Monday, December 21, 2009

Handmade gifts: keeping the tradition going

Ever since I was a young girl, I have enjoyed giving my grandparents a handmade Christmas gift. Obviously, when I was young, the creativity stopped at nothing. Painted calendars, handtowels edged with fabric, lavender sachets, markers for the vegetable garden - I loved making them and my grandparents always loved receiving them.

As I have gotten older and busier in my very grown-up life I have let the handmade side slide a little in my gift-giving. Last year I made shortbread, which received rave reviews. But it was kind of cheating in the handmade stakes.

Anyway, this year, they have just purchased an outdoor setting for their backyard. So I found a nice melamine tray and some yummy biccies so they can enjoy their tea outside. But something was missing, and today I have had a brainwave of creativity! I am faaaairly confident they won't come spying and read this post, so here is the handmade component of this year's present: some coasters for their mugs.


The back is non-slip so they can sit on the tray without sliding around. I machine embroidered the teacups, and the middle has a little piece of wadding for heat protection.

I am pretty pleased with them! I hope they like them and enjoy an afternoon tea in the backyard.

Wrapped


I just received these delightful tags from Niki at PetitePaperieShoppe. I ordered the santas, and the sweet little birds were an added bonus! Lovely.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

For the love of Pie

This pic borrowed from http://signsaysopen.blogspot.com

When I was in Melbourne recently, I couldn't resist visiting one of my favourite shops: Wilkins and Kent. From the website, it looks just like a furniture shop, and indeed they do sell some gorgeous custom made furniture. But they also sell beautiful handcrafted and thoughtfully chosen things, including some lovely products from fellow Australian Etsy sellers, like Able and Game and The Rabbit and the Duck. Kitchen, garden, decorative and functional, I am in love with most of their stock.

This pic borrowed from Flickr

This time, I walked away with a fantastic pie dish by Riess, a classic Austrian cookware company. I wish I could have afforded the whole range. See how pretty they look on the shelf? And this is the one I chose:


...now I just have to decide what to make in it! Any suggestions?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Living in a van



...on our holiday, our little van was a fun was to live in. A cooker, little fridge, sink, table and chairs and a bed. All you need, really (as long as you stop for a shower and toilet break).





It makes you realise how little you need to be comfortable. Two saucepans and a few plates, a box of dominoes and some fresh fruit and veg, and voila! Gourmet travelling.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Decos from Around the World

One of the nicest things about coming home from our holiday was opening the door and seeing our Christmas tree quietly waiting for us. I love putting it up every year and I thought I would share with you some of the special decorations I have bought on my travels around the place.


This lovely lady is a handcrafted wooden piece from Nuremberg, Germany. When Jon found out about my love of Christmas decorations, he bought me this whilst he was there watching the World Cup in 2006.

Then we have this jolly Santa. He is from a huge Paperchase store on Oxford St in London.


This sweet star is all the way from Xian, China. I think it is the cheapest decoration I have ever bought at approximately 25c.

A little nativity scene from La Paz, Bolivia.

The Virgin of Guadalupe, a painted tin decoration from Oaxaca, Mexico.

As you might guess, my tree is a bit of a mish-mash - but a very loveable one!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I highly recommend Campervanning

A few shots from our 10 day trip driving around the North Island of New Zealand. Such a fantastic trip - fishing, wineries, perfect lakes, fresh local produce, swimming, smelly craters and geysers, and of course fish and chips. It all went far too quickly.






More on living in a van later...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Something to keep you going

So, in about 13 hours I am leaving for New Zealand. Hurrah! I can't wait to get on the plane, and then into the campervan, to drive around the North Island for 9 days.

So, whilst I am soaking up the sights, sounds and smells (yes, Rotorua) of the place, here is a sight and a story for you to keep you going until next Saturday!

It was my breakfast yesterday: a little dish of baked eggs with lots of leftovers. Ham, baby spinach, potato, shallots, mushroom, and mozzarella cheese all mixed together with fresh thyme, nutmeg, and salt and pepper, then baked in the oven for 10 minutes, and finished under the grill for another 5.


The terracotta dish is one of six traditional tapas dishes that I was given for Christmas last year, along with the wonderful 1080 Recipes, a classic Spanish cookbook. The dishes came from the most fabulous Spanish "deli" in Melbourne: Casa Iberica. They have the most amazing and delicious selection of Spanish and South American foods, from the best chorizo ever to the delicious flavoured Jamaica and Tamarindo drinks (a favourite at our house - and don't say Jamaica, say humaika). If you are in the vicinity, it is a must: 25 Johnston St, Fitzroy.

Farewell! See you when I return next Saturday, with many more stories and sights from sunny NZ.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Modcloth strikes again

Well, I knew once I had succumbed to the temptation for the first time, I wouldn't be able to resist going back to shop at Modcloth again. And I was right. I just received these lovely treats in the post:

Climb Every Mountain Skirt

Pretty, no? I couldn't resist a little early Christmas pressie to myself!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Getting back into the swing of things


...with a new line in my store.

This is Penelope Puppy. She was made in Melbourne, whilst I was staying there for work. I had a day of exploration and found these lovely quilting fabrics in my wanderings.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

So, this is why I haven't been around.

Hi all! I know it's been forever, but I thought you might like to see the bridesmaid's and flowergirl dresses that I have been working on for yonks. Well, here they are in action on the day. It was a perfect wedding: beautiful weather, calm bride, lovely service, fab food and dancing the night away.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Final Winner

It's the end of October! Hasn't it flown? And that means one thing: we need to draw a winner for my final giveaway. Thanks to random.org, the winner, number 6 to comment, is...

Caitlin of CraftyCrackpot.

Well done Caitlin! I will be in touch to ask which set to send off to you!

Thanks so much to everyone who took the time to comment on my various posts this month. I didn't have the time to post as much as I would have liked, but I really enjoyed reading all your comments and running a giveaway has been fun!

Stay tuned for pictures of the aforementioned bridesmaid's dresses - some explanation towards my lack of presence here online during October!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Big Day

Some of you will know that I have been making bridesmaids and flowergirl dresses for my good friend's wedding for some time - indeed, it may explain my lack of blog posts during Blogtoberfest! However, today's the day of the wedding, the dresses are done, and I am eagerly awaiting seeing them in action!

I will post tomorrow with some pictures of the dresses, but for now, here is a little preview of the design. It was the first time I had a little play with some of the fabric.


Also, this is your last chance to comment to win my awesome NeverEver giveaway! I will draw it tomorrow morning - cos in America it is still the 3oth!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Nerdy McNerd Strikes Again

In January this year, a good friend of mine from Germany gave me a jigsaw puzzle of a castle we had visited together. It is called Neuschwanstein, and was the inspiration for the famous Disney castle. It is quite glorious in real life, and comes with many myths and legends and an interesting history. The king, Ludwig the 2nd, decided to "renovate" an old crumbling castle on the site, and turned it into what it is today. Despite looking incredibly detailed and ornate, the castle is actually unfinished, as the king was suspiciously declared mentally insane during the construction, and soon after was found drowned in a lake.

Anyhow, lakes and kings aside, it has taken me til now to complete the 1500 piece puzzle, and along the way I took photos of my progress. And here's where the Nerd part comes in: I have taught myself to make a little video of the puzzle growing and growing until complete.

Et VoilĂ !

video

Aren't I clever? PS. Don't forget to comment to get yourself an entry to my final Blogtoberfest Giveaway!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Final Giveaway for Blogtoberfest

Well folks, as I suspected, October has FLOWN. Here we are at the last 10 days! As promised, I have one final giveaway as part of my Blogtoberfest celebrations! It will be drawn on the 30th, and as before, every comment from now til then will gain an entry.

To go out with a bang, this time I am giving away your choice of either a Sunny Butterfly or a Happy Octopus Vest and Pants set. Perfect for summer, and super sweet! The only hard thing will be choosing...

Sunny Butterfly, or Happy Octopus?


The choice is yours! Enter by commenting on any post between now and the 30th Of October!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Winner!

Well ladies and gentlemen, Giveaway #2 of Blogtoberfest has been drawn! This sweet little Queen of Hearts Onesie is making it's way to the lucky winner as we speak!

And speaking of lucky winners, that winner is...

Tess of PlanetTreasures!

She was the 20th person to comment on my posts between last week's giveaway announcement and today! Well done Tess!


Stay tuned! Tomorrow I will announce the final giveaway for Blogtoberfest, to be drawn on the 3oth.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Featured!

I have recently found myself on several delightful and fun kid's blogs.

First of all, the wonderful KidStyleFile, in collaboration with Madeit, featured my Dressed For Dinner bib amongst some lovely dinnertime company.


Then, the lovely Kelly of Macaroni and Glue featured me on her great blog.


And just when I thought it was over, today my Rosy Red Polka Dot Dress is part of a fun and bright polka-dot theme feature over at Handmade Kids.

Please go and have a peek at these wonderful blogs! Thanks to all of them for featuring me!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

We're all going on a...

SUMMER HOLIDAY!

This is the campervan that we booked today to go on a week-long trip of the North Island of New Zealand, in December. Isn't it wonderful? Everything you could want in a vehicle, and best of all, we can stop anywhere we like and soak in the atmosphere. I'm especially looking forward to having picnic dinners, and seeing the scenery from the cabin as we drive along. We also plan to see the following:

Cathedral Cove, on the Coromandel Peninsula


Lady Knox Geyser, Rotorua

The Waitomo Caves

I can't wait. I have never been on a campervan holiday before and I'm sure it will be awesome.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

And now for the second giveaway!

Well, here we are finally - giveaway #2 for Blogtoberfest! This time, I am giving away a super sweet and gorgeous Queen of Hearts Onesie, newborn size - perfect for a new baby gift! Featuring applique hearts in four different pink fabrics, it is up for grabs on the 20th of October. To be in the running, simply comment on any blog post I make between now and then. Easy!



And don't forget, still to come, lots of enlightening posts about concerts, cameras, Japan, weddings, and my grandpa!

Monday, October 12, 2009

You can't plan anything!

Well here I was all ready to announce the next Blogtoberfest giveaway, and Etsy is down for maintenance, so I can't post any links! Bear with me, everyone, you'll have to wait for the next post!

In the meantime, a comforting, delicious, and hopefully distracting meal that I had for dinner tonight - Italian Meatballs.



It is a recipe from The Busy Woman's Cookbook, A Woman's Weekly book published in 1982 ( a very good year if I do say so myself). My mum made it regularly when I was young and it is a recipe that I still enjoy today. Mum and I always laugh about the fashions on the cover!