Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Around here lately {February}

Happy Leap Day. 
I am going to make a wish today - a once-every-4-years type wish. 
It feels like a special day. One of those days you can celebrate without it being an over-advertised holiday. It will be pretty low-key celebrations but we will celebrate somehow :-)

Since I've had my new phone I've been snapping photos every day. I'm finding it's much easier to capture every day moments when there's a decent camera on my phone and I don't have to find the "big" camera and by the time I've done that, I've missed the shot.
So I thought I'd share some of the snapshots with you...maybe I'll do this regularly if my over-enthusiastic picture taking continues :-)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Scrapbooking: Our Family Right Now

First time in ages since I made a scrapbook layout just because (and not specifically for my Document album) although saying that this may end up amongst my Document 2012 February pages yet :-)

I downloaded Incredibooth on my phone when it was free (it's a photo app that takes photobooth-like pictures) and snapped these strips pretty much straight away. They were so cute I had to do something with them so printed them on 5x7 (if you know how to get 3 strips per page let me know!) and trimmed them up. 
I had fun picking the paper and embellishments for this page because the photos are black and white so I didn't have to match up any colours!
I started with plain cardstock but it didn't look quite right so set to making my own pattern with silver paint and the end of a cardboard tube!

The journalling was really random and written off the cuff but I quite like it - I remember making pages like this pre-baby and it's awesome to see a snapshot of life as it was :-)
Here's a somewhat closer shot of the journalling...

Is it crazy that I am looking forward to the end of February to get my Document 2012 February pages done?!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Creative Space: Summer Decoration (seasonal blocks)

I'm a little bit late in making these seeing as Summer is nearly done (I won't say that too loud though and hope we have a late summer this year!).
I've got 6 little blocks that sit on my fireplace and I'm gradually decorating each side with a letter from the name of each season and some other seasonal decoration.
You can see the Winter version here and the Spring version here.

The blocks were put away at the end of Spring (early December) to make way for Christmas decorations and even though I've had the idea of how I wanted these to look for a while I hadn't quite got around to doing it.

I found the sheet of sand-paper I bought for this project in a pile on the desk at the weekend and it reminded me to get it done. To be honest I did think about leaving Summer until later and going straight to Autumn but my (slight) OCD tendencies wouldn't let me make the sides out of the order of the seasons!

There's nothing that says SUMMER for me more than little boats and the seaside. I was born in a seaside town and as a little girl often spent summer days at the seaside with my bucket and spade :-)

I cut up the sandpaper as the base for each block and then hand-cut waves in two different colours of blue for the ocean. I then had the idea of making little boats and using the letters S U M M E and R as the sails of each boat but wasn't sure how it would work.

In the end I decided to use smaller letters atop washi tape sails on little boats with matchstick masts. 
Washi tape, matchsticks, little boats - this is like my favourite project ever!

I didn't have E's left in the letters I wanted to use so the E is a backwards 3 :-)
In hindsight I wished I'd used a couple of different colours for the boats and sails rather than make them all pink - maybe I can look at changing this up for next summer.
But in the meantime, I'm happy to have this done and be able to cross it off my 30@30 list as well as enjoy the summery decoration before the seasons turn.

Here's hoping I can get the final side decorated in shades of Autumn sometime before winter :-)

Linking up with Our Creative Spaces.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nappy Wallets

I recently wrote a product review for my local Parents Centre magazine and thought it would be worth sharing here as well...

Once my baby boy was a little older and no longer required a suitcase sized bag to carry all his belongings around I started tucking a few items in my handbag when I went out. I kept nappies, wipes and a change-mat in a plastic bag but it was not the most attractive look!
So I started looking online for a solution and discovered nappy wallets.
There are many different ones to choose from with varying price tags and had I been an able enough sewer I’m sure I could have made my own but I’m not. So I decided to go with a handmade option rather than shop-bought.
I visited Felt (the online handmade shop which deserves a review all to itself! It’s the NZ equivalent to the US Etsy) and there were quite a few options on there. I chose one from Salubrious as I liked the pictures shown on the listing and the price was pretty good too ($19.95 including free postage within NZ).
The seller was very quick to respond to my purchase request and happily emailed through some photos of different fabrics I could choose from based on the colours I had said I liked. Once the decision was made the nappy wallet arrived quickly and has been well-used ever since!
My nappy wallet comfortably fits 2-3 disposable nappies, a change mat and a Huggies travel size wipes box. It fits in my bag and also slips into the basket under the buggy when we are out and about.
I would definitely recommend getting one, especially if you find yourself rummaging through your bag for a nappy or wipe when you are out and about!
And if you are keen to look at one similar to mine here is a link to the listing on Felt with the added bonus of selecting your favourite colour to co-ordinate with your other accessories :-)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Creative Space: Cigar Tin Mini Scrap Book Albums

Wow, these little albums were made ages ago now! I made them in that lovely, relaxing lull between Christmas and New Year but had to wait until the recipients got them before sharing here as both of them read my blog (waving to Mum and Morag :-) )

Anyway, G's mum's birthday is early January and my Mum's birthday is early February so I decided to make them each a little momento featuring pictures of their handsome grandson.

Way back in 2007 I did a scrapbook class where we turned old cigar tins into little scrapbook albums. When we were in an antiques store back in October I spotted similar tins for sale for a couple of dollars each and snapped 2 up! Now I wish I'd bought more!

The tins sat on my craft desk for a couple of months and then when I was looking for paint for the toadstool makeover I also purchased some primer for metal objects so I could prep my cigar tins!

The tins each got primed and then painted with acrylic paint. I also then dabbed some metallic paint over the top to give them a bit more sheen. Once this was done I stamped Mr. Mischiefs name and the year (all the photos included were from 2011) on the top of the tins.
I finished off the tops with some glossy accents to make it nice and shiny (but just the tops, not the whole tin).

Then I cut and folded some cardstock to make a concertina pull out and taped the bottom page of the concertina to the inside bottom of the tin. (I inked all the edges first before sticking it down)
I'd printed my photos - 1 taken in each month of 2011- in mini-size (4 to a 6x4 print) and cut them down and stuck them in and wrote the month beside each one.

The tins were well-recieved and a great size for keeping in handbags to bring out to show off pictures of Mr. Mischief. If only I'd made myself one too :-)

Joining in with Our Creative Spaces - why not head over and see what crafty things everyone else has been up to? :-)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Esplanade Scenic Railway

I recently wrote this piece on the Esplanade Scenic Railway for the local Parents Centre magazine and thought I'd share it here too...

Have you ridden the train at the Esplanade lately? In recent years they have spent time lengthening the track and when I’ve ridden the train I have got to see parts of the Esplanade I’d not visited before.

With two stations (one near the Lido end of the Esplanade and the other in the Children’s Play Park) to choose from it’s a great way of getting around the Esplanade. You buy a ticket which gives you a return journey but can hop on and off at either station.

Most children love it and my son is a huge fan. He first went on the train aged 4 months last summer and was happy with the wind in his hair as the train whipped around the track. Since then he has taken to waving at the train whenever it passes us and we’ve been on it this summer as well.

With babies under 12 months being free and the cost for everyone else being pretty low it’s a fun addition to a visit to the Esplande.

The Esplanade Scenic Railway runs from 1 - 4pm on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays and is open every day during School Holidays from 1 - 4pm. It costs $2.50 for a return ticket from either station and babies under 12 months old are free.

For more information visit their website:

Monday, February 13, 2012

Scrapbooking: Documenting 2012: January

Welcome to my first pages for Documenting 2012 :-) 
You can see my Document 2011 album here

I've decided to change it up a bit this year to keep me motivated. I've bought some 4x4 pocket pages (with 9 inserts each) to begin with and I'm using those for the opening and closing pages each month. For January I've added in 2 normal 12x12 layouts in the middle but I might change this up depending on the month.
I must admit seeing all the Project Life inspiration that's flying around at the moment I did wonder if I should go back and do something weekly but I'm not convinced I have the time or will have enough motivation for 52 weeks! So I'm sticking with documenting on a monthly basis for now and may add in more pages on some months...

I'm using Project 365 on my phone to pick a photo each day so decided to print those out and that fills 2 pockets (I only got my phone on the 12th so there's blank space at the top I filled with "This is January 2012"). Most of the photos on these pocket pages are Instagrams which print wonderfully at 4x4 but some are 6x4's trimmed down...

For the first 12x12 layout I chose some photos from our Hawke's Bay weekend and made a page. The journalling talks about the highlights from the weekend...

The second 12x12 page is a summary of what Mr Mischief is up to aged 17 months. I found last year that I would summarise what he'd been up to each month so I might make it more of a feature this year - that way I can add my favourite photos of him from that month too. That black and white photo makes me heart melt every time I look at it. I used washi tape and bakers twine on this layout which is making me feel rather en-vogue :-)

I tried to use the same tiny blue alphas throughout the pages and added journalling on the pocket pages by cutting up the offcuts from the 4x4 photos (I printed them 4x6 with a white strip each side) and turning them into journalling tags...

It was a busy month and I had more than enough photos to fill all the space this month. I know that might not always be the case but I can always have more pretty pockets with fancy paper and embellishments as fillers if need be.

Is anyone else documenting 2012? How are you doing it this year?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My Creative Space: Crochet coffee cup cozy

My lovely friend Kelly recently expressed an interest in crocheting. She had seen a coffee cup cozy she liked and wondered if she could make it herself. 
When I saw her over Christmas I lent her a crochet hook and found some wool she could practice with and attempted to show her the basics (I'm rather cak-handed so not so good at showing other people how it's done!). 
Anyway, she has been busy moving house so when I found out she would be down this way again for Waitangi weekend I decided to make her a coffee cozy to keep her going until she could make one herself.

She likes green and purple so I made 4 x 3 round granny squares in a lime green joining as I went. Then I made a cute little purple flower and some dark green leaves (using Lucy's pattern) and sewed those on. I was 'in the zone' at this stage and not ready to be finished so decided to add a scallop-y border in the same dark green as the leaves to finish the whole thing off (again using Lucy's pattern - where would I be without Attic24?!)

And then I had to buy myself a white chocolate hot chocolate from the Wild Bean to test the coffee cozy out...of course I spilt that on the way home but luckily I'd also treated hubby to a mocha so I used his cup for the photos instead :-)

It came together really quickly - done and dusted in the space of an afternoon/evening and would have been done sooner had I not had to work around toddler naps and meals :-)

It's a little big for a small sized cup but Kelly didn't seem to think that would be a problem :-)
And here's a final instagram shot just because...

Maybe I should make some for my rather empty looking Felt shop? Would anyone be keen?

Linking up with all the lovely creative people over at Our Creative Spaces.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ta-dah! Crochet Cushion Cover

I crocheted another granny square cushion cover recently. You can see the first one here.
This one was for my Mum for her birthday. (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM!) She recently redecorated her bedroom with aqua, silver and cream wallpaper so I picked those colours to make her a cushion cover. (I really hope the colours are a decent match to the wallpaper - it's hard to judge it based on skype viewings of the wallpaper!)

The only issue with the original cushion cover was the closure. I attached buttons and tried doing it up using the spaces between the granny clusters - unfortunately it didn't work very well and not only have some of the buttons fallen off (my terrible sewing probably to blame for that) but the cushion bulges out of the bottom. So I decided to try something a little different with this one.
As well as the front and back sides I also made 3 smaller granny squares (with the cream yarn as I had more of that left than the other colours) and joined them together. I then joined those to the top and sides of the back cover (leaving the bottom of the mini cream squares open if that makes sense?). 

Once they were joined I joined the front and back around three sides (I'm really not sure I'm explaining myself properly!). So it's like a pillow cover you get for bed sets with a flap that folds over to keep your pillow in the's a look with the cover stuffed (with muslin cloths as I didn't have a spare cushion pad the right size!) which will hopefully show what I am struggling to explain...

I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out and now might go back and make a similar flap for the original cushion cover.

And finally here's an Instagram shot of my Mum's cushion cover...

And I've spoken to her since she opened her presents and she likes it and it is a good colour match so woo-hoo!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Recipes for February

Recently I compiled some recipes with a February theme for the local Parents Centre magazine and thought I'd share them here. They are great for Valentines or Pancake Day - enjoy :-)

Healthy Hearts
(photo and idea courtesy of
This is a great recipe for Valentine’s Day in summer.
A healthy treat that a toddler could help to prepare and it looks fun too!

Watermelon slices
(Bamboo skewers to make arrows)
Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter on watermelon slices. Poke a bamboo kitchen skewer through each heart, then complete the arrow with an orange slice tip and tail

Frozen Yogurt Strawberries
(photo and idea courtesy of
Another yummy, healthy summer treat which toddlers can help to prepare and they look like hearts so could be great for a Valentine’s Day treat!

Vanilla Greek Style Yogurt
Wash and prepare strawberries for eating.
Dip strawberries (halved or whole) in vanilla greek style yogurt then space them out on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and freeze them.

Scotch Pancakes
(photo and recipe courtesy of
This is a quick and easy recipe for mini, thicker pancakes (similar to Pikelets) which make a great finger food for toddlers. Toddlers can also help mix the ingredients and watch you cook them.

120g self-raising flour
small pinch salt
30g caster sugar
1 egg
½ cup milk
1. Sift the flour into a bowl and add the salt, and then tip in the sugar.
2. In a separate bowl crack the egg into the milk and whisk.
3. Pour the egg and milk liquid into the dry ingredients, and mix to form a smooth batter.
4. Warm up your frying pan and test that it’s hot enough by putting a teaspoon of batter into it. You should have a fairy-size pancake cooked for you in less than a minute.
6. Use a tablespoon to drop the batter into the frying pan. You can use the back of the spoon to spread the batter into rounds.
7. When the surface has become covered in bubbles flip the pancakes.
8. Once both sides are cooked leave to cool for a couple of minutes and then serve with butter and jam.


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