The kids have been crafting


Amelia received these wooden words from Father Christmas, and yesterday she finished painting them.  She was so pleased with how they turned out and I know they will look great on the aqua walls of her bedroom.  We had quite a bit of fun taking this picture – that’s Rory holding onto the dream (he he he, pun intended).

Rory was busy with some decorating of his own.


This is his capital R, that he painted, then covered in monsters.


He took ages selecting just the right stickers – I am glad he didn’t end up choosing the skulls.


Michaela had a ball painting her capital M.  Just like her hair, her M is covered in every decoration possible.  She is not at an age for restraint, when it comes to all things glittery and pretty.


This was a great project for the school holidays.  The kids now have something each (that they have made) to decorate their new bedrooms.  It was easy enough that even the youngest could participate (because we chose to use stickers) but had enough challenge for the eldest (who painted her own patterns).  All I had to do was wait for ages as stickers were chosen, do up the smocks and mix up the desired colours of paint.

Goop and Papier Mache


This weekend required an activity to keep small people entertained, and it ended up involving the whole family.  I was the designated goop chef, and I made up this batch of papier mache glue, using only the ingredients you see here – Flour, sugar, water (and heat).  I found the reciepe here.


We blew up small balloons for the kids, propped them some jars and glasses, and got dipping with our ripped up newspaper.  Luke and Michaela are collaborating on a chirpy bird.  Rory and Amelia are making frogs.  Best of all, I think this project will provide amusement for days to come.

We stored the goop in the fridge overnight, and this morning it was the consistency of good old Clag.  It was great to be able to whip it up in our own kitchen for free, and we now have enough goop for a papier mache house.

Speaking of houses, here is another activity to keep the kids amused (found via Simple Mom) – celebrating our favorites, Charlie and Lola.

What did you get up to this weekend?



Rory has a deep and abiding love for Yoda.

His love has been expressed creatively with this amazing papier mache puppet he made at school.  Not bad for a 7 year old.

It is hard to see in this photo, but the eyes are made from shells, with bobble eyes over the top.  He clearly has put a lot of thought into the construction.  It was made over several weeks, including one session in the Art room where I had to go looking for him after the school bell, as he was ensconced and didn’t want to leave.  He is definitely cut from the same cloth as me.

As we walked home yesterday with his masterpiece he said

“You know Mum, I really love Thursdays.”

I knew it was because, Thursdays are Art class days.

Now with photos….

Mr Matching Pegs (Luke) put in quite a bit of work to solve my photo uploading problems, so now I can show you an odd assortment of school holiday fun (the kids went back to school/kinder today).


Above is a look at my updated flower painting.  I am much happier with the leaves (which used to be Kermit green) and have found a better red colour for half the petals of the flowers (which are just under-painted at this stage).  I still have to mix up a colour I am happy with for the other half of the petals, hence the harlequin look.  As much fun as I had, the whole painting experience was brief and frustrating – the kids just wanted to paint on my canvas too.


This is a photo from the start of the holidays.  The kids spent a whole afternoon playing surfing in the back garden.


They tried for ages to get Lotta surfing too.  Eventually it worked.


I was pretty impressed with their imagination.

On Friday we spent the day at the Healesville Sanctuary – a zoo dedicated entirely to Australian animals.  We had a lovely time, and saw all our favourites.  Mine was the Platypuses, whose enclosure was in twilight, as they are nocturnal – so sadly, no photos.


This Koala (female) is called Prickle.  We heard her keeper talking to a lady (I took to be a wildlife rescue volunteer) who first cared for Prickle, after she was found as a baby at the bottom of a tree.  According to her, Prickle was actually named Bindi for her spiky nature (Bindi-Eyes are a nasty prickly plant that often turn up in your lawn in some parts of Australia – they are originally from South America) and she was renamed by the Sanctuary – I wonder if it is because of Bindi Irwin that she was renamed?


This elusive creature is a Lyrebird – the one on the 10 cent piece.  Known as birds that copy the calls of other birds, they have been known to copy the tones of a phone ringing, or the sound a chainsaw makes.  This one was following a man around who had been playing it R2D2 noises via his mobile phone.  Unfortunately it was too busy listening to give us a serenade.

Today we had an interesting creature of our own at home.


Our very own Lotta had her first haircut – it was done at the Vets and was MUCH shorter than I expected.  She looks very different (and slightly ridiculous).  Tomorrow she is officially allowed to go for a walk, as she had her last shot a week ago.

Here ends the photo update.  Seen any interesting creatures around your way lately?

Easter Chick


Yesterday the compulsion overcame me to make a little Easter chick.  He may be a little misshapen, but I think I like him.

Of course Easter here does not take place during spring, so I made him in what I think of as Autumnal colours.


You can see here the original sketches I drew when conceiving my chick – those ones at the top are the chick I decided to mould into reality.  For the first time I designed a little softie with a gusset (not sure if that is the right word for it, anyhoo) in the bottom to make him more 3D and give him a base to sit on.  Luckily I made it the right size, first go, but not perhaps the right shape, hence the misshapen appearance.  You can see how I pinned it to sew it on – the green pins represent the section I am not sewing up – the gap for stuffing the chick.  I often colour code my pins this way to indicate where I want to start or stop sewing.


I am really pleased with the beak I designed, it worked out just as I had hoped.  You can see the little paper pattern pieces that show the two shapes I put together to create it.  I think I will be finding more ways to incorporate beaks into my work in the future.

Now you can have a look at the element that just didn’t work……….


Giant felt wings.

They overwhelmed the poor thing and caused him to rock backwards off his base.  They just had to go.


Now, with smaller, more practical wings, he is gadding about all over the place, enjoying the warm Autumn sunshine that Melbourne turns on so well.  In case you think he is the only cute creature round here – here is a piccy, taken today, of our little Lotta, who seems to have doubled in size since we got her.


Can you take any more cute?  You will have to – here is a drawing Michaela (3 1/2 years old) drew two days ago.


She calls it Mr Potato.

Have a wonderful Easter, with those who are dear to you.

My Son Can Sew

Saturday found me with 3 bored children to occupy on my own.  I turned to 3 favourite activities; kicking the footy (Aussie Rules footy of course), making new play-dough, and of course, sewing.  Amelia was keen to keep going with her “Nesting Nellie’s” and surprisingly, Rory was eager to make something of his own.  He has sadly lost all interest in his charming little alien, and wanted to create a new stitchery.  Meet Yoda.

Rory drew him up, and after I had reduced him to a more manageable size, Rory traced him onto the fabric and coloured him in.  He is already half stitched. 

I guess you could say “Do or do not, there is no try”.

The play-dough was a great hit with all three of the kids, who were keen to make some fresh play-dough in some new colours.  I could barely prise the bowl away to cook it, as they were having so much fun mixing it.

The most enjoyable thing about new play-dough, is playing with it when it it still warm.

See, I can prove it, I even got Rory to smile on camera, thank-you warm play-dough.

The reason that Michaela looks so emphatic, is probably because she was trying to justify this…….

MIXING THE COLOURS (almost immediately)!  Much of her play-dough is now greyish brown.

The reason I was flying solo was that Luke was at his brother’s Bucks Do – quite classy actually – a day at the races; Derby Day.

Here in Melbourne, the Spring (horse) Racing Carnival is a big deal, especially the first Tuesday in November. 

While the rest of the world associates this date with the big election race in the USA, here in Australia, it is put aside for the race that stops a nation – The Melbourne Cup.  We have a public holiday, and the kids had a curriculum day today, giving them a 4 day weekend.

 Luckily, with time differences, the US election race takes place mostly in the early hours of Wednesday morning, so we get to enjoy our Tuesday, before turning our eyes, like the rest of the world to theirs.

If you are part of a sweep on the cup, I hope your horse comes in!

A is for Amelia

Amelia’s Capital A is finished!  We both had a lot of fun making this, and I think it is a really great birthday present.  I had a look around and you can buy them here.

Amelia did get her ears pierced the other day, and she was so brave, not a tear.  I was so impressed.

Doesn’t she look grown up.

Today I mocked up the bottom half of my mug bag design with a scrap of calico that I had lying around.  It already had some pellon ironed on to it, and I wanted to test out how large I needed to make the size of the base area.

I also wanted to test out how appliqueing onto a backing, with batting adhered to it already, would look.  This little flower was just the quickest thing I could whip up, because of course, there will be a teapot.   I am still thinking through the design, but I know that the base I planned with take a range of mug sizes.

We are going into the second week of the school holidays, so I am not sure how much crafting will be going on, but there will definitely be lots of park visiting and drawing and lego and trampolining.

Teapots and Haircuts

I have a small collection of teapots on my kitchen windowsill.  There are 3 (I said it was small).  I have been drawing them for my mug-bag design, and now I am drawing them up neatly in Illustrator, so much fun, (the pencil part more than the computer part).

The design is most likely to feature this bamboo handled one, as well as one of my butterflies and a cherry blossom.  I think I will start cutting out paper copies of these drawings at different scales to work out where I am going with this.  I just wish I had a super-teacher to teach me how to use the parts of Illustrator that I need to use.  I keep thinking in a tech drawing, auto cad kind of way when I am using it, and it is the wrong way to approach it.

Here are adorable photos of two of my kids.  It’s my blog, and I like to admire my handiwork – I just gave them both a haircut.

Michaela is going through a skirts and dresses phase, hense the skirt and pants look.  I cut her hair to angle in at the back.

I am no hairdresser, but I think I did OK.

Rory told me a minute before I took that shot that he would only pose if he didn’t have to smile.

I love my son so much that I took both he and Amelia to see Star Wars, The Clone Wars this afternoon.  I almost fell asleep.  Next week we are going to see Wall-E, which I am really looking forward to.  Tomorrow I am taking Amelia to have her ears pierced – so I will probably be posting her new look tomorrow.


After Wednesday’s events, we have had lots of school holiday family time – just what the doctor ordered!

Amelia BakingRory and Michaela Baking

On Thursday the kids were busy in the kitchen making dough creations, that we “fired” in the oven and then painted.

Dough Creations

This weekend there was a great deal of construction going on in the back yard.

Construction 1Construction 2

It went from this, which was built last weekend,………………. to this…………

Construction 3

And finally this. So far it is an elevated platform, which will have rails added around the sides, and a nice wide step and eventually half of it will have a roof. The kids are very happy with Luke’s log constructions.

Meanwhile inside I was working on a log construction of my own.

Log Cabin in construction

It went from this, to this below.

Log Cabin Cushion Cover

It is one of several cushion covers in the works that I have finally gotten around to. I just have to finish sewing on the binding. Stay tuned for more construction efforts 🙂

Happy Birthday, My Son.

Rory November 07

Happy 6th Birthday Rory, our big school boy.

You are our clever boy, who likes to know how things work. You are independent and determined.

You have the widest smile in the family, and the cheekiest giggle.

Dad and I are so proud of how well you are doing at school, and at your swimming lessons; trying your best.

We love the amazing drawings and collages that you do, especially your Star Wars picture that you spent so much time on.

Star Wars Drawing

No matter what, remember that we love you, always. We are so lucky to be your Mum and Dad.

Rory at Eight Months

Rory at Eight months

Rory with the Footy

My favourite pictue of your Rory, my precious son (February 2006, when you were 3 and a half).