30 September 2008

Two little lazy days skirts

Never having sewn clothing before, I decided to attempt the 'lazy days skirts' recently mentioned on Soulemama. The free pattern is available here, and is super easy and quick to make. I love the fact that the ribbon encases the hem... which means no fiddly hem to sew!

Great for summer - which hopefully will be on it's way soon... the girls love them and I think I'm hooked.

29 September 2008

Should I be worried...

Should I be worried that my children love to run around with pieces of cloth tied around their heads?

Should I be worried that while at the movies, Master 6 is more interested in a jaffa than the action scene?

Should I be worried that my 1 year old says "oh maaaan!" when she is upset at things?

Should I be worried... I don't think so.

To all you parents out there with kids home for term 3 holiday's... all the best!

28 September 2008

Blast from the past...

Just for a laugh I checked out http://www.yearbookyourself.com/ - and took the liberty of taking Mandrake and myself back to the past... check these out!

Me in 1976

Me in 1966
Symon in 1976

Symon in 1964


27 September 2008

Pacifica Tote

I used to be in my primary school's Maori Culture Club... yes me... the only little blonde, blue eyed, white girl in the group. I absolutely loved it - especially the Poi.

Anyway, I have always loved kete (Maori woven baskets) and recently spotted this beautiful 'Pacifica' fabric in a store. I decided that there was a special lady who may also like it...

There is a lovely lady that I know who is always busy giving, giving, giving. She is so generous, often giving away gifts and money to anyone in need, or just as a blessing. Whenever someone in our family is sick, she often turns up laden with toys for the kids, yummy treats and fresh fruit.

She is a New Zealand Maori - and is much loved. So I thought it was about time she received something special... a Pacifica tote. I also thought of her because she is always losing her keys... so I made sure she had the two little pockets inside the bag to keep her keys and things in!

E haere rā

26 September 2008

Softie babies

My softie making friend Anya, from banban designs recently gifted me one of her awesome monkey creations Maggie. I jokingly sent her a photo of Maggie with her new "love" Square Guy. She emailed back suggesting that we each have a go at making them a baby.

So here are our creations... they each take after their parents in some way.

Heaps of fun to do... thanks for the idea Anya!

25 September 2008

Pita Bread Pizza

While one of our children's friends was visiting, we decided to get the kids to make their own pizza's for dinner. I set up a selection of toppings on the table and let the kids go crazy, using a pita bread pocket as their base. They had heaps of fun (so did we) and begged to make more afterwards.

So easy to do (especially for you guys who struggle to cook something) and fun to make.

Pita Bread Pizza

Using a pita bread pocket as your pizza base, spread 1 tablespoon of tomato paste on top, and then the toppings of your choice. Bake in oven (approx 180degC) until cheese is bubbling.

Topping ideas: sliced mushrooms, ham, salami, chicken, olives, tomato (fresh or sundried), cheese, pineapple pieces, sliced onion, red or green peppers etc.
Definately my favourite way to have pizza at the moment!

For more delicious recipes visit here.

24 September 2008

Give a little...

People have been hit hard lately with rising prices everywhere; petrol, groceries, power, home loan interest rates and property rates just to mention a few. When things get tough, I reckon the best thing to do is to be generous and give. Sounds crazy? I think it shows faith in God to provide.

Psalm 112: 4-9

"Light shines in the darkness for the godly.
They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.
Good comes to those who lend money generously
and conduct their business fairly.
Such people will not be overcome by evil.
Those who are righteous will be long remembered.
They do not fear bad news;
they confidently trust the LORD to care for them.
They are confident and fearless
and can face their foes triumphantly.
They share freely and give generously to those in need.
Their good deeds will be remembered forever.
They will have influence and honor."

So in saying that, I want to bring your attention to the most coolest thing... The Samaritan's Purse. Our children's school is currently encouraging families to get involved in this awesome idea, and I would like to encourage you to as well.

This is a simple little box that you fill with a few items that will bring joy as a Christmas present to a child in poverty.

We had so much fun filling ours with a hat, soft toy, tooth brush, flannel, puzzle, marbles, notebook, pens and stickers. We hardly spent much at all, and it was so good to see the children get involved in GIVING rather than GETTING.

As a family, we had great discussions about about how many things we owned and often receive at Christmas time, and imagined how excited a young boy is going to be when he receives our box.

How about you... do you think you could give a little to someone this year for Christmas? Checkout the Samaritans Purse website here.

23 September 2008

Let's go surfing...

I am currently in the process of selling my longboard... which is a bit of a sad occasion. Since having kids and the busy life that comes with a young family, I haven't been able to surf much for years. The good news is that it is getting sold to my dad, which means I can borrow it anytime I want (I hope? Pretty please dad?).

My dad is a bit of a surf legend. He was a keen surfer when young (even owned the first skateboard in NZ - but that's another story)... and is still a keen surfer now, with his 60th coming up next year! He is known as "Lozza", and his famous move on his board is his spin... which has led to the name "Lozza 'Spinner' ".

So as a young little girl, when I should have been at home playing with a barbie doll on the weekends, I was instead shoved in a car with lots of boys (without seatbelts) and driven to random beaches to surf. Pretty cool if you ask me... but actually it wasn't really at the time.

Would you believe that I was hassled at school for surfing?? I was! Especially because my dad surfed a longboard. This was the time when surfing wasn't cool, and wearing surf clothes meant that you surfed... it wasn't a fashion thing. It was also the time when girl surfers were quite rare, and girls got hassled a bit while surfing... so I had to grow up tough.

Anyway, while grieving the sale of my board, I started to reminisce some surfing memories. Here are a few for your reading pleasure...

Surfing in a cyclone

I will never forget the day my dad encouraged me to have a surf with him (which meant paddling right out the back) during a cyclone. I was freaking out in the 6-8 foot waves. Thinking back now... he was crazy!! It was a sort of scary fun though... something I could boast about at school afterwards.

Surfing Injuries

I haven't had too many injuries while surfing... the one that really stands out is the time we went to Ocean Beach for a surf. The waves were awesome and just as my dad and brother were having fun, I wiped out on a wave and my sharp surfboard fin went right into my left leg, leaving a nasty hole. I felt a bit of pain but couldn't see anything as I paddled over to my dad. I got him to have a look, and with a few words I won't mention, he quickly told me to paddle into the beach and rounded up the others that had come with us. I will always remember him in a hero like fashion, using his t.shirt to wrap around my leg to stop the bleeding. To cut a long story short, I had 12 stitches and a nasty scar. I don't like surfing at Oceans anymore.

Body parts

When I was quite young, I remember walking along Sandy Bay beach after a surf. Dad was still in the water and I was having fun collecting things on the beach. To my horror I saw something lying on the beach that gave me the shivers! It was a leg. I remember running to dad and calling him in to tell him about the leg! He came to look with me and had a real chuckle. It was a prosthetic leg that belonged to a local man who would come down to the beach, take it off and have a surf. He was a pretty good surfer too.

Surfing with stingrays

When Symon and I were newly married, we went for an early surf on a Monday morning at Sandy Bay. It was such a beautiful morning, no one around and the water was so clear and blue. We paddled out the back together and sat enjoying the beauty of it all. Everything changed after that! I spotted a large black stingray basking in the sun... and then another. No big deal - I decided to catch a wave and not worry... that was until I spotted more and more and more. They were everywhere! We quickly got out of the water. Symon acted very brave, but I think he was pretty scared too. A very scary moment - and that was before the Steve Irwin saga!

The legrope drag...

Last but not least, I remember the day my dad was raving about his legrope getting stuck on something. He was on a really nice wave, surfing along, when suddenly his board just stopped in the middle of the wave! He felt like something heavy had snagged on his legrope. The water wasn't very clear and he just pulled it until it came free and paddled back out. The next day it was all over the news that a dead body of a missing mann had been washed up in the exact same place on the beach where we had been surfing! I will always wonder if...

Anyway, lots of memories, too many to count.

I definately appreciate God and His creation when I am out surfing. I appreciate the fact that I can swim... and I always appreciate a towel and warm food afterwards.

Thanks dad for taking me and my brother out surfing with you for all those years... such a cool childhood, and so many neat memories and experiences (minus the music I had to put up with in the car ride there and back... Jive Bunny, Daddy Cool, and my worst favourite... George Thorogood). I definately have learnt a few things... a keen respect for the ocean, learnt to always cover my head in a wipeout, know how to get completely changed from a wetsuit to normal clothing without anyone seeing anything, that a hair dryer is the best thing to get the wax off your board... and the most important thing, to rinse your feet before hopping in the car!

Here's hoping for a few surfs this coming summer!

Here are a few pics taken over the last couple of years, the boys learning to surf, and the family surfboard stash (if you are wondering why my mum isn't here with a board or wasn't mentioned much in the above stories, it's because she can't surf due to being allergic to cold water - I'm serious! Although she does assure me that in her younger years she was a very good bodyboarder!).

22 September 2008

Nine little bunnies all in a row

Nine more little bunnies have been added to the shop (here) and are really hoping to find their own homes soon.

My favourites would have to be Candi (pink checkered one) and Jansen (red russian doll fabric). Mandrakes favs are Jemimah (retro paisley one) and Brock (stripes). How about you?

Speaking of fabrics, I just discovered a really great online fabric website that posts to NZ as well. Might have to get a few pieces for myself for Christmas this year... I especially love their Japanese prints (especially the "bear bunny dance"). It is called "Tessuti Fabrics" and you can visit it here.

I was recently sent a pictures of two little boys in Australia with their softies. The mum said that they were going to be put away for Christmas, but the softies arrived when the boys were both sick, and she let them have them early. Don't they look cute!

21 September 2008

Banban Designs

I am so excited to tell you about my lovely friend's new blog... Banban Designs.

Anya makes the cutest little monkey softies as well as other animals, along with cute baby sets (including a singlet, cuddly blanket and softie). You are so clever Anya!

I love the different fabrics she uses and the cute little touches like Minty's pet rock (here).

So checkout her blog and tell her what you think. Here are a few of her recent creations...

20 September 2008

Banana Split Creations

Master 9 had a friend over for the afternoon, so we decided to all make Banana Splits at the table. Very interesting watching the different creations everyone made.

I love seeing children get involved in food preparation. If you have fussy eaters, it is recommended that you get them involved in helping prepare the meals, and often you will find that they are more open to trying new things, and even those things they disliked before.

Now 'Banana Splits' are not something that fussy eaters need to be coerced into eating. I soothed my conscience with the fact that amongst all the sugary food was a couple of slices of healthy banana for each child... that was until I cleared the plates afterwards and noticed what was left behind on nearly every plate. Cheeky kids!

For more delicious recipes visit here.

19 September 2008

My sewing... guys sewing

Nine little softies are nearly ready to go up for adoption in the shop. I know I said I was going to have a break from sewing them, but the last batch has just about disappeared, so I just had to make some more.

I also recently made my first cushion! They are so easy to make and when I look at the price of buying them I am definately going to be making more instead.

The two tote bags I recently made were in need of a makeup pouch, so matching ones were fun to make. I have a few more totes cut out for friends waiting to be sewn... one person in particular (you know who you are) is desperately needing something so she can stop using shopping bags.

Anyway - for all those guys who are totally bored when I rabble on about sewing things, I recently had a bit of a laugh when I came across this guy sewing in a 'sewing cafe'. Who would have ever thought up the idea of having a sewing cafe. Maybe we need a few of these in New Zealand for some of you guys?

18 September 2008

Dumb things I've done...

Dumb Thing Number 1

When I was young I had the cutest poster above my bed... little buzzy bee's flying around pretty flowers. It was held in place with four drawing pins. One night I couldn't get to sleep, so I decided to suck on one of the drawing pins for fun (I know, duh!). I accidently swallowed it and my fun little idea turned into a rushed trip to the hospital and a little 'sleep' so the drawing pin could be removed. I felt so silly.

Dumb Thing Number 2

When I was little I loved to help my dad wash his motor bike. It was a dirt bike and he used to take me for rides on it, up dirt tracks and grass hills (heaps of fun). Dad loved his motorbikes, and I thought I would give it a really good wash for him one day when he was out. I made sure the exhaust got a good clean by pushing the hose up it and leaving the water on to give it a good rinse. Dad wasn't too happy the next morning when his bike wouldn't start.

Dumb Thing Number 3
My parents owned a toy shop for seven years of my life. I remember my mum warning me about superglue... how it was really dangerous to sniff (as it wrecked your brain) and to be very careful with it as it could stick skin together (especially fingers). For some strange reason I was really tempted to try this out (not the sniffing part). I remember sitting in the shop office dabbing a bit on my thumb, then pressing my index finger to my thumb. I straight away tried to pull my finger off again... but it was stuck hard to my thumb. I panicked and ripped my fingers apart, tearing the skin, causing it to bleed. I don't think I ever told my mum... but she was right about superglue.

Dumb Thing Number 4

When I first met Symon, we went with a few friends to hear a creationist speaking at a church in our area. He had a display table with books and other items on it, including fossilized dinosaur poo. I decided to give it a sniff... something Symon still laughs about today (for your info, it didn't smell).

Dumb Thing Number 5

My brother and two cousins and I were playing oneday. We decided to do dares in the kitchen. My cousin was dared to drink a whole glass of tomato sauce... he did it and even boasted afterwards about how much he enjoyed the taste. One of the others drank a raw egg. It was my turn... I was dared to eat a tablespoon of flour. I was so keen to be a part of the fun, that even as my cousin put the overly-heaped tablespoon of flour into my mouth, I thought nothing of it. It was at this point that I found it really hard to breathe... the dusty flour smoke poured down my throat causing me to cough and gag... a very scary moment. Not much fun at all.

My point... I have done some really dumb things in my life, and these are only some of them... and I am naturally part-blonde... does this mean anything?

17 September 2008

Easy Coconut Loaf

I love coconut! I am still waiting for Tip Top to bring out "coconut icecream", as Symon told me he had some while in Fiji years ago. 

Anyway, to fill the bottomless pits (male stomachs) around here, I seem to need to bake every few days... and this one is so easy and really yum! It has no butter or oil in it, yet it is really moist.


2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 teaspoon almond essence (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups coconut
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups self-raising flour

Grease and line a loaf tin. Break the eggs into a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the essences and salt, then the milk, and beat with a fork or rotary beater until combined.
Measure the coconut, sugar and flour into another container and mix well. Add to the egg mixture and mix gently until combined. Do not overmix. Pour into the prepared tin.

Preheat the oven to 180degC. When you put the loaf in, turn the oven down to 160degC, otherwise the top of the loaf browns too fast. Bake for 40-60 minutes until the centre feels firm and a skewer, pushed right down to the base comes out clean. Remove from the loaf tin after about 5 minutes, and leave to cool on a rack.

Taken from Alison Holst's "Dollars and Sense Cookbook". You rock Alison!

For more delicious recipes visit here.

16 September 2008

Summer is coming

Yay - finally the rain has eased and the sun is shining. The past few months have seen constant rain in our region, and constant rain means wet, soggy lawns and 4 kids cooped up inside.

It has been so good to see the kids playing outside in the trees again, on the trampoline and in the creek. Yesterday they found a few big eels in the creek, and one really big one was trying to get back into it's hole. The boys had great fun patting it and trying to pull it back out of it's hole, while Miss 4 touched it's eye!

I love it when seasons change - too much of one season can be overwhelming. The same goes with the seasons in our lives. God knows how long each season should last, and we can rest assured that one season will not last forever. Make the most of the season you are in, and look forward to the changes to come.

15 September 2008

Maggie Monkey

Today I received a little package in the mail from a very special friend in Australia who makes the cutest monkey softies (among other things).

Receiving a package in the mail in itself was very exciting, as usually it's Symon receiving packages of random items he has bought from Trademe when I'm not looking!

I was so excited to find that she had made me one of her gorgeous monkeys (Maggie Monkey).

It is sooooooo cute, with paisley and floral fabric and the cutest little tail with a button sewn on. I also love it's tiny bag with a banana in.

Thanks so much Anya - you made my day!

Check out Anya's blog (here).

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