Monday, 29 October 2012

The trees have eyes

It's nearly Halloween.  It's getting more popular here, or maybe I am noticing it more now that I have children who understand that dressing up + hitting up the neighbours for lollies = FUN. Here's a pretty nifty little craft activity that I did with my kids over the weekend.

Don't be fooled by the lovely, clean, orderly workspace in the tutorial.  Our table was covered in glue and gluggy paper after the gluepot was knocked over and more paper ended up setting like concrete on our fingers than on the balloons.  No perfectly-formed orbs for us once we popped the balloons either, I am sad to report.  This was the end result:

Epic fail.  You can imagine the looks on my kids' faces.  We were going to add a handle and use them for holding treats when trick or treating, but they are too flimsy so we blew up another balloon inside each of them and now they are hanging out in our tree.

If you are in the Halloween mood, why not check out this spooky short movie - you might want to view it without your little ones around first to judge if its suitable for them to watch - if you dare.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Baby, you were worn this way

Here's my littlest girl, gorgeous in swirls and spots.  I know, I know, it's a pillowcase-style dress (yawn) and yes, yes, every man and their dog makes them, but I don't care.  Simple is often better when it comes to childrenswear.  Even better still, it didn't take long to make it, probably 2 hours from start to finish; I wasn't really keeping an eye on the time. Sewing is like that for me, I like to puddle around without a pattern and see what happens.

I especially like the little spotted underpants - very 50s swimsuit!  I guessed how much length I would need for the necktie, it's too long and too thin which made it a bit problematic to turn out the right way once I had sewn the seams together, but she loves her new dress which is the whole point.

That necktie kept bugging me so I decided to reposition it so it ties at the front.  I think it is less likely to get in the way of my busy girl's explorations when worn this way.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Hansel and Gretel

You may have read in my blog brief that I love most things vintage.  Look at this little beauty - old wrapping paper!  Be still my beating heart!

It was tucked amongst a pile of crafting paper on the collage table at our local kindy.  I sat there admiring it when a very kind teacher noticed and snaffled it for me before there was nothing left of it.  The piece is very small but I still plan to use it for a future crafting project somehow - if I can bear to cut into it.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

My first blanket

Hello, my name is Leanne and I am a crochetaholic.  Well, not really, although there is something quite addictive about the process and seeing my little white cross grow into a blanket has been very satisfying.  But, unlike fabric, where I have been known to break into a cold sweat at the thought of even cutting into some of my stash, I do not feel the same attachment to my finished crochet work.  I really enjoyed this project though and I have others on the go so there are no plans to retire my hook just yet.

This blanket is a combination of wool and acrylic and measures about 105cm square.  I am probably my own worst critic; I really like the unexpected colour combinations but the skewed square in the centre bugs me.  I suspect it is a tension issue.  Even so, it's very snuggly and at least one person in this house likes it.

Degree of difficulty: Lightyears easier than my last crochet project
Time taken: 15 days
Result: Bright and cheerful.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Road trip

Taranaki, my childhood home, is a 4 hour drive away from where I live now. It is a place full of natural beauty and is one big adventure playground, something I took for granted while growing up there.  Now, whenever we return for family get-togethers, I can really appreciate the wide open spaces and lifestyle.  We have just returned from spending a long weekend with family there.  Here is our road trip, summed up in a few photographs.

Traffic was moving pretty slowly along the Coastal Highway by the time we left Wellington, so this photo of Kapiti Island was pretty easy to take... was this cute little church in Turakina...

...but three hours into the road trip my husband wasn't as keen to indulge me and my requests to stop and take scenic photos, so you get a shot of the Whanganui River at dusk taken from a moving car.  Sweet.

Gran's Mountain, as my children call it.  Yes, yes it is.  Just hers.  It didn't want to reveal all of itself while we were there, but it's still beautiful.
Mount Egmont/Taranaki

Springtime in a little piece of paradise.

Random signs and sights; the Kiwi sense of humour is alive and well:

Bike fence outside a backpackers in Egmont Village
Jandal fence near Foxton

And home again with our hearts full and our wallets empty.
Wellington Harbour

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Taking flight

I have always wanted to be able to draw.  And sing.  And have nice legs.  Turns out I have none of those things so I have to make the best with what I have been given.  Since I can't draw, I had a go at making an origami mobile last night.  I am not going to say what they are supposed to be and if someone has to ask me what they are, then my paper folding skills are worse than I thought.  These were made from square memo paper we had lying around the house.  The frame is one of those stainless steel mobiles designed to hold photos.

I found an origami tutorial online and once I went through the demonstration, I was able to make each of the remaining models in under two minutes.  I made one each for my children and put them on the table for them to find at breakfast-time.  They didn't even notice them! Eyes like their father.

Degree of difficulty: Easy
Time taken: 45 minutes
Result: I like the idea, but will probably redo it at some stage.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Party preparation mode

My second daughter turns 5 in a couple of weeks.  5!!!  She makes me laugh with her antics but underneath it all she is a such a sensitive girl, very gentle and sweet.  At times, I just want to wrap my arms around her and keep her here with me always. But, she's growing up and I can't stop the process no matter how hard I try.

She has asked for - you guessed it - a fairy party.  So, I get to rehash some of the decorations and party ideas that I used for my youngest's birthday a few short weeks ago.  I love planning my girls' birthday parties.  There is so much available to buy food and decoration-wise, but I always try to do as much as I can myself to give it a more personalized feel.  I certainly don't do it to save money! Note to self: must work on that area.  I'm the person who turns up at Briscoes on the only day of the year that they haven't got a sale.

Here's a peek at the paper pinwheel decorations I am making at the moment.  I have learned not to leave making decorations till the last minute, they always take longer than you think.

Friday, 12 October 2012

A glimpse of Granny

It's very cold and miserable here in Wellington, perfect weather to work on this a while.

Photo Bomber

One of the most frustrating things about parenthood is never being able to get a decent photograph of all your children together.  By decent, I mean all looking at the camera at the same time, smiles preferred, tidy clothing and faces (and background) are optional.  We have a photo calendar made every year and every year I promise myself not to leave it till the last moment to get a good useable snap.  And here we are, it's the last moment. Again.

It can be hard to get that one shot with just one child, it's nigh on impossible with three. There is always one child who, if they aren't caught mid-blink they are either not looking at all or goofing around.  Here are some of my photo bombs (and yes, it is the same child who is the culprit!  Love you Ruru x):

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Haunted Houses

Feeling very virtuous this morning, I set out to tidy up the girls' craft drawer.  Instead, my valiant attempt to do a spot of spring cleaning morphed into a morning spent doing some paper craft with my children.  Way more fun. We used up some card and foam in doing so, so it still counts as decluttering. Yes, it does.

With Halloween only 22 sleeps away (so my children tell me), they had some fun making haunted houses.  I used this template found at Sarah Jane and there is a great tutorial on her blog if you need a guide:


My older two are getting to an age now where making up scary stories and getting a little bit spooked is fun.  I assumed my youngest was not at that stage so I changed the template slightly to turn it into a castle for her.

Not to be outdone, she drew a spooky tree complete with face beside it.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Crochet colours

Here is the colour palette for my granny square blanket.  I was so close to getting to the end of a round, but was forced to buy a whole new ball to finish it.  The whole point of doing this project was to use up the balls I have, not end up with more.  I guess this is the danger of doing something without a pattern.  Oh well, live and learn.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Munted Mundus

My latest furniture restoration project.  I took a chance buying two of these very cool Mundus chairs sight unseen from Trade Me with the intention of restoring them both.  The auction said something along the lines of "Need fixing - wonky when sat on".  Luckily, I was a translator in my life before children so I can read between the lines, albeit belatedly.  By "need fixing" they actually meant "Sucker!" and by "wonky", what they meant was "on the verge of total collapse".

But, all is not lost, my fantastic and patient husband is also very clever and suggested that the least damaged parts of each chair be put together so two broken chairs have become one fairly solid one.  This was a job he gladly took on while I weeded the garden watched on adoringly.  I filled and sanded the old borer holes and now this little lovely just needs a coat of paint.

Granny Love

Little wonder crochet is considered an old person's hobby when one of the simplest and most popular blocks to make is called a granny square.  I am making a blanket using this technique, hopefully it will work up more quickly than my last crochet project.

Just so I don't end up wearing my fingers down to stumps on this blanket alone in my haste to finish it, I will have several smaller projects on the go so I can be sure of having something completed by the end of this month.

Stay tuned.

Holiday fun

I'm baaack!  Did you miss me?  It's school holidays at the moment so here's a little looksie at what my family has been up to this past week:

A bit of this:
Puddling about in Parakai

A bit of that:
Lone guy thinks "This ride is a lot like my career"

A bit more of that:
One little kid and one very big kid

Some of this:
Fishing near Waiheke Island

Thanks Aunty Cheryl and Uncle Andrew for opening your home to us for the week and showing us around Auckland.