30 April 2009

I love Crochet

I had the bestest surprise today when I went to pick the boys up from school... a lovely friend handed me a pressy (wrapped in shiny gold paper) and told me, "I thought of you when I saw this".

I couldn't wait to open up the gift... inside was the coolest thing... the book "I love crochet" by Rachel Henderson & Sarah Hazell. What a thoughtful gift (considering my current obsession/addiction).

This is such a great book, covering the basics of crochet plus 25 stylish projects to do - and all are relatively easy for newbies like me.

I like this from the inside cover... "Crochet has long suffered from associations with garish ponchos and prehistoric doilies, but finally a new generation of people are realising just how inspiring this age-old craft can be..."

I tried to convince hubby (by the way, if you love The Sound of Music, check out his post today here - the clip is awesome!) that the crochet 'guys tie' in the book would look very cool on him... but alas, he is still not convinced. I also showed him these pics of 'non Nana' girls getting together to crochet granny squares... I think he is coming around to the fact that I haven't quite lost the plot.

I love the book, and am already getting keen to make a few of the projects... thanks so much Jackie - you made my day!

Has anyone else heard of this book or read it??

29 April 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Narnia's first trip to the local doggy park...

28 April 2009

Blogging Birthday - Softie Giveaway Draw

Today is my 1 year blogging anniversary, 294 posts later!

I love SouleMama's words recently about what blogging meant to her... for she took the words right out of my mouth (only hers are much better)...

This blog... it's one of the ways in which I remind myself of the joys, the beauty and the blessings around me each and every day. Writing here helps me to remember. And it helps me to see and look for those things, people and moments which do bring me joy. Writing about them helps me hold onto those moments. And I find myself wanting and making more space and opportunity for these kinds of moments to enter our days...and my heart.

What you see and read here are snapshots. Real, honest, true and sometimes deeply personal snapshots that capture parts of my life and how I see it. But a snapshot is never complete or 'whole' of anything. I write for me, but I hit "publish" each day in the hopes that somehow - someway - these little ramblings of mine could inspire you to look for, to follow, to perhaps even create a moment of joy and beauty in your own day.

So thank you to everyone who has sent lovely comments my way over the last year, the new friends I have made, the old and dear friends and family I have been able to keep in contact with, those of you who have inspired me with your amazing creations, your parenting and marriage tips, your faith, your cooking creations and your humour.

And now for the big moment you have all been waiting for.... from 76 entries (and I promise I stirred and stirred the entries up) the winner of Mandy the Matryoshka softie is....

Checkout the winner's cool blog polka-dot-daze!

26 April 2009

ANZAC Biscuits

Yesterday was a very special day... the day when New Zealand and Australia remember and honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who fought at Gallipoli during World War I (plus others are honoured too who have died and served in military ops for our country since).

What a great day to make ANZAC biscuits... I love how food can be a great way to remember special occasions and memories.

As we talked about ANZAC day around the table, one of the boys proudly told us what 'ANZAC' stood for... Australia and New Zealand Army Choir! Ha.

ANZAC biscuits are pretty simple, so I love to add extras like chocolate chips, sliced almonds or drizzle melted chocolate over the finished product.

Here's the recipe I used (from my Edmond's cook book):

1/2 cup plain flour
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup coconut
3/4 cup rolled oats
50g butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons boiling water

Mix together flour, sugar, coconut and rolled oats. Melt butter and golden syrup. Dissolve baking soda in the boiling water and add to butter and golden syrup. Stir butter mixture into the dry ingredients. Place level tablespoonfuls of mixture onto cold greased trays. Bake at 180 deg C for about 15 minutes or until golden.


** Only two more days until the softie giveaway winner is drawn! Enter here if you haven't already **

For more delicious recipes visit here.

A Granny A Day - square no. 5

No crocheting in the car today for me... but I did somehow get another square finished.

** Only two more days until the softie giveaway winner is drawn! Enter here if you haven't already **

25 April 2009

Crochet persecution

We went for a bit of a drive today as things were getting a bit chaotic in the house with it being wet outside and full of humans and pets inside! Aaaaarrrgggghhhh!

Anyway, "what could be better than crocheting in the car" I thought to myself.

As I sat crocheting my granny square, I looked up to see a young lady smiling at me, then talking to the guy next to her and pointing at me for him to have a look - and they were laughing! (Please note: I was not driving here, I was in the passenger seat - just in case you were wondering).

Am I a Nana or what? What's so weird about crocheting in the car? Hubby did point out to me that he has never seen anyone else doing it before... then he did go on to remind me about the 3 old ladies he saw sitting bundled up in our local auction rooms knitting during the auctions. What was his point?

Has anyone else ever crocheted in the car before? Am I a Nana? p.s. no offence to any Nana's out there!

Anyway, due to crocheting in the car I did two squares today... I even surprised myself... two squares in one day! I hope I can still be in the 'a granny a day flickr group'?

24 April 2009

Favourite Things Friday

These are a few of the things I am LOVING at the moment...

Seeing the little designer inside starting to show...
I am loving Miss 4's softie pattern designs...

I even noticed some creative marble play in Master 7's room!

Warm toes
I am loving my toes socks at the moment.. and I am also loving Art by Anya's Footsie Fridays! Aren't feet interesting... in a strange sort of way.

Learning to crochet
I am loving making my granny squares... I don't know if I could do 'a granny a day' but hopefully I could make a scarf or something... very addictive. This is granny square number 2.

Graduation time
Well, graduation from puppy kindy for Narnia that is. She came home last night looking very proud of herself... and very cute in her graduation scarf!

What things are you loving at the moment???

** Don't forget to enter my giveaway for Mandy here if you haven't already! If she's not quite your style, I am sure you have a mother or grandmother who might like her! **

23 April 2009

The granny square reveal

I did it... I actually completed a granny square.

I ended up resorting to youtube and watching a left-handed tutorial, and then it finally all came back to me.

The funny thing is Mandrake's reaction to this whole crochet thing... he thinks I've turned into a real Nana now. He's put up with all the softies and totes without complaining... but you should have heard him last night after he saw me making a granny square!

I tried to assure him that it was actually cool to be into crafts... but he didn't really believe me.

Although... I did have to laugh when I saw his puppy in her little jumper (my mum refashioned a cardigan sleeve into a dog jumper!)... now that's what I'd call "Nana-ish" (Narnia the Nana).

** Don't forget to enter my giveaway for Mandy here if you haven't already! If she's not quite your style, I am sure you have a mother or grandmother who might like her! **

22 April 2009

Granny squares rock!

Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I remember making a blanket from granny squares when I was young. It was pretty ugly and all the granny squares were joined together with black... urgh! (please note that the blanket above is not mine! It's from here).

But it's a nice memory. I know that once I used to know how to crochet... my granny taught me how.

I have been inspired by other peoples blogs lately, namely Pip from Meet Me At Mikes and her aim to make a granny a day.

So this afternoon I popped out and bought myself a crochet hook and some wool. I don't think I could make a granny a day, I don't even remember how to make a granny square, but I'm keen to relearn the art of crocheting (boy, my nana will be proud when I tell her!).

I might just have to make myself a granny square bag... or maybe a granny square scarf... or the kids some granny square hats... or another blanket. The mind boggles at all the options... I could even make hubby a granny square laptop bag... ;)

Anyway... hopefully within the next week I will have a square to show you!

** Don't forget to enter my giveaway for Mandy here if you haven't already! **

21 April 2009

The drudgery of it all

Life is full of drudgery, and it's not only the 'stay-at-home' mums like me that find this... I am sure everyone has drudgery to some degree in their lives.

You know what I am talking about... the preparation of food for meals, the dishes, washing, cleaning, changing nappies, endless hours spent playing little games with little tots, mowing the lawns etc (I don't actually mow the lawns, but I'm trying to include my male readers here!). It's not just the fact that these jobs need doing... but the fact that they will need doing again, and again, and again, day after day, year after year. That's drudgery.

I recently read this amazing article titled, "Finding God in the Drudgery" by Jodi Martens. It was really really good.

She confesses in the article that when she left her executive job to raise her kids full time she was about to have a full-scale identity crisis.

"Overnight I felt like I had gone from being a successful career woman to a scullery maid. My days consisted of preparing food (and immediately watching it be consumed), desperately trying to keep up with the dishes and doing at least one load of spit-up-infused laundry a day. I vigorously worked from early-morning feedings to late-night story time, only to know I would have to do it all over again the next day... and the next day... and the next day. This was my life for the foreseeable future. The thought terrified me."

Does anyone out there identify with her? I did... and still do at times.

She decided that she didn't want to live the next 18 years or so dreading every moment, so set out in search of some answers. And surprisingly it was the work of a 17th century monk that spoke to her the most... Brother Lawrence.

Brother Lawrence worked in the kitchen of a Carmelite monastery for over 40 years and viewed every day as a precious gift from God. To him, every task, no matter how small, was of great spiritual significance. His work was his worship because he offered it in love to God. "We can do little things for God," he wrote. "I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him...".


Simon Carey Holt, a theologian at the University of Melbourne, says, "Spirituality is about all of life and all of who we are. It has to do with moments of retreat and rush-hour traffic, with periods of silence and the noise of little children, with hushed Sunday worship and frantic family dinners. The promise of 'God with us' is not confined to the mountaintop."

I like that. We have plenty of frantic family dinners at our place.

Jodi Martins goes on in the article to suggest that the seemingly inglorious tasks we turn up our noses at are an often overlooked form of worship. "Because many of us tend to separate our lives into 'secular' and 'sacred', we tend to see the chores that accompany child-rearing and housekeeping etc. as purely secular... but that act of making meals, sorting the recycling and wiping your child's runny nose are just as spiritual as other 'religious' activities when done with the right attitude" she says.

Jean Pierre de Caussade, a 16th century monk encourages us to never look "for the holiness of things but only the holiness in things."

Interesting thoughts... hopefully you have been as inspired as I have. Now I must go and fold the washing!!

** Don't forget to enter my giveaway for Mandy here if you haven't already! If she's not quite your style, I am sure you have a mother or grandmother who might like her! **

20 April 2009

80's inspired tote

More recycling of jeans has been going on in my home... this time with an 80's flavour!

Master 9, Mandrake and I have been fighting over who is going to have this one. I think I will have it... Master 9 doesn't actually know it was his old pair of jeans that I refashioned!

I nearly tore out my hair making it though... two broken sewing machine needles later. It's been one of those days.

Who would have thought that 80's fashion would be back in again... they are even selling 'kung fu shoes' in our local shoe shop. I used to wear those to Intermediate school!

I'm feeling a bit old right now. Is there anyone else who used to wear kung fu shoes, legwarmers or skinny jeans?

** Don't forget to enter my giveaway for Mandy here if you haven't already! If she's not quite your style, I am sure you have a mother or grandmother who might like her! **

19 April 2009

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...

Today I popped in to visit my parents, and collect one of my children that they were so graciously minding.

After having coffee and cake together (the coffee accidentally got spilt all over dad's crotch thanks to me), Mum asked if I would help her decide where to hang a few things on their walls.

They recently bought this really nice renovated bungalow... so sure, I thought. You know... she probably wants to hang a couple of pictures or maybe a plate on the wall... isn't that what grandparents have on their walls?

Well, I helped her pick where to put two hoes and an old sickle! As I looked around the rest of the house I also saw saws in the kitchen and hallway and heaps of other antique tools and oddities including an old waffle iron.

Definitely different... and I quite like the look. I wouldn't want to be a burglar entering their house when someones home.

What things do your parents have hanging on their walls? I'm very curious as to if my parents are normal or not :D

** Don't forget to enter my giveaway for Mandy here if you haven't already! If she's not quite your style, I am sure you have a mother or grandmother who might like her! **

18 April 2009

Softie Giveaway!!


In ten days it will be my 1 year blogging anniversary!

So to celebrate, I'm having another softie giveaway.

This giveaway is for Mandy the Matryoshka softie, and I will be drawing the winner's name on 28th April 2009 at 7pm (New Zealand time). That's in ten days time folks!

Postage is free to anywhere in the world.

Conditions for entry:
To enter for the softie giveaway, please leave a comment on this post (with you name!).
Only one entry (comment) per person please.

Spread the word and checkout my softie shop for more softies here.

16 April 2009

Things I'm loving at the moment...

Here are a few of the things I am loving at the moment...

I did a massive sorting of clothes two days ago (sewfunky inspired me), and found clothes that Miss 4 grew out of a few years ago for Miss 2 to wear now... including two ponchos. Don't you love ponchos? I always dreamed of having one when I was young (in the 80's), but alas, my dream never came true... at least I can enjoy Miss 2 wearing hers (don't you just love her smile for the camera!).

Banana Fritters
Since banana's aren't keeping very long at the moment (due to the warm weather), I have found myself making banana fritters a few times... and loving them! They are great for breakfast, lunch or tea, and can be served with icecream, yoghurt, custard, cream... and anything else you can imagine.

Baby Showers
I love baby showers... especially all the cool games! My cousin recently had hers and we all had heaps of laughs. One of the coolest games is trying to find tiny safety pins in bowls of rice while blindfolded. It's way harder than you'd think!

My Tomato Pincushion
I am loving my new pincushion... it's a classic tomato one, and for only $3. My cupcake one is awesome, but a bit big to take around the house with me... for some reason it attracts kids. So here's hoping the tomato won't gather children while out... although on second thought, it does look quite fun doesn't it!

Snuggle Time
I am loving snuggly time on the couch with Miss 2. After having her bath, getting in her PJ's and brushing her teeth, Miss 2 is allowed to choose two books to read with mummy on the couch before bed. She loves this special time... although usually always tries to bribe me to read about 4 books. She is growing up so fast... and I am enjoying every moment that I can!

15 April 2009

Wordless Wednesday

More of my Dad in the 60's... can I still classify this post as wordless?

14 April 2009

Sew Subversive

This book caught my eye last week... "Sew Subversive... Down and Dirty DIY for the Fabulous Fashionista", put out by Stitch Lounge.

All in all it's a great book! Within the pages are heaps of inspiring photos and projects, as well as a run down on the basics of sewing at the beginning of the book.

Who would have thought to make a tote out of your favourite (but too old to wear) labelled t.shirt... or to make legwarmers from the arms of an old jumper!

I really enjoyed the 'down-to-earth' projects in this book - very inspiring!

Has anyone else read this one??

Check out Stitch Lounge's blog here... they even have some free tutorials!

13 April 2009

What a weekend!

The fun all started when Narnia the new puppy decided to bite Miss 2's dummy teat off. I had been planning to 'disappear' the dummy sometime soon, so thankfully we blamed it all on "Naughty Narnia" and were pleasantly surprised at how easily Miss 2 took the whole drama!

Now we just have the 'cloth' and 'blankey' to go. I'm not sure if I can get Narnia to eat those though?

Along with watching our friend jump out of an aeroplane at 10,000 feet for her birthday (she had a parachute on), and tonnes of other fun stuff, we had an awesome time tonight relaxing with our extended family around pizza (10 pizza's to be exact). The kids especially loved seeing their Aunty's and some of their cousins... and the dog went hyper with all the new people to sniff!

Check out Master 7's face!

What have been your highlights over Easter?

11 April 2009

Refashioned Jeans

Ta daa... one pair of jeans refashioned into two paisley lined totes. This time I didn't use my grandfather's slacks mind you!

There is something deeply satisfying about recycling and refashioning... especially when paisley fabric is involved.

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