altitude but after pouring over different routes (I leave this planning  stage to him as he loves it) we decided to try a 10 day consecutive round walk in the Everest ranges with our chief objective being Ama Dablam base camp (only 4570m!). We also spent a couple of days in Kathmandu at the beginning and end.

It was an amazing time, and much to our immense satisfaction we managed to do everything we'd planned.
We took a small pocket sized camera each and when we got home to Dubai and downloaded our photos they were laughably different. G's were almost almost entirely stunning shots of mountains from every direction, some with clear blue skies in the morning and others draped in the eerie mist that came down most afternoons. He had a few of the paths we took and rope bridges but 90% mountains. Mine, on the other hand , were mostly wild flowers, birds, people, buildings and of course some of the gorgeous fabrics we saw. Here are a colourful selection...

A fabric shop in Kathmandu - I didn't buy anything but had such fun looking.

Some of the beautiful Nepali woven fabric that I saw everywhere - cushions in hotels rooms,  place mats in restaurants, hats worn by old (well, probably my age!) men.

A gorgeous, helpful and courteous girl from one of the stopover lodges.

The hotels in Kathmandu had such interesting furniture. The colours and design on this piece was just beautiful.
While Mum was selling flower garlands at the Hindu temple this little girl was playing games on a mobile phone - you can't escape technology no matter where you are in the world!

There were endless pashmina shops at the markets. I wish I had bought a Yak wool blanket from the same shop... there is always one item you should have bought but didn't when you take a trip isn't there?

We took some Pringles, muesli bars etc with us to Nepal in case we needed a snack, only to find exactly same products selling in tiny little stores (this cupboard was the entire shop) miles and miles from anywhere. 

Posing for photos at a Hindu temple in Kathmandu.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

with much love...

A very Happy Mother's Day to our amazing Mum and wonderful Mother-in-laws. We are so very blessed to have you in our lives, and wish we could be there to give you a big hug and tell you how thankful we are for all you have done for us and how much we love you.

Wishing all you Mums a very happy day - we hope you get spoilt rotten!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

framing my children's art...

I love having my children's art on display and so have recently framed up four special pieces to hang in the playroom. The beautiful colours tie in perfectly with my collection of old Enid Blytons and the bits and pieces from the 'home corner', and they are making me smile every time I walk past. Children's drawings are just so precious and the things they love to draw changes so quickly - it might be super long hair for a few weeks, then massive eyelashes to rival any diva, or hands with big balls on the end, followed by super long fingers for a while! All totally fab!

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Harvey's Lego party...


Over the weekend we celebrated my son, Harvey's 6th birthday with a Lego themed party.  Harvey, like many boys his age, is absolutely Lego mad and designing a party around this theme was such fun and wonderfully colourful!

As the guests arrived one by one they sat at the play table to design and build a Lego car that was used in the first game - a car race down a ramp.  It is always a good idea with this age group to have an activity planned which occupies them until the final guest has arrived, and keeps them occupied until the real games begin.

Other games included sucking up pieces of Lego on the end of a straw and into a container ( this one proved quite challenging! ), Lego man and spoon race, duplo throw into buckets, pin the Lego symbol onto the Lego man, pass the parcel and the four corners game.  I had a running sheet with the games listed with a few extra up my sleeve in case their were needed!

As it was an afternoon party, I kept the food fairly simple, Lego sandwiches, Lego cupcakes, popcorn in Lego coloured boxes, fruit etc.  The food side of things is not really my speciality.  I can 'make' but I can't 'bake' !   That being said, I am very lucky to have a wonderful husband who makes all the birthday cakes in our family.  He did a fantastic job creating two Lego brick cakes which Harvey was absolutely thrilled with.

I made the take home bags using bright shiny gift bags in the Lego colours and then cut out some 'lego bricks' from card, using round circles with raised foam sticky dots to decorate.  I also used this technique for the bunting.  Plastic plates and paper straws in bright Lego colours were used.  The big yellow Lego sorter made an eye catching centrepiece and clear vases of Lego added to the colourful decorations.

Parties at home often require a lot of effort and planning and can certainly be messy and exhausting.  However we all had such a great time and most importantly Harvey loved it...and at least we have a year before we do it all again!

Monday, May 7, 2012

red and pink is pretty we think...

We know that red and pink together are not everyone's cup of tea, but we adore this combination, especially when freshened up with white. The addition of a bit of red seems to toughen up the very girly pink, while the pretty pink softens the very bold red. Obviously this combo is best in smallish doses but when used correctly it is totally stunning.

One of our latest artworks inspired by our love for this colour combination.