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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.

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How good does this look!!? Image from DIY Cozy Home.

I’m adding it to the go to menu this summer….. anyone want us to come for dinner and bring desert?

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!

Spring Fair Photos

November 12, 2012

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

The Pop-Up Lollie Shop.

November 5, 2012

Lolly Shop at the school fete.

This year I took on the somewhat scary task of ‘stall coordinator’ at the school fete.

The idea for a lolly shop first came up a couple of years ago when chatting to my friend Belinda. At the time we both had preschool age and younger children, and so the idea just sat.

Saturday was our first fete. 10 hours of set-up and selling many, many lollies and chocolates later, my very helpful family (and 2 other families) ate dinner together and celebrated a job well done. A successful execution of a little idea.

I wanted to share a few photos of the fun!

Working together.

Selling….

Kindy mums, book-club mums, church mums and dads, 9 year old and her buddy Eve and 5 fantastic high schoolers worked hard not just on Saturday but in the weeks leading up to it.

I really want to say thanks to them for their cheeriness and energy while working really, really hard! A big thank you to Sue….. my sidekick for her fabulousness.

The kids couldn’t get enough of these pick and choose lollies.

It’s a pretty easy business model. If you want to do one for your school or church or organisation, I am happy to talk you through the process.

Just email me.

 

 

Often we are keen to help with school or church fetes but are not sure where to start.

So, I have put together a giant list of fete and fair tutorials from around the blogging world.

So many clever people out there!

For me…. what makes a great craft to make for a fete or fair, is one that is inexpensive to make and buy , fun, quick to make, fairly easy to put together, and something people would want to hand there money over for.

All the images below are by the original tutorial writers. If you want to try one… just click on the creators name and it will take you straight there.

Stay tuned for the next instalment.

Let me know what you think.

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  1.  Bunting Cards (tiny party invite) by The Pleated Poppy.
  2.  Tissue Paper Pom Poms by diy Wedding 
  3.  DIY sugar body scrub by Craftiness is not an option.
  4.  Waterproof shower caps by Smashed Peas and Carrots.
  5.  Felt Tissue Pouches by My Growing Home
  6.  Simple Shopping Bags by The Purl Bee
  7.  House pillows by Craft and Creativity.
  8.  Beaded Heart Wand by First Palette.
  9.  3D Owl printables by Craft and Creativity.
  10.  Any colour chalk board paint by Salt Tree.
  11.  Angel placecard by Allsorts.
  12.  Covered Mouse pads by Coming Home To Roost.
  13.  Fairies in a Jar by Organised Chaos.
  14.  Paper Decoration Star by Craft and Creativity.
  15.  Button Thumbtacks by FellowFellow 
  16. Reindeer Gift Tag Printable by Eatdrinkchic.
  17. Knitted Mini Stockings by Little Cotton Rabbits.
  18.  Edible Teabag Cookie (Gluten Dairy and Sugar free)  by Whatever’s left 
  19.  Wooden Fork Dolls by Craft and Creativity.
  20.  Spray Painted Animals on lids by Pysselbolaget
  21.  Fabric Covered Lights by Rebeccasdiy.
  22.  Time for tea Soap by Cumbersome. 
  23.  Owl iphone case by handmade. 
  24.  Tea bag gift Tag by the studio of Mae 
  25.  Monogram bags by zszywka
  26.  Plush Monsters by Blueberry Moon.
  27.  Plush Penguin by Purl Bee.
  28.  Felt ball garland by The SoHo
  29. Lavender Satchels by Purl Bee 
  30. Chalk Paint Cheese Tray by Wit & Whistle

This week I start art class after a very long break.

More out of convenience than anything else I have enrolled in ‘continuing projects’.

The problem is….. I am sort of starting a fresh rather than continuing so I need your help.

Over that last couple of months I have been collecting still life images (because I am fascinated by the comfortingness of them). I think I would like to recreate them as  drawings or paintings or collages …. or maybe even something all together different. I would love to experiment with stitching and fabric within works too.

I just don’t know where to start.

Please help me out by letting me know in the comments which images appeal to you and how you would like to see them recreated. I am not promising to obey your every visual wish but your feedback would help enormously. Thanks.

1. Latte and sunnies.Image from the bottom of my laundry basket.

2. Muffins on a board. Image from Modern Country.

3. Spilt coffee.Image credit decor8blog.

4. Extra strong cappacino. Image mine.

5. French press and small bites. Image from decor8blog.

6. Three pears and a pomegranate. Image from decor8blog

7. A vase, a painting and a deer. Image the lennoxx.

8. Napkin with sprig and duck egg.Image from the house of Turquoise.

9. Pink flowers in a lime vase. Image from the house of Turquoise.

10. Sweet peas and mini bird eggs. Image from the house of Turquoise.

Please give me some direction…. even if it’s just the number of the picture.

….and yes, I will do some updates as to how the classes and paintings are going.

May even have a give-away, but only if you help me know where to start.

The gorgeous birthday girl with the jelly cake that did work. Photos by the lovely Charles Francis.

Our excitable 6 year old enjoyed a crazy mad science party a few weeks ago now.

When she suggested the idea I was a little out of my depth….. not having enjoyed science that much through school…. so I did what I do best and searched the internet for party ideas. Tim also had the great insight to ask some family friends of ours to help with the activities. They are a family full of crazy, fun, sciency folk and they did a marvellous job of entertaining and exciting the masses.

Because I was so thankful to all the people out there in cyber space posting their great ideas for me to use ….I thought  would put all the links together in one post for you to use and steal and enjoy.

Click to play this Smilebox invite
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Another free invite by Smilebox

 The invite was made using the excellent Smilebox. So easy , and so free!

Playing with IT…. the slimy stuff.

Norfolk Kids have a great recipe for custard powder gooey slimy stuff!

The super geeks preparing the rocket for launching.

The water rocket was a great hit with the Dad’s and the kids.

The Aquapod bottle launcher could quickly become a family favourite. The launcher is safe and with just a bike pump and water sends the rocket about 100m in the air.

….. a little palaeontology anyone?

Wack with a hammer to reveal a dinosaur inside. A hit!

…similar ideas at Kids Activities Suite 101.

Marbled fingernail painting….

…a little something like this.

6 year old in her scrubs playing with ‘squishy circuits’.

‘Squishy Circuits’ are the brainchild of AnnMarie Thomas. See her TED talk here. These are super cool!!

Yes, it’s an old faithful….pass the parcel. The treats inside included ‘Smarties’ and ‘Nerds’ and crystal stickers.

No link here. I adapted this game all by myself.

Even when we really had no idea what we were doing we looked the part in our lab coats. These came courtesy of the high school our friend works at. They had authentic chemical stains.

Making ice-cream to eat with our birthday ‘cake’….which was actually jelly. BIrthday girls looks a bit sceptical about this one.

We jiggled and wiggled to science music making our ice cream. You can find the recipe here.

….ooops just realised that you all have seen this outfit before on a different birthday girl. Yes the girls do borrow each others clothes.

And speaking of food…..

An exploding (not really) jelly cake.

Made this one up too after the disaster of the ‘molecule cake’ 

Inside the test tubes was a jelly snake, and it’s hard to see but the jelly was layered lime aqua and pink.

A very cool and easy way to layer jelly. The link is down but you can see from the images here how to do it. All you need is a muffin tray.

It doesn’t show fully in the photo but these drinks were colour layered….it’s all to do with sugar content.

I found this cool idea at the sisters cafe. It also works in a larger jug.

A little difficult to see….. ‘Build a molecule’ tray of round food and toothpicks. Also little specimen cups full of jelly.

The ‘build a molecule’ idea came from Come together Kids. This blog has lots more ideas re:science party.

Balloons and flower balls as party favours. If you look closely you can see the water has H20 labels.

I have talked and made these tissue paper balls before. The instructions can be found at Martha Stewart (I couldn’t do a party without her) and the idea for re-labelling the bottles of water from Kara’s party ideas. As you could imagine ….there are lots more ideas for different parties to be found here.

Last of all 13 year old and I made bunting of real chemical elements (with a few made up ones).

Were you aware the R is the element Random and Da is the element Daring?

…… not to leave out science fiction …… see chemical element Et……

The idea for the bunting came from Apartment Therapy.

6 year old in excellent company…… mad scientist together.

I used the image of Einstein from the invitations…… then photographer 6 year old doing the same face. After a short fiddle with the colours in photo shop….. we had our bunting.

How do you start putting together ideas for a themed party?

What are the best ones you have ever hosted or been too and why?

The disaster molecule.

May 28, 2012

3D model of the Sucrose Molecule. Image from 3d chem.com

As I posted last week, 5 year old turned 6 and had a pretty crazy mad scientist party.

I, embracing the whole mad bit…. and a tad of the scientist bit…. decided that for this party she needed a molecule cake.

Although I was able to find lots of helpful images and ideas for games and general party food, I couldn’t find many images of molecule cakes. I now know the reason for this!

One of the VERY few cake-pop molecule cakes on the internet. Image and cake by Hecticium.

But…. undaunted and sure that it was just because no-one had thought of it yet…. I decided to give it a go.

My idea was to make cake-pops (so each child could eat it at the park without a plate) and link them (bond) all together with their sticks to form a 3D shape….. somewhat reminiscent of the sucrose molecule above. Yes, sucrose as in sugar, the very thing a cake should be made with. Yes , I was finding the whole planning process very entertaining and amusing.

Now, because I am not a baker…and generally leave the baking to the professionals…I decided to try my idea a couple of days before the party. As it turns out …. this was indeed the best idea surrounding the fated molecule cake!

The cake-pops …although incredibly tedious…. looked ok in themselves.

After much research into cake-pop making, no baking involved because you break-up already baked cake (bonus!), the purchase of very colourful and sweet ingredients….. a bit of food colouring….. white chocolate…. icing…. non-parelis (the blue things)….I set to work.

Ahhhhh……

Be warned people! Cake-pop making is to the cake decorating world as hand beading is to the world of couture. Amateurs run for your lives!

Not a good birthday cake beginning when the components need such careful manoeuvring.

Anyway…. long story short. After a full day of fiddling and fussing and a whole lot of questioning of ones sanity….. I was glad I had an option B.

THe ‘Epic Fail’ molecule cake.

The girls verdict on arriving home from school was ….. ‘they taste yummy’, ‘didn’t really work’ and ‘it was lucky you tried it first’.

All in all it was a disaster, however the disaster was still made up of molecules.

Holiday freezer clearing

April 23, 2012

Each holidays I try to clear my freezer of anything lurking in the shadows.

I usually ‘google’ the main meat ingredient and perhaps other ingredients I have in the cupboards and fridge and see what turns up.

Some of the meals were, in 12 year olds words….”Not a stand-out’.

Two, however were lovely, so I thought I would share.

Pork Tenderloins from Simple recipe. Image theirs. Mine didn't look this good but it tasted wonderful.

Pork tenderloins with Apples.

The whole family ate with gusto! I will be making this one again.

Thai Chicken mince with rice. Image from Taste. Again mine was not quite this photo-worthy, but delicious all the same.

Thai flavoured chicken mince with rice.

Chicken mince seems to always be reduced at the supermarket. I often buy it and then I am unsure what to do with it. Well….. not any more. Everyone loved this and I will be cooking it again.

Both recipes were very simple and family friendly.

Do you clean out your freezer periodically?

What great recipe gems have you got to share?

 

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