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1. “Glad you’re here” by Making Lemonade. Image theirs.

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I am very sad that we don’t celebrate thanksgiving in Australia. This however gives me the opportunity to think thankfully at Christmas time.

Here are some simple ideas from around the blog world, that can be incorporated in your Christmas celebrations particularly in regards to the table.

Some are beautifully quirky, some ingenious, some worthy of a yearly repeat, some child friendly and some all of the above. Let me know if you get inspired and use some, it’s great to hear from you.

"The Giving Plate" by Adventures of an Orthodox  Mom. Image from there. .

“The Giving Plate” by Adventures of an Orthodox Mom. Image from there.

"Conversation Plates" by Together Counts Blog. Idea and image sourced there.

“Conversation Plates” by Together Counts Blog. Idea and image sourced there.

DIY minimalistic cultery holder. Image and instructions from A Birds Leap.

DIY minimalistic cultery holder. Image and instructions from A Birds Leap.

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A sock for your cutlery. Image from Pinterest.

Single place cards. Image from Pinterest.

Single place cards. Image from Pinterest.

Gold Spray painted animals (or possibly nativity characters) with paper luggage tags attached. Image from Style Me Pretty.

Gold Spray painted animals (or possibly nativity characters) with paper luggage tags attached. Image from Style Me Pretty.

Another beautifully simple idea from Style Me Pretty. Image theirs.

Another beautifully simple idea from Style Me Pretty. Image theirs.

Carnival Straws on Bottled drinks with tags. Source: Ruffled.

Carnival Straws on Bottled drinks with tags. Source: Ruffled.

Would work just as well on green leaves. Image from Once wed.

Would work just as well on green leaves. Image from Once wed.

Gratitude Rolls by Beauty and Bedlam. Image theirs.

Gratitude Rolls by Beauty and Bedlam. Image theirs.

SImple sensorial details. Image from Vintage House.

SImple sensorial details. Image from Vintage House.

What I want for Christmas is thanksfulness! Source: The cottage at 341 south.

What I want for Christmas is thanksfulness! Source: The cottage at 341 south.

Kraft Paper table of thanks. Image from Art Bar Blog

Kraft Paper table of thanks. Image from Art Bar Blog

Fruity Place markers. Image from Style Me Pretty.

Fruity Place markers. Image from Style Me Pretty.

THe Thankful Tree. Idea and image from Kids Activities Blog.

THe Thankful Tree. Idea and image from Kids Activities Blog.

Or if you prefer pears..... This idea and image from The Knot.

Or if you prefer pears….. This idea and image from The Knot.

Fairy Lights in jars. Image from Making Lemonade.

Fairy Lights in jars. Image from Making Lemonade.

.... and if you just don't know where to start because Finishing School wasn't part of yours (or my) education.... Layouts. Source: daniellemj-workspace

…. and if you just don’t know where to start because Finishing School wasn’t part of yours (or my) education…. Layouts. Source: daniellemj-workspace

Alternatively..... Image from Antiquaria Vintage.

Alternatively….. Image from Antiquaria Vintage.

I’m a bit in two minds about Valentine’s Day. Some of me sits on the “It’s a created day that is all about retailers and spending money” and the other side of me feels it’s great to be reminded to tell the people we love….that we love them in a more intentional way.

This year I feel more of the second…. hence the post….. but have tried to make it a little more creative (rather than spendy) because self created things almost always* help communicate the love better.

Ideas For Creative Dates

Hand Held Ice Skating Date In A Jar

1. Ice skating date in a Jar. Image from The Gunny Sack.

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2. Hot Chocolate in a Jar (stay in) Date. Image from the Wintrop Chronicles.

Spa In A Jar

3. Spar in a Jar. Image from The Gunny Sack.

Super Lovey- Dovey

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4. 52 things I love about you in a jar. Image from The Gunny Sack.

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5. Love Potion No. 9. Image from Shaken Together Life.

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6. A little envelope of notes for your loved one. Image from Oh hello friend.

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7. Sharpie Mug. Image Sister’s Suitcase.

For the Kids

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8. Love Lead pencils. Image from The Gunny Sack.

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9. Robot Valentine’s. Image from Lisa Storms.

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10. Monster Pencils. Image by the 36th Avenue.

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11. Don’t ever change…. Image from Jac & Lyn Murphy.

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12. Burst My Bubble Valentine’s. Image from The Gunny Sack.

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13. I’m Bananas for you and You’re Grrrrrreat. Image from Lisa Storm.

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14. Arrow pencils and printables. Image from Design. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

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15. Origami Heart Wrapped lolly Pop. Image A Kiss Of Colour.

Ideas to Bake

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16. Nutella Love Letter Pancakes. Image by Kitchen Simplicity.

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17. Sparkly Cookies. Image from The Gunny Sack.

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18. Valentine snack mix. Image by Glorious Treats.

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19. The Nutella/Espresso cup cake.Image from mandy Ash Craft.

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20. Valentine’s cookies. Image Wedding Chicks.

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21. Heart shaped pies. Image Babble.

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22. Red Velvet Cupcakes in a Jar. Image My Baking Addiction.

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23. Strawberry and Cream scones. Image Sanae Ishida.

Countdowns to Valentine’s Day (or count on….) 

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24. The Valentine tree. Image from Simple as that blog.

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25. Cute countdown. Image by Dear lizzy.

Valentines Advent Calendar - thehouseofsmiths.com

26. Bit late for this year….. A countdown to the day. Image from THe House Of Smiths.

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27. 14 acts of love. Image from Make and takes.

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28. Countdown to kisses. Image from the Olds family

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29. DIY printable calendar. Image from Paige of Style.

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30. Just one of the activities in the 14 days of love. Image from Pink Pistachio.

Cards

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31. I love you this much. Image from Day in my life.

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32. Sewn hearts card. Image from The creative Place.

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33. Birthday candle card. Image from Real Simple.

Everything else.

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34. Mini polaroid Magnets. Image from Ambrosia Girl.

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35. Valentines “fortune’ cookies”. Image from Design. Wash.Rinse. Repeat.

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36. Message in a bottle. Image from Oh hello friend.

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37. Wall heart. Image Oleander and Palm.

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38. Washi banner. Image: Fancy Little Things.

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39. Printable PDF. Image from The girl creative.

* Yes if you have asked for something specifically ….or have been promised something and you receive a sweet handmade gift, you won’t feel the love!

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Week 2 Advent 2012.

9: Sunday: Catch-up time

Reading: Luke 1: 26-56

Activity: Talk through the different names given to Jesus. Make a Christmas ball  for our tree with the names of Jesus in it. Planned but not done.

Think about someone in our lives that serves us and make them a Christmas ball. (planned but not done)

Charades with lolly pops in our mouths Funny …as always. Made up 2 new categories. “Youtube” and “Theatre” Great fun.

Baked dinner...... potatoes!

Baked dinner…… potatoes!

10: Monday

Reading: Luke 1: 57-66

Activity: Talk through the passage. Eat a baked dinner together. Took advantage of a coolish day to add this one in. I like to have one in December if we can.

After much concentration the village is made.

After much concentration the village is made.

Build a lego village together. Super fun. I lashed out and bought a fabulous Christmas set of lego for the family to enjoy each year. It lights up and makes the cutest village scene. The relevance was tenuous….. but was a nod to the community that Elizabeth and Zechariah were part of when John was born.

Half of our family enjoy written instructions.

Half of our family enjoy written instructions.

Extra Joy: Making got intense….left to me and 14 year old. Tim tool the others for a late night scooter in their PJ’s

11: Tuesday didn’t happen…. too many comings and goings.

12: Wednesday (did Tuesdays)

Reading: Luke 1: 67-80 

Activity: Christmas Ball snakes. We ate a jelly snake (representing sin) each. Talked about how sin often comes in very attractive packaging, and how once forgiven (eaten) we have a fresh start (empty glass ball)

Extra Joy: The girls all started inventing advent calendar ideas, including 24 walks, ‘jenga’ advent, 24 travel days…. and the list went on.

Extra Extra Joy: Lead by 6 year old each of the girls gave us a ‘Tell and Show’ (You must tell before you show) Lots of fun.

13: Thursday didn’t happen

Goodbye Mrs Sinclair.

Goodbye Mrs Sinclair.

14: Friday activities planned but spent the evenings farewelling special friends. Firstly Mrs Sinclair a kinder/Y1 teacher who three of my four girls had….9 year old for 2 years….. She is off to be the Principal at Tempe. Lucky you. Very sad.

Like one big family.

Like one big family.

Then goodbye to our lovely friends Klint and Kirsty. Off back to Brisbane after being an enormous encouragement to us (and others I am sure) being some of the first Joshua Tree members. Sadly our involvement in The Joshua Tree has ended but many fabulous friendships remain. I’m sure we will see you again soon.

I love this photo. Looks like 6 year old is pushing us all over!

15: Saturday again we had activities planned but December got the better of us.

Room make-overing (more on this later), birthday party craft (this too) and Summer Hill Church’s Twilight Markets to raise money for tear.

I sat with the youth kids and wrapped presents (badly) for donations. They made about $40 and had a ball.

Hopefully this coming week we can show a bit more commitment to the cause of advent ….. although giving it up to love and serve our community and each other has great value I think.

How is your advent tracking?

 

 

 

Scallyoop Scoop!

November 26, 2012

Tuxedo Sam (other characters available) USB sticks.

Today I want to tell you all about a fantastic online store.

It’s owned by my fabulous little sister Hayley and a friend… so I am a little bias in my recommendation…. but after I have shown you a small selection of an enormous range of products, I am sure you will agree with me.

Firstly, I will show you some of the items we have enjoyed from Scallyoop and a few reasons why I like them…. and then give you my recommendations for Christmas….. and leave you with a special offer!

Tuxedo Sam (and Friends) USB stick. 14 year old has one and loves it! Once the kids get to high school the USB becomes their best friend. These little guys wont be lost like the boring generic kind…. and are easily recognisable. Even Dad’s and nephew’s would enjoy these.

Djeco Art Nouveau Workshop.

Djeco make fabulous product. They provide great structured art projects which are vital for building skills. Over the years we have enjoyed many of these craft boxes. They are beautiful indeed.

Covering crafts from colouring, collage, puppet making, folding and knitting these sets ….made for boys as well as girls are highly recommended.

Made by the same company (and often included in the kits) are these felt painting textas and oil pastels. Be warned however….once you buy a child these beautiful textas they will never want normal ones. They make truly beautiful marks and last and last. Well worth the investment.

The oil pastels are also lovely to create art with. you will want to sit alongside your child and draw with them. I think they are better for older children ….. maybe 8+ as they can be a little messy (like oil pastels are)

Felt paint textas.

Oil Pastels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ni Hao Noodle Bowl. Now $19.95

The Ni Hao Noodle bowl is a fun way to introduce chopsticks to your children. The set comes with a noodle bowl, a patterned plate and a cute set of ‘kid friendly’ chopsticks. The little rubber man holds the chopsticks together making the pinching action that much easier! ….almost like holding a pencil and squeezing. A great gift for 6+ noodle lovers.

 

Roll-up chalk placemat.

We have enjoyed our chalk placement outside and inside. The girls use it to make signs on the cubby house and I sometimes use it to write a list of jobs for them to do…. It’s so much more fun to rub a job off with your hand after doing it!

Alice in Wonderland necklace or brooch.

What is not to love about this sweet Alice in Wonderland necklace (also available as a brooch)? Wood cut and light. Beautiful. You can also get other Alice in Wonderland characters.

Ride on Lady Bug.

The ride on bug.… yes, sadly we are past this, but have many fond memories of the girls zooming around on these. Stylistically so much more beautiful than the plastic ride on…and great for imaginary play.

Skwish classic.

Past this one too but loved it when the girls were very little. I loved the lightness of the elastic and wood….didn’t hurt when it inevitably hit them in the face! Skish Classic.

Throwing Game Klop.

I think my all time favourite gift from Scallyoop is Klop. A fantastic park game. It plays like a cross between bowls and boules with a twist or two.

Our family regularly take Klop to the park just with us or with friends and play across generations. The game is well weighted so adult or child can win….. but it’s not all luck. Brilliant!

Now….. my picks for this Christmas and beyond.

Ziggy Platter….. How groovy!

This one is for me! Yes there are gifts for adults too!

Balsam wood postcard…… can think of a few granddads who would like one of these.

Love this idea! …..and Balsam wood Plane Card just $7.95

Kokeshis Paper Dolls…. great holiday fun.

Another Djeco kit! Un-tricky origami Only $12.50

Beautiful wooden 3 layer puzzle.

How about this exquisite wooden puzzle? Lovely.

Make-a-do. Reusable connective pieces for creating straight from the recycling box.

I have loved these for a while. Such a great idea for the ‘construction kids’. Make-a-do kits.

There you have it!

Some of the best gifts you will find…. and you don’t need to go to the shops! Yay.

The site has soooo many more things to love….. and if you get in quick (before Dec 9) adding the code scallyoop10 will give you $10 off if you spend over $30 and put you into the draw for a $150 scallyoop shopping spree.

Why are you still here?

 

 

Two shirts become one skirt.

November 21, 2012

An adults tunic dress and peasant shirt into a skirt for 6 year old.

Some of you may have already seen her in this.

A super comfy fun favourite.

….and so super easy …..

Sorry it’s been so long since an upcycle!

Spring Fair Photos

November 12, 2012

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A quick slideshow of photos in case you missed our fabulous school fete.

Image from Kristen Doran’s blog.

Around Christmas time last year I was fortunate enough to win a giveaway on facebook of a bundle of Kristen Doran fabrics. I was so excited, as had for sometime admired this Aussie fabric designer. Kirsten makes beautiful handmade prints and puts simply gorgeous kits together which make you want to make them up RIGHT NOW!

I had great plans for the fabric, but have only realised some of them. This years has been like that! Many plans with only a small proportion of plans materialising. Great and fantastic other things have happened ….. but most of them unplanned….

Annnnnyyyyywwwaaaayyyy.

The Matryoshka Dolls in Red & Pink on White and Gold and Red on white fabric panel was part of my prize, and I decided to use it to make items for the upcoming school Spring Fair.

…. another image from Kristen Doran’s blog.

I think this is what is intended to be made with the panel, but I wanted to share the love around rather than make a larger multi-pieced item which would never get the value on the craft stall…..  and I had to make sure I used every last bit!

That said…. if I still had little girls I would have loved this on their beds and for imaginary play and for using with them when they go through the ‘how everyone in the family fits together’ stage.

Here is what we did with them. (yes I had some other crafty mummies helping me again this year)

Christmas decorations in 3 sizes.

A mother and her daughters.

Here you can see some of the pretty backs.

The tiny ones were made into Christmas decorations and the large Matryoshka Doll prints we made into rice bottomed (so they stand up) padded dolls. I’m so pleased with how they have turned out. What do you think?

Standing up dollies.

Playing in the grass…..

I’m going to find these hard to donate.

I also received some gorgeous fang monster fabric that Kirsten designed with one of her sons… which unfortunately seems no longer in print! I have a plan to make something for my littlest nephew. I will keep you posted.

2 Grandmas, 2 Mothers and 2 Daughters.

Oh, I bet you thought this was never coming!
You can find the first half of the giant list of fete and fair tutorials and printables here, along with the criteria I used to decide on what was included and what I left out.
If you still want more ideas you can see some past items we have made (although not all have accompanying tutorials)
Enjoy.

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  1. The Scrapbooking Jar by Crate Paper Blog
  2.  Chalkboard Serving Platter by Wit and Whistle.
  3. Knitted Snake by Purl Bee 
  4.  Paper Fortune Cookies by design wash rinse repeat.
  5.  Pebble Mat by Junk Hippie 
  6.  Clay bird ornament by JessicaJane Handmade.
  7.  Owl cushion by button bird designs.
  8.  Pillowcase shopping bag by Grow Mama.
  9.  Mouse Ornaments by Family Fun 
  10. Crocheted Washcloths by Purl Bee 
  11. Monster Bags by harrysdesk 
  12.  Pram cards by The Pleated Poppy
  13.  Salt dough Christmas Ornaments by Oleander and Palm 
  14. Rice filled heating Owls for children by Just another Hang Up.
  15.  Beaded Heart Wand by First Palette
  16. Circle Zip Earbud Pouch by dog under my desk
  17.  Tea Bag gift Tag by The Studio Of Mae.
  18. Cardboard Horses by Design Sponge
  19. Mooshy Belly Bunny by Chez Beeper Bebe 
  20. Felt Crowns by hellobee
  21. Easy Drawstring Bag by Purl Bee 
  22. Recycled Book Bird Decoration by Under the Table and Dreaming
  23. Present Cards by Craft and Creativity
  24. Babies Triange Dress by Purl Bee 
  25. Monster Slime by all things simple 
  26. DIY ice cream sundae box by family bits.
  27. Monster bibs by stubbornly crafty.
  28. Cloud and rain mobile by dailylike recipe?
  29. Bunting by the yvestown blog.
  30. Lunchsacks by All people quilt.

Enjoy….and let me know if you think you might make anything.

Monster/Fort Kit mash-up.

October 24, 2012

Yes, the monsters are back!

Lately…. I mixed together two of my favourite creative gifts into a monster/fort mash-up.

Previously,I have made fort kits  for gifts. I got the idea from saltwater kids, who got it at Bloom.

The contents of the monster pillow.

…and more recently I have been making monsters. You can see a tutorial here if you would like to make your own.

For this particularly creative  9 year old boy, I joined them together.

I’m particularly loving the eyes!

The monster fort mash! ….and a cheeky foot.

Would the 9 year old boys in your life like these?

 

Lots and Lots of Advent Ideas. Click on the image to take you straight through to Pinterest. I love this one. So simple, inexpensive and beautiful.

As requested by Meredith, How pinteresting are Advent Calendars?

What a  great time to start thinking about and through the sorts of activities you want to do to keep your Christmas all about Jesus.

The collection has not just visually great ideas but suggested activities and readings.

If you are interested in what our family have done over the last few years your can see it here for 2009 and here for 2010.

Last years advent can be found here in reverse…..I need to fix that!

Who know’s what we will do this year?

If you know of any others, or I haven’t included something you would recommend or have tried, please let me know……

….also please let me know if you would like me to collate a special grouping of things you are interested in. It is an interactive series.

I hope you enjoy this one, and I look forward to hearing your plans and comments.

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