Friday, November 28, 2014

Gift of Books - Giveaway

Hello everyone. I am absolutely blessed to be sent books by Scholastic to review and isn't it just the best thing ever to be able to give some away! Sharing is, of course, caring. Scholastic have released some really beautiful Christmas books this year. Some are more traditional than others so everyone gets a lovely chance to pick a favourite.

Here are my kids with the books that come with a cd. They really enjoy the music and being able to sing along with the story. I recommend if you can get a hold of one with a cd it is well worth it. They just keep playing the cd and even with the instrumental music they can read it themselves. Jay Laga'aia does a wonderful job singing the story in a way that keeps the kids involved.

I'm going to give away these two books. The one above is "One Night" by Penny Matthews and Illustrated by Stephen Michael King. It tells the story of the birth of baby Jesus through the way of the animals. It's very sweet and very easy for your young schooler to read aloud.

This one called "There was an old bloke who swallowed a present" by P.Crumble and Illustrated by Louis Shea is about a bloke who swallows different types of presents. Good fun for the kids and big and bright pictures. I like these ones to teach the kids to name all the pictures on the pages.

Here is their aunty who is very much into her books so much so that her whole bedroom is like a big library. Michael is reading to her and Elijah is waiting his turn and posing.

So, here's the nitty gritty. Just leave a comment telling me what you are giving to kids this Christmas ( I need good ideas) and it's open to everyone. I'll pick out two winners next Tuesday 2nd Dec. so I can send them out on Wednesday.

Thanks everyone, Hope you have a great week!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

That time of the year

Elastic Skirts from Make It and Love It!
It's that time of the year. The weather is definately warming up. We have been getting strange weather though. One day hot, the next cold and rainy. Last week it reached a fiery 41 degrees (105.8 F) so we went to the pools most of the day. That was the day I found out my washing machine had a hole in it and leaked all the water out. Not fun. I was about to kill someone that morning.


Thankfully, it turns out a day at the pools works wonders and I ended up getting a new one on Saturday. I really like it. It has a clear lid so the littlest boy can see the laundry slushing around. Yay for that. I even set a delay wash for this morning so I only had to hang out the washing this morning before heading out to work. Double winner! I likes to be a bit more organised. Feels so so good.

Oh, the picture above I stole from Make it and Love it! It's for elastic skirts. The eldest has a school concert and needs a red skirt so I am thinking of making a red circle skirt for her as I couldn't find any cheap red skirts at the shops. Wish me luck! 

Tell me, what are you crafting up this Christmas?


Monday, October 20, 2014

Going quiet for a bit

Today I laid my eldest sister to rest.  She sadly passed away on Wednesday morning after a battle with leukaemia and graft vs host disease. We'll miss her everyday but we entrust her to God. May she rest in peace.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Spring already? Yes!


Winter is finally over! Yay. We celebrated the eldest turning 8 with a big mud cake. I sent the rest of the cake to work which was very much welcomed. My waistline thanks me very much although I think I had too much cake this Winter. Anyway, moving forward.... I have been busying myself with the smallest bits of sewing. I had to line a flower girl dress for this upcoming family wedding. My youngest daughter is one of the flower girls and the dress requires a lining.


Actually, I had to line all three dresses so it's been a fun project. My challenge was that the dress bodice is very stretchy so there was no way I could put in a zipper. The lovely lady at Spotlight helped me and I bought spandex for the bodice and some Italian lining for the skirt part. The top picture is the finished bodice and skirt. The one jsut above is the skirt only.

My tip for gathering here is to sew two rows and then you get a really nice gather that stays in place. Then it will also reduce the chance of folding the fabric while you sew it (attach) it to the other piece.


This is what my bedroom looks like when all your children come to you in the morning. Two boys in my bed and the girls are in the bunks. They are still in holiday mode. In reality we have one girl and one boy in the bunk and the two older ones sharing a room. This is definately not ideal for us in the long term so we have plans for the future. I just really need to declutter (urghhh, that word again) and organise everything.

Oh how I love Spring. Down here the weather is a bit up and down. One day warm, one day rain. I've been pulling out some summer clothes as we're expecting 30 degrees or more this weekend. I'm so not prepared!


image from Ikea.

Is it bad if I just want to Ikea my whole house? How nice is this outdoor setting? I've been keeping all their magazines and I could spend hours checking out their designs on the web but there are more important things to do right now, like make dinner.

I can't believe there's only a few more weeks until Christmas. Is it like 12 weeks??? Wow. Scholastic have sent me some Christmas books so I would love to host a giveaway in my next post. I'll try to get some pictures up and posted next week!! Yippeeee.

Keep posted!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Red Riding Hood - Little Things to Sew


If you were like me, Book Week comes around when you don't expect it. I mean, once you see other school kids walking to school in their costumes you start wondering if you're going to get that letter about it in the school bag. We somehow recieve our letters with little notice or it's just that I really would like, say, a month in advance notice! Because, every single shop gets sold out of costumes very quickly and there are no sizes to be found for said Miss Almost 8. She wanted me to buy something for her and she wanted to be Little Red Riding Hood in particular.

Red Riding Hood Cape - Little Things to Sew
As luck and persistence (from said child) would have it, I recall having a pattern for a cape. It even happened so that it was called Red Riding Hood in Oliver and Ss' book - Little Things to Sew by Liesl Gibson. I was actually just thinking I would cut out a circle from some fabric and copy a hood pattern from another pattern but somehow roped myself into tracing out this pattern and also actually cutting the lining for this as well. We bought this red polar fleece throw from Kmart for $5 and I hoped it would just be enough as there was only one other red throw left in the shop. 


So after all the kids were in bed I started sewing. I was stuck at the first instruction; to stay stitch the arm opening. No pictures. I had no clue if I was meant to fold it down or not so I left that part and moved on. As I sewed up the outer panels I realised I had one piece missing. Oh great! Did I even have enough fleece left to eek out that panel? Yes, of course I did. Divine intervention, it seems, to have kept me going because it was well after 10pm and I wasn't really understanding the instructions as the pictures were not so clear and I need pictures!!! Also, when you fold the fabric to cut out your two pieces I wondered if I would get the correct cut... by midnight all this fussing was left aside as I sewed, on and on and on. There was no going back and no going forward if anything else went wrong. I did run out of red thread but realised quickly that you won't be able to see it anyway. I had used red thread for the hood to top stitch and that was fine. I used black thread inside and you don't see it when you turn the lining inside out anyway.


It was certainly looking pretty good and going really well. It helps to have something playing on the laptop to keep me company. I used a red elastic hair tie to make the button loop and used one white button on the front. I finished this cape at 1am. Bleary-eyed I went to bed. In the morning I showed it to her. She really likes it and I was so glad how good it looked when she put it on. It's been really cold so I told her to wear jeans and a shirt instead of a dress like she wanted the night before. I'm glad I went ahead with the lining too. It was some fabric I bought on sale at Spotlight that I wanted to make a dress out of for her. It's a really pretty love heart print cotton that's quite soft. The lining was a bit shorter than the polar fleece on the front panels so I pulled it down a bit and then cut off the extra bits before turning it through the hand opening (no pockets).


Turns out  this thing is also reversible!! She is yet to wear it reversed but wore it the next day to the church family fun day. I really love it and would recommend the pattern to anyone who wants a little cape for their girl. What do you think of it?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Japanese girls blouse, View n


I spent this week making this girls shirt from my favourite Japanese pattern book (Sassy Girls - see right pane).  I wasn't sure of the sizing as they base their pattern size on the child's height. This is  size 110cms and it is perfect for my almost 5yr old.

It reminds me of the Tova Top but for little girls. The book even includes ladies size in small, medium and large. I'll definately have to give that a go soon.  The cotton I bought from a local store and I love the soft yet smooth and perfect thickness of it. It's perfect to wear as we are still shivering down here and she has a singlet underneath for extra warmth.

She likes it too and although the collar isn't as tall as pictured I kept it like a mandarin collar. Somehow the collar is a rectangle sized 2.5cm by 30cms. When you sew it up it ends up smaller and not as tall. It's even meant to be the same for the ladies shirt pattern? I couldn't figure if that was wrong or not and not bothered to re-do another collar piece. The pattern is missing the bottom cuff  as well so I made it up myself. I can't tell you how much I love it. I want it in my size now. She looks awesome in it, yes?


In other news, my sister is doing a bit better. Thankyou for all your prayers and well wishes. There's still a way to go until she gets better and we will keep going that she does pull through it. I wish it were Spring already. So many people in Sydney are getting the worst flu ever and taking a few days off from work to recover, hubby included. He's had half his team sick at home. It seems to be really contagious, especially if you're taking public transport. Anyway, let's also keep praying for peace especially in the middle-east where Christians are being persecuted for their faith. We are so lucky to live in a democratic society down here and I do wonder how long it will last.

Happy Sunday,  have a great week.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Kez's Kitchen Cafe Snacks


These are the latest release from the Australian made products by Kez's Kitchen called Taking Cafe Home. I tried really hard to make these last in my house but they were too yummy and didn't last long. That is precisely why I have a lack of pictures of us devouring them. The kids took off with the biscuits as soon as I opened up the pack. We have to have some sort of biscuit in the house because I am a tea and coffee addict.

In their own words, Kez’s Taking Cafe Home range allows biscuit-lovers to enjoy the luxury cafe experience in their own homes. The five new products add a creative twist to family favourites. Mini Mixed Moments is a new take on Melting Moments, a packet of nine bite-size melting moments in heavenly chocolate, red velvet and passionfruit flavours which were inspired by the French macaron.  


This is Jacquie eating her mini red velvet melting moment. The other little boy ran off with the passionfruit ones and ate them all! I only got to eat one of them. Can you believe that? I give these ones a 7/10. I'm not a big fan of melting moments. They seem to be generally too buttery for me but the kids didn't mind at all. They did like the chocolate melting moment the best.
 
Now, these are the BEST cookies. They are the Chocolate Mud Cookie Bites. They are sooo awesome. I had them during the evening with a cup of tea and we finished off the whole box. I tried to eat as many as my hands could grab before the kids ate them all as well. I am selfish with my biscuits like that. These I give 10/10. I love the crunchiness and the chocolate flavour of these. The hard part is stopping at just one or a few. It's definately a crowd pleaser. Go buy yourself a few packs.


We had these Salted Caramel Peanut and Pretzels last. I thought they could have had a bit more flavour. They were a bit dry and I didn't dislike them but I didn't like them either. Hubby ate a few as he wanted a snack to eat. If they didn't have the chocolate at the bottom I wouldn't have enjoyed the taste of them. You can't tell there's a pretzel in it and it's actually not salty like you think. I'd describe it like a cornflake biscuit?  Anyway, I give them a 5/10. The only thing I liked about these is that they come in individual packs so you can pop them in your purse/bag for when you go out. We have finished the whole box though, if that's saying anything.



So there you have it. Kez's Taking Cafe Home bisuits are available at your local shopping store. A family-owned business where all good things come from their kitchen to your table. Try some out today.