Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Seasons: Spring

I've had this list saved in my drafts folder to add to as I think of more things. 
This last weekend has been so hot and with the 1st December almost upon us (the official first day of summer) I think it's time to celebrate what I love about Spring and start thinking about my summer loves!

A work-in-progress list of what I <3 about Spring...
  1. Daffodils...especially the double headed ones that come up in my front garden each year. I was so disappointed they came up blind this year and hope they will flower next year
  2. Tulips...which I planted whilst pregnant and then watched them sprout and flower with my newborn baby beside me
  3. Hanging the washing out...especially on those blustery, sunny days where it doesn't take long to dry
  4. Being able to get out in the garden and get the lawns mowed
  5. Watching everything sprout and grow and 'green-up'
  6. Wanting to eat salad again (I don't like eating salad when it's cold and grey!)
  7. Starting to think about Christmas, what we will do, what we will buy, what I will make
  8. My birthday...which now falls in Spring
  9. The nights drawing out
  10. Having decent light for taking photos
  11. Not having to have the fire/heating going all day long
  12. More barefoot days
  13. Dreaming of vegetable and flower gardens (even if I never quite get around to actually doing them!)
  14. The lemon tree perking up after winter
  15. Fresher looking fruit and veg in the shops
  16. Sitting outside on the sunny days and enjoying a breeze
I'm sure there's more to come....hope to add to this as the years go on :-)

See more seasonal posts here

Monday, November 29, 2010

Journal Your Christmas

This Christmas is going to be quite different from previous ones for a couple of reasons. Firstly - it's baby's first one! And secondly, we have family coming all the way from the UK to spend it with us!
So it's going to be AWESOME :-)
And because it's going to be like nothing that has come before it I have decided I want to record it.

For Christmas 2008 I joined up for Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas and completed all 37 days/pages. I love looking back at the album to see what we were up to 2 years ago and already have it out for the festive season.

Basically Shimelle sends out a prompt by email every day which makes you think about some aspect of Christmas and then blog/journal/scrapbook/photograph it. There's also an online forum where you can share what you've done and chat with others taking part. It's heaps of fun and the best bit is that once you've paid  you're in it for life and can take part every year if you wish. 
(And if you click on that link above you'll see there's some giveaways for class places happening this week).
It starts on 1st December and runs right through to the 6th January. 

As well as being a SPECIAL Christmas/December this year it's also going to be a BUSY one. Therefore I am going simple. I am not going to buy a stack of the latest christmas themed scrapbooking goodies - I will use up some of the stuff I already have. And I'm not going to worry too much about making this a hugely pretty album. It's going to capture some words and some photos so that we have something to look back on in years to come. I'm fairly certain baby is not going to judge me for not including lots of lovely scrapbook supplies when he's older!
I learnt last year not to over-complicate this process. I only made it to day 5 last year. I had morning sickness,  was mega busy at work and had an album/journal that required too much time and thought to complete.

I've made up some page numbers ready to go. I have a ream of pink card (bought for wedding thank-yous) that I cut into 2 by 1 inch rectangles. I then stamped the date on with my date stamper and added a punched xmas tree/star. I didn't have quite enough trees for all 37 days so went with Christmas trees for the December dates and stars for the January dates. I've also inked the edges in green ink.
And these are probably the fanciest things I'm going to have in the album!

I'm hoping to get a front and back cover made up over the next couple of days. I am probably going to have an A5 size journal because it's easy. And I'm thinking a mix of black and white card for pages. I am thinking about making it landscape in orientation and will hole-punch each page and join with book-rings.

And once I've prepped the cover and pages it's just a case of taking photos each day, writing some words and sticking it all together.

I really want to do this so keep your fingers crossed I can scrape ten minutes each day to get my pages done.

And as it will be very simple and smaller than the usual 12 by 12 pages I will get 50c per page for my scrapbook fund or $20 total if I complete all 37 pages.

Hopefully I will be able to share some of the pages and covers with you as December progresses.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tim Tam Truffles...2nd time around

I had another go at making Tim Tam Truffles at the weekend. This time I used White Chocolate Tim Tams.

They were delicious. Possibly even better than the ones I made with original flavoured Tim Tams. I also made 30 smaller balls rather than the 20 the recipe states. I made an origami box (looked up these instructions to remind me how) and boxed some up with some ribbon and a tag for a friends birthday.

I am definetly hoping to make a HUGE batch of these and box them up for Christmas. The hardest thing will be giving them away rather than eating them myself!

Short post today because I am hoping to get some envelopes made before baby wakes up from his nap for my Christmas Ornaments to be posted.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kiwi Christmas Ornament Swap...sneak peek!

I'm taking part in the Kiwi Christmas Ornament Swap this year and it was really hard trying to decide what to make. In the end I realised I am not a good sewmistress so I should stick to what I know. 
So my ornaments have something of a scrapbooking theme. My prototype is made and perched in my lounge to admire and I just need to make a few finishing touches to the 5 I need to post.

All going well I should get them posted by the start of next week and then I'll post some pictures of the finished items. 
I can't wait to receive some back in the mail as well.

I love the idea of swaps and have seen lots of mentions of swaps around blog-land. I think it would be great to organise something...might have a think about this and see if anyone fancies it in the new year. I'm thinking of light and small things so that international post would not cost too much. Maybe something to do with celebrating the seasons...handmade and only using what you already have on hand. Anyone have any ideas? Or if you might be interested leave me a comment and I might give it some more serious thought :-)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Views from my window

I spend a fair bit of my days looking out my lounge window. The couch is opposite the window and as I sit and feed the baby I admire the gorgeous view. The garden was already well established when we bought this house and I love the mix of colours and that there is something different flowering throughout the year. Now I'm home during the day I hope to take even more notice and maybe even become a less lazy gardener! (Up until now I pretty much just cut the grass).

As mentioned on my 29@29 list I want to find ways to celebrate each season. Having grown up in the UK and being used to cold December's and warm June's I have found myself rather fascinated with the turning of the seasons since experiencing the opposite's here in New Zealand. That's why I want to try and take the time to recognise the changing of the seasons and celebrate the benefits each one brings (I'm thinking digging your toes into the beach in summer and warming up with hot chocolate after a cold, brisk walk in winter).

When I saw that Lou at Seaside Siblings was running a weekly seasonal feature on her blog it got me to thinking that blogging about the seasons is a great way of celebrating them. So while I can't promise a weekly seasonal post or that the posts I do will be posted on Tuesday's I hope to join in in my own little way!

The photos at the top of this post were taken on 26th October and the bottom 2 were taken on the 16th November. What a difference a couple of weeks makes. Don't you just love how Spring breathes life into everything?


Monday, November 22, 2010

Recipe: Banana-Choc Muffins

This is the perfect recipe for using up bananas before they get too black. I have standard muffin and mini muffin trays and normally make 12 mini's and 6 standard sizes. It's a handy selection for snacks and lunches.


2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup chocolate buttons or chocolate chips
1/2 tsp salt
100g butter
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
2-3 (approx 1 cup) mashed banana


  • Put the flour, sugar, chocolate chips and salt into a mixing bowl
  • Measure out the butter and melt (I usually blast it in the microwave for about a minutes)
  • Add the milk, egg and vanilla to the butter and whisk with a fork
  • Peel and mash the bananas and mix to the liquid mixture
  • Stir the liquids into the dry ingredients
  • Spoon into muffins tins (I spray the muffin holes with canola spray first)
  • Bake for about 15 minutes at 200 (fan oven)
  • Place on a rack to cool down and eat one while still warm when the chocolate is still melted...yummy!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Airports: Hellos and Goodbyes

I just had to share this video. I think it's awesome.

I have a love/hate relationship with airports if I'm honest.
I love arriving and meeting people but hate leaving and saying goodbye to people.
I'm sure it's the same for a lot of people.
I've spent a fair bit of time at airports saying goodbye and not knowing when I would see people (i.e. family and friends) again but on the other side of the coin I've had some amazing reunions at airports.

I remember waiting at Palmy airport for a work flight and a family came in with their guitar and a banner and sang Dave Dobyn's Welcome Home to their family members arriving off the plane. That was a tear jerker - let me tell you!

As part of my job I used to have to meet people at airports and see them off. It was always a struggle not letting my emotions show because the memories of all my personal goodbyes and greetings always play on my mind.

This video even brought a tear to my eye... what a sook I am!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

*Right Now*

I am still in my jammies, sat on the bed, with the snuffles, drinking lemon and honey, with a billion thoughts running through my head. So I thought I'd share some.

  • I'm feeling very inspired by Elise, especially her post On Motivation and her workspace
  • I ordered my very own mini Moo cards at the weekend and can't wait for them to arrive
  • I found this lovely, cheap, online jewellry shop yesterday (c/o Juggling Motherhood) and have my eye on this
  • I'm thinking about the seasons and joining in with Seaside Siblings seasonal blog posts
  • I'm baking bread in the breadmaker and haven't bought a loaf in a couple of weeks now
  • I'm trying to decide on a format for Journal Your Christmas. It needs to be simple and easy this year. I really want to capture baby's first Christmas but won't have much time
  • I'm excited to receive my handmade ornaments in the Kiwi Ornament Swap and already have mine designed and almost ready to go
  • I found my envelope maker last night and can see myself making lots of handmade envelopes in the near future
  • I'm thinking about how different life is to a year ago and wondering if I should try and capture a day in the life similar to Clare's Daily post yesterday

Right, baby's nap is done and he's charming me with smiles so that's enough random thoughts for today :-)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What makes everything better...

I'm having fun with my 'Something Serious with Something Silly' journal from Gadanke. My lovely husband bought it for my birthday along with a lovely baby journal.
I find it very relaxing to sit at night for 5 or 10 minutes once the baby is asleep and doodle and colour and write in multi-coloured pens. Something rather childish after a full day of being a responsible adult!
It's quite soothing to make a list of what makes it all better as well. For those days in the shape of a pear I can look at this list and do something to make myself feel better...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Scrapbooking: You've Got Mail

I usually get my photos printed in 4 by 6 size but with my latest batch I accidently got this one ordered in 5 by 7 size. I'm glad I did because it reminded me I don't always have to use small photos to scrap with. I like the way this bigger size looks on the 12 by 12 background.
I snapped this photo when we received a parcel from my Nan (so baby's Great Nan) so I could email a thank you and thought it would be good to scrapbook. We were very spoilt by friends and family when baby was born and received so many parcels.

I used some paper with postmarks/stamps all over it from a scrapbooking calendar I had a couple of years back (there's a different pattern each week and every day has a page for you to scrapbook with) and the lime-ish green paper has been hand stamped with white paint using a beer bottle lid! I couldn't resist rummaging through my button jar to add some different colours and I used ribbon as lines to write my journalling on.

I'm loving how these layouts are gradually piling up and there's a few to browse in baby's scrapbook album now. Plus I now have $10 in my scrapbook stash fund :-)

PS - that strange brown mark isn't on the original layout - I've just 'painted' over the address to post the picture online!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Recipe: Tim Tam Truffles

I saw a mention of Tim Tam Truffles on Cafe Chick's blog and couldn't resist clicking through to the recipe on Mrs Cake's blog. When I saw how short the list of ingredients was and how easy the truffles looked to make I knew I had to give it a go.
So while my lovely husband spent quality time with the bubby on Sunday I very happily bashed a pack of Tim Tams up with a rolling pin and made me some truffles!
I love Tim Tams and actually have a confession to make. There was a pack of Tim Tams in my hospital bag and they were the first thing I ate after the baby was born!

Into the freezer they went and half an hour later I melted some chocolate and made a complete mess trying to coat them in chocolate. It was lots of fun.

Given how tasty these truffles are and how easy they are to make I am definetly planning to box some of these up for Christmas presents. Possibly in origami gift boxes (if I do it - I'll be sure to post some pictures and instructions for folding the boxes - I made them for my wedding favours last year so hopefully I can still remember how to do it!)

So if you like truffles and you like Tim Tams I suggest heading over to Mrs Cake's blog to find the recipe :-)

For those of you in the UK I would suggest that Penguins are probably the closest things to Tim Tams if you want to give this recipe a try.

If I'm giving these as presents I think I need to get a lot more practice in to make them look pretty!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Best $10 I've spent this year :-)

Just in case it hasn't become apparent yet I LOVE rainbows! Anything in rainbow colours brings a big smile to my face!
My latest rainbow find was this AWESOME umbrella - discovered in the 123 Mart in the Plaza. It only cost $9.90! How could I resist that?!
Not only will it be great fun for photo shoots with bubby it will also be good for keeping the sun out of his eyes when we sit out in the garden!

I tried snapping some pictures at the weekend but I think it might be better once baby is sitting up and a bit more interactive. I've wanted a rainbow umbrella ever since I saw these pictures on Flickr a couple of years ago. Can't wait until I can have a go at taking pictures like that! Might be baby toes and puppy paws poking out though. This is the closest I've got so far...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stuff we love: ColourSplash

G found an amazing application for his iPhone called ColourSplash. It only cost $1.29NZ and allows you to turn your photos black and white and then highlight some parts in colour.
I've seen this done professionally - especially with wedding photos - and always liked the effect.
It was so much fun having a play with it. You can zoom in a lot for the fiddly bits and even change the colour (although I've not tried that yet).
It's a good thing I don't have an iPhone because if I did I would probably be playing around with ColourSplash all day long and nothing else would get done!

I had a play with some of our wedding photos and love the way that you can really accentuate the finer details....

And then I started trying it on random photos to see what ones work best. I love this one with the ice-cream sundae...

So from now on some of my pictures featured on this blog may end up being a mix of colour and black and white!
If you've got an iPhone I'd highly recommend this app :-)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Scrapbooking: Strong

It was the quote that prompted this layout rather than the photo. (Normally I choose a photo I want to scrapbook first and then pick the words). I got the quote from my midwife and think it's an awesome way to look at bringing babies into the world. It was Laura Stavoe Harm who said it originally (I've tried searching for more information about her but it seems she is most famous for this quote!). In case you can't read it on the layout the quote reads:

"We have a secret in our culture and it's not that birth is painful. It's that women are STRONG"

I'm trying my hardest to not cut up any new sheets of paper at the moment as I have a big box full of scraps and offcuts. All the papers (apart from the big 12 by 12 sheet) were found in my scraps box. I then found some stickers I thought went quite well with the theme (they say "Now is the right time, Let your light so shine", "Courage isn't the absence of fear; it is the conquest of it" and "Prepare to be amazed"), a tag (from Kikki K) and some tear out pretty note paper to write the quote on. I have inked the edges of all the scraps and the tag as well as the page itself.
I think there's a possibility it needs something more. I just haven't worked out what yet :-)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Recipe: Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I got this recipe from one of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's shows. I think it might have been 'River Cottage - Winter' as I seem to remember him giving the cookies as Christmas presents. He doesn't have the recipe written down on the website though so I've summarised it here for you.

These really are rather yummy cookies - absolutely amazing when they are squidgy and warm out of the oven and tasty later on when they've hardened up a little.

Normally I use Nestle Cooking Chocolate which is a darker chocolate but today I've tried them with Whittakers White Chocolate. The White Chocolate ones are good but the darker chocolate option is definitely my favourite.
To get the chunks I cut each square of chocolate into quarters with a sharp knife.


125g melted butter
175g sugar (half golden caster sugar, half soft brown sugar)
1 egg
1tsp vanilla essence
150g plain flour
chocolate chunks (approx. 120g)


  • Melt the butter
  • Mix thoroughly with the sugar (both kinds)
  • Add the egg
  • Add the vanilla essence
  • Add the flour
  • Mix to form a sticky dough
  • Add the chocolate chunks
  • Dot dessertspoonfulls onto greaseproof papered cookie sheets leaving plenty of room for spreading
  • Bake at 190 for 10 minutes
This recipe makes about 20 cookies which don't last very long in this house :-)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

29 @ 29

Since I've been 27 I've written a list of things to do each year from 1 birthday to the next. 
I had 27 things to do aged 27, 28 to do aged 28 and this year I have 29 things to do.
You can see previous lists here and here (on my other blog).

It's a fun project. I made my 28 list a bit too complicated and didn't get much done so this time I'm trying to keep it quite simple. I've made a little mini book to record my progress and printed my list off to stick up on the wall to remind me to do it. 

Already ticked one thing off (Number 4!) and made some progress on a couple of others. 
If I think of it, I'll do progress reports throughout the year or at least a review post at the end of it all. Thinking about it I should have made one of the items on this list write my 30 things aged 30 list - I think that should be quite a special one! I'll make that a bonus item :-)

29 @ 29
 1. Paint my toenails
 2. Scrapbook at least 12 moments of baby’s first year
 3. Plant sunflower seeds/grow sunflowers
 4. Eat tiramisu
 5. Get my hair cut
 6. Summarise/scrapbook our first year married
 7. Read a novel
 8. Lose 5kg
 9. Decide if I’m returning to work or not
 10. Participate in a Christmas ornament swap
 11. Write a Christmas newsletter
 12. See Harry Potter 7 (part 1)
 13. List 29 reasons why I’m a good mother
 14. Blog at least 29 times
 15. Email at least 50 photos/videos of baby to family
 16. Finish rainbow crochet blanket
 17. Get a nice photo of all 3 of us (plus maybe the dog)
 18. Take baby swimming
 19. Send 10 postcards or letters (with photos of baby maybe)
 20. Buy at least 10 bunches of flowers
 21. Try 10 new recipes
 22. Create a photo wall (in the dining room?)
 23. Make bunting for baby’s bedroom
 24. Have a picnic or tea party
 25. Find ways to celebrate each season
 26. Give away at least 29 things
 27. Try to take at least 1 photo every day
 28. Write my birth story
 29. Have 12 ‘dates’ with my husband

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Scrapbooking: Sweet Dreams

Yay - $6 in my scrapbooking money to be spent fund!

I'm pleased with this layout - it was lots of fun mixing and matching lots of embellishments. I tried to bring out some of the colours from the photo and decided to go with the yellow of the background and blue of his coat. Hopefully the red on his top isn't too overpowering.
I didn't have an S in the green glittery alphabet stickers but really wanted to use them so cut up an & (ampasands) into an S! The big flower (and 2 little ones) were cut up from wrapping paper which I loved (and I've used the same flowers on a couple of cards I've made recently as well).
And the clouds under the 'dream big' and 'baby' stickers was an offcut of a photo.

And such a gorgeous photo - I'm glad to have it showcased on a page for my baby album!


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