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.


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.


DIY Advent Calendar by Design Sponge. Image sourced from there.

Meredith’s got a fabulous idea for fantasticly simple bible content here. Love it especially this close to Dec 1.

Cathy gives insightful day by day content here. 

Nicole….shares some great ideas here.

If you know what you want each day to hold, but need a little visual inspiration, have a look at my pinterest board here. 

This year I have an unusual plan which focus’s on letters….. we will see how that goes.

To see what we have done in previous years look here and here and here.

I just realised that our advent events for 2012 are not collated….. so I will get onto that.

Enjoy, and let me know if you come across anything inspiring.


November 26, 2013

Hello hello hello….. yes I am still alive and I am slowly coming up for air. Crazy busy last couple of months. I will share with you over the next few weeks some of the highlights and a few other things I have been slowly saving for you over those months.

But for now….. something fabulous. Poppytalk calls it ‘What happen’s when you give kids thousands of stickers. Take it as a pre-Christmas warning….. or Encouragement …. if you like.


Beginning with an all white room …..


…. in the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane …….


Yayoi Kusama…..


….. gave children stickers ……


…… and over two weeks……


….collaborated with the artist …….


….. by placing stickers anywhere they wanted.


Two weeks later…..


…..The Obliteration Room ….. was complete. 

Hat-tip  Poppytalk,  stuart addelseesccart, and heybubbles and colossal).  Via The New Domestic. …. so apologies if you have seen it before. 
I think it appeals to me because it’s how the last half of the year has felt like, but makes it look so much more joyful than it was some days.
Though out it all Tim was fabulous and the kids were great. I am hoping and praying that in the next month leading up to Christmas I can embrace the joy in the chaos….. and get to take the opportunity to serve them, and others, like they have been serving me. 


Strawberry Thief (1883)

source: The original Morris & Co.

Lately I have been working on an assignment for uni that gave me a chance to revisit and enjoy one of my favourite artists of all time, William Morris.

William Morris was an arts and crafts master….along with Architect Philip Webb. He worked extensively with fabric, wallpaper, furniture and ceramics.

Here is how his official website describes him….

‘William Morris was the single most influential designer of the nineteenth century, and remains today one of the best known of all British designers. This is due to his extraordinary talent as a pattern designer, his colourful and inspiring life story and to his forceful intellect and personality. Morris was much more than a designer; he was a fervent socialist, scholar, translator and publisher, an environmental campaigner, writer and poet.’

Most of you will know his work even of you don’t know his name…. he was that good. His work is still available world wide, and is so beautifully designed it holds it own 150 years later.

Here’s some more for your enjoyment.

Love is Enough (2013)

“Love is enough” Source: Morris &Co.

Garden Craft (1908)

from the Morris & Co site.

Golden Lily (1899)

Golden Lily Print by William Morris. Photo taken from Morris & Co.

Easter Hat Inspiration

March 25, 2013


The fascinator hat. Image from David Jenkins Photography.

Lots of Easter Hat Parades coming up this week.

Here’s some inspiration…..

…. this year I thought, the wackier the better.


Bunny ears?. Image from Model Dash.


Death by Chocolate Fascinator. Source: Hats by Cressida.


I can imagine this made in paper. Photo from Model dash.

LFW SS2013: Philip Treacy Catwalk

Philip Treacy Catwalk Hat. Photo from The Frisky.


The wire bow. Source: ArturosRios via etsy.


Lara stone at ascot. Image from Grazidaily.

A fabulous paper number. Source: Add Funny

A fabulous paper number. Source: Add Funny


Great last minute idea!! The bread hat. Image from Million Looks.

Can’t see anything you like?

Maybe there will be something on my pinterest board for you.

213428469811042041_hTPskl1a_cFor those of you who follow me on Pinterest, you will notice I have been spending a lot of time there lately…. Among other things I have found so many quotes and word posters and inspirational sayings. While some have substance, are thought provoking and even encouraging, the vast majority of them are ‘piffle’… as my mum would say.

They are a little like new years resolutions! Easily identified with or desired but offering no help in the achievement or simply so far from truth and reality that they are unachievable…… so I thought I would pepper my resolutions with them for your entertainment.

See if you can separate the profound from the piffle :0

What do I want more of, less of, more focused attention to and to try afresh in the new year?

244812929714902312_WlzxoqFl_c-read my bible more ….. help with a bible reading app on my phone. (begun)

66709638199915150_045eaef6_c-listen to book-club books rather than read them for a year. (I will read the first one ……as I have it and possibly the time)

7459155604765688_zntr0v4v_c-teach my girls to ‘notice’ what needs to be done for the house to function, and do it. (begun)

152348399864164112_vWDhJIQM_c-begin a degree in Fine Arts at SCA. (I’m IN officially now, so I can tell you). I enrolled yesterday.

32721534764544952_j8Q3NHhC_b-eat more simply and healthily (we all really need this)

61783826107513790_kqyrGdR9_c-continue teaching at ACU (just one first year class this year)

123567583496282722_UtB8m7TR_c-go to bed earlier (this will be hard and so worthwhile)

247205467016684412_3janNjXD_c-blog less (yes it’s true)

15270086206387475_q6apR33j_c-pray more and with focus. (…looking for helpful hints on this one. How do you focus and do?)

24769866670014562_4gIWmHRZ_c-call my Mum more (yes I need to repent of this and use the phone which I hate)

186055028327440283_A7n0vc7h_c-continue to volunteer. (This will need to be looked at carefully. 1 church, 3 schools and a number of sporting clubs gives many opportunities…..trying to work out how to be helpful but not overly burdened)

52776626852831585_AllpPZ4R_c-think carefully through what each member of my family needs and encourage and support them towards that. (Many different hopes and dreams on one household can mean frequent disappointments, tears and joys. I hope this year to roll with all the ups and downs of it without becoming emotionally exhausted)

249316529342375621_5SjWIvEH_c-spend money on experiences. (Less little bits spent on frequent, short lived enjoyment and stuff, and more money spent on relational and memorable experiences).

90916486197068932_VAC9oDWl_b-be content (be thankful for what I have and run with it rather than always be looking towards the next thing)

24980972902547609_95p7sVYt_c-complain less and not ‘rage against the machine’. (My critical nature needs a good kick in the teeth! This year I want to channel it towards things I can change or improve).


-spend more time with old friends and new.

Ok, bloggy friends…. there it is.

What have I missed?



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?




Advent 2012……. part b

December 9, 2012

Activity for Day 1 Decorate the house for Christmas....

Activity for Day 1
Decorate the house for Christmas…. Put up the tree.

1: Saturday Reading: Luke 1: 1-4

Activity: Put up the Christmas tree. Fun, fun, fun….we excused Dad and the girls and I had a great time.

Extra Joy: Bought ‘Christmas Lights’ by Coldplay on itunes.


…. set up the “Little People” nativity.


….angel ornaments from past years.

2: Sunday Reading: Luke 1: 5-16

Activity: Gave the girls their angels. Not the planned activity…but the activity really was a personal one, so I reshuffled so we could continue even with a lunch guest.

Extra Joy: Had lunch with one of the Sunday School teachers (Stef) and played some games and chatted.


Activity: Give girls their angels for this year.

Activity: Give girls their angels for this year. Loved these Oxfam recycled paper angels.

3: Sunday (same day) Reading: Luke 1:17-25

Activity: Tell the girls what a joy and delight to us they are.

Extra Joy: We then encouraged the girls to tell each other the same thing. Risky…..yes…. but went amazingly well. Lots of laughs and smiles.

4. Monday: School Presentation day and family dinner out ….no advent tonight

5: Tuesday: Had a friend Brian from Church for dinner. 12 year old was rushing out soon after 14 year old arrived home ……so no advent today….. but had a lovely time.

6: Wednesday: Reading: Luke 1:26-28

Activity : Make ‘rememberalls’ of the girls great grandparents. That means an ornament for our tree to remind us of family members who have gone before us. We talked this through and will make them later once I get all the supplies.

(This was the missed activity from day 2.  In past years we have all written a letter to the oldest member of the family. This year the oldest family member is my grandma at 94, but as she suffers from dementia we are going to make her a decoration for her tree instead.)

…. will show the photos as they come.

8: Thursday: …. no advent planned

9: Friday No activity planned. ….. but did buy ‘The first Noel’  by TobyMac (featuring Owl City). The girls have been singing it almost continually since.

10: Saturday: A funny all over the place day (again). No advent….. but saw some lovely friends.

More next week…..

How is your advent going?

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?



Rocks for advent? all the details by clicking on the photo.

Some of you may have noticed a new page below my header…. and not a moment too soon. (like everything I do).

I have collated our advent calendar activities, readings and adventures for you to share and use.

We went with the ‘December is very busy’ approach and although we had a parcel for each day in December we planned from the start to open more than one each day and include some of our communities activities within the calendar.

It worked pretty well…..and included NO LOLLIES but ROCKS!

More advent ideas can be found here if this one doesn’t float your boat.

Yes! This is the week to be finalising your advent plans, if you haven’t already.

Painted rocks for advent.