Wednesday, 28 September 2011

My Creative Space – Fabric Covered Coat Hangers

I’m linking in with our creative spaces this week … I may do this frequently or infrequently (we’ll see how we go.)

Last night and today I have been working on fabric covered coat hangers.

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I’ve been trying to motivate myself to do some ‘practical sewing’. I always seem to make pretty little dresses etc that are possibly a bit impractical for my little dust collecting crawler, whereas I feel that I should be sewing singlets, and hoodies for next Winter. So what did I do? Decided to make perhaps the most whimsical and unnecessary (although that is a matter of opinion) item ever – fabric covered coat hangers.

I got a set of 6 wooden coat hangers from the op-shop for $1.50, then googled how to cover them, with the result being the discovery of this tutorial … which of course I then ‘pinned’.

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I found the template given in the pattern really small (even given the kid size hangers I was using so lengthened it a bit). All the fabrics I used were either thrifted or gifted and the the ribbons were left overs from this project.

It was a super easy and quick project, and if I see anymore cheap wooden hangers I’m going to snap them up to make some more as gifts.

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It turns out it wasn’t such an impractical project after all as Isabelle did need more coat hangers anyway although only a couple more – which means I may have to sew a couple more impractical pretty dresses to fill up the surplus hangers !?!

… Cheesy self taken portrait (note our matching stripes!) …

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To see some other people’s creative spaces see here!

And have a great day!

Jen x

Monday, 26 September 2011

To Noah – A Poem

I wrote the poem below when Noah was about 6 months old. I was in bed one night and the words just came to me, so I got up and jotted them down on the back of a bill or something. It captures the feelings I had just after having him.

I found it the other day and thought I’d share it. (I should really save it for a post on his birthday or something, but patience really isn’t my strong suit.)

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To Noah - A Poem

My life began today.

My face is wet with tears, but I’m not sad.

I’m exhausted, yet I can’t sleep,

Craning to watch you 'til the early hours, I give myself a sore neck.

Uncertain before, I suddenly know what to do,

Confident and self-assured yet I marvel at how fragile you are in my arms …

I feel suddenly protective.

You fill a gap I didn’t know I had.

I’m still the same person yet I’m suddenly changed.

Despite the months of preparing I’m still taken by surprise … At how you’ve managed to carve out a special part of my heart.

Just for you.

My life began today and so did yours

My son

 

Love Mum

 

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Sunday, 25 September 2011

Duvet re-style – a tutorial of sorts

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I am keenly aware that Isabelle is only 10 months old, still in her cot and will be for a little while yet, but when op-shopping I often was on the lookout for a duvet or spare for the kids that is in good condition and reasonably simple (not covered all over with cartoon characters – not that I have anything against them but sometimes they look overdone and can become babyish overtime).

So when I saw this stripey number last week for $6, I snapped it up. I felt it needed a bit of ‘jushing up’ (and I wanted to tie it in with her quilt that I hope will become a throw when when she gets in her big bed) so I set about basically just sewing lines of ribbon/ ric rac or other trim either next to or on the existing lines. That is the beauty of using a striped duvet for this project – you can use the lines as guides for straightness.

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The word ‘tutorial’ used above really is false advertising as this is more of an idea. It is too simple to really call it a tutorial. However, if you do decide to attempt this idea yourself then I offer the following hints/ thoughts :

- Try and find a duvet that has horizontal stripes instead. These vertical ones felt very long and I was swimming in fabric near the end of each line.

- If like me you are a little lazy time poor and don’t want to spend lots of money on trims then : sew only one side (I did) and sew only select stripes. I started at the end with the duvet opening and folded the lose ends inside this – and soon discovered that the opening didn’t extend right down to the corners so I didn’t put trims along the edge stripes (if that makes sense?)

- Take care not to sew both layers of fabric together!

- If all else fails just pimp a pillow case instead!

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You can see by the number of photos that I’m quite pleased with it (well that and I’ve discovered Picnik collages.)  And the girl? As you can see she enjoyed crawling on it for a short time and then scuttled off to eat dirt! (Clearly very impressed!)

Jen x

Friday, 23 September 2011

List of the Week : Why Motherhood Makes You Smarter

(image via my pinterest)

Back when I was at law school (which seems like eons ago now), I somehow fell into being part of an informal study group. It was mainly made up of male mature students – so in many ways I was the odd one out, but they were friendly enough and very studious so it was pretty good for the most part. However, one day one of them made a comment which has stuck with me.

He basically inferred that when women stay home with kids their brains turn to mush because their life basically becomes nappies, The Wiggles and ouchy- choocy- coo baby language. There were murmurs of agreement amongst the group.

At the time, knowing I hoped to have kids someday – I must confess that I was a little worried – I didn’t want my brain to turn to mush. But now, when thinking about the comment (even though it was mainly said in jest) it kind of makes me a little mad, and I think that it is wrong. These are the reasons why :

(Disclaimer : It should also be noted that I’m not saying that Mums are matter of factly smarter than non- Mums – I’m just saying that being a Mum doesn’t make you dumb and that from my experience it has added to who I am, not subtracted from it.) Anyway, on with the list :

1) You gain a greater (albeit select) understanding of medical things :

I’m in no way saying that because I’ve had kids I am now qualified as an OB/GYN or midwife – by no means. However during the course of my two pregnancies and raising the kids so far, I feel I have gained some knowledge in the following areas :

- General pregnancy information. Especially in my first pregnancy I read and re-read those pregnancy updates about the size my growing baby was week by week, at which point they reached viability, what words like vernix, meconium etc meant.

- How to deal with an oversupply issues and a colicky baby.

- Information on preparing for a VBAC.

Fortunately my kids have been very healthy but I also learnt very basic information about Noah’s less than perfect eyesight and need for glasses. (I should say corrective lenses – as this just sounds smarter.)

Again, I should stress that none of this makes me a medical expert – but it all is information that my brain did not contain before – ipso facto it means I’m smarter.

2) Motherhood makes you creative :

When I became a Mum it also unleashed an urge to create in general (although especially little things for my baby.) However there are many ways in which Motherhood encourages creativity, such as :

- playing make believe games with your kids (we had a birthday party for Mickey Mouse yesterday – Noah’s idea),

- trying to dress a very wriggly baby,

- trying to get dinner on the table with a toddler glued to one leg and the baby on the other, with limited bench space because the dishwasher had packed a sad. (This was my Thursday night.)

- finding new and inventive ways to ‘steal’ a shower for yourself (or go to the bathroom in general),

- finding ways to stretch a depleted budget further,

- getting your toddler to wear his glasses – wild success by the way … I wish the same could be said for getting your toddler to use the potty!

The list could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea!

3) You gain insight / perspective :

For me, this has largely translates into a greater understanding and respect for my own parents.

And although I’m very fortunate to have not suffered through these things myself, I feel I could perhaps emphasise more now with someone struggling through infertility or the loss of a child, because I have experienced the joy that children bring.

As a Christian, I also feel that having kids of my own has given me a slightly greater understanding/ appreciation of God’s love for his children.

4) You see things through their eyes :

In many ways this is tied into number three, above.

I find it so amazing to see how my kids react to the world around them, when they see and experience things for the first time. Obviously we were all babies once too, but we tend to forget things like how cool it is when a plane flies overhead and when birds chirp; and I think having kids helps us see the world with fresh eyes.

Noah used to refer to anything that opens and shuts as a “door.” This could be an actual door, a page of a book, a lid of a container. You name it, if it opened and shut in any way then to him it was a door. This has some logic to it and I was grateful to see this from his perspective. It also made me think about people learning English as a second language too!

5) EQ

My Dad has always told me that in many ways your EQ (emotional intelligence) is more important than your IQ.

Having kids has given many feelings that I have never felt before, including that fierce protective love for this little person in your care.

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So in conclusion, while I do (often) suffer from baby brain, I know the words to the theme song from Jake and the Neverland Pirates and the password to enter Mickey Mouse’s Clubhouse and I would be very ‘rusty’ if I went back to my old job tomorrow; I think that motherhood has added to who I am, rather than taken away from it.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Kid Crafts

This afternoon while Isabelle was sleeping, Noah and I did some painting outside. We painted paper and stones … and Noah painted part of his legs too (unintentionally).

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The idea to paint stones originally came from Noah, who always ends up painting the stones we use as paper weights when its windy.

… And I’d been wanting to get/ make some markers for my vegie garden that were better than the standard sticks/ marker thingies that come with the plant (and always seem to either blow away or get dug up by the neighbour’s cat who uses our garden as it’s toilet – grrr !)

So Noah painted some stones and once they dried I wrote the name of each plant with a paint pen.

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… And, just so the strawberry plants weren’t left out we made these :

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While we getting our hands dirty I thought we better try this awesome idea from Angela from Striking Keys (masking tape letters.)

To appreciate the coolness of this idea, first scroll back up to the picture of the paintings drying on the washing line. See that painting on the right? Now look below :

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I LOVE (ha!) how this turned out.

It’s currently pride of place blu-tacked to the kitchen cupboard. I would love to frame it in a white frame and put it our bedroom. It especially makes me smile because its the first artwork that Noah’s made expressing his love for me. (Although that’s a bit of a stretch because he was totally unaware of the hidden masking tape expression of love when he went nuts with the paint brush on it!)

He’s told me he “Wuvs me” about 10 times today already (while painting and when I gave him treats) – so I’m going to claim it! Isn’t it ironic that (typically) when they’re old enough to express their love for you in written form, it’s not so cool anymore?

There are so many cool kids craft ideas out there. I’m going have to try this awesome idea out sometime and also check out this and this courtesy of Pinterest (and both involving painted stones.)

I better go, dinner preparation calls.

Jen x

Please feel free to comment or tell me your kid craft ideas/ links etc – I love your comments

Monday, 19 September 2011

A Dear Hat for a Sweet Boy

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Today I made this little hat for Noah from this AWESOME tutorial (the “Eddie Cap”).

Mine is definitely not perfect (especially when you compare it to the original!) The pattern calls for medium to thick weighted fabric and in the tutorial wool is used. I used some wool I picked up while op shopping the other day, but mine is stretch and I’m pretty confident the wool used in the tut is not which could account for some of the differences, plus the fact that I resized it smaller (and human error on my part of course!)

But it is definitely growing on me and pretty good for a first go, I think. I can also imagine Noah having a Summer one of these made out of canvas and another Winter one from an old Swandri or something. We’ll see.

I don’t not what possessed me to think Winter sewing again – probably this yucky weather we’ve had these last couple of days. Come back sunshine!

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For some reason Noah was shying away from the paparazzi today and therefore his face is not properly shown in many (if any) of the shots I took. This was unintentional but actually helps show of the hat, I thought.

Perhaps he has a successful career ahead of him as a hat model?

Cousin Love and Knitted Heirlooms

In the weekend we had a lovely visit from my Mother- in –law, a Sister in law and one of Noah’s cousins, Levi. Noah and Levi are about a week apart in age and had a ball playing together. My Mother – in- law, Jocelyn had brought up some lovely dog cardies that had been my husband Andrew and his older brother Nathan’s when they were little. They are extra special as they were knitted by Andrew’s Auntie who was (and still is) over in Africa at the time. These two little guys felt pretty cool in their matching cardies.

Isn’t it lovely to have things like this with history attached?

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(I have stolen copied and pasted most of these photos of  from my sister – in- law, Auntie Lyci’s facebook. She looked after them while Jocelyn and I attended a mutual friend’s baby shower.)

Minding your P’s and Q’s : Toddler Social Etiquette

I have a question about manners/ social rules that I want to put out to the Blogosphere. (Well actually a couple – hold onto your hats this may become a mini – series!)

What are the rules of toddler social etiquette?

My son is a social butterfly – if he sees anyone approximately his age he will get right up in their business, and, while pointing to his chest introduce himself by saying “No – Noah!”

He does this at church, the farmer’s market and the playground.

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Actually, it is not just limited to those of his own age – today while coffeeing and fluffying out with Nana he stared at the man at the table next to us and was very concerned that he was not “Fooffing” on his hot pie. He did not want the man to burn his mouth.

He also likes to say “Hi” to anyone and everyone when we are strolling the streets in the buggy. We tend to get a mixed reaction, generally old people absolutely love it while the ‘emo’ kids try to pretend they didn’t hear and hide under their fringes.

I think it’s nice that he is so friendly and praise him for this but try to gently let him know that not everyone appreciates it.

I did a bit more thinking about it today though because on the same cafe outing he also made a little girl (who was painfully shy) cry (twice) because he went up and introduced himself (twice). (I think the man with the pie might have rolled his eyes.)

I wondered – should I tell my son not to be so friendly? To treat strangers like they were invisible and unimportant? …

… Should I teach him to be an ‘emo’ and to grow a long fringe to hide under (pretty tricky with that cow’s lick) ?…. or perhaps even… your average adult (shock horror!) Sitting on the bus looking out the window or pretending to text so they don’t accidently make eye contact, or even have to acknowledge anyone else's existence !?

While definitely not claiming to be a social skills expert, but I do, on occasion talk to strangers : the checkout operator, the old lady admiring my baby and another Mum walking past with her buggy. – Actually this was how I met my best friend. She was a neighbour that had not long moved into one of the 90 townhouses that we lived in. I said akwardly : “You’ve got a baby – I’ve got a baby.” And a great friendship blossomed from there. She helped me with sewing, we enjoyed numerous coffees, op shopped together, our boys (6 weeks apart) became firm friends and she looked after Noah when I went back to work two days a week and I looked after her boy, Jack when she worked on Fridays.

So I think I’ll take my overly friendly, thoughtful and caring Noah as he is. I will teach him that not everyone appreciates it and that there is a time and a place (and at some stage will have to teach him some element of ‘stranger danger’ – that’s another post); but for now he can tell that man to “Foof” on his pie.

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(It seems as if I’ve answered my own question! But I would still love to hear your thoughts/ experience and ideas – pretty please !!)

Jen x

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Pizza Animals

I know, I know I'm blogging about and eating pizza two days in a row! Well, I’m sorry about that but it just kind of happened.

I realised after breakfast that we were totally out of bread and milk and so decided to make pizzas for lunch. (Sometimes if we run out of bread and I can’t be bothered going straight to the shops I make scones or something , but they need milk, and as pizza dough doesn’t I made it instead – another reason homemade pizza is awesome!)

Anyway, I made the dough while Noah played with his play dough and little animal shape cutters… and then one thing led to another … and… these creatures (and a couple of regular pizzas) emerged…

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A pizza croc, giraffe and cow (yeah it’s a little hard to tell) but Noah thought they were AWESOME! (And he’s the food critic I was aiming to please.)

Jen x

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

List of the Week : 5 Reasons Why Homemade Pizza Is Awesome!

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Last night Noah and I made Pizza, the dough and everything from scratch (To most this will seem unremarkable, but I’ve only made pizza dough a handful of times before and every time I get a wee bit impressed with myself and then marvel at just how easy it is, and how its just like a bought one.) No. Actually it is a whole lot better than a bought one!

So these are the reasons why (in my opinion) homemade pizza is awesome :

1) Its delicious.

Maybe I’m just getting fussy but is it just me or are your standard fast food pizzas getting a bit stingy and haphazard with their toppings? And the sauces are in my opinion over sweet and over powering. When you make your own, you can make it to your specifications. I love all the Mediterranean flavours.

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2)  It can be something you do with your kids.

On the few occasions I’ve made my own dough I have got Noah involved to “help.” Now be warned this can be both messy and potentially time consuming – so allow extra time. Generally what I do is make the dough myself (from this recipe here, in case your interested.) Once its risen and ready to go I then clear and clean some space on our table, divide the dough in two and let Noah roll one out (then I fix it up later to make it more of a pizza shape.) Same with the spreading of the pizza sauce and the sprinkling on of the toppings (Noah calls this “crinkling”) – I just come in behind and redistribute. But it gives me time to chop more stuff up and grate cheese while he is occupied. Noah really enjoys helping and it means he is busy and learning all at the same time. (I just have to watch that he isn’t doing more eating than “crinkling!”)

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3) It can be a great way to get kids to eat vegies

This seems to be especially true if they help and/ or you use some vegies that you have grown yourself.

4) It can be affordable and a great way to use up scraps

Its nice to have lots of fancy ingredients (olives, fancy cheeses and meats) but you can still have a great pizza without all these things (especially if you have a bit of vegie, herb garden). Although I love chorizo, bacon and salami, in the absence of these I have resorted to left over sausages and  shredded chicken from a roast. Let’s be honest, kids would be happy with spaghetti and cheese as toppings!

5) It’s Versatile

As well as making your own bases or buying prepared ones you can also make mini pizzas using pita breads, English muffins etc. Pizza can be enjoyed alongside garlic bread and oven fries or a Summer salad.

And leftovers are great! We had leftover pizza for lunch today and all this pizza talk is making feel like another slice!

Have a great day!

Jen