Thursday, 26 January 2012

Some thrifty finds–with an ‘Art Deco’ twist

Here in the Hawkes Bay (NZ) an awesome Art Deco Weekend is held each year in February. It’s pretty epic, with literally hundreds of events (think antique fairs, jitterbug dancing, vintage car parade, steam train rides … I could go on!) Heaps of people descend on Napier and the rest of the Bay and put a lot of effort in dressing to theme.

Last year, we had not long been living here and went along in normal clothes. (I actually felt really sick – turns out I was coming down the a ghastly tummy bug) – So this year I am determined that we dress up, really get involved and have a lot more fun.

For this reason, I have been keeping my eyes peeled when at my local op/thrift shops for Art Deco items.

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The only thing is that this is what everyone else in the Hawkes Bay is doing at this time of year too! The op shops round here often have special ‘deco’ sections, but you have to pay a bit more for it – and the best stuff gets snapped up pretty fast!

So far I have snagged …

005006Clip on earrings : $6; Bag : $5 (Also, not art deco but the hand knitted baby blanket the items are displayed on is also an op shop score ($5) , I love picking up barely used lovely hand knitted items.)

I have a few ideas about my dress/ outfit that involves a little bit of sewing. If I’m successful with this, I will pop back and share it with you. And I think I can piece together some things for the kids out of their existing wardrobes – we’ll see.

..And, if you happen to be in the area between Feb 16-19 2012 – then I would totally encourage you to get along … for more of what you could expect check out this clip:

…And… to finish off – here’s a bit of art deco eye-candy courtesy of Pinterest

(click each image to go to original source)

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Happy Friday!

Jenny Xx

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

My Creative Space: Ruffle-butt pants

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I have to confess that I was a wee bit excited when I saw that Our Creative Spaces had started back up for the year. This is because my poor old sewing machine has been lying dormant for around a month or two, gathering dust and begging to be used.

I also felt a bit apprehensive too – and didn’t feel like leaping straight into a big and daunting project (I’m still on holiday mode.)

Hence the sewing of  – ‘Ruffle-butt pants’ (…and also because although it is not socially acceptable to walk round in your undies (publicly) when older, little babies and toddlers look pretty cute in over-nap type pants, I think.)

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First a confession – I DID NOT make the actual pants – just the ruffles (hence the absolute ease of the project.) I got these and another pair of little knickers/ over naps from the op shop recently for 50 cents each. (So this is more of a restyle than anything else!)

However, it is pretty easy to make little over naps – I use this awesome diaper cover pattern from MADE when I make mine from scratch.

It’s probably pretty silly to do this, as making ruffles is pretty easy – but it is not that long ago that I was a brand spanking new sewer myself and wouldn’t have known where to start with a project like this – so here is a basic ‘how to’:

4 steps

Step 1:

You will need:  little pants (either purchased or made yourself), ribbons or binding, a few strips of fabric scraps (you can see that the floral strip is folded in half along the long edge, wrong sides together, and the strip of broderie anglaise is not folded as it already has a clean/ hemmed edge.)

You can make the strips as long or short as you like (but remember that they will be shorted once you gather them to create the ruffle.)

Step 2:

To gather the strips: set you sewing machine to it’s longest straight stitch and sew along the long raw edges of each strip (for folded pieces you are sewing through both back and front of the fold.) I sewed reasonably close to the edge (about 0.5cm in). * DO NOT sew back and forth as you normally would at the beginning and end – because then you will not be able to pull the threads and create the ruffle. Also be sure to leave long 'tails’ of thread at either end.

Pull the top thread (not the bobbin one) on each side and space your gathers as your eye-ometer  sees fit. On each side tie the loose threads together to set your ruffle. I then folded the the two little side edges of each ruffle in twice and sewed along this to get rid of the raw edges.

Step 3:

At this point you will still have the long (top) edges of the ruffle raw. This is what the ribbon/ binding is for – to hide these. Position your ruffles on the BACK of the pants (double check this!! – front ruffles – not so cool) and then put the ribbon over top and pin. I tucked about 1cm of ribbon under each side to hide the raw edges of the ribbon. Sew the ruffles and ribbons on together, making sure you are sewing through only 1 layer of the pants!!! Depending on the width of your ribbon/ binding and whether you managed to adequately hide all raw edges – you may want to do more than one line of stitching per ruffle.

I also sewed the shorts edges down too – this is optional.

Step 4:

Put them on and strut your stuff

I hope that makes sense ?!?

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And just because I feel like it – I’m going to make this a bit of a 'girl style' post too.

{ Isabelle is wearing: Hat: Oobi from Baby Vintage – see this post. Onesie: Pumpkin Patch online sale, pants – op shop and re-styled by me (yay!) and carrying various shoes (she has a fetish!) }

Make sure to check in over at Our Creative Spaces for lots more lovely creative inspiration.

Jen x

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Wardrobe Wednesday – Summer colours

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In case you’re wondering why I’m posting photos of myself and what I’m wearing, it’s because I’m joining in with Wardrobe Wednesday now over at Sailor Spy (formally hosted by Clare of Green Valley Crafts.)

It may seem a bit self indulgent, vain or something but really it’s not – it’s all about distilling your personal style and feeling good about yourself without feeling that you need to conform to whatever new trend has popped up this season. I think this is particularly important for Mums – because just because we may no longer work in an office and may get puked or pooped on doesn’t mean that we should have to give up style. (I have rambled on a bit about this previously.)

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Today I am wearing a dress/ tunic that Andrew bought me for Christmas (he picked it out himself). I think I had been hinting that I wanted something a bit of colour for Summer. It’s actually from a surf shop – I haven’t been in one in years (I think somewhat in rebellion to the fact that as a teenager I felt that cool clothes only came from surf shops and also because I feel sooo OLD when I go in them now!)

Outfit breakdown:

  • Striped dress/ tunic: Volcom (from a surf shop)
  • Tan cardie : Cotton on (last season)
  • Jandals* : Havaianas – more expensive that others but totally worth it.
  • Necklace : Clay leaf pendant – made by my friend Alicia

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The theme for Wardrobe Wednesday in January is ‘new’ – so I thought I’d just point out what items are new here: the dress as a Christmas present is obviously pretty new (although I love it so have worn it heaps already); my jandals were new at the beginning of the season, but have seen so much wear that they don’t look that way now!

… Annnnd,… last but not least I’m also sporting a new Summer tan (I’m a whitey so this is a good tan for me) and done the safe way too – with lots of slip, slop slapping!  You can see I’m quite proud of this.

(“Summer colours” is meant to be a bit of a pun … colourful clothes, a bit of Summer colour on the skin … too subtle perhaps?)

Another ‘new’ thing that I want to mention is the bikini I bought at the boxing day sale from Postie Plus. Not a place I normally shop at, but they really do have some lovely, flattering and affordable swimwear.

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Despite not actually wearing this today I thought I’d throw this too in – because:

  1. I basically lived in it while on holiday last week (mainly under other clothes, of course.. except when swimming);
  2. I love it (it is kind of retro-ish with the spots, and high-waisted, boy-leg pants);
  3. I’m not going to post a picture of my self in it on my blog – so this is the best way to mention it!

..Joining in with…

Click on over to be inspired by what others are wearing.

Jen Xx

* The spell check tells me that ‘Jandals’ is not a word and suggests ‘vandals’ (amongst other things) instead. I can assure you that I am not wearing vandals on my feet! – I think in others places you call them thongs?

Thanks Baby Vintage!

Just prior to Christmas I was lucky enough to win a $50 voucher from Baby Vintage in a Christmas ornament competition that they ran on their facebook page. (I made a little angel Christmas tree decoration, in case you’re interested.)

Baby Vintage is a pre-loved and designer baby boutique with a gorgeous little store in Plimmerton (a seaside suburb just North of Wellington), and a website of course.

I used my voucher to get Isabelle a Green Jean dress (made from recycled jeans) and Oobi sun hat in a recent sale they had. The items arrived while we were away on holiday.

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Cute, huh?

I really love the concept behind Baby Vintage. In the second hand side of the store the items there are really affordable and all in immaculate condition (in fact the first time I visited the store – I thought they were new.)

The designer side is really unique also in that they stock lots of brands that we all know and love (such as Nature Baby, Oobi, Wishbone bikes etc); but they also stock items from lesser known designers (including locals, and cottage industry type crafters.)

While I was pregnant with Isabelle and we were still living in Wellington, my Mum very generously bought some gorgeous things from Baby Vintage’s Plimmerton store, including the crocheted bunny (made by Crochet by Beth  - a local crafter) and the cute little red coat (both pictured below.)

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Make sure you check their store, website, or facebook page.

In other winning news – before Christmas I also won Christmas Craft blog competition that OHbaby ran on their facebook page. (Actually I think I was the only entry.. cough, cough…) For this I received a $100 Spotlight voucher.

And if you are wondering why I didn’t mention these competitions on my blog as I was entering them… well I guess I am acutely aware of how many of you out there in the blogosphere are much more creative and talented than I … and I guess (I’m just greedy) and wanted to give myself the best chance of winning (he he!)

Jen x

Sunday, 22 January 2012

A change and a holiday

They say a change is as good as a holiday … and now, it seems I’ve had both.

Inspired by the holiday we’ve just had and the fact that Picnik is closing down (more on that later.) I have just wiled away an hour or two changing my blog header and layout. (Also,  I’m still kind of on holiday mode and finding a bit hard to get back into the swing of things.)

Summer blog header

Back to the Picnik news – Picnik (in case you don’t already know) is a website where you can edit make collages of photos. I discovered it soon after starting blogging and every now and then use it to make a collage. I normally only use the free features, but they have just recently announced that they are closing in April 2012 (boo hoo!) and until then have offered the ‘premium’ features which normally cost for free (yay!)

Wanting to make the most of it (and obviously not realising that I still had a couple of months to do so) … I went and collaged up a storm.

Picnik collage - Summer

I really love the 1960s photo effect (previously a premium feature) … it give that slightly yellowed, rounded edges look to photos – all that’s missing is a piece of old cello tape here and there…

You can see that the image on the right has this effect (while the one on the left is natural.)

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You can see that I kinda LOVE this photo – she looks so grown up here!

The photos with this effect remind me of a whole lot of old photos of our holiday location, Waimarama that were up on the wall of the local general store. I wanted to take a photo of them, but didn’t want to appear a weirdo – well that and every time we were in the shop I was instead busy stopping Noah picking multiple items off the shelves!

OK – so two blog posts from me in one day and far too much internet time for me today already means that I really should be off…

But can some please tell me of another Picnik type alternative, for me to use come April?

Jen x

Camping with Kids – the verdict

It is 7.34am as I am writing this – I’m still on camp time, where you wake up with the sun. (Or at least my kids still are, so I’m up too.)

In a pre-camping post I did nothing to hide the fact that I had some fears relating to how camping with young kids would go. I needn’t have worried. Despite a terror of a first night, the rest of the time was relatively smooth sailing.

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Here are some things I learnt/ found helpful if you also are about to embark on a first camping with pre-schoolers adventure:

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* If you get a chance go with experienced and helpful family or friends. (Grandparents are awesome!)

We went with my Dad (Poppa) and Step Mother (Granny Lynn) and apart from the fact that they had all the mod cons we didn’t, they were just so helpful with the kids. They both took turns of walking Isabelle (the normally wonderful sleeper, but who had decided her portacot was evil) to sleep each night in her buggy. Lynn helped with a lot of nappy and clothing changes and Dad was up at the crack of dawn with me every morning making my coffee and getting the kids breakfast.

Not to mention how much they played with the kids, enabling me to have a break.

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* Make it as easy for yourself as possible

We did this 3 ways.

1) Took as much help with the kids as offered – as above

2) Camped not too far away from home (about 30-40mins drive), meaning if the weather had turned to custard/ someone got sick we could home in no time.

3) Camped a camping ground with kitchen and washing facilities (and took advantage of Dad and Lynn’s camp fridge etc.)

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* Like anything new, it will likely take a day or two for the kids to fall into routine.

But be patient it will happen. As mentioned before I had a terror first night, but after that the sleeping got much better.

We had two tables and them for different meals, Noah worked this out pretty quickly and was initially quite perturbed the night we broke with routine and ate fish and chips away from the campsite.

Both kids also seemed to work the bounds of ‘our area’ around the camp and generally didn’t wander too far away – Although, Noah being a bit of a social butterfly kept going over to visit the neighbours. (This worked out well though because the guy worked for a fruit company gave us heaps of juicy nectarines and plums!

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eating some of the fruit in the bath (aka dishes bucket)

* Don’t expect it to be like when you camped as a teenager/ or before you had kids, (when your biggest stress was putting up the tent and your main goal was to get an awesome tan.)

So you’ll be busier, but that’s just part of having kids isn’t it? Actually, I found camping with kids really fun (stressful at times – especially when trying to get a runaway toddler out of a super hot tent to dress him); but fun for the most part.

It’s just so neat to see the whole experience through their eyes. It’s also worth remembering that you’re helping create memories. I have so many great memories of my childhood camping holidays.

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* Make sure you pack some rough clothes for the kids – and if you do have some nice ones make sure you pack the sunlight soap (or equivalent stain remover.)

While I didn’t pack the kids best clothes, in retrospect a few more rough ones wouldn’t have gone amiss. A few messy icecreams later and I was feeling very pleased that I’d packed my trusty sunlight soap.

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I’m sure there are many other tips which haven’t occurred to me (and please share yours here too), but for now – I will leave you with the many faces of Noah…

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Monday, 16 January 2012

Some links before I leave …

Here are a few articles/ blog posts and the like that I have found interesting and kinda neat recently:

  • A great little article about how to save money by going back to basics and reusing and recycling etc at the same time.
  • Suggestions on how to declutter a toddler's room – much needed by many of us post Christmas, I’m sure!
  • 'Taste-buds turn to local flavours' : an article about food predictions for 2012 – and how those in the know believe people will be wanting the simplicity of fresh, locally grown ingredients. The garden/ farm to plate idea.
  • An awesome blog post written by a new friend of mine about how easy it is to cultivate an argument in your head (especially with your husband) and how you can instead should try to put things in perspective and see things from the other persons point of view also.
  • The exciting news that Belle and Boo have put out a gorgeous new party range. Does it make me a bit of a hard out/ geek that I can’t wait until November until my little (Isa)Belle has another birthday? (perhaps I need to re-read this amazing blog post (from Dee’s blog) about making memories for our kids now rather than always thinking about the future/ wishing their lives away!)

Can you see why I’m a bit excited though? It’s gorgeous stuff. (Image from the Belle and Boo blog – click the image for the link and to see other lovely things.)

I can just imagine Isabelle with the Belle and Boo party range and a rainbow cake – similar to the one Ros has just posted on her blog.

OK – I think this now amounts to sufficient procrastination – I better go pack the last few things before we head away to camp for the week!

Jen x

Camping!

I’m off (again I know) from tomorrow ‘til the end of the week to camp in the beautiful piece of local paradise that is Waimarama.

image source

We are staying in the local camping ground with my Dad (Poppa) and Step- Mother (Granny Lynn.) It has been ages since I’ve been camping and my first time with kids. It could be interesting. From what I’ve heard it can sometimes not be the most relaxing thing – camping with young kids.

Although if there is ever a time for the words ‘relaxing camping holiday’ and ‘young kids’ to occur in the same sentence, this is it. Dad and Lynn have the super-duper set up… eg: fridge, gazebo, powered site etc etc (these things were not part of my childhood camping experience!) And there is some talk of rigging up a play-pen containment system for the little tykes who will no doubt wake up with sun and then proceed to eat all the food out of the camp fridge and wake me up by building sandcastles on my back.

So, please accept my apologies for ditching the blog for another week, but please be assured that I will return – likely armed with a whole lot more of these kind of pics …

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Saturday, 14 January 2012

Sun, surf and sand eating

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I mentioned last post that I would share some other photos from our time in Otaki.

Not much needs to be said really. The weather was lovely and the pictures basically speak for themselves.

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‘…mmm sand, tasty’

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‘Enough with the Paparazzi Mum!’

We also spent a bit of time at the local park with my youngest sister-in-law (AKA Auntie Lecy)

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Miss you Auntie Lecy (and everyone else of course!  –  Actually it was great, there was always so many friends and family around willing to play with the kids that I managed to have a pretty good break myself.)

Although I think the kids especially miss Lecy’s generously sized ice cream scoops!

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Thanks for some lovely Summer memories

Jen x